FILM: The Year In Review

December 30, 2015

2015 was the year I finally decided to give the film industry a go, and boy am I glad I did. Though my new years revolutions for the past two years have centered on actually watching movies, this year is the first time I can actually say I completed my target of 25 new films in 365 days, and I'm happy about that. Here's the films that have shaped my 2015:
Kicking January off with a bang, I sat down to watch The Theory Of Everything, the Stephen Hawking biopic based on his life and that of his wife Jane, and I'm so glad I did. Exiting the cinema with tears in my eyes, it was one of the first films I saw this year that I felt had a profound effect on me and my outlook on life, and as I currently read the book that the movie is based upon, I feel those memories resurfacing as four girls sat in a busy cinema screen, completely mesmerised at what we were seeing unfold. In January I also saw Unbroken, based upon the true life adventures of Louis Zamperini, the Olympic runner who was captured by the Japanese in World War Two and forced to endure prisoner of war camp life after his plane crashed into Japanese waters. When we weren't jumping out of our seats due to scary as hell sharks, we were enthralled by the atrocious ways real men and women were treated just because there was a war raging on.

February came and so did the giant megaseller that was the Fifty Shades Of Grey movie, which was just how I expected it to be, a film version of a fan fiction, and based on that, I really enjoyed it. Men, Women and Children soon became the weirdest film I'd seen this year, as it slammed social media, the one thing that was making it popular, and its constant flashbacks to space were unnecessary but I suppose it's a film I did not forget in a hurry, maybe because I spent £10 for the luxury of being confused and laughing at something rather than with it.

With May came Pitch Perfect 2 and Unfriended, two completely different films that both made me laugh hysterically - I'd even come close to saying that the second Pitch Perfect film was much better than the first - and Unfriended was so bad it was good, I mean who doesn't want to see a teenage boy putting his hand into a blender and filming it on Skype? 

In June I saw Spy, the Melissa McCarthy comedy to cheer me up after sitting probably one of the hardest A Level exams I had to take, and the laugh a minute jokes really made me smile as I sat in a practically empty cinema screen on one of the hottest days of the summer.

During one of the most hectic months of the year, aka August, me and my friends slotted in a trip to our local Vue to see the opening of John Green's Paper Towns, which although good, was a little boring and felt as though it did not have a proper ending. Me, Earl and The Dying Girl on the other hand was the film I expected Paper Towns to be, it was funny, well paced, indie whilst also being so uber mainstream, aimed at teenagers but then at the same time universally likeable. The Man From U.N.C.L.E was great if a little confusing but the fashions were gorgeous and once the film was explained to me, it suddenly seemed a hell of a lot better (thanks Laura).

Starting off Autumn, we popped into see Maze Runner: The Scorch Trails, which was an odd choice bearing in mind I fell asleep in the first film of the trilogy. This one on the other hand kept me on the edge of my seat as we hoped that Thomas and the Gladers wouldn't be killed by the evil bad girls, even though we knew somebody had to survive for them to make another film. Oh well. No Escape provided me with the tensest film I have seen in my life as I hoped that the Dwyer family would make it out of Asia where they were being hunted down simply for being foreigners, whilst also making me think because though this was fictional, it could so easily be real in this heated international climate.
In October I managed to see The Intern alongside a KFC, as a film I really enjoyed it and didn't even consider the parallels to The Devil Wears Prada until a friend mentioned it as we were leaving, the whole scenario is some place that I want to get to in the coming years so it really struck a chord with me. Pan, the recreation of the classic Peter Pan story, made me smile as I sat in a 12 seat cinema screen, but I can't remember a lot of it as I fell over in front of the whole screen on the way back to my seat and I'm still dying from the embarrassment.. 

November brought what should have been the film of the year, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, but I over hyped it and for that, I am so so mad at myself. Looking back on it, it was a very good film but the exhaustion of the characters in some ways exhausted the audience and that was something I noticed very early on into the film. Yet as an ending to a very long series, it was worth seeing and I will see it again and again. Crimson Peak scared the hell out of me, as did everybody's screaming and repeating of the word FUCK every five minutes when the tension rose. The costumes were God damn beautiful and it totally made me want to see more horrors, as this was what I would call proper horror rather than the slapstick comedy most horrors have turned out to be. 

I rounded off 2015 with a film marathon like no other, watching a record five films in a fortnight. December brought Bridge Of Spies, the Steven Spielberg directed blockbuster about the Cold War, in which Tom Hanks negotiates the safe return of an American spy in return for a Soviet, a film that I found both exciting and informative, so much so that I had to go home and read up about the true story on Wikipedia. I saw an early showing of Joy, the newest Jennifer Lawrence film about Joy Mangano, the lady who invented the Miracle Mop, and I was so affected by it I had to watch it again (there will be a full length review about this as I can't get it out of my head) whilst also managing to see Room, the Brie Larson indie about a girl who was kidnapped and forced to bring up a son in her confinement - the only place that her son thinks exists. 

Non 2015 releases I watched for the first time this year include Taken In Broad Daylight, a fast paced documentry style movie that details the life of a teenage girl who was kidnapped from a shopping centre and subsequently attacked until she was found by police due to intelligent clues left for the authorities to find. I also saw The To Do List, a cringe filled film about sex which I really enjoyed because of how cringe and cheese based it was, Silver Linings Playbook for the simple reason that I wanted to see what all the fuss was about regarding Jennifer Lawrence's acting skills and The Social Network, a movie based on the creation of Facebook which I found both interesting and inspiring as it shows that something that's so involved in everybody's life is can come from frankly anybody. 

