Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – John Tiffany and Jack Thorne (Script Review)

So I’ll start by saying this will contain spoilers, I honestly don’t know how to talk about this book without spoiling pretty much everything. You’ve been warned!download (6).jpg

If you’ve read any of my blogs before or if you’ve ever met me in real life, you’ll be aware that I’m Harry Potter mad and knowing I was counting down the days until the new book was released, won’t surprise you. If you’ve never read a blog and don’t know me then all I can tell you is that I love the Harry Potter series so much that I got a pair of glasses and a lightning bolt tattooed on me.

As soon as I found out Harry Potter and the Cursed Child would be released in book form, I jumped on Amazon and pre-ordered it. As soon as the book was posted through my door, I read it and I did so within a 24 hour time frame – something I haven’t done in a long time… Probably not since The Deathly Hallows was released.

So where do I start with my review other than gushing about how much I loved it? Well in case you didn’t know, The Cursed Child follows Harry’s middle son, Albus, as he embarks on his own adventures in Hogwarts. Albus soon realises that Hogwarts isn’t all that fun when you have Harry Potter, the greatest wizard of all time, as your father and living in his shadow is pretty hard.

Now, once again, if you haven’t read the books, you might want to stop reading. Some major spoilers are coming up.

I started crying at the very beginning, as the script picks up where the last book left off, I suddenly found myself overwhelmed with memories of how it felt to be reading the final Harry Potter book and that bit where Harry says ‘Albus Severus, you were named after two of Hogwart’s greatest headmasters’ (this may not be the actual quote, my copy of the book is currently packed up in a box somewhere) will forever make me cry.

Now I loved everything about this book, to start with the jobs that the adults have… Hermione as Minister of Magic? Yes please! If there’s a role Hermione was made for, it’s minister. She’s perfect for the role, she has seen how previous Ministers have coped with some of the worst events in history and she seems to have learned from their mistakes. I love that Ron is working for Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, I’d previously read that he was an auror after Hogwarts and for me the job just never suited him. Although Ron is a great wizard, I love him being the slightly silly fun one of the group and a minsirty job just didn’t seem right to me. And of course Harry becomes head of magical law enforcement, he was always destined to be great and a mediocre job just wouldn’t have worked for him.

The star of the show (or script) has to be given to Scorpius Malfoy, after Albus is sorted into Slytherin, he becomes best friends with Scorpius who is just adorable. Scorpius has heard rumours that he is actually Voldemort’s son after a time turner has been used in order to ensure Voldemort produces an heir, now Scorpius isn’t sure what to think of these rumours and constantly worries they’re true. Along with this Scorpius is just a really lovely kid, he’s bullied for potentially being Voldemort’s child but he never seems angry at the other kids in school and he’s nothing but lovely to others around him.

Albus on the other hand, is sometimes pretty annoying. He resents his father for being so perfect and constantly seems angry. At first I didn’t like this and I got annoyed at Albus for not realising that his father was forced into being a hero but as I began to read, I began to understand Albus and I started to sympathise. I realised that he just wanted to live the same life that his father had, he wanted to show people that he could be just as great as his father but unfortunately he doesn’t seem to be very good at most magical things so he finds it harder than he hoped.

After overhearing a conversation between his father and Amos Diggory, Albus decides he will go back in time with the help of a time turner and he will try to save Cedric Diggory’s life. With the help of Scorpius, he goes back to the Triwizard Tournament and changes two things in the hope that Cedric will win and therefore will never touch the portkey that eventually leads to his death. I LOVED this aspect of the book, the two changes bring about two alternative realities, one where Ron and Hermione never quite get together and one where Voldemort wins the battle of Hogwarts. These brought up ideas that I had previously thought about. The idea of a reality where Voldemort had eventually won was really intriguing to me and I thought it was done incredibly well.

The book was pretty light and it felt very easy to read, after about forty pages I knew that I wouldn’t be putting the book down until I was finished and I was so glad that I took the time to read until the end. Overall, the book was pretty much just one big fan fic but who doesn’t love fan fic?

Five out of five stars without even a shadow of a doubt.

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Since You’e Been Gone – Morgan Matson (Book Review)

I may be a little late to the party but I’ve turned up eventually.

