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Adjust This – A Review of The Adjustment Bureau March 26, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Media, TV & Film.
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I came on here fully prepared to whine about something. Or to apologise about whining so much. I’m fickle like that.

Instead, I find myself unable to resist the urge to wax lyrical about the film I have just seen, The Adjustment Bureau.

Firstly, a caveat. I am a huge Matt Damon fan. From the moment I saw the utterly disturbing cinematic event that is The Talented Mr Ripley, I have been a huge advocate of his. I see in him a spark of true brilliance, and acting genius. Despite the tendency of the media to go on about Jude Laws’ performance in that film (but why?!), I think there are few performances that could beat that icy cool insanity of a man tumbling into the void. Since then, I have yet to be disappointed by anything the man turns his hand to, and it is a delight to see him avoid the trappings of becoming an (awesome) action hero.

So, clearly, I went into this film in a state of mind to enjoy. To sit back and take it in and accept the likelihood of Damon’s presence making it brilliant. I wasn’t disappointed.

the adjustment bureau

The Adjustment Bureau isn’t a unique film. The concept is fascinating, but so many elements can be likened to other films. The intricacy and questions of the Matrix. The visual celebration of Inception – although I hold that this film is actually infinitely better. And that is said as someone with a crush on both Leo and Ellen Page! So many different parts of this movie reference so many others, but rather than being a limitation, I found it actually pushed this film forward.

The Adjustment Bureau is, as discussed, many things. In addition, it is funny. Laugh out loud kind of funny. It is touching, and throughout kept me choked up, tensed in response to such suspense. It questions many concepts humanity takes for granted – love, passion, free will, faith. It answers few of these queries, instead letting the story speak for itself, and leaving us with a sense of how things may turn out, but absolutely no certainty. It is also silly, banal, absurd, all of which serve to further highlight the big issues being raised, as well as poking fun at the self-involvement of humanity. The ridiculousness of our need to have so many questions answered.

It is less mindless action than the trailers, and the posters, try to persuade us it is.

I came out of the cinema, once the film had ended, and all I could think was – “that was brilliant”.

And it was.

 

My inner geek December 17, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Fashion, Graphic Design, Inspiration, Life, Chatter & Politics, Media, TV & Film.
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Woe betide anyone who doesn’t own up to their inner geek. Or their outer geek, as it happens. What was once seen as a silly way to life your life, full of stupid facts and a certain lack of that indefinable “cool”, has suddenly become trendy. The geeks have, in a expertly calculated and complicated rebellion, taken over the earth. Probably whilst wearing capes. Where would we be without them? Without people continually demanding more from life, from the world? Without people appreciating everything from the tiny microbes under our skin right through to the things that are bigger than most human brains can even begin to contemplate?

I wholeheartedly and happily put my hands up to being a geek. I know a strange amount about birds, and meteorology. I am geeky about the idea of space, and hoping for the existence of aliens, and about watching episodes of Star Trek or The X Files back to back. I can have long conversations about the use of grammar and words, about how nice it feels to form the syllables of “Hyundai” with your tongue. I debate about human rights, and nuclear weapons, and about the validity of various scientific experiments. I dream of zombies, and I know which animals of the air, land and sea are the fastest (Swift, Cheetah and Swordfish, for those wondering – although the Peregrine Falcon is the fastest creature on earth in a downwards dive). Geekery makes up a massive portion of my life, and I love it. It makes me feel I am a tiny part of the brilliance of the world.

And so, for the geeks amongst us, a celebration. A celebration in fashion form, as it happens, although this really isn’t about my fashion geekery. A ring, featuring Gotham City in all its Gothic, dramatic and dangerous glory. Perfect. Now, if only I had $225…

 

Gotham City Ring

Gotham City Ring

 

 

Film Review | Resident Evil: Aftermath (3D)! September 24, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Media, TV & Film.
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You know I love zombie films. I just do. I couldn’t tell you why, but I m a massive Romero fan, and can list of a myriad of facts about zombies, zombie hunting, and different zombies theories. Not a typical obsession for a girl, especially one who doesn’t particularly like the dark. Still I can’t deny that there is something about the zombie genre that pulls me in!

