Thursday, June 29, 2006

Hills, 93, ECG, trailers and riding a bike

Elliot has finally got the hang of riding his bike. Roz and I bought it for him a good few months ago but up until recently, he has got the hang of pedalling a full rotation (he tended to move himself along with a half rotation, then realigning and starting again). Now there’s no stopping him…

Also, we have recently taken down all but one of the stair gates in our house. Elliot had pretty much figures out how to open them, so they no longer really served much purpose.

I’ve noticed that since I’ve started riding into work that I’ve been getting rather uncomfortable chest pains. As such, I decided to go to the doctor to ask about this. He suggested an immediate ECG (which was worrying), thankfully my heart is fine. Instead, it’s some sort of gullet infection which will likely be better soon (actually feeling better already).

There have been a whole host of trailers posted on the web recently, these being:

Snakes on a Plane – interesting could be amusing.

Lady in the Water – Lost faith in M Night Syamalan a long time ago.


Spiderman 3 ( which can be found here)

Looks promising!

Films watched:
United 93

An unnervingly real account of the tragic flight 93 during the events of September 11. So real in fact, that this almost seems to a documentary take on the events.

The brought back memories to me of my reaction on that day. The utter shock and disbelieve. The feeling that the whole world was coming to pieces. An overwhelming sense of sympathy for those and the families caught up in these events.

As a film, this is remarkable, something that I couldn’t really describe as enjoyable, but could describe as unmissable. If this isn’t up for an Oscar come 2007 I’ll eat my hat. My only complaint would be that the film really is split in two parts. That of the passengers on flight 93 and also air traffic control as they try to get to grips with the events. Whilst the air traffic control events are interesting, they are dragged on a little too long and I feel that the focus should have been skewed a little more to the passengers of the flight, perhaps giving a little more background to them.

The last twenty minutes or so, where the passengers say goodbye by mobile to their love ones and decide to take action against the terrorists really is quite an emotional experience. Highly, highly recommended.


The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

Haven’t I seen this before? No, I’m not talking about the original either. I’m talking about the endless spew of slasher films in the past few years. I’m talking Texas Chainsaw, Hostel, Wolf Creek, Wrong Turn … the list is almost endless.

For all the blood, guts and violence this film had it was lacking one very important ingredient… a plot.

I’m starting to tire of watching the same film over and over again. Hell, I like horror’s, but for god sake, a little bit of originality is needed. Please?


Saturday, June 24, 2006

Potty's and Geisha

We’ve been trying to train Elliot to be “dry” overnight at the moment. A little early perhaps, but his bedtime nappies have often been dry so we thought, why not!

Tonight we left a potty in his room and told him that if he woke up and felt like he needed to go to the toilet he could use this. We were surprise to see when we went into his room before that he had actually used it. He’d gotten out of bed, used the potty, got dress again and climbed back into bed without us even hearing him. This may sound trivial to non-parent, but you have no idea how proud this make me feel.

I know, I’m a sad, yet very proud, father.

Film watched:
Memoirs of a Geisha

Another recent adaptation of a popular novel that I have enjoyed (the other being The Da Vinci Code), this unfortunately, has not translated to the screen as well.

Yes it has been beautifully filmed and yes it follows the novel very well (even if it skips a few initial chapters), but what it doesn’t capture is the heart of the novel. If there was one word that could describe the film it would be “pedestrian”. It just goes about it’s business slowly, doing what it needs to do, showing what it needs to show, with little flair or spark.

The psychological yet courteous war games between rival Geisha feel flat and pointless. The desires and hopes of Sayori, unimportant. You never feel anything for anyone, which is a crying shame considering the strength of the novel.

If Spielberg had directed this (as he had originally intended) then this may have been a very different film. Now, it’s just a poor and pointless adaptation. Pretty to look at, but shallow and hollow to the core.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Tardis Tennis and Candy

Whilst browsing for online flash games with Elliot I came across the following:

Tardis Tennis

Just perfect for pre Wimbledon fever.

I especially like playing John Legend (Lennon) :)

Film watched:
Hard Candy

I normally try to avoid them, but…

*warning – spoilers*

This has got to be one of the only films I’ve ever seen where someone (a man, unsurprisingly, in this instance) has been forced to leave the cinema out of utter horror. He was sitting a little behind me and as such, I was privy to his sharp intake of breath as the particular scene took place followed by a comment along the lines of “I can’t take any more of this”.

Two word sum this up very nicely…

“Castration scene”

Of course you don’t actually see anything (thank god), but it’s the slow psychological build up to the scene and the fact that it doesn’t rush a single second that make it so stomach (or should that be groin) churning. That and the squishy sound effects.

Unfortunately the twists towards the end of the film are a little disappointing, I would have preferred it if you’d been left wondering a bit more about the girls sanity and whether the victim was really a paedophile or not.


