Thursday, 30 October 2014

The TV Edit: Chicago Fire

When I was at primary school, I went on a class trip to our local Firehouse to find out more about what fire-fighters do. I cannot remember what was said at all but what I do remember was not getting to slide down the pole but getting the chance to see if I had what it took to be a fire-fighter. I remember being partnered up and told to save a "person" that was in a "burning" building. I was so excited to fulfil my dream of being a real life Power Ranger until I stepped foot in the "burning" building that was all smoky and dark. Little Mo is no different from present day Mo - we do not like the dark. I am happy sad to say I did not complete my mission and kissed my brief dream of being a fire-girl goodbye. Coming across Chicago Fire a couple weeks ago brought back that now less scary and more funny memory and short-lived dream of being a fire-lady. Once I sat through the Pilot episode, I knew I had stumbled upon a new TV favourite and quickly made my way through the episodes I had missed out on.

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Source: NBC
There is so much happening with this show that first aired back in 2012 that I am 3 steps away from calling in sick and catching up on all the episodes I am yet to see. It is no secret that I do enjoy a good crime drama series - Broadchurch, The Following, Person of Interest, Sherlock, NCIS - but watching Chicago Fire made me realise I have not yet watched a TV show that focused on the antics the fire department may get up to every day. One may think that once you have seen an episode where the fire-fighters run into a burning building to save the occupants you've seen them all- think again buddy (*in Herrmann's voice* obviously). You've got a bit of drama involving fire-fighters, paramedics, the police and civilians which makes it seem like you are getting 3 TV shows for the price of one.

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Source: NBC
Created by the successful writing duo Derek Haas & Michael Brandt (Chicago P.DWanted3:10 to Yuma), with no other than Dick Wolf (Law & Order) as executive producer, Chicago Fire is a modern day American TV series that explores the lives of the fire-fighters, rescue squad and paramedics from the neighbourhood Firehouse No. 51 and just how much they sacrifice each day they set out to work. The storyline's seemingly constant dynamic nature is my favourite bit about this show. I hate trying to predict what is going to happen next in an episode or film. I hate it even more when I am proven right. Chicago Fire  has not yet permitted my mind to wander freely yet. My utmost attention is demanded by each scene and I am more than happy to oblige. I fear my love for this show will over-hype it for some and thereby causing you not to like it so I will dial my adoration down a bit...starting now.

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Source: NBC
Like with all teams, there is a bit of friction, drama and good times but generally, they all get on like a house on fire - Haha Yes, I do in fact think I am funny. There are several characters in this show that I would love to talk at length about but I will keep it short in sweet so as not to give too much away. Up first we have Jesse Spencer (House M.D.; Neighbours; Uptown Girls) taking on the role of the caring and loyal altruist, Matthew Casey. Kelly Severide, a dependable, straight-talking fellow is played by Taylor Kinney (The Other WomanZero Dark Thirty; The Vampire Diaries). Lauren German (Hawaii Five -O; The Divide; A Walk to Remember) takes on the role of the sweet, loyal and sassy Leslie Shay. The feisty, driven and kind Gabriela Dawson is played by Monica Raymund (The Good WifeLie To me). Christopher Herrmann, a funny and ambitious family man is brought to life by David Eigenberg (Sex and the City; Love, Ludlow; Garfield). Charlie Barnett (The Happy SadMen In Black 3) takes on the role of Peter Mills, a young amiable guy who is eager to fulfil his life long dream. Mouch a.k.a. Randy McHolland, a faithful man who stands up for those he cares about is played by Christian Stolte (Boss; Public Enemies; Prison Break). Bringing the very protective and warm-hearted Joe Cruz to life is Joe Minoso (Man of Steel; Boss; Polish Bar) whilst Yuri Sardarov (Argo; The DoubleThe Ides of March) plays Otis a.k.a Brian Zvonecek, a overall good guy who, at the end of the day, just wants his voice to be heard. And the last character I shall share with you all today is the strong, smart and fiercely loyal Wallace Boden who is played by Eamonn Walker (The Whole Truth; Justice; Oz). There are so many other characters for you to get to know but these are just a handful of my favourites. I know I said I'd keep it short and sweet but you know, these things happen.

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Source: NBC
So, if you are looking for a TV show that has its hands in the action, drama, crime and comedy genres, then this is definitely one for you to check out. Even if you are not still check this one out haha. There are so many episodes that just left me stunned which was thoroughly refreshing. Let me know what your thoughts are on Chicago Fire. I cannot be the only one who has found that it's creeped onto their List of Favourite TV shows. Right?

What TV show has currently got your attention?

Mo x


                

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Interview: Dr Carmen Herrero, Co-Director of FILTA

If I could turn back the hands of time I may consider choosing different subjects when I was in high school. Although I am happy with the decisions I did make and where I've ended up now, having a legitimate reason to watch films and be rewarded with grades or opportunities to hone my film-making skills still sounds oh-so appealing to me. When I attended the screening of The Golden Dream a while back and sat in on the Q&A session with its director, I came to realise that some most of the folks in the audience were teachers/lecturers who used films to help educate their students. After allowing the sting of only watching videos about health and safety disasters like Bhopal or Beryl Alpha when I was at uni to ebb away, I begin to ponder what criteria should a film meet for it to be deemed educational. Little did I know that the lovely lady that was sat behind me and asked what I did for a living - after I plucked up the courage to whip out my big girl camera to cover the session - was the person to answer my budding questions.

