Alice in Wonderland (the film)

Dalice-in-wonderlanduring the festive season (Merry Christmas by the way) I have been taking advantage of the epicness of Christmas television. A whole variety of films have been on including Tim Burton’s adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.

Quite an intriguing movie, sort of a combination between Middle Earth, Narnia and Horton hears a who. It stars many familiar figures such as Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter), Bill Nighy (Rufus Scrimgeour in Harry Potter), Alan Rickman (Snape in Harry Potter) Timothy Spall (Peter Pettigrew in Harry Potter) and Stephen Fry (who narrates the Harry Potter audio books). The film is set 19 years after Alice visits Wonderland where she has convinced herself that the whole experience was a dream. So much so that when she again falls down a rabbit hole into a mystical land she believes she is dreaming.

She finds Wonderland a changed place in the grips of the Red Queen. The surviving inhabitants have had to flock together, trying to find the one person who can rid them of this evil (and so creature called a Jabiwoki). Director Tim Burton has a history of taking nice little children’s stories and darkening them to the point that they are nearly ruined (Charlie and the chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach). This film was no exception. Burton has managed to create a world of disarray and avid rulers out of a simple children’s story. But there’s nothing wrong with that is there?

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So Alice wanders around Wonderland talking to rabid rabbits, talking Caterpillars and a dog. She also meets the famed ‘Mad Hatter’, someone who I believe was given far too much screen time (however I suppose when you pay for Johnny Depp you have to over-use him). To pad the film out a bit, Burton has Alice sneak into the deadly Red Queen’s castle to get some silly sword that she needs (although I would have thought any sword would do). Then she runs off The Red Queen’s sister – The White Queen (is it possible to wear any more white makeup than that women does?)

At the end of the film there is a minor battle on a chessboard where Alice kills the Jaberwok-thing and The Mad Hatter gets someone on the floor and foolishly doesn’t kill them.

Tim-Burton-s-Alice-In-Wonderland-alice-in-wonderland-2010-13677684-1360-768Not a very good, convincing or well-thought-through storyline, made worse by my own terrible summery of it. However this film has a little something that really makes you want to keep watching it. Maybe it is the dystopian feel of Wonderland, maybe the characters or maybe the creepy atmosphere surrounding the story.

The best performance in the film was that of the Red Queen – played by Bellatrix Lestrange Helena Bonham Carter. If anyone said that she got the part because she’s Tim Burton’s wife then they are lying. She was amazing (you know she plays mad people so convincingly that maybe this is suggesting something).

All in all; intriguing but, nope just intriguing.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

‘The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey’ a film that I have been told on many occasions to be the most anticipated picture of 2012. Yesterday I went to see this film and I feel that it is always nice to do a little light-hearted review of a film you have recently seen.

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the beginning of a trilogy of films which focuses on Bilbo Baggins, a young hobbit who sets off on a mission with a band of dwarves. The film, which was directed by Peter Jackson, is a prequel to the Lord of the Rings film trilogy from the same director and features many of the same cast. Being a fan of these films myself it was very easy to get into the spirit of the film however the Hobbit acts as a completely different story told in a completely different way. In fact somehow whilst watching it I was both always and never thinking about the Lord of the Rings.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyBefore watching the film I, like many others, was wondering how on earth Jackson had managed to stretch one 280 page book into three motion pictures. I was pretty shocked to hear that the nearly three-hour long film only covered 6 chapters of Tolkien’s original book. However you forget all your criticisms when you are watching it. The film never ceases to be amazing, truly bringing Tolkien’s work to life. The film also contains many scenes (and many villains) that weren’t featured in the books however fit in perfectly with the world of Middle Earth.

The start of the film is spoken from the view of an elderly Bilbo (played by the returning Ian Holm). He tells the tale of the dwarf Thorin Oakenshield and the capture of the lonely mountain by the dragon Smaug (epically played by Benedict Cumberbatch). This part then seamlessly returns to a point only about an hour before the Lord of the Rings starts, with Frodo Baggins running off the meet Gandalf. If I hadn’t known otherwise I would have thought these scenes were filmed simultaneously.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyPerhaps my favourite scene featured the return of three “Lord of the Ring-ers”. These were Galadriel, played by Cate Blanchett, Saruman, played by Christopher Lee and Elrond, played by Hugo Weaving. These three along with the good old Gandalf come together in the White Council where they sit around and talk about stuff. Christopher Lee especially gave a great performance (especially considering his roles for all three films were filmed in four days). Lee managed to combine the character of the kindly wise-old wizard with a darker backbone of the traitor which is to come in the Lord of the Rings.

However in every film there are a few minor moans to be had. Some of the battle scenes seemed to never end (yes that worked well in LOTR however Jackson should remember that the Hobbit is a children’s tale). Another thing; though pleased at the sight of Sylvester McCoy playing Radagast the Brown, I wasn’t completely sure that some of his scenes were completely necessary (take the part when he is running round frantically trying to save a dying hedgehog while giant spiders knock on his windows).

Cabin Pressue Series 4 Recording 2

WCIMG8573hen you mix together being a massive Cabin Pressure fan and not getting tickets to the second recording of Cabin Pressure Series 4, the result is 5 hours standing in the middle of London waiting to sneak into the studios and meet the cast.

Me and two others arrived at the RADA studios at about 10:30, fully aware that we had n603217_562125397136322_1142332086_no tickets and yet even more determined to meet the actors (in particular Benedict Cumberbatch). As soon as we got there opportunity meet us with the sight that I had already seen before, just two weeks before. This sight consisted of two men who looked very too much like Benedict Cumberbatch and Roger Allam and, not wanting to miss that chance I had missed before (img_1285See here), I and my friends started following them.

We followed them to a coffee shop (turns out Benedict and Roger prefer Caffé Nero over Starbucks), followed them inside the coffee shop and then backed out again quickly whilst they sat down and drank with us pacing outside waiting for them to leave.

So that was the main event of the day how525875_562125610469634_1125895506_never I have plenty more anecdotes. These include:

  • Being chucked out of the RADA bar and later off the premises by the same man.
  • Running round London.
  • Walking round pretending to be Benedict and Roger.
  • Meeting Goeff Posner in the break between recordings and getting his aut293238_562125680469627_2032441693_nograph.
  • Sneaking into RADA when the recordings had finished to meet the actors.
  • Meeting John Finnermore for the second time and Anthony Head for the first.
  • Standing outside all day was also fun.

Oh what fun I did have. The best thing is that it over as there is another recording on the 6th of January. Shall we go or not?

Christianity Explored

IMG_1929Over the last few weeks I have been attending a ‘Christianity Explored’ course for teenagers, at my local church.

It is a nice place where we (admittedly only two of us) meet with a few adults and look over a few bible verses concerning the life of Jesus and discuss their meanings while asking questions about the Christian Faith. We also gorge ourselves on pizza which is an added bonus.

It has been a great place for me to find out more about Christianity and better still, what it is like to be a Christian.

IMG_1894If anybody, Christian or not, get the opportunity to embark on a course like this then I urge you not to let it slip through your fingers. (By the way, the following picture isn’t of me.)

Winter’s first snowfall

When I’m having breakfast I usually sit facing away from the window, whereas my mother and brother sit facing the window, so when they spent the whole of the morning talking about snow I had not idea that I was in fact snowing.

Ahhhhh winter’s first snowfall. I know everyone moans about it being a pain and the fact that young children become positively manic around it but I still can’t stop the child-like zest filling me whenever I see a landscape covered in snow. The wonderful crunch under your foot when you step on it and the fact that it makes playing ‘Yellow-car’ on your own so much more interesting due to the thick blanket of snow.

The best thing about snow is that it is the first true sign of winter and the long-anticipated Christmas holidays.

The snow has most-about gone now. It was falling heavily enough this morning but now nothing. Never mind. It was nice when it lasted (3hours).

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Cabin Pressure Series 4 Recording

Well S248303_525697564115207_1329467990_nunday was a real blast as me and a friend journeyed up to London to witness the first recording of Cabin Pressure Series 4. We went by a train and then by tube, held up along the way by 20 speaker announcements by the same monotonous women, announcing that there had been a fire alert further down the line, however that did not stop us and we still managed to get to the RADA studios 31/2 hours early. We sat and became (may I quote) busy doing nothing. It really was amazing how the time flew out there. By
far the highlight of the wait was when two men who looked extremely like Benedict Cumberbatch and Roger Allam302704_525698007448496_1824317105_n walked past and I followed them for a bit before deciding that it couldn’t possibly be the two actors of whom I was in awe and gave it up only to find out later that it had been them and I had missed my chance at an autograph. After a few hours we were let into the auditorium where the main part of the day began. We were greeted by producer David Tyler who ran us through the structure of the recording before introducing the cast for the episodes. John Finnemore said a few words, my favourites being ‘God knows what Benedict does on his time off. Mostly stunt work, I hear? Something with jumping off roofs.’ Of182388_525697527448544_634898735_n course I am forever forbidden to reveal the contents of the episodes that were recorded (also John Finnemore jumping on the stage and shouting “No spoilers!”).  However my highlights were:

  • Both Benedict Cumberbatch and Stephenie Cole getting angry and swearing.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch needing 5 attempts to record the credits without slipping up.
  • A scene needing to be re-recorded due to the audience laughing too much.
  • “I prefer to use the word ‘hat’”. (You will get it when you hear it).
  • and the list goes on and on…

Whilst there I had the pleasure of meeting (and collecting the autographs of) Roger Allam, John Finnemore, two guest stars whose names I can’t remember, David Tyler and Carrie Quinlan (who was’nt in the episodes, just there to watch).

I also collected one more momentum of the day. Each of the actors had a bottle of water to drink whilst recording, John Finnemore left his and I grabbed it and got him to sign it. Such fun!

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