Tag Archives: Julie Walters

Here we go again

Mamma Mia! ten years on, or five if you consider the plot. We’re all ten years older, but we – mostly – don’t look it. Do we? And a person can always have a young self, like they do in the new Mamma Mia! film. I adored the young Harry especially.

So, Donna is dead. Maybe this was for the best, as it left all of us crying, and it meant there was for the most time only two almost identical young women to be confused by. Sophie, and her mother Donna as a young woman, and made more confusing by shifting quickly between the two. Now we know what it was like for Donna and Sophie’s three dads, even if some of the continuity might not actually work. Who cares?

It’s like a family party. You’re just so happy to see everyone again. This time there were fewer old ABBA hits, and possibly less music too, but you’re happy, crying both sad and happy tears, and a film has to be pretty good to achieve that, and I don’t care if the film critics are still a little sniffy about it. Although they learned their lesson ten years ago, and now take Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again much more seriously.

There were the expected cameos from Björn and Benny. I suppose many of the appearances were somewhat cameo-like, really. I love Cher, but am not sure she was the right grandmother for Sophie, even if great. And ABBA songs are less well suited to a deep voice.

Lots of laughter, quite a bit of crying, both from me and Pierce Brosnan, not to mention from Julie Walters. I could watch the film again tomorrow, if only life didn’t need me for other things.

And thanks to Daughter who saw the film in Pasadena 20 hours before me, I knew to stay for the scene after the credits. I waited and I waited and everyone else left and the cleaners came, giving me funny looks, but eventually, there it was; the extra scene. I took a chance on it!

Brooklyn

What with lack of time to actually get to the cinema in recent months, I decided to splash out and treat us to some home cinema over Easter, so bought two DVDs. (Yes, real splash, that.) And then we ran out of time, and barely managed one of the films after all.

As Daughter preferred to watch Brooklyn, that’s the one we saw, and I’m glad we did. I’d come across some less than enthusiastic comments when it was available on the big screens, but here at CultureWitch Towers we enjoyed it, and personally I could easily watch it soon again. If I had time, I mean.

Brooklyn

I suppose it was unrealistically romanticised, but I reckon you can see past that, and imagine what it was like to leave Ireland in 1951 and move to New York, all alone. And having vomited my way into England many years ago, I fully sympathise with looking green as you try and enter the US.

Brooklyn

Some things would be easier today, and others not. I quite liked the old Brooklyn, and thank god they made the landlady sympathetic, while no pushover. Julie Walters is always good. And I expect it’s modern media we have to thank for feeling suspicious of Irish priests, which wasn’t necessary here, with Jim Broadbent as your dream religious father figure.

Having seen trailers – in the actual cinema – I was afraid Eilis would opt to stay in Ireland when she returned. What I felt made the story true was the fact that you can love both places and want to be in the new place as well as the old one. You just need something that helps you decide. That feeling when you realise how much you belong where you grew up. Or the feeling when you can see that the new place is good and you want to stay.

Brooklyn

Because that old priest had a one very good comment to make on homesickness; how most people have it and it’s bad, but eventually it stops and someone else catches the bug instead. It does, most of the time, and often you don’t even notice that it’s stopped hurting so much.

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And then it’s your turn to help someone newer – not to mention greener – than yourself. It’s how it works.

There’s nothing wrong with feelgood films, and besides, there was plenty to cry over too.

Mamma Mia! for mother

I’m continuing my trend of jumping into the middle of films. This evening Swedish television very suitably screened Mamma Mia! which was a good end to Mother’s Day. Not that I celebrate it, but any excuse will do.

Came in about halfway, which is good enough for me. Even the Resident IT Consultant seemed to enjoy it for a few minutes. What’s not to like about James Bond getting down on one knee and singing ABBA?

That’s the thing, really. We had Mrs Kramer singing with Dr Hofstadter on one side and Mrs Weasley on the other. Agent 007 has to share a third of a daughter with Mr Darcy and Bombi Bitt. And their offspring is in love with a History Boy.

My own Daughter/Offspring was so keen to see the film the first time that we were in the cinema hours after her returning from her Swiss school trip. And Switzerland continues to be on the agenda.

Anyway, nice treat for all mammas.

Paddington

Paddington

It’s a fun concept to have the Earl from Downton fighting Mrs Coulter over a bear, with some assistance from the Doctor. Paddington was lovely. I’d heard he would be, but you still want to make sure.

Going to see Paddington was our New Year’s Eve treat, and it was (shock, horror) our first cinema outing after moving. We will be back soon again, and as the car parking has been paid until tomorrow lunch time, perhaps we should hurry.

I don’t know the book about Paddington as well as I ought to, but on the plus side that meant I didn’t have to sit there wondering why they left things out or why they put new things in. It was all rather sweet, and I now feel I have a deeper understanding of the background to the marmalade.

The bear jokes were funny and obvious, and so much better for it. ‘Bear left!’

There is something deliciously scary having Nicole Kidman looking like a sweet, young thing, and being so truly bad. And Hugh Bonneville didn’t really have to alter his Downton personality. The Earl would also disapprove of a bear moving in, until he saw the light and changed his mind and started loving the bear.

Mrs Brown was perfectly cast, and I’d love for Sally Hawkins to be my mummy, too. London looked great (if fairly romantically portrayed), and little Paddington was a charming young man. Bear, sorry.

Peter Capaldi was fantastic, and I’m only pointing that out because I’ve not seen him in much. And when I move to London, I’ll go and live in that street, too. Please?

Paddington

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.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2

Snape

The wait was shorter than it seemed. We went for the first local screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2 to get in before school ended for the day and especially to avoid the end of term.

The cinema had actually been screening the other Harry Potter films in the days leading up to The Day, which is good for people needing reminding, or even for the unlikely person who has never bothered but who has suddenly seen the light and wants to join in, however belatedly. I could have done with it myself as far as part 1 was concerned. Barely remembered how far we’d got or what had happened.

Hermione, Ron, Harry and Ollivander

It didn’t even feel too much as if we began in the middle, for a film that began in the middle. Dobby is dead and Harry is sad. And determined to get going with the remaining Horcruxes. More Polyjuice to get into Gringotts, and Hermione as a polite Bellatrix was a sight to see. Not so sure about Harry’s face-dive into Snapes’s memories, but it was necessary for the plot.

Neville

Harry and Ron and Hermione do a good enough job, but the winner of both book and film has to be Neville Longbottom. Who’d have thought he’d turn out so well? Maggie Smith as McGonagall is also a sight for sore eyes, along with her comfortable Scottish accent. I know I shouldn’t make too much of a relatively small part, but I’m just so grateful she survived. Maggie Smith, I mean. After the first film I had this sudden witchy premonition that someone wasn’t going to make it, and the faces that flashed before me were hers and Richard Harris’s.

It’s actually a major feat that they could make so many films with child actors and have them ‘all’ there at the end. I know one or two have fallen by the wayside, but other than that it’s worked well. Thought Crabbe had had a colour change, but he appears to have been written out.

Ginny and Mr Weasley

I was surprisingly touched by the deaths, which is more remarkable for them not really happening on screen. We see everyone dead afterwards. I’d almost go so far as to say that not enough is made of those deaths. Could be they want to skirt the issue in order not to upset young viewers, but you could easily miss quite how many dear ones perish.

But I suspect that’s not why the Retired Children’s Librarian had read in her paper that ‘people will be sad’. I think they meant ‘what will we all do now that Harry Potter is over?’ Yes, what will we do? This kind of thing is never coming back.

(Photos © Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 1

We were afraid it’d turn into one of those occasions when we just never get there; what with so many things conspiring against us and deciding they were more important than the new Harry Potter film. But hardy as we are, Daughter and I, we crawled out of bed for the early Sunday screening, three weeks into the HP season.

I don’t think we’ve ever been this late before.

The HP films have been an uneven lot, but I can safely say I liked this one. Unfinished though it was. If you didn’t know better, you’d think Voldemort had won. (He hasn’t, has he?)

Robbie Coltrane and Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 1 - © Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc

People die. Not so many in part one, so more of the fun will have been saved for next time. I don’t care much for the snake. S’cuse me, Nagini. A little bit on the hungry side for my comfort.

Nice scenery, with plenty of Geology for the student next to me. Some silly romance stuff. A Mr Darcy moment (he’s still too young for us to lust after!).

If it weren’t for the fact that Hermione should be not pretty, I have to admit to having been won over by Emma Watson, and it’s not something I say lightly. Rupert Grint on the other hand…

I need a handbag like Hermione’s. And I love the tent, even if I couldn’t cram it into that handbag. That girl can really pack. Oh, it’s magic? Never mind, she can still pack, and she knows what will come in handy.

Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 - © Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc.

That tedious Polyjuice from book two certainly comes into its own here, disgusting though it is. Daughter enjoyed the film as a film, but had to go and point out quite how many changes they’ve done and how some things aren’t even in the book! Fancy that. Luckily I only read the book once, so I don’t recall every minutest detail, making me ever so tolerant.

I think I would like to re-read all seven books. So if Emma Watson could Polyjuice me some extra time over Christmas? Thank you.

Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 1 - © Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc.

Am still very fond of the Phelps twins, i.e. Fred and George, and that will end in tears. I know. Also find Evanna Lynch really successfully flaky as Luna. Slightly disconcerting to have the Queen Mother – aka Helena Bonham Carter – as the beautifully menacing Bellatrix.

I’m all for them having divided the last book into two films. It’d be mad not to have done so. But I would have liked to have access to both parts within a shorter period of time. We finished on a (sort of) cliffhanger of a different kind than what you get in proper series of books/films.

(This post co-published with Bookwitch.)

(Photos © Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc.)