Sunday, August 07, 2005

Henry Porter and the Incredibly Obvious Ending

Book 6 of Henry wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be, despite the fact that it was an awfully big book for 500 pages of sod all to happen in, followed by a climax signposted so brazenly that you may as well only read the first three chapters and then skip to the final two. JK still hasn't managed to capture the magic (groan) of the first three books though, which were tightly plotted and with far less exposition than the next three. The final book will undoubtedly decide whether she's made of sterner stuff than I previously gave her credit for; I'm hoping Harry gets the chop. I love unhappy endings.

I went to Swindon yesterday to visit Nick who I've not seen for over 3 years since leaving Intel. It's quite worrying, he's now engaged and has a mortgage, a dog and a vegetable patch. I was expecting him to dress in tweed and run the local golf and country club, but thankfully that slice of suburbia hasn't settled on him. Yet. It was great to catch up - Swindon's still full of the type of nightlife I had no regrets about leaving behind, but it's definitely improved in a lot of places. I've invited him and his girlfr...fianceƩ... over to experience Bristol hospitality, so when Gilly comes over, we can do the whole "going to dinner as two couples" thing. Wow, I feel old.

On our return last night to his newly built house, we found time to fit in 2 Fast 2 Furious and I impressed myself by managing to stay awake for at least a quarter of it! I think Mr. Diesel knew a bad thing when he saw one. The same can't be said for Samuel L Jackson, in SWAT. The alarm bells should have started ringing when he heard the film tagline, which has to rank as one of the worst in the history of cinema: "Even cops dial 911". Pur-lease. With a twist so obvious that even JK will be taking notes and, in Colin Farrell, a performance so bland it makes Seagal look charismatic, SWAT was one of those generic action films that had the chance to be so much better but ultimately played it safe. And most of the time, incomprehensible. Case in point 1: the chief in charge of the SWAT team wants it to fail, just to score points against Jackson's character. Ummm...ok? Case in point 2: It takes HOW many days for one of the world's most wanted criminals to sit in a police cell, before someone realises who he is? Great policework, guys! Throw into the team some generic white guys (one has a moustache so you can tell them apart), a rapper trying to act (what IS it with that these days?) and a latino woman who does little but snarl and stomp round whilst glaring at her colleagues menacingly (Michelle Rodriguez, reprising the exact same role from Resident Evil), and you have the perfect ingredients for wasting a lot of studio dollars. Ah well Sammy, you can't win them all.

Here's a little game I'm hooked on, in between FF8 stints: Acrophobia. Fiendishly simple, I used to play this during the second year of uni before it simply disappeared into a void. But it's been resurrected by Uproar (set pop-up blocker to "Kill"), and the format is exactly the same. So go and make up some funny definitions of acronyms and earn the respect of your peers.


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