Mondaying

Right now, I am mostly…

Watching : I went to see Ant-Man in IMAX last week, and I totes loved it. I particularly enjoyed being able to wear my new necklace, and though I paired with a Star Wars t-shirt for work, I made amends for the actual film, and changed into a Marvel t-shirt.

Reading : I’m currently making my way through Paper Towns, by John Green, before the film comes out at the end of this week. I’m enjoying it, but I’m finding it slightly long. There doesn’t feel as though there’s an end in sight, and it feels like I’ve been reading it for ages. That might be down to my attention span though, which doesn’t feel in tip-top condition just at the moment. I’m also still reading The Lost World by Michael Crichton and The Royal We by Heather Morgan and Jessica Cocks. I had hoped to get at least one of those finished in time for my July books round up, but it didn’t happen. Books roundup to follow this week!

Crafting : I’m trying cross-stitching again. As you can see from this photo, I don’t have a great track record. In my life, I think I’ve finished one cross-stitching project, and I gave that away as a present. But I’m working on a New York one at the moment, and so far, it’s going well. Even if I did buy some new threads at the weekend and then throw them away by accident.

Missing : Not only do I have to put up with no Mayo and Kermode for weeks in the summer, I also now have to put up with no Mayo on Radio 2 for two weeks. I hate the summer.

Tidying : I was thrilled to receive a little box of goodies as a thank you for a recent blog post, and in it came this little pouch for my headphones! I’m always having to untangle them from my keys at the bottom of my bag, so this is perfect, and a lovely colour too!

 

Photographing : The office dogs provide ample opportunity for photography, particularly when they are doing things like this. Dolly had just had enough on Friday afternoon (echoing my own thoughts), and Toby made us laugh by looking at us through the window on the door.

I Watched That 012

It Follows

I’m still not 100% comfortable watching horror films, but I think my enjoyment just about outweighs my discomfort. That was the case with It Follows, which I heard almost universally good things about before I saw it. I’m not horror cine-literate, so it didn’t appeal to me in the same way it did other people, with callbacks and references to beloved classic horror films. But I thought it was great nonetheless; a story of a young woman who, after having sex with a man, finds that he has passed a curse onto her that manifests itself in a series of creepy characters who follow her wherever she goes. Maika Monroe is wonderful in the lead role, and it’s a suitably macabre and atmospheric.

Chappie

I’ve not seen any of Neil Blomkamp’s previous work, though I know everyone is full of praise for District 9. Chappie is yet another AI story (between this, Ex Machina and Big Hero 6, there have been a few at the cinema this year), set in the near-future, where robots are part of everyday life, in this case part of law enforcement. Chappie is the main robot that we get to know and apparently love, though to me he veered into annoying more than adorable. Chappie isn’t the worst film I’ve seen all year, but it’s certainly not the best.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

I managed to see two Dev Patel films in quick succession by accident, rather than design! I haven’t seen The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, but I heard all good things, and I figured I wouldn’t have missed so much that I wouldn’t know what was going on. This is obviously a film for a certain type of cinema-goer; the cinema was packed, and Hannah and I were probably the youngest people in there! I have to say, for all that people complain about children behaving badly in the cinema, it’s older people who seem to have more of a problem sticking to the code. I’ve never experienced more chatting, in voices at a normal indoor volume, as I did at this film. That being said, the film was fine, if overlong. Bill Nighy outshines everyone by being totally and utterly incredible, and looking very nice in a suit.

Still Alice

It felt as though we were waiting an awfully long time for Still Alice to hit UK screens, but it was totally worth the wait. Julianne Moore is, of course, always a sensation, but she was in utterly heartbreaking form here as Alice, a woman of fifty who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Really, truly great, and completely deserving of her Oscar. The supporting cast were in good form too, particularly Kristen Stewart and Alex Baldwin.

X+Y

Films like X+Y are why I’m so glad I have my Cineworld Unlimited card, because I’m not sure that I’d have ended up seeing it if not. Asa Butterfield plays a young teenager with on the autism spectrum who is a maths genius, and ends up in Taiwan trying to win a place on the GB team for the International Mathematic Olympiad. He’s a very watchable young man, with an awful lot of talent, and he does really, really well here. Eddie Marsan, Rafe Spall and Sally Hawkins round out a wonderful supporting cast, and the result is a lovely film that I’ll most certainly be watching again.

Frank

Ah, Frank. Beloved by film critics, and making it on to just about every ‘Best of 2014′ list, but ultimately, I think it was just a little too weird for me. I don’t have the grounding of knowing anything about Frank Sidebottom, and this just kind of went over my head a little bit. I think maybe it didn’t have my full attention, which didn’t help, but looking back on it, I can’t honestly say that I have any real idea what was going on, and I can’t say that I would want to watch it again. Maybe if I come across it on Film4 in a couple of years, I’ll give it another go.

Because I’m totally rubbish, this is a roundup of films I saw in March. It’s 25-30 for 2015, and I watched my 82nd this week. So I’ve got a way to go before I’m up to date! But I’m committed to getting there, so expect to see quite a few I Watched That posts in the coming weeks!

33 Before 33 ~ Books based on films

It’s been fairly slow progress on my aim to read ten books based on films; the ones I have read seem to have been accidental rather than by design! But I’m up to four already, with another one in progress, so I’m going to make a concentrated effort in the next few months.

