Sunday, May 29, 2005

Non Hollywood Weekend

Used the bank holiday to catch up on some films that I had missed at the cinema and all of them are American made but not Hollywood fayre.


The Woodsman
Kevin Bacon shows how great his acting has become in this movie which given its subject matter is unlikely to get the recognition it deserves. A brave move for all those involved in it.

Kevin plays a convicted paedophile, released after an 8-year sentence, and trying his best to get back to normal life; not easy when he's located opposite a school. The film is disturbing but not graphic, it's all the ideas of what might happen that makes you feel the way you do. A key scene with a young girl that the guy befriends is particularly depressing.

One to watch if you're up for something off the normal Hollywood path of movie making.



Sideways

An independant movie about 2 guys spending a week in the wine growing area of California; one guy is still hanging onto a past relationship, the other is about to get married and wants to have a final fling before he ties the knot. Whilst they're out enjoying the wine they meet a couple of women and attempt to befriend them. I think the film was originally a play as the film surrounds the 4 characters, exactly like "Closer" and has great dialogue between them, which you don't usually get with Hollywood fodder.

Another good movie which anyone can watch.


Garden State
The final film was perhaps the best of the 3 even though the story isn't all there. Written and directed by that kid from Scrubs, whose name escapes me, the film tells the story of a guy who returns home to New Jersey from a celebrity life in L.A. for the funeral of his mother. Whilst there he comes across a girl, played superbly by Natalie Portman, and they hit it off.

Featuring some slightly surreal scenes and odd characters, the film is just a great written piece of cinema and unlike Star Wars shows what Natalie Portman is capable of if given the proper material

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Given up on it already

Stopped watching Big Brother after one day.
The "personalities" (used in the loosest sense of the word) are dull, very dull.

Unfortunately this show gets so much coverage I'm not going to be able to avoid it, even if I want to.

Friday, May 27, 2005

They're in...

Big Brother 6 is officially underway with the 13 housemates now introduced. Here's my thoughts on each.

Derek
Gay black posh tory; quite a strange combination. He's also the oldest housemate at 40 and whilst not the most annoying he's not going to win. Being a fox hunt leader isn't going to endear him to anyone.

Lesley
Came dressed in a PVC nurses uniform and not much else judging by her embarrassment as she made her way up the stairs. Seems to be very superficial, comparing herself to the other women in the house. Too shallow to win.

Sam
Sex mad Oxford student who apparently would have taken a vibrator into the house but broke it. She's quite hot and is already getting the attention of the males. Too pretty to win I think though. The hottest of all the women IMO.

Maxwell
The North London Geezer who seems to be sure enough of himself withough being arrogant. Looks like being quite a laugh. Not sure who'll vote for him though.

Vanessa
Calls herself a two-faced bitch. I think this is the one who's character will develop over time. She seemed to be too reserved at the moment.

Anthony
Instantly despised by the crowd by his posing. Has the looks to please the women but is way too smug. Early departure for him I think.

Roberto
Stereotypical Italian who is going to remain in the house for a long time on the strength of his looks alone.

Makosi
Nubian Princess who has way too high opinion of herself but doesn't seem to be fully with it and is a little bit dense, at least based on her first chat with Big Brother.

Craig
Here's the complete arrogant knob although his persona in the house is much quieter than his interviews.

Mary
The total wildcard. A white witch who believes she has been abducted 7 times. Made her entrance looking like she'd strayed off the Lord of the Rings set. One of 2 people that I think will attempt to escape.

Science
And here's the other escapee. A rapper, poet with a lot to say. I don't think the house is going to be challenging enough for him. Seems similar to Victor from last year.

Saskia

Very endowed women, looks quite pretty but aspires to be a footballer's wife which has put me off her already.

Kemal
This year's Marco. A way too camp cross dressing gay. Will probably do quite well as a result.

First challenge has already been set. As the unlucky 13th contestant Makosi has to get more votes for the first week nominations if she is to avoid eviction. This means she has to be nasty to them. However she didn't really understand what was being asked of her so I think this challenge won't work and hopefully they'll get rid of her.

Freeview has a new channel, or two.

