Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Up (Pete Docter, 2009)

My 11-year-old brother Tom has a lol of a MSN profile, wherein he lists his favourite films as the likes of The Pink Panther II and Fantastic Mr Fox. However, a film choice he has there that I actually approve of is Up, the animation of 2009 that until today, I’d not actually seen. But you know what they say, good things come to those who wait. I’d waited long enough for Up, and it sure as hell was good enough.

As a child, Carl Fredrickson was in awe of the lost word depicted in Paradise Falls, with all its undiscovered breeds of animals and plants. In his head he painted pictures of going there, going above (or around) Mount Everest and the likes in order to get there. One day, in his play adventures, he encounters bright and bubbly Ellie, a girl who seems just as interested in the destination as he. Together, they form plans of travelling to Paradise Falls. Even though this was a childhood dream, it carries on through their adult life and through their marriage. However, due a range of factors, (funds needing to be spent on burst tires, ailing health, etc), their plans are never realised. Eventually, Ellie dies and, in memory of her, Carl stays in their home despite pressure from nearby construction agencies to buy him out. He talks to his home, calling it Ellie, for it is his only link to his beloved wife. When he has a violent outburst and attacks somebody, the court decides it’s time to take
Mohammed to the Mountains and take the house away from him. However, on his last night, Carl decides he won’t go without a fight and, in a trick he learnt from selling balloons, he attaches thousands of balloons through the chimney of his home, taking him upwards. One thing he hadn’t fathomed, however, was that budding Scout Russell was still on his premises, and hence, he went up with him, thus beginning their adventure together.

Pixar do creative like no other animation studios, and they’ve really outdone themselves here. The whole idea of a flying house is wonderfully exhilarating, yet the usage of balloons to do so is very old school. This fusion of new and old is reflected in the film’s two protagonists, cranky old Carl and bright-eyed and bushy-tailed young Russell. There’s humour aplenty too, I laughed a lot at the “Cone of shame” bestowed upon Doug and the dogs who can talk are as entertaining as they are impeccably-trained. Like in WALL-E, there’s a quest; initially, to guide the house to Paradise Falls, but then to save rare bird “Kevin” from the greedy hands of a Lindbergh-type explorer that resides there, Charles Muntz. It’s what the
bbfc might call “mild peril”, but however supposedly mild it is, it’s still dead, dead exciting.

Michael Giacchino, who scored The Incredibles, provides another genius score for Pixar. It accompanies the movie in is sweet and sour entirety. In isolation, I’d found it difficult to love the score, but, accompanying the film, the images and music went very well. The visuals and landscapes were wonderfully defined and every frame had countless levels of detail. This is characterized in the dogs – each dog is programmed to carry out instructions, yet every dog is a little bit different. The script is sensitive and smart, taking in the standard scope of messages that Disney enjoys churning out such as following ones dreams and the depths to which obsession can drive you. There’s a witty in-reference to greedy producer Charles Mintz (he stole one of Walt Disney’s characters and dubbed it his own) in the explorer Muntz, who is voiced with appropriate menace by Chrisopher Plummer (still haven’t forgiven him for The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus though). Growing old and feeling like nothing has been achieved is a theme that everybody can relate to, and this is epitomized in Carl. However, in a latter scene when he revisits his wife’s “Adventure Book”, he comes to see that sometimes, it is the relationships we have built and our memories that count more than any physical or academic achievements. There were the odd moments when the character of Russell grated (this was not helped by the slightly-too-eager voicework of the kid playing him), but this was generally balanced out with a truly moving sequence of images, or his own innocent-yet-profound musings, “It’s the boring stuff I remember the most”, as well as the nuanced voicework of Ed Asner as the main character.

There hasn’t been a Pixar movie I haven’t cried a little bit at, and Up is no exception. This probably says more about my propensity to turn on the waterworks than anything else, but the wordless montage of Carl’s development from child to old man featuring Carl and Ellie’s romance and life together, shown at the start of the film meant I was crying much earlier than I do in any other film. Like the Define Dancing sequence in WALL-E and the superhero montage in The Incredibles, this set the tone for the film. Unlike many scenes I’ve scene before though, it really took me by surprise; to be exposed to such poignancy so early on in the movie; the scene had real emotional resonance. It’s surprisingly dark stuff from Pixar, and, whilst most of it will go over young children’s heads, the part where Ellie is unable to conceive proved particularly upsetting for me. I had definitely not expected to be so emotionally invested in a film so early on, yet Pixar achieved it.
Pixar have told stories about monsters, bugs, toys, cars, fishes, superheroes and robots. One might have thought they were running out of scope. They might have even groaned when they discovered the main character was a 78-year-old man. But Up demonstrates that the key ingredient of a movie is heart. This film has plenty of that, and as a result, Pixar’s magic just keeps going Up.

