Tuesday, 22 June 2010

In & Out

I wanted to post something tonight but I don't have much time.  I know 'in & out' posts are really lazy but I always enjoy reading them so here goes...


The return of Mad Men

I love this programme so much.  The performances, the clothes, the period detail and the deceptively paced plot.  Some viewers find it slow; I find it mesmerising.

Helen Mirren!

Seriously, the woman's got balls.

New York Magazine features an interview with her about her latest film Love Ranch. There are 2 pretty sexy photos... One is above, to see the other you'll need to look at the article here and view the slideshow.  I really think it's brave for her to pose like that.  Of course, she seems to be able to do no wrong at the moment but there will inevitably come negative comments from a shoot like this.  I think she looks awesome.


I can't help it...I'm a geek when it comes to tennis.

I love it.  There's something about watching it that makes me think about summer and ice lollies and the end of school.  I know I'm 27, but I work in a school so I still get to enjoy that feeling.  I love the brilliant green courts and the rain delays.  I love spotting famous faces in the crowd.  I just love the 'Britishness' of the whole thing.  And I really don't mind that you're all judging me right now.


The cartoons on this site are fab.  They make me smile... here are a few of my favorites.  You should go & check out the site.


This NYPD dude.

I know the police do a really difficult job but holy crap this video is horrible...

The budget

Haven't got my head around all of the ways it could totally screw the country yet but i've got a bad feeling...

And finally

Toy Story 3 paranoia!

I don't think I can wait!

I'm proud to admit that the first 2 Toy Story films would appear in my top 10 favorite films ever.  They're just brilliant.  However, the fact it won't appear in UK cinema's for the a few more weeks is driving me potty.  I just can't wait.  I feel like I've got to exist with a bag over my head and my fingers in my ears until I've seen it.  I'm trying really hard to stay in the dark but it's SO hard.

Let me know what you think about any of this stuff in comments!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

The Nicholas Cage Redemption - Bad Lieutenant

I have a love/hate relationship with Nicholas Cage.  I bet most of you do too.  When he's good (Raising Arizona, Leaving Las Vegas, Matchstick Men, Kick-Ass) he's amazing.  When he's bad (National Treasure, The Weather Man, Ghost Rider, Bangkok Dangerous) he's awful.  And sometimes when he's bad he's amazing!  Con Air and Face Off for example.

I saw Bad Lieutenant a couple of weeks ago.
I have a bad habit of assuming whether or not I'll like a film before I see it but in this case I had no idea.  All of my Werner Herzog knowledge comes from reading or hearing stories about him from other people.  This is the first of his films I've seen.  I'm going to have to do something about that!

Spoilers ahead...but the film's been out for a while so we should be ok.

Ostensibly a remake of the 1992 film by Abel Ferrara, the film tells the story of Det. Terrance McDonagh who injures his back saving an inmate from a flooded New Orleans prison.  He is left with crippling pain and a really serious addiction to drugs.  Any drug.  Seriously...everything.

He becomes obsessed with solving the case of a family from Senegal who are murdered.  McDonagh uses more and more unorthodox methods to solve the case; falling deeper and deeper into debt and danger.

Cage is amazing.  I have read so many reviews where people slate his performance but I really think he's excellent.  He lets go just enough to make the part his own, but not so much that he becomes a caricature.  It's the distinctive Herzog touches that have received the most column inches though.  We experience some of the action from the point of view of iguanas and alligators.  They show up when McDonagh is hallucinating and edgy.  It's weird, but it works.

The cast are excellent too, with some actors that I always like, but don't often see.  Val Kilmer, Brad Dourif, Shaun Hatosy, Jennifer Coolidge, Fairuza Balk and Michael Shannon all appear in small but memorable roles.  Eva Mendes is at her best here too, as McDonagh's prostitute girlfriend Frankie.

The film is so demented, it can be enjoyed on a purely surface level.  On another level it can be interpreted in any number of ways.  Is it about self-abuse, right and wrong, an allegory for America and how it handles national traged, and what is the ending about?  All this is up to the individual to puzzle and ponder.  Pondering is fun...

So I loved it... here are 2 scenes that sum up the tone of the film.  The first, Cage's best moment. (Why the razor?!)

The second, a distinctive Herzog flourish of weird...with amazing music!

What are your favorite Nic Cage performances?  Leave me a comment and let me know.  Also, if you've seen the film...what did you think of the ending?  There are a few different interpretations, it'd be good to know which is the most popular.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Sex and the City 2 Review/Rant

Well, I finally saw it.  This might get ranty.  Sorry.  Also, this will be pretty spoilerific.  I can't rant without giving things away.

