czwartek, 25 lipca 2013

Bram Stoker's Dracula

               Count Dracula is by far the most popular vampire in history. First introduced by Bram Stoker in his horror/gothic novel from 1897 titled "Dracula", he became a symbol of horror for many years. Vampire stories started to appear everywhere, and Professor Abraham Van Helsing left the book entirely to start a life of his own.

In 1992 Francis Ford Coppola, after reading a script written by James V. Hart, decided to make a new movie about the infamous Count. He wanted it to be a dream like picture with great costumes. And so it definately is.

I had very mixed feelings while watching the movie. It was following the book very well, so it's one of the things I liked. The costumes were indeed unusual and at times breathtaking. And the movie had very often sort of misty or dreamlike quality, especially when the victimes met Dracula. There was a lot of nudity and sexual vibe as well :).

But for me the movie had no qualities of a horror film at all. It was not scary (as nowadays horror films are trying to be) but it was rather a story of desperation. Dracula doesn't seem to be a terrible monster (just a regular one) but a man who is trying to find solace after centuries of loneliness. A man who wants to somehow avenge the death of his beloved Elisabeta.

I really loved Gary Oldman as Dracula. But then again, he is great in any movie!

P.S. And the man responsible for making the beautiful music to the movie is Wojciech Kilar - a Pole.

The poster

Gary Oldman as Count Dracula

Winona Ryder as Mina Harker

Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker

Anthony Hopkins as Professor Abraham Van Helsing

Dracula's brides

czwartek, 18 lipca 2013

Great expectations

                  We all have dreams, plans and expectations in our lives. During our lives we try to realise them to the best of our abilities. What to do, however, if we live knowing that there will never be an opportunity for a change? Wouldn't we grasp at straws? Wouldn't we accept help without questioning the source? Just like Pip in "Great expectations" by Charles Dickens.

Pip is an orphan brought up by his violent sister and her calm, and kind to Pip, husband Joe. One time, when running away from home, Pip meets an escaped prisoner, who forces him to steal food and help him. He is later, however, captured and arrested. Althought Pip doesn't know that, it was this man who will later change his life forever.

Some time after encountering the convict, Pip meets the love of his life - a haughty and beautiful Estella. Her aunt encourages this love but wants Estella to break Pip's heart. Later Pip finds out that he was left a big sum of money and that finaly he will be able to pursue his dream - to go to London and become a gentleman, and hopefully a man who will be worthy of Estella.

For me they story is quite a sad one. We have Pip who is, despite the circumstances, a very good boy. He gets a chance of a better live, but can never forget Estella - the girl who broke his heart, but whom he never stopped loving. She is equally damaged by her aunt, who raised her to be cold, heartless and cruel. Estella's aunt understood her mistake, but it was already too late.

The only ray of hope comes at the end of the book when Estella and Pip meet again. Those two damaged human beings, worlds apart at the beginning of the book, become somehow equals - equal in their status and feelings. Maybe now, in this situation, they will be able to understand and heal each other. Maybe there is still some room for the happy ending.

The book cover

The author

czwartek, 11 lipca 2013

Jennifer Lawrence

             Lately everybody seems to love, praise and admire a young american actress - Jennifer Lawrence :). And who can blame us?

I first saw her in a movie by Debra Granik "Winter's bone". I don't even remember how I came by that film but I really liked it and I was very impressed by the young girl in a leading role. She looked so fresh, innocent but first of all: REAL. Almost the whole movie is carried on her shoulders and thanks to her role I felt engrossed in the story (and the role was not easy at all).

Some time after I saw "Winter's bone" the whole boom for Lawrence suddenly begun. "X-Men: First Class" (and let me say that I cannot wait for the sequel), "The Beaver""Like crazy""The Hunger Games""House at the End of the Street" and finally her biggest success "Silver Linings Playbook". All good and acknowledged movies with great actors and great Jennifer.

She is very young but she can already play - and very different characters too. From a crazy girl to an action heroine, she seems to fit it all. I cannot wait to see her in many more productions and since she is just 22 I'm sure I will.

P.S. I loved her interviews too. Apart from acting she can also entertain people and make them laugh :)

czwartek, 4 lipca 2013

William Shakespeare

              There are many famous authors writing in English but none of them holds a candle to a 17th century playwright, poet and actor - William Shakespeare.

Surprisingly, we don't know much about Shakespeare's life apart from a few details and dates. He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon and baptised there on the 26th of April 1564. When he was 18 years old he married Anne Hathaway (8 years his senior), with whom he had three children.

Shakespeare revolutionised plays. He broke the ancient 3 unanimity rule (time, place, action). He wrote around 38 plays (there are still some disputes over the number), poems and sonnets. Many words or expressions, without even realising that, we use today, come from Shakespeare's works. He was a very inventive word builder.

Shakespeare's characters are unforgettable. They are portrayed in many different situations: being in love (Romeo and Juliet), power hungry (Macbeth), thinking about suicide (Hamlet), having dilemmas (Othello), making mistakes (The Comedy of Errors), or performing psychological tricks (The Taming of the Shrew). That's why the plays are always interesting and never lose their contemporary sound.

The man himself ?

The house where Shakespeare was born