Showing posts from March, 2016

What I'm Watching: Sunshine on Leith

So spring is finally starting to look like it's here and the sun is actually shining. Not the best time to stay in watching films, but if you were going to, wouldn't you want something sunny and feel-good? That's why I'm recommending Sunshine on Leith, a juke-box musical based on the music of The Proclaimers. It's not Mamma Mia/Walking on Sunshine level feel-good, but I like it better.

The Proclaimers are a Scottish band composed of twin brothers Charlie and Craig Reid, and they've been around for donkey's years (since the 80s.) If you're not a big fan (or Scottish) most likely the only songs you'll be familiar with are 500 Miles, I'm on my Way and possibly Letter to America. I'd only heard of the first two, but one watch in and I was a fan. Sunshine on Leith started it's life as a stage musical in Scotland, and tells the story of two friends, Davy and Ally, newly returned from the war in Afghanistan.  Ally is in a relationship with Dav…

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I've Read Recently

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week the topic is 5 star reads or the best books you've read recently. I've really not read a lot over this last year, apart from one crazy period where I read all the Poldarks back to back. Most of the stuff I have read has been comfort-reading or things for uni, but here's the best of my remembered reading anyway.

Going Solo - Roald Dahl
I read 'Boy,' the first part of Roald Dahl's autobiography, when I was a kid, and really enjoyed it. That book takes you up to the moment when he leaves school, while Going Solo deals with his time working for Shell in Africa and flying planes in the first World War. It's written like a children's book, but Dahl's around my age throughout the story so it was the right time to read it I think! It was a fun read but made me feel like I should have done more with my life by now...

Jeremy Poldark - Winston Graham

I re-read Jeremy and Warlegga…

Spontaneous Singing moments in Non-Musicals

Bit of a random post today, but I was re-watching one of my favourite films last night and it got me thinking. Everyone loves a good musical, but sometimes the best musical moments can come from non musical films. Whether it's romantic, rousing or just for the pure joy of it, a spontaneous bout of singing in a film always makes for a memorable scene. Below are some of my favourites - can you think of any others? (For more musical moments, check out my favourite spontaneous dance scenes or these songs from books.)

10 Things I Hate about You  - Can't Take my Eyes off You

In this modern day adaptation of Taming of the Shrew, Heath Ledger's Patrick Verona makes a grand, romantic gesture, sacrificing himself 'at the altar of dignity' for Julia Styles' Kat. He might not be the best singer in the world, but with that smile, it doesn't matter.

27 Dresses 
- Benny and the Jets

Katherine Heigl and James Marsden dancing to Benny and the Jets  - and singing all the words w…

Teaser Tuesday: Jeremy Poldark

'Teaser Tuesday' is a weekly meme at This week I've managed to distract myself from uni work, as well as War and Peace (we had a brief interlude of  'peace' - a.k.a the interesting bits -  but we're back to 'war' now) by making the rash decision to pick up Jeremy Poldark for a re-read. The Poldark books have their flaws, but it's the only series where I can remember picking up the next book and beginning it, as soon as I've put the last one down. First time round, I did this with Jeremy (book 3) right through to Stranger from the Sea (book 8) so you can see that I'm in trouble.

Thought I'd do two teasers this time, just because:

"I have to confess a liking for a man who knows his own mind."
Dwight's heart began to thump."A man may know his own mind - and at the same time his own place."
Her eyes did not flicker. "That's a complaint I shouldn't have thought you ever suffered from.&quo…

#"Oh it's Good Old Reliable Nathan..."# Guys and Dolls UKTour

The UK touring production of Guys and Dolls arrived at the Liverpool Empire this week, direct from rave reviews in the the West End (it's still playing there too, with Sophie Thompson and Jamie Parker). We'd bought tickets for my sister's eighteenth (she's been a big fan since the lasttour, starring a very suave Darius from Pop Idol) and I'm very glad we did! The tour boasts a brand new cast: Richard Fleeshman (Corrie, All the Small Things, Ghost on Broadway) takes on the iconic Marlon Brando role of Sky Masterson, while Maxwell Caulfield (Grease 2, Dynasty) plays good old reliable Nathan Detroit. They may have been the only 'names' but the whole cast was fantastic. We had an understudy for Adelaide too, and she was fab.

Guys and Dolls originally premièred on Broadway in 1950. A story of gamblers and girls set in New York city, the musical is based on the short stories of Damon Runyon (particularly The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown and Blood Pressure) with musi…

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Favourite Irish-themed Films

Today is St. Patrick's Day: a day for drinking and dressing in green, and one of only two saint's days in the calendar year that people actually celebrate (when was the last time you remembered St. George's day?) To mark the occasion, I thought I'd review some films featuring the emerald isle. Starting with a newly discovered favourite... (SPOILERS in all trailers, by the way. Seriously, why do they do that?)

The Commitments

I watched thisfor the very first time last week, and I loved it. Set in the 1980's, it tells the story of a group of north Dubliners who form a soul band. The plot itself isn't all that original: there's no big twists or events you couldn't foresee, but for some reason The Commitments feels like something special. Maybe it's the realism, maybe the humour, but more likely it's the music. All of the young stars (unknowns when the filmwas released) do their own singing/playing and Deco, the lead singer, was only sixteen at the …

What I'm Watching: Bill

Did anyone else hear that the Horrible Histories lot had made a film, or have I just been living under a rock? Turns out it even had a cinema release. Who knew? Anyway, I've now watched it - and I'm glad I did. Bill tells the storyof Shakespeare's lost years in typical Horrible Histories fashion, and it lived up to my expectations - which were pretty high, considering the type of film this is.

If you haven't heard of Horrible Histories, it's basically a comedy sketch show (based on the books by Terry Deary) that teaches kids all about history - particularly the 'horrible' bits. There's usually a song at the end of each episode - like this one about the Georges. (My cousin's kids can now sing all the Kings and Queens of England, from William the Conqueror onwards. It's impressive.)

In primary school, I used to collect the magazines. We got a weekly subscription and although I lost interest after ten instalments, and we cancelled it, they kept se…

Teaser Tuesday - Tolkien's Letters

'Teaser Tuesday' is a weekly feature now at Books and a Beat. If you want to join in, here's the rules:

 a) open your current read to a random page and share two teaser sentences.
 b) let us know the title and author and...
 c) link back to the host blog and leave your link in the comments. Also, keep it spoiler free!

I haven't done a Teaser Tuesday in a while, and to be honest, that's partly because I'm still slogging through War and Peace ('book one' was great, but I'm struggling with 'book two' - I really don't care about battle tactics.) But that doesn't mean I can't glance through other things, right?

Anyway. I recently ordered a couple of biographical Tolkien books for uni research (I'm considering writing a kind of romantic bio-pic as my final project) and The Letters of J.R.R Tolkien was the first to arrive. I was all geared up to get started, but then I read the introduction and it turns out the editor, Humphrey Car…

What I'm Watching: Arabian Nights

When people ask me what my favourite film is, I never have an answer. My favourite film depends on my mood, whether I feel like something light or something wordy, a romance or an adventure. Having said that, there's been a few films I've categorised as favourites throughout the years. At one stage it was The Parent Trap, at another it was Bride and Prejudice or 12 Angry Men. And for a good few years, my go-to watch was always Arabian Nights - a two-part mini series that went out on the BBC in 2000. I'd always loved the story of Scheherezade, and the series seemed to encompass everything that the eight-year-old me enjoyed in a good story.

"Open Sesame!"
Arabian Nights is a re-telling of the story of Scheherazade and her 'Thousand and One nights' - except here there's only three or four nights. Dougray Scott (Ever After) is Sultan Sharyah, the betrayed husband who, in his ensuing madness, decides to take a new wife only to have her executed the morning …