Archive | March 2013

The Impossible, ‘tearjerkers’

I feel like I have far too many film posts, but I guess they’re easier to do than music ones.

Just to start off, to my knowledge I have never cried at a film before. This was no exception, but unlike most film that try to make you cry, this wasn’t even close.

I must also say that I did cry when I went to see The Lion King stage show in London when I was 7.

The Impossible is one of those ‘based on a true story’ films, about the tsunami that hit Thailand and a lot of the Eastern continents. It follows a British family who get separated while in their hotel pool when the wave hits.

From the start the ‘family’ makes no sense, because Ewan McGregor has his usual Scottish voice, Naomi Watts has some kind of dated posh English accent, and the kids sound like they are dotted around the North of England.

The mum and oldest son find each other, and the first third-ish of the film follows them. I had absolutely no emotional attachment to this bit of the story, even as they keep teasing the mother dying.

The part with the father and the two younger sons is more moving, as the dad leaves his kids to keep searching for the other two.

So eventually through a massive series of coincidental reuniting, they all find each other and live happily ever after. I felt slightly robbed by the lack of any secondary characters, the ones that were there were barely explored. A little bit of tragedy befalling a non-vital character seems the norm for these ‘true’ stories.

There was a foreign man who was really nice and let the dad use his phone, we never get to see if he is reunited with his family. I like to think they were all okay, because we liked Foreign Man.

Not a very good film, not one I want to see again. The Fly was on TV after we had finished that one though, which I really like, so that made up for it.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

The Whole Ten Yards, fun but bad films

A few nights ago I thought I would watch The Whole Ten Yards, since I vaguely remember seeing the first one a long time ago, and Matthew Perry is in it.

I gave it a 6 I think, and yet I know it is nowhere near as ‘good’ a film as say, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, which I also gave a 6.

The reason the word good is in quotation marks here is because everyone defines different things as good. I think mushrooms are good, Alex thinks Johnny Cash is good, Emily thinks Law and Order is good, and Jess thinks Mamma Mia is good.

Anyway, I thought this was overall a good film.

I maintain that Bruce Willis is better at comedic roles than action roles. That might be because I prefer comedy to action, but he’s still a very funny man.

At one point when he is drunk and upset he assembles a tower of shot glasses, gets sick of it being there and removes it by charging into the table head-first. Trust me, it is very funny.

The film as a whole is okay, the plot is actually more than just a standard unwilling hero saves wife with the help of an expert friend. There is a small twist at the end, which everyone sees coming except for the dimwit who’s wife has been captured (Perry).

The interactions between Perry and Willis, as well as the bumbling mobsters is just fun. And for every Shawshank or Taken I watch, I do like to have a film that is just silly to break them up.

It’s not even a great silly film, just a bit of amusement with a couple of actors I like. If this had noone I had ever heard of in it I probably wouldn’t go near it.

Not a brilliant piece of cinema then, not even a particularly good piece, but something about it kept me watching, so it did something right.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

Gaslight Anthem were awesome. Again.

Just back in from Manchester, via taking my mum into town, racked up another 300 miles or so since yesterday.

Was a really good night, getting to Manchester was surprisingly easy, as was finding our way to the gig. Parking was a bit of an issue, but we were out before the multi-story closed so all is well.

The support band, which as usual I forget the name of, were okay. They were just a guitarist and a drummer, and the songs didn’t sound bad. The drummer’s singing and wailing on the other hand, did. The guitarist did do really well when his guitar unplugged though, kept it cool.

Then Gaslight Anthem came on to Kickstart My Heart, which was pretty awesome. They rattled through four or five songs before engaging with the crowd, so I was a bit worried they weren’t going to. When Brian Fallon started talking though, dividing the crowd up into United and City fans and then ribbing everyone, he became my new favourite cool guy.

Imagine this, with an awesome trilby.

Every song something happened that made him either smile or just start laughing in the middle of a verse. He also went on some fun ramblings that are always fun to hear, I think they are what makes a really good gig. If I want to hear a bunch of songs played in a row I’ll put iTunes on.

This was the first gig I’d been to in 18 months, and I really loved it being back in a little arena with a few hundred other proper fans. Seeing them at Leeds was always going to be different since there was a whole lot more space around full of casual fans who had just dropped in.

Oh, and they finished off their encore with Baba O’Reilly.

Didn’t play Mae though, if Jess and I had a song it would probably be that for me, so I was a bit upset, but we listened to it in the car on the way back.

The same things that always annoy me at concerts annoyed me again, but they are for a less happy post than this.

Thank you to Jess for the tickets once again!

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

Gaslight Anthem, mileage

This time tomorrow I’ll be standing in a Manchester arena, still not sure which one, watching The Gaslight Anthem with Jess, yay.

It hasn’t even been a week yet since I’ve been back from uni and I’ve barely been home, so looking forward to having a good night’s sleep tonight before driving another couple hours down to Manchester.

I saw Gaslight Anthem at Leeds, also with Jess, and they were really good given they played at midday to not many people. I’m guessing tomorrow night will be a bit different.

That gig was the subject of one of my first posts since I came back to this, and I like that they are a band that I got Jess into. They’re the only band, but still it’s nice. She got us tickets for my birthday, so must like them somewhat.

I took a liking to them after finding out they were playing Leeds and buying their newest album Handwritten. It’s quickly become one of my favourites so I’m looking forward to seeing them live again.

Other music news, it should be four days now before I get hold of Leeds tickets. After that, petrol and bills I’ll be needing to scrimp until loan day, but Green Day and System will make it worth it.

This will be my first gig in about 18 months I think, excluding festivals obviously, so I am quite excited about that. I tend not to get properly excited until I’m basically in the queue outside the arena though.

Just a short one today, won’t be back a while. Been a busy bee since coming home.

Come on England!

Also Jess thank you for the tickets! ❤

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

I am tired, stick to watching Rocky

Just played 6-a-side football against a team of much much better players than me, injured for just about half of it, and lost.

Never mind, first game of football since December, and I didn’t do too badly. Still, makes me wish I was still decent at sports.

I used to play football loads, as just about every boy in school did. I swam competitively and played tennis. I used to be pretty good with a cricket ball too, less so with the bat. Now I can’t run for 30 minutes, oh well.

Hopefully through Easter and summer I’ll get some fitness back and lose my fat belly so my mum will leave me alone.

Anyway, had a St Patrick’s Day party that went rather well for all involved for once, wasn’t wandering about talking to lots of people this time, but I had good reasons.

Realised I’ve been neglecting this for a few days so just started writing without anything to really write about, but I finally got to see the end of Rocky last night.

My favourite part about the whole film was the end, where the winner is announced as background noise, because it never mattered who really won from the start.

Rocky’s jokes and the dog were also highlights, and it was just a nice story about a guy who the business passed by before he got his big chance.

Not so sure about seeing another five films of the same ilk, but it was worth watching and I’m glad I got to see it on a TV in sync. I always prefer a DVD to a laptop stream.

Not that we ever stream things of course, that would be naughty.

So, a good film, was quite entertaining throughout, especially considering not a lot actually happens leading up to the big fight main event. I always love a good sports film with an epic ending, but to me actual sport seems to come with even more epic moments.

They don’t know what’s hit them, Manchester’s hit them!

That being one of them.

Could also understand most of what Sylvester Stallone said, which is nice. The commercialism of the champion Apollo Creed vs the humble fighter who just wants to last the difference is a good story, and it feels like Rocky comes out on top just by lasting with the champ.

I have been without a laptop since Friday, which kind of explains the no posts. Slept in five different beds in five nights, proper traveler me.

Back in my own bed tonight, gotta go shower before that though.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

Creepy or common: Part two

It’s been quite a while coming, but here finally is part two of the post that got me right loads of views.

So since I enjoyed that last list so very much, and had a couple funny conversations and some interest out of it, I thought I would bring some more potentially odd things to the people of the internet.

This list is also a collaboration of sorts, my friend Raa decided to pop up and offer a couple of wonderfully quirky things, so I have included her suggestions in here. Enjoy.

1. When scratching your ear you find a little bit of wax on your finger, and think it might be a good idea to lick said finger.

2. Rub closed eyes to make patterns that look like a Windows Media Player visualiser.

3. Lifting your arm til the blood drains out, and laughing at the paleness before the blood returns to your arm in a wooshy fashion. (raa)

4. When watching a horror film, block out most of the TV so you can just see a small corner, so it still counts as watching the film.

5. Practise telekinesis, in the hope you will be able to fend off a zombie apocalypse. (raa)

6. See someone walking ahead of you and pull faces at them, sometimes follow them with a strange walk until remembering where you are supposed to be going.

7. Sing in a far higher pitch than required because it’s just more awesome.

8. Put your hand on something dangerously hot, just to make sure it is still dangerously hot.

9. Worry that your farts will weaken the rump of your jeans.

10. When driving, start an impromptu drum solo while stopped at a set of traffic lights.

Part One of this series type thing can be found by clicking these words.

