2016: In Memoriam

2016: a year that took so many. And a lot of those were highly regarded public figures in the spotlight. I wanted to put together a small something to reflect on some of the many talent that was lost during this difficult year.

  • The first loss of the greats that the world collectively mourned was David Bowie. He was someone I deeply admired all throughout my childhood with the many viewings of Labyrinth (1986) and someone whose music, which I grew up on, I respected and revered. He was irreplaceable, a true defintion of a legend.
  • Shortly after hearing of Bowie's passing came the news of the death of Alan Rickman. This was a double whammy coming straight from hearing about Bowie a few days previously. Rickman oozed charm in every film he starred in, and his villains he portrayed were always a delight to watch.
The months carried on with more news coming in of well-known icons passing: Terry Wogan, Ronnie Corbett, Paul Daniels, Victoria Wood - the British legends; Muhammad Ali, Garry Shandling, Prince - the icons of America. By the time June had begun, people were already feeling uneasy about this year. And we weren't even halfway through...
  •  I've already discussed previously in this blog, how I was affected by hearing about the untimely death of Anton Yelchin. Even now, it still lingers and I feel for every person who lost someone they deeply admired this year.
  • August brought the news of the passing of Gene Wilder, with many reflecting on what a true comedic great he was.
And still the year continued with even more announcements causing shockwaves - by now, people were looking upon this year with disdain, with many of their idols taken from them. It would be that whenever a famous person was trending on Twitter, the immediate conclusion was of something bad happening. With November, came the news that Leonard Cohen had passed as well as Robert Vaughn. Just when people were thinking they were out of the woods with 2017 approaching, December occurred...
  •  The shocking news of George Michael's death on Christmas Day was a cruel reminder that this year was not through with us yet. As well as Bowie, George Michael was someone whose music was always a part of my life and for many, it still boggles the mind that he will no longer be around.
  • To have that announcement, swiftly followed by the news of the admirable Carrie Fisher now no longer with us, the world again mourned as one. And the next day came the double sucker-punch: Carrie's mom, the legendary Debbie Reynolds had also died.
This year has been relentless. And even though a lot of people grieved for those they greatly respected, we seemed to come together as a community to do so. I haven't even touched on the true number of those that passed away this year, including: Christina Grimmie (an absolute ridiculously senseless death), Alan Thicke and Caroline Aherne. We as a nation have been rocked by each announcement. Let's hope that the Grim Reaper takes a long vacation as 2017 dawns.


You Forgot The First Rule Of Remakes, Jill. Don't F*** With The Original.

I've been wanting to look at movie remakes for a while now but hadn't found the right opportunity, until it presented itself to me under the guise of horror films. I've always had a resistance to watching a remake/reboot for the reason that Hollywood seems to be rehashing fan favourites left, right and centre instead of focusing on developing new, original ideas. An easy option, Hollywood now even seems intent on remaking films that have only been released within the last 5 years, not giving the audience time to view the original and remake as two different entities. Something everyone is so very much aware of, even movies themselves are mocking this inability as demonstrated by the title of this article, which can be heard in Scream 4. Lately however, I've been more open to the concept and willing to give a remake a chance. Turns out, this is not always a good idea as you will see with the films I have chosen to look at....


Little Gems Vol. 2

Anton Yelchin Edition

As was the case with the first volume of this series, I am going to talk about those obscure films I've happened to stumble upon after becoming intrigued by an actor's body of work. This volume is going to centre upon the works of Anton Yelchin. Yelchin, as mentioned in the previous post, was an actor who was able to portray a wide-variety of roles and in celebration of his life and work, I'm going to focus on the roles that stand out. Even though I am fond of Yelchin's appearances in the many big blockbusters/popcorn movies that he made, I'm going to feature the films that are not necessarily that well-known to an everday viewer; the films that took my breath away due to the actors' performances, rather than those centered on big action sequences and plot devices.


Gone Too Soon

''If there's one thing I want you guys to walk away with tonight... uh, it's that you guys don't need me. I really mean it. You think I'm any less screwed up than you are? I get up every morning, and I look in the mirror, and I try and figure out just where I fit in. And I draw a complete blank. You guys are looking to me to tell you what to do? You need to stop listening to me. Stop listening to people telling you who you should be! And stop listening to the people who are telling you you're not good enough to do the things that you want to do. You guys have all the answers.'' - Charlie Bartlett

I'm still finding it hard to put into words the effect of losing Anton Yelchin is having on me. Just over a week has passed since hearing the tragic news of a talent gone way too soon and yet I'm still reeling. I first discovered the joy of watching Yelchin in the film Charlie Bartlett (2007), a film I had stumbled on a few years ago in my quest to feast upon the acting prowess of Robert Downey Jr. On watching this little gem, it was very difficult to concentrate on Downey due to him being outshone by the main protaganist as portrayed by Yelchin. I was blown away by his on-screen presence, his ability to go from innocently cheeky to heart-wrenglingly vulnerable, and I wanted to find out more.
  From watching Charlie Bartlett, I would always keep my eye on Yelchin's career and would always delight in hearing a new role he was cast in. A man dedicated to his job, you would never hear stories that would cause your heart to sink, never hearing about any cliches that fall upon fellow Hollywood child stars. It was refreshing to not see him pop up in tabloids in a transparent way to gain publicity; why would he need to, he had enough desire to be known as a hard-working individual who had a love for the film artform, rather than trying to win a popularity contest. This was evident in the career that he had started to build.

