Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Shooting Stars

Vic and Bob were back again this fine evening with regulars Ulrika Jonsson and Jack Dee with Angelos keeping score. They were joined tonight by Brendan Cole, Chris Kamara, Tulisa of N-Dubz and John Simpson.

More classic random comedy as they ask the most random questions and perform in the most ridiculous manner. Tonight's true or false questions included - when Stephen Fry gets an erection is it called a fry up? And - Do all Midgets have x-ray vision? Jack Dee's face was described as like a hard boiled bollock and Angelos' madness was hilarious as always.

The highlight for me though was dropping an edam cheese on Brendan Cole's head in order for him to win a prize, despite the pushbike he had already won catching fire. Random.

Can't wait for next week.

That Mitchell And Webb Look

I must be honest tonight's show was pants.

I'm a fan of the show and usually find that they have some great sketches and are clever writers, but not tonight. I didn't think any one of the sketches were any good tonight. They all seemed to lack that edge and bit of intelligence that are usually a staple part of their comedy.

Never mind. Hopefully next week will be better.

Piers Morgan On.... Hollywood

I'm a massive fan of travel programmes, especially if they have a celebrity presenting them. I also like Piers Morgan as I enjoy his writing and interview style. His series of travelogues broadcast on ITV earlier in the year was a hit with me, but I didn't manage to catch ever episode. When I saw that his take on Hollywood was being shown this evening I knew I had to watch.

Piers took a look around the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and spoke to several Brits that have made it big, plus one or two who haven't. The show was never going to be a gritty look at Hollywood and Piers in typical fashion concentrated on the lighter side of life. Having lunch with the Osbournes, discussing the cost of Sharon's plastic surgery and catching up with Matt Goss were spliced together with Piers driving around in a convertible Aston Martin as he discussed in a voice over the success of the British invasion.

As an aspiring filmmaker Hollywood is the Holy Grail and Piers only reinforced my desires. With vita shots of the Hollywood hills as well as wandering around multi million pound houses on the Malibu beachfront my mouth slipped open and eyes widened. That is where I want to be. Piers gives a sugar coated tour of the filmmaking capital of the Western world, but it was enough for me.

The show wasn't exactly thought provoking or ground breaking in any way shape or form, but watching Piers' ego mingling with Hollywood jet set types was a nice bit of mind numbing TV. I wonder what others I missed in the series?

A Day That Promised So Much Productivity

I must be honest I've not done a great deal today. I worked Friday through to Monday and have found myself a little lacking in motivation. I managed a walk with the dog first thing, then a production meeting Cardiff for an hour, I've done some blogging, taken my dog to the vet and then watched TV. I can't see it changing in the next few hours either. A bit more Tv for me then bed.

The UK Film Council Abolition

As an aspiring filmmaker I was very sad to learn that the UK Film Council will be abolished. In the UK we do not have a great film industry and things will now be even more difficult without the film council. They pumped £15 million per year into British films and without that money it will be even more difficult to get funding.

However, I'm not entirely sure that every penny spent was done so wisely. I've seen several UK Film Council and other smaller subsidary film council's projects that have been laughable and a complete waste of money. It may become more difficult to gain funding in future, but maybe money will only find it's ways to filmmakers who are capable and into films that are commendable.

Tough times may indeed be ahead, but thse with talent shall prevail I feel. Those filmmakers who work their arses off, are committed, driven and truly have talent shall succeed. And I'm doing my best to ensure I am one of the few.

Sherlock Holmes

The new Sherlock Holmes started on the BBC Sunday night and it had a distinct Doctor Who feel to it.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Holmes and Martin Freeman is Watson as the legendary sleuth and his sidekick tackle crimes in contemporary London. Created by Doctor Who writers Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss it is no wonder it has a Doctor Who feel with the lead actor over playing his extremely tackative character and the stories feeling a little bit whimsical. I must state I am not a fan of Doctor Who as it feels a bit daft and overboard for me. This was very similar.
The first thing that struck me was how out of place and unnecessary Holmes seemed in the modern world. He has no apparent abilities and skills apart from the power of deduction where as the police have forensics and sciences that are far superior in detection than the human eye. Holmes continues to jabber almost endlessly throughout the episode and explains everything on the nose because the police he assists for free are seemingly retarded in their policing abilities.

Watson on the other hand does little more than frown and hobble around for the first half of the episode and then frowns and runs around the second half of the episode. With little or no character development on his part other than what Holmes jabbers about him he seems redundant at best.

Then comes the ‘bad guy’ of episode one – a taxi driver. As Holmes jabbered about who could have possibly committed the crime and picked up a person in broad daylight without suspicion I had narrowed it down to the police or a taxi driver. It wasn’t rocket science. Then towards the end of the episode when all the police officers were searching Holmes’ apartment and they tracked the GPS signal on the victim's phone to that very same building no one at any point suggested that everyone empty their pockets let alone look for it. Great policing.

