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Into Film Project: 16 – Shaun the Sheep (sort of)

Today is the Winter Solstice and the suggested film was Shaun the Sheep. However, as a very new film I don’t have any way of watching it, so instead I will be reviewing the TV series.

I watched this particular episode of the TV series on BBC Alba, which I though may pose a problem, being in Scottish Gaelic. This is not something that is an issue with this Aardman animation though, as there is no speaking involved from Shaun and his sheep friends (and the farmer and dog). I don’t have a clue whether dialogue actually exists in the film version, but I feel like I would get fractious about it if there was no speech for the entire 90 minutes or so.

With only 7 minutes to go on, it’s hard to get the gist of the programme from one episode, but the premise is that the sheep cause havoc for their farmer and manage to get away with it without anyone noticing. I’m not sure how this will work on the big screen with the inevitable increase in length, but I imagine it could. From a TV point of view, 7 minutes seems the optimum time to spend on an episode of Shaun the Sheep – I didn’t get bored but it wasn’t over in the blink of an eye either.

Funny and perfect for children, Shaun the Sheep on TV has intrigued me for what the film has in store. Three stars.

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The Sound of Music Live

Sunday night saw the broadcast of The Sound of Music Live on ITV. It had mixed reviews and I caught up with it last night (with this post taking yesterday’s spot in Blogvent).

Firstly I was appalled by the song order, until I realised that it was based on the stage musical and not the film. As most people who know me will know, I know The Sound of Music inside out because in year 6 I was in the class production of it – based on the film rather than the musical. Personally I prefer the film version even though I have now seen this production as there is a much greater period in the film where Georg was away and the children’s relationship with Maria could develop and the viewer can see their transition from controlled to free children.

With the storyline of course remaining much the same, once I got over the songs, which happened about halfway through, especially after the appearance of Alexander Armstrong as Herr Dettweiler. In fact the entire cast were great, especially Kara Tointon as Maria. Her voice was as strong as Julie Andrews and she really managed to express all the nuances of the character, and the love she holds for her husband and adopted children.

Overall it was very hard to tell that the production was indeed live with no noticeable slip ups. Although it’s no replacement for the film for me, it was a fantastic introduction to the stage version of the popular story and well worth watching.

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MRI and Lego

Again I have missed a day of posting and for that I apologise. But for yesterday’s post I want to talk about the below photo.

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This is an MRI machine made out of Lego that I found last week. I can’t remember when I made it but it must have been between my MRI in 2011 and my operation in 2012, part of a Lego hospital I created. There was an ambulance with ramp, a small ward, a pharmacy, a bed on wheels and even a wheelchair but I am most proud of the MRI machine room. The bed slides into the machine through the window across the smooth panels, there are two benches for waiting (one inside and one outside) and there is a full control panel for the operator, who is naturally wearing a helmet as PPE.

Lego is so versatile and I’m glad I found this in order to share how I used it while I was going through my operation.

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#hignfy

Today I came home from work and decided to watch some comedy from BBC iPlayer – and, as the name of this blog suggests, my choice was Have I Got News For You.

It’s a fantastic comment on what’s happening around the world and, in the case of the 2015 episode, across the year. It’s funny but also sensitive and you also can join in to some extent, if you’re quick.

Worth a watch!

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Into Film Project 15: Dirty Pretty Things

Today is International Migrants Day and in honour of this I watched the film Dirty Pretty Things. This is not a film I had heard of outside of the Into Film wallchart but with its short length (just shy of 100 minutes) I thought it would be an okay watch for an evening after work. Audrey Tautou’s name in the opening credits also piqued my interest and her portrayal of Turkish Senay did not disappoint.

The cast was the thing that really kept me watching. From leading man Chiwetel Ejiofor, who I recognised from not only 12 Years A Slave (see my last Into Film post) but also Love Actually, to helping hand Sophie Okonedo, the cast is vastly varied and immensely talented. Even in a film less than two hours long there was great character development too.

The plot is full of twists and turns and you can get emotionally attached to the characters quite easily. I don’t want to say much more about it, but this is certainly a film with a moral centre. There are multiple moral dilemmas for the illegal immigrants who just want to survive in the UK and escape the horrors of wherever they are from, not least the fact that everything must be done without alerting anyone in authority. The bleak future that they often see is summarised by the words of Ejiofor’s character: “For you and I there is only survival”

Full of storylines I didn’t see coming, Dirty Pretty Things is not afraid to showcase the lengths people will go to gain a better life for themselves, portrayed by a wonderful cast. Three stars, only due to the deep and uncomfortable subject matter.

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Top 5 songs from Jersey Boys

In the last few days I have been listening to a lot of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, after having a song from the  musical, Jersey Boys, requested on my two hour musical themed radio show on Monday. In that instance I chose December, 1963 (Oh What A Night!) because the night before I watched the Sherlock episode where Watson gets married and this is played at the end of the wedding reception.

But since then I have been listening to other songs and now I want to have played ALL OF THEM. So here is my top five songs by the Four Seasons (not with accompanying YouTube links yet as I am writing on my tablet)

5. Beggin’
Actually my original choice to play on the show, Beggin’ was my first exposure to the music from Jersey Boys through the cover by Madcon (I believe that was who it was). Most people who hear that song often believe the words are Meggie, Meggie ooooh but it’s a catchy song and I feel deserves a place in my top five, although not in the greatest hits album apparently.

4. Grease
From the Grease soundtrack, I was surprised that Grease was actually a Frankie Valli song and with it being adjacent to December, 1963 on the greatest hits, I’ve ended up listening to it a fair amount. However, it achieves its place in its own right!

3. Bye Bye Baby (Baby Goodbye)
I have to say that the inclusion of this song is entirely down to its inclusion in Love Actually (which I watched on Saturday), but it’s a beautiful yet slightly melancholy piece of music that’s got a perfect beat for dancing around. There are some great held notes too.

2. Can’t Take My Eyes Off You
This song comes a close second to my top choice. I love how the sentiments of love are conveyed through the song. It really draws the listener in with the introduction and then fantastic brass before the chorus and how every member of the ensemble belts out this chorus, which is almost not surprising when you consider the loudness of the brass. Play me this song and you will probably melt my heart.

1. December, 1963 (Oh What A Night!)
This is the song that I played and, all in all, it’s still my favourite! It makes me want to dance (thanking everyone for staying away from the SU on Monday morning and not witnessing my dancing) and it’s pretty good to sing along to. It’s so joyful and it makes me happy and that’s what ultimately pushes it to the top.

So there you have it, my top 5 Frankie Valli songs. Do you agree? Feel free to leave a comment below!
Honourable mentions should go to Sherry, Walk Like A Man and Working My Way Back To You, which are also great songs that feel quite similar musically.