Monday, February 08, 2016

Film: Point Break

The original Point Break was released in '91 and still stands up as one of the best action movies ever made, so I don't know which stupid person thought it would be good to do a remake and why a movie company chose to greenlight it. Perhaps they'd assume the current generation wouldn't know the original existed.

The plot is terrible introducing some stupid 8 challenges of extreme sports as a plot device to show different extreme sports such as wingsuits, rock climbing etc, which some chap is trying to achieve to attain a nirvana status (and I don't mean shooting himself in the head). 

There's no chemistry between Utah and Bodhi this time around. They talk to each other like Terrence and Philip, and I don't know who thought it would be good casting to have cockney geezer Ray Winstone as a British FBI agent. The one woman in the film (called Samsara this time as some sort of attempt at a hippy oracle persona) is so wooden I'm surprised they managed to get her to sink in her freediving sequence.

Save your money, and watch 90 minutes of Pepsi Max commercials whilst drinking Red Bull and high-fiving your badly tattooed bros for the "Point Break '16" experience.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

MacGyver Season 1 Life Skills

Like I need an excuse to rewatch my Macgyver boxsets I thought this time around I'd document the examples life skills that are taught in each episode, because you'll never know when you'll need to escape from a coffin in a jetski!

Episode 1: Pilot

  • If a timer on a missile start to tick down and cutting the red wire doesn't stop it, an opened out paper clip can be used to short circuit the timer. 
  • If there are too many guards in the area tie a machine gun to the branch of a tree with a weighty branch held up over the trigger. A book of matches lit on that rope will act as a timer and when the rope is burnt, the weighty branch will drop on the trigger of the machine gun causing it to fire and distract the guards. 
  • Crushing the barrel of a flare gun will cause it to act as rocket thruster when fired. 
  • Exhaling the smoke from several lit cigarettes will allow you to see laser protection systems. 
  • A mirror from a smashed open pair of binoculars will allow you to redirect laser beams and destroy the protection system that relies on it. 
  • Steel girders that are impeding your progress can be moved out of the way by wrapping it with a knotted firehose and running the water through it. 
  • A torn up jacket tied around the mouth can act as an emergency gas mask. 
  • Bars of chocolate can be used to seal cracks in leaking chemical tanks. 
  • Scraping sodium and storing it in a cold capsule then dropping that into a sealed bottle will give you a bomb with a timer; burying it with sand will allow you to direct the blast. 
  • Use the master light panel to message in morse code back to people elsewhere in the building.

Episode 2: The Golden Triangle

  • A briefcase can be stolen using a magnet attached to a crane. 
  • To buy yourself some time when escaping from a car crusher, remove the back seat and roll into the boot 
  • A flare placed under a wheel will act as an explosive. 
  • Attaching the detonator to an inflating dinghy will act as a timer. 
  • A flare makes an impromptu rocket launcher. 
  • Force jeeps off the road by throwing snakes into them. 
  • A row of machine guns tied to a tree in the middle of the road can take out the tyres on a convoy when the tree is moved out of the way. 
  • A tree tied to ropes can be used to force jeeps off the road. 
  • A gas trap can be made from connecting a jeep exhaust to a hidden network of pipes. 
  • Bring down a helicopter by attaching a winch to one of its skids. 

Episode 3: Thief of Budapest

  • A crook makes a great jousting weapon. 
  • A horse can be airlifted by hooking the helicopter winch under the front of its saddle. 
  • Sandwich light bulbs between 2 planks to cause a truck to stop allowing you to sneak in the back. 
  • Salt, sugar, and petrol, mixed and drained through a cloth creates dynamite with a timer. 
  • Block pursuing enemies by fastening razor wire to a digger and driving it across their path. 
  • Coffee powder is inflammable if thrown in the air and exposed to a flame. 
  • Make a magnifying glass from a looped paper clip dipped in wine. 
  • Disrupt traffic light timers by wedging pieces of card into the timing mechanism. 
  • A radio connected to a police radio tied to balloons will block the police channel. 

Episode 4: The Gauntlet

  • Window latches can be lifted by squeezing a knife blade into the opening and sliding upwards. 
  • Slide a piece of paper under a locked door to catch the key when it's pushed out. 
  • A rolled up map makes a great blow gun. 
  • A metal bar wrapped up in the map makes a great sneaky weapon with which to hit someone. 
  • A rolled out map makes a fast way of sliding down a sand dune. 
  • If escaping by hot air balloon and it suffers a bullet hole, seal the hole by taping the map to it.. 
  • A plastic camera strap can be used to lift an electric fence out of the way. 
  • Plug a camera flash timer unit into plastique to build a bomb. 
  • Firecrackers taped to the inside of a church bell will fool enemies into thinking they're being shot at. 
  • Winching cars together will prevent them from being used to pursue you. 
  • Repositioning a rear view mirror and a compact mirror into a periscope will allow you to drive a bus from the floor of the vehicle. 
  • A jeep with a failing engine can be used to create a smoke screen. 
  • Sneak downhill to the border by rolling steel drums full of explosive materials first before making your own way down in a wooden barrel. 

Episode 5: The Heist

  • Thread from a tuxedo tied to a paper clip hooked to a woman's dress makes it undo if you step on it as she walks off. 
  • A shoe buffer can be used to shave the corners off dice allowing you to win at craps. Secrete the original dice in your drink. 
  • Hoover cord can secure a fire exit door. 
  • Pressurised cannisters if broken can be use to propel a wheeled bar at pursuing bad guys. 
  • A magnet from a rotary phone placed in a shoe can be used to mess with a roulette wheel. 
  • A bent ring can be used to mark a playing card. 
  • An alarm clock with wire tired to the hands hooked to a fusebox can disable slot machines at 2.10 when the hands meet. 
  • A mirror from a compact taped to a bent coat hanger and hung over a security camera can give the impression of interference to those watching it. Tying it all to string can allow it to be quickly removed. 
  • See invisible laser security beams by sprinkling cigar ash over the area. 
  • Redirect the laser beams by running it through a length of fibre clear rubber piping. 
  • To discover how to open a vault door, release the pet bird from its cage to set the alarms off, this'll bring the owner up who will show you how to get in. 
  • A tone-operated lock can be reopened by filling glasses to different heights and rubbing them with your finger. 
  • The tone can be checked with a pet mynah bird that is familiar with the sound. 
  • Recovered diamonds can be removed from a room by pouring them down the rain pipes, an additional piece of guttering can divert them into the boot of a getaway car. 
  • Attach parachutes to a car to escape from an aircraft. 

Episode 6: Trumbo's World

  • Bamboo wedged under a door can be used to lift it off its hinges. 
  • A shower pipe placed over a furnace will cause the shower to run hot and create a distraction. 
  • Climbing rope soaked in paraffin when set alight will prevent bad guys using the same rope to chase after you. 
  • Wire strung across a river will cause pursuing dinghies to burst.
  • Gripping coins in a crocodile clip connected to a car battery creates a spark welder. 
  • A woman can be freed from under a boat by tying rope around it an overhead support and using a pole to twist the rope and lift the boat up. 
  • Fertiliser plus cellulite from plant bark, stirred with acid creates nitro manite. 
  • Boiling latex and pouring over it over some cloth and letting it set will allow you tailor ant-resistant armour. 

Episode 7: Last Stand

  • Magnesium from a racing bike, filed down, and added to rusted iron stored within a pipe, makes an acetylene torch when ignited with a flare. 
  • Fertiliser added to a rag wrapped in lighter fluid and wrapped in newspaper makes a bomb. A water cannon can be used to remove pursuing motorcycle riders from their bike. 
  • Melting ice from a lightbulb left to freeze will cause the lock from a freezer to expand and open. 
  • A bomb attached to a radio controlled plane will make a distraction. 

