Friday, 30 October 2009

unforgettable

so november's gonna be an odd month. if i go through with any/all of my plans it should be pretty packed with a lot of exciting times, a great deal of personal development and a lot to show for it.

unfortunately for you (really?), i probably won't be blogging any of it, so you won't be able to follow my amazing life in any detail. and i know you love to do that. so here are my tasks for next month:

1: i have signed up to nanowrimo. it's a community of thousands of people around the world who challenge themselves to write 50,000 words within the month of november; and then through online networking, live writing events and various other kinds of twentieth century human contact, encourage and support each other to reach their goal.

fifty thousand words is a lot, but it's not unobtainable. however if i spend any time blogging i'll be seriously eating into my nanowrimo time, so consider this place an empty world for the next four weeks.

currently i have absolutely no idea what my novel is going to be about. they say you should always write about what you know, so expect it to include:

a) the application of audio and visual technology to live corporate events

b) unrequited love

c) perpetual tiredness

and d) the futile pursuit of living in a complete fantasy world.

also, due a strange request it needs to include a character called 'ellie fried rice'

2: i went to a chinese healer yesterday who told me i had too much 'heat' inside my body. i'd gone in to see if they could do anything about the stuff that happens to my face that makes me really self conscious so i'm not sure why they were talking about my flatulence, but there we go. part of my treatment means that i can't eat spicy food which makes me more than a little upset.

(the other part of my treatment is paying an enormous amount of money for some mud that i have to drink twice a day. i am not that enthralled by this either)

3: this month i will make noticeable improvements in my improv abilities. this must include using accents more because i always forget and i am good at them and they are funny. yesterday during class i used a new york accent and it made me happy. more please.

i will also be trying to apply more improv theory to my practice. this will make me tenfold awesome.

4: i haven't cycled to work in ages (because i am a chubby sofa-boy). at the very least i will cycle twice a week in november. it doesn't seem a lot on paper, but i must plan for the fact that most nights i go straight out from work and be realistic with myself.

5: there is a significant chance that i may resign from my job in this, the eleventh month. i will make no promises or assumptions about it, but chances are ... um ... significant. like i said.

6: i will sleep more. i am rubbish at sleeping and have absolutely no self control with bed time. on average i sleep about 4-5 hours a night. this is understandable for my siblings with their 8-month-old children, but not for me who sleeps alone in a silent room.

this would probably explain point 1:C (see above).

7: i will do all of these things whilst retaining the excellent social life I have had over the last few weeks.

so there you go. 31 days from now and I will be funnier, better, faster, stronger, writer.... can you sense the excitement in the air?

no, of course not; you got bored and you haven't read down this far.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

the a-team movie is being directed by joe carnahan

some of you may have noticed i've been a bit obsessed with the forthcoming a-team movie of late. this potentially makes me a loser, but at least i'm a loser who gets to see the new a-team film when it comes out.
you may have checked out my casting experiment over the last few weeks, and i'm sure you'll be pleased - nay - ecstatic to know that there are plenty more to battle through. in the meantime i thought i'd share this little bad-boy with you; and then we can get silly-excited together:

to save you time that's:
- liam neeson as col. john 'hannibal' smith
(gangs of new york, batman begins, star wars: the phantom menace)

- bradley cooper as lt. templeton 'faceman' peck
(the hangover, wedding crashers, he's just not that into you)

- quinton 'rampage' jackson as sgt. bosco 'b.a.' baracus
(ultimate fighting championship fighter, the midnight meat train)

- sharlto copley as capt. 'howling mad' murdock
(the guy from district 9! who's great)


it's also going to be directed by joe carnahan. a name you probably don't know, but he directed smokin' aces and narc. not completely unacceptable films. carnahan said this about the project:
“You can … make a film that reflects on the real world without losing the great sense of fun and the velocity of action in a classic summer popcorn film… This was a coveted property, and reimagining a show that I remembered as a kid was tough to turn down. Fox hired me to make it as emotional, real and accessible as possible without cheesing it up.”

and producer ridley scott (yes, i know!) says it's going to be in the same vein as the die hard films. which is such lovely news i could barf.

now, all this means nothing in the real world. the most telling clue about whether this re-imagining is being tackled with the correct attitude, is how they are casting the real star of the 80's show:
the van

even though they're putting jessica biel (little miss average) in, i've totally forgiven them. because look:
it's the same! yeeeeeeeaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!!
oh god, i'm excited. feel free to judge me.

i'm going to be so disappointed when i see it, aren't i?

