Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Movie: Jack Reacher

Brilliant movie.
Followed Child's book "One Shot" pretty good.
Still not entirely convinced Cruise fits the Reacher mould, but hey, his acting performance is outstanding, and all kudos to him for getting a movie rights deal with author Childs.
Understandable also, why Childs has come out and said he's happy with Cruise's involvement and interpretation. He's in the movie too, look for him as a desk sergeant at the police station.
Best bits, Tom's acting, and the car chase!
Cant wait for the next one.
5 out of 5.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Book: Richie McCaw's The Open Side

Lot of talk around about this book, it'll be one of the more widely read, not just by rugby officianados, but by the life/business strategists on the 'how to succeed' pathway as well.
It becomes evident pretty early in the read he's as well-endowed intellectually as he is physically, and his game by game analysis and non-denigratory, matter of fact inclusion of characters is totally absorbing to us students of the game, adding dimensions some of us wouldnt have thought of.
I liked the recurring reference to his gliding passion. Along with the rugby I learned some about that sport as well, it fitted as a foil with the book's unfolding, as much as he averred it does with his rugby life.
In fact its a very well constructed work. I did think it unusual for a prominent sports personality to be doing an autobiography before their career's over, but this story is really about the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and his life-road to it, neatly both opening and closing with the RWC scenario. Some kudos due for writer Greg McGee on this front. Make a great TV doco one day, far better than the one aired recently.
A fascinating, absorbing read, easy relational level style too.
For this arm-chair fan, who like a lot of others of similar years, 'if only professional rugby was around in my day', its all probably more intimidating than inspirational.
Against the likes of Richie, I'll confess being far better suited to my choice of career dagging sheep in a declining job-market, than trying to compete with the likes of him for a place in a professional rugby team.
Good read, 5 out of 5.

Movie: Les Miserables

Not your average movie, but it passed the test of lasting impression.
I guess always going to be difficult transferred to the screen when you know a stage musical so well, with all the stereotypes to overcome.
When Jackman and Crowe appear, you automatically expect acting, but you get singing, and when Hathaway sets up to Dream a Dream, we dont get the Susan Boyle rendition we've somehow accepted as standard, we get acting! 6-8 minutes of sniffing, sobbing and face-pulling, instead of soaring glorious melody, lost in the drama.
Jackman thoroughly deserved his Golden Globe Best Actor Musical I thought, despite the cheap shot of one critic who said his voice creaked "but maybe that was just for dramatic effect". I didnt notice it.
Hathaway ditto female, well maybe because there wasnt much else in the field, the role of Fantine isnt a very big one.
Russell Crowe, likeable bugger, so-so, but he did "Stars" really well.
Some reviews have suggested a bit of license taken with the story line vs the stage show's, and this was all to the good I thought, I've never really got to grips with the stage plot, but the movie tied up the plot and sub-plots pretty good, even if they were contrived somewhat, at which stage the musical became a movie again!
Never read Victor Hugo either so dunno for certain about the story.
Another observation maybe peculiar just to me, but have been moved at almost every stage show I've been to, even the local Amdram, but never got the same level of emotion with this movie.
That Dompost reviewer Tuckett says he knows nothing about musicals, but as a movie it ticks all the right boxes, and I'd agree, camera, direction, setting etc, strong contributors to the lasting impression.
You could hardly get a better score-line in a musical than with Les Mis, and the music was always going to pull this one through.
Pity about dreaming a dream.
Still, 5 out of 5.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Appliance: Electrolux Ultrapower

Lol, bit of a laugh this social media biff, but at least I can deal with stuff on my own blog a fair bit more sensibly than many do on Facebook, and so it is come to pass writing up about a vacuum cleaner!
My old sucky 1300w Sanyo's been doing a commendable job, but there are things about vaccys in common that get right up my nose, and make the job a real drag. Like not being able to stay upright and getting the hose in a twist, and no longer on its wheels, being a drag to, well, drag around. Then there's the power cord, inevitably, never long enough, or wanting to spring recoil itself back in. Or if its the paper bag variety, having a supply of bags when you want them, or bagless, trying to empty it in the garden without the stuff blowing in your face, or back in the house through the open door you just came out. Then, storing the thing without it being somewhere you trip over it, or so well put away in a cupboard you're stuffed just getting it out and set up proper like.
I'd followed the TV ads for the Shark, where you could detach part of it and do the stairs, so was interested enough to poke around Mitre10, and more recently Harvey Norman, where I settled on buying this cordless 'Lux. The young lady assistant was very helpful, and pretty too, so I believed her it was a fair punt to buy.
Dear enough at a bit over $400 on special, but its great enough I'm moved to put it up here on the JReb Blog.
Its 2 speed. The low speed is plenty fast enough. I'm in a bloke's house here, where the carpet pile is more shagged than shag-pile, and on high speed, all the buggered pile gets sucked up and blocks the suck-way. Fortunately, a couple of clicks dismantles the suck-way for unblocking, and this whole mention indicates the suction power is right up there.
And this suggests a bloke ought to be doing the 'luxing a bit more regularly, and it sure is easier to do just that with this baby, even though the dust bowl isnt very big.
So anyway, on low power, I can get round all my carpeted floor on one, or sometimes two, empty outs.
The battery has never looked like running out. I got the 24volt model, which I think's probably a wise decision.
In the charger
When not in use the machine clips into its charger, maintaining itself on mnimum power consumption till next time. I've set it up in the hall where I pass it every day and get reminded to do a couple minutes here or there. The charger's got a discrete amber light that comes on intermittently indicating charge, and in the hallway, this is useful in the dead of night if you're trying to find the loo.
The vac head's got a torchlight too, useful when you're working dark corners, or under beds and furniture. There's plenty of swivel angles for getting round stuff, and the head's got about 3-4 ins straight edge each side which when you flush it with the floor/wall corner sucks the corner wonderful. With the old machine I had to pull the head off and use the pipe end.
The powerful suction is also good for mats, saves having to take them outside for a beating.
And the stairs are a dream to do with all this convenience, lightweight, handy angles, and no cord. There's also a nifty button you can push with your toe to clean the rotating brush in the pick-up head.
6 out of 5 for this baby.

Uncle Dave Does a Dive

Uncle David turned 90 recently and the cousins shouted him a tandem skydive for his birthday.
Any trepidation we might have had about him doing it got swept away when he accomplished it with aplomb.
He said he was always curious what it would be like, despite coming close to a parachute jump but fortunately not having to, into shark and Jap infested water, while serving as rear gunner up in the islands around Bouganville in WWII.
David right, Jack 2nd right
The tandem dive was set up for Sat 12th at Taupo, cant remember the name of the company, there are 2 operating there, but its the first hangar on the right.
Its a surprising proper industry, the hangar full of comings and goings, the lift plane operating almost non-stop nearly all day, giving young punters another slice of their adventure tour cake here in NZ.
The company do it well, you get a stretch limo ride out from town, full briefing, video job on the way down, and a movie put together for a take-away memento. David's had Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" poignantly spliced into the sound, you can view it in the theaterette.
Grandson Jack accompanied him on the dive, but no-one else in the family took the opportunity to have a go. I was content with my ride up and back on the CB, on a fine and warm day, up via the Parapara, National Park, and home via Desert Road.
David took the cake with his closing quip when asked if he'd like to do it again.
"I'll come back for my 100th", he said.
On the road home

Friday, January 11, 2013

Movie: Quartet

The hit of the holiday season.
Most critics put this in the same thread as Exotic Marigold Hotel, sure its about aging and hanging onto your character when you do, but this one's in a different class. While memorable, Marigold didnt do much for me.
Maybe it was Billy Connolly, magnetic at any time, but the four did standout performances, Tom Courtenay, Maggie Smith, and Pauline Collins, not often you find yourself rooting for more than one or two characters to succeed.
Excellent camera work, as well showing off some classy English countryside and a stately home, with more than a salute to classical music.
Convincing and entertaining support cast.
Dustan Hoffman's directing debut, at age 75, a triumph.
6 out of 5!