I have a new blog

Monday, 2 March 2015, 0:43 | Category : Uncategorized
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I’ve no idea if anybody is still subscribed to this blog, but if yes then I have started writing once again! (or at least I hope so - 2 long posts in about a month is something, right?)

My new blog is at https://monikasulik.wordpress.com/

I’m going to post much more rarely than I used to and the subject matter is now completely limited to film, mostly film reviews. I’m not planning on reviewing everything I watch though, only the films that left the biggest impression on me (whether because I loved them, hated them or just thought them extremely weird).

So please check it out :) This blog is now officially dead!

Is this blog dead? hmmm….

Sunday, 17 April 2011, 13:58 | Category : Uncategorized
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I’m not quite ready to declare it dead yet, but this is the longest I’ve gone without writing anything on it *sigh*
Basically, I have a life now ;) I mean a real one, a life that makes me happy - my mum recently said that she doesn’t think she’s seen me constantly happy like this since childhood (which doesn’t mean I don’t have my miserable days and that I haven’t had any disappointments or difficulties these last few months, but on the whole I’m still very happy at current :)).
I’m not used to the time constraints that have become part of my life now - it’s the first time I’ve had a full-time job. So my on-line time has decreased drastically.

But I do miss writing. It’s a wonderfully introverted way of expressing myself ;) I’m leading a very social life at the moment (in my standards that is, for normal human beings that probably translates to “a not particularly unsocial life” ;)).
I work in a room with four other people and as much as I enjoy their company (they’re all great!), for somebody as introverted as me, it’s quite draining.
At the moment I’m in a recovery period - mentally from having so many people around me recently, and physically from a very bad cold (I’m even off work, which for me is actually a bit of a bummer - I like going to work *grin*). Today’s like the first day of my illness where I feel like doing something other than sleeping :] So writing feels kind of good. Only I feel like I’m rambling, which I am…
So er, yeah, as I’m rambling, I will finish this post here ;) And I’ll just go straight on to write the next one, which will hopefully make more sense ;-P

FILM SPOTTING: March 2011 in Polish cinemas


The Adjustment Bureau (USA, 2011)

Release Date (Poland): 4th March 2011
Release Date (worldwide): 4th March 2011
Director: George Nolfi
Cast: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt
Plot: (from IMDb)

The affair between a politician and a ballerina is affected by mysterious forces keeping the lovers apart.


General Feelings
I really like the bits between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt on the trailer. And the concept sounds kind of intriguing, so I’m in *grin*

Rango (USA, 2011)

Release Date (Poland): 4th March 2011
Release Date (worldwide): 4th March 2011
Director: Gore Verbinski
Cast: Johnny Depp, Bill Nighy, Abigail Breslin, Isla Fisher
Plot: (from IMDb)

A chameleon that aspires to be a swashbuckling hero finds himself in a Western town plagued by bandits and is forced to literally play the role in order to protect it.


General Feelings
I still can’t quite believe I’m spotting it on my main list, but it just looks so hilarious! *grin*
Unfortunately, it’s dubbed for the Polish market, but as it’s Johnny Depp there is perhaps some hope of one or two cinemas in Warsaw screening it with subtitles. And failing that, the Polish dubbing actually sounds pretty faithful to the original (judging by the trailers that is).

The Fighter (USA, 2010)

Release Date (Poland): 4th March 2011
Release Date (worldwide): 10th December 2010
Director: David O. Russell
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo
Plot: (from IMDb)

A look at the early years of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward and his brother who helped train him before going pro in the mid 1980s.


General Feelings
I’m still sort of in two minds about this one… There are factors that intrigue me and factors that put me off ;) In the end I’m going with the good reviews and hype for the acting.

No Strings Attached (USA, 2011)

Release Date (Poland): 18th March 2011
Release Date (worldwide): 21st January 2011
Director: Ivan Reitman
Cast: Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher
Plot: (from IMDb)

A guy and girl try to keep their relationship strictly physical, but it’s not long before they learn that they want something more.


General Feelings
I really like the idea of Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher as an on-screen pairing, and I think the hamster line is fab ;) So even though all signs on heaven and earth suggest this is a predictable romantic comedy, I want to see it. It looks fun!

