26 Jun 2013

Ironman III

 Good gravy with storms and other such things I have fallen a little behind in schedule with movies. In order to raise emergency funds to support my need for cinema, I tried to sell government secrets, but no one cared, I tried to become a highwayman, but ANZ beat me to it so i just had to budget better.

But great news when I suggested going to see Iron Man 3 the girls readily agreed. Yay the girls.

Although enough of that, on with a synopsis!

 Iron Man 3 is set after The Avengers, and Tony Stark is haunted by the battle with Loki and the alien army. Tony Stark cannot sleep, and despite being a millionaire genius with a beautiful fiance who defeated an alien invasion, he is not at peace.
While Tony is trying to deal with recent events, his friend and ex bodyguard Happy is critically injured in one of the recent terrorist attacks by the Mandarin. In response to his friends injuries Stark challenges the Mandarin directly. But is Iron Man up to the challenge of a man who can threaten the President at will? or will the Wall crumble and the Lannister's keep the throne? Oops sorry wrong Stark.

After reading 2 books and an entire season of Game of Thrones  everything started to blur

Ensue Marvel-lous hijinx (see what I did there)

Since Christopher Nolan took the nipples off the bat suit, there has been success in darker, grittier  super hero films. But Joss Whedon kinda bucked that trend with Avengers. I also believe that the success of the Iron Man films (no not trilogy as there will be another) is  the humour. The films are not bloody or gory, they have enough pathos, fighting, and enough redemption for any super hero film with out resorting to nipples and gore. We took a 12 year old to Iron Man 3 and she loved it. Not too much fighting and lots of laughs. The inclusion of Harly (Ty Simpkins) was also great addition without seeming forced or trite. 

Robert Downey Jr brings wit and credibility to the role of Iron Man. He makes the films fun and exceptionally entertaining. Well he makes the films. Guy Pearce and Ben Kingsley are great, as always and both create great villains opposite Downey Jr. Paltrow is fine as Pepper Potts and Cheadle while good, seems to lack screen time. However this is definitely a film that does and should revolve around
Robert Downey Jr/Tony Stark.

Apparently hard core comic fans did not like the storyline of this film, for reasons I will not divulge, but I thought it was fun. Like many trilogies the third is better than the second. Shane Black, the writer and director who is known for the Lethal weapon franchise, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang brings elements of the buddy film with the relationship between Don Cheadle and Robert Downey Jr, but not in a derivative way. The film is still very much Starks story. 

Good fun story, good effects, good acting and a good instalment for the franchise. 

7 monkeys

22 Jun 2013

Game of Thrones Season 3

When I was a wee boy a friend of the family was staying with us. The best way to describe her is as a Wodehousian-aunt like figure. I must have been well behaved (I was once) because she brought me two small booklets of Greek myths. It was from such wonderful beginnings that my love of history and fantasy began.

But that love faded over time. Trite story lines, two dimensional characters, and predictable plots drove me from fantasy for several years.  Then I read Game of Thrones and George R. R. Martin rekindled that love and reminded me that fantasy can be so much more. I thinks it is great, and for the last couple of years HBO has been bringing it to the screen.

My partner and I had a marathon to catch up and it was full of candles, roast meat, wine. I have to recommend a good marathon especially over winter.  As requested here is my take on Season 3.


Season three takes us beyond the wall with Jon and the crows seeking out the King of the North, the civil war between the Starks, GreyJoys, Lannisters and Baratheons and the uncivil war in the royal court between Tyrion, Cersei, along with the introduction of the Tyrells. Last, but not least Daenerys Targaryen and her struggle for power to reclaim the iron throne. There is so much to talk about I will touch on the major Characters:

Jon Snow
A rather chilly Jon's (Kit Harington) journey north of the wall takes him into Mance Rayder's (played by the very cool Ciarán Hinds) camp, bringing him into contact with Giants, wildlings and the King beyond the wall (sadly no mammoths). Jon joins the wildlings and his growing relationship with the saucey Ygritte brings his loyalty to the crows into question. But Jon's loyalty to his father's people and the wildlings callous disregard for their lives wins over and he chooses duty over love.
I think Jon has a long way to go yet, and he might just survive this. I thought Harington plays the young Snow very well, he balances vulnerability and strength equally when needed. The scenes with Rose Leslie were very good, although she definitely wears the trousers in the relationship. I am sure we haven't seen the last of her. Mackenzie Crook gave a good performance of the Warg Orell.

