2011 books review

How To Be A Woman, my thoughts on Caitlin Moran’s memoir

I wrote a review for the girls over at For Books Sake.

You’ve probably already seen it, but I like to make sure i’s are dotted and t’s crossed.

2009 Movies review

I Watched the Watchmen (and then I thought…meh…)

This isn’t going to be the worlds most positive review, but neither is it going to be the most negative. I gave myself a couple of days to digest it so I didn’t just use this as a forum to continue spitting the venom I was immediately after the screening. This is what I thought.

Firstly, it looks amazing, it looks the way it should, Dr Manhattan is a pretty huge accomplishment – CGI Billy Crudup is pretty fascinating the whole way through (as is the almost continual full frontal of that giant blue cock, don’t pretend you didn’t look). Rorschach’s mask worked, it looked the way a comic book should, it was visually spectacular, and for the first 5 minutes while it was following the graphic page for page I thought things might turn out okay. Unfortunately not.

Zack Snyder, you and I have to sit down and have a chat about your over use of SloMo. It doesn’t mask your lack of narrative finesse. Graphic Novels are hard to adapt for the screen, they twist and turn and jump around linear time, we know this. If you don’t think you can handle it then move along and don’t bumble through things by emphasising insignificant moments with (abeit beautifully shot) slo motion photography.

It’s like the movie couldn’t make up it’s mind whether it was trying to be the book, or it was trying to be an X-Men cashcow. It’s pandering to the very genre it’s claiming to subvert. I was expecting the codes and conventions to be turned on their head with little nuances, instead I got a large amount of genuinely gory on screen violence – waaay more than in the book.

The initial fight scene between the Comedian and his assassin is really impressive, and starts the movie off well, but from there on in the pacing turns to shit and the focus is all over the place, the narrative structure is somewhat confusing. If you haven’t read the book (?) (I have and I’m the uber indie comics girl -what’s your excuse ?) then you may have some difficulty understanding what is happening and why. It’s just not very clear.

The acting is pretty amazing, the characters all (especially the Comedian and Rorschach) do a brilliant job with their ambiguous superhero likeability, but ultimately this movie is all over the place. It’s watchable, definitely, it’s at least an hour too long and dear god, the clunky use of easily historically placeable songs in the soundtrack to re-enforce the era? please re-examine.

You’ll all go see it anyway, out of curiosity, the studios are banking on it. But are we all agreed now  -that there shall me no more Alan Moore adaptations, EVER?

2009 book Comics review

little things

I am a complete nerd for Jeffrey Brown, ever since stumbling upon Clumsy years ago in Foyles waaaaaaay before I worked there, emokid that I was at the time (oh yeah, I’ve totally changed now) I fell in big love immediately. Right the way through the girlfriend trilogy he kept me just on the right side of melancholy.

I eventually got around to reading Little Things this week and it was awesome. It reads like something of a mix between Unlikely and MiniSulk with a little bit of Cat Getting Out of a Bag, thrown in. That is to say all of Brown’s trademark motifs are present. It’s the kind of book that makes you remember why you fell in love with indie comics in the first place. Sure, it can be argued nothing happens. But isn’t that the whole point. Meaning and beauty in the mundane. If you’ve got that down the whole world gets a bunch more interesting, lets face it, we’ve all got plenty of mundane. Brown is a little like Coupland in this way, super simplistic and up to you the reader to find what you’re looking for in it.

He presents his Chicago to you in a way that makes you feel familiar with the Coffee house he frequents and the neighbourhood he lives in. Almost everything Brown has done has been autobiographical but this book in particular resonates with reality. I loved the story about going to visit his friend who is a Mountain Ranger in the Pacific Northwest. I loved the story about how he started writing comics in the first place, and I loved that he was still hoping he’d make enough off of comics to go part time at Barnes and Noble.

Don’t get me wrong, Jeffrey Brown isn’t for everyone, and you either love his art or hate hate hate it. But if you’ve ever been young, in love, broken hearted, a struggling artist, underpaid or had a cat then you should find something here.

