Portrait

Happy-Go-Lucky goes rather unnoticed, although Mike Leigh is not so unknown and the film really doesn’t deserve it.

Sally Hawkins, who got a Silver Berlin Bear for her performance, plays Poppy, a kind of Pollyanna character. She goes through life laughing and with an amount of energy that would suffice for 3 average people.

Poppy

Poppy

There’s not much plot per se in this movie, Poppy goes out with friends, she takes driving lessons and flamenco lessons, hurts her back, goes out with a guy, works, … So excuse me, for not getting into this.

The first twenty minutes or so, Poppy is nerve grating. My sister saw the movie before me and she told me that she left it with the deep desire to punch something Poppy-shaped. I could perfectly understand that in the beginning. Poppy laughs and is loud, she’s obnoxious and has no sense of fashion whatsoever (and trust me, coming from me that means a lot), she can’t take anything seriously and doesn’t respect personal boundaries. And she’s embarassing.

But then we get to know her. We see Poppy’s bike getting stolen and her reaction to this is incredulity and then she sighs, “I couldn’t even say good bye!” Although this reaction leaves me a little bewildered, it’s also very endearing.
We see Poppy handling trouble and talking about something, which is very important to her and we notice that there is another, different Poppy hidden there.
We see her talking to a homeless guy in what is one of the saddest and most touching scenes in cinema in the past years. [And a terrific performance by Stanley Townsend.]

As the film goes on, Poppy continues to gain depth and I am convinced that beneath all the bubbliness is a very intelligent and not so happy grown woman, who doesn’t want to grow up and uses her quirkiness and childishness to cover that it’s happening, as well as using it as a defence against everything that makes her uncomfortable.

The driving instructor Scott (Eddie Marsan) is Poppy’s exact opposite – cynical, constantly angry and racist. But what really seperates them, is that Poppy is basically fearless and Scott is afraid of everything. When those two clash, it can’t end well.

Happy-Go-Lucky has an amazing cast, especially of course Sally Hawkins, but also her best friend Zoe played by a really beautiful woman, Alexis Zegerman, and Eddie Marsan. And Mike Leigh manages to work this cast into a funny, beautiful and very kind portrayal of a woman, who is more than she seems to be at first glance.

[deadra said that she’s afraid that she’s Poppy, without as much energy. Which would make me Zoe, and I actually think that that works out.]

I Don’t Want to Believe, Thanks.

Yesterday’s exciting cinematical evening brought us The X-Files: I Want to Believe.

I was never a real fan of the X-Files, so don’t expect me to get all the obscure references and comment on them (although I could hear deadra squeal every time there was a more or less obscure reference). Why I went to see it anyway? Because deadra wanted to see it (and it’s gonna be “my” movie today) and because I heard that it worked pretty well without the TV show and was a solid thriller.

Well, it’s not. The story line is stretched thin, thinner, the thinnest and was just plain boring. The acting was okay, mostly, but nothing outstanding. It would pass as a mediocre film, if it wasn’t for bad cliché after cliché thrust upon us, sprinkled with some phobias to make for that special bad taste.

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37 Odd Things

Another questionnaire!!! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Taken from here.

