Went the week well?

Skip this if you wish!

What a time I’ve had!  With the pancreatitis choosing to return and not go away (yet), internet problems, a busy Tuesday to handle and the odd fall (one painful), the past days have provided an interesting mix!

Health plus the locking down of most routes in and around the town thanks to two events – one being the laudable but not suited to small towns “Sky Ride” – where hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people get out on their bicycles hoping to appear on Sky TV – guaranteed that we were unable to visit our daughter on Sunday.  Monday was lost in a mix of trying to make sure Tuesday’s book  launch would happen while battling through a foggy mind.  Tuesday arrived – so long anticipated and with an enormous amount of work put into it – and Jenny let me sleep beyond the normal 6 or 7 o’clock!  An immediate loss of at least an hour of doing all those last minute jobs – like actually publishing the ebook and activating various suspended links!  Somehow, with a migraine looming, all got done.  An hour or two later, the migraine hit, but the job was done and I could cope with it.

Wednesday morning was frustrating in the extreme.  It was spent with access to the internet being episodic – never exceeding 30 minutes.  It seemed to steady down, around noon.  Then, at 1pm, it just shut down and refused to be reactivated!  We had absolutely no internet until about 6 on Thursday morning.  Thankfully, nothing dire happened and no urgent queries had arrived while I was offline.  Unfortunately, as the health issues maintained, and even tightened, their grip on me, I’m afraid that I hit that major nuisance: lethargy.  With a brain operating at something like one eighth speed, there’s little hope of productiveness.

Yesterday was still damaged by the lethargy and today is offering little hope of a change.


For two evenings, Jenny and I have watched movies.  Now, Jenny adores animated movies, which aren’t a particular favourite of mine.  I’m going to list the movies we watched together, with our personal ratings:

  1. Tinkerbell and the Secret of the Wings (Animation)  Me: 4/5  Jenny: 5/5
  2. Brave (Animation)  Me: 3.5/5  Jenny: 5/5
  3. Rise of the Guardians (Animation)  Me: 5/5  Jenny: 5/5
  4. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Live action, starring Nicholas Cage)  Me: 5/5  Jenny: 5/5

Before you start laughing wildly, I will say this: nobody was more surprised than I was when I gave the Tinkerbell movie such a high rating!  In truth, it had a very good, well worked out storyline.  My rating for Brave is based on a sense of something being missing, though I can’t identify whatRise of the Guardians is truly excellent, full of great humour, unusual depictions of some very well known characters, excitement, some very special magics, and… well, the list goes on!  And as for The Sorcerer’s Apprentice!  The casting is sheer perfection, the story has everything it should. and the realisation of the magics and other aspects required by the story perfectly executed.  Altogether, time well spent.


Watched “Dredd”…

Well… just watched the movie Dredd starring Karl Urban.  What a disappointment!  The story was fair enough but Karl Urban was just plain awful!  Why, oh why, didn’t they get Stallone?  He was a far more convincing Judge Dredd.  I’m just glad I didn’t buy it.  Urban moped around and gave absolutely no feeling of power or cold-bloodedness.  Oh, he shot the bad guys and such, and he said the right things, sort of, but there was no sense of menace.  If Dredd were to be like Urban, there’s no way he would become the most feared Judge in Mega-City One!  Indeed, the prophets of the future, who chronicle the incorruptible Judge’s deeds in their comic 2000 AD, would doubtless have found some other Judge who better suited the role!

It’s a great shame, too, as the girl (the rookie, Judge Anderson, he’s assigned to assess) is excellent – bravo Olivia Thirlby!  The bad guys are passable (some more so than others) and their leader is pretty good.  But without a decent Judge Dredd, the whole thing tends to fall flat.  It’s weird really.  The characters are so sanitised that you’d think it was made for a much younger audience, but the special effects are gruesome enough to prevent that.  Stallone, in his outing as Dredd, was so good, it was almost as if he’d been born to play the part.  He was able to live up the name, which is, of course, a play on dread.  Criminals of all kinds would feel dread if Dredd was the Judge they faced – but only if he was convincingly merciless.  Urban just never gave that impression.

The acting aside, some of the sequences were obviously meant to convey the way the psychic Judge Anderson perceived things, but they failed miserably.  Such sequences simply didn’t belong in many of the scenes.  They should have been confined to the scenes where they were appropriate to the events portrayed.  The sets were OK but very limited, with nothing like the extravagantly realised vision of Mega-City one that were presented in the earlier movie with Stallone.

I know that others have praised the movie and given it high ratings, while the Stallone movie has been slammed.  That’s their prerogative.  Mine is to give you my rating: 2.5 stars – and that’s rescued by the story and Olivia Thirlby’s performance!  Now imagine what rating it would have gotten without those redeeming factors!  As to slating the earlier movie, all I can say is that I’ve read the comics and enjoyed them.  The Stallone version fits far better but I suspect it has been regarded as a failure because of Stallone being cast in the lead!  I have observed that he seldom achieves critical approval, yet his movie are immensely entertaining and popular – even if few will confess to liking them!  I certainly won’t bother watching Dredd again, but I’ll be happy to watch Judge Dredd many times more.

Movie: Dredd, 2012.  Starring Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby.  Written by Alex Garland.  Directed by Pete Travis.  My rating: 2.5 stars.

Alternate movie: Judge Dredd, 1995.  Starring Sylvester Stallone, Armand Assante and Diane Lane.  Directed by Danny Cannon.  My rating: 4.5 stars.