Burt Reynolds dies


Sad news.

A movie industry legend and a genuine hero of mine in the 80s with the Smokey and the Bandit and Cannonball Run movies has died today. Burt Reynolds was set to star in Tarantino’s latest Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, due out next summer.

1936 – 2018

R.I.P. a true star.

Advertisements

Maturity and disillusion


Last November I reached 40 years old.  Lately I’ve been looking back and feeling nostalgic and a bit unhappy with how I feel about some of my hobbies and the stuff I used to get really excited about.  Maybe the world has changed or I’ve just changed which is more likely … but finding things that really pinch my enthusiasm is getting harder and harder.  I continue to love movies and video games but the excitement I had either as a kid or even a young adult has lessened to some degree, and well, I sometimes even feel I’m going through the motions.  That feeling has also bled into my day to day life occasionally.

In recent years I’ve pretty much turned my back on writing, especially fiction writing although I can still exercise that interest with my writing on the blog – but that’s different than putting a story together, coming up with situations and creating characters.  I have several stories spanning many chapters that I am proud of but I look back on them like they come from a world I no longer belong to.  I’ve let other things enter my head, other responsibilities and distractions to such an extent that I can’t even bring myself to attempt fiction writing anymore.  It makes me sad to look back, to think of the hours and the passion I used to put into that part of my life, but now barely recognise it.

I think this disillusion is a lot to do with getting older, maturing and having work and responsibilities, but it’s a shame I feel I can’t relate to some hobbies or even approach them with the same level of excitement I once did.  The same goes for music which I used to be passionate about but that has left me feeling cold and bored apart from a small handful of artists.  The same also goes for relationships or the idea of one … where I have been hurt in my search and now feel so ‘meh’ about the whole subject I can’t find the energy to attempt it again.  Also this information overload / social media world we live in breeds contempt when everything that is thrown at you is thrown at you by the bucket load and I just end up feeling overwhelmed, unable to focus.  There is a heck of a lot of superficiality to everything these days it seems … and entertainment, celebrity and life in general has at times felt cheapened as a result.

Yet that’s not to say there isn’t some merit to be found, it just feels a much rarer commodity to really get excited about a TV show or a game or a movie, and then to want to talk about it.  Occasionally I have to force myself to find things to say even about a subject I really love.  Luckily I still manage to get there, to write something interesting (I hope) and to keep this blog going.  But lately it’s getting easier and easier to just be lazy and let the entertainment wash over me with hardly any concentration.  Life can get me down, it can be stressful and particularly tiring and I long to be younger sometimes and have no other worries and just indulge myself in my own little world.  Hey, I liked it there.

But I suppose we all have to grow up.  Only thing is, for some it can suck big time.  That’s why adults tell children to enjoy being young – it really is the best years of your life.

Craig.

What makes a movie get 5 out of 5?


movie viewingThis is something I’ve been meaning to talk about for a while.  What makes a movie, at least for me score the full 5 /5 points on this blog?  It’s for one thing not about perfection.  Even the greatest movies you could pick issues with, no … to score such a score, a movie I think needs to first and foremost entertain, and then also surprise.  I sometimes go into a movie not expecting much and then can be pleasantly surprised when I enjoy it, or I can be hyped about a movie, love it and then discover it manages to throw something in I couldn’t have predicted – sometimes that’s an emotional feeling like a sad or heart-wrenching scene, or a feel good uplifting scene … or in the case of say a horror movie, managing to genuinely scare me when I’m a totally jaded horror fan (The Conjuring).

To score full marks a movie can be flawed, it can have some issues, but those issues must not annoy or distract from the overall experience.  I have so far given just one movie this year 5 /5 which had only been moderately hyped; Straight Outta Compton.  But it surprised me, had an effect on me I didn’t expect and entertained massively; doing it’s job well without throwing in anything that took away from the intended experience.  I love cinema, movies and the art of movie making so a movie that is both well acted and well made on a technical level scores a lot of points with me (Bird Man).

movie viewing 2

Yet giving this score is something I don’t do easily and often ruminate over whether that movie really deserves it.  I’ve been tempted to knock a movie down to a 4 in the past for exactly that reason, but then again I don’t think a 5 /5 is something to only be given to a tiny few.  It should be an award for a movie doing not just what it set out to do, but doing it well enough that it creates an experience that is both memorable and leaves the viewer feeling satisfied.  All the movies I have granted this score to have done that for me …. not all will necessarily hold up to that experience over repeated viewings, but … this blog is about first impressions, on seeing a movie for the very first time mostly, so I have to go with my initial reaction, even if that movie is either better or worse on a second viewing.  It can happen, and movies I’ve marked down improve when seen a second time.  But I also am a great believer in that a movie should do it’s job first time around, and if it needs to be seen multiple times to fully appreciate it, then there is something fundamentally wrong.  There are exceptions to this such as movies like The Usual Suspects or Mulholland Drive which are so intricate in their storytelling they’re actually difficult to get one’s head around first time.

movie viewing 3So a little advise for anyone just starting out in review writing, something I would never say I am an expert at but have been doing it as a hobby for many years enough to know what I like when I see it … Your enjoyment comes into the final score, Your taste can effect the final score, but always take into account what the movie is attempting to achieve – does it do this?  Does it do it well?  And most importantly if you are going to give it full marks – does it make you feel, think or experience anything you hadn’t initially expected it to?  If all of the above is a yes and your expectations were met, then that’s top marks, depending of course on your scoring system.

