Friday, October 26, 2007

Stardust Film Review

Stardust is a film based on a book by Neil Gaiman. I cannot comment on how closely the film sticks to the book as I have not read it. So this is an unbiased, seeing the film cold review!

A brief synopsis of the film is (taken from the BBC Website Review):

In the village of Wall, next door to fairyland, shop-boy Tristan woos the village beauty by promising to fetch her a star they see fall. On his quest to retrieve said star, which turns out to be a lovely, if angry young woman - the two encounter murderous princes, wicked witches, and lightning-poacher sky-pirates. Plus, of course, the essential fairytale ingredients of true destiny and hearts' desire

I have to say I really enjoyed the film. It is beautifully filmed, well written and acted with pretty flawless special effects. The lead of the film, Charlie Cox, is very good and ably supported by a host of Mostly British acting talent. The two American supporting actors deserve praise. Michelle Pfeiffer is brilliant as the witch Lamia, lapping up the evil sorceress role. Robert De Niro is, as one would expect, excellent as the Tough Pirate captain with a large Camp secret. The king of hard men dancing about in a dress is an eye opener. Claire Danes plays the fallen star Yvaine. She is slightly irritating for a large amount of the film, but I think she is meant to be. She is a star learning about Love for herself and she warms towards the end as she falls for Tristan. Lastly, of the main supporting actors, Ricky Gervais doing what Ricky Gervais does!

The main story is of a young man, of noble birth who, at the start doesn't know his lineage and is directionless and without purpose and looking in the wrong place for love. Throughout the story he finds his courage, a reason and something to fight for. He is taken in and mentored by the Pirate Captain, if only very briefly. Eventually he realises who his true love is and finally his destiny and lineage as He inherits the Kingdom.

A good description of the human condition. We are sons of Adam yet if we turn to God are inheritors of the kingdom of Heaven as co-heirs with Christ. We are made in the image of God, albeit a broken image. What greater nobility is there than that. Our journey is to go from looking for satisfaction in this world to finding it in the only true source of life and love, Jesus Christ. To laying our lives down for a noble cause worth fighting for and finally yo inherit that which is promised to us by God.

Sounds like a fairytale but it is the greatest truth you can ever discover!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Rush Live at Wembley - October 10th 2007

I went to see Rush at Wembley Arena last week on the 10th of October.

The fans are looking older and less and less Rock as the years go on. I am sure they are garnering new fans around the world but the UK fans don't seem to be any younger. Having not been to Wembley for a few years I hadn't seen the refurbishments before. The new atrium on what was the back of the arena and the stage now at the opposite end. I have to say it made a difference and makes the arena reasonably pleasant to go to.

Sadly the sound hasn't been improved and the acoustics inside were as bad as ever. Having last seen them 3 years ago for the 30th Anniversary Tour and suffering Tinnitus ever since I was prepared with my ear plugs this time around! Now they weren't nearly as loud as that last show but after 3 songs I decided I had to use the plugs. It actually made an improvement to the sound. Ok, so I lost the top end frequencies but I could hear the bass and drums better.

They started around 7:45 and played for around an hour and ten before having a 25 minute break on the grounds that they are getting old! The second set was much longer and all the way through until nearly 11:00pm. I was a little disappointed with some of the song choices. They played about 5 new songs in a row at one point which I felt should have been spread around a bit more. Yes they played some great classics but the trouble with having 30+ years of history is what to play live. I know you will never please everyone and that is fine. I did feel there were too many of the new instrumentals which aren't a patch on the old ones. They did finish with YYZ which is always great to hear live. No La Villa sadly which surely is the greatest instrumental they have.

Obviously being a drummer, I was anticipating Neil Peart's drum solo. Every tour he changes what he plays without losing some fundamental patterns that are always there. This one I thought was a little, how can I say it...... dull! It just didn't do it for me sadly. Technically brilliant and all that but it just didn't seem to flow well and seemed bitty. Whilst on the subject of Neil Peart's drumming I was a little sad that the only time he used the rear V-Drum kit was during the solo. Being a V-Drum player myself I missed seeing him use them during some of the songs. I think there are v-drum triggers more integrated around the main kit so as to remove the necessity to rotate the kit.

Other highlights were the South Park intro to Tom Sawyer. I am not sure if this was from an actual show or made especially for them but it was very funny. Instead of tumble dryers this time around behind Geddy Lee was a rack of Roast Chicken machines. Weird huh, they even had a chef come on a couple of times and check them!

Overall though it was enjoyable and is always a treat to see the 3 of them play. Geddy and Alex always seem to be having fun on stage and enjoy being there, unlike Mr Peart, but that is another story. I first saw them in 1988 for the 'Hold Your Fire' tour. This was my 4th time seeing them at Wembley. Who knows one day I may see them at a venue that has decent sound.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Take That - Rule the World Video

Well I never thought I would post I video by Take That but hey a good tune is a good tune. Here is the video to 'Rule The World' written for the new film Stardust.

I review of the Rush concert I went to a week ago will follow soon! (Rush and Take That in the same post, another first!)