Dinner Party Talk

Blog by Ray Philp | 01 Apr 2009

Ah, religion; the dinner party taboo, a well-worn media pincushion, and now part of a neat portmanteau, as it forms half of the title of Religulous, a new film released this Friday from director and bible belt botherer Larry Charles. Bill Maher, indulging rather less in the ‘interactive’ brand of journalism that Charles introduced via Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, guides us across a nebulous mix of belief systems by conducting interviews with scientists, religious leaders, authors, and the odd zealot.

British radio in the 1960’s was no stranger to dogma of another sort. A combination of legislative and trade union restrictions meant that the BBC were only allowed to play recorded music sporadically, and thus radio was mostly a medium dominated by drama, news, and classical music. The offshore pirate radio movement of the 60’s was born as a counteraction to restrictive broadcast rules, and thanks to the presence of pioneering messrs John Peel and Kenny Everett, pirate radio evokes a heady sense of swinging sixties nostalgia. With this in mind, Richard Curtis of Blackadder and Love Actually directs a star studded ensemble for an affectionate tribute to the pirate radio revolution in The Boat That Rocked, which will enjoy a general release from today.

This Friday also sees the release of Dreamworks’ new film Monsters vs. Aliens. The animated tale tells the story of bride-to-be Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon), who has the gross misfortune to be at ground zero of a massive meteorite. Later, as she stands at the altar beside fiancée Paul Rudd, she transforms into a giant and is quickly labelled a monster by the powers that be. As a consequence, she is sent to a top secret facility where she befriends similar outcasts, including one-eyed blob Seth Rogen, and cockroach-with-a-doctorate Hugh Laurie. Yes, it’s familiar Dreamworks territory, with a mixture of star names and a vaguely redemptive narrative arc, but if you enjoy this sort of thing it looks hard to beat.

Elsewhere, if you’re loitering anywhere near the foyer of the Glasgow Festival Theatre, you could do considerably worse than have a look into Cherry Blossoms, a touching drama directed by Doris Dorrie. Broadly, the film focuses on an elderly couple with grown up children who have long since departed the family home. When husband Rudi is diagnosed with a terminal illness, his wife Trudi keeps it a secret from him, and encourages her husband to join her on a journey to visit their son in Japan, culminating in a cathartic ascent of Mount Fuji. This delicate tale briefly touches on a few culture shock motifs a la Lost In Translation, but this is far from a cheap imitation.

Finally, a post-watershed moment at The Cameo comes in the shape of The Rocky Horror Picture Show to be screened on Saturday 4th April at midnight. For those unfamiliar with the macabre cult classic, this Jim Sharman helmed adaptation of the Rocky Horror stage show is a musical comedy with a plot that involves wholesome couple Brad and Janet stumbling across Tim Curry’s Transsexual Transylvania convention, with salacious and outrageous consequences. The winning combination of horror, transgender, cabaret, and a Meatloaf cameo promises to fulfil any hedonistic urges otherwise left unfulfilled by skipping a night on the tiles for a night at the pictures.