Other lists I have done are here: Top 10 Actors, Top 22 Albums – Part One and Part Two

A list: Top 22 Albums, 11-1

Part two of my big ol’ album list is done. Upon putting dates on all the entries to part one, which is here, and this one, I realised that only three of them come from outside the 2000-09 decade, and only five are British.

Never mind, onwards with number 11.

11. City of Evil – Avenged Sevenfold (2005)

Seize the Day, Trashed and Scattered, Sidewinder

The first A7x album to wander away from screamy metalcore, and I am forever grateful. Most of 2008 was spent with this on.

10. All We Know Is Falling – Paramore (2005)

Pressure, Emergency, Here We Go Again

Has to be here, it was the reason I went to my first gig. Plus when you’re a 14 year old boy how can you not like it? Exactly.

9. Handwritten – The Gaslight Anthem (2012)

“45”, Mae, Mulholland Drive

The only album on the list from this decade, I bought it before last year’s Leeds fest and now it rarely leaves the CD player in my car.

8. The Eminem Show – Eminem (2002)

Square Dance, Sing For The Moment, Business

Eminem was massive when I was getting into music, and this is just his best album. Encore was good, but this is great.

7. Definitely Maybe – Oasis (1994)

Up In the Sky, Digsy’s Dinner, Slide Away

I feel a strange sense of pride to share a birth year with this album, and Green Day’s Dookie. These highs are offset by the death of Kurt Cobain and the birth of Justin Bieber. Began my love for Oasis.

6. Take This To Your Grave – Fall Out Boy (2003)

Saturday, Grand Theft Autumn, The Pros and Cons of Breathing

If kids now are listening to FOB’s newest album, plus the new song they just released, I hope they listen to this straight afterwards. Proper poppy emo-punk.

5. Shallow Believer – The Used (2008)

Sun Comes Up, Slit Your Own Throat, Tunnel

Like Yellowcard, The Used aren’t one of my favourite bands, but this album is amazing. A rare occasion where I never have to skip a song.

4. Warning – Green Day (2000)

Fashion Victim, Castaway, Deadbeat Holiday

Another CD that spends regular time in my car. Dookie got me into Green Day, Warning got me through school with them. Plus it has Minority on it.

3. Hybrid Theory – Linkin Park (2000)

In The End, One Step Closer, Points of Authority

This album goes back to the ‘dossin out’ days in primary school. Which maybe gives an insight into how why I never went through the chav phase everyone seems to have done.

2. blink-182 – blink-182 (2003)

I’m Lost Without You, Asthenia, Feeling This

My favourite band, one of my favourite album covers, my favourite song from my favourite band, everything about this album is perfect. Blink’s best album by a mile, love it. Not number one though…

1. Use Your Illusion II – Guns N’ Roses (1991)

Estranged, 14 Years, Yesterdays

The top album on the list is also the oldest, shows what I think of new music. Estranged might well be in this position on a top songs list, and it might well be soon if I do one. The last proper Guns album, the best Guns album.

All done! That was harder than I thought, I have come up a list of about 50 since I started this so I might revisit this in a few month’s time.

The first part of this list is below, along with my other lists to date.

My previous lists: Top 10 Actors, Creepy or Common 1, Top 22 Albums 22-11

Dead Man’s Chest, career choices

The most ridiculously proper ticket checker just came by with someone checking off the different type of ticket everyone had. He’s quite friendly though in his proper ways, so that’s okay.

Also, my entire mousepad seems to work when I’m on the train, but only when I’m on the train. Normally I get about a fifth of its usual capacity to work with.

Since I decided to watch MOTD2 when I get back to my uni room I watched Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest with Jess instead. It was good, not brilliant, but enjoyable.

Of course, being a boy watching it with a girl, the enjoyment level is capped at how much I can look at Johnny Depp being cool without feeling inadequate and useless and wishing I’d gone to drama school. Keira Knightley doesn’t quite make up for that.

I’ve never really liked Orlando Bloom, so I never took to him in this either. I’m pretty sure that’s not the point though, he’s just there as the serious morally filled one to counter Jack Sparrow’s general scummism.

As for the rest of the cast, other than Davy Jones and Sparrow my favourite character was the Kraken. I was really sad when they shot bits off it and set it on fire, it’s not its fault it’s a giant sea monster.

