In our second installment of “Cult Classics”, Nadia Hourihan revisits the taboo-toppling “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolfe?”
"You are cordially invited to George and Martha’s for an evening of fun and games.”
Drip. Whoops, watch it, you’re about to stand in a puddle of perversely mocking mirth. Reread that goddam glorious tagline after viewing in order to appreciate the acidic humour of your celluloid baptism. “Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?” is messy; it’s brutal humanity is rude, venomous and ugly.
I’ve fallen in love with it, and you should stagger in giddy pursuit.
The spittle it cast on the cheeks of the older icons has impregnated modern film with vulgarity. Our debt to this film is unpaid, and is doomed to remain so. That which induced scandal is now too often greeted with polite bemusement. “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” engaged in scrappy production politics for the use of “Bugger” in the script. SHOCK HORROR. Yes, I will permit giggle mingled wincing, but at the Production Code Office alone for this absurdity, and demand a round of applause for the legacy of our second cult classic.
Ernest Lehman, the screen adapter, steals from playwright Edward Albee’s “blisstopic” portrayal of domestic implosion and injects a crushing reality of its own into the drama. Sure, it carries the failings of Albee’s play (the son entanglement, although guaranteeing splintered solace, feels roughly hewn to the body of the drama in the clarity of its calculation) but the difficulties of faithful translation absolve the film of its sins.
We feast on a veritable banquet of intimacy and performance. No contest, Elizabeth Taylor exhibits the pinnacle of her prowess and bags the Academy Award; the force of her violently fragmenting soul is relentless. And even when aged by makeup she’s divine. In a career first, the robustness of her talent overshadows her inimitable beauty. Miraculously, Richard Burton proves an authentically vitriolic sparring partner to Taylor’s volcanic performance; he envelops himself in bleakly humorous self-loathing. Their relationship is laced in a passion which punctures equilibrium and, proves gluttonously engaging viewing.
The remaining duo in this claustrophobic cast blandly balances the emotional pyromania of an “act” which traverses an unhealthy parallel to the reality of the two stars. During the filming, Burton and Taylor’s marriage began to dissolve. The devastation of the first real Hollywood relationship, with papal condemnation to enshrine the passion, arguably birthed a tenuous claim to method acting; tethering critics to an inability to pry fact from fantasy.
Thankfully, the gossip column enriched realism is wrapped in a damned pretty bow. The lack of originality regarding the cinematography is somewhat of a pustule on the face of the film. But honestly, who cares (Certainly not the Academy Awards) when Nichols has evidently dipped into the back catalogues of the best? The camera foments the claustrophobic choreography, echoing Kurosawa as it pushes into the orbit of the characters as the volley of vitriol is played out onscreen.
Embrace this movie. Inhale the hurt, the bitterness and the gorgeous hellishness of the first jewel in Nichol’s glittering crown.
Imagine yourself in a stripped out right price tiles squat, full of english teenagers ketted up to their eyeballs, dancing to the pulsating, rhythmic heart-beat drums and spasming in time with the roaring, brain frying bass as if it were the last thing they would do, the air so thick you could cut it with the knife you brought in case you got mugged. If you can visualise all of that then you already have a pretty good idea of CRIM3S, the london-based, squat-melting, two piece’s sound.
Consisting of the distorted melting pot of raw emotion and energy that is Rou Rot and Sadie Pinn, CRIM3S’s dirty, screaming bass womp sounds like the wrath of god himself as you take your body wrenching, rhythm fuelled plunge into the k-hole.
‘Stress’, a track which could easily be the ritual music to an adidas-clad tribal raver’s death ceremony, will have you longing for the tightly cramped pit of sweaty bodies, frantically pushing up against you in a desperate bid to follow the thumping, body shaking music, and if you’ve already experienced any of this first hand then we here at Coltt are consumed with envy and kindly request that you leave.
Do yourself and the ever fan-base driven band a favour and listen here https://soundcloud.com/crim3s/stress. You won’t regret it, but do consider your neighbours./
· Life Round Here // James Blake feat. Chance the Rapper
· Basic Instinct // The Acid
· Choker // Honeyblood
· 97.92 // Trash Talk and Flashbush Zombies
· Ribs (Ryan Hemsworth ‘Let’s Have a Sleepover’ remix) // Lorde
From The Vault:
· After Hours // The Velvet Underground
· Moon and Moon // Bat for Lashes
· I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself // The White Stripes
· Mercy.1 // Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz
· Fade Into You // Mazzy Star
Song of the Week:
· I See You // The Horrors- The Horrors returned this week with a surprise 7 and a half minute taste of their upcoming fifth album. Their last, Skying, is a masterpiece and a difficult act to follow, but here they’ve managed to create something moving, intelligent, sprawling and utterly beautiful which can only cement their reputation as one of the best bands around.
