Category Archives: review

Nazis and Fashion Designers

With this blog post I am going to squeeze in two reviews because I’ve seen two pretty awesome, yet completely different films in the last two days that really are worth mentioning. The two films are of course Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Barsterds and Anne Fontaine’s Coco Avant Chanel, staring the fabulous Audrey Tatou who I have now decided that I love. I will start with Inglourious Barsterds because really it is very typically Tarantino, and very Pulp Fiction, so if you like Pulp Fiction and none of his other films see it because it constructs characters in a similar way to Pulp Fiction. Five things I liked about this movie because I really have to keep this brief and it’s late at night and therefore cannot be bothered making it long. Firstly, Brad Pitt is really good as the leader of the Inglorious Basterds, a group of men whose main job is to ‘killing Nazis’ and then stripping their skulls. Brad Pitt is hilarious in this film from his accent to his strange leadership where he doesn’t really care who dies to him putting on the most horrible Italian accent you have ever heard in your life. He brings energy and humour to the film without really looking like he’s trying too hard which works really well.

Killing Nazis

Killing Nazis

Secondly, is the bar scene in France because my favourite part of Tarantino films is conversation, he somehow creates these fabulous character dynamics and conversation that is so witty and clever. The bar scene that goes for about 45 minutes just captures everything that you want to see as you watch characters untangle each others words, misconstrue things and get themselves into verbal messes as they play celebrity heads. The mixture of accents is entertaining enough. Thirdly is the suspense, the way music builds up to reach a climax but then waits just that little bit longer, relief sets in and then bam bam bam, the screen erupts with violence, or something extreme happens. It’s just precision in filmmaking to time everything to leave you totally blown away, it’s exciting and thrilling. Fourthly, and yes I may sound like a complete film nerd in saying this and maybe my cinema studies has started to impact me but it’s the way Tarantino constructs time, he does it in this way that is truly inspiring, by having two events happening simultaneously on the screen, but in story time representing a different time and space. For instance, without giving anything away how he simultaneously shows the rumifications of an event at the same time that the even is actually happening, so the audience is placed in the head of the person that is first hearing about this event because we first are. I may not be explaining this very well, however I seriously think this is the magic of the film and is done in a way that is not confusing at all. Lastly, the two female actresses, Shosanna Dreyfus particularly, firstly she is completely gorgeous and secondly because you feel her pain, you know what motivates her and I think she is the most sympathetic character in the entire film. Diane Kruger is also excellent in the bar scene and brings this lively presence to the film.

a friendly game of celebrity heads

a friendly game of celebrity heads

And now on to my second film Coco Avant Chanel that stars my second favourite actress at the moment Audrey Tatou, also in Amelie. This film was not what I expected it follows the life of the famous fashion designer before she became famous and really it was intriguing. I’m not going to do the five things I like about it I’m just going to chat about it as there is not so much that distinctive style that Tarantino has. The film is well shot, and the setting is particularly lovely, I especially liked this scene when she first goes to the beach and there are all these markets and people gathered on this bleak day. It just looks amazing and it so well choreographed as she walks right down the middle of all these woman who look the same and she stands out so brilliantly. In fact, throughout the films entirety, from set design to costuming to choreography she sharply stands out from all these elaborately dressed women, while she stands there in a non-corsetted dress or loose suits. The highlights the importance of Chanel on the fashion world, she revolutionised fashion, updated it, without really ever wanting to be a fashion designer in the first place.

Tatou magnificiently standing out in black

Tatou magnificiently standing out in black

However, the predominant thing that makes this film is Tatou, who is absolutely magnificient as this bitter, sweet Chanel, who seems to distaste everything that surrounds her. It really is strange that even though she did grow up in an orphanage she still treated the higher-class world distastefully, she wanted to be part of it, yet as soon as she is in it she wants to leave. Tatou’s bitterness is shown strongly throughout the film’s entirety, where there are only a few brief moments where she graces the audience with a smile, otherwise it is this look of distaste, longing and perhaps a glimpse of fear registered on her face, executed with perfection. She really brings this presence to the film that she really needed to as the Chanel figure, she needed to be everything that she was, she needed to stand dominant to the other characters, and that she did. Where all the mise-en-scene works to contrast her against everyone else, to make her stand out as this dominant figure, that is going to show all these over-dressed ladies what real fashion is.

