Up - (where else could it go?) Disney and Pixar's new family extravanganza, which I'm box-fresh from seeing, is a veritable feast of excitement and joy, with some good old fashioned guilt and conscience-pricking thrown in for flavour. The film focuses on a reclusive widower (the flashback montage of his life, culminating in the loss of his wife and looming eviction from his home, had the audience in tears within the first 10 minutes... including the teenage boy in the row in front) who takes off - literally, in a balloon-lifted house - on a belated adventure to fulfill a lifetime promise to his wife, with the usual strays and stowaways along for the ride. The laughs come easily but the lessons are deep - I had heard someone say that every child should be taken to see this film, and I agree. A movie that respects and celebrates old age? Let the yoof of today put that in their bong and toke it.
Sunlight - tragic but true, the days are getting shorter and the dark is getting fat. You can turn your clocks back as many times as you want, Daylight Saving (although, on second thoughts please don't - I have enough trouble remembering when you're supposed to do it anyway. Then is it forward, or backward.... what does it mean for the Sky+? etc etc). There's something terribly unhealthy-feeling about waking up when it's still black outside, then dark for another three hours while you try to un-fog your brain. And before you know it it's night again, and 8:30pm feels like midnight. Avoid a dose of the SADs with the comforting, cosy feeling of these seasonal remedies: warm milk with cinnamon and honey in front of FlashForward, Buzzcocks or XFactor; fleecy socks as thick as loaves that you can only just squeeze your feet into (Gap, I'm counting on you again this year); never, ever leaving the house in the evening unless there's the promise of mulled wine, Charlie Brooker or the revival of Pizza Express' much-missed Natale pizza with turkey, sausage-meat and cranberries. Hey, don't knock it till you've tried it.
Doggedly sticking around
John & Edward - the sugar-high, Malfoy-esque, Energizer bunnies of the XFactor, the terrible twins look set to stay as long as the comedy votes keep coming in. I'm warming to them myself (their inspired Britney duologue made for better viewing than Whitney bra-pinging her way around stage) but, in the same way I could never quite accept Darius' guitar-wielding-Jesus-to-clean-shaven-hottie makeover, I have to remember how vile and odious the twins were at their first auditions. Sure, they're all high-kicks and cheeky grins now they've got what they want... I've even heard rumblings that the duo are in fact secret geniuses, orchestrating their image and 'dude, where's my twin?' persona, but I doubt it. One thing's for sure though, there's a very clever Geppetto holding the strings to these marionettes. Dance, monkey boys, dance.