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Archive for the ‘Films’ Category

Being a woman

Being drafted

Losing my lining

Fighting the scarlet crusade

CSI: Vagina

I’m a Potential Murder Suspect (PMS)

On my moon

My cup runneth over

Trollin’ for vampires

Sitting on a nice merlot

Leak week

Going through a detrital phase

Being visited by Aunt Flo, Uncle Red, Cousin TOM (Time Of the Month) and Gramps.

With Moses

On the bus (Bleeding Uterus Syndrome)

Not praying

Rebooting the Ovarian Operating System

Reasserting my femininity

Being visited by the red bird of bitchiness

Over The Rainbow (On The Rag)

Shark Week

My vagina is emo (it’s so desperate for attention, it’s bleeding)

T-minus 9 months and holding

Visited by the red fairy

Flying Bravo

Bleeding the lining of my uterus through my sexual organs in a very painful way

 

Do you ever find yourself with a series of browser tabs open on a range of fascinating topics with absolutely no clue of how you got there? Clearly, I do. The above are some of my faves of the myriad euphamisms I found on the interwebs for having your period (in case you hadn’t figured it out by now) (If you hadn’t, I’m not judging you).

Some of them I find to be hilarious, others painfully realistic. But the overall response I had to the whole thing was: why do we have so many euphamisms? Is something that half of the people on earth experience for 1 out of every four weeks for most of their life really that taboo that we have to invent code words just to explain why we can’t go to the pool on Thursday?

That’s a bit scary, isn’t it?

I mean, we think we’re all modern and that but heaps of women still need code words to ask their husband to put tampons on the shopping list. Really? Teaching new generations to be ashamed of something it is natural and healthy for them to do and that they have no control over? Really? Do not make me give you the “being a potential childbearer is a powerful and treasured thing and womyn should be revered” speech. ‘Cause I will!

Obviously, some of them are just for fun. For example, I can’t wait for someone to ask me why I’m slow/emotional/leaning against something/can’t make it to Zumba next time I have my period. For the answer shall be “CSI:Vagina”*.

That’s similar to another fave of mine (and something which may have originally prompted my menstruation-related brower tab); No Strings Attached was a pale flop of a movie for me, despite performances by both the resplendent Natalie Portman and the wonderful Greta Gerwig. However. As many have noted there was one awesome scene. That’s right. The period scene.

Adam breaks the “friends with benefits” code by visiting Emma when she (and her two flatmates) are sick at home with their periods. He brings donuts and a frank, overly-caring sympathy for their condition. The scene is both awesome and hilarious because periods just aren’t like that. Periods gross guys out. And/or embarrass them**, and girls are often so ashamed of them they’re wary of any guy who is curious/sympathetic.

It’s here that Greta Gerwig as Emma’s friend Patrice, while lying on the floor stuffing a donut in her mouth, delivers one of my favourite movie lines ever.

It’s like a crime scene in my pants.

Instant hilarity. It’s like the filmmakers forgot that this truth that all women know is a total secret that we’re not supposed to talk about – and she just said right out loud! It’s funny ‘cos we’ve all been there (well, us ladies, anyway). And she’s so adorable.

I recommend going on YouTube to watch this scene, rather than renting the movie. Sorry, but I do.

"The Period Scene" from the film No Strings Attached

The other thing Adam brings Emma in the scene is a mix CD. A period mix CD. See? It’s funny, ‘cos in movies guys are supposed to pretend periods are revolting or they just don’t happen, but instead he’s being nice to her! Ya geddit?
The tracks on the CD are listed below. Enjoy!

1. Evenflow – Pearl Jam
2. The Tide Is High – Blondie
3. Red Red Wine – UB40
4. Sunday Bloody Sunday – U2
5. I’ve Got The World On A String – Frank Sinatra
6. Muddy River – Johnny Rivers
7. Bleeding Love – Leona Lewis
8. Here Comes The Flood – Peter Gabriel
9. Red Rain – Peter Gabriel
10. Waterfalls – TLC
11. Red Red Rose – The Weepies
12. Red Tide – Neko Case
13. Why Does It Always Rain On Me – Travis
14. I Love You, Period – Dan Baird
15. Just A Girl – No Doubt
16. Here Comes The Rain – Eurythmics
17. Everybody Hurts – R.E.M.
18. Stormy Pinkness – They Might Be Giants
19. Time To Flow – D-Nice
20. Blood Is Thicker Than Water – Wyclef Jean featuring The Product G&B

————————————————————————

*Provided that that person is a close female friend. Otherwise it’s a bit graphic and I don’t wanna inflict that on someone. (I find “I’ve got my period” suffices in those situations).

