Okay, so I’ve been away,not really been blogging much at all, which isn’t good practice. But I’m back now, and I’m not gonna bother with excused, I’m just going to blog regularly and do some selfless self-promotion elsewhere. First on the agenda is what’s been happening.
The last few weeks have been eventful, to say the least. I went to a seminar last week which, although informative, was not followed-up as it was promised, by no fault of my own, but there’s nothing that can be done about that. I also spent some time looking for antiques in Portobello Road, ate in possibly the nicest restaurant I’ve ever been in, had an interview for a recruitment company which didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, and have also seen a couple of new films, namely Iron Man 2, the Nightmare on Elm Street reboot, and The Losers, as well as being emotionally effected, if not a little disappointed, with the Lost finale. I’ll start with Portobello.
Portobello Road: the heart of Notting Hill
For those who don’t know, Portobello Road is a market in Notting Hill in West London which sells a wide range of things from old leather footballs to antiques to vintage clothes, and everything in between. To quote the 1971 Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks, “you’ll find what you want in the Portobello Road!”. I went there to meet a dear friend of mine, with her family, who had come over to London from her home town of Bergen, Norway, (see March 29th post) and to look for some antiques for my father, last Saturday. Whilst my search yielded unsuccessful, Portobello was definitely worth a visit, as it always is, and I would recommend anyone who hasn’t been there to go, immediately. Though I’m not sure the weather’s too nice for it today…
Having left Portobello, we went our separate ways and met later in the evening for a meal. The Wolseley came highly recommended, so we went there, despite my being put off by what I assumed would be high prices, given it’s location next to the Ritz. The food was possibly the best I’ve ever eaten, certainly the best steak to have passed my lips, and the prices, considering how nice the food was, were very reasonable. Another high recommendation here for anyone who needs a nice meal in the Green Park area.
And so, having left the Troye family to return to their hotel in Finsbury Park on that Saturday night, returning to Croydon for a few drinks before sleeping, my sleeping patterns were erratic to say the least, given that I was wary of needing to be up at 3am Monday morning to collect the Troyes from Finsbury Park, drive them to Gatwick, and return home, given that they had no way of making their flight otherwise, not only making me tired, but also meaning that I missed the finale of Lost, which was simulcast on Sky One at 5am, going out at the same time as it did in America. Needless to say I was not best pleased at this.
All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues
Since it first aired, with the Pilot, shown on September 22nd 2004, I have been an avid fan of Lost. I am one of the relative few who stuck with it all the way through, excusing the dire parts, especially bits of Season 3, knowing that the bad parts would be immediately eradicated by the good ones, which certainly came in abundance during seasons 4 and 5, not so much in 6. The finale, when it came, was everything I expected, and yet nothing at all. I’m going to try and explain, whilst making sure I’m not putting spoilers in, mainly because those who saw it will know exactly what I’m talking about. It was a crash-bang-wallop ending to the emotional roller-coaster that has been the last 6 years, one that had been in the pipeline, if you believe what you’re told, for the last 6 years, and the ball had certainly started rolling a couple of episodes ago with some big events happening. The finale itself was a bit of a disappointment, given the hype that preceded it, for weeks beforehand, blogs, reports, tweets, clip shows, all telling us how amazing Monday 24th May would be, so that when it actually came, it was slightly underwhelming. I think I need to watch it again before I process a concrete opinion on it, given that I know people who felt it was the most apt ending they’d ever seen, some who felt it was absolutely horrendous, and some, like me, who just didn’t know. More to come.
1, 2, Freddy’s coming for you
Having not been a huge fan of the original Nightmare on Elm Street, other than Dream Warriors, I was quite sceptical when I heard there was to be a reboot, especially with an unproven director at the helm. There was a rumour that Jackie Earle Haley had been case as Freddy Krueger, which he denied, but did say it was a role that he would be very interested in. Ironically, it was then announced that, as a result of this rumour, he was offered the character and accepted. When I heard this my interest was immediately revived, as Haley has quickly cemented himself as one of my favourite actors following his performances in the brilliant Shutter Island as George Noyce and Rorschach in the much-maligned but thoroughly enjoyable Watchmen.
It was with this anticipation that I made my way to the Odeon cinema in Beckenham, Kent, a beautiful grade 1 listed building, joined by a regular film-watcher companion of mine, Jason, himself a huge fan of the Elm Street franchise, who knew that he would enjoy the film regardless of whether it was good or not. What followed was a standard, run-of-the-mill horror remake, following in the footsteps of so many other remakes in recent years, and a performance by Haley which, by no means bad, fell short of his performances as Rorschach and Noyce. The film lacked what the original had, and what is necessary in a horror film: actual horror. Whilst the original was tongue-in-cheek, cheesy horror, this just seemed watered down and pacified. Whilst still worth a watch, I’d recommend a rental on DVD rather than a cinema visit. 5/10
I am Iron Man. The suit and I are one.
The first Iron Man film was one of my favourite films of 2008, only championed by a handful of films, including Dark Knight, and another Robert Downey Jr film, Tropic Thunder. Fresh from his Oscar nomination in TT, and having played the classic literary character Sherlock Holmes prior to this, Downey Jr reprises his role as billionaire Tony Stark, here in a sequel which is nearly as good as the original, but for some wasted sequences detailing Stark’s battle with himself (RDJ method acting, maybe?). Mickey Rourke was good as Whiplash, but this portrayal was always going to seem inferior to his last major part, the Oscar-nominated Randy in the Wrestler. I, having not yet seen The Wrestler, hadn’t seen Rourke since, shamefully, the Keira Knightley-friendly Domino, and prior to that, two of my favourite films – Sin City and Man on Fire.
Joining these two are Don Cheadle, replacing Terrence Howard, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell and Samuel L Jackson, with Gwyneth Paltrow reprising her role as Tony Stark’s love interest Pepper Potts from the original. This impressive ensemble cast give a film which, although undoubtedly flawed, is an enjoyable ride, full of humour, action, and vague attempts at romance, and definitely worth a watch for fans of the original, though I must reiterate that it is not as good. 7.5/10 (only because the original was an 8)
You Don’t Give Them Orders, You Just Turn Them Loose
I didn’t have high hopes when I started watching The Losers. I didn’t expect Oscar-material, with an emotionally driven plot, and deep character development. I knew I was getting a weak action film with one-dimensional characters and I wasn’t disappointed. That’s not to say this film wasn’t enjoyable, but its a self-reflexive action film that doesn’t try to be anything else, which, as far as I’m concerned at least, is a breath of fresh air into a stagnant genre, full of action movies that try and put an emotional subtext, or a political subtext, and fail miserably at both. The Losers is an easy-going action movie, to watch on a rainy day inside, or when nursing a hangover. 6/10
And that concludes today’s update. Hopefully it won’t be as long until the next one.