Django Unchained (2013) – Review

Django_Unchained_PosterQuentin Tarantino’s latest revenge movie comes hot on the heels of his last success Inglourious Basterds. Just in case you’re worried about spoilers, I will treat the plot summary, er, summarily. We follow the blood-spattered antics of ex-slave Django (Jamie Foxx, Collateral) and bounty hunter Dr Schultz (Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds) as they search for  Django’s missing bride, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington, The Last King of Scotland), in antebellum America. It all gets very violent and Django gets to kill a lot of white guys, which he enjoys intensely.

Django is played wickedly by Jamie Foxx, and Waltz’s Dr Schultz was brilliantly played and hilarious to boot, in a similar way to his Col. Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds.

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Why are we really going into Mali?


It has been confirmed that the UK will be sending troops into Mali. As if we don’t have enough problems in Afghanistan creating the terrorists whom we are meant to be fighting, David Cameron reckons that helping the French and Malian forces fight Islamists is surely the way forward. A spokesman for the PM said on Monday,

“The prime minister made clear that we fully support the French government’s actions working with the Malian government at their request to deny terrorists a safe haven in Mali. The prime minister went on to explain that we are keen to continue to provide further assistance where we can, depending on what French requirements there may be.”

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Lincoln (2012) Review


The Spielberg-directed drama telling the tale of the great emancipator’s struggle to pass the 13th Amendment provides an intriguing, if unexpected look at the entrails of the democratic process in civil war-era North America. In the true-to-life style of Schindler’s List, it represents another excellent directorial feat from a matured blockbuster film maker. There is so much to say about this movie, I doubt I will be able to fit it all in.

The opening scene has us join Abe in a slightly implausible chat with some of the soldiers fighting for the union. At once it sets the stage for the tale to be told, but had me worried that the rest of the movie would be filled with over-cooked Hollywood reverence and patriotism. Thankfully, my concerns were unfounded and although the film has the production values of a blockbuster, it does not attempt to fit the mould of recent times. Spielberg has made no attempt to cram our cortices with adrenaline just to hold our attention, but thankfully uses his skill as a director and the excellent script to keep us riveted. Continue reading

The Koch Brothers – not pronounced ‘Coke’…


I have been hearing about the Koch brothers for years. Charles and David Koch, the owners of the international conglomorate, have been the subject of liberal hatred, conspiracy theories and right-wing love. Their organisation has interests in oil, chemicals and any number of other pies – it may as well be known as the Umbrella Corporation. To put it concisely, the reason for all this obsession is simple – they are evil. Big, fat, rich inhuman evil.

To illustrate, enjoy my brief list of sundry Koch crimes:

– Knowingly releasing 91 metric tons of benzene and concealing this crime from regulators.
– Koch was negligent in causing more than 300 oil spills that polluted waters in six states, including Kansas.
– In 1999, Bill Koch blew the whistle on Koch Industries when they stole nearly 2 million barrels of oil from American Indian reservations.
– From 1999 through 2003, Koch Industries was assessed more than $400 million in fines, penalties and judgments.
– Forcing emplyees to falsify data and records to circumvent environmental regulations.
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Lawless 2012 Review – Ouch…


A movie with a stellar cast – Tom Hardy, Guy Pierce, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain and, er, some others. The great Nick Cave on screenplay and based on the very story told by the subject’s own grandson! How could it possibly go wrong, whatever it’s about?

Ostentatious prohibition-era true-life drama starring Shia LaBoeuf (Transformers) and Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) as two of the trio of bootlegging Bondurante brothers holding their own against corrupt and insanely violent authorities headed by Guy Pierce (The Count of Monte Christo) as the effeminate sociopath Rakes.

I will try my best to be objective about this movie… hang on, no I won’t. Where to begin… How about the immense disappointment I experienced to discover the sub-par performances throughout. With the exception of Gary Oldman’s Floyd Banner, they were all, in my humble opinion, miscast. Continue reading

What the Frack is Going On? Part 2

fracking hell 1

In Part 1, we clarified the fracking process and began to flesh out some of the economic realities of shale gas exploitation. Going forward, we shall examine some of the other industry claims (namely safety and cleanliness) and find out where the opponents find their pitch.

When it comes to safety, the picture is slowly becoming less opaque. Although fracking has been definitively linked to a number of small earthquakes, including those in Lancashire, the source is not the fractures in the shale themselves but rather with the method of disposing of the huge quantities of waste-water – pumping it at high pressure deep into the ground. With sensible regulation, this risk could be largely ameliorated. Continue reading