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 -...
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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....


Unpopular Opinions

This came to me when I was watching a TV episode that the majority rates as being top-notch (an episode I will come back to later) and it got me thinking about other overrated TV episodes - not the whole series itself but those single episodes that are considered gems by everyone else when in fact they are just lumps of coal.

1960s Head-On View of TV Set with Crowds in Bleachers on Screen
1960s Head-On...
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I'm going to look at three episodes from three different television shows and describe, in my opinion, why I think each one was so overrated and what it is that winds me up so much about it. So sit back and start channel surfing.


Say What?

I started to think about the way that accents are portrayed in films after seeing the film Locke (2014) at the cinema quite recently. Locke features Tom Hardy as the main character Ivan Locke who sets on a journey when the mother of his baby goes into labour. It's an interesting concept, original- the entire film taking place on a car journey. What got me thinking was Tom Hardy's choice of accent, Welsh. The accent started off as quite distracting, as I, as an audience member, couldn't quite associate the accent with the actor. Which then got me thinking about actors who have got an ear for accents and those that should just stop even contemplating doing an accent different to their own.

Frequency and Hearing
Frequency and...
Pop Ink - CSA...
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So, I will look at a couple of actors and the films in which require them to adopt an accent and analyse why I think each one is particularly good or particularly bad: