Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday 15 October 2010

Friday 15 October 2010

I wake up at 8.25AM to the sound of my neighbours leaving the building and my ears still ringing from last night.  I have something of a headache but hopefully that is only temporary, born out of having a rubbish pillow/bed rather than anything lasting.

Today is a day off in order to visit the London Film Festival for the first time this year.  This is my now annual October excursion bedded in potentially beautiful days which helps me gear up for the dark winter days ahead.

As I gradually step into proceedings my headache maintains as it appears to be mutating into man flu.  Not an ideal start to proceedings.

Once up and running I attempt/endeavour to do some brief writing but frustratingly I am just not up to it.  Instead I wind up watching an episode of Californication from season 2 (prior to the show jumping the shark) before having another stab at clicking with the Lounge Ax compilation (and review to go with).

I decide to err on the side of caution with regards to the trains today by aiming for a 10.30AM train in order to arrive at the 12.45PM screening of NEVER LET ME GO.  This is done in order to avoid the risk of the near NEXD of last Friday.  The mid morning National Express East Anglia service does not necessarily work like normal trains (with “the rush” out of the way people’s priorities distinctly change).  In the end my apprehension is justified as the train dies/beaches just before Shenfield due to a track defect.  The same one that caused the delay last night?  Pound for pound this has been the worst week of travel in a very long time.

Like a fool I take a seat next to two tables of squawking old ladies excited about a day out in London.  They proceed to drown out my iPhone.  Own goal.

I ride the train listening to (attempting to) the second part of the WTF podcast interview between Marc Maron and Louis CK.  It is revealing and emotional stuff, earnest in a good fashion.

Annoyingly as the train heads towards London I find myself still with a headache.  Otherwise though as the train eventually pulls into Liverpool Street things are looking good time wise and in general.  Swiftly I hop aboard a Central Line tube, changing at Holborn and emerging at Leicester Square.

From here I head to the Vue cinema in Leicester Square to collect my tickets for NEVER LET ME GO and EVERYTHING MUST GO.  What is it with “go” today?  Annoyingly this process comes fraught with error and issue as the box office guy in the booth hands me only the ticket for the latter.  What about the former?

Once with tickets in hand I head to Starbucks for a customary venti Caramel Macchiato.  From here with my drink I wind up sat in Leicester Square listening to Live From A Shark Cage by Papa M which today I finally understand and get.  This is only ten years later than everybody else.  Then I become paranoid of the pigeons and I notice some bird shit on the arm of my hoodie.  Is that all there is?  Is that all you have?

Before long I am stepping into the cinema (via the bathroom) and a packed house for NEVER LET ME GO.  It has to be said that Screen 6 of the Leicester Square Vue cinema is not the best screen in London.  The seats are brutal, solid lumps of plastic that look (but thankfully don’t feel) like the cheapest, most torturous budget airline.

Having not read the book by Kazuo Ishiguro beforehand or not necessarily even being too familiar with the film itself, immediately the piece strikes me sharply as a very strange, disturbing and emotive experience.  By the end of it I also come away feeling quite manipulated.

Without realising today I snagged tickets for the subtitled version of the movie which adds nothing to my experience.  I think I am too hard and cynical for such stories.  As it begins in some kind of boarding school cum weird orphanage straight away I dislike the surroundings and lose empathy for all and sundry.  Without effort there is an immediate sense of evil and sadness attached to the atmosphere and caring gestures and declarations are met with a snarly response of hostility as I came to expect from life at any early age.

Unlike most of the other people in the audience initially I do not realise that these children are being raised with no future and when Sally Hawkins’ character eventually reveals their lives have no destiny I struggle to associate with their plight, wondering just how this suggested world can even be considered.

Regardless of my sneer it is a genuinely original and unnerving story/movie that cleverly does not play its hand too early.  When time moves on and the stars of the piece come into the picture a whole new adult degree of emotion is added to proceedings although I have to say I struggle to warm to any of the main characters, especially Keira Knightley who remains a shit throughout.  Also Carey Mulligan appears to be some kind of Brit Michelle Williams who was not necessarily a great proposition first time round (and who awaits me in Blue Valentine later on at the festival).  The main male (Andrew Garfield) in his decrepit state is just off-putting but then again I guess that is the point and purpose.

The whole premise of the tale is one that I struggle to comprehend.  Could the world ever get to the point that people be born and raised just to be donors?  You sense and fear that in the current climate we are not far from it.

The issue of love raises its head, stirring emotions that otherwise felt absent.  This of course is the key to the eventual arrival at something of a heart wrenching climax, unfortunately by which time I have lost empathy for the characters.  Regardless indeed as per reviews Mulligan puts in a great performance while Knightley is resoundingly unlikeable.  Whether this is on purpose is open to debate.

It ends in the expected fashion with plenty of nose blowing from what I now realise is a mostly female audience around me.  Myself, my headache has only worsened making me more cynical and grumpy in the process.

With the credits rolling I exit with roughly thirty minutes to spend before EVERYTHING MUST GO begins.  To kill time I make a brief visit to Fopp where I buy nothing before returning to the Vue and Screen 7.

Despite being stuck sat next to an annoying twerp munching on cliché movie food and actually making more noise rustling his wrappers when making extra effort to be quiet, I still manage to get full submerged in EVERYTHING MUST GO.

In a movie about alcoholism, break-up and being on the verge of losing your home there are actually more laughs than I was expecting as unsurprisingly EVERYTHING MUST GO turns out to be a very dark movie.  Based on a Raymond Carver story there was always a gritty realism guaranteed.

Will Ferrell proves a revelation playing a rare straight (and painful) role.  In what appears to be a pretty irrecoverable and inconceivable prospect of a man forced to live on his lawn, the detail included actually lends a weird realism and much credence to the situation.

In support the remainder of the cast put in great performances as Rebecca Hall proves more capable than I would have imagined she could be and the kid, who turns out to be the son of Biggie Smalls, is sharp and convincing.

For reasons I am not entirely sure it reminds me of Up In The Air.  It’s a bleak existence but it at least indicates/suggests a future that can be built (a life that can be built) after reaching rock bottom which in times such as these when the majority of people are living in fear of losing their livelihood/jobs and homes, such a message is very reassuring.

As the movie ends it is with a comforting positivity going against what was suggested at the opening as a true round of applause rings around the cinema.

From here I exit the cinema feeding the person sat next to me with a tut.  Annoyingly at this point I still possess my headache as I have to face the rush.  I board the tube at Leicester Square and up at Holborn then across to Liverpool Street as the whole process just makes my head pound.

I wind up on the 6PM Norwich train home which would be the one I’d ordinarily catch on a working Friday anyway.

Again for a second Friday running I hatch a plan to head direct to Asda upon returning to Colchester.  My mind once more is on Chinese chicken wings.

As expected the store is busy when I arrive and thus an unhappy experience.  Towards the end as I head to the checkout I spot the receptionist from my old job in Wivenhoe who I chopped on my Facebook Cull on Day 78.  Briefly I become paranoid of her giving me shit for doing this so with my head still aching I curtly say “hi” as I whisk past her before exerting the Kenny Powers mantra of “fuck that noise”.  This was wrong.

Regardless I soon find myself back home chomping on Friday night Chinese chicken wings for a second week running.  This also feels wrong.

Not long after finishing the tray I retire to bed and bad television.

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