Monday, November 21, 2005

Of Cabbages,Aliens and Bats

Monday 21 November 2005
Been battling a heavy cold.Sore throat.Blocked ears and nose.The works.I think I caught it waiting on an exposed train platform. Late last Monday night.I felt the icy fingers of winter prod and poke at my fragile frame.Switching between express,local and subway trains.The weather has turned decidedly cooler.Down to 2 to 4 degrees at night.Dragged out an extra blanket.Closed the balcony door at night.

Spent the weekend mostly in bed fighting my cold.Watching a mixture of sumo(the last tournament of the year is currently on),dvds and reading the latest in Alex McCall Smiths "The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency" series.Its good to reimmerse oneself in the well drawn characters and crafted stories.He has a soothing relaxed way of writing.In each book you learn more about the characters,Botswana and Africa.Sure theres some retracing and retelling of previous events to bring new readers up to speed but its done economically and in such a way as to further your knowledge.

I've included a photo of the fruit and veggie shop I visit each Saturday morning to get my supplies for the week.Very cheap and reasonable prices by Japanese standards.While I cant speak much Japanese and get chided for it the staff are very friendly.Its a family run business.I ususally get served by this ancient Yoda like woman.Obvivously the grandmother,mother,mother in law of the couple that run and manage the business.Its always very busy and noisy.As well as the many local residents who frequent the shop it also supplies many restaurants.
Across thed alley theres a ramshackle fishmonger selling a myriad of marine life.Either frozen or swimming around in its small polystyrene prison.

War of The Worlds was released here on dvd a couple of weeks ago.I finally managed to get one of the twenty odd copies available at the video store.
Im in two minds about it.Should it have just focussed on America or just Tom Cruise and his two brats or taken a wider global view as the title of the movie claims?While the special effects were great as you would expect from the director of ET and Close Encounters the plot was a bit limp.
There were loopholes and jumps in logic others have already noted.For example why was a handicam still working when all other electronic products had been disabled?Or how come none of the buried machines hadnt been discovered?
One major problem I had was that I didnt like the characters.Much like Closer I didnt care what happened to them.Tim Robbins turn as a mad survivalist seemed to slow the story down and added nothing.
Another problem was the ending.Lacklustre.No final climatic battle or even a twist like a new improved alien machine hurtling towards Earth.No reasonable explanation for the demise of the aliens.I would have liked a more plausible ending.Not the trite Morgan Freeman voice-over.

Speaking of Morgan Freeman hes featured a lot recently on my DVD player.Not only in War of the Worlds but also in Million Dollar Baby and in a small role in Batman Begins.
I liked this movie.Great cast.Liam Neeson,Michael Caine,Gary Oldman and Chrisian Bale.It also has Katie Holmes as the female lead.Shes not my favorite actress.Here she lacked the weight and presence to pull off the role of a District Attorney.She just wasnt convincing.
The first half of the movie was mainly exposition.Explaining how Batman got to where he was.The second plays out his plan to save Gotham.I think the director Christopher Nolan respects the Batman story unlike say Joel Schumacher and others who took a less than reverent approach and whose efforts degraded the whole franchaise.I also think hes a fan of Bladerunner.Many scenes of the nether regions of Gotham seemed an homage to that classic sci-fi movie.Surely the appearance of Rutger Hauer is further evidence?
Christian Bale, in the title role a million miles from The Machinist, played the character grimly with a mixture of moral superiority and revenge.Not all good not all bad.Not totally likeable but more credible for his faults and failings.
All in all despite my reservations about Katie Holmes I enjoyed Batman Begins as a form of harmless entertainment.,,,

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