Monday, 30 January 2017

It's the Count! It's the Count! It's the Count!

This week the new Vulturehound magazine issue was released! I have a short piece about A Series of Unfortunate Events that features. I am still obsessed with this show, ended up watching it back to back because I loved it so much! It was like Brett Helquist's illustrations had come to life and Patrick Warburton's amazing voice channelled Lemony Snicket's words perfectly to the screen.

The article I wrote is more about Jim Carey's Olaf compared to Neil Patrick Harris' interpretation but I do gush about how much I loved the books and TV show.

The new issue of Vulturehound can be read HERE in all its glory. One not to miss, especially The Walking Dead fans out there.

Friday, 27 January 2017

TMP Television Edition: Science Fiction

Don't forget to check out where it all started over at Wandering Through the Shelves.

I was obsessed with this show from the get go. Not sure why. For the first few episodes I thought Agent Parker wasn't a good actor until you realise that's her character plus she eases up. Based so very loosely on Stephen King's short story 'The Colorado Kid' the story is about a small town in Maine where some the residents have unusual and somewhat disturbing abilities. Called 'the troubles' they occur every 27 years and are triggered by an emotional event. Agent Parker at first tries to solve crimes  involving the troubled but soon realises she's more involved than she thought. Her and her local detective partner, Nathan and her buddy Duke, the local master smuggler join together to help troubled and help the town keep their secrets. I love it but the last season dragged. They were ending so they tried to fit two seasons worth of stories in one but apart from that still love this show.

This monumental series spanning decades and three generations of three families is all about alien abductions. This was first shown in the UK at the same time 24 premiered. I was also obsessed with this series. But at that age no one at school was watching it! I had to nerd out by myself. Starting with the crash at Roswell, each family represents a different experience with aliens. The Crawford family are obsessed with finding out more and generally nasty people not afraid of murdering for the research. The Keys family are fighters and do not take kindly to being taken. Then the Clarkes who seem to share a bond with the aliens. This show actually featured an amazing performance from a very young Dakota Fanny and very young (alas) Anton Yelchin in a couple of episodes. This show was not given enough credit. Each episode was nearly 2 hours long, so it was like watching a film every Sunday evening but it was so engaging and gripping, aint been a show like it.

Part of an exchange in Uni with my friend. I had turned up my nose at the show before but after I gave her 30 Rock we watched season 1 and I was HOOKED! I blitzed through two and three and was drip fed four and the final season. So much more than 'just another sci-fi show'. Yes it is a remake, but again, so much more than what came before. But just like one of the sayings in the show 'this has all happened before and it will happen again' it looks like there will be yet another visit to the colonies and the famed battlestar. For those who don't know the show (crazy) it is about the age old battle, humans verses machines. This time, we made the machines who rose up and turned up then they disappeared. They return, this time as life like cylons (name for the machines in this show) and they want all humans dead and cylon race to rule. They kill nearly all, but 38,000 humans survive on ships in space and decide to find Earth and make it home. Yes that's right the colonies named after star signs/constellations were ancient tribes and Earth was the 13th who left. But along the way they have to hide and fight the cylons. Honestly, its better than how I'm describing it.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Around the World: Saudi Arabia

As the Womens March on London in solidarity with USA was yesterday and I was proud to be one of the 100,000 there, I thought it only right that I watch a film by a woman and about a girl, from country that oppresses women.

I remember when Wadjda first came out and there was buzz about the film about a girl who wanted to buy a bicycle. A simple enough story but the fact that it was set in Suadi Arabia where a girl riding a bike is frowned upon, that makes the story different.


Wadjda is an 11 year old girl who is unlike her classmates. She definately wears converse to school, listens to rock music, talks back to adults, including men and all she wants is to buy a green bike to race her friend Abdullah. She tries to raise the money herself by selling mixtapes and making bacelets but as these are forbidden at school, she decides to enter a Quran recital competition and use the money to buy her bike. Her mother is preoccupied with the prospect that her husband will take a second wife and dealing with an awful commute to work to notice half the things going on with Wadjda but ultimately, she understands her daughter and wants her to be happy.

On the surface this is a story about a girl who wants a bike. But what surrounds Wadjda's story is how women are treated and how they are meant to behave in society. Wadjda loves her father who barely seems to be around but she slowly starts to see her worth in his eyes, especially when she pins her name to a picture of the family tree only to find it has been ripped off later. Wadjda is wonderfully unique and the fact her mother knows it and embraces it by the end of the film is encouraging to see. Even her friend Abdullah is likes her as she is and doesn't want anything else, saying that he wants to marry her when they're old enough, knowing full well that she'll be difficult, in a good way.

Some parts are difficult to watch most likely because I can't comprehend what is happening, but is a brilliant film that was delightfully unexpected.

Coming soon 

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies Featuring an Actor/Actress that Passed Away in 2016

I obviously have not got it together this week as I went and picked a random theme thinking it was this week's. No idea what happened. Most likely severe lack of sleep and watching A Series of Unfortunate Events on repeat....

Don't forget to check out where it all started over at Wandering Through the Shelves and everyone else who takes part and doesn't get the theme wrong.

