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Star – Eddie Raymane & Felicity Jones
Genre – Drama
Run Time – 123 minutes
Certificate – 12
Country – U.K
Oscar – I Win & 4 nominations
Awards – 24 Wins & 114 Nominations
Amazon – £5.49 DVD (Blue Ray £6.99)
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Einstein: ‘Both religious believers and physicists are ultimately looking for the same thing: The creator’.
So we all know if actors play a Holocaust hero, a disable character, a gay man or someone with autism there is a good chance they will be nominated for an Oscar. It proved the case with Eddie Raymane with his worthy Oscar winning performance here as world famous cosmologist Stephen Hawking. One big qualification to go on and actually win the Oscar is to be posh and very British. The Academy loves that stiff upper lip stuff. 40% of BAFTA winners were privately educated and most British Oscar winners from public school in recent years. Film, like music, is becoming increasingly middle-class as working-class kids can no longer afford to do the unpaid apprenticeship for the arts. In the year of 2014 it was a straight fight between Redmayne for this and Benedict Cumberbatch for the Imitation Game, two Oxbridge posh boys playing two Oxbridge posh boys.
Hawking, of course, is the most famous scientist since Einstein, and as recognizable although more known for his wheelchair and funny voice over the equations none of us will ever understand. Now 74 he is still doing his magic, 50 years after a doctor back in the 1960s gave him just two years to live. Medicine, like cosmology, has come on a long way since then. His black hole work was his most famous and the idea that the universe was formed by a singularity, the Big Bang, as that would explain the uniformity of matter across our universe. Something must have made it expand outwards at great speed as it still is now and so that must have meant all the energy was released in one place at one time. Because radiation was allowed to escape black holes then everything must have been crushed down to nothing inside the black hole through thermodynamics that we can test today. As I say its complex stuff. He is no doubt a brilliant man and maybe God decided to strike him down with that illness as the boy was getting too close to his secrets. Or the same God needed to keep Hawking’s mind on one thing only to make sure his work happens? I have always said that because humans exist now and they are learning exponentially then they will eventually learn how to great universes, this universe, and so Gods.
Eddie Redmayne ... Stephen Hawking
Felicity Jones ... Jane Hawking
Tom Prior ... Robert Hawking - Age 17
Sophie Perry ... Lucy Hawking - Age 14
Finlay Wright-Stephens ... Timothy Hawking - Age 8
Harry Lloyd ... Brian
Alice Orr-Ewing ... Diana King
David Thewlis ... Dennis Sciama
Thomas Morrison ... Carter
Michael Marcus ... Ellis
Gruffudd Glyn ... Rees ...
We breeze through Hawking’s time at Cambridge as he meets Jane (Felicity Jones), a pretty undergraduate doing a PHD in Spanish Medieval Poetry. Stephens is studying Cosmology and his final dissertation is a little more important and complex than the musings of hairy men in cloaks in Madrid, that of the life of black holes and their role in the creation of the universe and so mankind being here. She is drawn to his humor and intelligence as well as his breeding and good looks.
As his PHD moves forward he starts to show symptoms of his disease, Lou Gerick’s, known as Motor Neuron disease here. The doctor breaks the bad news and the only redemption being it won’t affect his brilliant brain. Jane loves him and will stick with him to the end, given two years to live. But Stephen doesn’t die and gets his PHD and is now a Dr rewriting the subject of cosmology whilst battling to stay on his walking sticks and not concede to the wheelchair. It’s like the weight of the whole space time continuum is pressing down on him to try and stop him unpicking Gods secrets.
Einstein: ‘God doesn’t play dice with creation’.
He is able enough in the early stages of the disease to marry and have kids with Jane, and with adapted technology, communicate with his family and stay active. Jane’s mum (Emily Watson) suggest her daughter joins the local choir in Cambridge to try and relive the pressure of kids and a paraplegic to care for 24/7, and for her to meet other people, like the handsome choirmaster Rees (Gruffudd Glyn), who she develops feelings for, he also burdened by his partners illness in his life. But the arrival of a pretty nurse (Diana King) into the family home catches Stephens only roving eye and threatens the marriage from the other flank as his book ‘A Brief History of Time’ makes him world famous.
How many times are we going to be disappointed by films that win Oscars? Yet again we have an actor led movie with authentic placing and attractive locations and people boring the socks off us. I was hoping this was going to be more about Stephens’s achievements and explanation of his science, the way The Imitation Game works, but ends up about a love tryst. And this is a guy who can’t get it up and so limited there to. I suspect the case here was that eventually someone felt they needed to make a film about this incredible guy and found that the true story was not the one the writers and director wanted to tell on screen and so ended up with this. In real life Hawking was an cantankerous and difficult man with his illness and the romance with his wife long since gone when the disease took hold, eventually divorcing Jane and marrying his nurse, who was rumored to beat him and spend his money. That would be a more interesting film and the one director James Marsh clearly couldn’t make as Jane Hawking only agreed access to the family if she could co-write the film. It ends up a tribute to the man and not an interesting biopic we need. The same thing happened to Selma and the life story of Martin Luther King with his negative bits being glossed over, again the more fascinating story on the cutting room floor.
Redmayne is phenomenal in the lead, helped by his uncanny resemblance to the young Hawking (but not so much the old). He captures the great man's famous sense of humor, likeable eccentricity and resilience, what Jane wants us to see through her screenplay. But it’s that acting that lifts the somewhat fictionalized story out of the realm of banality and earns the third star. Sadly it just doesn’t get going and although Felicity Jones does her best to try and create chemistry between the two she can only do that by being quite two dimensional early on in the film. But the broadsheets loved it and a rare five out of five form al this big papers. I think they love this type of class based drama as it reassures them of their halcyon youth in the same redbrick universities.
For its $15 million budget it did an excellent $124 million back for this type of niche perfunctory British movie and very much a posh couple’s movie. I’m guessing it didn’t play well up north. If you are looking for romantic tale it’s not really that and if you are looking for a revelation film about science and Hawking’s discoveries it’s certainly not that. The cosmology stuff and science is criminally underused in the film and barely 15 minutes spent on it. In the end it ends up a nothing film and the type of thing you would probably find in a black hole that has been crushed down to nothing.
Imdb.com – 7.7/10.0 (252,657votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 79% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 72% critic’s approval
It’s nothing special in Blue Ray. It’s colorful but it’s essentially a period drama with lots of dreaming spires and posh people and no special effects. It’s an acting film and nothing more. Don’t buy it in Blue Ray as there are very few extras or additions.
-Becoming the Hawkings-
Cast and crew talk about the movie and we meet the real family.
Director James Marsh talks over his boring movie.
The Film Stage –‘For relying more on emotions than the fascinating knowledge contained in Hawking's mind, The Theory of Everything could've employed more complexity’.
The NY Times –‘A small-minded portrait of subject who's anything but’.
ABC Radio –‘The Theory Of Everything provides both insight and comfort. There are many ways to make a relationship work’.
The Mail –‘A glossy, manipulative but affecting portrait of a brilliant man struck, but not struck down, by a terrible malady’.
Movie Talk –‘Redmayne's astonishing physical transformation is the film's showiest feature, but the subtler emotional transformations he and Jones display over the course of their characters' embattled marriage are just as impressive’.
Cinemania –‘The treatment of the subject matter goes over to what is essentially religious adoration’.
So I am sitting at the laptop and I hear this fluttering noise inside it. Two days later it’s a sporadic scraping noise and then a loud irritating din that sounds like a light plane flying around inside of it. This, of course, is your hardrive fan playing up. This fault can be caused by a few things. The most likely is there is a build up of dust and gunge inside your computer and the air vents are being blocked or the fan obstructed, for example. The computer can quickly heat up when not vented and the fan over-revving to keep the fan cool. Another reason could be a virus is deliberately revving it up to wreck your computer and the final reason I know of is the baring on the fan has worn lose and thrown the fan out of sync to cause the rattling and growling. Either way it has to be addressed.
I decided to buy a Samsung NC10 generic fan off Ebay and at the same time the canister of air from Amazon. If it is just gunge in there then a blast of this can would clear a lot of crap inside. I’m using air pressure because the screws have threaded on my laptop so I can’t possibly open it up to change the fan or clean it out so the spare fan I bought not much use. The only other option is to drill the screws and that could easily wreck a laptop or netbook.
The compressed air can was quite expensive on Amazon at £5.99 and annoying to know that you can buy them in pound shops. I think they saw me coming. The canister is about the size of an old fashioned women’s hairspray can and has a small straw attached to it so to connect to the tiny hole on the aerosol nozzle and use to get into those tiny spaces. The air is mixed with some water inside the can to produce a mist like spray blast coming out of the nozzle. The water and air in this half-form so it doesn’t short any electrics and circuit boards on your computers. Make sure you are unplugged and the battery separated from the netbook when you do spray. It will short out if you don’t kill the current.
If you can get the back off then spray away. The water element of the spray dissolves quickly and it delivers a really good blast, enough to blow Stan & Ollie’s hats off. Blast the fans and under the circuit boards where you can. Bigger harddrives also have a cooling fan and as do some memory bays on the more powerful computers and laptops. It’s also a good idea to give your connected games consuls a blast as they also have fans. It would also work on cars and all manner of electrical things. Great for firing spiders of their webs at your misses.
Its hard to say how long the cans last as the weight inside them is the water. It’s a big old canister though so probably quite a while. It has flammable on the package I’m not sure why. Whether it works or not to help my fan I’m not sure. I used it to clear the vents and the fan and the sound did indeed stop for two weeks, a big relief. But it returned and no amount of air spraying fixed it this time. But if you have got a noisy laptop and air blast not working for you then fear not. If you have done a virus scan and then defragged your drive in case it is a program error and still noisy then you need to try software called ‘Speedfan’. It’s by Almico and free online through the usual places. I downloaded it two months ago and no problems with the fan(s) since. It’s an application that adds extra software to control your fan speed when it is growling and also looks for why the fan is working harder and where the heat issues are in your device. I followed the diagnostics and it seems to have worked and cooled my netbook nicely. Anything over 50 degrees is the danger one. It displays how hot parts of your compute are and which bits need to be cooled quickly. If you processor fan burns out it won’t take long for the chip to burnout. Most fans when working are very quiet and so you won’t know its not working. Its well worth downloading this if the more manual spray blast water doesn’t work.
As all the boys know, girls like to pamper themselves to look pretty for the boys, and to lift their self-esteem and confidence. But when it comes to nails they really push the boat out. If they are down to their last thirty quid and it’s the end of the world in two hours it’s off to the nail bar they go! The nail bar, of course, is full of Vietnamese illegal immigrants choking on toxic fumes all day and the last thing they would want to do at the end of the world hours if to paint Chantelles chubby digits. To boys this nail thing is all very weird why they spend more on their nails than their hair but that’s chicks for you, the finger nails the new stiletto! But guys have pedicure needs to, although less about the metrosexual look and more about the fact men use their hands more at work and smash their hands and nails to bits.
As all men also know a manicure kit is not something you ever buy but something given to you, be it a Christmas present from mom or pieced together with a nail file from a Christmas cracker and a clipper from the long haul flight goody bag and some scissors from Netto, ideal for the old ball bag trim. Well, the girls don’t like jungles either so fair is fair. Not ever buying these kits is a bit like not ever buying playing cards. You don’t lob this stuff as you know it will come in handy one day, if you excuse the pun’. I once got a protractor from a Christmas cracker.
Now, I split my finger nail down the middle. That was three years ago and it’s still split. For some reason they don’t grow over diagonally so I have to keep clipping and filing to stop the edges catching a cardy or an object and tipping it off. This means I get that icky feeling when you rub your finger tip on something when you have no nail edge. I hate that! The nail has improved and just half the nail split so my manicure technique working.
I nip the edges with the clipper thing first. Its one where you have to turn the presser thing around to get it to clip, clever design. I file the edges down to stop them snaring on anything. They will snarl on anything. After the essential stuff is done I cut all my nails with my little scissors. Job done. The toenail, of course, is more neglected and women know that all too well, waking up with a griffin or two in their time. There is no real excuse not to cut your toe nails guys as they catch them on your socks in your shoes when you should know its time to clip them. Don’t wait for them to fall off so you have to take your sock off in the street. Whether the clippings end up in the bin at home is another story. Men are pretty disgusting. Aren’t they girls? They are also good for pulling the nose hairs, the clippers, not the girls. They are great for catapulting ants at the insect circuit.
I have the Tweezermam set with all the bits in but ciao wouldn’t let me post up the product so will have to stick with the clipper/file combo. It is exactly that and designed well. I have no idea how much it was bought for as it was from my mum and you never ask mom how much your presents cost. It retails around £9.99. It looks nice and silvery and sturdy and not too heavy. Most of the sets are light as they are essentially travel kits. The edge to the clipper is sharp enough and the file just right for a fine file. Again, you don’t want too much vibration on your digits as you get that icky feeling again. You can fit them in your travel wash bag or pop them in your top drawer in the bathroom. I will leave it to the girls to tell me what they do with their manicure sets as I bet it’s not what we do.
After New Labor and Blair allowed the banks to give pretty much everyone a credit or mortgage that wanted one so to drive the economy the banks had to go out and raise that money to cover it. Plenty of people took up the offer as greedy bank workers took commissions for every card and loan given and mortgages agreed. Never mind if the punter could pay back. The personal credit cost was huge to the banks so they simply invented super complex derivatives to hide the risk and then bundle that bad risk in with good risk and sell it to countries they shouldn’t have. South America carries 25% of American banks so-called sub prime debt. They were told by America if they didn’t buy that debt then their trade tariffs with the US would suffer. I personally applied for at last 8 cards at the height of it in the 1990s and got every one, even though I was on minim wage jobs or not working at all sometimes.
Recently it has been hard to get new credit cards with good interest rates after the credit crunch. But personal lending levels are right back up there pre crash and you can try one of thirty applications for cards online. Some give you an answer there and then. We don’t get the postal applications through the postbox much now but when I do I fill them in and send them off. As long as your credit rating is good and you are prepared to lie on the form and then lie to the call center that all the info you gave is true then you will get a card. The banks cheated us so we cheat them, right?
Post crash we have seen more of the Visa Electron cards. That Electron bit is important. It means these cards can be offered to riskier customers who may not have a great credit rating and in exchange double the interest rate of normal Visa cards. There are other restrictions to and they can ask for the balance if you are late with payments. It’s best to apply for normal VISA credit and debt cards if you can. I’m guessing the act of applying for an electron card affects your credit rating. I did not know the deal when I recently applied for a Vanquis card and shocked to see the 39% annual interest rate. I won’t be using that card anyday soon. One advantage the electron card has is you seem to pay less of those credit card booking fees that con billions out of us. Only five banks issue them and mostly as debit cards, the restriction there being you can only spend what you have in your account and no overdrafts.
I am reviewing the standard Visa Nat West credit card and one of those customers that pay the minimum monthly every time and no problems so far. I have about £200 in there and used it to buy something for about £250 in January. Interest is around a five a month and then your 3% minimum balance payment on top so around a tenner owed. I did just use cards for when I travelled the world or for emergencies but now they offer good protection and with increased online fraud around it saves risking the more vulnerable debit card. Of course by agreeing to a credit card agreement you get more junk mail and nuisance phone calls trying to sell you stuff. The positives outweigh that as you have a card that can get you out of short term pickles, pay for what you need online and great for emergency cash to stay afloat if you are robbed or fired or whatever. I recall being stuck in Toronto on my last dollar from my current account and then getting $300 juicy dollars from my goldfish card to keep me going and get back to New York and home to the UK in good shape.
The interest rates for cards vary across the spectrum. This card is around 17% per year (a minimum £170 interest, plus nominal interest on interest…) and credit limits £500 and upwards. I have a grand right now and can ask for more. As my credit score is good then I should get it. You get good customer service and lightly pressured to sign up for the website to pay your balance ect… That increases your chances of online fraud, of course. I don’t trust the internet to be safe so limit my activity involving cards. By the way, if you never use your card, regardless of the end date on your credit card, the account may be closed before that date. If you are inactivate for a year or more on receiving your card, or you don’t activate it for security reasons, they may shut it down without you knowing. Activate it and make sure its active when you go abroad. If you use it for the first time abroad or, indeed, activate it abroad, they may question your transaction on security grounds. That is fair enough but can be tricky your end.
They hit you with loan offers in your email and you get the odd call selling by products. I phoned the call center once and it wasn’t Indians so another plus there. You can pay your balance monthly by cheque or online and they provide you with an addressed envelope with your monthly bill. Best to take the paper bill as good evidence in disputes although it may get nicked in the post.
I think there are better deals out there but if you pay the minimum and little bit more on top you end up paying the same monthly amount whatever the interest rate. It’s what you can afford. I pay £20 a month when I can. So on the whole a good card accepted around the world and if you can keep your spending in thee figures then a manageable one. If you miss your monthly or it’s late you will pay £12 fine and £25 for going over your limit. They won’t raise your limit to avoid that fine. I tried it once.
We all like a joke Christmas present and mine was a grow-your-own Venus Flytrap kit. Some of the older ones will recall a black and white horror movie called The Day of the Triffids, where those particular intimidating looking plants grow to ten feet tall in the movie and come alive and kill people by spraying an acidic poison on them, and unlike the Daleks, can actually go up stairs. The Venus Flytrap is very much in that plant grouping and the inspiration for the movie. But only 5% of its diet is actually flies. In fact, the Dionaea grouping it comes form has a diet of 33% ants, 30% spiders, 10% beetles, and 10% grasshoppers, with fewer than 5% flying insects. The Venus Anttrap is not so cool a name.
In our minds they are quite big and scary things and lurk in the jungle and can eat mice hole with razor sharp teeth. In reality they are quite small and would only really snare a very old and slow blowfly approaching pension age. The clamp does come down sharpish though when you see them in action. The slower it clamps the worse health the plant is in, apparently. If it sounds like a castle pulling up the drawbridge then it’s probably knackered. It has tiny hairs on the inside of the amazing and colorful clamps and when a bug crawls in there they trigger the reflex. Rather cleverly, evolution re-geared it so it could save energy by only clamping down if a second hair is triggered, the object in the trap more likely to be alive and attritional if multiple contacts. Then a mesh like substance snares the insect more. The hole in the mesh allows smaller bugs to escape, again all about the meal size and energy use ratio. Why expend energy eating something that doesn’t give you the same energy back in return for the action? They have to digest it in the stomach like pouch after all. That’s the sort of thing creationist’s love. Only God could invent something like that, they say. Surprisingly it’s native only to the Southern Carolinas where it grows in steamy wet bogs and peaty soils, all known species and natural plants within 75 miles of Wilmington, North Carolina.
