Saturday, September 29, 2012

celebrating Andrew's celebrations

hi there

well, as somewhat hinted at in one of the few posts this month (sorry), Andrew, my Modern Music Advisor, had a birthday this week. not just any birthday, mind - it was his 18th. this will come as quite a surprise to numerous publicans and landlords operating near him, for they were under the impression that he turned 18 quite some time ago; hence them serving mucho alcohol. leaving that aside, here are some celebratory images of him celebrating.

and where else would one start other than an image of the birthday boy. who turned 18, or possibly 19 or 20 depending on if you are a pub owner or indeed a member of the constabulary.

Christopher, who has taken a shine to not watching films, decided that a picture of the birthday boy would not be a good idea.

nice touch, Chris.

these pictures come from a place called the Cleveland Tontine, which is rather famous but i do not believe i ever had the pleasure of going. hey ho, never mind, Andrew went, and got presented with a most excellent birthday cake too!

one of the more important things about Andrew is that he has a healthy respect and love for the game of cricket. all intelligent, well rounded beings do. that is a truly magnificent cake to celebrate this fact!

here is another shot of the cake, if you will excuse the pun, with something very interesting going on behind it. you may wish to remember Christopher's shenanigans from earlier.

yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is Uncle Trevor in the background, partially obscured by a napkin.

why would they wish to obscure, partially or otherwise, Uncle Trevor (or anyone for that matter) behind of all things a napkin? if you are asking that, you clearly have never had the benefit, thrill and sheer adventure of an outing with the sensational Harlo gang.

i am guessing the idea was "let's have Trevor there at the Tontine, but also let's not have him there with us". i am assuming there was some sort of cover charge involved in simply putting him at another table, so a more economically viable approach was required.

it seems that Colin had the idea of making Trevor a "special mystery celebrity surprise guest" at Andrew's celebratory dinner, and to make sure the surprise remained for most of the evening simply held a napkin up in front of him.

it would seem that Trevor was happy with this for the most part. it would have kept most of the groupies and sailors away from him for a start, and going on the look on Trevor's face it seems that Colin found the tin of Tesco deodorant that i left behind in July.

Andrew's celebrations were or are far from limited to a family dinner at this Tontine place. on Friday, as i went about my usual loyal and enthusiastic duties at verk, Andrew supplied a picture via email of some of the items he had (wisely) invested in for the celebrations of the evening. have a look at this stash!

now, you have to remember as you read this that Andrew is indeed young and is on the same learning curve as we all were at one point with the ways and wiles of alcohol. a recent foray into the world of being out on the lash did not go at all well for Andrew. other than being slammed out of his mind and sending off a number of bizarre messages via that twatter thing (things about space and the letter g for some reason), he spent several hours spewing away with gay abandon.

the spewing was so formidable that apparently he needed an entire new bedding set. man, that is quite a session! it's something that a few of us have been guilty of, i suppose, but for us the lesson was to never, ever get that hammered again.

this is, apparently, not quite the lesson Andrew learnt from it. instead, all that experience has taught him is to go and buy a new bedding set in advance, for it is a lot easier to do the day before whilst sober instead of the day after whilst spewing and feeling sorry for yourself.

reports that i have had thus far suggest that Andrew experienced a lack of spewing from last night's celebrations, which is quite good i suppose. he does have a stinging hangover, however, and for some reason is asking me to fix it via email. a shower, water and energade, lad. that's all that can help.

the photographer from last night must have taken a bit of a booze battering, mind, as they seemed to be seeing in triple.

i am hoping that some more pictures from the party last night are sent on. the Harlos are almost as notorious as certain people i know in New Zealand with regards to not sending images, which is a shame. i gather that no less than a "bucking" bronco was hired for the evening. i can only imagine that Colin misheard the "bucking" part when it was hired; hopefully he was not too disappointed when the device landed.

well, until as and when more pictures arrive, that would be it for now! once again, Andrew, a very happy birthday indeed from all of us! nice work on the spew limitation!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

spot the mistake

hi there

football results seem to be beyond the internet today. for a start, some 30 minutes after most matches finished, Sky Sports are still telling me that all teams are currently on half time.

the BBC at least accept that most games have finished, they are just unsure of the results. have a look at the below, see if you can work out what's what. 

i am assuming that Dzeko's winner was too late for the BBC chap that does the scores, but in time for the chap who puts the reports on the internet. or maybe Dzeko's goal only happened in the mind of the chap writing the report. i have no idea.

