Monday, December 28, 2009

Emmabung's Top 5 Cinematic Girlcrushes of 2009.

01. Shosanna Dreyfus (Melanie Laurent, Inglourious Basterds)
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02. Anne Keyes (Romola Garai, Glorious 39)
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03. Coco Chanel (Audrey Tautou, Coco Avant Chanel)
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04. Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger, Inglourious Basterds)
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05. Helen (Rosamund Pike, An Education)
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Sunday, December 27, 2009

When it gets tough, gotta fight some more.

The Emperor's New Groove (Mark Dindal, 2000)
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Sheer, unadulterated, joy. Funny old-school Disney stuff with wit sharp as you like and a protagonist that I loathed at the beginning but came to really like once he was transformed into an ass. The voice work is absolutely brilliant (John Goodman does the honest good guy so well and Eartha Kitt is a riot as the baddie), and the screenplay plays with fairytale conventions so well. Love.

Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze, 2009)
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Oh dear. Dearie dearie me. I wanted to like this. Really I did. I was so sure I would as well - the trailer took my breath away and I'm a big fan of the source material so I was sure it was gonna be winner winner, chicken dinner. ... Not so much. The ferocious/unstable nature of Max downright disturbed me and whilst the cinematography was beautiful and the monsters beautifully crafted, the majority of the film left me feeling bored and disinterested. Sorry! Catherine Keener was OK though!

The Incredibles (Brad Bird, 2004)
Watched The Incredibles on Christmas Day with the family is absolute heaven. There's a little bit for everyone here, from the quick humour, the visual fireworks, the loveable characters (Mr. Incredible's desire to be, well, incredible in a mundane world = me me me!) and the action. Pixar is and always will be, King.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What happens when you have a bit too *much* swagger.

Now, I love Timbaland. He's like, my favourite producer, and his current song, "Morning After Dark", is one of my songs of the moment. Listen to it here:


As you'll see from the music vid, the video has quite a Twilightish theme going on throughout it, but such is the sass of SoShy that it sorta works. Nelly Furtado also looks gorge in her outfit. Both women have quite a bit of swagger in this music video, actually. What also works (in making my lol my face off), is the range of silly faces Timbo himself pulls throughout the video. Here are just nine, but there are many, many more.

So crazy. So weird. Love him.
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Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Anything to avoid revision, eh?

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25. I Gotta Feelin' (Black Eyed Peas)
24. Mama Do (Pixie Lott)
23. Tik Tok (Ke$ha)
22. We Walk (The Ting Tings)
21. Love Game (Lady Gaga)
20. Zero (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)
19. Supernova (Mr Hudson ft. Kanye West)
18. Empire State of Mind (Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys)
17. She-Wolf (Shakira)
16. You've Got the Love (Florence and the Machines)
15. Everybody in Love (JLS)
14. Number One (Tinchy Stryder ft. N Dubz)
13. Diva (Beyoncé)
12. Bulletproof (La Roux)

11. Holiday (Dizzee Rascal)
Despite me loving Dizzee Rascal like crazy, I was not a huge fan of Bonkers. Holiday was much more my thing, with the cheeky rhyming "Don't watch my passport photo, I know I look a bit loco, and I know that my Spanish is soso, but let's try and keep that on the low-low" and a brilliantly care-free, feel-good vibe.

10. The Fear (Lily Allen)
Most memorable played in an episode of Skins when Emily and Naomi share a much-needed kiss, The Fear has a stunningly pretty music video and soft-instrumentals in the background, but is in reality a much darker indictment on the money-grabbingness of the entertainment industry. It can only be Lily Allen.

09. Remedy (Little Boots)
Now, I'm quite a bitter person by nature (really?!), but Remedy is a gorgeous ditty that preaches to dance, not hate. I love the message, the electropop vibe, and Little Boot's swagger in her own little way in it.

08. Boom Boom Pow (Black Eyed Peas)
I explained in an earlier entry my asinine reasons for liking this song so. No harm to do it again: basically, there's this hobag I know who bunged in the rear hole when she was 13 - GROSS. And we all think "boom boom pow" is the sound a willy makes when it enters her shrivelling rat. So yeah. Everytime it comes on in a nightclub, we all picture her having sechs. Lovely, innit.

07. Russian Roulette (Rihanna)
Utterly gut-wrenching, this is Rihanna's first solo effort following the big Chris Brown debacle. How would she be, the media wondered? Well, if Russian Roulette is anything to go by, Rihanna has hope, self-doubt, fear, feels betrayed and wounded. All these emotions translate well to music, where she packs a real punch.

06. Good Girls Go Bad (Cobra Starship ft. Leighton Meester)
OK, looking over this list, I realise a lot of the songs are sung by girlcrushes of mine (Chezza, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Pixie Lott - even though she's younger than I am). Leighton Meester is no exception. In fact, if I was forced to pick one girlcrush, it'd be her. As gossip girl's Blair Waldorf she works the machiavellian bitch with a heart schtick like it's her second skin. And bung, she can sing too! Possibly one of the funnest songs, like, ever!

05. 1901 (Phoenix)
Ever since their lovely "Too Young" played in Lost in Translation (meh), I've took notice of Phoenix, and this year, they really came into their own with their immense album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Singing about a past relationship of some form, 1901 is littered with clever historical references, complete with deceptively chirpy instrumentals.

