Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Dossing Times Movies of the Year 2007

10. Sunshine

As much an ode to space set movie classics such as ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ and ‘Alien’, ‘Sunshine’ is a master class in suspenseful examinations of people within claustrophobic confines in its own right. So too it matches some of the best visual treats of the year with its simple, yet excellently executed story.

9. Waitress

Yes this is a shamelessly girly movie, in fact a girl sat crying behind me during one scene in which our heroine sang to her unborn child while making pies. Nevertheless this earns a mention for being the type of insightful romantic comedy I want to see more of, one that manages to undo the damage inflicted by a hundred Meg Ryan movies – the problems are real, unwanted pregnancies, abusive husbands – the humour is real, it is the type that strives to distract from misfortune and the overall effect is that this movie is full of real charm and enjoyment. The lead, Kerri Russel , is set to deservedly make a name for herself. I read during the year she had auditioned for the role of Lois Lane and her work in ‘Waitress’ makes me wonder what she could have done with the role.

8. Stardust

The surprise of the year for me, in the vein of ‘The Princess Bride’, this intelligent, funny and heartful treatment of a fairytale is a great adventure, ‘Stardust’ is the post modern take on fairytale conventions ‘Shrek’ could only ever manage pop culture digs at. The combination of spectacle, young talent as well as stalwarts such as Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer refusing to take themselves too seriously combines to deliver a great movie.

7. Half Nelson

Ryan Gosling sitting slumped in a dingy hotel room, looking both apologetic and unrepentent in his need for drugs, as one of the students he must teach high school English to the following day delivers his supply, earns in my eye the performance of the year for Gosling. This story of conflicted conscience, class and race divide and human frailty is perfectly tied together in the redeeming friendship struck up between student and teacher. Subtle, effective film-making.

6. Michael Clayton

Along with this year’s ‘Breach’, ‘Michael Clayton’ is a good old-fashioned thriller, with issues and political commentary taking a passenger seat to the driving force of tension, pacing and great performances. Tom Wilkinson can do no wrong in my book and so too George Clooney and Tilda Swinton lend great credibility to this story of corporate greed. More of the same please.

5. Transformers

The most fun and original of what I am classing the popcorn set of output which filled our summer. Good simple mindless plotting, sees Shia Le Beouf somehow evoking Allenesque neurosis while managing to be a hero and get the ridiculously hot girl from the wrong side of the tracks. All the while transforming robots have arrived from space to track down a box and that’s as much exposition as we shall be getting so as not to take from the time given to blowing stuff up and directing destructive killing machines towards populated areas. Ridiculous fun.

4. Once

The underdog story of the year, this movie could not but melt even the coldest heart. A story set within a naturalistic world of bitter sweet romance told through music, the audience is gripped to the story of characters whose names we never even learn. This is the first film I saw having moved to Dublin this year and it served as a perfect reminder of the wonder of small stories set to a big canvas. The closing sequence is my scene of the year, which is posted below, though nothing will match the great experience of watching the entire movie.

3. The Bourne Ultimatum

Few films can come along and set the standard that an entire genre of film will subscribe to and more so the standard that the longest running franchise of films in history will reboot to match. The Bourne Trilogy has achieved this and the third and final entry is a perfect testament to why these films have such impact. Demanding, fast paced and making innovative use of film making tools to add to the effect ‘Ultimatum’ is an apt resolution to the trilogy, with a Moroccan roof top chase and a Waterloo Station chase being amongst the best sequences of the year.

2. The Darjeeling Limited

I begrudge the characters of Wes Anderson films, they get to live in worlds where their dysfunction and eccentricities are unapologetically on show. Whether I subscribe too much to the world around me or the reality is these fictional characters could never exist in the real world, I know that these films and their moments of reflection are always stand out and ‘The Darjeeling Limited’ is one in a canon of consistently great films coming from Anderson and the talent he draws together. My exchange of the year is a train stewart asking Jason Schwartzman ‘What’ wrong with you?’, his response being simple ‘I’ll have to get back to you’.

