Movie Updates

I haven’t done a movie review for a while. There’s a good reason for that – the last movie I saw was somewhen in October, and I frankly can’t bring myself to sit in those cramped movie theatres with overpriced popcorn and people who find the movie an annoying interruption to their phone conversation.

So, I buy DVDs. Quite a few of them recently. If I had a list of the DVDs I watch most frequently, these would be in it (but not necessarily in order):

Garden State – Zach Braff is the guy you might know as J.D. from Scrubs. In this movie Braff not only stars alongside Natalie Portman, he is also the writer and director. It’s a damn good film too. Lighthearded enough to make you laugh, whilst having a serious and emotional storyline. The soundtrack is a fantastic complement, and I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Amélie – I can’t help but love this movie. A great performance all round, with a twisting, fascinating storyline. The movie stars Audrey Tautou as Amélie: a sheltered, fascinating girl who decides to help others find happiness and love by carefully setting up liaisons and events. It’s a great film, and the latter Jean Pierre Jeunet film, A Very Long Engagement also starring Tautou is also well worth a watch.

Das Boot – Only got round to watching this the other night. The director’s cut is three hours and twenty minutes long, and the film spans two DVDs. Very interesting film following the crew of a U-Boat during operations in World War Two.

Being John Malkovich – Try describing the storyline of this film to somebody and they won’t believe you. I’ll try anyway: Puppeteer works on 7 1/2 floor of a building, in which he finds doorway into John Malkovich’s head. Let’s him see through Malkovich’s eyes for a few minutes, before being dumped out by the side of the New Jersey Turnpike. Weird movie, but fun.

Dogville – This was recommended by a friend. Her words were ‘it’s all done on a stage with all the houses drawn out on the floor’. I had no idea what to expect from this Lars Von Trier movie starring Nicole Kidman, but I was pleasantly suprised. It’s a great arty movie.

When I do go to the cinema, I’m itchin’ to see Munich, Final Destination 3, Just Friends and I might watch Brokeback Mountain to see what all the fuss is about.


Stormhoek is the name of a winemaking company. It has nothing to do with Ren Hoek from Ren & Stimpy.

Hugh MacLeod – the guy who makes your business card more interesting – is a promoter for the company, and is responsible for punting wine out to hundreds of bloggers, in the hope they’ll write about it (and they do).

Stormhoek also provide complimentary cases for a load of bloggers’ social events, including the London Geek Dinner December last year, and the Sussex Dinner January this year. In both cases I was driving, so I couldn’t really give any a decent test.

However, there were a few bottles left over so I pinched one for consumption at a later date.

Now, before I begin this review I should point out that my wine tasting expertise goes as far as “this one’s red”, and “this one’s white”. I also own Sideways on DVD, but don’t understand most of it. Hence, my experience of the wine is limited to a series of action photos.

Here’s the customary bottle shots in all their curvaceous glory. Unopened, but that doesn’t last for long:
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Here I am enjoying the fine wine:


It is a Sauvignon Blanc 2005. It’s important to know the history of a vintage (the year the grapes were harvested) as this can dramatically affect the taste. This year was notable for the marriage of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, the release of Star Wars Episode III and the demise of the Rover car company. As a result, this wine has a full-bodied, fruity taste.


In all seriousness, the wine is very refreshing. If I buy some (it’s in most UK supermarkets), I’ll most likely save it for a special occassion. This wine feels like it should be served with something, rather than being purely used to drown one’s sorrows or as an excuse to write a poorly conceived blog post.

I enjoyed it so much, I messed myself a little:


After a few days of sipping and whatnot, I finished the bottle. And what a delight it was – my first experience of Stormhoek was a good one, and I’ll be looking out for it in the shops. (Before I’m criticised for being a naive sell-out with an uncultured palate and a penchant for anything alcoholic, I have disliked wines before and can actually tell the difference 😉

Here are some closing shots of the empty bottle, before it gets sent off to the recycling pixies:

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Thank you Stormhoek!

Mapping in detail

I found a nice little website from the UK goverment today – it’s called and can be used to find (for now) roadworks in various parts of the country.

However, this particular mapping site goes into extraordinary detail, including showing the boundaries of each household.


What’s even more interesting again is the Javascript in the page revealing the possibility of aerial photos:

var g_bShowAerialPhoto = false;

Now that will be interesting.

(Also worth noting, for computer-y people, is that the entire system is built using VML. Unfortunately it doesn’t have the same rendering speed as Google Maps, but it’s stil pretty clever stuff)