Sunday 30th December 2007

Went to see I Am Legend with my cousin-in-law yesterday evening. I booked two tickets for the Empire up the road, opting to walk rather than trek over to Reading. While we could have caught a later showing I preferred to go before the crowds begin to gather, so chose the 6pm screening. (This was the first time I had been to my local multiplex since watching the final Star Wars movie, Revenge Of The Sith on Friday 20th May 2005. That is 953 days or two years, seven months and nine days. After the screening I remembered why I always drive twenty odd miles to Vue.) The film is good and at times very good but we cannot expect too much with just a solitary, survivor on the screen for so long. Nevertheless, well worth going to see. Will Smith gives a great performance and it was good to have the story told in flashback, rather than the story being told right at the beginning as an explanation for the story. While I am not a fan of the horror genre, this is more suspense and jumpy than anything else. The ending and the third act for the most part is quite poor in relation to the first half of the movie but even so, it is a good movie and I would recommend you go to the cinema to watch it.

The movie makers can have fun with the audience because unlike many other films (such as I, Robot) the story takes place in the not to distant future (2012). The highlight in the movie for me, is Will Smith driving through Broadway and all the posters around. One in particular has drawn a fair share of blog postings. They may put it down, as complete fiction but reality is, there are a big fan of movie goers that would love to see The Man of Steel pitted against The Dark Knight.

I downloaded the iPlayer in the early hours of Saturday morning. I had missed the Friday visit to Albert Square so thought I would catch up. Rather than stream the soap online, I opted to download the iPlayer download manager and watch the episode offline. It took only ten minutes or so for the 160mb to download. Although on one page it was listed as 300mb download. After watching the show, I realised I no longer need to watch live television apart from football on Sky. I can download episodes from BBC or Channel 4 (they use similar software) and watch later. A little searching around the web, you discover how bad the iPlayer (then called myBBCPlayer) was during the beta testing phase earlier in the year. In the summer, there were generally positive reviews as most of the bugs had been ironed out. I of course would love to see the iPlayer integrated into the XBox Media Center, the guys are working on it. However, there are some major draw backs. There is no news or weather, which I am not that bothered about. I have a FreeView card, I can watch BBC News 24 and Sky News whenever I like. Sport is the real loss. This is due to some complicated rights issue, so no Match Of The Day or Football Focus. While I have Sky Sports News, it is not the same as listening to the Alan, Alan, Gary, Lawro and Manish in the studio. However there are more sinister powers at work here. The software is close to spy ware as it leaves a process (KService.exe) running in the background (even with you exit the download manager) so you are still uploading any content in your download folder. You can eventually, with some hacks stop this from happening (killing the process once only works until you reboot). If you want to learn more you can go and read the buzzing thread over at Digital Spy. A more balanced and positive review is over at Andy Hollyhead’s blog. I agree with his summary, a good catchup service in case you miss any programmes you watch on a regular basis. For me, this will be the visit to E20. I occasionally miss the odd episode when there is football on the other side or I am out at the cinema on a Friday night.

Final planning for my ski trip this week. Off to Portsmouth to get my final bits on either Thursday or Friday (undecided yet). Then party Friday night, no time for sleep, load the car and head over to Gatwick. However, I must end with a quote from the 6-0-6 message boards over at the Beeb. “The Gunners went through that Everton team like a spoon through soggy Weetabix”. Classic!

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