Wonder Woman (Film) Review

Imagine trying to talk about a film you’ve waited almost 40 years for.

It’s so difficult to convey what this movie means. Not just from a feminist standpoint but to me, the person. More specifically, me the four-year old obsessed with a high kicking female role model, the icon I wanted to be when I grew up.

And now here I sit on the other side, having devoured the movie and I can’t believe it. It feels amazing. It feels important. And I can’t stop bursting into sporadic tears. (Being reminded of what it felt like to be a kid, with all those simple dreams ahead always makes me feel very raw and emotional).

No traditional review here, just some thoughts and I’ll stay exceedingly light on the *spoilers* because I’m not a monster.

Please see this movie, even if you’ve been burned with the DCEU offerings so far. Even if you still can’t get the horrible aftertaste of Jared Leto’s cackling Joker out of your mouth. Hey, even if you’ve not seen a single superhero movie in your life.

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Wonder Woman (2017)

IMDB Synopsis

Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

My Thoughts

The first fifteen minutes of my viewing experience was sullied by an over zealous cinema goer who wasn’t going to stand for light chatter or non-designated seating arrangements during this showing, even if her mission to get people to zip it was ultimately more distracting. I get it though, I’m a “Shut the fuck up” truther but I had bigger fish to fry on Thursday night and was willing to let it slide.

Once she’d chilled the fuck out, I was able to fully immerse myself in the wonder of Themyscira and the Amazon philosophy, which is represented stunningly. An island with no men? Sign me up.

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Bring your daughter to work day was always fun

Of course this couldn’t remain the state of play forever, as the story has to move on somehow. How better to fuck shit up than to introduce the men? Before we get there though, rest assured that the land of warrior women is not only gorgeous to look at but also hench AF.

Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielson) worries for her only daughter, spinning Diana a yarn about having moulded her out of clay herself, begging Zeus to bring her to life. This explains why Diana (Gal Gadot) is the embodiment of physical perfection. There’s more to this story though which we’ll unravel as we go.

Aunty Antiope (the mighty Robin Wright) is the henchest of them all, training Diana to be better than anyone and challenging her when she doubts her own strength. But I’m not here to break this all down for you so let’s just say that fate has a plan for the unsullied Princess Diana and her future lays off-island.

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Prince(ss) of Hats

Which takes Diana and her new friend, the freshly rescued American Spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) to London where our hero will learn all there is to know about humanity and the ugly face of war, all whilst motivated by her own mission.

Some of the best bits are Diana getting to grips with the role of women in the world outside the one she knows. Her constant questioning shines a light on the ridiculousness of almost every situation, and certainly gets her noticed.

Anyway, the action does not stay in London for long, as Diana and Trevor journey further into the heart of darkness, in search of war. Diana for her own reason, Steve because it’s his job. They team up with a rag-tag bunch, which includes the amazing Etta Candy, WW’s sidekick in the comics (played by the lovely Lucy Davis).

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Candy girl. you are my world

I loved the chemistry between Etta and Diana but I wanted much more for them. I guess I would have liked to have explored the concept of different kinds of strength, not just the physical in more depth. You can argue that Etta displays her own anyway, I think my desire for a more female interaction is betraying itself.

A bit about the baddies. Without giving too much away, our main villain is Doctor Maru AKA “Doctor Poison” (Elena Anaya), the half-masked scientist with a deadly objective, to build the perfect super weapon. She is backed by German bad boy Ludendorff (Danny Huston) who is chemically altered by the Doc’s own concoctions whenever the need arises.

Like Etta, I would have liked to learn more about Doctor Poison’s motivations and her history. But there’s a chance we may meet again so I can let that one go.

So Diana travels to the front line and is shocked by what she witnesses. Her innate desire to help everyone is admirable but it’s not always possible to save everyone. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t try and there’s a sequence set in No Man’s Land that is madness personified but also incredible.

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It’s a Woman’s world

This is Wonder Woman’s first chance to shine and boy does she knock this one out of the park. Interestingly, she is never referred to as WW within this movie. Perhaps it’s like describing yourself as pretty or funny, you’re not really supposed to say it about yourself but it’s okay for others to?

