Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Odd, the things that motivate people. I’ve been encouraging R to take more of an active interest in the Internet recently. Even if he'd just look up and print off the Guardian Quick Crosswords it would spread the burden.

I took it as a sign of progress that he’d researched Christmas cakes online. The crit. recommended Asda’s ‘Extra Special’, and R located a store at Crossharbour, next to the DLR station. We’d call in en route to to see ‘The Changeling’ at West India Quay.

Fine, I thought. It would be a quick ‘in and out’ job and for once we’d leave early enough to get to the Cineworld in time to see the trails.

But no – although there were dozens of all kinds of Christmas cakes, not to mention stollen and mince pies and chocolate logs, the ‘Extra Special’ at £7.98 was not on the shelves.

As for ‘The Changeling’ it was almost as disappointing. The 1930s décor and costumes looked authentic enough, especially the telephone exchange supervisors on skates, but Angelina Jolie doesn’t look right as Christine, the heroine. Her surreal appearance suited Grendel’s mother in 'Beowulf' or Lara Croft, the cartoon-based character. As for her acting as an ordinary ‘mom’, even the LA street cars looked more authentic. In fact, given the general oddness of the performances, even the roller skates were more convincing.

The characters were all one-dimensional, and coincidences notched up the melodrama. Saviour Malkovich arrives just as the asylum nurse is about to throw the switch on the electric shock machine and even worse, when Christine faints at seeing the headlines in the street, he's there on cue to catch her. Maybe the director Clint Eastwood thinks the past just was more melodramatic, or that ‘women’s films’ should be.

Meanwhile R seems to be going great guns online. He’s located the Bose European centre and arranged for the wonky radio to be collected. My own research showed ALDI’s Holly Lane cake as best value and R thinks the other report may be from a previous year. So he’ll be ringing the Catford ALDI before calling in on the way to his bridge game.

Christmas cake report


The Changeling reviews


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