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!


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thoughts on this week's episode of X-Factor.

Three favourites
- Stacey Solomon. Amazing. She's too cute!
s of
- Rachel. I still don't understand how she was in the bottom 2 last week.
- Olly. A very powerful rendition of a huge song.

Least favourite
- Miss Frank. I can see them leaving this week, they're just nothing new and have no chemistry as a band.

Um
The twins. Their performance was terrible, as usual, but as Cheryl said, one can't help looking forward to their performance every week because in terms of entertainment, it's completely brilliant. They can't sing, dance, or do anything right, and that's why they're so hilarious.

Also, whilst Lloyd might not have been the strongest vocally, I am rather in love with him:
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The Outsiders (Francis Ford Coppola, 1983)

In a hostile community in 60's Tulsa, two groups or "clans" reign supreme - the rich, snobby "Socials" and the impoverished, less cultured, "Greasers". One day, two of the Greasers, Ponyboy and Johnny are approached by a group of Socials, who are smarting from the two boys' talking to "their" women. The ensuing rumble means Ponyboy's life is put at risk and in self-defence, Johnny kills one of the socials. The two boys go on the run, but this isn't enough to set off a sequence of catastrophic events.

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The Outsiders features an array of prominent actors in their youth, including Matt Dillion (who also features in Coppola's other outing of the same year, Rumble Fish), Patrick Swayze (god bless, RIP), Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise and Diane Lane. Dillion, in particular, marks out the kind of acting that he will embark on for the rest of his career, cool, suave, with a touch of devil-may-care and more than a bit of a swagger like us.

What Susan Eloise Hinton's novel was always keen to show was that the two boys are not bad people at all; they both have a lot of goodness and love in their hearts. But, because of the social group they were born into, they are regarded as scum. In the novel, the poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay" by Robert Frost features, and the recital of it in the film by Ponyboy is utterly stunning. The poem reads:

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.

And it serves as an apt parable of the life of the two friends. The cinematography in the scene is breath-takingly beautiful; filmed against a red sunset, the two friends opine over the meaning of the poem and dream of what could have been.

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Nice little touches, such as one friend cutting the other's hair and bleaching it in an attempt to look more dangerous, and the two friends cooking for each other. Hilton wrote the novel when she was 16, so, it isn't without it's flaws, but as a look at friendship, loyalty and growing up, it certainly does the job, and more. As many a film has exhibited before, violence only begets violence, and perhaps, in the end, it is always the good that die young.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

X-Factor & Glee

X-Factor, 2009, Live Shows no. 1
The right act were voted off. Kandy Rain were not only awful vocally, but were dressed like a group of five dollar hookers and did nothing to dispel the idea that they were a bunch of a slags. I was not at all sad to see them go.

My favourite performances of the night were Lloyd Daniels, who was adorable, and Lucie Jones and Stacey Solomon. The two twins made me a larf, a lot.


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Glee
I was a little slow to get onto the Glee bandwagon. I have presently still only seen two episodes, but boy, what a show! It is, of course, dead cheesy, but also very sweet and fun, with some great musical numbers.
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Oh, and...
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sounds like it should be a 12A.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

All the people hate this film.

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Me and my housemates watched All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. And, my gawd, it was awful.
- None of the actors in it could, well, act.
- The dialogue. What a gigantic lol.
- The blowjob scene. Lol.
- None of it was scary, at all, just gory. And trust me, I scare easily.
- The plot development and "twist", which we all smelt from a mile off.
- The fact that Mandy Lane isn't even all that.

Some films need to jog on. This is one of them.
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Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold, 2009)

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In an Essex town lives 15-year-old Mia. For Mia, life has very little worth or meaning. Excluded from school and prone to getting into fights with her fellow pikeys, her only salvation is in her dancing. Her mother is the worst kind of influence: a putty mouthed, smoking, drinking machine, and her younger sister has an arsenal of insults that would make Gordon Ramsay blush. The dynamic in their unhappy household are thrown into disarray with the arrival of Mia's mother's new fella, a charming, dashing fella named Connor. Before long, Connor's getting Mia to dance for him, putting her to bed and even taking her trousers off. All this points to a claustrophobic, tense car crash that is simply waiting to happen.

Andrea Arnold's 2006 outing Red Road examined a woman who spent her life watching others trapped on CCTV. Here, it is Mia who feels like the one trapped, a "fish" in the eponymous Fish Tank. Her mundane life carries very little value, and it certainly isn't a pretty one: in the opening sequence alone, she headbutts a girl and an array of c-words are shouted out all over the place. Like Red Road, however, Andrea Arnold draws beauty in the most unexpected situations. Mia adores dancing. At dancing, she is not unskilled, but could benefit from being less rigid, and letting go - an interesting allegory to her real life situation. Mia might not get on very well with humans, but she displays an uncharacteristic tenderness in the company of an aging, starving, horse. To Mia's younger sister, "I love you" is much harder to say than "I hate you", and thus, she will voice the latter, even though we know she means the opposite.

