Archive for cinema

Power Reading

Posted in Life..., Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2009 by stanleyriiks

Since almost the beginning of this year, I’ve been, what I like to think of as, power reading. Taking the advice of Stephen King, not personally I’m afraid, but from his book On Writing, I’ve been reading as much as possible. Power reading, basically ever spare minute has been involved in reading, a spare moment at work, during the adverts of tv programmes (which I’ve cut back on), I’ve also started listening to audiobooks, so that H G Wells and Andre Norton tell me tales as I walk to work and wait for the opening credits at the cinema.

I haven’t played with my xbox since January.

I haven’t played with my girlfriend since May. She’s a damn sight harder not to play with than my xbox!

Every spare moment has been absorbed with reading.

It’s got to the point where my life is no longer split up into minutes, hours, days and weeks, but pages. While I run my bath I think I have time for twelve pages, between adverts is a two page stretch. Time is now counted in pages. Which of course becomes a little difficult when changing books, so it may well be time to demand that publishers don’t try to cram too many words onto a page and try to work between them to come up with the perfect number, with the perfect font size and just stick to that for every book. Harmonisation of words to a page is my new cause!

Anyways, this power reading over the last few months has become something of an obsession as I try to work through my quite considerable collection of books. I’ve managed to buy very few books this year, only about twenty, which isn’t too bad for me. But it still means I have about a thousand to go. Yikes!

Now, since the power reading marathon started I think I’ve managed to do a book in an average of three days. I can’t remember taking longer than four days to read a book this year. I have tried to stick to books of between three and four hundred pages. When power reading I find it’s more of a sprint to the end, so longer novels can get a bit sticky.

But this weekend I’m going to Copenhagen, to suffer the delights of Trivoli and another Scandinavian Capital City (last weekend away in July was to Stockholm). I know, poor me. My girlf loves all that is Scandinavian, and I can’t refuse a holiday opportunity, so on Friday off we go. But last Wednesday this left me with a dilemma. Do I start a nice short book and rush through it before we leave, or pick a huge book that will take me over the weekend. I pack light, and when I say light I mean minimal. We’ll be there for three nights, so I need three t-shirts, three pairs of underwear, three pairs of socks, a camera and charger, ipod and charger, phone and charger, toiletries (consisting of mini mouthwash, mini toothpaste, toothbrush, mini shower gel), and what I wear on the flight: jeans, t-shirt, waterproof jacket, sunglasses, trainers, socks and pants. I will take a small rucksack and it will be half filled, at most. So there is only room for one solitary book. Hence the dilemma.

I could probably have read a book in between, but I thought I’d use this opportunity to have a bit of a slow down, to take a break from the breakneck reading. So I chose an epic, a collection of novels, by the aforementioned King. Four Past Midnight, the paperback version obviously, to minimise weight in my rucksack. So I’m taking a break and having a rest, and will be intent on enjoying Copenhagen over the weekend, and once I get back and I’ve finished the epic collection of Mr King, I’ll be back on course for some more power reading, at least until I go to Berlin in October. Such a hard life!

Fighting (2009)

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2009 by stanleyriiks

Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

Pants.

This “Rocky for the myspace generation” is the biggest pile of pap I’ve seen in ages. I should have been alerted to the danger of watching this when I realised I was the only person in the entire cinema on a Saturday.

The story follows a two-bit hustler (Terence Howard going through the motions) who discovers a street kid, Shawn (Channing Tatum), who can fight, and basically takes him to the top of the street-fighting pile. There are four fights, the first of which is won by using a nearby water fountain, the second fight is ended by Shawn’s friend kicking his opponent and another friend being shot in the ear. Finally, the third fight arrives, and Shawn get seriously beat up before he eventually wins. The final fight is with an actual professional fighter, a mixed-martial artist and former medal-winning wrestler, and former team-mate of Shawny.

So, not only are we expected to believe that this dumb kid can fight his way to the top of New York’s bare-knuckle fighting championship in only three fights, but we’re also expected to believe that a professional fighter with his entire career at stake will take on a high-school rival in a fight on a rooftop. Also, anyone who’s seen The Ultimate Fighter will know that these guys are athletes and they train hard, yet Shawn does two minute of shadow boxing and a couple of push-ups on the subway and he’s ready to take on the best!

They also throw in a love-interest in the gorgeous form of Zulay Henao to tempt in more viewers. The only thing of any substance in the film, although the love-interest thread shows up the serious acting deficiencies of our lead (Tatum).

The best bit of the film, like trying to find a diamond in an Alaska-sized heap of shite, is the relationship that  develops between the young street kids, and not nearly enough time is given to this.

It’s not only the ridiculous story-line that doesn’t work. The fight-scenes are disjointed and ineffective, neither brutal enough nor exciting. In these days of the Ultimate Fighting Championships we need a gloss and slickness to our violence that is just lacking here. How can a film called Fighting, about fighting, be so bad at depicting fighting?

At one point in the film Shawn is all bruised in the morning and then miraculously healed in the evening. This just another reason to hate this film.

Rubbish of the lowest order, avoidlike the plague. Not even worth renting the dvd.