Film Blogathon 05/17: M:I-2

M:I-2

M:I-2

Mission Impossible 2 (An Accent Too Far)

M:I-2 is an odd film which features an impossible implausible plot and:

  • An arch baddie with a bad Scottish accent
  • A sub baddie with a bad Australian accent
  • A goodie with a bad Australian accent, and
  • A goodie with a bad English accent.

However the film is jammed full of hi-tech goodies such as:
Those rubberish face-masks that let the wearer be someone else, even though they’re a different height and a completely different build
Tom Cruise’s Triumph Speed Triple having an auto-rear-tyre-change function, that somehow flips the rear tyre from slicks to roads, to cross-country and back to roads again, all in the space of one fast pursuit.

Yet even all of these technological marvels fail to lift MI: 2 out of the bathtub of mediocrity that it fell in to, in an early scene in Cadiz.

And the predictably obvious ‘fight to the death’ that Mr Cruise has with the arch baddie is just dull.

Actually no, it isn’t just dull.

It’s tiresomely dull.

So is the soundtrack.

I’m not sure what happened to MI: 2, but somewhere along the way, probably in a workshop deep within the creative phase, the film got out of control, like a rampaging bull in a shop in the middle of China.

M:I-2 should have been put to sleep, humanely.

But instead they went ahead and finished it.

I wish they hadn’t.

And I watched it.

I wish I hadn’t.

It’s rubbish.

Leg up

Prem (who may be on the cusp of being renamed ‘Bob’) had his injured leg scanned by the Vet today.

The news is that there is only slight damage to his Suspensory Ligament.

Yay!

However there is evidence of severe damage to his Superficial Flexor Tendon which, the Vet said, would seem to be about 3-4 months old.

This estimate corresponds with Prem’s/Bob’s last race, when he was pulled up due to injury.

The Vet has suggested that Prem/Bob stays on box rest, but is walked out in-hand for five minutes a day, increasing by five minutes every two weeks.

Prem/Bob will have a re-scan in three months, to determine how things are healing, by which time he should be walking, in-hand, for 30 minutes a day.

As you can tell from this photo, Prem/Bob is thrilled to bits at this prospect!

Prem

Prem

Thinking of shopping at IKEA? Think again…

A cautionary tale about buying a kitchen from IKEA

In the last two years we have had a significant amount of work done in the house.

The last lap, the very last job on the list was the kitchen.

We shopped around (as you do) and eventually we decided on a particular kitchen from IKEA.

Similar, but not exactly identical to this one:

IKEA Kitchen

IKEA Kitchen

The IKEA planner came to the house, took various measurements, and advised us what units and cupboards we could have, and where we could have them.

It was a done deal.

We booked.

The fitters would take one week, we were told.

On Monday 12th June the kitchen fitters rocked up, as planned, and began work.

By Wednesday evening, the old kitchen was piled up outside the garage (completely blocking the car-width doorway, but hey ho, it was only temporary, right?).

The kitchen fitters (a company called Lakers, sub-contracted to do the job for IKEA) told us that they wouldn’t be in tomorrow.

Or Friday.

They had to go on a course.

So we were going to have to endure not having a kitchen for nine days, instead of five?

Yes, that’s right.

Hey ho, it’s only temporary, right?

The kitchen fitters returned on Monday and, by 4pm Tuesday 20th June they had finished.

At 8am the next day (Wednesday 21st June) we discovered water.

The fitted mixer tap was defective, and leaking.

We called the kitchen fitters who turned up that day.

They said we needed a new tap and not to use the old one.

It’s a kitchen tap!

A mixer tap.

In the kitchen!

We are not to use either the hot or cold water tap in the kitchen?

Yes that’s right. Until the new one is fitted.

Hey ho, it’s only temporary, right?

On Thursday afternoon we got an email from IKEA to tell us that the new tap will be delivered to us at home, and that delivery could take up to 10 days.

TEN DAYS.

Really?

So the kitchen that was started to be fitted on Monday 12th June is not likely to be completed until after Friday 7th July?

That’s a total of 26 days, from start to finish.

TWENTY SIX DAYS.

