rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
Tony and I were planning to see this last weekend, but every screening we could get to had sold out by mid-afternoon on Saturday!  So I was a bit more organised this week and got us tickets several days in advance to see the Saturday evening screening at the Arts.

I am so so glad we went to see it.  It's a really great film, with the excitement of SPACE and MATHS and ENGINEERING against the clock, clever use of contemporary footage, heartwarming scenes of family and friendship, dramatically climaxing with John Glenn's flight orbiting the earth and returning safely.  (I spent half the film thinking Chris Evans' looks had gone off a bit, but it turned out John Glenn was being played by a completely different handsome blond man.)  Also, because the film is focused on three black women working as computers for NASA during this period, there is a great deal of matter-of-fact depiction of racism and sexism.  I appreciated that it was so matter-of-fact, that the film is not about Overcoming Racism, it's about Getting Astronauts Into Space, and the racism and the ways in which it made Getting Astronauts Into Space harder is just part of the story.

I also cried a lot, because it is an amazing film, and I have come out with a burning wish to learn more about Dorothy Vaughan, who is shown teaching herself FORTRAN from a textbook, and spoilers )


I'm hoping to take Charles to see it, if I can make the time to do so before it leaves cinemas.



rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)


I am actually pretty excited for Moana anyway, but I got even more so with what's implied by the lyrics here:

"I wish I could be the perfect daughter, but I come back to the water ...
I can lead with pride, I can make us strong ... but the voice inside sings a different song
What is wrong with me?"

a. family expectations vs individual wishes is my jam
b. she's expected to be the next leader (contrast with Brave, and Merida merely expected to elevate the next leader by marriage)


Also I just really love this song, it's very earwomy but in a good way, and a completely different feel from Hamilton & In The Heights

Also posted at http://rmc28.dreamwidth.org/659162.html with comment count unavailable comments.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
These probably all deserve their own post, but it's highly unlikely they're going to get them.
  1. I loved the new Ghostbusters, which we finally saw last night. It is made of joy and friendship, and I was highly amused by the villain's motivation and the response to his monologue of justification. Chris Hemsworth was clearly having the time of his life.
  2. I am enjoying being sociable and enabling the children's social life so much that I have slightly overscheduled myself and had to ask Tony to take over something for me this afternoon so I can remember the pacing myself part of recovery.
  3. In October I am going to get very busy indeed with studying (it eases up in June next year) and expect to have essentially no spare time outside work, study, and family commitments.  I am currently in the glorious summer break between being a hermit for cancer & recovery reasons and being a hermit for study reasons.  (Some of the children's social life comes with social life for me, and I am declaring date night with Tony and a monthly pub visit as also essential family commitments.  So not a complete hermit, but a lot more hermit-y than the last couple of months.)
  4. I lost patience with trying to work out how to upgrade my cheap spare phone from Jelly Bean for purposes of enabling C's desire to play Pokemon Go, so I have an even cheaper PAYG smartphone preinstalled with Marshmallow arriving today.  I don't think I need two spare phones, so if anyone is more keen on navigating the thrilling world of rooting phones than I am (or just could use a phone and are willing to use an older android version) then let me know and you can have the older one for cost of postage. (Old phone now claimed.)
  5. My dad came for a short visit and I managed to schedule him most of a day each with each of his grandchildren, and they all seem to have enjoyed the experience. 
  6. Adventures in smoothie consumption continue: I have discovered that I do actually prefer yogurt + milk with my veggies, rather to my surprise. I have built up a little collection of frozen veg and fruit in the freezer to make prep easier / avoid wasting fresh veg that goes off before I eat it.  The little blender does struggle if more than half the content is frozen, so I've taken to making up a bottle of ingredients in advance and leaving it in the fridge to defrost overnight.
  7. I've managed to get my fitbit goal up to 7,900 steps; we walked both ways to the cinema yesterday (with a stop at Mee and I for dinner on the way out) as well as me taking children around earlier, so I hit double that.  My legs are letting me know this morning that they are Not Impressed.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
We went to see an early showing of Hot Pursuit, which has Reese Witherspoon as the by-the-book cop escorting criminal witness Sofia Vergara to testify against a drug kingpin.  Things go wrong, and they don't get on, but have to work together to survive.

It is not a surprising film: it hits the mismatched-partnership comedy-movie beats you would expect, but it is done very well and is frequently very funny.  Although it gets a bit cringeworthy in places, it stayed on the right side of unbearable for me.   It reminded me a bit of The Heat which is also a police comedy hitting well-known beats but with women in the lead roles.

Witherspoon is awesome as Cooper, who is small and fearsome and takes everything very literally, and was apparently raised by a single-dad cop who carried her around in the back of his patrol car all day (which is in the opening few minutes of the film , and was ringing my "possible child endangerment" alarms.  Spoiler: the child is not harmed.)  What I particularly liked is the daddy issues are only briefly referenced after that - they've been established, we spend very little time dwelling on them.

I also liked how they had fun with the physical contrast between the two women, and with stereotypes and perception.  It is not a Serious or Life Changing movie, but it was a lot of fun.  (I note that Rotten Tomatoes et all seem to wildly disagree with me and hate it.  Oh well.)

We then wandered into town deciding where to eat, and I said flippantly "Isn't there some new foodie/hipster place we haven't tried yet?" and Tony laughed and then said "Yeah, actually there is!" and so we ate at Butch Annie's.  We had delicious burgers which we ate quickly - it's not really a place for lingering over the meal, but the food was very tasty indeed.  (And I checked about the tips if I pay by card, and the server gets them, once a month.)

So we then stopped into the refurbished and renamed Architect on the way home and had a pleasant hour or two alternately talking with each other or tweeting or reading, and eventually toddled home at closing time.

(where we discovered Nicholas was wide awake and ready for Toddler Midnight Party, happy joy)

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rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
Tony and I went to see it last night.  I can absolutely see why people have enthused about it; I'm very glad I saw it and it's an amazing film, but very bleak (yes, I know that is the post-apocalyptic genre) and for me specifically there is too much reproductive horror.   So I'm not sure I want to watch it again any time soon but wow.

I found [personal profile] liv 's review interesting, coming from someone who clearly isn't into action movies[1], and she links off to two other people's reviews which are also food for though.  I do very much like action movies, and yes it is utterly refreshing to have one without a woman as prize for the male protagonist and for there to be no rape and no especially titillating shots of attractive young women[2].   While also being a two-hour car chase with thrills and spills and peril and excitement and explosions and really terrifying stunts.

After we'd left the screen and I was washing up in the ladies loos I realised I was literally shaking and wide-eyed with adrenaline, and we took a longer-than-usual walk home, partly to avoid the hordes of unpredictable drunks coming off Strawberry Fair, and partly because I really needed to walk that off if I was going to sleep.  Good job there George Miller.

Short version (as tweeted last night):  "Would like more action films like this with less reproductive horror please."


[1] this is not to snark at [personal profile] liv , but I was trying to think of a film-date I've gone on with Tony that wasn't an action movie; eventually he remembered we went to see Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing.  Which really was just because I'd enjoyed Avengers Assemble.

[2] I'd agree with whatever commenter I saw on Tumblr saying when Max sees the young women washing themselves, the camera is lingering on the water and the one transparent-muslin shot is of a pregnant belly, which ties in to the reproductive-horror themes of the film.   I do think the film is not exactly subtle about the toxicity of over-the-top macho behaviour, and the exploitation of young men by a patriarchal system: the film fairly literally illustrates "patriarchy hurts men too"..


rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
I liked it, and I really enjoyed the experience of seeing it in the context of a marathon with two earlier films, and in the company of a lot of other people who are fannish enough about these films to also spend nearly 8 hours in a cinema on opening night and go home at 2:30am

I think it's a good fun addition to the series but not my new favourite.   It's very crowd-pleasing: there's a steady stream of funny bits and one-liners, and a running joke about swearing, and some nice little cameos and references, as well as some very effective dramatic big action sequences. 

