Archive for the ‘review’ Category

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I skipped a day! But not Groundhog Day

August 5, 2016

In my defence, I was going to blog all about Suicide Squad when I got in from the midnight showing. But having been up for work from 2am and then spending the day in London with a friend, I wasn’t in any fit state to go to the cinema. Heading there in a couple of hours to catch it instead. I have a cinema subscription card, so for £17/month I can watch all the films I want. It’s pretty good for not feeling bad about last-minute cancellations!!

So instead, a brief review of Tim Minchin’s latest musical Groundhog Day.

We (husband and I) saw it last week, buoyed up by our love for Minchin’s witty comedic songs. And it was fine. There was a lot to like about it. I especially liked the cast, while my husband found it harder to shake off Bill Murray from the central role. I’m not going to summarise the story – see the film if you haven’t, it’s an absolute classic and much funnier than the musical could be. But it was done well enough. Most of the best jokes were direct lines from the film, though.

The songs were ok, not catchy enough to be singing them in the interval or after the show, but the lyrics were clear and made sense. Nothing stellar though, and I’d kind of been expecting stellar.

Additionally there were a few awkward almost anti-women moments, that felt really out of sorts for Minchin, and even a gay joke that didn’t sit too well (none of this was so bad as to veer into offensive – but knowing it’s been written by someone pretty ‘right-on’, it felt weird).

The staging though, that was pretty damn cool. Because they knew they’d have to repeat themselves a lot to get the Groundhog Day vibe, but they did it cleverly, so you never felt bored by that aspect. In one particular segment the main character had to end up back in bed regularly to show a day had passed, and it was done so skilfully that I grinned in delight, as if I was watching a magic show where I could actually believe in the magic.

We paid £22.50 per ticket and it was definitely worth that. Probably wouldn’t see it again, or buy the soundtrack. But since I know it’s a limited run, I thought I’d share what we thought of it.

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Hot Tub Time Travelling

April 28, 2010

So, I was lucky enough to go to a preview of Hot Tub Time Machine on monday night, but this it the first moment I’ve had to jot down a few thoughts about it. It’s not a full or proper review, because I don’t have time to look up directors, actors, etc. Just my overall thoughts.

Now, first I should say it’s not exactly my usual fare, filmwise – I’m not the hugest fan of the slapsticky run of American comedies we’ve had in recent years. But what the hell, it mentions time travel, so it had to have some redeeming features, right? The plot’s fairly basic – three middle-aged friends and one 20-yr old, end up in a hotel hot-tub trying to recapture a moment from the 80s and end up back in time, having to re-live moments of the three men’s lives so as not to destroy the space-time continuum.

Going back to the 80s is always fun. Even if the characters are a bit basic and stereotypical, and like I said before, some of the humour a little obvious for me. But, at its heart it still has a decent tale of friendship, loyalty and regaining the magical fearlessness of youth. And Chevy Chase as the mystical hot tub repair man (of course the time ‘machine’ gets broken and traps them in the past until it can be fixed).

I enjoyed my time in the cinema, but I’m not sure I’d normally have given it the time of day. It’s definitely pulp-y, watch-once and forget type cinema to me.

But I can’t really talk about it without mentioning the kind of British equivalent, another odd little comedy I watched recently (this time on DVD) called FAQ About Time Travel. Starring Chris O’Dowd from The IT Crowd, it’s a very British comedy take on the whole time travel question. You can tell this immediately as our trio of friends are awkward, geeky and understand the complex questions about how time travel might work.

It takes place in a pub, time travelling is not in a glam hot tub, but in a pub toilet. And instead of being whimsical, it actually has the main characters debating how time travel should work, in terms of changing the future. Where Hot Tub Time Machine is brash and in-your-face, FAQ About Time Travel is understated and witty – and although it’s not one I’d watch time and time again, if I had to buy one, it’d be the latter.

Anyone else seen either and have any comments? Or – what’s your favourite time travel film?

I’m not sure what my favourite is, perhaps Memento if that counts, but I’m thinking it probably doesn’t (asked my husband and he says it totally doesn’t!). I’ve heard Primer is good, but haven’t got my hands on it yet. But my favourite probably does have to go to one of Back to the Future, 12 Monkeys or Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure – which kind of proves that time travel and comedy can mix extremely well!

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Book Review: For One More Day

April 26, 2010

For my job I’m currently running two Readers Groups, an adult one and a children’s one. I thought I might as well jot down my thoughts on the books I get to read because of this (as opposed to the ones I read for pleasure, which I might comment on as well – especially as many are linked to other things in my life).

And the latest book I read was For One More Day by Mitch Albom (he famously wrote The Five People You Meet in Heaven, for the record). Now, just reading the back of the book I knew it would be a little heart-wrenching for me, as my father died around 8 months ago – and this is very much a book about how it would be if you got one more day with someone who’d died.

But, it’s also so much more than that, and drew me in by the sheer quality of the writing. Chick, our narrator for the majority of the book, is on the verge of suicide. His mother, who raised him for most of his life, died three years earlier, he invested in a dud scheme and his family have fallen apart to the extent his daughter doesn’t invite him to her wedding.

The book is Chick’s life, interspersed with letters his mother sent him, examples of how she stood up for him and how he didn’t stand up for her. And it’s the tale of a young boy/man who only ever wanted approval, respect and love from his father – a man who seemed only to want him occasionally.

It’s a really short book, like Albom’s others, and I read it voraciously. It’s hard to relate just how well written it is, and how quickly you get drawn into this tale, which does unravel to a satisfying conclusion. To say more would really be giving away the entire novel. And it’s not sci-fi or a comic, it’s totally not my usual – but having read it because I had to – I’m now a convert and would definitely recommend it if you happen to pick it up, or see it looking lonely in a library somewhere.