With less than a week until the Oscars, my quest to watch all of the Best Picture nominations is getting quite tense. I’ve got three more to go and I’m not really super keen to watch either of them. I managed to watch two in quick succession last week so, if I’m clever with my time, I should be okay. It’s just a shame that the film I’m talking about today marks the end of the list of films I really wanted to see. The Darkest Hour is something I’ve been excited about for months. Combining my love of history and Gary Oldman; what could be better? When the first pictures of Oldman in his full Winston Churchill costume came out months ago, everyone was apparently amazed by the transformation. The picture was placed on the front of newspapers along with the tantalising caption of “we bet you’ll never guess who this really is” or something. I didn’t get the uproar. I mean anyone that looked at the photo should instantly be able to see Gary Oldman’s eyes staring back at them. Don’t get me wrong, the transformation was incredibly but it’s quite clearly the actor underneath all of that makeup. I admit, I have a bit of a soft spot for Oldman so I might be more familiar with his face than many people. It meant that whenever I saw photos from the set of The Darkest Hour I only ever saw Oldman and not one of the greatest Prime Minster’s the UK has ever seen.
The problem with an actor playing an iconic role early on in their career means that they are forever carrying that character around on their shoulders. Look at Daniel Radcliffe who, despite seeming to take every random opportunity that comes his way, is finding it difficult to come out of the shadow of the Boy Who Lived. As much as I want to watch every new film he stars in as a new Daniel Radcliffe film I can’t help but see Harry Potter everywhere. Similarly, I have often had problems separating Jamie Bell from Billy Elliot. As such, every role that I’ve watched Bell play has just seemed more childish than it should have done. He’s tried to do plenty of serious stuff over the years but all I see is that young ballet dancer pretending to be a grown-up. Which is a massive shame because I really like Jamie Bell. He just hasn’t ever quite found that one role that changed the way people, or at least I, perceive him. For the last few years he’s done a variety of different thigns that have had varying degrees of success. He was perfect as the title character in The Adventures of Tintin but was recently in the reboot of Fantastic Four that never really worked. I admit that I was
unconvinced after seeing that he was going to star in a film as a member of the SAS. Would I ever be able to see anything other than Billy Elliot with a gun?
Going into 6 Days I didn’t really know a great deal about the Iranian Embassy siege that took place in London in May 1980 but, considering the number of recent terrorist attacks around the world in the last 12 months or so, it seems like a rather prescient story to make a film about. 37 years on, the world is facing even greater atrocities than the ones carried out at Princes Gate just 1 year into Margaret Thatcher’s government. On 30th April that year a group of Iranian Arab men stormed the embassy in Kensington and held 26 people hostage. Threatening the lives of those they hel, the group demanded the release of a group prisoners in Khuzestan and their safe passage out of the UK. The Prime Minister and her Tory government refused to agree to these demands so a siege ensued for the next 6 days. Whilst the SAS were on standby to storm the building, negotiators successfully saw the release of a handful of hostages by agreeing to a few of their more minor demands. It wasn’t until one of the hostages was killed that the special forces regiment carried out an assault and brought the siege to and end.
So, I promised you all a week dedicated to all my angry thoughts about Game of Thrones after the end of season and I fucking delivered. I’ve already spent a long time ranting to my friends and co-workers about the events that transpired this season but there a few massive points that I feel need reiterating here. Now, don’t worry, there won’t be any lengthy, petty rants about how Rickon was a fucking idiot to run in a straight line because, by this point, I’m starting to believe the kid’s better off dead. I mean I’m sad that another Stark has bitten the dust but he was a fucking moron for not even trying to zig-zag. Who, after being captured by Ramsay Bolton and being set free, doesn’t think “hmm, this is awfully convenient. I can’t imagine anything going wrong in this scenario.” I don’t think I’ve ever screamed at an episode of television as much as I have during ‘The Battle of the Bastards’. What a bunch of idiots. None more so, of course, than our new King in the North, Jon Snow.
Now, being upfront with you all, I’ve never had any warm and fuzzy feelings for Jon Snow. Obviously, having read the books, I’ve realised his importance but that doesn’t make me like him. I mean Dany is obviously important but that doesn’t stop her being an irritating fuck all the time. So yeah, knew he was destined for greatness but never believed he deserved it. For one thing, his fucking man ponytail has been the worst thing about season 6. I mean his hair has always looked shit but this takes the fucking cake. Then, let us not forget that Jon Snow has royally fucked up everything he’s ever tried to do.
