Concerning Hobbitses: At The End of All Things

It’s that time again, or more precisely it’s that time again, again… as with my rambling thoughts on the second instalment of the Hobbit Trilogy things took a little longer than expected. I meant to get round to it last year, but life and times got in the way. However, this week marks the 15th anniversary of the release of Fellowship of the Ring at the cinema, and the altering of the filmic landscape and industry in ways rarely seen in decades. Fantasy overnight became a renewed genre in Hollywood and around the world and billions of new eyes were opened to the joys of Tolkien and Middle Earth. So what better time for me to get my act together and write something up?

I have rewatched the movie, recently and have previously watched the entirety of the making of special features on the Extended Edition DVD, which gives a great insight into the severely troubled production during the conception and execution of the trilogy, as well as the rewrites, redesigns and general “running to catch-up” feeling that runs through this movie. But more on that later, first, let’s dive into the final instalment of the Hobbit, and also the last part of Peter Jackson’s epic Middle Earth film saga.

HBT3-fs-341051.DNG

*insert Bilbo fingering his ring joke*

Read the rest of this entry »

, , ,

Leave a comment

A long time ago on a VCR far, far away…

It can hardly have escaped the attention of anyone that in the wee early hours of tomorrow morning, the first new Star Wars film in over a decade is about to be released to an anxious public.  The first reviews are in, and word by the jungle-drums is overwhelmingly positive, if what we are told is true.

Still, it’s difficult to balance the mixture of tense excitement with the repeated feelings of sodden disappointment at the previous entries into the series. Yet for someone of my generation, Star Wars has always been part of my life; for as long as I can remember I’ve been enjoying stories set in a galaxy far, far away. It’s hard to know what Thursday 17th of December 2015 will bring, aside from a steady flow of cash into the coffers of the already very rich denizens of Disney. I feel more cynical about it now, but I didn’t always; not before the dark times… before the Prequels. Read the rest of this entry »

Leave a comment

The Complete Guide to The Free Fringe Showlist – 2015

ed-fringe-posters.full width blockIt’s July, and with just over four weeks till the 68th Edinburgh Fringe Festival, one of my favourite times of the year, and a wonderous stramash of art, culture and comedy, all coming together in a month-long Festival of fun.

As it’s a huge and often expensive affair, many people avoid the Fringe because they think it’s cost prohibitive, or they say “There’s nothing good on”. Now both of these statements aren’t quite right. This year there are over 700 free shows at the Fringe. So you should go see them!

Longtime readers of my blog, and followers of mine on twitter, will no doubt know that for the last several years I’ve made up a handy wee spreadsheet with all of the Free Fringe shows on it, sortable by catagory, and with dates and showtimes all clearly marked up.  It’s the same exact system I’ve used for a decade, to plan out my own schedule for reviews for British Theatre Guide. Essentially what I needed, was an easy system where I could look at each date of the festival and sort the shows out by their showtime. After that it’s just a case of picking what order to watch them in!
Here is the Edinburgh Free Fringe Showlist for 2015
If you’ve used the Showlist before, then you’ll know precisely what to do, and if not then read on! Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , ,

2 Comments

Concerning Hobbitses, Of Bears, Barrels and Baffled Dwarves

It’s strange how time can get away from you.  I originally planned to write this follow-up to my wee blog about the release of the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, a year ago, just fresh from seeing the theatrical release of The Desolation of Smaug.  However, a somewhat hectic work schedule, as well as a sense that it was somewhat more heavily edited than the first instalment, meant that I set the idea aside and eventually forgot.
Instead, having sat and watched the Extended Cut of Smaug, and the 9 hours of extras on the DVD, (and the final film as well) I feel a little more comfortable with giving some voice to my thoughts on it.

It's like a breath of fresh air...

It’s like a breath of fresh air…

Read the rest of this entry »

, , ,

Leave a comment

Surviving Edinburgh Fringe 2014 – Traffic of the Stage

Edinburgh Fringe Festival-1533902The Fringe Festival is one of the most important parts of my year, and with it comes a huge swathe of new entertainment, new stories, new friends and experiences. One aspect of it I love,  is the change to see some truly spectacular theatre and comedy.  Being a Fringe reviewer gives me the chance to see more plays in one month than most people get to see during a year.  What’s more, this isn’t an unachievable goal for anyone else either.

When I first started reviewing plays, I hadn’t even imagined what the Fringe would have been like. My first year I requested close to 80 Shows, was allocated 75 and unsurprisingly only made it to around the mid 60s. Even then only getting the last few reviews in a day or so after the Fringe had ended. Needless to say, I had reached beyond my grasp.  The following year I cut back, and still had too many shows. This year I’ve cut down to what will likely end up a workable 40ish productions. This way I’ll have some time to see shows, write them all up in good order and still have time to get other work done, without frying my own brain in the process. Read the rest of this entry »

, ,

Leave a comment

Surviving Edinburgh Fringe 2014 – A Plethora of Choices

fringeasgagAfter 10 years of reviewing shows for The British Theatre Guide, I’ve had a bit of experience in sampling the wares of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This of course still means that while I may be slightly more prepared for the quirky weirdness of the shows that pop up during the Fringe, I’m still just as likely to be baffled and enrapt by them.

You see, people often forget that the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a massive and sprawling series of overlapping mini-festivals. Even the events in the Fringe Programme itself are divided up into 10 separate sections, varying from Spoken Word and Comedy, to Music and Cabaret.  All of which are subject to the whim of the company who booked the show.  More than that, you’ve also got a Jazz Festival, an Book Festival and a swathe of other events, performances and general shenanigans all occuring at once. Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Surviving Edinburgh Fringe 2014 – The City & The Clouds

fringeyWe’re at the midmark of July, with only a scant dozen days or so till the madness that marks the Edinburgh Fringe Festival kicks off its annual palaver.  It’s one of my favourite times of the year, and one that keeps me busy as a daftie, seeing shows, scribbling down thoughts, dashing around town and generally having a great time.

But I’m aware that there are a lot of people who have never attended the Fringe before, and for them, to help aleviate these problems, I thought I’d compile a few wee tips that might help you enjoy the Fringe a bit more. Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment