December, 2002

The Remix

I’ve just been listening to my Wavefinder’s recording of last Friday’s Remix, and it’s fantastic. Loads of great tracks that at some point I’ll pull apart and make into audio of. Maybe tomorrow at work!!!

Sweet Home Alabama

I’m not sure why I went to see this. I do think that Reece Witherspoon is an excellent actress, and if Election is cheap on DVD I’ll get hold of a copy. Aside from the fact that I had a voucher to get me in free which expires tomorrow, the reason was this review from Philip French of The Observer. I am of course already tracking down a copy of Pursuits of Happiness. Any reference to the classic screwball comedies from the Hollywood of yesterday is probably enough to make me check it out.
So this is overlong, and not nearly as full of one-liners as those films were, but not as bad as it could have been. Oh dear – that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement is it. I guess I thought that the Alabama characters were just a little bit too forgiving after Witherspoon’s character was well and truly foul to them. And a few more gags along the way would have been welcome. The sheriff was the only really funny character and more of him would have been welcome.

Stamboul Train

Well I did promise myself that I’d read more, or indeed all, of Graham Greene’s oeuvre this year. Stamboul Train is one his earlier works – 1932 off the top of my head – and takes an interesting third person stance, following the fortunes of a number of passengers aboard the Orient Express. Not quite as good as some of his later stuff, but enjoyable all the same. I note that Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express was published two years later.

One Step Behind

The latest in the Kurt Wallender series by Henning Mankell was recently published in English in the UK, and I love these books. The trouble is that I came to them late, and was able to lap them up until now. They were published out of sequence, but we’re back on track, but sadly some years behind the original publication dates. There is an American edition of Firewall available, but do I wait for the Harvill version?
More of the same with a particularly nasty killer choosing seemingly random targets, and a policeman’s death to kick start the investigation. The atmosphere is wonderful, and I’m addicted.

The Two Towers

Well I wasn’t nearly as quick off the mark seeing this as I was The Fellowship of the Ring last year which I saw at about 11.00am on the opening day. And this, after I waited a year to see it!
Was the wait worth it? It most certainly was. This is epic cinema at it’s finest. Massive armies participating in believable battles. And finally a computer generated character you can believe in.
This was always going to be a tricky film, since there are three stories at a time that have to be told, with very little interweaving of them, so there’s a lot of jumping around. But it works, and you wouldn’t know that the film was three hours. It could easily be longer – particularly the sections with Frodo and Sam.
I am now looking forward to the final part with massive impatience. Indeed, even the normal DVD will no doubt not be ready until August, so more trips to the cinema are in order. I must see it at the Odeon Leicester Square.

Our Man In Havana

I promised recently that I was going to read more Graham Greene, so this was the obvious next title. Obvious, because I managed to not get around to reading it before visiting Cuba last year.
Reading it, I found it very familiar but from long enough ago, that I’d forgotten the ending. Later, on returning from France where I read it, I found that the familiarity was not from the film, but because I read it a while ago, and managed to find a second copy – not the first time this has happened.
I love the way Greene takes a the desperately dull Wormold, and develops him. The latter part of the book is especially funny, and the spy background seems scarily accurate. Now what Greene should I read next?

Dance Dance Dance

I bought this on a total whim a while ago, and my recent few days in a wet and soggy Cote D’Azur afforded me a chance to read it. Haruki Murakami seems to be quite a popular author in Japan, and on this reading, I’m going to have to investigate some of his other work that’s been translated – there are a few books available.
I don’t know where to begin with this, except to say, that it’s the literary brother a David Lynch film – Lost Highway, Mulholland Dr. or Twin Peaks. Set in a well described early eighties, it takes a cynical look at the world around us, and in particular the expense account.
Well worth checking out.

French DVD Magazines

So why can the French produce a nice DVD magazine for only �7.50 (just under �5) that has a full film on the cover, while we can’t? I just bought a recent issue of the said magazine that featured the full version of A Simple Plan. Bargain!