Another weekender: Random movie reviews

Day 76. 128,036 words.

I drafted this a while back, but it’s going to be a busy weekend so here you are.

Back during our flight home from our Australian adventure, I got some time to watch a few random movies. Here’s some brief reviews. On the flight from Perth to Hong Kong, I saw:

1) Kingsman 2: Oh Fuck We Got Asked For A Sequel. Featuring Eggy, the word “bruv”, and a horrifically bad explanation for Mister D’Arcy surviving the first movie (not to mention that anal-sex-reward-based relationship with Swedish royalty), this was mildly amusing but my airline chicken and sausage was better. And my airline chicken and sausage wasn’t great. Also starring Maude Lebowski and The Dude as themselves.

2) Deadpool. Because it was on the list so of course I watched it. Duh. I tried something new with movie #1 and I got burned.

3) Passengers. Starring Star Lord as Bill Murray and Jennifer Lawrence as Andie Macdowell, this futuristic Groundhog Day remake was fun to watch and very pretty, but who hires Laurence Fishburne to be part of a starship crew? That fucker’s CV is a mess at best. Also, Star Lord’s best bet was either to break down on the first day and admit that he woke Katniss up out of loneliness and then work through that issue over the course of the next year, or READ THE FUCKING PASSENGER MANIFEST AND START WAKING UP USEFUL PEOPLE I DON’T CARE IF THEY WEREN’T CREW.

I also watched some episodes of Family Guy. They were a travesty but at least I cracked a smile.

On the flight from Hong Kong to Helsinki, I saw:

1) Big Game. I’d been meaning to watch this for a while because the Rare Exports movie was pretty good (although their short movie was much better, and worth buying the DVD just for that). This was … meh. Not particularly interesting, although an amusing Finnish variant on Crocodile Dundee 2. If laughing at USians out of their element in foreign countries is wrong, I don’t want to be right. I mean, look at Full Metal Jacket. Anyway yeah, this was not a terrible movie, but I can’t recommend it. I can’t even say it was an accurate portrayal of Finnish woodsfolk.

2) The Martian. An amusing and entertaining movie, lots of fun to watch even if it was a bit dodgy on the believability (I think you have to forgive that once movies start putting people on other planets) and I was beginning to have serious trouble staying awake at this point. I think I actually drifted off, was woken up for breakfast, and skipped back to the last bit I remember to watch it through properly. So I can say it was worth doing that, so it can’t have been all bad. I was annoyed at the way they’d dubbed and smudged over the swearwords, too. The best line in the movie, about Matt Damon sciencing the shit out of his situation, was ruined.

3) The Simpsons Movie. Just, again, because I knew it was good and I hadn’t seen it in a while – and also because I wanted to nap. And I did.

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Author fight!

Day 75. 125,772 words.

Well … okay, there probably won’t be an author fight since this poor little nobody seems to have fallen through the cracks like a tinpot third world military dictator’s threats of global annihilation. But what the heck, I thought it was amusing.

Alastair Reynolds’s cover artist has clearly taken a leaf out of Gabriel’s book – specifically the topmost leaf – leaving 2015’s Fergunakil and 2016’s Revenger looking very similar. I’m going to have to read the book and see whether the ship on the cover (which I think is Monetta’s Mourn, but could be the pirate’s ship or some other one entirely) measures up against a derelict Damorakind warship with a user interface consisting of one and a half million giant cybernetic sharks.

I suspect the Anger and Lethargy has it in her to win this one. Even if her paltry creator lets the side down a bit.

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Moana / Vaiana (a review)

Day 74. 123,730 words.

(Reviewer’s note: I am not adding images to this review, and probably won’t bother in future. Google image search has gimpversioned itself to death and basically made it a huge pain in the arse to find images of decent size and quality that don’t breach sharing agreements, so fuck ‘em)

Not having seen this movie either for some unfathomable reason (although Wump did reveal that she’d seen it at the cinema with mommo, the fact that she was happy to sit through it again was enough to tell me that it was alright), the other day we sat down to watch Moana. Or, as it’s called in Europe for some reason, Vaiana.

