Archives for category: Movies

Don’t ever let it be said that you can’t learn some bloody useless information from me. If nothing else, when the afternoon film rolls around on boxing day, this will give you something to blather on about during the opening sequence.

Those of you that know me, will know about my film obsession. I try not to make too big a thing about it because one could easily become a frightful bore, (what do you mean “become”? – Ed) but it's still there nevertheless. I mention it to try and explain away the incredulity of the following post – to be fair I can hardly believe I've written myself, but here's how it came about:

In the course of my movie watching I see Film Studio logos a lot… An awful lot. While they're interesting the first time, they tend to go unnoticed (and certainly uncommented upon) in subsequent appearances. That is until one of them changes. It might only be a minor change but when you notice it, it's like the proverbial sore thumb for the next two or three outings, until it becomes the new norm.

For example, when 20th Century Fox became part of the Newscorp Corporation (1981-84), I'm sure like me, all you ever noticed under the glare of the famous searchlights was the “A News Corporation Company” sign at the bottom of the screen… (Or perhaps you didn't and I'm just a cinema weirdo)

Anyway, this weekend I realised that another one of them had had a fairly minor change recently, and what caught my attention was the size of the logo. This got me to thinking how big would these arduous logos be if they were ever rendered in real life – and is size important? 🙂 I was always told its what you do with it that matters, although luckily this has never been an issue….. Moving on…

To correctly answer the question, some research was required. Here for your delectation and amazement are the results. The rules (as defined by me) are measurement of Logo Text size is the score. So, in no particular order….

DreamWorks SKG Animation – The boy on the moon.

So it turns out that DreamWorks logo features the son of the artist that painted the original artwork for the sign. The young man sat on the edge of a crescent moon fishing is an image of William Hunt, son of Robert Hunt. Safe to assume then, that as a young boy he is probably about 5 feet tall which gives us a logo size of 3 feet (give or take)

However, he's clearly sat in the crescent of THE moon, and as we know the moon is 3,474km in diameter so perhaps it could be that William is depicted as being 768Km tall, thus giving us a total logo size of 983Km or 610 miles.

Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen (yes, thats what SKG stands for) had a pretty good shot at the title with a logo that big.

Worth noting that Dreamworks is now owned by Paramount Pictures, however Dreamworks Animation is still independent, so that’s the logo I’ve used here.


And here's the clip:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) – Roaring Lion

Lions aren't very big in the grand scheme of logos. Average shoulder height of a fully grown male african Lion is up to 123cm (4 ft). MGM have changed the logo a few times, all with basically the same theme and they've had four named lions (and probably a couple of unnamed ones) who are respectively Slats, Jackie, Tanner and Leo. But then as the logo says this is “Art for art's Sake” so the casual observer shouldn't read anything of importance into it I suppose.

Anyway, all that aside, a 4ft Lion, gives MGM a total logo size of 5ft 8in (1.75m)


and here's all the MGM Logos rolled into one convenient clip:

20th Century Fox – Searchlights

Emil Kosa Junior created the original 20th Century Pictures logo in 1933. Two years later they became 20th Century Fox through a merger with the Fox Film Company and Pictures became Fox. Emil Kosa was a well known Matte Artist and examples of his work can be found in such movie greats as The Sound of Music, Cleopatra, The Fantastic Voyage, and probably most famously the Planet of the Apes – spoiler alert – see that Statue of Liberty?, That's a painting that is.

Luckily, the logo is easily scaled based on Searchlight technology. For military use initially (but also for public events, and Grand openings – and no doubt lighting up studio logo's) two companies together, Sperry and General Electric, manufactured Carbon Arc Searchlights right around the time the 20th Century Fox logo got going. While Movie Arc Lights were 24 inch diameter, it's a fair assumption to make, that the larger version are what are imagined in the logo. They have a 60″ diameter, originally cost $60,000 each and have an effective beam length of 5.6 miles. Impressive stuff eh?

Right then. So a 60″ diameter light translates into a total logo size of 12.16 meters


And the now obligatory collection:

Paramount Pictures Mountain

Paramount Pictures have a mountain of a logo – known as “The Majestic Mountain”. The story goes that it started life as a doodle drawn by W.W.Hodkinson during a meeting with Adolph Zukor (the founder) and is loosely based on the “Ben Lomond Mountain” in Utah (which incidentally is 2,960m high). However, Paramount went on to film a live action version of a mountain widely believed to be “Artesonraju” in Peru (which stands at 6,025m).

Of course nowadays, everyone’s logo’s are digital representations, but for the purposes of the exercise and to be favorable we’ll go with the Peruvian version of events.

Interestingly, the stars around the logo were originally there to represent the 24 film stars that were contractually signed up to Paramount at the time. This changed to 22 in 1974, but I can’t find any reference as to why – probably just aesthetics.

Regardless – given a little bit of measuring and maths, Paramount score a TLS of 7.23Km.


And the whole range of Paramount logo's….

The Warner Bros Shield

A tricky one this – not much to go on, in the way of scaling. There have been hundereds of different versions of this logo, but I’m going to go with the Warner Bros / New Line Cinema version because at least here there is something.

This version of the logo is animated and transitions from the standard WB Shield that you’ll have seen many times, into the NewLine Cinema logo (A Frame of film with the sprocket holes at an angle across the right hand corner). This is our reference point. The sprocket holes on the New Line logo are represented as being square – thus directing us to CinemaScope film. Interestingly, CineScope sprocket holes were originally referred to as “Fox Holes” because all CineScope films were made by 20th Century Fox.

A single “Fox Hole” is a mere 1.85mm in height, thus giving us a film strip which is 15.91mm in length. Following back through the animation, this translates to the downward edge of the “B” in the logo, giving us a Total Logo Size for Warner Bros. a piddling 22.02mm… Hmm, those clouds must be water vapor from a cup of tea!

Wbnl1 Wbnl2

I know I’ve used that title in the past, but it was then because daughter was off on a trip around Asia.  This time however, it’s quiet because there’s just not a huge amount of work for me to be doing. It’s starting to become a little frustrating. 


It’s fair enough that I’ve just come back from a week’s holiday, and so there’s a pile of email to work through. But once you’ve done that, then what?  Well in my case – not a lot. Pooh’s got a couple of jobs on and he needed some help making up the numbers (which as we all know is what I’m here for) so that’s been some blessed relief from the tedium that is online education. He’s also having to round up the Indians which is a perilous job especially if youre on the run for robbing trains and banks and the guy in the white hat is following you…



“They can’t track us over rock. They’re begining to get on my nerves. Who are those guys?”


I shouldn’t complain – because when it’s busy, it’s very very busy, so some natural downtime is something to be grateful for – but there’s only so much a chap can take. On top of which it starts my paranoia monkey fidgeting. I start imagining that IM is cleverer than I know him not to be and that he’s actually scheming the downfall of the house of ball. It’s ridiculous.  I’ve thrown another banana in the cage to keep him (the monkey – not IM, although from a distance you’d be hard pressed to tell them apart) quiet, but for how long, who knows?


At least I have something kicking off towardds the end of the week… providing cover for someone who’s providing cover. They must be desperate (who rattled that Monkey’s cage?)


On the social front, it’s ben a non-stop round of spending money I haven’t got – and it’s not scheduled to end anytime soon. There’s a wedding next week and a wedding anniversary in a couple of days time which is bound to be fun. Wool. I thought I might get her a jumper 😉 Only kidding Mrs G. Perhaps a sheep?? Oh no. I’ve got it.  A slap up lamb dinner and a lovely bottle of red. Perfect.


Looking at the tech news there’s been rather a lot of disruption lately.  It seems everyone’s being hacked, passwords are going astray, software rollouts are failing causing the banks some frustration and the mobile phone networks are just switching themselves off.  If I were a conspiracy theorist I’d say the government are very busy hooking into every system they can get near via their crack hacking team – known as “anonymous”.  Of course, I’m not a conspiracy theorist or paranoid (oo oo eek eek), so I’m quite sure they’re far too busy watching my every move and logging it into a database somewhere to be involved in any of that other stuff.


We’re also a matter of days away from Apple releasing the next version of OS X (Mountain Lion). Rumor has it somewhere around the 25th July – a Wednesday, much like today.


Before that we have “The Dark Knight Rises” hitting UK cinemas on Friday. There’s every chance I’m going to try and see that on the big screen, but it’s all about time and money and all that jazz. Just as a quick aside on the subject of films…  I’ve recently seen The Woman in Black, The Iron Lady, The Thing and The Awakening all of which were far better than I’d anticipated. 


If I were to criticize one of them in particular it would be “The Thing”. The DVD extras include the bits they cut out of the cinema release – and that edit is a travesty IMHO. The missing scenes are the ones that put the film in context with the earlier John Carpenter version – which is a masterpiece of horror. Without them, the newer film, while looking the part just feels like a bit of a poor remake, which is clearly not it’s intention.


Back to the tech then and the latest iOS app not to reach our shores just yet is “Twist” – a genius idea that means you won’t have to hang around for your friends or relatives anymore. Live ETA’s…  Here’s the video:



And finally – on the subject of video… (and not really on the subject of Tech, from which we seem to have strayed)  I’m sure you’re as sick of this song as I am, but you can never be sick of Star Wars.   Enjoy….



Until next time – The force will be with you, always.


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

While I was looking for 2012 Movie releases, one of the things I stumbled upon was a list of UK based movies which are slated, if not scheduled for production in the coming days / weeks / months / years….   

Some of it made for really interesting reading, so I thought I’d share with you what I’ve learned.



