Category Archives: The Movies

Things & Inc

An update post if you will, as boy do we have a lot going right now.

What, it’s Christmas and everybody is buzzing around like bees on ecstasy? You’re right, my bad. How’re you coping?

Here are a few of the things I am thinking about right now.

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  • Lena Dunham

I’m finally on Not That Kind of Girl and haven’t even passed the Introduction yet. But I’m looking forward to it.

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Sadly, the book already has a reputation that proceeds it, given the uproar it has caused over the last few months. People are forming new Dunham shaped opinions all over the shop due to some of the subject matter (and how it has been sculpted by Lena’s choice of language), but I am remaining on the fence until I have a context to relate it to.

I love her style and I can’t see that changing any time soon, but she might allude to stabbing puppies in the final segment, so you never know.

  • Christmas Shopping

I’m done! Did it all in one sitting with the help of the trusty internet. The lovely, lovely internet.

*SMUG FACE*

ChristmasCupid

  • Christmas Movies That Retell A Christmas Carol (And/Or Feature an Alternative Universe) From the Perspective of a High Flying Business Woman (Always American) Who Has Lost Sight of What Is Important 

See Christmas Cupid (TV Movie 2010), Holidaze (TV Movie 2013) and, from this afternoon, It’s Christmas, Carol! (TV Movie 2012).

All, you might have noticed, straight to television masterpieces. And yes, I do love them more than Coco Pops. Amusing because, of course, no woman can climb the career ladder without transforming into a total bitch of epic proportions!

(If any of you know of any more films of this ilk, please let me know).

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  • Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud

I am obsessed.

  • Family

This week hasn’t been easy and some new news has made it even more difficult and emotional (which I’m not going to go into) but I have been reminded that I have a fucking wonderful family who are strong and incredible people, come rain or shine.

It’s easier to deal with the shit stuff when you have an army of rock stars on your side, that’s for sure.

nightcrawler-main

  • Jake Gyllenhaal

We recently watched Nightcrawler and I really enjoyed it. Following the last of Jake’s films I absolutely loved, Enemy and Prisoners, he’s now pretty much my favourite. Such a talented (and fit) actor.

Nightcrawler follows creepy Louis Bloom into LA’s underground as he becomes interested, and then really quite good at, the business of crime journalism.

  • Ready Player One (the Movie)ready-player-one

OMG this book is fantastic and so completely up my alleyway, that I #canteven! But if I could, I would tell you that the fact that Christopher Nolan has been offered the film version of it is knicker-wettingly exciting and I squeaked a little when I heard.

Cannot wait.

(Even though the scriptwriter has admitted to have taken ‘liberties’ with the original source material, so you know, boo to that).

So, that’s me. I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying the lead up to Christmas. I’m not feeling that merry yet, I have to say but that has to be because I haven’t seen enough Christmas movies yet (I accept non-Dickensian rehashes too). Soon to be rectified, I hope.

Second Hand Stories

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What’s the best story someone else has recently told you (in person, preferably)? Share it with us, and feel free to embellish — that’s how good stories become great, after all. Via The Daily Post Daily Prompt (2nd November 2014)

I stumbled across this prompt a couple of weeks ago and loved it. I have so far not been able to find the motivation to write it though. Perhaps today is the day.

My best friend, Panda and I laugh about my favourite story a lot and I don’t know why it tickles us so much. Yes, it’s about Tom Hanks, who we love more than we love our own families (not really, we love him like family) but it’s also quite dark and very sad.

NB: I should state here that I didn’t hear this in person recently, it was several years ago and found by accident online. I can’t for the life of me remember where or who or why I ended up with this information but the important thing is that I did.

Wanna hear it?

My story goes like this. Tom Hanks was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attack back in 2001. He was, for some reason, in one of the towers when it came down.

Once discovered by the ‘Powers That Be’ who run Hollywood, but miraculously nobody else in the world, a meeting was held (I’m embellishing now) in a plush office at an undisclosed location somewhere in California. Earl Grey and pink donuts were served.

The PTB were so concerned that the movie industry would never recover from such a tragic and gargantuan loss that they decided that nobody else could ever know (bar the Hanks family, one presumes).

Instead, they would create a hologram of The King of Hollywood, who would continue to make movies, television appearances, produce in name as normal and even appear on the red carpet; as if nothing had happened.

