2015 on the big screen

This is a film themed blog tonight as I missed last night’s blog post because of a girly night out to a local cinema. The type that is a building slightly grander than a village hall but a million miles from multiplex standards and has an interval half way through so you can have a drink and buy ice-cream. Prior to the interval they just pull the plug out and the sudden black screen prompts you to make your way to the side doors.

We watched ‘Pride’, a brilliant film about the unusual eighties alliance of disgruntled miners from Wales and revolutionary gays and lesbians, united by a mutual hatred of Thatcher. It was hysterical and heart-warming and tragic.

I am also looking forward to some less serious, less political, high octane entertainment in the shape of Fast &Furious 7 and Mad Max 6.

If the prospect of Christmas and along winter is getting you down (bah humbug) get a preview of what the Spring’s cinema screens have in store:

Fast & Furious 7 – http://teaser-trailer.com/movie/fast-and-furious-7/

Mad Max 6 – http://teaser-trailer.com/movie/mad-max-4/

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

Oh the joy of being ‘Mum’

I am going to try not to sound bitter in this next paragraph….

My cycle test to be a bikeability instructor for primary and secondary schools went well and they want me to do the full course. Downside being that, as a Mum of a 2 year old, childcare costs will mean my earnings are minimal. However this will improve as he gets closer to school age. Hubby doesnt understand this. Thinks I should stay at home until I am in a position to earn ‘decent money’. But when will that be…. when they turn 18? The fact is that jobs that fit around school time dont tend to be big earners. But when I have proposed to hubby that I take on the full-time breadwinner role and that he stays at home, he back-pedals faster than Chris Hoy in reverse. Why is it women who have to organise and deduct childcare from their salary thus limiting what they can actually do as a job?

So I guess my issue is not with parenthood but society’s historic approach to womanhood.

On a separate note, Oxfam emailed me about the appalling situation in South Sudan, which seems to be un-reported in the media. The country is nearing a famine and thousands of families are in refugee camps living in appalling conditions…… all because of war. If you can help please visit this site.

This blog is for Unicef. As i missed last night’s blog, £1 in the pot to Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

PS I did feel a bit of an idiot in my over-sized hi-vis gear and my panic buy helmet from Halfords, particularly when positioned next to  lycra clad and cycle shoe heeled streamlined instructor.

PPS, if you are in need of a laugh,check out the Sam Mendes film ‘Away We Go’.






Need for Speed/escapism

Dont get me wrong, i like my ‘chick flicks’, but my favourite movie genre is action and, more specifically films with plenty of car chases and explosions…..and a big dose of vengeance….and maybe a political point made too.

I am a big fan of the Bourne films, I also like the Fast and Furious franchise and classics such as Bullitt.

So I was quite excited at the prospect of watching ‘Need for Speed’. It would have been a brilliant film, had they not used a woman with a fake English accent to play the damsel in distress (why do all Americans think we all sound like members of the Royal family) and a man with an uncontrollable eyebrow and a sore throat (deep husky voice) to play the wheelman.

It was a classic example of how poor casting can wreck a film.  

However what they lost in bad acting, they made up for in amaaazing cars.

It was a very welcome distraction from the mundane trials of life (such as the tax man, the f***** tax man, an even worse Government and the fact that despite weeks of good weather, the one weekend we choose to camp at a music festival the mother of all thunderstorms is forecast).

If we pretend we are a family of mud loving hippos, it might  still be an enjoyable experience.

This blog is for Unicef, a charity that exists to protect vulnerable children world-wide, including those in warzones such as Gaza.

Thanks for reading.  

when I grow up

There are not many of us pursuing the dream careers we fantasised about as children. As a parent, i am all too aware of not letting one misguided remark influence the entire future aspirations of my children. This can actually happen, hence the burden of responsibility that is parenthood. How many autobiographies have you read where the author followed what their parents ideally wanted of them and were happy about it? The same goes for teachers, my university lecturer scoffed at my ambition. Sir Jackie Stewart’s teachers didnt rate him but look what he achieved.