Other Films for Consideration

  • You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (USA/Spain, 2010)
    This is the latest Woody Allen film, which is actually why I’m not that interested ;) I am, however, curious about anything Freida Pinto does post-Slumdog, which is why it’s made my maybe list.
  • How Do You Know (USA, 2010)
    Paul Rudd! I think he’s fab even though I’ve never really seen him in anything :] Or rather I have (as Paris in the DiCaprio version of Romeo & Juliet), but that was way before he found his niche. Apart from Paul Rudd this doesn’t look all that enticing though.
  • The Mill and the Cross (Sweden/Poland, 2011)
    Rutger Hauer in something that looks very weird and has a Polish director. I’m intrigued… but not entirely sure it’s my kind of thing.
  • Sucker Punch (USA, 2011)
    I rather think this will be a lousy special effects film. But the plot is just weird enough and the aesthetics developed enough that I could be persuaded to see it… maybe ;)
  • Periferic (Romania, 2010)
    There’s something vaguely intriguing about the trailer… I like the look of the lead actress. And apparently Cristian Mungu had some sort of input into it.

Special Mentions

  • Never Let Me Go (UK/USA, 2010)
    This I saw at the Warsaw Film Festival last year and it was fab, so I wanted to give it a shout out :) Andrew Garfield (the new Spiderman) and Carey Mulligan are really, really awesome.
  • Ultimo tango a Parigi (France/Italy, 1972)
    Maria Schneider died a couple of weeks ago, which I think is why we’re getting this re-release. I’m not a big watcher of old films, but this is one of my favourites. To me what’s so brilliant about it is how emotionally raw it is and how it doesn’t have that sanitized feel that I associate with older films. Check out this clip - it’s the sort of humour I haven’t seen much of in cinema before the 2000s :)
    And to those having mixed feelings about the sexual explicitness of it - in today’s standards it’s relatively tame, but IMO that doesn’t take anything away from it :)

FILM SPOTTING: February 2011 in Polish cinemas


Another Year (UK, 2010)

Release Date (Poland): 18th February 2011
Release Date (worldwide): 15th May 2010
Director: Mike Leigh
Cast: Jim Broadbent, Lesley Manville, Ruth Sheen, David Bradley, Imelda Staunton
Plot: (from IMDb)

A married couple who have managed to remain blissfully happy into their autumn years, are surrounded over the course of the four seasons of one average year by friends, colleagues, and family who all seem to suffer some degree of unhappiness.


General Feelings
Mike Leigh and good reviews are enough to get my but out of the house I think *grin*

127 Hours (UK/USA, 2010)

Release Date (Poland): 18th February 2011
Release Date (worldwide): 4th September 2010
Director: Danny Boyle
Cast: James Franco, Clemence Poesy
Plot: (from IMDb)

A mountain climber becomes trapped under a boulder while canyoneering alone near Moab, Utah and resorts to desperate measures in order to survive.


General Feelings
I’m curious what Danny Boyle is going to come up with now - post-Slumdog that is. The script is co-written by Simon Beaufoy, which is always a good sign *grin* And James Franco has received a lot of hype for the film.
On the other hand, the trailer and clips I’ve seen do absolutely nothing for me :]

Restrepo (USA, 2010)

Release Date (Poland): 18th February 2011
Release Date (worldwide): 21st January 2010
Director: Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger
Plot: (from IMDb)

A year with one platoon in the deadliest valley in Afghanistan.


General Feelings
This has won a lot of awards at festivals, it’s on a topic I’m very interested in and Kin has recommended it to me - what else could I want? ;) So even though this is a documentary, it’s the film I’m most excited for amongst the February releases.

The Kids Are All Right (USA, 2010)

Release Date (Poland): 25th February 2011
Release Date (worldwide): 25th January 2010
Director: Lisa Cholodenko
Cast: Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska
Plot: (from TMDb)

A married lesbian couple deals with their kids –conceived by artificial insemination — when they bring their birth father into their lives.


General Feelings
This looks amusing and I’m looking forward to Julianne Moore :)

Winter’s Bone (USA, 2010)

Release Date (Poland): 25th February 2011
Release Date (worldwide): 11th January 2010
Director: Debra Granik
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence
Plot: (from IMDb)

An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact.


General Feelings
It won Sundance and the female lead has received a lot of hype (she’s nominated for an Oscar!). And she does look awesome on the trailer :)
The plot doesn’t sound all that appealing, but reviews suggest that it’s a much more complex film than what it might sound like.

Other Films for Consideration

  • London Boulevard (USA/UK, 2010)
    This has a great cast - Keira Knightley, David Thewlis, Jamie Campbell Bower, Ben Chaplin… But the plot and the trailer totally put me off.

