What about us Google?

The Web Derek Powazek makes an inspirational point regarding Google's IPO: "The other day I heard a journalist talking about how much easier finding informations was, thanks to Google. And it's true, Google has used a combination of programming moxie and computational brute force to create the fastest and best search on the net. But Google did not put all those pages online ? people did. And I think they deserve much of the thanks."

What an extraordinary day ...

Sport Five gold medals...

The Winds Of Change

Test This post is a test because I'm trying something with the atom feed. If you can see a title above, everythings all OK.

Mp3 Jacket

Fashion It's an Mp3 enabled jacket with a control on the sleeve.
Music Heard behind me as drifted down the escalator in HMV yesterday:

Student #1: So what kind of band do you want to be in?
Student #2: The kind of band that plays in films when Vin Diesal walks...
People Explorative interview with Claire Danes. Even now you can hear the ghosts of the character which was her big break on television:
"I think that the lack of continuity in my life is the most challenging aspect, and I have to work really actively and forcefully at maintaining my connections, my habits, my routines while I'm relocating.' Long pause. 'I'm getting better at it but it's really stressful and I always feel abandoned, when I'm the one leaving. It's kind of backwards, but I often feel excluded from my community here in New York. My friends don't do anything to make me feel that way, it's just a consequence of my lifestyle.'"
Or something ....
History (?) John Titor -- time traveller? This is the sort of this which really scares the wits out of me. World War III next year apparently and this is the last Olympics for forty years. There go Britain's medal hopes yet again. [via]
Liverpool Life Or in this case, Liverpool Log. For some time now I've been thinking about creating a Gawker style weblog for Liverpool and the surrounding areas. But I decided that I'd probably put anything interesting up here anyway and it went the way of previous ideas. So imagine my surprise when I spotted this site in my referrer logs (they were kind enough to link to my piece about visiting Anthony Gormley's Field at Tate Liverpool). It's relatively new and focuses on Art & Architecture within the city and it's got a clean style and the potential to develop into something indispensable. Oddly though it lack a personality -- whoever is writing this doesn't offer a name or a contact address which is a shame because I'd like to congratulating for putting a foot forward.
Film Someone at Aint It Cool News has seen John Sayle's second draft of the proposed Jurassic Park IV. I mentioned this a few months ago and how bonkers it was bound to be. But not this mad. I won't spoil it with a quote in case anyone really wants to be surprised so instead, here is the reaction:
"I'm pleased to report that this second Sayles draft of JURASSIC PARK 4 sees him working in full exploitation mode. I've talked to a number of people about this draft, and it seems to radically divide them in terms of reaction. Some people adore the premise and get excited as soon as they hear it. Some people (including the person who gave it to me) are convinced it's the worst thing they've ever read and a signpost on the road to Hollywood Hell. Personally, I think it's well-written and certainly inventive, but I also think it just might be the single most crazy franchise sequel I've ever read, and I'm not sure we're ever going to see this thing onscreen. It just doesn't seem possible that Universal would make something this vigorously whacked out."
Like he says I don't think anyone will ever make this so I'm sure you won't be too spoiled if you read it. But part of me wishes they really, really do...
Film I'm going to ask you all to take a leap of faith. For the past few weeks I've been receiving daily emails from a site promoting the magazine Creative Screenwriting and they're extradorinarily good. In each 'issue' of CSDaily there is a series of news links, a review of a new Region One dvd and an article or interview connected with screenwriting -- in the past two days there has been a look at Mean Streets and Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, a disection of the structure of the Chinese film Hero and a look at the seven best sequels of all time. It's just really funky. Old content can be found here, but I do recommend that you sign up for new content. It's like getting a few pages of your favourite film mag every day ...
Wars If Star Wars: Episodes VII, VIII & IX aren't being made, why have ILM employees signed non-disclosure agreements? I know it's more like a rumour but ...
Publishing With the implosion of BugMeNot, websites throughout the web are again closed to anyone who doesn't want to heft over their details just read the odd article which has been linked to (they're looking for new hosting so hopefully they'll be back up soon). In the meantime, I'm horrified to find the even more proprietorial 'sealed media' format as highlighted by Dana VanDen Heuvel who gives a cutting breakdown of how wrong it is. In this case Dana had bought and paid for the article but was then plunged headlong into a series of obstacles between himself and the words. The overall feel is as though in order to read today's newspaper, after going to the checkout I'd have to then supply the paper for it to be printed on and then sit and copy the thing down using my own ink. Madness.
Fashion There is something oddly mesmerising about these oven mitts. I think it's because they remind me of the textile works at one of Tate Liverpool's new exhibitions.
Film Having had to visit Woody Allen's previous two films on Region One dvd (Hollywood Ending and Curse of the Jade Scorpion) it's actually quite a revelation to see the white on black characters appear on a cinema screen -- I'd forgotten how that looked and the anticipation of what the first moments will be as the usual jazz track plays out, it feels comfortable and familiar. And its this familiarity which fuels the film -- for the first time in a while we are back in the Manhattan of the here and now watching a character based story. Although his films have been no less enjoyable lately they have hung on a concept or mcguffin which drives the plot when for me he's always been more comfortable exploring characters within a simpler structure. Which is why Anything Else works so well.

Yet again I find myself rush headlong against general critical opinion. Does it do anything absolutely new? No. Does it at times feel like Woody Allen by numbers? Yes. But it doesn't matter. I would much rather go to the cinema and see something with a script which is half literate with a good 10-15 belly laughs and god forbid actually makes me thing than the usual crud which passes itself off as a smart twentysomething comedy. The magic this time is that despite what poster might being telling you these aren't perfect characters. For once the director lets their mess of neurosis come into conflict and see what happens.

Jason Biggs like most people in their early twenties doesn't know what they want but can't break from the life they've been dropped into (its actually a much stronger performance than people are giving him credit for -- compare his work here to Loser and you can see he's learnt a few things in the intervening years. Woody himself might be the mentor of the piece but he's also a psychoanalytical mess (and the director seems to enjoy not having to carry the film as well as write and direct it -- he's always underestimated his talents but here he's very touching). Christina Ricci is adorable but as a girlfriend would a pain to get along with but for perfectly good reasons (secretly I assumed that the work she does here is similar to what we're missing in the still painfully unreleased Prozac Nation) including her mother played by Stockard Channing (I can't believe she's never been in a Woody Allen film before). The main ensemble is set off my Danny DeVito the gatekeeper to Biggs freedom (oddly also not been through the Woodster mill either before).

It's a film of small ambitions. It plays out against a backdrop of very few sets and locations. A massive amount of the story takes place in Bigg's apartment and on the benches of Central Park. This has the effect of allowing the audience focus on the dialogue. Instead of following the usual route of giving kids hip references which both immediately date a film and clang about to anyone the same age as the characters, Allen instead drops mentions for the giants of literature, philosophy and music. If this is the environment these characters have grown up in and the culture they've been exposed to they're hardly going to start talking about Britney Spears (although do look out for a cameo by a contemporary music artist). Which is I suppose what makes it so involving. We're watching someone else's world and getting lost there. No one complains about Middle Earth, so why all the back biting about this version of Manhattan?
Life Isn't it funny how at the end of the day, when you have only slept six hours you feel totally broken and wanting to go to bed at 10:15?
Weblogging It all went a bit crazy around here overnight and during today. Waxy, who I didn't even know was reading picked up on that post about the navbar and used it as an example to break the story. Cue many, many visitors and comments. I haven't seen much reaction yet to this, but I stand by what I said last night. It's really not such a bad idea -- and it's certainly more aesthetically pleasing that the 'classic' banner ad. But issues still abound. For example, I paid a couple of years ago to have the banner removed but here's this thing now. I thought my payment was inperpetuity and yet there it sits. Also it felt like it was sprung on us -- so people for whom the look and feel of the site is very important didn't really have time to prepare. Also, why only four colours -- if blogger is about functionality why not offer the chance to pick something which will blend in with existing designs?
Life Morning. For some reason I feel more awake after six hours sleep and getting up at six in the morning for work, than when I've had ten hours at the weekend when I don't need to get up at all.
Weblogging For some reason I feel slightly put upon by the sudden appearance of the navigation bar at the top of the weblog. It's not a horrible idea -- offering an accessible Google search of the site but it somehow reduces the things individuality. It feels like this is part of some larger network rather than my own work. Plus it's screwed up the formating of page and since I've had to move the logobar down it all looks a bit cramped. Take my advise and sign up to the atom feed if you can...
Music Much to my suprise one of my teenage passions, Wilson Philips have a new album out, California. It's a bit of a mini-trend what with the return of The Bangles earlier this year. This time we find a series of cover versions of songs from the 60s and 70s but judging by this video of Go Your Own Way at VH-1 they're reworking the material rather than offering mere karaoke. Looking forward to adding this to my list next time I'm doing a shop at Amazon. [FACT: Their debut album including the one single they're known for Hold On was produced by Glen Ballard, the man behind Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill]
Film In a recent interview, Matt Damon admitted that he had stopped being bankable. No particular reason -- a string of films like The Legend of Bagger Vance which weren't so much bad as poorly received on release often because they hit the cinemas at the wrong time or couldn't find an audience which could appreciate their charms. It was quite shocking actually -- with my approach to cinema at no point would I consider Damon not to be A-lister but generally in Hollywood he's perceived as dashing along in his friend Ben Affleck's stead even when he too is also going through a rough patch.

It's impossible to square that perception with the man who appears in The Bourne Supremecy. Throughout this film he has an extraordinary presence, as whole scenes passby in which the plot is carried through his shape and movement. Much of his dialogue (written by Tony Gilroy who also adapted The Bourne Identity) consists of questions and throughout by the look in his eye you know he won't stop until someone gives him a satisfactory answer. It's a very difficult balancing act for any actor and he pulls it off brilliantly even as the frame of the handheld camera shifts and dashes about.

Supremacy manages to somehow create a coherent continuation to the previous film while at the same time (pardoning the pun) carving an identity of its own. Where last time, director Doug Liman's unconventionality was creating compelling characterisation within a traditional spy film framework, here Paul Greengrass throws out the rules of a conventional action film with fractured pacing and impressionistic chases and fight scenes which at times reduce our perception to the bare minimum, seemingly hundreds of shots underlining the odds which Bourne escapes time after time. To some extent it reminded me of 21 Grams, as the viewer has to piece together what is happening or what happened. It's not quite as fractured as that film -- despite the disorientation at no point are you unable to follow the happenings on a moment by moment basis. The cinematography is extraordinarily European and accomplished which is odd considering Oliver Wood's work since that last film (Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Freaky Friday, National Security, I Spy and The Adventures of Pluto Nash for goodness sake). It's almost as though given a great director and material he will go to town (much like Laszlo Kovacs I suppose).

It's been said before but I want to re-iterate once more. It used to be that a sequel would not only be poorer of quality but also diminish its parent. But we now seem to be going through a period in which these films not only continue all of the features which made their prequels great but in some respects exceed them. The magic of Supremacy is that the most satisfying elements of Identity return -- in acting terms that's Franke Potente, Brian Cox and Julia Styles, in plot terms that's the overall conspiracy -- but are slowly stripped away until the only element left is the man lost in the life someone else created. If the franchise were to finish here, the ending is utterly satisfying. But since The Bourne Ultimatum is already in the planning stages I look forward to seeing Matt Damon return again to a character which will surely become his signature.
Life I spent some of the day moving my email subscriptions from my usual email address to Bloglines. No one wants you to leave them do they?
Who Real fan boy glow on hearing that Mary Tamm as Romana I will be appearing in the next series of Gallifrey. Hopefully that wierd regeneration which happened in Destiny of the Daleks will finally be explained...
Journalism Interesting transcript of a webchat with Empire's Colin Kennedy. It's fairly in-depth and answers a long standing question -- why do magazine publish long articles about films which they proceed to pan in their review section:
"James2183: What was the reason behind giving Catwoman a four page special when there was such negative feedback from everywhere?
Colin: This is a common problem. The simple reason is that coverage was set up nine months ago and Warner Bros paid for us to go to the set. We therefore are obliged to run something or we will never be invited again. We heard the negative buzz, and cancelled any immediate plans to do any more on the movie. We had hoped to just feature Halle Berry but sometimes picture issues make that impossible."
So they do react to poor word of mouth and change policy accordingly then run the bare minimum of what they have to. Mostly the 'interview' underlines why I'm sticking with this magazine over Total Film
Film I've just spotted some odd scheduling for next Saturday (the 21st). The recently release in cinemas documentary Control Room appears on BBC Two next Saturday at 10:05pm (which'll make the theatrical distributors happy). It's a look behind the scenes of al-Jazeera and I'll be interested to see how it differs from the BBC's own programme on the subject which appeared a few years ago. Also worth noting is that Channel 5, sorry, Five are broadcast the controversial psuedo-documentary The Buried Secret of M Night Shyamalan at 12:45am that same night. Considering the amount of comment which flew about the internet when this was broadcast in the US a few weeks ago, it's a pleasant surprise to be able to see it so quickly. Pity the Five has decided only insomniacs would be interested -- enough people will probably be seeing his new film The Village to make a nine o'clock appointment worthwhile -- expecially considering the utter rubbish they do broadcast at that time.
Life In the last couple of weeks, my mobile phone finally became terminal. We've been together for about five years, but lately it hasn't been well and the other day it had a fit in the middle of the a call and I knew it was time to let it go. I now sits sadly, turned off, on the chest of drawers in my bedroom. After some shopping around I've found a replacement. Wanting to keep my sim card and my telephone number I went for a 'sim free' model and since I really only need it to make phone calls, and being a closet luddite I went for the cheap but functional Trium 110 from Mitsubishi (at the Carphone Warehouse). It's small, light (90 grams) with a black and white screen. You can see a picture of it here. I didn't really want to have to worry about a contract and I equally didn't want to spend a small fortune so this is perfect. The phone calls are clear and the sms simple to use (even if I haven't got the hang of the predictive texting yet). I don't know of this is going to be a beautiful friendship, but it does have a small animated dolphin on it's screen which reminds me of the 'So Long And Thanks For All The Fish...' scene from Hitchhikers so it'll grow on me. Now all I need to do is find an Enola Gay ringtone which matches my old phone. Some things shouldn't be changed.