September Favourites

Konnichiwa!

Welcome to the first edition of my Monthly Favourites: September. Clearly late. A damn good type of month, arguably one of the better ones if you’re talking about plosive pronunciation. Three dashing syllables of Autumnal heraldry! It makes me think of embers in a sept – a fiery redheaded Scottish clan collecting coins for the Jacobites. Sexy Outlander reference there. It’s been a month of minor changes and progress, mainly centred around my commencement of Bullet Journalling – probably another post in itself. So my mascot for the month was a little geometric fox, beautiful and fierce and fragile and admittedly foxy. Let’s dig in, shall we?

  1. Television: The Great British Bake-Off

We had a legitimate launch party for the Bake Off this year and it was the most delicious little night – this might convey just how excited this programme makes me. Obviously due to some element of sheer madness and utmost treason the show will be shortly disbanded, and cut up into futile little vol-au-vents of its former gloriousness. I choose to watch this series in denial of this fact. May the illegitimate sexual chemistry between Selasi and Benjamina continue to delight us all.

2. YouTube: Jenny Mustard

I have never been so fascinated by someone whose life and principles are so utterly different to mine. Jenny is a Swedish vegan food/lifestyle vlogger and minimalist. The reason I watch her videos is because I find them incredibly calming (I think the accent is 87% of this), and everything looks so monochromatic and uncluttered, and delicious in pretty much all cases. I fully intend to attempt her recipe of fettuccine twirls with garlicky purple cabbage and cheesy chickpea sauce. Divine!

3. Film: Kubo & The Two Strings

Whimsical and elegant and straightforward yet painstakingly gorgeous. Watch it mainly for Kubo’s artful origami-samisen storytelling.

4. Film: Morgan

I’ve heard this small film garnered mixed reviews, but I loved it. Admittedly I may have glossed over several plot errors due to RACS (Ridiculously Attractive Casting Syndrome), but it was still a very interesting violent take on sci-fi.

5. Film: Bridget Jones’ Baby

I can’t remember the last time the anticipation and delivery (ha) of a film brought me so much joy. It’s not even close to a guilty pleasure, I bloody love Bridget Jones.

6. Food: Al Forno Pizza.

I went to the theatre with my partner this month to see a play called Mindgame, which was completely bonkers, and with our tickets we received a voucher for 2-for-1 on Pizzas and Pastas at Al Fornos. A heavenly proposition. After much deliberation we decided on a seafood pizza for him, and a prosciutto and rocket pizza for myself. DIVINE! It helped that we were situated on a table in what we liked to call Foodporn Alley, right next to the kitchen. That’s the stuff.

7. Food: Cooplands Pokeball Shortbread

To actively consume my repressed anger at not being able to play Pokémon Go on my ridiculous Windows Phone, I bought myself a Pokeball biscuit. My review: It was good.

8. Drink: Short Mile Bay Merlot

Partnered with the pizzas – we will always go for the house wines, doesn’t everybody? It was scrumptious, and didn’t leave that familiar bitter taste in my throat – it was almost creamy, and vanillary, and just marvellous.

9. Skin: Vita Coco Coconut Oil

I started moisturising my body using coconut oil, which I thought would be pretty perilous as I have pretty ridiculously sensitive skin. I was proved wrong, it is particularly perfect for my dry legs and has caused no flare-ups thus far. I mix a little vanilla essential oil with it to give it more of a fragrance kick.

10. Dress Most Wanted: Dolly Dagger “Lulu”

As I recall this dress was around £140 – absolutely would not buy, I am far too clumsy and prone to dribbling tea down myself to fork out on such an extravagance. However, it is beautiful and I can’t help but swoon.

I’m not 100% sure on the layout of this Monthly Favourites blog, but I am not going to let significant room for tweaking stop me from doing it altogether. I’ve had some wonderful memories this month, including skipping down my student mainstreet with my partner, wearing my green polkadot LindyBop dress and not having a care in the world, pretty damn tipsy after wine tasting with the most delectable cheeseboard. So here’s to September, and as always, to cheeseboards.

I’ll be back soon with another blog.

Rosie x

 

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Into the Woods (And Out of the Woods)

Into the Woods directed by Rob Marshall

18/01/15

KendrickCharacterPoster

Now then Mr. Marshall, let me just say that I think you were a discernibly wise choice for director of this production. Having crafted the likes of Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha and Nine on the silver screen, your ability to adapt from theatrical/literary origins is wonderfully apparent. The shadows and spotlights of every frame are deftly organised to project an “in-your-theatre-seat” atmosphere, and each transition is of the smoothest consistency. On another note, I was not a fan of this film. Let us pause while I await the flaming arrows and witches’ curses to engulf me. Not because I don’t think it was well directed or adapted, and certainly not because I wasn’t excited for this film. I was very excited. (Mid-note: I’m aware that may have come across as sarcastic, but let me assure you it was not. The perils of being sarcastic 89% of the time; the remaining 11% of sincerity is blackened at the heart.)

The main reason was that it suffered from a case of TMSGO. A phrase I may have yanked from old SpillCom reviews, that is: Too Much Shit Going On. Which essentially, is the fault of the original musical. I am genuinely sorry for saying this, but I just thought it was a mess. The kind of mess that Moulin Rouge seemed to get away with because there was actually a central plotline to focus on (as wretched and ridiculously heartbreaking as it was). In this case, of course we’re all very over-familiar with these fairytales and their vague web of morals, but once they are smushed (yes) together and we’re presented with only fragments of the stories intertwining with fragments of others, it doesn’t feel as though any of the characters need to be cared about. Which is sort of an odd thing to say, especially of a musical, especially of a musical about fairytales, especially a Disney musical! But you must admit that in any of your favourite films, despite knowing their endings, you care about what is happening to at least one of the characters. The most I felt was “Well, you’re kind of a dick.” So perhaps it was a satire and over-arching tale of morality – be careful what you wish for! Don’t steal! Don’t be a dick! Don’t abandon your wife and child! Don’t be talking to strangers in the woods! Especially if they’ve dodgy singing voices! Etc. Also, it is admittedly a Sondheim musical, you know you’re going to have characters singing over each other’s lines left right & centre. Alright, fine. But it still wasn’t particularly enjoyable.

