Book Stuff · Films

Best get reading

I was so excited to see this new trailer for the upcoming film adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. It’s more years than I care to remember since I last read the book, it’s going onto my reading list so I can read it again in plenty of time before the film comes out next year.


Fresh eyes

I realised tonight that I have become somewhat risk averse when it comes to watching films. I spent the evening with my cousin and his wife, they invited me over for dinner and to watch a film. 

It had been at the back of my mind that we might end up watching something I would otherwise not choose, while the three of us have quite similar tastes for a lot of things, there are certain things I go out of my way to avoid. I will read reviews, and for films where I worry about the content I’ll actively seek out information about them – the BBFC website has the option to see detailed information about the content of a film, it’s there (I think) in theory for parents but I have found it invaluable.

We settled on Assassin’s Creed, a film I knew absolutely nothing about other than that I vaguely remembered a couple of friends enjoying it a lot when it was released. I’ve never played the games, have minimal knowledge about their storylines, it was like going into something completely blind. 

And do you know what? I enjoyed it. The film itself is pretty good with a few definite quibbles, but that’s not what I enjoyed. I actually found I enjoyed having no preconceptions about it, no idea about what might happen or why. It’s been so long since I’ve done that, I think it’s something I want to do more.

I’m not sure it’s going to be a complete and instant change in behaviour. There are still those few things that I’m always going to want to avoid in films, I’m still going to be keeping an eye out for them, but where I can I’m definitely going to try and watch more with the freshest eyes I can manage.


Film fun.

I went this morning to see Fast and Furious 8. It’s one of my favourite film franchises, I love the way it’s grown and evolved over the years. This latest installment is exactly what I was expecting, it made me laugh, made me gasp, made me squee with fannish excitement and so much more.

The film fun carried on this afternoon when the teaser trailer (though can they really be considered a teaser trailer at over 2 minutes long?) for the newest Star Wars film was released.

Based on this I’m already excited and looking forward to a festive cinema trip!


Short but not so sweet

When I was out for coffee on Wednesday the conversation turned to books and reading (not an unusual topic), and then to stories with creepy dolls in them. Let’s be honest, dolls have the potential to be pretty creepy in pretty much any context outside of actual children playing with dolls – particularly those old fashioned dolls. Zoe mentioned that she’d watched an animated short featuring creepy dolls, I was so intrigued when she sent me the link to it.

The short is called Alma, it’s barely over 5 minutes long but it certainly delivers on the creepy dolls front. I thought it was only good and proper that I shared the delights!

Watching it, I realised that I never really watch shorts unless they come at the start of Pixar films. So if you have any recommendations then please send them my way!

Films · Music

Beauty and the carpet bag.

I’ve just read the wonderful news that Angela Lansbury has been cast in Mary Poppins Returns. Apparently she’ll be playing the Balloon Lady, a character from the books.

I’m thrilled she’s going to be in this film, I love her and I’m really looking forward to the film so it seems like a great combination for me. This news has made me realise that I maybe should have read the books by now, Mary Poppins is a film I love dearly so it seems a little remiss of me to have not gone back and read the books that came before it. I’m going to read them before Mary Poppins Returns comes out.

The other thing this news has made me think of is this wonderful video of Angela Lansbury at last year’s 25th anniversary screening of Beauty and the Beast. 

Films · Music

Sing it On

This morning I went to see Sing at the cinema, it was my last chance to use my Cineworld Unlimited card (currently the nearest Cineworld to home is about 4th on my list of cinemas I’d travel to). I’d seen the trailer a few times and liked the look of it from them plus I’d seen some positive reaction from others so I thought I’d give it a go.

I enjoyed it. There was a fairly brief section towards the middle where it dragged a little (the many young children in the audience all agreed with me on this) but overall it was enjoyable. Unsurprisingly for a film about a singing talent show there’s loads of music included, I was interested to see that quite a lot of the music was older music and not necessarily stuff that the target young audience (the film has a U certificate) would be familiar with.

One such inclusion was Queen and David Bowie’s Under Pressure – listening to it made me bemoan yet again that I didn’t seize the opportunity to see Queen and Adam Lambert when they toured the UK. I know they’ve recently announced new North America dates so I’m very much hoping that they’ll follow suit and return to the UK too. I think the pairing is brilliant, I’m a definite fan of Adam Lambert and have been impressed by his work with Queen.

When I got back I spotted a tweet that had me rushing straight to YouTube, it turns out that Thursday night’s episode of The Late Late Show included a front man off between Adam Lambert and James Corden. I ummed and ahhed briefly over whether to share it here – I have after all shared some stuff from The Late Late Show already. But it’s my space, and I decide what goes, so here it is!


Rogue One.

I went to the cinema today to finally see Rogue One. I’d been planning to see it when it was first released, but life got in the way and it’s taken me this long to get myself organised.

I really enjoyed the film. Even though it’s been out with good few weeks now, and I spend a goodly amount of time online I’d managed to sit down this afternoon knowing very little about it. I was really glad about this, the emotional punches it brings in particular were as effective as they could be as I wasn’t expecting them at all. 

Star Wars has never been one of my areas of geeky interest. I was an adult before I got to see the original trilogy and so my interest is far new and as a result probably a fair amount thinner than some of my friends’. There will have been clever nods and little moments that I didn’t pick up on, but if anything this just makes me excited that with further watches there will be new things to spot.

It was great to see how full the cinema was for the film. There were heaps of kids there loving it, and their adults too. The kids were better behaved than many of the adults, maybe there’s hope for cinema going in the future after all!

Days Out · Films · Life · Theatre Stuff

A lovely weekend.

I know it’s Wednesday and technically a bit late to be talking about the weekend, but my weekend didn’t end until Monday so here I am today.

This weekend I went to London with my mom, my friend Emma and her mum. We met up and spent most of Saturday in theatres, first watching Matilda and then The Audience.

MatildaEmma and I saw Matilda last summer and both fell in love with it instantly. It’s a lovely retelling of the Roald Dahl book, Tim Minchin’s songs are brilliant and the children are all excellent. As we were walking out of the theatre we knew that it was going to be a great show to take our mothers to see – we loved it and surely they would too. Interestingly when the four of us chatted about it over dinner afterwards, neither of them enjoyed it to start with but as the show progressed they did see what we’d seen in it and did really enjoy it.

TheAudienceThe Audience appealed to all four of us, we all have a strong interest in politics and so a play about the Queen’s weekly audiences with the prime minister sounded right up our streets. Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth was excellent, as were the various actors playing prime ministers – there were a couple who seemed like slightly odd casting until we saw them appear and realised how good they were. The play is really interesting, witty and at times most poignant – it exceeded my high expectations.

After a delicious brunch at Brown’s on Sunday we all parted company and I went to visit lovely friends Liz and Mark. Thanks to the very nice weather we had delicious BBQ cooked by Mark, and Liz had baked a very tasty gluten free carrot cake. There was lots of chat about books and writing, and we watched Chronicle and John Carter both of which I really enjoyed. A perfect ending to the weekend.

Days Out · Films · Geek Stuff · Theatre Stuff

A varied weekend.

This weekend was pretty busy, with a cinema trip and two theatre visits, all for completely different things and all utterly brilliant in their own way.

LincolnFor starters came Lincoln. Whilst I enjoy films I have a huge number of gaps in my film knowledge / experiences, so this was my first ever experience of seeing Daniel Day Lewis in a film. I was very, very impressed by him and by the film overall. I hadn’t read much about the film but had seen mentions of “Sorkin-esque moments” – having finished watching The West Wing last week I was thrilled by the similarities between the two, I hadn’t expected the film to focus so strongly on the political machinations of passing the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The story the film tells is hugely interesting and I was impressed by the way I was still tense and fretting over the vote even when I knew the outcome.

MNGThe middle piece of weekend entertainment was the local pantomime put on by the Monday Night Group. They put on a panto every year and raise thousands of pounds for local community groups. The show was very entertaining, it was a little odd seeing people I’d been at school with and not seen for more than 10 years appearing on stage, but they were all very good. The panto was Jack and the Beanstalk, they put in lots of modern twists and references and had more audience participation than I can remember seeing at any other pantomime. There were plenty of youth groups in the audience meaning the laughs were loud and long – everyone left having had a brilliant time.

RockyHorrorLast but by no means least was a trip into Birmingham to see the 40th anniversary tour of The Rocky Horror Show. I’d seen the film many years ago but never seen the stage show, whilst I was really looking forward to seeing it a small part of me was also wondering what the experience would be like. We didn’t dress up, the combination of it being a matinee (albeit one that started at 5.30pm) and the middle of winter made the idea of costumes unappealing – having now seen the audience and the wide variety of costumes we will definitely give it a go next time, though we will also choose a performance in the summer! The show was brilliant, every member of the cast was excellent, and the audience was an absolute hoot. I had no idea about the level of audience participation – when the whole place joined in with The Usherette singing Science Fiction / Double Feature it was a bit of a surprise, so when they all joined in with the dialogue it was a real surprise. The high level of interactivity meant that it was one of the funniest theatre experiences I’ve ever had.

I think this is one of the most varied weekends I’ve had in quite a while. Next weekend has some range to its plans already but I don’t think it’s going to match this one!

Book Stuff · Films · TV Stuff

My 2012 Favourites.

I thought this year instead of doing seperate best of 2012 list posts I’d do one consolidated post – my favourite books that I’ve read, films and tv shows I’ve watched this year. Each list is in no particular order, I’m afraid I’m not prepared to spend the next week arguing with myself about ranking the list entries! It’s been a pretty wonderful year for all of these things, there were so many that nearly made the list but had to give way for something I simply couldn’t omit.

My Books of 2012.

1. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

2. Heart Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne

3. Hollow Pike by James Dawson

4. The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne (Hounded, Hexed and Hammered)

5. Department 19 and Department 19: The Rising by Will Hill

6. Kiss, Date, Love, Hate by Luisa Plaja

7. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

8. Saving June by Hannah Harrington

9. Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

10. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

My Films of 2012.

1. Avengers Assemble

2. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

3. Dark Knight Rises

4. The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists

5. Magic Mike

6. Lawless

7. Premium Rush

8. 21 Jump Street
9. Looper
10. The Intouchables

My TV Shows of 2012.

1. The Walking Dead

2. Doctor Who

3. Sons of Anarchy


4. Leverage

5. Chicago Fire

6. Merlin

7. Southland


8. Sherlock

9. Castle

10. Elementary

What were your favourites this year?