Friday, September 21, 2007

DVD review "Fast Food Nation"

This the best written, acted and directed movie I would heartily recommend you avoid for the rest of your life.

That's right, it's both good and at the same time ultimatly an almost completely useless movie.

The plot (as such) involves Greg Kinnear investigating high levels of animal feces showing up in his burger companies patties. While he is investigating the film changes focus to a group of Mexican illegal immigrants being completely and utterly exploited by the meat packing plant that they are working for.

The good:

Just about everything if you take it as an individual piece. Director Richard Linklater is both stylish and economical with his camera work, he seems to pack a lot of information into his shots, withou it becoming confusing.

Greg Kinnear is excellent as always, his opressed everyman Don has just the right amount of heart for a corporate consulant who hasn't quite lost his soul. Wilmer Valderrama has beafed up considerably and gives and understated but still excellent performance as a mexican migrant worker anmed Raul trying his best to provide for himself and his girlfriend.

Ultimately it's Catalina Sandino Moreno who sticks out as Raul's girlfriend Sylvia. She gives the most incredibly believable performance as someone who will literally do whatever it takes to make sure she and Raul make it through.

I should probably mention that Avril Levine is in this, for about three minutes and does a pretty darn good job of fleshing out a minor role as a university animal rights activist.

Bruce Willis is in it it too. He's bald, and he's Bruce Willis.

The bad:

The movie.

As a whole this movie should have been my kind of movie (I'm a vegitarian) but ultimately the movie wastes any opporunity to have a plot, or a point.

Greg Kinnear wanders about, starts to get something going and then just...quits. Not even his job, just gives up on the investigation. The Mexican migrants go through hell. Then some more. Then some more.

No point, no relief.

If you are going to give your audience an unhappy ending you need to leave them with something other than despair. This film should have left me angry, activist minded. Instead it left me depressed and in a way, almost uncaring. I haven't read the source material (although many people have recommended it to me), however the ultimate message of any film like this has to be that "you" the viewer can make a difference if you fight for it.

I don't watch movies to be told the world is a terrible place. I can watch the news if I want to hear that.

The verdict:

If you're bored, then chewing your own foot will entertain you more than this.



Way to depressed to watch these. I can't rate them but I also couldn't care enough to watch them. You've been warned.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Normally I would reserve this for

if you guys have any interest in MMA then I recommend everyone checks out Coach Scott Sonnon's blog about training UFC fighter Alberto Crane. Scott is one of the new breed of "smart" coach that takes into account the entire process and picture of a fighter's training.

Check it out at



Friday, September 14, 2007

Book review: Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

"Are you rich or something"?

I get asked this all the time when people see that I own a couple of Robert Kiyosaki's books. If the questioners bothered to look around my small two bedroom place they would see that wealth is yet to come my way. Even Robert Kiyosaki can't help with being a relatively new freelance writer I'm afraid.

The book is good though. Very good. Kiyosaki has an easygoing, gentle flow to his writing and he manages to get across some very dry financial concepts without ever losing his reader or confusing anyone.

The good

The advice is solid. Kiyosaki looks to provide several avenues to wealth for the reader; all based on solid economic principles, entrepanurial enthusiasm and Kiyosaki's own life experiences. As I said above Kiyosaki's writing makes for a fun read and he manages to get a lot across in what is a relatively short book.

The bad

Rich Dad Poor Dad's downside is all in it's hype. Yes the book is very good, and following it's principles will certainly help your financial situation (and definatelybe a good book to give to your teenager if you want them to be good with their money). However, this book won't make you rich all on it's lonesome. If it was as good as it's often made out to be (although to be fair, not by Kiyosaki himself) then why would sell all those other books?

The verdict:

This is a good book and worth buying. Read it, enjoy it, but bear in mind it's not all as simple as the book makes it out to be.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Not a review so much as a generalised piece of advice

No ab machine can rid of your gut. Not by itself.

No supplement, even the illegal ones, can give you a fantastic body all by itself.

You will have to exercise. You will have to diet.

It's going to be tough. You;ll probably fall down a lot and your friends will laugh at the weird foods you eat.

Then, as long as you are dieting and exercising, you will start to look better and people will stop laughing. Now, maybe, a supplement can help. But not until you have done the hard yards with, you guessed it, diet and exercise.

BTW by exercise I mean you need to lift some weight (or do bodyweight exercise) and get in some aerobic/anaerobic fitness work as well.

Do this and watch the pounds come off you.



Netguide magazine review

I love Netguide. It's almost shameful.

The good: Pretty much everything. This is a great beginners level magazine that caters to virtually everyone in the PC market (with some content for Mac owners as well). The articles are well researched and well written, with a good mix between serious issues and fun little articles ont he weird stuff people do online.

Netguide also offers excellent game reviews, including all of the main platforms as well as PC and Mac. These are also well written and a breeze to read.

Perhaps most importantly, netguide seems to love a good giveaway and there are plenty of prizes up for grabs for anyone keen on entering. the netguide website is easy to navigate and offers an absolute ton of downloads of excellent utilities.

The bad: Not much, but if you're a Mac owner there could be more content in Netguide. Still it does cater to the majority market, which is PC owners.

The verdict: Well priced, greeat content, great web follow up. Awesome, go get a copy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

First review: Sony Ericcson w200i cellphone

My old phone ended up killing iself a little while ago so i decided to invest in a new one. After some shopping around I picked up a w200i on the basis that it looked pretty good, could be used as botha walkman and a radio. It also met my all important budget constraints (freelancing does not pay that well folks).

The good:

The phone works. It just plain wokrs well. The reception is clear, texting is easy and every feature (bar one) works exactly as advertised. My favortite function has to be the walkman, it's easy to use (especially if your mobile provider supports downloadable songs and ringtones), sounds great and has as much storage capacity as you are willing to pay for.

The pohone itself only comes with 256mb of memory, however you can easily upgrade with any mini san disk to 2gb or even more. It's not quite an ipod, or an iphone for that matter but for the budget concious this is a fantastic alternative.

The bad:

The camera is absolutely dreadful, hard to use, poor quality VGA camera. Of course you get what you pay for but the camera is so bad it's almost like the manufactueres remebered a day before the launch that they needed a camera and just bunged ins ome sort of failed webcam experiment.

The verdict:

This is an excellent phone. The camera is bad enough that you will probably neveruse it, but the rest of the phone, particularly the walkman and radio is so good it almost doesn'y matter.



We have lift off!

Hi folks, my name is andrew and i'm a freelance writer in Christchurch New Zealand. I figured it was high time I put up a blog (hey, all the cool kids are doing it). I'm primarily a reviewer bu trade and Iw anted a spot to post up all the thousands of reviews that never get sommisioned, I just end up writing them for the hell of it.

I hope you enjoy my blog!