Archive for the 'Film' Category

Not Dead

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Nope, I’m not dead, I’ve just been stupidly busy. Hopefully I’ll be able to get on top of things in a few weeks. I’m not returning to put the boot into edfringe (who, after finally managing to sell some tickets, screwed up the printing of them).

I’m here to post a quick reality check about The Dark Knight. The four word version: The Dark Knight Sucks.

OK, I didn’t think it sucked it’s a good movie with some excellent parts that’s been completely over-hyped and thinks it’s far cleverer than it actually is. A bit more after the jump, no real spoilers but you might not want to let my evaluation colour your judgement.

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Packing, Paranoia and Zombie Dogs?

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

I’ve been putting off packing for my holiday mostly because the pile of stuff to go clearly doesn’t fit in the bag I have.

Normally I’d don’t take much stuff but since I’m going to a wedding whilst I’m away I need to take a full kilt outfit. Of course I could just put it in a suit bag and take it separately but I’m joining a tour after the wedding and I’m really limited to one bag. Fortunately it does look like it’ll all fit, with some work and some tweaking.

And if not there’s always plan B: duct tape the suit bag to my ruck sack and claim that it’s all one bag …

Life is complicated by the fact I keep investigating anything that sounds like dripping water, of course it’s just the normal sounds my flat but I’m a bit paranoid. Every shadow on the ceiling looks like a new waterstain and I just can’t help thinking that the first thing I’m going to find when I come back is my new bathroom ceiling collapsed in bits in the bath.

So, to take my mind off all of this, I went to see Resident Evil: Extinction. What can I say? It’s not high quality cinema, but it knows exactly what it is and delivers on all counts. A Perfect Popcorn Movie as one of the imdb reviews says. And it’s got Milla Jovovich being all superpowered and kicking ass. What more could you want?

Busy …

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

I’ve been busy, hence the lack of posts. Really, it’s not just laziness this time. Here’s a bit of a catch up post to fill in the gap. So, what have I been doing? Well, I’ve been …

Playing Poker. Last time I mentioned The Nuts Poker League I was just a player. Now, somehow, I’m organising a game. Every Tuesday night I run a poker night in the Persevere. It’s a bit more difficult than I expected but I think I’m on top of it now. Come along if you’re in Edinburgh on a Tuesday night — it’s a fun night out. Most of the time.

Going to the Cinema. I’ve seen a couple of films. Die Hard 4.0 is lots of fun if you don’t take it too seriously. McClane takes enough punishment to kill a normal person within the first twenty minutes of the movie, but by the time he’s destroyed his first helicopter you stop caring. They stretch it a bit towards the end (you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it) but I liked the final few minutes a lot, it contrasted nicely with all the over the top stuff that proceeded it. Go see it.
I liked Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix less, the last half an hour are great but the rest of the film seemed a bit rushed and disjointed. It seems like they were just going through ticking off the important plot points in order to get to the end. It it was always going to be a difficult book to turn into a film and my view appears to the minority, so maybe it caught me on a bad day. Worth seeing anyway, but I’d wait for the DVD if you haven’t seen it already.

Going to the Zoo. Eh, not much to say. I went to Edinburgh Zoo. It’s a zoo, and it’s quite difficult to shake the “animals in concrete cages” vibe even though they’re trying very hard to be a more modern attraction. Still an interesting place to go and visit, well worth a day trip. But I preferred the Highland Wildlife Park which is run by the same people and has a much less zoo-y feel to it.

Sorting out the Festival. Less than two weeks until the start of all the various Edinburgh festivals. I’ve picked up tickets to a few things but I’m mostly going with my traditional plan of sitting around one of the big venues drinking and picking shows at, more-or-less, random.

Booking a Holiday. I’ve still got around four weeks worth of holidays to take from work so I should find something to do. Last year it was Russia on a train. This year it’s pretty much Mexico on a bus. I’m going to a wedding in Mexico City at the beginning of November so I’ve booked to a little tour of Central America and I’ve sorted a return flight out to Los Angeles. I think I’ll dot around the big cities on the western side of the USA before and after the Mexico part. It’s vague plan but it’s still a plan. Yay. The only problem is it’s still three months away.

And that’s what I’ve done. With more birthdays, weddings, movies, poker and festival stuff, to come I’m going to continue being busy for the next few weeks.

So today I’m going to relax, lie on the couch, drink beer, watch the Grand Prix and then read some more of the new Harry Potter book.

