Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Film reviews

I reviewed a couple of films for The Badger. They had to be only 400 words, which is really not enough, but hey. Here they are, if you're curious.

Waltz With Bashir

When trying to find someone to go to Waltz with Bashir with, I described it as what it is, an animated Israeli documentary about soldiers’ recollections of the first Lebanon war of the early Eighties. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I went to the cinema alone. This is a shame, since Waltz with Bashir is so much more than a sum of its parts, and a truly exceptional piece of filmmaking. The story consists of the filmmaker, Ari Folman, trying to unearth his long repressed memories of his time in the Israeli army at the age of 19. He does this with the help of his friends, fellow veterans, and television journalists present during the battle. The use of animation serves to distance the viewer from the horror of what they are viewing, while at the same time highlighting the absurd futility of war. The film is made from the point of view of Ari Folman as a man, looking back at his adolescence as a common soldier. He is no hero, no great warrior, simply a man little past boyhood, thrust into a situation which he does not fully understand, and from which he may not emerge alive. Some people I have spoken to have expressed the opinion that the film is Israeli propaganda, designed to demonize the Christian Phalangist militiamen, and certainly it can be viewed in that way; there are several references to concentration camps and links drawn between the Christians and the Nazis, but I think that in reading the film that way you miss the essential point. This is a film that removes any glamour or glory from war, presenting it in it’s starkest form, that of young men shooting young men without really knowing why, and then going home to try and forget the horrors they have experienced. Rather than being a Michael Moore-ish didactic, one-sided documentary, intent on beating you over the head with his argument, here you are presented with images and (up to a point) left to decide for yourself. Using powerful interview and real testimonies to illustrate his own growing recollection of events, Folman presents us with a film as powerful as it is beautiful, as touching as it is terrible, and one that I would recommend everyone to watch. Not always enjoyable viewing, but essential none the less.

Lodz film school shorts

I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about this screening. The little experience I have of Polish cinema paint it in my mind as a rather grueling affair. The first three films in this collection did nothing to dispel this idea, Universal Spring, Training and Dragon Flies all dealt with largely dissatisfied people living lonely lives, trying and failing to connect with each other, and ending up hurt or broken. After these though, the light broke through. The Princess was an adorable piece of fluff, in the best possible sense of the word. Only four minutes long, it told the story of a Princess setting off into the snow with her tuba in the hope of finding some friends. With no dialogue, beautiful production design and a colour palette completely of white apart from the red of her hair, it was charmingly simplistic and the perfect antidote to the somber mood of the previous 45 minutes. After this the tone was markedly lighter. Episode was a beautiful pastel and pencil animation about a mental patient and his loyal pink ducks, which stay with him even after he is lobotomized; visually stunning, if not a little odd. Red Dot told the story of a woman at a petrol station running away with a man buying petrol, and seemed oddly like a car advert from the 70s. How Are You? was a documentary about a deaf couple who communicate through video messages from Poland and Japan, with a stand-out performance from the quite possibly senile grandmother. But the film that really stuck with me, both stylistically and in terms of content was 13 Years and 10 Months, a documentary about Anastazja, a 13 year old girl with cystic fibrosis, which means she will probably not live beyond 30. Anastazja’s life force, sense of humour and overall demeanor were heartbreakingly positive, and a reminder to the rest of us to make the most of the time we have. She jokes to children at school who say they don’t like her that “they’ll get a break from her” once she turns 30, and while she says she has no fear of death, she worries how her mother will fare when she is gone. This nine minute documentary served the simple aim of making the audience realize how lucky they are to be alive, and how fragile life really is. Overall, a mixed bag of films, but far more uplifting than I ever would have expected. Waltz With Bashir. You won't regret it, honestly.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

'Tis the season...

To buy me stuff! Christmas and my 20th birthday are fast approaching, and i just know each and every one of you are desperate to find out what i want. I'm not one of those coy people who say they don't know when in fact they do, and are then disappointed that the person giving them a gift didn't magically read their mind and got them something other than what they desired. Oh no my friends, for your peace of mind and my future happiness, i am very upfront about what i want. It makes life easier for everyone, i find.
Ok, here we go:

The best magazines being published in the world today are, in my opinion, the American edition of Esquire, and Little White Lies. A subscription ot either of these would make me happy continuously throughout the year. It's a gift that keeps on giving!

