Tag Archives: Drama

Film of the Week: An Inspector Calls

AN INSPECTOR CALLS
More 4, Fri 5th December 11.50am

Credit: The Lowry

I may be in the Alps, but I still can get TVGuide.com to tell me what’s coming up this week on British telly. This week is the mysterious An Inspector Calls. Unlike most people I know who have seen this film, I didn’t see as a part of my GCSEs, instead I saw it two years ago randomly when we had a bit of time at work and stuck on the DVD. It’s a lot more mysterious than I was expecting it to be, and Alastair Sim is great as the inspector. Well worth a watch.

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What I’m watching, reading and have viewed: Part 2

What I’m watching: The Fall

The show that follows a serial killer, and the police investigation that’s trying to catch him.

What’s it about? Gillian Anderson is a MET Detective Superintendent sent to Belfast having been assigned to review the investigation into a single high-profile murder, but who ends up heading the hunt for serial killing Jamie Dornan. You see both her investigation, his daily life, but also the things that do happen in a murder case that you don’t usually see on a TV show – the finding of the body, the heartbreaking call to 999, the simple logistics of attending a crime scene (“stepping plates where applicable”).

Why watch it? It is the latter point – the things you don’t usually see – that have drawn me into the The Fall. In most police procedurals, even those about people whose job it is to collect evidence from a crime scene, there isn’t much evidence of the procedure actually happening, it’s all about the mystery. I do like the pragmatic air this show has in that sense. On the other hand, The Fall is insanely creepy – Jamie Dornan has given me nightmares. Don’t watch if you’re going to be sleeping home alone.

What I’m reading: Harry Potter et le Prisonnier d’Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

It’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban … but in French.

What’s it about? If you actually need to ask what Harry Potter is about, I may have to ask where you have been living for the last decade and a half. Even living under a rock wouldn’t excuse you from not knowing about the phenomenon that is J.K. Rowling’s series about the boy wizard. The Prisoner of Azkaban is the third in the series though, really, you should know that already.

Why read it? The PoA is my favourite of the Harry Potter series – I adore this book. Reading it French then was a no brainer for me, as it would help me to know what is actually happening while trying to negotiate French idioms. (Who knew that to ‘pick’ a lock translates into ‘crocheting’ in French? Not me.) It’s also fun to see how the names and places that are so recognisable in English are changed in French – Snape is now Rouge, Hogwarts is Poudlard, and – my favourite – Hufflepuff transforms to Poufsouffle. A lot of fun.

What I’ve viewed: Wadjda

Watch a young girl negotiate the streets, her school and her home in Riyadh.

What’s it about? The first feature length film to come out of Saudi Arabia, this story follows Wadjda who desperately wants a bicycle so she can race her friend Abdullah, and is told by almost everyone that girls don’t ride bikes. She decides to enter the Quran reading competition in order to win the money that will pay for the beloved green bicycle she has set her eye on.

Why see it? This is such a heart warming and sweet film. All the actors are great, even – especially – the kids, and the story is so engrossing. The film is much more than just a sweet story, though, especially on repeat viewings. For example, in a country that seems to be so restrictive for women there are surprisingly few men in the story – three in fact, and and only one is a main character. It is worth seeing the film to watch how women are complicit in restricting themselves: for example, everyone tells Wadjda that women don’t ride bikes, but the shop sells girls bicycles, and Wadjda is desperately worried her chosen green one will sell. This is one example of a plot that is much deeper when you look past the simple story, and forget some of the pre-conceived ‘facts’ of Saudi Arabia.

Also, Abdullah is adorable. Watch just for the scenes between him and Wadjda.

Where I’m travelling: France. In less than two weeks I’ll be working in the Alps -I’m so excited/nervous!

Have you seen any of these? Does The Fall become even creepier? (I have trouble believing that’s possible!) Let me know.

Film of the Week: Beasts of the Southern Wild

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
Film 4, Wed 29th October 9.00pm

Credit: Wikipedia

A.k.a. Quvenzhané Wallis being the cutest thing that ever existed. Set in a potentially global warming altered earth (the details are a little vague, part of the film’s magic), a little girl and her father try and survive in a community forced to change because of flooding. It’s a beautiful film, the acting is top-notch, and the surrealist elements are not overwhelming enough to turn off those who are opposed to whimsy. Also, the soundtrack is awesome, and have I mentioned that Quvenzhané Wallis is really cute? I love it.

Film of the Week: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… and Spring

SPRING, SUMMER, AUTUMN, WINTER … AND SPRING
Film 4, Thurs 23rd October 1.45am

Credit: Wikipedia

Film 4 have got quite the line up this week: Hugo, Inglorious BastardsCalamity Jane among others. Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… and Spring is slotted into this busy schedule with a late night viewing but is not to be missed, despite the late – or should that be early? – showing. I watched this film in an ongoing (and, as of yet, unfinished) challenge to view all of IMDB’s Top 250 films. It wasn’t what I was expecting.

This South Korean movie (subtitled) is set on a floating house in the middle of a lake. The story is split into 5 parts, starting with an elderly monk taking in a young child, and spans the length of the young boy’s life. It’s not fast paced, nor action packed, but it is beautifully filmed and very intriguing. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot – it is a film that should be watched without knowing too much about it beforehand I believe. The story – which covers love, redemption, death and life, plus more (light, no?) – confuses you, yet draws you in without you realising it. I hope you give it a go: it’s worth a watch.

Note: This was a difficult one for me because I was torn between this and Hot Fuzz (ITV2, Fri 24th October 9.00pm), my favourite comedy. But I figured that everyone would have (should have) seen it. If not, what have you been doing with your life? Essential viewing.

