Monday, May 9, 2016

the Dressmaker: so sad (T-T)

In 1926 in the Australian outback town of Dungatar, schoolboy Stewart Pettyman dies in unknown circumstances. The only witness to his death, schoolgirl Myrtle Dunnage, is branded a murderer and exiled from the town by Stewart's father and town councillor, Evan Pettyman (Shane Bourne). 25 years later, Myrtle, now an accomplished dressmaker and going by the name Tilly (Kate Winslet), returns to her hometown to take care of her ill mother Molly (Judy Davis). Upon arrival, she is greeted by local police sergeant Horatio Farrat (Hugo Weaving), who is secretly a cross-dresser. Tilly returns home to find the house squalid and her mother plainly mentally ill which has earned Tilly's mother the nickname "Mad Molly" throughout town. Unable to remember the events of 1926, Tilly asks her mother about Stewart Pettyman's death, as she believes that day left her cursed. Molly claims to know nothing about the incident.

The entire town is quickly alerted to Tilly's return, as well as that of William Beaumont (James Mackay), son of the wealthy and snobbish Elsbeth Beaumont (Caroline Goodall). Gertrude Pratt (Sarah Snook), the daughter of the owners of the town's general store, possesses feelings for William, but lacks the confidence to tell him.

The town gathers for the local Australian Rules final game, and everyone is shocked when Tilly turns up to the match in a bright red couture gown that distracts the Dungatar players. During the interval, the handsome Teddy McSwiney (Liam Hemsworth) confronts Tilly about her distracting dress, and Tilly agrees to change.

After changing into a black but equally alluring outfit, Tilly gives her business card to Gertrude, offering to make her a dress for the upcoming footballers dance. The last quarter of the game begins, with the teams having swapped ends of the field. Due to this, the opposing team from the nearby town of Winyerp are distracted by Tilly's dress, and Dungatar emerges as the winner.

Later, Gertrude arrives at Molly's house to take up Tilly's offer. Tilly agrees to make the dress in exchange for the truth about Stewart Pettyman's death. Gertrude reveals that Tilly had hidden from Stewart Pettyman who had been bullying her unmercifully, but that she revealed Tilly's location in self-defence. Subsequently, Stewart died, but in circumstances unknown to her. Despite feeling betrayed by Gertrude, Tilly agrees to make the dress for her.

At the footballers dance, Gertrude's dress is a huge success, and she successfully uses it to capture the attention of William. They later become engaged. Soon, all of the townspeople begin asking Tilly for extravagant dresses. Simultaneously, Teddy pursues a romantic relationship with Tilly. Tilly and Sergeant Farrat also bond over their shared passion for designer clothing, and they form a friendship. Noticing that Tilly is beginning to regain the favour of the townspeople, Councillor Pettyman recruits dressmaker Una Pleasance (Sacha Horler) to start a rival dressmaking service to steal Tilly's business. This is initially successful, but when Gertrude hires Tilly to create her wedding dress, the rest of the townspeople return to Tilly, ruining Una.

Tilly uses a feather boa to bribe Sergeant Farrat into letting her read her former schoolteacher Beulah Harridiene's (Kerry Fox) witness statement from the day Stewart Pettyman died. Upon reading it, Tilly discovers that Beulah's statement is false. On the day of Gertrude and William's wedding, Tilly confronts Beulah, and she admits to lying in her witness statement. Tilly rushes to the wedding reception, where she tells Sergeant Farrat about Beulah's lies.

Tilly claims that Pettyman had no right to send her away, but Farrat reveals that Pettyman is Tilly's father, and that he had a right as a parent. Meanwhile, Beulah approaches Pettyman's anxious wife Marigold (Alison Whyte), who became a recluse after the death of her son. Marigold is the only townsperson unaware of the rumour that Tilly murdered her son, but Beulah reveals this information to her. Marigold breaks down and starts yelling at Tilly, labelling her a murderer. Tilly runs from the reception, but Teddy chases after her.