I got a kit for Christmas not seed only. Apparently if you order these seeds only online they could send you dry bogies for all you know as these things are the size of a pin head and notoriously hard to cultivate. You could still be waiting after two years and unaware some bloke from China sold you bits of his fillings or something. Successfully growing these specialized plants in the U.K requires a similar environment to the plant's natural habitat. But as I was unable to create the Carolinas in suburban Northampton and I have yet to see any action. I fear my seeds may well be boggers to. If you do get it too shoot then a healthy Venus flytrap will produce pretty white flowers in spring. But, if you want to increase the chance of seeing the cool stuff then growers remove the flowering stems early (2–3 inches), as flowering consumes some of the plant's energy and thereby reduces the rate of trap production. Alternatively if healthy plants are allowed to flower, successful pollination will result in seeds, which you can sell on the internet for a quid each. Alas, plants can take several years to mature so most people buy them as the finished article or, more commonly, they are propagated by clonal division in spring or summer from the bulb.
My kit had a cheap black plastic tray with a likewise cover with small holes in it top and bottom air and drain to allow humidity to form inside. You must use the special soil provided or go out and buy it. Our soil is too rich. Steeper over flatter containers are preferred. The plant grows in naturally poor soli and reliant on those bugs for nutrients so make sure your soil is not stuffed with fertile things. You have to mix your soil right to include lesser nutrients. Lime or fertilizer will kill it. You can grow it from both bulb and seed. Bulb is recommended. Keep it warm and wet but not saturated. They give you some special pellets in the kit and then it simply needs hot sunshine and heat of above 80f for seed growth. In the winter they need to come inside as they will die if in temp’s lover than 2 degrees regularly. I haven’t read upon what to do if it does grow and get its wings but you have to feed it with bugs if you have no bugs in your home.
The kit was a tenner and fun novelty present but don’t expect to see any action from it for a while. And even it shoots and flowers it may not flower fully and the chance of getting the full works is about 25% from seed in the U.K. I hope they will pop up soon and maybe there is some Viagra knocking around to give it stiffy.
Anyone who has been abroad knows you don’t see many highstreet bookies. Even Australia only have the public tote. But betting is a way of life for the British working-class male, and increasingly for women as online bingo and gambling sites take a grip on the council estates and our urban bedrooms. The higstreet bookies are not a place for ladies but a glass of pinot and your smartphone and laptop in your lounge a very different gambling environment. In the old days the bookies were smoke-filled, macho and noisy places as unemployed men gambled the day away and the old boys enjoyed their only pleasure available to them at that age with a few bets on the nags. It’s pretty much the same now although no smoke and lots of surely looking Eastern European men banging on the gambling machines after yet another one didn’t payout. The government could do very nicely if they upped the tax take on those for the Treasury so no one could ever say immigrants don’t pay their way. In Australia with the ‘pokie’ machines they were being using them for decades to raise tax. The so-called crack cocaine machines are skillfully designed to exploit certain players who bet in certain ways and you will never make money from them. They are not even a game of chance anymore and there simply to exploit the thick blue collar losers and compulsive gamblers. This country pumps in an astonishing £46 billion a year into these fixed rate terminals and the bookies made £1.5 billion from it, a 50% rise in the last 4 years alone. It would be even more if the bookies weren’t legally limited to four machines per shop. That is why you see so many bookmakers these days, Ladbrokes having three branches in Northampton town center alone and 14 in total in the county. Our high Eastern European and working-class population in work means they have money burning a hole in their shell suits. They are ideal for criminals to launder their money by simply playing the low risks games, taking a small los and then cashing in their receipts for clean money. It’s such a sad site to see losers hop from bookies to bookies to try and play the machines, and counter instinctively banned from most betting shops for being aggressive or addicted players losing too much money? A big win is their only buzz for the week and soon chasing it when that win doesn’t come in. The rules are simple with these machines. For every £100 put in the machine must pay out £97. You can not win! Fixed-odds terminals represent 51 per cent of betting shop profits and 67 per cent of the profits from all betting terminals.
Online gambling is far more intrusive and damaging for those who need to bet as once the bookies close at 9:pm they are soon logged on to spin the wheels and back ports all around the world. But its also great fun for the vast majority of us who are not addicted to gambling. We are not addicted to it as we rarely win. Saying that the middle-class drinks a lot of vino at home but never classed as having a drink problem and we are seeing the same with online betting. It’s happening a lot more than we think with the people we know behind closed doors. Ladbrokes is the biggest betting company in the world right now and I have an account.
Betting at home, and on the move, is fun. Being able to bet whilst watching the actual sports event, being there or at home, is more fun. You get an extra buzz if you are involved in the event. I won a tenner last night on my 8 team football accumulator and I was watching another sports event at the time. I also couldn’t resist Ladbrokes price boost offer of 6/1 on Arsenal (pushing to secure Champions League) beating WBA (on the beach and safe) last night in the Premier League to encourage new or dormant members to bet. 2-0 and that’s £60 straight in the skyrocket! There are conditions on these ludicrous offers but you can exploit them. I enjoy small bets and I dont have a gambling problem, barely betting a fiver a week sometimes. I don’t follow horseracing and only bet on Cheltenham and The National using the free bets in the newspapers and stick to what I know. It’s not so much about how much I lose with me but actually working out the result using skill and knowledge. It doesn’t make me a fortune and I am down this year but still enjoying it. It has been a nightmare with the erratic Premier League this season with last years middle ranked teams doing so well this year and so buggering up accumulators. I’m guessing the traditional top four have recently underperformed because they were in the Champions League last year and the Champions League were being externally drug tested for the first time and so you cant use in your domestic leagues anymore as it would show up there. That’s not to say Spurs and Leicester are doping. In-house Premier League testing maybe masking several hundred positive tests over the years though.
The Ladbrokes online sites are pretty standard stuff with lots more sports you can bet on than visible in your highstreet stores. You can back Icelandic indoor five-aside football if you so chose, the football version of the two flies crawling up the wall. Its 24/7 stuff. I stick to what I know and get no kick out of betting on random chance games like the lotto or those casino style games, increasingly showing up on sports betting sites. If you are serious gamble you will have various online accounts and chase betting odds value across the platforms. The greedy bookmakers use shared software now to ban high earning winners from using their sites and if you are winning regularly through whatever reason you will find odds offered to you on the site will be lower to other users or not there at all or your account closed down.. They do it and it’s legal. You can never beat the bookies. We are starting to see bigger bets placed in the shops once again because of this. They say it’s an anti match fixing measure but we know it’s an anti winner tactic.
Ladbrokes internet website is not the best to be honest and a lot of messing about to get to the bets. They want you to part the undergrowth to get to what you are looking for to encourage you to bet on other stuff. Betting is a rare case where the apps are actually easier to use than the websites. You just feel website designers make the apps easier to use because they had to whereas with the websites it’s all a bit lazy. I know betting companies feel the need to appeal to women more for that growing market but this site is very manly, Chris Kamara punching the air to welcome you in.
Free bets are the way to get you to join up but always catch when you explore the offers. You often have to match the offer with your money and they want your credit card numbers so to join. Bet 365 will let you join with Paypal is you are worried about safety and spending too much. As with all online retail sites they know full well once you have trusted them with those magic numbers they are likely to not to stray to far as most people don’t like to splash the car details all over the net. People who do a lot of online buying and using their card will attract far more viruses and that slows down your browser and computer big time. There are plenty of current offers of free bets on Ladbrokes right now but not much for pound coin betters like me. The headliner is a free £50 one on joining but 26 regulations on being able to use the bet. They rarely let you bet on odds below evens with it as they don’t want you to get a guaranteed win and so cash it out. And you can’t really explore the website to see if you like it until you join. I don’t like that.
They do this thing called The Grid that ties in mobile, shop and websites to get customers on board betting on all platforms for goodies. Thye also do a nice 5 team or more ‘acca bet’ that returns your stake if one team doesn’t come in. Most bookies do it but new to Ladbrokes. On the internet sites you can, of course, ‘cash out’ on bets, even when you may not win. They tend to give you your stake back if the game or sports is still in the balance. For example if Arsenal are 2-0 up on WBA after 50 minutes and you bet 6/1 they will allow you to cash in as if the match is over and Arsenal won 2-0 but you wont get the 6/1 any more. You would get your 6/1 if they were 6-0 up at that point as they can’t lose then. It’s not as complicated it looks and great fun for mobile betting. With 25 or more mobile betting apps out there just in the UK alone they need your business.
On the whole don’t be afraid of having an online bet. Its fun and you will spend no more online than you would, say, having one too many pints. You can bet whilst watching your favorite sports or have a little nibble out and about. It’s easy to bet and you have three chances to cancel it before it’s laid. It’s hard to accidentally bet. Some sites will have live TV images of big sporting events you can’t get on your terrestrial TV but the pictures are small. It will burn up your data on your smartphone though.
I don’t spend much on bets and in no way worried I will. Betting is simply not good value, like buying beer at £4 quid a bottle in a trendy bar when you can buy it for 90p in the Coop. Betting in the U.K., like the lottery, is designed to remove money from poor people and drag back a few of those dole checks. It’s not supposed to be a positive and healthy experience. Its business.
===My current accumulator bet on my Ladbrokes app===
Man City to beat Stoke
Southampton to win at Villa
Newcastle to lose at Liverpool
Middlesbrough to beat Ipswich
Wigan to beat Southend
Accrington over York
Oxford over Hartlepool
Plymouth over Dagenham
Dunfermline at Aidrie ….
Anyone who has a lap top or netbook knows what a bloody nightmare the adapters are, as far as longevity and standard pieces. I’m sure Apple have their own superdoopper non universal cables that don’t bend for £50 but I can’t afford their precious products and so it a generic universal job for my Samsung NC10 netbook. Buying Samsungs own bespoke cable and adapter doesn’t come that cheap either so I go for the Amazon Marketplace/Ebay option of buying a generic one for under a tenner (with P&P) and hope for the best. You can buy the brand ones cheap on Ebay and so a bit more quality there. But what ever one you buy it could last 2 years or it could last two months. This one lasted two months,
The main issues are the softer cables tend to bend easier from constantly pulling the cable around and the bit of cable where it enters the lap top is at its weakest and wears through to the live cable. It eventually shorts out and so no power and 7 hours of battery left before no laptop. For that reason alone it’s wise to have a spare one in reserve, my strategy. Another issue is the pin from the replacements rarely fits snug in the laptop and so power often hard to get in, meaning you have to push it in too hard to get it to hold. Another big risk of getting a generic one is the plastic box transformer bit gets hot and could overheat and set fire to stuff. I’m paranoid about leaving things plugged in like that when I go out and always back into the house to double-check. They do blow and you hear stories of houses and flats burning down all the time.
Now to review this particular model it’s tricky as they are all different, even though they are the same models. If the pin is a millimeter or two thinner here it could slip out of the power point and get very annoying. The one I got was a good fit but after a while I had to push it in harder and harder to get power into the laptop as the wire was clearly loses inside the molded cable near the dongle. Thye always use molded plastic pin sockets so you can’t fix it yourself when the wires are exposed or lose. The culture now is making things not to last and hard to fix so you have to buy a new one. It’s so bad now I have an elastic band wrapped around it and up over the top of the screen corner to pull it up to an angle that powers the laptop. Needless to say I have ordered a new one.
The main problems with this I have detailed above. The cable I got when I bought this Samsung NC10 new was pretty good and lasted two years. Since then I have had about 5 and all fail within a year, some generic, some Samsung. As I say there is no way of telling how well the cable will flex and wear, how hot the transformer gets and how neat the pin fits. I think its wise to spend a little bit more on them than I do so to avoid health & safety issues. This one is a two pin socket from the transformer to the netbook. Check your main cable from the mains supply on the wall to the transformer is also two pins. There is a three pin one that works in the U.K. I spent £7.99 on this one and I’m sure I will spend the same on the next one and the next one…
Table lamps live an unenviable life. They suffer our ire of having to be there when we get up early for work and so swiping around at the alarm clock and sending the lamp tumbling with a thump for shining in our eyes. They can’t brace their fall and the poor old bulb gets a headache, and two of three concussions later the filament has had enough and pings out, the death of another 60w - not that you should put a 60w in it. One of there other many grim tasks of the tablelamp is trapping bugs and flies like some sort of Venus Flytrap, or yet again being the pretend night watchman for when you go out and so the burglars think you are in reading a book for bedtime. I’m told leaving a light on doesn’t deter modern burglars, only thick glass. I think the only time these lamps are happy is when they are turned off.
So after blowing up my last one after one too many of those drunken fumbles and ladies stilettos sending it flying I decided to get a new one from Argos. I like the Anglepoise design of the extending arm based on the old medical devices and lamps as its classical and practical. The engineering is cool and you can adjust it to all angles with great balance of the structure, the must have for dentists and CIA torturers. It’s a nice metallic aluminum silver arm that’s albow jointed and a solid metal base to keep it on your desk. It has about four moving parts with a wing nut type catch to keep it in place if you so desire. The flex is nice and long and won’t pull it off the desk. It has the on/off switch on the flex and easy to reach from your bed. My previous one didn’t have a long flex and that also sent it flying.
It needs a low watt bulb so you are looking at around 15watts. DO NOT PUT A CLEAR BULB in desk or normal covered light fittings because if it’s a metal cover over the bulb it will super heat it and burn you or young families fingers and if it’s ‘plasticy’ it will melt it. A lot of house fires in flats and houses are caused by the clear bulb incendiary bomb. You need a half or full metallic covered bulb so heat only goes forward. If it’s a light fitting without a cover a clear bulb is fine and very useful for warming the room up in the winter. Your room will be noticeably warmer if you use clear spots. But always check.
It cost around £30 pounds in Argos and a good price for the brand and design but much pricier in likewise shops. It was my birthday present from my big sister. Packaging was good in case you need to return it and the type of sturdy box you can reuse for something else. The company has been going for 75-years and they specialize in these designs and so I expect along life in it and it feels durable to the hand. You can have them in different colors and yes there is a pink one girls! As women will blindly pay more for pink anything the website charges more for the pink one. I can find no reason other than the price to recommend this kit and you can pick up a decent table lamp for a tenner so no worries there. If you enjoy style and engineering design like I do then this one you will like. Ok, they font make them like they used to so but they make them look like them.
Star – Saoirse Ronan
Genre – Drama
Run Time – 101 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – U.K
Awards – 1 Win & 7 Nominations
Amazon – £3.98 DVD (Blue Ray £2.97)
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In Ken Livingstone’s epic autobiography he talks about contingency plans the Greater London Council had to set up in conjunction with the military in the event of nuclear war and an inevitable strike on the capital. Apparently the important survivors would be choppered out, as you would expect, but the rest left to fend for themselves in the desolation of London. And I mean left alone as anyone attempting to flee the city to the countryside would be gunned down by the army at roadblocks and by patrols, no questions asked. The countryside would be the new food source and simply not enough food to go around and so for continuation of population the radio active people from London didn’t figure. ‘The Way I live Now’ is a film that explores that aftermath of the possibility of a terror strike or war here and the part the countryside would play after it. It’s an interesting outcome to explore through a fiction movie.
It’s based on a book by the same name by Meg Rosof and from director Kevin Macdonald, he of ‘The Last king of Scotland’ and ‘State of Play’, amongst others although these low budget movies very different from his normal stuff. It looks like vanity project he needed to do and the fact it made no money because very few people actually saw it and I suspect he will return to his big budget world very soon. It stars the exciting Irish American actress Saoirse Ronan, Oscar nominated for Brooklyn, and the star as that ass kicking kid in the rather underrated Hanna.
Saoirse Ronan ... Daisy
Tom Holland ... Isaac
George MacKay ... Eddie
Harley Bird ... Piper
Danny McEvoy ... Joe
Edmond Holland ….Edmond
Anna Chancellor ... Aunt Penn
Stella Gonet ... Mrs. McEvoy
Des McAleer ... Major McEvoy...
15-year-old American Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) has just touched down in England to stay with her English Aunt (Anna Chancellor) and cousins in the idyllic Sussex countryside, escaping her evil stepmother in the US. There are soldiers everywhere and the U.K. preparing for some sort of invasion and military conflict, a situation spreading across Europe.
14-year-old cousin Issac (Tom Holland) picks her up from the airport in a Landover, barely seeing over the wheel, the rules out the window in wartime it seems. Her other cousins on the secluded farm are Isaacs twin brother Osbert (Edmond Holland) and 8-year-old and playful Piper (Harley Bird). 14-year-old Joe (Danny McEvoy) is a friend and hangs out with them.
Daisy is a typical moody teenager and low in confidence in being away from home but soon perks up when the arrival of handsome cousin Eddie (George MacKay), who turns up with his kestrel and broad shoulders. Its love at first site and reason to stick around, Daisy soon bonding with the family as her homesickness wanes. Their guardian Auntie Penn is a diplomat and working on a peace conference to try and stop the war expanding and reassures the kids there will be no Third World War in Britain. But whilst away in Oslo at the Peace Conference she is wrong, some sort of nuclear detonation in London killing hundreds of thousands and sending menacing dust over the Home Counties and on to the family farm and so an unseen invasion of sorts underway.
The cottage power dies and the kids hide in the barn as the skies darken, swearing never to leave. But the Army arrives and they are all taken away for their own safety as the unknown enemy advance. The boys are put on one military truck and the girls on another. The women and girls are put to work in the countryside to farm and grow crops to help the country and Issac, Osbert and Eddies fete unknown. But Eddie swears he will return to the cottage and be waiting for her, whatever happens, something for Daisy to cling on to as she turns down the opportunity to return home to America with an embassy escort and passport.
Refreshingly free of digital apocalyptics and centered on solid acting this engaging drama is well worth a look. It’s unnervingly prone to acts of random violence lurking in the woods to keep you on edge as every man appears to want to rape the females and realistic that way as when law breaks down we return to our animal instincts to survive. Anything goes, as we see in East London right now.