Unfortunately, it was leaked and recorded on the web, thus taking its place as my very favourite conspiracy theory of all time. Even better than the one about Whitney Houston being sacrificed so Blue Ivy could exist (a soul for a soul, bitches). God, I have issues.

The thing is, I look now and I can’t find the original source. I mention it to people and they’ve never heard it. So did I imagine my own conspiracy theory? And if I did, what on earth does that say about me?

Or… am I the only other person in the world to have accidentally read this story in the few seconds it took for the ninjas to crash through the roof of the culprit’s condo and rip it out of existence forever?

Personally, I think the fact that this story has been removed from The Internet is suspicious in itself. Therefore, clearly true.

I love Tom more than anything, so of course I would prefer my Hanks alive and kicking, however did you ever hear such a fantastic tale? I never have since.

And, lest you think my internet digging was fruitless, I have to say here that if you type into Google ‘Tom Hanks Conspiracy Theory’, you will find some absolute gems.

The theory that Tom Hanks has never existed because ALIENS is sheer perfection.

Thoughts?

I Used To Love Him #1: Kiefer Sutherland

Where have all the cowboys gone?

Where have all the cowboys gone?

I was reminded this morning of my gargantuan crush on Kiefer Sutherland back when I was still a kid. It all but evaporated the minute he (allegedly) cheated on Julia Roberts back in the early nineties, but until I decided he was no longer worthy of my love, I was obsessed.

Looking back I think I fell for him in The Lost Boys, aged just ten (Me, not him, obvs). His character wasn’t exactly heart-throb material, being an evil vampire an’ all but I liked him all the same. A year later came Young Guns and suddenly, something was stirring within me.

I’m confident it wasn’t sexual desire, though maybe subconsciously as I broke through into early adolescence, but I wasn’t really thinking in those terms then. I can’t explain what it was but it was there and so were the posters on my bedroom walls.

Cheer up guys

Cheer up guys, you’re supposed to be in love

It was with to my dismay that he got together with, and subsequently engaged to nineties sweetheart, Ms Roberts. I was pretty in love with her too to be fair; that hair was so naturally gorgeous, her smile so wide that how could I not be under her spell too?

I wanted to be her and since I was head over heels for Kiefer, I accepted the union because, frankly, what more could I do? My childish heart quickly grasped the reality of being 13 and unlikely to ever meet and steal him for myself.

In 1991 they were due to marry in a lavish ceremony, according to People magazine, and a great article from that year I just found online. Although, having read it back I wonder if I’ve distorted my version of events.

Did Kiefer cheat with a stripper on his Stag night as I had been lead to believe, or did I imagine it? Or was Julia the naughty one, leaving the country pretty sharpish with Jason Patric on her arm, having just shattered Sutherland’s heart? (And who can really blame her?).

Who knows what went on back there in the heady nineties? All I know now is perhaps I should have heard Kiefer out; not reacted so strongly to a piece of celebrity gossip that could very well have been completely made up.

If only I’d had the wisdom I have now, back then, eh? Maybe he’d still be on my wall and in my heart.

Then again: Freeway, Eye for an Eye and The Vanishing – perhaps not.

Halloween Movies – My Top Picks

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Chill, Mike, I got this

As a horror freak I have always loved Halloween. It’s not as huge here as it is in the US or North America, of course but it’s still always been my very favourite holiday. Ever since my Step Son came into my life and we’ve been taking him trick or treating it’s meant even more.

I particularly respect the adults who throw themselves wholeheartedly into their chosen part on the night. This year I’ve decided to go all out and have not one but two costumes planned. The B’s are going to a Halloween house party at the Haunted House on the Hill (AKA my friend Mix’s house). She’s been planning it for months.

I will most definitely reveal more of that when I can, but I’m keeping things under wraps for now. When Mrs B goes to town, she really goes to town. Instead, let’s talk about my favourite horror films to watch in the lead up to All Hallow’s Eve, shall we?

In no particular order:

Candyman, Candyman

So good, Christina Aguilera named a song after him*

Candyman (1992)

Man, I loved this movie as a teen. It still shits me up and everything about it, from the music to the story of the how Candyman became Candyman, was spot on for me.

Virginia Madsen is crazy good as Helen, the curious grad student intent on uncovering the local legend. Question is, are you brave enough?** Candyman, Candyman, Candyman… Nope, not me.

Calm down, dear

Calm down, dear

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

One of the original ‘Video Nasties’ of the seventies, this film is older than I am (and that’s pretty ancient, let’s face it). It’s up there with one of my favourites because I find Leatherface and his family utterly fascinating.