Resident Evil Aftermath

Resident Evil is one of the zombie series’ that has never let me down. They are always sleek, sophisticated, and really quite scary. The games are bloody terrifying (I have sat through many hours, let me tell you!), and the films are loyally based on them. For this reason I was really excited about seeing Resident Evil: Aftermath, and even more so once I realised it would be shown in 3D. Horror, it seems to me, is the ideal medium for jumpy 3D images, and I wasn’t disappointed.

You see, I loved this film. Everything felt much more real thanks to the 3D imaging, and I hold my hands up to jumping a few times. They were even more loyal to the game than normal too, down to the creepy axe/mallet wielding boss and the creepy-ass dogs. Even Wesker was as wildly annoying and hard to kill as he should be.

Despite a slightly silly start (the scene setting was done too fast in my mind – I would have liked a little more time to be spent in the Umbrella facility in Tokyo, for technological marvels if nothing else!), this was awesome. Just the right mix of action, survival, challenges and, of course, zombies. It was brilliant, and I came out exhilarated and wanting to watch all the Resident Evil films again.

A big thumbs up from me!

Film Review | The Expendables (stuff blows up!) August 31, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Media, TV & Film.
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First, a disclaimer. I have a bit of a penchant for things blowing up. Until I finished uni, I had only ever really had an interest in intelligent films. Films that make you question life, or which raise huge life issues. You know, poncy films. I do, of course, still have a strong affection for these films. However, recent years have seen me develop a new list of favourite films alongside my intelligent list – a list of films that I wildly enjoyed in spite of the fact that technically they are… awful.

The Expendables is one of those films. I went to see it in a state of hyped up excitement, aware that what I was about to witness was, without a doubt, going to be one of the only films like it ever made. When again would such legends come together on one screen, with throw backs to their past performances and teasing comments to boot. Thanks to Stalone, Willis, Schwarzenegger, Rourke, Statham, Jet Li, Lundgren, and probably more that I have forgotten, I was bound to witness a historical moment.

The film didn’t disappoint. It was historical. It was also, predictably, utterly terrible. The plot, what little there was of it, started off optimistically enough, but then was ignited and forgotten in a blaze of petrol bombs and bullets. The dialogue was awful, with just enough witty one-liners to pull it up into the “bearable” category. Some of the acting, of course, was like watching a wooden puppet attempt to prove that it is a real boy. It was awful.

Perhaps because of this shameless crapness, I adored this film. I laughed out loud, I jumped. I watched as pretty much every cast member and every prop got exploded, shot, or otherwise destroyed. Massive mansions were raised to the ground, trucks engaged in car chases through tiny winding streets, and at one point Stallone is hanging from a plane. Oh, and there is a gun that effectively tears a torso in half.

Don’t go into this expecting brilliance. Expect explosions, however, and you will be very pleased indeed. And maybe, like other action junkies, you will reluctantly admit that you loved it!

The curling smoke May 19, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Fashion, Media, TV & Film.
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madmen christina hendricks joan holloway 50s fashion 50s dresses mad men

The Cast of MadMen

Well, well, well. I have just started watching MadMen. After a night tucked in front of the TV avoiding the work I was meant to be doing, I have managed to work myself a good few episodes into this incredibly successful programme, and am starting to see what makes everyone wax lyrical about it so much. Despite the fact that really very little has happened I have been sucked in without a backwards glance, and all the tiniest subtleties have started meaning a whole lot more. It is a sumptuous feats for the eyes and the ears, and I proudly announce myself a convert.

Whilst watching the DVDs there were a few thoughts I couldn’t get out of my head. firstly, how much does everyone smoke?! I knew that smoking used to be popular, but I had never accepted the extent to which everyone did it – it seems as natural as breathing or talking to all of the characters on the show. There is scarcely a scene that goes past without a couple of cigarettes being lit, sensually drawn on, and then expelled in curves of wafting, strangely attractive smoke.It really brings home the difference between “then” and “now”, especially when they talk about doctors advocating cigarettes as safe. It is incredible really.

