30 January 2008

Planes, Films and....Kitchen Porters

Wow, I've not posted here for absolutely ages. For nearly a month! Dear Steve, that was evil of me. So! What's on the books today?

Saw The Nines today; so I'll post a review of it as soon as I get around to writing it. Yes, I know I've used that excuse before, but it almost invariably seems appropriate to the situation! I have to write the damn thing before I can post anything, ladies! Still, I quite liked it, so that's a vague indication of what I thought right there.

Not been to the cinema for absolutely ages. It's actually quite scary, because the last thing that I saw was that stupid, awful, poorly constructed big screen adap of The Golden Compass, and honestly, it's getting me a little down.

Been trying to go see Sweeney Todd with Fee for a while now; but we've simply failed to manage it, because she's got copious amounts of essaying to do for her dissertation. But apparently we're almost certainly going to go on Saturday, and hopefully it'll be worth the wait!

Managed to actually attack my novel once again, and wrote a good 1000 words! It's not quite a chapter, but I'm slowly progressing after Winter Wonderland put a massive 'HALT!!!' to it! Although I'm telling people that I'm 'striking' with the WGA; that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Although I've been thinking about that, and if there's a time that anyone could get something they wrote made into a TV show or movie, this is it. Studios will be looking for stuff to see them (financially speaking) through the strike; and so hopefully some ex-indie gems will come pounding through. Still doesn't mean that Scrubs and 24 will get a kick up their backsides and actually get into production...but there isn't exactly much we can do about that now. Not if we actually want our beloved TV shows to retain their usual quality.

Oooh! I completed Call of Duty 4 on Veteran mode. That was rather harrowing in how bloody difficult it was; but it got done! Hurray! Also bought Ace Combat 6; played through the first 4 missions, then decided not to go through it too quickly - there're only 11 bloody missions! Still, I'm vaguely enjoying it, although dogfighting is - realistically, I suppose - incredibly tricky, and almost all of my air-to-air kills come from good ol' missiles.

That's pretty much it, really. Oh! I got another job - kitchen portering at a restaurant! Hurray! Having a 'trial two weeks' starting Monday. See if I like it; if I can do it; and if they like me! Should be good. But that's it!


9 January 2008

I am Legend Review

If the words 'Will Smith blockbuster' immediately associate themselves with with 'bullshit' amid the grey squidgy stuff that occupies the hollow spot in your skull, then you're probably going to vaguely disagree with this review. In fact, it's more or less guaranteed, particularly if you've seen it already; so go...I don't know, shoot a fox, or something. If you're aren't of that particular mindset, and just so happen - as I do - to enjoy the odd Will Smith film, then read on.

I am Legend tells the story of Robert Neville, a scientist and soldier who is the lone survivor of a global pandemic that has killed 90% of the world's population. The remaining 10% are divided into two groups; those immune to the virus - a scant 1% - and those who have been turned into horrendous, blood-sucking monsters who roam the night. It's a vaguely interesting concept - but of course it is - and it's executed rather well.

As most of you may or may not know, Will Smith is a funny guy. He does funny, and actually, I find him consistently amusing. So when I heard that he was instructed to 'dial it back' for a film in its entirety, I wasn't exactly what you might call enthused. But magically enough, despite the Fresh Prince's total absence, Smith's charisma shines through - and that's something of a bonus, considering that for a good portion of the movie it's just him and a dog onscreen. There are plenty of amusing moments - both dark and rather light - and some that are even touchingly so. Smith also portrays Neville's degradation as a human being rather well. This isn't of a man discovering an abandoned world; this is a man who has lived with it for three years - the only emotional contact he has is with his dog, and this shows in his eyes, his body language, the way he talks. It's a great, albeit hardly Oscar-worthy performance from the man.

Complementing Smith's performance is the wonderfully haunting cinematography; with DoP Andrew Lesnie masterfully creating a real sense of isolation and loneliness with his steady shots of an abandoned New York, over-grown grass waving gently in the wind. There's some really quite striking imagery here - one that particularly stuck in mind being Neville weaving his way through a stationary traffic jam in pursuit of a deer. It perhaps takes more than its fair share of cues from Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later, but then again, that film took cues from the source novel of this one, so it's only fair really.

