Sunday, 20 November 2011

If it ain't broken, don't fix it

Or in other words, if a book just will not translate into the big screen, let it be in the old school print reality, where it belongs... As a big fan of Nicholls' book One Day, I was really looking forward to its adaptation. I was curious how Lone Scherfig was going to render the book's witty dialogues, work with the fact that each chapter depicts just one day from the characters' life over the span of twenty years, and above all, how she was going to make the viewers feel like we know Dex and Em forever...
Well, she did not, in my humble opinion anyway...Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess are both fantastic and definitely capture the essence of their characters, yet what made the book fresh, intriguing and simply gripping, falls flat in the movie. It seems that yet again the devil is in the details as much as inbetween the lines. Without the humour and brilliant sarcastic intelligence defining Nicholls' book for me, what we are left with is altogether pleasant, but a bit blant love story of two friends who discover years later that they do love each other, only then it is too late. It has been done way too many times to stand out. Definitely a big one zero for the book on this one...

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Pulp culture

OK, I admit to being guilty of spending good few Autumn Saturday evenings watching the X Factor...Guilty as charged...Leaving aside all the diva drama and probably unresolvable issue whether the show actually finds or destroys talents, every now and again it does get entertaining...Although I find it very hard to warm towards any of this year contestants, I must say I was a big fan of Matt Cardle last year. I loved his unique voice and the fact that even through the cheesiest of cheesy songs he managed to project some of his quirky personality. I imagine I was not the only person to expect him to do well and pull out a few tricks out of his famous hat (if you watched the show, you'll know what I mean...). And I guess I was not the only person to be sorely disappointed.
No doubts any album needs to be a collaborative work of many people, whose visions will have to meet somewhere in the middle. And I do understand that before you establish your position in the music world, you may have to compromise every now and again in the name of the 'broader picture'. Yet I am baffeled with this one...The worst thing is Matt Cardle himself does not seem convinced...Well, have a listen yourselves...

Anyway, in my humble opinion, the best thing to come out of Matt's X Factor 'adventure' (or misadventure according to some ...) was that more people had the opportunity to find out about his original band - Seven Summers. Now, that was like a breath of fresh air - original, energetic, and full of the good vibe that indie music should be all about. All that remains to be said is that I shall join the league of people who hope Matt Cardle will go back to his roots and let's allow music to speak for itself...

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Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Change begins with a whisper...

Today a few words about an amazing movie I have seen lately ... I must admit I went to see The Help without too high expectations but came out of the cinema absolutely gobsmacked! And not only for the gripping storyline and Oscar-worth performance of Emma Stone, Viola Davis, or Octavia Spencer, to mention just a few! It was refreshing to finally see a movie about strong empowered women which manages to avoid cheap 'cheesyness' and moralistic tone! It will make you laugh out loud, it will make you shed a tear or two, it will even make you question your own inner hypocrite ... And above all, it will make you feel good, and make you want to make good things happen around you! All in two hours and ten minutes which you will not even notice passing!

I just wish that more movies like this were made so that little girls of today do have some role models other then self-obsessed celebrities famous for being famous or their perfect hair and not much else to offer..

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Your literary taste of childhood

Have you ever wondered to what extent the books we read as kids somehow become a part of us and how much they influence us once we grow up? Have you got your special book that you just know you are going to make your kids read one day, whatever their level of enthusiasm might be...?

Well, this little sentimental moment was actually brought by my coming across the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling these days. Guilty as charged, I have read them, maybe without that thrill that you get when you discover, you know, The Book, but with let's say decent level of enjoyment. Undoubtedly, it is not the best book of the 20th century, but I honestly cannot comprehend where all the hostility towards it comes from...What I find absolutely amazing about Harry Potter is that one way or another it taught kids to read again, and to love it! Kids actually got excited about books, and I honestly do not care to what degree we owe it to Rowling's literary style or to some very clever marketing - it worked, mission accomplished! In my eyes, Rowling deserves every penny she has earned...Especially with her own story being so inspirational (and I do mean to use such a big word here...) - it actually is fabulous to see that our lifes can turn around so wonderfully, and sometimes all we need is just a little belief in a bit of 'everyday magic' ;)

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Who would have thought...

Let me share with you my latest musical discovery...Actually she has been around for a while now, but I must admit hearing that song made me see her in a totally new light...Ladies and Gentlemen, Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga – The Lady Is A Tramp:

OK, Tony Bennett being Tony Bennett, there are no surprises here. Gaga though...Wow...Even though I have never been particularly fond of her, I have always had a sneaky suspicion that she actually can sing...And here she is, no fireworks, no weird staff, no show, just good voice, good song and a truly enjoyable performance. I guess this is the measure of a good artist - even if shocking is her daily bread, she managed to surprise most when she is just ... normal and good! Enjoy!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

To make a dent in the universe...

Have you ever wondered how the rags to riches stories really work? How come some people just get a break?  Pirates of Silicon Valley definitely make you ask yourself this question, in a thoroughly entertaining and amusing manner. Martyn Burke did an excellent job documenting the story of creation and,well...,rise to world domination of Apple and Microsoft. Far from being a huge fan of Steve Jobs' (and in fairness after watching the movie I am even less of a fan of his...) but at the same time you have got to admire the guy who managed to turn technology into religion... How do you make people follow you with devotion often bordering on insanity? Does it take a real genius? Hard work? Or just the sixth sense for very clever marketing? Can one actually make it without turning into a pirate and treating the distinction between inspiration and theft very loosely...After all, as Jobs said himself Good artists copy, great artists steal...Well it is open for discussion, I for once am very happy that I can just click on an icon on my desktop to make the computer work...

Monday, 10 October 2011

Let's start then - with the winner of my private hit list

Can't think of a better way to start blogging than coming back for a while to one of my favourite books ever - The Witcher by a Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. I suppose it is fair to say that Sapkowski is to the world of Polish fantasy who Tolkien is to the English speaking world. Oh I remember the days when you could bet that there would be at least five people on the bus you were taking reading his books...Well, I won't even try to recall the number of earthly possessions I have lost on trains or bus stops I have missed cause there was just one more page till the end of a chapter...The Witcher saga is just impossible to put down...And it is not just because it was like a breath of fresh air with the unusual characters, such as the main character himself - a mutant monsters assassin Geralt with his gloomy peculiarities and strangly magnetic personality or absolutly not princessy Princess Ciri. I think Sapkowski managed to find that often elusive golden balance between popular and literature proper, if I may say so. As he emphasised himself many times, he likes to maks his readers work - he believes in a reader's intelligence to the extend of throwing in few untranslated passages in French or Latin every now and again, as a little brain teaser I suppose..And thesis have been written about The Witcher's clever play on Slavic mythology. At the same time Sapkowski's witty and ironic style of writing with subtle (and in fairness hilarious) references to modern times explain those people on the bus with his books in hand giggling away to themselves...Isn't it what great literature should be about after all? Not only make you ask these life defining questions but also or above all be enjoyable and simply pleasant to read?