The Twilight Series: A Romance Story within a Vampire Novel or a Vampire Story within a Romance Novel?

The biggest book franchise since Harry Potter and a multi-million dollar movie franchise which has made its stars household names. It’s fair to say that Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight franchise has done extremely well for itself with millions of fans across the world (nicknamed ’Twihards’). Despite the fact I have made my way to the cinema for each of the five movies, I had not read the book series, apart from the first book. I took up the challenge soon after I saw the last movie at the cinema, and two months later, I had successfully read them all.

For those that have not read the books/seen the film the series centres around teenager Bella Swan, who moves to the small town of Forks to live with her father, and here she meets the mysterious and beautiful Edward Cullen and his equally impressive family. She realises there is something not quite normal about them, and she is proven right when she learns that Edwards and his family are in fact vampires. Of course, they fall in love, and throughout the series their relationship is tested through various different problems including trouble with werewolves and an almost war with a vampire group that are akin to royalty.

The books are in the first person mostly from the point of view of Bella apart from a period in Breaking Dawn where Jacob is the narrator. The series is more of a romantic love story, with the added plot twist of the ‘hero’ being a vampire. The books perhaps rely on the supernatural aspect to make the story more intriguing to readers; take away that aspect of the books and it purely becomes a samey romantic love story.

To be perfectly frank, the story isn’t the problem I found with these books – it’s the writing style of Stephanie Meyer. The book is simply quite badly written and it becomes annoying after a time. Bella as the narrator of the series becomes tiresome and irritating, constantly bemoaning her situation of how two men are fighting over her, how incessantly normal she is, and how she keeps hurting both of the men in her life that love her. The chapters that Jacob narrates in Breaking Dawn are quite refreshing and I felt myself wanting his narration to continue.

The book series as a whole have become quite a phenomenon across the world, and whilst the books are never going to appear in a list of the best books ever written, they probably do appear in the list of best-selling books. The series explores love and romance, but also other issues such as humanity, life after death and the idea of family. While I also think the scriptwriters of the films managed to turn some dismal dialogue from the books and improve it, I did enjoy the books. I noticed subtle differences between the book characters and the film characters, and enjoyed the small moments that were left out of the film from the books. Being an English Literature graduate, I think I will always have a bias towards books, especially when they become adapted into a film and I’m glad I finally got round to reading the series.

“Why did she hit you?”

“Because I kissed her,” Jacob said, unashamed.

“Good for you, kid,” Charlie congratulated him.

(Eclipse)

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As you can imagine yesterday was a very sad day for me (and no doubt Rach) on hearing that Richard Griffiths had died. The legendary actor who played the evil Uncle Vernon to our beloved Harry Potter will always have a place in the heart of any HP fan. Although most will no doubt despise the character he played, it only meant one thing – he was doing a great job.

May he rest in peace.

In his memory I have pulled out my top 3 Uncle Vernon quotes, I hope you enjoy them!

3) ’Every now and then Uncle Vernon would take a sharp turning and drive in the opposite direction for a while.

‘Shake ‘em off… Shake ‘em off,’ he would mutter whenever he did this.’ – Philosopher’s Stone. (Book)

2) ’I am not paying for some crackpot old fool to teach him magic tricks!’ – Philosopher’s Stone. (Book)

1) ‘There’s no such thing as magic!’ – Philosopher’s Stone. (Film)

The Vault – Ocean’s Eleven

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Last night I had the house to myself so thought it was only right that I browse the endless shelves of our DVD collection to find a film that I probably should have watched a very long time ago. With that in mind I stumbled across Ocean’s Eleven, having no idea of the plot or even the meaning behind the name of the film, I thought it was worth a shot.

It’s very rare that I have a shuffle of my top 10 films, but Ocean’s Eleven shot straight up there! I’m probably even going to go as far as top 5. It was brilliant and to be completely honest I’m pretty gutted I’ve only just seen it considering it came out back in 2001, I feel like it’s been a missing part of my life for the past 12 years.

