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Good new everyone, the BBC actually went and talked to Armando Iannucci about the future of The Thick of It and he said:

"I've got a storyline that will involve both sides - irrespective of what happens in the election,"

Y'all can go out and vote for whoever you like in the British election now (which of course you were going to do anyway), my favourite characters no longer have their fates quite so tied to it.

Anyway, meme time. I nicked this from [livejournal.com profile] alexiscartwheel

1. Choose 12 books that you like. (10 are books I like, 2 are sitting half-read next to my bed).
2. Write down the first sentence or so of each of those books.
3. Let other people try to figure out the titles.
4. Cross off books as they are guessed, let us know the correct answers and who guessed them.


1. “Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians.” - Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, [livejournal.com profile] jadeddiva
2. “I have just returned from a visit to my landlord – the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with.” Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, [livejournal.com profile] alexiscartwheel
3. “Mr Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance, that was never lighted by a smile; cold scanty and embarrassed with discourse; backwards in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary and yet somehow loveable.” The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, [livejournal.com profile] erinpuff
4. “It was a nice day.” Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, [livejournal.com profile] airie_fairy
5. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, [livejournal.com profile] jadeddiva
6. >“Left Munich at 8.35 p.m. On 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6.46, but train was an hour late.” Dracula by Bram Stoker, [livejournal.com profile] catslash
7. “There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart's Desire.” Stardust by Neil Gaiman, [livejournal.com profile] erinpuff
8. “The hottest day of the summer was drawing to a close and the drowsy silence lay over the large, square houses of Privet Drive.” Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling, [livejournal.com profile] airie_fairy
9. “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” 1984 by George Orwell, [livejournal.com profile] grenadine
10. “When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.”
11. “We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.” The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, [livejournal.com profile] grenadine
12. “The play – for which Briony had designed the posters, programmes and tickets, constructed the sales booth out of a folding screen tipped on its side, and lined the collection box in red crepe paper – was written by her in a two-day tempest of composition, causing her to miss a breakfast and a lunch.” Atonement by Ian McEwan, [livejournal.com profile] jadeddiva
meddow: Lix Storm (Default)
First of all, quick vid rec: One Girl Revolution by [livejournal.com profile] arefadedaway. Why? Because it's got every awesome female character I have ever idolised in this vid (it's got characters from Doctor Who, Stargate, Firefly, PotC, Harry Potter, P&P, Heroes and many, many more), which is a celebration of awesome female characters in general.

First of all, watched the Battlestar Galactica miniseries, which was very good. I can see why everyone seems to be crazy about Roslin/Adama what with those two arguing who is in command. I'm not a fan of Jamie Bamber's American accent. I like him a lot more as poor doomed Kennedy on Hornblower. Is lack of explosions a legitimate criticism? I wouldn’t criticise a period drama for lack of destruction on a massive scale, but in a miniseries in which the vast majority of humanity is killed off, I would expect a few more fireballs. Anyway, I liked it very very much, but can't see myself becoming too fannish about it, but then I know who the final Cylon it already. Next up to watch is the first season.

Also watched Tipping the Velvet which was also very good. For those who've never heard of it, it's a miniseries based on the book by Sarah Water's following the Dickens-like adventures of Nancy as she goes from an oyster girl to male impersonator and then through a few other jobs, and it's a fascinating look at what like to be a lesbian in Victorian London. The voice over bugged me a bit, the direction got a bit weird at times, particularly when it tries to put a music hall spin on dramatic scenes and I wasn’t fully convinced by the lead actress at times, but the rest of the cast was brilliant. I've really got to read the book. I'm part of the way through The Night Watch.

Finally, I've been reading the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman and I’m in love. I'm in love with the universe and the mythology, I'm in love with the writing and the art, I'm in love with Dream and quite a few of the other characters. I've read the first and second 'Absolute' volumes in the past few days, with each book large enough to house a board game. I want to say something coherent about how brilliant it is, but I love it so much all that comes out right now is lots and lots of incoherent gushing so I shall summarise and say this: It say it's freaking amazing and I don't want reading it ever end! (But sadly I know it finished at issue 75).

