21st century girl

reviews – my way.

Month: July, 2014

21 Jump Street

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‘You saying we’re both convelent bonds?

Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill star in this funny film about two policemen who pose as high school students and do high school stuff such as partying, prom etc to investigate the suppliers of a drug called HFS which killed a student in the school. 

Although Channing Tatum is usually the romantic lead in most of his films, and Jonah Hill is the rotund, dumb but still rather funny guy, I liked to see them try something a little different and something slightly more serious. Off topic, if Channing Tatum walked into my chemistry class claiming to be  a student, then I would suddenly get every known book to man about Convelent bonds and KNO3. As for Jonah Hill’s character, we can all relate to a disastrous play. 

As unresearched as I am, I haven’t watched 22 Jump Street, but my sister has (if you wanted to know both those factual bits of information). However, 21 Jump Street was produced by the guy who wrote Lego Movie etc 

I found that there were alot of stereotypes, like most American comedies have, like the nerds and the goths, but as my mum would say, it was very cleverly done. I didn’t realize that Ice Cube and Dave Franco were in it until I looked it up afterwords. 

I didn’t get most of the jokes too much though, but it was a generally entertaining film which I could probably watch several times in the same week. The idea when the first film ends where the second one supposedly begins is also very clever. 

3/5

 

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Les Miserables Book vs 2012 musical

Les Miserables (or The wretched) has been adapted through many film adaptations, originally written in French in the 1862 Victor Hugo volumes then translated into English and performed in many stage productions. I am only going to focus on the (translated) Victor Hugo masterpiece and the 2012 musical. 

Book

This was a holiday read to pass time and cure boredom as there wasn’t a working DVD player, wi-fi or internet on holiday (first world problems!). 

Anyway, I finished in in 5 days, and although Victor Hugo often went off on a tangent about Napolean and the Paris sewers quite often, it offered a wider background story for the main characters such as Cosette (Euphraise), the child of Fantine , or Jean Valjean, the ex convict on the run from years in prison as he breaks parole. At over 1000 pages, it is a rather chunky and meaty read so (including the pages of Napoleon and details which were not exactly relevant or readable), it is way too long to be predictable, even after watching the  recent film many times. The bigger details in the musical film cover 1 sentence- 100 pages in the book. The longer the novel is sometimes the better, particuarly if it has many film productions. 

Some of the themes would only matter if you were studying History, French or probably some form of English Lit, but as a casual reader, Napolean is not as important as getting something out of the book itself. 

I liked how Javier the police inspector had so much power to treat Valjean as a prisoner, but towards the end it is as if he is a hollow guy who cannot keep control of  Valjean and you could almost visualize the man become powerless as he has no choice but to kill himself.

The relationship between Cosette and Marius was sweet, or the fact that Eponine was ‘friendzoned‘ by Marius both in the musical and the book. I did not expect to cry when reading this book as it comes towards the last pages and my patience runs out by then, but it was just really sad, and the same goes for the musical. 

The book is probably a bit more specific than the 2012 movie, and some parts dragged on while others were very much gripping, especially when it started getting into the story. I only really read books and say that they are good or not, and they are usually alot shorter than 1200 pages, but I just loved this one.

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Gripping, sad, and artistically written in plenty of depth.

Verdict: 4.9/5

2012 Musical

I had a dream my life would be so different from this hell I’m living!

Film Title: Les Misérables

Tom Hooper directs this recent musical adaptation based on the novel by Victor Hugo which I have reviewed above. It stars Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman and Amanda Seyfriend to name a few. 

Les Miserables, both the novel and the films,is set in 19th century France and  is about an ex convict called Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) (24601) who breaks parole and changes his ways, escapes his past and avoids suspicion from Javert, an inspector who tries to hunt him down. 

The musical itself narrows the 1200 page masterpiece down to a realistic dark 2 and a half long film which is dark, enjoyable and faithful to the flow of the book with a few changes here and there. As it is an all star cast, it probably makes the film better. Anne Hathaway has the face to play anyone, so she fits the role of Fantine and her performance was strong and heartfelt. Hugh Jackman is ageless in terms of his charecter, so he could play anyone and his singing was low and from the heart. As for Russell Crowe, I recently watched one of his other films called Gladiator and I could only see Javert in his charecter. 

