Tuesday 31 December 2013

Hit, Miss or Maybe List of 2013

This will obviously be HITs only. Let's not dwell on the bad but look back at the best.

Django Unchained

From start to finish I was laughing. Tarantino back to what he does best, expect his god awful scene where he tries to act again. He should just stay behind the camera. I read in a review that the supporting actors out shine Django, Jamie Foxx, and I have to agree. He's good but frustrating. Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio was electric, very funny and play their parts so well, I demand a spin off, but for those who has seen it, you know there will never be one. Some people who have seen this, didn't like the film, but when the reason was that it was too rascist, I can't help but say 'its a film, set in the time when people actually talked liked that, you need to look past that'. The soundtrack was brilliant too and I enjoyed a cameo from the original Django, an Italian actor who wore a mask in his films, see if you can spot him. HIT

Wreck-It Ralph

I know nothing about videogrames, but I did go to arcades when I was younger. I only played air hockey but still, I loved this story. Pixar gets you everytime. Just to mention that the short, Paperman, was beautiful and also an Oscar winner now. Wreck-It Ralph is about the 'bad guy' in a video game and how he's treated when the game switches off. The fantastic support group scene could have been a short all by its self, in fact I hope they do make a short of just those sessions. The fun begins when Ralph decides to leave his game after being snubbed for the hundredth time by the people in his game. He tries to win a medal in Heroes' Duty and then crash lands in Sugar Rush where he meets his soon to be partner in car racing in sugary sweet cars, Vanellope. I don't agree when some people have said, its just like Toy Story but videogames or its just a series of references, it's not, its friendship and survival and finding out what the hell happened to Turbo Man! Pixar Hit indeed! HIT

Slightly cheating here with two film, but there are just too good.

I loved everything about this film. I am an admirer of Park Chan-Wook's film 'I am a Cyborg' and everyone keeps going on about 'Oldboy' so my interest was peaked. Written by Prison Break actor, Wentworth Miller, the script was voted into the top 10 best unmade screenplays in 2010. The story was influenced by Hitchcock's 'Shadow of a Doubt' and not Bram Stoker or vampires. It has been described as a horror film but not in the conventional sense, there is barely if any, gore and surprises, at least that's how I felt. When India's father dies in a car accident, under mysterious circumstances, she is left with her estranged mother. But at the funeral she is introduced to Uncle Charlie, her father's younger brother whom she didn't know exsisted. No sooner has Uncle Charlie moved into the family home, people in the town start to go missing. Amazing trailer, that and the beautiful poster (not pictured) got me hooked. This is a masterpiece. HIT


After months of waiting, Danny Boyle's new film arrived. As I tried to convince my Dad to see it, I got as far as saying 'It's Danny Boyle's new film about this guy who works at an auction house and then he steals this painting' and my Dad said, 'yeh that sounds good, we'll see it'. But I'll continue the synopsis for those who aren't so familiar. Simon, an art auctioneer becomes involved with a group of criminals when they plan to steal Goya's Witches in the Air painting. But during the robbery, Simon is knocked unconcious and can't remember where the painting is. They use a hypnotherapist to help recover the missing painting. Of course there are twists aplenty and intrigue galore. It's a brilliant cast and its always good to see Vincent Cassel play this particular role (don't want to spoil it). The soundtrack is also quite perfect. Go watch it, the film is out now for you viewing pleasure. HIT

A Late Quartet

Never has a film made me cry as much since Where The Wild Things Are. When I say cry, I mean well up and a tear falls. That's a lot for me. And all my tears belong to the master, Christopher Walken. That guy deserves an award dammit. The poster basically says it all. When I came out of the cinema my parents said they'd never seen me so moved. This is true. The story is about a quartet, The Fugue, a famous group of musicians who are approaching they're 25th anniversary and with the announcement that Peter (Christopher Walken) is suffering from illness and might be able to play anymore, the other three members unleash secrets, lies, betrayal which could break them up for good. There are basically 5 people in this film, the Quartet and then two of the members' daughter. Each cast member has their own story to tell and no one is ahead of the other, they are equal, and that is actually one of the themes in the film. The music is amazing, the cast are mesmerizing and I cannot recommend this film more. HIT


