Saturday, 31 May 2014

The Door

It's been a long time since I've written any form of poetry but some recent events inspired me. Best of a bad situation.

Here goes.

The Door 

The hinges squeak
The handle barely shows gold
Unlike the gold untouched
As the clasp meets the fold

It's not through lack of wanting 
Lack of willing, lack of trying
The force simply won't give
When your wanting is just lying

That familiar waft of air
As the heart battles the mind 
Just to hear the slam.
Hopefully. Eventually. Within time. 

Monday, 4 November 2013

Welcome Back...

It has been far, far too long since I have written anything. I put it down to pure laziness and an apathy I'd developed towards something I used to love so much. I don't truly believe that anymore.

2012 and 2013 for me have been two very eventful years of my life that have moulded and tested me in so many ways that I never believed possible. 

2012 was full of highs and lows. I had my heart broken and felt so lost I didn't know how and when I'd become me again. Writing seems like a suitable channel for that emotion but I think being connected with something I loved was too difficult.The complicated situation made every aspect of my life difficult. I'm proud of how far I've come since then.

2013 has been brilliant. An inevitable rocky start but it's been a year of amazing experiences that I will never forget. I truly value the strength of the friendships I have. I am in a place where life is comfortable and I know where I want to be next year. 

I have started reading again and seriously watching films like I used to. I have found and read my blog again and it is sparking my want to start writing.

This may be all I can muster for one evening, but watch this space. 

I'm coming back!!


Friday, 13 January 2012

The Impossible Fantasy:

The Impossible Fantasy:
How Disney films create an unrealistic expectation of life.

Before I could even walk I was exposed to the magical world of Disney - those wonderful Fairytales that tell us our dreams are possible. A seemingly harmless notion. As a child (and an adult for that matter), what is there not to enjoy about a film with a loveable hero, a happy ending and a great selection of pleasurable songs? Songs that consume the rest of your life and are so well known, that you struggle to meet someone who does not know the lyrics of at least one of these catchy tunes.  On the surface, there really is not a great deal wrong with this Fairytale being a big inclusion of our life. However this perfect ideal that has consumed our lives for so long is likely to drastically alter the choices we make in the future.
I am 21 years old, and although I am wise to the world and know life is not the dream I had once hoped it would be, there is still a deep part of me that heavily clings on to the notion of my ‘happily ever after’. I still firmly believe that one day my Prince Charming will arrive and I will live the rest of my days in a state of perfect splendour. The fact that I still believe in this possibility – Disney as my only proof this could be reality – is actually quite laughable.  I am becoming a living example that Disney will most likely be the ruin of many lives. I have become too picky in my selection of guys as I simply do not want to settle. I want to be swept of my feet and live everyday in ecstasy.
It, of course, is a natural fear that by waiting around for my fantasy, I will reject those who probably will actually make me happy because they are not the impossible Prince that I have imagined for so long. This fictitious creation that I tell myself is real, becomes more epic – and thus more impossible – with each passing year.
 I am not the perfect woman, so would the perfect man truly want me, should he appear? Does such a man exist?
The most logical assumption is that he probably doesn’t exist. But even if he did, and he appeared at my doorstep in the flesh...would I truly want to live out my days with him? Again, the logical assumption is probably not. The idea of doing such is the fantasy but it is often quite clear that the things we think we want, we actually don’t. This notion is applicable in any circumstances, be it as trivial as eating a chocolate bar.
Even though I am fully aware that this is all an impossible dream, I am fixated on the fact that I will be an anomaly. I simply cannot let go of the idea that a fantasy can become reality.  It has become an infection. An infection that has burrowed its way into the subconscious of many women and one that is being caught by the new generation of girls.
However it seems that it is not just females that Disney has infected. It has infected the substance of films as a whole. Watch any romantic comedy or drama, even thrillers and horrors, and more often than not, the Disney structure that we have grown so accustomed to is present. It may not be there in black and white, but it is always there lurking underneath it all. Take Pretty Woman for example.  Vivian lives a dark life. She has nothing in her life and is forced to sell her body in order to get by. That is until Edward comes along and sweeps her away into a life of luxury.  Although the path is uneven, she ultimately gets a happily ever after that rivals any Princess.  This structure is a direct parallel to that used within Disney. The symmetry is apparent the most when we compare it to Cinderella. She lives a dark life – father dies and is left in the awful exploitive care of her step mum. She is swept off her feet by a kind stranger – she dances with Prince Charming at the ball. The road is not smooth – she loses her slipper at midnight and has to leave. But ultimately, it all works out.
As women, how are we supposed to grow up from the Disney ideal when we are still being exposed to the same things? Pretty Woman is a prime example of how more adult films can be worse in keeping the impossible fantasy alive. The characters are more real and the likelihood of the situation seems more accessible. But seeming accessible does not make it so. It is very improbable that if forced myself into prostitution, no man would ever come along and offer me a better life.
       Living in our contemporary society, we are fully aware that a better life is ultimately down to ourselves.  If we want something to happen in our lives, then it is up to us to do it.
Women are stronger now than they were at the origins of the fairytales, so this impossible fantasy shouldn’t still be relied upon by so many. The fact that it is the very foundation of many girls future plans is proof of how fickle we have become. Yes, we may be strong in one sense. We can follow whatever career path we wish, we can vote, we can instigate divorces. But deep down we’re still those fragile, naive little girls who dream of the perfect ever after and want an easy way out of life.
I know that by putting faith in fate and fairytale, I am letting the little girl inside of me take hold of my domain, but if I’m going to be truthful, I’m OK with that.  Knowing that she is still there with her fictional knowledge of how the world works is something of a comfort. If I ever asked her to leave, I’d be opening the door to a lot of harshness I’m not prepared to fully acknowledge. I may have unrealistic expectations of men and I may end up alone because no real man has lived up to the hype. But the beautiful thing about life is that the future is still undecided. And just maybe my author is out there somewhere writing my ending. My ending that will utter those six wonderful words.

