Saturday, September 30, 2006

Iconic Still of the Week.

Coolnes epitomized

The thing I loved most about this shot was the way it fitted amazingly with the music. Everyone, DOWNLOAD THE MUSIC! Just right click the link and do save as. Please. The music is too good not to share. LISTEN!

Battle Without Honour or Humanity (Tomoyasu Hotei)

Friday, September 29, 2006

So. Retail Therapy.

To try and cure myself, I brought another guitar today. So. I have two. Yay.

Here they are:

The classical one

The acoustic
So. I have two guitars. But no life.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Down to business, then.

No point dilly-dallying about. My review of The Queen, a very British treat.

On the 1st of September 1997, the world saw tragedy. In the turmoil that followed, Princess Diana’s death was blamed on the Media, the driver, and an entire array of others, before the upset and ill-meant malaise of the public was turned sneeringly to the Royal Family. In this film, we get a glimpse of what life was like inside Buckingham Palace, and whether The Queen (played here by Helen Mirren) was being cold and uncaring, or, if she was the one who was suffering most of all.

Director Stephen Frears recreates one week in 1997 with intelligent, deft strokes. The presentation of Princess Diana is artfully done in news snippets and archive footage, which brilliantly demonstrates the high impact her being had on people. The design of The Queen’s home and her surroundings are convincing without being overly showy, and the Alexandre Desplat score is by turns dark, sad, and grand, perfectly summarizing the mindset of those involved.

But the film belongs to Helen Mirren, who takes on of her most challenging roles and showing us that behind the Queen lay a person, and one with feelings. In her role as the reigning lady, she is the epitome of suppressed disappointment and hurt. The Queen chose not to make a parade of her feelings in response to Diana’s death, and, though the nation hated her for it, we learn here that it is not because she did not care, but because she honestly thought it the right thing to do.

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As a young and newly elected Tony Blair with big aspirations and an even bigger grin, Michael Sheen is freakishly good as the Prime Minister. His performance shows a likable side of the prime minister in his refusal to side with the public over the denouncement of The Queen for her actions, and his attempts to make The Queen limit the damage that she has made is the basis for a very insightful story.

Other delights in this film come in some high-brow one-liners and some other good performances, but the best thing about it is how it manages to make you think, and even empathise with a group of people that you never saw yourself giving a toss about. At under 100 minutes, The Queen is funny, pointed and highly intelligent, showing that, as always, there are two sides to every story.

Monday, September 25, 2006

If Peter Crouch were a film character…

OK. I’m meant to be doing the work set for us, but my teacher’s got this week off for paternity leave, and I can never be motivated to do schoolwork if there isn’t actually someone forcing me to do it. So here I am, in the school library, wasting time. Oh well.

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Yeah, and these picks are random. I don’t actually know Crouch well or anything, so a lot of this is fanciful guesswork. I was bored, OK?

