I’m an Animal Lover Who Needed Help

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I just love all the geese that fly around the woods in the neighborhood where my home is. I love their colors. I love the way they sound, too. I have never had the luck to live near them before. But I learned that they can also become a pest problem, as well. My neighbors and I discussed that I might need to get Canada geese control in NJ after the geese began attacking me at random times.Animal Lover

I do not want to hurt animals. And I never will. It is scary, though, to walk outside your home on a Saturday morning in your robe and slippers, and the geese come at you out of nowhere. I have to go outside each morning to get my newspaper delivery, and out of the 5 days I went out to get it last week, the birds came after me four times.

I decided to try to be sneaky and look out the window before I went outside. I would wait until I thought they were busy, and then I would rush outside. Of course, I made sure to be very quite so that I would not alert them. That worked two times. The other two times, they saw me and came after me immediately. Both times, I raced back inside again. This was not good for them or me.

The majority of these birds leave people alone. But in random situations, they become very territorial. I understand that fully. To them, I was on their property, not the other way around. They wanted me gone and did what they could to try to protect their territory. I called a place that could do something about it. They promised that they are very gentle and only relocated the birds. They did that for me and I can now go outside in peace.

Deluded brats: The American dream

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Every few years American cinema turns its eye on its youth. Kids that have lost their way (or maybe never found it in the first place) with too much money and time on their hands they find themselves, quite quickly, in a world of idle trouble and wanton criminality.

Here are a few for your consideration, some based on fact and some fiction.

Bully (2001)
Based on the 1993 murder of Bobby Kent in south Florida, this Larry Clark film starred Brad Renfro and Nick Stahl and featured a bunch of kids hanging out and getting wasted; who then cook up a plot to murder their ‘friend’ with pretty much no thought for the consequences. An intense performance from Renfro in one of the last before his tragically early death.

Alpha Dog (2007)
Like Bully, this film is based on a true story, this one focusing on the killing of 15-year-old Nicholas Markowitz in 2000. Directed by Nick Cassavetes it featured an impressive cast of up-and-comers and established names (Bruce Willis, Ben Foster, Justin Timberlake, Emile Hirsch, Anton Yelchin) and was a compelling albeit harrowing watch from start to finish.

Spring Breakers (2012)
Fiction this time, but not wholly implausible. Directed by Harmony Korine and starring Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine as four girls on spring break – pretty much permanently in bikinis – who descend into a world of drink, drugs, guns and crime, mostly thanks to James Franco’s wannabe gangster called Alien.

The Bling Ring (2013)
Another true tale, this time focusing on a group of teenagers who, looking to emulate celebrities, robbed their homes in 2008 stealing around $3 million in cash and belongings. Directed by Sofia Coppola and starring Emma Watson this didn’t reach the heights of some of her previous work, but nevertheless was a fascinating and darkly compelling tale.

‘American’… what?!

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I blame American Sniper. (Damn you Bradley Cooper.) Maybe this film was the final straw. To explain: over the last few years (or even the last few decades) there’s been a regular slew of films that start with the word ‘American’. Is it a sure fire way to gets bums (at least, American ones) on seats? Or does it simply sound cooler to have that word at the start of a film’s title? I mean, c’mon… French Sniper, British Sniper, German Sniper – they just don’t inspire, do they?

Maybe it’s just simpler.

American Sniper. You know what you’re going to get. Job done. Whatever the reason, here are my top 5 (in order) that proudly wear that word loud and proud for all to see.

Oscars 2015: As the dust settles

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So that’s the Oscars done for another year. Were they everything you expected? Did the actors and films you’d hope get recognition actually get it? And, more importantly, does it all even matter?

In answer to the last question, probably not, but industry acclaim is often (but not always) indicative of a job well done. And who wouldn’t want a big shiny award for their efforts?

GHB_9907 20130130.CR2

This year it seems Grand Budapest Hotel cleaned up (production design, best score, costume design, makeup and hair). As did Birdman (picture, director, original screenplay, cinematography) and Whiplash (supporting actor, film editing, sound mixing).

Still Alice… Still sad, sorrowful Julianne Moore

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I haven’t seen Still Alice yet but I appreciate Julianne Moore’s performance is meant to be quietly brilliant. It’s won her a Best Actress Oscar, so it should be.

And you have to hand it to her, no one does sad, sorrowful and full to the brim with pain and anguish quite like Julianne Moore. The film poster for Still Alice is masterful in its simplicity and use of vibrant colours to contrast Moore’s expression.

Looking at her filmography, she took supporting parts for years across a number of different genres. Maybe she has now, in recent years, found her niche?

This may sound like a rant, of sorts. But it’s really not. I’m a fan. But now she’s got the Oscar for sad, why not mix it up? I’d love to see happy, feisty, aggressive, bitchy and bad ass Julianne Moore. I’m sure she’s got those qualities in her locker.