Anyway, there’s a lot of action, loads of arse-kicking, a little old-fashioned smooching and a massive final showdown (obvs). Along the way the people’s princess learns more than one valuable life lesson and it’s those truth nuggets that propel a gal (Gadot) forward.

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Even Chris Pine couldn’t spoil this

I loved every minute, honestly. It’s so good to see this movie and know how many young girls there are out there completely beside themselves with excitement. The film is rated 12A and this was a conscious decision by the film’s director, Patty Jenkins to ensure the newest generation of fans could get to it.

It’s not a perfect movie (though it’s the best DC I’ve seen since the Christopher Nolan days) but that just doesn’t matter. It’s an important one and one that needs to be seen. I think every person should go to see this film; the female driven, female directed blockbuster.

You should give it your money so we get more, do it for your daughters, your sisters, your friends. Do it so the next generation have more female role models to look up to.

I can’t wait to see it again.

My Rating

5/5. Obviously.

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We Could Be Heroes #3: Barb Holland (Fictional)

tumblr_ob5j4zwxaj1s9au7co1_r2_1280**This love letter contains Stranger Things spoilers**

A couple of months back I fell in love, and I fell hard.

Sadly, this love was never fully realised as, a) it was for a fictional character and b) the object of my affection was coldly snatched from me before it could develop any further.

Still, that’s not going to stop me waxing lyrical on how great she is. So without further ado, let’s hear it for The Barb.

Barb Holland (of Stranger Things), on the face of it, comes off as a bit of a drag. I mean, she’s sensible and protective and that comes from the best possible place but she also has a judgmental air that isn’t becoming. But she’s the ‘mom’, she cares about her BFF Nancy Wheeler, worries about her virtue and means well.

I know how she feels for I was Barb back in the day, and this is undoubtedly why the character means so much to me. Slightly off in the looks department, terrified she will be dumped for the cooler crowd and not at all attractive to the opposite sex (yet) so therefore without a frame of reference as Nancy gains sexual experience and maturity. Me.

And millions of former awkward kids across the world, which again has to be part of the reason why she’s become such a stand out from the series, despite only being in three episodes.

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Mom-core

Barb has a style all her own, all mom jeans and ruffled checks, ginormous snooker-player spectacles and ginger helmet hair (which I remember only too well from my own follicle history). She is resolutely herself and that’s what I like. Had she not been dragged into The Upside Down perhaps this would have changed and Barb would have swapped the Dennis Taylors for contacts and lowered her waistlines, fallen more in line with the new crew. This would have been fine if that’s what she wanted, but Barb is/was perfect already.

The only fly in Barb’s ointment, apart from the death and all, is that when she was gone only one person visibly cared. Justice was never served for Barb Holland and it’s an outrage of epic proportions. When Will Byers disappears, the whole town gets involved and his mother Joyce doesn’t rest for a second. Neither do his friends. When Barb goes missing, only Nancy notices her absence and only Nancy mourns her when her fate is casually revealed. Barb deserved better.

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The Duffer Brothers promise #justiceforbarb in Season Two, coming up in 2017 and I bloody hope they deliver. In the meantime though, this one goes out to The Queen of the Upside Down, the slightly annoying but caring friend, who would have lived had she not tried to fit in, or if she’d been a worse friend and just left Nancy to her own nocturnal devices.

RIP my sweet friend, we hardly knew you ❤

Ellie the Elephant

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Not Ellie, but I loved these fuckers too ❤

Last weekend, as we Netflix and chilled at my brother’s (actually, ew), my Sister-in-law brought out Maeve, her childhood lion and I was reminded instantly of Ellie the Elephant.

In a forever kick-yourself moment, I handed Ellie over ‘temporarily’ to the great-aunt of that bastard I used to live with as we jetted off to start our new life in Canada. Last Chance Saloon I called it and boy was it. But Ellie couldn’t come for some reason and I’m so mad at myself for not stuffing her into my suitcase anyway.

I thought I could always go back for her and then everything ended, and now Ellie’s gone forever. You’d think that was a small price to pay for my freedom and maybe it is but still. I’ll always regret that decision.

In my heart I know she was probably burnt to a crisp in a garden bonfire, renamed Christa as a grotesque effigy of me after I left but I don’t want to believe she’s gone. I suppose I could pick up the phone, swallow my pride and ask for her back but I can’t handle the truth, or the inevitable abuse.

