Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Film: 'Jason Bourne'

Following a recent 'event' in my life, it wasn't the happiest of choices to re-start my film-watching routine with one that features a considerable number of bone-crunching facial impacts - both bare-fisted and with any object near at hand. However, there being  the usual Summertime paucity of adult films around, there was hardly a varied selection from which to choose.

Matt Damon returns to the title role, once again outsmarting and outclassing everyone else in intelligence, physical prowess, determination and sheer guile.  
It's an insubstantial story this; suffice it to say that it involves a hacking into CIA records which occasions Bourne's returning to public life after having gone 'invisible' since his last appearance, and his quest to find out the truth behind the death of his father some years previously.
Tommy Lee Jones is the CIA boss holding the cards, determined that Bourne, on his re-surfacing, be prevented at all costs from finding out what would be detrimental to state security. One of the CIA assistants is Alicia Vikander (is she sympathetic to Bourne?.....or not?) and yet again with her tendency to mumble her lines, though here not quite as bad as she was in 'Ex Machina' and 'The Danish Girl'.
And the principal enemy (for Bourne) 'action man' is mean and tough Vincent Cassell, who just will not lie down.

Apart from CIA HQ in Virginia, action flits from Athens to Reykjavik, to Berlin, to London and to Las Vegas. Lots of chases with chug-a-chug soundtrack, very rowdy at times. It's an 'action' film in its true meaning, there being little plot movement or character development (none at all, in fact). Yet for me it did deliver an adequate measure of entertainment value.

Director Paul Greengrass, a veteran of the Jason Bourne series, knows full well what he's doing and where it's all going, and he succeeds in pulling off a reasonably gripping, tightly-paced piece, the final motor vehicles pursuit being quite the most prolonged and interesting I've seen in some while. 

This film is not by any means the best of the Bourne series; nor is it even the second-best - but I still rather liked it.............6.5. 




Monday, 1 August 2016

Touched over and over again - dental progress report.

I've been truly and movingly overwhelmed by the extent of the sympathy accorded to me following my recent tumbling mishap -and I keep saying that I have no friends! Though of course I'm then referring to people present or available in the flesh. But even then I've got my three pussycats - though they give me precious little sympathy, their top priority, their sole priority, being my giving them their eats, no matter what condition I'm in.

Anyway, had my first professional examination today from my dentist - a rather sweet, youngish, Rumanian lady, Florentina who, I doubt, is even over 40. 
Although the facial swellings and bruisings have gone down, they are still visible in the lips and gums. She had an exploratory look at the teeth damage but was reluctant to poke around or even do X-rays, as it's still painful for me to 'open wide'. So, another appointment next Mon, by which time she hopes that with medications she's prescribed (antibiotics, more powerful pain-relief tablets and a mouthwash to compensate for inability to brush) I'll be in a better position for her to pry and have a mooch inside.
I've already started the week-long course of medication and am feeling a bit perkier knowing that I'm at last getting seen to by a professional. 

So, really not much happened in the way of actual 'repair works', but I'm feeling substantially happier now knowing that the process has started. It also gives me a bit of time to get preparations in place for the certain heavy financial consequences.

So that's how things are as at now, my friends. Ever so grateful for all your concerns, but it looks like you don't need to worry quite so much now. I'll let you all know if I have a 'relapse'  - or (heaven forbid!) take another tumble. 
Hoping to resume cinema visits later this week.

Thanks again, from the heart, to all! 

Monday, 25 July 2016

I just want to hide and come out when the bad dream is over.

Less than two years since the last time and I've done it again - taken a heavy fall on the pavement outside - though this time much more spectacularly with results that will be longer-lasting and with consequent greater costs to rectify the facial damage, mainly teeth.

Going out this morning around 7 o'clock (four hours ago) for a morning jog along seafront, just before I got to starting point, I don't know what it was that made me tumble, but I bit the concrete with a violence. Bleeding heavily from somewhere I wasn't sure, hurried back home to find that it was both chin (under the beard) and that I'd split the bottom lip in two separate places, and which has now swelled up. But most conspicuously, I've 're-arranged' my front teeth, the four most prominent ones. One of the incisors has been pushed right up into the gum looking as though the bottom half has snapped off, though I can still see it. The adjacent front tooth has been skewed into a diagonal position, and a third is protruding forward. In addition, there's a large bruise to the side of my right eye, now turning purple. It is not a pretty sight. Oh Lordy! My face looks pummelled as if I'd just been in a pub brawl.

Rang the doctors even though it's hard to speak (my whole face looking like that of someone who's just had a stroke down one side) and explained what had happened and whether I should report for a tetanus injection. Surprised to be told by receptionist, who rang me back after consulting nurse, that it wouldn't be necessary, even though my last such injection was 30 years ago.
Anyway, I'll let that simmer while I think about making an appointment to discuss options for dental repair works, which is no way going to be cheap.

