Filed under: Arts, creativity, movies | Tags: blue valentine, Bradley Cooper, Derek Cianfrance, ryan gosling, the plave beyond the Pines
Sorry ladies. Although Derek Cianfrance’s (Blue Valentine) latest movie again features Ryan Gosling he spends the vast majority of it fully clothed – the vast majority that he features in, that is, because by the end of the first act we see the last of his presence as Bradley Cooper moves into centre stage for Act 2. He too largely disappears from the action for most of the third Act, to be replaced by his and Gosling’s onscreen sons.
This is nearly an excellent movie.
Although it’s long, the final third is spoiled by trying to cram too much action in and ends up becoming not just implausible but slightly confusing – not helped by the ludicrous “in the hood diction” of Emory Cohen who is decidedly outplayed by his nemesis Jason, played brilliantly by Dane DeHaan.
Gosling plays a wheel of death motorcyclist who, becoming disaffected with the touring life, stumbles upon an ex-conquest Romina, played by Eva Mendes (Gosling’s real life partner). In discovering that Mendes has borne Gosling’s son but is shacked up, alongside her mother, in the home of new fella Koli (Mahershala Ali – convincing and understated performance – one to look out for) Gosling first goes all doey eyed then sets out to stake his claim on his son Jason.
Being penniless (he’s jacked his job in remember) he has to earn some dough to impress Jason’s mom and so begins a short and haphazard spree of bank robbery alongside doped up partner Robin (a star of the show turn by Ben Mendelsohn).
This inevitably ends up going wrong and introduces us to a new main character, the copper with a conscience, Avery, played by Bradley Cooper. Cooper is gradually emerging as a Hollywood A lister after his Oscar nomination for Silver Linings Playbook and The Hangover. And in this he is excellent; studied and calm as the stool pigeon at the centre of a police corruption ring. Bent cops? Who should we cast? Ladies and Gentlemen let’s invite Ray Liotta, the face of supreme evil, in for a brilliant cameo.
So unfolds what is almost like a second movie. One in which codes of morality, trust and integrity cement the movie’s philosophy. He neatly challenges our ideas of who the good guys and the bad guys are and this is what propels us into Act 3.
As if these grand themes and this strong narrative drive is not enough Cianfrance is not over. In the third reel he moves the action forward 15 years to show that what goes around comes around and Cooper and Gosling’s sons run into one another in unlikely circumstances. Now we really do start to question who, if anyone, can claim moral superiority.
It’s an ambitious movie mostly well directed but without the taughtness of Blue Valentine. Gosling and Cooper appeal greatly and between them have a great deal of screen time. Mendes slips in and out quietly and unremarkably and Liotta and Mendelsohn do their best to upstage the stars. Ultimately though, my feeling is that Cianfrance has bitten off a little more than he can reasonably expect to chew, which is a shame because there is much to commend about this movie. It certainly represents value for money and is recommended despite its obvious flaws.
Filed under: advertising, business, creativity, humour, jokes, language, Rants | Tags: Blog writing, planet Blog, professional blog writing service, professional blogging, SEO
Here’s a little something I created this morning for my professional blog writing company www.planetblog.co.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, family, humour, life | Tags: fct, forth childrens theatre
Instead of doing my work this morning I made this instead. It’s an FCT in- joke but it made me laugh doing it. I hope you enjoy it.
I hope no-one takes offense. None intended.
Filed under: Arts, bbc, creativity, music | Tags: David Bowie, Life on Mars, Mick Rock, Mick Rock and David Bowie
This video, shot in 1973 by Mick Rock, is as good as anything you’ll see today. I hadn’t seen it myself until I watched the superb David Bowie documentary of Bowie on the BBC last week.
The song’s even better. Immense.
Filed under: Arts, books, creativity, movies | Tags: filth, irvine welsh, james mcavoy
When did you last see a film poster that had an “idea” in it.
James McAvoy going to extremes in Irvine Welsh’s Filth.
I love the career ladder made up of Cocaine.