  • Richard Curtis – He of “BlackAdder” and “Love Actually” fame has his name down as the director of a Sci-Fi called “About Time”
  • Danny Boyle gets to direct James McAvoy in heist movie “Trance”
  • A Martin Scorcesse detective thriller “The Snowman”
  • “Alan Partridge: The Movie” – it could happen…
  • “Eddie the Eagle” with Rupert Grint. I’m already giggling.
  • A zombie outbreak plagues a small English town on Christmas Eve in “Slient Night of the Living Dead”
  • The stage musical hist the big screen in “Bombay Dreams”
  • “Bridget Jones’ Baby” – nothing to say?? Thought not.
  • A remake of “Defence of the Realm”
  • and of course “Kieth Lemon: The Film” which can only be Bang Tidy.




  • Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg back together with Nick Frost for “The World’s End”
  • A remake of horror movie “Child’s Play”
  • A second “Dog Soldiers” movie – the werewolves and the army.

And finally – way out in the future…….



  • A remake of Terry Gilliam’s “Time Bandits”
  • There are rumors of another version of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” – although I’m not sure how they can improve on perfection. 🙂


Well, there’s some food for thought….Discuss…..

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

One of the things I managed to do this weekend was a bit of a look into the future of movies showing up this year.  As we know from last years “2012”, this is the year that we will all disappear into oblivion, so a look at hollywood’s offerings is always a bit of a laugh and quite often we can find some rock solid rubbish on the horizon.  Anyway, here’s a few of the delights that await us in the year that the world will allegedly end.

We’re about to get “I am Bruce Lee” which is a documentary about the life of the Kung fu king and star of half a dozen martial arts movies of the 60’s and 70’s. Then there’s “Chronicle” about high school kids with superpowers that learn how to abuse them closely followed by another Ghost Rider (“Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance”) movie, with Nicholas “horse face” Cage back on a fiery motorbike.

“John Carter” will arrive in March, which tells the story of epic battles on, of all places, Mars. We were also supposed to see more of Nicholas Cage in “Seeking Justice” as a vigilante protecting his wife, but somehow or other that actually arrived in November – what’s all that about?. “Wrath of the Titans” with Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes will no doubt be more leather bound fighting.

In April, we’ll get the animation “Dorothy of Oz” as written by the great grandson of the original author of the Wizard of Oz. Might be interesting.  Then there’s the eagerly anticipated “Iron Sky”. Think the Nazi’s in Antarctic, with a base on the dark side of the moon.  Promising nonsense. Sadly, we also have “Titanic 3D” and “Scary Movie 5” (’nuff said), although Eddie Murphy in “A Thousand Words” might be bearable.

May will see the Avengers finally arrive after the build up from the other Marvel comic films. “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” was also scheduled for May, but I suspect that might arrive sooner, and will be one to watch. Tim Burton’s vampire film, “Dark Shadows” followed by the film of the game “Battleship”. This apparently involves aliens – give me strength – and yet more aliens in “Men in Black 3”. On the higher cerebral plane, Wes Craven’s Scouting movie “Moonrise Kingdom” looks promising.

June and the summer will be with us, so that means blockbusters…  Hmmm..  “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” – really??  How many vampire movies do we need? ” Snow White and the Huntsman”, which no doubt is a result of last year’s “Red Riding Hood”, rebooted into a more slasher/horror genre. Let’s hope that “Madagascar 3” and “Prometheus” give us something better. Prometheus in particular as it’s Ridley Scott’s new Sci-Fi. What I’ve seen makes it look like a scaled up version of his original “Alien”, but I’m hoping for greatness, and he rarely dissapoints.

July’s offerings are of course bigger. “The Amazing Spiderman” and at long last, “The Dark Knight Rises”, the latter of which is bound to be the BIG movie of the year, not least because of it’s enormous IMAX release. We’ll also get yet another “Ice Age” movie and a bit of John Travolta in weed-Movie “Savages”.

Matt Damon as Jason Bourne doesn’t return in August, in “The Bourne Legacy” but that shouldn’t make it any less compelling and there’s a remake of “Total Recall” with Colin Farrell.  The only apparent similarity between this version and the Arnold Schwarzenegger version being the Philip K. dick book that they’re both based upon (“We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”). There’s a Zombie movie “Warm Bodies” which has a bit of twist on the traditional Zombie tales, and because it made too much money in its first incarnation, “Expendables 2” – Probably popcorny fare.

“Argo” looks like an interesting project. How the CIA and hollywood smuggled six Americans out of Tehran in 1979, but we also get “Finding Nemo” again, this time in 3D. September will also give us “Hotel Transylvania” a which isn’t just about vampires you’ll be glad to hear, but is for the kids and in 3D. “Looper” is a bit more sci-fi though with time travelling super-cops.

The dark nights (no silent K there) start arriving in October, and in the nice warm cinema, you can see “Taken 2″‘ “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” in 3D (can’t wait to here Dr Kermode on that one), “Paranormal Activity 4” and “Halloween” 3D.  Of slightly more interest will be “The Gangster Squad” with Sean Penn and Ryan Gosling in 1940’s LA.

