Archives for August 2016

Back to School (another TCM/Ball State Course Offering)

First, it was film noir. Now we are taking a deep dive into the world of cinematic comedy.

With younger people everywhere either back in school or getting very close to going back, now is an excellent time for the intellectually curious among us in the adult set to get in some learning of our own.

Largely due to the success of last year’s Turner Classic Movies and Ball State’s film noir collaboration on the Canvas LMS, we are back at it by taking a look at slapstick comedy.

TCM_Slapstick_sharePart of the homework in the course, titled, TCM Presents Painfully Funny: Exploring Slapstick in the Movies, will require you watch some films – and like last year, TCM is providing the accompanying programming of 56 films dating from 1915-2004; here is a look at the scheduling, which starts on September 6th as part of the TCM Series called Ouch! A Salute to Slapstick.

And best of all folks – it’s FREE. Go at your own pace or challenge yourself and work towards a certificate of completion. Full disclosure – last year I was passionate and enthusiastic about taking the course but life got into the way and I ended up not completing the course, but I relish the opportunity to learn and share a learning experience with a community of equally passionate cineastes.

If you get a chance, you should check it out!

slapstick

 

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016)

It has been a while now and I can’t remember if it was in late July or early August but yeah, I did the thing and saw Absolutely Fabulous:  The Movie (AbFab) at my local theater.

Of course I am dating myself by saying I have been with this show since the early-mid 1990s. Mind you I was probably a bit young and should not have been watching it back then, but none the less it became an essential part of my televisual life. So much so, that the AbFab box set holds a pride of place, alongside other TV gems as Fawlty Towers and Battlestar Galactica, in the television section of my video library.

For years, there had been chatter about there being cinematic offering for their fans, but for many (legit) reasons, nothing seemed to come of it. So when I got wind that they would be finally making a film lo these many years later (20 and counting), I knew that the theater had my dollars.

Joanna Lumley as "Patsy" and Jennifer Saunders as "Edina" in the film ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE. Photo by David Appleby. © 2016 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Joanna Lumley as “Patsy” and Jennifer Saunders as “Edina” in the film ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE. Photo by David Appleby. © 2016 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

So the time has come any gone and I have had many, many hours to reflect upon watching the film …

My overall impressions are that it is just what I expected it to be. While not as funny and ‘fresh’ as the original television series, there were enough laughs to keep me engaged and interested until the credits rolled. I do accept that the sense of nostalgia associated with seeing old friends after a few years probably made me more forgiving than I might be with a similarly produced film. But I make no apologies – we all have that ‘thing’ that makes us happy and brings us a certain level of joy when watching it. And for me, AbFab in any form is one such thing, even if it is a lesser version of its original self. Besides, they look like they had a blast making it.

The plot for what it’s worth is pretty thin and only serves to drive our principles Patsy (Joanna Lumley) and Edina (Jennifer Saunders) into more outrageous adventures through London and the French Riviera. If you really want to know what’s what, the plot is laid out pretty bare in the trailer.

In fact, the gang’s all here – including Saffy (Julia Sawalha), Bubble (Jane Horrocks) and Gran (June Whitfield). Even many of the supporting players from the original show do their ‘pass throughs’ at some point or another.

And, as any fan of the series knows, an episode of AbFab is not complete without the requisite cameo(s). If this is what go for, you are in for a treat. While many are not the heavy-hitting A-lister type, most faces are recognizable from the series, with a few ‘new’ faces added in for good measure.

So there you have it, my quick and dirty impressions of a film that really felt like a fun trip down memory lane with some dear and dysfunctional friends.

Jennifer Saunders as "Edina" and Joanna Lumley as "Patsy" in the film ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE. Photo by David Appleby. © 2016 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Jennifer Saunders as “Edina” and Joanna Lumley as “Patsy” in the film ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE. Photo by David Appleby. © 2016 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved