bunn: (Brythen)
A couple of days ago, we decided on a Dartmoor walk.  We went, randomly, to Princetown, which is the town in the middle of Dartmoor with the monstrous prison.  But it turned out that a very large number of the people of Devon had also gone to Princetown for a walk, and it was humming.  Also, because Princetown is right in the middle, you can't just walk out in any direction onto the moor, you are corralled onto neatly-fenced footpaths.   This was not what I had in mind, so we fled, and instead stopped randomly near Merrivale and headed for a convenient tor.    This was a lot more pleasingly spacious.

Read more... )

Then in the evening we went and saw the Rogue One film.   I found it a bit boggling at first, with so many characters introduced so quickly, and had the sense that there were references flying past that I was missing, but in the end I warmed to it.  Not sure how I'd have felt if I had not been spoilered for the ending though, so was ready for it.     I think I would probably have liked Jyn Erso better if her story had been a little more different from Rey's, although perhaps that's being a bit picky.   I took a great liking to the pilot, Bodhi for some reason.  I think because he seemed so baffled and unviolent and generally 'wtf is doing on' and yet was still determined to do the right thing.

Today I did some carving while watching The Last Dragonslayer.  I didn't have high expectations of it, but it was really watchable with lots of good lines.  I loved the idea of a fantasy Kingdom of Herefordshire with fantasy supermarkets and fantasy electricity.  And dragons, of course.  And the dragon ecology idea where dragons are part of the ecology and you can't just wall them off into a reserve was brilliant.

Happy New Year all!  I hope all you lot who have had bad years will have much better ones next year and that the people who have had good years will have more of them.  It would be great to have a year where the bad things are all for bad people for a change. 
bunn: (canoeing)
I am not sure if this is really a good moment for yet another second world war movie... but youtube informs me that there is a Dunkirk movie coming up next year.    And I am a total sucker for the Little Ships of Dunkirk story, so I definitely want to see it.

 Apparently some of the original Little Ships took part in the filming!  So that is a reason to want to see it on its own.  There are probably actors and people in it, but I want to see the little ships. :-D

And while I am blethering, I thought I would link the history of the Tamar Barge Lynher here - she did not go to Dunkirk, being occupied as a barrage balloon platform at the time, but she is still an interesting elderly old boat, dating from 1896.  The photos are worth a glance: - quite a spectacular restoration story because she looks a complete mess having been hulked under the mud.  I will look forward to spotting her on the river next year!

I'd hate to own a wooden sailing boat - soooooo much work - but the sight of them always cheers me up. 
bunn: (Leaping)
I have recently become particularly sensitive to cries of 'Noooooooo!' at climactic moments in movies.   I may even have gone so far as to say 'I don't think people actually say 'nooooooo!' in moments of crisis.'    

And then this evening, Ruggie tried to go trotting into the house, having fallen over in a thick muddy puddle, and being deeply encrusted with mud.  The noise I made as I leaped to grab him before he hit the carpet was pretty much exactly :  Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
bunn: (Wild Garden)
Went to see The Martian last night.  It was as good as various people have said, so thanks for the recommendations! Full of competent people competenting which I like.

But I still don't know why a botanist on Mars with no seeds.  Anyone know?

For a bonus point, why potato growing in the gravel at a NASA training academy place?  Although, to be fair, that seems very much in character for a potato.  Opportunist vegetables. 
bunn: (Smaug)
We went to see this yesterday. I hugely enjoyed it. There will be 99999 reviews telling you how awful it is, mostly because it's the last in a series of six, and based on the last part of a thinnish book ( they don't mention the bits that are from the LOTR appendices, the bits extrapolated from the Silmarillion or History of Middle Earth, or the bits that are original worldbuilding, because obviously that doesn't fit the prescribed tired snarky narrative.)

So I shall just list the things I liked about it, in no real order.

some spoilers but nothing very startling. )
bunn: (Paddle of Rebuke)
We just watched 'World War Z'. Pp felt that it was 'pretty poor'.

It had:
spoilers... )

Admittedly, it did also have a large number of Characters With Common Sense Failure, which always annoys me in an apocalypse but otherwise, I am struggling to see what's not to like here.

So much thunder rolling today, and it's heavy and airless and hot, for all the flower-scents.  A break in the weather would be welcome. 
bunn: (George Smiley)
I finally got around to watching the fairly recent movie version.   But I'm not honestly sure that I was able to assess it on its merits.   I loved all the little book-details  - Smiley's house seemed about right - though I didn't spot the Dresden shepherdess - and the Circus, and the late Sixties/early Seventies phonebox, and Mendel's bees and everything made of strange old plastics.  It maybe wasn't all shabby enough. I'm sure the Seventies was shabbier, and the Tinker Tailor Seventies certainly was.   But it worked as a more-stylish better-maintained Seventies.

But there is So. Much. Plot that gets whizzed through in the last montage sequence!  Can't help wondering how many people watching the story for the first time worked out what was going on with Tarr in Paris, and why Haydon was killed, and I wish they could have given a little more time to the faithless beautiful Ann.

