Category Archives: Movies

Movie Magic…

I love the cinema. It’s one of my favourite ways to relax. We’ve seen some really great movies lately, such as Rocketman, Yesterday and, unexpectedly, Mary Poppins Returns. Yeah, I’m still a kid at heart. It’s not unusual to find me searching for a young ‘un to drag to the cinema to watch the latest Disney, or in the absence of an appropriate little person my mother gets the job. She’s game for anything…some of you might remember the Aquaman experience?

Anyway, last week we saw The Lion King. I’ve never gotten around to seeing the live show at the theatre (secretly preferring the screen to the stage) and I wasn’t expecting such an amazing movie. How on earth these creative artists and technicians manage to capture such magic on film has my total and utter respect. It was incredible, and it wasn’t long before I was totally absorbed in the story.

Now, I’m pretty stoic when watching movies and during the sad parts I remind myself that it’s only a movie and focus on where the cameras are placed to get the right angle for the shot, and how the actors are depicting the emotion, etc. (the writer in me, of course, and a little harp back to childhood when I dreamed of being a movie director). Yes, usually I can cope with that little tightness in the throat at the sad parts and get through it.

The Lion King had me blubbing like a baby.  I mean, tissue to the ready kind of blubbing. It’s the animals, I’ve always been a sucker. Can I just say Lassie, War Horse, and let’s not even mention Bambi. Okay, let’s mention Bambi. I think this is where my sad-animal-film-blubbing took root. My lovely dad always liked to tell people that when he took me to see the movie as a child, I cried so hard when Bambi’s mother died that he almost had to take me out of the cinema because I was setting all the other kids off with my wailing.

It’s not just films that have this effect on me though, I also cry at TV ads that involve animals. What a sucker 🙂

How about you? What gets you reaching for the tissues at the movies?

 

Advertisements

July!

Jillian here. I’ve been indulging myself in reading some books this summer as well as watching a lot of older movies on TCM. I confess, I’ve let my writing fall a bit to the wayside. I did start a new story last week and am about 3500 words in- which is slow for me- but I’m okay with that since I am at least writing something after being in a slump.

I read a book this week which was a totally fictionalized account of the Dr. Crippen murder. This was a case in 1910 in London where the culprit and his companion took off on an ocean liner and were caught by a Scotland Yard detective by the first use of the Marconi telegraph machine when the captain thought he recognized Crippen.  The detective boarded a ship at Liverpool and chased the first liner across the ocean to get his man. The retelling was interesting in that the author (John Boyne) explored a different theory of the case. I liked the tale even though it wasn’t very likely to be the truth.

I also recently read The Silent Governess; Runaway; Orphan, Monster, Spy; and This House is Haunted. They were all very different, but I liked them all. Historical, contemporary thriller, 1940’s Germany and a spooky Gothic. I like lots of different genres – both to write and to read. No wonder I can’t seem to build a brand- I’m all over the place.  LOL

Some of the movies I watched this past week are North by Northwest; Jane Eyre; The Woman in Green; LauraThe Tattooed Stranger; and Treasure Island.

Oh well, I like who I am and so that’s that. I can’t change my eclectic nature now, can I?

Have a great July!!  How about an office cat pic to give you a smile?  This is Camo. Short for Camouflage- she blends in with the grass when it dies in the fall and winter. 🙂 She’s a great helper with the closed files destined for storage. IMG_4944 (2)

Adventures at the Movies…

I really love going to the cinema and get my fix twice a month during movie night with friends at our town hall. We see and enjoy a variety of movies ranging from romantic comedies to action adventures to the more highbrow art(y) films.

Last month, for a variety of reasons (ha!) I wanted to see Aquaman. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an available option at our local so I was happy to venture into the city (such is my fan-girldom for a certain Mr. Momoa) but none of my girls could make the dates. Not to be discouraged, I talked two of my neighbour’s little boys into coming with me. It was all set, until the oldest boy fell and hurt his leg putting him out of action (he’s currently doing very well, thank goodness, and well on the way to recovery).

Of course, I could have dragged AJ along, especially with the promise of some pick-n-mix chocolate-covered brazils to assist his long-suffering-ness, but couldn’t put him through it (he gets a kind of motion sickness watching action movies on the big screen). To be fair, he did bag me a consolation prize as you can see in the photo. 20190111_120440

So, I became resigned to going it alone with just popcorn and a fizzy drink for company. But then I was having a whinge to my mum about my forthcoming solo visit and “I’ll come with you,” she said. Now, Aquaman is not my mum’s kind of film and I felt compelled to point that out. Regardless, she was adamant she was coming with me. So, off we went. We had a lovely day in the city: shopping, having lunch, more shopping, afternoon tea and finally, with our (ahem) many purchases in tow, we headed for the cinema. We splashed out on VIP seats and settled in to watch the movie.

I knew my mum wouldn’t really be enjoying it, and checked in with her a few times, only to get a smile and a thumbs-up in respone. Satisfied she was fine, I got lost in the movie. When it ended, she asked if I’d enjoyed it. I told her I did and asked if she had enjoyed it, too. She looked decidedly mischevious as she smiled and said, “Well, it was far too noisy for me, so I turned off my hearing aid and had a little nap. Whenever I opened my eyes, I just looked at the screen. That aqua person was very easy on the eye.”

20181228_200148Gotta love my mum. She’s game for just about anything. And she was still smiling when I took this photo of her as we left the cinema foyer and I whisked her to the nearest bar for a well-deserved glass of her favourite vino before heading home.

Now, I’m counting the days before Aquaman comes to DVD 🙂

 

Book Junkie

As a writer and avid book reader, I’m often asked who my favourite author is, or whose work influences me the most, or what my favourite book is. All are difficult to answer as I read many genres, many authors, and many books have stayed with me throughout my life. I grew up in a household where books and reading were encouraged at an early age, indeed our mother taught us to read long before we first went to school. She read us exciting bedtime stories, fairytales told German and herself read all kinds of novels. With six of us in the family, the choice and quantity was large and books passed around as we grew older.

My father read science fiction, so I became familiar and enjoyed the work of Arthur C.Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. My older brother loved adventure stories so I soon became immersed in Treasure Island, The Coral Sea, Kidnapped and so on. My two sisters read everything they could get their hands on from Alice in Wonderland, What Katy Did Next, Black Beauty, and the list goes on from there as we grew older to all of John Wyndham (Day of the Triffids and The Midwich Cuckoos to name but two), Dennis Wheatley (The Devil Rides Out), Alex Haley, and Catherine Cookson. So many good writers, so many books to read, far too many to mention.

And along with all these books there were the comics and annuals we devoured including Bunty, Jackie, the Beano, Dandy, and Hotspur.

However, despite all these great stories, two in particular from childhood have stayed with me. The first is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis. I must have been about 8 or 9 when I read this. I was ill in bed at the time, a frequent occurrence when I was young. I remember the illustrations too, and longed that my wardrobe would open up to reveal a hidden, wonderful world where animals could talk. At that time I had no idea this was a complete set of these magical stories and with so many other books in the house, I didn’t seek out any of the rest. It wasn’t until my daughter fell in the love with Narnia series that I learnt there were more. And of course I was in my element when the film franchise came out. A few week ago I came across The Magician’s Nephew, sixth in the series but a prequel to the whole Narnia world and how it came about. I was engrossed from the first page.

The other story is from a “comic”. I use the word comic in a loose sense as, if my memory serves me correctly, it was an educational magazine for children, the name of which I cannot remember. We didn’t have this at home, I used to read them at my best friend’s house whenever I went to play there. On the back page was always a cartoon strip story of a family who lived under the floorboards of the house and used items taken from the house for their furniture. Cotton reels for tables, matchboxes for cupboards and drawers, doll’s house china. I loved those stories, the magic and wonderment, the concept, the impossibility – or was it? – that there were little people living inside our homes, but in later years I never could remember what the comic strip was called to go in search of the book. You’ve probably realised I’m talking about “The Borrowers”. I found this out when the film came out. I watched it, and was bitterly disappointed. Probably because I’m now an adult, a grandmother, and the film was aimed at children, as was the original book. But the magic in those comic strips lives on in my head. 

So in answer to who influences my writing, it’s all of the authors whose books I’ve read and enjoyed. My favourite author? There isn’t one, because I enjoy many including Rosie Thomas, Nora Roberts, Barbara Erskine, Jeffery Archer, Ken Follett, as well as those writers mentioned above and a whole lot more, but not everything they write. Some of their books I’ve not liked, but these are probably the authors I would go out of my way to read. And my favourite book? Again, there isn’t any one I could pick out because I’ve loved so many.

