Monthly Archives: February 2013

Waiting for ¡Viva!

With less than two weeks until the 2013 ¡Viva! film festival at Cornerhouse, I am trying to gauge how many films I will be able to manage. As usual there are a lot of promising looking films, both from Spain and from Latin America.

¡Viva! programme 2013

It’d be easy to think that perhaps these unknown (=non-English language) countries might have a few films to offer every year. But it’s worth remembering that a lot of people live in Spanish speaking countries, and they have their own film industries, just like Hollywood and others.

And it can’t be just me who looks at what our ordinary cinemas have to offer, only to decide that there is nothing that will tempt me out of the house, to spend time and money on.

So to find quite so many tempting films on offer for every ¡Viva! every year, feels pretty exciting. With little knowledge of actors or directors, it’s mostly a case of reading blurbs and making wild guesses at what will be suitable.

So far I can’t think of a single one I haven’t liked.

¡Viva! programme 2013

A long Trek

In August 1970 I visited England for two weeks, and fell in love with Star Trek. I have been a fan ever since.

Mr Spock

There’s just one thing. I kept this fandom going on the strength of two episodes. (Don’t ask me which ones.) Two week visit = two episodes. This was the olden days. No videos, box sets or iPlayer.

Living in a television hinterland, I still returned home full of hope that Star Trek would soon make it to Swedish screens. It never did. Well, I suppose it did eventually, but not during my long period of hope. I did an awful lot of dreaming.

And that was it.

My first years in England were also pretty strange. We didn’t have a television. I think it was money, because one of the first things I did when the Resident IT Consultant did a long spell of non-resident IT consulting, keeping him away from home, but being paid extra for it, was to go out and buy a set.

Perhaps Star Trek was available back then. I don’t know. My immediate urgency had gone away, and the years passed. Then there were all these new ‘fakes’ and I didn’t have an interest in something not featuring my Mr Spock.

And then last year, I suddenly thought that with just about everything being available in some form or other, maybe now was the time to catch up. I got hold of the original series, but still held back. Wasn’t sure what the Resident IT Consultant would say to dinner with Spock.

But one day he started going on about wanting more science fiction in his life, and I picked up the courage to ask if that meant we could watch Star Trek. It did.

So here we are, 45 years late.

A Valentine for Sheldon

I can’t believe I’ve not blogged about The Big Bang Theory yet. On the other hand, I didn’t believe I would ever want to watch it, or if I did, that I’d enjoy it.

As so often happens, I was badgered by Daughter, and I slowly came to realise it was actually quite funny. You could come to love these weirdos. Being one myself helps. The Resident IT Consultant is still unsure it’s actually OK to laugh at these people, but he enjoys it, too.

It’s OK to laugh.

Daughter is shocked by me siding with Sheldon quite so much. I’m not saying he’s right. I’m just feeling there’s a lot of truth in how he reacts and what he says.

The Big Bang Theory - The Lunar Excitation

Because we’re a bit behind Daughter and other ‘real’ fans with our viewing, we only just got to the end of season three, and The Lunar Excitation. Wonderful episode, and so suitable for Valentine’s Day.

Raj and Wolowitz should know better than try to trick Sheldon.

And the roof scene is priceless. Just imagine poor Penny realising she no longer appreciates stupid but handsome men.

The Big Bang Theory - The Lunar Excitation

Music while you stuff

I went and stuffed some more envelopes this morning. I’ve not been for some time, so didn’t know about the ban on rubber bands. Now I do.

It was a good Hallé stuffing group, and plenty of variety as regards the topics we covered during conversation. They were on horse (meat) as I arrived, and we soon trashed a number of recent films. The jury was out on whether Les Mis is a must see or whether not to bother.

But it was other kinds of music I had in mind for here. Obviously most stuffers (probably all except me) are heavily into the kind of music played at the Bridgewater Hall. I’ve always felt a lightweight compared to people who can rattle off names of composers and conductors like they are their best friends.

Apart from the rubber band situation, it appears they have discussed whether to have music while we stuff. The thinking is along the lines that we are all music lovers and it’s stupid to sit in silence (horse meat discussions aside) when you could enjoy music.

People felt it ought to be something highbrow but perhaps less well known, so that we could find new things to like. But then when pressed, several people had more popular music suggestions to make, once they let go of the classical obligations. I didn’t dare say I’d bring Roger Whittaker if I could, but he’d be better than Take That, surely?

The more I thought about this, the less suitable I feel classical music is. You work better with something lighter and more upbeat. Maybe some experimenting is required to discover if the speed of envelopes being filled and sealed goes up with a particular type of music.

Now to see if they can unearth something on which to play this music! I gather that has been the temporary stumbling stone.

As long as the quirky discussions don’t go away completely, and as long as no one sings along. We have at least one Hallé choir member in our midst. He’d be all right.

(As I returned home and put the iPod to good use I came upon this, which I reckon would be eminently stuffable; Ich kann ohne country music nicht leben.)

Roger Whittaker in Berlin, 2003

Pitch Perfect

This film did such a swift disappearing act from cinemas that we barely caught it, back in early January. While Pitch Perfect is not the best film I’ve seen, it’s far from bad. (It beats Les Mis…)

Pitch Perfect

A cappella is nearly always fun, although they did make this group of college girls more awful to begin with, so they could be seen to improve. The boy group was better, especially towards the end, with the exit of their idiot lead singer. But the girls had to win, because it was their film.

Oh well.

I learned some new things about American college life, while still not grasping why new students put up with the ridiculous rules for joining societies on campus. (Couldn’t help wondering if – when – they did any studying.)

Not being an Anna Kendrick fan, I spent most of the film fascinated by her teeth. Her love interest was cute enough, but Skylar Astin seemed a bit old for his role. They all did. I loved Rebel Wilson as Fat Amy, and was ashamed that our audience laughed as soon as she was on screen. Being fat is in itself not amusing. Hana Mae Lee was so quiet I mostly couldn’t tell what she was whispering.

The brawl that sent the heroine to jail was fun, but I do wish someone would explain why they sang in an empty swimming pool.

Pitch Perfect is good to look at, with some great accompanying noise. I’m not sure there was an awful lot of plot there, though.