Fantastic Beasts… A delightful return to magic…


Last night (being the Harry Potter geek that I am) I went to see the midnight showing of ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ and to put it simply it was fantastic! 

I’m not really sure how to write this review without ruining anything for people who haven’t yet seen it. I could go on and on at length about it, but I’ll try to keep it short. 

Despite being set in 1920’s New York as soon as the opening music starts up it feels like coming home. There’s barely a child or familiar face in sight yet you cannot help but warm to these new faces,personalities, place and creatures almost instantly. 

There are of course plenty of scattered references to keep every Harry Potter fan happy, yet it still manages to be a perfectly wonderful stand alone story. 

In short the movie features Eddie Redmayne’s loveably awkward Newt Scamander as he arrives in a turbulent and unsettled New York, and manages to set his magical creatures loose in the city. And as to be expected all kinds of madness and chaos ensues.

There are silly, funny and crazy action moments aplenty, but what we have here is the wizarding world of adults not children. This host of delightful new characters all carry adult concerns, they all have a history that slowly unfolds, and for the grown up Harry Potter fan it is the perfect follow on, as we are given a world and characters that we can still relate to, despite them being magical wizards.

The very values and ideals of Harry Potter that made us love it the most friendship, bravery, kindness, goodness, remain, and there is something immensely comforting about returning to this world where good triumphs over evil. 

And what a stunning world. The settings for this film are truly magical, it’s unbelievable that the majority of the filming took place in a studio in Watford! Talk about the magic of movies. There’s one particular scene inside Newt’s suitcase which steals your breath, the talent and imagination of the people who worked on this film is out of this world. 

Once again I am completely spellbound by the magic of J K Rowling. It is a fantastic addition to the Potter universe (far more so than Cursed Child) and I recommend it for anyone. 

(Also Eddie Redmayne if you’re reading this I love you, call me ūüėČ)

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Harry Potter fever is building up again…


I am so incredibly excited for this!!! On a day like today when everything seems a bit shit it’s time to remember the good things ahead, even the small inconsequential things, like the release of a long awaited film! 

Like many others my age I grew up on Harry Potter, and I’ve been a fan ever since I opened the first book. I’ve also been a huge fan of Eddie Redmayne since he played Angel Clare in the BBC’s adaptation of ‘Tess of the D’ubervilles’ 8 years ago. So more Harry Potter delivered in the delightful package of Eddie Redmayne is a dream come true. And I already have my tickets booked for the midnight showing! 

Right now a story about loyalty, friendship and courage, about good overcoming bad is what I (and I’m guessing most of the western world) need. A little bit of escapism and a reminder that there are good people in the world would go a long way today.

Here’s hoping that it lives up to the hype, because there is a LOT of hype, from all we’ve seen so far though it looks to be a good one (fingers crossed). And I guess we’ll find out next week!

‘The Crown’ is majestic…

Today Netflix released their 10 episode drama ‘The Crown’ that they have been relentlessly advertising everywhere I look and I actually had the day off so I took myself, a cup of tea and the biscuit jar to the couch and tuned in and I was transfixed! Unfortunately I couldn’t spend all day on my sofa I had to actually leave my house at some point so I couldn’t watch it all, though I easily could have, so far I have only watched the first four and  I cannot wait to watch the rest.

You know what is going to happen in this drama, it is after all a bio-pic about the most famous family in Britain, yet I still found it both thrilling and emotional. The series takes its time it is not fast paced, it is not trying to cram everything into a few hours, in the four hours that I’ve watched so far we have not even reached Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. And this is what makes it so great, its slow burning, it builds up emotions slowly, allows you to become invested in the characters so you feel everything along with them. To cut it short, I cried. A lot.

I was worried it would be undignified, make a mockery of the royal family, turn them into characters out of a soap opera but it doesn’t it gives you a glimpse behind the curtains of the palace at real, human people.

Whilst the main focus of ‘The Crown’ is of course the Queen, it also provides a fascinating insight into the politics of the time. I never really thought or knew much about Winston Churchill’s politics beyond the war years, but this gives you a look at a period of British history that was so important in creating the modern Britain yet few people know much, if anything, about, I certainly didn’t study British history beyond world war two at school, even for my A-levels. The ongoing political turmoil alongside the personal conflicts that Elizabeth and the entire royal family face make this drama so gripping, full of little twists and makes it so much more than what it could have been, a sneaky look at what goes on behind closed doors in the royal family to satisfy the O.K and Hello reading population.