My obsession with Postsecret is no secret, and i covet all of these books (my lovely friends gave me the one about teenagers and young people for my birthday 2 years ago, which is why it's not up here.) If you buy these books they help support postsecret, keeping it advertisement free, and give money to 1800-suicide, giving people free advice and guidance when they need it most.

It's possibly the voyeur in me, or the hopeless romantic, that attracts me to this. To me this book is just about perfection, it's sweet, funny, touching and at times tragic. If you buy me this book, you will get to see my cry (if that's an incentive to you cruel hearted bastards!).

Vanity Fair Portraits. Need i say more?

Those Dancing Days debut album, available in all good record shops. They're adorably cute swedish teen indie pop with killer vocals, and i want them to be my friends.

Now this one might be slightly harder to get your hands on, but i promise that if you get it for me i'll love you until the day i die.

I'm not sure exactly where you'd find him, i've seen him on the south bank a couple of times, he hangs out by the National Theatre. Or i suppose you could arrange something with his agent.

Wow, how odd would it be if on my birthday i opened a box and Ben Whishaw was inside?

The mystery and the danger

Again clearing out my computer, i thought i'd give you something to perve over. Shall we all take a minute to appreciate the hotness of Fleur? These were taken for my photography exam, and you can see the etchings i did of them in the June archive, if you're curious.

She's a stone fox.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Shameless vanity

I'm clearing photos off my computer because it's full, and i thought i'd share with you a photo shoot that my mum's friend's daughter did of my this summer. She's only a little thing (i think she's 15, but i'm not entirely sure) I used to babysit her, so it's cool to see her turning into a talented and driven photographer. Anyway, here are my favourites from the shoot.

I try not to put up too many photos of me, but i thought i'd show Taylor off a bit, and clear my computer in the process. Isn't she good though? I think she got some great shots, despite my constant giggling during the entire shoot!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

The edge of love

This is the movie that made me actually feel some affection for Kiera Knightly. Believe me, i'm more surprised by this than anyone. Atonement made me stop calling her a bad actress, but this one i actually kind of liked her. It's still Sienna's movie, and her performance has me seriously weighing up the name Catlin for non-existent future children (con - it doesn't sound that pretty, pro - she's so damn cool!).
Even if you hate Dylan Thomas, want Kiera and Sienna to die of bulemia (watch "the hole", very cathartic when you're having a fat day!), and find costume dramas duller than i find watching snooker, you should watch this movie. The simple reason: The costumes!

I want every item of clothing in this film, as well as the accessories ... and the men! Seriously, it's made me want to wear wellington boots. If that's not enough to prove to you the influence this film has over me, you obviously don't know me very well!

if you really loved me...

...i'd own these by now!

FCUK chaser dress, 90 British squids.

ASOS, 75 big ones.

American Apparel "Le Sac" dress, 2800 pennies

On a side note, the Urban Outfitters website is trying to trick me into buying everything by putting my favourite model in all of their clothes! She's my phone background for crying out loud! They know i want to be here and will be influenced by what she wears. It's a blatant conspiracy, and one that i'm finding hard to resist!

Tattoo contemplation

Alis volat propriis is a Latin phrase meaning “She flies with her own wings” and is the motto of U.S. state of Oregon.

Isn't it pretty? I think it's a lovely phrase, and i really like the choice of type.

As a big lit geek, i can only really see myself getting a tattoo of some script, i can't really see me getting a picture of any sort. I seriously think I’m getting “enthusiasm” on my foot in a couple of days. It’s my favouite word and my favourite sentiment, and i don’t think there’s enough of it in the world at the moment, especially in my generation.

I’m also playing with the idea of getting “in any case, it was just personal” from The Great Gatsby on my inner elbow at some point in the future. Others i’ve thought of getting (but almost definitely never will) are:
“let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth” Song of Solomon
“something good will happen” something my teacher told me, which i love.
“Everything always works out always” something a friend said which has become a catchphrase of mine
“was it all a coincidence?” from a Filschi and Weiss exhibition
“the space and the dream. the mystery and the danger” part of the commentary from Marilyn Monroe’s last photo shoot
“one that loved not wisely, but too well” Othello
“He’s just a man named Gatsby” The Great Gatsby
“like powder touching ash” what the water feels like to the fishes
“I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing. ” from the prelude by T.S. Eliot

As far as lyrics go, maybe
“i’m gonna do what i said i’d do in school, and be the one who says “hey, this ain’t so hard, and it’s kinda cool”" Somewhat off the way by Dogs die in hot cars, (possibly just the second half, because it’s kinda long)
“when i fall, no-one catch me” Sheila by Jamie T

Basically it's half 4 in the morning, I've been out all night and my brain is leaking. This is not a statement of intent, so don't get worried (that means you Dad!), the next time you see me i will not be inked up to the eyeballs, i'm just in a speculative mood.
What would you other people get, if they were to tattoo yourselves?

