David Wenham appeared out of nowhere!

Due to injuries, not being at home and also a possible house move on the horizon my LotR fangirly mission had fallen by the wayside a bit. I had a big long list of films to watch – and none of them were getting watched because I was struggling to sit at my desk long enough to watch a film. Or at least utterly failing to justify sitting doing “nothing” for that long!

So, the universe sorted it out for me! I was watching Top of the Lake on iPlayer, and about half way through the first episode I thought “That man in the lycra is oddly familiar.” Then I thought… “I’m certain I know him from somewhere!” Then I thought “Bloody hell, he’s only Faramir!!”. 

See? The universe will provide – or it’ll provide handsome talented men to ogle at the very least. I’ve only watched the first two episodes so far, but it’s really good. Bit creepy, and very good.

Radio recommendations: 

I listened to the Blade of the Poisoner but sadly, as I’m late in recommending it – it’ll probably be missing an episode or two. It’s an adaptation of a book by Douglas Hill, which is a book I’m going to hunt down. (Hopefully for cheap on eBay, with old book page smell… *sigh*) The radio adaptation’s language was simple, but effective. I don’t like it when authors unnecessarily complicate language when simple terms will do. Don’t get me wrong, I love good words – one of my current favourites is Soporific – but I have to admit, I struggle with overly complicated phrasing. I much prefer books where it doesn’t matter if you get over-excited by the plot and miss a word or two. I think that’s why I struggle a little with actually reading Douglas Adams. I had to keep going back and making sense of what I’d read. Radio series suit my low-attention-span much more.

While I’m at it, I’m going to recommend Marcus Brigstocke’s Brig Society, which is wonderful. In the last episode he volunteered as King of Scotland, to ease the tensions between the English and the Scots. 

Finally, I haven’t ever directed people to this before, but if you like satire, they’re a must… The Now Show and The News Quiz alternate series on Fridays on Radio 4, at 6.30pm. Definitely worth a listen! You can even get a podcast to make it nice and easy to listen whenever you want.

I’m also taking up embroidery. I made a bookmark! I now have a crafty plan for my next project, but it’s a surprise.Image

Ok, there we go – those series should keep you happy for a day or so?

Enjoy!

Post-Eurovision

There weren’t any really mad entries this year – except Romania who had a male glittery vampire singing in front of giant glowing condoms. Even the nearly naked male dancers couldn’t redeem that one. I’m a bit tipsy now so I’m going to fall asleep. 😀

Poetry Pick For The Week

I saw this clip for the first time on Russell Howard’s show in BBC Three, and he’s amazing. I do spend every day thankful for what I have, because I can do a lot – I experience pain because of doing some things, sure – but I can still do those things! Pain’s nothing, it can be overcome. I still have a body that will allow me to do almost anything. That’s pretty amazing, really. There are a lot of people who have the same genetic condition as me that are in a lot worse of a state – and I’m not even that careful about what I do! I do my physio most of the time, and I care for myself, but I’m a bit overweight, I eat crap food, and I don’t exercise enough. As such, I have no reason to complain.

Awesome day planning

Tomorrow is Eurovision – for those of you who aren’t from Europe, it’s a singing competition between European countries. Generally the music is… ok, but some of it is odd? There’s a long history of women ripping their clothes off, a few corseted slightly gothic women  (or leather clad ones) and some really neat artistic performances. There’s also a fair amount of weirdness and a bit more weirdness. (Dear God, how I hate that last song!)

This was last year’s winner – she’s called Loreen, and she was from Sweden. Strangely I love her song – which is unusual for Eurovision.

People are *supposed* to vote for the best songs or performances. In reality people mostly vote for their neighbouring countries, and usually nobody votes for the UK because our song generally sucks, and we’re not good at making political friends! As such, the commentary from our end tends to be someone making comments about the “unusual costume choices” of some of our European neighbours, talking about how wonderful the local attractions are (in properly laced sarcastic tones of course) and then talking about it’s inevitable that we won’t win, because all the ex-soviet states will vote for Russia, because they feel they have to.

