Monday 31 December 2012

Bring on 2013!

This year hasn't been the greatest, I'm not saying there hasn't been some good times but I'm hoping the coming year will be good! So to ensure this I going to make some resolutions and try my best to actually stick to them. I don't usually bother making any, as I forget I made them by February. 

These are my resolutions this year and I WILL print them out to remind myself they exist.

1. No negative comments on social networking sites, unless its funny

2. Finish writing a chapter/short story/script each month

3. Pass driving test

4. Save money

5. Read more!

6. Set myself a new film related challenge

7. Be more like Tina Fey

8. At some point I do need to make a dentist appointment

9. (One for my sister) Go to Budapest 

From looking around and listening to friends (odd way to put it) I think this year has been a bust, it will be great to see the back of it!

So I wish you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR! Go get drunk, party, dance, fall into bushes but do it all safely now.

Before I start my celebrations I need to decide when I can throw away my 2012 calenders . . . 

Tuesday 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Merry Christmas ethnically confused fans! Hope you all have an awesome day and eat lots of turkey/goose/gammon/chicken whatever you're eating. Also try some brandy butter, its amazing!

This is me in the past....

This is me in the present ....

As for the future, I couldn't bring myself to try and create what I would look like!

Merry Christmas!

Monday 24 December 2012

December Watch List

Last of this year's Watch lists.

1. Great Expectations

As expected, fabulous looking costumes, a great cast and reminder to me of what the end was. BUT alas, although it was many times better than the BBC effort (last year/this year, not sure) it still didn't have anything new to say apart from that Helena Bonham Carter made an excellent Miss Havisahm and Jeremy Irvine needs to be in more good films (note: Now Is Good is NOT a good film). The classic Dickens coming-of-age story of Pip a young orphan who inherits a living from a mysterious benefactor and is swept away to London. This, unfortunately, won't be the last adaptation of the novel but it would be nice to see a less known novel made into a film or better yet a TV series. 3/5

2. Rise of the Guardians
Based on a series of children's books, the Guardians of Childhood, the story brings the existing guardians, Father Christmas, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the Sandman together to fight Pitch, better known as the Boogeyman.  They need another to join them in the fight against Pitch so they enlist Jack Frost but of course, for story purposes he is reluctant. Reading the story made it sound naff, I wasn't that impressed by the trailer as it seemed to be all about Jack Frost, who is definitely not the best character, that would be Sandy (the Sandman) who doesn't talk, just creates amazing dreams, especially at the end. To be honest all the characters have likable quirks, even the Australian Easter Bunny. The story on the big screen isn't naff at all, its exciting, the story is fast paced and the villain is an actual threat. Although its in 3D, not needed by the way, the film is pretty spectacular, I really hope there is a sequel, and I don't say that often.  4/5
3. Damsels in Distress
Seen by very few but loved by those who did. It is strange and i can see why, if anybody who did see it, dislike it. It's very odd. The main characters have a strange understated way of talking and usually that would really annoy me but I'm starting to warm up to Greta Gerwig more and more. Shes funny in this but I'm not shes meant to be. Described perfectly as 'deadpan hilarity' the story is about a group of 'damsels' attending college who run the Suicide Prevention Centre and about their various distress' (the boys). It's difficult to explain anymore than that as there is no real steady plot apart from Violet, the leader, wanting to start a new dance craze, the Sambola. The cast actually perform the dance at the end, its brilliant and understated, the film, not the dance. The dance is good though. 3.5/5

4. Side by Side
The documentary discusses one of the major issues in the film industry, can film survive the digital wave. There are so many interviews with all the best and brightest cinematographers and directers and each of them has something interesting to say, even George Lucas is annoying but he was one of the first to film digitally. Not only is it interesting for those tech enthusiasts but its also a history lesson in how things were done back way when. Not the film studies kind of history lesson either, the interviewees talk about how they worked. Everyone is different. Most of the English directors and DoPs are actually really funny and all the Americans are set in an argument and all the Europeans are very serious about their craft. It's a great documentary, but if you're looking for a conclusion you will be disappointed. There is talk that all the interviews that were cut will be released at a later date as well as longer cuts with people who were in the film.  I saw this documentary at the BFI as I thought there was no UK release date, luckily its out in February.  4/5

5. The Amazing Spiderman

So they rebooted Spider Man, it's only been 10 years since the first one came out but Spider Man 3 was terrible I can see why they were calling out for another. In a way I thought the first Spider Man was still pretty good. But this film is indeed amazing. I don't know the comics that well but I knew that Peter Parker made his own spider web machine, which I preferred. I also preferred the casting for Uncle Ben and Aunt May as Martin Sheen and Sally Field were more like family to the character and less annoying. Andrew Garfield is a fantastic Spider Man and is extremely believable as the intelligent, science nerd turned vigilante. The story was good too, just enough origin mixed in with present day plot. Love the reboot!  4/5

Thursday 20 December 2012

World Film Challenge - Completed

Back in May I set myself the following challenge:

'I have undertaken a challenge to watch a film from as many countries as possible in 180 days (6 months).

I know the challenge ended in October but I thought I would round off the year with this final tally. I watched 21 films from around the world (but really 19 as UK and USA don't count). I did have a few more lined up and some that I did watch after the deadline but to be fair to the challenge the final tally in October was 21.

I am going to set myself another challenge for 2013 so watch this space!

Below is a list of the films included in the challenge!

1. Greece - Dogtooth (2009) directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
2. Italy - Gomorrah (2008) directed by Matteo Garrone
3. Ireland - Ondine (2009) directed by Neil Jordan 
4. Norway - Troll Hunter (2010) directed by André Øvredal
5. Scotland - Franz Kafka's It's A Wonderful Life (1993) directed by Peter Capaldi 
6. Taiwan - The Wayward Cloud (2005) directed by Tsai Ming-liang 
7. Spain - Jamon Jamon (1992) directed by Bigas Luna 
8. China - The Curse of the Golden Flower (2006) directed by Zhang Yimou 
9. South Korea - The Good, The Bad and The Weird (2008) directed by Kim Ji-woon 
10. Denmark - Flame and Citron (2008) directed by Ole Christian Madsen
11. Lebanon - Where Do We Go Now? (2012) directed by Nadine Labaki
12. Canada - Cosmopolis (2012) directed by David Cronenberg 
13. France -  Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (2009) directed by Jan Kounen
14. Australia - Sleeping Beauty (2012) directed by Julia Leigh 
15. Mexico - Miss Bala (2011) directed by Gerardo Naranjo
16. Indonesia - The Raid (2012) directed by Gareth Evans 
17. New Zealand - Love Story (2012) directed by Florian Habicht 
18. UK - Broken (2012) directed by Rufus Norris
19. Sweden - Snabba Cash (Easy Money) (2010) directed by Daniel Espinosa
20. Greenland - The Village at the End of the World (2012) directed by Sarah Gavron
21. USA - Celeste and Jesse Forever (2012) directed by Lee Toland Krieger 

Films watched after the deadline:
Germany - The Wave (2008) directed by Dennis Gansel
Wales - Very Annie Mary (2001) directed by Sarah Sugarman

A Time Of Cold Weather, Eggnog and Christmas Specials

I'm sure everyone is thinking what I'm thinking, Christmas movie time! The films you either only buy this time of year or the ones you bought ages ago and only watch this time of year!

I have a set of films and TV specials that I watch, only during Christmas and it does not include 'It's a Wonderful Life' or that insufferable film 'Love Actually'. No this is a list, that is probably similar to other lists, but includes Irish reindeer, Halloween characters, adults acting like children and John Lithgow. It's not Christmas without Lithgow.

1. Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas
A classic tale of Halloween Town taking over Christmas with Jack Skeleton as Sandy Claws. This film could also be a Halloween film too but I always associate it with Christmas as I only got to see the whole thing last year. I usually miss the beginning and get caught up. The songs are catchy, as my mum pointed out the other day and the animation magical!

2.  Robbie the Reindeer - Hooves of Fire
Robbie, son of Rudolph, arrives in the North Pole to join the other reindeer and Father Christmas. He has to prove he is worthy of being part of the team and has to beat Blitzen, the villain, in the ultimate race. There are two other episodes but the best is Hooves of Fire as its more related to Christmas and its Ardal O'Hanlon as the voice of Robbie. Plus there is a hilarious seal moment.

3. Flint Street Nativity
My friend first showed this to me at University just before Christmas and I couldn't stop laughing. All the actors, mainly all known comic actors, play children who are performing the Nativity for their parents. There isn't really a main plot but all the characters have something going on. Some of the girls keep switching friends, one angel is determined to play Mary, one of the three kings is trying to hide his lisp, the inn keeper is trying to impress Mary by gluing his hair in place and the star is looking for a lost lizard. I'm not sure if it gets repeated each year but I know its on youtube.

