Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Film: 'Tomorrowland'

I  want to use this opportunity to point out to my revered blog-followers that once again my computer is stuttering and spluttering to a halting destination, I fear, with frequent freezes and 'unresponsive message' alerts, taking me about six hours (or more) to achieve what ought to be managed in less than one. Commenting on some of your own blogs has become near-impossibly arduous. Even my e-mail account, where I can send missives without trouble, has got the inbox jammed up, taking a full week for me to see any individual message as they dribble through at the rate of about one per day. If I had the money I'd get the whole apparatus rectified without delay, or, far better, get a brand new up-to-date computer, but as I haven't I'll have to struggle along as best I can. So please bear with me if you've written something I would otherwise have liked to comment on and which you might have expected. Sometimes just getting your own blog on screen can freeze up the whole works for maybe an hour (It happens with some, but not for others.)  I'll continue trying to respond where I can, but if you don't hear from me for a while I will still be here, hoping for better times shortly.  

This bored me to distraction. I do believe that about two-thirds through I did actually momentarily nod off. Not even the on-screen ruckus of explosions, fights with lethal ray guns, humanoid robots, high-speed aerial vehicles - you know, all the usual stuff - could prevent my dozing.
It may actually be a good film for all I know, but I'm clearly as far removed from the audience this is aimed at as it's possible to be, and only went because there was a chance to see it for £3 (American about $4.60 ), it not being on my 'must see' list.

Where to start? I'll give it short shrift, but this idea of averting global catastrophe has become so banal now.  We've seen it done to death that it's become like 'crying wolf'. It just doesn't engage any more - at least not for this viewer.
George Clooney, looking far from comfortable in his role, is a life-long inventor since being a little boy and, playing around with glimpsing into the future, sees an apocalypse coming, and even has a countdown apparatus to zero hour. But his vision of total annihilation is questioned by a bright young girl who joins him (plus a human-replicant younger girl-robot), she having acquired a 'key' to actually travel to the future. However, she is also armed with that highly desirable quality, 'optimism', which he lacks. Also hopping between present day and future is shady character Hugh Laurie, looking almost as uncomfortable in the wrong part as Clooney. Fights develop involving gangs of human-like robots, but it all left me cold and wanting it to end (The film, not the world - though having said that......). Do Clooney and the girl save the entire planet from its likely dire fate? I was past caring, though I'm not going to 'spoil' it for you.

Purely in terms of relating to what I consider entertains me, I give it a better-to-avoid mark of..........3 (out of 10).



  1. This is one of those films that I think I'd like if I didn't have to pay to see it ... like when it comes to television.
    Maybe then I'll see it?

    1. Well, on telly you'd be seeing the spectacle diluted down, Bob - though even on a big screen it didn't hold my interest so I reckon you've got a point. Maybe best seen if you've got a TV in the bedroom with the sound turned low (or off) and it'll help send you to slumber.

  2. It does make you wonder ever so slightly why Mr. Clooney became involved? Does he need the money? :) Sorry to hear about your computer Ray, I was wondering why you had gone quiet (as far as comments were concerned).

    1. If Mr C was roped in - or he wanted to do it - to give the film gravitas, Craig, it singularly failed. He only makes himself look ridiculous in a project which wasn't worthy of his presence.

      Computer is a pain - but I know I'm not alone in finding that. It's something we all go through from time to time. So far, though, this morning all is fine (relatively) so I'm getting as much use of it as I can before it all snarls up again.

  3. Grrrr Computers are crazy.

    I have gone completely off George Clooney of the last few years. nothing else to say. I wont be seeing it.

    Hope you are well. Sol xx

    1. We've all become so hopelessly dependent on computers, Sol, that our lives won't function when they won't. Sad in a way, but if only we all had the resources to do something about it when it's needed.

      Generally, I'm not as down on Clooney as you are, but at least you have a double reason for not seeing this one.

      I'm fine, thanks - as I hope you are. I do still read all your blogs, but if I don't comment you at least know a possible reason why I don't on any particular one.

  4. I wasn't planning on seeing it; I am glad to hear I won't be missing something.

    1. If you're in a mood for self-sacrifice, Dr Spo, for the good of the film industry you can do worse than seeing this one - well, maybe not.

  5. Computers can be a blessing or a curse, and they always seem to go haywire when you can least afford to have them fixed. I hope that somehow your computer problems can be solved (without the aid of an exorcist). I'm presently using an inexpensive laptop which has (so far) been very good.