It seems I was quite naive about this film, as I’m guessing it is pretty well known, probably by those who haven’t seen it as well, but my naivety only added to the joy of watching the film for the first time. I was a bit worried when George Clooney’s face appeared on the opening sequence, (I didn’t even know he was in it – I know what was wrong with me?) but the moment he opened his mouth he immediately rid any anxiety I had.

The meaning of the film soon became clear, and one thing I really enjoy is when a title has a relation to the film, and this couldn’t have been more perfect – I think finally understanding why the film was called ‘Ocean’s Eleven ‘ also cleared a cloudy area my brain has been struggling with.

Clooney and Pitt in one film – now that is a lot to deal with. In terms if hotness it’s like an olden day collaboration of Ryan Gosling and Channing Tatum. The only difference is that Clooney and Pitt scream MAN while the others scream more boy. However, the pair worked fantastically together, their chemistry with each other was clearly evident throughout the whole film, even the young Matt Damon did a cracking job up against such a high end cast. Other actors on the bill included Elliot Gould, Andy Garcia and Julia Roberts.

I found Julia Roberts an odd choice for the female lead, every time she was on screen all I noticed was that she wasn’t walking well and it put me off. I also think my lack of fascination for her may have had an adverse effect on the charm she brings. I would have much preferred to see someone else as leading lady – although at present I can’t picture who.

Apart from my dislike of Julia Roberts in this role, I couldn’t criticise anything else. The film was easy to follow, if you listened well you would get the full enjoyment but I imagine if you only tuned in half way through you would soon pick up what was going on.  An aspect which did make me laugh however was how short the film was; with a tiny running time of only 116 minutes, these days that could be classed as a short! – Okay well maybe not quite but pretty soon I’m sure it will. I was worried that if I didn’t start watching half seven I wouldn’t be done, but no I was done by half nine and that had included a few toilet/drink breaks!

So it seems a good film can still be shot in a reasonable amount of time; good actors will timeless; and meaningful sequels do still exist. Now I need to watch Ocean’s Twelve and Thirteen – watch this space.

 

Danny: Ten oughta do it, don’t you think?

Rusty: [Stares of in silence, not looking at Danny]

Danny: You think we need one more?

Rusty: [Silence]

Danny: You think we need one more.

Rusty: [Silence]

Danny: All right, we’ll get one more.

Rusty: [Blinks]

 

Doctor Who is back…

It’s only 6 days to go until the new series of Doctor Who airs and to give fans a little something extra Stephen Moffat has written a short prequel for the new series

 

And for further effect, here is the UK and American trailers for the second part of the 7th series!

 

Who is Clara Oswald? How will this series set up the 50th Anniversary special? And will the question be answered – Doctor Who?

 

Clara:Doctor, are we going to be okay?

Doctor: Oh yes (!)

Clara: Is that a lie?

Doctor: Possibly

(Doctor Who)

50/50 – It Takes a Pair to Beat the Odds

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For those of you who don’t know, this is basically a film about the big C; cancer. On first seeing the trailer, I was eager to see how Seth Rogen was going to tackle such a delicate subject especially as there had been a few jokes in it. Were those the only jokes? Was the film going to be cringe worthy crude? How was Rogen going to make cancer funny?

The story of the film was inspired by the writer Will Reiser’s own battle against cancer – in which Seth Rogen actually helped him through the ordeal and convinced him to write a screen play. The story is very inspiring, following a young man finding out he may die, his coping mechanisms, how he is treated by those around him and how real aspects of his life are affected, e.g. his sex life.

Seth Rogen plays, as always, his crazy, uncensored sex obsessed character who finds his friend (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in the predicament of a 50/50 chance of survival. The on screen pairing is sensational, Gordon-Levitt playing the sensible, ‘living-in-the-real-world’ half of the duo, while Rogen is the complete opposite, but together they are perfect.

