Sunday 24 September 2017

Declan Cashin: Reel Life

The Sea and Tasting Menu will open the Galway Film Fleadh.
The Sea and Tasting Menu will open the Galway Film Fleadh.

Declan Cashin

The Galway Film Fleadh has unveiled its opening and closing films for the festival, which kicks off in the city on July 9.

The first is Tasting Menu, directed by Roger Gual, a romantic comedy starring Jan Cornet and Claudia Bassols as a couple whose fate is intertwined with that of a world-famous restaurant. It also stars Fionnula Flanagan, Stephen Rea, and Rodrigo Cortés.

Rather excitingly, the closing film is an adaptation of John Banville's novel The Sea.

Ciaran Hinds steps up to leading man status as Max, a man grieving over the death of his wife, who returns to the seaside resort where he spent summers as a child.

A terrific cast includes Ruth Bradley, Sinead Cusack, Charlotte Rampling, Natascha McElhone and Rufus Sewell. See the full programme at www.galwayfilmfleadh.com

Last week, Reel Life cadged a ticket to a preview of the new West End musical stage adaptation of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. It's a major production – directed by Sam Mendes, with original songs by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman (Hairspray).

Producers have invested a ton of money in the show – and that's certainly in evidence on stage.

One can't fault its spectacle and stage automation – no expense has been spared in rendering Wonka's weird factory, and star Douglas Hodge manages to put his own stamp on the character of Willy Wonka.

If only the entire show wasn't as mechanical as its jaw-dropping sets. The songs run the gamut from blah to awful (the Mike Teavee number is still soundtracking my nightmares a week later), and in its current form the show is seriously devoid of wit and sparkle.

Still, it's sure to be a blockbuster and the kids will like it. Matilda The Musical is far superior in every respect, though, and probably for a third of the Charlie budget.

Speaking of Wonka, Gene Wilder recently expressed his unhappiness with the 2005 Tim Burton remake of the movie.

Wilder had previously lashed out at the newer movie – saying that it was only ever remade for financial reasons.

His opinion hasn't changed since. Last week, while replying to a question during the launch of his new book, the 80-year-old said: "Johnny Depp, I think, is a good actor, but I don't care for that director. He's a talented man, but I don't care for him doing stuff like he did."

Lastly, Stephen King did an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session on the Reddit website last week to publicise the TV series adaptation of his novel Under The Dome.

The discussion inevitably covered a lot of the movie adaptations of King's work.

When asked which actor he thinks best captured his vision of one of his characters, King replied: "It's a two part answer: Kathy Bates was a great Annie Wilkes [in Misery], and I'd say the four boys who played the kids in Stand By Me. River Phoenix was a standout."

King added that he "loved Shawshank [Redemption]", but "wasn't crazy about the Kubrick version of The Shining".

The writer's best reply, however, was to a question about whether Pennywise – the clown from the epic It (and played so memorably by Tim Curry in the childhood-traumatising TV adaptation) – would ever recur in another King tale.

"I don't think I could bear to deal with Pennywise again," King wrote.

"Too scary, even for me."

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