When Holmes leaves with the taxi driver and not one of the several police officers sees him in the doorway not one person felt the need to follow Holmes or even continue the search for the phone. Watson alone leaves following the signal to Holmes and the taxi driver’s location. As Holmes stares across a table at the driver as he jabbers on about his plan, why, where etc blah blah blah his entire story is told through exposition. There was little or no tension or drama to their final conflict despite Watson running around looking for their room. When he then finds himself in the building opposite and able to see them through the window it appears Holmes is on his own.

Just when things got interesting and I thought Holmes was going to risk his life by taking one of the tablets offered him in a Matrix rip-off Watson shot the taxi driver and ended that. The taxi died via a bullet to the shoulder, which I found odd considereing we exposiotnally found out Watson was shot in the shoulder whislt serving in the army and he looked pretty much alive to me. Well almost seeing that his character shows about as much emotion as a cadaver. The police then mopped up the dead body and Holmes started to piece together what sort of person the possible shooter could be he realises it was Watson, but the officer he is jabbering to is seemingly blank minded despite Watson being straight ahead of him.

The whole thing seemed farcical, whimsical, and full of cheesey jabbering by Holmes that was seemingly endless. I thought that the idea of Sherlock Holmes was that he was ahead of his time and revolutionary in his methods as he solved impossible crimes. This incarnation of Holmes is not ahead of his time, is not revolutionary and he doesn’t appear to offer anything more to the police investigation than their forensics team could. Imagine all the characters of CSI Las Vegas and their technology jammed into one cocky and constantly jabbering idiot in a rain coat – you have the new Sherlock right there.

I shall not be watching next week.

Top Gear

The new searies of Top Gear rolled on with an Aryton Senna special as well as Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz being the stars in a reasonably priced car.

This week’s episode was not as laugh out loud funny as last weeks', but is wasn’t all the worse for it. This week’s touching look back over the career of Formula One great was tear jerking and awe inspiring. Racing drivers of past and present relived their memories of Senna with Martin Brundle analysing his racing style, Schumacher stating Senna was better then himself and Lewis Hamilton stating Senna was his hero and as a 9 year old boy he cried behind his trailer when hearing of his death.

I remember Senna when I was younger, but I was never his biggest fan as his main rival was the Brit Nigel Mansell. But this film showed me the side of Senna I had forget. He once stopped his car and dived out to help a fellow driver who had crashed and he helped a lot charities in his home country of Brazil. On the flip side his racing style was to stick his nose into the area of the corner his opponents were hoping to use in order to see if they would carry on or pull out. If they stopped and let him have it he had the pyschological edge on them, if they didn’t he was willing to risk the race and keep his car in your way. He was a man with two completely opposite sides that created one fantastic racing driver.

Also in the episode Lewis Hamilton got to drive Senna's Mclaren that Clarkson claimed was ‘the last of the turbo charged monsters’ and Hamilton looked like a kid on christmas morning unwrapping his first pushbike. Hamilton grinned like a chesire cat and stated that he had just achieved one of his life's ambitions.

Cruise and Diaz then tried to become the fastest star in a reasonably priced car. Diaz first was quick and full of profanities as she muscled her way to the top of the leader board. However, she was over shadowed by Cruise who took Gambon’s corner on two wheels to dethrone Diaz from top spot. Clarkson even looked humbled to be in their presence. Not a sight often seen.

I look forward to next week’s instalment.

John Bishop's Britain

I am a massive fan of Bish and was over the moon to see he had his own show on prime time TV. The show itself is a strange mix of sketches, interviews with real life people and Bish linking it all together with a bit of stand up and presenting in between. The format was a little strange at first, but the hilarity of it made sure it was easy enough to adapt to.

The first week’s subject was love and marriage with Bish's own story of splitting up with his wife, getting into comedy and through that getting his wife back. Using facts and research as well as interviews with others he discussed the topic with his typical wit and the show seemed to have a point rather than just gag after gag. With Bish discussing his own personal life quite frankly and delving into the personal lives of members of the public the show has a genuinely personal touch to it. Instead of the usual format of the comedian reeling off jokes as he ridicules all around him it was refreshing to see a different approach to comedy. The show seems like a look at the quirky side of everyday life and how surreal real life can be.

One of my favourite lines came when he talked of the night he was on stage performing when his Ex was watching. He came off stage, approached her at the bar and asked her why she was there. She told him he looked like the man she used to know, he had a spring in his step and a sparkle in his eye. She then asked what happened to that man. Bish replied ‘I married you’. Beautiful. He does state he his now back with his wife and it was comedy that brought them back together and he will always be grateful.

John bishop’s Britain is a comedy show with a gentle difference and I'm looking forward to the next instalment.

Brian Clough: The Greatest Manager England Never Had

Following BBC’s broadcasting of The Damned United a week or two ago was this documentary charting the career of Brian clough. Clough was a little before my time, but I do remember his final days at Nottingham Forest before his retirement and the public out pouring upon his death. I caught a bit of the Damned United that evening, but I have seen it before and loved it. I knew that the Clough family were not keen on the book that the film based upon and the writer admitted it was fiction based on fact. I was looking forward to the documentary to see the ‘real’ Brian Clough.

The documentary was fascinating as it followed Clough through his career as a manager. One thing that was immediately clear is that what he achieved was very specal indeed. To take Second Division strugglers Derby to winning the First Division was a great achievement. Then followed his dark 44 day reign at Leeds that eneded in disaster and may well have buried a lesser men. But not Ol’ Big ‘Ed. When he took over as Notts Forest manager they too were Second Division struggles and he took them to back to back European Cups beating the holders Liverpool in the first round in 1978/79. An achievement that even the great Sir Alex Ferguson has been unable to equal with his mutli million pound squads.

Clough's style of management was controversial to many, but so effective. He created the emphasis on team and working together as a unit. Many of his best players were not world superstars, but grafters and hard workers. He bonded them together and made them play for each other. His methods for doing so were as weird and wonderful as Clough himself. It's documented that he has at times not spoken to his players during a half time break and he gave his players booze the night before certain games to ease their nerves. In my opinion he created a new form of management that has been echoed by other managers. The way he creates the team unit and feeling of them against the world is evident in the managerial style of Jose Mourinho amongst many others. Phil Brown giving his half time team talk on the pitch was a novel idea possibly inspired my the methods of Clough. Clough knew how to create a reaction in his players and Mourinho, Brown and many others attempt to do the same.

Clough was undoubtedly phenomenal at what he did – manage. Despite the self chosen nickname of Ol’ Big ‘Ed he remained humble when stating that his achievements would not have been possible without his number two – Pete Taylor. In the documentary Clough is even moved to tears when he talks about missing Taylor shortly after his death.

What came across in the film was Ol’ Big ‘Ed’s character. Clough's confidence oozed from his every word, his dry wit and humour were never far away when he sat in front of a camera and he never held back his thoughts because he always thought he was right. He was indeed a huge personality and character, of which I think Martin Sheen captured perfectly in his role as Clough in The Damned United. One player even remarked that when he shut his eyes he thought it was Clough on the TV Sheen was that good.

It was also clear how much Clough was admired by his players, colleagues and almost anyone else in the game. Bobby Robson explains that he tried to convince the FA to give his England job to Clough during the Eighties as he thought he was the best man for the job. All the players that played for him, except the Leeds team he inherited from Don Revie, speak volumes of him and several of his players have gone on to become good managers themselves including Martin O’Neil.

I learnt a great deal about Clough through the documentary and immediately noticed his effects on the game. He may not have been everyone’s cup of tea, but I don’t think anyone wanted to see Clough's career end with relegation and his life suffer difficulties though alcohol. I think Clough should, and will, be remembered for his legacy in the game, his achievements and the drama he brought to football both on and off the pitch. Football, and the world, seems a slightly less interesting place without Ol’ Big ‘Ed.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Moto GP

Laguna Seca is my favourite race circuit with the most famous and terrifying corner in motor sport - the corkscrew. Today's race wasn't the most thrilling this season and not a patch on 2008's outing, but worth the watch none the less.

Lorenzo breezed to another win and extended his title charge after his nearest rival and the race leader, Danny Pedrosa, dumped his Honda in the gravel trap.

However, it seems that no matter who wins and in whatever style they do so it's never enough to get the race headlines. Valentine Rossi steals the show again with a third place finish despite it being only 7 weeks after he suffered a compound fracture in Italy. As well as struggling with his leg he is still recovering from a shoulder injury. Rossi is just in a league of his own as always and continues to astound audiences.

Lorenzo edges closure to his first world championship with a 72 point lead as Moto GP takes a three week break before resuming in Brno.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

You Have Been Watching

I'm currently led on my settee watching this weeks You Have Been Watching. Charlie Brooker's series this week looks at childrens tv with Mark Watson, Chris Addison and Holly Walsh on the panel. Brooker's approach this week is as dry and close to the bone as ever and he states in his typical wit that he wasn't taught songs as a child and now when he is happy and he knows it he doesn't know what to do. He continues by asking if someone will explain to him how a bus moves. That pretty much sets the tone of the show in no uncertain terms.

One of the shows Brooker and his panel watch is a South Korean show where a dog poo learns that if he melts into a plant he can become a part of the flower and help a flower blossom. The doo pop is also subject to racism from a cow poo. Is this really what they teach their children in Korea???

Brooker later likens Hannah Montana to Nazi architecture. The show continues in same vain as Brooker spits his comments out with his usual venom. The panel pitch in and seems that not one of them has enjoyed anything they have watched. Which makes it all the funnier.

