This week, I've been mostly weaning myself off Sherlock by watching Stargazing Live.
Did you know that pretty much all the stars and everything you see in the night sky are part of the Milky Way? I didn't because I'd never really thought about it before (and now I feel like an idiot). But when you consider it:
Other galaxies are really far away. So far away that you can only see one other galaxy from the northern hemisphere, and it looks about the size of any other star in the sky. So of course the only stars that are close enough for us to see properly are the ones in the Milky Way.
Blew my mind.
In non-serious news, my Dad and I were doing impressions of Prof Brian Cox the other day. Here's my Dad's:
If I take these tic tacs and throw them on the floor, there's more stars in the sky than that. And that's amazing.
Tell it like it is, Brian. Tell it like it is.
The best bit about Stargazing Live though is that it is live, so Brian gets to rant about why no-one should believe in ridiculous conspiracy theories and superstitious nonsense, and nobody can do anything to stop him :D
For example: this gif.
How refreshing to see some sense on prime time TV. Brainy really is the new sexy.
For some reason, I always imagined that Bright Star wouldn’t be very good. Glad to hear I’m wrong. I’ll have to try to catch it at some point. (And, well, anything with plenty of regency costumes is worth a watch.)
Gosh, I haven’t read The Hobbit in ages. For the past year or so, I’ve been struggling along, pretending I remember what happens in the book, trying to sound cool, and failing completely. I’m clearly due a re-read. And I call myself a Tolkien fan! (I definitely know there were dwarves in it at some point. And some elves and a barrel and maybe a man in a house?)
All I know is that I think it was based on a children’s book. So that may account for the lack of depth?
Well, I wasn’t expecting all that much — it is called “War Horse,” after all. I figured I would go and listen to the accents and admire everyone’s excellent facial architecture, and then cry about the horse and hate myself and go home and eat cookies, and that would be that. AND THEN MY HEAD WAS ON FIRE.
The only reason I know anything at all about WWI is that I had a huge & life-threatening crush on Siegfried Sassoon and Rupert Brooke when I was about 19. Haha, I am very shallow! For me, WWI was an elaborate mechanism used to coax sad poetry out of hot dead guys! But, seriously — I think that probably the best representation of WWI in fiction is Tolkien’s, in The Hobbit; the book ends with a lot of serious adult people, who really ought to know better, playing a fatal game of King of the Mountain. Yes, that’s about right! I suppose you would know, sir!
But the hairstyles were magnificent, so there is that.
I’m sure it was a great comfort to them.
Bright Star is very depressing! I ran at it about three times before I finally got through it, if I remember correctly. But it is very well-done, humane, and ultimately quite understated for the time and the topic, so if you ever get a chance to watch it I say go for it.
I grew up watching Branagh’s adaptations, and I still have fond/creeeeepy memories of the end of Ian McKellen’s Richard III, so I am excited too! Lots of exclamation points!!!! Forever!!!!!!!
Sorry about the spam filter! I don’t think you’re spam. Honest!
And also that Spielberg appears to have conflated English scenery of world-famous beauty with this painting he saw in a hotel one time.
Man, that film sounds kinda awful. (To be fair, the play may be just the same. I have no idea. All I know is that I think it was based on a children’s book. So that may account for the lack of depth?)
I am really terrible at catching films when they come out. But if I do see War Horse at some point, I’ll give it a review. Not that I know anything about the First World War myself (military history is not one of my strong points because I tend to fall asleep as soon as I start learning about it). Mostly, all I know is that lots of people died, for pretty much no reason, and that’s very very sad. In fact, that goes for the flu afterwards too. Oh, and that other war: First World War - the Sequel. In fact, the whole first half of the 20th century was pretty much awful for a staggering amount of people. (But the hairstyles were magnificent, so there is that.)
I remember hearing about Bright Star when it came out. I haven’t seen it though (see my above comment about being terrible at watching films). But I always approve of fairies.
Richard II is being made by the BBC along with some more of Shakespeare’s history plays. It’s one of these ‘Ohmygosh, it’s the Olympics, let’s throw money at stuff’ things. I’m not sure I’ve seen any Shakespeare on the TV for ages (or even, ever), and I’ve not seen any of the history plays, so I’m pretty excited about this.
(Turns out it was the V-word.)
That’s the whole thing, by the way. I found out about the V-word by posting it in halves.
OR, ALL RIGHT, WE’LL TRY HALFSIES. ASS END FIRST:
E-mails are the best! Most of the time the only e-mails I get are from students, charities/petition organizations, and those charming people who want to make sure I never run out of V!4gr4.
Yeah, there were parts of War Horse that I had a disproportionately aggrieved reaction to. Like, Benedict Cumberbatch’s character in its entirety. The film seemed to portray the British military — and I know you will laugh and laugh at this — as noble, innocent men who didn’t know quite what the fuck was going on. When, in fact, by the time WWI was fought the British military had done a pretty bang-up job of taking over the entire planet, and were, in fact, sitting atop an empire the like of which has never been seen, before or since, and that was, in fact, a large part of the problem. That the British military, in fact, was owned and run by people who rode at the head of companies of working- and lower-class men who had been asked to give their lives in battle, for England, but who were not permitted to vote. And I’m in it for the horses, am I? Nice. It gave me the shivers. At one point Cumberbatch gives this revolting speech about the king, and bravery, and all kinds of repellent things like that, and I was like, “Ahaha, I hope someone shoots him in the head, but then it takes him a real long time to die! That would be just, and humorous.” So, that. And also that Spielberg appears to have conflated English scenery of world-famous beauty with this painting he saw in a hotel one time. And also that the end of the film is an attenuated visual homage to, really, I am not making it up, Gone With the Wind, because I know I certainly can’t think of a movie that more accurately captures the centuries-old nobility of the English fighting spirit. Also the horse wasn’t a horse. He was a half-assed metaphor for all that working-class cannon fodder, who after all these years still aren’t allowed to speak for themselves.
It just felt… I don’t know, weirdly disrespectful? Like Spielberg was treating the dire, fatal history of one of the most important epochs of human history like it was a Harry Potter novel, or a Lord of the Rings spin-off, or something. Yuck.
Speaking of which: Those puppets are pretty danged fantastic, all right! Freakishly so. I can’t imagine how War Horse would look told by someone who had even a vague idea what the hell s/he was talking about. Sadness. Maybe someone will film the play eventually?
Ben Whishaw was Keats, in Bright Star, and the annoying protagonist whose name I can’t remember in Perfume: The Story of an Hilariously Bad Ending, so that’s where I know him from. He is also very fairy-looking! So many fairies, only two eyes.
Maybe that’s how they make them too; they never plan to make a new Bond film, but they find themselves making one anyway before they even know it.
Well that certainly looks as if it’s the working model, from what I’ve seen. GONG.
Richard II! I don’t even know what one that is. I might’ve escaped reading it, somehow. Probably I should get on that.
Sorry about the glut of Sherlock posts.
Nono, don’t be sorry! They’re not impenetrable at all. They are great, wtf. I’m just afraid I’m going to look at him in Sherlock, and I’m going to hear “BE BWAVE! BE BWAAAAVE!” playing in my mind, and then it will be curtains for me. But definitely I will watch it eventually/soon! I am downloading it right now, don’t tell anybody.
Also I will one day expect a War Horse review from you! Because I saw an icky, poorly-made Disney movie standing in for some big great statement on the horrors of war, but then I don’t really have any more of an idea what I’m talking about than Spielberg does, so. It’s all you! (No pressure.)
Ohno, your spam filter keeps denying my reply! I will post it someplace else and then put up a link, brb.
Hi! I’ve been meaning to write you an email for forever. I should actually get around to that at some point.
I still haven’t seen War Horse. Although, going by what you say, maybe it’s best that I haven’t! I think, given a choice, I’d rather see the stage show than the film. (I’ve not seen the stage show either; all I know is that the puppets look amazing.)
I don’t think I know who Ben Whishaw is. Although Wikipedia tells me he’s going to be in Richard II when that’s on TV later this year, so I’ll have to check it out. Watching James Bond is never something that I plan to do, it just happens of its own accord. Maybe that’s how they make them too; they never plan to make a new Bond film, but they find themselves making one anyway before they even know it.
Sorry about the glut of Sherlock posts. I do realise my blog has been quite impenetrable recently. Do watch the new series if you get a chance though! It’s just as much fun as the first series. (I might even go as far as to say that it’s more fun than the first series, because none of the episodes seem to suffer from Blind Banker syndrome this time around.) And I’d love to know what you think of it when you do watch it. I always enjoy your reviews :D
Well balls. It looks like I have allowed many of your posts to elapse again, without comment. Dang!
But it seems as though many of them are Sherlock-related, and I have not yet watched the second season. I am waiting for the bitter memory of B.Cumb’s dreadful War Horse character to fade before I attempt it, or I will hate it reflexively out of spite. (I find the success of War Horse in the UK kind of baffling, because if ya’ll were Southern black folks that shit would involve Uncle Remus, if you know what I mean and I think you do. Also: Double digit IQ/knowledge of the actual events of WWI = major liability as a viewer. Also it looks like an oversold ad for a new kind of Photoshop that can be used on moving film.)
Anyway: I LIKE COX!!!!!!
Brainy is the always sexy. Did you know Ben Whishaw is going to be Q, or W, or X, or C, or something, in the new James Bond movie? That means there will be, for the very first time, a reason to watch a James Bond movie! Hooray!
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