Now for a while, I’ve heard a tonne of people rave about Morgan Matson and Since You’ve Been Gone seems to be THE book of the summer so I finally decided to pick it up and give it a go.18189606

Since You’ve Been Gone follows Emily, known in school for being Sloane’s best friends. Most people know Sloane and they’ve seen Emily at her side but they couldn’t tell you Emily’s name. One summer Sloane and her family gone missing, this isn’t uncommon but this time they’re gone longer than normal. Whenever Sloane and Emily have been apart, Sloane always makes a list for Emily to complete, knowing she won’t actually complete it. This year is different; Emily feels that somehow by finishing the list she will fine Sloane so off she sets on her crazy summer enjoying a list of things she would never have done before such as skinny dipping and stealing.

I didn’t think I would love this book but I was wrong. I originally thought that I would find it to be yet another young adult book (which it is) that focuses around romance but in the end I realised the focus was primarily around friendship and how important that is in life.

While trying to work her way through the list, Emily teams up with the good guy around school, Frank, his best friend and school joker Collins and a girl from the pizzeria she works next door to, Dawn. Although it becomes evident pretty early on that Frank will be a love interest, the story doesn’t focus solely on this. I loved Emily’s relationship with Collins, someone she never normally would have struck up a friendship with yet someone who was willing to accept her into their group without any questions asked.

Collins was a character that I generally loved and quite honestly I would have loved to see a little more of him. He’s that person we all know at school who acts silly and makes fun of everything around him because it’s his only way to feel confident. When he meets Dawn, he acts differently because it’s someone he genuinely likes and he’s terrified she’ll reject him. Collins felt so real to me because at that age, I knew a lot of boys like that and Matson paints a perfect picture of a teenage boy.

The romantic aspect of the book was done well in my opinion, I liked the fact that it was a little more serious than your typical YA love triangle and instead the issue with the romance was the fact that the love interest is in a committed relationship throughout the story. I liked that this posed a question as to if it’s ok to be attracted to someone who you know is off limits and I found it interesting to read how Emily dealt with the situation and how she struggled with her feelings.

Family life played a huge role in the book as it does with a lot of young adult; it was nice to see that there was more than one role portrayed within the book. We had Emily’s family who may be a little strange but there’s no doubt they love each other and although her parents can sometimes be in their own world, it’s clear that they will focus on their children if needed. Next we have Sloane’s family, her parents generally neglect her and leave her to do her own thing. Her parents obviously love her but they don’t seem to be around a lot and they’re not very responsible so Sloane becomes extremely independent. Last we get to see Frank’s parents, a couple who are very successful but who hate each other and are in the middle of a divorce. They’re often seen in public with smiles on their faces playing the happy family but anyone who sees them at home will know the truth. I thought this was interesting to show three very different relationships and to show how all them can be normal and how with good friends who you can confide in, it’s easier to deal with parents who are not always there.

Overall I really enjoyed the book, I read it pretty quickly, I enjoyed the writing style and story and it’s certainly a book I would recommend as a light summer read.

 

Mid-Year Wrap Up

So we’re over half way through the year and I’m not even half way through my reading goal of 50 books. By now I should be on book 26/27 but instead I’m only on book 24 ao I thought I’d share with you the books I’ve read so far this year.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love you –Jenny Han15749186

This series follows a girl called Lola-Jean who has loved a few boys in her life but never told any of them. Instead she writes them a love letter which she addresses but never sends, choosing to hide them in a hat box instead.  One day she realises her letters have been posted and she now needs to confront each guy. This is a great read and I enjoyed the second book more than the first, a third book is to be released, I only hope it doesn’t ruin the series so far.

Everything, Everything – Nicola Yoonbook_cover.jpg

Maddy is allergic to everything, hence the book’s title. She lives an isolated life with her mother and her nurse, Carla, being the only people she has any interaction with. Maddy is happy with this life until she spots a new guy moving in next door. Olly also has his share of problems at home and strikes up a friendship with Maddy by sending messages through their windows and later progressing to online messaging. Maddy is soon begins to wonder what life could be like outside her own home and realises she has to take a chance in order to live a little. I didn’t hate this book but I didn’t love it either… It was good, I’ll leave it at that.

Only Ever Yours – Louise O’Neilldownload

In a world were only men are born naturally; women are now created and trained in the arts of pleasing men. When a woman graduates, they will become a companion, concubine or teacher and most of the girls are aiming to become a companion. Freida and her best friend Isabel have always been two of the top rated girls in school and are sure they’ll go on to become companions. In the final year however, Isabel does the worst thing she can possibly do and puts on weight. Soon Freida realises she has to decide if her friendship is worth saving and she now needs to become the perfect woman all by herself. I loved this book, it was insightful and clever.

Full review here.

Almost Famous Women – Megan Mayhew Bergman51bqo1NSzFL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

A collection of short stories about women who were almost famous, some of the women are related to famous people and some are notorious women from throughout the ages. The stories are brilliant and inspiring, they shed some light on how women can do anything than a man can do and often they can do it better.

Disclaimer – Renée Knightdownload (2)

Disclaimer follows two protagonists, first we have Catherine, a prestigious documentary maker who one day finds a book on her nightstand and after a few chapters she realises that it is about herself. The book tells of her worst memory and time that she thought she had passed. Our second protagonist is Stephen, the author of the book and a man who holds a grudge. This book was great, it was full of twists and each chapter ending made me want to read more.

Full review here.

Quidditch Through the Ages – J.K. Rowling51V-oMWTcOL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the Harry Potter series by now, it feels like not a week does by without mentioning my favourite book series. Quidditch Through the Ages is a book which is read within the book series (book inception) and was brought to life for Comic Relief. The book tells us the history of the game of Quidditch and explains a lot of the rules.

Down the Rabbit Hole – Juan Pablo Villalobosdownload (5)

This book follows Tochtli, a child of a famous drug baron, who is living the life of luxury. He lives in a house big enough that he describes it as a palace, he has his own zoo and he has no need to leave the house; everything he needs is brought to him. He does however, have a house which often has hit men and prostitutes passing through. Tochtli’s only want is to have a pygmy hippopotamus to add to his zoo. This book is tiny and can be read in a matter of hours or possibly less depending on how fast a reader you are but it’s brilliant.

Lorali – Laura Dockrill24910026

On his sixteenth birthday, Rory is sitting by the beach when a storm hits and he has to run for shelter. He realises that he’s not alone in the shelter when he comes across Lorali, a naked girl who he instantly feels he needs to protect. It soon becomes apparent that there is more to Lorali than first meets the eye, she is actually a mermaid who rejected her life under the sea but a number of people turn up at the same time as she does and it seems that they’re determined to bring Lorali back home. I was a tad disappointed with this one, I thought I would love a book about mermaids but I got bored after about 10 pages.

Meet Me In Paris – Juliette Sobanetimg_2253

Juliette’s memoirs follow her post-divorce w
hen she meets a good looking man (still married) who she begins an affair with. It’s an honest telling of life after your world changes and how with good friends and strong will, you can get through anything. I thought this was great, it was nice to see a story that is real and unashamed.

Full review here.

Shopaholic to the Rescue – Sophia Kinsella9780812987706

This is book eight in the Shopaholic series. This time Becky’s father has gone missing and he has taken Suze’s husband Tarkie with him. Becky, along with her family and friends, go on a mission across America to ensure their loved ones are ok. I think this series needs to just finish now and I’m sort of tired of hearing about Becky doing something stupid and affecting her whole family in the process. This book was better than the last few but still not half as good as when the series started

Dark Places – Gillian FlynnDark-Places-Gillian-Flynn.jpg

When Libby is a child, her mother and sisters are murdered. Libby hides throughout the whole situation but acts as a witness, at age seven, to give evidence against her brother who she thinks she heard killing the rest of her family. Twenty-Five years later and Libby is no longer able to survive on the charity money given to her as a child so she seeks other ways to get money. She comes across the Kill Club, a group who are interested in serial killers and where she realises that she might have been wrong about how her family died. I still can’t tell you how I feel about this book, it was great but disturbing.

Full review here.

The Moth Catcher – Anne Cleeves61pxu1qZLEL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_

The book series which the UK TV show, Vera, is based on. This is the seventh book in the series but the only one I’ve ever read. Each book has its own story so I don’t feel it’s essential to read them all before starting this one. This book sees two bodies being found in a small town not far from Newcastle. The victims seem connected but their bodies were found apart. Vera must get to the bottom of the murders and work out who the killer was. I’ve honestly forgot who the killer was already but I enjoyed the book, it wasn’t full of suspense but seeing as I’m from Newcastle, it was great to read about places close by.

The Harry Potter Series – Books 5-7 – J.K. Rowlingdownload (3)

I’m sure I don’t need to explain these books. I re-read 1-4 last year and finished my re-read this year. I loved them. As I always do.

