THE REPORT

Not really a lot to spoil as the story is already on public record, but if you haven’t seen the film and want to see it with fresh eyes, then this review may not be for you. I do detail quite a lot.

You have been warned.

Wow.
Excellent film and dare I say it, Adam Driver delivers a spectacular performance as Dan Jones, the man who gave up 5 years of his life and became totally invested in seeing the report made public.
Dan is also a man who, to this day, continues to fight for Human Rights.

The film itself has a really good pace.
With all the information it has to throw at the audience, it delivers it succinctly and effectively. It’s never slow.

Prior to the film, I knew of the events in the report and about water boarding.
I even heard the word torture bandied around at the time but when the methods being used were listed during the film, I was shocked.

Image
Picture credit – AFP News Agency.

That picture doesn’t even show the mock burials and the fact that they stripped and shaved all the detainees. I won’t even say how they tried to ‘re-hydrate’ one of them!
What the hell were they thinking when they thought any of this would work, and a lot of these methods are shown during the film. They are shown in quick bursts and not dwelt on. It’s more than effective.

The Report proved that the Enhanced Interrogation Techniques were totally ineffective and that any information given was already known or a lie to stop being tortured. More than 119 detainees went through the program and one of them was waterboarded at least 180 times. A quarter of those detainees should NEVER have been detained in the first place.

In 2015, the McCain-Feinstein amendment was signed by President Obama, banning the CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Techniques.
Apart from making the events public, this is the only good thing to have come out of the report.

The end of the movie sees Adam walking away from the Senate House and towards the Washington Memorial. A few paragraphs of ‘after the event’ information appears on the screen. The one that stayed with me was the following…..

No CIA officers have ever been charged in connection with the actions outlined in the report.
Many were promoted.
One became the director of the CIA
.’

Disgusting.

It is an eye opening film and I can only hope it catches the eye of some awards committees in the coming months.

ANNUAL LEAVE

Here we are again. Two weeks of annual leave.
I have taken the same two weeks, every year, since going back to work in 2008. It is my Xmas preparation time. The decorations go up, all the shopping is done and the house gets a good clean. By the time I go back to work, the only Xmas shopping that will need to be done is for the fresh stuff, like vegetables and bread.

I wasn’t really feeling it last year, so my usual enthusiasm didn’t show, but this year is a little different. I’m not worrying about Uni work and because of that I’m a little more relaxed.
My parents won’t be coming round this year as they are going to my brother’s for a change, which means that it’ll be me and the hubby and the three kids. 17, 20 and 22 years old.

The excitement of Xmas past has changed.
The kids really don’t care if they have anything to open Xmas day or not.
Marjorie just wanted cash for her trip to New York in February.
Murron knows exactly what she’ll be unwrapping because I had to ask her if the tools I wanted to get her were actually what she needed!

So Xmas day will be a lazy day this year.
There will be no rush to do anything, but we will be doing it as a family and hopefully having a little fun along the way.

So, my usual manic two weeks is a little more relaxed this year.
My Xmas shopping is just about done already.
I am going to the work Xmas do tomorrow night.
My decorations will be going up on Saturday.
Sunday, I’ll be putting my Mum’s tree up and going to a pub quiz in the evening.
On Monday, I’ll be putting my Auntie Karen’s tree up.
On Tuesday, I’m going to a secret screening at the cinema (what are my chances it will be Marriage Story?)
I have a friend coming round for dinner on Thursday evening.
I’m going to Coventry with Dharma on Friday and then going to see the re-mastered Gremlins in the evening. I’m hoping Marriage Story will be release on the UK Netflix too!
In between all that I’ll just be pottering around, getting ready for Xmas and relaxing before going back to work on the 11th.

The Report is being released on the US Prime service tomorrow. I can’t see anything on the UK service about it’s release but I can but hope!

So! Back to chillin’
I haven’t started another bottle of Baileys!! Honest!!

IT NEVER STOPS

Who in their right minds ever want to be parents!!
The constant worry. It never ends but the type of worry changes.
As young kids, you just want them to be safe and know where they are, and what they are doing.
As teens and young adults, you’ve cut the apron strings and you try not to think about what they’re up to as long as they let you know where they are and when they’re going to be home.

I’ve done my part.
I’ve taught my kids right from wrong.
I KNOW my kids all have hearts on their shoulders. They are good and kind and fun loving and incredibly frustrating at times, but they are amazing.