Just as a warning, here are the films I saw in 2015 that I never, ever wish to see again: Serena, the Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper leading drama about a family who cut down trees for a living and want to murder each other, and The Divergent Series: Insurgent, the incredibly disappointing second film in the Divergent trilogy, where Katniss, sorry Tris tries to defeat yet another evil government but still can't do it - actually she might have been able to do it but as I couldn't bear to sit through to the end, who knows? 

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The Ever Consuming Fear Of Being Shit

December 16, 2015

The title of the post sums my ineloquent thoughts up - I have a huge fear of being shit on the internet, a place which in the last five years has manifested itself into something that makes the American Dream look like a nightmare, with the way ordinary people can make millions and how unhappy people can suddenly appear to be having the time of their lives. Just like the American Dream, the internet gives faceless individuals across the globe something to inspire to, something to strive for. Yet at the same time, the American Dream can be negative, as it pushes people to fight each other and compare each sliver of their lives until they lose sight of the reason they aimed to achieve their dream in the first place. Although my dream is on a much smaller scale that this, this is what happened with me in the blogging world.
Even as I write this, my heart beats strongly against my chest and I feel a lump forming in my throat that threatens to tackle my fingers from the keyboard as I will myself to just. keep. going. I've felt inferior on the internet for years now, even as a fifteen year old fan of girl bands I just never felt good enough, I felt that no celebrity would want to send rubbish emoji filled messages to me as I wasn't important enough, my tweets weren't excitable enough or my selfies weren't edited well enough. For years I guess I've felt like an awful piece of dirt on somebody's shoe.
Yet this feeling just amplified as I joined the blogging world, so much so that I couldn't even blame my fear of writing on 'bloggers block', the only way I can describe it is feeling mute. I felt like I had a lock over my mouth the second I attempted to transcribe my thoughts onto the internet, although whilst sat in a photo kiosk at work I could easily pour every feeling and opinion onto hastily torn receipt paper in such a way that made my jibberish sound beautifully articulated.
But these beautifully articulated words never left that torn piece of paper, were never transcribed onto the keyboard of my laptop - and yes, I am ashamed of that. I am ashamed that I told everybody that this year was going to be mine, this year I said I was going to publish my favourite pieces of work online and that people would actually read them, instead those words were shredded last Friday amongst paper phone bills and junk mail.  
Even thinking about it now makes my whole body shudder, as the realisation of what exactly took place this summer comes to mind. It really was one of the best summers in a long time, but for the first time in many years, I had given up on my ability to make people think. Instead of letting people read what I had to say, I stuffed scrap paper into my pockets and jumped out of my skin when fellow members of staff saw me doodling my thoughts in fear that they'd want to read the silly ideas I'd conjured up. And that's wrong. I shouldn't have let that happen to me. I should have given them the paper, let them read my inner workings, because they were meant for the internet anyway, weren't they?
And the reason why? As the title says, it was my ever consuming fear of being shit. The fact is I really don't want to be shit, I want people to read what I have to say and go HELL YES! I just want to write something that either entertains or makes you feel or think, I want to be proud of my own work and go 'yeah, that's me' whenever anyone mentions my blog.
And that's not going to happen unless I pick up the pig by the balls or whatever the unfortunately rude saying is, unless I just do it and tell people and stop letting my fear of other people thinking I'm crap get in the way. So I guess what I'm saying is that I'm going to write, and I'm going to publish what I write even if the niggling thoughts in my brain are telling me that I am never good enough. And you want to know why? Because if I don't, I will never write again and the thought of that makes my heart beat faster and heavier than it did when I was fearful of posting online. So I guess there's my answer.
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MUSIC: An Essay On Music And Inspiration

December 11, 2015

Gazing at the mobile that a fellow blogger kindly branded 'the typical blogger phone', I realised that my blogging game has deteriorated so drastically in the last few months that I felt ashamed to even call myself an author of my own words, let alone a blogger. I felt disgusted at myself, at the way I'd let a hobby such as this fall to the wayside when it should have been flying high, which is something I have drafted into a post escaping from the clutches of my 'to be posted' folder in the coming week.
A large problem of mine is that I am unable to fight for something unless it pulls at the beings inside of me, unless every thought of its existence brings out a feeling from the bottom of my lungs that will not escape until I do something about it. Yet another problem of mine is that I rely heavily on senses to bring out that feeling inside of me, I rely on pain and glee and similar hard hitting emotions that float in between, I rely on chords and spine tingling notes to bring my senses alive.
These are just a small selection of the songs that bring my senses alive. Many are there in a sense to operate reverse psychology on my heart - notably So Stupid by The Saturdays, a cringe inducing song that for lack of a better word, tells me how stupid I really am (even though it is meant to be aimed at an idiotic boyfriend.) Best Of Me, Victorious, Live Life Now, On A Mission, Bet On It, Wake Up, Grown and Confident all exist in their basic form to help you persevere, no matter what life is throwing at you, whereas the remainder of songs included in the playlist are there as they all hold a personal connection that I fail to understand sometimes.
La La Land reminds me to laugh at celebrity culture as I get in an internal debate with myself at its soaring pros and ridiculously disgusting cons, whereas the end instrumental from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, titled There Are Worse Games To Play / Deep In The Meadow / The Hunger Games Suite is included as it somehow relaxes me - I don't know why either. Perhaps the symbolism behind the orchestral piece has struck a chord, or maybe its because I know what the song represents to me, what has happened in my own life in the four years that this single track takes inspiration from. Misery Business and Fuck You are songs for the fighter in me, whereas Happy Hour sends me back to a time where I idolised a fictional character and this song was the musical version of her, thereby influencing my decisions as I think of what this character achieved. Hoxton Heroes and Live And Let Die also give me memories that force me to continue, inspire me to keep moving on.
If you wish to listen to my Inspirational Songs playlist, you can do via the Spotify widget below.

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