Friday, July 31, 2009

Guess the Movies.

You know, for fun!

one
two
three
four
five

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Songs I've Been listening to a lot this week.

Kiss with a Fist - Florence & the Machine (their most famous song. A bit abstract, but very catchy)
Holiday - Dizzee Rascal (could be this Summer's answer to Disturbia)
Dance wiv Me - Dizzee Rascal ft. Calvin Harris (*the* song of fresher 2008-2009, after Paper planes)
Bend and Not Break - Dashboard Confessional (nice acoustic intro)
Nasty Habits - Humanimals (brilliance)
Labels or Love - Fergie (the opening song on the Sex and the City movie soundtrack. Very cheesy, but I like how they've revamped the show's theme tune)
Forever & Always - Taylor Swift (love her voice)
The Heart of the Matter - India.Arie (again from the SATC soundtrack. My ultimate "getting over them" song)
Champion - Kanye West (tell me what it takes to be number 1)

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Other crap.
Me as a baby.
♥ You'd better all sign up to this.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Favourite Cinematic Hairstyles - Women.

Julie Christie, Fahrenheit 451
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Penelope Cruz, Volver
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Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday.
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Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chicago.
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Margot Kidder, Black Christmas.
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Rita Hayworth, Gilda.
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Keira Knightley, Pride & Prejudice
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And you?

Lolita sunglasses are bung.


I've always wanted a pair, and now I have one. Here I am, proudly sporting them. :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Just 5 this Week.

Didn't see anywhere near as many films as I wanted to due to having work, and any spare time I did have was spent watch episodes of Sex and the City (am faintly addicted to New York right now), so, yup.

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Secret Agent (Alfred Hitchcock, 1936)
Rather underwhelming Hitchcock outfit in which an unlikely motley crew of John Gielgud, Peter Lorre and Madeleine Carroll are chosen as those to kill a foreign agent, and the ensuing espionage and twists that follow. The best performance of the movie is by Robert Young, as a man who initially seems to be as romantic suitor for Carroll's character, but turns out to be a darker figure. Gielgud is rather bland considering he was the biggest star in England at the time, and Peter Lorre gives one of his masterclasses in hamming it up. Despite the slow pace, the obvious technical shortcomings of the 30's and the rather pat eating, the master's direction keeps Secret Agent just the right side of thrilling.

Mansfield Park (Iain B. MacDonald, 2007)
Pleasant-but-vapid adaptation of Jane Austen's novel by the ITV. Though I found Billie Piper quite annoying in the lead and Blake Ritson made a terribly impassive Edmund, Hayley Atwell (Keira Knightley's one-time lesbian playmate and husband-stealer in The Duchess) was a deliciously irresistible and Machiavellian Mary Crawford and it was fun to see Maggie O'Neill in a bitchy role. The film itself has a very different interpretation of things than in the book, but as a stand alone low-budget romance, it suffices.

To Die For (Gus van Sant, 1995)
Comedy painted the blackest of black, To Die For stars Nicole Kidman as a ruthless, power-hungry weather girl who's determined to become famous, and will let nothing stand in her way. She certainly has no qualms about using her feminine charms to canoodle a young, dumb Joaquin Phoenix into killing off her husband Matt Dillion.

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The film was entertaining, scathing, exciting and choc-o-bloc full of terrific dialogue. Nicole Kidman gives off the impression of sugar, spice and all things nice on the outside, but one can see those eyes hiding a mind of real evil, and Joaquin Phoenix is really pitiable as the slow-witted and enamored Jimmy. Casey Affleck is entertaining and indie actress Alison Folland is the film's moral centre as gullible teenager who, like Phoenix, falls under Kidman's spell. The cruel, comedic edge runs throughout but I'm happy to say justice is done, marking To Die For to be a thoroughly enjoyable movie.

The Devil Wears Prada (David Frankel, 2006)
The book bored me to tears but the big-screen adaptation is entertaining, funny and under the fluffy exterior, has a lot to say about the (again) ruthless nature of the fashion world. There's quality aplenty in the film, whether it be from the stunning wardrobe, which realistically transforms Anne Hathaway's Andy from frumpy college graduate to grade-A fashionista, Meryl Streep's astute portrayal as the taciturn and hard-to-please Miranda, a woman so cold that her two words - "that's all" - could freeze hell, and best of all, English rose Emily Blunt's breakout turn as anorexic, bitchy, and quite desperate Emily. From the first moment we see her, sporting green eye shadow, not a hair out of place, we - and the world - know we are facing a star. A film much cleverer than it looks.

