Monday, 25 February 2008

Oscars

Big disappointment. There's not really much to say, but No Country For Old Men, while fantastic I'm sure, didn't deserve that much of a sweep (and yes I'm bitter about Atonement). Cinematography should also have gone to Atonement, as well as Costume Design. As well as Supporting Actress. I mean, what the hell? Urgh...they were basically a copy of the BAFTAs.

by the by, Saoirse looked lovely. Have you ever noticed that the stars of the Oscars, while all glamourous and glitzy, always wear dresses that don't fit? Either stretched out and tight, or loose and falling down. From a purely fashion point of view: HERS FITTED!!!



Ooooh, and more cheerful news...I got my first paycheck today!!! :D:D £50...I teach little kids French in an after school French club every Monday, helping my old French teacher, and I get £10 a session. I'm well chuffed :D

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Screening Log 8/2/08 - 17/2/08

Usually on weekends I watch one, maybe two films...hence why I don't do a screening log every week. However, over half-term (which was a week ago, but it just wouldn't be me if it wasn't late) I tend to watch waaay more. So, to begin:

Brassed Off - voila

Dirty Dancing - One of the more classic and passionate coming-of-age stories with the usual young innocent girl and the oh-so-misunderstood tough guy. Luckily, it's saved almost every single cliche thanks to the heated dance scenes, beautiful settings, and the great acting, particularly from Jennifer Gray. It's definately in my top 50...and in my top ten of films-to-watch-on-a-friday-night-under-a-comfy-blanket. A-

*the* dance

Octopussy - I love James Bond. I know it's a story about an - admittedly hot - assassin, who spends the entire time blowing things up or trying to get laid...but he is just so cool. Octopussy, however, has to be one of the worst Bond films I've ever seen. Roger Moore, while a fantastic actor, just doesn't suit the role of Bond. He plays up the charming swave side of him, while completely ignoring the grittier, more frightening side, portrayed perfectly by the likes of Timothy Dalton and Daniel Craig. Plus, the story's quite convoluted and unfollowable, and has about a million climaxes...just when you think it's all over...it isn't. I'm very glad Timothy came along when he did. D

Juno - plus de "voila"

Persepolis - hmmmn. I need to watch this again before I can write properly about it...I can't really describe it atm. Let me just say, my first impressions are that it was fantastic, and, agreeing with Emma, it deserves the Best Animation Award. It was thought-provoking and emotional and real...I really loved it. I'll write a proper review eventually. A+


persepolis


The History Boys - woooaaah...didn't expect all the gay stuff. Not that I have a problem with it, but it came as a bit of a surprise, I didn't know it was one of the main themes. Anywhoo, great film, great acting, and, oh my gosh, a great script. I am shocked that it wasn't recognised for its screenplay by any of the major awards, beacuase it was just fantastic; the scene with Posner and Hector, as he discusses poetry and the affect it has on us, the reader, was fantastic, coupled with Richard Griffith's amazing acting it became one of the most beautiful and believable scenes I have ever watched. I also loved the whole "boy's club" aspect of it, the friendship between boys I've always found adorable, and this film was full of it. And Akhtar, the Muslim boy, was soooo hot. B

the history boys

True Lies - And Arnold Schwarzenegger finally comes into his own. I don't know about you, but watching him play the huge 7 ft muscle-y guy with the meltable heart of gold really bugged me in films such as Junior and Twins. I mean, really. It just wasn't that funny, it was pretentious, and, tbh, it was just really dumb. However, in True Lies, we have him playing an undercover spy, unbeknownst by his adventure-yearning wife, and he plays it to perfection, with the right amount of comedy and toughness. "There is no us, you psychopathic bitch" had me in tears...the way he said it was hilarious. Jamie Lee Curtis is great too, as the little wife who desperately wants some adventure and excitement in her life, and ends up being forced into a "secret mission" by who she thinks is the Secret Service, and who is actually her husband. This film also features a pervertedly twisted scene, in which she performs a strip-tease for an unknown criminal, who is actually her husband watching from the shadows. Ewwwww...True Lies indeed. B-

