Author Archive

Martyrs

January 19, 2013

Martyr: noun – a person who is killed because of their religious beliefs.

But not if you’re in this film. ‘Martyr’ means ‘pretty woman wearing pants and vest who gets punched in the kidneys repeatedly’. Or does it? Sickened by the (alleged – I haven’t seen it) misogyny of this film, I turned to the wisdom of internet reviews for an insight into the true artistic meaning of slapping a woman about in a darkened room.

User JSh0k writes on IMDB that “…Martyr’s [sic] is definitely a dish best served cold” by which I assume he means that watching the kidney-punching is like eating a big bowl of ice-cream.

He (I’m assuming he’s a ‘he’, although ‘he’ may well be a ‘she’) also says that Martyrs “…will hopefully astound you with it’s gutsy originality” but that it is similar to “movies like Nacho Cerda’s Aftermath”. Hmm, I’m confused.

He does clarify things by arguing that Martyrs “….is guaranteed to divide audiences everywhere.” Divide them into sadists and non-sadists, presumably.

At least IMDB user Onderhond can add some meaning to the dismemberment: “…limbs are flying enjoyment to be found.” Right. “Don’t watch Martyrs to get a little horror kick, or to indulge in silly gorefests.” I won’t, then.

Still, I don’t quite know what all the slapping, punching, knifing, pissing and impalement means. I get that it’s ‘tough to watch’, ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘not for the faint-hearted’, but what’s underneath all of that?

In a last bid to unearth some sense I turn to the late William Burroughs. Using the Lazarus Corporation‘s fine Text Mixing Desk, I throw together some of the key points from the most avid internet reviews, and I paste the results below. I think you’ll find they render the film obsolete.

Not that I’ve seen it.

Lazarus Corporation Text Mixing Desk says: “Torture scenes watch this film is harsh. you wear an honour watched that! like the easily badge to say movie women have physical stabbed in the street to answer her warped kidnapping get a little horror gorefests. young girl girl captured wants laugier digs deeper into the forgotten. don’t watch martyrs story of horror and torture, I honour badge film there’s no genre ‘popcorn’ flying the capacity laugh harrowing extremely violent desires the enjoyment to be found. violence unfeeling squirm and accept the monster wrangled, the tension simply serve a human mind. the physically sick schizophrenic horribly monickered martyrs to and torture of a ‘torture-porn’ are emotionally exorcism bleak, depressive to be slasher gory, but you won’t people literally get kick, or joy, limbs are rather that idea behind martyrs truly is a ordeal to end must-see is not futile nor characters to indulge in silly and wear an understanding cold and inevitable extremely graphic presentation is cold, the her.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why some people like the film Martyrs.

Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series

January 13, 2013

Frak you, agoraphobia, I got me a home cinema! And the first thing I shall review is Battlestar Galactica on blu-ray laser discs.

Battletar Galactica is known for its sexy robots (called cyclons), rugged ladies (mostly cyclons) and shonky toasters (flying cyclons).

But did you know it was originally going to be called Battle-scarred Galacti-cops? And then Baffle-stumps Galactiballs? But the producers ultimately settled on ‘Battlestar Galactica’.

I don’t know why.

Set aboard the giant space-museum Galactica, the story focuses on interplanetary wrongness, which some dirty robots have done. Some of the dirty robots are really people, only they don’t know it. And there’s some war going on, but that’s on a different planet, I think. And some other people are running away from the robots.

Basically, it’s like the Kris Kristoffersen film Convoy, but in space.

Anyway, our hero is Commander Adamski (really a cyclon), played by a young Charles Bukowski. To accurately portray the rufty-tufty space-cop, Bukowski would wrap 158 elastic bands round his head before he went to bed every night, so that in the morning he would have the grizzled, spodgy-fleshed, lump-like depth of character needed to convey the psychological wear-and-tear of a ‘been there, seen that’ kind of man like Commander Adamski.

Commander Adamski

The commander struts the bridge like some cocky space chimp atop a shamelessly spacious spaceship-shaped tree.

The series poses many existential questions. What prize holdeth the stars for a man like this? What fortune may he seek, out in the cold, whiny fruitlessness of vacuous space? How does our grit-faced herald of the outer realm lead his champions to victory? And at what cost?

What’s an ‘FTL’?

Anyway, it all looks smashing. Except that whenever Adamski is on-screen, his craggy, pocked, moon-like landscape of a face absorbs all the pixels, making everything else blurry. The other thing is this smug, bossy woman keeps telling him what to do, and you’re like “Shut your face, he’s Captain Adamski!”

Also, this disc box includes some behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with Commander Adamski and the cyclons. I haven’t watched them. I mainly just fast-forward to the bits with the sexy lady cyclon and the wizard.

Sling Blade

July 14, 2012

Little Billy Bob Thornton wasn’t always this way. No sir. Once he was a superhero. That’s right – a superhero called ‘Sling Blade’.

So called because he had a penchant for throwing razor blades at the folk around town. And that’s how our story begins.

“Mmm-hrrrm,” grunts Sling Blade, placidly admiring his plate of chips and mustard.

Chips and mustard is uncommon in them thar parts. The townsfolk accuse him of witchery.

Sling Blade gets The Fear. He transmutes, growing in size until he dwarfs even the tallest cedar.

Aglow with radioactive energy, he uses a pair of parked pickup trucks as roller skates and proceeds to mow down the townsfolk. He’s all aplump with murder-glee.

Radcliffe P. Algernon Esq., a young orphan the meta-human has befriended, convinces Billy Bob to desist.

“There’s trouble at the old Fuley ranch!”

Sling Blade returns to normal size and rushes to the ranch. Young Radcliffe catches up to him around about three fifty three pee em.

Sling Blade's 'come see' moment

He din’t right know what to make of what’n he’d saw up in them woods. Fer t’were ol’ Billy Bob, that’s sure ’nuff. But what were in that old place, none could tell. And none would never speak of it again.

RoboCop

March 28, 2012

With a big budget remake due to hit the big screens in a big way next year, now is the perfect time to take an ill-informed retrospective squint at Paul Verhoeven’s original.

PC Jim Murphy is a maverick (non-robo) cop on the edge, who plays by his own rules and lives by his own law. He plays hard and drinks fast – and he loves even harder and/or faster. He walks the line between right and wrong but he always gets his man and he lives by his own code – and it’s a very special type of justice indeed. He doesn’t always go by the book but he gets the job done, whether the bosses like it or not, and if they don’t like it… well, that’s their problem. He’s also getting too old for this shit.

After being brutally twatted by drug dealers, Murphy is rebooted by (non-robo) scientists as part of a bleeding-edge information technology project, led by a collaborative group of inter-disciplinary innovators. Essentially, they turn him off and on again. This is great news for Murphy, as his files had become corrupted.

Resurrected as the mechanoid death-dispensing bullet-shitter, RoboCop, Murphy proceeds to scour the sins from the futuristic streets of a bleak, neo-Gothic Detroit.

“ERROR X1R44, PUNK!!”, he bleeps, throttling a pimp. “DO YOU WANT TO SEND ERROR REPORT?!”

Murphy’s (non-robo) bosses aren’t happy. Doors are slammed, paper cups of coffee are thrown at walls, and brows are furrowed. An investigation is launched.

Robo-Murphy meets with his (non-robo) union rep.

“It doesn’t look good, Murphy,” says the bespectacled humanoid union man. “Three counts of cyber-violence and it’s only Tuesday. And you need to oil your knees – they’re too squeaky. No-one can concentrate on their work when you’re walking down the corridor.”

Murphy jerks up from his seat, upturning the desk in the process.

“RAM DUMP!! DEFRAG MAIN DRIVE?!”

He exits and journeys to the land of Oz in search of a heart, but finds only corruption, corporate greed and  bureaucracy.

RoboCop

Rage (Again) The Machine - Murphy struggles with the paradox of having human emotions and a brain made of spreadsheets.

The film ends with a point of view shot of Murphy suffering the dreaded ‘blue screen of death’, kicking spasmodically and gurgling a pastey, milkish gloop from his face-holes.

“It’s probably for the best. The world just wasn’t ready for him,” says a passing (non-robo) janitor, sweeping away the shattered dreams of a broken society.

An interesting film, but one marred by typically Verhoeven-esque scenes of rancid copulation between the machine-like Murphy and the soft, squishy (non-robo) lollipop lady, Rita.

I give this film 5 megs out of 10. BZZZZTTT!!

The Lost Boys

March 3, 2012

Being the sort of elitist snob who cares not a jot for mainstream mass media, I’ve never seen Joel Schumacher’s classic ’80s comedy horror The Lost Boys. Thus, I set out about reviewing it, in order that we can all move on and get over ourselves. Forthwith and anon.

Starring the glamorous media darlings of the decade, Paul and Barry Chuckle, Schumacher’s update of the sexy vampire myth was an instant hit with The Kids, who consumed unprecedented quantities of popped corn at the box office. The resulting food crisis in Central America led to mass starvation and three civil wars – and, ultimately, the dissolution of the state of Cuecas Novas.

Still, The Kids were happy. For now.

Or were they? (Yes, they were)

'The Kids'. But are they all right?

Controversially, the Brothers Chuckle didn’t play on-screen brothers – in a move deemed an act of sheer vandalism, Schumacher cast Barry Chuckle in the role of ‘Angsty Teen Guy #1’, and Paul Chuckle as ‘Edgy Vampire Rebel Awesome Dude #1’. Setting the sizzling siblings against each other, Schumacher had orchestrated a chemistry so nauseatingly smarmy that, for the next six years, only he could abide to be in the same room as himself.

Most notably, the scene in which Paul proffers Barry yesterday’s takeaway for a snack is oft heralded as a masterpiece of mise-en-scene, juxtaposing Paul’s chicken tikka masala with Barry’s lamb dopiaza and half-rice-half-chips.

“You’re eating maggots, Barry. Those are maggots,” Paul chides, gloatingly scoffing his tikka masala wrapped in a stale slice of paratha. Barry looks down to find his half-rice is in fact all-maggots.

Barry casts his spoiled sustenance aside in disgust.

“Gah! By ‘eck, Paul! You’re right – they’re chuffin’ maggots!”

Paul squirms and smarms in his seat, relishing the moment as he chomps gleefully.

“Heh heh, you ha’porth,” he quips, “It’s just rice.”

Barry looks at his ruined dinner on the floor.

“Crikey,” he replies, “You’re not wrong, Paul. It is just rice after all!”

The scene culminates in a perilous moped race along the coast of Skegness, at the end of which Paul is horrifically injured after he crashes his moped while trying to avoid some sheep.

One of the evil pair's victims. Note how every ounce of flesh has been stripped from the bones of this poor soul.

It’s impossible to talk about The Lost Boys without mentioning the parade of A-list cameo performances. Frank Carson is unconquerable as ‘Grampaw’, peppering his performance with obscene gestures and an extended dance routine. Rick Moranis and Chachi Arcola are indomitable as ‘The Frog Boys’, a duo so unstoppable that if you were passing them in a corridor you would step aside to let them past without a second thought. Or even a first thought.

Onto the soundtrack then. Opening with ‘Locofoco Motherfucker’ by Fleshies, it goes downhill from there, like a big sweaty meatball, fashioned from chopped innards for some insignificant country fayre, ceremoniously rolled down a hill and followed inanely by a horde of bumbling, tumbling oafs, bent on getting their hairy chops in the local rag.

Utter piffle.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

September 2, 2011

I’ve not seen the new Planet of the Apes film, but I heard a brief synopsis the other day and it sounds quite sad. It reminded me of Albert Camus’ The Outsider and inspired me to write a short story.

My name's not Jim and who you calling a pansy?

Cocker of snooks

He cocked a snook and yucked a yuck. He bounced in and flounced off. He was full of piss and vinegar. They took him with a pinch of salt and said he had a chip on his shoulder.

They smirked when he got irked and called him a berk. He dug deep and came off shallow. His field of dreams was fallow.

They played ideas tennis and he was the ball-boy. They jammed freeform while he played chopsticks. He fell from grace and lost face. They put him in his place.

And now he’s one of them.

Henry Fool poem competition – Bessie

June 10, 2010

Here’s my entry to the Agoraphobic Reviewer poem-off with a Henry Fool theme. Of course, having insider information as I don’t, I can’t confirm that the following poem isn’t in fact the actual poem that Simon wrote and that Henry championed.

Bessie

The winds were bitter,
The air unstill,
And the PE teacher’s face,
Held the darkest chill.
But on that lonely woodland path,
I held you aloft,
As we trudged,
From vale to croft.

Splashing through puddles,
I gasped and whined,
To keep your pace,
And stare.
At your grand, jubbling, ocean-like behind.

The other boys may mock,
Or ignore you,
Bessie.
But you stiffen my cock.
And in my dreams I implore you,
To make my shorts messy.

Streetdance 3D

May 18, 2010

Ultimately, all living things must die. Time is infinite, possibilities are limitless and man is but an atom, attached to a louse on God’s fanny. Here’s a review of Streetdance 3D.

The musical genre has oft baffled cultural critics; seemingly meaningless and superficial, musical cinema explores (on the surface) themes of the adolescent journey and the eternal struggle of man to assert his identity through the media of song and dance.

Dance troupe Diversity perform the film's centrepiece: the Swiss Cottage Swagger

Streetdance 3D (or ‘Stree-Dee Dee-Dee-Dee’ as it has become known among Britain’s disaffected youth) explores these themes only as a nod to its trailblazing forbears: Wizardy Foz, Sound of Mu-Ha, Chic-a-gogo, Cabarum and Greasies are subtly referenced throughout the film. Most notably, in the scene where N-Dubz set off to score some crack, skipping as they go. Tilting his top hat to a jaunty angle, the group’s lead soprano Dappy proclaims: “Why, dis be just like dat film wid dat wizard ‘n’ shit.”

As with Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris, sexuality and identity are inextricably linked by physicality in Streetdance 3D. The simple popping of a collar, a carefully executed Hackney Hunker, or an extravagant Grange Park Power Grab can be read as an attempt by the protagonists to stamp their mark, not only on the screen, but on life itself. STEP-STEP-GRAB! I AM ME! WATCH ME SHUFFLE GAILY! IN 3D!

Streetdance 3D‘s true strength lies in its highly original plot. Using dance as their springboard, the proletariat rise up against their square oppressors, fusing street styles with ballet, Fortis Green Foxtrots with Gunnersbury Goose-steps. Of course, the state doesn’t like this desecration of traditional styles and massacres the entire dance school in a finale reminiscent of Tiananman Square and stuff.

To some, Streetdance 3D will be ‘just another dance movie’. To them I say this: “STEP! TWO-THREE-FOUR AND KICK! TWO-THREE-FOUR NOW SLIDE! TWO-THREE-FOUR AND JAZZ-HANDS!!”

In 3D.

Titanic

May 11, 2010

I’ve never seen it. Shan’t, either. It goes a bit like this though, right?

Crewman Jenkins sounds the foghorn, peering through the fusty nacht like a blinkered hoss at a barn fire.

“Blaggards ‘pon the prow, sah!” he oinks.

Captain Roscoe Holcombe enters the main-swale, engagingly flustered with a hot beefiness only fleetingly dreamed of by the dingo-muff clad savages of yore.

“Into the fray once more, Jenkins!” he cries, spilling not one drop of Earl Grey from his china cup.

Jenkins looks ‘pon his captain with smirking adulation.

“Yes sah!” he weeps angrily.

The pair flounce off, embroiled, onto the darkened poop-deck.

Below decks, a party ensues. Toffs and sloop-wallahs fandango their ponces about the floor like jaunty porcini, all the while pronging their head-flaps to some juicy grooves from the rhythm pit.

Unbeknowingly to them there folks, there loitered a grunt of the middlingest oik, that, would they knowst, them and theirs might lynch that piglet much as look at his potato-chops.

“Argh!” he scrotes. “Me jibber-horn does belt for thee, our Wendy!!”

Clutching his navel, he calls his betrovel from the shadowy meshuggah. She flits near, momentary-like, and flits away.

“Graaagh!!” whines he. “Thou art globbled in my harris!”

Wendy bustles near with an air of Moorish courage, in pignorance of the lordly disdain about her.

“Not to be is our musty sexing!” she wails smokily. “Not on this big buggering boat, anyhope.”

At this point the music stops as the ship hits an anomaly in space/time, causing the universe and everything in it to cease to exist. The end credits merely show a photograph of James Cameron’s childhood best friend, a stray dog called Scranton, along with the words: “I fucking told you so.”

1900

May 3, 2010

I have seen Bertolucci’s 1900 (or Novecento in common parlance) but only once, and many years ago. It’s a film so long that the DVD comes in a suitcase boxset with its own Sherpa. For those of you too busy to watch all 1900 hours of it, here’s a potted beef version:

My lad ‘e’s but a simple farmer’s lad,

In top ‘at and tails tha’ll not find ‘im clad,

And t’were naught but a fancy o’t boozy lords,

To unleash ‘pon’t peasants t’fascist zombie ‘ordes.

Yet tho’ young Olmo were faced wi’t ‘orrors o’t livin’ dead,

Sense ‘e ‘ad to shoot ’em in’t ‘ead.

Wasted rounds on flappin’ limbs were not ‘is lot,

Oh, nay ‘ow squire, not one blinkin’ jot.

Wi’ chainsaw in one ‘and,

An’ boomstick in t’other,

He led t’workers against t’blackshirt zombie mothers.

And told he, to t’Communist Party,

Of t’nightmare o’ facin’ an army of undead nazis.