In the shadow of all the King’s speech “the British are coming” claptrap there are a couple of overlooked gems.


It’s actually an Australian/UK co production driven by the Australian See Saw Productions/Films but I don’t want to be a pedant here.

And it’s pretty good too.

In fact in some ways it has become something of a phenomenon with applause ringing out across the land after each screening.

But it’s not all that is good about British cinema right now.  Putting to one side NEDS let’s focus on two Oscar nominees that I have read not a jot about in the past two weeks; Banksy’s Exit through the Gift Shop which I have yet to see but rates very highly on IMDB and Silvain Chomet’s The Illusionist.

Edinburgh is the star of this delightful movie.

Closely followed by the Highlands of Scotland

Lovely period detail

Whilst I liked The Illusionist more in my heart than my head, the fact that it has garnered an Oscar nomination should not be overlooked.

From a selfish point of view I wish it well because I know the producer, Bob Last, pretty well as he was our landlord when we established my first company, 1576.

It’s a charming, whimsical tale by the director of Belle Ville Rendezvous and it was largely created in Scotland (Edinburgh and Dundee). However it’s deeply disappointing that of the 33 production partner companies listed not one of them is Scottish.  In fact of the 26 funders not one of them is British and yet it was made here.

It only faces two competitors; How to Tame Your Dragon and – bugger – Toy Story 3.

It’s already won best animated movie at The European Film Awards but it’s dissapointing that it did not gain any recognition at The BAFTAs.

Anyway, it’s highly unlikely to beat off Toy Story 3, but maybe we should take a moment on Oscar night to toast Bob and Sylvain.

Cheers chaps.

more bollocks from the Sunday mail


Last week I shared a great post from Phil Adams about the moronic nature of swearing censorship in our rubbish newspapers.

Today I picked up the Sunday Mail to see how much they’d insult their readers’ intelligence.  They did well…

A real beauty; and in red too.

So, hands up if you were unable to work out that Walter Smith was pissed off?  If they didn’t want to say “pissed off” why not try something like, say, “furious”.

Now bastards, I’ll grant you, is a little stronger, and yet we get a double whammy on it, “complete bastards” and “horrible bastards” but I don’t think you’ll find the word bastard *******ed out in the OED.

This is a peach.  It might be a pain in the arse to play against Hamilton Accies when they are fighting relegation but since when did that constitute swearing?  Come on.

I admit it.  This one works.  It has totally baffled me.  Was he calling her a bastard?  Odd.  Or a Bitch and it’s an ******* typo.  Should it have been b**** not b******?

Maybe it’s b******, sorry, bonkers, after all some people take offence at words like that.  Buggers?  Ballbag?   Be-itch (like in America)?  Boring?  That would offend me.  Broody?  Bloodys?

No, I’ve got it, it was barbara, and she took offence at the missing capitalisation.

Oh well.  Might come back to this one next week.

In between times answers on a postcard as to what Mr McGuire really did report.

I’m intrigued.

Andy Murray


Andy Murray in his "Hibs Green" shirt

I have refrained from blogging about Andy’s exploits for fear of jinxing him.  All I can say is good luck.  Scotland would be a very proud nation were he to succeed in the morning.

Anyone for Guga (Gannet chick)


Landing salted Guga. Honestly, it would give you the heave but what a fascinating tradition. Keep it up boys.

I just watched a superb documentary; The Guga Hunters of Ness in which a bunch of Western Islanders cross the North Atlantic to a remote rocky island to cull Gannet “ducklings” .

Beautiful, serene and awe inspiring.

But it would gie ye the boak eating them.

This is what the BBC website says about the documentary…

Ness is the last place in the UK where young gannets, known in Gaelic as guga, are hunted for their meat. The hunting of sea birds was outlawed in 1954 in the UK, but the community of Ness on the Isle of Lewis continues to be granted the only exemption under UK and EU law allowing them to hold the annual hunt.