As such, it’s not brilliant TV really – we rarely win, the music’s normally fairly mediocre, ranging to horrific. And we (as a family) NEVER vote. EVER. As a family tradition,we get drunk, and giggle about how rubbish some of the songs are (usually the UK ones), and marvel at the amazing costumes, stunning women and gorgeous men. It’s an excuse to spend a whole afternoon in the company of friends, blow too much money on pizza and have a gorgeous dessert. It’s a family tradition!

For tomorrow, we have Aldi cider, and some rather nice Aldi red wine (We did have two bottles, but I did a bit of celebrating earlier for completing my dissertation, and now there’s only one.) We’re getting in pizzas and cheesy garlic breads, and we’re having Aldi Belgian chocolate cheesecake for dessert.

All in all, even if we don’t win (which is fairly common because as I’ve said we keep going to war with places, messing with the European economy, threatening to leave the EU and the human rights agreement, and also OUR SONGS SUCK. Really suck. Really really SUCK

I think that’s probably enough information as to why the UK hasn’t won in a while. (The last was in 1997, and was a genuinely good song, can’t find footage of her performing it at the final with an English commentary though.) All in all, since we know we won’t win, it’s an exercise in simply enjoying ourselves, and being really impressed with some of the music/art/costume – and giggling when women take their clothes off

Tomorrow’s going to be bloody AWESOME!!!!

My Lord of the Rings Fan-Girly Mission.

I got into a bad habit a few years back, watching the same films, TV series etc. over and over again. It was mainly to try to ease my insomnia and to give me a sense of comfort when the world was falling apart around me. I guess that’s why fantasy films grabbed me so thoroughly. I’ve probably watched Lord of the Rings about 30 times per film. At about the same time I pretty much stopped reading, stopped listening to music and got stuck in a bit of a World of Warcraft related rut. I want to do something to change that. I want to have interesting things to do. I love films, books and music, so I came up with a plan!

So by putting it on the internet, I’m going to make it official, so here is my plan. I plan to watch a different film each month, but in order to make it easier, I’m going to choose films according to the spectacular cast of Lord of the Rings. (Basically stalking in film form?) I’ve already got this month’s done entirely by accident. It was the J.J. Abrams Star Trek (not the new one, that’s not out yet, the one from last year!).

The reason I think this will work is that the cast of LotR is firstly HUGE, there’s a lot of actors that have been working a long time (bear in mind they were made ten years ago, and most of the actors in it were reasonably established) and on top of that, if you follow their careers you get to some incredibly amazing films, and hopefully the plan is to get to some films I’d not normally watch. (Particularly when following Viggo Mortensen doing things like Eastern Promises, or Christopher Lee in Star Wars…)

Yes, I know I’ve never seen Star Wars. I’ve seen the Clone one. I’ve tried to watch the rest, but it’s just kinda… not me. Yes, you can lynch me later.

But anyway, that’s my plan. I’m going to watch at least one film a month (or significant chunks of a TV series.. *points at Lost and Game of Thrones*) in an attempt to broaden my “cultural horizons” and not just watch things with hobbits or Hugh Jackman in it.

I’ve made a list of the Films/TV I’ve already seen before starting this “challenge”: (Focussing mainly on the fellowship itself.

