Tag Archives: hannah brasier

Sing a song, dance a dance

I have found a general theme through these blogs that lead me on to believe that my favourite films are those that have a really good soundtrack, are about music content wise, or are indeed musicals. However, just to clear this up and I do not care if you hate me forever, I really dislike Grease, yes kill me now. Nevertheless, the point of this blog post is the wonderful musical Singin’ in the Rain, (1952) directed and staring Gene Kelly, and also directed by Stanley Donen. To tell you the truth I have no idea why I was not exposed to this film earlier because I loved nearly every single bit about it. It was colourful, funny, had great songs and was about movies, which is something that I also love movies about movies. Due to the fact that at the moment I am studying Authorship and Narrative with particular focus on the filmmusical I have been handed articles that say Singin’ in the Rain is the only filmmusical that matches those of Ernst Lubitsch, whom was a Classical Hollywood director, who if was not born the filmmusical probably would not exist. However, this is not the point Singin’ in the Rain is pure glee, you cannot help but smile at these glorious characters who you know like singin’ in the rain, which makes me extraordinarily happy. I have a lot of favourite parts, but I will go through a few, firstly is the character Lina Lamont played by Jean Hagen. Her character is absolutely hysterical. She plays this ditzy yet manipulative female actress who has the most horrible high pitched voice you have probably ever heard, and therefore career is ruined when sound is introduced to the cinema. I love her because she has this high sense of superiority, when really everyone is absolutely irritated by her, and really cannot stand to be around her. My favourite scene with her is when she is getting trained by a voice coach, very much My Fair Lady and says “Can’t” in this very ugly over Americanised way as the voice coach hopelessly tried to make her say “Can’t” softly. It really is a lovely moment.

lina lemont

lina lemont

My second favourite part of this film is a scene when Cosmo Brown climbs up walls and jumps all over things like a crazy lunatic. Cosmo played by Donald O’Connor brings this hyper sense of energy to the film, which makes it shine  and honestly I love him, because he almost seems invincibly happy and go-lucky. Seriously, if the film in general does not leave a massive smile on your face his performance alone will. The next awesomely wonderful bit is the broadway scene at the end of the film, which could be summed up as an explosion of colour, dance and happiness as our main character gets whooshed into this magical world of broadway, it truly is marvellous, from the fashion of all the ladies in the background to the magnificent colour clash of the green dress, yellow vest and bright pink background that makes you feel like you’ve personally been taken into this magical world of happiness and wonder. So, yes maybe I am getting a bit carried away, I know some people that would absolutely hate this film because it is in fact too happy, yes he does sing in the rain and enjoys it. However this really is the spirit of the characters in this film, it’s all about living to be happy, which is something that I love.

i love the colour clashes so much

i love the colour clashes so much

Other things to mention are the “Good Morning” song, which makes you want to become a morning person, and where Charlie’s Angels obviously stole that flip over the couch dance move from tut tut tut. And actually according to imdb (the love of my life) there is a continuity error, where two people on the couch actually swap places which I will have to watch out for the next time I watch it. Also, of course the “Singin in the Rain” song, and how could I forget. My friend Holly perfectly summed up this scene by saying “I want a yellow raincoat and umbrella and go swinging around poles down the street.” That is what I think this film does it doesn’t cause you to think deeply about life or to ponder on lifes misfortunes but it makes you want to embrace life, and to ask yourself why aren’t I as happy as these people? Well yes none of us are famous movie stars but…. So I’m kinda semi assuming that everyone on this planet has seen this film since it was made in 1952 and yes I know that I am drastically behind the times, however go see this film, it will make your day!

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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.

little dialogue, so so much emotion

They say that a good movie draws you in within the first fifteen minutes and keeps you in throughout the entire film, making it seem like that hour and a half or so went for ten minutes, oh did the movie just end? This is the exact effect that happened to me while watching Samson and Delilah, an Australian film directed by Warwick Thorton. I had been wanting to see this film since it won the Golden Camera Award at Cannes. I seriously was not disappointed, which I told my mum after exiting the film, that this was most definitely not overrated, not in the least.

media release poster

media release poster

The thing that tells me this film is so unbelievably fantastic is that so much is conveyed without dialogue, in fact the film barelly has any dialogue in it and the character’s emotions are very much conveyed through action and the very clever and skillful cinematography. One of my favourite parts of this film is near the beginning where Samson throws a rock into Delilah’s back, an ‘obvious’ sign of affection. So yes, there are light-hearted parts to this highly captivating, yet depressing film about aboriginal teenages that slowly get destroyed by drugs, deaths and violence. On the whole if this movie does not make you cry I will be shocked! The scenes are touching and so well put together, with a large use of silhouetted images, conveying the dark shadows that lie over these characters and the dark world in which they live, even though it is very much bright and sunny on a daily basis, this is not their life. One scene that makes you realise just how desperate these teenages are is when Delilah tries to sell her art work to people sitting in cafes and they all just look at her disapprovingly, because she is covered in dirt and obviously homeless, this long shot that pans across all these people looking at her with disgust makes me realise just how lucky we are. They do not even have a house to live in. The film is so well done, where everything is true to the story, and done so realistically, where you feel this stabbing pain in your chest when you realise that Samson’s brain is so fried that he does not even realise that Delilah is being dragged away into a car by thugs. The background simply blurs as he stumbles on, petrol in hand. Oh and do not worry I am not ruining any substantial plot details.

one of those rare lighter parts in the film

one of those rare lighter parts in the film

This film also does extraordinarily well at capturing the context in which these two individuals are unfortunately placed as the beginning of the film shows the routined lives of these two individuals, a simple repetition of the same events everyday, where they do everything they can to somewhat survive in this tiny outback town, made up of a few houses and a lot of dust. The wide birds-eye view angles of the town truly capture the desperate nature of these people on an everyday basis. This mixed with Delilah wheelchairing her nana back and forth along a dusty road and forcing her to take her tablets every morning establishes her character as someone who has grown up too quickly, who has had to look after someone, when perhaps she is the one that needs to be looked after. Even though there is very little dialogue this film uses music very well to not only express the routine of their lives through ‘the verandah band’ but also music as a metaphor for peace, whenever either of these two people hear music they are spellbounded into this exterior world, a world where everything seems just that little bit better. This is so wonderfully shown in a shot that shows Samson dancing in slow motion, the camera close up on his body as he is absorbed into the music. It is moments like this that make you realise how special this film is, one that is also so close to home in an Australian context also makes it that little bit better, it is always good to see a well made Australian movie, well it gives me hope anyway.

Delilah played by Marissa Gibson

Delilah played by Marissa Gibson

Now that I think back on this film it makes me feel this little sense of shame that I have ever complained about anything in my whole life, because I have never experienced anything has horrible as these two teenages, stuck in the middle of no where, ostracised from the only place that represents a tiny bit of safety, that really is not even that safe. Without dialogue you feel these two individuals love in these dire circumstances as they watch each other and in some ways look after each other in the best way they can, well in Delilah’s case anyway. I look back at this film and realise just how brilliant it is because it has so little dialogue and so so much heart at its very core, because without the strength in character that these two people have I do not know how they would ever have survived.

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.”