Thursday, October 4, 2012

End of Watch (2012) - MOVIE REVIEW

Director: David Ayer
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña

WOW. That's my initial one-word impression of this movie. It absolutely blew me away. I'm a big fan of cop movies, Training Day being hands down my favourite and I also love Street Kings with Keanu. David Ayer? The guy who wrote, directed and produced End of Watch also happened to write/produce Training Day and direct Street Kings. It's easy to say if you enjoyed those you'd enjoy this one, it's true, but don't let that make you think it's anything like those two movies. I'd argue it's better than both. Yes I haven't watched Training Day for years so my memory may be failing me on how good Training Day is but I'm just trying to illustrate how good I really think End of Watch is. I went so far as to call it the Movie of the Year. Briefly convincing myself it was better than the Dark Knight Rises. It isn't, but the fact that I had to think about it is saying something.

ANYWAY, Ayer, who also wrote S.W.A.T went away from the corrupt-cop narrative with End of Watch in this brilliant story about two partners, the good guys, the hot shots, that cruise in their black and white through some of the toughest streets in L.A. Brutal and gritty as shit. Filmed partially as a documentary (under the premise of Gyllenhaal's character shooting a video for film school), it's not some cheap gimmick following on from the likes of Project X etc. It's actually a fascinating way to tell this touching story about the brotherhood and friendship of these two cops and what they go through. Not just on the job but it chronicles their after-hours lives which is obviously affected by their day jobs.

I'll admit to be a little biased as not only do I love cop movies but Peña and Gyllenhaal are among my favourite actors and I thought they were phenomenal. Every time they got a call to go beat down a door or something I was terrified for their safety. That's the connection I felt to their characters and the way the story was told. A fantastic movie that I already can't wait to watch again.

Check out the trailer and see if it doesn't pump your nuts up:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Breaks of the Game - BOOK REVIEW

First published back in 1981, The Breaks of the Game follows the story of the 1979-1980 Portland Trail Blazers NBA season. Pulitzer Prize winning reporter David Halberstam spent the entire year embedded with the team and spent countless hours with numerous people involved with the team and the NBA throughout that season. Aside from the central theme being the Blazers season, Halberstam also details the history of the Blazers, the NBA and also the injury plagued career of Bill Walton who departed the Blazers the previous season, just one year removed from winning Portland's first championships.

While I didn't really find any of the book edge-of-your-seat entertaining and I did at times find myself praying that the book finishes soon, as a big basketball fan I found it very interesting to see such a detailed look into the inner workings of the NBA back in that era. A lot of the book dealt with Basketball in the social context, it's history with race and just what's it's like emotionally and psychologically to be a player back then. I'm sure times have changed but there's so much in this book that you can see players and management dealing with in this era too.

As someone who knew very little about Bill Walton's career, this book also covers Walton's story and his career in great detail which was very fascinating and even a little sad. I can't help but feel like Walton, already considered one of the NBA's greats, had his career robbed from him by injury problems.

Anyway, if you're a basketball fan with a thirst for knowledge on some of the history of the NBA, I think this book is for you... otherwise, I dunno.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Expendables 2 - MOVIE REVIEW


OH MY GOD!

I fucking LOVED this movie. I wasn't a massive fan of the first Expendables. In fact, I've forgotten almost everything about it. It was cool to see all those legends together but I just didn't get into it. Number 2 though? AMAZING. Why? How? Yes, the story isn't that great and the acting won't win any awards but still, it was perfect.

All the legends, back together. This time, instead of Arnold/Bruce Willis cameos they had meatier roles… and Chuck Norris, he was Chuck Norris. Seeing all these guys together on the big screen shooting up bad guys made me feel like a kid in a candy store. The acting was very average. The lines were CORNY AS FUCK, and I loved every minute of it.

I watched it in a packed out cinema and everyone felt the same way, laughing our asses off at the amount of times Arnie said a variation or I'm back or I'll be back and countless other gems by Sly and John McLaine. Oh and the gratuitous violence. Geeeze.

Watch this movie, unless you're too cool to enjoy bad acting and an average story. Can't wait to get the fuckin blu-ray. One tip though, I think you'll probably enjoy it more watching it with friends that you can share the journey with.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Born To Run - BOOK REVIEW


This INCREDIBLE story, primarily about a secret tribe of natives that live deep in the copper canyons of Mexico, has absolutely transformed my summer.

This book, about running, introduces us to these people that run like they don't know how to do anything else. I used to thing runners did the 42km marathon and that was it. I had no idea there was a thing called the ultra marathon where there are freaks that run over 100kms. It's nuts. While revolving around the Tarahumara of Mexico, Born To Run is a book about running. The love of running. It goes off on tangents and covers many different aspects from running style, to injuries to anecdotes to cultural and political topics as well. But the central theme is the LOVE of running and how we are all meant to enjoy. A particular central figure, Caballo Blanco is an American dude that moved down to Mexico to become one of them. To join a people that wants nothing to do with the outside world.

As I write this I feel like I just can't do this book justice and correctly brief you on everything about it. Needless to say, it's a fascinating read. You don't need to be any sort of fitness freak to enjoy it. It's a great story and as an added bonus it totally motivates you to run, it's crazy actually. I somehow managed to run the entire time I read the book but once I was done I ran 4 miles fresh off not having run for 6 months and only playing a bit of basketball sporadically. Now I've got the Nike+ sensor and the wristband that tracks my run and gives me data etc. I love it. I was born to run. So are you.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dark Knight Rises - MOVIE REVIEW


I honestly don't know why I'm writing this… DKR is so massive that this is probably pointless so I'll keep it brief.

DKR is a great movie. Unsurprisingly it's not better than the Dark Knight. Heath Ledger's Joker set that movie off into another stratosphere. Bane, despite my worries about the mask is a really good villain. Anne Hathaway killed it as Cat Woman, I was also worried about how she'd be too but she knocked it out of the park. Bale was Bale. Oldman was great. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was fantastic I thought and the story? Forgeddabouddit. Wouldn't change a thing. Christopher Nolan is a god-damn genius. After Dark Knight/Inception/DKR he's been propelled into the "Watch EVERYTHING he makes" category that only Tarantino, Scorcese, Denzel and DiCaprio belong to. Thanks bro, you're a legend.

You know what, fuck it, I'm not writing any more, just watch the damn thing.

(damn you Michael Caine for making me cry)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My Booky Wook by Russell Brand - BOOK REVIEW


I had just finished reading Steve Jobs' bio when I picked up The Booky Wook. Mr. Brand had some big shoes to fill and he couldn't do it. I was blown away by the Steve Jobs bio so with that fresh in my memory, Russell Brand's bio paled in comparison. I was an interesting read at times but I just couldn't get that into it. Russ wrote it himself in first person and I often found myself page counting trying to figure out when I'd be done with the book. You can't win em all. That being said. I'll read his second Booky Wook eventually.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Amazing Spiderman - MOVIE REVIEW


For those living under a rock, the hugely successful Tobey Maguire Spiderman series has been rebooted…. and it's pretty damn good.

I didn't care for the Tobey series all that much so I was super keen for this reboot to be good. The new guy, Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) is a much better Peter Parker I think. I'm not a big Spiderman fan so I didn't think he had to be a certain way but I just didn't like the Tobey Spiderman and this guy, he's good. It's sort of a darker Spiderman to an extent but not Nolan-Batman dark. 

Emma Stone is more likeable as the love interest and Dennis Leary plays a solid cop role. I won't reveal anything about the villain but safe to say it's an entertaining watch and a half decent story. Watch it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Steve Jobs' Autobiography - BOOK REVIEW


Fascinating. Absolutely fascinating.

It's a big book... 600 pages, but I wasn't bored even for one minute (ok, that's an exaggeration but you get my point).

Prior to the death of Steve Jobs, when Apple's stock plummeted whenever Mr. Jobs went on medical leave, I thought, who cares? He's the frickin' CEO. Just because he founded the company, Apple's not gonna go to shit because he's ill.... That was when I didn't know, now I know.

Steve Jobs is a god damn genius. He didn't just start the company with old mate Wozniak, he has had a hand in EVERYTHING. A finger in every Apple pie. Multiple fingers.

This enthralling bio, written by Walter Isaacson, details this amazing journey that Steve Jobs has made from his childhood and how the person he is has become so enmeshed in everything Apple. I remember being about 100 or so pages into the book and thinking, "wow, I can totally see that in this product", or "that's all over the Apple store today, 30 years later".

I'm a bit of an Apple guy. I've got the MacBook Air, an iPhone and a few iPods too. I'd also have an iPad if I wasn't such a tight ass with my money. That's not the reason I loved this book though, you don't need to be an Apple guy or even have much technical knowledge of anything. This is straight up a fascinating tale of how one man has had such an effect both on this world and the shaping of an entire empire.

Fascinating. Absolutely fascinating.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Game of Thrones - Season 2 - TV SHOW REVIEW


The night is dark and full of terrors.

Game of Thrones is killing me. What? Why? Because 10 episodes, 10 weeks a year is not enough of this shit! How am I supposed to wait nine months for season 3 now? OH THE HUMANITY!

Really... season two was awesome. If you've already seen season one then you aren't looking at reviews to see if you should see season two because you already know what's good. If you haven't seen it at all, then you're a fool for looking at a season two review... and yes if you haven't realised by now I'm just talking dribble, procrastinating so I don't actually have to write anything specific about this season yet it looks like I wrote SOMETHING. Why? I don't want my words to cheapen the beauty that was season two. Just download the damn thing! (I mean, acquire it in a legal fashin)


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Prometheus (2012) - MOVIE REVIEW

Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba

What was originally meant to be another movie in the Alien franchise then became a prequel for the Alien series and in the end became it's own story that precedes the Alien franchise but is actually not directly connected to it. Exactly, I don't really care either. I haven't even seen the Alien movies to be honest.

Prometheus? Pretty cool though. It's a futuristic movie where humans travel to another planet and have all these cool toys and awesome looking ships and find strange things etc. Nothing new or groundbreaking here but I'm a bit of a sucker for movies with cool futuristic shit in it so I enjoyed it. Michael Fassbender is a very good actor as well so I enjoyed watching him in action. An entertaining flick but you're not missing out if you don't see it