I was pleased that they had a lot of the wider team either making appearances or referenced in conversation, and also that big themes of the film are MCU-typical Yay Teamwork but also very explicitly Protecting people is more important than beating up bad guys

Everything from now on will be spoilery.

spoilertastic babble )
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
I got this for Christmas from my inlaws.  It is a very funny buddy cop movie starring Sandra Bullock (the straightlaced overachieving FBI agent) and Melissa McCarthy (the foulmouthed maverick neighbourhood cop).  Together they fight crime track down a nasty killer and the drug lord he works for.

It's quite obviously a film that knows its genre stereotypes and is having enormous fun with them.  The dialogue is brilliant, and the two lead actors are just fantastically good at delivering it, and with the body language.  I particularly personally appreciate having a fat woman lead character who is also clearly clever and sharp and good at her job, rather than just being the comic relief or the emotional support. 

There's a refreshing absence of the usual action-movie stuff that grates on me (women aren't background characters and rewards! there are important non-white characters! who aren't villains!) so I had time to notice the terrifying approach to fiirearms (it's funny! but then you stop laughing and have time to think that was incredibly unsafe wtf) and the fact that the main plot is almost entirely driven by the futile War On Drugs[1].  And the remainder by the criminalisation of sex work. 

This film has reminded me that I basically adore Sandra Bullock, so I have gone on a bit of a shopping spree for more of her films.  I'm having less luck finding films with Melissa McCarthy that look like I actually want to watch them but I'll accept recommendations :-)


[1] Just like Die Hard 2, 25 years ago.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
In case you've missed the Cars franchise from Disney, they're animated movies about anthropomorphised vehicles aimed at children.  Charles adores them and I find them tedious-to-irritating, so I can usually cope with seeing them once.  These days I have an ebook app that does night mode - this makes tedious children's films on the cheap weekend mornings far more bearable.

This one was slightly better than I expected, but I'm filing it with the rest of the franchise as "films you can only watch again when I am not in the room".

spoilers )

Trailers beforehand:
Annie - a remake of the musical film, with a black orphan girl and a black mayoral candidate in the rich-rescuer role.  

Get Santa - a father-son bonding movie rescuing Santa from jail.  There is literally a half-second view of one non-male face in the entire 2 minute trailer, among at least a couple of dozen male characters.  Charles was keen but I think Tony can take him if he insists on going.

Paddington - which managed to hit both my embarrassment limit and my bodily-function-disgust limit within about 20s of the trailer.  So nope.  I mean, the last time I had to actually stop watching a trailer was one for Prometheus while I was pregnant. 
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
I went to see this with C, as we have both enjoyed the previous four Tinker Bell films from Disney.  Things that I generally like about the series are:
  • Disney has gone with Tinker = Engineer and Tinker Bell is the best most amazing engineer that the fairies have ever known.
  • Not all the fairies are white! (though they are of course all slender and beautiful).
  • Most of the main characters are female.
  • Which means there are multiple different female characters who are allowed to be different rather than a single Strong Female Character.
  • And the characterisation is consistent across films and the plotting is generally fun, if a bit predictable.
Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy felt quite short (it's under 80 minutes), and has a rollicking action plot where almost all the fairies are drugged to sleep for several days, enabling the theft of the super special fairy dust that allows fairies to fly.  Tinker Bell and her friends are the only ones awake to see the theft and set off in pursuit.  There's some nice little nods / setting up characters for the pirates in Peter Pan (and are we all shocked when the pirate with a super-posh English accent turns out to be extra bad? no we are not), and there is a happy ending where friendship and teamwork save the day. 

