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Film 2010
January 1, 2011, 5:11 pm
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Films I thought Were Good Last Year

 

So….

Lets start with “Cracks,” which I know was released on the cusp of 2009 BUT it didnt make it to my local arthouse cinema until 2010, so for me, that counts. I frequently go the cinema alone because its pointless to socialize in dark rooms and the lack of a normal 9-5 job means there aren’t many people willing to bunk off work to see the daytime showing of a film about psychotic lesbian teachers… (or are there?)

Anyway, lonesome cinema trips are a cathartic experience for distracting me out of what ever bad mood I have found myself in and at that point, early 2010, I had a case of mild heartbreak (emo music! Moping! etc) and this film lifted my spirits. It is a cheesy sentiment yes, but none the less true..

Winters Bone

A film about meth, squirrels and snow. Wonderfully underplayed and I was pretty smug throughout because I snuck in my own penny sweets.

Toy Story 3

I had so much doubt with its lack of Josh Whedon on writing credits and it’s presentation in pointless 3D but luckily it was great. I also think its nice for Tim Allen to have something to do.

Youth in Revolt

Do you dimly remember when Michael Cera was in Arrested Development and you thought “he’s good, i see a bright future for him as long as he doesn’t get pigeonholed as the same character in everything and become really annoying…plus he looks a bit like a dinosaur.” Well, our fears came true. Pigeonholed and more dinosaur like everyday, which is why it was a surprise to me when I enjoyed his dual performance as the protagonist Nick Twisp and the protagonists French moustache twirling alter ego Francois in this well written and silly film. Plus he manages to perform in it without ruining a comic franchise.

BONUS.

The Social Network

Thought it was gonna be okay, but it was actually better then okay and overcame that whole nasty Benjamin Button misfire by Mr Fincher, and I also think its one of the only films i could happily sit through twice in the space of a week.

Fish Tank

I feel there is a theme of cheating in this because once again this film came out in late 2009 but once again it was not avaliable for most Cardiff based mortals to view until 2010. Andrea Arnold has made a few films about put upon women and this film details the dancing ambitions of a girl who becomes embroiled in a very inappropriate relationship with her mothers boyfriend. Step Up it is not. The star of the film Katie Jarvis is much like 90’s star Shola Ama.

Jarvis was “spotted” after Arnold witnessed her arguing with her boyfriend at a train station much like Ama gained a record deal after she was heard singing on a tube. But I have higher hopes for the career of Jarvis.

The Runaways

I double billed this film with something else I cant remember, so that couldn’t have been as good…. Kristen Stewart proves she isn’t all mumbly hair sucking and she kind of rocks this

Kick Ass

This film made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside many many times.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I confess I have not seen the rest of the millennium trilogy but this first effort was a well constructed who dunnit which may have felt televisual but if its good enough to require a America remake for those who cant read subtitles then that’s something….

Whip It

I saw this film when we were trapped in London because of the DAMMED VOLCANO. I was feeling pretty distraught about fate sending me back to Cardiff when I really wanted to be in New York so I needed some escapism.

I swallowed my reservations about this possibly being shit and gave it a go….and its bloody amazing. It doesn’t follow the generic “girl coming of age”  formula I expected plus has a line I can really relate to.

“I didn’t have a Barbie-roller-skates-phase, I had a fat-kid-sits-inside-and-reads-phase.”

The Killer Inside Me

It always feels strange to see a film alone in the afternoon about a sociopath who brutally beats up Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson, but sometimes your just in that kind of mood. Much like “Lust, Caution” I went to see this film based on the controversy that surrounded it, and much like  “Lust, Caution” I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was, and how a few well publicised scenes do not dictate what a film is actually about.  Though Michael Winterbottoms film is brutal and tough viewing it is also very good and at time hilarious, and the horrific violence of those few scenes did not feel like a effort in misogyny from the director, rather an effort in showing how truly unfeeling and narcisstic Casey Afflecks character is. The ending is pretty insane as well.

Monsters

When watching this I was aware of a building sense of unrest within certain fractions of the audiences, they were turning to each other and asking “is this title perhaps a bit misleading? There are definetely less monsters and more soft focus then I was expecting…Shall we sit here and giggle inanely instead of watching the film because we are too stupid to appreciate it? YES LETS.” Loved this film.

Of Gods and Men

I dragged my mother and sister along to this telling them a French film about Trappist monks in Algeria could be a bit of a laugh. Subtle and beautiful and I cried my eyes out like a little baby during the scene soundtracked by Swan Lake.