Teddy takes Tilly to the schoolhouse, where Tilly begins to remember the events surrounding Stewart Pettyman's death—Stewart subdued her against a wall, threatening to come at night to murder her mother and assault her if she moved. He charged head-down at her, intending to injure her. Instead, she stood aside at the last moment, and Stewart hit his head on the wall and broke his neck. Teddy reveals that the only witness was his brother Barney (Gyton Grantley), who had been sitting on the town silo at the time and saw the whole thing, but due to being developmentally disabled, no-one thought to ask him. Tilly and Teddy then go to his caravan and consummate their relationship, after which Tilly begins to believe that she may no longer be cursed. Later, she and Teddy sit on top of the town silo. Teddy shows off by jumping into the silo, despite Tilly's warning cries. The silo holds sorghum, and Teddy suffocates as he sinks into the grain.

Tilly becomes depressed after Teddy's death until her mother encourages her to continue dressmaking. While out in town, Molly suffers a stroke, and later dies. Only Tilly and Sergeant Farrat attend the funeral. Molly's death sets off a chain of disturbing and macabre events. While Tilly and Farrat are holding a wake for Molly, Beulah snoops around the house. Tilly drunkenly objects to the music on the portable record player, and throws it off the verandah, where it hits Beulah and injures her. Beulah is last seen being helped onto the train to Melbourne, ostensibly for treatment but really to be placed in an asylum. Percival Almanac (Barry Otto), the cruel town chemist who mistreated Tilly as a child, accidentally drowns in a pond at the back of his house. It is discovered that Almanac's wife Irma (Julia Blake) was unable to save her husband due to being under the influence of hash brownies, which had been baked by Tilly. In order to prevent Tilly's arrest, Sergeant Farrat takes the blame. He is then removed from the town by his superiors, something which greatly upsets Tilly. Tilly visits Marigold and reveals that her husband has been conducting numerous extramarital affairs, including with Una. Marigold confronts her husband about his unfaithfulness, and subsequently hamstrings him and leaves him to bleed to death.

The remaining townspeople travel to the neighbouring town of Winyerp to perform in a competitive Eisteddfod. Once there, they are shocked to discover that Tilly has designed and sewn all of the costumes for Winyerp's performance. While the townspeople are away, Tilly sets fire to her house and to a bolt of fabric soaked in kerosene that is rolled out down the hill towards the town. Tilly states that she is no longer cursed, and leaves the town by train, her sewing machine her only luggage. The townspeople, seemingly having lost the Eisteddfod, return to the town to find that it has burned down.

i love KW in this movie.. she is both bold and vulnerable, being charmed by Teddy nonetheless. the pair have a sizzling chemistry that simply heats up the screen, huhu. i admit, the movie can be somewhat tedious, but having the pair simply jogs the pace along just nice.

i feel so sad when Teddy died, i mean, you could not help but feeling sorry for Tilly.. wondering if truly she was cursed in the first place :'(

the townspeople of Dungatar are so horrible to Tilly. even though Tilly had helped Gertrude wins William right up to the altar still she could not win their loyalty..

i guess it takes guts for Tilly to come back and face her past.. i don't know if i had it in me. if only she didn't lose Teddy, this story would be perfect for me :'( but then, who are we to write the story of our own choosing, right. it touched my heart when Molly said to Tilly "you thought you come back for me but it is really for you..." alahai.. sayunya bila your mom cakap macam tu.. the mother-daughter pair really jives well too.

the movie is charming, i give you that. the costumes are riveting and beautiful. i simply love the scene when Gertrude comes out off that horrid wedding dress into a shocker gown that simply bedazzled William into setting a wedding date.. hahaha.. it's priceless! simply to show that no matter how ugly you look, come the experts and all the equipments, you can come out looking like a million bucks!

this review won't be complete without mentioning the friendship between Tilly and Sergeant Farrant. I confess, i've never liked HW since his portrayal of Agent Smith in the Matrix but by golly, he's wonderful in this movie. a true friend in need :) he was arrested though, taking the fall for Molly's misdeeds that were thought to be Tilly's..

yup. this movie is so sad. but i'm glad i watched it. at least i got to see KW at one of her finest.. and LH is a real eye candy, hahaha 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Never Been Kissed (1999): fun and sweetly romantic, my all time Fave!

Josie Geller (Drew Barrymore) is an insecure copy editor for the Chicago Sun-Times who has never had a real relationship. One day, her editor-in-chief, Rigfort (Garry Marshall) assigns her to report undercover at a high school to help parents become more aware of their children's lives.