Apparently I’ve already guessed two of the deaths in the third one, I got four though so I don’t know which two were right, although I’m pretty sure.

The action and Jack’s antics were good, and it was quite funny, but two and a half hours was too much of a stretch for what it was for me.

I’m a right pain to watch films with because halfway through I’ll want to go play table tennis or something, but if a film is good enough I’ll happily sit through three hours of it (Django). If it bores the hell out of me (Lord of the Rings) I’ll just zone out completely.

That didn’t exactly happen with this, but it was just maybe 15 or 20 minutes too long for me.

Since I’ve also decided I’m not going to be a journalist, I would love some career ideas, since I come out of uni with a now pointless degree in around a year’s time.

Answers to my growing up problems appreciated. Do I try write a hit series like Harry Potter, something that I really want to do, actor, comedian, musician, Friends enthusiast, anything to not write heaps on media ethics.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

Jackie Brown, Easter hols

Jackie Brown was the last big Tarantino film I had yet to see, if you don’t count Death Proof, which I don’t.

Starting with Samuel L. Jackson’s hair and beard, it was a really entertaining film. Not quite up there with Inglorious Basterds or Django or even Reservoir Dogs, but I have still yet to see a bad Tarantino film.

His usual formula of multiple main characters, coupled with the mixed up chronology and the ever-present humour is all over this film. The bare feet, trunk view shots and long takes are also all over this film. As much Tarantino as can be lathered onto someone else’s material has been.

The story isn’t really to be commented on, since I haven’t read the novel it’s based on. It does take a million different turns that weren’t particularly shocking, but did keep it fresh.

Basically, an arms dealer (Ordell, Samuel L. Jackson) has $500,000 in Mexico and wants a flight attendant (Jackie Brown, Pam Grier) to bring him it under the nose of a police agent. He bails out the attendant with the help of a bail bonds guy (Max, Robert Forster), who ends up starting a working relationship with Jackie Brown and taking the money from under everyone’s noses.

Deaths of characters come seemingly out of the blue, other than Robert De Niro’s, and at no point in the first 90 minutes did I actually get my head around who Jackie was actually siding with. It went from Ordell to the police to Max, each of them could’ve been the bad guy in the end.

This was my favourite kind of attention-required film. I couldn’t really afford to tune out for five minutes or so for fear of missing something important, but I won’t have to watch it again to understand the plot.

Nothing on Pulp Fiction, but nearly nothing is.

Back in the real world, five days to go til Easter. It’s also been a while since I ate any fast food takeaway type stuff, which may end when I’m back.

Looking forward to the drive home, haven’t driven anywhere far since I got back to uni. I miss pub football and pool and game machines and all the rest.

A minute to go til United kick off as well. Either gonna be back at uni tomorrow night or Monday morning, last week of uni will hopefully fly.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

The Da Vinci Code, being bi-lingual

If I read more I probably would have looked at Dan Brown’s mystery series, but other than Harry Potter and Mr Men my reading is pretty limited.

I would also probably have watched Angels and Demons first, since it’s supposed to be a prequel. Never mind, in the film version it makes no difference.

I thought The Da Vinci Code would have been better, more dramatic and just more shocking in general. It might have had something to do with the fact there were no subtitles for the French parts on the version I watched, and that I already kind of knew the gist of the story.

It just lacked something in the epicness scale, it just didn’t grab me. It was well shot, well acted and all the rest, Ian McKellen is awesome, not so sure about Tom Hanks.

I think McKellen is meant to be bad by the end of it, but I couldn’t really tell because he was still just being supercool. That makes murder okay in my eyes I guess.

All the ideas and concepts and myths the film and novel are based on are true, which I found really interesting. The more I think about the film the less I enjoyed Tom Hank’s acting, I don’t know why. Jean Reno and Audrey Tautou play good supporting roles, and Paul Bettany is quite disturbing, quite something after watching Wimbledon.

I also wasn’t a massive fan of how the film blended flashback type bits in with the current events, or how things flashed up when Hanks’ character was working stuff out. It just seemed a bit tacky. When they go into Rosslyn and all the guards and crowds are shown it does look quite good though.

I think being multi-lingual would be so cool, I wish I had bothered to keep going with my French or Spanish in school, or the Italian I tried to learn when I left. Us English speakers seem to be the laziest in the world when it comes to learning other languages, since pretty much everyone everywhere knows some of ours.

Maybe after seeing this I’ll go back to my language studying, be better than this useless course I’m on now. The film just lacked something and it wasn’t quite what I thought it could’ve been.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack