Tag Archives: film review

2011 Project365 (days193-194)

13th July:

13th July 2011

This evening after work we went to a preview screening of this amazing documentary. It’s not a great photo, but it’s an amazing film – please please if you get the chance to see it, do. Though it is liable to make you very very angry. Not just about the vile Trump, though he is more than bad enough – I am horrified by the actions of the police and particularly by the lack of action on the part of the planning authorities in Aberdeenshire. There’s more information about the film here and more information about the Tripping Up Trump campaign here. After the film they had a Q&A session with the director, Anthony Baxter, plus a representative from the NUJ in Scotland and Glagsow University geomorphologist (and expert on coastal erosion) Dr Jim Hansom, and closed with our hero Alastair MacIntosh reading from his poem O Donald Trump, Woe Donald Trump. It’s long (he didn’t read it all, but did read a good chunk of it), but well well worth the read. And, in case you didn’t notice earlier, I really really really really recommend the film. It gives a voice to the locals threatened by Trump and his cronies, and moved me to tears.

12th July:

12th July 2011

Having said at the end of May that I wouldn’t be marking any essays till October, the other week my manager at the OU phoned to ask if I could take on some marking for a group whose tutor was off sick. No rest for the wicked. I just finished one lot, I have one more set of essays to mark which I will do by the weekend. Then that will be it till October (haven’t we heard that somewhere before?).

The happiest girl in the world

On Thursday we went to the wonderful Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT) to see a new Romanian film, “The Happiest Girl in the World”. There’s a review of the film from the Guardian here. There was also an (English) article on a Romanian TV station blog about the burgeoning Romanian film industry, the blog itself doesn’t appear to exist any more but the article still appears to be cached, here.

I’m not sure that HD is that convinced about the Romanian film renaissance (I’ve dragged him along to several films now!) – but I for one am really appreciating it. Apart from anything else it means I have an hour or two when I can listen to the language as it’s spoken properly (as opposed to reading it myself, when it sounds like Romanian with an English accent in my head). I was pleased that I was able to follow a lot of the film with minimal reliance on the subtitles, and when the subtitles appeared before the dialogue I could guess what was going to be said reasonably well.

The film itself was fun, I enjoyed it, though I’m not sure I’d quite describe it as a comedy. It reminded me a lot of Mike Leigh/Ken Loach type films, where although you could probably say they were comedies it’s more the kind of comedy where you smile because you know it’s so true to life rather than because it’s funny haha. Certainly when they were filming the advert (over and over again) it reminded me of lots of adverts I’ve seen on Romanian TV over the years, where they get the winner to read out a script, flash their prize and promote the product. And the basic premise – 16 year old Delia’s parents wanting to sell her prize so they could get the money and no longer have to struggle – certainly struck me as very true to life.

So, if you get the chance I’d say it was worth seeing. Other Romanian films I’ve seen include “12:08 East of Bucharest” (quite why it’s called that in English when the Romanian title actually translates as “Was it or wasn’t it?” I don’t know) – this did make me laugh; “4 Months 3 Weeks 2 days” (about a girl seeking an illegal abortion during the Ceausescu years – harrowing but scarily true to life); and “The Death of Mr Lazarescu” – again touted as a black comedy, but I’d say the operative word was definitely black. All well worth seeing, in my view. A couple of others I’ve not seen yet but which come highly recommended are “California Dreamin'” (I have this on DVD, just not ever got round to it, must rectify that soon) and “Tales from the Golden Age” (produced by “4,3,2”‘s director Cristian Mungiu) which got rave reviews on Radio 4.

I think I’ve written before about how I find watching films quite stressful. Maybe it’s because these are Romanian so I’m curious and know the culture and a lot of the background stuff already I can cope with them more than many. Whatever, I think they’re worth a view if you get the chance.

In other news, we’re off to Solas for the day tomorrow (Surfing and Tractor Girl amongst others are already there for the whole weekend so am looking forward to catching up with them). There’s no way we’re going to make it to Greenbelt this year sadly, far too near to my thesis deadline, but this will be nice to get a little taste of it a bit closer to home anyway.


Last night HD and I went to the cinema for the first time in absolutely ages, to see the latest Pixar film, Up. We splashed out and went for the 3D showing. We both loved it – definitely a great one for all the family. Grumpy old man, goofy kid, goofy animals, baddy, adventure – brilliant stuff.

There seemed to be something wrong with the air conditioning though. It kept blowing bits of dust into our eyes, so they kept watering throughout the film 😉

There’s a preview here. Lots of laugh out loud moments, but you’d better take your tissues, just in case there’s an air conditioning problem in your cinema as well.

It’s a Wonderful Life

For the last 3 years the Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT) has done a thing at Christmas of having multiple showings of the classic film “It’s a Wonderful Life” in the 2 weeks leading up to Christmas, finishing on Christmas Eve.  Last year I went to get tickets but had left it till the last minute (now, what on earth was going on this time last year?!) and it was all sold out.  This year I was a bit more organised, so HD and I went up to town today for the 1 o’clock showing.

