Jan 28, 2011

The Gold Rush, as it was made to be seen

Sometimes all you need for an atmospheric and heart-warming Thursday night is three euro. And an orchestra. And a big canvas. And auditorium full of people around you. Oh, and the undeniable genius of Charlie Chaplin.

In other words, I went to see The Gold Rush with the music played live by the City Orchestra.

I had previously seen the reissued 1942 version of The Gold Rush, narrated by Chaplin, and I loved it, of course. The version I now saw was closer to the original 1925 one, with a couple of restored scenes and the traditional intertitles (instead of the voiceover). I definitely prefer the intertitles, because I remember feeling that the voiceover took something away from the distinctive Chaplin-y mood of the film.

And, as we all now, movies are always best when seen in a cinema, and The Gold Rush was so much better when seen in a concert hall. The live orchestra didn't hurt either. Not every hiccup and bang hit the spot, but I didn't mind, because live music added so much to the atmosphere. It was a bit like going back to the origins of cinema. (And respect for the orchestra for playing 90 minutes without breaks!)

The auditorium was full of people, wall-to-wall. The wonderful thing was, there were little kids and groups of high school students, pensioners dressed in their best and everything in between! And I bet they all enjoyed the show. For different reasons maybe, but that's just the awesomeness of Chaplin.

(By the way, I had a funny feeling when watching the film and listening to the audience's reactions. It was similar to the feeling when you watch your favourite film with friends, who haven't seen it before and you stress about them missing the best bits and just wish they'll like it as much as you do. I was indeed very happy to listen to the continuous laughter and the little aww at the end, and afterwards eavesdrop to hear how much everyone had enjoyed it.)

I, of course, enjoyed the show for reasons, which I've been repeating over and over again in the numerous Chaplin-related posts in this blog, and which I will this time restrain myself for listing. But as a reminder, they include a lot of words like 'awesome', 'wonderful', 'ridiculously funny' and 'so freaking genius it makes me want to cry'.

This might be a bit unfair for the other Chaplin films, which I've only seen on small screen, but anyhow I will say that The Gold Rush might have improved its position among my favourites after this second watch. It's better paced than some other films, and very cleverly structured to balance between comedy and drama. And it is, after all, the film Chaplin wanted to be remembered for.

P.S. One of the scenes, a lenghty kissing scene in the end of the film, was deleted from the re-realeased version for a reason: at the time the film was shot Charlie was having a fling with the female lead, Georgia Hale. (His screen leading ladies were more than often leading ladies in his personal life too. For example in The Gold Rush, Georgia replaced Lita Grey as the female lead, because Lita became pregnant. For Charlie, of course.) By the 1942 re-release Georgia was of course water under the bridge, so Charlie deleted the kissing scene, which, according to her, hadn't required acting at all. Aw, Charlie and her ladies...

P.P.S. Did you know Charlie Chaplin holds an unofficial record for receiving the longest applause in the history of Academy Awards? There was a standing ovation of twelve minutes when he came to collect his Honorary Oscar in 1972. I didn't know about the record before today, but somehow I'm not surprised at all. Go Charles, go.

Jan 25, 2011

Instant reactions to the Oscar nominations, 2011

15:24 I'm assuming that the nominee announcement will begin in five minutes. I'm not sure, because I'm too lazy to bother my head with the time zones. We'll see.

15:30 Yay! It's began! There are two dudes introducing us to the announcements. 6 minutes...

15:33 They're asking people what's their favourite film of 2010. One answer: "Harry Potter, because it's good to know that there're other magical people in the world." Woo! I love weird people!

15:35 Anne and James. Aww. She's so sweet. And I don't mind him either.

15:38 Okay, here we go.... Monique!

15:43 That was fast. Let's see now. Here are my random thoughts on some random categories:

Documentary: If Exit Through the Gift Shop wins, who will collect the award for Banksy? He's still not showing his face in public, is he? Wouldn't it be cool if he appeared with one of those hats, which cover the whole face, those that bank robbers wear in movies... Can't wait to see this documentary, by the way. Banksy is one of the few things in art that I dare say I really like, and kind of understand, too.

I never understood the difference between Sound Mixing and Sound Editing...

Original Song: Randy Newman! I don't remember what that song from Toy Story 3 is like, but he is awesome.

Animated Feature Film: Again, like last year, this is a bit silly. Only one of these films is also nominated for Best Picture, so I wonder who'll win here... Sure, it's the right one. It'd be so badass if Toy Story 3 won both categories... I'll keep fantasizing...

Best Writing: ... Aaron Sorkin is missing from the list in IMDb. Fix it, dudes! He should be there, unless my eyes and ears were not working during the annoucements and the world (=Academy) has gone mental.

Directing: Now, where is our man Chris Nolan? (Maybe they've really gone a bit gaga.) Poor thing, He would've deserved at least a nomination...

Supporting Actor: Another name missing. No Andrew Garfield! Damn! Well, he'll be back. Still... Damn. A big and annoyed DAMN.

Best Picture: I still think it's silly that there are ten nominees here.

 To sum... The King's Speech got most nominations (12), followed by The True Grit (10)... And Inception and The Social Network both got eight, right? I've so far seen only three of the Best Picture nominees, but that'll change soon enough. I will very eagerly go see The King's Speech on Sunday, and 127 Hours, Black Swan and Winter's Bone just as eagerly as soon as they make it to our cinema. And The Kid's Are All Right is already on DVD, so that'll be easy. I'm not really interested in The Fighter, so I'm not that bothered about seeing it, and I'll maybe keep avoiding The True Grit for now (even though I probably shouldn't, with all those nominations, damn...), because I'm just not a Coen girl.

One month to go before the most exciting night of the year! (Is it a bit sad to say that? Does that mean that my life lacks excitement? Oh well, let's say it's a figure of speech and really all my nights are much more exciting.) And I'm invited! According to the poster. Yay.

Jan 24, 2011

Movie Moment: six sexy singing murderesses

This week I chose this splendid moment from the splendid film Chicago. The Cell-Block Tango is one of my favourite musical numbers in all the musicals ever made. The six murderesses each tell their story and give  reasons to kill a man, some better than others. It's fierce and smoking hot and the melody gets stuck in your head but you don't really mind. Catharine Zeta-Jones is the star of the number as she is the star of the movie. She kicks ass as the proud, ruthless Velma Kelly.

This is a dose of the kind of girl power you don't see every day!

(And you can't help but wonder... What on earth happened with Nine??)

Wild Wild Weekend

... Or not so much. Except the part with the ghost. Which I'll get to later.

Just took a picture, because I needed one, because this is how boring the post would've looked otherwise.

So, not a very wild weekend. Though wilder than the last one, which I spent alone watching movies, never leaving the flat. This weekend I did leave the flat every day and actually watched some of the movies with other people. Rock 'n' roll!

On Friday I spent the evening watching Sex and the City (I'm not a fan, but I have to admit, there is a certain charm to that show) with my flatmate, while stuffing our faces with candy (and after all the sugar almost made us sick, we had a sandwich and then some more candy again). We were planning on going to sleep early, embarrassingly early for a Friday night, and we did try, but our neighbours (or more likely half of the whole building, by the sounds of if) were having a party upstairs. It was a birthday party for someone named Claudia. We know this because the walls are apparently like paper. Or maybe we just have very, very loud neighbours. Anyway, so much for good night's sleep...

On Saturday I got up at 9 (unusual) and went to the gym (even more unusual) with my flatmate, whom I'd told to drag me with her. It was quite fun, actually, I don't know why I dread those places so much! Later I went to see The Social Network, because they happened to show it again in our cinema and because I felt like seeing it again. And it was, again, goooood. Though my tooth was aching the whole time, which was annoying and distracted me from letting the movie fully absorb me in. Well, that dentist appointment is only a few weeks away... Gee, if I told them that my tooth is turning blue or beginning to grow feathers (or something) would they take me in earlier?

Today I went to do some shopping, because I hadn't bought any clothes in a disturbingly long time, so I bought some and now I can only wait for the spring so that I can actually wear them. Just now I watched Karate Kid with some friends and I cracked up over Jackie Chan's line "Rock 'n' roll" and The Great Wall of China, because in the Ricky Gervais show An Idiot Abroad the guy calls it 'The Alright Wall of China'.

Oh and now the exciting part! There is a spirit or a boogey man of some kind living in our flat. Today a pot of my flatmate's pea soup had moved from the freezer to the fridge all by itself. Neither of us remember using the freezer today, and the pot was still all frozen. So we have our very own house ghost! (Or alternatively, one of us has a very poor memory.) Anyway, I'm thinking and hoping it must be quite a mild and good-spirited ghost, because it only wanted us to have some soup. Good intentions, though I loathe pea soup and the pot was on my side of the fridge. (Oh great, now I'm scared again and my flatmate is not home. Pull it together, woman!)

EDIT// Oh damn! I meant to publish the post on Sunday, put it turned 0:00 just as a pressed the button.

