September 15th, 2007


The Queen

This is a fictionalised account of life in Buck House in the week after DIana's death, just after Tony Blair first takes office.

My overall feeling was, and so what? Helen Mirren does a good job of portraying a sovereign discovering that, after fifty years, she's suddenly lost touch with her subjects. Serial bad guy James Crowmwell makes Philip mildly amusing, and at least looks vaguely like him, unlike Alex Jennings as Charles and Michael Sheen as tony Blair. Blair, incidentally, is portrayed as a saint, and Alistair Campbell as a thug. But the problem with this film is that it's a very sight story. It's not like Her Maj was likely to be massacred in a storming of the palace; she got bad press, then better press. That's about it.

The portrayals didn't engender much sympathy, either - the only people in the Royal Family I've felt sorry for over Diana are her two sons, and neither of them get a line in this.

Despite all this, it was nominated for Best Film at the Academy Awards. Hmm. One can't help feeling that that's the U.S. Disney-esque fondness for the British Royal Family at work, there.

Personally, I think this film would have been much better if Spitting Image had made it.
  • Current Mood
    bored Bleah
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John Tucker Must Die

I got this film because I thought it'd be a different take on the US High School Movie. Four "popular" girls - Cheerleader Ashanti, media type Arielle Kebbel and, well, tramp Sophia Bush discover they're all dating the same eponymous Tucker, basketball captain. Together with new girl Brittany Snow they plot to destroy him, in revenge. In one respect, it's very much Mean Girls ("nice" new girl falls in with bitches, and starts acting like them to be popular), but this is closer to the usual Les Liaisons Dangereuses retoolings, only without the bet.

The girls do increasingly reckless things to make Tucker unpopular, and he manages to respin events to restore his image (which is the most imaginative part of the film). The rest of the time, it trundles along ruts, and is creakily unconvincing because of it. The most entertaining part was trying to work out where we'd seen Kebbel before - I thought she reminded me of Isabel in Roswell, but that was Katherine Heigl, so no.
  • Current Mood
    disappointed disappointed
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16 Blocks

Hey, it's a Richard Donner movie starring Bruce Willis!

This turned out to be quite good. Willis plays a washed-up, alcoholic, exhausted Detective, who is asked to escort Mos Def down the street to the court house to testify. It's just past 8am, and he has to be there before court closes at 10am. So, nicely real-timey, then. Turns out that Def's supposed to testify against a bucket-load of Willis's collegues, including David Morse, and (as we know he would) Willis does the surprising, unexpected, Right Thing, and so find himself chased by his own force, protecting a criminal.

Willis's character starts off out of breath, and pretty much stays that way - this doesn't suddenly give him superhuman strength and allow him to go eighteen rounds with some huge bruiser.  There's a nice sense of despair about the whole thing. Def's far too nice, but since he's firmly in the Good Guy role here (despite being a criminal), I suppose we'll let that go. I even managed to put up with his naselly voice throughout.

Morse made a great Villain, just creepy enough, and Willis always does a good job. Could have done without Willis's mustache, though.
  • Current Mood
    pleased pleased
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iPod Touch

I gather the new iPods have WiFi. I'll be interested to see what they use it for. A couple of years ago I mailed Cringely to suggest that wireless - specifically BlueTooth was what iPods were missing. And not, as you'd think, for transferring songs between them.

The problem with a personal music player, I mused, was that the player's personal, but music is a social construct. I suggested that BlueTooth would be ideal for synchronising - rather than synching - the iPods, so that they could play the same song at the same time. You'd have to install the same songs yourselves, but then all of your [insert trendy phrase for a group of cool kids] could be dancing, listening, etc. to the same thing.

All it required on the software side was a means of hashing the tracks so that they'd be identifiable, so that you can then transmit the ID and synchronisation keys. And once you've got that ID, it becomes much easier to identify chunks of data as ripped tracks...
  • Current Mood
    thoughtful thoughtful
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