Wednesday 28 April 2021

Moving Forward

 I changed the name now I'm changing the location.

Some years back, my blog used to be called something else. I decided I needed to rebrand and be more concise. That other blog is actually still active somewhere on the web or when a link goes wrong. Now, I'm finally moving myself to another site. Its been a long time coming but it was needed. Buying the domain and everything.

I'm in the process of migrating over all my older posts as even though some of the things I used to write about wasn't all about film, I think its important to see where you've come from and the progress you've made along the way. But posts such as the Lemon Torte reworking of Last Resort may be a gem for the blog but might not be the next site. Going through and reading what I used to write about goes from bizarre to insightful at each post. I really have come along way from 2011 when I used to include poetry, events, my day to day, documenting my dissertation and making my final year film and even a story series. I also used to write far more shorter posts, like this one. I miss this short form blogging as it feels more personal. There seems to be a hell of a lot of pressure to create something that looks 'professional' and less like a blog. In fact, a blog is seen as something beneath the world of writers, critics and creators. But blogs are where so many people started off, they need more credit. 

I won't be deleting my blog, it will still be available to those who read it and who wish to see what I used to write about. Watch this space for more information and for when the BIG move will happen.



Tuesday 20 April 2021

Effie Gray

When Euphemia ‘Effie’ Gray marries the older celebrated art critic and writer John Ruskin, she believes she will be happy. But she soon realises that her married life is far what she imagined. Bullied by her overbearing mother-in-law and negated by her husband, who also refuses to consummate the marriage, Effie falls into loneliness and illness. While on a visit to her native Scotland she finds comfort and love with the painter, John Everett Millais. But before she can find her true happiness, she must escape her the cruelty of the Ruskin family. 

 

Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.


Monday 19 April 2021

Promising Young Woman

 

From the moment those panic-stricken strings start playing ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears in the trailer, you can already feel that you’re in for an unexpected treat. The promise that there will be revenge, hard truths and more than backlash for deeds unpunished all packaged up in a cynical and rather bitter yet forceful nature of one woman who is determined to see justice done is definitely fulfilled in the feature.

 

Cassandra is 30, lives at her parents, works at a coffee shop having dropped out of medical school some years previous. She spends her days chatting to her boss and seemingly only friend and her nights out at clubs and bars pretending to be drunk to see if she can ensnare a ‘nice guy’ who usually offers to take her home but then quickly takes advantage. She catches them out, with varying results. But when someone from her college class appears back in her life with some interesting news, she becomes a woman on a mission to bring justice to those who wronged her best friend, all those years ago.

 

My full review can be read in the latest issue of Filmhounds, buy your copy HERE


Sunday 18 April 2021

UK Criterion Collection 5th Anniversary

 

Today marks the 5th anniversary of the Criterion Collection releases in the UK. Usually, I wouldn’t make such a fanfare about something like this BUT as an avid collector I think it needs celebrating.

 

The collection landed in the UK with only a few choice titles, the cult documentary Grey Gardens, the award-winning It Happened One Night, Only Angels Have Wings, silent slapstick Speedy, and Tootsie. I immediately bought It Happened One Night as this is a favourite of mine. I already a couple of editions from the US but now I could just collect without the worry of shipping fees!

 

With releases each month, including the very fancy boxsets for Godzilla: The Showa-Era films as well as beautifully crafted editions such as The Grand Budapest Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom that came with extras that any collector would be very pleased with, the collection now has over 150 titles available in the UK.

 

Personally I’m looking forward to completing my Wes Anderson collection but I am looking forward to some Coen brothers films being released but until then Happy Birthday UK Criterion!

#Criterion5thBirthday

Friday 16 April 2021

Into the Labyrinth

 

When missing kidnapped girl Samantha is found years after she first disappeared, she is taken to hospital and examined by Dr Green who is there to find out what happened to her in the labyrinth. Meanwhile private investigator Genko tries to track down Samantha’s kidnapper, leading him down many dark twists and turns and a glimpse into an even more disturbing mystery spanning decades.

