August 25, 2007

Gold Medley

Bradford City 2 Johnson 49, Medley 78

Wrexham 1 Roberts 54

Attendance: 13,546

So here we are the August after the annus horribilis before. The first time in the footballing dungeon since 1982. But a new sense of optimism. A new manager (the returing Ginger Legend), new chairman, no debts and 12,000 season ticket holders. So far this season there has been a 1-1 draw with Macclesfield that City dominated, and a narrow defeat at last years losing play-off finalist Shrewsbury, many people’s tip for one of the automatic promotion spots. People were keen to see City finally break the home hoodoo that had seen no home wins since December 13th 2006.

Following the defeat last week, Barry Conlon was recalled in the ‘targetman’ role to partner Big Dave, and Kyle Nix came in on the left for the injured Alex Rhodes. It shows the level City now shop at when Nix (a former England U-18 player with Aston Villa and Sheffield United) came in from non-league. Another huge crowd were keen to see City get off to a flying start. Moulded in McCall’s image, the opening 25 minutes would be what everyone wanted to see when he returned to the club for the 3rd time; tigerish in the tackle, passing the ball on the floor, pressing all over the midfield. Chances came; Big Dave’s (I cannot type in Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu in every time. ‘Big Dave’ is a device used by Gillingham fans, from whom he is on loan)deflected shot was tipped onto the bar by visiting keeper Williams. Paul Evans had a long range volley tipped over.

Only once did Wrexham threaten, when left winger Peter Done had a long range shot tipped over by Ricketts; he came into the game more when Darren Williams limped off injurd after 22 minutes. Replacement Simon Ainge (normally a centre back) came on and had a nightmare. But the first 45 minutes were satisfactory enough- complete domination but no goals.

Into the second half and a breakaway from the tigerish Nix – who put in two or three fearsome tackles on the Wrexham right back – looked like petering out after he, Dave and the infuriating Omar Daley got in each others way. The ball ran loose, 20 yards from goal. Like a flash, Eddie Johnson pounced like a pound-shop Frank Lampard to drill home into the bottom right corner. I remarked to Gott the younger “I wonder what our response will be now”. Initially it was good; Bower’s header from Nix’s corner brought another fine save from the visiting keeper. Then it degenerated to defending like a pub team for 10 minutes, culminating in a succession of corners not being cleared and former loan striker Neil Roberts headed in from 6 yards. For 20 minutes afterwards it was a real struggle; City couldn’t keep the ball and the left winger Done was having a field day against the struggling Ainge.

Eventually, McCall tired of seeing the ball come straight back from the labouring Conlon (he seems to run out of steam after an hour) and introduced 18 year old Luke Medley. Medley had been released by the Tottenham academy at the end of last season, but had performed well in the first two reserve matches. His first touch was to receive the ball in the inside-left position with with no-one to cross to in the penalty area. Whereupon he let fly from an impossible angle (about 10 yards from the goalline, just outside the area). And found the back of the net with a goal so out of keeping with what had gone before it was greeted with stunned surprise.

Wrexham had to come and attack and Medley’s pace troubled the visitors. Evans had a free kick well saved by Williams and Medley headed a Daley cross inches over. Five minutes of added time meant an “everyone behind the ball” 4-5-1 but City hung on.

Another curious afternoon. In 3 games, City have been barely troubled defensively from open play. Yet idiotic lapses of one form or another have resulted in a goal in each game and City playing catchup. The play is generally on the floor rather than hoofing it, and up to the final third of the field the attacking football is good. But it is a struggle to score goals. Hopefully when Thorne returns this will be remedied somewhat. but the service from the flanks must improve. Daley has the pace to beat every full back in this division, yet for 80 minutes he cut inside and moves broke down. The 2 times he got to the byline he got crosses in that should have been goals. The same is true to a lesser dergree with the left midfield position. The abject lack of pace in the back 4 and the wobbly goalkeeper are still a concern

But as the saying goes, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. The attitude of the team is good, and so is the work ethic. A bit of tweaking here and there and they won’t be far away

Man of the Match: Big Dave. Pace, strength, skill. Looks a real handful

City (4-4-2): Ricketts – Williams (Ainge 22), Wetherall, Bower, Heckingbottom – Daley, Johnson, Evans, Nix – Conlon (Medley 76), Ndumbu-Nsungu (Phelan 82). Subs not used: Colbeck, Joynes.

Wrexham (4-4-2) A. Williams – Spender, Pejic, Hope, Valentine – Llewellyn, D. Williams, Mackin (M. Jones 86), Done (Johnson 86) – Proctor, Roberts (E. Williams 75). Subs not used: M. Jones, Evans.

August 10, 2007

It's like Christmas

I can’t believe it’s been nearly 3 months since the last entry. Usually the footballing close season of an ‘odd numbered’ year drags on since there is no summer football tournament to watch. This summer has been largely occupied by work, job interviews, writing papers and research proposals (on waffle factor 10) and trying – and failing – to avoid the rain.

Tomorrow being the 11th of August means it’s time for the football season to begin again. It’s a little bit like Christmas eve when you are 4 years old. And for once there might just be a little cause for optimism. After a 3rd relegation in 6 years, BCFC now reside in the old Division 4, for the first time since 1982. The spectacular implosion of last season (1 win in 17 home games, 4 in 34 overall) has meant widespread changes again, not least in the managers chair. Somehow, chairman Julian Rhodes has managed to persuade The Ginger One to make a 3rd Coming in BD8. Ginger Wayne is back as the assistant manager. New co-chairman Mark Lawn has written off the debts, meaning the club is essentially debt free. We’ve slashed the prices of season tickets, selling more than 12,000, meaning there might be an atmosphere for a change. Will there be a winning team?

Darren Williams (from Hartlepool, free). Signed as a right back, the ominous phrase “utility defender” has been attached. Not very tall
Paul Heckingbottom (from Barnsley, 6 month loan). A fabulously Northern name, and player of the year in 2003-4 which wasn’t saying much. Has been given the chop by Barnsley, and forms part of the very old back 4 that has no pace at all.
Paul Evans (from Swindon, free). Like Hecky above, left in the 2nd administration in 2004. Excellent from set pieces and once had an on-pitch scuffle with assistant manager Jacobs. We need 10 goals from him
Peter Thorne (Norwich, free). Once scored 30 in a season for Stoke, now spent most of the last year in the treatment room in Norwich, scoring a whopping 2 goals in 42 appearances. Is already injured…
Barry Conlon (Mansfield, free). Signed to be the “Big Forrad”, knows this division very well. Is prematurely bald
Alex Rhodes (Brentford, free). Has been signed to fill the problem left wing position, where there has been a gap since idiotic Scotsman Jim Jefferies decided Peter Beagrie’s “legs had gone”. Coincidentally has the same name as the chairman’s wife…
Guylain Nbumbu-Nsungu (Gillingham, 6 month loan). French striker who Gills fans are euphoric to see the back of. Has been signed for being “fast, but wildly erratic”. Had a couple of productive spells in this division. Is apparently known as “Big Dave”
Scott Phelan (Everton, free). Captain of the Everton reserves, and has represented England at junior level. We’ve been here before with ex Evertonians. If he is like a pre-injury Kearney, this is good. If he is like the latter-day Schumacher this is less good…
Kyle Nix (unattached). Once played for Aston Villa and Sheffield United at junior level (from where McCall knows him), more recently he has been playing in the Rotherham Sunday League. Has been given a monthly contract, but no squad number.
Nathan Joynes (Barnsley, loan). Spent last season on loan at Halifax and Boston. Has not shown up very well in preseason….
Thomas Harban (Barnsley, loan). Spent last season on loan at Tamworth. You know you’ve fallen a long way when Barnsley are using you as a feeder club for untried kids.

