Monday, August 31, 2015

Bank Holiday Monday

Bank Holiday Monday on the 31st August this year has been a bit of a wash out. It's been colder and wetter than the rest of the weekend. We had some rain yesterday but nothing like the rain today. What an unfortunate way to end the summer but I suppose in one sense at least it does mark the end of summer. Part of me looks forward to the change in the seasons from summer to Autumn.


This was a film I didn't know anything about until a friend mentioned it. Funny because I had bought it before my friend mentioned it, I bought it because I needed another film for a 2 for £5 deal and it looked interesting. It is a great film in my opinion. It is set in Seattle and is about 2 cousins and a friend who venture away from a school prom party to discover a cave containing a strange crystal growth. It gives them nose bleeds but they soon discover it has also given them mind powers. They start with moving small objects but then start to develop stronger powers. It then treads more familiar territory but it doesn't lose the plot, it's tight and on point the whole time. Things deteriorate and it ends up the worse for them.

Resident Evil Extinction

I watched this film last week and I have to confess to enjoying it more than I thought I would. It is a sequel to RE Apocalypse, so is set before Afterlife, which is confusing for me because I haven't watched the films in the right order but nevermind. I thought that the direction on this film by Russell Mulcahy was a cut above the other films. The eye for great visuals was better. Several of the characters from Apocalypse return for this. The action is very good and the zombies move faster making them a scarier thing.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


This evening I decided to watch the film Equilibrium, starring Christian Bale. I have seen parts of it before, usually the end, but this is the first time I've seen it through to the end. It's the story of the future where emotion is suppressed for the good of mankind - supposedly to prevent man's inhumanity to man. But this is rather odd because society is a police state with the police as judge, jury and executioners. There is a higher power than the police, called Grammaton Clerics who are trained in a special form of martial arts that apparently gives them the power to avoid being shot. Ridiculous stuff. The populace have their motions subdued by a drug called Prozium. There is one God-like character, known as Father and the actor playing him is Sean Pertwee.
There are some daft set pieces and an even dafter ending to the film. I much prefer The Matrix for martial arts action, this doesn't quite have the storyline to make it very interesting.

Resident Evil Apocalypse: Resurrected Edition

I watched this film this week and enjoyed it for what it is. It's not an intellectual film by any means but for what it is, I found this entertaining. It's a shame that the critics panned it. For people who like the first film, I think they would like this film. It's a decent sequel overall, perhaps not quite as interesting as RE Afterlife.

World War Z

This has been a film I have wanted to watch for a while now. Fortunately it is available on Netflix, which I subscribe to. I watched it yesterday and found it largely enjoyable but there were there a few things about it that were less so. The story covers the re-assignment of a UN investigator of some kind, Brad Pitt, who seems to have retired to look after his family. His concern for his family were slightly annoying, he seemed to allow this to put other people in danger. Quite selfish really. The zombies are pretty good in this film, the way they attack is quite frightening because they operate as a hoard. How they climbed the walls of Jerusalem was quite impressive.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Return to work

Well, today was my first day back at work after returning from annual leave. It was okay, nothing too major happened while I was off (as far as I know anyway). Time will tell, as they say. I will get back into the swing of things, I'm sure, but it went by in a bit of a blur today.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Resident Evil: Afterlife

Today I watched the film Resident Evil Afterlife. It was familiar to me as I think I've watched part of it before. The film feels like a series of staged sequences rather than having a strong narrative. This is a danger with a massive franchise. Milla Jovovich makes a good job of playing the part of Alice, her performance makes the film. Claire Redfield is played by Ali Larter who also gives a strong performance with the material to hand. There is probably more action than dialogue in this film. The dialogue that does exist is fairly cringe-worthy. One sequence presents a huge zombie wielding a huge hammer/axe weapon. It is not explained. I dislike the aesthetics of the zombies whose faces split apart. I guess that is just one of the trademarks of the film's special effects though.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Football season starts

Last weekend saw the start of the 2015-16 football season. I caught a bus on Saturday with my son and even the bus driver spontaneously said how much he was looking forward to the football season starting. It's weird the affection this country has for football. My team, West Brom, lost their opening game at home on Monday night this week to Manchester City (one of the richest clubs in the game, if not the richest). We lost 3-nil. But Arsenal also lost their opening game, so my team sits at the very bottom of the table and Arsenal are the next team above us. I should think Arsenal will be doing all they can to win their game on Saturday.
While I visited my mom last week I had a look in the West Brom shop at Merry Hill Shopping Centre, the new football shirts for this season are almost £50. I decided not to buy one, just too much money sadly for an armchair fan like me.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Leisure holiday

My holiday this year has involved a hotel stay in the same place we stayed as last year. Except this year, we have been a little bit braver and tried out the pool facilities at the hotel. To be honest, because I haven't swam in so long I was a little bit nervous about going into a pool. However, I managed to overcome my inhibitions and for the sake of my son's enjoyment we visited the pool. It was good for me, After 3 days I have become re-acquainted with water and swimming. If I had easy access to a pool I think I could become quite good. I'm not very good as a swimmer but after 3 days I can remember some of what I forgot, I still have a fear of water that means I'm uncomfortable in it but I was able to not embarrass myself too much. There were also facilities like a spa pool, sauna and steam room. I enjoyed the steam room but didn't like the dry heat of the sauna very much. I do like the idea of losing weight just by sweating but I was definitely not in the rooms long enough for any of that to happen. I do feel like we have got more out of the hotel stay than we did last year.

Fantastic Four

I went to see this film on Friday evening. I also recently watched the 2005 version again to remind myself of the first F4 film I've watched. I didn't think the 2005 version was awful, just that it was more of a child's movie. The new 2015 version does some things better and some things worse. Overall, I don't think it is up to the standard of other recent Marvel films. The ending was weak and the whole film felt as if it had been mercilessly butchered in the editing. It was mercifully short.
I thought the relationship between Reed and Ben was set up well in the first half but then it went downhill. Victor von Doom wasn't very strong as a human character, he had more going for him after returning from the other dimension. There were parts that felt truly scary but the sense of fear and dread was not sustained. The idea of Susan Storm as a step-sister of Johnny was cool but not very believable. I also didn't think much of the jealousy exhibited by Victor for Susan when she showed interest in Reed.
Overall, this wasn't a terrible film, it was just underwhelming but perhaps it is a victim of high expectations after the Iron Man, X-Men and Avengers films.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Summer holiday

This week has been occupied with a lot of things, including a visit to my mom and dad, a day trip to Brighton and yesterday a long drive up to The Lake District. We had a great time yesterday and re-visited a park that was enjoyable last year, this time actually going out on Lake Windermeer in a small rowing boat. We also found Castle Howe this year, the second of Kendal's castles - Kendal Castle being more obvious as there are more ruins remaining and it's on a visible hill. Castle Howe's earthworks are still there but the castle structures were dismantled a long time ago to make it a park (crying shame). Here are some photos anyway...