For me ‘The Crown’ was always going to be a hit, I love period dramas, I love the royal family (I mean seriously I slept on the street for Will and Kate’s wedding) and I love Netflix it would have to have some serious flaws for me not to have enjoyed it. However it fulfilled all expectations and more, this is a beautifully written, dramatic drama with tears and laughs and politics and arguments aplenty, its gripping to watch, visually its a treat and if that’s not enough the acting is sublime. Who would have thought I could find Prince Philip attractive but Matt Smith made me do that with a ridiculously impressive performance, Vanessa Kirkby, as usual, was a brilliantly wild Princess Margaret and Claire Foy has some real guts to take on such a role and she did it justice.

I would really recommend anyone who likes good TV to give this a watch, it may not be up your street, but give it go you won’t regret it. And now I am off to watch another episode before bed. Night.

A reminder to me…

Sorry for the hiatus, life has been¬† a little busy lately. I moved house (finally moved in with the boyfriend eek), saw my sister head off to live in Australia and got¬†a promotion at work which completely distracted me from any of the things I love doing! I mean don’t get me wrong I’ve been on a couple of holidays over the summer, met up with friends and family, celebrated my birthday and watched the entire series of Great British Bake Off.¬†But go to the cinema? go to the theatre? read a good book? write anything?¬†nope. By the time¬†I get home from work or have a rare day off and once I’ve tidied up, put the latest bit of furniture to arrive together, found something to eat all I really want to do is lie on the sofa and watch all the episodes of Gilmore Girls on Netflix!

So work is still as crazy as ever (although the flat is finally sorted) but I figured it was time I took some time for myself to do what I really love. And boy have I missed writing, I may not do it well, and I have a tendency to write about any kind of crap but its something I’ve always done. Don’t get me wrong I like my job, but I don’t want it to be my whole life and recently it has been. So now I’m taking my life back, or at least taking a few hours out every week to write something or anything. People may never read what I write, people may not like what I write or how I write but I love doing it so from now on I’m going to. No matter what else is going on.

Today yet another silly little problem happened at work and it upset me beyond a normal level of upset, and by upset I mean sitting on my living room floor in my pjs sobbing onto my peanut butter bagel and shouting expletives so loudly I’m pretty sure our neighbours now believe I’m crazy. Anyway once I’d calmed down had a bath, eaten my feelings, watched mean girls, I realised I shouldn’t be letting this stuff upset me so much. At the end of a day its only a job, a job I enjoy and really care about, but its only a job and I’ve dealt with worse heartbreak and handled it a hell of a lot better. So this is really a reminder from me to me to make time for the things I love to do. To¬†follow your heart,¬†dream big, live life to the fullest¬†and all those other clich√©s! ¬†A really long and waffling reminder but a reminder none the less. So people¬†prepare yourselves from now on¬†I will be writing many more blog posts each one I’m sure just a scintillating as this!

There’s plenty of great things coming up, so many things to write about and I promise I am going to. So I guess all there is left to say is talk to you soon. xxx

Pride…

This weekend is London Pride and I am going to take this moment to talk abot one of my favourite films of all time the aptly named¬†‘Pride’!

Pride is the true story of the LGBT groups who raised thousands of pounds to support the miners during the miners strikes in the eighties. The story of how two unlikely allies is so incredibly heart warming and uplifting, despite the miners losing their battle you cannot help but finish the end of the film feeling joyous. (Every time I watch it I genuinely cry with joy).

The cast is brilliant, the best of the British come together and man is it good. Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Andrew Scott, Dominic West and George Mckay (who I have been championing ever since I saw him in ‘Private Peaceful’) to name but a few,¬†have real chemistry and they bounce off each other making¬†the film both laugh our loud funny and really really heartbreaking.

And the soundtrack is on another level if you like eighties music you’ll have a blast! Coming out of the cinema after watching it for the first time I felt as though I’d just been to a stage show. Full of energy, packed with music, laughter and tears it is a truly great piece of British filmmaking.

Before watching this film I had no idea that this event had actually happened but the story restores your faith in humanity. Yes there are ugly parts but you cannot help but feel pride in the human race and the ability for two very different groups of people to come together (which after yesterdays heartbreaking news is something we need to remember).  The film accepts the characters for who they are regardless of their background, gender or sexuality and in the end love wins.

 

Eligible vs. Pride and Prejudice

For the past couple of years the Austen Project has been giving well known writers the chance to redo Jane Austen’s six classics, “Eligible” is Curtis Sittenfeld’s take on Pride and Prejudice and the fourth in the series.

Light and fluffy, this novel is great for a mindless holiday read,¬†but has very little depth to it.¬†The chapters are¬†short and just¬†as you are getting into the narrative, the chapter ends and¬†we’re on to the next¬†happening, the next conversation, the next person.¬†None of the relationships between the characters are explored and Liz’s change in affections towards Darcy happens remarkably quickly, within¬†the space of a mere few pages.

Less a retelling more a parody, it feels like Curtis Sittenfeld does not in fact like Pride and Prejudice and¬†has taken to¬†mocking it.It is both crude¬†and overtly sexual,¬†I understand that for a modern retelling of an Austen novel to work and be relatable sex will be a part, yet Sittenfeld has taken it too far. Austen’s satirical¬†tone and irony¬†has all been lost under a barrage of laddish jokes, that to be¬†blunt aren’t that funny.¬†Combine that with the farcical ending and the reader is left with a slightly sour taste in the mouth.

None of the characters are particularly likeable, Austen’s characters all have flaws yet you cannot help but warm to them, they are after all just human. Sittenfield’s Elizabeth turned Liz is¬†almost impossible to like, she is less of a character more of a caricature. I just want to give her a good slap and tell her she does not deserve Darcy. And¬†Chip (Bingley) and Jane¬†are just incredibly annoying.

Wickham in an interesting move is split into two characters,  which opens up a whole world of opportunity. One (Wick) is a real jackass and strings Liz along for years but his crime is confusing, underwhelming and has a strangely tenuous link to Darcy. The other (Ham) marries Lydia, is very likeable ands only crime is to be transgender. This is Pride and Prejudice updated with a clever twist, that falls slightly short in the end.

Perhaps it is because its an American interpretation, perhaps my sense of humour is wildly different to Sittenfeld’s or maybe (not to sound too harsh) her style of writing is not my cup of tea, I admit this is the first book by her that I have read. Either way it fails to live up to other retellings of Pride and Prejudice.

If your a fan of Jane Austen then this book is worth a read, even if purely for the line¬†Liz utters to Darcy “want to go to your place and have hate sex?” but otherwise I’d give it a miss and try out Melissa Nathans ‘Acting Up’ instead.

The Man in The High Castle…

It’s always great when you find a brilliant series to binge watch and Amazon is pretty damn good at creating them. I‚Äôve just finished watching the first series of their highly popular ‘Man in The High Castle’ and I was absolutely gripped from start to finish.
The setting for this series attempts to answer the most terrifying of questions what if Hitler had won World War Two? The detail is fantastic and the grey somber world created is just as mesmerising as it is horrifying. We spend time with both high up political figures trying to keep peace, and the civilians trying to survive in this tyrannical state. 
The protagonist is Juliana Crain, a young girl from the Japanese occupied San Francisco who gets drawn into the rebellion after the death of her sister, she meets Joe, a young delivery driver from Nazi occupied New York, who has more than a few secrets, in the neutral zone in central USA. Although both characters are intriguing, and incredibly good looking, (I now have a rather large crush on Luke Kleintank who plays Joe) it is Rupert Evans as Frank Frink who steals the show. His journey from passive factory worker to vengeful rebel is so heartbreaking it’s almost unbearable to watch and yet watch you have to.
Rufus Sewell is another stand out, his character John Smith seemingly starts out as a tyrannical Nazi officer yet as you get deeper into the series the John Smith that emerges is intriguing and I’m seriously excited to see where they take him in series two. 
Despite its slow pace, The Man in the High Castle always gives enough twists and turns to keep the watcher constantly asking questions and always coming back for more, and I for one cannot wait for season 2!