THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

December 15, 2013

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG (3D) (12A)

Run time: 170mins

Director: Peter Jackson   Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Stephen Fry, Orlando Bloom, Lee Pace, Mikael Persbrandt

Synopsis: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug continues the adventure of the title character Bilbo Baggins as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield, on an epic quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain and the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.

From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, is the second in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

The three films tell a continuous story set in Middle-earth sixty years before The Lord of the Rings.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug continues the adventures of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), the Wizard Gandalf ( Ian McKellen) and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) as they journey on their epic quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain and the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.

Having survived the beginning of their unexpected journey, the Company continues East, encountering along the way the skin-changer, Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt) and a swarm of giant Spiders in the treacherous forest of Mirkwood.  After escaping capture by the dangerous Wood-elves, the Dwarves journey to Lake-town, and finally to the Lonely Mountain itself, where they must face the greatest danger of all— the Dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch), a creature more terrifying than any other; one which will test not only the depth of their courage but the limits of their friendship and the wisdom of the journey itself.

The screenplay for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro, and the evocative music is by Howard Shore.

Under Jackson’s direction, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was shot in 3D 48 frames-per-second and will be released in High Frame Rate 3D (HFR 3D) in selected cinemas, other 2D and 3D formats, and IMAX®. 

Set to be a major Christmas hit, the film is full-blooded pacy action romp with giant spiders (not advised for arachnophobiacs) white water barrel rafting, danger, dwarf-elf courtship , a sparkling cameo from Stephen Fry (Master of Laketown) and the utterly brilliant sonorous, basso-profondo voice of Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug/Necromancer.  Martin Freeman’s hobbit character, Bilbo Baggins deepens and darkens in this section of the story as he further contemplates his magic gold ring.  This epic fantasy continues amid mystical landscapes, realised in stunning visuals and breathtakingly beautiful effects, interspersed with the wonderful natural landscape of New Zealand.

 

 

TURBO (U) (3D)

October 14, 2013

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It’s a Wonderful Life

September 27, 2013

It’s a Wonderful Life 

 

So Christmas rolls round again, and with it comes the emblematic Christmas film, as inevitably as the first snowfall is followed by (for those of a certain age) the closure of the A939 Cockbridge to Tomintoul. It’s a Wonderful Life has become the must-see film at Christmas, this year showing in two Glasgow cinemas – the Grosvenor and the Glasgow Film Theatre – proudly carrying its reputation as the ideal festive family film, full of optimism and the milk of human kindness, a positive paean to the nobility of human resilience…Hang on, are we talking about the same film? Isn’t It’s a Wonderful Life one of Hollywood’s darkest films – a tale of financial greed, the disappointment, despair and bitterness of a little man trapped in a small town, climaxing in attempted suicide with only last minute redemption by unearthly intervention?

 

But who said that things have to be shining bright at Christmas? Isn’t the original emblematic Christmas offering, Dickens’ Christmas Carol one of the darkest and scariest stories of all time – from being haunted by the ghost of Jacob Marley to being led by Death, in the guise of Christmas Future to view your own gravestone? The Dickens tale achieves its feel-good status by the same device as It’s a Wonderful Life – the last gasp redemption, the re-assertion of human goodness, the vision of a dire future averted by a positive change in behaviour, the community pulling together in mutual support.

 

The other surprising aspect of one of the world’s most popular films is the length of time it took to reach this status. It just didn’t hit the heights of popular or financial success on its first release in 1946 and its five Oscar nominations produced no awards. It is unknown whether its reputation was harmed by McCarthy era FBI murmurings about its ‘communistic’ depiction of bankers as villains but, from the late 1950s onwards its status grew with each TV screening and it became a ‘Christmas’ film (to the surprise of director Frank Capra). It was clear that far from being unpatriotic, it was a quintessential hymn to American values from Italian immigrant Capra, whose previous works such as Mr Deeds Goes to Town and Mr Smith Goes to Washington had unswervingly championed democracy and the little man against the system.