Episode 8: Hellfire

  • A foil gum wrapper can be used to circumvent a blow fuse temporarily. 
  • Filling a trailer with sand and making a platform from suspension springs will allow you to transport volatile dynamite easily. 
  • Stretching a spring from a ballpoint pen can be used as a replacement for a Lincoln spring in a van engine. 
  • A refrigerator can be used as a heat shield. 
  • Pipes can be laid as railtracks for a car with it's tyres missing. 

Episode 9: The Prodigal

  • A paper clip can be used to hotwire the ignition on a car. 
  • Create a smoke screen effect to confuse bad guys by passing sawdust through a hoover and sliding blocks of wood onto a circular saw to catapult them. 
  • Remove bolts from a tyre to prevent cars pursuing you. 
  • Fizzy drink and space dust pored on dry ice creates a fake smoke effect. Add that to a ventilation system will trigger people to set off the fire alarm. 
  • Cause a car to stall by draining the water out of it. Then pulling up alongside in a pickup truck will allow you to hijack the car covertly. 
  • A wooden baton tied to string can be used to trip bad guys up as they descend a staircase 
  • Cleaning fluid and mothballs stuffed in a sock and dropped down a telescope cylinder creates a rocket launcher. Some cable and a metal spike fired from it will create a harpoon.
  •  Pulleys can then be attached to create a zipline. 

Episode 10: Target MacGyver

  • A bag of ice in a metal tray, with a stack of pans on top can act as a distraction if the ice is melted. 
  • Cooking oil spread across the floor will cause pursuing bad guys to slip. 
  • A hosepipe can be used to trip pursuing enemies. 
  • A sun-lounger can be used to pin 2 fallen bad guys to the ground. 
  • Tell if someone has been in your house by dusting your doormat and shining a UV light on it. Reeds stuck into a piece of bark will fool bad guys that you're trying to snorkel away. 
  • Plants from the Uteka family is highly toxic and makes good poison for a dart gun, which can be made from a reed. 
  • A sharp rock can be used as an axe to chop branches off a tree, which can then be dropped onto a jeep as it passes underneath. 
  • A jacket full of twigs makes a decoy human, which can be thrown at a jeep to distract it. 
  • Pine pitch collected in a tin can makes an impromptu land mine. 
  • Pine cones covered in pine pitch and ignited makes an explosive grenade. 
  • Grain dust can be made into a bomb by making it into spontaneous combust. 
  • Saw through a porch support so that it can be made to collapse on the bad guys. 
  • Pine nuts dropped into flame in a steel drum sound like gun shots. 

Episode 11: Nightmares

  • A folded gum wrapper attached to a fishing hook makes a great lure. 
  • Bedsprings removed from the frame, strung together then reattached to the bed and a door and pulled back can create a giant slingshot. 
  • A beltstrap fastened to a sink outlet and redirected into a power socket, can create a short circuit which will alert bad guys. 
  • A car battery and old TV screen tied together with jump cables but not touching, set up near a door will be made to touch when the door opens causing the screen to explode; a transistor radio can be used to bring the bad guys towards it. 
  • A fire-hose wound out and thrown out of window gives bad guys a false impression that you've escaped. 
  • A deflating tyre can get a bad guys attention. 
  • Kicking the door open from the inside into them will knock them out. 
  • Water bottles tied with rope can be lifted into the ceiling and dropped onto warehouse stock and onto bad guys. 
  • The bad guys attention can be got by setting off a smoke alarm. 
  • Striking a metal pole against a fire hydrant will cause it to become magnetic allowing you to retrieve a metal capsule from a drain. 

Episode 12: Deathlock

  • Escape from East Germany by pretending to be dead and carried over a bridge in a coffin which also contains a jet-ski. 
  • Check your exit isn't being covered by a sentry gun by pushing a suit of armour into its path. 
  • Turning on all the electric devices at once including attaching a metal bowl to a blender, can block radio waves and hidden cameras. 
  • A motor from a food mixer fastened to a food cart with an armour headpiece on the top makes a decoy to attract the sentry guns positions. 
  • Mixing cleaning chemicals into a metal dish will create a smoke screen. 
  • Use random debris to for a bad guy to walk a chosen path and use some to block his path to alert you. 
  • A mirror can be used as a periscope to see around corners. 
  • Attach wiring to an fuse board and make a water tank into a water cannon to blast the bad guy onto the circuitry causing him to be electrocuted. 

Episode 13: Flame's End

  • Escape from a reactor drainage room by speeding up the door release mechanism by putting an electrical blast into the quartz. 
  • Removing a barrel from a revolver turns into into a useful tool top open valves. 

Episode 14: Countdown

  • Untangle a net to create a rappelling line. 
  • Cut the end off a neon tube and seal it, this can be used to remove phosphorous from a vacuum bomb. 
  • Add milk to a bakery pipette and top with oven cleaner. 
  • This can be used to neutralise acid based bombs. 

Episode 15: The Enemy Within

  • If your car gets shot and the pipe containing the brake fluid is leaking, redirect the fluid from the steering into it. 
  • If an assassin is in the area who wears glasses, they can be shattered by firing an ultrasound laser at them. 
  • A couple of props from a science fair, a mirrored disk and a spiral design ashtray can be turned into a hypnosis machine. 
  • A microphone cable, sheet of rubber and two metal candlesticks can be used to resuscitate a heart attack victim. 

Episode 16: Every Time She Smiles

  • A metal coast stand can be used as a battering ram. 
  • Bending a coathanger into a figure 8 shape and fastening it to a bench on one side and a moving carousel on the other will break through the cell in which you're in next door. 
  • A bent earring can be turned into a lockpick to escape from handcuffs. 
  • Dizzy bad guys by having them pursue yo onto a carousel and then turning it up and then tipping a box of brass rings into the mechanism to cause it to suddenly stop throwing the bad guys forward. 
  • A deep cooking pot, some rat poison, some soap flakes and tile cleaner creates a chemical explosion. 
  • Lard covered with newspaper sprinkled with oven cleaner creates a chemical timer if put under a flow of gas. 
  •  Mixing diesel into water and spraying that behind you will cause pursuing cars to skid. 

Episode 17: To Be A Man

  • Scaffolding, plastic sheeting and gaffer tape can be put together to create a hang-glider. 
  • Striking the end of a Butane canister will turn it into a rocket that can be fired at bad guys. 
  • Fix a water pump by attaching a piece of rubber twisted into a cone into the mechanism. 
  • A fire extinguisher sprayed into a rock crack with another rock wedged in it will split the rock and cause it to block a road 

Episode 18: Ugly Duckling

  • High frequency sounds played at volume can disorientate bad guys. 
  • Attach jump cables and a battery to cell bars to warm them up then freeze them with aerosol sprays to break them 
  • Electrolytes from a cactus can charge up a battery. 
  • Bending metal into hoops and attaching to radios will all you to listen in on bad guys through telemetry. 
  • A parabolic mirror can be used to reflect the sun through a binocular to create a light cannon that can be used to fire a shotgun remotely. 

Episode 19: Slow Death

  • A napkin folded around a rolled up sock, then drawn on becomes a doll for a bored child. 
  • A soda syphon sprayed onto a dish of salt will bounce it into the bad guys eyes allowing you to knock him out. 
  • Local moonshine can be set alight to prevent bad guys pursuing. 
  • Passing an electric current through a starter lever will prevent hijackers from starting your train. 
  • A bottle spout can be pinched to create a whistle that horses can hear. A sphygmomanometer, armband for taking blood pressure and an electrical buzzer can be put together to make a lie detector. 

