Monthly Archives: August 2012

Bourne to be Brave

Much to the disgust of Daughter, I found I didn’t think a great deal of either of the two films we’ve seen in the cinema in the last week. It somehow feels better to watch duds at home. Perhaps because you’ve paid less, and there’s no travelling. Although, colourful Wednesdays make the disappointment easier to bear, financially.

The Bourne Legacy; well I like action films, but this one should have been shorter. I didn’t need to know what had happened before this particular Bourne. They’re all the same, in some way. But they need to be entertaining.

We watched it in atrocious company. Stockport cineworld is usually pretty good at keeping noisy elements quiet, or chucking them out. This time we were several adults, making more than one trip to the foyer to point out they needed to do something about two groups of immature ‘teenagers.’ One group was thrown out after two hours, and that was too late.

Maybe they found it boring, too.

For me it was like a James Bond gone bad. Somehow Jeremy Renner blended into Daniel Craig before my eyes.

So I had some hope of Brave being better, on the grounds that surely one of two films must be OK. It was mercifully shorter, once we’d suffered through half an hour of commercials, trailer and a little something else just to tease us.

I liked Merida’s hair. Very pretty. And you can’t help but enjoy Billy Connolly. But there wasn’t much else in this Disney view of what Scotland looks like. Some light relief in seeing what they wore under their kilts, but…

Don’t mind childish. Don’t mind cheesy. But I need something to tug at my heart (I do have one). The children in the audience liked the pratfalls. But that’s not the same as a good film.

What worries me the most is that fed on a film diet like this, soon no one will know what to demand. Disney films in the ‘olden days’ (not all that long ago) usually had something. Even the ones that got bad reviews tended to have enough to please me and not feel I’d wasted my time or my money.

You can’t pretend to make a good film. You actually have to do it.

NCIS beginnings and ends – Angel of Death, and Bury Your Dead

Hindsight makes me dislike more about season four than I noticed at the time. Probably because I didn’t actually like the Tony DiNardo disguise. I wasn’t dead keen on Jeanne, but hated the way she was being used, which once you know, is pretty upsetting if you watch again.

But, we are still talking good writing, and a strong end to one season and a very good start to the next one. Once you stop having qualms about Jeanne, that is.

NCIS - Angel of Death

We haven’t watched Angel of Death very often. I used to think it was a mixed up episode, and my co-watcher isn’t too keen on the druggie’s sister in the morgue. Well acted, but disgusting. Her boyfriend is deliciously clever and crooked and very Irish.


But the rest is pretty decent. The thread about the little girls on the loose in the hospital, who might be Shirley Temple, or not, is fun. Not so sure about leaving Gibbs in charge when the Director goes away. Why would he be? Nice cliff-hanger ending.

NCIS - Bury Your Dead

For a first episode, Bury Your Dead is one of the best. That car bomb is most effective. The way Abby and McGee have mirrored each other overnight, helping the Director and Gibbs respectively, works well.

La Grenouille and Kort

I love McGee’s comment to Ziva about how his parents raised a gentleman while Ziva’s parents raised a killer. La Grenouille gets his come-uppance, but by now we almost like the man. Kort is as bad as we want him to be.


And overnight, Director Shepard’s hair grew a good few inches.


Funny that not one of them thought to comment on that.

(Photos © CBS)

That was Edinburgh 2012, that was

Edinburgh Castle

People kept asking us if we were going to take in a few fringe events, as though we had both time and energy left over to do anything quite so frivolous. It would have been nice, but the books took everything we had, plus a little more still.

Edinburgh Fringe

But, you can take pictures of the odd thing as you run past.

Edinburgh Fringe venue

And Simon Callow won’t mind a second outing on CultureWitch.

Simon Callow and photographers in Charlotte Square

Next time I’ll sit down on a park bench for a while and just listen to some music. Or something.

Edinburgh Fringe

Maybe even sit out late one night if it doesn’t rain. It didn’t rain much this time, and it was warm. Perfect for those beer gardens and other tents that have sprung in the middle of George Street. All I had time for was a brief rest on a bench while ‘running’ for a train one evening.

Is this your first visit to Chiquito?

No. It isn’t.

And I’m beginning to wonder if they could rephrase that. They don’t need to recognise me, because I do realise they see an awful lot of customers during one week, especially during the Edinburgh Festival. But it’s nicer to be treated like a regular, than as the ignorant newbie.

We generally like Chiquito in Edinburgh. It’s well placed for our Charlotte Square induced hunger, and every time we’ve been over the last few years has been good. (Can’t say that about our local Chiquito, unfortunately.) Good friendly service, and good food, for a chain. Reasonable prices.

What really made us return to Chiquito this year, though, was the wifi. We had no internet where we stayed, and the bookfest wifi was slow to impossible for several days. A blogger needs to blog. They even need to read emails and to respond to them. So, setting up office next to the Chimichanga seemed a good solution to us.

Clearly it wasn’t annoying enough to the waitress, to make her remember us two days later. It was useful to us, however. A lifesaver the first day. I don’t know if the answer to attracting diners is to have free wifi, but in this instance it worked with us.

Edinburgh Castle

The view from the street outside isn’t bad, either.

Monty Palin

Michael Python? Whatever.

Michael Palin

Mr Palin, that’s it. He pretends to shoot himself as he discovers he’s not been invited to John Cleese’s wedding after all. The one this week. Michael’s invite is for next month.

I am under the impression Michael has written a book. A real book. Not just travel and stuff. That’s why he’s in Edinburgh.

The 2012 Simon Callow

Unlike authors who like to hide behind their laptops, actors are used to the limelight. Some of them might even like it. Or not mind too much. I get the impression Simon Callow doesn’t mind dreadfully.

Simon Callow

It was nice to catch him on the blue carpet. We’ve had enough green carpet for a while.

Spitting images

We’re pretty much twins, actually.

I allowed the Resident IT Consultant to play around with my iPhoto over the holiday. One thing he did was start up face recognition. Which, I suppose, can prove useful.

When I checked out my own face, I found some unconfirmed photos of ‘me.’ I have to admit I was a little taken aback at first. But when you stop and think, it’s obvious. DiNozzo and I are one and the same.

DiNozzo and Ziva

(Reminds me of the photo Daughter had of John Barrowman. ‘Is this IW?’ asked her iPhoto hopefully. No, it wasn’t. Not by a long shot. But her friend IW was happy to be mistaken for JB.)

(Photo © CBS)

Claes-Göran Hederström

I’ve not forgotten him, but I don’t exactly think about him constantly, either. Him being Claes-Göran Hederström, who represented Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1968. He certainly had my vote, back then.

Claes-Göran Hederström

But you’re never sure if cute looking, sweet singing young men age well. Maybe he wasn’t all that good a singer? And now that he’s an OAP, he’s well, old.

But Claes-Göran turned up on television a couple of weeks ago, and he looked better than he used to, and the voice had survived as well. So all is fine, and I see he is still touring and singing. That’s what we like!


Falkenberg jukebox

I don’t generally dance in museums. I don’t dance much at all. Actually.

But there I was, dancing away in Falkenberg museum’s 1950s café, and all because of the jukebox. It was playing as we got there, which was rather nice. I forget what, but one of the standard 1950s singles we all know and love.

I wasn’t the craziest one. Daughter went one worse and not only wiggled bits of her body, but dug out the princely sum of 1 krona to play one more record. They were all good songs, but in the end she plumped for Bill Haley and we rocked around the clock a bit.

Luckily no one else was there to witness this behaviour, apart from the Resident IT Consultant, and he doesn’t count.

I want a jukebox of my own!

NCIS beginnings and ends – Hiatus and Shalom

Close on the heels of the death of Kate comes Gibbs lying injured in a hospital bed. I mean, as episodes Daughter tries to avoid watching because they are just so sad… Both parts of Hiatus are sad, but they are also funny and enjoyable, while being dramatic and quite upsetting in many ways.

Gibbs and Ziva

That’s what good writing is. I know I keep coming back to this, but it’s true. So once you overlook the sight of Gibbs biting back a sob when he realises (again) that Shannon and Kelly are dead, this is fun. The drama doesn’t feel synthetic.

As I’ve said before, Abby’s monologue in front of the ICU nurse is priceless. Director Shepard is good in the same spot, but Abby is wonderful. Ziva’s threatening the ship’s captain is just right, and our first look at Mike Franks wears well.

On to Shalom at the beginning of season four and we return to Franks and his Mexican paradise. Camila brings the phone a second time, mirroring the call in Hiatus. It’s the first time we have seen a relaxed and almost normal Gibbs, and he does another ‘Mark Harmon thing’ by being on the roof, mending it for Franks.

Seeing Ziva both vulnerable and strong works well, and I’m glad she called in Gibbs’ debt so soon. As for her girl-on-girl fight at the end, it was rated 18 on YouTube at the time, which is ridiculous, but shows how good it is. The mirroring of Kate and Ari when Ziva is lured to follow the motorbike is another excellent move.

Did I mention good writing?

And we like Gibbs with a beard. The shirt is borderline, but the beard is just right. Could we have the good old days back, please?

(Photo © CBS)