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“That’s movie talk”

At the beginning of this year I started to write a list of all the films I wanted to watch by the end of this year. I got some of the films of mum telling me that I had to watch that movie, some from my cinema studies tutes, 1001 movies you must watch before you die, and various other sources. My list contains a jumble of different films from Van Sant’s Elephant to 24 Hour Party People (one which I was thoroughly disappointed with) to Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo, which is what I will talk about in this post, because it truly is fantastic, sometimes you just need this sense of one hour and twenty minute escapism, which is what you get from this chirpy, upbeat film about a film.

staring mia farrow and jeff daniels

staring mia farrow and jeff daniels

The Purple Rose of Cairo was made in 1985, written and directed by Woody Allen, who pretty much releases a film a year. To be honest I haven’t seen a large range of his films, but what he usually delivers is a short and sweet, yet quirky romantic comedy, with a Woody Allen touch that you cannot really describe until you see his films. However, he is known to have done some darker films such as Match Point. The Purple Rose of Cairo is light in most aspects apart from the abusive husband and the depressing times that the film is set in, in which our main character Cecilia gets all her joy from going to the movies and I guess in some form living through the characters that she sees to extract happiness into her life. I really enjoyed this film because it was like you weren’t even watching a film, it was kind of like watching my life in a way, well without the depressing aspects, because movie characters really are more interesting, and shed a romantic light over the everyday lives that we live. When Tom Baxter one of the charters in the film she has seen five times adresses the audience telling Cecilia that he is love with her your heart beats that little bit quicker because it is what you always dream of whenever you are watching a film and fall in love with one of the characters, why doesn’t anyone exist like that in real life? The film’s humourous side comes from the characters stuck in the film, discussing the departure of Tom from the film and how it cannot go on without him-

Larry: I want to go too! I wanna be free! I want out!
Mr. Hirsch’s Lawyer: I’m warning you, that’s Communist talk!

The film is quite delightful, as Cecilia gets taken on this adventure with a character that is romaticism embodied, the one she always wanted, as he states he’s ‘honest, dependable, courageous, romantic, and a great kisser.’ What more could you want? But of course there is conflict, conflict between the real and the imaginary, when the actor who plays Tom gets called to the scene worried about his career being stolen by his own character. Ah, I apologise if my writing is confusing you, it is quite difficult to write about a film that is about a film. Cecilia then comes to her dilemma between what is real and what is imaginary, or is it?

why can't i spend a day in a film?

why can't i spend a day in a film?

I like this film because I constantly get into situations where I quite awkwardly suggest what everyone and every situation would be like if it was a movie, for instance “This would be the part where…” and “This is the bit where there should be a fade…” So i guess this is why I feel an immediate attachment with this film, especially the quote: “You make love without fading out?” says the naive movie character. Please, please lets edit life, insert fades, cuts, dissolves, how much better would it be? So maybe I am getting a bit carried away because I know that some people would absolutely despise this film because it it dramatic and over the top, but really I don’t care because I feel like it represents a little bit of who I am and I wish it had never been made so I could make it myself.

I suggest watching this film when it is raining outside and your huddled up in bed under blankets and all warm and snug because it will lift you up, and wish that your life was a movie!!!!

I will watch you over and over again and never get sick of you, never, ever

Throughout my life I have gone through phases with some particular films that I enjoy so much that I watch over and over again. My mum and dad would often come home and say ‘Oh no, not this again,’ and I would sit there and smile happily, watching the film that I love so much that will never get sick of, well until I find another film. I think it all started with the Lion King back in my young childhood days, where my mum fondly says to me remember that time when you watched The Lion King for seven days in a row, ah The Lion King, and believe me I do still cry in that movie, and I am not ashamed to admit it. I look back over those Lion King days with great happiness, because I think it is something great that you love a movie so much that you can continue to watch it over and over again. To be honest I do not think that these films are ones that are terrifically fabulous, well made, presented films, they’re are films that you can emotionally connect with and usually ones that are fairly feel good, because sometimes with the more depressing type films you cannot bring yourself to watch them again because they are so heart wrenching. I have always been one of these people, the ones that can continue to watch films again and again, despite knowing the entire diaogue and soundtrack off by heart, and yes I am ahsamed to admit this one, but this is the case with The Parent Trap. I did have a very unhealthy obsession for a while with this film, and yes I got it out recently and watched it still remember the exact moments when each song started and finished and what each character was going to say at that exact moment. Yet, I will not go into great depth about that movie, as there is little to no depth at all in the film itself, and I am far too embarrassed to dwell on it any further. The next stages of my film obsessions went through films such as 10 Things I Hate About You and many of those ’90s teen films, but at the moment my current obsessions are ‘Across the Universe’ and ‘Empire Records,’ both involving music, yet both completely different and every time I reach into my dvd collection it is like a magnet pulls me to them not allowing me to even consider anything else, which means for a few months my film viewing is restricted due to this very unhealthy obsession of mine, but something that excites me at the same time.

Across the Universe, directed by Julie Taymor

Across the Universe, directed by Julie Taymor

Firstly, Across the Universe was one of those films I knew relatively nothing about when I went and saw it. It was kind of one of those spare of the moment endeavors that resulted in me being totally impressed by a musical, yes it is a musical. To quickly summarise this film it is love story to the tunes of The Beatles. In fact, the songs are my favourite part of this film because they are worked in so well, and are so relevant to the storyline, they just aren’t thrown in for the purpose of putting in a Beatles song, the film itself is set in 1960s New York in the midst of the war. I am trying to think of some reason why I can watch this film over and over again but I just think it is simply 1960s culture mixed with music and awesome trippy psychedelic scenes that pull me in, I especially like the drug fuelled bus trip where everything turns into this trippy unrealistic colourful explosion. The other reason may be that I find Jim Sturgess who plays main character Jude so overwhelmingly good-looking, but you know.

My favourite scene of this film is when Max is called in by Uncle Sam and appropriately the song ‘I Want You’ is played and it goes into this montage of tests that Max must take before admitted into the army, except it is done so well, with really creative set design, costuming and choreography of these soldiers that literally look like those toy soldiers that kids collect. The scene is truly amazing esspecially the part where the camera moves down this set of opening and closing square doors that show different parts of people’s bodies being tested, strenched, etc. emphasising the way the governent treated these men like objects rather than people. This indicates that apart from this love story, the film captures this time in history and the effects of the war on these individuals and the hippy, psychedelic culture that made the 1960s, ah this film is so cool. I think I will continue to watch it for a long time and the covers of the Beatles songs are actually quite good, especially the cover of Let It Be, look out for it because its fantastic.

Gina played be Renee Zellweger

Gina played be Renee Zellweger

Straight away I know why I love Empire Records, because it makes me so happy while I watch it and everything is just so funny, from Renee Zellweger and Liv Tyler who look so young to the dialogue that is so ridiculously stupid, and meant to be that you cannot help but laugh. I also think that I love it because it is this idea of a perfect job, that I don’t think even exists, but at the same time gives me this weird sense of hope. If you haven’t seen this film, which I doubt very much because I feel like everyone in existence has, since I was one of the last to be introduced to its brilliance, it is pretty much about a record store that is fighting against getting taken over by a chain record company. All the characters are hilariously different, and fit all these seperate I guess stereotypes, similar to The Breakfast Club, but less explicit. There is the extremely goofy Mark, that I think may be my favourite who is determined to make a band. and I quote:

Mark: Hey, Lucas. I’ve decided I’m going to start a band.
Lucas: The first thing you need is a name. Then you’ll know what kind of band you’ve got.
Mark: Right, right. I was thinking about, um, Marc. How does that sound?
Lucas: Is that with a C or with a K?
Mark: Well my name is with a
[checks his nametag]
Mark: K, so I was thinking my band’s name could be with a C. That way it’s kind of that psychedelic, you know, trip thing.
Lucas: Always play with their minds.