04. Fight for this Love (Cheryl Cole)
OK, so no-one knows for sure if Cheryl is "just singing" this song or making veiled comments to her philandering hubby Ashley Cole. But what I do know is that this song is wickedly memorable R&B with a great chorus and synth beats. Bonus points for Cheryl making a leopard print tracksuit look good in the video.

03. Bad Romance (Lady Gaga)
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Many, many, many, find the "ra ra ah ah ro ma ro ma ma ga ga ooh la la" intro more than a little grating, but I think it's genius. As is the whole song, from beginning to end. She's completely off her head, but creates brilliant, unforgettable and terrifically catchy songs with it. I really quite like this Lady Gaga woman.

02. Chillin' (Wal-E ft. Lady Gaga)
If it wasn't for the fact that this song came out towards the end of my Summer, this could have been one of the Summer tunes. Lady Gaga easily scoops the "best impression of M.I.A." award, though her antics in the music video - where she basically fondles a handbag - are a little bizarre. Note that the song Wal-E makes a clever allusion to - Paper planes - happens to be my #1 of 2008. So there you go.

01. Run this Town (Rihanna, Jay-Z and Kanye West)
Well, it was obvious, wasn't it? Raw, gut-wrenching emotion, badass rapping, and three of my favourite musicians of the moment bunged into one song. It's dark, it's creep, the rapping is nonsensical at points, yet, I can't help but fall in love with the poetry. It could only be Run this Town.

10. Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)

Hands up who’s been a bit of a voyeur at some point in their life? Have you ever watched a quarrelling couple, gawked at someone doing something which was none of your business, cheekily stared as a loving couple chew off each other's faces? Well, in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, LB Jeffries definitely is one. A renowned photographer, he suffers from a broken leg, and, anchored to his wheelchair in his apartment, takes to watching his neighbours across the street. There’s the opera singer, the passionate couple, and… the murderer. Jeffries is convinced that he has witnessed a murder, but, no matter how much he tells them, his girlfriend (Grace Kelly, bungtastic) and his minder (Thelma Ritter, on excellent form) think it’s just a product of boredom and an over imaginative imagination.

As ever, James Stewart is fantastic. He’s done the average Joe schmuck, he’s done the cowboy with the wounded pride and he’s done the intense defence lawyer. In Rear Window, he’s given a fair few comedic lines, which Stewart underplays wonderfully, a feat even more commendable if you consider that, rooted to a chair, he doesn’t get to use his physical presence like he has in other films. His character – of the voyeur – parallels us in that we, like him, are watching what is essentially none of our business. Grace Kelly is the epitome of class as Liza; beautiful, silky, elegant. Her feminine charms provide the romantic, human, strand of Rear Window – LB Jeffries loves Liza and she clearly would do anything for him, but he’s unsure about whether or not to marry her. And Thelma Ritter, who has the garrulous sidekick character down to a T, once again performs as his chatty and caring nurse.

Rear Window has such a brilliant premise that it has been imitated many a time in various art forms - the key is its simplicity. In one episode of The Simpsons, Bart, nursing a bruised leg, thinks he has witnessed Flanders being a murderer, leading to some very amusing consequences. Similarly, Shia Labeouf does Rear Window for the 21st century with Disturbia (bung bung de dum bung bung de dum dum), wherein a broken leg is house arrest, and Grace Kelly is his hot next door neighbour how sunbathes a lot (and reads Lolita, I noticed.) None of the remakes/parodies ever reach the level of perfection attained by Rear Window, but it’s always fun to spot.

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The film has thrills and suspense aplenty, as well as a scorching kiss between Kelly and Stewart to add to the spice, psychological warfare, great one-liners, terrific performances and genuine entertainment value. The climactic scene in which Jeffries comes face to face with the murderer is expertly staged - all from the confinement of his front room. There's hardly any music in the film - only background sounds, which give it a more authentic edge. Alfred Hitchcock not only knew how to make good movies, he also knew how to make movies that people would want to see. And boy, oh boy, believe me when I say, you’ve got to see this.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Catch a Mate (Gena Showalter)

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Catch a Mate is a company wherein wives, girlfriends and fiancees who suspect their other halves of cheating select a woman - bait - to catch him out. The bait always catches the man out, and relationships always end as a result. Jillian, one of the "baits" has a personal vested interest in her job - she caught her father cheating when she was just a little girl and it sparked off a suicide attempt from her mother when she found out. This event led Gillian to detest and mistrust men, and finds a grim sense of comfort to reveal men for what she sees them as: lying, cheating scum. However, her life is complicated with the arrival of a new piece of bait. Not just any bait, it's male bait. His name is Marcus, and he is British, well-hung, arrogant, and by all intents and purposes, extremely bangable. Ooh la la.

Rather predictably, the two fight like cat and mouse, mainly to cover up the intense sexual attraction that they feel toward each other. Both find their attempts to mix business and displeasure increasingly infuriating, and we the audience know that nothing will be resolved without a drawn out, cheesy shag. Meanwhile, we have an engaging subplot featuring Jilian's brother and her best friend and their emotions towards each other.

On first look, this book looks no different to the countless chicklits out there. However, Showalter is canny enough not to allow it to veer to the predicted, at least, not without throwing a few convolutions first. Furthermore, she truly delves into the mindsets of her characters, allowing us to see what they feel. The comedy of errors in the novel are all highly amusing, but it is the human thoughts that make the novel so ultimately fulfilling. Sexy, funny, clever and sharp, Catch a Mate is highly recommended.

