Tag Archives: Film

Top 5 Disney Pixar Movie Moments

A huge Disney fan, I absolutely adore the Disney Pixar movies. Over the past 25 years the company has been creating CGI short and feature films, including Toy Story, Monsters Inc., CarsWALL-E and Up.

Following BBC3’s recent documentary discussing Pixar’s ’25 Magic Moments’, I thought I’d let you know my Top 5 favourite moments from the Pixar movies.

1. Carl & Ellie’s Married Life.

Although completely heartbreaking, this is one of my favourite moments as it’s like a mini movie. It could have easily been one of Pixar’s famous short films and it easily stands alone from the rest of the film. It is a completely beautiful montage of Carl & Ellie’s life together, which I think is made by the music.

2. Buzz switches to Spanish mode.
Taken from Toy Story 3, Buzz has had his memory reset so he doesn’t remember any of the toys. Woody and the gang try to get him back to his normal self… but end up switching him to Spanish mode instead. The whole scene had me crying with laughter, it’s a really funny moment which stands out as one of the funniest scenes for me in Pixar history.

3.  Outtakes
The outtakes of any Pixar movie are always brilliant but I particularly like the Monsters Inc. outtakes. I think each one is hilarious & I absolutely love the mini-musical.

4. Meet Dug
Another Up moment. I love the entire film, it’s definitely one of my favourite Pixar films. I love moment that we first meet Dug in the film. Carl and Russell believe that they have found a normal dog wondering around when suddenly the dog starts talking, immediately Russell wants to keep him.

5. Crush from Finding Nemo
Having just met a lot of jellyfish, Marlin wakes up to discover that he is riding the East Australian Current. I think Crush (along with Dory and Dug) are Pixar’s best characters & I just love this scene as Crush provides real humour for Marlin & Dory’s journey and comes up with some brilliant one-liners.

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Vampires Suck?

It would appear that we are living in a world that has become obsessed with vampires.

Vampire literature has been around for over 100 years, however in recent years vampire stories have seen an increase in popularity due to several successful television series and movies.

Dracula, an 1897 novel by Bram Stoker tells the story of Jonathan Harker, a man who visits the Transylvanian Count Dracula for business but who soon becomes Dracula’s prisoner. Dracula is probably one of the most famous and most influencial stories in vampire fiction, however the lead character which Stoker described in his book is extremely different to those portrayed today.

The vampire phenomenon has particularly taken off in the last three years thanks to The Twilight Saga, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries. The two television series and the movie franchise depict their vampires as young, sexy and often brooding outsiders who live amongst humans.

Suddenly, vampires have gone from being the feared mystical, gothic creature to sexy, more human-like beings that are depicted and wanted as love interests. The female lead characters in the adaptations I’m going to discuss are all human but willingly pursue relationships with male vampires. Vampire fiction is no longer associated with death, but is now associated with sex and often love.

The Twilight Saga is a series of novels which are currently being adapted in to a series of films, with the first installment of the fourth book being released this year (Breaking Dawn: Part 1) The four novels were written by Stephanie Meyer, and tells the story of Bella Swan, a young high school girl who moves to the small town of Forks, where she meets the mysterious Edward Cullen. Bella and Edward fall in love and she soon discovers that he is a vampire. The series tells of Edward and Bella’s love story, the love triangle between them and werewolf Jacob Black, the evil vampire coven who are after Bella and her desire for Edward to turn her into a vampire.

The films have been hugely successful, starring Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Launter as the three leads and has grossed over $1.7 billion worldwide. Fans have been dubbed “Twihards” and there are numerous pieces of merchandise on sale all over the high street.

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson

 

True Blood is an American series shown on HBO, which is based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries series written by Charlaine Harris. The television series is set in Bon Temps, a small ficitonal town in which vampires and humans co-exist and mostly tells the story of Sookie Stackhouse, a bar waitress who is telepathic and her relationship with Bill Compton, a vampire. The humans and vampires have been able to live alongside each other due to the creation of a synthetic blood which replaces a vampires need to drink human blood.

The series stars Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer as Sookie and Bill, amongst a large, strong ensemble cast and has won a Golden Globe and an Emmy.

Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer

 

The Vampire Diaries is based on the novels of the same name by L.J Smith, telling the mysterious events of the small fictional town, Mystic Falls. The series sees Elena Gilbert torn between two vampire brothers, Stefan and Damon Salvatore. After 145 years, Stefan Salvatore has returned to Mystic Falls and instantly falls in love with Elena, a young human girl who resembles his old vampire love Katherine Pierce. Stefan’s brother, Damon, who was also in love with Katherine, soon returns to the town in order to stir up trouble for Stefan and the quiet life that he is trying to lead. Throughout the series, the love triangle is explored, other mysteries of the town are uncovered and the history of the Salvatore brothers and their lover Katherine Pierce is explored.

The series stars Nina Dobrev playing both Elena Gilbert and Katherine Pierce, Paul Wesley as the “good” vampire Stefan and Ian Somerhalder as the “bad” vampire Damon. The first episode saw the highest season opener ever on The CW, the network which airs the series.

Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley

Whilst there are certainly similarities between the three popular stories, each appeals to a different demographic although some audience members may be a fan of all three. Each has a different take on the vampire legend and features different vampire “rules”; where in The Twilight Saga, the vampires sparkle in bright sunlight, it can kill the vampires in The Vampire Diaries unless they possess a magic ring that allows them to walk in daylight.

Last year also saw the release of Vampires Suck, a spoof of vampire based movies, perhaps suggesting that the creators were already bored of the vampire craze?

So why has the world become so obsessed with vampires? Certainly these adaptations have made vampire fiction popular in the last few years, but it has always been around and has seen surges in popularity before. Buffy the Vampire Slayer ran for six years from 1997 and saw an increase in popularity for the genre.

But has it all gone too far this time around? Fans have been reported asking the actors to bite them at premieres and conventions, surely this is taking it all a little too far?

If I’m honest, I’ve not completely ignored the vampire phenomemon, my love for The Vampire Diaries is admittedly boarderline obsession- I just love the ongoing twists and turns of the series… you never quite know what is going to happen next. However, I don’t understand the craze over The Twilight Saga; I did enjoy the novels, but find the films poorly cast and acted. True Blood has quite simply just passed me by; I did watch the pilot but it didn’t grab me enough to want to continue watching, perhaps one day I’ll get hooked.

Whether people like it or not, it seems that the vampire craze is here to stay… at least for a little while longer.

Please comment with your thoughts on vampire fiction, what vampire films or series you enjoy and whether you think the craze has gone too far.

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Favourite Christmas Film?

Elf has recently been voted the number one Christmas film, according to myvouchercodes.co.uk.
In a survery conducted on the website, the 2003 film was voted the favourite with Miracle on 34th Street coming in second and Home Alone coming in third.
So… is Elf really the best Christmas film of all time? It is definitely one of my favourites along with three others.
So here’s a run down of my four favourite Christmas films and why they are my favourite things to watch over the festive period.

Elf
Starring Will Ferrell as Buddy, a human who as a baby crawls in to Santa’s sack and is brought up as an Elf. When he discovers that he is infact human, Buddy goes to New York in search of his father, Walter Hobbs, who is on the naughty list. Walter did not know that Buddy had been born and at first rejects his son. Buddy discovers the wonders of New York City and tries to adapt to human life… with hilarious consequences. Walter and Buddy soon form a relationship but it is put to the test when Buddy inteferes with Walter’s work.
Elf is a fantastic family film, with hilarious one liners and scenes brilliantly played out by Will Ferrell and the supporting cast. My favourite scene is when Buddy first goes exploring in the City and we see him eating chewing gum from the street, jumping across the zebra crossings, spinning around in revolving doors and being knocked over by a yellow taxi.

The Muppet Christmas Carol
The Muppet’s give their own tale of Charles Dickens classic story, with popular Muppet characters potraying different characters. Michael Caine stars in the film as Ebenezer Scrooge, the miserable lead character who is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.
I really love this adaptation as the Muppet characters provide comedy to the heartwarming tale. With Gonzo the Great acting as Charles Dickens narrating the story as it happens we have comedic relief throughout as he tries to convince Rizzo the Rat that he is the great novelist. My favourite parts of the film are the Ghost of Christmas Present and a number of the songs featured in the film.