 

And this is how the film achieves its power. It appeals to the little man/woman inside us all. Like James Stewart we all have had ambitions that were dashed, we’ve all felt trapped by powerful forces beyond our ken, we’ve all compromised our ideals and lost faith in our worth at some time and wished we had a guardian angel to put things right, we’ve all wished for a magical resolution to our financial and emotional troubles; and if it doesn’t happen to us in real life we can at least celebrate vicariously with James Stewart on the silver screen, as he is shown how terrible life would have been without his presence. It reassures us that no matter how humble and unlucky we are, there is still some meaning to life, to be found in the little everyday things.

 

It’s a universal comforter. That other great Victorian novelist George Eliot had summed it up a century before at the end of her novel Middlemarch, when she wrote of her provincial heroine Dorothea: “But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

Oh and did I mention by the way – it’s a wonderful film! Miss it at your peril. See it at the GFT daily from 6-24Imagef

 Photograph courtesy of the Glasgow Film Theatre

 Oh and did I mention by the way – it’s a wonderful film! Miss it at your peril. See it at the GFT daily from 6-24 December.

Pub Quiz question: The drunken drug store owner Mr Gower was played by Hollywood Brit H.B. Warner – what was the greatest role of his career in what 1927 US silent film.

Answer: Jesus Christ in the silent Biblical classic King of Kings

 

It’s a Wonderful Life

September 27, 2013

It’s a Wonderful Life (700 words)

 

So Christmas rolls round again, and with it comes the emblematic Christmas film, as inevitably as the first snowfall is followed by (for those of a certain age) the closure of the A939 Cockbridge to Tomintoul. It’s a Wonderful Life has become the must-see film at Christmas, this year showing in two Glasgow cinemas – the Grosvenor and the Glasgow Film Theatre – proudly carrying its reputation as the ideal festive family film, full of optimism and the milk of human kindness, a positive paean to the nobility of human resilience…Hang on, are we talking about the same film? Isn’t It’s a Wonderful Life one of Hollywood’s darkest films – a tale of financial greed, the disappointment, despair and bitterness of a little man trapped in a small town, climaxing in attempted suicide with only last minute redemption by unearthly intervention?

 

But who said that things have to be shining bright at Christmas? Isn’t the original emblematic Christmas offering, Dickens’ Christmas Carol one of the darkest and scariest stories of all time – from being haunted by the ghost of Jacob Marley to being led by Death, in the guise of Christmas Future to view your own gravestone? The Dickens tale achieves its feel-good status by the same device as It’s a Wonderful Life – the last gasp redemption, the re-assertion of human goodness, the vision of a dire future averted by a positive change in behaviour, the community pulling together in mutual support.

 

The other surprising aspect of one of the world’s most popular films is the length of time it took to reach this status. It just didn’t hit the heights of popular or financial success on its first release in 1946 and its five Oscar nominations produced no awards. It is unknown whether its reputation was harmed by McCarthy era FBI murmurings about its ‘communistic’ depiction of bankers as villains but, from the late 1950s onwards its status grew with each TV screening and it became a ‘Christmas’ film (to the surprise of director Frank Capra). It was clear that far from being unpatriotic, it was a quintessential hymn to American values from Italian immigrant Capra, whose previous works such as Mr Deeds Goes to Town and Mr Smith Goes to Washington had unswervingly championed democracy and the little man against the system.

 

And this is how the film achieves its power. It appeals to the little man/woman inside us all. Like James Stewart we all have had ambitions that were dashed, we’ve all felt trapped by powerful forces beyond our ken, we’ve all compromised our ideals and lost faith in our worth at some time and wished we had a guardian angel to put things right, we’ve all wished for a magical resolution to our financial and emotional troubles; and if it doesn’t happen to us in real life we can at least celebrate vicariously with James Stewart on the silver screen, as he is shown how terrible life would have been without his presence. It reassures us that no matter how humble and unlucky we are, there is still some meaning to life, to be found in the little everyday things.

