Friday, June 12, 2009

Too many lulz.

I found yet another horrific script in my room today. Here's as far as I'm willing to share without cringing my face off: -


Ewwwwwwww. This is almost as bad as Synecdoche, New York was.

I also found a smug match report I wrote over a year ago.

Oh dear.

Rupert Grint is wonderful.

This horoscope from two years back sums him up perfectly: -

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kauffman, 2008)

Play director Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is at somewhat of a moot point in his life. His wife Adele (played by Catherine Keener), whom despises him, and has taken their younger Olive with her as she heads to the German art scene. He has unresolved sexual tension with a range of other women, from psychologist Hope Davis to box office clerk Samantha Morton to one of the actresses he is directing, Michelle Williams. In addition to this, Caden seems to experiencing the whole spectrum of ailments, from eye infections to pustules emerging over his body. When he receives a prestigious directors’ accolade with an amount of funding, Caden sets out to direct a new play that is honest to life. The line between reality and art becomes increasingly more blurred as Caden gets older and older, thus leading to his play, and the film, becoming more and more convoluted.

It was extremely difficult to enjoy Synecdoche, New York. It started with Catherine Keener wiping the bottom of their on-screen daughter, inspecting the poo (which, incidentally, was green), and then playing around with the tissue for a good 20 seconds longer, which is not a bad summary for the quality of the film: shit. I like a thought-provoking drama as much as the next person, but there’s a different between provoking thought and provoking sheer “huh?”, and Synecdoche, New York falls firmly in the latter category. Charlie Kauffman clearly wants to depict a look into the inner psyche of an artist, but what we have instead is a sprawling, meandering collection of nonsensical vignettes. Take, for example, the burning house which Samantha Morton’s character purchases. Throughout, we receive no hints to the significance to it, and the audience just sat there in bemusement.

That said, the performances are, as expected, high-class. Philip Seymour Hoffman is nothing short of dedicated to his role and manages to bring a certain level of conviction to a poorly written role that most other actors would not have been able to carry off. Catherine Keener plays the part of Adele with appropriate cruelty, in what could only be a throwback to her role in Your Friends and Neighbours. Samantha Morton, and later, her “on-stage” counterpart Emily Watson, are a delight, and Michelle Williams’ role limits her to sitting pretty for most of the film, which she does so admirably. But to be honest, all the best performances in the world couldn’t redeem this piece of unadulterated, pretentious, self-indulgent tripe. Film critics around the world were fooled by its delusions of grandeur. Don’t be one of them.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Book Review: Sparkling Cyanide (Agatha Christie)

My first read of the Summer.

It is nearly a year since the eventful birthday party of Rosemarie Barton, a beautiful but vapid socialite, after which, Rosemarie had seemingly committed suicide due to post-flu-induced depression. A year on, however, things seem less black and white. 

The dead woman's sister finds evidence unearthing that quite a few people had cause to want Rosemarie dead. In writing a chapter from the point of view of all present at Rosemarie's birthday party, Christie retells the inner monologues of Iris, the younger sister, George Barton, Rosemarie's long-suffering husband, Ruth, the secretary of George, Anthony Browne, a dark and dashing but dangerous acquaintance of Rosemarie's, Steven Farraday, an ambitious up-and-coming politician whom Rosemarie was having an affair with, etc etc. 

Nobody is without a motive for wanting Rosemarie dead: Ruth was secretly in love with her employer and believed he deserved better, Sandra Farraday, Steven's wife, knew he was having an affair, Ruth stood to gain financially. 

Agatha Christie captures the inner psyche of all her characters so well, re-telling their stories from the grass roots and making us feel totally caught up with the story. 

George Barton goes a little gaga a year down the line and schemes to "recreate" the birthday party, and in doing so, he consumes cyanide and dies himself, treating us to a delicious double murder. 

That in itself is a little too preposterous (especially the explanation of how it is carried out), but as ever, trying to figure out who the guilty party is is absolutely enthralling. Top class from Christie as usual!


Dance in your pants, dance in your pants.


Two goons, one photo.


Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning on the set of "The Runaways". Should be a good 'un, if just to watch for the lol-inducing performances.

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Apprentice Finale.

The last episode of this series. In the previous 11 weeks, we’ve had 13 firings, 7 of them male, 8 of them female, and a whole lot of confrontation. Now, it is an all-girl showdown between Yasmina Siadatan, restauranter, and Kate Walsh, Development Manager.


They wake up, are driven in separate cars to a meeting pint, wherein Sir Alan brings back eight previous fired members, and a hilarious game of picking teams ensue. I’m personally not fond of picking teams, as it brings back horrible memories of when we were picking rounders teams in Secondary School, and I was always selected last ‘cos everyone hated me. And for Rocky, who is the last man standing and looking very sullen, he must share my feeling. This is how the team-picking went:

Yasmina (who guessed tails, and it landed tails): Howard
Kate: Ben
Yasmina: Lorraine
Kate: Debra
Yasmina: James
Kate: Kim
Yasmina: Philip
And Kate gets Rocky.

It was quite interesting because the cameras kept showing a close-up of Philip, who was watching Kate expectantly, whereas Kate seemed to be looking anywhere but at him.

Onto the task, which, is to create and market their own box of chocolates. SirAlan reveals that the chocolate industry makes £3.5 billion a year, and Kate looks ecstatic to be given this task, whereas Yasmina stares straight ahead, concentrating.