 

Full review can be read over at Filmhounds HERE.


Thursday 15 April 2021

The Collection

 

The Criterion Collection has long been an infamous and desirable collection that all film collectors have coveted. Having only been available in North American and the corners of the internet that make these editions with the grasp of a collector. As the Criterion collection is forever growing, with some titles being unavailable and out of print, it seems at times, an impossible achievement to collect them all or even the titles that you want the most. For some reason, I thought back to my childhood when, like many Millennials who actually admit it, I collected Beanie Babies. I believe it started when I was 8 or 9 and I was given one for my birthday. I wasn’t an avid toy collector at the time, I like my pens, books, child size post offices so when this little dog landed in my lap I was confused. But it didn’t stop there. As well as this dog, Wrinkles, I was gifted a cat (forgotten the name) and a leopard, Freckles. With these three in my hands, something clicked. I could collect more! 

 

In just a few weeks, I had Ringo the raccoon, Pouch the kangaroo and Nuts the squirrel. These were my first 6 Beanie Babies. Over the years I had in my collection 67, which may not seem like that many considering how many other people had at the time of the Beanie Babies boom. My friend and I were competing over who had the bigger collection, she definitely won by a mile because she used to buy a handful at a time it seemed and her Grandad doted on her so bought her as many as she liked. I was a modest collector to be honest, where I went far but not too far. I did of course buy a couple of editions of the magazine and I did collect the cards too (still have those) and my dad did take me to a Beanie Babies fair once. I was so happy with my three purchases as well as some cards and tag protectors and then I saw my friend role up and point to the bags full of swag in the back of the car. That’s when I thought, maybe there is such a thing as too much. I was still very happy with the three I had bought. Fast forward to today and the Beanie Babies that remain are boxed away in my parent’s attic, waiting for the day they will be worth something. A few have disappeared or given away over the years and I still have my favourite one with me (Waddle the penguin) along with the card collection. I still hope they can be sold but until TY stops making them, they’ll remain in the attic. The way this collection ended is how I worry about my other collections I have started over the years will go. Despite not collecting soft toys at a child, at least not that many, I still had a large Sylvanian Family collection, boxed up in my parents shed and a Polly Pocket collection, solely from the 90s era, safely stowed away in a box in my old bedroom. My extensive card collection which included many Beanie Babies cards, a handful of Pokemon cards I found in a car park, the PG Tips cards my Nana used to save for me and a loud of The Two Towers stickers which must be saved at all costs, the whole lot is with me right now. Why? Because I just can’t bear to part with them. This is the case with all the other collections. I realise I have a habit, may it be good or bad, of starting collections. My mug collection had got me into many a massive argument with my parents when I Iived at home and has since been thinned out, taking only the precious few with me to my flat. My postcard collection, which I still have, has not been added to in a long while because I have actively stopped myself in obtaining any more. My tarot deck collection has grown to the point where I sold off a few and stopped buying so many. Even books I have slowed down in the last year as I know I have too many. I don’t buy physical CDs anymore, haven’t for years, plus they are outdated now. I own a handful of vinyls and that’s all I want. I don’t need a big collection of those. I stopped buying so many Funko Pops because I could see the trap I was falling into. Sold off some of those too. But when it comes to film, I will never stop collecting DVDs and Blu-rays. 

The reason why people collect is something ingrained in them when they are young. We desire something and we must have it. Collecting is essentially desiring something, which is a strange way to put it but absolutely true. Collecting has been described as an addiction and I very well believe that is the case. Just like caffeine is addictive. An acceptable vice in society. As obvious as the negative side to collecting is, the positives outweigh the negative. There is community, there are way to meet people with similar interests (not talking about Beanie Babies now) and of course the personal feeling of accomplishment and the inevitable joy of adding something new to the collection.