- 10% Amy Adams as Ashley in Junebug. An obvious choice, because, like Ashley, Crouchie, is sweet, lovable, and nice to everyone. Plus, like Crouch, she takes knocks from her underachieving husband, but reacts to them not with nastiness, but with a lovely resilience that just puts a smile on my face every time. Crouch does all that, and scores goals. The two people are both in their own wonderfully genuine, caring, delightful, and a source of optimism in a very pessimistic world. Amy Adams deserved the Oscar. Not that I’m saying Peter Crouch deserved the footballer of the year or anything. Damn Rachel Gerrard. I mean, Rachel Weisz. That’s what I meant to say, you see.
- 10% Haley Joel Osment as David Swinton in A.I. I picked Haley for a couple of reasons. One – he was the first “odd” movie star crush I’ve ever had, and you could say that Crouch was the first “odd” football player I’ve lusted too. There’s the obvious fact that Osment plays a robot in this movie, and Crouch did the robot dance, an ironic jibe at the crappy papers who dared describe his playing as “robotic”. And lastly, there’s the fact that, like Osment in A.I., Mr. Peter Crouch is a unique, beautiful, and very special individual that does not see enough love from the general public. I mean, why is England infatuated with the repugnant Scarlett Johansson, yet frequently makes fun of their very own goal machine? It ain’t right.
- 10% Jake Gyllenhaal as Donnie in Donnie Darko and Dan Futterman as Charlie in Urbania. I’ve placed these two together because I’ve picked them for the same reasons – very weird, dark characters, but so, so, sexy. You just want them so much. Needless the say, the same goes for my future husband. But the weird factor is strong here too, especially when I think about the scenes where Jake’s eyes are open extremely wide. Peter has big eyes too. (clutching at the straws here, teehee.)
- 10% Maria Bello as Natalie Belisario in The Cooler. A slightly kooky choice, but Miss Bello is fresh in my mind after I saw the World Trade Centre trailer thrice this weekend. She has the same shade hair as Crouchigol, and is one of the most striking looking of her gender (like him), although it would be pretty superficial to pick her on those grounds alone. Like Maria’s character in The Cooler, Crouch is a lucky charm, but whereas she was for William H Macy, he for the England team, and in every game that Crouch has played in, save one, England have won or drawn their games. Good luck indeed, and more will be sure to come, if McLaren wisely drops Defoe when Rooney plays next Saturday.
- 5% Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life. Because Crouch is just so NICE! Sometimes, like George Bailey, a little too nice. But in this film, we were taught that goodness prevails at the end, and I’d like to think that means something for Liverpool’s number 15.
- 5% Mickey Rourke in Sin City & Philip Seymour Hoffman in The 25th Hour. Because they’re ugly and peculiar yet curiously hypnotic, like Crouch. Although I hasten to add that My Peter does not have an array of scars scattered across his face. Eww. (Girls who find Frank Ribery hot should perhaps a) see a doctor or b) watch Paul Bettany in The Da Vinci Code.) Although another similarity between Hoffman’s Humbert reincarnation in The 25th Hour is that there’s something rather alluring about watching Phil & Peter sweat. OK, if I consider Hoffman’s terrible Oscar accepting speech for Capote, maybe I don’t mean that. I guess it depends on the situation in which they’re sweating in.
- 10% Bobby Cannavale in The Station Agent. In Tom McCarthy’s 2003 movie about three disjointed individuals, I guess I could have picked any out of Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson, or Bobby, but, whilst Dinklage has the good fortune of sharing the same first name as Crouch, happens to be about a five of the height of him, so it may have been a little weird. Clarkson could have been a good choice except for the fact that she is sarcastic, and I don’t think Peter Crouch even knows what sarcasm is, let alone how to use it, bless him. Thus, I choose the adorable figure of the Italian-Cuban Bobby Cannavale, who was a very hot gay in Will & Grace, and one of my favourite things about Snakes on a Plane. Which can also be said about any crappy football game which Peter Crouch plays in. But the main factor binding them is that they’re kind of awkward and inarticulate, in their actions as well as speech, yet this merely accentuates their appeal. Cute.

And lastly…
- 40% Tim Robbins as Andy in The Shawshank Redemption. Andy Dufresne is my favourite film character of all time, and The Shawshank Redemption is my favourite film of all time, so I most certainly do not just compare him to random people willy-nilly. But the comparison is deserved here, as Crouch displays many of the qualities I found so commendable in Andy – he’s a stoic, he’s resilient, and one day, he’ll do something huge (like the escape from Shawshank), and laugh in the face of all those who doubted him. I hope Crouchie finds his Zihautanejo, because he deserves one; whilst he may not have been in a horrible prison for 19 years, he, like Andy, has had his share of molestation (from the Media), brutal attacks (from the game as well as the jeers of “freak” he first received), and more than a few people doubting him. So basically, Peter Crouch is the Andy Dufresne of the 21st century. Of football.

Another thing about the two men is that they are very much the round peg for the square hole; never doing things the conventional way, and always standing out for one thing or another, but in the end, their route will reap greater benefits. Oh, and, Tim Robbins is the tallest person to have ever won an Oscar, and Peter Crouch is the tallest player in the Premiership. Coincidence?

Gee, I hope that was at all comprehensible. Now I’m going to do some work.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Iconic Still of the Week.

Miss Hepburn is coolness and elegance epitomized.

I have nothing but respect for the massively talented and effortlessly chic Audrey Hepburn, and this is one of my favourite shots in a film involving her.

Monday, September 18, 2006

My review of Volver.

Pedro Almodovar’s 2004 Hitchcockian effort, Bad Education, proved to be a polarizing force. Volver found plaudits amongst nearly every critic, and that is because amongst the father-stabbing, singalongs and appearances of ghosts, Almodovar has truly found his niche.


