London Filming Locations: About A Boy (2002)

I’m no bookworm but there is one author’s work who I always read and that is Nick Hornby’s and so its always interesting to see the film adaptations of his books such as Fever PitchHigh Fidelity and About A Boy which, as the title suggests, is what this locations feature is on.

Hugh Grant plays Will who lives a comfortable, relaxed life due to the royalties which pour in from a Christmas song his dad wrote. As a result he has never worked and spends a lot of time reading about pop culture and watching TV in his apartment which is at 16-18 St James’ Walk (below left) a little north of Farringdon station. All is not quite as it seems though as the entrance door was a specially constructed set-piece at the buildings side entrance. When you look at the screenshot (lower left) it does look a bit strange that the front door is blocking the path!

   

31 Oseney Crescent in Kentish Town (upper right) is the home to Marcus and his depressive hippy mum Fiona played by Toni Collette. The Comptoir Gascon (below left) at 63 Charterhouse Street is where Will shops at when Marcus is tailing him as he suspects that he doesn’t actually have a son.

    

Will takes single-mother Rachel to dinner at Hakkasan at 8 Hanway Place (upper right) just off Tottenham Court Road. This is where he comes clean and admits that Marcus isn’t actually his son in an attempt to be honest with her but it doesn’t quite turn out how he planned. Rachel herself lives at 1 St Stephens Crescent (below) near Bayswater station and before the aforementioned date is the place where Will took Marcus and pretended that he was his son so she would find him more interesting.

 

Advertisements

Review: Films Set In Japan – ‘Mr Baseball’ (1992)

As I was watching Brad Pitt in ‘Moneyball‘ on the way back to England recently I found it very hard to not keep comparing it to ‘Mr Baseball’ which as far as I’m concerned is the greatest baseball movie out there. Admittedly I’m in a minority on that one and it’s fair to say that when I settled down to watch this light, sports comedy my mind was very sceptical as I had never really watched anything with Tom Selleck in (maybe I was frightened off by his huge moustache!) and I don’t like baseball. Ultimately though I ended up enjoying it.

Jack Elliot (Selleck) is an aging Major League baseball player who only has one offer on the table and that is in Japan with the Chunichi Dragons from Nagoya. As someone who has lived here for many years now it is maybe more easy to understand and relate to the jokes and references to the differences between western life and life in the east. Not only that but it also includes differences between the two codes of the game not that I have a clue about that kind of thing!

Sure, this film features some of the regular jokes such as him knocking his head on the ceiling on his arrival in the land of ‘lots of little people walking and talking fast’ and cultural mis-haps like not taking off his shoes indoors, using the Japanese-style squat toilets, exchanging business cards (he gives his picture baseball cards in return) and getting in the bath before washing himself first which the only other gaijin team-mate compares to being like ‘jerking off before having sex!’

The Japanese are famous for eating their noodles noisily and when given the green light to follow suit he does in typical exaggerated fashion which really did have me laughing out loud as his slurping is so ridiculous. Selleck plays the rude, bad-tempered and arrogant American so well as he struggles to fit in to a society which is a world away from what he knows. In one particular scene he is fined for his attitude and promptly stumps up the cash with a bit extra thrown in for good measure. When asked what that money is for he says its for the next time and then he proceeds to put his bat through some locker room equipment. Furthermore, he says what he thinks, particularly at his first press conference, but his interpreter changes his words to save face. However, he is left bemused when Selleck uses the ‘it aint over till the fat lady sings’ idiom which he isn’t aware of and so tells the rest of the team that a fat lady will sing for them after the game!

Unbeknown to him he starts dating the daughter of his coach played by Ken Takakura (who was in ‘Black Rain‘ and ‘The Yakuza‘) which results in him changing character in rather predictable fashion. As much as one can tell what’s going to happen in this film its a fun movie and one which anyone who has been here will be able to identify with in some way.

Edinburgh Filming Locations: Trainspotting (1996)

The reason I chose to go to Scotland was because I didn’t want to travel too far whilst back in Britain and also to hunt down some of the filming locations for ‘Trainspotting‘ (1996) which is one of my favourite movies. Although its ‘set‘ in Edinburgh most of the filming actually took place in the grimier Glasgow area but as that part of my trip never happened due to the strong winds circulating that part of Britain I was left with only the capital city itself which does include a couple of scenes during the films opening moments whilst ‘Lust for life’ by Iggy Pop provides the soundtrack.

   

We first see Renton, Sick-boy and Spud running away from John Menzies on Princes Street (above) having just robbed it. That particular newsagents is no longer there but the Boots chemist store still is albeit under construction when I was there.

        

Renton (Ewan McGregor) then leaps down the steps and runs on to Leith street where a car pulls out and nearly hits him to which he just looks at the driver and laughs before running off and joining his mates as they run under the bridge. The steps are located right next to the Black Bull tavern at 43 Leith Street. The street where the car pulls out of is St. Ninian’s Row.

    

Its not just Glasgow and Edinburgh which provided the backdrop as London also appears towards the end of the film for a couple of shots (as well as a montage of classical London images) as featured in my London ‘Trainspotting‘ feature at the start of last year.