1. The Dossing Times Movie of the Year: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

In terms of the films I have seen, I feel something new was achieved in film this year and it came in the shape of this movie. Set to one of the bleakest, yet most beautifully evoked surrounds, the film has neither a traditional structure nor a crowd-pleasing pace. The film is full of pensive, stalled tension with characters minds riddled with paranoia and mistrust a world away from the gun totting legend of Jesse James and his gang. Pitt has the least to work with but does a stellar job in evoking a man tormented by his own legend and Casey Affleck delivers the most unnerving, layered portrayal of a man. An outstanding piece of work, a perfect marrying of image, characterisation and atmosphere to create a unique film experience.

Monday, December 24, 2007

12 Posts of Christmas (No. 12) Holy Night

Now for something more traditional Placido Domingo & Charlotte Church

To you and yours a very happy Christmas from all here at the Dossing Times.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

12 Posts of Christmas (No. 11)

I still remember the Christmas where I was over awed by the presents I got - very simply - a tractor, a game boy. So too I remember that Christmas Eve more than most, having being awoken the night before by the front door opening convinced I had heard Santa downstairs, though I was of course too terrified to ever leave my bed. So too Christmas 2004 I will always remember for it being the most picture postcard perfect Christmas day. I was woken up around 8.30 by a text from a great friend I had made that year to wish me a Happy Christmas and a hope that we were having a white one as well. I had no sense that snow was expected and presuming that his homestead was lucky enough to experience snow I nevertheless sensed there was a brighter than normal light coming through the cracks in my curtains. It was literally magical to open the curtains and see the snow and how it dressed every visible surface and the stillness it created all around our house. Then being up so early I proceeded to watch Willy Wonka, while the rest of the house alighted, each with a sense of excitement on their faces at what the day had brought. I don't remember the crappy TV choice or even the presents I just know it was a peaceful relaxing day, my dog bemusedly running around after us on the snow, probably wondering how we got such enjoyment from the snow crunching under our feet. It was a great day, one in which I felt thouse around me got to see that bit of magic Christmas that I see but sometimes the busy world around us allow us treasure.

12 Posts of Christmas (No. 10)

Having had Clarence the angel guide George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) through the reality of life had he never been born, the once despondent, suicidal man realises the value and fullness of the life he has. These final minutes of 'It's a Wonderful Life' are a classic of heartfelt Christmas cheer. Track down the movie in full over Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2007

12 Posts of Christmas (No. 9)

I was speaking with a mate last night and agreed with him that this year the Christmas spirit is taking its time settling in, through a combination of work, hangovers, little chance to watch TV and just a sense of mania. Its great to take a step back though and reflect on this story which Tuathal brought to my attention, one of that great redeeming positive feeling you get when you get a reminder of the innate good in people. I have linked here a well written account of the events of Christmas 1914, when there was a brief cessation of hostilities between British, French and German troops on the Western Front of WWI. In one instance a game of soccer was organised, drinks and cigars exchanged. In some locations the ceasefire lasted until early 1915, in others there was a return to arms on the 26th. The article linked above references diary entries showing both scepticism and a sense of comraderie at the ceasefire which emerged.

How to do a Cover

Option A. Fergie

Or Option B. Guns and roses.

Does not even need a poll

Thursday, December 20, 2007


It Approaches

With the coverage of the Irish premiere of 'PS I Love You' splashed all over the papers today, be aware of the looming general release and read here of my fervent warning to avoid at all costs.

Late Night Talk Shows Look to Return Without Writers

AICN has published a statement from Conan O'Brien, confirming his intention to return hsi late night show to the air in January without his writers. He willingly admits the show may suffer however he is doing so to support his staff. Jay Leno will also take the chance that day. Letterman is holding out, hoping to negotiate a special deal that will allow his writers return. Read O'Brien's statement here. Late night talk shows were the first to go with the calling of the strike.

