Glimmers of Life

Posts Tagged ‘review

I’m not sure when I first became aware of Wicked… maybe it was Defying Gravity being covered on Glee, maybe it was an interview heard from the lead about how long it took to “get green”, or it could even have been a review from a friend. I don’t know but what I do know is that I’d been waiting to see it since January, and the anticipation has been building since then.

I tried to arrange a trip to London to see it with my friend, but as the costs stacked, train, hotel, ticket price etc my friend’s enthusiasm waned until it became no more than a “did I say I would go to that?”. I then turned to my partner to rescue my dream and whisk me off to see it, but from his rather lacklustre “yeah we could do that” suggesting it would be  next century rather than next month I didn’t hold out much hope. So when I had to travel to London for work on my own with an overnight stay the spark was rekindled and a plan hatched.

I raced off the train at Euston at 7.25pm running on excitement navigated to Victoria, stepped out of the station to be greeted by the HUGE Wicked sign, took a quick gasp and ran in front of a taxi to get to the entrance (who put that road there?!), only to be told that they wouldn’t be able to sell me a ticket because the show started 20 minutes ago. Excitement drained, joy lost I went back to the station and made my way to my hotel and watched Grand Designs instead.

However I went back the next day, got a ticket and was sat in my seat ready for the show from 7.10 (show starts at 7.30pm). Lost in a Hugh Laurie article I hardly noticed when the lights went down… But before long the music started and at last I was watching WICKED!!

I can’t remember how long it’s been since I’d watched a musical on stage but I was thinking that it’s usually more well engaging. Don’t get me wrong, I was enjoying it, there was comedy and emotion and I was happily along for the ride but I just wasn’t feeling it. Then just as I was feeling the pinch of disappointment defying gravity entered the story and that was it. I went from ‘weeeeeeelllllllll’ to ‘Wow’ and by the time the interval arrived I was thinking ‘bloody hell’ that was fantastic. Defying gravity was the song that I was aware of, but it was just a song like any other, but then in the show it soared and took me along for the ride, by the end I was sat hands clasped in prayer position and neck stretched straining to keep my head from floating off into the rafters with the music.

To be honest, nothing else lived up to that moment – if it did I don’t think I could have contained myself! But I definitely relaxed into the performance bit more and got more out of it because of that moment. Really glad that I finally got round to seeing it. Although on the downside there really should have been an encore… guess I’m gonna have to make do with the memories and an Original Cast Recording (which I purchased using my phone before I was out of the theatre!).


Mistresses, the BBC drama show came back for its series last month. There was excited anticipation in this household from both me and my hubby, as soon as we caught a glimpse of the trailer. We’ve watched every episode of every series, and to my surprise, I think it’s something we enjoy equally.

The first episode of this final series aired and it was as enjoyable as ever. The second episode we missed but made a special effort to watch at the earliest opportunity on the iPlayer. Then we heard rumours that the next one was the penultimate and suddenly it was over. RUBBISH!

It felt like they thought, oh a new series of Mistresses – great idea. They got everyone on board, got the writers busy at their computers and then two episodes in said – “oh, you know what, actually we don’t have the money to do a full series, wind up what you’ve got and we’ll go with that”. What was the point?

The final episode seemed like such a hurried resolution to the whole thing, without really being a resolution. Very odd.
Mistresses as a whole was a very engaging and enjoyable piece of entertainment and this final series did it such a disservice that it’s left me wondering whether they should have bothered at all.

Thank goodness for the Cornerhouse in Manchester! I’d heard about this Chris Rock documentary on the radio and searched every cinema in the area to see if they were showing Good Hair, and nothing. I did actually even try the Cornerhouse website but there was no information. A week later they said it was coming soon and finally I got to see it.

At first I wasn’t sure whether it would be worth the £5 entry, but I decided that if you don’t support these things then later down the line you won’t get the option so I handed over my card and let it bear the strain. And I’m glad I did.

Good Hair is a documentary headed by Chris Rock which delves into some of the issues surrounding Black Hair, why every black woman wants straight hair, what lengths they’ll go to to get it, and how black men feel about it – with a bit of a hair competition thrown into the mix.

As a piece of entertainment I enjoyed it. I laughed, I questioned, I got angry (see next piece) – it touched me.  But it also bugged me a little though that rather than delve for answers it simply offered up the obvious or reverted to the superficial. Like when you go to a restaurant for a good meal, and you know the chef has freshly cooked the main course but that they’ve just microwaved the dessert from a packet.

Overall this is an accessible if not a little light film about Black Hair. I’d say this is definitely one to watch, especially if you’re black or know someone black, as it touches on some interesting points. Ideally though I’d say take a group of friends so you can talk about it afterwards. I’ve found myself chatting with friends who haven’t seen it about some of the points made, but it would have been much better if they’d seen it too.

There’s no contest really.

This weekend we took a trip down south, first to Brighton to visit friends. Then to Portsmouth to explore the maritime history, and then to Bristol for a bit of an arts fix.

The Portsmouth part was well planned, with me booking the Hilton using our hard earned Tesco vouchers. The Bristol bit – less so, with me just booking the day before we left. The moral of the story is that the hurried hare won the race.

I was so looking forward to staying in the Hilton. We’re not all that posh – so staying at a Hilton is a bit of a treat. You expect a bit of class and it basically felt like a Travelodge with nice sheets and posh shower gel.  The gym doesn’t have a pool, and looked more like a store room as I walked passed. And it was £5 to use the internet for half an hour! Not what you expect for the price.

Whereas the Future Inn in Bristol (Cabot Circus) was great. It was £49 for a King size room that had plenty of space for our travel cot. The bed was big, the shower was nice (with the taps in the centre of the bath so you don’t get your hair wet turn it on), and it had free internet access and free ice.  The parkign was free and it is really close to a shopping centre which has a Starbucks and a Costa coffee for your morning coffee treat. This hotel made me happy!

Oh, fine I’ll come clean right from the start…. I REALLY LIKED this movie.

While I have been a fair-weather fan of the (male) star, I went with my friend who’s been a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal’s “work” for many years. I have to say that she now has competition. Yes – he looked buff in this film and not unattractive, but what I liked was what he brought to the role (aside from the fab abs!). The film itself is typical Hollywood fare, a bit of drama, a bit of romance, and plenty of action and stunts to hold it all together – think Indiana Jones meets The Mummy. Gyllenhaal brings the muscle and macho, while Gemma Arterton brings the beauty and the feisty but it’s the relationship between the two that elevates this movie above the ok benchmark.

Arterton is playing a spirited damsel in distress which we’ve seen before, but unlike in Clash of the Titans where she was forgettable, in this she was accessible.  And by all accounts Gyllenhaal is quite a sensitive soul and intelligent too – and this comes out despite the fact that he’s playing a stereotypical hero.  There’s something in his smile, something in his eyes that makes you think “I like this guy, and I actually care if he succeeds” even though you know he will.

Oh and aside from the critcally acclaimed Ben Kingsley there’s also some other British acting talent that you may recognise if you’ve enjoyed in RocknRolla and/or TV series Coupling.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying it’s a great movie, I’m not even saying it’s an excellent example of its genre. But it is a downright enjoyable film that I would happily go and see again (this Wednesday with a different friend) – always a pleasure never a chore…

Right well I’ll start by saying I am not a huge comic book fan, and while I may have seen most of the comic based movies of late… Batman, Superman, Wanted etc I am by no means an officiando.

Kick Ass is the movie that everyone seems to be taking about. By now you’ve probably a lot of reviews that say how fantastic it is… you may even have read the Daily Mail review which gave a typically “Daily Mail” response and a fantastic 1 out of 10 but here’s what I thought.

You have have read my previous post where I am sceptical about Kick Ass from what I’d heard but thought it showed promise… I came out of that movie and wanted to turn round and see it again. It just got me. I didn’t get all the cute references to other movies except that Nick Cage was doing a TV Batman impression. But what it did have was heart.  It had plenty of shooting and kick assing in a Kill Bill/ Wanted style which I loved. It had enough funny to put an actual smile on my face rather than a bemused smirk which is what I often find myself sporty at “comedies”. But the reason I really enjoyed Kick Ass was the added dimension of heart. I usually find I watch these blockbusters with all their edgy action and I’m detached. I eat my popcorn, watch the screen and emerse myself in the spectacle. But with Kick Ass I found myself wincing and reacting – shouting at Kick Ass (in my head), especially at the end – I was reduced to an excited 8 year old calling for the hero to “get the F*** up”. I think that may have something to do with the British influence this film has – I think it was created, written and directed by Brits… which helps to take off some of the glossiness and “keep it real”.

Honestly – there are parts of Kick Ass that made me feel rather uncomfortable to be watching as entertainment but overall the most satifying cinema experience I’ve had in a very long time.

Ok as a quick introduction I should say that I love going to the movies but I’m not a film buff with loads of knowledge about who directed what, when, and what it all meant. I should also say that I am not a great rugby fan – but I know a man who is – so here goes….

Invictus is a film about the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the fortunes of the South African team. The story is basically how Nelson Mandela “helped” the team and vice versa.

Now despite not being a rugby fan this film actually seemed to go pretty quickly for me.  It was engaging enough and I learned something. You could tell Clint Eastwood (the director) was hoping to rouse some emotion from the depth of a probably indifferent audience – but for some reason it missed my heart strings and sort of grazed my arm – which got a little goose pimply at the theme tune over the finale.

Now I’ve heard that the rugby scenes are pretty good, and there were Oscar nominations for Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman so critically it’s faired quite well. However I didn’t think the performances were outstanding, the rugby scenes looked fine to me – but ultimately it just ok, and a bit forgettable. But if you’re a girlfriend, or a wife who gets “encouraged” to go…. do not be afraid, you shouldn’t fall asleep and you might actually come away with something to talk about other than how buff Matt Damon looks (oh and he does fleeting look buff).

Hope that helps!