Friday, 31 July 2009

I'm baaaaaacck

and I had a lovely time! Thank you all for your kind wishes and also for all the comments you left while I was away - I got a big smile when I opened my inbox. I'm gonna try and catch up on people's blogs and stuff in the next few days. Anyway, it seems that in the two weeks I was away, trailers for three films I've desperately been obsessing over and waiting for came out. The irony of life...

01. An Education

British cinema doesn't often disappoint and I doubt this'll be one of the few times it does. What seems to be a careful beautiful observation on growing up, love and one's place in life with some pretty amazing talent. Written by Nick Hornby - the guy who wrote About a Boy, which ought to hopefully mean they'll be a good dollop of warm humour.

02. Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde is the love of my life and this - his only novel - is a wonderful read. The 1945 film version is very very good, although not perfect by any means (where were the homoerotic understones exactly?). Hopefully lack of censureship nowadays should allow a more honest interpretation of the book. Judging by the trailer, this film also seems a lot more gripping and emotionally involving, although of course, trailers can be misleading. I just sincerely hope it's not too gory. I know it's the wimp in me talking, but honestly, Dorian Gray isn't a horror. Well, it is, but not in a gory let's-slice-someone's-face-off type thing. Please please please let the film makers have controlled themselves and not made a horrific 18 out of this film.

03. Alice in Wonderland

There's not really much to say. I love Alice in Wonderland. I love Tim Burton. It looks visually perfect. I am however disappointed that they changed the story of it so much. I would have loved Burton to tackle the real story and make his interpretation of that. We can't have everything though...and it does look good.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

An Interview with...Andrew

So far, unless someone suddenly decides they want to do one, this is going to be the last of the interviews before my own one. And I have to say it is a pretty amazing ending - so detailed and thoughtful. Anyway, Andrew from Encore's World of Film & TV is pretty new, at least on my circuit (yes, I have a circuit) but I would advise anyone with the slightest interest in films to check his blog out, because he is an absolutely natural reviewer - he knows how to analyse a film or examine a performance in beautiful detail without sucking all the magic out of it which is something I always find difficult to do. He has great taste, reviews a wide range of films and is just fairly brilliant :)

Andrew's Interview:

Favourite Film? Why?

My favourite film is unequivocally The English Patient. When I think of the word favourite I think of something that I can enjoy time after time and love it more and more. I remember the first time I saw The English Patient, I looked at it every day for a month. I was that obsessed. There are many reasons that I like The English Patient, I have always had a penchant for good old British epics and The English Patient is the only good epic movie in the last twenty years… at least in the original sense. The acting, the writing, the directing, the editing – everything is just so beautiful to look at. It features every cast member at the top of their game and it also introduced me to Kristin Scott Thomas who I absolutely adore.

Favourite Director? Why?

When the words favourite director comes to mind I immediately think of Martin Scorsese. There a few directors of the olden days that I love – William Wyler, George Cuckor, Joe Mankeivich but I love Martin Scorsese. Whenever I hear that Martin Scorsese has a new film I start salivating. I don’t love all his films the same but I really like him, he seems like such a great person. He’s actually kind of my idol to an extent. I love The Departed, The Aviator, Good Fellas, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, The Last Temptation of Christ. I respect Raging Bull. Gangs of New York is also good, as is The Age of Innocence. Everything he does is done with such dignity that I cannot help but be a fan of his.

Do you agree with the principles of the auteur theory, which states the director is the major creative force behind a film, and is the person who places the biggest mark?

I am very torn on this issue since I don’t really think so. There was a time when I wanted to be a screenwriter – I suppose to an extent I still want to be one, but I can’t do that fulltime. I’m rambling - Nevertheless, generally I feel that the writer is most important in giving a film a definitive mark… but that doesn’t mean the director is not important, in the end it all comes down to who the director is and who the screenwriter is. The ball is typically in the screenwriter’s court, but it comes down to a battle of the powers – and sometimes the director comes out successful.

In your opinion, which director most embodies this theory?

The first person that came to mind when you asked that is Woody Allen, but then I though Woody writes many of his own films, which probably account for the similar tone running through his films. Lars Von Trier comes to mind too (I know I’m cheating by naming more than one) but off the top of my head the one director who places his mark definitively on each of his films is Tim Burton. Tim Burton is tricky kid in my book, when I love him I really love him [Big Fish, Corpse Bride] and sometimes I like it but hmmm [Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd] and then sometimes I’m really nonplussed [Mars Attack]. Still, what makes him the ultimate auteur in my view is that you can look at any film he does and usually you can think – That’s a Tim Burton film.

To what extent do you allow critics/other people to influence what you enjoy?

Oh dear, now you’re getting personal :) ! This is an interesting question. It really does vary. It really depends on whose behind a film. I have a frustrating neuroses where I’ll see a film that I consider fair to middling [Slumdog Millionaire, Juno, Crash, Adaptation] to name a few. Then the world will start going crazy about it and I begin to hate it more and more. There are films I’m not sure if I like and when persons like Ebert and Nathaniel over at gives it a scathing review, I am tempted to avoid it – but it doesn’t always work. Critics I admired wrote off The Reader and it was in my top 5. I can be a bit of a loner when it comes to works of art, so I am not that easily influenced. I like to decide on my own.

