Wednesday, 26 August 2009

At The Pictures: Avatar Vs Inglourious Basterds

Had two cinema visits recently. Firstly I went to one of those 16 minute Avatar previews, and at a later date I saw Inglourious Basterds. I guess you could say that both films are about the power of cinema in their own ways, though at least Tarrantino incorporated this into the plot.

I really hope Avatar isn’t “The Future Of Film”. The 3D was kindof fun, though equally distracting. And yes the computer effects are impressive (though to my eyes not much of a step-up from what’s gone before), but the plot seemed a bit lame (Dances With Wolves in Space) and the dialogue was super-clunky. “Come on bitch, show me what you got!” (or something like that) – sounds like it was lifted from a Limp Bizkit song.

Inglourious Basterds was great. It’s the sort of film only Tarantino would have the chutzpah to make; full of little riffs, side-steps, and sleights of hand. Colonel Landa is the best screen-villain since Anton Chigurh from No Country For Old Men. Sherlock Holmes in an SS uniform.

Wasn’t expecting the film to be as funny as it was either. The “it’s a bingo” line from the trailer still had me chuckling, but Brad Pitt usurps it with one word – though I won’t mention it to avoid spoiling any surprises.

Even the bits I was worried about worked; Eli Roth’s dead-eyed ‘Bear Jew’ and Mike Myers’ ridiculous scene-chewing English General.

So yes. It’s good. Possibly his best film since Jackie Brown.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Wisdom Teeth Removal Blog

On Monday I had all my wisdom teeth removed. The bottoms ones had been playing up and growing at funny angles. The top ones were fine but they said I could have them out incase they played up in the future, so I thought 'might as well' and got rid of them as well.

I'd never had general anaesthetic before, and I was a little worried going in, but the staff were great and helped rid me of any fears. I made sure I told them that I gave blood regularly hoping they'd think I was one of the Good Guys and thus treat me well. It didn't take long for the GA to knock me out, it started as a dead arm from the feed in my hand and I guess I was bit giddy from the gas and air stuff I was inhaling. I giggled "my arm's gone a bit dead!" and then I was gone. Felt like 5 minutes had passed and I was waking up, but it had actually been an hour or so, then after a little sit down in the recovery room I was able to go home (though I had to be chapperoned - or however you spell it). I've basically been recovering since then. My face had swollen up a bit, like I was doing an impression of Brando in the Godfather, and my throat had also swollen a bit making talking and eating a bit hard.

Eating's been the worst bit really. I bloody love my food usually, but it's totally killed my appetite, and the only stuff I can eat have been tinned soups (which aren't great really) and I've moved on to semi-solid stuff now - started with a couple dollops of bean chilli and a small omlette, and yesterday I slowly made my way through a bowl of spaghetti in a basic tomato sauce.

The cat's been quite nice to me this week and not attacked my feet as much as usual, which was good of him. He's having his balls off today, so it's his turn for suffering now. Poor sod.

I've not watched any of the films I borrowed from the Blogginator yet, though I did watch the Battlestar Galactica discs he lent me. I'd seen them all before a few years back, but it was nice to have something semi-familliar to half follow as the effects of the GA wore off. I've also been watching Joss Whedon's Firefly which is okay but not brilliant. I guess it's more episodic than I'm used to from TV shows these days, so it feels a bit aimless at times. I'm only halfway through though so it might pick up. I've watched a lot of the latest Rick Stein series through the brilliant iPlayer (which I can now watch via the actual TV) - the food he's been seeing and cooking looks amazing and I'm desperate to have some Vietnamese Pho soup now.

I finished reading Neil Gaiman's American Gods which was pretty good, though I think it diverged from the main plot a bit too much. About a third of the way through Let The Right One In now. It's a bit different to the film. I guess you have more room for depth in a novel, but the ambiguity of the film was one of my favourite things about it.

Today I'm feeling a lot better and I'm playing Spotifriday, catching up on musics I've missed out on. Wild Beasts' newie was quite good - wasn't that fussed to begin with but it grew on me. The Xx have been getting a lot of bloggy-hype recently so I checked them out and didn't really feel it. It's a bit minimal in a nice way, but I doubt I could grow to love it. Now I'm listening to the Gaslight Anthem which is another distillation of Springsteen's America in a nice enough way (though it reminds me a lot more of Sam's Town era Killers than the actual Boss himself). It's not as good as The Hold Steady basically. It's nothing like The Hold Steady really, I don't know why they get compared.