Filed under: creativity, cycling, life, politics, Rants, science, Scotland, stories | Tags: drug cheats in sport, In pursuit of Lance Armstrong, lance armstrong drug cheat, Lyceum Edinburgh David Walsh, The Lyceum
David Walsh is nothing like the pompous, arrogant Sunday Times sportswriter that you might imagine sportswriters for aggressive newspaper groups in search of the scalp of the world’s greatest sports cheat, Lance Armstrong, might be.
David Walsh is a man whose son died in a cycling accident, coincidentally, aged 12 yet went on to be a great lover of cycling, and sport in general.
Tonight, in Britain’s most beautiful theatre (The Lyceum in Edinburgh) Walsh, acknowledging its humbling beauty, told the story of how he went out to get the lying cheat that is Lance Armstrong. And won.
It was an epic tale presented without a single note and narrated for over an hour.
And it pressed every one of my “Why Lance Armstrong is unforgivable buttons.”
Walsh eloquently argued why Armstrong not only used his cancer as both “a shield and a sword” but that his use of Growth Hormones before his diagnosis probably accelerated its invasiveness.
He made reference to the many, many people that Armstrong inhumanely took out, completely ruthlessly, in pursuit of the self preservation of his entirely false achievements.
He defended Sky and Wiggins as doggedly as he vilified US Postal and Armstrong.
And he did it all calmly, reflectively, convincingly, powerfully.
Please God. Tell me Walshy’s not on EPO.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, music | Tags: daft punk, disco, get lucky, nile rodgers
And with Nile Rodgers on guitar too.
Brilliant. This summer’s smash. And I’m seeing Nile Rodgers at Glastonbury too…
Me and my kids have tickets and it was worth the speculation.
The Rolling Stones headline on Saturday night. That will be a once in a lifetime experience.
But there’s much more than that. Portishead, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Elvis Costello, The Vaccines, Chase and Status, The XX, Tame Impala, The Foals, Chic, Tom Tom Club, I am Kloot, The Hives, The Orb, Jessie Ware, Crystal Castles, Martin Stevenson and the Daintees, Alt-J, PIL, Frightened Rabbit, Django Django, The Proclaimers, Martha Wainwright. I wanna see them all.
Filed under: creativity, movies | Tags: elijah wood, Flashdance, Franck Khalfoun, maniac, oedipal complex, thriller, torture porn, video nasties
Just a steel town girl on a Saturday night
Looking for the fight of her life
In the real time world no one sees her at all
They all say she’s crazy
There’s a cold kinetic heat
Struggling, stretching for the peak
Never stopping with her head against the wind
She’s a maniac, maniac at your love
And she’s dancing like she’s never danced before
She’s a maniac, maniac at your love
And she’s dancing like she’s never danced before
It can cut you like a knife
If the gift becomes the fire
On the wire between will and what will be.
Strange to think that these lyrics from Maniac, the number one hit from Flashdance, were actually written for the 1980 “video nasty” original of this movie.
23 years later director Franck Khalfoun has remade Maniac as a far glossier art-house offering. Its main feature is that it’s shot almost entirely point of view by the main protagonist, schizophrenic and enthusiastic scalper, Frank Zito played by Elijah Wood. Why Wood chose to play this part is anyone’s guess. It’s as far from The Hobbit, Lord of The Rings and Happy Feet as anyone could begin to imagine, but it’s to his credit as an actor that he has chosen to do so.
It’s a curious movie. Billed as truly terrifying and extraordinarily sick, the truth is it’s not nearly as bad as the so called “torture porn’ that’s graced our screens of late. In fact with its classy soundtrack by “Rob” with echoes of 2011′s Drive and 70′s thriller noirs and its interesting use of what appears to be a form of tilt shift photography it’s a really interesting technical achievement.
Wood carries the whole thing off well, he never milks the part and he’s almost a sympathetic character as he quickly ravages the sexually active female population of Los Angeles and uses their hair as the finishing pieces to his collection of vintage mannequins. Clearly he has issues with his mother’s promiscuity which has sent him into such an Oedipal lather and she doesn’t come out well in his estimations.
Overall it’s interesting rather than brilliant.
It won’t get much of an audience but it’s most certainly recommended if you have the stomach for the more graphic moments.