EDIT2// ... I guess now we know why I usually write about movies and not my life. With all due respect to my highly interesting life.

Jan 19, 2011

Sunset Boulevard (1950) - not as sunny as one would expect

directed by Billy Wilder / starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson

Sunset Boulevard is part 1/12 of my resolution for 2011.

So, as January is already half way through, I though I'd get started with my New Year Resolution! Luckily, as merciful as I can be, I'd picked a fairly easy film to begin with. I've liked all Billy Wilder films I've seen so far (which was only three, though, now four), so I knew I wouldn't probably have too much trouble with the January classic.

The story developes around Joe Gillis, a struggling screenwriter, who by chance ends up in the old, decaying mansion of once-famous, forgotten silent-film star Norma Desmond. Joe agrees to write her a script and soon finds himself moving in with her and her loyal butler Max. He soon sees that Norma lives in denial, in a bubble, in a world of her own, where she's living off the memories from her heyday, waiting for her grand return to the pictures.

The script is very well written. Even though we know how the movie ends - because they show it to us in the very first scene (I kind of love when they do that) - there is still suspense, and it's interesting to follow how Joe ends up where we know he will. And there are many memorable lines, like "I am big. It's the pictures that got small" and "You don't yell at a sleepwalker. He may fall and break his neck" and of course "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up".

Sunset Boulevard is a daring and blunt describtion about what stardom, and loosing stardom, can do to the feeble human mind. The acting is great. Gloria Swanson as Norma is in the centre of every scene she is in, as she should be; the character is so theatrical and melodramatic yet delusional that it almost hurt to watch her sometimes. I also liked the subplot with the younger woman, whatever her name was. Perhaps because it was nice to see a female character who was actually sane.

The film sort of kept me in its grip. I wasn't bored, per ce, but I can't say I prayed it not to end, either. An excellent film, yes, but I don't think it'll be one of those I return to time and time again. Maybe in a few years time I'll already see it differently.

"No one ever leaves a star. That's what makes one a star."

Jan 18, 2011

Movie Moment: men who wear skirts and still feel masculine enough to kill each other

So I was watching Clueless the other day. I know it's one of those movies that pretty much every female loved as a teenager and hold it close to their heart for the rest of their lifes because of the nostalgia value, but I only saw it for the first time now. (And I found the ending a bit, um, dubious? I mean, he wasn't her blood relative, but still. Ew? Though Paul Rudd is quite adorable.)

And as I thought about my own teenage favourites, Troy was the first one to come to my mind. Not because it was my number one favourite - it wasn't - but because just last week I spent one and a half unexpectedly amusing hours in the translation class listening the teacher (who is the biggest geek ever: he gave us a hand-out and it had some encouraging phrases on it to motivate us, like "Spide-Man never gives up! He always returns to the problem and defeats it on the second time!" Aw. He's growing on me.) having a monologue about Achilles being a ridiculous creep, because he just sits in his tent, moping, while others are fighting and dying. So, it seemed appropriate to choose this clip as the movie moment of the week.

Even though I now find Troy a bit silly and pretentious as a movie, and haven't felt the urge to watch it in a long time, I have to admit it still feels kind of special to me, because of all the fun I got out of it once upon a time. I saw Troy when I was 14, and I loved it, probably because, let's be honest, it had so much gorgeous men in it. Oh how many wonderful moments I spent playfully but passionately arguing with various friends about who's the best hero in the movie.

...And this it probably where I admit I was on Team Achilles. Couldn't resist those slowmotion killing move jumps and Brad Pitt's blond hair (a blond Greek? Weird, right?). I guess I should now give in and say that I was wrong and that Prince Hektor really is the man. Just look at the clip above, kick ass, Eric Bana! Even Orlando is kind of sweet... Oh no, now I know, I'll pick Sean Bean's Odysseys instead! I'll be his Penelope. Haha. Okay, enough about that. I'm not 14 anymore. I'm so over this. Hem hem.

Jan 17, 2011

Golden Globes 2011 and my two (or three) cents

As for the results, I won't comment much. I leave the profound analysis and stabbing critique for the Oscars (just wait for it. Haha.). This time I'll keep this short and simple... Here are my two, or three cents.

1) The Social Network has a lot of friends. Including me! Since my number one of 2010 is apparently too animated to win anything other than the award for the best animation (YAY, though), I have my two thumbs up for David Fincher, Aaron Sorkin, Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and co. Though I want Inception to win something as well (something other than techinical awards would be nice too... Music, maybe?), I'd be happy to see The Social Network win the most important awards. (Black Swan might still make me change my mind, but I wouldn't count on it.) I watched the trailer again the other day (while waiting for the DVD that's all I can do...) and damn, it could win some award just for that.