The relationship between Connor and Mia is as interesting a one as you're likely to see in a film this year. From little looks and actions exchanged between the two, it is more than apparent that both feel an attraction to each other. That it is so wrong on many levels (she is underage, he's dating her mother) seems to simply fuel their attraction. However, there are other factors at work here: Mia, a feisty, plain girl, has "never had a boyfriend", so these feelings of lust she experiences are as confusing to her as they are intoxicating. Connor, too, seems to have some excess baggage of his own. The blurred line between their father/daughter and sexual relationship is more than a little reprehensible, but Arnold is canny to not make any judgement.

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Katie Jarvis, who had never acted before and was selected for her role in this film because she was seen on an argument on the phone to her boyfriend, gives a terrifically authentic, raw, performance, along the same veins to David Bradley in Kes. Michael Fassbender, who already excelled this year in Inglourious Basterds, is terrific as Connor, drawing us and Mia in with his studied flirtiness. As Mia's younger sister Tyler, Rebecca Griffiths offers some comic relief, even if it is often shocking - this young girl smokes, drinks and curses almost as much as her mother and sister do.

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The finale is as unpredictable as it is heart-wrenching, and depicts Mia's torrent of emotions, from anger, to forgiveness, to acceptance at a shot at redemption. By no means easy to sit through, Fish Tank is still a beguiling, brilliantly acted and thoroughly rewarding British film. Hollywood couldn't make a film like Fish Tank if it tried.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Interesting bbfc warning #4894


By the way, you guys should totally sign up to this.

Y tu mamá también (Alfonso Cuarón, 2001)

Y tu mamá también (English translation “And your mother too”) is, by all intents and poses, a film about bunging. Starring fresh-faced youths Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal as best mates, Tenoch Iturbide and Julio Zapata, here are two lads at opposite ends of the social spectrum. Tenoch is part of a millionaire family, complete with maids, marijuana and a sense of unfulfillment in his life – he wants to become a writer, his Economist father wants him to follow his footsteps. Julio is fatherless, and lives with his mother and political sister. Both boys have little direction and sense in their lives, aside from to get as stoned as possible and laid as frequently as they can. When they cross paths with sex older lady Luisa Cortés (Maribel Verdú) at a wedding, they’re instantly besotted, but, believing her to be way out of their leagues, bung her in the spank bank and move on. However, Luisa gets a drunken phonecall from her husband Jano (Tenoch’s cousin) admitting to infidelity, it triggers off something in her to take more control on his meaningless life, so, she takes the plunge and goes for a weekend at the beach with the two teenage boys. Fun, frivolities, and a lot of, er, focking ensues.

Alfonso Cuarón penned this film with his brother Carlos, and it’s clear from the off that they had a lot of fun in doing so. In addition to the sex scenes, the film sports a wickedly cheeky streak – both boys clearly value the sound of their own voices, for they yak away at a mile a minute in the film, on topics ranging from money, culture, America and virgins. It’s clear that Luisa has a great time with them, and we do too. Together, the three have stoned conversations about their first times, numbers of sexual partners, etc. American and British audiences could well be shocked by the frankness of the dialogue and the full frontal nudity in this film, but Mexico doesn’t seem to mind the sex one bit.

Amongst all the drunken ramblings, however, Cuarón is clever to make some pertinent messages about the social and class divide in Mexico. Tenoch and Julio come from very different backgrounds, and this eventually proves to be the downfall of their friendship. We see dead guys lying at the side of the road, as well as a knowing voice over about the recently elected Vincente Fox’s regime.

It’s great fun to watch the two guys initially battle it out for Luisa’s affections, before both deciding to share. The acting from the three leads are all brilliant – Diego Luna has never bettered his turn here and Gael García Bernal gives us a tasty look ahead to the plethora of talent that he has. For me, though, Maribel Verdú steals the show. A middle aged woman at crossroads with her life, she is the epitome of vulnerable beauty, but one that knows her time isn’t up just yet. The dialogue between the three of them is red-hot, no topics are out of bounds, often with hilarious consequences – witness the look on the two males’ faces when Luisa suggests a “little wiggle”. Luisa's initial seduction of Tenoch is extremely hot and raunchy, yet cheekily witty at the same time.

This is more than a simple coming-of-age, road trip story. Thee Cuarón brothers know better than to fob their audience off with tooty fruity, perfect characters who never put a foot wrong. The three protagonists in this film are all flawed, and that’s what makes us love them, and their terrifically fun adventure – whilst it lasts. At the same time, the film has moments of true poignancy and intimacy that no American cinematic sex scene could achieve.