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Archive for April, 2007


Ian MacLeod sums up Sunshine (see below) with a brevity and skill that will not surprise anyone familiar with his novels:

Sunshine is one the cleverest stupid films I’ve seen in a long time.

The perfect review.


Well, Sunshine was visually quite spectacular, but for me the story tended to lurch from one quite unbelievable scenario to another. And as for the visual references to 2001: A Space Odyssey and Alien, it seems Tarantino only watched these two films before/while writing the script. There’s even a scene with the crew sitting round chomping a meal while chatting, straight out of Alien. The imagery is really that similar. Maybe this was intentional.

The film, as Ian pointed out to me as we left the cinema, is also highly reminiscent of a certain episode of Thunderbirds. Would I recommend it? I’m not sure. To me it came across as if Tarantino wanted to make an SF thriller that showed SF people how it really should be done, but failing to appreciate the clichés he was using, or the credibility required.

Other problems included corny orchestrated strings at key “emotional” moments, such as when someone dies; the fact that the first ship sent out was called Icarus 1 (uh, you wouldn’t call it “1″ unless you thought you were going to need a “2″ now, would you?), the snow-encrusted Sydney Opera House just to illustrate that it really is that cold on Earth (which also reminded me of the Statue of Liberty scene at the end of Planet of the Apes) and, for me, Big Noises: although atmospheric, there is NO NOISE IN SPACE! And in particular, while it’s feasible for spacecraft to make noises, I don’t believe sunlight makes a noise. (If I’m showing my ignorance of physics here, please feel free to let me know…)

I think I’d give the film three stars out of five. Wear your sunglasses and some sun screen and you should be OK.


Did anyone hear any of the Arctic Monday on Radio 1 last week? I don’t listen to Radio much any more – not even Radio 4 – but downloaded this from the BBC website.

The band did a great cover of You Know I’m no Good by Amy Winehouse, which I prefer over the original version. Oddly, when I listen to Winehouse sing it lyrics in different parts of the song stand out to those that stand out in the Arctics’ version. I also downloaded the concert they performed at the Astoria, but trashed it because it sounded pretty much the same as the album, albeit faster.

The new album, Favourite Worst Nightmare, is now out, and I’m finding it something of a grower. Look out for tracks from the album in the iTunes playlists in the white zone. I’ll aim to update this weekly with my “Most Recent” smart playlist from the previous seven days.

On the running front, having taken it up around a year ago and doing a quite exhausting 15 minutes three to four times a week, I’m now on 25 minutes four to five times a week. I can highly recommend this for anyone who experiences depression, migraines, etc. Ideally, I’ll get up at 6am, and be run and showered and in front of my desk by 7-ish.

On the subject of Dr Who… I think part of the problem with some of these episodes is that the 45-minute slot is too short to cram in a whole story. Series 1 did it well, but the writers had longer to work on these episodes than they have for series 2 and 3. A particularly fine example from series 1 is Paul Cornell’s Father’s Day, which is a real tear-jerker. Hats off to Paul for that one. Watching “original” episodes of Who, say from the Tom Baker days, the pace is so much slower they’re incomparable with the new, revitalised Who.

(STOP PRESS: according to his blog page Paul Cornell will be writing the penultimate episode of the second season of Primeval – congratulations, Paul!)

Anyway, tonight I’m off to see Sunshine with all round good egg, Ian MacLeod. I’ll let you know how we found it anon.



We watched The Prestige on DVD last night. This is one of those films which really convey’s the art of the quality film maker when viewed a second time, as you fully appreciate the subtlety of the movie.

Buy it here

I love old films, too. Proper English films, especially, usually in black and white. The Servant, with Dirk Bogard, Sarah Miles, Wendy Craig, and James Fox is a particular favourite. The screenplay by Harold Pinter is a long, slow burn, made back in the day when filmmakers gave their audiences credit for some intelligence. It must’ve been shocking to viewers in its day, as Vera (Miles) hops from bed with Barratt (Bogard), into the arms of Richard (Fox – their employer), all with Barratt’s encouragement as they seek to take over the life of the affluent idiot they work for. Craig’s a superb toff whose efforts to intervene come to naught.

Buy it here

red planet

Watched the last Life on Mars last night. Although I was gutted when this wasn’t wrapped up in the first series last night’s episode gave us a satisfying conclusion. A great series. Not sure what we’ll do on Tuesday evenings now…

Bold as Love – Gwyneth Jones
The Lost District – Joel Lane
The Light Ages – Ian R MacLeod

(Finished The Straw Men – fabulous book)

The Smiths
James Brown

Eagerly Awaiting
The new Arctic Monkeys album.


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