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penguin, sleepy
  • Mon, 19:18: Think Fellowship of the Ring would have been better if they'd all made chilli before the big conference.
  • Mon, 19:19: "You have my beans..." "And my garlic..." "And I think I've got some Scotch bonnets around here somewhere."

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My tweets

penguin, sleepy
  • Fri, 11:54: Clearly that shelf was put there specifically for the cat's usage. http://t.co/LktaiPzhJ0
  • Fri, 11:56: Note: book on top of tissue box to stop her from nesting in the Kleenex.
  • Fri, 11:57: Also, ancient recorded media and dymo labelmaker tapes. I'm not living an anachronistic life, honest!

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My tweets

penguin, sleepy

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My tweets

penguin, sleepy
  • Fri, 13:50: RT @pzmyers: Friday Cephalopod: They’re forming tribes!: We’re doomed. The Pacific striped octopus is exhibiting complex so... http://t.co/

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penguin, sleepy
  • Sat, 13:13: Have just asked a right-wing, US-based mass emailer to remove me from his list. Let's see what happens.
  • Sat, 13:14: Obviously, I made logical arguments. I expect it to have the same effect as arguing with Jehovah's Witnesses.

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penguin, sleepy

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penguin, sleepy

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Cycling with Molière / Begin Again

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When Alex Cox was presenting Moviedrome on BBC2 in the late 80s or early 90s, he once disparagingly mentioned "those French films where people sit and talk for two hours and nothing else happens." Cycling with Molière very much fits that mould, but in the best possible way, with Gauthier, a successful actor trying to persuade his retired friend Serge to join him in staging a production of Molière's The Misanthrope.

Gauthier is handsome and constantly being recognised on the street for his role as a brain surgeon in a television series, while Serge lives an anonymous life on the Île de Ré, having withdrawn in disgust several years earlier from the acting world, which he sees as full of backstabbers and false friends. Gauthier assumes he will be taking the lead role, Alceste, but eventually is forced to compromise and agrees that the two will alternate, something that has never been tried before. Serge revels in bringing Gauthier down a peg or two - the sequence where pair watch Gauthier as Dr Morange is a well of backhanded compliments - but as the film goes on, the roles reverse, and it's difficult to tell who is the misanthrope and who is Alceste's foil, Philinte. Things are further complicated by Francesca, an Italian divorcee who Serge initially despises but becomes romantically interested in as the pair get to know her, as well as a young woman who hopes to pick up acting tips from the pair for her work in adult films.

It's a great film, and the interactions between the two leads are frequently hilarious, with a few slapstick moments to help out too - well worth seeing. It made me wish I knew The Misanthrope too, so I could spot more of the parallels in the plot. (It was also fun to notice the rhyming in the play text, which didn't really come across in the subtitles.)

I also really enjoyed Begin Again, with Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo. Ruffalo plays Dan, a music producer down on his luck, in a complicated relationship with his not-quite-ex-wife and 14-year old daughter. Knightley is Gretta, who arrives in New York with her boyfriend Dave, a successful pop star. The two of them have been writing songs together, but as Dave's career takes off, she is left in his wake and it is no real surprise when they break up. Dan drunkenly stumbles into an open mic night one evening where Gretta has been reluctantly dragged up to the stage to play, and rapidly conceives the idea of recording an album with her.

It's a really sweet story, with some great chemistry between Knightley and Ruffalo, which is the real strength of the film. Dan really wants to make Gretta a star, but she has no interest in being famous or changing her appearance to increase her sex appeal, and gives as good as she gets in their arguments. James Corden is excellent as Gretta's New York-based busker friend, while Catherine Keener and Hailee Steinfeld provide great support as Dan's wife and daughter. The main characters are all very likable, while you can tell straight away that Dave is a wrong 'un - he almost immediately grows a ridiculous Freddie Mercury-esque moustache, and his facial hair only becomes worse as the film goes on. There's also a level of realism to the relationships in the film, with only Gretta's immediate befriending of Dan's teenage daughter Violet sticking out as somewhat unlikely - I can't say much more without getting into spoilers, but it's nice to see a film that appears to have been written by adults.

It's also worth hanging around through the end credits, which actually enhance the film, rather than that terrible thing that all the bloody Marvel films do, where you sit through fifteen minutes of white text scrolling very slowly against a black background just to catch two minutes of Thor sitting on the toilet, only to find that he can't flush his gigantic Asgardian dump down a puny Earthling crapper (I may possibly have seen a different version of that film from you).

In short then, two films well worth your time!

My tweets

penguin, sleepy
  • Thu, 16:00: The mind boggles at the person searching for a Windows 7 laptop on Freegle. They've been asking for months.

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