Saturday, 29 January 2011

Occult Feature Failures

Vanishing on 7th Street is a burbling supernatural thriller about a sudden mass disappearance of peoples and a small group of survivors who struggle on trying to keep out of the hungry darkness that is smothering the world. It's a bit harsh to compare it to The Happening but it's the same waste of a half decent idea , equally as idiotic and filled with hamfisted religious symbolism. It's also blessed with a ropey script and typically average performances by Hayden Christensen, John Leguizamo and Thandie Newton. Maybe I was expecting too much from Brad Anderson who directed the unsettling Machinist & creepy Session 9.

Darkness Falls is another crappy nyctophobic horror but this time lurking in the dark is a child snatching tooth fairy who has terrorised some town for decades and it seems only a recovering mental patient/victim can save the day. Despite the moronic plot and risible acting somehow the director manages to squeeze out a few scares early on but it rapidly descends into predictable tripe and culminates with a ludicrous finale. I wouldn't waste your time.

Sawyer from Lost is part of kidnapping team who unfortunately happen to lift a freaky evil brat in yet another shite Hollywood horror/thriller called Whisper. It plays out much like the early years of Damien from the Omen as the boy begins to turn the tables on his captors spooky style and I guess it's ok with, Michael Rooker is good as usual but it's so bland, so uninspired the film is hard to remember even though I just watched it a couple of days ago.

Slightly more convincing supernatural nonsense is to be found in Outcast a cat and mouse thriller set here in Edinburgh. It's a grubby little film, set mostly on some scheme with a peculiar mother and son moving in who seem to be on the run from a magically-tattooed bampot who cares for nothing but revenge. A couple of competent performances from James Nesbitt and Kate Dickie provide a bit of substance to the occult shenanigans and despite the cheapo effects sullying the ending this is a reasonable effort, not great but still better than the three above.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Tome Time

2011 so far feels bookish to me and a bounty awaits - I certainly can't remember the last time there were 8 new books from some of my favourite authors to look forward to. First up is Gene Wolfe's return to scifi with Home Fires (due Feb), Io9 have a recent interview with him and it does sound a bit Forever Waresque but you never can tell with Wolfe. In April Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen returns with a swinging 60's London adventure and Robert Irwin publishes Memoirs of a Dervish a seemingly autobiographical recollection of life as a 60's spiritual seeker, presumably a counterpart to his excellent Satan Wants Me. China Mieville stretches to the edge of the universe in May with his new sci-fi Embassytown. Jon Ronson's new book The Psychopath Test will be out in June and I'm sure it'll be a typically idiosyncratic take on the business of madness. 1Q84 is the title of Haruki Murakami's September dated new novel and will probably be more of the same strange but beautiful Japanese mysterium, Christopher Priest's The Islanders is due in October and finally Umberto Eco's The Cemetery of Prague in November with a no-doubt intricate tale of 19th Century espionage. Thanks to Robert Llewellyn's Carpool and his amusing Ronson interview for bringing the new book to my attention. If you haven't seen soon-to-be-Kryten-again's show before it's a charming, light interviewy thing filmed in his car and is quite enjoyable, he seems an amiable chap and has got good taste in car sharers with David Mitchell, Stephen Fry and Ben Goldacre all cadging a lift and chewing the fat amongst others.

Monday, 24 January 2011

The Kids Aren't Alright

Odd bod familes are fertile ground for filmmakers and there's few families weirder than the one depicted in Greek horror? comedy? Dogtooth. A seemingly normal suburban couple keep their 3 teenage kids completely isolated physically and verbally from the outside world but the stability of their existence is thrown off kilter when a sexual partner is brought in to service the son. This is an enthralling, thoughtful and occasionally funny look at prohibitions in society and family life and though I'm not sure what exactly it was trying to say I still rather enjoyed it.
Pretty Maids All in a Row is a sleazy, psychological thriller with Rock Hudson, Telly Savalas and Angie Dickinson. Set in a California High School that's festooned with 70's lovelies a nerdy kid discovers a naked corpse while whacking off in the bogs, the Police start the hunt for the sex-killer and the kid finds himself under the wing of the school's charming football coach. Roger Vadim directs and his love of beautiful young women is taken to it's zenith/nadir here with long lingering shots of flesh and an almost comic level of bawdiness, one thing is for sure if he'd made the film now there'd be plenty of Daily Mail headlines. Anyways besides it's obvious attractions it's an ok thriller and it's got a mean streak of black humour throughout but Gene Roddenberry's script is weak, the acting more so and it's sexual politics from a way-bygone age.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

No English

Rare Exports is funny, dark reworking of the Santa mythos from Finland. A young kid is perturbed when after miners excavate a burial mound his naughty friends start disappearing but when his Dad ignores his warnings he decides he'll have to sort it out by himself. This is the perfect antidote to the usual sentimental Xmas movie bullshit and great fun throughout - a lovely grim fairy tale that will no doubt get mashed and drained by the Hollywood machine before next Yuletide.

The international fraternity of the Undead is comically expanded by Tokyo Zombie, a barmy Japanese film about a pair of moronic plant workers who use their ju-jitsu to defend themselves against the flesh hungry horde but find themselves still on the shitty end of the stick in the post-apocalyptic society. Though the effects are pretty cheap and there wasn't enough initial zombie killing for me it's still a gleefully violent, very funny film and I loved it but it is quite bonkers in that uniquely Japanese way so consider yourself warned.

Metropia is an animated Swedish dystopia about a depressed office worker who starts hearing a nagging voice in his bonce and plunges into a continent wide conspiracy. The plot itself isn't particularly special but the animation is brilliant, real photos are manipulated creating characters and scenery alike, giving the film a very unique feel. Despite it's visual quality it's isn't particularly interesting so unless you're a fan of animation or bleak futures I'd give it a miss.

Slurping down the Paperbacks

Robert Silverberg's Tower of Glass is a pulpy scifi tale of hubris with a super rich industrialist dementedly building a ginormous tachyon transmitter to respond to a recently received alien signal unfortunately his slave workforce are growing restless. It's not bad but there's little that raises it above the neverending pile of scifi potboilers and little things started irritating me like the stupid names, shallow characters and the irksome misuse of the word android - I dunno bout you but android means a human styled robot to me but Silverberg uses it to describe the cloned humans that build the tower maybe the word had different connotations in 1970 or I'm just a pedant. It's ok but his Book of Skulls is much better.

The Collector is the debut novel from John Fowles first published in 1963. I've only ever read his The Magus before which was both brilliant and frustrating so I wasn't sure what to expect from this earlier psychothriller. A much simpler and disturbing tale unfolds here with the narrative split, diary style between a disturbed entomologist and his recently imprisoned female captive. Beautifully written it's a dark, twisted depiction of madness and loneliness that reminded me of Highsmith's Ripley novels. Might look into some of Fowles' other books - avoiding French Lieutenant's Woman obviously.

3 Documentaries 9 Directors

Catfish is an annoying documentary about Facebook and our shiny, digital relationships. A trio of film makers decide to investigate the backstory of a young girl who has been making paintings of one of the groups photography after incongruities appear in their online communiques. It's taken a lot of flack about it's authenticity recently and I'm not surprised as some of the segments reek of staging and all the characters involved seemed remarkably happy to appear on screen, it's not terrible but I found the trio quite irritating- they are American dimwits though, and ultimately I just wasn't too interested, not being that sort of intertube user. As for it's truthiness either it's real and is kind of exploitative or it's fake and it's just another meta-movie swipe about reality in our electronic lives.

There's no shortage of real life however in Last Train Home, a good old fashioned warts 'n' all social documentary about a Chinese family's struggles to return home to their family for the New Year's celebrations revealing the tribulations of your average Chinese factory worker's life in the process. Described in the film as the world's largest annual human migration the scenes at train stations & platforms are quite staggering but the film is strongest when it exposes the generational differences developing in Chinese society as the young teenage daughter drops out of school for factory work but spends her cash on trinkets and nights out instead of sending it home. Though I guess you could question it's authenticity too as there's at least one scene where the role of the filmmakers comes to the fore it's nonetheless a beautifully shot, fascinating film.