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After contact details were exchanged and a date to continue our conversation was agreed upon, I was given the chance to find out a bit more on how films are used to teach languages in school. Turns out that the lovely lady, Dr. Carmen Herrero, is a woman who wears many hats and has so much ambition and passion for teaching. Not only is she the Head of Spanish in the Department of Languages, Information & Communication at  Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), she is also the director of FLAME (Film, Languages and Media in Eduction) Research Centre and the co-founderco-director of FILTA (Film in Languages Teaching Association). I was in complete awe. I only have one job and I welcome the weekends with open arms so that I can acquire enough energy for the following work week. I don't know how she finds the time to dedicate enough time to each role but I am willing to learn this skill.

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Arming ourselves with our beverage of choice we began to talk at length about her organisations and our love for film. I found out that the main aim of FILTA is to act not only as a rich source of teaching materials for Language teachers all over the world who use film as a teaching aid but to also serve as a means of connecting the teachers and allow for ideas and best practises to be shared with and by all. Founded in 2009 this community now boasts of having more than 2000 members in over 90 countries which is pretty impressive.

The way she described how film was used in the classroom to teach students a certain language made it apparent to me that not only did the students get to watch films as they acquired a new tongue, they were also taught how to critique the films and other forms of media. The use of phones, tablets, laptops and social media outlets are encouraged in the classroom as it engages the kids using things the love, aids in their understanding of marketing and the media. And I found out that the films used at the end of the day needed to have themes that gave the viewers a different perspective of cultural issues within the country and times the film was set in.

I got the opportunity to see some of the workbooks made by teachers for their students based on a couple of foreign films and it definitely made me want to learn a language right there and then. Which I guess is the point. All I remember from the days I had French lessons is 14 yrs old me sat at my desk cramming loads of new words, filling in worksheets, reciting conjugations and writing semi-ok essays. I am pretty sure had French films, tv shows, magazines, novels etc been used as tools to aid my understanding of the language, it would have been in the running to being one of my favourite subjects.

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FILTA is a wonderful community of like-minded people eager to share knowledge and improve the ways in which they teach their students the beauty of learning another language using  a multimodal approach. If you are Language teacher interested in finding out more about their ethos, activities, workshops and resources pop on over to their site to register. The great thing about it is that it is as much an online community as it is offline so look out for any workshops that could be taking place near you. Now, I'm off to continue learning how to de-construct a film into its intrinsically linked parts whilst still being enchanted by the story being told.

Mo x

                

Monday, 27 October 2014

Movie Mondays: The Way He Looks

Growing up is both fun and scary. You learn a lot both in and out of school. You make and lose friends along the way. You fall deeply in and out of love with both fictional and real people. There are times where you can't wait to be an adult and times where you look back and wish you were you young again. Coming of age is a collection of moments that we all experience when given enough time. Though our stories differ they still have something in common - we are each given the chance to figure out who we are and learn how to fend for ourselves in this world. The Way He Looks  is one boy's story that I found quite interesting.

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Source:  Peccadillo
I rocked up to the Cornerhouse on my birthday to meet up with the lovely Emily, a fellow blogger whom I had the pleasure of meeting a couple weeks prior, to see the screening of The Way He Looks. As usual I had no idea what to expect. Saw the poster, found out it was a subtitled Brazilian film and that there was a director Q&A session afterwards and I was sold. After seeing The Golden Dream earlier this year, I had a feeling that attending this special screening of The Way He Looks will also leave me inspired and give me another insight into the world of film-making. 

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The Way He Looks is Daniel Ribeiro's debut feature-length film based on his award-winning short film I Don't Want to Go Home Alone. It is a funny coming of age story that highlights the dynamic nature of Leonardo's relationships with those around him and gives us an insight as to how he sees the complex beauty of the world during his time as an adolescent. It also serves a platform that questions the source of one's sexuality when one of the most heavily relied on senses is taken out of the picture. Daniel Ribeiro not only took on the role of this film's director, he also wrote the script that subtly schools the viewers on the beauty of classical music.

Leonardo, a bright, driven and honest lad, and his loyal best friend Giovanna, a funny, smart girl unafraid to speak her mind, were played remarkably well by Ghilherme Lobo and Tess Amorim respectively. And the role of the friendly and caring Gabriel whose curly mane made mine look quite pathetic was played by Fabio Audi. The chemistry between all the characters was such that the story unfolded with ease and I was sucked into a world where the possibility of having your first kiss and being considered as adult by your parents was the main problem.

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So, if you are in the mood for a coming of age story that reminds you what it is like to be teenager and itching to prove yourself to the world that you are fully capable of being independent then this could be one for you to watch. Above is the trailer and below is the short film I Don't Want to Go Home.

Enjoy!

Mo x

P.S. A post on the Q&A session with Daniel Ribeiro is in the works.


                
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