Saturday, 13 April 2013

Oblivion - Movie Review

Oblivion (12A)

Director:Joseph Kosinski (Tron:Legacy)

The cinematic language of science fiction has evolved into a landscape of its own as expertly demonstrated by this film. There are always limiting perameters to how an apocalyptic future vision of humanity can shape itself on screen, not least of all by sets and CGI (remember when Daleks couldn't walk up stairs?) We are, by nature, air breathing, fleshily soft, emotionally driven creatures which makes for several scenarios for our ultimate nemesis. From radio active isotopes to predators and aliens, by far the most chilling of these scenarios is when future technology tries to take over. From Hal to the T-1000, man-made or alien, machines that run amok really are very scary. The droids in this movie are a great addition to that panoply.
Tom Cruise plays Jack Harper, a maintenance man living on a future Earth, carefully repairing the droids protecting the water-harvesting technology that is sending the remainder of mankind to live near Saturn. The droids are protecting the technology from the evil scavengers that fought a war with Earth, blasting the moon and causing an apocalyptic end to life on the planet for humankind, or so Jack thinks. He should be happy with his life and his beautiful co-worker, Victoria played by Andrea Riseborough but he is plagued by dreams of an life, another woman and then, one day, this other woman, Julia (Olga Kurylenko) crash lands on the surface of the planet...
This movie refers to many sci-fi standards but loses none of its visual elegance for that. In fact, if you embrace that shared cinematic language, this movie is ingenious in its referencing. My favourite is the waterfall, surely a nod to the famous 'I will find you' scene from Last of the Mohicans and a hint at what is to follow... you didn't get that reference? I appreciate it's not a sci-fi movie and therein lies the art of the film reference, we reference what we know to create our own personal set of parameters. If you haven't it then the reference will go over your head and I suspect for the younger audience many of the films will not have been seen. I am sure a lot of people will not know what movie the radio active isotope I mentioned earlier is referencing...
This film is visually beautiful with some complex edge-of-seat action scenes. The stars are very watchable and the plot has enough twists to make it intriguing to the end. If you like Space 1999, Silent Running and the Matrix trilogy, then this is a movie for you. Four out of five stars.


Friday, 12 April 2013

Seeds are for sowing

Just a quick list of what I have sown under glass :

Aquilegia Long Spurred Hybrids
Lupin Russell Mix
Delphinium Pacific Giants
Sunflower Full Sun
Hollyhock (collected seed, single, white)
Sweet Pea (collected seed, mix)

Gherkin Partner
Pumpkin Americana Tonda

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Starting to sort out the patio pots as Spring arrives

The verbena in the green man planter (photo from 2011) has finally started to put on a small amount of spring growth but I know, after two years in the same pot through the winter from hell, the roots will be pot bound and the compost spent and so, with a week of above freezing temps promised, I have started the task of sorting out the patio pots. I have taken a couple of cuttings of the verbena and replaced the compost and seeded it with chives and nasturtiums. I know it's probably the wrong time to take cuttings but better than just chucking the old plant away. Nothing ventured...
Next are the geraniums, turned to crispy brown skeletons after this winter, they are being replaced with sage and rosemary. I've also tidied up a plastic trough of crocus and seeded it with summer annuals, candytuft, cornflower and calendula. I managed to grow a couple of honeysuckle plants from layering last year, one went to a garden in Devon but the remaining one has not shown any signs of life so far. I shall give it a while longer and have bought another to grow on, keeping it in a decorative pot as a patio climber to add height for this year.
There are buds on the camelia that have not been burnt by the frosts and so I have given all the ericaceous shrubs in pots a good feed to help green up their leaves and get them off to a good start.
There are still some of last year's strawberries runners to pot up (photo below, strawberries with snow) some having overwintered in just a plastic pot, always amazing how tough these plants are considering how delicate their fruit is. The oak, fig and miniature hornbeam are all beginning to show signs of buds but I have lost several pots to the effects of frost shattering, it really has been a tough winter. The hostas have survived and I have plans to split up the contents of one of the pots and plant out in a shady area in the garden.
As the temperatures start to climb towards double figures this weekend, I am keeping my fingers crossed that the hanging baskets may well be able to make it outside and that Spring is finally here.