Twenty six days without hot and cold water in our beautifully expensive IKEA kitchen?

The same kitchen we had paid thousands of pounds for?

Yes.

So next time you see a stylish IKEA advert on the television, just remember how your shopping experience could end up.

Film Blogathon 04/17: Black Hawk Down

 

Black Hawk Down

Black Hawk Down

Black Hawk Down, the film that spawned a thousand videogames.

Based on a true story (the key word there is ‘based’), this is the story of a disastrous US Special Forces action against a warlord in Somalia.

Black Hawk Down is not without its flaws, but is well worth another look – even if you have already seen it – and well worth a first look if you haven’t.

I had forgotten the brilliant soundtrack. Every note is evocative, every tone sounds authentic (even though it isn’t).

Also worth mentioning, and a point too easily overlooked, is the international cast.

Just, for a moment, taking away the American actors, we are left with:

Ioan Gruffudd (Aberdare)
Ewan McGregor (Perth)
Ewen Bremner (Edinburgh)
Hugh Dancy (Stoke on Trent)
Orlando Bloom (Canterbury)
Tom Hardy (London)
Željko Ivanek (Ljubljana)
Kim Coates (Saskatoon)
Eric Bana (Melbourne)
Treva Etienne (London)
Razaaq Adoti (London)
George Harris (Grenada)
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Rudkøbing)
Jason Isaacs (Liverpool).

Although Black Hawk Down is staged well for the relentless realism of urban warfare, it shouldn’t be seen as an accurate retelling.

The strength of the film, however, is the constant, incessant, punishing chaos of urban conflict.

Depicted well is the complete confusion and disorder, the total absence of a cohesive strategy, the massive underestimation of a well-armed enemy, and the crowning glory of idiocy; the tactical errors heaped upon even more and even greater tactical errors, of the US command.

In the words of the Prussian military tactician Field Marshall Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke ‘No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy’.

This film shows how chillingly accurate that phrase is, whilst continuing to maintain, and turn up the suspense.

Black Hawk Down is an easy four out of five, or an eight and a half out of ten.

Film Blogathon 03/17: Lost Boys

Lost Boys

Not lost, just clueless. And by the way gang, ONE OF THEM ISN’T A BOY!

I watched this skillfully-directed but very badly-edited, film for the first – and last – time, last week.

What a difference five years made.

From baggy, meandering Lost Boys in 1987, to the tight-as-you-like production of Buffy The Vampire Slayer (starring Kristy Swanson as Buffy, and Donald Sutherland as her watcher), in 1992.

I’m still not sure whether I was supposed to take Lost Boys seriously, or if it was an attempt at schlock-horror, or even a stab at camp comedic send-up.

I don’t know.

I do know that I didn’t hate Lost Boys.

I didn’t even hate the film when IT BROKE THE VAMPIRE LAW, when it said you could become a vampire by just chugging a couple of mouthfuls of vampire blood from an old bottle, like you were some kind of down-on-your-luck blood-addicted wino from the wrong side of the tracks.

I didn’t even hate the film when the main motorbike scene had far too many implausible points for my brain to accept.

Lost Boys is just a mess of a film.

And it left me wondering what it could have been, if it had the courage of its convictions.

There is probably a great film in the script of Lost Boys waiting to get out.

But what I saw was more like a film of a script called Escape From Mediocrity.

Lost Boys film rating: Meh.

Film Blogathon 02/17: Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect

You know those annoying syrupy films so self-consumed that they can’t see the joke at the centre of their own reason for existing?

Well, Pitch Perfect isn’t one of those.

This is the story of an all-girl A Capella group at a fictional co-ed US university.

I approached Pitch Perfect thinking it was going to be a large helping of sugar-coated gloop, just like (shudder) Glee.

It isn’t!

Instead, this is more like 112 minutes of Mean Girls The Musical (that’s the best analogy I can come up with); a film with a strong line in self-deprecating humour, and an occasional sideways glance at itself.

The writing is so sharp that it allows the odd nugget of cunningly-hidden adult humour to skilfully glide over the heads of younger viewers.

