Friday, 13 April 2012

Film Friday

Easter has left me with lots of time to catch up on things I don't normally get to do during term time. Not even anything big, just normal person stuff like watching films! Anyway, here's what I've seen so far and what I thought. *I've just looked back down the list of films and it seems I've had some pretty dark choices. Sorry if you were expecting a lighthearted post!*


Aah Ryan Gosling. Who doesn't love a bit of him on screen? He's well known for his romantic roles, including Noah in The Notebook (an absolutely heart rending weepy one!) Before I watched Drive, I'd heard that it was quite a different character for Gosling and also that there was a fair amount of violence. I was prepared for the unexpected... or so I thought! I'm not averse to a bit of violence in a film (some of my favourite films come from Quentin Tarantino who isn't exactly the shy, retiring type of director) but this was super, horrific violence. Maybe it was more shocking after the opening in which Gosling comes across as a sweet natured, quiet guy who just wants to romance his neighbour. We spent the first half an hour of the film swooning over Ryan Gosling in skinny jeans only to be shocked when he turned into this psychotic crazy person! I don't want to give too much away so I won't say much about the plot. I really enjoyed this film (even when I was hiding behind a pillow!) and would definitely recommend it. Some people aren't as squeamish as me! The moments when Gosling is all brooding and mysterious can make it a little awkward though. Think I'll stick with crying at The Notebook in future.


Stereotypes and cliches abound but I don't mind so much when I'm completely immersed in the plot. Kidulthood basically centres around the lives of teenagers in West London and what happens to them within twenty four hours. Think Skins but more honest and brutal. There are some very aggressive and violent scenes which actually adds to the realism. I'm sure some would think this film is exaggerated and unrealistic but I know that the bullying scene between the girls is extremely realistic and hard hitting. I really enjoyed this film and the topics that it dealt with. It examines every stereotype you can think of and also serves to expose certain myths and ideas which have become outdated. However, I don't think it will do much to reassure older generations that 'the youth of today' aren't all troublemakers! As a teacher, I can definitely confirm that not all teenagers are like this. Infact, I'm sure very few are. But the fact remains that some teenagers do experience these things and that is why the stereotypes exist and also why more should be done to provide for teenagers in these situations. (I'll stop there, don't want to get too preachy!)

I also watched a tv programme called 'My Murder' on the BBC recently too. The programme was based on the real story of Shakilus Townsend who was beaten and stabbed to death in a planned attack by members of a gang in South London. He was just 16 years old. It is believed that he was led into the ambush by a girl called Samantha Joseph (played by Simona Zivkovska). Samantha was sentenced to at least 10 years for her part in his murder and six other teenagers including her ex-boyfriend Danny McLean were jailed for life.

Obviously this type of drama covers a sensitive subject as it is based on a real life situation and it will inevitably have an effect on grieving friends and relatives. Levi David Addai wrote 'My Murder' but was careful to keep it as realistic as possible as he didn't want it to "seem like an 'urban drama' with a stereotypical knife crime story". Addai's representation of Shakilus is realistic. He hasn't created a character who is devoid of faults or is the model teenager. He has included every aspect of this teenager's life so that his story was 'richer'. By giving a more rounded portrayal of Shakilus, I felt like I knew this boy as I watched his story unfold and the tragic ending was even more awful when it arrived. He seemed like a genuinely charismatic teenager who enjoyed life and his only mistake was to become smitten with Samantha. I'm glad I watched this as it's important for his story to be shared. I think it's still on BBC Iplayer if you want to watch it.


This is a fairly old film now but it's been on my list of things to watch for a while. I remember lots of people mentioning it when it came out. I've signed up for a free month on Netflix but it doesn't have any recently released (onto dvd) films on yet. Anyway, I thought I'd get cracking on some films that have been popular and Secretary was on the list. I'll just start off by saying... weird film! I don't really know what I was expecting but it definitely wasn't that! In order to avoid having to write all of the details about this film, I'll link you to a review from The Guardian here.

You'll know what I mean once you've read the review! I can't really say I enjoyed the film, I was more intrigued by the weirdness of it and the strange relationship that the two main characters have. Either way, I'm glad I can cross it off my 'to watch' list.

 Food, Inc.

Another Netflix watch. Food, Inc. is a documentary about the production of food in America, the shocking treatment of animals and the way that the public are being misinformed about what they are eating. I love watching documentaries and hearing all of the things that are hidden from us. I'm a particular fan of conspiracy theories and quite aggressive interviewers who track down their information! Food, Inc was slightly different in that way. There were lots of facts and figures (which bored me slightly) but there was also footage of farms in America and background scenes to show us what really happens. The documentary is not against the production of food on farms or against the eating of meat, but it is against conglomerates treating animals extremely badly and leaving farmers with no choice but to sell out and conform or lose their business and livelihood. There are some really shocking scenes showing how chickens, pigs and cows are kept and also the way they are killed. It definitely put me off food for quite a while.

Overall, it was interesting to see these things and get some inside information on the food industry as a whole. It has made me think more carefully about what I eat and where I buy it from. I'm one of those people who never has lots of money and so has to buy budget food, but I don't think I'll be buying cheap meat again. Everytime I consider a Mcdonalds I will most probably get flashes of this programme in my mind which will keep me away! I feel bad saying this, but I'll always be a meat eater. I'm just going to consider much more where that meat comes from and how it was treated.

So that's what I've been watching recently. Some strange choices admittedly but I've not really been in a romantic comedy mood and I hate horror films!  

Has anyone got any films to recommend?

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