Welcome to my movie blog, containing reviews and articles. I've been writing since 2004 - with a short break during 2009.


We got a new telly. A big new telly.

Its quite funny. Abstractly, I've always complained about our cinema, and the size of our TV. But it really does affect the way you view individual films.

Yes a great script and great performances help. But think: gungy second hand video, perfect HD transfer, on a plane with a screaming baby, on a screen with a bunch of mates, our local cinema, a massive, sod-off cinema screen like what they have in England, or one of those theme evenings which show The Descent underground etc.

And none of those are necessarily any worse. I've always thought Pulp Fiction would play better as a slightly nasty video. Amazing quality TV's great for the Matrix et al. I can't think of anything that would be improved by watching on a plane, but our tiny local cinema is twice as good for watching comedies than any large screen.

So back to our new screen. Or rather, our new sound system. The screen is pretty big and crystal clear, but it's the 5 surround speakers and subwoofer* that does the real trick. Wonderful word, subwoofer. It does exactly what it sounds like - it subwoofs.

Dad and sis tested it with the lighting of the beacons sequence from Return of the King. My test run was the Tideland trailer. Would you just look at the big pretty! Next up was Band of Brothers (think Saving Private Ryan TV, only twice as unwatcheably violent, and twice as engrossing. Music's better too), which really put the sound through its paces.

Then Mum came back. So last night we watched Top Gun, a film I've always kinda liked. But whoa, it was twice as good with a bit of subwoof. You can feel the things taking off. It's also reignited my most bizzare ambition: I want to fly stuff for the army. Specifically helicopters, but I'd settle for uber-fast jets. Now in reality, that's bonkers - I don't even resemble a fit-to fight soldier. I'm not athletic, I'm not good at quick thinking or problem solving and I'm not good at following orders. But it doesn't stop this little flutter of enthusiasm, and alarmingly neither does Black Hawk Down.

In an odd role reversal, it was my sister kept coming in to tell my parents to keep the sound down.

Anyway, what a treat. If you think you've seen Top Gun, you ain't seen nothing until you see it on a proper sound system. Afterwards, just for a treat and to stick with the pretty aviation, we tuned up the Wagner on Apocalypse Now. That was good. Although watching it, I was already reflecting that the screen isn't quite big enough...

And now, to the writers strike. Ah, what a mess. Everybody seems to have an opinion - most of them are on the side of the underdog, the writers. Now naturally they are in the right, to an extent. But it's not like they're starving to death. They are being denied money they deserve, not money they need.
You may be asking, why the hell is Cinecism on the side of the PRODUCERS of all things?
Answer= she's not. Goodness no. I' m on the side of the art. I didn't get into this because I like strangers - I only care about the writers, because I care about what they create.
I've an example. I know this guy Paul, and he's married to this lovely woman called Joanne. Bored? OK, lets say I wanted to talk about Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Twice as interesting. But you're only more interested because of what Mr Newman has created. It's what lifts him above Joe Ordinary.
So no, I don't care about the writers much more than I would anyone else.
In film terms, none of this matters. It'll last six months or so (as I said, the writers aren't starving, and companies are notoriously stingy) before some sort of unexciting deal is made. Then people will go back to making films.
Not to mention the long term effects - all the PAs and runners on said shows losing their jobs, the actors guuild deciding to do it next year, the editors guild the year after that.

I've recently got into a bit of TV through my sister, who is TV obsessed the same way I am film. How selfish are the TV writers then? I don't know whether you've ever tried sticking through a show in America, but they are cancelled with an alarming regularity. I'm a disgruntled Browncoat who lost Firefly after 14 great episodes. But you can probably think of your favourite cancelled show. That Lost-style of writing as you go along, so that the instant the ratings dip you can kill unpopular characters and introduce an outlandish twist involving a lesbian love triangle, a packet of timbits and a chipmunk to keep people watching. Let us say that it does last for 6 months. All American series TV ends - Heroes goes on a mid-series break. Who's going to remember it half a year later? Perhaps I am overreacting, but then US Tv is notorious for cancelling at a moments notice.

What I'm saying is that, especially for the TV writers, this is potentially a chance to lose their shows. A public demonstration of "we care about our cash more than our creation". All the rhetoric you like about "getting justice for future generations" can't disguise that fact. I'm not an idiot, I do know that it's always been about the money. At the same time, I have no respect for someone who's going to dump their show to go penny pinching.

You can argue that my point is really selfish, because I'm placing the art above the writers; but then I'm only concerned about the writers at all because of the art. I only care about the strike, because I want them to finish the next series of Lost. I've always felt this way. We watched a documentary about Bernini, an abusive Italian artist who chopped up his mistress and almost killed his own brother. Simon Schama adds "at this point you're probably thinking "I don't care how good his art is, he's a bit of a bastard". I wasn't. Indeed, I thought the exact opposite. So what, he was nasty, lets see another statue.

It's not that the morality and concerns of the artist don't matter. But you only care about the artist because of the creation anyway. A lot of people are boycotting Michel Jackson's CDs. Why? Before all that mess and scandal, you didn't go into the shop and say "I'm going to buy Thriller because Mr Jackson is a good man". You were buying it for good music. The music remains good, however odd the artist. (and to the argument that you don't want to support him, the same applies. Did you buy it before because you wanted to support these people?). A similar idea is the list of gay bands on the (probably spoof) Love Gods Way ministries website (PS, have you heard "The Bible Says?" It's Donnie Davis' song and it's damn hilarious. Unless he's serious, in which case it's twice as funny)

Bottom line: in principle, I wish the writers all the luck in the world in getting their 700% rise. You should stand up to the Man every now and then. In practice, I don't care


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