Category Archives: Films

Moby Dick (failure and success)


For so long this was a book I wanted to read, so when a gal pal was moving house and going through her paperbacks she passed her copy to me.  Finally, I would knuckle down and read the text.  Yes, adventure on the high seas, relive the moments of waves and wonder, the inter-relationships the strain and snaps of men so tightly confined toward one goal.  With much anticipation I started page 1 chapter 1 “My name is Ishmel” ……….

………. how quickly my enthusiasm depleted, how soon I became bogged down in the minutia of the language and of trying to maintain the concentration to build the epic picture on my mind as I turned to page two ……….

………. I soldiered on towards chapter two feeling comfortable in the concept that I would settle into the style.  Chapter three.  Onwards meeting Queequeg and visualising this curious being ……….

………. The rot set in, reading less and less and less often, putting off reading other books I was looking forward to.  I conceded defeat, this book is impossible!!!


I hired the DVD of the 1956 classic with Gregory Peck, Richard Basehart, et al.  Settling with a warm cuppachinno and a little expectation I watched the movie hoping to find I had got further through the book than I felt, but no before long I had passed my bookmark and we were only just setting sail!

The film sadly lacked something for me, I wanted the crew to mutiny at their obsessed captain, I was unconvinced by the sudden turnabout of one of the boat men who had been so against going for Moby, yet in the thrill of the battle he again and again set to attack the whale until all hands [bar one] were lost.


I am waiting for the 1998 adaptation with Patrick Stewart, Henry Thomas et al.  Maybe a more modern filmed viewing will again warm my heart to this tale.


Posted by on July 1, 2011 in Books, Films, Review


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Coco Before Chanel


As the title suggests, this film centres on her early years from her time in a grim orphanage where she learnt to be seamstress, through her attempts at being a professional singer up to the concurrent liaisons in the Edwardian era with the rich French playboy Etienne Balsan and the British industrialist Arthur “Boy” Capel.

While exploiting Balsan and loving Capel, she revolted against the exploitation of women and the restrictive fashions in clothes. She’s played by Audrey Tautou as a wilful, manipulative, increasingly confident woman, her bisexuality part of her independence. We see her develop by trial and error that loose, androgynous, simple elegance that was the keynote of her revolutionary style. We witness the birth of the little black dress and “la mode garçon”, the latter fashioned from borrowings from Balsan’s wardrobe.

Delightful to watch the debauched joir de vive of French aristocratic accepted life, the accepted precedent of the mistress kept hidden but everyone perfectly aware of who that person is and why they are there.  The sight that such people have genuine emotion and personal feelings but are trapped in a cycle that keeps them in their place [the times Coco departed Balsan only to return].

I even managed to keep up with the subtitles.

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Posted by on June 16, 2010 in Films, Review



Cider House Rules


It’s been ten years since this movie was first released, yes 10 years already!  The Internet Movie Database has the tag line “A story of how far we must travel to find out where we belong”.

I think this movie dips a white toe into many themes.  It’s a film that portrays a style of that is how things were in those days, society perceptions of topics such as abortion, adoption, incest, race.  It shows the indestructible resolve, yet vulnerability of young adults.  There are the consequences of decisions and actions.     The young desire to seek that just beyond the horizon; and there is a sense of how someone can try but not escaped their expected destiny and how they reconcile that.

As for the Cider House rules, six sentences written by those who forget the people they apply to cannot read and when they are red out are not irrelevant.

The movie is touching and light, as ever Michael Caine portrays a well meaning man with his own demons.  A back bone of the movie is abortion … a contentious issue as ever.  Whether it should happen at all, whether it not being legal results in back street mutilations and loss of life where as a medical practitioner procedure is safer.  The perception of adoption, at the beginning the baby Homer is adopted and returned because he made no sound [Caine is the narrator say its because orphaned children learn not to cry as it yields nothing] . Home is adopted again but rescued by Dr Larch [Caine] because he is beaten.  It shows how sick children are abandoned and some never leave the orphanage in its remote slightly rundown institutionalist environment.

When Homer leaves for the apple farm, his naivety of life is clear because he knows only the orphanage, its own microcosm community.  He falls in love with a friends girl friend, an unknown, unfamiliar, emotion, they begin a blossoming romance but she guilty of cheating behind her Fighter Pilot boyfriend and when he is returned from the war, paralysed, her sense of duty to stand by and care for her man causes her to end her relationship with Homer.

I like watching this movie and find a fresh nuance every time … and who can resist the fresh faced Tobey Maguire.


Posted by on June 5, 2010 in Films, Review



The Boat That Rocked


“Those drug takers, law breakers, bottom bashing fornicators”

LMAO ~ one of the funniest lines from a very entertaining movie.

I have watched this movie a couple of times and although the sub father/son plot is a tad naff and the flood sequence is a little fx, the film is fun and light.  I was not born to witness the era of pirate radio but when Radio Caroline had a resurgence in the 80’s I was and there was something thrilling about listening to a contraversial station. Many critics slammed the film as dull, which for me only means the film is well worth watching.  The use of music of the time was wonderful knitting in well to the story line and characters of the DJ’s.  Bill Nighy is classically eccentrically 60’s British, the DJ’s are cringingly authentic of the era.  Watch the bonus deleted scenes, the Abbey Road scene is amusing but by far discovering the name of Sir Alaister’s secretary along with the young civil servant just adds comic genius to the absurdity of laws and attitudes designed to steer us from profamity and immorality, only in a British semi-satirical film would you get civil servants called Twatt and Clitt!!  Brannagh portrayed beautifully the typical upper middle classed establishment ambassador who labeled anything young, modern and forward thinking as the devil at work.

Now children, don’t laugh but yes Granny and Granddad really did wear clothing that vibrant, that strange, and yes the skirts and dresses were that short [gawd I feel ancient now].

This movie is going on my christmas dvd list. I am trying to decide whether to download the OST from iTunes {£8.99} or Amazon downloads [£5.97}, or get the cd .. gotta watch it again because I have got to discover the name of that one track that is bugging me.

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Posted by on May 4, 2010 in Films, Review