23 November 2013

On DVD: The Wolverine

Hola!

Sorry this is late, I had severe technical difficulties. Okay, I had one technical difficulty in that my iPad deleted my bloody blog post, and I've been huffing with technology since. Every time I sat down to write this, I got cross again and had to take a break.

ANYWAY. I'm back now and acting like a grown-up and have a review for you! Wonderful. 
The Wolverine is out now on DVD, so if you want to know if it's any good before renting, just keep reading!

Starring the lovely Hugh Jackman and directed by James Mangold (Girl Interrupted, Walk the Line) this is the follow-up to 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Now, the 2009 effort was largely seen as a misstep, the storyline in general leaving a lot to be desired, so this film was an attempt to remedy any fan complaints. Of which there were A LOT. Does it succeed? Weeeelllll, sort of. 

Wolverine (Jackman) saves Yashida (Haruhiko Yamanochi) from the Hiroshima blast in Japan, 1945. Moving to the present day and a haunted Wolverine is found by a messenger, Yukio (Rilo Fukushima) who summons him so Yashida can repay the debt. On arriving, Yashida offers him the potential answer to his pain--a cure for his immortality. All is not as it seems though and everybody seems to be hiding a secret. A kidnap plot for Yashida's granddaughter, Mariko (Tao Okamoto) is soon discovered and Wolverine is forced to help save her.

I feel like to give an in-depth criticism of any of the X-Men films it might be necessary to have more knowledge of the comic universe, so this is very much a casual viewers opinion of the film. Just a little disclaimer!

So the the best thing about the film, as with a lot of the X-Men films, is Hugh
Most handsome man ever?
Jackman. He is so brilliant as Wolverine and is obviously dedicated to the character. Wolverine in this film is haunted by the events of
X-Men: The Last Stand, where he was forced to (SPOILERS!!) kill the love of his life, Jean Grey. When I say haunted, I do mean quite literally. Jean Grey pops up alllll over the show. Which does get a little annoying because Jackman is a talented enough actor to show us his grief and guilt, we don't need time wasted on him talking to Jean about his guilt. And this is quite a long film, clocking in at over 2 hours so it isn't entirely necessary. It also makes the love story that they shoehorn in all the more difficult to take. 


The Japanese setting of the film is beautiful and is used quite wonderfully throughout. The culture is embedded in the film, through the idea of honour, how Mariko is treated by the male figures, the samurai swords (awesome) and the ninjas that rock up. It really is very well done. And the ninjas and samurai swords are really, very cool. The fight scenes are really pretty phenomenal.

Speaking of samurai's, Yukio (Fukushima) is amazing. I came away from the
It's probably love.
film with a little bit of a girl-crush on her. She is so interesting and so capable and my only problem is that they don't use enough of her. Her chemistry with Jackman is so natural and obvious so it's a shame we don't see more of it.

On the other end of the spectrum, I wasn't as fussed on Mariko (Tao Okamoto). Despite apparently being excellent at karate and having great knife skills, I think she uses them once. She is effectively thrown about by the men in her life and then has to be saved. If she has the skills, why can't she use them?! I also had problems with her forced relationship with Wolverine, they don't share the chemistry that he has with Yukio so I found it hard to believe that this was the love to cure his broken heart. 

Then comes the ending. The ending is SUCH a letdown. We're given a fairly fascinating villain in Dr.Green/Viper (Svetlanda Khodchenkova) and then she is given barely any screentime to develop and THEN someone else pops up to change the story all together. It is so disappointing, and the final fight-even for a comic book adaptation-is ridiculous. It takes away from any of the good stuff that came before and is very annoying. 

I did quite like the film, and I think Hugh Jackman is regularly the best thing in a lot of films, but the ending is a total letdown.
If you've seen the film, let me know your thoughts! Agree? Disagree? I am open for discussion!

Peace Out.
14 November 2013

In Cinemas: Gravity

Hola! 

I should say, before I kick off the review, this is a film entirely about my worst fear. I willingly sat through a film about my worst fear because I am INSANE. Needless to say, this was a terrifying experience for me.


SO, I saw this bad boy:




And it was, without a shadow of doubt, one of the most incredible pieces of film I have ever seen. Ever. The story follows a rookie astronaut Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and her first mission with soon to be retiring veteran Matt Kowalski (George Clooney). What should be a routine mission goes terribly wrong after a Russian strike on a dead satellite leads to a deadly cloud of debris. Again, I don't want to give too many details because I feel like this is a film that you NEED to see. It is groundbreaking. Too often, 3D is used as a money-making scheme by Hollywood, with films converted for no need just to increase the box office takings. Here, it feels entirely necessary. For the first time since Avatar, I will say it is totally essential that you see this in 3D because this is INCREDIBLE. I know I'm using a lot of Caps Lock in this bad boy, but I feel that's the best way for you to understand just how BLOODY FANTASTIC this film is.

