21st century girl

reviews – my way.

Month: August, 2015

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

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‘I don’t think so. Nobody can kill a Jedi’

George Lucas directs the first of this prequel trilogy, which is about the young Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) who brings balance to the force. It has alot of familiar faces, to include Natalie Portman as Queen Amidala/ Padme, Ewan McGregor, Samuel L. Jackson, Terence Stamp and Liam Neeson.

My knowledge of anything involving Star Wars is next to nothing. I am not very interested in the movies because I haven’t seen the originals and most of the fans would say that they prefer the original movies like The Empire Strikes Back etc and nearly all of the performances seem odd and robotic. I liked Natalie Portman’s range of costumes, and one of the things that the star wars trilogy supplies is good costumes and she seemed to be rather lovable but she wasn’t as good as she had promised with her pre-Star Wars roles i.e Leon: The Professional, but most of it was not really her fault. I also suppose that Jake Lloyd looks rather cute and angelic at the time but my interest in Star Wars does not expand beyond that.

However, I liked the costumes, and the idea of holograms and people fighting each other with light sabers has slipped its way into film culture and merchandising, so there is always light sabers and R2-D2 and a range of Yoda stuff in the shops, but holograms should stay well within the world of Star Wars. I don’t really care enough about the Star Wars franchise to obsessively love it, but I suppose the costumes, the famous soundtrack and some of the actors were good.

2.5/5

Philadelphia (1993)

philadelphia-tom-hanks

‘Explain it to me like I’m a four year old’ 

Jonathan Demme directs this drama about a homosexual former lawyer called Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) who has AIDS, and teams up with a lawyer called Joe Miller (Denzel Washington) to back him up against wrongful dismissal as a result of being fired.

I suppose that AIDS and HIV is an uncomfortable thing to talk about, mostly if it is exploited in media forms such as film. Philadelphia was also done around the time when nobody knew much about it, but the movie makes it perfectly clear.

From a glance, it looks like an ordinary film that lectures you about that sort of stuff and involves dreary court room scenes. However, that is where you are wrong. The director allows all the court of scenes to come to a conclusion and leaves you asking questions.

As for the cast,I am a huge fan of Tom Hanks’ work, so it came to no surprise that he was going to give it his all, and it was sad to see him decline in health as the character until he is merely a body on a hospital bed, but Hanks was convincing throughout the whole performance simply because he is Tom Hanks. Denzel Washington was also very good and it wasn’t surprising that he would put 100% into his character. Mary Steenburgen and the young Antonio Banderas also gave impressive performances.

The theme song ‘Streets of Philadelphia’ by Bruce Springsteen is a good but sad song when you apply it to the context of the film. Overall, a great cast and a brilliant director who really knows how to make you emotional.

4.5/5

Children of Men

children

‘The time when people refused to accept that the future is right around the corner’

Alfonzo Cuaron directs this dystopian set in 2027, where infertility from women means that mankind will become extinct, and it is up to Theo (Clive Owen) to basically save the world/mankind when a young person called Kee (Clare Hope-Ashitey) is the first pregnant woman in eighteen or so years. It is based on the novel by P.D James.

Dystopians are very interesting and have since been my favourite genre, simply because you can make up your own bleak future, and the director seemed to have done it very well. If you think about it, this movie is now set twelve years in the future, and it was out nearly ten years ago, this could all have the potential to happen tomorrow or at some point in the future. I can’t remember when this specific movie came out because I was too young to care about a dark, grim but still relevant film like this but I like the whole premise surrounding the story. I liked how every so often, the scene would mostly focus on a news report, therefore even we are surrounded by second- by second news all the time. I’m currently writing my own dystopian, very much like the ‘last of……’ similar to Children of Men, then you realize that you can approach it on so many levels and adapt it, and quite honestly, Children of Men makes all the other films similar to it look a bit daft. Once the children go, we go, and once they don’t know what pregnancy is,  which is currently seen as glamorous and natural for women then I suppose that mankind dies as quickly as the humans.

As for the actors; the choice of cast was good. You shouldn’t always judge something from the cast (even though the right actors do help) but Clive Owen was actually brilliant as Theo, a considerably likable character and I have noticed from his past acting credits that he has been in nearly everything, from Sin City to Closer. Most of his stuff involves guns so I suppose he has a type. Julianne Moore starred in it but she is in everything nowadays as well, and it was surprising to watch Pam Ferris in anything other than Matilda and stuff, while Clare-Hope Ashitey played her role very well. The cinematographer obviously has a skill in it as he uses his magic behind the screen to create heart racing visual sequences to create a dense doom laden world (or just London).

