iPhone 3G (v2.2) crashes when deleting photos

As I said, I’m impressed with the iPhone – the only annoyance so far is that when using Windows Explorer to delete photo’s from the iPhone, it crashes (the phone, not Explorer) and resets.  It’s a soft reset, don’t lose anything, but it means the only way I can remove pictures is by deleting them on the phone.  Apparently it’s only an issue with XP – Vista and Mac’s are fine.

It’s going to be annoying if I take any substantial number of pictures though.

It’s spring

I’m back at work after a two week break which means less energy to post stuff, although my posting rate dropped dramatically during February / March anyway (yay, I hear some of you say).  We’ll see if it picks up, I don’t consciously do anything about it, just sometimes I feel like talking more than other times.

Got myself an iPhone for my birthday, and it’s pretty cool.  Clearly I don’t  need one, no one rings my mobile anyway, and I don’t make any calls usually from a mobile, but I love the other features and I feel like I should be one of the people using mobile internet even if I really have no use for it.  I promised myself if I got one (or an iPod touch, was a close race), I’d do more walking at work again and use the iPod stuff.  So been out both days back so far, the fact that the weather is gorgeous helps obviously.

So clearly spring out there today – green buds at the end of every tree branch and a lot of insect life making an appearance.  The last time I walked and listened to music at the same time was around 1992 when I lived in Sheffield and worked in Rotherham.  I used to walk to Jack’s house through a park in Sheffield, early in the morning, to get a lift to work.  Since I basically stopped collecting any music at that point in my life the stuff on my iPhone is from the same era (a lot of Queen, Eurythmics, INXS, Paul Simon) and in combination with the weather it really invokes memories of those (mostly good) times in Sheffield.

It certainly makes going for a walk a lot easier, I was actually looking forward to it today – yes Grete, you can say you told me so.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

You don’t have to have watched any porn to enjoy Zack and Miri, but it certainly helps.  If you needed evidence that Kevin Smith can make just about anything in life both funny and heart-warming at the same time, then this movie is it.  Zack and Miri are best friends and have been since school.  They share an appartment because neither of them can afford it on their own, and they complement each other.  It’s clear to everyone viewing that they should be in love, married and enjoying life together but because they’ve been friends for so long, they don’t see anything other than that when they look at each other.

A trip to a high school re-union where Zack meets a male porn star, a few missed bills and having their power and water cut off force Zack and Miri to a rather weird solution to raise cash – they should film a porno and distribute it to their ex-high school companions.  They gather a few friends and employ a few more colourful individuals and set about making their movie.  Needless to say, it doesn’t go to plan, but eventually they get under way and the moment arrives where Zack and Miri have to do it. I’ll leave the content there, you’ll have to watch and find out what happens.

If you’d seen any Kevin Smith films and then saw Zack and Miri without knowing Kevin wrote it, you’d probably be able to spot it anyway.  His trademark dialog is strewn throughout although it’s slightly more refined than it was in say, Clerks II.  This is probably because it’s not two guys mouthing off to each other for a change, however it doesn’t detract from the humour in that dialog and there’s plenty to laugh about.  The situations are funny without being too twee, all the characters are amusing if a little flat and the story isn’t quite as straightforward as I’d expected.  There’s one laugh-out-loud and cry-for-days moment which made us both laugh so hard it hurt, and plenty of good relaxed funny moments.  While the ending certainly won’t come as a surprise, the journey is worthwhile and interesting.

Zack and Miri do indeed make a porno, and learn an awful lot about themselves, each other and the business in the process.

Bulletproof Monk

I bought this movie an age ago, and then I read a review saying it was pure tripe.  So it sat on the shelf for a long old while in the ‘to watch’ section.  However, the universe works in karmic ways and while a friend was visiting, we asked her what she wanted to watch and she picked this.  It turned out to be a pleasant surprise.  It’s a pretty straight forward buddy movie, an Asian monk protecting an ancient scroll, a young American martial arts movie loving kid and the love interest.  The monk takes the kid under his wing (even if the kid doesn’t know it), prophecies are fulfilled and the world is saved.

There are some above-average action sequences, some sassy dialog, some tin-pot wisdom and a couple of scenes which make you glad you watched.  There are some frustrations as well, the villain introduces some over complex technology near the end to explain away one minor plot issue that could have been countered in more simple and pleasing ways and bits of the final battle leave a sour taste in the mouth for their paint-by-numbers feel.  Overall though it satisfies the comedy action glands and presses some of the right buttons.  Certainly no more than 5/10 but it’s a solid 5.