My five favourite things about Harry Potter.

Game of Thrones- Books 1 and 2 – George R.R. Martin9780007448036

Again, I don’t feel like I need to explain this series and even if I did, I don’t know how I would. Way too much happens in these books to really explain. I hope to finish the rest of the books by the end of the year but I’m listening to audio book versions of them and at 40+ hours per book, I’m not sure if I will.

A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J. Massdownload (2)

The second book in the ACOTAR series, this book sees Feyre, newly turned fae and living with the fae who she believes to be the love of her life, Tamlin. Tamlin however keeps Feyre locked up and wont allow her to leave the safety of their estate in fear she will get hurt. Move aside Tamlin and allow Rhys to enter. Rhys rescues Feyre and allows her to become part of his close-knit court where she learns to use her newfound fae skills and fight for herself. I completely loved this book, along with the rest of the world, I thought it was great.

Full review here.

All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerrdownload (3)

Like Disclaimer, this book has two protagonists, Marie-Laure and Warner. Marie-Laure goes blind at a young ages but lives with her father who takes her with him every day when he goes to work at Paris’ Natural History Museum. As WWII progresses they realise they must leave Paris and with them they take a beautiful diamond which they plan to keep safe for the museum. Warner is an orphan who has a great skill at fixing radios. He eventually becomes part of the Hitler youth and progresses to be one of the best soldiers on field. Marie-Laure and Werner eventually meet and the book follows their childhood to show how this happens. I honestly didn’t feel anything for his book, it was well written but none of the characters felt real to me.

Full review here.

The Paris Effect – K.S.R. Burns26089265

I had to check Goodreads to check what this book was about despite the fact that I only finished it a matter of weeks ago… It follows Amy who clearly has an eating disorder and who has just recently lost her best friend. She’s not completely happy in her marriage so when he husband goes away for a week on business, she leaves for Paris. I just didn’t care for this book. Amy never seemed to get over her eating problem and I don’t feel like it was ever explained that her eating disorder was a bad thing. I love Paris but this book just didn’t give me what I needed.

Sold – Patricia McComerick201114.jpg

Lakshmi is thirteen and lives in the mountains of Nepal with her mother and step-father. Lakshmi enjoys school and looking after her goat but she can’t deny that her family have money issues. To rectify this, her step-father decides to sell Lakshmi to what she believes will be a rich family within the city where she will be a maid. It soon becomes apparent that she will not be a maid and she will actually be a prostitute, living a life she is desperate to escape. This was a brilliant book and a must read for anyone. It’s insightful and intelligent and at times it broke my heart.

A Series of Unfortunate Events – Books 1 and 2 – Lemony SnicketThe_Bad_Beginning_(UK).png

Another popular book series that I’ve started to read. There’s soon to be a Netflix TV show released and I decided to read the series before the show starts. I like the books but have series concerns about why there are no responsible adults looking after the children. I never read these books as a child so I don’t think I have the same emotional attachment as most do.

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5 Modern Sci-Fi Films You Should Probably Watch

Just do it.

The Machine (2013)

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A prime example of a film with an unoriginal concept (military trying to create super-soldier cyborg types to defeat a pesky Cold War enemy) but with great execution. Like most of the films on this list, the budget for The Machine was low (around the £1million mark) but they still managed to bag a decent cast (Toby Stephens, Denis Lawson, Caity Lotz) and make fantastic use of the low key location. Lotz steals the show, her transformation from enthusiastic young graduate to kick-ass cyborg is sublime, though Stephens puts in a decent performance as the scientist driven to obsession. There are some delightfully well choreographed fight sequences and while it is a little naval gazing and slow in parts, it does pose some interesting questions, and the ending stays with you.

 

The Final Cut (2004)

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Before Black Mirror plunged in there with its weird dystopian visions (that seem to be coming fruition scarily enough), Omar Naim produced this little known nugget of sci-fi weirdness. Released during the period where Robin Williams was throwing out some curveball performances (One Hour Photo, Insomnia), The Final Cut sees him playing it a little more straight and restrained as Alan Hakman, a cutter who is drawn into a dangerous game of intrigue and blackmail. The Final Cut is not going to win, and didn’t win, any Oscars, it’s structure and plot are pretty standard. However, the world building and concepts are where the film really comes into its own, and you sort of wish they had kept the focus on that instead of heading down the action thriller route. Either way, The Final Cut is a strong and interesting entry into Robin Williams’ filmography.

