Thursday, February 28, 2008

Control - DVD review

I've been listening to Joy Division since I was about 13 or 14. I first heard them either on a free tape with vox magazine (featuring the Peel Session version of Transmission) or on a punk documentary showing footage of the band on So it goes (playing Transmission again). Basically, I thought Transmission was a great song and I hunted down as much Joy Division stuff as I could.

I read Touching from a Distance by Deborah Curtis when it came out. It painted a bleak picture of the life of Ian Curtis but it didn't detract from the power of his music. Control is based on that book and it is a very serious film. The black-and-white images of Anton Corbijn create a claustrophobic film which is probably appropriate as it tells the story of a 23 year old man with epiepsy who kills himself leaving a one year old daughter. Pretty fucking bleak.

For a comedy film about the life of Ian Curtis check out 24 hour party people by Michael Winterbottom. I've seen it 20 times and I love it.

Control is a good film. The music scenes are well done. I enjoyed it but please don't watch it when you're in a low mood.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Jumper - film review

I thought this film would be rubbish when I saw the trailer. I decided to take a risk and see it after a positive review in Total Film magazine. I'm glad I did cos it was great fun.

The film revolves around a young bloke who finds that he can teleport or 'jump' from one place to another by thinking about it. He then meets Samuel L Jackson who is some sort of religious type who wants to kill him. He also meets Jamie Bell (the former Billy Eliot) who seems to have anger issues and is rather keen to kill Samuel L Jackson. Bell is excellent - it's as if he is taking revenge on everyone who tried to molest him when he played Billy Eliot. Very, very angry.

So, an entertaining piece of science fiction nonsence with some great fight scenes. Worth seeing on DVD.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Hallam foe

I'm not sure if this post will work. I'm writing it as an email and trying to email it to blogger because the IT department at my work have banned acces to almost every web page in existence. I'm on nights and I can't use my own computer.

I just watched Hallam Foe on DVD yesterday. I was interested in the film because it is Scottish and because the soyundtrack features Franz Ferdinand and a bunch of other Domino bands. It's an arty film but a good one. The film tells the story of Hallam, an odd lad, who is a peeping tom in rural Scotland. His mother died in unusual circumstances several years ago and he suspects that his step-mother may have killed her. He runs away from home to Edinburgh where he meets a girl who looks like his mum. So he tries to shag her. Of course.

It's entertaining and not depressing which is nice.

ps - had to repost this from email as remote publishing did not work. Email nazi at work has won

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Bad Medicine - Doctors doing harm since Hippocrates by David Wooton

In Bad Medicine David Wootton presents an alternative view of the history of medicine. He argues that doctors had no effective treatments before 1865 and that many of the interventions of the medical profession before that date did more harm than good. He is probably right.

Most medical historians present modern medicine as the pinnacle of centuries of steady progress from ancient times. Wootton argues that most of this progress is an illusion and that crucial breakthroughs have often been ignored for hundreds of years wasting millions of lives. Doctors have often been too proud to accept new ideas and have harmed their patients with their pride. Advances have been random and there has never been a single movement of 'progressive' medicine before modern times.

In the modern era of 'evidence-based medicine' we are trying to make sure that our interventions work. As a doctor I am glad of this. Bad Medicine is an interesting read offering an opinion on the times when medicine was more an art than a science.

Cloverfield - film review

I went to see Cloverfield unsure of what to expect. The worst-case scenario would have been a remake of the Blair Witch Project which is one of the most over-hyped films ever. Thankfully Cloverfield is a much better film.

Cloverfield is presented as a camcorder tape that was found at the site of a disaster in New York. The film starts with a home-movie of the hero and his girlfriend having fun. This home-movie is intercut with footage of a farewell party for the hero (his brother has accidently taped over the home movie). During the party New York is attacked by something and the camcorder keeps rolling until the inevitable conclusion.

Unlike Blair Witch the characters are engaging and the story is coherent. There are some moments of humour mixed with pathos and scares. It's pretty good.

One to catch.