High-Rise

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Warning: There will, most-likely, be spoilers so carry on if you’re willing to risk it.

With my handy little notepad in tow, I ventured into Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise. As the movie went on, I found myself growing more and more confused. It finally got to the stage where I didn’t want to leave the cinema because then I’d have to admit to my friends, “Uhh… I don’t get it?”

But luckily for me, they didn’t understand either.

High-Rise was originally a book by J.G. Ballard. After getting the free sample from Google Books, I can now appreciate the opening sequence as it is exactly like the book’s opening -and as a book lover, I appreciate this greatly. However, I fear this may be the only thing the movie got right.

Don’t get me wrong – Wheatley did an immense job at shooting this tale. The camera work is something I know my uni lecturers will talk about in years to come. The style of the movie suited the atmosphere, yada, yada, yada.

But what about the story? Because, in my opinion, this is the most important factor. Without a story, what exactly is there?

I, of course, had seen the trailer before buying my ticket. Maybe I was a bit (“a bit”, HAH) blinded by Tom Hiddleston’s stunning figure, but I assumed the plot was going to revolve around the war between floors in the high rise. The rich folks live at the top, and the poor folks live at the bottom. After reading various articles about the book and film, it seems to me that Wheatley tried to express this theme in the course of the film – yet, it failed to come across. To myself and my friends, it seemed like tensions were high then suddenly everything went to hell. There was a fast montage sequence where the community is seen to start falling apart but there was no obvious explanation for it. It was as if there were a few fall-outs and then, suddenly, everyone started eating their dogs. I didn’t quite understand the plot – not at all. As my boyfriend said, “It was as if the writer knew the ending they wanted so focused on that instead of giving it an obvious middle to the story.”

However, while reading Tom Hiddleston’s interview in Sight and Sound, it became apparent that this was the movie’s fault and not the book’s fault. Hiddleston spoke of one part in the book where his character, Dr Laing, is leaving for work. He doesn’t like the feel of his clean clothes, nor the smell of the fresh air, so he runs back to his room at changes back into his mud-stained armor. This, at least, answered one question I scribbled in my notebook:

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WHY DID NO ONE LEAVE?!?

This question puzzled me the most. But now I assume it is because the characters have become dependent on the crazed living conditions…

… Right? I still don’t quite understand.

When studying a movie, I look at the plot, the characters and the message. However, when trying to find the message behind High-Rise, I can only think of, “When all hell breaks loose, humans only do three things: drink, smoke and have sex.” The only characters that didn’t drink, smoke and have sex were the children  – so at least the movie has that in its favour. However, I found this portrayal of the human race just, simply, vulgar. Along with the opening sequence of Hiddleston tearing the face off of a skull, I can’t say the movie was easy to watch. As my boyfriend said, “It’s a particularly bleak look that offers no promise of salvation in any of the characters or situation.”

Hmm, maybe he should write the reviews instead of me?

Speaking of characters, I have to say I made the mistake of watching the first episode of The Night Manager before seeing this movie and it turns out the same character is in both. Tom Hiddleston plays the stunning gent rather well but it’s a shame that’s all he can do. His character Laing was as interesting as the colour he painted his walls – and that was nearly a shade of grey. Maybe I’ve not cocooned myself in enough Tom Hiddleston to realise his true potential – but I have to admit, I was bored of his antics by the credits.

Overall, I think this is Movie Marmite. You either love it or hate it, and sadly I don’t have a positive opinion. I found the plot pointless and the characters unbelievable. The best bit of the movie? Seeing Tom Hiddleston in the buff.

But, even then, the best bit was covered.

Thanks for reading – hope I didn’t offend! – Evee 🙂

 

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Not Just Humans

Warning: The following blog is going to get cheesy, mooshy, poetic and may contain spells of cringe-worthy-ness.

You have been warned.

What does it take to be a human being?

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Well according to Google, it’s exactly that. We’re too smart, too talkative, too upright. But does that make us different from any other animal? We still need to eat, sleep, drink and shelter. We still need to work to survive. What is it that is so different about human beings?

You see, as I stood and waited for Boyce Avenue to take to the stage in Glasgow, it suddenly became clear to me. There were hundreds of people around me, all there for the same reason as me, and that reason was to hear some good music. We would all tap our feet, swing our hips, raise our glasses to the ceiling as the music did its thing. Everyone in that room had left the comfort of their own home to gather in a room of sweaty strangers to move this way and that to some air waves vibrating through the gaps in the crowd.

And it made us happy.

How bizarre?! Why do humans insist on making music, dancing, singing, writing, painting, sculpting, anything other than survival? Why do we as a species need more?