Not a bad plan for a Sunday.

Taking Liberties

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

I watched Taking Liberties last week — the official site says:

Right to Protest, Right to Freedom of Speech. Right to Privacy. Right not to be detained without charge, Innocent Until Proven Guilty. Prohibition from Torture. TAKING LIBERTIES will reveal how these six central pillars of liberty have been systematically destroyed by New Labour, and the freedoms of the British people stolen from under their noses amidst a climate of fear created by the media and government itself.

Which is pretty much what it does. It’s a film made up of separate stories, all true, highlighting the erosion of our civil liberties. A film like this could have been a disjointed affair but it’s actually structured in a sensible way that makes it hold together very well as a film. Of course it has a bit of an agenda but the examples they show are still disturbing enough even if they’ve been cherry picked to show the extremes. I’d have liked to see more of the government trying to justify themselves, mostly it’s stock footage and ‘ambush’ interviews, but I guess there wasn’t much chance of getting ol’ Tony to do a sit down interview for a film like this.

All in all it’s an excellent film and one that you really should see, just to see some of the stuff that goes on in the UK.

And last week lots of people did see it, the cinema was quite busy. And noisy. I think because it was a documentary people thought that they could add their own commentary.

Look, I know it’s a film about free speech but shut up! Or at least attempt to whisper your thoughts to your friends. You know, use your inside voice. Don’t bray loudly that about which protesters you’ve met and which fields you’ve camped in.

We might still have to time to save our civil liberties but I fear that old fashioned Great British good manners are beyond help.

Bonus film news, everyone and their dog has already linked to it but just it case you’ve not seen the trailer here’s your runaway summer blockbuster: The Simpsons Movie.

Best in Class

Monday, February 19th, 2007

It’s been a fun weekend so far, dotting around London, meeting up with friends, eating and drinking. Emphasis on the drinking.

I’ve discovered a couple of gems, first possibly the best club in London, Feeling Gloomy, from the site:

The UKs only club night that brings you the saddest, most melancholy music known to man.

Which is probably not the best advert for a club but it works remarkably well, lots of fun music with melancholy as a general theme and a mixed crowd that seemed to be really enjoying themselves. Well worth checking out, even if it does have an annoying dude taking photos for the website. Yes, you can find us in the set from last Saturday.

The second gem was Hot Fuzz which was fantastic, so much so that I almost don’t mind forking out £13 for the privilege of seeing it in a swanky Leicester Square cinema. The film is pretty much what every action comedy should aim for, they’ve well and truly raised the bar I’ll be interested to see what they do to top it.

Off to attempt to find something cultured to do for the afternoon, and tomorrow onward to Berlin.

Working at Chirstmas Time

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

Well it’s the December the 27th and I’m back at work in an almost empty office, there’s only two of us left now. People always think it strange that I work the days between Christmas and New Year but generally there’s not that much going on around now and it’s not that hard to wander in and get some stuff done. Better to save holidays for some other time.

It also gives me a chance to listen to all the CDs I’ve bought over the last few weeks (I got a bit Amazon-happy again and just kept clicking the big button). I’m listening to Jarvis, Jarvis Cocker’s new album, at the moment. It’s really rather good, well worth picking up in the sales. You can hear some of it on his (particularly awful looking) myspace page.

Bonus link: teaser trailer for the new Fantastic Four movie. As one of the few people that actually liked the first film I’m quite looking forward to this one.

Them …

Sunday, August 20th, 2006

I resolved this year to see at least one thing in the Film Festival, so I went to see a (very) late showing of Them last night. I get the feeling they were hoping this might be the next Blair Witch, I’m not convinced — but then I didn’t like Blair Witch either.

I have to admit that midnight, after several beers, is probably not the best time for me to be seeing a movie and I was on the verge of dozing off several times — this may be part of the reason I didn’t really get into the film. The beginning is good but hasn’t got a lot to do with the rest of the movie, I’d have rather they’d have spent that time introducing the main characters. As it is you see next-to-nothing of the two leads before everything rapidly goes to hell in a handcart, this just leads to me not really caring what happens to them and I think that’s where the film lost me. From there it didn’t really do anything or go anywhere that I haven’t seen before. It does get bonus points for realism, everyone’s actions are sensible, the settings are plausible (although I’m not so convinced about the forest of plastic sheeting in one part) and whatever is messing with them never feels supernatural. This is all probably because the film is (loosely) based on real life events, you’re reminded of this at the very end of the film which I suspect is aiming to be ‘chilling’. I thing the end is designed to give you an uneasy feeling when you leave the cinema, my thought was simply “that’s a cute ending”, I was more unnerved by having to walk home in the rain.

It’s a good solid film, it’s probably worth seeing at a reasonable time while not half pissed. I wasn’t blown away by it but I might have been on a different day. To be fair most of the audience I was with seemed to really enjoy it, they even burst into applause at the end, so maybe it’s just me being fickle perhaps it’ll be a big autumn hit if it gets a wide release.

Superman Returns

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

I saw Superman Returns on Monday. It’s tremendous, everything I wanted from a new Superman movie. If you haven’t already then go see it, it’s well worth it.

I’ve no idea why Dead Mans Chest did so much better at the box office because, between the two movies, Superman is a far better film. It’s not that Pirates 2 was a bad film, but it has some major flaws like the length and the sketchy plot. In comparison Superman earns most of it’s two and half hour running time, the ending dragged a bit, but it’s the only part of the film that did. The plot is enough to keep the film going without over complicating things and the special effects manage to be spectacular without ever looking fake or overshadowing the story. The shuttle disaster sequence, in particular, is fantastic and it works brilliantly. The rest of film is littered with special effects but at the time I didn’t really notice, they just seemed ‘natural’ in the context of the movie which is a huge achievement.

The film’s not perfect but I’m not going to pick at it’s flaws, you can get that elsewhere. I’ll remember what I liked and be glad there’s been at least one film this summer I’ve really enjoyed. I’ll leave you with a couple of (spoiler filled) links both of which make points I broadly agree with, first a look at the some of the flaws from Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy, and here’s Harry Knowles raving about the film over at Ain’t It Cool News.

Movies

Sunday, July 23rd, 2006

I saw Pirates of the Caribbean 2 last weekend, I’d had high hopes going in and this was probably my mistake. This is the Empire Strikes Back of the Pirates trilogy but the beauty of Empire is that it’s quite a simple film with a easy to follow plot. Dead Mans Chest, in comparison, seems have had a plot retrofitted to it to give a poor excuse to get all the characters in the right place and join the end of the last film on to the start of the next via a checklist of set pieces and special effects. There’s none of the subtly of the first film where parts of the scenery suddenly become involved in the fight scenes, here the everything is introduced just before it’s used and discarded afterwards. It still has it’s bright spots, it’s a beautiful film to watch, Johnny Depp and Bill Nighy are outstanding in their roles, and the last hour is much better than the start even if the last ten minutes are effectively a trailer for the next movie. Worth going to see but it could really do with having a better plot and being half an hour shorter.

Failing to learn from my “high expectations” mistake I’m really looking forward to seeing Superman Returns this week, everything I’ve read says it should be fantastic. I only hope they’ve got enough content to justify the two and a half hour running time.

Finally, while the film of the year for 2006 is going to be Snakes on a Plane, we have a early contender for the honour in 2007: The Turtles are back. Woohoo.

Film Festival Lineup

Wednesday, July 19th, 2006

The Edinburgh Film Festival lineup is online. The horror lover in me is drawn to Them, nothing else jumps out at the moment but I’ll probably go and see a few things if I have time.

What I’d really like to mention, and you knew this was coming, is the website: it’s great. It’s not perfect, but it’s both stylish and useful, just take a look at the daily view. Now that is how you present listings information, the pane scrolls so no reloading the pages, it makes it obvious what clashes and you can mouse over films for full information. Perfect for people who want to find something to do on a particular day, if you don’t like that you can just display everything alphabetically and page through it, sadly only shows ten entries per page but you take what you can get.

Each film has it’s own full details page with a good long blurb, full show times, links to more information and recommendations for other films you might like. That last feature combined with the Suggest-O-Tron, which suggests films that are similar to other films, allows you to really browse through the site.

To be fair they’re probably the smallest of the festival sites but it’s still the only one that hasn’t annoyed me. It’s intuitive and easy to use but still has some great features. If I was being picky I’d want more search results per page and to have to click through less pages to bookmark a movie or book tickets. The keyword search function does seem to be flaky, that might be a temporary glitch and they have so few events that it hardly matters.

What’s even better is that, if my memory is correct, they’ve changed and improved the site this year rather than just sticking with what worked last year. If only other sites would follow their lead.