Thursday, October 08, 2015

The Tripods

A few weeks ago I purchased a box set of an old BBC TV series called The Tripods. I didn't watch it when it was originally broadcast in the 1980s. It was adapted for television but was originally a series of books.
The series features robotic tripods and non-humanoid aliens. It seems to be set in a state that is kept artificially primitive. The people are subjugated and when they reach 15 are given a "cap" by the Tripods, which is a triangular "chip" burned into their head. This inhibits their creativity and curiosity and keeps them under control.
It is worth watching as a TV series but it doesn't really compare to todays science fiction series.

Saturday, September 26, 2015


I have posted before about headphones but this deserves a new post because I have found one of the great buys of the year. I was in B and M Homestores a few months ago and they were selling various different headphones. Now I was only doing this because my wife had been using my Sennheiser PX200s but these had broken somehow. I decided to purchase a pair that looked okay, a pair of JVC HA-S360-Bs as a replacement for the Sennheisers because they folded up well, a criteria for me because I travel a lot and need something I can pack easily into my rucksack. I like my Sennheiser HD201s but they are more for home than taking on the road. Now I paid £9.99 for my JVCs so I wasn't expecting great sound quality. I have a pair of Skull Candy headphones I bought for my wife for her to use at the gym and she doesn't go anymore but they are white and not a pair I would wear out of the house (they don't fold either). So, I was expecting similar sound quality to those. However, I was very pleasantly surprised by the JVCs. They were better than my PX200s! I have read a review on Amazon that says they are even better than the Beats £130 pair. I can believe this because I tried on a pair of Bose headphones in Costco (cost about £80) but the JVC were comparable in terms of sound quality. If you are looking for a pair of headphones I would definitely recommend taking a punt and trying these JVCs.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Phone down the loo

My son had an accident with his phone a couple of weeks ago. He dropped it down the loo, not sure how it happened. I bought a rescue bag to try and dry it out. Then I bought a new screen because I thought it was the screen that wasn't working. I tried replacing it this evening but no. It didn't work. So it looks like I will have to replace it with a different phone. When I took it apart I could see a lot of damage on the PCB including rust and what looked like corrosion. If you own a Motorola Moto E, I do not recommend submerging it in water,

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Autumn has arrived

It is officially autumn now, yesterday was the autumnal equinox that sees night overtake day. The days will now get progressively shorter and that means dark mornings and dark evenings. I don't like either to be fair. I like the autumn as a season that can still have very warm days with glorious sunshine but with a morning chill that is quite pleasant.


I watched this film last night. It wasn't my wisest choice in films to watch. There are some nice looking cars in the film and some fast women - or should that be the other way around? It tries to be something that it is not. The acting is not terrible but the story and script leave a lot to be desired. If you like car movies there are better ones, if you like thrillers there are better ones, so this film doesn't offer enough action and neither does it have enough of the beautiful women in it. It's a film that doesn't know what it wants to be and ends up failing to please anyone. This is a film that can be avoided unless you are a total fan of Nadia Bjorklin, who is extremely beautiful.

The babadook

I'd heard that this movie was genuinely scary before I watched it. I ended up seeing it at the end of last week. I enjoyed the film, although I wouldn't describe it as scary as such - although maybe if I had seen it on my own or when in a different frame of mind that might have made a difference.
It's the story of a widow and her overactive son and her resulting chronic lack of sleep. Her failure to address her young son's behavioral issues finally leaves her at her wits end with his behavior becoming more pronounced. He believes he will be killed by monsters and invents weapons to kill them. At the start of the story his mum reads to him in bed. The next night she does the same but the chosen book is not one she recognizes, it is the Babadook. She suggests not reading anymore but her son begs and she gives in. The book unfortunately on serves to fuel her sons belief in monsters. Eventually, she decides to seek medical help. After this point, the film gets very dark. I was left not knowing whether events that followed really happened or whether it was all in the mother's mind.
The Babadook is a film I feel comfortable recommending to horror fans and thriller fans alike. However, I would suggest it's not for everyone. If you don't enjoy horror, don't watch.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

V for Vendetta

I've attempted to watch this film several times, pretty much seen most of it now but I have to say it is slightly more of a struggle than I would have liked. The pace it is quite slow and I've had some alcohol on the two occasions I tried to watch it. However, I have seen it now. The two big stars in it are Natalie Portman and John Hurt. It is a tale of the battle of love and truth over oppression and fascism. It is a very socialist tale really. The solidarity of humanity against brutality. The Guy Fawkes character in the mask is called V and he is the activist who seeks vengeance for the war crimes committed against humanity by a corrupt Chancellor. Fingermen are above the law but who they are is not very clear and remains largely unexplained, they are like the Gestapo I guess. Stephen Rea plays a police inspector attempting to piece together the clues to who V is. Natalie Portman plays a character called Evey, whose life is entangled with V's as he falls in love with her. I have bought the graphic novel to read and will hopefully learn more from reading that than I got from the film - perhaps I will get a different take on it altogether?

Friday, September 11, 2015


I watched Haywire this week. Gina Carano is excellent in this female Bourne-style spy thriller. There are really excellent fight sequences. She did all of her own stunts and, boy, can she move! The character she plays is tough but feminine. A difficult balance to get right but Carano pulls it off with style and ease. I guess as an MMA fighter she has developed a sense of the theatrical mixed with having to get down to business pretty sharpish.
The story of Haywire is told by a series of flashbacks and real time sequences. The violence erupts in these in surprise attacks. Nearly everyone is out to get Mallory (played by Carano) except her father. She is betrayed by her handler (played by Ewan McGregor in a very understated part). Carano is put centre stage and there are lots of sequences of her running or evading capture. I thought it was a very good film. Far exceeding my expectation.


I first came into contact with this film when I was in my teens. My father had a new home VCR and rented pretty horrendous, violent films from the video rental store. These included Straw Dogs and Scanners.
Scanners introduced me to David Cronenberg and I believe it is one of his best. There are some great memorable moments in the film. The film starts in a great way. Patrick McGoohan plays a great part and was one of my favourite actors at the time because I was watching re-runs of The Prisoner. It is the ideas and the concept of the film that gets me though. Such a great imagination and a great visual treat.
If you don't know the plot, the film follows the path of a young man who is a social outcast on account of his ability to read minds of other people. This ability, as it turns out, is not unique. He is what is referred to as a Scanner and there are more of them. However, the world is a mixed up place and there is a rogue scanner who thinks that scanners are superior to non-scanners. The social outcast is found by a doctor, played by McGoohan. It turns out that he has incredible scanning power but that he was unaware of it. He is given a drug called Ephemerol by the doctor and it dulls his scanning ability to allow him to control it gradually. The doctor wants to recruit the outcast and help him defeat the rogue scanner.
The end of the film is a great confrontation between good and evil. In the spirit of the best Cronenberg films, the ending is ambiguous as to whether it is good or bad but it is a surprise. I was very unsettled by this film when I first saw it. Even today I find it chilling, A great film.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Red Planet

I watched this film tonight and it exceeded my expectations enormously. They weren't high to begin with. Carrie Ann Moss and Val Kilmer were the big stars, although Terrence Stamp is in it briefly as well. It was a much more adult film than I thought it would be. Some good plot choices were made. The details were just about right in various ways, characters died with a burst spleen due to a bad landing. A computer battery had died. A survivor's air supply was limited so that he needed resuscitation.