Sunshine Cleaning (Christine Jeffs, 2008)
Indie flick starring Amy Adams as Nora, a one-time high-school sweetheart who has fallen from grace and now finds himself cleaning houses for her ex-classmates and having an unfulfilling affair with Steve Zahn and being single-mother to her son, who is facing an ultimatum of being put in "retard class" or expulsion from school. Vying to put him through private school, Adams decides to switch to cleaning up after dead people. Enlisting the help of her deadbeat sister Emily Blunt, the two do their thing, and face some unresolved family tension along the way.

I didn't really know (and still don't) quite how I feel about Sunshine Cleaning. Amy Adams and Emily Blunt are both beautiful, talented, amazing women and I'd always wanted to see a movie with them together, and it was great to see them play against type, and do so so well. Alan Arkin was OK; he basically played the exact same character as in Little Miss Sunshine, and it was a pleasant surprise to see Clifton Collins Jr bung up as this one-armed man. There were moments of real poignancy and some beauty in the minutiae, but overall, the film felt too slight for me, epitomized in the abrupt ending.
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01. What colour eyes do you and your parents have?
02. Are you looking forward to anything?
03. Name two film characters you'd like to bung.
04. How is your attention span?
05. Do you like to be alone?



PS: Join!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Announcing a blogathon! :)

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Teenagers. We've all been there. Some of us are still teens, some of us may have recently departed the teenage years, and some may regard their teenage years as a long away memory. Whatever your stance on those youngsters, I invite you all to partake in my blogathon of 2009. My 2007 effort at holding a blogathon was awesome, and I hope this one will be as successful! You can blog about your favourite teen movie, your most hated teen movie, do an article on the oldest woman to play a teen, review a teen sports movie, slate a teen gross-out. Multiple posts are welcomed. I hope to see y'all there!

And yep, this blogathon does correspond with a teen-life crisis.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dietry advice with The Devil Wears Prada's Emily.

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"See, I'm on this new diet. Well, I don't eat anything. And right before I feel I'm going to faint, I eat a cube of cheese. I'm one stomach flu away from my goal weight."

Hmm, maybe not... but what is certain is that the actress that plays Emily, also called Emily, is a Goddess. For so many reasons, but for reasons not related to her acting:
1. Growing up in Roehampton, she's a born-and-bred West Londoner.
2. Her British accent has class written all over it.
3. She's my #3 girlcrush, so I command you to like her.

BUNG. ♥

There's not enough hours in the day. :-(

I currently have a Summer job until mid-September, and the working hours are 9am-5:30pm. I love the routine, the skills I'm picking from it, the people I meet at the job and the money I'm making. However, one thing that I'm severe lacking as a result of it is time to do my own thing. I get up at half six every day to get ready for the 7:20 bus ('tis a 90 minute long commute), and by the time I get home, usually, it's gone seven. On the commute, I usually read or watch Sex and the City on my iPod, but it leaves very little time when I'm home to blog, surf the net, talk to friends, or watch films. A pity, especially if you consider that I'm limited to a few minute of internet access a day now, as I don't get the net at work. :(

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(this kind of self-absorbed life-related entry is usually found over at my life blog, and I won't bore you again. :D)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

13. Some like it Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959)

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The first Billy Wilder film I ever saw, this comedy treat was on the telly on Christmas day, 2003. I watched it, loved it, and have happily been having an affair with classic cinema ever since. Telling the story of two men on the run from the mob who disguise themselves as women on a travelling music tour, Some Like it Hot has it all: belly laughs, Tony Curtis in drag, ridiculously witty one-liners and Marilyn Monroe at her most voluptuous. Funny, cynical, with a great musical interlude and the ending line of all ending lines, Some Like it Hot has everything you want in a good film - and more.