Today is the first night of Big Brother 5. To coincide with that show the powers that be have put E4 onto Freeview. This means I'll get to see shows like 6ft Under and Bo' Selecta before they appear on channel 4. Sweet!

Whilst searching for new channels it also picked up Men and Motors. The launch of this one has been kept quieter perhaps because of it's content haha!

Phew, what a scorcher!

Today has been the most glorious day and according to the news the hottest day in May for 50 years. Why do people collect such stats I wonder?

Anyway I've had a shit week at work so what better excuse to leave early than to get out to enjoy this. Apparently it's only supposed to last til Sunday. At least I won't be staying in this weekend.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Lego Star Wars - Completed


I just completed the game today, only had it over a week but it is so easy to play that I've been on it non-stop.

Looks like they're going to make a sequel too. Cool!!!

Ripping into the Star Wars Fanboys

It's an old clip but still relevant given the release of Part III.

Click Here

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Colonel Blimp






Colonel Blimp is a music video production company that has been responsible for some of the best videos in recent years with a heavy focus on British Acts. This website contains some full videos and some short clips that are worth watching.

Artists include
Goldie Lookin' Chain
Chemical Brothers
The Streets
Scissor Sisters
Dave Clarke (Looks very strange indeed)
Muse
Dirty Vegas (An absolutely superb video to "Days Go By")
Benny Benassi
Graffiti (A great track that should have got a lot more airplay)
Bjork
Fatboy Slim

For the more visually disturbing stuff take a look at Dominic Hailstone section. If Chris Cunningham needs replacing then this guy has to be in the running.

13, 13, 13, 13, 13, 13

Definitely an unlucky number for this poor chap.

Very funny commercial

Friday, May 20, 2005

Battle Royale



I love Battle Royale. If you've not seen the film I highly recommend it.

If it's so far passed you by here's a quite synopsis (ooh, he used a big word!!!)

Some time in the near future, schools have lost their discipline and kids are becoming unruly. So a law is passed to take a class of kids at random, put them on an island, each armed with a different weapon, and have them kill each other until only one survives. To make sure they play the game they're all fitted with explosive collars around the necks set to detonate if they stay in one place too long. If after 3 days more than 1 person survives all the collars are detonated.

The film is just superb, the idea is too far out to have been made by the west and I think it's still too radical to be played in America; if you're out there try to locate it. It's definitely worth it. There's a twisted sense of humour running through it e.g. with the weapons one kid gets an uzi whilst another has to make do with a saucepan lid. There is also a nice psychological side to it in that because the kids know they're going to die they all become a lot more honest and reveal their secrets to each other; crushes etc...

Over the last few weeks I've been locating the 15 Manga books adapted from the film. I have 12 and they've been great but I found out that the final 3 chapters are coming out in July, October and February next year. I've never had to wait so long for a book before (Harry Potter doesn't count as I'm not too bothered if I don't read it straight away). The manga is similar to tbe book but being typical manga contains a lot more sex and gore than the original. That aside the novels also give more of a background to each character and help to make the world more complete. Not all the deaths are the same so it's not just the same story presented differently.

Are all town centres the same?

One of the reasons for moving to where I have is that nearby in Sutton there is a really nice pedestrianised town centre. Last weekend I went to Croydon which is also close by and noticed a lot of similarities between the two so I'm wondering if every town centre is the same.

I've noticed that town centres all contain the following.

A chinese man who will make your name by bending metal into shape (do they exist in Greece or Sri Lanka where names are extrmemely long I wonder)
A group of South Americans who play pan pipes, probably to raise enough cash for the flight home.
A japanese man playing some oddly stringed instrument through a loud PA, usually surrounded by a crowd of people not really into the music but wondering how the hell the thing he's holding makes the sounds it does.
An old man who should know better trying to busk by singing old Big Band songs, admittedly better to sing "Mac the Knife" than be under it.
A congregation of young kids all smartly dressed, standing in a circle holding hands praising the Lord for giving them something better to do than sell drugs on a Saturday afternoon.
Market traders trying to compete for having the loudest and most unintelligible shouting. You'll hear the majority of what they're saying but you won't be able to make out the item they're trying to sell e.g. "Get you boorrers", "pound a berrwwwies for a pound"

Well people spotting offers a nice break from the humdrum of shopping.

