Johnny English

Cheery send-up of the James Bond movies, starring Rowan Atkinson as the titular Johnny English. Atkinson delivers a wry performance, mixing Blackadder’s solipsism with Mr. Bean’s ineptness.

Delivers a few belly laughs as well as a fairly constant number of snickers. Harldy a classic, but certainly on par with the Austin Powers movie. There are far worse ways to spend an evening.

  • Director: Peter Howitt
  • Cast: Rowan Atkinson
04.03.2007 • Permalink

Directors: Russell Mulcahy

Russell Mulchay comes from the land down under, where women glow, etc. Mulcahy was arguably the first of that detestable phenomenon: the music vide director turned feature film director.

His work was awash in style and bathos, the perfect visual companion to the musical stylings of Duran Duran, to whom he may have been called house director.

His most famous effort is still “Highlander”, that epic tale of immortal buffoonery, starring – inexplicably – Christopher Lambert as a Scot and – more inexplicably – Sean Connery as a Spaniard. It will forever retain a place in my heart for the sheer thrill ride of fun that it is. A perfectly cast Clancy Brown as the baddest badass in the history of badassery makes for half the movie; skillfully edited segues, gorgeous backdrops, stylish beheadings and THAT Queen song accompanying the death of Connor’s wife make up for the rest; the plot isn’t the sturdiest, but it’s a small complaint overall. The movie is so much fun that even the atrocious sequel couldn’t really mar it. Mulcahy left the franchise after that, secure in the knowledge that his two efforts had scaled both the highest and plumbed the lowest. None of the other sequels have come over as anything but middling when faced with Mulcahy’s efforts.

“Highlander” was, however, not his debut: that honor goes to “Derek and Clive Get the Horn” with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. I haven’t seen it, so I’ll not comment.

His second feature was “Razorback”, a horror movie about a wild killer boar in the Australian outback. Not a classic, but it’s done with an amount of panache and a visual sense that aids the low budget, not to mention a tongue planted very firmly in cheek – to be more entertaining that it has any reason to be.

He has commanded actor such as Denzel Washington, John Lithgow, Michael Caine, Kim Basinger and Geoffrey Rush.

He made the unloved “The Shadow”, which took a critical pounding and tanked at the box office. Having no knowledge of “The Shadow” beyond the fact that it was some sort of pulp series and that Howard Chaykin (I think – I can’t be bothered to look it up) resurrected in the late 80s, I enjoyed Mulcahy’s movie version to no end. I admit it’s no classic, but it’s a guilty pleasure all the same.

As a matter of fact, I have seen most of Mulcahy’s movies, and have a simple admission: I like him. He has one bona fide classic – a genre classic, granted, but a classic nonetheless, at least one bona fide stinker, and several good and some middling. His name will never be mentioned in the hushed breath of a Kubrick or Spielberg, but he’s a good craftsman and a good entertainer. many of his movies are uninspired – see such efforts as “Resurrection”, clearly a rip-off of “7even”, though entertaining enough to slip into the “homage” category.

I was moved to jot all this down after seeing his 2003 effort “Swimming Upstream”, the biopic of Australian swimmer Tony Fingleton. Geoffrey Rush stole the show, as he often does, and there were perhaps a few too many split screens (Time Out pointed out one almost expected Steve McQueen to stride onscreen), but the rest of the cast turn in solid performances also – and Mulcahy’s direction has much to do with that. I have also learned he directed a TV version of Stanley Kramer’s “On the Beach” which some feel surpasses the original. (Of course, chopping an hour or so would to the job as nicely)

I’m not convinced Mulcahy has a true classic in him, but all the same, he will have a spot in my movie heart as one of “those guys” – the ones whose work I always enjoy on a gut level, if not intellectual, and who, at the end of the day, I think it would be fun to have a beer with.

04.03.2007 • Permalink

Browser Update

For the hell of it, I decided to try Camino out once again. It’s pretty neat, and hogs a lot less RAM. I miss the extensions like WebDev and such, but Camino’s flashblock is pretty awesome. Also, I found a decent widget that allows me to post to the blog from Dashboard. So all in all, it’s pretty good.

03.03.2007 • Permalink

Good-bye, Texas’ obese, alcoholic, Pill-popping Rose

I’m watching CNN covering the burial of Annna Nicole Smith, which they are doing obsessively. I am sad, since this basically means that CNN has lost its journalistic bearings. Here is the story in its entirety:

  1. Anna Nicole Smith, former model and enabler of octogenerian orgasms, has died due to and overdose. This surprised the same 5 people who are still shocked by anything Madonna does.
  2. She was buried in the Bahamas.
  3. She now roams the American Heartland with Elvis, on a pilgrimage to sacred burger joints on Route 66.

This is not a news story; this is maybe a minute-long book-end to a couple of hours of actual news. (Wolf Blitzer would say “In other news, former model Anna Nicole Smith died today.”) I admit, with great shame, that I have weak spot for gossip, but come ON! There’s a war on, there will most likely be another one on shortly, there’s the Walter Reed story in the US, and the global economy just took a serious hit. Those are news.

If CNN finds itself losing market shares to Al-Jazzeera, it might consider stuff like that. CNN won’t, of course. News is not news anymore. News is entertainment. It’s opinion and conjecture. What it no longer seems to be is relevant.

Also in the news: A photo of Tony Blair in college has surfaced, and in said photo, he’s making a wanking motion with his hand. This is shocking, because no college kid has ever goofed off in a photo, ever, in the entire span of time.

03.03.2007 • Permalink

Opera Mini

Continuing in the same vein as a few posts back, I feel compelled to point out that while I don’t use Opera as my main browser, I am particularly smitten with Opera Mini, Opera’s cell phone browser.

To be fair, I don’t use my cell phone for surfing much, as I have an odd preference for surfing on a proper screen, as well as writing on a proper keyboard and the like. Nevertheless, cell phone surfing can be a boon if you’re lost and need a map, or – a more likely event – you’re arguing with a friend about the make of Biggs Darklighter’s X-wing and need a quick Wikipedia fix.

On my SE K800i, Opera Mini works like a breeze; it’s a camera phone, so graphics are also good; it certainly doesn’t beat surfing on my laptop, but for what it is: a browser for a cell phone, it’s pretty damn good, and I certainly prefer it to SE’s own setup.

02.03.2007 • Permalink

Browsers and stuff

As you know, the world – or at least the Internet – is full of browsers. We’ve seen them come, and we’ve seen them go.  I myself went from trying out Netscape Navigator back in 1996, then sort of tried finding a fave when I got my iMac in 2000, switching between NN and IE; then OS X happened and I went to Safari. As anyone on Safari knows, it can be pain sometimes, because certain apps get messed up, such as WordPress, which is annoying for a blogger.
So there’s Firefox. I was turned onto FF by a PC friend, but once he showed me the adblocker, I was sold. I mean, damn: a dream come true! No more Flash unless I want it. (As a designer who sometimes makes Flash pages, that gives you some idea…). Also, I switched bank services, and my new bank doesn’t run on Safari, so I had to switch anyway.

I use an iBook G4, and I use FF with WebDev, FireFTP, Performancing
(incidentally  how I’m writing this) and a Flickr plugin. Also some
music player I never use, but at least I have it. According to most, I shouldn’t even be able to open a page, but I just don’t get it…FF is reasonably fast, and I rarely sense any difference in performance anyway (of course, my broadband is slow-ish) between it and the other browsers.

Also – and this is sacrilege to Mac users – FF is apparently “ugly” because it doesn’t look exactly like Steve Jobs thinks it should, or at least what the Apple zealots think Steve Jobs thinks it should, and so that led to Camino, which is a really nice litte browser, and I prefer it over Safari, though it lacks RSS support (no biggie though: I use Vienna for blog reading anyway).

What I don’t get is the “ugly” bit: I downloaded some pretty nice themes and have a kickass tiny theme that is small by default and frees up my much-need screen are as much as possible. So I don’t get that argument. And Camino looks clunky out of the box, it does. You can customize it as well, but still…

There’s also Opera, of course, which I also like -not just from misplaced patriotism for a Norwegian, ergo homegrown (to me) product- but because it’s damn good: it’s standards-compliant (FF has yet to pass the Acid Test) and it has neat plugins. and widgets. My favourite bit, however, is its navigation. Great stuff.

If you’re into it, there’s something called Flock, which is a social web browser or something. I dodn’t know what the kids today get up to, but the gist seems to be that it’s like browsing in MySpace; which for me is way too much shit to handle. I have nightmares about a browser with default background setting of spinning skulls and emo logos. I’m sure I’m wrong, but…nah. I won’t go there.

And so I keep returning to FF. FF 3 is not that far away, and from what I understand, there will now be a cocoa engine for Mac users. I’m not sure this means that Camino will be put out to pasture, but I doubt it. After all, Mozilla has several other browsers as well as the flagship.

Still, with FireFox soon on Cocoa steroids, running near-natively on my Mac, I will have found my perfect browser.

There is absolutely no point to this entry, by the way.

26.02.2007 • Permalink

Quoted from Yahoo:

The mob saga “The Departed” won the best-picture Academy Award on Sunday, a triumph for a homegrown American film in an evening that featured the most internationally diverse field of nominees in the history of Hollywood’s highest honors.


25.02.2007 • Permalink