21st century girl

reviews – my way.

Month: June, 2015

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

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Still Alice is a novel (and film adaptation starring Julianne Moore and Kristen Stewart) about a university lecturer and mother of three Alice who is diagnosed with Alziemers at fifty years old.

I haven’t seen the film yet, but I hope that they are as faithful to the book as possible. Genova writes a powerful story as Alice’s world starts to crumble when she starts off as being rather forgetful like the next person until it spirals into worse circumstances, to the point where she can’t remember the names of her children. It might not be the sort of book to appeal to everyone, but it makes you realize that Alziemers is serious and considerably more than just ‘forgetting’ stuff. It’s probably more serious on a younger person because an older person has more long term memories. It took me about four days to read this book, and I found it sadder that a middle aged woman with a good and long lasting career as a linguistics professor and mother of three has to go through Alziemers disease or dementia rather than an elderly person who has fond memories of the distant past. Either way, it has to be taken very seriously.

Still, it was a thought provoking read and completely different from what I normally read, more mature as well. I haven’t read any of Genova’s other books, but she writes well and puts the message across without patronizing the readers.

4.5/5

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Your Highness (2011)

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‘She is a woman and we are a man’

Your Highness is a comedy film about two royals called Fabious (James Franco) and his brother Thadeus (Danny McBride) who go on a quest with Isabel (Natalie Portman) to rescue Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) from the wizard.

My Dad recommended this film to me as I am a fan of Natalie Portman’s work, not forgetting that I think she is a very glamorous actress. What I expected was for her to be the bit on the side of one of the superior male characters, but indeed I was wrong. As usual, although she was only introduced near enough to the halfway point, she kicks some butt after we have to sit through an hour of James Franco and his friends with the dodgy wigs like a cup of tea at the end of a hard day.

I found that it was a very crude comedy, too good to be a spoof and not good or serious enough to be taken seriously, so the film is merely satire. James Franco and Zooey Deschanel are OK as their characters, but as soon as Natalie Portman is introduced, she takes over with her alluring, feminist and kick-ass presence, despite the fact that it is not her best nor her most successful role.

I will not say that Your Highness is a rubbish film- indeed it is funny and uses satire by making fun of fairytale and uses obscene dialogue, but I thought that there would be more Natalie Portman, who saved the film from being the James Franco show.

Average film with amusing humour but previous critic reviews mislead my opinion.

Directed by David Gordon Green.

2.5/5

The Imitation Game

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‘God didn’t win the war. We did’

Morten Tyledum directs the Imitation Game, a true story about a mathematician Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) who saved lives in the war with his literal brain and the ability to crack unbreakable codes including Enigma- yet he was not accepted only because he was a homosexual man at a time when it was not approved.

Benedict Cumberbatch once again impressed us with his portrayal of Turing- a personal idol of my future brother in law. Cumberbatch leads a stellar performance  as usual and Keira Knightley’s charecter herself breaks away from the traditional woman of that time and does things that nobody thought someone like her would do- like an opposite of Turing.

The linking between the scenes is incredible, however, if you do not have any patience for a slowly progressing films  or want something that you can just sit down and watch, I would suggest giving this one a miss. The soundtrack suited the film and I do not know that much about Turing, which allowed me to see Cumberbatch’s performance up to the audience’s interpretation while staying rather faithful to the facts.

Superb acting from Benedict Cumberbatch and the rest of the cast, good soundtrack, somewhat poignant ending.

4.5/5

 

 

Prom (2011)

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It is my school prom today, and in honour of such a highly special and anticipated event of the school year, it would only make sense to review an actual prom movie.

Prom is overly anticipated and hyped, judging by all the movies involving prom. Even over here, every waking moment involves my friends talking about if their prom dress has arrived, or if their shoes have arrived. Enough of the trivial moaning.

Prom is a rather stereotypical and rather typical seen- it before film about a high school prom, where everyone forgets about things previously all for one night all for the usual prom, which is usually held at the end of the tiresome exams. This film is an example of a usual plastic-y film where you don’t really need to think about anything, but laboriously labels people but it inspired to theme to my prom.

Average film, nothing overly special or life changing.

3/5

 

 

Proof (1991)

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‘Everybody lies, but not all the time’

Proof is a  movie about a blind photographer called Martin (Hugo Weaving) who gets others to describe his photographs for him despite having trust issues, until a young man Andy (played by a baby faced Russell Crowe) and his talent in descriptions comes along, and a friendship develops between the two.

I tend to review alot of Hugo Weaving films, and the only reason is because the man has different things to offer with every role that he plays, and he can literally play anyone, usually when usual comfort blankets of using eyes is reduced, and later the use of facial expression when he plays V 14 years later. The movie was made long before he was Elrond and slightly before he was in Priscilla, and as for Russell Crowe, this film shows exceptional promise for a long future film career for the both of them and it was made before he played a gladiator. It will simply be wrong to compare or typecast them into future roles as they show alot of promise in this movie and they are more than an elf or a gladiator.

