On holiday in rainy Southern California, I've been mainly spending time with my family up to now - very nice! Now over the next week or so it's time to run around the area seeing friends and relatives from Orange County to Pasadena, from Santa Monica to Palm Springs. Am hoping to catch up with a few more films along the way too - a couple open next week, and there are also some awards-consideration screenings out here to catch.
I caught one film on the plane flight out here: CBGB, the story of the famed music venue in New York, where punk and indie rock ruled the 70s and 80s. It's an enjoyable slice of history, with a solid performance from Alan Rickman at the centre and lots of big name cameos, but the movie is shot and edited in an annoying comic book style that continually distances us from the characters and situations.
I also caught The Book Thief (pictured), starring Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson and newcomer Sophie Nelisse. It's a great story about the power of words set in Nazi Germany and told from a child's perspective, and the actors are good (particularly Watsona a the gruff but ultimately too-kindly adoptive mum). Sadly, the whole film is glossy and sweet, focussing on Oscar-bait dramatics and cute touches that undermine the horror of the situation. It feels like a magical fairy tale rather than a story set in a real time and place in which thousands were dying. Every day.