Yet another bloody vampire movie in November “The Twilight Saga” continues, but “Red Dawn” might be interesting as the USA gets invaded. Of far more interest to me though, will be the next bond movie “Skyfall” – scheduled for the 9th of November. Also worth a watch could be “Gravity”, more sci-fi with George Clooney and Sandra Bullock and another 3D Animation starring Santa, The Easter Bunny and The Tooth Fairy “Rise of the Guardians”

Just in time for what Hollywood refers to as the Holiday Season – and the sane people of the world refer to as Christmas, is “The Hobbit”, where Martin Freeman (Watson to BBC One’s Sherlock) will finally achieve global recognition. There will also be Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln” a bio-pic of the end of the US Civil War, and “World War Z” which is Brad Pitt in a Zombie movie. Right at the end of the year, you might get to see Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Great Gatsby”

All-in-all, a whole load of nonsense with some very entertaining moments, no doubt.  

Of course, this list is by no-means the complete list of movies that will see the light of day this year, and I’m quite sure there’s some much better stuff that isn’t really talked about, of I have yet to have heard about, so don’t be too disheartened.

One thing I have heard about is “1066”, which is also scheduled for “sometime in 2012” (October maybe?) – A great idea, someone obviously was looking at the generic “epic battle” movies that we’ve had so many of lately, and thought that the battle of Hastings was crying out to be done.  With that in mind, why not pick up some heavyweight actors to get involved. Well, they clearly scrubbed that idea, and went for a cast who we’ve not seen in some (read many) years.  


Actually, as a result I can’t wait to see what they look like.  There’s Mark Lester (yes, the little lad who was Oliver) who’s last movie was back in the 70’s and there’s Lewis Collins (yes, he of The Professionals and Who Dares Wins). His last movie was 1990, but he was in the Grimley’s in 1999. I actually have huge respect for both of them, although when I note the German director (Robin Jacob) has been out of the saddle for 7 years, I wonder what we’ll get.

Well, that’s it for now.  Hope the snow isn’t playing too much havoc for those of you that have it.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Let’s start with Sailors – Obviously refers to the one word that never gets a mention in “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”. If you’ve read the book, then you’ll understand that “based on” means just that.  That’s not to say it’s not recognisable from the book – it does follow the same main plot points – but it’s been properly crafted together. 

Many people will have seen the 1970’s Alec Guinness TV series made by the BBC. This also is not that. While the TV series was excellent and followed the book far more closely. it did have it’s problems. By today’s standards it’s much harder viewing than the new Movie version – although that may well be in part due to it’s video-tape/film nature and the plot jumping around much like the book does.

They seem to have fixed all that stuff in this version.  It’s quite fun trying to guess what time period it’s set in. There are many pointers to the 70’s and 80’s, but you just can’t quite put your finger on it.  Of course it revolves around the cold war – so they’ve got the timing and the look just right. I loved it. Some people have claimed it to be a bit slow – I never noticed. I did however notice some vocal inflections from Gary Oldman (Smiley) which almost sounded like he was impersonating Alec Guinness. He got away with it though. It just serves to add further weight to his character.  

It also reads a bit like a who’s who of currently great British actors with appearances from John Hurt, Colin Firth, Mark Strong (more on him in a moment), Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) and Tom Hardy (“Eames” in Inception – and soon to appear in the next batman – The Dark Knight Rises).

Some great set pieces – I particularly enjoyed Mark Strong’s visit to Budapest, the office Christmas party and the final scene at the army base – but you should watch it for yourself.  It’s rightly nominated for this years Oscars, and I hope it does well.  9/10

Drivers – refers to the new DVD release “Drive”. I’m not quite so keen on this, although I was riveted throughout. Ryan Gosling plays the lead, and I suspect he was pretty cheap to hire if he’s paid by the word.  He has very little to say throughout. The violence depicted is pretty extreme – and on occasion to much so.  That said, it’s an 18, and you can see why.

It tells the story of a Hollywood stuntman (part-time – I think he performs a stunt, just so we know he does that stuff) and mechanic (the other part of his time). when he’s not doing either of those things he’s a getaway driver for whoever wants to hire him. What I really enjoyed about it though, was the 80’s feel of LA.  I spent some time there in the 80’s and they show it much as I remembered it to be. 

A great 80’s feeling soundtrack and moody performances mean that I think this is likely to end up with a cult status, in the vein of Robert De Niro’s Taxi Driver (1979) or Christian Bale’s American Psycho (2000). Overall mostly watch-able – 8/10

The Irish Police – can only really mean one thing, “The Guard” as in the The Guarda. If you saw “In Bruges” (2008) with Brendan Gleeson and enjoyed it, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy this too.  It’s not the same thing, with Mr Gleeson playing a good guy this time round, although the line between good and bad is equally well blurred.  There’s something about his hard Irish delivery that has comedy written all the way through it.  A good tight script helps it along and it’s a great bit of mobster style magic.  

