New Beginnings and Happy Endings

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Finally, a film that isn't so sickeningly transparent that you feel like Alice in her wonderland; stuck in a dark rabbit hole. Last night I watched The Holiday with my favourite girl friends (minus a few), thinking that I really couldn't muster the enthusiasm to watch another drivelling rom-com with predictably dopey characters and a distinctly unimaginative plot that makes you feel like you're going to do an Elvis. (Get a stonking great gun out and blast a hole in your TV screen... then die on the toilet).

This little beauty entered my eye space last night and I absolutely loved it. I'm the hardest person to please when watching a film; as a film student I subconsciously analyse everything, from the depth of the characters to the continuity of the shots, my mind ticks over the whole time. (Probably why I'm such a miserable old git about most Hollywood films) But this one stood out like a snow drop on a moor covered in heather.

Jack Black, Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz and Jude Law provided an odd combination, but work brilliantly with the storyline. The driving force of the plot comes about when Iris (Winslet) and Amanda (Diaz) have troubles with the men in their lives and need some way of escaping their own disaster. They meet online, after Iris puts her house in Surrey on a house swapping website, and decide to swap lives for two weeks over Christmas. They each need to rediscover something about themselves to get out of the hopeless mess their in; Amanda is a big shot movie trailer producer who lives in a huge house in L.A, but has no capacity to fall in love or feel real emotion, she can't cry. Iris is still in love with her ex boyfriend who cheated on her three years ago and she still hasn't moved on. These problems, which do sound rather trivial, are dealt with in the most honest way, with Winslet admitting that she needs to move on but just can't let go and Diaz doing anything just to feel some real emotion.

Although this is a love story with inevitable outcomes, the most beautiful relationship is platonic, shared with Iris and Arthur - a ninety year old film writer whom she meets in L.A. Their friendship is just delightful, and she spends time at his house, helping him out with everyday things while he imparts wisdom and anecdotes from his days in the film industry.

The characterisation is sublime, with the charming Winslet playing a true English rose, someone whom I really connected with; her honesty at her own problems is refreshing and her recovery from her case of unrequited love is inspiring. She blossoms into a new woman, captivating and beautiful.

The combination of English and American actors, locations and situations work superbly and the outcome of the story is just lovely. I think I'm gushing a little too much but I was quite excited at the discovery of a real, honest film. Definitely a must see.


Leave well alone

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Watching old people with anything more technologically advanced than a pair of nail clippers is - hilarious. Here I am, on a train from York to Preston, presented with both ends of the spectrum within a matter of of inches from one another. There is a man to my left fully eqipped with a tiny laptop, wired into an ipod, bashing away at his keyboard, occasionally glancing out of the window to glean some inspiration, then quickly back on with whatever he's doing (don't want to look too closely... bit weird)

In comparison, there are two women sitting opposite him - both over the age of fifty, trying to work out how to send a text message. They both appear fairly professional with freshly pressed Marks and Spencers trouser suits and neatly filed nails. They look as if they would be perfectly suited to holding meetings or pitching an idea in a boardroom but as soon as a mobile phone is placed in front of them they rapidly regress back to stone age creatures. Pressing buttons here and there and laughing (loudly) everytime they've been outfoxed by something as complex as predictive text, I can't help but wonder if there's a gap in the market somewhere; a phone especially for the over 50s. Dragon's Den here I come.


The Island Of Inspiration...

Monday, 20 April 2009

I've always planned to go and visit my Aunt in Tasmania, but never thought it would become a reality, always been tied down with one thing or the other... but due to a recent change of circumstances, it's actually going to happen and I'm very excited.

For those of you who don't know much about the country, here's a bit of background... (nicked off Wikipedia)

is an Australian island and state of the same name. It is located 240 kilometres (150 mi) south of the eastern side of the continent, being separated from it by Bass Strait. The state of Tasmania includes the island of Tasmania, which is the 26th largest island in the world, and other surrounding islands. The state has an estimated population of 500,000 (as of December 2008) with almost half located in the greater Hobart area, and an area of 68,401 square kilometres (26,410 sq mi), of which the main island covers 62,409 square kilometres (24,096 sq mi).[4]

Tasmania is promoted as the Natural State and the "Island of Inspiration" owing to its large and relatively unspoiled natural environment. Formally, almost 37% of Tasmania is in reserves, National Parks and World Heritage Sites.[6] The island is 364 kilometres (226 mi) long from the northernmost point to the southernmost point and 306 kilometres (190 mi) from west to east.

