Rachel Weisz Tuesdays

It's a Terence Davies film. Don't expect uplifting, do expect poignancy aplenty...

Rachel Weisz, favourite actress of this blog, is in a whole bunch of things this autumn.  I’m struggling to keep up, frankly.

We’ve just seen her in “Page Eight”, and Empire magazine reports that she’s book-ending the 55th BFI London Film Festival by starring in opening film “360”, the latest by Fernando Meirelles.  The keen-eyed amongst you might have spotted that they last collaborated on “The Constant Gardener”, which, of course, won Weisz her Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

Closing the festival is “The Deep Blue Sea”, Terence Davies’ latest, a tale of self-destructive love and – I’m just guessing here, as this is a Davies film – abject sadness set in 1950’s Britain.

It also stars Tom Hiddleston, whom you might remember from “Thor”, this summer’s Marvel Comics extravaganza, where he played Loki, not so much as a typically hammy villain as more eerily redolent of Peter Mandelson on a super heroic power trip.

Just a guess - this will not end well.

And that’s only the early part of the Autumn.  We’ve also got “The Whistleblower” and “Dream House” to look forward to.  Well, that’s if you want to see “Dream House” – it’s possessed of the most ludicrously, spoiler-filled trailer that I’ve seen in an age.

You genuinely don’t feel that you need to see the film – it would appear that each twist is lovingly and carefully revealed without regard for paying punters who might not want to know the entire freaking story before seeing the flick.

Cultural Activities, Edguy edition

Why look! It's only the new Edguy album

Yes, friends,  the new Edguy album, “Age of the Joker” has made its way into my greasy paws and I look forward to giving it the aural once-over tonight.

Amazon have furnished me with the two-disc Digipack version – the regular album, in a fold-out case, with a second bonus disc of Edguy ephemera, including the single mix of “Robin Hood”, a cover of Slade’s “Cum On Feel The Noize” and the intriguingly titled “Aleister Crowley Memorial Boogie”.  Oh Tobias, you are a one…

The bit where it all splits in two...

The reviews are pretty damn good – a solid 8 out 10 score by Dave Ling in the latest issue of “Metal Hammer” magazine, for example – and I understand the record to be following the same pathway as recent albums in blending a Power Metal energy and speed with touches of classic Hard Rock melody , and Tobias Sammet’s always engaging wordplay.  A German bloke writes wittier songs in his second language than most rockers manage in their first.  Hmm…

Look - it's the first disc....
...and Disc the Second, too. What larks!

All that needs to be said now is that I am quite prepared to make the lads a really nice cup of tea if they fancy playing Sheffield on the next leg of their tour next year.  And that offer should carry some weight, as I make a lovely cuppa…

 

Rachel Weisz Tuesdays

Yep, still lovely.

You know, if we are to continue along this road of printing a random picture of Rachel Weisz, why not make it somewhat more worthwhile?

To whit – Rachel Weisz Tuesdays (Now incorporating Fluffrick’s ‘Rachel Weisz Movie of the Week’).

This week – “The Brothers Bloom”. Rian Johnson’s follow-up to “Brick” is a much lighter affair, a caper movie about cons, con artists and multiple layers of duplicity, obfuscation and confusion.

It’s a load of fun, certainly as idiosyncratic as “Brick” was, and very much the product of a film maker who has a singular vision which is really worth seeing. Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody star as the titular brothers, grifters who have become estranged and reunite to reel in eccentric heiress, Penelope (the Weisz).

Let’s count it off – great cast, wonderful European locations, whimsy to spare, fantastic score, Ricky Jay narration, cool cameos from previous Rian Johnson collaborators and the Weisz rocking a skateboard.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTZEjg5sflk&feature=relmfu]

Rachel Weisz Wednesdays (any old excuse)

The eyes - they follow you!

Playing shortly at the Toronto International Film Festival, and on the international Film Fest circuit thereafter, is David Hare’s spy drama, “Page Eight”.

I mention this mainly because I will be watching this film on Sunday night, in my living room, thanks to the unique awesome sauce and idiosyncrasy of the BBC, who funded the film and are playing it on BBC 2 this weekend. What larks!

And, for a change, it’s not only the luminescence of La Weisz which recommends this drama, as Bill Nighy stars alongside fellow Potterists Michael Gambon and Ralph Fiennes, Judy Davis and Ewen Bremner.

We’re talking thesped, people. Seriously thesped.

And, as is my tradition, here’s a splendid picture of Rachel looking nifty on the September 2011 issue of the Wall Street Journal’s magazine, traced via the kind bounty of FashionEtc.com

Via FashionEtc.com

Context? What is this thing you call ‘context’?

My thoughts on “Page Eight”, should there be any reason at all that you might care for them, will be with you anon…

A century of positivity

For my hundredth post it seems appropriate to reflect on finding the positive things in life, even when, like me, you’re a glass-half-full sort of person.

To whit – screenwriter Sean Hood, via Nikki Finke’s Deadline, manages to find something good in the mostly bad news surrounding last week’s not wholly successful opening bow for Marcus Nispel’s reboot of “Conan the Barbarian”. Not wholly successful? This blog made more money last Saturday. Yikes…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPQ99y8KaTU]

Hood’s take on this – essentially, you do good work, some of it might get used, and by Friday night you know whether it was worth blindly working like a Trojan for two to three years – is book-ended by a great anecdote concerning his musician father which induced an actual sense of good cheer in me after reading it.

You never know when your hard work will pay off, so it’s probably a good idea to not let the annoyances of life define your attitude and worldview – good things can happen, despite a nay-saying vocal minority who would have you believe that everything sucks.

Hark at me, Mr Positivity!

Why People Don’t Finish Video Games

Games end sequences are better now...

It’s a weird one – you wait for a game to be released for what seems like ages, follow previews on the internet and in magazines, get hyped when the pre-order bonuses are listed, perhaps even splurge on the special edition and then what happens, when you have the lovely disk in your console’s tray?

You don’t even finish the bloody thing.

I’ve been a good boy this year – the two titles that I’ve bought in 2011, “Bulletstorm” and “Hunted: The Demon’s Forge”, have been new IP’s and had compelling enough stories to make me fight my way through the final boss and get that wholly invisible badge of honour for beating the game.

As to why people don’t finish games? At lot of times, it just isn’t worth the effort to persist when you’re not enjoying the experience. Most adults have a limited percentage of leisure time to spend on entertainment and the middling quality of so many games can’t be allowed to eat into it without some kind of promise of payback.

For example, I gave up on “Final Fantasy 13” after seven hours because the promise that ‘Oh, it gets really good twenty hours in’ seemed like such absurd B.S. and a pathetic justification for the medium. Would any film director get to make ten or eleven movies in the abstract hope that he or she might hit a rich streak of inspiration? I think not. In addition, “FF13” was essentially ‘Home & Away’ with anime characters and, to be honest? Not a great loss. Traded!

Gaming culture is an odd fish, anyway – devout gamers buy a game on Friday, beat it by Sunday and trade it in the next week for the new title out that weekend. As a medium, the fan base is capable of utterly brutal, near-instant dismissal of two-three years of some developers life. Forget the on-line modes, forget another run through the game – beat the campaign, harvest the gamerscore/trophies and move directly to the next thing, because if you don’t, you’re sunk. Mrs Fluffrick is especially bemused by this – ‘Spend forty pounds on something that you only play for a weekend? Have you heard of Blockbuster?’ and I can’t help but agree in this context.

Games offer great value – but they’re expensive, of that there is no doubt. If you play “Call of Duty” multi-player and prestige 15 times, that equation probably weights itself in favour of the game offering better value than say, a novel in hardback or a first-run, opening weekend viewing of a 3D feature film. Thing is, those games are the exception and certainly not the rule.

I’m more of a fan of single-player titles, but the replay of a game is, for me, sometimes the better play through, if I am inclined to play again. Ganesha only knows, I might even complete some of “Hunted”s side-quests now that I know not to walk through doors because the game path is so super-linear…

Let MC Frontalot have the final word…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVY3OdYTjIY]

Cultural Activities, for the week beginning 08/08/2011

In which many European rockers get conceptual up in this joint.

Another week, another programme of splendid cultural activities to behold.

