Sunday, April 30, 2006

Night watch (nochnoi dozor) - DVD review

I'd read a bit about Night Watch (nocnoi dozor) when it was in the cinema a few months ago. I'd been quite keen to see it then but I didn't have the opportunity. Night Watch is the first part of a trilogy of Russian fantasy/action films that have been very successful. The films are based on a series of Russian science fiction books by the author Sergei Lukyanenko.

The film is set in modern Russia and revolves around a supernatural police force 'the night watch' who regulate the vampires and other citizens of the dark. For centuries an uneasy truce has existed between the forces of light and dark. The world is full of 'others', human beings born with superhuman powers who choose to be 'light' or dark'.

Anton is the main protaganist in the film. The first scenes show us how he discovered that he was an other and tell us a bit about the mistakes that he has made in the past. Then we see him as he tries to save a young boy from a vampire. During this mission he discovers that the world faces apocalypse.

I believe that this film has been very successful in Russia. It mixes matrix style special effects with a ghostbusters feel. The story is fast moving, includes some original ideas and some good plot twists. It feels fresh. If it wasn't in Russian it would probably be more successful although if this was an american film I think it would be shite (like underworld). I'm sure we have an american remake to look forward to.

I liked this film. I want to see the sequels. I recommend it to anyone who is willing to watch a film with subtitles and likes action movies.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

where i'm at

just finished a late shift at work. at home on the sort of post-work come down. I've probably got a pretty busy day tommorrow and i think i'll have to work on the bank holiday monday too.
I have tickets to see low on tuesday which should be cool.

i've watched a couple of DVDs recently. king kong which was very long and difficult to concentrate on and the constant gardener which was better. listened to the new arctic monkeys single which ain't great. i've been listening to tv on the radio who are excellent. I've written more about them on my required records page where uou'll find a link to my myspace profile that features one of their songs.

I saw an interesting internet news story.,,11069-2148620,00.html Basically this is about a very rare genetic condition that turns muscle into bone. Pretty scary. I'm kinda interested in stuff like that. You wonder if this genetic condition could be responsible for legends of people being turned into stone and stuff like that. I found the link on Warren Ellis' s page (link to the right)

anyhow hang loose


Monday, April 24, 2006

indie rock eye spy

just saw stuart murdoch from belle&sebastian in fopp. he was looking cultural!

bought the new arctic monkeys single. not heard it yet.

work better now. new job on different ward more satisfying.

reading who censored roger rabbit? which was made into the classic film. seems good.

otherwise life is good


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Inside man - film review

Inside man is a good film. Possibly the most mainstream film that I have seen by Spike Lee. It stars Denzel Washington as a disgraced (original) police detective who lands a big case which might give him an opportunity to prove himself and redeem his reputation.

A group of bank robbers pull a highly organised heist taking 50 hostages. The owner of the bank seems to be very personally involved. The bank robbers seem to be more intelligent than everyone else.

The premise is not original and a lot of the characters are thinly sketched. However this is a strong plot-driven thriller that will make you think. It has some good actors and some interesting ideas. I liked it.

7 out of 10

rent the dvd


Superfolks by robert mayer

I actually managed to read a book yesterday. That's pretty good for me. Most of the time I'm too tired but I was interested to read Superfolks. It's an influential pulp science fiction paperback that was initially published in 1977. It is important because it was a major influence on Alan Moore and the adult orientated superhero comics of the 1980s that are filtering though to mainstream movies and culture now.

Robert Mayer was an 'award-winning' jounalist before he knocked out Superfolks in 1977. It's not amazingly well written. It's just a science fiction pot-boiler but it does have some ideas that, for its time, were original. The story is about a retired 'superman' who lives in suburbia with his pregnant wife and two children. His powers have waned and he has fallen into middle-age spread. He commutes to his boring job as a copy-editor at a newspaper. He never married his 'lois lane' and instead married another woman. He has never told any of his lovers about his secret identity.

A crisis develops in New York city so 'superman' has to come out of retirement and save the day. Sadly he is less potent than he was in his youth and he can barely fly. And a sinister plot is afoot....

The novel is very much of its time, littered with throw-away references to american pop-culture and celebrities. There are also a few hippy references and a fair dollop of swinging '70s sex to improve sales. This is not a great book by any means but it has ideas. The ideas have been seen in films like who framed roger rabbit? as well as comic book classics like watchmen, miracleman and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Reading this book removes a bit of the shine from the genius of Alan Moore (a bit, not all).