Monday, February 22, 2010

If Peter Crouch were a 2009 film character.

I haven’t waxed lyrical about Crouchie as much as I usually do recently, so I think it’s time to rectify that, whilst talking about the only thing I love more than Peter Crouch: movies. I've done this once before, with the whole range of film characters of all-time.  Also, my cinephile buddy Luke commented in my last entry with the three naughtiest words ever: “football is crap”, so it seems only right to rub his face into a bit more football.

15% Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine in Inglourious Basterds – like Pitt’s character, Crouchie is a bit of a hillbilly (ironic, given that in his autobiography, he calls other people hillbillies). He’s ineloquent to that max and, like my knitting, is as simple as sand. Rather like Inglourious Basterds itself, Crouch is an exception. Inglourious Basterds is an exception because it’s a film I adore even though I’m not keen on Tarantino, and Crouchie is an exception because two of his teams he’s played for (Liverpool and Spurs), I don’t like at all, but he is just complete and utter love. So there’s your positivity.


15% Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach in Watchmen – ahh, I have good memories of Watchmen, I saw it with Kayleigh and she explained the plot to me every step of the way! Anyway, Rorschach wad viciously abused as a kid, as was my Crouchiebung. Both things make me sad.

20% Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tom Hansen in (500) Days of Summer – I saw (500) Days of Summer with one of my best friends, Hannah, at a relatively local cinema (our most local cinema, in our crummy hometown in the outskirts of London, didn’t want to show good movies), and I left the cinema in such a high. It was most probably all the strawberry bonbons I’d consumed, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt was really adorable in the lead; and, like Crouch, a bit of a fool in love (JGL for Zooey Deschnel and Crouchie for his hoodrat of a wag). Sigh, why can’t there be more guys like Tom in real life?

10% Anika Noni Rose as Tiana in The Princess and the Frog – like Tiana, Crouchie has one dream, and perseveres at it no matter what other people say. Tiana really wanted to own her own restaurant, but naysayers just ridiculed her. The same happened to Crouch when he wanted to play football. But both people persevered, and look where they now are.

10% Isla Fisher as Becky Bloomwood in Confessions of a Shopaholic – both characters have their moments of epic fail (Becky thinking a fiscal crisis was to do with fishes and Crouchie pretty much whenever he’s in front of goal and misses), and, whilst we cringe at their embarrassing faux pas, it kind of contributes to their appeal.

20% Jude Law as Doctor Watson in Sherlock Holmes – “but Jude Law’s actually good-looking!” I hear you say. Well, if you did indeed say that, you can jog, because Crouchie’s bungable, so there! :P But superficial reasons aside, you’ve got the somewhat tenuous link that Jude Law is a Tottenham fan and peter Crouch currently plays for Tottenham (tenuous because most British movie stars support a football team or another; James McAvoy loves Celtic, Keira Knightley loves watching West Ham from the comfort of her local pub and Dominic Monaghan actually had Manchester United as his twitter background, shudder). But more pertinently, Doctor Watson, whilst a genius in his own right, spent most of his life watching out for Sherlock Holmes. Crouchie is an incredible footballer but is forever overshadowed, whether that be by Fernando Torres, Shrek Rooney, or Jermain Defoe. It’s no biggie, I’m not complaining, but, I’m just saying that perhaps, like Doctor Watson, they should embrace their own skills a bit more in the future.

10% Max Records as Max in Where the Wild Things Are – spends most of their time running around wildly, not really knowing what the hell they’re doing.

I know this was different from the generic film reviews/lists/picspam of Melanie Laurent snogging Cheryl Cole that I usually bung on this blog, but different deserves a chance. I mean, Antichrist had genital mutilation and I still gave that a chance, so you should totes give this one too. :P

My Top 10 Performances of 2009.

Last year's list 'cos I know you're dying to see it.

Runners up:
Diane Kruger in Inglourious Basterds, Mario Bello in Downloading Nancy, Mia Wasikowska in That Evening Sun

Rupert Grint in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Nisreen Faour in Amreeka, Robert Downey Jr in Sherlock Holmes







(I want his linguistic skills. That's a bingo!)