Penelope Cruz plays the put-upon mother Raimunda, who, straight after attending the dusty town of La Mancha to attend to her mother’s grave, finds herself husbandless, thanks to her own daughter. So far, so convoluted. But there’s more. Her sister, Sole (Lola Deunas) thinks she’s seeing the ghost of her dead mother, and their friend Augustina tries to find out the truth about her own mother, before time runs out and cancer gets the best of her.

In his deftly-weaved, beautifully portrait of the fairer sex, Almodovar’s touches are bold and brilliant, every scene resonating a vibrancy and unforgettable soul that is very appealing. In the lead role, Penelope Cruz gives one of the best performances of the year. As Raimunda, she is outspoken, risk-taking, and harbours a troubled secret about her daughter. The plot turns, suffice to say are as audacious as that of any Alomodovarian plot, but Volver impacts for its huge heart. You will love this women and care about their every move.

The melodramatic, offbeat style that the film is made suits it perfectly, and Cruz, Duenas, Maura and Portillo give performances that impress and involve. Although the film, written specially for Cruz, essentially belongs to her and the independent, individual character of Raimunda, Maura, as the ghostly figure of her mother, is sad and funny, and perfectly in control of a performance that could easily slip into farce. Portillo is as impressive, and in a key scene involving a decision made on live TV, every nuance of her acting is effective in the heart-wrenching scene.

Regular Almodovar collaborator, Alberto Iglesias, tunes his musical skills to perfection, and, through pizzicato-led interludes and frames saturated with colour, Almodovar’s canny direction shines. He presents us a story as big-hearted and loving as many you’re likely to find this year, and, despite there being some shocking plot twists, you’ll still come out of Volver with a positive outlook on life. There’s a lot of ground covered here, from severing drinks to parental atonement, but every scene has something great to it, thanks to a lovely screenplay that is by turns witty, bright, disturbing and heartbreaking. Mature, beautifully told and wonderfully acted, Volver is worth returning to.

The Best Performances in a 90s Film: 100-91.

91. Diane Wiest as Helen Sinclair in Bullets Over Broadway
92. Tim Robbins as Bob Roberts in Bob Roberts
93. Cameron Diaz as Lotte Schwartz in Being John Malkovich
94. Michèle Laroque as Hanna Fabre in Ma Vie En Rose
95. Jennifer Ehle as Constance Lloyd Wilde in Wilde
96. Leonardo DiCaprio as Hank in Marvin’s Room
97. James Whitmore as Brooks Hatlen in The Shawshank Redemption
98. Valentina Cervi as Artemisia Gentileschi in Artemisia
99. Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf in The Talented Mr. Ripley
100. Samuel L. Jackson as Ordell Robbie in Jackie Brown

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Iconic Still of the Week.

Every week now, I'll try to accompany it with some beautiful music from the film as well, for to listen to (or download, if you like).
Life isn't like in the movies... so they say. Actually, it's true.



Love Theme (Ennio Morricone)

Friday, September 15, 2006

10 Sexiest Film Characters.

Believe it or not, this 16-year-old, raging hormones and all, rather likes her men. The following film characters have particularly tickled my fancy in the looks department, but, suffice to say, it’s not just their looks that I find so utterly alluring. Maybe it’s something to do with their characters too, or the way they’re filmed, etc. Nonetheless, whilst the following 10 men (two chosen twice, because they are just so Goddamn sexy) might not achieve the task of getting me quite as hot under the collar as a certain Mr. Peter Crouch does, they are still puh-retty damn fine. I certainly wouldn’t say no.

01. Stanley Kowalski (Marlon Brando, A Streetcar Named Desire)
We are currently studying Tennesse Williams’ play in English (did you know, he was a cousin far removed of Truman Capote’s?), and the first thing my English teacher asked was whether or not anyone had seen the film. Obviously, I had (it’s in my top 80 of all time). Her w
ords of wisdom about the film? “It’s worth watching just to see Marlon Brando in a vest.” And that sums up my thoughts towards this babe of a film character perfectly. Oh. My. Frick. Could you GET any sexier? I think not; Marlon Brando’s brooding, sexual predator of a turn is up there as one of the greatest performances of all time, but you know what really makes his performance masterful? His raw, animal magnetism. I mean, come on ladies. I defy anyone to watch this film and not fall in love with Mr. Brando. Oh. Yum.

