Shaken or stirred?

Tonight I re-watched Casino Royale (the Daniel Craig version, not the terrifying David Niven version that I once watched by accident in the middle of the night). This is the first of Daniel Craig’s outings as 007 and boy is it a good film!

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Casino Royale sort of plays out as a bit of a James Bond origin story, trying to explain where some of his angst comes from – particularly his mistrust of women which is made to come across as being hurt rather than just being sexist. Actually, there are some attempts to address the sexism in Bond in Casino Royale, for example, at one point a woman rides a horse along a beach wearing a bikini and, just for equality, Bond then emerges from the sea in those blue shorts!

The supporting cast is excellent. Mads Mikkelson plays baddie Le Chiffre, Eva Green plays the mysterious Vesper and Judi Dench returns as M.

The look and feel of Casino Royale is so slick and stylish. There are flash cars, parkour and a spectacular action scene in a sinking house in Venice. In particular I like this dress…

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I would literally look ridiculous in it being hobbit-sized, but it’s just so classy!

Daniel Craig has a very wry sense of humour and smirking style. He pouts a lot, even when trying to use a defibrillator on himself (impossible) or the scene with the chair (ouch).

My only criticism is that there is a lot of poker-playing in this film and, as someone who has no idea how to play poker, I find this very dull. I also find these bits hard to follow as I don’t understand who is winning or losing. Does someone want to teach me to play? I’m not sure I have a great poker face though.

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A great chunk of the film looks like this.

There’s a lot to love about this film, even the theme song is great although it seems to have been largely lost because of the popularity of Skyfall. Another great intro to Bond if you’re not sure that you’re a Bond fan.

Bond’s best quip in this film comes in response to the question ‘shaken or stirred?’ listen out for it, classic James. All he wants is a cheeky Martini. 

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My Top 21 Films OF ALL TIME

Hello everyone! I was challenged by my friends to come up with my Top 20 films. I realised I couldn’t narrow it down to just 20, so I have gone with 21. It was actually easier than I thought it would be. These are films I have watched over and over again. They are films I could finish watching and literally sit and watch them again. Which actually might be a bit sad and I have actually done before.

They are in some sort of order. Roughly.

21. The Mummy (1999)
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I can remember watching The Mummy a lot in the lower half of secondary school. I was obsessed with this film partly because I was a big nerd at school and had a fascination with Ancient Egypt (does everyone go through this phase?) and partly because I had a massive crush on Brendan Fraser. Maybe also because I wanted to grow up to be Rachel Weisz.

A lovely combination of action/adventure, comedy and romance. Perfect family viewing! Though the scarab beetles were a bit creepy…

20. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
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I felt I had to include a musical on this list because of my love of musical theatre. Singin’ in the Rain was the obvious choice. It’s a culturally interesting film – documenting the advent of talking pictures (with hilarious consequences).

Gene Kelly is a true gentleman, they just don’t make them like that anymore (is Brendan Cole the nearest equivalent? Maybe?) There are some moments of truly brilliant cinema – especially the iconic title number (which, rumour has it, was filmed with milk instead of water so it would show up more clearly on camera!)

19. Donnie Darko (2001)
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I did a blog post on this recently which can be found here. I rediscovered this film in the last few weeks (to the extent that my Halloween costume this year is Donnie’s). Another film I loved when I was at school, but in my later teens.

It is delightfully weird, quirky and philosophical. It’s a bit pretentious and I guess it wouldn’t appeal to everyone but I love it!

18. True Romance (1993)
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This is a film I only watched for the first time in the last few years. It’s a crime/thriller/dark comedy starring Christian Slater with a fantastic soundtrack. There are some beautiful cinematic moments – especially the final shoot out.

Watch out for Gary Oldman’s amazing cameo!

17. Predator (1987)
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I watch Predator (yes, the Arnold Schwarzenegger alien jungle romp) every New Year’s Eve. It is a brilliantly ridiculous movie. There’s no dialogue for a massive chunk of the film as Arnie stalks the Predator through the jungle, only to come out with a truly classic one-Iiner.

Keep an eye out for the credits – they are amazing.

16. Scream (1997)
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As a horror fan I felt I should include one on this list. Scream is my favourite horror of all time, perhaps because it includes comedy so it makes it able to be watched time and again even though the ending is no longer a surprise. Courtney Cox and David Arquette perfectly compliment the high school antics and Neve Campbell is so 90s it hurts (whatever happened to her?). So iconic.

Never, ever, ever, under any circumstances say ‘I’ll be right back’. Because you won’t be back…

15. Gladiator (2000)
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Yet another film I binge-watched in secondary school before binge-watching was a thing. After my obsession with Ancient Egypt came my obsession with Ancient Rome. It was also one of the first films I saw Russell Crowe in, back when I only knew him from South Park (fightin’ round the world).

Perfectly acted and with a haunting soundtrack. A must see, but you already knew that!

14. Clueless (1995)
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There were SO many mid-90s to mid-00s teen films I could have included on this list. I have narrowed it down to two. The first is Clueless. Full of memorable dialogue, fabulous outfits and a young Paul Rudd. I remember wishing I could be Cher. Although thinking about it now the whole step-brother thing is a bit weird.

(Very loosely) based on Jane Austen’s Emma, Clueless is a true cult classic. If anyone disagrees then whatever!!

13. Superbad (2007)
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Superbad is a film I tend to watch after a night out at 2am. I have watched it so many times it is unreal. Particularly at University.

The dialogue is so perfect and the whole McLovin thing is one of my favourite comedy moments of all time. Take off the vest, you look like Aladdin.

Superbad introduced me to some of my favourite comedy actors – Bill Hader, Michael Cera and Seth Rogen. It’s vulgar and hilarious but has such a sweet ending.

12. Jurassic Park (1993)
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A classic. No one can disagree this shouldn’t be on here, can they? The dinosaurs have stood the test of time so well. As a child this film terrified me, I was genuinely scared that dinosaurs would take over the earth (bear in mind that I was 4 when this came out!!)

The cast is great, John Williams’ score is incredible and the velociraptors are the stuff of nightmares. If you ever meet me in person, ask me to do an impression of my favourite dinosaur – it’s impressive!

11. Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)
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This appears on the list partly because it’s a great British comedy and partly because I’m pretty sure that I actually am Bridget Jones. She speaks to me on a level I get (with the exception of the cigarettes and alcohol – there’s a song in there somewhere). I think it’s how tragically awkward she is.

Very loosely based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (very loosely) the film stars an array of British stars and Renee Zellweger doing a passable British accent. It’s a true Romantic Comedy with just the right amount of both genres. The fight scene is just brilliant – should I bring my duelling pistols or my sword?

10. Mean Girls (2004)
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Sticking with RomComs, and the second of my teen film choices, my favourite films in this genre definitely focus on the quality of the comedy and script. Tina Fey is an exceptional comedy writer and Mean Girls is my favourite of her work. This is such a quotable film.

There isn’t a loose link in Mean Girls, the casting is perfect and you know when I said I could watch some films straight after I’ve finished watching them? Well at University we once watched Mean Girls three times in one night. Who knows why?!

9. Pulp Fiction (1994)
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I had to pick a Tarantino film for my list. I love his style and the whole universe he has created. If you haven’t read the theories of how his films link together then Google it now! Or after you’ve finished my list, whatever.

Pulp Fiction is so iconic – another true cult classic. A fabulous cast, soundtrack and a really original way of storytelling. The attention to detail in this film is stunning – next time you watch it check out the board games in the background in the Mia Wallace adrenaline scene.

8. Die Hard (1989)
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The ultimate Christmas film (other than maybe Elf). Bruce Willis just wants to get home for Christmas but gets a bit held up by some German terrorists. Alan Rickman plays the bad guy with a ridiculous German accent.

Some classic one-liners and a lot of awesome action. Makes me want to always wear shoes.

7. Anchorman (2004)
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An absolute favourite. So, so well cast and such a great script. It’s completely ridiculous and some of it makes very little sense.

I went to the cinema to see this with my brother and we had no idea what to expect. It instantly became a favourite. The sequel was a massive disappointment, but I don’t know how it possibly couldn’t have been.

I love lamp.

6. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
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Harrison Ford. Do I need to say any more?

Indiana Jones is a brilliant character, he’s a teacher/hero and is utterly charismatic. It was hard to pick just one of the trilogy (yes, trilogy, alright?) for this list. Last Crusade is funnier, Temple of Doom is scarier but Raiders of the Lost Ark is the original. Fantastic John Williams score, obviously.

5. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
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I’m a huge Disney fan, like every other person who grew up in the 90s. Easily my favourite is Beauty and the Beast and that’s primarily because I love Belle. She’s clever, funny and doesn’t take any nonsense.

The songs are lovely, Gaston is hilarious and the only disappointment is how the Beast looks as a Prince!

It will be interesting to see whether I enjoy the live-action film as much. Watch this space.

4. Back to the Future Part II (1989)
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A rare occasion where the sequel is far superior to the original (but where the second sequel is dreadful). BTTF II is so clever with the moving backwards and forwards in time. The sequence at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance in particular.

It’s nearly BTTF day guys – October 21 2015. Now, where’s my hoverboard?

3. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
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It pains me to choose just one, especially one which Faramir isn’t in, but I think Fellowship is my favourite Lord of the Rings film. It follows the forming and the breaking of the Fellowship and the start of Frodo’s long journey across Middle Earth.

It starts on such a positive note and ends on such a sad one, leaving you needing to carry on the adventure. It also introduces you to some amazing characters and to Middle Earth itself.

I’m a huge Lord of the Rings fan. My housemate and I used to revise to these films so I know them pretty well!!

2. Con Air (1997)
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It was challenging deciding whether to put this film first or second. I love it so much. Again, a brilliant cast and such a simple storyline, nothing too mentally taxing. Pure entertainment. Nic Cage is awesome, obviously, John Malkovich is a perfect villain and John Cusack is just lovely.

A word of warning – watch this film and you will get Leanne Rimes stuck in your head for days. How do IIIIII…

1. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
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Here we go, number 1!! It won’t be much of a surprise to anyone who knows me.

