”I have always been interested in telling stories and expressing myself through visual media. Before photography, I worked as a documentary filmmaker. One day I discovered a Polaroid camera and since then I made the decision to shoot, almost exclusively, with it. My life had changed forever, I realised I had found the perfect means to express myself. The texture, saturation and even imperfections that a Polaroid photo has goes very well with my own personal universe. So well that sometimes I feel they are hazy reflections of images remembered or dreamed.” - Fernanda Montoro.
The Harvey Girls is a 1946 wild west extravaganza directed by George Sidney, produced by Arthur Freedand and featuring songs by Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer.
It’s my second favorite Judy Garland movie (after Meet Me in St Louis) and one which I don’t think is remembered or talked about much these days, which is a shame. It’s a terrific film which, by the way, also features Cyd Charissein playing a minor part, her first speaking role, before she hoofed it with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly and became the dazzling Cyd of our technicolor dreams!
Judy Garland stars as Susan Bradley, an impressionable and very naive young woman on her way west by train, as a mail order bride. On board the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe she meets a bunch of other equally young and naive young women heading west to work as Harvey Girls. It’s all fun and nonsense as they become acquainted and share their lunch with Susan who, it turns out, is broke and is looking at their yummy sandwiches with longing.
Judy plays this just right. She is simply adorable in these early scenes - you’re on her side immediately.
The Harvey House Restaurant chain actually did exist once upon a time when train travel was THEthing. At specified station stops along the line, the train would be met by a clanging gong which heralded the Harvey Girls’ presence - an honest restaurant where travelers could stop and be refreshed by good food served by ultra respectable young waitresses in starched black and white uniforms.
Most of these girls were also looking for husbands, at least according to the film, and this was as good a way as any to meet eligible men out in the wild west.
I think this is the only time in movie musical history (that I can remember anyway) in which a train actually takes part in a song and dance routine, and after this fabulous and spirited beginning, Susan and the Harvey girls part ways as they go off to their boarding house and Susan goes off to meet her husband to be.
However, he turns out to be a totally inappropriate middle-aged bashful cowboy played by Chill Wills and he and Susan are both relieved when they mutually call the whole thing off, and the unmarried Susan goes off to the restaurant to look for a job as a Harvey Girl.
You’re a couple in your mid-30s, expecting a baby, suddenly shorn of the anchor tethering you to a hometown you’re not that crazy about. Now what?
That’s the conundrum confronting Burt (John Krasinski) and Verona (Maya Rudolph) in Sam Mendes’ “Away We Go” from a script by Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida. Burt and Verona are only a couple months away from parenthood, when Burt’s parents announce that they’re moving to Europe for two years - before the baby is born.
Since being close to Burt’s parents is the only reason they’ve stayed in Connecticut, Burt and Verona decide to hit the road, visiting friends, siblings and relatives around the country, auditioning potential new places to relocate.
This low-key, sometimes melancholy comedy is a road movie with a twist. While this couple do have a series of misadventures, there’s never a moment when they lose each other – physically or emotionally – only to reunite with renewed purpose. There’s no break-up, no threat to their relationship, no sudden revelation. No one announces a flippin’ secret terminal illness that changes their priorities.
Instead, as they spend time as house guests with people from their past, they gain a new sense of just how well they fit together. The more people they visit, the greater this sense of the value of their relationship becomes – because all the other people are such huge disappointments. Funny, yes – to us as viewers, but disillusioning to Burt and Verona as characters. These are, after all, people whom this couple view as potential lifelines for their proposed move. If they’re going to settle in a new city, they reason, they want one where they already know someone so they won’t feel so alone and displaced. But each stop proves to be a miniature disaster in its own way.
Verona’s former coworker and her husband (Alison Janney and Jim Gaffigan) are crass and drunk, and it only gets worse from there. Each encounter proves more dispiriting than the one before.
Through it all, Burt and Verona discover just how strong their bond is: that they’ve learned to adjust to the other’s quirks and draw strength from each other. Nothing’s perfect, but their cross-country odyssey reveals that they just may have it more together than they thought.
The relationship between Burt and Verona is unique among movie couples in recent films. As John Krasinski plays him, Burt is affable with a goofy streak, but also an eagerness to please Verona that reveals a real understanding of his partner. She, in turn, is a pragmatist who tethers Burt to Earth, but needs him to remind her to lighten up and get a grip from time to time. The interplay between Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski is grounded but ephemeral, a reflection of what real life is like after years in a relationship.
“Away We Go” travels a long distance to go a short way and makes you enjoy the whole trip. In doing so, it pulls viewers into the kind of lives – real, unremarkable, common-sensical – that aren’t often on display in contemporary movies.
I’d been looking forward to watching ‘Like Crazy’ ever since I watched the trailer for it. So when I found I could watch it online, I was very much geared up!
So, that excitement disappeared when I found it was the most painful film I’ve ever had to sit through. It’s the worst piece of indulgent filmmaking that marks everything wrong with what happens when pretentious filmmakers get their hands on something and are never told by anyone that what they’re doing is complete nonsense.