4. Father Christmas/The Snowman

 Some more animation! These two stories are the real classics as everyone remembers the snowman and how sad the ending is. It has the famous image, as famous as E.T and Elliot clycing through the air in front of the moon, the image of the snowman and James flying through the snow. The simplest ideas have the most effect. Father Christmas is more amusing, he grumbles and makes a fuss, a typical old man. He decides to take a break and go on holiday to Scotland, France and Las Vegas but he makes time for Christmas Eve. I loved watching these near Christmas when I was young.

5. Santas Claus: The Movie
Another favourite from childhood, in fact nearly all of these films on the list are from childhood. I used to watch this gem from the 80's on a loop, usually on Christmas Day when my sister would open our stocking presents. A few times I would sneak downstairs in the early hours and put this on. My family would come down for breakfast and see me asleep on the sofa watching this film. I watch it every year at some point during Christmas, sadly on youtube as I still haven't bought the DVD. Why? I have no idea. Its the story of how Santa came into being and how through the ages children have seen him. In the present time, Patch (Dudley Moore), the smart elf leaves the North Pole and ends up in business, by mistake, with a disgraced evil toy manufacturer, John Lithgow, and with the help of an orphan and  a street urchin Father- I mean Santa saves the day, with help from faithful Patch.

6. The Muppets Christmas Carol
Saving the best til last, the ultimate Christmas film. It has Muppets, its a classic Dickens tale and it has Micheal Caine in it, what more could you want. I watch this every year without fail too, usually Christmas Eve or after I've made the biscuits. Surprisingly its similar to the original A Christmas Carol and is one of the better adaptations, just because it has Muppets in it. The songs are great too, especially the opening number where we meet Scrooge, played to perfection by Caine. All the Muppets are used to play counterparts which fit so well, such as the two old men, Staler and Waldorf play Jacob and Robert Marley and Fozzie plays Fozziwig. And don't forget the ice skating penguins. What are they doing in Victorian London? Who cares they are ice skating penguins!

Hope you enjoy some Christmas films and TV!

Tuesday 18 December 2012

An Unexpected Return to Middle Earth

I didn't think they would make the film, not yet anyway. Then I thought Peter Jackson would never make it. Then when the project kept changing hands I thought this film CANNOT be made without him!

I remember listening to the 1968 BBC radio recording cassette tape when I was younger, yes I lived in a time where we listened to tapes not CDs. It was my favourite story tape, we, my sister and I listened to it so much that we wore it out! When The Lord of the Rings came out I was excited by disappointed that The Hobbit wasn't made first. I thought the same with The Chronicles of Narnia, why do they never make The Magicians Nephew? Its' the best one, after The Voyage of the Dawn Tredder of course. Anyway, after I saw the first LOTR film, I was hooked, obsessed with it. It was difficult to find people who loved it as much as me, especially as I went to an all girl's secondary school. They all read Heat magazine and I read Empire. But still, I couldn't get enough of Middle Earth adventures.

When The Hobbit was finally announced I wasn't sure if I was excited as it a part of my childhood. But they made Tintin and I loved that, they kind of ruined Narnia but I still have my BBC TV series so that's ok and The Great Gatsby looks amazing (ok that wasn't childhood but it's my favourite novel). In short I saw The Hobbit and LOVED IT!

Lord of the Rings fan, Tolkien fans, Middle Earth enthusiasts have been waiting since 2003 for The Hobbit to be made and at long last, its here. First off, the film is amazing BUT I do actually have a couple of qualms with it.

It's just like how we all remember Middle Earth where we left off in LOTR, except this time its not all about Elves, Men and Hobbits, its about Dwaves, who, let's face it were the most under used race in the first trilogy, but in this story, the first story, they are the main focus and it's hilarious. I think the fact that there are so many of them in one room/scenes together its amusing. The dwarves make the film and also distract from that one scene that I hated. It should have been cut out as it felt like a LOTR reunion. If you see the film, you'll know the one I mean, it features two characters that don't even feature in the book (The Hobbit that is).

All the Dwarves, Dwalin, Balin, Kili, Fili, Nori, Dori, Ori, Gloin, Oin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur and Thorin Oakenshield are amazing, each has an obvious personality and each has their time on screen, except Bombur who doesn't speak in this film, just eats. Of course my favourite is Kili and Fili and I think the camera's favourite as they are the most seen on screen. Thorin (Richard Armitage) is perfect as the sullen, warrior determined to reclaim his kingdom from Smaug (who you don't see until the end) the Destroyer, the dragon. I should mention Martin Freeman who is great as Bilbo. After seeing his performance as one of my childhood character favourites, he really is the only person I can think of for the role.

