Gorillas And Dolls

I’ve neglected this blog for a short while because things have been so manic, but I’m going to make up for it now. Be warned – this entry will be a monster!

Oh, and speaking of monsters…

King Kong.

I’ve seen it.

It’s glorious.

Nothing else but the Eighth Wonder of the World would have gotten me out of bed at 6.45am on a Sunday morning; nobody but the Greatest Ape of All would have made me catch a train to the Odeon in Leicester Square when I should have been enjoying my weekend lie-in. The screening started at 10am and ended at 1pm (it’s a long movie), and I can say without exaggeration that the five minutes between 9.55am and 10am were longest five minutes of my life. I couldn’t wait for it to start… and the other journos in there with me seemed to agree, because boy, did they whoop and holler when it started! And they whooped and hollered during it, too, as well as at the end. It was lovely to hear, cos journos can be a hard-nosed, tight-assed bunch (excluding myself, of course, she says modestly).

As ever, there’s a pesky embargo preventing me from discussing the film in detail, although I really don’t imagine that Universal will be perusing random blogs to catch me out. There aren’t many of us who’ve seen it, either – apparently Peter Jackson finished the movie on Friday, it screened on Friday evening in New York, and today’s UK screening was the second one ever. Wow. Talk about feeling honoured!

I will say that it’s a bloody good movie. I adored it, although even with my Peter Jackson-loving-blinkers on I have to say it’s not perfect. The length, for one, is a problem, as are some of the FX shots – a few are wobbly at best. But it’s easy to overlook the faults when the end result is so gargantuan. Remember the tagline for Superman – “You’ll believe a man can fly”? The tagline for Kong should be, “You’ll believe an ape can fall in love.” Because he did. And it’s not icky in any way; it’s beautiful. I got misty-eyed at the end and bumped into several woman in the ladies’ afterwards who were also blowing their noses and adjusting their eye make-up, so it wasn’t just me. Strangely, this is a film that will appeal to both men and women: it’s an action-packed love story, really soppy in places but with a hard edge.

And there are dinosaurs everywhere. You gotta love the dinosaurs!

I’ll be reviewing it for SFX and the review should probably go up on their website on Friday, which is when the embargo is lifted. Strewth… now I’ve got to find the time to write it…!

Funnily enough, next Friday I’m going to be at the NFT for another Kong screening and a Q&A session with Jack Black (who’s surprisingly good as Carl Denham). I can’t believe I’m going to watch it twice in a week! Sadly, there’s a small chance I’ll have to miss it if Total Film’s latest deadline spills over into Friday night, but I’ll sacrifice a screeching blonde actress to King Kong himself to stop that happening. Fingers crossed!

It’s been a mighty fine week, all told. In addition to seeing Kong, I also finally managed to catch Guys & Dolls at the Piccadilly Theatre with the terribly lovely Ewan McGregor. I was in the second row, smack bang in the middle, with one of my all-time favourite actors mere feet away and a huge bag of Maltesers on my lap. Before it started I sent this text to my mate Biddy: “I’m almost on top of Ewan McGregor and I have chocolate. Don’t bother giving me my Christmas pressies, I’ve got all I need right here!” Of course, now I’d like to retract my offer because, um, I do want those gifts. Sorry, Biddy.

Anyway, Guys & Dolls was great fun, but I fear this kind of slapdash Hollywood musical isn’t for me. I like them a bit more serious, aka West Side Story or Sunday In The Park With George. Saying that, “Luck Be A Lady Tonight” was wicked and there was a hilarious dance sequence set in Havana (Ewan! Dancing! Right in front of me! Bliss!). I also should guiltily admit that, as much as I love Ewan, his voice wasn’t quite as powerful as his co-stars’ pipes. I’m also annoyed that his hair was slicked back; I like him with a floppy fringe. Still, I’ll get over it.

In case you think I’m shallow, I should point out that the theatre was stuffed to the rafters with women. The only men there had come with their partners and they all looked embarrassed. The entire front row was taken up with swooning teenagers who giggled and jigged and played with their cameras right up to the opening curtain – and then the orchestra leader turned round and politely informed them that they weren’t permitted to take photographs. When he looked away a girl in front of me whispered to her friend, “So we’re not allowed to take pictures of Ewan… but he didn’t say we couldn’t touch him, did he?”

Yeah, right. Like I’d have let her get to him first. Hah!

So that was my week. Big apes, cute Scotsmen. Oh, and speaking of Scotsmen…

Coming home from the Kong screening earlier, I walked by a guy at Richmond Station dressed from top to toe in Scottish dress – kilt, bagpipes and all. As I passed him a loud ringing came from his sporran and he pulled out a mobile phone.

I don’t know why, exactly, but I found this bloomin’ hysterical!

Night night.


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