I have to admit that I didn't have high hopes for the film from the start.  The last film started to turn the characters that I loved from the TV show into cartoonish caricatures and the sequel pushed this further than I thought was possible. Also, how airbrushed it the poster?!

The film opens with a gay wedding so filled with cliche it's ridiculous.  Of course, Liza Minelli turns up in a cameo so embarrassing someone should have been fired for convincing her it was a good idea.  Here she is in all her "not exactly sure what day it is and what she's doing" glory.

The basic premise of the film is that Samantha is wonderful and successful and earns and all expenses paid trip to Abu Dhabi.  Because her 3 best friends have problems, they decide to join here.  Here, with photographic evidence, are their problems.

Carrie is annoyed that her husband prefers take-away and black and white movies to going out on the town,  The last straw comes when he buys her a TV for their anniversary.  The "sparkle" has gone, apparently.  The fact that her husband is in his 50's and, when asked, does actually go out and do the things she wants, doesn't seem to make any difference.

Miranda has a mean boss and never sees her son's achievements at school, so she quits her job.  Sorry girls, it seems you can't have a job and be a good mother.

Charlotte has 2 children, one of whom puts jammy hand prints on her Valentino trousers while they're baking cupcakes.  She is finding having 2 children difficult, even with the help of a full time nanny.  She also thinks Harry might be interested in the nanny as she has big boobs and doesn't wear a bra.  The fact that Harry seems as lovely as ever, in his 2 scenes, has no effect on her.

Money seems to be the 5th character in this film.  In the world of the films, all 4 women are uber-rich.  Carrie and Big have a second apartment, because the markets are bad. Miranda can quit her job without even considering the financial implications.  Every opportunity to show some ostentation is taken, whether that is with the plane ride, the homes, the jewels, the hotel or the clothes.

Ah, the clothes.  I thought that if all else failed, I'd at least get to see some pretty clothes.  I was kind of disappointed.  A feature of the show was that they all had their own styles.  There was a character we could identify with.  Carrie, the most adventurous, Samantha the sex kitten, Charlotte the Park Avenue princess and Miranda with her glamorous work wear.  In the film, they are indistinguishable from one another, each wearing the most avant-garde creations in the strangest of settings.

Carrie wears this to go shopping in a souk for example.  In the show they had off-duty clothes.  They hung around the house in sweat pants and we loved the clothes because we thought we might find something in a charity shop that was similar.  There are a few lovely outfits though, most from Halston Heritage, which SJP is involved in.  Maybe it's a cunning advertising strategy.  Make everything else ridiculous so your clothes look better.  Here's one of the pretty dresses.

Back to the film.  The girls go to Abu Dhabi where most of the really offensive stuff takes place.
Carrie, once again, gets advice from a non-white 'servant' and rewards them financially.
Samantha refuses to cover up her body, despite knowing that it causes offense in that country.  She then gets arrested for 'kissing' a man on the beach after offending a whole restaurant full of people.
Charlotte and Miranda have a frank conversation about mother-hood, which actually feels like a scene that could have appeared in the TV show... until it's ruined by wondering how on earth people who can't afford nannies manage it.

The film attempts to say something about female empowerment, mainly through a screeching rendition of 'I am Woman' in karaoke bar and laughing at women in Burkini's.

The final act of the film involves a chase to the airport.  Will they get there on time?  Not for the flight though, just for the first class seats.  This is actually meant to cause tension for the audience.  The thought of flying with the regular folks is just too terrifying apparently.

What follows on the way to the airport are the two most ridiculous and offensive scenes.  In the first, the call to prayer sounds so all the men begin to move through the market on their way to mosque.  At this moment,  Samantha's bag breaks and condoms fall onto the ground.  She starts thrusting at the men in her skimpy outfit, throws condoms at them and shouts "I AM A WOMAN!" and "I HAVE SEX!" at them a lot.  Her embarrassed friends have to drag her away.  There are so many problems here.  The first is just that the actual act is so offensive.  The second though is that Samantha would never have done anything so ridiculous.  Samantha, above all else, was smart.  She would know how offensive that was and would not have done that.  She has become a cartoon.  She is the one, unmarried, that the others are ashamed of.  The other girls have become the very thing they always hated, traditional and judgmental.

The second scene in this part of the film is the one where they meet some muslim women who take off their burka's to reveal they are wearing the same designer fashions as 'our' ladies.  Firstly, they seem shocked the women own clothes at all, that they don't wear burka's 24 hours a day, in private as well as public.  But these women are portrayed as just as consumerist and shallow as Carrie et al.  Empowerment, it seems isn't doing and wearing what you want, it's owning Louis Vuitton shoes that cost more than a month's rent.

I'm not at all surprised that the film has been widely panned.  I am a little surprised at where all the bile is directed though.  Critics have been so harsh on the women in the film.  Of course, that's to be expected but what about this guy?

This guy wrote AND directed both films.  Surely he's more to blame than SJP?

I think it's time to jump off the cash cow girls.

What do you guys think?

Some interesting links
why the sex and the city reviews are sexist

Sex and the City 2: What happened to good old Sex?

Burkas and Birkins - this article by Lindy West is hilarious.  She's a fab writer.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Kristen Stewart says something stupid, and other news.

This is a news blog that is going to ignore the biggest news story in the country.  A man took 2 guns and shot 12 people (9 at random) dead. This happened about an hour from where I live, where friends of mine live.  There really is nothing to say. Except that it's terribly sad and shocking.

So, on to that wonderfully responsible corporation, BP.
It's been 6 weeks since the explosion that killed 11 oil rig workers and started the flow into the Gulf of Mexico.  6 weeks is a long time when 200,000 gallons a day are gushing into the sea.

Industrial accidents happen sometimes.  Your safety procedures can be as tight and well-rehearsed as possible but still, now and then, an accident will happen.  That's why they're called accidents.  But surely, if this is the nature of your business, you have solutions to these problems on hand.  Just in case.  Apparently not.  None of BP's ideas seem to be working.  Today they have announced that they are going to slice the pipe in half in order to plug the whole pipe, instead of fixing the hole.  Once this is done, they can cap the pipe and start pumping the oil to a tanker on the surface.  In theory.  Because if this fails, they won't have another idea they can try until August, when the 2 relief wells they have been drilling are completed.  BP seem optimistic about this plan.  But they've seemed optimistic about all of the plans so far.

The oil has started to wash up on land now and worrying reports have started to be relayed of reporters being denied access to beaches by BP representatives.  It seems they are being banned from photographing dead animals to avoid more bad press for the company.  There are also rumours that clean up workers have been told not to wear protective clothing, so that the situation appears less serious in photographs.  This is so irresponsible it seems unreal.  Surely BP can see that their reputation is damaged enough, isn't the best option simply to lay their cards on the table and be honest, rather than risk further controversy by covering things up?  Aren't their PR people paid enough to realise this? Oh, and god knows what happens when hurricane season starts...

Urban Outfitters in the USA has started selling this T-shirt.

Can't see how this is going to bring them anything but criticism?  Yes you can argue that some people could do with eating a little less, but the people buying this aren't going to fall into that category.  The model certainly doesn't need to eat less.  Just seems silly to me.

And finally Kristen Stewart.

I think it goes without saying that I'm not a fan of the Twilight books or films.  They're just badly written books and badly made films.  What even I know they are though, is a global phenomenon.  With a lot of militant fans.  I knew this before the films were made, because the books were worldwide best sellers.

I think then, that it's safe to assume that Kristen Stewart knew this too.  Because despite any negative things I might think about her, she doesn't seem stupid.  Everyone knew that Twilight was going to be massive.  Another thing we all know about Kristen Stewart, because it's the only thing she'll talk about in interviews, is how shy and private she is.  I'm guessing she'd realised this about herself before she'd signed up for the films.  All this is a really sarcastic preamble to this quote she gave in an interview for this month's British Elle magazine.

Fame, says Kristen Stewart, is like being “raped.”  She talked to British Elleabout the paparazzi: “the photos are so… I feel like I’m looking at someone being raped.  A lot of the time I can’t handle it.”  She continues, “What you don’t see are the cameras shoved in my face and the bizarre intrusive questions being asked, or the people falling over themselves, screaming and taunting to get a reaction.”  Cheer up, Kristen, Lady Gaga’s paparazzi ballad was written for you.  ”It’s fucked.  I never expected that this would be my life.”

I really don't know where to start.  Kristen Stewart isn't stupid and this quote is going to get her even more unwanted attention.  She obviously wanted a shocking image to get across how difficult she finds fame but this is too much.  It's a really stupid thing to say.  I know it must be difficult, and the paparazzi go too far but if it's really THAT awful, I can't understand why she does it.  

I'd love to hear your comments on all these stories.

It's all pretty depressing on the news front this week, so here's some happy.  I LOVE this guy.  How does he do it?