Posts Tagged ‘Movies’

I have often spoken of my admiration of my favourite authors.  Stephen King and Terry Pratchett are amongst two I have spoken of fondly.  I am sat on the night shift at work and it is 03:45 in the morning and the tiredness is hitting me hard.  I have tried to write on the projects I have spoken off, the problem is tonight is that I am running n empty.  My boys woke up this morning at 5:30 and I got up with them.  I attempted to sleep this afternoon but it was a restless sleep, and only for a few hours.

So I have set aside writing for the night.  It really is not happening for me.  So, I am reflective, thinking of who has influenced me, what authors have really made an impact on my life, and the two I have mentioned are way up there.  But there are others, and one of the biggest, and most engaging authors, now lost to us, is Michael Crichton.  I challenge anyone not to know his work, whether you have read his novels or not, you will have seen something of his vast array of works.  I am going to start by talking about his novels, for they are superb.   His first novel was ‘The Andromeda Strain’, and what a way to introduce oneself to the literary world.  Based around Dr’s trying to find a cure for a pandemic, it is just 6 characters locked in an underground installation.  A theme he would revisit with the superb time travel odyssey, ‘Sphere’.  What Crichton does best is take ordinary people, and in small numbers and place them up against nature, technology but mostly up against themselves. 

Crichton is known as a ‘Techno’ author, using technology as a protagonist and often as a vehicle for the story.  But some of his best work is just thrillers, like Disclosure or Rising Sun.  His prose is engaging and entertaining and often moves at  a brisk pace.  So, if you havent read his work (and I have no idea why you wouldn’t) then do so, and I suggest you start with his magnum opus work of man v’s technology v’s nature, Jurassic Park! (Yes it was a novel first).

Crichton did not just stop at writing good books, he wrote a TV series, ER, which launched George Clooney’s career.  A world-wide phenomenon that was unprecedented.  He was a successful film director with Westworld and Runaway.  Runaway, by the way, is a fantastically intriguing thriller set in the near future and focuses on a Police unit dedicated to robotic crime and dealing with ‘Runaway’ robots.  Starring Tom Selleck, it is a fantastic movie and often overlooked.  Watch it if you can find it, utterly brilliant, but it has dated.

If all that was not enough, he wrote non-fiction as well, his book Five Patients and Pirate Latitudes are fascinating. 

Crichton was a gift to us all, his life cut horrendously short.  he died in 2008 aged just 66.  

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A pleasant surprise!!!!!

Posted: July 22, 2014 in Geek
Tags: , , ,

For months I have resisted the urge to watch Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, not because I dislike him as a director, not that I dislike his films, quite the opposite! I think Watchmen was a faithful and visual wonder, I know it has been slammed, but it really is good! And Sucker Punch, wow! An incredibly complex layered story, takes some thinking about but after a second watch, once you get the story and untangle the levels of reality then it is an amazing exploration of the human psyche! (And the scantily clad girls help!). No, the reason I had avoided Man of Steel was out of trepidation. I got very excited about Superman Returns! The teaser trailers using the John Williams score, slightly altered, peaked my attention and then, like so many others, massive disappointment! Then came Indiana Jones 4, Wanted, and others that got me salivating with excitement only to be let down. Hollywood had systematically destroyed my faith! So, I waited, didn’t bother with it at the cinema, didn’t buy it on DVD, I waited!

I went to the library, saw Man of Steel for rental and thought, I at least have to see it, just to see how bad it was. And oh my was I wrong!!!! In Snyder’s hands the mythology of our Kryptonian survivor has been born anew. My trepidation beforehand, over some of the casting, was unwarranted! Russell Crowe as Jor El was spot on! He uses his Maximus tone to be a commanding dominant figure! Kevin Costner (I really don’t like him) was fantastic as Jonathan Kent and his death, a pivotal event in the young Clark Kent’s Life was moving, emotionally charged and perfectly filmed! I shed a tear….superb!!!

The story line has some changes to it, altering some of the basic principles of the canon, but you know what? I like he changes, it worked! The style of storytelling, the use of flashback moved the story along brilliantly. The non linear storytelling mode, showing relevant histories when required to support the present day scene was fantastic!

Well, you can tell I liked it, I did not think I would, I felt I would be let down once again by the money grabbers at Hollywood, but every now and then a surprise, Inception, Kick Ass, Dark Knight and now Man of Steel! I now I am asking for a big hurt by saying that I am excited for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but you know what, If any director can do it Justice (pun intended) then it is Snyder! Bravo good sir, bravo!

As always if you agree disagree, then I invite you to comment!