Still shaken by it all. My need is to go to bed and have a couple of hours blissful sleep in a world where this never happened. But I can't yet - Noodles is hungry and he's letting me know it!

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Film: 'Ghostbusters'.

I so did not want to expend money and time on seeing this - but, hey, when duty calls........! Also, with screens filling up showing kiddies' films before most schools have even broken up for the Summer hols, my increasingly infrequent visits of late was starting to engender withdrawal symptoms in me. However, this film has had poor, even some stinking reviews (current IMDb average rating is 4/10) - and to add to all that, there's been talk of boycotts of the film for a perceived anti-male prejudice, as well as some (even many!) being let down by the titular gang of four being all-female whereas, of course, in the 1984 original film they were men.
I haven't seen that original one again, and its sequel of five years later, since they were first released half my lifetime in the past, and didn't find them particularly entertaining - just plain daft! (The sequel was just totally forgettable). So, all in all, this one had better be good! And, you know what? Against all the odds, I quite liked it.

The background story of how and why the quartet of fighters got together is not especially relevant. (Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon - the last being the only irritating one with her wisecracking, know-it-all attitude). 
The story itself is flimsy and little more than an excuse for employing spectacular special effects,  particularly in the extended final confrontation which takes up about a third of the film. Though yet....and yet....director Paul Feig (also the co-writer) does manage to hold it together with some flair, helped enormously by some sassy lines in a superior script. If there were any demeaning, anti-male barbs I missed them. The film held my attention right through without evincing a single yawn.
In addition to welcome cast member Charles Dance, there are a couple of brief cameo appearances from Bill Murray, one of the original 'gang'. (Another of that number, Dan Aykroyd, is the film's executive producer). Then, during the final credits, interspersed with several short, wind-it-up scenes, is a fleeting appearance from another of the original's cast, Sigourney Weaver.

So this is the second film in a row where my low expectations were confounded. I don't doubt that going in with that attitude helped me to enjoy the films more. And experiencing enjoyment is what it's all about.........6.


Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Film: 'Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie'

I think I've seen every one of the TV episodes but can't claim to be one of the show's very many big-time, die-hard fans. I watched them because they were so compelling, though have to admit that although they usually brought up a fair number of smiles I never found them as hilarious as some did - and, indeed, still do. Trouble was, clever lines were coming so thick and fast that I couldn't keep up with them, so reckoned that I was just too slow-brained to properly appreciate.
Then when I saw some very indifferent reviews of this film, not one of which was especially enthusiastic, I was pretty sure that I was unlikely to feel favourably towards it. In the event, enjoyment was considerably more than I'd expected. 

Much of the film's criticism seems to stem from the material being too thin to sustain a full-length feature, though it's still just 90 minutes long. (One of the attractions of the TV shows was their densely-packed concision). However, I did think that it held interest pretty well.

The story is, basically, that Edina (Jennifer Saunders, also the film's writer) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley, particularly good as ever - complete with her trademark snarly put-downs), living the high-life on a continuous binge with no regard as to from where the money comes, go to a bling-bling fashion do on the banks of the Thames where, among many of the guests doing cameos is model Kate Moss chatting while perched on a wall, when Edina, anxious for her presence to be known, accidentally pushes her off and into the river, where it's assumed she's drowned.  This is the pretext for the pair of them to, first lie low, and then to flee the country, ending up on the French Riviera, their 'natural' comfort zone, mixing with the super-affluent, who may, with a bit of cunning, be able to assist them in sustaining their prodigious lifestyle.

There have also been complaints from reviewers about the inflated number of cameos, and there certainly are a lot of them - some delivering unfunny one-liners, some outstaying their welcome. But it didn't distract me as much as it might do for others. (The list of names contains almost a who's-who of gay men on current British television.) I recognised most but, sitting through the long end credits, there were quite a number of whom I'd not been aware when they were on-screen - such as, which one was Perez Hilton?

All the regulars from the TV show are here - including, of course, Julia Sawalha as E's sensible, level-headed daughter - and June Whitfield, as Edina's mother, now looking very frail, which is hardly a wonder some twenty-plus years on. Jane Horrocks is again 'Bubbles', the ditzy character still as silly and unfunny as she was on TV. 

Director Mandie Fletcher, who's done a great deal of TV work, also directed three of the original AbFab shows.

Some of the audience I was with thought the whole thing was riotously funny. I was far removed from that opinion yet was pleasantly surprised at how much pleasure I did, in fact, get out of it. A large part of it must be because I came to it with low expectations. So maybe if you're a fan of the originals you ought to try keeping a lid on your hopes, then perhaps you too will come out of the cinema feeling that you've had an enjoyable time....................7.