So, an interesting read. A cheap thrill. Influential but not amazing.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The true confessions of an internet nerd

I'm on the slippery slope. Broadband internet access is a curse. I'm spending far too much time messing about with this stuff. I've now worked out how to add album artwork to my required records page which makes it look better. I've also been pissing about on myspace and found a cool fridge magnet thing that people can play with. all fun.

been to the pub with a few of my mates this evening. most of them are married now. it's a bit scary. you get the 'left on the shelf' feeling. a bit like a kid surrounded by grown-ups. then you hear that one of these married 'grown-ups' has just had a fist fight with his wee brother for no reason at all and you feel a bit better.

anyway, here are some more pictures of records


dr phunk on myspace!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

giant drag at the barfly in glasgow

i've been listening to this album a lot over the past month. i picked it up because it recieved good reviews and it has made me become all evangelical. I've been playing it to my friends and they all like it too. when we found out that they were playing in the rather small barfly venue for only seven quid we made a mad dash for tickets. and it was worth it.

we didn't know what to expect. we knew that the band only has two members but the album is very layered. would they have extra band members or would they play to a tape? as it happened only two people were on stage (the female singer guitarist and the male drummer everything-elseist) and they made a valiant attempt at reproducing the album. the guitar was loud and the drummer played basic keyboard with one hand when needed. a good attempt.

the singer. the singer. the singer. she has a personality. a bit funny, a bit weird. she comes across like willow from buffy the vampire slayer. she complains about the weather and smoking in the rain. she does an impression of her last scottish audience (standing, blank and unimpressed) and she generally keeps everyone amused. she seemed to become more confident as the show went on. her guitar playing was good although she asked the lighting man to turn up the lights because she is 'a girl and she needs to see her hands to play guitar'. her singing was good as well but I did miss the dreamy multi-track vocals of the album.

they played for about an hour and we heard the album, some b-sides, some new songs and a kick ass version of wicked game. well worth 7 quid. buy the album. see them if they play again. you might become evangelical too.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Bonnie prince billy - live in Glasgow

Tonights excursion was to the ABC on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow to see Bonnie prince billy supported by highland folk band Harum Scarum. Before the gig I met my mate in King Tuts for some decent food served by attractive barmaids.

I was not really taken by the first set by Harum Scarum. I could not pretend to be a folk music fan. I have danced to traditional Scottish music in the past and enjoyed it. I have worn a kilt and felt comfortable but I wouldn't really listen to traditional folk music for pleasure. Harum Scarum passed me by.

Bonny prince billy is a zelig type character. Will Oldham (a.k.a billy) was an actor and has operated under many musical identities. He has worked with many different groups over the years to produce some very different sounding albums. His recent tortoise collaberation was an example of this. You never know what to expect from Oldham. Like Bob Dylan he seems to delight in reconstructing his songs on a regular basis. This approach is admirable but it can be annoying.

Initially we had solo Billy tonight. He played several songs including 'ease on down the road' accompanying himself on guitar. Harum Scarum joined him for the rest of the set. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn't. Oldham looked like he was having fun and some good songs were played. I felt that the power of some songs such as 'I see a darkness' was diluted by the arrangement but it was still good. I was happy to see Bonnie Prince Billy playing his songs in the flesh.

Oldham is an interesting looking guy. He has gaunt features and one hell of a beard. He looks a bit scary. A bit like a potential axe murderer. A bit back-woods. Like his songs. Is this him in character? Is Bonnie Prince Billy pure theatre?

Sitting in the bar my friend and I talked about the 'typical' Will Oldham fan. What would they look like? Who is a 'typical' Will Oldham fan? It was an older, studenty crowd. Intellectual. Intresting hair cuts, facial hair and glasses. Clothing was anti-fashion in a studied manner. I wonder how these people first started to listen to his music. His music is powerful and affecting. I love it myself but I just don't know how he finds a market. I would like to know.

Anyway, the show was ok but it could have been better. My friend said that the last show he caught (5 years back) was better. I'll go and see him again if I get a chance but I hope he has a different backing band.


Saturday, April 08, 2006

night shifts

just finished seven 13 hour night shifts in a row. I've had no life for the past 7 days but I survived and more importantly everyone else did. some of my nights were very busy. last night I only got to sit down and have a sandwich after 9 hours (and that was only for 20 minutes). Luckily I don't have more nights for 4 months now.

I've just recently bought series 7 of south park on DVD from america and it's rather good. Somehow I hadn't seen any of it so it gave me something to watch in the 30 minutes of spare time I had before falling asleep every day. I haven't read anything, watched TV or spoken to any of my friends. The things we do for money....

Back to 9 to 5 normality on Monday. Going to see bonnie prince billy and giant drag next week which should be cool. Life goes on.

This weekend I'm gonna sleep, read and play guitar