12 Posts of Christmas (No. 8)

The all important Christmas Dinner is one of my favourite meals. The meal has become a real family effort in my house, eith everyone contributing, something that has developed over the years due to my Mam often working at Christmas. The meal can be cooked well and luckily we manage this most years in our house, while others moan at the dryness of their turkley or squishy brussel sprouts. Years ago the wider family gathered for the meal in the family pub with trays of up to 30 glasses of prawn cocktails lining the counter. These were fantastic days, manic and my duty each Christmas Eve was to help my grandmother make the stuffing, a task I still perform every Christmas Eve morning. The meal has developed over time. With some assistance from Simon on the dessert front here are some small touches I like to add when I am helping around the Christmas kitchen. Please note there will be no advice on gravy. Gravy is not my strong point, I don't know how to make it, let alone perfect it, so all advice is welcome.

Some form of alcohol to start the day (well early afternoon), usually Bucks Fizz in our house.

Make the prawn cocktail sauce rather than taking it from a jar, combine mayonnaise, tomato ketchup, a bit of tomato puree, wostershire sauce, lemon juice, pepper, tasting until you achieve the correct balance. Slices of avocado give a nice kitsch look to the glass bowl of prawns.

Pour a boiled kettle of water over your potatoes, leave to cool and then drain the water from the spuds before cooking as mormal. This destarches the potatoes, adding to their flouriness.

Fresh stage and pancetta in the stuffing.

Ease butter under the breast skin of the turkey and layer up the bird with strips of rasher/pancetta before its cooking.

Roast parsnips with the roast spuds. Gorgeous.

Cut the spuds for roasting at an angle into chunks so as much surface area as possible is exposed to the heat.

Cranberry sauce from scratch - simple put the fresh berries, a glass of water and orange juice, a shot of rum and more sugar than you think you need in a sauce pan and let the mixture combine as the berries pop. I put this on everything.

And here is a link to a dessert as recommended by Simon, which looks very tasty.I am not a dessert eater or maker and would rarely eat it straight after dinner.

Neverthless I do enjoy flaming the pudding, pouring over a shot or two of brandy. Avoid vodka though, it will burn until Stephens Day!

Finally, an Irish coffee.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

12 Posts of Christmas (No. 7)

I remember watching the Den of old on Christmas Day a number of years back and Ray D'Arcy and the gang were excitedly reporting that Dustin the Turkey and his topping the charts in Ireland had made it to Sky News. It struck upon me though to consider how notable the day has been in history other than of course being the centre piece to the Christian calendar and see if the day is traditionally a slow news day. Without having to think for long I remembered from primary school history that William the Conqueror was crowned King of England in 1066 following the Norman invasion. So too I have the selected the following noteworthy events: 1939 - Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol was read on radio for the first time, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer appeared for the first time in shops in the US, 1941 - World War II - The Japanese occupation of Hong Kong begins, 1957 - The longest pro-football game finally ended when Garo Yepremian kicked a field goal in the second quarter of a sudden death overtime. Miami’s Dolphins nipped Kansas City Chiefs, 27-24. The game lasted 82 minutes and 40 seconds, 1971 - Shane McGowan born, 1991 - Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as president of the Soviet Union, 2003 - Beagle 2, a European space probe, crashed on Mars. It has never been found, 2006 - James Brown dies