Monday, 26 October 2009

blade: trinity

i really like the blade films.

actually, check that... i really like the first two blade films. this third one is a bit turd. it has a lot of the good stuff; like the enjoyable fight sequences, the silliness of wesley snipes' acting, and swords. but it's all spoilt in trinity, by cheesiness. it's willfully cheesey, and that has a certain charm. even ryan reynolds' constant idiocy wears you down until you can bear it. but there are too many unforgivable, slightly moronic choices that remove any credibility raised by the first two movies.

pour example:
- ipod playlists for fighting with.
- vampire pekinese dogs.
- pointless jessica biel shower scene.
- parker posie's tooth prosthetic that makes her mouth look like it's in different aspect ratio.
- "it forms a beam of UV light half as hot as the sun"
- oh god, the script is so bad.
- the weirdest virus animation i've ever seen.
- stupid stupid stupid hip-hop theme tune.

ah whatever. it's fun, but it's shit.

5/10

Sunday, 25 October 2009

the a-team movie is being made by pixar

i've got a fair few pixar films lining my shelves. they're there (i tell myself) so that one day when i've got kids and all my money has been squandered on nappies and cleaning products, i'll still be able to provide the little chaps with some form of entertainment. admittedly, they will get some entertainment from my bumbling failings as a father and role model. even as a toddler, little Arbie will tut and roll his eyes as i absent-mindedly screw a shelf to a wall upside down. or put too much bicarb of soda in a biscuit mix.

then of course there's Emmille. he's a bit older than Arbie and has already developed cynicism, so he's a bit more uncomfortable with his senile old dad. but he does make friends at school easier when he tells amusing stories about how his dad is a bit useless; how dad always gets puts the wrong batteries in his toys, or buys the wrong brand of oven potato faces.

Candice (the oldest) has the hardest time, though. she's even older and starting to go to school discos. that's okay, but when dad turns up at the end of the evening to drive her home and the music is still playing, he can't resist getting on the dance floor and 'laying some shapes.'
but as we all know, dads can't lay shapes. well... they can, but those shapes are "crab", "brick" and "the hunchback windmill".

god, i'd be an embarrassing dad.

that's the plan.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

riders on the storm

get excited freaks!

when simon pegg and nick frost announced they were going to do another film the world rejoiced and everything was good. then of course the internet started it's torrential speculation machine and geeks in every corner of the world waded in with their ideas and suggestions. i'm sure the likes of pegg, frost and mottola were incredibly thankful, in that they've created a consistent list of masterpieces on their own already so they've probably run out of ideas.

so thanks 16 year olds the world over. thanks.

one of the main suggestions was that they should do a sci-fi movie. based on the fact that they've done horror (shaun of the dead) and action (hot fuzz), sci-fi seemed like the next logical step. i love sci-fi, as regular readers may have gathered. i think it is the most important and most versatile of all genres. and it is pretty like a lady.

i thought the next installment of the genius machine should be a road movie. it's less obvious. while i never said this to anyone, somehow they must've got wind of it because now they're making a sci-fi road movie. called paul. and that's just great.

before you point it out i'm totally aware that i moaned about the pathetic nature of online speculation and stupidity forums, but am very much part of the problem. i have irony, though. and that makes me sexy.

tigerland

there weren't any tigers in this. not one. colin farrell was in it instead, and he did a pretty good job of it all in. if he was a tiger i would predict this wouldn't have been as good. but it was good. which is great,

look here, i didn't get much sleep last night. i was up until 4am drinking incredibly cheap white wine, so you're not going to get much of a review about tigerland i'm afraid. if i really try i'll be able to tell you that is was good. it won't change your life or anything, but it was good. well, y'know.. okay.

uurrrrrrgh.

6/10

Thursday, 22 October 2009

tin man

so technically this is not a film, but in a world where we have high budget series' that rival movies in their production values, budgets and casting; if you have a problem with that i will tell you to shove it where the sun doesn't shine (leeds).

i'm all up for re-imaginings. tin man is based on one of my favourite stories, so it was going to go one of two ways. it went the bad way. and it could've been avoided very easily.

simply, it should have been made into a film. maybe a couple of hours at the most. if that had happened we wouldn't have had so many problems with the speed at which this 6 hour mini series plods slowly along. about half way through you just get to a point where you spend all your energy willing this epic to finish.

it really is an epic. so much depth to the new Oz. sadly, that lively land is faded. it seems the creators had decided to make it all so epic that it was too much for the cast and crew to take. i've seen zooey deschanel act well in the past, so i know it wasn't entirely her fault that she was so unconvincing in this. she was probably just tired. allan cumming is also usually excellent, but very poor here. and i'm pretty sure i've seen neal mcdonough performing well in other stuff.

oh dear. there were so many good points to this. some of the production design was good, although i found it rather inconsistent across the whole production. there were some nice ideas about the re-imagining of the characters. i liked the aunt & uncle interpretation. however, all the good things were not enough to rescue this colourful-but-dull trawl.

shame.

