Kaycee’s Klasic Films – Silver Linings Playbook

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films


When you watch a lot of movies like I do because I’m a sad old cow with no social life that’s a joke but kind of true actually you have to watch a lot of new stuff and if your using Netflix or something that’s where you find them and you have to rely on what they put on there because it’s not like a library with every film theres ever been. What I’m getting at is you can’t be that choosy because the summaries are written by someone who thinks she’s clever it sounds like a girl to me I don’t know you don’t know what anything is going to be like if you never heard of it before so sometimes you have to take a chance. And sometimes it turns out to be all bang bang bad language young smartarses killing people or thinking there being funny.

And sometimes you find a gem I did that recently with Silver Linings Playbook from 2012 which I had vaguely heard of but not taken much notice and I’m glad I did because it’s like brilliant. Stars Bradley Cooper whose pretty good not sensational but he can act he was wasted in stuff like The Hangover.

So he plays a guy, Pat, who just gets out of a mental hospital because he’s bipolar which used to be known as manic depression I think and he went berserk and hurt somebody. He seems okay now but he’s hyperactive can’t sleep goes back to live with his parents Robert de Niro and Jacki Weaver who I don’t know but she can’t spell Jackie can she I know who am I to talk?

He is hoping to get back together with his wife Nikki but he’s got a restraining order so he can’t contact her and one night he goes to some friends’ house for dinner only he’s wearing an American football shirt and everyone else is dressed quite smart so he feels a bit of a dick. The friend’s wife is an aggressive sod and they have invited a girl too about Pat’s age Tiffany played by Jennifer Lawrence and she is a bit of a psycho too sorry I mean she has a psychiatric disorder and if you ask me its not clever to try to fix them up with each other but that’s what it looks like. She gets upset and leaves before they even eaten and he goes with her she lives in a converted garage behind her parents house and she says he can come in and shag her as long as they keep the lights off. That’s part of her trouble she says she got sacked because she had sex with everybody she worked with 11 people including two women.

Pat says no because he loves his wife but they keep meeting each other out jogging and she says she will take a letter he wrote to Nikki which is illegal cos he’s not supposed to be in touch with her like I said. Anyways Tiffany says she will help him if he will be her partner in a dance competition and he don’t want to but says yes in the end. Jennifer looks great here real sad eyes.

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Cheer up, Tiffany. I think he likes you

So that’s one plot two really I suppose and the third is his Dad’s lost his job and trying to win enough money to start a restaurant by betting on sport with a guy he knows. That’s enough detail ain’t it I’m getting lost telling you about it but sure enough Pat and Tiffany start falling for each other but he still wants his wife back.

It all comes to a head as they say at the dance contest it’s a kind of old fashioned film in that way it looks like there getting together then there not and is he getting his wife back maybe and then maybe not I tell you I was in tears at the end. It’s a great film that could of been made in like the 50s with James Stewart and Jane Russell or somebody or even earlier with people I don’t know who to say.

Lovely film very clever and Oscar nominations all over the place and Jennifer won best actress.



Kaycee’s Klasic Films – Chinatown

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films

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Chinatown is whats known as film noir that’s pronounced nwar its French for black and I think its called that because there is always a dark atmosphere not visual but dark mood you know nothing good ever happens. There was a lot of it around before my time stuff like Humphrey Bogart playing private detectives that get beaten up and stuff.

So Chinatown (made in 1974) was a bit after that but done in the same style and they set it in the old days I’m not sure what decade but old fashioned cars and suits with flappy trousers and everybody wore hats you know. Often in these things the story is just an excuse to see the leading actors (watching Jack Nicholson being cool and Faye Dunaway being sexy) and what actually happens don’t really matter. In this case its about California when there was a water shortage and of course people being killed.

They usually start with a beautiful woman hiring the P.I. to investigate something and it turns out to be not as straightforward as it looks. Sure enough Evelyn Mulwray (Faye) turns up and asks Jake Gittes (Jack) to tail her husband. But later another woman also claiming to be Evelyn turns up and says she’s going to sue him. And the husband is found drowned.

It all gets complicated but if your me you just enjoy Jack and Faye and leave the eggheads to follow the plot. There is stuff about he was found in a fresh water reservoir but he had salt water in his lungs things like that. There’s missing glasses too that are important.

Jake gets his nose slashed with a knife up both nostrils and spends most of the film with a big bandage over it which isn’t a good look but he’s still Jack Nicholson so he’s still attractive.

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And there’s lots of peace and quiet in the film which makes a change you don’t want bang crash all the time do you well I don’t it’s all noise these days I suppose that’s why I like old stuff sometimes.

Funny enough I was looking at an old films channel the other day and there was a Bob Hope film where he plays the same  except he’s just pretending to be a private detective cos the real one is in the next office but he’s out of town and Dorothy Lamour gets him involved. That one’s a spoof which means it kind of takes the mickey and Bob was a comedian so he does it real well.

“Was it a legitimate business?”

“Better than legitimate, it was profitable.”

You know how clever those guys were. That was called My Favourite Brunette.

But I’m confusing you now – I’m confused myself but that don’t take much haha. Chinatown has a great atmosphere and some good lines and it has brilliant stars that’s what I like about it. There’s a serious bit when Faye has a girl she calls her sister but it turns out she’s not really I won’t spoil it let’s just say it’s not very nice.

They made a sequel in 1990, still starring Jack and he directed it instead of Roman Polanski who did the original but the same writer Robert Towne he did some great stuff but you don’t usually hear about the screenwriter just the director that’s funny ain’t it no script no film if you ask me but there you go. The sequel wasn’t as good of course they never are are they apart from people say the Godfather series is different but I don’t know you can have too much gangster stuff I reckon.


Kaycee’s Klasic Films – Airplane!

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films

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Why have I never written about this before it’s the funniest film in the history of the world and of course it is impossible to say why. All I know is that it is so full of funny bits that I reckon they must of wrote it several times what I mean by that is they wrote the first draft (strange thing to call it but that’s what you call the first version of a script) and it was good but they went through it again sticking more jokes in then again and put more visual laughs in gags they call them a gag can be a line or a facial expression or something going on in the background it’s just something that amuses you.

There’s a bit when you’re in the cockpit with the pilot and there’s a guy outside on the nose of the plane checking the oil like your boyfriend does with your car and when he tries to close the bonnet he can’t so he gets it down a bit and then sort of jump-sits on it and falls off. That’s what you would call slapstick I think its kind of the oldest form of humour the sort of thing that Charlie Chaplin did and people thought he was hilarious but I don’t.

Right at the start there’s two recorded airport announcements having an argument about whether you can stop in the red zone or the white zone.

Oops forgot to tell you what it’s about well there’s this American ex-air force pilot who had a bad experience in one of their wars Korean or Vietnam or something and he’s afraid to fly now but he’s in love with a stewardess and manages to get on the flight she’s working on. He’s Ted and she’s Elaine.

So he buys a ticket at the desk in the airport and they say “Smoking or non smoking?” and he goes “Smoking” so they give him a ticket with smoke coming out of it. That’s one sort of gag sort of taking things litelerately  there’s quite a bit of that actually.

Anyways he gets on the flight and everything’s okay until dinnertime when the fish option is poisoned and people start throwing up and sweating and farting and stuff that’s kind of slapstick too I suppose. And the captain had fish so soon he’s incapable and Elaine takes the intercom or whatever and asks if there’s anyone who can fly a plane.

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Ted has been sitting there  depressing people with his sad story an old lady already hung herself listening to him and a Japanese soldier has committed hari kari and an Indian guy just poured petrol over himself and lit a match so he’s relieved when Ted goes up to the cockpit and he blows the match out but he explodes anyway. See some people might think this all sounds stupid and maybe it does but when you watch it its just hilarious. So Ted is flying the plane, but it’s very different from what he’s used to so someone on the ground is going to talk him through landing it.

There’s too many gags to tell you all of them in fact there’s so many that I don’t think you get the best out of the film till you’ve seen it about five times cos you keep noticing new things I’m on about number 25 now so I think I’ve noticed all the gags but their still funny. For instance there’s another stewardess whose very good looking and when everyone’s scared and thinks theier going to die they start opening their hearts to people and she says she’s 27 and she’s not married. Now that’s not funny but some other woman says what’s bothering her and ends with “But at least I’ve got a husband” and the stewardess bursts into tears does it sound cruel that I think that’s funny? Sometimes it seems like your not allowed to laugh at anything because its all ways at someone else’s expence. Well I’m not married was once briefly never again it don’t make you more of a woman or a person but that’s not the point.