    I wanted to thank you for your recent comment on my blog. I'm by no means an expert on Vaughn Williams, but I've always liked his music. He seemed to be quite popular when I was a music student in California. The local classical music station KFAC played a lot of his music. I particularly loved his first symphony (A Sea Symphony). It's amazing that you actually got to meet his wife Ursula Wood. What a cherished memory!

    I had no idea that you studied composition. I am a stranger to my early compositions, since I haven't seen them in so long. Someday I'll try to record some of them. Much like you, I disliked the sonata form and did my best to avoid it. I never adhered to the rules. I'd like to hear your two fantasies.

    I was going to mention some other things, but I've forgotten what they were!

    By the way - I was never much of a George Clooney fan.

    1. Jon, good to hear from you here.
      I don't know how we ever managed without computers but once you get one they become so embedded in ones everyday life such that living without them again is unthinkable. Having no friends or acquaintances 'in the flesh' (apart from my surviving siblings) it's an essential means for me of contact with the outside world, so anything that impedes its workings is even more strongly felt.

      RVW's 'Sea Symphony' is fine - except that the very long last movement always gets me fidgeting. I think you need to listen to it with Whitman's words in front of one as it's virtually impossible to make out what a choir is singing, as well as (usually) the soprano, but I find that often with all female singers.

      The 'friend' at whose house I met Ursula V.W. was (and still is, I presume) secretary of the Vaughan Williams Trust, and is himself a composer. He was eight years older than I am so that would make him now 77. We met in a leather bar in Cologne about 30 years ago, before I actually went myself to live in that city for three years. My friendship with him didn't last - but he was very hairy (including his back), something that gets me weak at the knees. (There's no need for you to ask how I found out).
      Oh, I asked Mrs RVW what her favourite works of her husband's were. She mentioned, rather predictably I suppose, the symphonies he wrote when they were together - in her case Nos 5-9 - but also she said she had a particular affection for the 'Five Tudor Portraits' (Alto, tenor, chorus + orchestra). Now that IS interesting. Do you know the work yourself? It's certainly very good indeed.

      I studied piano between about 6 till 17, but not composition, specifically. All my 'compositions' of which there weren't too many, actually, were distinctly tonal, as I've always had a big thing about the characteristics of keys and their relative sounds and qualities - not quite like Scriabin who saw different colours, something I wish I did, but not that too far removed from it. I hate to hear of a work by, say, Chopin, introduced by only its opus number. He too had a particular interest in keys and was careful in choosing them for the moods he wish to convey - his favourite key being C# minor.

      Thanks for your interest in my compositions but you'll never hear them, I'm afraid. The thought of them makes me cringe - though I still couldn't bear to throw them away.

      And George Clooney? What more can be said? I didn't used to like him years ago but grew to see my mistake. I still think that in the right film he is first class - and, recently we've seen what a decent director he can be too. But 'Tomorrowland' is to be avoided for whatever reason, though that's only MY humble opinion.

  6. I can fully understand your need for a computer as a connection to the world. I feel the same way. I moved to West Texas solely to be near my retired parents (I have no siblings). After my father died in 2005, I took care of my mother until she died of a stroke in 2009.

    I had absolutely no friends in Texas and was completely isolated in a remote tiny town. It was an incredibly lonely feeling. It took nearly FIVE years to sell the house and I got far less money than it was worth. I moved to Tennessee because I have some relatives here - - but I'm still isolated, living in the mountain wilderness. I couldn't exist without a compute.

    I'm not familiar with the "Five Tudor Portraits" by Vaughn Williams but I'm sure I could find it on YouTube. It's been a rather long time since I listened to any of his music.
    By the way, I've heard some long-ago rumors that RVW was gay - or at least bi. Any truth to it?

    I've always had a passion for Scriabin's music - especially his earlier works, and his obsession with tonal colors fascinates me. I recorded a C# minor nocturne by Chopin (long ago). All of my old piano recordings are on audio cassette tapes and I'm planning on converting them to disks/MP3.

    Well, I've said enough for now (probably too much....)

    1. I meant to say "computer", not "compute". When I type quickly this keyboard skips letters.

    2. Jon, I've just spent over half an hour typing a long response to all your above points, then checking it through, pressed the wrong key - and zapped the whole damn thing! Grrrrrrrrrrr! I'll come back to it for a second go a little later.

