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Education, Education, Education

by Gareth (30 January 2004)

As Tony Blair once said. Yes, it's February, and students all over the country are after conditional offers to Britain's top education establishments.

I'd already been rejected by #2, a certain institution known as Oxford, and I'd been knocked back a little by this. Not too much though - #12 and #30 had already given me offers. But yesterday (30/1) I got an offer from #5 - Warwick.

And so, I'm happy. Enough of that though, I've bigger fish to fry.

I must confess that as of late my love of cinema has grown immensely. Today I went to see Lost in Translation and Big Fish. I was suitably impressed.

Bill Murray is really funny. So much so that it would be easy for him to overpower the film, but he doesn't. The great thing about the film is the complete absence of any plot. The interplay between the main protagonists and their fragile marital relationships are far more important than anything so silly as a situation that matters or a plot with actual events. Bill Murray plays Bob Harris, an ageing movie star advertising whiskey for a sum of $2m. While there, he finds a girl who is married to a photographer (Phoebe's brother from Friends) and they get to be good friends. That's when the film takes off, and the will-they-won't-they factor kicks in, and for once for a Hollywood film it's actually done really well. Not that you'd be able to tell Hollywood was in any way involved. It's very reminiscent of European cinema, and the ending really shows you that this stands up as a piece of art in its own right, rather than a box office sponge. Having said that, the scene in the Orange club could easily be mistaken for a lure for single young men...

It's brilliant. And though they say comedy in the synopsis at the cinema, it isn't. It's a drama which makes you giggle. It is certainly far better than all but the best of the 80s/90s romantic comedies, and the term romantic comedy is very descriptive of what's in the film, but don't let 4 Weddings and When Harry Met Sally dictate to you what you think this film is.

Big Fish is a little bit easier to understand, and though not as belly-laugh funny as Lost in Translation, still bloody good - well, it's Tim Burton innit? A brilliant collection of tall tales woven into a typical "getting to know you before you die" framework. See, I could be a film critic, couldn't I? Anyway, the acting's superb, the sentimental scenes aren't that overdone (but could be if you're not in the mood for it) and the feel of the film is delightfully Burtonesque - you know its fantasy, but it's somehow so real. Read Sleepy Hollow, Batman, Beetlejuice and so on.

So, if the local theatre's screening either of these two, get on down.