Episode 20: The Escape

  • Paper mache wrapped around a football and a little wire holding some lit paper can be used to create a hot air balloon. 
  • Soak clothes in liquid PCP and you have a walking bomb A bucket filled with liquid PCP wired to an electrical connection will create a bomb. 
  • A melting ice block holding one end of the wire up can act as a timer. 
  • A cassette recorder tied to a ceiling fan striking a spatula can be played over a PA to trick bad guys into believing a helicopter is coming to attack.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Film: Groundhog Day

2nd February is Groundhog Day. It's also my birthday, and I've been watching this film every year as a little celebration. If you've not seen this film before you need to; it's one of the best performances from Bill Murray who is forever bringing great performances to the screen. 

and it's as fun to watch this time as it was the time before, and the time before, and the time before ad infinitum.

Film: Laser Team

An impulse choice to kill some time in the evening actually ended up being a good one. I knew nothing about this film but the story has a super soldier being trained in preparation to receive some alien armour so he can save the world from another alien species but the armour is accidentally discovered by a group of blokes who prefer drinking beer and being generally rubbish. The armour can't be removed so the team have to prepare themselves to do the fighting instead.

Nice script, simple storyline and an enjoyable film that won't win any awards but never set out to do so, and that's OK.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Film: Stop Making Sense

I've liked Talking Heads for years but never seen their live shows so when the PCC announced they were showing Stop Making Sense, a film made by Silence of the Lambs director Jonathon Demme which edited 3 nights into a single performance I thought I'd pop along.

and it was amazing. Starting from an empty stage where the instruments, band and lights are brought in over the first 4 songs I already liked the direction this was going in. Just the idea of seeing the roadies set up as part of the performance was new to me. Each song had a slightly different production, whether it consisted of visuals being projected behind, or lit differently; basically there was enough variation to keep the show interesting.

and how amazing is their bass player? Seeing live events on a screen is a bit weird when you're sat down; a few people did get up and dance down the side of the theatre, but the music was great and the ever great PCC crowd would show their appreciation after each song with a big cheer and clapping session!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Film: Dangerous Men

A film that took 20+ years to make, features some of the most terrible acting ever committed to celluloid, a story line that makes no sense, a credit roll that features the same person doing most of the roles and an ending that comes from nowhere as if the money just ran out. What's not to like?

If you like bad cinema then this is a must-see. Thanks as ever to the amazing PCC for showing it.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Show: Cirque du Soleil - Amaluna

Amaluna is a show I first saw a few years ago in Seattle but with it coming to the UK for the first time I had to see it again. When initially released it made a big deal of it being mostly made by and starring women, this claim seems to have been downplayed now as there are a number of male acts featured.

It was also good to revisit anyway as the show has evolved and a number of acts are new, replacing others that have now gone. I'm pleased to say the Balance Goddess routine which totally blew me away the first time I saw it, is still included in the show and based on tweets that I get daily it looks to be the stand out performance of the show.

The show runs until March before heading back to the continent for a run of shows there.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Graffiti: Madrid

There isn't much graffiti in Madrid like there is in Lisbon. I read that some of the major cities are clamping down quite hard on this, and if liberal and more tolerant cities like Barcelona were moving the art out of the city, the odds of finding anything in the capital was likely to be next to none.

Having said that I did manage to find some pieces around a gallery close to Embajadores metro station.

Graffiti: Lisbon Part 2

I had given myself an entire day to explore Lisbon and find the most famous of the city's graffiti sites. In researching I found to get them all would take 25 miles of walking, which I wasn't going to do. Even with the limited metro network it would still be a considerable walk. So I got what I could before I got bored and the blisters told me it was time to stop.

These are near Oriente Station
The following ones were all found on Google Street View when working out how to get between two other pieces. Another opportune find that led to a lot of pieces in one place.

This one and the one below are on the same roundabout south of Oriente.

Easy to miss this Vhil's piece. This is over in the west of the city.

Great detail on these pieces. These were more from the street view find.

This piece would have been a lengthy mile walk from Braco de Prata station in the east of the city but it was visible from the station so I used the zoom lense to get me closer.

This was my favourite piece by far and ironically nearest to the hotel. The detail and scale are both amazing.

It's fair to say there is plenty to see and I didn't get around all of it, I couldn't be bothered with the few pieces I know about along the sea road in the south-east of the city.