Yasmina’s group (Empire) start out with the idea of a box of chocolates targeted at men, whereas Kate wants something sensual and naughty. Ben, who has clearly got sex on the mind, suggests having a threesome with your box of chocolates. The good ideas from Ben just keep rolling in, because he then suggests packing the chocolates in a 69 shape. Ha.

Yasmina believes the men’s chocs to be a tricky sell, and the idea really isn’t hitting off when they pitch it to some businessmen in London. Instead, they brainstorm names – Cocoa for Men, Shockolate, Cocoa Electric. Meanwhile, Kate takes some of her team to do some research in a supermarket. “Women have come to the supermarket for a bottle of wine and a night in,” she says, as she peruses the shelves and looks at prices, packaging, etc.

Philip also thinks that the men’s chocolate idea, so Empire change their theme. They’re keen on the “Cocoa Electric” name, so they go for chocolates with shocking new flavours.

In Kate’s team, Debra and Rocky are tasting the chocolates with famous chocolatier Paul Young. They’ve found some tastes that they are really keen on, with one setback – to sell said chocolate and make a profit, they’d have to price it at £13. Kate is unsure when she hears about this, but Debra promises the taste makes it worth it.

Now, onto naming Ignite’s chocolate. The name “Intimate” is floated about, but without a huge amount of keenness, as it sounds more like a brand of condoms than a decent chocolate box name. With seconds to go, Ignite go French – Choc D’Amour. Sounds a bit cheesy, but it’ll do.

Advert time! Kate and Kim direct their advert, which is boringly rigid to begin with. Kate suggests the idea of the woman in the ad tying up the man with his tie and smearing chocolate all over her mouth to add a bit of spice to it, to which a bemused Nick watches. Empire, meanwhile, have an ultra-cheesy advert wherein a group of hip-looking youngsters pretend to get electric shocks from their box of chocolates. Anything goes, I see.

When it’s time to make the pitches, the nerves start to get to Yasmina. She practices her pitch in front of Lorraine but its rife with stops and nervous breaks. Clearly, Yasmina is not in her element here. Kate, however, is, and her pitch goes swimmingly. The chocolates are clearly popular, evoking appreciative nods from the bigwigs in the audience, but a hushed murmur passes through when she mentions the £13 price tag. Then it’s Yasmina’s turn to make her pitch, and she does surprisingly well. Whilst she doesn’t seem as ease talking as Kate does, she keeps it going, and it’s soon all over.

Boardroom time. Sir Alan says what we were all thinking - £13 too much for Ignite’s product, whereas Empire’s product, whilst packaged well, the chocolates themselves are a bit stale. James, who has been rather quiet all episode, pipes up in the chocolates’ defence, saying that they didn’t have enough time to perfect the recipe, but, had they had the time, it would have tasted better.

The firees retreat, Sir Alan asks Kate and Yasmina to step outside, and broods over his decision. Finally, he asks them back in again. Kate, he worries, might only be good at selling and pitching, whereas Yasmina already owns her own business, and he fears holding her back from it. However, in the end, he makes his decision, and Sir Alan picks Yasmina. She is ecstatic, Kate is gutted, but composes herself well, and thus marks the end of the fifth series of The Apprentice.

I think that Kate should have won, personally. I never saw the point about her being "robotic" and I thought she was a very good all-rounder. That said, Yasmina did well over the series too, she dealt with big characters well and generally went about her business quietly. I still maintain Phil should have won, though, so I'm not unduly fussed. What I do know is that I won't be able to cope for 40 weeks without The Apprentice. I love this show, so much. It's amazing. And nearly a year without it. Gah.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Oh dear, Emma.

I found yet another crudely drawn script from years back, this one ever the more embarrassing because I actually performed it in my school's Scriptwriters' Society Evening. It's really bad, rips off about a gazillion movies, and yeah, just plain sucks. Enjoy.

1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5


Friday, June 05, 2009

All I seem to be listening to these days is Kanye West and M.I.A.

So, I thought I'd branch out the bands and artists that I listened to. Recommend me any musicians you like that you don't think I've heard much of, and I shall try to listen to as much of their music as possible and report back.

(This is also so I can fill all 80 Gb on my iPod and preserve my sanity on my three week long holiday in China sans iPod.)


16th October can't come soon enough.


Thursday, June 04, 2009

The choices we make.

I came across this scrap of paper from 2005 -


It was when I was debating what DVDs to rent for my birthday party. In the end, I went for The Motorcycle Diaries and I ♥ Huckabees, and those two choices are living proof that there is such thing as being a bit too sophisticated.

I should have gone for the last choice, Anchorman - we would have watched the film, adored it, and had a great ol' party, like my 13th birthday party, where we saw Legally Blonde, and all the girls loved it. Instead, my mates were bored through The Motorcycle Diaries and impatient with I ♥ Huckabees' pretension, and the ensuing birthday "party" was a miserable day.

Every other birthday party I'll ever have, I'm sticking to the trusted formula of Romantic Comedies.

Sadness and Nostalgia.

Hearing of David Carradine (Bill in Kill Bill is his most prominent role)'s passing away makes me so sad, and the circumstances in which he was found dead makes it more devastating.

I was just going through some DT projects from year 9 today, and found this chocolate box for my own brand of chocolate - Reservoir Chocs - notice the Kill Bill-themed colour scheme I went for.

R.I.P David Carrdine.