Best Kiss (aka a list of my favourite kissing scenes)

I’ve been looking through lots of best kiss movie lists and once again have come to the conclusion that there is something wrong with me :] I think I’m even more out of touch with other human beings in my kissing scene preferences than in nude scene preferences

The Criteria:

  • Two or more beings of some sort have to kiss in the scene ;)
  • When I say “kiss” I mean on the mouth. I might write a list of scenes involving other body parts some other time ;)
  • Whether we see the actors actually locking lips is not important to me (in other words - back of the head Bollywood shots are in ;)).
  • The scene need not be romantic and the two characters need not love each other. This, I think, is where my list differs significantly from most other stuff on-line. And I kind of feel like a pervert :] There is even some stuff on this list, which is non-consensual. You have been warned! That said, there are some conventional choices also.
  • By “best” I just mean I like the scene and found it very memorable. I make no claims beyond that ;)
Dostana (India, 2008)
who: John Abraham & Abhishek Bachchan
clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6dISryMncY

The kiss comes at the end of the film, so careful - the clip is a major spoiler!
It’s a scene I can watch over and over again ;) It has to be the funniest and most “humiliating” kiss ever. I love the build up.
Certainly, one of the most talked about “kisses” in Bollywood in the last couple of years. They don’t actually lock lips, which Shahrukh Khan apparently believed was a mistake (that’s the same Shahrukh who has never kissed any of his leading ladies in his 20 years of playing romantic heroes ;)). It’s still a really cool kiss though *grin*

Twilight (USA, 2008)
who: Robert Pattinson & Kristen Stewart
clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOZtI-A3q9U

This won Best Kiss at the MTV Movie Awards, so I’m being conventional here ;) I love how awkward it is (apparently they miscommunicated before they shot the scene and they were both waiting for the other person to cover the remaining gap lol).
It’s actually a very creepy scene. I mean, just beforehand, he admits he’s been regularly breaking in to her house to watch her sleep and then she’s supposed to keep still because otherwise he might accidentally kill her and drink her blood ;) I like kisses with strange vibes, so this works for me, but I’m kind of surprised it works for so many other people as well ;)

Eclipse (USA, 2010)
who: Taylor Lautner & Kristen Stewart

They actually kiss twice in the film and oddly enough the first kiss (which I’m not that fond of) is all over youtube, but the second one, which is the one that does it for me, is nowhere to be found :]
Something I generally like about the Twilight kisses is that they’re quite unglamorous. It just looks like two teenagers kissing rather than a hot Hollywood kiss kind of thing (New Moon is a bit more conventional in this respect, but Twilight and Eclipse go with awkward sort of vibes for the most part). This one really does it for me because it’s so strange on an emotional level. Edward practically witnesses Bella’s betrayal and there’s a bit of manipulation on Jacob’s part as well. It’s all very twisted and weird.

Hey Ram (India, 2000)
who: Kamal Hassan & Rani Mukherji
clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbAt4XcZkr4

Bollywood doesn’t do kissing scenes often. But when they do, they tend to make a meal out of it!
This one is between husband and wife on the piano *grin* It’s really sweet, but also beautifully shot, lighted and “choreographed”. I’ve rarely seen a set-up quite that intricate for a kissing scene.

Dil Se (India, 1998)
who: Shahrukh Khan & Manisha Koirala

Admittedly, Shahrukh Khan is not somebody who you expect to see on a best kiss list and you’d be correct in guessing that there’s no lip-lock in this one ;) That said, if you don’t know about his “no kissing rule”, the lack of lip-lock in this is not at all obvious - it’s shot very well.
As I said, some of the scenes on this list are non-consensual and this is one of them. The scene feels almost like rape. But that’s why I like it - there’s a real sense of him violating her. So often such scenes don’t have much of an emotional impact and this one really does.

Black (India, 2005)
who: Amitabh Bachchan & Rani Mukherji

Rani Mukherji’s character is blind and deaf. She accepts that she will probably never have a partner, but she really needs to find out what it’s like to kiss someone. The only person she can ask is her teacher. Their relationship is far from being a romantic one, so this is not something he really feels he can give… but he does.
It’s very beautifully shot. And I get a weird kick out of the thought that Rani Mukherji has kissed both Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan (father and son) on screen, but that’s beside the point ;)

Closet Land (USA, 1991)
who: Alan Rickman & Madeleine Stowe
clip: http://www.tubechop.com/watch/122665

