Paul Gascoigne has a special place in my affections for many reasons.… MorePaul Gascoigne has a special place in my affections for many reasons. One was during Euro 96 when we (England) played Scotland at Wembley in the Group stage and he scored that famous goal. Around that time I had not long met a girl and she was going away on holiday with some friends and her train was set to leave around kick off time. At the beginning things were exciting and sexy (as they tend to be) and in a fit of stupidness I agreed to see her off. I regretted this brain burp immediately as it meant me missing the game but for some reason unbeknown to me I was prepared to sacrifice. To cut a long story short the holiday didn't happen and I ended up watching the game at hers and afterwards I was so over the moon that I had got to watch it. One of the best times of my life, upon reflection I was way too easily impressed back then. There is now forever an unbreakable association between that goal and that time in my life and Gazza was responsible for this.
Personal stories aside this documentary is moving at times but felt like it could have been so much more. For me, what makes Gazza is his flaws and his vulnerability and this is more evident in him now than ever before. In this one to one interview there was too much emphasis on the successes and not enough about the disappointments. For example, his unceremonious dumping from the World Cup squad in 98 was hardly touched upon to my recollection yet that episode in his life might be responsible for so much of what has come to pass. There's also very little about his time away from England in Italy and Scotland other than celebrating a goal by performing the sash. I would have liked to learnt some more about this and how he coped (or didn't) with that chapter of his life.
What made us love him as a nation was that he was me and you, he was the boy next door that we could relate to him. He made stupid mistakes in the same way that we all do and had also suffered some shocking tragedies. But allied with the flaws came the genius on the pitch. The care free attitude and a spontaneity that few possess in Sport. What this doc does have are some nice tributes from some very prominent people within the game. His influence on players like Wayne Rooney are there for all to see when he speaks about him.
A really interesting film that looks at human nature in a number of… MoreA really interesting film that looks at human nature in a number of different ways. About the potential risks involved when "playing god" and messing with science on an atomic level. But what do we do, should we stop experimenting and learning and leave things as they are. Should we not build the Large Hadron Collider for example for fear of creating a black hole? I had a conversation with someone of a religious persuasion that said we should stop but this person also said that there was no guarantee that sciences prediction that our sun would die is accurate so make of that what you will?
Zac is a scientist who wakes up one morning to discover that he is alone in the world. Initially he is stoked about this and does the kind of things that a lot of us would do. This includes driving a car through a mall like in The Blues Brothers, dressing in woman's underwear, drinking champagne for breakfast and moving into a penthouse suite. Admittedly the second example is an acquired taste but don't knock it till you try it is what I say!!! He goes to work and realises that what he has been working on may have been a contributory factor to what has happened.
He then starts to go a little bit mad in the head in his own company. He declares himself president of the quiet earth and gives a speech to assembled cardboard audience which included Bob Marley, The Pope, Elvis, Adolf Hitler and The Queen. He then later has a moment of clarity and does some experiments where he deduces that the very fabric of the universe has fundamentally changed. He predicts another occurrence is likely.
Another part of human nature that is explored in this is our inner built desire to be social. What happens if we are denied this interaction, the politics involved in sexual attraction and how we can become wildly protective of this in the same way that you see on nature programs observing a pride of lions, herd of wildebeest or a gathering of chest beating primates down your local discothèque all presumably competing for the female that is wearing the least and showing the most. I assume that such matters are normally settled with a game of Hungry Hippos, conkers or possibly a round of Jägerbombs. How basic reason and sensibleness (made up word) might be disregarded the moment a bit of totty enters the equation and the testosterone levels rise.
An intriguing film done on a small budget back in the 80s and I liked how it achieved the sense of isolation. I also love films with open endings and The Quiet Earth doesn't disappoint in the regard.
Bradley Cooper is as good as he usually is but American Sniper is… MoreBradley Cooper is as good as he usually is but American Sniper is missing something that I cannot put my (itchy trigger) finger on. The battle scenes are fine but they lack the intensity of say The Kingdom or the marvellous Black Hawk Down for example. Even the moral dilemma supposed here in the consequences and psychological effects of taking human life as your job didn't entirely work for me. This was a surprise when I think of Director Clint Eastwoods previous works on war films such as the marvellous Flags Of Our Fathers\Letters From Iwo Jima. Different films I realise but they gave an insight into the other side of war in a way that American Sniper did not. The film lacked passion and heart which should have been relatively easy to achieve given the subject matter.
Any film that can force me to shed a tear gets extra marks and The… MoreAny film that can force me to shed a tear gets extra marks and The Fault In Our Stars qualifies in this regard. How you view this story might depend on your opinion on loss. Those like me who think it's better to have the good for however long than none at all will see it one way. Others who think you are better off not knowing what you are missing might see it less positively.
A story about 2 teens (Hazel and Gus) who meet at a cancer support group might not immediately seem like something you would want to watch but it is funny at times and very positive in the main. Gus is full of himself but not in an arrogant way, I thought it more of an inner confidence. Hazel is more insular and reserved and is probably caused by the isolation forced upon her by the ongoing treatment. Their parents try their best to be supportive whilst at the same time giving them space but they find this balance difficult at times. Hazel and Gus are heavily influenced by a book about a character who goes through the same experience as them except that the novel ends abruptly and this is a source of irritation for the both of them.
I'll admit to finding The Fault In Our Stars a bit too sickly sweet at times but when it scores, it scores very well. The main reason for this is that I found Gus and Hazel believable and very likeable. I warmed to them both very quickly. I also liked Laura Derns performance as Hazels Mum and Willem Dafoes performance (always good) gives weight to the saying that you should never meet your heroes as it can be a disappointment.