Captures Brian Clough's arrogance and hubris wonderfully.

Intelligent, swaggerous, deep, beautiful and effortless chic. There's your Tarantino leading lady.

BAFTAs, 2010.

Ever since I've started this movie blog, it's been a tradition for me to write a full report of the BAFTAs, (2009's2008's2007's and  2006's), but I honestly don't have much to say about tonight's show. Jonathan Ross was efficient if not excellent as a presenter and some of the guests caught my eye with their stunning outfits/looks - Anna Kendrick had a beautiful dress (and her Jimmy Choos! I want) and Matthew Goode looked so damn bungable even if he did pile on the hair gel way too much. The worst acceptance speech was easily Kristen Stewart's; I couldn't tell if she had diarrhea or a stinkbomb in her mouth, but she looked so uncomfortable and her pseudo-modesty simply pissed me off further. Bitch looked anaemic. I genuinely shouted with glee when I saw Christoph Waltz, beard and all, and Saoirse Ronan carried herself well too. The most entertaining acceptance speech fell when the translator for the director of A Prophet was blatantly bananawasted. Har. Bonnie Wright in Prada made me almost chunder the chocolate cake I'd consumed earlier today out; get the f_ck out, bitch, you have no talent and are only famous for shagging someone off Twilight; come back when you've had some acting lessons. That said, I liked the double Brit winning duo of Carey and Colin for Actress and Actor respectively. Mulligan should have kept her hair brunette though. I noted Colin Firth get a celebratory back pat from Stanley Tucci; apparently they're mates; I find this absolutely precious! Also, though I usually switch off by the time we get to that "BAFTA Fellowship" bollocks, this time I was genuinely fixated and thought Vanessa Redgrave's speech was very moving. Gabby Sidibe smiling throughout was rather heartwarming; you can tell she's a healthy, happy girl. Um, not much else to say really; I did squee pretty hard at the start of the show when I saw Anne-Marie Duff, Gabby Sidibe, Saoirse Ronan, Matthew Goode, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and various other celebrities I like arrive on the red carpet. As much as I love Romola Garai, her multi-coloured "dress" was not a good idea. Vera Farmiga, on the other hand, looked downright gorgeous, whilst Robert Pattinson looked like he really needed a shave. But it was definitely one of the lesser BAFTAs; classy rather than heart-stopping. As ever, they proved to be nowt much but a dry-run for the Oscars. Except in London tonight, it wasn't even dry.

I don't know why, but I seem to have a fair bit of apathy towards the awards season this year. It doesn't make sense as I love Inglourious Basterds as much as I loved Slumdog Millionaire last year. But all this hoo-ha over Avatar vs. The Hurt Locker (the former of which I haven't seen, but if Titanic was anything to go by, oh dear, and the latter I saw last week and left me nodding off at the parts when I wasn't downright irritated) is actually boring my bollocks off. Of course, there's excitement to be had in predicting the acting categories, some of which are wonderful - even though I loathed Precious, even I can tell that the performances in them were stellar. And Christoph blimmin' Waltz; legend! But I dunno. George Clooney, James Cameron, Katherine Bigalow, Lee Daniels and various others are all people I'd probably bung on a dartboard, and hence, the prospect of seeing even more of them makes me want to curl in a ball and diaf.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

My BAFTA predictions.

It’s the BAFTAs tonight!! I have chocolate cake to eat with my buddies Luke and Anna whilst we watch the ceremony, bitch about the clothes and whine about bad calls. Yay!

Here are my predictions:
Best Film Not in the English Language: Das weisse Band
I found Coco before Chanel, Let the Right One In and Broken Embraces all very disappointing. Of course, that doesn’t mean BAFTA will, but I also feel they’re not “BAFTA” type movies. I reckon it’ll be between The White Ribbon, which was very well received over here, and The Prophet, which won the London Film Critic’s Award for Best Film.

Best Film: Avatar
I still haven’t seen Avatar. My housemates tell me it’s very good and all, but I dunno, it looks a bit too… blue for me. Then again, I do support Chelsea, so, maybe. Having seen The Hurt Locker this week I genuinely do not understand all the fuss over it, and having seen Precious the week before and witnessed a how to guide of how not to direct a film, I really am baffled at this lol of a category. At least An Education was good.

Best Leading Actor: A Single Man - Colin Firth
Quite hard to predict this category. Colin Firth was sublime in A Single Man, and I really enjoyed Jeff Bridges’ performance as well. Serkis is well liked by BAFTAs so it could well go to him. I’m praying to god that Clooney doesn’t get it. Ugh.

