Posted in film review, I don't write reviews, movies, my thoughts

Good Morning, Vietnam – Not a movie review

good-morning.jpg

Last night, after watching Good Morning, Vietnam for the very first time, I took to Facebook and wrote this post:

Just finished watching Good Morning Vietnam!

What a great movie. A classic movie. And, the very first time I’ve ever watched it. Yes, I know. I’m slow. (Unpopular opinion?) Not the best movie I’ve ever watched, not even the best Robin Williams movie (Dead Poets Society still holds that award for me), but a fantastic movie nonetheless. Moving, and definitely classic Robin Williams. And anything Robin Williams is gold.

I now want to expand on that post with several thoughts.  I must stress, though, that this isn’t a movie review, as such.  Just my thoughts on a movie that I enjoyed, seen through the lens of my thoughts and fuelled by discussion with my husband after watching.

If you haven’t watched this movie (who hasn’t though?) please be warned there may be spoilers from here on out. Continue reading “Good Morning, Vietnam – Not a movie review”

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Posted in film review, FSoG, movies, my thoughts, my writing

Fifty Shades of Grey: The Movie Everyone Has an Opinion On.

“Because I’m Fifty Shades of fucked up.”
This quote somewhere in the middle of the movie when Ana, (played by Dakota Johnson) is probing Christian (played by Jamie Dornan) as to why his relationships are the way they are, basically sums up Christian’s whole character.  And explains why he wants to do women the way he does.  It also basically sums up the whole movie.
This is not a movie that can be taken seriously.  From the get go, it is flawed.  From the acting to the flow, it is as if the producer didn’t have the luxury of really getting the length and tone that the story needed to do the book justice.  Granted, turning a first person novel into a believable script for the big screen isn’t easy. Twilight, which FSoG was originally a fanfiction of – and it showed, a lot – also suffered from this not so easy transition. 
The character development was also of some concern as it didn’t give you time to really get to know Christian or Ana.  It just threw you straight into the story, and for those who haven’t read the books this doesn’t help endear them to the characters and their predicaments. 
Dakota’s portrayal of Ana did hit the sweet spot in places, her feistiness and willingness to stand up for herself came through to the point where Christian is flummoxed by her behaviour and can’t quite handle it.  Jamie’s portrayal of Christian was quite wooden to begin with but I subscribe this to the pacing of the film and the fact that a majority of the dialogue was lifted straight from the text of the book and didn’t quite fit the pacing of the film.  He did become more believable as the movie progressed. 
The supporting cast/characters were all two dimensional and served only as minimal support; I was particularly disappointed by the portrayal of Taylor who was one of my favourite’s in the book.
Without giving anything away, the more controversial scenes in the movie, for want of an apt description, were quite tame. 
The biggest thing that I did get from it though was that there was no abuse.  At least not when it came to the physical side of things.  Ana consented to everything he did to her.  She even tells Christian to do his worst so she can make her decision.  In fact I think the movie was more explicit than the book in showing that Ana wasn’t going to submit to him and that she had the control.
Topping from the bottom.
There were some flags of emotional abuse from Christian when he’s attempting to pursue her, but Ana’s naivety in some sense protected her from that.  And, as I’ve read the books and actually know where Christian is coming from, it’s understandable that he comes across that way. 
Of course, due to the pacing of the movie it doesn’t give any due consideration to the development of Ana and Christian’s relationship; however, I don’t really understand all the hype against the movie from media and other groups who have vocally been so negative about it. 
It’s honestly not that bad.  It may be triggering for some people, I will grant that, but it’s definitely not worth all the vitriol that’s been cast its way.  Yes, it doesn’t portray a healthy relationship; yes I agree it’s not what people should hold up as an example of a healthy BDSM relationship, but where Christian is coming from it makes complete sense. 
To be fair the movie’s biggest problem was that it was not made well.  It had a ‘teen movie/b-grade’ vibe to it and I was left feeling that it was one of those movies that would normally be forgotten in the annals of time, except for its controversial subject matter.  And it honestly just reminded me of Twilight most of the time.  Ironic that. 
Still, here’s my advice. If you want to watch the movie, go watch it and don’t let people tell you not to for whatever reason.
Make your own informed opinion on the movie.  Then you can join the discourse on what the movie is portraying and what it’s not. 
I don’t give ratings for movies usually, but I give it a 3/5 for trying. 

Suggestion:  Read all three books to understand the story better.  
Posted in 2014, film review, I don't write reviews, movies, my thoughts, stephen hawking, the theory of everything

The Theory of Everything: Not a Movie Review

L-R: Stephen Hawking, Jane Wilde, Eddie Redmayne [Hawking], Felicity Jones [Jane]

I don’t write reviews.  Dry, objective articles about movies, music, books.  I write opinion pieces.  Pure opinion, with a smattering of facts.  Basically I write my thoughts.  Because, I have this theory.  I can’t write what everyone is thinking, and often reviews don’t reflect what people will actually end up thinking.

I avoid reading reviews of movies that I’m planning to watch regardless of whether they are good or bad, at least until after I’ve watched the movie.  For me, I want to get my own impressions rather than letting what others think dictate my watching experience.

So, in light of that.  Here are my, probably, highly biased thoughts on The Theory of Everything.

1.  The score.  The musical score.  When a movie soundtrack is all original score and doesn’t have popular music I often find that a lot more effective.  And this movie was no exception.  Johann Johannsson’s original score [which won the film best original score at the Golden Globes] [wikipedia] helps draw the audience into the story; I definitely reacted to the music, coupled with the scenes, in a visceral way.  One of the best musical scores I’ve heard in quite some time.

2.  The story.  I truly related to the story.  Not in that my life is the same.  On a much deeper level.  It’s based on the book written by Jane Wilde Hawking, Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen.  The movie explores their journey together through all the challenges that came their way.  I have always respected and admired Stephen Hawking’s contribution to science.  Even though his views on religion have been polarising.  But, as a fellow human being I am truly inspired by his human spirit and the fact that he achieved so much, despite the challenges.  And the fact that Jane stood by him for so long.

3.  The actors.  Eddie Redmayne was an inspired choice for the role of Hawking.  I already thought he was a pretty good actor, as I’ve watched him in Les Miserables and Birdsong.  However, I believe his portrayal of Hawking has lifted him into the echelons of the greats.  Premature, perhaps?  But, he won a Golden Globe for best actor and is nominated for an Oscar for the same.

Felicity Jones as Jane Wilde.  I haven’t seen much of her and I don’t know much about Jane Wilde, however, I felt that I could connect with her character and felt all her frustrations and her hope and her joys through the whole movie.  And her faith.

David Thewlis as Eddie’s Professor and then colleague.  It was funny seeing him out of the Harry Potter context, but at the same time refreshingly British.  Still playing a Professor mentor type character.

Other supporting roles:  Charlie Cox as Jonathan Jones [Jane’s second husband].  Jonathan was one of those characters you can’t help but love.  He was an imperfect human as we all are, but he had a serving heart, and though it was obvious that he was falling in love with Jane, he also became a very good friend to Stephen, so I never got mad when Jane ended going to him.  That whole dynamic between the three of them made sense, especially after Hawking’s nurse, Elaine, came into the picture.  After all, Jonathan shared the same faith as Jane.  And for Jane to stick it out so long with Stephen is testimony in and of itself.

Of course, there is most definitely more to that story as is the case with any movie from book/true life story.  But, I’ll get back to that.**

4.  The science vs religion aspect.  This was treated fairly in the movie.  It is known by most people that Hawking is an atheist, perhaps not as vocal as the Zoologist Richard Dawkins, but due to the nature of Hawking’s studies nonetheless pointed.  Considering Jane’s own faith the movie could have dissolved into a battle between atheism and religion, but that was not the point of the tale being told.

Other thoughts

Okay…all of that up there still sounded kind of like a review.  So, here’s something else.

This was such an amazing movie.  It moved me to tears.  The music, the message, and the acting.  I saw it with my boyfriend and there were moments where it just reminded me of our relationship.

I will be seeing it again next weekend, so I may write a follow up post, but go and see it.  It is definitely a movie worth seeing.  Put aside any prejudices you may have because of religion or personal views of the debate between science and religion, because this movie is not about that.

This a story of love, courage, perseverance and defeating the odds.  It’s a movie about a couple who experienced massive highs and devastating lows.

And, above all else, it’s a story about hope.  


**Next post…

Posted in Australian, books, movies

Tomorrow When The War Began

I have to say it.

John Marsden revolutionised teen novels.  Tomorrow When the War Began has to have been the best book I ever read in high school.  The whole series is amazing.  A strong female narrator, a teenager no less.  Great characters, real, young, feisty, fun, serious, and an amazing notion.  What if Australia was invaded?

What would you do?

The books kept me riveted, I couldn’t put them down.  I can’t count the number of times I read and re-read the first three books.

What intrigued me was the fact that the main character was a female, considering John Marsden is a guy.

The character Homer Yannos must be my first literary crush.  I always had a thing for him lol.

And now comes the main point of this.

I went and saw the movie and I have to say out of all the book-to-movie adaptations TWTWB is the best of the lot that I’ve seen.

They stayed true to the book, changing only minor details [giving the kids webcams, laptops, mobile phones and changing one scene having Chris and Robyn involved with the blowing up of Cobblers, but it kind of fit with the dynamics so I didn’t mind that so much – oh and Flip wasn’t a basset hound…lol].

I cried when Corrie got shot…even though I knew it was going to happen.

There was some priceless clips as well, like Kevin’s face while Chris was talking about finding out what was going on.  Chris the way they characterised him was absolutely hilarious.

I could go on, but I’d be gushing.  Overall an amazing effort.  Some of the acting wasn’t perfect, but I think for all of them it was the first time doing a major motion picture.  And it was a perfect feel.

I loved Deniz as Homer, even though he wasn’t exactly how I pictured him in the books.  Too good looking.  But, hey, it’s a movie.  Literary license, eh?

The soundtrack was good.  Steer by Missy Higgins was a good opening track.

So overall, I give this movie two thumbs up.  😀  And a great big smile.  I’d definitely watch it again :D.