Thursday, 28 May 2015

Fandom Friday: Fictional Characters I Identify With

For a short while I thought it was just the cast of Girls, and I still sort of do but I couldn't identify with just one alone, its a mixture. But if I had to pick 5 characters, these would be them.

Liz Lemon
I use her quite frequently in my examples but its because she is just so darn right. I agree with her on so important matters, such as the imprtance of cheese and meat plates and will have similar reactions to stupidly named bars, sometimes they are 'hipster nonsence'. I like to think I share her optimisim on some world views, everybody does just want a good sandwich. And od course, we like to write and give advice on things that we don't entirely know or understand, that's a dealbreaker ladies.

Daisy Steiner
Again, another writer, this time from British sitcom, 'Spaced'. I did at one time dress like I the 90s was thrown on me, probably still do from time to time. She is lazy but she's a good friend and is always ready to do something crazy and dramatic like break into a research facility to save her dog, Collin. I also think her decorating skills are pretty damn good, tin foil on everything. And her speech about boyfriends and sandwich toasters was spot on:

Daisy: In the end, our relationship was just like a sandwich toaster. You know, you just forget you've got one. And it just sits there on the top of the cupboard collecting a layer of greasy fudge. And even if you do see it you just assume it's broken, you think if it's working I'd be using it all the time, but you don't and it just sits there. Then one day, you get an overwhelming desire for toasted sandwiches, you know? And you get it down and it works, and you can't believe it, you know? And then you make every kind of toasted sandwich there is, you have toasted sandwich parties. You make Marmite and cheese, chocolate and...
Tim: Pilchards.
Daisy: Banana and...
Bilbo Bagshot: Acorns.
Daisy: Acorns. And then as quickly as the desire comes, it just goes. And then you put the toaster sandwich maker away. And, you know what?
Tim: What?
Daisy: You don't miss it.
Bilbo Bagshot: So what you're saying is 'Don't hide the toasted sandwich maker away, use him regularly and you'll get the most out of him'.
Tim: No, she's saying 'Chuck your boyfriend, have a sandwich'.

Miranda Hart
From the sitcom 'Miranda'. I few friends have said that I'm like Miranda, not sure whether to take this as a compliment or not, I'm still on the fence. Although I love the show, I do see a bit of myself in the characters, especially some of her ideas and ways to have fun - not including fruit friends, that's a tad too far, I draw the line walking across the floor in oven gloves like a duck. And yes savoury muffins are a crime against baking.

The loveable weirdo from Community. I said he would be my best friend but I also think Abed and I have many things in common. I often catch myself saying 'this is the part in the film where we leave' etc to friends and family. It's really quite meta. I also think and dream in film or TV mode, its very entertaining. Plus I am always quoting TV and films, sometimes even when I know no one's watched what I'm quoting.

Heather Mooney
A class mate of Romy and Michelle's, I just love the character and her attitude is great. Heather and I wear black, all the time, but I don't smoke but I do like to make fun of bullying bimbos anyday. Heather is ace.

Thursday Movie Picks: Mother-Son Relationships (Biologically Related)

Nice long title for this one, 'All in the Family Edition: Mother-Son Relationships (Biologically Related)' this week.

I know a friend of mine would jump straight to 'Savage Grace' but I'm going to side step any incesteuos picks. I have to admit that, after looking through my DVD collection, I don't favour films with mother-son centered relationships. But here goes:

How to Train Your Dragon 2
In the first film, its all about finding his own way, young Hiccup has strained relationship with his Dad and Chief and doesn't seem to have much in common until much later so it goes as follows that he would be like his Mum right? Correct! She is a great character and edition even though her reasons for staying away were actually ridiculous. She has the 'dragon charmer' gene from his Mum and the understanding of the creatures but the sense of adventure and what is right seems like Hiccup all on his own. Their reunion is odd but accepted quickly, giving time for them to bond with dragons.

Darjeeling Limited
The story is all about three brothers who handled their Father's death in different ways. It is also a story about three brothers coming together and just becoming brothers again, it usually takes a tragedy and or a quest to do this. It all happens in one story. Trying to find meaning in their Mother's swift disappearence and when finding her, she stays just a short while only to disappear from them again. Abandonment brings them together. But the moment that the three brothers grow up and realise that they don't need their Mother is near the end. Francis removes the bandages and says 'I guess I still have some healing to do'. His brothers are by his side.

Ed and His Dead Mother
Being a fan of Steve Buscemi I came across this little wonder when looking through his film history and realised I had never seen it. Buscemi plays Ed, run down hardware store clerk, is devastated when his beloved Mother dies. After a mysterious man offers the opportunity (money first of course) to revive his Mother he does. Chaos ensues and the lesson learned is; do not try to revive someone from the dead, they are never the same. But Ed throughout it still a real mamma's boy.

Don't forget to checkout Wandering Through the Shelves - the blog that started Thursday Movie Picks.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

May Watch List

1. Les Combattants
 Called 'Love at First Fight' elsewhere or will be called this elsewhere. Although it is partly true, that title, dumbs down the story between Madeleine and Arnaud. She is aggressive and outspoken, while is calm and sweet natured. After being transfixed by her, he follows her into signing up for a military program. Where she is keen to do hard training but shot down for being too forward, he continues along doing well with the tasks asked of him. The tipping point is when she questions his authority during an orienteering exercise. This being the final straw for him, leaves but this time she follows. They escape and its their time in the woods alone things come to a head, in a symbolic and tension freeing way. I really enjoyed this film, especially as the leads had such great chemistry, switching up the character traits with her being the 'hot head' and him being 'calm and collected'. The film has won awards and so far talk about the film has been 'so-so' but I think the characters are refreshing and the comedic moments are well dispersed. 3/5
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
 How do I begin with this Mad Max film? Maybe by answering all those, let's face it, men, complaining that the film was dominated by Charlize Theron's Furiosa and not enough of Tom Hardy's Max. To them I say, please do shut up. The film is not a feminist riot. Women, yes do take centre stage and there are more women than men in the 'main' cast catagory but why does this matter? Doesn't it show that films have progressed and that stories, even big blockbuster films can be about women too? All the films are about Mad Max and how he survives in the wilderness, but all the films aren't solely about him, they're also about the people he encounters. If you really want to summerise the epic film that is Fury Road, you could say its about a strong woman who saves three women from being owned by a crazy dictator. They all go on a road trip to find a better place to live. Also Max is there.