Saoirse Ronan is good at expressing teenage girl anxieties and the themes of teen love with the young man will earn the film a younger audience, be it inter-cousin taboo. It is a bit Darling Buds of May at times and the kids straight from a Harry Potter movie but you enjoy their idyllic freedom early on and blend into the mood. Then the gentle breeze of fallout washes over them and a very different and darker move takes over as you sense the kid’s vulnerability and their unknown fete, be it from the marauding often unseen rebels dressed in black or the state itself, perhaps culling people that are surplus to requirements. There is more than a suggestion of that in this movie. How would what’s left of the country cope in a nuclear war and how far would the government do to keep control? You don’t get many films were war is raging in the United Kingdom in contemporary times and so interesting for that reason. Children of Men with Clive Owen is the last one I can think of and then there was that one where the Nazis successfully invade Great Britain in 1944.
On the whole its appeal is its different and atmospheric and not some dystopian black at heart action movie. It’s mostly suggested violence and that mostly due to the low budget here, barely £100,000 spent on it, barely half that coming back in rental fees. Needless to say it’s a low budget decent indie and so no one has seen it because it struggled to get a widespread release in the US multiplex chains here. It’s a big problem for British movies now, 90% of films in our cinemas now made overseas which just doesn’t seem right. I think you can catch this on Film4 and something for those who don’t like mainstream movies, perhaps. It’s not quite a good movie as it has a few holes in the plot and we never really know anything about the war and enemy with hardly no adult presence it ends up a bit Lord of the Flies by the end. But I enjoyed it and got enough out of it to recommend to you guys.
Imdb.com –6.5 /10.0 (20,172votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 67% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 57% critic’s approval
Leonard Maltin Film Book –
The Mail –‘aoirse Ronan supplies what the screenwriters do not’
New City –‘Lush and bewilderingly rich with portent and moment, Kevin Macdonald's gently wrought apocalyptic-pop teen romance takes place in a deadly near future in the English countryside far from the center of modern war’.
Movie Mezzanine –‘How I Live Now is likely to appeal to both teens and older viewers, and it thankfully doesn't blindly follow formulas, but allows itself to drift and flow’
Concrete Playground –‘On the outside, How I Live Now looks like a mess. Part Tomorrow When the War Began, part The Shining, part 28 Days Later, it's a hodgepodge of concepts that don't completely gel. So it's weird that the film is actually quite good’.
SF Weekly –‘The target audience probably won't worry much about whether there's a more effective way to split the difference between world's-end anxiety and the possibly greater tumult of adolescent love’.
Examiner.com –‘It's easy to see what the filmmakers were going for: a story of young love and survival during wartime, but there are far too many holes in this story and a lack of essential ingredients to make it work’.
Napoleon Dynamite meets Wayne’s World.
Star – Mark Borchardt
Genre – Documentary
Run Time – 107 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Amazon – £9.10 on DVD
Awards – 6 Wins & 6Nominations
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So, American Movie, a documentary and a Grand Jury Prize winner at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival for director Chris Smith. It’s the true story of a Milwaukee ‘rustbelt’ redneck filmmaker called Mark Borchardt who is obsessed with making extremely low budget horror movies. He is not very good at it and not very bright but makes for an interesting case study on how not to do it but keep dreaming.
Mark Borchardt ... Filmmaker
Monica Borchardt ... Mark's Mom
Alex Borchardt ... Mark's Brother
Chris Borchardt ... Mark's Brother
Ken Keen ... Friend / Associate Producer
Mike Schank ... Friend / Musician
Matt Weisman ... Casting director
Bill Borchardt ... Mark's Uncle / Executive Producer
Cliff Borchardt ... Mark's Dad
Tom Beach ... Production manager
Joan Petrie ... Mark's Girlfriend / Associate Producer
Tom Schimmels ... Actor in 'Coven'
Robert Richard Jorge ... Actor
Dean Allen ... Props / Special effects
Tommy Dallace ... The Movie Star ...
Dawn Borchardt ... Mark's Daughter
Miriam Frost ... Actor in 'Coven'
Mark Borchardt is a somewhat gormlessly deluded chap and thinks he will be someone, someday, in the movie industry. He has got himself into debt chasing his dream and cost him his only relationship, of which he ha skids with, and his work record is less than stable. With his heavy metal mullet, thick lens glasses and over meticulous and cantankerous directing style he is a pretty unbearable guy of few friends and an extremely tolerant family.
After the welcome arrival of a new credit card, Mark attempts to jump-start his amateur film making passion by rebooting production on ‘Northwestern’, a Gothic horror feature he has been working on since he was 16. He has had numerous cracks at it but always ran out of money. He has always loved cinema and has made Super 8 films with his friends since he could hold a camera.
Mark tries to rope in interest from a local amateur dramatic group to make up the cast of whom Mark produces radio plays for. But it’s not their thing and so he sets about casting his mates and family to top up the remaining cast. The plan is to finish a short film called ‘Coven’ he started in 1994 first and so use the ‘predicted’ VHS sales of that to fund Northwestern. Mark has tapped up his 82-year-old uncle for three grand to help fund Coven and promises him the money back from those ‘predicted’ Coven sales. Bill is elderly and infirm and lives in a trailer park but has $300,000 in his bank account and so Mark is keeping him close for future projects.
After numerous mess ups and setbacks production on Coven is underway. He works at the local cemetery doing menial jobs to pay his rent. He appears knowledgeable about the process of film making but poor at planning ahead and also likes a drink or two and so production somewhat chaotic.
His friends and neighbors are quickly roped in to operate the kit and assigned various tasks on Coven as the actors begin to show up. Marks best mate is Mike Schank, a recovering drug addict who also likes a drink and is in charge of scoring Coven with his heavy metal guitar skills. Mike is also a compulsive gambler and doesn’t let on if he wins anything as Mark will borrow it off him to buy more booze. Together they set about in the most adhoc of ways to make his movie and the first step to movie making fame….he hopes.
Hummm. This is almost too good to be true and feels like a film being acted within a film, a sort of Spinal Tap for amateur movie making. But apparently this guy is for real and his friends are for real and he really is the oddball dreamer he appears. His friend Mike could be straight from Wayne’s World with his curly bonce and bum fluff mustache. I think Wayne’s World was also based in Milwaukee.
In truth you can see in the film that Marks movie making dreams in search of acceptance by his piers are more likely to make him fail in life by just wasting time and the great irony there that a film about his directing dreams are making another director serious money, American Movie selling for $1million dollars at Sundance, 90% of the cost to make it. At least he achieved his objective to be seen and enjoyed on film.
But there lies the problem with the film. Mark Borchardt appears to be a little simple/autistic in his actions and that isn’t addressed by the director. His Uncle is clearly early dementia and on something and that doesn’t feel quite right either. It feels like subtle exploitation. This guy is a figure of fun than an inspiration.
We discover he joined the army when he was younger but that appears highly unlikely for such an unorthodox character. He is an A-Grade loser who attracts likewise. His partner is rather large and also hard to believe he could father kids. His parents and brothers contribute to the film but don’t really add anything to unpick the man. Think Napoleon Dynamite meets Wayne’s World and you are in the right ballpark. It’s all a little detached and that’s what makes this film appealing. Is it what it seems and are there people like this guy out there, is the question asked. The answer is clearly yes.
Imdb.com – 7.9/10.0 (13,245votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 94% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 84% critic’s approval
Leonard Maltin Film Book –
.Film Journal –‘Despite some lulls in pacing, American Movie ends up an inspiring and very entertaining look at a true dreamer’.
Boulder Weekley –‘Despite Borchardt's scary self-conviction, I'm not sure we're so easily convinced he deserves to make movies--or be the star of this one’.
Toronto Times –‘An inspiration for every dreamer with too many excuses. If this chowderhead can make his movie, you can realize your ambition, too’.
The NY Times –‘Smith takes care not to make fun of his subject, even though the temptation must have been there’.
Matinee Magazine –‘ The hook of the film is that it presents the ragtag Borchardt, a cantankerous, often disagreeable sort with the kind of freshness missing from most documentaries’.
The Milwaukee Post –‘This hilarious, touching film is even more wonderful because it's real’.
Star – Sandra Bullock
Genre – Comedy
Run Time – 97 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Awards – 7 Wins & 15 Nominations
Amazon – £2.90 DVD (Blue Ray £5.00)
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Two academics examined the scripts of 8,000 movies, comparing the number of lines the male and female characters had in 2,000 of those films. They found men have the majority of dialogue in 73% of Disney films; even in cartoons whose main characters are female, such as Mulan, the dialogue appearing to favor the male characters. According to the research, Mushu, her protector dragon, has 50% more lines than Mulan herself? This appears to be clear sexism. Romantic comedies, as you would expect, were far more even, just 58% male. But when these guys looked at the age of the actresses in each of the films, well, as the actresses get older the number of lines they are likely to get, decrease rapidly. But as men get older and greyer, they’re likely to get MORE lines? In 2014, only 28% of characters in the 100 top-grossing movies were female. Only 21 of those movies featured a female lead or co-lead and none of those films had a female lead over the age of 45. At least with The Heat that sexism has been flipped on its head. No one is going to tell Melissa McCarthy she can’t speak! This is a film comedy for the girls!