**Yes, this is a horrible generalisation. Yes, guys who don’t freak out about periods do exist and yes, I find them very attractive.

>> Many (many, many, many) words that people use for menstruation can be found here. Warning: surprisingly addictive

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Snow Cake (2006)

I thought this DVD looked good so I hired it, then never really felt in the mood. So by the time it was overdue I’d kinda forgotten why I’d chosen it, which made it kinda nice. Just sitting there, not knowing what to expect.

Englishman Alex (Alan Rickman) is sitting alone in a Canadian diner, minding his own business, when an emo-looking teenage girl comes and sits with him. He ends up giving her a ride and they kinda become friends, when out of nowhere a huge truck just slams into their car, killing emo-looking teenager.

Vivienne (emo-looking teenager) and Alex

The Englishman is devasted and although the accident wasn’t his fault he’s guilt-ridden and seeks out the teenager’s mother to apologise. He finds that mother Linda (Sigourney Weaver) is autistic and lives alone, and he is convinced to stay with her for a week or so. As he begins to help the mother by organising the funeral, he also finds comfort in staying with this woman and being part of her life.

Alex and Linda

 Have you ever had an orgasm, Alex?
It has been known.
It sounds like an inferior version of what I feel when I have a mouthful of snow.

I think Sigourney Weaver does pretty stellar job and Alan Rickman’s his usual self. I also found the teenager, played by Emily Hampshire, to be really captivating, in an offbeat, wary kind of way. I thought Carrie-Anne Moss did a good job, but her character felt too familiar, almost cliched.  The film has a sort of indie feel to it, but in parts it’s so obvious it’s like it’s consciously putting it on, like a wobbly camera or a random dream sequence kinda feel. It’s got a pretty rad soundtrack to it, including ‘Notteru Ondo‘ by The Drifters. I like movies like this that make you think, without trying too hard and being overly graphic to try and prove how “real” they are.  

 So if you’re after an interesting film which is genuinely thought-provoking without being agressively confrontational, this might be a good option. It’s also funny in parts, tragic, and has some good dialogue. Plus there are great performances from Snape, Trinity, and Dr. Grace Augustine. Snow Cake, anyone?

Director: Marc Evans
Starring: Alan Rickman, Sigourney Weaver,
Carrie-Anne Moss 

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I have to post about this new film blog I heard about on Campbell Live the other night. The blog is called Nanna Goes to the Pictures and is written by “Nanna”, an Auckland film-goer in her “twilight years”. Campbell Live‘s just taken her on as a film reviewer on their show, but I think reading her reviews on her blog is convenient and amusing. I like that her reviews aren’t too long and rambling (like my own movie posts are) and she’s not afraid to give her real opinion. Unlike my grandma she loves all kinds of films – her last reviews were of Precious, Invictus and Valentine’s Day – and each film is rated out of 5 stars balls of wool. My only complaint is that she often gives away the end of films, so watch out for that.

I think the blog’s maintained by her granddaughter, possibly? And has a lovely clean layout and includes images for each film.

I give this site 5 balls of wool out of 5. (Sorry, Nanna, I couldn’t resist! :D)
 

New film blog!

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Kinky Boots (2005)

Ladies, gentlemen, and those who are yet to make up your mind…

I saw the poster for this movie at a bus stop around the time it first came out and thought it looked like a pretty good comedy. The other night I finally got around to watching the DVD and just as I hit ‘play’ I suddenly got really nervous that I’d made a mistake and it was going to be some horribly draining, gritty comedy exploring the seedy underbelly of a small English town. So I guess the first thing I should say is don’t worry, it’s definately not that.

Straight away I should mention that I’m not a huge fan of drag queens, since generally they either scare me or look a helluva lot better in a dress and heels than I do. Lola, the main drag queen in this film, would definately fall into the latter category. Played by the radiant Chiwetel Ejiofor, (from 2012 and Love Actually), the male protagonist (Charlie) meets Lola when he’s drunk in London one night and seeing a damsel in distress he defends her from being hassled by a group of thugs. He is knocked out in the scuffle and wakes up in Lola’s dressing room at her cabaret club and watches her remove her boots. Back home, the old-school shoe factory he’s just inherited from his father is outdated and in danger of closing, and Charlie’s firing people left, right, and center. One spunky (ex)employee tells Charlie he needs to find his niche market and so of course Charlie remembers Lola struggling into and out of her extremely high boots. And the rest, as they say, is history. Charlie and his motley band of employees must make over 10 new styles of stiletto drag queen boots, designed by Lola, and have 6 samples of each one to show at the Milan runway show in 3 months.