I find it amusing that the films generally fail the reverse Bechdel test i.e. the few token boy fairies rarely talk to each other and if they do, it is usually about Tinker Bell.  This film actually passes because of conversation between the pirates (all male) but I was amused that the six girl fairies went off to have adventures and left a token boy fairy to look after everyone at home.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
Seen before Captain America: Winter Soldier:
  • André Rieu's 2014 Maastricht Concert on 19th July - not really my thing
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - looked very ... macho
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction - looked even more ... macho, with added robot dinosaurs
  • Earth to Echo - expanded trailer, still looks like an updated ET only less good

Seen before Edge of Tomorrow:
  • Guardians of the Galaxy - second trailer, looks a lot more action-y and a lot less strange than the first.  I'm still more interested in the versions that show up in Earth's Mightiest Heroes than the ones in the trailer, but I expect we'll see it once it's out.
  • The Purge: Anarchy - contrived dystopia "one night of lawlessness".  Looked dire.
  • Kick - a bollywood film about a masked vigilante, with a lot of London scenery.  We may go see it.
  • Into the Storm: disaster movie about tornadoes. Very effective trailer but not convinced I want to watch it
  • Earth to Echo - expanded trailer again, the more I see it the less I want to see the film.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
Going in to this film, I knew two things:
 
  1. It was a groundhog-day premise where Tom Cruise gets killed a lot by aliens
  2. There was a woman character who was considered pretty badass 
Non-spoilery reactions after seeing it:
 
  1. Gosh WOW that was MUCH better than I expected
  2. Tom Cruise keeps looking very like Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, which I found occasionally distracting
  3. Rita Vrataski isn't just "pretty badass" but full co-protagonist and arguably hero of the plot
  4. I may now have to track down more films with Emily Blunt in 
Spoilery reactions:
 Read more... )
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
I ran for the first time since breaking my toe - it's been just over 10 weeks, between the toe itself and then getting an evil cold. It was very gentle easy running but it felt really good.

I went to see a "back one day only" screening of Captain America: Winter Soldier, having got the toddler to sleep just in time. (For future reference, I can do my house to the ticket desk at the Vue in 15 min, including getting bike out of garage & locking it at the far end. But I prefer more contingency.)  I still love it, I could still watch it a lot more times, I'm still impatient with the long gap between leaving cinemas and DVD release.

Between the two, I got caught in another rainstorm on the way home from nursery. Less dramatic than yesterday, but I still got soaked to the skin. Again. At least it's warm?
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
We went to see this yesterday and I enjoyed it a lot. I think I might have got even more out of it if I'd seen Sleeping Beauty again in the last 30 years (I have hazy memories of seeing it at the cinema as a small child with my grandmother Cecillie). Maybe Disney has released the earlier one as a tie-in.

Basically I went because the trailer promised me Angelina Jolie Being Awesome, and the film delivered. I also really loved the huge variety and beauty of the magical creatures in "the moors". The three things that I liked best are all hefty spoilers though, so I will stick them behind a cut.

here be spoilers )

I also enjoyed this slightly spoilery review at Smart Bitches Trashy Books.

Trailers: were clearly aimed at the "youth" marketRead more... )
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
A while ago,[livejournal.com profile] fanf posted a link to "Is the Oculus Rift sexist?" by danah boyd, which is a provocatively-titled piece about sex-linked biological differences in the processing of visual information.  (I was a little startled by the author's use of words like "transexuals" and "biological men" although she does explain why as an update at the end of the piece.)  These differences may be the cause of reported sex-linked differences in the ability of people to use virtual-reality systems without nausea - women report feeling sick far more often than men.

Much as I dislike gender essentialism, I was intrigued by the piece, particularly reading it shortly after the discussion about 3D films in my journal.  If I've understood the danah boyd article correctly, polarised-light 3D works off the same "male-favourable" cues as the virtual reality systems she was studying.   With the exception of my brother, every single person who's told me about getting nausea from the current polarised-light type of 3D is female, including "all the mums" of a group of young boys trying to arrange a  cinema trip.  My brother has migraine, which is a sex-linked condition, affecting at least twice as many women as men. 

I'd love to know if any research has been done on the ill-effects of 3D cinema, and whether it's linked to migraine or to sex more generally.

rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
Tony & I started having our date night on Wednesday evenings because a) Orange Wednesdays and b) I'm too often exhausted by Friday to face going out.

