Thursday, November 29, 2007

Top 6 Friday: Douglas Adam Quotes

Atheism reared its head this week with religious groups in the States calling a boycott of ‘The Golden Compass’, with one of the plots of subsequent books featuring a plot centred on the destruction of God. Douglas Adams, a fervent follower of atheism and the idea there was no God created a wonderfully unique story for his novels ’The Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe’ and ’The Restaurant at the End of the Universe’. In ’Restaurant’ I loved the idea of human ’evolution’ in fact beginning with the lesser people of an alien society crash landing here, their ship having run out of fuel. So too the sequence in Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe where Arthur Dent is introduced to the idea of a planet workshop, is magically created in the movie. I’m conflicted as to whether I should post the clip below, it does contain that scene, however it absolutely demands as big a screen as possible to appreciate and the accompanying music is by Coldplay. Top 6 Friday is 6 quotes from Adams, the simplest and most effective of the somewhat convoluted remarks he has made or written. The post is closed off with the trailer for ‘The Golden Compass', shamelessly plugging itself as a contender to the Lord of the Rings crown of a Christmas fantasy. New Line has not had true a success since the Rings films so its been a case of make one and see rather than simultaneous filming of a set of films.

6. A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

5. Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.

4. Arthur hoped and prayed that there wasn't an afterlife. Then he realised there was a contradiction there and merely hoped that there wasn't an afterlife.

3. He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.

2. He shifted his weight from foot to foot, but it was equally uncomfortable on each.

1. The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.


So I've tested this Internet Duke Box and think I'll certainly link to it now when I'm in the mood for recommending music or tunes to listen to while you browse. Check it out here -

Government to Launch €15m Climate Change Campaign Today

Read more here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Annapolis Talks

Despite low expectations some strong statements and a timeframe emerged from the opening day of the Middle East peace talks in Annapolis. The BBC is reporting that Olmert and Abbas both view this as their greatest chance at achieving peace considering their weak political positions. Read more here.

The Song of Wandering Aengus (W.B. Yeats)

I’ve been meaning to do a post on this, my favourite poem for a while. By post I mean copy and paste it in here just to let readers enjoy. It was a poem I said on stage for a local talent competition many a moon ago, my English teacher having recommended it to me as one of the most beautiful things he had ever read. I cannot argue with that point. Then a shorter time ago, my first weeks in UL I was incredibly uncertain of my decision to go there to do my post-grad. Walking to the library I spotted the large stone slab welcoming people to UL had two lines of text on the back of it – which were in fact the last two lines of this poem. These are the most beautiful lines I have ever read, that may be a symptom of not having read enough poetry, I choose to believe I was very lucky to have discovered it. For that day at least I had a soothing feeling that everything would work out. The poem reads like a piece of music, so simple yet laden with inspiration from the Gods and mythology. Enjoy.

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I turned to blow the fire aflame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

'The Dark Knight' Marketing

The marketing for the Batman Begins sequel is going to new extremes in the depth of material for fans to pore over online in advance of the films release. Extensive time was given to revealing the look of the Joker and now with the launch of come a string of sister sites all loaded with perspectives. I am not interested in the sequel but I am interested in the buzz the producers are creating and how film marketing in general will change after this. So too a prologue featurette on the Jokers beginnings can be found here.

I have discussed this before here. That same post also discussed Cloverfield, another film which is steeping itself in secrecy with the trailer below being the largest reveal to date.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The World Today

Consensus for once on the Middle East, all sides are pesimistic and cautious of what could potentially be achieved through the talks. We will no doubt be waking up on Tuesday to news of any developments. Read more here.

The delegates can discuss the announced principles for an ongoing bilateral agreement the US and Iraq, viewed by this commentator as establishing a permanent presence and tieind down the next administration to a plan that will be difficult to reverse.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Resturants in Dublin

A call for help people. Anyone know of any Good Restaurants in Dublin. By the way the one that CK wroth about is booked out :(

Bill Maher season finale 2005 with Mary Robinson

Friday, November 23, 2007

Top 6 Friday: Decisions Made in a Drunken Stopor

6. To Drink Until the Morning and Beyond

That feeling of being invulnerable and wanting to embrace the night and all it has to offer, determined neither hangovers nor daylight nor the entire breakdown of your organs will stop you,. So many great intentions, so little follow through. Succeeding with this decision is of course possible but can result in uber hangovers, financial devastation and disownment.

5. To Go on a Holiday

Oh my God that sounds so great, how in my sober mundanity did I ever not realise the craic that could be had with you a bunch of people I may not know that well, but am determined to go on a trip with now that I have alcohol replacing blood in my body. So many promises, so much enthusiasm, so much blunt force of the reality of life the next day meaning all this determination falls to nothing. As ever an exception to prove the rule and two friends of mine followed through on a plan to be at Newgrange early one morning last week and actually did - fair play.

4. To Make a Move

We’ve all been there, somehow the movements of the person in question are more provocative and inviting than usual and you feel you may as well throw yourself into it, whether it be the end of the night or someone you have fancied for an age. Equally the stimulus for the beginning of relationships as well as the destruction of time honoured friendships, making the move is perhaps the most fundamental of all decisions made under the influence.

3.To Accept a Dare

This entry may unfortunately introduce a somewhat serious element into the list as dares when drunk can turn dangerous. Nevertheless people have ended up dismantling toilet bowls, having their hair shaved off and skulling the dreggs of everyone else’s drinks for money all with great comedic potential and effect.

2. To Converse with a Sober Person

This is a classic of mine, slow down speech, over enunciate very word, I will not have the bubble of my sobriety burst in my parents/relatives/employers face and I will purposely engage them so as to prove this point. Give up for the love of God, you’re on a sinking ship and basically just look stupid and people will slowly push their seats away from you with you too drunk to realise.

1. To Write a Complaint to a Bar about Your treatment by a Bouncer

The rejection you can’t comprehend, your exasperation at their refusal to let you in, your shoes that cost more than they earn in a night, the power trips they need to go on for a sense of self-gratification. Such poor pathetic reasons you look down upon the bouncer, whether he be odd or perfectly justified you fling accusations, threaten legal action and swear blind you will return the next day complaining to management. Reality - you barely remember your own name let alone what the man looked like or how many pubs you were actually refused from.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A True Low

It has been a dark few months for Irish politics, I cannot imagine a time where a government was so openly arrogant and unaccountable to its people. Our Dail and its Ministers now operate without any accountability, with statements and reports deflecting blame and events have now reached a true nadir where for the second time in recent history a group of women have had their lives put at risk due to intolerable management and resourcing of our health system. Obligations to act in the interests of our citizens and their welfare are forgotten, with any action being delayed or no response coming at all.

In 2002 a phone call was made from Bobby Molloys office, entirely inappropriately making contact with a judge prior to sentencing in a rape trial. Whether the call was made by a member of staff or Molloy is unknown, what did happen is the TD took responsibility for the actions of his office and resigned. Now however we live in a State where Ministers can have knowledge of years of mishandling the nursing home fees of the elderly, can preside over a health system that misdiagnoses people and operate within a department where a business decision made by a state asset is never discussed, without ever considering their obligations and the integrity of the portfolios they represent. So too the leader of the State can openly lie to the nation, presenting half baked stories and have the audacity to take a tone with questioners at a Tribunal as he cobbles together pathetic snap shots.

Our country has inaccurate electoral registers, with an infeasibly high turn out in our last general election. Every imaginable social problem riddles our streets stemming from poor access to education and an imbalance in opportunities for all. The gap between the rich and poor is cavernous and all the while huge infrastructural projects and budget overspends have squandered the reserves of an ageing populace. To use the term waste management is a farce, so too our most beautiful country is being ripped apart by an insatiable need to build properties that we can't afford, with planning lumbered by bureaucracy and localism and economic management and the lowest rate of corporate tax in Europe failing to sustain industry, escalating inflation and diminshing tourism, our greatest asset.

Who are we to look to for a true alternative? Ideas are lost to our politicians. The opposition parties have essentially never led the State in a time of prosperity and have failed to capitalise on open goals such as our Taoiseachs lecherous behaviour - therefore neither good at spin or substance. Writing this piece has been a deflating experience, whatever the perspective, taking a large scale view of the state of the nation or looking to the quality of life of individuals, relaity paints a sorry picture.

New Carlsberg Ad

Happy No Music Day

The 3rd Annual No Music Day takes place today, with Radio Scotland taking the lead playing no jingles, tunes, music and presumably staff are prohibited from striing coffee rhythmically. So too the radio station is taking it upon themselves to make citizens arrests on individuals listening to music on the street outside the station. The purpose of the day is to instil debate on our relationship with music and the standard of the stuff we listen to. I know for one I have a strange relationship with music, owning as little as 5 CDs including Bruce Springsteen. numerous movie music compilations from my teens, Alabama 3, and some U2. It never strikes me to put on a CD while hanging around the house, it always the TV and whle travelling or indeed there is little on that I want to watch I will listen to the radio. I Youtube a very limited few songs to listen to while I browse on other tabs, I do not have in my possession an i-Pod and when I did own a walkman it was for the radio. I Youtube Bjork, Moby, Supergrass, Fo Fighters and of course some Journey. Songs I discover I like or music I might look into finding (which happens very rarely) would largely come from being impresed by the soundtrack to a movie or an add on TV. So its fair to say I don't have an in depth knowledge of music, despite knowing the power of good music, its mood setting abilities and there being few better nights out than a live gig.

Read more of No Music day here and find the official site for the day here.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Helium filled Bubble wrap

Alas I haven't won a Wii from Science Week :(. But one thing that it did highlight to me was how little actual science there is out in the Irish Blogosphere. Other then James . I can't think of anyone that actually blogs much about science which is a shame. So I will try to write a bit more about science. We had a bit of a discussion to the other day at lunch about the use of helium bubble wrap. The idea being that by using helium in the bubble wrap packaging could be make the package lighter by lifting it and thus cheaper to transport. This is both true and false.

It would be cheaper for the reason that when you weigh the parcel in the post office. It would somewhat float thus the weighing machine that sets the price would give you a smaller reading, thus cheaper price. Alas in real terms you are not saving money, well you are the post office is losing. The reason is this. If you consider the parcel being sent by airmail. While on a scales the package would be lighter the airplane is carrying the weight of the parcel and the air around it. Thus even if the package floated in mid-air in the cabin. It would be the same as if it was tided down.

New scientist is having a similar discussion.

Movies begin to feel the Writers Strike

With a number of sitcoms, soaps and entertainment shows already in reruns, prime time shows such as ER, Heroes and Grey's Anatomy are looking at having only 2 to 3 more original episodoes to air this year. Now comes the news that movies are being effected, with 'Angels and Demons' the prequel to 'The DaVinci Code', the 'Borat' sequel 'Bruno' and the 'Justice League' movie each stalling, being left without a finished script to begin pre-production/shooting. Reuters covers more here.Arnold Schwarzenneger has set out his concern the impact is having on the economy of California and it seems the talks set for the end of the month cannot come quickly enough.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Venu Brasserie

So despite living in Dublin 6 months now, I realised descending the marble stairs into Venu Brasserie last night there was a lifestyle I had heard of but not yet sampled in my time here. Happy to sup pints in conveniently located pubs, I haven't been tuned into what is hot and what is not, when it comes to dining. A tasty Italian on Talbot Street was as exciting a meal out I have had, simply because it wasn't Eddie Rockets. I know of Chapter One and Shanahans on the Green and so too Gary Rhodes recently graced the northside with a restaurant of his but to date it was all look and don't touch. An invite to Venu to catch up with college friends was welcome without hesitation - looking up the location online to see about getting their I felt a loss of appetite coming on at seeing I would be paying €25 minimum for a main course and more dismay again at reviews proclaiming the Brasserie to offer reasonably priced foods. Had I missed an adjustment to what was meant by reasonable these days?

Hidden away off South Anne St. a reception area extends down into a high ceilinged cavern. My extremely unstylish corduroy jacket hanging amongst the other coats you are immediately confronted with a throng of fake tan and little black dresses partaking of what I was soon to find out were excellent cocktails. The impressive dominating bar acts as a barrier to the dining booths, ours booked wisely two weeks in advance. A large open room, with a high ceiling conversations echoed around at high volumes, as I looked around feeling distinctly underdressed even in my smartest shirt and pointy shoes. Late arrivals and contemplation of a familiar menu with some added class, main courses finally arrive with meat cooked to melting perfection, fish perfectly crisp and potato dauphonis I will think about for the rest of the week.

My meal, 'a cushion of venison' was the best cooked meal I have had in 2 years I would say. Blushing within with a robust poivrade sauce and roast pumpkin and chestnuts on the side you knew you were eating well and yes jokes were made that there had previously been a pattern on my plate I cleaned it so intensely. I'm living too much with my wallet in mind at the moment and had a really enjoyable weekend overall, the good company being more important than any meal I might have but if I am to pay such amounts I would gladly pay again for the quality on offer at Venu.