I cannot believe how much I came to like this film, but there was something about it that pieced it all together without it being predictable. The entire thing, except for the news reports, are shot in some sort of tinted blue, making it look very post  apocolyptic and distant. It is slowly creeping up into first place in my ‘Top 5 movies’ list.

Great cast, exceptional cinematography and an overall impressive film that stays with you long after the film ends.

Also stars Chiwetel Ejiofor from 12 Years a Slave, Charlie Hunman and Micheal Caine.

5/5

 

Strangerland (2015)

strangerland

Strangerland is about a couple Catherine (Nicole Kidman) and Matthew (Joseph Fiennes) who find out that their children have gone missing, and they enlist a local police officer Detective David Rae (Hugo Weaving) to help to track the children down.

The reviews for this movie haven’t exactly been very stellar, and I can see why, it isn’t the sort of film which appeals to everyone. That may or may not have affected my opinion of this movie, but these sorts of movies never keep my attention.

As you may well know, I am a fan of Hugo Weaving’s work. He offers a completely different character with every single film role that he is in, and I like watching what he plays next. However, this is the only film that I have seen with him in it where the film itself is disappointing, so this one is no where near one of his best movies, although it does show some promise for his out-of- fantasy villains-roles. I was not expecting much from this film, but I was waiting and waiting for something to happen and it never did, and it did not exactly help that he was introduced in an inappropriate way, in a scene that wasn’t really needed. I have never really been a fan of Nicole Kidman anyway so I wasn’t expecting much from her character or the performance. They have clearly put in alot of effort and time into the role, and in some way Hugo Weaving was ok in it but films like Strangerland have never really appealed to me so it probably has got nothing to do with the cast. I would consider the movie to be better if these sorts of films appealed to me.

It is also one of the weirdest movies that I have ever seen. At some points, I don’t feel empathy for the characters, I felt some suspense but I doubt that I would ever watch this movie again unless I am desperate to, which is highly unlikely. I suppose that the fact that it is set is some sort of desolate Australian town makes it creepy, and the director tended to drop clues into what happened to the children, and it is left off on a disturbing cliffhanger, which is rather clever.

2/5

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

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‘Come with me, and you’ll see, a world of pure imagination’ 

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a musical film about a boy called Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum) whos family has no money but wins the opportunity of a lifetime when he wins a golden ticket to Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder)’s chocolate factory (guarded by oompa loompas) along with four other children.

I have seen both this version and the 2005 Tim Burton adaptation,and I also read Roald Dahl’s original book when I was younger. I personally prefer this version, because it isn’t fake and they don’t tend to try too hard to make it all bright and happy when there is that underlying dark tone. Without trying to look too deeply into it, but as I have watched it recently, why would you have a factory where nobody goes in or comes out?

As far as I know, most of the actors are either dead or no longer acting but I suppose that this would be a good film to have been known for. It’s slightly creepy but seems to take you up paths that the 2005 adaptation can never compete with. All the child actors (mostly Peter Ostrum) seem to be adorable and angelic and it really feels as if you are being taken into a creepy but exciting chocolate wonderland.  Of course, it has been redone, parodied, made into internet memes using several stills and some of the songs are popular in our culture (the paradise song is often used in adverts) as well as the golden ticket being referenced nearly all the time in various competitions, so much so that it has crept into our language and has become a normal term.

Of course, a story like this can never happen in the modern day, however it is not real so it does not matter very much, and as it was done while Roald Dahl was still alive, it brings out that old fashioned touch that it needs, not the Johnny Depp Show in the recent one. I have probably spent the whole article comparing the two but it is a good movie with the ability to make you hungry for chocolate.

Classic children’s movie with a good cast, musical numbers (personal favourite is either The Candy Man or Pure Imagination) and fairly advanced special effects for its day.

‘If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it’

3/5

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

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‘Lollipops, ice cream, and they’re all free today!’

Based on the novel by Ian Fleming, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is about a car made by Caractacus Potts (Dick Van Dyke) which can fly, so Potts takes his children Jeremy (Adrian Hall) and Jemimah (Heather Ripley) and his companion Truly Scrumptious (Sally Ann Howes) on many adventures.