Every August, ten men from Ness set sail for Sula Sgeir, a desolate island far out in the Atlantic. Following in the footsteps of countless generations, they leave their families behind to journey through wild storms and high seas to reach the remote hunting ground.

The men live on the island for two exhausting weeks, sleeping amongst ruins left behind by monks over a thousand years ago. They work ceaselessly, catching, killing and processing 2000 birds using traditional methods unique to the hunt.

It’s a great piece of filming and the music by the Dead Rat Orchestra really makes it haunting and beautiful.  Highly recommended if you get the chance.

I also watched a programme a few years ago featuring Gordon Ramsay cooking Guga.  (I think it was The F word).  It created a furore at the time because some people got all uppity about conservation; but they are entirely self sufficient as a species and in no danger of being hunted to extinction.

Here’s a Guga recipe I found on the BBC website

‘First catch your guga..and keep it a year in light diesel oil- if unavailable tractor paraffin will suffice. Drain the guga in a pale of water from the well and rub down with a strimmer as you would with Peking Crispy Duck. Put now clean bird in baking tray overnight on low heat in the Raeburn 1O0 degrees or three peats. The smell will now have cleared your house of mice and earwigs. Remove oil from top of pan in morning and fill tilley lamp with it. Bird should still be tough. Cut half into goujons and place under the grill and serve covered with crowdie. Remove reaminder and peg it out on the washing line. When it’s dried out in the breeze see whose shoes need resoling the most in your family and the guga will do the job better than anything any cobbler on the mainland can provide.’

Blue Valentine



What a curiously and disappointingly unengaging movie this is.
It manages to create two great acting vehicles for Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams and contrive to leave you uninvolved and remarkably unsympathetic despite performances that have been talked about as Oscar contenders.
The fact that the movie has ended up with but a single nomination for Williams says a lot, because, frankly, it’s not that good. Incidentally I agree that Williams puts in a better shift than Gosling, albeit both are fine pieces of work.
Gosling’s problems start with very poor make up work. He ages maybe 20 years in a film that spans 5 or 6.
But the real problem is with the film’s structure and, I suppose, the script. One is simply not convinced by the very simple plot vehicle that a couple insanely in love lose every iota of desire or affection in a very short period of time. Well, Williams’ character does. Gosling seemingly degenerates from charming cheeky boy into alcoholism almost overnight and Williams’ disdain for him is frighteningly sudden.
And it’s down to the script. It’s just too black and white. There is no transition. The film’s construction is based on flashback and whilst this works on paper, it doesn’t fare well on screen because it’s just too flakey.

Not only is Gosling’s character a bit unbelievable but the casting of Williams’ ex makes differentiation between the two (an important plot device) really difficult. (exactly the same problem blights The Departed). It’s a bit of a mess.
On the plus side, Williams’ performance really is very good and deserving of a nomination that will not convert because it has Portman’s name on old Oscar, and I liked the cinematography a lot. It works on a really tight depth of field, very tight cropping and a hand held feel which is designed to make the film feel intensely intimate, and at times it does, particularly in the sex scenes.
But, overall it’s too messy. It’s sort of sloppy and despite being the kind of movie the producers, I’m sure, expected us to shed a tear at; it didn’t even come close.

I’m a sucker for gadgets


I love my ipod, my ipad, my Bose sound system, the garden speakers, my camera thumbpiece add on, apps, spotify…you name it.

But nothing has impressed me as much as this little pearl from The Pampered Chef. It was a gift from my brother and sister in law at Christmas but it’s a game changer.

I could mash potatoes for a living with this.

But look at it.

It’s just a one-piece bit of pre-moulded black plastic and yet, and yet…

It is seductive.

It is 100% ergonomic.

It scythes through vegetables as if they did not exist.

Imagine a Swedish Masseuse spending  a quality five minutes with you…

That. Would. Be. Like. The. Pampered. Chef. Potato. Masher. In. Action.

Ecstacy.

So Black Swan’s a Ballet film for chicks, right? Wrong.


And by the way, is this not the best film poster in years?