Visually, this is in a whole other league. Like, a league that hasn't even been invented yet. I've been a big fan of director Alfonso Cuaron for a long time, since Y Tu Mama Tambien (excellent film). Best known for one of the better Harry Potter entries, Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix, he steps up his remarkable abilities to a whole new level. Even if the storyline didn't grab you, the cinematography by the talented Emmanuel Lubezki and the direction would. This might be the most beautiful film I've ever seen. The opening shot is nothing short of phenomenal, a continuous 12 minute shot that captures the terrifying beauty of space and the total isolation. Watching Stone spin off endlessly into space, disappearing into the darkness is both fear-inducing and wonderful. And Cuaron makes sure that he makes the most of the 3D element. As a member of the audience, you feel like part of the environment as the objects float past your face. It's terrifying. One particular shot stands out for me, as Stone begins to cry and the tears float towards the audience. It is unbelievable. 

I could talk about the visuals for hours, but it's best we move on to the other awesome stuff. Like the actual story and the incredible cast. Like I said, I don't want to say too much about the story because it is quite a lean storyline. The film is largely about a woman who has isolated herself from the world--both physically and emotionally--fighting to bring herself back. And it is bloody tense. Even if I wasn't terrified by the vastness of space (shudder) I'd still be on the edge of my seat. You are so involved in the characters and the action, you'll leave the cinema with your muscles aching. The portrayal of the sheer determination of human survival is remarkable, and it has to be said, Sandra

Bullock is wonderful in this film. I've always held a little bit of a grudge, truth be told, that she won an Oscar for The Blind Side, because it wasn't a great film and, whilst she is lovely, it wasn't a winning performance. In this though, she is awe-inspiring. From the very first moment we meet her character, the detailing that she puts in is excellent. Whilst there isn't a great deal of character development (because let's be honest, how much development can be done with only one other actor on screen?) Bullock creates a fully formed woman to root for and to be amazed by, who finds her reason to live again.

George Clooney brings an essential bit of humour to his role as Matt Kowalski, the man who serves to remind Stone of the need for connection, and he is wonderful, but Bullock steals this film majestically. Casting wise, the likes of Angelina Jolie, Natalie Portman, Robert Downey Jr, Tom Cruise and Scarlett Johansson were all attached at different points when the screenplay first got attention in 2010. The cast we got are far too perfect to even think about imagining someone else in the roles. 



I really can't praise this film enough. It is tense, terrifying, beautiful, wonderful and utterly jaw dropping. And you really should see it. If you have seen it, let me know your thoughts! Did you want to cry as much as I did?!


Peace out.
06 November 2013

In Cinemas: Thor: The Dark World

Hola!

I went to the cinema and it was a glorious, hideously overpriced good time to be had by all. Before I get to the film reviewing, just a quick word on the trailers. Trailers tend to be highlight for me when I go to the cinema, weird but true. Not to mention the fact that I regularly get sucked into the black-hole that is trailer watching on YouTube. You watch one, three hours later you realise you've watched 200. So, I was excited for the trailers before the film and I was not disappointed. If you haven't seen the trailers for The Hunger Games or Gravity you are missing out on life. I'll link them here and here so you can rejoin society ;). Words can't even state how excited I am for these bad boys!


ONTO THE FILM! I saw this:




And it was pretty great! The Marvel films have become a little bit of a cinematic event now after the massive successes of Ironman and The Avengers so when a new one comes out, it's with a lot of fanfare. Tom Hiddleston has been promoting his ass off, for which I thank him. His dancing is my new favourite thing in the world. I do not thank him, however, for the raging obsession. It's taking over my life. PLS STAHP TOM.


The film itself is a pretty solid entry into the canon, it is a genuinely enjoyable, and very funny film. I don't want to say too much about it, because I really do think you should go see it, so I'll say what I liked and what I didn't like. 



Unnaturally attractive.
So the storyline itself is...a little convoluted. Maybe that's just me, maybe I was distracted by Chris Hemsworth's beautiful face and didn't pay enough attention. Basically (ha!), Malekith (Christopher Ecclestone) a dark elf, is trying to use some stuff, The Aether, to bring darkness about. Apparently he wants to go back to the state before the universe was created. Don't ask me why. Anywho, after he gets beaten the first time, The Aether is contained and Malekith runs away. But then it turns out there's this thing called the Convergence, linking the Nine Realms and creating portals which all leads to Jane Foster finding the hidden Aether and being taken by it. So then Thor has to come save her but Malekith has already sensed the awakening Aether and now he wants to destroy ALL the Nine Realms. Obviously. SO MUCH EXPLAINING. 
I understood the basics of the storyline, but Malekith (Ecclestone) really wasn't given enough time to explain and expand on his story, which was a shame because he had the potential to be really interesting. 
This is a much more action-packed film than the first. Kenneth Branagh had the tough job of creating a viable character and universe from such a difficult comic to adapt, whilst Alan Taylor gets to create a more action-centred universe, which he does with great skill. One particular realm-jumping action scene is especially impressive. As in, it's amazing.