The Fattest Man in Britain.

One of the best things about the Yuletide period is the range of festive telly treats it throws up. Old films that aren't avaiable on DVD, cheesy Christmas specials, and excellent TV dramas. "The Fattest Man in Britain" falls neatly into the latter category.

Topping off a fine year for himself (he played the long-suffering Peter Taylor in The Damned United and Wormtail in HPVI, not to mention a stint in the gruesome Heartless), Timothy Spall stars as Georgie Godwin, a man residing in Rochdale, who is so fat that he can barely stand up. Having not left the house in 23 years, he makes a living by being an attraction - people on holiday come to visit him - from which his nefarious manager Morris Morrissey (played with appropriate sleaze by Bobby Ball) reaps the benefits. One day, from his seat in front of Jeremy Kyle, Georgie spots pretty young Amy, tending to his garden. She herself is in some kind of an abusive relationship - with her drug addict boyfriend, who, on discovering that she is pregnant with his child, threatens to "kick the baby out" of her. Georgie and Amy form an unlikely friendship that in lesser hands would have instantly becoming a sexual attraction. As it is - partly owing, perhaps, to Georgie's repugnant physical state - it is a moving, slight tale of friendship.

There's laughs aplenty in the show, manly owing due to the sheer farcical element of Georgie's life. This is intercut with moments of genuine sadness - I defy anyone who did not shed a tear when Georgie reads Amy's letter. We discover that Georgie didn't get to the situation he is in by sheer greed - following his mother's funeral, he ate to fill the void that her passing away left. Writers Jeff Pope and Caroline Aherne have moulded a clever little piece here, and one that leaves the audience with a warm, glowing sensation long after the credits have rolled.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

A sad (and shocking) goodbye.

Brittany Murphy found dead.

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A request.

I'm currently trying to compile a "feel good" playlist. Would love recommendations.

kool, cheers. x

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

(500) Days of Summer soundtrack.

"This is a story of boy meets girl. But this is not a love story." goes the narration of (500) Days of Summer, a beautiful, funny and intelligent romantic comedy of sorts of 2009. One of the aspects of the film that particularly caught my attention was the kooky soundtrack, which facilitated the torrent of conflicting emotions captured by the film perfectly. I've included a few download links, 'cos I'm feeling kind. ;)

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Regina Spektor – “Us” - beautiful song, one of her finest. The swelling violins provide a perfect beat and there's brilliant whimsy to Spektor's vocals.
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The Smiths – “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” - the seriousness of the lyrics here border on farcical - "And if a double decker bus crashes into us..." but I love how it fitted as a plot catalyst in the film

Belle & Sebastian – “The Boy With The Arab Strap” - Summer's yearbook quote, "Colour my life with the chaos of trouble" was from this song.

Black Lips – “Bad Kids” - very catchy
The Smiths – “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want.”
Patrick Swayze – “She’s Like The Wind.”
Jack Penate – “Have I Been a Fool? ”
The Doves – “There Goes the Fear”
Hall & Oates – “You Make My Dreams”
Temper Trap – “Sweet Disposition”
Carla Bruni – “Quelqu’un M’a Dit”
Black Lips – “Veni, Vidi, Vici”
Paper Route – “The Music”
Feist – “Mushaboom” - one of my favourite films of all time! It's so sweet and catchy and lovely.
Regina Spektor – “Hero” - this song played in the horrible scene where they intercut Tom's expectation/hopes with the brutal reality, and Regina's sad, knowing voices, oversees the whole process. "He never ever saw it coming at all". Neither did we, sadly. I also love how Regina repeats "No-one's got it all", because I certainly don't! :-(
Spoon – “Infinite Pet”
Simon & Garfunkel – “Bookends”
Wolfmother – “Vagabond”
Mumm-Rah – “She’s Got You High” - this song is adorable! It was also in Angus, Thongs and perfect Snogging, and plays over the credits here, and it captures how love can totally leave us blind to sense and sensibility.

Audrey Hepburn is love.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Golden Globes Nominations, 2009!

Motion Picture, Drama
Avatar
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious
Up in the Air

Motion Picture, Comedy/Musical
500 Days of Summer
The Hangover
It’s Complicated
Julie & Julia
Nine

Actress, Drama
Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabby Sidibe, Precious

Actor, Drama
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Tobey Maguire, Brothers

Actor Comedy
Matt Damon, The Informant
Daniel Day Lewis, Nine
Robert Downey Jr., Sherlock Holmes
Joe Gordon Levitt, 500 Days of Summer
Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man

Director
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
James Cameron, Avatar
Clint Eastwood, Invictus
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

Actress, Comedy
Sandra Bullock, The Proposal
Marion Cotillard, Nine
Julia Roberts, Duplicity
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
Meryl Streep, It’s Complicated

Screenplay
District 9
Hurt Locker
It’s Complicated
Up in the Air
Inglourious Basterds

Supporting Actor:
Matt Damon, Invictus
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones (I think?)
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Supporting Actress:
Penelope Cruz
Vera Farminga
Anna Kendrick
Monique
Julianne Moore

Song:
Avatar
Crazy Heart
Brothers
Nine
Paul McCartney

Golden Globe Predictions!!

They're so very soon, so, here are my guesses:

BEST PICTURE (DRAMA)
Avatar
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Invictus
Up in the Air

BEST PICTURE (MUSICAL/COMEDY)
(500) Days of Summer
The Hangover
It's Complicated
Julie and Julia
Nine

BEST DIRECTOR
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
James Cameron, Avatar
Rob Marshall, Nine
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

BEST SCREENPLAY
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
A Serious Man
Up
Up in the Air

BEST ACTOR (DRAMA)
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

BEST ACTOR (MUSICAL/COMEDY)
Daniel Day-Lewis, Nine
Robert Downey, Jr., Sherlock Holmes
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, (500) Days of Summer
Zack Galifianakis, The Hangover
Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man

BEST ACTRESS (DRAMA)
Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria
Eva Green, Cracks
Melanie Laurent, Inglourious Basterds
Abbie Cornish, Bright Star
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious

BEST ACTRESS (MUSICAL/COMEDY)
Sandra Bullock, The Proposal
Marion Cotillard, Nine
Zooey Deschanel, (500) Days of Summer
Meryl Streep, It's Complicated
Meryl Streep, Julie and Julia

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Matt Damon, Invictus
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Alfred Molina, An Education
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Penelope Cruz, Nine
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Mo'Nique, Precious
Julianne Moore, A Single Man
Samantha Morton, The Messenger

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We shall see! 'Cited.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tonight's the Night!

Are you Team Olly or Team Joe?

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KISS (Jacqueline Wilson)

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13-year-old Sylvie has been best friends with Carl since childhood, with there being a more-than-friendly love coming from her part. The two are very good friends and keep up their close bond even when Carl changes secondary school and the two don't go to school together. But recently, Sylvie has noticed that Carl has become more distant, shut off in his own little world. Unsure as to the motives for this distance, it only works to make her more hung up on him. Unfortunately for Sylvie, she soon discovers that Carl, too, is in love. But not with her, with somebody else. A boy.

Jacqueline Wilson disappointed me with her last few novels, her moral ambiguity in "Love Lessons" being the most reprehensible (impressionable young girls who get crushes on their teachers could be influenced into doing as the protagnist in that book did and pursuing it), but with Kiss, she has gone back to the kind of novels that used to win me over. Her treatment of young love and sexuality is moving, poignant and intelligent. Carl, being so consumed by his feelings for Paul, tries to kiss him, and this act is the architect of Carl's ensuing downfall, illustrating that in the cruel world of schoolchildren, not everyone is as accepting as the PC brigade would like to think. Similarly, Sylvie's all-consuming crush on Carl, whilst irritating to read about, is realistic as it is sad, in knowing that it is unrequited. There is a third wheel to this - Miranda, Sylvie's bolshy and attention-seeking classmate who befriends her (chiefly because she is so beguiled by Carl) - and although Miranda encourages a lot of bad qualities in Sylvie (playing truant, underage drinking, whoring), she is the model of open-mindedness and acceptance when she too discoveres Carl is gay, marking her a likeable character.

Well-written, occasionally funny and surprisingly shocking for a Jackie Wilson book, Kiss is recommended.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Aurgasmic.

We started performing Twelfth Night yesterday, and the play runs until Saturday night. In one of the scenes, where Orsino makes Viola listen to a piece of music, the director chose to have the film music of another Shakespeare play, Romeo + Juliet, in the background. And it reminded me just how lovely it was: -

Friday, December 04, 2009

40 Days and 40 Nights (Michael Lehmann, 2002)

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Matt Sullivan (Josh Hartnett) has just come out of a messy break up with his heartless ex Nicole. He tries to liberate himself from the memory of her through a string of meaningless of one-night stands, but to no avail. Discovering it is Lent, he decides to give up sex for Lent in an attempt to detach himself from the wave of ridiculous and destructive emotions that sex emotes. Deciding to go for it fully, he disallows himself sex in any way, shape or form. But, soon, and completely unsurprisingly, he discovers that that is much easier said than done. Things are complicated a whole lot further when he meets a girl genuinely worth bunging, only for her to discover that he can’t. Not for the next month or so, at least.

Josh Hartnett’s pretty face is more than a little photogenic, but sadly for him he is far less blessed in the acting stakes. The poor writing is just accentuated with his wooden delivery. The supporting cast, thankfully, is more fun to watch. Glenn Fitzgerald is great fun and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s line deliveries are hilarious. Shannyn Sossamon, as the genuinely loveable Erica makes for a likeable and spirited heroine, and she and Hartnett are able to summon a commendable amount of chemistry. Though, perhaps, not quite enough to make one almost unfeasibly silly scene – in which Hartnett’s character gives Erica a love explosion using just a flower – work.

The underlying message that the film is trying to sell – that sex isn’t the be all and end all in a relationship – is nice, but the delivery is where it fails. The sex jokes, when they come, are extremely crude and it’s hard to believe a world where the adults could all be as immature as the ones we see in this film. Furthermore, one scene, in which his ex Nicole sets about bunging him through extremely foul means, shocked and disturbed me (I wasn’t aware rape constituted as lulz) and was extremely dubious morally. The film has its moments, but overall, not one to watch again.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Her fingertips are holding onto the cracks in her foundation.

Yesterday evening, me and ma Lukebung were at the Little Theatre taking advantage of Orange Wednesdays by watching Glorious 39 (s'alright). The most memorable thing about the cinemagoing experience, however, aside from the fact that my phone was out of battery so I couldn't check the Chelsea score just as well really, was a rather mesmerising trailer I saw, for the film Cracks.