--

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Last night's episode of "The Street" starred Anna Friel as Dee, a struggling single mother who works as a prostitute at the weekends for a bit of extra money. When she meets Mark, a cute, eager plumber who is also a single parent, a tentative romance blossoms. However, in a cruel twist of fate, in meeting his parents, his dad turns out to be one of her customers. Friel and Daniel Mays, as the hapless boyfriend, are amazing, their raw emotion is really out on show, and the little details - Friel wanting her sons to get into grammar school - are what give the show its realistic touch. Grippping, hard to watch at times, and utterly gut-wrenching.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Look Ahead to "An Education"

bung.

From Bend it Like Beckham to The Go-Between, British coming of age films are a dime a dozen, the quality of them varying massively. One film of this type that I'm hoping impresses is this year's An Education, directed by Danish female director Lone Scherfig, scripted by the popular novelist and notorious list-addict Nick Hornby and featuring a reputable and beautiful cast including Peter "Sexy Hot" Sarsgaard, Dominic "chest hair" Cooper and Rosamund "gorgeous" Pike. The main character, Jenny, is played by 24-year-old Carey Mulligan, who, despite being 8 years older than the character she is playing, looks surprisingly fresh-faced and youthful. There are cameras from the very British Emma Thompson and Sally Hawkins, not to mention Alfred Molina as the stuffy father, one who up until Sarsgaard's playboy's arrival on the scene, has his daughter tipped for Oxford. Once Sarsgaard enters her life, however, she goes from an innocent, wide-eyed young girl to a sophisticated ladee, travelling England and enjoying high-class parties, but in having fun, she stands the chance of throwing away all the hard work she's sweated for thus far.

dsf

I'm really excited about this film, for the cast, the vintage 60s costumes (see stills) and just the general plot. It seems somewhat like The History Boys meets Stealing Beauty, and, as I adore both films, that can only be a good thing in my eyes. The cast are all talented, or very promising performers - Peter Sarsgaard has got to be one of the most underrated supporting players (his turns in Kinsey, Jarhead and Shattered Glass to name a few, are brilliant), and I saw Dominic Cooper not once, twice, but thrice last year, in The Duchess, Mamma Mia! and BBC's Sense & Sensibility. Sally Hawkins warms the screen whatever she's in. And Carey Mulligan, from what I've seen from the stills and trailer, looks a very fresh-faced, dedicated actress, and I'm interested to see what she does with her character. Plus Emma Watson isn't in it.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

An Education is released in the UK at the end of October. I eagerly await its arrival to our screens. In fact, only Rupert could share my enthusiasm: -
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Heehee.

Speaking of being 16, here's the author of the blog at 16, and here she is at 19. How things change, eh?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Seven this week...

bung.

Bride Wars (Gary Winick, 2009)
Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) are two successful women in New York who have been best friends since childhood. Doing everything together, luck would have it so that they even get engaged on the same day. Naturally, they both want The Plaza as their wedding venue, and though they initially have separate days booked, a secretarial slip-up means that they end up being double-booked on the same day. It's not long before the claws are out, kept-in resentments are spilled and best friends turn to worst enemies.

It's a pity, because this film started out so promisingly - cute snapshots of beautiful weddings and a voice-over telling the story made me think this could be SATC-lite, but it soon just turned into cliched, trite nonsense. Character development was a joke - they were as close as sisters, and out of nowhere, started hating on each other?, and don't get me started about the ending. There were small mercies in it - the scene in which the two try to sabotage each other's weddings, from hair colour to bad tans, was quite amusing, albeit completely unrealistic. Anne Hathaway deserves much better than this and can do a lot better, as demonstrated in last year's wedding film (of sorts), Rachel Getting Married, but she did get one moment to shine in this film, when she delivers a very bitchy line about the size of Kate Hudson's ass at prom. The hairpin was also a nice touch, if only because the hairpin was so utterly intricate and beautiful. Apart from that, no redeeming qualities to this film.

The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond (Jodie Markell, 2008)
Bryce Dallas Howard plays Fisher Willow, a rich-but-disliked debutante returning to Memphis for her studies. She's got a mouth on her, and likes to expose the social-climbing society around her for what they are. That, along with her father's ruthless dealings, have rendered her unpopular. She has a soft spot for Jimmy, a poor farmer son of an alcoholic dad whose mother works for her family, and invites him to accompany her to the parties she loathes so much. She does everything in her control to make him appear presentable, but he's held back by his lack of self-worth and, in the film's climax, she loses one of her diamond teardrop earrings, worth $5000, and in her own insensitive way asks him if it fell in his pocket, which sounds to him like an accusation, bringing out his crushing low self-esteem back out and threatening to annhialate their already stilted relationship.

