February Wrap-up (Yes, I’ve been bad…)

Well hi!

I can see a ghostly image of me slumped across my bed, January-fied in my blanketed attire and general neck-withdrawn-into-shoulders hibernation mode – promising to be a better blogger. I did not, however, specify a TIME-FRAME…

Okay, okay. Enough with the excuses. Excuses are generally not a productive use of time. Every so often, it is far more productive to just take a step back and say “Yes, I’ve been bad.” A very absent blogger indeed, but I did read a couple of books, and watched a few films. So here is my February Wrap-Up:

Books (2)

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (7.5/10)

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami (6.0/10)

Films (5)

Kingsman: The Secret Service (7.5)

Jupiter Ascending (6.0)

Inherent Vice (7.5)

The Interview (1.5)

Project Almanac (7.0)

Best Book Award, feel free to mock me for the 50/50 situation, is going to go to These Broken Stars. It was a refreshing new take on sci-fi, that focused more on survival than the imminent romance depicted in the general marketing. I believe it is part of a duology or some sort of series, forgive me for my Google laziness, so I will definitely look into the next part. Best Film, is a tie between Inherent Vice and Kingsman. The former, was a surreal and downright hilarious take on a standard private investigator story, with very clear Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas heritage. The latter was probably the closest I’ve seen to lifting a story directly from a graphic novel to the big screen without losing any of the artistry or character, and without leaning to the wrong side of parody.

That isn’t a typo on my rating for The Interview, it was genuinely the worst film I’ve ever seen at the cinema, with one tidy redeeming feature involving puppies. It has been a kind of bleak month of my struggling to concentrate in general, having long periods of anxiety and generally feeling blue. Not enough puppies in my life, evidently. Time to stop dwelling on tiny woes though. Have some perspective.

Cheers to March! I’ll be back very soon.

Rosie x

January Wrap-Up

I have neglected this blog recently, but in my haste of rather a busy day today, I feel compelled to at least wrap up my January consumptions. So here they are! I’d say well on target for my challenges of the year. I have emboldened (sp?) my favourites of the month, permitting three from each of cinema and literature. Let it be said that I am a very fair person.

Films Watched: 10

The Theory of Everything

Unbroken

Birdman

Whiplash

N.T. Live: Treasure Island

Into the Woods

Foxcatcher

American Sniper

A Most Violent Year

Big Hero 6

Books Read: 9

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Goth Girl & the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

The Death Cure by James Dashner

The Kill Order by James Dashner

Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

All My Friends are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Shows I watched:

Marco Polo (abandoned 3 episodes in), Pretty Little Liars, The Office (U.S), Suits and a little  of Orphan Black.

I will hopefully get round to scribbling reviews for Whiplash, Big Hero 6, the James Dashners (shakes fist), All My Friends are Superheroes and Station Eleven.

My first film of February was Kingsman: The Secret Service. Hmm. A review may be inevitable for this too. Presently, I have just discovered that Community is on Netflix so I can kiss a fond goodbye to any productivity I may have indulged fantasies of attaining. Though in saying this, I promise to be a better blogger. Mainly because it lazily stokes the embers my procrastination.

Rosie x

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.