Black Swan is the most visceral cinematic experience I’ve had since maybe Raging Bull.  So, it’s about ballet?  So what.  Ballet is merely the structure on which this tragedy about mental breakdown, maybe schizophrenia is played out.

Using the metaphor of black and white (the swans) to portray, good and evil, right and wrong, strength and weakness director Darren Aranofski paints a picture of what’s going on in the head of Natalie Portman as she gradually falls apart under the pressure of preparing to dance Swan Lake; with a backdrop of a doubtful choreographer, an ambitious understudy, a jealous mother and a fallen Prima ballerina; all exerting pressure of one sort or another on the poor little virgin that is Portman.

Portman delivers a tour de force (Oscar certainty) performance as she wrestles with the devils in her mind and tries to prove all the doubters wrong.  It’s a remarkable performance in so many ways, so vulnerable (which could just have been fey) and yet so strong.  Surely the Academy can look no further.

But the real star of the show – notwithstanding powerhouse performances from Barbara Hershey (wonderful as the mother), Winona Ryder in a Mommie Dearest descent into her own madness, Vincent Cassel (as the unforgiving choreographer and philanderer) and Mila Kunis as the threat from the Corps de Ballet – is director Darren Aronofsky.  My God, another huge contender for Academy recognition.  His direction of Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler was eye opening, but this moves him onto yet another level.  He is garnering a reputation for bringing mental instability to the screen in a way that is eye opening and shocking.

And that’s another thing about this move, it’s a quite thrilling shockfest.  There’s a bunch of “gotcha” moments that have you ducking for cover (quite a few shreiks were let out in our relatively small audience) as he makes the most of the ability to confuse and wrongfoot his audience.

And then there’s the sex.  I’ll not go into detail here, but it is a central motif of the film (starting from the premise that Portman is a 24 year old virgin) and is certainly worthy of debate, but I don’t want to spoil it for you here.

All I’ll say is that sitting next to my 16 year old daughter as it played out made for a degree of discomfort!

All in all this is a truly outstanding piece of film-making.  In Darren Aronofsky we have one of America’s next great directors really cementing his claims for greatness and Natalie Portman never has, and never will, have a part this great again.

Go see.

Do NOT wait for the DVD, it will not be the same.

What is it about Colin Calderwood?


After defeat to Motherwell yesterday this very odd man said…

“There are aspects of the game I enjoyed. Problems are there to be solved so that’s what I’m looking forward to doing.”

On Tuesday night after Hibs went out to a team two leagues below the odd bod Calderwood commented…

“We had so many good opportunities, the goalkeeper’s had a number of good saves, we’ve had efforts cleared from the line and I think they defended their goal excellently.

He has so far won 2 out of 15 games.

Being, at best, an armchair fan I have not seen him in action but I am told he stands impassively, hands in pockets, barely involving himself in games and certainly not leaping about like the madman Yogi Hughes had become.

It all just seems like he’s going through the motions.

Remarkably he claims to be “really enjoying it” at Easter Road.

Inevitably, the fans’ ire tends to turn to the manager or the Chairman in these sorts of situation.  And Rod Petrie’s extended honeymoon is certainly looking to be over at this moment in time.

The sale of Stokes and Bamba appears to be hitting home now and our lack of action in the transfer market is becoming notable.  I’m a great admirer of what Petrie has acheived at Easter Road but it feels like he has made an extraordinarily bad appointment in Colin Calderwood and his earlier reputation for canniness is in danger of becoming one for penny pinching (for which I am told he has a strong internal reputation.)

Lastly, of course, there’s the team itself; some say it is a shadow of its former self, one of the worst to have played for Hibs in many years (if not ever), but I saw Zemamma, Miller, Riordan, Wotherspoon, Murray, Stack and McBride (all in the squad yesterday) play Dundee Utd on 3rd October 2009 and destroy them before drawing 1 -1.

At that point the table looked like this…

A month later it looked even better…

And even by mid January Hibs (with this team) were in touch with the top, so my contention is not that it is the players themselves that are poor but the way in which they are applying themselves.

It feels to me that there is a cancer somewhere in Easter Road that is permeating the team and turning good players into bad.  Yogi lost them, and Calderwood has never had them bar one freak night against Rangers.

It needs sorted, and quick.

Swearing


I am indebted to my friend Phil Adams for making me think about this subject, of which my regular readers will know I am very fond.  This morning he wrote a brilliant and highly amusing post on his excellent blog, Sawdust.  It’s about an issue that makes my blood boil.  The lame-assed censorship of swearing, in the media.

Take this example from last month’s Times (One of the worst offenders as it happens)…

“Student rioters were incensed as they charged on Whitehall.  Said one, ‘the f***ing coalition are a bunch of c***s.’ ”

OK, I actually made that up but it’s a typical sentence you might read any day in any quality newspaper; except the Guardian who would have literally reported the quote.

Do they think we are complete idiots, that we can’t work out what letters the asterisks replace.

In his post Adams beautifully argues that this is in fact a form of reverse psychology, it’s a stopper, because it actually brings MORE attention to the swearword.  You re-read it, maybe even saying “fucking” out loud and if you’re a reader of the Daily Mail or Express you might even write in outrage to the editor.

Why not paraphrase the quote or leave it out altogether if swearing is such a challenge to your sensitivities?

And while I’m on it why does the Sun think it’s OK to show a picture of a topless girl next to a paragraph (headline even)  that reads “It’s all a load of b*ll*cks.”?  Which is most offensive to the greater number of people?   I mean, Jesus Christ, Rodney and Dell Boy said bollocks repeatedly on prime time TV for years, so I’m pretty sure it’s not even a swear word.  OK it’s a step up from my Grandmother’s old favourite: Ruddy.   But I have seen Bollocks b*ll*cked up  many times in the red tops.

This is one of my all time favourite poems which elucidates my point to perfection.

This was the moment that changed the history of swearing on TV.  I mean it’s hilarious.  The juxtaposition of posh old Bill Grundy and the trying oh so hard Sex Pistols…

It’s all captured beautifully in this book I received for Christmas.  I read it whenever I sit on the sh*tter.

For those of you with a nervous disposition the title of the book isn

Let’s return to the Guardian; where others write *rse (I kid you not) or trail Tarantino’s movie as Inglorious B******’s the Guardian will happily go for the full  Bhuna.  No one is afraid of the swearie police at the  Guardian and that’s one of the reasons I love it so.  Don’t like it?  Don’t buy it.  Just like you are, or aren’t, reading this post this far.

So, that’s that off my chest.  I can go and make the f****g breakfast now.

Loss of one sense is said to enhance the others.


We’ve all heard the stories about blind people having enhanced hearing.

This was highly appropriate last week when we went to see The King’s Speech at Cineworld In Edinburgh, because it’s a film about speech and we were rendered near blind.

For the record, The King’s Speech is being lauded for its cinematography. And that may be so, but we had to watch it through a black curtain.

There is no question that the projector at Cineworld was set up wrong. Both Jeana and I commented on it throughout. You could not see faces, backgrounds were total gloom, it was a mess. What’s more the trailer for True Grit that preceded it was exactly the same. It was so gloomy it made me decide not to go see (sorry, hear) it.

So we complained when we came out.

The girl at the door phoned the projectionist and he said “the settings are correct” but they weren’t.

We came home and watched the online trailers and since then we’ve seen the TV ads. The luminescence is just more…luminescent.

So, I complained online. They confirmed that the cinema had checked the projector and that it was fine and so, we were wrong. No one actually went into the auditorium and looked at the pictures on the screen.

Cineworld is one of my favourite Theatres but they do muck up on a regular basis. Often it is so cold that you have to wear a coat.

Usually when you make a complaint about that they give you comps, but I don’t understand why they have dissed our complaint on this one.

Frankly it ruined the film for both of us.

So, sorry Cineworld, I’m having to make you pay publicly. But, of course, you can still make amends.  There were 5 of us at the film so it was a costly exercise.