First up, back in March, I read Under the Skin by Michel Faber. I’m not sure what put the idea in my head; I obviously knew about the film from last year, and though I haven’t seen it, I know that it is held in very high esteem. I loved the book; at first I found it impossible to put down, and then I really slowed up with it for some reason. I think that’s probably because ultimately it did make me feel uncomfortable, but not in a way that makes me think negatively towards it. More in a way that made me question certain things! In case you aren’t aware of the story, Isserley is a young woman who spends her days driving up and down the motorways of the Scottish Highlands, looking for male hitchhikers to pick up. To say more would ultimately ruin the story (though, if like me, you have listened to a review of the film, you probably already know the crux of the story), but it’s definitely a book I recommend. I haven’t seen the film, but I know it’s very different to the book.

Jurassic Park is almost certainly in my top ten favourite films. I have loved it from the first moment I saw it, and it’s one of my earliest cinematic memories (despite being ten at the time I saw it, and I know I saw many films at the cinema before this). So it’s somewhat surprising that it took me this long to get around to reading the book. I really don’t know why it took me so long, but after I had seen Jurassic World, and having watched Jurassic Park for the seventieth time, I ordered the book on a whim. (It’s rare that I actually buy books.) I raced through it, and I absolutely loved it. It has increased my love for the film, as I’m able to watch it through a slightly different prism now, and taken on its own, the book is just amazing. Slightly darker than the film, with similarly heart-stopping set pieces, it goes further in establishing some really well-written characters.

Four down, six days to go on number four of 33 Before 33 – read ten novels on which films are based

 

Burger Club – Love Thy Burger

A little while ago, my friend Lucy and I decided to go out for a burger. It was one of those ‘Let’s do that’ type of plans that didn’t happen for ages, but when it did, we wanted to try and find the best burger we could. The ruminations on this, which came to include our friend Laura, turned into a desire to find the best burger in Colchester, which is near to where we all live.

Our Burger Club plan is hitting a major stumbling block in the next couple of weeks, as Lucy is leaving us to head to university in Kent, and so our club meetings will have to be during holiday times when she comes back to see us. But it’s hopefully going to be something of an ongoing thing, so I hope this is just the first of many posts about burgers!

Not really knowing where to start, I put out a tweet asking for advice, and got a couple of suggestions. In the end, we decided to try Love Thy Burger, a small restaurant on Colchester High Street. It’s nothing fancy, and you wouldn’t plan to spend an awful lot of time in there, but it was a nice place to sit for an hour and eat and chat. The decor is deliberately industrial, it’s clean, and the staff were friendly and helpful. It’s a place where you go and order at the counter, which gives you an idea as to the type of place this is.

 ~ The Burger of Liberty. Forgive the less than amazing photography skills! ~

We all had something different from the menu. Lucy had the Scorchio, with chilli jam, Monterey Jack Cheese, smoky streaked bacon, jalapeno and lime mayonnaise, and LTB’s own spicy sauce. She liked it, but declared that it was probably a little hot for her. Perfect, I should imagine, if you like your food spicy!

Laura had the Cheesy Lee, with red onion marmalade, Monterey Jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle and ketchup. She liked hers a lot!

I had the Burger of Liberty with red onion marmalade, pastrami, gherkin, American mustard, Monterey Jack cheese, tomato, lettuce and mayonnaise. I think I liked my burger the most out of the three of us; it was the pastrami that really gave it the edge! It tasted like America, which I think has a lot to do with the aforementioned pastrami, and I really liked it.

We got all three sides that are available; rosemary fries, onion rings and coleslaw. The fries are great – the rosemary really adds something different!

Ultimately, Love thy Burger is a really nice place to grab a quick bite. It feels nice to sit in there and eat and chat, and the staff were friendly. I’ll definitely be going back; it’s the perfect place to grab something quick and the burgers taste great.

 

Mondaying

Right now, I am mostly…

Listening : In the last two weeks, I’ve listened to thirty or so Empire podcast episodes. I used to listen a lot, and then a certain other filmic podcast stole my loyalty away. Now, with Mark and Simon taking their annual what-feels-like-four-months off, I felt as though I should go back to Empire, and boy am I glad I did. I can’t stop listening; Helen O’Hara is my new crush. I can never start listening tonew things without going all the way back to the start, so I’m currently at the beginning of 2013. I’ll be up to date within a couple of weeks though!

Reading : My reading has dropped off again a little bit lately, but I have two books on the go that I’m hoping to finish before the end of the month, so they can go into my July roundup post.

Re-designing : You may have noticed that I’ve had a little bit of a tinker with my blog design. I can’t quite get exactly what I want, but with all the criteria I have, I think this is the closest I am going to get. I’m planning a new header, and a few other tweaks, but other than that, I’m fairly happy!

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Cuddling : I managed to have a cuddle with a cat for an entire film last week; I was staying with my friend who was house-sitting, and there are three Tonkinese cats in the house. One of them was not willing to sit nicely, so she couldn’t sit with me, but one of the others was, and so we had a nice cuddle while watching a terrible film.

Finding : A little while ago I realised that I had lost my Cineworld Unlimited card. It wasn’t in any of the places it should have been, and I ended up just reporting it lost and ordering a new one. Of course, yesterday, I found it. It was in my denim jacket, which I had already checked, but obviously not that thoroughly. I’ve also lost my little collection of tickets that I’ve been collecting this year. They are somewhere in my house, but I just can’t put my hands on them. These are infinitely more valuable to me than the card, because I can’t replace them!

Collecting : I am collecting email addresses for a Photo an Hour email. I’m planning on sending out a reminder a couple of days before the designated day each month, so if you would like to join in (or know someone else who would) please leave your email address here.

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Writing : I wrote another Twitter poem (a poem made entirely of replies I’ve received on Twitter). I like this one.

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