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Starring British star Juno Temple (who herself starred in Glorious 39), it tells the story of a group of girls in a British boarding school and their enigmatic swimming instructor Miss G, who, from the trailer, it's pretty obvious that many of the girls, particularly Temple's character, has a bit of a girlcrush on. Miss G seems nice enough, a bit distant, but an encouraging instructor who particularly takes a shine to Temple's character Di, who in turn laps it up. However, this special relationship is called into question with the arrival of Fiamma (relative unknown 22-year-old María Valverde, stunning), whom Miss G transfers all her affections to. Unlike Di, though, Fiamma does not take so well to being scrutinized and adored by her teacher, and the teacher's increasing obsession with her, coupled with her continuing rebuffing of her teacher, leads to her fellow classmates to despise her.

Have a clip. One can almost cut the lesbian tension with a knife:


Furthermore, Eva Green's Miss G indulges in a bit of naughty shennanigans, which the bbfc website tells me about: SPOILERS AHOY

Although Miss G's sexual fascination with Fiamma is hinted at subtly and discreetly throughout the film, it manifests most clearly in a single, pivotal scene. After Fiamma gets drunk at a party and passes out, Miss G offers to take care of her, ostensibly so that the other teachers will not discover her drunkenness. However, she subsequently abuses her position of trust by sexually abusing the unconscious girl. Miss G unties the ribbon of Fiamma's camisole to expose her cleavage which she strokes repeatedly but gently. Then she leans forward and kisses Fiamma on the lips. Moments later, Miss G presses her head against the sleeping girl's implied bare breast, which is in the shadows, before the scene ends. '12A' Guidelines say that mature themes are acceptable but their treatment must be suitable for young teenagers; and that sexual violence (which this scene of sexual abuse clearly comprises) may only be implied or briefly and discreetly indicated, and must have a strong contextual justification. While there is no violence in the scene and no explicit sexual detail, the scene depicts the sexualised abuse of an unconscious pupil by a teacher in a fashion that was too sustained and too strong to be allowed at '12A'. However, the scene was containable at '15' where Guidelines state that any portrayal of sexual violence must be discreet and have a strong contextual justification. Because the scene is relatively discreet in terms of what is shown (there is no nudity and no actual violence) and because it is crucial to the narrative in marking the turning point in the teacher's downfall, it was considered that an '18' classification was unnecessary.


Dirty bitch!! Good on the bbfc for not rating the movie an 18 just for this scene, as it doesn't sound that terrible. And again, good on them for not being all "oh, it's woman-on-girl, hardly rape. Pretty hot actually. Let's give it a 12A." But, I must say, my fascination for this movie is piqued significantly, especially from the clips which show some scintillating dialogue, amusing banter between the teenagers and quotes like "the most important thing in life is... desire". One suspects that I, like Juno Temple's Di, might find myself falling under Eva Green's lesbionic spell when Cracks hits English screens this Friday.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Getting Rid of Matthew (Jane Fallon)

Helen has been having an affair with her boss Matthew Shawcross for four years. She is a few months shy of 40, he, much older. She has repeatedly begged him to leavr his wife and two young daughters to live with her, thinking she is in love with him. However, it's a case of be careful what you wish for, because, when he finally does, she realises that she doesn't actually want him.

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On the surface, it would seem like we the reader would loathe the protagonist for her home-wrecking and proceeding to be so fickle, but such is the sly writing that we find ourselves softening to her and even rooting for her as we discover more about her history, how she ever got herself into such a sorry situation, and see that, under it all, there is a good person. Similarly, Fallon captures the perspective of the gilted wife Sophie, so we see the full repurcussions of Matthew's selfish actions and the effect it has on the wife and her kids, who, by the way, offer up some of the funniest lines in the book. In fact, the biggest villain of the piece is (quite unsurprisingly) painted to be Matthew.

There are a wide range of interesting and engaging subplots, some funny, some sad, some downright bizarre. I really loathed Annie and Jenny, two of Helen's truly despicable work colleagues, but, this being a chicklit, we know they will get their just desserts, though that doesn't make it any less rewarding when they do.

At over 400 pages, the novel is on the long side, but perhaps this was necessary to capture the wide range of events that occur in Helen's life after Matthew moves in with her. Fate would just so have it that Sophie ends up rescuing Helen when Helen twists her ankle one day, and the two women end up striking a friendship (Helen under the alias Eleanor). This Eleanor then gets propositioned by Matthew's adult son Leo (from his first marriage. Which, incidentally, ended when he had an affair. With Sophie), which makes for a comedy errors that is both amusing in its convolution, as well as nail-biting as we ponder over the events of the upcoming finale.

Infidelity is a topic that has been tackled repeatedly in a wide range of novels. Some judge, some condone, some describe. Getting Rid of Matthew does all and none of these things. As a read, it is highly impressive.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Don't say I don't treat you.

A conversation with my flatmates last night about what our all-time favourite image of Marilyn Monroe was arose. My answer was quite a cliche one: the iconic shot of her dress being blown up in The Seven Year Itch. However, two of my mates said they found that boring, and they'd seen it too many times. So, having recently just purchased a book called Images of Marilyn Monroe, I thought I'd share a rare pic of her every week.

