Monday, 27 August 2012

Challenge Excepted: Mexico

It's been quite a while since a 'challenge' film was watched but here is the latest, Miss Bala from Mexico.

Described on the DVD case as "a thrill ride" and "a blistering firecracker" I expected this film to be an action film. The cover art was also mis-leading as it featured many explosions and men with guns, with Miss Bala herself standing calmly in the middle in her pagent swimsuit and crown. The film is also called 'Miss Balla: The Bullet Queen' which made me think that this had been altered to appeal to a English speaking country. This was a hsmae because it wasn't quite like the cover and descriptions. It was better.

Loosely based on a true story, Laura is a young woman who wants to be part of the Miss Bala beauty pagent. But after a terrible event at a club she finds herself captured by a violent gang of Mexican drug smugglers.

That is the basic description of the story. What happens after she is captured and forced to do things by the gang leader just gets worse. Not only does she have her family threatened but she is then seen as part of the gang and she has no way out. As the story progresses the film and Laura's world becomes more and more claustrophobic and in some scenes uncomfortable. I don't think the character smiles once in the film, not including the pageant scenes where she barely forces a smile.

The story and characters also feel too close to home meaning that it feels very real and current. It feels a bit like a documentary in a way, apart from the death scenes. The story the film is based on took place in 2008 when Miss Sinaloa, Laura Zúñiga was arrested along with suspected gang members in a truck filled with weapons outside Guadalajara.

The film was released in 2011. That's quite fast for a film to be made and released so soon after the event.

The film was distressing by the end as Laura was powerless. A very good film but not one I would happily watch again.

End Line: Hardly a Bullet Queen, she was a Victim.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

The Hitchcock Appreciation Post

Monday 13th August was Hitchcock's birthday and I thought the best way to celebrate one of my icons' day was to go see The 39 Steps in the theatre in London. I had already seen it but it just so happened that my aunt had cheap tickets. And I really wanted to see it again.

I first saw this hilarious play at the  Richmond Theatre and loved how a four people (technically three, one actor plays Hannay throughout) could bring so many characters to life. The play is based on the 1935 Hitchcock film starring Robert Donat. The story follows Richard Hannay who attends a performance from 'Mr Memory' a man who can remember every and any fact. During the performance a gun is fired and he is followed by Annabella Schmidt. She convinces him to let her come back to his flat where she reveals she is a spy and is being followed by an assassin. She says that she has uncovered a plot to steal vital British military secrets, implemented by a man with the top joint missing from one of his fingers, who is the head of an espionage organisation called the "39 Steps".

Seeing a second time around just made me love the play even more, especially as the productions were slightly different. The theatre it is currently being performed is the Criterion Theatre and it could not be more perfect. Not the biggest theatre but it felt as if we just walked in the story. The 1930s music and decor made it feel as we were in that time again, if you get what I mean.

Moving with more Hitchcock related things,Vertigo was recently voted best film of all time in Sight and Sound after years of Citizen Kane taking the prime spot. I have to admit Vertigo isn't my favourite Hitchcock film. Although the poster is amazing, the story just dragged for me. I might have to watch it again and see if I'm wrong. Here is a link to a longer article:

The last piece of Hitchcock related news is that there are two features about Hitchcock. The first is a biography starring Anthony Hopkins as the great director and will focus on his life while making Pyscho. The second will a BBC production called 'The Girl' and will focus on the obsession the director had with the actress, Tippi Hedren and will be aired later this year, I hope. Toby Jones will be playing Hitchcock and Sienna Miller will be portraying Tippi Hedren.

 To round up this post here are my favourite Hitchcock films are Rear Window, Lifeboat and Strangers on a Train.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Look at This, I've Been Nominated for a Liebster Award

I have been nominated for the Liebster Award by Annie at Thank you Annie!

 The rules of the Liebster Award:
1. Each person nominated must post 11 things about themselves.
2. They must answer the questions that are given to you from the person who nominated you.
3. You must then create 11 questions for the people you've nominated.
4. Nominate 11 bloggers and link them in your post
5. Let the bloggers know they've been nominated.

