Monday, June 11th, 2012
As I’m a runner, you’ve probably guessed that I’m a little excited about the new movie Fast Girls, about a women’s 4 x 100m relay team (head on over to my other site Spikes and Heels to read a full review). Last week I had a chance to meet some of the cast for a chinwag. We talked about training, the rarity of having four female leads and what their event would be if they were competing in the Olympics for real. Check out what they had to say below.
Monday, January 24th, 2011
I hadn’t read any reviews of Black Swan before going to see it last week. I’d seen the trailer once. All I knew was Natalie Portman, ballet and some kick ass eye makeup. I usually require a little knowledge before deciding on seeing a film, but that seemed like a good enough basis on which to see it. And as I sit thinking about it more than 24 hours later, I still can’t decide whether it was good, bad or truly awful.
In many ways, it plays up to a lot of tired stereotypes. Portman plays Nina Sayers, a dancer with a ballet company in New York, desperate for the role of the Swan Queen in the company’s ‘visceral and real’ performance of Swan Lake. The company director, Thomas Leroy (played with brilliant flair by Vincent Cassel) gives her the role, but doesn’t believe she can embody the rawness of the Black Swan. The White Swan though, Sayers can play to perfection – she is, after all, sweetness and innocence personified. (Stereotype number one)
And we see why when we see her home life. She’s in her early 20s and shares a small apartment with her mother. A music box with a spinning ballerina plays Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake to get her to sleep (Stereotype number two) and her overbearing mother still tucks her in at night. Her room is pink and overcrowded with stuffed animals – her mother is imprisoning Nina in her youth. Unsurprisingly, the mother used to be a dancer and is living out her dream through her daughter (stereotype number three).
Nina must find a way to connect with the Black Swan, to bring that side of her performance to life. Company director Thomas encourages her to be bad, to live a little – and so naturally, suggests she masturbates, because that’s what bad girls sit around doing all day apparently. But Vincent Cassel is so charming and persuasive in his role that quite frankly, he could tell you to moonwalk off a cliff while singing the national anthem and you’d do it. So masturbate she does, and in quite epic fashion.
Her little self love experiment seems to help her channel into a better grasp of the role, but now there’s a new girl on the scene, Lily, played by the dark and seductive Mila Kunis, and while Nina has all the technical brilliance required for the Swan role, Lily brings an edge and realness that the Black Swan requires. She is made understudy. A rival (stereotype number four), Nina wholeheartedly believes Lily is out to destroy her (stereotype number five), she’s a doppelganger! And could potentially take away the role of Nina’s life! (Stereotype number six). At this point you start to feel a little battered around the face with all the cliches.
While all of this is going on, Nina is quite clearly descending into madness – she’s jumpy, hallucinating, obsessive, catching weird reflections in mirrors. Basically, the role is making her absolutely bat shit crazy. And while at first, you’re on that journey with her and feel sorry that her feeble little soul is going through it, after a while, it becomes so overbearing as to be comical. There were points where the audience laughed, though I’m sure we weren’t supposed to, at the utter ridiculousness of it all.
But for all the nutso-ness, you cannot escape the brilliance of Portman’s performance. She trained for 10 months and while director, Darren Aronovsky, relies heavily on upper body shots and avoids any full length ones, presumably in an effort to disguise her technical shortcomings, her commitment to the role and sheer grace is astounding. This is somewhat of a warts and all expose of what ballet dancers put their bodies through for their art.
All in all, it was watchable, visually very nice, Portman’s great, but I know I wasn’t the only one who came out of the cinema saying ‘what the f***?’
Tuesday, June 1st, 2010
I went to see Sex & The City 2. God help me. This video explains my thoughts.
Thursday, May 13th, 2010
It’s no secret I love me a gangster flick and Goodfellas is quite simply, one of the best movies of all time. Don’t ever even bother trying to debate that point with me. You will lose. I remember the first time I watched it, I was blown away (excuse the pun). I’ve now watched it so many times, I’m one of those annoying people who quotes the script throughout the movie. There are so many classic moments in this film it makes your head spin. But beyond the shoot-em-up gangster stylings, I believe Goodfellas teaches us some valuable life lessons. Here’s what it taught me:
If someone with possible mob connections asks you to get them a drink, just do it.
