Category Archives: film

Diary Reads

I have to admit I’ve often thought if I was to become a bona fide author I’d consider a diary format novel. It has the simplicity of being able to start and stop and rant at random for long or short clips as it suits you. Because that’s what real diaries probably do.

The one possible exception being Anne Frank’s diary. I’ve always found that a tedious and difficult read, not to mention depressing. Almost every entry lasts forever as she had nothing else to do except write. Poignant yes. But I’ve never managed to share the enthusiasm so many others have for the book but saying that out loud is a no-no. Like admitting you are a blatant racist who kicks puppies for a hobby.

I took the latest Bridget Jones’ Diary out the library. I detested the first book and never read the second as consequence. Funny enough, I don’t mind the movies as much. My issue with the books are they really are written like someone who can’t be bothered to put words down for eternity but feels compelled to write something down. In truth, they also read a lot like emails from a certain member of my family who assumes you already know the context of whatever the story is. And who leaves out random words that would help the flow of language because somehow this works out as ‘abbreviation’ and ‘time saving’. Bridget Jones’ Diary is written in exactly the same same style. The style of one who knows better but can’t be asked to spell check or pause long enough between brain and keyboard to ensure that all the words in their heads have actually made it onto the page.

Most of all though I detest how ridiculously sanctimoniously fortunate Bridget is. Oh, yes, of course, especially in the third book she has undergone great personal tragedy. But then many others have too. Most people do not, however, manage to live in the very centre of London (even if it is run down and noisy) by themselves in a one bed flat. They don’t manage to not only stay employed despite blatant incompetence, personal issues and hangovers but get promoted, moving steadily onto a dream job. Despite gross indecision and rash behaviour have the option of landing a few men at the same time and being given enough second and third chances to pick the right one. They don’t naturally land up being able to somehow stay on the borders of Hampstead Heath where property is at a premium playing at being scatty, bohemian and despite everything, ‘lovable’.

I remember rewatching the movie when I was single and convinced I’d be alone forever. I still have those days. The movie was screamingly more funny than I remembered because I WAS now old enough to be that singleton, which hadn’t worried me so much when I first watched it. And tragically more sad when it ended and I realised in frustration Bridge had, despite everything, landed a man, The Man. And I was still, like she was at the start, sitting on my sofa in my PJ’s, in a dead end job, single, with no clear indication how to move on.




Filed under book review, film, Relationships, social

Divergent – Veronica Roth

I’m not going to lie. This is not a book I would have purchased naturally but it came as a ‘free’ Kindle option. (Also not a pro for me as I don’t really like e-books. I can’t flip through the pages at random and start and finish as I wish, and don’t tell me you can put electronic bookmarks in, it’s not the same thing at all.)

It was the best of the bunch offered on some random ‘deal’ as other options clearly included what was a ‘female fluff romance’ option, a historic novella of sorts, a ‘dark thriller’ and a ‘comedic’ option. Basically they took a broad sprinkling of mass readership and decided to promote about six authors.

It turns out Divergent has actually been made into a blockbuster movie. Something that I missed. And it turns out the third instalment of the movie is due out this year so I obviously live under a rock somewhere. (I am not going to see the movie, the girl is described as petite and blonde and interesting looking, the lead actress may be amazing but she is none of these so I’m annoyed already.)

It turned out to be a fairly fast paced read. Dystopian settings are very much the setting for both novels and movies at present and this fits both categories. Given the author is under 30, it’s actually amazing the pace she seems to be writing these books. Clearly there is a lot going on in her head.

The storyline isn’t exactly unique – the world blew up and now different factions rule the city, with 16 year olds obliged to pick the faction that best suits their personality type. The lead character is ‘divergent’ in that she could fit into three of the five categories and people always land in one in their aptitude tests. (They clearly never met me, there is no way ONE would have worked with my indecision) She threw in some interesting twists in developing this and for the most part writes well. The issue is really that some questions aren’t really answered in the first book and after being really naughty and wiki’ing the sequels I’m not sure they are really answered at all. Like who is in charge of the rest of the United States. Whether there is a great overarching authority. What genetic damage actually means.

I also find it a bit one dimensional to assume that one would grow up to be a tattooed freak just because one was born into the Dauntless crew and had to be fearless. Or automatically be an academic if part of Erudite. She does explain┬áthat the aptitude tests would allow you to determine a change of faction in your teens but it seemed nurture definitely won over nature as most people stay with their factions and if this is the case the gene thing didn’t make sense.

Maybe I just need to read the sequels. But I don’t have the energy to go through another e-book on my phone or search actively for second hand copies of the next two books either.

(I believe there is a’free’ ebook that explains many of my questions but it seems to be only available in the States. Like that’s not discrimination.)