Well, today saw the end of an era.
My youngest. 17 years old. sent me a video message of her in her friends car. They were just out driving, having fun and singing along to her friends new car stereo and it hit me like a ton of bricks.
My kids are all now, fully independent. They don’t really need me any more.
I can’t stop them from doing what they want and hoping they take all their personal values with them.

My kids are not babies anymore.
It’s not as freeing as I thought it would be.
What I worried about when they were kids has just changed to a whole new world of worries as adults!!

SO!
For any young parents out there, BE PREPARED!!!
That worry that niggles your brain at three in the morning as you wake up worrying if they actually got home that night and remembered to lock up and switch the lights off……

IT’S NEVER GOING AWAY!!

SPECTACULAR MONTH

Right, as you can see by the setup of my blog page, I am gearing up for the eagerly awaited final installment of the Skywalker saga on Dec 19th.

Speaking as a life-long fan of Star Wars, I will not apologise for geeking out over something that I love and that I have been passionate about for over 40 years, and the next month will be my last opportunity to really geek out.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that Star Wars will continue with a new trilogy of films in the works, standalone movies in the works, a TV series already started and another on the way, it just won’t be the same. It won’t be the ‘Skywalker’ saga. No Luke, no Leia, No Han, and at the moment we don’t even know if there will be a Kylo/Ben or Rey.

JJ Abrams has got a lot to do in The Rise of Skywalker. Not only is he wrapping up the current trilogy, he’s wrapping up the Skywalker saga and the last 9 movies!! That’s a HUGE task, and to be honest, I trust JJ with that task. From the trailers and TV spots I’ve seen, I don’t think I’m going to be disappointed.

I am absolutely buzzing to find out what this scene is all about.

Thanks and credit to kylos.tumblr.com

From what I can tell, Rey is taking a leap of faith from the hangar deck of a Destroyer to the Millenium Falcon, and this is the moment the force shield on the hangar is dropped so she can attempt it. The Stormtroopers are all blown every which way but Kylo, using the force, stands his ground!
Question is….. does he stop her, or does he join her, or does he let her go?!!

Today saw the release of a new poster from Dolby Cinema.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Poster

Spectacular!!
Just look at all the pretty Destroyers!!
Look closely.
Those pretty destroyers are covered in Republic markings!!

The Republic is the era of the prequel trilogy, where we saw the Galactic Republic corrupted by it’s Supreme Chancellor, Palpatine, who ends up overthrowing the Republic and establishing the Galacic Empire, declaring himself Emperor.

We know that Emperor Palpatine plays some sort of part in this finale, but to what extent? Is this a hidden fleet? Where do they come from?

I will be amongst some of the first people in Europe to see it, as I have tickets for the midnight showing on December 18th. The rest of the world will follow on the 20th.
Expect me to blog a lot more before then as I find out more tid-bits and start to see the press interviews.

To say this is going to be a spectacular month is an understatement.
One of the best things to come out of the current Star Wars trilogy is Adam Driver. I think I have made that perfectly clear with this blog site. I have followed his career with interest since December 2015.
In fact, this is the moment I fell head over heels for him…….

This was just a springboard into learning about Adam and his life.
Collecting his movies, watching the hysterical TV show ‘Girls’, collecting photos, watching interviews, learning about his passion, his non-profit organisation AITAF, that he founded with his wife, Joanne Tucker.
The more I found out about him, the more I came to respect and love him as a person and not just an actor.

The next few weeks not only sees the release of the conclusion of the Skywalker Trilogy, but it also sees the release of 2 more of his movies that are getting some major attention.

‘The Report’ is currently airing in select theatres before being released on Amazon Prime on November 29th in the US. I cannot confirm if this is the same date for the UK.
Adam has, apparently, got some monumental monologues and is receiving impressive reviews.

The second film is ‘Marriage Story’ and again, this one is currently seeing premieres around the world and being shown in select theatres before being release on Netflix on December 6th.

This one is really getting some attention.
It tells the story of Charlie and Nicole, a director-actress pair making their way through a painful divorce and it is reportedly ‘one gut punch after another’ with astounding performances from Adam and Scarlett Johansson.

However…..

