Thursday, January 31, 2008


Film watched:
There Will be Blood

Fantastic performances in a film that could have been much better.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Recently, on a recent visit to the doctor my blood pressure was measured at 145/104. High blood pressure is considered to be anything over 140/90 – which this definitely was. I went for a second test, which gave the exact same result, i.e. 145/104. You need 3 readings over 140/90 to be diagnosed with high blood pressure, so for the last 2 weeks prior to the final reading I have been doing all I can to lower this reading, which has involved me:

* Exercising more
* Eating a much better diet
* Meditating

My 3rd test was today, and I must confess that I have been more than a little worried about it.

The reading… 139/89.

Why do I feel like I’ve just passed an exam by the smallest possible margin?

Anyway, I intend to keep up the same regime and try to improve my health, as the high blood pressure came as a bit of a wake up call for me.

Monday, January 28, 2008

No Country and Sweeny

Films watched:

No Country for Old Men

Cat and mouse game, which rather bizarrely omits the conclusion.


Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Gloriously bloody musical from Burton. Equally funny and repulsive.


Thursday, January 24, 2008


Film watched:

Quirky, likeable and entertaining, but not much more. Slightly overrated.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Oscar nominations

I'll be posting my predictions nearer the big day (if it happens)!

Well here they are:

Performance by an actor in a leading role
George Clooney in "Michael Clayton
Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood"
Johnny Depp in "Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"
Tommy Lee Jones in "In the Valley of Elah"
Viggo Mortensen in "Eastern Promises"

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Casey Affleck in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"
Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men"
Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Charlie Wilson's War"
Hal Holbrook in "Into the Wild"
Tom Wilkinson in "Michael Clayton"

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Cate Blanchett in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age"
Julie Christie in "Away from Her"
Marion Cotillard in "La Vie en Rose"
Laura Linney in "The Savages"
Ellen Page in "Juno"

Performance by an actress in a supporting roleCate Blanchett in "I'm Not There"
Ruby Dee in "American Gangster"
Saoirse Ronan in "Atonement"
Amy Ryan in "Gone Baby Gone"
Tilda Swinton in "Michael Clayton"

Best animated feature film of the year
"Surf's Up"

Achievement in art direction
"American Gangster"
"The Golden Compass"
"Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"
"There Will Be Blood"

Achievement in cinematography
"The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
"No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"

Achievement in costume design
"Across the Universe"
"Elizabeth: The Golden Age"
"La Vie en Rose"
"Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"

Achievement in directing
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" Julian Schnabel
"Juno" Jason Reitman
"Michael Clayton" Tony Gilroy
"No Country for Old Men" Joel Coen and Ethan Coen"There Will Be Blood" Paul Thomas Anderson

Best documentary feature
"No End in Sight"
“Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience"
"Taxi to the Dark Side"

Best documentary short subject
"La Corona (The Crown)"
"Salim Baba"
"Sari's Mother"

Achievement in film editing
"The Bourne Ultimatum"
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
"Into the Wild"
"No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"

Best foreign language film of the year
"The Counterfeiters"

Achievement in makeup
"La Vie en Rose"
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)"Atonement"
"The Kite Runner"
"Michael Clayton"
"3:10 to Yuma"

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
"Falling Slowly" from "Once"
"Happy Working Song" from "Enchanted"
"Raise It Up" from "August Rush"
"So Close" from "Enchanted"
"That's How You Know" from "Enchanted"

Best motion picture of the year"Atonement"
"Michael Clayton"
"No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"

Best animated short film
"I Met the Walrus"
"Madame Tutli-Putli"
"My Love (Moya Lyubov)"
"Peter & the Wolf"

Best live action short film
"At Night"
“Il Supplente (The Substitute)"
"Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)"
"Tanghi Argentini"
"The Tonto Woman"

Achievement in sound editing
"The Bourne Ultimatum"
"No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"

Achievement in sound mixing
"The Bourne Ultimatum"
"No Country for Old Men"
"3:10 to Yuma"

Achievement in visual effects
"The Golden Compass"
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"

Adapted screenplay
"Away from Her"
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
"No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"

Original screenplay
"Lars and the Real Girl"
"Michael Clayton"
"The Savages"

Cultural film exchange part 2

Well, as expected, my friend was not so taken by INLAND EMPIRE…

He even went as far as writing his own 1 star review for Amazon. To counter it, I have also written my own Amazon review.

Both review are repeated below:

My friends review:

“As films go I like to be entertained!

I must admit I am not a David Lynch expert in that I have not seen any other of his films. So does this not entitle me to my opinion?

When people write reviews it is generally on their type of film (this was not mine) so some may say I should not write a review.

Well here goes:

The camera man was probably a drunk who was dragged off the street and given a camcorder. It was like watching a war documentary, where the camera is wobbling about, trying to keep up. Then the next thing, it is right in the actors face at a weird angle, thats when it stays in focus.
I know that some would say "This is art in a film making way..." but for me, the average film watcher it was unbearable.

I generally will stick it out with a film, believing it will get better.

Well I stuck it out for 1:45hrs and then just had to switch it off. My wife gave up way before that. The film actually lasts 3hrs so I have read, I do not know how anybody can endure this film for as long as that!”

My review:

“INLAND EMPIRE is not a conventional film. If you go into the film expecting this, then you will likely come out of the experience either bewildered or angered (or a combination of both).

Most films lead you by the hand as you watch them. Generally they will tell you something if going to happen, show something happening, then explain why this has happened. The sign of a truly great film, is one which makes you as the viewer do some of the work. INLAND EMPIRE takes this to the extreme. It is beyond a doubt one of the most challenging films out there (although Eraserhead probably beats it to the punch). While the first hour of the film is generally easy to follow, it is the final two hours which throw you into a bizarre of mixed plotlines and images.

It feels like David Lynch has poured out his creative soul into this film. The freedom of digital film has allowed him to stretch his canvas much wider than he has been able to do previously. While the plot of the film may forever remain a mystery and forever be open to interpretation, the themes are all too apparent, especially as the film nears the climax. It would seem that this, like Muholland Drive which proceeded it, is ultimately a commentary by David Lynch into the way that HOLLYWOOD (notice the matching capitals between HOLLYWOOD and INLAND EMPIRE) treats women. This is aided by a remarkable performance by Laura Dern, who has never been better.

I have watched this film twice, and I’m certain that I will watch it many more times. Even then I doubt I’ll be able to unravel all of its mysteries. It is a challenging film yes, but also one of the most refreshing films I have seen in years. Definitely not for everyone, but there is really nothing quite like it!”

Monday, January 21, 2008

Still Alive?

Yep - more portal goodness!

GameSetWatch have compiled the top 12 covers of "Still Alive" thanks to the wonder that is Youtube...

Definately worth a watch...

You just have to love the girl in the pink dress (number 7)

Still Alive?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Marie, games complete & turret

Over the last few weeks I have managed to complete a total of 3 games – phew I know. Anyway, all of these games have been absolutely exceptional, 2 of them have been amongst the best games I have ever played.

Games completed:
Uncharted: Drakes Fortune

An absolute blast. A great mix of action and adventure that plays like a grand Indiana Jones adventure. My only criticism would be that it needed some decent puzzles. There were sections of the game which were intended as puzzles, but in actual fact all of the solutions were written down in Drake’s journal, and it was just a matter of interpreting these solutions (which was pretty damn easy). There is also some screen tearing in some sections of the game, which seems to be a problem for both the PS3 and 360 on some games
Apart from this, however, it is probably the best exclusive game so far on the PS3.

This just got better and better.
I love a game that challenges my mind a little and some of the puzzles did take a little time to get my head around. What I love about this game is that it seems such a long time that a first person game was something other than shooting the crap out of everything, this shows that you can do something a little different.
In addition the game was unique in it humour, which was absolutely fantastic, by the end of the game you just have to love that damn computer. Also the ending song was fantastic, and was an immediate download for me from itunes.
Overall an amazing and unique game – bravo Valve!

Super Mario Galaxy
This game had me grinning from start to finish.
What’s extra special about this game is that Elliot also adores it, I now try not to play it unless he is also around to watch and give advice. He is absolute obsessed with the game, and at present talks about little else. Even though I have completed it, he still hasn’t seen the end yet, as the prospect of it frightened him. Maybe in a little while he might want me to show him how it all ends.
Saying that, however, I still have a further 44 stars or so until I have fully completed the game, which I will endeavour to do, although some of those purple comets are unbelievably challenging!

Film watched:
Marie Antoinette

Too much opulence and cake and not enough revolution.

Talking of portal above, I came across this movie that someone created, using the portal turrets. It’s incredibly funny, but definitely NSFW.

Portal video

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cultural film exchange

A friend of mine has been trying to get me to watch the film A Knights Tale for some time and each time I have refused. The reasons for this being that I remember the trailer for this made the film look awful (it looked like the mindless popcorn films that I really despise) and in addition to this, my friend has been known to have terrible taste in films (he really likes The Mummy Returns).

Eventually we have reached an agreement – If I watch A Knights Tale he had to watch a film of my choosing. As such I lent him INLAND EMPIRE (the capital letters really are very important). The reason for this is that it is the absolute polar opposite of a mindless popcorn picture, it is by far one of the most challenging films to watch that I have ever seen and I say that in a good way.

