Aug 31, 2010

Another beautiful day in... Zombieland (2009)

directed by Ruben Fleischer / starring Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin
 I saw this in cinema last year, and now watched it again with my brother, because he wanted to. And I didn't really mind. Zombieland, like anything, was better in cinema, but made me laugh on a small screen, too.
Zombies have taken over the world. I guess it's some virus. Anyway, only a bunch of people still remain, er, people, and they make their best to survive in Zombieland, or Z-land, everyone in their own way. Columbus (not his real name, but you don't use your real name in Zombieland) is geeky, introverted young man, who has survived so far by strictly obeying his neurotic list of rules (e.g. beware of bathrooms, limber up, when in doubt, know way out, and most importantly, double tap). He teams up with Tallahassee, a Southern badass, who was born to kill zombies and eat Twinkies. On their roadtrip they meet Wichita and Little Rock, two sneaky sisters on their way to Pacific Playland.

Jesse Eisenberg is kind of adorable. He delivers his lines with his bone-dry voice, making some of the average jokes actually quite funny. ("Oh, you're about to learn who you're gonna call... Ghostbusters.") I can't wait seeing him in The Social Network! Woody Harrelson is a funny, charismatic guy, and they work very well together with Eisenberg. Opposites forced to get along together is always fun. I like Abigail Breslin, because of Little Miss Sunshine. She has funny scenes with Harrelson's character, that Hannah Montana moment and all. Emma Stone is the mandatory pretty girl, providing the mandatory romance plot. Though I like that one random laugh. Which brings us to THE cameo. Which was obviously very funny. Easily the funniest part of the film.

Zombieland isn't high culture. It has incoherent, idiotic, with a couple of poor, clumsy attempts to make the characters more dimensional and the story deeper, but it's a solid package of bullet-proof (and zombie-proof) entertainment. Some days that's all you can ask.

(Below, something I didn't notice the first time. These are some of the Zombies they were chased by in Hollywood. Seriously, a Tramp Zombie? You don't see that every day, haha. Excellent.)

"I'm not great at farewells, so... that'll do, pig."

Aug 30, 2010

Lost lost / Damn you, Emmys!

Last night after 2 am I opened my laptop, because despite being tired I didn't feel sleepy at all. As you might know it was the primetime Emmy night, and I was happy to find some livestream material from the red carpet in IMDb homepage. So I watched that for a while, and when the show itself began (it was 3 am by then) I found myself waiting for the results and staring at a "backstage cam" at I finally made myself switch off my laptop when Lost lost in the first category it was nominated it. Good thing I did, I don't know if I could've taken all those upcoming disappointments so late at night, haha. Poor Lost. Hopefully you're a better loser than I am.

So, Lost left home empty handed. Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn have both won Emmys previously, so I think I can get over their losses. Matthew Fox didn't win either, but Jack doesn't care about winning, right? An Emmy for Darlton would've been nice, or for Jack Bender for directing... But oh well. At least they won some back in season 1.

There are some bright spots, too. Jane Lynch won, which was very cool, Glee is awesome and Sue Sylvester just pure genious. I'm not familar with Modern Family, which 'robbed' most of Glee's potential Emmys, so I can't really hold any grudge there. Now I only must swallow my bitterness and be happy for Mad Men. They did good, and deservingly so.

Jimmy Fallon hosted. He's pretty good, actually. I kind of like him. Here's the opening number, Glee themed, which of course is awesome. Also, Jon Hamm dancing and shaking his booty is something worth seeing, I can tell you...

Now I'll go lick my wounds and maybe watch today's portion of Lost. You'll always be the winner in my eyes.

Aug 28, 2010

The Kid (1921) - Chaplin's beloved first-born

directed by Charles Chaplin / starring Charles Chaplin, Jackie Coogan, Edna Purviance

Yeah, The Kid wasn't Chaplin's 'first-born', per se, but it was the first one of his films I'd call a full-length film. It's only 50 minutes, but anyway! '6 reels of joy', according to a poster, and that's just what it is.

This time the Tramp ends up adopting a little orphan baby. He raises the kid to be pretty much like a mini version of himself, which is both sweet and hilarious. They make their living doing a bit shady stuff, but the Tramp is a loving father, doing his very best with the boy. Unfortunately there are people who want to take the Kid away from the Tramp.

