Entertainment, Film, Review

Review: A Long Way Down [2014]

When you’re stuck for something to watch, Netflix can be either a blessing or a curse. In this case, itA-Long-Way-Down-Poster-slice was a curse. I spent hours trawling through the films, all of which were possible candidates for the afternoon watch, but I simply could not decide. That’s when Sam stole the remote from me and immediately pressed select – ‘Let’s watch this one.’ I had no idea what it was and when it said “When a faded TV personality decides to jump off a London skyscraper on New Year’s Eve, he meets three lost souls who had the exact same plan,” I was kind of interested but not hooked. Pierce Brosnan, though. With a weird accent. Yep.

It’s cute, it really is. The film is really nice and heartwarming (despite the theme being suicide) and it really is well made. My favourite thing about it is how it really brings out the characters that have been created and they’re so quirky that they feel real. It really makes a film when the characters are real and believable. Otherwise what’s the point?

The film looked really clean, and I love it when that’s the case. When it looks as though you’re looking through clear water at what’s going on, that’s the only way I can explain it.

There’s quite a few recognisable faces in it as well, Pierce Brosnan, Aaron Paul, Imogen Poots and Toni Collette, all famous in and around British (and US, of course) film and TV.

I would highly recommend this film for a rainy Sunday afternoon, but not necessarily as an evening watch. It’s good, and cute, but it can be quite light and sort of only scratches the surface of such a deep subject.

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Entertainment, Film, Review

Review: Frozen

(There are slight spoilers in this although as if you haven’t seen it already, what is wrong with you? :S)

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Yup. Another profound write up of the masterpiece that is Frozen.

Now, I’m just gonna cut the BS and jump straight in here – this film is good. It’s better than good, and there are reasons for it. Believe me, it’s no accident that it’s such a phenomenon, really. It’s clever, funny, romantic, gorgeous to look at…come on, we all know this. The majority of people have seen it. I reckon that figure stands at about 84% of the film-goer population (omg don’t even call me up on that) because it’s Disney. We all know and love (at least one) Disney films. For most of us, they symbolise our childhood and a lot of us look back on them fondly from when we were small children. That’s what the children of today will be doing in ten, twenty, thirty years’ time. But why? Is it because it’s about two beautiful princesses and their magical/snow-filled antics? Or is it about the twist with Hans? Or is it the adorable snowman, Olaf? I think all of these things definitely contribute to why Frozen is as insanely popular as it is, but I think the fact that it is so different and challenging is why kids and adults, and me, love it.

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Prince Uncharming

Oh really? Well, knock me down I haven’t heard that before (sarcastically).

I know, right? But it’s so true that it hurts. The most obvious challenge that Frozen gives us is clearly when Elsa says that Anna cannot marry Hans because she’s just met him (which I totally agree with, you go girl) and she stands up for girl power and all that jazz – ‘I don’t need no man’. It’s interesting because an awful lot of Disney princesses do in fact marry a man that they have just met or barely know and this tells it how it is. In this day and age, you probably shouldn’t marry a man you just met because look how many long term relationships end in divorce anyway…she says, cynically. And whilst I have no problem with Snow White darting off with Charming, or Aurora marrying t’old Philip there (I know he risked his life for her and everything but w.e), Frozen is a breath of fresh air. I mean, all we get at the end from Anna and Kristoff is a little kiss and no sign of any sort of marriage preparations. (We all know they’ll get married one day obviously, but the point is they don’t say it explicitly).

Love at first song
Love at first song

There again, Frozen is still about love which is a key factor in most…no all(?) Disney films. Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Robin Hood, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Pocahontas, the list goes on. And on. And on. Even Maleficent is about love, but let’s not talk about that…not a huge fan tbh. Frozen isn’t just about any love, though. Sisterly love, which I can relate to quite strongly and I think that is immensely important. Family is always a constant figure in Disney films, even if someone isn’t with their biological family, they still adopt people into their lives that they rely on and love. Anyhow! Frozen sends the message that maybe family love is stronger than romantic love and is the truest of them all. I mean, look. Even Kristoff doesn’t save Anna or get there in time really. I adore that this kind of true love trumps over romance, even though I am a fan of romance especially when Disney is concerned, because you just don’t see it that strong in other films. Yeah, sure you get films about sisterly love, one that comes to mind is The Parent Trap but Anna literally allows herself to freeze to save Elsa and love is then what consequently thaws everything out. Maybe if her parents had loved her in the first place we wouldn’t even be in this situation but I’m not saying anything……..