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"Creativity has got to start with humanity and when you're a human being, you feel, you suffer." - Marilyn Monroe

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A look at this crappy list from Mizz, a magazine I used to buy religiously when I was an immature teenager (hehe), got me thinking about a real list of snog songs.
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Mine'd probably be:
1/ Glory Box - Portishead
2/ Underneath Your Clothes - Shakira
3/ Inside and Out - Feist
4/ Nude - Radiohead
5/ I Kissed a Girl - Jill Sobule
6/ We Walk - The Tings Tings
7/ Good old Fashioned Lover Boy - Queen
8/ Number One - N Dubz ft. Tinchy Stryder
9/ My Love - Pixie Lott
10/ Some Hearts - Carrie Underwood

Hmm... a bit of a duff list really. What would yours be?

Oh yes, and my rankings of the seven on X-Factor last night: -
01. Stacey (amazing vocals, as ever)
02. Olly
03. Joe
04. Jedward
05. Lloyd (hot though)
06. Jamie (riding on his first audition and his afro a bit now)
07. Danyl (please can he run along? Can't stand him)
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Due to heavy workload, I only managed to see one film this week:

Ne le dis à personne (Guillaume Canet, 2006), a tense, moody thriller about a doctor whose wife seemingly died years ago, only now for him to be contacted by her. Based on the Harlan Coben novel, François Cluzet stars as the put-upon grieving husband who finds that the more he digs, the murkier he finds his surroundings. Despite strong performances and an urgent pace, I wasn't terribly bowled over by this film. The twist was shocking enough, but the characters were too blandly developed and thinly sketched for me to care.

Friday, November 13, 2009

More than a little bit in awe.



By the way, my week is over!! How are you all bungs? x

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

For the banter...

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I have quite a mixed relationship with the High School Musical saga. At best, I think it's frivolous, kitsch fun, with some catchy tunes. At worst, I think Vanessa Hudgens is a terrible actress, the plotting contrived and some of the lines so bad they wouldn't be out of place in a Lars von Trier film. That said, on the whole, I've had lots of fun with them, and shall list my 10 favourite songs over the three films.

10. I Don't Dance

Not gonna lie, Ryan is easily my favourite character from the films, and in this video he exhibits some of his camp swagger. Loves it.

09. Can I Have this Dance

Right, so, Troy and Gabriella can jog on, but there is something fundamentally quite sweet about this song.

08. Stick to the Status Quo


07. You Are the Music in Me

Yay

06. Just Wanna be With You

Ryan and Kelsey are my favourite duo from the film. When me and Luke saw this for the first time, this scene made us lol so much, because of the wink he gives us, as well as the the little glissando he does on the piano. So much win.

05. Getcha Head in the Game

There's more artistry than is given credit for in this video. I mean, just the way they got the basketball skidding to go in time with the music. That's well clever.

04. Scream

The most melodramatic of the 10 videos on my list, I could not stop giggling when the camera angles turned and Zac Efron tries to look brooding, but instead just looks constipated.

03. Bet on It

So much raw emotion.

02. Now or Never

Now or Never is a definite karaoke favourite of me. The part where Gabriella stands out of the audience and sings is still one of the funniest scenes in film.

01. We're All in this Together

When all is said and done, the original song from the first film is still my favourite. It holds so many awesome memories for me, not least performing in my Sixth Form Revue, where this song was employed. It's just a lovely, catchy song really.

Oh, and I hate myself for this, but, I have to concede.... there are moments when Zefron is actually bungable.

Brick Lane (Sarah Gavron, 2007)

Based on Monica Ali's novel of the same title, Brick Lane is a story of the stifling life led by Bangladeshi wife and mother of two Nazneen Ahmed (played by Tannishtha Chatterjee). Residing in the eponymous Brick Lane in the East End of London, she is married to a man with the best of intentions but the worst of executions. Her life consisting of one day more mundane than the last, her interest is piqued by the arrival of the sexy Karim (Christopher Simpson), a spirited and youthful man who brings out a side in herself she hasn't seen for a while. However, her husband is busy pursuing half-baked plan after half-baked plan in order to raise the funds to transport them back to Bangladesh, when she finds her own wants conflicting with those of his.

Like the source material, Brick Lane is easy to admire and difficult to love. The cinematography by Robbie Ryan is gorgeous, and we are treated to a plethora of rich, lush colours that each evoke the beauty of Bangladesh. The performances are strong, particularly by Chatterjee, who poignantly captures the protagonists' plight, her dilemma between old and new, wants and roles. However, despite having a standard running time, the who plot feels too dragged out and full of uninteresting sketches to feel worth making a film. The shooting of the film was bogged down by controversy after another (including a very public slanging match between Salman Rushdie and Germaine Greer) but in all honesty, it was definitely a case of much ado about nothing. The film isn't terribly cutting edge or particularly risque at all. It's just a well-shot, occasionally interesting film about a woman and the choices she finds herself making. Good on Sarah Gavron for trying, but next time, I'd like to see her having a little bit more fun.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Screening (02/11/09 - 08/11/09)

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Russian Dolls (Cédric Klapisch, 2005)
Entertainingly sweet romantic comedy sequel to L'auberge espagnole. Whereas the 2002 film centred on Barcelona, Russian Dolls takes us to Russia as our likeable protagonist Xavier (Romain Duris) tries to find out exactly what it is he wants from wmoen, and life. The parts of the film set in London were ridiculously picteresque and there were quite a lot of subplots that grated, but there was a sweet enough conclusion for me to overlook most of the film's flaws. Kelly Reilly was bung.

