Showing posts from August, 2009

Between the lines: The Hurt Locker may help reshape attitudes to warfare

This excellent article addresses the issue of how the approach to representations of armed conflict on celluloid has evolved over the years in the context of the release of the near-unanimously acclaimed Kathryn Bigelow film "The Hurt Locker". See my previous article for the trailer, though for once we seem to have a trailer that entices and introduces rather than gives away all the film's best bits. So don't worry if it seems a little underwhelming in comparison to the highly positive reviews.
Film blog | 09:25David Cox

By distancing the soldiers in The Hurt Locker from the cause for which they're fighting, Kathryn Bigelow has devised a new martial ideology for an age that's suspicious of combat

Before cinema, war was something most people only heard about. Victorious leaders presented it in enthrallingly epic terms. Losers kept silent. Returning heroes boasted of their glorious exploits. The dead stayed out of sight.

It's televisi…

District 9 - a sci-fi anti-apartheid allegory and the first handheld camera masterpiece?

Following on from yesterday's post, here's an interesting article from The Guardian film blog.District 9: Where aliens come to Earth and handheld comes of ageDistrict 9, the shock blockbuster produced by Peter Jackson, isn't just notable for its box office dominance and viral marketing campaign. It's also the closest thing to a handheld masterpiece that's yet been made Handheld on handholding … A still from District 9 Lars, time to break out that cigar. When Dogme 95 was brewing, I wonder if von Trier seriously thought his cin-emetic had any chance of influencing pop culture. With the release of sci-fi blockbuster District 9, we have the answer: the handheld style has finally come of age. The setup - filmed in to-camera interviews with its pencil-neck protagonist, Wikus Van de Merwe, and intrepid Unsteadicam as he enters the extra-terrestrial township - is jarring in the very best way. And traditional complaints of motion sickness, migraine and general inner-ear angs…

A good time to be a fan of intelligent sci-fi

Not only have we recently had the release of Duncan Jones' wonderful "Moon", we also have the impending release of the indie sci-fi anti-blockbuster "District 9" - no stars, low budget (but doesn't look it). Think South African social realism à la "Tsotsi" meets an inversion of "Independence Day".
District 9 -

Moon -

And another film that is wowing the critics (contemporary war film): The Hurt Locker -

Robin Smith - a dear friend, rest in peace

This afternoon I was devastated to hear that a good friend and fellow cyclist had died this morning of a heart-attack. Robin Smith, a semi-retired architect and keen long-distance cyclist was a lovely, lovely guy, a true gentleman in the best sense of the word. He and his wife Ann have been very good friends to me these past few years and I was so glad that they were able to come to my small farewell party a couple of weeks ago the day before I moved to Southampton.
Over the last few years Robin, Ann and myself regularly went to the FACT cinema in Liverpool to see the latest arthouse/foreign film, following it with a meal at one of the nearby restaurants. Robin was always great fun to be with + great company. I will miss him dearly. Our thoughts + prayers go out to Ann and their family.
Robin + Ann at the Birkenhead North End Cycling Club annual dinner, 2008
Some photos from my last ride with Robin in mid-July, a couple of weeks before I moved away from Liverpool.
Robin (a café in Corwen,…

My new community

As well as driving me from Liverpool to Southampton with a minibus seriously over-laden with my "bits + pieces", Bro. Francis, (my new community Superior who had also been my Superior in Liverpool until his retirement 5 years ago) did all he could to help me get my new room ready in Southampton for me to set it up as I wished. We didn't arrive till about 6.30 p.m. and Bro. Gus had supper ready, but straight afterwards we set about roughly laying a piece of carpet to cover a worn area, pinching a spare teacher's desk from the school for use in my bedroom (easier said than done), shifting in free-standing shelving, moving the bed round, etc... all this for someone in his early 70s who'd had a hip replacement in Feb. But Francis was never one to put off till tomorrow what could be done today. I then managed to empty the minibus of all my numerous boxes and other belongings (musical instruments, bike gear, etc...) before going to bed in the early hours.
By the end of…

Liverpool farewells + a day's cricket with an old friend

Well, I've now moved house, as it were, from our community in Liverpool to our one in Southampton. During the last few weeks I tried to get round as many of my Liverpool/North-West friends as possible. One thing that comes from being a bit of a jack-of-all-trades is that you end up getting to know lots of different groups of people, with the opportunity to make many good friends along the way. I have been blessed with many such friends over the years through through cycling, my different music-making activities, prayer groups, etc...
But one particular friend, Stan Carter, with whom I spent time in my last week in Liverpool (for now) goes back to my school days in Southampton. He was a teacher in our Southampton school (my old school) who arrived there in his early/mid-fifties when I was I think starting 6th form (1985). He was a linguist, specialising in French and also Russian, having been a surveillance Officer some years earlier in during his extended National Service in the N…