Don’t question it. Don’t diddle daddle. Just hop right to it. Oh you wanna mess around and ask questions? Cool, keep smiling while you get your foot shot off, you idiot.
That if I was a man, and I smoked cigarettes, I would smoke them exactly like this with that exact track playing at all times.
I’m not a smoker and I know smoking’s not supposed to be sexy and all, but screw that – I could play this clip all day long and never get bored.
Know when to call a bluff.
If you’re blood pressure didn’t go up during this scene, you are not actually human. Other things to note in this scene: Joe Pesci is one crazy mofo and seriously, does anyone laugh better than Ray Liotta?
That you should not ask for money in amounts, but in measurements
I mean hell, if you’re gonna be a kept woman, why even bother to refer to money by actual dollars and cents? It’s my hope that one day I’ll be married to a man so filthy rich and he asks me how much money I want – my reply will be ‘six inches’.
You may think it’s a good idea to flush the drugs during a police raid, but it might not be.
Unless you want to be involved in an epic crackhead shouting, screaming, hugging fest such as the one in this clip, you better find some better hiding places for your dope.
Thursday, November 5th, 2009
I did this a while ago with my iPod secrets – shared with you certain tunes that I’m slightly embarrassed to have in my collection, but will bust a move to in private, regardless. I figured it was time I did one for movies.
We all have those movies that we won’t admit we like, but God forbid they come on a cable channel on a Sunday afternoon – you’ll turn your phone off, close the curtains and have a lock in so you can enjoy it in peace. Here’s a few of mine:
If Mrs Doubtfire is on TV, don’t call me. I’m busy. Robin Williams was a comedy genius in this movie. I don’t even like slapstick, but it all works here. Such a simple concept, but played out with such brilliance. There really wasn’t much point in anyone else being in this movie, but that little girl had to be thrown in for the cute factor (despite the fact that she said all her lines at an unhumanly slow pace). So, if Mrs Doubtfire is on, you can find me chucking popcorn down my neck and big belly laughing.
I remember when this movie came out and I went to see it at the cinema with my school friend. I was probably all of ten years old and even then, I was never the one who would blubber in the movie theatre. But now, throw on that scene with Thomas J’s funeral and are you kidding me? I trigger a frikkin’ tsumani! Every girl loved Macauly Culkin and the lead character’s name was Vada Sultenfuss. What’s not to love about that? And she had a crush on her teacher. Helloooo, did we not all have a crush on our teacher at that age? So yes, if My Girl is on TV and you have invited me out, I will be ‘running errands’ (which is always code for ‘watching My Girl, sniffling into tissues and eating icecream’).
I may have looked like a Fraggle when I was younger, but I didn’t have it as bad as Annie, because she was an orphan. Is it just me, or did she make living in an orphanage look kinda fun? She’s singing and dancing all day, she gets to hang out with that dog. Then she gets scooped up by some rich dude, given some cool threads and lives the high life? I think you’ll find, Annie was a pimp. And hells yes, you better believe that when this comes on TV, I sing and dance along. Stop judging me!
Ahh, I feel cleansed.
Alright, so I’ve shared. Now it’s your turn. Come on, spill it – what are your movie guilty pleasures?
Sunday, February 8th, 2009
So, I saw ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’. Quick synopsis for those that are interested; spend two hours shitting all over everything women think is true about relationships. Spend the last twenty minutes trying to tie it all together and make you believe there is hope after all. Bitch please. *Eye roll*
Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008
Friday night, a tub of ice cream and a bit of Save the Last Dance 2 on DVD – that’s a good time right there.
It’s the predictability of them that I find comforting. Whether it’s Step Up, Step Up 2: The Streets, Save the Last Dance or its sequel, you can rest assured that they all have pretty much the same story line. You can’t get too lost. Here are the most important factors:
Lead character with troubled past
Check. The lead should either be from the hood/wrong side of the tracks or have had some sort of family tragedy (preferably the death of a parent) that has led them to pursue their craft with the upmost gusto. It goes without saying that the power of the dance is the only thing that keeps them going.
Many-a-club dance off
I don’t know where the hell this club is, but it’s unlike any club you’ve ever known. The floor has trampolines and shit in it so people can execute previously unimaginable dance stylings. Also, while the people milling around in the club may all look like strangers, they’re really all part of rival dance crews and when the right record comes on, they will divide and conquer.
Most dance movies take place in the Bizarro-America when there is racial harmony. The club they go to is a veritable United Colors of Beneton. Black and white all party together. This does not happen in the real world America. But while they create that fantasy world for the club scenes, they keep the racial stereotyping alive on a character level. ‘Angry Black Chick’ always makes an appearance and is usually hating on ‘Vulnerable White Girl’ because she gets ‘Wrong Side of the Tracks Black Dude’. But in the end ‘Angry Black Chick’ forgives ‘Vulnerable White Girl’ for being a man stealing ho and all is right with the world.
The Final Performance
The end you’re always waiting for. ‘Vulnerable White Chick’ finds her strength and her pointe shoes and takes to the stage/club dance floor for one last hurrah. Everything in her life depends on it and it’s quite possible that peace in the middle east and an end to the genocide in Darfur also hang in the balance. She takes all the moves she learned from ‘Angry Black Chick’ and ‘Wrong Side of the Tracks Black Dude’ and combines them with her fifth grade ballet recital steps. The judges love it and bob their heads out of time to the hip hop beats as ‘Wrong Side of the Tracks Black Dude’ beams with pride in the wings. In the end, she gets into the school of her dreams and gets all the street cred a white chick from Delaware can possibly get. She’s queen bitch.
And there you have it. Combine all those factors with a soundtrack by Neyo or whoever has replaced him as the hottest shit in town and you’ve got yourself a hit.
Friday, June 20th, 2008
This list got me thinking. What would the soundtrack of my life be? I decided to put my iPod on shuffle and just write down whatever song came up next to each scene title.
And I ask you, who the hell wouldn’t want to see the movie of my life with a soundtrack this good?!
Opening Credits: Get By (remix Feat. Mos Def & Jay-Z) – Talib Kweli (This is a ridiculously good opening credits track – are you kidding me?!)
Waking Up: So Sweet – Glenn Lewis (A solid waking up song, I feel.)
Falling in Love: Knock on Wood – Wilson Pickett (Not your traditional fall in love type song, but there’s elements that work, when you consider that I’ll obviously be falling in love with, well, the coolest guy ever.)
Fight Scene: You give me Fever – Peggy Lee (I don’t know what the hell kind of fight that would be. Probably me scrapping with one of the transvestite prostitutes on my street or something.)
Breaking Up: A Song For You – Donny Hathaway (Can we just all pause for a moment to give my iPod a high five? Has there ever been a more perfect break up song than this? No, I didn’t think so.)
Make up: Soundbombing – Talib Kweli & Mos Def (How fitting that hip-hop brought me and the coolest guy ever back together.)
Secret Love: Ball of Confusion – The Temptations (Ha! My love life remains one big Ball of Confusion)
Life’s OK: Sophisticated Lady – Duke Ellington (I’m nothing if not sophisticated, bitches.)
Mental Breakdown: Superfly – Curtis Mayfield (The sound of mental breakdown or the song I get dressed to every day? You decide.)
Driving scene: Soulful – Kanye West (Windows down on a sunny day? Check. Expensive car that I don’t own? Check. Someone else driving because I don’t have a license? You betcha.)
Flashback: Electric Relaxation – A Tribe Called Quest (Another high five for my iPod, please.)
Happy Dance: My First, My Last, My Everything – Barry White (If you haven’t done a happy dance to this, you haven’t lived.)
Regretting: Feel Like Making Love – Roberta Flack (Damn you, Roberta!)
Long Night Alone: Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough – Michael Jackson (I don’t know about you, but my long night’s alone involve a disco ball in my living room and me wearing a silver sequined glove.)
Final Battle: Chan Chan – Buena Vista Social Club (This ‘final battle’ would take the form of a salsa dance off in the streets of Toronto. Obviously.)
Death Scene: Bada Bing – DangerDoom (Even in death, I got rhythm.)
Final Ending: Cold Sweat – James Brown (I would happily have the horn section on this track be the soundtrack of my entire life.)
End Credits: Streetlife – Randy Crawford (This would be the image of me cruising down my street on my bike, trannies in the background.)
I expect the movie offer to come pouring in any…minute…now.