Monthly Archives: November 2009

Los Angeles is improving

I decided to leave NCIS: Los Angeles alone to mature for a while. I don’t mean I didn’t watch it. I did. I just felt I wasn’t getting as excited as I’d have liked. The last three episodes have been markedly better, so I’m wondering whether the writers are learning as they go along, or if they use feedback? Could be sheer luck, I suppose.

NCIS: Los Angeles

Pushback and Ambush were both quite good, but now that I’ve watched Random on Purpose there’s no reason to hark back even to last week. We’d been waiting for this one, as Abby from NCIS was going to be in it for longer than just an appearance on screen from ‘Washington’. I still think Abby was scheduled in order to boost interest from original fans of the motherseries, except by now it was less necessary than it might have been.

Abby, NCIS: Los Angeles

Still find Hetty strange. Can you really have senior people in federal agencies quite so concerned with clothes?  I mean the stains on clothes and stuff like that. An interest in fashion is fairly normal. But, she is motherly, too, which I suppose is nice.

Anyway, back to Abby. She is called to Los Angeles to air her expert knowledge on a killer who leaves no traces. At all.

I knew that bar would be trouble. At least Abby kept her cool when things got hot. I was afraid she’d be more like she was at the nun’s house a couple of years ago.

Abby, NCIS: Los Angeles

Sam and Callen were almost as useful as Gibbs. I’m surprised Gibbs let Abby go. He won’t next time.

(Photos © CBS)

Thanks for NCIS at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving at Ducky's © CBS

We don’t really ‘get’ Thanksgiving here in Britain. I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that it outranks Christmas, and I’d say that the NCIS team’s eagerness to escape having a case to solve over Thanksgiving suggests that it is important.

Gibbs © CBS

It was another child and family and sweetness episode in Child’s Play this week. I may be a soppy old fool, but I like those. And the togetherness of having turkey as a team is rather sweet. I wonder when Ducky will be allowed to admit that his mother is dead? I don’t mean that our favourite ME is hiding a dead mother, but as the actress has been dead for a year now, we could perhaps move on from the ‘home’?

Ziva and Gibbs © CBS

Clever children; are they ever as clever as the one in this episode? She was a match for Gibbs, and more than up to an elevator discussion, and she could analyse Ducky as well as he could her.

Ducky and turkey in autopsy © CBS

After last week’s power failure left NCIS staff using autopsy as a fridge, it’s a short jump to storing turkeys as well. At least if you’re Ducky.

McGee’s weight loss makes me green with envy. I hope it wasn’t just for the Thanksgiving excesses. Di Nozzo had cause to regret his excessive eating during the very Gibbsy car drive, and really did go green.

Driving at night © CBS

Abby wore an absolutely fabby dress, and I’m sure her cranberry sauce was almost as good as mine…

Thanksgiving at Ducky's © CBS

(Photos © CBS)

Vampires v Werewolves

Werewolves that aren’t governed by full moons. What’s the world coming to? Despite not being a very doggie person I’ll have to go on the W side in this war of monsters, all wanting to be loved by Bella. The vampires are just too silly.

OK, so it was a half moon today when we walked home from watching New Moon. It wasn’t nearly as bad a film as I had feared. In fact, the film is quite good, and it’s not its fault that it’s based on a rather iffy book. Or so say I, who haven’t bothered reading the books. Because I haven’t had time, obviously. They are sitting waiting hopefully, but are sinking further down the pile every day. Daughter told me in no uncertain terms that New Moon is her favourite of the four books, so I’m clearly in the wrong.

I think maybe I’ll not read the books at all, if only to be able to judge whether the films make sense if you don’t already know the story. With Harry Potter I’ve always felt that without the books you are sunk. So far I’m all right with not losing the plot.

We chose early afternoon in order to avoid the screamers, and were entirely successful. The cinema was almost deserted, in fact. I was in the lull of migraine, but just about well enough to survive the film. It was the 25 minutes of advertising and trailers which nearly finished me off. They were more plentiful, louder and flashier than I have ever noticed before. The feature film was beautifully dark and quiet after that, and the tea and smuggled-in gingernuts helped, too.

New Moon

From my Facebook friends I had learned that I must go (zeitgeist, I gather), and also that there was a high bare chest count. There was, but I can’t say any of them did much for me. Not enough hair. And we liked Jake better after the haircut.