Even more fascinating is the fact that this is loosely based on the real life of Ed Gein who was a messed up individual. Horrible, bleak and hopeless, this is the complete opposite of a feel good movie but you’ll be rooting for the hippies all the way through it, even though they’re quite annoying. Maybe.

Quitting clownin' around

Quitting clownin’ around

House of 100 Corpses/The Devils Rejects (2003/2005)

Heavily influenced by the aforementioned Chain Saw Massacre, Rob Zombie‘s seminal masterpiece(s) hold their heads high in my top ten because they’re damn good. Horrifying, creative and at times hilarious, both movies follow the lives and times of the Firefly Family, a collection of truly heinous individuals.

They might be sadistic, twisted killers but I dare you not to kind of like them.

Just chillin'

Just chillin’

Haute Tension (Switchblade Romance) (2003)

This is a French horror thriller about two college friends, Marie and Alexa, who run into trouble when they spend the night at Alexa’s parents house.

This is one of those flicks that makes you feel sick and will have you peeking out from behind a cushion until its bloody climax. Jumpy as hell and very gory (which I love), it’s a strong horror contender which manages to keep you gripped until the very end. Definitely recommended.

You've got red on you

“You’ve got red on you”

The Descent (2005)

Another movie that likes to play on multiple fears at the same time, it follows a group of women on a caving expedition after one of the gang suffers a horrible tragedy. It’s no surprise that claustrophobia plays a huge part in the overall feel of the movie but that’s the least of their worries when it all kicks off.

Rumour has it that the American release of this movie changed the ending, which enrages me, as I feel the climax is one of the best things about it. Since it’s rare to get to the end of your average horror these days without being disappointed, that’s very annoying. This might just be a rumour but since you might not have seen this move yet, I’m not saying any more. Love this film as it is.

"I just wanna Axe you a question"

“I just wanna Axe you a question”

The Shining (1980)

Until very early this year I had no idea how good (and scary) this story really is. Like many people, I adore Kubrick‘s version of The Shining and, although I never thought too hard about it, was a little bemused by Stephen King‘s hatred for it.

Now I understand that it’s merely a re-imagining and most of the very terrifying events from the book aren’t really captured in the film. I haven’t watched this since I read the book and it’s been a while, so I’m not sure my fresh understanding will alter the way I feel about it, but I hope not.

I’m happy for there to be two versions. I must admit, at first, it was hard to imagine my own Jack Torrance without Nicholson‘s insane rendition getting in the way. But I coped.

"I got the key, I got the secret"

“I got the key, I got the secret”

The Orphanage (2007)

More of a ghost story than an all-out horror flick, The Orphanage is truly spooky. One particular scene has stuck with me and has to be squeezed out of my consciousness whenever I turn out the bedroom light.

Very, very good.

Not Another French Horror Movie

Not Another French Horror Movie

Martyrs (2008)

Even sourcing a still for this post has turned my stomach a little but I do think that Martyrs deserves its place on this list. The film seems to play out in three separate acts, and tells the tale of a young woman hellbent on revenge on the people who kidnapped and tortured her as a child.

I watched it after it was highly recommended to me by my work colleague and I had no idea what was to come. In fact, I thought it would be pretty standard torture porn fare but actually it gave me so much more than that.

I can honestly say I will never watch it again, since it’s a horrible ride but I think it’s worth it for the final reveal and for the concept itself. At least it tries to be different. Oh, and it’s also French and those French do horror bloody well.

Knife to see you, to see you... knife

Knife to see you, to see you… knife

Halloween (1978)

As if any Halloween list could omit the King of all horror movies! One doesn’t simply forget to reference Michael Myers and his sister, Laurie.

This movie has everything: the plucky heroine, the escaped mental patient with a past, the slutty BFF, the score… its pure perfection really and anyone who’s anyone will fit this into their viewing schedule this October. It’s practically the law. Thanks John Carpenter, for your contribution to the tried and tested slasher movie formula.

So there you have it – my favourites.

How about you guys? Now I know some of you are big film fans so I need recommendations stat! What are you Must See/Go To Halloween Horrors and why? Don’t be shy!

skeleton-spin* not really!
** say his name 5 times in the mirror and then… POW!