Ricky Tarr was great, and unexpectedly, so was Connie Sachs - in fact, I wish they'd let her do a bit more with the part.   Benedict Cumberbatch a little disappointing as Guillam, I thought - too young, and he made Guillam's nerves too obvious: Guillam is supposed to be good at his job!  I think a more subtle actor could have done that better.   Colin Firth made a great Haydon though. Very appropriately magnetic but also dodgy.

Still. Le Carré!  Hurray! 
bunn: (Smaug)

For example :
DWARF WITH THE FUNNY HAT: I wish you all the luck in the world, Bilbo.
BILBO: And I wish you dwarves could’ve mentioned your names a bit more frequently, because I feel like this is a very warm and special moment between us, Dwarf With The Funny Hat.
DWARF WITH THE FUNNY HAT: Is that your sword glowing with eldritch light because we are about to be swallowed by a goblin kingdom or are you just happy to see me?

Well, it made me laugh. The rest of it is here.

3D Hobbit 2

Jan. 5th, 2013 07:07 pm
bunn: (Smaug)
So, having whinged and moaned about the possibility of not being allowed to watch 'The Hobbit' in 2D, I decided that actually I wanted to see it in 3D 48fps as well, just to see what the differences were, and find out if it made me sick. It didn't make me sick. Yay! There was much less of the 'Whoo, lookit my 3D bits!!' stuff than in Avatar, the only previous 3D film I've seen, and since I'd seen Hobbit in 2D already, I didn't feel cheated by briefly looking away during the Zooming Around Dale bit at the start. I was expecting the 48fps element to possibly make the nausea worse, but I didn't feel it did.

Read more... )

ETA: have put some spoilers in comments :-D
bunn: (Smaug)
By far the most popular version of the story of 'The Hobbit' is the version loosely translated from the Thain's Book copy of the Red Book of Westmarch by Professor JRR Tolkien in the mid-20th century.  Professor Tolkien was of course an entertaining writer with a strong grasp of the Old Westron sources for the late Third Age period, but it is most unfortunate that his translation, riddled as it is with pro-Gondorian sentiment, has taken such a firm hold of the popular imagination that the other sources - not available in convenient English translation - have been forgotten.  

The "Thain's Book" translation is often read by non-specialists in the period as a complete and accurate description of events at the end of the Third Age.  More accurately, it should be considered as a group of sometimes self-contradictory sources, none of which survive in the original.  This group of texts had at least three authors, one of whom later admitted he had lied in his original account, and later amended it.   The material has certainly been recopied and 'corrected' several times by much later writers.  It occasionally deals with matters, such as the history of the dwarf-kingdoms and the political organisation of Northern Rhovanion, of which none of the original authors had much understanding or experience. 

In this context, it is pleasing to discover that the recent movie based on the life of Bilbo Baggins (or Mad Baggins, as he is usually referred to in later Westron sources originating from the Shire)  has called on material beyond Professor Tolkien's English translations.  I believe this to include material available until recently only in Khuzdul, and now of course, translated into modern Croatian as the nearest equivalent modern European language. I also noted elements of a version of the legend that to my knowledge, is preserved only in material written in the most obscure dialects of Sindarin, and now held in the archives office in Machynlleth.   

The sources for this period that originate from outside the Shire are of course also problematic in many ways.  Like the Thain's book, they are often self-contradictory, particularly on the important but almost undocumented area of Dwarf military organisation and economic development. Source preservation has been poor, particularly in the case of the document that is thought to be Balin's personal diary, available today only in the most fragmentary and puzzling form.  Re-copying has added errors, particularly to the Khuzdul sources which are notoriously difficult to transcribe quickly or accurately.  The Sindarin material probably glamorises life in Rivendell and accentuates the military power of the Sindarin-Noldorin remnant living there - but it may still be more accurate than the Shire-version, which was very clearly written by a hobbit who had at that time no grasp at all of any of the Elvish languages. 

None the less, such attention to detail is most unexpected in a movie made for the entertainment of the masses, and deserves to be recognised and commended.  I look forward eagerly to the planned future works, and particularly to the release of the full bibliography. 
bunn: (Smaug)
Phew.  Local cinema has gone from:
'no 2D version of The Hobbit available, except in ONE cinema in Birmingham' 
'OK, there will be two showings a day in 2D at the Plymouth cinema, but most of them will be 3D'
'Oh, all RIGHT.  There will be as many 2D showings as 3D showings!  Are you satisfied now???'    (or that's how I read the changes to the time table anyway.  There were many, many unhappy comments posted on their website about the lack of a 2D option).