Weblink here

Friday, November 16, 2007

Stag Hunting

I always find it hilarious when I hear townie commentators in Newspapers (just because you bought a big fancy house in the country does not make you any less of a townie) going on about the the realities of rural life. Kevin Myres is on a rant today about how a stag hunt should be aloud as it is part of rural life. Sorry Kevin bullshit. Most farmers I know don't like hunts as it usually involves a load of toffs on horses running through fields disturbing livestock. If there is trouble with foxes or the like. Farmers do not jump on horses (most don't own any) don red coats and run across fields with a buggle. They get their shotgun amongst other things. Hunting is not a reality of rural life it is a reality of town life just because it does not happen in the phoenix park does not make it any less so..

Thursday, November 15, 2007

P.S. I Hate This Movie

I've just seen the movie adaptation of Cecilia Ahern's debut novel 'P.S I Love You'. I want to send out a warning now that this film will be a talking point this Christmas, but you the readers of this blog will have the advance warning that it sucks so much there are few words in existence that can encompass it. I will write a review after a period of time that will allow me come up with words strong enough to convey how absolutely horrific an experience it was. Get a taster with this god awful trailer at the movie's website here.

Some tunes

I have not posted these videos for viewing purposes, I'm aiming more for a audial experience. These songs - the theme from 'Requiem for a Dream' and a song titled 'Nara' by E.S. Posthumus should be recognisable from any number of trailers, are suitably dramatic pieces of music and of course great to listen to in full. You will see the videos are nothing special so I recommend enjoying them while you browse.

Science Week. What gadget do you want to buy next

It is day three of Science Week Ireland. With everyone gunning for a Wii.

So todays question is what gadget do you want to buy next.

To tell you the truth I am not much of a gadget person. To me science is about understanding the world, understanding how stuff works. That is what I get my kick from not from actually owning a mobile phone that can double as credit card or whatever. But that is just me but in interests of a wii. Which is one gadget I of course would like to have. Indeed it is actually quiet interesting seeing that it has for instance gyroscopes in its remotes . But for this I will pretend I don't have a key fob to get into my office and go on about it.

Key fobs are like so wicked cool awesome they like let you into buildings. Ya go key fobs.

Actually they are quiet interesting. Most of them I have used use radio frequency chips. You know how you go to some metro's around the world. You get a ticket that is a card. and instead of reading into the machine you just kind of massage it against a panel. That uses RF chips. Basically what they are is a chip that stores you entry data on it. I.e the data that the computer needs to see to let you in. When you place the thing on the receiver it sends a signal to the receiver telling it that you are you and the computer lets you in. The really cool thing in my mind is that the chip is powered not by a battery but by the receiver itself. How cool is that

No trust me it is cool

The signal from the receiver induces a current to flow in the circuitry just enough to power the chip to do its thing. It is similar to the old crystal radios where the power of the radio signal powered the radio.

I know some of you might be going what key fobs, how lame is that. How about a new iPOD to listen to the latest Frames ( Cat strangling ) CD. But that is just a device that leads to more cat death, the Science behind that is what is interesting.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Anabolic Initiations No. 5 is not a film you would think says a lot about Ireland today. The synoposis of the film on mentions the words ass, cum, sluts etc etc. Yet this film says more about Ireland today then any film staring that twit from the Frames.

A case has been taken by a owner of an adult shop against the film censors board for the banning of the film. Resulting in her not being able to sell the DVD. In this day an age it is a bit crazy. If you google the title which I did to get the synoposis the first link is to a shop selling it. (google it your selves). Considering that it can already be bought by someone, why does it make sense to force people who want to buy it to buy it where all the money is going out of the state. If it is going to be bought we might was well keep the money in the state.

But the other issue

The censor said in his decision that the work was unfit for viewing because it contained material that was "obscene or indecent" that would "deprave or corrupt persons who might view it".

Now who is the censor to tell a grown adult what are what will not corrupt the person. Why is this appointed to be our moral guardian? This DVD is of consenting adults it is not child porn. It is not showing illegal acts. (I haven’t watched it so can’t say for sure but I guess if it did that would have been the censors offices main argument.) We let people get blind drunk which “depraves and corrupts an awful lot of people” The point of the matter is, whether or not the government can say what people can or cannot do in their own homes (with in the normal confines of the law). It seems that we are on the cusps of social change in Ireland. The last vestiges of the Catholics church’s control on the minds of the people are holding on. It is time we let them go.

What invention do you want to see most in the future?

So Science week day 2. Todays question is

What invention do you want to see most in the future?

Inventions of the future is a very tricky question to answer. Because it takes place in our current understanding. Back in the 19th century a futurologist predicted that the streets of New York would be at the current rate of growth be 6 feet deep in horse dung. The thought that a invention such as the motorcar could come along and totally change the way we travel could not be seen. Much of science is involved in improving what we know about. Take laptops.

At the moment one of the many trust of research on laptops is about trying to get longer life out of the batteries, This is done by cutting down on the power need to work the computer. And this has been successful. But the interesting thing is that the obvious avenue of progress i.e actually improving the battery has been slow. The dry cell battery that we use in most products to day has been pretty much the same since it was invented in 1800 by Volta (Guess what the called after him) and hasn't changed much since then.

More so then ever do we need batteries. With climate change and energy security so vital in the world today. Renewable energies are big news. However they have a major flaw. They are variable energy sources. Some days the wind blows other days the wind does not. TO over come this batteries are needed. The main type of energy storage used is pumped storage which Ireland has one at Turlough Hill in Wicklow. At night time less energy is used then during the day, but it is inefficient to turn down power stations. So the solution is to use the energy to pump water up a hill to a reservoir at night, then drop it back down through some turbines during the day to get back the energy. To use this however to cover all our renewable energy would be impractical. Basically we would need an awful lot of these stations.

But there are other types of storage systems being developed around the world. Flow batteries which work a bit like car batteries save with the ability to once charged pump the chemicals out so they can be stored in cheaper tanks. Hydrogen Cells which are the big favs at the mo would basically be using electricity to split water in to hydrogen and oxygen. And then re-combing them, (for instance by burning) to get back the energy.

There are other storage forms of energy that are being investigated such as flywheel storage. Basically storing energy in rotating disks. Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage(SMES). Storing energy in superconductors. But all these have advantages and disadvantages and as of yet none seem to be offering the super answer.

So to answer the question. What invention would I like to see in the future. There is many inventions I would like to see. A room temperature super conductor for one. Much of the problems of all energy sources is the losses and resistances that they have. If super conductors could be used much of this would be not lost. Also indeed the SMES type battery would lose it is major impediment. It would revolutionize the world we live in. Everything these days uses power to minimize that power needed, would do so much for the world.

