alexandral: (Sita sings the blues -  feet)
Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays of your choice to everyone! Personally, I am as confused as ever: Russian Christmas is celebrated on the January the 7th and the New Year day is the biggest holiday of the season in Russia. But this is not stopping me from enjoying the Holiday season, eating lots of nice food and watching a lot of Holiday things on TV. The only thing lacking is SNOW. I am a big fan of it.:D

This Christmas my friend is staying with us and we are doing all the Holiday Things together (hence, my disappearance from LJ). Yesterday all the family went to see “Sherlock Holmes and the Game of Shadows” and it was lovely, especially Shetland Pony, Noomi Rapace and Stephen Fry.. And what is the better way than to celebrate the Holidays with the pictures from “Sherlock Holmes and the Game of Shadows”?



The rest of pictures )

Happy Holidays Everyone: Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Yuletide! Peace, Happiness and Good will to you all!

Warrior

Nov. 28th, 2011 11:08 pm
alexandral: (Star Wars - Leia smiling)
Just in case anyone wonders: the State of me:
I am still soooooooo busy at work I can barely think about anything else! My apologies for the less than scarce presence on LJ nowdays. I am alive and all is great, but the work is eating me up.

And today I had a HUGE disappointment : NO NEW EPISODE OF "THE GOOD WIFE" THIS WEEK. The Good Wife is probably the only show I am in serious love (and obsession) with at the moment. It took me a few rounds of thinking to realise that this is because of Thanksgiving. I must note: I do not approve of this habit of USA-based Network companies of not showing new episodes during USA holidays. I DO NOT APPROVE. Surely, this is the prime time for people to sit around the telly and watch their favourite shows? At least British networks understand this and do Christmas specials and such!

Few months ago I promised to myself that I am going to watch at least a film a week? I am still sticking to this, and I have seen some really good films I haven’t had a chance to post about, like Norwegian "The Bothersome Man". This was a great film!

But today is a "No New Episode of Alexandra’s favourite show" day, so I will tell you about "Warrior" instead.

Warrior: or A Clash of Tattoos



Having seen mostly "OMPH, this is awesome" reviews, at the beginning I was completely in a mood to love this film. And to tell the truth, there were some good emotional scenes between The Estranged Father (Nick Nolte) and his two sons in the first half. And there even was "Moby Dick" mentioned (although I still don’t understand why).

But it all went completely downhill in the second half. Let me tell you a little about the plot, especially about the point I found to be the most ridiculous. Brendon (late 30s, early 40-s) used to be an "Ultimate Fighting Championship" fighter. But now he is a teacher, with a beautiful wife and two daughters. He is behind his mortgage payments and about to lose his house. What does he do? He goes back to fighting, where he could be killed/injured/leave his family with nothing. Why? Because he doesn’t contemplate the thought of losing the house, the most important thing in his life. His wife objects at first, but later relents (as a good wifey should) and starts cheering for her hubby when he is smashing other people to a pulp in the Championship. Oh, and his brother Tommy (played by rather delectable Tom Hardy) is in the Championship too and the brothers eventually have a teary re-union..

There was, of course, an awful "Russian" character, the defending champion Koba (by the way, the name is of Georgian, not Russian origin).

Oh, and all the fighters were, of course, white, and the movie wouldn't have passed Bechdel Test. There was one guy of colour at the beginning but he has lost in the first round.

PS: I am especially miffed that the creators dared to use the song of one of my favourite Russian singers and songwriters, Vladimir Visotsky, as the background song for the awful character of monstrous Koba. Visotsky was the voice of freedom in the 80s Russia.. He died really early - conspiracy theories still abound, and to tell the truth his early death seemed terribly "convenient" for USSR government. I could not believe it when Visotsky’s song was used in this way. I am sure the director didn’t bother to check the lyrics, or the singer’s biography.
alexandral: (The Painted Veil - Kitty China Day)
This was a rare occasion – we went to watch a movie with Mr.Alexander! He has a no-nonsense attitude towards films and TV , and a film has to be really good for him to watch. He is my litmus paper as far as films are concerned, so I was really happy that he liked “Tinker, Taylor..”



