Film Friday #191

Alien (1979)

While heading back to Earth space ship, Nostromo, receives a distress call which wakes its crew from hypersleep. Reluctantly they decide to stop and explore the mysterious planet where the call originated. On returning to the ship they discover that they’ve brought a rather strange creature back with them and it’s not long before they realise it’s only got one thing on its mind – their total destruction. Alien  brings together a number of the ultimate horror movie elements that help to rachet up the fear levels to eleven. There’s the fact that the ship is full of dark nooks and crannies where a terrible beastie could hide not to mention that it’s a hellishly claustrophobic place. On top of that the alien is a horrible parasite which an ability to inflict a level of body horror that has rarely been surpassed. What could be scarier than something living inside you and then bursting though your motherfucking chest? Oh wait… it’s an impossibly strong and agile faceless creature with two mouths that bleeds acid. it also doesn’t help that not everyone on the crew is who they say they are, adding a clever double-cross element which means the crew is even more alone than they thought they were. What makes Alien great though is not the setting or the actual scariness of the alien but the outstanding direction from Ridley Scott than draws the tension out of every scene. There are also impressive performances from John Hurt, Ian Holm, Harry Dean Stanton and of course, Sigourney Weaver playing the original bad-ass sci-fi female. Still a classic after 35 years! 5/5

Kane was finding his new balaclava surprisingly uncomfortable

Kane was finding his new balaclava surprisingly uncomfortable

21 & Over (2013)

On the night of his 21st birthday, Jeff Chang’s (Justin Chon) two high school best friends, out of control party animal Miller (Miles Teller) and straight-laced finance student, Casey (Skylar Astin) pay him a surprise visit with the intention of having a massive night out. The only problem is that Jeff Chang has a medical school interview the next morning and if he screws it up his terrifying father (François Chau) is going to kill him. It doesn’t take much for Miller to convince his two friends that a couple of drinks won’t be the end of the world but everyone knows a couple of drinks is never just a couple of drinks and soon Jeff Chang has passed out cold. Casey is sure that if they get their friend home he’ll be able to sleep it off in time for the interview. The only problem is they can’t remember where he lives. What ensues is a night of nudity, drinking games, tampon eating, breaking and entering and endless gender and racial stereotyping… some of which is pretty funny and some of which is tedious and disgusting… all in the name of getting Jeff Chang home in time. For the most part 21 & Over is just a kind of rehash of The Hangover with younger characters. Miller’s refusal to move on from his teens pushed up against Casey’s inability to let loose and the potential loss of their former close friendship is a tired old trope. What might have been interesting is how they discover Jeff Chang is not who they thought he was and has been silently going through some serious emotional turmoil except that it’s tonally very odd in the context of the rest of the hijinks. 21 & Over is silly and predictable but better than the second Hangover film (and probably the third, which I couldn’t face)  if you’re into that kind of thing. Go in with low expectations and you’ll get exactly what you bargained for. 2/5

Just off the top of his head Jeff Chang couldn't remember where he had left his ID

Just off the top of his head Jeff Chang couldn’t remember where he had left his ID

White Men Can’t Jump (1992)

Sidney Deane (Wesley Snipes) is a professional basketball hustler using a set of clever ruses to earn big money playing pick-up games. He is beaten at his own game by an out of town hustler called Billy Hoyle (Woody Harrelson), who plays on the fact that he is white to trick opponents into underestimating him. At first Sidney is furious that he’s been trumped but he realises if the two of them hustle together they’ll be able to double their chances of winning and convinces Billy to join him. While Sidney’s goal is to make enough money to move his wife and child to a better neighbourhood, Billy wants to pay off a gambling debt which he ran up by never quite knowing when to quit. Initially the two don’t get on, playing racial stereotypes off each other, but as they spend more time together a strong friendship forms – one that will be tested by greed, pride and the desire to win at all costd. There is a lot to love about this early 90’s sports dramedy. The dialogue is really funny and snappy and the chemistry between Snipes and Harrelson is awesome as is the chemistry between Harrelson and Rosie Perez who plays his sassy Jeopardy-obsessed girlfriend, Gloria. On the downside it’s a bit predictable but overall an excellent buddy film with a great soundtrack and some brilliantly retro outfits. 3.5/5

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The moment when Billy realised white men *can* jump!