Firstly, the adverts are wrong, this is not a 'Mad Men meets The Artist' is better than that. It is nothing like The Artist (a great but silent and black and white film) and it only share costumes and 1959 setting with Mad Men, that is all. This film is amazing, I was smiling all through, it is a romantic comedy that is actually good! The romance side played more into the typewriter until later. Set in Normandy, France. Rose Pamphyle, a young modern woman or at least she likes to think so, from a small village wants to be a secretary but her only skill is her typewriting speed. Never the less, she gets a job as Louis Echard's secretary. It is clear that she is not very good at being a secretary but Echard is intrigued by her speedy typewriting and decides to train her for the Speed Typewriting Competition.  From there they grow closer not only as trainer and athlete because, yes speed typewriting is a sport too. It is a delightful film and both leads are entertaining as well as heart warming. This is the definition of a feel good film and it does make you want to get a typewriter. I can't say how much I adore this story, its so new and fresh even though under neath the costumes, setting, typewriting, it is a rom-com but with spirit and drama too. HIT

Much Ado About Nothing
Words are not enough to describe how perfect this film is. Shot in black and white in one (amazing wish I lived there) loaction, Weadon's house, the cast is just utter perfection and the play, well it's one of my favourite Shakespeare plays. I couldn't ask for more! The cast, mostly from Weadon's past shows, used to gather at his house and read Shakespeare plays. So when there was a break between the end of Avengers shoot and post production, Joss Weadon shot this film on a very low budget and in a 12 days. There are a few stories going on but the one everyone knows is between Benedict and Beatrice who are are at war with each other but eventually fall in love as they are made for each other. Another main attraction to this film was obviously seeing Fran Kranz in a main role again, he plays the lovesick Claudio. I think I just love Shakespeare plays told in a contemporary setting that works. HIT

The World's End

It's been a while but Wright/Pegg/Frost fans, the wait is over, the third film in the unofficial Cornetto trilogy has arrived and its all we ever wanted plus its grown up. We've had zombie romances, buddy cop adventures and now its alien robot things. Gary King gathers together his group of mates who he has touch with, mostly because he's a selfish idiot. He convinces them to go back to their home town and finish 'The Golden Mile' pub crawl that they failed to complete when they were teens. But all is not what it seems, no one remembers then and are acting strange. Fantastic cast assembled with the token hilarious addition you wouldn't expect (Pierce Brosnan this time) as well as the familiar faces. Everything about this film screams tradition and old comforts back for one last hurrah. In a way its sad because it feels like there won't be another collaboration like this again, although the trio have said they will work together again. I really though this film great, genuinely funny, so much that I was still laughing about one joke half way through the film. I love how all these films have things in common, mostly small towns, pubs, drinking and surviving something but above all that, these films are very British and that is a fantastic thing. Shut up all you British (film) haters, this was a great British film. HIT

Up On Poppy Hill

I think this is a winning combination. Hayao Miyazaki scripted the film and his son, Goro Miyazaki directed, his second feature. It is such a delightful story about a girl who raises signal flags each day in memory of her father. She meets a boy who run the school newspaper, they share a bond and together try to save the school's clubhouse from being demolished. Set in the 60s, it makes a great period piece and as always, the artwork is amazing. HIT


I think they made a mistake when marketing this. A big deal was made about Chris Hemsworth who plays James Hunt when in fact it is Niki Lauda's film and then it is in fact all about Daniel Bruhl. I should make this clear though, I have been a Daniel Bruhl fan since 'Goodbye Lenin' so I may be slightly bias. Not knowing much, if anything about about Formula One driving I found this film fascinating and really thrilling, especially during the race sequences. The fact I didn't know the history about the races, apart Niki Lauda's infamous car crash, it was exciting to see who won and lost. The film follows the rivalry between the British driver James Hunt and the Austrian driver Niki Lauda during the 1976 Formula One season. I have read everywhere that this will be Daniel Bruhl's breakout performance, in US anyway, but both the leads gave great performances. I agree both were good but Daniel Bruhl really does steal the scene every time he is on screen. You can see that he is, ultimately the better man and the better driver, especially as James Hunt retired from driving a few years after 1976. The end sequence, which mixes in real footage from the two drivers' races and actual footage of the real Hunt and Lauda, felt like a personal note to the drivers themselves. Although the voiceovers fro both the actors was annoying and I didn't think was needed as much, the final voiceover felt like a moment of praise and respect to Hunt from Lauda. A happy ending of sorts. This is one of the very few sports films I really enjoyed. HIT

If I exclude all the films that I saw at the BFI London Film Festival then it has to be:

Blue Jasmine

I haven't seen many Woody Allen films but I was particularly interested in this one for two main reasons. One, the protagonist was a woman, Cate Blanchett, who doesn't normally play this type and she was channelling an inner 'Woody Allen' either, like some other previous male actors have done. Two, there was a heavy influence from Tennessee Williams' 'A Streetcar Named Desire' in the film. Upon further reading about the film, I found out that Allen had used 'Streetcar' in his previous films so it was interesting to see how the film played out as I do love that play. As with most melodramas, it was brilliant, pitch perfect but also very depressing. Jasmine, as she calls herself, was the wife of a wealthy businessman who stole money from his clients and so ended up in jail and killed himself. Left with nothing, Jasmine goes to stay with her flighty sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins, also brilliant, playing against type). The sisters are close but continuous point out each others painfully obvious flaws. The plot line, sometimes veers towards being too 'Streetcar' but before it can get too serious, Allen, reigns the characters back in. It's a brilliant film and it is true what all the critics and people say. But it is quite depressing and amusing at the same time. HIT


Obviously. Catching Fire

Here is a special post about the awesome film. HIT

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

I had tried to hold back my excitement for this film, only to litterally scream during the credits on the day it came out, I was that excited and I am not ashamed. My co-workers were making fun of my fierce devotion to Middle-Earth, but I stood my ground (and won in my opinion). The story continues with the dwarves making their way through Mirkwood and the film takes a Lord of the Rings turn, the company splits up when they arrive at Lake Town, not in the book, Tolkien fans. Gandalf has his own storyline, also not in the book, but that doesn't matter, its amazing, not as interesting but bridges the gap between epics. As for the dwarves they have the best scenes, one of my favourite from the story is the barrel scene. The dwarves fight the elves and orcs while travelling at fast speed down the river, the co-ordination is perfect and even funny at some points. The additional character, Tauriel, seemed pointless at first but she's actually quite cool, that is until she is forced into the a stupid 'love triangle' with Legolas (yes he's back, he is a Prince of Mirkwood you know) and none other than Fili the dwarf. DOES NOT MAKE SENSE! After my anger had died down, they had got back to the story. I loved the introductions for both Bard the Bowman and Thranduil, King of the Mirkwood elves. Both were amazing and will definitely, if the final film follows the story, have bigger roles in the next film. I also love the actors too, so to me, excellent casting. Now for my final mention, Smaug. The mightiest of dragon foes, his scenes at the end were amazing. Someone said they found it dull, they are wrong, having read the book and loved the chapter where Bilbo meets Smaug, it was a childhood memory come to life, plus I do love dragons, evil or good. I know everyone mentions that its Sherlock and Watson, but you will forget this fact as soon as Smaug wakes up. The ending was sudden but effective, and excellent cliffhanger so I won't spoil it for you. Better than the first film and so many beautiful scenes!!! HIT


December Hit, Miss or Maybe

1. Frozen - Maybe

Disney is now following the trend of using a traditional fairytale and changing it then calling it something that doesn't hint at the story. First there was 'Tangled', an amazing film that added in excellent characters and changed the story slightly, but the classic tale was still obvious to all. Then  came 'Frozen'. I love the Snow Queen story, she would have been an amazing villain, but alas Disney made a 3D film (not needed) and completely changed the classic fairytale. This should really just stand alone and new story rather than a reworking of a classic. Frozen is tale of two sisters, neither are evil, both are really amazing characters with even their own storyline struggles. The talking snowman Olaf is amazing and really should just have a series of shorts just for him. Love interest Kristoff and adorable reindeer companion Sven are great additions too but the story seriously lacks a villain. Don't worry there is one, but they are not revealed until two thirds of the way through. Its actually rather annoying. The song are also questionable, they did not feel very 'Disney' it felt more like a broadway musical score which isn't surprising seeing as a lot of the cast were in fact broadway stars. I think I only like two songs, Olaf's and the very catchy 'Let it go' sung by Elsa, the 'snow queen' or rather, the charcater who becomes queen and has been hiding her snow making curse. Over all I did enjoy it, just wish more of the songs were better and there was a villain.

2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - HIT

I had tried to hold back my excitement for this film, only to litterally scream during the credits on the day it came out, I was that excited and I am not ashamed. My co-workers were making fun of my fierce devotion to Middle-Earth, but I stood my ground (and won in my opinion). The story continues with the dwarves making their way through Mirkwood and the film takes a Lord of the Rings turn, the company splits up when they arrive at Lake Town, not in the book, Tolkien fans. Gandalf has his own storyline, also not in the book, but that doesn't matter, its amazing, not as interesting but bridges the gap between epics. As for the dwarves they have the best scenes, one of my favourite from the story is the barrel scene. The dwarves fight the elves and orcs while travelling at fast speed down the river, the co-ordination is perfect and even funny at some points. The additional character, Tauriel, seemed pointless at first but she's actually quite cool, that is until she is forced into the a stupid 'love triangle' with Legolas (yes he's back, he is a Prince of Mirkwood you know) and none other than Fili the dwarf. DOES NOT MAKE SENSE! After my anger had died down, they had got back to the story. I loved the introductions for both Bard the Bowman and Thranduil, King of the Mirkwood elves. Both were amazing and will definitely, if the final film follows the story, have bigger roles in the next film. I also love the actors too, so to me, excellent casting. Now for my final mention, Smaug. The mightiest of dragon foes, his scenes at the end were amazing. Someone said they found it dull, they are wrong, having read the book and loved the chapter where Bilbo meets Smaug, it was a childhood memory come to life, plus I do love dragons, evil or good. I know everyone mentions that its Sherlock and Watson, but you will forget this fact as soon as Smaug wakes up. The ending was sudden but effective, and excellent cliffhanger so I won't spoil it for you. Better than the first film and so many beautiful scenes!!!

3. Anchorman 2 : The Legend Continues - HIT

There is too much to say about this film. It is the film that didn't need to be made but I so glad they did. I was laughing out loud from start to finish. Not as quotable as the first but I'm sure once people watch a few dozen times quotes will be flying all over the internet, particularly some quotes about nursing a baby shark. The story is part historical part Ron Burgundy trying to get back on top, part him realising how important friends are and that he loves his family, that is the gist, without giving anything away. I barely knew the story going in and that is the best way to enjoy this continued tale of the famous anchorman. The cameos are pitch perfect too, especially in the epic battle at the end. We all expected it and they went that extra hilarious mile. Second times a charm.

4. We're The Millers - Maybe

Missed this first time around at the cinema, people raved about it and I liked the trailer and the idea because its just so true. Dress like a typical boring family and you can get away with anything, including smuggling in a truck load of drugs from Mexico. As I said I loved the trailer but the poster annoyed me. All the characters are stereotypes but they make seem original and fresh. I also felt the ending was predictable but it didn't matter because the film was just plain funny.

5. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone - Maybe/Miss

The cast was a big part of me choosing to see this. It has Steve Buscemi in it, enough said. But and its a big but, its about magicians and its actually not very good. Very predictable. Two young boys become friends over magic, grow doing a magic act become famous, end up hating each other. One is more of an arsehole than the other and has to go through a life lesson and the true meaning of magic and wonder while trying to beat the new outrageous competition. Apart from Steve Buscemi, who is always a delight, the cast are far better than the material they were given. But its not a miss, not just because of Buscemi, I did laugh at a few parts and that deserves something for the effort.

Wednesday 25 December 2013

A 'Merry Christmas Me' Moment

I think saying I love my Doc Martens is an understatement.

I now have 4 pairs of beautiful boots. My purple docs are now tattered, ripped but extremely well worn. They came with me to Berlin and enjoyed Uni with me. My tall black boots with roses got me through colder weather and film shoots. My yellow docs came on adventures with me to Cornwall and inspired #adventuresofYellowBoots . My latest boots are bright purple and are special. They are wellies! Hopefully they'll last as long as the others and they'll get me through the storms.


When they arrived, it definitely was a 'Merry Christmas Me' moment. I couldn't wait another day to try them on.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas.

Sunday 22 December 2013

4th Week of Advent - Tim Curry's Expressions, Home Alone 2

Cannot believe it! It is now only 3 days until Christmas!

