Saturday, April 12, 2003

Today, we painted our bedroom. In our new house.

Nothing particularly new in that, you might think, but the pertinent fact that I've never once in my life picked up a paint brush in anger and used it was enough to make the prospect of six or seven hours painting today somewhat daunting. Typically, though, my worst fears were not realised and the whole day came off quite well, all things considered.

We actually did our painting with rollers, and these helped speed up the workload quite considerably - we now have a 90% painted room, decked out in an eye-catching combination of a fairly vivid purple (the back wall) and a contrasting, very surf-inspired green (every other wall) - If any 90's Comic Book geeks are reading out there, think Caitlin Fairchild's snug-fitting, battle costume from the "Gen 13" comic books and you won't be to far divorced from the colour scheme we've elected to go with.

Some people would call it an aesthetic mismatch and an afront to their very ocular cavitites - We kinda like it, on the other hand.

More news from the renovation battlefront tomorrow, my aching bones permitting...

Friday, April 11, 2003

Ladies and gentlepersons - The Friday Five!

1. What was the first band you saw in concert?

Embarassingly enough, it was a David Lee Roth show, at Birmingham's cavernous, atmosphere-sucking NEC Arena, on his "Skyscraper" tour, back in 1990. It was a pleasure to see the shameless old tart trotting out his practiced one-liners, behaving in a manner so camp that it made Graham Norton look like Vin Diesel and boasting old-school metal geniuses like Steve Vai and Billy Sheehan. Back then, I either didn't know or didn't care that I was seeing a totally uncool rock show and I loved every minute of it. Especially when Diamond Dave flew around the arena on his 'floating surfboard' (Translation? Dave preening outrageously atop said dayglo Pink device, whilst a shower of pissed-off roadies carted his sizable behind around).

2. Who is your favorite artist/band now?

Jimmy Eat World. I've gone 180% in the opposite direction, I guess...

3. What's your favorite song?

Or, which one of your kids would you like to sell to the circus? C'mon - what an impossible question! Today, it's "I Feel So", by Box Car Racer, but tomorrow it could very well be a Beatles song, or the new Neptunes thing that's hogging the radio. Jesus, I even found myself humming along to a Ja Rule and Ashanti tune the other day, which is surely a sign that I'm in desperate need of a hardcore dose of self-critiquing musical snobbery...

4. If you could play any instrument, what would it be?

Standing in the background, wrestling vulgar, ear-shatteringly loud barre chords, from a beaten-to-hell Gibson Les Paul electric guitar, as my Marshall stack behind me sounds more or less like the death roar of a recently-felled Wooly Mammoth.

5. If you could meet any musical icon (past or present), who would it be and why?

I'd like to share a coffee break with Jeff Buckley, or a few minutes with Stevie Ray Vaughan. I would probably explode with ill-disguised, teenaged geekboy delight if I ever got to say "Hi!" to Liz Phair or carry Tanya Donelly's guitar. Chuck D. from Public Enemy was a big teenage hero of mine, as was Scott Ian, the manic guitar player from thrash metal legends, Anthrax. I get the impression that Ozzy would be a fun bloke to hang out with.

I'd have to plump for Jeff Buckley, though. Genius, humble with it, with probably one of the most amazing voices that I've ever heard.

If you hear a little less from me over the next week, it isn't because I don't love you or because I'm seeing other people.

No, I'm going to be hecka' busy in the next couple of weeks fixing up, sorting out and generally getting our new house fairly ship-shape and lovely-looking.

Yes, after months of agonising tooing and froing, K. and I picked up the keys from the estate agents this morning, and then had a manic old time of it organising electrical supplies, gas supplies, phone service and other vital stuff that needed to hooked up before we could really get down to the fraught business of tearing down the previous occupant's decoration and wondering what the hell they were thinking when they painted the living room ceiling that colour?

Sanding machines were hired and then re-scheduled to Tuesday. Twin couches and a refridgerator belonging to the previous occupant were consigned to the backyard, ready to be collected by persons unknown tomorrow. The truly shocking living room carpet was removed and will be sent to the flooring equivalent of Valhalla on Saturday.

And, thanks to invaluable help from my redoubtable mother-in-law Mrs K., everything fitted together and worked out just fine.
Couldn't have done it without her, frankly.

Dudes? We have a house!

Thursday, April 10, 2003

And, not to go on about it or anything, but an idle, disinterested viewing of Channel Four's fairly missable morning magazine news show, "RI:SE", was made rather special today by the presence of what appeared to be the skull-meltingly fantastic "Matrix Reloaded" footage that our American compadres have been enjoying during the week.

To say that your Neo-obsessed blogsmith was impressed is to suggest that Jennifer Love Hewitt's lusty geekboy fanbase are interested in her for reasons wholly unconnected to her fine pantheon of acting work - It's a foregone conclusion so obvious that you feel momentarily stupid for briefly countenancing that the result would anything other than what you initially expected.