These are the questions I was given:
1. If you could be any animal what would you be and why? I would be a fox, but a country fox. I don't think I would like to be an urban fox, too much trouble. I'd want to be a fox because they are smart and sly. They are majestic and run through the forest!
2. What one book do you wish you had written? Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll
3. You're only allowed one for the rest of your life: chocolate or cheese? Cheese, got to be cheese, especially night cheese.
4. Money is no object, where is the next place you'd like to travel to? New Zealand. I've wanted to visit it for years. I want to walk in Middle Earth.
5. What are most looking forward to right at this moment? I can't say. But I am looking forward to my birthday, ish.
6. What is your signature dish? I can only make cupcakes, biscuits and soup, so Butternut Squash Soup with salsa.
7. What was the last fancy dress party you went to? What did you go as? I think it was back in my third year of University, at our house's last party, it was movie themed. I dressed as the awesome Heather Mooney from Romey and Michelle's High School Reunion.
8. What's your favourite song/band? (you can answer either or, as it's a tough one) Favourite band is difficult but song would have to be We Used to Vacation by Cold War Kids.
9. Do yo have a moto, or a favourite quote, what is it/who said it? Not motto but my favourite quote is from Romeo and Juilet: "These violet delights have violent ends..."
10. If you could go back in time what would you tell your 14 year old self? I would say, 'DON'T EAT THOSE CAFETERIA DOUGHNUTS!' and 'Why did you give up trampoline?'.
11.Where in the world is your favourite place? This is difficult as I am most at home in a cinema watching a film. But I did really like Brussels.

11 things about me:
1. I really want a pet dog but can't as I am allergic to dogs (and cats, fur and feathers).
2. If I could live in a film it would be a Wes Anderson film. But I would want to work on a Coen Brothers film.
3. I really wish I had come up with the story of the Disney short 'The Whale who wanted to sing at the Met"
4. I have looked into becoming a seal warden a few times.
5. When I was aged 5 til 16 I wanted to be an actress and took part in anything to do with drama.
6. If I had my own zoo I would have the following animals dwell in it; an otter, a seal, a penguin, a polar bear, a fox and a duck.
7. Having seen the musical 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers' when I was very young it is now embedded into my mind as amazing.
8. One of my favourite things to do on a lazy day is to drink tea and watch Poirot or Miss Marple. That or reorganise my DVDs.
9. I am obsessed with White Russian cocktails after seeing The Big Lebowski.
10. Had a traumatic experience when I was 17, I ended up missing an exam. I think loads of people know the story.
11. The last item I bought that wasn't coffee was my very own Toasted Sandwich Maker.

My questions to my nominees:
1. What posters did you have on your wall when you were 10 years old?
2. If you could be any character from fiction who would it be?
3. What was the first film you saw at the cinema?
4. What was the last book you read and was it any good?
5. Do you have a bad habit? If you do, what is it and do you keep it a secret?
6. What it your favourite kind of cake?
7. Are you superstitious and have you ended up in an embarrassing situation because of being so?
8. Whats the craziest piece of clothing in your wardrobe?
9. If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
10. Who's the person you admire the most and why?
11. What television show are you addicted to at the moment?

And the nominees are:
Merideth - one sheepish girl
Laura - Laura Lexx

Friday, 10 August 2012

Eastbourne But Not Quite Airbourne

On Thursday me and some friends (and Lilli the dog) got up early and travelled down to Eastbourne for the Air Show show.

Although the coast was covered in complete mist, it was still great to get out of London for the day. It wasn't cold and thank goodness it didn't rain so we still got to enjoy the seaside sights and the event, minus the planes.

The sea front was covered in stalls, most of them seaside, army/navy and food themed. Plenty of screaming children, stressed out parents and soldiers trying to recruit. There was some great things going on. The Navy, Army and RAF had set up stalls, some cooking food, others showing you the inside of a tank and there was a soldier letting children feel how heavy one of their backpacks were. Most of the children having a go were the same size as the actual backpack.

One of the highlights of the day was seeing so many dogs! It was definitely a dog fest, especially as there was also a dog show going on. We saw even more walking along the beach and I definitely noticed that owners resemble their dogs . I got very excited when I saw a white Westie, west highland terrier, and we waited on a bench for some time for him to come back. Luckily while walking further up the beach we saw him, casually sitting on the bench with his owners who very kindly let me take a photo of him. Very tempted to pick him and walk off with him.

Great day out though it was a shame it was too cloudy to see the planes.

During the day I took some black & white photos, so when they're developed they'll go straight up here.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Challenge Excepted: Australia

I ventured to a continent that I haven't ventured to before, Australia.

The country is also Australia and the film is Sleeping Beauty.

When I first read about this film I thought it was going to be an interpretation of the beloved fairy tale. But with further reading and with the release of the film I read more into the story, thank goodness. I can tell you now it is most definitely NOT like the fairy tale nor does it resemble the fairy tale. This is an original and disturbing story.

I wanted to watch it after I saw the trailer and for the simple reason, I wanted to know what happened when she slept.