Do you predominantly see film as art or entertainment?

Art – always art. But the thing is when something is good art, I tend to appreciate it more. I mean I can sit down and enjoy something like Knocked Up, but I won’t rank it high on the artistic circuit, so although I didn’t laugh through [for example] Bullets Over Broadway, I’d still consider it a better film and much better than Knocked Up, even though Knocked Up is the funnier of the two. The question is pretty much open, though.

Have you ever liked/ appreciated a film, but not really enjoyed it?

Often. For me the word enjoy means to sit down and find something pleasurable. Take The Reader for example. After looking at this film [my #3 last year] I felt completely depressed. I mean it was not a pleasurable movie, but I was pleased to experience such a work of art. Schindler’s List is another example. I know it’s a good film, but whereas with The Reader, I liked it despite the depressing tone – I don’t like Schindler’s List. I will recommend as a great film. I will say it’s one of the best of the 90s. But I don’t I don’t really like it, even though I’ll give it an A grade.

Gun to your head, you’re only allowed to watch old cinema (i.e pre 70s) or modern cinema (i.e post 80s) – which would you pick? Why?

Where the hell did you get these questions??? Difficult, much. (Editor's Note: *big smile*) Okay, old cinema without a doubt. Although The English Patient, my favourite film, is modern I want old cinema more. If there was no old cinema there would be no Katharine Hepburn for me and I have an [unhealthy] obsession with her. There is no actor for whom I would [willingly] sit down and look at all their films. Only Katharine. I am in love with her. And for that reason I will acquiesce to old cinema.

How important do you consider cinemas and the cinema going experience in this day and age?

This is another tough question. I live in Guyana and the cinemas here suck!!! I catch all my films on DVD, or on the internet. The quality is not always good [I will admit that I have bought some illegal copies in my day] but movies are my junk and I have to get them one way or the other. Right now, the cinema is playing The Invasion [ that movie came out… what? Two years ago?]. I hear cinema and I think dirty, stuff places with loud people.

Are cinema and film the same thing?

When I hear cinema I think trashy movies like Epic Movie, Transformers, Year One. When I hear film I think something grand like Atonement, Howards End, Raging Bull. Is it the same thing? I don’t know. I suppose it would be accurate to say that film is a part of the cinematic experience.

Who’s you favourite Hepburn girl – Audrey or Katherine?

Katharine, Katharine, Katharine, Katharine, Katharine.
I like Audrey [Wait Until Dark was great] but I will always harbour some bad feelings towards her for taking the role of Eliza Doolittle from Julie Andrews.

Name one person who you feel has had the biggest influence ever in the film industry.

Okay I don’t know what to say to this. This is really hard.

Which film festival would you most like to visit? London, Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Sundance, Toronto…?

Does the Oscars count? No? I’d probably go to the Cannes. I’m not a film festival person, since most of these festivals have films I’d probably not enjoy – but I adore the French. I am not that good with the language, but je t’aime Paris!

Piece together your ideal film – story, actors, actresses, director, composer, cinematographer…the works.

Oh. Favourite question. This question raises guilt in me, because a few months ago I started a running feature where I listed a film I wanted made – but no one commented which rendered the post null and void so I stopped. I’ll probably start it back sometime soon [please comment when I do!] (E/N: will do!). this is not my ideal movie, but it’s a project I want to see done. I’m [also] obsessed with Stephen Sondheim, which would explain it.

Company based on the Tony Award Winning Musical

Company from the Weinstein Studios
Directed by Rob Marshall

The Protagonist:

Robert - Cheyenne Jackson (a bachelor)

The Couples:

Paul - Taye Diggs (a sane man)
Amy - Anne Hathaway (his neurotic wife)

Harry - Johnny Depp (an alcoholic husband)
Sarah - Audra McDonald (his diet crazy wife)

Larry - Daniel Day Lewis (an older husband)
Joanne - Annette Bening (and his caustic wife who’s been often married)

Peter - Hugh Jackman (the perfect husband)
Susan - Nicole Kidman (his perfect soon to be ex-wife)

David - Ewan McGregor (a young and pretentious socialite)
Jenny - Amy Adams (his uncertain wife)

The Girlfriends:

Kathy - Scarlett Johansson (a country girl who hates the city)
Martha - Stacy Ferguson (a city girl who loves the hustle and bustle)
April - Beyonce Knowles (an empty headed flight attendant)

Company is Sondheim’s most popular score I believe, and the story is very cinematic. Five married couples try to convince their bachelor friend to get serious. It’s funny and it needs a great cast – since the cast is the highlight. I think it’s important to get a talented singer/actor (big name or not) in the lead role and have big names surround him… hence Cheyenne Jackson. Not much of Anne Hathaway fan, but she is just the right amount of neurotic for Amy – not sure about Taye Diggs as her husband though, although I like the racial integration. Sarah is my least favourite wife, the dieting freak and I love Audra McDonald, but I know she can play crazy– Johnny Depp would be nice as her husband. I’m not sure Annette is up to the role vocal wise, but she could hit it out of the part acting for Joanne and Daniel Day Lewis would be interesting as her husband. Nicole and Hugh are totally believable as the perfect couple and Amy Adams and Ewan McGregor could be effective. I like the idea of Scarlet as Kathy – the country girl. She is vocally the weakest of the three girlfriends, and Scarlet can sing but not belt… and she’s cute as a button. Idina Menzel would do wonders with Another Hundred People, and I can already imagine Audra McDonald rose as a ditsy flight attendant. Who knows maybe Cheyenne could get a shot at Oscar, so could Bening or Kidman. For the husbands, I think Depp has the strongest role.