A stand-out moment has to be the IRA Arms cache – both it’s discovery and it’s handover. Beautifully put together.

There’s also an appearance from Mark Strong as the Englishman. He likes Sharks. A much stronger character than that in TTSS, but also a lot darker of heart. Clearly an up and coming movie actor who is really starting to shine since his long stint in UK TV during the 90’s.

Thoroughly enjoyable black comedy – 8/10

And finally, an American Captain ?? – duh…Captain America: The first Avenger (in 3D).  Yes, you read that right. In 3D.  Some of you are aware I’ve recently aquired a 3D TV.  Like Dr Kermode, I too don’t really believe in 3D cinema.  It’s a bit of a gimmick, and more often than not adds absolutely nothing to the viewing experience of a film.

Anyone in the market for a new TV is going to be faced with the 3D option, which is almost becoming a standard for anything over 40-inches screen size. In the end, I went for “big is best” and chose the 55″ LG LED with Smart TV.  There’s a whole other post waiting to be written about that, so I’ll leave it for now.  However, what it has helped me to understand is that there may well be a future in 3D TV – as opposed to cinema. I’m already looking forward to the Olympics now – regardless of having tickets or not.

I digress…  Captain America. A really nice surprise.  So much better than I expected. Marvel studios have done a great job of building the line up for the forth coming “Avengers” movie in May this year. The exception that proves the rule is most likely the Incredible Hulk, which I wasn’t quite so enamoured with. However, Iron man and Thor have also both been great movies and Capt’ A, is right up there with them.

Set during World War II it tells the story of Steve Rodgers, a weedy chap who is consistently rejected on his army applications. A German doctor has concocted a serum (as is the way with such stories) and Tony Stark’s dad shows up with some technical gubbins which combined help transform our protagonist into our hero.

I thought they did a great job. The whole 1940’s design feels right and the plot doesn’t loose it’s way or it’s interest as we chase down Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith from “The Matrix”). Some top quality CGI tricks help us believe that Chris Evans (no, not the one off the Radio – Johnny Storm in the “Fantastic Four”) can really be a 7-stone weakling. I don’t think we’ve seen this sort of CGI body-modelling before, but they’ve done a great job of it, and try as I migh, I couldn’t see the join (just like Eric Morecombe, who could also “Never see the join, Ern. I’m telling you, you’d never know it was a wig”)

Does it need 3D??  Well, probably not. I’m not sure there’s much that does need 3D, but, in a living room environment, it’s a lot more natural and believable than in a cinema.  I found myself not noticing the 3D-ness, and just being immersed in the movie. There are a couple of moments when the 3D sticks out and it almost breaks the rule of the fourth wall, but it was at no time offensive, or off-putting and certainly did not detract from my enjoyment of the film overall.

A good solid family fun action movie, that it just as good without the 3D – 8/10

What I’m really looking forward to is “Hugo” in 3D.  From what I’ve heard (Thatyou @wittertainment) and what I’ve read this is the movie that 3D was made for this time round.  It’s also massively tipped for the Oscars, but then it’s a film about film, so that and “The Artist” are set for a proper battle of the awards.

Hope that hasn’t bored you too much.
Until next time….

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Categories Movies, TV

Rare Exports and other Christmas gifts….

We’re nearly out of the back end of November and so the Christmas rush can well and truly begin.

In truth, the Christmas rush began some time ago. The retail industry kicked Christmas into a mid range gear somewhen around the end of October, although to be fair this year hasn’t been as bad as some years in recent history.

Those of you that were around here last year will know that we seem to have started a trend with the more distant (although not that distant) members of the clan whereby we have Christmas day early, to get it out of the way.  This year it’ll be on Sunday coming. There will be a slap up bit of lunch and some generous gift giving.

Mr Ball senior has acquired a MacBook Air this year – as a result of sister ball taking a business trip to the US and he as some associated bits and bobs to go with it. Even though Mac’s are notoriously easy to set up, he is understandably a little nervous of what is to him “new” technology and so I’ll be spending a large portion of the day helping him get it up and running. Quite looking forward to that to be fair.

I believe I have a new generation Apple TV on it’s way thanks to Santa, but I’m dismayed to learn that Air Play mirroring isn’t supported by my now ancient iPhone 4 and iPad 1…  humph…  A bit of a dig around shows that you can get the latest versions of these at a substantial discount if you go with refurbished kit – and apple refurbished basically means new with a brief previous owner. I’m sorely tempted, but funding will be the issue. Let’s see what the South African Santa brings first…

And on the subject of Santa… Having recently(ish) signed up to LoveFilm the flow of movie rentals has been thick and fast through the Golfyball residence, but as yet I haven’t found the time to right about my viewings, so let’s try and fix that here.