I found out today that Adam sings in this film!!
Vogue.com has an article that states that, toward the end of the film, Charlie takes the mic at a bar with his theatre friends and absolutely nails the hell out of “Being Alive,” a notoriously difficult Sondheim song to sing. He goes full Broadway ham at first, to the point where you can imagine he might have starred in his share of high school theatre, but it ends up going somewhere else altogether.
It doesn’t end on a playful or funny note and it’s completely heartfelt, particularly by the end, and you can hear every shred of longing, anger, and disappointment as he sings.

I have just listened to a 2007 recording of this song on Spotify and ‘holy crap’!! I cannot wait to see what Adam does with it!

Back to the rest of the month and I have a long day (12.5 hour) shift to do on Friday and that will be followed by my first EVER night shift (another 12.5 hours) on Saturday. Can’t say I’m looking forward to it, however, I know that it will be followed by 16 days of annual leave!!

I have taken the same 2 weeks, every year, since starting my job.
It allows me to prepare for Xmas. The house gets a good clean, my tree goes up and I decorate my Mum’s and my Auntie Karen’s trees.
All presents will be brought and wrapped and all Xmas food and drink will be bought and stored. The only thing left to do will be to buy the fresh stuff on Xmas eve.

My two weeks off will also see me catching up on some cinema trips, starting on Monday 25th with an Unlimited screening of ‘Knives Out’.
Hopefully ‘The Report’ will be on Prime on the 29th.
We are going to a ‘Secret Screening’ on Dec 3rd. (What are the chances of that being ‘Marriage Story’?)
We are also going to see the restored 4k version of ‘Gremlins’ on the 6th December.
……. and anything else that tickles our fancy in between.

It’s always a busy two weeks but it is a complete change of pace and really nice.

So!
With THREE of Adam’s films on the way, one of them being a geek’s dream, please excuse my gushing blogs whenever they make an appearance.

BRING IT ON!!

NOT A CLUE!!!

To be completely honest, I hate politics and I think that is probably the way most of the country feels at the moment.
I, like most of the country, are fed up with being lied to all the time.
The thing that’s pissing me off the most is that I honestly thought that I lived in a democracy.

Democracy = government by the people or their elected representatives, a political or social unit governed ultimately by ALL it’s members..

So, when this country (i.e. ALL it’s members) voted, or had the chance to vote three years ago, and the result was that this country wanted to LEAVE the EU, we did not expect our elected officials to shit all over that decision and say that they didn’t agree with it. We expected them to accept the decision of it’s members and actually proceed with the decision, and yet, here we are, three years down the line, and the arrogant prigs in parliament are STILL arguing and trying to get the decision overturned.
Some are even calling for another referendum, which to be completely honest, makes them a traitor to this country and democracy.

That’s not how democracy works!!

We are now faced with another election on December 12th, to decide who should be running this country and therefore, who should be trying to solve this issue and get the country back on track again. There’s just one small issue…….

I HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA WHO I AM GOING TO VOTE FOR!!

So, I have been having a look at the top priorities of each party.
The following has been taken from the BBC news website who contacted all the parties to help identify their key policies ahead of manifesto launches.

Conservatives

Leader = Boris Johnson

Image result for boris johnson"

Top priorities
Deliver Brexit on the deal agreed with the EU.
£100bn investment over five years on road, rail and other infrastructure.
20,000 more police officers over the next three years in England and Wales.£2.7bn for six new hospitals and plans for 34 more.
£7.1bn a year more for schools in England by 2022-23.

Labour

Leader = Jeremy Corbyn

Image result for jeremy corbyn"

Top Priorities
£150bn for schools, hospitals and housing.
£250bn of investment to instigate a “green industrial revolution”.
£10-an-hour minimum wage for all workers.
Scrap tuition fees.
Hold another referendum on Brexit.

Liberal Democrats

Leader = Jo Swinson

Image result for jo swinson"

Top Priorities
Stop Brexit, which the party argues will release money to be spent on public services over the next five years.
Tackle climate change by reaching 80% renewable energy by 2030 and improving the energy efficiency of homes.
1p rise in income tax to spend on health and social care.
More investment in schools.

Change UK

Leader = Anna Soubry

Image result for anna soubry"

Top Priorities
Hold another referendum on Brexit, campaigning for remain.
Achieve carbon net zero by 2045.
Transition away from the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030 and phase out non-essential plastics by 2025.

Green Party

Leaders (plural) = Jonathan Bartley and Sian Berry

Image result for jonathan bartley and sian berry"

Top Priorities
£100bn a year for a decade to tackle climate change.
Pursue a “green new deal” including a “structural transformation” of the way the economy works.
Create more than a million new jobs through green investment.
Opposed to Brexit, committed to another referendeum on membership and will campaign to remain in that vote.