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‘Sister act’, get it? No? Nvm.

Now, I know there are other amazing films out there that represent family values and love and girl power – there are some Disney ones which I’m positive you’re thinking about. Brave, for example, concentrates on a mother-daughter relationship and it is their love that saves the day…and a tapestry. Tangled is all about Rapunzel’s fight against her ‘mother’ for freedom and to live her life. Even though she’s been imprisoned in a tower for eighteen years, she’s still got as much gumption as Flynn Rider, the fugitive. And it’s refreshing to see. Even so, the old Disney princess movies haven’t necessarily been about damsels in distress, shocker. Belle was pretty badass in Beauty and the Beast and then there was Mulan. Now, she’s a whole different kind of topic but she certainly doesn’t need a man to get what she wants. She basically is a man and a woman, so she’s just the boss. But, there are exceptions. Snow White doesn’t really do much and I’m pretty sure Aurora just sleeps for half the movie but I’m still entranced by them, as many other girls and boys are. They’re beautiful – which isn’t a bad thing; people are allowed to be pretty – and they’re elegant. Bonus points as well if they get a man at the end of it all because as much as I would be an independent lady, I still love having the bf around for support and hugs and romantic niceties.

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Sleeping Lazy, looking as elegant as ever
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Merida being adorable as per

But that’s the thing. Elsa and Anna are gorgeous. Even if Anna maybe isn’t as elegant as our Aurora, she’s still beautiful and wears nice clothes and has nice hair. There isn’t really a princess out there that is seen as glamorous and pretty. I suppose you could argue that Merida from Brave isn’t necessarily made out to be gorgeous because of her tomboyish attitude and her unruly hair and refusal to marry some random suitor at her mother’s request. Yet, here we have Elsa and Anna under similar but opposite circumstances where the character arguing against marriage is sexy, sassy and glamorousand the one for marriage is supposedly clumsy and scatter-brained (yet still pretty). It’s also worthy to say that we never see Anna in a dress made of ice that has a slit up the thigh… But even though Elsa is sexy and sassy, she is still empowered, independent and not in need of a man. Merida is practically a child with crazy hair and long, dark coloured dresses whilst sporting a bow and arrow. Disney is full of contrasts, it has to be said. Which is great, you know of course.

Frozen is great, whether you like the film or not, it is great. It’s clever, there are no two ways about it and it’s really well made. The song, ‘Let it Go’ hit number one almost everywhere I’m pretty sure and everyone is singing it whether they know it or not. What’s important about this film is that it has affected everyone in some way or another and has inspired people to love Disney all over again (although my favourite is Tangled, but that’s a whole other story). There is so much more I could say about this film, I’m pretty prepared to write a 10,000 word dissertation on it and I think I might if I don’t stop.

Frozen is going to be a legend in the years to come and it will stand the test of time forever because of its values, its technology and Olaf.

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Elsa and her powers
Entertainment, Film, Review

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug (Not Review)

tauriel-kicks-ass-in-new-tv-spot-for-the-hobbit-the-desolation-of-smaug-watch-now-149430-a-1385366847So I’ve been reading a lot of reviews for the new Hobbit film and may I just politely point out that when you are watching an adaptation of a book, it is going to be something entirely different to the original novel despite how ‘faithful’ the director has been to the author. One review exclaims that ‘new characters have been added – a woman for heaven’s sake! And what? Are you aware of all the theories that Tolkien was not particularly a fan of the female gender and his books can be said to be quite sexist? I’m writing about something like this in my dissertation for uni which includes talking about women in the films and how they relate to the books. If you write a review on the film, please write it about the film and not how it compares to the book, thanks. Also no spoilers because I haven’t seen in yet 😉

Entertainment, Film, Review

Review: The Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy

Otherwise known as The Three Flavours Cornetto TrilogyThe Cornetto Trilogy or more simply, Shaun of the DeadHot Fuzz and The World’s End for those who have no idea what I’m talking about. The reason it’s known as The Cornetto Trilogy is due to the fact that during the filming of Hot Fuzz, somebody pointed out the inclusion of the ice cream and that the colours were relevant to the films – zombies: red, police: blue and then end of the world alien-but-not-alien-things: green. I was originally going to just write about The World’s End, just released not long ago, but then I thought why not lump them all together, seeing as I’ve neglected to write about the others. It’s also likely that I’ll be vlogging about The World’s End, but I have to edit that first. But now, onto the films! They’re all a result of the collaboration of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and feature a lot of familiar faces, in case you didn’t already know, which I would be surprised about because I’m unaware of any British people that haven’t seen the first two at least… Let’s start from the beginning. Makes sense, right?

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This gem from 2004 is a…parody, if you will to the zombie flick Dawn of the Dead, which if you know me, you will know that I haven’t seen that particular film. I can barely watch this film. It’s the zombies, they just freak me out so badly. I mean, why do they have to walk like that, why?! Ahem. This is a really clever film, actually, sticking the funny into a pretty apocalyptic situation and throwing a little romance in there too. Shaun is a bit of a lame-o, shall we say; his girlfriend leaves him, his job is monotonous and so on and so forth. Funny that, monotonous. The whole point of the establishment of the film is to show us that we are already zombies with all our ‘social’ gadgets and doodahs like that. I think we’re all just bored really, aren’t we? Technology’s moving too fast, which means it’s not moving fast enough for us. Anyway. There’s plenty of hilarious points in this which are mostly made up of little references and jokes that you might not otherwise get unless you watched it for a second time. The plausibility of the zombies is irrelevant, who needs realism when there are zombies shuffling around? *Shudders* But you look past that. You want to know if Shaun and his friends and love interest will get – oh and his mum – will get to the Winchester – oh and his stepfather Phil…awkward – alive. It’s just a nice, good, British film. Never mind all these zombies occurring in America or somewhere fancy like that, I find they’re much creepier when based in London or something. Like the recent ZombieU WiiU game. That’s terrifying. Not saying I’ve played it, I’ve watched. I digress. I’m pretty confident that anybody reading this will have already seen Shaun of the Dead and will just be nodding along in agreement, in which case, good on you fella. Otherwise, go buy it on DVD; it’ll be like £3 in HMV or something and watch it. Don’t be a wuss like me, you can get past the zombies. I just about did. Just about…

8/10

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Hot Fuzz as I’m sure you’re aware, is about a cool cop from the mean streets of London being transferred to an adorable little village/town in the country called Sandford, where all the lawns are perfect, the streets are clean and nobody pisses in the fountains. But as we watch the film, we begin to realise that something is seriously wrong with this town and the people in it. Again, it’s hilarious and pokes a lot of fun at a varied amount of people: actors, the police, supermarket managers, farmers, London, all sorts. It’s also one of…well I’m not actually aware of any others…a few films that feature a grand battle in a supermarket, namely Somerfield. Does that even exist anymore? Maybe they destroyed the last one. So. We have rogue swans, bombs, Jim Broadbent, and crazy old people with guns. It’s one of the most far-fetched things I’ve ever seen (but wait until we get to the third installment of this trilogy) and I absolutely love it. It’s hilarious through and through, even if it’s a little bit gory. But there are points where it’s gory and hilarious at the same time. Gorlarious. Sure, we’ll go with that. It’s actually a really clever story and obviously, coming from Edgar Wright, it’s really cleverly made. I love how the same editing techniques pop up throughout all the films, not just because it’s the same director; it’s done absolutely on purpose. Throughout this movie we see how Nicholas Angle learns that as much as he loves his job, it isn’t the be all and end all. We see how he starts to value relationships and social interaction over his duties, especially when he’s off duty and it’s super happy in that sense. It’s just a bit darker than you might anticipate. In fact, when you think about it, it’s insanely dark, coated in nice blue colours and chocolate sprinkles. Sort of. It’s such a laugh, I swear to God, if you haven’t seen it you are crazy, where have you been??