Filed under: Arts, creativity | Tags: architecture, art deco, Arts, best cinema in scotland?, boness, cinema, entertainment, scottish classic cinemas, the Hippodrome bo'ness
Tonight I finally got along to see a movie at The Hippodrome in Bo’ness. If you live anywhere within 20 miles of this magnificent establishment I urge you to make it your first choice cinema.
It is simply beautiful. All red velvet, art deco signage and great strip lights in the floor, not to mention the star spangled ceiling (an utter delight in itself).
At 102 years old it is the oldest purpose built cinema in the land but has been lovingly refurbished and kitted out with the latest digital technology.
The seats are comfortable.
It has, wait for it…a Balcony!
The ticket price is affordable (only £5.85). And they do Orange Wednesdays.
The drinks and ice creams are remarkably cheap. Wine and coffee for about a fiver.
The staff are charming.
There’s free parking
But the best thing is, it’s like you’ve gone back in time to how cinema ought to be.
The find of the year by far, so far.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, humour, liberal, life | Tags: Ben Lewin, catholic guilt, dignity, disability, disability in the movies, disabled sex, Helen Hunt, iron lung, John Hawkes, oscars, polio, quadriplegic, religion, religious barriers, sex before marraige, The Sessions, William H macy
This is a remarkable hidden gem of a movie directed with grace and understatement by Ben Lewin, a 67 year old director whose career has little in the way of highlights or recognition. Until now that is.
His main protagonists, John Hawkes who was Oscar nominated for Winter’s Bone, Helen Hunt (who won one for As Good as it Gets) and William H Macy (Fargo nomination) tell a story as touching as any you will ever see that tries to make sense of whether sex out of wedlock as a (disabled) Catholic can be tolerated by those of great faith.
The good news? It can.
What makes this trio of understated performances so remarkable is that they are all so extreme, yet constrained.
Firstly, John Hawkes (Mark) plays a 38 year old quadriplegic (a consequence of childhood polio), with a fine sense of humour, who lives 21 hours a day in an iron lung and desires nothing more than to have full penetrative sex and yet does not turn the role into a freakshow.
Secondly, Helen Hunt spends much of the movie completely naked (as brave as it gets at 49) teaching Mark how to suck her nipples effectively, perform passable cunnilingus and generally satisfy her and himself – she’s a sex therapist.
And thirdly, William H Macy plays a cool dude Catholic priest that assumes the role of God, granting Mark the dispensation to get his rocks off free from the guilt of mortal sin.
What’s more, the supporting cast all put in excellent and mostly touching shifts that add to the overall quality of the movie.
It’s in places hilarious (although Seth MacFarlane would hardly agree), breathtakingly taboo (without offending anyone – including the four pensioners sat behind us) and moving.
What makes it work so wonderfully is what it doesn’t do or say. Whilst issues surrounding morality must sit full square at the centre of the (based on true) story it’s not hammered home. It makes no judgement and that’s in no small part down to the skill of director Lewin.
Very few people have seen this movie, more’s the pity, and the screening we saw was achingly badly attended. Nonetheless it cost only $1m to make and grossed a modest (but profitable) $5m in the US. I think it’s a sleeper of potentially Sideways proportions that will, over time, make the funders very large returns as its absolute honesty and sincerity wins it advocates like me.
Anne Hathaway is unbettable for Best Supporting actress at this year’s big hooley and she is by a distance the best thing about Les Miserables, but it’s a cameo role. This, on the other hand, is a career defining moment for Hunt who would win every day in my book. And I may indeed have a small wager on her at 25/1.
Filed under: Arts, creativity | Tags: 9/11 history, afghanistan conflict, American politics, Jessica Chastain, Kathryn bigelow, modern history, osama bin laden, pakistan, torture, torture porn, UBL, water boarding, zero dark thirty
Jessica Chastain’s performance as “Agent” Maya is as restrained as Kathryn Bigelow’s direction of one of the most monumental moments in detective and military history.
It’s so restrained (as is the direction) that one almost thinks it’s for real.
I honestly can’t imagine how two men could have taken the story of UBL (Osama Bin Laden) being meticulously hunted down and killed and made it as restrained and yet still menacing as this absolute triumph of a movie. But Bigelow and Chastain do just that.
Chastain, hard as nails, yet soft as silk, throughout, carries the movie with so much ease it’s like she isn’t actually acting. She is miraculous. But only because Bigelow affords her the space to breathe, the edit to breathe, the whole idea to breathe with such subtlety that it’s almost as if there IS NO DIRECTOR.
Is this documentary or drama?
There’s been much made about the depiction of torture (especially water-boarding) in the first reel that it sounded to me like I was about to embark on a torture-porn outing. Believe none of that. This is no torture porn movie. The only porn is what inspired it. Yes, the beginning is uncomfortable, but it is considered, restrained and important in the storytelling.
For two hours this astonishing piece of film does next to nothing other than scratch away at the forensics of tracking down the most untrackable mass murderer in history before exploding into the dimmest lit, scariest half hour of action you’ll see in any action movie. And you know the outcome. Weird.
It IS a documentary really.
Character development is minimal and storytelling is at best sketchy, off camera, challenging to the viewer (but that’s what’s so involving about it).
It’s pindrop territory – I don’t think I’ve ever heard such a quiet cinema audience. Popcorn eating would have incited a riot in our multiplex.
James Gandolfini makes his second cameo performance this year in an Oscar nominated movie (after Argo) and it shows that he is politically connected and wise of late career choice. Soon, perhaps, we’ll see him in full-bodied, lead role political material.
Two hours in, the first bars of music creep into the soundtrack. The effect is electrifying. It almost immediately disappears before re-emerging in the credits. It’s that kinda film where music seems unimaginable, yet Alexandre Despal’s contribution is vital.
The final scene sees Chastain reflect on her achievement. Her tears were echoed by mine.
A monumental achievement in cinema.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, music | Tags: Beyonce, destiny's Child, superbowl
She certainly proves the point that she’s the best looking one in Destiny’s Child!
Filed under: Arts, creativity, movies | Tags: ang lee, bengal tiger, christianity, hindu, is there a god, life of pi, muslim, oscars richard parker, pi, religion
I'd be tempted to give life of Pi this score out of 3 (3.14159265 358979323846264338327950288419716939937510582097494459230781640 6286208998628034825342117067982148086513282306647093844609550582 23172535940812848111745028410270193852110555964462294895493038196 44288109756659334461284756482337867831652712019091456485669234603 48610454326648213393607260249141273724587006606315588174881520920 628292540917153643678925903600113305305488204665213841469519415116 09) but it so annoys me when people talk about giving 110% that I just can't do it. So, instead, I'll just have to settle for an old fashioned 9/10. Now, let's get this straight. Life of Pi has just shown that there is life left in 3D. It may be, on the whole, a gimmick but the exception can still prove the point. Only two movies have made the 3D entrance fee worth the extra IMHO, Avatar and this. It's a tough movie for bibliophiles to even want to see because the book is so magnificent (in my all time top ten probably) and many I've spoken to who love it equally are just downright scared that Ang Lee was going to blow it. The odds were strongly in favour of that happening because it's a pretty full on philosophical workout. So full credit has to go to Fox pictures for shelling out $120 million on the ultimate movie gamble. How Ang manages to retain the existential angst of the book AND make a blockbuster movie that holds the attention from start to finish (yes, including the pretty turgid first 100 pages) is not only anyone's guess but a cinematic achievement of considerable merit. It's the storytelling that wins the day but it's wrapped up in cinematography of the very highest order. So many times one gasps out loud at what's on screen that it's like a day out in a theme park. Surely the Oscar for this is certain to go to Claudio Miranda (Fight Club, Se7en, Zodiac, Benjamin Button). The acting is universally good but it's the tiger, Richard Parker, and his four legged companions that really steal the show. CGI has never, ever been this good. This might sound like it's the technology that carries the movie but don't think that. It's an honest, stunning exploration of the true meaning of life, religion and truth and it’s an absolute must see. I would not discount it winning best movie come early March and I certainly wouldn't grudge it. Ang Lee's finest hour.
Filed under: advertising, Arts, business, creativity | Tags: @CreativeEdin, brew-Lab, creative circles, Creative Edinburgh, Creative Industries in Edinburgh, Ed brooke, Edinburgh Creativity, Fi Milligan Rennie, Jannica Honey, mark gorman, mark gorman think hard, the leith agency, think hard
I bet you’d enjoy this. But you can’t, because you were too slow off the mark.
