Thursday 21 March 2013

I graduated MIT and then had a horrible accident and lost half my brain

Following up on my laying out why Star Trek V was better than the JJ Abrams reboot, I will now explain why Breaking Bad is not as good as 90210.  Actually, no, I won't do that because it is patently not true, but I would totally give that bullshit a run for its money if I ever tried to pull it on you.  I'd probably point to stuff like BB's meticulous season arcs and say this wasn't as fun as the approach 90210's writers take as they are now clearly writing stuff that is both based on whatever they last saw on the internet and just to amuse themselves, with the actors having gotten to the point where I think they're drawing on their own reaction to how stupid they think the scripts are to motivate their characters - there's this bit where someone finds out that their mate has been banging the stepmum of the guy who hates him at college and his reaction is pure "THERE ARE 30 MILLION PEOPLE IN LOS ANGELES THAT COINCIDENCE IS COMPLETELY LUDICROUS" but his dialogue is just "whoa.  What you think about those waves, brah?"

But to be clear, don't watch 90210.  Watch Breaking Bad.

Wednesday 20 March 2013

They make shoes for your penis THEY'RE CALLED PANTS

Stoopid anatomoo.
I should really stop watching Star Trek V: The Final Frontier one of these days, but I am old enough now to just come out and admit it is probably one of my favorites of the Treks, as despite the short-changing we get on the FX and the nonsensical and mostly-improvised finale cobbled together from what Shatner could afford to shoot from his own pocket after the studio pulled the plug on the original ending, the script keeps things light, Kirk makes dark allusions about knowing he'll die alone that sound ominous but it's basically him saying as long as his bros have his back he knows he's invincible, and there's a pleasant subtext about the nature of faith in a secular society as an article of singular and internal council rather than something maintained via committee.  I mention all this to assure you that I am thus very serious when I say it is a better film than the JJ Abrams reboot, which I have watched and enjoyed several times since it came out but can say with absolute certainty that for me it is so dumb it is actually bad for you.  Nero wants revenge for his dead wife, Kirk wants revenge for his dead dad, Spock wants revenge for his dead mum, Captain Archer from Enterprise wants revenge for his dead dog, some security dumbass wants revenge for Kirk grabbing Uhura's boobies during a barfight, Scotty takes a ride in a waterslide, no-one mentions that the Enterprise has concrete floors and is clearly a sewage plant, etc...  No aspirations in the story, no allegory, no lofty ambitions or even basic compassion, just some thugs bro-fisting as they blow stuff up and fix everything with the power of coincidence.  Next to that, Kirk having another fistfight with another God after the Enterprise is taken over again is small beer.

Monday 18 March 2013

Either he's the Lord Of Winterfell or he's working with a real piece of pipe

I had a dry St Pat's, thangew very much, which took some especial doing seeing as it coincided with the christening of one of my ever-growing army of nieces, but I managed to keep sober and limited myself to a few ginger ales like a gay fellow might enjoy of a warm summer evening.
Hopefully back to some semblance of a work schedule in the next few days, in the meantime, have some vintage Sabbath, you deserve it:

Friday 15 March 2013

I like to hang out with dudes - they say what they mean, they like to have fun, and in a pinch they have a penis

Been watching: Walt Disney's Marvel's Joss Whedon's Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's Avengers Assemble for the first time since the 3d outing in the cinema, and while some of the 3d stuff now comes across as superfluous - though still visually impressive - like the Black Widow/Hulk running into the screen, arrow POVs or tracking shots of NYC in the finale, it's interesting to note the change in the traditional Hollywood action movie narrative by shifting the usual slow middle hour of the film to the front to BOLLOCKS I AM ONLY NOW GETTING THAT MARK RUFFALO LOOKS LIKE BILL BIXBY IN INCREDIBLE HULK escalate from sci-fi-tinged espionage in the Nick Fury scenes to the more outre superheroic visuals as each character is (re)introduced old-school Marvel style before the big fights kick in.
The NYC invasion obviously dominates the film more than the easy-money throwdowns like Thor/Iron Man, Thor/Hulk or Arrow Man/Token Woman, but for some reason the stupid stuff everyone else was complaining about at the time only struck me during this rewatch, like the film really trying far too hard to make Arrow Man seem as interesting as the others (although fair play I think this was a problem first time around for me, too, exacerbated by his thin character and unconvincing face turn at the end of the second act) by giving him context-specific arrows that do literally anything te scene requires, or that the alien army's plan of invasion isn't to establish a beach-head but to run at everything in multiple directions shooting and screaming and all doing their own thing while their enemies do the sensible stuff like team up and establish a perimeter to create a bottleneck/killzone at the single extremely narrow and vulnerable point of entry to US airspace, or that the nuke for some reason waits until it hits something before detonating like it was a rocket rather than a nuclear weapon, and the aliens deus ex off-switch was old hat in 90s cartoons but I suppose it puts a definite endpoint on the invasion if they all drop dead rather than have to be mopped up by the national guard for weeks afterwards in various hidey-holes.  Well, I enjoyed or didn't notice all that stupidity first time around, anyway, so my takeaway here is that I need to buy a 3d tv as clearly 3d stops me noticing/caring about these things.
"The Avengers are dangerous!" epilogues were admittedly a bit self-parodic, but it was nice to see the post-credits stuff finally, and my biggest gripe is really that the film doesn't have much of a definitive soundtrack theme for the team.  Not essential, but would've been nice if they went to the trouble of a bit of aural branding.

Thursday 14 March 2013

They baint pretty but they knows the sea

I have no idea why I was watching On The Beach today, I'm not on any kind of quest to watch as many depressing post-apocalyptic movies as I can or anything like that, but this one was a bit more jolly than most, even if the overuse of the tune to Waltzing Matilda made me feel like I was stuck in a lift with the Rod Stewart version of Tom Trubert's Blues for two hours.

Wednesday 13 March 2013

I can't build a dresser and pleasure a woman at the same time - I'm not God

Hit and run post as it's now north of 1am where I am, and I have not had a drop of booze, so I'm blaming today's lack of productivity on an equivalent and simultaneous lack of alcohol in my bloodstream.

Tuesday 12 March 2013

If I can't find my father a man to kiss and cuddle then I've failed as a son

Been watching the oddly beautiful When The Wind Blows, which juxtaposes humanity at its best alongside the worst we can do to ourselves: "those were the days" opines James of the War years, not knowing his rose-tinted reminiscence is humanity's eulogy, while his wife Hilda's mind is occasionally lost in vivid memories of the past and fanciful flights of fantasy even before the bombs drop.  I can see this in a double bill with Grave of the Fireflies if you're feeling a bit too chipper about the world, the actual holocaust itself is oddly metaphorical as it just seems that things fall apart, and I honestly can't see the like of it being made today as the lack of a Cold War to scare the pants off generations of children and bring home their mortality has caused zombie apocalypses and extinction by bad weather to dominate our fictions, and I get the impression all these scenarios do is distance us from the idea of our own mortality rather than make us face it.

Thursday 7 March 2013

Spill the beans, old man - word beans!

Somehow Blogger managed not to post yesterday, so that's a new wrinkle to look out for in future...

Been playing Tomb Raider today, and it's not much to do with Tomb Raider so far.
I find the actress an odd choice as they were harping on about how much we'd want to protect poor wilting flower Lara this time out and yet I find it impossible to warm to the voice performance at all to the point I've started skipping the cut scenes and care not a jot when she's choked to death in closeup by her would-be rapist, or crushed to death by falling rocks and the camera closes in on her face as she dies, or when she's stabbed through the heart with an axe, or shot to death with arrows, or when she cries and whimpers as I'm trying to play a fucking videogame - there is an odd emphasis on the suffering of your character that I am having difficulty ratifying with the supposed narrative demands of seeing the formative exploits of the character, especially given the character's oversexualised nature.  As presented so far, all we're actually seeing is someone being so abused and brutalised for the entertainment of others that in later life she is destined to become a robber and sociopathic mass murderer, it is all a bit rum to be honest.

Wednesday 6 March 2013

We have entered the time when all will turn against us

I was skeptical of the US take on a contemporary Sherlock Holmes like most people because the yanks make nothing but shit tv inferior to our efforts like Top Gear and everything youth-related on Channel 4, and the early details suggested a potential car crash: set in NYC, Watson is a lady, stars Johnny Lee Miller, only knew it had started when someone mentioned he'd turned off a few minutes in because it was shite...
But Elementary is actually okay.  It takes an oddly divergent tack from the UK's Sherlock by not concentrating on Holmes' near-blinding arrogance (as one might expect given the success of shows like House that center on brilliant jerks) and instead on his social inadequacies, making it all very Monk-like at the start and causing me to hold out hope for an episode centering around a chimpanzee in a nappy being framed for murder.
It's nothing spectacular, but there's a confidence to the production that I don't see in stagey whodunnits like Father Brown or Ripper Street, and there's a potential endgame where a lot of what Sherlock does to Watson makes more sense if you assume that he's setting her up to eventually solve his murder, or at the very least to replace him, but the only serious gripe I have is that in one episode I suddenly hit a wall when I thought "when THE FUCK did I start thinking John Hannah in any role was a good thing?"  Spartacus, probably.

Tuesday 5 March 2013

It's the world's lamest conspiracy

A low-key final panel - no witty soundbites and it isn't the central character of the book - but barring minor edits, the suspicion I should have redrawn years-old artwork and then doing a cover for it all, this pitch is almost in the bag.  Normal service resumes tomorrow - whatever that may be around here.

Friday 1 March 2013

That would be really nice if it wasn't coming from someone who'd punched me in the face

Penultimate page on the comic and I'm playing Suits and Dallas catch-up while I work.
Suits has jumped the shark despite an appearance from Wendell Pierce, but Dallas is glossy trash as ever, even if it's hard to see past Larry Hagman's final turn as rattlesnake oil baron JR.  The other plots give it a good punt at getting your dander up and Mitch Pileggi and Faran Tahir always exhude an onscreen presence even if badly utilised - not that they're poorly served here, especially Pileggi's hissable panto villain Harris Ryland who I shit you not straight up gets to steal someone's child and then get JR'd by episode 3 - but Hagman steals it even when he's clearly deflecting the plot and the camera onto his co-stars.  I'm maybe imagining that there's an undercurrent of the character shifting his focus onto the well-being of his family because I'm looking for a bit of salvation and redemption for the old rotter, but either way, it's still moving to see him amble around the sets and just about do so under his own power, working until he literally could not do so any more on the role that made him.