The film itself is not as laugh-out-loud as I first expected, certain parts do make you chuckle (mainly Rogen’s one liners) but instead you find yourself smiling along with the characters as they deal with the situations which arise. It’s the first film in quite a while where I have really felt connected to the characters, for example I was desperate for Adam (Gordon-Levitt) to hook up with his love interest (Anna Kendrick) and I was fighting back the tears when he was saying his goodbyes to his family before his operation.

The film highlights a situation which terrifies us all and I think the way the story was carried out was a lovely take on what is such a serious situation. I immediately expected it to be a story of a cancer patient wanting to do his bucket list, but it was a nice surprise to find that it was in fact a story about love, family, friendship and defeat.

A must watch on a rainy day.

“A tumor?” – Adam

“Yes.” – Dr Ross

“Me?” – Adam

“Yes.” – Dr. Ross

“That doesn’t make any sense though. I mean… I don’t smoke, I don’t drink… I recycle…” – Adam

Oz: The Great and Powerful

Journey back into the magical world of Oz, as Sam Raimi steps up to take this old, much-loved franchise to new, unexplored territory as it explores the beginnings of the Wizard of Oz himself. Eight months ago, the first trailer was unveiled at Comic Con and I was hooked from the two-minute snippet we got. The movie stars James Franco as Oscar, (who likes to be known as Oz) a carnival magician who likes money and women; he lies and cheats his way through life but deep down he truly dreams of being remembered.

The opening 15 minutes or so are filmed in black and white as we see Oscar work as a carnival magician – the black and white and the cameos of some of the actors we’ll see in Oz later are just the first homage’s to the Wizard of Oz movie.  The first images we get of Oz are bright and colourful; truly magical and Oz explores his new surroundings like an excitable puppy. We meet the first of three witches here – Theodora (played by Mila Kunis) is a beautiful, good-natured witch, but quite naïve in some respects. From here Oz is thrown headfirst into an unwanted quest to make the Land of Oz safe and happy again. Theodora takes Oz to see her sister Evanora (played by Rachel Weisz) and then later meets Glinda (Michelle Williams), both of whom give Oz different perspectives of who the ‘wicked’ witch of Oz is.

As this is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz and many know who the chief villain is in that movie, it may come to no surprise that one of those witches does don the green make up and the pointy hat, although I won’t spoil it for you and reveal which one of the witches it is. The main cast are great in their roles with Franco putting in a great performance of a man who wants to be remembered and along the way, is embroiled in a prophecy that isn’t his to own forcing him to be a reluctant hero. Rachel Weisz is also one of my favourite actresses, and I love anything that she is in, and she shows a different side to her acting capabilities in this movie. Williams and Kunis also are great in their roles and Zach Braff brings added character to the flying monkey Finley, who Oz befriends on his journey through Oz.

Overall, this movie is a great film and is suitable for children as well as adults. For those that love watching The Wizard of Oz when it comes on TV, this film is certainly for you, with small homage’s to the original film ciphered into the plot. It’s doing well at the box office, and there is already talk of a potential sequel to the film. I urge everyone to take a walk down memory lane, and that yellow brick road.

 

Oz: I don’t want to be a good man… I want to be a great one. (Oz: The Great and Powerful)

Skyfall – Kat’s Review

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I know Rach already covered this film when it first came out but I thought seen as I have only just watched it and have different views on the film I’d give my response.

I knew the commitment to watching the latest James Bond film was a big one, people had advised to watch it when I wasn’t nearing sleep, when I had a good length of time spare, when I had nothing else to do apart from watch and so after weeks of waiting for the optimum moment I committed.

As I write this I’m still unsure of where the hype came from. Yes it was the latest Bond film to be released so anticipation was always expected – but did it really deserve how much it got? People had been telling me that it was the best film they’d ever seen, the best Bond film by far, a breath of fresh air for Bond – but the whole time I was watching it, all I could think of was ‘how old does Daniel Craig look? He’s surely not going to do another one?’