8/10

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I think first and foremost it’s fair to say that this was one of the most anticipated movies of the year, especially for us nerdlings. I first heard about this ages ago and since then, I’ve been buzzing for it. Similar to the others, obviously, it’s hilarious. There’s a laugh around every corner, mostly with little references to the other two movies and to things that only the Brits will understand and to things that only avid movie watchers will get. It’s just clever. And it’s got a fantastic cast. It’s beautiful how you see the same actors from the other two films appear in this one, some as subtle as you can get, for example, there’s a girl in the circle at the beginning. In the circle, there’s a girl. Bilbo Baggins- I mean, Martin Freeman is also in it. WTF, right? Watch it, you’ll see. The only thing about this film (this isn’t a negative point at all) is that you have to just roll with it…you kinda just have to accept what’s going on and ignore the issue of realism or plausibility. Just watch it, accept it and deal with it. Or Bill Nighy will have something to say, I’m sure. It’s just so great. It’s so clever and I did watch it as though it was a tribute to the other two. Despite this, it can stand on its own, of course. It’s not to say that it’s useless without the other two; they’re completely different storylines. But I would advise that you go see this one quickly at the cinema before it’s gone. And if you saw it in the screening of all three of them with a free Cornetto, then good on you! Definitely watch it, deal with it and enjoy it. It’s such a good film. Cheers!

8/10

Entertainment, Film, Review, University

Review: Monsters University

I realise this isn’t out yet, but I may have said before in some long lost post that I saw this with the E4 Slackers Club at our Monster-University-monsters-university-33232617-1680-1050Picturehouse Cinema in York. And I promise not to give anything away if you haven’t seen it, but it’s SO DIFFICULT! IT’S SUCH AN AWESOME FILM, I CAN’T GET OVER ITS BRILLIANCE AND THE EPICOSITY OF IT. Okay, okay, I’ll stop with the caps. BUT IT’S JUST SO GOOD. It’s amazing in the way that you get the back story of an awful lot of the characters, not just Mike and Sully. And you get to see baby Mike who is ADORABLE BEYOND BELIEF. But seriously, it’s such a clever little film. I heard one person say they don’t really see the point in the film because there isn’t a significant bad guy/villain type person but I really don’t think that’s part of the message that Pixar is sending us this time around. It’s about learning about who you are and who you’re supposed to be, or perhaps more accurately, who you’re not supposed to be. It tells us gently that even though we may like something, or even though we may want to do something with our lives, we might not necessarily be cut out for it. But it’s not saying that this is a bad thing at all, of course it isn’t. It’s just suggesting that (by going to university) we need to take the time to discover what our purpose in life is. Phew, this is getting deep.

In true Pixar fashion, it’s bright, it’s colourful and it’s created with the utmost care and attention to detail. It’s beautifully made and the scripting is pure genius and I was laughing so much all the way through. ALSO! (Can’t believe I nearly forgot about this) The short at the beginning of the film is my favourite Pixar short so far. I’ve loved every one that they have done including Knick-Knack and the one with the birds on the telephone wire – I forget it’s name, sorry! – but this one hits new levels and takes on a whole new idea. It also looks quite different from the usual Pixar animation which really sets it apart from the others for me.

Monsters University, I would say, isn’t as amazingly brilliant as the first one primarily because that was so original and BWAHH THIS IS AMAZING, but I think it’s equally as clever and creative. It’s also very significant for people of my generation, seeing as a lot of us are either starting, attending, of have recently experienced university. It’s very easy to relate to the film as a student because you see all the aspects of university life (even though it’s a uni across the Atlantic) like the societies and the first day of lectures and moving into halls of residence. It’s just perfect! And I think they made a very smart move by releasing this movie so many years after the first one when all of the original fans, as young and equally adorable as we were, are grown up and so, so ready for another film. Toy Story 3 also did it right by getting Andy to leave for college and make the ridiculously tough decision of clearing out his toys. God, dem feels. Pixar just get it right! Damn you for making me feel all gooey inside, I’m supposed to be made of stone don’t you know?!

But back to the film. Please go see it. I know there’s a few more days til it comes out in the UK, but please, for the sake of your soul, go and watch it. I don’t want to give it a 10/10 purely because nothing’s perfect, so I’m labelling it a 9.5/10.

Enjoy!

(It’s really a 10)

Entertainment, Film, Review

Blogging on the Next Level

Calm down, it’s really not as exciting or futuristic as I may have implied. It’s just that I’ve been thinking about my YouTube account and how awfully bare it is and I’ve had the idea to start videoing my film reviews. Nothing huge, nothing big, just videos that’ll be like three minutes long and it’ll be yours truly talking about a film I’ve watched. I’m not confident they’ll become smash hits over night, I’m not exactly heavily followed on YouTube, but seeing as I’m sitting at home doing nothing for three weeks, I need a little project to be getting on with and it’ll mix this blog up a bit.

Laterz! Love you lots.

Entertainment, Film, Review

Review: Tucker & Dale vs Evil

This isn’t really a review per se, I just wanted to share that I’ve watched it after being told how much of an amazing movie it is by two MV5BODQ5NDQ0MjkwMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDg1OTU4NQ@@._V1_SX214_individuals. Callum, Ceri, you should be proud.

If you don’t know what this film is about, it’s essentially a reverse look on horror films – from what I gathered – it’s looking at it from the bad guy’s point of view and suggesting that maybe they’re not bad guys, maybe they’ve just been pushed into a sticky situation and they’re actually really adorable guys. Also, Tucker is Steve the Pirate from Dodgeball, so y’know.

It’s hilarious. And violent. Actually, it’s extremely gruesome in parts, but it’s all in good humour…if that makes any sense. You know when it’s funny in films like Scary Movie? It’s like that. But better. Lots better. It’s kind of emotional as well, you really feel for Tucker and Dale, they’re so cute! All they wanted to do was go on a vacation and build up their vacation cabin and go fishing and eat bacon and eggs, but nooo because college kids happened.

Usually these types of films are about college kids, the typical storyline being that they’re on a road trip (ROAD TRIP WOO!) and they end up in a really secluded forest and then murder by hill-billies ensues. Usually. This film is exactly the same, but it’s the college kids that turn out to be the crazies instead.

In the words of fellow Callum, “Aw man, I just love this movie!”

7/10

Entertainment, Film, Review

Review: Warm Bodies

We saw this at the City Screen cinema in York yesterday with E4 Slackers Club tickets and it’s fair to say we weren’t disappointed. I’ve warm-bodies-poster-ew-brandedalways been scared of zombie films – I can barely tolerate Shaun of the Dead without freaking out – but I managed. As expected, it’s not full of blood, guts and gore because it’s not advertised as that. It’s, essentially, a zom-rom-com. It’s cute. Nicholas Hoult is adorable and one of the most good looking zombies I’ve had the pleasure of looking at. As well as being insanely cute, it’s also hilarious and there’s plenty of laugh out loud moments in it, a lot of them a result of R’s (Hoult) awkwardness with Julie (Teresa Palmer). This is what makes this zombie film a little more special than others; R isn’t like the others. Sure, he acts like what you’d expect from one at the beginning with the groaning, shuffling and people-eating but there’s something about his thought processes – given to us through a delightful and adorable self-narration – that makes him more human. 

It’s such a nice little love story because he clearly falls in love with her at first sight, then he tries to win her over after defeating the competition using a seemingly unorthodox method. But it’s not gooey and it isn’t annoying in the sense that there’s not a great deal of emotional turmoil and Julie isn’t deciding who she loves the most, not referring to any other fantasy love story in the slightest.

As a further point as to why you have to go see it; it’s got John Malkovich in it. Is there anything else that you require? Nope. It’s released in the UK on the 8th of February. Go see it. <Insert clever zombie-dead pun>

9/10