Hundredth post.

I may not have written as much as I wanted to since 1 January 2007 but I’ve –

  • run a total of 558kms (97kms of that sans mongrel);
  • picked up 170 books, comics and scripts, and read 137 right through;
  • and sat down to watch 128 films, DVDs and TV series, and watched 105 right to the (sometimes bitter) end.

‘S not bad. And because it’s that time of the year, I give you a list of notable and recommended reading and viewing experiences (in strict alphabetical order):

As for the running, I do it only so that I fit my clothes.

Happy new year.


Point & Click

This week, in lieu of my usual witterings, I offer you:

  • At The Editing Room, Rod Hilton writes ‘abridged scripts’ of popular films – but in an indecently irreverent spirit that harks back to web classics “movies in a minute” and “movies with bunnies”. Behold his takes on The Bourne Ultimatum, The Departed and Ronin.
  • Former Paramount Theatre manager Dan Slevin used to throw together the best – the best, I tell ya – weekly e-newsletters. I may have been in the wrong city at the time (Christchurch, then Dunedin), but the reviews, descriptions and one-liners were a pleasure to read, and welcome heads-ups on what might (eventually) hit the South Island. He’s now the Capital Times film reviewer – and generously reprints his reviews at his blog, Funerals and Snakes.
  • And for something different, try killer-fact.com where literary quizzes (what novel opened with “Call me Ishmael”?) gleefully rub shoulders with polls like which Spice Girl to eat first when all the food has run out on your desert island. (Fedora-tip: NZBC.)

Update:  the killer-fact.com page now says “This account has been suspended – please contact billing…”. Guess you’ll have to take my word for it.


Less is More

Finally saw The Bourne Ultimatum, quite enjoyed it, and I didn’t even notice the camera-work and editing. That’s story-telling.

One exchange in particular struck me: after Bourne (the impressively impassive yet still sympathetic Matt Damon) traverses seemingly half of Tangier by roof to save Nicky Parsons (a vulnerable but believably plucky Julia Stiles) –


Why are you helping me?


It was difficult... for me... with you.

(off Bourne)

You... really don’t remember, do you?


... No.

From onlooker in Identity to unwilling participant in Supremacy, and now full-fledged helper in Ultimatum, was Nicky his sweetheart once upon a time? Was there some swooning from afar that’s on the cutting room floor from the preceding two films? What is she on about?

It doesn’t matter.

Yes, of course I’d love to know. Or maybe I’m just exceedingly grateful to have been spared something like this –


I’ve loved you. I’ve always loved you. But you were always running around, trying to stay alive. I thought I lost you when you took up with that Kraut floozy but I was down with that. But now that it’s... it’s just you... and me...

Messrs Liman, Gilroy and Greengrassthank you.


The Bourne Ultimatum

The Bourne Ultimatum is here. I’ve prepped by watching its predescessor and enjoying it the second – or third? – time around. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing what John Rogers means by nested sequels.

Roger Ebert enjoyed it – and has received a flood of complaints about its visual style.

I was a bit concerned about the ‘herky-jerky hand-held’ camerawork until I remembered The Blair Witch Project. I remember complaints about it inducing nausea and vomiting. It didn’t stop me from being scared out of my wits. As I’ve told anyone who’s asked me whether to watch Blair Witch: if you can get over the shaky-cam, and the contrivance that the characters obsessively shot everything, it’ll scare the bejesus out of you.

I think (and hope) that what’ll save my brain and stomach from Bourne‘s visual jazz will be the story. If I’m pulled into it sufficiently, I shouldn’t notice the two-second average shot length. I’ll be too busy sitting on the edge of my seat going, Oh my g-, what th-, wait – don’t -, which’ll be just what I want.

(Fedora-tip to Amit for the heads-up.)