Kicking off, we have Avantasia’s first album, “The Metal Opera” – a barmy, preposterous and utterly fantastic collection of power metal/hard rock tunes based around the tale of an accused witch (Within Temptation’s Sharon Den Adel voices this role) and her brother’s (Edguy singer and Avantasia leading light Tobias Sammet) fight to save her from the tyranny of the medieval church.

Despite that, we’re talking eminently hummable tunes, Sammet’s gift for story-telling in his lyrics and all manner of retro goodness. Think ‘early Queen in a ruck with Iron Maiden and Justin Hawkins’ German cousin on vocals’ and you get a sense of the delirious joy that Avantasia’s first album offers.

Have a listen to “Reach Out For The Light” and see what you think:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBToEOO7np0]

Ben Affleck knocks another one out of the park...

Ben Affleck’s second film as a director cleaves a bit closer to the star vehicle ideal than his first, the excellent “Gone Baby Gone”, but shares a Boston setting, emphasis on character and a gift for staging percussive, tense set-pieces. It’s a case where I prefer the director’s cut to the theatrical version, even if that longer version does feature a Buckcherry song (no offence, fellas – it fits the scene perfectly).

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing Affleck’s next directorial effort, “Argo”, and I’m fairly excited to see what he could do with the proposed American remake of Harlan Coben’s novel, “Tell No One”, itself memorably adapted by French actor/director Guillame Canet.

Also on my cinematic, ‘to view’ list – John Landis’ 2010 re-telling of “Burke and Hare”, Edinburgh’s most enterprising 19th century purveyors of cadavers to the discerning and morally bankrupt.

I have a man-crush on Simon Pegg. No harm in admitting that on the Internets, surely?

It had, shall we say, ‘varied’ reviews online, but as I tend to view the Metacritic-type review aggregation sites as being an utter waste of time, that doesn’t really bother me. Pegg is ace, Serkis is a man-god and Isla Fisher is cuteness personified (So much so as to make Amy Adams look like Glenn Danzig, frankly).

Finally, for this week – as Mrs Fluffrick is on a major Harry Potter kick at the minute, she has directed that we will be watching “Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Price” tonight, as soon as I switch off this very computer.

Wish me luck – it’s known in my house as “The One That Fluffrick Fell Asleep Watching”.

The Arran Chronicles

Miss me? Blog traffic indicates that people (or web-indexing spiders) actually read this very repository of ephemera during my absence, so there exists the possibility that you may wish to know why I’ve been slacking off in the last week or so.

I was taking a holiday: I’m allowed one, apparently. What larks!

We went to Arran, which is off the West Coast of Scotland and must have something going for it, as my family goes to the island twice a year. Ironically enough, we managed to time our arrival so as to miss the fortnight-long heat wave which preceded our holiday and found the weather to be…changeable.

Allow me to illustrate, via the medium of camera phone pictorial:

This ferry is in dock at the Ardrossan ferry terminal. You had to back your car onto the deck. Our ferry was a mite bigger...

Nice blue sky, bright sunshine – good holiday weather all around, I think you’ll agree.

Arran's wonderful micro-climate, but one day later...

But 24 hours later, you’ll note, things were not quite as agreeable. I’ve yet to have a complete wash-out in Arran, but the weather was gleefully up and down during the first part of the week. As long as we get to walk the dogs, the odd shower and chill wind really doesn’t worry me.

I want miniature cannons by my front door. Why can't I have them? #Doormat Cannons

Fine venues like Brodick Castle exist for the history-minded tourist, but I prefer to just have a wander around their lovely, expansive gardens with the dogs and check out the funny nooks and crannies which add to your understanding of the building and it’s history.

The Ice House, Brodick Castle, Arran

Bringing back the Metal theme of recent posts, by going to Brodick Castle on Monday last week, I was a day late and could have taken in the sight of Arran’s own Viking re-enacting society running amok and generally being all Battle Metal. Crivens!

It’s not just the big, tourist things which delight about Arran – it’s the incidental stuff. Take my new friend, for example:

My new pal - I call him Billy Boulderson. Lovely lad, always smiling.

Idiosyncrasy – one of my favourite things in life and certainly a quality that Arran has in abundance.

Weird weather, quirky history and friendly locals – Arran is the kind of place that you want to keep coming back to.