Freakonomics is a multi-director documentary based on the best selling economics book of the same name. Over the five segments there's bits on name correspondences, sumo corruption, incentivism and the correlation between pregnancy & crime and it's all banded together with the two authors in a room and some kooky contemporary animations. Given the talents of Gibney, Jarecki and Ewing I had high hopes for this but the individual contributions are of mixed quality and the whole thing is a bit underwhelming - I appreciate maths is a pretty hard sell at the best of times but maybe if they'd chosen more congruous chapters from the book or used a single director even they could have told us a better narrative from the complex-ish numbers.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Women of The West

The Coen Bros latest film is a stunning re-adaptation of True Grit starring Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges and Josh Brolin but it's the central performance of Hailee Steinfeld as the teenage avenger out to track down her father's killer that powers this movie into multiple Oscar territory - Steinfeld's portrayal as the feisty daughter pins together the script and provides a few moments of humour in an otherwise grim tale of death and hardship. That's not to say the other performances aren't equally as assured, Bridges in particular is brilliant as a curmudgeonly, alcoholic Marshall, and combined with an excellent script and some stunning cinematography this will, deservedly, collect a sackful of awards. It's definitely the Brothers least Coen-esque film and maybe that's no terrible thing, mind you I've always preferred their thrillers to the quirky comedies. Oh and according to Wikip they're working on bringing Chabon's excellent alt-history novel The Yiddish Policemen's Union to the big screen - nice.

The Shooting is an enigmatic western from Monte Hellman (Two Lane Blacktop) & Jack Nicholson. Warren Oates stars as a former bounty hunter turned miner drafted by a mysterious woman into a lengthy manhunt but it's not long before a ruthless, gunslinging Nicholson turns up and as tensions rise they head into the desert towards the inevitable bloodshed. The plot is deliberately obtuse and with sparse, ambiguous dialogue and sun bleached vistas it all adds up to a quietly atmospheric little western that was rather enjoyable though I'm sure the 60's denouement won't be to everyone's tastes. Good stuff, which you can watch below. Will dig around for Hellman's Cockfighter which apparently also stars the impressive Oates.

Monday, 17 January 2011

New Disappointments

Nic Cage's latest film Season of the Witch has taken a hammering in the press lately so I was looking forward to watching what I presumed would be an amusingly bad B-movie that only Cage would be involved in like say the remake of Wicker Man or Ghost Rider. Cage is joined in his medieval-y Witch roadtrip by the excellent Stephen Graham & Ron Perlman, the Irish kid from Misfits and briefly by Christopher Lee but sadly it's decidedly average, not quite as bad as the papers have been making out or maybe that's the presence of Perlman I dunno but I found it quite tedious, sure there's a few laughable lines and some great Cage faces but it just plods along the usual supernatural tropes till a CGi heavy finale. Ho hum not bad enough to be funny and not good enough to entertain.

Soulboy is an unimaginative, workman like coming of age drama set during the heyday of the Northern Soul movement of 70's Britain. The acting is ok but the script is half hearted and the plot superhackneyed - boy meets stunner but realises he loves another blah blah. Still there's plenty of storming tracks to enjoy it's just a shame they couldn't have tried a bit harder with story. Maybe this other film will make a better fist of it? Or you could just trawl YouTube.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Resplendent Independents

Anguish is a barmy horror thriller from the mind of Bigas Luna. Structured like a demented Babushka doll a mother/eye obsessed serial killer wreaks revenge on those who've wronged him while two girls freak out in the cinema while watching said killer - all very meta and highly enjoyable. It's crammed with hypnotic imagery and auditory tinkering which help build the increasing feverish atmosphere while characters on both sides of the screen start to lose their grip on reality. A marvellously surreal satire on the power of cinema & movie violence.

Skeletons is a charming, offbeat comedy about a pair of exorcists who root around uncovering personal problems with some lo-fi technology like some sort of spiritual repairmen. Unfortunately their own problems and misgivings come to a head when they're asked to find the missing husband of a lonely housewife. With two great performances from the leads, William Adamsdale & Andrew Buckley, and a sharp script this is a funny and quite touching debut from director Nick Whitfield. Considered alongside the equally imaginative debut feature Monsters from Gareth Edwards and you might start getting excited about British genre cinema.