 2) Biggest. Thrills. Ever. (So far.) So, Chris Colfer did it, then. I can't tell you how freaking thrilled I am for this! When I found out I felt like screaming and crying and jumping, and I did all of those, but only a little, because I was in a public place. Chris didn't only deserve this as an actor, but as a person, too. I've never been so happy for him, but something tells me I will be even happier some day, because this won't be THE peak his career, no way. More about the subject (= more love for Chris Colfer) here.

3) Memorable Moments. Since I wasn't able to watch the show (damn you, Finnish TV companies!), I had to let someone else to gather some of the best moments of the night. Under the link there are a few things worth watching, like everything with Ricky Gervais (he's just so shamelessly rude, it's quite wonderful, really), one of the most inspiring acceptance speeches ever (I'm not only happy for Chris, I'm also happy for those kids who get the inspiration and encouragement they need out of this), and the bit with Robert Downey Jr. I'd almost forgotten how damn charming and charismatic he can be. Aw, make him host the Oscars next year or something!

The biggest movie event of the year is only five weeks away! I personally can't wait.

Jan 15, 2011

The Circus (1928) - Charlie needs a hug

directed by Charles Chaplin / starring Charles Chaplin, Merna Kennedy, Allan Garcia

Last summer I was positively addicted to Charlie Chaplin, watched most of his full-length films and loved them to pieces. Now, after a little break from the wonderful black-and-white world of the Tramp, I realised there's still so much for me to see. So I watched The Circus, one of Chaplin's less known full-lenght silent films. Next to City Lights, The Gold Rush and Modern Times, The Circus is usually left unmentioned. Such a terrible shame, I say! Talk about unfairly underrated... Though it didn't top City Lights in my book, I'd definitely place it somewhere right below it, with The Gold Rush and The Kid.

In The Circus our dear belowed Tramp gets a job in a travelling circus, after accidently being discovered by the ringmaster, while chased by the police to and from the stage. The crowd loves his unintentional comedy, so the ringmaster gives him a job as an assistant property man to keep him around, Tramp being unaware that the circus prospers thanks to him. The ringmaster also has a daughter, whom he abuses all the time. Tramp befriends with her and soon developes romantic feelings towards her, too. But then there's the handsome robe walker, who steals her heart...

When it comes to Chaplin's silent films, it's unnecessary to point out that they're funny. But I will anyway. It doesn't really make much sense that I laugh aloud at someone falling down or lifting his hat or being chased by a horse. I don't know how he does it. But no one does it like him. Also, the element of melancholy is always present in Chaplin's films. That's what gives them depth and makes them stand out as profound, touching and relatable stories. As much as I loved the comedy of The Circus, I loved the ending the most. It wasn't a happy one like the ending of City Lights, for example, but it's very close to topping that in my book. Just perfect.

By the way, if you have too much time and want to waste it on something silly, you might want to take a look at the Charlie Chaplin time travel mystery, which was started just last year as a man claimed he's found a woman talking to a cell-phone in a scene of The Circus. Haha. Someone is a bit desperate in finding some excitement in life.

Now... If a picture ever gave you a terrible urge to hug someone, it's the picture below. Just look at poor, poor Charlie. The production of The Circus was reportedly more difficult than any other's of Chaplin's films. At one point a fire destroyed the whole set (the picture was taken that day. Aw, poor thing. Just look at that face and try not to feel sorry for him) and some of the already filmed material was also destroyed due to some techinical hitch. In addition, Charlie was going through a very tough time in his personal life, being in the middle of a rough and public divorce from his second wife. Reportedly, he had to go away in the middle of the production to recover from a nervous breakdown. And yet... look at the outcome and marvel what he still managed to create in the middle of that mayhem. I'd high-five Mr Chaplin if I could! Or maybe give him a hug first.

P.S. I was watching Chaplin the other day during the Christmas break and my 20-month-old nephew walked into the room. It happened to be the bit where Charlie shows the boxing scene from City Lights to one of his wives (don't remember which one... Sorry Charlie, but there were quite a few of them) and I was about to pause the DVD, before he'd demand me to put Cars on or show some Bob the Builder clips from Youtube. Instead, he looked at the Tramp jumping up and down in the boxing ring, and started to laugh! Afterwards, he'd come to my room again, imitating the Tramp's jumping, and as I understood and showed him the clip from Youtube, he wanted to see it again and again. I was one proud godmother! I might be failing (so far... I'm not giving up!) in brainwashing him into Toy Story, but at least he has an excelent taste in silent films!

P.P.S. Today I noticed Voddler is full of Chaplin's less known short films! Yay! I know what I'll be doing from now on before going to sleep... Half an hour of laughter will guarantee you a good night's sleep.

P.P.P.S. Currently I'm trying to convince myself that 105 € is not that much money and certainly an amount that could be spared from a student's monthly budget. Look at this. Ten of Charlie Chaplin's greatest films, plus a documentary, all in one package. 105 €. It's not really bad at all when you think about it, is it...? That's less than 10 € per DVD... I'm so close to ordering it right away... All I need is some excuse. Shame my birthday's not until June and I already kind of bought myself a Christmas present...

P.P.P.P.S. In a few weeks I'll see The Gold Rush with the music played by a live orchestra! Can't wait!

"I'll give you fifty dollars a week. Sixty! ... I'll double it!"
"Nothing less than a hundred."

Jan 14, 2011

Excuse my drooling but...

... not to drool is suddenly quite impossible. Isn't it a bit funny how July 2012 just began to feel far too distant? So far I've only been happy that Andrew Garfield got a role that will bring him visibility and hopefully more and bigger roles, but I had never considered the fact that his tall, slim body will look absolutely amazing in that costume. Add the scar on the cheek and the ominous look in the eyes, and ta-dah! I think Anakin Skywalker just got a rival in running for the best scar-faced, ominous-eyed, droolable person.

Plus the new costume looks cool and I love that he's carrying a backpack. Just on his way to a maths class, I think.

The photo is from here.

Jan 12, 2011

Love and Other Drugs (2010) - the invention of love, and Viagra

directed by Edward Zwick / starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria

Jamie is a pharmaseutical sales representative, quite successful at what he does because of his charm (and looking like Jake Gyllenhaal doesn't hurt, either). He's what you call a player. Maggie is a painter-turned-photographer, an independent and outspoken woman suffering from Parkinson's, and avoiding commitment and relationship, but still very hungry for sex. The two reach a nice little agreement, which ensures loads of steamy, passing moments for both of them, no strings attached, just pure, guilt-free indulgence. Then, what do you know, some feelings begin to appear. And nothing good ever comes out of that, as we know, right? Oh, and somewhere along the way, Viagra is invented. Not that it really has anything to do with anything.

As the end credits scrolled to the screen and the lights went back on in the auditorium and I began to look for my shoes, I was thinking: "Did this film really need to be made? What did this film give to the world that it didn't already have? Couldn't they have spent the money to save the children of Africa or clone a turtle or something, and do something better with their time, like mow the lawn or hire someone to mow the lawn or read Anna Karenina? Why do they keep making films like this?" And, oh well, to answer my own question, because people not unlike me keep paying money to see films like this. Did it really need to be made? Nah. Would there have been better uses for that time and money? I bet. What did it give to the world? ... Well, if nothing else, then at least some images of semi-nude Jake Gyllenhaal. That might not make the world a better place, but definitely not worse, either.

Let's get the obvious over and done with: Jake Gyllenhaal is super hot and I could look at that body (and that face (and those eyelashes)) for hours and happily drown in my drool. They actually could've saved a lot of money by making this a silent film. Who needs to hear anything when there's an enormous Jake Gyllenhaal on the screen before you, right? Actually, at times, like during that final Kiss And Make Up Scene I noticed my attention drifting away as I started to think about what's in my fridge and when I'll have to do laundry again - WHILE still looking at the AH!-dorable puppyeyes, glistening with tears and begging for forgiveness. (The situation was a bit unfair, really. Puppyeyes like that should be illegal.)

I very much enjoyed Anne Hathaway, too. She's just a sweetheart, isn't she, who could dislike her? And I loved that hair of hers, where could I buy natural curls like that... It was really only the two leads that made Love and Other Drugs as an enjoyable movie experience as it was. Because even though the story was a bit blah and unoriginal, it was still nice to watch those two people together. Some moments were genuinely sweet and touching. My favourite gag was that homeless man, who kept collecting the Prozac Jamie got rid of and finally said he was going to a job interview. I kept expecting him to return as a bank manager or the new owner of Microsoft...

P.S. Anne and Jake were doing much better now than in their previous on-screen relationship, weren't they? I'm pretty sure none of them was a closeted gay this time, so yay, that's progress for you. Watch and learn, Kate and Leo!

