Boyhood(2014) Movie review; amazing idea, but …

When I read that this film was shot every year for the past twelve years, following the same cast I could not wait to watch it, for the first quarter of the film I was mesmerised by the cleverness of the idea and development on the screen, to follow a boy of 5 up until he is 18 is quite amazing, the film is life within a life, it’s the closest I think we will ever get to the Trueman show, but let’s not forget, this cast agreed to act, not be monitored.

So did it work, I would have to say no, the idea was fresh and original but I found myself watching out of intrigue in the physical changes and not the story that was being told, you know sometimes when a movie ends and you are left to wonder if the characters go on to lead a sweet and happy life, well this film proves that it is better to live with the fantasy than the reality of life, that is why we watch films in most cases, this film is a little too close to life in the fact that it is quite boring and dreary(compared to the movies) not a lot happens which is a crime when you think that the director had 12 years to re-edit the script.

Worthy of a watch by all, more for the experience than the viewing pleasure.



Starred Up ( 2014) Movie Review;A shock to the system!

I really enjoyed this gritty and realistic film, there are elements of the film that will shock and stun you, but the thing struck me about the film was ability to capture the darkness of being in prison, I really felt at times that I was in the prison depicted in the film, the glum walls and the depressing atmosphere make this film feel like a documentary at times, this is a compliment to the director and the lead actor Jack O’Connell.

definitely not a family film, more for a grown adults wishing to be taken out of the their comfort zone.





The Purge:Anarchy(2014) Movie Review – A first class film,that is far better than the original!

I absolutely loved this film, I watched the first Purge and was disappointed, the story was interesting but there was no charm from the cast and the clash of the wealthy vs the poor did not capture my attention as this installment did.

The year is 2023 and straight away you are put on the back foot with the ticking time bomb that is the yearly purge, the writing is so smart in this sequel, you have a family splintered by poverty but movingly brought together out of love, and a couple who start arguing about their trivial break up when they should be worrying about what’s about to happen outside on the streets.

There are several subplots that are all very plausible, but moving on from that you can really taste the fear of the purge this time round, the streets have an atmosphere that is thrilling as well as creepy, I found myself shouting at the screen,more than once, when one of the stupid characters decided not stay hidden(this is good sign great directing and perfection in teasing the audience).

The camera shots were quirky and imaginative and the pace of the film is just right.

Frank Grillo was the perfect leading man who led this story down lots of dark and surprising alleys.

Highly recommended



Divergent ( 2014) Movie Review; A futuristic war film 2/3 GREAT! 3/3 NOT SO!

An interesting film set far into the future where government have divided people into groups after huge war, when a girl questions her fate she starts to create a panic and suspicion from every direction.

There are moment’s in this story that reminded me of the Matrix, with regards to the special one tag, I really enjoyed the story and the action but my final thoughts were of a film that could have been great but instead was just OK/Good.

The writer and director really do well over the first two-thirds, but it’s the last third that just felt rushed and hurried to a disappointing end.



Draft Day (2014) Movie Review; A solid film that will keep your interest!

I watched this movie out of curiosity more than I did for the drama, in England we don’t have a draft system, the clubs basically wait to see which player is showing the most promise at 16, then the BIG clubs come in and steal that player leaving the producing club with a compensation claim which relates to pennies if that player becomes successful.

I like the American system, I am guessing there is a decent interest in youth football because of this system.

Back to this film and you have Mr Hit & Miss, Kevin Costner, he plays what a first seems like a naive character but I don’t think I would be ruining anyone’s enjoyment by saying his character grows throughout this story.

The interesting factors include the lengths that these clubs go to, to find out if their future players have personality issues, or if they are mentally or morally weak.

A solid film and decent actors in all the right places, I never tire of seeing the great Frank Langella.



Tearing your calf muscle – great link and advice

I was in the gym today trying to keep up my new healthy life style, I did 15 minutes on the Bike, 15 minutes on the Crosstrainer and then I thought I would end the session with a good run on the Treadmill, I set my run to 20 minutes, was in the 19th minute and my run felt strong and I felt like I could do more than the minute that was left, I looked at the clock and saw 40 seconds remaining, I then felt a pain shoot directly into my calf, shoot! being the optimal word as it felt like a bullet had ripped into that part of my leg! I pushed the emergency stop button and limped off the belt of the treadmill, I tried putting weight down on the affected leg but could not without the shooting pain, in the end I hobbled out of the gym and as long as I didn’t bend that part of the leg I could get away with just looking like I had shit myself as I walked.