A picture wouldn’t really do it justice, so I chose the video he animated for Death Cab’s directions collaborative DVD. Warning, it’s a little sad.

2009 Movies review

Well, you're two penises short of a Shania Twain reimagination band!

So, Nick and Norah’s Infinite playlist then.

Wow. Now before we begin, put aside the usual indier than thou judgement we reserve for bands and remember that this is film and it’s a different deal, and if it were music, then Nick and Norah’s would be like Death Cab anyway, the acceptable face of big budget indie. Keep that in mind.

Nick and Norah’s made me grin from ear to ear and laugh out loud and cringe and miss being young and hate that I don’t get to live in New York. It also made my crush on Michael Cera much bigger. Give a boy some vans and a bass and it changes everything.

Although there are a number of MTV marketing elements to this film, like the quirky, hand drawn titles for example, they don’t interfere with the super simple (yet strikingly funny and accurate) narrative.

Deal is Nick is in a queercore band and has an ex girlfriend who he still makes mix cds for (and they’re about the best looking mix cds ever, I’d marry a boy who made mix cds like that) Norah doesn’t know Nick , but goes to school in Jersey with Nicks ex. They don’t get along. They all end up at the same venue one evening when Nicks band is playing, Norah unknowingly asks Nick to pretend to be her boyfriend and from there an awesome evening of NY adventure at all our favourite (hipster) venues commences.

One of the things that I liked most about N ‘n’ N’s was that it’s an into the night movie, I’ve written about this before and about the love for them that growing up in the 80s spawned. The notion that sometimes all it can take to change eveything (and usually in the summer before college) is one night. ‘Cos remember being 17? It’s true, it was exactly like that. We weren’t too cool for school, we were way more trusting, less scared and everything felt… more.

Cera rules as Nick and is pace perfect with his delivery, all of my laugh out loud moments were his, from the opening dialogue of him living his ex gf an epic voicemail through about 40% of everything else he says. And as aforementioned Vans and a hoodie does funny things to a girl.

Kat Dennings was impossibly beautiful as Nora, Jess and I both agreed we had huge girl crushes on her by the end, the camera does a huge amount of gazing longingly at her and her dependable girl next door qualities. I’m excited to see what she does next.

With the exception of the awkward (yet uber sweet) recording studio scene, this movie doesn’t have a bad moment. Don’t go into it expecting anymore than a highly quotable awesome indie teen movie and there’s no way you’ll be disappointed.

click here to download the hipster heavy soundtrack and relive your favourite moments
click here to download the hipster heavy soundtrack and relive your favourite moments
Movies review teen

And these children, that you spit upon…

I’ve wanted to see this movie for a while, the poster had me all smitten before everyone in the world that I respect fell in love with it themselves. It’s interesting then that after I got hold of a copy I couldn’t bring myself to watch it at first, in case it wasn’t the kind of awesome I needed it to be.

Luckily I put it on this evening and it made everything better.

The midwestern high school setting and thus the sports obsession was reminiscent of Klosterman’s novel, Downtown Owl. But that was where similarities ended, none of the snippy snarkiness that usually inhabits anything created in the last 15 years was here.  Instead there was an honesty and sincerity that you can only get away with using when you’re a teen and all everything feels more than it ever will again.

American Teen makes you remember what it was like to be that age –  with your whole life laid out ahead of you –  in the way that certain 3 minute pop songs can, but movies rarely do. Director Nannette Burnstein deftly handles the 5 protagonists and explores the very typecasts John Hughes forever set in our brain. Here we get a taste of what would have happened if Alison and Andy had dated after detention, if your heart really does die when you grow up, and how being a geek doesn’t really change decade to decade.

If you’re ever feeling confused as an adult, watch this movie and remember how daunting life once seemed. The downside of all of this, is obviously, that life once seemed epic and full of promise and a place where dreams could come true. This movie will help you remember that part as well.

Blogroll Movies Music personal review

I don't mind the weather, I've got scarves and hats and sweaters…

Aaaah, another winter sunday afternoon is starting to draw in, the light is fading and my room again seems like the cosiest place in the world. I haven’t left the house since I got back from work on friday and as such a sense of order has been restored on my life. I feel well rested, far less stressed and relatively toxin free. I completely needed a weekend to myself. I’m far more about the mid week partying these days, less fucktards out.