"This isn't about connection for you. This isn't even about sex for you. This is about finding an hour or two of relief from the pain of being you. And that's fine with me, see, because all I want is the exact same thing."

Jan 10, 2011

Movie Moment: time-stopping love at first sight

I was supposed to post one of these already last week, but I was busy lying deep in my bed, shivering from fever, so I guess I can be excused for the delay. The simple little idea of these simple little posts (that I'm intending to be posting once a week) is simply just that they give me a chance to say a word about some of my older favourites - films (and scenes, in particular) that I otherwise haven't had the time or place to mention. Let's see how this gets on, and whether I'll get bored in a month or make this a lasting custom.

Big Fish is one of my favourite Tim Burton films. It's a magical and vivid story about storytelling and what a pinch of imagination can do for an otherwise dull tale. When inside Edward Bloom's stories, anything can happen... So of course, when Edward meets his future wife, time stops, literally. I love the moment when he sweeps the popcorn out of his way... And how time then runs in extra speed afterwards. Genious. Oh and don't we all love Ewan McGregor? I know I do.

Jan 9, 2011

I am Harry Potter, duh?

You heard him! Make way for Harry Potter!

... Oh my, that fellow can be so freaking hilarious when he wants to. This plus his appareance in Extras is proof enough. I want him to do some really good dark comedy next!

P.S. Just finnished reading The Goblet of Fire. That just might be my favourite Potter book after all! The Deathly Hallows has had the hold of that position for a while, but I don't know... Next, The Order of the Phoenix, that has exclusively been my least favourite since it was published. Oh well. I just don't like the ANGST!!!!! Harry.

Jan 8, 2011

Top Hat (1935) - oh Fred, oh Ginger!

directed by Mark Sandrich / starring Fred Astaire, Ginger Roberts, Edward Everett Horton, Erik Rhodes

Believe it or not, this was the first Fred & Ginger film I ever saw. Crazy, right? Not really, knowing my history of avoiding everything made before the 90's, and only in the recent years beginning to open my eyes and see that black and white might not always mean deadly dull. (I'm still not completely enlightened, but getting there, alright...)

So, Top Hat. It might have been my first Fred & Ginger film, but the two names are not so easily avoided (from the slimy creatures in Splice to Neil Patrick Harris's opening number at the 2010 Oscar, they just keep coming up - always together, they're like a brand name). Nor are the famous musical numbers. The "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails" number looked familiar not only from all the pictures I'd seen, but also from a clip shown in Billy Elliot. And the "Cheek to Cheek" number made me unappropriately sad because I associated it with The Green Mile. (Now I can always feel an inch more knowledgeable when I watch those movies, knowing where the clips are from. I'll be holding my breath and praying someone will ask and I get to be wise for once. Haha.) (I have a sneaky feeling this might be one of those days when I use a lot of brackets to babble about irrelevant things.) Might not even need brackets.

Okay then. The story of Top Hat follows quite a simple pattern: Boy meet a girl. Girl thinks boy is someone he is not. Boy finds girl charming. Girl finds boy annoying. Boy gets girl to dance and sing with him. Girl begins to like boy. Problems arising from the misunderstanding make girl despise boy. Boy doesn't get it. And so on. Old pattern (suppose it wasn't that old in 1935, though) maybe, but it's always a lot of fun when properly made.

Fres Astaire charmed me the moment he appeared on the screen, and no wonder - he really is the essence of charming, isn't he? With that boyish presence and those twinkling eyes... Oh and the dancing. I might have mentioned this before after watching films with awesome dancing, but I once again regret I never took up dancing. I wonder if there are dancing courses for incompetent but very eager people, who have previously specialized in swaying and jumping in front of the mirror to ABBA (possibly when taking a break from cooking or cleaning) and embarrasing themselves in nightclubs. And not just any course, but one where they guarantee you'll move like Fred Astaire (or Ginger... Ginger works just as well) by the end of the course, or you'll get your money back.

... ANYWAY. I guess I was right about this being another day of irrelevancies. Oh well, I kind of like these days. Just pure stream of consciousness! ...Which reminds me of James Joyce, which tempts me to start babbling about a presumably horrible course that begins on Monday, but I hold myself back, for everyone's sake.

