Category Archives: THING

Gone Girl (Quick Review)

There is quite a bit to like about Gone Girl, however I don’t believe David Fincher can direct women very well (at least his portrayal of women in general leaves a lot to be desired) and the movie lacks the razor edge that would allow it to land that violent slash across the throat of modern media that it seems to be stretching for. Instead it scrambles around a half-interesting Hitchcockian missing-person tale before moving on to take less-focused stabs at the media and women in general. Quite good. Not good enough.

Digital Cinema -not all it’s cracked up to be


Am I the only one bothered by the look & feel of digital cinema?

I mean, Roger Deakins did quite well with what he had to work with in Skyfall, but that much-celebrated Shanghai sequence looks to me more like a sleek corporate video presentation than “a Film”. The parts set in Britain were no different in look & feel from an episode of The Apprentice (in HD).

Something is lost in the crisp, perfect cleanness of digital cinema. It’s like taking a hi-res scan of an old painting and presenting that as the thing itself. It’s not.

Film… actual celluloid has its own qualities, inconsistencies and depths that only add to a great film. They are not blemishes or mistakes, no more than a blob of paint or the weave of canvas are on the Mona Lisa.

Why should I go to the cinema to see a digital film when soon after I’ll be able get the exact same image at home on Blu Ray with no disturbances or interruptions from strangers with anti-social habits?

It seems to me, that instead of promoting 3D as the key-feature to entice people to cinemas, they should be using and promoting actual analogue FILM. You don’t get that at home.

Well, mostly.



What’s Wrong With The Newsroom?

The Newsroom is a HBO series (still on Series 1 at time of writing) developed by Aaron Sorkin.

Have to say, I’m having a problem with it. I think there’s not enough “news”, but instead too much room is given to the annoying characters throughout. Jeff Daniels is great, but Emily Mortimer is miscast. She plays the role perfectly well, but I don’t believe her as a veteran journalist and even less as a top newsroom producer -and did you see that first episode where two characters trip over themselves to deliver the ‘excuse’ for her english accent in the most hokey expositional manner? How bad was that?

That’s not the whole problem though. I’ve heard it said they bash the Republican party too much. Not true -they only bash the Tea Party’s more ridiculous rants & claims.. and even then it shows clearly how ridiculous they are -and why- rather than just laugh at them.

No, the biggest problem is Aaron Sorkin: He’s the loudest guy in the room and I don’t think anyone has the guts to tell him be quiet some times. Just about *every* conversation is now a Sorkin formula: Two people shout at each other. One says something silly in the middle of the fast-paced argument, but it’s let slide. At the end of the scene, one of them leaves the room but is called back at the last second by the other who finally gets around to the silly bit, saying something like “did you really wear a dress to that party!?”

All the characters are too self-aware, analytical and too conscious of everyone elses’ emotions -and willing to discuss and help them with same.
I have to say I’m surprised HBO are doing this as normally they’re above those “US TV norms”. For that reason I believe the problem is with Sorkin himself -not that he can’t write excellently -just that he’s too big for an editor/ producer/ director to stand up and tell him hush down and allow the characters to speak for themselves rather than mouth his words (Tarantino has the same problem).
For all that, there’s around 35 – 40 minutes of a decent show in its 55ish minute runtime. If 15 minutes or so were cut, funnily enough it’d be down to a more-normal US tv show length. I for one propose the extraneous & tedious, pathos-filled character-development be cut.
Just get to the point, Jeff. We can handle it. The rest is filler and we all know it.

The Bag For Life

Remember this bag?

It was introduced by Super Valu supermarkets (in Ireland) prior to the introduction of the Plastic Bag levy in 2002.

During the build-up to the new tax everybody complained. It would never work and it would drive people away from the shops, businesses argued.

Convinced that footfall would suffer, Super Valu (and possibly a few others) decided to get one up on the competition by adopting this “Bag For Life” policy.

The idea was that if & when the bag broke or deteriorated they would replace it -free of charge. For life.

It was “The Bag for Life”.

…At least this is my recollection of it.

I asked if this was correct in my local Super Valu recently. The staff member looked at me for a moment, counting my heads it seemed, before bursting out in tears of laughter. She had never heard the likes of it in the past nine years (since the levy) but it did ring a bell with her and she’d be interested to hear if it was true herself.

We discussed it for a while and she admitted to me she had lots of these bags at home and she’d love to replace them with new ones.  Looking left and right she tried to find a manager for me to talk to, but there were none available. Meanwhile a queue had built up behind me and it was the only til open (being early in the morning). She asked if I did want a replacement bag. I said no -but I am curious about it. I know Mrs. Rumm threw some out a few years back and I’d like to know if she deserves my eternal scorn for doing so.

The staff member offered to go find the manager but I told her to leave it -“I’ll be back,” I assured her, “we’ll do it then.”

My question is, AM I WRONG?

I searched online and so far the only thing I can find to suggest I’m right is this page from The Fingal Independent in 2000.

In case that link goes dead at any time, here’s the relevant paragraph:

– – – – –

Manager Shea Smith is planning a one-week promotion to give away the ‘Bag for Life’, which will normally cost 10p.

A very nominal sum given the supermarket’s promise to replace it free of charge if even after bearing the weight of many kilos of comestibles it tears or breaks.

– – – – –

…Or maybe The Bag for Life (“Our Children will thank us for it”) means something else?



Fire, slightly out of hand



It began like all the best plans, with an idea. There was an ugly dead broken-looking overgrown lump of a massive plant in the garden. It used to look like long palm-tree stems waving from a single tropical clump of a windy afternoon. Now it was an old, used, dense, dry, flopped-out giant mop. Its long strands wormed across part of the driveway like an Emo’s hair blocking his face, lending the front garden a deep-felt weary dissolution with life, the universe, horticulture and mainstream teenage pop music. It needed removing before it had an undesirable effect on my ten year old. And I was just the father to do it!

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