Important Tips For First Tattoo

This was on a tattoo website i was browsing, and i found it kind of adorable, so i thought i'd share it. Enjoy.

It is very important to keep few tips in mind, when we shall go for the piercing the first tattoo on our body. If we ignored them they can create the large no of problems. So please you should go for them. Tattoo piercing is a trend in all west countries of our world. Proper procedure and cleanness should be needed for this purchase, so do not ignored them all because it will cause even for your death. The first important tip for the first tattoo is that please check the quality of the chemical, which is used for the tattoo, because if you do not do that then you should defiantly invites the hepatitis B and C. Second important point is that avoid touching of your dirty hands from tattoo. Also heating time is most important for your skin. If you will go for more heating then it will cause blackness of your skin and if you will go for less heating then it will cause low quality of impression. Always go through licensed holder tattoo owners or we shall go for affiliated person of APP. Teen aged persons should not go for tattoo, because it really pains. The most important point to be noted for the first tattoo is equipments and tools, which are used for this purchase. All the equipments and tools should be properly cleaned, and also they should be in good condition, because if they are not then they will become the cause of our death or transfer hepatitis and also the most dangerous dieses that is AIDS. Please make sure that only tattoo you should get not dieses. And make sure that those equipments and tools are cleaned in autoclaved machine. It is cleaner type of machine, which cleans all the equipments and tools with boiling water at a required temperature, which kills the all bacteria’s and germs. If a old tattoo is pirated on your body and you want to remove it from your body then please you should go for proper method of removing. During removal of tattoo peoples experience double pain and do not pirates new tattoo on that skin. Because that skin is may affect by some bacteria’s or germs. And you shall also go for a tattoo expert who is specialized in that field. When you pirated your first tattoo on your body then you should also keep few tips in mind. These are keep your body part from children’s, when you will go for take a bath then do not clean your that body part with soap, after few days make a emulsion of vegetable oil on tattoo it is because the oil can protect your skin from dryness and also it will increase the shining of your tattoo. It is a humble request for all the lovers of tattoos that please you should go for the expert and also keep all tips in your mind. So be safe and have fun with your lovely first tattoo. Take care.

Don't you just love it? Do find yourself reading it with an accent in my head, or is that just me?

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Truth and Beauty bombs

I love A Softer World. If you haven't checked it out yet then you should because it's cool and funny and often quite moving.
As proof, here are some of my favourites which i have saved over the past few months. (don't forget you can enlarge the images by clicking on them.)

I just realized that all the ones i've saved are a little on the creepy side. They aren't all like that, here's one that's a little depressing, or poignant, but still lovely.

Finally, here's a postsecret from this week which made me laugh, despite being really rather disturbing!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Happy Birthday Mum.

I love you because you're cool.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

object of lust

I do not often buy graphic novels, I'm one of those bad people who picks them up in Borders and reads the whole thing whilst sipping my grande skinny chai tea latte (without water) and then puts them in the basket for the shop minions to out away. I love them, receive enormous pleasure from them, and then let them go. I rarely re-read them, so i don't see the point in buying them. If the library had a good selection i'd go there, but they don't, so i steal information and aesthetic pleasure from Borders, because they are massive and can deal with it.

I probably don't actually want to own this book, but right now i crave it, and it isn't stocked anywhere where i can sneakily absorb it's contents whilst drinking an over-priced caffeinated beverage, so i'm kind of stuck.

It may well be the most beautiful graphic novel i've ever seen. It's all hand painted to photo-realistic detail by John Muth, with an introduction by one of my many Gods, Darren Aronofsky, and it's based on the classic Fritz Lang film. What's not to lust over?

(click on th eimages to enlarge them. Trust me, it's worth it.)

The man who fell in love with a paper doll.

