Sunday, November 25, 2012

Not burnt out yet but a little singed around the edges...

Crikey, the hamster wheel has still not slowed sufficiently for me to leap off and have a lie down yet. Had two fun school visits last week ( a big shout out to Parnell District and St Joseph's in Takapuna) off to New Windsor tomorrow and then Takapuna Primary the following week. The week after we head away on holiday. In the meantime there is one last NCEA exam for middle child, and she is also rehearsing for, and performing in, the Young Auckland Shakespeare Company's production of The Taming of the Shrew (my favourite), my son has soccer games and practices, there is my niece's 21st for which I am making a cake and I have meetings and other things to achieve. I am not burnt out yet but definitely feeling a little singed around the edges and a touch cranky.

To keep me from spontaneously combusting completely I have been investing in some sanity savers. I read The Hobbit again (first time since I was a teen I think) and admonished myself for not keeping in touch with this book more often. It's a wittier, lighter (compared with the darkness of lord of the Rings) most charming read. The narrative voice has some amusing asides to the reader which I really loved. I love too the development of Bilbo as he goes through the adventure. His personal growth and the reveal of his intelligence and strength are a real pleasure to read. And it lays the foundation for what is to come in The Lord of the Rings in an easy manner that gives you plenty of information with barely a hint at the real underlying darkness. If you haven't read The Hobbit, I think you should. I also recently read My First Car Was Red written and illustrated by Peter Schossow (published by Gecko) and must admit I fell completely in love with this book too. Another witty, beautifully told adventure that draws you in to the lovely family dynamics surrounding the main character. The illustrations are fantastic with plenty of energy and humour. I sometimes look at more sophisticated picture books like this and wonder if children will enjoy them as much as an adult would but then I think the adult reader's pleasure in reading this aloud would easily rub off on the young listener and they couldn't help but be infected by the intelligence, warmth and depth of the story.

I also watched the first series of Wallander with Kenneth Branagh in the titular role and was quite impressed. The movie length episodes are slow moving in places but Branagh is rather amazing as the grizzled, workaholic, Swedish detective. He's best in the third episode 'One Step Behind' - utterly convincing when he falls apart in front of his daughter. I do love the speed and smartness of Sherlock better but while I wait for the third series I am happy to wallow in Wallander.

And last but by no means least I saw Skyfall last Friday with my girls. I am a big fan of Daniel Craig. He is my favouritist Bond. I like Sean Connery but never really enjoyed any of the Bond movies he was in. DC has the right blend of swag, rough and smooth to carry Bond off. But I have to confess Skyfall annoyed me. Too often I saw the mark of the director drawing attention to what I like to refer to as (quoting Peter Pan) "Oh the cleverness of me". The opening action sequence was brilliant (the cuff straightening in the can opened train!!!). I liked the new Q. The villain was the best yet. Javier Bardem was truly chilling as the damaged-beyond-repair Raoul Silva. That man can act. But Bond (yes I know they were trying to show his sensitive side) isn't Bond without his swagger. I reckon they could find a way to show depth and sensitivity without losing the swag. And why oh why, after developing 'M' into such a strong female role over the last few Bond movies did they have to take it all away, sacrificing her on the altar of Bond's humanity. Eurch! She just looked weak and indecisive with errors  in judgement trailing along behind her. And now (SPOILER ALERT) we are back where we started with the woman in the secretarial role and a man at the helm. Bring back kiwi Martin Campbell is all I can say.

1 comment:

Old Kitty said...

Well I had a shock when M went and died! LOL!! I was like "Whaaaaaaaa?!?!?!"

Take care