My favourite thing about the Thor universe, has always been the family element and the central performances. Chris Hemsworth was born to play Thor, and quite willingly plays the straight man role against the more flamboyant role of
BABE.
Loki played by Tom Hiddleston (love, so much). He is the necessary centre to the film that relies on his solid presence, leaving Hiddleston free to steal scenes where he pleases. Whilst Thor is the dependable hero, Loki is the mischievous, untrustworthy brother. When these guys are (finally) brought together, it's bloody brilliant. One of my problems with the film is that it focuses too heavily on the apparently epic relationship between Thor and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) rather than the bond between the brothers. The chemistry between Hemsworth and Hiddleston is so obvious that it jumps off the screen. And they're BFF'S in real life! The problem is, this makes the lack of chemistry with Portman so obvious. Whilst Natalie Portman is by no means a bad actress, she just doesn't fit in the film. In fact, the entire film slows down when the action moves to Earth or the Earth bound characters. Whilst Darcy (Kat Dennings) and Eric (Stellan Skarsgard) are very funny, they feel a little overused on occasion. The Asgard universe is so beautiful it becomes disappointing to leave and an unfortunate consequence of the excess Earth time, is that Thor's team get even less time. 


Another thing I loved about the film was the female element. Here, they weren't just damsels in distress or ornamental figures that are only used in the key moment, they are actually heroines! Sif is kick-ass and it would be great to see more of her doing that, Jane is a smart woman who can actually think for herself and Frigga is just awesome. Take note Marvel (and film industry in general), women CAN do things. Also, the cameos are top-notch. Chris O'Dowd is adorable and keep an eye out for a certain Avenger in a lol-tastic show. 


If you're seeing the film don't forget to hang about for the now-famous end credit scenes! The mid-credits scene is pretty excellent and essential, whilst the end credit scene is just cute. 
So there we go! If you've seen the film, leave me a comment and let me know what you thought! Also, if you're as much a Tom Hiddlesworth fangirl as me, we should start a club!


Peace out.

                 
31 October 2013

The Halloween Session!

Hola!

Happy Halloween you lovely people!


I had intended on making a Halloween series, but as luck would have it, I got sick and couldn't/didn't want to do anything. So we're going have to make it a quick celebration! 

What sucks most about being sick at Halloween, is that it ruins one of my favourite time of the year. Getting to watch countless scary films and forcing everyone else to watch as well is one of my favourite hobbies, and at Halloween, that's almost socially acceptable! My poor boyfriend has been absolutely tortured and he is the biggest wimp I know. The Shining was a hard pass for him though. 

So! Onto the list. I've rounded up 10 of my favourite films to watch at Halloween. Horror is my favourite genre and I love scary films, be they good or bad. I love nothing more than watching a terrible 'scary' film. American remakes of classics (Prom Night, Black Christmas, Nightmare on Elm Street etc.) make me happy because they are so terrible. It's weird, I know. This was a hard list to whittle down, so essentially I've picked the classics that I come back to every year and made a short list because 10 is such a nice number.  Let's start!

                                                                                                               Scream


This movie makes me feel like a teenager again haha. I'm pretty sure this was the first 18 film I ever watched, and I still remember watching it for the first time. It was glorious! Also, Skeet Ulrich is totally a doppelgänger for Johnny Depp, but that's off topic.  This film was written as a kind of antidote for the slasher films that we're being churned out. Kevin Williamson, who wrote the film, intended to give back some bite and wit back to a film-type that was now taking itself so seriously. And it is fabulous. My favourite character is Randy, I feel as fellow film nerds we share a bond. His explanation of the scary movie rules wonderfully shows the stale form that slasher movies fell into. Also, he's adorable. 





                   


                    Nightmare on Elm Street

And this was the second 18 film that I saw! I really like to remember the momentous occasions. Freddie Kreuger is absolutely one of my favourite horror movie icons, and one of the greatest film icons of all time. He is awesome. This film is gloriously bloody, it revels in it, if that's not your thing then you may want to avoid. Having said that, there have to be very few people who haven't seen this film. The death scenes in this are fairly iconic (blood spouting bed, body dragged over ceiling) but even more importantly, this is Johnny Depp's first film! Horror icon and movie icon, fabulous. I'm not a massive fan of the sequels, they get a little (a lot) insane and sort of lose the inherent terror Freddie represented. The idea of being attacked when you're at your most vulnerable kept me awake for a while...




                                   Halloween

                                      This is a bloody great film. Michael Myers, 
much like Freddie, is one of the great horror icons. His face, or rather, his mask, absolutely terrified me. The blank, shapeless face is so effective, much more effective that some of the monster masks they create now. He becomes a kind of symbol for the epitome of pure evil. He has no background, no motivations, no face and no problem in killing everyone. The film also introduces Jamie Lee Curtis, who went on to be one of the ultimate Scream Queens, a title she inherited from her mother Janet Leigh who starred in Psycho

                             Hocus Pocus

Ohhhhh this film makes me so happy! Watching this film immediately sends me back to childhood and running around with my sisters pretending to be witches ( I was a good witch OBVIOUSLY). Whilst the film itself is not perfect, the sheer nostalgia and joy more than makes up for it. Also, the super awesome sing along helps. I might go watch this now...









