Thursday, June 30

Nandita Das in Conversation Click for more info

An impromptu invitation brought some friends and me to the Cine Lumiere in Kensington for an evening with the illustrious Nandita Das.

Das spoke about her life as an actor, director and producer, as well as as a mother and Indian. It was a pleasure just hearing her speak, with her calm and concise demeanour making it easy to scratch well beneath the surface.

What was less impressive, as always, was the Q&A afterwards, with the majority of contributors choosing to hear their own voice rather than that of the guest. Some things never change.

I was pleasantly surprised by the wisdom and wit offered by the "Bollywood star", and it was a throwback to the the talks we used to attend back in my 20s - honest, clever and extremely valuable.

Wednesday, June 22

Film: Jurassic World Dominion Click for more info

How exactly does one screw up a Jurassic Park movie? Well my friends, ponder no more as the answer has now been given to us. JWD was pretty trash.

The reasons are various. No scale, no dinosaurs, no bad guy (well, none that were threatening anyway). The stakes were low, the dinosaurs (and their action) scarce, and well... it just lacked any kind of the magic you'd have expected. It's almost like it was handed to an intern to produce.

Anyway, I'm not going to spend any more time on this review. Skip.

Wednesday, June 15

Film: Top Gun: Maverick

Although I enjoyed Top Gun: Maverick, it didn't manage to reach the dizzy heights that it promised it would. In many ways it was Top Gun: The Movie, the film the original would have been given the technology (and budget) of a 2022 blockbuster.

Top Cruise was Tom Cruise, although matching him with Jennifer Connelly did produce a level of cheesy chemistry not see since... well the 80s. Where it failed me was with the excess of dead air, and predictable hero placement. The final act more than made up for the flaws though.

So no the best film, but certainly good enough.

Thursday, June 9

Edmonton 2022

Aaaaaah. I'll offer you a peek behind the curtain now, just to make the point: I write this predated post a week after returning from our trip to Canada and am still thinking and smiling about this trip. For sure, our trips to Edmonton have always been fun and memorable... but this trip was something else.

Was it that there was family there? Or that we went to attend a wedding? Well of course both those things and I've always said that my best travel memories have involved local family or nuptials. But we were here for a wedding back in 2009 too. What else was different?

Well I'm older for one, as is my family, and in particular my cousins. With age comes maturity, character and a general sense of ease - many a honest conversation and edgier laughs were had this trip. Further, this was the first time just the three of us (comprising of my parents and me) had travelled here, and although that alone makes logistics simpler, it would be churlish of me to deny that I didn't enjoy the special attention I received.

Winnipeg was also new, and as a destination wedding within a destination wedding the usual welcoming party and being looked after vibes were found everywhere. We partied, we sightsee'd (sightsaw?), we chilled and had one on ones. Those four days alone were pretty special.

Back in Edmonton I enjoyed BBQs, boardgame cafes, card games over dessert, arcades and even escape rooms. But fun times were also had domestically too, from watching the Champion's League Final with an expat friend from London to bonding with a cousin via the magic of the latest Harry Potter movie (it sucked). But what was possibly the highlight of my trip was a lazy Sunday "brunch" that lasted 14 hours or so. The gupshupping had there was something else. Thankfully there were no trips to Jasper or Banff.

When we first booked this trip I was certain three weeks would be too much, and in total cliched fashion in many ways it wasn't enough. I'm definitely going to make that effort to visit more often (this was a COVID postponed trip from 2020, which would have been four years since the last instead of six), particularly as I feel I now have new familial connections to lean on. Heck I'd even say that after this trip Edmonton may have gone up a few places on my list of places to go once they kick us out of the UK... although I am yet to experience the winters there so maybe I'm getting ahead of myself.