It’s the latest Creative Edinburgh event tonight on The Leith Agency’s Mary De Guise Barge.
As our membership grows (it’s well over 500 now) our events are getting more and more popular. That’s why this one’s sold out.
Keep an eye on the Creative Edinburgh website for our future evens (we’ve planned hosting and curating of over 50 already this year)
Filed under: Arts, creativity, music | Tags: debut album, Facing West, staveley, Staveley-Taylors, the staves, Watford music
The Staves (Watford sisters; The Staveley-Taylors) are an English folk rock trio. Their debut album was released in November and is attracting critical acclaim.
Check them out. This is the single on rotation on BBC6 Music.
Filed under: creativity, music | Tags: bbc 6 music, Lauren Laverne, serafina steer
Heard this on lauren Laverne this morning.
Interesting and good.
Filed under: advertising, Arts, business, creativity, life | Tags: cannes, Chipotle TV ad, entertainment, expedia, Expedia lesbian TV ad, gaming, http www youtube, The Guardian 3 little Pigs, video
I’m looking at a lot of interesting advertising at the moment because I’m teaching a module at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s BA Digital Film and TV degree course.It’s required me to look for examples of old classics and new.
I’ve been struck by what’s winning the gongs these days.
Nothing, but nothing is short.
And a lot of it frankly isn’t really that good.
The most awarded ad in the world last year was this one for Canal +.
It’s OK. And it’s only 60″ (that’s short)
This is good mind. The Guardian’s 3 Little Pigs (120″)
This is great. It’s for Chipotle (and their sustainable/organic farming approach to sourcing – if you believe it) and takes a Coldplay song and covers it by Willie Nelson. It’s 2 minutes 20″ long.
Metro Trains from Melbourne have made this 3 minute monster. And it’s garnered 38million YouTube hits so far.
But this is the one. This is the absolute king of the pack. It’s for Expedia and it brought a tear to my sorry old eyes. It too is a beast weighing in at 3 minutes 20″
What though, happened to 30″ spots?
Filed under: Arts, creativity, movies | Tags: 1949 LA, gangster squad josh brolin, Ganster movie, la, ryan gosling, Sean Penn
Oh dear. Why did I go to see this when one could see very clearly that it was likely to be guff?
I know, it’s because my wife and daughter wanted to drool at Ryan Gosling. They needn’t have bothered.
But I can help you, dear reader, to avoid the same mistake. If you’re reading this after its theatre release and preparing for an evening viewing it on TV, don’t, watch a programme about paint drying instead.
Shot throughout as if it’s an Instagram it’s very obvious that style is more important than substance, yet Zombieland, Ruben Fleisher’s, 2009 movie debu,t was cracking and hilarious.
This is neither.
Why Sean Penn (who nearly pulls off the role of “ruthless mob king, Mickey Cohen” in 1949 LA) chose to take on this role is anyone’s guess. It’s certainly not a career high. and Ryan Gosling has finally blotted an almost pristine CV by camping it up as a very dodgy philanderer.
Avoid at all costs.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, humour, movies | Tags: african american slavery, black slaves, Django unchained movies, entertainment, ku klux klan, oscars, quentin Tarantino, Samuel L Jackson, spaghetti western
I’m not qualified to comment on the historical authenticity of Quentin Tarantino’s fully committed depiction of black American slavery in 1858 but I’m as qualified as anyone else to share with you why I, personally, think this is another significant contribution to one of the greatest movie directing careers of all time.
With Django (the D’s silent you know) Tarantino cements his position in the top 10.
This is epic, just as Kill Bill (1 and 2) was, and proves that long movies don’t have to be padded out indulgences. It grows in its impact with every scene and ends up a classic.
Spike Lee has problems with the depiction of slavery and I have to respect that as I, like Tarantino, am Caucasian. At times it does seem to mock the plight of America’s black slaves but I feel sure that Samuel L Jackson (virtually unrecognisable) and Jamie Foxx saw more than a wage in choosing to star in it and I’m sure too that the judges of the Black Reel Awards which have given it six nominations are qualified to judge it on its merits as opposed to its politics.