Marc Bridge-Wilkinson (Carlisle, free). Very skilful and excellent dead ball striker, wanted to play in central midfield all the time despite being very flimsy. Not to be missed
Steven Schumacher (Crewe, free). Went seriously downhill after a good 2004-5, to the point where he gave fans the 2 fingered salute at Chesterfield when relegation was confirmed.
Richard Edghill (Macclesfield, free). Another entry for the “worst right back I have ever seen” awards. Will not be missed at all.
Russell Howarth (released). Reserve keeper to Ricketts. Couldn’t catch a cold.
Ben Muirhead (Rochdale, free). Expect him to run rungs round us when we play ‘Dale, and then revert to “Run Forrest, Run!” in the other 44 games

The team
As with last year, the first 11 looks good. But there is precious little else behind it when injuries and suspensions begin to hit home. Eddie Johnson has been moved back into midfield and looks at home there. If he and Evans can get 20 goals between them, and Conlon/Thorne/Big Dave get 30 ish we might be nearly there. Omar Daley has had a good preseason and looks the most dangerous player and he has a scorching long range shot. Worries remain about the lack of pace in the defence (and their age), and goalkeeper Ricketts needs to forget his annus horriblis of last year, in which an awful lot of shots went straight through him. How will they do? I think 3rd, behind (don’t laugh) “Big Spending” Peterborough and the MK Dons.

May 17, 2007

Here he is…..

Writing about web page

We’ve been a bit quiet on here of late. Partly because I’ve been on holiday (see new photo gallery bottom left, not finished yet), but also because there’s not been much to blog about. And to be honest, till 5.25 pm things had generally been a bit rubbish today.

Not now!

Three cheers for the internet spreading the news in about 5 minutes….the day we thought we’d never see following relegation. Just about the only thing to stall the descent down the league and get rid of that big black cloud hanging over BD8.

The Third Coming of the Ginger Prince. A bit of feelgood factor about the football club for a change. And whisper it, maybe a little cheer for the chairman as well…

April 21, 2007

Cheery O's

Bradford City 0

Leyton Orient 2 Alexander 62, Tann 65

Attendance: 10,655

Ouch. In a season of lows, a new one. A crushing, hammer-blow of a result. All told, nothing short of a miracle is needed to avoid relegation now, and it would pretty well be confirmed by a Cheltenham win at already-relegated Rotherham next week, irrespective of our result at Chesterfield. Buoyed by last week’s win at Brighton and other favourable results, a win today would have seen City leapfrog their opponents out of the bottom four, and swing the goal difference in our favour, and with a game at Chesterfield an escape looked on.

But ‘if’ is the biggest word in football. We wondered what approach Orient would take; a draw would suit them nicely. And so they sat back with 9 men behind the ball. They time wasted from the off (there were 10 minutes of added time in the match). But City, urged on by a far larger crowd than usual, repeatedly carved them open with fast counterattacks.

In the first five minutes, Weir-Daley broke down the right for Paynter to be denied by a fine block by the keeper’s left hand. Weir-Daley had good movement, but his control was generally terrible, and frequent breaks petered out as he struggled to maintain possession. Omar Daley was also lively down the right, but his main first half contribution was on the left, where he danced past three players, to make it into the 6 yard box. With 3 players to square it to, he shot straight at the keeper from a yard. Disbelief all round. Weir-Daley was then played through the inside left channel where keeper Garner had committed to come and meet him. Weir-Daley reached the ball first but horribly sliced his attempted lob. Orient threatened only once, when a long ball caught the wind and bounced over Ricketts and towards goal before he recovered. But that was their only attempt, seemingly more content to spoil. They should have been 2 or 3 down at the break.

But as so often post 2001, a slow start to the second half proved crucial. Maybe Orient had been given a bit of a kick up the backside, but City couldn’t get the ball off them. And after 62 minutes; calamity. A misplaced pass towards Daley was inexcusably given up by the winger. The ball was worked down the Orient left for Gary Alexander to hit a strike from the angle of the 6 yard box with his weaker left foot. Which went straight through Ricketts’ hands and into the roof of the net. Three minutes later, it was game over. The utterly useless Parker dallied in the left back position, giving away an entirely needless free kick. A standard far post free kick saw the ball knocked down for midfielder Tann to find the net unopposed from almost on the goal line. Apart from the knot of Orient fans at the far end, the vociferous home crowd was silenced. Some of the part timers left there and then.

They had the right idea. The stuffing was knocked out of both team and fans. City didn’t trouble the visitors’ rearguard in the next 30 minutes as the afternoon descended back into the desperate, rudderless, mis-shapen rabble we’ve seen since October. Another poor side goes home laughing with 3 points to add to Brighton, Northampton, Crewe, Doncaster, Huddersfield and the rest

This season is proving a treasure trove of statistics. After a run of 12 home games unbeaten, we’ve now won 1 of the next 16, the sole win being more than 4 months ago. All told, since the Huddersfield game, it’s been 5 wins in the last 32. A third relegation in six years. David Wetherall is highly likely to be the first player to have played for us in all 4 divisions. In reverse order. I haven’t seen a win in seven months.

Where now? The basement is the obvious answer, for the first time in 25 years. The fear is they could, the mess the club is in, be down there for that long. The football in this division is atrocious, so the mind boggles what the like of Accrington, Rochdale and Barnet will bring. It won’t be many away supporters, that’s for sure. And so as gate receipts fall, so the club can’t afford the high earners. So once again, players are shed, to be replaced by cheaper ones who naturally aren’t as good and so the league position suffers some more and so further down the spiral we go. Of the playing squad, I might keep 5 players; Wetherall, Bower, Youga, Paynter and Eddie Johnson, who looked very tidy in central midfield rather than up front. Let’s not forget, the club doesn’t even own Paynter and Youga. So that’s three of them…as for the rest, most will end up at Halifax or somewhere.

The clearout shouldn’t be limited to the playing staff. Julian Rhodes and his steering committee may have saved the club in the administration crisis of 2004, but what have they achieved since? What money have Jim Brown (lets not forget as chairman he saw Halifax relegated from the league TWICE) and friends put into the club? What do the board of directors do? Are they “yes men” for the chairman?

At every point where a strategic decision had to be made, they have got it hopelessly, incompetently wrong. Granted, debt-rescheduling payments as a result of the CVA have had to be made, but we were told, post 2004, that the break-even attendance flgure was 7,500, and the club had “a clean slate”. The average attendances since then have been 8,839 in 2005, 8,265 in 2006 and this year it’s 8,765, yet the club continued to lose money. We were told, pre-Christmas, that the club was going to lose 600k this year, then in January we are told there are bills to pay. Jermaine Johnson was sold for £450k, Windass loaned to Hull (for a reported £100k+ fee), and now we are set to make a loss of £600k?! To get rid of the two best players in the team when it was in mid-table and struggling- allied to losing Nathan Doyle- was just insane. Sacking Todd and putting Wetherall in charge meant he had to drop himself; another of the best players gone. And as a direct consequence, the results since February have been dismal.

The club doesn’t own the ground (having fallen out with the previous owner/chairman, and now must pay £300k a year rent), doesn’t own the block that contains the club shop and ticket office (sold and re-rented), has franchised out the club shop and banqueting suite revenues for flat fees (plus a percentage of revenue received). Where has that money gone? And now the company that sponsors the stadium has been hit with a winding up petition. Add to that Peter Etherington and his disappearing ”£2.5M” fiasco of last summer, and his alienation of long-standing sponsors such as JCT600. It seems that in sheer desperation the club is jumping into bed with some very shady characters. And the “April Fool” PR gaffe did nothing for the mood of the natives. Or going on a skiing holiday while the club lost 2 hugely important games. Rhodes may be a fan, but in his stewardship he’s been at best naive and worst incompetent. In the event of the “10,000 season tickets for £138” promise, where is the contingency plan if, as seems likely, the 10,000 figure isn’t reached?

His defenders say “but there wouldn’t be a club without him”. Maybe not, but the way things are going, in a year or two there might not be one at all. The club owns nothing but the name of the club, a share in the league and a miserable rag-bag of players, widely condemned as “the worst team in 25 years”. Because they are. The chairman should do the noble thing and fall on his sword and sell up. But given all of the above, what successful business man in his right mind would invest? Everyone knows you don’t go into football to make money, but you can’t run a club that has no assets and has no control over the revenue it does create.

I might seem Mr. Angry in light of all of the above, but I’ve written this entirely calmly and rationally. What would make me buy a season ticket for next season? Nothing short of an immediate and complete clean sweep from the very top down, and someone in the hotseat who looks like he/she knows what he/she is doing. If it means everyone in the building gets their P45 well then so be it. Else the downward spiral will continue.

Bradford (4-4-2): Ricketts – Edghill, Wetherall, Bower, Youga (Colbeck) – Daley, Schumacher, Johnson, Parker – Weir-Daley, Paynter. Subs not used: Howarth, Penford, Clarke, Bentham.

Orient (4-4-2): Garner – Barnard, Mackie, Thelwell, Lockwood (Miller) – Tudor, Guttridge, Chambers, Tann – Alexander, Jarvis (Ibehre). Subs not used: Morris, Saah, Corden.

MOTM: Johnson. Just shaded Youga. Shame about some of their teammates.

March 26, 2007

Film Review: 300

Movie image
2 out of 5 stars

Another Sunday evening, another trip to the Skydome for the Third Floor Film Circle. This is the second recent adaptation of a Frank Miller graphic novel, following 2005’s Sin City. It already resides in the imdb top 250 films. It relates the story of the battle of Thermoplyae in 480BC, in which Spartan king Leonidas (Gerard Butler, Phantom of the Opera), and 300 of his men fight to the last man against the million-strong Persian army of Xerxes.

It’s beautifully shot, and very stylised. The slow motion battle cinematography is excellent and captures painfully gory battle-related moments very well. It can’t however mask the fact that this film is essentially one set-piece battle that would last 30 minutes in any other film, stretched to breaking point. The film is less than 2 hours long yet seemed far far longer than that. People were audibly bored in the audience.

It also falls between three stools; it can’t decide whether it wants to be Gladiator, Troy, or Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers. It echoes all three, yet doesn’t come near any of them (and given how appalling Troy was, that’s saying something). The central plot device of men backed into narrow chasm while hopelessly outnumbered is much better done as the battle of Helm’s Deep in LOTR:TT, and Zulu for that matter. And the build up to the battle itself is very poorly done. The use of dream-like sequences in wheat fields and political corruption in the senate is lifted straight from Gladiator. The wizened, leprous old priests at the beginning bear more than a passing resemblance to Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars. And the deformed Spartan ‘traitor’....Gollum anyone? And the giant “no-we-didn’t-steal-them-from-Mordor-honest-guv” elephants…

And then there’s the dialogue. Portentous, ominous, grandiose. David ‘Faramir’ Wenham, as the narrator is the principal culprit. However Leonidas is not innocent either. Either being verbose, or shouting lots. There’s a touch of the Flash Gordon in there somewhere, from the very camp Xerxes, to the Persian Immortal warriors; separated at birth from Flash Gordon’s Klytus. Xerxes might be very tall and have more bling than gangsta rapper. But scary? No.

One of our number says I’m being unduly harsh, that it’s not worth trying to over analyse and think about movies like this. But this is a film stretched far beyond the material available. It might be pretty to look at, but there’s not much there otherwise. Lots of the iconography of the film has been shamelessly stolen from done better elsewhere in better films. This was a bit of a let down. Top 250 films of all time? Pffft!

Verdict: big miss.

March 17, 2007


Follow-up to Positivity! from The Ginger Revolution

Bradford City 1 Paynter 62

Northampton Town 2 Johnson 64, Deuchar 87

Attendance: 8,140

So predictably unpredictable. We should all know better by now. Can they do it again on Saturday?

In a way, I suppose they did. There are three things certain in life; death, taxes, and wildly fluctuating performances in BD8. On the way to the ground we were discussing the last time I saw us win. It’s nearly 6 months since. I suppose, given Tuesday’s win, that retaining the shape and dramatis personae was a sensible thing to do. However, while the numbers 2, 3, and 5 are not that scary to most normal people, rearrange them into a particular order and to any Bradford fan it’s a like a wooden stake through Dracula. The last time we played 3-5-2 was 10 years ago in our last succesful relegation escape; we persisted with it for 44 games, got damned near relegated, changed to 4-4-2 and won 2 games in a row to stay up, something they didn’t do all season.