Jackie Coogan, the kid playing the Kid, is just awesome, such a little charmer! He hasn't starred in anything big besides The Kid, and I don't know why. He's great in both comedic and dramatic acting. Edna Purviance plays the biological mom, forced to give up her baby. She was one of Chaplin's favourite co-stars in the silent era, and they remained friends all their lives. Which I think is sweet.

Needless to say, Chaplin was once again brilliant. I found myself grinning and almost lauhging out loud when the Tramp stumbled to the screen for the first time... This good old slapstick is just solid entertainment. In addition to being hugely funny, The Kid is moving and touching, in that guaranteed sincere Chaplin way. The scene in the end, where the Tramp and the Kid embrace each other and share that little kiss (something you today couldn't put in a film just like that) is so very beautiful, and would've made my eyes run, had I been in a bit more sensitive mood. Ah, another iconic Chaplin moment.

One thing I didn't love about the film was the dream sequence towards the end. The Tramp falls asleep and dreams about a heaven-ish land where everyone is happy and wears wings and flies around, until some devil-looking guys turn up and plant bad thoughts in people's heads. I felt it didn't quite fit there, and the film would've been just fine without that kind of symbolism and flying dogs. Anyway, here's an interesting piece of trivia about the sequence: Chaplin kisses the 12-year-old Lita Grey, who at the age of 16 would became pregnant and so they would get married (he was 35 at the time). And that lasted for 3 years, by the way. Quite a life, he had...

Despite an odd scene or two, The Kid is a wonderful film, and I loved it as much as I expected to. To prove my point, here is my favourite scene. I just love how those two work together.

Here's one more picture, this one's from the set of The Kid, with Charlie and Jackie. I think it's somehow really sweet.

Aug 27, 2010

This Is England (2006) - so much for happily ever afters

directed by Shane Meadows / starring Thomas Turgoose, Stephen Graham, Joseph Gilgun

I'd call this a crash landing back to the reality from the happy-go-lucky world of Disney, and I'm sure if I like it.

This Is England is based on the experiences of director Shane Meadows. Set in England, 1983, the story is about a troubled, bullied boy called Shaun, who befriends with a gang of skinheads and becomes a part of their 'family'. He soon moves on to bigger and better worse circles and drifts deeper into the twisted philosophy of skinheads.

I'm not sure what I should say about the film, it's quite difficult to form an opinion about it. I know it was a good film - meaning well-told, well-acted - but I didn't LIKE it, per se - meaning I will probably never watch it again voluntarily, because I don't like feeling this distressed after watching a film. I like to watch movies to escape reality, not to get a painful dose of its very worst right between the eyes.

Skinsheads are a group of people I was never able to give any short of understanding or respect. They make even patriotism feel unhealty, taking it out of all proportion. Though This Is England introduces a couple of 'good', only small-time skinheads, too - doing it mostly for status and boredom, I'd say - there's still nothing but disrespect I can feel for these people. Oh well, skinheads have seen their days of glory. They are still there, of course, what would the world be without its idiots, but THIS isn't what England is, THIS is just a sorry little group.

Right, I'm not discussing the film now, like I should. I'm just a bit confused about what the film tried to say. Anyway. Like I said, technically This Is England was a good film. Thomas Turgoose is the star of the film, he does splendid work as the messed up little boy. I also liked the girl playing the girlfriend of the gang's boss, I actually even liked her as a character. Someone still had some humanity and sense left.

In the end, This Is England was, as a watching experience, different and powerful. It was a sneakpeak to a world I'm very umfamiliar with, and wish to stay that way. But they sure do drama very well in Britain - I'm still not quite recovered from Boy A. That film I actually liked, though.

"Some people say we're racists. We're not racists. We're realists. Some people call us Nazis. We're not Nazis. No, what we are, we are nationalists and there's a reason people try to pigeonhole us like this. And that is because of one word, gentlemen - fear."


