Culturally Fixated has moved!

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But if you want the posts and general chit chat, please link here instead!

 

NEW HOME FOR CULTURALLY FIXATED

The Railway Children – 1970’s Film Review

Today I went for a walk in Haworth Yorkshire, tracing the path of the Railway Children film shot in 1970. Here is my 2 line review!

THE RAILWAY CHILDREN

EDITH NESBIT

BLURB

When Father goes away with two strangers one evening, the lives of Roberta, Peter and Phyllis are shattered. They and their mother have to move from their comfortable London home to go and live in a simple country cottage, where Mother writes books to make ends meet.
However, they soon come to love the railway that runs near their cottage, and they make a habit of waving to the Old Gentleman who rides on it. They befriend the porter, Perks, and through him learn railway lore and much else.
They have many adventures, and when they save a train from disaster, they are helped by the Old Gentleman to solve the mystery of their father’s disappearance, and the family is happily reunited.

TRAILER TO THE 1970’s FILM JESS WAS RAVING ABOUT

[youtube https://youtu.be/dIks0QVzWLk]

PROJECT GUTENBERG – THE RAILWAY CHILDREN – Get your free copy here!
KINDLE – THE RAILWAY CHILDREN – Get your free copy here!
ITUNES – THE RAILWAY CHILDREN – Get your free copy here!

2 LINE REVIEW

THE RAILWAY CHILDREN BOOKSo as promised, as soon as we got back to mine, I found the Railway Children for us to watch. The film was every bit as heartwarming, gentle and wonderful as I had been promised.

The cast is perfectly realised and I instantly fell in love with the caring Bobbie, wise cracking Peter and impetuous Phil – portrayed delightfully by Jenny Agata, Gary Warren and Sally Thomsett.

However, the heart of the film was the children’s mother. Had she not met my approval, the whole set up would have been ruined. Thankfully, the film avoided making the mother a mope or victim and she was brought to life with humour and elegance by Dinah Sheridan.  Her dealings with the ‘mean’ maid at the beginning were just brilliant!

Albert Perks was another triumph – it took me a second to place Doctor Who’s friend Bernard Cribbons in the role. He brought light to his every scene – particularly when interacting with ‘ the Russian’ and his bloomin’ missus. His character also brought the railway to life – making every scene with the trains fun and emotive.

the railway children

The only slight quibble was that I watched the film with two such reprobates. Almost as soon as the film started, himself started to question the portrayal of Bobbie’s relationship with the Doctor! Naturally my easily led mind instantly jumped to several unsavory situations!!

Of course, we were also watching it with an eye to the breathtaking landscape that we had wandered today. It was fascinating to see places that we had just visited – how different it all looked…and how the same. Truly gorgeous countryside – I feel all the honoured.

An utterly lovely film that sticks closely to the source material.

TRAILER TO THE ‘WRONG’ THE RAILWAY CHILDREN

[youtube https://youtu.be/3FsOZyguxqU]

The sun is shining – let’s binge watch TV!!

So, as you know, I recently attended an Invasion convention (which I blogged about HERE) and clearly it has reignited my love for binge watching TV sessions.

Last week, himself and I immersed ourselves in a Game of Thrones marathon – every episode from the beginning.

Actually, I think it’s better watched this way. Every season feels like an oldie style film* and it’s impressive how well the various story lines overlap, while remaining autonomous. The exception that proves the rule being the ham-fisted stand-alone shambles that was the Sand Snakes (heck, I’d throw in Dorne as a whole) in the most recent series.

you win or you die

Himself and I thankfully share a number of favourites – from characters (DRAGONS!!!, Arya, Tyrion, Jaime, Cerci, Brienne, Varys) to pairings (platonic and otherwise – Tyrion and ANYONE, Jaime and Brienne, The Hound and Arya) and a number of loathings (Joffrey, Littlefinger, Ramsey, The Boltons and – recent addition – Stannis). And as an ardent resident Know-It-All; I’ve particularly enjoyed being able to fill in additional bits and pieces from the A Song of Ice and Fire series of books (and thank the skies for online wiki sites!).

Of course the highlights were probably exactly what you’d expect.

dragons

Dragons. winter is coming

Most of season one was just superb. The amount of subtle scene setting and world building was phenomenal and of a far greater scale than I’ve seen in a long time. While violent and explicit; every scene felt as though it was building to a greater whole – not something that we’ve felt across all the series. Adding to the ‘real’ feel of the show are the intergenerational stories. While not all of the cast match the ages as depicted in the books (which I don’t have an issue with. The books are the books; the show is a different reflection of them.), a real effort has been made to show characters of all ages. It’s been such a novelty especially if one is a regular viewer of US network shows which seem to strickly hire hotties from the 18-35 age range. Or CW which seems to near exclusively cast hotties of roughly 20-25 years!

where are my dragons

We were less enamoured with season 2, though still glued to the screen. Sadly, Daenerys growth and development was squandered a touch as it all degenerated into her screeching ‘where are my dragons’ for episodes at a time. Though to be fair, these scenes seemed less grating and fewer in number than when we originally watched them – residual resentment might be playing a part here – I’ll let you know in 5 years if I get over it. The pace certainly picked up though and where we were given a lot of time to get to know characters in season 1; this time round, the viewer was expected to hit the ground running and keep up. The Tyrion and Arya arcs were pretty awesome. Watching a disguised Arya serve under Tywin Lannister for example was a particular highpoint. While poor old Jon Snow  learning all the things he doesn’t know from the wildling Ygritte was just such a crowd pleaser in our house at least.

you know nothing jon snow

Dragons. dragon 01

I love season 3 – take a bow Jamie and Brienne and the brilliantly realised Kingslayer redemptive arc and of course the much lauded Red Wedding – but I can’t deny that it drags for me. The Theon story took far too long to sort itself out while Tyrion took to his books rather than…you know…the cool stuff from last season. Even Daenerys doesn’t excite as much as I’d hoped though she was all fabulous and victorious. Yes, yes, I know the Red Wedding was just spectacularly gruesome and fabulous and Does Not Disappoint but overall this season just fell flat for me.

red wedding

Season 4 pulled it all back together again and introduced some brilliant characters. However, it’s becoming difficult to care too much about the new crop since few of them seem to have much staying power. One bitten…then raped, burned, dismembered and/or dragged bloody and broken across a stable yard floor; twice shy.

purple wedding

 

Season 5 has been the most uneven so far but with some epic high’s! Himself must have watched the final scenes of episode 9 at least 4 or 5 times now – he finds it that compelling! I’ll say more no doubt once the finale has aired and I’m less worried about spoiling anyone!

Dragons.dragon 02

So far, Game of Thrones is one of the few shows that seems to be going from strength to strength and is just as enjoyable during a rewatch (and possibly a little bit more). Well worth the withdrawal pangs that we’ve experienced since.
dragon 06Next up is Dollhouse.

dollhouse

*FUN FACTS – Gone with the Wind (1939) runs for just under 4 hours including intermission. The Satin Slipper (1985) is 6 hours and 50 minutes long. Meanwhile the three Lord of the Rings (2001 – 2003) films run for a mere 11 hours and 20 minutes, which almost looks as though it wasn’t even trying. 

My Top Three Conventions!

Convention Rankings

I’ve written about my love of the convention scene many times before (and have a mini-guide for newbies – HERE). I thought that it might be fun to try and rank the cons that I’ve attended, especially as I’ve just had the most amazingly chilled and fun weekend.

Photo of Sandeep Parikh's Instagram

Photo of Sandeep Parikh’s Instagram

3. Inva5ion

I’m hoping to blog about this in greater detail so shall just cover the highlights.

This was a small con, roughly 150 attendees. Almost every person there was both a con and Starfury regular so every event from autographs to photos to mini meet and greets ran so smoothly, so cheerfully that it was just a pleasure to be part of it.

Of course there are those I’m especially close to – including my friend-the-author Owen Elgie – and it was lovely to be able to catch up face to face.

The guests were just wonderful. All but one – Jena Malone – were Starfury regulars so knew exactly what to expect. Robin Thorsen, Sandeep Parikh (Culturally Fixated friends) and Aaron Douglas partied every night till the last attendee dropped As does Paul Blackthorne – who was equally engaging, if somewhat less present on the dancefloor! Jena Malone was the most down to earth unaffected person, with 20 years worth of biz stories to share, as well as a wealth of knowledge and experiences that was just fascinating. This was her first convention and she seemed to take it like a fish to water – hopefully we’ll see her again soon!

My frist con with Cider by Grant Gowdy

Photo by Grant Gowdy

2. Echo 2

My first ever convention. I was introduced to the con scene by a wonderful friend who made sure that I met all the ‘con regulars’ (and the somewhat less flattering term alert – said in LOVE) and ‘con ho’s’.

Instantly, I felt as though I had found my people, my home away from home.

The attendees were fantastic – so welcoming and friendly. The guests couldn’t have hung out with us more and seemed just as geeky about the show as we were. I met Reed Diamond – my first podcast ‘superstar guest star’ and now a true friend.

The beginning of an amazing few years for me started the moment I first tweeted @Cidergirli.

joss whedon at serenity forever

SQUEE

1. Serenity Forever

Oh hi there Joss. What’s that? You fancy a dance.

No brainer!!!!

Check out this ARTICLE written by a mate of mine – @RoelVeldhuyzen for details about the night Joss Whedon crashed a Starfury Convention.

My friends were predictably fantastic. The guests were amazing. Both Magda Apanowicz and Lean Cairns have subsequently podcast with me and are just incredible women. Aaron Douglas is not capable of letting a party die. He just WON’T allow it. Jonathan Woodward and communion are just the most amazing combination and every con is better for it. Jewel Staite and Sean Maher are as close friends as a fangirl like me could have hoped of and knew each other so well they were constantly interrupting and finishing one another’s anecdotes. Also…they brought a friend who dances like a fiend.

I’m in a photo with Joss Whedon. I got to see him dance. AND THEN I SPOKE WITH HIM FOR A MOMENT.

Just…epic!

Poldark – A 2 minute review

So, about three weeks ago, a mate of mine mentioned that he had caught an episode of Poldark on the Beeb the other day and that it was just terrible.

Then, a fortnight ago, this same mate pointed out that there was a new series, called Poldark and it was the worst sort of bodice ripper.

Last week, my mate out rightly asked me to start watching Poldark as he thought that I’d enjoy it and he was just HOOKED.

Three episodes in and it’s just glorious. A shining steaming pile of crap that I find myself utterly addicted to!

Poldark

Ross Poldark returns to England after fighting in the American Revolution. His family and friends thought he was dead. The woman he hoped to marry is now engaged to his cousin. His father is dead, and the property he has inherited has been allowed to deteriorate. It is the late 1700s in Cornwall, England. This is a family drama, but is also about the challenges and conflicts between the rich and the poor. It is a time when fishermen are not catching much fish, tin and copper mines are closing down because prices are too low, but the price of food and rents are high. Ross faces the challenge of making his land productive, caring for the tenants who rely on him, and trying to win back the woman he loved – or finding a reason to live without her.

poldark brooding

Go on then Aid, get your brood on.

 

This is not the BBC at its best. This is not on a par with the superb 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice that made Colin Firth a household name – the sets are neither as impressive nor as meticulously authentic. Though closer in terms of subject to the 2004 version of North and South; Poldark never quite manages to maintain the same build up of tension and anticipation.

poldark 01

No…it’s really good…honest…

This is much more swashbuckily.

Much more raunchy.

Much more ‘lets-build-up-tension-across-three-minutes-and-then-have-them-act on-it…by-getting-their-kit-off’.

poldark 03

The show itself is pretty good. Upstairs and down are well represented. There is a not terribly subtle social commentary on the treatment of workers and women (which frankly makes a nice change. Also – Ruby Bentall is simply enchanting as the much maligned Verity). Our intrepid hero is not only all moody and dramatic; he is also honest, choc- full of integrity (if you ignore the smuggling that got him expelled from the army) and actively works to better the lives of his tenants. Occasionally this involves…threshing of …wheat…or other grain based foodstuffs while totally, utterly and completely topless. Out of the goodness of his heart.

The Cornish setting is just gorg and clearly every effort has gone into ensuring that the audience doesn’t get bored. The pacing is just MENTAL. Months fly by in the blink of an eye – a character announces a pregnancy in episode 2 and is a mother by the mid-way point of the third. This is actually a huge mistook. Aside from rushing the various situations, actions and consequences, I would argue that it is – after all – the build up and will-thy won’t-they that we period drama aficionados can’t get enough of. Mind you, that’s the same argument that I had with season 2 Downton Abbey and that became completely turgid and self obsessed by its third.

poldark 05

Updating the Mr Darcy wet shirt scene a touch

 

Aidan Turner takes on the titular role – that of Ross Poldark. Turner has been a delight to watch over the last several years (Being Human, The Hobbit, Desperate Romantics, The Hobbit) and it’s terrific to see him in such a prominent role and receiving acclaim! Demelza is played by Eleanor Tomlinson as all light and music and joy – a terrific heroine that just about manages to avoid the manic pixie dream girl trope. In supporting roles are veteran actors Phil Davis and Beatie Edeny, who provide not only local colour and flair, but also the comic relief portion of the show.

 

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