                          Rosemary's Baby



This was a film I was actually not allowed to watch until I was older. I'd like to think it's because my Mum knew I'd probably cry and rock myself to sleep in the corner after watching. This film scarred me, but in a good way. Because it really is a great film. The peaceful atmosphere and the newly wed joy soon give way to an almost unbearable tension and a slow burn terror. As Rosemary starts to fear for her sanity, we as viewers start to question who and what can be trusted. 






                          The Exorcist


There's a reason this film is considered one of the greatest horror films of all time. Largely because it is terrifying. Whilst the special affects might have aged (although I feel like they're still better than a lot of the modern CGI FX are) the story itself hasn't. Said to have been based in a true story, that lingers throughout the film, the notion that this could have happened. Linda Blair is phenomenal as the child possessed and her face, contorted and scarred, will stay with you long after the film is over. 


         The Nightmare Before Christmas



This film gets whipped out on a bi-annual basis--Christmas and Halloween.  It is such a beautifully made movie, the detailing and craft in the stop-motion characters is just astounding. Each one minute of movement took a month to film. A MONTH. The painstaking skill and dedication is obvious. And the songs just make me so happy. Also, Jack shares my love of Halloween and Christmas! My kind of guy. 







    
                                    REC

This is an underrated treasure, which is a damn shame because it is a bloody brilliant film. Working with found footage, you might be tempted to ignore given how overdone that gimmick can be done now with horror films, but you really shouldn't. It is one of the best modern scary films I've seen. A news reporter and her crew following a firefighting team around go into a building that's had a complaint and all hell breaks loose. Think a hybrid of 28 Days Later and The Exorcist. And those two films are certainly nothing to be sniffed at. It is in Spanish, and I know some people put off by subtitles (madness) but it really is worth the effort. Or you could watch the distinctly average US remake, Quarantine

                            The Omen

This was one of the first DVD's I bought, because I obviously had issues as a child. This flm convinced me that young children, especially boys, we're probably the spawn of Satan. Apologies for that. It does a fantastic job of creating an intense feeling of foreboding, and the breakdown of a family unit. Gregory Peck does a great job of being the everyday man forced into a situation so out of his comfort or belief zone. And there's a scene that lingers in your mind long after it's over. "IT'S ALL FOR YOU DAMIEN!" Shudder. 








                           The Shining 



This might be one of my favourite films of all time. It is remarkable, in terms of writing, directing, just wonderful. Whilst Shelley Duvall can fall into grating territory, it's kind of understandable given the shit going down. Jack Nicholson is awesome though. Like, properly menacing. The charisma that he normally exudes is subverted and twisted into a guy losing his mind. The story might still be a little baffling and is hotly debated, there's no denying the terror this film evokes. 









So there we are, some of my most-watched Halloween films! Next year I'll be more on the ball/less ill and do a more in-depth thing. Drop me a comment and let me know any of your most-watched Halloween films :). Have a great Halloween :). And as a Halloween treat, have a song!



Peace Out. 
10 October 2013

In Cinemas: Filth

Hola!

I'd had very good intentions to do lots of blogging this week. As you can see, I've done a spectacular job so far! Ahem...

I went to the cinema! How unusual, I know. So, I saw Filth and it was...I mean...I just dunno if I have the right words to describe it. Because it was great, like jaw-dropping, but at the same time it is grotesque, horrible and terrible. And I mean that in a good way. So you see where the confusion lies.

Based on Irvine Welsh's novel of the same name, I certainly knew to expect some fairly audacious material. This is the same guy who wrote the classic Trainspotting, which became one of THE great British films, and it isn't exactly a shrinking violet. It is bloody great though.
Essentially, this is a film about excess and power. Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) is on the hunt for a promotion and will do (quite literally) anything to get it. His ploys are intertwined with his investigation of a murder that occurs at the beginning of the films. It seems totally random, but when they intertwine it hits like a brick. All of these events carry on as Bruce starts to lose his grip on reality and his thin grasp on the control he so desperately seeks. 

We'll talk about the main reason I wanted to see this film (apart from it looking AMAZING) and that was James McAvoy.
He is just the best, and PHENOMENALLY talented. He's been one of my favourite actors since his stint on Shameless (back when it was good) because there is something so captivating about him. He's always been great in any film he's starred in, but he is awe-inspiring in this. He is totally fearless and is unrecognisable the moment he comes on screen. His Bruce is, by all accounts, a complete dick. There is no other word for him. He is an alcoholic, racist, sectarian, homophobic, manipulative, damaged, devious, coke-fiend, yet for some baffling reason, I still gave a shit about him. Which is entirely down to the talent of McAvoy. Even when he is being an absolute cock, some tiny, minute facial movement will all of a sudden have you wanting to give him a hug. Mad skills. 



It's almost quite easy to ignore the rest of the film in light of McAvoy's performance. Not that the rest of the film is bad, it's not, it's great. But he is so magnetic it's easy to forget the other stuff. And there is quite a lot of other stuff--a promotion, a murder, madness, an innocent best friend, his not-so-innocent wife, the affairs, drugs, prostitutes. It can get a little hectic, but the director, Jon S.Baird, juggles them quite well. It gets even more hectic as Bruce loses his loose grip on his sanity, haunted by an event from his childhood and missing his wife and child. Yet, despite all this madness, this is a funny film. Which, admittedly, sounds terribly twisted on my part, but it is so unbelievably un-PC it's hard not to laugh. The film takes a sort of glee in ripping up the standards that a modern society has established. Essentially, it works to show off the shame of Britain in the most flamboyant way possible. The satire shows the horror of his outdated views, whilst also pointing a finger back at us, reminding us that a lot of these views remain. 

This isn't a film for everyone, and it certainly isn't a film to watch with your parents. DON'T WATCH WITH YOUR PARENTS. But it is definitely worth a watch, if only to be amazed by James McAvoy. 
The film is out now in UK, and is awaiting a worldwide distributer to pick up the rights.

I have a Hallowe'en series coming up, because YAY FOR SCARY FILMS. Also, HOCUS POCUS!! So I'll be back soon. Actually this time haha.

Peace out :)
                                                                                                         
01 October 2013

Writing about the hard stuff: Mental Illness

Hola!

So, I've been sitting on this idea for a post for a while. I'd been meaning to write and post it last week and be a top blogger, obviously that didn't happen. I am still a top blogger though, right?! 

It's a bit of a tough one for me to write given the personal crap that is about to explode all over the page. Not only is writing about the the topic hard, but writing about how hard it is to write about the topic is hard. It's writer inception. Writerception, if you will. Now I've gotten the obligatory Inception joke in there, let us move on. 

As you've probably gathered from the title, I'm going to splurge all the feels about Mental Illness. IT'S GOING TO BE A LAUGH RIOT. Probably not.


Mental Illness is something I've been circling around for a while as part of my screenplay (aka, the jumbled mess of notes currently scattered around my flat). I keep coming back to it because the topic itself is a highly personal one to me. I am also very aware of people I know reading this which makes it twice as hard to write about. But here goes, now comes the feels.


So, depression is something I've struggled with since I was 11, which is a delightful age most of the time, twice as delightful with depression. I was becoming a teenager and I hated everything. How unusual. Basically, I had a shitty time for the first few years of secondary school. I always had issues with feeling like I never quite fit in anywhere and always wanting to belong so badly. High school is not a helpful environment for those fears. And, without getting into the nitty gritty of it, I really struggled with the idea of existing in a place where I didn't feel like I should be. But I was a kid then, and mental illness wasn't something we talked about, so I kept it in and eventually the black cloud became more of a murky grey. And for a while things were okay. Well, as okay as I thought they could be. And then I got M.E. (or chronic fatigue if you prefer). M.E. is basically a condition where your body feels like it's dying a slow death. At least, that's what it feels like to me. At it's worst, I would spend days in bed, totally incapable of doing anything but sleep or cry, which is surprisingly exhausting. It weakened everything in my body, including my immune system which meant I was sick ALL THE TIME. It sucks balls. 





 Getting sick in your final year at school is never an ideal scenario, so imagine my joy when I got sick and then also had a crappy time with friends etc. The usual teenage girl crap really, but it can all get a bit much when you're ill. Eventually 6th year passed and, instead of taking time out like I smart human being would, I went to university. And I brought my M.E. and Depression with me- PARTAAYYYY! And then I slowly came to realise I hated my degree, and the murky grey cloud that had been growing and darkening, arrived with a vengeance looking like a great big black mindfuck of a storm. I hated everything, and I was anxious all the bloody time. Everyone would be out partying and I'd make my usual crappy excuses so I could sit in and lie in bed and panic about everything and then hate myself for panicking.


I was amazing to be around. Eventually I sorted my shit out, but depression isn't something that just goes away, it has to be managed, and a lot of the time, I am shit at managing it. I can hardly manage to update a blog on time, who's trusting me to manage my mental health?!


I'll give you a space to take all that shit in. Here, have a picture of a kitten to help:
This will make it allllll better.


Now comes my problem; how am I to write about something so personal and so important in a way that will translate to a big screen? Mental Illness is, by all accounts, not necessary a laugh riot, but it is something that needs to be spoken about. There are not a great deal of films I can think of that deal with the idea of mental illness, and deal with it well. The last I can think of is Silver Linings Playbook, which I really loved.




The problem with the film is that it was advertised as a romantic comedy, which it really isn't, leaving a lot of people totally baffled. They went expecting to see Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence hooking up, instead got a study on living with mental illness. It would be a little jarring. 


