Showing posts from 2009

Avatar: A review

It’s the end of 2009 and what a year it has been. On a personal level I finished university, put one foot into the real world and planned a trip round to the Far East and Australia, which is now scarcely 18 days away. Chances are this will be my last real post before I leave and dedicate this blog to documenting my travels, so I decided to do a review of Avatar, A) as it is very much hyped at this point in time, B) I watched it the other day so it felt like a relevant topic.

I felt some trepidation before watching this film, as I am always very wary of films with a lot of hype behind them and also that this was touted to be the film that would make 3D big. I have to admit I’m no real lover of 3D films. All the films I’ve seen in 3D have left me questioning its point, unless the director purposely exploited the medium by repeatedly sticking objects in the face of the viewer. This was the reason I didn’t see Up in 3D as I felt it was good enough in 2D, but anyway I’m getting away from th…

The White Terror!

Lock your doors! Get the Kids inside! Horde enough food to last for next two weeks! IT’S COMING! Or more to the point it’s here! I am of course talking about the sudden and ‘terrifying’ onset of snow that has hit our country.

Given the way that our country reacts to snow you’d think that something cataclysmic had happened, as much of our transport network shuts down, people in isolated communities become stranded and/or their power goes out. And if I look carefully out my window I think I see the four horsemen of the apocalypse, riding atop a particularly full looking snow cloud. Yes, we go absolutely bananas when it snows, as we seem to have forgotten that our country is in the northern hemisphere and is kind of prone to this kind of weather. Instead it seems, we cower at our windows, pointing and screaming: “WHAT IS IT!!” before passing out from the stress.

True, getting snow these days is rarer than it used to be and is nothing like the type seen by our parents, when it used to lite…

So sue me?

Lawyers. They’re a funny old group of people aren’t they. They are the people who spend years trying to understand the many confusing and befuddling laws of the land, and apply it on our behalf. It’s like hiring a translator really, if you consider law a language unto itself. I suppose in that way lawyers collectively are like a high school clique, with their own created slang to confuse and keep out the ‘un-cool kids’ outside their circle, and in that way it is hard to trust them. Especially as their only apparent criterion for defending a criminal, no matter how immoral they may be, is whether they can pay or not. All in all, what I’m saying is that I don’t trust lawyers.

The main reason I’ve decided to bring this up now is because of a number of libel cases that I’ve noticed recently, gagging people from making comment which is considered slanderous. Now don’t get me wrong I have no problem with protecting people from unnecessary slander, these laws do have their time and place. Ho…

A few observations on Christmas shopping

I made my first cautious outing to my local town centre during the run-up to Christmas today. Having increasingly relied on the internet for nearly all my shopping of late, Christmas or otherwise, it made the experience feel a little alien. I know I’ve faced it before in the past, but it’s like I’d forgotten about all the perils, and general bewilderment that comes with facing a local shopping centre on a Saturday in December.

Here are a few observations:
• Women, when Christmas shopping, have no space perception whatsoever.
• Young children can and will cry, and really test your patience as you wait in a queue of what seems like thousands. Whilst it is annoying, you can’t help but feel sorry for the parents accompanying them, as they are stuck in a bit of an impossible situation. Then again you have to draw the line at parents who seem to just leave the children to cry. I don’t know if they’re trying to wean a child off dependency, or if they’re just rubbish parents.
• Most teenagers…

An open letter to the makers of the Windows 7 adverts

Holidays are here!

Christmas time is coming. In fact it’s actually here now, on our doorstep; cap in hand; demanding good cheer, presents, and over indulgence, whilst conjuring the persistent image of Father Christmas holding a gun against our heads. That’s it cheer up! There may be a recession on, society might be in freefall, but we’ll be damned if there are any scrooges about to spoil the exuberance! Now say Ho ho ho merry Christmas, or kiss goodbye to your brains!

I’m joking of course. Christmas doesn’t have to be chore. As a matter of fact it is a right old laugh really. It’s the time of year where you can get together with family (and then realise precisely why we spend most of the year avoiding them), over-eat to our hearts content (something close to my heart anyway), and generally just make light of the dreary, cold weather that comes with this time of year by putting up tinselly and festive decorations.

Still it comes quicker every year, to overuse the old cliché. But cliché or not, it really do…

The Formulaic Word

So last week The F Word returned to our screens again, once again fronted by Gordon Ramsey and his gargoylesque face and personality. Ramsey of late seems to be everywhere from the Gordon’s Gin commercials and billboards to the pages of Heat magazine - where for reasons beyond my comprehension he is considered a hottie by the ladies? Honestly his face looks like a piece of old cheese that’s been ravaged by a force nine hurricane, complete with hail. Surely if that’s a look to aspire to I should just go and stick my head in a blender. Everywhere we go we see the scowling Glaswegian’s mug, and I have to say it gets tiresome. Either way we have another helping of his foodie delight; that in previous years has made for good viewing – being a food lover myself I enjoy seeing new ways to cook – but this year it feels like the show has run out steam.