Ummm… do I win a prize for this?

(E/N: of course!! *gives cookie*)

What role do you feel films play in this day and age?

I think film is an effective of bringing people together. I used to feel that way with music, but for me songs have become somewhat – films are forever or I should probably say films ARE forever. When it comes to masses though I realise that film is there to entertain above all. And although entertainment is not always the first reason I watch a film I have nothing against it. I don’t mind if 100 Transformers come out every year once there is at least one The Departed or Gosford Park somewhere hidden in between.

Do you ever see them as superficial/irrelevant?

Sure. I mean like anything you love, sometimes you question the importance or the authenticity of it. I will always love film though… and I don’t think it will ever be irrelevant. In a way though film is my mistress – books are my wife, but I have a feeling I may divorcing them soon. Film is a bitch of a mistress to keep up with. She demands your full attention.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

46. The Notorious Landlady

Jack Lemmon, Kim Novak, Fred Astaire. What's not to like?

Friday, 24 July 2009

An Interview with...Diana

Next up, Diana from The Life and Thoughts of a Girl. Diana's blog s a bit of a mixed blog - not only movie focused, but with writings on everything from films, music, art to bigger musings on things such as love, life and loss. Her writings are truly inspirational and thought provoking - and her interview reflects this insights she has into life and the way it works.

Diana's Interview:

Favourite film? Why?

I have a hard time defining a favourite film, because there are films that are so beautiful that you want your entire life to look like it, then there are those with the amazing story and finally those that you can watch over and over again and never tire and that's why they become your favourite.

However, I am a fan of outstanding love stories, so there must be a tie between three of then which fit into each category.

For beauty: Atonement. Because the summer is heavenly, the colours are fantastic, the story is romantic and desperate and the film is just perfectly made. Neither too much nor too little is said, no sound is out of place, no reation too delayed or meaningless. Wonderful actors, wonderful script, wonderful cinematography and it's just the epitome of beauty.

For the story: Gone With the Wind. Tara, Scarlett, Rhett, Melanie, Ashley - for all their intrigues, for all Scarlett's endeavours, for the history behind it, for the events that take place. It's four freaking hours long, but it's perfect. It's eventful and dramatic until the very end. You can't fall asleep during this film (partly because of the story, but partly because you can't wait to see the next thing Scarlett wears!).

For being able to be seen over and over again: Shakespeare in Love. As a fan of Shakespeare - this is my perfect film. I know every line by heart and I can't watch the Romeo and Juliet performace too many times. It's romantic to no extent - expecially the (almost) last lines: "You will never age for me, nor fade, nor die.". this is the movie I know by heart, and the one I never grow tired of watching.

Favourite Director? Why?

I want to say Pedro Almodóvar, because I adore and admire the cohesion of his films. He really makes a mark as a director and you can tell how much his actors love working with him. I also admire him for how the outrgeousness of his films (Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios is one such example!) never seems to destroy the plot or shift the attention away from the meaning behind the film. As previously stated, I want to say Pedro Almodóvar, but I have a special place in "mi corazon" for Alfonso Cuarón (and Spanish/ Mexican directors apparently). While I adore Almodóvar's cohesion, I adore Cuarón's variety. He can make a film like A Little Princess (wonderful in every sense. I can't not smile at the depictions of Indian fairy tales and the superfluous breakfast the girls get one morning) he can succeed in making something so different like Y tu mamá tambien and, of course, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (best. Potter. movie. ever.) and let's not forget the scene he directed for Paris Je T'aime! A great director, for me, needs to be passionate and exciting anf versatile and show that whatever the film, whatever the story, they will cherish every aspect of it and try to make it as good as they feel in their hearts and minds.

Do you agree with the principles of the auteur theory, which states the director is the major creative force behind a film, and is the person who places the biggest mark? In your opinion, which director most embodies this theory?

Not necesarily. If you watch "behind the scenes"-footage (like from The Duchess - which can be found on youtube) you can see how important different parts of the crew are. Every scene is meticulously planned in terms of colours, sets, actors, music, other sounds, costumes, hair, make-up, script, etc. that I don't think that the creativity rests in the hand of the director. I like to think of it as a joint effort between all people working on a film. A crap film (like, in my opinion, My Blueberry Nights) could, despite beautiful and brilliant direction turn out to be something incomprehensibly odd and...meaningless.

To what extent do you allow critics/other people to influence what you enjoy?

