Following are e-cards that Rhonda of Sensational Kate designed for this site. Thanks so much, Rhonda!
June 1: Here are a couple of the great e-cards Andy has designed for this site:
To send one of these e-cards, click on "Greeting Card" page and follow the steps.
May 25: "Andy" has given me permission to post some of her lovely designs: Here are a couple of her great cards -
Here's a wallpaper Andy designed:
[Right-click mouse and select "set as wallpaper."] Thanks, Andy!!!
Here's the link to Andy's Spanish language site - Por siempre Kate
May 12: Gretchen sent me the following paper she wrote for a film class on "Heavenly Creatures." I am posting it here (unedited):
Gretchen Renee Fowler - Paper #1, Honors Film -
The Opening and Closing Sequences of Peter Jackson's film "Heavenly Creatures": A Complex Semiotic System Showing The Awful Results of Dreams Taken to the Extreme.
The opening and closing sequences of Peter Jackson's film Heavenly Creatures is full of conflicting images which create a theme entirely shown through cinematic language meaning music, words, images etc. Heavenly Creatures is a story of innocent, fun-loving dreams becoming perverted through the inability to acknowledge reality. Through Pauline and Juliette's excess and unusually mentality, dramatic irony or absurdity creates a complex system of semiotics, most importantly, montage. The film's theme of dreams vs reality is manifested best through cinematic montages in the film's closing and opening sequences.
The film does not begin with opening credits, music, or the usual cinematic norms. It begins silently, with a little information about the film's production --(that it is an association with New Zealand arts council and is a Peter Jackson film). Next, still without any sound, the film shows in big letters "For Jim". This poses as a possible clue for the audience and immediately sets them looking for a "Jim" in the film, though they find later he does not exist as a character. However, it is just an instance of the written word adding intrigue through communication between film and audience. The audience becomes more curious as the film presents what looks like a 1950's documentary on New Zealand, calling it "City of Play". Images of a normal, safe city are presented and complimented by the familiar sounds of cheesy 50's commercial background music. This is the first example of music enhancing montage, used for contraction and absurdity. This is realized several minutes later when images contradict music: sights of orderly uniformed high school girls are shown, an image of a baby crawling to its father, young boys playing baseball merrily, and many beautiful springtime images are all presented in a documentary style. These images are narrated with a caricature 1950's male narrator, presenting the city as beautiful. About 3 minutes into this documentary type look at New Zealand, the narrator's voice is suddenly muffled by a sound which sounds like a plane crash accompanied by the screams of adolescent girls. Immediately the music stops and we see a far away shot of two girls running through the woods screaming in terror. This immediately contradicts all that the audience has seen in the previous light hearted documentary. The irony also extends further as we see a close up of the girls' bloody legs, conflicting with previous images of safety, creating a perfect montage. The girls' legs suddenly blend into another pair of bloodless legs running in a dreamscape. Calming music plays as we see a dream like image of the two girls on some sort of boat, happily calling, "Mommy". It is obvious this is some sort of alter reality. The girls are dressed in different clothes and have no blood on them. The audience realizes the theme of dreams verses reality will play a major role in Heavenly Creatures.
The backs of what appear to be a mother and father are shown in a glowing context, indicating their benevolence. However, as the two figures turn around, the music stops and the screams and bloody legs are again shown. The faces of the parents blend into that of a concerned woman who rushes out of her house at the sounds of the girls' hideous screams. The camera becomes fuzzy, allowing the audience to realize that the girls whole bodies are covered in blood, a very metamgnimical picture. Then an extreme close up of actress Kate Winslet's bloody, sobbing face is shown. Actress Melanie Lynsky's bloody face is immediately shown next yelling, "It's mother, she's terribly hurt." This brings to the audience's mind the previous dream sequence. Again, a feeling of mystery is provoked. Immediately after Winslet's bloody face is shown again, screaming, "Please, help us", the screen goes black. An ominous silence occurs and then a windy noise begins. Upon the screen the following words are written: During 1953 and 1954 Pauline Yvonne Parker kept diaries recording her friendship with Juliet Marion Humes. This is their story. All entries are in Pauline's own words. The title Heavenly Creatures is then shown, written in sweet, innocent penmanship. So much information is presented in this 5 minute segment. The director avoids explaining the plot in normal terms, leaving a feeling of mystery. Obviously some horrible murder/ accident etc happened in the lives of Pauline and Juliette. An incident so significant, a movie was made about this event 40 years later. Obviously, the girls had some odd relationship, as the introduction made sure to mention "their friendship", again noting how the written word can clear up the film's mystery. Mystery, irony, and conflicting images in the opening sequence, all prove that Heavenly Creatures will be no ordinary film. Now, jump to the film's final complex semiotic sequences. An interesting story narrative intertwines the opening and closing scenes. Ironically, the film's last sequences explain the story's opening sequence. The ending merely tells the story of what happened prior to the film's beginning shots, where two bloody girl's are seen running through the woods. To further bind the two, the same dream sequences which once juxtaposed the horror of reality with the beauty of imagination are themselves tragically juxtaposed with the girls' sad realizations.
In scenes prior, Pauline and Juliette made a plan to kill Pauline's mother, who they feel is forcing the beloved friends apart. The girls' parents had sensed something strange, and "unnatural" about the closeness of the girls' friendship. While together, "Paul" and Juliette often would slip into their fantasy worlds where only the two of them existed to bring happiness to the other. All other activities were forgotten. The two "soul mates" determine that they will not be separated, and devise a plan to kill their main obstacle: Pauline ("Paul's") mother. As indicated in the film's preface, Juliette and "Paul" shared no ordinary relationship, but one construed of obsession and fantasy. The film's final sequences show the brutal murder of Pauline's mother, and the girl's realization that reality has parted them forever.
Juliette and Paul (short for Pauline) entice Mrs. Reaper, Paul's mother, into a secluded area in the woods. The woods soon becomes recognizable to the audience. This is the same woods the girls were running through in the film's opening sequence, again causing the opening and closing segments to be linked in the audience's mind. A sort of double musical scoring is used during this walk through the woods; a walk that is actually for Mrs. Reaper an execution march, though her placid face and admiration of the forest's beauty indicates her unawareness. With the usage of music, a mournful humming is sung, contrasted by an underscoring of adventurous rhythm, causing another montage through music. No words our spoken during the walk through the woods. Like the opening sequences, the director mainly focuses on the girls' feet, chests, and faces. When the girls' faces are shown, Juliette has an extreme look of nervous guilt, while Pauline has a cold look of anger. Their faces our contrasted by the calm images of nature, creating another perfect montage. Ironically, the girls are very protective of Mrs. Reaper, holding her hand to make sure she does not trip and fall. Suddenly the three figures stop, as Paul looks at Juliette for the first time. As planned before, Paul is signaling Juliette to drop a pink crystal. They had planned the crystal as bait in advance. The music stops, and the audience only hears the sounds of birds' chirping. The girls are very tense. Mrs. Reaper seems unaware of the tension, thanks the girls for the walk, but says they must be heading back. The camera zooms on Mrs. Reaper's ticking watch, an imagine carrying over from other parts of the film. The watch communicates a shortage of time, whether it be the doom of Mrs. Reaper's murder, or the doom of separation creeping between Juliette and Paul. The watch becomes a palpable sign of an emotion: aniexty.
In an instance of what can be called dramatic irony, Mrs. Reaper's last words are that of motherly consolment. She advises Juliette to button her coat so she won't catch a chill on the train home. Juliette fiddles with her coat obediently, even though she knows they won't be heading towards any train. This is the typical behavior of Juliette, who will refuse to acknowledge the danger of a situation only until faced with harrowing images of its destruction.
An extreme close up of Paul's face is shown, as she asks her mother to bend down, and pick up the jewel Juliette has just thrown on the ground. The image of Mrs. Reaper bending down, glaring curiously at the jewel, ties in other mysterious segments previously shown in the girl's dream world. People who came between the girls were often tempted by this gem. These characters would bend over, their heads in perfect view, as a castle gate would slam into their heads, often splitting them. However, the pink crystal has until this point been an object only created in dreams. Again, the past and future are linked together, as the film's plot structure intends. The audience realizes dreams will murderously invade reality. It is obvious the mother's fate will involve head wounds, as a cruel look spreads across Paul's face. She arms herself with the weapon she and Juliette have created for Mrs. Reaper's execution -- a knotted stocking with a brick inside its fabrics. Paul makes the first swing at her mother's head. A harrowing shot is shown of the mother grabbing her head in utter pain and humiliation accompanied by her cries of pain and bewilderment. Paul's face twists up in agony for her mother's pain.
The next segment is edited quite quickly. The expression of empathy is seen on Paul's face. Very quickly, the dream sequence on the boat is shown, with Juliette crying "Gina (Paul's fantasy name) Hurry." Then the mother's bloody face is shown, beckoning for Juliette's help. Quickly, Juliette takes the brick; Pauline holds her mother down -- all screaming in agony and frustration. Very quickly, both girls bludgeon Mrs. Reaper. When Juliette hits Mrs. Reaper, Paul appears in the dream sequence, screaming and running towards Juliette. Her expression denotes her sudden realization that this murder will only drive them apart.
Perhaps the film's greatest usage of montage to portray the theme of dreams vs. reality is in the last few shots. The girls' bloody image fades into the infamous dream sequence. Only the dream sequence has a completely different set up from that of the opening. No longer are the girls together and happy; the girls are not on the boat together. In fact, Juliette is on the boat while Paul runs through the docks, screaming "No, don't go." Juliette is seen with her parents, who are guiding her away from the boat's rail -- away from her beloved "Gina". A very intimate shot of Juliette's face is shown, sobbing. She seems to realize that her and Paul's inability to rationally face reality has severed them forever. In her most mature moment, Juliette whispers, "Gina, I'm so sorry." In a glowing light, the ship disappears. The lighting surrounding Paul becomes blacker and grimmer, and no other sound except that of Pauline's heart-breaking screams are heard. Like the opening sequence, the closing also ends with a close up of Pauline's hysterical face, and again the screen fades into black. One last piercing scream, "Nooooooooooooo" is heard in the pitch black. The girls' favorite singer, Mario Lanzo's famous song "You'll never walk alone, if you follow your dreams," is heard. An "Afterward" appears on the screen. The song becomes sorrowfully ironic as the audience reads: "It was a condition of the girls' parole that the two never met again." Words finally confirm what cinematic images have told: you will be alone if your follow your dreams to an extreme degree, as was the fate of these two devoted dreamers and soul mates.
The perversion of dreams is communicated through the film's contrasting montage -- whether through music, image, or written word.
May 2 - Here is Gretchen's review of "Faeries":
My stepmother managed to find a friend of hers who has access to Starz [cabel channel] and was kind enough to tape Faeries for me. I so wanted to see it, not only because I liked all the actors responsible for the voices, as well as faeries themselves, but because Kate keeps her workload so minimal that any oppurtunity to see anything with her in it is a blessing, and usually she always picks good stuff to do.
Faeries is aimed at children, not people our age, so that must be remembered while viewing. Certain lines are cheesy and the plot is very predictable. The animation is not Disney, a lot lower budget, but it was nice to see a different style. Kate's human form is not very attractive, but once the scantily clad fairy princess character emerges with a voice as beautiful as Kate's, all is forgiven!
But it is a fun movie, very creative in its initial premise. I always like to visit "other worlds" with their interesting ways and "Fairy land" has a lot of that. Unfortunately, not much of Kate's character is seen until after the first 15 minutes. The main characters are really two American children, a brother and sister on vacation at their aunt's farm (voice of June Whitfield, who was Jude's Aunt in Kate's other film Jude!). The sister wants to go home but soon becomes enticed to stay when her brother discovers fairyland, eats of the faeries' food, forcing him to stay for eternity unless the children perform 3 tasks. Of course there is a bad guy, voiced by Jeremy Irons, the evil brother of the handsome prince. (Hey, he [the prince] looked pretty good for a cartoon, and with Dougray Scott's voice, damn! What a hottie!). The evil prince, who can shift shapes, has been banished and believes the children are his way back into Fairyland where he will rule.
Then enter Kate, a farm hand who accompanies the children one day and is seen by the fairy prince. Of course, he falls in love with her on sight! Who couldn't: she has Kate's voice! lol! I was disappointed at the very quick romance between Kate's human character and Dougray Scott's fairy prince - it was quicker than a Disney film - but no stupid songs, thank God! Kate's voice is just so damn magical, though. She sounds just like Marianne from Sense and Sensibility, gentle and kind.
The story drags some, but there are other cool characters like the "hobgoblin" who is the funniest character in the cartoon movie, and the fairy voiced by Jane Horrocks is pretty cool, too. There is one character, who is in charge of the "rules" of fairyland who is funny, too. I swear he sounds just like Pete Postelwaite, who played the preist in Leo and Claire's version of Romeo and Juliet.
Of course, all works out with the evil prince and his brother...but the cartoon left room open for a sequel. Anyone know if there is any in the works?
Well hope you enjoyed this.