.As a musical, the singing adds depth to the scene and you you can feel the charecters true pain instead of sitting through hours of pointless dialogue. In my personal opinion, my favourite song out of the whole film is ‘At the end of the day’ for no specific reason or ‘empty chairs at empty tables‘ for its emotional depth. The only problem is that the long first- meet scene between Marius and Cosette were alot shorter in this film, making it more of a clichéd staring at each other with awe thing, and the Thernadiers (Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen) were more comical in the musical even if they were suppose to be evil.

There’s just something about this movie, (of which when I first watched it, was three hours of singing while my sister and I ate Hagen Dass ice cream), which draws you in, makes you somewhat laugh, cry, and realistically feel sorry for the charecters. We have the soundtrack playing all the time in the car and not trying to publicly shame my mum, but she loves Hugh Jackman so we watch it for that reason to. 

5/5

If you have seen the film, or read the novel, which do you prefer? If you like the 2012 musical, what is your favourite song from it? 

The Green Mile

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‘Can you leave the light on at bedtime?’

The Green Mile is a thoughtful poignant film based on the (only good) book by Stephen King of the same name starring Tom Hanks, Micheal Clarke Duncan and James Cromwell and directed by Frank Darabont. Good choice of cast. 

I had read the book previously a while ago to get a bit of back story as most novels do, then watched the film (I have watched it three or four times now!), and the vivid descriptions, plot etc of the book stay are basically transferred faithfully to the film aside from a few things here and there and the endings had been changed which the director probably couldn’t fit in considering that it is just over three hours long so they probably didn’t have time to do anything else. 

Anyway, the Green Mile is about  guards of death row, but in particular a guard called Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) who encounters John Coffey (the late Micheal Clarke Duncan), a misunderstood gentle giant who has been wrongly accused for the murder of two young girls because of his large, rather threatening frame and the colour of his skin. Coffey turns out to have healing powers, such as bringing a cute talented mouse back to life or cure Edgecomb’s urine infection, and in return Edgecomb treated him better than any other prisoner on death row. 

This is one of the many films that I cried at, like the way it gets to you at the end, but unlike other sad films it has a bit of warning. It shows another side to Tom Hanks’ type of roles, but perhaps this one is one of his more serious ones. Micheal Clarke Duncan fits the role brilliantly, but what makes his film sadder is that he is now dead. This was one of the first 18 rated films (not that I watch them regularly) which I watched and actually enjoyed despite its dark nature and out of my comfort zone, it was only recently that I was able to sit through the graphic execution scene. Irrelevently, if you have noticed with past posts, that Tom Hanks is one of my favourite actors of all time. 

Incredible, sad but still rather creepy in some ways and great performances from every actor, including the mouse. If you haven’t watched it, watch it with a box of tissues. 

Verdict: 

5/5

You’re the one that I want by Giovanna Fletcher

 

 

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You’re the one that I want is about a woman named Maddy who has a bond with her two best mates  called Ben and Robert over a period of twenty or so years before she got married. Soon she is torn between the both of them romantically as she gets older. I picked out this book because it looked interesting and Giovanna Fletcher seemed like an appealing writer (and she is married to my favourite McBusted member Tom) or maybe it would get me back into reading again.

As I read it, I found that I enjoyed her writing style, it is not in any way patronizing and you could be gripped right from the start if the charecter would choose Robert or Ben, particuarly if they both betray her in some way, but what is umcomftable is the somewhat graphically described awkward scenes.

The novel, just by casual reading it, is like hard work, so much of it, confusing if you don’t know which guy that she is talking about, but rewarding eventually as you start to conclude what she would write next . Sometimes I would think ‘aww that’s so cute’ and other times I would think ‘why did I spend my book token on a book with really weird steamy parts in it?’, but I agree with the first part. 

If you want a book with a good, sweet ending, or one which the writer allows the reader to conlude the charecter’s mistakes for themselves, don’t hesitate to read it. 

Giovanna Fletcher creates realistic charecters (mostly the two main guys Robert and Ben) who make mistakes. They cheat, they lie, they forgive anyone who are hurt by their actions. It is as if they are actual guys who are people beyond the pages, who can tell you straight about their problems, and Maddy would be one of those people whos best friends are mostly guys, of which she has been friends with literally forever. 

I’m glad that, when reading it, that it appealed to an older audience, such as people in love, or people getting married or are about to. Maddy was not a whiny teenager throughout the book, or at all. Fletcher uses the technique of ‘(Enter name) nine years old’ to ‘”” “” twenty seven years old’ which I could apply into my own writing as an influence. 

This novel is very much down to your own tastes. 

4/5. 

The Fault in Our Stars

I fell in love the way you fall asleep, slowly then all at once.

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Based on the book : (https://ibirch99.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/the-fault-in-our-stars-by-john-green) by John Green, The Fault in Our Stars is about two teenagers named Hazel Grace Lancaster  (Shailene Woodley) and Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort) who meet at a cancer group  (of which Waters’ one/ blind friend Issac also attended) and fall in love through their Hazel’s oxygen tank and Gus’s prosthetic leg.

I have been to the cinema maybe twice in the last two weeks or so, but The Fault in Our Stars stood out for me. Augustus was a lovable cocky guy, but in some ways a hero for any teenage fan girl’s imagination, whilst Hazel Grace was a believable charecter as the emotions did not stay behind the charecter but reached out to the audience, as there was a part when my sister and I could not stop crying towards the end, but at the same time there were alot of funny moments as well. I only realized afterwords that Willem Dafoe portrayed Peter Van Houten, the drunken, slighting disappointingly behaved author of Hazel’s favourite book An Imperial Affliction. 

Both the director and John Green know how to make people cry, and they certainly did a good job with it at the most unexpected times. Although this movie had been ruined by the spoilers on Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook and was guessing what will happen next from the spoilers, there was nothing much to complain about involving the film because it was basically as faithful to the book as it could be, including the colours black, white and aqua blue in the credits.

If you want to watch it, have tissues handy.

5/5

 

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Maleficent

Before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday, she will fall into a sleep like death!

Angelina Jolie produces and stars in this dark film showing the evil fairy Maleficent (from the original story) point of view based on the 1959 animated masterpiece Sleeping Beauty. 

I wanted to watch this film as i constantly watched the original when I was alot younger, as I specifically remember having a tantrum if I didn’t buy the movie from the local DVD shop at the time. Maleficent looked and sounded interesting, however I wasn’t drawn into the movie because of one of the actors in the movie like I normally do. 

I found that Maleficent was a very dark movie, especially for a Disney based children’s film. What usually occurs in recent kids movies, like Frozen, for instance, is how they all don’t need a prince to save them or something along those lines. Sometimes I was watching how well Jolie could play an ‘evil’ fairy, or how it was clever that they included her back story, and other times I actually secretly wished that I could have gone to see The Fault in Our Stars (no offence to Jolie, the director or anyone who watched this film) . Elle Fanning played a very good Aurora, and it was interesting realizing that the younger Aurora was in fact Angelina Jolie’s daughter Vivviene Jolie-Pitt. Some of the charecters, however were very much token ones just to shape the story a little bit more. 

Lana Del Rey’s cover of Once Upon a Dream, (a song which I remember singing in my sister’s room with her friend and obviously my sister as a child) was very ghostly and haunting, like other Lana Del Rey music, which fits into the dark nature of this film as a whole. 

As I watched the film, I thought about what my six year old self would think, but a six year old me would be scared stiff and having tantrums, but I would have found the fairies quite funny. The film was still short enough to not drag on forever and I still had half of my cola left and some sweets once the movie had ended. 

Suprisingly ok film, I loved the dark nature but if you don’t like Angelina Jolie, you should probably give this film a miss. 

3.5/5