I go to the cinema regularly. When I do, I keep a record of what I saw and write a short comment about the film. This is the list of those films. Some of these I went to see multiple times, but I’ll just list them by first viewing.
I’ve not listed films seen outside the cinema, because I don’t note those down (and there’s no way I can remember them all).
Manchester by the Sea – Walked out half way through. I thought it was ok, but it was one of those days when I wasn’t in the mood for an onslaught of misery. Haven’t tried to watch it again.
Passengers – Actually quite an enjoyable film to go and see on a dreary January night.
Silence – I had no preconceptions of this, and was very impressed. It’s very long, and the topic isn’t something I’d usually go for, but I thought this was a masterpiece.
Split – Rubbish.
La La Land – Loved it, didn’t think I would. Looks great on the big screen.
Jackie – Got bored. Walked out.
Lion – I thought I’d hate this. How wrong was I? For a film about a guy using Google Earth a lot, it’s surprisingly compelling.
Lego Batman – Watched this on a Sunday afternoon with a fairly decent hangover. Maybe for that reason, found this to be too hectic to be enjoyable.
The Founder – Actually pretty good.
Hidden Figures – Better than expected.
Fences – Denzel Washington indulgence.
John Wick 2 – Not as good as the first one.
Moonlight – First time I went to see this, the power in the cinema cut off after 30 mins and didn’t come back on. I went back a week later and thought it’s pretty good. Not sure if worth an Oscar.
Toni Erdmann – So weird. So funny. So thought provoking. Watch this if you haven’t already.
Free Fire – Bloody good fun.
Logan – Just from the law of large numbers, eventually someone had to make a good superhero film. This one only spoiled by the person in the cinema who insisted on talking very loudly to the person next to him.
Kong: Skull Island – meh.
Get Out – Very very good.
Power Rangers – Bad. So bad.
Their Finest – Saw in on a Sunday evening to while away some time. It served that purpose well.
Lady Macbeth – Didn’t know anything about this before seeing it. Thought it was interesting, dark and really compelling.
Colossal – Sort of silly science fiction, very good fun.
Alien: Covenant – meh
The Red Turtle – Beautiful. This is a film with no dialogue that manages to say more than a lot of the films on this list. Well worth a watch.
My Cousin Rachel – Saw this on a Friday afternoon. Left after half an hour because I was too tired to concentrate. Watched it again later in the year whilst on a flight, and thought it was pretty good.
Baby Driver – Huge fun, and great on the big screen.
It Comes At Night – A decent horror film. However I had to think hard to remember what it is, so clearly not that good.
The Beguiled – Very good. Very tense, you don’t quite know where it’s going to lead which makes it really compelling.
War For The Planet Of The Apes – Meh.
Dunkirk – Absolutely phenomenal. Even though you know how it ends, amazingly tense the whole way through. Excellent sound design, awesome cinematography. I saw it twice on an Imax screen, and think it really benefits from the big screen.
A Ghost Story – This was phenomenal. An, er, haunting look at relationships, loss, grief, and all that big stuff.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – This had poor reviews and basically tanked at the Box Office. I can’t for the life of me figure out why. It’s quite funny, very odd, spectacular to see on screen and overall really, really enjoyable. People go on about Hollywood/action films all being the same (shit) superhero franchises done in the same way time after time, so it’s annoying they don’t go and see something so different when it somehow gets made.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle – Not good. It’s as if they didn’t understand why the first one worked.
Blade Runner 2049 – Great sequel. Worth seeing on the big screen.
The Death of Stalin – OK, but not great.
Ingrid Goes West – Very funny.
Murder on the Orient Express – OK, not great. Branagh a little OTT as Poirot.
The Disaster Artist – If you know anything about The Room then you need to see this. Oh, hi Mark.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Good but not great, and not as good as Rogue One (or, in fact, the first Star Wars film from 1977). The ending feels a bit “tacked on”; although I think it was the right ending, the scenes leading up to it could have been paced better to lead you into it. Could also drop 30 mins off the running time without losing anything important.
That’s 39 films seen at the cinema this year. As I mentioned at the top there are a few I saw multiple times (1 film I went to see 3 times…), so that’s 40-odd visits to the cinema this year.
This is a lovely little article celebrating the Martini. Spoiled only by, er, the recipe it gives for making a Martini:
The best Martini will always be the coldest Martini. Lukewarm presentations just don’t cut it. If you can, put your glasses, your bottle of gin or vodka and your shaker in the freezer at least half an hour before your guests arrive. […] My recipe uses old-fashioned proportions–four parts gin to one part vermouth–in a silver shaker. (Silver will make your liquids colder than a glass shaker.) I toss in a dash of orange bitters (available from Fee Brothers in Rochester, New York), then shake. And I mean shake it!
Vodka does not belong in a Martini. If you substitute gin for vodka, it’s a Vodka Martini. This is an inferior drink1, and should never be referred to as a Martini.
Stir – gently – don’t shake. Shaking breaks the ice, dilutes it to fuck and ruins the drink.
4 parts gin to 1 part vermouth. 4 to fucking 1?! If you’re 8 years old, maybe. Anything less than 6 to 1 can’t be called a Martini. 8 to 1 is the sweet spot.
Orange bitters. Fuck no. Gin and dry vermouth, lemon twist or a couple of olives to garnish, thats it.
He’s right about the temperature. Glasses in the freezer beforehand, and serve it fucking cold.
This is the simplest (and, depending on when you ask me2, the best) cocktail. Almost no-one makes it right, but now you won’t make that mistake.
That is all.
However if you add a little bit of vodka to the gin you get a Vesper, which is delicious [↩]
How great is the full version of Pigs on the Wing?
The two parts of this song have always been my favourite part of Animals because I think they’re lovely little songs (and, lets face it, the brightest parts on what is thematically quite a grim album).
This i great to just put on and listen while you are working or playing game in your computer, for me it does it all I really like to listen to it and get relaxed while I play my online games, check her For more information.
Also I love this version because a) great solo and b) makes it easier to listen to both parts without having to sit through all of Animals…
So Leave won it. Probably fair to say it’s not the result anyone expected, but there we are.
As I write, the pound has slumped, markets hugely down, and both main parties are looking for new leaders1.
I called the result completely wrong, but here’s my stab at predicting what will happen next:
There will be a recession this year. There would probably have been a recession in the next year or so anyway, but the referendum means it will happen sooner.
The £ and markets will recover. The current turmoil is due to uncertainty as much as anything else; once we know what Brexit looks like, things will improve as people gain confidence again.
We will leave the EU. Despite the result this isn’t actually a given, but I think politically it would be very difficult not to leave, given the result. That being said…
The UK will join/stay in the European Economic Area. This keeps us in the single market, and will retain the freedom of UK nationals to live and work in the EU (and vice-versa). This point is too important to the UK economy that I can’t imagine a scenario in which some variant of this doesn’t happen. This will mean that despite the illusion of change, things will essentially stay the same2.
Boris won’t be PM. I’m not sure about this – at the moment he’s the frontrunner – but I think he has too many enemies amongst the Tory party. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if he does become leader, because the party is currently going about things in a pretty grown-up way. In stark contrast to…
Labour. I think we’re witnessing the death throes of the Labour party. The Parliamentary party will force a leadership election, Corbyn will stay on the ballot and will win – again – with the membership. I think at this point Labour has to split, with the grown-ups leaving to create a modern left-wing party (think New Labour without the baggage). This will leave the lunatics free to do what they want with Labour, and pave the way for the party to fizzle into insignificance.
There will be another General Election before 2020, but not in 2016. Labour (or their successor) needs to sort themselves out before they vote for that.
Nicola Sturgeon will pretend to call for a second Scottish referendum, without ever really asking for it. She knows she’d lose, and that even if she wins establishing an independant Scotland would be an impossible task.
I guarantee I’ll be wrong about half of this (I’m less certain about the party political stuff), but thought I’d put it out there anyway.
