THE ACTORS BEHIND THE SOLDIERS: THE ROAD TO DUNKIRK | fivethreeninety 

If you’ve somehow missed it, tomorrow comes the long awaited war film, Dunkirk, from acclaimed film-maker Christopher Nolan.

 
Everyone is buzzing about it – which is why I couldn’t write this post alone. A big warm welcome to QuickFire Reviews, who’s joining me today to look over the cast of Dunkirk!

 
As with most films directed by Nolan, not only is the excitement and interest fever-pitch by film-fans everywhere, but an impressive cast has been assembled.
Though there’s an array of fresh talent, it wouldn’t quite be a Nolan film without some familiar faces. Nolan seems loyal to his actors as they seem loyal to him, with multiple actors returning to create a blend of a perfect cast.

 

Tom Hardy

FTN:

In his third collaboration with Nolan, Tom Hardy plays a pilot named Farrier. Hardy has really proved himself to be a unique talent in his acting style: always strong, always tough but always with a relatable aspect to him. Even as villain Bain in Dark Knight Rises (where he created a now infamous voice), there were moments in his character where an audience did sympathise with him.
My personal favourite performance of his has to be his Cbeebies Bedtime Story (only half joking). For me, he tops it in 2015’s Legend, where he portrays both of the legendary Kray twins. With Brian Hegeland’s direction, the subtleties Hardy manages to get across while playing these two obviously similar yet totally different brothers put him in another league of acting in my eyes, that’s almost incomparable.

 
QFR:

Hardy’s back, & this time playing a Royal Air Force pilot. The English actor has previously collaborated with the Nolan on the modern-classic blockbuster Inception and in the final chapter of the director’s lauded Batman trilogy The Dark Knight Rises. The latter of the two mentioned I view as my favourite of what I’ve seen from the actor, and his most memorable role. Boasting a menacing physique, and chilling line delivery, Hardy’s Bane in Rises, was an exceptional performance by any standard. Hardy’s other work include the fan-favourite Mad Max: Fury Road & The Revenant and will next be seen in Marvel & Sony’s Venom and even making a cameo in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Given the success Dunkirk is most likely to receive commercially and already critically, it seems unlikely this is the last time the star will pair with Nolan.

 

Cillian Murphy

FTN:
I feel I am always left in utter astonishment at Murphy’s performances, to the point where it’s hard for me to narrow it down to a favourite. He is exceptional at creating a multi faceted character that perfectly rounds out a group. He can be downright terrifying and also completely endearing, which makes him as an actor both obscenely inspirational & also one to be feared.

My recomendation for the greatest example of his skill has to be last year’s Anthropoid, a film experience like no other that you really have to see.

 

QFR:

Hardy isn’t the only regular to Nolan’s calibre of work. Cillian Murphy first appeared as the Scarecrow in Batman Begins and further made cameos in the sequels. Murphy also starred in Inception and in Dunkirk plays a soldier. As you may be able to tell, like any Nolan movie, a lot of the details are under-wraps until release.

Murphy has received praise for his performances in other features such as The Wind That Shakes the Barley and TV’s Peaky Blinders. One of my favourite actors and inspirations from having been a native from where I’m achieving incredible accolades and success, one of my favourite performances of his is in Anthropoid another war-film which recently dropped on Netflix UK. A tremendous watch.

Harry Styles

FTN
:

Now, we all know that this film isn’t all about Harry. But I have to say I am becoming increasingly excited to see it – obviously as this is his acting debut, I’m basing this solely off my knowledge of Style’s already incredible talent for music (I wouldn’t call myself a directioner by any means but yeah, the band’s music was enjoyable & yes, I did go on a silly girls night to see them on their last tour). But the strength from Harry’s back catalog without a doubt comes from his debut self titled solo album of this year.
I also wholeheartedly trust Christopher Nolan. His casting decisions have only ever worked massively in his favour, & reviews coming in all speak praise of Styles’ performance.

QFR:

A consistent point of conversation in the media is the involvement of singer Harry Styles, who recently released a rather fantastic album in my opinion. Marking his acting debut, Styles plays Alex. As great as the cream of the crop of acting talents featured in Nolan’s filmography are what is equally exciting is the bold, seemingly out-of-nowhere casting decisions in his movies.

Many were outraged at the decision to cast Heath Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Knight yet, as most will agree, it turned out to be one of the greatest performances in cinematic. For that reason, one of the things that excites me the most is to see these young talents display their acting chops, in a fact-based tale surrounded by some of Hollywood’s finest.

Fresh blood on screen is often exciting and refreshing to watching. Fionn Whitehead, who more and more seems like the face of the picture is a relative newcomer, appearing only in small television roles prior to this $150million production.

And then of course, there’s the greats: Mark Rylance & Kenneth Branagh. I don’t need to spell out either’s talents – both are British greats with multiple Academy Award & BAFTA nominations & wins under their belts. As beloved as they are talented, there’s no doubt these performances will be added to their highlight reels immediately upon release.

Christopher Nolan seems incapable of making a less than-stellar technical movie and with the cast experienced and new assembled, this historical battle looks set to make for a thrilling experience on the big-screen.

 

I think the thing that feels most impressive about this cast is how collaborative it seems. Despite what the media is saying about Harry Styles, there doesn’t seem to be one big star in the lead: these acting greats are instead coming together to work on a film that really feels important.

I cannot wait to see this.

 

A note from QFR:

Big thanks to fivethreeninety for giving me the chance to collaborate on her blog. I’m QuickFire Reviews and I hope you enjoy Dunkirk when it releases tomorrow!

 

A note from me:

It’s been an absolute pleasure to collaborate with QuickFire Reviews today – you’re welcome anytime on fivethreeninety. Be sure to see his review of Dunkirk when it comes, & of course, mine will be here soon too.

 

Follow QuickFire Reviews on twitter here.

Dunkirk is in cinemas tomorrow.

JANE AUSTEN | fivethreeninety

Today is 200 years since Jane Austen died.
There have been over sixty film & television adaptations of Austen’s work, so today I’m going to talk to you about a few of them. Be warned – a LOT of these are Pride & Prejudice. It’s everyone’s favourite right?

Pride & Prejudice 

BBC

1995

Dir. Simon Langton




I know we all fantasise over Colin Firth with his soggy shirt but this entire series is perfect. Jennifer Ehle is still to date my favourite Elizabeth – she is perfect st being the serenely sassy & self opinionated Bennet sister

Pride & Prejudice

Focus Features

2005

Dir. Joe Wright




While there isn’t something that makes this as endearing or beloved as the BBC series, I do love this film (all except the crappy American ending). My favourite bit about this is Rosamund Pike as Jane – by the way can we discuss that Austen purposefully created this character that was described as flawless & beautiful & incomparable & named her after herself. Invented self love. 

Bridget Jones’s Diary

Miramax Films & Universal Pictures

2003

Dir. Sharon Maguire




Aside from the obvious connection in that the hero in Helen Fielding’s 1990 book is also named Mr Darcy, this adaptation is so creatively evolved it’s quite easy to miss this even being a full reference to the beloved classic Austen book. It’s Lizzie minus the sisters, stuck in a mix between a guy who appears to be perfect & a guy she at first can’t stand. Sure the original doesn’t even with Elizabeth nearly nude standing out in the snow but it’s the same feeling.

Clueless

Paramount Pictures

1995

Dir. Amy Heckerling

You really can’t escape this nineties classic, telling the story of rich high schooler Cher & her struggles in dating, popularity & friendships. We all love it – but did you know it’s loosely based on 1815’s Emma? The storyline & characters are pretty much the same: Cher is Emma, Tai is Harriet, Josh is Mr. Knightley, & most obviously Elton is Mr. Elton. As if!

The Lizzy Bennet Diaries

Pemberley Digital 

2012

Dir. Bernie Su




I can’t quite remember how I discovered the Lizzie Bennet diaries but I do know that my sister and I were obsessed with it for quite some time. It’s a YouTube blog series that has 100 episodes on the main channel and a whole variety of different side channels with extras the story – all telling a modern adaptation of pride and prejudice. There’s a few changes Lizzie only has two sisters; one older (Jane) & one younger (Lydia); Mr Bingley becomes Bing Lee etc etc. It’s perfect. It brings such life & simplicity to the story in a gripping way through five minute videos that you can’t. stop. watching. 

I love what Jane Austen created. Proper feminist icons way before society would properly recognise them. Even now, two centuries on, her stories remain loved because they are so relatable. Her stories were about real characters that had real feelings, thoughts & opinions. 
I love her for giving those to us.

THE THIRTEENTH DOCTOR | fivethreeninety 

A whole six hours have passed since BBC revealed it’s new Doctor Who & I am just getting more & more excited.

The actor playing the thirteenth rendition of the world renowned character will be Jodie Whittaker.

That’s right – IT’S A WOMAN !! 2017 IS FOR WOMEN & I AM SO HERE FOR IT.

Jodie’s past work includes both Broadchurch & Black Mirror, both of which she was highly praised for, & also known for her role as Beverly the receptionist in the more recent St Trinian’s films (which I love). 

While this is HUGE, HUGE news & a massive step in progression that is making history, of course the conversation is fifty fifty. 
It’s a woman playing a role that’s previously only gone to a man, yes people are going to have to adjust a little but it’s not a big deal. She’ll be the same character, just slightly different. You know, like how every single Doctor before her has been…

“Not everyone critical of Jodie Whittaker being the Doctor is a misogynist” – she literally hasn’t done anything as the Doctor yet, so…. maybe you are. Have a little think.

And of course, there’s all the one’s saying that the BBC is only casting a woman as a political move. It’s not like they picked a random female & presented her with the role – Jodie has worked for this, & hard. 

This isn’t a gimmick – sadly it’s actually a huge risk. So the company WILL have taken the time to find someone who fits the role to a tee. Trust them on this – they’re the ones who literally run this show & know it back to front. 

I think what’s making most guys angry about it is that things aren’t being catered solely towards them anymore & they’re being bitter babies about it. Can’t they just think about what this means? 

Kids are seeing options presented to them in a way that will feel totally natural to them. And adults are seeing that people don’t care about you whiny baby problems.

This is a show where characters like these exist:

Why is it so hard to believe that one of their fellow aliens could be a female?

And I’m sorry – but if you can believe that John Barrowman can turn into a giant tentacled head in a box you can believe that the Doctor can have a vagina.

 
I am so excited. These are some things I want to see happen:
 ⁃ The Doctor running around space with her female companion having fun #girlsontour
 ⁃ The Doctor having to learn what experiencing sexism is like

Whenever this season starts, we all need to tune in, regardless of whether you’re a fan or not. Because you bet there will be a ton of people boycotting it out of pettiness – we need to make it the most successful it’s been in years.

Welcome to the role Jodie. I’m so excited to see what can happen with it.

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING | fivethreeninety

I’m not usually a fan of a franchise that’s been rebooted heaps of times, but this feels different. This latest incarnation of the classic Spider-Man superhero has a completely different tone to any of the other Spidey films, and other films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but in the best possible way.

 

It’s written by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, with Jon Watts as director. Starring Tom Holland in the lead role, and follows Peter in his first proper solo superhero mission in his first standalone film in the MCU. Spider-Man back at Marvel studios!

Spider-Man: Homecoming is a continuation of the new Peter Parker we were introduced to in last year’s Civil War. It’s the first standalone film with Tom Holland in the lead role, and introduces new characters the new story set up and more whilst also solidifying him as a superhero in the Marvel universe. This skips the origin story that we all have seen play out numerous times (Peter gets bit by a radioactive spider, discovers he has powers, Uncle Ben dies etcetera), & instead introduces him as a character who is finding his way in this new life.

 

Peter is the same as we’ve always known him since his first incarnation in 1962. But in homecoming he is given a bigger sense of realism, which makes him all the more relatable. While other Spider-Man stories have been focused solely on the superhero side his life, this film really shows the normal teenage kid aspect of it. It shows his friends, the girl has a crush on, him in gym class and detention and school trips. It shows him dreaming and waiting for his time to come, as well as everyone doubting him and failing to see his true potential. This is what the character is meant to be the underdog who defies all expectations – that’s what draws people to Spider-Man in the first place, they can see themselves in him.

 

Tom Holland is really incredible as both Peter Parker and Spider-Man. He’s got a perfect level of sass, self doubt, kindness & and will to do what’s right in both sides of the character and ties them together perfectly. He has excellent comedic timing and is also really good at really subtly playing on all the emotions of a 15-year-old boy, which coupled with the responsibility of being a superhero can be intense to say the least. He really is great and I can’t wait to see him as his involvement progresses in the MCU.

 


May is Peter’s Aunt, warm caring charming witty and beautiful, notoriously admired by everyone. I like this young rendition of her, played by Marisa Tomei. With Peter as an actual 15-year-old it makes sense that his aunt is only in her late 40s/ early 50s. Her character development isn’t given much time in this film, mostly because we don’t need her story being explained to us again: we know the tragedy she has experienced, and knowing that in the back of your mind while seeing her as this amazing woman who is funny, charismatic, desired by many but most importantly incredible at raising her nephew. It makes her amazingly inspirational. I love her and I’m so excited to see more of this fresh, lively Aunt May because I think she has so much potential.

 

Everyone knows who Iron Man is and his true identity, but in this film Tony Stark plays a very different role than we’re used to seeing in his standalone films as well as part of the Avengers. In this he is very much a strict mentor, someone Peter very much aspires to be like and very much respects, but that doesn’t mean he treats Peter in the way that he wants. On one hand Tony hand selected Peter and ask him personally to fight alongside him with the avengers, but then completely dropped him when he is no longer convenient to him.

One of the reasons why Tony Stark is such a likeable character in the MCU films is because you see so much of him you get all the depth to him. In this you only see that top layer, and if you didn’t know about those other layers from previous films then he will definitely come across as a bit of an arsehole. Saying that, in every scene Robert Downey Jr only complimented Tom Holland, never stole scenes – I think if he’d been any more supportive towards Peter, it would have made it all about Iron Man.

 

Happy Hogan returns as Tony Stark’s head honcho, who is assigned the mission of keeping tabs on Peter. He very much underestimates both Peter and Spider-Man, definitely sees the role is more about unwanted babysitting job. John Favreau is great, I can’t fault his supporting role in this.

One of the best bits of the film is Ned. He’s Peter’s best friend who accidentally discovers his hidden identity & understandably wants in. He is a nerd but that’s not the one thing that defines him. Yes, he builds Lego Star Wars sets & he can hack into any computer system, but he’s funny and even heroic at times. Jacob Batalon is really brilliant at playing this fan boy who is getting to live out his wildest dreams vicariously through his best friend. Having previously only acted in independent films, I am excited to see where Batalon’s career will go.

Michelle. Okay. Zendaya in this role has been the talk of the town since the acting announcement, & even more so now. She really is excellent as the sarcastic, borderline rude, hashtag woke young woman, but I wanted to see so much more of her! I do think that her role in this is to introduce her & then tease us with her – she’s going to be a big part in future movies. And I need those movies now.

The love interest is Liz: the cool, smart, involved, beautiful & popular girl at school. She is immensely clever both academically and emotionally, which is what makes her actually likeable. Laura Harrier nails being the love interest without being an object.

 

There’s also Tony Revolori as Flash, who is different than any other kind of flash we have seen in the past. He still the school bully who like to take it out on Peter, but in homecoming he’s reimagined is more of a wealthy smug little boy than the classic jock. It works: that old stereotype is outdated.

The big bad villain of the film is the comic book classic the Vulture, played brilliantly by Michael Keaton. The reason behind his evil is a little bit cheesy, and I think his character would definitely have appeared to be quite underdeveloped if it hadn’t been for Michael Keaton’s superb performance. He brings a excellent balance to the regular guy who’s been screwed over by the man, making him a believable villain as well as an understandable one.

 

He feels destined to play this role but then again that’s the same with every Michael Keaton performance.

 

The cast is rounded out by Donald Glover, Herman Woodbine, Hannibal Buress, Selenis Leyva, Angourie Rice, Martin Starr, Michael Chernus, Michael Mando & Jennifer Conelly as Karen the Suit Lady. Half of these are pre existing characters in the Spider-Man comics, and most of them villains: the Prowler, the Shocker, the Tinkerer and the Scorpion are all hinted at, and again I think this is Marvel teasing us for now and testing the waters for later films.


(Moment of praise for how diverse that cast is)

 

The story works really well. It’s simple and easy going – it feels like a classic teen coming-of-age story from the 80s. Everyone seems to be comparing it to a John Hughes film and it’s because it really is like one in the best possible way. It’s nice that marvel of taking this approach with it instead of going down it being a superhero action adventure like in other first standalone films for their characters. This way makes it feel fresh, makes the third reboot of the same character in the past fifteen years seem worthwhile.

It was difficult because it wasn’t the origin story we’re used to seeing. Peter’s already been bit, he’s already figured out his powers, he already goes out & tries To fight crime. He’s already assisted alongside the avengers at this point. The reason why it works is that it addresses that Peter is a ridiculously young superhero, and the story shows his doubters, and shows them proving them wrong. It isn’t an origin story in the terms of him being bit, but it is an origin story in there it’s him finding himself. Which sounds cliche but I love it.

 

That being said it does feel smaller. It doesn’t seem as big & risky, all mind blowing even. It’s wholly enjoyable but at times it feels like it’s just a bit nice? That does work in some elements to it, but there are some bits which are designed to give drama and because the film feels more intimate it doesn’t give that suspense. It’s a little bit of a slow build, but by the end I was committed.

The action sequences I think you’re definitely one part of what makes the film feel not as huge and impacting. In comparison to grand finale is from other recent Marvel films like Dr strange and civil war, there isn’t really anything that matches up – but then again I think that could just be down to the character. He’s a kid, he’s in high school; it’s not gonna be on the same level as the super heroes have been wearing a suit for a decade.

 

I will say that I did NOT see the big reveal coming. I’m not sure I feel “the big reveal” is the right way of wording it, I just mean the bit when the two sides of the story come together: the Peter Parker side and the Spider-Man side. I did not see that coming at all, and as soon as it happened I was ecstatic. It felt like the the full potential of the film that we been expecting started at that point and from then on it was flawless. I actually think the film may have been better if it got to that point sooner and spent less time faffing around with action sequences prior to the big reveal (I’m not sure if the ferry sequence, though visually cool, was necessary to the story except for Stark to get mad).

I am a big big fan of the new spider suit. It just looks so beautiful. I love the practicality of it as well I love that we see Peter putting on the suit and seeing how it functions as a real item of clothing. There is new additions that haven’t been seen in films before like web wings from the arms that allow him to glide when jumping which is actually really cool. Louise Frogley also rounds out all the other characters really nicely – it’s the first time we’re meeting them and she did a really good job of displaying their personalities visually (big fan of Aunt May’s high waisted trousers).

 

Keeping up with the 80s theme the soundtrack is full of classic songs. Again I think this is a little bit Marvell trying to keep the ball rolling after the success of the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtracks, but it does really work well in Homecoming. This is accompanied with a score by Michael Giacchino that perfectly encapsulates the young superhero feel of the film, as proven by the brilliant titles of the tracks such as Stark Raving Mad and Pop Vulture. And hello, the original Spider-Man theme song is back – my Spidey senses were tingling.

 


All in all the more I think about it the more successful I think this film is. It is a completely original feel to the story which was massively important after all the other franchises; seamlessly introduces us to new characters and all characters reimagined; presents an exciting and adventure field story that doesn’t feel too life or death serious; and just has fun with it being back in the MCU.

 

It feels joyous – it feels like a homecoming.

 

Spider-Man: Homecoming is in cinemas now.

CULTURE, FOOD & SIGHTSEEING IN THAILAND | fivethreeninety

When I post this, I’ll be back in the UK in my own bed. And if I’m not too exhausted still from the 42 hour journey across the world, I’ll definitely be crying about having to return to normal life.
Thailand had been such an incredible place to visit. It has such an incredibly rich culture, such welcoming & friendly people & amazing experiences that I hope I will never forget.

I’m going to share with you all my experiences, tips, todo’s & recommendations for a Thailand adventure.

 

Before I start on the individual places I visited, here are some general tips for Thailand that every visitor should know:

 

Health & Hygiene

⁃ Only drink bottled water. Thailand’s mains water supply isn’t safe to drink, but you can buy bottled water everywhere. Go for Mineré or Nestlé branded ones if possible – & avoid ice (restaurants won’t always use drinking water to make it).

⁃ Carry tissues with you at all times.

⁃ Carry either soap or hand sanitiser too.

⁃ Do not underestimate how much you will need of either of the above two.

⁃ Don’t flush toilet paper down the toilet! Thai sewage system can’t handle it & all you’ll do is block the toilet. Every toilet comes with a little spray hose to clean yourself up, & a bin to put tissue in.

⁃ Take diarrhoea/ sickness tablets with you. You will probably get food poisoning (I can’t stress enough how important it is that you don’t think you will be immune).

⁃ Don’t panic if you do get food poisoning. It’s very common, even amongst locals, so just take your time to wade it out, & visit your nearest pharmacy. They’ll know how to help.

⁃ You can try your best to avoid food poisoning by drinking bottled water, avoiding ice & eating food that’s made to order. Street food is really good & cheap, but is a little bit more likely to be harmful to you due to it being out in the open longer.

 

Clothes

⁃ Take floaty mid length sleeved shirts to wear in temples that will keep you cool as well as covered.

⁃ Wear shoes that you can slip on & off easily wherever you go.

⁃ You will choose practically over fashion. Accept that before you pack & you’ll save yourself a lot of room in your suitcase.

⁃ It will be hot. Dresses are nice but chafing is not – shorts will be your best friend.


Culture

⁃ Don’t ever be anything but respectful to the monarchy, especially now. Thailand is currently in a year of mourning after their beloved King passed away, & everywhere from shopping complexes to homes has huge tributes & shrines in his memory. This respect includes currency; Thai money is emblazoned with pictures of the King so it is an extreme offence to stand on money.

⁃ Thailand is not very accepting of PDA (public displays of affection). If you’re travelling there with a spouse or partner, it’s best not to be too touchy feely in public & avoid kissing. Hand holding is becoming more acceptable, but you’ll find it’s too hot to hold hands anyway & it’s a bit of a risky gamble.

⁃ Be polite. Politeness is a huge thing in Thai culture so remember your please’s & thank you’s & show your gratefulness openly. Be as kind as possible when turning services like taxis or tuktuks or suit fittings down. It helps to bow your head or put your hands together to say thank you too, & it’s good to do this whenever you leave an establishment.

 

Religion

⁃ Don’t buy likenesses of the Buddha as souvenirs. You’ll see this written on everything from billboards to umbrellas: the Buddha is to pay respect to, not to use as a decoration. A general rule of thumb is that if you don’t completely understand something, don’t buy a trinket of it.

⁃ Cover your shoulders, knees, midriff & chest when visiting temples. Avoid wearing “flashy” clothes.

⁃ Remove your shoes when going inside temples.

⁃ Never point your feet towards the Buddha.

⁃ Leave space for locals to pray.

⁃ Nod your head/ bow before exiting temples.
Those are the most important tips I can give you – a lot of it is common sense (just be a nice person & stay clean) but you should be mindful that you’re in a different culture at all times.

 

I also thought it might be helpful for me to share my experience of Thailand as the following:

A Vegetarian

It is so easy to eat out as a vegetarian. Almost every restaurant or food vendor I came across had a vegetarian option or had tofu handy to replace meat for you if need be. Buying food from shops was a little more difficult – I never found any pots of noodles from 711 that weren’t meat, or any toasties/ paninis etcetera. Eating out is your best bet, where you can specify no meat clearly. It would be doable to survive as a vegan too, though this would need a little more searching out specific restaurants & cafes. There are multiple options for Vegan places to eat out, you’d just need to travel to them.

A Woman

I was a little apprehensive about how this culture would act towards me as a woman but I had no need to worry – the entire two weeks I was there I was treated with nothing but kindness by practically everyone I met. The only things I did experience were things like a server at a bar assuming the beer I ordered was for my boyfriend, or men offering to carry my suitcase over my boyfriend’s. But that’s pretty much the same as back home. This is just from an outsider’s perspective bear in mind – I’m not an expert by any means on what being a woman living in Thailand is like.

A Couple

Though it’s true that Thailand isn’t very PDA-y, they are very accommodating & celebratory about couples. Numerous people we met even politely asked about our relationship & complimented us, but it is worth noting that Thailand as a country does not approve of same sex relationships & same sex marriage isn’t legalised as is with most of Asia.

A Tourist

The people of Thailand are famed for their hospitality & it’s true. All you have to do is ask & people will go above & beyond to help you find your way, somewhere to eat, sightseeing you should do.

 

Quick side note re. flights:



We flew with Ukraine International Airways & while it did the job, it wasn’t great. The in flight food wasn’t great, & a vegetarian option needs to be ordered online 36 hours before departure which I didn’t know about for the flight there, & missed the deadline for on the flight back. There’s not much leg room & no television screens for the passengers except a few small central ones from the ceiling where they show bad quality showings of recentish films.
Anything extra you want has to be bought with euros (which you most likely won’t have on you for a journey between the U.K. & Thailand) or card, which will come with extra charges. Basically, stock up on food in the airport lounge if you’re flying UIA.

On the opposite side of the scale is Thai Airways, who we flew with on our inland flights. The whole experience with this airline was perfect – comfortable seats, friendly service, television screens for every passenger & relaxing music playing throughout the flight. You even board to a nice little video telling you all the great things about the place you’re heading to. They provided complimentary in flight food even on a one hour trip, but I don’t know if they had vegetarian options as I didn’t eat (sorry).

Okay – let’s get into the specific places!!




Bangkok is almost an exact 50/50 split between modern/ western culture & a traditional Thai one. You will see a Starbucks right next to a wooden home on stilts above the water; religious shrines outside of a shopping mall; plastic chairs & tables set up in alleyways as makeshift restaurants next to the subway. Phone & electric cables & wires hang low & thick alongside trees & paving slabs can be crooked or wedged around tree roots. It’s a huge city with amazing things in it, but it is also pretty full of pollution & chaos.
Travel wise, it is so easy to get around. If you can’t walk there’s both an underground rail service & a sky train; boat services up & down the river & always a taxi or tuktuk willing to take you somewhere.


Recommendations:


  The Grand Palace

The Thailand Grand Palace is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my life. It really is grand, full of lavishly decorated buildings that are jaw dropping (really it’s unbelievable). It feels like an absolute culmination of all the love & pride the country has for its  Monarchy and religion, and you can feel how much of a special place it is to the Thai people when you’re there.

 

Chatuchak Weekend Market

We went on a whim to fill up an afternoon & were not expecting the sheer size of this market at all. It just goes on & on & on, hundreds of stalls selling everything from coconuts to Spongebob watches. I can’t even describe how do you do is you just need to experience  struggling to find your way back to where you started for 45 minutes.

 

Khaosan Road

This is backpacker central, & is basically a mini Camden. There’s hostels & hotels & restaurants, all at pretty dirt cheap prices, with travel shops & market stalls lining the road. There is every kind of souvenir you could want on this road, from little wooden elephants to designer knock offs.

 
Tourist Boat


This was such a good way to travel around. A day’s pass is 150 baht (which is under £3.50) & means you can hop on & off at any stop, all of which have beautiful sightseeing opportunities. Even if you’re not stopping you’ll see some beautiful sights on the sides of the river & the breeze is SO GOOD on the hot days of Bangkok.

 
I wouldn’t prioritise:

Dusit Zoo

It does have some cool animals there (hello hippos) but it doesn’t have that much space in the enclosures & though it teaches you more about animals than other zoos I’ve been too, it didn’t seem like it prioritised them animals as highly as it did the income it made from visitors.

 




The flight to Chiang Mai played us a little video which claimed that the city was a “once in a lifetime” trip, & while I hope that wasn’t my only time there, they were right. The experiences we had in Chiang Mai made memories I hope never to forget. From swimming in waterfalls to caring for native elephants, Chiang Mai feels like a really authentic Thailand that caters to tourists with what it naturally has to offer.

How to get there:

Flight from Bangkok. You can get return tickets for around £80, probably cheaper. The central city is only a ten minute drive from the airport.
Recommendations:
Wat Phra Sing

The actual temple at Wat Phra Sing is beautiful, but it’s their gardens that made it stand out for me. It’s so quiet & serene, just a really tranquil place full of people taking the time to be in a calm environment.
May Kaidee Vegetarian & Vegan Cooking Classes

I didn’t do this class but went on a mission there to get a booklet for it, after my cousin lost hers when she did the course a few months back. If I’d have had the time I definitely would have done a traditional Thai cooking class.
Hike

I really recommend you do this. Go to a local agency & ask them about walks in the mountains & they’ll be able to help you easy. The one we did was amazing; three waterfalls; a visit to the Naphamethanidom temple which is so high up on the mountains all the air is mist; a stop at the highest point in all of Thailand; visiting local rice farms & trying fresh coffee from a local grower. The day starts with a few stops along the way to the top, a paid for lunch & then a two hour walk down, all guided by amazing tour guides who know everything back to front. If you’re worried about the walk, don’t be – it’s all downhill & really isn’t that exhausting.

 
Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary

The best thing you can do in Chiang Mai is visit an elephant sanctuary. Do your research before you go though, make sure you aren’t going to one that uses chains, hooks or allows riding. However amazing it would be to ride an elephant, the process behind it is beyond cruel & you really can’t do it. I really can’t recommend the sanctuary we went to enough – the workers were so funny & happy & full of life & obviously really cared for the amazing creatures we were seeing. With them, you get the chance to feed the elephants, have a mud bath with them & swim in a river with them, before you go off to spend some time with just people at a waterfall. The elephants are rescued from labour work or circus’, & are just the most amazing animals now that they can just be elephants.

 

I wouldn’t prioritise:

 
Nightlife
I didn’t experience any in all honesty, but I think all the amazing things you can do in the day in Chiang Mai just wipe you out too much to be thinking about going out all night.

 

 

Koh Tao is famous for it’s diving & that’s how we know it – my boyfriend, Jamie lived here for three months last year when he was studying to become a certified Divemaster, so finally getting to see it myself was amazing. It’s incomparable to any place I’ve ever been before, & is the most relaxed & stress free environment I’ve ever been in. Nobody seems to have any worries, everyone is calm & welcoming & there is such rich diversity from people all over the world all gathered on this tiny island.

 

How to get there: 

⁃ Buy a joint ticket from Bangkok. This includes the coach journey to Chumphon & then the boat to the island. It’s a long journey but it’s worth it.

 

Recommendations:


Hire a Bike

The island is tiny, but hilly. Getting a bike means you’ll be able to see every bit of Koh Tao without having to trek through the sweltering heat. Go to Oli’s Motorbike Rentals in Mae Head – it’s worth it to go through them rather than just hire a bike off the side of a road.
Samosa Restaurant

It’s down the road opposite the Supermall by the Roctopus dive HQ. It doesn’t look like much but the people are wonderful & the food is amazing – every dish is cooked to order. Jamie went there all the time when he stayed last year, & when we went for the first time this trip it took the woman all of two seconds to remember him & his order. We went every day & by the end of the week she added us on her personal Facebook & posted a photo of us on the restaurant’s profile.
Nangyuan

Nangyuan is an even smaller island off Koh Tao. Take a taxi boat over there for the day & you can swim with fish, relax on the beach & trek up to the peak to see the island stretched out beneath you. If you take a towel, only use it to dry yourself off – don’t lie on it on the beach (the island loses a lot of sand this way). Also keep in mind that you can’t take plastic bottles onto the island with you – & all food & drink is a little more expensive here.
Freedom Beach

This was the most magical start to our stay in Koh Tao. This beach is tiny,  secluded & just so so peaceful. Laying there watching the sunset from a hammock  with the waves rolling in was one of those pinch me moments when my life didn’t seem real.

 
Sairee Beach

Sairee is the big famous beach on Koh Tao, but is still so serene. It’s never crowded, & in the day you can relax in the sun or under the palm trees, & at night relax at the front of beach bars watching fire shows.

 
Koh Tao Pub Crawl

The co-towel pub crawl is trashy as hell but its brilliant.  You pay 500 baht for entry to the pub crawl, which grants you a T-shirt, a free bucket, free shots and discounts at every bars you go to.  It’s the biggest pub crawl in Asia and one of the top five  pub crawls in the world,  and is best enjoyed as part of a big group. The best bit of the pub crawl though by far is…

 

Cabaret Show

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This was the best moment of my life. The show is free, but every entree must buy a drink once inside – ready in time for the show.  Full disclaimer, it is a shortened show than their actual evening one they do late every night but it is incredible. There’s group & solo performances set to Rihanna & Michael Buble that give you so much life – please just go. They’re so talented. I was ALIVE.

 

Bucket Bar

If drinking is on your todo list then head here. It’s just opposite Choppers, & is a smoothie & shake bar by day & a bucket bar by night. It’s the cheapest buckets of alcohol you’ll get on the island & they have logs of wood which is the basis of a brilliant drinking game.

 

I have fallen in love with this way of life. Of waking up to gorgeous heat & heading out barefaced & barefoot to venture out for the day.

 

Obviously videos from my trip will be coming to my YouTube channel as soon as possible, so go subscribe to see the things I experienced too beautiful to describe in words.

 

Thailand, I have loved you. Without sounding like a stereotypical traveller who has ‘found them self’, you have changed me for the better. These two weeks have felt like a lifetime in the best possible way & I hope I can return someday soon.

INTERNATIONAL KISSING DAY | fivethreeninety

It’s international kissing day. What better day is there to present you with the greatest film kisses of all time?

 
Allie & Noah

The Notebook


So dramatic. So sexy. So soggy.

 
Jack & Ennis

Brokeback Mountain


Heath Ledger almost broke Jake Gyllenhaal’s nose filming this kiss (goals anyone?).

 

Peter & Mary Jane

Spider-Man


Can you name a more iconic kiss than this upside down one?

 
Lady & Tramp

Lady and the Tramp


I wish slurping on the same piece of spaghetti & ending in a kiss was as cute & attainable in real life as this movie made it look.

 
Chiron & Kevin

Moonlight


Has there ever been a kiss more deserving of MTV’s Best Kiss award? (Spoiler: the answer is no).

 
Kathryn & Cecile

Cruel Intentions


Sarah Michelle Gellar in this role has us all feeling like Selma Blair.
Hermione & Ron

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2


FINALLY. WE WAITED A DECADE FOR THIS.


Holly & Paul

Breakfast at Tiffany’s



This is how you end a film with a kiss. Heat of the moment, with a cat in the middle.
John & Jane

Mr. & Mrs. Smith


This fight turns sex scene personifies sexual tension. Is anyone else still hurt about Brad & Angelina?
Giselle & Robert

Enchanted



This is literally true love’s kiss. And it does save the day.

What’s your favourite movie kiss? Did it make my cut? Tweet me & let me know!

MOONLIGHT | fivethreeninety

I just want to say before we start that this film deserved every single bit of that Best Picture Academy Award & that I am in love with it.

It’s written & directed by Barry Jenkins, starring Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders & Trevante Rhodes as main character Chiron, also with Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Janelle Monáe, Jharrel Jerome & André Holland.

Moonlight follows Chiron, the son of a crack whore & a boy trying to find his way in life through three separate stages of his life; as a child, a teenager & an adult.
Chiron is an beautifully complex character, & each actor that plays him does so with such individuality that’s brought together seamlessly through Jenkin’s direction.

Alex Hibbert makes his film debut as nine year old “Little” Chiron. He is quiet & unsure & quietly scared all the time. He’s a little boy living a life no boy should live, yet he doesn’t seem helpless. 
Ashton Sanders is teenage Chiron, & he perfectly balances the teenage angst with a major internal sadness. He’s conflicted about himself & those around him, & goes through a number of things that ultimately shape adult Chiron forever. Sanders is really something special, & in this difficult role is stunning.
Finally, older Chiron – “Black” is Travante Rhodes. And he is phenomenal. He is every bit the stereotype of who he has shaped himself to be on the outside: grills in his teeth, car to be envious of, huge beefy body. He’s worked to create this exterior to gain respect, & live his life free from control from anyone else but inside he is so so vulnerable – & Rhodes has this way of showing this that is incomprehensible to me months on from seeing the film.
Director Barry Jenkins said in an interview that these three actors who play Chiron never met during production – intentionally. He wanted each of them to create their own version of Chiron during the respective moments of his life, with no influence from the other two actors. The same technique was used with the actors who play Kevin. 

There’s four other main characters in the film: 

Paula, Chiron’s mother. She’s always been troubled, but spirals fast in the film’s progression. Troubled by her addictions which make her cruel beyond words, she’s not an amazing mother yet you can understand Chiron’s unconditional love for her. Naomi Harris is utterly jaw dropping as her, the only actor to feature in all three segments & though she is vastly different in each, she provides an amazing sense of continuity & fluidity to the story as Chiron keeps returning to her.

Juan is Chiron’s mentor. They found each other by complete chance at the right time, & become an unlikely pair of friends. He, with his partner, becomes the role model Chiron needs. Mahershala Ali gives such a tenderness to this respected drug dealer, & beautiful understanding to the character. He is respected because he can fight if needed, but all he is ever seen as is kind & nurturing. Bearing in mind this story is told through Chiron’s perspective, & seeing him as the solace for a nine year old is wonderful.

Juan’s partner is Teresa, who’s played by Janelle Monáe. She is everything Paula is not: kind, gentle, sweet & loving. She gives it straight & cares for Chiron as her own whilst never letting him forget about his real mother. I am so impressed by Monáe’s performance – both so natural & so precise at the same time.

Kevin is Chiron’s lifelong friend. He’s the ever present but increasingly distant person in Chiron’s life, & shapes him through the tiniest things he’s probably unaware of (i.e. adult Chiron goes by the nickname fifteen year old Kevin presented him with despite the two not being in touch in years). All three actors play him with such each & self assurance – these being Jaden Piner, Jharrel Jerome & André Holland.

The tension between whichever two actors playing Kevin & Chiron is more than tangible to anybody – this whole film is just casting at it’s finest.

The story & writing is so beautifully effortless – it isn’t a thriller by any means but it does keep you in a tense state you weren’t aware you were in until the end when you relax. It’s split into three segments, of three segments of Chiron’s life; him at nine, fifteen & thirty, but carried with the same flow through all that it’s never unconvincing. Each segment is also so absorbing you completely forget that it’s only one third of the story, so when the next Chiron comes along it’s a little shocking but not in a bad way.

I don’t need to tell you the power of an all black,LGBT film being this huge. Representing race & homosexuality together is huge, in an industry where people who aren’t straight & white are often omitted. 

It’s the first LGBT film, & the first film featuring an all black cast, to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Plus, Mahershala Ali being recognised for his role & being awarded Best Supporting Actor makes him the first ever Muslim actor to win an Oscar for acting. Seeing it being so publicly recognised on the level it has been is amazing.

Mind you, I work in a cinema & I can tell you numerous people straight up walked out mid way through (majority were older people). But it feels like progress is being made. Compared to mass problems people are experiencing worldwide, it is only a small victory, but a step nonetheless. A film made almost solely by black people winning Best Picture is huge, & about bloody time.

The cinematography by James Laxton is breathtaking. The framing! The sweeping shots! The colours! It made me want to weep!

That one long, long shot of teenage Chiron walking into school (you’ll know which time when you see it) is BRILLIANT. Literally one of the best long sequence shots in history of film I think. It is so clear what’s happening, though without words, which is a true testament to both the actors & film crew. It’s definitely one of those film moments that will stick with for as long as I live.
Roughly eighty percent of the film was shot on location in Liberty City, Miami, where both director Barry Jenkins & writer Tarell Alvin McCraney grew up. It feels familiar, like a home in the way it’s presented & I think the two really achieved that homage to their childhood.

The score is so interesting, with modern blended with orchestral to create something really unique to Chiron’s story. There’s also little references, like the song Cucurrucucu Paloma being used as a personal homage to the 1997 Kar-Wai Wong film Happy Together (1997), which deals with the same subject matter.
Moonlight was one of those films where I was sucked completely away into a dreamlike state where nothing was real except the film in front of me. It makes you feel that quiet sort of contentment, with a little bit of sadness. Happysad. 

It is beautiful. If you haven’t seen it, make yourself see it. And if you don’t like it, consider the possibility that it wasn’t made for you.

Moonlight is out on DVD in the U.K. today.

BAYWATCH | fivethreeninety

Everything I know about the original Baywatch I learnt through my Mum, & through Joey & Chandler watching it in Friends. But everyone knows the basics – a good trashy show about a group of crime fighting lifeguards who are all gorgeous & run in slow motion. 
So to hear a remake was happening was a little bit intriguing, & to hear who it was going to be fronted by was EXCITING.