So when my daughter starts talking about what she would like to do ‘when i grow up’, i listened without passing judgement but telling her what it would take to achieve particular career choices. For example she said she wanted to be an actress and that she would need to go to theatre school from age 11 or 12. I said we couldnt afford to pay for a special school so the best way to attempt to get in was via a scholarship. The best way to get a scholarship is to do LAMDA exams. “But that would be torture”, she said. I replied that if she felt that way it might be best to think of another route to acting. “But i really want to go to drama school”, i said she shouldnt put pressure on herself too early on in life as it gets tougher as you get older so enjoy being young when you can. But i soon realised you dont know how good you had it when you were young until you are grown-up so that was particularly useless advice.

She then rattled off a list of things she would like to do including: actress, racing driver, writer, midwife or maid for a rich person. She then asked which of the two ideas i liked best. I refused to answer as i said it was ‘entirely your choice’. She then begged me to answer her but i refused and said ‘the best advice i can give is do what you enjoy and the job will come and find you’.

I just hope she doesnt like watching tv and eating crisps to the extent that she waits for the job to arrive.

In the Tarantino film Jackie Brown, De Niro says to Bridget Fonda ‘you need ambition’ (or something along those lines) and she replies her ambition was to ‘get high and watch tv’.

I am blogging for Unicef. Thanks for reading.


Losing yourself

OK, I admit there are moments (too frequent) when I am away with the fairies. Evident in posts such as the one a few days ago when I was moaning that there was no coverage of the Isle of Man TT race. For some bizarre reason I thought it was taking place over the bank holiday weekend. Imagine my delight and confusion when we purchased a TV recorder earlier this week to find the TT previews and reviews had popped up all over the next 7 days on ITV 4. I even had a stupid moment when I thought ‘well that’s no good, what’s the point in previewing the past’. I feel it is good to recognise moments when my brain has momentarily left my skull and have a little chuckle.

I am seriously liking this record TV lark. I was enjoying it so much i didn’t watch any TV because I was too busy planning what programmes to record. Rather I was spending my TV time in anticipation of good TV. This task kept me up til past midnight (we dont do Sky hence why I am so excited as the ability to actually watch a programme when you want to watch it is a wjole new concept. Although i am only 34 i sound like a complete dinosaur.

However, we still had to watch a film the other night on the tablet because we havent got Netflix sorted put.

Which moves me nicely onto a movie to add to your must see list – Robert Redford’s ‘All is Lost’. Before you groan at the old Redford (my goodness he is old although it looks as if he has ‘had some work’) please don’t let prior judgements get in the way of seeing this film. The dialogue in this film is virtually nothing, Redford is very good at acting without words -arguably a sign of a good actor? in fact the only words you will here is right at the start of the film and then about 3\4  of the way through when he gets a little frustrated. If they had filmed me alone on a boat you would not have wanted to watch it for nearly 2 hours as the scenes would have featured a lot of muttering to myself, lots of swearing, crying, witnessing unpleasant personal’ habits culminating in suicide or an early death because I doubt I would have lasted as long as Redford. However, I am a natural optimist so I would never have admitted ‘all is lost’ even when gulping my last breath (and I wouldnt have wasted my last breath stating the bleeding obvious).

Regardless if you are in or out of sailing, All is Lost, is a brilliant film and I recommend giving it a go.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

The Ladies Room

If I was to consolidate all of my clubbing experiences through my teens and early twenties into a short film aired in the ladies toilets of a nightclub, then it wouldnt be too dissimilar to the storyline of ‘The Powder Room’, a British film a million miles away from Working Title scmultz. A girly flick with grit. It works because the ladies room of nightclubs across the country re-enact mini soap operas every weekend. Of course the same concept wouldnt work in the men’s urinals, although it may be abit of an eye opener as to what dialogue, if any, is exchanged between guys.

Watching this film was almost like a fond trip down memory lane, with those memories significantly exaggerated and dramatised. It covers pretty much every scenario a woman may find herself in at a British nightclub. All except the ease of access to the loos. Wherever I went there was always a huge queue and not enough time to hang around like it was some kind of seedierversion of a coffee shop, where you might like to hang and chat. I cant recall ever spending longer than 10 minutes in the ladies, I  favour of hollering at eachother in the club. You couldn’t seek the solace of a smoking area because smoking was allowed everywhere, including in the loos.

The film at times made me hanker for my clubbing days but in the main I am glad that time is behind me. I watched it with one eye on memories of my youth and one eye on what may lie in store for my daughter and what choices she will make when put in similar scenarios. I hate to think that she would be anything like me, if she is I hope she has the luck and resilience yo go with it.

I am blogging every day for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.