It was clear it had been done to match up formations with the visitors, as it had been on Tuesday. However, Northampton were better at it. That’s not to say they were good. They weren’t. Just the latest in a very very long line of teams to come to these parts very low on skil, technical merit and aesthetic appeal but high on physical fitness, organisation, and being…er…’competitive’. And it became plain after about 10 minutes that this was going to be another one of those afternoons.

The conditions of howling gale and bouncy pitch made for difficult football, but you don’t need an IQ of anywhere near 100 to realise that if the ball is on the floor the wind isn’t going to affect it more than if you try and hoof it long down the field. And so the first half was devoid of almost anything vaguely resembling excitement. Bentham nearly headed an own goal at a corner, the ball going inches over, but that was it. The only relief was that Captain Moan wasn’t sitting to our left. “Son of” was having a good go in his stead though. The good thing was the crowd was behind the team. Had a Colin Todd team served it up it would have been met with cacophonous booing (if that’s possible when the ground isn’t even a third full…).

So to the second half. Not much happened. Then some rank bad defending let the Northampton striker Robertson amazingly sidefoot wide seconds after he’d been denied by keeper Ricketts from point blank range. A turning point? It seemed so, as 5 minutes of pressure was capped by Paynter heading in unmarked from 12 yards from Bridge-Wikinson’s corner. Maybe the lucky 1997 shirt was paying off after all. But here’s why I’m really annoyed today. Rather than take responsibility and take control of the game, the response was predictable; sit back and let the other side have the ball. And so 90 seconds later with about a million (alright I exaggerate, about 20) chances to clear their lines, defending so bad that shock has erased it from my memory let midfielder Johnson lash in from 6 yards.

And that was that. City put in a last 30 minutes worse than the first half. It looked like a point was going to be coming for a poor performace, but Northampton had the freedom of their right wing to counterattack and Kenny Deuchar – otherwise dreadful – steered home from 6 yards. Stunned silence all around. Wetherall went up front in injury time, but more long balls were gleefully dealy with by the obligatory man-mountain centrebacks.

On the radio after the game, Wetherall says he saw “lots of positives”. I saw one; Billy Paynter. Kicked from pillar to post, he didn’t give up. Others did…time to get the knives out. Steven Schumacher had a pop at people this week in the local newspaper for “saying bad things about us, like we don’t care”. Well Steven, if you think yourself, Craig Bentham, Marc Bridge-Wilkinson, Joe Colbeck and Ben Parker can be called professional footballers this evening you’re gravely mistaken. You’re flimsy, spineless, charlatan impostors of footballers that should all be drilled out of the club at the end of the season, irrespective of what division we are in. Even the most basic of skills are missing, they can’t pass, tackle or control a ball. Some couldn’t even trap a bag of cement.

How on earth Schumacher captained England at under-20 level is a mystery up there with dark matter, the Higgs Boson and string theory. Similarly, Parker has the positional play of a pub player who’s been out on the lash the night before (both goals from his side again) and Bentham and Colbeck have done the usual thing our youth products do in the main, and that’s go backwards in their second season. But the trouble is because there is noone else in the squad, they will be picked as a matter of course. Followed by more glib platitudes in the (never even remotely critical) paper about how “we’ll turn it round next week. That wasn’t the real us. To say it doesn’t hurt isn’t true” etc etc etc

In 1997, there were the likes of John Dreyer, Eddie Youds, Nigel Pepper, Edinho, Wayne Jacobs, and others. Not the best footballers, but they fought. I remember a game at Tranmere on a Friday night. We lost 3-0 and relegation seemed certain but they kept going to the very very end. They got a standing ovation from 3,500 travelling supporters. I can accept losing. I can’t and won’t accept doing so without a fight. I bet there weren’t 3,500 people in the ground at the end today. If today is a yardstick for the rest of the season, we’d better be dusting off the map to glamorous places like Dagenham, Rochdale, Accrington, Macclesfield and the like.

