Tuesday, June 26, 2007

#99 Sideways (2004)

Directed by Alexander Payne
Starring: Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen, Sandra Oh

I first saw Sideways before I began to like, or at least appreciate wine. Seminally though, this story of two friends who travel through the Californian wine country on a bachelor week, uses the drink as a metaphor for human depth and body. Middle-aged buds Jack and Miles are so uniformally different in refinement and nature, but are never judged in terms of quality. After all, its all in the name of taste. You can be in the mood for a heavy cabernet sauvignon, but sometimes a light white number does just the trick.

Although I haven't quite entered middle-age yet (Haha, thankfully a while to go yet) the desperation and transparency of the two men -- and in many ways, of the two women -- mirror the insecurities of people stuck in their youth, afraid of commitment, and of people with the frantic need to settle down. It's also a madcap and at times stupid comedy, but the soulful essence of the people enduring the tale are enough to allow you to submit to the slightly depressing aura that Sideways continually seems to emananate.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

#100 Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Directed by Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise
Starring: Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White

Beauty and the Beast is a simple story with a moral that you shouldn't judge people based on appearance. An admirable and oft-used message within Disney films. Although the film shies away from allowing Belle to marry the beast in his cursed animal form (presumably and understandably for fear of being too radical) this is forgivable in the sense that the heroine is rewarded for falling in love with someone physically intimidating and undesirable. Beauty can also be construed as a social commentary on the treatment of outsiders in society, coming shortly after the exploratory views of Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands.

The magical thing about classic Disney is in the music. Disney songs don't feel included for the mere sake of it. They further the narrative, and in some ways develop the characters involved. Whether it's the manic yet charming 'Be Our Guest', which instantly alters the pre-conception of the castle as a dark and heavy environment, or the sweet and poignant title track, detailing the implications of judging somebody at face value; Beauty and the Beast is a funny and sweepingly grand fairy tale with gorgeous intentions.

My Own 100

When I look back on the list of Top Fifty films I made about three years ago, I'm a little shocked. At that time I had both Pay It Forward and Erin Brockovich in my Top Ten, which now do not reach my all-time 100. It makes me contemplate how many films I've seen in the last three years and how enlightened I feel now. I still like those two films by the way :-P no matter what anyone says! Anyway, the point is, a couple of weeks ago I decided to create my personal canon. The one hundred films I believe are the greatest I have feasted my eyes upon. I'm gonna count them down and write a lil somethin about each one. So here goes.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Am I the Only Person That Likes This?

Please. Enlighten me.

Big Brother 8: One Week In

So a week ago today eleven girls went into the Big Brother 8 house, making it the first all-female Big Brother. However, on Friday their prayers for a man were answered as one bloke, former boyband singer Zach, entered to frenetic excitement. Here is a quick summary of every housemate, and what they have done so far:

Amanda - 18 Year Old student. One half of the first twins to be in Big Brother UK. Entered dressed as a 'beach babe' complete with lollipop. Excessive screaming and shrieking ensued but has since died down. Currently boring but thankfully no longer annoying.

Carole - 53 Year Old Youth worker and political activist. Entered to masses of cheers. Very no-nonsense and ballsy woman who'll say what she think. Excellent. So far has not disappointed.
Chanelle - 19 Year Old bank worker and student. Wants to be Victoria Beckham and I'm sure she isn't the only one. Also wouldn't mind being a WAG. So why isn't she detestable? Hmm.. maybe because she put Emily well and truly in her place yesterday.

Charley - 21 Year Old socialite. That's all we need to know thankyou very much. "I'm well the hottest"

Emily - 19 Year Old Tory waitress. Clearly thinks she's something special. She's also bossy and very selfish. Loved her saying Lesley was the 'least considerate' housemate.

Laura - 23 Year Old nanny. My initial favourite but seems to have been dragged down by the bitching and domestic catfights of the first week. I still think she's genuine though.

Lesley - 60 Year Old retired businesswoman. Very strange, and not at all likeable, but she stirs things up everywhere she goes. Her "Piggy at the table" jibe at Emily has to be the most hilarious moment of the series so far.

Nicky - 27 Year Old Accounts Executive. Was very boring up until yesterday's meeting. Seems like a practical woman, and one that gets on with most people. She's missing the fun factor though.

Sam - Other half of the twins. Meh.
Shabnam - 22 Year Old temp. Too confident. "I'm entertainment". And very annoying. Shouted at Tracey in the task because she thought herself more attractive.

Tracey - 36 Year Old cleaner. Completely intolerant to all the young wannabes but who can blame her? At least she has her feet on the ground. Her "Just don't talk to me" comment to Shabnam is completely understandable.

Ziggy - 26 Year Old broker and former boyband singer. He alone is representative of why I am attracted to men rather than women. Not that he's majorly attractive, but that he's so direct and honest which completely contrasts with most of the women.