Funny scenes in shops from TV-shows

Little Britain - pirate memory game

(Love this sketch, just looking at the toy salesman, hearing his voice, and watching his expressions cracks me up. Probably my favourite from this British TV-series.)


Black Books

(This is the very first episode, and my favourite 30 min of Black books. 18 episodes were made from 2000-2004.)

The Cheese Shop sketch, Monty Python

(Though Parrot sketch and Mattress sketch are amazing, I love this one more)

Readers, any other funny scenes in shop enviroments you can recommend ?

Film review: Lions for lambs (2007)

This one left a big impact on me. What a great title, which is explained during the film. The movie is all about the script, which is smart and sophisticated, a very rare thing these days in Hollywood. Full of memorable quotes, don’t believe all the bad reviews of this underrated film, I think negative opinions may have snowballed among reviewers, as sometimes happens. Along with Fahrenheit 9/11, this to me is among the most thoughtful releases on the recent Afghanistan/Iraq war.

Not a traditional war film, it dares to be different. Some disliked the long dialogue scenes, I loved them. The one-on-one scenes with Meryl Streep & Tom Cruise, as well as mentor/student scenes with Robert Redford and Andrew Garfield were the highlights for me.

Not a perfect film by any means, I disliked the score, they may have cut the costs in this area with all the acting talent present.

The war scenes at night were forgettable, I never got a feeling of the atmosphere in Iraq/Afghanistan. Again the budget may not have allowed for expensive battle scenes. But this didn’t matter to me, as the film had something to say on an intellectual level more than an action level.

The film is almost like a run-through or summary of critical comments towards the Bush administration, how the US government handled the problems they faced such as naively talking about victory and winning. Or justifying war in Iraq on 9/11. How politicians make decisions sitting comfortably in air-conditioned offices.

I guess you could argue the filmmakers are also, in a way, detached from the real battles. And in this case have a morally questionable agenda of making money at the box office, but at least they are trying to understand and make people think.

Streep plays a journalist, Cruise a power-seeking senator. Streep has some of the best lines such as asking Cruise:
can you give me just one example of the enemy having learned a lesson.”
So with quotes like this, the film I would say is a political picture, which is not afraid to take a standpoint. But we do hear each side defend themselves, which is good. Although I would have liked Cruise’s character to have stronger opinions or answers to the critique.

At the same time it’s also critical of the press, who in some cases sacrifice their integrity for profits and ratings.

Although arguably Redford as a director has had a few misfires, did anyone like Bagger Vance?, I still think he is a talented and underrated director. People seldom mention his name when talking about good directors in the last 30 years. ‘Ordinary people’ was a powerful debut.

Lions for lambs is my 2nd favourite of his, an important film, which I give 8/10. A film which can spark a debate, although not offering many solutions. If you want an action-packed movie set in Iraq, go rent 'The Hurt Locker' instead.




Do you agree with the critics that it was bad, or did you like this movie?

Songs for your iPod

Most music fans are familiar with some (or all) of Bruce Springsteen’s movie-related hits such as The Wrestler, Streets Of Philadelphia, The Fuse (from the movie 25th hour), or Secret Garden (from Jerry Maguire), etc.

Below are 3 of his lesser-known songs, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did:


The Promise - Bruce Springsteen


Valentine's Day - Bruce Springsteen


State Trooper (remix) - Bruce Springsteen

Any thoughts on the songs, readers?

Film review: In the name of the father (1993)

Very powerful, moving and suspenseful story. Originally I saw this film in the mid 90s at school and even wrote an essay on it. I have since watched the film several times, now one of my favourites.

Based on a true story. Partly a prison drama and legal battle, partly a story about growing up. I remember being especially moved by the deeply emotional scenes between the father, Pete Postlethwaite in an oscar nominated supporting role, and his son played by Daniel Day Lewis in arguably one of his best parts. The performances made their characters very believable and come to life in a way I have seldom seen in other films. The characters imprisonment obviously makes it easier for us to be on their side. Father and son have different personalities and have contrasting perspectives on life. During the story their relationship develops, the father tries to teach his son to have more respect for himself, fight and take more responsibility. This film is littered with great acting, Emma Thompson is also good.

I thought the film expanded my knowledge on the IRA and the judicial system. The message of the film is very clear. The filmmakers are openly criticizing certain groups. Some were opposed to the film, as liberties were taken with the details of the story to make it more simplistic than it really was.

I feel in recent years ‘In the name of the father’ has been slightly forgotten by movie watchers. I don’t know why, the story stayed with me all these years. People at least to my knowledge rarely mention or recommend it, so this review is my way of getting people to rediscover or discover this film for the first time. It was nominated for 7 oscars, surprisingly going home empty handed.