Aug 26, 2010

My TOP 10 favourite Disney songs

Disney wouldn't be Disney without the songs. They are used to set up a story, to introduce a character, to make people fall in love with each other, to learn what is going on in a character's head, or simply because there's nothing like a merry little song to spice up a scene. I've wondered and pondered over this list for a while now, and it's as complete as it can be. I didn't make a top five as usually, because five simply wouldn't have been enough. Hell, ten isn't enough! I had to exclude many songs that I like, even love. I picked only one song from each film, to get some versatility. There's one exception though, sorry. Voila, dig in. (Making this list was so much fun! I don't now if it was the topic or what but I really enjoyed myself. Should've made it a top 20...)

10. I'll make a man out of you from Mulan (1998)

 In this training montage scene Captain Shang struggles to turn a bunch of sissys (and Mulan) into fearless badass warriors.

Mulan has otherwise pretty forgettable songs, but this one's catchy. I've been working out to this song for a couple of times now, and it really is motivating! Fetching that arrow is one of the coolest things a Disney princess has ever done. Kick ass, girl! (See, I call them all princesses, even if they technically weren't. They are all royal to me.)

You're the saddest bunch
I ever met
But you can bet
Before we're through
Mister, I'll make a man
out of you

9. Be prepared from The Lion King (1994)

Scar kindly suggests his hyena army to be prepared for his upcoming reign.

Boy did I have a hard time choosing only one song from The Lion King. Finally, I chose this over wonderful songs like Can you feel the love tonight, Hakuna Matata and Circle of Life, mostly because of Scar's awesome charisma and the visual awesomeness of the scene. This is the finnish version, because I think it's even better than the original. Jukka-Pekka Palo's voice is just wonderfully raspy and creepy! What a great baddie.

So prepare for a chance of a lifetime
Be prepared for sensational news
A shining new era
Is tiptoeing nearer

8. A dream is a wish your heart makes from Cinderella (1950)

Cinderella wakes up to another morning, singing her worries away and, as usual, never ceasing to dream.

Most of the songs on this list are from more recent films, but of course I had to include this wonderful song from an age-old favourite. I love the optimism of the song, it really summarizes the essence of Cinderella.

No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
the dream that you wish will come true

7. I won't say I'm in love from Hercules (1997)

Meg tries to fight the feelings he has towards Hercules and remind herself that it's just not worth it, she's seen it all before. Yeah, yeah, talk to the hand, girl.

Of all the groovy songs of Hercules, I had to choose this one. It's always been my favourite. The little Amor statue, the flower and muses singing the backs... A really nice scene. Meg is cool. Although she has those crazy hips, swinging from side to side all the time.

If there's a prize for rotten judgment
I guess I've already won that
No man is worth the aggravation
That's ancient history - been there, done that! 

6. Just around the riverbend from Pocahontas (1995)

Not sure what path she should choose, Pocahontas takes a canoe ride on the wild, playful, unsteady river. The fierce torrent is so much more fun than a steady little stream, and she knows it!

An awesome song about taking chances, and how it might not be better to be safe than sorry, if safe means marrying a dude, who has forgotten how to smile. Ah, where's the nearest river, I want to go canoeing! (I easily could've filled the list with songs from Pocahontas, but decided I'd be happy as long as this one was on it... And the other one. I had to make an exception. Keep reading...)

Can I ignore that sound of distant drumming
For a handsome sturdy husband
Who builds handsome sturdy walls
And never dreams that something might be coming?

5. Once upon a dream from Sleeping Beauty (1959)

Walking in the woods, the princess, who doesn't know she's a princess, sings and dances with her animal friends (because that's what princesses do, duh) and attracts the attention of a handsome prince, who just happens to be in da hood, what do you know. (That's what princes do, especially the Charming ones.) She's sneaky and finds a loophole in her strict no-talking-to-strangers promise.

It's simple, but so pretty. I could dance to this song at my wedding. (Or to that other Disney walz, from a more recent film, not that animated and way more embarrasing, so let's leave that story to another time...)

I know you
I walked with you once upon a dream
I know you
The gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam

4. Belle from Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Belle walks through her home town one morning, and we see how tough the life of a soon-to-be princess can be: you can't go anywhere without people starting to sing a song about you!

Introducing the best Disney princess ever, Belle is as great a song as Belle is a character. And don't forget the reprise! (Ok. The biggest sacrifice I made was leaving Tale as old as time out of the list. Ouch, it still hurts. Be our guest kind of stinged, too.)

And for once it might be grand
To have someone understand
I want so much more than they've got planned

3. The bells of Notre Dame from The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

In the prologue of the film, we see how Quasimodo came to grow up in the bell tower of Notre Dame.

You just can't deny the goosebumbs.

Now here is a riddle to guess if you can
Sing the bells of Notre Dame
Who is the monster and who is the man?

2. A whole new world from Aladdin (1992)

Aladdin takes Yasmine on a ride of a lifetime, introducing her to the wonders of the world beyond Agrabah and a whole new world... of love?

The only non-childhood-favourite film that managed to fit a song on my list. Actually, I wanted to include One step ahead and maybe Arabian nights, too, but ten is only ten, so I couldn't. Oh well. Aladdin is a recent discovery, I don't why I didn't like it more as a kid, but it's awesome. And this song, ah! Just amazing. Forget the canoe, get me a magic carpet, will you?

I can open your eyes
Take you wonder by wonder
Over, sideways and under
On a magic carpet ride

1. Colors of the wind from Pocahontas (1995)

Pocahontas teaches John Smith the famous proveb: when in the pre-colonilized America, do as the aborginal people do. Because they just know better than you idiots, you savages, you oh-so-civilized Europeans.

What can I say? This song is not THE ABSOLUTE favourite of mine, but I made it number one, because... Well. It's one heck of a song, isn't it? The melody, the lyrics, the visuals of the scene, the context, the message... Everything about it is just fantastic. (On top of it, this summer - at a kids' camp I worked in - some lovely lovely girls sang this song to us. We were all holding back our tears, it was wonderful.)

You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You'll learn things you never knew you never knew

Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon
Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned?
Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?

To conclude... The best Disney songs were written in the 90s. Actually, the best Disney films were made in the 90s. And I'm not biased, alright? I just happened to grow up in the 90s...

Now. That will be enough Disney for a... while. (That wasn't a promise, I'm afraid.)

Aug 25, 2010

Paris, Je t'aime (2006) - the city of all kinds of loves

directed by Ethan & Joel Coen, Alfonso Cuarón, Gérald Depardieu, Gus Want Sant, etc etc... / starring Steve Buscemi, Juliette Binoche, Nick Nolte, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, Elijah Wood, Emily Mortimer, etc etc...

My top 5 Paris movies, #1

This had to be the number one Paris movie, of course. Nothing captures the different sides and moods of the city like these 18 short films, each one by a different director, each one set in a different part of the city, each one telling their own kind of a story of love. And Paris.


Quais de Seine by Gurinder Chadha. A young man is sitting with his idiot friends by the Seine. The friends are being really lame and trying to hit on ladies. He makes a wise choice and chooses the company of a Muslim girl he meets. I like their open-mindedness, and that the boy has guts to be different from his baboon friends. And the mosque (which I've visited!).

Tuileries by Joel and Ethan Coen. An American tourist (played by the awesome Steve Buscemi) is sitting at the Tuileries metro station, and despite the warnings of his Paris guidebook he makes eye contact and tumbles in the middle of a young couple's argument. This is definitely the funniest section. Every guidebook of course has a translation of "What are you looking at, cunt-person?". Basic French... And the Mona Lisa cards and the little boy with his pea shooter. Haha. Poor Steve.

Parc Monceau by Alfonso Cuarón. Shot in one continous shot, this film introduces a man (Nick Nolte) and a younger woman, who walk the streets of Paris one evening. We don't know what their relationship is or who the Gaspard they discuss is until the end. Nick Nolte is brilliant in it!

Quartier des Enfants Rouges by Olivier Assayas. Maggie Gyllenhaal is an actress shooting a period film in Paris. She has a secret crush on a man who deals her drugs. It's quite sad, actually.

Place des fêtes by Oliver Schimtz. Couple of minutes of romance between a Nigerian man, stabbed in the stomach, and a paramedic treating him. It's about love at first sight and a little about destiny, too. And about some violent idiots.