This week we saw Divergent which was rather less Matrix-y than the trailer had led me to believe.  It's a well-made teenage dystopian future: society is divided into five Factions, everyone is tested to find the place they belong, except that some people i.e. Our Viewpoint Heroine don't get assigned correctly and have to pretend to fit in.  I'm assuming it wasn't just me who went through the teen years (and *cough* some time after) thinking that everyone else seemed to know where they fit in and I was the odd one out?

There are multiple interesting distinct female characters, and the male love interest/mentor (slightly skeevy combination to my mind, but it just about works) is very pretty in a dark brooding competent way.  The plot is engaging and doesn't overreach or try to be too clever, just tells a good story.  I enjoyed it and we'll probably add it to the dvd collection at some point.


Trailers:
Pompeii: Clearly aiming for Gladiator-style vibes, but I'm fairly certain the eruption as depicted is ALL WRONG and will annoy/upset me too much to be worth watching.
 
Bad Neighbours: the couple from the 40-year-old Virgin movies have a frathouse move in next door.  Nope.

Blended
: an Adam Sandler movie where two single-parent families go to Africa to add racism to the terrible comedy.  Also includes inevitable girl makeover scene.  Nope.

The Other Woman
: the wife and the mistress team up with the other mistress to get revenge on the bloke screwing them all over.  Might be fun, but might have all the funny bits in the trailer and have more cringe than I can deal with.

Maleficent
: looked good although they've done something disturbingly unreal to Angelina Jolie's cheekbones

rmc28: Rachel with manic grin holding up wrist with new watch on (watch)
I am SO too old for midnight screenings, and I am going to regret it in the morning.  Later in the morning.  But only a bit.

I really, really enjoyed the film.  There was banter! explosions! plot twists! mystery! teamwork! revelations! fanservice!

Jonny claimed to like it even more than Avengers Assemble.  Where Avengers was "get the team together, save the world", Winter Soldier is more "solve the mystery, save the world".

Oh yeah, there are two extra scenes, before and after the main credits.  Strange people, flooding out of the cinema after the first one.  You come to the first screening and you leave before the end credits scene?

Going to see it again in about 18 hours.  Woohoo.
rmc28: (BRAINS)
So there's a film being released tomorrow that I've been looking forward to for a long time. There are midnight showings! There are double-bills with an earlier film for which I have an abiding adoration and would love to see again on the big screen.  But I won't be.  Because the double-bills and nearly all the midnight screenings are in 3D.

3D films mostly work for me while I'm watching them, though I find fast-moving sequences seem to be jerky rather than flowing.  But without fail, I get nauseous afterwards, and I get a migraine the next day.  Throw in the lack of sleep that goes with a double-bill ending at 2:30am, and that's going to be a bad migraine.

I have it fairly easy: my brother (also a migraineur) gets a headache within a few minutes of watching something in 3D.  I have a friend who reports getting headaches from walking past display 3D TVs in shops. 

I don't love any film enough to take the consequences of watching them in 3D any more.

(Luckily, we found a midnight showing in 2D, so I'm taking my brother tonight as a birthday present, though I'm going to need a nap first.)

rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
One of my work team-mates was taken suddenly ill at lunchtime, and it was one of those classic bystander-effect moments, where everyone sort of flailed and froze. I probably wasted a good ten seconds freezing, before asking loudly if anyone was a first-aider. No one answered, but Tony named two firstaiders who happen to work in the office immediately below, and I ran to get them. Their calm but fast response helped calm me, Tony retrieved our things so we could finish our lunch, and I was relieved to hear later that my friend had recovered ok.

Looking back, the two things I think I could have done better was a) not freeze and b) go to the list of first-aiders on the wall and use my phone - both quicker than running, and more flexible if the two I was thinking of were out of the office.



After that drama it was a relief to have a quiet afternoon with Nico and Charles. In the evening I ignored my cold to go and see Thor 2 with Tony. I enjoyed it much more than Thor (which is kind of a low barrier I know) and more than I had expected. There was a startlingly for-the-female-gaze gratuitous camera shot, which caused me to whisper to Tony "more of this sort of thing!". I think it was even more gratuitous than Captain America's bum-first introduction in Avengers Assemble, not that I am complaining.

