Sunday, 31 August 2014

Spurs v Liverpool Observations

In an all too familiar outcome between these two sides, Liverpool ripped Tottenham Hotspur apart at White Hart Lane.  In a battle between two Bielsa inspired coaches, the British overcame the South American as Brendan Rodgers charges out thought the team from North London.
Here are my takeaways from the game:

1. A Sterling performance
Raheem Sterling showcased perhaps his best overall performance of his career today. His pace was lightning but coupled with technical nuance and intelligence.  Sterling provides a touch of flair and pizazz to the team and has an eye for goal to add to his repertoire. It is safe to say that Rodgers is nurturing his talent correctly and if he remains at this level he will become one of the great English players.

2. No Dier call up
A few people were surprised by the exclusion of Eric Dier from the most recent England squad of Roy Hodgson this week, however, on a few occasions Dier's naivety was in evidence against the incisive passing of Liverpool. This lead to him conceding the penalty leading to Liverpool establishing a two-nil lead. His outstretched arm on Joe Allen was rightly penalised but it was more an indication of the training method employed at youth football, where players are taught to pull a shirt to stop forward progress. It might have been a 'soft' penalty but you will be surprised if Dier attempts again.

3. Mario will soon be Super
Mario Balotelli failed to score on his debut and he was quite ring rusty with some headers and a long range shot that he shanked terribly, but there were glimpses of a new emphasis on teamwork for the 24 year old Italian; he tracked back to tackle and do the nitty gritty and his strength was his strength against Younes Kaboul although his lofted pass was counter productive for the run of Sterling. The link up will prosper eventually and Super Mario shall return.

4. Over-manned midfield
Mauricio Pochettino was out manned in his midfield selection. His attempt for continuity in selection by starting the same XI that defeated QPR so convincingly last weekend, played into the hands of the Anfield club who had captain Steven Gerrard, the motor Jordan Henderson and Rodgers lynchpin Joe Allen faced the less than fearful Capoue and Nabil Bentaleb, who were outgunned and overpowered. Whilst he is out of favour the presence of Sandro might have made Liverpool think about a more combative approach. However, even an under par Gerrard did not have much to do as no pressure was forthcoming from a weary Tottenham side.
Perhaps Pochettino needs to focus more on motivation rather than tactical philosophies as Tottenham seem to currently freeze against fellow top 6 sides.

5. Mouth watering versus Madrid
The Champions League draw threw up the tantalising prospect of Real Madrid v Liverpool in back-to-back games at the Bernebeu and Anfield. These two encounters promise to be played at a neck break pace full of speed and passion at two footballing cathedrals, no need to pray, the prayers have been answered.

Follow me on twitter @JamieGarwood

Thursday, 7 August 2014

The Homesman - Preview

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Tommy Lee Jones, one of the finest and most consistent actors in America, returns to the screen but also goes back behind the camera for his sophomore effort, The Homesman, following the critical success of The Three Burials of Melquaides Estrada.

Entertainment One released the trailer for the film this morning (7th August) before the scheduled 21st November release.

The film stars Jones as George Briggs, a man about to hang himself when he is saved by the independent Mary Bee Cuddy, portrayed by Hilary Swank.  For saving his life, Cuddy convinces Briggs to help her escort three crazy women across country. Set in the American West of the 1850s, this is a western film based on the synonymous novel by Glendon Swarthout.

The trailer shows us plenty of action and gives us glimpses of other fine talent in the film including John Lithgow, Tim Blake Nelson and Meryl Streep.  Tellingly, we do not get much of a look of the three troubled women, although they appear to be played by unknown actresses.  The trailer concentrates on the dynamic relationship between Briggs and Cuddy, with Swank ending the clip on the upbeat note, 'We make a good team you and me'.

In cinematic terms, the film carries the same sinister and underlying darkness that was in Jones' directorial debut; and yet the pictures harken back to a time of late era Sam Peckinpah and Don Siegel.  We can be assured though that the acting will be first rate.

