My blog’s stats in 2014


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,300 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Killers


Viewed – 02 September 2014  Blu-ray

Ok, I’ll admit I like shock-cinema foreign thrillers such as Old Boy & I Saw The Devil, not just because they are usually very violent with often taboo subject-matter, but also because they’re usually directed with no end of skill and style.  This is no exception.  A serial killer is going about picking up prostitutes, then torturing and killing them, whilst filming them on camera.  He then uploads the footage to an internet website where it attracts the attention of a lonely, troubled reporter whose career and marriage have both failed.  When the reporter is mugged one night, his interest in the videos takes over and he films the two men he murders in self-defence, and proceeds to upload the footage onto the website.  This then sparks the interest of the serial killer, who starts to goad the reporter into doing further killings.

Killers

Directed by The Mo Brothers, this unflinching character study may not be pleasant viewing, and involves some pretty graphic scenes (the attack on the pimp for example) but excels at showing two complex personalities, delivered with powerful performances from the leads.  The serial killer’s inner demons surrounding the death of his sister, his inability to comfortably date the nice girl from the florists … and the reporter’s struggle to bond with his own daughter whilst hoping to reconcile his relationship with his ex … are both very well observed.  This was also a clever commentary on modern society’s obsession with documenting and filming even the horriblest of situations (who can forget how many filmed the World Trade Centre attacks?).  Also at times how we saw something from the killer’s point of view, only for it to have subtle differences when seen through someone else’s eyes was very clever.

Deviations into English language were a bit odd (the two guys seem to resort to English when speaking via webcam), and supporting characters are under-developed.  It may also explore a well-worn subject … but offered up a fresh perspective and some genuine surprises.  Not for everyone, but fans of hard-hitting thrillers with plenty to leave you thinking – this is one to check out.

Verdict:  4 /5

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire


Viewed – 22 March 2014  Blu-ray

I enjoyed the first movie in this hyped adaption of the popular novels by Suzanne Collins.  Although inspired clearly by Japanese thriller Battle Royal, it retained it’s own personality and proved a star making turn for Jennifer Lawrence.  We catch up with her character, Katniss Everdeen following her victory at the last Hunger Games, and due to embark on a tour of the various impoverished districts.  Yet the threat of civil unrest has got the capital and President Snow (Donald Sutherland) nervous following Katniss and fellow tribute Peeta’s defiance of the game’s rules.

Catching-Fire

Clearly on a bigger budget than the last movie, this is an attractive experience, and is shot in a very eye-catching manner throughout.  Lawrence again is perfect as Katniss and the emotional, moral centre of the story.  The plot is more fleshed out this time also and with better turns from Donald Sutherland and various supporting characters (even the constipated-looking Josh Hutcherson).  The movie takes quite a bit of time to get going however with far too much exposition following the fallout from the last games and Katniss’ troubles hiding the fact she’s not really in love with Peeta.  Although her actual boyfriend is poorly represented and basically pointless.  I was happy to see the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman make an effective appearance, and once the action presented itself … this was quite exciting.  Yet like the last movie it’s also a story that struggles to involve a viewer who hasn’t already got an encyclopedic knowledge of the books (with vague referrences to characters and events), and beyond Lawrence delivering such a well-rounded performance, this could almost be straight–to-dvd forgettable.

As the first movie on my new sound system, this was impressive to say the least.  A fully immersive sound stage with very clear dialogue and great use of all speakers, with some fun effects like announcers and animals in the rears.  Overall it greatly enhanced what was still a fun, if over-hyped (and over-long) entry in this continually interesting franchise.  Looking forward to the next instalment.

Verdict:  3.5 /5