Valkyrie Review

A much awaited movie for myself as I’m a bit of a history buff, Valkyrie arrived at the UK cinemas on the 23rd January, the same weekend as Underworld: Rise of the Lykans and whilst I will be seeing them both this weekend Valkyrie came first. An awesome cast portrays the circle of men who attempted to assassinate Hitler for the last time during the Second World War. Tom Cruise plays Claus von Stauffenberg who was the key role in delivering the final blow to the Nazi Regime and ending the Second World War and stopping the destruction of Europe and the rest of the world.

Valkyrie

Operation Valkyrie or (Operation Walküre)  as it was also known was an operation developed for the Reserve Army of the German Army. The plan was approved by Adolf Hitler himself unknowing that it was in fact a plan against himself. The original Operation Valkyrie before Claus Von Stauffenberg rewrote it was intended to be used in the event that Allied bombing of German cities resulted in a breakdown in law and order or an uprising from the millions of forced laborers working in the German factories.

VALKYRIE FROM THE OUTSET

The first six minutes of the movie which you can watch courtesy of Apple make you sit back in your seat for what you expect to be an intense 1hr 30 minutes of your life. There is nothing better than secret wartime plans, plots and assassination attempts to get the heart racing but when it boiled down to it my heart didn’t race nor was I sat back in my seat for long.

Whilst this was a blockbuster movie it was more of a history lesson for the people in the audience who didn’t know much about this particular poignant piece of our history. It was after all the last ditch attempt to oust Hitler from power and stop the rest of the SS and Hitler loyalists from taking over and carrying on where Hitler had been.

IT WAS OK… JUST

The movie was just ok, it didn’t particularly go much further than OK. The cast were very good and every member had been specifically placed and suited to each character. Tom Cruise was very good and definitely suited his role best, and further reading on Claus von Stauffenberg shows just how much Cruise had likened himself.

What more can I say? I’m looking forward to Underworld: Rise of the Lykans.

Seven Pounds Review

A muchly anticipated movie from Will Smith after the Pursuit of Happyness. I will not count Hancock and I Am Legend as my reviews of those were not the best. This time round I thought Will Smith would be able to give us something to watch, enjoy and talk about. Two of those things happened and one was a major fail.

Will Smith plays Ben Thomas, an IRS Agent with a secret who starts a journey of redemption by changing the lives of others.

Seven Pounds Review

Listening to Radio 1 a few mornings ago, the whole team were stating that Seven Pounds would have you crying like a small girl even if you were the manliest of men. Whilst there were a lot of people leaving the movie in tears (mostly middle aged women I might add) I just couldn’t understand why people thought it was so sad. I thought it was a pretty boring movie, I nearly fell asleep in parts and to glorify a subject which the movie follows thoroughly annoys me!

Factually I am not sure if half of the things in the movie could medically happen, it’s increasingly difficult to like a film when you can’t actually believe the story never mind agree with the subject matter.

I hope Will Smith gets back on track soon with his movies as the past 3 or 4 have not been worth the money spent on them.

I’M NOT GOING TO SPOIL IT FOR YOU

I’m certainly not about to create a spoiler as it could be so easily done and you’ll probably know the outcome of the movie within ten minutes of sitting down but I’d like you to make your own judgement. The review could have been so much better if the movie wasn’t so obvious in its plot.

Valkyrie is the movie I am looking forward to and fingers crossed its a whole lot better than some of the movies I have seen recently.

Seven Troop Book Review

Seven TroopAndy McNab, a British Army and SAS Veteran. One of the guys who didn’t get away and had to suffer day upon day of torture at the hands of his Iraqi captors during Gulf War One. Andy started his military life in the Royal Green Jackets where he stayed for 8 years before heading off to selection for the Special Air Service (SAS). One of Andy’s first books, Immediate Action, was his account of his life going for SAS selection. It is an incredible read. Now he writes another personal account of his life following on from the days of selection, his first days in his new regiment, his new troop and his new life. He made friends and lost them and details everything in Seven Troop.

Immediate Action was about Andy McNab going for SAS selection from his Green Jackets regiment, it was his personal account of his life whilst trying to get into one of the most renowned special forces regiments in the world.

Back in 1983, Andy McNab was B Squadron of the SAS. This was one of the four squadrons of the SAS. He was picked to be in Air Troop which is also known as Seven Troop. Andy McNab joined a group of men who over the years would become his closest friends. After becoming the freshly badged SAS Trooper he headed out to the Malayan jungle and met up with his new troop. Each member of the troop has a place in the book, some more prevalent than others.

Seven Troop

This book is a sad story of loss, losing friends who were never meant to go. From Al Slater, one of the training staff in the 1980’s program “The Para’s”, to Nish and Frank Collins, Andy has lost a lot of people and friends to a variety of reasons.

Beyond all of that Seven Troop is a huge account of ten years in a secret service with details of some never-before-revealed operations. Drama, action and thrill had me enthralled for the 3 days Seven Troop took to read. I never wanted to put the book down.

Seven Troop is a reflective look upon the armed forces and the underlying problems that occur when back home, post traumatic stress disorder is an illness which is frequently published about in the media however when McNab was in the service it wasn’t one of the things which you talked about. Even the tough SAS lads have trouble dealing with the jobs they’ve been tasked to complete.

I don’t want to give too much away as it is such a good read.

I’m a hypocrit of sorts

Way back in August 2007 I decided to start my own blog. I have a deep history of using content managed websites from my days of running the nvmax.com website and wanted a place to scribble down my own thoughts about what I was doing. I also wanted to carry on doing reviews for which I had been doing for a long time.

WordPress Blog

The old blog was held together with shoe strings and bubble gum, it was a carved up older theme for which I liked the look of. I’ve never known much PHP so was rather apprehensive about starting to amend and change a theme when I had only started using wordpress. Using wordpress was the first time I had really known what was involved in this thing people called blogging. Browsing the web enabled me to find so many more bloggers, one of which was Matt Brett. I enjoyed reading Matt’s gaming reviews and still do today. Looking and reading Matt’s various posts about wordpress made me more intrigued at how it all worked.

WordPress has come a long way in such a short time, a year has passed since I first started using it and there have been so many noticeable improvements. The interface for the dashboard has changed entirely and even though the differences between 2.6 and 2.7 were so huge, the usability got better with it. There are more plugins than ever before and with the likes of jquery making an ever impressive gut punch into our web world you can do so much more with the front end. It’s now a time for enjoying what wordpress can do, and all though it doesn’t tick every box it certainly covers a lot of them.

I started reading Adii Rockstars blog shortly after Matt Brett’s last year, I can’t exactly remember why I ended up at Adii’s but it may have been after seeing a post about his premium news themes. His premium news theme at the time reminded me so much of nvmax.com that it brought memories flooding back. WordPress as a news theme is tremendous, it is one of its largest uses today.

Fairly recently Adii joined up with Magnus Jepson and Mark Forrester to start WooThemes. They have developed a range of different premium themes which you buy a licence form, of which all a fantastic quality and build. They’ve pulled out all the stops to provide their users with themes which they know they want, some of which have now been used for websites like gomediazine.com.

I’ve learnt a lot about wordpress from Magnus, he seems to hint at what you need to do rather than tell you all the gory details therefore you learn so much more and quicker.

I’M A HYPOCRIT

I am a hypocrit. Why you might be asking. I don’t believe designers should be using a premium theme which they haven’t designed. Yet, I’ve went and done this myself by using the Over Easy Theme. I listed my reasons for using Over Easy in the “why I’m overeasy” post, it was mainly because I was so busy with work and other projects that I couldn’t devote the time I wanted or needed to a new blog design. I am yet to find the perfect life/work balance which I can enjoy the best of both worlds. My old blog theme as I said earlier was held together with shoe strings and bubble gum and the easiest way to fix this was use a premium theme as I trusted the build quality.

I do believe that designers and even some developers should prove their worth as such by working on their own blog (if they have one already).

My overall view is that it would be slightly weird if I was to sit and use a theme designed by Veerle Pieters, Matt Brett or Elliot Jay Stocks rather than doing my own blog with my own unique tastes. I simply do not have the time.

It would be interesting to see what other designers and developers views are?

Australia Movie Review

Australia, a film all about Australia?

A film by Baz Luhrmann, the guy I knew best for creating a song about sun cream…

Starring Nicola Kidman and Hugh Jackman, Australia is an epic movie with a romantic twist yet with action and adventure throughout. Set in the time that Australia was about to feel World War 2 at home, a posh Lady from England (Nicole Kidman) travelled thousands of miles to find out what her Husband had been doing with their foreign business.

Arriving she finds out some tragic news and needs the help of a local man called Drover (Hugh Jackman) to keep the business afloat and out of reach of the largest cattle company profiteer in Australia. Together with her new family and new found love, they travel across Australia to Darwin just as the Japanese Air Force are bombing Pearl Harbour. Their journey is treacherous but the adventure doesn’t stop as the Japanese then head towards Australia and launch a bombing campaign on Darwin. It’s an extensive adventure in the land of Oz!

SURPRISED AT AUSTRALIA

I hadn’t rushed to the cinema to go and see Australia, in fact it was purely pot luck that I ended up seeing it at all. Typically there was nothing else on at the time that I wanted to go. I checked out a couple of reviews which said that Australia was an epic fail rather than an epic which didn’t have me rushing off my seat anymore to get there. It was the only movie on so I wasn’t going to see anything else and the real movies I want to see aren’t out for a week or so. Jennifer really didn’t want to see it.

It started at 1pm, we walked out at 3:55pm almost 3 hours later. Granted I moved around in my seat a little just so I didn’t turn to stone but I wasn’t bored. Not once. I thought the movie was going to end a couple of times but it carried on going. It seemed to add on chapters of a story where you would usually find the movie stopped and followed up in a years time. It was a terrific story from beginning to end, it was a moving story even if it was partially a love story.

HISTORY

There is a lot of history in the movie, a lot of it I didn’t know much about. Being a bit of a history geek I enjoyed learning more than the normal cinema gower but putting that to one side the story wasn’t affected by it.

It’s a long story but I’d watch it again and may possibly hit my DVD list.