Kit’s Website and Blog  and Kit’s Art  Site

“Sublime or Ridiculous?”

September has been a busy, interesting month with another week in Bristol, a day at the seaside, visits to a garden exhibition and a beautifully restored National Trust House plus seeing two movies.  On top: lunches with friends, book club, yoga and singing, also your support, all helpful positive things to relieve some of the fatigue which is improving slowly. I keep telling you all how lucky I feel, not complacently I hope.

Sublime may seem a strange heading for a blog but it has different meanings, my use refers to art, architecture and inspiring achievements. Ridiculous is obvious although as you will see it held a few surprises! My first example was an exhibition of sculpture in a local National Trust garden.  I shared an exhibition set here with you last year of stained glass flower sculptures but this time was very different.  Several of the metal pieces were awesome and delicate, others were ridiculous. The setting enhanced the work too. I could not find what technique the artist used to create the sculptures  and ran out of time sorry. I hope you enjoy the images I’ve included.

My week in Bristol was based in a different part of the city, more multicultural and I met some fascinating characters on my journeys into the centre by bus.  As I mentioned last time I love Bristol,  the highlight was visiting St. Nicholas Market with my grandchildren and all eating different street food from various countries then sharing them. Memories of the day remain and I cherish them.

I visited Clevedon with a friend to photograph the pier which was a feat of Victorian Engineering. Boats still pick up from the pier to take visitors along the North Somerset Coast, a trip I am determined to make. The houses epitomise the wealth of past eras, some from trade in Bristol and people becoming upwardly mobile. Sunshine made the day more enjoyable with the reflections from the water and feel good factor.  I hope the photos help you to capture the beauty of Clevedon Pier.

We moved on to Tyntesfield, a Victorian country house and estate lived in and expanded by four generations.  I originally visited 10 years ago and the changes were amazing.  The interior of the house reflected the Victorian interests in art, technology and innovation.  Many original pieces of furniture remain all beautifully restored by National Trust experts and volunteers. Unfortunately, we ran out of time to visit the gardens but did pop into the Church which was a history lesson itself. Two photos give a glimpse if you are ever in this part of the world. Tyntesfield would be on my sublime list.

Finally, the ridiculous. By chance on our wanderings with my son and family we came upon an exhibition in the Centrespace Gallery which houses temporary exhibitions. Umbrella Covers were the subject of this fascinating exhibit. Nancy 3 Hoffman Director and Curator of the Umbrella Cover Museum hosted our visit.  Nancy 3 is the current Guiness World Record Holder for Umbrella Covers.  Her home and museum are on Peaks Island, off the coast of Maine. A true eccentric and enthusiast, not as ridiculous as we initially thought. Nancy 3 played her accordion and we joined her in singing the Umbrella Song.  My grandsons were fascinated. We all had great fun, do check out Nancy 3’s website.

The Movies were Dunkirk and Victoria and Abdul, very different but both thought provoking. Quite a month!

 

 

http://www.umbrellacovermuseum.org

When they actually can hear you scream!

Okay, so November has sort of passed in a blur that is NaNoWriMo, but happy to say the end is now in sight and on the home run. Yay!

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience of NaNo and it seems to have had the desired effect of getting me back into the writing mindset. The story has absorbed me, and the best part of all, I’m enjoying writing again. But November hasn’t been all work and I’ve made time for some fun along the way.

Every month a nearby town holds a community theatre and movie night, which has turned into a girls’ night out. We four do the whole thing: popcorn, wine (for those who aren’t driving), ice cream and a shared box of chocolates. Last night’s movie was Me Before You which was really excellent. I haven’t read the book (being a happy-ending kinda gal) but absolutely loved the movie. Excellent acting, a good story, and although a sad ending it wasn’t mawkish. Highly recommended for those who might not have seen it.

We also had a theatre trip into Bath to see The Woman in Black. This was billed as being ‘the most terrifying live theatre experience in the world’ which, for those of us who love to be scared witless by such things, was impossible to resist. So off we went, the fearless four, armed with fortifying chocolate and comments such as “bet it’s not as scary as they say” and “whose idea was this anyway?”

The play was the stage adaptation of the movie of the same name and is based on Susan Hill’s story of a lawyer obsessed with a curse he believes has been cast on him. In the stage play, he employs an actor to help him exorcise his demons, but soon what is real and what is make-believe begin to blur with spine-tingling results.

One British newspaper gave the play five stars and said: “The atmosphere is so charged up that on more than one occasion, the entire audience screamed in terror”  Well, I read that with a little scoff…until I actually did. The play was spooky and I lost count of the number of times I jumped out of my skin. It was incredibly well acted, with excellent sound effects and visual aids. During one loud and blood-curdling scream which seemed to come from right behind us, we all instinctively grabbed for each other and yes, actually screamed right back. Since most of the audience were engaged in a kind of hushed nervous laughter, I don’t think we were alone in that.

So, two hours later we emerged, a little shell shocked and with the chocolates still in their unwrapped state. Testament indeed to a good night had by all.

 

(n.b. apologies for the formatting of this post – did something wrong somewhere and couldn’t work out how to get it back to normal!)

Two Buddies, a Russian Spy, and an Intern Walk Into a Bar In Transylvania by Valerie J. Patterson

Two buddies, a Russian spy, and an intern walk into a bar in Transylvania.  Sounds like the start to a good joke, right?  It could have been if I was a comedian and wrote my own material.  Instead, I offer you a couple movie reviews.

A Walk In The Woods stars Robert Redford and Nick Nolte, and was a very entertaining movie.  It was good to see these two men on the big screen again, too.  Barely recognized Nick Nolte, but without him the movie wouldn’t have been as good as it was.  His and Redford’s characters are as opposite as any two humans could be.  One is refined, the other not so much.  But, opposites often make the best pairs.  Redford plays a character who has spent his whole life in the career/family lane of the road of life.  He’s been successful in writing and in love, and everything about his life speaks fulfillment…until his friends begin dying and there’s one funeral too many, causing him to take stock in his life and what became of his dreams.  One night he makes the life-changing decision to hike the Appalachian Trail–the entire trail.  He goes through his phone book of friends and colleagues and invites each of them to accompany him.  One by one, they all turn him down, and he’s beginning to think he’ll have to do it alone.  One last call comes in.  Nolte’s character–whom Redford never called–asks if he can go on the trip.  This pleases Redford’s character’s wife and the two set of on an unforgettable adventure that resonates with any person at any stage of their life.  If you missed this one in the theaters, it’s worth the rental price.

The Intern stars Anne Hathaway and Robert DeNiro, and the two have exceptional chemistry and comedic timing.  Hathaway plays an over-stressed work-aholic who started her own Internet company that exploded into a huge success that leaves her reeling between work life and home life.  Enter DeNiro’s character as an intern in the company’s new initiative “Senior Interns”.  DeNiro’s character is living life after retirement and the death of his wife.  After traveling everywhere he’s ever wanted to go, he finds himself with wide open days and tons of time on his hands.  Boss and intern need one another–even if they don’t see it, don’t want it, and don’t accept it, which leads to laughs and lessons learned.  Again, if this is not still playing–as it is here in one or two theaters–it’s worth the rental price.

Bridge of Spies stars Tom Hanks as James Donovan, an American insurance attorney who’s chosen to represent a Russian spy arrested on American soil.  Donovan takes the case, and Hanks shines!  Donovan takes his job seriously and Russian spy or not, his client deserves a fair trial.  Too bad the judge and the jury don’t share the same thought process.  This true story shows humanity at its best and its worst.  When Joseph B. Wirthlin said, “The true greatness of a person…is evident in the way he or she treats those with whom courtesy and kindness are not required.” he was not speaking of James Donovan, but it certainly applies to him.  Catch this one in the theater or via rental, but catch it nonetheless!

And finally, Hotel Transylvania 2, the second installment written by and starring Adam Sandler.  The first movie was adorable and appealed to adults and children alike.  This offering–in my humble opinion–was just disappointing.  Steve and I actually apologized to the couple we had with us!  Dracula is waiting to see if his grandson is a vampire or–gasp–a mere mortal like the baby’s father.  The first movie was all about acceptance of those different from ourselves.  This offering seemed less so, though Dracula does become more accepting in the end, but only after…well, I won’t post a spoiler here on the off chance you have a burning desire to see Hotel Transylvania 2.

So, two buddies, a Russian spy, and an intern walk into a bar in Transylvania…

Until next time, may the movies you chose to see entertain you, warm your heart, and tickle your funny bone.