David Bowie - Labyrinth
 Technically the great Bowie was a musician but he acted too. He was an all round genius and I feel that I should hnour him with a mention. Plus, Labyrinth is a classic. Bowie as Jareth, the Goblin King is amazing. In fact I had the opening song (Underground) in my head for days. His costume as well as his music was the talk of the town.

Gene Wilder - Young Frankenstein
Everyone knew him as Willy Wonka and he was superb but for me, he's Dr Frankenstein, prounced Frunkenstine. Mel Brooks' hilarious spoof of Mary Shelly's classic novel was, is something you need to see. Frankenstien goes to his grandfather's castle and finds out his secret experiments in bringing the dead back to life. There are some bizarre scenes featuring Gene Hackman as a blind man who wants company and the sound of horses screaming everytime a certain character name is mention and of course the brilliant Madelaine Kahn. Wilder was brilliant.

Kenny Baker - Time Bandits
 Of course he was famous for a role where you never saw his face, R2D2, but I first saw Kenny Baker in Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits. Classic 80s weird fantasy-esque adventure about a boy who goes on the run through time with a group of bandits who helped create the universe. I actually had the pleasure of meeting Kenny Baker at the London Comic Con years ago. 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Thursday Movie Picks: The Underdog

It's always the same, underdog films usually refers to sports. My go to would be Whip It but I'm saving it. So I'm going three films I've only seen once, one sport, one quiz and one panda.

So....I accidentally did the wrong theme....oh well I catch up eventually.

Don't forget to check out where it all started over at Wandering Through the Shelves.

I remember this was long but I enjoyed it. Horse racing is not my things at all, but the story got me.  The real Seabiscuit became a symbol of hope to folks during the depression, the little horse that proved everyone wrong. The film was focused not on one man and his horse but three men and their horse, the owner, the trainer and the jockey.

Kung-Fu Panda
The underdog is in the name, a panda who can do Kung-Fu in fact he's a warrior, the dragon warrior, best of the lot. I prefer the sequel as it was far more serious and devastating. I did not bother with the third film. Po is an orphan panda who is taken in and cared for by Mr Ping, a goose, until he is chosen as the dragon warrior, said to defeat evil and become a master of kung-fu.

Slumdog Millionaire
The film itself was an underdog at the all film awards (until it started winning). At the height when 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' was popular, starting life in the Mumbai slums to the streets to working in call centre, Jamal has been trying to reunite with Latika for years but in vain. Then when he gets his chance on the quiz show he knows all the answers as they are from his past.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Blind Spot Series: The Purple Rose of Cairo

Short and sweet today!

This month's Blind Spot pick also happened to be a review for VH too, so I hope this isn't considered as 'cheating' as I did write something, it's just on another site.

The full review and thoughts are HERE.

To see where it all started and for an excellent insight to film, have a look at The Matinee and have a look HERE for more Blind Spot posts from other bloggers.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Thursday Movie Picks: Fashion World

 I'm guessing this will be popular today only because there just aren't that many fashion comedies around. Better than I thought it would be when I first saw it. So quotable and easy to make fun of. Mugatu is definitely a stand out villain and who forget the moment 'magnum' appeared or the late great David Bowie's cameo.

The September Issue
 I had no idea who Anna Wintour was and had no idea that Faye Summers the fictional editor of Mode from Ugly Betty was a take off a real person. The fashion documentary was so intriguing, chronically the lead up to the release of the biggest issue of the year. It also shows that there are some talented artists being hidden amongst the fakery that is the fashion industry.

Coco Before Channel
Throwing in a biopic as I couldn't think of any other fashion films I'd seen. Audrey Tatou is the icon herself before she became one of the biggest names in fashion. From her humble beginnings to her weird relationship with a rich to her first meeting with Boy. Seeing her start to make her signature style was good but it did waver on the dull side in parts.

Don't forget to check out where it all started over at Wandering Through the Shelves.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Around the World: France

After The Stolen Years I really needed cheering up so once again took to Netflix to see what their 'international' section had to offer. I came across Blind Date but passed it as I wasn't quite convinced of the story, but after a scrolling scrolling I thought, why not!

There is something different about French romantic comedies that makes them fun to watch. Anything that is churned out of Hollywood and most British rom-coms lack a spark of originality but you can argue that's the genre, it has a formula that they all follow. But somehow, for me the French can play out their silly romantic comedic set ups but its actually good.

Blind Date or Un peu, beaucoup, aveuglement is actually no different from any other rom-com. Two people, a shy pianist and an irritable recluse game/puzzle maker become neighbours but the problem is that the wall that separates their flats/apartments is a thin hollow wall so they can hear everything the other is doing or saying. Of course this causes some issues and the two end up in a noise war before coming to a strict routine. But after a passionate piano recital the two spend all night talking. They start to date but without seeing each other. They take meals together and move their beds close to the wall and to them this is the perfect arrangement. But who can have a relationship as unique as this and keep it going?

The leads, whos names we don't find out, are amusing separetely as they intereact with others. Each seeing the relationship as something special, they have someone in their lives and they can keep their own space, but together (through the wall) they are actually quite sweet and the wall becomes a barrier in more ways then one. The argument that causes their break up (you knew this would happen) should have been bigger. The wall between them is ever present and doesn't really come down until very near the end, but apart from this, it was charming story. There is an odd side story about the pianist's sister who cheats on her husband and this isn't really given much depth apart from that she doesn't seem to care. The game maker's friend is given more of a back story apart from why he;s still friends with the game maker who is actually mean to him most of the time. But, I suppose, in rom-com land it doesn't matter.

Blind Date was the escapism I needed which is odd to say so early on in this challenge. Typically French and fun to watch, bring on more French rom-coms!

Coming soon 

Monday, 9 January 2017

Around the World: China

This was a spare of the moment pick as I was looking through what was new on Netflix and for some reason The Stolen Years stood out. I thought it was a romantic comedy and seeing as I had never seen a Chinese rom-com, this seemed perfect but oh man was I wrong.

He Man wakes up from a month long coma with amnesia. She can't remember the last 5 years. The last thing she remembers is being on Honeymoon with her husband. But now they are divorced, her best friend doesn't speak to her and her co-workers are scared of her. She can't understand what happened. Missing her husband and wanting to understand what went wrong she asks her ex-husband to help her remember by going to the places they used to go together. BUT the film takes a turn away from drama to completely despressing territory. 

The film plays out in two halves, the first is about how happy Xie Yu and He Man were and what actually happened in the last two years of their marriage. Its all about how they still love each other and can they have a second chance. The second part is about SPOILER ALERT He Man having dementia. There is an adorable sequence where Xie Yu proposes again which is followed a slow horrible end with He Man in hospital. Its actually heartbreaking and not exactly what I planned on watching at 10am on a Sunday morning. 

 Although I thought I was getting another film, I'm glad I stumbled upon this film, as most Chinese films I've seen have been sweeping epics and period costume stories, so this was a pleasant 'oh may gad I can't believe the film turned to this' surprise and actually perfect for this challenge.

Next up: France, where I actually did manage to watch a rom-com. 

Coming soon 


Thursday, 5 January 2017

Thursday Movie Picks: Legal Thrillers

Shame this wasn't a TV pick this week, there are a ton of legal thrillers that have been on lately, some highly addictive shows. No matter, we'll go with films.

Don't forget to check out where it all started over at Wandering Through the Shelves.

From what I remember, Anthony Hopkins kills his wife and challenges Ryan Gosling, deputy district attorney, to prove he did it. Sounds like an interesting concept from the outside but it was actually the run of the mill murder mystery. So I think I must have enjoyed it but it obviously wasn't the greatest as I can't remembere much.

Anatomy of a Murder
Not sure if you'd call this a thriller but it is a legal case and there are some thrills, there is also the question about what really happened, which I liked instead of the straight forward story. James Stewart is brilliant as the determined Paul Biegler who defends Jackie Treehorn Ben Gazzara ambiguous defendant.

The Life of David Gale
Again, I'm not sure if this is a legal thriller, but it was a surprisingly good film. For some bizarre reason I owed this on VHS. Kevin Spacey is David and he is accused of raping and killing his best friend and fellow activist. Kate Winslett is a journalist trying to find out the truth. There are a couple of 'oh my gad' moments and it is actually really sad. But great cast, great story.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Around the World: Finland

First post of the new year and I'm proud to say that its for my self given challenge. From the land of the real Santa Claus/Father Christmas comes a creepy story which I kind of wish I saw over Christmas. I think it would have calmed me down before cooking for everyone or made me more grounded in the lead up to Christmas day. I know better for next year.

Just to recap, the challenge I have set myself is to watch, ideally, 80 films this year from around the world. My first choice was Finland, a place which I am happy to say that I visited last year as part of a resolution. But I do wish to explore of the countryside as I only visited Helsinki and Tampere.

Rare Exports very interestingly doesn't begin with the title of the film after a short scene on a mountain top where an unknown 'thing' is about to be unerathed, a logo appears to introduce the story. Pietari is the heart of the story. He lives with his Dad, a butcher, in small cut off community who rely on the reindeer for food and income. But after the odd excavation on the mountain, strange things happen. An entire herd of reindeer are slaughtered, weird footsteps in the snow on the roof, potato sacks with out the potatoes taken and the old man, found in an illegal wolf trap. But this old man is not what he seems. Pietari believes that the real Santa Claus from fairytales has come back. The evil Santa Claus with horns and a cauldron to boil children. At first his fantasies seem ridiculous but its not long before the rest of the men in the village understand.

A creepy Christmas story that from the outside looks to be a horror story but is infact a triumphant tale about courage, as well as the creepy and severe unsettling fact that Santa Claus is evil and puts children in sacks and replaces them in bed with wooden versions. With Onni Tommila as Pietari, he really makes you part of the story, whether he is scaring himself or taking charge of the situation.

Another fantastic part of the film is seeing the snow covered mountains. Of course seeing more the landscape would have been great but the feeling of isolation is felt with the small community gathering together to herd the reindeer. It felt like a Finnish story. Or at least, it felt like that to me.

From Finland we shall we heading south, but the destination has not been picked yet as there are a few options...

Coming soon