Poetic Miscellany: Shuffle

Selecting a tune with an up-tempo beat
Starts me off as I walk down the street.
The frosty air makes me shiver,
The music distracts my quivers.
I hum contently to the line of the base
As the beat of the drum sets my pace.

Alone in the warm I quietly sing along
To a familiar track, a favourite song.
Lyrics ache deep inside my chest,
An eager yearning with every beat of rest.
The words are a drug and I’m addicted.
Lullabies of emotions conflicted.

A sombre tune to end the day
But the track fades out half way.
I check my iPod, there’s no need,
These songs are embedded in me like weeds.
I already know there’s no wire in the jack
And my internal shuffle selects the next track.

ALH

Poetic Miscellany: Untitled

Shallow and grey,
Glossy and smooth.
A frosty stare,
Does it have something to prove?

Creeping in the darkness
They form over night.
Set by the morning,
A mirror in the right light.

Sharp at the edges
These gritty little pools.
I like the ‘crack’
As I stomp with my shoes.

Shattering their stillness,
The icy dew now free,
Their slippyness thwarted.
It’s just too cold for me.

ALH

TWSS: Oscar Predictions 2014

Ahead of the 86th Academy Awards (on 2nd March 2014) – the most crucial movie awards ceremony of the year – for your consideration please see below the main categories and bonus questions as we play for pride (and a prize!) to correctly predict the most winners.
Even if you haven’t seen many of these films, or haven’t a clue what to predict – its definately worth a punt. The winner of the predictions will be given a coveted ‘THEME CHOICE’ token to redeem at a TWSS movie night!
(disclaimer: the prize is real, but the ‘token’ is theoretical… unless you actually want me to make one!)

OSCAR PREDICTIONS 2014

BEST PICTURE:
12 Years a Slave
Captain Phillips
Gravity
Philomena
The Wolf of Wall Street
Nebraska
American Hustle
Dallas Buyers Club
Her

BEST DIRECTOR:
David O Russell – American Hustle
Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity
Alexander Payne – Nebraska
Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave
Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:
Christian Bale – American Hustle
Bruce Dern – Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:
Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
Amy Adams – American Hustle
Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Judi Dench – Philomena
Meryl Streep – August Osage County

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave
Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine
Julia Roberts – August Osage County
June Squibb – Nebraska

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke – Before Midnight
Billy Ray – Captain Phillips
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope – Philomena
John Ridley – 12 Years a Slave
Terence Winter – The Wolf of Wall Street

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
Eric Warren Singer and David O Russell – American Hustle
Woody Allen – Blue Jasmine
Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack – Dallas Buyers Club
Spike Jonze – Her
Bob Nelson – Nebraska

BONUS QUESTIONS:

Of the various Brits nominated, how many will scoop awards (in any field)?
NONE / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4+
(one point)

If Jennifer Lawrence wins, will last years fall (when getting her Best Actress award) be referenced in her acceptance speech?
YES / NO
(one point)

Will acceptance speech tears make the headlines surrounding the event? and if so from whom?
YES / NO
(one point – plus 5 bonus points available for correctly naming a winner who blubbs)

This years highest nominated films are the following – but how many will each of them actually win?
American Hustle – nominated for 10
Gravity – nominated for 10
12 Years A Slave – nominated for 9
(5 bonus points for correctly predicting the right amount of awards EACH of these movies actually wins)

I look forward to receiving your predictions (via email or inbox me on FB – whatever) and closer to the time I will post our predictions in TWSS for us to compare.

‘MAY THE ODDS BE EVER IN YOUR FAVOUR’

ALH

Poetic Miscellany: Moonlight on the Humber

The moonlight on the Humber reminds me of your eyes,
And the glint of mischief ever-promising to arise.
You swaddle me in a cocoon of love and hope,
No matter how much I fight.
You make me laugh as the tide destroys all in it’s path
Under the misty moonlight.
Sending out an SOS call, as Jesse says,
You are the only one to hear my cries.
Lets ride the storm together, just you and I,
For the rest of our lives.

ALH

Poetic Miscellany: Walk Me Down the Aisle Again

Walk me down the aisle again,
In a little chapel of white,
While 50’s rock and roll plays
And without a priest in sight.

Walk me down the aisle again
This time just for us.
We’ll wear comedy outfits,
No need for formality or fuss.

Walk me down the aisle again
(Your grin as cheesy as his)
Our wedding car a pink cadillac,
What more could we wish.

Look me in the eyes again
And my heart I will surrender.
I vow again my life to you
And a promise to love you tender.

ALH

Movies: 2013 in review

And thus the cinematic year of 2013 has come to an end.
58 new cinema releases in 52 weeks – nowhere near my previous years movie tally but a valiant effort all things considered.

Before I reveal my top 10 movies of 2013, I’d like to doff my cap to a few notable movies/performances that didn’t make the shortlist. Firstly, so close to making the list: Captain Phillips – slow in storytelling but still tension-filled, one particular 30 second fixed camera shot of Hanks confirmed, if only in my mind, that an Oscar nomination is on its way. Kudos to Johnny Knoxville – who made me genuinely care about the well-being of his fake grandson; In a surprisingly non-ironic way Escape Plan was amazing, thanks to Mikael Hafstrom, reuniting Stallone and Schwarzenegger (and even throwing in a side order of Fiddy and Vinnie Jones!) in a film which matched action with intrigue and stellar content; Baz Luhrmann’s vivid depiction of the Great Gatsby was indeed a triumph, but how could it not be – F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel is amazing. But despite telling this tale with a massive helping of cinematic razzmatazz, I can’t help but think Luhrmann didn’t go far enough. Oh, and who could forget Franco’s piano solo of Britney Spears’ ‘Everytime’ in between exploits with his bikini-clad gun-wielding teen posse… (Springbreakers). Class.

10. Trance
(Seen March 2013)
When fine-art auctioneer Simon (James McAvoy) steals a painting, takes a bang to the head, and forgets where he’s hidden it, he enlists the help of sexy hypnotherapist Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson) to help him locate it. Slickly envisaged by Danny Boyle, the narrative is somewhat convoluted but nonetheless entertaining – even if you have to suspend a certain amount of disbelief to fully invest in the plot.

9. Prisoners
(Seen September 2013)
When his daughter and her friend go missing, desperate father Keller (Hugh Jackman) takes matters into his own hands when he imprisons local weirdo Alex (Paul Dano). A chilling double-act by Melissa Leo and Dano make this a must see.

8. Blue Jasmine
(Seen September 2013)
Perfect on the outside and falling apart on the inside, Jasmine French (Cate Blanchett), imposes herself on her sister relocating from New York to San Francisco. The trauma of a broken marriage and money troubles sees Jasmine spiral into psychosis when lying to herself is easier then confronting the truth. Written and directed by Woody Allen; melancholy with a surrealist edge.

7. Side Effects
(Seen March 2013)
Prescribed ‘Ablixa’ for severe depression, Emily (Rooney Mara) suffers a string of side effects – the main one being the inclination to kill her husband and then forget she did it. A plea-bargain of mental insanity see’s her clear, but all is not what it seems as the very psychiatrist who defended Emily begins to question her. Fast-paced and punchy – Steven Soderbergh at his best.

6. The Place Beyond the Pines
(Seen April 2013)
When travelling fair stunt rider Luke (Ryan Gosling) revisits a town and a former lover (Eva Mendez) he discovers he is a father. In a bid to provide for his family Luke turns to robbing banks to make a living. Then the case (and the movie plot) is handed over to the cops as viewpoint moves to Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper) and his mission to do-good in a police force fraught with corruption.

5. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
(Seen November 2013)
Oscar winner JLaw (still can’t say that without a smirk!) reprises her role as Katniss Everdeen in the second installment of Suzanne Collins’ literary trilogy The Hunger Games. A year on from being declared equal winners of the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) return to normal life in District 12. But the world around them is now a different place, the districts are beginning to uprise, inspired by Katniss’ heroic plight to beat the system. In a bid to deflect and calm proceedings President Snow plots to create the downfall of the nation’s golden girl and calls for a champion of champions Hunger Games event: the Quarter Quell. New battles are fought and new alliances are made as the power of Katniss’ righteousness penetrates those in power as they infiltrate the Presidents plan for her to lose the Quarter Quell and make a move to save her. As the second movie in to what is to be a four movie series it focused somewhat on driving the plot forward and this compromised to a certain extent some of the intricacies of the plot favoured by fans of the first. However, with such great ensemble casting and a promise of greater to come I have high hopes for the third and fourth installment of this modern classic.

4. About Time
(Seen September 2013)
The fact that this movie was marketed as ‘the new Richard Curtis rom-com’ was enough to get bums on seats at the cinema, yet it really was doing the film an injustice – as it was so much more than that.
At the tender (and somewhat mischievous) age of 21, Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) finds out from his father he has inherited the power of time travel. Tim can travel in time, but cannot change the past – just his actions in those moments and what happens as a consequence. When it comes to wooing the love of his life Mary (Rachel McAdams) obviously Tim has several goes at it until he gets it right, that’s his prerogative in light of his powers. Yet one time travelling quest has a major effect on Tim’s life as he knew it. The sorrows and highs and lows of family life were written (and acted) with a sensitivity far beyond the ‘rom-com’ billing.

3. Philomena
(Seen November 2013)
The ‘based on a true story’ claim of many films makes me view it with such trepidation and cynicism of artistic liberties and embellishments. Yet with Philomena the film is not only based on a true story, it viewed as a true story, and felt like one. When former political journalist Martin Sixsmith takes a punt on a human interest story to get his name back in the media, he unveils a tale both heartbreaking and heartwarming in Philomena’s past – that having become pregnant as a teengager and sent to a convent where the nuns re-housed her baby son without consent or warning. Carrying the torment internally for years Philomena finally seeks to find her son, with Martin ever-present to do an expose on the injustice she suffered at the hands of the Catholic Church. An Oscar nod is surely ahead for Dame Judi for portraying Philomena’s unwavering belief and power of forgiveness, juxtaposed by Steve Coogan’s irritability and anger at the situation as the pair form an unlikely friendship and uncover the whereabouts of long lost Anthony on a journey that will change them both forever.

2. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
(Seen December 2013)
A prolific day-dreamer escapes his run-of-the-mill life by letting his mind take him to amazing places and imagining vivid acts of heroism. Mesmerically portrayed by Ben Stiller, Walter is on the verge of losing his job after misplacing a negative of a shot earmarked for the final cover of Life magazine (where Walter and love interest Cheryl (Kirsten Wigg) both work) given to him by renowned photojournalist Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn). In his quest to find the elusive ‘negative 25’ Walter’s life takes turns far more action-packed than his imaginings and ultimately much more rewarding. A beautiful snapshot look into the life of a seemingly normal guy. Utterly charming.

1. Stoker
(Seen March 2013)
When eighteen-year-old India Stoker’s (Mia Wasikowska) father (and best friend) dies, a void left in her life is quickly filled by her father’s brother – an uncle she never knew she had. Her emotionally unstable mother (Nicole Kidman) welcomes the mysterious stranger with open arms, and a multilayered tale of infatuation and intuition unravels a web of ulterior motives and murder. British actor Matthew Goode triumphs as the psychologically slick Uncle Charlie leaving mother and daughter at war in their obsession of him. Beautifully dark in content and style, India’s quirks of her childlike mind and supersonic perception of nature and intuition come to life in the brooding visuals, perfectly framing Wentworth Miller’s screenplay – which sat on the shelves of many a production company for several years before Park Chan-wook brought it to life. Not only a masterclass in the cinematic power of the psychological thriller, but the last film produced by Tony Scott (together with brother Ridley) before Tony’s suicide in 2012.

“Springbreak forever, y’all”
ALH

Poetic Miscellany: My Christmas Gift to You

The social expectation of giving gifts
Is something I don’t admire.
A smile, a hug, a token gesture
Is all my heart desires.
We feel under pressure to strive to measure
How much we value each other.
Spend too little you’re cheap, too much you’re a creep,
Especially concerning your Mother!
So my gift to you this yuletide season
Is my love, my friendship, my trust.
It has no cash value, cannot be exchanged
And it will never rust.

ALH