You really can’t dance here, man

I hope that one day, I’m asked where’s the weirdest place I’ve watched a film (a common question), because after this week, I’ll be able to say in a sand filled room on the fourth floor of Liberty.

I haven’t really got into the whole pop-up immersive cinema scene.  I’ve seen friends get all dressed up to see Star Wars or Back to the Future and thought “meh, seems like a lot of effort to me”.  I love comfort, so sitting on a rug on the floor whilst straining my neck to see the screen doesn’t scream fun for me.

However, something about the Backyard Cinema screenings at Liberty appealed to me. It might have been the Miami theme (considering my recent visit), it might have been that it was being held in my favourite store, or it could have been the brilliant selection of films.  We’ll never know.

The whole summer, Backyard Cinema is based at the Mercato Metropolitano in South London, a place I have yet to visit but looks amazing.  They’re showing some absolute classics there – new and old, children’s, comedy, action – all sorts.  And as a little offshoot to their summer season, they set up shop in the Disappearing Store on 4 at Liberty.  
Tim and I got tickets for Footloose, and I really do recommend seeing Footloose with him as he is a world renowned expert on all things Ren McCormack.  The last time I watched it with him was at the Prince Charles Cinema at one of their overnight PJ parties, and I shamefully fell asleep midway through.  I’m not sure if he’s forgiven me for that.

We were given flip flops before we went into the room because they had filled the whole place with sand, sadly not Liberty print flip flops which was my only criticism.  There were about 20 deckchairs set up with little tables full of sweets and popcorn, and we were given a drink when we arrived.  It was so satisfying to sit in the deckchair and feel the sand between your toes.  Made me really nostalgic for Surfside.  I really can’t think of a better place to watch a film.  They did such a great job with the staging, and I’m tempted to visit their main location.  I’ll definitely keep checking in with them to see what new experiences they come up with.

Also, I became obsessed with the Liberty cushions.  Damn, they’re pretty.  Possibly just a wee bit outside my price range however…

That’s not “pass the mustard”

Louis Theroux

About a year ago, I was stood next to a red carpet, repeating the phrase “it’s a documentary about Scientology” to disinterested tourists who smiled, nodded, and drifted away.  I don’t routinely visit red carpets, but had accompanied Husband and Tim who had tickets to the premiere of Louis Theroux’s My Scientology Movie.  I did not.

I had lingered after they’d gone in, hoping to get the chance to speak to Louis.  He chatted to the press for a bit before briefly talking to fans who forced themselves upon him, but it wasn’t to be for me.  If you look at the photos from the London premiere, you’ll be able to spot me looking glum in the background, trying to decide if I had time to stop by Tatty Devine on my sad walk back to Waterloo.

Things have now come full circle, with me attending a screening of the film in the Royal Festival Hall alone, without my two compadres.  Circumstances conspired against me, as both Husband and Tim had more exciting things going on, but I couldn’t give up the chance to see the film, plus a Q&A with Louis and director John Dower hosted by Untold Blisses favourite, Adam Buxton.

I had low expectations of the film – I’d read a number of reviews which pointed out that the film doesn’t really add anything to the conversation – but I actually really enjoyed it.  I’m fascinated by the craziness in the Scientology cult, and have adored Louis since his very first Weird Weekends so I couldn’t not enjoy it.  It did feel different to his other documentaries, and the feature-length aspect of it meant that some parts of the story came across as a bit labourious but it there were still brilliant moments to be found.

And some moments were downright disturbing, like the joy Marty Rathbun seemed to get out of roleplaying with “David Miscavige”, and the stalking that the ‘church’ does of Louis and his crew.  It is a fascinating examination of how closed-off they are – I think Louis more than anyone would be willing to show balance but they clearly don’t want to engage with an audience.  It’s a clever perspective for Louis to have – this was just a film about how he couldn’t make a film.

Adam Buxton leading the Q&A at the end was a delight.  The closeness of his friendship with Louis allowed him to be more candid and less scripted, even at one point accidentally comparing Louis to Miscavige and Jimmy Saville.  It was a hilariously awkward moment.