My original assumption, which was that the main character’s name was Moana and that’s why the movie was called that and the “translation” to Vaiana made no sense, was shattered by the main character’s name being revealed to be Vaiana. So it was Moana that made no sense!

Don’t worry, USians. I’m getting there.

In fact, the movie was dubbed both ways, so the name of the main character and the name of the movie remains perfectly consistent. She’s Moana in some places, and Vaiana in others. I didn’t quite get to the bottom of why, but it was something to do with copyrights and trademarks. Also moana being a brand of ice cream in Romania, and Moana being a famous porn star in Spain.

None of which really makes much difference to the movie.

I really enjoyed this one too. It had some great characters, some nice reversals of expectations while still maintaining that familiar set of Disney tropes. And some great voice performances from the cast. But we all knew that The Rock could sing.


Yes, a very enjoyable movie, great songs, and a few laugh-out-loud moments. I didn’t find anything to be dissatisfied with, although I am admittedly an uncritical movie watcher. Oh, Alan Tudyk was in the movie, but he played like “Villager #2”. I would have liked him to have more of a role … but I don’t know, maybe this was an intentional move to not make it all about The Alan Tudyk Character. Which happens – to me at least, because I love him – in every movie where he has a role.

As an amusing link-up to yesterday’s movie review, Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords fame provided the voice of Tamatoa in this movie, and did a pretty good job. He also voiced the Fleshlumpeater in The BFG. So there was that. Oh, he’s also a friend of Taika Waititi and they performed together, but they’re both New Zealanders so that checks out.

In conclusion:

Another great movie. Go check it out on, uh, Netflix or on DVD or download or stream it from somewhere, I don’t know. By the time I finish writing this review, the technology and platform will have changed again so why bother.

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Hatboy’s log, additional: Hawking

I was saddened to learn this morning of Professor Stephen Hawking‘s death. He was 76 years old.

I don’t understand even a fraction of the things he knew and spoke of, but his was a simply incredible mind. Humanity was richer for his existence, continues to be richer for his contributions, and is now poorer for his departure from this biological state.

Not a bad run, for a man who was given two years to live back in 1963. Guess when you’re the master of time, space, matter, energy,  cosmology, relativity, quantum mechanics and the underlying mathematics of it all, you can make two years go a long way.

It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.

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The BFG / IKJ (a review)

Day 73. 123,730 words.

(Reviewer’s note: I am not adding images to this review, and probably won’t bother in future. Google image search has gimpversioned itself to death and basically made it a huge pain in the arse to find images of decent size and quality that don’t breach sharing agreements, so fuck ‘em)

After many, many years, after enjoying this classic book by Roald Dahl myself as a child, and after reading it to Wump and more recently reading it to Toop, I finally got a chance to sit down (thanks to Mr. Itkobloom) and watch the movie adaptation of The BFG.

“BFG”, to those who may not know, stands for “Big Friendly Giant” – which is why in Finland the movie and the book are known as IKJ – “Iso Kiltti Jättiläinen”. I’ve always considered the name to be a bit misleading, because the story is about a giant who is actually the smallest of ten giants. He’s only about half their size, possibly because he’s a vegan. I don’t want to get into the levels there.

Anyway, the point is, the book should probably have been called The LFG.

I’ve loved this story for a long time. The ten giants and their strange somewhere-on-the-blank-back-pages-of-the-atlas country was an inspiration to me in the formative stages of my writing career. I think ten is a magic number in the Pinian urverse, to some extent, because of these ten strange immortals.

But I digress, a bit. I was delighted to see the book brought to life, and remain so faithful to the book. Those parts that were added really only improved the texture of the BFGverse, and the parts that were removed … well, let’s just say the movie didn’t suffer from the lack of conversations about how Greeks tasted greasy, hottentots were hot, and people in Baghdad were cutting each other’s heads off left, right and centre.