I tend to watch movies I have heard of, so I suppose if the critics/ other people (I assume are friends etc.) show interest in a film, then I will hear about it and perhaps watch it. However, I often pick and choose in regards to my taste. I haven't seen Watchmen, for example, because I have no interest for superhero films (haven't seen Superman -the new one- either) but I have seen Le fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain because I like quirky, French films. More than critics and other people, I watch films depending on what actors/ directors they feature. I wouldn't have discovered Closer, for example, were it not for stalking Jude Law's imdb-page! So, I tend to discover my own films and not care too much what critics and other people say.

Do you predominantly see film as art or entertainment? Have you ever liked/ appreciated a film, but not really enjoyed it?

Tough question! I think there are different forms of film. Andy Warhol's Poor Little Rich Girl is art to me, but that might be due to the intention behind it, the fact that Warhol was an artist or because it's not really a film more than it is a documentary. I suppose that -predominantly- I see film as entertainment since that's what people, society had made it. Films like those Warhol used to make aren't shown in big cinemas anymore, and maybe because the demand has changed. You don't pay 100 SEK (or whatever a movie ticket costs in your area :P Editor's Note: A hell of a lot) to watch a 20-minute short film because "it's art". People want to make money, and a way to do that is to provide entertainment. I think that that is ultimately what films are today.

To the second question, I suppose something like My Blueberry Nights would fit into this category. I didn't enjoy it because I didn't understand it. Though the cinematography was delicious and the acting wonderful (eh...except Norah Jones) I didn't see the point of making it. I didn't get anything. The chonology, the meaning of the characters and what the protagonist's role was. I liked it, but I didn't like it, if that makes sense.

Gun to your head, you’re only allowed to watch old cinema (i.e pre 70s) or modern cinema (i.e post 80s) – which would you pick? Why?

AAh!!! I think some of the best movies of our time were "old cinema" and I love the old dance movies, like The Gay Divorcee, The Sound of Music and Breakfast at Tiffany's, but with a gun to my head (scary thought :P) I would have to say modern cinema The main reason being that so much more is available and allowed in cinema today. Films like Milk would have been outrageously censored (I believe) and perhaps not shown at all, which I think is a shame because cinema, as well as being for entertainment, should be a source of education and enlightenment. I think films today are more brave in dealing with difficult issues like drugs (Maria full of Grace), gangs (Cidade de Deus) and poverty/ injustice, especially in third world countries (Blood Diamond). Technological advancements have made movies today much more enjoyable too (I hate to admit it, but Twilight has some cool special effects....!)

How important do you consider cinemas and the cinema going experience in this day and age? Are cinema and film the same thing?

I like going to the cinema, it's an experience in itself and I think some films are made for cinema-experiences (like Mamma Mia; you can't sing-a-long to Dancing Queen in your living room and feel the same way as you do in the cinema). But I'd say that as a whole, it's not that important.

Cinema and film aren't the same thing. I think film is anything filmed while cinema is film with a more specific type of meaning/audience where the meaning is to entertain and show off people's work more than just the people. Some films are made for cimena screening (Independence Day) and some are made with the intent to just be seen out of interest (The Edge of Love).

Who’s you favourite Hepburn girl – Audrey or Katherine?

Audrey, hands down. Because she had a pet deer, because she is divine in Breakfast at Tiffany's, My Fair Lady and even War and Peace and because she used half a tub as a sofa in BaT (though I realise that the writers/ set designers probably came up with that)!

Name one person who you feel has had the biggest influence ever in the film industry.

I have absoloutely no idea. I suppose I could say Dénes Mihály who invented sound film :P I don't think I have enough knowledge to give a just answer to this question.

Which film festival would you most like to visit? London, Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Sundance, Toronto…?

Definitely Cannes, because the best films are shown there and I could never say no to the French Riviera and the opportunity of a glimpse at Angelina Jolie (who always seems to be there). Though Venice would be fantastic too. I'm going to stay away from Sundance and Toronto. I just get a weird vibe...

Piece together your ideal film – story, actors, actresses, director, composer, cinematographer…the works.

Well, off the top of my head, I really want On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (author of Atonement) to become a film just because I kept picturing everything in my head when I read it on summer days with the beach next to me. So the story of On Chesil Beach, preferably shot on Chesil Beach (haha) by either Fernando Meirelles (The Constant Gardener) because he is great at capturing stories not in chronological order and the surrounding environment or Joe Wright, because he did such a fantastic job with Atonement. I loved Ludovico Einaudi's compositions for This is England and how he managed to capture sadness and joy in the same peices of music, which I think would be wonderful for this, my fantasy-movie :P and the actors...hmm. For Edward, I want to imagine someone like Robert Pattinson, but with a kinder face (plus, he's too hyped and "hot" and I won't have him play another Edward) and James McAvoy (but he's already been in Atonement, so no) so perhaps Charlie Clements. He's cute, looks kind and can act. As for Florence, I think Emma Watson would make a good choice, because she is from Oxford (there the novel is set) and she just has to look awkward all the time (which wouldn't be too hard for her to do...those eyebrows may acutally come in handy). Also, the role of Florence is very powerful and significant and I think this movie would introduce her as a mature actress who is starting to enter the new world of depicting sex and nervosity and discoveries of life.

What role do you feel films play in this day and age? Do you ever see them as superficial/irrelevant?