The range that he already had in his untimely short career was astounding, every single performance filled with wonder. Even films that I didn't really have an overwhelming impulse to see, I made sure I had time for due to his presence - films such as the Fright Night (2011) remake (which, actually, is not too bad a film that stands on its own, helped increasingly by Yelchin in the lead role). I remember watching Terminator Salvation (2009) at the cinema and being quite taken by the actor who portrayed Kyle Reese, the only redeeming factor from an otherwise lackluster film. I was delighted when I realised it was Anton Yelchin (I was slow on the uptake, ok?). Hungry for more captivating performances, I revelled in every mention of upcoming films featuring Yelchin, right up to the recent release of Green Room (2016). A premise that I was intrigued by plus Patrick Stewart featuring as a despicable villain, I ended up missing the cinema release but still had it on my list of must-see films. A film that, when watching on DVD release, will hold a bittersweet aftertaste as I'm sure viewers of the latest Star Trek will experience next month when it's due for a cinematic release.

I'm stunned that there will be no more excitement in hearing a new film that will showcase his skills, no more will I get to see his innocent yearning in discovering each new challenge. I urge you, if you haven't already, to watch his backlog of films and discover this amazing actor. His legacy will live on in the films that he did get to make and for that, I will be forever grateful. Let's not dwell on what could have been but instead delight in the gifts he has left for generations to come.


Movie Adaptations Part 2 Vol. 2

So on to my second part of comparing and contrasting the Harry Potter books alongside the films. In the last article, I looked at Films 1-4 and now I will look at films 5-8 more closely and reach my conclusion. Please note, spoilers are bound to pop up so enter if you've either seen/read each Harry Potter, or you know, you just don't care getting spoiled...


Movie Adaptations Part 2 Vol.1

For the second installment of the above topic, I am again going to look at books being made into films but this time on a broader scale. Which is why I've chosen the Harry Potter series to look at. This came about due to my upcoming visit to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London, discussions with a friend and my recent re-reading of a few of the books. All of which led me to think about the films - the things they got right, and the things they got ever so wrong. So I thought I'd look at a group of the books and compare and contrast with each film over the course of two articles. Everybody has an opinion on each book and the films and now I'm going to share mine.

Harry Potter - An Overview:
A brief background of the series for those of you who have been living under a rock these past 18 years, Harry Potter is about a boy who is mistreated by the aunt and uncle who are his legal guardians after his parents were killed. At the start of the series, Harry is blissfully unaware how much his life is going to turn upside down over the course of the books. And yes 'blissfully' is probably too strong a word in the positive sense after the way his family abuses him so the audience is overjoyed when Harry is able to escape, after being told he's a wizard and that he's actually pretty famous in the wizarding world thanks to defeating a dark evil psychopath when he was a baby. The books chronicle Harry's acceptance into the fact that he's just been told this life-changing news and his dealings with the evil wizard's rise to power once again all while trying to survive school. It's a basic Good v.s. Evil concept, something that's done before but here it is craftfully done over seven books, each one evidently thought out well in advance.
  Got it? Good, onto the books and the film counterparts....


Believe the Hype....

Breaking Bad - Walter and Jesse - Crystal Canyon TV Poster
Breaking Bad -...
Buy This at Allposters.com

Have you ever watched a TV show that affected you so much, you couldn't stop thinking and analysing it? I was going to write an article that explored a variety of TV series that were as powerful and captivating as each other, exploring shows that featured episodes that were just as mouth-dropping as the next. Then I got stuck as I couldn't think of more than one TV show that actually captured this. I will give you one guess to which show I'm thinking of (hint, look up). After months and months of hearing everyone rave about this television show, I gave it a whirl, and after two episodes... I gave up for a bit. I put it down to bad timing, here was a show that I could see had huge potential but I just couldn't get through an episode without a lot of effort. So I put it on hold, knowing I would pick it up again someday. And then I received the boxset, settled down to watch with my sister and boom! Chemistry happened....

Throughout this piece, I'm going to analyse every part of the series that makes it THE show that everyone talks about and why I actually agree. Spoilers abound, so what you waiting for? If you haven't seen it, go, go! I'll wait behind the cut....