Production is OK (could have been better in places), but the film is shot with such articulate intelligence that it develops a likeable character of its own.

Yes, there is intelligence in Pitch Perfect. And it is a good example of smartly articulate story-telling.

But it isn’t a documentary, so lighten up people.

Although I enjoy the way Pitch Perfect allows some of its characters to develop, I do have a problem with Rebel Wilson, or maybe my problem is with the Fat Amy character.

Whatever.

Aside from this minor issue, Pitch Perfect is a nicely-paced feel good film that is a bucketful of family entertainment.

And easy and thoroughly enjoyable watch.

Which you should.

Obv.

Film Blogathon 01/17: Now You See Me 2

Now You See Me 2

Now You See Me 2

I saw Now You See Me – the first one – a while ago.

It was a good fun flick, all about a group of magicians called The Horsemen, and how they use their magical powers to take down a bad guy.

So I thought I’d give Now You See Me 2 a go.

You know when you crawl out of bed at 3am, barely awake, and totter towards the bathroom, and just as you walk in you stub your toe and the vicious pain flashes your brain like a lightning bolt, straight in to your cerebral cortex?

And in the three seconds immediately afterwards, you believe that things can’t ever get any worse?

Well this is worse.

This is so much worse.

This is even worse than being force-fed a non-stop diet of Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Movie on permanent repeat cycle for 36 straight hours.

Now You See Me 2 starts with a Houdiniesque trick being performed in dangerous circumstances.

The trick doesn’t end well.

Fast forward to a very long and tedious voiceover from God.

I can’t remember what God said, it wasn’t very memorable, although God had a Really Great Voice.

Anyway.

There’s a cop who has spent a year looking for the Horsemen because they went in to hiding after their last gig.

So, the Horsemen have been Working On Something for months.

And then we’re at a posh software unveiling ‘do’, and the Horsemen are walking around talking in to their wrists and listening to their fingers in their ears and wearing dark glasses and being mysterious and talking REALLY REALLY FAST and a woman cuts off her hand with an electric carving knife and someone hypnotises someone else and then this guy (don’t know who) but he was key in the posh software ‘do’ exposes himself as a fraud and then the Horsemen burst on the scene and the audience claps and cheers and there’s lights and lasers and then the FBI shows up and then the Horsemen show goes tits up and then there’s more running and more REALLY FAST TALKING and sliding down construction tubes and landing in laundry baskets in a kitchen because yeah, laundry baskets and kitchens always go together in nobody’s world ever, and then the Horsemen find out that the slidey tubey thing they jumped in to from a rooftop in New York has dumped them in the middle of a Chinese city in actual China YES IN ACTUAL CHINA then on the soundtrack there’s some hardcore Chinese rap (not wrap, ahahahahahaha!) and then God calls the FBI dude but on a phone not through Divine Intervention and then we’re back in Macao riding around in some badass blacked out Landrover Defenders and there’s a badguy who is the Annoying Twin of one of the Horsemen and the badass blacked out Landrover Defenders rock up at the Sands Hotel and there’s some REALLY LOUD HENDRIX and then we meet the guy who stuffed up the big Horsemen show that went tits up and OH MY GOD IT’S HARRY ACTUAL POTTER.

With a beard, for sure, but it’s Harry Actual Potter.

Anyway.

Harry Actual explains to the Horsemen that well I don’t know what but something about privacy and science and not magic and when they slid down the tubey thing in New York they were hypnotised in to a trance then put on a private plane and flown to Macau and then pushed down another tube which woke them up in a laundry basket in a kitchen in Macao and that’s how the tubey slidey thing worked.

What Harry Actual Potter wants, Harry Actual explains, is revenge. He wants the Horsemen to steal something as revenge because he was wronged by a business partner. Why don’t you just magic him Harry Actual, I shout at the TV.

Oh, by the way. Morgan Freeman = God.

And now, back to the film.

*time passes*

God and the FBI dude are on a private jet from I don’t care where to somewhere else I don’t care about and I may have lost the will to live here and then the Horsemen are Planning Their Big Heist that they’re going to carry out for Harry Actual Potter and it involves stealing a computer chip that wait for it just happens to be the same size and the same shape as a playing card and who the heck saw that coming?

