Saturday, November 18, 2006

The day in reviews!

As I said in my previous post, today is all about checking out some new stuff, and reporting back on whether it's the dog's danglies, or Parappa the Crapper.

First up: The new, new Mini!

Now, when I first saw pictures of the new, new Mini (erm... let's just cut one of the 'new's huh?) a couple of months back my reaction was something like "hmmm..."

Which is the distinct sound of the underwhelmed.

I may have even mentioned to Marcosy (a fellow Mini owner - we're car buddies!) that I thought it looked like a six year-old's interpretation of the current model, what with the slightly bulbous arse, bigger headlights - generally an all-round exaggeration of the existing styling cues. But, being the whore that I am there was no way I was going to say no to driving one.

Arriving at my dealer (sorted for eeeez and whizz) I wandered in to confront a new Mini. Once again I said "hmmm..." But this time there was something different about the "hmmm..."

Because the new Mini looks... kind of awesome in the metal.

There seems to be a clarity of purpose to the changes that have been made. It looks chunker, funkier, and no less huggable. The interior, which I feared would be a mountain of bare plastic, is warm and inviting, friendly, functional, and freakin' neat (the boot is still the size of a shoebox though!).

And then I was plonked in a gold/silvery Cooper S for a test drive, which I have rendered here with the aid of some hasty photoshopping.

WHAT STRUC- oh, sorry, caps lock was on. What struck me first was that it felt much like the 5-Series I drove the other week. The keyless start was the same, the parking sensors and navigational screen were the same. Hell, even the indicators were the same!

And then we were off. Into a traffic jam. Although seeing as I spend a fair bit of time in traffic each day, this was quite a nice way to see how the new Mini compared to my Mini. And it meant that my 15 minute test drive stretched out into about 35 minutes. Bo. Nus.

There's been a lot of comments in the motoring press about how this Mini has grown up a bit. Matured, like a fine wiiiine, I suppose. And that's true. The lovely lady who sat in on my test drive compared my generation of Mini as being like a teenager, while the new one is a twentysomething - a bit like me then! Y'know, basically it's got responsibilities, but it still likes a bit of fun and wants to watch Star Trek every now and then. Maybe even sit around in its pants on a warm day. Yes? No? Um, OK.

It's all very refined, but hit the twisties and new Mini is up for a laugh.

I liked it. A lot, in fact.

And when I'm in the market for a new motor, I will definitely be buying one (I'm particularly interested in the Clubman estate that is due around 2008, just to have something a little different).

Fingers crossed I win the lottery soon.


To the movies!

First, let me say that I absolutely loved Casino Royale - without doubt the best spy movie ever made. If you replace the words 'Casino Royale' with the words 'The Prestige,' and the word 'spy' with the words 'dueling magicians,' that is.

Casino Royale was, you see, completely, totally, and massively sold out. "Are you here to see Casino Royale or Borat?" said the tuxedo'd man outside the cinema. "Yes!" I replied. "Sold out till 10:30," he fired back.

So, Sweatband and I decided to see The Prestige instead, which I wanted to see anyway, but I think it was a little disappointing for Sweatband who seemed to be quite eager to see Daniel Craig in his little blue trunks.

"Are you here to Casino Royale or Borat?" said the tuxedo'd man outside the cinema once again.

"Not now," I replied.

For those who don't know, The Prestige is all about two magician friends who ultimately become rivals as they try to steal each other's tricks and generally out-do each other on stage.

And like the new, new Mini, I absolutely loved it. It was extremely well plotted, engrossing to follow, beautifully directed, and very well acted (even if Christian Bale's English accent sounded really dodgy - which came as something of a surprise considering he's... well, er, English). It also had David Bowie in it, and as a big fan of his music and acting (Labyrinth anyone?) this was a particular treat; he's very well cast as a mysterious and eccentric scientist.

You know how sometimes you realise the twist in a movie before the big reveal - which often spoils the denoument? Well I realised the twist - it's not so much a twist, more a particularly important plot point - here, and it didn't spoil it at all. In fact it merely added to the sense of foreboding as the movie came to a close. I genuinely think that this is one of the best movies I've seen this year.

Brilliant, brilliant film - go see.

Unless you want to see Daniel Craig smuggling a banana.


Dora and Tina said...

Yes, but how big is the banana?

Plus I want to go and see The Prestige now for the magic!

Tim said...

I don't know - although the camera adds 10 pounds, apparently.

Go see The Prestige - it was ace. But was it magic... or was it ... SOMETHING ELSE...?


Miss T said...

Actually, there are lots of adds out on Foxtel right now for The Prestige. I think I'll drag Dora along to it. It's got Christian Bale in it, and he's my favourite.

I liked the Pulp quote you snuck in! The new mini looks very sexy. I'd definitely drive one. After I have ruined my Jazz, of course. I love the new cute little VW Cabriolets that are out at the moment as well, but I'll have to get a better job than teaching to afford one.

skillz said...

I saw the trailer for Prestige, looks pretty good. Wanna see Dirty Sanchez and Jackass 2 too, plus Casino Royale with Cheese.

I could end up going to the cinema more times than I bargained for.

Tim said...

Miss T - yes, you and Dora have to go see The Prestige. It's my movie recommendation of the week!

The new Mini is very sexy. It's my car recommendation of the week! Maybe we should all go and buy new cars? After all, Dora definitely needs one bearing in mind her's is a murderous Toyota.

Skillz - Definitely go see The Prestige dude - I was blown away by how much I liked it. Jackass 2 looks great, I'm torn between that and Hollywoodland for a post work cinema trip on Friday.

Maybe I should put it to a blog vote?

Miss T said...

Jackass 2 would be mindless fun for a Friday.

Tim said...

Yes... yes, it would, wouldn't it?

Hmmm... I think I'll play it by ear on the day though!

skillz said...

Play it by ear huh? Hope you wax lyrical about it! ho ho ho!

Dinah said...

Dog's danglies mean something good, right?

Tim said...

Skillz - That's bad, dude, seriously bad!!!

Dinah - It does indeed - it stems from the popular phrase 'the dog's bollocks,' with variations including the 'dog's danglies' and 'the mutt's nuts.'

I don't know why it's supposed to mean something good though...

Inexplicable DeVice said...

I was humming and hahing about the Prestige and you've convinced me to see it. You must have some kind of insidious mind power...

I want to see Mr Craig smuggling an entire crate of bananas first, though!

Tim said...

Go see The Prestige, go see The Prestige!!

These things work both ways, though - I've got Burning Dreams sitting in my book pile to read!!!

I still have to get round to Casino Royale - but I think I want to see Hollywoodland and Jackass2 first!