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It's a good thing Bryce Howard stepped in for this film, because before her it was Lindsay Lohan cast as Fisher Willow, and Lohan would not have done as well as Howard. The film deals with many of Tennessee William's favourite themes - class, honesty, fidelity, the truth, and it's a talky film, with some stunning costumes and backdrops. The strand with Ellen Burstyn bored me, but overall, it was a well-made, small picture with an uneasy strand running throughout, a strand that was not settled even by the semi-happy ending.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (David Yates, 2009)
Full review here. The installment of raging hormones and innuendos littered about here and there were very amusing ("Did you and Ginny do it?"), and if there was any justice in the world, Tom Felton would get an Oscar nomination for his bathroom scene; he was incredible. Also, Rupert Grint, wheeeeee! So lovely. I can't wait for 2010 and 2011 for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows parts 1 and 2, even if it does mean I'll be significantly older than Harry when I see my beloved franchise end.

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Anna Christie (Clarence Brown, 1930)
We all have our little secrets. For Anna Christie, it relates to her secret history of prostitution as a result of running away from her cousins when they abused her. Many years on, she comes back to see her dad, a sailor, who believes his daughter to be a respectable young woman. Anna Christie falls in love with another sailor, Matt, who also misguidedly thinks her a pure angel. But how long can she keep her past a secret from them?

Greta Garbo would be the main (and only real) reason to see this film. From her opening lines "Give me a whiskey with ginger ale on the side, and don't be stingy, baby", she captures the audience's interest and keeps it throughout the movie up until the climactic moment she tells her secret. Dressed in ill-fitting clothes and a look of malaise on her face throughout, there's an androgynous quality to her look. The rest of the film is nothing special, though amusing to watch how they skirted around mentioning words like "prossie" in the '30s.

The Soloist (Joe Wright, 2009)
Joe Wright's two previous movies both made my top 100 films. On seeing the overwrought, weighty trailer to The Soloist before Synecdoche, New York, I had a feeling that the Soloist wouldn't be joining Atonement and Pride & Prejudice. I was right. It tells the story of Mr. Lopez, a reporter for a New York paper who befriends talented musician Nathaniel, a man living on the streets, who manages to make beautiful music even with half a violin. Steve Lopez, knowing talent when he sees it, tries to turn Nathaniel's skill into his path towards a better life, but Nathaniel's mental illness along with unrest on the streets stand in his way.

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Well-acted The Soloist certainly is, but I could definitely sense Downey Jr was *acting*; it wasn't his most natural performance. Jamie Foxx is better, although he's done the "trouble musician" in the past, and better, in Ray, he is still very affecting and moving. The scene where he is playing the cello are genuinely moving and powerful and effectively conveys the transcendent power of music. Indeed, the orchestral scenes and musician scenes are the best thing about The Soloist, the rest of it feels rather flat.

Magnificent Obsession (John M. Stahl, 1935)
The "bad boy turned good due to his redeeming love for a good woman" story gets yet another 30's step out, in the form of this medical drama. Playboy Lothario Bobby is brought back to life after a boating accident, though due to the doctors operating on him, another doctor, Dr. Hudson, having a heart attack at the same time, was not able to be healed. Rather predictably, Bobby falls for the doctor's widow, Helen Hudson (Irene Dunne, amazing as ever), and when his car accident blinds her. This, along with another doctor's monologue about the importance of doing something with your life, prompts him to become an esteemed doctor. A fairly engaging romance with some fine performances.

In the Loop (Armando Iannucci, 2009)
It's a chuckle-a-minute in this political drama starring Peter Calpadi on his best, shouty form, and Tom Hollander is hilarious as the clueless Minister of International Development. Hollander is repeatedly putting his foot in it, and as a result is a lot of confusion and pointless back-tracking. Filmed on handheld camera, there's a docudrama feel to In the Loop and its brand of humour is very much like The Thick of It, from which this is a spin-off from. The parts where the characters are shouting colourful abuses at each other are hilarious and, whilst a little convoluted toward the end, In the Loop is nothing short of an enthralling satire, with Hollander and Calpadi, two talented individuals even on their worst days, positively bouncing off each other. The best film of 2009 so far.


