1. Brave has some of the best Pixar film music since Ratatouille, and an excellent depiction of a lute — placing it alongside Ghibli’s Whisper Of The Heart for interesting (non-tropic) music.

  2. Just finished Laputa, Castle in the Sky again. It may not have the strongest plot out of all the Myazaki films, but it does have, in approximate order of appearance:

    • Crazy awesome airships
    • Mysterious crystals
    • Flying pirates
    • Bad guys who wear dark glasses at night, inside and underground
    • Pseudo-Welsh miners
    • A hermit who talks to rocks and has a beard
    • Robots. Lots and lots of robots. One of them looks after birds nests and picks flowers. Others destroy things with their crazy laser vision.
    • Stylised lightning which looks like dragons
    • And at the end: a flying island which looks like a giant jellyfish, floating gracefully into orbit

    The robots look like this:

    My point being that anyone who demands any more than this from a film probably doesn’t deserve it.

  3. For all his smugness and misrepresentation, I’m actually really impressed with Howard Goodall’s conclusion to the Story of Music. In particular the closing segment, where he satisfyingly sums up the history of in about four sentences.

    Most of the series was moderately interesting historical info, but concluding by linking the advent of the Play button to Bach’s notation style is quite profound.

  4. Finished reading The Silent World by Jacques Cousteau.

    It’s a bit strange in that it has no real order and is a collection of semi–related stories about the development and use of the aqualung. Very informative about some of the physiological effects of diving.

    A particularly potent part is Cousteau’s story of the first time bottom trawling had ever been filmed, revealing it to be a hideously inefficient and ineffective method of trawling. No–one had ever realised before, because no one had ever actually seen a net working.