Best Leading Actress Nominees: An Education - Carey Mulligan
It could go to anyone, but I feel the homegrown element will be in Mulligan’s favour.

Best Supporting Actor: Inglourious Basterds - Christoph Waltz
This is actually a surprisingly good category. McKay, Tucci and Waltz were all great. But Waltz was so unbelievably, amazingly badass!

Best Supporting Actress: Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire - Mo'Nique
I reckon the fact that Up in the Air has two actresses nominated and Nowhere Boy has two actress nominated will split the votes for respective movies. Plus Mo’Nique was amazing. So disappointed that my Goddess Melanie wasn't nominated. Ack.

Best Director: Inglourious Basterds  - Quentin Tarantino
I dunno, serious wishful thinking here. I think I know it’ll go to Cameron or Bigalow. But I really want QT to get it.

Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer: Nowhere Boy - Sam Taylor Wood
Best Screenplay – Original: Inglourious Basterds
Less wishful thinking here; BAFTAs are a little more out there with their screenplay awards, and Inglourious Basterds’ multi-layered babel revenge tale could well find itself ticking the panel’s boxes.

Best Screenplay – Adapted: In the Loop
I reckon it’s between In the Loop and An Education. In the Loop was just so creative with its swearing; love it.

Best Cinematography: Avatar
Best Costume Design: The Young Victoria
Best Sound: Star Trek
Best Editing: The Hurt Locker
Best Special Visual Effects: Avatar
Best Music: Avatar
Short Film: Mixtape
Best Short Animation: The Gruffalo
Best Animated Film: Up
Best Production Design: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Best Make Up & Hair: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Outstanding British Film: In the Loop
I would be over the moon if my #2 film of 2009, Fish Tank, won this category. But I think In the Loop will probably get it.
Rising Star Award: Nicholas Hoult (ugh)

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

It’s a clear case of quantity over quality this week; I watched a fair few movies, but most of them were unbearably, unforgivably, pants.

The Grudge III (Toby Wilkins, 2009)
Poorly acted and scripted, and about as terrifying as doing my laundry without any fabric softener. Then again, the only reason I watched it was because it has Beau Mirchoff (he plays Wisteria Lane hottie Danny Bolen in Desperate Housewives) and he was criminally underused.

Julie and Julia (Nora Ephron, 2009)
A sweet enough idea but the film sadly turns out to be a little drab. I found all the hoo-ha over Streep’s performance nonsensical as she did nothing but sport a crappy accent (she did much better work in It’s Complicated). Amy Adams was at her charming best and I found her half of the film semi-engaging, particularly when she gets her blog up and running.

Laura (Otto Preminger, 1944)

The only film I saw this week that I would deem excellent. Gene Tierney plays the eponymous female who, at the beginning of the film, is being presumed dead. As the film develops, a very tangled web of jealousy, love and possession are uncovered. The cast are collectively brilliant, in particular Tierney and Dana Andrews.

Furthermore, the scene in which Laura returns to her house is one of the most finely orchestrated I’ve scene; the camera seems to widen to allow the full shot of the detective sleeping there, and the sound, which features a brief second of nothing but a clock ticking, captures the suspense perfectly. Great movie.

WGA Winners.

Hmm, my predictions were 50% correct. Up in the Air did win Adapted Screenplay, but Original Screenplay went to The Hurt Locker (blah)


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Reading & Writing.

Last night and this morning, I was reading Ben Elton's Past Mortem, a murder mystery centering around a murderer who, as the book goes on, is revealed as someone who is killing people who were/are bullies, and killing them in bold ways that re-live how the bullies treated their victims in the past. Investigating the case if 5'4" ginger policeman Ed Newsom, who, despite a mediocre childhood, is now fairly prominent and of good status, albeit short. He is also alone, and harbours an all-consuming crush on his sergeant Natasha, who is sadly attached to her abusive and good-for-nothing freeloader boyfriend Lance. One day, on a whim, Ed logs onto friendsunited.com and finds himself opening a door to his past. His childhood object of lust, Christine, holds a get-together for everyone in his year, and he finds that work and pleasure most certainly do not mix, as the killer's next strike is much closer to home.

Aside from a far-too-long and downright wrong sex scene, Past Mortem proved a highly enjoyable read. Ed Newsom is an engaging and likeable protagonist and the blend of mystery and bathos is very well done. I'm kind of slow, so, whilst some people said they saw the twist coming a mile off, I genuinely was surprised when the true culprit was revealed. And, whilst killing off bullies is not a sensible solution to bullying, the long-term effects of bullying (even if intended casually by the proprietor) are investigated with sensitivity and compassion. The book actually has a great range of scope, tackling issues such as domestic violence, friendship, insecurity, and the need to feel validation. Some of these topics are tackled better than others, and some of the characters are downright dislikable, but aside from that, this is fine, frothy stuff from Elton.



'Tis the WGA tonight. My predictions for winners...

Will win / should win
Original Screenplay:
(500) Days of Summer
A Serious Man
The Hangover
The Hurt Locker

Adapted Screenplay:
Crazy Heart
Julie & Julia
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Star Trek
Up in the Air

Obligatory "Audrey Hepburn is perfection" entry.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

8. He ni zai yi qi (Chen Kaige, 2002)

Together tells the story about Liu Xiaochun, a thirteen year old boy with a prodigal talent at the violin. His father, Liu Peiqi enters him for a musical competition in Beijing, and although his son finishes fifth, his residence not in Beijing renders him invalid. His dad persuades a music professor to take his son on whilst he goes back home, thus leaving Liu Xiaochun away from his dad for the first time in his life.

Appropriately, for a film about music, the music in this film is stunning. This humble story is also written by the director, telling the story with stirring emotive force. Liu Xiaochun proves to be the kind of sensitive soul that far few 13-year-olds are. In its own little way, Together makes me appreciate my parents much more and evoke tears whenever I think about how much they’ve done for me. The supporting actors are all good, showing the subtle ways in which the people young Xiaochun meets shape his development and life. It’s refreshing to witness the friendships and platonic loves that the protagonist meets throughout the film. Xiaochun has two music teachers throughout the film, and each is at a dead end in his life about something, and these themes are investigated with sensitivity. Far be it from being a film about just the violin, themes of friendship, determination, courage, and love are all in here. The film is not without its melodramatic moments, but that only heightened my enjoyment of it. And, whilst it has been criticized by some for being too “sugary”, to that I say, what’s so bad about sugary once in a while? As Chen Kaige himself said, "being Chinese isn't all misery”.

Tang Yun, a real-life violinist, was selected for the role when director Chen Kaige saw him at a concert, and his performance is genuine as it is heartfelt. Liu Peiqi is incredible as the father who makes sacrifice upon sacrifice because he wants the best for his son – a gesture that is shown to be even more affecting when the flashback shows how the father came to find his son (few films scenes have had me crying so much, and for so long). In fact, despite his violin skills being the catalyst and plot driving force in the film, I see Together more as a simple tale of the love between a father and son. The father isn’t perfect; he’s poor and struggling to make ends meet, but this is something that makes his devotion to his son easier to relate to.


To put it in layman’s terms, there are two things about me that attracted me to Together: the fact that I’m Chinese and the fact that I play violin. And it’s true; watching Together did make me appreciate the violin more, as well feel nostalgia for my homeland. But my love for the film came from far more than just those similarities. Cinema is an art form that transcends mere entertainment. It can inspire debate, conversation, raise pertinent topics. It can make an everyday story more exciting and interesting with the aid of music, cinematography and beautiful art direction. But the main reason I watch films is to feel. Human emotion can be felt by anybody, anywhere. Whether you’re residing in a swish Parisian penthouse flat or trying to make ends meet in the slums of China, the innate human capacity to feel is universal to all. And in getting me to feel pathos, bathos and all the emotions in between, Together achieves that aim perfectly.

A tad belated, but, needs to be done.

My favourite outfits from the 2010 SAGs:




And my favourite outfits from the 2010 Golden Globes:
Glee girls-

Emily Blunt looks sooooo bung!

All I can say is, dresses are love!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

9. Amadeus (Milos Forman, 1984)

Hands up who hasn’t felt jealous of someone else’s talent at some point in the past? Jealousy, is, after all, innate. One poor sod who’s life was driven by his jealousy is Antonio Salieri, who, for all his mediocre, even semi-decent musical talent, never matched the level of genius attained by Mozart. And, whilst Salieri slaved away, devoting all his time to form his passable scores, Mozart’s came naturally. In fact, considering Mozart’s hedonistic and general sloppy living, his musical talent came to him in spite of, rather than because of his lifestyle. This fact drove Salieri crazy, letting this take over his life, as he devoted all his energy into somehow evening out the score.