I was unduly excited by the Captain America 2 trailer, even though I saw it lots of times on youtube already. Otherwise we had Keanu Reeves saving Japan, the next instalment of Peter Jackson's Tolkien fanfic, the Hunger Games sequel which actually made me consider reading the Hunger Games, and next week's Doctor Who special (which I will be watching at home rather than risking migraine with 3D).

Bond

2012-07-08 21:34
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
There is an exhibition at the Barbican on the "design and style" of the James Bond franchise, from 6th July to 5th September. I'd very much like to go, but will need to see how I'm doing After The Baby Is Born before I can pick a date.

That reminded me to watch the this trailer for Skyfall again. It's been out for weeks, but I still like it, especially Bond's grasp of grand strategy, revealed near the end:




A few years ago, Tony & I did a project where we read our way through the Fleming novels and watched the corresponding Bond films. The book we liked best and felt had been most let down by the adaptation was Moonraker: a gripping thriller about a fabulously-wealthy businessman funding a space program. Back then, we felt a 1950s period piece would be the best way to make a good film version. But with SpaceX's recent success, a modern-day adaptation doesn't look nearly as silly. Elon Musk as Bond villain: you know it makes sense.


rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
Things I've done this week while trying to distract myself from obsessing about going into labour:
  • Took Charles swimming in the school pool - this is thanks to nice parents who have passed the resuscitation course and are opening it for a minimal cost after school twice a week.  It is small and shallow and when I next take him I may not bother going in, as he can basically manage just fine in it without me.
  • Cambridge Geek Night which I went to for the first time and really enjoyed.  The first talk, by Greg Law on setting up a software company, had me grabbing to make notes within a few minutes, and led to some interesting conversation in the break.  The second talk, by Lucy Chambers on the Data Journalism Handbook, provoked more questions, and definitely exposed a split in opinion of the attendees between those who wanted to see more journalists understand data/stats/science and those who wanted to see more scientists/geeks get good at journalism and storytelling.    And then lots and lots of interesting conversation with other attendees until I started falling over tired.  The next CGN is Tuesday 21st August, with [twitter.com profile] julianhuppert and [twitter.com profile] markgfh, a combination which I shall certainly be keen to see.
  • Started the Udacity statistics course, which really ought to be pushed at journalists everywhere, along with the Data Journalism Handbook.  Udacity itself looks interesting - currently it's mostly computer science with a bit of physics and the statistics course, so really I ought to know the subject matter already, but I like the concept.
  • Learned some French on DuoLingo - this was recommended to me by [twitter.com profile] catherine237 and it's social-media-gamification applied to language learning.  There are short lessons within which one gains "skill points" and as these build up one goes up levels.  It's in beta, expansion by invite only, and I have two invitations left.  Languages covered are French, German & Spanish for English speakers, and English for Spanish speakers.
  • VBAC class at the hospital with Tony, which mostly covered stuff we knew, but gave us some new valuable nuggets of information.  My favourite thing is the handout of a truly useful checklist of questions to ask when presented with a proposed intervention which I think could be usefully generalised across most medical interactions.  Of the five mothers there, I was the only one who had had a full labour last-time, and I found it annoyingly hard to verbalise what contractions are like and how pushing feels when asked.
  • Avengers Assemble at the cinema with Keith (4th time for me, 2nd for him) and yes I'm still enjoying it.
  • Midwife checkup: routine, everything continues normal & healthy, blood pressure fine, passenger head down and back to front of my bump, i.e. ideal position to start labour.  I probably won't see a midwife at the surgery again: I have an antenatal clinic appointment next week and by the middle of the following week I should have given birth.
  • Walk/leaflet delivery/pub lunch/gossip with [personal profile] pseudomonas which was jolly nice and got me out of the house and gently exercising as I should.
  • School summer fete which was heaving and incredibly hot and sunny.  We got cake for my birthday and I successfully restricted Charles to a very few small toys.  I spent probably too much money on bouncy castle sessions for him, but it's an entertaining way of giving money to the school. We also saw a display of tap and ballet dance from the dance school he's started at this half-term, learning Streetdance and apparently loving it.  He was pretty fascinated by the display, but he's already internalised the "ballet is for girls" message, *sigh*. 
  • Turned 35 but didn't plan any celebration as I wasn't sure what I'd be doing.  Vague hopes of a double birthday were not realised.  I think we'll have a birthday-and-baby party sometime next month.  [livejournal.com profile] fanf got me a large box of chocolates, which was just what I wanted.
  • Talked to a landscape gardener about how to rescue our front garden from weeds and our back garden from hen-inflicted devastation and end up with something we have half a chance of maintaining nicely.  A quote will come sometime next week.