 

Grabbers (2012)

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Lots of jokes about being drunk. Check. An alcoholic lead character. Check. Excessive use of the word ‘feck’. Check. All the hallmarks of a decent Irish film, and Grabbers is no different. It’s a proper no frills, sci-fi/horror/comedy monster film, with some amusingly gory deaths, daft plot twists, and amiable character stereotypes. The monsters are fantastically realized and the one key aspect of their biology leads to residents of the island retreating to pub and getting pissed. Grabbers does nothing new, it owes a lot to Tremors, however the film has such heart and wit, and some gorgeous cinematography, that it is more than enough to make watching this film well worth your time. And have a few drinks while you’re at it.

 

Coherence (2013) 

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Coherence is an absolute mind-fuck (excuse my French). It starts as a seemingly straight forward relationship drama with a lot of smug people sitting round a dinner table, however after an astronomical anomaly passes by, things begin going south. Coherence sets out a truly fascinating ‘what if’ scenario. What if we existed on parallel realities but co-existed on the same plane? What if we saw those ‘other’ versions of ourselves but they weren’t quite ‘us’? What if we interacted with those ‘others’? The major thrill in Coherence is that you don’t know which characters or which ‘others’ you are watching at any one time, you don’t know whose reactions are legitimate. Where you watching the ‘others’ in the first place? Are the ‘others’ just as baffled as confused as the first set of characters we meet or are they already aware of the situation? Coherence is a film that deserves multiple re-watches and almost requires it, and it also deserves a first watch so get going onto Netflix and seek it out.

 

Primer (2004) 

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When I first watched Primer I didn’t quite understand what was happening. When I watched Primer for the second time I still didn’t quite understand what was happening. Primer is an obtuse, borderline impenetrable piece of work, but therein lies its charm. Shane Carruth (director/writer/producer/actor) refuses to dumb down the science or give people massive doses of exposition to help them understand exactly what is going on. The plot of Primer is a simple one to start with; two friends invent a device in a garage which they discover can send objects back in time, however, their relationship begins to fracture as does their grip on what they have created. Primer is a staggering bit of cinema when you consider the size of its budget ($7000), the fact that no one in the film had acted before, and that Carruths had never written or directed before. Like Coherence, Primer is on Netflix and it is worth keeping on your ‘to watch’ list even after you’ve watched it for the third or fourth time.

My Five Favourite Things About Harry Potter

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I’m fully aware that I’m obsessed with Harry Potter, it’s an addiction that I never plan to get over. I find that there are very few people who have never read Harry Potter or who have not seen the films but if you are one of these people then you may want to not read this because there may be some spoilers.

Now, let’s talk my top five favourite things about Harry Potter;

1 – There is a character for everyoneOotp076

Now this may seem obvious but recently I’ve realised that not everyone loves the same characters, I’ve just re-read the series and once again I fell in love with Snape and cried my eyes out when I once again read about his undying love for Lily, I laughed when Fred and George left Hogwarts and my heart broke when Fred died. I’ve always been a big fan of the twins and Snape and I’ve always felt a strong connection to the strong female characters that are Ginny, Hermione and Luna. I did recently find out however, a lot of my friends disagree. I have a friend who hates Snape and a friend who will always tell me how annoying she finds Ginny, to counteract this, I never really warmed to Dobby (please don’t hate me) and felt no emotions when he died. I love that the characters are so real and have such depth that the reader can get to know them and essentially form an opinion of them.

2 – The pensieve

FSHQDAYGUQ4FS36.SMALLMy favourite parts of HP will always be the scenes with the pensieve, I love going back in time and rooting through peoples memories. I thought that J.K. Rowling’s invention of the pensieve was a perfect way to show us exactly what happened and explain the story a little more. The Half Blood Prince is my favourite book and a lot of this is based on how we can go back in time and understand Riddle a little more. I loved seeing his upbringing and how he came to be Voldemort, knowing that he hated life at the orphanage and how his magic powers made him feel special, made it a little bit more understandable why he wanted to become powerful.

3 – Strong womendownload (4)

I read a lot of books and I have a love for young adult and contemporary fiction but often with these genres I find a lot of female characters who I hate because they seem to live their lives around finding a boyfriend and nothing is more important to them. Harry Potter literally has the opposite type of women, Hermione being the lead example. Yes Hermione falls in love with Ron early and it seems pretty obvious from Goblet of Fire onwards that providing both them survive, they will eventually be together but this is never what Hermione was about. We loved her because she was strong and was always the rational one, she valued her friendships with Harry and Ron more than anything else in the world and she was the one who stuck by Harry through thick and thin. She was clever and funny and beautiful all at the same time. Let’s be honest, if Harry hadn’t made friends with Hermione, he would have been dead before he even found the philosopher’s stone. On top of this we have the likes of Luna who is eccentric and weird but she’s comfortable in her own skin and never tries to change who she is just to fit in, finally she finds her best friends by just being herself and we have Ginny who starts off as a giggly schoolgirl who swoons over Harry but it’s not until she’s over him that she actually grows a personality. Ginny is strong willed and feisty and she refuses to go home in the battle of Hogwarts, she knows she is at risk but she can’t sit back and do nothing. I love how J.K. writes all her main female characters as strong women who girls can admire and look up to.

4 – Quidditch

quidditchWe’ve all wanted to fly on a broom and hit balls through a goal, right? Quidditch is on my list because I simply love the fact that it has become a real sport. There’s nothing more entertaining than going to a university quidditch game and seeing a group of 20 year olds running around on brooms pretending they’re flying. Before you accuse me of mocking the sport, I’m really not. I genuinely love that Harry Potter is so important to people that they’re trying to bring the fictional sport to life. I’ve always wanted to play seeker so maybe one day my dream will come true.

5 – The magicDiagonAlley_homepage_hero

This one sounds obvious but for me the magic is so much more than just the spells they perform in the books. Earlier this year I visited Warner Bro studios where you can walk around and look at the sets they used in the actual movies and to me it honestly felt magical. Within five minutes of me being on the tour, I was close to tears because it was all so overwhelming to me. The magic in the books is brought to life, you can perform spells and drink butterbeer, you can take the train to Hogwarts and you can fly on a broom. This is only one part of the Harry Potter world, there is a huge theme park in Orlando and all over the world there are places to go for Harry Potter lovers to make the magic come to life.

Ultimately, I love that Harry Potter is so big that it’s more than just a book, it’s a community. I love that if I meet someone new and find out that that love HP, I know I’ll be able to talk to them for hours.  Basically, I really, really love Harry Potter.

Why I love Working Girl

Working Girl was a pretty big hit when it was first released, and even garnered itself six Oscar Nominations, including one win for Best Original Song. More recently though it seems to have been forgotten about a little. It rarely turns up in people’s top ten of all time ever favourite movies, and most younger people have never heard of it let alone seen it.

tess beforeWorking Girl is one of my very favourite films. It makes me sad that it seems to get little love these days. Maybe it’s because it’s a little cheesy in parts. Maybe the giant hair is a little too much and the shoulder pads too broad and pointy. Maybe it’s because it can be a little sentimental in places. Or maybe it’s because the title makes it sound like the dodgy bargain bin version of Pretty Woman.

For me these are all positive points, I love the 80sness of it all. I love the hokey ending, and the questionable fashion choices. It has some of the best lessons in feminism and women in the workplace whilst all being wrapped in a candy coated rom-com coating.

The film follows the story of Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith), a go getting 30 year old woman. She worked hard a night school to get her degree, and probably knows more about the markets then the men she works for. She is desperate to make her way in the world of Wall Street, and will take any opportunity given to her, though these are few and far between and often a ‘business meeting’ organised by her boss turns out to be a hook up for his friend. After one such run in with Bob (Kevin Spacey) she humiliates her boss showing them she is not a forced to be reckoned with. She wants to get ahead, but she wants to do it on her own terms, not just because she slept with someone.

tess and kathAfter returning back to the office and humiliating the boss who set her up with Bob she gets re-assigned to work for Katherine Parker, who is delightfully over played by Sigourney Weaver. Weaver is able to play the supportive, yet underhanded boss very well, even if she occasionally veers off into Disney Villain territory.

Katherine appears to be the perfect boss, she listens to Tess and encourages her to come to her with ideas for their clients,with the promise of reward for hard work.

One day Tess comes to Katherine with an idea for a client to buy a radio station. Katherine appears to listen and take and interest. Though just before her departure to Europe on a skiing trip she informs Tess the idea was a no goer. The inevitable happens and Katherine breaks her leg whilst away, leaving Tess to look after her apartment until she can return.