As you can probably guess, it is the 4th and final week of Advent and I thought I'd share one of the best Christmas films and its secret weapon. Sorry its not Muppets Christmas Carol, I have been saving it for Christmas Eve. It's not even The Snowman. I can't wait to see The Snowman and Snowdog again this Christmas, repeats worth waiting for.

No, its Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. The secret weapon? It's Tim Curry of course playing one of the hilarious concierge of Plaza Hotel. If its not his crazy smiles or funny expressions its the slap from Kevin's mum and his reaction that makes this film extra amazing.

This is one of the best scenes, Kevin is on the run, again, and distracts the hotel staff with his 'Angels With Even Dirtier Faces' film. Click here.

Other than working and watching Home Alone 2 a few times, I have just made some Christmas biscuits, I'll have to ice them tomorrow, and I'm still planning my pumpkin pie for Boxing day.

Update of the Dodo-mazing Advent Calendar, very excited to open the final door.

And my friend gave me the best present ever!!! Even though Frozen was not what I expected, I did love two very important characters, Sven the reindeer and Olaf the snowman who loves Summer. He sings too!

Hoping to post one more time before Christmas, so keep your eyes peeled before the wrapping paper starts flying everywhere and gallons of egg nog is consumed.

Monday 16 December 2013

The Afternoon Movie: The Amazing Mr Blunden

I don't remember the first time I saw The Amazing Mr Blunden but it must have been when I was very young because I remember the film being absolutely amazing, just like the title suggests.

Not so long ago, I saw it for rent on itunes for 99p and thought about watching it again. Then, the other day I actually did, but on youtube instead. Sorry itunes.

The Amazing Mr Blunden was one of those films from the 60s and 70s that time literally forgot. A children's film about a ghosts, old houses, mysteries and strange old men with bald heads. Made in 1972, (you really can tell) and set in 1918. This strange story and stranger film, I was actually relieved to find out it is based on a book, The Ghosts by Antonia Barber. The title of the book makes much more sense than the films'. The poster doesn't really explain much by the way either.

Set in 1918, Mrs Allen, now widowed by war, lives in a small house in London with her two teenage children, Lucy and James and baby Benjamin. The 'amazing' Mr Blunden visits them and asks them to visit a firm of solicitors who are in need of a housekeeper to look after an old house, Langley Park. When the family move into the lodge by the house, they hear rumours that the house is haunted by ghosts of the children who died in a fire 100 years ago.

After a few stops and starts, Lucy and James meet the ghosts, Sarah and Georgie Latimer who are able to travel through time by making a magic potion. Stop me if think this is already getting a bit silly. After their parents died, their uncle took over and married into an obscene family, the Wickens. The Wickens try to kill the Latimer children as they stand to inherit everything. But the Latimer children need Lucy and James to help them.

So where is Mr Blunden? If he is so amazing why isn't in this synopsis? He does come into the story briefly, only to disappear again and to hint there are three of him or something. No twist there.

Without giving it all away, it all ends a rather amusing montage of all the characters/actors saying goodbye over the credits. What joy!

Sadly this classic isn't quite a gem, however I strongly recommend you watch it, just for the period costume mystery ghost house feel about it. But I do guarantee that you will shout out 'but why is Mr Blunden amazing?' The answer, you'll never know, we'll never know.

This film boasts a famous cast too, with none other than Diana Dors the 'British sex symbol' as the wicked crone like housekeeper, Mrs Wickens.

Before and after.

The actresses that played Lucy Allen and Sarah Latimer went on to make other films, mostly low budget horror and TV. Mr Blunden himself, Laurence Naismith is quite a legend by the looks of his resume too.

I'm sure you can find this film somewhere, maybe in the conflicting genre department or maybe just have a look on itunes, its absolutely worth 99p to rent.

Sunday 15 December 2013

3rd Week of Advent - Robbie the Reindeer

Time is just flying by. It really is as its already the 3rd week of Advent!!

Technically it is a week and 3 days to go.

Anyway on with this week's Advent treat. Its a home grown delight, stop motion animation, from the BBC, made for Comic Relief. Robbie the Reindeer in Hooves of Fire.

I rediscovered this classic animated gem a few years back when I was looking for something Christmassy. I almost missed it this year when I was gathering my lame Christmas film collection.

