Archive for July, 2012

Jul
27

Weekly Movie Moan

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Resurrecting this old feature. Me giving short ‘Barry Norman-esque’ reviews of the films I’ve watched this week.

Friday – Real Steel
I’ve commented about this movie before on this site. Loved it the first time I watched it and loved it again. Thoroughly enjoyable from start to end. The young lad (Dakota Gayo) is the real star of this film – no mean feat considering it stars CGI fighting robots, Wolverine and Kate from Lost.

Saturday – The Dark Knight Rises
Look down the page, I just wrote my review of this film. In short – fantastic!! Can’t wait to see it again.

Sunday – The Devil Inside
Ok, getting really bored of these types of movies. Yes its grim and there are some horrific scenes – is that CGI or does that girl really manage to contort herself like that…!? Is it a true story or just another Blair Witch? Don’t think I’m that arsed finding out really.

Sunday – Invasion of The Body Snatchers (1978)
Watched the first hour but tiredness kicked in – it was my birthday and had been a long day!! The pods giving birth to Donald Sutherland clones in the back garden was particularly grim. And Jeff Goldblum – he gets around doesn’t he?

Wednesday – Dressed to Kill
Sky advertised this movie as “If Alfred Hitchcock had done Basic Instinct”. Gave up after half and hour and turned on the Xbox. Yeah, Michael Caine is in it but he was also in Miss Congeniality…

Thursday – Basic
Only joined in half way through and saw the last hour or so. Seemed pretty good – all star cast and all that. The two main guys were John Travolta and Samual L. Jackson. No mention of Royale with cheese though.

Categories : Films, TV
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Jul
26

The Dark Knight Rises

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So the wife and I went to see The Dark Knight Rises last weekend at the IMAX in Bradford.

My review of the film could simply be that my wife, who is usually a bit fidgety at the cinema, did not move an inch for the full 3 hours we were sat in the cinema. That itself is testament to just how gripping this film was.

Or was it that I was so glued to the screen, I was blinkered to all around me? Yes and no. After the film while we discussed it over a curry, my wife informed me that she loved it. She had loads of nerdy questions/observations I was only too happy to answer. I’m totally in my element when it comes to Batman.

Seriously, here is my take on TDKR.

Firstly, this film is without doubt the best film in the Christopher Nolan set. For me, I found there were long periods of The Dark Knight where I was bored. When watching the film on DVD, I can easily zip over those periods and not be concerned I’ve missed anything noteworthy. Not so with TDKR. The entire 2 and three quarter hours seemed to zip by and everything felt in its place and vital to the film. Maybe on a second or third viewing there will be bits that you can skim over and not pay a great deal of attention to but on the first viewing, there was a real fluidity to the film – everything had a purpose.

In the past, I’ve made criticisms about Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. But, to be fair, my perceived faults with those movies have been because of my own wrong doing – I’ve watched those films through my comicbook Geek goggles. I’ve picked up on Christopher Nolan’s own interpretations of the Batman universe and faulted them for not conforming with my own mind’s eye view of Batman. I’ve always loved Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) but I’ve never been rattled by his ‘story adjustments’ i.e. that Jack Napier (aka The Joker) was responsible for the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents. I let it slide because it allows Burton to solidly round off the film. Jack creates Batman, Batman creates Joker – boom! Therefore, if Nolan wants to rewrite previously written stories to make his own films work – just live with it.

Joe Chill shot dead Bruce’s parents, NOT Jack Napier.

That being said, I watched Batman Begins last week without my goggles and thoroughly enjoyed it. So what if Bruce was never trained by Ra’s Al Ghul or the League of Shadows… it’s not the end of the world.

So, coming back to TDKR, I went to the cinema on Saturday minus the goggles and just wanting to be entertained. I was not disappointed. This film was epic! Without doubt the best comic book movie EVER!! I thought the first Iron Man movie was the best but this smashed it. Just an absolute blast from the beginning to end.

**Warning, if you haven’t seen the film, I am about to reveal some key plot elements**

I wasn’t that taken with Bane. I think it was the voice. Between him, The Joker and Ra’s Al Ghul – Bane was the weakest villain from the three movies. Hardy is a talented actor and I’ve seen him play some truly horrible characters on TV but Bane just wasn’t that great for me.

Selina Kyle (she is never referred to as Catwoman) was top drawer. Can’t say I’ve ever seen any of Anne Hathaway’s other films but she definitely played this role well.

Ironically, after complaining in the past about Nolan’s interpretations of existing comic book stories and characters, Nolan does make nods to the comic books in TDKR – pleasing the geeks out there. Granted, he tweaks them as he did with the previous two films but there are some genuine geek moments. Here are a few I can remember from one viewing…

Bane’s origin story in the film does share similarities with his origin in The Vengeance of Bane.

Bane ‘breaks’ Batman in a very similar fashion to the way he does in Knightfall

Talia Al Ghul and Bruce share a moment not dis-similar to The Son of The Demon (and many other stories).

