Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Sign Language

My beautiful housemate, James, posted this on twitter, telling me to watch it, and i was so charmed that i couldn't help but share. I hope you like it as much as i do.

I find shorts so inspiring, you can say so much with so little if you really try.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

You can't win 'em all.

Whatever Works

Woody Allen used to be great. Everyone knows this. His romantic comedies, especially the spectacular Manhattan and Annie Hall can be seen as direct influences on the remarkably few impressive romantic comedies of recent years (Garden State, Away We Go and (500) Days of Summer immediately spring to mind.). He had a way of bringing to the screen the wonderful awkwardness of love and romance in the modern world. Now, however, things have changed. After the relative success of Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona, the flaws of which were masked out by the beauty of Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, we are faced with Whatever Works.

Larry David is, on the surface, a great surrogate Allen. He has made a name for himself as an insecure, neurotic New York Jew, a persona which has gained him a cult comedic following similar to that of his director, but where Woody playing Woody is charming, self deprecating and hilarious, David’s portrayal comes off as whining, unlikable and altogether unfunny. Because of this failure, the rest of the film makes little sense. Why should the ever sparkling Evan Rachel Wood fall for him when all he ever does is call her a cretin? Their relationship is so unrealistic and one sided that at times it is reminiscent of incestuous abuse. The audience, rather than simply expecting it to fail, actively wills it to.

The strange pacing of the film means that we spend far too long on the duller parts of the story; his moaning about the futility of life, his moaning about how love doesn’t exist, his moaning about her stupidity, his moaning about everything else under the sun; and are left hardly any time to linger on the only parts of the film which really work. As I’ve said, Evan Rachel Wood is wonderful, as she always is. She invests Melody with an innocent enthusiasm for life and a willingness to see the best in people which makes her attraction to David’s Boris all the more unbelievable. Patricia Clarkson as her mother, Marietta, is also a high point. Clarkson is hilarious throughout Marietta’s transformation from bible bashing southern belle to sexually liberated New York photographer. It’s high time that woman got an Oscar. The best parts of the film are, in my opinion, the rare scenes where Boris is not present. The sub-plots are where the magic happens. The love stories which hold the audience’s interest are between Melody and Randy (the unbelievably beautiful Henry Cavill), and Marietta and her curators. This is where we catch a brief glimpse of the true Woody Allen magic, but all too quickly we are brought back to Larry David doing a poor impression of this once great man. If it is true that Annie Hall was a film found in the cutting room of a much larger project, one wishes that Whatever Works was only the greater starting point from which the stories of Melody or Marietta could be discovered.

Cemetery Junction

I want Ricky Gervais to fail. I’m desperate for it. I long for the day when he makes something that isn’t immediately met with both public and critical acclaim. He’s just too damn smug for his own good and he’s long overdue for a failure. That day has been a long time coming, and it looks like I’m in for an even longer wait.

Cemetery Junction tells the story of three lads from just outside Reading who long for an escape. Set in the mid 70s, it’s all brown and orange, bad hair and bad prospects, and it’s beautiful. Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the ‘geniuses’ behind The Office, and Extras have created a film what you can’t help but be drawn into, no matter how much you’re willing it to fail.

It is a comedy, and there are lines so recognizably Ricky that they seem to come through the actors’ mouths by some feat of ventriloquism, but it is also a masterfully crafted, subtle and melancholic tale of longing, dissatisfaction and the daily grind. The characters are all stuck and desperate for a seemingly non-existent way out, through whichever means are available to them. Freddie, the generically good looking Christian Cooke, gets a job selling life insurance, working under a wonderfully horribly Ralph Feinnes. He is re-introduced to Julie, his childhood sweetheart and new boss’s daughter, who is engaged to the magnificent and despicable Matthew Goode (oh how I love him, he can do no wrong!). From the start, we know how their story will end, but they’re fun enough to watch along the way. Snork, played by Jack Doolan, is given short shrift. More a comedy sidekick than a character in his own right, he is nevertheless given one of the sweetest, most awkward moments in the film, and pulls it off beautifully. Which leaves us with Bruce. Bruce Pearson, played by the disturbingly attractive newcomer Tom Hughes, reads like a younger, sexier Albert Finney in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. He struts about, bursting with infectious confidence, wolfish grin and barely contained rage. His bursts of violence scattered throughout the film bring home to the audience how futile life can feel when you’re young, handsome and have absolutely nothing to lose. His is the story the audience connect to, the film seems to pick up pace whenever he is on screen.

