Sunday, September 30, 2012

Movie: Two Little Boys

Some time elapsed since I went to this one, and its endeared itself with time for some contemplation.
Got a bit corny in the ending but hey, its a comedy. One reviewer's commented its a strange movie, and I'd agree it leaves you a little bit WTF, credit to the Sarkie's odd-ball/hilarious bent I guess.
I like how the Kiwi scenery was "there", but didnt intrude on the story, like it didnt make the movie an NZ poster.
Maaka Pohatu did a brilliant job with his very credible Maori portrayal, entirely natural somewhat detached and bemused by his mate's antics.
Actors have remarked that movie acting is all about close-up face shooting, and Bret showed a lot of potential in this department for bigger more serious roles, I thought.
Nice touch was the surprise, not so much in the final twist of the plot, but in seeing someone I know personally in one of the final scenes. Peter McKenzie claps very convincingly!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Movies: Hit and Run, Expendables 2

Hit and Run got a great review in the Dom so I had to take a look. The reviewer reckoned it was a well put together car chase comedy with bits of good dialogue, which I suppose it was.
Written by the lead actor, it was about a bloke breaking cover from witness protection to help his girlfriend get to LA, then coming to the notice of his erstwhile baddie accomplices via being ratted on by the guy ignored by the girl. Yawn, 3 out of 5.

Expendables 2 as could be expected got a bum review, but I loved it and so did everyone else in the theatre. Bruce, Arnie, Jason, Jet, Sly, and the other action blokes, it was great to see, and bugger me, up pops Chuck Norris with a big tongue in cheek.
Several thousand rounds got expended and heaps of baddies got deaded, and only one goodie got his beans in a dastardly way, triggering the revenge side of the plot.
Only downside was JC van Damme getting cast as the nasty, but at least in the one-on-ones we didnt have to endure the heroes getting beat to within an inch of their life, then making a miraculous comeback to prevail in the duel. 4 out 5.

Book: Graham Henry Final Word

I've always been a loyal fan of Ted, Shag, and Smithy, now I understand much more why.
I enjoy rugby as much as this team have tried to make it enjoyable to watch, fast, creative, demanding of the highest level of fitness.
The inappropriate open-cast groanings of Deaker and Lose after the 2007 World Cup failure only made me more loyal to the game, and appreciative of the judgement of the NZRFU Board in the coaching team's reappointment.
There's been a lot of criticism levelled at Henry for alleging match fixing over the 2007 RWC semi, but it only shows up those who havent actually read the book, he dosent. Mainly the chapter is an analysis of why the AB's failed, at the time it looked to me like the AB's couldnt adapt a game plan quick enough to cope with the 2nd-half French attack, we were even left wondering if Richie was up to the captain's task for not being able to do so. But the high misdemeanour count Henry points out the French were allowed to get away with would account for the AB's apparent stalling the way they did.
I searched the internet for full video of the game, to see for myself, and while pretty near any game you search for can be found, this particular game was pulled from view by the RWC Board on 'copyright' grounds.
Funny that.
The way the AB's game has evolved since is indicative of how the lesson learned has been applied, when you watch the 2nd half highlights the most remarkable thing is the exhilaration of the French game, and in some ways you couldnt hold it against referee Barnes for letting the game flow, even for the forward pass.
But not the rucking errors left un-penalised. More recent commentators have called it "brain freeze" on the part of referees not quite competent for games of this speed, Bryce Lawrence with the last RWC Wallabies v Springboks clash another case in point.
All the world loves a conspiracy, but in 99% of cases its more down to incompetence than conspiracy.
As with most high achiever's bios, the recurring theme is about a lifetime of application, dedication, and being as excellent as you can.
Salute Sir Graham. He knows more about the game than 99% of his critics.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Movie: Total Recall

Despite a fair bit of negative press I think this movie just made it as a stand-alone sci-fi, sufficiently divorced from the Schwarzenegger original, which happened long enough ago that nothing other than the mind-fiddling surfaced from my own memory recall.
The three pivot characters, Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsdale, and Jessica Biel, made the movie, a start-to-finish action romp that seems to be the go for flicks these days.
4 out of 5.

Book: Riding the World by Gregory Frazier

An interesting read for anyone into epic motorcycle journeys, with heaps of tips on bike and gear selection, and the trials and tribulations encountered biking different continents.
The slant is more to the independent, economy minded, sleep anywhere traveller, and how to load a bike with everything bar the kitchen sink.
I found the chapters on selection and preparation of the bike interesting, apparently not too many of them can survive an epic journey, which surprised me as a farmer who's used bikes on hills on an all-day everyday basis, several of which I think would have done the touring job admirably, although I would have travelled a lot lighter. We do share the common sentiment that for weather protection while on tour, its hard to beat a motel room.
Having enjoyed biking across Montana and learned much of the plight of the North American Indian, it was special to note and salute the author's Crow heritage.
The book is well illustrated with good pics, some even of NZ, and others somewhat recognisable of similar paths across USA.
A not too taxing read with lots that a touring biker can relate to, and pick up useful stuff from.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Book: Piri : Straight Up

A good read worth a mention, despite following a trend for those who've done well to release a bio before their careers are done, Piri's one of those guys a lot of us enjoy seeing run onto the paddock, and I hope we keep seeing more of for some time yet.
Heather Kidd's done a great job of maintaining the conversational style easy to associate with Piri as he lays out his beginnings, and progress through life and rugby, the familiar path from a family and community steeped in sport so often associated with those who reach the highest level, and a youth marked by leadership and excelling at many stages.
The coaching detail explained was most interesting, almost you'd wonder at a revelation of trade secrets in the AB's instance, but I guess all international level teams operate on a basically similar strategy these days. Certainly very interesting if you were involved in school grade level as a parent or coach.
As a Wellington Lions and Hurricanes follower I enjoyed the book, a good easy read too.
Following Piri and Ma'a to the Blues wasnt without its hitches this season, and not without due acknowledgement to Pat Lam for his efforts over the last few years, we'll look forward to next year to see what difference Kirwan, and the technical assistance from Henry and Byrne, makes.
For a good easy interesting read, 10 out of 10.