Selina Kyle lives with a sidekick who looks uncannily like her sidekick in Year One.

John Blake (the policeman) who is seemingly set up to be Robin in any future ‘reboots’ has a very similar name to Tim Drake (the third Robin) and shares a profession with Dick Grayson who was the original Robin before becoming Nightwing.

Dick Grayson (Robin/Nightwing) – Blüdhaven police officer

Bale, Caine and Oldman are brill as usual. I particularly love Oldman in these movies – his Jim Gordon is straight out of Year One. Plus there’s a nice dose of humour from Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman).

Maybe it was because we were watching it on the IMAX but there were a few action sequences that just blow you away. The scenes starring ‘The Bat’ in particular are visually stunning – I could go and see the film again for those scenes alone. The Pod is more impressive in this film. I thought it looked naff in The Dark Knight – especially that bit when it flips round using the wall. The collapsing football pitch is mental!

Not that I ever need a reason to read a Batman graphic novel but I did have an overwhelming urge to read Year One when I got home.

I won’t give the ending away but Nolan does a great job of leaving it open for more films – in particular an adaptation of Frank Miller’s ‘The Dark Knight Returns’…!?

Yeah, that’s probably the geek in me wanting too much.

Categories : Comics, Films, TV
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Jul
18

Week 28 Photo

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There’s been a few times when this bad boy has bailed me out.

It’s a Gum Plus Power Pack and is an emergency power supply you can attach to your iPod, iPhone or iPad when you are running low on battery power. Has come in handy on numerous occasions, in particular on the way home from a day’s freelancing when I need to listen to tunes on the train. It’s become one of the vital gadgets in my bag.

Categories : Gadgets, Photography
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Jul
18

Week 27 Photo

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A quick snap taken of Debenhams in Manchester while I was sat outside Starbucks sippin’ an Earl Grey.

I’m sure everyone can say this about their closest city but there’s some wonderful architecture out there if you open your eyes. Sometimes we don’t see it because we are just too busy to stop, look up and look round.

Categories : Photography
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Jul
18

BOB Weekend

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But not bob as in ‘a bit shit’, Bob as in Batman, Open and Birthday.

The Open. The British Open. One of the four ‘major’ golf tournaments. Yes, I love my golf. I enjoyed playing it when I was younger and one day I will take it up again and swing the irons. Until then, I’m left playing it on the Xbox and watching it on tv. Some people moan about golf ruining a nice walk. Some people ask how you can watch it on tv when the coverage alternates between footage of sky and grass? But me, I love it. I could quite happily sit there all day and watch the BBC’s coverage. Cricket fans can sit and watch 5 day internationals – I can sit and watch 4 days of major golf. I’m also a Tiger Woods fan. He’s exciting to watch and his recent ‘off the fairway’ adventures only add to circus that surrounds him. Chip in that the UK and Northern Ireland have some really exciting players at the top of the world rankings at the moment and it’s got all the ingredients of being a classic. Royal Lytham is a notoriously difficult links course and plus the bonus of some truly awful English summer weather – it should be a proper skirmish.

Play starts on Thursday and I’m hoping to watch as much as I can – probably on BBC iPlayer while I work.

But Its not all golf, golf golf this weekend. For a period of time Saturday afternoon, I’ll be sat in front of an IMAX screen watching the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman triology – The Dark Knight Rises.

As I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog posting, I’m not a gushing fan of the Nolan movies unlike most people. Yes, Nolan stuck pretty true to some major elements of the comic books but there are also some big deviations in my opinion. That being said, its a frickin Batman movie!! Not Spiderman but Batman! Hell, I actually got excited about the Joel Schumacher movies – and we know how those turned out. Basically, if it’s Batman, I’m all over it – good or bad.

And that leads nicely up to Sunday – the big Three Nine!! Yes, I’m about to enter my fortieth year. Time to grow up? I don’t think so.

Categories : Comics, Films, Sport, TV
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Jul
16

70 Years of Batman

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This weekend sees the release of the latest cinematic interpretation of the Caped Crusader.

Below is an infographic illustrating the evolution of Batman across 70 years (infographic created by @blairerickson )

Many thanks to Carl Milner for bringing it to my attention.

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Jul
03

Week 26 Photo

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Sorry, bit a nerdy image this one.

Out freelancing last week and I managed to create the biggest PDF in the world… EVER!!!

Fingers crossed that the next six months are much more exciting.

Categories : Latest Work, Photography
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Jul
03

Week 25 Photo

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Leeds Parish Church.

iPhone. Pro HDR app and Instagram.

Categories : Photography
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Jul
03

Week 24 Photo

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The new office is haling up nicely.

See those open windows on the top floor? One of those rooms up there is my new office. If everything goes to plan, I’ll be moving all my stuff across the weekend of the 14th July.

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