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Autumn - sunlitdays

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The Sea of Stars

Water-stained pages, pebbles and traces of stardust


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Film Review
Autumn - sunlitdays
sea_thoughts
Film Reviews

So recently I've been collecting a few DVDs. And I thought it was about time I started watching them. But first, a little review for the film I saw in the cinema on Thursday.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Even though I missed the first half hour of this film because it took me that long to walk from Cheltenham train station, I still really enjoyed it (I got a seat right in the middle of the front row, haha). I can see why it's been given an 18 certificate but I personally don't think it's that bad. There is lots of blood, yes, but I think the film board was more worried about how cavalier the killing is: there's a sequence where Sweeney slices about ten throats in five minutes and shows absolutely no remorse. Not to mention the important characters that get killed and the fact he nearly kills his only daughter. I'm not saying that I'm particularly bothered by this, because a) it's a musical and b) Tim Burton takes care to make the killing very theatrical, but I can see why it would worry the censors. It's the only film where Johnny Depp has ever scared me: he really captured the feeling of a man who has nothing left but his desire for vengeance (unlike the Bride in Kill Bill, who is given a reason to live and move on when she sees her daughter is alive). Alan Rickman singing was just... amazing, very rich and vibrant, like a cello (I should know, I used to play one). Timothy Spall was iffy but suited his character and it would have sounded awful if they'd dubbed him. Sacha Baron Cohen was just amazing. There's nothing that man can't do, as long as he's inhabiting a character. The scene where he moves from that overdone Italian accent to a quiet Estuary one made my jaw drop because it was so smooth. And I also liked Helena Bonham Carter, even though I got annoyed at her character. Mrs Lovett, this is a man who is only interested in killing. He's obsessed with the memory of his dead wife and daughter. He is not ideal husband material. I know he is pretty and has nice cheekbones, but you really should find someone else. In short, I was not surprised when he killed her at all. My only criticism would be that the ending of the film was so abrupt. I realise this is probably in keeping with the musical but I sat there and thought Wait, that's it? They didn't have to do much, just show us Anthony and Joanna escaping to live happily elsewhere (which I assume is what happened, since Judge Turpin and the Beedle are both dead) and suggest what might have happened to Toby. Oh well, it's a small thing, didn't spoil my enjoyment. If you liked Sleepy Hollow, which is more gruesome in my opinion, then I think you would enjoy this.

The Science of Sleep
I've had this film for a while, but I hadn't got around to seeing it until last night. I didn't know what I was missing. This is a fantastic film, and I use that word in both the modern and the old-fashioned sense: it's very good and it's straight from fantasy. It's all about what happens in the mind of a creative person, about the difference between dreams and reality, how you cope with reality if you're a creative person, the compromises you have to make, the frustration when people just don't get you... I think you can guess by now that I completely identify with the characters in this film. If you are creative in any kind of way, see it. That's all I have to say.

The Dark Is Rising: The Seeker
Okay, so if you haven't read the books... any of the books... this is fine. It's an okay film to watch. If you have read the books, avoid it if possible and if you do see it, just forget everything you read. I only saw it because it was at the Guildhall and it only costs me £4 to watch a film there. They shouldn't have said 'based on' in the titles, they should have said 'inspired by'. Because what they've done is take the basic storyline and twist the characters until they're nigh unrecognisable. The beginning is good, quite creepy and disorientating. I really wish they'd done more in that vein because half-way through, it just degenerates into a typical fantasy film. Christopher Eccleston would have been a fabulous Rider, but all he does is canter around on his horse saying "My power grows stronger". That's great, can we see some evidence? Chris is a great actor, he brings so much intensity to his roles, he can be mesmirising on screen, why didn't the director use that? He's actually scarier in Heroes than in this, which is WRONG. The Rider should be utterly terrifying. Ian McShane is, frankly, not the man I would have chosen to play Merriman, that honour goes to Patrick Stewart (who is so perfect, it's not even funny). But putting that aside, he could have been good... if they'd given him more to do. Again, a waste of talent, I think. The boy who plays Will is actually quite good (though what possessed his parents to name him Wolfgang?) and really, he's what kept me watching to the end. I'd love to see him in a better film. The special effects were good, and that's about it.
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Sounds like I should watch The Science of Sleep.

As for what possessed his parents to name him Wolfgang? Perhaps they just adore Mozart? I know I do.

Possibly, but giving your son a name like that is a recipe for disaster in the Anglo-Saxon world, even if you go to school among kids who've heard of Mozart. Still, he could always shorten it to Wolf, I'm sure that would seem cool.

We saw The Science of Sleep at the cinema when it came out, and would like to see it again. I love Michel Gondry - you should get The Work of Director Michel Gondry (it's one of a DVD series about music video directors) if you're interested in his creative process. It's very, very interesting.

The Dark is Rising ...
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I just finished re-reading this and I didn't like it. Seems to me that all the criticisms I keep reading that are levelled at Harry Potter - that it's overly-nostalgic, middle-class and elitist apply a lot better to this series! It's of its time of course, so that's only to be expected but I just didn't care too much for the way Will gets his powers, or the story-telling in general. I don't tend to mind stories that are dated and I don't care at all about non-PC-ness provided the writing is good and the characters are engaging - but it sounds to me like film is quite an accurate representation of the book - good set-up, great atmosphere evoked at the beginning, then trails off into a somewhat lame standard-fantasy-fare quest that I had no real reason to care about - apart from a slightly engaging main character (who keeps getting adult help every time he's in a jam). And no I don't count the times he gets out the jam thanks to his 'powers' because he didn't do anything to earn them. He just read a BOOK! One. Book.

That is all. ;-)

I also have Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, so I'll be reviewing that.

The film is nothing like the book. *lol* Also The Dark is Rising is not the first book in the series, even though the series is named after it. The first book is actually Over Sea, Under Stone. If you read that, you understand the background a bit better, I think.

I've read them all before - and I read Over Sea Under Stone first this time too. It's not a question of not understanding the background, I just don't think much of them. But that's just my opinion!

I've watched Eternal Sunshine half a dozen times. It's probably in my top ten movies of all time. Top twenty at least!

Well, if you've read all of them, I can't ask any more of you. :)

Eternal Sunshine comes highly recommended to me, not least by one of my oldest friends, who told me that the first time she saw it, she thought of me.

Oh, The Seeker... I was so disappointed in that movie. You're right, they butchered the story and characters terribly. I saw it in the theater here when it came out and I had to convince myself about a third of the way through to think of it as something completely different. It wasn't bad for what the directors intended it to be, but it wasn't The Dark Is Rising. Which could have been fantastic, even with a little modernization.

*blinks* Patrick Stewart as Merriman? You should be a professional casting agent! ^-^

I saw it in the theater here when it came out and I had to convince myself about a third of the way through to think of it as something completely different.

Yeah, that is basically the only way to watch the film if you've read the book. Forget everything.

*blinks* Patrick Stewart as Merriman? You should be a professional casting agent! ^-^

Haha, well, we'd have to see if he'd accept it, but face it, he fits the descrption of Merriman in the books so exactly, I'm sure the universe is trying to tell us SOMETHING. And I'd probably cast Skandar Keynes (Edmund) as Will: he's got the vulnerability and the strength (and the fringe *lol*). But I'd keep Christopher Eccleston as the Rider, because I believe he could be a really *good* one if he was just given the chance.

the science of sleep! I love that movie!

*hug*

oh, and in regards to sweeney todd, I haven't seen the new adaptation, but I have seen the play. I'm pretty sure that the endings are the same, so I think that it was more of a respecting the original's vision sort of thing.
you should check out the filmed-from-the-play version if you can, it's got angela lansbury as mrs. lovett and the singing is gorgeous.

Sure, is this version on YouTube or available to download somewhere? See, in this one instance, I think they should have gone and done something a little different with the ending. Because it's so damn short.

I dunno where to find it, but I think from amazon would probably be a good bet. and I'm pretty sure that there are a few clips on youtube, but I just rented it from the library.

the ending seemed rather perfect when I saw it in the play.

Yeah, see, I'm not going to buy it. I'm too cheap for that. No way I could rent it over here.

okay, you don't have to buy or anything. I was just suggesting.
if your library has a collection of videos that you can check out, especially if they have a section for musicals, it might be there, but that's just my library experience.

I found the original version of "a little priest," which is definitely the funniest song and it's here.

Thanks for the link. Sadly, the only musicals that my library stocks are from Bollywood. ^^;

bollywood? that's kind of crazy...
I hope you like the clip. angela lansbury's hair is fantastic.

Not really, there's a sizeable first and second generation Muslim/Hindu population here. The clip was great, though I don't know what accent she was doing. I'd have preferred her to do it American, like the man, rather than... whatever she was doing.

totally awesome made up accent. it goes well with the hair.
and I'm still not over the part where the only thing I remember seeing her in is "murder, she wrote" so it was a huge shock to hear that she could actually sing.

well, at least it's cool that you have diversity.
there's practically none over where I am, so my default setting is not geared to that. I'm hoping that when I move out of here and to somewhere more diverse, that'll change.

You'd never seen her in Bedknobs and Broomsticks? She actually started out as a singing actress.

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