Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Small screen

It's tv fall season again in the States so a quick little round up of shit old and new - Fringe is back and seemingly still decent, Heroes is in the death throes and I won't bother with the rest, House is so-so, same with Dollhouse, Supernatural is still watchable but it's obviously the last season, Bored to Death seems ok if slight, Flashback has promise but I'm sceptical, Dexter is back on form as is The Office.

Brooker is back too - just finished watching Gameswipe and I hope he gets to make more, can't see why not, it's was as funny as the rest of his product and he got some great contributers. Iplayer link here.

And also on the Beeb they've decided to allow the BNP on Question Time ?! and the government is putting Jack Straw up against them!? C'mon at least get Red Ken or George Galloway on, someone with a temper and a quick mind, anyways I'll be watching and the racist tools better get the shit in the face.

Stupid Scifi from SyFy and Last of the Lumet

High Plain Invaders, obviously commisioned after The Burrowers this scifi western was a steaming pile of blah. A couple of vaguely familiar faces fight a uranium hungry army of badly CGI-d insects in the old west. Some former Buffy dude stars but he's ropey and the script doesn't help. Wouldn't bother.

Serpico - another Lumet classic and probably the last one in my season unless I can get a hold of Night Falls. Anyway it's been years since I've seen this and it still stands up, maybe Pacino isn't quite as good as he is in Dog Day A and maybe the story isn't quite as developed as in Prince of The City but it's still a fantastic, detailed film about NY police corruption. The real Frank, via filmgeko

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Tversity Slim Style

Gamer, was ok I guess, I loved the two Crank films but this was a bit of a let down. Eessentialy a Running Man remake with a video game 21st Century slant, It spent too much time developing a painfully simple plot and skimped on the egregious violence it was presumably meant to satire.

The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer however was a revelation, a razor sharp political satire from Peter Cook that's incredibly prescient and very funny. A slick weasel PR played by Cook worms his way from boardroom to stateroom dealing with his obsatcles with almost satanic panache. Chock full of great British Talent, inclsuding co-writers Cleese and Chapman, Ronnie Corbett and a sackful of other familiar faces.

And I was pleasantly surprised by FAQs about Time Travel, a contemporary british scifi comedy that was actually quite funny. Three lads get involved in some tricky time travel situations while visiting their local pub and scramble about trying to put things right. Despite it's low budget it's been well shot and has plenty of charm.

Captain Beck was a pot head ?.

Highly amusing squirming from Uber-Douche Glenn Beck when asked to explain words he's said, poor thing, and here's another interesting article on Metzger's site about this peculiar dingbat. The Salon article it references is worth a read, he's had a much longer media career than I''d expected : I'd presumed he was a flash in the pan type loon but it appears he's had plenty of time to hone his craft.

And here's some dirty water drinking moron from the States to cheer you up. For a few minutes I thought it was a fake.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

September Peppers


Interesting post on Dangerous Minds about unexplained tunnels in Tokyo, I'm a sucker for a bit of underground nonsense.

Wired has a nice post on those brave geeks fighting the dangerous Hubbard-loving Church across the interweb.

Interesting story on Private Eye re Megrahi, this story has slipped from the TV news lately and here's another that's seemingly just dropped away. I don't understand why the Beeb isn't all over this story like a rash, it's pretty clear where Mini-Murdoch stands so they could at least start throwing some punches.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Back to TVersity

Dog Day Afternoon, I've almost finished my little Sidney Lumet season and this sweaty, crazy, true-story bank heist movie in 70's New York is a true classic and has one of Pacino's finest performances. Serpico up next.

Superman/Batman Public Enemies, not sure about who/where this was made but this toon had some of the worst character art and animation I've seen in ages, the two protagonists looked like He-Man characters for fuksake. Don't mind the premise but it was underused and ill served by some terrible dialogue, shame as it'd had attracted some pretty good voice-cast.

It shows how good True Blood Season Two was that it lasted only a week or so in the house and it's all gone, very morish. Won't spoil the details but the general thrust is we learn a lot more about Eric and the Vampiric hierarchy, both Stackhouses get deeper into the doodah and Krazy hippy Maryann steps onto center stage and oh there's a shit load of shagging throughout. On the downside Bill is proving tedious and actress who plays Sookie is beginning to grate.

Sony separates me from another £250

Got my 2nd YLOD on Saturday night, rackin' frackin' shitebags, didn't think it was worth getting it fixed again so bought a Slim on Sunday. Think I'll sell the carcass on ebay once I've extraced my Bioshock disc. I got an extended warranty this time around but this one better last. On the up side I redownloaded all my psn purchases and finally managed to play Trine which is great, a real old school sidescrolling fantasy romp.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Rise of the Ronson

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Goat Lab - Jon Ronson
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Protests

I'm a big fan of Jon Ronson and his many works so I was delighted to see him on Colbert last night, hopefully C4 will have the sense to start repeating some of his shows, but it's unlikely, like most tv peoples they're mostly idiots.

Friday, 18 September 2009


Missed last night's Watchdog on the YLOD, guess I'll watch it on the embedded iplayer on my XMB. Needless to say Sony aint best pleased and it's started a fanboy flamewar across the webby forums It's a shame they employed Iain Lee though, he's a massive tit and is rather fond of slurping Microsoft coqs.

Hopefully the Beeb and Sony won't be at war for too long - they've plenty of reasons to be cheerful

Got Trine last night and will be picking up Katamari Forever this weekend - I really need to keep pushing through lovely Rapture as Fallout DLC has finally got a release date too.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Space watch

A sweet pic via Wired, showing the effects of Ganymede's magnetic field on Jupiter.

Shame it looks like we won't be dropping in on Mars anytime soon, apparently there's a little problem with cosmic radiation, boo.

The Planck observatory has returned it's first images, via BBC

NASA's future maybe still in doubt but it doesn't look like the Chinese have lost their appetite.

And on the subject of outer space, Defying Gravity gets cancelled (or is it ?) and Warehouse 13 gets a new seaon? WTF? Warehouse 13 is bland, cheesy tripe that thinks it's funny and though Defying G. is a bit soapy for my tastes it was a near future, semi-realistic drama that had Ron Livingston in it and a much better show overall. Hohum

"If I had all the money I'd spent on drink...I'd spend it on drink"

Sir Henry at Rawlinson End, a superb slice of sepia surrealism from Stanshall (Vivian) was most entertaining. I think it's fair to say this film isn't for everyone, it's obviously in a particular British trendtypevein of comedy, maybe Goons-Python-Boosh or something, so I'd avoid if those don't take your fancy. Otherwise you've got a strange snapshot of Sir Henry, played by Trevor Howard, and the upper class twits who surround him, plenty of decidely un-pc jokes, lots of drinking and so many brilliant lines I'll have to watch it again.

States of United Amusement

Oh America you provide so many chuckles - apparently 8% of people think Obama maybe the Antichrist, 13% aren't sure though. Via Wonkette I think.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Let Freedom Ka-Ching
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Protests

Colbert knocks some lumps off our Corporate Masters in a sweet The Word segment from yesterday.

It appears that out Atlantic cousins aren't too keen on Darwin, I think I've stopped laughing now. Fair enough the movie might well be sheet but still come on, I mean come on, this is getting me down, it's about time you Mericans should suck it up and faced the world without your beloved mad God ( or maybe a weak God : fair enough though iron chariots were probably pretty scary).

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Work can wait

There's a sweet mutant on io9 today, pictured above, I'm sure it'd freak most peoples out if they found it climbing their bedroom wall.

Clue is actually a funny film, which as it's based on Cluedo was quite a surprise, however I can't imagine the film of Battleships will be anything other than shite. And surely Ridley Scott directing a film based on Monoply is just a hoax ? Tired old Hollywood will be making films based on sweets next.

Glenn Beck does Kermit impression - has probably the most punchable face ever.

Someone's got a petition going to convince Lord Mandy to drop his dingbat idea about banning filesharers, via BoingBoing. Shame it won't work but worth a few minutes to sign up though.

The Good, The Bad and The Stagey

Sorcerer, is a remake of the French classic The Wages of Fear by director William Friedkin. It's a brave effort at updating the story but despite some good acting and a modest script it fails in matching the tension of the original. Roy Schieder stars as one of the desperate men willing to transport unstable dynamite into the hills and puts in a strong performance throughout, it's beautifully shot with some stunning vistas of the Domincan Rep. but sadly it just isn't capable of emerging from underneath it's illustrious predecessor. The Tangerine Dream soundtrack was pretty awful too.

Year One is awful, a really dumb, unfunny film with a couple of shitty lazy performances from Jack Black and Michael Cera. Guess it sounded a good idea on paper because even though it's got a bevy of cameos from actually funny people and it's willing to really plunge the depths for it's comedy it's one of the weakest films I've seen in a while. I'd avoid it.

And I finally got round to watching Deathtrap by Sidney Lumet. It's a twisty murder mystery based on a play by Ira Lewin and is well worth your time. There's two great performances by Caine & Reeve and one awful one by Dyan Cannon but it's a very entertaining film nonetheless. It's a tale about a failing playwright who decides to kill for his next big hit, it's chock full of witty lines and rips along at a fair pace. Only a few more Lumet's left, boo.

Sods and Odds

Urgh, linking a post from the NOTW via Guido makes me feel a bit sick but I've long thought that Gordo resigning due to illness is Labour's only hope of turning the tide against Cameron's Calvacade of Cints. I doubt they've got a plan in place for a replacement though, egos and stunning disorganisation seem to be their modus operandi.

Wired has a great post about some French effort to bring the Milky Way into a beautiful clickable panorama.

Another great piece from Brooker skewering both Hirst and Mandy - the latter is way behind the curve on filesharing but I did watch him maul a Sky News monkey and BBC plum within half an hour of each other, twas quite amusing.

Just finished another Stanislaw Lem book, The Futurological Congress, is a crazy blunderbuss of a satire blasting everything in sight. I was surprised by the books light, frivolous tone, it feels more like a PKD in comparison to Solaris or Fiasco. Was great though and I noticed there's a listing on IMDB for a upcoming movie and learnt there's another Lem adaptation already made and getting decent reviews.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Shum Shinema

Fifty Dead Men Walking was pretty decent, a pacey little thriller based on Martin McGartland's book about informing on the IRA. Dunno who the lead is but he's quite good and deftly backed up by the Ben Kingsley sporting the funniest wig I've seen in a while. I got over it though and enjoyed the rest of the film.

Adventureland, wasn't so bad, I was expecting something much worse after seeing the trailer a while back. Sure it's a predictable indie romcom and it isn't a sidesplitter but it's got a nice downbeat feel to it and a semi-decent script, Eisenberg was surprisingly good too.

Man in The White Suit - I hadn't seen this since I was a kid and it was way better this time around. Alec Guiness stars a determined chemist who develops a special stain & wear resistant fabric only for management and the unions try to shut him down.

Infestation - a bug apocalypse flick scraped into averageness I guess. A slacker office worker wakes up covered in webbing to find everyone else cocooned by some rather large bugs. The FX are ok but the rest of the film lurches around, not funny, not gory enough and full of plot holes way too large to mention. Only the appearance of Ray Wise kept me interested.

Thursday, 10 September 2009


The Anderson Tapes is an excellent heist film directed by Sidney Lumet. Sean Connery stars as a recently released thief who decides to rob his girlfriends swanky apartment block, some great performances and an early appearance from Chris Walken along with a tight snappy script make this one fine film. And another nail in the coffin of the Sean-can't-act argument. Be warned the Quincy Jones soundtrack veers from pretty good to ruddy awful.

Wolverine next, well I'm calling it that as it's proper name is stupid and frankly the film is pretty stupid too. The action is ok I guess but the plot is dumb,the script is perfunctory and it tries to cram heaps of characters in regardless of common sense - ho hum. Liev Schrieber and Danny Huston were good though and Jackman does his usual.

The Offence - another Lumet-directed Sean Connery film - is another classic and IMO criminally underrated. This, however, is a much darker, more intense film than The Anderson Tapes to say the least. Connery plays, brilliantly, a burnt out police detective who murders a suspect in a child molestation case played by Ian Bannen. The film is peppered with flashbacks and some disturbing imagery as he descends into his own memories. I can't think of another film of such quality with two Scotsmen in the leading roles apart from maybe The Hill ( also directed by Lumet )

Monday, 7 September 2009


You can count on Brooker - this weeks Screen Burn has an on-the-money repost to Murdoch Jnr's nasty little rant recently performed in my very own city. This creepy looking git should just feck off.

And talking of Newscorp there's a nice bit on the WSJ (via Huffpo) slagging off Facebook - even though its probably motivated by the Orwellian Newscorp owning rival site Myspace the whole Facebook thing is getting very tiresome - I'm even getting bored of Scrabble.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Couch + TVersity = Lazy Sunday

Not Forgotten - a twisty psychological thriller about a child kidnapping was ok, certainly better than it's made-for-TV productions values would suggest. There's some kind of vodou-esque cult shenanigans which was somewhat interesting but I can't say I'd go out my way to watch it as the script is patchy and some of the acting a bit ropey - The Mentalist aka Simon Baker was not terrible though he should be worried about the caliber of work coming his way.

A Midnight Clear
was much better - a WW2 drama about a gaggle of soldiers sent to man an outpost near some equally disaffected German troops. Beautifully shot and with some strong performances from the roundly excellent cast. It's not a particularly original film but it's "war is stupid" message is hammered home effectively.

And finally The Terminal Man a nice little scifi from the 70's thats quite prescient. Based on a Michael Crichton novel it's about a computer genius who gets experimental brain surgery for his blackouts which seem to cause uncontrollable acts of violence. George Segal is surprisingly good as the guy who gets his noggin opened - even in that funny wig.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Bit of this bit of that

Avoid Angel of Death - a dumb action film which gives other dumb action movies a bad name, the action is fine but the script is terrible and acting even worse.

Nice little post on BoingBoing about the recently announced policy of cutting off file sharers here in the UK. Turns out their figure of 7 million filesharers is based on a sample of 136 peeps - oh dear they really should try and do their homework better. Time to join the Pirate Party ? oh well at least some artists have some sense.

Mmm and I've been thinking that the whole crop circle thing was pretty much explained away as hoaxes some time ago but there's an interesting article on Dangerous Minds about some historical precedents for the phenomenon.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Sweet science

Great post on the New Scientist about a few sciencey problems. Think my fave is The Bloop or maybe the Nocebo effect.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Non-English language Sci-Fi

I've been rooting around for some foreign language sci-fi lately after becoming tired of the usual Hollywood guff and thought I'd publish a little list of the films worth a look. Not necessarily the best, just the ones that spring to mind.

1) Stalker/Solaris - two classics adaptations from Tarkovsky, you've probably already seen them.

2)Timecrimes - great Spanish time travel film, modest budget but a cracking story.

3)Dante 01 - French Sci-fi from Caro - gets terrible reviews but I enjoyed it.

4)Delicatessen/City of Lost Children - two by Caro & Jeunet, I think COLC is the best of the 2

5)The Host - great Korean monster movie

6)Save The Green Planet - demented Korean scifi, unusual I'd say

7)Fantastic Planet - strange haunting animation from France, better than Time Masters.

8)Sex Mission - Funny Polish scifi about two dudes cryogenically frozen

9)Wings of Honneamise - could have filled the list with anime but chose this classic of hard scifi

10)The Dark Hour - Spanish film, poor reviews but I thought it was great, oh well.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009


Peculiar little loon Ahmadi is going to give a speech at the UN in September, what a shocker. I'm sure he'll be in fighting form given how badly he's damaged his country's standing since the election. Expect the usual rants about meddling foreign powers and, fingers crossed, more of his barmy accusations of Little Satan against the UK.

Shame there will be no-one there to make him answer for this or this.

Have been watching

Well we burnt our way through seasons 2 & 3 of 30 Rock real fast - great show but I wasn't so keen on the endless celebrity cameos in the third season, smacks of desperation a little. Despite the plethora of famous faces it's still one of the funniest sitcoms on TV and well worth the time.

This weekend also saw us finish off The Inbetweeners - a C4 sitcom about some nerdy, horny lads at high school. This is a very funny show but some of the bits are so excruciating it can be tough to watch at times. It's crude and juvenile so don't watch if you're easily offended.

Finally managed to watch Ponyo on The Cliff, the latest film from Studio Ghibli, and it was fantastic, a real return to form for Miyazaki and co. Aimed at younger kids, like My Neighbour Totoro, this little fable of a magical fish who wants to be a girl is beautifully drawn and has some stunningly exuberant sea scapes throughout. Miyazaki's films wear his heart on his sleeves and it's an utterly charming film and one I plan to watch again.