Maybe one of the best Irish films ever made. I thought it was superior to My left foot (1989), which was made by the same director Jim Sheridan, also starring Daniel Day Lewis.

Much like The Shawshank Redemption (1994), In the name of the father is a film I feel drawn towards whenever it’s shown on TV.

Do yourself a favour, skip the trailer, too many spoilers.



Book review: The Secret History / Donna Tartt (1992)

I keep seeing people recommend this novel online, several sites I follow have: getmorebooks and booksiloved

I thought I better review this novel before I forget what I thought about it.

Without giving anything away, the story takes place mainly in a New England American college environment. The main character, outsider Richard Papen, narrates his experiences, meeting new friends, and the reader like Richard is in a way seduced by a group of students studying Greek. The professor Julian is like a father figure to them, the group mostly come from dysfunctional families. The 5-6 students are somewhat cut off from the other pupils at the college, the plot is about how they deal with several horrifying events, to say more would spoil your enjoyment. The story is deeper if you know your Greek mythology, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t.

My favourite section of the novel is the first half, especially the chapters about living in the summer house and the cold room were memorable. The supporting characters are very real and richly described, and this I liked. Due to the realism I felt transported to another world. Unsurprisingly I have read in an interview that Tartt also went to college and was interested in classical Greek.

Richard is a great narrator, you really get under his skin and see the college world through his eyes. If I had to compare the inner voice, it would be Charles Ryder in the British TV-series ‘Brideshead revisited’, but ‘The Secret History’ didn’t have the strong homosexual undertones of Evelyn Waugh’s story.

I thought the suspense was a little uneven. The editing could have been sharper, the book is a little drawn out being 500 pages. I felt 200 pages could easily have been cut, not a whole lot happens from pages 260-450. The novel might have been more suspenseful, if it was only 300 pages. Although her writing is beautiful, maybe it doesn’t apply so well to the crime fiction genre, which I prefer to read quickly.

I would call the book psychological crime fiction, as it’s more about the psychological effects of crime than the actual crime itself. Other themes are social conformity and acceptance vs. individualism, poor judgement through guidance or lack of guidance from parents. In this case, the conformity is Richard's desire to be a part of a group and learn Greek, but the consequence is him getting into trouble.

The lack of guilt in the book is disturbing and interesting, the guilty ones seemed more concerned with not getting caught. We don't get inside the heads of all of them (only the narrator), so it's tough to say what they all feel inside. Much like Richard we are observing the events and trying to figure out the emotions of the other characters. Can you justify killing? Even in self-defence or an accident, is open to debate, can you live with the consequences?

I don’t know what to rate this book, probably an 8 out of 10, I am slightly torn, some parts I loved. But I wish the editing had been better in this impressive debut novel.

I recommend you give it a shot, especially if you are familiar with college life. But her writing style is not for everyone. It spent 13 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and was translated into 24 languages. It’s in ‘1001 books you must read before you die’.

Songs for your iPod

The lovers that never were - Paul McCartney

(This was a favourite album growing up in our household. Very addictive. I think Off the ground (1993) is McCartney's last good album. If you like the Beatles, this is a must own.)

Forgiven - Deb Talan

(An emotionally powerful acoustic song, which I first heard in the credits of the film 'Lovely and amazing')


Monday Paracetamol - Ulrich Schnauss

(From the first time I listened to this album, I fell in love with the soothing soundscapes. 'Strangely Isolated Place' is a brilliant ambient album full of great songs, more people should discover him. His sound at times reminds me of the French band Air.)

Film review: Caught on a train (1980)

This is an above average made-for-TV-film. A gem. Only 80min, but with a lasting impact. Produced by the BBC.

The story follows a group of strangers on a train journey in Germany, we get to know especially a British 30something man and an elderly woman. The film is a character study on people from different generations. Dramatic and thoughtful, I highly recommend this film, it has aged well and can easily be rewatched. Goes to show you don't need a huge budget to make something memorable. You can watch the whole thing on youtube.

I’ve always loved films involving trains, on a personal level because my parents met for the first time on a train. Maybe this is why Before Sunrise (1995) is a favourite of mine.

I like how strangers can strike up a conversation on the railway or relax and read a book without having to worry about keeping an eye on the road. A great way to travel, long old style journeys like in this one seem to be less common these days with cheap flights. Although some still travel Europe by train with the interrail.

Here are some other titles that come to mind where trains are key: Narrow Margin (1990), Runaway train (1985), Transsiberian (2008), Zentropa (1991), Octopussy (1983), Silver Streak (1976), 2046 (2004),

Readers, any other train movies you can think of? Let me know in the comments...