So how about it Julianne, fancy embracing a new career direction?

 

Whatever happened to ladies of the ’80s?

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Hey Hollywood, what gives? I suppose young regularly replaces old, but some of the women from movies I loved growing up during this decade must still be acting. They can’t have all retired, right? Ladies like Phoebe Cates and Jennifer Jason Leigh (Fast Times at Ridgemont High), Kelly Lebrock (Weird Science), Molly Ringwald (The Breakfast Club), Elisabeth Shue (The Karate Kid) and Geena Davis (Beetlejuice).

Let’s dig a bit deeper.

Phoebe Cates
She made her film debut in 1981 and a year later landed a role in a Cameron Crowe movie, Fast Times At Ridgemont High – probably the high point of her career. She also had a modest part in both Gremlins movies. After that, very little, and she retired in 1994 to raise a family. Such a shame, from an acting point of view of course.

30 BEST FILMS FROM THE ’80S

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I heard somewhere once that our obsession with the 1980s has gone on longer than the decade itself. And with Back to the Future being in the news for reaching the ‘future’ date not too long ago (and, alarmingly, accurately predicting loads of inventions and tech we now take for granted), I thought it a good time to revisit 30 (don’t ask why I picked this number) of my favourite films from that decade.

TOP 10 ‘SEDUCTIVE’ CINEMATIC MOMENTS

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Now we’re not talking scenes here necessarily – more just moments within a scene perhaps. Some are the first time we see the character (often the most impressive) and some once they’ve been established. All are rather brilliant. And these are a selection of my favourites.

‘Do you want some red rope licorice?’ Wayne’s World 2 (1993)
Garth is doing his laundry and in walks Kim Basinger, sucking ‘innocently’ on his licorice and sharing a steamy moment as she hands him back his tighty whiteys.

‘A blonde walks into a bank’ The Mask (1994)
Aged 21 Cameron Diaz auditioned for this film with no experience. She was cast and introduced to cinema in bravura fashion. Jim Carrey’s jaw hit the floor (as he probably wasn’t even acting).

TOP 10 ELEVATOR SCENES IN MOVIES

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Is your screenplay complete without a good elevator scene? Probably not. As a director can you forgive yourself for not including one? No.

So there’s the argument, an open-and-shut case. Any film worth its salt has an elevator scene, so here are a few I’ve picked out I rather like.

What would make your list?

Drive
Oddly tender yet completely brutal, here Ryan Gosling’s character gently holds Carey Mulligan’s character back before he viciously stomps a guy to death.

TOP 15 FILMS OF 2015

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A strong year for cinema, I must say. With the exception of the summer it’s been veritably crammed with decent stuff to watch month on month. As usual, I missed the boat on loads. What I did catch though I liked a lot, for the most part.

Here’s my top 15 of the year, plus a list of ones I assume I’d have loved, had I seen them.

TOP 30 AUSSIE ACTORS

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They come from a land down under. And then they all eventually move to Hollywood. Ah, Australia. For Europeans and Americans it can feel like the other side of the world, and it pretty much is, in some ways.

Often the mention of the country conjures up images of beaches, surf and endless sunshine. Whilst that’s all there it’s also a place that seems to churn out an astonishingly high number of talented actors. Here’s my pick of a few of my favourites and the films or TV that put them on my radar.

TOP 5 MOVIE QUOTES OF 2015

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Strong year for strong lines I say. Some stick in your head because they shocked you, some no doubt amused, confused and titillated you. Some perhaps inspired you. Here’s my top five of the year.

5. Wild
‘My mother used to say something that drove me nuts. There is a sunrise and a sunset every day and you can choose to be there for it. You can put yourself in the way of beauty.’

Reese Witherspoon here plays Cheryl Strayed, a woman who walked 1100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail to find herself again. An inspiring film and underrated performance.

WHO ARE THE MOST ‘IN FORM’ BRITISH ACTRESSES RIGHT NOW?

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Now I was going to use the word ‘hot’ to describe this list, as in ‘they’re so hot right now’, but it seems a bit American for a list of British actresses. So for anyone into sport I’ve gone with ‘in form’, so you’ll get it – and I mean acting talent not physical form. Of course they’re all beautiful as well (goes without saying), but this is about their ability to convince us of their character and performance on screen.

TOP 5 ACTRESSES THAT LOOK LIKE CATS

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We’ve all thought it. Well, er, some of us. Look at her eyes, so feline, so alluring, she can’t be human surely? Definitely some sort of alien. Well, whatever these ladies are, I like them. Those exotic creatures with the feline features.

So, for no reason at all really, other than I felt like sharing, here are my top five cat-like actresses in film and TV at the moment: