Monday, June 30, 2008

Wanted - film review

Wanted is an adolescent male revenge fantasy. It has some cool action sequences but the plot is kinda pish. The characters are ok and the cast is good. James McAvoy is always good and I do like to look at Angelina Jolie.

The story is about a bloke called Wesley who is basically at the bottom of the food chain, an omega male. He has a shit job that he hates, he has panic attacks and his best mate is fucking his girlfriend. He meets a beautiful woman who tells him that he has superpowers and that he is the son of the worlds greatest assassin. He is then invited to join the Fraternity, a secret club of assassins. Lots of stuff is blown up and lots of swear-words are used.

I liked the comic so I'm a bit disappointed by the film. The comic was written by Mark Millar who is a good writer and Glaswegian. The comic was pretty extreme and some of the basic plot devices (supervillains and weird powers) were a bit out there but at least the characters had realistic motivations and there was some internal logic to the story.

If you like comics, read the comic first. I'd wait to see the film on TV.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Anywhere I lay my head by Scarlett Johansson

On paper or at least on first thought you would expect an album by a 23 year old movie starlet to be pish. It screams of vanity project like the musical career of Paris Hilton. Albums by actors are usually shite.

Anywhere I lay my head is good which is a surprise. It's good for several reasons. Ms Johansson has made some leftfield choices. There have been signs of her alternative leanings in the past. I didn't really like Lost in translation but I loved the soundtrack. I realise she didn't pick the songs on the soundtrack herself but at least she would have heard them. She also showed amazingly good taste by getting up on stage with East Kilbride musical gods the Jesus and Mary Chain to sing backing vocals on Just like honey.

So now she's made her own album. To be more precise David Andrew Sitek of TV on the Radio has made her an album of Tom Waits songs. It's a good album that sounds like a TVOR record. It also sounds a bit like the Cocteau Twins. My dad even liked it when I played it in the car. David Bowie sings on it. It is a good record.

Listen to it.

Playing with my Ipod shuffle

I was bored a couple of weeks back and I bought myself a new toy - a 2Gb Ipod shuffle. I have a big old 20Gb that has done me no wrong but I wanted something a bit more portable. At 45quid the shuffle doesn't break my bank.

The sound quality seems ok an it's very small. I'm kinda scared that I could step on it or wash it or some shit like that and not notice. It's so light that I can clip it to my belt or to a t-shirt with little trouble.

I don't download much music. I guess that shows my age. I like to buy CDs and look at the boxes. One of my problems is finding enough time to listen to all the CDs I buy. The shuffle is good for that. I just download a bunch of CDs onto it and listen to them at random. It's helped me get into a few albums that I was finding a bit difficult.

There are two main drawbacks with the shuffle. The lack of display makes it impossible to know which song you are listening to and difficult to find a specific song. This can be fun when you are left guessing what a cool song it. Good brain exercise. The other thing that is a major pain in the ass is charging the shuffle. This only seems to be possible when the Ipod is attached to a computer. This can make life difficult if you don't have access to a computer on a daily basis. These flaws are both minor and I can live with them.

I guess I love my Ipod shuffle. It's not perfect and it won't replace my big 20Gb baby but it has its uses.

Thank fuck I'm on holiday

Work sucks. I hope I win the lottery or some shit like that. Can't wait till I start my new job.

The Incredible Hulk - film review

The last Hulk film directed by Ang Lee wass pure pish. He should stick to gay cowboys - Brokeback Mountain was a good film. I wasn't sure what to expect from this new Hulk film. The cast is good but to be honest the Hulk was never the best Marvel comic book character.

Happily The Incredible Hulk is watchable. It's not as cool as Iron Man but I didn't want to tear out my eyes at any point during the film. A short cameo by Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark at the end of the film was a nice teaser for a future Avengers film.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls

A lot of people hate this film. They think that it has spoiled their favourite series of childhood action movies. I think if I was 8 this would have been my favourite Indiana Jones film.

The Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls is fantastical nonsense but then none of the Indiana Jones films have been strongly grounded in reality. It's good fun and I hope they make more.

Iron Man - Film Review

Due to ongoing exile in a place with little personal internet access I have not been able to update this blog much recently. I'm working in a pretty boring place so I'm not doing much. I have been to the cinema a few times.

Iron Man is one of the best superhero films I have seen. It's not to everyones taste but I thought it was rather good. I did read a few Iron Man comics when I was a kid and I always found the character interesting. The 'Demon in a bottle' storyline in the comicbook was one of the first to show a superhero with a real-life human problem like alcohol abuse.

Part of the appeal of Iron Man is the humanity of the character. Iron Man is just an ordinary bloke in a suit of armour. He doesn't come from Krypton, he isn't a mutant and he has never been bitten by anything radioactive. He isn't as miserable as Batman. Tony Stark has the sort of lifestyle most blokes would enjoy - he's rich, he sleeps with beautiful women and he has an interesting life.

Robert Downey Jr is well cast as Tony Stark. He looks like the original comic book character and he has a suitable bad-boy past. He is charasmatic and pulls off the super-rich playboy persona with ease.

The Iron Man origin story has been updated in a sensible manner. The original strip had Tony Stark as a weapons manufacturer in the Korean War and this has been easily transposed to the modern middle east. The film isn't as jingoistic as I feared it would be and it does highlight the evils of the arms-race.

Rumors are going about that there will be an Avengers movie at some point in the future combining Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America and Thor. If it's as well made as Iron Man it might be worth seeing.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Radiohead live at Glasgow Green

I'm not a massive Radiohead fan. I never have been. I thought Creep was ok and I only started listening to The Bends a couple of years after it came out. I own most of their albums but I have never thought that they are the best or the most original band in the world.

I was keen to see them because my mates all told me they were good live. 40 quid for a ticket is a bit steep but probably standard for a band as big as Radiohead. It was pissing down in Glasgow today and as I sat in the pub before the gig I asked myself if I could really be fucked standing in a cold, wet park to listen to miserable music. Was it worth it?

I bought a cheap raincoat in some shitty clothes shop on Argyll street and girded my loins. I ran into a few old friends which made the drizzle worth it.

Support band Bat for Lashes weren't great which was not a surprise. I didn't like their CD.

Radiohead sounded great and played a good set. Quality songs from all the albums except Pablo Honey. I was surprised at the number of neds at the show. I was not surprised at the number of student with 'difficult' facial hair.

A cold wet day. Wish it was indoors. My Bloody Valentine next week will be much better.