The Colony (2013)

After a new ice age takes hold a group of human colonists are forced underground in order to survive. On a routine mission to connect with a neighbouring colony, Briggs (Laurence Fishburn) and Sam (Kevin Zegers) come across a savage band of cannibals with an unquenchable thirst for human flesh. Now they must race back to save the colony before this ferocious enemy rips it apart. As B movies go The Colony isn’t bad. The effects are passable and the story mostly makes sense. The cannibals also scared the bejesus out of me. The scene where Briggs and Sam first come across them made my skin crawl. Unfortunately the plot is a bit thin and the character development is even thinner, which makes it somewhat predictable and as scary as the cannibals are it’s hard to care about the fate of any of their victims. And Sam’s resilience when he fights off the cannibal leader (Dru Viergever) is ludicrous. There are worse ways to spend an hour and a half. 2/5

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Sam wondered if it was time for a new hat

100 Days of Happiness: Day 91 – 100

So this is my last 100 Days of Happiness post since I’ve reached the end of the project. I have really mixed feelings about this. I’ve absolutely loved taking pictures and it’s been a fun and enriching experience. At the same time I think it’s normal and okay to have days that are wholly unremarkable. All things in balance. And there’s nothing wrong with being too busy living your moments to have to document them… but here goes.

Day 91

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There is a charity shop around the corner from my house that sells second hand stuff in order to help people who have HIV/AIDS. I popped in to have a poke around and found this great salad bowl and baking dish for only £3. Now that’s a bargain to feel good about.

Day 92

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At the age of 67 my dad got his first ever smartphone. I convinced him to download WhatsApp so we could chat. This is the first sweaty post gym selfie I sent him.

Day 93

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My friend, Sam, who is the person I managed longer than anyone else left our company last Tuesday. I am sad not to see him everyday anymore but really happy for all his new opportunities.

Day 94

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My company is moving to a new building in a couple of months time. We went for a visit of the new building and I was happy to practice sitting in the manicured roof garden admiring the 360 degree view of the city.

Day 95

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My work laptop has been on its last legs for a while now. I finally got a new one and it has a touch screen!

Day 96

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I really, really love this Dr Jart BB cream but it’s really, really expensive so I can’t usually afford it but I found it for 50% off. Yay!

Day 97

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On Saturday I went dress shopping for a wedding with my friend, Alex. It was ridiculously hot so I didn’t think I could survive the train journey without a cold drink. One of the off licences near Earlsfield station sells South African products so I stopped in for a Creme Soda. In South Africa creme soda is widely known to be a miracle hangover cure so we call it the green ambulance. It’s great when you’re just overheating too.

Day 98

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Mr O and I both love Bounty chocolate bars because of the coconut centre. I decided to try and replicate them in the form of a cupcake… and they were delicious.

Day 99

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One of our suppliers entered a campaign my team worked on into some marketing awards. We weren’t able to attend the ceremony where we were shortlisted so they decided we should go for a celebratory drink anyway so we spent the evening sipping cocktails in the beautiful Ham Yard Hotel. This picture is of some of their quirky light fixtures.

Day 100

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I bought new gym socks and then I realised they have my name on them. It’s the little things.

Things I have been cooking lately #86: Lamb burgers with courgette “chips”

Sometimes all you feel like is a really good burger. These super juicy, super tasty lamb burgers would be great grilled, fried or on the braai (BBQ) and the courgette fries are a healthy alternative to fries.

Lamb burgers with courgette chips

Adapted from Accounting For Taste

For the burger

400g lamb mince
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1/2 a red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons of mint, finely chopped
A few grinds of pepper

For the tzatziki

1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
1 tsp minced garlic
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/3 cucumber grated
1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh mint
Salt

For the sweet chili sauce

1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce

For the topping

1/2 cup diced cucumber
1 diced tomato

For the courgette chips

1 courgette
2 eggs
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Salt

4 hamburger rolls

To make the tzatiki, sprinkle the cucumber with a little salt. Allow to stand for a minute or two and then squeeze hard to get the excess moisture out. Mix together the cucumber yoghurt, mint, garlic and lemon juice and set aside.

The mix together the ingredients for sweet chili sauce and set side.

