Bee Movie (Film) Review

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Girl meets… bee. 🐝

The premise of this film is balls-out bonkers, frankly. Part thriller, part romance with a dash of courtroom drama, Bee Movie is the first animated film we’ve reviewed as part of the Collab, which is actually shocking given that I live for this shit. It is the second movie about bees though.

This week’s choice is, for some reason, one of those films that has been adopted by the Internet to become something of a cult classic – and I can’t decide if it’s sheer brilliance or the worst thing I’ve ever seen. (Leaning towards the latter).

*Spoilers*

Bee Movie (2007)

IMDB Synopsis

Barry B. Benson, a bee just graduated from college, is disillusioned at his lone career choice: making honey. On a special trip outside the hive, Barry’s life is saved by Vanessa, a florist in New York City. As their relationship blossoms, he discovers humans actually eat honey, and subsequently decides to sue them.

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Bee serious for a second

My Review

Where the fuck are you supposed to start with this one? It’s just one bad bee-pun after another with slightly dodgy animation and the weirdest promotion of inter-species romance I’ve ever seen. Barry B. Benson (Jerry Seinfeld) has graduated school, college and everything else within the space of about a week because bee time is different to human time, obviously.

He has his whole life ahead of him but that thought doesn’t thrill him as much as it should. Destined to be a worker bee until his dying day, Barry has doubts about choosing a vocation that he’ll be doing forever and kicks back against tradition, much to the consternation of his dear parents.

One day he manages to wangle his way in with the Pollen Jocks, the big strong bees that go out into the world and pollinate the shit out of everything. During his first awe-inspiring day trip, he ends up in a fight for his life and is rescued by kind-hearted florist Vanessa (Renée Zellweger).

A friendship (or more?) soon develops between Vanessa and Barry – who share a lot in common – e.g. they like flowers. Barry has inappropriate fantasies about Vanessa that involve her waggling her butt suggestively in a stripey yellow body con and it’s quite uncomfortable. Vanessa’s husband/boyfriend is mad jealous of Barry too which suggests that they must have the shakiest relationship in history. Like, honestly? Bee serious.

You still with me?

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How they bee laughin’

One day Barry finds out that humans eat honey (not vegans, bro) – and it blows his tiny mind so much that he decides to sue humankind. Yep. Cue the courtroom segment of this crazy ride, in which Barry and his friend sit at a tiny, tiny desk and take on Layton T. Montgomery (John Goodman), the hotshot lawyer brought in to defend America’s largest honey corporations.

Are you her little… bedbug? ~ Layton T. Montgomery

(What. The. FUCK).

In a disappointing but all too familiar side note, I want to express my annoyance that as per usual the main antagonist of this child’s movie has to be identified as evil by his ginormous gut and gluttonous ways. Because everyone know that one of the most obvious identifiers of truly evil people is their fat (see the Trump rhetoric). Lazy and so not cool, Dreamworks.

It will surprise nobody to learn that Barry and his bee brethren win the case and stop the honey business in its tracks. Montgomery warns Barry that he’s messing with nature but Barry is high on the win and doesn’t take it on-board. Silly arrogant little bee-astard.

Sadly, Montgomery’s prediction comes to something when all the bees are put out of work (who knew?) and all the flowers begin to die because there’s no one left to pollinate them. Vanessa has to close her florist business. Luckily, there’s a perfectly contrived flower festival just a short plane ride away and Bazza comes up with an amazing idea to save the day, the bees and the world’s flowers – and it’s all so ridic I can’t even be bothered to go into the details.

Look, we’re all really here to figure out if a bee and a human woman can really sustain a happy and fulfilling relationship, aren’t we? And the answer is, who knows? Maybe they can, maybe that’s the recipe for success, to find yourself a talking insect and go with the flow.

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Bay-bee bee mine

My Thoughts

The bee jokes really grate after a few minutes and Barry is irritating af but I really enjoyed Chris Rock‘s Mooseblood the Mosquito. And I also think, if nothing else, that the dedication to the bee universe and every little detail is quite inspiring.

That said, this is no Shrek and it suffers for the tired dialog.

My Rating

1.5/5. Bee gone, Barry!

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Oops wrong movie.

What did Jill make of Bee Movie? Would she pollinate it (?) or tell it to buzz off? Find out here, obvs.

Weekly Digest

This week I am loving:

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The Fall

I’m very late to this party but I’ve become obsessed. I’ve done the first two seasons already this weekend. Could being able to rinse an extraordinary amount of television within a tiny window of time be considered a super power?

In The Fall, a strangler is terrorising Belfast with his sadistic woman-murdering ways. He has a very particular type too, so dark-haired, beautiful professional women beware. Hot on the heels of this monster, thankfully is Gillian Anderson‘s Stella Gibson, MET officer and all-round badass – so he better fucking watch himself.

There’s little mystery here, from the start you know whodunnit but as it unravels we learn more about the psyche of the man behind the killer – and it’s a compelling watch. PHEW-EE.

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Stella Gibson from The Fall

A shout out to the character of Stella Gibson as mentioned above for her cool demeanor – and her chic-as-shit wardrobe. Stella is fighting the good fight for the victims of the Belfast Strangler and I enjoy her very much. She doesn’t seem frightened of anything in the heat of the moment but she’s a deep and interesting character.

I really enjoy Stella’s confidence, attitude towards the Patriachy and her chemistry with both PC Danielle Ferrington and pathologist Reed Smith.  Who run the world?

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Pet Sematary – Film & Book

My god I love this book. I’ve recently finished it and can honestly say it’s one of my favourites so far. While I was expecting it to be super trashy, I was actually greeted by a sad lament on grief and loss – by way of an abandoned Indian burial ground, of course.

Nobody can spin a yarn the way Uncle Stephen can and I’m still firmly in love with his mind. Who knows what I’ll find next?

As for the 1989 film adaptation, well it is what it is. And what it is, is: AWESOME.

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This Week’s Graffiti

Just a few of my favourite bits of graffiti/street art from this week. Brighton is great.

What are you digging this week?

Mantras

I’m a sucker for all those pretty typography memes you get on Instagram that incite you to be more positive. Cheesy as these motivators may be, there’s a superstitious part of me that takes them on board and feels better for reading their message.

It’s like when I walk down the street and see a penny on the ground. Failure to pick it up can only result in utter terror and a million years bad luck. Obviously these two things are nothing alike, their only similarity is that I choose to believe in their power.

Lately I’ve been sharing daily mantras that personally speak to me. Like, you’re spot on: I AM THE LIGHT! My feed is better looking suddenly and annoyingly, I never get more ‘likes’ than when I’m channeling somebody elses thoughts and aesthetics.

So I’m thinking of making a few of my own motivational memes. Here are a few prototypes:

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And a tribute to my wonderful mother:

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What do you reckon?

The Jane Austen Book Club (Film) Review

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Since Sunday was a complete and literal wash-out with torrential rain all day and even snow in some places in the country, there was no feasible way to leave the house.

So nice food was purchased, PJs were thrown on and this film was put on the box. And it was perfect in every way. I’m reliably informed that the weather was no better over on Jillian’s side of the pond, which makes me feel even happier. Cosy days ftw.

Annnywaaaay… to week 3 of Free for All Month!

*Spoilers*

The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)

IMDB Synopsis

Six Californians start a club to discuss the works of Jane Austen, only to find their relationships — both old and new — begin to resemble 21st century versions of her novels.

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Any excuse to post pictures of this hair cut

My Review

Six time divorcee Bernadette (Kathy Baker) meets stick-up-her-arse Prudie (Emily Blunt) at a Jane Austen film festival one afternoon and an idea is born – The Jane Austen Book Club. Six books, six club members and a whole lot of chat is what is envisioned – that it will cheer up Prudie, whose husband has just cancelled their planned trip to Paris is a bonus, and the very reason she agrees to Bernadette’s plan at all.

