As the parent of a small child, I don’t get to go to the cinema very often. In fact I have been twice in the 16.5 months since Little O was born. When Mr O suggested that we go for my birthday (which was on Monday) I jumped at the chance. As it was my birthday treat it was my choice and I really wanted to see something fun and not too taxing. Picking Ragnarok seemed like a bit of a no-brainer. Read more…
I’ve spotted quite a few of the lovely film bloggers that I follow doing this little alphabet meme and I couldn’t resist having a go myself. It originally comes from The Drama Llama so if you want to have a go too… I’d love to see it!
Anticipating movie of 2014
It’s probably terribly cliched but I absolutely cannot wait for X-Men: Days of Future Past. Not only does it have Patrick Stewart (more about that later) and Ian McKellan in it but also Fassbender and McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence… and you know, it’s X-Men, which is pretty much the only superhero franchise I actually find cool and exciting. This trailer actually gave me goosebumps. And also First Class was brilliant so hopefully it will be just as good.
Book adaptation I’d like to see
At the moment I am completely obsessed with The Wool Trilogy by Hugh Howey. I’ve only just finished the second one but I can imagine it would make an amazing sci-fi epic. There is a whole underwater scene that I could imagine so clearly in my head that it made me realise what an exciting adaptation it would be. It’s thrilling, suspenseful, dark and full of twists… people would be gripped. The question is who would play Jules? I’ve been pondering it all day and I’m still not sure who’d be quite right. Any other Wool fans have any suggestions?
Celebrity I’d most like to meet
You’ll probably think I’m nuts with so many to choose from but I would love, love, love to meet Alan Carr. I feel like he’d be the most fun dinner guest you could possibly have and I mean how awesome would he be be on a night out? You get the impression that despite the fact that he’s interviewed some of the top Hollywood stars that he’d still drink cheap wine with you and have a dance to Gangnam Style. I like the fact that he can really have a laugh at his own expense and also how he manages to get even the most serious A-list celebs to have a laugh with him… once the American male ones have gotten over the fact that he’s flirting with them.
Dream actor-director pairing
I’m guessing picking two actors is probably cheating but tell me you wouldn’t want to see a movie directed by Christopher Nolan starring Michael Fassbender and Tom Hiddleston? Both actors have a kind of dark intensity that I think would work well with Nolan’s style. You could see them playing corporate adversaries, or members of a starship crew on a desperate mission seemingly on the same side but one with a dark secret that could sabotage the whole thing. It writes itself… and I mean with all his talents Chris could even write it. Someone make this happen!
Essential classic film
I feel like I really haven’t seen anywhere near enough classic films. Over the last few years I have been trying to beef up my record but there’s still a long way to go. I have seen some amazing contenders including Seven Samurai, The Birds and Bicycle Thieves but if I am really going to pick a classic film that totally took me in, I’d have to go for It’s a Wonderful Life. It features the kind of slow pacing so typical of its time, which allows it to really build strong characters that you genuinely care about. Although it’s one of the best happy endings (which aren’t really my thing) out there it actually feels absolutely deserved. I might still be a little bit full of the Christmas spirit.
Favourite film franchise
There are loads of film franchises out there that have one or two great films in it and then one that goes horribly wrong and kind of ruins the whole thing. A case in point would probably be The Matrix or Mad Max but one of the very few that packs an impressive punch through every one of its eight movies is Harry Potter (we’ll just kind of pretend Half Blood Prince never happened… you know 7/8 is not bad). There’s something utterly magical about the entire franchise that manages to overcome the vast differences in tone between the different films and the fact that some of the acting is a little questionable (sorry Dan). It’s also the only franchise that I was so into that I actually went on the Harry Potter studio tour, took a zillion photos and went a bit stupid with excitement. I am genuinely sad that there aren’t going to be any more Harry Potter movies but through the magic of DVD at least I get to watch them over and over again,
Genre I watch the most
It’s hard for me to pick a particular genre as a “favourite”. The films I love come from every possible genre you can think of – comedy, sci-fi, fantasy… there’s even a little romance in there. However every time Mr Osbiston and I peruse our DVD collection or our “to watch” list on Netflix, it turns out it’s all drama. Pretty much every film I have added to our collection is a drama. I guess given the choice, I kind of like serious movies with meaning and a message (well, when I am not watching things with Will Ferrell in them). It sounds a bit pretentious but it’s really not intentional because the funny thing is whenever I decide to put a movie on I always think “comedy” but then it turns out that I actually don’t own any.
I know I go on and on about Everything is Illuminated but I really think it’s a completely underrated gem that I wish more people would see. The only reason I ended up seeing it in the first place was because it showing on a flight I took from London to Johannesburg. I had watched everything else and I figured, why not? Then the plane landed half way through the film and I actually had to wait for it to come out on DVD to find out what happened. It was a long couple of months. All I can say is if you’re looking for a film that has humour, heart, mystery, a stirring score, engrossing performances and beautiful cinematography, this is definitely the one for you. It’s also the film that inspired my fascination with Eastern Europe (more about that later).