And they lived happily ever after.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

One Day


"I love you Dex, I really do. I just don't like you anymore."

One Day is filmed with a lot of beauty and manages to evoke plenty of emotion and heart, it’s just a shame that some of the character’s bring the whole ensemble down.

Based on David Nicholls best seller, One Day centres on the lives of Dexter Mayhew (Jim Sturgess) and Emma Morley (Anne Hathway) on the 15th July of each year. The first thing I will mention is that this book is by far my favourite of this year. It is so wonderfully written with very real, relatable characters that spark emotion at each turn. I obviously didn’t love the film in the same way, but nonetheless I very much enjoyed it. 

Director Lone Scherfig managed to really capture the essence of the book, projecting the same heart that Nicholls created.  The story itself is a genuinely original and beautiful idea. Seeing two friends live their lives through a series of portholes each year is a really clever way of shifting time but allowing us to still keep close and up to date with the characters relationship. Although Dexter and Emma deeply care for one another, their paths move in very different directions through the trials and tribulations of life. It is this turbulence that keeps up desperate for the characters to stay connected with each other.  It’s an important empathetic aspect that the audience can’t help but feel which really allows us to deeply involve ourselves in both Emma and Dexter’s life. We need to possess this in order to gain the full impact of the film.

 The acting is probably the worst part about this film. On the whole, Jim Sturgess did a fantastic job. He is a very attractive male and looks-wise is everything Dexter should be. I thought he played his part well, he was pompous and arrogant to start with which rightfully made us dislike his character, but later managed to mature into a character most women would love to have in their life. My only qualm with him would be the accent he put on in his younger years. He came across as an upper class snob which I felt didn’t particularly suit his character.