Towards the end of the show Brooker even snogs a puppet! If nothing else this weeks show has proven that there are some unbelievably surreal childrens tv out there. And Brooker can make anything funny, even if you know it shouldn't be.

Rich Hall's - How The West Was Lost

Following on from Mr Hall's satirical look at the 'Dirty South' and it's Hollywood persona Rich last night turned his attentions to the Wild West.

Hall analyised the history of the Western from it's inception up to Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven he informed the audience as to how certain films were repesentative of US politics and society of their time. He discussed how the Western was threatened by it's own saturation of the market and how it constantly reinvented itself when it became to stale. It was interesting to hear Hall's thoughts on what made a good Western and what it represents to Americans. Since Hollywood began they have been churning out Westerns and the American cinema going public love them. Hall puts this down to the cowboy being the quintessential American - individualist and morally upstanding. Plus he shoots guns.

The show is effectively the autopsy of the Western genre in cinema as Hall tracks it's highs and lows at the box office and tries to put his finger on the point the Western died. During the show I was informed as to my ignorance towards Westerns in thinking that the films I had seen (mainly from 1970 onwards) were the best of the bunch. Hall shows little enthusiasm for the spaghetti westerns of Leone or those that followed it and cites Unforgiven as the only western worth watching since the days of John Ford or Sam Peckinpah. I shall be revisiting my own Western collection and digging out some of the films noted by Hall as I intend to one day make a contemporary Western of my own. Not an easy task I know.

Hall's typically dry humour and interesting way at looking at the world kept my chuckling and the subject of his film was informative. As a massive fan of Westerns and a filmmaker myself I found the show interesting, intruiging and thought provoking, but it's clear that you don't need aspirations of a Hollywood career in order to enjoy it. However, a fondness for Westerns will help.

Productive Tutorial On My Very Mini Holiday

I had a mini holiday yesterday. I dived in the car for a trip up the M4 to Egham, Surrey for a tutorial with Adam Ganz at Royal Holloway. It was raining when I left Wales and beautiful sunshine when I arrived in Surrey.

My tutorial was very productive and Adam has given some very interesting things to think about and I'm itching to get writing an episode of my TV serial.

Then I dived in the car and drove back leaving the sunshine behind me. When I reached the Severn Bridge and the gateway to Wales huge dark clouds loomed over the Bristol Channel. No sooner had my wheels touched the bridge the heavens opened and visability was down to zero. Don't you just love Welsh weather!

I need a holiday. Some where warm, sunny and with a nice sandy beach and cheap beer.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Last Night's TV

After a busy afternoon of pre-production I settled in for some TV before an early night. I was flicking through the channels when I came across Danielle Lineker - My New Step Family. I wasn't interested in watching it in the slightest until I came across it twenty minutes into the programme and ended up watched the rest of it. I'm not sure why.

I thought it was an interesting and informative programme about step families with Danielle trying to find her rightful place in the Lineker family, but it wasn't exactly thrilling. I thought Danielle came across as a nice enough person, but not really a personality. Gary reduced his appearance to the odd walk passed the camera, a small conversation with his wife at the end of the programme and an attempt at a BBQ. The only time he seemed to show any passion or enthusiasm to anything was when he was watching football through his patio doors. Nothing he said really added to the programme or shed any new light on the issue of step families. His son George, despite having a shed load more screen time than his father, possibly added even less. As Danielle attempted to bond with George he mumbled, looked away from the camera and occasionally smiled. Apparently they did a lot of bonding on holiday, but we didn't get to see that.

The programme wasn't a disaster as such, but I'm not sure if I would be tuning into the Linekers every week if they decided to make it a series.

I then flicked through my Sky Plus to find last night's Shooting Stars recorded and ready for watching. Again - phenomenal! Vic and Bob really are back on form and I was, for the second week running, laughing out loud alone in my living room. Every gag went down a treat and I was in stitches. The highlight of the show for me is a toss up between two things. Either - former Pussycat Doll Kimberley putting her hand through a hole in the wall to feel and try to guess the beast and being horrified by the touch of bangers and mash. Or the true or false question - Iraqi men use a black pudding as an emergency moustache?

Shooting Stars sticks to almost the exact same formula it did years ago, but some how keeps on making me laugh. I cannot wait for next week's installment.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Dreamtime - Pre Production

Today has been a mix of laziness and hard work. After walking the dog this morning I
I had planned to get a lot of work done, but instead I sat around, watched tv and then did some food shopping.

After eating lunch I then watched more tv and played on my IPhone. I thought the day had been wasted. Then I knuckled in my newly created office and started the pre production of the five min film I'm making. I bashed out the shot list and storyboards and just have to mark up the script. I'm pretty happy with my work and confident I've covered all the shots I need and have a decent blue print to shoot from.

Now for some more tv and then bed.

He Got Game

I decided on a night in with a film last night, as I was knackered from being in work all day. I’ve got a stack of borrowed DVDs I’m meant to wading through as well as The Wire Season 1. However, I decided to settle and watch my recent purchase – Spike Lee’s He Got Game. I first watched the film on Sky Movies a few years back and absolutely loved it. At the time I couldn’t find it anywhere in the UK on DVD and could only find American versions that wouldn’t play in my DVD player. When I stumbled across it on Amazon a few weeks ago I knew I had to have it. And last night I settled in to watch it.

He Got Game is a sports film a difference. Denzel Washington plays Jake Shuttlesworth – an inmate at Attica Prison, New York state. His son Jesus Shuttlesworth, played by basketball pro Ray Allen, is basketball’s number one high school prospect and everyone is talking about him. Jake is offered the chance to cut short his sentence by convincing his son to enrol at Big State – the Governor’s University. Jake is tagged and watched by two parole officers as he is given one week to return to Coney Island, Brooklyn and get Jesus to sign a letter of intent for Big State.

Jesus doesn’t welcome the return of his Father and refuses to acknowledge him, let alone forgive him for the reason he is doing time – accidentally killing Jesus’ Mother. Jake bides him time and hopes that his son will come around. Jesus is finding ‘the most important decision of his life’ becoming more difficult as everyone tries to get a piece of him. His basketball coach offers him cash for information, his girlfriend tries to get him to sign with an agent who can get him straight into the NBA and his Uncle demands money from any deal that takes place. It seems everyone has an opinion on what Jesus should do including the little sister he is raising himself, Mary.

As Jake gradually gets more and more time to talk to Jesus we see the barriers between them slowly erode, but never completely removed. In a series of flashbacks we also see how Jake pushed Jesus hard on the courts from a young age. Jake’s tough love parenting is evidently what has made Jesus the player is, but it is also the reason they are so distant. Jake’s continual pushing also led to the argument that saw him push Jesus’ Mother and her hit her head.

In one moment between the Father and son Jake tells Jesus that he wasn’t named after Jesus of the bible, but after basketball player Earl Monroe. Monroe was Jake’s favourite player of all time and they called him Jesus – because he was the truth. Jake tells Jesus how Monroe lit up the courts of North Philledalphia then the NBA before the Knicks ‘put the shackles on him’. The barriers between the two of them break down and Jake reveals his true motive and reason for being out of prison. It isn’t receive well and Jesus thinks his Father is just as bad as everyone else. Jake reminds him that everyone else isn’t his Father. As Jake hugs Jesus before he leaves Jesus shows no emotion.

As Jesus heads out of town to be courted by Tech University he sees what is on offer for a big time basketball player at these colleges – women, notoriety and even more women. The entire college loves him and his head spins as he ways up his options. Jake pushes Jesus’ girlfriend for information on what her motives are, tries to scare Jesus’ cousin Boogers into finding out where Jesus has gone and assures his parole officers that he can get the job done. However, it’s clear Jake feels things are slipping away from him.

Jake finally catches up with Jesus in the courts outside of his building and it’s his final throw of the dice. Jake offers to play Jesus and if he beats him Jesus must promise to sign the letter. Jesus is clearly the better player and although Jake gives it his all he loses. Jesus throws the letter to the floor and Jake asks him if it makes him feel a man. Jake then leaves Jesus with one last piece of advice – Jesus should look after himself and his sister and not to worry about him. He insists he needs to get the hatred out of his heart or otherwise he’s going to end up ‘just another nigger’ – like his Father.

The day to decide comes and the press gather in the school gym to find out Jesus’ intentions. A note is read on his behalf stating that he shall be enrolling at Big State University and that his family pray for his Father’s release. Jake’s release isn’t awarded to him on the technicality that he didn’t get his son to sign, but Jake is pretty accepting of this. In a letter to Jesus Jake lays his feelings out and states that he has found a pair of shoes that fit him, even though they hurt like hell.

He Got Game is an amazing story of forgiveness set against a stunning basketball background. The beauty of the game is elegant and the entire film feels like a one on one match between Jake and Jesus. Each of them playing against the other in an emotional battle. However much Jesus tries to be his own man it is clear he is his Father’s son for better and worse. The struggle between Jake and Jesus, as well as their own individual battles with themselves, is beautifully told and accompanied by a phenomenal Public Enemy soundtrack. Spike Lee’s direction is a fantastic way of telling a story with flashbacks, images intercut with exposition and the use of juxtaposition to show their similarities and differences between his tow main characters.
He Got Game is one of my favourite films and an amazing example of how a sports film can be different and break the normal formula so evident in almost every other sports film. This film has definitely got game.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Top Gear

Nothing better on a Sunday evening than a bit of grub and Top Gear. And tonight's show was a beauty. I was howling with laughter at the motor homes they built and their trip to Cornwall. If I had the choice of the three motor homes I think I would have Clarkson's. There's nothing worse than the utter lack of space when camping and so that rules out May's shoe box. The other thing that ruins a camping holiday is being wet, cold and subject to the elements - so that rules out Hammond's monstrosity. Clarkson's, although dangerous to drive, had space and an element of comfort, but i think i'd swap the hammock for a proper bed. It would probably be advantageous to tie it down too so it doesn't flip over in the wind.

