Well my holiday week has drawn to a close and it is back to the millstone tomorrow (after a switch in my days off) which while it’ll be good to be back working, I wish I wasn’t sitting here typing while have a minor case of the loose bowel content, no doubt it’ll be fine by the morning.
Well my week off didn’t go exactly as planned, originally on Monday I was going to be heading down to Reading to see my delightful friend Katherine for an end of the year dinner and chill, but she was concerned about developments at home so I held off booking a hotel room until I knew for sure (and that’s a hotel room for sole use of me, like the TARDIS my trips to Reading to see Kathy are hanky panky free) and it transpired to be a wise move as it turned out she wasn’t going to be free after all, so ho hum. So I ended up not having any plans for Monday so I caught up with the Big Bang Theory which is still in my opinion not hitting the bar it used to be at and I think the problem is they have coupled everyone off and thus the dynamic spark has gone and we have lost the joyous banter and have fallen hard on sitcom troupes, oh and there is an increasingly absent Raj in the proceedings which is getting more and more noticeable. Maybe this sub plot with the Cuban cleaning lady will bring him back into the fore… though they have started off with a plot element from an episode of Frasier.
I caught up with a film called the Perks of Being a Wallflower which was a movie I believe myself and Mary were going to see before we broke up, it has been on my media box for about three months now and I have finally got around to watching it. Now one of the reasons I didn’t see it at the flicks was because it is a sort of rom-com/coming of age story but having watched it I can say it certainly was not what I expected; the story while it does rely a little on the outsider being welcomed into the embrace of the group it does it in a much more realistic manner, our main character although part of a group is still very much an outsider looking in and the film deals with social anxiety and awkwardness in a very believable way and deals with some darker topics such as depression, child abuse and self harming in a mature manner. Unlike a lot of these movies it doesn’t really have a happy ending, while our central character learns to deal with his demons the film acknowledges that they aren’t going to disappear and pretty much ends on saying always cherish the good days because the dark days are always on the horizon. I’d give a 3.5 out of five overall and while bittersweet it is not cloying in sentimentality nor is it overtly dragged down with angst.
After a bit of putting off the cinema I did a double whammy on Wednesday seeing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (although a mis-print on my ticket made it look like a very different type of film!) in the afternoon and a one-off 3D screening (of which there are two) of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, which was a favourite film of my later childhood.
Fantastic Beasts, if you don’t already know, is the latest offering from J K Rowling of Harry Potter fame and is set very firmly in the Potterverse albeit a significant time before the novels are set and acts in a way as a sort of prequel with both Hogwart’s and Dumbledore getting name checked even if not making an appearance, a shame really because anything can be made even better with a bit of Michael Gambon in my humble opinion. The cast is headed up by Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor Eddie Redmayne as bizarrely named Newt Scamander which sounds a bit like the name of a minor Bond villain who is collecting the titular beasts in an attempt to no only study them to break down the apprehension to them in the Wizard community. He arrives in New York pretending to be buying a beast as a pet but really returning a lost beast back to his habitat, his zoo as such is stored in his TARDIS like suitcase which like the TARDIS doesn’t quite work properly as a kleptomaniac mole keeps escaping leading to some slapstick shenanigans in a bank which results in Newt getting his suitcase mixed up with a Muggle’s (or Nomage as the yanks call them) and thus we get security breach which sets up the first part of the film. However the proper focus of the film comes about third in with a Add to dictionary puritan trying to rid the world of witches and like the Salem witchhunt is itself the cause of the major threat and throw in a subplot about the missing wizard Gridwald wo naturally turns up towards the end, the main problem with the hunt for the Obscurous is that the identity of the villain is so obvious I thought the twist was going to be it was someone else… but never mind. Interestingly enough it does look as if the film is going to go for a Quatermass Experiment style climax with Newt appealing to the human inside the monster, however I would imagine that wouldn’t be cinematic enough for a Hollywood studio. Overall it was a solid 4/5 for me with some good guest characters and plenty of charm making this a perfect film for all the family and certainly accessible for someone with no knowledge of the Potter franchise, I have a few niggles: you could probably edit in Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor waving his sonic screwdriver about in place Newt and his magic wand and not raise too many eyebrows, the fate of the wannabe baker is kind of sad and again seems to have a Doctor Who influence with memory loss and a mysterious stranger dropping off a fortune to allow future happiness and the twee romance between the muggle and Goldstein’s sister isn’t really developed well enough. Also Goldstein’s sister is perhaps bit too klutzy to be taken seriously.
The Nightmare Before Christmas- first up I had forgotten how short the movie was (73 mins) and how much of it is done as musical numbers. The film is really about finding oneself again, Jack Skellington is bored of his crown as the Pumpkin King of Halloween and wants a new challenge to give his left meaning and his desire to take on Santa’s job is understandable but ultimately inaccessible as he doesn’t really understand the concept of Christmas and despite his good intentions screws it up hideously but in doing so he is reminded of who he is and gets new motivation. It is a bit like when those middle management bank clerks have a need to go on a spiritual journey to find themselves or try to spice up their routine by trying to put some freeform into the work place like dying their hair bright green or some such. A thing which amuses me more now as an adult is Oogie Boogie, who is literally the Bogieman and everyone in Halloween seems to be scared of him (which begs the question why is Jack the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town?), is the decision to portray him as a demented version of a Sammy Davies Jr/Cab Calloway type with his tap dancing and playing around with dice and various props. He lives in a place which can best be described as Vegas in hell given the sequences set there an air of watching Ocean’s 11 while tripping your tits off on LSD. The film is populated by memorable characters and visuals and is still a special Christmas treat for twisted kids of all ages, 4.5/5.
Saturday was another change of plan day as I was supposed to visit my friend Julie whomI haven’t seen for 10 years, sadly her kids were down with a Kidney infection and that was that. So I decided to pop down to the Kynn but more on that later and when I returned I watched Kubrick’s cinematic masterpiece The Shining which I must admit I haven’t previously seen all the way through, I’ve caught bits of it when shown on TV, read the book and seen the Simpsons and South Park spoofs but never the film all the way through. Its amazing how many of the iconic moments in the film are totally absent from the book (the lift full of blood, Herrrre’sss Johnny, the twin girls, Jack frozen in the maze at the end) however one thing puzzles me, what is the significance of the photo in the ballroom at the end? Is he now a ghost haunting the hotel or is it supposed to be his abusive father? The latter is only touched on briefly in the film but is a major part of the book, which incidentally has a totally different ending to the film. Fun fact: the Bela Bartock music used in some of the hotel scenes was used in The Web of Fear during the scenes in Silverstein’s museum and later in the scenes where the Colonel asks what exactly is the Intelligence, I wonder if Kubrick had seen the story and remembered the music or if it was just a coincidence.
Anyway I better get some shut eye as I have work tomorrow. Bon nuit.
I bought myself a 17th century coat the other day,I found it was a little rough around the collar