However, what I did not like about the film is that all the good bits are in the beginning and the middle, and they cram in some sort of character into Celia the housekeeper towards the end, as if they were in a hurry for time. I did not expect it to be too  much of a ‘wow’ film, yet it showed potential for them and foreshadowed a long future career in stage and film.

Reasonably good film, great choice of the then-young cast and a ever developing story, but do not expect this to be one to watch with your parents.

Directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse.

3.5/5

RIP to two incredible actors

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This hasn’t been my day at all, and it is not even your fault. Ron Moody, who played the legendary Fagin in the 1968 Oliver!, has unfortunately died at the age of 91. Oliver! is a film that I can watch time and time again, and he was maybe the most watchable out of the whole of the cast aside from Oliver Reed; his grubby face and his domineering presence. I was aware that he was an old man and still one of the few remaining actors of that film, yet I was not aware that he would go so soon.

However, what came as more of a shock to me is Sir Christopher Lee’s sudden death. Apparently he worked in film right up to the very end, and he is a prime example of someone who was still able to release heavy metal albums when older people are stereotyped to like opera, and someone who would work long after others would retire.

He was 93 and so far the oldest cast member of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit trilogy and apparently J.R.R Tolkien personally recommended him the part of Saruman. I am near obsessed with Lord of The Rings and I don’t think I would be able to watch the trilogy in the same way without thinking about his legendary presence, and an actor like him will never again walk the earth. Of course, he has been in nearly every film since the 1940s, including Dracula, the 2005 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the 2011 family film Hugo. Perhaps I will watch at least one of the films in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Oliver! in tribute of these legendary actors who will no longer be with us. At some point, and if there is for any reason, a God up there, I hope that he will take good care of these wonderfully legendary but rather elderly actors, but we have once again lost two legends, but at least Heaven gained two more angels.

Rest In Peace Ron Moody and Sir Christopher Lee.

Thank you for giving us years of amazing films and I will watch some of  your films in your memory. Sir Christopher, welcome to the undying lands.

“To be a legend, you’ve either got to be dead or excessively old,” Christopher Lee 1922-2015

All I know now: Wonders and Reflections of growing up gracefully by Carrie Hope Fletcher

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In case you don’t know, Carrie Hope Fletcher is a West End actress, currently starring in ‘Les Miserables’ and Youtuber who comes across as being a big sister or agony aunt to her million or so followers. Her older brother is Tom from McFly, but she doesn’t let that opportunity get to her head as she is an independent person. I already have two older sisters that I would never replace with anyone else but Carrie Fletcher has that ability to reach through the computer screens of dozens of teenage girls and not exactly sympathize with them, but be their friend.

Anyway, her non fiction book is a guidebook for all teenagers everywhere who need help, or need some support, or who want to relate to her without taking advantage of her because of who her brother is. As a teenager myself, there have been far too many instances where some young adults or wannabe authors assume that because they are older than a majority of their readers, it means that they can patronize them. We honestly don’t need that, and Carrie’s overall message is to tell them that it is ok to be different, not everyone is going to like you, and giving an overall message that she can give overall moral support that we are scared to go to teachers or parents for. That is one of the main beauties of the internet in the age of supposed reliable technology- getting support from a Youtuber that I will probably never meet, and connecting with bloggers like you over our bond with a good movie or book.

Whether you are thirteen, fifteen, twenty, thirty or even a man or boy, this book is defiantly worth a read. It is reasonably easy for anyone to write a book, but Carrie does not draw attention to herself, and with all these resources such as Tumblr and Twitter, we could have our own make believe land where Carrie is our friend with the emotional bond that most Youtubers have with their followers.

Although most of the people reading would either be my friends or bloggers who would much rather read a review of the latest small indie film or large blockbuster, but thank you Carrie Hope Fletcher, you are an inspiration to both myself and my older sister and to your fans.

5/5

 

Enchanted

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‘Giselle! I have been dreaming….’

Enchanted is a part animated, part live action movie about a princess called Giselle (Amy Adams) who is banished into a modern day New York from her animated fairyland by an evil queen and falls in love with a lawyer Robert (Patrick Dempsey) having been originally out to find her true love Nathaniel (James Mardsen)

I am not a strong feminist but more recent Disney films do not need a man to find who they are, and it is quite weird to get use to movies only done just under ten years ago like this one which put across the message that a man is all they need, yet it probably doesn’t bother anyone as the target audience for the movie is mostly children. This was one of the films which was on repeat because I liked it so much when I was slightly younger.

Amy Adams, as usual, is a brilliant and rather glamorous actress, and she puts across the character of a rather naive princess very well, then she will do another film and be a completely different character. I’m sure that we all have times when the big real world is fairer, but I wouldn’t suggest going up or down sewers into a magical animated world. Patrick Dempsey carried his performance using his good charmer/ hot older man looks which he uses in other roles such as Grey’s Anatomy. James Mardsen was also very good, and sometimes very funny as his haplessly tries to find Giselle in New York.

Great cast, clever animation, good but rather cheesy soundtrack songs and a sweet but rather cliched story.

Also stars Indina Menzel and Timothy Spall.

3/5