This is essentially an essay topic! I'll just make myself short and say that film is entertainment, but entertainment that tells a story. Not like magicians who show their tricks, but rather like books who drag you into a world of fantasty, of reality, of history and of life. While books force you to imagine places and people, film creates those images for you, stimulating your senses more than your mind, which doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. Some films are superficial and irrelevant to me, but they might be extremely important for others. Subjectivity will always be around concerning films, just as there is regarding literature. Classics in both film and literature exist, and so do arbitrary works like Marley and Me and "The Tinkerbell Diaries: My Life Tailing Paris Hilton" Tinkerbell Hilton... I do see some films, some stories as superficial and/or irrelevant, because they don't enteratin me. At all. Haha.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Creepy or Awesome?

by Ruven Afanador (forgotten name of magazine - sorry!)

So? Personally, my money's on awesome.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

London 2009 Part I

For me, although the house I live in has my family and is my home in a way, London is and always will be my true home, where I feel most happy and at peace. It is truly the most beautiful city in the world. It's always so alive and vibrant, and there are so many things to do - museums, galleries, shows that you're never bored - but for me, my favourite part is just wandering up and down the streets, soaking up the atmosphere and revelling in the fact that I am in my London. So, it should come as no surprise that as soon as my exams finished in June, I rushed off to London to spend a week with my grandparents - who live in farily Central London. It was truly one of the best weeks of my life. I spent almost every day outside, doing new things, visiting loved familiar places and just having an absolutely joyous time. I took my camera along and resolved to snap as many pictures as I could, so next time exam period comes and I don't go for a month or two, I will look at these pcitures and won't feel as homesick as I did this year. Here is part one of my favourites:

01 - copy of Oscar Wilde's plays. 02 - Took lil' brother to zoo. Bearded pig started peeing. Hilarity insued.

03 & 04- Portobello Road market had the prettiest houses I'd ever seen.

05 & 06 - Flowers in Portobello market.

07 & 08 - Went to secondhand area of Waterstones in Gower Street. Four languages baby!

09 - My Eiffel Tower necklace. 10 - My bed for the week :D

11 - View of London Eye. 12 - View of Oxo Tower (the red building with the little tower).

13 - Wall inscribed with Greek muses. 14 - The Muse of Tragedy.

15 - The Muse of History. 16 - The Muse of Song.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

An Interview with...Kayleigh

Second part of the series. This time, an interview with Kayleigh from The Shiny Happy Blog (with a name like that, how can you not love it??). What I possibly love the most about Kayleigh and her blog is her deep love and loyalty to all things British, be it comedy panel shows (which I am a big sucker for), TV shows or films - as British cinema is one of my favourites (Billy Elliot, Atonement, About a Boy) I find her blog an absolute joy to read.

Kayleigh's Interview:

Favourite film? Why?

Amadeus (Milos Forman). For my money, it's the closest a movie's ever come to perfection. It gives me an understanding of music, something nothing else has ever done before. It's stunningly beautiful and has one of my all time favourite performances in it - Tom Hulce as Mozart.

Favourite Director? Why?

Currently it's Kenneth Branagh. He's done more for promoting Shakespeare in the mainstream than anybody else. His films are always full of passion, wit, beauty and fantastic music (courtesy of Patrick Doyle). He balances comedy and drama so well (see Peter's Friends.) and he's not afraid to joke at himself through his work (In The Bleak Midwinter.)

Do you agree with the principles of the auteur theory, which states the director is the major creative force behind a film, and is the person who places the biggest mark? In your opinion, which director most embodies this theory?

I think that while making a film is a collaberative project, without the director to control things, it gets messy. Look at Michael Bay - he's a porn director. He has no control over his film, he just throws in big explosions and mild sexism and hopes for the best. He has no proper director sensibilities.

To what extent do you allow critics/other people to influence what you enjoy?

I love to read and listen to reviews and I also enjoy writing them but if I'm set on seeing a movie, I ignore the critics. Sometimes I'll read a review that will impress me so much I have to see the film - Empire's 5 star reviews of Finding Neverland, The Lives of Others, Pan's Labyrinth convinced me to see them.

Do you predominantly see film as art or entertainment? Have you ever liked/ appreciated a film, but not really enjoyed it?

Hmm, toughie. I like to see them as both, and when they cross over, all the better. A film's main job is to tell a story, be it about the journey of one man's mind in prison or a Nazi fighting archeologist. The Godfather is an excellent film but I couldn't warm to it the way I did with Goodfellas.

Gun to your head, you’re only allowed to watch old cinema (i.e pre 70s) or modern cinema (i.e post 80s) – which would you pick? Why?

Ouch. I haven't seen enough films from the early era to say that point so I'll have to say 80s onwards. Most of my favourite films are from that era. The independent film scene made a huge impact during that time, sometimes all it took was a camera and a script (Kevin Smith's Clerks). There's a lot of crap but half the fun is discovering it.

How important do you consider cinemas and the cinema going experience in this day and age? Are cinema and film the same thing?

I am addicted to going to the cinema, it's all part of the experience. But some films are made for the big screen - blockbusters, the recent rise in 3D cinema, epic pieces such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Smaller films that feel more private require a more private viewing.

Who’s you favourite Hepburn girl – Audrey or Katherine?