rmc28: (bat-funny)
Tony & I went to see Avengers Assemble as our Friday-night date.  Like everyone else I know who's seen it, we loved it, even though neither of us is especially familiar with the characters.  In fact, I loved it enough to go shopping online at the weekend for the previous films (Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 1 & 2, Captain America, Thor), so I can fill in the backstories a bit and not just because I am a sucker for superhero beefcake and competence.

There are two very good & very competent female characters in the film, which is 2 better than none, but a pity they didn't even speak to each other.

Links about the film:
Interview with Joss Whedon in Wired
Diane Duane, from a writer's perspective, on how well it is put together
Juliet McKenna on its better-than-usual handling of women superheroes

Spoilery observations:
Read more... )
rmc28: (grouchy)
my copyright woes let me show you them )
In summary, we have copyright-infringing material on YouTube convincing me to buy a film, but copyright-protecting technology preventing me from doing so. The "entertainment industry" clearly doesn't want my money.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
From Time To Time is an adaptation of The Chimneys of Green Knowe, with Maggie Smith playing Mrs Oldknow. It's a sort of ghost/time travel story with children from different generations of the family that have lived in the same house over the centuries. I loved the Green Knowe stories as a child and earlier this year I visited the house which inspired them, which is about 20 minutes drive from Cambridge. Diana Boston, the daughter-in-law of the author and current resident of the house, mentioned the film on our visit, but I haven't been able to get to any of the showings until now.

The film is on at the Arts Picturehouse, Tuesday 7th December at 16:30, which is a little early but I should just be able to make it if I leave work promptly (I'm in early that day anyway). It doesn't look like assigned seating & tickets are a slightly eye-watering £7.50 unless you have membership discount. I've got to be in the city centre tomorrow evening anyway, so will save myself the £1.50 booking fee on top by getting my ticket in person. I will get tickets for others at the same time if you email me before 5pm tomorrow (Friday).
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
Tony and I decided to watch the 2004 remake of the Manchurian Candidate, as it was on. I'm pretty certain we saw it together at the cinema back then, but I'd forgotten most of it. I'd certainly forgotten how graphic some of the violence is, but I'm expert at looking-away-now when things are too much for my squeamish self.

Some things that struck me this time: (cut contains spoilers)

Read more... )

Anyway, a good start to the weekend, though I vetoed following it with Law & Order: Dead Babies Special Victims Unit. (I have discovered in recent months that "entertainment" featuring the abuse and murder of children is just too distressing for me. Tony seems to be less affected.)
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
I had a nice date with Tony yesterday. We saw Alice in Wonderland and then had a good meal at D'Arry's with lots of conversation which was only occasionally about Charles. Jonny very kindly provided babysitting.

We enjoyed Alice, though I had the same headache/nausea reaction afterward as I did to Avatar. It went away with good food and wine and conversation (or I got distracted enough to not notice it, which is good enough). But I think I will have to take painkillers with me to future 3D films, how tedious. We saw quite a few enticing trailers too: I'm particularly looking forward to StreetDance, Tony maybe not so much ;)

Alice makes good understated use of 3D and is as dark and stylish as you'd expect from a Tim Burton film. It makes rather unsubtle points about imposed roles and genuine choices. It passes the Bechdel test (which is one of those things that I can't stop checking for now I know about it) and one scene in particular contrasts women in "passive princess" and "action hero" roles. That said, heroines still need to be pretty and run around in revealing, if lovely, clothing for half the film. In fact all the costumes are gorgeous. I found the ending idealistic but a bit unconvincing for the time and place in which it was set.

