Monday, 27 February 2012

Blog - "Fat Friends"

Since I was a kid, and by kid I mean about eight years old, I've always had a problem with my weight. I don't mean to say that I've always had trouble fitting in the new slimline doors at McDonald's, or that I used to spend weeks throwing my fingers down my throat. I'm not one of those people, but I've still had immense trouble getting past about a hundred pounds, ever since before I was even a teenager.

This announcement is generally met in very certain ways. Either people accuse me of that whole being sick thing, or they say that I don't eat. More often than not, people would say something along the lines of "I'll fatten you up". This never happened. I've heard it from almost twenty people over the years.

The truth is, sometimes changing your weight is difficult. It's a lot to do with habits. I am always doing something. When watching a film, I'll be writing something, or twirling a pen. I'm only idle when I'm asleep, and even then, I turn a lot before I actually fall asleep. For people who weigh a lot, chances are that they don't move all that much, either because they work in jobs that aren't altogether active, or they just enjoy being still by habit. Of course, some people are like that. Neither way is considered a bad thing.

Now, as regular readers will know, I've been making a lot of changes over the last few months. I got a new place, I lost the long hair, et cetera. Soon, of course, I'm getting published, which is a rather large change, but one caused generally by all of the changes that have already occurred. Amongst these, I've started to gain some weight. In the last four months, I've gained eighteen pounds. Add that to the general increase that'd been going on lately, and I've actually managed to get all the way up to 126 pounds, a personal best and record high for me.

I'm still hearing a lot about Anorexia, and "well, you must have never eaten anything". I'm wondering if people with weight loss issues, i.e. those that weigh more than the healthy amount, encounter the same problems. If people come up to them and shout "well, just stop eating and you'll be fine", while any time in a gym is dangerous because the amount of work they do puts enough strain on an already weakened heart to potentially kill them.

For me, gaining weight is a big plus. I feel better in myself, more confident in my shape and I'm actually starting to be much stronger. I'm much happier, but it's taken me almost a decade for this to start happening. What then about the other side?

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Blog - "The Future"

Dear readers.

So a big day has come when it comes to the career of Tom Colohue - something at once amazing and incredibly intimidating. After several failed attempts to convince, and no agent with even the slightest interest in sight, after a fair chunk of nudging from the current ladyfriend, I have decided to follow the route of self-publishing.

On April 31st, the novel will be finished. The novel in question is named Deja Vu, and is a much improved, revised and added to version of a former twenty-three piece story on Ultimate-Guitar named Dirk Fletcher. It is much evolved, corrected, and expanded.

The novel will be released using onto the Kindle and Kindle app markey. The launch will be July 31st, and in the 3 months in between, I'm planning to create a truly massive advertising campaign over all means available.

I'm currently in the process of getting in contact with everybody involved in any sort of business with the potential of advertising my work in any way, large or small, in order to ensure that it is a success. I'm hoping that this advertising campaign will literally be the size of Jupiter eclipsing the Sun, just because I would really love to be incredibly and wildly successful in my lifetime, and that requires me to actually release something to the world.

The final novel will be roughly seventy thousand words in length, and I'll be charging as close to one pound per release as I can get, after a hundred free copies, just because.

Here's hoping everything goes to plan. I'm nervous, I'm scared, and I am so very, very excited.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Review - "The Woman In Black"

 Just posted on Rotten Tomatoes:

"To say that 'The Woman In Black' captures the spirit of either the book or the stage show that came before it would be both incorrect and secondary to the fact that this film encapsulates the Hammer Horror style. The Gothic, carefully structured set design and cinematography speak of the old haunted houses of the 1930s. While the constant leaps and jumps created by the shock horror and quick reactions are of typical Hammer brand, they maintain a certain detachment from the film, even in the cinema environment. You will not be as engrossed as you would be with either the book or the stage show, but the film is most certainly still worth a watch.

From the opening scene, where three children go from playing with their toys to walking out of a window in slightly comedic fashion, the film sets a system of having almost every element correct, but never quite. The initial theme is introduced, a brilliantly subtle piece reprised throughout the film, and we are shown only the back of the Woman in Black's head. Unfortunately, it is too much too soon to be shown such power. The audience haven't been shown enough to believe the titular character capable of this, and so it becomes a slightly ludicrous scene.