Amelie - my mum, who was working in the room while I was watching this, glanced up from her work momentarily to inform me that this was very "weird". Amd she was absolutely right, this film is strange...it has such a strange sweet dream-like quality to it, you feel like you're stuck in a very gentle JD fantasy. I did love it though, I loved the setting (an idealised Paris, perhaps, but a gorgeous Paris too), I loved Audrey Tautou, I loved the wealth of quirky funny characters, and I loved all the little strange glimpses into Amelie's world: the gnome sending photos, her dressing up as Zorro, the little imagined documentary of her life. Her love-interest was really sweet, but, tbh, he did creep me out a little...with the whole obsessive photos thing. It was cute in a theoretical way, btu honestly it was freaky. Otherwise, I really really loved this, it made me happy simply watching it. A

Friday, 22 February 2008

Brassed Off

Brassed Off is about a group of coal miners struggling to make ends meet as their industry closes down around them - quite similar to others such as Billy Elliot and The Full Monty. Like the previous two, it also features an element of art and performance, in this case a colliery brass band...who have to face the closure of their mine, and the inevitable dispersion of their band. It's a comedy, but is also way more grittier and realistic about the impact the unemployment and poverty had on the families and friendships and lives of the workers than other films in its genre - featuring particularly striking and powerful scenes depicting these themes, for example, in one chilling scene, one of the main characters attempts to hang himself while wearing his daytime-job clown costume: terrifyingly pathetic; in another, another main charcater makes a heart-felt speech about the true importance of the lives of the miners, and the terrible injustice affecting them.

Brassed Off is, theoretically, pretty much a perfect film. It features excellent performances from Ewan McGregor, Tara Fitzgerald, Philip Jackson, and in particular, Peter Postlethwaite, has a fantastic script and setting, and a beautiful "brass" sountrack. It was my second time watching it, however, and tbh, it definately dragged in some parts, and the one thing that really kept me to the screen was Ewan McGregor and all his gorgeousness (yes...shallow, but it was the first Friday of half term and I was TIRED). This "dragging" effect was probably beacuse there were so many different issues raised throughout the film...and for so many different charcters and contexts, it was impossible to deal with them without feeling just a touch forced. It is definately a film that I would recommend watching, and it is ridiculously enjoyable the first time round, but don't be too surprised if you find yourself getting a little bored in the middle of repeat-viewings.



All in all, I would say that this is definately another success in British cinema, and was nominated for several BAFTAs, including Best British Film. I feel, however, had the writers/ director/film people concentrated on keeping the story simpler, but with as much warmth and humour as it has now, it would been a much better success.




end result? B-

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Harry Potter Survey

So I had an alright-ish day at school today; got the marks back for my German and French mocks, none of which I revised:

German:
Listening, Reading, Writing - A (arghhh!! :D)


French:
Listening, Reading, Writing - A (arghhh! again :D)
Speaking - B (I froze up halfway through my speech and gave a pathetic "I can't remember anything else". Surprised it didn't go unmarked.)
Writing - C (apparantly not enough facts.)

So...French is the one I did all the modules in. I'm really happy, I know I can do better in the speaking and writing when I actually prepare for them...and know what I'm doing. And German would probably go the same, so it's all goood! Hopefully I should get 'A's in them come summer.

OK, so, I want everybody who visits my blog (like...all three of you :P) to answer this survey, dammit! I'm gonna keep it up top (if that's possible) for a while, I'm really interested to see what people's answers are!!

OK...sooo

The Harry Potter Survey...!!!! (Gosh, I'm a geek)

1. If you had some Amortentia, what would it smell like?
2. What would your Boggart be? How would you make it funny?
3. What would your Patronus/Animagus be?
4. What house would you be in? What house would you like to be in?
5. What subjects would you take in third year (ok...I've had a long day!! Let me be weird!!)

My answers...aren't you excited?