Ah it is just so ridiculous, but it is meant to be so I think this is why I love this film, because there is nothing overally serious about it, and anything that is slightly serious is mended and they all in a sense live happily ever after, and dance under the stars. I also love it and I think everyone loves it because it is this awesome cool workplace. I wish I could just list the quotes from the film, because it really is one of those films that after you watch it you just continually quote it for days, because it is really funny and fun to watch, quote and sing along too, because it does have a pretty great soundtrack. You will then use the film as a reference point ‘Oh Rexy, you’re so sexy’ and celebrate Rex Manning day, maybe? maybe not? But anyway if you want that little bit of harmless escapism I totally recommend this film to cheer up those overally dull, boring days.

Advertising and Secretaries…why Mad Men is so seductive

Ok so it’s not a movie, but I do not care this show is fucking awesome that it deserves more than one mention. For once it is completely and utterly addictive and draws me right into this 1960s world that I just want to live in because of the fashion with men in suits and women in gorgeous frocks, take me there now. Yet there is so more to this show, it is completely seductive, you’re not sure if you love or hate the characters, you want to know if they are good or bad or just in between. I guess this is what draws you in, you want to know more you want to uncover all those office secrets, all the things that happen between secretaries and their cocky male boses, in this truly repressed society, well for the women anyway.

Don Draper, do i love you?

Don Draper, do i love you?

Basically this show is about office affairs in all manners, whether it be daily advertising pitches or love affairs, it is a complete tangle of knowing looks and hidden smiles, where nothing is really what it seems. Especially concerning front man Don Draper, the mystery man that nobody knows anything about but loves and admires anyway. It is this plot that drives you through all thirteen episodes in a mere few days or a few hours, well that is how it feels until you realise that it is 2am in the morning and you have spent the last five hours in the world of office politics. This show is beyond slick from the soundtrack to those lovely pressed suits and high contrast cinematography, with that whole 60s love affair, oh man i even just love the furniture. Yes it may be that I am in love with this Tv show because it is no irristably good, so good in fact that I could spend my whole life watching this show and be extremely happy. I have always founnd myself living vicariously through Tv shows it started with Gilmore Girls, then Scrubs, Dawson’s Creek, but this, this is actually good, in terms of everything it is no trashy teenage Tv show it is everything a Tv show should be and I seriously doubt there is any other Tv show that could possibly match its brilliance. It is filmed well, acted well, and looks fantastic, take me back to the 60s please, please, please.

those irrestably slick advertisers

those irristably slick advertisers

It is really hard to find anything wrong about this television show and I recommend everyone of you out there to get a copy of this television show, as long as you do not steal it off me because then I will have to hunt you down, because I now do not think I could live without it. Ok, so it may appear that I am going slightly over the top and yes it may seem familiar I always fall into the lives of characters and get completely addicted to other tv shows but this is so completely different because it is so good that it should be played at the movies, on a big screen it looks that amazing, using long takes and being creative for once showing us that this is everything that television should be and just isn’t, but then I guess that Mad Men would not be a special treat that I feel I can keep all to myself, because that is what it feels like. The men in this show are so completely self absorbed and think that they can get whatever they want as their women secretaries float around them typing on those typwriters, in fact I feel like thorought the show I am constantly hearing typwriters and telephones ringing, you barelly get a rest. As for the other women they live their lives as gossipy housewives, looking down upon divorced, single women, while their husbands are having affairs with every other woman in Manhattan. The question is to ask, will they ever learn? Will the husbands ever become truthful to their wives or will it just continue. Ah, I wish I had season two, I want to know what comes next!

the men and their servants

the men and their servants

Yet, there is so much more to this show than just love affairs and office politics there is the secrets and bitterness, that is so subtle that you only discover it when it is eventually revealed shockingly, and then you realise wow that was going on all the time. This is because each character within Mad Men is subtelly important even if they do not appear in a few episodes they will return and shock you, or you will realise a little more about their character, and yeah maybe they are a bit smarter than they appear. This is especially the case for all the women in this show that are so underestimated by the men around them who look at them like a piece of meat rather than a person, this point is so perfectly articulated when Peggy Olson is sitting at her desk and all the men walk past casting a glance here, a wink there, all edited together so well to reveal that these men are just looking for women to sleep with, another perk of their advertising careers- cute secretaries. The real great thing about this show, well apart from everything that I have just mentioned is the subtle rising powers of the women around these men, they are beginning to suspect and realise that everything is not ‘swell,’ (oh and this phrase another reason why I love this show) there is much, much more going on than anyone could ever imagine. Watch the men get so terribly angry as the women move up conflicting with their manly security.