I’d never seen the film before, and can’t believe that I’d left it this long before seeing it.  It was fantastic!  They don’t make them like that any more, that’s for sure.  I cried like a baby, especially at the end but also in the middle (even HD confessed to not being entirely unmoved), but wasn’t embarrassed as I could hear sniffing all over the cinema so I know I wasn’t the only one!  It was a really lovely way to get into the Christmas mood.

Since being home I’ve marked a few essays, and am now probably about half way through.  I’m so bored with them – only one or two As so far (usually I give quite a few), no Epic Fails and, disappointingly, only one comedy typo so far (which is a really common one – talking about Stalin liquidising the kulaks rather than liquidating them, someone does it every year).  I have also noticed an interesting phenomenon – this is totally unscientifically-based, but over the 4 years that I’ve been doing this, it seems that essays written in Arial font are loads more likely to not be very good.  I wonder why that is?

I think I’ve got time to mark a few more before we head out to midnight mass (at 11.30, go figure).  So I shall sign off wishing you a very happy Christmas, and whether this is a difficult or joyful time for you that you know the peace of Christ this Christmas.

Lazy Days

I’ve just waved HD off to drive himself back down south after a lovely lazy weekend in Glasgow. Yesterday we were dirty stop-ins 😉 and didn’t get up till 2.30pm! I haven’t done that for years and years and years! I felt a bit bad that having driven all this way just for a couple of days all we did yesterday when we did eventually get up was go to the tip and then the supermarket, and watch a DVD (“Walk the Line”, very good, we liked it) in the evening, but HD said he really enjoyed just being home and relaxing. I know I moan a lot about all the travelling and commuting, but at least I get to come home pretty regularly. He’s been able to come much more sporadically, but I was reminded this weekend how, although it’s not necessarily the most comfortable or luxurious or gorgeous flat in the world, it is somewhere where we can relax and just *be*, and that’s really important.

Today after church we went to lunch at the home of another couple from church. It is kind of ironic, in a church with an average age of about 85, that one of the only other couples our age there are a guy who’s a geeky beardy maths type, and his wife has degrees in Russian and Czech and started (although didn’t complete) a PhD in something to do with central/eastern Europe. So not like us at all then!!!! She also happens to be an amazing cook, and we didn’t take much persuading to take a couple of huge slabs of her ginger cake home (well it would have been rude not to. I do hate being rude).

Mamma Mia

I’ll write about WOMAD soon, but will wait until I’ve got round to sorting out my pictures. Suffice to say it was fabulous, we enjoyed it very much 🙂

This evening I went to see the film Mamma Mia with some people from work. I have to say, it was the most hilarious evening, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. A non-intellectual evening was just what I needed.

I’m trying to figure out what was more traumatic – Pierce Brosnan singing S.O.S. (the entire cinema collapsed laughing), or the fact that Mr Darcy has morphed into David Cameron.

I couldn’t help myself singing along, and I must admit I was jigging along in my seat. I so want the DVD for Christmas!


Yesterday evening HD and I went to see the new Indiana Jones film. It was very silly, but I enjoyed it. Cultural stereotypes, obvious baddies and goodies, one character you didn’t know whose side he was on, a bit of love interest, mad artefacts, and a scene with critters that makes you go “eeeewwwwww!!” Yup, that’d be an Indiana Jones film then.

In other news, I’m heading back to Glasgow later and then almost immediately leaving again to speak at a student conference. So I’ll be back blogging towards the end of the week (unless something massively blogworthy happens on the train, in which case I’ll check in again later this evening. But it doesn’t usually – last time the most blogworthy thing was that my seat was right by the toilet so I spent the entire journey wanting to puke. So not blogworthy at all).


We went to see Happy-Go-Lucky last night, the latest Mike Leigh film. We both really enjoyed it, though were not impressed with the cinema not accepting a Scottish £20! Like many Mike Leigh films it was largely based around the characters, with them at the fore more so than any plot. I liked it because I used to live with primary school teachers (Poppy, the main character is a primary school teacher, as is Zoe her flatmate) and the scenes of them preparing lessons and actually teaching did ring very true to me (and also reminded me of life in the early-mid90s – rented flats, pub on Friday night, thinking that Camden market was the height of cool, all that sort of thing). It also showed London in a good light, just as it is – not fluffy like “Notting Hill” or menacing like all those gangster movies that have appeared over the years, but just as I remembered.