But That is the thing with science we don't know where it can take us. My choice of future is based very much on the past and the present. Like the guy in the 19th century my take on the question is based on my take on the present. But Science is not about the present it is not about the future. Most science is not invention it is discovery the answers to most of our problems are out there we just have to find them. So I can speculate all I want about the future but what happens in the future, what the greatest invention of the future maybe be, maybe be something we can never imagine. But some day someone will imagine it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What was the favorite invention from your childhood?

Damien Mulley the info king for all things blogging informs us that Science Week Ireland is running a competition of blog posts. To write about various science topics. Now I am not the kind of person they want entering this. Science Week is about promoting science getting young people to think of doing it and others to be interested in doing it. Considering that I am doing a PhD in Physics it is already to late for me to be influenced but they are offering a Wii everyday this week so thought I am unlikly to win as I am going to dive straight into nerd anyway and not have some great poetic story of my youthful brush with science anyway. Here is make answer to the question.

What was the favorite invention from your childhood?

One Christmas I got a torch amongst other things but it is the torch that sticks out of my mind. I used to run around the house in the dark thinking I was in the x-files (really Famous Five but in retrospect X-files far cooler) solving mysteries and that sort of thing for hours on end. Annoyed when anyone came into the hall and turned the lights on. I always remember looking at the torch an wondering why it worked why it gave light. I used to sometimes just sit and look at it turning it on and off thinking that if I just caught it before it went too bright I might discover the reason why it worked. Alas I never did see anything but I did learn how it worked.

But it is with good reason that I did not figure it out. Because I great many people have wondered that question and not really until quantum physics was first devised did people really understand why. It is basically Black Body radiation. Black Body radiation comes mainly from a Danish Physicist by the name of Max Plank. (Some say that is Enda Kenny’s and Pat Kenny’s true surnames anyway Picture on the right). Basically this is how it works. In an Atom the electrons going around the atom have different energy states. Think of it like a ladder.

So an electron is standing on the bottom step of the ladder. Then someone heats the floor. Depending how hot the floor is he will jump up higher. (remember your Warner Brother cartoons). Basically the more the heat the more the energy the higher up the ladder he can get. Also the electron has to stand on a step he can not float in mid air between steps. These different steps which are different energy levels they are quantized. Hence we have the term Quantum Physics (which is the study of the very small because very small things are ultimately quantized they can only exist or be with in certain slots) Now the electron is scared of heights so does not like being up on a high step it is unstable. But to drop down to safety it has to lose the energy that it gained by jumping up. (If you take the real world situation of the ladder the same thing applies the person would have to lose energy to fall. In the form of causing the air to move, sound when hitting the ground etc. ) So to do this it emits a photon of light. The frequency of this light is dictated by E =hv. Where E equals energy and v is frequency of light and h is planks constant. Thus more energy higher frequency. By admitting this light the electron drops back down to the stable lower level. Here is Planks Law equation that governs it encase you are interested. Wikipedia explains it.

I(\nu,T) =\frac{2 h\nu^{3}}{c^2}\frac{1}{ e^{\frac{h\nu}{kT}}-1}.

This is how a light blub works. The current from the battery heats up the wire (reason why we have energy saving light blubs as most of the energy is just used as heat not light.) and the electrons go up to higher energy levels and drop down emitting photons emitting light. The light bulb was not really invented by Edison. He merely made it practical. The first incandescent light source (As normal light bulbs are) was by Humphry Davy in 1802.

It is hard to pick one favorite invention from when I was a child, indeed it is a very strange question. Much of what you had as a child you took for granted. The car is a great invention but I never thought of it was a great invention it was just a car. But that is the great thing about science. You can sit and ponder the workings of a torch. Read up on it study quantum mechanics. Work through the pages of equations that govern it. Know how it works on a quantum level and marvel at the wondrous complexity of it all and how it can be described on a piece of paper with numbers. (more numerous pieces of paper and letters) Or you can just use it and be a kid in your hallway trying to catch the smugglers under the telephone chair.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Harney informed of inept service in 2005

I like Mary Harney, despite the fact her role is a spokesperson these days with Brendan Drumm running the HSE disaster zone. The Irish Times reports today that she was informed of the poor quality of the breast cancer screening in Port Laoise in 2005. This will be the greatest slur to the idea of ministerial accountability or accountability as a whole if this goes unanswered for. Read the story here and also coverage over on

Top 25 Movie Highlights


5. 'The Silence of the Lambs’

I for too long went through a phase of being unable to admit I hadn’t seen a classic or well known movie that surely anyone who claimed they were a fan of movies should have seen. The thing was my movie collection, that is, my now defunct collection of movies taped onto VCR, began slowly. The whole practice began with a friend, T.J. Begley, loaning me The Silence of the Lambs in secondary school after he discovered I had never seen the movie. There was a sense of great discovery and almost fear of the unknown with this movie before I ever pressed play to follow Jodie Foster on her morning jog, The false reveal before the pitch black shoot out is one of the great constructs and smarter than anything Tarantino or Shyamalan has sought to dazzle us with. All the pity the Lecter character has descended into the ranks of caricatured villains. A random bit of trivia I carry around is that ’Lambs’. ’One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest’ and ’It Happened One Night’ are the only three movies to ever take home the big five on Oscar night - Best Film, Actor, Actress, Screenplay and Director.

4. 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'

Charlie Kauffman has already of course been mentioned in the list. 'Eternal Sunshine' deserves a mention, and this high ranking, for being so real to life despite the unique story of a couple seeking to remove memories of a relationship from their minds. Our memories are such strange filters of events, we hang on to events in such an onconsistent style, happy memories enshrined, the darker moments relegated to the back of our mind yet somehow still impacting on our personalities. Love and the people we love effect us like no other, the importance of and lessons we take from relationships can hurt us and inspire us in equal measures. 'Eternal Sunshine' captures this in the most impressive way, using an intelligent, funny and bitterly sad story, with Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet delivering performances that make you want to be in love.

