On Saturday it was the concert. It did feel like we'd spent so much time rehearsing Sea Drift that Sea Symphony barely got a look in, which was also exacerbated by most people in the choir having already sung it once or twice before. Not so good for us young 'uns who've never seen it before. I think there was one bit during rehearsal on Saturday I'd never actually seen before in my life; thankfully, Vaughan Williams is fairly easy to sight-read, and there are several repeated themes within the piece...
The concert itself seemed to go okay. Only bad thing was that Paul couldn't attend because our bedroom ceiling was leaking. Presumably the leak from last year (which is now fixed) found a new way through. He didn't want to leave it because it was right next to the smoke detector (or possibly even coming through the smoke detector), which is hard-wired. He phoned the landlord but obviously, nothing has yet been done about it...
That wouldn't have been so annoying if I hadn't traipsed all the way to Symphony Hall on Friday to get him a ticket, and it was £21 we could have saved. Bah.
On Sunday I met up with Vicky (from Uni) because she was in Birmingham and wanted to give me my Christmas present. Paul came with me so we could go to the cinema afterwards, thus I spent almost the entire time we were out paranoid that the flat would catch fire (from a potential spark from the smoke detector - how's that for irony?) or the roof cave in.
Vicky and I had a bit of a natter in the Squeg (I needed breakfast) before she and her mum and nan went off to the German Market, and Paul and I made our way slowly to the cinema. We played on the ItBox in the Squeg first, then went into Cyber Candy to check it out (bought some terrifyingly sugary Jolly Ranchers, a rather disappointing fake Kinder Egg, and some strawberry Pocky! They sell American cereals, too, like Count Chockula and Froot Loops, but they're like £6.70 a box...) Then we had some food in the Windsor, and made our way up to the cinema.
Very little actually showing at any reasonable time, obviously. 9 appears to have finished (great...), and everything else was on at stupid times. The Fourth Kind was only on at 11.30pm (er, okay) and I don't think Saw VI was on the list, so the only remaining option was Up in 3D, whcih wasn't on until 4.00pm (we got there at 3.00). So we went down to the Figure of Eight to kill some time.
I wish I'd started watching Pixar films in the cinema more often. I've seen the majority of them now on television (still haven't seen The Incredibles, though) and WALL-E when that was out. I actually wish the latter had been in 3D because it would have been even better. As ever, the modern 3D effects are not in-your-face, merely subtle, giving everything more depth. Which is why I think WALL-E would have benefitted from the technique, not just for the outer space sequences, but that opening with the towering skyscrapers of cubed rubbish. (Hopefully they might re-release it like they did Toy Story...)
Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed Up. It was laugh-out-loud funny on several occasions with both puerile and slightly more subtle humour (for the kiddies and their parents), and actually I think this is a film which the grown-ups will enjoy on a deeper level than their children. The kids will enjoy the idea of attaching a thousand helium balloons to your house and flying away, but equally, so will the adults. There's an inherent desire to flee within everyone, but at the same time an equal desire to stay where we are; and what better way to achieve that than take your entire house with you, creature comforts and all?
Empire mentioned that the opening sequence of Up was very poignant, and that's certainly true, but it wasn't the part that made me cry. That came a lot later when Carl was flipping through Ellie's scrapbook, and the idea that even though they'd never made it together to Paradise Falls, their life had been an adventure on its own. I thought that was lovely.
Of course, it's full of coincidences, because that's how children's stories work. Carl and Ellie have no children, which paves the way for him to bond with Russell; Russell's father is notably absent, hence Carl becomes a father figure. In the absence of human company, Muntz breeds an army of dogs and provies them with voice boxes, which surely is a contributing factor to his paranoia and murderous intent. (Presumably the pack mentality would get to you after a while...)
My favourite character by miles was Doug the dog. I thought his voice was absolutely perfect, that sort of over-enthusiastic dumbness that you get in that particular breed (I don't know dogs :P), as opposed to the statuesque self-importance of the Doberman... Plus I was far too easily amused by "POINT!" and "Squirrel!" and all the dog-drool. Disney's animals have always been important in their films and it's nice to know they can still produce that same level of animal-humanity in CG animation within a 'human' story. I think my favourite Doug line was "I hid under your porch because I love you!"...
Other favourite moments: Carl wearily thumping his tempermental stairlift, accidentally squishing the frog like an alarm clock, Kevin swallowing / regurgitating the walking stick (eww), the dogs playing poker for biscuits (heh), and Carl chucking out all the stuff from his house to get it to fly again. And, of course, the house landing squarely on top of Paradise Falls, where it was always meant to be. I also loved the animation in general, just for the level of detail: the grime on the windows, the clouds, the waterfall. The 3D enhanced the realness without feeling the need to throw things into your field of vision, and at least I got to enjoy something in 3D this week after my local Sainsbury's failed to supply any 3D glasses for Channel 4's special programming...
I should also mention the short that was shown before the film, whose title escapes me, which was also really good. I miss the days of there being shorts before films; they only seem to do it for children's films these days. The last one we saw was Presto! before WALL-E, and other than that I can remember there being some Pokémon shorts before the main film, and obviously Vincent before NBC the very first time, back in 1993... I'm sure there were more before other Disney films, but they've fallen out of my brain now. :)
As to the trailers, I want to see The Princess and the Frog, Disney's latest offering, which has reverted back to its traditional style of animation. I didn't like their horrible angular style (like Home on the Range and what little I've seen of Hercules) nor their 'realistic' animation (Pocahontas), and I enjoyed the animated sections of Enchanted because they were a nod to the studio's roots. To quote Cogsworth, "If it ain't Baroque, don't fix it!"
So. There we go.
In other news, Paul has agreed to go on the big wheel with me this year (preferably at night so he will hopefully freak out less, though it's unlikely, and so I can take some photographs of Birmingham by night), though he tried to make a deal that he would only do so if I would see Paranormal Activity at the cinema. Thing is, I DO want to see the film, just NOT AT THE CINEMA. The sensory overload will absolutely kill me, and I won't sleep for about two days. I was bad enough after The Blair Witch Project and The Descent. The only horror films I make an exception for are the Saw series and anything foreign with limited release, out of principle. Otherwise, it's a no-no on horror films in surround sound. :P
After the cinema we had another drink in the Briar Rose before heading home, finally getting back just before 8.00. I watched the EastEnders omnibus and the end of I'm a Celebrity..., we had some dinner, and went to bed.
So, rather a busy weekend. And yet more busy weekends up until Christmas, so don't ask me to go anywhere. :P