Why do I, when I hear the thumps of the drums, feel my heart beat along with it? Why do I feel the pressure on my chest as something deep within my soul wants to break free from my cage-like body? Why does the piano plink-plonks pull at my heart and release my voice from my throat? Why does the guitar send my feet into a plitter-pattering dance? Why does the violin send shivers up my spine? Why does seeing a couple dance bring emotions out of my boots and make them pour out of my tear ducts? Why does a beautiful singer make me want to throw my hands in the air? Why do humans need art in their lives? What is the purpose?

You can argue all you want, but I believe everyone needs creativity in their life. Whether it be a sing song in the shower, a dance, a book to transport them away from their known world – everyone needs that little bit more. We’re too complex to merely exist.

But why?

Human beings have spent years on this planet simply existing. Most of us on this planet can survive with what we’ve got. Some aren’t as lucky. But at the end of the day a happy life isn’t one simply spent surviving. A human being needs to live. We need to express the feelings that fill up our soul.

We as a species need to express ourselves. Sitting in a dark room after work isn’t enough. We need to find a song that’s beat and lyrics speak to us. We need to write a poem about a lost love. We need to move and arch our bodies in such a way to release the anger. We need to slap paint to a canvas to combat the tears. We need more.

How do I do this? Well, where do I start? Writing, poetry, photography, even a few crazy sculptures. I’m sure you’ve thought of a few you do while reading this. Everyone has something. Everyone needs something.

Creativity is just as important to humans as food is. Without it – we’re basically just monkeys.

… Except, maybe, a tad less hairy.

…Well, for some of us.

Thanks for reading this post! I’ll get back to reviewing soon! Evee over and out 🙂 x

 

Hail, Caesar!

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I’ve put off writing this review because, to be honest, I don’t know what to write. Hail, Caesar! is my first Coen Brothers film and I was definitely unprepared. My boyfriend (another film fanatic) reassured me by saying, “If you’re confused, that’s okay. That’s just their thing.” So I felt better, but still had a lack of words. So I apologise if this blog doesn’t quite make sense – I’m still not quite sure if I liked it, hated it, I’m confused by it or I should just forget about it.

Anyway, let’s dive in.

If I was to only use one word to describe Hail, Caesar!, it would be “wacky.” I can think of no better word. From the setting, to the costumes, to the acting, it’s all just… Wacky. On the other hand, if I was to write many words to describe Hail, Caesar!, it would be “a spoof that pokes fun at Hollywood with lots of spoofs inside the spoof.”

Do you follow? I’m not sure I do.

When the film first started, and my ears were greeted with a voiceover, I internally groaned. Yes, I’m one of those snobs that dislikes voiceovers – bite me for having taste. But, since I knew Hail, Caesar! was film about films, I assumed it was a film within a film I was watching.

… Hm. Still following?

However, it wasn’t a film within a film I was watching. I was watching The Film. A cheesy, typical opening of a crime thriller to be precise (which the film is nothing like, let me reassure you). I have to say, I was a bit confused and disappointed. I found it difficult to see where one spoof ended and another began. I expected the film to have pockets of spoofs throughout – for example, whenever a movie set was included, and that genre would get a ribbing – but it was more of an overall spoof of everything Hollywood.

Has spoof stopped looking like a word, or is that just to me?

So, for me personally, I found the film lost something. I feel it would’ve had more of an effect on me if they kept the fun-poking to a minimum. I understand Hail, Caesar! is meant to be a comedy, but I didn’t laugh as much as I expected. There were some funny moments – like the scene with many religious leaders arguing about Jesus Christ – but there were also some cheap laughs. I’m not sure if I’m missing the point, or it was meant to be some deeper joke, but using the same actress as two different characters and calling them sisters isn’t exactly funny anymore. I’m not sure if that was another jab at Hollywood, but I found it predictable and tedious. That’s the kind of humour you find in an amateur church play, not for the screen.

But what about the actors? How was the performance? Well, I have to say I was disappointed with the amount of time we got to spend with some of them. On the GFT website, the poster for Hail, Caesar! is of Scarlett Johansson. She stood smiling in the trailers along with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. However, she only occupied two scenes – one of which was with Jonah Hill who only had (roughly) two lines. I felt a bit cheated in a way, but I guess that’s more a jibe at marketing than the film itself.

It has to be said though, Channing Tatum stole the show. His dancing, his singing, his cute little sailor’s outfit, along with so much gay undertones, I was sold in a heartbeat. I wasn’t sure if I was enjoying the movie until Tatum took to the set. He was incredible. His over-the-top acting was perfect and I found myself in a pit of giggles. The movie is worth it for that scene alone.

However, when it comes to plot, well, I can’t really say I was too impressed. Where was the plot? That’s what the characters should’ve been searching for instead of George Clooney. I felt a bit frustrated with the whole set up. However, as my boyfriend said, “If you just go with the flow, you’ll probably enjoy it.” And that’s all I could really do.

At the end of the day Hail, Caesar! is a comedy. I found myself laughing so I guess it must have done its job. Is it the best film of the year? Can’t say it will be – Finding Dory is still to come out. However, guessing from the lack of movement as the credits rolled, I think it was a winner at the GFT that night.

Each to their own after all.

Thank you for reading! Please leave a comment with your thoughts – Evee x

Anton and Erin – Just Gotta Dance

DSCF9274For the fourth year in a row I found myself sitting in the Royal Concert Hall waiting for Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag to take to the stage. That lovely sound of the orchestra warming up filled the spaces of the hall that people didn’t occupy – which was hardly anywhere. Myself and my mother sat in the second row from the front of the stage – the perfect view – and waited patiently for the show to begin.

Oh, and what a show it was.

It has to be said though – Du Beke and Boag  don’t like to experiment. The usual layout of the show was presented to me with the same razzmatazz as years before. Unlike Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace, who had three vastly different shows ranging from purely dance, to a musical, to a beautifully acted piece, Du Beke and Erin keep to what they know. As I lay the four programmes in front of me, I can even see some songs are repeated over the years. Du Beke and Boag dance together, they dance apart, they sing together, they sing apart, the orchestra plays and Lance Ellington (another Strictly regular) sings too. It seems like a showbiz formula. Am I complaining, though? Definitely not. If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it.

The part of the show that differs from the norm and ensures you have an unique experience is the question and answers session. I always look forward to this section of the afternoon as I never know what to expect – and neither do the performers. Du Beke is the King of Audience Interaction and always has a cheeky quip to make. I was lucky enough to have my question answered this year and received the perfect answer.

Please excuse me if I’m star struck, I’m not quite over it yet.

And then there’s the singing. When I first saw Du Beke open his mouth and notes fell out, I was surprised. I can’t say I particularly loved it – he will always be better with his feet than his voice – especially when he was singing next to Ellington who is a professional nonetheless. However, it was something your ears accepted because who doesn’t like a Fred Astaire wannabe? But the two had obviously taken more singing lessons because this year their voices were much better. Not quite at Ellington’s level – but it added a whole new element to the performance when the audience aren’t internally cringing.

Of course it would be ridiculous to review the show and not mention the dancing. However, I feel it’s equally ridiculous to state the dancing was beautifully performed – because, of course it was. Du Beke doesn’t get called the King of Ballroom for nothing. (Is that the second time I’ve called him a King? Can you feel my crush through the screen yet?)

If you bought tickets to this show and expected a range of ballroom and Latin dances, you would be incredibly disappointed. There is still variation throughout the show – dances such as the waltz, to the Charleston, to the tango – but if you’re looking for a party you went to the wrong venue. Du Beke and Boag always put on a good show – but it’s an afternoon of class, elegance and laughter.

So, would I recommend this show to you? Is it rude to say, “duh”? If you’re a Strictly lover and like to laugh, then I definitely would. If you like an afternoon of good music, of course. If you love a hat-and-cane number, then this is the show for you. Even if you don’t – go anyway. You’ll be surprised how quickly you fall in love with a live orchestra, good singers and stunning dancers.

Trust me.

If you liked this review then please let me know! I’m still learning the ropes so feedback is always appreciated. Thanks so much for reading, Evee 🙂 

 

Hello and Welcome!

DSCF9257Well, here I am, finally. I have to say, WordPress can be confusing when you have no idea what means what. But I’m finally here so let’s get started…

Maybe you’re wondering who I am. Maybe you’re not – but sadly I’m going to tell you anyway. I’m a uni student, studying film and writing, and it finally hit me yesterday. For someone who’s been writing since they could hold a pencil, why haven’t I got a blog? Many of my friends do. Why can’t I? I guess I’ve always stressed about the type of blog I would write. My friends have horror blogs, fitness blogs, bloggy blogs, but what could I write about? I’m too scared to write about horror, I cannot put “I” and “fitness” into the same sentence or I’ll die laughing, and my life isn’t particularly interesting – I don’t even keep a diary. So what would I write about?

Then yesterday, as I sat in The Royal Concert Hall, it struck me.

I have a vast collection of theatre programmes on the bottom shelf of my bookcase. I’ve been hoarding them since I can remember. Ballets, musicals, ice skating, dance, you name it, it’s there. Then there’s the collection of cinema tickets in my desk drawer. Chick flicks, action, tear jerkers, they’re all there too.

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Why haven’t I wrote about any of it? For someone who loves to read their own words, it would make sense, right?

Well, I’ve decided to do just that. So welcome to my blog. I’ll write about whatever show I saw last. Whether it be a musical at the theatre, to a concert at the Barras, to the nearest art exhibition, or even the newest blockbuster, I’ll tap away on my laptop and spill out a few words. Hopefully it’ll be interesting.

But you’ll have to read it to find out, won’t you?