First of all, let me share with you THE Christmas film of the year, recently released on DVD.  “Rare Exports” is something I’ve spoken of before on here – a couple of years ago when the first teasers appeared and last year when it went on general release – although not to great acclaim. However, I think the lack of support is down to it being a non-english film in part – but that IMHO just adds to the believability factor.  

It feels a little like the original version of “Let The Right One In“, but without the vampires and with Santa, coupled with a european version of “The Thing” (which I read is also being re-made – totally unnecessarily). Anyway, it’s great fun, but not for your young kids who might well still “believe”. However, once you’ve seen it, you might believe again – and be scared…   great stuff and here’s the trailer…. 9/10

So to touch briefly on the other viewings I’ve had of late, here’s a quick run down:

Cars 2
More great fun from the late Mr Jobs’ film studio, Pixar. Your kids will watch this a thousand times probably and I don’t blame them – it’s great fun in the same vein as “Cars” but with the added benefit of the great Sir Michael Caine. 8/10

The Rite
This is a bit like “The Exorcist – Lite” It’s not terrible, but it left me feeling a bit “Meh”. Sir Anthony Hopkins should know better – not that he does a bad job, but his welsh/italian is a bit dodgy in places. 6/10 

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot
A cracker and with a couple of my favourite hollywood names in place. Clint Eastwood and Jeff (The Dude) Bridges. It’s Michael (The Deer Hunter) Cimino’s directorial debut. It’s Well-written with strong performances and is about a complex caper in which Bridges plays a young drifter who teams up with an ex-con (Eastwood) and his former partners in crime to re-stage a difficult safecracking heist. It says here: “Conveyed in a tone that mixes dramatic and comic elements, the film is a rich blend of engaging characters and action” and very true that is. Quality 1970’s movie making at it’s best – 9/10

I should add – that the trailer doesn’t really do it any justice at all…

Mr. Nice
Another favourite of mine is Rhys Ifans and once again he doesn’t disappoint. This is a biopic of drug smuggler Howard Marks. Beautifully crafted, and quite believable if this sort of stuff is to be believed. There’s been a successful book and a speaking tour by Mr Marks and it makes for entertaining viewing. One point – David Thewlis – as the man from the IRA – very nearly steals the show. 7/10 

Inside Job
Narrated by Matt Damon, this is a documentary that tells the story of the banking collapse of 2007 and strives to suggest some of the reasons it happened. It provides a fascinating insight into the way government and banking works – or rather doesn’t work and should be required viewing for anyone with any interest into what the hell the banks think they’re playing at. 8/10 

The Blind Side
Her out of “Speed” and a big fella we’ve never seen before (Quinton Aaron). He’s a not-quite orphan, she’s a christian hearted mom who takes him in – gives him opportunities to succeed and he ends up being a pro-american-footballer. That summary does it a massive dis-service. It’s another biopic – of sorts – of the life story of Michael Lewis. A proper feel good weepy that the missus will love – if she likes that kind of thing. Sandra Bullock is still great to look at and I actually think she deserved the Oscar that she won for this role. 8/10

So that’ll do you for now, but just so you know, still to come: a few words about, “Sucker Punch“, “Freeway Killer” and the foreign films: “Point Blank“, “Julia’s Eyes” & “The Silent House


This post originally appeared here: Posterous
Categories Dad, Movies

Fire me into oblivion… please!

It’s all kicking off….

Still no sign of the mythical beast of a deal that Pooh and I have been waiting for, but the current one that we’re wrestling with is much like a firework.  

The blue touch paper has been lit and we should be standing well back – however “Kanga” is not only poking it with a stick (and not a pointy one I should add – as we all know the best weapon of choice of all woodland creatures is a pointy stick) but he’s picking it up and carrying it over to the gathered crowd as if to say “look at this, maybe we should try opening it and seeing how much gunpowder is in inside” – much to the terror of the rest of us.  Didn’t he read the instructions (using a battery operated torch) before hand ?

Owl was fuming and there was some argy-bargy from Eeyore. In fact if Owl hadn’t been up a tree at that point, he’d have happily pulled Eeyore’s tail off (which is only held on by a drawing pin). 

The dangers of messing with fireworks are ably demonstrated by Pooh, who has to go and have his hand fixed after many years of making his own fireworks in the privacy of his own home. The result of this means that he’ll be leaving me in charge of the box of unlit rockets and of course the finale “sky-bomb” which I’ll be setting off next week.

It should travel high enough into the stratosphere to come down somewhere over the far side of the atlantic ocean – but that rather depends on what the crowd think of it as it goes up.  Our fireworks are “applause driven” so if there’s not a general feeling of approval from the watching audience it won’t make it and I’ll have to have another look in the “wooden” (not metal) box to see if there’s anything better we can set off.

However, before we get that far, we need the other woodland folk to take another look at the potential “sky-bomb” and make sure they’ve included all the right whistle’s and bangs in it so that it appears appropriately whizzy when it goes up.  The problem here though, is that they’re currently working on a firework display for the village and not the 100-acre wood.  Piglet’s on the case.