It also dosen’t matter what happens in the end because its not an adventure film it’s a comedy I don’t care anyway but I never do care what happens in the end its not about the destination it’s the journey as someone once said actually I might of just made that up.

Here’s a few bits for you.


Kaycee’s Klasic Films – Alfie

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films

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When Michael Caine was young he was considered quite good looking and for a while in the 60s he was probably the biggest British star there was if you don’t count Sean Connery who only did James Bond. Michael did things like Zulu and The Ipcress File but his big success that made him a heartthrob was Alfie.

If you watch this now it is extremely un-PC. The way he talks to women and treats them and the fact that he’s got umpteen on the go at the same time it just isn’t done these days but you’ve got to realize things were different in those days and anyways not every man was like him in fact very few because it’s a film not real life.

Alfie is a jack-the-lad in London this was 1966 but it was kind of old fashioned even in its day The Beatles were past the clean-cut stage and the suits but Alfie and his mates are still looking like that and the music when he goes to a gig in a pub its not rock or even pop but jazz I suppose it took people a while to follow fashions.

So Alfie is what’s known as a ne’er-do-well funny expression it means he will never do well I think because all he’s interested in is pulling women he ain’t got a proper job but does a bit of chauffeuring and hangs around with his mate taking pictures of tourists with no film in the camera and gets them to pay in advance for nothing.

Not the sort of guy you’d take home to meet the family he’d probably seduce your Mum while you was making a cup of tea mine would of gone for it I’m sure. He’s got this quiet little “bird” as he calls them Gilda whose a soppy old thing and wants to have a proper home life with him even though she knows it will never happen and this bus conductor whose a real nice guy wants to give her that but he ain’t sexy like Alfie. “She’s a standby and she knows it and you can be very happy if you know your place,” Alfie says maybe not those exact words

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Trying it on with the doctor. She’s female, see, and that’s all that matters to Alfie

And he’s got this nice woman with a bit of life to her Millicent Martin big TV star at the time she’s married and Alfie tells you all about her and her husband in the voiceovers they use she’s called Siddie. He meets her once a week or something but right at the start of the film she’s starting to think she owns part of him and a bloke like him can’t have that so she’s on her way out.

Funny thing about Alfie is that he’s very particular about things he don’t like lipstick on his collar and he likes things neat and tidy but what he really likes is to get his own way.

One day at a transport café he meets this Annie (Jane Asher Paul McCartney’s girlfriend at the time) whose running away from her life up north and she’s hitched a lift with a lorry driver friend of Alfie’s but Alfie tricks him and takes Annie to his place. And all she does is scrub the floor and cook him meals she makes hotpot which is like a stew and he says it makes him bloated she just keeps busy all the time trying to forget some bloke back home.

So that’s plenty of birds to be going on with you might think but one day when he’s out doing the photographing scam he meets this big blonde Ruby (Shelley Winters) whose got money so he helps himself to some of her too.

To give the film a kind of serious point there was a lot of tuberculosis around at the time and he’s got it and gets sent to a I don’t know hospital or nursing home in the country to recuperate which means recover or get better I looked it up. Alfie gets released quite quick but goes back to visit this other patient Harry and meets Harry’s wife Lily (Vivien Merchant) who is no oil painting and a bit kind of chunky if you ask me but that don’t matter to Alfie a bird’s a bird and he is driving this Rolls Royce cos I told you he was a chauffeur so he gives her a lift back to London but they stop on the way for some refreshments and he has it off with her down by the river.

Around this point in the film the chickens start coming home to roost. Gilda’s pregnant and wants to keep the child so she does and she and little Malcolm get together with the bus conductor which makes Alfie feel something for a change he’s a bit jealous.

After their little fling by the river Lily is pregnant too (that was a common thing in films then because birth control wasn’t so good no pill or nothing just rubber johnnies they didn’t call them condoms then). Obviously Lily can’t keep the baby cos she’s married so Alfie arranges for an abortionist to come and that’s pretty horrible.

