Monday, 17 May 2010

Just remember when a dream appears, you belong to me

Music plays such a huge part in my life - especially during exams time, when I tend to watch far less films, but listen to way more music during revision. So again, here are the seven songs that have been occupying my iTunes and my ear drums :)

01. Paradise Circus by Massive Attack
Heard it in a recent Gossip Girl episode and have been hooked ever since. I hadn't heard that much Massive Attack apart from Teardrop before this, but am now becoming very obsessed with all their songs. Pretty amazing.

02. You Belong to Me by Kate Rusby
One of my friends who lives below me is in love with folk music, and I think that love must have rubbed off on me - this song is just so beautiful and calming.

03. Like a Prayer by The Glee Cast
Yeah, I'm a Gleek. Yeah, I'm incredibly sad. But I do love this song so :D

04. OMG by Usher ft. will.i.am
OK, so I was standing on my balcony last Sunday, staring at all the old towers and spires spread out before me, when a car rolled up in the parking area below my window, blasting out this song, and one of the guys who works as a waiter in our formal hall got out and strutted towards hall. There was something fairly amazing about hearing Usher while staring at all the old history below you :)

05. One of Those Days by Joshua Radin
Joshua Radin is one of my favourite artists ever, and this song is quietly beautiful, with his trademark amazing lyrics.

06. Split Needles by The Shins
So yes, I'm still obsessed with The Shins.

07. The Cave by Mumford & Sons
This was one of the rare indie songs that actually make it onto the UK Singles Chart. I got into this band way back in September when I first came to Oxford - and their songs just remind me of late Summer in the city :)


(This video to Paradise Circus isn't the official video, I don't think - it's clips of a film called The Fall, which I now desperately want to see. Has anyone seen it? - it looks amazing!)

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Nostalgia

I went to the St Hugh's College Ball last night, and while it was incredibly fun, I think I'm going to need the whole of today to recover from the exhaustion. Plus, all of my friends seem to have gone missing (and I literally don't have the energy to find my phone and text them) so to keep myself entertained I've been watching Looney Tunes, Dastardly and Mutley and Tom and Jerry cartoons on YouTube. I know, I'm very cool. I stumbled across this video which is the first cartoon I can ever remember watching - it made me feel very happy :)

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

This, Madame, is Versailles

Why, hello. Do I spy Marie Antoinette? Do I spy Coppola references? Do I spy Annie Leibovitz? Do I spy gorgeous over-the-top extravagance? I think I may be slightly in love.

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Photographer: Annie Leibovitz
Model: Kirsten Dunst
Magazine: US Vogue

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Alice in Wonderland

Yesterday, or today - I'm not really with it - was Mayday. Mayday is traditionally a big celebration in Oxford, so my friends and I stayed awake all night, going out dancing in the evening, watching the choir singing at the top of Magdalen Tower at 6am, going back to our college to watch our own choir sing from the top of the tower, eating a big breakfast at 8am and finally collapsing in bed. It was definitely an "Oxford-experience" but it left me absolutely shattered (I am so hardcore) and I slept from eight 'til five o'clock in the evening. My sleep pattern is therefore incredibly messed up - I feel almost jet-lagged, and am therefore using this unusual burst of energy to write my review of Alice in Wonderland, which I saw a couple of weeks ago.



My love of Alice in Wonderland has been well documented before - it is quite simply one of my favourite stories ever written. That said, I was very apprehensive about watching the film. It had all the right ingredients to become a very loved film of mine - Tim Burton, Lewis Carroll, Johnny Depp - and I had loved the look of the trailer, yet I was incredibly worried about the story line changes they had made. Instead of the vague sudden dreaminess of the original plot - if you can call it that - Burton had constructed a proper tale of the whole thing, with Alice being grown up now, and stumbling back into Wonderland to discover everything has changed dramatically, the Red Queen has taken away her sister the White Queen's throne, and is ruling what is actually Underland with a reign of terror. Most citizens, including the Mad Hatter, March Hare, Tweedledum and Tweedledee live in fear of her and her secret weapon, the Jabberwocky. When Alice returns, she is to fufill a prophecy that has been made, that she will slay the Jabberwocky and restore peace.

In this way, my first impressions and expectations of the film were pretty much met. It was an absolutely gorgeous film, with amazing visuals that we have come to expect from Tim Burton. As a massive fan of the books I particularly enjoyed his attention to the detail from the books, little bread-and-butterflies flew around everywhere, references to flamingoes and hedgehogs were everywhere, and it was interesting and actually quite original to have the poem "The Jabberwocky" feature so heavily in a film adaptation. I love the way there was a Burton-esque stamp on every scene, from curly trees to wacky half-gothic half-psychedelic costumes - it was exactly what I had hoped for and expected. Burton also showed his great skill when it came to characterisation - the nature of his storyline meant that we could get far more depth from characters other than Alice - in particular, Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter really excelled. He portrayed him as truly a mad character, and brought out the tragic, emotionally unstable, vulnerable side of the character, rather than a simple caricature. I say this for pretty much all of his performances, but I think it was honestly Oscar-nomination-worthy.


However, I just can't get around the fact that I disliked what Tim Burton did with storyline. As I think I've mentioned before, I actually quite like back stories and different interpretations and expanding on a story beyond what the author themselves have done. However this was just too much of a change, as it no longer cpatured the spirit of the book itself. Burton said in an interview that he wanted to give the story some structure instead of just having it as "a girl meeting random people". However, as far as I'm concerned, this is the whole point of Alice in Wonderland, and why I love it so much - it's such a dreamy, surreal, strange, random story - this is its strength. Burton himself excels at this sort of thing. Instead, he chose to do a conventional storyline, making it into a straightforward quest-y film with good and evil and a battle at the end, so that, despite the strange characters and quirky visuals, it became unimaginative and not particularly special.

Basically, it was good for the one time, and perhaps if you're not such a fan of the books you would enjoy it very much. I just thought it could have been so much more, and would have loved Burton to tackle the original books themselves instead of descending into typical territory.