21st century girl

reviews – my way.

Category: 2010s

The Big Bang Theory (TV Show)

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I’m not crazy, my mother had me tested!’ 

The Big Bang Theory is an American TV show about a group of scientists/physicists called Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny  Galecki), Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) and Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Neyyar) and an engineer called Howard Wollowitz (Simon Helberg) and the women in their lives, to include Amy Ferrari Fowler (Mayim Bialick), Bernadette (Melissa Raunch) and the blonde and slightly bimboish Penny (Kaley Cuoco).

I watched the series because some of my friends are obsessed with the show, and when I was less familiar with the programme, we watched the scene about Sheldon’s explanation of the Doppler effect in GCSE physics. I also knew that Sheldon’s favourite number is 73 long before I began to watch the show.

Generally, some of the episodes make me laugh, while some of the plot lines are quite repetitive throughout some of the seasons and therefore aren’t that funny. I don’t really like the character of Penny, particularly in the earlier seasons. I felt that if you threw something at her character then her character would either fall down or not budge or react, but I suppose that she grows on you as the seasons progress and she’s only there for the same appeal that the character of Charlotte brought to The Inbetweeners. The show also plays on a lot of common stereotypes. I particularly like the characters of Amy and Sheldon. Sheldon is a man child and Parsons brings so much geeky, bittersweet and childlike charm to his character. As for Amy, her comic timing and stage prescence is fantastic and I identify more with her character rather than any other female in the show.

Likewise, the show is heavily quotable, one of my favourites being the common Sheldon quote ‘That’s my spot’. Despite all the cliches, I think that it is quite a good show and I watched it because it was convientantly on Netflix. I like the social aspect of most American TV shows. You walk into each other’s apartments (using the secret knock first), have takeaway every night and occasionally go down to the lab.

An interesting, heavily quotable and slightly addictive programme with a catchy theme song that does not insult the geek culture,but rather makes all the everyday people look stupid. In some ways, it also explores the opposition of views of the beginning of humanity I.e the religious version from Sheldon’s mother and the slightly more realistic and scientific view from people such as Sheldon.

4/5

 

The Dressmaker

‘I’m back, you bastards,’

The Dressmaker is a novel by Rosalie Hamm and it is about a dressmaker called Tilly Dunnage who returns to Dungatar in the hope of looking after her ill mother Molly. She develops a friendship with Sargeant Farrat (played by Hugo Weaving in the film), the town’s policeman who likes to secretly dress up in women’s outfits and therefore challenges gender norms and she falls in love with Teddy McSwiney, a football player.

In terms of the book, the narrative is a bit all over the place. I can’t really keep track of many of the characters and I don’t really care about most of them anyway but I liked the humor and the vivid descriptions of the littlest things, such as the food and the clothing that they design and wear. Sargeant Farrat was a flexible character who was loved by everyone and I’m sure that Teddy is probably our ideal man.

As for the film, Kate Winslet was very stunning. People obviously loved her character Tilly because of the dresses that she made or they hated her because of what she did to the little boy when she was younger which they have never forgiven her for, including her own mentally unstable mother Molly (Judy Davis). The film clearly makes a statement about how your choice of fashion can change you with a few sequins. I think Liam Hemsworth was written in for sex appeal but he did a decent job as Teddy, Tilly’s toyboy. They missed out big chunks of the book but luckily the parts that they missed out were the unnecessary plotlines. William and Tilly’s childhood friend Gertrude’s relationship was explored a little more in the book but I wasn’t really bothered by it.

Hugo Weaving clearly loved wearing all the outfits in the movie as Sargent Farrat. He was loveable and he opposed gender norms. For instance, as the town’s only policeman, he would ideally be strict, masculine and nearly always in uniform but he was wearing all sorts of stylish, and usually women’s outfits and being popular with the people in the town. He would be the type of person who everyone would want to have as a friend. I liked the use of closeups of fashion items i.e shoes, dresses, to emphasise the importance of fashion.

Not the best film in the world but it does have its good moments, especially when Tilly can make the plainest of people look fantastic, and she can promise feather boas to an eccentric policeman. Tilly and Farrat’s characters were flawed, Tilly’s mother was a bit unstable and the I-killed-the boy storyline dragged a bit but it was a central plotpoint anyway. I might have to rewatch this movie to get details that I didn’t catch before.

The director Jocelyn Moorhouse also directed Hugo Weaving in his early movie Proof (1991) and it was good that they did another film together.

3/5

Cinderella (2015)

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‘Mark my words, you shall not go to the ball!

Many adaptations of Disney animated films do not turn out as well as the original. Luckily, this one is not one of them.

As the story goes, Helena Bonham Carter narrates the film and stars as the Fairy Godmother. Indeed, she does a very convincing job from it and she is very over the top. The story is standard, a girl called Ella, and nicknamed Cinderella (Lily James) is mistreated by her evil stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and stepsisters Anastasia (Holliday Granger) and Drizella (Sophie  McShera). Ella hopes to reunite with the prince Kit (Richard Madden) that she met in the woods but her stepfamily refuse to let her take the limelight and become the object of the prince’s heart.

Some of it is quite obvious CGI, but the movie won’t let the CGI and the all star cast get the best of them. Quite a few of the actors in the film are also stage actors and I found that the movie was indeed very theatrical by using certain levels, close ups and aerial shots. One scene in particular, Cate Blanchett was at the top of the stairs while Cinderella’s character was at the bottom of the stairs, showing that the stepmother was of a higher authority than Cinderella, but by the end, the bars on the stairs in front of the stepmother showed that Cinderella had trapped her as punishment of what she had done to her. Cate Blanchett’s character wears green in mostly all of her scenes and green is a cold color that represents jealousy. She also wears red lipstick and red represents death, hatred and blood. Cate Blanchett could move her entire performance using her eyes, facial expression and screen prescense.

Quite a few other recognizable faces such as Stellan Skarsgard and the guy who plays Neil’s Dad in theI Inbetweeners. I don’t like mice but the mice in the movie were adorable despite the fact that they looked computer generated. Most of the movie made me and my older sister laugh because of the comic timing yet they still kept it relevant.

Many phrases from Cinderella have been adapted into expressions in the English language e.g you shall go to the ball, turn into a pumpkin etc. I watched the original 1950s Cinderella when I was younger but I think this version is better. The cinematography is excellent and the soundtrack/score was beautifully composed. The prince was a bit soppy and melodramatic but I think that’s the point.

Brilliant acting from Cate Blanchett and Lily James, stunning visuals, memorable film and a great soundtrack.

4/5

Billionaire Boy

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‘It doesn’t need a discussion’

The TV movie, based off the book by David Walliams, is about a boy called Joe who is a billionaire because his father made a living from inventing his own toilet roll. Joe has everything he wants, except friends.

The boy actor who played Joe showed some promise for success in future projects, but other than him and maybe Warwick Davis, everyone was trying a bit too hard, but I think it was for comical effect. Catherine Tate, who I saw in her Lauren Cooper sketches which were made back in the mid 00s, was overacting a bit, and James Fleet’s performance was ok but minimal, and I recognized some of the other cast members. The film had too many plots and subplots to deal with and it felt as if it didn’t really end when it ended as they were held at an immaturely written and loose end.

My younger brother loves David Walliams books and I’m sure that he loved the film but I think that it was too short for its own good. However, David Walliams did look good as a woman and he did it for a comedic effect and Warwick Davis was so brilliant. Most of the characters were a bit cartoony (especially the bullies, who acted as if they were reading off a script) but I shouldn’t be so horrible about a fun family film.

I suppose that there were moments of laughter but most of the subplots were unresolved. I think that it was good that Joe eventually got a friend and learnt a few lessons about his own worth and to not use it as a weapon.

Ok film but it ended without tying up some of the loose knots.

2.5/5

 

The Knick Season 1episode 10

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‘John, the drug. It’s destroying you’

Thackery’s drug addiction makes him more obviously paranoid while his competitor Zinberg carries out blood transfusion research and Cornelia chooses to not keep Algernon’s baby but proceeds with her wedding.

It is a qood round off to a fairly so-so series. Out of this series, I liked the historical references e.g blood transfusions, 500 years to figure out the cause of germs, Pasteur, blood transfusions etc but what I don’t like is the fact that some episodes seem more like a soap opera than a proper series. There have been some rubbish episodes but there have been some good ones as well.

Thackery and Elkins’ romance carries on but Elkins is trying to cover up a lot of things and she becomes scared of Thackery’s sudden mood swings when he doesn’t get what he wants (drugs) and as a early 20th century surgeon, he is a no-nonsense professional in surgery. Until the drugs get the best of him and everything comes together. I liked how the end of the series was very open ended. I haven’t seen Season 2 as of yet but I would presume that the open ending allows many possibilities and plots and scenarios that can carry on successfully into series 2.