F. Murray Abraham plays the lead in a beautifully controlled depiction of jealousy, resentment and rage, all hidden under a façade of that carefully forced smile. Tom Hulce is terrifically annoying as Mozart; his crazy high-pitched laugh rang in my ears long after the credits rolled. Amadeus was the last movie to bung two actors in the Best Leading Actor category at the Oscars. Had Hulce been pushed for supporting, he very probably would have won. As it was, he went up against his co-lead Abraham, who won the Oscar, perhaps the first time Salieri has done one over on Mozart.

The film is gorgeous to look at and listen to. Many of Mozart’s most sumptuous pieces are used throughout. The film carries a tone of underlying sadness throughout, but that doesn’t mean our eyes and ears aren’t deprived of a treat throughout. The costumes, so intricately designed, evoke the feel of 18th century Europe, and the sets, so cleverly architectured, succeed in capturing the grand scale of the opera houses.

Adapted from Peter Schaffer’s play, the script modulates from moment of great comedy to desperate sadness. The story is told in flashback by Salieri, who now resides in a mental asylum and has just had a failed suicide attempt. As a sympathetic priest listens to his tale, Salieri recounts his traumatic and disturbing tale. The direction of F. Murray Abraham is wonderful, both restrained and indulgent, it captures the many sides of the composing industry as well depicting the sadness of the human condition.

The fact that the film is so historically inaccurate does not matter a jot. Rather than attempt to paint a vivid picture of Mozart’s life, Forman instead goes for a painting of jealousy, and in doing so, he has achieved his masterpiece. The title, Mozart’s middle name, “Amadeus”, translates to “Loved by God”, and Salieri spends the whole film opining as to why it is Mozart who chooses to be loved, not him. Mozart, who seemingly has no appreciation of his massive talent, and chooses to piss and debauch his life away rather than making the most of it. And this is the central message of Amadeus: hard as it is to accept, sometimes it is those that deserve it the least are blessed the most.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A piece of Saoirse Ronan that displeases me.

She doesn't watch football, but supposes she supports Manchester United.

Just like half of London then. Eh? Eh?

This photo is about 389483 kinds of awesome, though.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Emmabung's Top 10 Girlcrushes.

10. Diane Kruger Photobucket
I'd always known Mrs. Kruger was a pretty face, but it wasn't until Inglourious Basterds last year that I realised, she can act too! She always looks priceless on the red carpet and can rock just about every single kind of look. Bonus points: she's fluent in German.

09. Rihanna
She sings tonnes of my favourite songs, is great at dancing and has gorgeous eyes. I ♥ Rihanna!

08. Romola Garai
I've always been a fan of Garai, but has really made me appreciate just how completely to-die-for she is!

07. Uma Thurman
The second of three Tarantino babes in my list, which tells me that even though the director is a a little on the self-preening side, he sure can coax great performances out of pretty performers.

06. Skins girls: Megan Prescott, Kathryn Prescott, Kaya Scodelario, Lily Loveless and Lisa Backwell
They're all just so pretty! All of them apart from Lily are always *younger* than me (and Lily's only two days older), which is about 56 different kinds of depressing. :P

04. Melanie Laurent
A new entrant! Inglourious Basterds was my favourite film of 2009 and a lot of that owed to the sheer coolness and je ne sais quoi of Melanie Laurent's Shosanna, easily one of the fiercest women in film. The only blonde in the top 5, her yellow hair, piercing eyes and amazing bone structure render her one of the most gorgeous women I've ever seen, and I'm digging her style too.

03. Leighton Meester
Last year's #1 girlcrush has fallen two spots, but that doesn't mean I don't still luff Leighton to death. I actually loved her little attempt at "rapping" on Good Girls Go Bad, and Blair Waldorf is the fiercest girl evar. Hence Leighton = also fierce.

02. Evangeline Lilly

I haven't seen Lost for quite a while, but Evangeline is still extremely high up on my girlcrush list because her beauty, the freckled, dimpled kind, isn't easily forgotten! Even her name is beautiful!

01. Emily Blunt
Oh, she's just complete perfection. ♥ A talented and versatile actress, a real lady with a stunningly rah West London accent, and every time I've seen her she's just exuded class in her outfits and general demeanor. To me, Emmy Blunt's like one of those girls at secondary school who's awesomeness I was always intimidated by, and could never summon the confidence to talk to, and hence only admired from afar. Beautiful!