Gangs of New York (2002)

January 5, 2008

[spoiler]

Director:
Martin Scorsese

Writers (WGA):
Jay Cocks (story)
Jay Cocks (screenplay) …

Release Date:
9 January 2003 (UK)

Genre:
Crime / Drama / History more

Tagline:
America Was Born In The Streets.

Plot Outline:
In 1863, Amsterdam Vallon returns to the Five Points area of New York City seeking revenge against Bill the Butcher, his father’s killer. more

Cast
(Cast overview, first billed only)

Leonardo DiCaprio    …     Amsterdam Vallon

Daniel Day-Lewis    …     Bill ‘The Butcher’ Cutting

Cameron Diaz    …     Jenny Everdeane

Jim Broadbent    …     Boss Tweed

John C. Reilly    …     Happy Jack

Henry Thomas    …     Johnny Sirocco

Liam Neeson    …     ‘Priest’ Vallon

Brendan Gleeson    …     Walter ‘Monk’ McGinn
Gary Lewis    …     McGloin
Stephen Graham    …     Shang

Eddie Marsan    …     Killoran
Alec McCowen    …     Reverend Raleigh (as Alec Mccowen)
David Hemmings    …     Mr. Schermerhorn

Larry Gilliard Jr.    …     Jimmy Spoils
Cara Seymour    …     Hell-Cat Maggie

[/spoiler]

10 Oscars?  You have got to be kidding me.  Must have been a slow year.

I have seen this film a few times and just rented it again as my other half hasn’t.  I have to admit I could remember some details about the story and characters, but not much else.  Says a lot on reflection I think.

Ok, so you can gather that I don’t rate this film all that highly, but it isn’t all bad.  Daniel Day Lewis puts in a barn storming performance.  What else… hmmm.  I honestly can’t think of anything.  The sets seem a bit forced and unrealistic.  Most of the acting is so so.  The story doesn’t ring that true to me, even knowing it’s fiction.  The ending just doesn’t work.

Am I disappointed, well yes, as I am normally a Scorsese fan.  Let’s just say this won’t be rented again.

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I Am Legend (2007)

December 22, 2007

[spoiler]

Overview

Director:
Francis Lawrence

Writers (WGA):
Mark Protosevich (screenplay) and
Akiva Goldsman (screenplay)

Release Date:
26 December 2007 (UK)

Genre:
Action / Drama / Fantasy / Horror / Sci-Fi / Thriller

Plot Outline:
Years after a plague kills most of humanity and transforms the rest into monsters, the sole survivor in New York City struggles valiantly to find a cure. more

Cast
(Cast overview, first billed only)

Will Smith … Robert Neville

Alice Braga … Anna

Charlie Tahan … Ethan

Salli Richardson … Zoe

Willow Smith … Marley

Darrell Foster … Mike – Military Escort

April Grace … TV Personality

Dash Mihok … Alpha Male

Joanna Numata … Alpha Female

Samuel Glen … Military Driver – Jay

James Michael McCauley … Male Evacuee (as James McCauley)

Marin Ireland … Woman Evacuee

Pedro Mojica … Sergeant

Anthony C. Mazza … Evacuation Cop (as Anthony Mazza)

Steve Cirbus … Military Police

[/spoiler]

A hollywood film that plays well? A Christmas treat I certainly wasn’t expecting.

The film isn’t without it’s faults. It’s CGI leaves something to be desired, and I mean on the undesirables, the rest was pretty spectacular. And of course it suffers from hollywood ending syndrom.

The good points? Well the story is top class, adapted from a book as is to be expected with most good tales these days, and Will Smith seems to get better at doing what he does best, playing himself. Did I see tears?

The running time is a little short, but what that does allow is a compact and eventful storyline that unfolds well. What there is of dialog does the job nicely and the overall credits, have to go to the producers and director.

A rievew of a Hollywood blockbuster I like? Don’t tell anyone.


1408 (2007)

October 11, 2007

Director: Mikael Håfström
John Cusack – Mike Enslin
Samuel L. Jackson – Gerald Olin
Mary McCormack – Lily Enslin

Writer Mike Enslin, an author of two hit books, focuses on supernatural phenomena. As research for his latest book, Enslin is determined to check out the notorious room 1408 in a New York City hotel by personally staying as a guest in the fabled room. With the intention that 1408 is just a myth perpetuated by stories and rumor that Enslin has collected for his past works. However, hotel manager Mr. Olin has strong objections to Enslin’s stay and only warns him of possible danger to come. But Enslin is determined to go through and convinced that the horrific past of 1408 is just mere coincidence and a myth. But what Mike Enslin is about to experience is no myth, as 1408 truly is a room where the guests don’t check out by noon.

I’m not a horror chiller fan by design, but I do like a good scare if it’s a decent one.  This film starts off well enough with a interesting if fairly typical introductory opening half hour, here’s the character, here’s the plot and here’s the scare angle.  Then the scares begin, which also start out pretty well for about twenty minutes and its downhill from there.  The suspension of disbelief disappears *poof*.  S L Jackson doesn’t have a part worth crediting but John Cusack does his well as per usual.  The twists are forecast and the formula is die cast.  I used to love Stephen King’s books, but like them, his films of late have taken a down turn.

IMDB


UN climate summit

October 1, 2007

New York, United States — The good news: The biggest environmental gathering of government leaders in many years showed the world is finally waking up to the urgency of climate change. The bad news: Time is running out.

Yesterday, world leaders gathered in New York City for the largest United Nations meeting on climate change since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.  Top officials from 150 countries (including 80 heads of state) plus big names like Al Gore and Arnold Schwarzenegger were in attendance – and so were we.

“The time for doubt has passed,” as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in his opening address.  Ban sees the world’s response to global warming as something that, “will define us, our era, and ultimately the global legacy we leave for future generations”

Gore told the world leaders, “We have to overcome the paralysis that has prevented us from acting”.  Governor Schwarzenegger called for, “action, action, action”.

One by one, heads of state stood up and essentially echoed their sentiments.  Our own Lo Sze Ping, from Greenpeace China, told the attendees that the world’s worst per capita emitting countries need to stop using developing countries as an excuse not to act.

Lo went on to call for an energy revolution with massive uptake in energy saving and renewable energy technology world wide, and real action by world leaders rather than more talk.

“At the climate negotiations in December, you must therefore agree to nothing short of a Bali Mandate,” he said. “Not a road map to nowhere, not a wish list.”

Bali Mandate

The next meeting on climate change negotiations under the Kyoto Protocol will take place on the island of Bali in December. Greenpeace is pushing for world leaders to strengthen the Kyoto Protocol at these meetings. Industrialized countries must begin the process of negotiating emissions reductions of 30 percent by 2020, and at least 80 percent by 2050 in order to prevent climate chaos.  This is what the best and latest science tells us is needed now to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

The meetings in Bali must advance a negotiating agenda, a Bali Mandate, to combat climate change on all fronts, including adaptation, mitigation, clean technologies, deforestation and resource mobilization. All countries must do what they can to reach agreement by 2009, and to have it in force at the end of the current Kyoto Protocol commitment period at the end of 2012.

US remains isolated

US President George W. Bush was not among the heads of state at the high level UN climate change meeting.  He only showed up late at the end of the day to dine with a select group.

Instead, Bush has scheduled his own meeting for this Thursday and Friday in Washington, DC, limited to the countries with the largest global warming emissions.  Bush’s meeting, imaginatively dubbed the “Major Emitters Meeting”, is widely seen as part of his strategy to avoid legally binding caps on greenhouse gas emissions.  Instead, Bush is pushing for voluntary, “aspirational” targets with no weight behind them. Bush is just pretending to care. The world must not be fooled.

At our meeting with Ban, last Wednesday, Greenpeace USA executive director, John Passacantando, reassured the UN Secretary General that people in the US are ready to tackle climate change, and dismissed the Big Emitters Meeting as a diversion tactic from a president no one is listening to anymore.

I knew it, bloody America as usual.  Spend billions and billions on a war that nobody wants or that solves anything and can’t commit to the future of our planet.  Says something doesn’t it.  I hate to be in that ‘I told you so’ bracket but….

On a different note it’s much harder to find time to study with a small person in the house!  Who knew!?  Not that I would change anything 🙂

I have also started a page up for my gorgeous baby girl  Chelsea-Jennifer.co.uk

I intend for it to be a place where I can record everything that happens in her life until she can dictate to me when she is older, and finally take over the blog herself.  Call it a special present from me to her.