Other Notable Mentions

Eclipse

Harry Potter

Buried

Another Year

Ponyo!

 

Worst film Eva

Sex and the City 2

Look at Samantha’s Face

Ellen x

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American Tour October 2010
November 10, 2010, 7:49 pm
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Band+Disposable Cameras+America= A Lovely Slideshow

Enjoy x

 

 



More Tour Tales
October 18, 2010, 10:30 pm
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Brooklyn fun: We nestled ourselves into the Williamsburg area with a day off followed by two shows at the Music Hall. This was exciting for several reasons a) the possibility of them both being sold out and b) the luxury of a hotel bed.

We spent our time in the larger New York area having different adventures, Neil and Paul did a large amount of walking, Rob performed some songs at his friend Carolines birthday party and broke Eugene Mirman’s ipad, Jason and Kim got tattoos and I went to the Brooklyn Superhero Supply store and bought a large empty paint can with the label “Omnipotence” on it. Needless to say its impracticality lies in how it fits in my suitcase.

The shop is part of the Dave Eggers brand, it’s a non profit organization promoting literacy for young un’s and it sells silly things to fund this endeavor with workshops being run in the back, this comforts me when I think about how I could have spent that 12 dollars on a musty yet jaunty hat from Buffalo Exchange. Other photos of the wonder of this shop are below, including my entrance into the Superhero Database.

We had a treat of a man at the two Brooklyn Hall of Music Shows in the shape of a trumpet player called Tim, he has toured with “Camera Obscura”  and we wish (so hard) that we had the money to take him away on tour but maybe after a few more Beer/car/cheese/dog food commercials. We ended that first night majestically at Barcade playing Donkey Kong and spreading rumours of a kill screen.

I spent the next day at a “haunted house” in Manhattan called “Nightmare,” where you explored an “insane asylum” full of “patients” who were “actors” covered in “blood ” and “other unidentifiable stuff,” and it was “psychologically terrifying.”

It was at a event space in NoHo and you walked around a maze of purpose built rooms in groups of five, I was on my own with two couples with one lady giving me permission to grab onto her fella if I became too terrified. At the beginning I appreciated the polite offering of human comfort but dismissed it with a “yeah right, it wont be that scary,” but I was so dreadfully wrong. By the end I was clawing away at any flesh that would come near me for dear life. At one point one of the men grabbed me and said “come here honey” and I thought I had scored, but he had just mistook me for his girlfriend in the screaming confusion.

Each room had a different actor inside who had chosen their own particular crazy person theme, one person reminded me of  Halle Berry in “Gothika,” the other Tim Curry in “It.” We were instructed to do everything the actors asked of us and I lost a coin toss to a woman with a bit of the Angelina Jolie about her and was commanded to go into a dark room alone to meet her “brother”. I wondered into the darkness fumbling around until I felt the tree trunk like arms of a heavily breathing man in the corner. I think I was meant to stay in there for the show to work but instead I ran out screaming. I would highly recommend it if you want to live in a film world like I frequently do. But take a lover.

The next show went even more well, with more Tim and an all ages crowd  and we celebrated by sitting on the bus for a bit then going to sleep.

In other news Gareth has started a exclusive tv club where he screens Harry Hills TV Burp, Match of the Day and The X Factor and we have all done some laundry.

Bye

Ellen x

 



New Haven
October 13, 2010, 8:34 pm
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Today we are in New Haven, CT

I am currently logged onto the internet network known as YaleGuest and I feel like a imposter. Lets face it kids, I was never going to make it to Yale (for starters its too far away from Cardiff) but I can wonder around the campus with the Jean Paul Satre gift someone foolishly gave me and pretend for a while cant I? I wont ever read Satre, i know my limits, but  I figure intelligence works like osmosis, the knowledge from the other students and the book will collectively seep through my pores, into my brain and give me the ability to wax lyrical about all things post (modernism, structuralism, anarcism, secret etc)

Anyway, tour continues to chug along nicely with a lovely couple of days being spent in Philadelphia in which we went to the indoor food market, The Mutter Museum (conjoined twins in jars!) and saw Perfume Genius in a tiny chapel framed by thunder and lightning.

We performed in Johnny Brenda’s on a incredibly impractical stage and my increasingly chirpy mood was nearly threatened by a man shouting out “You looked better when you were Blonde!” at me whilst I was tuning up. I thought about explaining to him that blonde hair was really expensive and hard to upkeep but i figured that would be a really long retort so i settled with “I liked you better when you had hair,” because he was bald.

This was cheap a shot and didn’t even make much sense because we had never met before, but I had to say something to combat the fact he thought his comment was an okay thing to shout at me.

