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?)

 

It was a perfect storm of no sleep, no wife and angry brushes whirring towards me

A-Ha!

Last Thursday was Husband’s birthday (I won’t tell you his age, it’s impolite) and we both decided to take a few days off work to give ourselves a five day weekend.

The Thursday was spent up in London, after he’d unwrapped his presents.  I did take a photo of what I bought him, but the presents are incredibly random and would take a lot of explaining so I’ll move on!

Regents Park

We wandered over to Baker Street and had a coffee and muffin in Starbucks, and then took a leisurely walk around Regents Park.  The sun was struggling to shine, but it was incredibly humid, and the geese were loving all the crumbs dropped by workers on their lunch breaks.  It’s at times like this where I regret not working in a big city like London, because I always think it would be lovely to sit in a park to eat my sandwiches.  Admittedly, we do have a lovely big lake at work that I could go and sit by (and don’t) so perhaps I’m looking at this with rose tinted specs on.

Everyman Alan Partridge

We went back over to Baker Street and waited for the Everyman to open for the afternoon showing of Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.  I’ve been to the Everyman Baker Street once before and loved it, so thought it would be perfect to watch Alan Partridge in.  There were only four people in our screening and all of us were in hysterics the whole way through.  I especially lost it when Alan talked about his panic attack.

“Do I look like I suffer from panic attacks? I’ve had one panic attack, in a car wash. It was a perfect storm of no sleep, no wife, and angry brushes whirring towards me. By the time the giant hair dryer came on I was in the footwell.”

I almost couldn’t breath from laughing.  It was a brilliant film, and having loved Alan since The Day Today, it felt right to see him on the big screen.  I have a lot of memories of me, my Dad, and my brother giggling ourselves silly at Alan the Linton Travel Tavern, and the references to Alan’s former life in the film were perfect, like Lynn driving a Mini Metro (“Lynn, I’m not driving a Mini Metro… They’ve rebadged it you fool!”)

Wahaca

The Birthday Boy was given the dinner decision, and he decided on Wahaca, so we walked over to Charlotte Street for some yummy mexican food and more Alan Partridge quoting.  I hadn’t been to this one before, and it still felt all lovely a new inside.  I love Wahaca and always look forward to shoving chicken tostadas in my face.  And they still did the salted caramel ice cream that I love, so that was an even better bonus.  YUM!

Derren Brown

The day ended with a trip to the  Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue to see Derren Brown: Infamous.  I’m not a massive fan of Derren Brown, but Husband is and this is the third time we’ve seen him live (First was Enigma, then Svengali).  I say I’m not a massive fan, but I do enjoy his live shows and spend a long time afterwards wondering how he does what he does.  We had great seats and luckily did not get called upon for audience participation – my biggest fear at these shows!

The show has finished its run now, but I believe it’s going on tour next year, so I’m going to respect Derren’s wishes and not reveal any spoilers.  However, I will say that I preferred Infamous to Svengali which might be down to the return of Andy Nyman.  The set was much less elaborate than Svengali, a little less ostentatious, and it really added to the drama and tension.  There was some beautiful lighting design, particularly in the second half, and the pared back nature of the props just worked.

One part of the script in the first half did make me almost cry with laughter (for those who have seen it – the small print on the poster) and I would agree with one commenter who said the show was 30% gay jokes, 70% ‘magic’, which I see as a compliment – it was nice to get an insight into his life.

We got home at about midnight, tired and a little bit grubby from spending the whole day in the City.  The Birthday Boy enjoyed himself which was the most important thing!  And I will never be able to hear Roachford’s “Cuddly Toy” again without wanted to scream “THERE’S NO FOG!”

It’s tough out there in time and space

Before Midnight

I’m still a bit emotionally raw from seeing Before Midnight last night.  I persuaded my esteemed colleague to take a trip to the Everyman on Baker Street, because of course it wasn’t showing anywhere near me.  I live in the country!  People in the country don’t like film.  OK, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

I adore Everyman Cinemas.  I’ve been to the Winchester and Walton-on-Thames screens (see – country bumpkin!) and they were both the perfect mix of quirky and retro without being awkwardly uncomfortable, and Baker Street was no different.  There was a lovely bit of Neon in the stairwell and we all know how much I like a lovely bit of Neon.  The bar was gorgeous, with plenty of places to sit and wait for your film to begin.  Just two screens, but the two screens happen to be playing my two favourite films of the year (Before Midnight and Behind the Candelabra) so it felt like this was a cinema just for me.  The screening room was the perfect size, with an unusually asymmetric layout – a row of 5 seats on the left, 2 seats on the right.  The two-er would be perfect for a date, but unfortunately for Tim, he just had a sobbing mess sat next to him (me).  And I don’t normally notice the clarity of cinema screens, but this one seemed really good quality – like super mega HD or something.

Screen two

I’ll leave the proper film review to the professionals, but I will just say this film really got to me.  I can’t remember when or why I bought the first two films (I think it was when Before Sunset came out, so nine years ago?) but Jesse and Celine are such fully formed characters, that they feel like real people I know.  I think that’s why their story has captivated me from that first moment on the train 18 years ago.  Their problems aren’t unique – millons of people struggle with the same issues and I think it will be uncomfortably close to home for some.  I don’t have children, and am planning on remaining childfree, but I still was able to identify with Celine (even though she was the mayor of Crazytown at some points).  She only gets time to think on the toilet, so now she associates thoughts with the stench of shit.  One of her biggest fears is that she’ll end up with a man who just wants to domesticate her.  She seems obsessed with the thought that if Jesse met her now, he wouldn’t find her attractive.

I consider myself quite lucky with my lot in life – Husband and I have managed to keep up our connection to each other and still regularly have long bouts of talking nonsense.  Admittedly, we do have some evenings where we’re both so tired after work that we just sit glued to various screens (laptop, TV, DS) so perhaps Before Midnight could be a bit of a cautionary tale for me.

I cried at many points in the film, and began to regret putting eyeliner on pretty much as soon as the title appeared on screen.  These are two people I haven’t seen for nine years – I didn’t realise how much I’d missed them until I saw them both again, talking solidly for about fifteen minutes in the second scene of the film.  It felt weird to have other characters feature to heavily compared to the first two films, but Ariadni’s (AKA the Greek Judi Dench) speech about her husband broke me good and proper.

I can’t wait to see it again, but I will settle for trying to watch Before Sunrise and Before Sunset this weekend.  And I’ll try not to cry again.

Emotional Penguin

I feel you, Penguin