rfbooth.com :: blog archives

Moments in time, preserved to embarrass me later.

19-3-2005 (archived)

Constantine” is the 734th comic-based film I've seen in the last three years, or so it sometimes seems. Fortunately enough I tend to quite like them, and this one is no exception. Once you get past the fact that the basic setup doesn't make any theological sense (theology being rather central to this sort of thing), this is thoroughly enjoyable tosh, Reeves providing some weary charisma in the central role and entertaining support, particularly Tilda Swinton overplaying a sexually unspecific Angel Gabriel brilliantly in a scene that I actually found rather affecting, not least I suspect because of resonances with the similar scenes that pop up quite regularly in the better class of fantasy literature. This is not great, but it is tremendously atmospheric and characterful, and that'll do nicely.

21-3-2005 (archived)

While Cliquesters will all know about it already, I just couldn't resist pointing you to Hey Mr Tangerine Man, a brilliant updating of Dylan's original to deal with Robert Kilroy-Silk, possibly the most ridiculous man in Britain. (Via Ptee).

23-3-2005 (archived)

Excellent article on Kuro5hin about making the switch from intellectual to physical work, giving up coding to work as a cycle courier. I think there can be few “knowledge workers” who haven't occasionally thought about going out and doing something “real”, but not many of us actually do it (and stick at it; I'm discounting things like summer jobs during undergrad work). Compelling reading.

26-3-2005 (archived)

You'd think with the preliminary questions “what is your gender” and “which gender do you sleep with” out of the way, there'd be little need for the rest of the gay-o-meter, but it seems that what they're really measuring is what'd be better called camp. It will not surprise those who know me well that I scored high indeed.

28-3-2005 (archived)

So we were gigging last night, in what is one of the best places we play, and before the first set I went to the gents. There I became aware of two... well, in context, decidedly not gentlemen... people further down the trench and midway through a conversation.

A: “She's tighter than you'd think, you know.”

B: “Well, you've got the girth, haven't you?”

A: “Not really...” (pause as, I assume, B looks over A's shoulder)

B (mildly surprised): “Oh, I suppose not.”

If there is a moral to this story, it escapes me completely.

30-3-2005 (archived)

Computer animation does seem to have killed the hand-animated film almost completely, and it's not hard to see why. While not every computer-animated movie has the sheer visual brilliance of the Pixar productions, comparing their look to some of the old-fashioned Disney movies I saw trailed today makes it clear how far we've come.

Robots isn't close to Pixar standards, either in animation or scripting, but it's smart enough to play to computer animation's biggest strengths: metal and shiny surfaces to ray-trace, staying well away from skin and fur, well-imagined and active backgrounding. The story's a predictable enough Disney-style heartwarmer, with plenty of fart jokes for the kids and the odd double-entendre for the slightly older kids, and the whole thing would have been a little hard to take without Robin William's brilliant voicing of Fender. I had to watch the credits to realise it was he; the character moves from voice to voice with tremendous energy and wit, and leaves this utterly, enjoyably watchable.

1-4-2005 (archived)

The Machinist” is genuinely uncomfortable to watch. The direction is very interesting, brilliantly using small shifts of character and atmosphere to shift our levels of belief up and down. While this is a “twist movie”, it's carefully designed and played so that the reveal (done quite explicitly and thoroughly) is no surprise at all; I've never seen this done with anything like this combination of subtlety and clarity.

The film is dominated by Christian Bale's gripping, horrifying performance as Trevor Reznick, a man who has not slept and barely eaten for a year. Bale notoriously dropped more than a third of his bodyweight - 63lbs, four and a half stones - for the film, on a diet of a tin of tuna and an apple per day, and is unrecognisable from his buffed beauty in American Psycho or Equilibrium. His superb performance combined with his horrifying physical condition make this utterly gripping, a role for which he will be remembered. One of the most remarkable films of the year.

4-4-2005 (archived)

The Rage in Placid Lake” is a witty Australian entry into the teen angst genre. Placid Lake is a teenager raised (as the name suggests) by hippies and mercilessly bullied. He decides that the right response is to rebel by suppressing his individuality and “fearlessness”, buying a suit and a haircut and going to work for an insurance company. This is stuffed with humour and humanity, frequently laugh-out-loud funny and occasionally touching without ever being sentimental. Individual, original, and delightful, catch it while you can.

6-4-2005 (archived)

This week Vinny Burns was 40, and when an man who's sold that many records, toured with everybody, and who happens to be a good mate too asks you to headline at his birthday bash you aren't going to say no. So we played the gig at Jackson's Pit in Oldham with many of the great, good, and other in attendance, and a good time was had by all. A standing-room crowd singing along from the first number is the way this is supposed to be.

As those close to the band will already know, we're gigging as a slightly different unit to last year. Justin has come back from his leave of absence to rejoin us, and James is now on leave in a similar, private-life-driven way; we're still four of the original five, of course. This gig was the first time we've played a gig as a fivepiece since May 2003, and by God it felt good.

For those who are interested, eight people have now played full gigs with Wide Open: the five full members and, depping, Paul Simpson once on bass, Steve Belger once on drums, and the astonishing Carl Bowry several times on both guitars and bass. I'm now the only one to have played every gig. Doubtless this too shall pass...

I seem to have found the level the other week, so here are some more tales from the trench. Since Jackson's had no actual sit-down toilet in the gent's, just a pipe sticking out of the ground in the cubicle and a rather superfluous “out of order” sign on its door, and indeed the urinals themselves were not entirely convincingly plumbed (involving buckets), there was a certain amount of conversation overheard by self and others.

“We've been diggin' holes in the carpark and shiteing in them!”

“Schtop! This shithouse is not ready!”

“Just piss into the bucket, mate.”

bloke: “That bucket reminds me of shagging my missus.”
bloke2: “That's a bit unfair!”
bloke: “Have you seen my missus?”
IanM: “not recently, no.”

Perhaps surprisingly, Ian survived.

8-4-2005 (archived)

Hitch” hasn't had the best of receptions from critics, but then what does that tell you about romantic comedies? This is in no way innovative or clever or groundbreaking or even all that believable, but it plays off the presence of Eva Mendes, natural comic acting oh Kevin James and overwhelming charisma and energy of Will Smith with plenty of wit and pace, and a script more than strong enough to carry the picture. This has the air of a film that was fun to make, and it's certainly fun to watch. I can't remember when I saw a rom-com this simply, thoroughly enjoyable. An old, old form, executed perfectly.