Movie – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

I forgot I saw this movie as soon as I came out of the theatre. That doesn’t mean it was bad, after all the bad ones linger a lot longer than the good ones. It’s what you expect from Disney, watchable escapism and because it’s Disney, it’s for all ages.

The basic story is the Sorcerer (Nicholas Cage) has spent thousands of years trapping all that is bad in the world in a Russian doll, layer upon layer (if only we could do that). There’s one problem in that the evilest of all, Morgana, can still be awakened and there’s only one person that can actually eradicate her.

Therefore he also spends thousands of years searching for this one person, his apprentice. Cut to 2000 and he finds him, only to lose the kid again to 10 ten years of therapy.

Fast forward to 2010 and the action begins as now the twenty year old geek who thought he was seeing things as a ten year old starts believing in the magic, thanks to the Sorcerer, who himself has been locked in an urn all this time.

Include the girl of his dreams as is the rule in these movies otherwise the hero has no one to save and we have some good clean – totally clean, family fun. The evil who wants to rekindle his partnership with Morgana is also trapped in the urn and so the race begins as to who can get there first, the evil man to release her or the sorcerer’s apprentice to exterminate her.

Set in modern day New York, Cage is made for the role, although I say that every time.

8/10    Smile factor 8½/10

Glasgow May 28-31st 2010 (Part Two)

Light Rain

Breakfast is included and although I’m not one for early eating, I’m not one than can resist food either. I feel a little self-conscious walking into breakfast with a kilt-like skirt, probably not the best choice for an English girl in Glasgow. I’m a little irked that the waitress assumed I did not want haggis but it’s a pleasant enough experience and demonstrates even better value for money. Scottish breakfast minus haggis apparently equals Irish breakfast, complete with potato scone. Or bread as I know it.

Light rain is projected and I find myself pulling on my in case it’s really cold, roll neck sweater. The strange this is last night I was cold coming back from the coffee shop but I knew I would be. Glaswegians were walking around like it was summer without coats. Curious.

The rain is mightily strange; there’s one drop every six seconds and it feels like walking under a shop canopy and drops fall of the end so hardly worth bothering with.

I’m too full for more coffee so a walk is called for, past Bean Scene, clocking potential coffee shops in the West End, specifically in area called Partick although of course I thought it was Patrick for first 20 minutes.

With the rain coming I settle for Big Mouth Coffee Co and finally get cracking on the book before discovering a bit more of the West End. I lunch at Off Shore by Glasgow University.  More book is written accompanied by lovely sweet potato, coconut and something soup and big chunks of brown bread. It was just what I needed both the meal and discovering this area. Glasgow is looking up and when I get back, I have a new attic room, twice the size with a decent bathroom. Although it’s another floor up, I have a bath.

I stroll the shops and grab a cinema ticket for later. After 2 weeks without a film to watch, I’m left with CopOut with Bruce Willis which is actually very funny and a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours.

I head back to pick up recharged laptop and head out for night cap and heading towards my word target at the local Bean Scene.

Cup

Sunday is a gorgeous day and I set off after a lovely bath and light breakfast to another Bean Scene in the Hillside area of the West End. Glasgow doesn’t seem to have many road signs and my map had a big subway line going over all the main road names. I didn’t even realise there was a subway until I saw an entrance this morning. Eventually I get there; it’s hidden away in a lane. Another thing that Glasgow has lots of and explains where people walking in front of me disappear into.

Pea & Mint Soup

Pea & Mint Soup & Cheese Scones

I love this neighbourhood. There is a Marks & Spencer Simply Foods and a Waitrose which I went in just for the fun of it. They have St Georges flag cakes just randomly placed in bakery. Un-sold I may add. Even though there is a Waitrose a couple of miles from my home and another 20 minutes drive away, I don’t have a car so it’s the novelty value. I saw someone carry a Waitrose bag the other day and assumed then there must be one in the city centre John Lewis. Disappointedly not but I found this when I took a wrong turn this morning. That’s pretty much how I discover most things; walking onwards even when I’m not where I thought I was going to be, what’s to lose?

That’s how I finally realised the steeple of the church like building I have been looking at from afar was indeed part of glamorous Glasgow university. Actually the rest of it composed of horrid 1970s tower blocks and more pleasant modern buildings but it is the size of a small village.

Hillhead also has a delightful place called Cup which offered afternoon tea but it’s a little early for that so I have soup; pea & mint with cheese scones. I’m able to sit upstairs which I note is quieter and thought it was as good as place as any to carry on writing so ordered a long cold drink to sip on. An hour later, it got much busier for late lunchers and it was time for me to get to the cinema for the only other film that I want to watch, the Bad Lieutenant with Nicholas Cage. Bad indeed. That’s 2 hours I’ll never get back.

I needed cheering up after that. I could have stayed in a gorgeous part of Glasgow, enjoying both the sun and the scenery whilst cracking on with the writing. I catch the last rays whilst walking back and get to the local Bean Scene again.

Sun with no rain

On the last, the warmest day I skip breakfast and have a bagel at one of the two final Bean Scenes. I just love this place and it has made my trips to Scotland all the more worthwhile. I found it strange that both wide doors at Bean Scene were open and they felt the need to put a fan on too. It’s 9 in the morning and barely 10c!!

Glasgow had emptied the ATMs on Saturday night at I had to visit three to get some cash, which it only dispensed in £20 denominations.

Still, I love this area. It reminds me of New York in that the houses are similar, with stoops and basements but then we have that in London. There’s a big social culture in NYC but the Scottish version involves drinking. Best of all, the decent coffee shops (the now famous on this blog, Bean Scene) open till late but not till midnight as they do in NYC. Just like one of my early visits to Starbucks (I know, gahhh!) in 2000 on Broadway that featured live music. This was my first solo visit to NYC so it was nice to hang out till way past 10pm and feel both safe and entertained. I was unfortunate not to experience such melodic pleasure in Bean Scenes either here in Glasgow or previously in Edinburgh.

I notice a fair few recycling points in Glasgow and it feels like there is one for glass on every corner. I‘m surprised they are not next to every regular trash bin given the amount of merry people in the streets each night. I have to say, it’s the drinking that made me slightly uncomfortable in Edinburgh and more so here.

Given the number of friendly Glaswegians I have met, heard, listened to and ready about over the years, I didn’t get the warmth I’d expected from the local people.

I imagine I will one day, but at the moment, I’m not sure when I may be back.

Cup

Movie – The Ghost

A film about a writer and politics? Of course I’m going to see it. Not that I’m into politics, just in the movies and initially the film is as I expect; a new ghost writer (Ewan McGregor) is selected after the previous one is found washed up on shore. His job is to compete the writing of the memoirs for a former British Prime Minister, Adam Lang, played brilliantly by Pearce Brosnan who battles against the writers wishes to portray what life as Prime Minister was really like.

The ghost had no sooner started when the PM’s former Foreign Secretary, fired after many years of service makes public allegations about the PM’s war crimes.

During the media whirl that follows, the PM and his entourage, confidently lead by his faithful aide played wonderfully by Kim Cattrall, another reason for me to see this film, are whisked of on a disaster minimising PR tour, minus his wife with whom he generally consults on every decision.

I would have preferred the writing rather than the scandal to be the bigger feature of the film, that way we’d have been fortunate to have seen Pierce Brosnan for more than 15 minutes, but the rest is about the non-investigative writer uncovering why his predecessor had died. Once he finds out its not plausible for him to have been found so far away from where he was last seen, the film becomes a pure thriller till the end and twists and turns are ensured and UK political links with the CIA are exposed. But whose?

I heard that Nicholas Cage was the first choice for the ghost writer role which I’m pretty sure would have added at least half a point to my mark. Cast-wise, apart from over acting by Olivia Williams who plays Mrs PM, all is good.

The film has some witty lines and is brilliantly made by Roman Polanski but as I now know whodunit, I don’t feel the need to really see this film again and normally, a score needs to be above 8 for me to want to repeat the process. 7½/10 Smile 8/10

Movie – Kick-Ass

I was planning to see this movie for the title alone and all the rave reviews have not put me off.
The hype did alert me to the good news that Mark Strong is in it and I’m hoping this film is in the 50% of Nicholas Cage films that are good.

But Kick Ass is more than a good title; it has action, humour, great writing, and good directing and is just brilliantly produced featuring some fine acting from a young cast.
Best of all, the fabulous soundtrack and you know I’m a sucker for some well placed tunes in films.

The story is of a geek who decides becoming a super-hero will make him less nerd-like and more gods’ gift to women. He comes to the attention of a father (Nicholas Cage) and daughter Batman style super-hero combo who are out to gain revenge on the local crime lord (Mark Strong) for a drugs set up a five years ago.

The show is stolen by the gun handling, knife throwing exploits of the 11 year old daughter (Chloe Moretz) who drives, manipulates and generally kicks ass.

I wouldn’t describe it as a family film given that every third word begins with ‘F’ and the amount of bloodshed and corpses strewn throughout but it’s not a teen movie either. I’m thankful it wasn’t hyped as such as I’d never have seen it and I’m awfully glad I have.

Another great film and it’s only April.
8/10 Smile factor 9/10

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