Monday, 30 July 2012

Getting older

Is it possible to mature in just 7 days?

For my first week of summer holidays, I thought I’d spend the time wisely and attempt to find some sort of work experience in an area I was interested in. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to search long after emailing a company and being accepted for a week’s experience in west London.

Hitting two birds with one stone, I planned to stay with my cousin in London for the week so I travelled by train to gain further experience in independence. Though the first day, my cousin helped me out with the different changes (as she coincidently got a similar route to work). Other than that, I took myself to and from work experience alone and felt pretty proud of it. At the beginning of the week I realised I’d never been on a complete train journey alone before, and realising I’d have to do this every day and meet certain train departure times, made me quite nervous. Of course, I was absolutely fine and needn’t worried, but the thought of all this ‘grown up stuff’ scared the hell out of me.

By day two, I was a natural London commuter. Getting out my copy of The Great Gatsby on every journey and beeping my oyster card in and out of stations felt like something I’d been doing since I was three. I even came close to having one of them ‘meets guy on train’ situations you see happen to the confident and independent protagonist in the movies. I was reading my book and I looked up to see a guy reading his book in the next seat area, then a few times we kept awkwardly *catching each other’s eyes. By came ‘close’, I mean it didn’t happen and by ‘catching eyes’, I was probably frightening him and had coco pops all down my front. But it felt like an adult moment nonetheless.

The work experience it’s self was incredible. I learnt a great deal about working environments and wrote a few things myself, which was really beneficial. Above all, I enjoyed myself. I’m not going to dabble into everything I did and where it was because not only will it sound like I’m bragging, but it’ll be boring to hear from me.

With the little time I had left after waking up early each morning plus commuting for a few hours a day, I tried to take advantage of having a week away from home (by mostly eating more peanut M&Ms in one week than I probably have in one whole year). One night my cousin and I went into the centre of London to the South Bank, one of my favourite areas of London, to walk around. We saw the neat little Festival of the World in honour of the Olympics, which is absolutely gorgeous, and I got a cookie and cream crêpe. Sure my cousin knew where to go, but being in London on a week night, eating a crêpe, knowing I had ‘work’ the next day made me feel a little more mature. Mature in the sense that I was experiencing things that I’ve never done alone or without assistance.

To top off a fabulous week, I saw The Dark Knight Rises with my cousin at a later showing than expected, so the adrenaline rush I gained from the very late night and early morning get up added to the complete insanity of Christopher Nolan’s farewell to Batman. In case anyone values my opinion, Rises is mental and beautiful at the same time and without a doubt the best ending to a film trilogy ever.
I’m not too sure where this post was aiming to go and I’m just as confused to how it’s ended, but I fancied something different for my blog. Basically, I feel more mature right now than I did 8 days ago and although it might not have changed me in a way that everyone else will notice, I notice it.
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Saturday, 14 July 2012

Magic Mike (2012)

Running Time: 110 minutes
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Olivia Munn, Cody Horn, Matthew McConaughey
Screenplay: Reid Carolin
UK Release Date: 11th July -UK

Quick Plot: After losing out on his football scholarship due to a fist fight, young and ruthless Adam moves to Tampa, Florida to live with his sister in hope of making money quickly and easily. After acquainting with Mike, he is  quickly introduced to the glamorous lifestyle of stripping, women and most importantly, money.

Review:  Supposedly Soderbergh and his Haywire co-star, Mr Channing Tatum, sat down and discussed the teenage years of Tatum’s stripper life, inspiring the story for Magic Mike. All the while the ex-stripper’s input to the film’s authenticity is very clear to see. Of course, the film is hot. I mean HOT. But this is another Soderbergh masterpiece in a way that it’s something unexpected for his filmography but at the same time, his signature style is all over it.

British hottie Alex Pettyfer is the closest to Tatum’s real past as Adam- or The Kid as he is later known by the boys. Naive, lazy and arrogant, Pettyfer is out of a football scholarship due to a fistfight, and needs to find a way of making money. Despite his sister’s efforts to help, The Kid doesn’t get on board, until newly acquainted Mike asks him to rally round girls to a club and help set up the props for the show at the male stripper club Xquisite. Unsurprisingly, The Kid’s a hit with the very generously paying female customers, so the head of the club, Dallas (McConaughey), and The Kid waste no time thinking over the obvious job offer. The Kid is introduced to the glamorous world of stripping, compiling of a tough buff routine, drug infused parties, women every night and most importantly the lots of money.

It’s certainly been Channing Tatum’s year, with recent recognition from critics for his hilarious role in 21 Jump Street; he seems to be breaking out of his Nic Sparks heartbroken-war-hero/dancer-boy shell. Magic Mike is Tatum’s breakthrough, putting more passion and energy into this role and finally playing a character that is intelligent and genuine! Not that his dancing should be scrapped because boy, can he dance! Tatum’s talents are on full display in Magic Mike and I’m hoping they are going to stick around for a while.
Fortunately for the world, Alex Pettyfer’s psychical body and acting talent is growing up, adding an impressive performance to his résumé with The Kid. He is painfully arrogant, typically naive but it adds to the quite fascinating character structure within Magic Mike. Newbie Cody Horn as The Kid’s responsible big sister is an absolute delight to watch, to put it simply. Resembling a slight Julia Stiles ‘10 Things’ Kat Stratford, she acts as fresh air to the film’s egocentric male vanity scene. Horn is the only real thing for Magic Mike, both the film and Mike himself. McConaughey‘s wicked and douchey Dallas deserves a few mentions purely for being a superb obnoxious creep.

As much as the hot stripper routines are a treat for the eyes, this is still a perfectly solid Soderbergh film. Its warm colours juxtaposed with the, sometimes, alarming moments of the film really make for an excellent piece of filmmaking. Though it sounds silly to write, this is a real film about real characters and real situations, and Soderbergh nails it! Nothing is sugar-coated to make Magic Mike appear funny or typical, even at the times where it’s meant to feel uncomfortable. Though it’s a big statement, this could be one of Soderbergh’s best.

This isn’t just a stripper movie. Magic Mike reveals the background to the seemingly glamorous lifestyle, uncovering the dark areas and revealing the truth of what stripping really is. There are no underlying clichés or irritating fake characters, instead a solid absorbing story with a cast who obviously give everything they got.

If you don’t appreciate Magic Mike for its clever screenplay, gritty atmosphere and marvellous performances, you can still have a good time watching lots of ABtastic (sorry) dance routines.


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Friday, 13 July 2012

Oz The Great And Powerful: Teaser trailer

Rating: TBC  UK Release Date: March, 2013
: Sam Raimi
: Joe Roth
Cast: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, Zach Braff

Disney’s fantastical adventure “Oz The Great and Powerful,” directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved character, the Wizard of Oz. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity—and even a bit of wizardry—Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well.

When small-time magician Oscar Diggs (James Franco) pulls one flimflam too many, he finds himself hurled into the fantastical Land of Oz where he must somehow transform himself into the great and powerful Wizard—and just maybe into a better man as well.
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Sunday, 8 July 2012

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter

Sunday 1st July 2012 marks one of the best days of my life. As a trip out for my little sister’s birthday present, my family and I went to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Leavesden.

I wanted to share a few pictures I took and mention what I loved most about the tour. With the exception of the 13 images I’ve inserted into this post, I’ve tried my very best not to spoil the experience, instead tell you reasons why you should go!

As the Harry Potter tour was only a twenty-minute journey on a clear motorway, I hardly had time to feel excitement growing. But the moment I stepped out of the car and saw the Harry Potter building, I was suddenly overcome by a wave of emotion.

