photography

Creatively Content: Week 4 #cs_thelifeofpages

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You know I love books. I’ve been photographing books since 2014. It’s my weird little hobby. It gives me something to do with my spare time at least. So, when this week’s Creatively Squared challenge was #cs_thelifeofpages I was beyond pleased. But then I decided I couldn’t spend the week just doing what I normally did. What would be the point? These challenges are supposed to be a way to improve my skills and help me become a better content creator. And, as my engagement is proving, it’s probably something that needs work! So, I decided to try and have a play with Photoshop. Something that I’m trying to practice with a bit more. I’ve still only got basic skills but I think I did okay.

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books, films, rundown

Sunday Rundown: That’s What She Read

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How has your week been? What have you been reading?

Today has been a weird day. For almost a year I’ve been suffering from alopecia and it’s slowly been getting worse over the past few months. So, today I finally bit the bullet and bought a wig. I was annoyingly terrified before I went. I had no idea what to expect and  I was worried about it being too obviously fake. But I have a wedding coming up later this year and I was determined to get something to wear. My two sisters came with me for moral support and were absolutely fabulous. And I managed to find something that I really like. It’ll take time to get used to it but it feels good that I’ve made that step. It also makes me feel stupid for being so worried about it. But that’s me all over.

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films, reviews, TBT

TBT – The Green Lantern (2011)

92724a64abf2f94ba4456c9c26be95a45_star_rating_system_1_star On Tuesday I reviewed Shazam! a DC film starring Mark Strong. So, what film could I possibly watch for this Throwback Thursday post? How about a DC film starring Mark Strong? Especially as it’s considered to be one of the worst superhero movies of all time. It even has a lower rating than X-Men Origins. Of course, they both star Ryan Reynolds. Until Deadpool was finally released, it seemed as though that guy just wasn’t going to make the superhero thing work. On the plus side, it isn’t the worst the film in DC history. Catwoman and Jonah Hex will forever beat anything and then there’s Joel Schumacher’s reign of terror. But, certainly, Green Lantern has to be one of the biggest missteps in comic book movie history. It’s just become an easy joke. Something that Ryan Reynolds is more than happy to join in with as evidenced by that line in Deadpool.  I guess something good finally did come out of this film.

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rants, reviews, television

Bookish Post – Oh Dany… Boy! (Spoilers)

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So, you may have noticed that this isn’t a book review. And that’s only partly because I haven’t quite finished Machines Like Me yet. I say partly because I’m trying to convince myself that I haven’t been rubbish at reading this week. That’s not the reason. The real reason is that I needed to talk about this week’s episode of Game of Thrones. Or, more specifically, the reaction to it. Cause this season has divided opinion quite dramatically. And the last few episodes have left a particularly sour taste in people’s mouths. I’ll be honest with you, I’ve found the final series of Game of Thrones to be disappointing. The writing has gone downhill and the storylines are being rushed to fit into the shorter episode run. The focus has been on spectacle instead of the story. Character development has gone out of the window in favour of more CGI dragons. Now, it should go without saying but spoiler warning guys.

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films, reviews

Tuesday Review – Shazam! (2019)

shazam21_theatrical_poster5_star_rating_system_3_and_a_half_stars I’ve not had the best history with DC films. I loved Wonder Woman but part of me suspects that I just got caught up in all the celebration. I mean, she was the first female superhero to get her own film. I was already going in feeling excited. I haven’t seen Aquaman yet and I’ve only made it halfway through Justice League. However, I’m pretty confident in saying that my relationship with the DCEU is dicey. So, when it was announced that they were going to release Shazam! I remained unconvinced it would change my opinion. Then I saw the trailer. And it looked really good. I was still kind of skeptical of DC trying to go down the Marvel route after so much Zack Snyder but it seemed like it could work. I mean Zachary Levi as the lead and Mark Strong as the villain? Both of those things sounded great to me. And it’s about time DC had a little bit of fun, right? Shazam! looked like it was going to be a great change of pace.