the BBC are also insisting that Middlesbrough drew 0-0 with Leicester, whereas a couple of other sites are trying to tell me Boro in fact lost 1-2 at home. i think i'd rather take the BBC score here.

the mind boggles as to why football is such a problem for the internet today. if it is that the net is unwell, let us hope it gets better soon.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Andrew's lunch

hi there

well, for some reason today seems as good a day as any to update this blog with an image that young (ish) Andrew, my MMA, sent me during the week. the picture is, alas, small owing to me not saving it properly or something. i've also, as you can hopefully see, decided to have a whirl at putting pictures over on the right. this might make an interesting change from them being on the left or simply in the centre.

this was a pre-birthday lunch that Andrew had earlier in the week, Tuesday i believe. well, it might not have been specificaly for his birthday, the important thing is that it was KFC, the king of meals and the preference of The King, Elvis Presley. every day is a good day to eat this. in fact, if i had thought on, i probably would have had some of this today too.

apologies, if you wish for them, for the lack of updates this month. it has been really, really busy at verk, and frankly i've not had all that much of interest come along to shove up here.

more as and when i have it, though, i assure you!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mount Maunganui Mega Store

hi there

well, it was highly unlikely that my Dad would be "retired" in New Zealand. he's not the sort to just sit around, really. to that end, then, he and Mum are opening up what has been looking like and certainly sounding very much like an excellent store in the Mount Maunganui region.

i am not certain that it will be a "Mega store" as such, but it should have plenty of interest inside. more on that later, but for now, if you know my Dad at all (even passing by him would do in this instance) you will agree that the store has the perfect name!

i am not certain that he is all that old in the grand scheme of things to be honest, but the grumpy part is particularly spot on. i suppose what we, his family, consider "grumpy" might go down as "charismatic" or perhaps even "forthright personality" with the fine people of Mount Maunganui.

right, i had best get on with promoting this venture, otherwise i shall get one of "those" emails from him. the ones in which he offers some pointers on how i should be doing this blog, what i should be writing and so on.

as you can see from this picture (presumably from the doorway), Old Grumpy's Gallery is easily accessible by one of the fine, excellent and outstanding bus services on offer to the people of New Zealand.

which bus? don't have a clue. to be honest the closest i have been to Mount Maunganui is Sydner Harbour Bridge about 30 years ago. i am sure, however, that if you are in or around the Mount Maunganui area the you will be well versed in which buses run where. i forsee a scanned bus schedule being emailed to me, or perhaps even a comment about how i should have looked it up on the internet. let me do the latter as i write.

moving on, and the front of the store gives you some idea of what's available at Old Grumpy's.

Dad's photography is outstanding, as has been shown off on this blog many times, so i do not need to comment further there. the studio part is related to that, of course, and he will be offering the finest quality portraits of whatever or whomever you wish to have portrait images taken of.

the "collectables" bit is most interesting - the conversation we had just before he left, "don't you have any rare books that you want to give me, son?", makes sense all of a sudden. the answer was yes and no.

as for the coffee part, please, i encourage you to go in to Old Grumpy's and order a coffee off my Dad. i would be most interested to hear how that goes, in particular as there was famously only 12 episodes of Fawlty Towers. i would consider covering the costs of this via PayPal just for the images! i would imagine my Mum, being very much a people person, will be in charge of this part. that will probably mean that Rooibos Tea shall be, as best they can, available to the fine people of Mount Maunganui.

ah, bus details. well, it seems you can get there via something called the Naked Bus, the Inter City or something called the Bay Hopper. all sound good. as for which stop to get off at, i would imagine you ask for the Bay City Cinema, looking at the below picture.

i can really only hope that Paul Rutherford is a frequent visitor to this particular cinema, and that he pops in on one of his visits! i suppose i should drop him a note to ask if he wouldn't mind popping in to see my Mum and Dad, but there's no fun in that, rather let them have a chance meeting.

nice one Mum and Dad! we all hope the gallery is a great success, and we're looking forward to news and pictures of the grand opening!

on the note of success and news, to finish off i am delighted to hear and indeed see that Marmite has cleared quarantine and is now in her new home too!

more news as and when i get it on both Marmite and Old Grumpy's Gallery!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John Terry's unusual interpretation of the law

hi there

well, with most football eyes on Anfield, watching Manchester United join Liverpool in marking the senseless death of 96 fans and the long overdue removal of the shocking cover up, it was inevitable that everyone's favourite (text removed on legal advice), opportunistic celebrator, (text removed on legal advice) and distinctly average footballer would seek to get the headlines.

this he did by, to the joy of everyone who would like to see an actual, proper defender play for England, announcing his retirement from international football.

his announcement, though, did not come without the usual curious interpretation of events that one associates with him. as ever, his words were more idiotic than they were idiosyncratic.

in his statement, which one really hopes that he went as far to put his shinpads on to make, Terry said the following :

I am making this statement today in advance of the hearing of the FA disciplinary charge because I feel The FA, in pursuing charges against me where I have already been cleared in a court of law, have made my position with the national team untenable.

really? cleared?

the actual judgement handed down, here presented with thanks to the reporting from The Guardian newspaper, does not really scream "cleared". i have highlighted a couple of the aspects of the judgement for you, and indeed Terry, to note :

"It is a crucial fact," Riddle then noted, "that nobody has given evidence that they heard what Mr Terry said or more importantly how he said it." That lack of direct witnesses was vital.

So the case, Riddle concluded, was worthy of the forensic sobriety of an English courtroom, to look in the cold light of day into what was said, so shockingly and disappointingly, in the heat of a few seconds during a football match. The prosecution case was strong and Terry's explanation was unlikely. Riddle did, though, say he "assessed John Terry as a credible witness".

Ultimately there was not sufficient proof, Riddle judged, to decide by the standard to which all British citizens are entitled, beyond reasonable doubt, that Terry said "[
no need to have those words here]" as an insult. "In those circumstances, there being a doubt, the only verdict the court can record is one of not guilty."

finding one not guilty by default is not exactly being "cleared", is it?

one does have to admire Terry's self-belief at times. for some reason he has got it into his head that he is universally adored when clearly it's the case that he does not command a single calorie of respect from anyone outside of the Chelsea support base or certain peers at other clubs. to that end, looking at a glass half full, i suppose non-Chelsea based England fans can enjoy watching an actual, proper and in-form defender being selected once again.

as was mentioned at the time, it takes a special kind of dickhead to be stripped of the England captaincy twice. as Terry is, to my knowledge, the only individual ever to have achieved that distinction, perhaps he is full worthy of some of the praise he believes.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Frankie said - inside

hi there

many, many thanks indeed to the legendary g man for providing this picture from the imminent Frankie Said release!

my, what a truly excellent portrait of Holly!

i just hope the rest of the band is as well represented in the rest of the booklet!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Stefan today

hi there

well, Stefan can usually be counted on to do something that is interesting here at verk. it can be something he says, certainly, but often it is due to a life saved or something on account of his fine paramedic work.

best, and sadly rare, are of course the instances in which Stefan feels the need to trip over something, normally the something being a massive plant pot, noted for its visibility.

whereas he didn't fall over anything today, at least not as far as i am aware, he did very nearly match the class nature of such an event in the way he chose to dress this morning. words simply cannot do justice to the look, but my blueberry phone thing very nearly can!

that is indeed a most special look he has on the go today, is it not? i arranged for people to have their picture taken with him if they so wished, but it was alas only i that wished to be in a picture with him.

there is no doubt a very good reason for him looking like this today, but to be quite frank i really cannot be bothered to pursue the reason. all i know is that he does very much look like this today.

if you are someone that is enthusiastic about both better quality pictures than my blueberry can manage and, for some reason, feather dusters, then i am delighted to advise you that my personal photographer, Trigger, took some images that may well please you.

here is one of them.

i suspect that if he could Stefan would dress like this every single day. well, maybe not - every single day that he does not have one of the jackets he is so excited about that the one that glitters off of Twlight wears, at least.

yes, if you are wondering, those are indeed slippers that young Stefan has on. when i asked him why, he advised it was because he "did not have any shoes made of animal skin". one would imagine a trip to the shops would resolve that, but there you go, each to their own.

i trust that all Stefan enthusiasts out there have enjoyed this update!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

exciting times on the road

hi there

this morning, a rather fine morning with lovely clear skies if such things are of interest to you, i was in my car behind a truck. not, as it happens, any truck, but this specific truck....

no, this is not one of those "whine" posts. it was moving at a reasonably decent pace, and if i wished to pass it the lane next to me was relatively wide open. with the impressive range of warning signs on the back, though, it was far too interesting a vehicle to simply leave behind.