4/10

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

the a-team movie is being directed by wes anderson


i'm at home sick today. i feel like crap with a sore head and throat and bones and things. instead of going to work i'm going to stay in bed and watch the battlestar galactica mini-series.
this has nothing to do with how i cast a wes anderson interpretation of the a-team. i did a bit of research into wes anderson with a hope that he might have some sort of sickness and i could draw a clever parallel, but to the extensive knowledge of wikipedia there doesn't seem to be a blot. i'm quite thankful, i think anderson is one of the best directors in the world today, a real auteur. the darjeeling limited is far and away one of my top films. so that's good.

anyway, back to battlestar and someone has just presented an old spaceship to an old guy. seems like some troops have renovated it for a much loved general who is retiring. that's sweet isn't it?

ATCHOO!

shot through the heart

now i've got a sick sense of humour as much as the next child-beating party clown, but is this a step too far for tv prank shows?

Terrifying Sniper Prank on Japanese TV

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

thx 1138

this is why people think george lucas was a visionary, this is why they gave him countless wads of cash to make a fairy story about incest set in space. with comedy robots. because visually this film - originally made in 1970 - is groundbreaking. it hasn't aged at all, not in nearly 40 years which is basically amazing. i would compare it to moon which was released this year, so that's pretty good going.

lucas' vision doesn't end there. this film makes a fair few predictions about the future that hold remarkable truth. despite the setting of a far distant future, it still has the general public spending their life watching bland, mind-numbing television. it has people blindly following religion without question. it's a clever film.

unfortunately, it has a whole bunch of problems. the pace is willfully slow. this is an extension of the narcotically muted life that humans lead in this universe, but ends up holding the beats of the film back so much that it becomes soporific. it's cleverly done, but damages the film.

the script is pretty poor. again, this can be blamed on the sedatives that every character is constantly loaded with. and makes sense. the unfortunate side effect is that there is no flare, no flow... but then, that's served lucas pretty well so far. i don't think the star wars fan-base would ever attribute their obsession with The Saga to the poetry of greedo's monologue.

so it's an impressive film. i'm a bit sad that Lovefilm sent me the updated, re-edited version (2004). as with all his great films (star wars 4-6), george lucas has thrown the original cut away, and refilled it with silly little cartoons that destroy the integrity of the film. oh well.

6/10

Monday, 19 October 2009

the last temptation of christ

only god knows why this caused so much controversy. i mean, forgetting the massively obvious disclaimer at the beginning that sets out what the director intended to do with the film: that it was an experiment, an idea, and absolutely not intended as blasphemy or the discreditation of anyone's faith. it was in huge white letters on a black background for all to read at the beginning. if you missed it, you are some kind of fool. and if you blindly follow the band wagon you'll miss out on a really exciting and interesting theological investigation into the kind of man jesus was.

in some ways i think this is far more realistic than most other representations of the human who was jesus. most other interpretations make his life comparatively easy. bearing in mind he was a man who had been called to single-handedly change the way the world thought and then get painfully betrayed and executed, you'd think it would be a struggle a lot of the time. yes, mel gibson's "passion" pulled no punches with the torture scene, but i've not seen as much of an investigation into jesus' psyche as you get with "temptation." go on, think about the level of psychological and emotional conflict the J-man had to go through. he was a man of flesh faced with all the aspects of a tough world at a tough time. people were desperate, poor, diseased, oppressed. how about a bit of sympathy to the probability he was tempted off course now and then, eh? i mean, why don't you try the equivalent... walk into israel and single-handedly change the minds of two nations and bring peace, in the full knowledge your thanks will include one of your best friends betraying you to the authorities for £20, and getting slowly tortured to death.

yuh, he probably had some off days.

speaking of judas, i really liked how he was portrayed in this. i've always thought he gets a pretty bad rap. i don't think it was a piece of cake to realise that you'd been put on the earth for the purpose of initiating the murder of one of your best friends and the man you respected most in the world. to paint him as a man who was more committed to the cause than anyone else makes more sense to me. to find that level of dedication to the greater good, that you summon the will to instigate the death of someone you love requires someone of inordinate strength, not sickly weakness.

this film is clever, powerful and thought-provoking. it realises a more believable version of the lamb led to slaughter, not an offensive one.

admittedly it does go a bit weird towards the end, and disobeys one of the first rules of good story telling. but if we didn't experiment we wouldn't learn anything, would we?

8/10

Sunday, 18 October 2009

the a-team movie is being directed by george lucas


i know, i know.. i didn't write any spiel for the last one. i was busy having a social life. so sue me. seriously, i'm a guy who spends hours laboriously coming up with inconsequential ideas about who would play the a-team characters in fictional universes; so if i want to give writing like a non-sensical dullard a miss every now and again and clutch desperately at the chance to hang out with people of flesh and blood, i blummin will.

george lucas will never be lonely, because he sees animated characters and drawings as real objects. he could completely replace his friends, family and possessions with computer generated animations and would not only be unaware of their inferiority, but would actually declare it better.

zak & sara

nowadays i'm always on the lookout for a good ukulele cover. you should be too, it will enrich your life and make you walk faster. especially when its a cover of a ben folds song.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

words

as i start writing this i have discovered that the press complaints commission have had to create a new page on their website specifically for people who want to complain about the article that jan moir wrote a couple of days ago. the backlash against this hideous woman has been of great interest to me, and the decision of whether or not i add myself to the statistic of complaints has fluctuated back and forth. this has become way more than specifically about steven gately's death, this is now the straw that broke the camel's back.

every day it seems that i hear someone talk about "reader's of the daily mail" and their right wing, prejudiced views. that whenever anything happens they disagree with, suddenly a huge series of complaints happens. a mistake, a bit of bad judgement, a silly phone call to an actor's answer machine that was poorly thought through; someone makes a small mistake, and suddenly there is an inundation of complaints from people who have nothing better to do with their lives. these mistakes are mostly/often stupid, silly, a shame; but never life threatening or dangerous to the society we live in. that is until people start jumping on the band wagon, and suddenly the whole thing in inflated to an attack on britain.

i was pretty fucking angry and appalled when i heard about the jonathan ross, russell brand thing. but not at all about their prank. yes, it was a stupid thing to do, but by no means the worst thing in the world. the whole thing should have ended with a simple, personal apology from brand/ross to andrew sachs and his granddaughter. the victimisation of two comedians who had made a bit of bad judgement was the part that troubled me the most, as thousands of people jumped onto a bandwagon and started to incite further more of the idiot masses to write to the PCC.

it was the same when blue peter 'faked' the results of a competition. due to a piece of technology failing, the producer made a snap judgement to keep the show running and - as i understand it - used a member of staff to be the 'phone-in' contestant. instead of shrugging their shoulders and saying "fair enough, the show carried on and no-one really lost out" there was a torrent of complaints from discerning viewers about how television constantly lies to us, and "how-dare-they-take-our-license-fee-and-deceive-us-in-such-a-way"'s. whether or not you agree about the decision being the right one, the discrimination against the decision makers was hurtful, unnecessary and frankly pathetic in a world where millions of people deal with life-threatening intolerance on a daily basis.

and this is where i am further troubled, but equally smug. in both these cases, and many more, a third party commented on a happening and incited a lynching. this is all it was. if this was 500 years ago, there would be an angry mob with lit torches standing outside jonathan ross's house threatening to set fire to his stables unless he came out and allowed himself to be burned on a pyre in the market square. so why is it so different that charlie brooker comments on jan moir's article, and the lefty twitter users amongst us are suddenly led to complain to the press complaints commission? why is that different? why do i feel okay about joining the mob who write, solely on the back of the intensity of opinion of a journalist who spotted an article that i would never have seen otherwise?

the difference is this: jan moir's article was about hatred and bigotry. jan moir's article was a misinformed homophobic incitement. jan moir's article was no different to a fundamentalist terrorist's provocation to victimise innocent people on the basis of them being 'different' (the irony is not lost on me). the results of daily mail campaigns of the past suggest that the people who write in could be led to complain about anything. if jan moir had told her regular readers to complain to the PCC about the risque nature of rachel riley's dress on thurday's episode of countdown, i'm sure they would have, in their droves. they would be "shocked" and "appalled" that this was allowed on air, and demand for someone to be fired. the 'crowd mentality' would take over, and as we all know the intelligence level of a group drastically decreases in indirect proportion to the size.

but it doesn't matter that rachel riley's dress was a bit sexy for an 80 year old daytime telly audience.

it does matter that influential people breed prejudice against others with a hope to destroy tolerance. it does matter that jan moir infects mainstream media with homophobic views and tries to get away with it, without being called up on her actions. i want to live in a country where people are allowed to have whatever views they want, but when those views attack people because of their sexuality they shouldn't remain unchallenged.

i don't give a shit whether the cat on blue peter was named by a 7 year old girl from stoke or not.
i do give a shit when bigotry is encouraged and fuelled, and i'm glad that the reaction to moir's bigoted article has been so great. i don't feel i am part of a band wagon or an angry mob. i am totally aware that the words i've written (if they make sense, i'm pretty drunk) could be viewed as hypocritical. the society we live in should be tolerant, welcoming and open-minded; and anyone who attempts to remove us from that ideal should be disciplined, fired and/or burnt at the stake on piccadilly circus.

as for the hypocritical thing, no-one challenges anyone for being indiscriminately hateful towards neo-nazis. and i think that's okay.

crank

if i obey any of my normal rules about movie discernment, i should tie crank to a rock and throw it overboard. however as we all know - rules are made to be photocopied, ripped to shreds and pushed up the bottom of your local MP.

in the spirit of what it is meant; crank is a high-octane bout of silliness. the normally unwatchable jason statham seems to have found 'his' film here. it sprints and hurdles and shot-puts through at a marvelous pace, demanding little of the cockney muppet except looking grumpy. which he does well.

crank demands little from the audience too, so it's perfect viewing on a saturday morn when my eyes are bleary and my attention span is chicken peri-peri. actually there are some really cool little touches, like imposing images of people on the other end of phones somewhere in the frame. i liked that.

look, sometimes you don't watch movies to have your thought provoked... sometimes you watch them to feel like your frontal lobe has been raped. therefore: crank - a work of greatness
and this is coming to you from a chap who normally takes an instant irrational hatred to a film if someone i don't like is in it. innit.

like john malkovich. that guy sucks.

7/10

and angelina jolie. urgh.

Friday, 16 October 2009

the room

the funniest thing i've read this year is, by far, the wikipedia entry for this 'film'. please take time to read it yourself, i promise there is not one morsel of your psyche that won't want to import the dvd from america and watch it yourself. as I may well have done.

i did.

if it doesn't make you want to do that, i am forever alone and shall resign myself to sitting on this stool with the lights off.

i ordered it many moons ago and while the californian smelling jiffy bag arrived weeks later, it had to sit on my coffee table until I could watch it with a suitable cohort. i had no intention of keeping this to myself. it is something that needs sharing and share i must. and am doing. now. with you. you lucky bitch. oh boy was i excited; when i finally got round to getting round to The Troubadour's place and we watched the much discussed american phenomenon.

tommy wiseau's "the room" has a micro-climate of it's own. i was originally alerted to it's existence whilst listening to smodcast - kevin smith's weekly chat with his friend/producer scott mosier. scott mentions it as "the worst film he has ever seen" which, at the best of times is the sort of review that pricks my ears right up, but that review coming from a discerning, analytical film maker like mosier makes the room's viewing essential to my life.

everything you hear or read about the room is true. it is both "the worst film ever made" and 99 minutes of joy. it features the worst script, the worst direction, the worst story, the worst continuity, the worst acting, the worst set design, the worst music, the worst casting, the worst decisions ever made in cinematic history. and i can say that for certain without seeing every film ever made. everything about this film is shocking in it's appalling-ness. and therein lays the brilliance. it's what makes it more compelling than most other things i've seen.

you know when you're driving on the motorway, and you hit a huge traffic jam? and as you edge slowly along the tarmac ribbon, you eventually discover that there has been a huge, ugly pile-up of an accident on the other side of the road. the thing that's held you up all this time is people slowing down to get a good look as they pass by. "rubber-neckers" my dad calls them. an accident so horrific and morbid, with more than a probable chance of fatalities demands attention. you know it will made you feel light-headed and mortal, but still you must look for as much detail as you can; a blood-patch, a limb, a body if you're lucky. screw the kids in the back seat, they need to learn this stuff. as a human, you must witness the demise of another at some point in your life, it is important to your self awareness and the development of your philosophy.

the room is that car crash. it is disgusting, sick and wrong... but you must watch it, you must live through it. and if you do, something will happen. something different to the ill-reward that morbid curiosity of rubber-necking brings. unlike seeing a paramedic scooping up the teeth of a family dog and feeling the horror of deaths finger tapping at your windscreen as you slowly coast past, while watching the room something will change. you will sit for the opening few minutes in confused dilemma. then it will click: "this is the worst film of all time" ... klunk-klik. you will experience pure catharsis. you will laugh until milk erupts from your nose. you will shit happiness. this film is crap. this film is amazing. i give it both the worst and the best score.

