Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Summer Spectacular- Film4 Summer Screen

Its back! Set within the beautiful avant-garde location of Somerset House in London, the internationally renowned  film event will return this summer, from the 8th-21st August 2013. It is certainly an exciting chance for any film fanatics to experience the unique opportunity to watch both indie and popular cinema, in an open-air location. 

Each night one film or even a cluster of films (back to back) are projected onto vast screen, within the magnificent 18th century courtyard, while the crowd are able take their seats on the cobbled ground. This year the films on offer include many beloved classics such as: Guys and Dolls (12th August), Kes (14th August) and Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (20th August) as well as some new summer releases. 

According to their website early DJ session and food stalls are set to provide some light afternoon family entertainment before the evening spectacular gets underway. Tickets are fairly reasonable at around £14.50 each, for entry and the film, and are available to book online from their website.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Film Circle- The Fallen Treasure of Silent Cinema

   Ahhh, in our technologically advanced era where everyone is able to play around with tinted filters on Instagram, add surround sound to home movies, and be able to experience 'another dimension' of cinematic viewing (reference to the awfully dull 3D phenomenon) the roots of honest filmmaking and innovation has been lost. While many would get annoyed at the constant whirring and clicking noises that come from the old 20's and 30's silent films I'm going to step out there and say..I find it remarkably charming. The fact that there are so many little quirks littered throughout (wonky camera angles, wobbly lighting etc) makes the films seem so much more genuine and realistic; they don't have that distinctly manufactured feel of so many of our Hollywood blockbusters of today.

The intriguing element of silent cinema is that because they didn't have the luxury of sound, filmmakers tried to make up for this by creating visually impressive avant-garde settings, as backdrops to their films. Visual perfection was achieved through bold and geometrically complex shapes, to build up foreboding jagged landscapes, as well as the heavy use of shadowing, to create an unnerving eerie atmosphere (especially in their horrors). This is what we sometimes lack in modern filmmaking, as the abundance of equipment and money mean that visual effects, are reliant on advanced computer technology rather than organic human imagination. That's not to say 21st century cinema is completely blind to it's origins, in German expressionism, as Tim Burton reportedly cited late 20's silent horror as the primary influence for his 2007 musical Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. 

I appreciate that sitting and watching a film that has virtually no sound, let alone any spoken dialogue, to most people would be a living nightmare (hell, a lot of people can't even put up with subtitles) but if you can hack it then I implore you to check a few out. 
Certainly American and German expressionist silent films are now available online and even on DVD (from providers such as Lovefilm). Here are some of my picks, which I believe could turn your opinion:

1) The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920)

Perhaps one of the most famous and pioneering silent films of the 20's, which set a standard for expressionist horrors. Francis, a young man, recalls in his memory the horrible experience he and his fiancée Jane have been through, when they visited the charismatic Dr Caligari's exhibition. A grotesque figure Cesare (who is remarkably similar to Frankenstein's monster) is awakened by Caligari as an attraction to the show, and is kept in the cabinet. However when Cesare is let loose, and murders start occurring within the town, Francis must fight to keep his beloved Jane safe from this monstrous figure. The film used stylized sets, with abstract, jagged buildings painted on canvas backdrops and flats to build up dramatic tension and unease. This strange style is further enhanced by the the actors, who use jerky and dance like movements to create a distinctly anti-realist and unnerving atmosphere, as if projected from a nightmare.

2) Metropolis (1927)

Perhaps one of the most important films to the science fiction genre, with it's futuristic dystopian setting echoing civil unrest and the inevitable clashing of the class system in 20th century society. The film is set in a initially idealistic future, where the city of Metropolis is prosperous and its wealthy residents live a carefree life. One of those is Freder Fredersen, son of the man who founded the great city. One day, he spots a beautiful woman with a group of children, who quickly disappear. Trying to follow her, he, oblivious to such, is horrified to find an underground world of workers, apparently who run the machinery which keeps the above ground Utopian world functioning. He sets about redressing the balance but he doesn't foresee the grave consequences. Although at the time the film was far from a financial success and critically, it polarized opinion, it has however emerged as one of the most important films in cinema history.

3) The Man Who Laughs (1928)

An erratic fusion of tragic melodrama and swashbuckling adventure with the earliest threads of gloomy horror. It is based upon Victor Hugo's novel about the life of Gwynplainethe son of a disgraced aristocrat, whose face is mutilated by order of the King, so that he should always be laughing. His grotesque appearance, of a permanent grin, therefore leads to social exclusion and rejection by the shallow aristocracy of English society. He does eventually find comfort and acceptance when he meets and falls in love with a beautiful blind woman Dea, yet a devastating turn of events threatens to tear them apart. Tragic and haunting the film manages to retell this epic drama in a way that leaves a profound impression on the viewer long after the last credit has graced the screen. 