I feel sorry for some in the team; principally those either side of the midfield. The defenders are offered no protection and the forwards are given no service. All that remains at the end of the year is a huge clearout. Of the entire weakness-in-depth playing staff, how many would you keep? Bower, Wetherall, Ricketts (at a push), Paynter (not even our player!). Whoever takes over has an onerous task, whichever division it’s in….

MOTM: Youga. Kept his head under aerial bombardment. Honourable mention to Paynter. The rest of them were rubbish.

Bradford (3-5-2): Ricketts – Youga, Wetherall, Bower – Colbeck, Schumacher, Bentham (Barrau), Bridge-Wilkinson, Parker – Paynter, Ashikodi. Subs not used: Howarth, Daley, Johnson, Ainge.

Northampton (3-5-2): Bunn – Hughes, Doig, Pearce – Crowe, Hunt, Gilligan, Bradley, Holt – Robertson (Kirk), Deuchar (Taylor). Subs not used: Dunn, Aiston, Dyche.

March 14, 2007


So predictably unpredictable. We should all know better by now. Can they do it again on Saturday?

March 11, 2007

DVD Review: King Kong

3 out of 5 stars

So, following the massive success of the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, here’s what Peter Jackson did next. All $207 million of it. And to be honest I ended up on the fast-forward button.

In a nutshell, filmmaker Carl Denham (Jack Black) hires struggling vaudeville actress Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) for his new film, setting sail for Skull Island. Darrow is then captured by locals and offered as a sacrifice to the eponymous ape which is then recaptured and brought to New York, where he predictably runs amok.

While the film looked great, too much of it was eerily similar what we’d seen in the Lord of the Rings; the walls of Skull Island looked like Mordor, the locals could interchangeably stand in as orcs, the jungle was Fangorn Forest and so on. It just seemed, for want of a better word, lazy. And despite the fact the film was released 12 years after Jurassic Park, the CG dinosaurs were nowhere near as convincing. The escapade on Skull Island itself is the principal problem; it’s far too long. Like other films we know the ending to, such as [shudders] Titanic, we know what the denouement is and would like to be taken there in a prompt and orderly fashion.

It’s a shame, because the acting is quite good; Watts performs the role of Darrow well, and Black is always engaging. If I could give it 2-and-a-half stars I could, but 3 will have to do.

PS: On a pedantic note, how many chemists do you know that can throw 2.5 L winchesters of chloroform (density 1.49 times that of water) great distances…?

Arcade Fire: Neon Bible

3 out of 5 stars

This is the follow up to Arcade Fire’s debut album, Funeral (2005). The critics on Newsnight Review came to verbal blows two weeks ago, producing amounts of pompous bluster even this viewer thought impossible on that particular programme.

Whereas in Funeral the atmosphere was sombre (inevitable given the subject material) yet somehow uplifting at the same time, Neon Bible has an ominous, portentous tone from the opening Black Mirror. Perhaps it’s a little bit too wrapped up in the politics and fears of the moment, but there are still 5 or 6 outstanding tracks on it. Sadly, 3 or 4 are far from outstanding (including the truly dismal title track) which is in contrast to the first album.

That said, it’s probably the only album you’ll ever own that has a church organ on it; to very great effect in Intervention (a wall of noise) but less so in the last track, My Body Is A Cage which is basically House of The Rising Sun

I can’t give it 3-and-a-half stars, so I’ll stick to 3. Too many duff tracks for 4 stars.
Download: Black Mirror, Intervention, Ocean of Noise, No Cars Go

February 22, 2007

Some people have too much time on their hands

Three cheers for the internet for providing moments of joy when you’re under the weather…


September 2023

Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
Aug |  Today  |
            1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30   

Search this blog

Most recent comments

  • You should feel privileged to sit next to him. I only hope "son of" doesn't turn out the same way…… by on this entry
  • "the gentleman that sits 3 seats to my left at home games" Why does the man who sits at the 3rd chec… by The Hardcore on this entry
  • by Stuart Coles on this entry
  • Moral of the story: get a grad student to do it :–) by Max Hammond on this entry
  • Well some of us never have any problems when we write our papers…... :–P by Gott the Younger on this entry

Blog archive

RSS2.0 Atom
Not signed in
Sign in

Powered by BlogBuilder