21st century girl

reviews – my way.

Month: October, 2016

Seasons

This isn’t a conventional Halloween post. By seasons, I mean spring, summer, autumn, winter, not the seasons of your favourite TV show. In the last days of autumn for the year, I often wonder what makes autumn such a wonderful time of year. Is it the heavily romanticised falling leaves? Is it the shades of yellow and orange that somehow complement each other? The pumpkins? Who knows. It’s different for everybody.

Autumn, as I see it, is the awkward but beautiful in between season. When summer is over and winter isn’t quite there yet, it’s good to have a season that glorifies the colour orange (one of my least favourite colours, but only if it’s on clothing). I don’t think there’s anything better than having the fire on when it’s dark outside and watching the TV, or the sight of fallen orange leaves.

I’ve never really been a fan of Halloween. By that, I mean that I don’t really go to Halloween parties, but there’s something so lovely about carved pumpkins and the cold on the same day. Halloween decorations are in the shops by August, and Christmas things arrive in the shops not long afterwards. Bonfire Night is also quite good because I like fireworks, and it reminds me of V For Vendetta.

Happy Halloween.

 

 

 

 

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King Arthur (2004)

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‘I fight for a cause that is beyond yours and Rome’s understanding,’ 

King Arthur is a movie that is loosely based off the tale of Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable, starring Clive Owen (yes, I do review a lot of his work) as King Arthur,Keira Knightley as Guinevere and Iona Gruffudd as Lancelelot. It also stars Hugh Dancy, Stellan Starsgard, Til Schweiteger, Ray Winstone, the main guy in the TV show Hannibal and Joel Edgerton.

Generally, I liked the cinematography in this movie. I liked the different textures of colour from the snow in the middle of the film to the scenes that took place on the battlefields, and they were often shot in a wide shot and they definitely got creative with the blood splattering in the battle scenes. The close ups were also quite interesting, and all the shots are quite quick so you’re watching it thinking ‘Did that guy really get his head cut off?’. Clive Owen uses his theatrical skills and stage prescence to bring along the character of Arthur convincingly, and he did indeed succeed. Keira Knightley’s character was quite a badass character, and though she wasn’t afraid of anything, I did think that the romance between Guinevere and Arthur seemed a little bit too forced. I think they only included the romance plot line so that the whole movie wasn’t one big battle, and they only really used Keira Knightley for the sex appeal, although she is quite a good actress. I also think that the movie is viewed through the male gaze.

The costumes looked fantastic, and the blueish makeup that Knightley wears towards the end of the film reminds me of Avatar. Maybe they used this film as an influence. This film also reminded me of the opening scene of The Lord Of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring stretched out into a two and a half hour film. Basically what they wouldn’t allow in a relatively child friendly film such as Lord of the Rings went into this film instead, and set whenever King Arthur is meant to be set in. The bit at the end when Arthur takes off his helmet represents him giving up his power and leadership from the death of his friend Lancelot. The same power that led him into battle.

One aspect that this film picks up on is religion. I am an atheist, and to be honest, you could see the divide in the movie between the religious people (such as King Arthur) who thought that God is the only one to guide people through war, and the people who thought that God doesn’t really help. I’m not going to drivel on about religion but it’s definitely a reoccurring theme throughout the film.

Overall, a fairly decent film with a great cast but I felt like some aspects of it seemed rushed or forced and the intense battle scenes wouldn’t be that intense without the dramatic music, close ups and overuse of slow motion but that opinion is from someone who did a unit on editing at college in first year. Despite that, this film has given me a lot of ideas for a story that I’m still in the planning process of writing at the moment and this movie deserves a rewatch.

3/5

North and South (2004 TV Drama)

‘A mother’s love holds fast and forever’ 

North and South is a television miniseries starring Daniela Denby-Ashe, Sinead Cusack, Richard Armitage and Tim Pigott Smith and it is about a woman called Margaret Hale (Denby-Ashe) who moves up to northern England. Hale is sympathetic towards the town cotton mill workers but she is despised by the family of the cotton mill owners, a rich family called the Thortons, who think of her as inferior to their social customs.

The cast members were good in their roles. I’ve only ever seen Daniela Denby-Ashe in My Family, and to be honest, she was a one dimensional shallow character in that show. Here, she has feelings as a proper character and you can connect with her. There’s so much conflict between the strikes and riots of the mill workers, Thorton’s growing attraction for Margaret that is largely disapproved by his mother and mostly everything else in the story. To be fair, Thornton is a mummy’s boy and I think that Richard Armitage plays his part to the very best of his high ability as an actor to show charm right through the screen. Thornton is not a conventional leading romantic hero, in fact, he is anything but that prototype of the leading man that had previously been stereotyped by Pride and Prejudice’s Mr Darcy. I’ve seen Sinead Cusack and Tim Pigott Smith in the film V For Vendetta but they’re so diverse as actors that they can adjust quickly to different characters. I saw this as a recommendation on Netflix and I decided to watch it because my older sisters have seen it. I also shipped Margaret Hale and John Thornton to be together ever since they met, and I was delighted when they eventually did.

North and South is also based on a book by Elizabeth Gaskell. The book of North and South is high up on my reading list as I am yet to read it.

Overall, a great television series that explores so many themes and issues and ignores every stereotype of Victorian dramas. I particularly liked how they didn’t overload it with too many flashbacks and great performances from all of the cast.

4/5