 Anne Hathway however was something else.  There is no way in hell this part should have been hers. Physically, she is everything Emma Morley should be and in hindsight, that is probably the only reason she got the role.  Her attempt at a Yorkshire accent is possibly one of the worst things I have heard in my life. She starts off with a really posh southern accent with American twinges, and occasionally throws in a really broad Yorkshire sentence. It is physically impossible not to notice this and as a result is really distracting to the rest of her performance.  This is such a big disappointment to me mainly because I related to Emma’s character so much in the book and completely loved her because of it, but I struggled to keep that same level of affection for her in the film because of Hathway. Why they couldn’t have cast a British actress I really don’t know.
  Rafe Spall who played Ian Whitehead, Emma’s love interest, really surprised me. He really stood out above the rest with his genuinely great performacne. He was nothing like I had initially imagined him to be, but that didn’t seem to matter when watching the film because Spall managed to make Whitehead better.

I’ve got to give a lot of praise to make up team as well. The transformation they gave Dexter throughout the 23years was just brilliant. The change each year was subtle enough that it didn’t feel like a big deal but it effectively managed to demonstrate the state his life was in. As I’ve stated before, Jim Sturgess is a very attractive man, and for them to make him seem unappealing in a really slight way is truly remarkable.

The ending of the film is very true to the book. Although it didn’t spark as much emotion as the book (I sat and cried for 10minutes straight after I had finished it) it still generated a pretty hefty amount – my mascara stained tissue is proof of that! The ending moved me in a similar way to the book which in my experience of adaptations is a hard thing to recreate.  I think a lot of the reason this adaptation felt like it worked, was because David Nicholls wrote the screenplay himself. I think that was a really smart move because he obviously knows the essence of the story more than anyone.

Whilst this isn’t your usual love story and probably will never make it into your favourites. It is still a very worthy effort.  I really don’t think this will appeal to everyone but it won’t disappoint those who have read the book (shame the same can’t be said for PS I Love You and The Time Traveller’s Wife...) It’s an emotional story and one where you’re willing things to work out for the characters you like so much.  A good effort by Scherfig and a good watch. 

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Change-Up


Director: David Dobkin
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman, Olivia Wilde.

Although admittedly I wasn’t expecting a lot from this film, a big part of me still felt disappointed. The Change-Up is your classic body swap comedy. Two best friends live very different lives; Dave is swept under juggling his demanding family and demanding job, whilst Mitch is a lazy bastard, unable to see anything through. Naturally they get drunk, piss in a fountain and wish to swap lives (as you do). I think you can take a pretty good guess at what comes next...

The comedy in this just wasn’t what I thought it would be. I knew it wasn’t going to be a great film but I thought it would be at least pleasantly entertaining. Although it was fairly entertaining, the comedy was very poor. Fair enough, there were a handful of moments that were genuinely quite amusing but other than that, all that came through were the writers distinct odour of trying too hard. I understand that we are supposed to suspend our disbelief, but it felt like at times they were asking too much. It seemed like they snubbed a lot of the wit by opting for cheap comedy instead, which unless I was stupidly drunk or under the age of 10, just isn’t funny to me.

A big problem to me was the way the character of Mitch came across. Yes, I get it is necessary for him to be a douche and self involved, however I feel that likeability is still a key element within this genre, and for me, the guy simply had none. It was Ryan Reynolds reverting back to his earlier days of poor comedy in Just Friends. After recently realising, with the help of Buried that he is actually a decent actor, it is very painful to be suddenly kicked back to this view of him. He is better than these characters. This isn’t to say Reynolds is bad in the film, I actually thought both him and Jason Bateman did a good job. I mean we have to believe these characters have switched places, and I found their performances believable. It was just a mixture of the script and the actual production of the characters that bothered me. It immediately sucked a lot of acceptable potential out of the idea slamming it hard into the ground.