Starting with the best thing, the film was impeccably well-made, with great attention to detail. The usual big problem with USA and British spy films is their total disregard for foreign languages and people of foreign nationalities. Japanese people are always cast as Koreans (or Chinese) and vice versa. Mexican people are often cast as Spanish. Polish people are cast as Russians. The languages suffer badly too. I don’t know about other languages, but as far as Russian is concerned, in 99.999% of USA/British spy films the spies speak Russian terrible enough for any babushka from Moscow to uncover their identity. The state of Russian language in spy films and TV shows is often so bad that you can’t even understand it without subtitles ("Nikita" and "Salt", I am looking at you, and this is one of the reasons I am not very enthusiastic about the new Nikita).

May be no-one cares for this but my foreign self. But I often ponder why such an abhorring state of foreign languages is allowed to exist. Surely, there must be a reason for this. I can’t quite imagine a USA (or British) film director who won’t hope that her/his film will be shown in other countries. The most logical explanation I can see is "They do not care". But I care! The bad state of Russian language usually makes USA (and British) spy films ridiculous. And I don’t take "this is because of the costs" explanations seriously, because I am sure that Russian actors will jump to any chance to appear in USA films and I know that Russian actors don’t get paid as much as USA actors.

But it seems that a huge tectonic shift is happening, because as far as Russian language is concerned, “Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy” was perfect. They even employed Russian actors for the roles of Russians! This was such a surprise! The world is changing and I hope this is not just a fluke. Or may be this is just because the director Tomas Alfredson is Swedish? May be. In any case, "Tinker, Taylor .." had such a wonderful attention to every detail and such a fabulous visual feel that you were immersed in the 70s, the paranoia of the time almost palpable.

As far as acting is concerned, I liked Garry Oldman, with the only small note that he does seem to be one of those actors who play the same role in every film. But he is well overdue some serous recognition, so I hope he will get some awards for his role. But my personal favourite in this film was Mark Strong who was purely heart-breaking.

I guessed the identity of the Russian spy because it was quite obvious. vague spoilers )

The ending was fabulous and Mark Strong / Colin Firth OTP was incredible. Overall, this was a fabulous "thinking" film, the one to watch when you can give it the full attention (there were so many "blink and you miss it" moments) and both my husband and I loved it. From my own point of view, the lack of anti-Russian propaganda , and the fact that there were no "good" and "bad" sides in the struggle between the spy organizations were particular appreciated.
alexandral: (North and South - Margaret in love)
It is a nice sunny day and I feel nice and sunny. And I don’t work on Wednesdays. I work 4 days a week as my life seems to be as equally important as my work, even though I love my work. So I am at home with my cuppa and I want to go and do some shopping for shoes later. Life is pretty awesome.

I must tell you about the latest Jane Eyre my daughter and I went to see on Sunday.

I have seen several “Jane Eyre” adaptations. The first time I discovered Jane Eyre when I was 15, through 1983 serial with Zelah Clarke and Timothy Dalton. It is still probably my favourite adaptation. It was my first ever TV obsession. I haven’t seen it since 1983 but I remember it being very close to the book.

Franco Zeffirelli’ Jane Eyre with Charlotte Gainsbourg was pretty average, but I thought Charlotte was the closest to the way I imagined Jane to be looks-wise, as it is a common thing to cast Jane as too pretty.

Of 2006’s miniseries I only remember that it had a very Byronic looking Toby Stephens (I am a fan) and that I thought Ruth Wilson was a bit too gorgeous to be Jane Eyre.

I have also read the book, twice, in Russian translation and in English.



I thought 2011 film adaptation to be lovely, and my daughter loved it too. It was absolutely stunning on all levels: the scenery, the house, the music, the costumes. Everything was just so in harmony and so Gothic. I think this is what I loved the most about the film: the sheer joy of watching and listening. I am glad we watched it in the movie theatre.

At first, I thought Mia Wasikowska too pretty to be Jane Eyre, but she won me over with her performance. She was so beautifully Jane Eyre: self-reliant, but vulnerable, very practical, but romantic. She is my favourite Jane Eyre of all times, as she made me cry few times and I thought I already know this story so well that I will never be able to feel it.

