Thursday, March 18

London Photowalk: Science Museum

It had been far too cold on the previous walk, so we took the next one indoors and explored the Science Museum.

Here are a few photos from the day, my complete Flickr set can be found here. And as always the London Photowalk Events page also has photos.


Green & Purple

Plane and Automobiles


Wednesday, March 10

London Photowalks: Regent's Park

February was so cold but we still ventured out and took some snap. Here are a few of the better photos from the walk from Kings Cross to Regent's Park.

Portrait 2

This lady stopped and spoke to us about the park, she loves Regent's Park and encouraged us to come back to see the roses and flowers in bloom.

Library At Noon

British Library.


These are the steps leading to street level from St Pancras International. The station is amazingly modern and has all manner of shops inside. This must be one of the busiest parts of London.

Little Boxes

I love these houses and the buildings in the background too.

Monday, March 8

Film Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

I went into this film knowing nothing about the book it is based upon and with the incorrect assumption that I was going to be watching something akin to The Bourne series but with a double hard emo-chick who rides a motorcycle and has a cool tattoo. Instead I was treated to something quite different.

The girl with The Dragon Tattoo or Män som hatar kvinnor as it is called in it's native tongue is a thriller in which the titular 'girl' (Noomi Rapace) is seen but not heard for the majority of the movie and watches the genesis of the main plot from afar by hacking into investigative journalist's Mikael Blomkvist's (Michael Nyqvist) computer.

It's a plot device that allows for the introduction of a rather difficult and somewhat unlikable protagonist , who plays a passive role not only in the main story but in her life too. The girl's, Lisbeth's, money is controlled by her probation officer, who makes her relinquish more than control of her money to him also. It is not until she leverages control of both her own life and the probation officer by exacting an act of revenge upon him that she enters the life of Mikael and the story begins proper. By this time she and Mikael are two intriguing and full characters with a seemingly impossible task ahead of them: solve a 40 year old murder .

What follows feels a lot like a TV drama with Lisbeth and Mikael playing the part of the meddlesome, troubled but genius investigator pitting their selves against a cast of suspicious characters all with motive and opportunity and all with secrets too. As the two investigate their only lead an unbelievable relationship grows between the two of them which I can only assume is more believable in the book, but here it just seems like a concession to an adult audience who may otherwise grow tired of the Sunday matinée like fare.

An unlikeable lead, a plot that goes from the intriguing to the formulaic and a love affair that does not feel authentic didn't stop me from being utterly fascinated with the tale and beguiled by the setting: lush forests, snow covered fields an large open expanses filmed with reverence and love. The pace of the film and the performances are both fine, and the script is peppered with enough humour to both balance the darker themes and make up for the cheesy romantic interludes.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is on general release in the UK from the 12th of March.

Wednesday, March 3

Film Review: The Last Station

I went to see this film expecting to be confused by the philosophies and politics of Tolstoy, to be bewildered by references to a massive text, War and Peace, that I have never read and until today had no plan to read either.

What I got from this film instead was both surprising and welcome. The Last Station is not a story about the fight for the copyright of Count Leo Tolstoy's writing but instead it is a drama which deals with the themes of love, possession, betrayal and freedom.

Titles at the beginning of the film inform the ignorant (i.e. me) that Tolstoy was revered almost as a living legend and was regarded by some as a prophet. His philosophies about social justice, private possession and love are revered by many and as a whole these philosophies take on the moniker of Tolstoyism.

The main protagonist (James McAvoy) is a young Tolstoyan who is employed as secretary to Leo and in this position as privileged outsider witnesses Leo dismantle his own marriage, setting aside the wishes of his wife to pander to his sycophantic disciples.

The Countesses (Helen Mirren) attempts to manipulate, corner and hurt her husband seem to this viewer to be a cry for her husband's attention and for his love. Unfortunately her attempts become so desperate that it becomes far too easy for Leo's aide, played by a particularly snivelling Paul Gambaccini to poison the marriage further and convince Leo to first betray and then leave his wife.

At times the drama seems schizophrenic, with passionate fights being allayed by flirtation and loving couples turning their backs on each other within the course of a conversation. Yet the emotion and sentiment never seems insincere, and the overlal tone of the movie is uplifting and hopeful.

Ultimately of all the themes within this movie, the most important is love and it is successfully communicated that despite the tribulations all the characters go through, their main motivation is love. This achievement alone makes The Last Station a must see, add to this great performances from all the principles, beautiful scenery in the Russian country side and Tolstoy's old home, and competent direction from Michael Hoffman and the result is a movie that I can't recommend strongly enough.

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