Katherine. She's unbeatable. The Philadelphia Story, anyone? Sorry Audrey.

Name one person who you feel has had the biggest influence ever in the film industry. Spielberg. It's hard to find a filmmaker today who isn't influenced by him. So many of his films have created an entirely new market in film and he showed the dumbest idea can be the greatest film - how many people would give a shark movie an Oscar nomination?

Which film festival would you most like to visit? London, Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Sundance, Toronto…?

Sundance. It's more laid back and dedicated to films that wouldn't usually get a chance.

Piece together your ideal film – story, actors, actresses, director, composer, cinematographer…the works.

An adaptation of American gods by Neil Gaiman, directed by Terry Gilliam. Music by James Newton Howard, cinematography by Roger Deakins. Cast...I honestly couldn't think of anyone right now but I'd die to see the film either way! Or an adaptation of Good Omens. Exact same crew with Paul Bettany and Hugh Laurie in the leads.

What role do you feel films play in this day and age? Do you ever see them as superficial/irrelevant?

Films are whatever you want them to be - art, entertainment, relaxation, something to make you laugh, cry, scream, a timewaster, an important message for our world or an excuse to blow things up. Whatever you want.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Isle of Wight

Am leaving for the Isle of Wight tomorrow and shan't return for two weeks. I have scheduled several posts - including the remainder of the interviews - to update while I'm away, so keep checking in and I'll speak to y'all when I get back xxx

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Happy Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Movie Day!!!

You!! Yes, you!! Why are you sitting there reading the ramblings of a crazy teenager?? Get your butt out that chair and to the nearest cinema!! Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is finally here!!

As you can probably tell, I'm slightly hyper but who cares?? Now that the book series is finished - and I kid you not, the 21st of July 2007 was probably one of the most exciting and memorable days of my life - the film series is all we really have. And even though the films aren't perfect, and whenever I watch repeats I complain about every flaw, I still have a great love and fondness for them - and tbh, nothing beats watcing a Harry Potter film in the cinema for the first time. Although Half Blood Prince was my least favourite book (still loved it though), I have a feeling Half-Blood-Prince-The-Movie may become my favourite film of the series - the trailer is awesome, the film seems more mature and pulled together, and everyone's acting seems to have improved quite a bit. Ah well, we shall see. I'd love to say we shall see tonight, but despite all my yelling at you guys to go watch it now, I doubt I'll be watching it for a while. See, cinema tickets around here are SO expensive - around £8 for an adult, that's $13 for all the Yankees here - and I just can't afford it. However, Tuesday's are cheapo day, around £5, annoyingly enough, we're leaving for holiday on Friday for two weeks. We're in the Isle of Wight so it's still England and they have a cinema, so I need to see if I can persuade my mum to come with me.

So yeah. Happy Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Movie Day!!!

Monday, 13 July 2009

An Interview with...Emmabung

As probably most of you know, seeing as I asked y'all to do one, I'm doing a series of interviews with some of my favourite bloggers - about film and cinema and the effect it has on their lives. This first interview is with possibly my favourite blogger ever - and also my very good friend - Emma of All About My Movies. Emma was the person who probably got me obsessed with movies to such an extent - I was so inspired by her passion and knowledge of cinema that I strived to make my own better. She writes some of the most insightful and personal reviews I've ever read, and yeah. She's just awesomeness defined :D

ooh btw, if anyone who I haven't asked wants to do an interview, comment me and I'll give you my email to send your answers to :)

Emma's Interview:

Favourite film? Why?

My favourite film is The Shawshank Redemption. It’s the sort of film that I only watch on special occasions, ie, when I really need it. I’ve watched it at points of highest despair, and each time, The Shawshank Redemption has imbued me with faith in life again. It’s such a rich film; it’s about friendship, freedom, salvation, hope and inner strength, and I completely connect with it. To me, Shawshank is perfection.

Favourite Director? Why?

David Lean and Billy Wilder are both up there, but number one is the one, the only, Alfred Hitchcock. Very few of his films are crap and when he’s good, he’s transcendent. He knows how to ply excellent performances out of his actors and can shape suspense in cinema like no one I’ve seen. Rear Window, Rebecca and Rope are my personal three favourites from him, but quite frankly, I could happily reel off most of his back catalogue as recommendations.

Do you agree with the principles of the auteur theory, which states the director is the major creative force behind a film, and is the person who places the biggest mark? In your opinion, which director most embodies this theory?

I agree to an extent. After all, I’ve watched many a film where the technical elements, screenplay and performances are all strong, but with a duff director, or not even a duff director, but one whose vision is at odds with the film, the film itself has ended up below par. The role of a film director is, in my opinion, the biggest one, and with the right director, water can turn into wine. Truffaut and Buñuel are two directors who I believe embody this theory the most. Oh, and Woody Allen.

To what extent do you allow critics/other people to influence what you enjoy?

It doesn’t. I love reading film reviews, because I think it’s always good to read a wide range of opinions, but I take the film reviews I read as lightly as the chicklits I cram into my literary diet.

Do you predominantly see film as art or entertainment? Have you ever liked/ appreciated a film, but not really enjoyed it?

How much I love a film is determined solely by how enjoyable I find it. If it isn’t enjoyable, then, in my eyes, it isn’t a good film. This channel of thought carries through to the likes of Lost in Translation, which practically every man and his dog loved, but I find it extremely dry and just so completely boring. Thus, the fact that I find it boring clouds my objective judgment of the film and I’ll immediately think its turd. The same goes for practically everything Stanley Kubrick has touched. A lot of his work has elements of good filmmaking, but they’re either too disturbing, boring or pretentious for me to like, and thus, in my mind, it’s a bad film. So, for me, in order to like a film, I’ve got to enjoy it.

Gun to your head, you’re only allowed to watch old cinema (i.e pre 70s) or modern cinema (i.e post 80s) – which would you pick? Why?

Ooooh. Bung. Um. Well, I’m going to say modern cinema. The film industry produces a lot of turd, but the fact that it’s ongoing and will make a non-finite amount of film, as opposed to old cinema where there are only a certain number of films from that time, mean that basically, I’m picking quantity over quality. Because it would be impossible for me to select going by quality of films. /copout :D

How important do you consider cinemas and the cinema going experience in this day and age? Are cinema and film the same thing?

I think it is very important. There’s a huge difference between watching a film on my laptop screen and pausing it every five minutes every time I receive an e-mail, and watching a film in a darkly lit cinema, with no other distractions. The latter is very much a cinema-going experience, and I’ve found that all the most memorable films I’ve seen (whether they are, like Slumdog Millionaire, memorable for good reasons, or like Synechdoche New York, memorable for bad reasons) have all been viewed at the cinema.

Who’s you favourite Hepburn girl – Audrey or Katherine?

Definitely Audrey. I’m still a bit of a Katherine Hepburn fan and believe she’s done some terrific work, but Audrey Hepburn is my ultimate icon. A talented actress, a winning personality, a terrific person, and she had natural class to boot, the kind of class that cannot be bought with any amount of money. Love her.

Name one person who you feel has had the biggest influence ever in the film industry.

Probably Steven Spielberg.

Which film festival would you most like to visit? London, Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Sundance, Toronto…?

Cannes and Venice, because they are usually first to embrace the type of films that I end up loving. I hope to attend the London film festival this year.

Piece together your ideal film – story, actors, actresses, director, composer, cinematographer…the works.

I think it would be funky, feminist, funny and wannabe-revolutionary to make a film about a teenage virgin who is very much her own person, knows what she wants, knows how to get it – and very, very, selfish. And suddenly along comes her Mr. Perfect – or so she thinks, and she falls head-over-heels for him, and suddenly wants to be selfish no longer. Only stipulation? He doesn’t know she exists. And as she slowly climbs her way into his good books and she does capture his affections, she realizes that he, for all his beauty, is vapid and personality-less, and the last person she’d wanna lose her bunginity to. Very much a romantic comedy, but for my first film, I’d like to start out a little less ambitious. And, despite the ongoing theme being of a girl’s quest to lose her virginity to the high school hottie, the last thing I’d want this to be is yer standard gross out comedy. For the cast, I’d have Juno Temple as the main character (she is a fine comedic actress who could warm the coldest hearts), with Robert Pattinson as the object of her affections (well, I need to get the girls to the box office somehow, yes?) and Rupert Grint as her gay best friend (that bit’s just for me), and Andrew Simpson (the student whom Cate Blanchett has it off with in Notes on a Scandal) as her good mate, a lad whom she has always taken for granted. ‘Tis not hard at all to guess where this will go! I’d love, for some reason, for Quentin Tarantino to direct it, just to see how he manages with something so British and so fluffy, and I’d like Julian Fellowes (who has written both a film and a book to be proud of, Gosford Park and Snobs, respectively) to pen the script because his writings exude class, and this run-of-the-mill story needs a special writer to elevate it. My favourite composer is Thomas Newman, but, I wouldn’t want him on this project as I feel his talents would be better served to some other, bigger films I have in my mind. For this film, I’d want a modern soundtrack consisting of some of my favourite choons, as long as they fit with the scene. I’m thinking a bit of M.I.A., Kanye West and Dizzee Rascal. As for the cinematography, I want Christopher Doyle to film it.

(Editor’s note: lmao, this film is so Emma)

What role do you feel films play nowadays? Do you ever see them as superficial/irrelevant?

Anything but. I know people who still question why I’m so obsessed with film, especially as I’m pursuing a Maths degree and they view cinema as nothing but a distraction. But it’s the complete opposite of a distraction. Cinema is, in fact, still very much my raison d’etre. Without film, I’d be an empty, soulless shell. The Hitchcocks, Brandos, DiCaprios, Hepburns, Robbins’, Wilders’, Monroes, David Leans, Guinnesses, Blunts of this world and their cinematic personas form a massive part of who I am. To me, cinema is, and always will be, synonymous with life.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

My type of thing...

Post-apocalyptic world? Tim Burton? Ragdolls with the gift of life? I am so on board.

Current Mood: listless

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Laura, Otto Preminger (1944)

Haha, see - I wrote something. Congratulate me :D

Laura tells the story of a New York detective investigating the murder of a young beautiful woman - Laura Hunt. As he makes his way through his suspect list of her friends and family - each of whom has a grisly motive for wanting Laura out of the way - he finds himself slowly falling in love with the murdered woman.