Ellie the Elephant, legend has it, was given to me as a newborn by a group of hospital staff in Toronto. My father had apparently misjudged my delicate character and presented a giant gorilla that made me cry so the antidote was Ellie, a baby pink elephant twice as big as me.

Life for us was a rollercoaster from that moment on and Ellie bore the brunt of everything I ever went through. All the rage, the playful torture from my brother, the kickings, the kidnappings – Ellie felt all my feelings, washed down by a million angsty tears. And she was rewarded for her loyalty by losing an ear and one glass eye. She was sewn up and re-stuffed more times that I can remember.

Ellie was the confidante and the cure; she was my very best friend when sometimes I felt like I had nobody. She didn’t travel as much as I did because I just couldn’t bear the idea of losing her in some far off land, or more likely Amsterdam but she was always there when I got back, she was there for me when I was happy and there when I’d given up all hope.

Seeing Maeve made me feel sad. Poor grubby Maeve with no mane and a distended body, looking like she’s carrying all Maddy’s secrets. Her and Ellie would have been great friends.

I want her back, wonderful crusty Ellie the Elephant, aged 38 (and 2 months) ❤

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Mini) (Film) Review

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Director: J.J. Abrams
Stars: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Lupita Nyong’o

IMDB Synopsis: Three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat arises. The First Order attempts to rule the galaxy and only a rag-tag group of heroes can stop them, along with the help of the Resistance.

My Thoughts:

It is perfect.

Questions: 

Hundreds of them!

My Rating: 💯💯💯💯💯

I’ll be visiting my Top 10 Favourite Films of 2015 before the year is out, so I’m sure we’ll come back to this magical movie event but for now, as I process its magnitude, this is all I have to say.

If you’re into it, and you’re planning on seeing this movie, all I can say is try and see it soon, before someone let’s something slip. This is the advice a friend gave me and I’m very glad he persuaded me to go yesterday (didn’t take much tbh).

I was going to wait for ‘the hype to die down’. Don’t do that, the hype and other people’s enthusiasm about something you truly love is beautiful to see.

Enjoy – and May the Force be with you!

NB: See you tomorrow (ish) for a review of Christmas disaster movie, Icetastrophe (2014) ❄❄❄

Ginger Snaps (Film) Review

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I have a new favourite film blogger (and movie buddy); it’s Jillian of The Pink Panther Snipes Again.

Jillian reviews films on her blog that could be considered a little bit off the beaten track. It’s not like they are all obscure though, Sabrina Goes to Rome and Sabrina Down Under were quite popular TV movies back in the late nineties, though I had forgotten about both of them until Jillian reviewed them in her inimitable style.

It was when she reviewed Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same that I knew this was a girl after my own heart (before, actually but what? I’m playing it cool here). A bit of back and forth by email culminated in us arranging a virtual movie date and this is it. Welcome to our virtual movie date!

Since Jillian and I live on opposite sides of the world, we have been forced to watch the same film at different times, rather than share a tub of popcorn on the same couch. We’re aiming to post our reviews on the same day (today).

I think this is such a fun idea and it was all Jillian’s. I know we have to see how the first date goes but if it works and we both have a good time, I hope we’ll do this again. J, I’ve sort of based the structure of this post on yours as a tribute and… next movie choice is yours.

NB: Beware of spoilers. If you haven’t seen this film yet but intend to, you might want to look away now. 

The Film:

Ginger Snaps (2000)

After shortlisting a few gems on Netflix (both the US/UK versions), we decided on this one. I’ve seen it before and am a big fan, while this will be the first time for Jillian (who had to source a copy as, surprisingly, US Netflix doesn’t have it). UPDATE: She has seen it before, I lied. My bad.

Where to Watch:

UK Netflix

The Premise:

The Fitzgerald Sisters are obsessed with death and suicide, and in keeping with this theme, have made a pact to each other to get ‘out by sixteen or dead on the scene’ (which I think means killed themselves). Unfortunately, the sisters’ bond is tested when Ginger is bitten by a werewolf.

The Trailer:

Viewable here.

The (Very) Uncondensed Version*: 

*This sh@@ is looooong

Ginger Snaps opens with a fairly innocuous establishing shot of a normal overcast day in suburbia. A mother is raking leaves in the yard while her young son plays in the sand pit. The kid appears to have blood on his face but as he has his back to his mother, she doesn’t notice straight away. Oh but we do, we dooooooo!

Continue reading “Ginger Snaps (Film) Review”

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret Review

wpid-img_20150207_131346.jpgWhen I mentioned at the weekend that I would be having a look back at some vintage classics, starting with a couple of Judy Blume‘s best known works, my news feed came alive with nostalgic comments.

A lot of my friends remembered the books fondly and it made me feel even more excited about hunkering down with some familiar characters over a cup of tea.

I wanted to read Forever first but in the end decided to save it until after I’d revisited Margaret. I’m glad I did that, for reasons I will come back to in the Forever review (spoiler alert: it’s still quite saucy!).

But to this book. I love it still and the thing that stood out most for me is the fact that the writing is really good. I have to confess that I half expected to be taking the piss out of the books that I was so into as a kid/teenager but there wasn’t a trace of that as soon as I picked them both up.

AYTGIMM follows 11 year old Margaret Simon as she navigates her way through a new school, new friends, a secret club, periods, boobs and boys. Written from her point of view, we learn some of the secrets that she doesn’t care to share with her friends, such as her true feelings for Moose, the boy who cuts the grass, and how much she really wants to get her period.

Margaret’s core group comprises Nancy Wheeler, Gretchen Potter and Janie Loomis. Together they form the Four PTSs (Pre-teen Sensations) who meet every Monday to pore over their boy books, talk about periods and do their boob enhancing exercises.

All my life it seems I have been semi-aware of the “I must, I  must, I must increase my bust” mantra and it comes from this book. It may have been a thing way before it was set to paper but this is where I picked it up. Yes, I did do it myself (and look at me now!). It was very pleasing to get the warm and fuzzies whilst remembering it.

Despite her intimate circle, every night Margaret chats with the one person (or entity) who will listen to her no matter what. But when she starts to question religion on a deeper level and it brings up issues she doesn’t like, their relationship becomes strained. Will Margaret continue to turn to G-O-D or with they grow apart forever?

I thought that the religion thing was actually quite inspired. Margaret is brought up in a similar way to how my brother and I were; encouraged to choose her own faith when she feels ready. Margaret’s father is Jewish, while her mother is Christian so Margaret decides to give each a fair crack before she commits to one of religion, if at all.

I won’t go into it too much, but it’s quite refreshing to think that this topic was approached head on and then handled in such a sensitive way. I’m impressed with the diplomatic way it raises questions but doesn’t veer in any one direction.

Margaret also shares a close relationship with her grandmother, Sylvia. Keen to convert her granddaughter to Judaism, Sylvia nicknames her “Jewish Girl” which just adds pressure to Margaret as she tries to work out which way she should turn, biblically (or Torah-ly).

Blume also addresses the subject of slut shaming, although I am confident that this was not a phrase back when I was 11, even if it was definitely a thing.

Poor Laura Denker is labelled a bit of a goer (my words) because she is tall and well-developed for her age. She is  the subject of much bitching (but mostly envy) within the secret club, who have heard rumours about her getting felt up behind the bike sheds (or the US equivalent, the bleachers?) by Nancy’s brother, Evan and the aforementioned, Moose.

But the main topic on all the girls’ minds is of course, puberty. The girls do focus a lot of attention on boys, mainly Phillip Leroy, the class fitty but that’s nothing compared to the massive amount of time they all spend fretting about growing up, finally getting their periods and proving that they are normal.

I remember so vividly how I used to feel before the Big P came along, how much I wanted to get it and kick start womanhood. It’s nice to be reminded of the girl I used to be, who still pops up her head every now and again, who sometimes has the same worries she used to about the way she looks.

Ah, the simpler days.

(Incidentally, on the day I finally got my period, I was running indoors and banged my head, cutting it open. That day I bled from both ends, proof you should be careful what you wish for. Although, as compensation, we did get fish and chips for supper).

