Archive for the 'TV and Film' Category

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Oh my. Lost is a bit good isn’t it? I’ve just reached the end of Season 1. Yes, I know downloading the whole series at once is cheating.

I won’t spoil it for everybody else – we’ve still got about another five months of it on TV over here. Suffice it to say that I really need to see Season 2, right about now.

By George, I think he’s cracked it!

The Odeon Cinema in Cheltenham continues to be one of the most uncomfortable places on the face of this earth. Ray Mears should set one of his survival programmes there. We could see just how long he can sit in one of those seats before his backside goes numb on a permanent basis, or his knees explode through the contortion of trying to fit into the tiny space alotted to them.

The fact that I was barely aware of this distinct lack of comfort until the film was over, serves to point out that the third episode of the Star Wars saga is one hell of a lot more absorbing than either of the first two. Much, much better. I want to say more, but I’ll leave it for now to save spoiling it for those of you that haven’t seen it.

You really ought to see it at the cinema though, it’s definitely a big screen film. But do try to find one that’s slightly more comfortable than my local.

Well isn’t that just typical?

Unless you’ve been living on Mars (or indeed anywhere else outside of the UK) for the past three weeks, you’ll no doubt be aware that there’s a new series of Doctor Who airing on BBC One. Unfortunately I missed the first two episodes, but luckily Bit Torrent came to the rescue and I spent a couple of hours catching up with them this afternoon. I happened to look at the clock about two thirds of the way through the second episode and realised that i’d just missed the third one on real telly. Arse biscuits. Not to worry, I’m sure the internet will come to the rescue once more…

To be honest I didn’t think they’d be up to much, but I really enjoyed them. They were just as silly as Doctor Who always has been, had the odd creepy moment (aye, I mean the bit in the basement with the manequins) and were generally good fun to watch. I’m looking forward to the next one.

Mmmm, cleanliness!

In other news, I absolutely stink of bleach. I had a ludicrously long lie-in this morning, couldn’t be arsed to go out on my bike when I did drag myself out of bed and in the end I cleaned the bathroom, hence the subtle odour around my person. I did finally get around to sorting out the Big Red Stiffee though, so it should be rideable if I can be arsed with it tomorrow.

And then I booted a Hedgehog…

In a fit of complete geekery, I also downloaded the live CD of the new release of Ubuntu Linux, nicknames “Hoary Hedgehog”. For those of you that don’t know, Linux is an alternative operating system (like Windows or MacOS) and a live CD lets you try it out without actually installing it on your hard drive.

Ubuntu Linux Logo

Its dubbed “the Linux for human beings”, and it seemed to work well enough. It was a lot like Windows really – its got a nice browser (Firefox), email (Evolution), office suite (OpenOffice), graphics package (Gimp) and even a decent set of games (including the lovely Gnometris). Unfortunately it lacks a few key applications (iTunes, Photoshop and TopStyle for a start) and I can’t be bothered to learn a whole new OS right now. Oh, and Ubuntu seem to like brown a bit too much for my liking. Maybe next time eh?

First Impressions

Going Native by Descent World

The long awaited new DVD from Descent World came through the door this morning. If you’re not into your bicycles and your dirt you’re not really going to be up for this, bus as you may well be aware I’m somewhat fanatical about the things.

I’m happy to say its a pretty good video. Not quite up to the high standards of Earthed or The Collective, but pretty damn good nonetheless. There’s a little too much dirt jumping in there for my liking, but that’s offset by some lovely footage from Fort William, Innerleithen, Dunkeld and various other tracks around Europe. Its always nice ace seeing the professionals blasting down tracks and being able to say “I’ve ridden that!” in a way that you really can’t with most of the videos coming from the States and Canada. The only real problem is that its not long enough.

Luxembourg by The Bluetones

A while back, The Bluetones had the audacity to release a new album without telling me! The bastards! Still, I got a copy of it eventually, and the early signs are that its a stormer. Its edged Evil Nine out of my work PC’s CD drive for now anyway.

Its a different sound to their previous outings, this time they’ve gone a bit rocky and electro. For me that’s a good thing – it seems to work well with their dependably great lyricism. I’m not going to say any more until I’ve had a chance to listen to it a bit more, but thus far I’m enjoying it.

Good Bye Lenin!

I’ve just been to see Good Bye Lenin! at the film society, along with Ben and Anne.

[Image of the Good Bye Lenin! poster artwork]

Owen won’t be pleased to hear that he missed out on a really very good film (frusturiatingly events conspired against him and he wasn’t able to come along) .

I don’t know much about german cinema. The only other german film I remember seeing is Tatoo, which couldn’t be much more of a contrast to this one if it tried.

This one is a comedy, but not overtly so, and it could easily fit into so many other genres. Its full of clever political imagery, interwoven with some really very subtle family emotions. I’m finding it difficult to put this into words — there were so many parts of the film that stood out for me, but I don’t want to give any of it away. The way Alex (Daniel Brühl) gets excited by the silliest things because of his obsession is just fantastically played out, being both touching and very funny, and the way that his mother is played, especially towards the end of the film, is very well done.

I think the best thing I can do is tell you to see it yourself. Your local video shop is bound to have a copy by now.

The Incredibles

Its acetastic. Go and see it. Now.

House of Sand and Fog

House of Sand and Fog Poster

I joined the Cheltenham Film Society a couple of weeks back. I went along with some friends of mine and was surprised to meet a few other people I knew there, including my aunt and uncle Helen and Stephen. Its a small world isn’t it?

Anyway, tonight’s film was House of Sand and Fog, starring Jennifer Connelly (who always surprises me by actually being a good actress) and Ben Kingsley.

It was very clever, in that throughout the film, you never quite decide where your sympathies lie. A large part of me wanted Behrani [Kingsley] and his family to win out, yet I didn’t want Kathy [Connelly] to lose out at all (even if she did bring her downfall upon herself somewhat). The only person that you really end up disliking is Lester [Ron Eldard], who starts out as the friendly policeman but ends up being a bit of a psycho nut job.

Its a fantastic film, but its really not the most light-hearted in the world. In fact it verges on being downright depressing. I got to the end and thought “What the hell is she going to do with her life now?”

Myself and Ben [not Kingsley] were discussing it on the way home — is it even possible to make a really good happy film? Its just that the really good films always seem to be gritty, intense psychological dramas (or that seems to be the way at this film society). Is it even possible to portray shiny happy intense gritty realism?

The Collective – A 16mm Mountain Bike Film

"The Collective" Logo

The Collective hs been hyped quite a lot in certain circles as the best mountain bike film ever made.

I’ve not seen all of the bike films ever made, but I can tell you for sure – this one is ace.

OK, so the first scene – big jumps and drops in the desert – isn’t brilliant, mainly because its all been done before. But from then on in its just amazing. The filming captures the speed, it captures the flow, it captures the fun and it makes it look beautiful.

Better than Earthed? I’m not sure – its a different kind of film. Earthed, like its predecessors – the Sprung series, are presented as video magazines, and they follow the racing around the world.

This one is more like a showcase – something that makes our sport look fantastic. It doesn’t visit the races (apart from the RedBull rampage). Instead it takes you down miles and miles of stunning singletrack and ‘shore trails.

You know that feeling you get when you’re flowing through that awesome singletrack descent – everything clicking into place, the wind whistling past you, the trees passing by at speed? It captures that feeling.

Just thinking about it makes me want to go out and ride.