I saw Hancock listed recently, in a collection of Superhero Spoof movies.  Let’s get this straight from the start, this is not a spoof.  This is a superhero movie and if you go in expecting a spoof you’ll be disappointed.  Yes, it’s a comedic superhero movie, but the comedy is an inherent part of the action and the story, this is a superhero movie with heart, depth and an excellent twist.

I was in fact, totally surprised at how much I enjoyed this, certainly, the most surprising movie experience in quite a while.  I was expecting a steady Will Smith comedy vehicle but Hancock is much more than that.  Our hero (Hancock) is a drunk, asshole superhero who saves people from crime and causes more damage in the process than the criminals ever would.  His reputation stinks, most people hate him and the city has hundreds of warrants out for his arrest, which he ignores.  It’s clear who really needs saving in this town, and when Hancock saves the life of a publicity specialist the resulting relationship nearly kills them all.

I won’t tell you anything else about the story because the real enjoyment of this story comes from the twists and to give them away would destroy half the film.  Suffice to say the performances are great, I really thought Will gave a great performance, big when it needed to be big and understated when it needed that.  Charlize Theron is a little hit and miss, but when she hits the character it’s really great.  There’s one really emotional scene, but it’s quietly sad and Charlize pulls a blinder.  I loved the humour, the subtle touches and the excellent action sequences.  Hancock really is a fully rounded and enjoyable movie.


Liam Neeson isn’t the first person that springs to mind when talking about action movies but he’s a great actor with plenty of on screen presence and I was hopeful that Taken would deliver.  The film starts out pretty well, we learn about Neeson (ex-government agent of some kind) and his relationship with his ex-wife and 17 year old daughter.  Neeson is clearly paranoid and his ex-wife is maybe less protective of her daughter than she should be, so neither of them are perfect.  His daughter is planning a trip to Paris with her slightly older friend, they tell Neeson they’re staying in one place but the reality is they’re following a band on tour.  He finds out, but she still goes.

Once in France however, it’s clear her friend has slightly less concern about their safety than maybe she should and within moments they’re both kidnapped.  There’s no real spoiler here, the whole premise of the movie is that Neesom’s character has to locate his daughter, everything up to this point has really been about setting your expectations of him as a father and an action hero.

The pace quickens immediately from this point onwards, with Neeson telling his daughter’s captors that he has ‘certain skills’ and that he will find them.  You get the impression that these skills will be stealthy, investigative, assassin-like .  It turns out he’s just good at killing people with guns and running around.  The first big let down of the film is that Neeson isn’t that believable, not because of his acting but because the character isn’t that well written.  He’s too blundering, too reliant on luck, too emotional.  Yes, he’s trying to save his daughter but he’s a man of steel and iron and if he can’t control his anger at the critical moment then what kind of government agent was he?  The second let down is that there’s no twist.  None.  The movie starts at A, moves through the alphabet and arrives and Z.

All that out of the way – it’s a half decent action thriller.  The scenes are well played, there’s a small amount of tension as Neeson gets closer and closer to the men who have his daughter, and there’s a couple of moments where we see what might have been with a better written hero.  Maybe Bourne spoiled us all but in his shadow Bryan Mills (Neeson’s character) just looks like a thug.

I would have liked to see more skulduggery, and more involvement from his former team members (they get a small intro at the start).  Taken is a simple movie without complexity or concern for detail, it’ll probably entertain you for 93 minutes but you may soon wonder what you just did and where those 93 minutes went.

Body of Lies

The advertising for Body of Lies says something like “Packed with breath taking action sequences” which is essentially a lie.  This isn’t an action flick and trying to sell it as such does it an injustice.  Either the studio were nervous, stupid or perhaps they don’t think much of the cinema going public.  Whatever the reason, Body of Lies is actually a dramatic thriller espionage action movie with some action sequences (impressive) and lots of dialog.  I really enjoyed DiCaprio and while I disliked Crow’s character immensely it’s probably because of his acting prowess that he made the man so odious with so little screen time.

The story covers a US CIA agent (DiCaprio) based in the Middle East, trying to get closer to a terrorist leader who is currently coordinating attacks on mainland Europe.  DiCaprio and his superior (Crow) differ in how they want to deliver results, with DiCaprio clearly more sympathetic to Arabic and Muslim sensibility.  They clash several times and as we proceed to the movie’s climax we see how much both of them are prepared to sacrifice for what they believe in.