Above all else, enjoy movies, cinema and the whole experience.  Movies for me, are there to entertain and effect the viewer, to mean something or do a particular job.  If they fail to do any of those then I’ll score them appropriately based on their merits and what the movie was trying to achieve.  Happy movie watching everyone!

Why do I write this blog?


Over the years I have asked myself that question numerous times.  I know for a fact I write it because I love writing and giving my opinion and just having a voice to put out there about the things I am into.  However I do this not to make money (I don’t make any money from it) and therefore it’s purely a hobby I like to share with anyone who wants to read it.  I enjoy the creativity of writing reviews, of choosing my words and offering an opinion in a creative and potentially interesting way.

In subsequent years considering I have been writing this for almost ten years now, I can’t say I’ve enjoyed a great deal of popularity, and sometimes I do think about giving up and moving on.  But that would be a genuine shame.  I try not to get disheartened when I read other blogs that clearly have a lot more interest than mine and many more comments (I on average get 2-3 comments a week, and about 30-40 viewers a day and a handful of likes) … so yes 700+ subscribers not withstanding, not many folks are all that interested.  However did I start this blog to become popular?  Not really.  I did it for myself and I still get enjoyment out of writing reviews even if not many people are going to read them or take that much notice.  I do intend to keep the blog going however and really appreciate any interest or attention offered.  I suppose I just don’t expect all that much likes or comments, and after 9 years I’m OK with that (in a way).  Not to say I wouldn’t love it, but it’s clearly not going to happen.  I think some folks on here who write very similar topics have a dedicated core audience of still-active users (I doubt many of my subscribers are even around any more) who either know the writer or have been more into his or her blog for a long time, and that’s an audience I have never been or will never be a part of.  So why do I write if hardly anyone reads it?  Again for myself and for the enjoyment of writing.  Those that do stop by, thank you and I love you all.  Those that don’t click any further than seeing me on a feed, that’s your choice and happy on your way you go.

I have a number of reviews, gaming opinions and other ramblings planned for the weeks ahead, so do come and take a look and if you choose not to, then no worries.  I’ll still be here regardless, in my little corner of the web … doing my thing.

Craig.

Top Ten 2015


Well dear readers, it’s finally here … following is a countdown of my Ten favourite movies I watched in 2015.  Do take into consideration some may be older than the past twelve months…

Drum roll…

10.

John Wick

john-wick.jpg

Keanu proved he still had it in the action movie stakes (and seemingly doesn’t age).  A tongue-in cheek script and stylish direction proved a simple revenge thriller done very well indeed was all I needed also.

9.

The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Kaguya.jpg

Studio Ghibli does it again, with a beautiful water-colour art style and an enchanting Japanese fable and heart warming characters.

8.

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation

Rogue-Nation.jpg

Cruise can still do the seemingly impossible and with chases, gadgets and Simon Pegg, this made for the best summer event flick of the year for me.

7.

Ex_Machina

ex-machina.jpg

There is still room for genuine science-fiction with this thought-provoking study of artificial intelligence.  The sort of movie that would have made Stanley Kubrick proud.

6.

American Sniper

American-Sniper.jpg

Proving yet again he’s as good behind the camera as in front, Clint Eastwood delivers a powerful true story with a career best Bradley Cooper.

5.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

grand-budapest-hotel feinnes

My introduction to Wes Anderson and one of the most entertaining movies I’ve seen in a long while, and Ralph Fiennes is just sublime.

4.

Interstellar

interstellar.jpg

Mind-boggling it may be but Christopher Nolan’s space epic is full of wonder, awe and ideas that left me floored.

3.

Star Wars The Force Awakens

StarWarsTFA2.jpg

It may deliver too much fan-service but sets up enough firm foundations of its own and captures the spirit of the movies missing since Jedi, that it’s difficult to fault.

2.

Inside Out

insideoutemotions.jpg

Pixar bounce back, after slight stumbles and deliver a truly heart-warming, ideas-packed event of a movie that genuinely touched and surprised me.

1.

Birdman

birdman

Not that director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu needed to prove his skill, yet this wondrously inventive and yet simple movie impressed and dazzled me with it’s concept and originality with a brilliant Michael Keaton as the icing on the cake.  A movie for fans who truly love movies and movie-making.


Well that was my countdown for 2015.  What were some of your favourites?  Feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll see you all in 2016.  Bye for now…

Craig.