Since I seem to have totally lost the track of my thoughts, here's a summary of all the things I was supposed to say: Top Hat was an utterly charming film. It even made me laugh aloud (though I think it's was merely because I was sick, I rarely laugh aloud when I'm watching a film alone and the joke wasn't even that funny. (I'm finally feeling better, by the way. My nose still runs like an endless waterfall, but at least I feel lively enough to do something other than lying down)). The dancing was brilliant, as I have already expressed (between the lines, maybe, but still), and the way that gorgeous dress of Ginger's moved during a lift in "Cheek to Cheek" actually made me gasp. And I'd like to think this wasn't only due to my sickness, and thus lower defencies, but also because it looked so freaking marvelous.

Without further comments or irrelevances, I'll just finally say that I liked the film, and if there's any other Fred & Ginger movie you'd like to recommend, I'm listening. Though I guess Top Hat is considered 'the best'.

Sorry and goodnight.

"In dealing with a girl or horse, one just lets nature take its course."

Jan 6, 2011

Alex reads Twilight & Eeva laughs her head off

Still waiting for the damn flu to find something better to do than bullying me. I suppose it's really enjoying itself. Today I've been using this lovely, lovely spray, that burns your nostrils so much that your eyes water. It better help. Lying down and staring at the TV screen can be pretty nice for a day or two, but I'm getting a bit sick of it by now. 

Luckily, there is Alex. Alex is a twenty-something British fellow, who once upon a time read the first book of the Twilight series and videoed his reactions to each chapter. And its amazingly entertaining! That guy is so wonderfully witty and the points he makes are so spot-on is very hilarious. The first video is embedded below (here's the link). Do enjoy!

NB! Not recommended for a hardcore Twilight fan. You'll just get insulted and that's not nice, right? But if you are aware of the, with all due respect (because it's still Stephanie Meyer, not me, who sits comfily in his big house wondering what to do with all that money) poor quality of the writing and are willing to look at the book with a sense of humour, these videos are just for you.

Jan 5, 2011

The Ultimate Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Marathon

This is what you can call a day well spent: On the Wednesday before New Year's Eve my friend and I watched The Lord of the Rings trilogy (extended editions, of course) at pretty much one sitting, with only a couple of breaks of a few minutes. Took us almost precisely eleven hours and eleven minutes. Plus extra twenty minutes for the final end credits that have to be watched every time. Because of the drawings. And the music. Did you know that at the very end of the credits there're five minutes' worth of names of fanclubbers? We spotted some of the actors and quite a few Finnish names, too. Why didn't I get my name there, that would be a big enough life achievement for me...

I don't know what I'll do with this post. I will probably just keep repeating how fantastic the trilogy is and mindlessly list all the awesome things about it, but hey, what else can you do if you love something so much?

Ah, so what do I love about The Lord of the Rings? To mention a few things: the ridiculous attention to detail, the flawlessness of every armor, sword and floor tile, the Hobbit feet, that everyone has a long hair and that the men look so masculine despite, the use of the Middle Earth map, the intro of the first film with voice over by Cate Blanchett, Cate Blanchett's Galadriel who's the most beautiful thing ever, Shire, the Shire theme music, the accent of Billy Boyd, Boromir's line "They have a gave troll" in FotR (don't know why but I always got a kick out of it),

Gandalf's fireworks, Gandalf, Merry and Pippin's Green Dragon song, the overall colours of the film, how Andy Serkis and technology made Gollum a real living thing, Saruman's perfect nails, Tree Beard, how New Zealand IS Middle Earth, Legolas's moments to shine in each film (gave troll fight, shield surfing and the oliphaunt), the comic relief Gimli, how the Ring whispers to Frodo, the insane fact that Elijah Wood was only 18 when they shot the film (I just can't get over this! It's ridiculous!), the horrible moment in Helm's Deep when the young boys are being prepared for the battle, Peter Jackson's cameos,

Pippin's song in RotK, the Battle of Pelennor Fields ("Death! Death!" and the dead people kicking ass), "For Frodo" and how Merry and Pippin are the first ones to charge after Aragorn, "I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you", how every time I'm absolutely certain Frodo will let go at the Mount Doom (it's the look in his eyes. Thank you, 18-year-old Elijah Wood), "I'm glad you're with me, Samwise Gamgee, here at the end of all things" and all the sixteen endings. And so on.

That list could've been so much longer. I had to tie my hands to stop there.

What else can I say? The Peter Jackson super trilogy is one of what I like to call my Ultimate Favourite Films. Though the pack is all the time sneakily growing larger, it's still quite an achievement to be accepted into that highly prestigious group. (Alright, people, I'm kidding a little here...) I hope they'll never remake these films, and I don't think anyone would be stupid enough to even think about that anytime soon. I'll be eternally grateful for Peter Jackson for being a real badass and not settling for anything less than perfection in creating Middle Earth and the peoples of it.