02. Romeo Montague (Leonardo DiCaprio,
Romeo + Juliet)
Leo
is introduced in William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet to the tune of Radiohead’s languid, effortless enticing “Talk Show Host,” and it is quite possibly the sexiest (clothed) moment in cinematic history, hotter than a Steven Gerrard-Peter Crouch-Frank Lampard love triangle. For the next 110 minutes, my Leo spends his time pining, flirting and falling in love, and the more I see of his character, the more I like. He is VERY nice to look at, with that lovely hair and sensitive eyes, but there’s a certain edge of vulnerability DiCaprio portrays with his falling in love that really tips to scale of hotness for him. I like my men to have character.

03. Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal,
Brokeback Mountain)
How could I NOT list the gayest, hottest, biggest babe of a cowboy known to grace this falling star of a planet? My choice for the most handsome actor of all-time, Mr. Jake Gyllenhaal, is denim clad, lasso in hand to woo his ain true love, Ennis del Mar. Sadly, the film doesn’t have quite the happy ending that someone as doe-eyedly beautiful as Jack Twist deserves, but along the way, we are treated to some stunning shots of him, either staring hopefully into the air (breaks my heart every time), driving a tractor with his son (sooo cute!), lassoing his man (sooo cute!), and generally, just being someone you so would. I heart Jake forever, and it simply broke my heart to hear about him crying over that slut Kirsten Dunst. But now he’s got him nice Natalie Portman, so I am very happy for him. If only Peter Crouch could sort out his love life in such a way.

04. Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise, Jerry Maguire)
Yes. I know Mr. Cruise is currently a little bit of a psycho, and that weird girl
that everyone’s trying to pass off as Suri Cruise looks like more of a Photoshop experiment than a real person. I am aware of all this. But I still love Tom, and it is keyly for the lovely character of Jerry Maguire that he brought to me. Not many would consider Jerry Maguire all that sexy, but Tom was so sweet, cute, witty and REAL as Jerry, that I just totally fell in love with him. And there’s that seduction of Renee on the porch. Man, would I have wanted to be her in that scene. He.

05. Jack Withrowe (Jason Lee, Heartbreakers)
More of a background player in a film that belonged to Sigourney Weaver and Ray Liotta, I’m still able to remember something of Lee’s character: he was adorable.
Even though Jennifer Love-Hewitt’s character in the film was, like, a total bitch, Jason Lee was ridiculously devoted to her, lovably, charming, basically, everything that a malicious girls needs in a sexy guy to redeem herself. And he was a star gazer! And a millionaire! The sexiest man in a Hawaiian shirt, is Mr. Lee. Now, why do the stupid TV people make him so ugly for My Name is Earl? Bah.

06. Julio Zapata (Gael Garcia Bernal, Y Tu Mama Tambien)
07. Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke, Gattaca)
08. Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal, Donnie Darko)
09. Charlie (Dan Futterman, Urbania)
10. Frank Abagnale Jr (Leonardo DiCaprio, Catch me If You Can)

As for TV characters:
01. Martin Fitzgerald (Eric Close, Without a Trace)
02. Chandler (Matthew Perry, Friends)
03. Ryan Atwood (Benjamin McKenzie, The O.C.)
04. Charlie Pace (Dominic Monaghan, Lost)
05. Michael (Wentworth Miller, Prison Break)
06. Will (Eric McCormack, Will & Grace)
07. Jack (Matthew Fox, Lost)
08. Seth Cohen (Adam Brody, The O.C.)
09. Frank Buffay (Giovanni Ribisi, Friends)
10. J.D. (Zach Braff, Scrubs)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

OH. MY. FREAKING. GOD.

I didn't catch Lost this Tuesday, because I was out, but I saw it (season two, episode 20), and let me just say...

WOAH.

Michael? I mean, seriously, Michael? I mean, seriously? But I've always loved him!

Oh. My. God.

Anyway. Lost freaking rules. It's beyond great. I've just completed watching the first half the first part of season 2 this weekend with a friend. And it's amazing.

So. Back to Michael:

OH. MY. FRICK.

Man. And I mean it.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Sunday, September 03, 2006

A Look Forward...

To Best Original Score

Not my favourite category of the Oscars, but one of the ones that I can look at more objectively.