I’m really annoyed that this happened, I was just getting the taste for exercise again and now I can’t walk properly, I did the same thing a year ago but this was more painful, the back of my calf, 6 hours later looks like Popeyes arm.

I am thinking to give the running a miss, the Bike and Crosstrainer are less enjoyable but I have never experienced any injuries from them.

I found this great link explaining what happens when you tear your calf and how to treat it -

Managing acute calf tears

Written by Tom Goom, senior Physio at The Physio Rooms Brighton. Follow Tom on Twitter.

Calf pain in runners is quite common and can become a persistent nuisance. Fortunately it usually responds well to treatment and there are a lot of simple exercises you can do to help it recover. This is the first of a series of pieces on calf injury and will guide you through early management of a calf tear. Later pieces will examine non-traumatic calf pain and rehab of strength and flexibility.

The calf is made up of 2 large muscles – gastrocnemius and soleus and a smaller muscle called plantaris. Gastrocnemius is the more superficial of the muscles with soleus sitting beneath it. Gastroc. has two heads to it and crosses both the ankle and knee joints – this makes it somewhat vulnerable to injury. Injuries to soleus are far more rare. In one study of 141 cases referred for ultrasound after calf strain just 1 had a soleus tear while 94 had gastroc injuries.

Traumatic calf injury

The calf is usually injured with sudden movements that dorsiflex the ankle (bend it up) while weightbearing. With the gastroc this often happens with the knee straight as the muscle is then stretched over 2 joints. Activities like rapid lunges (common during racquet sports) or acceleration to sprint when running are common causes of calf injury. It may also occur when the muscle is fatigued after distance running.

During a calf injury many people describe a sudden sensation of being struck on the back of the leg. Swelling is common and it can be difficult to walk initially. In more minor calf injuries people can sometimes continue with their sport at the time of the injury but the pain becomes more severe after. Of the two heads of the muscle the medial head (on the inside of the calf) is more commonly injured than the lateral head (on the outside).

Management of acute calf injury involves POLICE (formerly RICE). With muscle injuries anti-inflammatory medications are not currently recommended, especially in the first 48 hours as they are thought to delay healing. As with all injuries RunningPhysio recommends seeing an appropriate health professional. In the case of calf injuries this is especially important as there is a risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

Symptoms of DVT include pain, swelling and tenderness in the calf often accompanied by warmth and redness of the skin. Unfortunately these are often common symptoms after a calf injury even without DVT. In many cases people sent for investigation of suspected DVT are found not to have one, however if in doubt get it checked out as a DVT is a serious condition and can lead to pulmonary embolism which is potentially life threatening.

Treatment of a calf injury depends largely on severity (timescales detailed below are approximate and may vary considerably between individuals) but I follow these principles of treatment for calf injuries;

  1. Respect the healing process
  2. Allow a period of relative rest
  3. Maintain calf flexibility and strength where possible but exercise within pain limits
  4. Gradually re-introduce activity that involves stretching or loading the calf muscle
  5. Rehab any deficits that exist after the healing process (this might include calf strength, power, endurance or bulk, reduced calf flexibility, altered movement control etc etc.)

With a minor calf injury symptoms will be mild with minimal swelling, you will be able to walk unaided with slight discomfort but sudden movements that stretch or work the calf may cause an increase in pain. Initial treatment involves rest for 2-3 days after which you can often resume gentle cross training, providing it’s pain free. This might include swimming, or cycling (with low resistance) but should avoid impact, heavy resistance or sudden movements. Once symptoms settle you can start some light jogging on a treadmill and see how it feels before gradually returning to training. The timeframe for this varies from around 1-4 weeks depending on the injury and the individual. When you do return to running avoid hill training and speed work initially as this places a greater stress on the calf muscle.

Moderately severe calf injuries need to be treated with a little more caution. In the early stages there will be noticeable swelling and discomfort. You will be able to walk unaided but with some difficulty and pain. Any movements that place even a small stress or load on the calf are likely to be painful. This might include going up or down stairs, moving the ankle or pressure on the calf area.