There’s this big punch-up at the pub gig because the lorry driver he nicked Annie from knows about it and in the end Alfie’s decided the most important thing in life is your health (but probably because in hospitals they have nurses and nurses are birds usually certainly in them days).

So as you can see it’s not the sort of thing you’d get away with nowadays but it’s good fun very entertaining quite funny. Whatever you do watch this version don’t go for the Jude Law remake it just ain’t the same no good at all. This one’s a kerrrlassic.

Kaycee’s Klasic Films – You’ve got Mail

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films

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Bloody Hell!!! Excuse my French but I just looked this up and it’s from 1998 that’s amazing isn’t it because that’s a long time ago and it still seems like quite a modern film maybe that’s because the mail in the title is email so we must of been using that back then. Good job too because that’s when the world really started getting electronic and instant none of this messing about with paper and ink and putting things in metal boxes and waiting a couple of days before you could even think about expecting a reply.

So it’s the first 21st century romance film but two years early anyway it’s lovely it stars Meg Ryan when she still looked like Mrs Ryan’s little girl not a blow-up doll  version honestly some people don’t know when their well off I don’t care if she was starting to look a few years older guess what we all are. And Tom Hanks.

She’s a small time businesswoman called Kathleen Kelly who owns a book shop her mother started and she’s got a boyfriend but you can tell its that stage of a relationship when its over really but they just haven’t ended it yet.

Tom is Joe Fox who owns a chain of big book stores and he’s driving the little shops out of business so Kathleen hates people like him. Her shop is aimed mainly at kids which is nice and you get the feeling that no big operation could have the same sort of atmosphere.

And Joe’s rich and the women in his life are the sort of luxurious wastes of space that rich men’s women are always shown as in films I don’t suppose that’s fair really but what do I know about it I’ve never woken up in an ocean-going yacht and had champagne for breakfast. Wouldn’t mind though just to see what its like but I’d have to love the guy to stay with him.

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Kethleen’s little book shop. Look at the size of the computer!

So Kathleen and Joe are both doing the internet dating thing that’s another big step forward for mankind I reckon it’s much better than sitting there feeling sorry for yourself. The world is full of lonely people but when your in that situation you think it’s just you and there must be something wrong with you so you don’t get the kind of opportunities you would if you was happy and full of life. Funny isn’t it that you seem more attractive to people when your already with someone and not really looking I guess its to do with confidence or something.

Kathleen and Joe get along great online they make each other laugh but of course being a romcom you can’t have them just meet up and fall in love and sail off into the sunset there has to be a bit of hit and miss and misunderstandings and stuff first.

My favourite bit is when he’s supposed to meet her in a coffee shop but he takes someone with him and gets him to peep in the window and the guy goes, “You’d better really like Kathleen Kelly,” and he goes “Why” and the guy goes, “Because it is Kathleen Kelly.” Something like that.

So romance was alive and well 18 years ago and it’s still alive now in spite of all the horrible things you read about I’ve met a few guys on dating sites and of course you can’t know all about them from a few messages but its not all nutters out there.

Anyways there is more to this than just the romance there’s the fact that Kathleen’s little book shop her mother’s pride and joy is being sunk by big business but what can you do that’s life ain’t it and you get the feeling she’s not going to lay down and die about it you’ve just got to do something else.

Kaycee’s Klasic Films – Taxi Driver

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films

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If I was thinking up an idea for a film, I would want it to have a snappy title. After all that is what your potential customers see or hear first and if it dosen’t sound interesting you’ve got to have a second go at getting their attention. Imagine you’re a schoolteacher and you’ve told the kids to come up with a film you’d be going “yes Jordan very nice but you can’t just call it that cos it doesn’t sound exciting enough.”

That didn’t seem to bother Martin Scorsese or the writer Paul Schrader with Taxi Driver and it didn’t do the film any harm either although I suppose we will never know really will we.

It stars Robert de Niro when he was quite young and its funny he doesn’t look right as a young  man its like he was born to be middle aged he’s got that quirky look and was never the heartthrob type but maybe that is a good thing because his character Travis Bickle is strange with a capital STR. He’s  a Vietnam veteran used to be in the Marines and he can’t sleep maybe traumatized or something anyway so he wants a job he can do all night and when he goes for the interview he gets it mainly because the boss was in the Marines too and he says he’s not scared he will go anywhere any time. New York was pretty rough at that time and I guess there were some drivers that refused to go to some areas.

Anyways the job suits him and he’s doing well at it but he’s still lonely and he meets this girl Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) who is part of the campaign team for a politician she’s much more whats the word sophisticated than him but he don’t care or maybe see it he takes her to see a movie but its at a dirty little cinema where he’s used to going and it’s a dirty film and she freaks out and leaves and that looks like the end of it but he don’t give up he takes her for a coffee and a piece of pie and he gives her a Kris Kristofferson record but she’s got it already he’s trying his best but its never going to work even in a film.

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Then the violence comes to the surface maybe repressed from his army days or whatever but he is disgusted by the way the city is and the drugs and prostitution so he buys a load of guns and makes this sort of sliding thing up his sleeve so he can keep a pistol up there and whip it out and surprise people. He wants to kill Senator Palantine the guy Betsy’s working for. First he walks into a store where a robbery is going on and he shoots the robber and you wonder if he’s going to be a good bad boy but he gets weirder and weirder and gets his hair shaved down the sides into a Mohican or Mohawk  whatever you call it bad idea cos now he looks like a troublemaker.

The Secret Service guys suspect he’s up to no good and chase him but he gets away.

He has met this teenage prostitute Iris played by Jodi Foster and he don’t want to do nothing with her he wants to stop her doing what she’s doing her pimp is Harvey Keitel whose always brilliant I reckon. But Travis goes and finds the pimp and there is a big gunfight everybody gets shot including Travis but he survives. There’s a kind of happy ending because Iris goes home to live a normal life but we don’t know what’s gonna happen to Travis and they leave it that way you couldn’t have this sort of film ending up all neat and tidy.



Kaycee’s Klasic Films – Madeline Kahn

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films

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There are not many actresses in my opinion that are truly funny but can still be attractive I know a feminist would say what’s that got to do with it but I’m a feminist in my own way and if you said that about men nobody would make a fuss. What I mean is I suppose that some people play the clown to make up for the fact that there not a conventional looker and don’t have guys falling over each other to get in their drawers but old Madeline had both.

She had leading parts in several Mel Brooks films I first saw her in Blazing Saddles which is pretty funny all round but she really dominates it in parts as the saloon bar singer Lili von Schtupp I think the character is based on Marlene Dietrich but she really was before my time so I can’t say for sure.

Blazing Saddles is a spoof western and this little town appoints a black sheriff and the local bigwigs want Lili to seduce and abandon him (that’s exactly how they put it). So the makeup and costumes people make Madeline look as sexy as hell which isn’t hard but she’s wearing a dress with a slit up the side that makes her legs look a mile long. She’s doing a speech impediment which you wouldn’t be allowed to do nowadays for PC reasons she just can’t say her Rs and says W instead so she calls him shewiff. And she seduces the guy and bangs the living daylights out of him or gets him to do it to her I suppose but anyway he ends up shattered and she ends up falling for him.

This was in the mid 70s when racial integration was not as big as it is now get me  with my big words I mean you didn’t see white women with black guys and they make a big thing of it if you pardon the pun. She goes, “Is it twue what they say about how you people are… gifted?” so he shows her and she says “It’s twue, it’s twue, it’s twue!” Well you know girls it is twue of some guys but it ain’t the be all and end all is it and I know some black girls who are parshall to muscling in on my territory I don’t know what difference does it make? I’m an Irish Indian, by the way. Cork Asian.

Anyways that’s just one scene and they had a black guy on the team of writers Richard Pryor the comedian I suppose to check the language was orthodontic if that’s the word.

Madeline does this song and dance and she’s great because she could really sing it’s about how tired she is from being a whore.

This isn’t really showing you how funny she was I suppose you have to watch it you can see that clip on YouTube.