Dossing Times Christmas Party: Race of Champions

So the crew here at The Dossing Times headed to London this past weekend, partly to sample the fine ale that our disastrously exchanged Euro could be spent on but also to visit Wembley stadium for the Annual Race of Champions. Now the other members of the team being genuine fans of motor sport, I was more attending in the spirit of a tastily eclectic life. And 15 minutes in I wondered what could be achieved by drivers racing for the next 4 hours around the same route. How wrong I was and an afternoon of exciteful, fast paced and skillful displays were put on show. Each racer, firstly as a representative of their country and in a second round defending their own good names to ultimately earn the title of Champion took to the track in 5different models of car including an Aston Martin and a specially designed Race of Champions car (See specifications here). The drivers came from the worlds of Formula 1, NASCAR and the World Rally championship to select a few. More than impressed with the intimacy of the amphitheatre that is the new Wembley, the singular draw back to the day was the glacial conditions. I had decided that because of the likelihood of me loosing such items as gloves and scarves etc they were best left on my bedroom floor in Dublin, a decision which was instantly regretted emerging from Stansted Saturday morning. The afternoon ripped by, demonstrations by stunt bikers and of monsters of cars I knew nothing about but knew I was impressed by filled out the time between laps where every corner mattered and a number of laps including the final 3 to decide the Champion were decided in nail biting, crowd pleasing style. So too some time was set aside to pay tribute to Colin McRae who passed away this year in an accident and would have been attending the event representing Scotland. The main piece of information I took away from the day (other than dress warmly in December)is that while trophies and adulation are all good and well, the ability to send smoke pumelling from your vehicle and do wheelies is key in motor sport. The day was one of good entertainment, one enjoyable to me as a novice and so too to my companions who appreciate fully the skills and characters involved.

Awards Season Scrapped?

Worrying times here as Dossing Times HQ as the inspiration for many a post come this January maybe whipped away from me as the writers strike in the US rumbles on. Those pesky writers could potentially deny their services to award shows therby meaning the Golden Globes and the daddy of them all the Oscars may not be held. The damage to the Californian economy is already a cause of concern for many and Oscar season is a particularly buoyant period, with nominations meaning huge cash injections and often the revivial of the fortunes of films critics are a fan of though not necessarily audiences. This could mean a significant up hill battle for independent film in 2008 as many such artier films rely on the publicity that comes with nominations and hype. The Huffington Post is happy at the prospect of a season free of red carpets and back slapping - read more here.

12 Posts of Christmas (No. 6)

The King sings Silent Night

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

12 Posts of Christmas (No. 5)

So I'm experiencing my 1st official Christmas party season, with the official work Christmas party going down a treat last Friday. A special plug goes to the Jameson Distillery in Smithfield who put on a great nite - an excellent band, magicians, caricaturists, everyone had an excellent night with even the most reserved of people in my office getting into the swing of things. I have no cringeworthy moments to report of bums being copied on a photocopier though somehow I think I did somehow gave our accountant the impression we would be going on a date in January. Pushed into the middle of a circle of dancing revellers I did some form of spasmodic physical contortions and later contemplating my inability to dance under pressure I thought of the David Brent dance from 'The Office' as a possible comparison. Below I have posted a clip from 'The Office Christmas Special', a clip that sees out the culmination of the series central romance, one that is heartful and mostly devoid of the cringeworthy humour of the series but not in any way to the detriment of this great episode. The clip can't be embedded so find the link to the youtube page here.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

12 Posts of Christmas (No. 4)

One of the most important charatcers associated with this time of year, his power can also be wielded in the middle of Summer with a threat of him not bringing any presents if behaviour does not improve. It thought to look at Santa throught the ages, though Christmas party aftermath meanst there is no particular order to my selection.
I begin with the Coca Cola Santa, with the common perception being the soft drink giant changed the image of Santa to a jovial, round bellied man. My reading tells me though the origins of this image, changing him from the more saintly waif like man St. Nicholas was to the red clad man was in fact the image below from caricaturist Thomas Nast, with one article going as far as suggesting he 'invented Santa'!Then I chose the classic 'Miracle on 34th Street' as a natural progression, it being a stalwart of the American Christmas. 'Santa Claus: The Movie' earns its place here as I still remember it being put on the last day of school when I was in Junior Infants and had to be turned off as the school day
finished, leaving me absolutely traumatised as to whether Christmas would be saved. I prefer thsi much moreso to something like The Santa Caluse which tries to over exaplin and take away the mystique of the character. I can think of few more polarising images that these entries and that of Billy Bob Thornton in 'Bad Santa'. I will be mentioning this movie again but for me it should become part of Christmas as much as 'Some Like it Hot' or 'Willy Wonka'. I watched it with my entire family last year and adult themes a plenty, there is still a Christmassy glow from the untimate redemption on show. Go watch it!

12 Posts of Christmas (No. 3)

So I'm easing into my way into the inevitable selection of Christmas movies to be included in our yuletide countdown. First off the blocks is 'Home Alone', with the first Youtube clip chosen simply for playing the great Home Alone theme (Somewhere in my Memory), the second then is the extremely cheesy 'Alone for Christmas' from 'Home Alone II' with that dam reunion at the Rockefeller Christmas tree getting me everytime! I watched Home Alone II in Christchurch, New Zealand this time last year wearing shorts in the beginning days of the Kiwi summer and got talking to this American guy who had just sailed from Fiji to Auckland to tour New Zealand. Home Alone II was the instigator of our conversation and the subsequent night out that left me with less than $50 to survive my last week in New Zealand. Good times!

Irish Actress picks up Golden Globe Nomination

I am happy to be reporting that an Irish actress, Saoirse Ronan, only in her teens has picked up a Golden Globe nomination for her role in 'Atonement'. She was the best thing about what I feel is a highly over rated film. Clearly the members of the Foreign Press who select the nominees disagree with me as both Keira Knightley and James McAvoy have received acting nods and so too the film is up for Best Film.


The premise for this take on that vestige of information Wikipedia is simply to give people a ripping. Find here a link to some unflattering words for Rudy Giuliani.

Christmas Day Movie

Want to die a little inside? Head to the RTE Guide listings for Christmas Day, and see the movie you know you will have to battle hard with the female members of your family not to watch -Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason! No! Who chooses this as the centre piece for Christmas Day viewing? I will do my best to bring you some alternative viewing suggestions.

12 Posts of Christmas (No. 2)

Today we bring you the opportunity to impose your face or the face of those you know onto the body of an elf. Said elf will then do some form of crazy dance and have your entire office in fits of laughter, racing to impose their own heads. Its all very simple and straightforward to do and there is a chance your Chief Executive will call in having heard the laughter from your room and remark you have a very big head!If i was the type of guy who sent Christmas cards,I would send these in their place! Head to

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

'Once' receives 2 Grammy Nominations

I'm reporting this news a bit late but its noteworthy nevertheless that Irish movie 'Once' has been nominated for two Grammy awards, namely Best Compilation Soundtrack Album in a Motion Picture while one of its songs, Falling Slowly, was nominated in the Best Song category. It will compete with US films, Hairspray and Dream Girls. Read the nominations here on the Grammy website.

Christmas Starts Here

So today begins the Dossing Times 12 day countdown to Christmas. 12 posts of random Christmas related trivia, videos, information and whatever else strikes us over the next while. Those of you who can add will know it is in fact 12 days to Christmas Eve but I won't be posting on Christmas Day! So to begin we have Andy Williams sing 'It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year'

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Movie Review: 'Youth Without Youth'

Francis Ford Coppola, despite his status as a mould breaker in film, suffers the same burden of having to bow to the ignominy of the Hollywood studio system and its demands of crowd-pleasing output. Consequently, you cannot help but wish for a project such as his adaptation of Mircea Eliade’s novella ‘Youth without Youth’, to be a success. Coppola has spoken of his passion for the source material and his determination in bringing the work to screen, describing it as his most personal project. The only feasible means of bringing the work to screen was for Coppola to bring its production to Eastern Europe. Using locations in Romania and Bulgaria to create numerous European settings, Coppola litters the cast with local talent, Tim Roth being the only recognisable cast member.

The film opens with our protagonist, Dominic Matei (Roth), now an elderly man overwhelmed by the disappointment of his life’s achievements. Never having completed his magnum opus - a study of the origin of language and human consciousness, he is haunted by great plans he once made and the great love he lost as a result. A cataclysmic event finds Dominic awakening on a hospital bed, his body restored to that of his 35-year old self and so too he discovers newly acquired intellectual abilities. A story of sorts develops. Along with the fascination of the medical community, word of his recovery reaches the upper echelons of Nazi Germany and events find Dominic escaping to neutral Switzerland.