While I am willing to concede that Ricky Gervais is a good writer, I was hoping that the direction would let him down but, sadly for me, the film displays a sure-handedness of someone far more experienced in the field. The shots are beautifully set up, the editing is well paced, the soundtrack is great, even the production and set design is spot on. Annoyingly enough, I’m hard pressed to find a single aspect of the film I can fault. Well cast, well acted, stunningly written, I am reluctant to say that this is one of the most enjoyable and moving films I’ve seen in a while. While not great art, it is definitely great fun. Looks like I’ll just have to keep waiting for the day when Ricky fails.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Medical Marvels

Hello there. I'm in a spectacular mood today. I'm officially on summer holiday, I've just found out that i got all of my first choice courses for next year (Kazuo Ishiguro and a self led course on Dave Eggers for English, The Musical and American Comedian Comedy for film, in case you're wondering), and i got the week that i wanted for The Crucible (did i mention I'm directing the Crucible next term? It's going to be entirely a cast of freshmen.) The directors of the plays all have to get together and decide which week their play is going on and there's normally a big fight for later weeks, because there's a longer rehearsal process, but no one fought and i got the last week, which means i have the whole term to rehearse and i get to perform it on my birthday!
Anyway, to celebrate all of these things, i took myself to the crepe cafe on campus, which has amazing food served by lovely people, and which is being closed down by the evil, money grabbing vice-chancellor. I love it there. While eating my crepe and drinking an ice latte, i read the G2. There was an article which i found completely fascinating and strangely moving. In fact, like many things i post on this blog, it made me cry a little bit. Funny what things affect me.
If you're looking to learn something new, or are at all interested in science or the human stories behind medical discoveries, read this. If you're not interested, read it anyway, you might learn something.

That's all for today, but I'm writing 2 film reviews, so expect them soon.
Enjoy the sun.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Cute boys doing magic

A post that does exactly what it says on the tin. I didn't have anything i particularly wanted to say, but these things make me happy, so i thought i'd share. Enjoy.
First we have a little Matthew Gray Gubler to warm us up:

Then we have some Andrew Garfield being adorable, and slightly more impressive:

And, we finish with a joke, again from Goob, because i can't seem to get enough of him. This makes me giggle like and idiot every time i watch it. I have watched it MANY times.

I'm so in love.

It's been too long

OK, I'm a Sofia Coppola addict, i think she's wonderful and her films put forward a strong argument for the existence of auteur theory, so imagine how excited i was to see this pop up on my twitter feed:

Finally a new film. Marie Antoinette came out while i was still in school, I'm now in my second year of university. How long does a girl have to wait?!
Anyway, the trailer doesn't disappoint, it has that Coppola feel, the beautiful shots, the sumptuous settings, and don't even get me started on the soundtrack. The Strokes haven't sounded that good since i was drunk at boarding school! In three words, I. Can't. Wait.

Another trailer released just about half an hour ago (i think this is what they call real-time blogging, ladies and gentlemen) is the first glimpse of Never Let Me Go. Have a look see:

Both of these trailers made me cry. I'm such a girl.

Something that made me especially happy with this film is that Fox Searchlight is marketing it with Carey Mulligan's name rather than Keira Knightley's. I know it's petty, but it does make me smile when the attention goes to the one with the talent rather than the one with the stupid mouth. Also, Andrew Garfield. Yum. He drew my attention away from Heath Ledger in Dr Parnassus, and anyone who could make me draw my gaze away from the last new thing I'll ever see Heath in definitely has something. If you haven't watched Boy A or Red Riding then do yourself a favour and watch them both, completely amazing.

