All entries for March 2006

March 30, 2006

Ready to weep with grief or joy at Hostel?

Movie image
Not rated

USA 2005, 95 mins.

Known to many as the personification of cool, style and violent art forms, Tarantino is starting to set the new trend for directors to become guest directors and guest/small part producers. After guest directing in the superb hit Sin City, it now seems instead of planning his own films, Tarantino is opting for the trendy producing and guest directing. Is the cinematic legend out of inspiration or was he purely helping out his hot buddy Robert Rodriguez on Sin City? (Who incidently has the best band ever called Chingon – put on your speakers -, but that's another highly cool story. Tracks can be heard on the Kill Bill Vol II soundtrack, which Rodriguez scored and the proceeds from the CD go to charity, so it's even better.)

However, as a lover of all things Tarantino I am slightly dubious over the comnig of Hostel which looks nothing short of horrific. True, I've only seen the trailers and read the plot outline on the net, but I believe a lot can be judged from a film trailer. Indeed, I think a film should partly be judged by it's trailer. If you're stupid enough as a director to release a trailer which does your film no justice, then it's your fault if the box office suffers.

Anyway, Hostel looks like another horricfically boring "teens go in search of a fun hedonisitc holiday and end up getting killed in many grusome ways" type of film. We've seen it all before. As such, the IMDB managed to summarise the plot in 3 lines, which I've manged to summarise into 1. I was very shocked to realise that QT actually produced the film. From the trailer it looks as though it has none of the Tarantino style or wit. It just looks…mindlessly violent. Something Tarantino is not. So in contrast to my usual excitment about a Tarantino feature about to come out, I am a little sceptical and get the feeling Tarantino's heart was not in this. In fact, if the film is how I predict, I will be highly dissapointed. It just looks like something we've seen before.

That said, there is a little excitment on the horizon. QT has 2 new films scheduled to come out this year: Grind House and Inglorious Bastards, the first of which is co-directed with buddy Rodriguez. Details aren't out yet but I'm sure these will more promising than this teen horror picture. I hate teen films…nearly always rubbish and always about the same things with some bad acting and supposedly beautiful people. Change the record!

March 20, 2006

Bored Blog Anon.

Writing about Bored Now – I nicked this idea from another blog! from Alex's Worst Blog Ever.

1. Were you named after anyone? Nope. Though I was going to be called either Charlotte or Fiona until my parents decided on Victoria.

2. Do you wish on stars? What would the point be?

3. When did you last cry? Hmmmm…probably about a month ago.

4. Do you like your handwriting? Yes. It's a bit scruffy but better scruffy than precision perfect.

5. What is your favourite meat? Overall probably chicken. But I love things like cured bacon, salamis etc.

6. What is your most embarrassing CD on your shelf? The James Bond soundtracks?

7. If you were another person, would YOU be friends with you? Oh of course.

8.Are you a daredevil? In some respects, but not in others.

9. How do you release anger? With strong words.

10. Where is your second home? Coventry. Though when I leave (sniff) I'm not sure. Hopefully in another country.

11. Do you trust others easily? Nope.

12. What was your favourite toy as a child? A fun pack of cards, teddy or some board game.

13. What class in school/college do you think is totally useless? PSHE. What. Was. The. Point?

14. Do you use sarcasm a lot? I don't know the meaning of the word.

15. Have you ever been in a mosh pit? No! It looks awful.

16. What do you look for in a guy/girl? A nice face.

17. Would you bungee jump? Probably not. The idea just doesn't appeal to me.

18. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? No. I should do really as it wears the laces out.

19. What's your favourite ice cream? Belgium chocolate.

20. What are your favourite colours? Green, blue.

21. What are your least favourite things? Annoying people, arrogance, laziness, people who talk in the cinema.

22. How many people do you have a crush on right now? At this moment in time…errmm…the number wouldn't be able to be generated on the computer's keyboard.

23. Who do you miss most right now? Quite a few people actually. Mainly my Mum and a few people who i haven't seen for yonks.

24. What are you listening to right now? Hard-Fi.

25. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be? In your arse.

26. What is the weather like right now? Finding out would involve opening the curtains. So I'm going to hazard a guess: it's like tropics out there.

27. Last person you talked to on the phone? One of my housemates.

28. The "first" thing you notice about the opposite sex? Face.

29. Do you like the person who sent you this? No one sent this to me, I merely chavved the quiz off someone else.

30. How are you today? A little annoyed.

31. Favourite non alcoholic drink? Ummm…coke, water, cranberry & raspberry juice.

32. Favourite alcoholic drink? Hmmm, white wine, Fosters, purple, smirmoff.

33. Natural hair colour? Dark brown.

34. Eye colour? Light brown.

35. Wear contacts? Nope!

36. Siblings? Indeed! One sister, one brother. Both older.

37. Favourite month? I'm quite a fan of december. I love Christmas but hate new years though. June is often a good one except exams. August is normally quite nice except if it's really hot. Errrm, hate March. (What happens in march???!!?!) Ummm…i don't know. Probably december then.

38. Favourite food? Where to begin? :D Prawns, smoked salmon, cheese, salami, garlic sauces, risotto, chocolate, noodles, lemon, lamb chops, pork siroloin, rump steak, fresh basil, pesto…..when i went to italy i was in heaven.

39. Favourite day of the year? Well if it hasn't happened yet, how do i know? I'm not going to say my birthday as that would be false. I'll say christmas.

40. Have you ever been too shy to ask someone out? Oh hell yes.

41. Scary movies or happy endings? How about neither.

42. Summer or winter? Winter.

43. Do you want your friends to write back? Bloody hell, no.

44. Who is most likely to respond? No one! No one at all!

45. What book/magazine are you reading? Currently I'm reading a book for my course.

46. What's on your mouse pad? I don't have a mouse. I have a inbuilt mousey on my laptop.

47. What did you watch on TV last night? Hmmm. It started with Poirot and then we watched The Hole.

48. Favourite Smell? The smell of revenge. I'm kidding, probably fresh ground coffee or garlic!

49. Have you ever regretted breaking up with someone? Nah.

50. Most tiresome thing you’ve ever experienced/done? I'm going to take "tiresome" as meaning "you were so tired once you'd completed this task you were a zombie." It was when I travelled from New York to North Carolina on the greyhound bus last summer. Delays! Cancellations! Scary people! Victoria by herself clutching her passport to her chest in desperation of not getting mugged at the greyhound desk at midnight! People trying to con me! Huge suitcase and little me! No toilets! Phone not working! Travelling through the night! Victoria not knowing when to get off the bus the next day! When I finally got to my destination I was a little stressed out zombie.

March 12, 2006

Walk the Line

Writing about web page

Movie image
Walk the Line
5 out of 5 stars

Director: James Mangold
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Patrick.
Time: 136 mins
Twentieth Century Fox.

Described by his contempory, Bob Dylan, as someone who no one else can be, Johnny Cash is one of music's finest legends. Masterful lyrics, new chords and stage charisma are things which define Cash from other similiar musicians. So great is Cash's musical repertoire and so profound is his mark on history, that one would assume that any attempt to try and imitate him would be a disaster.

Despite past films trying to imitate legends to a horrific effect, Mangold's film skirts many of the usual dangers film producers have to dodge when making a film about a legend. Like Ray (2005), the film choses a traditional path to tread, centering on Cash's emotional twists and turns and the effect the music has on him and him on the music. Concentrating mainly on Cash's relationship with June Carter, the film establishes the enduring friendship between them and Johnny's constant hope for more.

The pair sing on tour together and it clear that they are soul mates, made for each other both on and off the stage. However, a sea of woe stands between them: June's divorce, June's new husband and Johnny's addiction to amphetamines. When June has had enough of drugs, the hardship and the social isolation, she leaves the tour – sending Johnyy into a downward spiral of depression, rage and financial problems. His first marriage to Vivian (a simple houswive with none of June's fire and energy but likeable) is in tatters, especially after it is clear that Johnny's romantic intentions lie elsewhere.

The backbone of the film and possible the most important aspect of the feature is the relationship between Cash and his father. His father held the unexpected and untimely death of Johnny's elder brother as Johnny's fault, initiating the guilt and pain Johnny feels about life and his family – something which is reflected in his music. The devil, his father scathes "took the wrong son." It is exactly this missing paternal link which Johnny finds so difficult to get over.

Perhaps the reason Walk the Line missed out at the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Actor (Phoenix) is that the screenplay already existed in the form of Cash's life and imitation is arguably easier for an actor to achieve rather than building a character up from a script. True, Heath Ledger's performance as the ranch cowboy in Brokeback Mountain was nothing short of genius (purely as a performace and also that Ledger is so typecast as being rubbish that he had to work hard to break his mould) and Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance was Oscar worthy, granted. However, Joaquin Phoenix's performance cannot go without mention when discussing the greatest performances from actors 2005/2006.

Typecasted as an actor who is expressionless and perhaps a little camera shy (see The Village), Phoenix is mesmerising. There's a lot to say for an actor or actress who captivates an audience. This is exactly what Phoenix does. His imitation of Cash is incredible. His voice is deep, rustic and harsh. So great is Phoenix's depiction of Cash both on and off stage that one finds oneself believing to be watching Cash and not Phoenix. Phoenix's co-star and Oscar winner, Reese Witherspoon, delievers the performance of a lifetime, stepping away from her usual roles and delieveries and stepping into unfamiliar terrority, and achieving the greatest award. Her singing is sassy, she is funny, adoring and she portrays June's unwillingness to temper her passions and see Cash's self-destruction brilliantly.

Phoenix's performance is magnificant and should not be overshadowed by any other Oscar contender. The film is honest and sound, juxtaposing the musical success and downfall of one man. One could perhaps argue that the film choses to centre more on Cash's life than his music and does imply that Cash simply fell into his musical personality, rather than offering any scope for how his music was born. As a peice of cinema the film is stunning and a joy to watch whether one is a Cash fan or not. It's just as well Bob Dylan references were kept to a low and no Dylan cameos were made as this would have completed lowered the tone.

The accomplished vocal work of Phoenix and Witherspoon does not really get enough attention in the film. Their work is masterful. Phoenix's "on-stage" performances are just sensational. The acting is spot-on on all accounts and the general production is solid. Particular gems are the concert footage and the flashback's into Cash's earlier years. This insight into one of music's greatest legends is flawless and captivating and can watched repeatedly for many years to come.

Fantastic and highly recommended.

March 2006

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