B figures it will also be just the tonic for her recently dumped friend Sylvia (Amy Brenneman) and recently bereaved (from a dog) friend Jocelyn (Maria Bello). Throw in Sylvia’s wilful daughter Allegra (Maggie Grace) and a hot young man picked up by Jocelyn in a bar (Hugh Dancy) and we have our special six.

Sci-fi nerd Grigg, the hottie from the bar, has never read a word of Austen but Jocelyn figures maybe he’ll give depressed Sylvia a much needed confidence boost now her husband of many years has chucked her for another woman, who doesn’t even have the decency to be younger. Grrrrrr.

Each of our club members has their own issues, some of which mirror Austen’s subject matter beautifully. Bernadette just loves the romance of falling in love and being married, and despite six failed marriages is up for a seventh if the opportunity presents itself.

Sylvia is devastated when Daniel (Jimmy Smits) unceremoniously calls time on their long-term marriage because all the sneaking around isn’t fair on his mistress. ON HIS MISTRESS. He wants to quit while they’re ahead and before they hate one another. Shame he’s such a toad then really. Slowly but surely however, Sylvia does what us women do best, she picks herself, dusts herself down and realises that all men are rubbish (sort of). But seriously, she does start to change for the better and it’s glorious. Will the couple work out their differences when Jimmy Smits inevitably realises his huge mistake? Hmm.

Beautiful accident prone lesbian Allegra meanwhile, definitely doesn’t need a man. She loves to fall in love. Quick fiery love that turns bad quickly before she moves on. She dumps a girl who steals one of her childhood secrets for a story (fair) then moves on to the doctor who treats her after she falls off a climbing wall. While Allegra enjoys these temporary romantic highs, Sylvia encourages her to work through her relationship issues instead of running at the first hurdle. But will she?

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“Excuse me miss, do you know where they keep Bitch Planet?”

Then there’s Jocelyn who puts all her time and affection into her dogs and claims never to have been in love with a human man (understandable). When she meets Grigg there’s an undeniable chemistry though she’s trying to palm him off on Sylvia and he’s confused. She won’t read the books he recommends but he’s fallen in love with Austen – and will you just bloody bone already?! Will our potential love birds finally sort. it. out – or will they pass one another by?

And finally, stuck up Prudie with the excellent hair. God what a pain in the arse. Prudie breaks into sporadic bursts of French in conversation and dreams of Paris. She’s a French teacher (naturellement) who’s never been to France and she has bit of thing for one of her students. While her husband is something of a bonehead, Prudie fantasises about a burning desire that will consume her. And when she’s not doing that, she’s judging others and being mean to her obviously mentally ill mother. Prudie is not likeable in the least but when she finally makes a decision about her marriage, I actually cried. Like, you did the right thing, girlfriend.

So there it is, our six romantic fuck-ups, each to host a club evening and each responsible for one of Austen’s books. Will their personal issues eclipse the beauty of Jane’s stories or bring them all together?

Well, what do you think?

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Reading is hot

My Thoughts

This is a lovely bit of fluff pretty much guaranteed to comfort you like a pair of old slippers, especially if you like the classics and Jane Austen herself. It makes me ashamed I’ve only read two of the six novels (Emma and P&P) but definitely makes me want to add them all to my Amazon wish list.

I think Blunt really stands out here as the not particularly pleasant Prudie, though I find it hard to accept she’s so close to giving up everything for that snotty oik Trey (Kevin Zegers). I get we fancy who we fancy but he’s so utterly dull I don’t get the attraction.

I’m also very much here for Bello and although I don’t resent her the romantic side story, I’d also have accepted her not bothering with a partner ever again. And I definitely wish Sylvia had told Jimmy Smits where to shove his sorry arse when he came crawling back but the message I know is that sometimes we work at relationships no matter how hard because we’re committed to them (à la Persuasion).

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Pretty much my dream scenario

I loved it.

My Rating

5/5. What would Jane do?

What does Wifey think about this one? Would she consider it a classic or dump it instead? Find out here.

Working Overtime

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I’m going to free flow this bad boy today because sometimes little truth nuggets pop out when you’re not thinking about them and that can be a freeing feeling. I’m very tired at the moment, doing lots of overtime at work to pay for things coming up later in the year. Birthdays, trips, visits. Life.

I’m also knackered because I’m feeling super anxious all the time, about everything. Last night it was because I’m reading Pet Semetary and before anything has even kicked off horror wise I’m fretting about death like I’m the little girl Ellie Creed in the story. She’s just learning about loss and death after visiting the Cemetary (PROPER SPELLING) and now she can’t get her head around the fact her cat might die one day and I feel you, girl. I feel you.

Death is something I think of often but it’s never really to do with my own mortality (lie, I’m terrified of ageing) but more about other people. Like, please don’t leave me alone in this cold, unforgiving world.

I know it’s irrational and it’s part of the reason I sought help last Summer, why I’m medicated and trying to learn to let go of the worries I can’t control. Losing my partner, family members or friends is my worst fear and I have to accept that I can’t do anything about it. Phew, this got deep quick, didn’t it?

Perhaps I should stay away from Stephen King for a little while.

In other news, I’m slowly saving money for our trip to Amsterdam in March. We’re going to do a graffiti tour and I can’t wait for that. March is Glynn’s birthday month so I feel as though this trip is a double celebration. I can’t wait to get on a barge and drift past the houseboat we’re going to live on when we’re old.

And before March, Lightle‘s coming to stay and that is the greatest! When your girl sends you a message saying all she needs it tea and movies, you know you picked a good one. So this is going to be an exciting year, I have Copenhagen in October, plus more coming and this girl better pull her socks up and stop shopping because money is a thing one needs to live, yo.

In creative news, I’ve started putting a plan for a novel together. There’s a theory that we all have at least one book in us and I’ve been doubting that for a while. Then I got a fit of inspiration and now I’m really planning it. It’s embryonic days obviously and I have the right to sit on my hands for a while while I work up the confidence to hammer it out but it’s there, at the surface. The splinter I’ve just started to work out from beneath the skin.It’s almost there. The story, which is likely to evolve into something altogether different, is going to be about friendship and that’s all I can reveal for now.

Things are good and bad, rough and smooth, heavenly and hellish – all at once. Life, in essence and who’d change anything about it?

How’re things with you?

Weekly Digest

This week I am digging:

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Search Party, Season Two

One of my favourite shows is back and I found out BY ACCIDENT! So I spend a whole weekend rinsing the second season and it was dark and funny – and a perfect reminder of how much I love the characters in the first place.

I’m going to give this show a post of its own so won’t go into too much detail but this season picks up right after the shocking events of the last, and sees our intrepid foursome dealing with some very hard truths in the cold light of day.

Love, love, love.

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The Mountain Between Us

I thought this film would be cheesy as all hell and it is. But there’s something kind of old school and wholesome about it – and I enjoyed the ride. The obvious thought here is who wouldn’t want to be stranded up a mountain with Idris Elba, even with a broken leg and certain death just round the corner? But I will not be that predictable.

Kate Winslet for the record is still a problematic fave. I like and respect her but I just can’t really get my head around the defending Woody Allen thing. Like, she’s allowed to have her own opinion but I’m surprised by it.

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Little Fires Everywhere

When artist Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl arrive in Shaker Heights, everything changes. Not least for the Richardson family who rent a duplex to the new arrivals. Mia promises Pearl that this time is different, that this time they won’t leave after six months for the next town that feels right – and Pearl starts to plant roots, starting with new best friend Moody.

Things are idyllic for a while but then something happens and the two families find themselves on opposing sides of an argument that threatens to split the perfect community in two. Secret pasts unravel, loyalties are tested and hearts are broken.

LFE is beautifully written by its author, Celeste Ng. The characters are vivid and wonderful. A good read for a cold Sunday afternoon, or anytime really.

What are you digging this week?

Such Small Hands (Book) Review

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It would be very hard for me to go in too deep on this book because it’s very hard to define. It’s stunning though; macabre, fascinating and eery as hell.

Marina is seven and has just become an orphan, after her parents are killed in a car accident. The same accident strips the skin from her ribs and leaves her body scarred for life. Her personal mantra has become “My father died instantly, my mother in the hospital” and she wheels it out whenever she’s asked to tell her story.

In the hospital, Marina is given a small spooky doll by the doctors and it becomes her constant companion, her confidante.

One day she arrives at the orphanage and creates a ripple amongst the little girls who already live there (less a ripple more a tidal wave, honestly). The girls’ obsession and their love for Marina while pure, isn’t always kind and they torture her daily with their teasing, their silence and their tricks. They steal her doll and deliver it back to her body part by body part, and bury what’s left in the ground.

But at night, everything is different. At night they play Marina’s game.

Based on a terrifying real-life event, Such Small Hands is a poetic horror story molded from the most beautiful prose I’ve read in a long time. It’s nightmarish and pretty at the same time, like some of the most appealing things in life and I couldn’t recommend it more. I hope it leaves you as breathless and creeped out as it did me.

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Book details:

Such Small Hands
Publisher: Portobello Books Ltd (3 Aug. 2017)
ISBN-10: 1846276438
ISBN-13: 978-1846276439
Gifted hardback (new)

What are you currently reading?

Kudos to Andrés Barba for his amazing author photo. Look at it! (above).

Mr. Roosevelt (Film) Review

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Noël Wells is a triple threat apparently. Cool AND talented in writing, directing and acting? Fine. It’s totally fine. Good for you, Noël.

I don’t know much about the film going in so I can’t really preempt it with anything insightful. All I know is that I’m expecting a sort of Tiny Furniture/Lena Dunham vibe – which could go either way.

*Spoilers*

IMDB Synopsis

After a loved one falls ill, struggling comedian Emily Martin returns to her college town of Austin, Texas and must come to terms with her past while staying with her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend.

My Review

Emily Martin (Wells) is a struggling comedienne living in LA. Things aren’t going great for her truth be told and they turn worse still when she receives distressing news from home.

Since Emily dumped her ex-boyfriend Eric (Nick Thune) for the bright lights of the big city via a telephone call, things are set to become super awkward on her return. Not least because she’s coming back to say goodbye to their shared cat Mr. Roosevelt, who has just coughed his last fur ball.

Eric still lives in their old house with his new (perfect) girlfriend, Celeste Jones (Britt Lower) – and in Emily’s absence, Celeste has taken on Cat Mom duties. This doesn’t rest easy with Emily but she has little choice under the circumstances. Things become even more uncomfortable when Celeste and Eric offer to take Emily in while she’s in town.

Nope. Nope nope nope.

During a group dinner, Emily suffers a minor melt down, brought on by insecurity about her career – and befriends waitress, Jen (Daniella Pineda), a girl she met once at a party. Jen proves to be a welcome distraction as Emily gets her head around several changes in her life, including losing her day job back in LA, the passing of Mr. Roosevelt, her relationship with Eric – and trying to deal with her growing resentment towards the perfectly together Celeste.

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Bewbs

They go to the beach and get their boobs out. Emily also hooks up with a hot but disheveled hipster. Meanwhile, she is dismayed to learn that Eric isn’t doing music anymore and changing quite a lot of who he is for his new relationship. During a party the two bond again over their shared love of performance.

Emily’s most popular YouTube video is also outed at the party and she gets all pissy thinking this is the only thing she will ever be known for (it’s a video of her in a bath tub full of spaghetti). Personally, who cares? But Emily does.

When Celeste steps on Emily’s toes more than once when it comes to celebrating Mr. Roosevelt’s life, things come to an angsty head.

The question is: Meh. Will the cat get the burial he deserves? Will Emily sort her fucking life out? Is Celeste a robot or does even she have her own insecurities/idiosyncrasies? Hmmmm.

FACT: I have a friend called Celeste Jones and she is way, way cooler that this Celeste Jones. I wish she’d been in this film.

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Emily absolutely SMASHED the Lena Dunham look-alike comp

My Thoughts

I found this super boring and I feel bad about it. I just didn’t care that much for Emily. She comes off as completely self-involved but without the charm of say, Shirin in Appropriate Behaviour (reviewed here).

The big difference is that AB was zingy and snappy in its dialogue, while this was a wishy washy offering that just sort of bumbles along.

Things I did like: It looks quite nice and the scene is which Celeste unravels slightly (*SPOILER*) to reveal she’s a normal human being is quite heart-warming. This film is as strong as its female relationships – and I would have liked much more of that.

Also, more cats.

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“Let’s bury this film in this urn forever.”

My Rating

2.5/5. Not for me. Weirdly.

What did Queen Jill think of this one? Would she throw a pretentious wake for it or bury it in the garden? Find out here.

Blue Monday

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Here it is, the single most depressing day of the entire year.

I mean there are reasons to kick against it, to say “Fuck this, not today, Satan” but when it’s violently windy outside and your umbrella gets blown inside out 0.2 seconds after stepping out of the door, it’s hard to be strong. Plus, I got my period and have the worst cramps ever in the whole history of menstruation, so I’m not feeling today AT ALL. (Of course I’m jesting, these are not problems in the grand scheme of things. But aren’t Mondays hard enough?).

This isn’t a big post really, just an acknowledgement I guess to anyone feeling extra shitty today. I feel you and I’m here for you.

I’ll spare you a Reasons to be Cheerful list because it’s likely you already know there are blessings to be had in this life, even if they’re just Oscar Issac’s face. Depression doesn’t see all that or work that way, I know. But sometimes it’s useful to receive the message that you’re not alone, that other people feel the way you do and they understand.

Be kind to yourself today and every day, but particularly today, while everybody’s chattering about how depressing it all is. Do what you can but if you can’t do anything, that’s fine. Stay home if you can, avoid people if you need to.

Rinse Netflix, read a book – whatever you need, try and make time for it.

I’m thinking of you.

Weekly Digest

This week I’m digging:

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Marcella

IMDB Synopsis

Marcella Backland left the Metropolitan Police for the sake of her family, only to have her husband leave her. She returns to her job on the murder squad, investigating a case that seems disturbingly familiar to her.

Fucking hell. This show is great, Anna Friel is brilliant and men are the worst, obviously.

There are a lot of characters to keep track of and therefore a lot of suspects but it’s a compelling British crime thriller that keeps you on the edge. Particularly Marcella herself who could be good, could be bad but regardless is still someone you’re totally on-board with at all times.

Recommend.

Moleskine® Film Journal

I was recently given this amazingly thoughtful gift by my friend, Damon for my birthday. (Picture above, not mine).

The film journal is part of the Passion Journal range that allows you to log information about your hobbies (there’s wine, gardening, books). I’d already decided that keeping a log of the films we watch for the podcast was what I wanted to do – you know, actually writing down the name of actors and directors could do wonders for content. So this came at the best time. Here you can record comments on the films, give them a rating out of 5 stars, etc. It’s very cool.

Thanks again, Damon!

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Podcasting Again

Speaking of the podcast, after a December hiatus James and I are back in the studio. If by studio, I mean James’ front room, on the sofa (which is what I definitely mean).

I’ve really missed having the structure of watching films to talk about and having the podcast as my main (with this blog) creative outlet. You sometimes don’t realise how much you love and need these things until you stop doing them, even temporarily.

So we’re back in the game, determined to tighten things up and be more organised. I’m going to be better about taking notes (see above) – and I can’t wait to get stuck in.

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The Women of the Golden Globes

Goddesses, the lot of them. And yes, I could say a lot more than that but what have I got worth adding? Let them speak for themselves.

What are you digging this week?