So, after a rather disappointing start to the summer, finally i have some films to look forward to. I'm going to a press junket on Thursday, so expect another film post soon. Until then, i leave you with a little more Andrew. He won a BAFTA, don'tcha know...

Monday, 14 June 2010

This summer, I'll be mostly...

...Dressing like these people.

So, you may or may not be aware that I'm a bit of a fashion blog addict. Not in a sex and the city, gossip girl, devil wears prada sort of way, just in a kind of "i never get out of bed in the morning without spending a good 5 minutes on" sort of way. I like getting inspiration from what other people are really wearing, and then mixing it with films i've seen or vintage styles.

Anyway. I've decided that this summer, it's all about these 3 looks. I shall be alternating between them until i hate them all.

First, a beautiful shot from The Sartorialist. Now, i love Scott Schuman and everything he stands for, but i rarely get real fashion ideas from his blog, he's a bit too highbrow for me. I love my cut-offs, my ripped jeans and my american apparel. I wish i could afford some of the stuff on his blog, but it's just not a reality. This look, however, i find completely adorable. Yes, the boy being very, VERY cute may have something to do with it, but it's all about the ease of it, the classic striped shirt, the rolled up khakis, the vintage bike. This is a look i can do.

Next, another shot from The Sartorialist, this time from a vintage photo competition he did a couple of months ago. People sent in photos of their relatives, occasionally dating back to the beginning of the last century. With this one, i'm looking at the girl on the left, with the awesome saddle shoes, baggy trousers and little halter top. Such attitude. She knows she's hot, you can see it on her face.

And finally, and i know i mention this film rather a lot, you can never go wrong with 1940s via The Edge of Love. Everything about the costumes in this film is just perfect. Pretty, wearable, a little messy, a little sexy, very, very fun. This is my festival wardrobe, and my picnic wardrobe, and my seducing alcoholic welsh poets wardrobe, and my ...

So yes, a silly post, but i've had these photos on my laptop for a while and i've been meaning to share. I should probably have put in a photo of Matilda from Leon aswell, since i find myself dressing like a pre-teen from the early 90's slightly more often tham may be considered appropriate, but i'll just leave that to your imaginations.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

20 Questions

So a bunch of blogs i read have been posting these recently, and being the complete sheep that i am, i thought I'd follow the trend. Hopefully you'll find something interesting or amusing in here to keep you entertained. If not, check back next week when i probably won't be talking about myself.
Here we go:

1. Show us the inside of something cute:
(My immediate thought was of the actual insides of a kitten, but i thought that might be kind of disgusting, so you get the inside of its mouth instead.)

2. What is the last home cooking you had?
I don't cook, but for the past couple of days I've been making toasted chorizo, hummus and peppadew pepper sandwiches. Delicious!

3.What do you miss?
The screaming nipples, Mr Zane Brzezinski and Miss Karima Carter.

4.What makes you laugh often?
My Hideous Housemates.

5.What is your favorite word?
Undulating, or, more generically, Enthusiasm

6.What are you trying to quit?
Procrastinating, which obviously isn't working, since I'm writing my fricking blog instead of writing an essay about the portrayal of adolescence in The Virgin Suicides.
Also, saying "umm.... so, yeah" at the end of every sentence. Bad, bad habit.

7.What is your favorite commercial right now?
and an example of the kind of poster, if you can't be bothered to click the link.
Cute, huh?

8.Whose style do you dig?
So many people! A lot of the time it isn't so much about the actual clothes so much as the attitude with which they are worn. Here are some examples.
Penny Lane from Almost Famous. It could be that Kate Hudson is one of the most beautiful people on the planet, but in this movie i think she looks just about perfect. I'm not really about 70s clothing, but the way she wears it, she knows she looks awesome and she doesn't give a damn if you agree or not.

Edie Sedgwick. I know it's a cliche and everyone loves her, but honestly, how could you not. She wears tights and pants as trousers, runs around in her underwear, wears men's clothes, does whatever the hell she wants and always looks awesome. Again, i think not giving a shit what people think of you has a LOT to do with these girls' style personalities.