Charlie and Lauren make the pitch to Lola

Came all this way for my advice? I feel like Oprah!

When she’s performing Lola makes the whole thing look effortless and her confidence seems only natural when she sweeps into the Northhampton shoe factory. She cracks jokes, pretends to flirt with a worker and addresses the whole factory. Something I wasn’t expecting was for her to come into work wearing lipstick, a large sweater, jeans, and no wig. I guess I thought that drag queens pretend to be women… but of course for most drag queens I guess it’s about the performance, and no one can perform all the time.

Lola and Charlie chat in the shoe factory

 

I thought the opening scene was lovely, a young girl in a school uniform waiting on a bench on the waterfront, then she guiltily pulls on some scarlet, strappy high heels and goes dancing and twirling over the boards of the pier. She loses herself until an angry old man raps on a window of a nearby building then comes out and says something like “come on, you stupid boy”. And you’re like “oh. She’s a boy.” Eventually Lola tells Charlie her tragic tale of how her father disowned her.

He wouldn’t talk to me. Even when he got lung cancer. So it’s ironic, really. Fags got him in the end. 

Other than this brief teary moment the movie’s pretty much plain sailing. In fact it’s so… clean, it feels kind of naive in it’s approach to gender identity and the struggle of many transgender or crossdressing or whatever-ing people. But it’s a comedy, and it’s funny. In a gentle way.

Lola's first prototype

Kinky boots is based on a true story, apparently, about a real shoe factory in English which “diversified” it’s range when facing job loses and possible closure. I did a quick search, but just found an X-rated site for fetish accessories, whose website is out of order. Darn, ay? But there’s no nastiness, no x-rated fetishes or sexual deviants in this movie. It’s light, fluffy comedy that takes it’s time (I felt the 2 hours) and like the poster said, it’s from the makers of Calendar Girls, which I really enjoyed, and I think the movies are comparable in pace and level of offensiveness. As long as you don’t mind dudes in dresses. I think it’s worth watching just for Chiwetel Ejiofor’s performance. Dude cracked me up. And it wasn’t like laughing at a guy in a dress, it was laughing with a person who has a really strong personality. And likes to wear boots.

Look to the heel, young man. The sex is in the heel.

 

'Kinky Boots' movie poster

Director: Julian Jarrold
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Joel Edgerton, Sarah-Jane Potts

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Heehee. David Spade cracks me up. I just hear his voice and I giggle. The man is funny, in a cute way. I didn’t really know anything about the movie going in, except for what you get from the name. So Dickie Roberts used to be a famous kid in a sitcom, complete with his own catchphrase. Years later he’s washed up, working as a valet, and getting mocked in the streets whenever he’s recognised. When he’s tipped off to a potentially life-changing role in a new Rob Reiner film. Turns out he needs to put time into researching the role, by capturing his missed childhood. So, obviously, he pays a family to let them move in with him and treat him like a child. Genius really.

Good night, prudes. Go have your G-rated dreams. Prude-filled dreams. Dream the dream of prudes.

The film has cameos by real stars, like Brendon Fraser, and bigger roles for Alyssa Milano and Leif Garrett. In parts the film kind of reminded me of Drillbit Taylor, with the washed up guy hanging out with little kids. The kids in this film being the children of the family Dickie moves in with, Sally and Sam. They were pretty cute, one of my favourite scenes was when Dickie tries to help Sam talk to the girl he has a crush on. Another was a misunderstanding about a dead rabbit. I like the format of the opening scenes as an “E! True Hollywood Story” episode.

Grace: Wow, sift through that to find the nugget of compliment.
Dickie: Sift away, sifty.

 There were few “lol” moments during the film, but it wasn’t terrible. Some clever lines and David Spade’s funny wee voice mean that it’s at least entertaining. Acting wasn’t amazing, script wasn’t revolutionary, but you don’t always want to watch something that’s gunna change your life. It’s definately a lot more user-friendly than it could’ve been with the subject matter, nice (relatively)inoffensive fun for when you can’t find anything else at the video store.

During the credits there’s a song sung by other former stars of sitcoms about what it’s like to a “former” star. Cute.

And that’s all I can think of to say about it. Cool.

 

Director: Sam Weisman
Starring: David Spade, Mary McCormack,
Scott Terra, Jenna Boyd

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Lars and the Real Girl is about a 27 year old man, Lars, who falls in love with a sex doll. Sure, it sounds kinky, but as the director of the film points out,

The premise of the movie just doesn’t do justice to the journey that you go on.
                       -Craig Gillespie, director of Lars and the Real Girl

Lars is a guy who lives in the garage of his childhood home. His older brother Gus lives in the house with Karin, his pregnant wife. Lars is painfully shy, literally.  He lives in a small town and works in an office and wears plaid shirts. Everyone knows him and is really friendly but while he’s polite he really prefers to just be by himself. One day at work the guy who shares his cubicle shows him a website selling “Real Girls”, customizable, life sized, anatomically-correct sex dolls. While Lars mutters something about it being too early in the morning for porn, six weeks later a large wooden crate arrives at his garage.

The doll itself isn’t really the shock in this movie, chances are you’ve heard aboutit, read the back of the DVD cover, whatever. So you’re ready for the doll, the surprising part is the position it takes within the film. How its presence is first revealed to Gus and Karin, for example. Lars pays them a visit and explains that he has a visitor. They met on the internet and she doesn’t know much English. Of course they say he should bring her over for dinner. So Lars introduces them to Bianca. She’s a missionary. She’s half Brazilian and half Danish and loves helping people. Lars believes in Bianca. He has conversations with her, she has her own place at the table, and he considers her feelings in everything.

It’s interesting the way that with everything you know at this point, the premise, the situation with Lars in love with an artificial person, the rest of the film – peoples’ reactions, their attitudes towards Lars etc, are still really surprising. The local doctor explains to Gus and Karin that Bianca is a delusion of Lar’s, a delusion created to help him cope with something he is missing. What should they do about it? Go along with it. How long will it continue? As long as he needs it. So they start playing along. This movie is about people and relationships and connections – if you’re waiting to see a man have wild crazy sex with a doll, sorry, this isn’t that kind of movie. From the beginning Lars asks that Bianca can stay with Gus and Karin in their spare room. He respects her, and loves her. 

The film is as much about the people closest to Lars as about him himself. What would you do if you found out your brother was in love with a doll, and believed that she was a real person? There’s a great scene where Gus and Karin are bathing Bianca together

Gus: What are we doing? Why are we doing this for him?
Karin: Oh, come on. It’s funny!
Gus: Is it?
Karin: I don’t know… I don’t know, maybe not.

This is a recurring issue in the film. You aren’t asked to just accept the fact that Lars is in love with a doll and move on to “enjoy the ensuing hilarity”, you’re constantly laughing, because everything seems to be going great, everyone’s having fun, Lars is really happy, then stopping yourself and thinking “wait, is this ok? That’s not healthy. He’s really unwell…”. It’s that kind of swinging between heartwarming and tragic.

Lars was played by Ryan Gosling, who some of us remember from the days of Young Hercules and who all of us fell in love with in The Notebook. He does another crazy awesome job in this film, mastering the warm, blank smiles and awkward silences that make Lars unique. I always find it really interesting when an actor can use the smallest habit or tic to create an entire character. Obviously it’s not that easy, but it just seems so natural. Lars has this habit of blinking frequently and harder than normal. But again it’s not just about Lars. Other really great characters include Karin, the pregnant sister-in-law. She is obsessively caring. I love watching her stalk Lars, hunting him down to force him to accept an invitation to dinner. And how excited she is when she heres that Lars has met someone, then watching her emotions just turn to shock when she meets Bianca. She and Gus have their own arc throughout the film, and other special characters include church member Mrs. Gruner and the doctor Dagmar.

One thing I like about about the film so much is that it really has a lot of affection for its characters and for people in general. It really believes that people want to do the right thing.
                                                 -Ryan Gosling

This film isn’t a freakshow, and it’s not about conflict. It brings up questions of communication, understanding, relationships and love.

Bianca. She is a “Real Doll” doll, made by a company that produces “love dolls”. I was actually surprised by how unreal she looked, but in some scenes she was pretty life-like, like when she sits cross-legged on her bed listening to Lars reading to her, or in the shot from behind them as they sit beside the lake looking like a real couple. The dolls and the company that makes them are real, you can find them through a Google search, but a warning that the dolls and the site are R18.

Lars and the Real Girl isn’t action-packed, but it is really involving and emotional. A quiet winner. You can check out the trailer on YouTube.

 

Director: Craig Gillespie
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer,
Paul Schneider

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WALL·E (2008)

Wow, so I went to see WALL·E last night – I think this film could end up becoming one of my favs!