OK.  Quick update.  26th January 20211.

I emailed this post to Cineworld having initially been told I had no case to make.  Funnily enough it was now deemed that I did.  They phoned profusely apologetically and offered me two complimentary tickets and snack vouchers.  I reminded them that five of us went to the film and the offer was upped to 5 of each.  Thank you Cineworld.  Back in the good books.

A view from the Bridge. Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh


His finest hour?  In my experience, yes.

Life is about decorum, ritual, appropriate behaviour, pleasing one’s community and peers.  Not acting instinctively, ferally, as one sees it.  Because the community one lives within; the workplace, the neighbourhood, the church sets the standards and morals.  No matter how much it might be inappropriate or even wrong it’s the rule of the crowd that defines the behaviour of the one.

When Eddie Carbone decides he’s against this collective spirit; driven by jealousy, lust and rage, the rule of the crowd in Italian Brooklyn is jettisoned and Eddie Carbone becomes a lone ranger with disastrously selfish consequences.

It’s a big theme and a big play.  Probably Miller’s greatest, certainly the most thought-provoking I’ve had the privilege to experience.  And experience is the right word to describe John Dove’s “View”.

I kid you not, this was the most compelling and jaw dropping night I have spent in a theatre in my existence.  So powerful are the performances, most notably Stanley Townsend’s which held you in his thrall every moment he uttered a word, that theatre becomes a vehicle of transportation into another world.  Other stand out performances are Richard Conlon’s Marco (restrained but ultimately very scary) and the inimitable Kath Howden.  The whole is held beautifully together ( a la Greek Chorus) by Liam Brennan.

This is no ordinary play.  The subjects it brings out; jealousy, homosexuality, incest, faith, community, life long love, hope are at the very core of one’s being and it does so in a way that is hugely provocative and actually, with a performance of this standard, really quite humbling.

This is not just a five star show; it’s five star+.

The movie awards – Golden Globes


The season is upon us and I’ve seen most of the fancied Golden Globes contenders except for The Black Swan which will be remedied soon enough, but not before the awards on Sunday.

Anyway, these are my predictions

Best Movie (Drama) – The Social Network CORRECT

Best Movie (Comedy) – The Kids are all Right CORRECT

Best Actor Drama – Colin Firth CORRECT

Best Actor Comedy – Kevin Spacey FAIL

Best Actress Drama – Natalie Portman CORRECT

Best Actress Comedy – Annette Bening CORRECT

Best supporting actor – Geoffery Rush FAIL

Best Supporting actress – Helena Bonham Carter FAIL

Best Director – David Fincher (Social Network) CORRECT

Best Screenplay – Aaron Sorkin (Social Network) CORRECT

Best Animated Movie – TS3 (guaranteed) CORRECT

Best Foreign Language – Biutiful FAIL

Best TV Series – Boardwalk Empire CORRECT

Best TV Series comedy – Nurse Jackie FAIL

Best Mini Series – The Pacific (also guaranteed) FAIL ?????

New season Channel 4 and E4


Two new series kicked off last night with one (Skins) to come that are hot news in Chez Gorman.

First off; Glee.

A great series opener.

The take by the Glee Kids on Empire State of Mind was more than acceptable and for me the quality of writing has improved overall.  The new titchy Asian girl has some voice on her.  Good start.

Shameless, on the other hand was passable and no more.

It really has lost the bite that Paul Abbott injected into its early series’.

It wasn’t as slapstick as it has been, thank God, which actually stopped me watching for a while, so that may be a good thing.  I used to adore Shameless and now I can barely take it and there is only one reason.  The writing.  This has been where Skins has absolutely kicked Shameless’ ass over the past few years.

Skins has a new cast for this series but if the writing remains as high quality it should matter not.

But I do hope Shameless improves because it’s on for a 22 week run.

The Wrestler


I missed this first time round but watched it on DVD last night. Funnily enough, I watched Crazy Heart the night before and the two films felt very much of the same sentiment.