A few extraneous things that irritated me included A) Johnny Depp as the wolf. Right, maybe it’s just me, but I do not get Mr. Depp’s type-casted performance of “Vaguely Eccentric Character, Not Very Eccentrically Played”. He has this thing, this kind of quick eyebrow raise, wide-eyed and jaw dropped thing, which apparently is meant to convey darkness/weirdness/evil/mild electric shock. It gets on my nerves, unnecessarily. B) Sorry about your storyline, Rapunzel. Bless your gorgeous voice and gorgeous face and almost hilariously dismal amount of screen-time. Sorry about that. C) Wildly unnecessary songs. This has a rich soundtrack, very well sung on pretty much all accounts and beautifully arranged, but there were a lot of songs that didn’t feel as though they gelled very well. Ensemble musical woes, they hurt us all with their constant narratives. Songs such as “I Know Things Now”: Thank you for the re-cap of the events of the last 10 minutes, Red Riding Hood. Further narrative later on in the film of “Careful My Toe”: Cinderella’s step-sisters trying on the golden slipper. Marvellous. (/sarc.)

Now let’s be nice! Let’s be lovely and talk about the good I found in this film. A) Meryl Streep! Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, rightly so! Awesome performance, awesome transformation dress, all of the good Merylicious stuff that we know & love. B) Some of the songs are wonderful! My personal favourites included Giants in the Sky (Gavroche you adorable little thief), Last Midnight (feels), and the best of the lot, Agony. Agony was HILARIOUS, and the exact style I expected from this film. More Agony please! Yes, I’m already on the phone to a counsellor. C) The woods! The audience’s perspective was largely set clandestinely betwixt-branches and gave the film a really great atmosphere, the mist and moss so tangible and shadowed. Loved it.

I cannot believe I’ve cared this much about a fairytale musical to rant & rave about it for so long. And I saw it a week ago. What is my actual life. I wonder what author James Lapine would say to me in response? Perhaps: “Stay a child while you can be a child”. Yeah, well, as I write this I’m drinking a large glass of milk (Milky White) and wearing pyjamas. I’m just a tall, cynical child.

Rosie’s Review: 5.5 popcorn kernels of 10. Everytime I see Anna Kendrick I feel like I have more of a thing for her. Cutie.

Birdman

Birdman directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu

07/01/15

Birdman

Let’s be honest, we are all suckers for unsettlingly abstract black comedies. So let’s make this review as unsettling and abstract as this awesome film. (Note that the comedy is omitted, I have no talents in that arena. Or anywhere. Back to page.)

An abstract medley of all the things I loved about this film:

(Note that I do not ‘love’ everything, I do have the odd opinion every now & then. But right now, I am givin’ a little love to Birdman ’cause it deserves all of the love.)

The cast. Edward Norton’s bum. Which should be credited as part of the cast in my opinion. Oh and Edward Norton too, favourite character by a long chalk. What a dick – you can take this figuratively or literally. Emma Stone’s cripplingly harsh speech to her father about his self-worth. All of the Stoney goosebumps. Andrea Riseborough being an utter goddess as always. No spoilers for the final two scenes but THE FINAL TWO SCENES. Amy Ryan stealing the stage with her mere silence, as Riggan’s ex-wife and mother of Sam. The film was mostly shot on location in New York City (All of the love for Sam’s rooftop mullings with The Phantom of the Opera theatre in the background.) The GENIUS of presenting the film as one continuous take. You feel as though you are a ghost, haunting the corridors of Broadway. There is one particular moment in which the action is taking place downstairs, on-stage, but we, as the audience, are looking at an empty corridor for around 15 seconds, before the action returns to us. I love that the director was not afraid to do that. The score, the drums, the ticking clock, the heartbeat. You know it’s a comedy, you know it’s a satirical view of theatre, you know there are parallels in Keaton’s career, but you cannot help but get swept along with the drama of it all, knowing something devastating is about to happen. All peppered with the surrealism of ‘Birdman’ darkly narrating Riggan’s life, his pent-up anger and need to direct manifesting itself in telekinetic bursts of violence…

Please go and see it. It’s bloody wonderful. I am most definitely going to see it again.

Rosie’s Review: 8.9 popcorn kernels of 10.

One last note: I am writing this as I listen to the closing notes of the soundtrack for Avengers: Assemble, which has a tendency to EPICIFY anything I do or say. Be proud of me in that I have now read back through my words and deleted several exclamation marks. It’s like taking a treat away from an excited dog in the bleak hope of staving off future obesity.

The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything directed by James Marsh

01/01/15

TheoryofEverything

A very brief first review, as I feel there is very little I can say to convey how much this film moved me, and how much I would recommend it to any human being on this earth. There is no way to convey just how heartbreakingly honest this film feels, how committed Eddie Redmayne is to the role and how amazed I felt that Mr Hawking had no qualms in sharing some of the most intimate details of his life with the world. Yet the overwhelming mood seemed not to be of despair of the most devastating of obstacles, but charmed, inspired, impassioned. What was pressed upon the family has never faltered his adoration for the mechanics of the universe. What I will leave you with is a quote that conveys as such, as the Hawkings watch their children play at the Queen’s palace.

“Look what we made.”

Rosie’s Review: 9.5 popcorn kernels of 10. About to order A Brief History of Time.