Were I able to bring myself to swear on this blog, I'd happily tell you just how fricking much this trailer rocked - Bullet-Time(C), mid-air, free-falling, two-shooter gunfight between Trinity and an Agent, anybody? - but as I can't curse on this all-ages forum, I'll just settle for going "Woah!" a lot and doing my patented, Righteous K.-approved "Yippy-Skippy!" dance until May the 23rd.

If this film, and November's "Matrix Revolutions" don't literally redefine the possibilities of cinematic storytelling as we know them, I'll go and buy a Gareth Gates album. And then eat it. Without ketchup.

Click HERE for Iggy's intelligent, well-written movie review blog.

There's a lot of interesting reading to be had. Oh, and for more excellent, readable reviewing, check out Milk Plus, which I've just added to the Daily Reading links section.

Which Donnie Darko character are you? by Shay

At last, an online personality quiz worth taking... (with props to Keris' "Contains Mild Peril" blog).

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

A mostly positive, only occasionally bemused review of "Blue Crush" (12A).

To begin with, a complete and utterly unrelated sidebar to the main body of the review: On our way to sign off on our mortgage documents last night, whilst taking a swift diversion past Sheffield's rush-hour traffic, we drove past larger-than-life, sometime world champ boxer and full-on egotist, Prince Naseem Hamed, as he cut a dash through the back streets of Attercliffe in his gleaming, Vanity-plated, supremely bling-bling Mercedes-Benz convertible. Not so much a brush with stardom and the glint of celebrity, then, as much as a swift choke on the dual exhaust port of sporting infamy. Still, my kid brother will be mightily impressed...

To the film, then?

In a word, it's good. And I honestly enjoyed it. I wouldn't go as far as to say that this is a film for the ages, or a film that will change your life and how you live it, but it is a fun, sometimes poignant and visually-arresting picture that must look like a million dollars on DVD.

Based on that most fashionable of source material, the extended magazine feature story ("Surf Girls of Maui", as originally written by Susan Orlean, of "Orchid Thief" and "Adaptation" fame), "Blue Crush" is the tale of a trio of would-be professional female surfers who are trying to make their way in Hawaii and finding all kinds of factors - McJobs, the boorish behaviour of local guy waveheads, family responsibilities - standing firmly in their way.

Anne-Marie (Kate Bosworth) is the most talented of the three, and a junior champion, but probably the least focussed, shying away from attacking the really big, legend-creating waves because of an in-competition, near-drowning accident. With her friends Eden (Michelle Rodriguez) and Lena (Sanoe Lake), Anne-Marie's ekeing out an existance by working as a chambermaid for one of the island's ritzier hotels, and helping to keep a roof over the head of her younger sister Penny (Mika Boorem), but it's nobody's idea of a life with any kind of future.

This is most aggravating to Eden, who is Anne-Marie's biggest cheerleader, trainer and crafter of her surfboards, and can tell that the appearance of a new guy on the scene, Matt (Matthew Davis), isn't going to focus Anne-Marie on preparing for the imminent Surf Masters contest and building the pro-career within her grasp.

From the plot summary, you pretty much know what you're going to get with this surf-chick-flick, and if you saw the omnipresent trailer for "Blue Crush" at the cinema, then you almost certainly know just what the deal is with this movie. Except, in fact, you don't. As with director John Stockwell's previous movie, the above-average teen drama "Crazy/Beautiful", there are enough diversions from formula and predictability to hold your attention for the majority of the running time, and the odd slump into storytelling-by-numbers and easy cliche is forgiven by the general air of goodwill that the film manages to accrue. If there is an obvious problem with both of Stockwell's movies, it is almost certainly that his apparent desire to portray a more realistic view of youth and adolescent rituals has been hamstrung by the need to shoot for a PG-13 certificate each time.

The edgier aspects of both "Crazy/Beautiful" and "Blue Crush" have been fatally compromised by the need to attract an audience believed too young to see on-screen depictions of the kinds of behaviour - drinking, sex, general youthful rites-of-passage stuff - that they're probably going to engage in just as soon as they leave the multiplex. It's a weird paradigm, wouldn't you agree?

If ratings are not Stockwell's best friends, he's on more positive ground with his cameras, which constantly capture eye-candy and make this probably the most arrestingly-shot surf movie since, ooh, "Point Break". Sure, the use of CG face replacement to map Kate Bosworth's face onto that of her surfing double is wholly unconvincing and negates a lot of the big moments in the movie, but the surf and underwater photography by David Hennings is top notch - there's a fantastic shot of Kate Bosworth's character, inside a wave pipeline, which is so effective that it makes you wonder why all concerned didn't choose this approach for the surfing scenes, instead of the over-reliance on pixel-wrangling unreality.