A little mention for Sam Tarly, he is a over weight, cowardly custard, but he has a massive heart and a cleverer mind that is often over looked due to his shy nature. It is easy for people like Jon and Robb to be heroes, but more and more I find myself rooting for him. While he is weak and soft and a coward, he finds his strength when there are those weaker than he that needs help. When Gilly and her baby were in danger young Sam rescued her. And of course we learn that Sam has the secret to defeating the white walkers.

Robb and Catelyn Stark
How can any red blooded man not like Robb Stark (Richard Madden); a brilliant general, a good leader, strong, handsome and apparently stupidly stupid over skirt. Yes brave Robb, the wolf of the north didn't lose a single battle, but he made some poor decisions. The worst of course was falling for Talisa and marrying her, breaking his oath to Walder Frey. Whether we can blame Talisa (Oona Chaplin) for the various bad choices he made in season three, (of course we should that devil woman!), or whether his youth and inexperience caused those mistakes (naaah it was the chick), but he made one too many. Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairly) couldn't quite make the transition from mother to a lord to mother to a king. In her attempts to save what was left of her family she consistently alienated Robb, which aggravated the problems they had. Still all that aside, The Rains of Castamere episode was excellent. Madden and Fairly gave an excellent performance, to the point where Episode 10 Mhysa, as a little bit of a anticlimax.  Bye Robb I salute you. 

Bran and Rickon Sark

Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and Rickon (Art Parkinson) have escaped the Greyjoys and met up with the enigmatic Reeds. Bran is learning more and more about his dreams and discovers that he is a warg, someone that can possess animals. Following the Reeds counsel he sends Rickon away with Oosha for safety while he heads over the wall north.  Bran meets up with Sam Tarly on his way back and Sam tells them that Dragon glass can kill the white walkers. Brans story is interesting and I am curious to see where it goes. Poor old Rickon doesn't have much of a storyline but if Bran is the new lord of Winterfell, then Rickon is his heir, so I suspect given the next books to come out of Martin are an estimated 3000 pages he will come back. Also in the storyline the body count continues with Maester Luwin dying (veteran actor Donald Sumpter).

Arya Stark

Brave little Aryra is out of the frying pan into the fire. Her alliance with the assassin Jaqen got her and her friends freedom from the Lannisters, only to be captured (again) by the Brotherhood Without Banners. They intended to ransom her to the Tullys but after they sold her friend Gendry to Melisandre, she runs off.  Only to be captured by the Hound who intends to return her to her mother.  Arya has been captured more times than Daphine from Scooby Doo!  Faced with the slaughter of her entire family she has some names, a coin and a promise. I can’t wait to see where it leads. 
Probably the least favourite character of the series, poor old Sansa is vilified for not being Arya, Robb or Danerys or even Cersei.  I have a soft spot for Sansa who learned at her cost the dangers of court.  Yes of course it was her foolish confession to Cersei that brought about her fathers capture, but I think she has paid for that mistake somewhat.  She is a lonely abused girl who is trying her best to survive with what she has.  She has not wit, or armies or friends, well friends that she can trust.  If she could not marry into the Tyrell, then her marriage to Tyrion is actually a blessing. Not that you can blame her for seeing otherwise, marrying into the family who orchestrated the murder of her family.    I wonder if she will survive them all.

Stannis Baratheon and Matthis the Onion knight.
Matthis and the red priestess battle for Stannis’s soul as he battles for the realm. Unrelenting Stannis is defeated by the Lannisters  when Lord Tywin arrives in the nick of time to rout his army. Matthis struggles to keep his king out of the light and human sacrifice on the road of human decency.  Unfortunately for the onion Knight Melisandre has something to offer the king that Matthis doesn’t in the way of a compelling argument, wink wink.  But the question remains was the death of Robb foretold by Melisandre the work of her god, or was it coincidence?
The Lannisters
 Tyrion with his wit, intelligence and compassion is easily a favourite. Peter Dinklage plays the part exceptionally well and makes the character more likeable than he is in the books.  His compassion for Sansa brings out open defiance against Jofferys madness and cruelty.  Tyrion gets some of the best lines and despite his best attempts to do his duty to his house and the security of the Kingdom, he ends up in a small room disfigured and neglected with his father taking all the glory. But he is not alone.  Jaime is maimed but, unlike Tyrion, his disfigurement appears to ground him. The Kingslayer forms a curious friendship (Starkhome syndrome?) with his captor Brienne of Tarth. Removed of his wealth, his father’s protection and  the love affair with his sister, Jaime turns out to be a decent sort of fellow. The beautiful Cersei on the other hand has no respect from her father, no lover, and only her last child to dote on, and is turning even meaner. 
Theon Greyjoy
 In scenes that probably gave Quentin Tarrentino wood, Theon is being tortured by the rather psychotic Ramsey Snow, the illegitimate son of Lord Roose Boltan after his men betray him and leave him to the Starks justice.  Despised by everyone in Westeros but his sister Yara, who is moved by her little brothers torture to go and get him.
Daenerys Targaryen

 In this season the mother of dragons, through her wits and guiles, amasses a small army. In a brilliant move the destitute queen trades a dragon for an elite army from a slaver. The unsullied are an almost unstoppable force of highly skilled and disciplined warriors that obey without question.  Once they followed Daenerys she ordered them to kill all the slavers, and for the dragon to kill the slavers.  Daenerys is a great character, strong, compassionate, clever and also ruthless. She is everything Cersei wants to be in a queen but is too crazy to be. Daenerys is methodically conquering the land and has slightly lost sight of the Iron Throne in order to destroy the slaver city states but her dragons are growing and if she dallies any more there will be no one left to conquer.

The Tyrells
 So finally we get Lady Olenna Tyrell one of my favorite characters from the books. Yes the Queen of Thorns is an excellent addition to the story and fences with Lord Varys, Lord Tywin and Tyrion. Diana Rigg has brought the character to life and I am excited to see more of her. Her grand daughter Margaery Tyrell (the delicious Natalie Dormer) befriends Sansa, and charms the mental Joffery much to Cersei's displeasure. The Tyrell enter the game of thrones late but make a strong bid for the game. The Lannisters kept them at bay for now by marrying Sansa off to Tyrion. But who knows what will happen in season 4. Hopefuly more Lady Olenna and and Lady Margaery. Oh yeah Loras flounced around blah. 

There was blood, and mud and bottoms galore. Oh a special mention should go to Lord Varys for possibly the creepiest scene ever. Well done Varys. The series are great and in some ways better than the books. I can't wait for season 4.

And wrap up because winter is bloody well here!

14 Jun 2013

Horoscope from madame Shonky Shona


December 22 -
January 19
The rulership of Saturn - the planet representing responsibility, structure and hard work - ensures that Capricorns in their truest of expression, are ambitious, practical and superb organizers. However Saturn is nowhere near you at the moment so I expect you to be unmotivated, unrealistic, and residing in chaos. You are probably at home skiving, watching Emmerdale farm smoking like a chimney and drinking cask wine.
Lucky number  - 345658912.98
January 20 -
February 18
An Aquarian's Secret Desire is  to be unique and original so your used to be emo and now have graduated into a hipster. Except you are the sort of dirty Hipster that states that they hate hipsters and that you are just being ironic.  I hate you as much as  I hate Kanye.
Lucky colour - gingham

February 19 -
March 20
Great googily maloogily you are in for Mr toads wild ride this weekend.  Mars has been invaded by Ice warriors and there is a marathon of Westerous to be had. With an Aqua  moon rising remember that your parents may visit so try to be sober until at least 6ish. Well try.
Lucky wine - Sav

March 21 -
April 19
Whether male or female, Aries people are doers rather than 'talkers, which makes you particularly annoying when you do stuff without asking. Look at Hitler he didn’t ask about Poland and he was a knob end. Remember Poland, remember to ask. Especially in relationships and money so don’t try to snog your bank manager. But no shagging for you this weekend, which may cause problems in your relationship sector  if your partner is a Leo or a Sag as they are definitely getting some somewhere.
Lucky TV doctor -Oz

April 20 -
May 20
The truth is, when Taureans manage to operate very adequately on their own form of automatic pilot, they can switch off from the world around them very efficiently. Which is great when your back is to a window , otherwise you may get into trouble from watching porn um sports, sure sports,  Like volley ball.  But then you do twice as much as those bloody  Arians, with their white power marches and stuff. You deserve shoes! Go get some.  And a beer. Go get a beer.

