Thursday, 27 May 2010

Interlude


Hey guys, sorry for the recent no show, I've been cooped up in my mouse hole again.

Through the Grater will be back very shortly - it's just been so slow this last couple of weeks there hasn't been much point doing an entry. But things should have accrued by now!

I've also been busy trying to cram in all my season finales from across the pond, and I'll be doing an entry shortly on who gaveth the best ending. Needless to say there was lots of tears, dropping of the jaw and yelling at my laptop screen. Which is new, btw, as my old one died last weekend. Here's to fond farewells and new beginnings, eh? Speaking of new beginnings - the networks have all announced their fall line ups as well, so no doubt I'll be ruminating on that soon enough.

Decided to scrap going to see A Nightmare on Elm Street remake because the reviews for it were so dire. Other than that it's still very quiet on the cinema front - but The Killer Inside Me is out next week. Squee!

Oh, and I've just read my first Pretty Little Liars book, and I'm about to start my second. They're so incredibly awful it's quite embarrassing really - a read inside only range of books I feel - but they're easy to chomp through, and of course dazzlingly entertaining. Only a couple of weeks to go before the show starts!

Got a few more treats up my sleeve for the lovely blog too. Well, if mice had sleeves...

xoxo

Friday, 21 May 2010

FILM REVIEW: Four Lions


Ahh, my first venture into a cinema for quite a while, and to see a comedy as well - what joy! As you may come to realise if you haven't gathered already, comedies and I don't mix very well. Mainly because they contain Will Ferrell, or Seth Rogen, or Ben Stiller/Adam Sandler (same person) and I HATE THEM ALL. I can't remember the last time I went to see an American comedy at the cinema and genuinely enjoyed myself. Luckily there's been some stellar British comedies of late, with a quote rate higher than the number of US dollars the above atrocities take at the Box Office. In The Loop was in my top three films of last year, with 'difficult, difficult, lemon difficult' and 'fuckity bye!' still flowing regularly through my vocab. Now from the same school of insightful, clever and absurdist comedy comes the daddy of them all - Chris Morris: the guy who brought Collaterlie Sisters ("only because you landed in somebody's stomach.") and Peter O'Hanraha-Hanrahan ("Peter next time you cross the road don't bother looking.") into my life. So I was really excited to see Four Lions.

Firstly can I just say how lovely it was to see people queuing up round the block to see this film at my local cinema. In a week when banal crap such as The Back Up Plan and Furry Vengeance swamps intelligent and original thought, we sat and waited as the film was delayed 20 minutes so every person could get in and fill up all the seats. Lovely.

The set up: four British Muslims and a white convert strive to become jihadist soldiers, and blow up anything - a mosque, Boots, the London Marathon - in order to achieve true martyrdom. The group is headed by family man Omar, with his dimwitted and impressionable brother Waj, bellowing ex-skinhead Barry, naive rapping Hassan ("I'm the Mujahideen and I'm making a scene") and clueless but yet somehow adorable Fessal, whose scene blowing up a crow is comic tragedy to definition.

Perhaps I shouldn't have In The Loop as my yardstick to compare Four Lions with, but it's difficult not to. Whilst they both present their subject matter in the most farcical and witty ways, it is their subject matter which divides them - there is a lot more at stake in Chris Morris' offering, and that's why you end up feeling a little cold at the end. I don't think Morris provokes as much as explores our conditioned feelings towards taboo subjects such as terrorism, so in turning something regarded as a touchy subject at the best of times into a big screen comedy needed to be handled very carefully indeed. Of course he had the humour on full blast all the way through, with throw-away lines becoming the words on everyone's lips as they left the cinema - "fuck mini babybels!" and the humour was effortless. But it was the central storyline of the film which needed the most work and consideration, and namely the message that the film would give out as the credits rolled - his intention isn't to glamorise or promote suicide bombers. And I think he achieved this, even though as viewers it meant we had to lose the people we'd be following for the last 90 minutes - their misguided ways still not deterring them from being strong, likeable characters. It added shock value too, as the laugh out loud comedy lured people into the false sense of security that there wasn't actually going to be any fatalities in this - oh they were wrong.

For me, I found the plot slightly meandering, and felt it relied a little too much on the themes and humour at times than being well structured and satisfying. But amongst all of that Chris Morris through in a few little gems of a scene, including most memorably Omar saying goodbye to his wife in coded fashion in front of a police officer - "I'll meet you on the top floor." It was incredibly stirring - all the way through I was confounded by her attitude towards her husband wanting to die as it's something I can't even begin to comprehend yet alone handle. I think the presence of the family made the ending all the more sour tasting.

The cast of unknowns were brilliant, and it was really nice to see a few familiar yet not so obvious faces in there as well such as Julia Davis, Kevin Eldon and Alex Macqueen (although not playing his characters from In The Loop or The Thick Of It!).

I'd thoroughly recommend Four Lions - whether you're a fan of Chris Morris (I wouldn't bother if you hate him!) or if you're just intrigued by the premise. Though flawed, it's unmissable for its quips and hand-over-the-mouth moments (yes I'm thinking about the Heimlich manoeuvre...) and a unique experience you won't have again in a hurry.


Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Festival de Cannes 2010 Preview

The 2010 Cannes Film Festival opens today for 11 days of prime cinema. It's probably the most stylish of the annual film festivals, attracting some of the top names in film dressed in wonderful attire walking the red carpet to the backdrop of the French Riviera. Oooh la la! It's also the festival with the most prestigious film jury, judging the films competing for a variety of prizes including the most sought after Palm d'Or. Recent winners include: The Pianist, Elephant, The Class and The White Ribbon. This year's jury is headed by Tim Burton, who will be assisted by notable actors Kate Beckinsale and Benicio De Toro among others. It also coincides with the Monaco Grand Prix this year I have just realised - oh to be in Southern France this weekend!

As with Sundance earlier on this year I'm going to go through the various competitions and write up my picks to look out for. There's quite a lot to be excited about, particularly in the Un Certain Regard section of the festival, which always throws up some quirky treats (such as the extraordinary Dogtooth). So here's what makes my selection, plus a few other films to be aware of:

Opening film - Robin Hood, Ridley Scott

In Competition

Another Year
Dir Mike Leigh
Jim Broadbent, Imelda Staunton
I must admit I've never seen a Mike Leigh film (gulp), but he is a very renowned filmmaker, and British, so I'd thought I'd add this in my picks. The synopsis is very vague, sounding as though we follow the trials and fortunes of a family/group of people over the course of a year (obviously a very important year!) and observe how individuals and relationships change. I'll need to see the trailer before I decide whether it's the kind of film I would want to watch, but it's certainly one of the most anticipated films of this year's festival.

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Dir Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Thanapat Saisaymar, Natthakarn Aphaiwonk, Geerasak Kulhong
I think this film sounds really interesting - a man on his death bed who is cared for by the ghost of his wife, visited by his son in non-human form, and explores his past lives in order to find answers for his present situation. This film could be dreamy, imaginative and deeply touching - let's just hope it's all of those things! It was developed following a short about the character Uncle Boonmee which was released last year.

Tender Son - The Frankenstein Project
Dir Kornél Mundruczo 
Rudolf Frecska, Kitty Csikos, Kornél Mundruczo
A modern re-telling of the Frankenstein story from the director of last year's Delta. It sees young Rudi who was adopted at birth return to his true family looking for love after years spent in an institution, only to find rejection. And his method for coping isn't exactly normal... An intriguing film this one - it looks dark and disturbing, but also very clever. Something to definitely seek out later.

The Housemaid
Dir Im Sangsoo
Do-yeon Jeon, Jung-Jae Lee
Quite excited by this one! Perhaps it's because it's one of the few films I've picked out as sounding good that actually has a trailer to back itself up, and the trailer (below) looks sexy, dark and beautifully shot - a style I'm beginning to associate with all Korean films. Apparently it's a re-make of a 1960s Korean film of the same name, and unlike all the negative bashing you get when a film is remade in the Western world, there's a general buzz of good feeling about this 2010 version. I think it looks just up my street - angst with blood!





Un Certain Regard


Blue Valentine
Dir Derek Cianfrance
Michelle Williams, Ryan Gosling
We all know about this one! The only film in my selection that screened at Sundance earlier in the year. I shouldn't really have put it in again, but it is a goodie :-P. Also the first properly accessible clip has emerged from the film - and you can watch it below. Still no trailer yet but it's sure to follow. The clip is particularly melodramatic and shows what appears to be two people who are tied to each other and not sure how to control their intense feelings - should be well conveyed by two fine actors.



 
Chatroom
Dir Hideo Nakata
Aaron Johnson, Imogen Poots, Matthew Beard
Now here's something I didn't realise until a few moments ago as I was looking up background to the film - this is directed by the guy who made Ringu and Dark Water! So why he's doing a British teenie thriller is a bit odd, I find. Nevertheless this looks immense - especially as the synopsis reads one way, and then you look at the pictures coming out from the finished piece and it suddenly looks like The Shining. This is the first of two films I'm hyping that focuses on the danger and manipulations of the online world, and the British connection means it's getting a lot of attention over here. I'm really looking forward to this, it has some great little actors in such as Imogen Poots and a look that's refreshingly un-British. There is some form of 'trailer' doing the rounds on You Tube, but it's fairly shabby so I haven't included it here - best wait until the official one is released. But if you want to get an idea of the story (and tone) then go seek it out.


Heartbeats
Dir Xavier Dolan
Monia Chokri, Xavier Dolan, Niels Schneider
At the risk of sounding a tad pretentious... I LOVE French Canadian cinema! I find it so quirky, and whether I've just been very lucky or not, have found that the subject matter for their films is always right up my alley - for example West Of Pluto last year at the LIFF. So I really love the look of this film: written, directed and starring Xavier Dolan (who's younger than me!) about a ménage a trios (literally). The short trailer below looks very French indeed - a passion extravaganza! Let's hope I get to see it one day...


   

Lights Out (Simon Werner a Disparu...)
Dir Fabrice Gobert 
Laurent Capelutto, Ana Girardot, Arthur Mazet
This reminds me of a film I mentioned in the last preview called West Of Pluto, but seems to have a much more sinister edge to it - a murder mystery that involves high school teenagers in the suburbs of Paris. Teenagers are always excellent protagonists in film (adults are so borrrrring) and this has a nice suspense-filled plot drawing me in. Not unlike Pretty Little Liars, eh? But French!


The Strange Case of Angelica
Dir Manoel De Oliveira
Luis Miguel Cintra, Pilar Lopez De Ayala
This caught my eye just because the premise sounds so original: a man brought in to take the final photograph of dead Angelica falls in love with her as she appears real and alive through his camera lens. Yup this is going to be deliciously crazy. I really like the title too - it puts me in mind of a ghost story, or an odd, unhinged tale ala Roald Dahl.


Out of Competition


Kaboom
Dir Gregg Araki
Thomas Dekker, Juno Temple, Haley Bennett
I thought this sounded weirdly entertaining and appealing - and then I looked up who the director was. He was responsible for Nowhere and The Doom Generation! Nowhere was one of the most bizarre films I have ever seen in my days, and I don't think his style has changed very much in the last 13 years. Unfortunately Nowhere while being completely bonkers also wasn't very good, so I'm hoping that maybe his scripts have improved! Everything he makes already has the tag 'cult status' written all over them, and whatever happens in Kaboom will be very weird indeed. Possibly with aliens. I'll wait and see with this one!