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Instagram, photography

Creatively Content: Week 4 #cs_mymomentwithflowers

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So, if you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I got a bit mopey this weekend. I try not to focus on numbers and engagement but sometimes it gets to me. It came straight off the back of a person with about 10 times the followers I have moaning about how bad her engagement is. I know everyone is struggling but let’s get real. If you’re moaning that only a few hundred people are seeing their posts then you need to get a reality check. Last year I thought I was onto a good thing with my feed. I was getting fairly good engagement for the size of my account and was getting new followers regularly. Now? It’s all gone to shit. I’ve been stuck on the same numbers for ages and it’s affecting my photos. Instead of doing what I want I’m trying to create content that I think will get more likes. And I’m not happy with my regular feed Which is why I put so much more effort into these challenges. Which still gets to me because I see people who put in way less effort getting way more appreciation. But I guess this is quite subjective so who am I to say which photos are good or not. Still, I feel like this ” close community” isn’t quite as welcoming as they like to believe. They’re quite formulaic with who they chose to share. It can be really disheartening. But, then again, I’m probably just having a bad weekend. I’ve been feeling a bit down for the last couple of days. Best ignore me.

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blogging, book blogger, books, film blogger, films, rundown

Sunday Rundown: That’s What She Read

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How has your week been? What have you been reading?

Today, I had a massive panic that I’d accidentally put my phone in the washing machine. I knew I probably hadn’t because even I’m not that stupid but I couldn’t find it anywhere. So, my mind immediately starts conjuring up images of it being in the middle of the pile of washing I’d just put on. Of course, I found it not long after. As it happens it was under a pile of books I’d just been taking photos of. Guess that’s what you get when you spend your day off preparing for the week ahead. It also meant that I didn’t read as much as I’d wanted to. My plan is to finish this quickly, have a quick shower, and then settle down with my current read for the night. Get me in the right head space for the week ahead. I’m starting my apprenticeship webinars tomorrow. We’ll see how it goes. Then I can finally see what I’ve let myself in for.

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films, reviews, TBT

Throwback Thursday – Dumbo (1941)

dumbo-1941-poster5_star_rating_system_4_stars1 As I said in my review of Tim Burton’s Dumbo on Tuesday, I mentioned that it’s been a while since I last watched the animated version. It was definitely when I was a child because I didn’t feel weird about the crows. Something I didn’t bring up in my review. Not because I don’t think it’s problematic: I do. But because I didn’t see what more I could say on the issue that hasn’t already been said. Yes, there is a Jim Crow reference in the middle of the film. Yes, it’s clearly bad. But it happened over 40 years before I was born. Of course, it’s going to make me uncomfortable. We should just be grateful that there was no attempt to make that scene fit into the live action remake. There was already a lot about Tim Burton’s film that stressed me out without coming face-to-face with his interpretation of Disney’s racist past.

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books, reviews

Book Review – The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

417497955_star_rating_system_3_stars My last read was one of the books I bought in my post-Endgame book trip. I had needed something to cheer me up and nothing cheers me up quite like looking at books. I’d been attracted to this cover for ages because I’m a sucker for anything yellow these days. But I had also been wanting to pick this up for a while. I’ve seen it around quite a bit and heard good things about it. So many people bring up Agatha Christie when talking about it that I felt I had to give it a try. I’ve been a Christie fan for years and admit that she is one of the few crime writers I never get bored of. I’ve never been a big crime fiction reader. I always find them underwhelming. The twists are too obvious and I guess them from the start. I know it’s probably not in the spirit of the book but if it’s staring me right in the face what am I meant to do? Maybe there just are no crimes to write about anymore? Has every possible murder been committed in literature? I kind of feel like it has because I get such a sense of deja vu whenever I read the next big crime novel. But, that also doesn’t stop me trying so I’ve got nobody to blame but myself.

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films, reviews

Tuesday Review – Dumbo (2019)

dumbo_282019_film295_star_rating_system_2_stars I definitely watched Dumbo when I was younger but I can’t say that it was ever one of my favourites. I don’t think I ever really rewatched it. Of course, I remember the adorable elephant because it’s the cutest creature to come out of any Disney film. I remember the clown scene, the song, and, obviously, the flying. My memories of the film were that it was a really sweet but not very exciting film. We were more of a Lion King and Aladdin family. So, I wasn’t as emotionally invested in the upcoming remake as I have been with some of the others. Besides, I’m a huge Tim Burton fan. I even liked his reimagining of Alice in Wonderland. Although, I never saw the second one so I might hate that. Still, I was excited by the first look at this film. It had a great cast and it looked fantastic. And, with the dodgy history of this film, making it a bit darker or creepy. If nothing else, it’s 2019 and the idea of keeping elephants captive to perform in a circus is not exactly great.

We all know the story of Dumbo, right? Tiny elephant with massive ears who learns how to fly. He becomes a star and lives happily ever after. Although, in Disney’s latest live-action remake, Dumbo isn’t even the star of his own film. For whatever reason, the decision has been made to give the film a human face thanks to Colin Farrell and his motherless children. Farrell plays Holt Farrier who has returned from the war with one less arm and one less spouse. Holt and his wife were the equestrian performers in the Medici Brothers’ Circus before Holt was called to serve in the army. Whilst he was away, his wife died from Spanish flu leaving his children in the care of the circus owner, Max Medici (Danny DeVito). Unable to go back to his old act, Holt is given the task of caring for the circus’ newly acquired elephants.

It is the baby elephant that Max hopes will pack the punters into the circus but they turn against him when his massive ears are revealed. Thankfully, Holt’s children discover that he has a special talent. They encourage Dumbo to fly in front of an audience and he quickly becomes a star. But all Dumbo really wants is to rejoin his mother who was bought by the villainous V. A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton). Can Holt and his family save the pair before they become another attraction in Vandevere Dreamland?

I’ll be honest, I remembered Dumbo as being a sweet and charming tale about a flying elephant. I know there were some sad moments with his mum and everything but it was mostly nice, right? Tim Burton’s Dumbo made me feel stressed. There were so many awful moments. The bullying of Dumbo by the audience was so extreme. The scene with the fire was way over-the-top. Everything just seemed to be ramped up to cause as much stress as possible. I don’t wish to sound melodramatic but I was on edge through most of the film. Which would be fine if that was the point. But I don’t think it is. This isn’t a film that is trying to play up the horror elements that Burton is known for. It just feels cruel in points. Unnecessarily.

Cruel and a wasted opportunity. We know from films like Edward Scissorhands that Tim Burton knows how to make great films about weird outsiders trying to find a place in a supposedly civilised society. Dumbo should have been the perfect film for him to remake but, unlike its main character, it never quite gets off the ground. It’s weighted down by so many extra plots and distractions. There are too many characters, which means that nobody gets the development that they need. The CGI elephant is cute and all but you don’t care about him in the same way as the original. There is too much focus on Colin Farrell and co. But even they aren’t given any depth. Everyone just feels like a stock character who is only there to fill space in the frame.

And the story itself feels like it’s just rushing to get to where it wants to be. There isn’t enough build up before we first see the elephant fly. It all happens so quickly and then we’re racing off to a weird futuristic theme park. I know the original Dumbo wasn’t much longer than an hour but they’ve stretched the story so much you can basically see through it. And then there’s the weird message at the centre of the film about the exploitation of big corporations. Considering we’re watching a Disney film this feels kind of disingenuous and jarring. There’s too much going on and you get the impression that Burton wasn’t able to make the kind of film he wanted. The visuals are all beautiful and the cast is, mostly, great. But the script is messy and cluttered. And there’s just not enough Dumbo.

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