Corbyn hasn’t technically left Labour yet, but it must happen soon [↩]
I’ve been blogging – on and (mainly) off, in one place or another – since about 2004. In fact this very blog was started in 2007, so coming up for 9 years now(!). Reading through some of the early scribbles (and please don’t take that as a cue to trawl the archives, they’re awful), I see posts about religion, ramblings about motorsport, many many entries about procrastination, and song lyrics shoehorned in as blog titles.
So it’s still very me; at a basic level those are all things that I’d probably write about now. Sure, now I’m procrastinating on chartership reports instead of exam revision and the lyrics are from songs released in the last decade rather than the 60s, but the basic concept is pretty similar.
It’s still me, but not quite the same.
Reading through those old posts is a brilliant – if actually quite horrifying – experience. Seeing my thoughts from way back when, the general theme is “shit, I wrote that?!”. Call it the arrogance of youth or whatever; reading them with older eyes I just realise how I sounded. It also brings back a flood of memories. Of what was going on in my life when I wrote the blog, what I was feeling, and generally what got under my skin. I’m glad to say that those things have changed, at least.
I’m in the back half of my 20s now. Whilst in broad brush strokes I’m the same as ever, reading back those old blogs makes me realise that I’m a very different person. In terms of how I think and how I approach life, I’m just different. More comfortable with who I am, probably; and because of that more confident, less eager to prove myself. I have no idea if that translates into how other people see me; a lot of the people I see most often now are people I didn’t know back when I wrote this regularly, so they have no baseline for comparison.
None of this is to say that I think I’ve grown up to be amazing. I’m comfortable with who I am, but I acknowledge I can be a dick sometimes. The thing is that everyone is a dick sometimes; the trick is to ignore the people who act that way more often than not.
The odd thing is that I almost feel like I can pinpoint the time when I changed; a certain moment when a switch was flicked and I became comfortable with who I am. Which is almost certainly bullshit. People don’t work like that, we change gradually in response to many things.
I don’t apologise for not blogging. I try to write every now and then, get bored and then go do something more exciting. I won’t promise that I’ll try and write regularly or whatever because I can almost guarantee that won’t happen. Probably best to say that I’ll write whenever I feel I want to record something.
And on that note, I’m off to the pub. See ya in another year (or so)!
9 posts in 2012. 2 posts in 2013. May as well have at least have one this year, even if it is wholly as a point of reference for myself.
This song’s been stuck in my head for the last week or so; found this version a couple of days ago and it’s really not helped:
I’m basically putting this here so that I can find it in future without messing around searching on YouTube. And hey, perhaps one of the three or so people who may read this will enjoy it!
I might write something longer at some point. I probably won’t. I also possibly might migrate this over to another url at some point, but again I probably won’t. I like the idea of writing something every now and again, but… effort. We’ll see, I guess.
There’s an argument made that the reason the UK’s economy is struggling is because the government is cutting spending. This line of logic originates with the work of John Maynard Keynes, who theorised that economic output is influenced by the total amount of spending in the economy, called aggregate demand. He argued that aggregate demand drops in recessions, and that when this happens the government should provide fiscal stimulus to make up the shortfall.
A key signal of aggregate demand is the unemployment level: higher unemployment, lower aggregate demand. In other words: in a recession lots of people lose their jobs, and so there is less spending in the economy, therefore the government should spend more money to make up the difference.
It’s an interesting idea and it might even be true. However, it is argued that this is the situation that Britain is in now, and so more fiscal stimulus is needed to help the recovery. But that doesn’t really stack up.
The signal for aggregate demand is unemployment, and one of the curious things in Britain throughout the downturn is that unemployment hasn’t actually risen that much, compared to the change in economic output. In fact, the drop in labour productivity during the downturn has had a lot of economists somewhat puzzled.
So if unemployment hasn’t risen, there can’t be a problem with aggregate demand. Fiscal stimulus solves aggregate demand. So why do we want more fiscal stimulus?