This weekend did give me a chance to catch up on some movie/tv/record/book time, and that in and of itself was fantastic.

Favourite records of the weekend:

I like Japanese Hardcore. Amazing lo-fi girl poppy punky folky indie on plan-it-x. They were only around for one record which is sad, but means they’ll rule forever. There are two Calvin Johnson references in the space of 10 songs, which I find incredibly endearing. The lyrics switch between being super cute “that boy, he’s so punk rock, he makes, makes my heart stop..” and a little riot grrrlish ” boys like you tell lies, to make girls like me cry, thats why I have to say, bye bye love, hello kitty”. Perfect sunday listening.

Floormodel – Random Access Memories. I’m a sucker for Jeff Caudill in almost any capacity ( I still listen to daylight savings pretty much every day in november – it feels like midnight, but it’s just 6 oclock..) and I’m totally into his forray into the world of electronica. Everyone is comparing this to the Postal Service, but that’s cos when you get an indie rock/punk dude and an electronica dude working together it’s a safe comparison for the ill-educated indie media. This record manages to be at the same time warm and objective. It’s something that I, personally have been trying to achieve for some time now.

I also eventually got around to watching Pineapple Express (which led to me rethinking my love of David Gordon Green) and the Jared Padelecki Christmas Movie based on Thomas Kinkade (of QVC artists fame)’s hometown Christmas in 1977. I’m a huge christmas nerd okay, yes, I know it seems weird if you know me at all, but it’s true. Deal with it. The Thomas Kinkade one was super christianity heavy, come on Christians, stop spoiling Christmas for the rest of us. Jared Padelecki was great as the humble artist though, he rules at playing small town boys. I think it’s for this reason that I love him. Alongside his height. And lion-y face.

Right, I’m gonna go cook sunday food and have a lush product filled bubble bath. Bye.


feels a lot better…

It’s been a kind of awkward week huh? So many changes on the horizon left me reeling a little and had me ending my detox a little earlier than planned (hey I went 13 days without drinking or smoking, I was pretty impressed) but you know what. Outside and drinking and boys is fun. Sometimes.

I went to a screening of W on thursday, I’m not allowed to review it til next week though. I’ll get around this by not saying anything about what actually happens, and instead talk about how I felt about what happened.

I still, 4 days later, am not sure how I felt about the movie, whether I liked it or not, or whether I just felt a little bit meh about the entire affair. It didn’t watch like an Oliver Stone movie, it was lacking sensationalism and didn’t begin to spiral out of control somewhere around the three quarters of the way through mark. It was however a little bit too long, so there was still at least one constant for me to cling to. The thing that left me confused about my feelings is this, it completely humanises Bush, and almost makes you feel bad for the dude and his desperate desire for paternal approval. However it also paints him as the grade A fucking idiot that he is, this somewhat balanced approach isn’t something I expect from Stone and definitely not something I’d expect from a Bush biopic.

Thandie Newton is amazing as Condoleezza Rice (to the extent I couldn’t really figure out who was portraying her), Dreyfuss was as usual brilliant, even playing Cheney he’s somehow a little likeable, also still a complete douche, worry not. Josh Brolin did a superb job as W. It’s good to see him get something substantial for a change, he totally deserved it – he’s been slogging away pretty continuously since The Goonies.

I’m going to a Max Payne tomorrow night, which should be interesting. Haha.

Best new find of the weekend was Poladroid which Lou tipped me off about, it’s my new favourite app. Macs only I’m afraid PC kids, but isn’t it time you moved to the dark/more expensive side – those new macbooks are all kinds of dreamy. Anyway, you just install Poladroid, and then drag any image file into it, and it spits you out a polaroid version, you then have to wait as it develops right before your eyes on your desktop. It’s more fun even than Qamera for i-sight that Fessey and I spent a fair chunk of last week playing with.

Right, I’m off to watch Pineapple Express. Later, my loves.