The Top Gear team always know to tickle their audience even if it does feel staged at times. Top Gear is the perfect blend of informative motoring, fantasy cars and comedy capers. You learn a little, drool a little and wet yourself laughing quite a lot. It must be said that presenting Top gear looks like the perfect job. You get to drive fast cars, travel, meet celebrities, have a laugh and make a shed load of money too. I wonder if they are taking applications.

I can't wait for next week's show.


I have been waiting for weeks to see Inception. After Christopher Nolan’s stunning achievement on The Dark Knight and with the trailers looking phenomenal I knew I had to make it to the cinema. Friday night myself and Mr Stone frequented our local picture house. And I wasn't disappointed.

Leonardo Di Caprio plays Cobb, a man with a dark past who has a talent for stealing secrets from other people's dreams. In exile from the U.S.A and away from his young children his late ex-wife haunts his own dreams and compromises his latest job. When it goes wrong he is about to run when the target offers him a job and the opportunity to return home to his children. However, this isn’t any ordinary job. He’s not stealing an idea - but planting one.

Cobb assembles his team, they track their target and set in motion their plan of attack. As they board a long distance flight they slip their target into a deep sleep and enter his dreams. The job becomes instantly more difficult when they realise that their target has been trained and his subconscious is able to protect itself. As they build and navigate the dreams whilst fighting off armed guards they come across some amazing and mind blowing obstacles, but none more dangerous than Cobb's late ex-wife. As she torments Cobb and threatens not only the job, but all of their lives it looks increasingly as though they may not make it out of these dreams.

As they head deeper and deeper into dreams the world around them becomes unstable. Time, space and reality all blur as they try to convince the target that they are on his side and nudge him in the direction he needs to go to believe the idea they need to plant is his own. As they are about to achieve their goal Cobb’s ex-wife sends their target into a state of limbo and all seems lost. Cobb must go himself into limbo and face his ex-wife in order ensure the target makes it out of the dream and the mission is completed. Cobb battles with his guilty conscious after his ex-wife’s suicide and she tries to convince him to stay with her in limbo. He has to convince himself that this world isn’t real and that only by expelling these thoughts can he save himself. As he wrestles with his emotions, his ex-wife and his subconscious he struggles to gather what is real.

When the team all wake from the dream at the other end of the flight it seems the job has been a success. Cobb passes safely through customs and arrives home to see the faces of his beautiful children. However, has Cobb made it home for real? Nolan leaves us to make our own judgement on whether Cobb has made it out or if he has found a compromise in his dream world.
Inception is a complex film with such a clear and simple theme - you cannot overcome your conscious issues until you have conquered your subconscious demons. Cobb cannot get the job done unless he deals with the deepest, darkest secret in his mind - the guilt of the death of his ex-wife. It haunts him from start to finish. Di Caprio puts in another faultless performance as he pushes himself to forefront of Hollywood actors. He seems to thrive in any role he undertakes and Cobb was no different.

Inception is intriguing at it's weakest points and mind blowing at it's strongest. The film twists, turns and the plot thickens as their journey becomes stranger and more difficult, but not at one point does it feel pretentious. Some of the symbolism is fantastic. Cobb having built an elevator in his mind travels down to the deepest part of his subconscious where he has built a prison for his ex-wife as he tries to keep her locked away - just as he does his guilt. It's absolutely stunning.

The first half of the film has a lot of exposition and explains how it all works, but as the film progresses you get sucked further and further into story. At points I could feel myself on the edge of my seat, mouth open and heart beating. I empathised with Cobb has he fought his inner demons and the guilt that was tearing him apart. At times I was almost moved to tears.

An absolutely stunning piece of cinema from Christopher Nolan once again as he pushes and shoves his way to the top of the A-list directors pile. Following on from his phenomenal success of The Dark Knight this is a film that Nolan has been rumoured to have been writing for ten years. His talents seem endless and he is a true inspiration to aspiring filmmakers like myself. The one thought that niggles in the back of my mind though is that if Britain can produce this sort of talent why do filmmakers such as Nolan have to go to Hollywood? I don’t know. But, I’m glad he has as he seems to be raising the bar in an industry where good enough is often not good enough.

Mr Nolan and Mr Di Caprio – I take my hat off to you both.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Busy Day

I decided against going to work today as my neck was killing me and instead went for a physical and financial raping from my chiropractor. I think it was worth it, but after checking my bank balance I doubt I can afford the next appointment on Tuesday. Especially I'm about four weeks away from my next pay check and have to drive to Surrey on Wednesday. I have managed to work on my TV serial bible today though.

Oh the joys of being poor. I'm hoping that sometime very, very, very soon someone is going to hand me a big cheque with my name on it and end my worries.

For an address on where to send those big cheques email me at djhaza@hotmail.co.uk

Dirty Goods Video

I very productive and positive meeting with the Dirty Goods last night has gotten my creative juices flowing. Looks like Scratched Print are going to be making a video for their track 'Millionaires' and I shall be directing it. The guys loved my idea and Im about to finish the preliminary script for it.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Dragon's Den

Dragon's Den returned for a new series this evening and due to their being sod all else on I decided to have a gander. I enjoyed it. It's like Britain's Got Talent for those with a brain. You get some genuinely intelligent people with some great ideas trying to secure funding for their company and products. Like BGT it does have the odd idiot who hasn't got a clue, but rather than see a toothless dole bum who thinks he sounds like George Michael, you get a business person who has t thought their product through. The Dragons can also be as scathing as Simon Cowell and his cronies with their blunt assessment of some aspiring entrepreneurs. The main difference between the show is that you don't have look at Amanda Holden's rubber face and the Dragons have a slightly more sophisticated way of letting the wanna be's down than a large red cross.

Dragon's Den does also have the odd gem. One person was very successful this evening with her frozen dessert product and her touching back story. I admire her work ethic, drive and her product immensely. I wish her all the best. However, I couldn't help but expect Ant and Dec to come out and give her a slow motion hug whilst an inspiring Take That track plays triumphantly.

Article No. 2 - I'm Sorry, But You've Lost Me

I've finally gotten around to finishing the Lost article I was writing for flickeringmyth.com and I'm pretty happy with it. It vents my frustrations at the show, but hopefully is worth a giggle also.

One less thing on my list of things to do. Now onto the next - polishing my character profiles for my TV serial.

And - my neck is feeling a lot better today. Looks like I'll be back in work tomorrow. Boooooo!


I've redrafted the bird film after feedback from those involved and I now think it's finished. Hopefully. I wait to here from the others, but I think it ticks the boxes and will be fairly easy to shoot. Hopefully we can turn it around quickly and get it done by the end of summer. I'm quite looking forward to the practice behind the camera.

Maradona by Kusturica

Late last night I sat and watched this documentary. Being football mad I like to think I know a lot about football and footballers of past and present. However, Diego Armando Maradona is a player who's infamy overshadowed his ability in my opinion. Everyone has seen the goal of the century he scored against England which was absolutely phenomenal, but personally I couldn't be a fully fledged fan of Maradona's due to his "Hand of God' goal. Until last night.

I'd never seen a great deal of Maradona playing as he was before my time and not of interest to me due to his apparent lack of morals. What came across to me last night was that whether you agree with actions or not he does have certain moral standards. Fair enough he cheated, and badly, by scoring with his hand against England in 86 and has had a very tempestuous life off the field. But... he came across like a man who knows he has done wrong and doesn't mean to. He also has a strong morally based outlook on life and this is reflected in his view on world leaders and politics. He may be a difficult individual at the best of times and has made several major mistakes, but he has also made some honorable decisions. He chose Boca Juniors over River Plate when he was younger despite the lure of big money from the opposite camp. He also understands that when he plays football he is inspiring an entire nation of people who's lives are effected by his every kick of the ball.

Argentineans are football mad and Maradona is hailed as a God. Literally! There is an actual church of Maradona where people worship the little man and have their own Lord's prayer centered around him. But is it all hype? Was he really that good?

The documentary brought to light an absolutely boat load of Maradona's goals that I had never seen before. Runs that saw him jink passed several players with the ball seemingly stuck to his foot. I have never seen anyone have total control over a football like Maradona. It really opened my eyes to how great a player he truly was. He single handedly won Argentina two world cups and Napoli, who were nobodies before his arrival, to the italian league. I have changed my view on Maradona since watching Kustrurica's documentary. Well worth a watch if you can admire the beauty of football.

Diego Armando Maradona - my apologies for doubting your abilities.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Shooting Stars

Shooting Stars is back on TV and back on form.

I used to love Shooting Stars when I was in school. I'd sit at the back of English with my mucka Gav Peters and repeat the jokes of the previous episode. When they announced that it was returning to our screens I was eager to see it, but the episode I watched of last series wasn't good at all in my opinion. I was quite disappointed. I thought that maybe I'd grown out of that random comedy. Or maybe Vic and Bob had lost it. So when I saw it on the old planner tonight I thought I'd give it a go, but wasn't convinced I'd like it.

I was wrong. It was just like the Shooting Stars I remember from my youth. Vic and Bob back on form. Random comedy. Swedish and sexist based comedy aimed at Ulrika-ka-ka-ka-ka. George Dawes has sinced been replaced by Angelos - who's interesting to say the least. The dove from above. The same old formula with a not so different team - but it worked. Some of the gags had me in stitches and I laughed out loud to myself several times.

I cannot wait for next week.

Rich Hall's The Dirty South

Oh yeah. I forgot.... now the footy has finished I was going to blog on all the TV and films I watch.

Rich Hall's typically cynical dry wit entertained as always and his unique take on the history of the Southern States of the USA was quite informative, although probably not entirely true. Hall took us through the many changes that the South has seen in it's history and referenced how those changes were reflected in Hollywood. Hall, as always, manages sound moody, look like he doesn't want to be there and rants about his chosen subject. And it's great. I enjoyed the informative nature of the show and Hall's dry delivery. He's like the miserable bloke in the pub who moans all day, but has everyone else in stitches. I learnt a few nuggets of info, that admittedly I cannot remember now, whilst tittering away and the program failed to be dull at one point. Hall is hilarious from start to finish and delivers one of the most entertaining history lessons you are likely to get. I'd imagine that it's available still on the IPlayer and well worth a butcher's.


After pulling my neck again I decided to visit the doctors today and was told hat paracetamol, ibuprofen and a heat patch will do the job plus a trip to the chiropractor. I've been in agony all day and have spent all day on the settee. At times I can barely lift my head up. So... I've not achieved much. I've redrafted the bird script and I think I'm going to thrash an idea for a Dirty Goods music video now. But, I haven't been able to go shopping so the house is still empty of anything to eat or drink. I'm considering ordering a pizza. Again. I did have one Sunday, but it's buy one get one free on Tuesdays. Plus I doubt I'll make it out shopping.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Have You Missed Me?

Apologies. I've been out in the sticks of West Yorkshire for the last week for a Uni retreat and I don't think they've discovered broadband yet.

Anyway..... watched some footy, ripped up the second draft of my TV Serial script and started again, met a Dutchman and smoked a massive cigar, hurt my neck, got bored, had no tv, played football manager on my Iphone loads and then drove home. I did have a script feedback meeting with the head of development at Red Productions who seems to be keen on the Tv serial I am developing for Uni so fingers crossed when it's done she may want to try and take it into production.

I got home Saturday, drank too much, was ill all day Sunday, watched the World Cup FInal with a pizza. I wanted the Dutch to win, but they never. But then they didn't deserve it. They went about the game the wrong away and tried to bully their way to a win. A shame for a team with some fabulous players.

Since I;ve been back I've hurt my neck again and got an appointment at the doctors tomorrow and had four different meetings today.

I'm first Ading two Ma films and so met the directors of both, me and Matt met David about the bird film I'm writing and directing and we have decided to simplify the story again - but had some disagreements on how. Me and Matt also met the Dirty Goods manager, Grant, and discussed making some viral videos, docs and music videos for the band. Looks like there is going to be a lot of stuff happening for me over the rest of this year and hopefully big things are on the horizon.

Watch this space.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Waste Of A Day

I have not mustered an ounce of drive today and so have not even written a word before this. Not sure as to the reason why. But... today has pretty much been a waste of a day. I need to crack on with my re-write of the bird film I'm making, read my writing partner's script before I get to my week long Uni retreat 2moro afternoon and finish my Lost article.

Hopefully 2moro will be a lot more productive.

Friday, 2 July 2010

The Future's Bright, The Future's Orange

The mighty orange army have marched into the semis with a win over one of the favorites Brazil. Yet again they have stepped up tot he challenge and a great performance has put them through. I had a feeling about Holland at the start of the tournament and have a whopping fiver riding on them winning it at 9/1. Sneijder is the best player in the world right now in my opinion with his all round contribution to the team as well as his range of passing, creativity and goal scoring ability. I'm behind the Dutch all the way. Hopefully, Sneijder will win the world cup to go with his Italian treble with Inter and decide that he fancies a new challenge. He would fit absolutely perfectly into the Man Utd team and would be the catalyst for a shed load of trophies finding new homes in the Old Traffprd trophy room.

My other tip were the underdog Uruguayans. A good team that play nice and attacking football. My only concern is that they have a good first 11, but they are weak on the bench. Without Suarez upfront I think they are going to struggle for goals as Forlan can only do so much. Without the other outstanding player in the team they may just be a little light upfront.

Should be a good game between the two of them.

Dirty Goods - A Done Deal

Congratulations to the Dirty Goods who signed their first record deal last night shortly after coming off stage at Barfly in Cardiff.

The boys were spot on as usual and their new material is yet more quality. Their unique sound is a mix of Prince and Razorlight in my opinion and will appeal to a wide audience. I am supremely confident that they have the talent to build themselves a long and successful career.

I'm hoping to meet up with the band and their manager Grant when I get back to Newport after a week in Yorkshire so we can discuss a music video. I love the band and I'm absolutely desperate to make a video for them.

Again... Congratulations. It was only a matter of time.