Sean Penn won the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Harvey Milk in Milk which was a great performance but I think the Academy must have debated long and hard who give it to.  I think they made the wrong choice because although both Penn and Mickey Rourke actors carry their respective movies Penn’s portrayal was more of an impersonation; Rourke’s is a possession.

The story follows the fictional comeback years of a once great Wrestler (The Ram) who still has a loyal following and top billing, but in provincial events where the new generation are creating ever more bizarre wrestling characters with weirder and weirder means of entertaining their audiences.  A life time of substance abuse has rendered The Ram susceptible to too much exertion and it is when he faces the “Necro Butcher” and his unorthodox method of staple gunning (with permission of course) his opponents that it all gets too much for Rourke and he suffers a heart attack that needs a bypass to save his life.

The operation brings him briefly to his senses and so we enter act 2 in which he tries to rekindle love in his life for his 21 year old daughter (nicely played by Evan Rachel Wood) and his “tart with a heart” lap dancing on-off flame.

Marisa Tomie, who plays the part, is awesome and certainly deserved her Oscar nomination; sadly she too failed to convert.  But it’s all too much for both The Ram and his Beaus.  The lure of the ring finally gets him back with a hair raising finale in which he takes on his old enemy “The Ayatollah” in a  stage managed fiasco that simply breaks the heart.

This is a stunning character piece played by an actor who has made more comebacks than the character he lays.  But Rourke is godlike.  It is intensely reminiscent of De Nero’s performance in Raging Bull not just because of the subject matter but for the commitment that both men put into their job.  At 56 this was surely an even greater feat by Rourke than the then still young De Nero.  But the film is more than a testosterone laden gross out.  It’s a heartfelt and beautiful study of failure in life, in love and in everything except integrity.

Toy Story 3


I missed this on its theatrical release but had the very great pleasure of watching it on DVD at home last night.  There is talk that TS3 is a live contender for the overall movie Oscar and I wouldn’t argue with that, because alongside Monsters (which won’t win) The Kids are All Right, Let Me In  and Social Network this is amongst the last year’s best.

It’s one of the most engaging, laugh out loud funny and deeply moving movies I’ve seen in a long time.  It unashamedly goes for the heartstrings in the final act as Andy leaves home to go to his Freshman year at a US college.  And that’s what this film is all about, the loss of childhood and what that means to a young man as he comes of age.  It’s clear from the off that Andy has a degree of maturity that is not normal amongst late teenage boys.  He is a sensitive and thoughtful soul who really will be missed by both his Mum and his sister.  Dad is never seen, is this a modern day dysfunctional family or is he just always at work.  In this respect perhaps it is Andy that has assumed the role of Patriarch and hence his maturity.  It matters not because after the establishing of his departure and before the hugely emotional denouement we have a comedy classic full of slapstick, crazy chases and, unusually, a brilliant plot.  The script sizzles and the acting (by the usual humans – you know them all by now) is universally brilliant.  Having watched TS1 the day before I was impressed with the technical advances in the animation.  Pixar just keep getting better.  For instance human movement which was a bit out of sync in TS1 has been nailed in TS3.

Randy Newman has made the franchise his own with his bittersweet and mostly beautiful music. Perhaps the highlight in this installment is Buzz Lightyear’s fantastic Spanish rendition of “You’ve got a friend.”

The Kings Speech


Stammering, and other speech impediments are terrible afflictions that rarely elicit sympathy.  When can you last recall a movie or TV programme with a sympathetic stammerer or lisp?  Bet you can recall the opposite!  How about Life of Brian?  “Wewease the cwiminals”

And yet our world is full of stutterers, stammerers and lispers; some of whom have overcome their problems like Bruce Willis, Tiger Woods, Julia Roberts, James Stewart; the list is endless.

Nevertheless the subject has never made it to the big screen in a serious and sympathetic form, until now.

The King’s Speech is fundamentally a British feelgood movie about stammering.  It uses King George the 6th (Actually named Albert and Father of Queen Elizabeth) as the subject and sets the story against the background of a brewing and erupting Second World War.