Katherine represents everything Tess wants to be, elegant, poised, sophisticated, and, above all in power. So of course in an attempt to mimic her Tess goes through all of Katherine’s things, including her Dictaphone, which just so happens to contain a memo about Tess’ idea that Katherine has kept for herself.

fancy dress

So it turns out Katherine was a massive lying dirt bag all along. Tess decides not to take this lying down, ‘cause she actually kicks ass. She sets up a meeting with Jack Trainer (the ever sexy Harrison Ford). The night before the big meeting Tess gets dolled up in Katherine’s finest clothes to attend a party where the famous Mr Trainer will also be in attendance.

He espies her across the room and tells her Jack Trainer just left before she got there, but she should totally have a tequila with him to make up for it. She ends up getting hammered, thanks in part to the Valium she had taken earlier to calm her nerves.

 

I love this scene, it’s all about how you can be an empowered woman who can handle business without having to give up your femininity and dress, as Jack Trainer himself puts it ‘ how a woman would think a man would dress if he was a woman’

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Together Tess and Jack pull together the deal with the client, and on the big meeting between the client and the radio station they are buying Katherine returns from Europe, and discovered Tess’ double-cross when she finds her diary that was left behind in her haste to leave and get to the meeting.

sigourney weaverKatherine manages to get dressed and down to the office where the negotiations are taking place and burst through the door like the wonderfully campy villain she is and kicks Tess out for lying and stealing her idea, all whilst flailing her crutches about. Though at the final meeting the truth prevails. Katherine gets her comeuppance and Tess gets her reward in a new job in a junior position with a new firm, as well as falling in love with Jack. 

On Tess’ first day in her new job she automatically places her things on the secretary’s desk, only to be told by the woman appearing from the fancy office that she is in fact the secretary and the office now belongs to Tess. As she does her introductions to her new employee she decides not to be like Katherine, and be a better boss and a better support.

alec baldwinThere are so many lessons to be learnt from Working Girl, you don’t need to pretend to be a man in order to fit in in places of business. You don’t need to sleep with someone to get ahead. It’s OK to get rid of unsupportive people in your life (At one point Tess finds her unsupportive boyfriend (Alec Baldwin) in bed with another woman, so she kicks him to the curb). It’s OK to be supportive to your friends with aspirations, Tess’ best friend, Cynthia (Joan Cusack, who also has the best ever New York accent and some of the highest hair I’ve ever seen) is always there for her, no matter what. Even joan cusackwhen she might not agree with Tess’s actions, she supports them and doesn’t judge her for wanting a career over her cheating boyfriend. Above all, it’s about how everyone should come together and supportive of each other in the workplace in order to achieve equality. We are a little closer to this goal nearly thirty years on, but with men still in the vast majority of positions of power we still have a way to go.

Yes, the production values are little dated. Yes, the fashion choices are questionable. Yes, it’s a little fluffy and things happen at the convenience of the plot. But this is a wonderful film, it’s hard not to get swept up with Tess’ ambitions and fight to be taken seriously in a world dominated by men. She refuses to give up her morals for the sake of getting ahead. She is truly a feminist hero and a great inspiration for any young woman wanting to enter big business.

 

Top 5 Remakes That Were Better Than The Original

As we groan in abject disdain as Hollywood pumps out more and more seemingly pointless remakes (hello Robocop and the-stuck-in-development-hell Highlander) we are in danger of losing sight of the fact that sometimes the remake can actually improve on the original. Yes, the percentages are low, for every Coen Brothers True Grit there is a bargain basement Get Carter, but remakes can sometimes surprise us, adding a new dimension to an old story, and in some cases (which there are two of on this list) new technology and visual effects can provide a more visceral experience.

I admit, I am a little bit of snob when it comes to remakes, especially those that don’t seem have a point to it; doing a remake for the sake of ego boosting or raising the profile of a particular actor/director makes absolutely no sense to me, there has to be an advance or something fresh whether it be political, technological, sociological, whatever… that the original either was lacking or fudged in the first place.

So here we are, my own personal top 5 remakes that were better than the originals.