They are showing it in High Frame Rate at that cinema too.  There have been so many terrible reviews for the HFR technology that I am almost tempted to try it, just to find out if I agree.  I think it would probably make me pretty nauseous though, so I will see it in 2D and then decide if I want to blow any more money on lurking through the film again,  listening to the sound track and occasionally daring to peep cautiously at the screen.
bunn: (icecream)
It seems unlike the Bond franchise to miss a commercial trick but
  1. They drove all the way to Scotland from London, and there was no shot of Bond moodily filling up the Aston with Super Unleaded from his preferred petrol pump!
  2. And no shot of M tucking into a Ginsters pasty or a Melton Mowbray pork pie!
  3. not really sponsorship, but those were SO definitely Calor Gas cylinders that got exploded, even if they did have the logo painted over.   As someone with a house entirely heated by Calor Gas and a much larger cylinder sitting outside, I felt the need of one of those 'If you have been affected by issues raised in this..." helplines.   I shall walk past that Calor cylinder with extreme caution in future, until I forget.  
I must say, I did enjoy the film, and not just for the explosions and cars.  [livejournal.com profile] philmophlegm described it as 'MI6 v Wikileaks' - the Wikileaks parallel hadn't occurred to me, but I can see what he means.  I could watch Judi Dench's M being morally ambivalent and brutally pragmatic, then quoting Tennyson for ages, even though I don't normally have much time for Tennyson. 


Nov. 12th, 2012 01:37 pm
bunn: (Smaug)
Just clicked on link for The Hobbit movie, and discovered that Vue cinemas have it all ready set up in their Coming Soon section - in 3D. But not in not-3D. The only cinema listed on their site as showing it in 2D is in Birmingham.

This must, I hope, be a booking engine glitch? I have seen 1 film in 3D, and it was enough to convince me that I - never - want to see another one. 3D does baaaaad things to the strange part of my brain that becomes direly nauseous if given the illusion of motion while sitting still - the part that means I cannot play any first-person perspective computer game, or watch films that make extensive use of the 'shot on a hand held cam' conceit.

I want to see this film! I want to enjoy it! I do not want to have to take a bucket and spend the whole time squinting at it sideways!
bunn: (Default)
Went up on Dartmoor to watch our local stage of the Tour of Britain.  It was exciting, although I have to confess my grasp of what was going on was a bit shaky.  Fortunately philmophlegm was packed with relevant knowledge.
The people! the cars! the motorbikes! Oh yes, and the cyclists...  )

Ate a huge icecream with clotted cream on top.   Was too greedy to photograph the icecream. It was a Willy's.
Willy's Ice cream van posing majestically atop Pork Hill.  )
Retrieved curtains to replace curtains rent in twain by high-velocity dog.

Watched film : Tristran & Isolde. Amusing, though Tristran and Isolde are fundamentally just quite irritating characters and the movie fails to make them less annoying.  Mark of Cornwall and Isolde's pop-eyed Irish maid much more interesting.  Ireland is played  by Ireland, but Cornwall is played, rather unconvincingly, by the Czech Republic.   Liked the overgrown Roman ruins though.

Repaired many dog toys that had been ripped into holes, tails, ears removed etc.  Briefly, our livingroom has no fluffy stuffing decorating it.

Picked blackberries with my mother. Now need to decide what to do with blackberries.  Possibly crumble.
Seem to have accidentally agreed to become vice-chair of Oldies Club.  Drat.
bunn: (Bah)
After watching the final Harry Potter film, [livejournal.com profile] philmophlegm speaks  "What was all the fuss about?  He's hardly Boromir!"

This is true.  Fred Weasley and Boromir have .... almost nothing in common. But now I am wondering about an alternative world where Boromir disappoints Denethor by refusing to go into the army, but instead sets up the first joke shop in Minas Tirith.
bunn: (Default)
Based on the book : Four Letters from Centurion Drusillus : 750 words )
Men Marched to the River
Beware! Based on the movie, with a terrible photomanipulation of the Ancient Beardy Ninth Legionaries, AND a pastiche of Beowulf smished together with The Goddodin! 250words and don't say I didn't warn you. )

(In case anyone is wondering why I post these sorts of things complete in several different places rather than linking, it's because that way I cannot easily do any real analysis of how many people read them. I feel this is good for my mental health. )
bunn: (Bah)
This movie just goes to show that a selection of excellent ideas and well known actors in an interesting setting (the fall of the child emperor Romulus Augustulus in 476) can none the less produce a truly appallingly pants film. 

Also that Ben Kingsley should under no circumstances ever EVER be allowed to try to do a Welsh accent. 

Also, that trees are so combustible, they burn immediately all over as soon as you throw fire at them!  Who knew? 

I wish I had peanuts to throw at the screen.  I feel that would help.   However, I had the lurgi today and have mostly been asleep, so it was pretty much the kind of thing I felt able to cope with... 
bunn: (Smaug)
I would thank [livejournal.com profile] huinare for the link to this, but I'm not sure if 'thank' is the right word. :-D

It's a  bizarrely contorted 1966 'movie' of The Hobbit.

Probably many of you have seen it, but I hadn't!   I kind of like it.  Kind of.  The graphics are quite nice, if not particularly Hobbity. But the plot is kind of appalling! :-D


bunn: (Default)

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