1. Hmmmn, Amortentia. There would be the smell of popcorn, 'cos it reminds me of he cinema. The new smell of books, like the Harry Potter books the first day you get them. That sunny breezey smell at ten o'clock in the summer holidays. And, finally, that soapy smell that guys have. *chuckles*

amortentia

2. Boggart. A bit like the Weasley's, to be honest. Either spiders *shudders* but not just one huge one, but hundreds of smaller ones swarming...urgh. How would I make it funny? Probably transform them into a million jelly sweets :D or watching loved ones dying. I reckon the dying and suffering would be the hardest to watch. And, tbh, you can't make that funny. Unless you have it like in scrubs where the cameras pop out from everywhere (Scrubs - My Philosophy 2.13)

3. Patronus. I'd quite like a giraffe. That would be hilarious. But I'd probably get a meeerkat...gosh they're cute. Imagine if you got a pigeon?

still fighting

4. House. OK...I would like to be in Gryffindor, partly 'cos of the potter thing...but not just that. Slytherin's are strange, Hufflepuffs are known as geeky...and I wouldn't want to be chucked in a house 'cos I'm smart. I don't want that to be my defining characteristic. I'm a bit of a Neville-brave person...not Harry brave...but hey. It'd be fun. But Ravenclaw would be cool too.

5. hehe. I would take: all of them. Except Muggle Studies. Maybe not Divination either...so Arithmancy, Care of Magical Creatures and Ancient Runes.

hehe that was fun!! Please give me your answers too!

oooh and btw...the pictures aren't by me. They're from a fansite I found ages ago, aren't they fantastic? I don't really look at fan art, but I stumbled across it when trying to find the date for the seventh book. Anyway, here are some more of my favourites from it:


chess

gryffindor boys

gryffindor girls

hogsmeade


trio


voldie's xmas



oooh, btw, song of the moment...Feed the Birds from Mary Poppins. I burned the CD for my little brother, and now I looove it :D

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Juno


Just came back from watching Juno in the cinema this afternoon, and I have to say it is one of the sweetest, most heart-warming films I have ever seen - the perfect indie-comedy. The acting was superb: Ellen Page accurately managed to portray the quirky and tough Juno, as well as her softer side, without making her pretentious and cliché, and causing the audience to hate her. No mean feat. Michael Cera was adorable as the shy awkward guy in love, standing out in several key scenes: facing Juno off in front of the lockers, clutching her underwear in his fist, running to the hospital...it quite literally brought tears to my eyes (partly 'cos it's Valentine's Day, and I don't have someone like him...still).
But the performance that really stood out to me, partly 'cos I was able to connect to it so well, was Jennifer Garner's role. This might seem strange, as I'm 16 and in no way in her situation. Still, like her, I'm one of these maternal people whose life's purpose is to be a mother. Her desperation for a baby, and the moments when she managed to connect to it, whether through Juno's tummy, or actually holding it, made me cry.

But the aspect of Juno that most stood out to me was the screenplay. When I first heard that Juno was up for a million awards for its screenplay, I was extremely sceptical...it's not really an original story at all, and it's next to impossible to construct a halfway decent story out of it. But this, it blew me away. This film didn't cheapen or make light play out of the idea of pregnancy, but nor does it harshly condemn it, and try and frighten all teenage girls in the audience out of their wits. It's simply and honestly put across (admittedly the support from the parents was unusual, but given that circumstance, it was real). The best example of this is the scene at the abortion clinic. Juno discovers that babies have fingernails...and she doesn't immediately rush home in repentant tears. It's only when, five minutes later, she realises how human fingernails are that she faces the fact that she can't abort. And it's a personal decision, not one dictated for the rest of the universe to follow. Personally, I'm pro-life, but it's refreshing to see how pro-life is portrayed in this film.

The smaller points of the film were fabulous also…I have the soundtrack on repeat, and I was gawping at Juno’s awesome sense of fashion throughout. Overall, in pretty much every aspect, it is perfect.


Tuesday, 12 February 2008

The 2008 BAFTAs

chyah...yeah I know, days late. Still. Whatever. I'll give you a "condensed" version of my thoughts:

Overall, it was a pretty good ceromony...I was confused with the random Spartans at first...and the sound was pretty crap at the beginning, but it sorted itself out...and aside from the few awkward moments when people just didn't get the jokes, it went pretty smoothly. (Apart from that awful snobbiness at that girl who'd made that Santa Claus movie. If she had something else to do, she had something else to do! Stop thinking so much of yourselves, you idiots.) We had a wonderful array of stars presenting the awards...Hugh Laurie (goooooosh, he's gorgeous. And old. But gorgeous), Emily Blunt, Eva Green...yeah, they were the ones who stood out. The stars were were quite well dressed too, aside from Tilda Swinton (you what?) and Diablo Cody (ewww...never animal prints). Otherwise, everyone looked lovely, and pretty much no one had worn something "designer-y hideous" Some red-carpet highlights:


And onto the awards. Generally, nothing was really surprising. Director, Original Screenplay (wooh Juno), Rising Star, Foreign Film, Leading Actor, Supporting Actor, Animated Film, Editing and Sound were all as expected, although not necessarily what I wanted.

Adapted Screenplay was a bit of a surprise...I was sure Atonement or the Kite Runner would get it. Special Visual Effects was a disappointment for a Pirates fan like me...those polar bears and little animals came no where near that amazing maelstroem scene, or Davy Jones' face. What were they thinking? Leading Actress was a surprise too, I had been hoping for Keira, but that was really just for the link to Atonement. I don't know if Marion Cotillard deserved it more than her, but I warmed to her immediately during her speech. It was adorable, so heart-felt and emotional.

Supporting Actress I am pissy about. Tilda seemed so 2D in Micheal Clayton, whereas Saoirse made the whole tone of Atonement what it was...if we're talking about achievement in acting, Saoirse really achieved more...I was disappointed for her, she should have got it!! Hopefully she'll get the Oscar and that will show them!!! *starts plotting grumpily*

The entire night was made up for me when Atonement won best film. I honestly wasn't expecting it, seeing as every single award throughout the night had passed it by. I thought it would be either No Country, or There Will Be Blood...to win the biggest award does make up for the lack of other recognition.

I have to say though, I do wish Atonement had won more. It only won 2 out of 14 nomination...one totally deservedly, and the other, well...the production design wasn't Atonement's most outstanding feature. If I'd had it my way, Atonement would have won:

Film
Music
Cinematography
Supporting Actress

These were the areas which really made Atonement outstanding, and they deserved recognition way more than the people who actually won *mumbles something annoyedly*

Still...it was a pretty good night. And I do apologise for the lack-lustre state of this post, but I'm in a rush to do my language oral prep. Peace out.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Lovely costumes...

Aaaaaaand the nominees are:

Albert Wolsky (Across the Universe)

'
Jacqueline Durran (Atonement)

Alexandra Byrne (Elizabeth: The Golden Age)


Marit Allen (La Vie en Rose)

Colleen Atwood (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street)

aaaand for inspiration, let us take a look at last year's winner:
Milena Canonero (Marie Antoinette)

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Pan's Labyrinth

Admittedly extremely behind the times, but I finallly watched Pan's Labyrinth on Friday...ironically the day before it won the "BBC 4 World Cinema" Award. My thoughts? Well, it was original, creative, visually stunning, moving...

ohmygoodnessitwassoviolent

ok, for the less sensitive (read: wimpy) among you, it probably wasn't anything. I mean, there are people who are able to watch a Clockwork Orange without any qualms, and here I am complaining about some 15. But, my word, was it necessary for them to pile all the violence on? I mean, it was all there, from people being shot in the face, to people being whacked around the face with hammers and bottles, to (oooh, this still frightens me) that evil general getting his mouth "extended." I mean really. It terrified me...and I just didnt get why...why couldn't they have stopped at a certain point, once they'd shown the horrors of the war, or once they'd shown that general was, indeed, a twat. It really distracted me from the rest of the film, and I wasn't able to properly enjoy it...less than half of it was that wonderful gothic fantasy I desperately wanted to see.

Aside from that, it was a fantastic film, and well deserving of all the praise. The special effects were wonderful, and it was a creative, unusual story. However, Ofelia's character really caused me to not switch it off halfway - she was brave, she was clever, she was curious, she was imaginative...and she was perfectly acted by Ivana Baquero, a simply lovely actress. That's not to mention the cinematography and the set and art direction, both of which won a deserved Academy Award.

All in all, I'm glad that I watched it the once, so I could have seen the amazing beauty of the film described above, but I'm afraid I'll never be watching it again...unless someone vividly edits it for me.