Thursday 30 December 2010

My Cinema Highs & Lows 2010

Only made 77 visits this year, my 3rd-lowest count since 1974. Anyway, let's get on with it.
In the order of seeing them, with the odd 'clue' for some, and with a * indicating really good, the best for me were:-

Sherlock Holmes (Dir: Guy Ritchie)
*Nowhere Boy (Re: pre-Beatles John Lennon)
The Road
Un Prophete
*Invictus (Clint Eastwood back on form)
*Exam (8 candidates sit exam. Question paper blank. Gradual elimination follows. Intriguing)
*The Ghost (Polanski's best in years - No, decades!)
I am Love (Italian film - Tilda Swinton's love interest, Edoardo Gabriellini, such a hottie!)
Lourdes (French film located at the pilgrimage site. Well-balanced tale of seeking miracle)
The Bad Lieutenant - Port of call New Orleans (Good, despite my not being fan of N. Cage)
The Killer Inside Me (probably most controversial of year. Graphic violence against 2 women)
The Brothers Bloom
Lebanon (Israel - set almost entirely within an army tank. Remarkable)
Partir (French film with Kristen Scott-Thomas excelling in French-speaking role)
Cyrus (John C. Reilly playing very well, as usual, in film which pleasantly surprised me)
Metropolis (The Classic! - now for first time showing virtually complete.)
Buried (along with 'Cyrus' above, tale of being buried alive I hadn't expected to like, but did.)
*Another Year (Mike Leigh, with 'Inception''s Christopher Nolan, has yet to make a dud film!)
Monsters (this year's brilliantly effective film made on shoestring budget. See, it can be done!)
Catfish (absorbing tale of Facebook deception. Claimed to be true story. Is that also a deception?)
Des Hommes at des Dieux (Factual story - monks in Algeria threatened by Islamists. Moving.)

(Note: I did see the complete 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' trilogy, and though all were pretty good, none of them quite made my final list of honourable mentions.)

And my least enjoyed/what was the fuss about? films:-

Cemetery Junction (Ricky Gervais, whom I usually like, misfiring badly)
Iron Man 2 (not as interesting as the first)
Robin Hood (Russell Crowe as our Robin? 'Ha ha' or 'Ho hum'?)
Avatar (Zzzzzz zzzzzzzz)
Get him to the Greek (Russell Brand failing to be as interesting as he could be - again!)
The Social Network ('cos I couldn't hear what the hell they were talking about! Mumble mumble.)

And the winner of My Best Film is:-

'Inception' - the only film this year I paid to see twice. Intelligent, multi-layered and it lingers in the mind. Ever since 'Memento', Nolan maintains his very high standard.

And my 'razzie' goes to, yes: -

'The Social Network'
As if it wasn't bad enough for two of my most respected British film critics to drool over this film, one of them actually nominating it as 'film of the year', hearing that it's also likely to be nominated for multiple Oscars, including BEST FILM, is the final straw. That just totally pisses me off. Anyway, aside from all the incoherent mumbling through 80% of this 'entertainment' (hah!) I've not only got no interest in computer 'nerdology', 'Facebook' itself is not a big part of my life anyway. So there!

With 2011 beckoning and my financial plight not improving, let's try to save a bit of cash next year by being a bit more discerning. Happy viewing, folks!

Saturday 25 December 2010

Best Wishes to ALL my blog visitors

To every single one of my dear computer-friends who make me feel so honoured by your visiting my blog, if I haven't wished you individually (and even if I have) I earnestly hope for your happiness and contentment this Xmas season, both for you and for those especially dear to you - and I wish for you a 2011 which surpasses every previous year. Bless you all, my lovely friends - you're all so beautiful, both inside and out.

Now, on this frosty Christmas morn I'm about to imbibe a glass or three of mulled wine with a couple of mince pies while listening, with my dear pussycats, to an old favourite recording of 'Messiah'.

And later, this year's Xmas dinner is going to be:-
Vegetable samosas with baked potato slices and sprouts, with more than a dash of Indian lime pickle to give it that extra 'oomph'. Mmmmmm. I'm salivating already!

Tuesday 14 December 2010

Winter's Tale without ending.

I hate this weather - HATE IT! Although for the last few days we in the south of England have been experiencing daytime temps in the dizzy heights of 4 or 5 degrees Celsius, with nights hovering around or just below zero, we're due for yet another prolonged Arctic killer blast in a couple of days, even colder than the one we had at the end of last month, which was quite bad enough, thank you! Yes, I've heard that what we are going through is as nothing compared to conditions in north-east and mid-west USA and, indeed, other parts of north and central Europe, but my tolerance of cold is already low and now it's just plain scary. My nightmare is that the heating in my flat is going to suddenly pack up, blasting away continuously day and night, which would entail me having to get in touch with my landlord whom I haven't spoken to for nearly 18 months following his displeasure at my complaining about the noisiness of my downstairs neighbour (now largely a thing of the past, by the way).
I've never known in my entire life a Winter like this. Usually if we have really cold weather and snow at all, it only starts towards mid or late January, sometimes later; but to begin in November is unheard of. Only wish I could hibernate with my pussy cats for at least the next two months. Actually, waking up just in time for Easter would be even better. Meantime it's got to go on being a case of scarf-wearing indoors, over a 4-layer top of vest, T-shirt, ordinary shirt and sweatshirt, with additional hot drinks: also two duvets at night with hot-water bottle - and yet more teeth-chattering. Brrrrrrr!

Saturday 4 December 2010

A most welcome thaw but the snow will surely be back

Even though it was forecast, I was so pleased to find on getting up this morning that nearly all the snow and ice has gone. In my entire life I've never known such early Winter snow in such quantities, and with corresponding biting cold, day as well as night. But we are the lucky ones here in England's extreme south; the rest of the country, and Scotland especially, continues to suffer dreadfully. My heart goes out particularly to those poor homeless people, not to mention all those animals, with nowhere warm to go to. The current respite in this area is due to last only a day or so before a return to the big freeze, at least temperature-wise, but thankfully no more snow forecast for at least the next few days. But the white stuff is bound to return before too long; it's far too early to hope realistically for anything else.
I do so dislike extreme Winter weather; all very nice and picturesque when viewed from the other side of glass, but having to go out in it is another matter. Actually the snow itself is not half as bad as ice. I've always been terrified of going arse-over-tit and breaking something, though have managed to avoid taking a fall most Winters.
Our current situation is due, we are told, to a huge 'kink' in the jet-stream which, instead of coming at us direct from the Caribbean area, is now looping right up over Greenland and bringing snow and bitter temps down from there. (I heard yesterday that most of this country is currently even colder than Greenland itself!) There's also talk that it's been caused by this year's erratic behaviour of 'El Nino' off South America's Pacific coast. Whether that's the case or not, all of north and mid-Europe is suffering badly in this extreme, sustained Arctic blast.
I find it intensely irritating to hear people saying that such weather as we are experiencing proves that global-warming is a myth. Even though it's not the case with our current situation, the melting of the Arctic ice is practically certain to divert the mild Atlantic Gulf Stream, which keeps western Europe temperate for its latitude, southwards to the African coast or push it underneath the ocean surface. (This is different from the jet-stream, the latter being air, the Gulf Stream, water, of course). The consequence of a diverted Gulf Stream will be that while the rest of the earth warms up we in western Europe will actually get colder. So, maybe we ought to view our current travails of early severe Winter as merely a prelude (I nearly said "warm-up" - Ha ha!) to what may well be coming. Yes, we live in 'interesting' times.