Friday, 1 February 2013

The Expendables 2 (Blue-Ray/DVD) ~ Film Review

The Expendables 2 on Blue-Ray DVD (cert 15)

Director ~ Simon West 

Expendables 2 starts with a high-octane action sequence, snappy dialogue and knowing references to its action hero stars and their movies. (Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Bruce Willis, Jet-Li, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Arnold Shwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Terry Crews...) Somehow this great start then devolves into a muddled plot to stop the plunder and sale of stored cold war plutonium to someone (not sure we ever learn to who or why) by a group of mid-European baddies, via what looks like a local airport....
But, forget about the clunky plot, what counts is the bodies, right? And there are plenty of those, plenty of fights, plenty of muscle, sweat, blood, bravado, male bonding, humour and blowing up things and in an action movie, the bigger the bangs the better and that certainly applies here.
I would loved to have seen a bit more of the skills some of these stars are famous for and a much sharper plot routed in this century rather than the last but, as always, with a cast like this the movie is worth watching just to see the famous faces, biceps and butt-kicking action. Lets hope the plot for The Expendables 3 gets pummelled into better shape.

 Three out of five stars.


Wednesday, 30 January 2013

In search of Spring

Today has been one of those rare, mild but breezy, blue sky days and it gave me a chance to head out into the garden in search of spring. After such a horrible wet, cold and snowy start to this year it was great to be able to catch up on some of the autumn chores that I never finished at the end of last year.
Clearing away dead foliage from summer and autumn flowers, now turned to mush by a couple of weeks of snow and sub-zero temperatures, it is a delight to find the half ripe buds of daffodils and grape hyacinths. New shoots on clematis, honeysuckle, hops and even the grapevine remind me a bit of pruning will be necessary soon. There is a small carpet of love-in-the-mist seedlings bouncing back up after being blanketed by snow and the wallflowers are starting to bud.
A lot of soft green foliage has been burnt by the cold. The roses and jasmine look worse for wear but should be OK. The same cannot be said for the potted geraniums I forgot to take back in this winter, some things never change! The lawn is a carpet of half composted mushy leaves and moss, still soft and very wet underfoot and a dandelion in flower reminds me that the lawnmower needs a check over as the temperatures start to climb.
The sound of birdsong is a delight at this time of year, not least because early evenings and late mornings make their choruses available at more reasonable times of day. Two robins are resident in the garden at the moment and the blackbirds and song thrushes are making the most of the extra food put out over the wintry spell last week.

The snow last week has now cleared completely to reveal the first signs of spring. 

(It has occurred to me that losing the geraniums has given me space inside to grow aubergines and cucumbers for gherkins!)