As to Mr. Rochester, I must say that I am already not the 15-year old I used to be, so I do not tend to feel as much for Rochester as I used to. Hiding you mentally ill wife and trying to "marry" a young girl? And among this all managing to feel sorry for yourself, a tragic suffering hero? No , Mr.Rochester , I do not feel for you as much as I used to.

Plus, although Michael Fassbender gave a decent enough performance, and he and Mia had some lovely scenes together, he was so NOT Mr. Rochester. No black hair, no dark bushy eyebrows, no Byronic aura. No broad shoulders neither. And in his manners, he was somewhat too soft to be Rochester. His interpretation of the role was that of "the kind uncle", a common role in British miniseries.

But all in all, this was a lovely film.
alexandral: (Rome - Vorenus - Soldier)
Having finished both of Neil Marshall’s films (The Descent and Centurion) close together, I noticed one shortcoming of his style, namely the lack of character development and character depth. What Neil is good at is visual world-building. Both films look good enough to be windows in the real world. But the characters? They don’t seem to be his main concern.

The Descent


This was the better of the two, a very strong horror film, scary enough to be something I would not feel comfortable watching in a movie theatre on my own. Fear of the dark is something I was very familiar with as the child. I have outgrown my fears and phobias so now I can sleep in complete dark and pick up spiders if necessary, but darkness (and spiders) is still not something I like. So when a group of outdoor-loving ladies in the film decided that crawling deep underground in a cavern is the best way to heal their friend’s psychological trauma after the death of her family, I thought “BAD IDEA. VERY BAD IDEA”. And of course, it was a bad idea, as the cavern managed to collapse on their heads, plus it happened to be infested with nightmarish creatures.

"The Descent" felt as a study into the nature of fear, and the characters , at least the two main characters, received much better attention than in "Centurion". The fact that I had to Google the pre-story and the names of the characters was probably not a good sign, but the unraveling of their humanity under the pressure of fear and claustrophobia was done superbly.

Centurion


There are some very good things about Centurion: the world of Britain AD 117 looks so real you sometimes forget that this is a film and the action sequences are fantastic. This is most definitely the way I want "Game of Thrones" to look, so I can't wait for Neil Marshall’s episode in the season 2 (he has been commissioned to direct one of the episodes). If Neil Marshall’s episode is going to be the battle of Blackwater (as I have seen reported) , I would rejoice. There was a moment in "Centurion" involving Dark Forest and fireballs and it was one of the most visually stunning moments I have ever seen. I think Neil Marshall can do great things with fire.

But on the whole, "Centurion" was not a very good film. The characters were flat, and the plot disintegrated into something quite ridiculous at the end. Imagine Britain beyond the Adrian Wall , Roman times. Then imagine a beautiful young lady in what looks quite a modern dress living ON HER OWN in the middle of the forest and having no problems? I can not imagine this easily.

Besides, I have to say a couple of words about Michael Fassbender. Namely, I do not understand what the fuss is all about. I have seen him in few films recently and I can safely say that although he is not a bad actor, at the same time he has nothing to write home about.

I thought Dominic West and Olga Kurylenko did much better job with their roles. And I also think I am not a very suitable person to watch "Roman Britain" films, as I always want Picts to win, because this was their land and Romans were invaders, you know? But we always get the same thing: "terrible savage evil Picts against noble civilized Romans" (read: Big Empires are always morally superior).
alexandral: (Pink Panther - Shocking)
Finally! I found a way to read more! Audiobooks! I used to read an awful lot when I was younger and my vision was better (my vision used to be perfect once). Now my vision is not perfect anymore and I find that reading anything after a day spent on computer (I work as a software programmer) makes my eyes terribly tired. I can only read in big volumes during holidays, when my eyes aren't strained as much.