May 21 -
June 20
Gemini’s evoke so much interest is many born under this sign are utterly mental. Like seriously schitzo. Remember that admin girl Rebecca that lived in the air conditioning for three months? Gemini. That crazy mo fo out  the front writing madness in chalk? Gemini.  With lithium entering your prescription you are in for a fun weekend.
Favourite colour – teletubbies.

June 21 -
July 22
Just as the Moon goes through many changes as it moves from its new to full phases, Cancers too go through many new and full phases of experience. So I guess that was your excuse to take the day off and get smashed on champagne with your mates. Still good day for it. Avoid red headed men though, they smell of toffee and are destined to become carnies so a relationship is doomed. DOOMED. Not even a one night stand is ok as they will get your scent and follow you home.  Just throw salt into their soulless eyes and run.
Lucky colour – sapphire

July 23 -
August 22
Once a Lion is committed to a relationship, they are totally devoted and faithful. But until then they are play-ars.. SO get out there in your hippest duds and best spading shirt and score some rampant strumpets you filthy dog you. Woof woof baby, but remember last week when you gave your real name to that red headed Gemini? major disaster. So pack condoms, cab fare and a fake identity. Hol-lah!
Lucky score-  girl with father issues, yes you might be a girl yourself but come on Leo it is the new millennium get with the program.

August 23 -
September 22
Creative and sensitive, Virgos are delicate people who, like rare and special orchids, require individual treatment to fully blossom into their true unique beauty. So watch out for Sagittarians, Gemini’s and Leos this weekend  because they will take your flower, take it I say and use you like a KFC moist towelette for their pleasure.  Well The Leo’s and Sagittarians will, more than likely the Gemini will lock you in his van and take you to a basement where his dead mother is stored. DON’T DO IT!
Lucky drink water

September 23 -
October 22
Librans can switch off from the world around them and during these periods much more occurs on the deep innermost levels of the Libran's psyche. Well that is what you tell your manager when he catches you dozing at your desk.  Basically you are bored out of your skull  and can’t wait until the clock hits time and you can bail. For a well-deserved drink balance precariously in your hand as you manage your children.  You enjoy your weekends because it allows you your greatest vice. Sloth.
Lucky Manchester - blankie

October 23 -
November 21
With the moon circling Mercury you will struggle with pompous pseudo intellectuals who are trying to justify their ridiculous existence.  But only until four PM and then the sirens call of wine will take you on a magical land of wit, wonder and aesthetics after your second bottle  of house red. Embrace your destiny and if you are single any Sagittarians, and Leos that are nearby.  If you are in a committed relationship be glad of a free ride home by that dreaded fourth bottle.
Lucky colour – Bordeaux  

November 22 -
December 21
A big weekend for you! Carousing, and jollification sauciness, war, and maybe a new TV to be had.  But you must you  must go to the butcher so you can enjoy the butchery.  If you are single try and meet other sagg’s. and Leos, and Pisces those Scorpio girls are trouble  but fun. If you are in a relationship one drink and then home for you Mr! but  there is the promise of fun and laughter ahead, probably  more so than your single companions
Lucky house Stark

12 Jun 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness

JJ Abrams, the lord of the geeks, new movie is out and full of splendour.  I am a little unsure about Abrams being in charge of two of the biggest sci fi franchises.  It is not that he is not a good director, it is just weird that he seems to be a significant creative force from what are basically competing franchises.

Regardless of my or possibly your feelings on the matter this is the reality, so we may as well watch and judge.

And I do love to judge.

