December 31, 2013 · 9:08 pm
Here they are: the 2014 predictions literally everyone hasn’t been waiting for. Please return regularly to check my progress and coincidentally bump the readership stats on my blog to make me feel better.
- In the referendum on independence, Scotland votes No.
- Brazil grants asylum to Edward Snowden.
- The Lib Dems replace Nick Clegg as leader.
- UKIP wins more MEPs in the European Parliamentary Elections than the Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems.
- An iconic building or monument is damaged in a freak/climate change weather event.
- Paul Dacre leaves his position as chief bigot/editor at the Daily Mail.
- More than 50% of Daily Express front page main headlines are about the weather.
- Brazil win the World Cup. England don’t qualify from the group stage.
- Liverpool win the FA Premier League.
- Team GB win exactly one medal at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
- Andy Murray loses in the semi-final of the men’s singles at Wimbledon.
- Wales win the rugby union Six Nations tournament.
- Johnny Brownlee wins the ITU World Triathlon Series.
Science and technology
- Steve Ballmer is replaced as CEO of Microsoft by Satya Nadella.
- The crew of the International Space Station is evacuated because of orbital debris.
- Apple announces a “revolutionary” (in their words) new TV device.
- The Nobel prize for physics is won by someone in the field of quantum computing/communication.
- Google buys Oculus VR.
- Webcam video of a celebrity, obtained covertly by an intelligence agency, leaks on the internet.
- Best picture at the Oscars: 12 Years a Slave.
- Best actor at the Oscars: Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave.
- Best actress at the Oscars: Emma Thompson for Saving Mr Banks.
- Bruce Forsyth stops presenting Strictly Come Dancing.
- The BBC reboots a classic 1970s sitcom (eg Dad’s Army).
- In one of those “celebrities doing stuff” shows (Splash, Strictly, Dancing on Wolves, etc) a celebrity does stuff that results in a nasty injury on live TV.
- His Racist Highness Prince Philip, 92
- Nobel Peace Prize winner and war criminal Henry Kissinger, 90
- Thatcher defenestrator Lord (Geoffrey) Howe, 87
- Swivel-eyed Ulster firebrand preacher Ian Paisley, 87
- Oh no, it’s Yoko Ono, 80
- Fifties teen idol and Half a Sixpence crooner Tommy Steele, 77
- Much better than the last one Pope Francis, 77
- Founder of CNN and all-round not-Murdoch Ted Turner, 75
- Nobody did it better than Carly Simon, 68
- Free software evangelist and beardy gnu-lover Richard Stallman, 60
- Wayward ex-gurner and Gazza Paul Gascoigne, 46
- Apprentice self-firing rent-a-gob Katie Hopkins, 38
Based on the pattern of previous years I’m expecting to get about 40% right. Join me this time next year to find out whether I’ve got that prediction wrong too.
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December 2, 2013 · 11:52 pm
Another film about a film, another sign of Hollywood zombification: unable to come up with an original idea, it feasts on the still-warm corpse of a past glory. The “making of” concept is just the sequel/prequel trick on a perpendicular axis, the mark of a desperate industry scrambling for relevance in the internet age. Jebus help us when tinseltown discovers the third dimension.
But despite all that, from its trailer Saving Mr Banks looked different, deeper than expected. Sure, it’s a Disney film, and Walt Disney’s a major character, and he’s played by serial schmaltzer Tom Hanks. And yet it’s not a film I instinctively wanted to sprint away from at light speed while vomiting from every orifice.
This is partly down to Emma Thompson, who’s perfect as Poppins creator P L “Mrs” Travers and has all the best, desert-dry gags in the film. (Although compared to the bustled biddy of reality she’s a few years too young.)
It’s also related to the comic moments, showing the true-to-life tension between Mrs Travers and the writers trying to craft a film we all know so well. She’s desperate to find a reason to walk away from the deal, and the Disneyites are desperate to keep her happy while making something people might want to actually watch. The truth is, she doesn’t want Disney — or anyone — to make the picture. Even though she’s pretty much skint, she’s very protective and doesn’t want a skipful of sugar dumped all over her story, her characters, her family. Walt tries to convince her this won’t happen — he’s been trying to convince her for twenty years — and we know he’ll win eventually. But that’s not what the film’s truly about.
It’s all in the backstory. This isn’t a film about the making of Mary Poppins: it’s a film about the making of P L Travers. Throughout the two hours we flash back from present-day 1961 LA to the Australian outback in the nineteen-oughts and the experiences of a young girl in a struggling family. This girl’s relationship with her father (Colin Farrell) is the core of the backstory, and the core of the film. The girl is, of course, Mrs Travers herself.
That’s what transforms this film from a will-this-do Hanks vehicle into something more special. You certainly won’t watch Mary Poppins the same way again the next time it’s on TV, in about fifteen microseconds.
Expect an Oscar nomination for Emma Thompson. And maybe one for Hanks too, because Disney.
Tremendous movie. Stay through the credits for a special treat.
Oh, yes. In Brazil this film is called “Walt Behind the Scenes of Mary Poppins”. I can’t even.
Avaragado’s rating: no pears.
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Tagged as Colin Farrell, Disney, Emma Thompson, film, making of, Mary Poppins, Mrs, Mrs Travers, No Van Dyke, P L Travers, rating, Saving Mr Banks, Tom Hanks, Walt Disney, zombies