Blogging Up The Works

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Film 17 - 2 of 12 - PS I Love You

This is a Chick Flick. Possibly the most chickiest one you can get. It would be a rom com as there is plenty of rom but the subject matter precludes a com really. And so intense is it's appeal to certain members of the female sex that I shall divulge the effect it had on two of M's daughters at the end.

So, the premise is this. Hilary Swank (no tittering at the back!), plays Holly, a young American lady who visits Ireland on holiday. She meets Gerry, played by Gerard Butler, whom I am reliably informed should only have his name mentioned if you are going to follow it up with the words "witness the fitness", and they get married. It is not a spoiler but the main pivotal point of the movie, is that he dies. And Holly is devastated. As she might well be. And she thinks her life is over. And then a message turns up for her on her birthday from Gerry. Not in a "blimey, is he really still alive" sort of a way, but in as much as he has planned this before his death. In fact there are a number of messages and letters which make their way to her, over a period of time, from various different characters whom he has tipped off and provided with the necessary.

There are some interesting co-stars. Lisa Kudrow, of Friends fame, plays one of Hollys friends. James Masters who was Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer plays somebody or other but to be honest he was forgettable. Kathy Bates is Hollys mother and doesn't break anybodys legs. And Jeffrey Dean Morgan turns up as one of Gerry's best friends, probably best known for his role as a patient in Greys Anatomy who stole the heart of the blonde doctor whose name escapes me. And finally, Harry Connick Junior plays her best male friend. Badly.

It is a pleasant enough film and it doesn't require much brain power.

Many tissues will be required.

I must now warn my male readers that there are two possible outcomes from watching this film wth your beloved. As the final credits roll she may be overcome with a wave of romantic sentiment and lie trembling in your arms ready for you to prove you are her man. On the other hand you could be hit by a tirade of abuse based on the fact that you don't have a romantic bone in your body and you wouldn't possibly do anything like that would you, you cold-hearted unromantic bastard, I don't know what I ever saw in you. I should have listened to my mother... etc. etc. Good luck!

Anyway, back to my original comment about M's daughters. So much did they fall under the spell of Gerard Butler and all the gorgeous "Oirish" people, that they booked a series of weekends away in Dublin to go find Irish boyfriends, just like Gerry. They failed. One of them did get an Irish boyfriend who lived nearby in London, but it turned out he was a twat.

Actually, I enjoyed it for what it was and whenever it is on tv, which is reasonably regularly, and there is nothing else on, we dip in again.

4 out of 5 shamrocks.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Film 17 - 1 of 12 - La La Land.

Dum dum dum, dum dum dum, d'dl um, da dum dum dum, da da dum dum dum. (Come along, we are all old enough to know that tune!).

So here we are, ready for the first of my film reviews. But where to start? Then it came to a film!

One of the films that has made much of the talk of the last 12 months or more is La La Land. Heralded as a return to the glorious days of The Musical, a genre which sees me both as audience and player, though on stage rather than on film, I was ready to be wowed!

The first thing to hit was the colour. The sky too blue, the grass too green, either the colour saturation or the contrast has been notched up in the cinematography department. I suspect the idea was for you to be hit by a blaze of colour. You are, but not for me in a nice way. And this is the first indication of how the film is going to be.

It is basically the story of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, and I won't give the end away.

The film appears to lack any real continuity. You can see the thought process of how it came to screen, 1) Let's make a musical, that hasn't been done for a bit. 2) Here's 5 bits of storyline I want to use and we'll make something up to link them even if it isn't very good. 3) Ooh my friend has some songs, we can use those somewhere. And so it continues.

So overpowering is this sense of mechanics that I never became attached to the characters. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone put the work in but didn't seem to have that much chemistry. The only time I felt their characters connect and sizzle on screen was near the very end. If you watch it you will guess to what bit I am referring but would be a spoiler to mention it here.

