December 30th, 2007


2007 travel meme

This one was gacked from nwhyte. The rules are simply to note those places where one has stayed away from home for a night or more. If you have stayed somewhere more than once, with a gap between, mark it with a star.

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I think that's all. It's a most impressive list by my standards - none of that is business travel, but nine of those locations were due to the one trip to Japan.

ETA: Added Oxford (thanks silly_swordsman) and a plane.

South Mimms for dinner

Well, we really couldn't be arsed to wait till we got home. So that's why we were sitting at a table in South Mimms this evening, with the poisonous Anne Leslie on News 24 on the overhead screens. At least the sound was off, so we could ignore whatever hate she was mongering, and just watch the scrolling headlines.

Two recent films

In the last few days, we saw two films at the cinema.

Firstly, Bee Movie.

This was an enjoyable-enough animation effort from Jerry Seinfeld and Dreamworks. Well, at least for the first two thirds, it worked quite well. And then, we had the unusual occurrence of an usher coming round and asking us to hand over our intelligence for the rest of the film. Oh dearie me. I can only assume that Seinfeld (the writer of the story) is a city dweller who knows less than nothing about nature. Not that such ignorance is of itself terminal, it's just that the primary rule for a writer is don't write about something you know nothing about (it's often phrased differently, but this is the true version). If our brains hadn't been temporarily been removed, I think we'd have held a stand up demonstration in Screen 3.

(Not that anyone would have noticed - with the arrival of the totally automatic projection system, the last person who might have noticed was gone. We were alone in that showing.)

And secondly, Disney's Enchanted. Anyone having seen the trailers will know the premise. Simple, yet beautiful maiden living alone in the forest, attended by the local wildlife to whom she sings, and which in true Snow White style do her housework for her. But impossibly handsome Prince encounters her, immediately proposes, and the wedding is set for the next day. Oops, the evil stepmother Queen doesn't like the idea - she'll lose her power. So she pushes young Giselle down the palace well to get rid of her.

And Giselle comes out the other end, popping up in Times Square. Suddenly real rather than animated.

The film is a delight. Of course the impossibly noble and handsome Prince leaps down the well after her to rescue her. As does a chipmunk. And a villainous Timothy Spall, sent by the Queen to try to hinder the Prince. Meanwhile, the innocent Giselle tries to cope with New York as if it were just another fairytale kingdom. The various tropes are played with, and frequently subverted - for example, when getting the local wildlife to help clean, Giselle has to make do not with the bluebirds and rabbits of her forest, but with the wildlife available in central New York.

Oh, and the chipmunk - done with perfectly-blending CGI - was hilarious.

Not the best film of the year for us (we preferred Stardust and Ratatouille), but one of the better ones: if Disney could keep to this quality or better, then they'd remake their reputation. With the departure of Pixar, they need to get their name on something good, and PotC has pretty well expired.

ETA: I'm informed that I wasn't paying enough attention, and that Disney actually bought Pixar last year. Oops.