Seth Gordon directs dream team Dwayne Johnson & Zac Efron as the male leads, with the amazing Priyanka Chopra as the bad guy up against the Baywatch team; made up of Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Ruhrbach, Ilfenesh Hadera & Jon Bass.
It’s a reboot of the classic television series, reincarnating some old characters as well as introducing new ones: 

Mitch Buchannon is reincarnated in the form of Dwayne Johnson, who brings the same level of charming cockiness

Matt Brody is a once beloved American champion who’s had a massive downfall. Zac Efron plays him excellently – his comic timing is really brilliant actually. “I’m caucasian” is one of the funniest lines in it & he delivers it perfectly (in context it’s brilliant).

Priyanka Chopra needs to play a Bond villain & stat. She is gorgeously evil as Victoria Leeds, sassy & seductive & downright scary at times. Chopra stated in an interview that the role was written for a man, but director Seth Gordon changed his mind upon meeting her. YES.

The rest of the Baywatch squad consists of:

Stephanie – the boss. She’s the beautiful, vulnerable yet fierce & strong female that you will love. She’s not given nearly enough screen time but still every character insists she’s the best at the job, so you win some you lose some. Ilfenesh Hadera is totally convincing, really gorgeous & brilliant to watch.

CJ – this woman is the epitome of Baywatch Babe. She’s blonde with big boobs & a great butt & can swish her hair perfectly. She’s CJ from Baywatch. But this CJ has a lot more heart to her, & a more fleshed out character than Pamela Anderson’s who I hate to say, was a tad bit ‘dumb blonde’. She’s beautiful & knows it, but has a total heart of gold & Kelly Rohrbach balances it really well.

Summer – this is the woman you can relate too, who is still learning & isn’t an intimidating Baywatch babe. I really like Alexandria Daddario & think she was great in this role, & will definitely be keeping my eye out for her in the future.

Ronnie – like Summer, Ronnie is the relatable guy who doesn’t have a six pack & massive arms. He is treated a little hit as the joke for the expense of laughs, but throughout all the other characters draw on his strengths which is nice. Jon Bass is actually really heartwarming in an annoying sort of way as him.

There’s also minor roles from Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Hannibal Buress, Rob Huebel & Oscar Nuñez (who are all good, obviously). 

A big question for many (myself included), was how sexualised was it going to be? I can tell you that though yes, it is Baywatch & there is sexualisation, all of said sexualisation is consented by the characters – either carried out by themselves or at least acknowledged by them. CJ’s butt slap featured in the trailer is one of these. 

At the end of the day yes it’s the whole Baywatch Babes idea but these are driven women with a believable purpose. It does give the idea a little bit more sustenance: & of course there is a lot of nudity from the men too.

The extras on the other hand are almost exclusively hot skinny women in bikinis – there are no average looking people on Miami beaches according to Baywatch. And yes – there are cameos from David Hasselhoff & Pamela Anderson.

The film is not good, but somehow you can’t help but enjoy it? It’s a pretty simple storyline that isn’t boring, & makes fun of the fact that these lifeguards think they’re the police.

The first twenty minutes or so was too prioritised with trying to make sure everyone knew it was going to be funny. There was a joke every two seconds, less than half of which were actually worth laughing at.

The rest of the story fleshes out okay & solves itself pretty smoothly. It doesn’t put too much into it & it all neatly & conveniently ties together by the end. It’s easy to watch for sure.

Actually a tiny shoutout to the costume department too – they maintained the now famous ‘Baywatch’ look of the tiny red swimsuits but actually made them a bit more wearable & actually more appropriate & wearable for a lifeguard. Big fan of the additions of long sleeve zip ups that Stephanie wears a lot. 

In summary – will this film win any Oscars? No. Will you laugh at every single joke? No. But you will have a semi-decent time. At least I did – & that’s not just because there’s a lot of shirtless Dwayne Johnson.

It is my lowest ranked film of the year so far, but I enjoyed it because it wasn’t anything other than I was expecting, meaning no disappointment. It was just a silly, fun film to entertain you (& make you want to work out & go save lives at the beach).

Baywatch is in cinemas worldwide now.

WONDER WOMAN | fivethreeninety

I left the cinema yesterday BURSTING with JOY at how INCREDIBLE THAT FILM WAS. I’m not joking – Wonder Woman is sensational.

After the train wrecks that were Batman vs. Superman & Suicide Squad, I was praying that the please made this one at least a bit good. No need to worry though, because it exceeded all expectations & more, & made me straight up emotional at how fantastic it was.

 

Gal Gadot reprises the titular role after her part being the best bit about Batman vs Superman, & stars in her stand alone film alongside Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Lucy Davis with Patty Jenkins as director. Yes, that’s a FEMALE DIRECTOR OF A HUGE BLOCKBUSTER FILM. About bloody time.

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Can I just say that Patty Jenkins has done an outstanding job of this too. Her passion for this project is tangible in every element of the film & I long to see more of her work. 

It’s not your typical superhero origin story, because she’s not your typical superhero.

The first twenty minutes is entirely free of male characters & it really is a joy to watch this incredible island of strong & amazing women uninterrupted for so long – I want an entire film just about them. We hear their stories & their legends then enter Chris Pine as Captain Steve Trevor, who crash lands onto the hidden island & is rescued by Diana in a very Little Mermaid style fashion. He tells her about the war ongoing in the world, & Diana, sure she knows how to help, leaves with him to fight.

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The film introduces a lot of characters & all of them are great.

Diana is the epitome of a hero. She cared about every single person & doesn’t ignore them to focus on the bigger picture of her missions.  Gadot described her as having “many strengths and powers, but at the end of the day she’s a woman with a lot of emotional intelligence” & that is very true.

Yes she is the sole woman in her squad, but she is the leader undoubtedly & unquestionably. Where Black Widow is the one thrown into the group for female representation, Wonder Woman is the reason the group is there & they know she’s the one with power.

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I’ve seen a lot of… not criticism, but ‘honesty’ shared about Gal Gadot’s performance & in truth, while she isn’t Oscar worthy she is Wonder Woman down to the core. She was born for this role & wears it like a glove, in every scene, emotion & moment.

Her presense is amazing & you are drawn to her in every shot. She is utterly captivating & plays every aspect of Diana perfectly; her strength, passion, vulnerability, confusion, humbleness, curiosity & downright fearlessness.

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Antiope is the cool Aunt everyone wants. She’s sister to the Queen & leader of the army & is the greatest warrior on the island. Robin Wright is literally flawless & amazing in the role. 

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Diana’s mother & Queen of Themyscira, is Hippolyta. She’s a loving mother & leader who tends to deny harsh truths & is a little bit ‘tough love’, but her heart is in the right place.I admit I’ve never seen Connie Nielsen in anything before but I will be looking out for her again because she played strong Queen perfectly.