Film of the Week: All the President’s Men

ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN
Sky Atlantic, Thurs 9th October 11.05pm

Credit: Roger Ebert

So this is a new aspect of my blog: each week I’m going to pick a film from those being shown on British TV. It may be a film that I love and want to share with you guys, or a film that I want to see and that you might too. This week’s film is All the President’s Men, the movie adaptation of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward’s book accounting their press coverage of the Nixon administration following the Watergate break in. I’ve read the book as well as having seen the film, and will say that the book is better if only for the reason that it goes into more depth than the film does (or can – at over 2 hours it goes into as much depth as it can without becoming a miniseries). However, don’t let that put you off. If it’s too late at night, get it recorded on Sky+. It’s well worth a watch.

‘On the Road’, on the road

I’m unsure as to whether I can really call reading On the Road while stationed and working in one place ‘on the road’, but I was away from home so I’m going to claim that it counts.

It was funny; while I was reading it, I didn’t think On the Road had had any effect on me other than providing some enjoyment and making me feel frustrated with Sal (just get away from Dean, for God’s sake Paradise!) But following the end of camp I spent two weeks on a road trip and, bizarrely, I started wanting to experience the thrills Sal Paradise had travelling with Dean Moriarty. I wanted to experience that kind of wild thrill, that electric excitement, that’s possible only when your with someone who’s on another plane of energy and is willing to live life freely, be damned the consequences.

Feeling so American #usbling #ontheroad #usliterature #kerouac

A post shared by Frances (@los_carrasco) on

Dean is a character I loved to hate. In the book he came off as so insincere, for me at least. I didn’t believe in how he could feel life the way he did, feeding off the jazz and the excitement of being selfish; it was a show, a cry for attention. Any time Sal got back together with him I groaned for this naive individual who couldn’t see that his idol was so selfish and unthinking and shallow. However, some time after reading the book – and I’m talking months after – Dean starts to seem like someone you would maybe follow, even if only for a day or two. It could be almost automatic. Because even if his love for life is fake it must be amazing to be around someone who just let’s go and doesn’t care, when usually there is so much to do and think about.

It is a book that lures you out of your everyday life, making you want to travel crazily just as they did. You want to rent a car and do their crazy route across America. When I was doing my two week road trip I felt slightly disgusted and disappointed in myself that I couldn’t drive for 24-hours straight like Dean could.

Maybe that’s the true latch of On the Road. Despite knowing that Dean’s crazy and will leave you dying at the side of the road (or in Mexico) if the circumstances suited, we all want to be a bit crazier, a little more selfish. We want to be able to throw off everything and do stupid stuff just like Dean, in spite of the fact that being an accomplice – Sal’s role – can be so very dangerous.

(Sidenote: A book that I really read while actually on the road was All the President’s Men, which some may know from the screen adaptation starring Robert Redford and Dennis Hoffman. It’s about two journalists journey uncovering the Watergate scandal and coverup and it really is a very good read and highly recommended. I also reread Catch-22. Damn. That book is even better than I remember it.)

What I’m watching, reading and have viewed

Having now just finished university forever, and with my summer in LA less than a month away, I decided to kick back and do, read and watch some things that I have been wanting to do for a while. I still feel like I’m procrastinating (probably because my room needs a serious clean), but it’s finally starting to dawn on me: I can do what I want without feeling guilty. Here are some of the things I have enjoyed since packing up studying. (P.S. for those of you who like my travel articles, LA is going to give me such inspiration for posts.)

What I’m watching: Orphan Black

Tatiana Maslany is so good in this sci-fi show rooted in reality.

What’s it about? Maslany’s first character Sarah sees a woman jump in front of a train and assumes her identity. I say first character because the woman who jumps in front of a train looked just like Sarah, and is also played by Maslany, and she also plays yet another character by the end of the first episode. Forced into a new life with complications wasn’t expecting, and having to accept discovery after discovery, Orphan Black quickly becomes neither what the audience nor Sarah were expecting at all. It is so addictive.

Why watch it? Maslany. Seriously, she is so good.

What I’m reading: Moneyball by Michael Lewis

You may have heard of the film starring Brad Pitt.

What’s it about? This sports book follows the story of the low-budget Oakland As, and their incredible tactics that helped to change how the baseball draft is tackled. This is all done by also documenting the formally underwhelming career of Billy Beane, general manager of the As.

Why read it? Even if you don’t know much about baseball (I don’t!) this is such an interesting read. Following how the team behind the team functions and helps to change baseball is fascinating, and understanding the system and reasoning that resulted in them making such decisions is equally interesting. Sports books aren’t my favourites: they tend to not be as intellectually stimulating as a well written novel. However, if you love baseball, or you just want a good story that teaches you a little something, this may be the book for you.

What I’ve viewed: Short Term 12

A.k.a. The film that all the critics said should have been nominated for Oscars galore last year.

What’s it about? Based in a foster centre called Short Term 12 it follows the life of the supervisor, Brie Larson’s Grace, after she finds out she is pregnant, as well as the kids she looks after.

Why see it? The story is sweet and moving, all the characters are drawn well and are believable, not caricatured foster kids. We watch the adults at the centre connect with these hurt individuals in a way that feels organic and realistic, not cheesy as is usually the case with such films. And Brie Larson is excellent as Grace, portraying someone with serious vulnerabilities trying to move on from her past.

Where I have travelled: Leeds.

… Yep, I know. My life is so glamorous.

Have you seen any of these? I’m only halfway through Moneyball and Orphan Black, so do they become truly terrible?! Let me know.