Other than Bella discovering that having a vampire boyfriend isn’t her only problem, she finds her best friend is a werewolf. Statistically one feels it’s a bit much to have so many monsters in the middle of the woods, but it’s fiction, after all. What do they all see in Bella, anyway? And why is she so dithery? Felt that poor Jake was unfairly treated.

Go see it. It’s not bad. Silly, yes.

Castlefield trek

The rain started just as we returned home. I’m pretty sure that was all my doing. That it didn’t start any earlier, I mean. I know I said that the hundreds of photos Daughter took earlier would have to be more than enough, but then she said she needed more.

With few daylight hours, plus this weekend’s heavy showers and gale force winds, we didn’t have the loveliest of circumstances for photography. Having run out of options of when to do it, I said we’ll go anyway. And we were fine.

Castlefield

Castlefield

Castlefield

Castlefield

Castlefield

Castlefield

Castlefield

Castlefield

These photos aren’t from Sunday’s outing, though. And it’s funny how things don’t look the same in real life as in a photo. But then neither do I. Have also discovered Daughter has a fondness for weeds.

Must point out that hairdryer threat still stands.

More Abby tattoos

Abby © CBS

I was waiting to see if the sudden interest in Abby Sciuto’s tattoos would vane with the passing of Halloween. Not entirely, I’m glad to say. The total madness of people’s Halloween tattoo needs has passed, but the true Abby fan will always want to check out her tattoos.

Abby © CBS

Most of these are from season 6 episode 21, Toxic. It’s an Abby episode, so good for tattoo hunting. We may fear for her safety, but that girl can look after herself.

Abby © CBS

Abby © CBS

This one is pretty old now, from season 3, the fourth episode called Silver War. McGee gets a good look at Abby’s back.

And finally here is one which is Pauley Perrette (it can be hard to differentiate between them sometimes) in civilian clothes, sort of.

Pauley Perrette tattoo

(Photos © CBS)

A Serious Man

‘No Jews were harmed in the making of this motion picture’ it says on the penultimate page of the 38 page press release. Are they quite sure? There was an awful lot of quietly dreadful stuff happening in A Serious Man, the latest film by Joel and Ethan Coen.

Apart from the ‘quietly dreadful’ it’s a rather sweet and lovely film, albeit somewhat weird. Although neither Jewish nor American, I felt strangely at home anyway. I feel 38 pages of information about a film is slightly on the long side, but it did help explain how they came by a residential area looking as new as it should have done in 1967, when the film is set. Storm damage, apparently. I’d been worried they’d cut down all the mature trees.

A Serious Man 2

The setting is almost too perfect and ‘authentic’, says I who have never set foot in the US. That’s the thing, really, with period pieces. They are too clean and too period. And it had better not have been the CCR Cosmo’s Factory they referred to.

What’s refreshing is using actors who are more or less unknown. We may feel we know them, but we don’t, really. It goes to show that we don’t need to be constantly forcefed Hollywood stars.

So, it’s about this poor middle aged man, who thinks life is fine and normal, and suddenly it’s anything but. Physics professor Larry Gopnik has a wife who wants to divorce him – as long as it’s a ‘gett’ kind of divorce – and a brother who’s a nuisance, a pot-smoking son just pre-Bar Mitzvah, and a daughter who washes her hair rather frequently. There is also his superior who will decide on giving Larry tenure. Or not. A blackmailing student, who gets the Physics, but not the Maths. Television aerials.

A Serious Man 1

More rabbis than you can shake a stick at, and who can’t advise poor Larry very well, and a surprisingly kind divorce lawyer. One sexy neighbour and one gun wielding one, who mows the lawn in a worrying manner. And, a beginning to the film which makes almost no sense whatsoever, except it’s quite fun and enjoyable. Let that be a warning.

On at Cornerhouse from Friday.

(Photos © Focus Features)

Nation at the National

As a job description ‘parrot’ can’t strike an actor as the most marvellous of parts to land, but as with all previous birds at the National Theatre, this parrot is almost the best in the whole play. Almost. The vultures aren’t exactly lovely, but cleverly done. But as I said, Milton the parrot, played by Jason Thorpe was loved by all.