    3. Okay, attempt the second:-

      You've reminded me how isolated you are, and in that respect I think we're soul-mates. I seem to have some kind of socio-phobia which makes me get nervous and clam up when there's two or more other persons present to converse with together, though I am okay with one-to-ones.
      Also, never been good at making friends and even worse at retaining them. The few I do make quickly get bored with me and move on. Since losing nearly all the few friends I did have to the 'Big A' (the last being over 20 years ago) I haven't made a single new one to 'replace' the lost ones. Does any of this sound familiar to you? Must confess that as I reach a more advanced stage of maturity, the thought of being alone, as I find it ever more difficult to manage for myself, quite terrifies me.

      I see you lost both your parents quite recently, relatively, so the scars you bear will be 'fresher'. My father died (also of a stroke) back in 1979 at the age that I am now, while my mum passed away just 10 years ago next month at the advanced age of 89. I still miss them both and think of them every day. I got on well with both of them, which helps. Sounds like you probably did too.

      When I was checking out the 'Five Tudor Portraits' yesterday I think I did see that at least one version is available on YouTube, so you should find it there.
      I've never heard about RVW being gay or bi, and I frankly doubt it as I would have heard by now, at least along the grapevine. There's no mention of such in anything I've ever read. But he was certainly 'broad-minded' and accepting of others - what in his day might have been called 'tolerant'.
      His music isn't especially championed by gays, maybe because it doesn't have the lush flamboyance of a Tchaikovsky, Verdi or Mahler. All his 'outbursts' seem to have an anger either on top or underneath ('gritty' music) which, one might think, would have quite suited a gay psyche, but I think we gays are looking more for escapism than in venting negativities. That may change as we integrate more with the rest of the world, which is coming about very slowly, but inevitably.

      Scriabin's music, I find, requires wholehearted attention to get the most out of it. Pity that he didn't write much for the piano that is within my capabilities, though there are a handful of miniatures I can just about cope with.
      As for playing Chopin, I could NEVER get the hang of those 'twiddly' bits, the ornaments. Trying to fit, say, seven little noes into a crochet's worth, even when employing 'rubato', has always eluded me and it shows. Yet professional pianists on the radio make it sound ever so easy, as though there was no other way to do it. Maybe you can manage them yourself. Perhaps I'll hear the evidence in my own ears before long? (I won't press you.)

      So, I think that's all what I wrote first time around. If I think of something in addition I'll come back to it later and let you know on your own blog. So, meanwhile let's now press the correct key and have done with this.

      'See' you later, Jon.

  7. I'm glad you pressed the right key this time around. I don't want to overstep my boundries and laden your blog with endless comments - - but I will say that I can relate to everything you wrote (including those annoying Chopin ornaments).

    When I was a young musician living in Hollywood I had an incredibly active social life - with lots of friends and lovers.
    Ironically, now - in my declining years - I have a hermitized existence. I avoid social situations, I'm not at all comfortable around people, I don't make friends easily, and I prefer my own company.

    My mother and I were very close and I never fully recovered from her death.

    I'll end this for now - - thanks for listening.

    1. And thank YOU, Jon, for coming back to check that I'd seen your previous comment.
      Seems like we were made for each other - though we'd need to have our own separate rooms ;-)

      My own social high-time was in the 80s (so around the age of 40 - a bit later than you, I imagine) but I always tended to need an alcohol prop to give me the courage to get over my shyness to make approaches, or to dance etc. Not that I was ever dependent on it in a big way but used to binge-drink quite regularly. That's long since over as there aren't any parallel situations now. But if I had the money now that I used to have then it may be different.

      Anyway, enough for now. we'll carry this subject on at another time, in another place.

  8. Tomorrow land is not one I had planned on seeing unless I get trapped in flight and it happens to be the only movie, it will stay in that class.
    Blogs and computers, even my up to date iPad thingy has issues with some blog formats loading so I too have a few that don't hear from me often even though I stop by.

    1. 'Tomorrowland' is a mish-mash of things we've all seen before, F.B., only put together in a slightly different way with little original to say. My advice to anyone is to consider if you're really wanting to go out of your way to catch it.

      Computers are the current bane of my life - illustrating how we are now so dependent on them No ones faulty but our own, I'd guess.

  9. Ray,
    Thank you for the review. I was tempted to see this movie because I like George Clooney but I too am rather bored with the "save the planet with the assist of a young girl" scenario. So, based on your review I will not add "Tomorrowland" to my Netflix queue. Last night while watching "Still Alice", a highly rated movie, I fell asleep several times. I guess it just takes a lot to keep me awake these days.

    1. This film is not going to be one that G.C. will be remembered for, Ron - though some have liked it. He has made far better. In fact pretty well all he's done is better than this

      Shame that 'Still Alice' wasn't enough to keep you awake. It's worth another try without a doubt.