Musical Baton

I spotted this on a friend's website and whilst it's supposed to be passed on it seems to be getting passed around through people picking it up. So here's mine.

This is an update to the pass-around-the-email surveys which have been doing the rounds over the last few years. This is more a pass-it-around-the-blogs type thing, meaning its actually much more useful and interesting because you can see what everybody else has answered.


Total volume of music files on my computer is…
A rather hefty 16 Gigs.

The last CD I bought was…
"50,000,000 Soulwax Fans Can't Be Wrong" by 2 Many DJs. At the moment I'm a big fan of bootlegs and mashups where you take the vocal from one track and the melody from another and put them together to make a new composition. There are some great albums and mixes out there at the moment and 2 Many DJs seem to come up with the most eclectic so far. I've not bought a CD for a while though, now that I have iTunes. If we're to count that then it's Goldie Lookin' Chain's Greatest Hits and I will say no more on that haha!!


Song playing right now…

A modern reworking by Glyn Barber of the music from "Rastan Saga", an 80s arcade game. A bit geeky but a really nice composition using a full orchestra.


Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me…

In no particular order, songs that mean a lot to me include:

1. Orbital - "Belfast". A truly stunning track that shows you can get emotion from electronic music. I read an article that says this music has been played at births, at weddings, and at funerals and when you listen to it you'll realise why. It's one of those tunes that gets played at Cafe del Mar as the sun sets and just looking around and seeing people smiling to it is a memory I'll keep forever. This is my all time favourite tune so appears top of the list.

2. Young Black Teenagers - "Tap The Bottle". When I was in my alternative clubbing phase this was one of those infectious hip hop tracks that everyone would just jump about to, but it wasn't mainstream like "Jump Around" or "Smells Like Teen Spirit". I also like the track because the lyrics are amusing (which I like in rap) and there is just a great vibe from it. We made this our anthem during that phase of my life.

3. Underworld - "Born Slippy". After my alternative clubbing phase I progressed onto more conventional clubs and was a regular at a small superclub in Angel called "Complex". At the time it used to have the best DJs such as Carl Cox and Danny Rampling but once a month Paul Oakenfold would play and it was during one of his sets that he dropped this and the whole place just went mad. Anyone who knows Oakenfold will know that he plays tracks way before they get released so this was being played before "Trainspotting" had been released (the film the track is associated with). Everyone in the club was completely Euphoric and I don't mean from drugs, the music was enough on its own. If you've ever had that completely high moment in a club you'll understand the feeling I'm trying to describe.

4. NWA - "100 Miles and Running". It was hard for me to pick between this and a Beastie Boys track. During the 80s, it was this genre of music that made me realise there was more to music than pop, which was getting all the airplay. I clearly remember hearing 2 Live Cru and NWA for the first time and I got totally caught up in the VW badge phase the Beasties were responsible for. Everyone remembers NWA for "Fuck tha Police" and "Straight Outa Compton" but I love this track instead for it's raw energy really comes across in the raps and production. The video was great too.

5. Andrew WK - "Party Hard". This guy was proclaimed as being the new driving resurgance of rock after the industry took a slump following the suicide of Kurt Cobain. A few years on and he's pretty much disappeared which is a shame because if he brought out more tracks like this then I for one would buy them. I completely missed his stuff when first released and am getting into it now. If you want a total party rock tune then try this.



Five people to whom I'm passing the baton…

As no one else is passing it about feel free to pick it up.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Friday, May 13, 2005

Ong Bak


I hadn't been to the cinema for a while and it's been ages since I'd seen a foreign movie so I decided to go and see Ong-Bak, a Thai film that is doing the rounds at the mo and getting some great reviews.

Whilst the story isn't going to get any Oscars it does deserve something for it's action sequences; to say they're breathtaking would be an understatement, especially when you realise that no CGI or wirework was involved in the action sequences. Tony Jaa really does do double somersaults, dives head first through loops of barb wire and cartwheels between 2 sheets of glass (you have to see this last one, quite amazing).

