Thursday, May 29, 2008

The limit

So today I finally hit my coping limit at work. Things have been getting progressively shitter since Christmas - all exacerabated by the fact that I am actually quite sick but trying to carry on. We're merging with another organisation and on top of that we're being restructured. I haven't had a boss with more than 3 minutes to spare for me since January. My lovely colleague is now moving on to a new job (which is v. good for him so am glad really). So out of an office of 3 that leaves just me. I'm sat at my desk (sods law that my boss is actually in next door today) feeling pretty tearful. My colleague is on leave. I am on my own and I haven't even managed to eat lunch today. I wish I wasn't so stressed, but with feeling so desperately ill I just don't seem to be able to stop. Meep.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lady in the Water

This film pretty much sunk without trace on release in the UK at least, and reading the reviews on, it isn't hard to see why. Yet I'm a Shylaman fan, so damn it I'm rented it from Amazon and now I feel compelled to write about it.

So first, why did it get such a bad reception?

1) What bugs me is if things aren't perfect, or near perfect, they get slagged off as if they were 100% crap, but Shylaman's films aren't perfect, in fact they've got less perfect as he's gone along as he's pushed his boundaries further and perhaps as his ego has got rather bigger. But that is no reason not to see and enjoy Lady in the Water for the perfect things in it that are contained within its imperfection.

2) I think the trailers have a lot to answer for. Before I rented the movie I didn't know a whole lot about it, just that it was the latest Shylaman. So as Hubland* and I sat down to watch it we flicked to the special features first to watch the trailers. The full length trailer advertised a totally different film - a big budget horror movie - rather than a haunting fairytale. So if people went to see it based on that, they are going to be very confused and disappointed. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if they walked out after 30 mins.

3) Not withstanding point 1) it was far from perfect - some of the scripting was pretty awkward, somehow the premise just didn't get itself across until over half way through and I still think I need to watch it again to understand it properly, basically it didn't hang together despite the great cast, the beautiful cinematography, and the quirky fairytale plot.

So why then did I like it despite its flaws?

Because I like fairytales, I like fantasy, and I particularly like when the edges bleed and disappear between fantasy and reality. Lady in the Water isn't a masterpiece like Pan's Labyrinth, but it is a worthy attempt and has some beautiful moments. Paul Giamatti and Bryce Howard are a wonderful pairing. The motley crew of neighbours that come together to form the mythical characters are charming and bizarre. And hell, it's worth seeing for the cinematography alone!

Ok this has turned into a more stream of consciousness blog than I anticipated, but I'm going to press publish now anyway, and I hope you see Lady in the Water, and let me know what you think.

*this is his new monicker as he is "the land of Husbands"

Friday, May 16, 2008

New comedy

It takes a lot for me to get into a new comedy series. Most of the British comedy that is currently produced a find a bit gruesome - too extreme in one way or another - or often just not that funny and reminds me too much of the family based sit-coms of the 1980s. Most of the American series on Sky are just pretty weak comedically, or again based on gross out humour.

However, two series have started in the last month or so - one from the US and one from the UK - that have really won me over. If you haven't discovered them yet I think you should check them out when you're in need of some light relief.

I think we're on about episode seven of The Big Bang Theory over here - a sit-com about a group of super-geek friends who work together as post-doctoral researchers in a Physics lab. It stars Johnny Galecki, who I've always had a soft spot for since he played David in Roseanne. And my word, that man just doesn't age! It isn't mind-blowingly funny but there are some great moments, and some fantastic lines. I also think for a friends-based sit-com its a good new premise to base it on geek-dom. Best of all, on top of being funny, it has a theme sung written and performed by the Barenaked Ladies!

Ok, so I can't claim that The Inbetweeners doesn't have some gross out moments - it is after all about a group of boys in 6th form - but nothing too bad. All of them are, however, great character actors, and the fact that they aren't playing the 'in crowd' or the 'outcasts' means that they're antics just remind me of what the average 6th form boy was like when I was in school - trying to get served in the pub, learning to drive, trying to get their hands on your breasts etc. It's accuracy is what makes it so funny, and so disarming.

I'm sure you'll be able to find both of these on Channel4 On Demand so there is no excuse for not watching them!