An Education (Lone Scherfig, 2009)
Gentle comedy about growing up, love, culture and finding yourself starring Carey Mulligan as 16-year-old Jenny, a smart and sassy 16-year-old residing in Ealing with aspirations of reading English at Oxford. One day, on the way home from school, she is propositioned by Peter Sarsgaard's David, and soon he's taking her on weekend breaks to Oxford, expensive holidays to Paris and giving her the kind of education she will never find in school. Terrifically written by Nick Hornby and with a strong central performance by Mulligan, An Education is a very likeably and enjoyable little film, topped off by a show-stealing turn by Rosamund Pike as a ditzy society girl. There's one icky part where Peter Sarsgaard's character suggests Jenny loses her virginity to a banana, but apart from that, fully recommended.

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The Damned United (Tom Hooper, 2009)
Extremely intelligent film about Brian Clough's ill-fated stint as manager of Leeds United, a reign that lasted only 44 days, this is one of the best films about football that I've seen for a while. Michael Sheen's central performance is exquisite - he captures Clough's arrogance and hubris perfectly, and Timothy Spall is poignant as the long-suffering Peter Taylor. And the script by Peter Morgan is pitch-perfect, capturing the voices of football fans, players and managers in the time period perfectly.

The Invention of Lying (Ricky Gervais & Matthew Robinson, 2009)
Amiable enough comedy, but it felt like a bit of a backpat for Gervais. I loved the cameo from Shaun Williamson and Stephen Merchant, though! Ahhh, Extras...

Thoughts on last night's episode of X-Factor.

The theme for songs this week was film tunes. Being a film blogger, I was more than a bit excited about it.

Stacey - Stacey is by far my favourite contestant and Son of a Preacher Man is one of my all-time favourite songs and this performance pretty much made my Saturday. I thought Stacey did sexy very well, without going over the top and giving off a totally hoodrattish Scarlett Johansson vibe. The fact that she wasn't so keen on the overrated film that the song came from just makes me love her more. Stacey for the win.

Olly Murs - gave his performance a lot of energy and exuberance but like Louis and Danni said, something about his performance jarred.

Lloyd Daniels - he's one of the cutest things I've seen in my life, but, as we lose more talents every week, it doesn't seem fair that he stays. Stand By Me is an absolute classic and he completely underwhelmed me in his performance of it, not to mention the fact that he misses just about every other note. Sorry, Lloyd.

Jamie Archer - I thought it was quite amusing about the fuss Louis kicked up over Jamie singing the song "Crying" as it was from Gummo and not a very well known film, but then again I do see his point - pretty much every song has been in some film at some point so that does pretty much leave the door right open, which goes against the whole point of having themes. That said, Jamie sang the song absolutely beautifully and the emotion he felt shone through.

Lucie Jones - don't like her any more. Camp Rock: shitty song, average performance and annoying over-usage of the wind machine. Hope she jogs on soon.

Danyl Johnson - him starting the song by sitting on the stage was a horribly cheesy touch, and his supposed "best vocals" didn't sound anything more than OK. That said, I'm glad he got a proper haircut, and that he found middle ground in persona between the cocky bastard that he has come across as, and the domestic abuse victim he looked like last week.

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John + Edward - They sang Ghostbusters. As usual, a horribly incestuous undertone ran through their entire performance. They just can't sing, can't dance, can't do anything other than piss me off. I mean seriously, what the bung?

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Joe McEldry - the judges were horribly snarky about this being too "drama schoolish" but they can run along, his rendition of Circle of Life was beautiful.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

For the banter...

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Alejandro - Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga is an extremely weird one, but I love about 90% of her songs, and Alejandro is no exception. There is a really awesome swagger in this song, especially in the delivery of:


You know that I love you boy
Hot like Mexico, rejoice
At this point I gotta choose
Nothing to loose

It's a bit of a cryptic song, but from what I can make out, there's a love triangle or square in there somewhere. Trust me, after a few listens, the "Ale-Ale-jandro" will be fixed into your mind.

Winter - Tori Amos
A bit of an obvious pick, bearing in mind the atrocious weather in the UK at the moment, but this still remains one of my all-time favourites.

The Other Side of the Door - Taylor Swift
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The exquisitely talented and beautiful Miss Swift really can do no wrong in my book, and this is yet another sublimely sweet love song from her. I love the country kick in all her songs.

Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas
OK, here's the thing. I really don't like the Black Eyed Peas - I think they're pseudo-environmental, wannabe cool twats who are all "let's save the planet with love" one minute, and then "let's bung, I like yo' humps" the other. But... this song does carry good memories for me. First of all, it was played in Wembley in the Wembley Cup, and anything that conflates music and football is a-ok with me. However, there's a weirder reason: there's this girl we know who is a gigantic hoodrat who has bunged so much that her vag is probably not dissimilar to a bucket, and me and my mates sing this song about her, the "boom boom pow" being the sound of her being piledriven. lol... we're charmin'.

Dead & Gone - T.I.
If I could rap like T.I., I'd die a happy girl.