Black Heaven
Dir Gilles Marchand
Gregoire Leprince-Ringuet, Louise Bourgoin
The second of my picks which explores the pressing and emerging dangers of the online world and the darker side of the internet. I think this sounds very promising: a sinister take on a programme like Second Life, and a new interpretation on the snuff movie format. As well as my preview this film has been getting mentions elsewhere, so the generating buzz must be backed up by the potential of an intense, engaging film. And France always gives the best thrills.


You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger
Dir Woody Allen
Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins
I'm still relatively new to Woody Allen, having only seen a handful of his more recent films, but when he produces a goodie (such as Matchpoint which is one of my favourites ever) he's extremely watchable and funny. When he gets it wrong however (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) it's self indulgent boring toss. So not sure what pile You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger will fall into, but I really like Naomi Watts and Josh Brolin so that's a positive sign. Here's a clip below. Bound to receive huge amounts of attention.




Closing film
The Tree 
Dir Julie Bertuccelli
Marton Csokas, Morgana Davies, Charlotte Gainsbourg
This looks to be a really touching film about a family grieving over the loss of a father and an eight year old girl believing she can still stay in touch with him because he whispers to her through the tree in the back garden. Based on a book, the focus will be mainly on characters and particularly the mother-daughter relationship and a little girl struggling to come to terms with potentially having a new dad whilst her other one is still very much alive for her. It's going to make me cry buckets, isn't it?


Updates on screenings, reviews and prize announcements as they come. There's some really interesting participants this year - some films to really get excited about in the coming months. Commence!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Through The Grater This Week



Ha. I purposely delayed this a week so I could bulk it up with more news stories, and I have added a grand total of ONE to that list. It's mainly Natalie and GG news this week, but there's quite a lot to get through so let's hop to it. And I have an exciting trailer to finish off with as well! Oh yes I do...

I'll start with TV because the only news I've got this week that interests me is about Gossip Girl. We're into finales season now, peeps! So a lot of stuff that's coming out of the States at the moment is very spoiler heavy, and for want of giving myself a few surprises to look forward to in the next fortnight I'm avoiding reading a lot of the articles. But I read this one as it concerns a character leaving for a few episodes, and the reason is pretty s/e if you've been watching GG recently anyway. And it's not overly life changing - Vanessa's going to disappear for a few episodes (as is Little J) - seemingly this will tie in with her going to that writing school or whatever she's doing. Vanessa has always been majorly dull, so I won't miss her one bit. I don't hate her as much as some of the GG crowd, but she certainly don't add an awful lot. The other news does concern the Season Three finale, but it's not very specific on the spoilers so I think it's safe to read here. The big story at the moment is daddy Serena faking Lily's cancer so he can wrangle his way back into the family (yawwwwn - PARENTS GO AWAY!) and apparently this is going to be of some relevance come the final episode in a couple of weeks time. A Dan storyline is going to affect Nate and Serena - pleeeeeease not another Serena and Dan angsy getting back together number! I won't be able to take it! - and the most interesting - a big Chuck and Blair moment on the Empire State Building. Of course I'm immediately thinking someone might jump (isn't that always the case regarding the Empire State Building?), but that doesn't make any sense presently with their storylines so it's probably something else. What I'm most intrigued about is the 'game changer' comment - it bloody better be a game changer because my interest in this show is dropping fast. If it can pull a stellar finale out of its couture pocket and provide an absolute humdinger of a cliffhanger then I'll be right back in there. But it's going to have to shake things up drastically. In turn, I keep hearing so many things about the "nutso" finale of 90210, which I'm struggling not to read too much about because I want to be spoiler free! I know a little though. It's not entirely surprising, but if you don't want to know - SKIP TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH! But needless to say Annie didn't kill the homeless man at all, and her 'pressing guilt' that's 'tormented' her all season has all been for nothing. But I don't actually know any more than that, other than things get very bad for Naomi (sob) so I'm very much looking forward to being nutso-ed out.

Still got that exciting trailer to come! After...

Lots of Natalie news this week, which is always welcome! Firstly, something to point out which is going to be VERY confuzzling for the next few weeks/months. Natalie's film with Ashton Kutcher was originally to be called Friends With Benefits, a script which had been 'Black Listed' in Hollywood for ages - for so long in fact that a couple of other films have been written since with exactly the same title, and around the time this project finally came into being with Natalie and Kutcher attached and Ivan Reitman directing another of the films of the same title was also given the green light, and you can't have two films with the same name coming out at the same time! So Natalie's film has dropped the said title, and currently goes without a name. So we'll just have to refer to it as the Natalie-Kutcher project for the time being, which is slightly annoying but never mind! So anyway, there's been a few cast members added to the mix. Greta Gerwig has signed on to play Natalie's best friend in the film - I've never heard of her, but apparently she was in Hannah Takes The Stairs, a film I remember being interested in but was eventually put off by the poor reviews; and Baghead which is a cool premise/silly execution kind of horror movie which came out last year. She's also in the new Greenberg film which comes out very soon and is getting good hype. So she's a bit of an unknown, but the other addition isn't: Olivia Thirlby is to play Natalie's sister! Yaaaaaaay, I love Olivia Thirlby in case I haven't already mentioned enough times! She's good friends with Nat having appeared in her directorial debut Eve a while back (and which I still haven't seen, grrr). So this is excellent news, and helping me cope with the presence of Mr Kutcher.

There's also been some other Natalie news this week, which although sounds really promising and has SQUEEEE potential, when you read further you realise it's just speculation. She's been mentioned in a - long I must stress - list of actresses who are interested in the Lisbeth role in David Fincher's US remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I think this would be amazing - a kind of matured throwback to her role in Leon back when she was just a little 'un. I think she would do the role justice as well. But it's interesting to look at the other names included on that list. Anne Hathaway for one, would be a surprising but a good choice I think, especially having re-watched Rachel Getting Married recently. She would do a superb job, although I do wonder if she's a bit too pretty. Ellen Page is an obvious choice, as is Scarlett Johannsen and Keira Knightley (they're probably linked with everything). A nice mention for Olivia Thirlby (again!) - this could be a good breakout role for her. Not Mia Wasikowska though - I thought she was rubbish in Alice in Wonderland.

And now last of the Natalie news - we have our first picture of Thor! Take a look:


Not much to go on, but it's looking rugged! Can't wait 'til we see some proper pics from the set.

Nearly at the trailer now! 

A few other bits and pieces: there's going to be a Monsters, Inc. 2 which I'm really excited about! I lovvvved Monsters, Inc., even though the scene at the end with Boo and Sulley makes me bawl every time. Boo is one of my favourite Pixar characters, which is quite odd as she's a human! She absolutely has to be in the sequel (but NOT a teenager). Hopefully we'll get lots of new monsters too!

And Rose Byrne has got a new film coming out (no not Get Him To The Greek - urgh!) called The Astral. It's a horror movie which sounds like it could be quite freaky, or absolute shit as is the case with demonic children. But as long as it's not Knowing then we may be alright!

Finally, it's Cannes this week, and for the past few days I've been waiting for the bloody website to update its film selection so I can half a degree of knowledge of what I'm talking about when I come to write the preview! "It'll be up a week before the festival starts," the website promised, but LIED. I think it finally went up yesterday, so hopefully I'll have that up before things kick off with Robin Hood on Wednesday. Not that anyone cares about that, heh.

And now something VERY exciting - that trailer I've been prattling on about. It's for The Killer Inside Me! Yup, the Sundance woman offending new shocker from Michael Winterbottom that I am desperate to see - it's my only sanctuary at the moment in a world full of horrible plastic blockblusters. I've been expecting the trailer for a while now as the release date is for June, and it's finally here! I must say, it's fairly tame and low key, but the part where he gently slaps Jessica Alba's face with black gloves sets you uncomfortably on edge. See what you make of it below, and I'll be back with more news next week.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Attacked by Pestilence!


