This was such a busy month, especially at the beginning with all the end of term stuff – trips were back on for that last fortnight – big time! Also my daughter came home from uni, I had the School magazine to compile, cover shifts at school on admin, etc etc. So I didn’t get to watch many films. But I did find some…
The first thing was discovering that Disney+ is adding lots more content in the ‘Star’ section – which included Season 10 of The Walking Dead, seasons 1-9 of which I devoured during the first furlough last year on Prime. Season 10 is still pay to view on Prime, but Disney+ was ‘free’ and the final season 11 will be available there later in August! TWD10 gave us the continuing saga of Alpha, (a very scary Samantha Morton), but also finished on an absolute highlight with Negan’s origin story – which was amazing. Can’t wait for that final season.
Also I finally got around to watching Clarkson’s Farm, which was far, far, better than anticipated. Although it had moments of petrolheads on tractors (Jeremy bought a Lamborgini tractor) etc, it actually taught me (and Jeremy) about farming. This is all thanks to his sidekicks, the land agent Charlie (think farming accountant plus) and the magnificent Caleb – a twentysomething who’s rarely gone beyond Chipping Norton in his life. Between the three of them and supporting players including the unintelligible but loveable Gerald the dry stone waller, Ellen the shepherdess, Lisa, Jeremy’s partner and Simon the combine, we had an educational whale of a time, and Jeremy made a gross profit of £144 on his first year’s farming.
The real telly highlight though was turning over from the last episode of Clarkson’s Farm above, to discover that BBC2 were showing ‘Pavarotti in the Park‘ – the free concert from 1991 held in Hyde Park in the pouring rain, with Princess Di and Prince Charles, plus all the top politicos etc in the front row – getting soaked.
Pav was backed by the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Philharmonia Chorus – and my late mum, an alto, was in the latter, and although she was often blocked by the woman in front of her, there were enough glimpses of her to give me the collywobbles.
In this screenshot they were singing ‘Va Pensiero’ from Verdi’s Nabucco I think.
My brother went. I wish I had. I do have the programme though, all the choir were given a copy.
Apart from seeing my mum, my overriding memory was of Princess Di still looking chic though soaked, and Neil Kinnock proudly sitting through it all without a rain poncho.
P.S. Also watched the First Night of the Proms in BBC2. Very much enjoyed Dalia Stasevska conducting Sibelius 2 – the big tune in the last movement makes me go all gooey. Love it.
Big Screen on the Small Screen
I didn’t make to the cinema this month, and only managed to watch four movies, well 3 and a quarter actually. The quarter was I ❤️ Huckabees, which was such an anarchic silly comedy I only lasted about twenty-five minutes, despite the all star cast with Jason Schwartzman, Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman.
So I rewatched Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel again (my full original review here) which made me really happy and I fell in love with M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes, darling) again.
Then I watched Wilson (2017) adapted by Daniel Clowes from his own graphic novel. It stars Woody Harrelson as a lonely middle-aged man, who is rather neurotic and says things as he sees them, which leads to many problems. Laura Dern is his estranged wife, whom he discovers gave away their baby for adoption, which leads him to search for his daughter, and cause a lot of mayhem! I rather enjoyed this film. Harrelson is good. Dern is typically ditsy. There were some good one-liners. I discovered I actually have the graphic novel on my shelves, so I may compare and contrast.
The best film I watched this month though was another rewatch – celebrating the 30th anniversary of one of my favourite films ever. I saw it at Leicester Square the week it opened. It is of course… Excalibur, directed by John Boorman, with Nigel Terry as Arthur, Helen Mirren as Morgana, a host of other stars including Patrick Stewart, Gabriel Byrne and more – but standing above them all is Nicol Williamson as the best screen Merlin ever. I’m sure you’re getting fed up of me rabbiting on about this movie, as I take any opportunity to mention it – but has been such a huge influence on me every since I saw it. I’ve since acquired John Boorman’s memoir Suburban Boy which covers the filming of Excalibur.
What have you watched this month?