Ramble No. 9: Factuals, Hopkins and two lasts

Last week I was mostly in Norway again for work. So I won’t be talking about that, apart from saying that the weather was very much on the turn and that Spring had sprung by the time we came home to the UK. Also my flights were fine for once – on time, no hassle, and I slept most of the way home. The featured image is the view from my hotel at Fornebu near Oslo with a view of Oslofjord. The image below was taken at around 8pm outside Vippa in Oslo.

Oslo-April-02

If you look close enough you can see the modern art museum. I dream of one day getting enough time away from the office to go and visit…

Actually, I suppose I should also mention that I discovered the joys of shuffleboard. It’s not a bar game I have come across before. It’s like a mixture of curling and push penny – pushing weighted discs along a well varnished but sand-covered board into scoring zones. After a few beers you feel as though you might actually have some say over where the things end up.

Oslo-April-05

I took the science fiction masterwork Flowers for Algernon on the trip because it was suitably thin, but only got time to read it on the plane there and back. Before that I went through a couple of factual booky wooks with a Lee Child book in between.

First was Movie Geek: The Den of Geek Guide to the Movieverse by Simon Brew from the Den of Geek website. It’s a collection of some of their best articles and was a good read. I learned quite a few interesting things – for example the film Solace starring Anthony Hopkins as a psychic detective, that I saw recently on Film4, was intended to be a sequel to Seven. It’s a really fun book for anyone into movies. The film Solace by the way started out great. Hopkins was great and it only took a downwards turn when Colin Farrell turned up in the third act and the script went a bit awry.

61 Hours by Lee Child was a pretty solid Jack Reacher thriller which could quite easily make a good film although I’d expect that the frozen North Dakota setting would be lazily compared to Fargo. It’s a story of witness protection and drug trafficking. For once Reacher doesn’t get his leg over and indeed appears, in true Sherlock Holmes style, to be killed off in a massive explosion at the end of the book. Given that there’s another eight Reacher paperbacks on my bookshelf ready to be read it’s fair to say that he does survive. I hope that Child provides an explanation of how.

Science(ish) The Peculiar Science Behind the Movies – Rick Edwards and Dr Michael Brooks was another fun read with a rather more science vibe that the Movie Geek book. Looking at the likes of Ex Machina, InterstellarAlien, and The Matrix, Edwards and Brooks discuss various aspects of the science in the sci-fi. I mostly followed it until they started talking about black holes and spacetime. Every time someone paints a picture of a bowling ball resting on a piece of chequered fabric to explain how gravity warps time my brain seizes up and the tune from The Magic Roundabout starts playing (like in the Channel 4 TV show Spaced).

A few days ago I watched The Last Jedi for the third time – this time at home in glorious 4K with Siggy. She generally puts up with my Star Wars habit and listens to the theme tune from The Magic Roundabout when I’m telling her about things like Luke Skywalker’s compass, the theory that Ja Ja is a Sith and the imminent Ewok Hunt DLC on Battlefront II, but she enjoyed the film nonetheless. It looked and sounded great in 4K.

Another film that looked and sounded great was Transformers: The Last Knight which I picked up on Blu Ray for eight Earth pounds on Saturday in Tesco. Yes, I know it got absolutely slated on cinema release but I’m a sucker for some robot Bayhem. And boy-oh-boy was it Bayhem! The story was dreadful, the acting not much better and the editing and continuity hopeless, but but but… the explosions! The car stunts! The cool cars and themilitary hardware! The (mostly) brilliant CG!

I enjoyed this King Arthur inspired fifth iteration in the franchise more that Justice League and that is pretty sad in a number of ways. Yes it was brainless but I don’t think it was pretending to be anything but. Nevertheless, Anthony Hopkins delivered his shit lines with aplomb and was a good straight man for Mark Wahlberg’s comedy chunterings. However, Michael Bay really needs to get over his Megan Fox obsession (the English female lead looks like a Fox clone) and the approach to casting the female actors in the film could be regarded as a bit questionable in the current #metoo age.

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