Archive for October, 2009

Man is free at the moment he wishes to be – Voltaire

A long time ago ( but not in a galaxy far far away) I spotted this pic and quote that someone had put together on Flickr and I thought it was fantastic. unfortunately I cant remember who it was, I can only be honest and say it’s not my work, I’ll share anyway;

Star Wars Voltaire

Man is free at the moment he wishes to be – Voltaire

Run fat boy run movie review

Inspired by my recent enjoyment of ‘How to lose Friends and Alienate People’ I thought I would maintain my viewing pursuit of Simon Pegg’s back catalogue and watch David Scwimmers directorial debut ‘Run Fat Boy Run”. 

A pretty solid cast for a romantic comedy comprising of Simon Pegg, Thandie Newton, Hank Azaria, and the under rated Irish comic Dylan Moran.  Those that have watched the British comedy series ‘Black Books’ will recognize Moran in a role similar to his character Bernard, and nothing like his role of David in ‘Shaun of the Dead’. 

The movie itself centers on Simon Pegg’s character Dennis, who stands accused by his friends as always finding excuses for his problems and alleviating himself from the responsibility of dealing with them head on.  Dennis’ major regret in life is also the opening of the movie, which shows Dennis ditching a heavily pregnant Libby (Thandie Newton’s character) at the altar and literally running for the single life.

Fast forward a 6 years and Dennis is a part time Dad and fulltime security guard at a women’s clothes store, chain smoking and unable to catch transsexual shop lifters due to extra gut girth. Although Libby still speaks with Dennis, she is well and truly over her former fiancé, the same however can’t be said for Dennis.  Libby is so far over Dennis that she now has a new beau, a rich, successful and intelligent hedge fund manager and typical city boy in the form of Hank Azaria’s character Whit.

What follows is a somewhat typical story of the underdog trying to win back the heart of the girl he loves, what keeps it original though is the merge of British and American comedy which is balanced nicely.  Although fundamentally a British film, there is enough of an American influence that I would struggle to call it an outright Brit flick.  What you get is an uplifting and inspirational tale of love, laughs and determination.

Simon Pegg is, as always, fantastic in his role as the loveable ‘average Joe’, utilizing perfect comic timing and just the right about of facial and physical comedy to get the laughs flowing. 

I won’t go into detail, let you know the storyline involves a marathon and just suggest you give it a watch, not one for the movie theaters but for a night on the couch with the other half it fits the bill well. 

I’ll be looking out to see what David Schwimmer does next as a debut I’m impressed.

What happened to fall?

After my heartfelt post about how awesome Autumn is, it looks like I missed it with my trip away.  When I left 6 weeks ago it was 30 degrees C and yesterday it snowed 4 inches. 

I’ve only been back 48hrs, and it seems thats all I got of my favourite season. 

How hum there is always next year, until then I’ll just look at last years pics.

 Fall walk (Medium)

A look at Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Finally home, I can now put up a post that I wrote over a month ago.

Before I joined the ship on my trip managed to spend a day in Perth, and as I didn’t have time to search out the interesting parts of the city I decided to ditch the mainland and head out to a little island off the coast. I do like cities it’s just that the downtown quarter of most western cities looks the same to me, McDonalds here, Starbucks there, people wear suits blah blah blah. Its all a bit samey and that’s where my hotel was. In my experience the best parts of each city are away from all that, where you can find independent retailers, coffee shops, small restaurants, and all the stuff that isn’t a carbon copy of what you can find in every other city. The little pockets of entrepreneurs and day dreamers give a far better example of a city than anything else.

Beach

So given my situation and a tight timeline I headed to Rottnest Island on a ferry. It only takes an hour and a bit and despite the rather ugly name (the locals shorten it and pretty it up by calling it Rotto) the place is absolutely stunning. The name itself comes from the original European sailors who arrived on the island and thought an indigenous animal (the Quokka) was actually a giant rat and named the place Rats nest Island or in their native Dutch Rottnest.

Quokka 2

Since then its history is still somewhat dark in that it was used as a prison for the males of Australia’s aboriginals and then in later years as a prison for citizens of German descent during the 1st world war. Having visited the place it’s hard to believe anyone would be there against their will, it’s beautiful.

I opted to hire a bike and cycle round the island which is a great way to see it all, it only takesBeach 1 a couple of hours and none of the hills are too taxing on the legs. The only traffic I saw was other cyclists and a bus that does loops round the island on its deserted roads. If there are any cars they stayed well hidden while I was there. I don’t know if it’s so quiet normally or if it’s because Australia is just waking up from winter and it’s a bit early in the season but there were very few people around that I saw once a left the ferry terminal, to be honest though it made it all the better

Beach 2

The island plays home to a host of wildlife that I’m not used to; I saw peacocks, lizards, cormorants and the most famous of the island inhabitants the Quokka. These wee creatures (as pictured) kind of look like a cross between and rat and a kangaroo and are dotted all over the island, they seem pretty tame and aren’t easily scared but there are signs scattered over the island warning tourists not to disturb them or face a hefty fine. You have been warned! The other warning I can give is that make sure you take a bottle of water or 2 with you for when you leave the main built up area (referred to as the settlement) as there is no drinking water in the more remote parts of the island and on a warm day cycling out there could be a nightmare.

Beach 2Jelly 

I think we paid $75 AU for the ferry (return) and around $25 AU for the bike hire, if you find yourself with a day to spare in Perth I would highly recommend the trip.

Quokka 1

Dexter season 1, finally watched a few years behind everyone else

I finished watching the first season of Dexter and I’m already looking forward to watching the 2nd.  I’m slightly worried since 80% of the people I told I was watching Dexter replied that the 1st season was by far the best. 

I hope this doesn’t mean I’m now on a downward spiral of viewing pleasure, but there is only one way to find out.

Throughout the season the cast was strong; I particularly liked the development of the animosity between Dexter and Sgt Doakes, as well as the portrayal of the unwanted attention he receives from the Lieutenant Laguerta which demonstrated a way for Dexter, a serial killer, to feel uncomfortable from something so normal.  The supporting cast, all of whom I liked, get a good amount of screen time but the focus is predominately on the show title character Dexter, and never strays too far.

The writers managed great character development through family flash back scenes for building audience understanding of Dexter and his sister Debra, as well as reflecting office stories for the Sgt Doakes and Lt Laguerta and insights into present day issues such as the marital problems for Officer Angel.  These take place throughout the season and much like the search for the Ice truck Killer well paced with the individual stories of each of the 12 episodes.  There is still plenty room however for the characters to grow in season 2.

Southland Tales: My thoughts

I watched Southland Tales the other night and I have to say I was pretty disappointed. I know that some people watched Donnie Darko and wondered what all the fuss was about; I think I would feel the same way about this movie by the same director except I’ve not heard anyone make a fuss about it. Now I know why.

For those that know nothing about the movie, in summary, it’s an ensemble piece set in the futuristic landscape of Los Angeles on July 4, 2008,  (the movie was released in 2006) as it stands on the brink of social, economic and environmental disaster. Boxer Santaros is an action star who’s stricken with amnesia. His life intertwines with Krysta Now, an adult film star developing her own reality television project, and Ronald Taverner, a Hermosa Beach police officer who holds the key to a vast conspiracy.

Southland Tales appeared to me to be a movie trying too hard to be something far more than its content and cast would allow. Whilst some of the performances were commendable overall it just seemed a bit lost and limp. Long before the end of the movie my attention had gone astray and I was willing it to be over.

I also wasn’t taken by Justin Timberlake’s voice as the film’s narrator; whilst his screen time is ok I don’t think he has the voice to carry the movies narration. When I first saw him in Alpha Dog I was impressed, I had expected very little from him in that movie and he gave a solid performance, now unfortunately I’ll probably expect slightly less of him in whatever I watch him in next.

I couldn’t help but feel that underneath it all was an attempt to be as clever and well regarded as Mulholland Drive, but in the end it wasn’t even in the same caliber as Arlington Road.

Shark versus fish, not quite the thriller in Manila

I’m still stuck on the boat on the Indian Ocean; I’m currently at day 36 of my 10 day trip and still counting….. Ho hum, best laid plans and all that.

Being that I’m not too busy at the moment I was taking a break, having a coffee and watching the marine life at the side of the boat. Specifically I watched a shark epically fail 3 times in trying to catch and eat a flying fish. Whilst the shark looked dramatic in its thrusts breaking the surface of the water, it realistically got nowhere near its prey. The fish upping its pace each time and skipping away from the shark.

Reminiscent of a Wile E Coyote cartoon, I almost expect the fish to let out a ‘beep beep’ Road Runner style. Looking a bit dejected the shark then turned its attention to a sea snake, who despite being really small in size, comparatively speaking, gave the shark a simple hard stare, causing the shark to cut its losses and drop deeper beneath the surface. Still hungry.

I’m not sure but possibly the sea snakes have all gone a bit bad ass as a result of the other day.

One thing I did notice in this exchange was that the when sharks eyes catch the lights from the boat (night time here at the moment) they reflect in a truly demonic fashion. Like a deer in headlights, but the most sinister water based deer you’ve ever seen.