The Rush to Tell Everything

This article contains probably spoilers for the movie Rush

My knowledge of formula 1 is very limited. For example, I hadn’t heard of James Hunt or Niki Lauda until Ron Howard turned up on Top Gear‘s Star in a Reasonable Priced Car feature to advertise his new movie about the pair called Rush. I can’t remember much about that interview so when the trailer for Rush played before Dial M for Murder the other night I knew next to nothing about the film.

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Dial 3D for Murder

Dial M for Murder reviewEarlier this week I posted my thoughts from 2010 about Avatar, the movie that was meant to bring in a new era of 3D movies. Whether Avatar achieved this is a blog post for another time as today I want to look at Dial M for Murder, Alfred Hitchcock‘s entry in 3D cinema. Yes Hitchcock did a 3D movie, although not entirely by choice – according to IMDB anyway. Despite this he really goes for it, but I’ll come back to that in a minute.

Dial M for Murder is an adaptation of Frederick Knott‘s own play which tells the story of Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) plotting to kill his wife Margot (Grace Kelly) after discovering she is having an affair with crime writer Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings). However, the story is not that interesting compared to what Hitchcock, one of cinema’s greatest directors, did with 3D.

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A Writing Update

It has been a few weeks since I posted anything about my own personal writing. However, this doesn’t mean nothing has been happening.

Two New Culture Jam Reviews

Writing UpdateYes, two new reviews have been posted, including my first movie review. I really enjoyed The World’s End, the new movie from Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost however, like their previous movies Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, I think The World’s End will get better with every watch. When I do see the movie again I will post a follow-up review here on the Another Serving of Culture Jam thread of this website.. Please don’t hold your breath as it’ll have to be when the movie comes out on DVD now and that is a while away.

My second review was of The Culture Show at Edinburgh – Funny Women programme. Sadly the show was a disappointment as it wasn’t funny enough and offered no new answers to the old question of why aren’t there more women in stand up. On top of this the review was quite difficult to write as I was all too aware of the irony of a male review criticising a show about women in an overall male profession. I could be over thinking this however.

Due to a problem with the Culture Jam website you can’t comment on either review. However, if you want to discuss my review please comment below or tweet me.

No More 5o Word Short Stories For A While

At least published on here. In fact I’m surround by 50 word short stories at the moment as by Christmas I’m planning on publishing a 50 Word Short Story collection. At the moment it is called 50 and will include fifty stories including Fogged and Departures that I have already published on this site. As I want most of the stories to be new, there will be no more published on here till at least after Christmas. This will change if I win The Scottish Book Trust’s 50 Word Short Story Competition but I don’t think that’ll happen in a while.

Three Readings

Writing UpdateFinally I will be appearing at three readings over the next few months. The most exciting of these is the Linlithgow Book Festival Open Mic Night as it is both a book Festival and my home town. Not sure what story I’ll read yet but as soon as I know I’ll tweet about it.

The other two readings will be at West Lothian Write on the 30th of August and the 29th of November, both happening at the Howden Park Centre in Livingston. Again I’m not sure what I’ll be reading in November but on Friday I’m reading Drawn Memories. I’ll be posting about this story a lot more quite soon. I’ll say no more!

More Than Friends?

Gay Subtext in Sherlock

Sherlock, the BBC‘s updating of Sherlock Holmes, is often called

the gayest show on television.

The reason for this is the incredible strong, emotional relationship between its two central characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman respectively. Not since Sam carried Frodo up Mount Doom as a male relationship with so much love been put on screen.

Sadly in the world we now live in men aren’t allowed to be just friends anymore and sex must be involved. When you combine this with another one of the world’s ills – the Youtube tribute video – a strange cultural phenomena occurs. Did you know you get 144,000 results if you type “Sherlock John Love” into Youtube?

Why do I mention this?  Well South Korean TV channel OCN seem to have taken inspiration from these tribute videos and create these adverts for the series: Continue reading

Avatar

This post was originally published on my Blogger Account on the 4th of January 2010. This post has been edited before it was published today.