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Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Shark by Will Self

As part of its ongoing creative partnership, WeTransfer<> is collaborating with Penguin Books for the official unveiling of the global artwork for Will Self’s new book, Shark.
This collaboration will make an excerpt of the book available to read, absolutely free and without any need to sign-up, exclusively to WeTransfer’s 55 million global users.
Shark is a mind-bending novel, centring around an incredible real event – the largest ever shark attack in human history, when nearly 600 men were killed after the sinking of the US naval vessel that delivered the bomb that would be dropped on Hiroshima.
WeTransfer will be showcasing the book’s striking cover in a unique still life photograph that will link to retail partner where people can pre-order the title a month ahead of its official launch this September.
Nalden, Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of WeTransfer, said: “Striking imagery has been a mainstay of WeTransfer; showcasing the work of exciting artists is an integral part of our user-experience. Likewise, Penguin has continuously enlisted adventurous designers with a strong vision to bring its publications to life, showcasing that printed books are still a canvas for creativity.
“As design enthusiasts ourselves, Penguin is a company we have always admired, not only for their timeless designs but also their innovative approach to digital communication. One of the previous covers we displayed achieved more than 25,000 clicks to Penguin’s online store in 27 days, so whilst we’re delivering stunning imagery on our platform, we’ve shown our global user-base obviously enjoy these books covers as much as we do.”
The launch of artwork for Will Self’s latest novel is just the latest in a series of projects between Penguin Books and WeTransfer, which aim to bring together print and digital creativity.
Celeste Ward-Best, Campaigns Executive at Penguin Books UK, said: “We’re delighted to partner with WeTransfer to unveil the daring cover of Will Self’s, Shark. WeTransfer is one of the most exciting and progressive online businesses out there and we’ve long admired their commitment to showcasing timeless and innovative design.”

The excerpt from Shark is one typical of The Self prose; highly unorthodox with its broken syntax and structure which from the outside can make it seem a hard read, yet it remains engaging and original as one would expect from one of Britain's most respected authors.  The book promises to be one of the highlights of the Autumn slate of releases, and cement Self at the top of the literati in Britain.

To read an exclusive excerpt of Shatk before the 4th September release, going to the following website:

And enter in the password: wetransfer

There is also a chance to see the exclusive cover artwork on this link:

Monday, 4 August 2014

This Is Where I Leave You

Originally published in 2010, Jonathan Tropper's novel This Is Where I Leave You is soon to be released as a major motion picture starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey and Connie Britton.

It tells the story of Judd Foxman, a man in his early 30s going through several setbacks including the discovery of his wife sleeping with his boss.  Whilst all this is occurring, Judd must go home for Shiva following the death of his father.

This means sharing a room with his dysfunctional family; his mother, Hilary, a noted celebrity therapist; his two brothers, Paul and Philip and his sister, Wendy and all their significant others and offspring,  The premise of having a family who do not communicate stuck in a room together where they have to grief as one is a common thread in American literature and comedy, making this novel ripe for the impending big screen treatment.

However, what is so refreshing about the novel is how expertly Tropper has convincingly rendered the dysfunction and disintegration of the modern American family in the modern age.  His ear for dialogue is impressive and provides a real zip to proceedings which allowed this reader to not stop turning the page; if cast correctly, the delivery in the movie could be golden.  Especially during the Shiva scenes themselves where Tropper's cynical observant eye is at its most uproarious.  At times, this reader was laughing out loud not just from dialogue but from the situation they are presented in.

Yet you can tell Tropper wants his characters to triumph, the depiction of brain injury neighbour Horry is particularly well done with great restraint and dignity. Yet Horry is given some of the better lines in the book.

When reading the book, two famous old adages came to mind. You cannot pick your family and with friends like these who needs enemies.  There are a few well handled set pieces such as the scenes between Judd and old flame Penny, and in Judd the author has created one of those fine comic creations that is both cynic and soft around the edges, and the book never becomes over sentimental when it so easily could, he author who has also written How To Talk To A Widower, is far too optimistic for that.

This Is Where I Leave You is out now on paperback from Orion Publishing