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Steve Trevor is my new favourite love interest. He’s treated like a good Bond girl whilst still being a hero – he’s naked within his first ten minutes of screen time. Steve is a bit of rebel, but only for what he believes is right. Chris Pine is the only man for the job – he’s charming, gorgeous & totally respects that this film is not about him.
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Lucy Davis is wonderfully sweet as Trevor’s secretary, Etta Candy. She’s not in it for much but then she couldn’t really logistically, but she is perfect & would steal the scenes totally if she weren’t alongside such greats. I love her to bits.
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Then there’s Diana’s soldier squad: Sameer, Charlie & Chief. They’re all allies of Steve’s that he already knows are a) good at what they do & b) stupid enough to join him. 

  • Saïd Taghmaoui plays Sameer, a secret agent who is a master of disguise with a passion for acting. 
  • Ewen Bremner is Charlie, a sharpshooter who suffers from PTSD, who’s a bit of a drinker with a lovely voice.
  • Eugene Brave Rock is Chief, a guy who trades with both sides of the war & knows how to get people across the front lines.

Their blessing is given by Sir Patrick Morgan, a speaker for peace on the Imperial War Cabinet, played by David Thewlis. He’s really cool & mysterious.

The bad guys inevitably are evil German soldiers. The head honcho is General Ludendorff played by Danny Huston. He’s typical bad guy German General, but I found his associate Doctor Isabel Maru (affectionately known to the enemy as Doctor Poison) way cooler. She’s a classic bad guy trope, with a burnt face & porcelain mask to cover it, but she’s fleshed out in a really intriguing way –  I think that’s more due to Elena Anaya’s performance than the writing. I do wish they’d given more time to her character, & making her more of an individual than just a devoted follower of Ludendorff.

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There is one more bad guy: Ares. He’s the one Diana searches for, following her culture’s stories of all evil being his cause. I won’t go too much into him to save the spoilers, but what happens isn’t expected.
Lets talk about this diversity: obviously yes, it is a female fronted film (yay!); there is a full island of powerful women & a cool female sidekick in the real world; but what’s great is the diversity in ethnicities. The Amazonian’s are played by an amazing group of women that range from boxers to models, including Mayling Ng, Florence Kasumba, Madeleine Vall Beijner, Ann Wolfe, Doutzen Kroes & Samantha Jo.
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The main squad of lads even consist of a Scottish guy, a Moroccan guy, a Native American guy & ONE WHITE AMERICAN DUDE. They even address the fact that Native Americans were slaughtered by white people.
The writing is really good. It feels taken seriously, & there is this underlying tone of importance beneath everything. There’s a lot of comedy alongside the sincerity which feels genuine, not forced. It also comes from everyone, not just the one comedic relief character with a couple of one liners every now & then. Diana herself has some brilliantly funny moments, most notably her frankness discussing her knowledge of sexual pleasure & men’s role in it towards the start (spoiler, they’re not necessary).
The greatest thing is that it’s consistent – there’s no scenes that feel out of place. Any that feel a little bit questionable are more than likely ones taken directly from moments in the comics.

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The cinematography is really gorgeous. The colouring is all bright, beautiful & crisp in  Themyscira, then as soon as Diana hits the ‘real’ world it’s grey & dull, with her as this bright & powerful woman right in the middle of it as it’s ray of hope. There are some excellent wide shots, particularly on the island that you could frame & hang in your house, & then loads of stunning slow motion shots of the Amazon women (Diana included) doing amazing stunts in battle.
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The costumes are stunning & I want them all. They’re designed by Lindy Hemming, who’s career spans three decades & includes DC’s greatest trilogy series The Dark Knight (2005-2012). There’s gorgeous costuming for all the characters that show individuality whilst maintaining the era’s dress, but really it’s the Amazon’s that showcase Hemming’s extraordinary talents. The costumes are strong but feminine, armor & attire that gives the wearer freedom to move – this means a lot of thigh high leg slits & it looks incredible. What I really like is how Diana just looks like another Amazon – they all, like her, have arm cuffs & the like. Hello to all those Amazonian hairstyles too – I’m now going to grow my hair out really long & alternate between braids & big natural curls everyday.

The iconic Wonder Woman costume is similar to, if not the same as the one seen in last year’s Batman vs Superman which I have always loved. It’s like a real version of the one from the comics that actually looks like something a warrior would wear. There was lots of complaint when it was originally released that it lacked the classic bright red, blue & gold colouring but come on – why was an Amazon who originated in Greece even dressed in the colours of the American flag in the first place.

And those complaining that Wonder Woman isn’t really feminist because she wears a revealing outfit: get over it. Most people have legs, it’s really not a secret – & Diana fights with her. She’s a warrior.

And in relation to the direction & the cinematography – the camera doesn’t ever linger over Diana’s exposed skin – which is bad we have to celebrate that, but progress nonetheless.

The stunt choreography is amazing. There’s 126 people in total who helped make the stunts come to life & it really payed off because they are stunning, the precision of them, especially those from Amazon’s (on horseback might I add) is incredible.
The music is great, very atmospheric & empowering but of course the best bit is the Wonder Woman theme “Is She With You?” from her introduction in Batman vs Superman.
The only downsides? They don’t actually ever call her Wonder Woman, which is a bit weird. But then that also sets her aside from other superheros; there isn’t a big reveal moment when ‘Wonder Woman’ is born – because it’s just Diana doing what she does.

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The most important thing though is what this represents. This is the first major stand alone female superhero blockbuster movie, & it’s ridiculous that it took this long. But having it here now is incredible.

And people watching this – from little girls to old men, will see that difference.

In a world where women’s rights are being obliterated & violated every single day even by world leaders, this film makes it feel like we can win.

Wonder Woman is in cinemas worldwide now.


MAY MOVIE CHALLENGE #30: LEAST FAVOURITE MOVIE

I have to say, I’m a little disappointed to be having to end this challenge on a sour note. I do find it difficult to hate films, but I’m actually okay with this as my answer:

Hostel



I was this close to choosing The Green Inferno – a film I disliked so much I vowed to swear off Eli Roth films all together. But at least Green Inferno has some sort of political message about it, even if it is as horrific as female genital mutilation. Plus, it had the dude from Spy Kids in it. 

But I’m talking about the first Hostel today – the second actually has some level of plot & cool female characters that make up for seeing Lily from The Princess Diaries being strung up naked & murdered. The first Hostel is just plain gore, without a major storyline or characters & is essentially just 94 minutes of watching people be tortured.

Basically it’s about this organisation of people so rich they pay to torture backpackers staying in hostels. That’s it.

I can stomach gore when it’s part of a story, but when it’s senseless it all just feels a little too sadistic & fetishised. 

It’s gross. I’m worried about Eli Roth.

That marks the end of my May movie challenge! It’s been a challenge for sure, & im sure you’ve all seen the days where I’ve posted at 11.30pm & just made the cut. But I did it! Thirty consecutive days of blogging, with some additional posts thrown in as well! 
I admit I was starting to get a bit stuck on blogging but this has made me not stress about it – I’m back to loving it.
You’ll be seeing more of me very soon.
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