Avatar and 3D MoviesThe film of 2009 will be Avatar. It isn’t the best movie of the year but will probably be the biggest. It is already the second highest grossing movie after Cameron’s own Titanic . Over the last 12 months James Cameron – the director of Avatar – has been building the film up as a game changer. The Jazz Singer of 3D cinema.

For those who don’t know the Jazz Singer was the fist talkie (non-silent film) and showed Hollywood that movies with sound were the way to go. Cameron claimed Avatar would do the same for 3D. It doesn’t. In fact it only highlights the problems with 3D. Cameron has created a beautiful looking film that is dulled by the 30% colour loss that the 3D effect brings. It was often more enjoyable watching the film with the glass off, even though the image was out of focus. When the glasses were I often forgot the movie was in 3D.

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Catwoman’s Poor Reputation

2004 Catwoman MovieA couple of weeks ago I watched Catwoman starring Halle Berry, a movie with a terrible reputation. For example it has a score of 3.2 (out of 10) on Internet Movie Database, a 9% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes* and gets user reviews like this one from udeaasykle from IMDB.

“DON’T SEE THIS MOVIE” Let me tell you why. If you see this movie and are over the age of 16, you will end up hating yourself for letting yourself rot for 104 minutes without getting anything back, except an increased feeling of wanting to get revenge on Hollywood. They say that it is very hard to get your script into a movie. Well, after seeing this movie, I think a one legged monkey could write a better script, without either pen or paper.

Yet I enjoyed Catwoman and I think it has an unfair reputation!

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The Thrilling Sign of Four

Thrilling Sign of Four

The Front Cover of The Sign of Four

This post contains spoilers for The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle

I’m busily reading through every story in Sherlock Holmes: Selected Stories for a course I’m taking with the University of Edinburgh. One of the stories contained in this volume is The Sign of Four which I finished last night. Overall, I really enjoyed the book despite the ending. The thing that really surprised me, however, was the story didn’t feel like a murder mystery. In fact it felt more like a thriller.

The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle was published in 1890 and is the second novel featuring Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson. The story is set two years earlier and has a complex plot involving stolen treasure, murder and a secret pact among four convicts. Perhaps more importantly the book introduces both Holmes‘ drug habit and Watson‘s future wife, Mary Morstan.

Despite the murder mystery being the center point of the novel, The Sign of Four feels more like a thriller than a murder mystery, especially to a modern reader. My two reasons for this are:

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50 Word Fiction Competition: Airport

Last time out I talked about my entry into July’s 50 Word Fiction Competition. As I said in that post, I didn’t win. What was worse however, that the winning entry not only did everything I was trying to do but was bloody brilliant at the same time as you can see below:

Review of July's 50 Word Fiction Competition Winner

July’s Winning Entry of the Scottish Book Trust’s 50 Word Fiction Competition by Nadia Naeem

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Departures – Author’s Notes

50 Word Story Airport

July’s 50 Word Fiction Prompt

The late, great Iain (M) Banks once said

only a short story can be truly perfect

Sadly my entry into July’s Scottish Book Trust’s 50 Word Fiction Competition was not and so didn’t really have a chance of winning. However, I’m getting ahead of myself here. The Scottish Book Trust’s prompt last month was “stories set in an airport” along with the picture on the right. The yellow sign suggested an obvious theme to follow when writing my story Departures which can be seen below the cut.

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Homeland Season 3 Trailer

Homeland Season 3 Image

On the 9th of August the Homeland Season 3 Trailer was released on Showtime’s Youtube Channel. Having watched the show since it started on Channel 4, I’m very much looking forward to seeing where it will go next. Indeed, in my review of the second season for Culture Jam, I felt that:

Homeland could be one of the greatest TV series of this decade

However, for that to happen Homeland needs to spare its storytelling wings and look for new ways to tell Brody and Carries story. The increased focus on their daughter Dana helped last season and going by the trailer they are continuing that this series. The trailer is available below the cut!

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