The story is about student Lucy who short on money to say the least. She has several odd jobs and it is insinuated she is also a prostitute, presumably so she can pay rent and her tuition. She answers an advertisement in the newspaper and is then invited to a strange interview where she is examined by Clara and explained the job she is to perform. Lucy acts as a freelance silver service in lingerie, serving at quiet, disturbing lavish dinner parties. After serving at another party, Lucy is called in by Clara with a different request. For this job she must be completely sedated. After a few more times, Lucy wants to know what happens to her when she sleeps.

The film ends on a strange note leaving you feeling unsatisfied and uneasy. There is not abrupt ending, just a long fade to black and an almost static shot. I wanted to know what happened next, what happened to Lucy. There isn't even room to wonder because the final dialogue is just a scream.

The film is very elegant and easy on the eye, meaning the colours and tone of the shots are easy to look at. This is a contrast to the bare script. This isn't a bad thing but there are a few plot holes which bothered me while watching the film. I did feel like I could have had more information about Lucy and the people she meets. The mystery of the organisation that Clara works for as well as her nameless clients works so well. You don't need names for the characters, their actions and dialogue express them character for them. If that makes sense.

Over all an odd film. A very different kind of Australian film.

End Line: Disturbing fairy tale-esque with an obvious caution.

Next: Wales, Iceland, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, New Zealand, Romanian & Hungarian

Sunday, 5 August 2012

July Watch List

1. Wanderlust
This is terrible film. Yes it's funny when we make fun of strange weird hippies but not for 98 minutes. I kept thinking there something deeper going on but no, nothing. The story is about New Yorker couple who have to move to Georgia to live with Paul Rudd's brother who is awful. They meet a house full of hippies and end up staying with them. Jennifer Aniston and Rudd's relationship is strained and boring. I sided with Rudd throughout because Aniston's character was an idiot. The only good part of the film was the end. That's it. Terrible film that was not funny. 1/5

2. The Five Year Engagement
Written by Jason Segal and directer Nicholas Stoller this film is brilliant. The story of Tom (Segal) and Violet's (Emily Blunt) engagement from proposal to break up to make up. I love Jason Segal so anything he writes I will automatically love. The story was like a roller coaster and was genuinely funny. The characters are hard to dislike at any point in the film and the ending is really sweet but bearable. I also loved the use of grandparent deaths to show the passing of time. 4/5

3. Electrick Children
A most beautiful film about a naive morman girl. Actually to be fair she is only naive because of her lack of teaching. Rachel lives in a Morman community where her father is the pastor. One night she comes across a blue tape and hears rock music for the first time. A few months later she discovers she is pregnant. She believes that the man singing on the tape is the father of her child. Of course no one believes her so they arrange for her to be married but she runs away. She finds herself in Las Vegas and decides to look for the man singing on the tape. Set in the 90's which is quite fresh look instead of the 60s, 70s and 80s, it was great to see/hear familiar things on screen. I grew up in the 90's I felt connected to this amazing film. It is the debut film from writer/directer Rebecca Thomas and seeing this gives me hope for the future of women filmmakers. 4/5

4. Magic Mike
Everyone (mainly women) who wanted to see this kept saying, 'I feel a bit bad, but I want to see this'. Why? Just because it was about a stripper? Its based on a true story and anyone on the fence, just go see it! It's actually a good film, apart from Alex Pettyfer and the horse faced woman who played his sister, they were REALLY annoying. Yes there is stripping and yes theres a sort of rags to riches element to it and Mike does want something more in life, but its a fun film. If it helps, its directed by Steven Soderbergh, who is awesome. 3/5

5. Paper Moon
This filmed had been recorded months ago and I only got round to watching it a few weeks back. Worth the wait. If anyone is fan of old 1930-1940s films, this is perfect. Filmed in the 1973 this film looks and feel as if it were shot in the 30s. Not just because its black and white but because of the story and the acting. Real life father and daughter, Ryan and Tatum O'Neal are Moze and Adie. Moze is a grifter/Bible salesman and may or may not be Adie's father. After Adie's mother dies he comes to pay his respects and ends up having to take Adie to her aunt's but they end up as team grifting as they go. It's a great film with added Madeline Kahn and with her you definitely can't go wrong. 4/5

6. Withnail & I
I've told so many thing about this film over the years. I knew quotes from it without even seeing it and I had everyone telling me to watch it. I know its a cult film and I can see why, but I may have missed the boat. The characters are amazing, Richard E. Grant is absolutely brilliant as always. Uncle Monty terrified me and I agree, more wine! 3/5

7. The Dark Knight Rises

8. We Bought a Zoo

Loved this story, didn't think I would but I did. Not a Scarlett Johansson fan but she was ok in this film. It was actually interesting to see how a zoo would function and the family story was well played. It was very sad with all the flash backs of the mum in photos and a dream like sequence but the animals made everything a whole lot better. Saying that, my only complaint, more animals! I wanted to see more animals. Also where were the seals??? 3/5

9. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
This is another film where everyone was asking have I watched it and that I should. Again, I can see why people liked it so much there hasn't been a film that actual has good roles for older actors. The story is about a group of assorted older British actors who have retired and go to live in a hotel especially for their age group in India. I thought it was going to be more amusing than it was and I thought there would be less Judi 'I'm so bored of this woman' Dench. The hotel itself looked incredible and the culture clash elements were great but after a while the only character I was interested in was Maggie Smith. 3/5

10. Contraband
Not something I would go out of my way to watch but I wanted to watch an action film. Better than I thought. But I would just like to say, at no point in this film does Mark Wahlberg tape money to his person in the film so this poster is confusing. The basic story is, Wahlberg's brother in law gets in trouble with the local drug ring when he fails to deliver the goods. Wahlberg steps in to help after having quit the business years previous. There are twists and turns and a random appearance from Diego Luna and overall a pretty entertaining film. 3/5

11. Crazy Stupid Love

I'm going to say it, people will hate me but I didn't think much of this film. I felt sorry for Cal (Steve Carrell) the whole way through, Emma Stone was not in it enough and even though I think Ryan Gosling is an awesome actor, I hated his character, he did not suit the part at all. The only part of the film I liked was the end. It was hilarious and an actual surprise, I didn't stop laughing. But otherwise a disappointment. 2/5

12. Project X
 From the makers of 'The Hangover' across the original poster really put me off but the trailer looked awesome. The ultimate house party looked very appealing especially it was shot, or was made to look like it was shot with a dv cam by the mysterious Dax. Three friends in their senior year in high school decide to have a gigantic party when one of their parents go away for the weekend. The party gets way out of control with the party going up in flames and the police arresting the three friends. During filming extras and attendees were given recording devices to show different aspects of the film as well as including fictional news casts. A great idea and genuinely laugh out loud funny. 4/5

Thursday, 2 August 2012

The Alternative

This post is in praise of the alternative film poster, whether it is a fan made poster or another creation from Olly Moss ( the alternative poster always seems to look really cool. ITo me this includes the cover art used on each Little White Lies magazine ( Below is a small collection of posters that I just loved, enjoy.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Do You Remember the First Time You Partied?

I excepted Project X to be utter bs and very annoying but I was pleasantly then violently surprised by how hilarious it is. Even though I felt like it was my house that was being destroyed there was a point where I sat back and reminded myself that this was a film and more importantly, not my house so not my problem, just entertainment.

While watching the film it reminded me of my own house parties that I had in my youth. The first party was amazing and the second was the worst, mostly because I didn't know anyone who attended.

The first party I had was a few months after my 16th birthday and I was denied a party so like all teens of the time I had a party without parental permission. They went away for the weekend and I jumped at the opportunity. It was quite a full house. I spent a couple of hours removing anything of value or sentiment upstairs and out of breakable way. People arrived in a massive group and were already drunk. Super. I was actually already drunk too.

At first I was worried about every little thing such as where am I going to put the bottles (recycling wasn't a big thing back then) and why is everyone smoking and oh my god everyone has walked mud in from the garden. But after a few more drinks I didn't care as much. When people lit a bonfire in the garden I was more concerned with the fact my birthday cards were somewhere in that pile. When people started running up and down the street yelling I didn't think anything of it.

It was a crazy awesome party of my teenage years and far better that the party I had almost a year later. Basically I invited a few people round, one friend asked if she could bring a few people. It turned out to be too many people and it was worse as I had no idea who they were. I wasn't drunk, i was just annoyed. I managed to heard everyone into one room and told them all to keep quiet. I woke up at 7:00 am to an open front door, mud everywhere downstairs and an angry nieghbour who grassed on me to my parents. Even after I went and apologised. I have never forgiven her for that and been cold with her ever since. Bitch.  My friend and I tried our best to clean everything but alas we failed. It was a rubbish party.

I have attended some crazy house parties too. One I remember was at New Year where I ran away from home well, ran away before I was forced to go to a party with my parents. I was smashed and kept violently dancing then dropping to the floor. I spent the stroke of midnight on a doorstep. That party produced so much gossip at school, not about me. But it all kicked off after I left.

Another party in the same year was quite hilarious too. Again I was smashed but everyone was. The party got so out of hand the neighbours called the police and we were chased into the street by a riot van. 

We've all been to parties like these and they were good times. Later house parties in University were awesome too, but they were different, at those it was legal to drink and there was a more variety of people to mingle with. At school everything is more dramatic than it actually is and thats the beauty of the house parties in our youth or teen years.

But the party in Project X was something else. Amazing party.