And the non-consensual stuff gets worse ;) This is part of a torture and interrogation scene. The interrogator (Alan Rickman) first eats tomato and garlic and then kisses the victim as he’s still chewing and drooling. It’s gross, of course, but that’s the point.
If I had to pick the most disturbing kissing scene I can remember it would probably be this one… although it also makes me laugh. The “I saw that in a movie once” line totally cracks me up, so I end up laughing and feeling very uncomfortable at the same time…

Total Eclipse (UK/France/Belgium, 1995)
who: Leonardo DiCaprio & David Thewlis
clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3lnv6LRqus

I haven’t seen this one listed on any Best Kiss lists, but it can’t just be me cause it’s all over youtube in many versions ;)
It’s the way they look at each other just before… And even the slight look of unease in Rimbaud (DiCaprio) as Verlaine (Thewlis) responds to the seduction attempt. There’s something electric about the whole thing.

Blade Runner (USA, 1982)
who: Rutger Hauer & Joe Turkel

This one’s odd cause I barely remember the film (must have seen it 10 years ago or more) and yet the kiss kind of stayed with me ;) It’s a weird one - the replicant kisses its maker before killing him or something along those lines… I don’t remember exactly. What I remember to this day, is the saliva ;) In the director’s cut, as Rutger Hauer draws away, you can see this long string of spit extending between them. I remember I liked it - it added something extra to the feel of the scene ;)
The weird thing was that the spit didn’t seem to be there in the regular cut. Censorship? lol

Special Mentions

  • Monkeybone (USA, 2001): Brendan Fraser & monkey
    In case you’re wondering - yes, this one does have a lip-lock *grin* And it’s a real monkey (there is one with a cartoon monkey also, but that’s not the one I’m referring to ;)). The monkey also takes his trousers off during the scene, so it’s full on debauchery *grin*
  • Bridget Jones’s Diary (UK/Ireland/France, 2001): Colin Firth & Renee Zellweger
    This is a standard romantic comedy ending kind of kiss I suppose… But I like the whole chasing after him in the middle of winter with hardly any clothes on bit ;)
  • Spiderman (USA, 2002): Tobey Maguire & Kirsten Dunst
    The upside down kiss of course!
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (USA/UK, 2010): Rupert Grint & Kate Fleetwood
    Even though I’m more into the Harry Potter franchise, I think Twilight has the better kisses ;-P But this one was hilarious ;)
  • Avatar (USA/UK, 2009): Sam Worthington & Zoe Saldana
    It’s the first time I’ve seen a kiss where one of the characters is computer animated and yet it really looks like they’re kissing each other. So I thought it deserved a special mention ;)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (USA/UK, 2010): Daniel Radcliffe & Emma Watson
    Mainly, I just like the way they taunt Ron (Rupert Grint) ;) Hermione (Emma Watson) is particularly vile about it lol
  • Hana Yori Dango (Japan, 2005): Jun Matsumoto & Mao Inoue
    I mean the accidental kiss at the party *grin* (for those who don’t know the series, there’s a struggle and the big school bully ends up “accidentally” falling on top of his victim and kissing her ;)) The one at the end of the series with the sunset and all is not my cup of tea ;-P
  • Hana zakari no kimi tachi e - Ikemen paradaisu (Japan, 2007): Shun Oguri & everybody
    The character gets drunk veeeeery easily and becomes a kissing monster every time it happens (i.e. he kisses anybody who happens to be nearby, which results in some very strange kisses throughout the series ;)). On the other hand, the more conventional kiss at the end (the one at the airport) does nothing for me ;-P
  • Kimi Wa Petto (Japan, 2003): Jun Matsumoto & Koyuki
    A woman lets a teenager stay at her house only if he pretends to be a dog *grin*, but as she gets a boyfriend and all that, her dog has a jealousy attack and forces a kiss on her. Another scene to add to the non-consensual kissing scene tally…

A homeless man with an unusual gift

Friday, 7 January 2011, 22:01 | Category : Crumbs, Curiosities
Tags : ,

This is one of those underdog stories that supposedly only happen in movies… only sometimes they really do happen in real life ;) It’s a beautiful story.

FILM SPOTTING: January 2011 in Polish cinemas

As usual, the beginning of the year (aka exam time) is full of interesting releases ;-P My main list would probably be unmanageably long if not that I’m a bit more picky these days. And my maybe list could have included even more releases if I hadn’t limited myself - really ;)


J’ai tué ma m?re (Canada, 2009)

Release Date (Poland): 14th January 2011
Release Date (worldwide): 18th May 2009
Director: Xavier Dolan
Plot: (from IMDb)

A semi-autobiographical story about Dolan as a young homosexual at odds with his mother.


General Feelings
The trailer looks beautiful - I love the cinematography and the whole mood of it. It looks like a film by somebody who really loves cinema and the reviews say as much (it’s got excellent ratings). On top of that it’s Canadian and has a gay theme *grin*

Black Swan (USA, 2010)

Release Date (Poland): 21st January 2011
Release Date (worldwide): 1st September 2010
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey
Plot: (from IMDb)

A thriller that zeros in on the relationship between a veteran ballet dancer and a rival.


General Feelings
I kind of think it might be horrible, but I want to see it anyway ;) I’m curious because it’s been talked about a lot. I’m also keen to see how Aronofsky deals with ballet visually - I think he might do something interesting with that. And the cast is nice - haven’t seen Natalie Portman and Winona Ryder in anything for ages :)

The King’s Speech (UK, 2010)

Release Date (Poland): 28th January 2011
Release Date (worldwide): 6th September 2010
Director: Tom Hooper
Cast: Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush, Guy Pearce, Michael Gambon, Timothy Spall, Derek Jacobi, Jennifer Ehle
Plot: (from IMDb)

The story of King George VI of Britain, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it.


General Feelings
This is one of my top most awaited films of the year *grin* It’s a very small film, but it won the audience award at the Toronto Film Festival (last year’s winner was Slumdog Millionaire) and it’s had excellent reviews. It has a fantastic cast and the performances are supposed to be awesome.
Not the best of trailers, but I get the feeling it’s a bit misleading. Judging by other released clips, there’s going to be a lot of awkward silences that don’t appear on the trailer.
I love hearing about how they researched the film. Apparently, even some of the humorous moments are based on fact. It sounds like one of those cases where truth is stranger than fiction.
And it’s been fascinating to me to see how the British Stammering Association has used the film to raise awareness. Apparently, this is the first time a film has had stammering as its main subject matter and Colin Firth’s performance is supposed to be one of the most faithful portrayals of what stammering feels like.

Other Films for Consideration

  • Tamara Drewe (UK, 2010)
    I tend to like small British comedies, but have mixed feelings about this one. Saw My Beautiful Laundrette over the summer (both films have Stephen Frears as the director) and found it a bit difficult. The trailer for this one looks amusing, but there’s something in it that reminds me of My Beautiful Laundrette, so I’m put off ;-P
  • David Wants to Fly (Austria/Germany/Switzerland, 2010)
    This one is on my “maybe list” because it’s a documentary, otherwise I’m sold on it ;) I remember it was much talked about during the Planete Doc Review film festival in Warsaw.
  • Bi, dung so (Vietnam, 2010)
    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film from Vietnam and I kind of like IMDb’s plot summary. Nice cinematography too. But it might be one of those very slow art films focusing on every day reality and those are rarely my cup of tea.
  • The Tourist (USA/France, 2010)
    Plot-wise it looks dreadful. But I’m curious about it because it has a great cast - Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany and Rufus Sewell, what more could a girl want? ;) And also it’s high time I finally saw a film with Angelina Jolie… Why does she always choose plots that put me off? :]
  • Solo quiero caminar (Spain/Mexico, 2008)
    Diego Luna - enough said *grin* Otherwise I’m not so keen on it, but I imagine it might be fun. The advantage of Mexican cinema is that unlike a lot of other Latin American countries their cinema is far from being slow *grin*
  • Ajami (Germany/Israel, 2009)
    Religious tensions in Israel is a good topic as far as I’m concerned. Nothing else attracts me to the film though.
  • En ganske snill mann (Norway, 2010)
    I like Stellan Skarsgard and he looks good on the trailer. That’s my only reason ;)
  • Incendies (Canada, 2010)
    Another film set in the Middle East (Lebanon), which is once again my interest factor.
  • Des hommes et des dieux (France, 2010)
    This won the Grand Prix in Cannes. It’s based on the true story of a monastery in Algeria. Christian monks lived peacefully amongst Muslims until the 1990s civil unrest. Intriguing topic and a very widely acclaimed film, but there’s something about the clips that I just do not like.
  • The Green Hornet (USA, 2011)
    I like Seth Rogen *grin* And when I first heard about this film it sounded like a weird parody of the superhero genre. I could see Seth Rogen working very well in something like that. But the trailer has totally put me off, bleh.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I aka how nice it is to have a Harry Potter film which is not all action