People are claiming Tony Jaa is the new Jackie Chan but I disagree, sure he's nimble and a talented martial artist but he has no charisma. He looks like a frog and sounds like he's inhaled helium. I think the director realised his limitations and made sure his vocabulary was kept to a minimum.

I also feel sorry for the stunt men in this film, you can see them grimacing before they get kicked in the head/smashed through walls/bounced off tables. The brutal ones are shown from multi-angles too.

Definitely worth seeing

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Pics are uploaded

I've gone for MSN spaces to hold my images, just because they have a nice slideshow feature.

The link is over on the left...

Monday, May 09, 2005

Holland Report

The weekend was great and whilst we weren't fortunate with the weather we were extremely lucky with the queues with just about every ride being a walk on. In fact the longest queue I recall was 10 minutes for Goliath.

Toverland was a nice surprise. It's one of those parks where kids and adults-who-act-like-kids can just muck about. Our first impressions were that we wouldn't be allowed to take part on the majority of it but we were. So we climbed to the top of everything, rode the longest metal slides I've ever seen (even better that they consisted of rollers all the way down from some great speed-sliding opportunity) . The other observation I had was that the UK HSE would have a fit if they saw some of the stuff this place had; 10 kids on the same trampoline, 5 year olds walking along an enclosed rope bridge a good 20 feet off the floor and a highrope assault course with no way of getting to anyone who got stuck along it. The kids were loving all of it and it just shows how much of a nanny state we've become here in the UK. The park has been so successful that it is due to get it's third extension soon. As well as the ERS on the booster bike we were also given a mini-ERS on the powered bob and access to a free bar. The bike ERS was going on for so long I think we could have easily tried having another 24 hour challenged on the ride. The ride itself is really nice but it does get a little uncomfortable in a certain area.

Day 2 took us to Efteling, and this park is huge and it is really easy to get lost in it, even with a paid for map so a big thanks to Bart, Peter and Co. for playing the role of park guide and taking a small group of us around the park. My favourite ride was the Bob, much more reckless than the bobsleigh ride I'm used to riding. Vogel Rock was really cool too as was "Dream Flight", however I was disappointed with Villa Volta which I'd been told was the best Madhouse ride anywhere. I don't think it was as good as Hex, although the music is impressive.
The majority of the group went out in the evening to enjoy Amsterdam, I chose to remain at the hotel but did get to hear stories involving string, men dressed as monkeys and bananas. I shall say no more!

Day 3 was the former Six Flags park now Walibi World Holland park. There were no signs of any Six Flags operations at this park, in fact those that had been to the park in it's former guise praised the park for the way it was being run now, so soon since the change of management. Personally I really liked the way the park was being run; we were given a really nice welcome and the 15 minute ERS on Goliath was extended to a good hour. The highlight for me was riding Goliath in the hailstones, definitely a nice way to exfoliate the skin, if perhaps a little too painful. If you review the overall ride experience then Goliath is far superior to Expedition G-Force even if it's not quite as good a ride. Their new water ride is a lot of fun, extremely wet though and ponchos were given out free to protect everyone taking part (would Six Flags have done that?). Superman is now called Express and is running really well, the SLC was a little rough but still OK, the bad egg is the Boomerang but you know what you're getting with one of those; concussion through the loop in both directions. Robin Hood is perhaps the most comfortable car I've ever ridden in, it's just like sitting on a sofa. This park also had the craziest park mascot I've ever seen. He seemed to be a drunken blue elephant, at least he appeared to be drunk the way he'd stumble towards crowds of people without falling over.

That evening a small group of us went to visit Euromast which had been the tallest structure in Rotterdam but when the local hospital went taller the owners wanted the record back so they stuck another tower on top of the existing one. The structure now looks a little odd but it offers amazing views over the city (to the musical accompaniment of David Bowie singing "Ground control to major Tom"). We also came across a small fair which was on it's final night in the city so we rode a few of the rides there. A booster with 5G loops and strobe lights made this the best spin ride of the trip for me. We were very confused by the public transport system however, perhaps someone can explain why we needed to buy 3 strips for a 2-zone journey.