whereas the warning of the content being toxic was quite interesting, it was the warning at the top that really got my interest. care for a closer look? well, OK, but this was taken off my blueberry which, despite having a slightly cleaner lens than usual, still isn't all that high quality.

hopefully you can read that. if not, basically it says that whatever is in this truck, or if you will container on a truck, is known to be spontaneously combustible. that means, without giving too much of a science lesson, basically whatever is in there is so unstable that it is prone to blowing up every now and then.

wow, that's ace that is. i mean, you don't even have to light a cigarette and throw it at it to make it do something. under those circumstances, needless to say i followed right behind this truck as long as i possibly could. alas, it turned a different way from my route to verk. it did not blow up or even rattle for the time i followed it.

am i disappointed? yes, but not in a bitter sense. it would, after all, probably be a bit problematic for me if it had indeed blown up in front of me. perhaps next time.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Frankie Said tracklisting

hi again

someone called Play have gone one, possibly two better than amazon in regards of this surprise Frankie Said release. not only do they have a tracklisting, but they also seem to be selling it for two of those English pounds cheaper! a pity they do not ship oustside of Europe.

the tracklisting, then. not bad and i see i was spot on in regards of exactly which two remixes / 12" versions would be included.

Two Tribes (Introduced Via The Piano Of Anne Dudley)
The Power Of Love
Relax (The Last Seven Inches)
Two Tribes (We Don't Want To Die)
Welcome To The Pleasuredome (A Remade World)
Ferry Cross The Mersey (And Here I'll Stay)
Rage Hard 
Watching The Wildlife 
Born To Run (Live On The Tube)
Warriors Of The Wasteland (Attack) Seven Inch
Kill The Pain 
Maximum Joy 
Two Tribes (Annihilation) Twelve Inch
Relax (New York) Twelve Inch
The Power Of Love (...Best Listened To By Lovers)

i would imagine the first and last tracks are brief snippets to act as an intro and an outro.

it's a very decent looking set, comprising all that you could want of the well known Frankie releases and a little bit of the unknown. that said, when it said "album tracks" were being included, it's a shame that we only get two from Liverpool  and none of the magnificent album-only tracks from Welcome To The Pleasuredome.

the set looks well worth getting, even for the more casual type of fan!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Frankie Said surprised.....

hi there

well, it is not every day that a Frankie release crops up that no one appears to have been aware of. today is one of those days!

many, many thanks to Daneil off the Alternative Board / Frankie Forum for alerting us all to the fact that amazon have listed a release called Frankie Said - The Very Best Of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, due for release on 5 November 2012.

more than having it listed, they have the artwork too!

fascinating, since there has been no mention at all of this release on the site of ZTT, the label that had, in more ways that one, the fortune and honour of releasing all things Frankie.

it's quite odd that there has been no promo work or information made available prior to it turning up on amazon. it's clear that this is part of the "Element" reissue series, and all other releases have been given quite a build up. strange that they are just slamming this out.

stranger than that, perhaps, is a claim made on the sticker on the release.

eight singles? really? officially there were seven - Relax, Two Tribes, The Power Of Love, Welcome To The Pleasuredome, Rage Hard, Warriors Of The Wasteland and Watching The Wildlife.

the only possible thing i can think of is that they are planning on considering War, a "double A side" release with one of the Two Tribes remixes, a single in its own right.

if they are planning on this type of rewrite of history, then one can only use a phrase that i believe to be highly popular with the on-line gaming fraternity, namely "dick move". if War is to be considered the 3rd single by the band, then that means their first three singles did not in fact all get to number one, does it not?

there's no tracklisting as such, but what the sticker promises is not all that inspiring. there's clearly to be no rare or previously unreleased material. that in itself is fine, but the suggestion by 'two of the biggest selling 12" singles of all time' appearing means that we can expect Relax (New York Mix) and Two Tribes (Annihilation) to feature. they are truly outstanding remixes of great songs, but at a rough guess i would suggest that both have appeared on CD releases at least half a dozen times each. i would argue that everyone that wishes to have those two tracks on CD will at least have two copies of it in that format by now.

don't get me wrong - i shall be buying it, of course, and i sure do hope you and loads of other people do, too. it's rather strange that we are getting another Frankie release so soon after The Sex Mix (review of which shall appear here eventually) - one can only hope or assume that sales of that set were so good that it compelled them to have more Frankie out there as soon as possible.