Pére-Lachaise by Wes Craven. An arguing couple in a pre-wedding honeymoon refresh their love with a little help from Oscar Wilde. I really like this episode. And I like the story about his last words (they weren't "Bury me under something ugly", like the man suggests. He really is quite funny, no matter what she says). And I like both of the actors, too.

Faubourg Saint-Denis by Tom Tykwer. A romance between a blind young man and a pretty actress, seen mostly in fastforward. It's really great, shot in a very interesting way. Natalie Portman is excellent and so is the actor playing her boyfriend.

Quertier Latin by Gérald Depardieu and Frédéric Auburtin. An older couple has one more drink together before their divorce becomes official. It's real sweet, if only every divorce was handled in such a mature way. I love how they joke together and how they know each other so well and still respect each other and love, too, in a way. "Bitch." Depardieu is also in a small role.

14e arrondissement by Alexander Payne. An American woman fullfills her long-term dream by travelling to Paris. She's learned French, and all. (Still, she's not totally fluent in it, which is great. I don't speak French, but it's still easy to hear her terrible accent.) But it's not so great she imagined it to be! She misses her dogs, feels lonely and eats hamburgers. Then she suddenly experienced a weird feeling, sitting in a park, eating a snack. She feels alive. The most memorable line of the film follows: "That was the moment I fell in love with Paris. And Paris fell in love with me." Aww. It ends the film, suitably so. As a wrap-up, we re-visit some of the people we met before. It's great, just great. Ah, l'amour. And ah, Paris.


Porte de Choisy by Christopher Doyle. A freaky little film about a beauty salesman and some bitchy Chinese women. It's just really weird and I don't know what's supposed to be romantic about it.

Quartier de la Madeleine by Vincenzo Natali. A young, lost tourist meets a vampire and they suck each other's blood. Okay, it's not really that bad, at least it's different from all the other episodes. We meet the couple again shortly in the end, and after seeing them high in a wild party it all makes much more sense. Oh, and I'll always have a soft spot fo that blue-eyed little man called Elijah Wood. Ah, he's just so pretty.

In summary, Paris Je t'aime is fantastic. Its New York counterpart is alright, too, but not like this one. And the series continues! Apparently threre are similar episode films on the way for Shanghai, Rio and Jerusalem. Me happy!

Aug 24, 2010

Les Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain (2001) - happiness 101

directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet / starring Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz

My favourite Paris movies, #2

Amelie is a young, naive, introverted woman, leading a simple and secure life in Montmartre, Paris. The death of Princess Diana and the events caused by it change her life forever. And many other lives, too.

I don't know how or what to write about Amelie. Everyone knows the film. Everyone loves it. And if they don't, there's something slightly wrong about them. So I don't think I will write just a regular post, because everyone knows Amelie is the ultimate feel-good film, and that Audrey Tautou is simply wonderful - she practically IS Amelie - and so on.

Instead I'll just make a list of things I love about Amelie. (That's pretty much what my post would have been, anyway.) This of course requires me to watch the film once again while I'm writing the list, which I don't mind at all.

  • The opening credits, showing the young Amelie entertaining herself with various, imaginative little ways. I like especially the part above, the strawberry eating.
  • Everyone's likes and dislikes.
  • The music.
  • Amelie photographing the clouds shaped like bunnies and teddy bears.
  • Pretty much everything the little Amelie does.
  • The grown up Amelie's haircut. And her clothes. And her apartment.
  • The café she works in.
  • That I've been in the café she works in!
  • The way she becomes a regular do-gooder.
  • "I'm nobody's little weasel."
  • Lucien.
  • How they've made Paris look unrealistically romantic and magical. I love the colours of the film.
  • The girl with the glass in Glass Man's painting.
  • Amelie's good deeds. All of them. Especially the travelling garden gnome. And how she helps the blind man.
  • Nino's scrap book and the mystery of the bald man.
  • Amelie teaching the evil man next door a lesson.
  • "Without you, today's emotions would be the scurf of yesterday's."
  • Amelie's pig bedside lamp.
  • The wall-shattering toilette sex.
  • How she always picks up a good stone when she sees one.
  • Ha! Sacre Couer!
  • How Amelie once in a while looks right into the camera and smiles.
  • Did I mention music already?
  • "You'll never be a vegetable. Even artichoces have hearts."
  • Amelie's explanations why Nino doesn't show up in time to the café. (He either didn't find the photo or a gang of bank robbers took him hostage, etc.)
  • Amelie's collegues and the regular customers. Especially Hipolito, the failed writer.
  • The little kisses in the end.
  • The happy ending montage.
  • How by the end of the film you just have to admit that life is good, dammit.