I was unhappy with the fact that I don't read as much as I used to, and I think I finally found a solution - AUDIOBOOKS. I started listening to them when I drive (at least 1.5-2 hours a day), before going to bed and even sometimes when I work as I can easily multitask if I am not doing anything too difficult. I finished "A Dance with Dragons" and now I am quickly sailing through one of the series I liked when I was younger, "Black Company" (Glen Cook). I am almost at the end of the book 2, "Shadows Linger". Once I finish "Black Company", or at least get bored with it as I am told that the later books aren't all that good, I am going to properly listen to The Vorkosigan Saga. I have read several books from these series, but never the whole thing.

I FEEL SO LIBERATED.

I have also decided that I should watch at least 1 film per week, and won't allow myself to rely on TV series only. :D I started this week but I didn't have a particular good start:

Thor (2011)

Films like this are better watched in a movies theater, where any thoughts in your brain can be successfully blown away by fabulousness of CGI special effects. When watching at home, on your TV set, it is unlikely that you will be able to reach the stunned enough state to not notice the lack of everything else. Well, apart from the gratuitous shiftlessness and the extreme length of Chris Hemsworth's eyelashes. So, in short: Thor is made of : 3/4 of special effects, 1/12 of shirtlessness, 1/12 of Chris Hemsworth's eyelashes, and 1/12 of strange horned helmets that definitely must get in the way of lighting-striking as their horns are long enough to act as lightning rods.
Or, I have almost forgotten, the dialogue is really deep. Thor says "I will return" at least once.

Just because any post should include some positivity: Idris Elba in the strange horned helmet.



Not for the first time, IMDB's ratings are making me me raise my eyebrows (7.2 for Thor). The site is obviously populated by large numbers of people I don't see eye-to-eye with.
alexandral: (GoT - anim Drogo come at me bro)
Life

Just last Friday I was in Prague, doing many things in this gorgeous city: walking long walks along Prague's beautiful streets and parks, eating nice food, and visiting Prague Opera and Prague Zoo (which is one of the top 10 in the world).

Now I am back, and as much as I love my job it all seems like a bit of a shock. It also seems that the sub-system that I have just started doing for the Uni's new Website needs to be ready for the 1st of September which is very very soon, so I will probably have to work like mad for the next few weeks (also I am going to Scotland to visit my friend this weekend). In short - crazy times ahead and my head feels empty.

Game of Thrones

I haven't heard any casting or other GoT news and I haven't really done much of the "proper" reading of "Dance with Dragons". I skimmed very quickly once, but now I am reading very slowly. I took the book with me on holidays but I am still at the beginning of the book.

Please let me know if there have been any exciting casting news.

The only good piece of news I have seen is from Shadowlocked, here. It seems that HBO has good intentions towards "Game of Thrones" . HBO co-president Richard Pepler apparently said that "We told George we’d go as long as he kept writing" . This is a bit vague and unclear, but at least thins means we are going to have at least 5 seasons.

Photographer Amanda Killen has made some awesome pictures from the Game of Thrones season 2 filming sets. I adore the photographs of what everyone thinks are the New Gods of Westeros (The Seven: the Father, the Mother, the Warrior, the Crone, the Smith, the Maid, and the Stranger):



More pictures )

Other fannish things

I have watched few films and TV shows on the laptop whilst on holidays:

- Mentalist. I am so thankful to the show's creators for everything, especially for the great closure of Red John storyline.

- Nikita. I might and I might not continue watching this show. I have periods of interest followed by periods of non-interest.

- We went to see a classic motorbike show yesterday, so I am re-starting my "Sons of Anarchy" watch.

- Midas (Korean drama) which suffered badly from Kdrama second-half syndrome. Jang Hyuk was very hot with a short haircut and wearing sharp suits, but I was more interested in No Min Woo's character.

- Royal Family (Korean drama) which was GOOD but I didn't like the ending.

- I finally watched "Inglorious Basterds" which I liked much more than I expected to. Christoph Waltz (the Nazi Colonel Hans Landa) makes the movie and steals the focus from Brad Pitt and everyone else.

- I also watched a Canadian zombie movie "Stake Land" which was good (if you like zombie movies).