I want to write something that people can watch and enjoy, but I also want something that will encourage discussion. Film is one of the great arenas that shows everyday issues in a manner that allows for debate. Mental Illness is something that is talked about in hushed tones and then pushed aside to the corner, but given how prevalent it is in today's society, this is an essential time to start talking. There is an overwhelming need to medicate and then forget about the problem, but I know from my own experience, it doesn't necessarily work. 1 million people commit suicide every year, and yet this blog post is one of the hardest things I've ever written. If it's such a big problem, with 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental health problem in the United Kingdom alone, why do I feel weirdly ashamed to have depression? I didn't know I had it until I'd already had it for 5 years and even after that, I was too embarrassed to talk about it. Hell, I still am. And I think this is why I am so determined to write about it, I don't want to feel embarrassed or ashamed, and I sure as hell don't want anyone else to be. 


So, yeah. I'll end this rambling here and hope that you aren't emotionally scarred. Apologies if you are. But I do hope it makes you think a little, and also makes you want to watch Silver Linings Playbook. All credit for the comics goes to Buzzfeed and this great list.

Peace out :) 
23 September 2013

Being surprised and getting inspired: Rush

Hola!

So I've been having a problem the past while in that I've been lacking inspiration. As much as I'd like to pretend that writing a script/blog/shopping list just requires sitting down and bashing anything out, it turns out it also requires a thought process. Yes, even a shopping list, otherwise I'll go and buy all the fun stuff and then realise that I haven't got any of the stuff I ACTUALLY need. On the plus side, I'll have chocolate! 


Anyway I was saying something before chocolate. Yes, inspiration. I've been lacking the push to want to write, or the desire to write anything. Which is a shame, since that's the career I want and all. I don't know what it is but it's like I couldn't find a reason, or a want, to write anything. The problem is, that because I can picture my characters and my story and can play it out, I sort of can't be arsed writing it out. Which sounds ridiculous but it is what it is! This all changed on Sunday though. It was magical.

So I saw this:


And it was kind of wonderful. Based on the real life rivalry of Formula One drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt, this is an incredible portrayal of the lengths a person can be pushed to and the sheer determination to succeed. This film gave me back my inspiration. There is something so awesome and awe-inspiring about watching someone- fictional or not -achieve something. The film so perfectly captures the arrogance and fear, and sheer desperation and determination of these characters to achieve their goals and it is amazing to watch. Daniel Bruhl as Niki Lauda, undergoes a bit of a physical transformation and he is bloody wonderful. Chris Hemsworth shows that he has much more to offer other than being STUPIDLY good looking. It does help though, that he is stupidly good looking... And the direction in this film, holy crap. Ron Howard does not put a gear wrong (see what I did there?! Car joke ;)) and it is remarkable to watch it unfold. I have never gotten the Formula One thing, but the sheer high octane feel of the race and his phenomenal use of perspective, makes you feel like part of the race. 

I'd heard great things about the film but given my general tendency to avoid car films (Fast & Furious has ruined me) and my own resentment towards Formula One dominating my house on a Sunday, I wasn't sure I would enjoy it. I am delighted to have been proven wrong and I was surprised by just how much I enjoyed it, and by how much it inspired me. There is something so wonderful about seeing a great film unfold, a film that can teach you that anything is possible. I know I've gone a bit Lifetime movie here, but films like that are just so incredible. Films that push boundaries, or show characters that teach us about the sheer determination of a human being. 


One film that springs to mind when I think of boundary pushing and determination is Black Swan.


I saw this with a friend when I was going through a bit of a rough patch and it totally destroyed me. The film itself, is imperfect and completely OTT. I might be in the minority, but on occasion I thought Natalie Portman was a little hysteric in some of her performance, but hey ho. But it's the sheer audacity of the film and of Darren Aronofsky's direction, it really just pulls you in. The search for perfection, the desire to be better, just totally blew my mind. I stumbled out of the cinema wondering if I could ever achieve the perfection that Nina (Natalie Portman) achieves in the end. Having said that, she was batshit crazy so I'm not sure she is someone to emulate, but you get the point. Perhaps the film spoke to me even more because I was in a rough patch; I could understand the desperation to achieve anything even more, given that I felt like I wasn't achieving at all. I want a film to make me feel inspired, to make me feel like I can contribute something. I want to be surprised by greatness. And I want to be driven to create something I can be proud of. 


So, that's enough rambling for today. If you've seen any films that made you sit up and think 'HOLY CRAP', drop me a comment so I can be amazed too :).


Peace out!
14 September 2013

Films vs. Real Life.


Hola!

So I've been having a bit of a mental block when it comes to writing my screenplay. Or the jumbled mess of ramblings and notes that should be a screenplay. I've just been having a bit of a shit time with my head to be honest, and it stops me from being able to do anything. Which is a joy. 


...And being a mental case.


I spend so long in the make-believe world that films create, that I have an increasingly difficult time in trying to do stuff in the real world. And the real world sucks sometimes. Films, at least, have the crap times neatly wrapped up with a lovely, happy conclusion (well, most of them). Life has your problems dragged out for an excruciatingly long time and then it just continues. And it's crap. Films are so different to real life, even if they make you believe that they could be real. Let's face it, my life will not turn out to be a Richard Curtis film. I mean, I have a very lovely boy, but we are definitely not whimsical enough to qualify. When crap stuff happens, it happens and gets resolved in a nice montage. Why can't I have a montage?!