Again, really hard to pick just one of the trilogy (yes, trilogy) but I chose it for the same reason I chose Fellowship, it starts positively and ends sad, leaving you wanting more.

All the characters are great, with the obvious exception of C3PO, a brilliant John Williams score and lots of awesome space fun!

If anyone is reading this and wants to confess their undying love for me, be warned, I will respond with ‘I know’.

So, that’s it!! I’d love to hear your top 20 (or 21) films. Comment below!

I’m a peacock, you gotta let me fly!

Tonight I rewatched The Other Guys (Netflix). I’ve seen this film many times, including at the cinema when I got the reaction ‘it was better than I expected it to be based on your choice in films’. Seriously.

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The Other Guys follows desk cops boring Will Ferrell and angry Mark Wahlberg through a series of comedy crime capers. There’s a host of hilarious cameos from some great actors including Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Samuel L Jackson. For some unexplained reason Michael Keaton’s character talks in 90s band TLC song titles and Eva Mendes is very, very plain.

My favourite characters are Rob Riggle and Damon Wayans Jr.

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Love these guys!

Mark Wahlberg does short and angry very well but I prefer Will Ferrell when he’s doing his crazy, over the top, scene stealing roles. He’s a bit downbeat in this – other than his fabulous ‘Gator’ speech.

I feel like this film got a bit lost when it came out and seems to have been forgotten about in comedy history. I enjoy it (obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t have watched it as much). If you like Will Ferrell and you like the comedy genre then watch this film. It isn’t as crude and ridiculous as some comedy films of the same time and watch out for Gator!!

Why did I watch it to the end?!

This evening I watched a RomCom called ‘Bride Wars’ on E4. Let me start by saying I did not enjoy it and I’m not sure why I watched it all the way to the end (yes I do, I was too lazy to find the remote to change the channel!)

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I’m not always a fan of ‘girly’ films. I can find them a bit nauseous and they fixate on issues I find a bit boring. I guess I like the thrill of the chase and the will-they-won’t-they. These couples were couples at the outset of the film. Already my attention has been lost.

Let’s start with the leads. I love Kate Hudson. She is fabulous. She’s funny and beautiful – the perfect combination. However, I hate (and I mean HATE) Anne Hathaway! I think it’s something about her mouth. And her face in general. Well, her facial expressions. I just find her hard to watch. Again, another reason why my attention drifted.

As for their male counterparts, who didn’t really have a lot to do if I’m being honest, I was excited by young, chubby Chris Pratt!

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But even he was disappointing! He wasn’t funny, he was just boring. Give me Peter Quill any day!

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It’s like a Jackson Pollock in there…

The actual storyline was dull and predictable – but perhaps that’s what some people want from a RomCom. I also didn’t find the ‘Com’ part particularly funny. The pranks were unbelievable and really very harsh. I’m not sure I could treat someone as vindictively as they did to each other if they’d supposedly been my best mate.

Perhaps the only reason I watched it to the end was so I could feel justified in criticising it. I just didn’t enjoy it. End of. But if you did, I probably wouldn’t judge you, I’d just think you liked RomComs more than me and had a higher tolerance of Anne Hathaway’s face.

Sunday Night with Jake Gyllenhaal

Last night I decided to re-watch Donnie Darko, since they so kindly added it to Netflix (even though I have it on DVD).

This is a film I was obsessed with when I was about 14/15 and as soon as I started watching it again I remembered why…

Donnie_Darko_TOP-1My inner emo-girl approves.

In all seriousness, there is a great feel to this film. It’s arty and pretentious, but without it being too much. The characters are interesting and different, but still likeable. It has a beautiful soundtrack and visually moves between the mundane and the brilliantly weird effortlessly.

Jake Gyllenhall is fantastic in this film. He portrays the pretty ordinary teenage boy but is always on the verge of a complete meltdown. At his core he is lonely and uncertain of his place in the world. He is growing up. I know I certainly felt like that in my teens.

It also has some pretty memorable sequences and quotes – I’m thinking the weird fluid that Donnie sees and follows and ‘I sometimes doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion’.

It’s very post-modern. Make of the ending what you will. I know how I feel about its meaning, you should be free to decide for yourself.

After finishing Donnie Darko I decided to re-watch The Day After Tomorrow (another teen favourite of mine, I wonder why…)

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Look at his lovely face!

To be fair, this isn’t as ‘good’ a film as Donnie Darko. It tries to be clever but really it’s just another disaster movie.

Emmy Rossum is annoying (not jealous) and is a pathetic Damsel in Distress – in 2015 we like a strong, practical woman! She’s supposed to be incredibly academic (yay) but doesn’t tell anyone she’s sliced her leg open (boo).

There are some brilliant moments of comedy – I’m thinking when they’re discussing whether to save Nietzche and decide to burn the books on tax law instead (a wise decision). But also moments of actual nonsense – like Dennis Quaid trekking through the extreme cold to fetch his son.

Nonsense aside, I love this movie. It’s easy to watch and it has heart. Everyone loves survival against all odds – even if they decide to just wipe out Europe!