3. The Writer

Taking an original idea, a source novel or article, or re-working a poor script, creating characters and dialogue that can enter an audiences consciousness , building the ideas and providing the basis for the images to follow is an underappreciated and pivotal element to every film mentioned on this list. The writer deserves our respect. Talents that come to mind must include the afore mentioned Woody Allen. So too Billy Wilder’s work on movies like ‘Double Indemnity’ and ‘Some Like it Hot’ is the stuff of greatness. Wilder is of course a hero of Cameron Crowe, a great writer in his own right in work such as ’Almost Famous’ and ’Jerry Maguire’. David Mamet has filled work like ’Glengarry Glenross’, ‘Wag the Dog’ and a personal favourite ‘State and Main’ with sharp and layered dialogue. Associated more with his work on TV, Joss Whedon has done untold wonders with movie scripts. Uncredited for re-writing the script for ‘Speed’, Oscar nominated for bringing us the revolutionary script for ‘Toy Story’ and his work on films like ‘X-Men’ and ‘Alien: Resurrection’ has been infamously butchered. ‘Serenity’ of course hardly needs mentioning as the greatest example of the eclectic mix he brings to any story.

2. 'Superman’

Everyday, we create versions of ourselves that we feel will ingratiate ourselves more to the world around us but we often end up more isolated. How much much more of a symbol of this is the 3 versions of himself Clark Kent has to inhabit every day. The Christopher Reeve Superman movies are a mixed bag but there is a perfect nostalgic charm that enshrines the first in the canon in my memory. The scene perfectly epitomising this is Superman’s first appearance in Metrpolis, flying to save Lois Lane and a helicopter toppling from the roof of the Daily Planet. He catches Lois, reassuring her he has her only for Lane to squeal back ’You’ve got me, who’s got you?’. There is no other movie I return to more often. No amount of cynical misunderstanding that Superman is subject to can take from the great nobility of the character and his decision to do good with such immense power.

1. 'Psycho'

I first saw Psycho on a Friday night, introduced by a guy called Brian Reddin as part of a classic movie slot 'The Last Picture Show', shown after the Late Late Show on RTE 1. My father beside me asleep on the couch, I sat riveted to this story of a woman who makes a stop at a motel, the fact that she was on the run with money stolen from her employer soon became your last concern. One of the most discussed and respected of film makers, Hitchcock as a personality and the demands he placed on his actors, particularly the actresses at the centre of his stories, are stuff of cinematic legend. With 'Psycho' the stand out moment is of course the shower scene. What struck me though is a simple shot of the heroines sister, Lilah Crane walking up the hill to the Bate house unaware of the horror toc come and then the final scene of Norman Bates revealing his inner thoughts kept me awake that night and single handedly made me realise the power of film. 'Psycho' is my No. 1 because I see it as the first film I ever really saw, appreciating every shot, with the red herrings and lack of convention that Hitchcock brought to his films gripping me jut as much as they did audiences 30 years ago. A masterpiece.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Old cars not new cars should be the priority.

Labour the other day released a press release about the new car add’s showing the CO2 emissions from cars such as adds with g/km of CO2 in them. Tommy Broughan says

The transport sector contributes very significantly to our total greenhouse gas emissions. This proposal for making much more information available to consumers on the environmental profile of new vehicles is very valuable and worthwhile of strong consideration. The first session of the new Oireachtas Transport Committee takes place this week and I intend to request that this matter is placed high on the Committee’s agenda for a comprehensive hearing and examination.

It is however slightly counter productive.

One of the biggest emissions from a car come not from its operation but from its manufacture. In 1994 the Environment and Forecasting Institute in Heidelberg, Germany conducted a survey on the energy and environmental impact of a car through out its life time. Having driven 13,000 km a year for 10 years. It will produce 2,040m cubic metres of polluted air driving and 922m in production. This mean that about 40% of the emissions coming from a car in its 10 year lifetime comes from the manufacture. Or to put it another way. If you buy a new car every 4 years the greatest factor in the emissions in the car comes from the manufacture not the fuel. Now cars probably have improved since 1994 but not by a significant amount to render the fact that it is more environmental to keep a car for 10 years then the trade it in and buy a new more energy efficient car because the energy efficiency is nullified by the manufacturing emissions.

If Labour really want to do something to push for better emissions. Push for less car purchases, increase tax on purchasing new cars and decrease it on old cars. By doing a measure that seems to big up cars with low emissions per km. It will may make people feel guilty about their old car and get rid of it thinking that they are doing their bit for the environment when the opposite may well be the case.

Top 25 Movie Highlights (10 - 6)

10. 'Blood Simple'

Frances McDormand is chased around a dark apartment in the dieing scenes of ’Blood Simple’, with no idea why. The man chasing her nevertheless has been intricately involved in her life spiraling out of control. The story of ‘Blood Simple’ one of murder and betrayal is simply executed with brilliant moments of tension and dark humour. The unbearable silence between Mc Dormand being broken by a news paper being flung at the door is one of those moments that no amount of scripting or description could describe the effectiveness of. It is a cinematic moment. The dark shadowy surrounds match perfectly the poor people skills shown by the characters, who slowly self destruct through their lies. An excellent noir-ish thriller.

9. 'Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark'

Taking inspiration from shows and movies that filled their childhoods Steven Spielberg and George Lucas delivered in Raiders of the Lost Ark an icon of cinema, a thrill ride rarely matched and the trilogy of films that umbrellas my time spent loving film. Little can be said that hasn’t already at this point about the fun in these films. For me, as I have delved more into the making of these films, reading of the friendship of Lucas and Spielberg, Harrison Ford being second choice for the role and great moments such as River Phoenix being whipped on the chin in ‘The Last Crusade‘, bringing a scar on Ford’s chin from a carpentry accident into the story, all add to the mythos of these films.

8. ‘Manhattan Murder Mystery’

I always knew of Woody Allen, I truly discovered him with ‘Manhattan Murder Mystery’, which it turns out was the original concept for ‘Annie Hall’ before that movie went down the route of neurotic relationship analysis. Introducing me to this revelatory world of sarcastic and self-deprecatory humour as well as my constant favourite - murder mystery, the film was tailor designed for my tastes. Of course I have come across, ’the early funny ones’ and also have enjoyed the recent output which barely manage a theatrical release, ’Manhattan Murder Mystery’ was just the right side of accessible for my fragile young mind and a cross section of bitter sweet observation and farce that I’ve grown to love. ‘Bullets over Broadway‘, also deserves a special mention, firstly for being hilarious and secondly for introducing me to John Cusack.

7. Charlie Kauffman Charlie Kauffman admits he has difficulty finishing his stories, so as a sly nod to this at the end of ‘Adaptation’ he lets the story rip free descending into a chase a world away from the film we have been watching. Until now we have been following the story of a writer (Nicholas Cage) suffering from writers block who has trouble adapting the novel ‘The Black Orchid‘. Charlie Kauffman turned the story of his own frustration of adapting the real world novel ‘The Black Orchid’ into the premise of a film. Staying true to real life we see his character as played by Cage wander around the soundstage of ‘Being John Malcovich’, with scenes seen being acted out, a film Kauffman had just completed. I could watch and wallow forever in the intelligence and humour of this film. The mind of Kauffman bowls me over. Adding a twin brother to the mix, with Chris Cooper and Meryl Streep the characters of a story within a story, there are layers of enjoyment at play in this film. The more I thought about this film as I wrote about it, the more I wanted to throw it in the DVD player.