1. Invasion of The Body Snatchers (1978)

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The 70s remake of ‘Invasion…’ is on every single one of these remake lists and usually at the top. The reason being because it is absolutely bloody marvellous. The original ‘Invasion…’ was released in 1956 and dismissed without fanfare by the critics but as time as passed it has been widely re-assessed as an allegoric masterpiece tapping into the paranoia and fear of the US populace during the rise of communism and the Soviet Union. The remake keeps the main themes intact, the dangers of conformity, or not asking questions of those around, of just blending into the crowd, of someone exerting complete control over your mind and body, but ramps up the visuals with some deeply disturbing and Cronenberg-esque body horror (see the scene in the garden with Donald Sutherland and bunch of replicated bodies writhing on the grass). And that final scene, oh that final scene, hopeful at first and then horrific afterwards, I dare you to find a closing scene that gives you such a conflicting shock of emotions. Also you get a very, very youthful Jeff Goldblum and Donald Sutherland with a moustache and perm. I don’t know what much more you would need.

2. The Thing (1982)

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A remake of an adaptation of book that has its own prequel, The Thing has its origins and tentacles all over modern cinema, but John Carpenter’s 1982 sci-fi horror is unparalleled in both technical achievement and as a perfect example of how to execute a simple plot in one location with small band of actors. We all know from a previous post how much i admire Kurt Russell and his glorious beard, but credit also has to go to the supporting cast, specifically Keith David as Childs and Donald Moffat as Garry (who has a cracking one liner during the tense blood test stand off). Like ‘Invasion…’ above, the main progression from the original is the special effects. Rob Bottin and his team create some effects and pieces so disgusting and strange that it’s both mildly stomach churning yet extremely difficult to look away. The Thing is not a complex watch but is a compelling one, and again like ‘Invasion…’ and all good sci-fi horror films, the ending is bleak but open for endless theorising, and I am not ashamed to say that I have watched the videos and read the message boards about whether or not Childs or MacReady or either of them is The Thing at the end (and it’s a heck of a rabbit hole).

 

3. The Departed (2006)

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A remake of the Hong Kong crime drama Infernal Affairs, The Departed is absolutely rammed to the gills of all the actors the Scorsese had on speed dial, apart from De Niro who was probably off making a shit comedy because he is De Niro. You’d think with all that talent, and egos probably, that The Departed would possibly sink under the weight but this is Scorsese and he is the king of keeping an ensemble cast in check (I’m guessing by boomeranging his eyebrows if one of them gets a bit feisty). This is one of those remakes that sort of doesn’t have a point to it apart from it being adapted from the Far East in order to suit the American market and usually that just doesn’t work (I’m looking at you Oldboy and Dark Water), but The Departed is one of those rare occasions  where everything just works. Damon and DiCaprio are the two sides of the same coin with Jack Nicholson, as unpredictable as ever, flipping between the two of them. The supporting cast is sublime (the scenes with Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg out-yelling and out-swearing each other is worth the price of a dvd alone), the script has some wonderfully ornate foul language and strong twists and turns, and while it does run on a little long, The Departed just pips Infernal Affairs in high crime drama stakes.

4. The Fly (1986)

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Of all the body horror films The Fly is the one that stays with me the most, probably because it’s the most…. juicy. A remake of the 1958 film, it sticks to the core plot of mad scientist mixes atoms with a fly after a cross-contamination incident but takes the gore and excess to new heights. There’s acid vomit, a maggot baby, Jeff Goldblum (who obviously has good taste in sci-fi because this is his second appearance on this list) falling apart in the most grotesque manner possible, and some phenomenally vile set pieces. The 1958 version was shocking at its time, the visual effects disturbed and appalled in equal measure, but watching it now it’s almost amateurish, so Cronenberg’s remake is a prime example of how advancing technology aids and gives reason to a great remake.

 
5. Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

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I’m being bold here and letting you all know that I am not a fan of musicals. Most musicals bring me out in a serious case of hives. Just give me drama, give me comedy, don’t sing it at me. Ya dig? However, I will let Little Shop of Horrors through my musical defences. A remake of a Broadway musical which in turn was based on Roger Corman’s 1960 film, Little Shop of Horrors is an absolute blast. With its tongue firmly in cheek, it presents the story of sad old Seymour and Audrey, desperate to escape the NYC slum and end up in the possession of a strange plant that feeds on human blood. What follows is a bizarre, amusing and pleasingly camp 90 minutes with some wonderful musical song and dance routines, and some glorious cameos from Bill Murray and Steve Martin. The original 60s film wasn’t a musical at all, just a very low budget black comedy and it did work, but when presented with the 80s form with musical additions then you realise that this remake is exactly what Little Shop of Horrors needed.