Sunday, 10 May 2009


Okay, so after seeing JJ Abrahm's work on Star Trek, I took a look at Fringe, which is pretty interesting, and I like alot of the characters. However it does feel a bit XFiles remake, and I some of the plot threads seemed a little thin, e.g. [spoiler alert] the older scientist saying that he invented a time machine to go back in time to find another scientist who had invented a cure for a disease his son had. I mean I have no problem with time machines in stories, but the idea that it would be easier to construct a time machine that to actually find a cure for a particular disease seems preposterous to me. I mean maybe if you have spent your life as a theoretical physicist and have no medical training, but even then, just to start down that path of trying to build a time machine to try and get round the problem of curing a disease.

Well, anyhow, I guess that is all debatable, but then at the end of another episode [spoiler alert] when a key witness asks to be moved and protected to avoid being killed, but then ends up being killed in apparently the same hospital bed just seems a kind of ridiculous. I mean I guess that's incompetence on the part of the homeland security officials the show is about, but it was just something that broke the suspension of disbelief that I think is critical to enjoy shows like these. I've talked about this before in my technical blog, and it is definitely something on my mind at the moment. Legend of the Seeker has certainly broken my suspension of disbelief recently, but that is a story for another blog post.

Yes Man

So I had put off watching this because I kind of felt like, well I have seen lots of Jim Carrey films, and although I thought them hysterically funny when I was in my 20s, it was a bit like, well been there, done that. However a week or so later when my wife said she'd be interested to see it, I grabbed it as movies we are both prepared to watch are relatively few and far between.

And I really enjoyed it. Carrey is starting to look a little older, which is kind of oddly noticeable given the younger actors and actresses he is appearing with, but he is still damned funny. Also, I really liked the premise of the movie about forcing yourself to try out lots of new things. Of course my wife and I both agreed that this becomes much more challenging when you have children, especially babies around. I gave us a positive spin on that by saying that she and I had done our new things in our twenties such as travelling to new countries, learning languages and marrying each other, so it wasn't like we are stuck somewhere watching DVDs every night - we watch about one a week, and now with three kids there is not a lot of space for radically new things.

That said I think I am gasping for new stuff. Or just anything to distract me from the grind of washing, feeding and caring for 3 boys under 5. We're blessed, but it is a grind. Anyhow, Yes Man was fun, and at heart quite a touching love story with lots of laughs, perfect for my wife and I once the kids had gone to bed :-)

The Deal

So inspired by watching Frost/Nixon I picked up a copy of The Deal, the "prequel" to The Queen as it is branded in the US. Not really in the league of "The Queen" or Frost/Nixon, but still interesting, particularly since as a UK citizen I was in the UK for the whole time of the events in the film. After Blair was elected I always remember reading in the Guardian that the interaction to watch in the coming years would be the Blair/Brown one rather than a Blair plus Conservative opposition leader. I always thought that a little odd. I think just that I didn't really get the idea of conflict over the leadership position within a party - I had just been very focused on the party vs party conflict of Labour vs. Conservatives during the years that I became aware of UK politics.

Anyway, the film was pretty good (especially the interspersed historical news footage) and really put me in touch with the concept of fighting over the leadership of a political party. How politicians will start off being small and unimportant and work their way up to positions of power. Of course many will not make it to the "top job", and so the superficial take that this ascent to power is the process that all politicians go through is just that. And of course it is all very interesting given Blair's abdication the other year, and the difficulties that Brown has had since becoming prime minister. Certainly a thought-provoking film and I will definitely watch the third part in the trilogy that is apparently being made about the Clinton-Blair relationship.

Its odd how mundane and boring low level political activity seems, to me at least, and how once it gets above a certain level appears to be of earth shaking importance; although I wonder to what extent governments really affect how the economy works. I guess they must have an influence due to the tax revenues they control, but I wonder if they ever achieve their intended effects, if organisations comprised of multiple individuals can actually have 'intentions'.

Saturday, 2 May 2009


So I watched the Frost/Nixon film last weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The recreation of the 70's locations and costumes was very convincing; and the whole interview as boxing match metaphor worked really well for me.  Partly as a result of watching this I've grabbed a copy of "The Deal", some of Michael Sheen's early work.  I was quite moved by Sheen's portrayal of David Frost, particularly in those moments when it seemed like the big undertaking of the Nixon interviews was all falling apart.  I was also startled to find that Michael Sheen played the lycanthrope Lucian in the Underworld series, as I totally hadn't recognized him.