Sunday, 21 February 2010

Bafta Predictions

So I'm settling in for a night with the Baftas and thought I'd get some predictions down.  
I'm going to write a proper news round-up post while I'm watching.  I'm really behind with the films that are nominated this year.  That's what comes from not working in a cinema any more.  I'm going to try to catch-up before the Oscar's though.  

I love Twitter when events like this happen.  I don't have a good enough phone for me to use it all the time but it makes things like this really exciting.  News from the red carpet, as it happens, from normal people in the crowd is great.  As well as pictures of the dresses before the airbrushers get their hands on them!

Anyway here are my picks.

Best Film
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Up in the Air
Outstanding British Film
An Education
Fish Tank

In the Loop
Nowhere Boy                                                                 
Although I'd love Moon to win!  Sam Rockwell should be up for an acting nod but that's a rant for another day...
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Neill Blomkamp, District 9
James Cameron, Avatar
Lone Scherfig, An Education
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
Andy Serkis, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll

Carey Mulligan, An Education
Saoirse Ronan, The Lovely Bones
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
Audrey Tautou, Coco Before Chanel

Supporting Actor
Alec Baldwin, It's Complicated
Christian McKay, Me and Orson Welles
Alfred Molina, An Education
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Supporting Actress
Anne-Marie Duff, Nowhere Boy
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Mo'Nique, Precious
Kristin Scott Thomas, Nowhere Boy
Adapted Screenplay
District 9
An Education
In the Loop
Up in the Air
Just because I'd love it to win something.

Film not in the English Language
Broken Embraces
Coco Before Chanel
Let the Right One In
A Prophet

The White Ribbon
Got a feeling A Prophet might get this but Let the Right One In is amazing

Animated Film
Fantastic Mr Fox
Visual Effects
District 9
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Hurt Locker
Star Trek

Short Animation
The Gruffalo
The Happy Duckling
Mother of Many

Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer
Lucy Bailey, Andrew Thompson, Elizabeth Morgan Hemlock, David Pearson (directors/producers, Mugabe and the White African)
Eran Creevy (writer-director, Shifty)
Stuart Hazeldine (writer-director, Exam)
Duncan Jones (director, Moon)
Sam Taylor-Wood (director, Nowhere Boy)

Orange Rising Star Award
Jesse Eisenberg
Nicholas Hoult
Carey Mulligan
Tahar Rahim
Kristen Stewart

Kristen Stewart is the fave for this one but I just won't have it!

Friday, 19 February 2010


       A person, thing, or situation in which inconsistent elements are present.

Apologies for the definition.  It's the English Teacher spilling out.  I can't help myself.

I love contradictions.  I love the things that lie inside us that we just can’t reconcile, no matter how hard we try.  I love that we are all complicated and unexplainable and so, by way of an introduction, I thought I’d give you an insight into some of the contradictions that live inside me, that drive me a little mad.

I read The Times on a Sunday but Heat Magazine on a Tuesday.

I love going to the theatre but I love High School Musical.

I’m a 27 year old with an apparently responsible job but I feel, and sometimes behave, like a slightly bizarre 13 year old. 

I get ranty and angry about things I can do very little about, but am really laid back about things I could actually change.

I can be really negative about things in my own life but relentlessly positive about other people. 

I dislike the consumerist culture that we to live in… but I love fashion. (This one is on my mind a lot as I’m really easily distracted by pretty things.)

I love to cook but every now & then all I want is a Chicken & Mushroom Pot Noodle with ketchup mixed in.

I think all this boils down to criticism.  I would really like to be more critical of some things but at the end of the day some things are just fun.  We can know something is wrong and just not care.  At the end of the day, after everything that can go wrong in our lives, should I feel guilty for wanting to know what the latest gossip on Brad and Angelina is?  Maybe.  I’m hoping this is the stuff that makes us all more interesting, if a little confusing. 

All this is a long-winded way of introducing some of the things that will be cropping up on this blog.  It’s not going to be a film blog, or a news blog, or a fashion blog, or an art blog.  It’s going to be a slightly confused mix of all the things that interest me.  I’m sure this will come across as a little schizophrenic but well, that’s just part of the fun! 

Anyway, a short post today but I’d love to know what you think.  What are your favourite, or least favourite contradictions?

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Dolphin Drama

I’m good at being outraged.  I enjoy it.  I’m a sucker for a good documentary and I can usually watch, have a little cry, be angry for ten minutes and then move on.  With the guilt of inaction looming over me, and the issue pushed to the back of my mind.  Well, I watched The Cove last night and I’m not sure it's going to work this time.

I’ve always been one of those people who was left confused by the reaction of audiences when animals die in films.  We are fine with watching human deaths, but if a dog dies (yes, Marley, I’m looking at you), the viewer becomes a blubbering mess.  This isn’t to say that I’m unconcerned with, or have no sympathy for animal causes; I just don’t think it’s heartless to think that people should come first.  If Elton John has taught us anything though, it’s the importance of the ‘Circle of Life’ and anyone who claims to be interested in environmental issues at all has to concede that animals are worth protecting.  It seems it's not just about recycling folks!

So it was with this attitude that I settled in to watch The Cove.  The cove is a classic espionage thriller, except that it’s real, about the annual dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan.  Fishermen confuse the dolphins using sound, herd them into a secluded cove, pick the pretty ones to be sold to marine parks for massive sums of money, and then kill the rest.  They do this every day, for 6 months of the year and kill 23,000 dolphins. 

If this were the full story, it would be horrific enough but, as with all good thrillers, the rot goes much deeper.  The town’s ‘Whale Museum’, with its family friendly dolphin shows on one hand and selling dolphin meat with dangerously high levels of mercury in its gift shop (as well as to the towns schools) on the other.  

Every good thriller needs engaging characters, on both sides, and The Cove delivers.  Our hero is Ric O’Barry.  The man whose work training dolphins on the Flipper TV show started the trend for keeping these creatures for entertainment.  O’Barry is painted as a tragic figure, his guilt etched all over his weather beaten face.  He has spent his life since Flipper trying to free captive dolphins and is consumed by the slaughter at Taiji.  He gathers a crew to risk, at the very least, arrest to capture the events in the heavily guarded cove.  

His nemesis is Japans representative on the International Whaling Commission who manages to explain, with a straight face, that killing dolphins is actually “pest control” as they eat fish, and that now that whale stocks have replenished since the ban on whaling in the 80’s there really is no reason not to reverse the ban.  This kind of backwards thinking and an absolute unwillingness to accept any other opinion makes this a riveting rival for O’Barry’s band of outlaws.  

It’s pretty safe to say that I think The Cove is a wonderful film.  It seems to be activism on a small scale until the full implications are revealed.  It is made wonderfully, with its night vision surreality making way for the daylight horror of the slaughter.  

I can’t get my head around what comes next though.  I can’t understand how this film exists, for everyone to see, and nothing much has changed.  I can’t get my head around how this can possibly be ignored.  How the Japanese public can stomach it.  How the government aren’t horribly embarrassed and ashamed by it.  How people could watch it and not demand that things be different.  I just can’t get my head around it.  Maybe the big wide world can help.  Any ideas?  What happens next?