I have finally managed to get my Harry Potter review to an almost coherent state (although I suppose that’s debatable ;-P it is still way too long *sigh*).
And I’ve done even more tweaking to my review format :] Yes, yes I know - I should stop now, but I like tweaking…


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I (USA/UK, 2010)

Seen: Friday, 19th November 2010 (cinema)
Rating: +2 (Adored It).
Director: David Yates
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Matthew Lewis, Bill Nighy, Tom Felton, Michael Gambon, Ralph Fiennes, Rhys Ifans, Rupert Grint, Bonnie Wright, Clémence Poésy, Jason Isaacs, John Hurt, Miranda Richardson, Warwick Davis, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robbie Coltrane, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Evanna Lynch, Helen McCrory, Timothy Spall, Julie Walters, Imelda Staunton, Fiona Shaw, Natalia Tena, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Richard Griffiths, Mark Williams, Harry Melling, Frances de la Tour, Sophie Thompson, David O’Hara, Steffan Rhodri
Plot: Harry, Ron, and Hermione set out to do what Dumbledore left to them - destroy all of Voldemort’s horcruxes, so that he becomes mortal again.


Or see the trailer.

The part of the plot that I love the most in the book is when Harry, Ron and Hermione are completely on their own, camping out in the woods, with only Dumbledore’s cryptic messages to go by. I love all the arguments, frustrations and how basically nothing happens for chapters and chapters. Nothing can happen because they have no clue how they’re supposed to accomplish the task that was left to them.
In that sense, I got what I wanted :) A lot of the film’s focus is on that part of the story, which gave it an unusual feel - emotional conflicts take the place of what would usually be fast-paced action.
It’s also the first time the film relies quite so heavily on Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. While the Potter films are famous for using lots of big-named British actors for what are essentially cameos, they kind of outdid themselves in this one. There are only four significant characters in the film - Harry, Ron, Hermione and Voldemort. Nobody else has more than two scenes or so. And even Voldemort has very limited screen time (he’s probably in the film for less than 10 minutes total).
Rupert Grint was awesome *grin* Totally my favourite performance of the film. He’s still the comic relief in a way, but the emotional range is much broader and even a lot of his humorous moments are much heavier. I think what’s so wonderful about the performance is the warmth about him and how clearly you can feel Ron’s attachment to all the people in his life. All three of them sacrifice their relationships to go on the horcrux hunt, but Ron has the hardest time dealing with this. And it’s that conflict inside of Ron that makes Rupert Grint so exciting to watch. Well that and he’s the funniest ;) (all three of them did very well on the comedy though).
Emma Watson was excellent too. I particularly loved her in the opening of the film. It begins with the three main characters saying a sort of silent goodbye to their homes, knowing they might never come back. It’s an excellent and very effective sequence - beautifully shot and edited (it happens simultaneously in three places) and it’s almost completely without dialogue. It’s a very unusual opening for a Hollywood film.
Hermione’s “goodbye” in that sequence is particularly disturbing - she makes her Muggle parents forget that she ever existed, hoping that will keep them safe. You can see her disappearing from all the family photographs. It’s sort of the defining moment of the film for Hermione and it clearly keeps haunting her, even though it’s not mentioned outright again.
Daniel Radcliffe is always the one I have the most reservations about and this has not changed ;) But I enjoyed him a lot as well. While I tend to like him when he’s all angsty and intense (no exceptions here - liked him even more than usual), I often find him quite dull in smaller scenes. This time round, he kept my interest even throughout the more mundane stuff.
But I suppose the best thing about the three of them together is the chemistry they have. There’s a scene in which Harry, Ron and Hermione spend their first night at Grimmauld Place. They’re crammed into one room, Hermione and Harry on two couches and Ron on a matress on the floor between them. The scene doesn’t last more than 30 seconds (it’s literally just one shot and has no dialogue) and yet the intimacy and closeness between the three characters gets conveyed so easily. And I love the romantic chemistry between Emma Watson and Rupert Grint despite how incestuous they keep making it sound ;)
A rather unexpected highlight of the film is the retelling of the story of the Deathly Hallows. Characters retelling stories to other characters tend to be dull scenes, so I was surprised how good the scene was. Not only did they get some comedy out of it (I loved the Twilight reference *grin*), but the animated sequence totally thrilled me, which is a new experience to me - as anybody who reads this blog regularly knows, I don’t usually appreciate animation for its own sake ;)
Another thing I was extremely impressed with was how the actors that played the transformed versions of Harry, Ron and Hermione in the Ministry of Magic (Sophie Thompson, David O?Hara and Steffan Rhodri) managed to really feel like Harry, Ron and Hermione. They must have had Radcliffe, Watson and Grint do the scene in rehearsal and then have the adult actors imitate them. The body language was perfect and the way they interacted with each other was so in character. I particularly loved how they huddled together in the lift - that was hilarious *grin* I’ve very rarely felt that sort of continuity when more than one actor plays the same character.