The treat is a clip from The Reindeer Games, think the Olympics on a tiny scale and only featuring reindeers all voiced by amazing British actors. The highlight(s) are 'the three ten tonners'.

Watch the clip here

Also this week, I decorated my Nan's tree, put all the presents under the tree, its actually getting crowded and went to my office's Christmas party, it was hilarious but alas no pictures.

Seal Appeal

Unfortunately this isn't a happy seal of the week post.

I'm sure most people in the UK have heard about the seal crisis. More than 100 seal pups have been orphaned after the tidal surge on the Norfolk coast. Most of the pups are younger than 3 weeks old and cannot survive by themselves, some cannot even swim.

Before the surge volunteers counted 440 seal pups on the beach and after only 177. The good news on the other hand, the National Trust rangers at Blakeney Point, a famous and well populated seal colony, reported that the animals seemed to have escaped to higher ground as most seals were accounted for.

The pups were taken to East Winch Wildlife Centre near King's Lynn, where they will be cared for as long as 5 months.

The RSPCA have launched an appeal to help care for the seals. Click here for more information.

As soon as I heard of the news, I wanted to jump on a train and head over to volunteer but I don't think everyone cares about seals as much as I do. But I can donate. It costs £22 a week to feed a seal pup. I don't ever preach about charity and I try not to go overboard with causes, so please, if you, help the volunteers and those helpless pups.

After they have been looked after and are old enough, the seals will be returned to the wild. Let's help the volunteers out and keep those seal pups alive.

Friday 13 December 2013

Feeling Festive

Feeling very festive this past week. I've already started watching all the usual Christmas films.

I've written almost all my cards, finally wrapped up all but one of the presents, still waiting for the last one to arrive AND I've made the Christmas tags! I've gone for the snowman theme.

Tried to make all the snowmen different but all very jolly. They are my tags for the presents this year and they may appear on some of my Christmas cards.

Slightly inspired by the adorable snowman, Olaf, from Disney's new film Frozen, which I saw the other day. I used snowmen as my theme a few years back too when I made cupcakes, cards, tags and I think masks one year. I used to be in charge of the Christmas masks, we had different ones each year as well as name places. Ah, those were the Christmases.

Saturday 7 December 2013

2nd Week of Advent - B.Z.

Time is moving fast! It's already the 2nd week of Advent so that means its time to put the Christmas tree up.

The Christmas treat of this week is from the classic 1985 film, Santa Claus: The Movie. John Lithgow plays the evil toymaker B.Z. and tries to create 'Christmas 2' by exploiting the elf, Patch, played by Dudley Moore. I used to watch the film every Christmas day without fail, then I stopped waking up at 4am and started getting up at a normal time on the day.

Unfortunately there are next to no videos of John Lithgow, except this one so I have added the trailer in just you can get a feel for this Christmas classic if you have yet to experience this.

I think the best B.Z. moment is when Patch suggests that the special lollipop he makes is given out to children for free. B.Z. is obviously outraged.

Enjoy the classic evil villain.

Thursday 5 December 2013

Losing Touch

I think I lost touch with music when I was 18.

I was on my way back from the cinema, I had to switch trains at Clapham Junction. I had to wait 45 minutes out in the cold as there were no other trains going my way home. To keep warm, like others waiting with me, I got out my ipod and blasted the sounds out, in my ear, of course, no boombox here.

I listened to a track 'Adventure' by Be Your Own Pet, which I actually hadn't listened too since I was 18, yet it had been on my ipod all this time. I listened to rest of the album I had on there and looked through the artists. I realised I hadn't listened to some of the songs on there for years. Years!

It brought me back to my school and college days. I remember going to gigs every month, buying NME religiously, even did work experience at the magazine and buying albums of all the new bands. Its so weird to think back or listen back.

I've always loved film, but from the ages of 14 to 18 I was really into music. Sadly, I got rid of all my NME magazines, except the issues where Yeah Yeah Yeahs were on the cover. I also got rid of quite a few CDs. I put them on my laptop and gave them away. People talk about their childhood toys and memories, but I think my teenage years were split between films, drinking and music. Drinking has to be mentioned as I did used to drink an awful lot. That continued on to my Uni days of course.