I couldn’t figure out why the scene with the tramp was included, it didn’t make any sense to me and had nothing really to do with the rest of the film at all, and the guy she ended up dating seemed a bit ordinary to me, for a girl as quirky as Poppy, but apart from that I did enjoy the film, and would definitely recommend it. The actress who played Zoe (the flatmate) looked really familiar (HD said he thought so too afterwards) but I didn’t recognise the actress’ name. I don’t know if I’ve seen her in something else, or if she reminds me of someone I know in real life. At one point I was wondering if I’d ever been her health visitor, but I’m sure that’s not it! Actually her character also reminded me a little bit of Auntie Doris in character, but she wasn’t who I was thinking of. How annoying, I wonder who it is she looks like?

Wiblog entry for 28/04/2008

So, HD has a new (contract, till the end of the year) job. Hooray. Except that it’s in a not-very-interesting southern town (which he describes as “like Milton Keynes but without the architecture”) (so Kerensa, in answer to the inevitable question, no it’s not the job in the Ancient Roman City, sorry about that), which is going to make life a bit more complicated (though not impossible). He starts next week, so we need to find him somewhere to live, where I can work from home too – as I’ve finished teaching I can spend the summer dividing my time between there and here.

A good thing though is that my godson lives in not-very-interesting southern town, and I’m not entirely convinced he’d recognise me from Adam, so hopefully we’ll get to catch up a bit and I can be a bit less of an absentee godmother (which reminds me, I think it’s his birthday soon. If I remember this then I will have managed 50% of the godchildren’s birthdays, which probably isn’t very impressive. But better than 0%).

The job was the one that he didn’t catch either train for last Monday. The interview was rearranged so we drove down (having decided that perhaps getting the train wasn’t meant to be) and stayed overnight at my mum and dad’s place – it’s the first time we’ve seen them since the wedding so was good to catch up. And then this weekend we’ve been in York where we ate lots and went to the pictures (we saw Persepolis, an animated film based on the true life story of the graphic artist Marjan Satrapi. It’s very good – worth seeing). We also went to a shipmeet and did a bit of shopping, saw lots of friends and generally had a fab time as usual.

I think that’s me up to date. Hopefully my blogging will be a bit more interesting next month. Yay’s not the only one lacking a bit of the X factor.


Yesterday saw us heading out to Edinburgh to meet up with some other people from Ship of Fools. It was fun to see people again (nobody new for me to meet, though there were a couple of people that HD hadn’t met before) and catch up. During the lunch there was football on a large screen, showing the first semi-final from this year’s Scottish Cup between Queen of the South (first division) and Aberdeen (from the SPL – Scotland’s equivalent of the Premiership down south). Having bumped into Derf and scz at Queen St station heading for Hampden (he’s an Aberdeen fan) we had half an interest in the match – at one point there were 5 goals in about as many minutes, and the end result was QoS winning 4-3. It’s not often I like having football on while eating, especially with other people, but it was quite exciting.

After lunch we all (apart from Wet Kipper, who’d already been) went along to the Ansel Adams exhibition. He was the leading American landscape photographer, and some of the photos really were stunning. Well worth the visit – though if you’re around Edinburgh and want to go, you’d better hurry up as it closes next weekend. We had thought instead about going to Edinburgh Castle, as this weekend Historic Scotland (the UpNorth equivalent of English National Heritage, for those of you down south) was having a free weekend, and the castle is usually extortionate (though well worth the money). We eventually decided that as it was free it would be heaving, and both of us had been before, and this may be the only chance to see the Ansel Adams photos in this country. I think we made the right choice. As we walked along Princes Street towards the place where the exhibition was, looking up at the castle you could see loads and loads of people on the battlements.

Once we got home we watched a DVD that we’d got as a wedding gift, Rivers and Tides which is about the sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. We both really like his work (he was one of the sculptors whose work we saw at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park on Easter Saturday), and both enjoyed the DVD a lot. Like many artists discussing their work he did occasionally sound a bit Pseud’s Corner, but never in an inaccessible way, and I found I loved his reflections on the processes of working with nature (he works with natural objects – leaves, rocks, ice, trees, bracken, all sorts – many of which are quite vulnerable to the elements and so are sometimes quite ephemeral, though others have a hugeness and solidity about them which is very impressive and awe-inspiring, for me at least). I particularly loved when they showed him at work on a beach and the sculpture he was working on (a cone-shaped cairn) kept collapsing – he talked about how this particular sculpture had collapsed four times, but each time he started again he felt he understood the rocks a bit better, so he was able to build up the sculpture higher each time before it collapsed again. I really loved the thought that the longer you spend getting to know the medium – whatever it is you’re working with – the more you understand it, the more intuitive you become with it. It reminded me of my own work – the interviews and the literature and everything is just the beginning, the more I immerse myself in it the more understanding I gain and the more creative and intuitive I can be. HD has written a similar reflection on his blog, about the same bit of the film, in relation to his line of work (programming) – I think that art at its best can do that, speak the same message in all sorts of different contexts.

And now I’m starting to sound all Pseud’s Corner myself 😀 Anyway – worth a look if you come across it. It’s also beautifully filmed and (I thought) very sensitive and not intrusive – a great way to spend an hour and a half.