To my delight (and I think to a lot of other people’s delight as well ;)), this is by far the most sexually explicit of the films so far. That still means there’s less sexual references than in Twilight ;) But, er, there’s quite a lot. You get two bare female backs, multiple opportunities to see Daniel Radcliffe taking his clothes off (one of which involves seeing him in female lingerie *grin*) and three make out scenes (one involving Rupert Grint and a woman about 15 years older than him *grin*). I think that’s quite a lot considering this started out as a children’s franchise ;)
In terms of disappointments, it wasn’t that bad actually.
The film drags a little bit in the second half. After Ron and Harry’s fallout, Ron disappears from the story for a while and it’s around that time when the audience gets a bit restless. It picks up again once he returns, but it never gets quite as involving as beforehand (at least not for me).
Largely, this is the book’s fault IMO - it’s when the story starts running into problems. This is when Harry does a lot of things for no other reason than “because he feels like it”, the Malfoy Manor prisoners are conveniently not under any paralysing spells and so on. The film actually does a good job of correcting many of the most annoying occurrences, but they could only do so much - they still had to get Harry and his friends through the main events of Godric’s Hollow and Malfoy Manor.
But the other reason it starts dragging at that moment IMO is that Rupert Grint is off screen. He brings a huuuuge amount into this film and once his warmth and humour goes missing, you can really feel the loss.
Besides that, removing Ron from the story takes the emotional conflict away. Harry and Hermione are at peace with each other really. It’s Ron who brings in all the conflict. And with the plot getting weaker and the emotional conflict no longer there, it’s much harder to keep people involved to the same degree.
The drag wasn’t horrible by any means (I seriously much preferred that to the insane pace of some of the other films). I certainly wasn’t bored, but there was definitely a moment where I started feeling less involved in the film.
But IMO the biggest screw up is not the slight drag of the second half, but that [MAJOR SPOILER AHEAD!] (select text to view) Dobby’s death scene is so crappy. Daniel Radcliffe and Evanna Lynch do a great job on the dialogue and facial expressions, but the way they designed Dobby and the actor doing Dobby’s voice was so dreadful that it killed the scene. The way they did Bellatrix’s knife throwing was very effective though. [END OF SPOILER] I had very low expectations for that scene anyway (I didn’t like the way Dobby was done in the films previously and I didn’t much care for the scene in the book either). So even though I feel this was a major screw up, I wasn’t that disgruntled ;)
The bit that ended up annoying me the most was the seven Potter chase sequence. It was done for special effects and drama rather than to fit in with the reality. I can’t see how letting lots of Muggles see magic or how having to deal with the dangers of traffic on top of an entourage of Death Eaters was helpful in the circumstances. But then that’s the only point in the movie where special effects take precedence over telling the story, so I’m rather happy it wasn’t worse! ;)
In terms of what they cut out of the book, IMO there were no egregious omissions. I mean probably every Harry Potter book fan has at least one scene they wished was kept. Mine is the ghoul in the Burrow *grin* I think it would have been nice to see not only Hermione’s attempt at keeping her family safe, but also Ron’s (especially as Ron’s had some comedic value), but I think I get why they cut it and fair enough.
I could go on and on, but this review is long as it is and it seems to me that adding anything more to it will just make it more difficult to read, so I’ll stop now despite the huge temptation to write a separate paragraph on every listed cast member ;)

Who should see it?
Harry Potter fans obviously *grin* Or at least the ones that enjoy the movies, anyway. This is also a must-see for anybody who likes Rupert Grint - it’s a really special performance and I’ll be surprised if he tops that any time soon. But having said that, I think all three of them give their best performances to date, so it’s definitely a must-see for Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe fans as well :)
For fans of other cast members - they’re in this so little that if you don’t have other compelling reasons to see it, it’s probably not worth it. The whole cast is very strong, but they really don’t get more than about two scenes per person. Ralph Fiennes gets a bit more attention, but he’s still hardly in it.
For those, who aren’t into Harry Potter, this will probably be tough going. I’ve actually never met anybody who hasn’t read (and enjoyed) the books and yet was able to enjoy the films. I mean, AFAIK such people exist, but I have no idea how that works ;) I’d think some of the action would be difficult to follow without all the background the books provide.
Finally - those, who watch the Potter films just for the special effects, action and all that, are going to be disappointed with this one. The beginning and end of the film provide the whole Hollywood fast-paced special effect experience, but the middle bit is all character development.