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1 What's one trait that would instantly make you dislike a person?
2 Can money buy happiness?
3 Kate Moss. Discuss.
4 What is your dream career?
5 If you were a Harry Potter character, who would you be?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Top 5 Hottest Boys in HBP.

01. Rupert Grint, Ron Weasley.
02. Tom Felton, Draco Malfoy.
03. Louis Cordice, Blaise Zabini.
04. Freddie Stroma, Cormac McLaggen
05. Frank Dillane, 16-year-old Tom Riddle.

Yes please.

To bung.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Prince Harry is a Half Blood Prince.

Sorry, what I mean is, here's my review of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (David Yates, 2009)

16-year-old Harry Potter is now in Sixth form at Hogwarts. However, with Voldemort still at large, now with a growing entourage of Death Eaters out to get him, he could be forgiven for putting academics at the back of his mind. Danger is brewing aplenty, including a very ominous meeting occurring between Narcissa Malfoy, Draco's mother, and the ever-ambiguous Professor Snape. What's more, the teenagers Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ron's sister Ginny struggle with their feelings for each other, causing a complicated mess of emotions. Dark times, indeed.

As with all five of its predecessors, Harry Potter VI is suitably pretty to look at, a masterclass in the art of gliding cinematography. Filmed in ominous navy hues, it lacks the strokes of life that the earlier films' bright colours evoked, though, with such grim themes as death, murder, power and hidden secrets, it seems about fair, and makes me wonder in what colours the final installment will be painted. Handheld camera is employed in the odd scene and this gives the film a grainier edge, which is done well. At times, one wonders if David Yates fancies himself a bit of a Terrence Malick with the odd lingering shot too many, and on the whole, it contributes the the visual flair of the film, which is surprisingly sensual at times, yet harshly austere at others. One cannot fault the CGI, however, which intricately creates some of Rowling's best ideas - the dreams sequences are atmospheric and chilling, Weasley's Wizarding Weezes looked like a place that every child wants to go to. Sound also plays a big role in Harry Potter VI; in a few crucial scenes it is employed to create a menacing presence and the claustrophobic, nauseous sound effects, coupled with the images, do just that.

The cinematography, however, is not the only reason I derived pleasure from looking at this film. On a superficial level, there are two other rather nice things to look at in Half-Blood Prince, and I do believe their names are Tom Felton and Rupert bunging Grint. Rupert Grint gives yet another stellar comedic turn; without giving too much away, a scene where he consumes something intended for Harry and bears the consequences is one of the funniest things you'll see in the cinema all year, and it is Rupert's impeccable timing that gives it such warm humour. On the other end of the spectrum stands Tom Felton. Rather, stands Tom Felton in a black suit, hair gelled back, an expression on his face that is both terrifying and terrified. In Half-Blood Prince the novel, I felt real pathos for Draco, no matter how nasty a person he was, and thankfully this has translated onto screen. Felton gives a terrific performance, in one vital showdown we see the side of him that has hidden behind the bullying demeanor for so long.

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Sadly, the rest of the cast are not so talented. Emma Watson, after many years, still has no clue how to act. It's very sad because in the books, I absolutely adore Hermione, and in the sixth book I found her loveliest, both caring and perceptive to Harry's feelings for Ginny as well as vulnerable in her own love for Ron, as well as completely oblivious to just how amazing she was, which of course made her even lovelier in my eyes. Emma Watson conveys absolutely zero of this, and instead spent the entire film getting on my tits. Speaking of which, Miss Watson's babylons give a supporting performance in Slughorn's Christmas party, which should please the lads. Emma Watson will be pleased to hear that another actress has surpassed her poorness in acting. Whereas Watson overacts to the point of incredulity, Bonnie Wright is so dull that she could put out a fire just by looking at it. Her lack of chemistry with Radcliffe is absolutely embarrassing. Daniel Radcliffe himself seems to be battling against the waxwork model of himself at Taussads for the accolade of being most wooden actor. There are some scenes in this film which require a level of emotional maturity and empathy, and Radcliffe just reverts to what can only be reading the lines off the autocue. Nice.

