Thursday, October 19, 2006

Social Circle

hi peeps. So, in the spirit of trying new, fun things, I decided to venture out as your humble correspondent and sample delights of Didsbury last night. A few weeks ago, I was temping in some dump of an office in Chorlton, when I met a really cool dude call Sean, just moved here from uni in Stafford, who's keen to get into making film & tv.

After texting and promising to hang out, I turned up last week and ended up meeting loads of people at a new thing called Social Circle, which happens each week. It's basically a free thing where people meet each week on a Monday night in the Slug and Lettuce at 8pm, lots of young professional types and students, and a chance to drink and hang out. They do lots of other meets and the website seems to be well updated, so if you're interested, it's something to do, and it's free.

There some really nice people there, and the next meet is on Friday for a pub crawl, so I may well report back (if I'm not too hung over on Saturday!).

The Departed

So. Slow start to this blog thing. Ahem. Slowly getting into the spirit, I decided to venture out of my messy hovel and into the actual real world, and go do something.

I headed down to the Printworks with this in mind, and went to see The Departed, the new Scorsese flick, and I was not disappointed. Probably one of the best movies I've seen in years. It's a remake of the the Jap flick Infernal Affairs, and centres round 2 main characters, played by Leo De Caprio and Matt Damon. Both play rookie cops, 1 good, 1 bad. The dynamic of the story centres round the irony that Damons' character Colin Sullivan is rewarded by the law enforcement machine, says all the right things, and acts respectable, but is actually corrupt, and in the pay of Jack Nicholson's demonic mob boss character Frank Costello.

Meanwhile, Leo's character Billy Costigan is told he isn't clean enough to join the filth when he graduates the police training academy, despite his obvious ability, intelligence and sincerity, because of the criminal background of his family, and is kindly lumbered with the dirty assignment of going undercover and ingratating himself with Nicholson, all the while living in abject terror of being found out.

The result is a filmmaking masterclass from Scorsese, and the talented cast, with De Caprio and his evil foil Damon both standing out for particular praise. I've always had my doubts about De Caprio being a lightweight who's traded on his looks, but this is a heavyweight performance where he captures perfectly the angst of the character, who has courage and bombast in spades to hang out with villains, the genius and savvy to talk his way out of being found out again and again by Nicholson, and the vulnerability of a man terrified he's in over his head. Damon similarly plays the slimy Sullivan with great refinement, hoodwinking most of his colleagues and superiors, and gaining more and more power and influence.

Most reviews I've seen concentrate on Nicholson's mack daddy mobster Costello, at 69 one of the best things he's ever done. There's also a fine support from an ensemble cast with excellent performances from aggressive but honest cop Mark Walberg, good father figure Martin Sheen, and psychologist and girlfriend Vera Farmiga, who highlights the contrast between the scheming Sullivan and Costigan perfectly as she is torn between them.

Props ultimately go to Scorese himself for directing this mamma with the kind of gusto not seen since his glory days with movies like Taxi Driver, and Goodfellas. Business has been a bit hit and miss since the latter, with partial successes in the likes of Gangs of New York and The Aviator, but this touches on all of his finest work, even if the mileu is moved from New York Italian community he grew up in to the hard drinking, macho world of Bostons' Irish mob.

I could say more but I won't, other than go see it, undoubtedly the best movie of the year.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Evenin' all.....

hi peeps,

So, this is it. After a year and a half out of the journalist game, and the demise of local listings magazine City Life, I'm back in. Couldn't resist the temptation I guess. Inspired by a couple of blogs I've seen around, I had a bit of time on my hands and realised writing my own reflections on culture, life and everything would provide a great outlet for my ever-evolving brain.

And so, that's what this is. I'll be posting reviews of movies, clubs, tv, music, gigs, etc, from my base here in Manchester, England. And I'll be giving you both barrels on life, the universe and everything when I'm feeling like it....