this winters top 3 film favourites

As the sun seems to have completely disappeared from the sky by about half four in the afternoon my evenings post-school have suddenly stopped being out of the house and I tend to find myself in the comfort of my bed at about half past six!! Of course I love being able to put on my winter pj's and wrap up in my duvet but this year I've found myself saving most of the Christmas classics until December and watching much more of a variety of films as an attempt to fill the evenings. Some of these are old favourites that I've revisited and others I've discovered more recently but the following are my three favourite go-to films this past month. I hope you're ready as I have a very strong feeling this post will keep growing and growing until it's much longer than originally intended.

1. Edward Scissorhands | Directed by Tim Burton 
I was first kindly introduced to the film Edward Scissorhands at the age of about 9 by my best friend Ella. At the time, having never experienced anything moderately jumpy this was my first experience of anything that scared me. If I remember correctly it was mainly the scenes of Johnny Depp at the start of the film that terrified my the most but something about it stuck in my mind. It obviously had a long lasting effect on me because it wasn't until recently that I ever picked up the courage to watch it again- only to find that not only was it not as terrifying as I originally remembered but that it was absolutely brilliant.
Edward Scissorhands, played most enchantingly by Johnny Depp, tells the story of a man with a cookie for a heart and scissors for hands. He was created by a rather eccentric Inventor who over time improved and adjusted Edward making him look the part and learn the ways of humans. Unfortunately the Inventor passed away leaving Edward alone with scissors for hands and some magazine clippings that gave Edward a small part of life in the outside world. Edward is eventually found by Avon representative Peg and after her motherly insticts kick in he is taken to live with her family in a small suburban town. Here he quickly becomes the local celebrity with his ability to cut the hair of humans&dogs and soon after bushes cut into the most wonderful shapes appear in everyone's gardens thanks to Edwards hands. It's not long before you realise that this love for Edward will be short-lived. He thinks with his heart rather than his head and although he is a good person people fail to interpret him in the right way and he lets his adoration for Pegs daughter Kim (Winona Ryder) get in the way of what is right and what is wrong. Tim Burtons modern twist on a fairytale ends without acceptance for Edward, and he is left alone once more. There was no place for Edward in society and it seems that he is fully accepting of this by the end of the film. It shows that not everyones version of happiness is the same and in the end fitting in doesn't really matter.
Johnny provides Edward with so much depth that makes you feel so much pain for him during the last section of the film.
Edward Scissorhands is full of brilliant cinematography and the comparison of the village and it's rows of identical pastel coloured houses and cars to how the colour black seems to surround Edward shows a distinct difference between him and what is classed as normality. The scene that shows Winona as Kim dancing in the snow formed from Edwards ice carvings lasts only a couple of seconds but seems so enduring. What is a scene that seems almost cheesy when described using only words is a scene that truly creates such a feeling of intimacy between Johnny and Winona.
Although I said that I was saving my Christmas films for December, Edward Scissorhands does have that Christmas feel to it. This is mainly due to the fact that the one thing that no Christmas film would be without is magic and as well as the repeated motif of snow throughout, Edward Scissorhands is a film that has such a feeling of magic to it.

2. Ferris Bueller's Day Off | Directed by John Hughes
Ferris Bueller's Day Off is an absolutely brilliant film. It will always have a place in my heart due to Matthew Brodericks ability to provide such a witty performance but also because it was the first film I ever noticed as more than just a storyline; it wasn't just the screenplay that drew me in but the use of colours and the way the 3 actors seemed to draw the best out of each other.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off tells the story of how high school senior Ferris fakes an illness for the ninth time during one semester. This means he is able to skip school and embark on an adventure around Chicago in a Ferrari with friend Cameron Frye and girlfriend Sloane Peterson before they all graduate. The school learns of Ferris' made up illness and despite his Sister trying to persuade them of Ferris' deceitful ways, donations are soon collected to 'Save Ferris'. School principal Edward Rooney is aware of Ferris' ways and is soon on the tail of the three students in an attempt to catch them in the act of truancy once and for all. Ferris is a more than suitable role model for all those in life who take themselves much too seriously and like in all John Hughes films adulthood seems so strange and far away in contrast to the lives of Ferris and his friends. Ferris is adored due to his ability to lie, deceive or con his way out of any situation or into getting anything he wants. He manages to get the three of them into one of the fanciest restaurants by persuading the staff that he is the one and only Abe Frowman, sausage king of Chicago.
The three friends share a scene at the top of the Sears Tower where they all lean forward with their heads pressed against the glass. It makes you feel slightly giddy to see their perception of how small everything looks down below as they begin to discuss their lives as everyone else goes about their day-to-day business far beneath them.
Broderick often addresses the camera throughout the movie as if he is aware that his lack of problems and fulfilling life could be the perfect plot for a feature film. He often comes out with quirky one-liners, the most memorable being "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around every once and a while you might miss it." Which is just how John Hughes interprets adolescence in many of his films, each a celebration of the teenage years in life.
In movies I love a good scene that make me smile. If I had a list of scenes that manage to produce a big grin on my face the scene of Ferris singing his own rendition of Twist and Shout on a parade float would be way up there with the likes of Joseph Gordon-Levitt dancing to Hall&Oats You Make My Dreams in (500) Days of Summer. You have some wonderful images of the streets full of people dancing, colourful balloons being waved in the air and Ferris in the center of the mass of celebrating civilians.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off has a plot of adolescence that runs much deeper than the colourful scenes of Ferris' life. Full of charm it leaves you wanting to seize the day with a new found appreciation for your life and the endless possibilities that come with each day.