Here is a  synopsis of the new Star trek:

Star Fleet has come under attack from one of its own and Captain Kirk, Spock, Bones and the rest of the gang chase the fugitive into enemy territory to bring him to justice.  But the mission starts raising more questions about who is the real enemy as more and more problems arise for the crew.

And that is all I am saying.

Quite a few people haven't seen  Star Trek yet as the I think the anticipation for this film has been muted by films like  Superman  and  Iron Man 3.  And with that in mind I really don't think I can give much more of the story away without spoilers. One thing I will say is if there is a third film I have no idea how they will start it as James Kirk has run out of father figures to murder. But the story was very entertaining. These new Star Trek films are quite clever as they can rehash old stories but take them in a new direction, and it is fun to see where they go.

Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto have made the roles of Kirk and Spock their own. Certainly Pine's Kirk is a more sympathetic character. But growing up with the old series, and while I think Quinto is great, I think Leonard Nimoy will always be the quintessential Spock. Certainly purists might take umbrage with Quinto's Spock in this film, but I thought he was very good.  And while Benedict Cumberbatch was really good as the villain the two stand out actors were Simon Pegg and Karl Urban.

While it is probably a little bit of cultural loyalty, Urbans's McCoy was very entertaining. And it was fun seeing him chase a girl for a change. Urban and Pegg's very over the top Scotty lightened up the film considerably with some great lines.

On the whole the movie was good, better than I thought. I am sure that there will be a third film, and I will definitely see it after this.

Seven and Half monkeys from me.

9 Jun 2013

Stag dos

My lady and I have organised a fair bit of the wedding so far; our venue, the photographer, the reception, and I have emailed David Grohl to see if he wants to play at our wedding.  Fingers crossed

We are really on track on the planning side of things, but one thing we can't control or organise is her hen's night and my stag party.

Apparently historians can trace stag do's back to the ancient spartans. Knowing what I do about the
spartan culture I imagine the groom's friends got him drunk enough so he could cope with the idea of being with a woman. Things have certainly changed since then.
All dressed up for a big night on the town.

I have been to several stag do's over the years and organised a fair few as well.  And while I have had several threats of revenge I am confident that everyone that mattered had fun.  When I orgasnise a stag do I have three major rules:
  1. No infidelity
  2. No physical harm
  3. No cosmetic damage that will ruin eventual wedding pictures
Apart from that it is game on.

When I mean no infidelity, I don't mean that the guys are locked up in a farm in South Waikato playing sausagefest monopoly. Oh no there will be strippers, preferably good dancers with a good sense of humour. Even drunken lunatics on a stag do who would fling money at the animated cast from Fantasisa, get bored watching some lazy skinny P addict stroll up and down a stage to Guns n Roses' Paradise City. I don't really understand why some partners freak out about the traditional strip club visit. What in gods names do you think is going to happen? That some tart with the stage name of 'Roxy'  is going to whisk your fiance away from you?  Seriously not going to happen, and if it would then is this the sort of guy that you should marry?

No physical harm means no hospitalisation. But if we are going to be honest he will probably get a slap or two.

A good stag do is just a good night out. For me it starts with a maybe a bbq or a decent meal, and then various activites until the drinking gets serious and the guys get the stag to perform ludicrous and embarrising acts in a crazy costume.

Good clean fun
 I have been to two awful stags nights and they both involved a bunch of guys hanging around at home. One of them involved porn tapes. I tell you there just isn't enough booze in the world to make watching porn with thirty strangers fun.  But while as a stag you should expect your mates to take you to task, it should also be a great night out, and a chance for old mates to reconect.

Anyway I have absolutely no idea what my brother is planning for mine, but as Queen Elizabeth once said "There will be blood"

2 Jun 2013

Ap-po logies


Sorry for the lack of posts. We have had a crazy busy couple of weeks with engagement parties, moving, moving friends, dancing, indulging my fiancés Doctor theories, and having a rubbish job which drains my energy almost as quickly as listening to an Annabelle Fay song. 

 But Posts to come are:

  • Wedding speeches
  • Stag parties
  • Armageddon 2013 
  • Trousers! Compulsory?
  • Doctor who Racist? or are academics dicks?
 Ok see you guys later