Over a freeze-frame of Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) reaching out to accept the Sarah Siddons Award for Distinguished Achievement, we hear Addison DeWitt (via George Sanders’ wonderful voice) introduce us to the titular character: “Eve. Eve the Golden Girl, the Cover Girl, the Girl Next Door, the Girl on the Moon. Time has been good to Eve. Life goes where she goes. She’s been profiled, covered, revealed, reported. What she eats and what she wears and whom she knows and where she was and when and where she’s going. Eve. You all know All About Eve. What can there be to know that you don’t know?”. Well, having seen All About Eve dozens of times now, the first thing that always springs to my mind is that Eve is a complete psychopath.
There appears to be three basic ways to approach adapting a book into a film. As with most things in life, the easiest way to illustrate this is through Stephen King film adaptations… The first, and most obvious method, is that of Frank Darabont with Rita Hayworth And The Shawshank Redemption (The Shawshank Redemption) or Rob Reiner with The Body (Stand By Me), which is to take a book and simply try to be as faithful as possible to the source material, leaving the dialogue and set pieces essentially in tact, making only minor changes for cinematic purposes. The second, and probably most sensible when tackling an 700+ page Stephen King novel, is that used by John Carpenter with Christine or David Cronenberg with The Dead Zone, which is to deliver a faithful, but condensed version of the book by building the screenplay around key scenes and concepts of the novel, removing repetitive and non-narrative scenes and sometimes combining characters. The final, and most interesting method, is to pick a few key scenes and ideas from a story and then build something completely new out of this handful of ideas, Stanley Kubrick did this to great success with The Shining (much to the ire of Stephen King who later readapted his novel into a considerably less interesting TV series), Brett Leonard did this to extraordinary WTF-ness with The Lawnmower Man and Stephen King himself did this and vast quantities of cocaine with Trucks (Maximum Overdrive).
Known by reputation as the home of many a poker machine and a brace of elderly chaps nursing pots of VB complaining about the young people and reminiscing about the days when they used to be able to sit at the pokies and smoke a durry, the Croxton Park Hotel in Thornbury has never been particularly high on my list of places to visit. However, when the news broke that Sleater-Kinney, The Greatest Rock And Roll Band In The World™, were booked to play the Croxton Bandroom on March 9th, it was clear that I would indeed be spending a night at the Croxbury.
Tomorrow Sleater-Kinney return to Melbourne for the first time in just over a decade. Given the fact that the last three posts that I have published have focussed somewhat heavily on Sleater-Kinney, some of the more astute readers amongst you may probably have some inkling that I have a certain fondness for the band. Over the past couple of weeks, partly in preparation for seeing the band live again, but mostly because it’s exactly the kind of thing I’m likely to do anyway, I have immersed myself again into the band’s back catalogue. Out of this retrospective I have put together a list of ten Sleater-Kinney songs that falls somewhere between my favourite ten songs of theirs and the ones that I’d most like to hear them play live this week (however unrealistic that may be in a couple of cases). Either way, hopefully it’s a pretty decent overview of the band’s career and a good starting point for anyone new to their music.
I’m not particularly bothered with balance here, these are quite simply my favourite twenty songs from 2015 placed in an approximate order of greatness. Subsequently I’m not going to impose any arbitrary rules on my selections, such as trying to find some kind of equilibrium between genres or limiting artists to a single song. As a result, this selection will almost certainly contain a disproportionate number of tracks from talented female musicians and men with luxurious beards. I can also absolutely guarantee that there will be several songs by Sleater-Kinney. Enjoy!
Musically, 2015 started with a bang. On January 20th Sleater-Kinney released what was pretty obviously going to be my album of the year, Belle And Sebastian brought me down with what was the most disappointing album of the year and The Decemberists left me pleasantly surprised with a fantastic album which only just missed out on my top ten. In fact, my favourite albums of 2015 ended up heavily stacked towards the start of the year, with seven of the ten albums released by March 31st. Looking at the final list of albums, it seems pretty well balanced between phenomenally talented women, men with luxurious beards, incredibly innovative hip hop and albums with commas in their titles.
Looking back over 2015, it was quite an extraordinary year for home video releases. Companies such as Arrow Video, The Criterion Collection, Masters of Cinema and Twilight Time not only released a wealth of fascinating and brilliant films on blu-ray for the first time, but raised the bar in relation to restoration, packaging and supplements. Subsequently, narrowing this list down to only ten releases was a difficult process, but for me, these are the ten most essential new releases that I watched this year.
Whenever the topic of Christmas films arises, the first film I think of is Terry Zwigoff’s Bad Santa. Not only is Bad Santa my favourite Christmas film, but it’s right up there with my favourite films of all time. I mean honestly, what is a Christmas movie without a sex-obsessed alcoholic shopping mall Santa who specialises in both safe-cracking and foul language, accompanied by a violent and aggressive little helper who is the mastermind of the operation, a woman who is overwhelmingly sexually attracted to Santas, an awkward but wide-eyed kid who has been left largely unsupervised since his father went to prison for a white collar crime, all being tracked by a corrupt and heavily manicured head of mall security who likes to dress like a cowboy? Sounds like Christmas to me…