  • Elijah Wood – Back to the Future II, Flipper, Deep Impact, The Faculty, Happy Feet
  • Sean Astin – Toy Soldiers,
  • Sean Bean – GoldenEye, Equilibrium, Troy, National Treasure, The Island, Accused (BBC TV),
  • Orlando Bloom – Midsomer Murders (killed with a pitchfork), 3 of 4 of the Pirates films, Troy, Extras (he’s flipping hilarious),
  • Billy Boyd – Does listening to a lot of Beecake count? He also did a great documentary thing broadcast recently on BBC Radio 4 extra where he charted the adaptations of Lord of the Rings over time.
  • Ian McKellen – The 3 X-men films, The Da Vinci Code, Stardust, The Golden Compass, Doctor Who (The snowmen episode)
  • Dominic Monaghan – I Sell the Dead, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Lost (only seen Season 1 though)
  • Viggo Mortensen – *hangs head in shame* Haven’t watched anything. I read some of his poetry and love his photography and art though.
  • John Rhys-Davies – I think I’ve probably seen some of the Indiana Jones ones, and probably the Lost World, I’ve definitely seen him as Leonardo Da Vinci in Star Trek: Voyager, Princess Diaries 2 (don’t look at me like that, I had PMS and was back spasms!) and he narrated Pinky and the Brain (that might be stretching the cultural relevance a bit?)
  • Christopher Lee not in the fellowship, but Hammer films amuse me – many Hammer Horror films, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Diagnosis: Murder, Return from Witch Mountain, At least one of the Musketeers films, Sleepy Hollow, Gormenghast <3, The Clone-based crap-Star Wars, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Golden Compass, Christopher Lee’s Fireside Tales (BBC Radio 4)
  • Karl Urban – not technically in the fellowship, but very handsome – I’m sure I must have seen him as Cupid in Hercules, and probably Xena too, The Bourne Supremacy, and now… Star Wars as well!

In fact, in the last two days, I’ve watched two films for this! Yesterday I watched Star Trek (Karl Urban – Bones) and Happy Feet today (Elijah Wood – the voice of Mumble).

The Star Trek film was good. It was better than I thought it would be. I do like Star Trek, with my favourite series being Enterprise, followed by Voyager, the original series, then Next Generation probably. I prefer the people to be believable, and to actually struggle occasionally. That and I hate the empath who works with Cpt Picard. I struggle when the female characters are whimsical I think. Anyway, back to the film, the storyline was alright, a bit twisted and strange, but ok. I found the characters of Kirk and Spock hard to believe, because of the lack of doubt. Maybe it’s just me, but the lack of fear/panic in Kirk and the lack of “logic” in some of Kirk’s actions seemed strange, and all the more strange now I come to think about it after watching the film. Karl Urban is hardly in the film, truth be told, but I did like his portrayal of Bones. He captured the lack of deference for authority well, and I love the sarcasm. Especially the bit with the incessant vaccines.

So, onto Happy Feet. I’m always a bit over-cautious when it comes to American kids’ films. They tend to have an overly-soppy sentimental message or teaching buried in there somewhere, and of course this is no different. “Clean up the planet or the penguins will be sad” isn’t a bad message I suppose, but I hate the permanent teaching of kids. Sometimes films don’t need a “message” sometimes it’s OK for there to just be a story! Having said that, I did like the film, I’d probably not watch it again, and I’d think it’s definitely got nothing on Monsters Inc. or Finding Nemo.

Like Minds (film)

Like Minds ( film)

I watched this because I’d slipped into a deep puddle of lack of motivation and was surfing through the iPlayer site for something I’d not seen before. I was immediately grabbed by Toni Collette, because I loved her in Velvet Goldmine (It’s one of my favourite films EVER!!!) and then I saw Eddie Redmayne, and was totally sold. Loved him in Les Mis.

Sometimes when I watch a film for the actors/actresses I’m a bit disappointed by the content of the film. Here, I’d use Troy as an example – Great cast, great idea, great costumes, and all of it makes a film where the only reason to watch it is to see sexy men with their kit off. I’m in the process of stalking the LotR cast members back through their careers. Not made much progress though, got a bit hung up on Dominic Monaghan’s latest buggy pursuit. Spiders and an enthusiastic Hobbit – what’s not to love?!

Anyway, back to Like Minds – I watched it in the middle of the day, while sorting through work and socks and stuff that’s got stuck down the side of my desk. All that got quickly abandoned in favour of watching two teenage boys fight it out over who could be the oddest. I don’t know much about psychology (sung to the tune of Sam Cooke) so I have no idea how realistic or pseudo-sciencey it is, but the characterisation of the boys is brilliant. You don’t get to know much about Sally, but that’s kinda a good thing. I love the way that the “interview/investigation” cuts back and forth across filmed flashbacks and current events. It reminds me a little of the Prestige, where if you don’t concentrate – you forget who’s alive and when! 

This is a really nicely put together film for a Friday afternoon – not an epic by far, and it didn’t surprise me, but sometimes having good characters is enough.