Some of the other woodland creatures that we don’t see much – the one’s that hangout in parliament, are also getting twitchy. Tigger’s are wonderful things (as we all know) – but a brave bear with a pointy stick and very little brain has a better outlook on those creatures than a tatty, bouncy tigger does.

Penny-for-the-guy anyone ?


Appreciate that’s all a bit abstract, but if you know what I’m jabbering about, then you’ll know what I’m jabbering about.

Away from the wood things are relatively quiet. A nice Chilli for dinner last night, some “Come Dine With Me” on the telly and I managed to keep my eyes open long enough to see the first half of “The Ghost” (Known as “The Ghost Writer” outside of the UK). 

It’s the story of a writer employed to ghost write the autobiography of an ex-british prime minister.  A political thriller with the young Obi Wan Kenobi (Ewan MacGregor) as the writer and James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) as the PM.  So far, reasonably enjoyable, with lots of it set in Martha’s Vineyard, the island just off the southern edge of Massachusetts, which looks like a great place to be in the summer – and a “windswept and interesting” place to be in the winter. I’ll give you my final take on it once I’ve found an hour to cram the second half in.

Anything interesting in the news??  Well, there’s The EU debt crisis, which is droning on and on. The Boeing Dreamliner has had it’s first commercial flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong. Amazon’s profits are seriously down due to production of the new Kindle Fire. IBM have named a new female chief executive (Virginia Rometty) to replace the current CEO (Sam Palmisano) in January next year. And “Nokia World” has begun where Nokia will announce a bunch of phones (including the Nokia Luma 800 Windows phone – available from November at $585) that won’t be as good as the iPhone (probably). That’s a little unfair, but having spent most of my career around windows and Microsoft, it’s probably true.

And on the subject of Microsft, Happy Birthday to Windows XP yesterday. 10 Years old and still favoured by millions of PC users.

Finally, finally – if you feel like doing something dangerous – and let’s face it on a Wednesday, who doesn’t? – you could always try this:

Ta-ra for now.



This post originally appeared here: Posterous
Categories Microsoft, Movies, Starfleet, Youtube

Bleurr..ummphh! (Pirates, Mummies & Murderers)

That’s the sound of Monday.  All a bit of a flop this week. Things have not gone well for Pooh and I and interestingly this is through no fault of ours, but of some extremely unrealistic expectations of a few other members of the cast from elsewhere.  Ultimately we’re on hiding to nothing with this job – unless some wakes up and smells the coffee.

Somehow, in the midst of all this I’ve managed to pick up two deals that I’m covering for someone else and another one that I have to run with. I’ve asked for further detail which as yet is not forthcoming, so in true broken record style-ee, IIWII. Enough already.

Daughter returned unscathed from her dealings with the British legal system. The accused plead guilty in the end so she didn’t have to take the stand, but she did get to meet a few other rum sorts – including a murderer. She’s always interested in the bizarre and darker side of life – not too interested mind you, just enough to want to know enough to satisfy her curiosity. I still worry of course, but she displays excellent judgement of character for the most part. I’ve learned to “let go” a fair bit now. You have to let them have their own space to grow – even if they do occasionally poke around in the darker corners of the world. There was a further example of this later in the evening.

Last night’s dinner was tuna steak freshly caught from our local supermarket on my bike in the rain. What could be nicer?  Hard to believe that just over a week ago I was sitting around in shorts and t-shirts and 28 degrees of sunshine. Now winter has arrived properly and it’s cold, dark, wet and miserable. Halloween and fireworks just around the corner means that Christmas is only just behind them and at least there will be festive fun -somewhere amongst the misery. 

The other highlight from last night – and of “dark” interest to daughter – was provided by Channel 4. Mummifying Alan – Egypt’s Last Secret is a documentary following Dr. Stephen Buckley and Dr Joann Fletcher mummifying the body of Taxi driver, Alan Billis. (Torquay’s Tutankhamun) Engaging, fascinating and at times disturbing. It was Alan’s choice to donate his body to this experiment and his attitude towards it is best described by his own words:

“It’s just a shame I won’t be here to see the results. I love a good documentary”. 

I’m sorry he’s missed it to, because it’s really worth a watch. Amazing stuff.


Tuesday has landed and what’s to report?…  not a lot really, so a hunt around the Internet might bring up something a little more intriguing, and here’s some newsy type stuff….

According to The Next Web, Netflix, the video rental/streaming company that have all the latest and greatest movies available online is finally coming to the UK next year.  Right now that’s too late for me, I’ve recently signed up with LoveFilm (part of Amazon) which I’m glad to report is quite excellent so far. That said I might jump ship once Netflix lands just because in other parts of the globe – namely America – its supported by Apple TV. But let’s just wait and see what the deal is first, after all they’ve just had a price hike in the US and customers had been voting with thier feet on it: Video rental firm Netflix loses customers over prices 

As for LoveFilm, I’ve taken the 14 quid a month package which entitles you to an unlimited number of DVD or BlueRay rentals (but only two at a time) and streaming to PS3, iPad, iPhone, Mac or PC. You can actually stream up to 3 different titles simultaneously (to different devices obviously). Streaming the latest releases means paying an extra 3 or 4 quid, but the back catalogue is almost as good as mine, so it’s impossible to be at a loss to watch anything in the Ball household now.

As a result I’ve caught up with few odds and ends of movies lately, most recent of which is “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”. This is the fourth in the series and quite possibly it’s turned a corner – though not necessarily completely. The first film in the franchise was a ripper. Great fun for everyone and thoroughly enjoyable. Sadly from there, it slipped downhill and gradually got worse and worse. That last effort was almost unwatchable – however, for the most part I quite enjoyed this one and while Johnny Depp churns out the same “Captain Jack” as always, the material he has to work with does feel a darn sight more snappier and thought out than part 2 or 3 did. Good stuff if your kids are fans and you’re looking for something for them to watch during half term.


That should cover my 750 words for today (838 to be precise). It seems that really is helping me.

Until next time. 

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Categories Cooking, Daughter, Movies, TV

Legs of lead

Last night saw Daughter and I take a ride out to Tesco’s. (other supermarkets are available)
That in itself is nothing to really make a noise about, but we didn’t take the most direct route. She didn’t go to the Gym yesterday and so needed the exercise. I, on the other hand, never go to the gym and always need the exercise. I’m out of practice and it really showed. I thought I was going to die on two separate occasions. I didn’t and I know it was actually very good for me, but it hurts at the time. So what would normally have been a gentle 2 miles of flat cycling was actually more like 10 miles up hill and down dale. It also served to remind me how badly I need to get a proper bike and not one made of bambooicite.

After 20 minutes of recovery time, I cooked up a spledid quorn based chilli, caught up with corrie (its the law) and finally got to finish watching “Battle: LA” which is a guilty pleasure of a movie. It’s not clever, but it is big and dumb and enjoyable. If you want to know what its about, you just need to see the cover art on the DVD and that pretty much tells it all.

Great in a really bad way – 7/10.


This morning, I’m not sure if I can feel my legs. So rather than rest and recover, naturally I need to trapse around town in search of odds and sods for the American trip. Mrs G, daughter and I have decided on a ride on the bus (public transport is always entertaining) into Chelter’s. I’m after updating the ‘business casual’ look and Mrs G is hopefully going to get an iPhone upgrade to a White 4. But we’ll see. I’m not a huge fan of retail opportunities but for once I’m actually looking forward to it.

There’s a take-out coffee with my name on it.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Categories Daughter, Movies, Mrs G

It’s all about Philosophy in the end…

Around 4am I was awoken by a soft bleeping noise and a small flashing blue light. As the world came into focus in the eerie half light of pre-dawn, I realised that it was coming from my new pen. It’s a pen I’d been given by a random salesperson at Starfleet who was trying to get me interested in mobile phones at the time…  Badman will tell you all about it, he was there at the time. 


As it is, I’d thought no more of the pen, which at first sight is a non-descript disposable biro until this interruption to my sleep pattern. I staggered out of bed and over to the dresser where the pen was sat merrily chirping and flashing. On closer inspection, it appears there is a tiny LED inset next to the nib. As I put my finger over it, the pen clicks and a tiny aerial emerges from the other end, this time with a red flashing light on it. The light flashes red then green a few times and then becomes fixed green. It’s connected to something……

Suddenly my phone starts buzzing to alert me to an incoming call, and the caller ID ?  “Mission Headquarters at Starfleet (via your cheap pen)”. Uh oh!… Something’s going down.

Tentativly I answer the phone and hear the following message in a voice I don’t recognise: 

“Good morning Mr Ball. Sorry to disturb your sleep, but we have mission details for you and the Badman.  Your Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to turn 6 weeks worth of work into 2 starting immediately. As always, should you or any of your Starfleet force be caught or killed, the Christopher Robin will disavow any knowledge of your actions. Good luck, Badman and Golfy. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds…..”

Oh for the love of wisdom!!! (see what I did there? – if not, read more greek). Instantly I recognise that we have a fundamental problem in need of studying and that dear reader is why, it’s all about philosophy in the end.   Well, that and this Wikipedia article:

I’m off to town with Mrs G our faithful chain driven steeds. It’s a bank holiday weekend, I’ve spoken with the Badman, we’ve exchanged emails and are making our position clear.

If we had the option I wouldn’t accept the mission, but then this is Mission Impossible and we are the best bear and tiger for the job…. erm, actually, the ONLY bear and tiger, but as I always say in times of trouble….. whatever.


Todays post was brought to you by the letters “F”, “E”, “C” and “K” and by the website:


This post originally appeared here: Posterous
Categories Conspiracy, Movies, Mrs G, Starfleet, TV, Wikipedia