Monday, 28 April 2008

The Hobbit 2: The Hobbitses?

Mixed feelings on the recent announcement that Guillermo Del Toro is to head up two new Hobbit movies. On the one hand, awesome. He is clearly an excellent choice, a standout talent in the tricky fantastical genre, a proven and worthy facilitator of both small, intimate emotion and huge, ball busting action. Who better to lead us through Mirkwood and Gollum's cave, and up to Smaug's lair and that battle no-one remembers? I think we've all missed Middle Earth, just a little bit. What a happy series of Christmases those were, as we saw our favourite midgets play out their merry English tales of bravery and rambling. So what's the problem, win all round no? Well, the only bone to stick in my gullet, and it's potentially a biggie, is why the two films?

The narrative of the Hobbit is plenty sufficient for one movie alone and much as I love that fair land, and want to visit it as much as I can, is there really any need to "deal with the 60-year period between “The Hobbit” and “The Fellowship of the Ring"? Surely any new addition to the mythology is destined to inferiority and embarrassment? I haven't read the Children of Huatever, in much the same way as I didn't read books from the Star Wars "universe"; they ain't canon buddy, take 'em outside. No, to me this in fact whiffs of corporate greed, and is pretty much up there with the whole Harry Potter split film saga which I thankfully don't care enough about to link to. Damn.

Well I just hope this is not allowed to damage a so far unparallelled cinematic series, and that Del Toro and Jackson can keep the suits in check. At least it's two of cinema's greatest innovators adding their chapter to literature's most celebrated fantasy, and not Michael Bay. And I suppose the broad doings of that period of Middle Earth must be documented somewhere in Tolkien's sprawling writings, and we know that Jackson is nothing if not respectful. For my part, I'll try to keep my mind on the important things to be concerned about, like who they'll get to play Bilbo, and whether they'll resist the urge to have the dragon voiced by Sean Connery.

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Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Super Reinhardt Brother

The above clip sums up one of the many reason why I love video games, and indeed guitars. Assuming you didn't know, would you have guessed in a million years that this is the theme taken from a Nintendo game? Granted, it is beautifully realised in the Gypsy Jazz style (the original was a bit more Disney) and I have just got into that particular genre (although that is due in no small part to another recent game with an awesome soundtrack), but still it never ceases to amaze me how underrated video games are as a medium. A fusion of image, sound and interaction.. and they can make you interested in Django Reinhardt. Mind Boggling.

All that aside though, I just love to see a well played guitar, so hats off to the guitar man who spotted a great dittie and made something even better.

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Sunday, 20 April 2008


Books. Pretty great huh? With all the competing media around these days, my reading habit has been sorely neglected. Sinful for someone who claims to like reading and writing. That aside, I just finished the book, the cover helpfully displayed to the left, and found it so enjoyable it's worth a mention on this predominantly digitally fixated blog. As with many good books I've never heard of, once read you start seeing it everywhere. Every other person on the tube seems to have a copy under their arm, inspiring knowing winks and cheerful smiles and head waggles. Except of course, your copy is hidden from sight so they just think you're a weirdo. It is also I hear, set to become a big budget epic starring Johnny Depp, so not totally out of the playhouse's realm then.

I attempted to summarise the story to a friend. I didn't do well and apparently made it sound boring. Although if you think the story of a man who escapes from an Australian prison to become a doctor in a Bombay slum, gets recruited by the local godfather as a forger and gun-runner, and eventually goes to war in Afghanistan is dull, well, you must lead a very stimulating existence. And that really is bare bones, a hundred little adventures play out between these covers. Perhaps most stunning is that it all happened. This guy is for real and another friend of mine (the one who gave me the book, thank you x) ran into him in Goa. Wowsers. Of course it is a novel - Roberts describes the experiences as real, but the characters as fictional. Fictional or not, I'll freely admit that I wept like a little girl when one of the beloved characters dies, such is the quality of their realisation. I don't think I've ever cried at a book before, and if I have, I certainly can't remember when. If you need a good lengthy, rewarding book for a holiday or whatever, check this out, it is an exceptional, beautifully crafted read. And if you haven't read a book for a while, reading helps build your vocabulary and ability to construct sentences, so you er, really like, should.

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Thursday, 17 April 2008

GTA IV: heads and net to asplode

Its nearly upon us, the time when we should all down tools and Renton cold turkey style stock up on soup and buckets, nail the door shut, and get in there. With April 29th bearing down fast, the net has entered hypermode and is churning out exclusive revelations at an alarming rate. We are all excited, and must find the strength to soldier on in these difficult days, but who can resist these tantalising glimpses of the paradise that will soon be upon us? Look ye, on some of the latest seamy whiffs from behind the curtain, but put some newspaper down first eh?

The rumour of downloadable cities in particular is a buttock clenchingly exciting prospect, if only for the ps3 owner baiting it would facilitate. The fallout over which version is superior might be just as entertaining to watch as the game itself. Lets hope we and teh nets can survive the onslaught.

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