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The Daily Wail

So I went on holiday and came back to discover that Plus One had somehow succeeded in falling UP a series of stairs, thereby breaking a lot of crockery we own. It is just as well I was feeling cheap and indecisive when I insisted we buy a mediocre but really economical set of plates and bowls because I didn’t have the gumption to make a decision on really nicely designed plates I could live with for years.

Apparently, Not-Greek-God heard Plus One fall and came and said it was his own fault for not leaving the lights on to the top flight of stairs where we live. Now, I do not like that light on. There is enough residual light through the ENORMOUS windows and the floor below without it. On encourages random strangers up the stairs to see what is behind the door at the top of it. (There are only two doors at the top, one to a toilet we keep clean and one to our ‘home’.) The light also disturbs me when I can see it on through the crack at the bottom of the door from my bed. Don’t ask but it is like every American horror movie nightmare seeing the little sliver of light.

Plus One admitted to me he fell mostly because he was shuffling round in slip slops, not because he couldn’t see. He also doesn’t really like the light on because in that building lights that go on never go off and people do just bang into your room without knocking, highly lit areas just encourage them like moths to a flame.

The thing is, he and Not-Greek-God seem to have developed some kind of a placid but intense dislike for each other. This is partly because Not-Greek-God views the kitchen next to his room as his. He doesn’t like me clattering about in it when I do dishes because I am noisy. He doesn’t like Plus One cooking with the door open because he thinks it is a fire hazard. He also resents Plus One turning him down when he tried to borrow some stuff off us.

We are not that fond of Not-Greek-God either. He has been known to leave the stove and oven on and unsupervised for undetermined but extensive lengths of time, with no sign he plans on cooking or returning. He does clean up his dishes but will not fish out anything he drops into the plug hole. He also seems oblivious to food he drops on the stove/counter/floor. When making dolmades for example, you will find scatterings of dried rice grains like shrivelled up maggots for days after on the countertop.

We also suspect he may be the person who sometimes uses the toilet but doesn’t always grasp flushing or not dribbling on the seat.

This has resulted in a rather ridiculous standoff.

Despite the fact that I have taken to leaving on an additional light halfway up the stairs in the evenings only that supplies enough light for anyone of normal eyesight, someone keeps switching on the light to our landing. At all sorts of funny hours of the night.

We switch it off. Someone switches it on. It is tiresome because if we go away for a few days now, it is quite clear we are not there and you can try break in because there is noone playing on/off light games with you.

It’s bizarre but annoying. A sort of silent warfare. I’m just hoping it sticks to just this. Because the next step is where he tries to do us in for breaking some house rule and have us evicted and we try convince the powers that be he smokes in his room (because I have a high suspicion he does).

(PS old letterpress people, I can’t figure out how to put a post on the original converted wordpress account they transferred our work to or how to access it)

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Filed under film, Housing

Elysium and World War Z

I went to see Elysium yesterday. Movies are prohibitively expensive in England compare to abroad.

The other half was fascinated by the bad guy, M Kruger, and googled all about him afterwards. Apparently he and the director were educated at Redhill School in Johannesburg. This just reinforced the possibility that they are taking a poke of fun at South Africans and the not so illustrious past we have. Especially as they are both from a liberal left wing background. There is, I suspect, little change they actually speak with the accents portrayed!

I do have a serious issue though with going to the movies. I don’t do it very often any more. I spent a fair amount of time after Fifth Element complaining about the stupidity of Ultimate Evil looking for the Fifth Element to be destroyed instead of being evil elsewhere.

Elysium I thought was hectically unrealistic in assuming if all men were once again created equal the world, and the five pointed star in the sky would be better places to live. Because we cannot all be equal and there still need to be leaders and people who clean toilets. Not to mention why would a health scanner thing be so cheap if you were rich every house has one and yet you can’t do charitable works by putting one on earth to help the poor out. Surely some of the rich would believe in philanthropy? And why can’t the robots make more robots if they can act as almost intelligent butlers and security duty why use manual people labour at all?

World War Z was loosely based off a novel that was originally based off a comic how to avoid a zombie attack guide. I picked holes in that too. I’m not sure how the zombies landed up becoming zombies so fast. In 12 or was it 20 seconds. Fast.

And if you were injected with a serum that made you appear ‘sick’ to them how would you actually not be sick then? Because if you got inoculated then you would be healthy again in the long run. Otherwise surely anyone with a chickenpox jab should have been okay as we carry mutated possibly life threatening disease then. It would have made more sense to say people purposefully chose HIV instead of becomign a zombie! Hey, large chunks of South Africa would be fine. (Ironically in the book we were due to hectic antiapartheid against zombies restrictions.)

Basically I am going to struggle with cinema now. No wonder I love film of the past. You expected Fred Astaire to dance well but never to be really clever about the plotline!


Filed under film