PS: How have you been? I hope everything is good!
alexandral: (Harry Potter - Sirius)


I have just came back from watching "Harry Potter" with my daughter. She insisted on watching it in 3D , so I had to pay 20 pounds for the tickets. ** sigh ** What would you not do for your kids. You see, I am not a huge fan of the franchise. As far as the cultural impact goes, I applaud "Harry Potter", but if anyone tried to prove any literature value of the books, I would discuss the following to my death: from the top of my mind, I can name at least 5 young adult book series that are more original and better written. A school of wizardry? I have been reading books about schools of wizardry since I was 10 and this was a long time ago. And the main character, Harry Potter, a special boy with a special destiny, cannot be killed? What can I do but to roll my eyes?

Ok, I am still grumpy after having to pay 20 pounds (I am such a pirate at heart).

As far as the film goes, this was one of the best in the series. My favourite is still Prisoner of Azkaban (filmed beautifully by Alfonso Cuarón) which I think is the only film in the series that has other value than to be a part of the series, but I liked both parts of "Deathly Hallows", mostly because both of these films didn't feel as rushed as Order of the Phoenix or Half-Blood Prince. There was more time to stop and show the character interactions, and there was more time to show spectacular special effects. The special effects were spectacular, by the way, they had made me giddy with the sensory delight.

I remembered again how much I do not care for Harry and how much I love Ron, who made me laugh during all the inappropriate moments again, with his well-placed "Blimey" and "This is unfortunate". But overall, I think my actor love goes to Ralph Fiennes for his portrayal of Voldermot (gosh, so scary, I had goosebumps!).

Also, the favourite quote from the film. Dumbledore:
Of course it's all in your head, Harry, but why should that mean it isn't real?
alexandral: (GoT - Jaime I at the door)
A new stylish Norwegian thriller is out this summer, and Nicolaj Coster-Waldau is playing one of the main parts (thank you to [livejournal.com profile] trailer_spot for the information). IMDB doesn't say too much about the film, only that it is a story of "an accomplished headhunter risks everything to obtain a valuable painting owned by a former mercenary". But I have a special place in my heart for Norwegian trillers ("Insomnia" was great) and another special place for Nicolaj Coster-Waldau, so I have collected some film-related photographs:



The rest )

Edit: From [livejournal.com profile] verdande_mi: a link to the trailer of the film without subs is here. Nikolaj features first around the 00:49 mark.
alexandral: (Outpost - DC)
OMPH! I have been alerted by always knowledgeable [livejournal.com profile] trailer_spot : The Three Musketeers are coming! In 3D!! With Ray Stevenson as Portos , Matthew Macfadyen as Atos and Luke Evans as Aramis! and Milla Jovovich as Milady!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and Mads Mikkelsen as Rochefort! For some strange and hard to fathom reason Dumas' books are not as popular in the UK as they are in Russia, but I must say that for me personally he is the number 1 as far as historical literature ( with some free interpretation of history ) is concerned. And The Three Musketeers trilogy is his best, I red and re-red these books so many times as a child. Hopefully there will be new editions of the English translation soon (this usually happens when new film adaptations are released) so that I can push it to my daughter - 12 years was the first time I read the books myself.

The trailer:



PS: this adaptation's D'Artagnan is a cutie.

Pictures )
alexandral: (Pride and Prejudice -Lizzy)
"The King’s speech" is definitely a good film that I would recommend to everyone . Let’s talk about the good things first: it made me, the old “communist born and bred” girl to care for the Royal family! And just in time for the Royal wedding. My usual views on the Royal family are simple and complex at the same time: on my non-grumpy days I acknowledge semi-usefulness of the Royal Family for the purposes of generation of national income, on my grumpy days I am the first one to shout: let’s get rid of them all. But even the old hardened me can’t resist Mr. Darcy Colin Firth as King George VI. Besides, film is absolutely delicious in it’s adherence to the little historical details (there were Welsh Corgis in every shot!).



But, I noticed that the film is nominated for an Oscar , and my personal opinion is that it didn't have anything particularly Oscar-worthy (apart from Colin Firth’s performance) . The main theme is not something particular new, even though I am very fond of “victory of human spirit and friendship over obstacles” stories myself.

