rfbooth.com :: blog archives

Moments in time, preserved to embarrass me later.

4-12-2004 (archived)

You know how everyone's been telling you how great “The Incredibles” is? Well, they were absolutely right. This is Pixar's first human-based film (assuming, of course, that superheroes are really human), and probably their best yet. Monsters Inc was superb, of course, but this is at least comparable, at least as witty and detailed, and still feels short at over two hours. The family-life sequences near the start might lose the youngest of the potential audience, but then I'm not a kid, so I don't care. Much of the dialogue is brilliant, it's full of spot-on jabs at the superhero genre, and there are a multitude of references (often to the Fantastic Four) that I caught among the many more I probably missed. And, once again, there's a totally unrelated intro cartoon that's better than most things you'll find in a cinema at any time. It goes without saying that the visuals are absurdly good; nobody is even close to what these guys are doing. They're so good that, unless rendering and physics models are close to your heart, you'll forget it's animated at all, let alone by computer. Pixar are growing stronger and stronger, and this is another slice of genius.

7-12-2004 (archived)

Yesterday I went back to the gym for the first time in about three weeks. I've finally learned, the hard way, that if I lift when I'm under the weather I will get ill, which has meant that November's been spent almost entirely outside the gym for me. I'd visibly lost some size and condition in the chest and shoulders, and I was unsurprised to find I'd lost a little strength too, but it'll come back soon, probably with interest.

Now, as anyone who's ever lifted weights will expect, the pain is beginning. My arms feel swollen and sore, especially near full extension or contraction. Every time I take a step my chest moves and reminds me that I was benching yesterday. Tomorrow I'll have difficulty putting my coat on, and will probably have to start putting my seat-belt on before I get fully into the car. I'm very, very tired.

And it feels good.

9-12-2004 (archived)

Enduring Love is a remarkable film. The director has been brave enough to take the action slowly where it should be slow, and skillful enough to hold us engaged throughout. Nothing original is said about love here, but then few subjects have been more thoroughly discussed; the relationships that drive the film are all well observed, living and believable. It's a genuinely unsettling, thought-provoking piece of cinema, driven by strong performances from Morton and Ifans, another wonderful turn from Bill Nighy, and a stunning piece of acting from Daniel Morton. This is not an easy watch, but it is very, very good.

11-12-2004 (archived)

Apparently the distinguished company I put padraig in the other day has combined with him reaching the end of his placement to produce some writing. He still does this better than anyone I know, so go and read him, why don't you?

13-12-2004 (archived)

A bit behind the times, but I can't not mention Salad Fingers part 5 (first four blogged here). Again, not for the easily disturbed.

15-12-2004 (archived)

Don't celebrate too soon, since apparently Clarke supports the ludicrous, invasive, expensive and pointless ID card scheme. Still, it is a relief that after tremendous hypocrisy (preaching the gospel of stable families in his capacity as home secretary while having an affair, and possibly a child, with a married woman), likely misuse of position, and utterly unprofessional behaviour in the context of his biography, he's finally gone. I haven't loved Clarke as Education Secretary, and I don't think he'll please many civil libertarians now he's in the home office, but Blunkett was even worse than Howard and Straw.

17-12-2004 (archived)

There's a pub in London called the Bull's Head. Quite a lot of them, actually, but one in particular is famous among jazz musicians; they've had live music each and every night since about 1960, including most of the bigger names in British jazz.

A few months ago, a block of flats was built next to the pub. People moved in. Now, one of them, Stephanie Fallows (who I'm sure could be reached by addressing post to “next to the Bull's Head, Barnes”, not of course that I would ever advocate any such thing), has complained about the noise, and they have been told they have to soundproof (at, the pub say, a cost they simply can't afford) or stop the music.

Think about that for a moment. I am fully aware that there are people who move to the countryside and then complain about the smell, or move in under a major flight path from Heathrow and moan about the noise, but these people are ignored by all who don't prefer to laugh at them. Even if you were moving into a house that had been there longer than the venue, to then complain about the noise from an institution that's been operating in exactly the same way since before the complainant was born is obviously, transparently unreasonable. We have little enough live music in this country as it is. If you don't like it, you shouldn't have bought the flat. Sell it and fuck off.

20-12-2004 (archived)

Blade: Trinity” is pretty much exactly what you expect: cool visuals, well-choreographed combat scenes, magnificent eye-rolling hamming-up from Parker Posey, a great mostly goth-metal soundtrack, almost no plot, and some of the funniest swearing I can ever remember seeing in a film. Snipes's charisma is still enough to carry the franchise, and Jessica Biel is undeniably compelling. Shit, but shiny shit.

23-12-2004 (archived)

Mark pointed out to me that Manchester had its own version of the moaning neighbour story from the other day, though ours has apparently been resolved without tragedy. Quite why, when the developers failed to soundproof the wall, the club rather than the residents should pay isn't clear to me, but then many things aren't.

In other bad neighbour news, anyone who hasn't been completely disengaged recently will have heard about violent protests leading to cancellation of a play in Birmingham. Again part of this story is about the lack of support, even hostility, of government to the arts, but this one is more about the complete failure of many people to understand the essential ideas underpinning western civilisation (lest I be accused of racism, I'm not suggesting that Sikhs, Muslims, or indeed any other religious or immigrant group understand them any less well than the typical Briton, let alone the typical Daily Mail reader). You simply do not have the right not to be offended. You do, of course, have the right to protest, but not to threaten or intimidate or obstruct. We cannot have a free society unless this is understood.

On that happy note, the blog is taking its winter holiday. It will return soon.

5-1-2005 (archived)

House of Flying Daggers” has drawn comparisons with its own director's Hero and, inevitably, with Crouching Tiger; again, it's mythological-historical Chinese magical realism, and it shares Hero's obsession with colour and light. This is, to my admittedly uneducated taste, a stronger film than either; more believable than Crouching Tiger, better-acted than either, and even more beautiful than Hero, this is, again, film-making of genius. See it on the biggest screen you can.