Monday, 26 April 2010

Love Sex Death Passion Fear Obsession. Just Like Life.

I only meant to post the trailer of this film, which remains one of my favourite trailers of all time, but I got distracted by these screencaps. It's amazing, every scene in this film is like a piece of artwork - close ups and shots of nature in muted greens, yellows and blues give the whole thing a melancholy dreamlike quality. 'Tis just stunning.

"What we have here is a dreamer. Someone completely out of touch with reality."

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

38. Spellbound (1945)

Ingrid Bergman. Gregory Peck. Alfred Hitchcock. Salvador Dali. There was NO WAY this film could have failed. The story of a psychiatrist (Bergman) who tries to protect the identity of an amnesiac (Peck) who is accused of murder while struggling to solve the case, this is a classic Hitchcock film - the themes of mental illness and murder create a dark, tense and disturbing atmosphere, while the two leads make their way through the complex plot with brilliant chemistry. The dream sequence that was created by Salvador Dali perfectly complements Hitchcock's directions and is fabulously surreal and mysterious. Hitchcock is the most represented director in my top 70, and with films like this it is no wonder.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

vicky cristina barcelona

"I just have to come face to face with the fact that I am not gifted. I can appreciate art and I love music's sad really, because I feel like I have a lot to express and not gifted."

At this very moment, surrounded by tonnes of grammar books and novels I don't understand and the prospect of exams for the nineth consecutive year running in my life, all I want to do is turn into an artist/photographer/filmmaker/writer and just have a wee bit of freedom. Alas, Oxford, sensible-ness and knowing I would probably never make it are making me put this idea on hold indefinitely.

Again, sorry about the ramble. But I am slightly fed up to death of revision and monotony. Am going to London over the weekend and will be back in Oxford next week. I think the change will do me good. I've always found both the capital and the city of dreaming spires incredibly inspiring and soothing. :)

Monday, 12 April 2010

British Legends

hugh laurie

Left: You are a dedicated father who, with your wife, has just sat down to dinner with your 15-year-old daughter, who is defiantly announcing that she’s pregnant. Center: You are a fashion designer on the morning of your big runway show, realizing that nothing in the collection is ready or fabulous. Right: You are a blustering, pompous member of the British Parliament, giving a speech that is being broadcast on the BBC, and you’re thrilled at the sound of your own voice.

"I am a lover of truth, a worshipper of freedom, a celebrant at the altar of language and purity and tolerance. That is my religion, and every day I am sorely, grossly, heinously and deeply offended, wounded, mortified and injured by a thousand different blasphemies against it. When the fundamental canons of truth, honesty, compassion and decency are hourly assaulted by fatuous bishops, pompous, illiberal and ignorant priests, politicians and prelates, sanctimonious censors, self-appointed moralists and busy-bodies, what recourse of ancient laws have I? None whatever. Nor would I ask for any. For unlike these blistering imbeciles my belief in my religion is strong and I know that lies will always fail and indecency and intolerance will always perish." - Stephen Fry

It's people like this that make me love England and its film industry and actors. The fact they're all friends makes it somehow sweeter :)

Short ramble today while I write up my review of Alice in Wonderland. Yes, I finally saw it. As for what I thought of it...

Friday, 9 April 2010

I love. I have loved. I will love.

Today was possibly the first properly sunny day of the year England has had. It was so gorgeous that I decided to forsake my books (tough decision I know) and take my little brother to London for the day. We spent the whole time playing pooh sticks, making boats out of leaves and sticks and setting them sail (and watching them sink), playing in the playground (well, I listened to my mp3 and tried to keep a watchful eye), eating ice cream and feeding the ducks. It was gloriously warm, and as we walked back to King's Cross in the evening, there was a wonderful feeling of Summer on the air - the way your cheeks feel in the cool evening breeze after having been soaked in sunshine all day, the scented heaviness of the air on your forehead, the glint of the sunset in the old town house windows. It's a lovely feeling - although I hope it's raining/windy/blizzarding outside tomorrow, 'cos I'm gonna have to do some work!!!

In other news, we all know the lovely Rebecca of The Clothes Horse is amazingly multi-talented, she can draw, photograph, has a keen sense of fashion and writes beautifully. But did you know she can mind-read too? She's written a lovely post on I Capture the Castle, which is something I've been meaning to do for weeks and had decided to write today on the train back from London! Isn't life funny sometimes? I think she even got her screencaps from the same place as I bookmarked! Well, I would say great minds think alike, except I don't like that saying (surely all great minds think individual and original thoughts?), so I'll just say, go read her post, it says everything far more eloquently than what you're about to read. Also, forgive me for posting my version, but I simply adore I Capture the Castle and really wanted to write on it!

So anyway, I Capture the Castle is one of my simply favourite books. It's the tale of an unusual family struggling to make ends meet in the old English castle they live in - Cassandra, the middle child, is 17 and the narrator, her older sister Rose is frustrated by their life and would do anything to escape such poverty, even marry when not in love. When two American brothers move into their lives, their entire world changes, and both girls leave their childhood and experience growing-up and love, each with their trials and tribulations. It's a simply lovely coming-of-age story, told with a great deal of charm and wit. In my edition, it describes in the introduction how Dodie Smith went over almost every single sentence and rewrote it to get the sense she wanted, and her hard work has certainly paid off - it flows beautifully, and is filled with warn English humour, and yet is also very profound and in parts bittersweet. Filled with wonderfully complex characters and beautiful imagery of the English countryside, it is a book I would recommend to anyone.

The film stays fairly close to the book, and while not as good, maybe just because nothing can measure up to Cassandra's enchanting narrative, it still captures the spirit of the novel well - both in the script, which is as warm as its source material, and in the look of the thing, from costumes to colours to settings. The 1930s was a truly lovely time in fashion and architecture, and it's portrayed beautifully in the film. The eccentric setting of the castle is also brought to life and becomes a spectacular and whimsical backdrop to the events. It is also well acted with a perfect class of true English talent including Romola Garai (Cassandra), Rose Byrne (Rose), Bill Nighy (Mr Mortmain) Tara Fitzgerald (Topaz) and Henry Cavill (Stephen) - looking oh-so-fine. In short, both the book and the film are whole-heartedly recommended and are both charming, original and beautiful.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

I'm through accepting limits 'cos someone says they're so

Despite the fact this blog has now progressed beyond just a film blog and tends to delve everyone now and then into all manners of art forms - film, fashion, photography, music - one aspect of art I never really discuss on here is theatre, for the simple reason - I never go. I've been to the ballet several times, the opera once, and one or two very small shows in little theatres, but I've never been to one of the immense shows at the West End. Until last night that is, when we went to London for a friend's birthday and saw Wicked. And. It. Was. Amazing. Literally, everything you ever hear about the West End and musicals and Wicked itself, all of that is true. I had chills the whole way through, and was literally sat on the edge of my seat for the entire run like some little kid.

I guess one of the things I loved the most about it was the story itself. As I see it, a musical really truly excels when it actually has some substance and an interesting plot behind the songs and colour and effects. Wicked definitely has this - I'd read the book by Gregory Maguire before, and I just love the way it delves deep behind a children's classic to bring a dark, unexpected and grown-up tale of politics, prejudice, freedom and love. I absolutely adore back stories - looking at things in a new and unexpected way - and I love the way one of the most evil characters in literature (come, on, it's in the name!) is completely turned on its head and seen in a new way.

As I mentioned in my review of the film-version of Chicago, I do mainly adore the theatre for its effects - for the way the audience sees everything, and therefore things cannot be hidden with camera angles or emphasised with computer generated effects - instead one has to rely on mechanical effects and lighting and music to create the effects one wants. From the enormous dragon and the top of the stage which roared and moved at the beginning of acts, to the amazing lighting during Defying Gravity, to the beautiful scenery, to the enormous talking head of the Wizard, the whole thing was simply jaw-droppingly awesome, and had me squealing like a small child. The music was also fabulous - I know it's clich├ęd, but Defying Gravity was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen - incredibly powerful and stunning on stage, and almost all the other songs were memorable.

Basically, it was wonderful. It was wicked (haha, DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE!?!? :D) I'd recommend it to everyone to see it if they can, and I for one will definitely be making some more West End trips in future.

Monday, 5 April 2010

39. 12 Angry Men (1957)

Much like To Kill A Mockingbird, this is a film that gives one slight hope for humanity. It's pretty amazing how a film predominately filmed in one small room with only a cast of twelve actors can keep you on the edge of your seat, completely and totally engrossed, but this one sure does manage it.

"It's always difficult to keep personal prejudice out of a thing like this. And wherever you run into it, prejudice always obscures the truth. I don't really know what the truth is. I don't suppose anybody will ever really know. Nine of us now seem to feel that the defendant is innocent, but we're just gambling on probabilities - we may be wrong. We may be trying to let a guilty man go free, I don't know. Nobody really can. But we have a reasonable doubt, and that's something that's very valuable in our system. No jury can declare a man guilty unless it's SURE. We nine can't understand how you three are still so sure. Maybe you can tell us."