Monday, 14 December 2009

The Taking of Pelham 123

I have to say that I wasn't really sure about this, it seemed to be lacking pretty much anything, plot, acting, competent dialogue, anything that you really look for in a film. Safe to say that I wasn't really impressed by it.
Denzel Washington plays Walter Garber, a controller of the subway when one of the trains is high-jacked by Ryder (John Travolta) and other. Unsurprisingly the 'others' don't take much part in the proceedings, serving as canon fodder and people to be ordered about by Travolta. In fact, Washington and Travolta are really the only characters in the entire film, everyone else is just plot and space filling, allowing for the fact that it would be difficult to have an hour and a half (and believe me, it feels longer) film with only two people in it.
Ryder and others hi-jack a subway train and demand $10 million within the hour or they'll start killing hostages, and yes the hostages include a mother a son, a young man with a pretty girlfriend who is elsewhere, an idiot business man and a hero, and all play their parts just as you would expect them to.
Before they realise that a hi-jack has happened, and instead think that there has been a malfunction on the train Walter Garber tries to contact the driver, thus bringing himself to the attention to Ryder and thus becoming that only man that Ryder will deal with.
As money is rushed across the city (by quite possibly the most incompetent police escort ever seen) Walter Garber is given a crash course in hostage negotiation by the only other character in the film who has more than five lines to himself, the real police hostage negotiation that Ryder refuses to deal with.
Ryder then declares that the money must be delivered to him by Walter Garber and then Garber is pulled in to the events while he and 'others' try to escape with the money. So, how will it end? See if you can work it out?
There's nothing new or interesting in the script, it's all very predictable, and the script is incredibly uninspired.

As it's probably apparent I really wasn't impressed by it, nothing really stands out in my mind as a positive point about it.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Footsteps in the Dark by Georgette Heyer.

I'll be honest and start by saying that I really like Georgette Heyer's writing. I think that her plots, especially her mystery books are superbly constructed and the characters are wonderful!
After the effusive introduction I'll now try to say a bit more about the book itself. Footsteps in the Dark tells of Peter, Margaret, Celia and Charles, typical Heyer mystery main characters 1930s well off, living a life of pleasure. Peter Margaret and Celia are brother and sisters and Charles is the husband of Celia. Peter, Margaret and Celia inherit a house from their uncle, and with it comes the legend of The Monk who haunts the grounds and terrorises whoever lives there, they of course think that the idea of a ghostly Monk is ridiculous, until things start to go bump in the night. Heyer then throws in a diverse range of characters, each person capable of being The Monk.
Margaret and Celia fall into the two types the Heyer most commonly uses in her thrillers, Celia is a bit of a wimp, not quite enough that you want to slap her, although it is a close run thing, who is terrified of everything and needs constant reassurance from her brother and husband, where as Margaret is calm, collected and practical, she is of course the main heroine, and yes, of course, the one who falls in love.
The peripheral characters show quite a variety, a slightly surly land lords, a drug addicted french artist, an eccentric butterfly collector, a vacuum sales man and a man on a fishing holiday in the local area.
Plot, Heyer creates quite a ghostly atmosphere, but, because this is a Heyer thriller you know that it isn't going to be a ghost that is responsible for the 'hauntings', rather this is going to be a Scooby Doo novel where teh ghost will have his mask removed and prove to be Mr Jenkins the janitor who would have got away with it if it hadn't been for those pesky kids. So, this is a novel of who dunnit, who's the ghost? I didn't get it right, I worked out who it wasn't, but I hadn't quite got as far as working out who it was by the time the mask was removed.
I enjoyed it, it's a good fun read, not to taxing, but at the same time not something that you have to concentrate on massively either. Heyer's writing does seem a little dated to some people, but personally I don't struggle with it all. All in all I'd recommend it if you want an enjoyable thriller that you can curl up and read with a cup of tea.