World of Bile

Thoughts, pics and links from me to you.. Read on...

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Location: London, United Kingdom

I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoy writing it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A quick one

Still a PC zone here.

Im down the internet cafe trying to hammer a couple hundred words update for you.

Enjoying the benefits of a three day bank holiday here. Ive spent way to much money so far and look to checking my bank balance with some trepidation come tomorrow. A wedding in Scotland calls, with the plane fare and accommodation expenses to go with that. Plus a meal with my dad tomorrow evening. The wine bill for that alone tends to be a little hefty. So I'll be cutting back on the spending.. but not just..yet...
Anyway, the Olympics is over. Our top athletes returned with a medal haul unprecedented since something like 1908...and we all of a sudden love sports like sailing, cycling and swimming. It encouraging but only seems to happen in four year intervals: some strapping girl from Mansfield wins double gold and all the kids want to go down the local sports centre again!
Seems like my time is running low here, so I'll leave it there for the moment.
Catch you again soon. Hopefully with photos next time.
Alex

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

And so it continues...

My PC stubbornly conspires to keep my home internet free. So I've pulled myself away from my comfy chair and glasses of wine to note my musings down the local 'web cafe.. The place where kids come to check their myspace accounts and Russian girls chat on their mobile phones. Peaceful it isnt. The computer I'm currently using has a Google toolbar that you just cant remove. It displays the usual rotation of idiot banner ads for 'Free Emoticons' or 'Do you like Gordon Brown' surveys... 'enter now and win a laptop*' Grrrrr!! These things never cease to wind me up, I can tell you...
Anyway, on a lighter note - Ive just got back from a holiday on the Isle of Wight. Photos to come. We spent a delightful three nights at a Shanklin hotel and walked, paddled and dined in abundance. My gastro highlights being kippers for breakfast on Day 2 and Spanish Tapas for dinner on Day 3. The chorizo sausage in red wine sauce was to die for... mmmmm... The Isle of Wight is renowned for its simpler, gentler pleasures - activities which I would have turned my nose up just years ago but nowadays relish. For instance whilst reading the tourist guide I caught myself musing 'Ooh, the steam railway line sounds interesting..' or 'I wouldn't mind checking out the glassblowing workshop'. It seems the dashing young man about town I used to be has changed into someone a little more sedate..

It was with deep regret that I dragged myself and my sated belly back to home's more modest eating. Plus the joys of regular exercise too, walking the beach guzzling ice cream made me feel extremely guilty. This lunchtime I dragged my workmate Dan down to the local park for shuttle runs and pressups and absolutely wrecked him! Sunny and amusing by disposition, Dan then slumped into his office chair with a mellow smile and barely said a word all afternoon...

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Tate Modern Gallery is looking good at the moment..


View from atop the Millenium Footbridge


Check out the passerby for scale.

Headhunter drinking tea?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Paul Simon - You can call me Al

After finally digging up 'Hearts and Bones' - Paul Simon's previous album, I'm a happy man today. Here's another favourite of mine, Simon goofing around with Chevy Chase. Watching this raises a timeless question: is Chevy Chase really that tall of is Paul Simon about 4 foot 5 or something?

Finitribe - Forevergreen (Forevermost Excellent Mix)

Please indulge me in this...

My friend Mark lent me a tape of this copied from his brother's vinyl in about 1994 (yes a tape! It was a LONG time ago). Have been looking for this on CD ever since.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Commando (1988)

Hello again,

To keep my grey cells ticking over I have taken to review writing on Ciao once again. I discovered had made £35 from my skills, and lost it all from inactivity!

Bugger!

So, here is a review of one of my favourite films.

On the face of it, ‘Commando’ is formulaic adolescent action stuff. From the moment the first bit part actor is torn into pieces by binmen touting semi-automatic weapons and their snappy one liner, you know what to expect: violence, ungainly cliche, ridiculous plot development and guns. Lots and lots of guns.

The thing is, all these shortcomings actually make the film. ‘Commando’ is THE template ‘One Man Army’ Film which has been imitated, but never bettered. Simpsons fans will see the homage of Ranier Wolfcastle writ large during its’ 90 minutes. Needless to say, if you prefer a plot, any degree of subtlety and realism – this really isn’t going to be your cup of tea…

Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Colonel John Matrix, yes – the screenplay even resorts to giving his character a zingy surname is pursuit of the comic book action that this movie portrays. He was the head of an organisation called ‘The Unit’ before settling down for a the quiet life with his daughter. Of course, he isn’t supposed to live for long as it turns out ‘someone’ is killing off members of ‘The Unit’, examples of which we see at the opening scenes of the film. Matrix’s ex-boss fears the Colonel may be next.

It turns out to be all a blag. ‘Someone’ is killing Matrix’s team to flush him out and General Kirby has led that ‘someone’ straight to him. This ‘someone’ turns out to be General Arius, smarmy ex dictator of Val Verde who Matrix helped to overthrow. He has an offer for our hero: assassinate the democratically elected successor to Arius or lose his daughter who will be ‘mailed back in pieces’ if he doesn’t cooperate.