The story ambles along from point to point and the other characters make their entrances and exits without being memorable. The music is ok. The big number as far as popularity goes is City of Stars. You've probably heard it I doubt you can hum it let alone sing it. Some of the jazz in it is good, obviously the incidental bits played by such luminaries as Thelonius Monk, but the new numbers as performed by what the credits call The La La Land Jazz Ensemble. I can't credit the pianist who plays Ryan Gosling's pieces and I am assuming it is not him, though for me, if it is, I prefer him as a musician than actor.

Everything you need for the film is there on paper but not on celluloid, or whatever medium they use these days. And it is no match for those musicals it so desperately wishes to emulate. Having said that, I do think it has a bright future, just not in this form. Eventually someone will write "the book" which will allow it to be performed on stage and I think there it might find it's forte as a stalwart of the am-dram musical scene for years to come.

It will come as no surprise that, despite it's 6 Oscars and gor knows how many other awards and nominations, I'm afraid for me it is a 2* rating. Not so much La La Land as La La Lacking.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Flying Visit

Back in the UK for a very swift visit. Two days of babysitting grand-daughter coming to an end and then two days of celebrating the Magnificent M's Big Birthday.

Once again, a visit here is anything but a relaxing holiday!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


So here we are. A month of blogging. Even if much of mine was low quality. So to end I have three questions.

1) Will Brennig be setting another June Blogging challenge.

2) If he does will I do an October one this year so we have three nicely spaced challenges.

3) But more importantly, whatever has happened to people who used to play the saw. You never see them any more.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Homeward Bound

So it's an early night tonight as we need to be up by 7am, which is early for us but no doubt that is later than the rest of you.

I haven't kept a complete tally of what I managed to eat that I can't get in France but it has included scampi twice, pies twice, a korma, pizza hut, some decent sandwiches. We are back in six weeks so I can have some more then although if I've put too much weight on I might have to resist.

I don't think I've done this year's Blogathon justice with the travelling and with one more post to go it won't improve.

Anyway, tomorrow's post will wing it's way to you from a hotel in Bourges.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Janet & John

We went to Waterstones in Kingston yesterday, where I worked for a month one December, and had a nice surprise in as much as they were selling some older books off for a quid. Some had slightly torn dust covers, others were just remainders. We bought four books;
The full scripts of Downton Abbey series 2 for someone as a present.
A thriller by someone neither of us knows but are willing to waste a pound at worst on.
A coffee table book of eclectic recipes which would have cost £35 new, which I wouldn't have paid.
And finally, the scripts from the Janet and John stories off of Terry Wogan's morning show.

I already own two of the cd collections of the stories. If you don't know them they are a wmix of the style of writing of the Janet & John books some of us grew up at school with and good old fashioned British double entendre. Terry read them and often corpsed with tales where various mishaps befell poor old John who would innocently tll his wife Janet how he'd helped the bakers wife to knead her baps and had a quick taste of her muffin. Not quite what you'd expect from Radio 2 but very, very funny. In a schoolboy sort of a way. Which is why I liked it. Even though I no longer am. A schoolboy that is.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Reading Aloud

When I used to drive for a living I'd get fed up of listening to music and talk rdio used to annoy me so I took to listening to audiobooks. In those days they were 12 or 16 cassette long readings of, in my case, mainly crime novels, although I wasn't averse to something of a comedic quality.

A few weeks back it suddenly occurred to me I should do that again when I am driving around and I've had my fill of French Radio. Which is actually longer than you would think. The other time would be when we are driving back. I shall be scourig Amazon etc for some suitable titles but nearly bought a John Grisham audio book today. I reaslised that if we started listening when we left home we would just finish before we reached my Mums in St Albans. I'm not sure we could sustain two full days of listening to a book. Not speaking, not wanting to sing to something which we often do when driving. But maybe we could do one book over the journey there and back?

The downside sometimes with audio book is that the person reading it is wrong. Rather like reading a book and then seeing the film where all the actors are completely wrong to the way you pictured them, the voice of the person reading needs to correspond to the voice you read the book in, or at least one of the characters in the book.

Of course I could download books onto Audible or a.n.other app but when driving I think cd is best.

So now I shall start trawling the sites for something interesting to listen to....