The summer blockbuster season, new directions and the genius of Tobias Funke

Hello again,

Apologises for the gap between posts, I only recently checked my last post and saw it was way back in July.

So what have I been doing? Well its been a lean few weeks so I have been attempting to keep busy applying for jobs, and of course a bit of writing on the side.

Now the rainy weather has set in, I think its official to say that summer is over, and so is the movie blockbuster season.

I did manage to get to a few of them though (I think the only one of note I missed was Inception), The Expendables, Piranha 3D, The A Team, Toy Story 3, oh I missed Shrek 4 as well. No matter I will wait for the DVD.

Firstly the Expendables an action packed, 80s throwback with a fairly simple plot, in short the film does what it says on the tin with a suprising lack of CGI. Although watching Sly trying to run and jump on a plane in one scene was quite laughable as it looked like he was treading water, surely he could of got a stuntman for that?

Piranha 3D was just a fun rollercoaster ride of a film, it does actually have a plot, but credit to director Alexandre Aja (of the superb Hills Have Eyes remake) he knows his audience and by putting Brit Kelly Brook as part of the cast, he knows what they want to see.

Added to this possibly one of the most violent, bloody and gore films of the last decade hands done, and you have theĀ makings of what could become a cult classic. Being the horror geek I am, I did watch the old 1978 Piranha just as a reference point, suffice to say besides the piranha’s appearance the films have little in common.

One scene which was played out very cleverly by Aja was the opening sequence featuring legendary actor Richard Dreyfuss, coincidentally humming the same song from Jaws he and Quint sung whilst hunting ‘Bruce’, before being ‘taken out’ shall we say.

I have also been looking for some new TV shows to watch recently as I felt my current crop were getting slightly repetitive, so I took a chance on a now cancelled US sitcom Arrested Development. My friend had told me about it ages ago when it was still on the air but I decided against it, but I have to say how wrong I was, what a show! It is one of the most original and at times bizarre comedies I have ever watched.

Everyone has a favourite character and mine had to be Tobias Funke a former doctor turned actor who is married into the Bluth family by one of the daughters to spite her father. I cannot recommend it highly enough, the DVDs are quite cheap now so give it a whirl you will not be disappointed.

Also the third season of True Blood has just finished rather bizarrely, I have to say at times the season did reached bigger heights than the previous season but ended with a lot of questions to be answered.

Book wise I have also had a mixed back recently, I am currently making my way through Doug Bradley’s (of Pinhead fame in the Hellraiser series) book about horror actors dating back from the 1900s to the present day with Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees.

It has been an interesting read with many little known facts about the people who played these roles, there is a couple of superb sections chronicling the heights of the Hammer Horror days.

Other wise its been music, music, music as I have got through biographies of Bernard Sumner (very disjointed), The Stone Roses (the Mick Middles effort offers nothing fresh to the book by John Robb), Shaun Ryder (mildly entertaining but again not a patch on a previous book I had read on him).

The most compelling was David Nolan’s biography of Tony Wilson, chronicling the rise and fall of Joy Division, Factory Records and Tony’s battle with cancer which he unfortunately lost in 2007. Wilson is a fascinating character and one I would have loved to have met during his halycon days in the 80s, he was also depicted so cleverly by Steve Coogan in 24 Hour Party People (probably Coogan’s finest role).

This also inspired in sorts to watch the Ian Curtis biopic Control directed by Anton Corbjin, who had also previously directed many Depeche Mode videos as well as their release ‘Devotional’ which showcased their high point in my eyes, ‘Songs of Faith and Devotion’, despite Dave Gahan’s drug addiction at the time.

‘Control’ is played out very well, shot in black and white, and gives you a real insight into the psyche of Curtis, who was a very complex character at the best of times. It is based on his widow Deborah’s book ‘Touching from a distance’, which I will admit to having bought a few years back and subsequently giving away after not finding time to read it. I wish I had kept it now, and may re-purchase if it half as good a read as the film was a visual spectacle. Just watch it is my advice, a great piece of cinema.

On the writing side I havebeen doing my usual bits for The Sentinel as the Non-League campaign kicked back in again, unfortunately I did witness my first serious injury at a game a couple of weeks back, as one of the Kidsgrove players broke his leg in a 50-50 challenge with a Biddulph player. I have to say the snap was horrific, and heard right round the ground, luckily I’m told it was clean break and he should make a recovery in time.

I have also started doing television programme reviews for Lastbroadcast.co.uk, after sending them a speculative e-mail a while back. My review for Lost Season 6 should be up soon, but heres the link to my review of Supernatural Season 5:

http://www.lastbroadcast.co.uk/cult/dvd-reviews/v/14604-supernatural-season-5.html

Music wise I caught a listen to the new Manic Street Preachers album the other day, and I have to say I was bitterly disappointed, it was so generic and repetitive I expected more from them.

I did manage to pick up a gem though in the shape of Sly and the Family Stone a funk band from 70s who have a superb collection of tunes, some great rhythms and I’m sure most people have heard ‘Dance to the Music’ before.

Me and my brother also booked up last week for the November 13th ‘Best of Enemies’ clash between David Haye and Audley Harrison at the MEN Arena in Manchester. After watching both simultaneously in two weeks in April I am hoping for a classic, but it does look ridiculously one-sided in Haye’s favour, the most extreme optimist can only give Audley a punchers chance at best.

The press conference to announce the fight last week though was comedy gold, as they just laid into each other like children on the playground, I think its available on youtube if you search for it.

I also returned to Staffs University last week for a meeting with Malcolm Henson of Henson Editorial Services to discuss a night class I may be started at the end of the month to learn how to Index, Sub-Edit and Proof Read and hopefully get myself some freelance work at the end of it.

This is mainly concerned with books rather than articles, but Mr. Henson has told me that I can be used in other areas maybe using Quark Express or shorthand. I have another meeting tomorrow afternoon to see the basics of Indexing and see if it is my cup of tea, and we will go from there. I have always thought I may get into books maybe later on but as opportunities are at a premium why not give it a whirl now.

I think that about covers it for now, I will update much sooner in the future.

Paul.

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