All in all, I adored my trip down Memory Lane. Judy Blume did so well because she understood, and was able to convey what it’s like to be this age. In 2010, Margaret was placed on Time magazines Top 100 fiction books written in English since 1923 list:  ″Blume turned millions of pre-teens into readers. She did it by asking the right questions—and avoiding pat, easy answers.″ (via Wikipedia).

Which sums it up better than anything. She just gets it.

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Cover by Julian Montague

The question to answer, I suppose, is does the book hold up? I think so. I mean, I’m 25 years older than the main protagonist so the things I worry about now are somewhat different to then. However, from a nostalgic point of view, I can remember those feelings of inadequacy and pressure like they were yesterday.

I like to be reminded of who I was and of being that age. I also wonder if there is that much difference between being (nearly) 12 years old back when I was 12, or indeed back when AYTGIMM was first published in 1970 (over 40 years ago), and being 12 now. I would imagine, at the centre of it they have the same worries with a lot more besides.

I think my generation are lucky they didn’t have to grow up in the digital age. Nobody had a phone of their own until the very early naughties (or I definitely didn’t) and MySpace was just about the most exciting thing happening on the web, which was still dial-up and patchy at best.

I can only imagine what this book would be like if it were rewritten in today’s setting. A hell of a lot more slut shaming, a bit of internet trolling and a lot of distracted tweeting, rather than two minutes in the closet, I’d bet.

I’m sure I’d still love it though.

Book details:

 Next up: Forever by Judy Blume.

Adult Visions

Prompt via The Daily Post (23rd July 2014)

As a kid, you must have imagined what it was like to be an adult. Now that you’re a grownup (or becoming one), how far off was your idea of adult life?little girl shoes

I always thought that when I finally became an adult, I would feel like one. That hasn’t happened yet.

Perhaps it’s because I don’t own my own house or have a ‘proper’ job. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have children or a car. I don’t know. All I know is that it hasn’t hit me yet.

When I was a kid I don’t know what I expected from life. I was a live in the moment girl (I think). I loved music and dressing up but I didn’t dream of white weddings and horses like many of my peers. I suppose I assumed it would just happen and I would do all the things people were ‘supposed’ to do when the time came.

I have done some of it but most of my decisions in life have not been very sensible. I guess I equate adulthood with being sensible then. Although, I’m casting my mind back and growing up the only adults I really spent time around were my Mum and her cousin, Aunty Sine.

Both these women were my ultimate heroes, even though Mum was terribly uncool at times (guys she’s my Mum, of course she was!). I think I looked to them as such because neither of them needed a man to get through. Their situations were very different but they seemed so Can Do and found strength in each other. I think maybe I found strength in their strength (plus apart from them, I was surrounded by smelly boys and Star Wars toys, so had little choice).

Later on, I did turn to men for the things I thought I needed – but give a girl a break, at least I learnt eventually that’s just a crock of sh*t. Ultimately, the only hero you need to save you, is you. *VOM!*

Despite these two ladies dragging us up by the scruffs of our necks, all by themselves, I wouldn’t describe them as particularly sensible. I remember the bottles of wine once we were in bed, guys… Maybe then, being grown up is about strength; about just getting on and doing life the best way you know how?

I’ve had some cray jobs (dating agency, adult material mail order, turkey plucking), went travelling instead of going to University, fell in love with stupid boys (who hasn’t?). I’ve lived alone (for a bit) in a strange foreign city, accepted a free tattoo from a man who lives in a hut in Thailand; all of these things make up the fabric of my rites of passage and the end result is: I’m still just a kid at heart. Sensible? No, not really, but strong? Better believe it!

The most grown up things about me, to date, are: 1) I always pay my bills on time 2) I’ve committed myself for life to another human being and 3) I’ve filed my own tax returns (in 2010 and 2011).

So, to recap: how far off was my idea of adulthood? Pretty far, I guess.

I though 30 was ancient and I assumed I would have kids because Mum did and so did Sine. I don’t think I actually pictured the man I would end up with (and I like to think that’s because then, I didn’t even want one).

I thought I’d have a better job, maybe something creative like fashion designer or an artist, like Dad (shame I can’t draw for fudge). Beyond that, I don’t think I had the normal expectations. I knew I’d see the world, make friends, be happy.

Guess really, I’m not such a bad non-adult adult after all, huh?

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