There could be many questions and interpretations raised about this movie. Is it all a dream? Is it someone’s imagination, a story within the film and the grandfather’s personal fantasy involving a flying car, or they could predict the future with the car.

Although I admit that this film is a bit cheesy and I spent most of the time laughing at both the songs and the dialogue because it might appear to be queer and old fashioned to modern audiences, but it is a classic childhood movie for both children and adults alike, and probably one of the best children’s movies that I have ever seen, without overdoing it. Who doesn’t like the idea of a simple story involving a flying car?

I have never really liked the Child Catcher and some bits of the movie are too corny and fake to watch but it is a classic children’s film so it really doesn’t matter. Also stars Lionel Jeffries  and Barbara Windsor.

3/5

Blogger Recognition Awards

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http://eveofnight.blogspot.co.nz/2014/10/lets-celebrate-whos-up-for-award.html

How my blog got started: Back in June 2013, my sister helped me to set up a film blog due to my immense obsession with films, tv series, music and books, and I got the name 21st century girl not from the Willow Smith song but because I only remember the 21st Century.

Advice for new and upcoming bloggers:

1.) Don’t treat blogging like a chore- Blogging is meant to be a fun activity and hobby where you get to share your thoughts on whatever you want with other people, not a chore that has to be done at a precise moment while being strapped to a chair.

2.) Have fun- Do not take it too seriously unless you want to and have fun with the oppurtunity to share your thoughts on things whether it is a film blog, baby blog etc.

3.) Update regularly and don’t give up blogging just because someone didn’t read it, write because you want to, not to get noticed but you will get regular readers.

I nominate:

Sophbirchy1992 (https://sophbirchblog.wordpress.com/)

Strawberrypiemovies (https://agreatmovieblog.wordpress.com/)

crowarrowinc1974 (https://angelasfandommadness.wordpress.com/)

Stuart M. Perkins (https://storyshucker.wordpress.com/)

Elm (https://justelm.wordpress.com/)

Charlotte Cuevas (https://charlottecuevas.wordpress.com/)

Steve Lovelette Jr. (http://stephenlovelette.com/)

NeenorROAR (https://lornageorge.wordpress.com/)

BookedSolid1989 (https://bookedsolid1989.wordpress.com/)

jessishopeful (https://jessishopeful.wordpress.com/)

ItsKeeleyRose (https://itskeeleyrose.wordpress.com/)

 

Still Alice (film)

still alice film

‘It’s really all I can do. Live in the moment’

Still Alice is based on the novel by Lisa Genova about a linguistics professor called Alice Howland (Julianne Moore) who gets diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers disease at the age of fifty and how her family, including her husband John (Alec Baldwin) and her children Lydia (Kristen Stewart), Tom (Hunter Parrish) and Anna (Kate Bosworth) deal with it as she declines in mental fuction.

I read the original novel and I noticed little difference in the transition between the book and the film, except for the names of places and maybe some small events, even though the events in the film tend to leap again. The directors (one of them had ALS) clearly delivered a fairly fantastic novel into a good film with the freedom of camera angles and a good script to guide them.

Julianne Moore was actually very good as Alice. Moore can play anybody, and I personally think that she is in everything. I saw her in Maps to the Stars but she seemed to be very unhinged in that so it was interesting for her to take on something a little more toned down but still needed to be taken seriously. With a subject matter involving something like Alziemers, it should not be taken lightly simply because it is serious, and some of my older relatives had Alziemers when they died. However, what was so shocking was she was only  middle aged.

Likewise, I generally don’t like Alec Baldwin’s acting, so I think it  was questionable to cast him simply because I don’t really like him as an actor and other actors could have played that part better. It was Julianne Moore’s film but he seemed to think that it was his show, although I was mostly watching Julianne Moore. I don’t really like Kristen Stewart stuff either after her previous performance in Twilight (I admit that I had a 2 year obsession with the Twilight Saga) but she seemed to overcome that hurdle in this movie and she was surprising to watch. It also seemed like an Iphone/ Apple product advertisement, a thing which is common in most movies made within the last three or so years.

The book was touching as was the film, and again Alziemers should not be brushed off as ‘forgetting’, and the book provided some background information for the film, which did not have enough time to include all the little details.

Stellar performance from Julianne Moore which landed her an Oscar, surprisingly good performance from Kristen Stewart and it was sad to see Alice decline from a linguistics professor to a person who was not all there, however it did seem to rely on Apple products such as an Iphone and Macbook computer, but compare that to something as serious as Alziemers, the stuff that they use does not really matter. It teaches you to seize each day and each person because you might forget them one day.

3.5/5

Sunshine Blogger Award

I was nominated by livsworldofbooks to do the Sunshine Blogger Award. Thank you livsworldofbooks, your blogposts are amazing.

Answers to the questions by livsworldofbooks:

1.) Favourite book? Either Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella or The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

2) Best sandwich filling? Coronation chicken or lettuce.

3) Do you have a coping mechanism for stressful situations? I either write or take a break  from it.

4) Favourite fast food restaurant? McDonalds

5) What is your favourite past time? Writing stories or watching movies.

6) If you could breed any two animals together, what would they be?  A leopard and a tiger (Leoger) .

7) What is your favourite thing to eat for breakfast? Cookie Crisp cereal.

8) What is the weather like where you are at the moment? Hot and Sunny for a change.

9) What is the last thing you ate? Fish and Chips.

10) Favourite colour? Purple.

11) Do you have any pets? If so, what are they?  I have about eight guinea pigs.

I nominate:

JessIsHopeful (https://jessishopeful.wordpress.com/)

strawberrypiemovies (https://agreatmovieblog.wordpress.com/)

sophbirchy1992 (https://sophbirchblog.wordpress.com/)

kerscorner (http://kerscorner.com/)

words on a blackboard (http://wordsonablackboard.com/)

NeenorROAR (https://lornageorge.wordpress.com/)

Stuart M. Perkins (https://storyshucker.wordpress.com/)

Allison (https://allisonwhitmore.wordpress.com/)

Angela O’Neal (https://crowarrowinc.wordpress.com/)

crowarrowinc1974 (https://angelasfandommadness.wordpress.com/)

itsKeelyRose (https://itskeeleyrose.wordpress.com/)

 

Questions for the people that I have nominated:

1.) Favourite movies?

2.) Favourite book?

3.) If you could go forward or back to any time period (i.e 1920 or 2020) where would you go?

4.) Favourite cartoon charecter?

5.) Do you have any siblings?

6.) Guilty pleasure?

7.) If you could have a dinner party with 5 famous people (actor, actresses or musicians etc, dead or alive) who would you invite?

8.) If you were stranded on a desert island, what would be the two items that you would survive on (provided that there was nowhere to plug in your phone etc)?

9.) PC or Mac?

10.) Best and worst pizza topping?

11.) If you could marry any fictional character, would would it be?

 

 

 

Great Expectations (2012)

Great Expectations (2012)

Mike Newell (director of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) presents his version of the classic Charles Dickens novel in the latest adaptation. Great Expectations is about an orphan called Pip (Jeremy Irvine) who becomes a gentleman. The movie has plenty of well known actors in it, such as Helena Bonham Carter, Halliday Granger, David Walliams and Ralph Fiennes.

My sister made me watch it as she is doing a university dissertation about Great Expectations and I reluctantly watched this version because Jeremy Irvine is a rather good looking actor and I wanted to see how modern audiences adapt to an adaptation with masterpieces like the original in mind.

The film has peaked my interest in the book and I have only seen the 1940s version, an adaptation that I greatly prefer because it feels like the era that Dickens wanted. Don’t get me wrong, Helena Bonham Carter was very convincing as Miss Havisham, but I liked the original black and white one because it was heavy on the symbolism i.e the gate rather than the romance between Pip and Estella yet this version sprinkles in several A listers, most of them previously starred in the Harry Potter film series. I lost a bit of interest when David Walliams appeared, is he trying to make this a comedy? They were also a bit too clean, even though they were rich and it was too modern for my tastes. At least with the 1940s one, I had no idea who any of the actors were so I did not dwell on who they were as my end result and thoughts of the film.

Despite that, I was impressed by the performance of Toby Irvine, the actor who plays the young Pip and Jeremy Irvine’s younger brother, and I suppose that it needed to appeal to a slightly younger audience. The scenery was good as were the cinematography, accurate costumes and script, and Jeremy Irvine does take on meaty characters while Helena Bonham Carter does look the part of Miss Havisham e.g Gothic and terrifying.

It is a successful adaptation, with good costumes and a great cast, but not the best adaptation, but that is only my opinion.

Also stars Ralph Fiennes and Halliday Granger.

2.5/5