Jimmy - M.I.A.
One of my favourite songs of all-time, it's a beautiful ode about a man (a genocide worker) who asks her out on a date. She, rejecting, writes this gorgeous song instead. The "Jimmy... aaja" part is one of my favourite musical moments. <3 Russian Roulette- Rihanna
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Like Umbrella, Russian Roulette is quite a polarizing song. Unlike Umbrella, it captures the essence of the heartbreak of love incredibly. The raw emotion in Rihanna's voice literally makes me shiver. LOVE.

Happy Hour - Cheryl Cole
My favourite song from Cheryl's "Three Words" album, which is some feat as Fight for This Love, Parachute and Rain on Me are all excellent. This tops them all though, especially her sexy delivery of "You tell me that you love me then you go and break my heart" as well as the "sometimes I can be sweet and sometimes I can be sour". Terrific album, btw.

On the whole, my playlist for November seems to be all about the women!

That's What Friends Are For.

My beloved bessie Anna, has seen it all from me. Knobbish behaviour, bitchiness to the extreme, depressed!Emmabung... you name it, the poor girl has been there with me. I love her more than life itself, which makes it rather fail that I don't know all her favourite songs and films off by heart. Thus, I got her to list 'em, and I thought I'd give every one a review. Starting with the songs: -

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01. Gimme Shelter - The Rolling Stones - it's OK
02. Too Young - Phoenix - I bloody LOVE this song. Pity it was played in Lost in Translation, but such is the strength of the song that I'm willing to overlook it!
03. Don't Speak - No Doubt - Gwen Stefani's vocals are amazing.
04. Marlena Shaw - California Soul - BRILLIANT song. I actually didn't know this was what the song was called, I just knew I've heard it lots of times and appreciate it a lot.
05. All Along the Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix - s'ok
06. Scar Tissue - Red Hot Chili Peppers - there are some great lyrics in this song.
07. Deepest Blue - Deepest Blue - don't see what all the fuss is about
08. No-one Knows - Queens of the Stone Age - sexy chorus, everything else meh
09. Go with the Flow - Queens of the Stone Age - I just don't see the Queens of the Stone Age jizzing, I guess
10. Ordinary World - Duran Duran - an absolutely stunningly deep song
11. Spells like Teen Spirit - Nirvana - inventive title, not much else rocks me
12. We Belong Together - Mariah Carey - not my favourite Mariah song (that's Fantasy), but definitely up there. Excellent singing and tune.
13. Heart-Shaped Box - Nirvana - affecting, but depressing
14. Let's Stay Together - Al Green - lovely song, one of the best love songs ever written.
15. The Killing Moon - Echo and the Bunnymen - the instrumental part in this song is pure sex
16. Skeleton Boy - Friendly Fires - surprisingly catchy!
17. Sweet Child Of Mine - Guns and Roses - "oh-oh-oh sweet child of mine"! Great one for dancing to.
18. White Rabbit - Jefferson Airplane - there is some absolutely class guitar playing in this song. The vocals aren't bad either.
19. A Horse with No Name - America - hehee, I got this song with one of those "Rock legends" CDs I got for free with Saturday papers. OK song.
20. Sunshine of your Love - Cream - the riff is catchy but the rest sounds raggady and crappy to me

All in all, there are some class selections on here, but I'm a music idiot and love me my Rihannas and Kanyes. So yeah. <3 Anna, though. x

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Thoughts on last night's episode of X-Factor.

Joe - strong as ever.
Lucie - liked her take on Sweet child of Me, but I've realised that there's something dislikeable about her.
Danyl Johnson - forgot his words at the start and was just very boring. Him to go, please.
Lloyd - still can't sing, but I would. Louis was being blood pedantic, like.
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Stacey - wonderful. Easily my favourite of the series. The Essex Jew to win please!
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Jamie - OK, overrated.
Rachel - I like her a lot.
John & Edward - oh dear. They sang "We will Rock You", and tried to sing the talky bit together and were completely out of synch. They need to die, but not before they've provided more lulz with their atrocious performances.

Olly - he sang Come Together wonderfully, it reminded me why i adore The Beatles so.

Also, look, factual!fail on Final Score for a few seconds. I managed to take a printscreen for the banter: -
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Bung's Hallowe'en 2009 Outfit.

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Red coat, tiara and steering wheel = Princess Die! ;-)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Help please!


My Drama Society is hosting auditions for Shakespeare's Twelfth Night this week, and I am considering auditioning. For our audition, we have to recite this monologue. If anyone has studied the play, any advice on how to read and perform this passage would be greatly appreciated. x



VIOLA
I left no ring with her: what means this lady?
Fortune forbid my outside have not charm'd her!
She made good view of me; indeed, so much,
That sure methought her eyes had lost her tongue,
For she did speak in starts distractedly.
She loves me, sure; the cunning of her passion
Invites me in this churlish messenger.
None of my lord's ring! why, he sent her none.
I am the man: if it be so, as 'tis,
Poor lady, she were better love a dream.
Disguise, I see, thou art a wickedness,
Wherein the pregnant enemy does much.
How easy is it for the proper-false
In women's waxen hearts to set their forms!
Alas, our frailty is the cause, not we!
For such as we are made of, such we be.
How will this fadge? my master loves her dearly;
And I, poor monster, fond as much on him;
And she, mistaken, seems to dote on me.
What will become of this? As I am man,
My state is desperate for my master's love;
As I am woman,--now alas the day!--
What thriftless sighs shall poor Olivia breathe!
O time! thou must untangle this, not I;
It is too hard a knot for me to untie!