3. Beetlejuice | Directed by Tim Burton 
Yes, this film is again directed by Tim Burton. Yes, Winona Ryder also appears in it. There is something about Winona that draws me to her films and after watching her in Edward Scissorhands, Mermaids and Heathers I felt obliged to watch Beetlejuice too; I wasn't aware I would enjoy it as much as I did.
The film tells the story of newly-weds Adam and Barbara Maitland, who after swerving their car to avoid a dog on the road end up driving off the bridge and into the river. After spending years decorating their house, they find they are trapped inside it, as ghosts, for a further 50 years with just a handbook for the recently deceased for tips on how to 'live' in the afterlife. They are soon forced to put their haunting skills to the test when the obnoxious Deetz family move into what was their home. The couple are appalling at providing any terror to the unusual Deetz's but soon discover that Lydia (Winona Ryder) is able to see Adam and Barbara in their ghost forms as humans tend to ignore the supernatural yet she herself is "strange and unusual".
Michael Keaton, as Beetlejuice/Betelgeuse, specialist in "exorcisms of the living, is able to bring the whole film to life and somehow makes grotesque comedy seem somewhat likeable. Beetlejuice works with ghosts to help scare the living out of their houses but he is the most gruesome unreliable character I have ever experienced- so why do I find myself laughing at him so much that my sides hurt?
Burton marvelously forms his own imaginative views on what happens after death and creates a hilarious interpretation of the afterlife; one I'd sure love to visit. The special effects running throughout this film are not quite as up to scratch as those you see in films nowadays but for it's time Burton has used anything and everything to make each scene as elaborate as it could possibly be.
One of the most enjoyable films I have come across, with a cast that complements each other perfectly, Beetlejuice is full to the brim with all things odd and peculiar.

all the photos on this post were found on pinterest/tumblr and do not belong to me in any way.

As predicted, a post where my devotion to not only all things Tim Burton and Winona Ryder were let loose but a post where I got overly carried away with my love for film. If you managed to make it all the way to the end not only are a congratulations in order but a massive thank you from me is also necessary. I do love a good post full of my opinions so I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it.

ten of us take on blackpool


Blackpool. The town with the lights that stretch on for 6 miles every autumn. In 1879 the Blackpool illuminations were founded and year on year they've returned. Back in 1984 my Mum visited with both her Sisters and this year the three of them returned with 10 of us visiting in total. 7 Geordies and 3 South Westerners explored Blackpool for ourselves. I don't like to brag but it was only 3 of us (Me, Yasmin and Craig) who had the guts to stand on the glass platform at the top of the Blackpool tower. Of course Mum thinks that standing on the glass for about 5 seconds before squealing and jumping off counts but it doesn't really does it?! I mean Yasmin even sat down Mum you can do better!! Following that we ran through a ridiculous amount of rain to Madame Tussauds and followed the usual routine of taking pictures with all the wax works- bet you've never seen anyone do that before!

Pleasure Beach was probably a highlight of the trip for me, though I would definitely recommend not making the mistake we did and pay the extra money for the fast track pass. The pepsi max was the most popular ride, which we managed to ride twice, this meant queuing for about an hour an a half each time in the cold. You wouldn't think it, but queuing for so long was definitely worth it as it is the fastest, steepest, tallest roller coaster in Europe. Riding it in the dark was truly spectacular and I wish I could have captured the view. You could see the illuminations run all along the front of Blackpool and everywhere was fully lit up. It was truly eye catching. We then made the mistake of leaving the water ride until last. By the time we got to it the time was about half past seven and the sun had gone down so it was no longer warm. We probably should have turned back after noticing that everyone in the queue wore big waterproof ponchos. But no, me Yasmin and Craig went on not only once, but twice coming out like we'd just had a full blown shower fully clothed. I even sacrificed my cardigan to save Yasmins Nike Janoskis from a thorough soaking and I was left to face the water in a strappy top!! Mum was left to pay the bill for the dryer afterwards- oops!