Sunday, 26 May 2013

The Best Of..Underrated Comedies About High School

Ahhh yes. We are all aware of those wonderfully sweet 80's coming-of-age flicks.. Pretty In Pink, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles (I could go on). These are the ones you will pull on your fluffy socks and slouchy pj's to...let the feast begin - ready to feed your stomach and soul. From there you proceed to bury your face in a mound of sticky-sweet popcorn delight (fresh from the microwave, of course) whilst reaching over to click that all important 'play' button. That nostalgia hits you as soon as the trancy 80's pop soundtrack fades in. You have been invited back to highschool.

The cinematic treats of The Breakfast Club and Pretty In Pink offer comfort, hope and a warm buttery sensation - the kind which you are unsure whether you have overdone the popcorn or if the emotive receptors in your brain have actually melted, from the cuteness of it all. 

However while these films are adorable and John Hughes (director of a majority of these 80's successes) is a genius, in creating timeless pieces that really capture the spirit of American youth, I feel some other rather decent releases, from that decade, have been unfairly overlooked. Hughes's bittersweet flicks are indeed very hard to rival but here I have compiled a (VERY SHORT) list of alternative, underestimated, teen high-school comedies that are certainly worth a watch.

1) Heathers (1988)
 'Dear Diary, my teen-angst bullshit now has a body count' Veronica Sawyer

Made in the late 80's, Heathers is a cult classic- a deeply black comedy about the highs and lows of high school life, with a murderous twist. Pretty and perfect Veronica Sawyer is unusual. She is finally part of the 'clique', every girl would die to be a part of, yet she can't wait to fact she might just kill to get out of it .

For Veronica, her so called best friends are the three 'Heathers' which the title refers to and are the stereotypical vain, self-absorbed bitchy girls, who feel they rule the school (very much the 80's version of the Plastics from Mean Girls). She loathes everyone of them, and seems to endure their company, as they go about their daily duty of terrorising the unpopular geeks and pranking the fat girls. Her life is however changed by the appearance of J.D, an enigmatic young rebel, equipped with all the gear required to make an impression: a daring smile, a super cool motorbike...and violent sociopathic tendencies. They begin a surprisingly quite sweet love affair but when they start bumping off each Heather, one by know the film has taken a lethal twist. Out go the roses and in comes the drain cleaner and dynamite. This is the very definition of explosive love.

The greatest shock came from my realisation that I could actually endure 102 minutes of Winona Ryder (her raspy, whiny voice grates much less than usual) and how breezy the film passes scene to scene. The casting choice of Christian Slater (who looks very much like a 80's Logan Lerman) with Miss Ryder is gold, seeing as the couple do have brilliant on-screen chemistry and are awfully convincing as a teen version of Bonnie & Clyde. If you crossed Mean Girls with a less explicit Natural Born Killers then would have Heathers. It's a surprisingly honest assessment of the brutality of high school cliques and certainly shakes a bloodied fist to the fluffy idealism of Pretty in Pink. 

'Best friends, social trends and occasional murder' [IMDB] the tagline is the perfect summary.

2) 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
'I'm not hostile, I'm just annoyed' Kat Stratford
Alright, you caught me! This isn't from the 80's, but from a decade later - the wonderfully moody 90's!..a period when every man and his dog was experimenting with this new 'grunge' trend of long dangly hair and being generally miserable. Here we have no exception as our two romantic leads generally trudge along with this ideal ...the 'chick' Kat wears khaki crop tops exposing her various belly-button piercings while the 'dude' Patrick, paid to court her, is an uncaring rebel who likes to set anything and everything alight with his pocket lighter...hardly Romeo & Juliet, right? 

Well you would be correct there. However, it is the atypicality of this film to the usual formula, that provides it's strongest is purposely unconventional in order to be more realistic about the attitude of youth. Speaking as one, teenagers generally are like this. A miserable group of sods. This is a story of boy meets girl, but not as you know it..

Bianca Stratford is the most popular junior in school, the girl every boy wants to date. However the issue lies that her father is a control freak and creates a rule that she can only date when her sister does. Unfortunately her sister is Kat Stratford, renowned man-hater, lover of Shakespeare's poetry and a violent hockey player. Cue the search for a willing suitor..

   There is no doubting the casting choices are flawless, with the late Heath Ledger playing our rebellious outcast and hero Patrick Verona, while the quietly gorgeous Julia Stiles plays Katerina 'Kat' Stratford- our unsociable and proud feminist heroine, who is deeply resentful towards the notion of love and affection. Throw in the early acting talents of Joseph Gordon Levitt (he is SO adorable in this) as a sweet optimistic geek, pining after Kat's sister Bianca, and the cutting wit of Larry Miller, as Kat's father, and here we have it...a perfect pudding of clumsy teen courtship and dramatic prom showdowns. The fact the film is actually based upon a Shakespeare play (The Taming of The Screw) immediately adds 100 cool points, making it the hippest film to cure post-exam stress. It's 90's teen grumpiness and honesty at it's best... with a surprisingly fulfilling conclusion.

