A beautiful day for distractions

The weather has been cold, not unusual for Melbourne in July and certainly not new for me. It is however a little more present in my reality due to the early starts and late finishes that work has required recently. I am jealous to read all the blogs about summer frolicking in the northern hemisphere. You lucky crazy sods – you at least should be busy and outside, but are instead inside with Warcraft.

In wow I’ve been quiet due to a range of factors not really related to the cold at all. The main cause is legitimate distractions of work, house renovations, and broken cars.

Work has been busy as we started a new contract about two months ago, and although I think it will get better in the long term, in the short term that means no raiding – as fatigue makes good raiding really difficult. A 7-11ish raid plus the peripheral discussions till midnight are not viable when you get up just after 5am each day. Hell the contract is only for four years, so I guess I’ll be ready for Firelands raids by then. Grumble.

We’re also renovating our unit, at the moment that means adding a new fireplace and we’re mid way through the prep and painting of the mantlepiece. Again wow suffers, as I want the darn fire finished and it frustrates me to not have it completed. I could perhaps rush it and sacrifice the quality of the finish, but I’ll have to look at that fireplace for years to come and any blemishes that were avoidable will bug me.

To offset the missing games I’ve started reading a bit more. I can read in much smaller time segments that I can play warcraft, and it is as much a satisfying escape from reality as online games are. Two books that I’ve borrowed are the last Harry Potter and the Game of Thrones first novel. As of a few days ago I’ve just put down the last Harry Potter book. I saw the film and felt that the book would not add anything new. That is a little snarky, but thus far the book has been a very fair match to the films, and therefore I’m not going to gain any deeper insight by finishing the book. I might come back in a few years and read it, once the images of the films have been forgotten and it seems a little more fresh.

Game of Thrones also follows the TV series very closely, but the book is adding a lot of depth to my understanding. I’m staggered just of close to the original the TV series was, and also that there can be suck side stories in the novel that tweak my interest. I understand now some of the small embellishments or slight changes in timing between the presentation of the two – as it makes a more TV friendly presentation.

I wonder too how the Warcraft film will follow the lore. To make a viable and profitable film the target audience needs to be far wider than just the current subscriber base – and that means making the material digestible in a single film. This adds a complexity of picking a section of the lore which is a discrete story, and also has enough gravitas with the community to be worth seeing.

They have a hard script to write, and I hope they throw a darn good team at it.

Anyway that is enough of a rumble on my distractions. May your novels always be enticing, your wine glass full, and your hearth warm.

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The King’s Speech

Poster for the Kings SpeechThe King’s Speech is an excellent film. The presentation of the time period of King George VI’s ascension to rule was very balanced; the film presented a believable perspective on the background events leading into the war, but also did not let that storyline overrule the main two aspects of the story which involve the personal relationship between the king and the therapist, and the king’s treatment. All lead actors were effective, and the minor cast provided enough depth to re-enforce the primary characters.

This is a character film, and as such the performance of the lead characters is paramount to the overall impact of the film, and pleasingly Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helen Bonham Carter are all excellent.

Score: Score 8.5 out of 10

Bad: The inclusion and portrayal of the archbishop and Winston Churchill was a little blunt. This is the only slightly negative thing I can think of to present as a “bad”, and it was basically non-existent.

Good:

· All leads were excellent.

· Period presentation was detailed and totally believable.

· as an Australian it was curious to see an American doing an Australian accent well, and a few Australians being altogether very British.

· I would happily see this film again in the future, and would consider buying it.

Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and the ... meh, boom!In a nutshell, if you have seen the other three films hire this on DVD for a lazy or stupid Sunday arvo film. Or wait for TV. If you have not seen any of the other films (or didn’t care to remember them), then see something else. Don’t watch it in the cinema in any case.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5, and that’s because I enjoyed seeing Indy back on the screen more than anything else (the snake-rope joke and rocket launcher joke are top highlights). To a non-Indy fan 0.5 out of 5.

For: Cultural references are thick through-out the film, and if done with a little more restraint or subtlety might have been rather cool. Reds under the beds, government conspiracy, area 51 little green men, nuke testing, and a fantastic picture of what university life might have been like.

Against: The basic plot theme was ok, but the actual plot was horrid and predictable.

Quick: Indiana Jones and the … meh. Boom, wizz, ka-pow!

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Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (quick review)

Initially my concept of this film was way off, which is why it was so surprising to watch a very personal, very direct character film. I was both surprised and bothered by the film. The storyline follows three people from the same family, and how a gradual series of bad choices in their separate lives lead them to an end which affects everyone around them.

The acting is excellent. All the actors did an excellent job, and I would not be surprised to see this film nominated for a Golden Globe. But also be warned that the story is dark, and you’ll be hard pressed not to think introspectively.

Quick Summary: Its not gritty in a horrific or bloody way, its dark in a human way – these are normal people, with real weaknesses, who are caught in a downward spiral.

Score: 3.5 out of 5.