So far, my personal picks for the best scores from the films I have heard:

01. Volver (Alberto Iglesias)
02. Mission Impossible III (Michael Giacchino)
03. Alpha Male (Steven Warbeck)
04. The Da Vinci Code (Hans Zimmer)
05. Cars (Randy Newman)

Out of these, I think Volver stands a tiny chance of getting nominated, and I have the scores to Cars and The Da Vinci Code in my official predictions, even though I’m not overly sure about either. The Da Vinci Code, whilst having some great music, was deemed a stinker by reviews, and I doubt the Oscars would want to give a nomination to that film for that reason. Cars had some great moments in scoring, but by Newman’s massively high standards, the score was a little bit of a disappointment. It is not unheard of for Pixar films to get nominated for score (Finding Nemo?), but that score was a total eargasm, and my pick for the best film score of all time. So, I can only assume that it takes a score of great quality to get nominated, if it’s from an animated film.

Two of the best scores – Mission Impossible III, and Alpha Male, don’t even stand a chance. Michael Giacchino, who wrote the masterful scores to Lost and The Incredibles, definitely deserves a nod for the way he has amalgamated tradition action-cues with adrenaline rising riffs, and Alpha Male had some great little underscores that suited the domestic feel of the film perfectly.

My predictions for score at the beginning of the year were:
- Little Children (Thomas Newman)
- The Da Vinci Code (Hans Zimmer)
- Babel (Gustavo Santaolalla)
- Cars (Randy Newman)
- Lady in the Water (James Newton Howard)

Lady in the Water opened to even more duff reviews than The Da Vinci Code, and, more importantly, the score was deemed rather mediocre. So that one’s out.

Little Children is my personal choice for frontrunner, but I sincerely hope that will come true, and it’s not just all wishful thinking. Thomas Newman is my favourite composer, and Little Children has been picking up reviews as “2006’s American Beauty,” and we all heard the score to that film; it was incredible. Fingers crossed for Newman.

I still have hope for Gustavo Santaolalla’s score to Babel, and the film’s status has risen ever since its debut in Cannes, so if it does find it’s way onto the Oscar’s Golden 5, last year’s winner for Brokeback Mountain should get a look in as well.

And I have already mentioned the two scores to Cars and The Da Vinci Code.

So, at this current moment in time, which scores do I think we get nominated?

- Little Children (Thomas Newman)
- Babel (Gustavo Santaolalla)
- The Painted Veil (Alexandre Desplat)
- The Black Dahlia (Mark Isham)
- World Trade Centre (Craig Armstrong)

Yup. That looks about right.

Top 10 Upcoming 2006 Releases that I Look Forward to…

England this year, it seems, has America beat in terms of good releases. We got Volver before you, along with The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Severance, The Cave of the Yellow Dog, Alpha Male, and the rest. Plus, with thanks to the masterful creation that is pirate DVD, I’ve seen Scoop, which was highly entertaining, and for 90 whole minutes, I didn’t even want ScarJo dead. Go me!

Nonetheless, I see a lot of trailers with all the films I see, and I’ve seen a whole bunch of other film posters, trailers and reviews scattered about on the Internet. And these are some 2006 films that I will totally kill to see. Or, in my case, skip A-level homework to see…

01. Babel
What’s not to love? The Cannes reception was positive, I love multi-linear storylines (provided they’re handled well, not like Crash), it’s being scored by Gustavo Santaolalla, and it sports the lovely Gael Garcia Bernal. I hope he gets a nod for Best Supporting Actor, so I can go all fangirl crazy in trying to buy Gael votes like I did with the lovely Jake Gyllenhaal this year. Fun times lie ahead!

Watch a clip:

02. The Black Dahlia
Yes, I realise it's got Miss Johansson, but I've heard that she doesn't play that much of a part; Swank steals the show from her. But just look at the trailer!



You think that's good? Hot damn, you should try watching it in a 15+ audience with the lights dim... yowza!

03. Little Miss Sunshine
04. Requiem
05. Children of Men
06. Hollywoodland
07. Little Children
08. Flags of Our Feathers
09. Marie-Antoinette
10. The Fountain

Back to School: Vol. 1.

Am going for a bit of a photo show-and-tell now, and let us start with... the pencil case!


The outside. So lovely and blue!

The keyring (blue to match.)

The stuff inside.