Being Arn-uld of course. He doesn’t. He proceeds to take down the whole of the paramilitary organisation single handed, culminating in a firefight at the General’s Doric style mansion. After cleaning up the baddies, he flies off to the horizon with his love interest and daughter in tow – the world safer due to the efforts of one man…

Cliched, by the numbers stuff you might think. Right? Wrong!! ‘Commando’ stands alone as one of the most overblown, frankly silly pieces of cinema which you will ever see. And this is the very reason why I love the film so much. Schwarzenegger started his nearly decade long winning run of wisecracking hardarses with Matrix. The body parts of who the camera lovingly paws before the opening titles, he is just HUGE! A paradoxical man who can kill someone with a shoulder barge, shows absolutely no trepidation in taking on a heavily fortified enemy stronghold single handed yet has a doting daughter (played by Alyssa Milano from Charmed) and is shown feeding a deer with her in the starting credits! Plus, this monosyllabic killing machine has the dry, cutting wisecracks of Oscar Wilde – c’mon.. who are the filmmakers trying to fool??

All the plot-holes (there all dozens of them) and shoddy production values simply add to the film’s appeal. To pick two (out of many):
1. Matrix jumps from the landing gear of a ascending airliner and falls maybe 80 feet into the marshland below. Cut to a slowly travelling double travelling slowly from about 20 feet into the same marshes…
2. The Colonel plants several mines around the barracks of Arius’s men before the final big assault: said barracks explode from the INSIDE when he presses the trigger!

Its just laughable!

The supporting cast are the bit part players you expect in an Ar-nuld extravaganza. James Olson plays General Franklin Kirby (pronounced ‘Keurby’ in Arnie’s inimitable Austrian accent): a confused superior officer who spends most of his screen time looking confused upon discovering the carnage that his protegee causes. Love interest Cindy (Rae Dawn Chong) is simply dragged along to flash her legs, whilst daughter Jenny (‘Chenny’) just provides annoyance value.

It is amongst the baddies of the piece that the movie gains its’ ‘this movie is so terrible it is a work of genius’ flavour. Dan Hedaya plays Arius, a man who projects his character simply with the power of his scowl. He has such a horribly forced Spanish accent that it would make Speedy Gonzales sound naturalistic. The other heavies are of little consequence, save Sully (David Patrick Kelly) a pint sized charming looking guy (emulating Face out of the A-Team perhaps?) with a terrible way with women (maybe not). The standout the bunch is Arnie’s ultimate nemesis, Bennett played by Australian actor Vernon Wells. Think about it: your baddie is normally some swarthy Latino, urbane (yet psychopathic) European or mysterious Oriental type. A big fat Australian with Freddy Mercury moustache, leather trousers, chain mail and dog tags just isn’t what you expect! He gets his fair share of panto villain one liners, often delivered in a sibilant whisper. In short, you would want to meet him down a dark alley.. but for slightly different reasons…

All of this silliness is backed by a soundtrack of original material written by James Horner – a man who graduated onto more epic fayre in Titanic and Apollo 13. He provides the synths, saxophones and steel drums designed to heighten the tension, but which end up sounding like elevator musak in the process.

The ‘special’ features offered with Commando ( the trailer and, erm that it) add to the final paradox of this movie. Pay £5 for something that’s cheap and tacky but so incredibly entertaining.. if its you’re kind of thing of course…

Otherwise steer clear of it like the plague..

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

More Dead Beatle Stuff

As a treat, I took myself out for a few beers on Tuesday evening with some friends..

Nice to get stuck in on a school night. I revelled in the good company and knocked back a few too many glasses of wine for my well being - waking up on Weds with that salty 'Ive been licking the cat all night' taste in the mouth which many a cheap glass of house white often brings...

Here's a few links for my friend James who was out for drinks. His enthusiasm for WoB makes him my Number One Fan, and thus deserving of a special treat.

You said you found the 'Paul is Dead' scenario fascinating James, so here's a YouTube movie broken down into 5 parts.

Click here, here, here, here and here.

Once again, I reckon it's all a load of old cobblers. However, what a fascinating story to chew over..

Monday, August 04, 2008

Pierce Brosnan... SINGING!!

When it comes to movies, I'm very blokey in my tastes:

THRILLER? yes
BOORISH COMEDY? of course
ARNIE? certainly
SCI FI? why not
INSCRUTABLE AUTEUR MOVIE? definitely

In an effort to round my cinematic education, and partly at the encouragement of someone close to me, I went to see (whisper it) a musical!

Mamma Mia is based loosely based on the music of Abba and has been a successful stage show. The plot concerns a girl who invites three men to her wedding on a Greek island in the hope of finding which one is her father (apparently mother - played by Meryl Streep was a bit of a goer back in the day). They turn up, twig what has been going on... aaaand thats pretty much it...

Now, being a guy, my mind is simply not hard wired to accept the premise of a musical: singing, dancing, irrational plot twists. It. Just. Doesn't. Work.

However after the initial Mickey Mouse Club Purgatory of the opening number (if you see it, you'll know what I mean), I was entertained. The worst part of this film by far is the Disney woodland creature that is Amanda Seyfried: she looks like Bambi and sounds like the girlfriend of one of The Chipmunks. For me, the genius of this movie was casting big names who just cannot sing or dance. The formulaic song and dance numbers will please musical fans - bright, catchy and fun. However, watching Julie Walters singing 'Take a Chance on Me' in her thick Brummie accent is like watching a streaker at a sports event: grisly but still compelling. You just cant look away...
The standout moment of this film, and what makes it unique, is the singing of Pierce Brosnan. Yes, the suave Irish Bond actually sings and its something you aren't gonna forget in a hurry..
He sounds like Shane McGowan out of the Pogues!
For the car crash compelling nature of Bond's performance I give this film a 6/10. Uplifting and by the numbers with a few moments that will make you cringe.. in the best possible way...
Alex