Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Year ~ New Start?

First and foremost, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone who visits my blog, be it for a one-off hit, or a semi-regular peep, a very Happy New Year for 2014 to come.

May you all have good health, happiness and peace of mind. I would normally wish folks wealth too, but I'm beginning to realise that money doesn't always make for happiness,  so I'll leave that little detail down to you :)

People always tend to view a new year as a time to start afresh, or even turn over a new leaf. This usually takes the form of a New Year's Resolution. But why bother? All it does is to place unnecessary pressure on yourself, and if we're honest, it's usually something we've tried before without success.

Monday, 30 December 2013

47 Ronin ~ A Short Review

Image from datapremiery.pl
Last night (Sunday 29th December), my nephew Luke, and old friend, Cat, went to see Keanu Reeves' latest film, '47 Ronin'.

Annoyingly the evening showings were only in 3D - of which, there was very little within the film itself - and I can't help but feel that cinemas and the film industry are taking advantage of cinema goers by restricting '2D' viewings to times which are not always watcher friendly, plus the evening films are much busier in terms of viewing figures. Great revenue for them, but what about us poor folks who rather not see a film in 3D and have to pay the extra money for the pleasure?

Anyway, to the film - beforehand there seems to be two camps of viewer having seen this film: those who hate it, and those who love it. No middle ground it appears?

For me, it was a little slow in the beginning, taking the slow build up that always seems to be associated with films concerning feudal Japan and the subject of the Samurai. It did lack the sweeping, glorious vistas of Japan's varied landscapes, and seemed to lack cohesion. And I think this is where the film divides its viewing audience. From the trailer you expect to be treated to an all-out fantasy, action-packed story, but no. The trailer shows all the 'best bits' in terms of fantasy-styled action - sorry.


But if you loved 'The Last Samurai', or 'Seven Samurai' then you will most likely enjoy this film, as I did, though I was still a tad disappointed overall. As for Mr Reeves' performance, it was, I would say, a mix of his Constantine character and his Neo character from the last film in the Matrix trilogy. Not a bad performance. His fight scenes were fluid and very well choreographed, and his Matrix martial arts training has come to good use. The rest of the cast are equally good within their roles, but I would have liked to have seen the villains of the film put to more use, especially the main protagonist's 'go-to henchman'; a ripe baddie never used to their full potential. Shame.

Not a film for those who love the all-out-action-fest, but more towards the slow boil film fan.

*EDIT: After reconsidering my initial impressions and reading further 'reviews', I would have to suggest, save your money and wait for the DVD, as my good friend Jeremy has already stated below in the comments.*

What is interesting is that the film is loosely based on actual events within Japan's feudal history, where 47 masterless Samurai - referred to as 'ronin', took it upon themselves to avenge their Lord's death. Even today, people from all over the world travel to Japan to visit the graves of these 47 brave and valiant ronin.

If I had to score this film out of 10, I would have to give it a 5 - average/good, but could have been so much better.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

New Discovery - Hiatus & Shura (Today's Song)

I always like to find new artists and songs, especially by total accident; it's like walking down the street, penniless and finding a crumpled-up ten pound note in the gutter. Pure joy.

Hiatus (the male part) and Shura (the female part) are a collaboration of two music styles: he is from the electronic/trance/chill scene, whilst she is of the folk/acoustic/vocal scene. They have produced an EP, which I believe is titled after this track I'll be presenting to you for your listening pleasure ' Fortune's Fool '.

The video, in my opinion, isn't up to much, but the track is amazingly beautiful, haunting, and touches the heart and soul simultaneously. I hope you enjoy :)

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas one and all :D

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to come. I hope 2014 brings us all something better than last year.

Peace & Love :)

Monday, 23 December 2013

Bastion - A Proper Story (Today's Song)

For those of you for whom gaming is a bit of a grey area or that 'thing' that nerdy types do, allow me to introduce you to Bastion - a game released in 2010 on both PC and XBox. A fantasy-themed, isometric platform styled game, with a hand-painted, colourful look and brilliant soundtrack, this game has its own cult fan base amongst players.

The Bastion link will take you to the Wikipedia page where you can find a wealth of information regarding this cult game. For your listening pleasure I have included a track entitled, 'A Proper Story' from the game. How to describe this music? Hmmm... cited as being along the lines of American frontier music, and that of 'acoustic frontier trip hop' - not that I know what that is, or even if it exists.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Today's Song

For all you cat lovers out there, here is a tune by PIXL from the EP Astrocat, entitled ' Monster Cat ' - maybe a bit too 'club mix' for some of you with more delicate ears and tastes in music, but pour moi, c'est parfaire.

Prendre plaisir, mes amis :)

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The Prodigal Son Returns

Well, tonight we get our internet back - midnight UK to be precise - but writing this I am using a freebie wifi hotspot at an amazing 2.6Mb download speed ( I can almost feel the speed whipping at my hair! ).

I hope those of you who are regular visitors to my blog haven't given up on me, and I also hope you have all been well and life has been kind to you all during my time away in the nether sphere?

It's been a pretty shitty time really - the hurried and stress-loaded move, moving in with my wife's parents, then Tim, my wife's father falling ill and being hospitalised, and very sadly passing away a couple of weeks ago. I had keyhole surgery on my right shoulder the day before the funeral so was unable to help carry his coffin, for which I was truly gutted, but I wrote him a poem and had the honour to read it out in the service.

Hopefully, 2014 will be a better year all round, not just for my wife and her family, but everyone else I know who have experienced similar stresses and strains during 2013. My thoughts are with you all and I'm looking forward to returning to regular blogging and harassing you all with my video music picks and inane drivel.

Peace and love,

Mark x