I continued tuning up and he added “your still hot though,” so I felt better about pointing out the fact he was bald.

He did try and buy me a drink afterwards to apologize, but he still seemed confused as to why I didn’t appreciate his commentary on my evolving style. Whilst I do not care whether this man preferred having masturbatory fantasies over me when I had bleach in my hair, I still get slightly thrown by such a comment, I am as insecure as the next person and sometimes I am not in the mood for that kind of rudeness (especially before a show).

I liked being blonde, I like being a brunette but I do my hair for myself, not for anyone else (apart from maybe Tyra Banks if I was on ANTM) and just because I am on a elevated platform in front of you (that stage was really high) does not mean you have more of a right to shout something negative at me.

Dick.

Rant over, anger out, now I can concentrate on happier things like new episodes of HIMYM

Anyway below is some pictures of some stuff from the last couple of days, including us on a bus, hope everyone is okay and that

Ellen x



Toronto x
October 9, 2010, 8:57 pm
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I got this picture from a shop in St Joseph in Michigan, it was nestled amongst a collection of old portrait shots  labeled “instant ancestors,” I naturally chose the one who most resembled me. I like to think she was a elegant woman who was married off into the Clergy for a suitable dower, and although she got on okay with her husband, the priest, her unnaturally high sexual appetite lead her to have wild passionate affairs with the guy who played the organ and the dude who repaired the pews. She probably had about 8 children, all increasingly dull before she did a Julia Roberts and went to various countries to find herself but instead contracted syphilis and died alone in a Tibetan opium den.

Today we are in Lava Quebec after a thoroughly enjoyable gig in Toronto, we played a song which has been absent from set lists for a good long while and the response to it was reassuring, as was the crowds general elation. It was like a warm sweaty collective hug. Post gig we tried out some Poutin, marvelled at the general attractiveness of Toronto inhabitants (what would they be called? Torontoites?) and ended up at a “house party” where upon arrival it seemed we were the only guests.

Us, the owners of the house a dog called George Pooney and a topless man. Awwwwwwwkward.

I will leave you with some invaluable advice I found in a book in Toronto.

 

Because everyone loves it when some stranger shuffles up them on a park bench

 

 

This just seems reckless.

Ellen x

 



Festival Footage!
September 29, 2010, 8:39 pm
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How have things been with you? How is your dog/cat/lover/brother/mother? Good, glad we got the niceties out of the way and can get onto the important issues. As you can see there is a little video here for you to feast your eyes upon, it is a visual trip through our summer festivals and I call it “From Bilbao to Derby” or “From Reading to a part of France, it might have been in the North” or “From Leceister with Love” or something like that…

As you are aware we are coming to America, and much like Eddie Murphy we are travelling to New York to find wive’s for ourselves or a really nice pair of shoes from Beacons closet. I am, as always, bringing a camera, and I will be requiring your help in making the magic happen. I will be wondering around after the show and would very much love it if you came and talked to me, you could tell me a interesting fact about your town or if one of our songs has some special meaning to you that you  wish to share….it would be nice to have little collection of clips of that. Dont talk to me about the ending of Lost. Ever. It still burns.

But yes, talk to me people and yes, we are very excited, personally I aim to have a trip around one of ye olde graveyards in New Orleans and eat some grits

I will also be listening to a extraordinary amount of the RadioLab podcast which is currently my new obsession, and i recommend it highly to you all right now, it will make you learn things and feel smart and have many witty anecdotes to share at the dinner parties you attend.

In fact I fully intend to write a blog about possible movies that can be made out of Radiolab stories, because I constantly listen to it and exclaim “what a film that would make!” But seriously, dont send your kids to school, just make them listen to a couple of episodes of this (N.B do send your kids to school)

Anyway… i dont really have a sign out… i should get one of those…this girl at school use to sign everything off with “magic and fairies” and for some reason she was extraordinarily popular…it might have been something to do with her giant house/tv/walk in fridge

Anyway

Magic and Fairies (sookie)

Ellen x

to see it bigger click here



American Tour Part Two!
September 1, 2010, 12:58 pm
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Hello,

The second tour video of our American trip is here for you to watch with your eyes. I have also reposted part one in case you need reminding of what we did (dicked around on a tour bus)

The treats to look forward to are….

Gareth asking a girl to the prom

People throwing their Bras and Pants at us in Pomona

Our American television debut. OH YEAH THATS RIGHT.

to see it BIGGER go here

to see this one go Tom Hanks on you click here

and goodbye

Ellen x