6. 'Superman Returns'

I was lucky enough to see this movie, opening weekend on an IMAX screen with 20 minutes or so in 3D in Auckland, New Zealand. I followed minutely every step of the making of this film, as a fan of Superman I waited with all the anticipation of a Star Wars fanatic or some other zealot I would normally laugh at. A new entry into the Superman film canon, the first in 19 years was an 'event' for me in every sense of the word. The film thankfully lived up to my expectations, though of course praise for it was not universal. The film was an ode to the Christopher Reeve films, imbuing an old world sense of romance and adventure. The world of Superman successfully recreated, one which will hopefully be enhanced in the next movie, capitalising on the potential of the character.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Top 25 Movie Highlights (15 - 11)

15. 'Groundhod Day’

Rita (Andie Mc Dowell) - What did you do today? Phil - 'Oh same old,same old'

There is so much to praise in such a quick remark, taking a bog standard reply and having the audience in on the joke so as to appreciate all the more the great wit and classic delivery from Bill Murray. It just encapsulates this whole film for me. The simple undemanding story of this film means we don’t think to appreciate the great work each of the supporting characters put in re-creating scenes immaculately. Creating humour is commendable enough, creating it and maintaining it the repeated events of one day is stellar.

14. Action sequences

Admittedly this is kinda cheating but there are 25 choices so I am stickking to my theme: The train explosion in ‘Broken Arrow’/the explosion at the beginning of ‘Sword Fish’/the destruction the White House in ‘Independence Day’/the slo-mo bullets of the Matrix Trilogy/the helicopter-train sequence in Mission Impossible/the shoot outs in ’The Killer’/the Alien - Ripley showdown in ’Aliens’/the ’magazine’ fight in ’The Bourne Identity’/the Thames boat race in ’The World is Not Enough’ /the destruction of the Death Star in ’Star Wars’/the hotel room escape in ’Once Upon a Time in Mexico’/Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullocks escape from the bus in ’Speed’ /The Naktomi Tower climax in ‘Die Hard‘/The fulcrum jump in Mission Impossible III/The steam train driving the Delorean in ‘Back to the Future III‘/The chariot race in ‘Ben Hur’/The cliff jump in ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’/The final shoot out in ‘Bonnie and Clyde’/Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie go at it in ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith’/The barb wire bike jump in ‘The Great Escape’/Harold Lloyd hangs from a clock face in ‘Safety Last’/The ‘French Connection’ car chase,/The shoot out in ‘High Noon’/Bruce Lee takes on rival students in ‘Fists of Fury’/The Terminator (Robert Patrick) reforms from molten metal.

13. Russell Crowe

If I am to pick an actor, who’s career I envision evolving as my interest in movies did and who epitomises nobility and respect for his trade, in the same vein as Gary Cooper or Spencer Tracy it has to be Russell Crowe. His performance in ‘The Insider’ is one of the greatest I have ever seen and the greatest example I have known of an actor being engrossed in a role. ’Gladiator’, ’Cinderella Man’ and Curtis Hanson’s magnum opus, ’L.A. Confidential’ are each the richer for the credibility Crowe lends to any role. Personal lives, filtered through the sensationalist thesaurus of the press, will never factor into how I view a truly talented actor. For all the stories of Brando, Dean, Burton and Harris living their lives to the full there is no denying the respectability they brought to their trade. I will make my assessment of an actor based on what I see on screen. Of the other classic question of the great actors, that is, De Niro or Pacino?, I always answer - Nicholson.

12. 'Ed Wood’

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton are a magic pairing. To take a premise of telling the story of a man decried as the world’s worst director, shot in black and white, depicting a world of eccentricity and bizarre creation, is a sign of genius and I would class ‘Ed Wood’ as a modern master piece. The film is made all the better by being a true biographical tale and is laced with humour I struggle to encapsulate but know I enjoy. Words like visionary, character actor and artists can be used without any sense of grandiose in the context of these men. Martin Landau‘s portrayal of Bela Lugosi, a man desperately grasping at past glories is a stand-out. ‘Sleepy Hollow’, a lesser film deserves mention also, for being one of the most beautifully stylised films ever put on the screen, and Ichabod Crane’s constant fainting is one of my favourite running jokes. Speaking in the same breath as Martin Landau’s performance I feel here is apt to mention Willem Dafoe as Max Schrek in the eerie ’Shadow of the Vampire’.

11. 'The Lord of the Rings’ experience

I travelled with Tuathal around New Zealand and Australia last year. Tuathal gladly gives up as much time as I do to watching and enjoying movies and I am always greatful to him for that. In New Zealand, and particularly Wellington, hometown to Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, we got a great sense of the importance of these movies to the Kiwi nation. Over 23, 000 Kiwis were employed directly in the production of these movies, and their success meant film making surpassed agriculture as the No. 1 industry in New Zealand. Touring the country, little of its beautiful landscape had not been used to great effect in creating the world of the films. Importantly the public and private grounds are now in beter condition than they were previously to having caught the locations scouts eyes. Tours, cataloguing the history of the film and the locations of numerous scenes, were available at many stops. One of our tour guides wasted little time in providing a picture of him donned all in necessary layers of magic for his role as an extra in one the films, praising Jackson for the consistent employment he gave to many struggling actors. I loved this level of interaction with a momentous film series and have cheesy pictures of walking through gardens with a staff as Christopher Lee and Ian McKellen did at one point during filming to prove such interaction. The Lord of the Rings were the last movies I feel that marked a benchmark in film, I have my reservations about the untethered praise they have thrown at them, but I cannot deny they greater respect I have for these movies now knowing the scale and investment of talent involved.

Monday, November 05, 2007

PC Stuff

I'm plugging this mostly because I have the most sensitive touch pad in the world so using my keypad makes life easier but also because the Mozilla Firefox people really have called this 'Fancy Numbered Tabs'. Install the function and you can just press CTRL + (The number of the tab) and you'll be laughing. This almost tops the guy I dealt with at work today whose name actually was Mr. Fun! (No, seriously).

Also maybe this is old news but I am slowly becoming addicted to Stumble Upon, basically a tool which finds pages based on your interests, which you can pass a verdict on and then said page will be added to your favourites. If your browing is feeling a bit limited this is the solution, the randomness of the suggested pages is excellent. The 'Stumble' and 'Google' tool bars are now the most important on my browser.

