Monday, September 30, 2013

Splintered

As it will soon be the month when Halloween happens by way of looking forward to that event, I thought I would watch a horror film. I didn't have one in mind when I started browsing LoveFilm's catalogue but I settled on one.
It was called Splintered and was a fairly small budget British film. A group of young adults out in the woods hoping to trace a beast that has been reported in the area. Familiar horror territory. The film's main character is Sophie. The group gets split up by an argument, some remain at the camp while Sophie and John go off by themselves at night. They find a building, I think it was an old school, and despite all of the safety advice they could ever have been given, they enter it. Not surprisingly bad things happen after that. I thought it was reasonably well done without being too clich├ęd, even though it has a lot of the obvious genre setups there were surprisingly good touches that enable it to rise above other similar films. There is blood and gore but it's not quite as overdone as you might think from the promo material.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Oblivion

After having bought this film on DVD a couple of weeks ago I finally made time to start it on Sunday evening it and finished it yesterday evening. The film is set on a post-apocalyptic Earth after a battle with alien invaders, the human race was victorious but at a cost. The moon was partially destroyed, resulting in tidal devastation and lightning storms and much of the planet is radioactive and a no go area. The remaining population has relocated to Titan, the moon of Jupiter, save for Jack and Victoria, who are the last humans left. Their job is to safeguard the vast water energy converters over the oceans that are used in the creation of fusion batteries to power the population on Titan. The land that is still radiation free is patrolled by flying robots controlled by an enormous orbiting space station, who Jack and Victoria are in constant communication with. Victoria is something like a work manager and communications operative and Jack is a technician who flies around fixing robots who from time to time are attacked by the dwindling remnants of the alien invaders. However, as is usually the case all is not as it seems and Jack's world starts to fall apart when he is captured by the aliens. No spoilers here. I enjoyed the film but probably would have enjoyed it better if Tom Cruise wasn't in it, it's a prejudice I have against seeing actors again and again in different movies. The story was well plotted and well executed and had a good twist. It's a film, I think, that is worthy of attention and one that is certainly watchable more than a few times.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Dark Tower series

I had a pretty hectic week at work last week, hence lack of blog activity. However, at the weekend I had a chance to unwind a bit and do some reading, watching and listening of various things. More to come about that later in the week. I was visiting the various charity shops we have in town on Saturday and I had the opportunity to pick up the first book in the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. And then in another of the shops I saw the second book in the series. So I managed to get the first two books in a series by an author whose body of work is amazing. I'm looking forward to reading the series. I am almost at the end of my current book and after that I have another to read but then I'm into the King. I haven't read a Stephen King since Firestarter, a long long time ago and as far as I can remember the only book by him that I've read. It seems amazing that I haven't read others but I truly can't remember reading any of them - in this I include Christine, Cujo, Salem's Lot, The Shining, Pet Sematary, Carrie and The Dead Zone (basically all the ones associated with giant box office films).

Monday, September 16, 2013

Weekend over...a new week begins

We put a lot of score in the two days that are our weekends. I'm not satisfied that I've had enough rest. I was busy at an event on Saturday and Sunday was a bit of a non-day. So I'm feeling a bit cheated that it's Monday morning already. I would prefer not to have to work but I've got to catch the gravy train and earn money so that I can pay the mortgage. Those big wheels keep on turnin'.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Looper

I watched the film Looper this weekend. I haven't read any reviews of it but a friend of mine had said he watched it and wasn't very enthusiastic about it. I don't know how it did at the box office but it has Bruce Willis in it and you'd think he is big enough to pull in a significant audience, on just the strength of his name if nothing else. The lead character in the film is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt with whom I confess a distinct lack of recognition and knowledge.
I don't think the story is very clear, it seems that the story is set in the future because there are hover cars and hover bikes. The lead character works for a criminal organisation and is a drug addict. He is paid in silver bars for killing criminals who are sent back in time from the future. He sets up a sheet in a field at the back of a roadside cafe and waits for the criminal to materialise: kneeling, handcuffed and with a sheet covering their face. When they appear he shoots them with blunderbus as in the picture below. His life all goes to pot when the person sent back in time is himself, played by Bruce Willis.
It's not a bad premise for a story, if a little complicated. However, I didn't connect with the actor playing the lead role. I couldn't see him as a hero and so I was conflicted or indifferent to his plight. I don't really feel I can strongly recommend this film but if you want to watch something that's not entirely dreadful with a half interesting story this might be worth a try - that doesn't sound like a film I'd want to see but on a rainy weekend with nothing better to watch it might be okay!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Saturday Market

I was in my local High Street on Saturday. I had visited most of the shops I usually like to browse in and because it was a day when the market was on I thought I'd get a photo, I suddenly noticed what a great cloud formation had appeared and I had to get this shot. This hasn't been altered in any way. The shadow in the foreground is from a tree.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Coffee

I like proper coffee. However, I am the only coffee drinker in my household. It's my first drink of the day and I look forward to that first cup in a morning. My liking of proper ground coffee beans has to give way to the practicalities of life when I'm the only drinker of coffee. So, mostly I drink freeze dried instant coffee in granulated form. It's not the same, it doesn't have the same richness even though I go for the blends with higher strength. I would drink only ground coffee if I could but making it is a bit of a faff. Here is my trusty one cup filter coffee maker. It makes one cup, which isn't usually big enough but it's still an opportunity for me to have proper coffee whenever I feel like it - at least once it is clean and washed and ready to be used.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dune

Dune is a classic sci-fi saga fiction by Frank Herbert. I've read the first novel in the series but haven't gone further into the world than that. It's been a long time since I read this but I remember I quite enjoyed it at the time. This is the cover of the version I read. I love the artwork of this cover.

Monday, September 09, 2013

DVD v Blu Ray

My wife has several times expressed to me lately a desire to watch LoveFilm from our bedroom but there we have an older Sony Bravia tv connected to a Sony dvd player/recorder. So we've had to watch films and tv series on the laptop if we wanted to use LoveFilm. Downstairs it is possible to watch LoveFilm straight on the tv, after connecting the tv to the router with a cable but the cable trails on the floor and it isn't ideal. So I was trying to figure out what would work best for us. Up until this weekend I didn't realise that the latest Blu Ray players connected to the Internet directly via wifi and could access online services. I had assumed they were just dumb players, like dvd players or vhs players used to be. I guess this truly does mean the Internet is an entertainment medium, it sounds so obvious and I feel a bit obsolete for not thinking of this before. My wife thought we needed a smart tv like we have in the sitting room but I was worried about the cost and comparing the cost of a new tv to a new Blu Ray player, the latter was certainly cheaper. So that's what we bought on Sunday. I connected it up and we were able to watch an episode of Dexter last night before falling asleep.
We don't have any Blu Ray disks and are not intending to replace any of our existing dvds with Blu Rays but I guess we might find one or two Blu Rays end up in our collection eventually. The dvd output is supposed to be upscaled via more modern Blu Ray players, so using the film Hackers (which I bought on dvd from a charity shop this weekend) I decided to try a little comparison. Here are the results but which do you think is our usual dvd player and which is the Blu Ray, or is the difference so subtle you can't tell? I used the same camera and paused the dvd in almost exactly the same place and tried to stand the same distance from the tv but there will be slight differences between the two shots because I wasn't doing the test under scientific conditions!


Sunday, September 01, 2013

Man of Steel

I took my son to see the film Man of Steel on Friday night. We both enjoyed it, the film score was especially good. The music was composed by Hans Zimmer, one of my son's favourite composers.
I read a review of the film that said something like it took itself too seriously. Well, yes there was that side to it perhaps. Especially in comparison to the Christopher Reeves versions. However, I still thought it was a good film, very exciting in the final battle. There were a few plot glitches that I was surprised about, so it wasn't perfect. On the whole though, it was enjoyable entertainment.
I'm looking forward to seeing a few sci-fi films that have come out recently but I think I'll have to watch those on DVD when they come out.

September once again

The Back To School month has arrived. The academic year begins again. I wonder what this year will be like? My football team hasn't had the best start to the season so far, they haven't won a match yet so are firmly in the bottom half of the league table. Plenty of matches to go though, so no cause for being too downhearted at the moment.

I like this time of year. There are good things to look forward to. The nights are drawing in sooner now. The temperature is starting to come down but it is still warm enough to wear a T shirt outside. The leaves on the trees are still green but this will all change pretty soon.

I've enjoyed the hot weather we've had over the summer and now I don't feel so down about the prospect of the cooler weather.