The same year Madeline was in another Mel Brooks film Young Frankenstein when apparently she turned down the big female part of Frankenstein’s assistant (Teri Garr did it) because she thought one of the small parts was funnier, so she’s this posh, spoilt fiancée who won’t let her man kiss her cos it will spoil her lipstick and he can’t stroke her hair or anything so they end up touching elbows.

And in High Anxiety she’s an heiress or something who’s supposed to be in love with the Mel Brooks character and he phones her and gets strangled and she thinks it’s a dirty phone call. That’s here:

She was great, wasn’t she? She did loads of other stuff on TV, film and stage and died of ovarian cancer at the age of 57 in 1999. I don’t have many heroines but she’s one.





Kaycee’s Klasic Films – Babette’s Feast

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films

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Here’s one that not everybody will like and you’ve got to be in the mood but if you are it’s a couple of hours in a completely different world. It’s called Babette’s Feast and it’s the quietest film there has ever been it’s set in a little remote religious community on the coast I don’t know what it is about Danish people but there TV and films can be very moody and atmospheric remember The Killing and Borgen you might not want to live in the worlds they create but there fascinating to visit.

The only link this has with the big time is that it is based on a book by Isak Dinesen who was really a woman Karen Blixen she wrote Out of Africa which was a film starring Meryl Streep but there’s nobody famous in this one.

Babette gets a job in this village as housekeeper for two old sisters whose father was a minister who set up the community but he’s dead and everyone there is getting old and there all very quiet and don’t look happy but in a religious way like they think its wrong to have fun. She’s from Paris but had to get out because there is trouble going on there I don’t know my history too well maybe the French Revolution it’s set in the 19th or 18th century would that be right. Don’t matter anyway.

You see flashbacks to the sisters’ lives when they were younger and they could of married exciting young men in the city and had a different life but their Dad said no. I wouldn’t put up with it would you but them was different times.

The sisters can’t afford to pay Babette but she does it for free and spends 14 years cooking plain food and living the quiet life, even though you can see she is full of life really. Its like me going to live in the Faroe islands and losing touch with my mates and not even having a pub to go down on a Saturday night or any blokes to flirt with when they come in my beauty department with their wives.

Then one day she gets some good news. She has a lottery ticket in Paris that somebody renews every year or buys a new one or whatever and she’s won. 10,000 francs. You might think she would be out of there like a fish off a hook but no, what she does is get someone to buy a load of fancy food and wine and ship it to the little village that’s why it’s called Babette’s Feast you see and I had to tell you that but I suppose I shouldn’t go any further. Actually I’ve watched it loads of times and knowing what happens don’t spoil your enjoyment well my enjoyment it’s the atmosphere.

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It turns out she was a brilliant chef at a top Paris restaurant and all these years she has had to cook boring stuff but suddenly she can do what she likes and you see the stuff being unloaded and taken into her kitchen including a turtle which will upset some people but in those days people weren’t so fussy about what they ate as long as it tasted good particularly the French I think there the ones that like frogs legs and snails and stuff like that.

Seems like she spends all of the money on the feast I think I would of kept a bit for myself and buggered off afterwards but that’s just me I guess.

I have watched it with people who can’t wait for it to finish so they can put on Superman 12 and I’ve watched it with people who actually thanked me afterwards its one of those films don’t waste it on someone who won’t appreciate it if there ignorant and only like what the crowd likes their not gonna like it and they’ll think your a bit weird but I don’t care I am a bit weird I suppose and most of us are if you poke around deep enough.


Kaycee’s Klasic Films – El Gringo

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films

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This is like a spaghetti western made by Quentin Tarantino you know he makes strange stuff and you don’t know whether to take it serious or not. But its not a western and its not Quentin I came across it by accident one night on the TV I think it was in a hotel you know when your in a  different country you don’t know whats on the channels so you just flick through and your not really expecting to find nothing but instead of a documentary about goat racing in Tobago you find something you could of seen at home.

What grabbed my attention with El Gringo was that the colours seemed all wrong but I think they did it on purpose it’s very bright all the time which is understandable because it’s set in Mexico where the weather is usually hot I think but on top of that it’s a sort of washed out colour as if they took all the blue out of it or something. They do that sort of thing sometimes for some reason. The soundtrack is very effective too with sharp bits dropped in to emphasise things I suppose.