Richard Delevan fired from the Tribune

Richard Delevan of the Sunday Tribune who's blog is here was fired today. The rumor has it that is because of this article. Which sourced blog. Now people are jumping on the conspircy bandwagon straight away, but I wonder is it due to the Tribune's sales figures maybe? Anyway Tribune employee Damian has more details.

Hollywood Writers Strike

I've borrowed this from CNN - its a loose breakdown of the impact of the writers strike if it is to go ahead unresolved for the foreseeabel future. Obviously the impact will be felt more in America but it is interesting nevertheless to follow. The most frustrating element is that reality shows will go unaffected, they are like dam cockroaches. The effects
  • Immediately: Late-night talk shows, which depend on topical material, will go to reruns
  • In about one month: Daytime soap operas will go to reruns
  • By January-February: Current prime-time shows will likely run out of fresh episodes
  • Reality shows unaffected;
  • Fox, with fewer hours to program and powerhouse "American Idol" returning in January, in best shape if strike continues, according to The Hollywood Reporter
  • ABC has stockpiled several new shows, could put them on in midseason if strike persists
  • TV networks have stockpiled TV movies
  • Movie studios in decent shape for now

Top 25 Movie Highlights (20 - 16)

20. Nattevagten

The idea of a horror movie, wrecking your nerve as much by what is unseen as what is, is an idea so poorly delivered upon so often. The less said about the recent spate of horror porn the better, the less said about the lazy teen lead stab-a-thon that began after Scream revitalised horror in the 90s, again, the better. The opening sequence to Scream with Drew Barrymore, is brilliantly executed and does deserve mention for its influence on film making in the last 10 years. So too the daddy of them all ‘Halloween’ is a master class in creating fear and genuine tension. My choice though when I want to flinch and quake at every movement of a shadow, is a Danish film ‘Nattevagten’ which follows the mantra set out by ’Halloween’ of creating untold fear in simple surrounds. Following a law student working by night in a city morgue, the victims of a serial killer under his watch, it consistently unnerves me no matter how many times I go back to it. Walking down a hallway and turning on a light switch become the true test of a mans valour. A discovery late one Saturday night this is my choice for encompassing all that can be achieved in this genre. I obviously recommend it, unfortunately the lesser Ewan McGregor remake may be more easily accessible. When it comes to gore, only Peter Jackson’s ’Brain Dead’ will do.

19. ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?’

Invariably at the Oscars each year there are clips strung together of classic movies, full of revered actors playing defining roles which nurtures in me a sense of an old romanticised view of Hollywood that I am sure never existed. ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’ is the type of movie which should serve as a definition for the word classic. It epitomises a time when people sought to achieve something through art, with the holy trinity of Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn and Sidney Poitier bringing such mature dignity to their roles. The decency of the characters, playing out their concerns with restraint, highlights how unreasonable prejudices are. I remember reading only 2 years ago how Will Smith commented people had difficulties with his pairing with Eva Mendez in the romantic comedy ‘Hitch’, showing worrying signs of little changing in the 30 years since the story of inter racial marriage in ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?’ One of the great stories of movie making is that Hepburn’s tears were real for Spencer Tracy’s final words in the film, the actor in poor health at the time died 17 days after his final scenes. Enjoy those last lines here: As for Poitier, he will forever be Virgil Tibbs in ‘In the Heat of the Night’, a must see.

18. ‘Five Easy Pieces’

Don’t get me wrong, this is an outstanding film throughout but the final scene is a stand-out for me, and tapped into some deep seeded urge I often have to drop everything and leave, exactly as Jack Nicholson does here. Not even bothering to take a jacket, wallet or other trace of his life he leaves his girlfriend at a gas station, bumming a ride from a trucker to head into the unknown. Having buried his father, in a detached daze he severs any ties to a life and people he has tolerated out of necessity. Picking a single Jack Nicholson role is a futile endeavour, I will say however his work in ’Five Easy Pieces’ and in ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’

17.Kate Winslet

Kate Winslet, whatever the quality of the film, delivers without fail. Her role choices are unique, varied and challenging. And yes I even include her role in ‘The Holiday’, her performances are classic examples of a good thing that can come from a poor movie. Endlessly Oscar nominated, she has earned the reverence of established Hollywood but so too portrays herself as being down to earth, with a wry sense of humour and taste, involving herself in films like ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind;, ‘Heavenly Creatures’ and of course her role in ‘Extras’. She exhibits a respect for her trade that places her above the pressures female actors seem subjected to, being judged by her talent. Of course her weight, looks and personal life are scrutinised but not by anyone interesting. She is the actress I feel best encompasses the type of performances and roles I enjoy watching most. I feel here is the place to mention Brenda Blethyn, or more specifically her performance in ‘Secrets and Lies’, my outright choice for one of the great female performances.

16. 'Dirty, Pretty Things'

Dirty, Pretty Things is the most obviously issue driven selection, it is the most harrowing I think too but also one of the most hopeful films I have ever seen. Illegal aliens, struggling to survive in London, having every ounce of their dignity eroded by those out to exploit them. So solid are the performances and so noble the characters that you genuinely feel for them. The final scene at an airport is the most tragically sad farewell I have seen. This is not your standard romantic comedy happy resolution, this is a real world refusal to happily end the story, choices and great ideas like destiny never getting a look in. Bleak but a film that gets into your pores.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Top 25 Movie Highlights

This week marks my 25th year on the planet so I have decided as a self indulgent exercise to list 25 movie highlights that have stood out for me over that time. I had no trouble arriving at 25 entries, trying to put them in an order have been another issue altogether. I set no limits, other than being true to myself. It goes without saying a list of the best movie moments should include the likes of Brando in 'On the Waterfront' or make reference to 'Citizen Kane' and though I know why these are classics what I want to capture in this list are the movies that have developed my tastes and interests. I often wonder what others do with the time I spend thinking about and watching movies, but then there are few things I would rather be doing. Movies bring the best of everything together - the word, the sound, the image - it is a full experience. There will be 5 entries over the next 5 days (hopefully) so in the spirit of knowing how to count find below 25 - 21.