The next thought was, predictably, about the clothes. Christina Hendricks as Joan Holloway is hypnotic, with her curving hips and gleaming smile. She is utterly sexy, and has become a full blown girl crush of mine. All the dresses are beautiful on all the characters, and it turns out a man in a fedora can make me swoon! When I saw this amazing Joan Holloway inspired dress on Pin Up Girl I nearly bought it, before remembering how dire my finances will be this month!

christina hendricks joan holloway inspired retro pin up green satin wiggle dress

Amazing Christina Hendricks Style Dress

My particular favourites from the first few shows were the 50s style swing dresses, if only because I don’t really have the hips to carry a wiggle dress off. I am so jealous of them!

Getting a little Political – But it is worth watching! May 4, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Inspiration, Life, Chatter & Politics, Media, TV & Film.
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I am never normally all that political on my blog. I don’t like the confrontation it brings, and I know that my views are often much stronger and quite different to may of the people whom I otherwise love or respect. And so, with that in mind, I sit quietly, and only talk about politics if someone asks me explicitly, or if David Cameron is on the TV and I simply can’t avoid ranting.

I am, you see, very left-wing. I was brought up by satisfyingly hippy parents, and that left me with a legacy of believing that money doesn’t make any more of a person. It doesn’t make you any less of a person, either, although I will always have more respect for people who clawed themselves up from the bottom than I will for those who never wanted for anything. I watched my family recover from the damage the Conservatives did to the country, and I have a deep ingrained fear of people who deep down discriminate and judge  ruling my country.

At the same time, however, I understand people who have problems with Labour. I understand people who can’t see past the mistakes, who can’t see the successes that were never over-discussed. Many times I have had no idea who I would vote for were there an election, people seemed to have lost their way and I struggled to see a way out of all the negativity.

Then this speech happened, and all the news stations seemed to report was the protester who interrupted it. There I was, watching this great speech with this impassioned Gordon Brown – the old one, the passionate angry one, whose beliefs I respected and trusted. A Gordon Brown we haven’t seen in a while. Whilst I was watching that, everyone else was being told about the interruption. I got angry that people weren’t being shown both sides of that speech.

And so, and so, I thought I would share it with you guys. So that you can watch the speech, and see what it was really like. And make up your own minds, rather than having your minds made up for you.

Its worth watching!

Wonderful Weekend March 14, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Books, Life, Chatter & Politics, Media, TV & Film.
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I had a wonderful weekend!

Friday night was spent getting gently tipsy for Nics birthday (Roisin’s lovely man). I dressed up in my pretty Emilio Pucci heels despite the fact we were going to what is essentially an old man pub – I never feel the need to wear what is expected of me! We actually ended up staying out till about half 1 and being locked into the pub – which was a new life experience that I can happily tick off my list.

Saturday we went to a sewing session at Alysa’s house. I spent my time rather uselessly pinning up the lining of my coat, unpicking and pinning it again, and eventually just giving up! The coat is a stunning floor length red wool number that I snagged on eBay for a fabulous £1.99, and now that I hae sewn up the moth holes I can’t wait to put a zip in and get to wearing it. At the moment, however, it has approximately 30 buttons to do up, meaning that I won’t be wearing it just yet!

My afternoon was spent strolling around town , wandering into all the charity shops (I got a George number that is really cute!), and stocking up on insoles for all my shoes that don’t fit! Hopefully now I will be able to get some wear out of them. I also wanted to mention that now I have a lovely camera I will finally be following up my promise to document all my pretty shoes, and I may even take part in Amber’s shoe challenge!

The rest of the evening was spent watching Stardust (just as unimpressive as I remember from last time, and as a huge Neil Gaimen an it surprises me to say I didn’t love the book either), followed by In Her Shoes, which surprised me enough to make me intend to write a review! Then I retreated to bed, where although I only planned to read a few pages of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo I actually ended up reading the entire thing – it was awesome! I don’t usually like crime fiction, but I quite simply couldn’t put this book down – a full review will follow for this one too!

Awkward Dreams February 2, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Dreams, Life, Chatter & Politics, Media, TV & Film.
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I have been sleeping a little strangely recently, having odd dreams about things that happen during the day or that get mentioned, which probably explains why I dreamt I was on Take Me Out, that terrible yet strangely enjoyable Saturday night dating show. This in itself would be fine were it not for a whole series of odd happenings… rushing across stage when we were live because I needed the toilet, and having a very inappropriate moment with a man from work who was the one being found a date.

Regardless of the fact that in real life I don’t fancy this man at all, I haven’t been able to look directly at him all day. I probably look like I have something in my eyes, or that my brain isn’t particularly in gear – I am constantly staring off into the distance and blushing. Most embarrassing and awkward, yet without any cause in real life (thank god!).

These dreams are the very worse of the worst, yet I know I am not alone – I have heard of plenty of people having to deal with the same? Has it ever happened to you?

Argh… The Zombies… January 15, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Life, Chatter & Politics, Media, TV & Film, Wordy Business.
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(Image from here)

I did something bad today. Nope, I did not, as the blog title perhaps suggest, spawn an army of zombies. Of evil ninja zombies with a penchant for human flesh. Nope. But I did, however, write about them.

My mother will no doubt be embarrassed when she reads this. But perhaps that is because my mother has been doing a course of natural disasters, and has developed a strange fear that the world is going to bring her to an untimely end. After all, she keeps repeating, it is just so dangerous out there! That said, she may well be embarrassed that I have told the world about her illogical fear that she tries so hard to hide. But never mind!

Anyway, my love of all things zombie, vampire, disaster and apocalypse on the cinema screen has left me with a little bit of a survivalist bent, one which I try to hide for fear of being mocked. Or for fear of ending up in a cave. Living off beans. But then I went and let it all out in one ill-advised article, and I can’t decide if this has alleviated some survivalist pressure, or made me even madder than before.

If you want to, you can read all about it here!

What do you think? Am I insane?

Thoroughly Scared: Paranormal Activity December 17, 2009

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Media, TV & Film.
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Long overdue, I thought the time had come for an update on the terrifying horror that is… Paranormal Activity.

Paranormal Activity

Paranormal Activity

I went to see this last week with a group of girlfriends from where I used to work. Following a discussion about how many of us enjoy horror movies, we decided on a whim to go and see the film that all the critics have been talking about, Paranormal Activity. Given our apparent greed for all things horror and even gore, we were sure that we would love a film that was being touted as “The scariest film of the decade”. Despite winding outselves up and up about it, discussing the titbits of storyline we had picked up on, even telling our own ghost stories, I don’t think any of us had quite realised just how scary this film was likely to be.

We met on the night, all wound up and excited about getting scared. I must admit that we went into that film wanting to be scared, giggly and borderline hysterical. That said, as soon as we sat down in the crowded auditorium it became clear that we weren’t the only ones who were a little bit het up about what was to come. Dare I say it, there was a fission in the air!

Well. What can I say. The film was not only cleverly made, realistic and totally believable (kudos to the couple by the way, who were endearing, grumpy, makeup free and just like most couples out there!), but bloody terrifying. I don’t mean just a little bit scary jump-once-or-twice kind of scary – I mean properly bloodcurdling, frightening enough to have most of the audience screaming, jumping and gasping, and me and my girls freaking out! It was made worse by the fact that the fear factor built up so quickly, in the dark, just waiting for the next event, and that the nasty stuff happened in the day by the end as well. I have never ever been in a film like it – and I have seen some horrors in my time! Men and women were falling of their seat, and you could feel the reverberations of shock every time something creepy happened.

My adrenaline was well and truly pumping when I left – yet I have to say that I LOVED it, completely and utterly! Terrifying and oh-so-simply wonderful.

Wow!

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