FILM DIARY: November 2010

The Harry Potter review is coming… I don’t know when, but it will come some day ;)
I’m currently struggling to make it more coherent, but I’m having trouble with that *sigh* It refuses to be anything, but a babbling, incoherent mess, but I’m working on that ;)
All the other (previously unreviewed) films I watched in November (apart from Essential Killing) are in this post.


Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (USA, 2009)

Seen: Friday, 5th November 2010 (cinema)
Rating: +0 (Liked It)
Director: Lee Daniels
Cast: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz
Plot: Set in Harlem in 1987, the story of Clareece ‘Precious’ Jones, a 16-year-old African American girl, born into a very abusive family.

It’s a much happier film than the subject matter would indicate. It’s sort of an underdog movie, but somehow a lot more real. There’s something very authentic about the whole reality portrayed in the film - the relationships between people, the way they cope… Even Precious’s colourful daydreams make the film feel more real, not less.
It’s full of very developed female characters. In fact, the only male character with any significance to the plot is a nurse ;) And all the performances are awesome too.
It’s definitely worth a look and I still don’t get why it took them almost 2 years to get it to Poland :]

Cherrybomb (UK, 2009)

Seen: Wednesday, 11th November 2010 (DVD)
Rating: -0 (Ok)
Director: Lisa Barros D’Sa, Glenn Leyburn
Cast: Rupert Grint, Robert Sheehan, Kimberley Nixon, James Nesbitt
Plot: Three Irish teenagers (Luke, Malachy and Michelle) have a very wild weekend full of drinking, drugs, violence and vandalism.

I got awfully frustrated with the characters :] Found it hard to like them, though I almost managed with Malachy (Rupert Grint) - he gets easier to like once it’s obvious he truly cares for the girl. I mean they were very well cast and all that, just difficult to like.
And Rupert Grint fascinates me - all that talk about how awkward it is to do kissing and love scenes and yet it turns out he’s rather good at them ;) A lot of actors seem to freeze up a bit during love scenes and things can become quite stiff (in the wrong way I mean ;-P). The scene in this film is nice though - they actually stay in character and portray all the emotional stuff that’s going on.

Eat, Pray, Love (USA, 2010)

Seen: Tuesday, 16th November 2010 (cinema)
Rating: +0 (Liked It)
Director: Ryan Murphy
Cast: Julia Roberts, James Franco, Javier Bardem, Billy Crudup, Viola Davis
Plot: After a messy divorce, Liz Gilbert takes a year off to travel and regain her appetite for life.

It was much funnier than I thought it would be and I enjoyed all of Liz’s partners a lot (Billy Crudup, James Franco and Javier Bardem). Liz herself isn’t the most involving of characters IMO (though Julia Roberts was better than I expected), but all the supporting characters and the way Liz’s relationships and friendships in the film were portrayed was great. I also liked how they shot Italy, India and Indonesia. Portraying foreign culture is the kind of thing that Hollywood often screws up, but here they did a really good job.

Google Ads

Wednesday, 1 December 2010, 22:14 | Category : Crumbs, Uncategorized
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As you may have noticed, I’ve put up some Google Ads in the side bar. It’s a sort of experiment - I’ve never played around with internet ads before and I want to find out about them.
But anyway, due to this, I am (quite rightly) obligated by Google to tell all my readers about how this effects their privacy. In short, Google will now be using a cookie to determine what kind of ads it should show you based on your previous visits to my site, as well as your visits to other sites. It does not, however, save any information that could be used to identify you.
If you’re in any way worried about this, check out Google’s Advertising and Privacy page. Apart from supplying more information about the cookie in question, it includes the option of opting out of it (on both this site and all other sites that use Google Ads - and there’s a lot of them out there!). The link is now on the About Page as well for future reference.
If the ads inconvenience your usage of this site in any way, please let me know in the comments. If any ads appear that you find inappropriate for whatever reason then also let me know - I do have the power to block specific sites from advertising on my site.