CHAPPiE

So I’ve recently made a trip to the super-friendly (you book tickets by leaving your name with them over the phone – none of this paying in advance rubbish!) local cinema to see the new movie by writer (along with wife Terri Tatchell) and director Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium), ‘CHAPPiE’. Once again, Sharlto Copley is in the movie and I thought that Ninja and Yo-Landi Visser from Die Antwoord as “themselves” were pretty awesome choices for the film.

This is another sci-fi movie set in a dystopian Jo’burg, South Africa, in which the local police force have been supplemented by robotic officers controlled by independent advanced programs. Designed by an ambitious young programmer (Dev Patel) who has dreams of creating a true artificial intelligence that can learn and evolve, making decisions for itself rather than being constrained by an advanced program. Of course, those decisions might not always be the ones you want your creation to make…

I don’t want to give too much away for those that may not have seen the film so I’ll try not to directly talk about what happens but be warned reading on may spoil reveal some aspects of the movie if you’ve not yet been to see it for yourself.

To me, this movie is an interesting and entertaining commentary on free will, choice and what is required to be considered to be truly alive, whilst doing a fair job of colouring and bending what is to be considered “good” and “evil”. It’s also got some neat and interesting sci-fi ideas in there that have certainly been used before but are deployed here to good effect. Throw in some good action sequences and film that looks and feels believable and you have a compelling piece to watch. Go see it!

Frozen

It’s interesting that snow has once again come to the UK and, whilst there is some disruption, it’s not exactly a major crisis.

Here in the north, there’s less fuss and people are getting on with things. People want services to be working, the bus routes gritted etc. but there’s no sign of panic buying of supplies and the like.

One thing that doesn’t often seem to considered though – maybe a lot of people just like the break and the change from the daily grind?

It’s nearly Easter…

…and I’m already fed up with the sheer number of “things” being marketed to me. It’s an endless rolling advertising frenzy now throughout the year, with barely a letup. Coming hot on the heels of Christmas and New Year, it’s not long before the adverts for Valentine’s Day appear (not forgetting it’s preceded by Burns Night for the Scots), quickly followed by Shrove Tuesday, St Patrick’s Day and then Mothering Sunday.

It would be nice if there was at least a brief period where we were not being bombarded with advertising for the next big event we really must by cards, gifts and food for – and if you don’t, you are (of course) a Really Bad Person.

Cross Season will soon be here!

Sven remounting
Sven Nys racing 2012 season

It’s August already and cyclocross season is only just around the corner! I’m excited that the season is here, that I’m finally free of physical problems and I might actually be able to race again this season (even if I am even worse than before). I’m also excited that I’m heading off to the Cyclocross Worlds in January, held this season at Hoogerheide in the Netherlands.

I thought I’d post the photo with this story as for me it sums up cyclocross nicely – the conditions, the intensity, the skill and balance required to race cyclocross at the highest level. The picture not only looks fantastic but you can see the madness of the sport – racing in the toughest conditions (and using a braking design that’s not changed in 40 years, until disc brakes became legal last season) that most people probably wouldn’t consider going out in or be able to complete a lap without taking a spill. You can see the excitement of the fans, roaring their hero on in the background, fuelled by a combination of beer and frites – and this is probably the best format for watching cycle racing with a short course meaning the riders will lap and pass the fans a number of times in each race.

The short and intense nature of a day of racing means that you’ll not only see the Elite men race but usually at least one other race but more likely there will be the full gamut of Juniors, Under-23s, Women and Seniors to see. Now all we need is parity in prize money for the men and women and we’ll be all set for some awesome racing for the next 10 years. Who wants to bet on a British World Cyclocross champion in that time too?

Yes, this picture is a progressional shot, not taken by me. Unfortunately it’s been sat on my laptop for months and I have no idea where I acquired it. If you know, or it’s yours and you’d like me to remove it, please drop us a line at www@emptypage.org.uk. Thanks.

Tyrannosaur

A couple of Sunday afternoons ago, I watched the movie Tyrannosaur. This film is something that is definitely not a fun afternoon of viewing but it is a very good film. With the two key protagonists turning in very powerful performances, this film is something that will definitely leave a lasting memory.

It’s a very simple film, that revolves around two lives that are each tough in their own differing ways and the story that brings them together. It’s a fairly straight forward story with some good twists. It’s definitely not a film to watch on your own if you’re feeling low. Peter Mullan and Oliva Colman (who has recently been on British terrestrial TV staring in the excellent Broadchurch mini-series) portray these lead roles but there is also a strong supporting cast including Eddie Marsan that results in believable supporting characters without them stealing the show.

I’m not going to say any more because I don’t want to give any of the plot and story away. Suffice to say, watch it.

Steve

Bumbling idiot act broken

So Boris Johnson has finally allowed the act he’s been playing for some time to slip and and the real Boris Johnson has been nicely exposed by Eddie Mair. And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person – everyone got to see just how nice on the weekend of the 23rd and 24th March. You can watch the interview courtesy of the BBC in the UK. Other countries might need a bit of searching to watch it.

I think such an occurance has surely been coming for some time. I find it difficult to believe that someone who is really such a bumbling idiot could have maneuvered to such a position as Mayor of London. Perhaps the real scenario is that’s the technique that Boris has always used to deflect attention from the reality of what he’s really like – a personality that seems much more suited to his political success. I could, of course, be wrong and I frequently am but it will be interesting to see what the fallout is.

It’s some time now since the incident occurred and Boris seems to have been somewhat quieter than usual – possibly drowned out by the furore surrounding the death of Margaret Thatcher although it might also be because he seems to have pissed off to the US. Long may he stay there but I expect he’ll be back, particularly as the ‘bad news’ has probably been buried.

Suspiria

So last night I watched the Dario Argento movie Suspiria on DVD. It’s a horror film from the mid 70s and something of a classic. There’s an intense soundscape throughout the film and the sets are awash with bright, bold colours. Definitely worth seeing for the sound and sets alone, but it is entertaining too.

It’s just a shame the audio mix isn’t more consistent – the levels are all over the place. That’s the only real negative with this DVD movie and apparently the same sound problem exists on the blu-ray.

I hope you like your blood thick and bright! Enjoy…