The final morning saw us visiting a small family run park called Drievliet which contained 4 coasters, 1 of which wasn't open as the finishing touches to it's construction were being made. They had a spinning coaster that was a little rough but still fun, a StarWorld type spinning coaster which had plenty of spinning going on and a mouse coaster. This was the best arranged ERS of the trip in that we were given the entire park for an hour before the public were let in. We only had a couple of hours at the park but it was still more than enough. The only bad point was that the bouncy castle was under inflated so those of us who ran into it promptly fell flat on our faces.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Some amazingly good news

Lenny Henry to quit sketch shows

Here's hoping more of his type follow his lead.

Monday, May 02, 2005

DVDs watched this Bank Holiday Weekend


Taxi
This was OK but I preferred the original. Who on earth thought casting Queen Latifah as a cycle courier would be a good idea?


Without a Paddle
Not bad, tries to be Road Trip but fails to be as funny. Who on earth thought casting Burt Reynolds as a wild hermit would be a good idea?


The Twins Effect
Quite good Hong Kong spin on the Blade movies. Who on earth thought casting Jackie Chan as a ambulance driver would be a good idea?


Shaolin Soccer
Truly appaling Kung Fu meets Football movie. Who on earth thought putting these two genres together would be a good idea?


Walking Tall
Surprisingly OK film starring The Rock as a ex soldier who returns to his home town and fights corruption in his hometown from some old friends. Who on earth thought a WWF/E wrestling star who became famous through being able to raise his eyebrow, could become a bonafide movie actor?


Spivs
Disappointing movie that is marketed to appeal to fans of Hustle but has very little to do with cons. Who on earth would have thought I'd have been stupid enough to fall for such a cynical marketing trick?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

A very funny (but gross) J-Lo story.

I found this on popdoh and it made me laugh. Thought I'd share it with you.

"Remember a few years ago when Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were here shooting Project Greenlight?" (They had gone to Sundance to interview directors and writers and try and create a publicity stunt and an episode out of it.) "I was doing sound in the condo where they were both lodging and filming. At one point Ben took a break from shooting and disappeared upstairs to his bedroom. By mistake he left his wireless mic on."

"Jennifer Lopez was there with Ben, but was hiding out in his room the whole time. At first when I heard Ben kissing her hello, I immediately went to turn the volume down on my headphones. But then they started kissing loudly and making noises, and I felt so guilty, but I left the sound up, and heard Jennifer saying 'I love you baby, I love you... You wanna get busy, baby. You wanna get busy?'"

"Then I heard Ben reply, .'Are you sure you're feelin' better? I don't want you to shit on me again.'"

A strange Orbital coincidence

Orbital recorded a track with a voice over by Christopher Eccelstone.
Christopher Ecclestone is the current Dr. Who.
Orbital also re-recorded the Dr. Who theme tune.

Nightmare Journey Home

I had to go back up to the old flat today. The residents had complained about a hoover I'd left by the bins. When you're as old as they all are you have to complain about big issues like this. With the council refusing to pick it up, I had to get rid of it. Whilst I was up there I decided to pop in and say "hi" to Mum and Dad and watch Takeshi's Castle.

I left there at 18.30 to return home, a trip that should only take 2 hours.
When I got to Kennington the line was stopped due to a train further down breaking down. So I left the station and jumped on a bus to Streatham figuring that was on the way home.

I got to Streatham and headed the wrong way to the station, eventually realised and turned back. Got to the station to realise the train I wanted doesn't run the same on Sunday i.e. it doesn't stop there at all.

Got another bus back to Balham, which was on the mainline route home, but jumped off thinking I was there when I wasn't. I was at Tooting Bec, 1 stop down. Took the tube, which was now running again, back to Balham from where I got a train home.

Total journey time 3 and a half hours.

Streatham is not a place I want to be late at night, I'm usually quite street savvy but I was a little out of my depth there. If it wasn't for the fact I've chosen not to shave this holiday weekend, I may have looked good enough to mug. As I was I probably passed myself off as a homeless person and was left alone.