This film is one primarily of ideas. The premise of a man restored to youth with the knowledge of the fruitlessness of time ill spent acts as a conduit for philosophising on the passage of time, reincarnation and the blurring of reality and dream. Any early attempt at developing mystery or suggestions we could be watching a war time thriller are cast aside, particularly in the films second half as Dominic begins a relationship with a woman (Alexandra Maria Lara) who through a similar experience to Dominic now acts as a channel to the languages of ancient civilisations.

There is always great potential in the value to be reaped from watching such a distinctive film. Movie fans relish the prospect of what pastiche of confusion David Lynch for instance can deliver to the screen. So too it is to be welcomed that a revered filmmaker such as Coppola chooses to deliver such a complex and demanding film, potentially introducing a wider audience to new viewing experiences. You cannot but sense a tireless effort and finesse being put to the construction and look of this film. Peculiar shots and stylised yet apt recreations of the decades the story spans show the work of a thoughtful filmmaker.

Unfortunately the overall effect is a numbing one. Roth’s Dominic is a sterile lead, wearing an expressionless face for the films run. He and the characters around him seem to have been plucked from the pages of an Agatha Christie novel, stunted and showing few dimensions or attributes that would endear them to the viewer. As with the characters the ideas are poorly expounded upon, the intellectual ramblings of Dominic, his inner self and those around him are uninspiring, convoluted and leave the audience disengaged rather than welcoming us to be a participant in the learning.

Intelligent films can layer their stories with examinations of any number of themes and ideas while still being cinematic entertainment. Recent examples that come to mind include ‘Adaptation’ and ‘I Heart Huckabees’ - these films tackle notions of identity, metaphysical examinations of what is truth and challenge literary and story telling conventions. Importantly, their expansion of such ideas is accessible and engaging. Certainly, Coppola should not be expected to compromise on the depth of the source material however it is essential for some cohesion to be in evidence. The film instead is episodic with no sense of progression or tangible resolution, so confusing is the presentation of its ideas.

Coppola first work in 10 years, following the peculiar choices of ’Jack’ and ’The Rainmaker’ is ultimately a dissatisfying one. The combination of unengaging characters and underdeveloped ideas leaves you feeling uninterested in reflecting upon the individual ideas or on the piece as a whole - surely the death knell to the success of such a film. Taking risks in how stories are told is to be lauded however with such an off putting delivery the film leaves a taste of wasted opportunity.

New Indy Art Work..........

............the most exciting bit? - the words May 22

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Top 6 Friday: Vocal Performances in a Movie

To mark a birthday, the promise of a night of karaoke and also just some good entertainment here is my selection of actors lending their vocal ability to the flsm they have starred in.

6. OK so Hugh Grant rarely deserves mentions in any list worth compiling but I enjoyed 'Abot a Boy' and I enjoyed his rejection of the offer of being a god father for fear he would be would try to make a move on said child once she turned 18. So too his performance at a childrens talent competition gets included here. Why? - because we need a number 6 and because I want to. 5. Karaoke in a movie too far reviled by audiences, revisit 'The Cable Guy', you just might surprise yourself. Plus how much more of an emphatic and moticated karaoke performance can you come across?! 4. Meryl Streep in 'Postcard from the Edge' A movie based on the autobiography of Carrie Fishers childhood, there are more acerbic one liners and dysfunction on show here then most soap operas but Streeps performance, singing for the entire run of the closing credits is a standout. 3. Melancholy all around as the interlocking cast members of 'Magnolia' take a moment out to sing in unison as to the misery the find themselves in an the way out they need to find. 2. Woody Allen directs a musical, Edward Norton usually a humourless soul sings, a more recent Allen film that not enough people have seen - 'Everybody Says I Love You'. 1. The Blues Brothers - Everybody Needs Somebody, no expansion required.

Random stuff

One of my favorite bloggers is back Palestinian Princess , now married and living in New York. But still with incites of her home. Check it out. Also posts today from Irish Election by me today


New Motor Tax will encourage more pollution. There Is a lively discussion over on at the moment about the new Motor tax regime. With many posters pointing out that it will make old cars paying higher motor tax then new ones. Poster noodles

Just checked my car.. Ford Mondeo Diesel 115bhp TdCi, 2004. 154 grammes per Km. That makes me a Band C or E290 if it was a new car. However as mine is a 2004 car I will continue to pay 560 + 9.5% increase. Well done mr. gormleyE350 reduction for new car versus my car.

AS I said before.

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.

So basically this new regime seems to be incentives new car purchases and more manufacturing costs. So while it will cause a drop in Irish emissions (as we produce no cars) world emission would go up.

Nice one I am not the biggest fan of John Gormley but that does not mean I will not say he has done well. In his carbon budget one of the policies is to

develop a national energy efficiency standard for lightbulbs, which will see an end to the use of incandescent bulbs by January 2009.

I have always liked that idea. Incandescent light blubs in the home constitute about 3% of our electricity usage in the state energy saving light bulbs 3 times less. So 2% off our electricity usage is a pretty good thing in my book.

Priorities Science or Arts funding.

With the recent results showing that Ireland was only middling in Science and Maths people were wondering why, why can we not improve this. Well One of the reasons is this. From the Irish Times

An additional €12 million has been earmarked for higher education research, bringing the total Government spend on science, technology and innovation to €133 million next year.

So we will spend €133 million a year on Science technology and innovation in 2008. Compared to €245 million on the Arts. Considering that physics based industries alone (not even touching bio-tech or pharmaceuticals ) have a share of the countries turnover close to 10% and construction. While Arts contribute next to nothing to that figure, do we have our priorities right? Is the Arts twice as important to Ireland as Science.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A 9 minute wine ad

Now here is advertising. A nine minute ad for a bottle of wine based on the idea of Martin Scorscese embarking on a project to bring 3 pages of a never completed Hitchcock script to the screen, encompassing both a mockumentary style format and the eventual outcome of the recreation - a gorgeous homage to Hitchcock. Is it all cheapened by the fact this is an ad? - probably, but the sense of reverance for the great director running throughout and Scorscese's input more than earns your viewing time.

The Dossing Times predicts.........

Casey Affleck for an Oscar nomination next January. 'The Assassination of Jesse James' may be the most unique and distinctive film of the year, with muted intense performances played out in surrounds of the most striking beauty I have seen on film for an age. This is not a crowd pleaser, this is not a fast paced Western cataloguing James' last days of glory as a character of mythical status. Filled with paranoia and restrained exposition of the dark recesses of the characters minds, this is absolutely one of those films that demands viewing and is an experience, a challenge to what we normally expect of a film and extends your consciousness of what can be achieved in film.

Your Online Presence

Garlik, an online safety company, has created a system of measuring how prominent you are on the internet and, therefore, how paranoid you are entitled to be about the amount of information about you online. '50 Cent' for some reason beyond my comprehension has the biggest online presence, followed by people like Obama and P Diddy. Bloggers make up the majority of those taking up the top spots. The system is designed for people with post codes and didn't throw up any results for my name, but I like to see the types of blogs that have made a mark. The Top 5 bloggers are as follows: 1. Perez Hilton (celebrity gossip) 2. Harry Knowles (multimedia reviews and spoilers) 3. Arianna Huffington (politics) 4. Nick Douglas (gossip about companies and personalities in the computer industry )5. Markos Moulitsas Zuniga (liberal political blog)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Movie Music

Two great pieces of music that have added to the effect of great scenes in American Gangster and The Darjeeling Limited. From Gangster, Bobby Womack sings 'Across 110th Street' followed by 'Clair de Lune' by Debussy, aptly played at a camp fire in the excellent Darjeeling Limited.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Great Headline from The Onion

Not that the Onion is exactly poor on its record of having you laugh from the wit of so many of its headlines, I feel this one deserves mention. Man Finally Put In Charge Of Struggling Feminist Movement. Read the full article here.