i can only really describe it by picking out my favourite facts about its production:
  1. tommy wiseau spent thousands of dollars on new 35mm and hi-def digital cameras. one was intended to shoot the 'making of' documentary, but wiseau was so confused by different technologies that he shot the entire film on both cameras side-by-side on the same mount.
  2. one of the actors walked out halfway through production, so wiseau gave all his lines to another background character with no introduction or explanation. that character is never even named in the film.
  3. wiseau fired and replaced the entire crew twice. in the end over 400 people worked on the single set, single shot film.
  4. when the film debuted as an exciting thriller "with the passion of tennessee williams," within 10 minutes the audience had collapsed into laughter. from the end of the showing, wiseau said he had always intended it to be a black comedy.
  5. wiseau's performance has been described as "borat trying to do an impression of christopher walken playing a mental patient."
finally, if you do get round to watching it, have a look at this interview with writer, director, producer, executive producer and all round physical disaster: tommy wiseau.

this video contains clips of the film. they are special.

1/10, 10/10

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

persepolis

boorrrreeeddd.

one of those films that is more 'worthy' than 'good.' sorry about that.
although it did have the line:
"grandma, how come your breasts are still so round and firm at your age?"
... which is something that should definitely be taken note of for future pub quizzes.

4/10

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

monsters inc.

little kids get a good run of it don't they? they've yet to discover cynicism, betrayal and disappointment. they've never had their heart broken. they've not had to deal with bills, or a job that saps their soul. or traffic jams.
and they get to watch movies like monsters inc. without feeling silly.

oh hang on. i did that, with no sign of a silly feeling - i am an adult and i bloody love it. it's funny as fuck, and the little girl is cute, and the voice cast is superb, and the "door-chase" scene is incredible.

don't feel silly, get this on blu-ray. it's awesome.
i feel sorry for kids actually, because they're idiots and they won't get all the jokes.
gutted, children. you suck.

8/10

landed

remember this?:

no, of course you don't, because only 2 people entered the competition.

two!

anyway, i promised to announce the winner when i got back from barcelona. and i am back from barcelona. so, i guess i should announce the winner.

(drum-roll) dugga-dugga-dugga-dugga-dugga-dugga-dugga-dugga-dugga-....

the winner is nicola, from clapham-on-sea (sorry jinni) with the winning entry (and new name of my ukulele)
SeƱor Juke!

which can be pronounced any way you like.

to celebrate, i recorded a song what i practiced:

Monday, 12 October 2009

the a-team movie was made in the 90's


who remembers the 90's? do you? the decade of brit-pop, jerry springer and pulp fiction? remember that?

no you don't, because you were discovering ecstasy and listening to the prodigy in a field.

i, however, was wearing a checked shirt (untucked so it showed beneath my navy blue v-neck) and trying to work out what girls were. the way i was doing this was by watching that scene in the mask where cameron diaz first walks on screen, over and over again, so much that i wore through my VHS tape.
you must remember that scene right?.. she was all wet... in a red dress... no?

no, of course you don't, you were face down in entrails on the word.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

labyrinth

most people my age (old as time) have grown up with the memory of david bowie's genitals encased in tight cotton staring at them through a sea of non-gender specific trolls and goblins.
seriously, i know people who's sexual awakening came (ahem) during the ballroom scene.

heh... ball-room.

terribly i only managed to watch this film within the last 5 years or so. and my sexual awakening only happened last week. i can still see the appeal though. not only as a man who can't help but feel a sense of disappointment when filmmakers resort to using CGI, when good puppetry would be so much better; but also the general camp escapism that jennifer connolly's little foray into the cardboard and balsa wood maze gives you. it's wonderful in it's naivety, a true fairy story, ultra silly and immediately obvious why it's gained the cult status.

most things involving jim henson get a thumbs up in my book. this is no stranger. the sense of wonder and humour that his influence brings in the form of puppetry and character design is always welcome, hearty and impressive. so much so that i immediately loaded up spore and made one of the cannonball characters to play with: ->

look at him there. funny little fella.

one little niggling point, that is one part annoying to two parts of the charm... the dubbing is absolutely shite.

8/10

Saturday, 10 October 2009

let the right one in

it's the same old story: boy meets girl, girl likes boy, girl has no vagina, boy learns to stand up for himself, girl eats people...

doused in praise when it came out, this film plays a whole new game with the vampire legend. i was hooked throughout, despite having to just accept that the central character was a bit weird, with no obvious reason. some kids are like that i guess.

i was.

anyway, this was a really accomplished and bravely shot film. technically incredible actually, with some quite amazing cinematography. i really loved the extremely tight focussing on the close-ups. i liked the new idea with a human/vampire relationship. i liked... its hard to put my finger on why i liked it so much, actually. it was just... um... just really good.

8/10

Friday, 9 October 2009

the a-team movie is being directed by kevin smith

i write these wastes-of-your-time well in advance, so by the time you read this i will be sitting on a mediterranean beach in the sun with a pint of pink milk that's been spiked with some sort of sedative/laxative combo to enable some dirty local to steal my camera and innocence. while that is all happening, the severe cocktail of hotel shorts and lemsip that i'd had that morning will hopefully be kicking in, and all i'll be thinking about will be who kevin smith would get to play all the a-team characters.

oh what a holiday it shall be.

of course the whole 'jay & silent bob thing' would need to happen in some form or other, which would make for some genius scenes. or frightful. depending on how many aspirins i'd had with my tequila slammers.

i'm in friggin' barcelona! woo-pah!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

brick

on paper this shouldn't work: a film noir set in a college with a hapless geek for a lead, trying to piece together a murder whilst failing to dodge endless thrashings and manipulations from a group of teenaged noir cliches.

but it does work. and is superb. very much due to strong performances with an imaginative and deep understanding of the genre. joseph gordon levett is really good, and is surrounded in all directions (in front of and behind the camera) by what seems to be a whole bunch of people who totally connected with the whole premise of the film. it shows a real control and an amazing level of foresight from debut director rian johnson, who should be ladled credit for his work.

part of the joy is finding all the film noir conventions within the college setting: the nervous informant, the femme fatale cabaret star, the invincible hitman, the physically disfigured criminal kingpin ("he's old, like twenty-six"). i also really liked how they slightly washed out the final print - i saw it as a nod to the black & white films of an earlier time.

brick is sexy, solid and hilarious. an absolute blast to watch.

9/10

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

mega-shark vs. giant octopus

i love b-movies. i love the sentiment behind them: that a group of people battle through production with next-to-no money, drawing on very limited resources to source props, sets, scripts and actors - putting all their soul into making the best possible film they can. tremors was a b-movie. clerks was. piranha / so i married an axe murderer / evil dead / evil dead 2; they all were.

they all were because their creation was genuinely to make a genuinely great film. the cult followings have come from an empathy with the audience, the striving through hardship and the ingenuity with which rubbish resources have been manipulated into something passable and loveable.
b-movies are greater than the sum of their parts.

mega-shark vs giant octopus is not a b-movie.
mega-shark vs giant octopus is far too knowing, and too self-aware. it is too obvious that the film-makers had set out on purpose to make a "B-MOVIE!" with all the traditional conventions of the genre. essentially they've set out to make a parody, and when you do that you need two things:

1. you need to know and love the thing you're parodying.
2. you need skills to do it well.

mega-shark vs giant octopus was clearly made by people trying to "cash-in" on the b-movie cult, and you can't empathise with someone you're trying to grab money from.

and it was made by people with no skills and no sense of humour. there was no innovation, no struggle, no ambition. it didn't grab you by the heart or surprise you, or give you any reason to like it. it deserves no more praise than any wayans brothers movie.

therefore it is not cult-worthy. it is not "so bad, it's brilliant." it is not witty. it is not good.

watch slither instead.

2/10

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

the a-team movie is being filmed in england


so i actually chose hannibal before i'd actually discovered that liam neeson was actually going to be doing the role in actual real actual life. am i a genius?

no.

going by the amount of these i've done and that i'm trying not to use the same actor twice, it was only statistics standing in the way of me getting one right at some point. i'm off to bed now. why don't you think about what you did today, and ask yourself "was it worth it?"

for me..... no. it wasn't.