Thankfully, in a world where badness is balanced out by good, there are some truly talented performances in Half-Blood Prince. Everything Miss Evanna Lynch touches is magic, her Irish accents only contributes to her sense of whimsical charm, and I thought it inspired for the filmmakers to kit her out in a lion costume pre-Quidditch game; she looked adorable. You can tell Helena Bonham Carter is having a whale of a time as Bellatrix, as she reeks havoc all round and generally brings the house down, and Jim Broadbent captures Professor Slughorn very well. The screenplay is a bit duff, the film feels too episodic and disjointed and as ever, too much of the novel has been omitted. However, the episodic nature is not totally bad; in a few scenes, we see Draco lingering around the sidelines menacingly, which is a nice little touch. The humour, when it comes, is welcome - Rupert Grint the court jester, and Jessie Cave, as Lavender Brown, his clingy girlfriend, is utterly hilarious. There are also moments which genuinely scared me. Therefore, I find myself saying what I always say when another Harry Potter movie comes out: I was entertained no end, I laughed and giggled, I fancied Rupert Grint and despised Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson. Except this time, I have two more things to add: Tom Felton is completely beautiful and when we were treated to that Tarantinoesque shot of his feet I just wanted to bung, and omg, someone get Bonnie Wright an acting lesson. And a meal or two. And a decent haircut. When all is said and done, however, it sits my favourite film of 2009 so far.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Book 2: The Gatecrasher (Madeleine Wickham).

dfd


Fleur Daxeny is 40 years of age, immoral, beautiful, and very devious. To this day, she has gotten through life by "gatecrashing" funerals - that is, spotting the grieving widower and charming her way into his life, and Gold credit card. Richard Favour is her latest prey - he, still feeling the ripples of the death of his wife Emily, a woman he deified but never truly knew, falls head over heels in love with her, and she, spotting an easy cash in, leads him on. This is no simple shag-and-rob situation however, as we are introduced to his dysfunctional family: his terrified, unconfident adult daughter Philippa, trapped in an unhappy marriage to her domineering, cruel husband Lambert; his growingly apathetic teenage son Antony, his quiet, martyr-like sister-in law Gillian, and a secret of his wealth, a wealth that even the most goldigging shrew can only dream of.

Madeleine Wickham, aka Sophie Kinsella, author of the Shopaholic books, does like her social satire, and this is certainly one of her finer efforts. She captures the many facets of the comfy Surrey life - daily trips to the clubhouse, wherein the members initially judged Fleur as the harlot she is, before slowly succumbing to her charms, as well as the tragic realness behind the forced smiles - Philippa and Lambert's marriage is one of the saddest strands of any of Wickham's creations, and as Lambert's harshness to his wife increases, so does Philippa's self-loathing. 

Key to any good book, however, is a protagonist we can know and love, and Fleur most certainly is not that. In my eyes, she was nothing short of a Jezebel, who needed to Bye Felicia asap (preferably, crushed by all the money she conned out of her many conquests.) Such was my dislike for Fleur, that I also didn't take to her daughter, Zara, a pretentious 13-year-old who speaks with an American accent and smokes joints, but in an effortless way, mind, so she must be cool. Her "romance" with her mother's boyfriend's son, Antony, bordered on paedophilic, and the way the two of them "shared a bed" was a horrible prelude to what Will and Lyra were to do a few years later. Nice. 

That said, there were two characters I didn't want to stab. Gillian, the deceased Emily's long-suffering sister, was a curious one. At the start, she was painted like the holier-than-thou woman who's sister has just passed away, and takes to judging the woman who tries to fill her shoes. As the book goes on, however, we see how she suffered under the control of her sister, who, despite having many friends and admirers, turns out to be a nasty piece of work, one who made her daughter feel worthless, made her son feel conscious of his birthmark, and never warmed to her husband. The husband, Richard, is the other only good character. Bland at the start, strokes of colour are added to his personality as time goes by. He is a geniunely good man, perhaps not the best parent, but he recognises his folly just in time.