Any others you think I have missed? Please comment.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Rising Stars - Young Kato

The Lead singer of Young Kato and I!
'What an odd little name' I thought when I began my monthly trawl through various Spotify indie playlists...'maybe I'll take a listen, they sound intriguing, i suppose'. It's fair to say I didn't have the highest hopes or even a slight inclination that this obscure band, swept up for the humble cobbles of Cheltenham, would have an impact on me what. so. ever.

How wrong I was.

 Just little over a month later, this band became an obsession for me. I began squealing when they favourited my tweets and each time I heard their songs I started to feel the ever-so-slight tingle of goosebumps. A unstoppable grin would spread upon my face when 'Drink, Dance, Play' shuffled on my iPod. Their music simply bursts with energy!

These infectious, and dare i say, 'poppin' lyrics about just having a good time and enjoying youth, will provide a perfect soundtrack to any summer rave- whether that be sipping mojitos in the sunny space of a garden party, or even at a house party with everyone jumping from sofa to sofa. So c'mon, gear up and get ready to jump.

Verdict: A hot new band, who certainly deserves a place on your summer playlist. Think refreshing lemonade with a hearty kick of pomegranate

Recommended Songs: Drink Dance Play, Break Out, Something Real

Status: ON TOUR (tickets still available)

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Indie Fix - Find Some PEACE

'We spit blood at the sun, we spit blood in the ocean'- The wonderfully nonsensical  lyrics are awfully indulgent. Think creased blazers and grungy laced boots; expensive fur coats worn with beanies and gaudy hoops. This is 21st century anarchy- Peace style.

For those painful sundays cooped up revising (I am referring to my own pain here) there is but one band that can drag my out of my deep funk...Introducing PEACE everyone! These rangy haired rockers, with droopy eyes and paisley shirts, might just be your band of 2013. They may not look the part, but *gawd* give them a chance (you will not regret it). 

Any fans Of Made In Chelsea will know them well, their gorgeously crafted debut In Love is a regular play on the show, but don't believe that these boys are in any way affiliated with the 'posh-tosh' crowd of Kensington and Chelsea (dahlinggg), they are true brummies at heart. Peace are one of the few decent indie bands, in recent years, to have emerged from the urban wilderness of Birmingham (close to my beloved hometown), spewing deliciously silly lyrics about past loves, loss and hope. With talent like this, they will surely take this year by storm.

Listening to their 2012 release 'Bloodshake' (music video above), the moment lead Harrison begins uttering those sensual lyrics.. 'from the belly of the jungle, to the bottom of the sea' I can guarantee you will be seduced, love. Any fans of Foals, Wu Lyf or The Maccabees should definitely take a listen; this is weekend escapism at it's pinnacle.  

Verdict: To those already searching for mellow summer tunes, to lazily chill to, I implore you to take a generous scoop from this pot of trancy, transient indie decadence. Think zesty lime and lemon sorbet, with a cheeky twist of melon.

Recommended songs: Delicious, Follow Baby, Wraith, Drain, Bloodshake

Photo Copyright- (C) Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited

Saturday, 11 May 2013

S/S13 Trends- Achieving Pastel Perfection

 Through the narrow slits in my window, glints of summer sun are peeking through. This can only mean one thing..THE RAIN HAS FINALLY GONE (temporarily). To celebrate why not whack on some pastel pieces, and get out in that gorgeous buttery sunlight?!

Here is a selection of my favourite outfits of the week, compiled and created on my ASOS Fashion Finder Blog (I shall put the link up to my page soon). Key aspects of the spring pastel trend this season has to be the patent wedge (as seen right) and the light floral clutch (below)- such lovely statement pieces that can be matched with a wide array of outfits (especially if any of you lucky things are going away on holiday this year!). 

To achieve the full pastel effect I would suggest visiting stores like Reiss, Vero Moda and French Connection who all have leapt gallantly into this super-feminine S/S13 trend. 

If you are looking for the perfect cotton shirt I would highly recommend the gorgeous 'Floral Flirtation' shirt from French Connection (£55) with delicate tiny eyelet detailing; a stunning piece that could easily be matched with light blue cropped trousers and ballerina flats for a casual day look. 

Photo copyight: (C) ASOS Fashion Finder. Outfits created by me (Han02nnah)

A Morning Message

My interest for art started when I was a little girl - flicking paint at others, drawing on my bedroom wall with permanent know how it is! Now aged 16, this has evolved far beyond a simple interest. It's a passion project; a constant thirst for knowledge that must be quenched! 

With this blog I intend to chart the creative world, as it is developing. Floating houses in Amsterdam, the latest trends hot off the London catwalk, innovative culinary ideas, and of course, the changing face of Art will all be recorded on here. Hope you enjoy your stay!:)