Right, I think I might put civilised clothes on and leave the house in a bit. Got tickets for Avatar Day later so that something.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

What I Did On My Holidays

Had a little mini-break over the weekend. Went up to Cirencester to visit friends of the ladyfriend. We went to the Cotswold Wildlife Park, it was rather ace. For some reason I was thinking it’d be a bit small-scale, but it’s actually huge. Good ‘spread’ of animals. I saw monkeys and penguins and meercats and wolves and bats and those giant guinea pigs and zebras and rhinos and the worst display of falconry ever. No bears, but you can’t win ‘em all. Actually I did see a sign for Red Pandas somewhere, but they’re not proper bears anyway so I’m not fussed about missing them.

In the evening we had food in a nice bistro place attached to a butchers. I had rabbit for starts and steaks for mains and sticky toffee pud for afters.

On the Sunday I went on to that London to stay with various friends. BONUS PIZZA SLICE ACTION: We had pizza for tea on Sunday. Can’t remember the name of the place, just a small pizza place in Crouch End. Reasonably priced. I had a spicy italian sausage with tomatoes and extra mushrooms. Thought it was very enjoyable. After that we had a pint in a nice pub. Their menu said that they had beer-battered cod, and the named the beer as Bombardier. Which is weird, because what with Bombardier being an ale, you don’t really get many bubbles. The whole point of beer-battering is that you get lots of bubbles so that the batter is crispier. You need a lager or something.

Anyway, after that we went home and watched a DVD of Gone Baby Gone – the Ben Affleck directed picture that had its release pushed back because of the ‘similar’ real-life vanishing of Madeline McCann. The film was okay, 6ish/10. It started well enough but descended into a fairly standard thriller. Ending was nice and ambiguous mind; it left you to decide on some moral issues.

On Monday I sat around in my friend’s flat for a bit, reading The Escapist comics that spun off from the Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay novel. Personally I thought they should have been drawn in a more ‘traditional’ 1930s style as opposed to the more modern look they had. After that I used public transport to go over to the Roundhouse to see David Byrne’s Playing The Building. Essentially a piano wired up to various devices around the Roundhouse which created various noises. I liked that you couldn’t really tell at any point if the room was being played by a bunch of toddlers or a concert pianist. I had a little tinkle of the ivories myself, but felt a bit self-conscious. There’s a real glee to the whole thing though. Worth seeing.

Spent the afternoon wondering around, lunch in Wagamamas, met friends for teas and coffees, visited the gift shop of the Transport Museum (didn’t have the £9 to actually visit properly), and then went to a nice pub called The Harp to meet another friend. The pubs are the best thing about London really. Cardiff centre lost a lot of its old proper pubs back in the 60s – all in the name of developments which have now been knocked down to make way for new developments…

Then it was the main reason of my visit. The National were playing the Royal Festival Hall. Our seats weren’t great, right near the back in row U, but it was still a brilliant concert. They played an amazing set and it wasn’t until the following day that I realised they’d missed out some of my favourite songs of theirs. I really want to see them again and again and again. Easily one of my favourite bands.

The next day I caught a slow commuter bus to Victoria, saw a man get told off for being too loud on his phone, and took a megabus back home.

Friday, 7 August 2009

I wish I was going to ATP New York

What a line-up!


The Jesus Lizard / Iron and Wine / Dirty Three Performing ‘Ocean Songs’ / Suicide Performing First LP / The Feelies Performing ‘Crazy Rhythms’ / The Drones Performing ‘Wait Long By The River’ / Comedy Stage hosted and curated by David Cross featuring Eugene Mirman, Jon Benjamin & Jon Glaser and Derrick Brown & The Navy Gravy.

SATURDAY: curated by ATP

Animal Collective / Panda Bear / Sufjan Stevens / Deerhunter / Melvins / Shellac / Boss Hog / Autolux / Dead Meadow / EL-P / Anti-Pop Consortium / Circulatory System / Atlas Sound / Akron Family / Grouper / Sleepy Sun / Bridezilla / Black Dice

SUNDAY: curated by The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips / Boredoms perform 9 drummer BOADRUM / No Age perform Husker Du with Bob Mould / Caribou perform as Caribou Vibration Ensemble / Deerhoof with Martha Colburn / Crystal Castles / Super Furry Animals / Boris performing Feedbacker / Low Lows / Oneida Presents the Ocropolis / Hopewell / Black Moth Super Rainbow / Birds Of Avalon / Menomena

ANOTHER Wild Things Trailer!


Monday, 3 August 2009

"I've Never Seen A Movie That Looked Or Felt Like This"

Author Maurice Sendak giving his blessings to Spike Jonze’s adaptation of his book Where The Wild Things Are. I really can’t get over how amazing the footage I’ve seen of this film is. Stunning stunning stunning stunning. Stunning.