There are, however, two rather crippling problems, that also happened to be rather inexorably entwined together. This is supposed to be a horror film; and yet there aren't any truly scary pieces of imagery. The infected, for one, are entirely computer generated, and whilst the effects are solid, they simply fail to be scary. Perhaps it's meta-film thinking working its evil - if something isn't real, then it ain't scary - but there have been plenty of CG effects that have been truly terrifying. Perhaps it's the fact that they simply don't look real enough - their skin is too smooth, their movements simply not human, despite the fact that they're meant to be ex-humans. Something along the lines of the creepers in The Descent would've been more than adequate, but unfortunately it's not to be, and it sucks a lot of the tension that director Francis Lawrence has masterfully created beforehand. To add insult to injury, it turns out that Lawrence made this decision himself, and that makes it all the more disappointing.

There's another slightly less annoying problem, is the ending, which seems awfully tacked on and really does pander to the 'give us a happy ending, dammit' demographic that is stupidly microscopic and yet somehow seems to dictate how every Hollywood movie ends, ever. And unless you just so happen to sit rather prettily in that partition of the population, you'll see the exact moment where I think the thing should've ended.

In the end, this is an entertaining movie. It's an action film with a few psychological horror moments, some ropey CGI and a great central performance from Will Smith. You heard me.

Ross' Rating: 7/10

8 January 2008


Woo hoo! My copy of Transformers arrived. Watching it as we speak; and I'm enjoying it just as much as I did when I saw it in the cinema. It loses a little of the oomph without HD picture and surround sound; but it's undeniable that the special effects are still top notch. Was reading the Wiki page, and I still find it difficult to believe that it only got 59% on Rotten Tomatoes. That's rotten! And it's not particularly fair. It's a bit dumb, a bit empty and wholly enjoyable - just like my review of it stated! But still, I never expect the world at large to agree with me; so I'm hardly surprised.

Finally finished work on Sunday. I've apparently amassed just under £2,000! Which is fairly impressive for just over a month's work; although I had to pay December and January's rent from that, which means I'm down to around £1,300. Still, that gives me more or less enough money to last until the end of March. Which is good. Still need a new job; but I'm not in a massive hurry just yet. Might try getting something in retail; that could be fun.

Should be going to see I am Legend tonight or tomorrow; so - seeing as I have nothing better to do - I shall post a review of it up. It's been getting all sorts of mixed reviews up until now - 66% on Rotten Tomatoes; which is a low Fresh rating - and on TSR it's exactly the same from an (albeit rather limited) audience. So I'm attempting to lower my expectations - after all, I rather liked Francis Lawrence's last picture, Constantine, and Will Smith has been in loads of films that I really like. Anyways, hopefully should be good; but judgement is reserved until I've seen the bloody thing.

That's about it for now. Tip your poodles, Spooner!

5 January 2008

'Tography, Colds and a monkey...

Yes, you heard right. A monkey. I have one. It's right...shit...left the window open. Gone now. Oh well. Would've been a good'un too. I guess I'll just have to attempt to entertain you lot...again. Yeesh.

Been doing a spot of photography. And here they are!

Cool, huh? It snowed in Auld Reekie, and it was rather pretty. Of course, then they made us shovel slush off of the site, and thus the effect of the prettiness was rather short-lived; and we promptly dived back into the world of clipped tempers and swinging sledgehammers. And I've got a damn cold. Well, a sore throat, but it's bloody annoying.

Still need to go to the movies. Might go tomorrow with Ryan; but whatever. Still, cinema will be good; I like cinema. Haven't been since the godawful adaptation of The Golden Compass. Which made me angry. But I realised that my review would be awfully tainted by the stench that is 'one has read the book'; and thus I refrained from writing it. Mayhap it'll hold up better if/when the sequel comes out.

Speaking of sequels, there're've been a tidal wave of The Dark Knight posters flying about the interweb - along with the amazing, jaw-dropping trailer - and the featured badboy is my favourite. It's incredibly creepy, and if it's any indication of Chris Nolan's interpretation of the Joke, the movie is going to absolutely kick ass. Lovely.

And that's it! My next post should hopefully be a review of I am Legend; so keep the ol' peepers peeled for that piece of prose. Peace!