Yeah, we all did, right?

Right.

There’s a superdooperdatacentre which can cater for 820 squillion miles of digisynpatic hypertechnical buzzwords per nicrosecond.

There’s some distraction from the Horsemen and while the distraction is going on one of the Horsemen gets his hands on the chip that’s shaped just like a playing card and then the Horsemen are being searched and while they’re being searched they flip-pass the chip around between themselves and it’s all starting to get really ridiculous as the card/chip switches from the person who is being searched to another person who is being searched to another person who is being searched to another person who is being searched back to another person who is being searched back to another person who is still being searched back to another person who is still being searched until finally THEY HAVE ALL BEEN SEARCHED and they’re leaving the hypercool datacentre and then there’s another game of slight of hand and then the Horsemen are out with the card/chip…

I fell asleep.

I really don’t know what the point is of Now You See Me 2.

But if you want to go and see a film with people talking REALLY REALLY QUICKLY and walking around fast and lots of deception and acres of special effects, and an incomprehensible storyline, then this is the film for you.

Either the film is too clever for me, or I’m too clever for it.

Whatever.

I’m out.

Not even God was any good in this one.

It’s rubbish.

Don’t see it, you’ll only encourage them.

Film Blogathon 00/17: First Thoughts

Well.

This is another fine mess you’ve got me in to.

It’s the last time I listen to you.

You and your ‘good ideas’.

Pah!

Anyway.

The film blogathon.

Well.

The object is to produce ten film reviews.

In a month.

This month, to be precise.

June.

2017.

Once upon a time and in a land far, far away, I used to write film reviews for real cash money.

They weren’t much cop, those reviews, but that wasn’t the point.

I would bang out a bunch of worms words, send them off to a faceless cog in the wheel of the uber-capitalist world of publishing and, a couple of (if I was lucky) months later, a cheque would slip through the letterbox.

And promptly get eaten up by my overdraft.

But that was the point.

I got paid for it.

So when my ideas self said to my non-ideas self ‘I know, self, let’s bang out ten film reviews in a month just to keep on top of the writing game’, it all seemed so easy.

But here, now, on the first of June 2017 (pinch, punch, by the way), it looks much less easy.

Still, the paramaters parameteurs parameters are fairly easy:

  1. Avoid using the word parameters
  2. Be witty
  3. Don’t be dull (see #2 above)
  4. Avoid sweeping generalisations (unless sweeping generally is a Good Thing)
  5. Be engaging
  6. Keep the swears down to less than 5 10 20 Really Bad Words per review
  7. Review any film that seems worthy of a review (doesn’t matter whether it has been seen before or not. It’s a film crying out for a review? Review it!)

And that’s it.

Ten of those.

In a month.

Easy, eh?

We’ll see.

*strokes beard*

Oh yes, we shall see.

And you need to check out Young Masher, during this testing time.

And Dave is joining in too!

They’re keeping us all company.

Anyone else up for it?

New family member!

Last Friday was a special day.

We left Nottingham and drove to Sheffield, where we transferred from my car in to a lorry.

Then we drove to:

Scotland

Scotland

Once we had reached our destination, we loaded up the lorry, said goodbye to one and all, then headed back southwards.

At our destination, we unloaded the lorry:

Prem

Prem

I’m thrilled that Prem has come to live with us.

We have a bit of a long-term project on our hands, but I hope that by this time next year, Prem and I will be off bothering various equestrian officials.

Sam was brilliant, esp given that she’s not horsey in any way.

I think she secretly loved driving the lorry!

Anyway, here he is today:

Prem

Prem

Crook

When one has spent a significant amount of a 48-hour block of time sitting on the toilet, one’s bottom tends to become, er, numb.

But my concern isn’t that I have eaten precious little since lunchtime Wednesday (which I haven’t).

Or that I have a numb bum (which I have).

My concerning thought is about the barrowload of meds that I take, twice a day, to bed my heart surgery in.

Meds

Meds

For example, have all the internal goings-on affected how the all of the drugs are supposed to be absorbed?