Our regular toddler minding sessions in Kent are drawing to a close and next week we will be doing our final two day stint for the foreseeable future. I said in an earlier blog that we will miss our little granddaughter terribly but we won't miss the driving - on Tuesday we left Framlingham at 5.25 in the morning only to find the main road to the A14 was closed at Pettaugh due to a water mains burst. The tortuous diversion added thirty minutes to the journey which led to another thirty minutes delay due to us being late on the A12. What should be a two hour drive took us three hours and ten minutes. Thankfully we got home inside two hours.
It was after ten and I settled down to watch the Capital Cup Semi Final second leg. I'd recorded the game and didn't know the score. It was well past midnight when the match finished. I was disappointed with the result but thought it was a spirited display from the Reds.
We've kept ourselves busy this week with our passion for films. On Saturday we watched Philip Seymour Hoffman's final film A Most Wanted Man on Sky Box Office and realised what a huge loss his death was to the movie world. Based on a John Le Carre novel, it's an old fashioned spy thriller with a tremendous and intricate plot with all the twists and turns you would expect from Le Carre. Hoffman was outstanding as the hard drinking, chain smoking and down at heel German spy in a top secret cell playing cat and mouse with both his official German intelligence counterparts and the CIA in a plot involving funding terrorists in the Middle East. It's intelligent, exciting and worth looking out for.
By contrast, Kingsman, which we saw on Cineword's fabulous IMAX screen this morning, is a thoroughly modern spy thriller. Think Roger Moore's James Bond meets Kill Bill with a little bit of Kick Ass thrown in for good measure and you'll get the idea. Colin Firth is tremendous as the suave and sophisticated Harry Hart (code name Galahad), part of the Kingsman private secret service, seeking to prevent the megalomaniac Valentine (a wonderful lisping Samuel L Jackson) from fulfilling his world threatening scheme.
Galahad's teenage, rough diamond protege Eggsy (newcomer Taron Egerton) is enlisted at spy school to see if he can make the grade to replace the spy codenamed Lancelot who recently met a sticky end. Will Eggsy graduate? Will Valentine take over the world? All is revealed in a fabulously foul mouthed, incredibly violent and extremely funny caper that has some of the most beautifully choreographed fight scenes ever to grace the screen and makes the House Of Blue Leaves episode from Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol 1 look like an episode of In The Night Garden. It's all strangely inoffensive though (just a 15 certificate), being more Tom And Jerry than The Godfather. If you want something to wake you up, give this a try - great fun.
The best film we've seen this week was Birdman which we saw at Aldeburgh on Wednesday. Michael Keaton has been nominated for an Oscar in his role as a faded movie star trying to resurrect his career by funding, directing and acting in an intellectual play on Broadway. His past role as superhero Birdman haunts his every moment and his troubled daughter, now his assistant, is a constant reminder of his failure as a husband and father. The film is shot using a device that appears like a single take and this gives the movie a tremendous feeling of pace. But it is the actors that steal the show. Not only is Keaton, outstanding, so too are Emma Stone as his daughter Sam, Zach Galifianakis as his world weary friend and producer, Ed Norton as method actor Mike and Naomi Watts as Mike's partner Lesley. The Oscar nominations for Keaton, Stone and Norton are thoroughly deserved and I will be very surprised if Keaton and Emma Stone don't land the prize.
It's a brilliant film, originally filmed, very funny and with an exceptional musical score. This is one you really must see.
I just watched the first episode of Fortitude on Sky Atlantic. Interesting stuff but not totally gripped yet. Will give it another try next week.