Music was close to my heart, yet I never fully learned how to play an instrument, I can't sing that well at all and I can't even remember the last live gig I saw. Music is still inspiration, especially when I'm writing or thinking up ideas. But it has taken a back seat. When I say, 'oh I don't follow music', its sounds stuck up but I'm telling the truth, I really have no idea whats happening in music world.

I can count the bands I would pay to see live on one hand and thats not including going to an arena show. Thats too big for me. I'd like to say that my taste in music has grown since I was a narrow minded teen. I still like 'indie', rock and of course musicals but I think I have branched out, even if it is just the odd one off song.

I listened to all the bands I loved in my teen years on my journey home. Franz Ferdinand, Be Your Own Pet, The Young Knives, The Rakes, Razorlight, Weezer, Editors, The Grates, Interpol, The Maccabees, Maximo Park, Mystery Jets, The Long Blondes, Jamie T, The Pipettes, Regina Spektor, Snow Patrol, Spinto Band and We Are Scientists.

The Futureheads and Gogol Bordello were my favourite bands. No Doubt started me off. Placebo were and shall always be a favourite band, no matter what age. I know lots of the bands are still going today but I don't buy albums anymore, just the odd song. Of course I still listen to Kings of Leon, The Kills, The Killers and all the classics. But the last CD I bought, that wasn't a soundtrack, was Yeah Yeah Yeahs' new album. I doubt this will change, but I'll always look back on those music crazed days with fondness.

Song that made my teenage years:

    Adventure - Be Your Own Pet - video

   Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand - video

    Meantime - The Futureheads - video

    Start Wearing Purple - Gogol Bordello - video

Sunday 1 December 2013

1st Week of Advent - Drunk Santa

Its finally December, and so its finally acceptable to start getting Christmassy! We've already started planning the dinner, this is special and sad. My parents will be with my grandparents, so my sister will be chief cook this year and I will be helping in between my hectic shifts.

To mark each week up to Christmas, or each week of advent, I will be posting a Christmas treat, film related of course.

First up, who can forget the amazing scene in Trading Places (1983), a classic Christmas film in my opinion, when down on his luck, Winthorpe (Dan Aykroyd), dressed as Santa, gets drunk and takes the bus. Highly amusing scene.

For your viewing pleasure click here and get in the Christmas mood.

I have something planned for each week!!

November Hit, Miss or Maybe

Once again, a small list this month, due to starting a new job and practically no time to indulge in my favourite activity. Going to the Cinema!!

1. Thor: The Dark World

They destroyed that small town in New Mexico, they destroyed New York and now they have destroyed Greenwich! Those Asgardians and affliates have done it again. After Iron Man 3, which was the biggest grossing film of the year apparently, this is the second film in the Marvel Universe set in the aftermath of Avengers. It is brilliant. There is equal action in Asgard and in London, which I enjoyed. It was fun to see my home city on screen that didn't involve gangsters,  cheesy disaster sequences or royalty. This action takes place some time after the events in New York. Loki is in prison and will only be civil to Frigga. My name sake Hogun, one of the warriors three, only features in the beginning. Thor gets updates about Jane from Heimdall. Meanwhile on Earth, Jane is trying to forget about Thor and is failing. The plot is difficult to explain but the drama begins when the Dark Elves, thought of as myths now, return and try to destroy the Nine Realms. This results in Jane becoming infected on Earth after opening a portal to another realm. The Dark Elves are too powerful and Thor looks to Loki for help. The scenes between the brothers are perfect, especially in the third act. Loki is such a brilliant character and all the loyal fans aside, it would be a shame if we never saw him again. There are some epic sequences in Greenwich which is the place that all things connect, obviously. The characters from the first Thor film are brought back in full force, apart from Hogun, and make a marvellous supporting cast, wouldn't be right without them. The film also included a very intriguing after credit scene with The Collector played by Benicio Del Toro, who is set to be in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film. I was very excited about this, as its always exciting when new characters are introduced. To sum up, loved the film, a great Thor sequel and excellent instalment in the Marvel film plan! HIT

2. Catching Fire

Here is a special post about the awesome film. HIT

3. Blackfish

The fact that documentaries are being treated like mainstream blockbuster films, is a great sign of the times, especially when the films are of Blackfish's quality. This is a very emotional and, yes I am saying this, a powerful drama. Back in 2010, experienced trainer, Dawn Brancheau was killed by Tilikum, the orca whale who performs at SeaWorld Orlando, Florida. The films looks back at Tilikum's background from his capture, his life in captivity and the three deaths that surround him. The film also looks at the dangers of keeping orcas in captivity. Several former trainers from SeaWorld are interviewed about how the mammals where treated and the incident with Brancheau. A interview near the start of the film with a man who's job was to capture whales is truly upsetting, the man even becomes emotional explaining that it was like kidnapping a child from its family.