Songs for your iPod

The Swimming Song - Loudon Wainwright III

(A great song I found on pursuitoffolk blog. A happy folk song to get you in a good mood.)


Fall - Single Gun Theory

(A nice electronic song by an unknown Australian band I feel deserve more attention)


I'll Fight – Wilco

(In my opinion this song could go down as a classic in a few years. Time will tell)

Any thoughts on the songs, readers?

Opening of George Washington

(This is an amazing opening to a movie, a pity the rest of George Washington (2000) was kind of boring. As faithful readers will know, I'm a sucker for voice-over)

Film review: Inception (2010)

No spoilers in this review. Let me start off by saying this movie had so much hype and anticipation, which increased with the early reviews and #3 ranking on IMDB. Reviewers were saying it lived up to the expectations. I don't watch too many blockbusters these days, but this I had to see, I'm a big fan of the director.

I thought it was a pretty good and entertaining blockbuster, but for me not a truly great film. Let me try and explain why I felt this way:

I was impressed with the visual effects, the terrific score, and the ideas put into the script. However, the characters left me cold and when that occurs, I don’t care what happens to them. Especially characterization of the supporting cast was underdeveloped, we hardly hear any background details about their lives. I had a similar reaction to Scorsese’s Shutter Island, some good twists and visuals, but lacking in deeper, emotional character study.

It’s an inviting invitation that we the audience should work out what is dream or reality like a puzzle, but I feel like I spent some time and energy figuring out what was going on in Inception, but there was no intellectual payoff, no surface message, wouldn’t you expect this from a supposedly clever movie? At times it felt like a mess, and I had no idea what the director's message or messages were. The ideas only work tacitly, which I feel is disappointing and an easy way out for the filmmakers. I would have liked some quieter sections to catch my breath and reflect like there were in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The non-stop suspense and overall pace made it difficult for me to ponder Inception’s themes and ideas during the movie.

Even after subsequently reading some of the threads about the twists on the web and watching some interviews, I still feel the same. I felt it had the potential to be a masterpiece, but maybe being a summer blockbuster aimed at making spades of cash held the studio back from making something deeper.

I’m glad I saw it in the cinema and appreciate the effort gone into the making, and I still recommend you watch it as a piece of entertainment, Inception is an above average blockbuster, a great thrill ride. But just don't expect the third best movie ever made.

I may grow to like Inception more in the future, but presently I prefer some of Nolan’s other work. I felt in Inception the action scenes didn't nessesarily serve a purpose 100% of the time.

I'll be rewatching Inception, I might have missed stuff, the movie moved so fast, maybe too fast. Although, to me, it's not a movie you can ever say, I get it now 100%. The ending is open-ended, which I like in movies.

Any thoughts on Inception, readers?




Songs for your iPod

Edge Of The Ocean (Duotone Mix) - Ivy

(This song reminds me of Madonna's Ray of light album, however the music video I feel takes away some of the magic and mystery, better as pure audio.)


True Faith - New Order

(My favourite New Order song. Some of their electronic songs are somewhat dated now, but several of their greatest hits hold up well. )


The White Album - The Beatles

(If you’ve always postponed listening to The Beatles, like I have, here are the first 3 songs from their famous 1968 white album:
1. "Back in the U.S.S.R."
2. "Dear Prudence"
3. "Glass Onion"
You can listen to part 2 and so on, if you click on the video. Many people call it their masterpiece, some have named this the best album of all time. The track ‘Dear Prudence’ is so amazing.)

Readers, any thoughts on the songs?

Film review: Talk Radio (1988)

I really liked this film, apart from the last line in the script, which was not the kind of ending this gem deserved in my opinion.

Definitely a film I will be rewatching, the story is simple, but the script is full of unique dialogue you can get your teeth into. The main character may not be the most endearing or lovable person, but his motor mouth is very seductive and I couldn’t stop watching. I particularly enjoyed the scene where the radio host becomes vulnerable and the camera spins around his head, the people phoning in begin to get under his skin, and he shows some of his true self. The performance by the main character is very memorable.

It’s more or less a radio program made into a movie, so you could argue the reason for making it into a film, but I am glad to have witnessed the characters facial expressions, which I feel add much emotion to the audio.

I hadn’t even heard of this small Oliver Stone directed movie until recently, it appears to have been overshadowed much like Scorsese’s ’After Hours’ was by more mainstream 80s pictures such as Wall Street, Platoon and Born on the 4th of July. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised how good Talk Radio was, as Oliver Stone could hardly put a foot wrong in the 80s and early 90s.

A little slow in the middle part, but I give this underrated movie a solid 8/10.




If you have watched this movie, let me know what you think in the comments...


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