Towards the end I began to forget I was supposed to be looking for things that make Amelie so damn brilliant. Because I was too concentrated on enjoying that damn brilliance. Ah, the world is an inch better place, once again.

"It's better to help people than a garden gnome."

Aug 23, 2010

Still, the River runs on just the same

In a more just world, River Phoenix would turn 40 today. In honour of his birthday I watched Stand by Me and Dogfight. And again I remembered very clearly why I was obsessing over River earlier this year. What a talent, what a charisma, what a man.

There are a lot of songs written for River Phoenix. As I was listening through some of them, I noticed they were all about his death, none about his life. It's understandable that tragedy is more inspiring, but a song about life would've been more appropriate for this day. Well, anyway, here's River by Natalie Merchant. (The title of this post is from an Ellis Paul song, also called River.)

You were one of ours
One of ours 

Happy birthday, River.

Disneyland... where every Cinderella story comes true (or so they say)

The 5-year-old me used to watch Beauty and the Beast all the time. In the beginning of the video there was an advert of Disneyland (and of course I always watched the ads - that's the beauty of the old VHS casettes, skipping the ads just wasn't that simple). The ad showed kids hugging Mickey Mouse, a gorgeous fairytale castle, and all my favourite princesses come to life, waving and smiling in their beautiful dresses. The place seemed to me like another world - a land far far away - and sometimes I suspected if it was even a real place. Seeing that magical place with my own eyes remained a dream until this month. I had been waiting for it for many long years - an ideal opportunity for disappointment to occur - but I loved it. I don't think anyone can be disappointed in Disneyland. Because it's pretty damn amazing.

We went to Disneyland on the fourth day of our trip, it was a Sunday. My friend worked there for a summer two years ago, and lucky for us, a friend of hers works there this summer, too, so we got in free of charge! Which was awesome, naturally, though I'd been more that happy to pay the price if I had to. 40 € is a small price when we're talking about fullfilling childhood dreams.

We arrived to the park soon after 10, that's when it opens. I was pratically jumping up and down of excitement, grinning like a madman and sighing of pure wonder. We first went to the Walt Disney Studios, which is a smaller park next to the main park. We chickened out from trying the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and went for a Studio Tram Tour instead. It was a cool and fascinating ride to the "backstage" of film making - we saw some film props and sets. The most awesome thing was a staged "action film shoot" with an earthquake, explosions and a surge of water. (They had also built a little bit of London along the ride, and I had a feeling I should go there again, soon...)

Then we entered the Disneyland Park itself. And it was WONDERFUL. We walked along the Main Street, packed with shops and little cafés and there was a train driving through the park with this very disney song playing (inside information: the staff practically want to shoot somebody or themselves everytime the train comes and the song's played, haha, don't blame them) in the background and some characters dancing and waving aboard it. We saw Woody and Mr Incredible and Mickey and Lilo and as you can imagine, I was pretty close to heaven.

Disneyland is divided into four lands with different themes. First we went to Discoveryland, with future and space themed things. I was happy find a Star Wars spaceflight stimulator, which was a lot of fun, I still don't quite understand how those things work, because it sure felt like we were going up and down and forward - and jumping into hyperspace! There was also a French speaking C-3PO, which was weird, especially as he still talked with his "right" voice. Hmm. Cool.

Next... Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, whoo! We sat in these small wagons and had to shoot as many evil aliens as possible. I was pretty good, I must say, for a first-timer, and we sure defeated Zurg! By then we were getting quite hungry, so what's a better help of not Pizza Planet! Like in Toy Story, get it? Hahaa! It was 17 € for pizza buffet, but well, I liked the place a lot, as it was decorated to look like the restaurant in the movie. And cool toilet sings as you can see on the left!

Autopia - a track where you can drive with these little cars - was where my friend used to work. She spotted a familiar face at the entrance and ta-dah! we got to walk right past the kilometre-long queue. I felt a bit guilty, looking at those little ones patiently waiting for their turn, but mostly just like a damn V.I.P., haha.

Next we went to explore Fantasyland, a true fairytale world, which also included the famous castle. Which apparently is Sleeping Beauty's! It was pretty nice inside, too. I think I maybe could manage to live there, if I really really had to. Hmm-mm.

(RIGHT: Someday my prince will come! And if not, at least they can't blame me for not looking.)

Fantasyland is all about princesses and classic tales like Peter Pan, Dumbo and Alice in Wonderland. We spent quite a lot of time there... We spotted Cinderella, next to a long queue of kids wishing to meet and pose with her. What a summer job! At least her smiling muscles are on top shape after a few months.

Peter Pan's Flight was a ride starting from the Darlings' bedroom, across the London skies (it looked so nice, stars above and city lights below, cars and all, and Big Ben, naturally), second star to the right and straight on till morning to Neverland. It lasted all too little time compared to the wait on the queue, but I guess that's kind of a must-see. There was similar ride in the world of Snow White. The part in the forrest with the monster trees was just as scary as in the film, and I might've screamed just a little. Hmm. We tested Mad Hatter's Tea Cups, too. And even dared to spin a little, though not like a bunch of guys, who spinned their cup as fast as they could, all the time (also, there were five of them in the cup - there were three GIRLS in our cup and it felt a bit crowded) - no wonder that one of them fell right down on his knees as he exited the cup. That was a sight, haha.

Let's move on to Adventureland! First we walked through an Aladdin house, or Le Passage Enchanté d'Aladdin to be specific. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril is a rollercoaster, which we entered hesitating a bit, and not only because of all those suspicious stories about it being broken all the time and stuff. But we got out fine and it was fun!

Pirates of the Caribbean was surely my favourite in the whole park. We sat on boats and floated through the world of pirates, battles and wild parties. Cool! Yo ho, a pirate's life for me and so on. Afterwards at the shop we met two Finnish girls, and I was happy to do my business in Finnish, as weird as it was. (For that matter, it was nice to speak English for a change, Disneyland was the only place I didn't just let my French-speaking friend to do the talking for me. Everyone were tourists there, so it didn't matter, haha.) I bought a cool key chain, it was like Davy Jones' key from The Dead Man's Chest. What else did I buy... Not as much as I thought I would! Ha, a Buzz Lightyear straw! Haha, I know, it was a real impulse purchase. Then some chocolate coins I don't want to eat because they're wrapped in Disney characters, oh and Mickey Mittens for my nephew! He doesn't really appreciate them yet, but oh well, he will. Haha. I do, at least, if he doesn't.

Last, Frontierland with cowboys and pioneers. We only had time for Big Thunder Mountain, another rollercoaster, more traditional one, but maybe even more fun! Twice the track went through a pitch-black tunnel, which was cool.

Seeing the familiar characters 'in real life' was obviously one of the highlights of the day. At one point we happened to walk past the Central Plaza, right at the beginning of a 'Disney Showtime Spectacular', meaning characters jumping and dancing and singing about friendship and solidarity and... ratatuille. Haha.

Oh, and of course the parade! Or the parades, to be exact. First one at seven and second around eleven, just before the final fireworks show. In summary, the parade was this: characters from the most beloved stories - everyone from Simba and Woody to Mary Poppins and all the princesses, of course - riding by, wawing and smiling and generally just being very cool, while all the best Disney songs are playing in the background. Simply wonderful! I wasn't supposed to take any pictures, afraid that I might miss something just concentrating on my camera, but no, I needed to eternalize some of those moments. And I did, when ever the idiots people in front of me weren't standing to photograph. (You're on second row, you sure you HAVE TO stand?) Anyway.