 

It’s a universal comforter. That other great Victorian novelist George Eliot had summed it up a century before at the end of her novel Middlemarch, when she wrote of her provincial heroine Dorothea: “But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

 

Oh and did I mention by the way – it’s a wonderful film! Miss it at your peril. See it at the GFT daily from 6-24 December

 

Pub Quiz question: The drunken drug store owner Mr Gower was played by Hollywood Brit H.B. Warner – what was the greatest role of his career in what 1927 US silent film.

Answer: Jesus Christ in the silent Biblical classic Kin of Kings

The Artist and the Model

September 26, 2013

The Artist and the Model

Just another cyber cheat

February 28, 2008

To let you know the end of the story of the super internet cheat of Lahore – Nadim Khan

 I have always been interested in South Asia and since doing post-graduate studies in multimedia communications (1999-2000) at a Scottish university – I have been interested in e-business and online and internet communications.
Set against this framework, I first talked to a very persistent, Nadim Khan first in mid -August 2000. He introduced himself as a graphic designer and part-time male model living in Lahore. His location at the time of talk he said was his private cubicle at the offices of Evernew Concepts advertising agency, 17 -L near Mini Market Gulberg 11 Lahore, Pakistan. He supplied professional-looking jpegs (pictures) which he alleged were him and he also emailed samples of advertising campaign artwork which he said he had produced and were signed by his name. ( I have since learned that he gives an N.I.C No of 265-73-208953, address : House No 9-A, Allama Aqbal Road, Mohammad Nagar, Lahore, Punjab. He gives a date of birth as : 02-03-1973)
From the outset, he seemed very unhappy with his life and work in Pakistan and was very keen to find professional opportunities in the UK.

He said that he graduated from the National College of Arts in Lahore (NCA) in 1995 – B.A in graphic designing (major) with a minor in photography.
He suggested that he could do business with me and was very keen to come to UK by November of the year 2000 to set this up. He wrote that he had gone to the UK embassy to make arrangements for a visit.
Other personal details which he provided in the beginning were that he said that he lived at home with a mother and father and 3 younger siblings – 2 brothers (one brother named Tahir who had a very serious illness) and a sister ( a big age gap they were aged 12, 10 and a sister 8 years ).
His father was military retired and his mother a housewife. Some relatives lived in Germany some in Chicago USA. Nadim Khan said that he had visited Chicago for a holiday the previous year. There was a paternal uncle who had a furniture business in Lahore and a cousin Jamal who was studying computing at Masters level. There were a lot of cousins but he was only friendly with Jamal. Other cousin names mentioned were – Shafiq Ahmad Faheem Ahmad and Rahman Khan.
His interests were particularly working out in a gym, art, reading, nature and environment and computers he alleged.
He always alleged that his home situation was very unhappy and that he had few friends and certainly no wife, child or girlfriend or marriage planned. With no family ties he was keen to move.
He said that he and his father had realised that they could no longer continue to live together. Later he said his father drank heavily was abusive and violent and had humiliated him in front of his friend. The cousin, Jamal, who wrote to me alleged that the father was an ‘evil’ person but wouldn’t elaborate further.
In Spring 2001 Nadim Khan moved out to live alone in a rented room he said.
By this time, he had borrowed money from me after he made a disastrous failed attempt to come to the UK, in order to start a freelance business of his own after resigning – he alleged – from the advertising agency.
He was chatting to me online, corresponding or sometimes on the phone (at the Evernew telephone number : 942 5750041 fax – 942 51234 and on a mobile of a Mazhar 00 92 3008455701 many times a week throughout that year. Eventually because of Nadim Khan’s frequent depressive and sometimes even suicidal tone ( against the background of 9/11, the looming Afghan War and other horrors), he wore me down to the extent that I invested money in him in December 2001 so that he could start a graphics business and supply me with work for my clients.

Last time I spoke to him before the alleged accident was on December 24, 2001. On that occasion he told me he was spending New Year’s Eve with the former colleagues from Evernew – who had invited him.

He was living with the cousin Jamal after he ran out of money (after he left the job at Evernew) He left the job because he refused to move to Faisalbad and tried to pay a crooked agent to come to UK and lost all the money. He had his own room then moved to Jamal’s home but left there on December 20.

Jamal said he didn’t know where he was until the hospital and the accident.

We learned of the terrible accident on New Year’s Day – January 1st 2002 – from the cousin Abdul Jamal (Jamal) by email. He said at that point that Nadim had been in hospital for 5 days.

He said that Nadim Khan had suffered serious backbone injuries and seriously broken his right leg requiring operations and rods inserted. He was a patient in Surgimed Hospital, 1 Zafar Ali Rd.
This information was also confirmed in an email from Evernew Concepts on 4-1-2002 and also after I sent ‘get well’ gifts to that office which they confirmed that they had delivered personally to Nadim.
Jamal kept in touch by email and said that he had rented Nadim a room at Tariq Block and a female attendant when he left the hospital. He also spent some weeks recuperating in Muzzafarabad – which he said was cooler- on doctor’s advice. He said he went there alone with a private car and driver when I spoke to him on a mobile of a Mazhar 00 92 3008455701.

Later in 2002 he said he was living at an address in Garden Town but I sent a letter which he said he didn’t receive. In this Tariq Block 200 – he said he shared with a Hammed Chugtai from Sargodha who was married with a new wife at his parents’ home and Hameed was a production manager in textiles.

He asked for yet more money for second hand laptop to start work – he said he was only earning 250/- Pk rupees selling newspapers in the road in the heat.
He said that he went to a mosque called ‘Noor-e-Eman’ and was observing Ramadan
Then Nadim Khan said he needed money for medecines as instructed by a 57 year old Doctor Fasl-ur-Rehman whom he attended once a month at a clinic. These were important painkillers and drugs for wastage in damaged leg.
He also claimed a lump in this leg – then a tumour and a possible leg cancer and was looking for money for a further two operations.
By this time I was exhausted with the bad luck in the life of Nadim Khan. He seemed incapable of starting the agreed work and also I had the additional personal strain of waiting for an eye operation during this time and later being diagnosed with diabetes.

I had started to make further checks about the situation in Lahore and looking for a lawyer or an independent adviser to check the Nadim Khan situation.
My agent, Asif Mutraza (cell phone : 0300-4107673)discovered by the end of 2002 that Nadim was not, in fact in hospital or unemployed but actually was still working in Evernew Concepts. He was not a graphic designer but employed in a junior capacity and he was not educated at the NCA.
Nadim Khan then admitted that he had lied and that he had not suffered an accident but had lost the business loan and other borrowed monies in a bad business deal he had done with a Malaysian contact. This – he alleged – involved importing computer RAM which he claimed was destroyed in floods in Lahore. He said he had intended to make a lot of profit on this spoiled deal and go to the USA but it was thwarted.

He also admitted that all the photos he sent were not of him either.
Subsequently Nadim Khan lost his job at Evernew Concepts and then wrote a crude type of blackmail letter to me threatening to tell my family that I had lent him money for all his misfortunes and generally trying to humiliate me and try to force me to give him more money. Naturally I refused totally and my lawyer has been investigating him diligently ever since and unravelling the Gordian knot which are the lies of Nadim Khan.
He reappeared on 9-12-03 to inform us that he and his Malaysian wife and new child (delivered in the Fatima Memorial Hospital) are trying to leave Pakistan and he is hopeful of gaining a visa and job with a Malaysian company. Nadim Khan has steadfastly refused to make any formal agreement regarding how he will repay the £5000+ that he has borrowed from me over this sorry episode which has lasted over three years.
 
 
 
 

     
   
      
 

But they don’t mean anything by it…………

February 11, 2007

I don’t buy this so called ‘evolving of language’ which means that teenagers have appropriated the word gay to mean something sad, pathetic, unfashionable etc

I believe they even use the term in front of their gay friends and insist that nothing negative is meant.  I think language must be written like history by the dominant class.

It is linguistic hegemony.

For all those out there in cyberia who claim that certain groups use derogatory terms  towards and among themselves and they don’t mean anything by it – who do we never hear groups of whites addressing each other as : white honky?