One big problem I had with the film was it's cinematography. It can be the problem of our local cinema, but the film was very very dark, to the point where I had to strain my eyes to be able to see anything. May be the UK is not the sunniest of the countries and pre- WW2 years weren’t the happiest , but I can’t accept the blatant overuse of symbolism in this case. Not when I can’t see the lovely Corgi doggies properly, at least.

My personal brow-rising moment of the film was the way Wallis Simpson was portrayed. Now, I am of the school of thought that Edward VIII was not at all suited to be a King, and even more – I think he didn’t want to be a King all that much. But all this said, portraying Wallis Simpson as one-dimensional floozy is strange. No person is one-dimensional.
alexandral: (Farscape - the face of revenge)
Moscow trip was great, but contained some quite extreme weather. We were lucky to fly from Heathrow on the very early morning of the fateful 18th of December. Heathrow was closed at the midday of the same day for 3 days.

We used Lufthansa this year and weren’t at all pleased with this company. The tickets were really cheap but I am not flying by Lufthansa anymore, NO WAY, not ever, because:

- Our luggage was delayed for three days on our way to Moscow (due to our transition in Munich, the luggage somehow got stuck in Munich) , leaving us without essentials for three days. I was not happy! I admit that reports about the 3-day closing of Heathrow and realisation of how lucky we were to be able to successfully fly out of London at all (rather than spend 3 nights in Heathrow) improved my mood considerably, but still – Lufthansa! This is not right!

- Berlin is officially the worst airport I have ever been in. We had a transition in Berlin on the way back from Moscow to London. We were made to go through passport control, walk for what seemed as miles outside (in the cold outdoors) to another building, and queue for full check-in, security and passport control again. Besides, the airport had most confusing signs. I am a bit of a logic freak, but still: A4 and A04 are NOT the same. If you show "A04" on the information displays you must mark the gate as A04, not as A4. And as the icing on the cake, I was pawed by some security lady ALL OVER. I must have had an unpleasant face. BRRRRRRRR!

Complaining aside, the trip was wonderful and I promise to post the pictures. I generally promise proper regular posting (at least 2 times a week).

Fannish life:
I have been catching up on some shows, mainly "Mentalist" and "Good Wife". My daughter discovered a big passion for Mentalist as she generally loves police shows with quirky main characters (Monk, Columbo, etc.), so we had some catching up to do

Films: I haven't seen anything standing out, apart from "Never Let Me Go". The film is definitely beautiful and haunting, and makes one think, BUT there were big buts for me! I have hidden my thoughts behind the spoiler cut, but I must say: the ending is spelled out in the first 2 minutes of the film, so there isn't too much spoilery damage one can do.



Never let me go: Spoilers )
alexandral: (Harry Potter - Sirius)
My life seems to be in a craziest stage since the time of my long-forgotten youth: work is madly busy, Zend PHP certification exam is approaching too fast (6th of December), I need to write two assignments for the Leadership and Management course (which culminated on 19th of November in consolidation day and my team's win!) by the December 18th, on which day I am flying off to Moscow. Oh, also lately I went to few one-day conferences and as a result London is practically making me sick, especially considering that one of the conferences happened on the day of the Tube Strike. I still hold on tightly to my usual optimistic POV, but only just. If I don't go prematurely all gray, I am due for two Christmas weeks of ice sculptures, ice skating and pancakes in Moscow.

In good news, I finally nailed salchow (A move in figure skating in which the skater jumps from one skate, completes a full rotation, and lands on the other skate) and tea-pot move and completely completed my silver NISA (National Ice Skating Association) level!

I am not even watching anything!!! Well, may be "Lost Girl" and "Gloria", but this is ALL. "Gloria" is safely helping me through this crazy real life spell.