Laura is a classic film-noir and - I'm ashamed to say - possibly my first ever true one. And I have to say, based on this film I love the genre already.The film is dark and haunting, but in a very quiet way, getting under your skin and in your mind without your even noticing.

It's also beautifully shot - Joseph LaShelle won an Oscar for his cinematography and it's very apparant why - almost every scene of the film is shot in a careful measured way to emphasise the quiet danger that is brooding in the background - faces in shadow, men in hats sillhoutted against a rainy street contribute to the tension and in indoor scenes, Laura's portrait is often caught just in the background of a shot - making her presence almost as unsettling as that of Rebecca's from Hitchcock's classic.

The acting is also very good - and surprisingly natural for a film made in the forties. Dana Andrews plays the earthy handsome Detective McPherson, and he makes the transition from slightly callous detective to man in love in a brilliantly subtle way, only from fleeting expressiosn and throw away lines of dialogue to we understand what is going on beneath his inscrutable exterior. He is also a rather nice foil to Clifton Webb's Waldo Lydecker- an older, dandier man who apparantly wears his heart on his sleeve, but hides a haughty and cruel side. This was Clifton Webb's first feature length talkie and he absolutely shines. Gene Tierney is also lovely as the title character Laura - managing to give her some actual character rather than just playing her as femme fatale or damsel in distress.
If there was one criticism I would make of Laura, it's that it actually isn't creepy or disturbing enough. The premise of the film is to have a man fall in love with a murdered woman, however *SPOILER ALERT* half way through we discover Laura hasn't died and is among them. This is a nice twist, and admittedly does allow some sexual tension between Tierney and Andrews, however, it does also mean the core idea of the film is scrapped before it really managed to develop. Perhaps it was a rather too twisted idea, and wouldn't have allowed for a nice tidy ending, still, I couldn't help being a little disappointed how quickly that theme was gone.
Besides that one point however, Laura is an excellent film which I thoroughly recommend, and is a shining example of a film noir. I now want to see more :)

ooh btw, answers to the Empire photo thing:
01. Christian Bale - American Psycho
02. James McAvoy + Keira Knightley - Atonement
03. Dan Radcliffe + Emma Watson + Rupert Grint - Harry Potter
04. Sam Neill - Jurassic Park
05. Sean Bean + Viggo Mortensen - Lord of the Rings
06. Clint Eastwood + Morgan Freeman - Million Dollar Baby
07. Anthony Hopkins + Jodie Foster - The Silence of the Lambs
08. Michael Sheen - The Queen

Saturday, 4 July 2009

The thing that has been consuming my life...

...Gossip Girl. Sad? Quite possibly. But I love it so much I don't care. I first started watching the first season back in winter - basically what happened was that someone from my school or one of the nearby schools started their very own Gossip Girl blog right here on blogspot, all about people that go to my school and rumours and bitchy gossip. It was fairly harmless I suppose and it got shut down, well, it shut itself down after a few weeks but yeah, I was absolutely appalled. Let me tell you right now, the TV series is one thing, when it happens in real life it feels awful - even though I wasn't on it (I'm way out of the social radar). Still, I thought it was vicious. But I did start watching the TV series, really to see what it was all about and I surprisingly loved it. It's not the smartest or most moral thing around, but it's witty, cool, beautiful and has some quite poignant moments. I only watched the first season though - it was in my exam time and I felt guilty about starting a new TV show, plus, Dan and Serena break up at the end of season one and that sort of broke my heart. I get really invested in characters - especially their romances - and I thought Dan and Serena were perfect together and I couldn't really imagine it without them. So yeah. I never got round to watching the second season 'til about two or three days ago and now I've finally finished and I just adored it. And I thought I'd better introduce you to my new favourite couple - Blair and Chuck. I still really like Dan and Serena, I thought they were so cute together, but oh-my-gosh-Blair-and-Chuck. Or more specifically Chuck. Yeah. He's adorable. I kind of hated him at the beginning of the first season 'cos he was creepy and kept trying to mess people's lives around - but in the second season especially his character really expands and he actually gets some heart and it's adorable. Everytime he smiles at Blair or looks at her or - let's be honest here - walks into a room I just love him even more. So yeah. OK. I am now officially a fan girl. At 18. What is wrong with me? But anyway. I have a pretty humongous picspam of Chuck and Blair, just because it screams adorable. Enjoy :)

(look at his face!! :D)

Serena: Chuck, why did you just do that?
Chuck: Because I love her. And I can't make her happy.

(these pictures with the numbers are all from this countdown of this fan's favourite chuck-blair moments. Aren't the pictures pretty??)

(when he finally tells her he loves her. *beams*)

Following pictures from my one of my favourite episodes - O Brother, Where Bart Thou?

(this letter scene really cements my belief that Ed Westwick has what it takes to play Heathcliff. I mean, look at him. Haunted, dramatic...could he be more Heathcliff?)

(My favourite favourite scene. One of the most romantic things ever :D)

Hmmmn, looking back, this post is really just one big hormonal ramble. Ah well, to each his own :P