There once was an ordinary man. This ordinary man had an ordinary wife and two ordinary daughters and a mid-sized black Labrador. His ordinary daughters played with ordinary toys and his ordinary wife baked ordinary cakes and his dog said “woof”. His daughters were named Sarah and Jane, they were seven years old and were the correct size for girls of that age. Sarah was no cleverer than ordinary, and Jane no prettier. They were all very happy. The ordinary man’s name was John, and his ordinary wife’s name was Joan. They all found their lack of nuance comforting.
At school one day the ordinary daughters made paper dolls for their paper doll house. They brought them back to their ordinary home to show their ordinary parents. Joan praised her daughters equally, holding each doll for an equal amount of time, using an equal amount of superlatives, with an equal, balanced look of pride on her ordinary face. She told them to show their ordinary father.
John looked at Jane’s doll first. It was small and stiff, with straight arms, straight legs and straight yellow hair on it’s bulbous round head. He smiled his ordinary encouraging smile and sent his daughter on her way. John looked at Sarah’s doll next.
Like that old maxim, she was small but perfectly formed. Good things did come in that tiny package. She had perfect little legs, perfect little hips, perfect little breasts and a coquettish little smile on her perfect little lips. John was in love. He asked his ordinary daughter if he could keep this extraordinary doll and Sarah said “yes daddy,” so he kept her. He held his perfect little paper doll close to his ordinary chest. He named her Jessica.
John and Jessica’s love was pure. They spent hours staring into each other’s eyes, his blue, hers black. They understood each other without speaking. He held her for hours on end, and took her everywhere with him in his breast pocket, close to his heart. She slept under his pillow. In his opinion their love was stronger than human love. It could only be destroyed by water or fire. John lived safe in the knowledge that she would never leave him, that she would stay young and beautiful forever. But gradually his desire for her grew.
The first time he tried to kiss her she gave him a papercut. After that she was silent, but kept that elusive smile on her face. He asked her if she was angry with him and she did not say no. He asked her if she wanted him to leave, and again, she did not say no, so he stayed, and in time it was forgotten. A few weeks later her tried to kiss her with tongue and she went weak, and he supported her, held her together until she recovered.
The ordinary man’s ordinary wife had noticed something odd. Her husband was spending less time with his ordinary daughters and average dog. She had noticed the perfect little presence in her husband’s hand, pocket and pillowcase. The tiny woman in her bed. Her ordinary heart was ripping, so she did what any ordinary woman would do. She decided to tear them apart.
John and Jessica were together in his office when Joan came in with a cup of tea. Joan didn’t have a plan yet, but was startled by the sight of her husband’s ordinary hand coiled around this tiny woman’s tiny waist. She didn’t look as she stepped into the room, didn’t see her average dog step in front of her legs. The tea flew through the air, covering her husband and his miniature love, and they watched in extraordinary horror as the paper doll came apart between his ordinary fingers.
Their ordinary marriage ended in an ordinary divorce. Joan kept the daughters and John kept the Labrador. They never spoke about Jessica, and John never drank tea again.

I wrote it during write club, so i was slightly distracted, and i haven't really edited it properly, so think of it as a rough draft, but feel free to comment on it.

"Death can't stop true love, only delay it for a while"

Nothing really to say today, but this postsecret made me cry, so i thought i'd share it.

I wrote a short story today, if i get time i'll write it up and post it. It's called "the man who fell in love with a paper doll."
Love you all.

Monday, 10 November 2008

I literally cannot wait

The fangirl in me, the big fat one with winged, bottle thick glasses, who goes to conventions in gold bikinis, that girl is very excited.

She is excited because of this:

It makes her and me do little fangirl squeals of joy and anticipation.Joss and Eliza together again! I just don't understand why he stays with fox; did he learn nothing from Firefly?
Now you've been inflicted with the mental image of a fat lucy with glasses in a gold bikini, you are free to carry on with your day. Enjoy it.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

“ragged, beatific, beautiful in an ugly graceful new way.”

This is my gift to you, if you've not seen it before, and even if you have, because i re-watched it this weekend and it brought back some memories. It has 2 of my favourite people in the world in it, and is directed by the director i want to be. Enjoy it.

I promise i'll never be your friend.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Glamorous, dirty, quiet, and loud

These men are cool. That's really all you need to know. Any man having sartorial difficulty really need look no further than the following photos. Everything you need is just here.

Cary Grant

Francois Truffaut

Robert Redford

Sean Connery

Jean Paul Belmondo

Kurt Cobain

Jonny Depp

Paul Newman

Muhammed Ali

Elvis Presley

Steve McQueen

They each have their own definitive style, but still all look amazing in a well tailored suit. Why doesn't everyone wear suits more? I know i go to a hippy university, but i'd love to see more guys willing to brave some matching trousers and jackets rather than the same old trainers and t-shirt combo. Step it up Gentlemen!