Placeholder - hopefully a full post to follow tomorrow :)
Placeholder - hopefully a full post to follow tomorrow :)
Haven't been to the cinema in ages so quite a lot! Got too many dvds hanging around to catch up on :) Wouldn't mind seeing Inception, The Expendables, Toy Story 3 or Scott Pilgrim though.
Wow, it's been a while, hasn't it? :\
There's a fair bit of stuff going on, some of it good but a lot of it very difficult and I'm only just starting to get back to feeling on the level again.
So apologies for the lack of bloggy goodness so far; the plan is to rectify this (gradually at first probably). I hope it will encourage me to also get back into writing, something I'm starting to miss for the first time in a very long time.
It's proving to be loads of fun and a challenge with every instalment - at the moment it's my first ever toe-up socks (OK, my first ever toe-ups that got beyond the toe!) which so far is turning out rather well! Next parcel is yummier still but I think I'll be saving it for our summer holiday next month - at the speed I usually go with socks that would be as early as I'll manage! :)
The holiday? A week on Lewis with the main event being the HebCelt Festival - much good music to be had, really looking forward to that and a rest for me and hubby. Would have liked longer but one of us will need a week sometime during the latter half of the year when we get our new bathroom fitted.
And, on that positive note, time to close here...for now. More soon, if I have anything to do with it! :D
Something I've been meaning to post about for a while....not a specific filmstar, but Filmstar, a rather fine magazine which sadly came to a halt about a month ago after just five issues. A great blend of incisive, witty and thoughtful reviews, wide-ranging news (focussed on more than just Hollywood) and some interesting features, it was starting to feel like a fabulous alternative to the two main players in the UK film mag market.
The fact that the production team were also looking for writers/designers etc with enthusiasm prized over acres of experience couldn't have failed to pull me in, and I sent off my CV and sample reviews with a small dose of hope. Perhaps not hearing anything back from them should've sounded more of an alarm bell than it did. So alas, it appears it wasn't to be, and as the magazine's Twitter page says, it won't be, not for the foreseeable future. I hope there'll be some sort of future for it, but we'll see.
But the last issue of Filmstar did get me thinking about something else. Throughout the five issues, one constant feature was 'Five Easy Pieces', a section of five two-page articles which focused on such diverse topics as Jenny Agutter and the Video Recordings Act (which followed the apparent moral panic over 'video nasties' in the early 1980s).
In issue 5, one of the articles was about the evolution of Dracula on film. Basically, how the character began as a creepily monstrous bloodsucker in F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu, and has eventually become a darkly romantic anti-hero, with Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula rounding out the piece. There's a soft spot in my heart for Coppola's lush period piece, mainly down to Gary Oldman's multi-faceted, terrifying yet winningly sad and soulful Vlad Dracul, and Anthony Hopkins' scenery-chewing turn as Van Helsing. The fact that the film looks so damn beautiful, even in its darkest moments, doesn't hurt either.
As you'll have gathered, I'm not averse to vampires by any stretch of the imagination :) A courtly vamp-man always works for me, so I've been loving True Blood on FX, and Filmstar brought another one my way in a roundabout fashion. Frank Langella is best known of late for his portrayal of Richard Nixon on stage and, more recently, on screen, but back in the late 70s he gave us a different kind of darkness as the inimitable Count in John Badham's Dracula. The article talked about how the film brings the romance and passion of the ol' neck-biter to the fore, and intrigued, I dug around online. Yowza...is all I'll say.
For some, the love scene will look Mills and Boon-esque in its outwardly fairly demure approach, but you don't need acres of skin and explicitness to get the point over - i.e. the absolute sense of how much Dracula and Lucy want each other. Very sensual and sexy - me like ;) Langella's Drac is extraordinarily handsome, in a truly saturnine way (intensely brown eyes, black hair, a cruel yet delicious mouth) and has an utterly mellifluous, seductive purr for a voice. The only actor I can think of who hits the same sort of high on that scale is Timothy Dalton - who never played a vamp but perhaps should've.
I think I have to go find the full film sometime soon and enjoy the whole thing, but meantime, a quick pic of Mr L from around that time....lovin' the intelligence and the dark glitter in this fellow.
Well the plan to blog every day came to...not very much, apparently! Anyhow...it's been a fantastic few days so far, feeling very relaxed and enjoying the break muchly.
We arrived safely on Monday evening (US time) after a mostly uneventful journey (luggage nearly being sent to San Francisco notwithstanding!!)and enjoyed warm hospitality and a truly enormous pizza!