Anyways that’s my technical assessment for now so its very hot and sweaty in this Mexican town and there’s this guy with a big holdall full of money and we don’t know who he is except he’s Scott Adkins which is a surprise because he used to be in Holby City which is a TV drama in a hospital in England. So if your British your thinking what is this guy doing with an American accent playing some sort of cop on the run. Cos that’s what it seems to be about maybe I wasn’t concentrating at the start I don’t know but of course everybody’s trying to steal the money it seems nobody likes him and he can’t get a glass of water even when he offers them 50 dollars. Even the nice woman who runs the local bar at first she won’t help him because she’s suspicious where the money come from.

Everybody’s out to get the poor guy including some of his own cops (such as Christian Slater) and a gang that paint their faces white and gradually you find out it’s drug money that ain’t his and should of been handed over to the authorities but that’s not going to happen in this town where the sheriff or whatever is more interested in shooting stray dogs than law and order.

The guy (who I suppose is El Gringo) wants to get out of town but the bus ticket woman won’t sell him a ticket and tells him there is no bus to Acapulco but she’s lying there’s one every day they just want to keep strangers in town so they spend some money and of course boy has he got some money to spend.

The bar woman comes round in the end and they have a little romp that in real life you’d tell him to go and have a shower first but this is a film so a few days of sweat don’t matter at all.

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Progress in their relationship? Yes, she’s sitting on him, but isn’t that a knife in her hand?

There is a lot of shooting in this film and it’s like a Clint Eastwood as I said because he’s always better than the other guys and ready when you don’t think he’s even noticed eyes in the back of his head like.

Scott Adkins don’t have the charisma of Clint and I don’t think he’s going to be a big star but he’s done a few biggish films now he’s a martial arts expert maybe this will go down as his best film I don’t know it’s pretty good and very different.




Kaycee’s Klasic Films – The French Lieutenant’s Woman

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films

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Yes going back a bit ain’t I but its not like the old days when you had to wait for a film to come to you now you can go and find it. Of course you got to know what you want so unless you just read about it probably someone showed it to you once and this is another one that my Auntie Renee had on video yes the old tapes and I watched it with her once I used to go round her flat and take a bottle of sweet martini she liked that and she would provide the movie. She was a bit of a softie old Renee bless her soul and she used to knock around with a few arty types students when she was younger and she was working in a pub across from some technical college.

So one day she puts this on and it’s a bit complicated because it’s two stories at once the first one about the actors in a film and the second one the characters in the film if you see what  mean. In the film he’s a gentleman engaged to one woman but in love with this other one whose exciting but trouble. It’s Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons did I say that. And the actors are having an affair in real life all that would of made it even more complicated is if Meryl and Jeremy were at it too in real real life but I don’t think they were.

It’s nice if you like the English coast because a lot of it is in Lyme Regis which is Dorset I think and it’s got this twisty sort of stone breakwater sticking out in the sea and the Meryl character Sarah goes on it waiting for her French lieutenant to come back she’s a bit nutty but I don’t know if she was always like that or its love that drove her a bit mad. She and the Jeremy character Charles get it on in a hotel and he splits up with his fiancée but then Sarah disappears. He thinks she’s gone to be a prostitute in London – that’s nice isn’t it if that’s what your lover thinks of you – but she’s not she’s a governess up north in the Lake District very nice area and after three years apart they get back together and it looks like they’re going to be happy which is what you want when your watching this sort of thing.

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Saucy: don’t you look at him like that, young lady, all one your own out on the cliffs

But the actors relationship is different she feels guilty and wants to be faithful to her husband it’s a bit late for that now girl but she’s determined and when the film shoot is over she leaves without saying goodbye to him and he calls out to her but he calls her Sarah that’s the character’s name. See it’s easy to get confused even watching it so I suppose if you were him you might get it mixed up even more.

Meryl Streep is great as always and Jeremy Irons is pretty good but I don’t know if you’re supposed to like him much that’s the thing about being an actor people think it’s you whose lovely or horrible or a jerk and it’s not your just playing a role. Me, I want to go and stand on the end of the twisty breakwater and hope its Johnny Depp that finds me cos he’s available now and I’d take a chance on him even if his missus says he threw her phone at her.