The first 2-3 days are likely to involve bleeding within the muscle and significant swelling. In these acute stages you’ll need to be more attentive to rest, elevation and ice and I wouldn’t recommend cross training. You may benefit from offloading the calf a little. This can be done by putting a heel wedge in your shoe, strapping the calf or even wearing shoes with a heel (although probably something stable rather than stilettos!). This should be a short term strategy and you should aim to walk in normal shoes or barefoot as soon as comfortable to do so.

By days 4-7 you may find you’re comfortable enough to start very gentle exercises for the calf. Simply move the foot up and down, first with the knee bent, then with it straight. Move only as far as comfortable – don’t push through pain. Little and often is usually best – around 10-15 reps 3 times per day. The aim is to encourage the muscle to contract and relax, this should help clear swelling and maintain flexibility.

After day 7 you’re usually in the sub-acute phase of injury. The muscle is still healing and that new tissue will be vulnerable so you want to avoid excessive stress on it. The body is amazing when it comes to healing and it’s worth respecting that. We often aim to accelerate things but perhaps, in truth, our aim is more to promote the best environment to allow things to heal at their normal rate. It’s important to maintain flexibility and strength in the calf muscle as things heal, but this shouldn’t come at the expense of the healing process.

From approximately day 7 to 21 post injury scar tissue is still developing but isn’t usually strength enough to handle large loads. As a result I would avoid static stretches during this period, instead use the 2 traditional calf stretches (pictured below) but do them dynamically. Rather than moving until you feel a stretch and holding it, just focus on controlled, gentle movement in pain free range. Alternatively a minisquat is a simple way to maintain ankle mobility. You can also start some supported calf raises if able – do on both feet (rather than just 1) – push up onto your toes and slowly lower. You can usually resume cross training from 2-3 weeks post injury but keep it pain free and avoid impact and resistance work.

From 3-4 weeks after calf injury the scar tissue will usually have developed enough to handle a little more load, at this stage you may benefit from starting static calf stretches if comfortable. In which case stretch both the gastroc and soleus muscles, using the techniques above and holding for around 30 seconds for 3-5 reps. You can often progress strength work at this point, if comfortable try single leg calf raises on your weaker side. Do as many as comfortable and gradually increase until you can do the same on both legs. Stop if painful!

Severe calf injuries can result in a complete tear of the gastrocnemius muscle. There will be significant swelling and pain and a haematoma may develop. You may be unable to walk without help from crutches, even then it will be difficult to weight bear and many people choose to hop instead! Management of these injuries varies considerably and will be guided by your consultant or physiotherapist.

Final thoughts: calf injuries can be painful and potentially debilitating and should be assessed by a health care professional to rule out serious complications such as DVT. As ever on RunningPhysio if in doubt, get it checked out. Most calf tears respond well to treatment but the healing process must be respected and it’s important not to do too much too soon.



The Expendables 3 (2014) Movie Review; Love the action stars, one too many in this one!

You could argue that what the ”Expendables franchise” lacks in quality story line and dialogue is made up in the sheer amount of action stars that are crammed into the film, this installment felt like a complete over kill, not only do you have the usual roustabouts which includes Stallone the maker,Stratham, Jet Li,Dolph,Arny and Terry Crews, this time you have what feels like another dozen added, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Ronda Rousey, Wesley Snipes….

If you once had a career or can fight and would like to get into the movies, Stallone and the Expendables gravy train is right up your street.

I may sound like a hater of this film but I still enjoyed the 80’s style action sequences and porno type delivery of the witty one liners, it just felt like a little too much, like when organizing a small party for people who you like, before you know it the word has got out and every Dick & Harry is turning up, before you know it the party is out of hand and no one ends up having any fun.

Ford, Gibson and Snipes were nice inclusions but to add another half a dozen makes this popcorn movie feel contrived if that’s possible in a film like this, the explanation is that Stallone took his finger off the quality control and just said when some flaky agent begged him to put their client in the film,Ahhhh Fuck it, go on then! no one will notice, or care. ( BetterthanIMDB cares Sly :) )

Worst installment of the 3 so far, I am sure he will make another but time to scale it back Sly.