21st century girl

reviews – my way.

Month: September, 2014

Rebel Without a Cause

james dean


‘You can wake up now, the universe has ended’


James Dean stars in this iconic drama about a rebellious teenager  trying to find his place in 1950’s society. I think this movie might launch my interest in older, more timeless classics, even if I have watched many before, like Brief Encounter and The Ghost and Mrs Muir, but this one stood out for me as the eve of public teenage rebellion shortly before icons like Elvis took over.

Dean himself only did three films and a couple of TV series before his death in 1955 as a result of a car crash, and his was one of his two posthumous films, but his styled blonde quiff, fresh face and fashionable clothes sense has influenced many modern day actors in terms of his acting style and the theme for many photoshoots.

Natalie Wood’s charecter Judy, on the other hand, was more of a supporting part than Jim Stark (Dean), but delivers her part very well, making it a much cooler, less cheesy version of West Side Story (of which Wood was in anyway). She is the first of a noticable rebel, her parents are controlling, but she is young and free. If Rebel Without a Cause was done in modern day then viewers would want more romantic chemistry between Judy and Jim, but the lack of it, or more the friend- friend relationship allowed the viewers to focus more on Dean’s portrayal of Jim’s rebellion.

I enjoy how the film relies more on the metaphors, the jacket which Dean gave to his friend suggests that they trust each other, or the colour, rather than trying to sell it off, and at 1 hr and 48 minutes, it uses the time wisely, as an ageless 59 year old film, and shows that Dean is the only charecter wearing bright clothing, the white shirt, red jacket and blue jeans, as an outstanding fashion icon of which every guy started wearing, an example that he was the fashionable, rebellious guy who didn’t want to look like other people. It isn’t just a rather old film, it is an influence for fashion.

The movie is also rather beautiful, in terms of the soundtrack of only classical stuff, calm so excess background noise does not get in the way of the movie or the mood.

However, the standards of those days were rather shocking- Judy was only meant to be 16! She was certainly a mature rebel!

A film like this could never be made again in the same way again, not just because only one or two of the actors are still alive, but it is too classic to be copied. They could be influenced by the style, many men have their hair styled in the same way as a fashion statement, but a movie like this can never be remade without the message than the teenage years are not meant to be awkward.

Outstanding soundtrack, vintage, and classic, good if you start to get bored of the conveyor belt of  some modern films.




Water For Elephants


‘You’re a beautiful woman, you deserve a beautiful life, that’s all there is to it’ 

Francis Lawrence directs Water For Elephants, a drama film about an old man called Jacob Jankowski (Hal Holbrook) who recalls his days as a Cornell graduate  (played at it’s best by Robert Pattinson) who runs away to the circus in the Great Depression, when there were few jobs, and falls in love with the circus performer Marlena (Reese Witherspoon), who just happens to be married to the violent ring master August (Christoph Waltz), who can charm people one moment and put them down the next.

Water For Elephants is based fairly loosely on the book of the same name by Sara Gruen. I read the book a couple of years ago shortly before the film itself came out, and was interesting in the way that she vividly allowed the book to come alive as it gave me predictions before I even saw the film, but lost that touch once I had seen the film enough times. I remember it being alot more explicit, with a couple more charecters but I realized that the film version was better than the book in many unexplainable reasons.

I watched the film alot more when it was originally out in 2011, or around that time, until I over watched it. The performances from the actors kept the film flowing at a steady pace. The elephant called Tai was so cute and lovable, the star of the entire film of which she should have won some sort of award for, despite the controversy surrounding the film. Robert Pattinson was incredible as his charecter of Jacob, as he always is, those eyes which look lost but embrace the person that he plays, and it is a breath of fresh air outside his Twilight persona as he ventures into slightly more mature roles. I liked Reese Witherspoon charecter, who, below the pretty showgirl looks and circus performances is a woman hoping for a dream. Christoph Waltz as August masters it as the abusive yet charming man who only wants to sell tickets, the look in his eyes showing a hint of evil which is only ever shown on camera, and earnt him an Oscar in other roles.

The film gave me a great feeling of nostalgia as I would watch it every week, a paradise amongst the Great Depression of the 1930s  which reminds me somewhat of Moulin Rouge! in terms of the show- like performances. It went over my head several years with the animal beating films, but I found the scenes somewhat intense.

In conclusion, Water For Elephants is full of tension but seems elegant, a dramatic movie set in the early downfalls of the 1930s, with an almost all star cast (including Uggie the dog!) and suitable for all the family.




‘Dreams feel real while we’re in them. It’s only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange’

Christopher Nolan directs, writes and produces this sci fi movie which is not only home to many memes and explinatons, but questions our state of consciousness.

Inception stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon Levitt among the many stars of the film.  DiCaprio plays Don Cobb, a man who steals the secrets of people in a subconscious state through dream sharing technology, and given the plan of inception.

Although this is a meaty and lengthy movie, at around two and a half hours, so much was racing through my head when watching this film, not so much the plotline, but the significance of the colour blue, and the colours of blue and black are often associated with dreams, the way that Nolan gives us the feel that it is hard to distinguish dreams from reality, and how it is ironic between the opening scene of Cobb being washed up on the beach and the end of Titanic. Symbolism, pyschoanalysis, the original idea which can probably never be copied, carefully picking up clues of the dream-like state and to really think of how Nolan wanted us to think when Page’s charecter, and others, were drifting in and out of sleep.

I found that Inception is not the type of film to sit down with a cup of tea and a biscuit, firstly, because its too long, and it is the sort which viewers should be in the right state of mind; it questions, if you get what I’m saying, what dreams actually are, something you think about when you’re asleep, or not.

The lack of interruptive music and narration gives a dream like reality touch to the film, any loud music or corny narration will ruin it entirely, but the soft music sometimes heard playing, and quieter music altogether helps people to drift off to sleep. The only bad thing that I have to say about this movie is that some of it went on for a bit, like a long dream, and other parts were thought- provoking. The symbolism of the spinning top could represent reality, and the nearly constant close ups of it means that he is in the dream world.

This film was inexplicably enthralling and makes you think, because we all have that memory which we can’t tell between an actual memory or a dream. Never has a film been able to pull off such a thoughtful long theory of dreams without being dull. No, I’m not just saying that because Leonardo DiCaprio, like always, was brilliant as Cobb and brought the film along without it being explicitly rude, and sometimes you forgot that he was maybe sub consciously awake or asleep in a dream. It is as if, maybe when you were in primary school when you were not allowed to say, ‘it was all a dream’. Maybe the thought of dreams makes the best film of all time;The thoughts from the film stay with you long after the film has ended.

Brilliant, deep, and won 4 Oscars.