Tuesday we took a little stroll around downtown Ithaca - very laid-back and studenty (it is the home of Cornell University, after all!) - lunch at a German/European cafe, Brotchen, browsing in a couple of bookstores (a dangerous thing indeed, I only have about 5 kg spare on my luggage weight limit) and making a beeline for one of the yarn stores in the town, the Homespun Boutique. Tucked a little bit out of the way on East State Street but well worth the visit - Malabrigo, Aslan Trends, Cascade, and a whole load of other well-kent yarn names. Just as well DH was encouraging me to pick something out - if I'd stayed too much longer the holiday funds would've been seriously depleted!! Came away with a ball of Ty-Dy Socks in autumnal colours, should make a fine pair of stripy socks :)
Wednesday we picked up the hire car and took a run out to Allan H Treman Marine State Park, had a walk by the water, saw massive dragonflies (sorry no photos, they were too quick!) and were nearly deafened by all the bugs singing in the grass - boy those little fellas are loud!! Didn't get up to much but an easy day and first tentative steps on the (different) roads were the way forward. Had a very nice bottle of red wine from the Thirsty Owl Winery (isn't that a great name for a vineyard!) and took it easy in the evening. Also had a bowl of curried soup and rice at lunchtime - very good and set us up for the day.
Thursday we took ourselves to Robert H Treman State Park, a little ways from Ithaca. Leafy and green and very popular with local folk, if the number of people walking and using the swimming hole was anything to go by (wish I'd brought my cossie now!) Hiked near enough all the way up to the top of the park, and just about killed our legs with it, but it was worth it for the views, and the watermelon pieces when we got to the bottom! DH helped his brother build a new PC in the evening and the wine we glugged nearly did for me!
Yesterday we went out and did more waterfalls - Buttermilk Falls State Park and Taughannock Falls State Park. Both very impressive and, as seems to be a recurring theme, in green and lush surroundings. Walked on a dry lakebed on the latter which was fun and took many photos at both. No wine last night, but still nodded off on the couch and had great difficulty going to sleep afterwards!
Today we had a leisurely start and went down the street and across the road to Ithaca Farmers' Market - wow. Lots of locally grown veggies, fruit and flowers, stock producers with fresh meat of varying sorts, craft stalls from soap to t-shirts, and food stalls. Oh boy! The Cambodian food was recommended to us by DH's bro and how! Ahmock chicken - spicy with bamboo shoots, rice, onion, chilis, potato and a whole lot of other stuff - nom nom nom! Combine that with a pomegranate and cranberry juice and it's the breakfast of champions (or of very happy people, at least!!) This afternoon, off on a tour of the wineries locally, of which there are many. Of note? Thirsty Owl, and Lucas Winery - good wine, unpretentious and drinkable. Which may explain why we came back, between the four of us, with a few bottles. Homemade pizza for tea, with a snifter or two? Sounds a damn fine idea to me, so I'll close here for now. More to follow...:)
Keeping it short and sweet because I have to get up very early tomorrow morning. Painfully early, after several late nights in a row this past week, but it will all be worth it.
Most excellent weekend with the Runrig concert at Scone Palace yesterday (very jolly company, including a first-time concertgoer but long time fan of the band who was utterly ecstatic even before the music started! Yay Roby! :D) and now this finds me and DH sitting in the hotel lounge the night before we head to NYS - New York State that is. Just had what feels like the world's most expensive sandwich but heck, it's our holiday...them's the breaks.
More soon, but now it's time for zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I'm going to hate that alarm clock when it goes off!
Hello...:) More catching up here..a film review will follow shortly but by way of an opener, today is 1st wedding anniversary for hubs and me...:D With some of the things we've had to cope with in the past year, this isn't how either of us would've envisaged spending our first 12 months as man and wife, but we're happy bunnies otherwise, and probably stronger together as a result of the difficult stuff. 'Nuff said...and on to the review...(NB - this was originally written back in May but for a whole bunch of reasons it's taken me till now to finish it and get it uploaded.)
LA Confidential (1997)takes James Ellroy's sprawling tale of cops, corruption and the seamy side of sunny Los Angeles and gives us an elegant thriller, often brutal, frequently witty and packed with fantastic performances. One of my favourite films of all time, for a whole raft of reasons, and (for anyone who knows me :D) not just for Russell Crowe's blistering turn as Wendell 'Bud' White.
Although I've got it on DVD (and VHS), when it turns up on the TV I like to try and watch some if not all of it, for old times' sake and because it's one of those films that stands up to repeated viewings - there's enough subtlety to offer up something different every time you see it.