The Heat is from director Paul Frieg, who has pioneered strong and funny lead female roles in movies and television, from his most recent movie Spy, Bad Teacher, and the outrageous Bridesmaids, and in TV series such as Nurse Jackie, Arrested Development and Weeds. He seems to understand what makes women laugh and would certainly skew the above statistics. But that aside when it comes to comedy we don’t care who gets the lines just as long as it’s funny. Melissa McCarthy is the hot female comedy ticket right now.
• Sandra Bullock as Special Agent Sarah Ashburn
• Melissa McCarthy as Detective Shannon Mullins, Boston Police Department
• Demián Bichir as Hale
• Marlon Wayans as Special Agent Levy
• Michael Rapaport as Jason Mullins
• Jane Curtin as Mrs. Mullins
• Dan Bakkedahl as Special Agent Garrett Craig, DEA
• Taran Killam as Special Agent Adam, DEA/ Simon Larkin
• Michael McDonald as Julian Vincent
• Spoken Reasons as Rojas
• Tom Wilson as Captain Woods
• Adam Ray as Hank LeSoire
• Tony Hale as The John
• Kaitlin Olson as Tatiana Krumula
• Joey McIntyre as Peter Mullins
• Michael B. Tucci as Mr. Mullins
• Bill Burr as Mark Mullins
• Nathan Corddry as Michael Mullins
Special Agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) of the New York FBI office is pushing for promotion at HQ. She is so good at her job but nobody else likes her, a somewhat aloof and condescending character. Her boss, Special Agent Garrett Craig (Dan Bakkedahl), has also had enough of her pestering for the promotion and decides to send her on a drugs case in Boston to prove herself, where she needs to break up a gang supplying drugs; a dude called Rojas (Spoken Reasons) her first lead.
After interviewing Rojas at the Boston Police Department, it turns out local - and foul mouthed - Detective Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) is also working on the same case and doesn’t like uptight FBI Agents steeling her suspects. This is going to get ugly. Ashburn does everything by the book whereas Mullins uses her unique and violent method of getting perps to talk. But to get the job done they will need to work together and try and find some common ground to crack the drug gang. If Ashburn can loosen up a little and deploy some of Mullins more down to earth techniques in keeping with the neighborhood to get results then they may just get on. But is she doesn’t then Mullins will end up putting her head through a window.
So is it funny? In parts I did chuckle and some of the visual gags were quite cute whilst others were to be expected in this type of buddy good cop, bad cop scenario. Other parts were just too obnoxious and loud and when Melissa McCarthy does her over-the-top vulgar characters she can be too much. I must admit I struggle with aggressive fat feminist females at the best of the times and so don’t want too much of that in a movie. McCarthy really took the fourth star away from Bridesmaids for me with that full on crude potty mouth assault with her obtuse character. I thought she was much better in Spy, the recent Bond spoof that is well worth watching. But she is one of the best female comics around right now.
Sandra Bullock, on the other hand, can do pretty much anything she likes and won a somewhat undeserved Oscar for doing straight drama in The Blind Side, and then a flavor of the month Oscar nomination for the non stop special effect that is ‘Gravity’. This Heat is more the Miss Congeniality performance as Bullock does her quirky and wholesome comedy thing. She is not the most beautiful actress out there but does have that blue-collar girl next door appeal that draws a crowd and invites self-depreciating comedy. I wouldn’t say no. That foghorn voice can be annoying in romcoms though. Either way the chemistry contrast is pretty good between the two and they draw humor out of each other that keeps you entertained and onboard.
I must admit I did not think I would like this and so waited for it to come on TV to take it in. I felt it would be too much like Bridesmaids and that crass American ‘female humor’ thing and not for me, like when Joe Brand starts rattling on about Tampax and being fat and ugly. Hey, Joe, we know that already! Although I don’t get some of the lady in-jokes I’m sue the female audience will and so this more for them than me. As I pointed out in my opening paragraph there are few films made for women and that have good female leads, especially funny films, which this is. It’s not a comedy film you would watch again and again but one that you are glad you got some enjoyment from it by the end. It’s no Airplane but fun all the same. It did good money from its $43 million budget and the $229 million return suggested the girl’s night out crowd did indeed enjoy this.
Imdb.com – 6.6/10.0 (128,456votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 65% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 60% critic’s approval
Leonard Maltin Film Book – 3/4
The Mail – ‘McCarthy's an actress who needs a foil, and for now Bullock is more than good enough. I just wish these two had found each other 10 years ago’.
The Memphis Times –‘Director Paul Feig, whose Bridesmaids upended notions of what a raunchy ensemble comedy could be, does it again here with another genre’.
The Bostonian –‘For the first half hour I thought it was gearing up to be one of the worst movies I have ever seen, but eventually it grew on me’.
Film Comment Magazine –‘An all-female buddy cop movie that, for all its flaws, amounts to one of the ballsier attempts at the genre’.
The Reno Times –‘There's no getting away from the fact that The Heat is lightweight and derivative, but its formulas have been freshened just enough to make it fun. With Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock on board, that's enough.
The Movie Report –‘The sparks that fly between the two have that much more sting, thanks to the acidically hilarious banter and Bullock and McCarthy's complete, fearless abandon’.
The National –‘The relationship between McCarthy and Bullock is spot on and makes the film worth watching’.
Star – Jack O’Connell
Genre – Thriller
Run Time – 90 minutes
Certificate – 15
Country – U.K
Awards – 1 Win
Amazon – £4.00 DVD (Blue Ray £6.00)
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There was a moment where Jack O’Connell could well have been the next Danny Dyer. That moment was this movie, one of the silliest British films in recent years. You can quickly get typecast as the Cockney chav in British movies and so, rather unfairly, not seen as a talented actor. O’Connell, like Dyer, is the real deal and talks like the sink estate streets he came from. He has done some real ‘juve’ time and earned his spurs on those rough streets and why he is cast as the delinquent in his earlier movies. O’Connell is another ‘This is England’ Shane Meadows graduate and came to our movie attention as tracker wearing baseball capped thugs in films like Eden Lake, Harry Brown and then Starred up, his most celebrated movie yet. He was also very good in 71, about the British soldier lost in the Belfast rat runs of deadly streets in full solider uniform. He has the talent and maybe he now won’t be the next Danny Dyer, the best thing in Tower Block by far, a film he needs to bury. He is a kid with real menace and charisma.
Sheridan Smith ... Becky
Ralph Brown ... Neville
Russell Tovey ... Paul
Jack O'Connell ... Kurtis
Jill Baker ... Violet
Julie Graham ... Carol
Christopher Fulford ... Kevin
Kane Robinson ... Mark
Nabil Elouahabi ... Gary
Harry McEntire ... Daniel
Montserrat Lombard ... Jenny
Ralph Laurila ... Jimmy
Tony Jayawardena ... Eddie
Michael Legge ... Jeff
Jamie Thomas King ... Ryan
East London and 15-year-old Jimmy (Ralph Laurila) races through a grimy housing estate pleading with passersby for help. No one wants to get involved. He enters condemned Tower Block 31 and legs it up to the top floor, still pursued by men in masks. He bangs on doors for help as the men close in on him. The only person who tries to help him is admin worker Becky (Sheridan Smith), but she is kicked to the ground and sparked out as Jimmy is dragged away and kicked to death.
The next morning a Detective Constable Devlin (Steven Cree) conducts door-to-door enquiries about the previous night's murder, as the boy's body has been found in the dumpster. Nobody will speak to the cops here; not even Becky, who claims her injuries are the result of a mugging.
Three months later we learn the top floor of Tower Block 31 houses the last remaining residents waiting to be rehoused as developers have bought the plot and intend to turn it into penthouses for the rich. Some people don’t want to leave whilst others can’t afford to go anywhere else. The council doesn’t care and just want them out. Their problems are increased by local thug Kurtis (Jack O'Connell), who runs a protection racket on the remaining residents and intimidates them form his flat down the hall.
Becky wakes up with her one night stand Ryan (Jamie Thomas King) and seems fully recovered from her ordeal. But as Ryan opens her curtains a snipers bullet smashes into his head and splatters it around the flat. Similar shots immediately crackle across the south facing flats as more and more residents are killed by someone firing at them for unknown reasons. As the residents cower in the corridor and men and women sob and the injured and dead are dragged out they discover the internet and their cell phones are dead and they can’t call for help and likely to be picked off one-by-one.
Mature older resident Neville (Ralph Brown) tries to rally the troops as real fear takes hold, as it would, the residents finding it hard not to turn on Kurtis at the same time. The shooter is not discriminating, women and children dead in a pool of blood. But it’s unlikely hero Paul (Russell Tovey) who steps up and joins Becky in trying to plot away out of the tower bloc, Kurtis returning to his injured chav mates for comfort. But a building skip blocks off the exit on the ground floor and the fire escapes have been chained up ready for the demolition. The external stairways are in the smipers fire arc and so no way out. The lift shafts are their only chance but another surprise waiting in there. Whoever is shooting on them has planned it well. But why is he killing them and for what reason?