I had so many plans for culturemouse this week, and then bloody Pestilence came into my life. Where's Sam and Dean when you need them?! Tsch... NO RING FOR THEM.

Anyways, as you may have noticed there was no 'Through The Grater This Week'. I actually did the research for it before I got ill and there wasn't very much going on anyways, so I've decided to skip it for this week and have a bumper edition next week as hopefully there will be more to talk about then. Oh, and I've now decided to move its weekly post to a Friday as well, as it ties in much better with the new film trailer releases and it's nice to have a little video or a photo to end the news segment with :-)

In the mean time I'm going to be concentrating on Cannes and writing up my thoughts on some of the films which are competing, and others that are just showing their pretty little faces in the next couple of days. Incidentally there hasn't been any recent film reviews on here because I haven't been to the cinema for so long! There's just absolutely bugger all out at the moment that I want to see - but that's all set to change next week when we get Four Lions and the new take on A Nightmare on Elm Street. Wahoo! And I'm still undecided about Iron Man 2...

Now I'm off to zap a horseman. And eat mashed potato. See you in a few!

ANTM Cycle 14: Overseas, baby!



I meant to do a post before this Cycle began about my thoughts on the girls (as I like to pick a potential winner beforehand) but, erm, didn't, so here's me doing a mid season write up on who I'm liking and who I can't waaaaait to go! I have to say this hasn't been one of my favourite cycles - the girls have been a hot mess this time around, and no one has really stood out to me. There's been dramarama of course, but the American version is still a long way behind its down under versions. And saying that, guess where the remaining girls have jetted off to on their overseas part of the show? New Zealand! I'm really excited about this for the hope they will feature the winner of the first ever cycle of NZNTM last year, Christobelle. Because I love her. She is perfection.

....sigh. I'll be squeeing all the way to the runway if she appears! Although knowing ANTM they won't even mention there's a Top Model in New Zealand. Bahhhhhh. (I'm still waiting for Cycle 2! Cycle 1 was this time last year but I think we'll have to wait until Autumn before we see the next lot of girls. Just as AUSNTM has been delayed as well because Sarah Murdoch's just had a baby. Oh the inconvenience!)

So back to ANTM. As we fly down under we're down to the final six. My faves (Ren and Simone) left a while ago, so there's no one I'm really passionate about winning as we head towards the stomp to the death finale. Still I've done my top six in order as I would like to see it unfold: based on their quality as burgeoning models, not just on who spews rainbows (fnarrr). So who do I want flying back to America first? Check out below...

6. Angelea
Ugh, this biatch! I don't like her at all, and if she didn't take passable photos then she wouldn't still be here.
She reminds me a lot of Tiffany from Cycle 4 (yes, yes, the one that Tyra screamed at. Go and You Tube it): a girl who has been through "so much" and professes to be over it, yet is still clearly very angry. At everything.
The way she expresses herself and communicates towards others is sheer awfulness, and there is no way a credible model would talk the way she does. What I hope will be her undoing will be the Cover Girl advert (next week I think?) where she'll have to lose the street yapping and learn a bit of elegance and charm for the camera.
But hopefully she'll be gone by then. (probably not though as Tyra luuuuuuuurves her. Blargh)


5. Krista
I must say Angelea's the only girl I really dislike, so from here on in it's who's the more interesting, likeable and appealing.
Krista comes bottom of the list. She takes nice photos, but she's not my kind of model at all so I was never really going to warm to her. I like the quirky ethereal faces, and she plays either very classic (her photo left) or very harsh (the last photoshoot where she channelled Grace Jones... and then won photo of the week).
She does, I concede, have absolutely flawless skin that I am completely envious of.
She will make the top 3.


4. Jessica
I really, really want to like Jessica but there's something whiffy about her. Perhaps it was the attitude she showed a couple of weeks ago at panel (although what's the fine line between standing up for yourself and being defensive?), or perhaps it's the way the show has been edited lately to make her look like a stirring little gossip. Either way it's probably not her fault at all, and she's a lovely person.
She is a bit bland in face and person though - her look is very girly, cutesy American and she will ace all the Cover Girl and Seventeen work they have coming up, but as for progress once the show ends - if she wins the cycle - she would need to edge up fast to get more editorial work for the bigger magazines and campaigns. She has the potential - she does take great photographs and is willing to go all out for the killer pose.
It's between her and Raina for a place in the final 3.


3. Alasia
My, this girl is annoying! She is one of the most scatter brained contestants I think I've ever seen on ANTM - she was hilarious last week when she was late going down to the limo and she was muttering about how no one had told her they were leaving, when it clearly showed Raina telling her she had five minutes to get ready before they go! And then she paced about for ages jabbing the lift button before she thought about taking the stairs! She's definitely got that model divaness already ingrained into her. Her young age shows too, as she's very empty headed and her emotions are very shallow.
But she takes gorgeous photos, and that's why she's so high in my list. Well - she either takes terrible photos or amazing ones - she looks pretty in them all, but sometimes vacant. When she nails it she's the best of the lot of them, and that's why she's had so many first time call outs.
Whether she'll make the final 3 will depend on Tyra, I think, and how she views Alasia's commitment to the competition as she is always late and sometimes unfocused during a shoot. As the numbers whittle down these failings are going to become more and more apparent, so she's either going to be gone very soon or she'll be there to the end. I wonder if her pictures will save her? The new Vogue judge seems to love her, too.


2. Alexandra
Wow, this list has done wonders to clarify things - I never realised that Alexandra was my second favourite at this stage!
Of all the plus sized models that have been on ANTM Alexandra has one of the most enviable figures - I think she looks gorgeous, especially when she wears her hair down. I think she's also come out very favourably here because she hasn't been involved in any of the drama in the house. She doesn't appear to be on any 'side', and she has remained fair and neutral all the way through. (Anonymous at times!) But last week when she was really down on her luck and lacking confidence I really warmed to her, and was surprised and pleased when she was saved in the bottom two and got to fly to New Zealand.
This week will make or break her - it's her one last chance to improve, or she'll be going home. I really hope she sticks around, 'cos she's the sanity in all this madness!


1. Raina
Oh, Raina. I fear she is the new Jenah. Not that I love her as much as I loved Jenah (I still get quite impassioned when discussing her elimination!) - Raina has become the best of a mediocre bunch - but she has consistently taken excellent pictures, and is one of those contestants that doesn't need to be told how to model, she already gets it. Unfortunately, that also means she hasn't been on a 'journey', and Tyra LOVES JOURNEYS. So in the next couple of weeks watch as she begins to nitpick Raina's performance, when the girl herself will be doing nothing wrong, and be eliminated the week before the final. Just watch!
But other than a less than attractive bit of gossiping with Jessica and Brenda, I think Raina has been great this season and she'll go on to do well from the show whatever happens.

At this stage I'm really pushed to pick a winner, but I'm thinking either Krista or Angelea. Although if Raina can get to the final two then I think she has an excellent chance of winning, because based on fairness her portfolio is going to be very strong. But as always, what Tyra wants, Tyra gets. So whoever she's liking in the next couple of weeks - whoever can impress her with their soap opera speeches and emotional tears - will win the competition. And then hopefully we can get on with the better stuff!

**NB: I wrote this piece in the week and then before I could edit and publish it I became ill and blogging just wasn't on my radar. Now I'm feeling better again I can post this - but the first New Zealand elimination has already happened! But, so not to spoil things, I'll just post this as it was written last Tuesday**