As for "Blue Crush"'s soundtrack, if you have a subwoofer in your home theater set-up, get your hands on a copy of the DVD of this movie and prepare to be bludgeoned by your neighbours/violate your tenancy agreement: This is a LOUD-ASS MOVIE.

The performances are quite attractive - give Michelle Rodriguez her own movie vehicle, now! - and the direction is usually assured. The cliches don't bop you over the head and annoy you too much. There's a lot to look at which is wholly positive, and a surprising dearth of cheese. In a final analysis, this is certainly worth a look if you love surf movies, surfer girls and the amusing sight of chunky NFL players trying to defy the laws of gravity by getting their asses into the sea and onto longboards not meant to carry their weight.

A keeper, in short.

Oh yes, we dig Bingo Bowden, Oh Yes we do...

Take the Radiohead Collective Member Test.

With thanks to the splendid Jeff at Film Cradle for the link (I've been reading/raiding your archives, mate...).

Sorry if you're trying to find the "Matrix Reloaded" one-sheets over at Dark Horizons, so feverishly acclaimed in Monday's post - Dark Horizons chief webhead, Garth Franklin, notes in Tuesday's update that Warners have asked him to take them down.

Curses...they were just too cool, I guess...

Courtesy of the black-clad bad asses over at The Last Free City, I'm delighted to bring you today's funky, ALL-SPOILER, all-the-time ""Matrix Reloaded" sidebar, with all due props to the saucy so-and-so's at "Wired" magazine.

It's actually an deleted scene-style excision from this month's "Wired" print cover story on "...Reloaded" and FX godhead, John Gaeta. And it's all kinds of funky...

Just keep saying to yourself, if you're reading this in the UK that is, "May 23rd, May 23rd, May 23rd, May 23rd, May 23rd, May 23rd..."

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

A fine movie review and discussion blog is available for your perusal over at Milk Plus, and it certainly has my recommendation, for what it's worth.

Slightly more substantial than First Season, although that's not at all difficult to achieve.

As that link was suggested by Jeff over at the excellent Film Cradle blog, and he has said more nice things about us again, without prior prompting, I'm more than happy to return the favour. Go read. Enjoy. Return here and submit your comment about how much better Film Cradle is than this freestyle bobbins. I won't mind. Honest.

Anyway, must dash - I have a mortgage completition document to sign, and a movie to see: My life? It's a heady old whirligig and no mistake...

Monday, April 07, 2003

Oh, and there's an interview with James Cameron over at the Grauniad's site, in which the great one discusses many issues of note, not least his imminent IMAX 3-D drama-doc, "Ghosts of the Abyss".

Cameron? IMAX? 3-D? I am so bloody there...

Garth Franklin does it again, as his "Dark Horizons" movie news site scoops anew, with a first look at two new teaser posters for "The Matrix Reloaded", which you can click on HERE.

My comments about wanting to see Keanu and Carrie-Anne's faces on a one-sheet were apparently misplaced and impatient, if these fan-fricking-tastic posters are to be believed.

If you don't mind, I'll just go and lie down before I have a proper geek-overload and my poor wee noggin explodes with barely-supressed joy.

May 23rd can't get here quickly enough, damn it!

Darth Phil has updated, streamlined and generally springcleaned his CD page, which should give you more than enough reason to head over to his fine blog and check out some fine musical recommendations.

Just reading through his playlist is enough to remind your humble blogsmith of those glorious days - well, nights, in fact - when he was a humble employee of her majesty's Royal Mail and used to take an AM/FM Discman to work with him to numb the gnawing existensial tedium of his surroundings, blocking out the humdrum bloody routine by listening to the great John Peel, Mary Anne Hobbs' Breezeblock and Rock shows, Radio 3's fantastic Late Junction programme and all kinds of unpredictable musical stuff on the BBC's World Service.

Well, you would do too, if your day used to begin sometime around 10:00PM, and you slept through the day so often that your neighbours began to suspect that you were a creature of the night. The great big secret about Radio One? It's actually kind of bearable if you listen to it at Stupid O' Clock. Not that this helps if you live a normal life, but there you go...

So, anyway, to get back to the point? Darth Phil has changed his CD page. Follow the link above. You know that it makes sense. That is all.

You really should take a look at Robotfist.

It's like this site, only irritatingly much better.

Click HERE for a shot of Lady Penelope's Uber-pink Rolls-Royce, soon to be seen in Jonathan Frakes' live-action movie version of "Thunderbirds".

Which is all very well, but when is Hollywood going to get with the programme and make a film version of legendary, 80's Saturday morning, anime puppet-fest, "Star Fleet"? Now there's a movie that I'd plunk down my UGC Unlimited card to see...

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