Saturday, May 02, 2015

Last night I dreamed: Subbuteo, nails and taxis

I'm amazed how vivid dreams can be in the last minutes of sleep early in the morning.  

A weird collection of dreams.

A dark, cavernous nightclub with thumping music, but big tables of people playing Subbuteo and a Risk-like board game with metal army markers.  On the big screens, they had animated replays of the Subbuteo games.  And the Subbuteo England player headed the ball, how's that possible ?

Confusion on getting a taxi in suburban NY to the airport.  Ended up hopping into an open sided, partially powered by pedalling passengers, yellow taxi carriage.  I was only wearing a light shirt, but a cover up was available to protect me from the elements and cold as we crossed a large bridge.  

I've been doing a porch ceiling renovation with my neighbour and planning on counter-sinking some of nails, before filling and painting.   But in my dream, my neighbour has a very think, barely comprehensible, evil Southern accent.   He informs me with a big threatening grin, I have to counter-sink every single nail since he did the majority of the work. 

Some other faint dream memory of melting snow, my wife and daughter canoeing down a river and I don't have the right footwear.  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

My best of 2014 music

Similar to last year, this year has quite a pop feel and many tracks get regular airplay on Indie88.  

  • Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - In the Heat of the Moment - lead track from new album due April 2015; tickets purchased for TO gig
  • Fitz & The Tantrums - The Walker - catchiest whistle hook of the year
  • Kongos - Come With Me - perfect odd mix of sounds; Rio find
  • Sam Smith - Stay With me - mega hit that cannot be ignored
  • U2 - The Miracle (of Joey Ramone) - best guitar riff of the year; and it's free
  • The Fratellis - She's Not Gone Yet But She's Leaving - another catchy track from Scottish brothers
  • Hozier - Take Me to Church - powerful and serious, incl. the video
  • Mark Ronson w/ Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk - irresistible, best moves, especially the back up guys, even better live on SNL if you can find it
  • Kasabian - Eez-Eh - best live act in the world (voted by me and Q Mag)
  • Luluc - Small Window - "flying over Chicago" with headphones is just too lovely a song
  • Jeff Eager - Thanks for the Music - local talent, playing my 50th birthday party; we've got to get you a video man
  • Pharrell Williams - Happy - just think of Gru and you're gotta smile
  • Elbow - New York Morning - heard a lot of them last year
  • Paolo Nutini - Let Me Down Easy - soulful stuff from the wee Scot
  • Vance Joy - Riptide - love the line "closest thing to Michelle Pfeiffer that you've ever seen"
  • Damian Jurado - Silver Timothy - personal recommendation from I don't recall; I want to go to the desert; 60's vibe
  • Billy Crudup - Home - yes, the actor, from the movie Rudderless (still to be seen)
  • Thievery Corporation w/ Lou Lou Ghelichkhani - Firelight - blissful from my electronica fave
  • Chromeo - Jealous (I ain't with it) - guilty pleasure track
  • Passenger - Heart's on Fire - funny voice, but I love it

I collected them all in a YouTube playlist, but surprisingly, I hadn't seen quite a few of the videos.

3 seen in concert, an unproportional number of Scots, 1 Canadian (friend) and most genres covered.

Friday, January 09, 2015

The Imitation Game

Great story well played out in Hollywood fashion.  Beautifully made and well acted - worth a few awards I'm sure, but didn't quite live up to the billing I'm afraid.  I think maybe the Hollywood treatment didn't jive with the meek, uncomfortable, genius of Turing (expertly portrayed by Cumberbatch).

I'd seen an earlier, much lower budget movie about Turing called Codebreaker over a year ago.  Plus I had heard a little about Turing, the Enigma code and had been carrying a story of my own relating to the consequences of the code breaking for many years.

How important was Turing ?  Some have claimed his part in the real story is overstated.  But to me, I feel he could be very important.  My education, my career and now my centre of expertise directly relate to his work.  But, also perhaps my life, my family and my homeland.

I don't feel people still quite understand what Turing and others managed to do, how creative he/they were and what we take for granted today in many facets of life, we potentially owe to him and his contemporaries.

But I'm still bothered by the fact the he never enjoyed the attention, praise and love he deserved.  It is shocking how recent this inhumane law existed.  What joy would he have today to see the power of what is at our fingertips.

My reaction wasn't one of inspiration, but one more of sadness.  I felt rather lonely walking home.

I did read a number of reviews on IMDB and adjusted this review slightly to take into consideration that the code breaking was in reality not just the creation of Alan Turing, but a number of brilliant men and women who worked behind the scenes.


