TV REVIEW-BATES MOTEL:EPISODE 1

There are a few things people don’t know about me. One of those things being that I am a huge fan of thfreddie-highmore-vera-farminga-bates-motel-500-aee movie Psycho. A paper I wrote about the movie, achieved me my A, in a GNVQ English exam.
In 2000, I went on a tour of California and, the only thing I really wanted to do, was go on the Universal studios back lot tour, to see The Bates Motel. I still have an unused Bates Motel flannel, that I bought 13-years ago. I’ve owned Psycho on VHS, DVD and blu ray. So, when I heard A&E were working on a prequel series to my favourite film, I was apprehensive to say the least.
Now, it isn’t really truthful to call Bates Motel a prequel. It really isn’t, it’s mostly inspired by the Robert Bloch novel ‘Psycho’. It’s set in the modern-day and in a different town to the novel and the movie.

We’re first introduced to Norman (Freddie Highmoore) just after he discovers the body of his father in the garage. A cause of death is never given and from Norma’s (Vera Farmiga) reaction it hardly seems accidental. Six months later, Norma and Norman have bought a motel and moved to a new town, White Pine Bay.

Norma’s brutal rape, at the hands of the motel’s former owner kicks off the main story line. Coming home after sneaking out to a party, Norman smashes the rapist on the head, with a blunt object. Whilst Norman gets a first aid kit to attend to his mother’s wounds, the rapist taunts Norma until she stabs him multiple times. Norman wants to call the police, but his mother convinces him to help her cover it up by stating “who would want to stay at the rape/murder hotel. We came here to start our lives over and I Am Starting Over”.

Parallels have been drawn between this and American Horror Story, but Bates Motel has more in common with David Lynch’s twin peaks, than anything else. Everybody in this seemingly idyllic town is connected and they all have secrets.

Everything about this works, the pacing is great, the script is sharp and the musical score is tone setting and completely un-intrusive.
The performances are great, as Norma was a mostly an off-screen character, Farmiga as a lot more to work with than Highmoore. But, he doesn’t let the confines of playing a well-established character hold him back, there are elements of Anthony Perkins in his performance but he manages to make the role his own.

This is a true homage to a classic that leaves you wanting for more and, we’re going to get it. After this episode aired in the US, A&E announced that they’re commissioning another series.

The Bates Motel gets it’s UK premiere on Universal Channel on Thursday September 12th at 9pm.

FILM REVIEW-HITCHCOCK

Hitchcock has been promoted as a behind the scenes look at the production of Psycho, but20130207-145740.jpg it’s nothing more than a movie based on speculation and guess work. What follows is a complete mess of a movie that comes across as a GCSE drama group, trying their best. Anthony Hopkins plays the famous master of suspense and is stuck in a fat suit and the least convincing facial prosthetics, since a 1960’s episode of Doctor Who.
It opens with Hitchcock’s relationship with the public, it then quickly turns into a look at Hitchcock’s private life, which has seemingly just been fabricated by the makers of the film.There’s a scene where Hitch watches Vera Miles (Jessica Beil) undress, through the Norman hole. He also leers at women through a window and has a “special” collection of 8×10 photos. We’re told that Alma (Hellen Mirren) made invaluable contributions to her husband’s work and that they saw each other as collaborators and had equal respect for each other. They then show her to be an attention-starved woman, who is considering an affair with studio hack, Whit (Danny Huston).
Those looking for an interesting biopic into the man’s life, will be bitterly disappointed. It’s interesting that the film makers weren’t allowed to use a frame from Psycho, I believe they weren’t even allowed to use the soundtrack, the famous shower score is the Danny Elfman remix, from the 1998 Psycho remake. It’s also interesting that Hitchcock’s daughter doesn’t feature, she isn’t even mentioned. Wait for this to come on TV.

Hitchcock is released in the UK on February 8th

 

Meet the Bates family

The principles for ‘The Bates Motel’ have been announced and in the tradition of Brit actors playing American, we have Freddie Highmoore as a teenage Norman Bates.
A&E have picked up the series for a ten episode run. The series will be written by lost writer, Carlton Cuse and will focus on the Bates’ moving into the creepy house, after the death of Norman’s father.

The cast will also include Vera Farmiga, as Norman’s mother, Norma. Max Thieriot as Norman’s brother and Nicola Peltz as Norman’s friend.

The image below shows Freddie Highmoore as Norman and Vera Famiga as Norma Bates.

Leave your comments below. Are you intrigued? Is there a story to tell? Should they just leave it alone?

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Hitchcock’s The Ring – Live Streaming Event tomorrow!

As part of the BFI’s THE GENIUS OF HITCHCOCK season, tomorrow night at 8pm will see the live streaming of Hitchcock’s 1927 boxing melodrama, THE RING, via The Space(http://thespace.org/), in co-ordination with a screening of the film at London’s Hackney Empire (a venue that Hitchcock himself frequented).

The Ring, a film that helped inspire The Artist according to its director Michel Hazanavicius, has also been given a new musical score by British jazz and hip-hop musician Soweto Kinch. A unique and exciting opportunity to see a classic film for free, the stream will begin on thespace.org at 8pm and viewers are encouraged to use hashtag #thering to talk about the film on Twitter.

For more details, visit http://www.bfi.org.uk/news/hitchcocks-ring-streams-live-online/

THE GENIUS OF HITCHCOCK, is a major celebration of the iconic British film director, the Master of Suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock. This event will showcase the complete works of his silent films, including the restoration and scoring of Hitchcock’s nine surviving silent’s films by the BFI National Archive as part of the London 2012 Festival celebrations.

The BFI has also created a dedicated microsite called – The 39 Steps to Hitchcock, this a step-by-step guide through one man’s genius and features exclusive film extracts, interviews with close collaborators (Kim Novak, Tippi Hedren and more) and is a simple journey through his life and career through galleries curated by Hitchcock experts – bfi.org.uk/39steps .