To make the courgette chips, preheat your oven to 200 C. Place a wire rack on top of a baking sheet and grease the rack lightly to avoid sticking. Beat the eggs in a bowl and add a pinch of salt. Place the panko breadcrumbs on a plate. Trim and thinly slice the courgette. You can do this by hand or with a food processor or mandolin. Dip each courgette slice in the beaten egg and then in the breadcrumbs, Spread the courgette slices out on the wire rack. Try to avoid them touching. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes.

While the courgette chips are baking, make the burgers.

Put all the ingredients for the burgers in a large mixing bowl. Mix together with your  hands until well-combined. Divide into 4 equal sized balls. Flatten each ball slightly to make a patty. You can now cook your burgers in a frying pan or the BBQ or do what we did and put it on the George Foreman grill. They need about 4 minutes on each side.

To assemble the burgers spread the bottom of one of the burger rolls with sweet chili sauce and the top with tzatziki. Place one of the patties on top of the sweet chilli sauce, top with cucumber and tomato and the close. Serve with courgette chips.

Serves 4

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Top Ten Actresses Who Annoy Me

Abbi:

Another awesome blog post about irrationally irritating actresses. This time from my girl Table Nine Mutant over at Cinema Parrot Disco. Check it out!

Originally posted on Cinema Parrot Disco:

Abbi over at Where The Wild Things Are started something with her excellent list of “The Top Ten Actresses Who Irrationally Annoy The Shit Out Of Me”. She followed it up with a list of annoying actors and then lists of actors & actresses she’d watch in pretty much anything. I believe some others have made their own lists since then – let me know if you’ve done one too & I’ll add a link to it. :-)

It was a great idea so I’ve done all four lists as well. Thanks, Abbi! I’ll start with The Top Ten Actresses Who Annoy Me (and I don’t think I’m being irrational at ALL. Lol). These are in no particular order (but Gwyneth certainly takes the crown). I won’t elaborate – I’m hoping we can all have a good bitchfest in the comments! But I’ll try to be a little positive…

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Outfit of the week #57: The LBD

I’m not normally a great one for all black. It’s all prints and patterns here. The more stripy and floral the better. But there is no question that a lady needs a little black dress in her arsenal – one that can be dressed up or down and flatter all her best bits. This one is a new acquisition for me and I think it really fits the brief. I’ll be wearing it for cocktails at the Ham Yard Hotel tonight.
I am wearing a black jersey midi dress with gold belt and button detailing from Oasis with a pair of ankle strap kitten heels from River Island and a faux pearl bracelet I found on the bus years ago (because I’m an opportunist).

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The top 10 actors I would watch in almost anything

Abbi:

Another actor top 10 inspired by me. Check out Mr Rumsey’s faves!

Originally posted on Mr Rumsey's Film Related Musings:

Top 10 male ActorsA few days ago Fernando from Committed to Celluloid wrote his top ten actors list (here), an idea that he borrowed from Abbi at Where the Wild Things Are (here). I had a blast reading them and so am now ripping both of them off here with my list!

To help narrow my choices down I have tried to use actors who are still alive and working and who are both excellent actors who can turn out great performance after great performance, but who can also transcend their mediocre films to provide something worth watching. Basically here, in alphabetical order, are ten working actors that I would see in almost anything…

Javier BardemJavier Bardem
  “We actors always say how difficult and physically demanding a role was. But give me a break, it’s only a movie.”

What’s to love? He can play one mean bad guy in…

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My top 10 quotable movies

One of the things that makes a good movie great for me is its quotability. The more awesome memorable oneliners the better… in fact there are quite a few film that I can almost quote along line for line. I think we all have a couple of those, my husband possibly too many. Trust me, you do not want to watch Withnail and I with him. These are the ones that have all my most loved lines in them. Just in case no one has noticed, I am completely stuck in the 90s.

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Casablanca (1942)
Synopsis: An American expat stuck in North Africa during WWII has to make a life-changing decision when he encounters a former lover.
Most quotable character: Rick Blaine played by Humphrey Bogart
Best quotes:
Rick: Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.”
Rick: Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
Rick: …Here’s looking at you, kid.”