This film has influenced John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton, the makers of the upcoming Pixar sequel, Finding Dory, to alter the ending of the film. After seeing Blackfish, the depiction of a marine park has been changed.

I thought this film was brilliant and tragic. I think I have a soft spot for marine life (especially seals) and this got to me. HIT

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Remember Who the Enemy Is

Over a year of waiting, even the DVD release of The Hunger Games wasn't enough to hold off the excitement of the release of Catching Fire or for cinema release its known as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

The Hunger Games' escalation in popularity reached new heights from the moment The Hunger Games was released on DVD. It smashed the Box Office on cinema release but with the gradual announcements of casting for the new characters, it built up the anticipation, plus the DVD release gain more fans. Including myself, fans of the film read the books, eagerly awaiting the result.

I booked my Catching Fire tickets at the BFI IMAX the minute they were available. And I am so glad I did. The experience was amazing. The opportunity to see the first film at the IMAX was not available. Another reason the experience was so amazing was that it was NOT in 3D. 3D is pointless and I was so glad to hear the successful franchise had not gone down that gimmick road.

But before I start delving into the film, first we must marvel at the media campaign. The Capitol portraits were released very slowly, one or two at a time. These works of beauty came after the initial Victory Tour posters. When they first appeared, I was screaming at my laptop with excitement. I surprise myself at how much I love this franchise.


Any fans of the book knows what to expect. The films picks up a few months after the 74th Hunger Games ended. Katniss is back in District 12 and living in the Victor's Village, right opposite Peeta, whom she hasn't really spent time with at all. She and Peeta are about to go on their Victory Tour, where they visit each district and end up in the Capitol. President Snow makes a surprise visit, warning Katniss that the incident with the berries in the games, caused a stir in the districts, hints of rebellion. He threatens Katniss to make the districts believe she defied the Capitol for love alone, other wise, he insinuates that Gale, her family, her district would suffer. In so many words. This sets up the film. For those who don't read the book, I won't say anymore apart from the obvious, seen in the trailers.

Katniss and Peeta indeed go back into the arena for the 75th Hunger Games, the 3rd Quarter Quell, These games are special. The games are given a twist, for instance in previous games, the Districts were forced to vote in the tributes and for the previous Quarter Quell, twice as many tributes were sent into the games. Haymitch is actually the victor from the 50th Hunger Games. These facts aren't mentioned in the film, but they paint the background to how special these games are. This time, the tributes are reaped from the pool of existing victors. District 12 only has 3 victors, 2 male, 1 female. New characters are introduced, including the fan favourite, Finnick Odair, the tribute from District 4 and Johanna Mason, tribute from District 7.

Catching Fire is my favourite book out of the trilogy,  I am thrilled the film did it justice. My reasons are:

  • the fantastic new characters, all the tributes carry a story, it might not be focused on much in the film, but you can feel it. 
  • The twist in the reaping is exciting and not, as some have moaned, a recycle of the first film.
  • Its realistic in the story narrative, characters are killed, it is the Hunger Games.
  • The scene where Peeta and Katniss give speeches about Thresh and Rue in District 11 are very moving.
  • The arena is a work of genius 'tick tock tick tock'
  • An obvious reason, the private moments shared between Peeta and Katniss. Gale is lame. I do not like Gale.

Again for those non readers, you are in for an amazing treat at the end of the film, truly. I'll say no more.

Back to the IMAX experience. If you can see it on an IMAX screen, do it, ust for the amazing moment when the screen opens out, completely filling the screen as Katniss elevates up into the arena.

I managed to see the World Premiere of the film in London from the comfort of my home. I was working that day, otherwise I would have attempted going in person. You have hopefully still watch it here.

This is a link to Empire magazine's review,  here. I believe they were just so recommend a read of it.

I have to admit I saw the film twice a few days apart. That's how good it was.

One last thing, remember who the enemy is.