Friday, 23 January 2015

Battling Bugs In Framlingham, Big Eyes In Woodbridge And Ex_Machina At Cineworld

Marion has been poorly this week. It didn't stop her joining the protest against the greenfield development on a very cold Monday morning (which set her recovery back a few days) but it has meant her missing several of the spinning and circuit training classes at Fram Leisure. I've been lucky and managed to shake the bug off a few weeks ago and have been able to keep up the exercise classes at the college but the illness has been with Marion since our stay at the caravan over the New Year.

We had intended to take advantage of the beautiful winter sunshine and go on a couple of walks but decided that that wasn't conducive to a rapid recovery for Marion and went instead to see a couple of the films on our lengthy wish list.

Big Eyes at The Riverside in Woodbridge was our first outing on Wednesday. It tells the fascinating true story of 60s artist Margaret Keane who specialised in kitsch paintings of children with huge doleful eyes. A potential buyer thought her husband Walter had painted one of her early works (they were signed simply "Keane") and, instead of putting the record straight,  Walter played along with the mistake. Sales of the paintings took off and Walter continued to take credit. He became a brilliant marketeer and created huge sales of prints, cards and posters as well as originals. Margaret played along with the deception and the couple became extremely wealthy. The film is very entertaining and has an excellent performance by Amy Adams as Margaret. Christoph Waltz, in an unfamiliar role, portrays Walter as a character lurching violently between drunken, aggressive, control freak and charming  bon viveur and didn't quite convince me.  Before the film we had a super light lunch at the Riverside's restaurant - it really does make a cinema trip a little bit special.

No such culinary delights at Cineworld yesterday although I can't knock the Starbucks which has friendly staff, comfortable seats and a decent (if overwhelmingly large) cup of coffee. We were there to see new release Ex_Machina. Geeky young computer programmer Caleb ( Domnhall Gleeson) wins the company lottery and his prize is to be transported by helicopter to spend a week's holiday with the company boss Nathan (Oscar Isaac). Now, a week's holiday with the boss is possibly not everyone's idea of the perfect prize, but, as Nathan is one of the world's wealthiest men (his company Bluebook is some sort of Google world-domineering tech company), and a computer genius , Caleb is delighted with his prize.

Nathan lives in a wonderful high tech residence on a remote rocky mountainside hours away from civilisation and Caleb soon discovers that his "prize" is to help his reclusive boss to test AVA, his robot creation's, ability to convince that she is an intelligent being. The only other person at the residence is female servant Kyoko (Sonoya Mizuno) who attends to all of Nathan's requirements. I don't want to spoil any of the plot for you but AVA (Alicia Vikander), despite a profusion of transparent limbs and obvious robotics, is an alluring presence and, young Caleb is soon seduced by her personality. As the week progresses the relationships between innocent Caleb, manipulative Nathan and the charismatic AVA develop and lead slowly to an exciting and (for me) unexpected climax. Marion thought it predictable but for me it took the premise of the recent Her a step further, added a physical presence and gave me plenty to think about. I didn't enjoy Nathan's misogyny (which may bring some criticism - I've seen no reviews yet)  but it is an important part of the plot and, as he's an unsympathetic character, I'll excuse Alex Garland the director.   

If you've followed this blog you will know that we are massive advocates of shopping local. We do our best to buy everything we can here in Framlingham. So, when we decided that we needed a metalwork arch to grow climbers over and separate one area of the garden from the rest, we had a look for ideas on the internet and then went to local blacksmith John Ball. John took our ideas and measurements and went away. He then came back this week with a template for us to look at - now you don't get that on the internet.

I left Marion wrapped up in front of the log burner on Tuesday and had my first outing of the year with the detector. It was bitterly cold and started to snow so I didn't stay out for too long. I  have searched the small field pretty thoroughly so wasn't expecting many finds. I thought that this was simply a big lead washer but when I washed the mud off at home I discovered that it is an alnage or cloth seal - you can see the remains of a rampant lion or other fantastical creature but sadly, the second half of the seal which would have the rest of the impression, has gone. It's probably the oldest seal of its type that I have found and I guess that it dates to the late 15th century.

As I finish this post I am pleased to say that Marion managed the spinning class this morning and says that she is starting to feel better.