Monthly Archives: August 2006


On Friday I went to see Renaissance (caution: Flash, noise) at the Picturehouse with Andrew and two of his other friends. I’d never heard of it before, but the trailer looked interesting.

Black and white – almost literally 2-bit colour – and entirely CGI, it has a unique visual style. Lots of swooping around 2054 Paris, lots of rain, lots of smoking.

It’s a mocapfest, each character portrayed by a credited motion capture artiste as well as a voice artiste. Made in France, there are at least two, er, localisations available – French and English (this may extend to more than just dialogue – some text was in English only, I think, and I can’t imagine yer frenchies would stand for that in a home-grown film).

The trouble is, of course, that it’s easy to get a disconnect between the physical and vocal portrayals. I do feel that some of the physical acting is a touch hammy. And some of the (English) vocals don’t work too well either, despite the names involved (Daniel Craig plays Bond the policeman, Jonathan Pryce the corporate supremo). Some of the lines are dud, but I can’t remember any specific examples; I very much suspect a lossy translation. (A few times I was reminded of poor cut scenes in video games, but not often.)

Like A Scanner Darkly, I wonder whether the film’s visual style disguises a pedestrian plot. I’m also certain that Pixar would have produced something technically better (in less time – it took six years to make), but then they’d have been able to throw more money at it.

Having said all that, I liked it; and it’s worth seeing if only for the visuals. Characters drive a Citroen-supplied concept design, and Paris 2054 is very well realised in its own special black and white way.

Avaragado’s rating: a bowl of prunes

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Now you are two

IMG_3879In my capacity as guardian angel/official photographer, I attended Evie’s second birthday party on Saturday. Raw chocolate and other strange foodstuffs were had by all. Some of it looked like pot pourri.

Raw birthday cake is shown here. I broke a plastic fork on my slice, and it hadn’t even been in the freezer. It was very tasty though.

But anyway: photos

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Things I liked about Superman Returns:

  • The reuse of the original John Williams theme and style of opening titles. (Geek.)
  • Marlon Brando, still acting despite being dead for several years.
  • Brandon Routh. (Did you expect me to say anything else?)
  • Kevin Spacey.
  • The image of Superman with car aloft, taken directly from the cover of Action Comics #1 of June 1938 (though on the cover he was smashing it, not placing it gently down as in the film). (Geek.)

Things I disliked:

  • The pacing. Oh, it’s so slow.
  • The cute kid.
  • Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane. (I’m not worried about her bouncing around an airplane cabin without sustaining a single bruise, because, well, Superman can fly.)
  • Richard Branson as a shuttle crew member (you could also spot “Virgin Galactic” in the background of one scene). All credit to him, he’s a PR genius. But, gah.

On balance, it was OK, but no more than that. Bryan Singer did a better job on X-Men.

Avaragado’s rating: fourteen pretzels

Post film, post pint, we ate at Fitzbillies. For some, the first ever visit. It could be the last too: small menu, very small portions. My creme brulee was no more than two inches in diameter, probably less. But not cheap, oh no.

Disappointing. We undertipped, despite a 12.5% tip being added to the bill as we were a party of five (since when was that a large party?).

Avaragado’s rating: a stack of seven mini pizzas on a big plate drizzled with “jus”

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