Star Trek

May. 8th, 2009 08:47 am
annwfyn: (Mood - jovial hippo)
And lo! Last night a mob of us went to see Star Trek - [profile] pierot, [profile] ksirafai, [profile] reindeerflotila, [profile] astro_dust, [profile] unifex, [profile] castorlion, [personal profile] adze, [profile] becky_spence and [profile] suave_steve. Plus me.

It was, first of all, lovely to see everyone, and secondarily, I really enjoyed Star Trek. It was a glorious, full throttle, unapologetic re-boot of the franchise. The performances were all stellar, I think I'm in love with Spock (it will make sense if you see the film), and goddamnit, it was cheating to open the film with a Thunderchild-style doomed final stand. I was nearly in tears in the first ten minutes.

It's the best film I've seen this year. Really. Go and see it!

I got home in a good mood and went to bed early. And then, sadly, woke up at 5 am having a mild panic attack. God knows why, but it meant I couldn't get back to sleep until 6 am, and so I'm a little wobbly today. Still, hopefully today will be a quiet day and I'll get a load done at work.

annwfyn: (sally - graffitti punk)
So, I went to see it last night.

Being unchained by any kind of comics geekery (I've read some of the X Men comics, am clueless on most of them), I was therefore free to enjoy it utterly.

Cut for mild spoilers )
annwfyn: (Misc - the last unicorn)
So, I've been watching Amazing Grace and feeling rather guilty about how much I'm enjoying it.

I know it's a bit of a Mighty Whitey film, in which the poor African slaves get to stand around and look abused until William Wilberforce can rescue them. I know it sadly fails to mention slave uprisings, or the extent to which the Black Africans of the diaspora did actively seek their own freedom and rescue. I know there's also something slightly random about Wilbur being quite so very sainted whilst not really noticing the servants around him, and cheerfully ignoring his own position as a member of the privileged classes, but I still really enjoyed it.

First of all, for all his faults, I do think Wilberforce did something amazing. He could have lived a much more comfortable life had he not adopted the cause of Abolitionism, and in the context of the society he was living in, that choice was a strong one. Maybe it's not an amazing thing - he never wore chains himself, he never had to worry about being hungry - but it was a strong choice and I think it makes him a very interesting man and one that I wanted to find out more about.

Secondly, I think the British Abolitionists did accomplish something and it's a good thing to remember.

Thirdly, whilst it is a fairly fluffy costume drama style look at the slave trade (which is one of the great horrors of history, in my opinion) I actually like it for the contrast it provides to every other film set in the 18th century. For example, Pride and Prejudice (in all its many cinematic incarnations), is set in this time period and yet there is no mention of the darker underbelly of English society, or what the society that the Bennett girls are living within is built upon. I liked the fact that this film takes all the common and recognisable visuals of the English costume drama - the big dresses, the wigs, the carriages, and then reminds us what this society is actually based upon. It is, in my mind, a traditional English costume drama, with a bit of a social conscience. And that's not a great thing, but it's still something I find interesting to watch.

And finally, it's a good film. Ioan Gruffudd is fabulous as William Wilberforce - he does determined, driven and tormented like no one else. I really liked the love story - Barbara is a much better character than most 18th century female characters - and I am a sucker for stories of redemption, which the John Newton character followed beautifully.

It may have its faults, as a film, and I suspect that many people on my friends list would loathe it as much for the fairly blatant Christianity running through the film, or the earnestness of its message, far more than its failings in its own good intentions, but it appears I have quite a high tolerance for inspirational films on occasion. Especially if they come with corsetry.

And don't tell me that the film isn't entirely historically accurate. I do know that. But I think it made a good effort to capture the spirit of the story nonetheless.
annwfyn: (mood - dandelion thoughts)

  • The Times had this article in it today - it's a list of cool holiday cottages in the UK. I know there are folk out there who go on such holidays. I know that in the past there are folk who have been on such a holiday with me (and I am vaguely planning my next holiday, tho I know not who it will be with this year, as certain people are moving back to Australia) and such people may be interested.

  • Hairspray, the musical, is great fun. I went last night, and whilst it isn't exactly the same as the film (the plot actually differs in a couple of areas), it definitely has its own charm.

    Michael Ball is far better than John Travolta, and has the most amazing stage presence. He just bounces off the audience so well, and managed to actually send his co-star into a fit of the giggles, whilst ad libbing gloriously as Edna. His voice is incredible, he dances really well, and I've never seen him on such good form. Only Ian McKellan is better value for money whilst in drag.

    Other than that, whilst the cast did well, I was occasionally disappointed. The actress playing Tracy I wasn't too keen on. I know it's shallow of me, but one thing I loved about Nikki Blonsky, who played Tracy in the movie version, was that she was so damn pretty. She was big, but she was gorgeous and confident, and it was always quite obvious why Link would fall for her. Tracy in this version was played by an actress who was obviously much older, wasn't that cute, looked quite overly made up, and was also played as practically drooling when Link appears. There was less of the confidence, more of the desperation, and I wasn't quite sure why he started responding to her in this version. She also couldn't dance, which really bugged me. I mean, Nikki Blonsky was great. You could see why she'd be picked as a TV dancer, despite her size. Honestly, I wasn't sure why this Tracy would have been picked had she looked like Skinny Aryana, white anorexic goddess. It just made no sense.

  • Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans was glorious! And I mean 'over the top, melodramatic, camp, gothic fantasy trash', but oh! So much fun! I've now seen Bill Nighy stalking the night in a big brocade dress, spitting out chunks of scenery from the corner of his mouth as he talks. I've seen Kate Beckinsale's predecessor running around in the most unconvincing chain mail leggings with high heels, and I've seen some fantastic over the top smouldering from Michael Sheen.

    I think I have a crush on Michael Sheen, when playing Lucian, actually. A brooding Eastern European who's about the spend the next milennia avenging his Doomed True Love - what's not to love?

    It's not great cinema, but I'd totally recommend it. It's on Krull levels of wondrous fantastical nonsense.
annwfyn: (mood - sunny)
I've just finished reading this. It appears that JK Rowling has announced that Dumbledore was gay all along. There's been this odd spectrum of responses - ranging from 'go JK! That's so great', to 'now I'm creeped out by all the time Dumbledore spent with Harry', to 'this is a cop out. She writes one gay character who lives his life in celibacy and never even admits it in the books'.

Personally, I think it would be nice if it had been mentioned in the books, but I'm glad it has been mentioned now. Essentially, I'd rather have JK Rowling mention afterwards that Dumbledore was gay all along (although I did have my suspicions when reading the Deathly Hallows book) than never say it, and let Hogwarts be (very much as my school was) Conformity High.

I was also strangely cheered to discover that Neville does get married and winds up living above the Leaky Cauldron. For various odd reasons Neville was always my favourite Harry Potter character - he was just so sweet, and I so desperately wanted him to live, to do well. I'm ridiculously happy that it all worked out for him in the end.

In other news, I had a wonderful night at the cinema last night. I went to see Stardust, with an assortment of people, and adored it. It made me feel as if I had been filled to the brim with stars and magic. I wasn't expecting to like it - Stardust is one of the Neil Gaiman books I've never been able to read.

As many of you will know, I have this love/hate relationship with Gaiman. He's the first comic writer I ever read. A lot of his stories are wonderful. Then every now and then I'll go through a phase of being massively irritated by him. I get irritated by his self consciousness (I find you never forget you're being told a story by Neil Gaiman. You never lose yourself in his world. He's always there). I get annoyed by the tweeness of parts of his stories, and sometimes I just feel like he's horribly overrated. Stardust triggered all my 'Argh! Gaiman!' buttons. I tried to read it as a novel and couldn't get past the first three chapters - it didn't feel like a real world. It felt like Neil Gaiman telling me about how he - Neil Gaiman - had this lovely lyrical fairy story to write. And did I know that this was all about Neil Gaiman and how imaginative he was?

The film swept away all of that. It was exciting, beautiful, sweet natured, innocent, and incredibly hopeful. I even forgave Clare Danes for having been beautiful and having become peroxide'd and stretched thin. I just loved it, and I want to be a lightning catcher, sailing up in the skies.

One thing that did trigger a bit of a discussion on the way home was which other films are comparable to it. The obvious comparison was the Princess Bride, with [profile] ksirafai commenting that the main difference was that the Princess Bride was original, whereas Stardust is now (mostly coz Princess got there first) a bit on the derivative side. I vaguely disagreed, because I'm sure the Princess Bride wasn't completely an original. There must have been slightly tongue in cheek fairy stories put to film before.

I suggested Star Wars, which to my mind is a fairy tale romp, that just happens to have been set in space. [profile] pierot disagreed and said that Star Wars was space opera, which was different. I also suggested Labyrinth, but I think others felt that that was different.

Am I wrong?

What other films would you put into the same broad category of 'rollicking fairy story' that Stardust and Princess Bride fit into? Is it a category, or are there only a few films which ever fill that niche?

annwfyn: (Mood - sleepy/lazy hippo)
I found this whilst wandering around the internet. It's a run down of every Phantom of the Opera movie ever made, and I was strangely amused by it. The website it's from has a fantastic collection of movie reviews, by the way.

Oh, and whilst I'm at it, everyone should go and read Rod Hilton's Abridged Movie Scripts.

That's my advice for the day. Just go and do it!


Sep. 9th, 2007 08:16 am
annwfyn: (Mood - bedtime bear/sleepy)
Another film review - a group of us went to see Atonement last night.

Cut for spoilage )

In other news, my sleeping patterns are being odd. I was asleep on my feet from 10 pm last night, and then woke up at 8 am with a head full of confused thoughts. I'm still finding these stray thoughts running around my head.

I wonder how these patterns will adjust now I'm back at college.
annwfyn: (love - woman in white)
First of all, I thought I'd mention that [profile] pierot, [profile] molez and I went to see Rush Hour 3 on Wednesday night, and it was everything you would expect it to be, but dumber. The only thing I have to say of note is that it's a bit sad to see Jackie Chan slowing down a bit - the fight scenes were being very carefully choreographed, with quite a lot of forgiving cuts - and it is odd how the use of parkour in films has raised my expectations for chase scenes. Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan seemed very slow and clumsy in comparison with David Belle and Cyril Raffaelli.

Then, last night, thirteen of us went to see The Last Confession. It was an incredibly interesting play about the 33 days in office of Pope Jean Paul I - the "smiling pope" and about the mystery that surrounds his early death. It was wonderfully acted, and left me feeling deeply contemplative.

One thing that was very interesting to me was the realisation that a lot of the Catholic Church's more hardline views were actually being debated and were not necessarily viewed as fundamental parts of the faith as recently as the 1970s. Pope Jean Paul I was shown as pushing for some form of artificial birth control to be accepted within marriage, and being supportive of various forms of artificial conception as well. One wonders how the Catholic Church would have changed, and how the perception of it would have changed had that been implemented before Pope Jean Paul I died.

The play also made me realise just how much the Catholic Church is affected by the man at the head of it. I have always thought of the Catholic Church as a great monolithic institution, when in reality it is, in part, a reflection of one man who the Cardinals of the Church hope has been chosen by God. That does certainly raise questions about the future of the Church, after Jean Paul II and after Benedict.

After the play we wandered around London and talked about the play a little. I'm still pondering my own views on religion and on God this morning, which probably means it was a good play.
annwfyn: (Mood - jovial hippo)
...more than meets the eye!

SUCH a good film. My childhood memories are alive and well, and I'm all bouncy at having seen Optimus Prime kicking off.

It was a wonderful, unpretentious, cheerful spectacle of a movie. I'm still glowing with childlike glee.
annwfyn: (Sally - top hat)
I've had a perfectly lovely 24 hours.

  • I had a visit from [ profile] astro_dust, we sat, gossiped and chattered about nonsense and it was fab.

  • [ profile] pierot had a fit of madness, and dragged myself, [ profile] ksirafai and [ profile] astro_dust to see the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film. And lo! In his madness, was genius! It was a truly fantastic film. It wasn't great art, but it was tight, kept momentum, was fantastically non-pretentious and had alarmingly more character depth and development than anything ever made by Frank Miller, and quite a bit more character depth and development than a number of other allegedly more serious film.

    I wanna be a turtle now!

  • I had a huge pile of groceries delivered from tesco online, and I now have lots of glorious tasty food sitting in my kitchen. Including bread with the invisible crust, which I'm alarmingly impressed by.

  • I had a really rather positive assessment/tutorial today at university. I mentioned that I was interested in photographic conservation, and was told that that was a feasible area of specialisation on the MA course. I then started chatting with Mark Sandy about my research project for my MA (which is the academic, non-object based, more issue based half of the course) and I said I was interested in maybe writing about the ethics of displaying photographs, specifically photographs of war - obviously these are intimate moments, which can show someone's moment of death. They can educate in a way that little else can, and yet they can become intrusive and unethical very easily. Mark Sandy was enthused and began chatting about me maybe working with the Imperial War Museum next year in their photographic archive, as Camberwell has a good relationship with them.

  • I also got to spend an hour going through old MA projects, and found a really interesting thesis on DNA testing, with a full bibliography that I have now pillaged thoroughly for my PGDip science project. Go me!

  • I finally got home, and realised that it's over. I've finished term two, I've not screwed it up horribly, and I've got four glorious weeks of holiday time. Well, four glorious weeks of holiday, writing about DNA testing, and volunteering at the Cumming Museum, but mostly four glorious weeks of holiday. And I'm pretty damn happy about that.

  • I've finally got an idea for a mage character, which I will whitter about to anyone who wants to listen. Somehow, necromancy began to make sense to me last night. This makes me feel clever.

So. I'm in a good mood today. How about you?
annwfyn: (Misc - hedgehog food)
I have to admit, while watching 'the Illusionist', I did feel as if I was watching a true magician at work. Over the course of 110 minutes, I saw Edward Norton suspend plausibility in mid air, saw the plot in half, and even making the acting disappear!

It was magic!

A review follows, with a great deal of spoilerage )

I also found a summary of the short story that 'the Illusionist' is based on, which appears to be rather different from the film, and noticeably more interesting. I'm wondering if Edward Norton thought that that was the story he was signing up for when he agreed to do the film. It must have been quite disappointing to find out what the script writers had done when he turned up on set!

In other news, I mentioned a few days ago that I've been tired, wobbly, and brain dead lately. It appears that I'm not pregnant, as quite a few people suggested (I was pretty certain that I wasn't), but am looking thoughtfully at my diet. [profile] cairmen suggested that I might be a tad on the anaemic side. After peering at my partially white fingernails, I am inclined to suspect that he may have a point. I'm hopefully going to see the doctor this afternoon for a chat, but in the interim I'm trying to get a little bit more iron into my diet.

This, by the way, has been noticeably made harder by the fact that I seem to have lost the ability to eat meat. Now, I've never been vegetarian. In fact, I've always been very firmly a meat eater, despite an inordinate amount of vegetarianism in my upbringing. However, it appears that over the last couple of months (maybe longer) this has changed somewhat, in that I seem to have stopped eating meat entirely. I still eat the stuff if someone cooks it and puts it in front of me, but I no longer order it in restaurants, I don't cook it (other than small bits of chopped bacon in pasta) and I just haven't been eating the stuff.

This may also explain my fading a tad.

I went out for lunch yesterday with [profile] pierot, quite determined to get some steak, or some solid red meat. I sat in Arbuckles, staring at the menu, feeling strangely scared at the thought of a great lump of meat, and entirely unconvinced I could digest it. I ordered chicken caesar salad in the end, which was very nice, but was a surprising amount of effort.
annwfyn: (Mood - jovial hippo)
This film moved me more than words can say.

I can provide no review.

I can only offer this, and hope you'll all understand.

ps - [profile] huggy_pixie - [profile] headinclouds says you, in particular, have to watch this.


Jan. 25th, 2007 01:00 am
annwfyn: (Misc - the last unicorn)
[profile] pierot and I just got back from Apocalypto.

Mel Gibson is insane, but possibly a genius. The film is bloody, messy, demented, has some very very peculiar outlooks on the world at times, and is absolutely entrancing.

I don't quite know how to describe it. How can one describe an epic action movie entirely performed in ancient Mayan? I do know that I'm glad I went to see it, and would recommend it, for the experience if nothing else.

But dear god, the blood! I may well have peculiar dreams tonight...
annwfyn: (why does nothing turn out like it should)
Stuff I learned from 'The Wicker Man':

Lots of spoilers )

Bad film, but good company. And at least I now know what happens when Black Furies Go Bad.


annwfyn: (Default)

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