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About williamjm

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  • Birthday 04/29/1981

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  1. I watched Netflix's Schumacher documentary. It was an interesting trip down memory lane since I can remember most of the incidents they showed in it. I thought it was a good summary of his career, it's not as powerful a documentary as Senna although the ending is particularly poignant as his family reflect on his skiing accident and its aftermath.
  2. I watched Black Widow. I enjoyed it, although I think it'll end up being somewhere solidly in the middle of the MCU film rankings, not the best and not the weakest. I think the most enjoyable bits were Natasha interacting with her dysfunctional 'family' and I thought Florence Pugh and David Harbour were the highlights. It is perhaps lacking a strong antagonist with the main villain being off-screen for most of the film and I don't think Ray Winstone with an unconvincing attempt at a Russian accent was ever going to be one of the MCU's more memorable villains. The action scenes are fine without being anything special, they do feel a bit generic although at least they seem fairly light on obvious CGI until the final section of the film. I think the film would also have made more sense being released earlier, it's not a big problem but it's weird having this made after Endgame but being set earlier.
  3. I finished Steven Erikson's The God is Not Willing. I think it's been almost a decade since I last read one of Erikson's books, namely the final part of the original Malazan series. The time gap in the world is probably similar with this book being set about a decade after The Crippled God. Although the implications of some of the events in the first series have a significant impact here, the biggest connection is actually to a much earlier book with a large part of the plot and several of the characters following up on the opening section of House of Chains. That book had been the main introduction to Karsa Orlong and that character does cast a very large shadow over this book and provides its title but does not actually appear in person, although I assume he will show up in the sequels. In some ways this felt very familiar, as in many of the previous Malazan books the characters are a mix of Imperial Marines and some of their potential enemies. The first part of the book is spent introducing a large cast of characters and a number of disparate plotlines which will by the end of the book all be tied together. In other ways this felt a bit smaller-scale than the other Malazan stories, it is confined to a relatively small geographical area and short timescale and the plotlines are more obviously connected than has sometimes been the case previously. It's also a short book by Erikson's standards and while the plot takes a little while to really get going the final section is very well-paced and delivers a satisfying ending to this story. There's also some subverting of expectations, the Malazan marines of this book are not the same as in the previous series and this becomes more apparent as the book goes along. Erikson's characters have sometimes been a bit hit-and-miss but I found the characters here interesting and there was some good development through the novel and it also manages to be funnier than most of the previous books. Overall, it's perhaps not the very best of Erikson's Malazan books but after feeling some of the later books in the series were getting increasingly difficult to get through it is refreshing to have a shorter, more focused book. Next up I'm going to start Joe Abercrombie's The Wisdom of Crowds.
  4. Yes, there has certainly been plenty of violence due to this over the years even if not on the same scale as in Northern Ireland.
  5. There have long been very close ties between Glasgow and surrounding parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland, for both the Protestant and Catholic communities - perhaps not too surprising when they're only about 100 miles apart. There has also sadly be a long history of the same sectarian tensions, although at least Scotland was spared the paramilitary violence. They also don't have the 'Peace Walls' separating communities, it isn't the part of Scotland I know best so I don't actually know whether the Catholic population is concentrated in particular neighbourhoods?
  6. I watched Gunpowder Milkshake. There were things I liked about it but it did feel a bit style-over-substance. It has a very stylised look with lots of colourful scenes and some amusingly inventive action sequences. The cast were fine but I don't think they were given much to work with in terms of characterisation and it all felt a bit shallow. It is a bit reminiscent of the John Wick films in its portrayal of a secret world of assassins with the library feeling like this film's equivalent of the Continental Hotels but I don't think it is as effective in terms of making me care about what happens in the plot.
  7. The short version from Legends was the first thing I read by Jordan. I think given that it was an anthology with so many authors contributing they shouldn't all have been assuming that all the readers would have read their prior work, and I think I was able to follow it despite not having any previous knowledge of the world. I've never read the expanded version so I don't know whether the additions were more aimed at existing fans.
  8. I watched Miss Sloane on Amazon Prime, which is a film I don't remember hearing about at all when it first released a few years ago. I liked the film, I thought the story was interesting although some of the plot twists were a bit predictable. I think the portrayal of how ruthless the political lobbying world can be may be accurate, although it sadly seems a bit of a fantasy that even the most adept political operative could get the US Senate to pass a gun control bill. The performances were good, particularly Jessica Chastain in the lead role.
  9. I hope she feels better soon and doesn't get any more symptoms.
  10. In terms of the forces involved it was probably comparatively mild due to not being a fast corner, the danger was due to the positioning of the cars so I can understand why Verstappen might not have thought it too dangerous without seeing that, although it would still be courteous to check Hamilton was OK anyway. It could have been a very nasty accident without the Halo protection, we have occasionally seen cars landing on top of each other but I can't remember another example in recent years of a tyre making contact with a driver's head. There did seem almost an inevitability that there would be another collision between the two and likely this won't be the last this season. I suspect it might be judged a racing incident, although it was definitely aggressive driving. Away from that drama, it was a great victory for Ricciardo and McLaren and great to see them back atop the podium after a long time in the wilderness (particularly for the team, although Ricciardo's start to the season was dreadful by his standards). The Verstappen/Hamilton crash might take most of the headlines but Ricciardo was well ahead of them anyway before that so he did deserve the victory. Bottas had a strong drive as well through the field, he seemed to have more pace than Hamilton and overtook a lot of cars although seemed to run out of steam a bit right at the end, perhaps having used up the tyre's peak performance.
  11. I suspect we're going to see a lot more of those two in finals in the future. A great victory for Raducanu, it has been a meteoric rise from being virtually unknown at the start of the summer to winning the US Open without dropping a set.
  12. The sprint qualifying probably went perfectly for Verstappen given that it's not Red Bull's favoured track. Bottas looked comfortable for the 'win' but with Max starting on pole and Hamilton having to get past the McLarens it is likely going to be a tough race for Mercedes.
  13. I watched it earlier today. I enjoyed it a lot, I thought the martial arts film influences helped it feel different to all the other Marvel films and meant it had some of the best action sequences that mostly felt a bit more grounded in the reality than some of the more CGI-heavy films. Obviously the final battle is an exception to that but it's hard to complain about a dragon. As attempts at combining martial arts and Marvel superheroes go it's definitely no Iron Fist. I thought Tony Leung was good as the villain, particularly in the early years the villains were often quite weak in the MCU, although it's maybe a bit unfortunate that they've yet again killed off one of their more interesting antagonists. Did they ever explain who sent Shang-Chi the postcard with his sister's address since she says she didn't do it? Ben Kingsley's return had some amusing moments and Morris was cute although it was very convenient plotting that they just happen to run into the two people who can tell them a secret way to the village.
  14. There were bits of it I Iiked, but I agree it could have done with more of a plot.
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