9.Link to a great blog you discovered recently...
I just found this one today while i was looking for pictures. I think I'm in love.
Also, my friend Poli's blog totally rocks, and I've only just gone back and read ALL of her posts. Tres cool.

10.What's the last craft you made?
Apart from the drawings I've been doing, which I've already posted, probably the last actual crafty creative thing I've done (if it counts) would be directing The Goat. I'm directing a scene from Antigone in a couple of weeks, and i might be making a couple of short films over the holidays, but as far as completed creations go, that probably would be it.

11.A photo of the last happy mail you got.
I very rarely get mail, but every Tuesday and Thursday I get a Graze box, which is a little box of fresh fruit and nuts and organic healthy snacks delivered to my door, which is lovely. If you want a box for free, then go to and use the code 15Q6W51. It's good, trust me.

12.Something you got lately.
Yesterday, revelling in the fact that i have nothing that i HAVE to read until October, I bought a book. It's called Light Boxes and it's by Shane Jones and it looks like this:

So far I'm enjoying it. It's a little weird, but I like that.

13.What are you looking forward to?
Going to Latitude Festival with my mum. I think it's gonna be super fun, if slightly weird.

14.Post a recent snapshot of yourself:

15.Recent Favorite Movie(s)?
A Single Man, by Tom Ford, is probably the most intense, profound cinema experience I've had in years. I came out of the cinema physically shaking and had to go home without my friends and lay down for a bit to process what I'd just seen. Utterly sublime. This is what cinema is supposed to be. I could list others, but you should watch this one first.

16.Something you are working on right now...
Apart from my essay?! I'm going to propose a production of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, to be performed in November, ideally in the meeting house on campus, which has amazing stained glass and a giant cross and a big organ and nice stone floors. I love the idea of doing it in a church, i think it adds a little something, non? Proposals are next week, so I'm getting all the preliminary stuff done now.
Also, I'm doing this scene from Jean Anouilh's Antigone for a collection of mythology shorts which are going on in 2 weeks. It's just a little scene but it'll be nice to direct again, I've been getting withdrawal symptoms.

17.If a movie where made about you, who would play you?
It could only be Natalie.

18.What gives you goosebumps?
I had to touch some baked beans today that fell out of the fridge. One of them fell on my toes and i had to take a shower. Too disgusting.

19.Share a new obsession.
This obsession is bordering on the criminal. Since finishing classes 3 weeks ago I've watched almost 3 series of Criminal Minds (I know, I'm a despicable human being, let's leave it for a minute shall me?) and the main, if not only reason, is Goob. I'm so in love with him!
Not only is he disgustingly attractive, but he does other cool stuff too, like directs and illustrates and sings badly and saves kittens from burning buildings and cures cancer. Check out his website, it's amazing: (if you click on "web page" it takes you to his blog where you can see more of his drawings.)
I even drew a picture of him. Maybe if you're very lucky I'll show it to you one day.

20.What is the meaning of your life?
The simple answer would be Enthusiasm. There has to be more of it, I try and inject it into everything I do (with varying degrees of success). The meaning of my life? I'm not sure what it means, but I'm trying to enjoy it while it lasts, and if i can make life more enjoyable for other people while I'm at it, then i guess that's all good too.
Hope that wasn't too boring for you all. If anything, you have a book to look up, some new blogs to read, and a very sexy man to stalk along with me.
I'll be back to posting random crap not directly associated to me very shortly.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

We also create false promises

A couple of amusing Beatles related things for you today.

First off, this rather amazing flow chart, a simple way for any geek to learn the lyrics to one of the classics.

And secondly, an entirely spectacular and completely surreal Bollywood Beatles homage.

His entrance makes me very happy. All that head twitching. (sorry if the right hand side of the video is cut off on your screen, i don't know how to make it small enough to fit, blogger is being awkward.) Gotta learn that dance.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

This is what my life is now

I'd be lying if i said i didn't enjoy it, but right now this is just ridiculous.
(click on the image to enlarge it)