In fact, you could possibly argue the opposite. Yes, there have been real cuts in government spending, but actually they haven’t been that significant. The British government is still spending a historically high amount, and still has one of the largest deficits in the world. So the government has been providing fiscal stimulus, and that’s why unemployment didn’t rise as much. It might be true, I have no idea. It’s an interesting idea though, and if it is true it surely vindicates a lot of the Keynesian viewpoint.
The other day the Government announced a provisional route for High Speed 2. Now they’ll consult, and announce the final route at some point in the future. The first phase – the section between London and Birmingham – is due to start construction in 2017, and due to be completed by 2026.
In May 1961, President Kennedy announced that he wanted America to do something radical, something that no-one had ever done before. He announced that by the end of the decade, America would put a man on the Moon. You probably know how that turned out.
Getting to the Moon required lots of research, and working at the cutting edge of technology. High speed rail isn’t new technology, it’s been around for decades. Yet we’re saying that it’ll take longer to build a couple of hundred miles of rail line than it took to figure out how to complete a round trip of almost a million miles, using new technology, in the sixties.
Final cost of the Apollo project: $25 billion in 1970, or about £80 billion in present money. Projected cost of HS2: £32 billion.
Does it really sound reasonable that the entire Moon landing programme should cost about 2.5 times more than a high-speed rail link? I think not.
It’s a good idea to build a high-speed rail link. In fact we probably should’ve done it before now, and we should probably be at the stage of having a high-speed network, as in other developed countries. But it baffles me that it’s going to take so long, and cost so much.
So you’re a Republican Governor. You’ve been in the role since 2009, and coming up to the end of your first term. You’re the first Republican to win a statewide election in your state in over a decade, and during your time as governor you’ve built up a formidable reputation. Although people told you that you should, you elected not to stand for the Republican Presidential nomination. So some other guy gets nominated, and obviously as the election nears you play your part. Talk him up, talk down the other guy. All standard stuff.
And then a fucking big storm hits your state. And then you do this.
Governor Christie, well played.
You can see the logic. This guy is good. He’s done a good job as Governor of New Jersey, and had he stood I think he would’ve had a very good chance of getting the nomination. So why didn’t he stand? Well, if your assessment that the incumbent is likely to win, you might not want to stand against him. Because if you do, and lose, then that’s it, that’s your shot. Surely better not to run, to try in 4 years against the next Democratic nominee, who won’t have the advantage of incumbency. As a bonus, you can spin it as loyalty to the people who elected you as governor, and by distancing yourself from the election now, you also distance yourself from the nutters that currently comprise the GOP.
I kinda hope this is right. Christie seems to have done a good job as Governor; he’s done sensible stuff, and has actively tried to work with the other party. He would be a substantially better President than either of the numpties that are currently on offer (although I realise that isn’t saying much).
Of course, all this is skewered if Romney wins next week. On the subject of that… I think I’m right in saying that in the UK, most people would see Obama as the better candidate. In fact I think I saw a thing in the news recently about the results of a survey carried out which said that, if they had a vote, something like 75% of Britons would vote for Obama. I’m not sure why, because Obama has been a fairly mediocre President. Sure, he’s been better than Bush Jnr, but I don’t think that’s really an acceptable benchmark. So I’m biased towards Romney purely because he’s The Other Guy.
But would he do a good job? During the campaign Romney has been chameleonic, blending himself to fit in with the views of whoever’s nearby, to try to win their vote. That’s probably logical. I think he’s generally a moderate candidate, and he’s had to at least appear more hardline to win the support of the whackjobs in his party in order to secure the nomination. My instinct is that he’d probably be marginally better than Obama as a president, but it’s really hard to tell because he’s currently saying anything to win votes. So of the two, if I had a vote, I’d pick Romney over Obama; I’d prefer to take a chance on someone who’s unknown, rather than stick with someone who we know has done a bad job. But the choice is kinda like picking which limb you’d like to cut off; there’s no good answer, only a least bad one.
But we need Obama to win so Christie can stand in 2016, so that America can have a decent President for the first time since Clinton left office… Obama for President!