I was excited, giddy but most of all scared. I was terrified to be perfectly honest and trying to explain why I was scared to my parents was quite difficult. I was basically scared that it wouldn’t be what I expected. The Harry Potter books and films were my childhood. I was only three when the first book was released, but I read it before I saw the first film and it meant a lot seeing something you’d read put onto a big screen. Then, almost every year for eight years, a film came out. Childhood.

Stepping into the queue, my Dad looked at me and asked, ‘Are you excited?’ I just nodded because I was in complete awe of the building. Around the entrance hall are pictures of the cast as themselves and in character, from the very first film to the last. The car is seen hovering in the sky, while Harry and Ron’s Hogwarts trolley is on another shelf. The magic begins as soon as you walk into the building.
After queuing for about 10 minutes, we walked into the room (past the cupboard under the stairs!) and entered a dark room with a few screens. After a very kind welcome from a tour guide, a video is shown involving David Heyman and the producers of the films, talking about how the Harry Potter films came to be and why they are just so special. After this, you’re taken to a cinema screen to watch a quick film before your tour.

The best thing about the tour is how well organised it is. At no time did I feel rushed to keep on moving or in a position where I couldn’t see anything or get to any place easily. Signs were everywhere to help navigate, as well as signs to the different artifacts and displays.

There is no time limit on this tour. You book a slot, but can then take as long as you would like to look around. There is a one way system between each of the different rooms though, so make sure you see everything or as much as you want in one room before moving to the next one. But other than this, you’re in control of your own Harry Potter experience!

Every now and then something fun pops up. Whether it’s Butterbeer (lush) or a TV screen where someone from the film gives a little bit more info on a few of the props or costumes, it’s something to interact with and take a little longer to look at. Oh and there may or may not be a few wands which you can use to clean pans or iron one of the Weasley’s jumper’s with.

Seeing the real costumes worn by the cast and the real props that were used in the film is can be quite overwhelming. The amount of detail that the crew members went into for the film is incredible. There wasn’t just a piece of paper with a squiggle on as Harry’s Hogwarts letter, no-no, the set prop department made sure the letter was written to the point it would be if it was real. And there were THOUSANDS of them, of course, for the letter scene. Even small props which were in the background of shots were created to the highest quality and detail. I read a letter from Lily Potter to Sirius Black that wasn’t looked at much in the film, but I felt tears rise to my eyes as I read it because of the insane amount of realism it holds.

Another highlight is the big surprise at the end…but I can’t go into that too much without giving it away!
I could easily go on about how incredibly amazing the Harry Potter Tour is, but the only way for people to understand what I mean is to go on the tour.

Below are a few pictures (25 out of the 360 I took!) of some of the moments from my tour. There is so much more to see than just this post and a few pictures.
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Monday, 2 July 2012

May and June viewings

I was contemplating whether or not to keep with posting my monthly viewings as I forgot to post my May ones with the move to a new site, but a few people find it interesting and let’s be honest, I have nothing better to do!

Here are my May and June viewings and remember, these are just films I have seen for the first time. It was quite a good month looking at ratings, or maybe I just watched the good stuff.

Total Recall (1991) 4/5
Garden State (2004) 4/5
To Kill A Mockingbird (1962) 5/5
50/50 (2011) 4/5
The Illusionist (2006) 3/5
Overboard (1987) 3/5
The Incredible Hulk (2008) 3.5/5
Empire Of The Sun (1987) 4/5
Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) 5/5
Bonnie and Clyde (1967) 3.5/5
How To Steal A Million (1966) 3/5
The Unforgiven (1960) 3/5
Alien (1979) 4/5
Rushmore (1997) 4/5
Prometheus  (2012) 4/5
Chaplin (1994) 4/5
Natural Born Killers (1994) 4/5
Midnight In Paris (2011) 4/5
Shame (2011) 4/5
The Five-Year Engagement (2012) 3.5/5
The Great Gatsby (1974) 4/5
Lars and the Real Girl (2007) 4/5
Away We Go (2009) 4.5/5
Gregory’s Girl (1981) 4/5
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