My other qualm I can't go into the detail as it may spoil the film, but it involves a severely minor character and strange subplot that wasn't necessary, the film is a master peice without it. But I have a feeling its in there to pad out the films. By the way, whoever was getting excited anout there being three films, this included me at first, I have no idea what the hell is going to happen in the third one, as the end of the first is half way through the story anyway. There are glimpses of characters to come throughout the film, which was exciting and there is even a poster of Gandalf talking to a giant bear, that is the next film though, a fantastic character too.

The film is lighter, as it should be, than LOTR. This was afterall meant to be a children's story.

Anyone who tries to bait me and say 'the film was too long, it was rubbish' don't say it on here or anything associated with me or I will bite back and get angry. If you have a valid argument, have with me in person, that's much more cilvilised.

An amazing film, now its only another year to wait for the next installment.

Tuesday 11 December 2012

The Argument With One's Self

There has been plenty of times that I have wondered into a room where someone is having a conversation or worse, an argument with their selves. If its the latter, run away as soon as you realise otherwise, bad things happen.

The person having an argument with themselves can be spotted by the way they are standing or moving. They are usually facing away from any doorways or windows and are, at first busy doing something. Such as, making a cup of tea or cleaning up or moving items around when they shouldn't be.

The person is always mid sentence as they have already started the argument/conversation thinking that someone is listening or that you, the victim, is in the room. All of these arguments/conversations start off quietly, unless the person is in a mood, then its pointless loud talking all the way.

After you, the victim, wonders into the room with the person, they continue talking but they don't quite acknowledge you. Sometimes they suddenly turn to face you and scream or they scream and answer their own questions without you, the victim having time to understand the situation.

By this point the person is in full swing of the argument and they is nothing you can do. If you try and talk over the person, more shouting. If you gently try and say something, there is outrage and more rhetorical questions that are answered. All answers that are said, are wrong.

With all the shouting and screaming, you, the victim, has the choice to run away or attempt to carry on with your own business, leaving the person arguing to themselves.

I should also add most conversations will turn into arguments. I advise to leave before it goes any further. But if this whole thing starts because the person started this conversation/argument when you were asleep, I'm afraid you're on your own as there is no logic to 'you asked me that when? When I was alseep? Then how do you expect me to know, I WAS ALSLEEP!'

Sunday 9 December 2012

Seal (of some sorts) of the Day

When it gets closer to Christmas I am hoping for more seal realted gems to pop up everywhere, but seeing as its only a little over two weeks til the big Christmassy day, I'm not so sure. I can rely on those awesome people at Ohh Dear to keep me entertained.

Just browsing through their photos of awesome designs (sadly not all seal themed) and other bits and pieces, this is posted up on their facebook wall.

I looked at it for a while wondering if I actually liked it or not. But the more I starred at this poor dog in this hilarious costume, I decided that it was genius. The dog's expression makes the picture.

This cheered me up while I'm trying to revise and get over whatever illness this is. Spent most of yesterday afternoon in bed/sofa feeling rather under the weather. But this has made me feel a tad better and spurred me on my seal quest.

Tuesday 4 December 2012

War of the Baubles

Its Christmas time, expect plenty of window displays all full of snow and jumpers, lots of cards in the post and Christmas themed food being stored in cupboards. Not to mention all the magazine and television Christmas themed issues and episodes.

On the weekend we put up the tree, a tradition I am sad to say has become smaller by the year. I don't mean the tree, I just mean the enthusiasm. But there is one element that never changes about this tradition and usually and strangely makes things seem more Christmassy.

When my sister and I were younger, in the days where shops didn't decorate their shop windows at least until late November, (showing our ages, sorry sis) we used to decorate our tree, which is probably older then both of us. We were helped by our Dad.

He is king of Christmas decorations. He really gets into the spirit, until the spirit becomes a perfectionist maniac. Every year he would buy at least one new box of baubles even though we had tons to spare. As we got older, it was thought that my sister and I would take over tree duties and he did the rest. But of course this was not so. He would either take over and add more baubles or he would actually rearrange the decorations, including, when we did do it, the tree chocolates.

Its a running joke now that the tree decorations is our Dad's thing. Last year though, I took a stand, I would take over the tree. I was proud of it and I didn't even need to use half of all the baubles, mostly red ones. But sure enough my Dad interfered, he added a few more and kept saying 'nice tree, more baubles though'. This year was the same, except the only decoration that did go up this year was the tree. I put even less up, it looks better and I let my Dad put the Three Kings decorations up, I know he enjoys it.

This is what the tree looks like. But everyday my Dad says, "More baubles? I think the tree needs more baubles". I would not be surprised if one morning the tree is completely different.