So watch this show, get hooked and then tell me about the love you feel for it, and if not I will keep it to myself, because I think I bear the secret to a great tv show.

Love will tear us apart

After watching Anton Corbijn’s film Control for the second time I realised what an amazing film this is. One that has definitely moved up on my ladder of favourite movies. The film is about the lead singer of Joy Division- Ian Curtis, following his struggles through illness, love and music. The film is poetic with chilling voice-overs by Curtis, (played by Sam Riley) that are extraordinarily poetic about the trials of life, spoken criptically, that makes this movie so magical because it is subtle in it’s precision, right down to the final act.

silhouetted Sam Riley performing as Ian Curtis

silhouetted Sam Riley performing as Ian Curtis

Visually this film is amazing, where every shot captures a moment in time, like the film has been mapped out by a series of photographs aiming to capture every intricate detail of Curtis’ life. It truly is phenomenal and makes this film so incredibly cool, with smoke twirling in the air as musicians chill on worn out couches in high contrast black and white photography. It appeals to me on so many different levels, but then maybe it is just me. Yet, again do not get put off by the black and white nature of this film it was made in 2007 and actually shot on colour film, later to be transformed into black and white because Corbijn thought it would capture Curtis’ character better. This is a fine point to make Curtis in colour just would not seem right, and it felt this way when I watched ’24 Hour Party People’ immediately after, I thought this is not depressing enough it is not capturing the inner poetic notions of Curtis that ‘Control’ captures so precisely.

Apart from all the depressing is some brief brighter moments, such as Curtis’ renound unusual dance moves and childhood drug stealing from the elderly. These moments are probably the brightest parts of the movie, so therefore I would not suggest this film if you are looking for an uplifting film about joy and happiness, because from this film you wont get it. However, if you like music and music history then you’ll like this film, especially since it is based on Deborah Curtis’ (Ian’s wife) book labelled ‘Touching from a Distance.’ If you’re not a music buff go see it just for the cinematography because it is in its own almost heart breaking way beautiful in depicting the gorgeous town filled with blue stone buildings and the ‘cool’ lives that Joy Division lived.

old styled couches, Annik played by Anexandra Maria Lara

Performance wise I had never heard of any of the actors, which is what also makes this film work, there is a freshness about it you are not seeing the same old people in the same old roles. It makes the film more about the musicians rather than the actors portraying them, which makes it special we don’t think about the fact that it is Sam Riely playing Ian Curtis we believe that this is Ian Curtis. For me acting is about filling the role appropriately and believably and in the context of this film realistically, because these actors are depicting real people in real places. Deborah Curtis played by Samantha Morton is convincing as the struggling wife of a musician, we feel her pain as we listen to her worried, teary phone calls. The absolutely gorgeous Alexandra Maria Lara who plays Curtis’ lover Annik Honoroe is fantastic, moving from eager hobby journalist to asking Curtis the real questions, searching for whatever lies beneath. However, Curtis himself played by Sam Riley is without a doubt the stand out he is thoroughly convincing and thoroughly mysterious, we never truly unmask his character, we never truly comprehend his struggles, nor his poetic rantings used as voice-overs that are subtle in their precision. The performances truly add another layer to this movie, giving it true emotional depth as we watch Curtis’ relationships with people, that in some way circle around his misery without truly grasping its seriousness. It is subtle, if not anything else, it is no ‘American Beauty,’ where everything is layed out before our very eyes, it almost conveys Curtis’ life metaphorically, slowly unpacking his life through a series of photographs and words.

“I wish I were a Warhol silk screen hanging on the wall. Or little Joe or maybe Lou. I’d love to be them all. All New York’s broken hearts and secrets would be mine. I’d put you on a movie reel, and that would be just fine.”