Friday, 14 March 2014

O Captain, My Captain...

Tomorrow evening, at approximately 7:30pm GMT, one of the greatest careers in International Rugby Union will come to an end, as Ireland and Leinster player Brian O'Driscoll finishes his 141st and final international match against France, against whom he played his first Test match in 2000.

On that occasion, at the age of 21, he scored three tries and helped the side to their first win in Paris since 1972. To put things in perspective, if Ireland win tomorrow, it will be their second win in Paris since 1972.

Now, at age 35,having been team captain, four times Lions member, Heineken Cup Winner and 6 Nations Grand Slam Winner, as well as having been acknowledged by his peers as one of the best footballers ever to have worn the Number 13 shirt, O'Driscoll lines out for his final Test, facing the country against whom he posted his debut hat-trick and Ireland's best result in 28 years.

France.

Courtesy of a fan, here's a, shall we say, 'précis' of BOD's career highlights:


Tomorrow I shall be watching with my father, pint of Guinness in hand, as possibly the greatest player of his or my generation takes the field for the final time.

I feel tremendously privileged to have seen him play.

Now if only we could retire George Hook...

Non-Stop...

(Note: I began, but failed to finish, this post before the events surrounding Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 had taken place. I thought about deferring it but felt that the two incidents were sufficiently different in nature that I could proceed with posting.)

Having some time on my hands on Friday last, I went to see Liam Neeson's latest picture, Non-Stop.


For those who may have been off-planet lately (or deep within the Kingdom of the Molemen - they only allow the cinema of Uwe Boll), the story follows troubled US Air Marshal Bill Marks, who, while on a trans-Atlantic flight, receives a message from someone who says he'll kill a passenger every twenty minutes unless his demands are met, namely the transfer of $150 million into a Swiss account.

When the account turns out to be in Marks's name, he's deemed to be a hijacker by authorities, and with  no-one to trust but a passenger (Julianne Moore) and a flight attendant (Michelle Dockery), Marks has to deal with 150 potential suspects if he's to foil the criminal and save the aircraft and passengers.

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, who gave us the slick Eurothriller Unknown, also starring Neeson, Non-Stop delivers exactly what its name suggests - a suspense-filled thriller in which one is never certain what's a clue and what's a red herring.

Here's a trailer:


One has to suspend a certain amount of disbelief in one or two instances, but the payoff is worth it.

Neeson will return in "Run All Night", a third collaboration* with director Collet-Serra revolving around a retired hitman who's forced into a contract in order to save his family. Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman and Genesis Rodriguez co-star, and it's set for release in 2015.


*but not, it seems, with Joel Silver...