Although described as a (spaghetti) western this is really a movie about slavery and not since ‘Roots’ has African American slavery been so prominently featured on screen. Tarantino does not shy away from the subject matter or the vernacular of the time. “Nigger” is used over 100 times in the script and not just by the slaves. I had to refer to my copy of Filthy English: The How, Where, When and What of Everyday Swearing by Pete Silverton to establish whether or not MotherF@£$%er was currency in 1858 but there is evidence that points to its validity. Just as well, because Samuel L J can’t really get through a movie without saying it repeatedly and he does so again, liberally.
There’s an early scene in which predecessors of the Ku Klux Klan hunt down Jamie Foxx, the freed slave and “black man on a horse!” who is bounty hunting with ex Dentist, Dr King Schultz (played entirely idiosyncratically by Christoph Waltz), their depiction is so funny that one has to question whether or not it’s really acceptable to laugh so uproariously at a subject matter so taboo; but that’s Tarantino’s gift. It’s also his gift to spoof genres, mock convention (and history) mount lavish killing sprees and generally have a grand old time no matter the subject matter and that’s why we love him so.
Django is great fun, some say it’s too long but for me the movie simply got itself into a place (a little slowly I’d say) that fans of Tarantino would want to stay for hours.
Leonardo Di Caprio has not been this good since The Departed, (strangely not an Oscar nomination) and Jamie Foxx acquits himself well in a low-key, black Eastwood type performabnce. But it’s Waltz that dominates in the acting stakes and his Oscar nod is fair reward. There’s only one Chrisoph Waltz that’s for sure (and there’s plenty of it if you care to look – 101 acting roles to date to be precise.)
So, a little flawed (the start fails to quickly engage in gear) but unique and brilliant. Go see it and forget the politics. It’s a movie.
Filed under: advertising, creativity | Tags: gareth Howells, Portobello high school, Porty High
Even the Jambos got a new one. Come on folks. Support the campaign.
Here’s an ad my pal made for it.
Filed under: advertising, creativity, cycling | Tags: amp, armstrong, cortisone, Drug abuse, EPO, fallacy, Lance Armstrong, Lance armstrong TV ad, legacy, nike, steroids
“What am I on? I’m on my bike, that’s what I’m on.”
(And I’m off my face on Cortisone, steroids, EPO and stuff.)
This further adds to the Armstrong fallacy. It used to be a legacy.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, movies, music, Rants | Tags: anne Hathaway, les mis, Les MIserables, Tom Hooper, Victor Hugo
I’ve seen Les Mis twice on stage. It’s too long. Fact.
But I was interested in what would happen on screen and hoped that Tom Hooper’s horribly fussy direction of the King’s Speech would not follow him into this. I hoped but my wish was unfulfilled.
Tom Hooper puts the blown into overblown in everything he does. The Damned United wasn’t a patch on the book, The King’s Speech is simply the most overrated movie of the past few years and this, well put it this way, if Anne Hathaway hadn’t been in it I’d have been asking for my money back.
Let’s deal with the positives first (shouldn’t take long).
Anne Hathaway’s performance, as Fantine, is mesmerising, especially in her death scene at the end of the first reel. It’s a shame because the movie dies with her. And it’s all the more remarkable that Hooper will have two Oscar winning performances under his belt from two lousy movies. As I said; remarkable.
In places (Hathaway’s death scene in particular) the hand held camera work with a LOT of focus pulling (necessary because of the narrow depth of field and low light) works magically. It’s incredibly intimate, yet at others it’s just plain annoying (and repetitive).
Next the sound. I could hear every lyric from start to finish which meant that, unlike the stage play, it was easy to follow the (turgid and unlikely) story easily.
But the sound is actually one of my biggest gripes. Yes it was brave, and in parts very good (Hathaway) to make the actors perform the numbers for real, but by focusing on clarity of audio the incidental sound had to be dropped with the result that almost the entire movie sounded like it had been recorded in a recording studio and consequently appeared entirely fake.
Now the rest of the bad news.
The sets are horrible. Entirely unconvincing from start to finish.
Hugh Jackman is unbearable to watch (his singing voice is unlistenable).
Russell Crowe is appalling, but not as bad as the double act that is Helena Bonham Carter (surely her worst performance ever) and Sacha Baron Cohen who just plain sucks.
Eddie Redmayne left me totally cold but I’m sure the ladies will like his boyish good looks. But nah. He sucks too.
The direction is mawkish in the extreme which makes the child parts nauseous and heavy handed.
I could go on but I don’t want to bore you and I know that nobody will like this review on IMDB because nobody likes critical reviews on IMDB. Ah well.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, football, humour, life, Scotland, sports, stories, Uncategorized | Tags: arthur seat, celtic fc, Chips'n'cheese, easter Road stadium, Edinburgh, Edinburgh View, Edinburgh's Greatest Football Team, Hibees, Hibernian FC, Ian McAteer, Leith, Sunshine on Leith, The Bhouys, the hoops, the union
Advertising supremo, Iain McAteer, of The Union was climbing Arthur Seat on a chill but not Arctic New Year’s day.
The hike was an attempt to wash the bitter taste of the defeat (and too much red wine) of his beloved Chips’n'cheese-eating, potato picking, football team to the (ex) purveyors of the beautiful game, the mighty Hibernian FC from his mouth.
He turned to take in the glorious view and was rewarded with this stunning vision.
This is nearly brilliant. It’s good.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, movies, stories | Tags: American Hostage crisis, Argo, Ben Affleck, Brian Cranston
Before today I honestly can’t think of anything I would have had to say about Ben Affleck, good or particularly bad. He’s one of those Hollywood A-Listers that just doesn’t feature on my radar. Dunno why, he’s been (starred) in enough half decent movies to make an impression. And a lot of turkeys. A journeyman pro I guess would be my description.
Not any more.
Because Ben Affleck can direct. Boy can he direct.
Argo is tight as a drum from start to finish, features one of the most suspenseful scenes (more of a reel than a scene) that I’ve ever seen and he commands the screen as the movie’s star in such a low key way that he’s almost not there. And yet he is. Resoundingly.
Argo is almost immaculately conceived, scripted, edited, sound-tracked and acted. There are laugh out loud moments and moments of such supreme tension you just can’t bear to watch. The resolution is extraordinarily moving for two reasons. It’s majestically underplayed and the music is perfectly pitched.
The ensemble cast of six hostages, Affleck, John Goodman (back on form with some right good lines), Brian Cranston (making a bid to be America’s oldest acting superstar), Alan Arkin (really? really is that Alan Arkin?) and a bunch of smaller parts play their parts universally well.
But this is all about Ben Affleck at the end of the day. His third director’s role proper has nabbed a Golden Globe nomination for best Movie, director, supporting actor (Arkin), and screenplay; of these surely Director is within range and maybe best movie.
Anyway, my advise is, go see it and make your own mind up because IMHO this is an outstanding movie only equaled by The Master and End of Watch in 2012 (that I’ve seen).
Everything that The Master lacks in plot terms Argo delivers in spades. Argo doesn’t have the impact of a Seymour Hoffman or Joaquin Pheonix performance but it is none the worse for it.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, humour, life | Tags: gay music, kate McGarrigal, Krystle warren, pop, rufus wainwright, teddy thomson, Usher Hall edinburgh
Jeana and I saw Rufus Wainwright at the Usher Hall last night and he was very good in parts. His piano based torch singing always hit the mark but the sound for his full band numbers was sometimes mixed a little to murkily losing the power of his vocals. Anyway the highlight of the evening was the performance of two Kate McGarrigal numbers by members of Wainwright’s backing band as a tribute to his departed mother.
One by the uniquely voiced Krystle Warren.
The other by the imperious Teddy Thomson (son of Richard and Linda).
The night ended in a Bacchanalian gay orgy involving members of the audience angels, death, Wainwright in a togo all lubed up and a singing sandwich. You had to be there. Terrific fun. For me this number was the highlight of Rufus’s set.
Filed under: creativity, humour, life | Tags: fear of clowns, fear of santa
As demonstrated vividly by my pal Jackie’s son Tom.
(He’s 18 now)
His Mum (the seemingly lovely Jackie in her public persona) apparently brings the photo out every year and the whole family piss themselves laughing. It certainly made my night when I saw it for the first time.
I, frankly, empathise with the Gregory Peck’s