1. A popular or the latest style of clothing, hair, decoration, or behaviour.
1. A distinctive appearance, typically determined by the principles according to which something is designed.
Until it’s put down on paper, the difference between fashion and style may seem trivial, as if they’re synonyms for each other. Yet the more you think about it, the more it becomes clear how very separate they are. A person may absent-mindedly follow the latest fashion and be bang on trend, but do they carry it off with a distinctive style? Are they an individual? This question is often a recurring problem faced by the average teenager - especially when our more modest budgets make it impossible to completely restock our wardrobes for every coming season. Sometimes, we teenagers need style by the bucket to keep up with the ever-changing fashion world.
It is, of course, possible to recreate high fashion on a budget. As more vintage and second-hand stores crop up to deal with such high demand, fashion is becoming increasingly accessible to young people. All it takes is a little imagination and a keen eye. Just for the looks I styled for this article alone, I’ve used pieces from vintage shops, Primark, Christmas sales, outlet stores, family member’s wardrobes, even Aldi. Sometimes all an outfit needs is one more expensive piece (made affordable by some saving) to make it look priceless. Usually, I would save up for shoes. Nothing completes an outfit more than a seriously impressive pair of shoes, and even that can be done for less than retail price – outlet stores such as Nike always have on-trend styles for half the price.
The looks featured here are all styled for this transitional time of year; it’s not quite time to put the Winter clothes away (especially not here in Ireland), yet we have to start thinking ahead to the Summer months. Statement pieces such as colourful Nike trainers brighten up any old outfit and are right on trend at the moment, while switching to box-cut, slightly shorter shirts instead of a safety blanket of oversized shirts will help gradually ease you and your wardrobe into the longer days. At the end of the day, more often than not it’s not what you wear but how you wear it that really creates the illusion that you know what you’re talking about.
Modelled by Jessie Corcoran
Look One: Top- Zara (9.99); Skirt- Aldi(1.00); Shoes- River Island (60.00)
Look Two: Top- Asos (4.00); Bottoms- Sports Direct (4.00); Shoes- as before; Hat- H&M(19.99)
Look Three: Polo Neck- Penneys (5.00); Skirt- Zara (25.00); Shoes- Camden Lock Market (65.00)
Look Four: Jacket- Vintage (5.00); Top- Penneys (0.25); Jeans- Penneys (5.00), Shoes- as before
Look Five: Shirt- Penneys (8.00); Shorts- Topshop (10.00); Shoes- Nike Outlet (25.00)
Nadia Hourihan reviews Spike Jonze’s “Her”
“Her” is the story of emotionally reticent Theodore Twombley, who tumbles into a relationship with an advanced Operating System called Samantha. What could have been a culturally resonant condemnation of technology or a moral exploration of artificial intelligence interweaves both, only to drift into insipid territory and obnoxious contradiction. And NOTHING proves so mood droopingly frustrating as prodigal promise.
I want to kick Joaquin Phoenix in the face.
Clinging to the weary fibres of my subconcious are his beaky shnozzler and toothbrush ‘stache. The screen is simply asphyxiated by borderline solipsistic shots of Theodore Twombley’s visage. Yes, our technology entrenched culture is brutally contoured in isolation, we get it. But please don’t default on the cleverness of dialogue demanded by this visual gamble.
Hoyte van Hoytema’s cinematography applies gloopy brushstrokes of creamy colours onto Jonze’s vision, but the atmosphere often clashes with the mood of the drama itself. It’s dissatisfying; the blinking palette of a futuristic LA is pretty - and pretty one dimensional. Exasperation deflates me. The rare moments of wholesome artistry are reserved for subsidiary themes. Stickily romanticised past relationships are deftly dissected; Light soaked images are muted to mould the malleability of memory in which we are all enmeshed. There’s a smarting truth to “the past is just a story we tell ourselves”.
Alas, there ends the engaging film making.
“Her” eschews a committed stance towards society’s infatuation with Siri and her siblings, but doesn’t allow the dust of artistic ambiguity to settle. Vapid style (shackled to an overreliance on one face) bullies philosophical consistency off Spike Jonze’s list of priorities. In another exhibition of how-to-irritate-the-critic the movie flits between aggressively flagging the “Samantha has feelings too” card, and the “Theo can’t handle real relationships” alternative. The conviction, admittedly capricious, is too viciously bland to be written off as a reflection of meandering thought processes.
The writing reeks of underdevelopment, and the buds of satire are beheaded early on, as the acerbic take on societal disconnect nudged into view by the protagonist’s profession (he’s the go-to guy for writing your personal letters) is bartered for schmaltz and a sense of humour agonizing in its reflection of “The Big Bang Theory”. This sloppiness is infectious. The music purist sitting beside me, groaned at the score, dubbing Arcade Fire’s contribution as Coldplay-esque. Does this not pain you?
However, the performances are undeniably strong from Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams and Rooney Mara. Yet Samantha will haunt me. Not due to Scarlett Johansson’s performance, whose undeniably sultry voice failed to impart emotional gravitas, but rather because of…well, the awkward sex scenes. And I sat through ”Blue is the Warmest Colour”.
Guys, just rewatch 2001: A Space Odyssey.