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Empire Records (1995)
Synposis: On one fateful day the staff of Empire Records must come together to save their beloved record store from corporate takeover.
Most quotable character: Lucas played by Rory Cochrane
Best quotes:
Lucas: What’s with today today?”
Lucas: Damn the man.”
Gina: Well “Sinead O’Rebellion.” Shock me shock me shock me with that deviant behavior.”
Mark: We mustn’t dwell… no, not today. We CAN’T. Not on Rex Manning day.”

 

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Lawless (2012)
Synopsis: The Bondurant Brothers’ successful bootlegging  business comes under threat when a new deputy rolls into town.
Most quotable character: Forrest Bondurant played by Tom Hardy.
Best quotes:
Forrest Bondurant: It is not the violence that sets men apart, alright, it is the distance that he is prepared to go.”
Forrest Bondurant: I thought I walked.”

Forrest Bondurant: I’m a Bondurant. We don’t lay down for nobody.”

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10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Synopsis: Bianca Stratford isn’t allowed to date until her sister does. Unfortunately for her, her sister is the bitchiest girl in school.
Most quotable character: Kat Stratford played by Julia Stiles
Best quotes:
Kat Stratford: Don’t, for one minute, think that you had any effect whatsoever on my panties.”
Patrick: What is it with this chick? She have beer-flavored nipples?”
Cameron: And I’m BACK IN THE GAME!”
Kat Stratford: [sarcastically] Am I that transparent? I want you, I *need* you, oh baby, oh baby.”

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Dazed and Confused (1993)
Synopsis: It’s the last day of school and while Kevin is trying to survive being hazed, Randy’s trying to decide what to do with the rest of his life.
Most quotable character: Slater played by Rory Cochrane
Best quotes:
Wooderson: All right, all right, all right.”
Wooderson: That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.”
Slater: George Washington was in a cult, and the cult was into aliens, man.”
Slater: Didja ever look at a dollar bill, man? There’s some spooky shit goin’ on there. And it’s green too.”
Slater: You cool man?”

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Mallrats (1995)
Synopsis: After they’ve both been dumped by their girlfriends TS and Brodie retreat to the mall and lick their wounds.
Most quotable character: Brodie played by Jason Lee
Best quotes:
Brodie: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned for Sega.”
Jay: Silent Bob here’s an electrical genius. He won the science fair in eighth grade by turning his mom’s vibrator into a CD player using some chicken wire and shit. The mother fucker’s like MacGyver. No, the mother fucker’s *better than* MacGyver.”
Brodie: That kid is *back*… on the escalator again!”

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The Crow (1994)
Synopsis: A year after he was murdered, Eric Draven returns from the dead to avenge his girlfriend.
Most quotable character: Eric Draven played by Brandon Lee
Best quotes:
Eric Draven: Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children.”
Eric Draven: Suddenly I heard a tapping, as of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.”
T-Bird: Abashed the Devil stood and felt how awful goodness is.”
Eric Draven: It can’t rain all the time.”

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Wayne’s World (1992)
Synopsis:  Wayne and his best friend, Garth’s lives change overnight when their late night cable show gets picked up.
Most quotable character: Wayne Campbell played by Mike Myers
Best quotes:
Wayne Campbell: Ex-squeeze me? Baking powder?”
Garth Algar: Benjamin is nobody’s friend. If Benjamin were an ice cream flavor, he’d be pralines and dick.”
Wayne Campbell: All I have to say about that is “asphinctersayswhat”.”
Wayne CampbellGarth Algar: [to Alice Cooper] We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!”

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Wayne’s World 2 (1993)
Synopsis: This time Wayne and Garth are trying to organise a music festival but there’s a pretty good chance none of the acts will actually turn up.
Most quotable character: Del Preston played by Ralph Brown
Best quotes:
Del Preston:  I had to beat them to death with their own shoes”
Del Preston: Listen, sonny Jim. Sleeping like this will add ten years to your life. I learned it from Keith Richards when I toured with the Stones. This may be the reason why Keith cannot be killed by conventional weapons.”

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Finding Nemo (2003)
Synopsis: After Marlin’s son Nemo goes missing he must go on a quest to find him.
Most quotable character: Dory voiced by Ellen DeGeneres
Best quotes:
Seagulls: Mine.”
Crush: ‘Cause we were like, “woaaaah.”, and I was like, “woaaaah.” and you were like, “woaaahh…””
Dory: Do you speak whale?”