Showing posts from 2010

Review: Tron Legacy

Tron, when it arrived on the scene in 1982 was a groundbreaking picture. Whilst it didn’t perform particularly well at the box office, it was the first step on the road to CGI in cinemas, which for better or for worse, is now highly common place in the world of cinema. Tron was indeed influential and now in 2010 the long awaited sequel has finally arrived.

Directed by Joseph Kosinski And starring Garrett Hedlund and Jeff Bridges, Tron Legacy picks up on the story twenty years on and delivers a visually stunning and entertaining next gen style reimagining of what proceeded before.

The plot is rather by the numbers and follows an establishment, action, development, action, finale set-up, action, finale kind of structure; in short there’s quite an emphasis on action. Despite being relatively standard action movie fare as far as a plot is concerned – especially considering the narrative will normally take a back seat in a film like this, usually to the detriment of the film as a whole …

Shows that will make you want to punch a teenager

“The children are our future” so the saying goes. Kids and teens have been pretty hard done by over the years; be it from the fear spread by media such as Reefer Madness in the 1930s, any teenage rebellion movie in the 1950s, or more recently, Waterloo Road. Indeed, on-screen portrayals of adolescents are often just hate-inducing.

It is troubling to find that such a grim world view of the big and small screen can have an influence on a persons perception of the tykes, to the point where you feel vindicated to trip-up the next pubescent chap or chappette that you see in the street. It’s not fair or nice and you can’t help but feel manipulated by a cackling writer somewhere, who is idly writing another gormless, unsympathetic teen character into a script somewhere.

Here are a few current TV programmes that will turn you into a bitterly vengeful teen-hater:

The Season:

One of the BBC’s latest attempts at ‘getting down with the kids’, can be found on BBC Switch (a kind of CBBC for teenag…

Give The Marketers Time And There Won’t Be A Town Without A Flashmob-Style Advertisment By 2030

Flashmobbing has become a fad of late and it is easy to see why; the spontaneous, silly actions are quite funny. Flashmobbing is nothing new either, considering the term was first used back in 2003, I even remember there was a Flashmob society at my university (I heard they once ran into Cardiff town centre for a spontaneous water balloon fight before scarpering).

The fun and hilarity is being hijacked by the marketers now however, as T-Mobile continues to ramp up it’s televisual, ‘feelgood’ public transport sing-a-long ad campaign. The phone company has made a few adverts set around public areas already, normally involving a mass group of people singing or dancing, whilst the camera occasionally pans to shots of smiling onlookers clutching their phones and texting with glee. It’s easy to see how this is effective marketing in that sense.

The latest offering however, has actually perturbed me a little more than the others. It is set in the Heathrow Terminal 5 international arrival…

Cartoon Characters On Facebook = Child Abuse Awareness? The Power Of A Meme

Social networking has seen some interesting fads over the years. Whether it be the recent #iamspartacus trend on Twitter or people sending round those dodgy emails proclaiming a virus is going to eat your computer unless you spread the word to your friends, people love following a cause online.

I have found myself a bit confused by the recent trend on Facebook of changing a profile picture to that of a favourite childhood cartoon character, all in the name of some vague raising of awareness.

The message being spread at the moment on the site claims:

‎"Change your Facebook profile picture to a cartoon character from your childhood and invite your friends to do the same, for the NSPCC. Until Monday (December 6th), there should be no human faces on Facebook, but an invasion of memories. This is a campaign to stop violence against children."

Ok fair enough, a good cause indeed and a form of affirmative action is following, fine. But how does this help children exactly?

I …

Welcome To Reality: The Commute

At last reality has finally caught up with me and I have recently joined the droves of people who go off to work for 8 hours every day for the rest of their lives. There is a lot to get used to in this time as things rapidly change and the carefree life once known becomes but a distant memory. One such challenge that I have come up against is the commute.

Like many people I need to commute to my office and the journey from home to central London takes about an hour door-to-door. Now what I have learned thus far is that if the commute goes well, then it is but a blip on your consciousness and passes quickly. However, if things go wrong then it can be frustrating and horrifying, with every draining second of it becomes a battle against for your very sanity.

I have already encountered a number of irritating challenges that crop up in the commute, see if you recognise these nightmares:

Delays – 

When these happen (and I guarantee you THEY WILL) you are powerless to resist. It feels as if…

A Hallowhine

It's that spooky time of year, where the leaves are changing and everything is a little bit colder and eerier. Not least because the clocks went back this weekend and we are treated to dusk setting in at nearly 4pm. The atmosphere must suggest that it’s time again for the merchandising clusterfuck that is Halloween.

Now I'm probably going to be universally derided as a killjoy for not liking Halloween, which is on the surface a quite innocuous event (unless you are flour bombed), but I just don’t like it. Surprisingly I might not be the silent fist shaking minority I originally thought I was, as I’ve actually been quite pleased by the amount of commentators on the radio and TV who seem to agree with me; implying that maybe I’m not mad but that society is.

I don't know what it is about it that riles me so much? Whether it's the fact I hate dressing up because of this costume-party-friendly time, or if it's that I just don’t like the idea of being forced to buy sw…

Can We Please Shut the Rooney-Gate

Now I know I won’t be the only online commentator making a reference to this matter this week; but will people please shut up about Wayne Rooney’s desire to leave Manchester United FC.

Just stop it, forget it exists and move on! Seriously close your eyes, and think very hard about not thinking about Wayne Rooney. There are so many better things in the world to focus on for example. Flowers come to mind, or kittens etc. Just don’t think about stroppy professional footballers.

Rooney is a spud faced, over moneyed, blustering, chest beating little man-child, who is whining because his boss gave him a telling off one too many times. Besides, he hasn’t been playing very well recently, so why does a man of his status and salary deserve any coddling?

Rooney’s star has been falling fairly steadily since the disappointing world cup showings. Sure, there have been some flashes of brilliance but ultimately he has been underwhelming. This matter is not helped by his frustrated approach to matt…

Not Quite a Case of Sour Grapes

Recently I was invited by some mutual friends to attend a wine tasting at the Dorchester Hotel in Mayfair. Now this was my first attempt at trying to understand wine as well as my first real introduction into a very exclusive crowd. So here goes with my attempt to explain the day.
Wine tastings have a very mysterious air about them. The layman would see them as pretentious, odd events where people spout the most nonsensical drivel about a drink that seems to have a similar taste across its range, whilst openly spitting in polite company. It is very hard to penetrate the wine community as it is an exclusive and obtuse industry, full of technical knowhow and well trained pallets.

If you don’t know about wine and go to a place where you are greatly outnumbered by wine connoisseurs you will find yourself lost in a sea of grape varieties, subtle tastes and regional nuances. So much so you will feel like you’ve just been told to sit a test about what you’ve learned, whilst being showered …

The Apprentice Reopens For Business.

After months of waiting, and with a suitable amount of hype, the Apprentice has appeared back on British screens at last, as Lord Scowler Sugar (I wonder if he insists that his wife refer to him as Lord Sugar too?) begins the search for a new bootlicker.

Firstly let me diffuse a myth, The Apprentice is not a representation of real business in action. I’m pretty sure that anyone who claims that the Apprentice is a representation of real business practice probably still believes in the tooth fairy or Tiger Wood’s fidelity, as most people surely must have realised that real business it ain’t.

The candidates this year seem to be an even bigger collection of cocks, back stabbers and self important windbags, which is quite frankly fantastic. The most amusing thing is that quite a few are out of work, as the recession continues to ravage our economy (I know as well as anyone), which means they have less of a credible position to pontificate about how bloody great they are.

The task this …

You Just Can't Get the Help These Days


A Smogasbord of Idiots

Dappy: For some reason Dappy fell from grace in the eyes of parents when he angrily texted a woman who insulted him on a radio interview, but then who ever thought this gurning, posing, stupid hat wearing, buffoon was going to be a good role model anyway? "Oh he grew up on an estate, and is now famous. Let’s use him to try and reach out to the great unwashed, because he can talk to them on their level" (or so the assumption seems to be)! He's about as good a role model for children as Peter Sutcliff or Mike Tyson.

Siobhan O’Dowd:

O’Dowd is of course the shockingly misguided woman who set up the Facebook group ‘RIP Raoul Moat, You Legend,’ which managed to give a glimpse of her mighty stupidity and set the Daily Mail brigade off. This woman clearly has a chip on her shoulder about the police. In her lofty wisdom the police need to be kept on their toes by a demented roid rage fuelled gun man? Oh great idea Siobhan! What next? Was he testing the paramedics too? What if I co…

Review: The Other Guys

Gamble and Hoitz are two NYPD desk cops living in the shadows of New York’s finest crime fighters Danson and Highsmith (Dwane Johnson and Samuel L Jackson respectively). Gamble is a forensic accountant who revels in paperwork and has no interest in fighting crime on the streets, and after being pranked by his co-workers is left with only a wooden gun as a weapon. Hoitz on the other hand is a streetwise and hot headed detective stuck with Gamble as a partner; presumably as punishment for firing his gun in the line of duty unnecessarily and shooting a famous NY Yankees player during a crucial game. When Danson and Highsmith die (due to a bizarre lack of judgement on their part) Hoitz and Gamble get the opportunity to step up and fight some real crime. This ends up with the mismatched duo becoming embroiled in a murky corporate conspiracy, of the type that would bring Vince Cable to tears.

Generally I judge a comedy film on the frequency of laughs (it’s not an exact science but it work…

Radio Wave Pollution

I’ve been listening a lot to mainstream radio again recently for the first time in a long while, and have been relatively unimpressed with what I’ve heard. It’s been many moons since I was even aware of who was where in the singles charts, but since having listened to a station playing top ten singles to an obnoxious and repetitive level, I have slowly started to become embittered towards pop music.

Now as you probably (or don’t) know I have never been a person completely driven by mainstream tastes. I sit on an awkward fence between mainstream and subculture a lot of time; which often means I’m criticised by both the subculture mob for having mainstream music tastes, and vice versa, the mainstream posse lambast my taste for being too subversive.

In any case, sod what they think. I listen to music for the music not for the scene and anyone who does follow music for a fashion is an exclusive member of club stupid.

Here’s a brief rundown of some annoying types of music that are graci…

The Trouble with Gigs

I had the fortune of going to a live concert at the weekend (Muse at Wembley) and a good time was had. However, being my first big live gig experience for some time, I was rudely reminded of several downsides to being in an excitable and lively outdoor crowd. It certainly showing me once again that amongst gig audiences you meet some of the best, and worst, examples of people.

Now as you may have realised, I am not a big fan of crowds, but I had really forgotten about the many pitfalls of being amongst that many people. Sure the music and atmosphere are great, but occasionally you do wish that everyone else, except for your group of friends, would piss off elsewhere.

Here follows a list of the problems with attending a concert or gig. Some of them I experienced last weekend, and others I have seen or heard about elsewhere.

Problem 1: People Who Are Drunk Or High

These people are complete cocks, as they have little special awareness. At the best of times this can be a problem, but w…

Scott Pilgrim vs the Blog.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World on first impressions looks like a bombardment of pop culture, video games references and slacker humour. On many levels it is, but underneath that confusing coat is a decent bit of cinema, and probably one of Edgar Wright’s best films to date.

Based on the graphic novels of Scott Pilgrim comes this modern tale of romance with a twist, as the titular Scott must win the heart of the love interest, Ramona Flowers, by defeating her seven evil exes; each with their own super abilities.

For younger members of the audience, Scott Pilgrim will be a treat as it feels like an adult film that’s swallowed an over-sized kid (ok I agree that’s not the most visually appealing metaphor). The over the top and stylistic battle scenes as good as confirm this fact, as every punch thrown is exaggerated the nth degree. In this way there is little rooting in reality apart from that these films are set in a real world location, but for the rest of it you are seeing the world th…

Japin' Round The World Revisited: New Zealand Earthquake

It’s odd when you return from travelling and then hear months later of a disaster striking one of the cities you’ve visited.

I’ve already encountered this once with Bangkok, after the Red shirt and Yellow Shirt riots ripped through the Siam district; fundamentally changing what was there when I saw it myself. I suppose I was able to get past this fact easily as I had little love for Bangkok.

Therefore I found it very sad to discover this morning that an Earthquake, rated seven on the Richter scale, had hit New Zealand and caused quite a bit of damage. New Zealand was easily one of my favourite locations, so to hear of such devastation was miserable news indeed.

Much of the damage seemed to be centred on Christchurch, which was closest to the epicentre, although I know through my contacts that it was felt as far away as Wellington. So it’s fair to say this was one hell of a quake, especially compared to the many other hundreds that hit the islands each year, which are quite weedy b…

The People & Lola the Cat vs Mary Bale

It’s been all over the papers, people have been outraged, politicians are racing to make comments conveying their ire; it might just be the most shocking piece of news since Baby P! This is of course the reaction to the woman (Mary Bale) who was recently fined for putting a neighbour’s cat into a bin.

This almost surreal incident has captured the imagination of the press and the twitterbooksphere, inspiring a range of emotions such as: shock, disgust, mild amusement, shock again, and then murderous rage – look at any book on the five stages of grief and you’ll find it listed under the ‘reactionary moron’ process. Yes indeed we Brits do have an odd relationship with animals, and when one is mistreated, by god we get angry!

Some however, have got so angry they’ve launched death threats against the woman in question. I’ve just had a look at Facebook, and there are several groups popping up demanding she be locked up, locked in a bin, or otherwise tried by ordeal.

I don’t know what is …

The Expendables, Or Let's Blow Everything Up and then Set it On Fire!

Blasting onto our screens, in a wave of 80s movie nostalgia, comes the action ensemble to end all action ensembles. I am of course talking about The Expendables, the film that has brought together the likes of Stallone, Statham, Li, Lundgren, Rourke, Willis and Schwarzenegger; frankly it’s hard not to get excited by that combination. So for all that promise was the film the dumb, loud, explosive, action fest that we had been praying for? Well the answer is yes, and then some.

The plot is not the film’s strongest point, but then this is an action film, where the plot is nearly always secondary. The only problem is the film sometimes tries to have it both ways and maybe indulges in more of a story than is necessary. Some parts of exposition could easily have been dropped for longer action sequences, much in the same way as Snakes on a Plane did to great effect. However, this problem does not completely ruin the film, and also allows us some laughably cheesy character development scenes;…