Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Back to Redhill

After doing the first stage basics done prior to sellin' Andromeda, we got up early this morning and toddled through the locks and back up the Trent to Redhill.

We've outstanding issues, most notably a corroded bulkhead that didn't show on the initial exterior survey. We'll be at Mills again at the end of February for more light engineering. Joy.

We've found some interesting history on Andromeda of late, 36 year old photos and every damn thing, and I'll post it here when we get round to putting it all in one doc.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

DVD Review - Land of the Dead

The king of the shambling dead finally returns to the genre he invented.

As with his other undead movies, Land of the Dead works on another level. This is almost a social political study of man and humanity, which happens to have some serious zombie action. The social commentary isn't subtle, some may say almost dated, but
Romero delivers his iconic African American hero and a lesson in consumerism with such aplomb that most viewers simply won't notice.

Taking a step back, and hiding the cultural commentary under a blanket of prosthesis and gore, this is a film of classic FX and the product of a master craftsman. Zombies, a million of them, sliced, crushed, diced, kebabed, detonated, fried, quartered, chopped, squashed, flambéed, disembowelled, fricasseed and chowing down on an unwilling banquet of human body parts. Do look out for some prime cameos from the genre,
Tom Savini, Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, and the stunning and underrated Asia Argento co-stars.

The movie has slight air of 70’s about it. Perhaps it’s the genre, or perhaps it’s because the story picks up some 2 decades after the mysterious supernatural apocalypse that spawned this series. Now the living dead have taken over the world, and the last humans live in the self imprisonment of a walled city, partying against the darkness, as they deal with the new world around them. But all's not well. Outside the electric fences and beyond the no-mans land, the zombies are steadily evolving. Inside, a revolution plans to overthrow the cities corrupt ruling forces (the excellent Dennis Hopper in a subtle Bush parody), and the walking dead are walking into town with ideas of their own. It’s time the corpses got even.

Okay, the dialogue isn’t brilliant, but this movie can do things and get away with stuff that no other movie ever could. Embrace the cheese while its there, there’s not a lot of it. It made this old sceptic jump and made me gasp at the wonder of real stunt performers, make-up artists and FX people showing us the pinnacle of their craft.

This is a George A Romero film, simple as that. It’s ‘Mad Max’ meets ‘Evil Dead’ meets ‘Escape from New York’ meets ‘Day of the Dead’. This is the master at work. This is proper film making. Hail to the King.

Movie: 4.5 out of 5
Extras: 3.5 out of 5

Sunday, December 11, 2005

High and Dry

Yesterday, we trundled up the Erewash to Mills Dockyard and sat Andromeda in dry dock.

It’s that time again. It’s time for the ultra-sound part of her boat safety, and to black the hull once more. Pig and I spent most of the day wire brushing rust off her and wallowing in bitumen.

She needs a few bits doing according to the man. A bit of welding that we were pretty much expecting and Steve at Mills can sort for us. A bow plate port and starboard were it's pitted into the 6mm (Andromeda being mainly, and surprisingly, a hardcore working boat standard 8mm). Nothing drastic.

There’s a couple of things were going to get done that don’t really need doing immediately, gas locker seals etc., but if we’re sellin’ her to buy this house then I don’t want to be floggin’ 25 tonnes of Bernard Matthews finest.

She’s a hell of a slab of steel when she’s out of the water. Plenty to do. It’s funny watching the other guys in dock pussy-footing around with there fibreglass cruisers while we grind and weld.

We’ll be in dock about a week.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

DVD Review - Quincy, M.E.: Seasons 1 & 2 (1976-1977)

Way back when all I cared about was Star Wars figures and what was for tea, before CSI Miami (or wherever), there was Quincy M.E.

Quincy was the first show using medical know-how, with crazy ‘futuristic’ notions like DNA testing, to solve the crime. This was a show with episodes well ahead of their time. A show that paved the way for many a contemporary series, with their staggering budgets, that use far more advanced forensic methods to catch their criminal.

Jack Klugman (remember him from The Odd Couple?) plays the thoroughly 3 dimensional Quincy. A crusading busy-body Los Angeles Medical Examiner, he’s an expert in his field who always finds something that everyone else has missed. There’s always some tiny clue that goes against all the other evidence and leads him, like some unstoppable terrier, to run foul of his world-weary boss Astin and blustering police LT Monahan. Quincy must have been a nightmare to work with. I pity poor Sam (the excellent Robert Ito), his assistant. But he’s got a truth to find, a crime to solve, and a narrow-minded system to fight.

Awash with 70’s nostalgia, this once primetime American import has dated gracefully. Still steeped in the same values, Quincy was just a straightforward crime series with a difference; here was a pathologist doing the legwork, and not some police officer or private eye. The world is very 70’s and lacking grey areas. Here were well-written and well-balanced crime stories from that classic 70’s mould.

This new DVD set could have been made just to fill in those gaps on Sunday afternoons where TV gets a bit pants and there’s not enough time for a movie before Eastenders. So grab a mug of tea, light a decent fire, curl up on the sofa away from the winter chills, and revel in how it used to be done.

I wonder what’s for tea?

Movie: 3.5 out of 5
Extras: 1.5 of 5