The rest of the week consisted of Ice Skating, a Halloween party and my growing love for a beauty of a Smiths fan working in the Caravan park gift shop. There is only a certain amount of packets of mentos you can buy from a boy without looking weird and I probably crossed the line at two, not to mention four! But he really was lovely to talk to.

It's always nice to see everyone and I love to experience new places. It was also a great way of avoiding mock exams revision for five days. Apart from the fact that the whole world seemed to be in Blackpool that week going from the size of the queues and that the weather had plummeted to new levels of cold I had a very enjoyable week. Not to mention that the lights made me feel very wintery and I've never been so excited for Christmas to arrive. It was definitely worth the trip.

Uncle Ian had to remind Ant what happened last time their Newcastle played Sunderland at football..


a post ice skating picture

Caught Craig in the act of using my phone to take a selfie with Peter Andre??

Dad was obviously very enthusiastic about Pleasure Beach?

After going on the water ride TWICE when the sun had gone down the dryer got its moneys worth. 
The view across Blackpool from part way up the Blackpool Tower.

REVIEW: Moscow Ballet Company present The Nutcracker - The Queens Theatre 31/10/14

Previous to The Nutcracker last night, I had never been to watch a ballet before. Whether that was because it had never come to my attention that one was at my local theatre or I just never got round to it I don't know but there was something about the idea of it that I liked. Not knowing what to expect meant I went in with an open mind, but I did wonder whether a performance with no dialogue would be difficult to follow or even boring? Yet it was quite the opposite. I didn't have even a second to think about anything other than what was going on on stage because I found my eyes drawn to it and there was always something to watch.

As the lights were dimmed and the music was played light was shone onto a disco ball high above the seats which sent small circles of light moving around the room. This created the image of snow and gave the whole theatre a winter wonderland feel before the show had begun. Although it was being performed on Halloween, not for a second did it lose the Christmassy feel.

The Nutcracker tells the story of Clara, who after receiving a life sized Nutcracker from her magician Uncle awakes on Christmas Eve to find her Nutcracker has come to life. She saves her beloved Nutcracker in a fight between the Nutcracker and his soldiers and the Mouse King and his army of mice. After chucking her slipper at the Mouse King and destroying him, Clara travels to the Land of the Sweets alongside the Nutcracker whose spell has now been broken meaning he is now a Prince once more. Dances from all around the world are performed in a celebration of their return and The Prince is free to rule the Land of the Sweets once more. After many dances and celebrating Clara wakes up beside the Christmas tree once more with her wooden nutcracker by her side.

The layout of the stage consisted of a variety of scenery, the first being a the village outside covered in snow to give in a Christmas feel. This was where the snow effect on the disco ball was used to it's full advantage and really gave the feeling of being outside. This setting was only used to show all the families at the start, on the way to the Christmas gathering. It was then used a second time as they left. In these scenes the ballet was performed as less of a dance but more as a mime type performance. Every little movement and gesture was performed over the top and a simple outstretch of the hand was made much bigger and more obvious. This was to make sure the audience were completely aware of what was occurring due to there not being any speech to move the story along. The next setting was inside Clara's house, where the stage was complete with a decorated Christmas tree in the middle of the back wall. When the clock strikes midnight the nutcracker comes to life and the Christmas tree somehow grows in size as the stage is filled with evil mice.
The final layout used was what looked like a ballroom. Here is where all the dances were performed and there were little blocks around the outside for dancers to sit as an audience when they weren't performing.

The one scene that really stood out for me was the fight between the Mice and The Nutcracker and his men. I am aware many others prefered scenes like the Waltz of the Snowflakes as they were beautifully composed but there was something about the action in this scene that excited me. The whole stage was lit in only the colour red and that triggered something inside me that really drew me in. The colour was so correctly used as it made me aware that some action was about to occur- and that excited me! The tempo of the music was much quicker all of a sudden and everything that had been so gentle and calm before had completely changed. I think this scene was very cleverly done and everyone was very much in unison which was very impressive. The performers also continued to perform in complete unison extremely well throughout the performance which complemented the magical image to the piece.

Throughout the night I was left in awe at each of the performers, yet I somehow had the urge to pirouette around the room which is very unlikely for me. The people playing as the life sized dolls at the start moved like they were real toys and like they had just been wound up. Clara reminded me of an old musical jewelry box I had as a child where when you would open it a ballerina would dance to music. Every thing was so precise and intricate it was hard to believe these were real people.

Moscow Ballet La Classique performed what was a breathtaking and visually appealing performance. They used the correct musical compositions to complement their version of the Nutcracker and although I would recommend you knew of the story line beforehand, the performance had a sense of real magic about it. Whether the magic was the magic of Christmas of just the magic of how these performers hold there legs in the air for so long it was well worth watching!

  The Nutcracker is among a variety of shows performed at North Devon Theatres and there are many that are all well worth the watch. (Website)