Hits!

This blog just reached 40,000 hits!!!!!! When I started it I thought I’d be lucky to get 10 🙂 so I’m really REALLY happy to get this far. Please keep reading and subscribing and maybe I can get to 80,000 at which point I will personally visit each and every one of you in your own homes and do your washing up. Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthatnkyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou

PIC CREATED BY HANNAH KENNA ( hkennaxx.wordpress.com )

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10 Questions about the new Planet of the Apes

Is Rise of the Planet of the Apes any good? Yes. It’s a really great entertaining film. It has absolutely no dull bits, a strong story (albeit a familiar one) and great but not intrusive CGI.

Is it related to the previous Planet of the Apes films? Not directly. It doesn’t really sit in the same timeline as the original 60s/70s films. It’s definitely unrelated to the abysmal Tim Burton version of recent years. By the way, Tim Burton is incredibly overrated, isn’t he? Just needed to say that. You certainly don’t have to have seen any of the previous Apes films to enjoy this one.

Is it suitable for kids? I think it’s a 12A so it’s maybe a bit strong for very young ones but there’s no extreme violence, no swearing, no sex and no nudity (not even a bright red ape arse!!)

How does it compare to other recent so called blockbuster movies? Vastly superior. It is far better written, directed (Rupert Wyatt), scored and acted than any of this summer’s big releases. It makes Transformers 4 and  X-Men First Class look like pathetic, bodged, plotless video games. The only other film that has come close to this one is Super 8.

Are the actors any good? Not bad. There’s not that much for them to do as the focus is on Caesar the chimpanzee. James Franco is pretty good as the main human character although there’s not that much character to play (Franco is much better used in 127 Hours), Freda Pinto has even less to do with only one interesting moment that I can think of (acting as a decoy in the bridge scene), John Lithgow gets the best deal as the Alzheimer suffering father, Brian Cox has clearly emailed his mildly sinister performance in, leaving Tom Felton and David Oyelowo to do ridiculous pantomime villain acts. Basically it’s all OK but you’re not there for that anyway.

Is the CGI really that good? It’s some of the best and most natural I’ve seen. I still don’t like CGI though. You can always, ALWAYS tell it’s CGI. Here, it’s OK because the film is strong enough to distract you from constantly thinking ‘mmm that’s CGI’.

What’s the best bit? The finale is really breathtaking and all the more effective because the film has a proper narrative structure and isn’t just one big battle scene. You care about the characters by that point, especially the apes. Also, must mention the music by Patrick Doyle; it’s completely brilliant.

What’s the worst bit? The bit where Caesar asks the girl out to dinner with James Franco; Vomit City!! Also, the stock businessman baddie character; lazy, lazy…

Does it make any moral/ethical points? I suppose it’s saying experimenting on animals is pretty rubbish but it doesn’t ram that down your throat. It’s arguing for strict control of testing I suppose. It’s really just an entertainment though.

Is there going to be a sequel? I’d say unquestionably, yes. Make sure you don’t leave the cinema straight away when the titles come up as there’s an extra sequence which will convince you even further that a follow-up is on the cards although maybe not with any of the original human cast.

Breathless

I’ve had a cough for about three months. It was one of my favourite things to say ‘must go to the doctor about this cough!’ and then never go. People were starting to hate me for it. So on Wednesday I finally went. She listened to my breathing and decided I have asthma! I’ve never had asthma before! I wasn’t expecting to ever get asthma! So now I have an inhaler which I have to use four times a day or when needed. It feels a bit weird, actually. It’s like being told you’ve got an extra eye on the back of your head that you’ve never noticed before. It’s enough to make you have… well, an asthma attack.

Super gr8

 

I think the intention with Super 8 was to return to the style of film that Steven Spielberg made popular throughout the late seventies and eighties. There are influences (more than influences actually; in fact sometimes you feel like you’re watching an Illegitimate love child conceieved at an orgy attended by all the movies I’m about to mention…) from E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws, Poltergiest and probably a few more. If that was the aim of director JJ Abrams then, generally, I reckon he succeeds. I really enjoyed it mostly because it had an exceptional cast who were like the groups of kids from many Spielberg films but actually less annoying and more heartfelt (OK you might say they swooped perilously close to the old cliches of fat kid, cute kid, thick kid, brainy kid and babe and if you did say that you’d be completely right). But also, it was genuinely scary helping to offset the syrupy emotional stuff which, alone, would have been mawkish. So overall I thought it was a great, old style Summer blockbuster. All we need now, here in England, is a Summer to go with it.

Stir crazy hill climb

I’m not generally a hill climber. Or a climber at all really. I struggle with the stairs some nights. But tonight, me and Hannah found ourselves climbing Frodsham Hill. We only decided to go at 7pm because we were going stir crazy cooped up in the house. The views are amazing from the top; these are looking back towards Runcorn, Warrington and Widnes where we live. Looks like there’s a storm coming in on some of the shots but it never materialised which is a shame because I absolutely LOVE storms.

 

Syd Barrett; troubled and talented

Until recently I’d never heard the name Syd Barrett. Not ever having been a particular Pink Floyd fan I’d just never heard the story of how, in its early days, the band had been lead by a bloke called Barrett. Hearing some of those very first songs I immediately loved them; more so than some of PF’s later ones which sometimes leave me with a nagging aftertaste of ‘Easy Listening‘ (fans would hunt me down for such a thought!). So I wondered what became of the man who actually wrote most of those early compositions. That’s when I realised the extent of my ignorance. Turns out that this amazingly original, intelligent, energetic and creative man had been increasingly affected by mental health problems from around 1967 onwards just when The Pink Floyd had been hitting full stride. Unable to cope with the pressures of that lifestyle, he had gradually edged away from (or been edged out of )  the band. Apart from a couple of impressive solo albums he never returned to making music. Instead, he spent the rest of his life living in his mother’s house in Cambridge and shunning fame. He died there at the age of 60 from pancreatic cancer/diabetic complications.

The exact truth of what happened to Syd Barrett will probably never be fully known. Some say his mental health problems were triggered by excessive drug taking, others claim he was not mentally ill but simply a unique and unusual individual. Journalists often tried to quiz him on what prompted what they saw as his fall from grace or his gradual deterioration. Those close to him tended to refute this notion and argue that, far from deteriorating, he had lived a perfectly rewarding life in which he simply chose painting instead of music as his mode of artistic expression.

All I know is… a lot of his music (and art work) is great! When I find something new to listen to that I really like I tend to want to listen to all there is… very fast… I can’t get enough of it. Barrett’s work has that thing which you rarely find… originality. Some of the pop tracks are obviously heavily influenced by the late Beatles stuff but the more personal tracks are brilliant. If you read a bit about the man it makes listening to the music even more fascinating but even without that knowledge it’s just great. Regarding Barrett as a person… he reminds me of some other brilliant artists who have been troubled individuals; I can think of a whole list (how about you?) many of the names on which have died very young or turned to drink or drugs. At least the music is still here to be listened to though. As I said, Syd Barrett only ever made two solo albums as well as his work with Pink Floyd. So I’d better stop listening so fast.

Syd Barrett young and old, troubled and talented.