The story is about WALL·E, a Waste Allocation Load Lifter, Earth-class. He is a wee robot whose “directive” is to clean up rubbish. His torso opens, he scoops a load of garbage in and closes up, then after a bit of intense vibrating and rattling out pops a compacted trash cube, which WALL·E carefully places on the ground. As he makes more and more garbage bricks he stacks them into a perfect square pile. When the film begins we meet WALL·E doing what he was built to do, in a dirty, dusty, deserted city, where the towering square rubbish piles fill the streets between the sky scrapers. It’s a very depressing scene, a wasteland where rubbish blows around and the sky is filled with dirt. In the midst of it all WALL·E is scooting about his work, compacting brick after garbage brick and along the way gathering little bits that he finds: a rubber duck, Rubik’s cube, an old lighter. With him his is only friend, a little cockroach that accompanies him as he works and lives with him in his home; his home being an old truck where he stores his collections, shelters from dust storms and spends the night.

All around the city, in between the mountains of rubble and trash is evidence of what happened to Earth: every aspect of life taken over by a company called ‘BuyNLarge’, the planet had become too polluted for humans to live here. The entire human race had left of a 5 year space cruise, leaving behind millions of  Waste Allocation Load Lifters (Earth-class) to take care of the rubbish and make the Earth ready for their return. However by the time the film starts all the other W.A.L.L robots have broken down and WALL·E is the only one left. For hundreds of years he has been tootling around every day compacting garbage; when one of his components wears out, he simply replaces it with one taken from a destroyed old robot.  

One day something new suddenly happens – which is a big deal when you’ve been doing the same thing every day , alone, for over 500 years. A giant spaceship drops off a strange new probe-droid robot into the desert of Earth. It is new, rounded, white, shiney and very mac-like. WALL·E timidly sneaks around after the new robot around, and finally makes contact. The new robot is EVE, an Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator, and it’s a she. Oooooh.

One of the craziest things about this movie was the way in which the folks at PIXAR created so much emotion in such a wee robot. I mean, WALL·E doesn’t really talk, he has no mouth or nose, barely any fingers, but you can always tell what he’s feeling. When EVE first arrives on Earth WALL·E is so shy and timid, when he accidentally runs over his friend the cockroach he’s so concerned – he feels frightened, happy, tired, amused, surprised, sad… and all with features made of rusty metal! This kid’s got spunk. He also has an old recorder as part of his torso, which he uses to record pieces of sounds. In particular, parts of his favourite film, an old VHS tape of the 1969 film Hello Dolly! He has one treasured VHS that he puts in and watches all the singing and dancing. His favourite scene is when they hold hands.

It was really interesting to see the personalities that other robots had in the film, each one really different so that you could recognise each one. Like the little compulsive cleaner robot M.O, the Microbe Obliterator. His job is to clean any stray slivers of dirt or bacteria that make onto the pristine and sterile spaceship the ‘Actiom’, with a flashing red warning of “foreign contaminent!” he zaps over and rollers it up in a rigourous way! And WALL·E’s pretty much the dirtiest thing he’s ever encountered. Whatta crack up. And you don’t realise just how old and clunky and outdated WALL·E really looks until you see him in amongst all the modern robots!

Something else that really surprised me about this film was the strong message in it. It was so unexpected, issues of responsibility, conservation, things that you wouldn’t really expect to be present in a kids film in such a serious way. It’s not presented in a way that talks down to kids, and I think that makes it really accessible for them and also to adults. In fact I wonder whether this film isn’t more suited to adults that kids… there’s no human dialogue for the first 40minutes of the film, will a kid’s attention hold for that long? I’m not sure. I certainly didn’t get bored. I thought the wee montage at the end during the credits was really well done, cute, with a message, but done in a really intelligent way.

It’s actually remarkable how not bored I was. I think the WALL·E/EVE relationship will be one of the greatest love stories in a film this year… it just pulled on ma heart strings! In addition there are funny bits, sad bits and lots of entertainment. I find E.T. quite ugly and sad, but this is one film I think I will be buying on DVD.

Also in the cinema it was exciting to see a wee PIXAR short film before the WALL·E feature, kickin’ it old school. This one is called Presto, and is about a rabbit who sabotages the magician’s show when he won’t feed him a carrot. Cute, funny, and you can see a wee clip of the film here. Interestingly, you can see a collage thesis animation clip claiming to be the inspiraton for Presto here.

You can see the trailer for WALL·E on YouTube here.

 

 

Director: Andrew Stanton
Starring: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin

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