RTE now better then the BBC

People like to keep saying how the BBC is far better then RTE, how they make far more informed programming and all that. Well finally the debate has been finished with RTE demeed 100% better. Why you ask? This is why. 9 pm BBC3.
The ten overweight teenagers featured on Can Fat Teens Hunt?

Can Fat Teens Hunt?

Imagine the pitch. Its like I'm a celebrity get me out of here meets Celebrity fat camp. Public service broadcasting at its best. So never ever ever again will I give out about Killinascully.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Bruce Springsteen Tickets

Would anyone be interested in swopping Bruce Springsteen tickets, that is give me Thursday tickets in exchange for Friday tickets? (22nd and 23rd May)

Movie Review: 'P.S. I Love You'

The best description I can give to my experience watching P.S. I Love You is being stuck in an elevator for two hours with the most mundane of music being piped incessantly into my surroundings and an unnerving feeling that the walls are encroaching on me. The film is a slow progression of a senseless story with the most unappealing collection of characters on screen since ‘Batman and Robin’. Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler lead the cast, playing a struggling married couple, Holly and Jerry. She is a histrionic New Yorker, he a caricatured Irish man brandishing a guitar and an ‘Oirish’ turn of phrase at every opportunity. The story follows Holly’s grieving in the wake of Jerry’s death. Left a series of letters by her departed husband, Holly follows the advice contained within – steps set out by Jerry to guide her through her life without him.

Based on the bestselling debut novel by Cecilia Ahern, this movie, like the source material, is obviously designed with a specific target audience in mind and needs to be judged within this context. Nevertheless, while I would willingly accept that there may be familiar conventions and unchallenging progressions at play, an audience should at the very least expect to be entertained. Instead the film is an all-out assault on the viewer’s intelligence. The story is a paint-by-numbers patchwork of clich├ęs so overused that there is never any doubt as to how events will be resolved, right down to the message in the final letter. The characters live in a world of acerbic sitcom one-liners and romantic hyperbole where marriage and children are the only possible aspirations any woman could have. Grieving is managed by watching Bette Davis movies, jobs are randomly discarded and new love interests are introduced at your spouse’s wake. Swank may be a double Oscar winner but from her opening line, the character she is laden with is only deserving of an award for immaturity. Male characters are wafer thin, with Harry Connick Jr. so poorly drawn he borders on schizophrenic. Gerard Butler may as well be on a box of ‘Lucky Charms’ he is so infuriatingly animated.

The attempts at weightiness are feeble. Ideas such as being true to oneself, the impact of an absent father and the grieving process never ring through – due to both poor plotting and a lack of sincerity about the whole exercise. Events bring Holly and her friends on a trip to Ireland to reminisce on the couple’s first meeting. The segment begins with standard lackluster aerial shots of the countryside – a perfect metaphor for the mediocre filmmaking on display. ‘Oirish’ stereotypes would have been a welcome distraction here and while there are some, there is still no escaping the insipid heroine and her friends who make the prospect of a holiday with rabid hyenas look attractive. The sequence serves as nothing more than filler for a poorly constructed plot. The story lumbers along, riddled with embarrassing scenes so that it becomes a question of waiting for the next set-up to wince at. The story returns to New York dragging the viewer through an endurance test of a conclusion with the final fade to black being the single positive attribute of this film.

The novelty of having a high profile film partly set in Ireland as well as Ahern’s family connections means this movie will be a talking-point come Christmas. Unfortunately for all those curious enough to visit a cinema, the film never reaches above the level of a poor Leaving Cert essay based on an idea stolen from a Mills and Boon novel, ultimately serving testament to the ‘quality’ of female lead vehicles coming out of Hollywood.