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Portrait, Anthology and Elliot

Poor Elliot hasn’t been feeling well the last few days. It turns out that he had a “hand foot and mouth” infection which seems to be localised in his mouth. Basically it means that is mouth is full of blisters and is really very painful. As such, he hadn’t been able to eat much or even drink much the last few days and has understandably been rather miserable.

My parent had planned to take Elliot away today for a daytrip to Sark and for a while it was looking uncertain whether he would be able to make it. Thankfully he seemed a little perkier in the morning and has gone and by the sound of things, has been having a very nice day.

It’s been a rather strange day just with just Roz and I, almost as if we were just a couple again. It’s been rather a nice break, but all the same I’ve missed Elliot a bit.

I got the Beatles Anthology DVD boxset through from Amazon the other day and have started to watch through this. It’s all very interesting and I’ll likely post a little more about this once I’ve finished.

At playschool on Thursday Elliot made a couple of presents for me for Fathers Day. One of these is a coaster with a portrait of me that he drew. This is shown below:

The expression is probably about right, not too sure about the orange hair though :-\

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Weird Al Blunt

If you have the same feeling of dread everytime that "your beautiful" by James Blunt is played on the radio, why not download (for free) a new mp3 by the sublimely talented Weird Al Yankovic...


It amused me :)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Jersey films, Lara, 666 & Abbey Road

Well 06/06/06 has come and passed with no apocalypse (that I’m aware of)… I hope all you parents out there with babies born on that fateful day check your child’s head for suspicious 666 shaped birthmarks. Trust me, Damien is the name to go for a boy.

The remake of The Omen happened to be release on 06/06/06 and I happened to take a look on and saw its opening night figure:


A spooky coincidence, don’t you think!

Had a nice time in Jersey with Roz and Elliot, just seemed to go by so damn quick, before I knew it my holiday was over and I was back to work… I slightly overindulged on all you can eat buffet at the hotel and therefore suffered a bit on the last day, but apart from that everything went smoothly… even Condor was on time!

I managed to pick up a couple of extra Beatles albums in Jersey, namely Rubber Soul and Abbey Road. I’ve also since ordered the Beatles Anthology DVD documentary from Amazon a couple of days ago. Abbey Road has been rocketed to the very top of my best albums of all time list, alongside Sg. Peppers and The White Album. It really is quite something else, an end of an era record (this was the Beatles last studio album) and a much more joyous and less restrained album than Let it Be. It really is something else, Rubber Soul is also an excellent album, but I’ve been listening to Abbey Road pretty much no stop since I put it on my ipod.

My only annoyance is with my ipod. Why is it that the ipod insists on having a slight pause between tracks? This must only be for 1/10 of a second, but for some CD’s this can be annoying and Abbey Road is one of those. The final 11 tracks which formed side 2 of the original record are a collection of song which really form an seamless rock ballad. This makes the pause between tracks very noticeable and annoyingly so. Surely there must be some way around this, but as far I can see there isn’t.

Over in Jersey I managed to catch a few films at their vastly superior cinemas…

Films watched:
Silent Hill
This film varied from extremely unnerving and visually striking to pretty humdrum.

I was really hoping that this would be a spectacular game adaptation, the only problem is that for most of the film it felt very much like you were playing the game. The story was led very much by a poor clue A leads to clue B narrative, which whilst fine in a game, is a little dull in a film.

When things got surreal and dark, then the film came into its own and certain scenes (I’m thinking pyramid head and nurses here) really were pretty damn good. It’s just a shame that they felt the need to try and explain just about everything. The good thing about Silent Hill is that you don’t know what the hell is going on.


The Da Vinci Code
Okay, I really liked the book and overall this was a pretty fine adaptation.

Bits of the book were slightly watered down for the film and other parts were quickly mentioned, but overall the film slowed well and the performances closely matched the characters.

I think that really, like many book adaptation, it’s hard to convey so much within such a short period of time and whilst the book has the luxury to take it’s time, the film doesn’t and as such, much of the impact is lost.


X-Men 3: The Last Stand
It seemed that every critic wanted this film to fail after the departure of Byran Singer from the project, but I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt and I’m glad to say that in my opinion at least, this more than lives up to the previous films.

My only 2 complaints are that Vinnie Jones was quite frankly a stupid choice for Juggernaught and that the film could have been a little longer to fit in all the story threads.

If this is truly the last X-Men film (which I hope it isn’t), then this is quite some finale.

For any of you that have been put off by lukewarm reviews, I suggest that you give the film a chance, you might be surprised. Just sit back and enjoy the film, as pure entertainment, it can’t be beaten so far this year.


Games played:
Tomb Raider: Legend
Whilst in Jersey I picked this up at a very good price at Woolworths on the PS2

I managed to have a quick go at this last night and my initial impressions are very positive. It is very much a case of Tomb Raider meets Prince of Persia, but that is no bad thing. Also, the graphics on the aging PS2 really are quite impressive. The old Tomb Raider games suffered very much from a building block like structure to the levels, but this has been removed and the environments really are quite realistic as a result.

Even the combat is greatly improved over previous games… Something I hated in the old games and also Prince of Persia.