Daniel Radcliffe takes on the main role of Arthur Kipps; a difficult role to take due to the fact that this is largely a one man show. Each member of the supporting cast feels written for purpose, which works wonderfully in the stage show because it suggests that this is the case. In the film however, while every character has their differences, they are subtle, and undermined by the fact that each person there seems to be of the same opinion, go through the same situations and encounter the same problems. CiarĂ¡n Hinds, portraying what could be consider the main supporting role of Mr. Daily, is the only one who seems to be evasive of this, but his character development leaves him rather directly to it.

The immediate problem facing Daniel Radcliffe is that of Harry Potter's shadow. While traipsing through the Gothic mansion that holds host to the Woman in Black herself, the audience will come in with the pre-conceived memories of the recently concluded Potter series.

With that in mind, reviews of Radcliffe's performance can only be positive. His age is apt, his sense of self-defeat as clear as that of Brad Pitt in Interview With The Vampire and his reactions strike a near perfect resonance with those of the audience. Certain moments, sometimes in cinematography - for example, with a door opening behind young Kipps while he reads some papers - and sometimes in Special Effects - for example, his face changing in the window to a screaming woman - stand out from the rest as truly terrifying moments. Sadly, the entire film seems unsure as to whether to be subtle in creating fear, or blatant in creating a shock.

Throughout the experience though, there always seems to be something missing. Perhaps this is in the atmosphere, or perhaps the titular character simply does not inspire fear by lingering in dark corners and looking through windows. The sad thing is that all of the necessary elements seem to be correct, but, for once, perhaps Hammer Horror have made a film that's ever so slightly patronising to their audience.

Perhaps we've evolved past cheap thrills and shocks, and the cerebral nature of both the book and the stage show is sadly lacking. In getting everything right for film, The Woman In Black has, unfortunately, gotten it ever so slightly wrong."

Friday, 17 February 2012

Blog - "Missing A Beat"

One of my idols growing up, and certainly to this day, was Gomez Addams. Even though I'd only seen the role portrayed by Raul Julia, the charm, inverse wit and determination to see his family succeed at any and all things proved inspirational, and I learned all I could.

While this was certainly a character I associated with, the more I look back, the more I recognise that the standout performance did not come from Raul Julia, regardless of his immense ability. Instead, the greatest acting result has to have come from Christina Ricci - playing Wednesday Thursday Addams.

You've got to hand it to her; she was barely a child amongst much more experienced actors, and her deadpan deliveries could rival Alan Rickman. I mean, child actors generally play very cheerful roles, but this girl made a simple smile look both wrong and obscenely sinister. 

She's been in a few things since, and her talent only seems to increase with age. I saw her in a double episode of Gray's Anatomy most recently, playing an overwhelmed paramedic, and I was shocked by how young she still is. Admittedly, said episodes were filmed a little while ago, but not so long ago that she's been growing wrinkles and cobwebs since. This woman has barely started. She has so much more to give.

Hollywood: take note. Use Christina Ricca. I certainly would.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Blog - "Resistance"

Something interesting came up a while ago at work, and I thought it might be something that people might be interested in, so I think putting a question forward might be an idea of merit.

The question is a fairly simple one. Would you, during World War Two in particular, join the French Resistance?

I expect an answer has leapt to mind rather quickly, which is typical of an occasion on which something with intense moral implications is asked, but let me throw some additional doubt into the world of choice.

First off, you would have to actually be French, being that it's their resistance, not yours. This means that you'd have to be constantly surrounded by French people. Picture it. You'd have to eat snails, try it on with any and all women, whether attractive, hideous, smelly or bloated. During the Second World War, Hitler literally marched into France, camped in and took over.

Even now, the French would surrender to a muddy footprint. Their resistance is infamous not just because it worked hard in extreme conditions, but also because it stands out against a backdrop of the complete surrender of the rest of their country.