No. 1 Loony Detective & Diabolical Dessert

The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It is an old tv special by John Cleese and Joe McGrath. Playing Sherlock's half witted grandson, Cleese undertakes a mission to foil arch nemesis Moriarty with help from a super dense, slightly bionic Watson played by Arthur Lowe. It's all very silly with pratfalls, sight gags and general idiocy and it's entertaining throughout with a good cast providing the laughs but it's uneven and a little rough round the edges. For Holmes buffs and fans of obscure, odd British comedy.

The Stuff is a highly amusing horror comedy from Larry Cohen. A industrial spy is hired to investigate the astonishing success of a pudding which appears to consist of sentient gloop from beneath the earth's surface and things get a little sticky. There's plenty of fun to be had despite the dodgy acting and the shonky FX and surprisingly it's got plenty of satirical bite with big business and governments besotted with the delicious Stuff's money making potential while our hero turns to some demented militia men to restore the country. Another classic B from Cohen.

The Great Antidote

This freaky looking sea slug is apparently half plant, using a photosynthetic technique 'stolen' from the algae it consumes. MNN.

NASA have just released the biggest picture yet of the night sky - 1.2 trillion pixels big. Wired.

Lake Vostok is about to be controversially penetrated by the Russians. DG

Office party leads to the discovery that wine dramatically improves super conductor performance also some archaeologists have just unearthed a 6100 year old winery - think I'll open a bottle to celebrate. Io9& SD.

Bacteria trapped in salt crystals have survived for 34,000 years. Impactlab.

Awesome summation of the forthcoming forays into Space . PlanetaryBlog.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Hammer & Glamour

Not being a fan of tabletop wargaming, or even knowing much about the Warhammer 40,000 universe I'm probably not the best person to review Ultramarines - the first feature from the Games Workshop - however I'm a scifi nerd and I love me some animation so I thought I'd give it a go. It's pretty straight forward stuff and romps along following a bunch of roughnecks heading to a religious shrine to investigate a distress beacon only to find themselves under attack from demons and the Black legion. The plot itself is ok and the voice acting pretty good with Stamp, Pertwee & Hurt all involved but the animation is substandard and actually makes the film look about 10 years old, maybe it was stuck in development hell or something but there's really no excuse for your maiden effort looking so bad. For the (many) fans only.

Tron 2 Legacy is some seriously shiny cinema, and much like the first film the paper thin plot is a secondary to some lovely scifi visuals. There's nothing wrong with that per se but I'm surprised given the time between the two installments nobody could come up with anything other than retooling the original plot. Bridges returns in a couple of guises and the acting on the whole is competent but it's all just window dressing for the light cycle battles and some cool Daft Punk tunes. I didn't exactly experience the full 3D effect so I might give it another go once it's on BluRay but I'll know to stop thinking before inserting the disc.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Euro Thriller Duo

Kings Game is a solid political thriller from Denmark about an ambitious journo drawn into some murky intrigue when a political candidate has an unfortunate car accident and there's plenty of tension as the hack decides he's not the usual lobby pawn and starts playing for keeps. Though not in the same league as say Lives of Others this is a well acted political fable that will definitely keep your attention.

Profondo Rosso is a psychological thriller about a pianist who witnesses his neighbours savage murder and decides to investigate it himself, classic mistake. Directed by Dario Argento and apparently inspired by Antonioni's Blow Up it's a tense melodrama, Hitchcock-esque with a loads of style and a decent performance from David Hemmings. It's good but I dunno the plot is pretty hackneyed and the culprit wasn't too difficult to spot.

Bound to Books

Gonna try a little harder in 2011 to post about the fiction I read so first up this year is Smiley's People the third in Le Carre's trilogy about the quiet bespectacled spy master. People finds George's enforced retirement disturbed by the death of an old emigre at the hands of some Ruskies and he's called in to smooth things over, after a little digging it appears the tangled web starts with Smiley's old nemesis Karla. It's a nice end to the trilogy but feels a little lightweight both in length and substance in comparison to the previous labyrinthine plots of Tinker and Schoolboy.

Frederik Pohl's Gateway is a decent read, well one half is decent. The main premise is brilliant - humanity discovers an abandoned, hollowed asteroid filled with alien spaceships with preset courses and an industry develops around the risky flights taken in search of more fancy alien technology but the novel is split between the protagonist Robinette's therapy sessions and flashbacks to his traumatic Space adventuring. Sadly the interesting setup is hamstrung by the interspersion of tedious, badly dated therapeutic guff Broadhead goes through with his robotic counsellor called Sigfrid. Despite all this I did enjoy it and I'll have a look for more Pohl stuff.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Monster Munch & Kiddie Fiddler

Q The Winged Serpent is a police thriller/monster movie hybrid about a small time hood who stumbles into a mess involving ritual murders and a jumbo mythical bird that's got a taste for New Yorkers. Richard Roundtree and David Carrandine appear as the investigating detectives trying to unpick fact from fiction in the low budget slice of nonsense which trundles along somewhat entertainingly and peaks with a King Kong stylee shoot out at the top of the Chrysler Building. Solid 80's B-movie fare from the always interesting Larry Cohen.

Never Take Sweets from a Stranger is a powerful, dark drama from 1960 produced by Hammer Studios. A new Headmaster & his family are settling into a new life in a small town when his 11 year old daughter is molested by the town's wealthy patriarch and no-one seems to care. Though it's a little dated with some stiff performances it's nicely shot by Freddie Francis and has more maturity & intelligence than a gazillion Daily Mail headlines.

Bong Hit & Wild Wood

Korean director Joon-ho Bong has made some great films so I'm a little embarrassed about my tardiness in watching his latest feature Mother. Like Memories of Murder before it Bong infuses this film with a strange melange of comedy, tragedy and thriller as Mom starts investigating a seedy murder her simple son has been arrested for. Beautifully shot and perfectly balanced this is a sinister, darkly comic thriller that's pinned by an amazing performance by Hye-Ja.

Funky Forest is an extremely odd comedy that could really only come from Japan. Comprising a large number of disparate vignettes - think Python's Meaning of Life on shrooms - there's a bit of everything thrown in during it's 150 min runtime: there's animation, sketches, musical numbers, stand up routines, aliens, short stories and sitcom scenes oh and some really peculiar Cronenberg-esque musical instruments. It's genuinely funny but be prepared to be befuzzled like never before.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Crimes & Punishments

The League of Gentlemen is a sharp heist thriller from 1960 about a bunch of disgraced ex-military miscreants who team up to snatch a van load of cash in broad daylight. Nicely directed by Basil Dearden it's packed with sarcastic banter among the affable rogues (including Jack Hawkins, Bryan Forbes & Richard Attenborough) and it's pretty entertaining but the majority of the film is spent on the build-up and the heist & it's aftermath feel a little squashed in at the end. Still worth watching though.

The Friends of Eddie Coyle is a really nice, quiet thriller about an aging fixer, played by Robert Mitchum, who when faced with another stretch in prison decides to grass up a local gun runner in a deal with a shady FBI agent but unfortunately provokes the ire of his bank robbing chums. While director Peter Yates' earlier crime thriller Bullit emphasised style over substance Coyle is it's exact opposite and is a much better film imo. It's all very understated stuff with a gritty, everyday feel to the criminal life (obvious inspiration for The Sopranos & Affleck's The Town) and an intelligent script, tense plotting and sporting a great ensemble headed by Mitchum's brilliant central performance this is a rare treat indeed.

Friday, 7 January 2011

The Great Antidote

Phobos, the odd little Martian moon is still baffling boffins. ESA are reporting "several of these interior Phobos compartments also appear to still be holding some kind of atmosphere ...." mmm anyone read Rendezvous With Rama. Wonder what the Russian's Grunt probe will uncover? Via DailyGalaxy photo APOD

Someone's recrunched Apollo mission data and given us a much better look at the Moon's structure. Via IO9

ScientificAmerican have a bit about the controversial find in Israel of some very early human chompers.

Women's tears appear to effect men's testosterone levels. Via NYT

A brave Professor from Cornell is about to publish a parapsychology paper in a mainstream scientific journal and as expected is already taking it in the neck. Again from the NYT

Physorg always has great stuff but it's mostly beyond my ken. Here's a bit about making holograms of atoms from electrons.

Cambridge eggheads have unlocked some of the early history of our Universe by analysing light emitted from Black Holes.

BoxOfficeQuant have a nice diagram demonstrating what we all know - movie sequels are usually piss poor.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Filmy Bits

John Carpenter's latest feature The Ward finally has a trailer.

George Lucas finally pulls his finger out and Star Wars gets some rather pricey bluray releases. IO9

Despite Caprica's demise there's going to be another Battlestar spin off called Blood & Chrome.

Gareth Edwards, who directed Monsters, is going to have a crack at Godzilla according to Cinematical.

Spielberg has a time travel tv show due this year and one about an alien invasion but I'll put money on them both being a bit shit.

Blastr have the inevitable film preview of 2011 list and it's jammed with trailers. Cinematical & IO9 have comparable posts.

Deadspace Downfall was a surprisingly gruesome animated companion piece to the excellent videogame and with Dead Space 2 about to hit the shops there's another tie-in movie due, Aftermath. Not keen on the blend of CGI and traditional animation but will give it a go.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Man Boxed & Swampy Thing

I'm quite fond of closed room thrillers like Exam and Fermat's Room but Buried pushes beyond the norm with just one man stuck in a coffin for 90 mins. Ryan Reynolds stars as the unfortunate American kidnapped in Iraq and shoved in a box with only a mobile phone to arrange his own ransom. Reynolds' strong performance and a nicely paced plot keep you from noticing how ridiculous it all is but it's all squandered on an easy, unimaginative ending.

Hatchet 2 sees the only survivor from the first film return to the Louisiana swamp to do battle once again with the murderous freak Victor Crawley. The acting is perfunctory and there's plenty of grisly deaths along the way but with fewer laughs than the first and even less story this is an archetypal for the money sequel that I wouldn't bother watching.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Snapped Space

Cassini captures Saturn's moon Enceladus basking in sunlight.NASA

Daily Galaxy have a nice pic of a couple of Martian caves.

Some Hungarian dude made this natty composite image of the Sun's Analemma. APOD.

Choo Choo & Chan

Tony Scott's films, just like his brother's, have a unique visual signature and Unstoppable drips with more of the same shiny, saturated, hyperkinetic style that you can see in Domino or Deja Vu. Anyways his latest Hollywoody thriller follows two train drivers attempts to stop a explosive runaway train from going boom - one's old and black the other white, young and troubled, the big suits are bad but there's some quirky locals on hand to help blah blah blah. It's well made product and Denzel and New Kirk do fine but essentially it's just nicely shot, polished cardboard straight from the factory floor.

Project A is one of Jackie Chan's ambitious period-set romps that really demonstrate all his talents; there's laughs, plenty of fu, pretty ladies, nods to classic comedians and of course some utterly insane stunts. It's maybe not quite as enjoyable as Eagle's Shadow or Drunken Master but this is still awesome late night entertainment.

Houses of Horror

Hausu is a very strange Japanese horror comedy from 1977. A school girl called Gorgeous takes a bunch of her quirky friends off to stay at her Auntie's for the holidays - unaware her Aunt lives in a weird spooky old mansion that's not particularly friendly. The happy gang soon start getting thinned out under increasingly bizarre circumstances and it all builds to a fairly incomprehensible climax. It might not be scary but it is funny and it looks amazing, with lurid colours and lens misting underscoring the surreal dreamlike quality of the film. This isn't going to be a film everyone will enjoy but if you fancy something er different it's worth a look but try and find the Masters of Cinema edition.

Nine years later and there's an American horror comedy called House about a washed up author who moves into his Aunt's spooky old house, the same house where his son disappeared years before. Like Hausu its not scary and it doesn't make a whole lot of sense but does have some 80's charm with amusing performances from George Wendt and William Katt and some goofy, imaginative effects. Obviously it pales in comparison to the Japanese film but it's an entertaining enough 90mins which I'm sure the remakers will jump on soon enough.

Sunday, 2 January 2011


Valhalla Rising is a stylish bloody barbarian-esque fable about the travels of a mean, one-eyed mute who kills people real well and sees the future. Filmed here in Scotland it's all inky skies and bleak landscapes, bad trips and more than a few violent deaths. The acting is pretty good but some of the sparse dialogue is weak and in my opinion it all splutters towards a mediocre end. I did enjoy it and it's a refreshing change from the usual sword and sorcery Xena-tat but I'd prefer a bit more meat on such lovely bones.

There's a streak of black comedy running through Mute Witness that helps round out what's essentially a ridiculous thriller. A mute girl working as a makeup girl on a crappy Russian horror movie gets locked in the studio overnight and gets involved in a cat and mouse game with a pair of snuff movie dudes. For a one trick pony it surprisingly tense before it descends into farce, plot twists and bloody laughs, it also features a bizarre cameo from Alec Guinness as the kingpin and a woman from Cold Feet as the sister. It's dated and a bit silly but I still kinda liked it - looks like someone else has faith as it's slated for a remake.

Movies Mit Musik Part 2

More musical filmy treats this time with an animated flavour. First up is The Beatles' classic Yellow Submarine. Then it's Daft Punk's previous scifi film outing with a Battle of the Planets style anime Interstella 5555. And finally there's Pink Floyd's part animated gloom fest The Wall.

Old & New Future Sports

Rollerball is a sport based dystopia directed by Norman Jewison about a violent roller-derby/american football + motorbikes thing that dominates public life and helps sublimate the population's volition. James Caan stars as the popular champ who rebels against enforced retirement and starts digging into the powers behind the game. In between all the action it's tends to plod a bit and isn't helped by Caan's portrayal of Jonathon E as Gump-Dubya simple, presumably because he's supposed to be a cosseted, poorly educated superstar but that doesn't exactly make for an engaging protagonist. Despite it's flaws this is a well made 1970's blunderbuss of social-comment science fiction.

Death Race 2 is a prequel to the Statham-helmed remake and perhaps unsurprisingly it's equally as moronic as the first. This is body count B-movie fare with shooty cars and a bit more fisticuffs than before. Luke Goss and Ving Rhames pay their mortgages in this kind of origin story for the race, evolving from a prison gladiatorial TV show to the race itself and culminates with the birth of Frankenstein (don't ask). Anyways it's a by the numbers bit of schlock but only watch it if you're out of the right frame of mind and short of options.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Dunce, Dunce, Dunce

In 1931 the New York Times asked some famous white folks what they thought America would be like in 2011 and got some interesting answers so I decided to ask the mighty webtubes a similar question and here's some of the answers..

May 21st is the date of the Rapture according to Harold Camping. Must remember to repent/convert May 20th.

Obama is going to start spilling about our E.T./A.L.F chums some time in the Spring.

The Iranian Bushehr facility will get an October surprise nuke strike according to someone with a penchant for dead prophets.

Among Craig Hamilton Parker's ball gazing results is the prediction that Macca & Yono are going to do a record and there will be a big California Quake - doesnt mention if both events will coincide so fingers crossed.

Mullenite seems pretty confident that the 7th Seal will be opened on Sept 22nd and it'll be heralded by Orion going super nova.

Michael McClellan has a lot of prophecies for 2011, handy that, anyways in May apparently there's going to be a mass culling of Nuns in France and in December Planet X will cause a massive quake in Oz.

The big J.C. will be back soon, touching down on Sat 14th of May at precisely 9:32am, so says Jonathon Selby

Alamongordo whatever that is reckons Egyptian President Mubarak will meet his maker this year but then he's also predicting the classic WW3 with China, Russia or maybe Iran.

The Scott's are sure there'll be a global shift in human consciousness midwifed by ancient alien guardians - I think.

I can't make head nor tail out of this person's biblical 'thesis' but it does have some helpful diagrams, mentions psychokinetic weather control, WW3 and thinks 2011 will see the rise of the Antichrist Putin. I'm not convinced mainly cause I'm sure the Great Beast would do a better job of Blueberry Hill.