I found the dialog absorbing and the roles well played.  I can’t comment on whether the movie is an accurate portrayal of the conflict going on in the Middle East or America’s involvement in it, maybe Ridley Scott has spent years researching it, maybe it’s just a pastiche or an impression but it certainly raised some interesting ideas.  The action sequences were well done, realistic and gritty and the scenes in the final act were suitably traumatic (I won’t spoil it too much for you).

Ultimately however the ending felt too loose, too open perhaps.  Maybe because Crow doesn’t seem to suffer any consequences for his actions, maybe for other reasons.  In any case it was like the last rocket of your fireworks evening misfiring, it didn’t spoil what came before but it left me feeling like we’d missed out on something important at the end.

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People

Simon Pegg is a funny man.  He’s a comic.  He conveys humour with his face, his stance, his voice, his very presence and it’s a good job because without him, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People would have been a very average movie.  With him, it’s on the better than average side of funny.  Pegg plays an entertainment journalist given the chance to move to America and join a world famous magazine, there he meets the stars, forges a career, screws plenty of things up and falls in love.  It’s a straight by the book romantic comedy with a few decently amusing scenes that Pegg carries pretty much throughout.

I didn’t find Kirsten very comfortable in her role at all, and the rest of the cast has hardly enough screen time to make any kind of impression.

No where near the quality of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz or even Run Fatboy, Run, but still worth a giggle.

Babylon A.D.

If your audience is expecting a post-apocalyptic sci-fi action movie in which your beefcake hero runs around and shoots a bunch of bad guys, while protecting a mysterious young girl then really, it should be quite hard to screw it up.  Make it exciting, give it some funky dialog and some charismatic characters, give them something to deal with together to form some bonds, and reveal the back story as you go illuminated through the lights of tracer rounds and frag grenades.

I admit it’s not easy or we’d all be doing it, but there are some advantages to bringing a sci-fi action movie to the screen in terms of plot development and character depth.  Get it anyway half decent and the crowds will be happy.

Which makes it all the harder to excuse Babylon A.D. and to understand what the hell they thought they were doing.  Oh it starts out on a firm footing, Diesel still has enough on-screen presence and acerbic charm to pick up the role (essentially Riddick without the mirrored eyes) and he can cook!  We get a little back story, we get some evidence he’s bad ass, and we get to meet the other two of the trio as he collects them (in quite an amusing manner) from their little convent.  There’s something weird about the girl, and there are some people trying to capture her.  Perfect, now we just need a good solid set of action combat / chase sequences and a small twist near the end and we’re golden.

Maybe the girl’s female protector turns out to be a bad guy, maybe Diesel’s character turns out to be a double agent, maybe the whole world turns into tofu, just something little and twisty after all the action to make us look back and go ‘oh yes, I see now’.  That’s what a twist should be, not something out of the blue but something which makes you re-evaluate what you saw and assumed.  Just to remind you to pay more attention next time.  It shouldn’t be obvious before-hand, but it should be totally obvious with hindsight.  That’s the point right?   To suck us in and then whack us when we’re not looking?

Why then, why in the name of all the Norse gods, does Bablyon A.D. take a 345 degree turn 15 minutes before the end and tell a completely different story about which we had no warning.  No hidden messages.  Yes, the girl was weird, maybe psychic, maybe telepathic, perhaps just odd.  But if you have to tell us what happened before the movie started, with 8 minutes of monologue from a character we’ve only just met, so that you can then justify the last 11 minutes of the movie, you’re doing it wrong.

Come on!  Basically, Bablyon A.D. is two movies, everything you see up to the 15 minutes before the end, and then everything after that.  We listen to some exposition which explains why the girl is weird, who the bad guy is, what is really going on, and then we get a limp-wristed end sequence.  Really, I’ve not been left hanging by a movie as badly as this before and I’ve watched some crud.  It’s a true shame because it feels like Bablyon A.D. reached for something and failed and instead of that being recognised and aspirations toned down, they just hacked it together any way they could to deliver the story they’d tried and failed to shoot.  I’d rate the first three quarters as a passable and watchable action sci-fi movie and the last 15 minutes or so as pure shite.



Watched a bunch of films recently and not gotten around to reviewing any of them so I’m about to serial post about 7 reviews, sorry if they bore you, just skip over the next few posts.

Normal service (mindless vapid excuses for blog posts) will be resumed momentarily.