The state capital and largest city is Hobart, which encompasses the local government areas of City of Hobart, City of Glenorchy, City of Clarence and generally included is the satellite town of Kingston, part of the Municipality of Kingborough, into the Greater Hobart area. Other major population centres include Launceston in the north and Devonport and Burnie in the northwest. The subantarctic Macquarie Island is also under the administration of the state, as part of the Huon Valley Council local government area.

I'll be staying near Hobart with my Aunt who lives in a random jungle, with an outdoor shower (arghh) and will hopefully go and stay in Melbourne for a while too!

I'll keep you updated :)

PS. The picture is from google images of St Columbia Falls - WOW. It won't be long before I get some of my own pics up!


Bat for Lashes

Friday, 17 April 2009

Natasha Khan is beautiful. Dubbed by the Guardian as a weird hippy, I think she's my new role model, and her music is awesome. Break beat, floaty and incandescent, everything about it is chilled and lovely. If you haven't heard her music yet, go and pour it down your ear tubes now.


The Boat That Rocked

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Richard Curtis, responsible for such British classics as Nottinghill and The Vicar of Dibley, has excelled himself in this feel-good, character driven comedy. The film is firmly set in late 60s Britain, when the war time generation were trying to maintain old British Tory values while the youth wanted nothing of the sort. The story revolves around a pirate radio station based on a boat, "Rock Boat" in the North Sea and is about a recently expelled public school boy, whose mother sends him away to the boat to 'get clean'. The nostalgia factor is forced through the roof with wall to wall 60s music playing both on the radio station and as part of the non diegetic soundtrack. Classic rock n roll in the form of Kinks, Beatles and Stones are blasted across the airwaves to eager teens who consider themselves to be at the height of rebellion for tuning into the station.

The film has an essence of the old Carry On films with cheeky sex references and names such as 'Twatt' and 'Miss Clitt' but manages not to be vulgar as a result of the lovable characters involved in their sexual antics. Nick Frost, the overweight, arrogant, yet entirely likable primetime DJ, is excellent and draws on his comedy roots to give a masterclass performance. Other outstanding members of the cast include Philip Seymour Hoffman, who plays the imported American DJ, The Count, who provides a taste of Hollywood, Bill Nighy, whose brilliantly flamboyant character plays the gaffer of the radio station, and comic genius Rhys Darby (Flight of The Conchords, Yes Man) who play the unfortunately ginger and unlucky-in-love, Angus. His best line, "How would the world live without my comedy?"

It was refreshing to hark back to a more innocent and less self aware time, when people felt liberated and had awesome music to dance to in the process. The film has come out at exactly the right time; I think we all need a lift during the whole recession business and this seems like the perfect remedy to twenty-first century cynicism.

Favourite Scene (Spoiler!):

The best part of the film for me was when Bob, the hippyish mysterious early morning breakfast DJ was clutching onto his box of records while the boat was sinking. The underwater shots are really well executed and create a sense of wonder and serenity amidst the silly comedy moments. The old man struggles to keep hold of his record collection while the water levels are rapidly rising and there is a beautiful moment where he loses grip of the box and all his records start floating away from him. He tries to grab them back but is not successful and it is incredible to see someone so passionate about their music that they would be willing to die for it. The sixties ignited a passion for rock n roll that still lives in the best of us today. Manufactured pop bands should take a leaf out of the old rock n roll handbook and get some of that passion back.



Thursday, 2 April 2009

I saved this picture to my desktop under the title, 'Idiots'. These people are some of the most powerful men in the world and here they are posing as if creating a new facebook profile picture. I half expect Mr Blobby to pop up at the side with his thumbs up and a stupid blobby grin. Get a grip guys. (Image courtesy of BBC)


About This Blog

  © Blogger template Writer's Blog by 2008

Back to TOP