Season 1 has had its ups and downs but the last shot of Thackery going to sleep really sums up how he deserved some rest and somebody needed to take charge of his addiction before it was too late to save him like he couldn’t save some of his patients.

Moral message: don’t do drugs, kids and save lives.

3/5

Far from the Madding Crowd

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Far from the Madding Crowd is a movie about a fairly independent Victorian woman called Bathsheba (Carey Mullingan) who chooses between a sheep farmer Gabriel (Matthias Schoenaerts), a charming and good looking soldier Sgt Troy (Tom Sturridge) and a rich slightly older man called William Boldwood (Micheal Sheen). It is based off the book of the same name by Thomas Hardy. The movie also stars Juno Temple.

My Mum and older sister were both obsessed with this movie and they compared it to the original book. The movie is one of the most faithful Book-film adaptations although there there have been many other versions.

While I was a bit restless at times, the cinematography was incredible. It would come in handy to anyone interested in photography, cinematography or even art. The light behind them reflected onto them and at times, it looked like an oil painting.

The cinematography wasn’t there just to make it look good. Carey Mullingan is generally a very good actress and she played her character very well, incredibly badass despite slipping down that metaphorical independent ladder throughout the film as the hot soldier guy manipulates her as she and Juno Temple’s character become objects for men. Her costumes looked really beautiful and who couldn’t love Tom Sturridge in the fit red uniform? (not loving his character, though). The dog actor was very adorable and he carried the performance on his own.

Great cinematography, fantastic cast and brilliant costumes.

3.5/5

 

The Knick season 1 episode 9

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‘I have bedbugs’

Thackery’s cocaine addiction gets way out of hand and results in a lot of trouble that affects the people around him, including his fellow doctors and Nurse Elkins while Cornelia’s lover Algernon refuses to help her due to the fact that she is expecting  his colored child.

After two serial tedious and average episodes, the series seems to be back on its feet. Although we get a break from the gruesome operations for the time being, the Thackery/Elkins love story carries on to the point when Elkins is Thackery’s temporary drug supplier. I can’t bring myself to imagine how Elkins is being used to supply drugs, especially after Thackery is arrested for breaking and entering.

Slightly better than its previous two episodes but does have a tendency to dwell into soap opera elements which is disappointing after we were promised and given fantastic earlier episodes.

2.5/5

Arthur Christmas

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Arthur Christmas is a feel good Christmas movie about Santa’s youngest son Arthur (James McAvoy) who saves Christmas by delivering a misplaced present to a young girl called Gwen (Ramona Marquez) before Christmas Day arrives.

I like this film James McAvoy actually looked like his animated character and the movie contains a mostly all star cast and I like the choice of voice talent , to include Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent and Bill Nighy, plus a cover theme song from Justin Bieber.

Good movie to watch repeatedly throughout the Christmas season.

3.5/5

The Knick season 1 episode 8

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‘We are at the forefront of discovery and technique’

Thackey’s relationship with Nurse Elkins continues and I would presume that it would be a subplot to every remaining episode of the series and into the second one too. Meanwhile, a shortage of cocaine means that Thackery goes into withdrawal, and he worries that Dr Zinberg will steal the spotlight at the hospital.

I feel really perverted for actually liking this episode amongst about 5 other decent ones. To be honest, I’m getting the vibe that the earlier Season 1 Knick episodes are a lot better than later S1 episodes. However, I am keen to see the rest of the series and this episode gets slightly better as it goes along but it just falls flat at times.

Ok episode but I’ve seen better episodes in the series and at least they included some form of real life historical references (500 years to discover germs) so it wasn’t all a game of doctors and nurses.

2.5/5

 

The Knick Season 1 episode 7

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‘I can make it painless and perfect’

A racial attack breaks out after the policeman is killed when he makes an offer/pass at the girlfriend of an African American man. This directs back to Edwards’ status and skin color. Meanwhile, Thackery gets together with Nurse Elkins (I could see it coming since episode 1) as does Algernon with Cornelia.

This episode is probably one of the less interesting episodes that I have seen out of the series so far. It was good that Thackery and Nuse Elkins got together at last and racial attacks should not be taken lightly because it cost Algernon his life but this episode slips all too obviously into a typical hospital drama. There also seems to be a competition into how many sexually explicit scenes should be featured into one 40 minute episode. It just gets annoying because we’ve seen TV series scenarios like that before.

2/5