Saturday, January 03, 2015

Movie Reviews Q4+

The Wolf of Wall Street

Mental.  Hard to believe most of it was true.  The debauchery was kind of sickening.  Odd that it made me think of 12 Years a Slave.   Horrible to see what money can do to a person.  Certainty stellar performances and directing.


The Way Way Back

Unusual for Carrel, type cast for Collette, but wonderful performance by Rockwell and the young lead Liam James.  Not what I expected, much more serious, but beautifully produced and directed.  Coming of age: one obvious, a few others more subtle.  Rockwell and the waterpark crew added that much needed humour to a rather serious plot.



It actually took us three goes to complete the viewing of the Burn's indy gem.  Quite Allenesque in it's deep examination and joy and the humour of everyday relationships.  Superbly acted, interestingly shot, but most importantly, very truthful.  A normal couple gets turned every which way with Shakesperean ease and we can relate to the finesse of dealing with family.  Burns was type-cast, but his supporting cast were tremendous.  Delighted to see the range from Bishé (who I loved watching in Halt and Catch Fire).  I think the title is rather disappointing.  Worth opening a good bottle of wine for and enjoying with the love of your life.  



I'd read rave reviews of the Japanese original.   Rating of this Version was poor, but I couldn't resist Brolin and plot.

Stylish, scary with a pretty interesting plot.  Not too bad actually.   All the ingredients of an smash, but I'm thinking something was lost in translation.


Edge of Tomorrow 

Loved the Groundhog Day premise with the intensity of fighting a alien invasion.  A few bits of humour, Blunt was lovely as the war heroine and Cruise did his thing well.  Cool fx with lots of action.  Didn't like the ending, but overall, pretty entertaining.  


The World's End

First off - excellent sound track, including one of my old faves from Sister's of Mercy and finally a good use for the opening lyrics to Loaded.

Fitting end to the Cornetto trilogy with enough connectors for the fan.

Can't help but relate it to my joy of getting together with my old university friends, but I hope I'm not Gary !

Did I say the soundrack was good ?  The 80's were the best, right ?

Very silly, crazy plot, but lots of laffs throughout.  FX were pretty cool.



Amazing how well this movie worked - I had high expectations, but I think it actually surpassed them.  

Elegant plot of simple dramatic events wonderfully portrayed by Hardy.  The mix of Ivan's accent, the hypnotic score and cinematography help create a serene moment of movie magic.

It was more like a play, but the visuals and Hardy's performance kept me glued.  The male phone voices were a perfect (perhaps male oriented) contrast to the different dramatic reactions of the women.

It makes me think about the choices we make, the way life can turn on you and the joy of problem solving.  There is much more to this movie, but it has a genuine humanistic quality that is not all that common in film these days.

Funny comment headline on IMDB - "Project Management - The Movie".

Great to find out that Garreth was played by Andrew Scott (of Moriarty fame) - saw his face on the extras.


Moonrise Kingdom

As quirky as expected, but enjoyable in a art gallery meets school playground kind of way.  Superb young leads supported by deadpan major star power.  Young love, obscure families, good and evil and beauty.  


Loved it.  Just the right mix of the realities of war, unavoidable for a great cast, a eye opening story and the beauty of art.

The soundtrack included a simply beautiful rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas with a tremendous bit by Murray.

Small spoiler - nice little bit of coincidence as they come upon the castle toward the end and notice the Rodin sculpture in the courtyard - the same one we recently saw at an AGO exhibit.


A couple of older review I just found...

Quite different to what I was expecting. Quirky, odd plot parts and far from stylish. But it worked, lots of heartfelt moments, humour and well acted drama. Charming soundtrack. 

And time travel elements done quite well with only one tricky bit. I found it very entertaining.


Blue Jasmine (from May 2014)

Awkward but beautiful - Sad but poetic.

Not woody on the surface, but woody a few layers down.  I had the elegance and style in there, but simple premise expertly delivered with a stellar (unexpected) cast.  Classic, classic woody - fun and light, but oh so dirty. The crafty touch of making the everyday into a shakespearean drama.  Masterful.

Louis and Dice were superb supporting actors.  

So serious, but so much fun.  But still I didn't know how it was going to end.  So unHollywood.  Much better than expected.  I liked Chili from the beginning
Blanchchett was superb and deserved the Oscar.


And the first movie review of 2015...


Ridiculous and hilarious.  What I weird idea to match the vulgarities of foul mouthed Bostonian man friends with a teddy bear - McFarlene steps it up to new heights of silliness.

A better soundtrack could have bumped it to an 8 perhaps.

An odd bit of movie making that worked for me - cheap entertainment.  Lots of great lines.  Loved the cameos, especially  Nora Jones.