- He was desperate to join the Night’s Watch and then instantly regretted his decision. He immediately made a ton of enemies and beat the shit out of many of his fellow wannabe brothers. Not a great start.
- Almost as soon as he has said his vows Jon is ready to break them to join the fight with Robb. If it hadn’t been for his friends, Jon would have been branded a deserter and killed… helping nobody fight anybody,
- (TV show only) Jon pisses off Crastor by not following the Old Bear’s commands and gets the Night’s Watch kicked out into the fucking cold.
- Lets Ygritte go causing him and Qhorin to get captured. This leads to Jon having to pretend to turn traitor and kill Halfhand to prove it. Once again, Jon breaks his vows by succumbing to Ygritte’s womanly wiles. Like a bloody idiot.
- Leaves his post as Mormont’s steward leaving him vulnerable to a murderous mutiny. Like a bloody idiot.
- Becomes Commander of the Night’s Watch, sends his only ally away and pisses off the rest of his brothers to the point that they all stab him repeatedly… to the death.
- (TV show only so far) Vows revenge of Ramsay Bolton for taking his home, kidnapping his brother and raping his sister. Fails to take any advice from aforementioned sister and walks straight into Ramsay’s trap. Nearly gets himself and Tormund the Epic killed. Like a bloody idiot.
- (TV show only so far) Somehow manages to get Winterfell back but, instead of keeping Ramsay alive for potential political leverage, he allows his sister to set starving dogs on him. No matter how justified it was it was a fucking stupid military move to kill your greatest prisoner.
- (TV show only so far) Becomes King of the North whilst failing to see the potential enemies he has in Sansa and Little Finger. Also, fails to have his main source of protection, a fucking Direwolf, with at all times. Like a bloody idiot.
- A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George RR Martin
I know I know. I’m still reading this and it’s fucking ridiculous. It’s been weeks and I feel like I’m getting no further with it. That’s not because it isn’t good but because I’m just not in the mood. It’s really well written and, in my opinion, easier to read than A Song of Ice and Fire. It’s less intense and more fun than that but still as detailed and engrossing. I just need to get into the reading spirit or I’ll never move on.
- A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
I already own this book but my old edition is so battered by this point that I wanted a nice one again. I decided it was time to start amassing the beautiful photographic covers that were released a few years ago. I’m not sure I’m completely on board with them but they look a lot sleeker than the previous illustrated ones. At the very least they’ll look better on my bookshelf. The main reason I bought it? I contemplating reading the series again. At the very least, I think I need to go back to all of book 5 before book 6 comes out. There’s so much I think I rushed through and the whole Mance Rayder at Winterfell plot needs to be revisited. Otherwise I’m going to be fucking clueless by the time The Winds of Winter comes out.
- The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall
Not really sure where the idea for this one came from. I think I read it on one of those stupid lists I’m so fond of. However, here I am with a copy and no real idea what the book is about. It’s something to do with memory and loss or something. Still, I’ve heard good things about it so I’ll give it a chance. A few Amazon reviews claim it’s too weird and “out there” and I’m always a lover of that kind of thing.
- The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
Stephen King writing a Medieval murder mystery? Doesn’t that sound perfect? Yeah, I know my relationship with King has been iffy in the past but I’m always willing to give it another go. This book seems more relaxed than his other books but I’m looking forward to seeing his spin on the genre.
- Game of Thrones
Started re-watching this in time for the finale of the current season. The last episode was so good but I have many issues. So much so I think I’m planning a week of Game of Thrones related rants starting next week. It’s a change to our scheduled programming but I need to get a few things off my chest.
- The Avengers: Age of Ultron
I haven’t seen Age of Ultron since it came out in the cinema but, when buying a Father’s Day gift last week, I couldn’t resist an offer. Age of Ultron still isn’t that great but it let me see just how many great lines Ultron had. I mean just look at the scene where he accidentally rips of Ulysses Klaue’s arm and tells him it’ll heal up nicely. There are some really funny moments in this film but it still doesn’t live up to what I hoped that it would be. It’s a shame.
Yann Demange offers up a fantastic debut with ’71, a film set just before the most brutal year of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Taking place in the year preceding Bloody Sunday, it’s safe to say the tension is rife: there are rifts between the British and Irish; the Catholic Nationalists and Protestant Loyalists; and between the different factions on each side.