and yes, i probably would purchase it just for the cover - that's an excellent image from the Liverpool era, and a picture i have not seen before.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

stop or there will be........trouble.

hi there

for the most part i tend to be reasonably tolerant of remakes and "reimagined" films. the only exceptions i can think of would be the stupid attempt to make Brideshead Revisited as a 100 minute movie, and anyone daring to try and touch a Kubrick film.  my tolerance and patience, and that of any reasonable film fan, was surely tested when it was announced that they were to remake the much loved 80s classic RoboCop.

the 1987 film of RoboCop stands as one of those all time greats, being as close to cinematic perfection for a genre as you can get. amazing story, great cast and a thoroughly entertaining film. it would perhaps be wiser to simply re-release the film that remake it, but there you go. the remake is well under way, and will be with us next year.

tolerance for the remake has been encouraged by the casting, to say the least. if one has a look at the cast list then one shall see great promise. Samuel L Jackson, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton and possibly the ace Clive Owen being involved means that this all must have looked really, really good to them on paper.

having an outstanding support cast is all very good, but it's rather important to get RoboCop himself right in order for any RoboCop film to succeed. it was his character that made the first one a masterpiece, his character that carried the sequel and made it worth watching and indeed the complete lack of effort made in regards of him that turned RoboCop 3 into an impossible to watch waste of effort.

casting a relatively unknown actor to play Alex Murphy is probably wise - no one knew all that much of Peter Weller back in 87, after all - but i am not so sure fiddling with the RoboCop look is the brightest ever idea in the history of making films.

oh. that's RoboCop? really? rather than looking the the ultimate law enforcer constructed from the remains of a dedicated police officer that looks like a man in a suit. this is in particular due to have clearly at least one human hand still - "lose the arm or lose your job" from the original film will presumably not be heard in this film, then.

not helping the fact that this looks more like a man in a suit than it does RoboCop is the comment from the producers of the film. they are quick to state that is "merely RoboCop in SWAT mode" and that he "wears the more familiar outfit later in the film".

erm, what? RoboCop has costume changes?

the above makes it sounds like we are going to get a kid friendly PG-13 variant of RoboCop, with quite frankly both eyes on the merchandise. why on earth would you have Robo change outfits except for having a range of expensive accessories for the kids to buy for the toys from the film?

if remaking RoboCop is intself a brave move, then changing how the character looks is a bold, borderline stupid way to go. changing an iconic figure is unwise - one need only look at Christopher Nolan's Batman interpretation, and indeed the imminent Man Of Steel Superman film to know that no matter how much "reimagining" or "updating" is going on with the story, best you leave people looking like they should if you want people to give it a chance.

with all the information available on the remake, the only conclusion i can reach in regards of the chances of it being a success is that it will make the excellent original movie seem even better in comparison.

there has been no word yet if the new version will feature the excellence of ED-209 either. if that character has dropped, chances of audiences complying with the wish to accept this remake for what it is will take something of a dent to say the least.

fingers crossed that these first impressions are misleading. let us not forget, after all, just how odd and unwise the casting of Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight seemed at first. as that turned out to be more than all right, you never know, they could pull this one off........

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nasher Says Relax - update

hi there

well, if things had gone to plan and run smoothly the much anticipated book Nasher Says Relax would have been on the shelves and shipping from various internet selling type sites this week. alas, not to be, but there's no cause not to relax and wait for another week or so.

on top of some final touch editing by Nasher himself, i gather the lawyers from the publisher would quite like one or two sections removed. this is not exactly unusual with biographies or autobiographies, and is just following the trend of any Frankie related book. i seem to remember that the lawyers insisted on about 40,000 words worth of Holly's autobiography, A Bone In My Flute, being removed prior to publication.

whatever the lawyers have requested be removed is unlikely to dampen or take away from the story to be told. presumably it's the case that both the lawyers are satisifed and indeed Nasher has finished with his editing, for there's an set of official launch parties for the book happening next week.