Consider, if you will, the means at your disposal if you decide to enlist. There's no food beyond what can be either scrounged or stolen. You're constantly under threat of death, betrayel and simply leading a God awful life. The mortality rate was incredible. Your chances of success are positively French.

The option is always there of not resisting. You could roll over like the rest of the people of France, and greatly increase your chances of survival. The generally rule would be that, despite being French, you'd be largely safe unless you were Jewish, Gay or not German. Honestly, unless you fall under one of those three, you'd be absolutely fine.

So those are the options, and the situation you find yourself in. How many friends could you make and lose? How many people would you have to kill in the name of putting up a fight? Does anybody on either side truly deserve to die?

Would you, during World War Two in particular, join the French Resistance?

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Blog - "Secondary Heroes"

Our subject today: Lando Calrissian. Our topic: secondary heroes.

Now, the concept of a secondary hero is one you see everywhere, in almost every piece of work. Even the infamous 'Lone Ranger' had an assistant with his adventures, which isn't exactly lone, is it? Bruce Lee, in the film 'The Big Boss' had a cousin who was a decent fighter, but wasn't quite good enough not to die.

That, there, is the recurring theme. Secondary heroes are generally considered to be good, but not as good as whoever the main hero is. The Companion in Doctor Who serves the purpose of being an every day character, who knows practically nothing, but somehow manages to help out on sheer humanity.

My main example here though, is Lando Calrissian, who shows, pretty much perfectly, how secondary heroes are the least realistic of the hero brand, not because of their own limitations, but because of the lack thereof that is applied to them.

There are clear and obvious heroes and villains in Star Wars (referring at this point to Star Wars as episodes 4, 5 and 6, as 1, 2 and 3 blurs the lines from obvious into confusing), which are Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa and Han Solo.

Your original secondary heroes; Obi-Wan Kenobi, C-3P0, R2-D2 and Chewbacca, serve clear purposes. The droids are there for exposition. C-3P0 serves to explain the story when concerned that the viewer might not be able to keep up. R2-D2 is there to take away obstacles that allow for certain situations to occur. For example, the issues with the Millenium Falcon allow a rescue for Luke in the Cloud City, as well as giving Vader a last chance to communicate with him, then R2-D2 takes them away. Obi-Wan is a teacher, and dies in order to display the talents of Darth Vader, thus making him more intimidating, and Chewbacca is a second pilot, showing that Han Solo can't really be that callous and selfish, because he travels the Universe with a friend and companion.

The bad guys, Darth Vader and Emporer Palpatine, can be difficult. Vader is quite clearly the primary antagonist, despite being secondary in the chain of command. This is likely one of the reasons that the films were so successful, being that it is against the run of play for most films, in that time and overall. You tend to have the big antagonist as the big evil, the most capable and scary, while, instead, Vader is the Emporer's henchman.

Then we reach our additional secondary hero. The one who turns up in the middle of the series, is a bit of an arse, then less of an arse, and generally takes on the role of the token black man for a little while, until Return Of The Jedi, where he actually becomes a believable character. The unbelievable issues are a lot to do with reputation. The man was an Adminstrator, doing paperwork for a place he won at a bet, and made a living through cowardly avoiding pissing off the Empire.

Why exactly would the Rebel Alliance decide to make him a General?

Yes, this pisses me off. For a whole attack on a Death Star containing the Emporer and Darth Vader - the two most terrifying of all the Empire's accrued population - they decide to allow their entire fleet to be led by a man who gave up two of their Captains to said Empire. They allow a military captaincy for a man used to crunching numbers.

And this is the problem with secondary heroes. They're not as heroic as you're typical heroes, but they're generally treated like something far in advance of that. The unexplained back story is extremely exaggerated in order to match their abilities up to those that we already know, but the same back story is spoken of so very rarely that most writers no longer seem to bother.

For example, we know how Luke, Leia, Chewbacca and the two droids get into Jabba's Palace, and we know Han Solo is there already; how does Lando sneak in? Not a clue. He's too secondary to have his scenes shown.

This man has a whole book series dedicated to him, but his role in the films is Paperwork Monkey - Guy Attempting To Over A Guy While Jedi Overpowers All Guys - General Of The Rebel Army.


Stupid bloody secondaries.