Yes, there were some additions. I think the format changes to the BFG’s cave made sense, because the book was maybe a little poorly described. Making the giants scared of water was a nice touch, and allowed for a few sidesteps of logistical issues in terms of confronting and containing the fuckers. And the addition of the side-story of the BFG’s previous human friend was really nice. They could have gone all-in for a creepy or horrifying vibe, or pushed even harder at the feels button and made it much sadder … but they walked the line cleverly. And really, if he’d been around since the dawn of time, it was pretty unbelievable that Sophie was the first human who’d seen him.

My main – indeed, just about only – complaint was that Mister Tibbs was a bit poorly cast and did not have those wonderfully butlery qualities Dahl talks about in his story. But that’s a minor thing. I also would have suggested that maybe the palace frobscottle scene would have worked better with everybody except the Queen whizzpopping. Because the Queen does not whizzpop. But I’ll allow it. Mostly because I was pleased they didn’t go nuts with a stupid amount of whizzpopper jokes and physical comedy. It was handled just tastelessly enough.

I also loved that the Queen was played by Harriet Jones, Prime Minister. I would have loved it even more if she had reminded someone she was Queen, and been told “yes, I know who you are.” But we can’t have everything, can we?

What a fun movie. I can’t recommend it enough.

And if you’re going to read the book to impressionable young children … ehh, maybe a little bit of editing on the fly is necessary. I don’t know. I certainly didn’t worry about it. I just chuckled and explained to Wump that well, that’s sort of how people approached foreign cultures in those days.

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Day 72. 123,730 words.

In a few short months I (an Australian, it scarcely needs to be said) have gone from not even knowing the Scottish community in Finland, to becoming their official piper and friend, then joining the Finnish Scottish Society as a member … and now I am the Society’s Vice Chairperson.

Funny old world.

There doesn’t seem to be much to the job, aside from chairing meetings when the Chairperson can’t make it. I’m not super-concerned about this happening since our man Dave is a pretty solid attendee and contributor.

Last year’s Vice Chairperson, amusingly, had to chair the Annual General Meeting in the absence of last year’s Chairperson, and handled it very well even though she then stood down as Vice Chairperson which is why muggins here ended up with the job. So let’s see how the year goes. They’re a great crowd really. You should all sign up as members. It’s only €10 per year, and you get discounts on events that basically pay for your membership after the first two tickets. Go on, go and sign up. I’ll wait.


Here’s a Scottish My Little Pony in the meantime. Did you know that the unicorn is Scotland’s national animal? That’s just taking the piss, and I love it.

Anyway, I’ve decided to style my Vice Chairpersonship after MacBeth, and make vaguely threatening insinuations about having my eyes on the Chair even if I really don’t. Mrs. Hatboy is on board with this extended joke and we already know she’s the power behind the Hat.

This political development also means that last night I got help setting up my Finnish Scottish Society Board e-mail address from a bloke using the handle “Rab McHunt”. Which is something of a first.

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Well today’s just been bullshit

Day 71. 123,491 words.

Damn it, I didn’t even manage to write 123,456 words. Maybe I should go and delete thirty-five words just so I’ll have something to show for my irritating goddamn day.

I did enjoy a cool little uptick in writing over the weekend, mainly because I figured out what was happening in this third short story. And also because I went and locked myself in the bedroom with my phone for an hour after the fifth time I tried and failed to explain the concept of “just sitting and relaxing for an hour before we do more stuff” to Wump and Toop. I did feel a bit bad about that but we went to the pool shortly afterwards and it was fun.

Grr, but today has been a mess of irritating little scrap-ends of jobs. And not the satisfying “just this last little bit and then at least that job is done” sort of scrap-ends, either.

On the plus side, I guess technically I’ve chipped away a tiny bit at a selection of my different work-related tasks, but none of them actually got done to my satisfaction. Not today, anyway.

And that leaves me annoyed.

Oh well.

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