Uncle Robin 1951 – 2014

Robin-Williams-robin-williams-32089824-2798-3916Yesterday most of the world woke up to the news that Robin Williams had passed away.

I was in a decidedly un-glamorous place as I scrolled through Facebook and found out for myself (embarrassing source of all my news). My subsequent scream from the bathroom caused Mr Bee to get very annoyed when he realised I hadn’t just been injured or attacked.

It is always strange when a beloved celebrity passes away. This year we have already been rocked by the passing of another favourite, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and in similarly shocking circumstances (all still alleged). Hoffman from a heroin overdose in his own bathroom and now Williams, who is believed to have taken his own life.

It’s just so very sad. I guess when you think about death at a not even that old age, you hope for something quick and painless. Tragic, of course but natural. To consider the ongoing suffering of somebody famous for making others feel better is a bitter punchline in itself.

This morning as I was stomping around the park thinking about this subject and of what Robin meant to me, I got to thinking about the joke Rorschach tells in Watchmen:

I heard a joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life is harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world. Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. The great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears. Says, “But doctor… I am Pagliacci.” Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains.

Moral of the story: you never know.

Now, I don’t feel qualified to comment on what sort of torment must lead a person to such a hopeless place. I don’t think it’s the cowards way out though.

I know a few things about mental illness and depression, I know a bit about addiction but all my experience is second hand. I know it’s serious and that we should be able to talk about it openly, without judgment and help should be readily available. It goes further than that though and I understand this.

I just feel incredibly sad. I feel as though the world will genuinely have an empty hole in it now. Robin always felt like an uncle to me and when we spoke about him, Mr Bee and I called him ‘Uncle Robin’.

Had he been my real uncle (and I do love my actual uncles), I imagine Robin would have been able to fix anything with a hairy armed bear hug. Nothing could be bad within that embrace and nothing would ever light up the room like that smile. That laugh.

Now this is my fantasy, of an uncle I’ll never have but I’m sure his own children felt that way about him. I’m sure his friends, his wife, all his loved ones felt that way too. I hope he’s at peace now.

Rest easy, Peter Pan.

New Blogs: A Round-up of What I Am Reading Right Now

It’s not all picnics down Memory Lane round here, you know. blog-closet-t-shirt-Favim.com-147492

I may have shed loads of unresolved issues to work through via the medium of blogging (and some light disco) but I also read a lot of great stuff too. I am particularly happy this month as three of my friends have started blogs and they are all magnificent creatures with a lot to say, so my Reader has never looked so good.

Don’t worry though, I’m more than happy to share. Without further ado, my favourite new blogs. Enjoy!

  • MashHead – this is the mind mince of my colleague and friend, Becky and covers all manner of genre, from music and film through to festival survival, delicious snacking and moreish recipe goodness. I am lucky enough to be in the same team as my creative and interesting pal, so although our work (Co-ordinator) can be a pain in the butt, at least we have each other. Go read!

Stand out post: Beck looks back on her trip to Primavera Sound 2014
Read for: New listens

  • Double Gym & Tonic – This blog’s tagline, “I squat in front of the refrigerator” sets the tone right away. Honest and funny, it’s author, Frannie is one of the best things to have come out of Canada since Ryan Gosling and poutine (both together?). She is also my friend and I’m grateful for that every day. If you’re into exercise, food or just fancy a lol, get involved.

Stand out post: Why run?
Read for: An honest account of why this girl exercises

  • The Bohemian Within – Col is another relatively new friend which is sad in a way, since she just moved back to Oz but fabulous in another because at least we got to meet at all right? You’ve gotta count your blessings in this life and this bohemian soul is one of them. Read for an injection of loveliness with a bite and stay for all the talk of Gluten Free cupcakes. YUMMY!

Stand out post: There’s something wonderfully nostalgic about this and it’s subject matter, of course
Read for: Life ponderings that we can all identify with

  • Cloud in a Teacup – Who says pretty things aren’t always what they appear to be? Shivani has a blog that consists of gorgeous imagery and content that is a genuine pleasure to read. We have a lot of similar tastes and so one day I hope to take a little tour Up North to see some of the great places she has blogged about first hand. Read for some great inspiration and a lovely view of the world as Shivani sees it.

Stand out post: There are loads but I like this most recent one because HATERS
Read for: Genuine love for local spots like The Butterfly Cabinet plus did I mention the photography?

