ALIENS TO ZOO: MY WEEK’S REVIEW BY PAUL LAIGHT
As cockney comedian Micky Flanagan might say I’ve been DOUBLE BUSY this week from a cultural point of view. So rather write a lengthy movie review I thought I’d treat my fan (you know who you are) to a quick rundown of all the fun stuff I’ve been up to, watched, listened to and experienced this week.
As a massive fan of the Scottish actor Peter Capaldi I really want to watch the new series of Doctor Who! However I am bound by my rules of not watching any episodes of long-running dramas or comedies out of linear order. Thus, I have had a massive catch-up in the last month from David Tennant’s Doctor onwards. Some brilliant episodes include The Idiot Lantern, Satan’s Pit, Gridlock, Blink and many more full of fantastical sci-fi ideas with Tennant performing miracles as everyone’s favourite Timelord. Ironically, Capaldi pops up in The Fires of Pompeii and I can’t wait for his tenure in the TARDIS once I’ve got through Matt Smith’s two seasons.
SIN CITY – A DAME TO KILL FOR (2014) – MOVIE REVIEW
Roberto Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s sequel to the mind-blowing violent-noir-comic-book-digital-backlot-splatterfest SIN CITY (2005) was eagerly anticipated by myself. Yeah, I’m a sucker for hard-boiled Chandleresque dialogue, femme fatales, knuckle-headed masculine losers and bone-crunching, bloody violence. Like the previous incarnation A DAME TO KILL FOR has some fantastic imagery and eye-popping brutality amidst the side-alleys, mean streets and smoky bars of Basin City.
Yet, overall I felt a strange sense of disappointment combined with negative deja vu while watching the film. The first film was so memorable any sequel had to be bigger and more explosive but while a fine watch it was not as good as the first one. . The cast are fantastic though notably the gorgeous Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Mickey Rourke as Marv – the maniac-with-a-heart. The stories never quite take flight as they did in the first film and I’ll be honest the perpetual voice-over kind of ground me down. Still, if you’re a fan of the original there is enough in there to satisfy Noir addicts everywhere.
On Sunday me and the son and heir Rhys went to Whipsnade Zoo for the day. It’s a lovely place full of animals obviously with a wonderful walk round of about 3 miles. What I love about the place is the animals have loads of room to roam and it’s far more spacious than the claustrophobic London Zoo. It’s not too expensive either so recommended for all the family.
I am deeply ashamed to admit that I only watched the first couple of these when it was first aired many moons ago. However, I have finally caught up again with this sensational WW2 drama this week. The mini-serial covers the harrowing exploits of Easy Company — of the US Airborne — and their various campaigns including: D-Day, Operation Market Garden and The Battle of the Bulge. It is high-end quality television par excellence with a massive cast and budget to boot! The horrors of war that Spielberg and his team presented so viscerally in Saving Private Ryan (1998) are also represented here with savage aplomb as we empathise with these gallant men fighting for freedom against the Germans in grisly and murderous conflict.
TOTTENHAM F.C. v AEL LIMASSOL (3-0 – WHITE HART LANE)
On Thursday evening I was at White Hart Lane to watch the mighty Spurs dominate possession and put three goals past their Cypriot rivals, and in the process, go through to the Europa League group stage. I hadn’t been to the football in a few years and enjoyed the experience very much. The White Hart Lane pitch looked stunning as Kane, Paulinho and Townsend (penalty) scored the goals that put Limassol to the sword.
At times it was like a training game really but I was impressed with Harry Kane upfront – despite his penalty miss – and Brazilian midfielder Paulinho. Plus, the philosophy Mauricio Pochettino seems to be promoting is a passing, possession game involving patience and interchangeability of the three behind the striker. So, despite the lack of quality of the opposition I was pleased with the result and now look forward to watching Spurs on ITV4 as they travel the 10,000 mile journey to Outer Mongolia in the Group Stages.
WITHOUT FAIL (a JACK REACHER NOVEL) by LEE CHILD
I finally finished reading a book that I started on holiday in July. It’s a Jack Reacher novel of which I understand there are many. It was a very well plotted and designed thriller which pits an off-the grid-ex-military-anti-heroic-hard-nut on various missions against bad people. In this case a mysterious assassin who wants to kill the Vice-President for some unknown reason. It’s a very long book of around 550 pages and I felt it could have been pruned here or there and while I didn’t really care too much about the Vice President, I empathised with his team of agents charged with guarding him. Reacher is a military expert and it’s his intelligence, steel and mettle which makes the story interesting. In my opinion the novel gets slightly bogged down in police/FBI/CIA procedure but it’s very well written with some excellent twists and as potboilers go it is worth a read. Reacher’s no Bond though; give me Ian Fleming’s lean, sinewy writing any day of the week.
KASABIAN – 48:13 – ALBUM REVIEW
I don’t listen to too much “new” music these days and have somewhat lost touch with the up and coming rock and roll bands of this millennium. However, one band whose albums I always look forward to are Leicester’s neo-wave-electro-rockers KASABIAN. Their new album is another triumph of rocking beats, hefty basslines, rich synths and nonsense urban-meets-Lewis-Carroll-style lyrics. Covering very similar ground to their last record VELOCIRAPTOR this is a great party album which will no doubt work very well in movie soundtracks and in the big arena’s Kasabian are now playing in. They don’t have much to say politically and could be argued to be style-over-substance but what a style they have! Serge Pizzorno knows how to write a cracking tune and he more than proves that once again with tracks like: Stevie, Eez-Eh, Bow, Bumblebee etc…