Waterstones are hosting the two events in (where else) Liverpool. if you can make it to either you will not be at all disappointed! If you click on the name in red then you will get taken to the full details of both events.

with the launch planned for September 27, it seems likely then that we shall have the book before the end of the month. splendid!
for those of us not able to make it, either for reasons of not being near Liverpool or simply being on the other side of the world, you can place your order for the book over on amazon. no doubt several other places are selling it, but for the overseas Frankie fan and reader amazon tend to offer the best service, both in respect of price and delivery.

in the mean time, how about a sneak peek at one of the never before seen images that the book will feature? Nasher and Frankie reigned at a time when not only was music important (unlike today), but the musicians were just as important. their exploits would tend to become the stuff of legend, inspiring awe, jealousy and admiration in the fans, disgust and contempt in the doubters.

with Frankie it was "have a good time all the time". and by all the time it is meant all the time - even just checking out of a hotel provided Frankie with a foundation for fun, it seems....

just what are Mark O'Toole and Peter "Ped" Gill up to here? buying Nasher's book will reveal this and much, much more!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

perplexing Prometheus puzzling problems.....

hi there

so, Prometheus. when it was announced that Ridley Scott was to return to science fiction - in particular possibly the realm of Alien - there was much excitement. when Ridley Scott started saying things like "well, we have no real script or story but it will certainly be in 3D" there was great concern. this was around the time that James Cameron had unleashed his soulless, horrid Avatar on the world, tricking people into thinking it was "brilliant" by being (and this remains the case thus far) the only film to use this 3D gimmick to do something beyond having things stick out at you randomly.

of what use is a pathetic, frustrating gimmick like 3D to a great visionary like Ridley Scott? i for one was at a loss that all of a sudden Ridley was more interested in making people pay more to see his film than he was story development. it was sorry to see him being reduced to punting a format that cinema chains quite like, but patience was granted - Ridley has a lot of goodwill from film lovers. besides, it was a return to the world of Alien, so there was a case to trust him.

and then, throughout the production, mixed signals emerged. it was an Alien prequent, then it wasn't. it was to be "kinda" in the same Alien universe, but nothing to do with those films. finally, at the premiere, Ridley Scott declared "well, it is an Alien prequel of sorts, but seven or eight movies before the first one.". if that is Ridley Scott saying "i am only making these films from now on" quite like James Cameron and his desire to thrust even more Avatar films on us then it truly is a sad day.

just to clarify up front for Ridley and everyone else - Prometheus only really works as a film if it exists as an Alien prequel, a good deal more directly than "seven or eight movies" and even then only if you allow for rather large, obvious "oh R2 D2 can fly, I wonder why he didn't later on" plot and continuity issues. if you judge this film purely on its own merits then you are left with a hollow, confusing and simply badly constructed movie that looks quite nice.

the usual *** SPOILER WARNINGS *** are very much in place for everything after the film poster. and i do mean it this time. in short, if you are a fan of the Alien movies (well, the first two) then this is well worth seeing. if you had no interest in the Alien films but for some reason were impressed by Avatar, well then here is a film somewhat similar, except that it has a soul of sorts and is a much, much better crafted film. 

onwards, then, for comments that i fear will mostly tear the film apart. sadly.

the film opens with some beautiful tracking shots across an apparently uninhabited planet, one that we are led to believe is Earth. it turns out not to be uninhabited, though, as one human-like character is found there.

after staring at a spaceship, perhaps engaged in telepathic communication, this character decides to eat something or other that kills him.

well, more dissolves him into some nearby water. it's worth remembering that part.

we are then whisked into the future (about 70 years from now) where two people (Logan Marshall-Green and, in her first English language work, Noomi Rapace) are looking at some cave paintings in Scotland.

it seems, for reasons hinted at by carbon dating or similar, that this is the final proof the two need that life on Earth was started by aliens - and that someone had left a "stellar map" as to how to get to those that started life here.

we then jump a decade or so to find a ship called Prometheus heading (presumably) towards the planet from the cave painting. a rather eccentric chap called Weyland has paid for the trillion dollar (!) journey.

most of the crew, including the two cave painting fanatics, are in one of those deep sleep, carbon feezing type storage things. we thus get treated to the rather popular Michael Fassbender, playing the ageless android common in Alien films, mooching around entertaining himself for ten or so minutes. man, he really likes Lawrence Of Arabia.

as the ship reaches the planet the crew are woken up and then - only then - are told of exactly what they are doing. they are informed of pretty much all above by a hologram of Weyland, played rather bewilderingly by Guy Pearce, made up to look rather old and certainly unrecognizable.

what happens when they hit the planet (well, perform a decent landing as it happens) features some of the most contrived, silly and "let's just gloss over this part" film making in history. planets are massive, but they are able to straight away identify an "alien" landing strip that takes them to exactly where they need to be. a lot of running about, looking in awe at something, running about, oh! look! silicon storm! everyone rush inside, let's go back outside, don't touch that and let's take it back into the ship things happen.

you get a few cool looking but ultimately not going anywhere sequences, like the one above. in the scene there, Noomi and her friend briefly bring back to life an alien (called in the film "engineer") head, only to sort of freeze and destroy it. the engineers, those that Noomi and her explorer boyfriend type partner are convinced brought life to Earth, appear to have been infected and wiped out by some rather tasty, destructive liquid that's stored in containers on the planet. what are those lethal containers for?

before we get to that, let me be as entirely random with Charlize Theron as the film is. Charlize Theron is in the film. she stands around looking mean, and every now and then says rather mean things. but she also engages in sexual activity with a crew member once in a while.

that is what passes off as "well rounded character" in the world of Ridley Scott these days. just as well that he selected an Oscar winning actress for this pivotal standing around scowling role.

speaking of which, Noomi Rapace. it never dawned on me the fact that this whole The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo business was flawed a great deal due to her "brilliant" acting. given more or less the lead in this film, she is quite frankly terrible in performing the part of a preposterous character.

preposterous? well, she doesn't get all that upset when her explorer / partner / lover gets a bit killed by whatever it is in the cannisters the engineers have. she also, presumably Matrix style, seems to just develop skills as and when the plot requires it - in particular martial arts.

she's also quite a dab hand with technology too, going on the ease with which she learns how to program a complex, rare machine that she has not seen before in order to perform an abortion on herself.

the running, jumping and fighting she does after this interest bit of self-surgery, which only seems ridiculous after you've watched it, is equally impressive.

back to the film? if we must. Michael Fassbender the robot has discovered "hologram films" of the engineers and their last few moments. he quite likes watching them.

Michael Fassbender the robot concludes from these films that the engineers have all these tubs of potent chemicals in place as part of a plan to wipe out all life on Earth.

remember the bit from the start? the dissolving alien thing? one thing i have been perplexed by is the claim that the film is "highly ambiguous". no it is not. the first engineer "accidentally" started life on Earth by introducing his DNA into the water. for whatever reason the aliens didn't actually like the idea of life on Earth and thus they were planning on correcting the mistake. as they say, simples is the plot.

Earth would pretty much be safe, though, if they had not taken the decision to wake up the last of the engineers. it turns out that Weyland was cryogenically frozen and on the Prometheus ship all along. he wants to meet his "maker" in order to get more life.

Michael Fassbender the robot tries to explain this to the engineer as best he can, but the engineer is having none of it and simply lamps Weyland and anyone else he can. do you remember the scene in which Roy Batty meets his maker, Tyrell, in Blade Runner? imagine that seen, full of beauty, intrigue, sorrow and astonishment re-written by Paulie Shore for him and Jackie Chan to star in, but only in a way that does not stretch their acting talents. that's what happens.

what also happens is a bewildering reference to the "Space Jockey" sequence in Alien. here you see the engineer take the seat of either the controls or the massive gun of their ship and get ready to head off to Earth for some top level killing. the implication is that something happens next and this is how and why they find him in this pose in that film.

except that they do not leave him there. in a scene reminiscent of Bruce Willis twatting a helicopter with a car, only less stylish, the crew of Prometheus, presumably bored of sex with Charlize Theron, crash their ship into the engineer one, bringing it down to the planet surface.

and then it gets quite ridiculous. instead of simply getting in to one of the other ships on the planet, the engineer is all of a sudden quite keen just to kill the humans that have come ever so far to visit him, and thus off it goes in pursuit of Noomi.

Noomi gets the better of the engineer by locking it in a room with whatever the hell it was she had taken from her womb. which means that the engineer gets "impregnated" and guess what he/she/it gives birth to.

yep, a prototype alien. all very interesting and that, but it does mean that the engineer is not trapped in the massive gun / console thing of the ship. it was made rather clear that this was the last of the engineers, on this planet at least, so just who was it that the crew of the Nostromo found in the seat, and how did they get there?

Noomi and what is left of Michael Fassbender the robot climb aboard one of these other ships and jet off. not to head home, you understand, but to rather see if they can find other planets that these engineers might call home. well, Ridley Scott also made Thelma and Louise, the ending of which was rather popular i suppose.

bar a few thrills and spills, and one or two "twists", i've more or less given you the film there. that's quite a big problem, to be honest. Prometheus should be a far more complex, detailed, involved and frankly interesting film than it is. what could have been a brilliant Alien prequel is instead a film that references it as and when it needs to, opting for fancy visuals over a decent story. the oddity, and perhaps the saving grace of the film, is that no matter how poorly developed they are the characters are still interesting enough to watch. but they could have been so much more.

one thing i am noticing in comments around the internet is the more times you view this film, the more apparent the failings and holes in the plot become. the best advice, then, and the advice i am certainly going to follow, is to simply just watch the film once and walk away from it thinking "that's not a bad go at telling the pre-Alien story". if some sort of extended cut (no doubt Blu Ray only, frustratingly) comes up then i might be interested if some of the gaps are filled in. otherwise, this is one of those watch once and then let the DVD gather dust on the shelf affairs. that one can say that of a Ridley Scott film is a sad, sad thing indeed.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

the adventures of Marmite

hi there

with Mum & Dad off to merry and happy New Zealand, one or two of you might be wondering what exactly happened to Marmite. regular readers, and avid fans of my Dad, will recall that Marmite was a usual fixture in any picture of my Dad, with her more often than not sat on either my Dad's shoulders or head.

if you are one of those wondering, i am then delighted to say that she has now made her merry way to New Zealand too! she needed to have some sort of injections and checks done here first, and is presently quite the Queen of Quarantine for a few days somewhere near Auckland.

it was Mum coming over to fetch her, so to speak, that allowed Michele and i to be able to go and see The Dark Knight Rises. as parting gifts go, thank you Marmite, we really rather enjoyed it!

being in quarantine does not sound like all that much fun to me, but by all accounts she is in her element. it will not be too long before she's free of the place and off, no doubt, bothering the many sheep New Zealand have to offer!

in the mean time, she would seem to be happy playing and running around in her temporary new home!

the more observant will have noticed some red shoes in the picture above. if you think you know exactly who they belong too, you'd be a bit wrong, sadly.....

oh dear! i am not sure why my Mum has fallen to the same illness that beset my Dad and saw him see red shoes as being the way to go, but there you are!

we are all delighted to hear that Marmite has also made it (almost) to her new home, and we can't wait to see pictures of her running around!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

showtime, kid

hi there

well, the only thing i haven't really neglected in this old blog this month is to mention in passing that i seem to be neglecting to do updates this months. whoops, apologies, etc, and a hello to whoever it is that for some reason said i should have more pictures, less words here. thanks i think.

this weekend saw, at an interesting hour, James return to the stage once again. this was the first play he has done as part of the drama group at "big school" and he was, as you can imagine, quite excited about it!

we were very eager to see him acting once again - parental bias probably excludes any validity in our rating of him, but no matter for what is important to us is that he loves doing it! and he certainly seemed to enjoy doing the play early on Saturday morning!

and when i say early, i mean the stage shows started at 8am! i have no idea at all why James' school believes absolutely everything should start as early as possible when they do stuff on weekends, but that's the way it goes.

William rather enjoyed watching James do his thing too, especially as James had a most magnificent monkey costume on!

and, as you can see (sort of), James loved being up on the stage once again too!

i say sort of because, once again, the quality of these pictures is not as high as it could be. oddly, the blueberry phone thing is not at fault this time. i was making a video of it to send around the world, right, and thus could not operate the normal camera too. as Michele had her hands over full with William, screen grabs it is!

the day was somewhat overcast and a touch wet, but after James had finished his performance it was time to walk back to the car. for this James decided to take the rather more scenic route, knowing that William likes to see everything there.

it gave me the chance to take some film for the family of James' school, so why not take that path?

it always happens this way - i do not have the "normal" camera at hand, just as i manage to get a few images where the two of them are more or less looking the same way! these screen grabs are OK i suppose, but i do wish i could get "proper" pictures of them looking this way!

i wouldn't want to spoil too much of the viewing for those about to get the video of the play, but these images are taken when James was giving a review of his performance in the play. not long after the next picture was when William decided to go on one of his missions, and charged into a classroom to see what was happening!

returning to the play itself, it was a touch brief at about 10 minutes long, but James and all the other children were fantastic. i gather a much longer play is planned for later on this year, which we are all, needless to say, very much looking forward to!

after the show, it was very much time for an indoors day, it being wet and grey outside!

hope you all had an ace weekend!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!