I could make another mindlessly long list of the things I love about the special features of the DVD's. They are awesomely awesome. (And I'm regretting a bit that this Christmas break I won't have time to listen to the cast commentaries... I did that last year, and it's amazing how they keep a hold of you almost as much as the films themselves.)

For me, it wasn't until I had watched all the Making Of's and other Behind the Scenes material, when I fully understood the magnitude of the whole project, the ENORMOUS amount of effort and hours that the ENORMOUS amount of people put in making the films happen. They all have my earnest respect, everyone from the set designers and stunt cordinators to the extras and catering staff. Also, I am openly and endlessly jealous at them, because they have experienced something larger that life, something I never will, and where ever they go in life, they can always say that they have been taken part in making something freaking spectacular.

 P.S. The urge to travel to New Zealand is once again getting a bit unbearable. Please give me time and especially money, please, pretty please with a cherry on top?

P.P.S. Did you ever think where you would like to live if Middle Earth actually existed? Of course you did, who woudn't! I would definitely live in the Shire, no doubt about it, because I can't think of anything more awesome than being a hobbit. Also, I could have a nice retirement home in Rivendell and maybe a summer cottage in Lórien... Anyway, I wouldn't mind just travelling to New Zealand instead. Hmm? Extra time or money on your hands, anyone?

P.P.P.S. Oh oh oh, two more things I simply HAVE to say, in honour of the way the walls of my room looked like when I was about 14: 1) I'm still a big fan of Elijah Wood, even though he doesn't really do anything anymore. Those big blue eyes will have me forever! 2) A lot can be said about Orlando Bloom and his actual acting talents, but the man sure looks good doing action scenes in a blond wig, with that elf-like agility. Who cares if he just hangs around looking dumb and confused for the rest of the time...

Jan 4, 2011


Greetings from the land of runny noses and spinny heads! Flu and fever are definitely nice, welcome company to have any day, especially on the last days of your holiday. So, it's been a bit quiet on the blogging front (...or whatever), but I've been tremendously productive, I've rewatched the first two seasons of Skins (the only ones worth rewatching, none of that Genaration Two rubbish for me, please) and just finnished the first series of Extras. That's what happens when you are too tired to even get up and turn on your laptop... Today I did, which means I'm probably getting better, hurray.

Anyway, I'm just letting the world know I'm still alive, though hardly kicking, and there will be proper post. Soon. Really.

Time to put on Series Two, and the freaking hilarious Orlando Bloom episode... Hahaha, that ought to cure my flu, if anything will.

P.S. Me and Quentin Tarantino both agree that Toy Story 3 was the best film of 2010! Great minds think alike, eh, Quentin, buddy? We agreed about number two, as well, The Social Network. Though my number three didn't appear on his list at all... Forgot something there, Quennie? Maybe he just didn't see Inception, hmm...? It's on DVD now, so be sure to watch it! You can borrow my copy, okay? It's quite good really, though I can see that some people might prefer Jackass 3-D to it... Okay, now I'm just rambling. It's the fever, so don't mind me. Extras it is...

Jan 1, 2011

New Year Resolutions 2011

 So, it's 2011, folks! January. Hmm. Another January. Didn't we just have one? Anyway, January is the perfect time for new beginnings, ambitious promises and innovative improvements. Thus, here are my twelve New Year resolutions for 2011...

Each month, I will watch a classic film - and not just any classic, one of those that I've been meaning to watch for ages, but never had the guts, because I've been so sure I wouldn't like them anyway. Or maybe I just never found the right mood or moment for them. However, they are movies that every self-respecting filmoholic should see, so I'm practically forcing myself to watch them. I had it coming, because I DID asks nicely first... And anyway, I'm doing myself a favour, because I'll probably end up liking at least some of these films. And afterwards I can hold my head a bit higher amongst all the hardcore moviefans.

These are the movies I'm planning to see:

January: Sunset Blvd. (1950)
February: Mulholland Dr. (2001)
March: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
April: The Deer Hunter (1978)
May: 8 ½ (1963)
June: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
July: Citizen Kane (1941)
August: A Clockwork Orange (1971)
September: Blade Runner (1982)
October: Goodfellas (1990)
Nobember: Scarface (1983)
December: Manhattan (1979)

So, what do you think? Did I make any good choices here? Will this be a pain in the rear or a merry little picnic? I myself am feeling quite excited about this. And only a bit worried. About March, mostly. Oh well, a month at a time!