Then I have to wonder; is this not real life 'real life' that films create absolutely ruining my ability to exist in an actual real world? Something happens and I think, "if this were a film, Ryan Gosling would hipster his way in here and sweep me off my feet".
Why aren't you in my life?
Needless to say, it never happens. 

So this all brings me to my current predicament. My absolute inability to write something I need to write. The worst thing is, I can picture the scenes, I can see my lovely (and not-so-lovely) characters waltz across in my head. It's just a damn shame that they are these totally unconnected scenes that have NOTHING TO DO WITH EACH OTHER. Often, there's even a couple of scenes from different screenplays. Which is annoying. What's also annoying, is that the scenes that are related to each other, I can't find a way to join them without hating every word I type. If this were a film, I'd have a montage and then BAM, I'd have a gloriously successful screenplay. And this is why films have ruined me. 


Denial is no longer working.


So, even though I know films are RUINING my ability to be a productive member of society, will I stop watching them? Don't be ridiculous and stop asking stupid questions. Honestly, can't you see I'm trying to work?! 
I'm not really... 
I just wish I had the ability to separate films from my real life, it would make it much easier for me to do anything. And more to the point, it would stop me having RIDICULOUS expectations. Watching too many Disney films as a child nearly ruined my ability to recognise that Prince Charming (or Eric from Little Mermaid)
Damn you, Disney. Damn you.
doesn't ACTUALLY exist. Well, not in the way he exists on film. Let's face it, if you met real life Prince Charming in a modern society, we'd probably think he was mental. 

That's why films only have the veneer of reality. We're not actually interested in the mundane, stupid details of life, we get bored by them daily. We want the fantastical to happen, and then we want to complain about it not happening in our lives. And then we'll write blog posts about how terrible films are for making us realise that things like that won't happen to us...

I think that's enough rambling for tonight. Probably enough rambling for a week, to be honest. If only I could apply same rambling to WRITING MY SCREENPLAY. Oh life, why so difficult?!

Peace out.
06 September 2013

50 Shades of Grey, Oblivion, Tom Cruise and Changes

Hola!

Yes, I am alive. I have been very lax on the film blogging business and I apologise terribly, I'm sure you all missed me dreadfully...



Charlie Hunnam
Dakota Johnson
So, I've missed stuff! Newest big news being, of course, that 50 Shades of Grey has a cast in the form of Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson! How terribly exciting for the people that actually like those books. I have (unfortunately) read the books and I LOATHED every second of it, but because I am insane I had to read them all to be able to fully articulate just how much I hate them. I ( as I've already mentioned) hate Twilight, and these 'books' were initially created as fan fiction for the books. So, horribly underdeveloped characters now became horribly underdeveloped characters who like sex. Mad. I am, however, quite interested to see how they'll transfer them to film. Like, will they give them any motivation at all, other than sex? And I do like Charlie Hunnam A LOT in Sons of Anarchy. 
Having said all that though, I'm still not giving money to see it because I resent the existence of the books SO MUCH. 

And now the reason for my terrible blogging routine; I moved! I now am a resident of England, which has been an adjustment. I moved over with my very lovely partner who has quite a great deal of Northern Ireland mannerisms, which has attracted us many funny looks. Apparently we are MUCH LOUDER than anyone else. It's been a learning curve.


So we came over on the boat, and generally that means NAP TIME (most time means 'nap time' to me, but hey ho) but this time was to be different. They were showing a film I hadn't seen and it was free! Which means I automatically wanted to watch the life out of the free film. 


The film was Oblivion, which is a fairly recent release starring Tom Cruise, Andrea Riseborough and Olga Kurylenko. 


Now, I remember a time when a new Tom Cruise film would've been a BIG THING. That was long before the time of sofa jumping declarations of love, and the whole Scientology business though. Watching this, it's easy to see how he became the biggest film star in the world. This isn't a film with lots of co-stars, or a big flashy backdrop, this is Tom carrying a film just with his presence and he does it well. When I was watching this in a tiny cinema, on a boat, he packed the place out. Sure, some of the people were sleeping, but they came there knowing they'd be sleeping in Tom's, oddly reassuring, presence (creepy).


The film itself is insanely beautiful. The visuals, the backdrop, the music, everything. The story itself, leaves a quite a lot to be desired. 

Basically, this is set on a planet Earth that has been destroyed by an alien race called 'Scavs', and the only way to get rid of them is through a nuclear explosion (obviously), leaving the planet uninhabitable for the human race, who are evacuated to the Tet. Jack (Tom Cruise) and his partner Vika (Andrea Riseborough) are tasked with running the Drones needed to protect the remaining power stations from the last of the Scavs. All the while, Jack has been having dreams of a mysterious woman (Olga Kurylenko)... And then a spacecraft lands and everything that Jack knows unravels.

If that sounds like a lot of storyline to deal with, that's because it is. I spent so long trying to make sure I got the main points, that I'm fairly sure I missed most of them. It is a lot to take in. Because there is so much storyline, there's not a lot of time for any of the characters to actually develop and make an impression on you. It ends up an oddly superficial affair, difficult to get involved in. Even though Jack fascinated me, I can't say I really cared a lot about him. And the female characters are given little time to even make an impression, they are there just for Jack to save them (irritating). It has the potential to be a really interesting story if they didn't try to do SO MUCH, or waste so much time explaining everything. It all gets a little convoluted. Also, if the women did anything, that would be nice. 


I'd give it a 6/10. It has, at least, reminded me of how massive Tom Cruise used to be, and why he was. And it is such a beautiful film, I could watch the camera swoop through the landscape all day.


Also, interesting to have Tom Cruise and 50 Shades of Grey in the same post, because you know if this phenomenon had happened in his heyday, he would've been a studio's DREAM. How the mighty fall when they go batshit crazy...

So, I'll be back to blogging at least once a week because I reckon I'll be watching A LOT of films as I take on the soul-destroying task of looking for a job. How fun!

Peace out.

             
12 August 2013

Underrated Film: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang.

Hola! 

Talking about Kristen Stewart back when she made good films (Adventureland) got me thinking about other underrated films. At this stage, I'm more thinking 'underrated' in the sense where these were acknowledged to be GOOD films, but they never really got the attention they deserved from an audience etc.

So, first up is Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005) which is a highly annoying title to write repeatedly, but I won't hold that against it. I've mentioned KKBB before in my Best Film Ever! post, so admittedly, I am openly biased towards the awesomeness of this film. But that is because, it is in fact, awesome. And I'm going to give you a list of reasons why!
                                        




1) It's written and directed by Shane Black.

You may not have heard of Shane Black, but you've definitely heard of his films. This guy is behind classics like Lethal Weapon, The Last Action Hero (also, underrated and ridiculous) and the biggest smash of the year, Iron Man 3. He's that guy. I'm not always big into action films. I find that a lot of films with action tend to favour LOUD NOISES over an actual story (case in point; Transformers), not this guy. Shane Black's films become known for the sharp, witty banter between the characters, and this is no different. The relationship between Harry and Gay Perry (not being homophobic, that's his actual name), is one of the best I've seen in an action film, or just in general!



You're welcome.


2) Robert Downey Jr.

It's a well known fact, that RDJ was doing a Lindsay Lohan long before 'doing a Lindsay' was a thing. Dude was into all sorts of craziness. But he went to jail and rehab, sorted his shit out (take note Lohan) and is now one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. This was one of his first big films after the stint in rehab/jail and he nails it. This film showed off his comedic chops long before Iron Man was even on the radar and his Harry is an adorable, unlucky, and oh-so-stupid sweetheart. The scene where he accidentally auditions for a film is priceless.


3) Val Kilmer

Now, Val Kilmer hasn't always made the best film choices in his career, nor has he always been the best thing about a film. Not so the case here. In this film, he's awesome. Whilst the character is bitchy, camp and hilarious, Kilmer brings him to life brilliantly, showing facets to a character that could've easily been played as a stereotype. In his hands, Gay Perry becomes a private eye with a heart and a gun down his pants (yes, really).

4) Michelle Monaghan 

Probably not as famous as she should be, Monaghan has been in some big films (M:I 3, Mr & Mrs Smith) but never as a star, or even a real supporting role. Here, she plays a seemingly jaded, failed actress hiding her troubled past. Monaghan shows a strong, independent woman capable of fending for herself (see her face-off with Protocop) but nursing a deep vulnerable streak. Rather than go down the typical action film route and become a damsel in distress, she actively involves herself in the drama. Plus, it's just nice to see a girl capable of doing ANYTHING other than scream in the most masculine genre going. 

5) The story

Okay, I don't want to give away the story because I do really want you to watch it, but you should know that it is good. The main story of the crime to be solved, follows the same narrative line as the old school detective/thriller books, which features in the film heavily. The setting of the story is what makes it though.
                                   
Apparently, not a good place...
The film is set in Hollywood, where everyone is trying to be something they're not and the tongue-in-cheek referencing of the industry are part of what made the film enjoyable to me. There is a darker theme of the treatment of women, as Harmony (Monaghan) becomes accustomed to the idea of having to use her body, or have her body used. That an action film especially is willing to make note of that, makes the film all the more interesting and worth noticing. The somewhat scathing mentions of the fickleness of Hollywood run throughout. Considering RDJ, Kilmer and Black's personal experience with this treatment, it just adds another level of humour to the film as they laugh at themselves. The nods to the inner workings of the industry are all part of what makes the story so entertaining. And also leaves mentalists like me, wondering what they are trying to be part of.


So there are 5 very good reasons why you should watch this film. It has everything. Humour! Action! Storyline! Hot Actors! Boobs! Car Chases! Have you seen any films you think didn't get the praise they deserve?


Peace out :) 


Motherhood, films, beauty, and life

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