25. ‘The Fifth Element’

There is something slightly off centre about this film. Luc Besson, let loose with the biggest film budget France had ever witnessed and in Bruce Willis, a huge name, creates a singularly unique blockbuster despite the conventions at play. This Fifth Element is one of the best examples of an idea bandied about so often - that of being engrossed in the world created within a film. For adventure which doesn’t take itself too seriously, to still thrill with a story of a small band of people out to save the world from destruction more than merits a place here. The stand out sequence is watching Milla Jovovich tackle a gang of heavies while Willis sits entranced by a unique operatic performance. And yes I will concede Chris Tucker does make you want to gnaw your arm off. I cannot of course mention Luc Besson without mentioning ‘Leon’, a film that succeeds in finding such heart in an unconventional setting. I do believe Natalie Portman will be one of the great actresses of our generation.

24. 'Assault on Precinct 13'

John Carpenter does well directing stories with simple premises. In Assault on Precinct 13 the cast never leave a besieged police station in an L. A. ghetto for the running time of the film. Nevertheless, Carpenter also on scripting duties manages to find tension, chemistry between characters and action within the claustrophobic confines of the station. A film like this done well, has you quickly empathise with and get to know the characters so you feel their struggles all the more. This film was made for only $100, 000, (that wouldn’t have even begun to cover Ethan Hawke’s salary in the 2005 remake), the film is a testament to skilled and focused artists, a B movie classic and an example of the output that has the 70s revered as a golden age in cinema.

23. ‘Marnie’

Marnie is my second experience of Hitchcock, at least with an awareness of who he was. I have seen it only once. Firstly, I had known Connery only for Bond and it was such a curve ball to see him play such a similar character to Bond yet have solely malevolent characteristics shine through. For me though, the scene which stayed with me and literally epitomised edge of seat nervousness, was early in the film where Tippi Hedren’s Marnie is pacing slowly away from the office safe she has relieved of its cash and suddenly becomes aware of a cleaning lady mopping the floor nearby and her escape could slip away if the lady looks up. She walks slowly to the door, not looking back. True suspense.

22. ‘Body Heat’

So much of the impact of movies like ‘Double Indemnity’ and ‘Gilda’ rest in the magnetic power of their leading ladies. The femme fatale is a stalwart of movie making with everyone from Jessica Rabbit to Nora Zehetner in last years ‘Brick’ casting that magic net of power of fallible men in only the way a determined and not unattractive woman can. My introduction to the idea of film noir and a femme fatale came courtesy of 'Body Heat' and Kathleen Turner in her debut role. Arriving, donned all in white, glistening in the heat of the humid summer and delivering dynamite dialogue with her sandpaper voice (‘You’re not too smart are you. I like that in a man.’), I would have gladly stepped in William Hurts shoes and done Turners bidding. The film is both an excellent thriller and a brilliant ode to classic noir. Linda Fiorentino also burns up the screen, with some highly kinky enticements, in ‘The Last Seduction’, is an example of modern noir done well. ‘Double Indemnity’ and ‘Gilda’ though have to be my favourites of the standard setters.

21. 'A Night at the Opera'

I could and have spent the best part of some of my days reading Marx Brother quotes as well as of course watching their movies. ’Duck Soup’ is a favourite of mine but I’m going to give their entry to ’A Night at the Opera’, a film I watched a morning over the Christmas holidays a few years back. So often we are told a movie is a classic or enjoyable and go in with expectations and never get to enjoy them untainted with some view, that isn’t our own instinctive reaction. We look at cinema listings and make decisions to go based on names and the strength of advertising for fear of going to see something ’you know nothing about’ or ’never heard of’. You take a chance, on a movie like this, and you just might discover a movie that could become a favourite. I remember exactly where I was when I first saw this movie, its wise cracking racer speed humour made such an impression on me and most importantly it had me laughing out loud.

Otis B. driftwood: It's all right, that's in every contract. That's what they call a sanity clause. [Fiorello laughs loudly] Fiorello: You can't fool me! There ain't no Sanity Claus!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Hollywood Writers to Strike from Monday

A long anticipated and feared prospect comes to bear on Monday as movie and TV writers lay down pens and strike. With their role being undermined by reality TV and also not getting a cut of the profits TV networks are making from putting shows online, Hollywood will experience its first strike since the 5 month walk out in 1988. The immediate impact will be on show like The Daily Show and the late night talk shows (Leno, Letterman etc.) who are obviously scripted daily based on the days events - repeats of each show will begin airing on Monday evening bar a last minute deal. Otherwise TV shows like Heroes and Greys Anatomy should have a reserve of episodes built up to deliver until January, then TV screens will look pretty barren. The impact on movies is uncertain as of yet. I will be following this one.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Cheap Shot

The amount of time this person must have put into this collage deems it worthy of a post in my books no matter how easy Bush bashing is these days. Get a clearer view here.

Top 6 Friday : Disguises

In the spirit of the time of year and with Halloween being mid-week so that its celebration has almost been extended to a week I have given some thought to great disguises. Alter egos, costume parties, alternative lives - its all part of an escape we seem to enjoy. The sequence in Mission Impossible III, where Philip Seymour Hoffman’s face is constructed from a piece of mould so as to enable Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt impersonate him is a gem. Not everyone has those facilities at their disposal though and have had to be a bit more imaginative.

6. Sydney Bristow , Alias We may have had Roger Moore layering on disguises in ’The Saint’ and James Bond, infiltrating various meglomaniac’s layers with any number of guises but they never achieved the same effect as the characters created by Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) in ’Alias’. Every week, the costume department on this show were let loose and Garner ably played a broad range of parts.

5. Arnie, Total Recall Enjoy this clip, Arnie’s high tec equipment is not as successfully deployed as in MI: III.

4. Ghost Face costume from 'Scream', a serial killer fashion statement as strong as those made by the likes of Jason, Michael and Freddy. Does not provide the same durability as that enjoyed by aforementioned serial killers who seem invulnrable.

3. Jaye Davidson as a woman in ‘The Crying Game’ OK, so I’m sure it is far from appropriate to describe a decision to dress as the opposite gender as a disguise , but this is a movie after all and is a standard selection whenever the great twists are discussed.

2. E.T. as an old woman An alien, dolled up so as to escape detection out trick or treating on Halloween night, this has to be included. Unfortunately I had no luck with a picture.

1. Michelle Pfeiffer, bin liners, this was one of those lists where the No. 1 was never in doubt - Cat Woman in Batman Returns.(This in no way includes that Halle Berry afront to humanity more recent Cat Woman movie.)

Disney Images

Where can you you see Beyonce, Oliver Platt and Lyle Lovett playing characters from Alice in Wonderland? - why as part of the Year of a Million Dreams celebrations at Disney theme parks of course. That you would wish to see such an imagee is another matter altogether! Roger Federer, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson also line out to portray other Disney characters. I have chosen the lovely Rachel Weiss in a pitch perfect recreation of Snow White. Sadly there are no dwarves. View the rest here.