But it's a pain. I read the wikipiedia entry and accidentally found out some information about the end that I didn't want to know. Damnit. While I'm a bit of a spoiler whore when it comes to television, I don't like to be spoiled when it comes to books, graphic novels, movies and the like. I went out of my way to remain spoiler free when reading Y: The Last Man, which is the last graphic novel series I got into. BTW, has anyone else read to the end of that series? It's been over six months since I read the final volume and I still feel I need a bit of group therapy to get over what happened to one of the characters, and I don't want to say what or who because it will spoil it for others.

Finally, the day is drawing near and I'm still very 'do not want' about the Watchmen movie. Grr. I think I'm going to be one of those terrible snobby people who dismisses all fans that watched the movie before they read the graphic novel. Actually, I think I'm one of those people already. Sorry guys. But after a few years of going on about how brilliant Watchmen is to people and getting funny looks of either 'WTF?' or 'you read comics?!', I'm just a little bit bitter about it becoming mainstream.

Book Meme

Feb. 23rd, 2009 10:06 am
meddow: Lix Storm (Default)
The BBC allegedly believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. Bold those books you've read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish.

15 read, 15 started and not finished )
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I can't decide which movie I'm looking forward to least: Watchmen, Pirates of the Caribbean 4 or Y: The Last Man.

Watchmen I've said before that I don't believe should have been made. 300 sucked. I don't think it's going to be any better. Pirates Four has caused me to lose a considerable amount of respect for Johnny Depp. I love the first three movies and y'all know I've been involved in the fandom, but even I can see it's flogging a dead horse.

Y was looking alright for a while until the director announced that they were making the heartbreakingly sad but perfect ending happier, and making it much more about Ampersand. I’m sorry, but they've got some of the most interesting female characters committed to graphic novel, they've got a world in the midst of huge political upheaval and massive social change which acts as a wonderful commentary on gender in modern society, and they've got Yorick/355 which I ship so damn hard, and they're spending more time on the monkey? Are they kidding?

Fail, Hollywood. Fail.

Now if I were a producer, I would be making a Captain Scott biopic. I know there's already one out there, but that was made before his legacy was revised and he starting being viewed as less of a hero and more a man whose flaws killed him (and four others). I've been thinking this for some time since I've always been fascinated with Scott, but at the moment I'm reading Ranulph Fiennes' biography of him. The first chapter of that put me onto the tale of Franklin's lost expedition of the Northwest Passage, another one in which everyone died, but this one's got at 100 year old mystery, scurvy, lead poisoning and cannibalism. All that and I'd never heard of it before. I think this is the start of a phase of me reading a lot of explorers' biographies. I just wish I had more time to read.
meddow: Lix Storm (Default)
I hate child characters in horror movies. They’re bound to do something stupid or get captured and in doing so endanger all the other characters, you know they can’t die because that’d be too grim and you feel guilty if you root for them to die.

I caught 28 Weeks Later , a movie I had been avoiding since hearing that it was being created, since I adore the original. First of all you have pseudo-zombies, something that always wins. Then you have wholesale ‘borrowing’ from one of my favourite books, Day of the Triffids. And then it has Cillian Murphy, Christopher Eccleston, Naomi Harris and Brendan Gleeson, and to top of it, the meaty message that it ain’t the zombies that are the monsters in this world. Plus Danny Boyle is one of my favourite directors.

*Loves*

Then you have the sequel, which prompted that above statement about child character, missed the opportunity to focus on something really horrific (though essentially a moral dilemma in the form of the carrier) and a plot propelled along by the characters being stupid and not sharing information. It’s not bad, but it’s certainly not as good as the original.

Speaking of movies that shouldn’t be made, I’m going to now state my disgust at the Watchmen movie. I understand adapting books to a visual medium, but it was a graphic novel, it was already in a visual medium and in that medium much more layered than you could get in a movie. I read Watchmen a couple of months ago, and I know it gets its praises sung from the high heavens all the time, but it just is brilliant. It’s one of those things that you have to take a few hours to get yourself together after reading.

And while I loved Sin City, the more relevant movie to judge it by is 300, which I hated. Sure the nudity and homoeroticism was fun for the first half an hour, but by the end of it I found myself yelling “just die already!”
meddow: Lix Storm (Default)
So this is pretty interesting: Why Heroines Die in Classic Fiction because some of us (i.e. me) aren’t satisfied with ‘fever.’ I know it’s asking a bit much given the medical practices of the times to expect a diagnosis from an author, but, as the article points out, it does seem that as soon as a female characters so much as gets wet she drops down dead and I want something more than that.

Anyway, I’m always curious about these things. I found out a few years ago that a few of my distant and long-dead relatives died ‘of a broken heart’, and since in the world outside of George Lukas’ head, people don’t actually die of heartbreak, I’m thinking that’s a euphemism for suicide, which, given that depression runs in the family (so far, thankfully, I’ve dodged that bullet), isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

I finally got to see Atonement last night. It’s not easy finding a time when my flatmate and I aren’t either working or going out and there’s nothing good on TV. Anyway, I was impressed and I was impressed for different reasons than I thought I would be.

The film is beautifully throughout, and the performances amazing. James McAvoy is, well, James McAvoy, he's been brilliant in everything I’ve seen him in. Keira Knightly holds herself like a 1940s Hollywood movie star throughout and I adore her for it. Vanessa Redgrave does absolutely amazing things with five minutes of screen time, and I can’t wait to see what the actress who plays young Bryony does in the Lovely Bones, because she’s quite something. Oh, and Benedict Cumberbatch it in it – he seems to show up in nearly every British movie I’ve watched this year Starter for 10, Amazing Grace and now Atonement.

The romance it central to the movie, and I thought going in that was going to be the factor that would impress me most. Though the reason you really have to see Atonement is the war scenes. You don’t see battle at all, instead there’s a shot of the beach at Dunkirk following the character through the devastation and misery in one incredibly long tracking shot. The camera never stops and, it’s an amazing scene. And it’s not just Dunkirk, it’s also the arrival of the wounded from France into Britain which explores the nurses’ role in war, which I have never seen portrayed in a movie before (my flatmate tells me Pearl Harbour did, but you’d have to pay me to get me to watch Pearl Harbour).
meddow: Lix Storm (Default)
So Jim Broadbent’s playing Slughorn (how many Oscars is that between the adult cast now? I can think of at least five). Which illustrates why I adore Harry Potter casting, they always get it right with the adults. It’s always a shame though that the adult characters get so little to do in the movies. It’s always the adult roles that get the most cut. For obvious and good reasons of course, but still, I generally find the older generation characters more interesting than Harry’s generation.

Meanwhile I discovered the casting link between Pirates of the Caribbean and New Who. I have this theory that you cannot watch anything which has a sizable amount of British actors in these days and not find at least one who has shown up in the new Doctor Who or one of the related spin-offs, and PotC was defying this theory. Until I found out that Young Elizabeth Swann from Curse was in School Reunion (as the “Kenny blew up the school!” girl) Ha ha!

Seriously though, they crop up when you least suspect. I’ve been going on a hunt for Richard Armitage features and so was watching the Shakespeare Retold MacBeth with James McAvoy and Keeley Hawes (incredibly good BTW, it’s set in a kitchen with the three witches being bin men), and there was Maria’s hot Dad from The Sarah Jane Adventures playing Banquo. And then I was watching North and South and it has Suki from The Long Game and the lead actress was one of the bad guys in an episode of Torchwood.

Though more importantly than casting games, why had I not discovered North and South earlier? I’d never heard of it before which is terrible considering it’s up there in the guilty pleasure costume drama stakes with the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice. In fact, it might be even better because it’s got commentary on the social, political and economic conditions of the time, particularly with the battle between the Masters and the Unionists. And I know my family was working in the cotton industry in Manchester at the time, so bonus points for being personally relevant (guess who spent her childhood going through old cotton mill museums). And on a much shallower note: Richard Armitage dressed in black and strolling through the white cotton dust filled cotton mill FTW.

Anyway, Elizabeth Gaskell has rocketed to pole position on my big list of authors I must read when I have the time.

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