Sport Yeah! Pity I was watching the shockingly bad monther-in-law from hell thriller Hush at the time. As one reviewer from Rotten Tomatoes puts it: "Good news: It's very funny. Bad News: HUSH is a thriller." Not even Gwyneth Paltrow could save this dog. I really need to get my watching priorities straightened out.
Life Heard in the street today. Two teenaged boys with cropped haircuts, tracksuits and extremely strong scouse accents.

Teen 1: Have you ever been knocked out by a pigeon?
Teen 2: No.

They walk a bit.

Teen 1: I have.
Teen 2: Have yer.

They walk a bit more.

Teen 1: I was on my bike riding along and a pigeon with a broken wing was flappin (makes the action) and he flew into me face. I fell of me bike. And it knocked me out for ten minutes. Then I got up and rode home ...
Sport I think the word for the Olympics opening ceremony in Greece was gloopy. Pacing wise it reminded me of the film Saving Private Ryan. Began with lots of bombast and excitement, then an hour and a half of people walking around before an impressive finish. After five years of being exposed to Greek culture through Fani it was interesting being able to spot cultural icons and references, especially during the extended history lesson. Unintentional amusement at hearing Barry Davis, sports commentator extraordinare reading this script; intelligent man to be sure but being told in that voice about DNA Helixes and the dawn of civilisation felt odd. But not as odd as the appearance of Bjork, who we love but seemed alightly out of place -- Natasha Atlas not available? Nostalgia abounded for the Manchester Commonwealth Games where I volunteered in 2002 -- and a certain amount of envy at seeing the jumpsuits the volunteers are wearing in Athens. Who could forget the purple monstrosity I had to wear. At least this time I'll have a chance to see more than one sport...
Blogging Just spent the past three hours recording an audioblog entry only to find that it was too long and therefore too massive to upload via my dial-up modem (no matter how I try to encode it to mp3. So either I subscribe to Audioblog or suggest that you email your address and I'll post it to you on a cd. Which is sort of missing the whole message instantly online ethic I suppose...
Life Rained again today. But much less. I think my jinx may be broken. Watched Midnight Cowboy tonight. Never mind that being the first X certificate film to win Best Picture. Surely it's one of the most depressing as well. Very hot. Very tired, and wanting a break from everything...
Theatre Casting Shakespeare with Muppets:
"Miss Piggy automatically gets the female lead, whether or not she's suited to the character. She simply wouldn't accept anything less. This means that Taming of the Shrew is a much shorter play, once she wises up."

"When in doubt about a role, try throwing Sam the Eagle at it. Shakespeare is culture at its finest, and Sam will do anything within his abilities to advance it, no matter how humiliating."
Mana-mana du du dee du du ...
Film Incredibly linkable article about the Internet Movie Database. I've been using it for years, even before it sold out to Amazon and it's still indispensable. But where do they their information?
"To spackle those holes, IMDB has a virtual Hollywood construction crew - spies, really - some of whom can't be identified or risk losing their day jobs. 'We get our info from disparate sources, but these contributors are our lifeblood. It's a large group of trusted users and submitters in whom we've gained a level of confidence, much like you begin to trust a movie reviewer,' Simanton says. 'It could be a professor from UCLA, the screenwriters of the film themselves, the maiden aunt of someone who died years ago. But it?s the gleaning aspect and process that really makes the IMDB what it is.'"
Plus they're quite happy to publish even the most challenging of reviews. [via]
Life Apologies if you experienced heavy rain fall and/or widespread flooding today. It was totally my fault and I'm not proud of myself. Let me explain. Over the weekend I invested in the Pro version of Winamp, which includes amongst other things an obscenely easy way of making cd mix compilations. Create a playlist using the tracks that you want to appear on the cd, put them in the order that you want them and burn the playlist. After all those years huddled over the pause/record buttons on a hifi as I shuffled through my LP, tapes and compact discs it feels wrong, like I'm transgressing some great law of humanity.

Sorry I'm going off on a tangent. Because I want to have the kind of random music that I enjoy on my pc when I'm writing when I'm elsewhere in the flat, especially the balcony, I've been burning some compilations themed around nouns. And last night I created a cd with the following tracklisting:

Wasting The Rain - Shea Seger
Only Happy When It Rains - Garbage
Sunshine On A Rainy Day - Zoe
Rainbow Lake - Wendy & Lisa
Purple Rain - Sina Nordenstram
Dry The Rain - The Beta Band
Rain Dance - Badi Assad
Rain Love - Rosalie Deighton
Who's Gonna Stop The Rain - Anastacia
The Rain Song - The Bangles
London Rain - Heather Nova
It Look Like Rain - Jann Arden
Summer Rain - The Primatives
Crying In The Rain - Carole King
Flowers Never Bend With The Rain - Simon & Garfunkel
Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head - B J Thomas
A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall - Bob Dylan
Rain, Rain Beautiful Rain - Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Rain or Shine - Ray Charles
I Listen To The Rain - Beverley Craven
Prelude "Raindrop" - Frederic Chopin

Now I want you to look over that list again. Can you spot the common thread? Evidentally when I played the cd last night it was like the modern Sony equivalent of a rain dance. I mean never mind the song itself, some of those titles are just asking for trouble. So I'm deeply sorry. When you're filling in your insurance claim in the box marked cause you can forgo the spirit crushing 'Act of God' and put in 'Act of Stu' instead. I should warn you though -- I'm playing it again now -- so remember to take your umbrella out with you tomorrow and a pair of wellington boots.
Obituary "What a week. I'm just imagining that somewhere in heaven there's an almighty party going on with Fay Wray, Rick James, Cartier Bresson and Bernard Levin. Now that's a party I'd like to be at (though without dying obviously)." -- ciderwoman @ Metafilter
Film While I'm linking to Guardian Unlimited, in yesterday's Observer there was a very good, positive interview by Simon Garfield with Woody Allen. I've been sick of hyper-critical pieces saying Woody's passed his best and shouldn't be making so many films, which disregards two things: Firstly, even when he's not so great Woody is still heaps better than some of the hacks strewn across the place (and more interesting) and secondly if I was him and people kept giving me money annually to make a new film and I didn't have anything else on I could spend my summer with people like Scarlett Johansson I would be doing it too. Noticably he seems to have slipped back into a cycle of more dramatic films so I imagine in a year or two people will be lauding him again. Fingers crossed. If Anything Else can finally get a distribution deal over here, anything's possible.
Games I miss Aleks Krotoski when she left the television screens up on the end of the last great attempt at making a show about computer games Thumb Bandits. It's good to see her still around though and writing for The Guardian's GameBlog. For some reason I couldn't imagine anyone else writing a White Paper for ELSPA about Women in Games. Or an entry about girly pink gaming products. I'd forgotten about Sissyfight...
Film I-Robot is an extraordinarily kinetic film. During many of the action sequences the camera weaves and bends around the scenes to the degree that it necessarily disorientates the viewer but without, and this is its strength, diluting the clarity of the narrative. It's an expensive looking film, a well realised coherent futuristic vision. A lesser film would have made the robots a feature from the off -- here they're just another part of the city, weaving through the sidewalks accompanying and serving their human masters. On the surface this is what can by classed as a typical summer Hollywood action film; there are car chases, fight scenes and a race against time.

It is also a perfect example of what director Martin Scorsese describes as 'smuggling' -- wrapping a much deeper message in the trappings of something else. Like Minority Report before it, this is a film which entertains while saying something about ourselves, themes piling up on top of one another. There is the increasing reliance on technology; there is the naivity many of us have about the honesty of big business and it's ongoing quest to convince us that it only wants to help; there is predjudice against others and our reactions to our own predjudices; there is the expectation that things will always be better in the future.

It is a wierdly literate script. It was a brave move to present the essence of Asimov's work rather than produce a straight adaptation. We've seen that before -- it's appeared on television a couple of time (with Leonard Nimoy). A good comparison is the work Robert Altman did with Raymond Carver's work in Short Cuts. Taking the stories and weaving bits and pieces of them in and around each other to create a new vision. In places it's own technobabble is undercut as is it's po-facedness. It's also impeccably structured, opening up the story and the possibilites of this world at a pace slow enough for the audience to catch up, but fast enough that we aren't bored. That it was written by Jeff (Final Fantasy) Vinter and Akiva (A Beautiful Mind) Goldsman is a shock -- but a welcome one.

It is no surprise to me that Smith's performance as Spooner is actually quiet excellent -- as is always the case when he is given good material to work with. For all the giant leaps and superhuman punch-ups, jokes and quipes, he manages to give a quite touching layered performance. Equally, Bridget Moynahan's work as Calvin shouldn't be underestimated. Within the running time she has to develop from being a walking computer into a woman with real feelings and she definitely pulls it off. But the real tour-de-force is Alan Tudyk's Sonny. Like Andy Serkis's Gollum, the actor played the role before being replaced by computer animation and like Gollum the process gives the illusion of a real character within the space. Sonny has weight the audience has few difficulties suspending their disbelief. The real success is if the audience forgets they are watching something animated. Well I did.

It is a shame that the film was released now because I don't feel like it's being enjoyed or applauded as much as it should. The viewer has become quite blaze about the action film genre of late as we've lucky enough to have been able to see a series of film which do mix action with ideas. The viewer wants more and now it's getting it, they forget what it was like in the bad old days of theatrical releases for Under Seige 2. In previous years this would be getting five star reviews and be appearing on top ten lists. Instead critics are giving it average reviews, three stars and making flip statements about Will Smith's acting ability. It's annoying and unfair, especially to Alex Proyas who has managed to take all the brilliance of his previous film Dark City and apply it to a Hollywood aesthetic.

It is a soon to be undervalued near-classic. Go see.