Thursday, 16 May 2013

Review: The Great Gatsby

Many adaptations of literary classics rarely live up to the expectations of the book; often obsessed with every period detail whilst neglecting the need to breathe life into the vintage literature. A need that requires the director to convey the scene created by the saturated description within in the book, on screen.

Many other reviews suggest Baz Luhrman's adaptation has gone too far in the opposite direction. I call it a perfect cocktail of period detail and all that is brilliant in modern film making, from CGI zoom ins to vintage flapper dresses and cloche hats.

Luridly blingy with more sparkle than a six year old let loose with a glitter pen, the behemothic parties at Gatsby's (Leonard DiCaprio) fairytale esque castle are by far the most impressive. Thousands of actors fill the set in 1920's glitzy fashions dancing not to classic jazz of the era, but the likes of Jay-Z, Kayne West, Lana Del Ray and Fergie: an aspect I feel builds a bridge between the could-be unaccessible classicly entangled plot and the younger audience.

The film follows would-be writer Nick Carraway's (Tobey Maguire) adventure to New York City in 1922. Loosening morals, glittering jazz and boombing stock markets galore, Nick finds himself neighbour to enigmatic millionaire, Jay Gatsby living across the bay from his cousin, Daisy (Carey Mulligan) and her aristocratic pedigreed husband, Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton).  Their illusions, loves and deceits all play part to the capturing story line that evokes every feeling in the emotional spectrum.

An enjoyable and impressive adaptation living up to the expectation of a great literary classic covering all platforms, this film will make you laugh and cry whilst experiencing a cardinal urge to dance along to the prestigious and awe- inspiring soundtrack.

Friday, 10 May 2013

The Big Reunion Tour

Double denim, scrunchies and Nike air max trainers are not the only familiar faces making a come back from the nineties in 2013.

If you are a TV junkie like myself, you will know that for the past few weeks the likes of B*witched, Blue, 911, 5ive, Honeyz, Liberty X and Atomic Kitten have reunited after going through dramatic band breakups for our entertainment.

Yesterday, The Big Reunion Tour arrived in Nottingham ( cue screaming female Blue fans), and I was lucky enough to not only attend the concert, but interview some of the band members taking part for the Nottingham Post which will appear in the paper next week.

All seemed very enthusiastic to be back together and on the road again.
(Left): Antony Costa, Vicky Muxlow, Lauren Lee
Lee Ryan, Emily Oakden

Lee Ryan, Blue, joked: "It's a bit like going back to school and reliving the fun years"

Whilst Liz McClarnon, Atomic Kitten, laughed about getting in shape for the tour.

"I haven't even attempted!" she laughed.

Natasha Hamilton added: "I got dressed for the gym this morning and then went... ahh, I'll just have a steam room."

The show itself was a massive blast from the past and a must for anyone with even the slightest love for 90's nostalgia.

The perfect combination of cheese and catchy song lyrics had the whole of the Capital FM Arena on their feet and singing along- for me breathing life into the distant memory that is old school discos from my early teens.
Blue on stage at Capital FM Arena 

Each band performing  a few of their top hits meant that there wasn't the normal lull in the concert when bands often play some of their newer or less known tracks, and the electric continued to buzz around the arena throughout the evening.

Liberty X prove they still have it in their original catsuits 
Particular highlights include 911 break-dancing on stage... there is something strangely enticing about someone old enough to be your dad doing a head spin in front of thousands of screaming women, and Liberty X shocking all when returning on stage after the interval in their original catsuits.

The atmopshere was still resounding as everyone piled out of the venue,and it seemed that even the staff had enjoyed the performance, one security guard even saying "You can make me whole again ladies" as we left.


Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Is our criminal justice system too soft?

After the announcement that prisoners would no longer have the privilege of watching sky TV, (a commodity many of the population live without due to the expense) I cannot have been the only member of the public questioning the seriousness of the UK prisons.

Often described in the media as a 'cushy' lifestyle is it any wonder we have so many re-offenders? In 2011 44% of prisoners reoffended: the highest ever rate.

The question posed is how the government deal with this increase. As prisons are becoming overly full private companies are being looked to to offer additional prison services and space, and it is these that were offering their inmates the luxury not only of TV, but Sky Satellite as well.

Is it morally correct that a criminal should be able to watch the latest football match, whilst the majority of the public do not have that opportunity due to cost set backs of the service?

It would be unfair to say that prisons are a walk in the park, and it is sometimes hard to remember that, although having committed an offence, these criminals are still human.

After a discussion earlier in the week with family regarding the punishment of criminals, however violent, and coming up with such radical penalties as sending them to mars, chopping off fingers and even the death penalty (a joke of course) I couldn’t help but think of the morality behind all of this.

Our neighbours across the pond still use and implement the death penalty: it arguably doesn’t eradicate the additional cost of keeping and looking after violent inmates until their execution date, but does it deter others from committing crimes in the first place?

It is arguably unmoral (from my perspective at least) to kill people purposely, whether lawful or not. It is an irreversible act.

Whilst I don’t agree with some of the rights a prisoner maintains, including the argument that they should be allowed to vote, I do agree that prisons are an effective form of rehabilitation for many.

It is important to look at the positive statistics alongside the negative ones; 55% of criminals in 2011 did not reoffend, and surely this is a figure that shows even with cushy insides with perks such as Sky TV, our criminal justice system does work in deterring offenders.