“The Disaster Artist,” directed by James Franco

Movie, 2017 Dramatisation of Greg Sestoro‘s partnership with Tommy Wiseau which brought The Room to cult cinema screens, The Disaster Artist plays for and often delivers laughs, though not always doing it in a way which adds to the head in hand ham of The Room itself. A film, then, which brings an outsider’s attempt to get into to Hollywood right into the middle of … Continue reading “The Disaster Artist,” directed by James Franco

“Play It As It Lays,” by Joan Didion

Novel, 1970 Savage novel about an actress whose career and life both appear to be on the skids and which offers little in the way of either relief or comfort. This is a book of alienation and the surface glitz of a shiny, showbiz world, overlaid with real tragedy, abuse and the horror of a life deteriorating. A beautifully written piece as well; Didion’s choppy … Continue reading “Play It As It Lays,” by Joan Didion

“Trumbo”, directed by Jay Roach

Movie, 2015 Biopic of black-listed writer Dalton Trumbo and the struggles he and fellow Hollywood screen writers endured in the 1950s McCarthy purges. A nicely shot rags to riches to a kind of redemption film, whose focus on the main character – played excellently by Bryan Cranston – injects a weight of feeling and the chance to live and empathise in a period of history … Continue reading “Trumbo”, directed by Jay Roach

“Singin’ in the Rain,” directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen

Movie, 1952 Musical set around a famous Hollywood couple making the transition from silent to sound pictures. A film which has plenty of charm and laughs, which looks stunning in places and is generally a joy to watch. Some of the leaps into singing and dancing are a little contrived – as is too often the case in musicals – and the production number element … Continue reading “Singin’ in the Rain,” directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen

"Saving Mr Banks", directed by John Lee Hancock

Movie, 2013 One of those schmaltzy films about a meeting of strong personalities which treads an historical and so entirely mapped outcome (Mary Poppins was made), but whose story and setting skillfully manipulate some strong emotional feelings and shine a light on alcoholism and its effects on families. A film far harder to like than to dislike; while the audience is played and scenes around the … Continue reading "Saving Mr Banks", directed by John Lee Hancock

"Laughing Gas" by PG Wodehouse

Novel, 1936 Wodehouse with an element of science-fiction and a switch of identities in a dentist’s surgery following a misadventure with the eponymous laughing gas, all of which leaves a young Hollywood brat’s body being taken by a toff from The Drones and vice versa. These misfiring figures are then let loose in a familiar world of fearsome aunt-like-authority figures, drunken bounders, clumsy toughs, sly … Continue reading "Laughing Gas" by PG Wodehouse