My daughter made me go and watch "Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows 1", which overall was a pleasant surprise. Of course, I am still the same old nay-sayer that is not overly excited by Harry Potter in any shape or form , plus I have a confession to make: I find grown-up Daniel Radcliffe to be somewhat on the creepy side. Where has the pretty boy gone? BUT! To be fair, "Deathly Hallows" was much much better film than the two previous ones. There was enough time given to beautiful landscape shots, there was enough time for characters to talk to each other, and there was enough time devoted to Dobby's death (more time than to Dumbledore's death, actually) and Ron's jokes. Some other excellent things included Ron himself, Hermione in a red dress and Luna's father. Oh, if there are any Hermione/Harry shippers left (although I am not one of them) : I thought "Deathly Hallows number 1" was a really shippy film.

In short, I enjoyed the film, enough to give it 6.5 out of 10 and we had a nice time afterward in Pizza Hut. It took a lot of explaining for my daughter and her friends to understand what the Horcruxes are, though. I blame it on the scrambled-up previous film.

Some more film stills )

PS: Oh where ebooks_crack has gone????????????? I am so very upset!!!
alexandral: (Daywatch - Achive: don't climb it will k)


The film is not made to be taken seriously, you can not do this even if you try really really hard.
The film is full of:

- Bad Russians and all of them are spies

- Russians who killed president Kennedy

- Good Russians and all of them are pro USA

- Bad Russian accents. You had to laugh when even Daniel Olbrychski who spoke perfectly good Russian had a very BAD Russian accent when he spoke English (and by BAD I don’t mean thick, I mean – I haven’t heard any of Russian people I have met speak like this in real life)

- Russians drinking vodka after killing a man with automatic guns

- Russians chess champions

The film had no Russian cliché unturned. I have seriously tried to think this was some kind of parody/spoof thing but I don’t think it was.

What the film didn’t have , however:

- Any coherency of the plot. Everyone assumes Angelina is a Russian spy? Why? I tried really hard to understand but the only explanation for me was that she has blond hair , braided in a a plat (this is a Russian way to wear your hair, right) ?

Anyways, I had a good laugh with Mr.Alexander , so the film was good for something?
alexandral: (Daywatch - City Light)
Synopsis: this is an urban horror film about a young East-ender Jamie Morgan (played by Jim Sturgess) with a big port-wine stain birthmark on the left side of his face, who lives with his mother in a flat in one of the council buildings in London. Jamie's life is no bed of roses, he is constantly taunted and laughed at. One day, when he comes home from the studio he works in (he is a photographer), he witnesses a horrible murder: a man is burned alive by strange half-human/half demon creatures. When his mother is burned alive by the same gang, he makes a pact with a strange man who might (and might not) be the Devil (played wonderfully creepily by Joseph Mawle).



This film is written and directed by Philip Ridley, London-born artist, photographer, writer and director. This is his first film after 15 years, and although I loved the film, it didn't quite feel as 100% finished article, there were some moments when the stitching was visible, so to speak. Nonetheless, this was also a film that has made a huge impression on me, so hopefully Philip Ridley will continue making movies.

It is hard to discuss the story without spoiling it. However, I must point to some remote resemblance to "Matrix" and less remote resemblance to "Angel Heart". But there was certainly originality on the way the ideas were applied to the present-day London life. I would love to discuss the story more because as with any good story, although I have made an explanation of the events in my mind, I am sure other possible explanations exist.

The film definitely feels as something created by a photographer, there is much reliance on the visual row in the storytelling and the conveying of the atmosphere. Many shots are cruel eye-openers: this is the country I live in, some of these streets are just next door to where my home is, but have I ever seen them in this way? But at the same time, there is beauty in ugliness and beauty in chaos to be found if you look the right way.

Some of the promotional pictures from jimsturgessonline that convey the beauty of the film quite accurately: )
alexandral: (Friday Night Lights - bring it)
I adore Jeon Do-yeon ("Lovers in Prague") and it seems that she continues to impress : her new film "The Housemaid" is competing in 2010 Cannes Film Festival. She has already won the best actress at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, for absolutely brilliant "Secret Sunshine", so - who knows? Also , Lee Jung Jae (darling Hwal from "Triple") is in the film too, as well as Seo Woo , one of the strongest korean young actresses. As far as I understand, the film is about a femme fatale housemaid who is introduced into a family of a composer. She catches rats with her bare hands and seduces the composer which sounds very interesting. The only minus - the film is a re-make of the 1960s film (with the same title), so I doubt it will be taking too many prizes. But I still can't wait to watch it!