Love Actually
The film follows numerous different storylines in the run up to Christmas. We see the new Prime Minister fall for one of his staff, two film stand-ins get to know each other in very close proximity, a married man flirting with his secretary, a young man in love with his best friend’s new wife, a woman in love with her co-worker, a 10-year-old boy in love with a girl in his class and an Englishman fall for his Portugese maid amonst other plotlines.
I love Love Actually. I like that it’s a Christmas film as well as a romantic comedy. It comes from one of my favourite writers, Richard Curtis, the man behind Vicar of Dibley and Notting Hill. I love every story told in Love Actually including the heartwrenching story of Sarah, the American editor who is in love with Karl, the creative director whom she works with, whose relationship is interrupted and consequently ended by Sarah’s mentally ill brother. I also particularly enjoy the story of Mark, Juliet and Peter. Juliet and Peter get married at the start of the film, where we see Peter’s best friend Mark videotaping the celebrations. We believe that Mark does not like Juliet very much, however we soon discover that he is in love with Juliet. A beautiful scene shows Mark tell Juliet through flashcards that he loves her but that he will keep his love a secret for the sake of his best friend.

The Holiday
Amanda is an American film trailer maker who has just broken up with her boyfriend in Los Angeles. Iris is a British editor who has just found out that the man she is seeing has just become engaged. Both wanting to escape from their lives over the Christmas period, they decide to trade homes for two weeks. Amanda moves in to Iris’s home and soon become acquainted with Iris’s older brother, Graham. Thinking that they can have a simple one night stand, the pair sleep together but soon find that a relationship has begun. Whilst Iris is living in Los Angeles in Amanda’s home, she becomes friends with Miles, a composer, and Arthur, an elderly man who used to be a screenwriter in Hollywood during the Golden Age.
Although not necessarily a Christmas film, it is set over the Christmas holiday and although I can watch it at any time of year it, to me, provides the warm, cosy feeling that is associated Christmas. I love this film because I enjoy the twists of Kate Winslet’s storyline. Iris has travelled to LA in order to get over a man that she loves, but instead of instantly meeting and falling in love with another man (like Amanda’s storyline) we see her befriend an elderly man instead, with a love story progressing later with Miles. I really enjoy the scene where Arthur’s work is celebrated as it provides a warm, heartfelt feeling where the audience can feel proud of Arthur’s achievements. Another part I really like is where we discover that Graham has two daughters. The scene is completely heartwrenching and heartwarming at the same time. Throughout the film we believe that Graham might be a bit of a ‘player’ but he is infact a loving single father/widower. Once again, the scene is so warm and loving that, for me, it echoes exactly what Christmas is all about.

So, what is your favourite Christmas film? Is it the same as one of mine? Or something entirely different? Please take the poll to cast your vote and leave comments about your favourite Christmas film!

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Les Misérables

As a huge musical fan, Les Misérables is one of my ultimate favourites. I’ve seen it three times and would go and see it again in a second. I love that it’s a more serious musical, giving something a bit different to the theatre.

Les Misérables is the world’s longest running musical and is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary. Les Misérables opened at the Barbican Theatre in London on October 8 1985, moving to the Palace Theatre two months later where it remained until April 2004. Since then, the Queen’s Theatre has been the home of the show.

Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, the musical was written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg and directed by Trever Nunn and John Caird and has won eight Tony Awards. Starting in Paris in 1980, the show ran for three months but an English version was soon to be created. British producer Cameron Mackintosh heard the recordings of the musical and began producing the new musical, which would be in production for two years before it opened.

Les Misérables follows one man’s emotional struggle from wrongful imprisonment to becoming a respected member of French society. The story revolves around Jean Valjean’s attempt at starting a new life, however one man, Inspector Javert, is determined to seek him out and send him back to prison. The story also sees the students’ revolt against authority, a love triangle and a blackmailing couple out to make the most out of any situation.

The musical was originally panned by critics on its opening night at the Barbican; calling it “glum” and criticising its length (it is 3 hours long!) however audiences loved it and allowed the show to continue its run.

2010 marked the 25th anniversary of Les Misérables and saw the production play at the Queen’s Theatre in London’s West End as well as a touring cast take the show all over the country. The celebrate its anniversary, a huge concert was staged at the O2 arena in London which featured both old and new cast members, including Alfie Boe, Nick Jonas from the Jonas Brothers and Matt Lucas from Little Britain.  During the finale, the concert cast were joined by the London and touring casts as well as the original 1985 cast, including Colm Wilkinson and Michael Ball to perform “One Day More”.

Les Misérables in numbers

42: The number of countries the show has been performed in.
56 million: The number of people who have seen the show.
40: The number of cast recordings.
308: The number of cities the show has been performed in.
45,000: The number of performances seen worldwide.
75: The number of major theatre awards the show has won.
10,000: The number of performances seen in London alone.

The musical has seen a recent increase in popularity due to Susan Boyle’s first audition on Britain’s Got Talent. Her performance of the Les Misérables song “I Dreamed a Dream” became an instant internet hit and was seen all over the world, therefore giving Les Misérables more publicity and bringing in a new audience who may not have been aware of the show beforehand.

At the 25th anniversary concert, the four actors who have played Jean Valjean in the relevant productions all joined together to sing “Bring Him Home”, one of the shows stand out numbers.  The quartet also performed the number at the recent Royal Variety Performance and the song has been released with proceeds going to Tickets for Troops.

Cameron Mackintosh has recently signed the contracts to make a movie version of the musical with Working Title.

Les Misérables is a fantastic, unique musical which never fails to give me goosebumps and I strongly urge you to go and see it, you will not be disappointed.

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John Hughes

“Whatever happened to chivalry? Does it only exist in 80’s movies? I want John Cusack holding a boombox outside my window. I wanna ride off on a lawnmower with Patrick Dempsey. I want Jake from Sixteen Candles waiting outside the church for me. I want Judd Nelson thrusting his fist into the air because he knows he got me. Just once I want my life to be like an 80’s movie, preferably one with a really awesome musical number for no apparent reason. But no, no, John Hughes did not direct my life.”
– Olive Penderghast, Easy A (2010)

The above is taken from the recent teen film, Easy A.  This is just one of several films who have made reference to the late, great John Hughes.  In recent years, many films (and some television shows) have paid tribute to the writer, director and producer; either referencing his work or echoing the themes and characters portrayed. It could be argued that the teen/high school films of today would not be the way that they are if it was not for the films from John Hughes, for example, the popular ‘nerd’ character, seen in films such as Superbad, are clear reflections of the Anthony Michael Hall characters from the Hughes films.

Since his untimely death in 2009, Hughes’s work has been used as a theme for a recent episode of One Tree Hill, dedicating the episode to the director. The episode saw the characters face various situations that featured in Sixteen Candles, Home Alone and Pretty in Pink.

Molly Ringwald & Michael Schoeffling as Sam Baker & Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles and Bethany Joy Galeotti & James Lafferty as Haley James Scott & Nathan Scott in One Tree Hill.

His films are were a huge success in the mid 1980s and still remain popular today. His films were so relatable to teenagers, creating likeable, true characters and creating storylines that echo the thoughts and feelings of teenagers. After all, it’s every girl’s nightmare to have her parents forget her 16th birthday!

The Breakfast Club is a particular stand out amongst the John Hughes collection. Telling the story of five students in detention, who have nothing in common and who simply see each other as the stereotypes in which they have been labelled; “The Criminal”, “The Princess”, “The Athlete”, “The Brain” and “The Basket Case”. The group were assigned an essay by the school’s principle detailing “who you think you are”. Forced to spend time together, they end up discussing their deepest secrets; realising that they all have poor relationships with their parents and how they worry that, having become friends, after the detention they will all continue to ignore each other and return to their own individual cliques.

“Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did *was* wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us… In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…and an athlete… and a basket case… a princess… and a criminal… Does that answer your question?… Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.”

Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy & Judd Nelson as Claire Standish, Brian Johnson, Andrew Clark, Allison Reynolds & John Bender in The Breakfast Club.

Also known as the “Brat Pack”, the cast of the popular 1980s films, including many of Hughes’ films; Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Demi Moore, Andrew McCarthy, Rob Lowe and Judd Nelson became household names during the decade. However, not all went on to outstanding Hollywood careers, but will be remembered for bringing to life some of the most inspiring and true characters featured in movies aimed at teenagers.

Andrew McCarthy, Molly Ringwald & Jon Cryer as Blane McDonnagh, Andie Walsh & Duckie in Pretty in Pink

 

John Hughes died on Auguest 6 2009, following a heart attack whilst he was out walking and was the subject of a tribute at the 2010 Academy Awards where the stars of several of his films came together to celebrate his work. I think John Hughes’s work will remain hugely successful and popular with his characters and plotlines continuing to inspire and influence future high school films. Hopefully generations to come will still enjoy the classic 80s teen movies and recognise the influence John Hughes has had upon teen films and popular culture since their release.

Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller in Ferris Bueller's Day Off

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
– Ferris Bueller, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

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