The final issue I had with the script was the very poor structure. The predictability and cliché cheese at the end I can get on board with as it’s the sort of thing I’ve grown to expect from this kind of comedy; however a lazy constructed order of events bothers me. It felt like the writers had all these ideas, but instead of incorporating them into a smooth and ordered way, they just threw them into the mix in whatever order they landed. They tried to include some depth to Mitch’s character through the breaking relationship he had with his dad, however it came across really sloppy and like there was no real jurisdiction to it.  

I can normally get on board with this typical comedy and I really felt like this film would be just another one that is a winner for mindless humour. Whilst I wouldn’t say I hated the film, I was left feeling pretty disappointed. Although not a hard genre to make, since every other body swap film has set the structure for it already, it seemed very rushed and that perhaps a bit more time could have gone into it. I quite enjoyed It’s a Boy Girl Thing and 17 Again – they are body swap films I could happily sit down and enjoy again. This one doesn’t quite cut it. I can’t see myself watching it again, even for mindless drivel. Definitely not worth an immediate watch. 

Sunday, 4 September 2011

My Top Moments: LOTR

After recently re-watching the fantastic trilogy that is Lord of the Rings, I have been inspired to create a list of my favourite scenes within the three films. Combined, the trilogy plays host to many, many wonderfully composed, shot and acted scenes - however these 5 are the ones that stand above all the rest to me.

FIVE- Gollum's Duality.

During The Two Towers, there are several moments where Gollum reveals his dual personality. The particular scene in which I'm referring to however is the first time we really witness this, and the point we see Gollum's good side stomping down his malevolence. The cleverness of the scene blows me away every time I see it. It is simply superb the way life is given to another character entirely merely through the interjections of different camera angles and the use of great editing. Gollum's two personalities physically come to life on screen in a way that is engaging to watch time after time. Beautiful editing and an incredibly well composed scene that I think thoroughly deserves some attention. 

FOUR - Aragorn's tracking of Pippin and Merry

After Pippin and Merry have been captured by Saruman's army, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli go in search of them. This is the point where they believe the Riders of Rohan have accidentally killed the hobbit's but Aragorn manages to track the steps they made and work out what happened. I particularly love this scene because it is a fantastic demonstration of just how truly awesome Aragorn is. I love how Aragorn's explanation of what took place is cut with the real time action of Pippin and Merry in the situation. It gives the scene a lot of pace and allows Aragorn's words to hold some resonance. It is a scene I always love and admire due to it's engaging thrill and brilliant directing. 

THREE - The beginning of the Battle of Helm's Deep.

This photo doesn't fully highlight the precise point I mean here. Although I absolutely love the whole Battle of Helm's Deep, so much so that The Two Towers will always be my favourite in trilogy, the approach of the orcs is the bit I love the most. I think the whole anticipation is captured so well. The moment where you can see the orcs approaching in the distance with everyone waiting patiently behind the walls is such a beautiful moment - especially when the rain begins, acting as a pathetic fallacy for the immanent bloodshed. The set up of this battle is so wonderful, we are completely drawn into a state of anticipation and are overwhelmed with fear for the fighting members of our fellowship. The way these emotions are created emphasises just how elegantly powerful the approach is. It is intrinsic that we are completely thrown into this battle even before it has properly begun and I think the whole production team has done an absolute stellar job with this. It gives me goosebumps every time I see the orcs approaching in the distance and the close up of the men's eagerly awaiting faces (admittedly some of those goosebumps may be down to seeing a dripping wet Orlando Bloom) which is something I always take to be the mark of something special. 

 TWO - Boromir's Death

I think it goes without saying that this is the best death scene in the entire trilogy. After trying to betray Frodo, Boromir proves himself by dying a truly heroic death. The moment he gets shot with the first arrow is beautifully done. I love the way the intensity of the music stops and what we hear is a translucent version of the diagetic sounds. The way he gets up and carries on fighting is amazing. The scene is absolutely perfect. Sean Bean is a fantastic actor and acts his part wonderfully. The moment the Uraki is standing over Boromir about to give the final blow is such a great piece of cinema with phenomenal amounts of power. Even though Pippin and Merry's attempts at avenging Boromir are futile, it is still a touching moment that adds to the depth and beauty of the scene. I honestly can't see how anyone could not fall in love with the perfection of this scene. 

                                  ONE - PIPPIN'S SONG.

Not only is this scene my favourite scene within the entire trilogy, it is one of my favourite scenes ever. It blows me away every single time with how visually and aurally captivating it is. The scene interjects Pippin singing a song to Denathor whilst he's piggishly eating, with Boromir and his army riding out into battle. It is an absolutely stunning piece of cinema. The way the words of the song reflect upon the riders downfall, and how we see Denathor ripping away at meat when men are dying comes together so perfectly in an absolute wonderful moment of symbolism. Everything about this scene is chilling. Pippin's voice is given a haunting echoed effect and the actions of the riders are slowed down to shower the tone with more despair. Despair not only for the fate of the unlucky riders, but despair for the impending doom upon middle earth and our burdened ring bearer. 
I could watch this scene over and over again and not get bored. It demonstrates the real talents of filmmaking and how actions should be layered. Absolutely magnificent!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Exit Through The Gift Shop: Street Art.

Watching Exit Through The Gift Shop has really opened my eyes to the new craze that is known as street art. Prior to watching I had heard a little bit about Banksy and seen some of his work, but this has really made me more aware of the actual talent that is involved in the art form.

A lot of hard work and risky dedication goes into making this graffiti so wonderful. As well as Banksy, there are many artists out there who have made a name for themselves stamping their trademarks all around the world.

Space Invader uses old pieces of Rubik Cubes to create images form the classic arcade game. His pieces can be found on buildings, walls and bridges everywhere.

Shepard Fairey's 'Obey Giant' campaign has become a national phenomena, intended to raise curiosity and make people question the relationship they have with their surroundings. His trademark piece has taken the basic outline of Andre the Giant and simplified it down to give it the menacing, intriguing attire that Fairey has become known for.

The work of MBW or Mr Brain Wash - the man that Exit Through The Gift Shop centres around. Thierry Guetta is a man obsessed with filming everything. He has no purpose or reason for this, he simply does so because he likes to capture the moment. Cousin to Space Invader, he soon becomes fascinated with his art and the work he does throughout the city. Thrown into the world of street art, Thierry is obsessed with the workings and technicalities that take place in order to ensure the piece is displayed in it's fullest form in various places throughout the city. After capturing several renown artists, Thierry becomes obsessed in his mission to track down Banksy and capture the makings of his work. Call it luck, fate or coincidence, but the two just so happened to be magically thrown together.

Banksy encourages Thierry to showcase some of his own works (above) in a gallery show, which proves to be an instant success, making MBW the new must have piece for any contemporary art collector.

Exit Through The Gift Shop is a very fascinating documentary. The footage that Thierry has collected makes for excellent viewing. It is really special being able to witness the making of some of these contemporary artist's greatest works. Although the form of art is obviously sketchy in terms of legality, the documentary really helped to highlight the dangers the artists are faced with and the serious risks should they get caught. Even though Banksy helped make the documentary and featured in it...he was very cautious at concealing his identity, facially and vocally.

Through the means of one man and his camera, we really are able to see a charming insight into the intrinsic and amazing world of street art. There can be no qualms as to why this saw a nomination at the Oscars, however I do believe that it's more of a one trick pony. It is a documentary that I found insightful and enjoyed to some degree, but one that I am not likely to view again in the near future. It by no means is my favourite of the year. I would regard Catfish much higher, but perhaps that's because the medium behind that are more accomplished in film making and so were able to produce a more elegant, well rounded piece.

My eyes now on will be peeled for the works of street artists. I hope to see a Banksy in real life one day. A very unusual talent that is heavily under appreciated by the masses. I give the documentary overall a 6/10.