Monday, 5 October 2009

doa: dead or alive

.... not really, no.

now, i'm not stupid. we all know that film adaptations of computer games are bad, stinky and like some sort of sick joke about psychological disorders. i was well aware that this wasn't going to be the best film ever. what i wasn't prepared for was something quite so god-awful, something that found new depths of badness. this is a film that is so terrible, it becomes down-right offensive. you might even say . . "evil"

  • the plot made no sense; in the words of sarah carter (who played the rollerskating kung-fu cute one) "it's a fun competition, it just gets really complicated with a load of different stories."
  • the script could have been found on the back of a public toilet cubicle door.
  • the special effects appeared to be drawn on by a drunk circus freak.
  • not one member of the cast could act. at all.
  • the fight scenes (arguably the main point of the film) were a constant accident.
  • why did the island even have a self destruct mechanism?
  • why was it called dead or alive, when the rules were to only K.O. your opponent?
  • why was the 'making of' documentary voiced by a cleaner from dagenham?
  • why did i even watch the 'making of' documentary?

actually scratch that thing i said about the fights being the main point. as becomes evident within the first.. um.. 15 seconds, the main focus of the director is the beautiful girls (and devon aoki). and getting as many close up shots of their bits & pieces as possible. preferably in bikinis.

or t-shirts that have been miraculously dampened in some way.

or underwear, towels, baths, scanty silk dresses, thin robes, playing beach volleyball, nude, bed-wear, tiny sportswear, swimming pools, lycra...

it was basically like mcg had tried to make charlie's angels 3, but accidentally vomited. and instead of carrots it had soft porn.

it left me feeling dirty. much worse than if i just went online and watched some actual porn. at least with porn you get some sort of pay-off at the end.

the director corey yuen (the transporter, the transporter 3) does admit that it's "hard to make a film that captures the essence of a computer game, because with a game you have your hand on a joystick."
... maybe that's why he went the direction he did.

3/10

Sunday, 4 October 2009

the eye

it didn't take much to start the alarm bells ringing:
1 it's an american remake of a japanese horror movie.
2 it's got jessica alba in it.
3 jessica alba is playing a blind classical violinist.

despite all of these, The Eye still made it onto my movie list. i have no idea why or how, and having watched it am none the wiser.
  • alba is punching far far above her weight, which is pretty much a given.
  • this is not even remotely scary.
  • it doesn't make up for the lack of tension by being funny or having boobs in it.
  • it's boring and doesn't make any demands of its audience to even bother paying attention.

the guy playing death is pretty scary, but they basically removed him from the film in post-production.

actually, scratch the thing about it not being funny: reading the synopsis is hilarious.

3/10

Saturday, 3 October 2009

the a-team movie is being directed by spike lee

if there's one thing i've learnt from doing this a-team casting exercise, it's that there aren't enough black actors in the world. i've really struggled to cast B.A. especially getting to the slightly more obscure versions (the a-team movie was made in the 80's not using the original cast, coming soon) and not wanting to use the same actor twice.

there are some fucking great black actors. look at the above, could you get much better than denzel washington playing hannibal? or will smith as face-man? i think not, little puppy. i'd love to have found space for the likes of sydney poitier, ron glass and halle berry but the a-team didn't really lend itself to any of them. it's made me consider the old 'racial casting' thing quite a bit though. why are there certain limits? why is it a bit uncomfortable to cast an actor of a different colour in a traditional role? obviously if you were doing an accurate biopic of olaudah equiano, you'd need a black actor to play him. unless you were doing some pretentious art-house testes of a film (you'd probably film it in high-contrast black & white as well, to make an unnecessary and terribly formed point).

but what about other roles? for example, when they were casting the new james bond, and they ended up making do with the anti-personality daniel craig... did they at any point consider adrian lester, who would have been fricking marvelous?

what about laurence fishburne as thor?

obviously i'm trying to avoid chris tucker at every point. his acting is like banging your head against a sewing machine.
that would be the worst batman film, ever.

Friday, 2 October 2009

letter in a bottle

i recently started avidly watching countdown at work. no real reason, but here is a clip of the episode that encouraged me.

stop judging me.

funny games u.s.

... actually, no. it's not very funny. not very funny at all.

funny games is a weird one. you can't say you enjoyed it, it's uncomfortable to say you liked any part of it. you can appreciate certain things, the skill with which it's filmed and the performances from all the central actors. all those things are pretty good. i mean, not "good" but done with skill. um. yeah... i did think it was a well made film. totally sinister, tense, and it does make you question your own morality as it intends to do.

as i was watching it i appreciated the 'speech to camera' device by which director michael haneke directs these questions towards you. perhaps i shouldn't have watched the accompanying interview with him, though. he just turned out to be a humourless and pretentious jerk, and sort of ruined the whole convention.

anyway. watch it if you have a strong stomach. you wouldn't really lose anything if you don't. 'cept your dinner! HA HA HA HA HURGH... uh

6/10

Thursday, 1 October 2009

the breed

oh for goodness sake.

2/10