  1. Do you like blue cheese?
    I like all sorts of cheese, but blue cheese is not my favourite. [My favourite’s Vorarlberger Bergkäse (Mountain Cheese from Vorarlberg, Austria).]
  2. Have you ever smoked?
    Yes, and I still do. Don’t go all health risk on me – I know. And at least, I don’t smoke much.
  3. Do you own a gun?
    [This is obviously an US American questionnaire…]
    No, I don’t. Never will, never want to shoot one and anybody, who tries to bring one close to me, will be kicked out. (Exceptions may be made in case of that person being with the police.)
  4. What flavor Kool Aid was your favorite?
    What did I say about this questionnaire being US American? I’ve never had Kool Aid in my life.
  5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
    No, not usually. Sometimes, though, especially when I have to go to the dentist, because my teeth ache and I know that he will do something despite looking in my mouth and say that all is well.
  6. What do you think of hot dogs? 
    I don’t really think about them… Well, I don’t like sausages, I do eat the occasional hot dog though. The best hot dog I ever had was in Brasil, Mococa to be exact. Austrian hot dogs suck.
  7. Favorite Christmas movie?
    hmmm… Love Actually? Gremlins? The Muppet Christmas Carol? It really depends on my mood, the time of the day, the people I’m with…
    I can tell you my favourite Easter movie, though: Jesus Christ Superstar.
  8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
    Coffee, coffee, coffee and a bit of coffee. After that, I’m ready for anything else, liquid or not.
  9. Can you do push ups?
    That’s plural, huh? Then I guess my answer is yes, in the narrowest definition of more than one possible.
  10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?
    I love ear rings and I have a lot of them. And I should probably mention my piercings (eyebrow and lower lip). But my favourite is a necklace, narrow black leather bands with a pendant in form of a leaf, with a frog sitting on it, its paw (what do frogs have? paws? hands?) on a golden ball. [Yes, it’s the frog king.]
  11. Favorite hobby?
    Reading.
  12. Do you have A.D.D.?
    I don’t, hang on a sec, there’s something I have to do… Okay, I’m back. No, wait…
  13. Do you wear glasses/contacts?
    Glasses. Used to wear contacts, but kept on losing them (mostly through accidentally pouring them down the drain…).
  14. Middle name?
    Lisa
  15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment? 
    3 thoughts? That’s a lot.
    50 more minutes at work.
    I probably have too many blogs in my reader. (3 days no reading and I had over a hundred items to look at. Thing is, I don’t really want to kick anything out. Oh well, I guess I just have to live with that.)
  16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink?
    Coffee, diet coke (I think it tastes better than regular), ice tea (regular one, diet is disgusting). And water, of course.
  17. Current worry?
    My two weeks off work won’t be enough for me to do all the things I want to do in that time. [Oh, I know, I lead a happy life that that’s my only worry.]
  18. Current hate right now?
    I’m not much of a hater, by the light of day, but by night I’m one hell of a lover.
  19. Favorite place to be?
    Curled up on my sofa, with a book, the internet and the TV close by, and a Starbucks Venti Latte in my hand.
  20. How did you bring in the new year?
    Holy shit, I don’t remember. And no, not because I drank too much, of that I’m sure. I don’t care about New Year, not really. I think I was at my parents’, but did I stay awake to celebrate? I don’t know… Seriously, what the fuck was I doing that night?
  21. Where would you like to go?
    Like right now? Home. Or to the movies to see The Dark Knight and then home.
  22. Name three people who will complete this?
    I don’t know. Deadra, probably, if she can be bothered to blog. L. would, I guess, if she wasn’t away. Well, anyone who cares to do this is very welcome.
  23. Do you own slippers?
    Yes, really cool ones – Superman slippers, they are really cool, but unfortunately not very robust.

    No, not my feet. I so don't own brown trousers.

    No, not my feet. I so don't own khaki trousers.

  24. What shirt are you wearing?
    No shirt for me today… And not kinky at all (I’m at work after all). I’m just wearing a dress (very simple. Black).
  25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
    I don’t really care. I don’t own any myself, so I usually don’t. Combined with my clumsiness, it could get dangerous, though.
  26. Can you whistle?
    Yes. I taught myself in kindergarden.
  27. Favorite color?
    Red, violet, orange, blue… mostly darker earth tones.
  28. Would you be a pirate?
    I think, my sense of morale would be too strong for that. But who knows? I don’t rule it out, per se.
  29. What songs do you sing in the shower?
    I hardly ever sing in the shower. I shower in the morning, before my first cup of coffee, so usually, I’m not awake enough to do much, yet.
  30. Favorite girl’s name?
    I don’t really have a favourite name.
  31. Favorite boy’s name?
    I don’t really have a favourite boy, nor a favourite name for a boy, either.
  32. What’s in your pocket right now?
    No pockets, am wearing a dress (as mentioned above).
  33. Last thing that made you laugh?
    My co-worker. Oh wait, she’s not a thing… The story my co-worker told me.
  34. What vehicle do you drive?
    I don’t own a car, but I usually get to drive my sister’s, an old automatic (which is really rare in Austria) VW Golf, or one of my parents’ cars Peugeot 807 and 107 (or is it 106?).
  35. Worst injury you’ve ever had?
    I broke my right wrist, when I fell out of a tree (I was six or seven years old). I almost broke [The bone didn’t break in two, but there was a crack] my left wrist while ice skating (I was 13 or 14 years old) and I sprained my jaw when I fell off a horse (during an exam nonetheless) when I was 15 years old. After that, I gave up the idea of me doing sports.
  36. Do you love where you live?
    Yes, absolutely adore Vienna.
  37. How many TVs do you have in your house?
    1. But if you want to count my computer, which I use as a TV as well, 2.

So, that’s it. If any of you want to take this up, you’re welcome.

Answering Questions Asked Through Google VI

In the last weeks, my blog got most hits through Christian Bale and Christian Bale’s wife and Christian Bale wife.

On the one hand, I’m really flattered that people actually turn up on my blog when looking for Christian Bale or Sibi Blazic, on the other hand, I can’t help but be afraid that people will be disappointed, when they do – I’m not much into the things like “oh, Christian [I hope you don’t mind that I call you that, Mr. Bale] did not look happy, I’m afraid that he’s getting divorced!” [which is NOT TRUE! Or maybe it is, but I wouldn’t know.]

Anyway, here’s today’s question [I won’t answer “who is christian bale married to?” again, although it came complete with question mark]:

“is sibi blazic croatian”?

[Before I answer: Why do people care so much about the nationality of actors or actor-related people? Not that I’m an exception to the rule. But it is kind of weird, isn’t it?]

Sibi Blazic was born in Chicago, grew up in Bosnia and now lives in Los Angeles. As usual, I don’t know, what exactly that means, because I don’t know, what she would define herself as. But I’m pretty sure that she would not define herself as Croatian.

[Btw, I hope that no one takes it personal that I categorised Sibi Blazic under Christian Bale, I just didn’t know where else to put her. If you have another suggestion, please let me know!]

Last one for today…

Quote from The New Yorker:

Is Coldplay warm milk or just quietly dependable? Don’t ask Martin, who has transformed the English art of diffidence into a masochistic religion: “We owe them a career, really,” he has said of Radiohead. He has also said, “Like millions of people in the world, I can’t listen to Coldplay.” He’s half right about Radiohead-Coldplay exhibits a taste for melancholy and smeared, stretched-out sounds that leads straight back to Thom Yorke and his friends. The main antecedent is U2, who invented the form that Coldplay works within: rock that respects the sea change of punk but still wants to be as chest-thumping and anthemic as the music of the seventies stadium gods. Translated, this means short pop songs that somehow summon utterly titanic emotions and require you to skip around in triumphant circles and pump your fist, even if it is not entirely clear what you are singing about.

YES! YES! YES!

So, Neil Gaiman blogs today:

So I don’t have to write lots and lots of emails back to all the journalists:

1) Yes, I am writing a two part Batman story.
2) Yes, Andy Kubert will be drawing it.
3) Yes, it will be two oversized issues.
4) No, I don’t plan to say anything else about it until it’s all written and drawn.

(I just called my Visa card to fix something, and found myself being asked if I was the Neil Gaiman. I said yes, I was. “So,” said the Visa person, “Are you going to be writing an episode of Dr Who?”)

Neil Gaiman + Batman = fangirl orgasm for me
Neil Gaiman + Batman + Andy Kubert = multiple fangirl orgasm

Batman as drawn by Andy Kubert

Batman as drawn by Andy Kubert

Neil Gaiman + Doctor Who would be another fangirl orgasm. But I guess, I will have to wait for that a little longer.

My weekend

People, people, maybe I should take off the weekend and not blog more often… Usually when I do that, my hits “drop” to about 30 a day (it’s amazing, 6 months ago I would have celebrated if they got that high, now I’m disappointed, when there’s less than 70). This weekend, I had about 450 hits on Sunday. And again as many today. And still counting. That’s right. There were about 1000 people on my blog in the course of the last 72 hours.

I’m frankly amazed and delighted, although I feel like I have a much higher responsibility now. I have to write more interesting stuff and keep a lot more people amused. At least, if I want to keep this up. The question is, do I want to keep it up? Or will I just continue writing what and how I write and not care about the numbers?

Well, in the spirit of that, my dear readers, what do you want? How do you like my regular features, Unusual Wikipedia Monday and Answering Questions Asked Through Google? Do you want any changes? More of something, less of something else?

If you want to give me hell, do so in the comment section. If you want to tell me how perfect my blog is, do so in person or in the comment section ;). I’d love to get some feedback!

Anyway, that’s not what I set out to write about, initially. I just wanted to tell you about the nice weekend I had: I started reading the Chronicles of Narnia again, to ready myself for seeing Prince Caspian, but then I got sidetracked by watching trashy horror movies and drinking coffee with different siblings as they dropped by one-by-one and barbecue-ing and ended up only reading The Magician’s Nephew. I’ll keep on reading though, and I think I’ll have it finished next weekend. Then I can whine about how the movie destroyed the book, or how they managed to stay true to the original in every detail. [I haven’t seen it yet, so I don’t know which one it will be.]

By the way, I think it’s interesting that they go about the whole thing in the order it was written and not in the order that C.S. Lewis himself suggested it should be read.

So, I’ve started this post with something I didn’t mean to write about, at least not that extensively and now, I can’t find a good finish. I’ll just leave it at that. I’m not Giles Coren, after all.

Reality Checkpoint – Unusual Wikipedia Monday

Do you know that feeling, when you look around and you wonder, what’s real and what’s not? Is that really a man or is it a troll? Is that over there somebody waiting or is she a secret agent, a spy? Do we all live in the matrix and wait for Neo to save us?

Well, even if you haven’t wondered about stuff like that, somebody else than me obviously has or the Reality Checkpoint wouldn’t exist.

This wonderful lamp post, exactly in the middle of the crossing of two paths is in Cambridge, England.

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Am I a Horrible Person?

When I browsed through the newspaper yesterday, there was a short article (in German) about a woman, who got killed by a falling tomb stone on one of Vienna’s cemetaries.

And, oh, the irony of that made me laugh. Getting buried by a tomb stone… Okay, maybe I’m just a bit morbid.

[When I read the more detailed online article, I stopped laughing, though. Apparently, the 200 kilo stone left her head free, therefore not killing her right away. People stopped to help, but couldn’t lift the stone off of her. And to add insult to injury death, the police contacted the (presumed?) relatives, who said that they didn’t know her.]