They seem to be so shiny! Isn't she gorgeous and isn't he handsome? But I am not so sure about the dress. Also - where is Seo Woo?


More pictures )
alexandral: (HYD - Rui - Angst/Bed)
I have been wanting to watch this film for a while, as it is a Korean remake of one of very well-known Japanese dramas, Byakuyako , which is an adaptation of a well-known novel. I have started the drama some month ago and loved it, but haven't finished for one reason or another.

When I heard of the film being made, I thought – good! At least when I watch the movie I will judge it on it's own merits, without constantly comparing it to the drama, and if I like the movie, I will finish the drama later.



I have watched "Into the White Night" on Friday. My feelings are uneven. It is undeniably a very beautiful, dreamy movie with gorgeous protagonists and interesting camera work: the world of the film is constructed of different shades of gray, except for the main protagonists who always wear stark black or white colours. I liked these aspects of the film, but I had some major problems with the logic of the story itself.

The rest has some spoilers )

One thing I am wondering about - is the chain of events the same in the Japanese version and in the novel itself? Or were many things changed in the movie?

But the movie was very pretty, I have included some posters, they are lovely: )
alexandral: (Blade Runner - Do androids)
It's school holiday time!!! I usually try to arrange at least a week of my holidays per every school holiday break so that my daughter and I can spend some time together. I am still a bit out of sorts, though. I am a lot better and shingles seem to have cleared quite quickly, but I feel unusually tired. Hee! I suppose it didn't help that my daughter had a sleepover thing on Tuesday (with big shopping trip and all such things).



Today we went to see "Clash of the Titans" with my daughter and her friend. I don't know what to say without being unkind. I haven't seen the original film so I took the new film on it's own merits. Obviously, much time and money were invested into all the fabulous special effects and gorgeous decorations and The Kraken was glorious. Also, the choice of actors was quite impressive, apart of Sam Worthington who continued to be his most boring and charisma deficient self. But the end result was the film that consisted solely of pointless fight scenes, without any attempt made to develop any of the characters.

Of course, things weren't TOO bad. The girls loved the film, so may be it was meant for 11-year olds, which is fine with me. I also found over the years that in any, even bad movie, you can always find something that will make it bearable. In the case of "Clash of the Titans" this something was Mads Mikkelsen in his role of old Greek soldier Draco .

Pictures of Mads Mikkelsen )
alexandral: (Avatar)
I didn't like Avatar. But I didn't expect that the most successful box-office robber of all times James Cameron , who hasn't got an Oscar for it yet, is already preparing the ground. Just in case he loses to Katherine Bigelow ("Hurt Locker"), he is already saying things like "well, if this happens, this is because she is a girl!!!!" . If you don't believe me, check (This interview). He also says "may be other people need Oscar more than me". OMPH. I can' believe my ears.

I knew that he is not a man that I could like, but making this kind of remarks????
alexandral: (Avatar)


I have finally found some time to watch "Star Trek 2009" today; the first thing that hit me like a rock was that, because I have never ever seen any of Star Trek previously, I could not understand a thing of what was going on. But I guess that making a stand-alone, easy understandable film for people who have never heard of Star Trek wasn't the priority. I have researched the topic of Star Trek on Wikipedia and safely proceeded ahead. I quite liked the film overall, haven't seen anything too outstanding, and Mr.Spock made me cringe every time I have seen him on screen as I was afraid he is going to eat the brains of Captain Kirk. The best thing about the film were tattoos on Eric Bana's forehead. And young Kirk was quite nice to watch.

There was one annoying little thing in the form of Pavel Chekhov and his over-emphasized Russian accent. There seemed to be people from all races and backgrounds on the board of "Enterprise" : Asian, African, other races. None of them spoke with any accent. The single Russian on board – yes, he spoke with a hugely overdone Russian accent. Because Russian people speak with accent, NO MATTER WHAT. And they will continue to do so in the distant future.

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January 2012

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