 

I worry that all the other collections I have will end up in the attic of my parents’ house but never my film collection. So many people, growing up, thought that my film collection was ridiculous, they didn’t see the point and thought it was unnecessary. But I would see their shoe collection, their music collection, jewellery, figurines, make up etc and think, why is your collection justified but my film collection isn’t? We all have our vices and mine just happens to be films. Sometimes I do think back to when I would open my cupboard at there the Beanie Babies would be. I knew the TY craze wouldn’t last and as I entered Year 6 (11 years old) I drifted away from them. I moved onto other things, it just happened. I stopped thinking about where I could get my next Beanie Babies fix. Whenever they come up I conversation, my dad liked to remind me when he was on a work trip in the US, how he was running around crazy looking for Beanie Babies, but I think he secretly enjoyed the hunt. My parents collect too. Not the same things as me, but they do like to collect. They judge me for my collections (particularly films and Tarot) because they know what I’m like. I like to collect. People collect what they like to collect and I see no harm in that.

 

Coming back to the Criterion Collection, of which I have a collection within the bigger film collection, I’m happy to continue on picking up titles I’ve been waiting for in the UK as well as looking longingly at those still not available yet.


 

Tuesday 6 April 2021

The Bold Type

 

I don’t usually write about TV shows but here goes.

 

Having noticed the show pop up on Amazon years ago (no exaggeration) I watched the trailer and just felt that it was just another show about women navigating love, life and work in New York at a women’s magazine. This would have appealed to me back when I was teenager but now in my thirties, I really don’t have time for this, what with all the murder mystery documentaries, Schitts Creek rewatches and weird sci-fi in between. I had been craving a show about friendship, particular female friendship for ages and sorry but Sex and the City is no longer for me either. I tried Firefly Lane and hated the format and got very bored with the characters. So, one night, I accidentally pressed play on The Bold Type which is now on Netflix. This was accidental as I’m still getting to grips with my new TV (generously donated to me by a friend). Admittedly I was hooked by the first episode and ended up watching 3 episodes before crawling into bed. And then I came back for more. A short time later, I am now mid-season 3, so the show must have something that keeps me coming back right? Yes and no is the complicated answer.

 

Just to give context to what the show is about, it follows three best friends, Sutton, Kat and Jane who are all in their mid-twenties and met as assistants at Scarlet magazine (a stand in name for Cosmopolitan). The show begins with Kat, now the director of social media, Sutton, assistant to the executive editor and Jane starting her first day as one of the writers. They all have particular quirks and distinctive personalities that unfold as the seasons go on. Jacqueline Carlyle, is editor-in-chief of Scarlet magazine, a woman all the main characters look up to. Carlyle is actually based on Joanna Coles who was the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan. The show is also inspired by her and she has an executive producer credit, so guessing there was a little influence there with how this character is represented.

 

The show focuses a lot on ‘hot topic’ issues of the moment and of our current times. Many things that are brought up each episode, not always the main focus, are relevant now, despite premiering in 2017. Some shows suffer as times goes on, topics become old and irrelevant. Global pandemic aside, nearly every single episode could have been made yesterday. Subjects about discovering your sexuality, body positivity, breast cancer awareness, sexual harassment, bullying in the workplace, whether having children in your twenties is right for you, putting your career before your love life, journalistic integrity, these are just a few covered.

 

The show makes a huge emphasis on the characters being millennials which, may put some people off BUT this is actually more accurate representation than I’ve seen in a long while and although I don’t work in fashion or publishing, there are many situations that I can relate to, topics I wish came up far more often in shows (especially in the UK). With my age, I am of the millennial generation, no way to avoid it and you can either embrace this fact or brush it off with little regard or appreciation with how much extra work our generation has had to endure. As much as the Gen-Zers like to think they run the world, millennials paved the way for them. Without going on a generation rant, The Bold Type was surprising, to me, at how much it covered in just the first season. Of course, there are scenarios that would never happen in real day to day life, but this is a TV show so you have to expect that.

