Avatar IMAX 3D (2009)

I had thought that a running time of 162 minutes would prove to be too much, but James Cameron’s new film is awesome and spellbinding from the first to last moment.

The story line is an uncomplicated allegory, but its simplicity is more than made up for in the incredible visual detail and chest-thumping soundtrack which draw the audience into a quality and richness of experience which is delightful, exciting, at times moving, and stunning throughout.

Who could reasonably ask for more in a movie? A 10/10 rating from me.

Blithe Spirit, Manchester Royal Exchange

It’s a play about contacting those who have ‘passed over’, but this production manages to suck all the life out of Coward’s farce and spit out a lifeless corpse. At the Royal Exchange I have sometimes felt detached when watching from seats high up in the auditorium, but even after we moved to the stalls at the interval I literally nodded off despite being a few metres from the action.

I say action, but actor Milo Twomey as Mr Condomine chooses to deliver his lines like a sergeant major – arms by his sides and rooted to the spot most of the time. On the other hand, the maid’s part was over-acted to the point of annoyance. Annette Badland as eccentric medium Madame Arcati shows how it should be done, although her diction was a little indistinct towards the end – a fault which fellow Coronation Street actor Suranne Jones displayed from time to time as Mrs Condomine.

One turkey to avoid this Christmas.

Chief Medical Officer’s confused thinking

Sir Liam Donaldson, the chief medical officer for England who is stepping down in May 2010, has issued a self-contradictory message on children and alcohol.

Parents who allow their children alcohol at home may be increasing the chances of future drinking problems, he claims. Sir Liam described the idea of a glass of watered-down wine for a child as a “middle-class obsession”, whilst also declaring as scientific fact the idea that “a lack of parental supervision, exposing children to drink-fuelled events and failing to engage with them as they grow up are the root causes from which our country’s serious alcohol problem has developed.”

Well, which is it? Continue reading

Automatic for the people

Somebody recently asked me why I drive an automatic car. It’s a strange question, to me. A bit like asking why I have a colour TV.

The roads would be safer if all vehicles were automatic, of course. No risk of stalling half way out of a junction. No need to take one hand off the steering wheel all the time. More attention available to deal with hazards and to control the speed and direction of the vehicle.
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