Before lending INLAND EMPIRE to my friend, I decided to watch it again. On my second viewing I was able to piece together some of the elements which were lost on my first viewing, also the themes of the film seemed to come to the surface a lot clearer this time. However, it has to be said, that this is a film which I believe is impossible to fully decipher (unless of course you are David Lynch). Above all else, it is a film which needs to be experienced and appreciated, but not fully understood. I am still of the opinion that it is one of the most remarkable films in recent memory and is also a perfect example of how the medium of film can be used in a very, very different way.

Anyway, as it turns out I actually rather enjoyed A Knights Tale, mainly thanks to the strong supporting characters – most prominently Paul Bettany who was superb as Chaucer. As such, I’m feeling a little guilty lending my friend INLAND EMPIRE, as I’d be very surprised if he actually enjoys it, and standing at just over 3 hours long it really is a lot to take in!

Film watched:
A Knights Tale

Extremely predictable, but strangely endearing medieval romp.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Order and pain

Film watched:
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The worst book, becomes the best film so far.

Since the beginning of the year I have been suffering from general pain and discomfort from my neck - the fact that it has been noticed that I now also have high blood pressure also didn't help matters. Anyway, yesterday whilst walking in our local park I slipped on some wet stone steps and fell, falling on my sind and hurting my hips and arm. Now the good side to this story is that that the pain in my neck is now not so bad - probably because all the paid has instead been transferred to my hips!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

HD War over?

Is the HD format war finally coming to an end? The news seems to be pointing in that direction.

The first signs were when Warner Bros decided to cease supporting both HD DVD and Blu-ray and instead support Blu-ray exclusively. The reasons given for this were the fact that their titles were selling proportionately more on Blu-ray than HD DVD. This means that Blu-ray now has 70% of the Hollywood studio’s in their pocket

This alone was a good indication that the balance of power was swaying towards the Blu camp, but of the last couple of days, further news stories have surface, which add weight to this.

* The HD DVD consortium cancelled their press conference at CES 2008, the biggest consumer electronics show of the year:

* It is rumoured that apple are looking to include Blu-ray drives in future products – likely to launch as from February this year, and considering the influence of Apple, this is not to be sniffed at.

* Finally, and most prominently, it would seem that when Paramount entered into an exclusive agreement with the HD DVD consortium, they had a get out clause stating that if Warners ever decided to go solely Blu-ray (which they now have), they would then be able to cease the agreement. If they did this, it would be the final blow to HD DVD which would truly finish them off.

I feel I must state that I am not anti-HD DVD. Indeed as a format it has many pluses over Blu-ray. What I am against, is a useless format war that confuses consumers – which is what we currently have. The only reason that I have been on the side of Blu-ray and have been purchasing Blu-ray disks, is because I own a PS3 (which incidentally, is still considered by most to be the best Blu-ray player out there).

Considering the boom of HD televisions, I still believe that a HD disk format is needed. People talk about a future where downloadable content, including movies, will take over, but I do not think that this will happen quickly, if at all. I for one, prefer to own an actual product (yes even CD’s) and I’m positive that I am not alone.

As a knock on, this will likely mean that PS3’s will likely start to pick up in sales, although on a worldwide basis they are already outselling the Xbox 360 on a weekly basis (although those Americans still seem to worship their Microsoft overlords). This is a good thing, as 2008 looks like a promising year for the PS3:

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Hard day and Help

Since I can probably be classed now as a bit of a Beatlholic, I thought it about time that I watched some of the films that they made. Yes, they made films as well.

Although not as highly regarded as their music output, they are still very much part of the Beatles culture. Of course I’ve seen Yellow Submarine before many years ago as a kid (as I’m sure many people of my age have), but I have never seen any of their other films. Unfortunately, Yellow Submarine, Let it Be and Magical Mystery Tour are currently readily unavailable on DVD (unless you want to pay over the head for inferior copies), so as such, I asked for A Hard Days Night and Help for Christmas.

On watching both movies, it is immediately apparent that it is both Ringo and Lennon who are most comfortable in front of the camera, Mccartney seems a little underused (although I love the adventures of miniature Paul in Help) and Harrison confirms his role as the “quiet Beatle”. A Hard Days Night is considered to be the best Beatles movie, but this could be because it was released at the very height of Beatlemania. Personally I much preferred Help, which at least attempted to add a storyline into the mix, even if this story is rather carefree and whimsical.

Anyway, onto the mini reviews:

Films watched:
A Hard Days Night

Captures the spirit of Beatlemania well. Amusing in places.

Whimsical amusing Bond spoof with a great soundtrack.