Tuesday, 3 January 2012

What We Did on Our Holidays...

So Christmas is officially over?
I'm a little sad although my liver is quite relieved.
As you can see, it's all left me feeling a little long in the tooth...
We had a great time locally with friends, the usual malarkey...
Before Xmas we took a trip down memory lane with some old mates in Norfolk.
Read all about it here on Di's blog.

I never got around to finishing my 2011 'Best Of' lists... let me briefly tell you that my favourite 3 films were:
True Grit: a gritty remake? Nope, more a first true telling of the novel's dark story. Jeff Bridges is excellent and, as ever, the Coen's add so much stylish detail and character that re-watching is a joy.
Winter's Bone: another adaptation of a novel. If you like your 'Noir' dark, read everything that the fine Daniel Woodrow has written. Jennifer Lawrence breaks your heart as the trailer trash teenager scrapping to keep her family together in the ugly underbelly of the Ozarks; not somewhere you'd want to run out of gas or require dentistry. I first saw Lawrence in 2009's excellent 'The Burning Plain' and she's brilliant here also.
Equally bleak is Anton Corbijn's 'The American'. Again, adapted from a novel (Martin Booth's 'A Very Private Gentleman'), the film got panned for being too slow, but for me the pace only adds to the tension. The whole thing unravels stylishly and is beautifully shot. Gorgeous George (Clooney) is fast becoming one of my favourite actors; who'd've thunk it? I hear that he's making a comedy with the director of 'Sideways'; something to look forward to seeing in 2012, as well as 'The Artist' and 'Hugo', both emotional roller coasters apparently ; watching 'It's a Wonderful Life' reminded me that there's nowt wrong with a bit of big hearted schmaltz.
I've not had time to do much reading this year.
I was riveted by Carol Sklenicka's biography of Raymond Carver and much enjoyed Rick Bass's 'The Sea, The Stars, The Wilderness' & 'The Lives of Rocks'.
However, my two favourite reads of the year were thrillers; Tom Franklin's 'Crooked Letter' (surely destined for a Dennis Lehane type adaptation by Clint Eastwood or Sean Penn) and James Lee Burke's 'The Glass Rainbow'.
I'm about to dip into Charles Portis's 'True Grit' and am bracing myself for the heartache of Ted Hughes's 'Birthday Letters'. But before I do that I need to go and sleep Xmas off....


  1. One to add to the list if you liked True Grit is The Sister Brothers by Patrick DeWitt. Couple of hired killers track down an elusive prospecter in 1850s California. I'm only 100 pages in but the cast of characters they come across on their oddessy has already got me hooked - really reminded me in tone of Coen's True Grit

  2. Sound right up my (dark) alley.
    Thanks David.