Brexit Party

Leader = Nigel Farage

Image result for Nigel Farage"

Top Priorities
Negotiate a free trade agreement with the EU, similar to the deals the bloc has with Canada and Japan, with a new deadline of 1 July 2020.
Leave the EU and move to World Trade Organisation Trading rules if a free trade agreement cannot be struck.
Leave all institutions of the EU and restore the primacy of UK law.
£200bn spending programme on infrastructure, wi-fi-and services for young people.

UKIP

Leader = Kirstan Herriet (party chairman)

Image result for kirstan herriot"

Top Priorities
Leave the EU immediately with no deal.
Cut immigration to low, sustainable levels.
Reverse the introduction of LGBT-inclusive sex and relationship education.
End “politically correct” policing and support freedom of speech.

I will admit now, that I voted to leave 3 years ago and before anyone starts yelling at me about being racist…. hold your fucking horses.
I love diversity in all forms.
I welcome people from all over the world wanting to come and live and work in our country and want that to continue.
What I do not like, is being dictated to by Europe.
Britain blindly following Eu rules and then seeing countries like France completely ignoring those rules and getting away with it.

The fact is, this country was never given the option of voting IN to the EU in the first place and I think, if it had, we wouldn’t be discussing leaving it now.

So!
If I dismiss any party who wants to hold another referendum or stop brexit or are opposed to brexit, that narrows down my options already.

Conservative Party, Brexit Party and UKIP

OK, where do I start?…..

I definitely will not be voting UKIP!
Not only do they want to leave the EU immediately with NO deal, which, I think is a really bad decision, but they also want to ‘reverse the introduction of LGBT-inclusive sex and relationship education.

I mean, c’mon guys… this is the 21st century and not the dark ages. Get over yourselves. There is nothing wrong with introducing LGBT relationships to young kids and proper LGBT sex education to older kids!
Same sex relationships, marriages, intercourse and all forms of queer from trans to non-binary and everything in between IS NORMAL!
If this is not normalised through education then it is never going to be seen as normal and lots of kids and teens are going to be excluded and feel left out and have nowhere to turn because they are scared.
These kids already suffer with mental health issues and some feel that there is no other option than suicide simply because they are ‘excluded’ from life and have no-where to turn. There’s NOTHING wrong with these kids and they need to know that and they need to know that the people around them understand that too.

If there is one thing that makes me really angry, it’s homophobes, and that’s exactly what this party is full of.

I will not be voting Brexit
The reason is quite simple….. Nigel Farage

He is an absolute knob, and much like Donald Trump, I can’t even look at the guy without wanting to smash his face in.
OK he wants out of the EU but he’s not convincing me on much when it comes to investment in this country.

That leaves the Conservative party and I have to admit that I like their priorities, the only problem is their leader is an absolute bafoon and has made this country a laughing stock. Do I really want this man running the country?

Image result for boris johnson funny"

So I am back to square one.
I’ve got some thinking to do over the next few weeks.

HALF A CENTURY

What a week.

I turned 50 this week.
I am now ‘officially’ in mid life crisis mode and it is totally depressing!!
I have reached the pinnacle of my life and everything is downhill from here.
If I’m lucky and take after my Nan, I’ve got another 45 years to go. On the one hand, I’m unfit, over weight and my hips and knees are on the way out. I’m also pre-menopausal, just to rub that half century right into my nose.
On the other hand, I’m finally more relaxed about who I am and I like to go out and enjoy myself occasionally, even though there are people in my life who frown upon it.

Well, they had better get used to it because I’m not stopping now and I intend to enjoy myself for as long as I can. I am going to grow old disgracefully.

I’ve had a quiet week as I had annual leave.
The aim of the week was to let the event go by quietly, but with that said, I did go out for a few drinks with a friend at our local.
Earlier in the day, I went to Milton Keynes to do a little shopping with two of my daughters and one of them treated me to dinner.
I found myself a new Star Wars themed t-shirt in Primark and I couldn’t resist buying myself a new Rise of Skywalker backpack at Disney. (Yeah, I really am 50!!)

Speaking of Star Wars, this week saw the release of the final trailer for The Rise of Skywalker, the last in the current trilogy and the end of the Skywalker saga.

So we are now heading into the final weeks. 54 days to be precise, before the Skywalker saga ends. A saga I’ve been watching since I was almost 8 years old. I’ve grown up with it and loved every minute of it. It has been a big part of my half century.

The original 3 movies were amazing and I never dreamt that we’d get any more, so when the prequels came along, I was excited, just like everyone else. The prequels were OK but a little disappointing. They simply tried a little too hard, especially with the special effects. The current 3 have been amazing but have split the fandom. I have personally LOVED the current movies. They have given me Adam Driver and Domhnall Gleeson and this in turn, sent me down a rat hole of fan fiction known as Kylux and I’ve even written a few short stories myself for this fandom.

Anyway, back to the current trilogy.

Looking through all the merchandise that’s gone on sale, there is a lot of Kylo Ren based stuff. This gives me the hope that Kylo gets his redemption and we see Ben Solo return. Whether or not he survives that redemption is another matter!

However, there is no sign of General Hux in the trailer! There’s a lot of First Order ships however. A LOT! We’ve also been lacking in any official photo’s of Hux. Apart from a new cardboard standee, I believe this picture of Hux with Allegiant General Pryde is the one and only official photo released so far.

Richard E. Grant and Domhnall Gleeson in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Now, he’s either going to be glossed over in The Rise of Skywalker, which will make me very upset, or, they are going to give him one last hurrah and hopefully give him his dignity back after he was made the laughing stock in the last film. That said, I have absolutely no doubt that Hux is going to die in this one. I just want it to be glorious and worthy of his character. For anyone who reads the books, Hux has a history. Like Kylo, he even killed his own father….ok he got Phasma to do it, but he did it none the less. He’s ruthless, and I want to see that in this film.

The press tour will be starting soon and how much of it Adam will attend is anyone’s guess. This will mean lots of interviews and new photos to collect.

I know it won’t be the end of Star Wars. I know there are plans for a new trilogy and stand alone movies, but this is the last of the Skywalker saga.
Han Solo is gone, Princess/General Leia will be gone after this film, Luke Skywalker is gone (although no-one’s ever really gone!). The Franchise just won’t quite be the same and I’m really going to miss it.

I have my ticket for the first of the showings here in the UK at midnight on the 18th December.
I have no doubt it’s going to be an emotional roller coaster and the next few weeks are going to be exciting as we see more and more of the press tour and all the speculation that will be flying around the internet.

Right, one more day before I’m back at work.
Might just have a Star Wars binge!

THERE IS A LINE….

It is a standing joke in my household that I am called a stalker.
But after what I found out today, I’m actually quite uncomfortable being called that because there are lines that even I wouldn’t cross.

I have a tendency to obsess about actors.
I will get an interest in one and then I will endeavour to watch whatever I can lay my hands on. I collect photos, watch interviews, read articles, keep up to date with whatever they may be doing. It’s my hobby.

My current favs are Adam Driver and Domnhall Gleeson, with Adam being absolutely my favourite.

I have had my obsession with Adam for the last four years and yes, I will admit, I got that obsession because of Star Wars. I’m a geek, I grew up with it. But that interest has lead me on to some incredible movies that I probably wouldn’t have seen if I hadn’t had my interest in Adam in the first place.

However, I feel really sorry for Adam.
Star Wars fame has made him ‘uncomfortably’ famous.
Adam doesn’t do well on red carpets and avoids chat shows and is an intensely private man.

Today I found something out that I find quite incredible, in the fact that he managed it for two years and also quite sad, in that he had to go to this extreme in the first place.

In an article written for ‘The New Yorker’ by Michael Shulman, that can be read HERE

In what Adam has described as ‘a military operation’ he’s managed to hide the fact that he and his wife, Joanne Tucker, welcomed a baby boy into their lives TWO YEARS ago!!

My heart leaps at the thought of Adam as a Daddy!

But I also found out about crazy fans who shout ‘Kylo’ during his live stage performances and that his charity ‘Arts in the Armed Forces’ has had to limit who can attend performances to just veterans after Joanne was accosted during an event and then bad mouthed about online. There is even a crazed fan on Twitter who moved to New York to be near him who then went on to post his address online, and they have 20k followers!

It’s frightening to think that he and his wife have to live with that level of fear.

So from now on, I consider myself a ‘super fan’ and not a stalker.
I would never dream of terrorising someone in that way, and now that the Skywalker trilogy is coming to an end, I hope things settle down a little for him and his family.