Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Penguins are for life not just tenuous Christian allegory


From http://www.faithmouse.com

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

No, that’s not an invitation...

Now, I watch a lot of movies - at least 3 or 4 most weeks. I love movies almost to the point of anorakdom. I watch a wide range of movies; the good, the bad and the indifferent. I like arthouse, blockbusters, documentaries, subtitled movies from various continents, animations - in short just about anything.

Having said all that I find that my palate is sometimes jaded, particularly when it comes to 'Hollywood' movies. I find that sometimes they've got all the money and precious little originality to go with it. For example, watch frankly anything by Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away) and it knocks the spots off practically any big US animation (Madagascar anyone?) Pixar are, of course, honourable exceptions to this rule. I have found myself more and more turning to European and Asian (especially Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Thai) cinema. Indeed, the most astonishing (but disturbing) film of the last year or so for me was a German film called Downfall.

Yet, every time I write Hollywood off, it comes roaring back and makes me eat my words. Films like The Constant Gardener, Munich, Batman Begins, Good Night & Good Luck, Serenity and King Kong have had me entertained, enthralled and provided me with great enjoyment. Into this category I'd like to insert Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. I've just finished watching this absolute joy of a movie. I thought it was wonderful from start to finish and it was criminally ignored by the Oscars. Val Kilmer was brilliant as Gay Perry, Robert Downey Jr proved he can still act and Shane Black showed us that Lethal Weapon was not by any means a fluke. It was smart, funny and hugely enjoyable. If you haven't seen it - watch it. Go now; borrow my car to get to the video shop!

Sorry, got a bit carried away there...

P.S While I'm recommending movies... Go and see The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada directed by and starring Tommy Lee Jones. It is fantastic.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Impending World Cup

World Cup fever is getting ready to descend on the country. *big sigh*

I'm not sure I can handle the inevitable crushing disappointment. The tournament will go something like this:

1)England's injury crisis will continue to worsen.
2)England will struggle in the early stages against the might of Trinidad & Tobago while retaining an unshakeable confidence that we can win the tournament.
3)England will qualify for the group stages, just.
4)Cue near hysteria in the British media as normally sensible journalists and sports broadcasters start enthusing about how the team is "bringing football home" and that this year is the best chance of winning since we last won in 1966.
5)England will face an 'old enemy' e.g Germany, Argentina etc. The team will JUST about scrape a win on blood and guts.
6)The British media will move up to a higher level of hysteria and hyperbole.
7)England will crash out in the quarter-finals (probably on penalties - Steven Gerrard will miss one and Pizza Hut will be on the phone immediately )to either Brazil or any country with a tactically astute manager.
8)Recriminations will begin. Sven Goran Eriksson will finally leave.
9)The whole process will begin again for the European Championships in 2008

Maybe I'll start watching Crown Green Bowls instead. Then at least I don't have to be constantly worrying about Wayne Rooney's metatarsal, Michael Owen's bionic foot or Rio Ferdinand's inability to concentrate for more than 45 minutes....

Oh, who am I kidding.....?


(You know, I think this is our best chance to win since 1966....)

The inside of Michael Owen's bionic foot

The dreaded coming of summer....

Now I've lived in the North of England for most of my life so, frankly, I'm used to bad weather. In fact, that winter often lasts till well after Spring is supposed to have sprung doesn't worry me at all. I like autumn and winter more than spring or summer. However, as evenings begin to get lighter and the days warmer I begin to feel a familiar dread.


I hate wasps, and I dread the day I see the first wasps of the year. That day was yesterday. I was walking home from work, enjoying the balmy sunshine in South Manchester when all of a sudden a veritable swarm of the little yellow and black buggers ambushed me from inside a wheely bin some moron had filled with beer bottles then left open. As a long term sufferer of wasp-fear I have found ways to cope over the years and rarely run screaming like a baby anymore.

However, because this was the first appearance of the year from the little bastards, it took me completely by surprise and I found myself cowering down the pavement windmilling my arms like some sort of crazy person. Which of course made the rather dozy wasps think I had something worth investigating and they proceeded to abandon their wheely bin and follow me down the road.


Roll on winter....