 

There are quite a few moments during an episode where I roll my eyes a dozen times but in between all that I get the essence of what the show is trying to do. In all honesty I really don’t think the main characters are relatable, although the show tries to cover all bases with the three of them. I also don’t feel wholly invested in them personally. I much prefer the discussions of the topics of the episode. They are in fact, quite bland, which the expectation of Sutton in various episodes who seems to go through the ringer when it comes to her career (I can definitely relate there). The friendship between the main characters is fun to watch but I really don’t relate to this part either. They seem to have a go through each other for permission or debate on absolutely everything, to the point of co-dependency. The supporting characters in the show are however more interesting, such as Jacqueline Carlyle and her input always makes a great scene. Alex, the only male writer at the magazine, again, has great insight and offers sound advice to the main three. The various other characters that pop up from time to time too, they make the show worth watching.

 

I’ll continue watching the show as I’d like to see what is discussed next. I recommend this show for the same reasons I watch it, but also if you’re missing your friendship fix. Despite it being set at a magazine, don’t be expecting anything like Ugly Betty or Sex & the City as this is not that show.

Monday 5 April 2021

Slaxx

 

Anytime someone says there’s an inanimate object that comes to life and creates chaos and goes on a murdering rampage is usually a ‘must see’. These sort of films, as there are more than you’d like are usually accompanied by a vague story or a group of characters that are equally as weird as the premise of the story, aside from all of this, you are meant to be guaranteed something entertaining and hopefully funny. However, Slaxx, decides to do something completely different but doesn’t quite pull it off.

 

New employee Libby is excited to be part of this trendy clothing brand, a clothing company that claims to make everything in an ethical way and is fair trade. On the eve of a huge launch of a new line of jeans that adapt to any body type, things don’t quite go according to plan. A pair of jeans comes to life and begins to pick off employees one by one, but there is something more sinister going on behind closed doors in terms of how ethical the company actually is. 

 

Inanimate objects coming to life or being possessed in this case screams horror or comedy or both and to be fair the first act of the film, there is plenty to enjoy. An uptight manager who refers to areas of the store as ecosystems, a surely long-time employee who you just know will be the key to things later on, upbeat na├»ve character who is our guide into this story and dodgy idealistic company and the mean girls who don’t last long in the story, it’s all there. There are plenty of digs at companies who claim to pay above living wage, no sweat shops and all ethically resourced blah blah blah but really, they’re lying about how they conduct business. There is also space to make fun of influencers and how these big companies reward them with free swag, just for the likes and views. Most importantly the character of Libby, who is the wide-eyed girl starting a job at her dream company because of what it stands for and how great it is for the environment, is played off as the biggest stereotype and it works perfectly. The film is filled with stereotypical characters and genre cliches that are amusing and disgusting at the same time but the film tries to subvert these horror trends but trying to be, serious.

 

The jeans are undoubtedly the star of the film and are given ample screen time and even character development (at a push). They are lethal and supernatural, as they are actually possessed rather than come to life. The jeans are given a backstory at which we are given an insight and the predictable reveal that this ‘cool’ clothing company is not as ethical as it pretends to be. This is where the film loses its edge and heads down the ‘too serious for this genre’ path. Trying to become a warning about what could happen if we as consumers continue our terrible ways, the film also tries to use Libby as a beacon of hope. But she is quickly called out, thankfully, for her real reason for the joining the store, discount on the clothes. Essentially, no one comes off as particularly amazing, not even the jeans who are in fact wreaking revenge for what happened to them. With a bleak ending, to match its bleak third act, the silly fun of the slasher jeans film is long gone. If the film has started as a serious film, this would have been very different.


 

 


Friday 2 April 2021

Undine

 

Undine’s world feels as if it’s coming apart when her boyfriend ends their relationship. This is more than the end for her. But as soon as one love ends, another enters her life, in the most dramatic of ways. Christoph is kind, loving and gentle, completely different to the relationship before. Both swept off each other’s feet by this whirlwind romance, neither sees the dangers of the water coming.  After a sudden tragic and fatal accident almost takes everything away from Undine, she has to decide what to do; face her true nature and the real consequences of her actions. 

 

Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.