Important film moment in my life
The first movie I actually remember seeing in a theatre is An American Tail. It came out in November 1986, which means I would have been six when I saw it. I remember seeing it in the school holidays, which makes sense because it would have been showing during the December holidays in South Africa. We didn’t go to the movies often when I was a kid and we didn’t have a VCR until I was about thirteen so seeing a film was a really big event. I remember being totally awed and thinking that I wished I could go to the movies every day so I think you could probably credit it with inspiring my great love for film. Unfortunately I can’t remember all that much about the actual plot, but I do remember that one of the animated mice had a great hat.
Just right for a rainy day
Well in London, almost every day is a rainy day so really pretty much any film could qualify for this but if we’re looking for a kind of lazy afternoon movie that you can put on and just enjoy without thinking too hard then I’m going for Center Stage. My mom and I used to lie on my bed and watch it all the time when we were bored and it never got tired. Dance movies are one of my great guilty pleasures and I will happily forgive them almost all of their trespasses. Center Stage is fun, exciting and full of (melo)drama and slick moves. It also has some pretty kickass female characters who stand up for themselves and don’t accept less than what’s right for them, even when it means taking a risk. Ballet never looked so hot.
Kiddie movie I still shamelessly enjoy
I am not generally a big fan of kids movies and it’s rare that one comes out that doesn’t make me groan. I think most mainstream kids movies are overly steeped heavy handed black and white morality and treat their female characters in a way that makes little girls think that they’re supposed to grow up to be helpless princesses. However both the Despicable Me movies absolutely rock my world. I am not sure what it is about Gru and the Minions that makes me laugh so hard but I feel like I can really tap into my sillier side while watching them. I can’t think of anything better than having your own horde of Minions. Apparently they’re not real though. So disappointing!
Location I’d most like to visit
Seeing Everything is Illuminated really made me want to visit The Ukraine. Throughout the film Alex, Jonathan and Alex’s grandfather travel across the Ukrainian countryside through endlessly beautiful fields, mountains and lakes. Grandfather says of the countryside, “This is the most premium land for farming. Before the war, this was the most beautiful place in the world.” And of Odessa, “Tell him that the sand on the beaches is more soft than a woman’s hair and and that it is the perfect place to fall in love and start a family.” Although I haven’t actually been to The Ukraine yet the film totally opened my eyes to the idea of Eastern Europe being a beautiful place to visit. Since then I have been to Hungary and Lithuania and we have Estonia penciled in for 2014. I still totally want to check out The Ukraine though.
Marathons I’ve watched
Believe it or not I haven’t actually done many movie marathons that were all the same genre or all from the same franchise. Normally my movie marathons happen with my friend, Jen (who is infinitely patient) and they involve as many bad movies as we can find on Netflix in one go. Obscure eighties teen romcoms with no plot? Check! Terrible remakes of movies that were pretty terrible in the first place? Check! Movies starring Megan Fox as an actual angel needing to be rescued by Mickey Rourke… (yes, that is an actual real film)? Double check! I don’t know why we like bad movies so much. Maybe it’s because we take such great joy in ripping them apart. What this has made me realise is that I am probably well overdue for a proper movie marathon. Does anyone have any unusual suggestions?
Netflix movie I watched
I actually watch loads of movies on Netflix. Since we moved and we no longer have Sky, I use Netflix for almost all of my movie watching needs. It’s amazing what you can (and can’t) find on there. The last movie I watched on Netflix was Moonstruck, which won three Oscars and was nominated for three more in 1988, which is why I watched it even though it stars Cher. Although she was pretty good playing a practical woman who becomes caught up in a passionate and unexpected love affair, I’m not sure if it was an Oscar winning performance or if this relatively ordinary film was worthy of a nomination for best picture. I must have missed out on something other than the fact that Nic Cage used to have really dodgy teeth!
One movie I saw in theatres more than once
I know almost everyone thought Warm Bodies was terrible but I absolutely loved it… so much so that I saw it twice in the theatre in the space of about a week. I am not embarrassed to be a fangirl of this movie. I totally fell for R, its quirky humour and the amazing soundtrack. It didn’t lose anything in the second viewing and I full intend to buy it on DVD and watch it again… and again… and again… and then again. I’ll just have to make sure that my husband isn’t home. I have managed to keep him away from this one so far but since he’s a total zombie purist, I get the feeling that not only will he hate it but that he’s likely to moan all the way through it and then take the piss out of me. I still maintain that the whole story is just a metaphor for how living without love makes you feel dead inside.
Preferred place to watch a movie
Although lying on the couch watching a movie in your onesie is pretty fricking awesome, there’s still nothing that beats going to an actual theatre. I love the smell of popcorn and the challenge of finding the perfect seat (hint: it’s in that middle break between the front bit and the main seating area – loads of legroom, great view and you can go and pee whenever you want), I even love the trailers. In fact if I am late enough to miss them I feel like I’ve missed out. I also find watching movies at home really open to distraction, which just isn’t there if you’re in the theatre. On my couch I find it hard not to pick up my phone and start fiddling with it or to get up for snacks or live tweet the plot.
Quote that inspires me
It’s as simple as this…
Remakes, friend or foe?
For the most part I find remakes to be pretty pointless. Why take something kind of awesome like Total Recall and remake it. What is the desired outcome? That people who saw the original will want to see what things have been done to it? Or that there’s a whole new audience who doesn’t even know it’s a remake? Anyway… I think it’s possible to make an interesting remake if you absolutely must, but you have to do it very, very well and it’s best to do it with films that are outside the current collective consciousness in order to avoid endless and probably negative comparisons. Personally I’d much rather see something original.
Snack I enjoy the most
I love me some popcorn, not just for the movies. It really is one of my my absolute favourite snacks and although it’s inexplicably expensive at the theatre, it always tastes better than home made. I always used to eat it with salt only because in South Africa popcorn only really comes salted. It is unquestionably a savoury snack. When I arrived in the UK I was shocked when I ordered popcorn and it was sweet. It was like somebody serving you chocolate flavoured crisps! What I have subsequently discovered is that there is a way to get the best of both worlds. That’s right kids… ask for half and half. It shouldn’t work but somehow it just does. The only problem is that you have to shake it to mix it yourself, which can mean that you end up spilling popcorn on others. I’m also not adverse to some pick and mix, which is my husband’s favourite – the more licorice the better.
Twist that boggled my mind
I know it’s hard for anyone to believe that I didn’t know what the twist was in Psycho when I watched it about five years ago but I genuinely had no idea what was coming. My mind was completely and utterly blown. I had a total, “what the actual fuck?” moment. And it was awesome. Despite the fact that the ending is widely known, I somehow managed to avoid it and ended up having an experience as thrilling as the original audiences would have done. It is one of my favourite movie endings of all time and also the movie that turned me onto Hitchcock and who doesn’t love a bit of Alf?
Unapologetic fanhuman for
We all know that Patrick Stewart is the coolest man alive. Not only is he Captain Picard but he’s also Professor X and he’s Ian McKellan’s best friend (has anyone else seen the amazing pictures of their awesome bromance?). Beyond his outstanding sci-fi credentials, Patrick Stewart is also a very impressive dramatic actor on both stage and screen but never takes himself too seriously and is happy to take the piss out of himself when given the opportunity. There are so many wonderful moments you can find online of him just being fun and cool, not to mention that he’s a total silver fox. How can you not be a fan?
Very excited for awards season?
Er… no. To be honest I find most of the awards shows super boring. They go on for hours and hours and just seem to get longer and longer. For the most part I think they pick the wrong movies and actors to win. It’s all so focused on a particular kind of mainstream movie and some of the really interesting, riskier movies don’t even get a look in. However, I do quite like looking at all the dresses but that can easily be done with a little bit of lunch time Googling rather than being glued to the TV for four hours.
Wish I had never watched
I love Tom Hardy. I think he’s one of the most exciting young actors in Hollywood at the moment. His ability to completely disappear into a role is unique and quite special. I also think Reese Witherspoon is a pretty decent actress who’s had some great roles in her time, probably most notably June Carter in Walk The Line. So how the two of them ended up in an absolute shitfest like This Means War I am unable to tell you but it actually changed my opinion of both of them to some extent and so I wish I had never watched it. Not only is the storyline utterly ludicrous but the idea of FBI agents using government equipment to stalk a woman is repulsive. This isn’t a romcom, it’s a horror movie.
XXX movie I first watched at a young age (R or NC-17!)
My parents were really quite strict about what I was allowed to watch as a child, as were most of my friends’ parents so I don’t recall seeing anything inappropriate as a child. I know that seems kind of unbelievable in this day and age but, you know, it was the 80’s. It was a more innocent time!
Your latest movie related obsession
At the moment I can’t get enough of Robert Rodriguez movies. He has such a distinctive style, somehow getting the balance between action and shlock exactly right (along with his weird obsession with amputees). I convinced my husband to watch From Dusk to Dawn not too long ago and that lead to Desperado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico. I also loved Sin City, Machete and Planet Terror so I am mega excited for Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Possibly a Robert Rodriguez marathon could be an option.
ZZZ-Catchers (a movie that put you to sleep)
I will admit to sleeping through almost the whole of Oz, The Great and Powerful. It was painfully boring, which is terribly disappointing since I loved The Wizard of Oz, both the original novel and film. Not even the amazingly lush 3D and the fact that the theatre was absolutely freezing could stop me from nodding off and doing a big old snore through the whole tedious business.