Our two leads are insufferable. I’m not sure I’ve ever disliked anyone more than these two characters. They’re the artsy fartsy type, only feel bred to a whole new level of blither. Jacob is a whiny kid who wants to design furniture, played stiffly by Anton Yelchin, who I hope never does another movie so I’m not forced to sit through another minute of his awful acting. He meets Anna in college, who is on a student visa from the United Kingdom. Anna wants to be a journalist, and is only slightly less irritating.
This dumb bitch decides that instead of going home after her visa expires, she’ll stay in America. Only problem is, when she does finally go home and tries to get back, she’s not allowed in the country. Now, who else didn’t see that one coming?! I’m all for more lenient immigration laws, but I’m also for people not being total dickheads. These two parade around like victims, like the world owes them a favour, when the only problems in their relationship is what they create.
Jacob and Anna are so unbelievably stupid to the point where I just had to roll my eyes time and time again. I thought the relationship was so forced and so quick, that was until Anna and Jacob decide to get married in London, hoping this will lift the ban on her visa, but it doesn’t. It’s supposed to be heartbreaking, but instead I was crying with laughter. The film wants us to care so much about this couple, but there’s nothing different or special about either of them. They make dumb decisions after dumb decisions. They act how teenagers would in relationships, and by making them so utterly annoying and juvenile, I was just never close to caring.
‘Like Crazy’ is miserable, and the most offensive piece of drivel I’ve seen since ’Buried’ starring Ryan Reynolds. Anna makes weird noises and acts like a self righteous little brat while they lie in bed, and Jacob acts like a little teenage fairy when they get into some sort of verbal disagreement in a park in London, and he turns away miserably. I wanted to punch him in the face. Thankfully, the wonderful Jennifer Lawrence shows up about half way through the film, bringing the only slight glimmer of sunshine to the film.
By the end of ‘Like Crazy’, I was rooting for a lovely double decker bus to drive by and flatten them, but I was still fortunate enough to settle with a different ending, which was the only good part of the film. When the ban finally does get lifted, they have spent so much time apart, living their lives and going out with other people, that when she finally does return to America to be with him, they are no longer in love. Shocker!
I like love. I like love stories. But I’m thankful these two didn’t get their happy ending. I would despise these two if they were real people. I ended up hating this couple, and more importantly, I hated this film.
This morning I woke up at a ridiculously early hour, so early that television at that time wouldn’t even have been worth watching. So I decided to gander at movies that I could watch online, hoping to pick one that didn’t take much to concentrate on it due to my heavy eyes, and eventually came across ‘Take This Waltz’. When Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen glided across the screen as part of this lovely film, I sat to attention. The story of a woman who accidentally falls in love with a man who isn’t her husband. It’s delicate and poignant, and not to mention scored by none other than Leonard Cohen.
Easily one of the most visually striking films I’ve ever seen. Danny Boyle has a certain way of making everything he places in front of the camera seem so crucial and significant, down to the tinniest details, it immediately and unexpectedly absorbs you into his film. It’s all so visceral and palpable, you get the sense that you’re actually there. A much needed reminder of Boyle’s abilities and testament to his craft.
This is the type of heart-stings-wrenching movie that I recommend watching with a box of tissues and some poor sod’s shoulder to cry into (in the hopes that you aren’t wearing mascara) - just a warning for the weak hearted and overly empathetic. Overall, it’s a gorgeous film!
A short film by Jeff Hahn about astral projection, self exploration and realms of existence.
Jeff Hahn - www.jeff-hahn.com
Meet Me in St. Louis always manages to bring a cheesy grin to my face! It was a landmark among musical film. First, it was a period piece set in the American Midwest at the turn of the century. Second, its plot didn’t revolve around Broadway or show business or show people, concentrating instead on a typical upper middle class family. And third, the songs and dances were so well integrated into the plot of the film (yes, a musical with a plot) that they actually advanced the storyline and revealed the personalities of the characters. And four, the outfits are sublime!
I came across endlessly talented fashion photographer, Alex Prager, when researching into cinematic fashion photography during a college project. Her use of colour and ominous storytelling is so extremely dramatic and effective.
Keeping with her storytelling she’s pushed forward into making short films. I hadn’t revisited her site since researching into her during my college project until now, and this time when I did I was very happy to stumble upon ‘Despair’. Starring Bryce Dallas Howard in a 1950’s inspired film, it follows a frantic girl through the streets to a menacing red door that eventually leads her to a long romantic free fall. It sounds simple, not very complex but a mix of overly saturated colours, anxious music and choice of direction, it turns out to be something absolutely gorgeous.
Although regarded as “disgusting” and scandalous and prompting demands for censorship, May Irwin and John Rice re-enacted a lingering kiss for Thomas Edison’s film camera in this 20-second long short, from their 1895 Broadway stage play The Widow Jones.
It was the first film ever made of a couple kissing in cinematic history, and became the most popular film produced that year by Edison’s film company.
so many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future - chris mccandles.
such a memorable film.