As I say its pretty silly stuff and when you find out who the sniper is you just throw your arms up in the air. At no point did director James Nunn and writer James Moran know how to end this movie. That aside they do manage to build adequate tension and some solid characters and you do go with it. It’s vey much a movie to watch after a few beers and a takeaway. Every Londoner is represented in the snipers eye line, a real line up of Little Britain characters, from the foul mouthed teen mom with bawling kids to the young black boys up to no good. As far as social comment goes on London’s ethnic melting pot packed into the tower blocks its somewhat lacking, apart from the fact that most working-class people are indeed being priced out of London.
If you can suspend your sense of disbelief that a screenwriter thinks a sniper, shooting up a downtown London tower block, is remotely plausible it’s an ok taught thriller film to go with. It also pulls off the neat trick of getting a 15 Certificate. Women and children get their brains blown out here. The director clearly has talent to make this work and probably low down on the list of directors who wanted to do this film but here it is and it is what it is and he has done the best he could have possibly done. It’s no Attack the Block or Harry Brown.
Its one of those movies Film4 run that gets poor ratings but strangely watchable. They do a lot of that. Well at least it doesn’t have subtitles. In fact this would work a lot better if it was set in the Asian Extreme world of Japanese’s cinema. If it does come on give it a go but don’t expect too much. You will enjoy the action and one or two scenes and who doesn’t love a bit of core blimey Cockney!
Imdb.com – 5.9/10.0 (3,872votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 50 % critic’s approval
Shadows on the Wall –‘Contains some effective jolts and engaging characters. But after setting up the premise, it doesn't really have anywhere to go. Kind of like the characters themselves’.
.Cinema Crazed –‘Though suspension of disbelief is a pre-requisite, [this] is a rather gripping thriller...’
Fan the Fire –‘Thanks to the muddled plot motivations Tower Block really struggles in the final third’.
The Mail –‘Gritty and claustrophobic, this British horror-thriller holds our interest with well-played characters rather than the wobbly plotting’
Birmingham Post –‘There are plenty of clichés, like lifts that don't work and a mysteriously disappearing phone signal. It's badly lit and rather grim, with far too many extreme close-ups’.
This is London –‘The film is efficiently made and more realist than some of its ilk, in that the desperate inhabitants seem credible. What it lacks is directorial flair’
Daily Express –‘The ending is a letdown but this is still a very promising debut from directors James Nunn and Ronnie Thompson’.
Although it’s a little early to start the cricket season it’s underway and so every self-respecting cricket writer and cricket fan needs a new pair of sunnies. Its very rare for a pair to the last year and the cheaper they are the quicker they break and the more expensive they are the more likely you are to lose them, people less keen to return brand name shades to lost property. And, let’s face it, like umbrellas; you can leave sunglasses just about anywhere. I once left mine on the stumps when the players were coming out. Cue red face as tannoy announces this embarrassing discovery.
In recent years I was buying a pair of generics for a tenner or so off Amazon and hoping for the best. Actual eye protection is not what you are buying as cheap shades can often offer better protection than very expensive ones. Those pound shop ones are often perfectly fine although it’s important to have a larger lens to block sun coming in to the eye from the sides. No, what you need to buy are sturdy and protective ones so they can survive falling on concrete and the floor. Anything under a tenner will almost certainly crack the cheap plastic lens or frames. Better brands have stronger lens but they often have a weak point around the little screw on the side that often works itself lose all the time.
So with that in mind I decided to spend a little more this year and buy a brand. I can get through three pairs a season so thirty quid for a pair, I hope, will be good value. I don’t like buying brands because they are often made in the third world with cheap labor but sometimes quality is important. I’m going for Nike because I got a big discount with an Amazon voucher and I like the wrap around sports sunglasses design and protection to the whole eye. I have more floaters in my eye than a Glastonbury portaloo on the Sunday night so don’t want anymore. Sun damage causes them.
They are black lens with grey body and a sturdy frame. I have already dropped them once but no damage, thankfully. It says Nike’s are shatterproof and so let’s hope so. They are polarized but give a crisp clear image. No sun glare or leakage. They fit snug behind the ear and no cubbyhole area around the nose that accumulate that horrid gunge of old skin and greasy stuff of your snozzer. Most guys look cooler and better looking in sunglasses and so that’s why most guys wear them and I am guilty of that too. But if you are out in the sun it’s a good idea to protect your eyes. It does damage them over time. My little brother thinks I am vain to wear sunglasses and he never will wear them. In fact I have noticed at cricket that men that don’t wear shorts ever, rarely wear sunglasses.
I paid £30 quid for them (RRP £45) and a fair price. Other brands nudge £100 and most of that cost purely because it’s a brand and then spent on advertising that brand to get that inflated price. I feel they are worth the value and you get a carry case and guarantee with them. Amazon are pretty good with returns and as long as the product is in good condition they will accept a return if you are not happy with the goods. I have noticed Amazon are now deducting the cost of return delivery costs for some returns, but not if its bust quickly or on delivery.
I am happy with the product and so far it’s doing the job although not much sun yet to keep out. I am a bit of a poser and will wear shades in the winter on a bright sunny day. They go well with aviator jackets. I would recommend these more for sporting use and being out in the sun than posing in town and they have good grip for actually playing sport. The lenses are not bifocal and if you do buy those bifocals beware as they can be very discombobulating and your vision ahead is magnified and your vision looking down is normal. They fold neatly back into the case and offer top end sun protection for UV rays. Remember, just because the lenses are dark it doesn’t mean they are protecting you.
A Battle Royale revenge for teacher!
Star – Hideake Ito
Genre – Psycho Drama
Run Time – 128 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – Japan
Awards – 3 Nominations
Amazon – £8.16 DVD (Blue Ray £9.74)
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Japanese director Takashi Mike makes some great movies and also makes some violent and sadistic ones, ‘Audition’ one you may have heard of. The scalpel and the eyeball scene will remain with me forever. He really is a class act behind the camera and acts, too, and if you enjoy Asian Extreme Cinema then you will know all about him. You may also have heard of 13 Assassins, Ichi the Killer, Gozu and the Dead or Alive trilogy. In most of those films blood squirts, pretty Japanese school girls whimper and heads roll. The Japanese are a sadistic and perverted bunch deep down and he drags it all out of them on screen to salivate all over again.
The film is an adaptation of Yusuke Kishi's Manga 2010 novel of the same name. The film contains many references to German culture, such as to Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther (I got that off wiki to fill this review out) and in the film a vinyl record with the German song about Mack the Knife written by Bertolt Brecht, played throughout. It’s a great sing and a big clue to our villain’s intent. These elements are violently forced together and we have Mikes signature Manga comic style on screen in a live action movie, as we have with many of his other films, memorably so with Ichi the Killer, and this one not for the feint hearted. Ito goes a bit too far down Sadistic Avenue.
• Hideaki Itō as Seiji Hasumi
• Takayuki Yamada as Tetsuro Shibahara
• Mitsuru Fukikoshi as Masanobu Tsurii
• Takehiro Hira as Takeki Kume
• Shōta Sometani as Keisuke Hayami
• Shun Miyazato as Naoki Isada
• Fumi Nikaido as Reika Katagiri
• Elina Mizuno as Miya Yasuhara
• Kento Hayashi as Masahiko Maejima
• Kenta as Masahiro Tadenuma
• Kodai Asaka as Yuichiro Nagoshi
• Jodi Lynn Smith as Suzanna Carter
Popular and handsome schoolteacher Seiji Hasumi (Hideaki Itō) is leading the way in the staffroom to try and tackle bullying and exam cheating in the school. He decides it would be a good idea to collect all the kid’s cell phones up in exams and bug the room to see which kids are organizing what, Hasumi getting lonely physics teacher Masanobu Tsurii (Mitsuru Fukikoshi) to set up a jammer in the hall to block cell phone signals.
The kids are none the wiser that their favorite teacher is on to them as Hasumi sets about using his own methods to correct and so control the school. But the group of kids that cheat and bully are not beaten yet and when a constant complaining parent about the bullying at school is mysteriously killed by a tragic accident involving fire and petrol the kids are under suspicion. Tsuri, on the other hand, is suspicious of Hasumi and meets the head bully of the school kids, Keisuke Hayami (Shōta Sometani) to pass on his concerns about their most popular teacher. It seems previous places where Hasumi has worked more people than usual have ended up dead or committed suicide.
Hasumi clearly has a dark side and started to date one of the pretty senior students, 16-year-old Masanobu Tsurii (Mitsuru Fukikoshi), who has a big crush on her teacher. But when another kid witnesses their embrace and kiss on the roof it sets off events that can not be stopped as the schools most popular teacher is anything but behind that veneer, and, in fact, a sociopath as he decides to make sure word doesn’t get around about his sexual behavior and his violent past as the kids get picked off one-by-one as the school Halloween party nears.
What starts out as a rather mundane and bloated movie eventually ends up quite sick and sadistic. Its uncomfortable viewing and you do wonder if the director is enjoying the extreme violence he is creating on screen and maybe rather too much of the audience is, to. Imagine a Battle Royale style revenge for teacher and you are in the right ballpark. It really is harrowing sick stuff for the finale and it does make you feel uncomfortable. I know there is a sadistic side to Takeshi Mike but this was a little too much. Be interesting to see what our well known Akira/Manga writer here feels about it. Should those adult comic books stay comic books?
The political side to it doesn’t come through and the back story and flashback sequences just drag it out even more. The first hour is painfully slow. What is noticeable is just how good looking the cast are and male star ‘Hideake Ito’ as the teacher a beautiful looking chap. The schoolgirls are unhealthy cute too in their shortish skirts and only the older teachers plain in anyway. I know Japan has this schoolgirl fantasy thing where old and middle men go to cuddle girls dressed as dolls and that comes through here.
The subtitles are not too bad but the pure length of the movie at nearly two-and-a-half-hours will scare most of you away. I nearly gave up on it and did fast forward on x2 to get to the bots of this movie that helped it get such good ratings across the internet. I can’t say I enjoyed it much because I don’t think it’s as smart as it makes out and really just a vehicle to deliver the sick massacre idea. It’s well acted and stuff with some good writing but its genre crunching approach and sadistic edge will alienate many. If you love what you do about Manga and Akira comics then you will love this as this is your thing but for me it just went one step too far in the last half-hour.
Imdb.com – 6.7/10.0 (3,324votes)
The Guardian –‘A crazy adult cartoon, marked in equal parts by genuine tabu-busting horror, sheer excess, & an unnerving sense of fun - but the fact that Hasumi honed his cutthroat skills on a business degree... lends his psychopathic behaviour a political edge’.
The NY Post –‘A hard drink to swallow, but it's a vicious horror film with Miike's resonant visual punch’
Variety – "nothing more than a slick slasher pic. Even were the memory of the Breivik massacre, among others, not so fresh, there’s something deeply unseemly about turning a high-school bloodbath into an adrenaline-pumping pleasure ride."[
The Mail-‘"Overlong and incoherent" and "sadly more bore than gore". "It's just too silly to lay a claim to any philosophy, even nihilism."
Star – Russell Crowe
Genre – Drama
Run Time – 113 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Awards – 12 Wins & 12 Nominations
Amazon – £5.00 DVD (Blue Ray £7.00)
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As you know we are getting to the end of the rental movie season as spring grinds and crunches through the gears and the same cogs open the curtains and we try to enjoy the warmer longer days that keep us away from the TV. Because its April you are down to the newish movies to rent that you have left until last as you are not quite sure about them, The Water Diviner very much in that ballpark. You know it’s going to be nearer 3/5 than the preferred 4/5 (when a rental feels justified) and so you leave it until another week. I think most of you who research and then rent a film have a list you are intent on seeing and almost agitated if you don’t. I’m a bit OCD that way. Once I have done The Theory of Everything I will be officially up to date!
It’s Russell Crowes directorial debut and centered on the time just after the Battle of Gallipoli that saw 8,000 Australian and 28,000 British troops alongside 70,000 Turkish resistance fighters die in battles for this part of Turkey during the Great War, the area the gateway to Russia and the Black Sea from the Mediterranean. Gallipoli began the 1915-16 invasion of Turkey during World War One. If the mostly Anzac troops had taken the beach and hill forts a lot quicker a lot of lives would have been saved but trenches were dug in and it became attritional as both sides mortared each other to bits. It was controversial at the time as it forced the Commonwealth troops to retreat back to Egypt and the Australians felt they were given the tougher job to do at the beachhead as they felt they were more expendable that the elite British troops. The Aussie and NZ troops (ANZACS) were volunteers and had no real reason to be there other than they wanted to prove themselves as a nation. But the British fighting alongside still lost four times as many troops. Apparently, Wherever the Oscar winning Russell Crowe is in the world, the pseudo Aussie (he is from NZ) goes out of his way to attend the yearly dawn service held on April 25 to commemorate those who lost their lives on Anzac Cove on that day in 1916. Not surprisingly, when he first read the script, he instantly visualized the entire story in his head, the bulk of it based on a true story. Gallipoli defines Australia as a nation.
Russell Crowe ... Joshua Connor
Olga Kurylenko ... Ayshe
Yilmaz Erdogan ... Major Hasan
Cem Yilmaz ... Sgt. Jemal
Jai Courtney ... Lt Colonel Hughes
Dylan Georgiades ... Orhan
Steve Bastoni ... Omer
Isabel Lucas ... Natalia
Salih Kalyon ... Dr. Ibrahim
Megan Gale ... Fatma
Ryan Corr ... Art
James Fraser ... Edward
Ben O'Toole ... Henry
Jacqueline McKenzie ... Eliza
Its 1919 and the Great War is over. Back in Australia sheep farmer Joshua Connor (Russell Crowe) has just used his unique water divining skills to find water in the scorching Gibson Desert so to dig another well to water his cattle. But he and his pretty wife Eliza (Jacqueline McKenzie) are hiding a terrible secret. Their three sons are presumed dead at Gallipoli and three years on no bodies to bury back in their small home two in Australia. Eliza blames Joshua and can’t take it no more and kills herself in the waterhole. When the local Catholic Priest refuses to bury Eliza because she committed suicide it’s too much for Joshua and he decides to set out to Turkey to bring his boys home.
Pitching up in Istanbul he is tricked into staying at a hotel by a cheeky young boy touting for tourists, Orhan (Dylan Georgiades). The owner is the boys beautiful widowed wife Ayshe (Olga Kurylenko), her husband killed in the same war. The two have a lot in common although she is reticent at first to welcome the man from Australia whose sons shot at her people. But Turkey has lost the war and the Ottoman capital at relative peace now. When Ayshe finds out why Connor is here she softens her hostility towards him and offers ideas how to get to Gallipoli. The British Army won’t give him a permit to the region and tell him to go home. But Connor is here to find his sons and bloody well will as he jumps on a train and then a fishing boat and eventually arrives on the beach, the commanding office, Lt Colonel Hughes (Jai Courtney), not too pleased to see him and letting him not that but eventually gives in and lets Connor help the search for his boys, the Army trying to archive and put a name to the bones in the battlefield to send the dead boys back home.
Connors diving skills come in handy and he located two of this three sons. He begrudgingly befriends a Turkish officer, Major Hasan (Yilmaz Erdogan), helping to archive the Turkish dead and hears that his son may not have died at Gallipoli and taken to a prison camp. Hope has filled Conner’s heart as the two men set off to see if the young man is still alive. For the beautiful Ayesha she is duty bound to marry her dead husbands brother Omer (Steve Bastoni) and not happy to see the handsome Australian leave.
Lt-Col Cyril Hughes: What were you doing before the war?
Major Hasan: This is Ottoman Empire, there is no such a thing as before the war here. But in another life I was an architect.
Although beautifully shot and well directed by Crowe, not a lot of the true story is left and so this ends up more a melodramatic wartime drama than a poignant story about father and son, what the book this was centered on. With searing orchestral music and rather forced battle scenes at times Crowe is determined to flood his film visually with Turkey and its icons. We get the perfunctory visit to the Blue Mosque and plenty of Turkish and Aussie clichés, from Fez’s and snake charmers to Crowe even getting game of cricket into his movie. In the credits, Russell Crowe congratulates the South Sydney Rabbitohs on their 21st Premiership, the Australian Rugby League team which Crowe co-owns. He also rode his own horse Honey in the movie. The irony is that Crowe is actually from New Zeeland, the cousin of NZ cricketer Martin Crowe, who died of cancer recently.
This didn’t do great in the box office and returned just $30 million from its $22.5 million budget, a lot of that loss on Crowes bank balance. As expected, what an actor-turned-director like Crowe can do is pull strong performances out of his cast and so solid enough there. But you always feel the movie on the screen could have been stronger if it was cut less dramatic and more poignant with the father and son thing. Crowe is good in the lead but strikes me as an actor who has had his day and doesn’t really care and quite a bit chunkier these days.
As I said before it’s more three star than four stars out of five and perhaps one to wait until it comes on the TV at Christmas. It’s that kind of old fashioned movie. The subject matter of Gallipoli and of what went politically and strategically wrong is surprisingly not explored in the film and Crowe determined to write his boys as neither winners nor losers. Even today Aussies feel we Brits let them down but all we did was show them the reality and utter waste of war and they lost huge numbers of men as we did. I think the Mel Gibson film was also guilty of pushing that propaganda too.
Imdb.com – 7.1/10.0 (50,235votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 63% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 50% critic’s approval
Leonard Maltin Film Book –
Blue Ray is a good choice for this one as the film is strikingly colorful and loud and the extra few quid adds to the experience. It would look good on widescreen and looked great on my 32 inch Smart TV. There are not many extras on the Blue Ray disc.
-The Making of ‘The Water Diviner’-
Standard behind the scenes stuff,
South China Morning Herald –‘The preposterousness of [the story] is offset by Crowe's powerful depiction of the horrors of war for both the Australians and Turks’.
The Film Stage –‘[This is] for the tiresome cynics who think that many films aren't about anything anymore, and would rather a film be definitively about something, than any good overall’.
Movie Talk –‘Russell Crowe's well crafted if tonally uneven historical drama... [is] sometimes stirring, sometimes sentimental and sometimes far-fetched’.
The Mail –‘Russell Crowe's command as a debut director may not be as strong as Clooney's was, but The Water Diviner is a very sincere, inspired-by-true-events effort filled with compassionate performances’.
Seattle Weekly –‘The Water Diviner feels almost too careful in its desire to hit all the right notes and do justice to all sides. Which makes it more of a war memorial than a living, breathing movie’.