New On the Menu
To be quite honest the format remains mostly unchanged this year, except that instead of pitting amateur chefs against each othe…

Formula One goes to hell in a handbasket made of solid gold

F1 this week has found itself falling in to crisis yet again this year as the Toyota Motor Corporation finally pulled the plug on its money sapping F1 programme. This is the third major car manufacturer in 11 months to do so along with Honda and BMW, and Renault too is considering leaving. Now I could write reams about my thoughts on the Toyota, and how I couldn’t care less that a dull team with no charisma or even a decent success record – especially considering that hundreds of millions a year were spent on the cars – has left, but that’s best saved for another day. Either way Toyota pulling out is a significant development for the sport.

Manufacturer boom

During the mid to late 90s F1 bosses lured major manufacturers into the F1, attempting to bring their wealth and influence to the sport. Needless to say these attempts were successful as Honda, Toyota, BMW, Renault and Ford (in the guise of Jaguar) all funded F1 programmes in the early years of the new century. These often started…

BNP Time

It was probably the most controversial event of the week – postal strikes and Afghanistan aside– and caused mass outrage, but in the end the appearance of BNP leader Nick Griffin on question time went ahead as planned.

Having Griffin on the show was always going to be contentious, as many see the BNP as a fascist and racist organisation. Unfortunately (and no matter how well meaning the protest may appear to people who want an end to racial intolerance) whether you like it or not, the BNP have been democratically elected to the European Parliament by the North West and York and Humberside electorate, so it was right that the BBC invited Griffin on the show, as to not would have contravened the idea of democratic free speech. After all if we marginalise undesirable politicians who were voted in legitimately, we therefore deny a voice to the people who decided to vote for them. Sure some people may argue (as the protesters outside the BBC effectively did) that that’s allowable given the …

Moir Stupidity

Today I think I’m going to add my voice to the growing number of critics of a column article written by Jan Moir for the Daily Mail.

In the article Moir alleges that there was, “Nothing natural” about the death of Boyzone singer Stephen Gately, who died last week aged 33. And goes on to make several quite backward comments about the singer’s lifestyle – Gately came out as gay in 1999 - referring to it as “Sleazy,” and that his sudden death is “a blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships”. To turn an unfortunate public figure’s death into a case against gay marriage is a strange one. It only seems to undermine a petty and homophobic mindset. It’s almost like she’s seen Gately’s death as a way to put the boot in to the gay community, although without saying it overtly. Still most people can read between the lines of that, and have.

It would appear that in Moir’s eyes, there is no smoke without fire, in the case of a gay man dying; even going against the conventional logic …

Would I lie to you?

I went to see the Invention of Lying, the most recent vehicle for Ricky Gervais’s movie career playing fictitious versions of himself. Having seen his last offering, Ghost Town, I was a little worried that this film would be similarly promising, but ultimately lacking in consistency when it came to laughs.

So like Ghost Town, The Invention of Lying is a high concept film which features an alternate universe where people are unable to say anything that isn’t 100 per cent true. So naturally there are numerous scenes, where we are led to titter at someone unflinchingly telling a waiter that the restaurant's food was terrible, or in other scenes where people bluntly and unflinchingly say that they hate their co-workers. It's a bit like a reality TV talent show really. That’s where Mark Bellingham (Gervais) comes in, as the tubby loser (I’m not being harsh, this fact is repeatedly shoved down the audiences throat by many of the characters), who after being fired from his job, and f…

Geldofs Be Gone!

Really, who actually cares about what the Geldof children are up to? Anybody? No one’s had a long, roving, and highly stimulating discussion about the latest antics of the brood with pretentious names? I don’t see any hands? Come on, does no one give a toss that one of them was seen freshening up with a wet wipe, or another was seen enjoying a coffee and a slice of carrot cake? Well if this is the case, then the press have wasted a massive amount of time, space, and resources on Bobby, ‘Saviour of Africa and that guy who sung I don’t like Mondays’s,’ princesses. I suppose what I’m saying isn’t new, mainly: “who are these people and why should I care about them”.

It’s an issue endemic to the cult of celebrity that the media has become besotted with. Still, I can understand why people might prick up their ears if some, famous for the sake of it, pratt – like the hordes of interchangeable FHM and Sun glamour models, or Jordan - gain some attention, as their train-wreck lives are so compe…

It's Looks and Personality Wot Wins Elections. Not The Sun.

Expend This!

Now I am quite a fan of action films. Sure they are purile and mindless things to watch, but god they are entertaining. Maybe it’s being a man or something, but a movie with lots of explosions; stupid puns and men who can’t act for shit, but can still forge an acting career thanks to the former two things, despite being as wooden as a petrified pine tree, but then who cares as that kind of adds to the entertainment. Anyway, I digress. The reason I’m suddenly gushing about my love of action theatre, is because the culmination of every action movie generic convention seems to be amalgamating into a massive, perpetually exploding, testosterone filled lump of pure muscle, which will be called The Expendables, and is out next year.

This film has the action casts of action casts, including: Sly Stallone, Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren and Mickey Rourke… oh and ARNOLD SCHWARZNEGGAR. Seriously, this film will be Actiongeddon, and may raise the bar of the ludicrous action f…

Whoever thought a doctors surgery was like this needs a doctor themselves.