Not only are my cinematic witterings available in written form, but there are now a select number of opportunities to hear me impart wisdom – well, opinion at any rate – on some of the latest releases of the given week. Cambridge 105, Cambridge’s community-run and financed local radio station, has a film show every other Saturday called Bums On Seats, on which I was first invited to make a couple of appearances during last year’s Cambridge Film Festival. Apparently there’s a desperate shortage of people in East Anglia wanting to give their opinions on films, which can be the only reason they keep asking me back.
So if you’d like to put a voice to these words, then under my secret identity of Mark Liversidge, you can hear me giving my thoughts on films here. Click on the date to visit Cambridge 105’s website and stream or download, and clicky here to find out more about Cambridge 105.
My second time hosting on the show, and rather than difficult second album syndrome it was a roster of highly debated films that kept discussion flowing freely. I was joined by Jenny Colley, Simon West and Owen Baker to dissect the space-based drama Elysium, Michael Bay’s return to his roots in Pain & Gain and the misjudged Amanda Seyfried Lovelace biopic (although it wasn’t as misjudged as my Amanda Seyfried joke. Listen out for it.)
The height of the summer season, with a mixed bag of opinions about a wide variety of films, most of a manly persuasion. Testosterone abounded in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives, Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington in buddy actioner 2 Guns and the misunderstood Disney epic The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp. The countdown to the 33rd Cambridge Film Festival also started, as Toby Miller asked the questions of Kevin Hilton, Gavin Midgley and me.
Wall to wall reviews on this summer show, and somewhat of a theme of films not quite living up to the ridiculously high expectations of their predecessors or the past works of their creators. That’s not to say you shouldn’t see The World’s End, Monsters University or Pacific Rim, you just need to adjust your expectations accordingly. As well as the big films, Kim Boyd, Kevin Hilton, Jim Ross and I talked through Blancanieves, the Spanish bullfighting Snow White, and Wadjda, the first film made by a female director in Saudi Arabia. Gavin Midgley asked the questions.
It’s great for a show like this when a film divides opinions, and there have been few more divisive in my time on the show than Man Of Steel. Consequently it got a big chunk at the start of the show. Toby Miller also quizzed Emma Marchant, Simon West, Kevin Hilton and myself about the delights of Much Ado About Nothing, the charms of Before Midnight and the zombies of World War Z. There was just time in the middle of all that for an interview with Darren Meitiner-Harvey about the Suffolk Film Festival which took place in Ipswich in July.
My first time on the show as a host, and to mark this seminal cultural moment we review an equally epochal movie in Fast & Furious 6. Away from the cars and the testosterone, and from me not being able to pronounce testosterone (or a few other words, I’ll let you see if you can spot them), we also take a look at Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby and Olivier Assayas’ Something In The Air. I was being kept calm during my first night nerves by the assistance of Emma Marchant, Kim Boyd, Gavin Midgley and Kevin Hilton. There were also features on the London Underground Film Festival and Japanese animation.
A show for manly men, between the horror of Evil Dead and the manly goodness that is Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 3, so it took three of Bums’ finest male reviewers (well, Simon West, Kevin Hilton and me) to pick those apart, as well as Matt Damon’s latest Promised Land and Michael Winterbottom’s biography of Paul Raymond starring Steve Coogan, The Look Of Love. Sarah McIntosh also caught up with Frederick Baker, exponent of Projectionism and Ambient Cinema. Gavin Midgley attempted to keep us all in order.
I loved Robot & Frank, but seemingly I was alone in that view, so I attempt to talk everyone else around to my way of thinking. We were of more of a consensus on Steven Soderbergh’s last film pre-retirement, Side Effects, and also on the Wizard prequel from Sam Raimi, Oz The Great And Powerful. I didn’t manage to catch The Paperboy before he delivered, but Emma Marchant, Gavin Midgley and Jim Ross did, and it was Toby Miller in the chair performing his regular host duties, as well as discussing the Arctic Film Festival.
I’d seen three of the four films on the list, and when the average score for those three came out at 4/10, you could be sure I was ready with some strong opinions. Hitchcock had the distinction of the least worst of the three, and I Give It A Year had a few promising moments among the gloom, but most of my vitriol was saved for the depths of despair I found myself in after watching This Is 40. I didn’t see Wreck-It Ralph before the show, although Emma Marchant, Dave Riley and Kevin Hilton weren’t shy in their opinions, and Gavin Midgley took the host’s chair for the first time. Rounding out the show was a feature on the Cambridge International Student Film Festival, Watersprite.
Toby Miller is in the hot seat, and I’ve got opinions on everything this time. The main discussions are around Les Misérables and Django Unchained – providing a tenuous French theme which hopefully explains my random “Bonjour!” – but there’s also time to squeeze in The Impossible and Gangster Squad, and Emma Marchant, Gavin Midgley and Kevin Hilton are also making their thoughts known. Jim Ross also interviews Christopher Kenneally about upcoming documentary Side By Side, which deals with the film versus digital debate.
It’s the review of the year, and for reasons that quickly become apparent, it’s a Top 12 of 2012. Each show regular nominated a Top 10 and the results were compiled, and I think between us we came out with a pretty decent Top 12. Six of us crammed into the studio to give thoughts on two films each, with mine being Once Upon A Time In Anatolia and Moonrise Kingdom. Toby Miller was also taking views from Jenny Colley, Simon West, Jim Ross, Dave Riley and Owen Baker; see if you can spot the point in the show when I trapped my thumb in the anglepoise microphone stand, to the general amusement of my fellow Bums and the extreme and immediate pain of myself!
Jim Ross is the host, and I chime in with opinions on The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Sinister and Liberal Arts. (There’s also an entertaining moment when I’m asked to offer an opinion on Ruby Sparks, which I hadn’t seen at that point; if only you could see the look on my face at the time.) Emma Marchant and Sarah Kim Boyd are also offering opinions on those films as well as Ruby Sparks, and Trish Shiel and Ryd Cook are interviewed about the Cambridge Film Consortium.
The second special for the 2012 Cambridge Film Festival, with Toby Miller hosting and asking for my thoughts on On The Road and Untouchable, along with Ed Elliot’s. Despite being three of the few people to dislike Untouchable, I personally stand by the opinion. Also, 5 Broken Cameras – which is much better – is also discussed by Andrew Nikolds, and Hiu Chan and Toby have interviews with George Perry (talking about Alfred Hitchcock) and also the festival’s Microcinema strand, which featured the excellent film Frank, among others.
My first appearance on the show, to talk to host Toby Miller about Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones comedy Hope Springs and Belgian disability comedy Come As You Are (better than it sounds from that description). Emma Marchant, Ed Elliot, Kevin Hilton and Hiu Chan are also on hand, and other topics of discussion include Iranian film Salma And The Apple (which to my total shame I didn’t go to see as it’s not on IMDb and my OCD couldn’t cope with that) and also to the Catalan thread that featured at this year’s festival.