Nation at the National Theatre by Johan Persson

And for all ladies currently swooning over a certain vampire actor, I can recommend Gary Carr, who is Mau in Nation. As Daphne, the young English girl says when she encounters Mau the first time, he really is a very fine specimen. Unfortunately the very lightly clad Mau wears trousers in the second half.

Melly Still and Mark Friend have done a great job of making the NT stage into a tsunami wrecked tropical island that’s believable, and Mark Ravenhill has adapted Terry Pratchett’s Nation in an imaginative way. After seeing several children’s novels adapted to the stage at the NT, I’ve stopped worrying about how it can possibly be done. It can. It’s as simple as that.

Mau is left alone on his (alternate) Pacific island after the tsunami strikes, and Daphne (or Ermintrude as she is called at first) is washed ashore off her English ship. They learn to understand each other as they go along, and as the island collects more survivors from elsewhere. Mau learns how to be a chief, despite his young age, and Daphne, played by Emily Taaffe,  becomes adept at making beer and spitting in it, and in helping babies being born, which is unusual for a 19th century girl whose father is 139th in line to the throne. She gives up her stays and switches to a straw skirt.

It was clear from the shocked gasps from the audience when *** that many hadn’t read the book, whereas your witch was able to be quite calm about it.

The novel has been changed a little, but I surprised myself by being surprised at how touching the end is. While providing entertainment and fun, Nation also gives us something to think about.How we live, how to make choices, how to run a country whether you are an island chief or the King of England.

And the parrot is great. Did I already mention that?

(Photo © Johan Persson – Jason Thorpe as Milton the parrot, Emily Taaffe as Daphne and Gary Carr as Mau)

Cultured children

The first time I was accompanied by both Offspring to an interview I was afraid the interviewee would suspect I didn’t have a babysitter. But it went well, and then someone I trust suggested that it was actually quite a good idea, and maybe I should do it all the time.

There is a certain charm in young people asking questions an adult might not think of, or want to say out loud. And after a while I discovered child labour, which in our case is taking photographs. Now I worry about not having any available children to take along. They grow up, the sneaky little things. So, then you borrow somebody else’s child, a bit like you might in order to use a Family Railcard.

I suspect this interviewing with child in tow, is my version of what the Guardian’s culture critics wrote about last month in G2. I felt less of a freak after reading Play it again, Dad. Lyn Gardner, their theatre critic, may have got it just right when she said ‘Regular theatre-going may not produce children that are any more cultured than their peers, but it can do wonders for relationships. Could it be that the family that goes to plays together, stays together, too?’

Hah, that’s it!

Who cares?

Well, that should prevent people from eating carrots ever again, and showers will be off too for a while, I expect. As much as Daughter had looked forward to this penultimate Doctor Who with David Tennant, she was not happy. I gather she dislikes zombies. I didn’t know. There’s lots I don’t know.

Robot - Doctor Who

The Waters of Mars was fun, I thought. I was interested to see what the good Doctor would do about changing history, or not. Going on about bikes. Claiming to hate robots (‘It only goes at 2mph.’ ‘Not any more…’)

It’s a bit late to start loving David Tennant now, isn’t it? He’s not bad.

(Photo © BBC)

Vampires, anyone?

I should have said yes. In retrospect, I know I should have grasped the opportunity – preferably with both hands – to come face to face with a fake vampire. Even Daughter was surprised to hear I’d been invited to the press conference with the New Moon vampires. Sorry, actors. But, I wonder if I’d have ignored it even if travelling to London hadn’t been slightly inconvenient that day? I think I might, because I’m not a teenager, and I have yet to understand the greatness of the Twilight saga and its films.

And I’m not a slave to Robert Pattinson’s charms. Opening any paper this week has informed me that everyone else is. Oh, well.

I will go and see the film. I’m fairly sure of that. With all the hoo-hah in the press, even I know that it’s out this week. Otherwise I wouldn’t have had a clue, let alone gone looking for the answer to my un-asked question. Book one is still sitting in a might-actually-read-this-one-day-in-the-next-year (or not) position. Maybe I should tell it not to get its hopes up.

I will be busy this coming week, so no telling when I’ll get to a cinema near me. I’ll want to avoid the crowds of wannabe vampires, though.