Great Britain is facing dark days (reflected perhaps in the cinematography which is most certainly dark), King George the Fifth is on the throne but is falling into senility and his eldest son David (soon to briefly reign as King Edward the 8th)  is in the midst of a scandalous affair with, gosh, An American, in the form of double divorcee Wallace Simpson.  The Head of the Church of England is a role of the British monarch and that role does not allow the incumbent to marry a divorcee.  But David (Edward) wants to marry Wallace more than he wants to rule Brittania.  And so he abdicates leaving poor old stammering Prince Albert next in line.

Albert (played to Oscar contending levels of sustained excellence by Colin Firth) has been tackling his demons for years but has had absolutely no success and is fast becoming a recluse, albeit married to our dearly beloved Queen Mother (played with a twinkle by the ever dependable Helena Bonham Carter – surely a national treasure in the mould of Dame Judie Dench in the making).  He’s pretty much given up hope , but Queen Mum hasn’t and she finds and engages the services of a Harley St quack played to perfection by Geoffery Rush.

What follows is a story about the development of a relationship and the triumph of wills married to unorthodox practices.  It opens the doors to humour, pathos and a degree of tension.  How could our stammering Prince become a king fit enough to stand shoulder to shoulder with Churchill as Britain takes on the Gerries?

On some levels the film woks.  It feels nicely in period.  The acting is universally excellent (Derek Jacobi has a nice cameo as the Archbishop of Westminster) and the story is engaging enough.  The ending, which I shall not spoil for you here, although it is fairly obvious is by far the highlight of the movie and very moving indeed.

And yet…and yet.  It drags.  It feels slight.  It has no real message other than, perhaps, the Royalty are humans too.  My feeling is that this movie is a bit of a “the British are coming” industry love in.  It’s actually not that great.  A good (BBC) TV drama sure, but for all the hype it falls short.

Good but missable.

Wise words from John Dove, director of A View from The Bridge that opens next week at the Lyceum


“They need answers, and in a way they don’t need telling problems so much. In our modern media there’s a tremendous saturation of what’s wrong, and what I try to do is to draw out what’s right.”

I’m sick of the current media blame culture, I really am.

Take the sacking of Stewart Stevenson because it snowed and he made light of it.  Someone had to ge because it snowed.  Take the MD of NI Water who didn’t repair the pipes quick enough because for 20 years the money for pipe-fixing was diverted into counter terrorism in the Province.

I could go on and on about the culture that stifles us today where heads must roll for evils done to us.  How about we just moan clearly and concisely and then the problem gets fixed and we all move on.

Now, BP, that’s a different story.  The MD of BP was in denial of the situation and couldn’t, seemingly, be arsed with fixing it.  His head should have, and did, roll.

But, generally speaking, it’s all a bit wearing is it not?

The Way Back directed by Peter Weir


The premise of this “based on a true story” movie is quite staggering. A group of seven men break free from a Russian forced labour camp in the Northern Gulags of Siberia. They then cross a wintry Siberia, the Gobi Desert, the Himalayas and finally the Indian subcontinent. All by foot, all in farcically difficult conditions and running the risk of being handed in for a bounty on their heads.

Add to that the fact that it is directed by the once awesome Peter Weir (The Truman Show, Witness, Picnic at Hanging Rock) and mix in a pretty star studded cast (Colin Farrell and Ed Harris) all shot on location and one would expect is a moving, jaw dropping boys own adventure that takes the breath away.

Instead we get a very disappointing anticlimax with some hammy, nay cod, Polish acting (Farrell triumphs in this department), poorly lit and rather uninspiring cinematography, a forgettable soundtrack and no more character development than you’d expect from the average news report. The script is weak and the whole movie laboured.

Despite this I’m not saying it’s actually a bad film. It’s not, it’s just not a great film, maybe not even a good one.

Overall, disappointing. But not a complete disaster. After all Ed Harris plays a bit of a blinder.