Cottage Road, which means a proper old cinema with a competent projectionist and good sound, ushers who actually ush, and an interval at which they sell ice-cream. All a big help in a 3+ hours film on Christmas Eve. I went to The Hobbit with low expectations and was delighted to have them surpassed. Much as I love The Lord of the Rings, I'm rather less of a Hobbit fan, having failed to get through it several times before reading LotR itself. So no tra-lalling elves, the addition of material from The Quest of Erebor, and Thranduil apparently riding a Giant Irish Elk were all pluses for me and provided a very entertaining afternoon. As a film, it lacks both the grandeur and emotional depth of the Rings films, but as an adaptation of a children's adventure story, it's a lot of fun.
I loved the opening depiction of the Kingdom Under the Mountain. I really hope that the fact Thror had one of the dwarven rings and may have been influenced by it is eventually mentioned, not least so that my willpower in managing not to hiss "He has a ring!" to my sisters is rewarded. I'm a bit puzzled as to how the Witch-King of Angmar's sword could have been buried with him when he died, as he didn't die.
I wonder whether the Beard Liberation Front has said anything about the positive depiction of beards in the film?
Midnight in Paris
I missed this one at the pictures, and have been waiting for it on LoveFilm for ages, so was delighted that my father had bought the DVD. It was worth the wait. A Hollywood scriptwriter and would-be novelist, on holiday in Paris with his fiance and her Awful Parents, discovers that if he stands on a certain street corner at midnight, a magical car transports him back to the 1920s, and the company of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and others. It's lighthearted fun, beautifully done, and psychopomp!Hemingway is fantastic: "And when the man who is brave and true looks death squarely in the face, like some rhino hunters I know". We have a new family catchphrase.
A Swedish detective film, essentially 'Wallander in the North', a concept helped by the detective's being played by Rolf Lassgård (Swedish Wallander 1) and liking opera. A woman goes missing, believed murdered, during a hunting expedition in northern Sweden, and a Stockholm police officer is sent to the area to help. He goes reluctantly: he grew up there, and 16 years ago conducted a murder investigation that lead to his brother's suicide (the film Jägarna, which I shall be putting on my LoveFilm list). It's not quite as cinematic as it might be, considering the setting and the landscape, like a lot of films was 10 minutes too long, and like a lot of mysteries is convincing at the time, but afterwards one thinks "But surely he would have X,Y,Z," but it was very enjoyable, introduced me to Jussi Bjoerling singing Tonera, and has some interesting explorations of how communities can enable bad people to behave badly/when should one intervene.
2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony
My father's Christmas present, still incredibly good on second viewing, not least because you can fast forward the athletes' entrance to the stadium. I love the Industrial Revolution sequence in particular.