  • Hannah Reads Stuff – I was a fan of Hannah Writes Stuff back in the day (it wasn’t that long ago) so I already knew I dug this girl. As a massive book fiend I am firmly behind what Hannah blogs about, I’ve never read a review I didn’t appreciate even if our opinions have differed on a particular title. Again, I think we have quite similar tastes (I was outraged by the ending of Gone Girl, while Hannah was also not a fan) which is nice when you want to discuss books and I can’t get enough of her recommendations. Basically, I would read an old shopping list passed off as a blog post and still be satisfied.

IMG_2046Stand out post: All of them, sorry not picking just one!
Read for: Thoughtful reviews like this one and also some great introductions to covers I might otherwise have missed

  • Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys) – I had to include this movie review blog because I just love it. I love when a new post pops up in my reader as it is invariably something I have just seen, want to see or had forgotten about thus must see immediately! The reviews are very well done, detailed and… look don’t waste another minute with me waffling on about them, go and see for yourself. Go.

Stand out post: It’s hard but my favourite posts to date have been: this, this and this
Read for: No nonsense reviewing of a wide range of films including some underrated gems and some good horror (my favourite genre)

So there you are. Some fun new blogs to get stuck in to. I hope you find as much joy in them as I do on a day-to-day basis.

Now, give me some recommendations please! It’s only fair.

 

 

Forget About Love: Nymphomaniac Review

Charlotte-Gainsbourg-NymphomaniacOn Monday I went straight from work into a four hour sex film.

Not just any four hour sex film, you understand (I’m not that continental), but Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac (Vol. I & II).

I’m going to start my review by first saying a few things. Firstly, there is a lot of fucking involved so there is no skirting around that. Nymph is a story about sex addiction, the destruction of lives as a direct consequence of said addiction and the journey from self-hatred to acceptance, so if it hadn’t been full of scenes of rutting I would have been surprised.

Since the story is being handled by von Trier, who has scarred me for life in the past, I would expect nothing less. Secondly, I’m not going to waffle on about the story line. All I will say is that one evening a man finds a woman knocked out in an alleyway and, since she is reluctant to go to the hospital, takes her home. Once there, she tells him, in great graphic detail, the history of her erotic life.

Finally, my last comment before I give my thoughts: on checking out IMDB’s reviews for Nymph, I was hard pressed to find a positive summary. This intrigued me so I went digging and I can honestly say, I don’t get it. I get that not everybody is able to handle such eye-opening scenes of sex and violence. Fine. But nothing I found in many of those reviews rang true for me. My only conclusion is that there are people out there who have been swayed by the controversy and are unwilling to see beyond the ‘porn’.

However, I bloody loved it.nymphomaniac-stacy-martin-sophie-kennedy-clark-slice

Yes the main protagonist, Joe, does a lot of shagging. She starts young and keeps on trucking. Some of the practices she involves herself in make me wince, even though I can understand the compulsion. The cast is good looking for the most part which is handy as you see them naked quite a bit.

The acting has been one of the most criticised parts in the reviews I have read, but I don’t agree. Sure, Shia LeBeouf‘s accent is confusing (South African? Danish?) but he does a fair job as Jerome. Young Joe is incredible; a brave and bright eyed Lolita. Uma Thurman completely steals the first instalment with her passive aggressive-on-acid turn and Christian Slater is a total DILF (thank God for eye candy).

Nymphomaniac-Poster-Jamie-Bell-is-KNymph is really funny. Like, laugh out loud hilaire. There are moments of genuine comedy that I wasn’t prepared for. I think the concept of the not knowing what to expect made me go in with an uneasy feeling and what I saw was touching, funny, beautiful and grimy; a cornucopia of emotion.

All in all, I think it should be seen. I’ve spent the last few days talking about it and plenty of people have asked me how it was. Nobody cared this much about my opinion on Cuban Fury, funnily enough.

So, I will say this: if you want to watch something a bit different, have four hours (FOUR HOURS) to spare and aren’t opposed to looking at a lot of bodily fluid/penises/vaginas/gerbils, then why not? You could do worse.

I also think that the scenes I most enjoyed were the scenes with Jamie Bell. I fancy him, of course but I found them/him intriguing. Without Spoiler Alerting all over the shop, his influence over the Older Joe (the brilliant Charlotte Gainsbourg) is disturbing but somehow, the easiest to understand.

This could just be lust for the grown up Billy Elliott, or… I have a hidden sadomasochist lurking deep inside.

Happy shagging, Campers!