The film is more than these sexist views about the film. It begins with Max's story, then intercuts with two others, Furiosa who drives a war tank and Nux (Nicholas Hoult) a 'war boy' in the crazy dictator Immortan Joe's army. Max is captured and used as blood bank for Nux. When Joe realise that his prize possessions, the last breeders, his 5 wives have been kidnapped/saved by Furiosa, so begins the epic road trip/war to bring them back. Max, is caught up in another war (as you remember this happens quite frequently). At first reluctant, nearly driving off leaving the women stranded, but soons he is part of the gang trying to escape the clutches of the actuallt really disgusting and truely terrible being, Immortan Joe. The film doesn't break away and reboot anything, its stays with the universise of the other three films but on a bigger playing field. Everything from the machines, vehicles, costumes, the language and the just the characters themselves are brilliantly executed in screen. I only have a few qualms but they are just my own views (one is a plot spoiler, so I won't do that). It was mainly Hardy's choice of accent, it was part Bane, part American, part Austrailian, let's just say it was odd. If you liked the classics, you will not be disappointed. If you like road movies with violence, you won't be disappointed. If you're sexist and only like films where men take the centre stage, grow up, Furiosa is coming for you. 4/5

 3. Moomins on the Riveria 
The scary images of The Congress aside, long live 2D animation in all its beautiful glory. This Finnish-French production of a new story based on the characters by beloved author Tove Jansson and the comic strips by Tove and her brother Lars, is simply long overdue. Not only is the storyline in keeping with the adventers of the Moomins but the designs are truely amazing, as of they were lifted straight from the books and comic strips. The use of colour is very strong, especially in the settings. Bright yellows and pinks for the Riveria and bright blues, greys and reds for Moomin Valley. As well as the main story, there are a few small story plots that develop to the side which just adds to the sheer delight of the whole film. I say this was long overdue but I'm glad that time was spent making it worthy of the original work. A film that all Moomin fans will enjoy and one that will convert new fans too. 4/5

4. Clouds of Sils Maria
Juliette Binoche is a great actress, Kristen Stewart in the past has not been but the two of them make a brilliant and compelling team. The film, about a middle aged actress who is goes to the Alps to prefer for a role she is not completely committed to. Having played the role of Sigrid at 18 years old in the acclaimed fictional play 'Maloja Snake', Maria Enders (Binoche) is asked to play the older character, Helena in the play who is madly in love with Sigrid and ultimately kills herself. That, is the basis of the plot, but there is so much underneath that is just under the surface of Maria. Valentine (Stewart) is the secondary character but she is forever expressing the opposite and sounded opinion needed to groud Maria. The film would make an excellent play on its own, even though that setting whould lose the amazing views of the Alps and eponymous cloud formation (Maloja Snake) of the play within a film. Comments about actresses, films and genres today are also brought up and are discussed intelligently, expressing interesting opinions from both characters. A great film and brilliantly acted, two great roles for women, wish there was more of these. 3/5

5. The Congress
After seeing the trailer I was intrigued by the story and I was mezmerised by Ari Foldman's Waltz with Bashir documentary, so I thought it was time I watched the film. Beyond the set up of Robin Wright playing a version of herself where she offered by the studio, one last contract, where they scan her image in everyway, including emotions, and she never acts again. She does this, ultimately to take care of her sick son. Then 20 years later, her contract is up for renewal, she is asked by the studio to appear at the Futurological Congress, in a strictly animated zone. She attends the congress which is in a bizarre world, but things take a turn when rebels attack the city. The film and story enters a whole other reality, literally and it becomes confusing to follow. Time passes but she looks the same and familiar characters pop up throughout, its hard to follow but looking past that, the 2D animantion gives the film and story something strange and unnerving to look at. For the first time the animation is unsettling but its meant to be. 3/5

6. Far From the Madding Crowd
I've written quite a post comparing the 1967 film directed by John Schlesinger and the newer 2015 version by Thomas Vinterberg. Here is a link to that post. 4/5

7. Tomorrowland 
I was sceptical about this film, another based on a theme park area/ride, but I thought, let's give it a chance, it is directed by Brad Bird after all. Like a few other reviews have said, it is hard to describe the story and I don't think I would want to. Casey, a teen who tries to stop a rocket launchpad from being destroyed, as this would cause her dad to lose his job, gets arrested. Upon being released she comes across a pin that allows her to see another dimension or the future as the case may be.  After trying to track down where it came from and how it allowed her do so, she ends up being chased by robots and a mysterious young girl Athena. This leads on to Casey meeting Frank, a grump middle aged man who knows about the pin and Athena. From there its best I stop as its gets complicated and I don't want to spoil anything. The first half the film is brilliant, it hooks you into the story, bar the annoying talking to the camera part which turns out is necessary, but I felt the second half leaned more to a mixture of 'family fun', gadgets galore and the old schmaltzy, 'need to save the world' plot line. The film had potential but in the end was a family film where 'be positive' is the message, I expected more. 3/5