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writer...performer...sometime pop-up cinema host.

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Saturday, 20 August 2011

I seem to be going through a serious case of writers block at the moment and struggling to get out of the hole that it puts you in; even writing for this blog seems almost impossible.
What I have done though to try and gain inspiration from somewhere is watch films, plenty and plenty of movies.

This year we have seen what I think has been the poorest summer of movies for a long time, week after week we have been introduced to the next comic-book super-hero to be given the big screen treatment with very little originality, all because Marvel are releasing The Avengers next summer. Even Harry Potter, surely a series of books that would inspire any writer, felt lacklustre; it had no warmth or charm and perhaps it was good foresight on behlaf of J.K. Rowling to end the series when she did.
So far two films have stood out as offering something different and they are also two very different films: Mr Popper's Penguins and Super 8.
Of the two, Super 8 offers the most originality, but even then it harks back to the type of movie I used to watch in the 80's; it stands out because of the wonderfully drawn characters and how they were played. The script was brilliant in the way it gave the main children a believable voice; if you put he monster-movie element to one side, this was a very interesting and moving portrait of childhood and growing up. Probably semi-autobiographical by the director, J.J. Abrams. I loved its nodding glances back to Spielberg movies like Close Encounters and E.T., movies that my generation grew up with just as the director did of this. To me, this had a warmth and sentimentality that was lacking in Harry Potter and that is why I include Mr Popper in this piece; here is a film that is exactly what it says, a heartwarming, lovable, charming, funny and enjoyable 90 minutes of a movies. It does not offend, it does not raise questions, it is not loud or brash or gung-ho. It's a Sunday afternoon on the sofa when it's raining outside.

We need movies like that, we need films that take us away to a better place. While the world also needs films like The Hurt Locker and Buried, we need some balance and movies should be about story-telling. So far this summer (and I would like to see Cowboys & Aliens), I've been disappointed by the lack of originality and that each story needs to be telling us something profound about the world we live in today. I think we all know the world as it is, in story-telling, let's take the reader/viewer away on a marvellous adventure.

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