A curious book - for a chicklit, it evoked far more feels than it should, and made me pine for the female characters of Sophie Kinsella - as selfish and materialistic as Becky Bloomwood ever was, she would never intentionally string a man along so heartlessly as Fleur does. Above it all, however, there is a heart - Zara, pleading with her mother to ditch her man-hopping a settle down, reminds us that, when all is said and done, home is where the heart is.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Leighton Meester couldn't be more awesome if she tried.

sdsd

I have a new movie star crush.

I can't even bring myself to say who it is, 'cos I've spent, like, the last two years slagging him (and his acting) off. I still can't believe it, frankly. Ick.

Two days to go.

!

In two days time, I shall be in the cinema with my mate, watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Can't wait!

Also, I started a Summer job today, so sadly won't have enough time to write blog entries.

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"Bitch's blog entries aren't any good anyway", I hear you say.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Selected photos from China.

The whole boring collection is on Facebook, so add me to see 'em (or, just add me anyway), but to save you sifting through loadsa pics of my parents/rocks/etc, here are my faves:

cales #1 / cakes #2

lamb / lamb / lamb

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posing / posing / posing / posing


wn

Just the four this week.

Screening Log: 6th July - 12th July


Body of Lies (Ridley Scott, 2008)
Terrifically taut thriller by the master, it begins with a bombing, ends with a grim torture scene and features a whole lot of complex twisting and turning throughout. Generally speaking, it's about CIA officers Ed Ferris (DiCaprio) and Ed Hoffman (Crowe) and their attempts to catch terrorist leader Al-Sa-leem, with the help (or not) of the head of Jordanian Intelligence (played by Mark Strong, looking more like Berbatov than humanly possible). DiCaprio is at his most bungtastic in this movie; poor man gets the shit kicked out of him, but he exudes a Noble sense of wanting to do the right thing and his pursuit of Golshifteh Farahani's character, driven by love rather than lust, is adorable. The film does drag a little towards the middle but has a massive crescendo and ends on a semi-high, so all round, a rewarding watch.

Happy Feet (George Miller, Warren Coleman, 2006)
UGH. I honestly do not know what I was thinking when I initially rendered this film cute, it was painfully irritating and nothing less. Just so, so bad. The voice cast, though containing the smidgen of talent, clearly all just regarded this film as a cash-in and no-one gets out of autopilot, especially not Robin Williams, who pissed me off, so hard. The "environmental message" was the most contrived thing ever. Hate.

Girl with a Pearl Earring (Peter Webber, 2003)
Over my time in China, I gave Tracy Chevalier's novel a few more readings, and loved it so much each time round that it has now taken proud spot as my #1 book. The film, however, left much to be desired. As with Happy Feet, I'd previously liked this film, but it really does not hold up to repeat viewings. Scarlett Johansson is the film's main problem, she has none of Griet's awesomeness, and instead spends much of the film looking utterly gormless. The sets, cinematography, costume and Alexandre Desplat score are beautiful, as expected, but the film was just so blah compared to the source material and I'm tempted to believe it missed the point of the book exactly. Alakina Mann, so brilliant in The Others, made a convincing bitch here, though, and it was cool to see a young Anna Popelwell in action. But God, Scarlett Johansson needs to stop acting asap.

17 Again (Burr Steers, 2009)

At 17 years of age, Mike O'Donnell (Zac Efron) is a high school basketball player who, by the High School Musical definition of happiness, has it all. Popular, the leading payer on his team, and has the love of a beautiful girl. Things are smooth sailing for him until, on the day of the biggest match of his life, he abandons the match to be with his girlfriend, who has just dropped the bombshell that she is pregnant. Twenty years on, however, a disillusioned Mike (now played by Matthew Perry) has it far from perfect. His wife is divorcing him, and his two teenage kids are going through the token phase of hating and/or feeling embarrassed by their dad. To add insult to injury, he has just been passed over for promotion at a company he's worked at for the last 16 years. In a rainy night when trying to save an old man from falling into a river, he falls in, and in doing so, finds himself in his 17-year-old body. To all intents and purposes, he is 17 Again.


Zac Efron has the happy challenge of playing a man trapped within a lad's body, and he's actually surprisingly good. He's certainly no where near as irritating as Troy Bolton and manages to bring the odd chuckle. The scene where he stands up to the school bully whilst defending his son/friend is done with such youthful swagger that you can't help but warm to him, and it's quite clear that Efron himself feels more at home with PG-13 material. The concept, though nothing new, is done in such an unassuming way (with a heart-warming sequence featuring Mike/Mark teaching his son/friend basketball) that the film is a joy to watch and the cheesy parts are forgivable. Predictable and easy, it won't stretch the brain cells but is a very watchable number.

Now that I'm back in England, I hope to see a lot more films, including a trip to the cinema to see the latest Harry Potter film on Wednesday, so, next week, hopefully I'll have more than four films to write about.
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01. What are your current obsessions?
02. Have you ever been so drunk you threw up?
03. What's for dinner?
04. What did you do for your last birthday?
05. Who do you want to meet right now?

Kung Fu Panda (Mark Osborne, John Stevenson, 2008)

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Po is a panda. He’s a panda that works for a restaurant making noodles. He’s also a panda that spends all his spare time dreaming of being a kung fu warrior. Unfortunately for him, he’s also clumsy and large. Actually, make that extremely clumsy and large. The action begins when Oogway, a very old and wise turtle, foresees the escape of Tai Lung, an evil and unstoppable snow leopard, once the prodigal tutee of renowned martial arts tutor Shifu, now so bad and ferocious that he needs to be locked up in a cage. Although (wishfully) certain that Tai Lung cannot escape, Shifu has a ceremony to pick the Dragon Warrior – the one, of his five current tutees – that will be able to defeat Tai Lung. However, in Po being so keen to see the ceremony, he ends up inside it, and, through a comedy of errors, Oogway selects him as the Dragon Warrior.

It’s not the stuff of rocket manuals, but it is the set up for Kung Fu Panda, one of last year’s funniest and most bighearted movies. The animation is of Dreamworks’ distinctive style, but going Chinese seems to have boded well, for the detail on all the animals, the scenic mountains, not to mention the Matrix-styled fight scene on the bridge, are all delicious crafted with rich colours and hues. There is a plethora of famous voice actors – Angelina Jolie voices Tigress, the most talented fighter of Shifu’s five, Jackie Chan voices Monkey and Lucy Liu Viper, etc. The five animals are all rather sadly unused (I for one would have loved to hear more of Seth Rogen. However, Ian McShane drips menace as the baddie and Dustin Hoffman has the tired red panda down to a T. However, this is easily the Jack Black show. A fine comedic actor and an even finer singer, he conflates these two skills to really bring Po to life. Po is every bit a children's hero, and in a day and age where we are constantly being reminded of how fat we are, Po is tribute to all that one can achieve with self-belief, not svelteness.

There are comic moments aplenty – many of the fight scenes themselves are comic, and the film is unpretentious and fun enough for it to be enjoyed by children and adults alike. The only Dreamworks cartoon close to reaching Pixar’s level these days, and it’s a far, far lot better than the overrated Ratatouille

Friday, July 10, 2009

That's not what I saw!

I watched Body of Lies on the plane yesterday, and I found it thrilling, well-acted (sigh, DiCaprio is pretty much the perfect man) and extremely grim. The torture scenes and violence made me shudder.

Well, turns out I got let off lightly. During the film, I noticed the characters kept saying "freaking" and "fricking" which didn't sound like language you'd expect in a Ridley Scott action thriller, so, curious, I went on the bbfc website. I was right, it had been edited -
BODY OF LIES is a Ridley Scott film about CIA anti terrorist field operations in the Middle East. It was classified ‘15’ for frequent strong language, bloody violence and torture.

At '15' the Guidelines state that ‘violence may be strong but may not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury’ and ‘there may be frequent use of strong language (e.g. 'fuck')’. The film contains explosions, several bloody bullet injuries, close ups of Roger’s various bomb injuries, a fight with dogs, a masked stabbing and two scenes of implied torture. The finale has a scene of torture in which two fingers are smashed with a hammer in close up and a man’s life is threatened with a large knife. As the scene is relatively brief and the injury is clearly condemned, it falls within both the letter and spirit of the '15' Guidelines. This film additionally contains strong sex references, for example to ‘pussy’ and ‘poontang’


So the torture scenes were even worse than I saw! Plus, today, I learnt what "poontang", a word we always say in drinking games, means. Nice.