a Sunday out

I’ve signed up for the See Film First system, where you get special offers to see upcoming movies for free. The catch is that they are often shown at inopportune times or places.  But for us, that’s not a big deal, since we enjoy travelling around and we’re not super picky about seeing a flick on a Friday night.  So last week when I was offered tickets to go see Unstoppable, the new Denzel Washington movie, on a Sunday morning at 11am in Reading, I jumped on it.  We’ve been wanted to go to Reading for a while now, and this seemed like a good opportunity.

So, first: a brief review of the film.  It was pretty good!  I was surprised, since The Taking of Pelham 123, by the same team of Tony Scott & Denzel Washington, was so horrible.  But Unstoppable had a more exciting premise, and was executed better. The whole film had a gritty feel that worked quite well with the working class aspect of the characters. Most of it was shot around Pittsburgh, and so looked very familiar to me. I think they did a really good job of portraying the towns and people of Western Pennsylvania. Even though you know how the film ends (obviously, since it was based on a true story and I don’t recall hearing about an entire town vaporized by toxic chemicals), there is still a great deal of tension. And that tension is managed quite well, never really overwhelming you but never leaving you bored. The only part that felt manufactured to me were some of the personal details: like Denzel’s character’s wife dying of cancer, or the love-twist with the other main character.  My last point will be quite succinct: Chris Pine is really, really REALLY hot. End of story.

So!  After the movie we took the train two more stops into downtown Reading. (Note, if you’re reading this, the town name is NOT pronounced that way. It’s RED-ing, and god help you if you forget it!)  As the largest urban area in England that is NOT technically a city, I didn’t have high hopes for Reading, but I was pleasantly surprised. I think the town planners have done a really nice job of integrating the older market-town aspects with the newer office-developments.

Unfortunately it was typical English weather (rainy and cold and miserable), so we didn’t explore too much. But the High Street was quite nice (and very broad!), and there are some lovely ruins of the old Reading Abbey. It seems that they have a bit of a problem with falling mortar, so some of the ruins are currently fenced off.  And Forbury Park is a really nice space, with a lovely – if anatomically incorrect – bronzed lion, the largest of its kind. With the winter weather it was getting dark shortly after, and we decided to head home, but we’ll definitely be going back to Reading to explore more of the town!

Posted on 16/11/2010, in Exploring the UK, Movie Review, travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Dang ! Wish I’d known you would be going to Reading . . . this is part of the entry in the Journal on Sept. 10: The largest living Catalpa tree is on the grounds of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan and was planted in the year of its dedication, 1879. The oldest is the 150-year-old specimen in the Minster graveyard of St. Mary’s Butts in the English town of Reading in Berkshire. (St. Mary’s Butts ?? Isn’t that a funny kind of name? ) We’ll have to consult with Astrid.

    You’ve got your work cut out for your January visit !!!

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