Saw "V for Vendetta" at the cinema, liked it a lot. Has a couple of weaknesses in that it gets a bit verbose, and has a few heavy-handed contemporary political references wedged incongruously into the dialogue. On the whole though, it's nicely balanced. There are a few action scenes, but nothing like the interminably long pointless fights of the later Matrix films. Keeps closer to the original comic than expected, with great chunks of Alan Moore dialogue repeated near-verbatim. Even preserves the section where V tortures Evie, which keeps V as an ambiguous character rather than an outright hero.
Has a couple of decent performances. Natalie Portman's accent isn't too grating, and Stephen Fry does a good job as a gay TV presenter. Quite liked the little details of a future UK police state: secret police driving Rovers and some appalling TV. Only a couple of howlers, like a woman born in 1985 going to grammar school after taking her 11-plus. Also has some striking images, as in the scene where the V-masked crowds converge on Parliament, which blows up nicely.
After the wincingly awful adaptations of From Hell and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, shame that Alan Moore chose this one to start taking his name off the credits: though he hasn't actually seen it.
Rating: a near-perfectly balanced .
Started on 5BX Chart 4. This should be the last level for me: at my age I'm expected to reach level C- if averagely capable. Pretty exhausting, but managed to make it well within the time limit. The Exercise 4 press-ups aren't too bad compared with last time: they're just normal press-ups only with the hands level with ears instead of shoulders. Exercise 5 feels bloody hard, felt shaky afterwards and it took me ages for my breath and heart to return to vaguely normal. Five years ago I remember thinking it was a doddle, since I'd already been lifting my knees quite high. Don't get old, kids.
What I'm Watching 2
Saw 2046 on DVD. Seems like partly a tribute to period French movies, though set in 1960s Hong Kong. A writer shags a succession of women and moodily smokes cigarettes while a wailing-violin soundtrack informs us that he has Missed His Chance at True Love. It's also intercut with sci-fi scenes from a story he's writing, in which he metaphorically confronts his objectification of women and the emptiness of his existence; while remaining consciously oblivious.
Also saw classic political Western: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Superb film with Jimmy Stewart as an idealistic newcomer, John Wayne as a grizzled cowboy and Lee Marvin as the bad guy. Plot was a bit predictable, but it's excellently crafted, thoughtful, with some good comic and serious performances. .
What I'm Reading
Still not doing much reading. Got through a comic: The New Frontier - Volume One which has some post-WW2 stories of the DC superheros; some familiar, some new to me. Nicely drawn with faded colours in a kind of half-retro, half-Japanese style. Has a couple of neat touches in the stories. The problem is, not a lot actually seems to happen: it seems to be mostly dealing with a few origin stories and setting things up for a conflict later on. Will keep an eye out for volume 2 but don't think I'll actively seek it out.
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