Her first day at South Glen South High School is miserable. Josie reverts to the old geek persona that ruined her first high school career. She also has an unfortunate run-in with three obnoxious popular girls (Jordan Ladd, Jessica Alba, and Marley Shelton), and Guy Perkins (Jeremy Jordan), the school's most attractive, popular student. Josie loses hope, but is reassured when a kind-hearted nerd named Aldys (Leelee Sobieski) befriends her. Aldys, who loathes Guy and his gang, invites Josie to join The Denominators, a group of intelligent students.

Josie develops a crush on her English teacher, Sam Coulson (Michael Vartan), and becomes the top student in his class. After reciting a romantic excerpt from Shakespeare to Sam, Josie has horrible flashbacks to when she read a romantic poem aloud in class to her high school crush, a popular boy named Billy Prince (Denny Kirkwood), who later asked her to their senior prom, making her dream come true. However, on the night of the prom, Billy arrives with another girl and both of them hurl eggs and insults at Josie, humiliating her and breaking her heart.

One night while out driving with Aldys, Josie encounters Guy and his gang at a local hangout called "The Court" where promiscuity and underage drinking take place. Her managing editor Augustus "Gus" Strauss (John C. Reilly) loses patience with Josie after a rival paper scoops The Court story, and orders Josie to become friends with the popular kids. He arranges for her to wear a hidden camera, and soon the whole office becomes obsessed with her story.

Josie confides in her brother Rob (David Arquette) about her fears. Rob, who was their high school's most popular boy in his teens, urges her to let go of her old self and start anew. To help her, Rob enrolls as a student and becomes an instant hit. He then uses his influence to draw Josie into the cool crowd, much to the dismay of Aldys.

Sam and Josie grow closer, but Sam struggles with his feelings as he thinks she's a student. Guy and Josie attend the prom as Rosalind and Orlando from Shakespeare's As You Like It. Anita, Gus and Josie's other co-workers watch through the camera and are overjoyed as she is voted Prom Queen.  As Guy, being the Prom King, dances with Josie, Sam looks on with a longing in his gaze. Soon after Josie gets herself alone, Sam approaches her and asks her for a dance. Dancing together, both contemplates upon being honest about each other but gets interrupted as Josie realizes a mean trick being played upon Aldys.
In the background, as Guy dances with Aldys as an alleged act of friendship and Guy has a crush on Aldys, the mean girls attempt to dump dog food over Aldys. Outraged, Josie throws her crown away and reveals her true identity. She praises Aldys for her kindness and warns the students that one's persona in high school means nothing in the real world. Sam is hurt by her lies and states he wants nothing to do with her. Also angered is Rob, who as a phony student received a second chance at baseball. Josie, ultimately making amends, secures him a coaching job.

Josie vows to give Gus a story and writes an account of her experience. In it, she admits she's never been kissed, describes the students of South Glen South, and avows her love for Sam; the entire city is moved by it. She writes she will stand in the middle of the baseball field and wait for Sam to come and kiss her. Josie waits, but the clock runs out with no sign of Sam. On the verge of giving up... cheers, then a booming roar, as Sam emerges to give her a romantic kiss.

I love this movie to bits! the soundtrack are spot on and catchy.. the storyline both endearing and heartbreaking at the right moments.. sigh, i love this movie~

Self/Less: engaging!

Business tycoon and billionaire Damian Hale (Ben Kingsley) is master of his own universe, until he is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Now on his deathbed, he finds a business card directing him to a man named Professor Albright (Matthew Goode), who informs him about a radical medical procedure called "shedding," in which one's consciousness is transferred to an artificially grown healthy body. Damian decides to undergo the procedure and engineers his own public death. Albright transfers him into a new body (Ryan Reynolds) and prescribes medication to alleviate the vivid hallucinations which he claims are side effects of the procedure.

After a period of adaptation exercises, Damian starts a new life in New Orleans under the assumed name of Edward Kidner and quickly befriends his neighbor Anton (Derek Luke). However, when he forgets to take his medicine, he subsequently suffers hallucinations of a woman and child. When Damian asks Albright about the hallucinations, Albright dismisses his concerns, but accidentally reveals that he knows details of the hallucinations that Edward did not tell him. Albright arranges for Damian to move to Hawaii for a change of scenery, but Damian, convinced the hallucinations are some kind of memory, researches a landmark he saw in his vision and heads to St. Louis instead.

At a farmhouse outside of St. Louis, he finds the woman, Madeline (Natalie Martinez), who identifies him as her apparently deceased husband, Mark. Damian learns, much to his horror, that the body he is inhabiting belonged to another man who sold himself to Albright in order to gain the money he needed to pay for their daughter Anna's life-saving medical treatment. Shortly after arriving at the house Damian and Madeline are attacked by Albright's men, led by Anton, who reveals that he is one of Albright's employees. Damian and Madeline severely wound Anton, escape, and collect Anna (Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen) from school before heading back to New Orleans. There, Damian researches Dr. Jensen (Thomas Francis Murphy), the man who invented shedding; Damian notices a tic he shares with Albright in a video of him and sees Albright in the same video as his assistant, and concludes that Jensen has shed himself into Albright's body.

Damian finds Dr. Jensen's wife, Phyllis, in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimer's and tries to get her to reveal where her husband's research is, but she does not know. Damian soon lures Albright to the home and confronts him. Albright reveals that the pills suppress the original personality of the body he is inhabiting; if he continues to take the medicine, his "Mark" personality will eventually be completely erased, while if he quits, Mark will reassert control over his body and kill Damian's personality instead. But Damian flees when more assassins show up, including another man who he recognizes as Anton due to the necklace that he is wearing. Anton reveals to Damian that he has shed multiple times.

At a rest stop, Madeline confronts Damian over his behavior and lack of knowledge of their personal details, and he reveals all that has transpired to her. He takes them to his old friend Martin (Victor Garber) and convinces him to provide for Madeline and Anna to flee to the Caribbean. However, he and Madeline discover Anna playing with Martin's young son Tony (Dylan Lowe), who died two years ago; Martin admits that he used shedding to save his son and that Albright's men are waiting for them. Damian then reveals the dark secret behind shedding to Martin, who believed that the bodies were artificially grown in a lab and is shocked to find out that his son's new body is really someone else's son. Damian flees to distract Albright's men while Martin, Madeline, and Anna escape. Damian manages to crash Anton's car with him in it and defeat his pursuers, but Madeline and Anna are recaptured.

Damian stops taking his medicine in order to experience more of Mark's memories, hoping they will lead him to Albright. This succeeds, and Damian pursues Albright to a lab built in an abandoned warehouse. There, Albright captures him and attempts to shed Anton into Mark's body, but Damian, remembering that metal interferes with the shedding process, takes a bullet casing in his mouth, therefore sabotaging the procedure and killing Anton in the process. He rescues Madeline and Anna and kills Albright with a flamethrower. Damian arranges for Madeline and Anna to flee the country as planned, meets his own estranged daughter Claire (Michelle Dockery), and delivers her a letter reconciling with her. He then heads to the Caribbean and stops taking his medicine, dying peacefully. The real Mark reawakens in his own body and discovers a video message from Damian's personality thanking him for the time he gave him. Mark then reunites with his family at last.

the premise of this movie is somewhat mind boggling. it would have been wonderful to be able to shed your body. however it becomes sinister when Albright becomes too possessive and outright sneaky about it.

i love the fact that Damian, though desperate to live, had finally resigned to the fact that he had to die eventually. i guess, the moral of the story is the strength of the film. carousing with women and living the fast life don't mean so much without family.. though Damian at first has Anton as his buddy, yet he couldn't help feeling empty. no wonder the glimpse of Maddy and Anna drove him to find the truth.

i wonder though, how convenient some things are for Damian.. i mean, it was so easy for him to spot Maddy's house just by googling the pumpkin tower in St Louis. then it was convenient that he didn't die during the shedding process whilst having a bullet casing in his mouth. plus how come there is a flamethrower in the lab? to what purpose? sigh..

by the by, as i said, the journey of Damian shows no matter how far you go, family is important. going back to a big house is no home to him, not with his daughter estranged from him.. so there you are, be thankful of your family :)

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mean Girls: a lecture without being too preachy



Sixteen-year-old homeschooled Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) and her zoologist parents (Ana Gasteyer and Neil Flynn) return to the United States after a research trip in Africa, settling down in Evanston, Illinois and enrolling Cady at North Shore High School. Cady attends a public school for the first time, meeting new classmates Janis (Lizzy Caplan) and Damian (Daniel Franzese). The two warn Cady to avoid the school's most popular clique, the Plastics, who are led by queen bee Regina George (Rachel McAdams). The Plastics take an interest in Cady, and invite her to sit with them at lunch. Seeing that Cady is getting along with the Plastics, Janis hatches a plan of revenge against Regina, using Cady as the infiltrator.

Cady soon learns about Regina's "Burn Book", a journal filled with rumors, secrets, and gossip about the other girls and some teachers. Despite this discovery, Cady decides to forgo Janis's scheme for ethical reasons. Meanwhile, Cady begins to have a crush on Regina's ex-boyfriend, Aaron Samuels (Jonathan Bennett), whom a jealous Regina steals back at a Halloween party in front of her. Upon this incident, Cady decides to fully commit to Janis's plan to cut off Regina's "resources", which involve breaking Regina and Aaron up, tricking her into eating nutrition bars that actually make her gain weight, and turning Regina's fellow Plastics – rich but insecure Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert) and sweet airhead Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried) – against her. In the process, Cady unwittingly remakes herself in Regina's image, becoming spiteful, superficial, and abandons Janis and Damian.

When Regina is finally made aware of Cady's treachery, she retaliates by spreading the contents of her Burn Book all over the school, quickly inciting a riot. To avoid suspicion, Regina inserts a fake libel of herself in the book in order to blame Cady, Gretchen, and Karen, the only female students not mentioned in the book. Principal Duvall (Tim Meadows) soon quells the riot, and ends up sending all the girls in the school to gather in the gymnasium. Math teacher Ms. Norbury (Tina Fey), whom the Burn Book defamed as a drug dealer, makes the girls mentioned in the book confess to the rumors and apologize to the other students and teachers. When Janis's turn comes, she confesses her plan to destroy Regina with Cady's help and openly mocks Regina with the support of the entire school. Pursued by an apologetic Cady, Regina storms out and gets hit by a school bus, breaking her spine.

Without any friends, shunned by Aaron, and grounded by her parents, Cady takes full blame for the Burn Book. After making amends with Regina, Cady's guilt soon dissolves and she returns to her old personality. As part of her punishment for lying and failing Norbury's class, she joins the Mathletes in the state championship finals. There, while competing against a girl named Caroline Krafft, she realizes that the best thing to do is just solve the problem in front of oneself and ends up winning the competition after her opponent answers incorrectly. At the Spring Fling dance, Regina's new boyfriend, Shane Oman, is elected King, while Cady is elected Queen, but declares that all her classmates are wonderful in their own way, whereupon she breaks her plastic tiara and distributes the pieces to some other girls. She then makes amends with Janis and Damian, reconciles with Aaron, and reaches a truce with the Plastics, who then disband.

By the start of the new school year, the fate of the newly disbanded Plastics are shown. Regina joins the lacrosse team to deal with her anger, Karen becomes the school weather reporter (claiming earlier that her breasts can tell when it's raining), while Gretchen joins the "Cool Asians". Aaron graduates from high school and attends Northwestern University, Janis begins dating Kevin Gnapoor, whom she initially despised, and Cady declares that she is now normal. Regina walks past Cady and smiles, showing that they are now kind to one another. As this happens, Damian points to Cady the new "Junior Plastics" walking by, and Cady imagines them being hit by a bus.

this is my sister's favourite movie so I decided to give it a peek. and it was enjoyable to the end. my favourite characters would have been Principal Duvall and Ms Norbury.. the guy seem smitten and respectful of her while Ms Norbury is a sensible person who has the knack of laughing at her own self.

the moral of the story is sound.. in her quest to take Regina down a peg or two, somehow Cady had become her instead, cruel and petty. thank goodness she had sobered up and learned her lesson.

i know that this movie is a cult among its many fans. to me, it's a nice enjoyable movie.. boleh layan la kiranya :D