Gosh, have I really not posted since Friday? Hasn't time flown! Unlike most of England I'm not back at work today (hooray for working for a University!) and am enjoying my last day of freedom by doing not very much at all. And it's wonderful! That's not to say I haven't got tons to do - I have. I decided to redecorate my bedroom on Monday and, as a result, my tiny hall way is FULL of bedroom stuff and I need step through it carefully, Crystal Maze style, to avoid something falling over and trapping me forever midway between the living room and the kitchen.
Unfortunately I still need to do a second coat in the bedroom but I can't be bothered so the hallway will remain cluttered until this weekend when I'll brave the paint pots and roller again. Am I the only person in the world to get completely spattered with paint when I use a roller? When I finished the first coat yesterday it was in my hair, on my face, all over my black top and down my jeans. Even my toenail varnish turned from blood red to polka dot style.
And don't get me started on the dinner plate sized splodge of paint on the bedroom carpet. I backed into the bookcase and knocked the roller tray onto the floor. Gah! I scrubbed and scrubbed the carpet with warm water and washing up liquid and there's still a big magnolia-coloured stain. Looks like I'm going to have to add 'replace bedroom carpet' to my list of things to do. What a pain!
Anyway, enough moaning. Other than my decorating hell yesterday I had a great Easter. I polished off my Thornton's Easter egg on Friday and spent the weekend either shopping or watching DVDs. Great!
Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium
I can't even begin to describe how much I loved this film. Some films try and capture the essence of magic and fail miserably (too twee, too stoopid or too sickly sweet) but not this film. Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium is about a magical toyshop run by 243 year old Mr Magorium (Dustin Hoffman) and managed by struggling composer Mahoney (Natalie Portman) and frequented by a friendless, hat-obsessed little boy (Zach Mills). The film's theme (about believing in magic and the value of play) isn't a subtle one but this is a children's film.
What really touched me was a parallel I couldn't help making between Mahoney's lack of confidence in her musical ability and my lack of confidence in my writing ability and how grey the world can (literally) become when you stop believing in yourself. It sounds cheesy but the end of the film (I won't spoil it) made me well up. If you're struggling with self confidence you could do worse than watch this film. If nothing else it'll transport you back to your childhood when you believed in magic and miracles (unless your heart is made of stone). It's also a film that will, I'm sure, delight children.
It's not a perfect film by any means. I found Dustin Hoffman's Mr Magorium a teeny bit annoying for a start but it's the best film of this type I've seen for a long time.
Two Days in Paris
I just looked at the reviews of this film on Amazon and was surprised to see that opinion is very much split. It seems you either love this film or you hate it. I loved it. Written, directed and starring the very talented Julie Delphy (Marion) and co-starring Adam Goldberg (Jack) the film explores 2 days in a couple's 2 year relationship. On holiday in Europe the couple travel to Paris to explore the city and visit Marion's parents. So far so uninspiring right but I was hugely amused by the interaction between the French family and American, neurotic, germ-obsessed Jack who doesn't speak French. Delphy's keen eye for family dynamics and excellent use of dialogue made me laugh out loud several times.
What she does even better, if that's possible, is the relationship between Marion and Jack. She's so spot on she made me cringe several times as the couple goes from light hearted banter to full blown argument. This is a couple so insecure and jealous they constantly second guess each other and push each other's buttons. During the course of the film several of Marion's exes appear out of the woodwork causing Jack to become more and more possessive and more and more obsessed with her past. Your sympathy switches from Marion to Jack and back as you try and work out who's in the right (if either of them are). You might laugh, you might cringe but you will feel like a voyeur, watching someone else's relationship play out.
If you've even had an argument with a partner about your exes or your past you'll be able to relate to this film. Probably one to watch to with the girls rather than your partner though!
Away From Her
Julie Christie was nominated for an Oscar for this film and I was really looking forward to seeing it...BUT...I couldn't help but compare it with Iris  (starring Judy Dench and Jim Broadbent) which is one of my favourite films ever...and this film really suffered in comparison.
I never really believed in the relationship between Fiona and Grant in the same way I did between Iris and her husband. As a result I didn't feel as distraught as I thought I might when Fiona goes off to a care home and, while Christie's portrayal of an Alzheimer sufferer was certainly subtle it didn't make me ache in the same way Dench did. With Dench I felt her confusion and fear with Christie it all felt so wishy washy and just...I don't know...fine (like having Alzheimers wasn't the worst thing in the world). There were some touching moments in this film but it was too slow, too gentle, too meandering to pull me in. In Iris the two main characters constantly interact, they bounce off each other, they argue with each other, they cry, they scream, they're human...in Away From Here they're constantly at arm's length, two stranger in effect and, as a result, there's no dramatic tension.
Maybe if I hadn't seen (and loved) Iris I might have liked Away From Her more. Shame.
Oh! I did do one thing writing-related. I edited a short story to send off to a woman's magazine. That makes two subs this month. Better than nothing I suppose!