I was a bit disappointed that there were no Scientologist outbursts – I had read reports of that happening in earlier screenings, and I was kind of tempted to meet one (I have knowingly met one – Jason Dohring who has the most intense eyes I have ever seen in my life).  There was a really odd moment at one stage where a whole host of men in white shirts traipsed out all at the same time which freaked me out a little, but it could have been just a coincidence.  I was a tad on edge after that.

Next up – the documentary they told Louis they were making about him.  Can’t wait for that to be released.

Baby, you are going to miss that plane

BFIThe BFI is brilliant.  As part of their Love season, they showed Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight one after the other and I think I ended up paying about £5 for each film.  Ace!

The Trilogy are three of my favourite films, but I haven’t ever seen them all in one go.  I absolutely want to do this every week now, as it’s the best way to see them – Jesse and Céline aging 18 years in a matter of hours, their relationship developing.  I completely fell in love with them both again, any cynicism I have over “romantic” films just melting away.

1995 Ethan Hawke is a dreamboat.  I was only a teenager back then, but he was definitely the type of man that awkward, spotty, teenage-me would have a mad crush over.  The leather jacket, the floppy hair, the silly beard – I can feel myself swooning just typing those words.  And the way he looked at Julie Delpy.  Holy crap!  There is such an intensity in his eyes and it’s effortlessly easy to suspend your disbelief, to actually believe that Ethan and Julie are a couple.

I’m swooning again.

Although I have a soft spot in my heart for Before Sunrise, Before Sunset was always my favourite and for two moments in particular.

  • When Jesse sees Céline in the bookstore at the beginning.  His shock, joy, relief, pain – it’s all there in a brief second and it’s glorious.
  • When Jesse says “I know” at the end.  Hands down, my favourite line in cinema EVER.  He knew from the moment he saw Céline.  He knew.

I’m fangirling all over Ethan Hawke here, but Julie Delpy has just as much of my love.  She plays Céline with just the right amount of anger and passion, and I feel everything she does in Before Midnight.  If Husband and I ever lose our minds have children, I am sure we’d be having the same conversations that they have, from the car to the dinner table to the hotel.  It’s reassuring, and so comforting to see what I think of as a real relationship in film.

The BFI showed them just right as well – I was bemoaning the fact that there were gaps between the three films, and that we got booted out of the screen at the end of each, but it gave me and Tim a chance to get out, grab some coffee, and dissect our favourite scenes with contented little sighs at the beautiful love story that was unfolding on screen.

It was a perfect Saturday evening on the South Bank.

Strange things did happen here

This week has left me all over the place!   I feel like I haven’t been in at all in the evenings, and even though I’ve been getting enough sleep, I just feel wrecked.  I don’t think December is going to be much better – ugh, bring on January.  The good news is, it’s mostly been fun stuff!

Monday

Mockingjay This blurry photo really encapsulates how excited i was to be at the cinema on Monday (and also because I was rushing to get into the screen).  I had read so many reviews that started “Mockingjay is the worst of the series” so I wasn’t expecting this one to be as good as Catching Fire, and in a way it wasn’t.  But it was a very different film, it was so dark, so intense, so claustrophobic, and even though I knew how it would end, I was breathless through the last third.  Oh god, there was a small part of me that thought “maybe they’ll change it, maybe Peeta will be ok” but DAMN JOSH, he killed in that scene.  I was super happy that Effie had a role, and one of my favourite scenes was the one between her and Plutarch (Philip Seymour Hoffman was so great).  I missed Finnick and Haymitch – there wasn’t enough of them.

And I don’t think I need to go into how amazing Jennifer Lawrence was.  Because she was.  No one else could be Katniss but her.

My thoughts are still all jumbled, and as I’m sure you can imagine I was ridiculously emotional throughout the film.  Pretty much anytime someone did a District 12 salute or Rue’s whistle, I started bawling.   The next 12 months are going to feel very long.

Wednesday

Uni Wolverhampton

Wednesday was a day of trains – 6 hours worth of trains to be precise.  Boy, did I feel tired and grimy when I got home.  I travelled up to the University of Wolverhampton for a meeting with some other institutions and it was crazy productive.  It’s probably one of the most worthwhile things I have attended this entire year and is genuinely exciting (if you do what I do.  Which isn’t exciting).  Also, it made me so jealous of the professional services staff at Wolverhampton as their office is amazing.  They all had fancy filing cabinets!  I only have a crappy cupboard!  I’m so bitter.

I didn’t get to see anything of the city as I jumped straight back on the train afterwards and it was a little cold and grey.  I got covered in mud on the way to and from my local station though as I had to walk around the pond – I was desperately trying to wash some of the dirt off my shoes before going into the meeting as I must have looked a mess.  Ever the professional career woman.

Thursday

Jim Meets Ruby

Last night was spent in one of the lecture theatres at work with Husband, watching (technically) a colleague and Humanist hero of mine, Jim Al-Khalili, interview Ruby Wax.  As part of the University of Surrey’s Mental Health Awareness Week, Ruby had been invited to talk to Jim as part of the “Jim Meets…” series.  I was really looking forward to this, as I have very recently read Ruby’s book on mindfulness (Sane New World) which has some amazing insights that have genuinely changed how I work through stressful situations.

She shared more of these insights in the interview, and expressed how she wants to strip away the stigma around mental health issues.  She’s right – when something isn’t right in the mind, it’s not just a mental issue but a physical one too and can affect everything about a person.  She compared the use of medication for depression to insulin for diabetes.  You wouldn’t tell a diabetic person not to take it, so why limit the use of drugs for depression?  When someone has something ‘physically’ wrong with them like a broken leg, they get cards and sympathy.  Why not when someone has something wrong in their mind?

She spoke about the Mindfulness in Schools movement and I wish I had been taught it at school.  As Ruby pointed out, before we start teaching children about history and space and what’s ‘out there’, they need to learn what’s inside their brain and how to regulate themselves.  I think this is worth a million times more than anything else they can learn.

It was such an interesting evening and good to see Jim in the flesh – I don’t have much interaction with academics (although I have seen him once before on campus filming for something) and as a Humanist, I am always really pleased to see a bit of exposure for the president of the British Humanist Association!

I’m just tagging this post, and am most amused that it features a tag for the Hunger Games, and Jim Al-Khalili.  HA!

I never knew I was capable of being ridiculous over a man

DSC_3677I wasn’t going to see Gone Girl.  I read the book last year and liked it enough to give it four stars on Good Reads.  I discussed it a lot with Tim after lending him the book.  The quality of the writing led me to read more of Gillian Flynn’s books.  And yet I wasn’t going to see the film.  I assumed the worst.

But then Ben Affleck was cast – Affleck who I unashamedly adore.  And I found out David Fincher was directing.  And then I was stunned by the beautiful poster.  And everyone started raving about it.  All this persuaded me to give it a chance, so we trekked over to the world’s most middle class cinema* – The Everyman in Walton-on-Thames – and settled in to one of their squishy sofas.

Husband and I enjoyed the film from two extremes – I knew everything about it and he knew barely anything.  He knew the basic premise – Nick Dunne’s impossibly beautiful wife goes missing and he is accused of her murder – and he obviously knew there was likely to be more to it that just that.  What he couldn’t know is that this is an incredibly faithful adaptation.  So many times in other film adaptations, I’ve been disappointed with shortcuts, omissions, and deviations but there was no pointing out the ‘errors’ this time.  I was able to watch without tutting or thinking how it could be done better.

Fincher started the film so quietly and you have to strain to listen.  We noticed this with The Social Network as well.  It’s like he’s telling you to lean forward, pay attention, focus – listen up and you’ll be rewarded with some great storytelling.  His distinctive style is all over the film, and what could easily have ended up as trashy pulp in other hands, becomes almost iconic.  I’ve read many reviews calling Gone Girl Hitchcockian and I completely agree – that very sinister subtlety that leaves you feeling on edge hours after the film has ended.

Every actor in the film was on point and were the characters as Gillian Flynn wrote them.  Affleck and his dopey naivety, Carrie Coon and her quiet strength, Rosamund Pike and her dark perfection.  Even Neil Patrick Harris convinced me – Barney Stinson was stopping me from see him as Desi when he was cast but he had it right from the start.  I throughly enjoyed being frustrated by each of these characters, and loved being angrily resigned at the end of the film.

We spent our entire car journey home discussing it, which ended up being a very long journey after we got stuck on the M3, and even now I’m skipping around the internet reading blogs and reviews.  It’s definitely a film that sticks with you, and I’m so glad I was caught up in the hype.

 

*I love you Everyman, I really do, but it is hilarious just how far from the crusty multiplex of my misspent youth you are.  The ads before the film (stage schools and exclusive Battersea Power Station apartments), the wasabi pea snacks and wood fired goats cheese pizzas delivered to your seat, the RIDICULOUSLY posh people in the audience.  I had a wry smile on my face as soon as I walked in, which only got bigger when the manager popped in between the ads and the film to introduce himself, and ask if we needed anything.  Still, I do appreciate the sofa and cushions to snuggle in to.  (What have I become?)

 

Maybe we’re just the regular people

WIWH2When I was 23, Garden State was my life.  I watched the films so many times, and knew that this was exactly the type of thing I wanted to write.  Zach Braff was a hero of mine.  Over the last ten years, my tastes have moved on a little, and I perhaps don’t hold the film in quite the same regard anymore (the recent Jezebel rewatch made me cringe) so this was partly why I was dreading our special UK backers screening of Wish I Was Here on Friday at the Cineworld in The O2.

For one thing, it started at 6pm which meant I had to call in some favours to leave work at 3.  I didn’t relish the idea of trekking up to North Greenwich for 6 (actually, it wasn’t bad at all) and as Husband, Rach, and I got to the cinema lobby, we were greeted by a huge queue.  It was shaping up to be a disaster of an evening.  Emails sent from the Wish I Was Here team earlier in the week had started to make us a little anxious as they asked people to switch to the last minute addition of a 9pm screening – I was convinced we’d get to the front of the queue and told they were out of seats.

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I hadn’t realised this snaked a few times…

The organisation was a bit lacklustre but we eventually exchanged our Eventbrite tickets for numbered seats (why we couldn’t have had numbered tickets in the first place, I don’t know).  There were three people handing out tickets, and as Rach had gone to a different person, she was five rows back from us.  We were in row A.  Row A in the Sky Superscreen.  ROW A.  We quickly realised that we would be in quite some significant pain during this film – don’t get me wrong, the seats were mega comfortable, but we had to scooch down and lean back in them in order to see any part of the film.  Truthfully, we only saw the middle third of the film.  I hope nothing major happened in the other two-thirds.  Mandy Patinkin’s beard was pretty much the size of my car.

The film needed this screen however, and was ram packed with 700 of the backers – I think 1000 turned up in the end for the two screenings.  I was sneakily eyeing up some seats further back but they all got filled.

But the third of the film that we saw was better than expectation.  Aiden is a struggling actor whose children are in an orthodox Jewish school – a detail I found fascinating and wanted to see more of.  His father, expertly played by Mandy Patinkin, has stopped paying the school bills which is how the film starts.  It’s clear from Mandy’s first scene that there are some father-son tensions at play, but this melts away as it’s revealed he is dying of cancer.  The film quickly changes from a self-centered “woe is me” piece to a look at how a family deals with death, and it’s sometimes hard to watch.

There are some sub-plots that were completely unnecessary, like the chubby sweaty nerd suddenly getting the hottest girl at Comic Con because he has a great costume (please), and a weird half-assed sexual harassment thing which just serves to make Aiden take control of his masculinity. Come on now, we don’t need this silly nonsense.  I didn’t like how Aiden’s wife Sarah, understatedly played by Kate Hudson, had her “dream job”, which actually turned out to be entering data into a spreadsheet.  Who does that in this day and age, really.  Even her name badge just had the word “Worker” on it.  Oh, how terrible it is to work in an office.

There were also quite a few contrived moments and it felt as though he had these great iconic shots planned that he had to somehow get the script to move towards.  A shot from above of Mandy Patinkin lying on a hospital bed wearing welding goggles whilst the pink-haired Manic Pixie Dream Daughter hugs him.  A shot of the MPD Daughter leaping into a pool overlooking LA.  A shot of the family driving along the PCH in an Aston Martin.  The film quickly became very crowded with these moments and I longed for a bit more story.

That said, I enjoyed the story.  Kate Hudson was very good, and one scene between her and Mandy was beautifully written.  It was incredibly heartfelt and real and tugged really hard on my heartstrings.  The film didn’t drag, didn’t feel like it was too long, and even the superfluous scenes didn’t bother me too much.  One thing I loved but Husband hated were the super hero scenes with the little CGI robot.  I loved that Aiden wanted so badly to be this super hero, for his children, for his wife, for his father, but everyday life was holding him back.  At the end of the film, he accepts that he isn’t and that he’s just a regular person – I wanted more of this analogy and it was very poignant for me.

Zach Braff has definitely been unfairly lambasted over the making of the film, and it does not deserve the critical response it’s received.  It was clear in the Q&A afterwards that the whole process has exhausted the poor man and it was telling that when someone asked him if he’d Kickstart again, he replied with a loud and resolute NO.

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Terrible lighting in the cinema 😦

We had about 40 minutes afterwards for the Q&A, where Zach bounded around in front of us answering a good number of questions.  Terrible seats for watching the film, great seats for the Q&A.  At times, it felt like he was talking directly to us which was so weird and surreal – Zach Braff was stood so close to me that I could smell his aftershave (sorry, weird thing to say).  He gave us a background to the soundtrack, to his favourite films of the year, to the making of the film including the fact that he only had Mandy for four days which is astonishing.

What started out as a potentially worrying evening actually turned out really well, and I’m glad I made the effort to get to the screening.  And super glad that we stopped at the Byron Burger afterwards.

 

Just out, doing some light stalking

Obvious ChildI read Jezebel.  I know, shocking right?  So I have been well aware of the buzz around Obvious Child.  It was definitely on my “to see” list but I expected to wait a really long time to see it.  However after my visit to the BFI a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that they were not only showing the film but holding a Q&A with the writer/director Gillian Robespierre, writer Karen Maine and star Jenny Slate.  I immediately texted Tim and we booked the heck out of it.  And last night we saw it.

I have been thinking about this film pretty much since the minute it ended.  Something about it really touched me and I desperately want to see it again.  This film is important, which is not to say that it has an agenda as Gillian pointed out in the Q&A, but it is important.  It shows a real woman making a real decision without judgment or disastrous consequences.  We’ve been fed these silly nonsense rom-coms for such a long time and it was a welcome relief to watch a film so unapologetic in its portrayal of women, of relationships, of life in general.

I had reservations before I went in because I thought it might be a bit heavy handed, but actually this film isn’t about abortion at all.  It’s about Donna, a stand-up comedian who is having a bit of a hard time at the beginning of the film.  Then she meets Max, played by Jake Lacy who will forever be known as Plop to me because of his character in the American Office.  I adored Max with his slip on shoes and cute scarf, but it was so nice that he wasn’t just one thing – he was just as funny as Donna and although you could tell that they weren’t each other’s type, you rooted for them anyway.  And then she gets pregnant, and then she decides to have an abortion.  That’s it – no big dramatic decision making, no family trying to convince her otherwise.  This isn’t Knocked Up or Juno, and thank god for that.  Donna makes a decision that women make every day, and you really get the sense at the end of the film that her world hasn’t collapsed.

The Q&A at the end of the film was great, and there were some lovely insightful questions asked.  Tim noted that it’s probably the only film Q&A he’s been to where audience members cried on two separate occasions, and I got teary myself when Jenny Slate told of the awful things people have been tweeting her.  People are horrible.  Fortunately, there were no stupid protests this evening – just a lot of love from a very blissful, sated audience.

One thing Gillian said that struck me was that she wrote a film about a woman, not about a decision, and everyone was keen to stress that this is just one experience.  The film isn’t saying all women should have abortions or that abortions are super fun, and I think that’s what has disappointed me so much about reviews and comments.  I always read other opinions after I see a film – love it or hate it.  Trying to validate my own feelings I guess.  Reading the Guardian’s review this morning, it was so sad to see the comments descend into an abortion debate with people citing Roe V. Wade or religious beliefs.  Inevitable I suppose, but such a shame – why can’t they just appreciate this warm, moving, funny film.  The truly amazing chemistry between Jenny Slate and Plop/Jake Lacy, the touching scene between Jenny and Polly Draper.  I could gush about this film all night.

I was also really surprised by Jenny Slate.  There was one scene in the film where she completely broke my heart.  It was so subtle, so beautiful, and something I wasn’t expecting from the woman behind Mona-Lisa Saperstein.  She was incredibly charming in the Q&A and extraordinarily pretty as you can see from my photo above.  I have developed such a crush on her, so much so that when she favourited a tweet of mine last night after the film, I got so giddy I almost missed my stop.

See this film.  See this film because if you don’t, we have no one to blame but ourselves when they continue to make films ‘for women’ which are utter crap.  And that will truly make me sad.

You see how picky I am about my shoes and they only go on my feet

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Last night, I attended a screening of Beyond Clueless at the BFI, a Kickstarted film made by the blogger Ultra Culture, also known as Charlie Lyne.  It’s a “a dizzying journey into the mind, body and soul of the teen movie, as seen through the eyes of over 200 modern coming-of-age classics.”  A bit of a no brainer – I was, am, and probably always will be obsessed with teen cinema to the point that I’ve attended most of the Prince Charles Cinema’s teen film PJ parties over the past couple of years.  A documentary, claiming to be “the first major study”, of a genre I love – yes please.

However, I didn’t see much of a study.  There was certainly a heck of a lot of clips, and kudos to Charlie for his research as it definitely was thorough.  His montages of high school settings, swimming pool splashy splashy, and sexual awakenings contained a phenomenal amount of source material and there were a huge number of films I didn’t recognise – the citation list in the credits was intimidating.  The editing was also to a very high standard which was something I really enjoyed.

But no one gets awards simply for watching a lot of films (I should know; I did two film degrees back in the day).  You have to make a point, you have to find meaning or a something linking the films together.  You can’t just show endless shots of teens ‘being destructive’ and not tell the viewer what you think this means.  The narration by Fairuza Balk was at times completely superfluous as it wasn’t adding anything to the visuals.

Every so often, Charlie would start towards some kind of critical analysis, and I’d silently beg for him to go further but it didn’t seem to happen.  One of the films he focused on was 13 Going on 30, a film which I shamefully love.  A reading of the film that I had never considered was that Mark Ruffalo’s Matty is only interested in the teenaged Jennifer Garner’s Jenna, and that Jenna decides to give up her successful career in order to be with Matty.  Holy crap!  I have been watching this film so blindly, my feminist self hadn’t really acknowledged this.  Charlie noted it, but then didn’t take it any further – why is a grown man only attracted to a teenage persona?  Why does she have to give up everything?  Are there any parallels to Never Been Kissed?

He also focused on the weirdest films – how someone can skip over Donnie Darko or Romeo + Juliet, choosing instead to examine Slap Her, She’s French or The Girl Next Door is utterly baffling.  I understand that these are probably the films that he knows, that he’s comfortable with, but that is not what one should expect from a documentary film maker.  He really needed to push himself further, otherwise the only thing this documentary becomes is “A list of Charlie Lyne’s favourite films”.  90% of the films he featured told the stories of heteronormative white boys – no mention in the narration of how gender, race, or sexuality can affect or influence a storyline.  Only a sideways dig about the fear of being gay by a couple of straight boys in Eurotrip (ugh) and Jeepers Creepers.

If I had brought the narration to my dissertation supervisor 10 years ago (sidenote – 10 years ago?  Really?), she would have congratulated me on my research, and then gone through paragraph by paragraph saying “and what does this mean?”.  Handed in, it might have scraped a lower second class degree.  The film was a visual representation of IMDB with a couple of user comments from the forums thrown in as an aside.

The soundtrack was brilliant however, and we watched the film with Summer Camp playing live.  I bought a CD after the show and told Jeremy Warmsley how much I enjoyed the set.  I’ll definitely be downloading the soundtrack – it was perfect.

I don’t want to be so critical, or take away from the astonishing achievement that Charlie has made here – this is yet another good example of what Kickstarter should be used for.  This man started out as a blogger, moved on to writing for the Guardian and now has made a film that’s shown at SXSW and the BFI.  That is amazing, and let’s be honest, something that the films I’ve written will likely never achieve (sadface).

But one quote struck me from the narration, and seemed to sum up the whole doc for me – Charlie is “searching for answers to a question he doesn’t understand”.  Which is a shame when so much could be said about this much maligned genre.

My thoughts are stars

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Last year, I failed to list The Fault in Our Stars in my favourite books of 2013.  I don’t regret my decision at all (Eleanor and Park won the ‘sad YA’ genre for me) but this didn’t mean I wasn’t excited for the film release.  I was.  I was incredibly excited.  Especially because the two writers wrote one of my most loved and most watched films, (500) Days of Summer.

Tim was kind enough to sit next to me whilst I sobbed come with me to see the film.  And I quote “Dismiss it if you wish but I know I will see it and that the person sitting next to me will be weeping like a loon” – Mild Concern.  He was also prepared to leave London and see it with me in The Country, so I didn’t have too far to travel after work.  We picked Woking as our mid-way town and the very weird Ambassadors Cinema which is apparently independent – good for us to support the independent British cinema industry.

I managed a bit of a mooch about the shops before Tim’s train arrived, and thought I’d get a photo of the Fighting Machine statue.  I don’t think the residents of Woking appreciate how brilliant it is to have a Tripod from War of the Worlds right next to their BHS.  It’s deeply odd and I love it.

Tripod

We grabbed a pizza at a convenient and very empty Italian place, popped into Waterstones for some book chat before the film, and then we went deep into the heart of the Ambassadors complex to get to our screen.  I had the smallest popcorn in the world, and we got settled into our seats.  What repeatedly amused us was the sheer volume of screens – in the box office, above the screen entrances  – and the complete lack of information on them.  Unless you had been online, you would have no idea what they were showing.   We weren’t too sure that we were in the right screen until the BBFC card appeared.

I loved the film.  Some of it didn’t have as much of an impact, and there were moments in the film that felt a bit slow, but overall, it smashed my heart into tiny little smithereens.  Shailene and Ansel have great chemistry, and once again I was mesmerised by how natural and real Shailene acted.  She is such a talented woman, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Unsurprisingly, there were sniffs coming from all around us (including me, of course), and one scene in particular really hit the audience hard.  I was clever enough to not put eye make-up on, but not clever enough to bring tissues with me – why do I never learn.  At the end of the film, most people went running to the bathroom and I refused to let Tim see my hideous snotty mess of a face until I’d had a chance to sort myself out.  There was a serious lack of tissue in the stalls, leading me to conclude that many tears had been shed that day.

I managed to get my step count up by walking Tim to the train station, and then getting subsequently trapped in the deserted shopping mall.  A faintly terrifying end to a very tearful evening.

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You got spirit, yes you do!

PCC VM

Finally, the Prince Charles Cinema got ahold of the Veronica Mars Movie, so I of course jumped at the opportunity to see the film in my favourite cinema seat in the UK.  Tim was kind enough to come with me, despite the fact the poor lamb seemed exhausted, and I met him after work in Soho Square which is looking a bit grimy since the last time I was there.

We wandered into Soho to Honest Burger for some yummy honest burgers.  They’d kindly sorted out a table for us really quickly so there was no wait at all, which was pretty lucky as I was starving.  I was initially confused by not having a fork, but I went with it as I didn’t want to appear to be a nerd and dug in with my fingers.  Tim’s homemade lemonade looked delicious, and I regretted not having it but overall, I really enjoyed trying out somewhere I hadn’t been before.

Looking for something sweet, we stopped in to Scoop Gelato where I managed not to spill coffee and chocolate gelato down me and we continued our always random and obscure chat, which is what I’ve come to love from my Tim dates.

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I think this is the first time I’ve been to the Prince Charles Cinema without getting straight into pyjamas, and it felt a bit weird sitting without a blanket and a bag full of snacks to get me through the night, but we did manage to get our usual seats so I was happy.  The screening was part of the PCC’s Geek Out series (they’ve previously had Serenity) so there was a quick check to see if anyone was in fancy dress – I had briefly considered going as a dead Lilly Kane (not really) but no one else was playing.  Then a quick quiz, which I’m pretty sure we would have won if we’d taken part.

And then the film.  I have seen it a couple of times on Blu-Ray since my one and only cinema screening, coincidentally round the corner from the PCC, but I purposely haven’t watched it since booking these tickets.  It still made me laugh and jump in all the right places, but I only cried once this time.  Tim giggled at everything Dick Casablancas said, and I giggled when he failed to put his bum on the seat on the way back from the bathroom.  It was lovely seeing it at the PCC, and I hope this isn’t the last time I get to see it at the cinema.

In order to get our step counts up, we walked back from Leicester Square to Waterloo, through the groups of drunken morose England fans (HA!), and then I jumped onto the train waiting to take me back home.