A night with more bite

My absence last night was due to an evening’s entertainment without children – a rare occurrence made possible once my mother flies in from Spain for a few weeks.

At times like this, there are so many thugs hubby and I would like to do, it is a job to select ‘the highlights’. But it invariably ends up as a meal out followed by a meal. We briefly contemplated travelling in style on the bike but this was quickly countered by the reality of sitting in biking leathers in a cinema for 2 hours clutching helmets, jackets, popcorn and coke. So we decided to resort to our beloved Soda estate instead. At least then my little skirt could enjoy some time out.

Once we arrived in town we practiced that skill required for the longevity of marriage – compromise. At the cinema he wanted explosions and actions. I wanted something with a bit more dialogue. When it came to food, I wanted sushi he wanted burger. So I got my film choice and he got his food choice – gourmet burger kitchen followed by ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’.

As it turned out there were no less than three vegetarian choices in the burger range, which kept me satisfied. These were the kind of burgers that fast food outlets take pictures of but don’t actually produce – mouthwateringly tasty and piled high with lots of good stuff in addition to a pattie within a crispy seedy bun – yum!

I would have still preferred sushi though….. turns out hubby would have done too after his carnivorous appetite was satisfied. I can’t say I blame his choice though as he rarely gets beef at home.

After an anxious start to the film, which looked like it might be both boring and depressing (plus an inward groan that Jude Law had managed to find his way on to the set), it got better quickly to the point we were both transfixed by the prospect of what the hell was going to happen next and captivated by each scene – which was as close a film could get to theatre. I have never seen a film where each shot – from the backdrop, to the actors’ positioning on screen to the music and the sound effects are all woven seamlessly together to produce story-telling choreography that has you glued to the screen. If film is a type of chocolate then ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ would be the darkest most intense type of chocolate that one morsel sucked for ages is enough to deliver delicious flavour. Ralph Fiennes Aka M. Gustav, is the cacao.

I also enjoyed the Director, Wes Anderson’s other film, the Fantastic Mr Fox, so he has a knack for on-screen story-telling.

As I missed Last night, another pound goes to UNICEF – this blog is a fundraiser for the charity – read more here.

Thanks for reading.

Movies that deserve trilogies etc

Im feeling christmassy. Log fires, yummy food has put me in the hibernating mood and this is made all the more cosier with a lot of TV viewing – from box sets to movies. OK its a bit couch potato but when you have been rushing around all year like a blue arsed fly why not vegetate on the sofa for a few days (well fat chance with kids arond but once they have gone to bed….maybe?)

So we are disppearing to Wales, Snowdonia to be exact, for a dose of snowy hikes, good pub grub and cosy cottage living. I want to go armed with some good films and TV programmes to watch and it got me thinking about films that are a) good (regardless of genre) and b) deserve to have a part 2, 3, 4 etc. Okay some don’t. I think the Fast and Furious series is a bit like marmite – you either love it or hate it. I love it because I am a petrol head. It won’t win any oscars but that’s not what it’s about. The only thing that slightly annoyed me about F&F 5 was the attempt to copy Ocean’s 11 and 12 when all the previous characters across the series suddenly became ‘experts’ in their field and all convened to perform a heist – Han (who overcame death for the new plot line) performed the Brad Pitt role by constantly eating throughout the film (if you watch the Ocean’s films Brad is eating a lot – think it makes him appear nonchalant).

Anyway, here are some of the films I think haven’t been exhausted in terms of the number of sequels:

– Back to the Future 4 (why not?) has anyone noticed that we are getting closer to 2015 but a million miles away from flying cars, see through ties, self-drying clothes and scheduled weather?  Not to mention hoverboards…..still waiting for those to be invented

– Ronin 2 – never tire of this film

– Miami Vice 2 – would have to have all the original cast though to be the same if not better

– Top Gun 2 (apparently it was on the cards until the director took his own life)

– Kick Ass 2 (I think this is in the making)

– Bridget Jones 3 (also in the pipeline)

– Human Traffic 2

– Trainspotting 2

– Easy Rider 2

– The Incredibles 2 – this is long overdue

I have run out of thinking juice but I’m sure many more could be added to this list. Not sure what’s on the horizon for 2013…….oh yeah…..another Fast & Furious film.

This blog is for Unicef. If you can help with my fundraising please visit Unicef online.

Thanks for reading.