Sunday, 30 May 2010

Red Squirrel's Film Reviews. Parts 4 and 5.

This week's double special is:

The Ghost


Forgive me for a departure in my usual style, but we actually saw this film a few weeks ago at my suggestion. Based on the novel by Robert Harris (although I believe it goes by the name 'The Ghostwriter' in the US because apparently people there are considered too thick by the studios to not accidentally turn up to a horror film) of the same name, it's a taut political thriller.

I've always been a fan of Harris' written work (particularly Fatherland and Pompeii) but at times his adaptations have veered significantly from the essence of the source material (Enigma, for example) and sadly the same is true with The Ghost.

The final twist is subverted and made into a ridiculously over-the-top dramatic invention for no real reason - because frankly if you hadn't worked out the 'twist' by then due to some serious over-acting by certain cast members then you were a bit dim. The 'reveal' scene is faithfully done from the book but lacks any reason for the main character's motivation due to the acting of Ewan McGregor who does a fantastic 'puzzled and baffled' but that's about it. He's our Ben Affleck, if you will.

The film was shot against the backdrop of the director's impending extradition to the US, and despite being supportive of many of his previous works (films this is, not the forced sodomy of 13 year old girls), this one seemed lazy. For example, every shot in London featured an old Routemaster double-decker bus. Now they run on two heritage routes only and have done for years, so to use them smacked of bored corner cutting. They may as well have just done a stock photo of Big Ben with 'London, England' captioned underneath it.

Overall, disappointing.

Four Lions


A film that will almost certainly never be released in the US, it is nonetheless the funniest film I've seen in the last ten years. Scripted in part by Chris Morris (author of the fabulous satire Brass Eye with its Paedogeddon special) it's a brilliant film about four wanna-be suicide bombers from Sheffield.

Part pant-wettingly hilarious comedy, it's also deeply moving and touching in places. If you don't think there's comedy to be had in terrorism then this film isn't for you, but if you appreciate cynical, dry humour then you'll have an absolute hoot.

Don't watch the trailer btw, as it gives too much away. Instead, here's a clip that gives you some idea of the tone. I can honestly say that if you miss this film, you miss a small sliver of joy and happiness in this otherwise deeply crap world.

Thursday, 20 May 2010


I've discovered another ever-so-tiny flaw in my otherwise perfect existence - the realistic nature of my dreams.

Some people have fantastical dreams and wake up breathlessly exclaiming about being chased down their old school corridor by a unicorn carrying the co-joined twins of Margaret Thatcher and Sting. I envy those people in some way because my dreams are exactly like real life. Exactly.

That's really quite depressing isn't it? I've even had arguments with people about things we discussed in a work meeting the previous week, only to discover that I dreamt the entire meeting and then remembered it like it happened in real life. That's quite fucked up.

The reason I mention it is because it appears I've been dreamposting again. There's at least three posts that I could've
sworn I wrote in the last month or so that don't exist anywhere, and now I think about it they were far too funny to have been real. Anyway, one that I'm going to have to post again because it deserves to be aired concerns the artery clogging magnificence that is the KFC Double Down:

You've probably seen it on the internet already. Well imagine you hadn't and this was the first time you saw it, because it would've been when I posted this the first time (um, on a technicality).

We're not allowed this amazing piece of food technology here, so I decided to make my own. Firstly I pan fried some breaded chicken breasts:

Until they were a lovely golden brown:

Next, the tortilla wrap was mayo-ed up:

The first chicken breast lovingly laid out:

Bacon was then added. Proper bacon, may I add:

Then grated mature cheddar:

Before the second chicken breast was placed in its true home:

Here's a side-on view so you can fully appreciate it:

And finally, the second tortilla is wrapped over (I needed bigger ones really):

I didn't eat for two days after that :)

Experimental cooking is where it's at, baby.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

I feel like god just shat in my head...

After a quiet start to the beginning of the year, a combination of a hectic period of work and a thrilling but emotionally draining climax to the football season (for a Spurs fan anyway) has resulted in me having a few drinks recently; culminating in an Alabama 3 gig in Bristol last night.

Great gig. Great night. Great company. With just the one slight problem.

My hangover right now.

Time for a short break from the beers methinks. Well, at least none tonight anyway.

Talking of Spurs - much to my surprise we held our nerve to finish fourth and have a qualifier in August for entry to the Champion's League (and more importantly a possible £30m of extra cash to help take the team up a level). It's been a strange season - landmark victories against the hated Arsenal, double-winners Chelsea and Liverpool were interspersed with losing home and away to newly-promoted Wolves and losing at home to Stoke. It's also been a nerve-wracking last few months with the team having to win ten of their last twelve games to clinch the final qualifying spot from a Manchester City team that's spent over £200m on players in the last year or so.

Even if you don't like football, I'd urge you to watch the following amazing video as it captures some fantastic moments of last season - Danny Rose's 30-yard volley against Arsenal in his first ever game, Niko Kranjcar's goals against Stoke and Man City, Huddlestone's missile against Bolton into the top corner (right in front of Mrs RS and I!), Benny's first ever goal against Liverpool in the opening match of the season - I could go on, or you could just watch it :)

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Red Squirrel's Film Reviews. Part 3.

This week:

Kick Ass


Ass-kickingly awesome.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

It's only a game...

In the not-at-all-nervous countdown to the Champion's League shoot-out tonight, I thought I'd pop in and say 'Hi! I am alive, but I am lazy, busy and pretty content with life so haven't been online that much.'

So without further ado:

Hi! I am alive, but I am lazy, busy and pretty content with life so haven't been online that much.

With that out of the way, does anyone remember Donald Rumsfeld? He was the evil warmongering mini-Bush who looked like Skeletor (as opposed to Dick Cheney - the evil warmongering mini-Bush who looked like Harold from Neighbours, or Paul Wolfowitz - the evil warmongering mini-Bush who looked like Kermit the Frog).

Old Rummy (as he liked to be known) made a very famous speech once regarding not knowing what the fuck he was talking about. It went like this;

"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know."

You may remember it.

I was reminded of this speech the other day when my computer helpfully presented me with the following message;

Clearly it was expecting a known unknown, but was presented with an unknown unknown. No wonder it crashed, the poor thing.

At least we know where Rummy's been working these last few years.


Talking of things that have been away for a while, one of our senior managers has been out all day at 'Absence Management Training', a course designed to minimise your staff's time off from work through a combination of incentives and threats of casual violence (probably).

Number of staff that this senior manager manages?



And finally, it's back on youtube - the finest film ever made! Go watch it, butthorns!