Yet again LA Confidential never fails to suck me in: the story, the keenly depicted atmosphere of 50's LA, none of the characters quite conforming to the moulds they've come from, and the key officers - White (Crowe), Ed Exley (Guy Pearce), and Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) trying to get to the truth, with varying degrees of success and personal cost. The glamour of Hollywood is undercut by the grimy reality - tabloid magazines create scandal from thin air, apparently respectable businessmen sell smut and skin, and the cops are all compromised; some willingly, others by circumstance.
It is a beautiful film to watch - director Curtis Hanson and his team have really gone to town to ensure the look and feel of the City of Angels in a time of both prosperity and transition is near-perfect (although IMDB will keep you right about a few goofs here and there!) It's also an intelligent piece of cinema; the story unfurls without fuss, but keeps you gripped to the conclusion - there's no excess fat of action sequences, just enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and, as the finale approaches, hurl you headlong towards it like a rollercoaster passenger who's just twigged the brakes are broken.
Somewhere a while back I read that LA Confidential the novel was considered a difficult prospect to turn into a film and, having read the book AFTER I saw the big-screen version, I can only agree. Ellroy's known for his heavy-duty, intertwined plotting, and LAC the book is no exception. The film covers some dark material, but (without spoilerizing things) the novel goes considerably further on that front, so it's understandable why some of the plot strands there didn't reach the movie.
It's understandable why Kim Basinger won the Oscar for her performance as Lynn Bracken, the Veronica Lake lookalike - a character with wit, vulnerability and humanity in spades - and I would never begrudge her that accolade. That one award for acting in LAC perhaps doesn't quite paint the whole picture of the film though - the performances are consistently excellent across the board, and it undoubtedly played its part in bringing Pearce and Crowe to wider mainstream attention. On that front, if you've been watching The Mentalist on TV, you won't have failed to notice Simon Baker as lead character Patrick Jane. By way of a mini Six Degrees of Separation, under the name Simon Baker Denny, he has a small but important role in LAC...but again, to stay spoiler-free here, you'll need to see the film.
Overall, 10 out of 10 for LAC - definitely one of my top 10 films of all time.
This'll be a short one...I think - I've got a mainly knitting post to edit and add pics to next.
Sorry it's been a while - there's not been a massive amount going on, but lots of work, plus a bout of tonsilitis and (this weekend) a rather unpleasant dose of food poisoning have put the brakes on the regular posting I'd hoped for. I love Chinese food, but apparently it didn't love me back - not sure what exactly it was that caused the problem but the results were unpleasant.
At least it didn't hit me until after we'd been to the cinema - went to see 'Duplicity' which was rather good fun. Nice chemistry between Julia Roberts and Clive Owen, great support playing from Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson and an elegant and funky soundtrack which I may just have to go pick up. It took a while to get going and the flashback device used to give us the backstory made things confusing at times, but if you're a fan of Out of Sight and the droll, ironic and sexy qualities that film has in spades, Duplicity is worth a couple of hours of your time.
(On an entirely shallow note, Mr Owen is prime eye candy throughout the film. :D)
Or, Strawberries and Chocolate...that's what we had for pudding tonight. The strawberries were massive and Moroccan, and very sweet - not so good on the food miles but tasty. The chocolate was Green & Blacks dark chocolate ice-cream, unbelievably good - not too bitter, a good balance of body and melt. Nom Nom Nom! :)
This new blog hasn't got off to the best start...but circumstances have kinda got in the way. A whole bunch of 'em, like work, stress, tiredness, laziness, knitting (which is the one good thing - there's actually been slightly more than a smidgen of it, none very complicated but I now have two scarves and a mitten and a bit to show for it!). Frankly, blogging may also have helped discharge some of the stress that's been chewing me up so i wish I had been a bit more chatty. Anyhow, the point is, things have been difficult for longer than they should've been and hopefully that is going to change soon.
Nice news this week, my cousin has had her twins - two boys - so a congrats card went off in the post today to her and her hubby and their wee girl (who is now a big sister - yay!).
And on that positive note, 'tis time to catch some shut-eye, or I'll be decidedly unfit for anything tomorrow (except more sleeping)!
I got frustrated with my old blog, or more to the point, with how infrequently I was posting there, so a change is as good as a rest, huh?
The plan is - more posts, more pics, more interesting stuff. Let's see...:)
P.S. I'll be moving past posts over from my previous blog in the next couple of weeks.