Movie: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

April 6, 2017

I am a big fan of the Jack Reacher character.  I’ve read all the books and do find that the character is better in the books than as played by Tom Cruise in the movies.  It is odd really but while I think the movies are great and both movies so far closely follow two of the novels they are still very different.  However, I’m getting ahead of myself.

I read the novel “Never Go Back” in 2014 and going by the blog post I wasn’t that impressed by the plot.  The movie however was excellent.  Reacher is enigmatic and distant as ever but can see clues no one else can and put the pieces together faster than anyone.  Of course he can handle himself in fights as well but it’s the problem solving that keeps the plot moving.

Great movie, would watch again!

Movie: Dr Strange

April 5, 2017

While on holiday at Crieff Hydro, I had the rare opportunity to catch a movie and this is what was showing.  I’m somewhat ambivalent to Marvel movies and don’t fully understand the relationships between the different superheros.  I probably wouldn’t have gone to see this one at the cinema but really enjoyed it.

I didn’t know anything about the Dr Strange character before watching, but was aware of the movie and I like Benedict Cumberbatch.

The movie is the origin story of Dr Strange who, when we first meet him is a highly intelligent and skilled neurosurgeon with a massive ego.  As a man who has always been in control of his own destiny when he is in a car accident and looses the use of his hands he is a broken man.  He eventually find his way to Nepal where he studies under the Ancient One (which is a fantastic performance by Tilda Swinton)

After that lots of metaphysical, interdimensional, mystic arts stuff happens.

I really enjoyed this film, it’s a good stand alone movie for someone like me who doesn’t know the back story or context of this character within the Marvel universe and frankly isn’t intereted in finding out – but just wants to watch a good movie.

Review of 2016

January 1, 2017

The summary of my ever diminishing blog posts for 2016 (and some other things that I haven’t posted but which would be worth noting)… as ever please note this is only to help me remember things I really don’t know why anyone else would be interested.  Previously 200920102011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

The blog originally included a lot more about what I did or thought, now it is mainly ‘reviews’ of books read and only really so that I can look back and be prompted which one is which since in general I read fast paced thrillers which are more or less the same… go figure :-/


MOVIES (cinema)

Events (anything significant to remember)

  • 24 Aug:  Lewis first day at Nursery
  • 3 Nov: Rachel born

Cycling (new to 2016 now I have Garmin and record things)

  • 2016 totals:
    247 rides
    126 hours
    1415.5 miles
    41,270 ft gainRides worth recording:
  • 11 Sept:  Pedal for Scotland Glasgow to Edinburgh
    — 45miles — 3hr 25 (moving time) — 4hr 17 (total time)
    — 1600 ft gained — 13mph average speed — 30mph fastest speed

BOOKS read this year….


  • March: Center Parks (just us)
  • April: Center Parks (Cheung clan)
  • April: Crieff Hydro
  • July: Isle of Lewis

Other Highlights:

  • Jan: Car was stolen
  • Feb: Got a new car
  • March: Danar 40!
  • April: lots of Holidays
  • July: last ever CLAN Gathering
  • July: Michael’s Wedding
  • Sept: Pedal for Scotland
  • Nov: Daughter born !
  • Dec: Danar moved from iPhone to Android :-0

Youtube uploads:

Running Totals:

  • 2009 – 23 books – 6 Movies – 4 gigs/events
  • 2010 – 33 books – 13 Movies – 10 gigs/events – 6 meals – 4 holidays
  • 2011 – 18 books – 2 Movies – 3 gigs/events – 1 meals – 3 holidays
  • 2012 – 16 books – 7 Movies – 3 gigs/events – 3 meals – 4 holidays
  • 2013 – 8 books – 2 Movies – 0 gigs/events – 1 meals – 2 holidays – 1 Son
  • 2014 – 1 books – 3 Movies – 2 gigs/events – 4 holidays
  • 2015 – 18 books – 2 Movies – 2 gigs/events – 3 holidays – 6 videos
  • 2016 – 34 books – 2 Movies – 1 events – 4 holidays – 4 videos – 1 daughter

Movie: Stormy Weather (1943)

December 31, 2016

October 2016 (forgot to post at the time)

Using up tickets we were given months ago for GFT but found it difficult to get around to so when we had the opportunity to go we just chose the best available film and found this ‘gem’.  It was on as part of Black History Month and is (or should be) famous for a number of things, it is one of the only major Hollywood films of that time with an entirely black cast.  The film includes the most famous and iconic black singers and dancers of the time, such as Bill “Mr Bojangles” RobinsonLena HorneCab CallowayFats WallerThe Nicholas Brothers.

However, the movie itself suffers from being copied too many times.  While the acrobatic tap routine from the Nicholas Brothers is breathtaking we have seen it imitated a million times and with a modern perspective it is difficult to watch this and appreciate that this is the first time these moves were ever seen.  It also isn’t a very sophisticated or well executed plot as all it is really trying to do is keep things moving till there is an excuse for another song and dance number.  But putting that aside as a piece of history it is extraordinary, as a night out it was pleasant enough and viewed in the wonderful GFT.

Movie: Florence Foster Jenkins

May 19, 2016

A rare evening at the GFT to watch Meryl Streep & Hugh Grant in Florence Foster Jenkins.

movieThe movie is the true story of a New York heiress in the 1940s who supported the arts and has a dream of being a great singer.  However, Florence can’t sing.  She has passion and love of music and those around her simply don’t tell her how bad she is. 

At private recitals, her devoted husband and manager, St Clair Bayfield, managed to protect Florence from the truth by manipulating the audience and press. But when Florence decided to give her first public concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall, St Clair can’t keep the true reviews from her. 

It is also worth mentioning, Simon Helberg‘s performance as pianist Cosme McMoon who steals many of the scenes in this film.  It is difficult not to see him as his character from The Big Bang Theory but he is fantastic in this film.  This movie is both hilarious and moving.  The relationships appear eccentric and self-serving but towards the end we see just how devoted St Clair is to Florence and that her audiences do care for the vulnerability she puts forward.  A lovely and very funny movie.

Review of 2015

December 31, 2015

Previously: 200920102011, 2012, 2013, 2014.   Now for the summary of my ever diminishing blog posts for 2015 (this is becoming just a place to note down books and movies)… as ever please note this is only to help me remember things I really don’t know why anyone else would be interested:

MOVIES (cinema)

Gigs, Events & Theater

  • Jan: Scripture Union weekend (my first)
  • July: CLAN (in Largs)

BOOKS read this year….


  • March: Ribby Hall
  • Aug: Isle of Lewis
  • Sept: Crieff Hydro

Other Highlights:

  • Jan: Weekend in Dunoon celebrating Ross’s 40th
  • April: Son turned 2, talks, sings, likes to sleep beside me, is great fun!
  • May: Got the garden fixed up
  • July: 2 Year of Cycling to Work
  • August: Started Gaelic Saturday club – trying to learn a new language
  • Sept: 2 Years of condensed 4 day week to have Monday’s with Lewis

Youtube uploads:

Running Totals:

  • 2009 – 23 books – 6 Movies – 4 gigs/events
  • 2010 – 33 books – 13 Movies – 10 gigs/events – 6 meals – 4 holidays
  • 2011 – 18 books – 2 Movies – 3 gigs/events – 1 meals – 3 holidays
  • 2012 – 16 books – 7 Movies – 3 gigs/events – 3 meals – 4 holidays
  • 2013 – 8 books – 2 Movies – 0 gigs/events – 1 meals – 2 holidays – 1 Son
  • 2014 – 1 books – 3 Movies – 2 gigs/events – 4 holidays
  • 2015 – 18 books – 2 Movies – 2 gigs/events – 3 holidays – 6 videos

Movie: Spectre

December 31, 2015

A little late in blogging about this movie we went to see about a month ago.  Specter, of course, is the latest Bond movie and personally I think the Daniel Craig reboot of Bond is outstanding and plot lines from all of these recent movies come together in this plot.

movieThe opening sequence alone, is utterly amazing with what appears to be a long continuous shoot (but probably isn’t – I really would like to see a ‘making of’ even just that sequence).

Movie: The Program

November 5, 2015

An all to rare trip to the movies tonight took us to the GFT to watch The Program.  Firstly this was the first time I’ve been in screen 3 at the GFT, which was small, but nice, very clean and with the well behaved audience you expect at the GFT –  only it was very cold!

movieSo, to the movie.  The Program is about the legendary cyclist Lance Armstrong. Seven times winner of the Tour de France and the iconic figure at the head of the sport when I, like many others, discovered how fascinating this race is.  However he is also one of the worlds best known sport cheats taking and making normal the use of performance enhancers and bullying anyone who didn’t agree out of the sport.

This movie is supposed to be based on the work of Irish journalist David Walsh (played by Chris O’Dowd) who pursues Lance and others in the sport involved in drug taking.  Personally I would like to have seen a lot more of his story, but predictably the film focuses on Lance and tries to squeeze far to much into too short a time – in one seen we see him meeting a woman, exchanging a few words cut to them leaving a church as bride and groom – then we never see her again.  For those of us who know the Lance Armstrong story there isn’t much new in this.  The cycling scenes are ok but there isn’t enough.

The most interesting story (perhaps because I wasn’t aware of it) is that of Floyd Landis, a fellow rider on the team who has to struggle with not only lying to the public and to his Pennsylvanian Amish community.

If this is shown on TV it’s worth a watch, or if you are interested in cycling but don’t know the recent horrible history then it’s a place to start.



Movie: Paddington

December 3, 2014

moviesVery simple to review this movie – it’s great!

It doesn’t spoil anything you already know and love about Paddington and adds a great deal.  The animation with live action is excellent making the movie believable and all the acting just on the edge of being over the top but holding it together.

Having grown up with the 5min cartoons it was great to see this as a full length movie.  Will be fine on the small screen eventually, but worth watching on a big one.


Movie: What We Did on Our Holiday

October 8, 2014

We got to the cinema!!

Son away overnight so a lot of pressure to have a good time, in this case to choose a good film.  Without a great deal of research we choose to see What We Did on Our Holiday, based on the cast and team behind it..  Billy Connoly, David Tennant, Ben Millar, Andy Hamilton & Guy Jenkins.  All I knew about this was a soundbite from Andy Hamilton saying that the film is what they might do with Outnumbered given the pace of a movie.

movieThis is a lovely little film showing family life – how the grown ups talk in front of children and when they think they aren’t listening, how the children react and their understanding of what is going on.  For example, the ‘grown ups’ hide from the children that the grandfather (Connoly) is dying, but when he simply tells them they understand and accept what it means.

I have to admit I was expecting a fairly formulaic movie but with these stars it would still be worth watching.  However, it took an unexpected turn which threw things in a different direction and made it far from formulaic.  The cast are as you would expect fantastic.  The unscripted scenes with the children are fantastic not just because of what they say and do but also the adult actors reaction to what is happening.

This is a really nice film that covers some difficult topics it was nice to watch it on the big screen (Scotland always looks great on a big screen) but I don’t think you would be missing out if you waited to see it on a TV.

PS I can also recommend Empire Cinema in Clydebank for their “Saverday Tuesday” (£3.60 each) but also for the excellent staff who sorted out the row of 8 loudly chatting, phone using, over excited teens.  Have they not heard of the Code of Conduct!