D'Arry's is a relatively new restaurant on King St, turning what was a pub into a restaurant/bar. The food was good: I had a simple but very tasty steak with mash and vegetables, Tony had a somewhat fancier surf & turf. Desserts were fun: my banoffee pie was a round layered pudding with shredded mint among the banana, and Tony's white chocolate custard came in a glass. We had a tasty red wine to go with, but I forgot to note what it was before I drank too much of it[1] to remember. It's clearly popular but although it was filling up as we were finishing, it never got too noisy for us to hold a conversation, while never being so quiet you feel self-conscious saying anything. The waiting staff were pleasant and helpful at all times. I think we may go back another time.

[1] 1/3 bottle: my alcohol tolerance remains miniscule
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
Yesterday Tony & I managed a date together to go and see Avatar in 3D. We left it a bit late and had to sit right at the front, but this worked reasonably well.

This was my first "modern" 3D film and I was impressed. The plot is rather generic plot no. 4 but executed well, and very beautifully. The 3D was impressive without being too overused. And it had Sigourney Weaver, who always improves a movie for me. (Utter fail on the Bechdel test, sadly: 4 strong women characters, they hardly even talk to each other, let alone about something other than a man.)

The 3D was so impressive in fact, that I had mild seasickness for at least an hour after taking the glasses off at the end of the movie. Tony didn't, so it's probably Just Me.

Jonny met us with Charles afterward and we headed over to attend [personal profile] atreic's ceilidh. Charles was a bit anti the loud music but was happy to watch the dancing from another room, and even do a bit of improvised dancing with me and Tony. However we left early because I was falling asleep on my feet, probably due to being up too late after the hustings the night before.

Charles had not napped and was up late, so I had a glorious lie-in until 8 this morning, but this was rapidly spoiled by a migraine. Bah. My to-do list for today had been:

1. Do powerwalking
2. Do weekly accounts catchup
3. Write article for NCT magazine

But instead I have achieved:

1. Use last of migraine medication
2. Go back to bed for several hours blessed quiet in a dimly-lit room
3. Eat Tony's wonderful cooking for late lunch/early dinner
4. Go to shop for fizzy caffeine

And I think I might return to bed again after giving the accounts a stab. I must find my repeat prescription and get it to the doctor tomorrow. Should have done that after I took the penultimate tablet for my last migraine, but that was probably in the depths of the post-viral fatigue before Christmas.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
Felt less ill this morning, but tired enough to take another day's sick leave and get properly better this time. Alternately reading, listening to the radio, and faffing online passed the day quite pleasantly. By mid-afternoon I was feeling well enough to tackle some of the paperwork pile lurking around my desk. God knows what crack the gas suppliers use to come up with their formula for 'estimated use', but they'd overestimated us by 300 units - and that's after it's taken me over a month to get round to checking the reading. Still, their automated meter-reading line works well. I also had a pleasant customer service experience with Nationwide, requesting a replacement credit card as my signature has nearly rubbed off the existing one.

Given I was feeling better, [livejournal.com profile] fanf booked us tickets to see The Bourne Supremacy at Coneworld[1] for an early evening showing. My first visit there and the seats are agreeably comfy with sufficient leg room. The film itself was really very good, nicely following up the first one, with extra car-chase goodness. The visual style was even more edgy: short, fast, close-up, often moving too fast to see clearly but conveying a feeling very well, and the plot nicely executed. I would happily watch The Bourne Identity again, despite seeing it very recently, and I think Supremacy will make it onto my (very limited) DVD buy list when it's released.

The fly in the ointment for me was the botoxed forehead of Joan Allen (Pamela Landy), which kept distracting me every time she was on screen - a great expressionless expanse of forehead that made me want to scream in annoyance at the stupid things women do for 'beauty'.

[1] Not a typo, or rather based on a friend's typo the other week that we decided to keep.

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rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
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