Considering the film was released last year I was thoroughly surprised that the ending to the story had remained a secret to my ears – I must have been dead to the world to have missed it! But I’m very glad it did because if it hadn’t then it would have been pointless watching it.

The film itself had a feel of the older films; there were fewer gadgets, less big stunts and less of a storyline to follow. Usually when I watch a Bond film I spend the whole time trying to understand what’s going on, but for the first time I was able to follow what was happening. Even the Bond girl – if you could class Naomi Harris as the Bond girl in this flick) didn’t get her kit off!

After Bond escorting Her Royal Majesty to the Olympic Opening Ceremony I really thought the new film was going to epic – yes that’s a hard job to follow but Bond always pulls it out the bag, right? Sadly this time, I feel wrong. Better luck next time Bond.

‘Where the hell have you been?’  M
‘Enjoying death. 007 reporting for duty.’ Bond James Bond – Skyfall.

 

Life is but a Dream…

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Beyonce Knowles has been a household name since her days as lead singer of popular girl group Destiny’s Child and now she is taking the world by storm. With rumours flying that she’s about to drop her 5th solo album; the release of her world tour The Mrs Carter Show, and the airing of her documentary Life is but a Dream, there is no stopping the world wide phenomenon.

As a UK fan I scoured the internet to find a watchable version of her HBO documentary and now I just love her even more. Looking beautiful in light fabrics, her famous mane in braids and very natural make-up, Beyonce chats happily on her sofa about her life experiences; although discussing some very happy times in her life, she also talks about some of the saddest, including the trouble with her father, and her miscarriage two years ago. She opens up and lets us into her personal life showing us family video tapes where we see her share intimate moments with her family and her husband Jay-Z – baby Blue also making a few cameos.

Alongside her life stories, Beyonce showcases some of her concert performances, as well as backstage snippets of gigs, TV shows and music video recordings. We even see her suffering from morning sickness while she is pregnant with Blue, as well as the struggles of trying to keep the news quiet as her body changes in the early stages.

The whole documentary shows you another side to her, the woman who’s worked hard to get what she wants out of life. It is obvious that she is a strong, empowering woman, who isn’t afraid to ask for more out of the people she surrounds herself with, at the same time she is able to show she doesn’t always have it together, turning to her husband, her friends and her family for support.

The documentary was inspiring to watch, to see her in her everyday life felt like such a treat. A must watch for any Beyonce fan!

“Who I m on stage is very, very different to who I am in real life. – Beyonce.

I Give it a Year Review

At the beginning of the year, this delightful romantic-comedy was released in UK cinemas, and I happily dragged 2 friends along to see this – thankfully we weren’t disappointed. Starring Rafe Spall, Rose Byrne, Anna Faris and Simon Baker this wasn’t your typical boy meets girl, they fall in love and then they get married the end. Instead the film opened with a wedding and questioned whether that special someone really was ‘the One’. Nat (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Rafe Spall) are our central couple and it isn’t long into the marriage that cracks start to appear. Adding to the pressure of their first year of marriage is Chloe (Anna Faris) Josh’s ex-girlfriend and Nat’s new work client Guy (Simon Baker) a good-looking American businessman who is instantly attracted to Nat.

The film is light-hearted and comedic, with a spin on the usual romantic comedy storyline. The main four cast members are great, with some great supporting cast as well that deliver great comedic lines to the film. Even though you can see the ending of the film coming for a while (and you find yourself rooting for it to happen), you can’t help but feel comfortable and at ease with the characters. My partiality to Simon Baker may have been my over-riding reason for wanting to see this film, however it’s a great film for a girly night-in or for a couple to watch.

 

Danny: It’s a shame that they can’t put your brain in her body – that would be amazing. Although you would be left with her brain and your body, imagine that? Oh My God it’s like Frankenstein, but with boobs!    (I Give it a Year)