Category Archives: Films

Date night

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Since Saturday is grandparents’ last day with us, hubby and I decided to go on a date.

It’s been ages since we had gone out just the two of us, for a film, dinner and chat.

We saw The Dark Knight Rises (it’s a good Batman film) first and then went for dinner. Normally is the other way around with us, but I didn’t want to watch Lawless (too violent and “based on a true story”), and the Batman film is too long for a 9pm session.

After the film we went to a place call Brown’s. I had a 21 day mature ribeye steak and Mr. C had one of their gourmet burgers.

It wasn’t too cold (18C) so we stayed outside, with a view to the canal and the high modern buildings of the West India Quay area. We used to go to the cinema there, back in the days… It was good to be back.

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Written on 25 October 2010 at 2pm

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Uhuu, we survived, again! Bring it on, long haul flights, that now we are experts! Ok, just kidding.

When should I start from?

Let me start with the criticism, because I’m good at it.

Although everybody has a mother, even the CEO of British Airways, being a mother is not a great thing when it comes to travelling. First of all, no more upgrades for you. Neither the free ones (when they overbook the flight and they have to upgrade some few lucky passengers), nor the paid at the spot ones (when you realise that you cannot have another sleepless night seating on an uncomfortable chair with a baby screaming on your lap and desperately try to pay for an upgrade at the check in). Mr. C was travelling business (because his work paid for it) and we were going premium economy. He got an upgrade to First Class! Honestly, it would have been cheaper for BA to upgrade Laura and I to business. But, no, children/babies aren’t welcome in business or first classes. They are noisy. They disturb a potentially quiet trip. If you pay that much to travel business/first, you want to travel in peace. And if there’s something that you don’t have when you have kids is peace. I tried to buy an upgrade from Rio to London and the guy said it was fully booked. In the plane, I saw that there were at least 4 empty seats in business class. So, although I’m not 100% sure about this mum-with-babies boycott, everything leads me to believe there is.

Nevermind. The lady at the gate even said that they could try to put Mr. C next to me, in premium economy, but c’ommon, he (the company) paid for business class and will fly premium economy?? Without even getting the money back?! Plus, it’s not everyday that you have the opportunity to fly first class. First class tickets are twice the price of business class (not sure why, because I don’t believe it’s twice as better), so let’s (him) take advantage of it.

It was brilliant to have him on the same flight, it helped a lot and the trip was way easier than the trip to Rio, BUT, dear reader, if you have the option to travel with your hubbie, please arrange to go NEXT to him. Mari read on a blgog somewhere that if you are willing to pay a business class ticket to travel with your baby, it’s best to buy 2 seats in economy. I couldn’t agree more. The cot takes the space of two seats and if you are travelling alone, the airline will put you either on the window seat or in the middle. So, leaving your seat becomes a nightmare when you have someone big next to you (my case in both trips). Especially because generally whoever is next to you won’t be very happy to stand up so you can leave the seat. You will have to jump him/her (in my case, the three ways were men – very nice people I must say – next to me). I have a couple of purple bruises on my leg from bumping into the cot support.

Now the positive notes:

* I managed to watch 3 films (Mr. C watched 4, so you can see I did well): Clash of the Titans, The A Team and Date Night. I’m probably getting less critical about films, because I enjoyed the three of them. As long as it’s not a 3 hour film, I’m having fun. I guess it’s because it’s rare to be able to watch any film nowadays. Mr. C said Clash of Titans was very boring, full of cliches, etc. He is probably right, but I liked it nonetheless. I didn’t have to think during the film, if I missed something it was ok because who’s paying attention to the plot (what plot?) anyway, and I love mythology (fine, very superficial in this film). I got confused seeing Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes in the same film – I always thought that they were the same person. I watched the A Team because it was only 100-something minutes long I used to watch the TV series back in the 80’s. Mind you, apart from BA, I can’t remember a thing about the series. It was fun and time went really quick watching it. And guess what? Liam Neeson was in this film too. Or was it the other guy? Date Night was a very easy-watching comedy that made me giggle a few times and forget that I was without sleep for many many hours. Also made me scared a little bit. It’s so easy to become your husband’s best friend and only that if you’re not careful. But the film is not that good to make you question your married life or work as a wake-up call to all married couples that are too comfortable in the relationship. Especially because the film is not about that.

* I went to the loo in the first class cabin and – oooh – it’s so much nicer than the one in the poor (economy) area. Still small though.

* Laura managed to sleep a bit and was more well behaved than in the previous trip. We tried the sleepping mask and it worked (once)!! She cried a bit and was uncomfortable and (now this is me saying that, no scientific information here) claustrophobic. But I think this is normal and – probably because I knew Mr. C was there – I was more patient this time and could handle well her crying crisis.

* I took our pram this time – the base with the car seat, although I really thought about not taking it. Friend Flavinha was recently in Miami and told me that pushchairs were really cheap in the US and we could hire cars with baby car seat in it. But in our case, it was a good call to take ours, because: we had a car picking us up in LA to take us to Newport Beach and the driver didn’t know we had a baby with us, therefor he didn’t have a car seat. Newport Beach – at least were we are – doesn’t have cheap stores, just the nice boutiques, so no cheap pushchair for us. And finally, we are only renting a car for the weekends and for our last week here, when Mr. C will be on holidays. At the moment it’s just me, myself and Laura and I don’t feel like renting a car to drive around. I’m too scared. BUT it doesn’t mean that Flavinha’s suggestions aren’t good – I think they would be perfect if we were going to LA and had our car from day 1.

Not sure how the item above can be considered a positive note, but well. Now, a but of random notes:

Mr. C is not really convinced about the US being a great place for shopping – probably because the dollar is not low against the pound and because his two US experiences are NY and Newport Beach. Not the cheapest places in the US, I have to say. In his defense, I’m not sure how much cheaper things in Wal-Mart here are compared to ASDA (same store in the UK), and Toys R Us here and in the UK. I know that Apple Store prices are pretty much the same in the UK and US now. My shopping list is not so big. I just wanted to look if I could find jeans that fit me and maybe baby stuff. And boots are always welcome, if I like them. Other than that, all my items are huge – book shelves, tables… so this won’t be a shopping trip.

We arrived on a Sunday, totally jet lagged. We are 8 hours behind the UK and poor Laura was very lost with her schedule. We all went to bed at 7h30 pm but she woke up several times to feed (*) and by 4am she was wide awake. By 4.30am we were all planning our day, having shower, etc. I have to wake her up now, because she’s been sleeping for more than an hour. I guess she is thinking that it’s really 11pm, although it’s almost 3pm. Poor thing.

(*) The air in the room was quite dry, so I think she was more thirsty than hungry.

Last thing before I end this post: NEVER go on two long haul trips with your baby without at LEAST a 6 months gap in between them. In 18 years time I’ll know if it damaged Laura, but in short term it messed her sleeping routine completely and deep inside I don’t think that’s very healthy. And remember: baby’s sleeping problems = your sleeping problem.

Sleep or watch films?

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I know that the answer should have been sleep. But guess what? I had insomnia in the plane. And between you and me, I was eager to watch some films.

On the way there I tried to watch The Last Airbender (work related interest), but after trying for 4 times, I gave up. At the end of the trip, when Laura was sleeping, I managed to watch Iron Man 2 – with about 2 or 3 breaks to shoosh her or feed her. I love superhero films, so of course I liked it. And I like Robert Downey Jr. But as with Iron Man 1, I thought that the action took too long to start, making the film longer than needed. OK, this is coming from a person that 5 minutes are vital. Mickey Rourke is a very weird character, eh?

On the way back, I watched, uhuuuu, THREE films. The criteria to choose the films was:

1) Length. I picked up the shortest ones. Time is money precious, and I wasn’t hoping to see that many films, but I wanted to see at least one in full.

2) Simple story. I couldn’t focus 100% on the film, so I needed something easy to understand in case I blinked or missed 5 minutes during the shoosh-shoosh.

3) New film. I wanted to feel like I was up to date with the world.

So the three films I watched were: The Prince of Persia, Toy Story 3 and Shrek 3 (or 4?). All cool films (I hope I’m not becoming too light on my taste). Prince of Persia was a bit too dark and hard to focus 100%, but the story is quite simple so I didn’t miss too much. I wasn’t too impressed by the special effects though. And I thought it was weird to hear Jake Gyllenghaal speaking British English. But overall I liked the film.

I heard a lot about Toy Story 3 and I was expecting to cry a lot. I didn’t, maybe because I was never too attached to my toys (I don’t even remember having a favourite one). But it’s a great film, kept me entertained for an hour and a bit, and I loved the bits with Ken and Barbie. hehe

Shrek was a bit disappointing. I guess there wasn’t much to say and they keep making up excuses to make a sequel. It was alright to watch it, but nothing spetacular in my opinion, especially after Toy Story.

I’m looking forward to the trip to California so I can watch a few more films. hehe

Forget Avatar – Alice in Wonderland is the film!

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This afternoon we watched Alice in Wonderland. I had high expectations and it was one of the few times that the film actually matched my expectations.

I simply loved it! It’s beautiful – visually and emotionally. I haven’t read the book (although I have the Bible-sized book back home in Brazil), but know the story from other sources (print cartoons, Disney animated films, etc) – it’s one of those that you just know the story (like Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Cinderella,…). It’s one of my favourite classic ‘fairytales’ so I expected to like the story.

What has really impressed me though was the beautiful images, just like a fantastic dream. I loved it! We saw the 3D version – I wonder if the 2D is as good as. By the posters images, I think it is.

Mr. C says I loved the film so much because of Johnny Depp (Mad Hatter). In my defence* I have to say I was more impressed by Helena Bonham Carter’s character (Red Queen) than by his, although he is great. The only problem with Johnny Depp is that I feel like all his characters have a connection – especially the recent ones: English accent, tone of voice, weirdness, facial expressions.

I’m also a big fan of Tim Burton and Danny Elfman (soundtrack), so it would be hard for me not to like this film.

Baby C’s veredict: Mom, when I’m born, can I visit Wonderland? Can we have Cheshire Cat as a pet? Please, please, please?

* I didn’t like Sweeney Todd – actually pretty boring.

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Movie time

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It’s been ages since we last went to the cinema and now that we are cancelling our cards we want to catch up with everything on now.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – I knew nothing about it, except that it was based in a book. Actually a series of books – three I heard – from a dead Swedish author. Interesting. I like Scandinavian films. But this one was more like… Dan Brown-Twilling Saga-Agatha Christie sort of film – it was obvious we were watching a film based on a pop best seller. Nothing against really – they’ve done a better job than with both Dan Brown’s movies (not too hard, I supposed). I’m not very good in telling stories, but if you haven’t seen the film, it’s about a girl with a dragon tattoo – and of course, if you are a girl and you have a dragon tattooed at your back, you are also a bit gothic and problematic, but then as with all problematic girls, you have a reason to be – in her case, abusive violent men. So the girl… helps this journalist-detective guy to solve a 40 year old mystery: who the heck killed Mr. Super Swedish Old Guy’s favourite niece?? He is convinced that the killer is someone from his greedy family but the police couldn’t find anything. So the journalist-detective accepts the task – and he has 6 months to do it – and just sit down and pay attention. If you try, you can predict the film. I honestly don’t mind predictable films anymore – aren’t they all predictable and full of cliches? Instead, I just sit, relax and let myself go with an empty mind. Things that came through my mind once the film was over: 1) where are all the gorgeaous Swedish people? These actors are so… normal. Swedish are supposed to be all tall, blond and model-like. 2) Swedish is so similar to English… maybe I should it give it a go! 3) Nice country, I wonder if Mr. C will ever take me there.

Baby C’s veredict: I’m squeezed in this dark and wet womb and do you expect me to enjoy 3 hours of weird language and loud noises? You better try harder.

Shutter Island – me likes it! Ok, I like creepy stories, especially those that have an explanation behind all the creepiness. Ok, the film is predictable (please see above). Ok, I was almost sleeping when we go in the screening room – but the film kept me awake all the way to the end. Leonardo di Caprio was never one of my favourite actors (blame Titanic), but I changed my mind with this film – he is good (I knew that from past films, but never wanted to admit it), Mark Ruffalo is one of those familiar faces that I can’t never place on a film I saw but now I can; same for (Sir) Ben Kingsley and Max von Sydow. Anyway, two Federal Marshals are assigned to search for a dangerous patient that scaped from the mental institution in Shuttle Island. The film is full of crazy people and I don’t think I can tell anymore without giving away too much. It was easy to predict, even though I didn’t even try, which leads me to think that either the film is all about the characters, location, actors, etc, or that I got everything wrong. 

Baby C’s veredict: Bloody hell, a couple of jumps and scares and I sleep no more. Do I have to remind you of my ‘prisoner’ condition? I’m stuck in the tummy – I can’t just leave if I’m scared or annoyed. Thanks for the friendly and safe hands, mom & dad, it’s helped a little, but mom: don’t complain if you can’t sleep at night because someone is kicking your ribs.

Jonathan Woss annoys me

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Actually, nothing against, sometimes I watch his show and have good laughs, but I think I laugh more just hearing him talking “normally”. We are watching this show about upcoming films, where he goes through the new films out now on the big screen and although the topic really interests me, I can’t stop laughing at him!

The funniest so far was about Valentine’s Day: the film is a “celebwation of womance”. I can’t even focus on the content of his speech anymore. It’s all about catching the words with “r” and ‘wepeating’ them.

This ‘weminds’ me that Mr. C and I have to pay a visit to the theatres ‘pweety’ soon.

(*) For those outside the UK, Jonathan Ross is some sort of David Letterman in the US or Jo Soares in Brazil.

Film overdose

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On the last 3 days we’ve seen:

* Choke – with Sam Rockwell and Anjelica Huston. I though the trailer was funny and it seemed like an interesting story. We missed the film at the cinemas,  so I bought the film on a promotion at HMV a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t expecting anything amazing, but I have to confess that the film was below my expectations. The feeling I had is that it could be a good film but it’s just too long and slooooooooooooooooow, veeeeeeeeeeery sloooooooooooooow. Some few good jokes, but the gaps between laughter are too long and give space for boredom. Don’t watch it if you are tired. A slow film that I really liked was Moon, also with Sam Rockwell.

* Watchmen. Another film I missed from the cinemas, so had to watch on a tiny screen. I love superheroes films. Even the bad ones. So don’t expect me to say the film isn’t good, because I liked it. Again, I thought it was too long and a bit slow in the beginning. It took me a while to understand what it was all about. Plus it was hard to understand some of the dialogues, especially the ones with Rorschach, one of the characters. On top of that, I wasn’t familiar with the plot and I think it helps if you are. Having said that, once I got into the story, I was with it until the end. Also, the soundtrack is amazing!

* Inglorious Basterds. The good thing about not expecting a good film is that you might get a good surprise. It’s even better when you expect a bad film. So I was expecting not to like Inglorious Basterds, Tarantino’s film about Jewish soldiers getting back on the Nazi. It might sound bizarre, but the film cheered up a bit the room with it silly jokes and Col. Hans Landa was by far my favourite character. Not sure about Brad Pitt’s role – I’m not a fan, don’t even think he is a good actor, so didn’t really sympathise with his character. The violent scenes weren’t too bad – you can always expect some disgusting violent scenes from Tarantino’s movies, but I thought they were mild here (I hope it’s not me getting all messed up, feeling disgusted by the wrong things). The film didn’t feel too long either which is a plus.

* Bruno. Geez, we saw about 10 minutes of the film then gave up. Will try again later.
 
* Avatar. We saw James Cameron’s new film at Vue cinema this afternoon. Pro’s: it’s a film for the big screen. 3D was definitely a good choice as well. We got free tickets. Con’s: The film is 2h41 long. Quite long. All the cliches are there. Ok, enough. I liked the film. It’s visually beautiful. The images of Pandora – the world where the blue creatures live in – are just breath taking. For me, that’s all the film is about. The plot is, errrr, for kids. I mean, great way to teach the children that we should look after our world, love it, respect it, enjoy it. If you are a good son, mother-Nature will look after you. I could do without all the military bullshit scenes. Some of them are important to the story, but it could reduce the film in say… 20-30 minutes? Time is precious. Also, as you can expect, the story is very predictable and you know exactly what’s going to happen next. Never mind, did I say that the film is beautiful? Think of the Cirque du Soleil/Momix productions, with a hint of Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto (maybe it’s just m seeing this remote similarity), with shit loads of money behind it to make it bigger and better. Oh, and of course, don’t forget the super modern technology used by Cameron – and apparently the cause of the 10 year delay to the film release. It is totally worth the ticket, the time, and even the money of the popcorn and soft drink (or if you are smart like us you will have a great lunch just before the film).
 
*Jaws. While I’m writing this post, I’m also watching Jaws (not sure if it is the original or one of the sequels, I’m just sneak peeking to see the scenes with the shark). Old film, but still scary. How many people can a shark eat in few hours? It’s probably the smartest and hungriest shark in history, but there you go, weird scripts are all part of the fun.
 
* Coming soon: I saw the trailer of Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones and I’m really keen to see it. I miss spooky films. 🙂