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

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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

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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

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4. The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists

5. Magic Mike

6. Lawless

7. Premium Rush

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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

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4. Leverage

5. Chicago Fire

6. Merlin

7. Southland

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8. Sherlock

9. Castle

10. Elementary

What were your favourites this year?

Films

My Five Favourite Films of 2011.

It’s that time of year when everyone’s compiling lists, and I do love a good list so I thought it was a bandwagon I’d happily jump onto. I’m going to do three lists of five items, my favourite TV shows of 2011 on Tuesday, films on Wednesday and books on Thursday.

When I’m at my parents’ the nearest cinema is a half hour drive away, when I’m at home in Wales the two cinema screens each show one film a week (or a fortnight) and don’t get new releases generally until they’ve been out for a month or more. There have been plenty of films that I’ve wanted to see this year but haven’t managed to get to, but I’ve still managed to see some films that I’ve really loved. Like yesterday’s tv post these are in no particular order, they’re just my five favourites.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
With every casting announcement for this film my anticipation grew a little more, with such a strong cast of British acting talent I felt sure it was going to be a great film. Knowing that we needed to watch the film with someone else who would appreciate it I made the journey down south to watch it with my friend Emma, we ended up building a whole weekend around it. We certainly weren’t disappointed, the ensemble cast turned in some fantastic performances in a quiet, clever film. Definitely worth the wait, and the trip to see it.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2
Like so many fans I’ve spent the last decade going to the cinema to watch the next instalment in the Harry Potter film adaptations so it was with mixed emotions that I went to see this last film. I really enjoyed it, it definitely ticked all of the boxes I had. I even didn’t hate the last sequence (whilst I’m fine with it in the book I was very unsure of the way they decided to film it). It’s very sad to think there are no more films to look forward to, I think it’s a good job I’ve got the Hobbit films to obsess about instead now.

Warrior
I was so excited about this film, when I first heard that Tom Hardy, who I love, was going to be in a film about MMA I felt like it was made for me. As I read more about it I became more and more intrigued by it and about the story it was going to tell. Unfortunately it didn’t come to a cinema anywhere near me but I knew I needed to see it on a big screen so I went for a day out and saw it and was completely blown away. The three main actors, Hardy, Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte are all fantastic and the story has so many layers. I walked out of the cinema feeling so glad that I’d both seen it and that I’d made the trip to see it on a cinema screen rather than waiting for the dvd release – it deserved that bigger view.

Thor
I first knew of Chris Hemsworth when he appeared in Home and Away, it was a big surprise years later to see him pop up in Star Trek XI albeit in a far too brief role. I loved the idea of him as Thor and all of the images we got to see before the film, and I absolutely loved his performance. I went into the film knowing very little of the character but came out wanting to find a list of all the key Thor titles I needed to read. I thought it was a beautifully directed film and I’m really looking forward to seeing more of Thor in next year’s Avengers film.

Fast and Furious 5
I am a huge fan of the Fast and Furious films, I have been since I went to the see the first one at the cinema with my then uni flatmates. Whilst the second and third films didn’t quite live up to the brilliance of the first the fourth definitely picked the franchise back up and I was really looking forward to this fifth instalment. I loved it, the addition of Dwayne Johnson made an already brilliant ensemble even better, and there were moments that made me want to applaud. The film was so much fun, I’m so pleased we’re going to get at least another film in the franchise.

What films did you enjoy this year?