I loved the parade, and was happy to see the other one later, too. It was, again, awesome. The vehicles they were riding (I don't know what to call them) were all lit up fabulously and everyone had their happily ever afters - Beast was a human again, Ariel was human... for a change (that ungrateful little... hmm) and so on. One prince, don't remember which one, had a pretty amusing style to wave. Like the royal wave, but exaggerated. Haha. Finally, there was the fireworks show, which was sweeeeeeeet. I guess there was some belt-tightening going on, because the show wasn't as grand as it reportedly had sometimes been, but sweeeeet anyway. Ah! Then we had to leave. That was the only part that sucked.

Shame to end this post with a picture of the mermaid brat I declared as the most annoying Disney princess just a few posts ago. But it was the only decent picture I've got. Oh well, let's call this making amends.

... Okay, no. Here's one more photo. I feel better now.

(Aww. It's so preeeettyyyy. Mama get me one please pretty please!)

In summary: It was awesome, wonderful, magical, escapism at its very best. I felt like a child, and was free to do so. I will go back, because I want to and I have to and I need to. Also, I want a time machine so I can go and kiss the ground under Walt Disney's feet.

Aug 22, 2010

Before Sunset (2004) - the l'amour that got away

directed by Richard Linklater / starring Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy

My top 5 Paris movies, #3

I love this film to pieces. Seriously. It (and its predeccedor, Before Sunrise) is the most recent add to my unofficial list of the ultimate favourite movies. (I think it has five movies on it at the moment. Or, Before Sunrise/Sunset count as one, and one of the five is a trilogy. And the line between an ultimate favourite and a favourite is extremely narrow and faltering. Anyway.) Not just any movie gets to be on the list. They need to move me, a lot, again and again. This one does.

Nine years has past since the night Jesse and Celine spent together in Vienna. Now they meet again in Paris, where Jesse is promoting his new book (about a French girl he once spent a night with. Hmm). They have about an hour before Jesse has to head back to the States, and they spend it talking - about their present lives, about the uncertain future and of course about the past and the big WHAT IF.

What holds the film up is the chemistry between the two characters, the talents of Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke - and obviously the dialogue. After all, all they do in these films is talking and walking! In addition, the events of Before Sunset happen in real time, so we get to see every move they make and hear every word they say, which is awesome, and makes it so damn real. Yeah, REAL. That's the word I can't repeat enough times when talking about these films. They just feel SO DAMN REAL.

It's been a couple of months since I last saw this film, and now writing a post about it started to feel like I should see it again. So I thought it could play in the background while I'd be writing. Yeah right. Surprisingly, I didn't write a word. God, what a film.

 I was glad to notice that the book shop in the beginning is actually Shakespeare and Company! Shame I didn't know it before, I could've milked more out of the visit. Anyway, a cool notice!

As Jesse and Celine meet again, the conversation follows a plausible pattern. First they're all awkward, of course, but quickly move on into some casual chit-chat ("How are you?" "Oh, just fine!" And of course they aren't). When they realise the other hasn't changed that much and they still share that amazing chemistry and connection, they start talking like they used to, like there hadn't been a nine-year-gap between their encounters. And finally they go deep and say the things they'd been thinking about all the time.

Before Sunset has a lot long, continuous shots. They just go on and on, and suddenly you think wow, they've had entire conversations in just one shot! Though the film trusts a lot on the power of good dialogue and speech, they know when silence says more than anything. I'm talking about the short scene in the staircase. Just amazing.

Before Sunset manages to be romantic and dramatic without being corny or cheesy for one second, or resorting to any cliches. I found myself smiling stupidly most of the time, and was just happy that I was watching the film alone. I don't know if there's such thing as soul mates, but if there were, this is the kind of 'soulmatehood' I'd very much like to experience myself. (Hello. It might feel real, but it's still a movie. Best regards, the killjoy me.)

The wonderful ending leaves room for imagination... and a sequel? Someone in the film's IMDb board had a wonderful idea: they should keep making films about Celine and Jesse once in a decade, following their lives, as the audience and the actors would grow older with them. I think I'd cry for joy if they actually did that. Jesse and Celine are such amazing characters, and it's so cool to compare how they'd changed and matured since Before Sunrise. I'm certainly holding all of my fingers and toes up in hopes of another sequel.

"So, I want to try something."
  "I want to see if you stay together or if you dissolve into molecules."
"How am I doing?"
"Still here."
"Good, I like being here.