Spectre, the latest
Bond movie and second installment of the franchise for director Sam
Mendes does indeed seem to be haunted by its past. With more than a
passing nod to previous incarnations of evil arch-enemies and their
pets, even the oily tentacles in the opening credits reminds the
audience of Octopussy (perhaps Monica Bellucci's sad widow character
in the next movie)?
The sombre pallet from
Skyfall persists through this film and the feel is of a present set
in the past. There are exotic locations, wonderful set pieces with
planes, trains and automobiles, a few laughs and lots of fighting to
keep fans happy. ( Look out for Dave Bautista as Mr. Hinx.) Ralph
Fiennes finds his feet as M, Naomie Harris is still a great
Moneypenny and Ben Whishaw steals scenes as the digital age Q. But
it's hard to get too excited about a shadowy organisation hell bent
on conglomerating the world's CCTV.
James Bond, played with
lots of muscled menace by Daniel Craig, does his best to liven things
up by blowing things up, knocking things down and driving through
things and, of course, saves not only the day but the beautiful new
Bond girl, Madeleine Swann played by Lea Seydoux. Christophe Waltz is
Franz Oberhauser, the head of Spectre, a nicely understated,
sock-free performance out for revenge and retribution on Bond and the
007 division, this movie follows on from where Skyfall left off and
is a robust contribution to the James Bond franchise. Four out of
Life affirming drama
comedy. Bill Murray stars as Vincent, a grumpy old man with some bad
habits who helps out new neighbour Maggie (Melissa McCarthy)as she
and her son, Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher) try to build a new life.
Pirates, lots of them,
everywhere you look, doing 'orrible, violent pirate things. Totally
bonkers but brilliant back story to Treasure Island's Long John
Silver interwoven into the lives of the 18th century
pirates of Nassau. Five pieces of eight just for the mad, bad hair days.
my idea of hell could definitely feature a leaking submarine, that
said, this tense heist thriller kept my attention all the way
through. Jude Law is the captain of a dodgy crew looking for dodgy
gold in the bottom of the Black Sea in very dodgy submarine. Take a
The Call (15)
Halle Berry stars as an
emergency services telephone operator trying to help the next victim
of a serial killer she's encountered before in the line of duty.
The Maze Runner (12)
future for young adults in the same vein as The Hunger Games and Divergent series. An interesting idea with a big dollop of spidery scariness thrown in, though the ending is a bit of an anticlimax. Dylan O'Brien stars as teen boy trying to navigate a maze after his memory have been wiped. Not suitable for under 14's.
European and world leaders haven't the stomach for regime change in
Syria, however brutally flawed the regime, at least have the heart to
provide a breathing space for refugees to rebuild shattered lives
while contributing to the local economy and community. The strength
of spirit these refugees will need to rebuild their country in future
years will not be found in semi-permanent camps or behind barbed
wire. It should not be leached away by political infighting,
statistics and nights spent on the side of cold roads while the rest
of the world weeps without consequence.
Europe and the world there are communities, many rural, needing
skilled, literate families, from doctors to crop pickers to help
revitalise their economy. If the political machinery of the world has
become so hamstrung by its own bureaucracy it is unable to act,
perhaps we need to look at other avenues to find places for people.
Mayors, community groups, local employers, village councils who know
the shortages and empty homes in their areas could help to provide
economic support for these refugees before organised crime, profiteering, racketeering and people traffickers take over and before another nation's hearts and minds are lost.
After a week in Devon near lovely Exmoor, it seems I've returned to an autumnal garden with leaves falling, seedheads replacing flowers and plenty of spiders emerging, their webs picked out in the rain. There's a new spider I've not seen before, I think it's cave dweller living very contentedly in the compost bin and in the now very overgrown pond, are several larval newts, feathery gills emerging. The later dawn and earlier dusk makes spotting bats and foxes easier and the hollyhock and buddlja are still buzzing with bees, hover flies and wasps.
After the moor, it's easy to overlook how much wildlife a garden supports, there may not be rolling heather hills with red deer and ponies, rushing rivers full of otters and trout but autumn brings an abundance of nature to our doorstep if we stop and take a closer look.