Sunday, 28 February 2010

Film Reviews:

Withnail and I: What can I say? One of the funniest films ever made (possibly only after Annie Hall, Dr. Strangelove or Duck Soup). Beautifully acted—probably the most realistic acting I have ever seen—with characters so real you fall in love with them. A man's movie (although I don't see why girls can't find it funny). There is an area towards the end (the police) which threatens to sink the film (well, at least, I didn't enjoy it). 4 Stars

The Karate Kid: Corny but in a good way. Everyone enjoys the relationship that forms between Mr Miyagi and Daniel-san. This film creates the cliche: obnoxious but warmhearted American and the wise but seemingly hard Asian with everyone else against them. Enjoyable but a little slow in places, going for the heart not the jugular. 4 Stars
TV Reviews:

Spongebob Squarepants: Although I can see why people find this annoying (on the surface), if you look deeper the animation is well timed and the jokes are rarely unfunny. Although it's obvious the characters were first drawn on the side of a school table it has evolved into a highly entertaining show. I think I would regret calling this ‘just a kids show’—the animation alone would get an A. I especially like the shots where it's a drawing emphasizing how disgusting they look. :p A−

Scrubs: I don't know whether to rate this an A- or just a very good B+? The episodes are so inconsistent it doesn't allow a great impression to form. I like the characters—they encapsulate a generation. I understand why people whine about Dr. Cox overdoing the rants but I still find them funny—that's just who he is. The stories could be more focused with less dorky jokes—but hay, that's what the show is. A−

Futurama: After Groening became tired with The Simpsons he created this—a show that allowed some less accurate jokes. The characters are fun but iffy, the jokes funny but not spectacular. Don't compare it to the Simpsons because you'll be disappointed; but still, it's one of the best things on the air when you compare it to others. A−

Southpark: Hilarious but highly immature; they can't escape this fact (which is it's biggest flaw). The only thing on TV that still gives me regular laughs I applaud it because, at least, it stays true to it's roots. Stan's dad is a particular favourite and most of the characters are highly believable. I think it's the animation in combination with the production that pulls it all together. A−

Twin Peaks: An incredibly rich shot at a TV show it re-wrote the rule book. Great cast performances and a chilling atmosphere are only held back by a badly timed plot. I wouldn't have minded watching the whole show the way it was intended (and it kind of irritates me how the average Joe couldn't) but it was rushed and re-written halfway through which led to it's ultimate demise. A+

The X-Files: The first 15 minutes set up the premise—Mulder and/or Scully travel to wherever. The second 15 minutes someone is attacked and killed creating the mystery. The third part either Mulder or Scully is hurt by the enemy in question and the forth part the evil is captured (or at least concluded somehow). Sometimes I can watch this show and fall asleep but it's still a great show. A+

Seinfeld: The greatest TV show of all time, hands down, and a personal favourite of mine. This is what a comedy should be—actually funny, intelligent, not scared of seeming cocky, includes strong subject points while over-dramatizing small ones. If you don't find this funny you are not a human being. A+

Two and a Half Men: Dud

Family Guy: Insincere comedy that follows no kind of plot. Has some nice ideas but never followed through intelligently. ***

Desperate Housewives: I thought the whole premise of this show was that it was a dark show? Despite some strong acting there's far too many unfunny shenanigans. Too much hair swinging, too many scowls. I like some of the story-lines and dislike others (just like most soaps) but the actors/tresses shine enough to make it enjoyable. Just could you imagine this show with more darkness and less gloss? A bit more like Twin Peaks? It's a shame. A

Friday, 26 February 2010

Album Review:

Drake: So Far Gone EP:

Just listened to the ‘So Far Gone’ EP from up-and-coming artist Drake and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Having heard some tracks involving him, such as ‘Forever’ in which he collaborates with Lil Wayne, Eminem and Kanye West, I assumed he would be a fluke like Rihanna or the track ‘Knock You Down’ by Keri Hilson. The seven track EP is flawed but tight. The only thing I disagree with is his insistence to play ‘the game’ i.e. to rhyme about girls who think sex is attention (does he need to use ‘fucking best’?) and the fame (of which I don't think he's seen much off?). No match for his new found friends Drake at least has the brains (or the producers) to know what sounds good and not one track falters majorly. I am looking forward to the album he is apparently bringing out this year—it may be nearer the bottom off my best of year list but we'll have to see. I'm sure with more collaborations with the above he will, at least, have a few club killers. A−

Thursday, 25 February 2010

I just saw a TV programme about the ammount of heat we waste in our homes each year. I know all the small things like if you lower the heat by a couple of degrees you can save and if you switch applications off too. But what really gets my goat is how a basic human necessity is not government based—that is to say—free. We allow these huge power corporations to feed off of us and it's considered the only way. To that I say bullshit! We need to re-write how our country is run. Power, heat and water should all be free. But, hay, here's to dreaming.

It brings up this: The Venus Project

Thursday, 18 February 2010


Aliens: Although I preferred the atmospheric pressure that the original created (as far as the horror genre goes), Aliens is better crafted in it's execution. With a more fulfilling plot (longer than the original and less specific) and better action sequences I would rank this as one of the best horrors of all time. Was I surprised when I found out this was made by James Cameron. 100%

Taxi Driver: A very deep movie. I have felt all of the feelings De Niro's character goes through in the movie (although to less psychotic effects) at strategic points in my life and De Niro plays the character well. It's tragically funny how Travis is so misaligned. He is the complete anti-hero and the movie plays him to that which makes the movie real, the moments real and the people real (which makes the movie easy to underrate by the myopic). I was thinking about this a lot last night—especially about how Travis first falls in love (if you can call it that) with the government official and then by transferring to the prostitute he kind of overcomes that, realizing that it was just a crush and what he needed to do for the prostitute was more important. There are so many subliminal messages in the movies which you have to think about lest miss the whole point of the movie. The ending—is it a dream? Well, at least, there's something really creepy about it. 96%

Sunday, 14 February 2010

More game reviews:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2: You can tell how good this is right from the start. The graphics and game-play have progressed a lot since I played COD 4 and it has really enhanced the atmosphere. More action based than COD 4 (being the last COD game I've played) it's a lot more fun too. I would admit that COD 4 has a superior storyline and the direction of the game supersedes MW 2. COD 4 was also a lot longer allowing a more in depth feel and character building elements which are not as focused here. The game-play and the intricate battles alone make this game worth purchasing. The frustratingly short storyline (the whole game should have been part 1 and then a second similar part, lengthwise, added) wipes any chance of this being game of the year (probably forth). Edit: The different skill levels are almost perfectly adjusted to extent playability—perhaps a little too tough—but I am not that experienced a gamer so I suppose others may enjoy it. A

Fable 2: Almost everything about this game is poor. The graphics are childish, the A.I. is dumb, they made the more irritating aspects of the original even more irritating, the plot is lazy and droll and the way you run is fucking stupid. C+

Tomb Raider: Underworld: I haven't played a Tomb Raider in a long while—I think ever since the Playstation 2 versions came out. I loved the originals and I always felt the newer versions never did the game justice. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that this version really went back to the games roots. More action based than puzzle based (at least graphics wise) and much improved game-play allow you to fall in love with Lara all over again. The storyline to each Tomb Raider is pretty similar and this is no exception. I love the little details in the graphics—the birds and rocks crumbling (naturally) as you climb them. Although this kind of game can be limiting they really do try hard with this edition. I got frustrated about half way through near the Aztec temples as you have to redo the whole section if you complete it in the wrong order. This and a few other glitches did annoy me and made me reluctant to continue but overall it was sufficiently entertaining (if only for a short period of time). A−

Thursday, 11 February 2010

More film reviews:

Up in the Air: One of the best comedies I have seen in a while starring one of my favourite actors of the now. A serious look at capitalism and the corporate society we live in. I would be more angry if it were not so realistic. 4 Stars

Ponyo: I literally creamed my pants when I first got wind of this as I am a big Studio Gibli fan—not because I'm an anime fan but because they are fantastic films. The animation here is so fluid and beautifully crafted it may be too subtle for mass audience to accept (maybe I'm exaggerating a little). The storyline is told in a typically Japanese fashion—that is to say rooted in a greatness—a major reason why I love Japanese film (and the Japanese people in general)—they haven't become lazy/sold their souls. I want to rate this high on the animation alone but the storyline lacked somewhat. 4 Stars

District 9: A fresh film that's highly enjoyable. Mixing action with documentary style comedy it's very fun to watch and with a main character you truly want to survive. 3 Stars

There Will Be Blood: A fantastic performance from Daniel Day-Lewis bumping him up to my favourite actor of the now. Beautifully yet haunting cinematography coupled with effective audio leaves this burnt into my memory. The opening scene with the screeching? Sweeeeeet. 3.5 Stars

The Evil Dead: Absolutely a personal favourite of mine—not just from the horror genre but as a plain movie! With just a handful of cash ($375,000) and a cast of who-the-hells, Sam Raimi creates one of the best horror movies of all time. Gruesome, hilarious, well-directed/paced/edited—it's a film every man should make their girlfriend watch and when they say ‘ew’—grin with pride. 4 Stars

The Godfather Part II: The sequel to the second greatest film of all time is a sequel if there ever was one. The storyline is a little fragile—using the leftovers from the original it isn't focused enough leaving the actors to carry the film (to the films downfall and merit). There aren't enough ‘scenes’ in the film—the ones with De Niro most memorable. The aura is what makes this film stand out from films of the same rating. 3 Stars

The Shawshank Redemption: The cinematography is what lets this movie down—it's needs to be starker, more precise. The start of the movie is a little disappointing but as things get under way the tempo allows us to feel the despair these men feel. The acting in combination with a fine storyline is what really makes this film shine. There are points in this movie though that make me want to rate it lower but that's nitpicking. 3.5 Stars

Capitalism: A Love Story: In a time when any sort of intelligent thought is met with myopic, faux-intelligent resentment Michael Moore shines the light brightly on the issues that plague us as a race. So many people try to rationalize capitalism and corruption of power because they believe it can't be as bad as it is. But it is and Michael Moore knows it. This film evokes so much hatred in me—for the corruption, for the corporations who crush human spirit and for the morons masquerading as intelligent people who will try to tell you Moore is myopic and/or fat. He acts stupid because he's taking the piss out of you. 3.5 Stars

Planes Trains and Automobiles: One of the most enjoyable comedies I have ever seen. Steve Martin and John Candy play off each other marvelously creating believable characters. The plot is also made believable, although it may seem highly unlikely, taking a look at human behavior and kindness to our fellow man. 3.5 Stars
These are totally me! :p The bottom jacket (left) could use a bit of work—the pockets could be raised higher and a few details configured but I'd have to wear it first! :p

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Some of this seems a bit wonky but there is still a lot of interesting information here to digest—even if only via a moral viewpoint. It's particularly interesting when they speak about technology and of course religion (me being a sane person and not believing in something that is made up).

Zeitgeist: Addendum
Claude Maus Fashion
2010 I hope will hold some great new albums from Lil Wayne (although isn't he in prison?), Kanye West, Eminem, Drive-By Truckers and Drake. Drake is someone I have been keeping my eye on—starting out as a Canadian T.V. presenter he's switched over to music and, working with some interesting producers, has produced some surprisingly good tracks. At first I thought it may just be a fluke but listening to three of his tracks (from various sources) it seems he could release something promising. Maybe not as good as some of the bigger names but at least something interesting.

Drake—Best I Ever Had

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Some game reviews:

Fallout 3: The graphics and the atmosphere are truly beautiful, the only fault being the randomness of the wasteland. The first time I played it I (naively) skipped ahead of a large portion of the game and finished it rather quickly without even knowing there were so many other side quests to complete—without a guide it is near impossible to do everything. If they had made these quests more interlinked then I would have creamed my pants. The main plot is so short and pointless it's almost embarrassing (but there is so much else to do). Another negative is that I don't care about any of the characters apart from the father (although his cat and mouse game is highly irritating). This still, definitely, should win game of the year. A

Tony Hawk's Underground: A fun game to play with a beer or a few friends. I like a game you can just pick up and play and get enjoyment straight off but that also limits the game. Though they tried to make a storyline out of the game it could have been more engaging and/or longer. Also the level designs are a bit dull, Manhattan, Tampa and Slam City Jam being my favourites. A−

Bioshock: The first I saw of this game was by watching my little brother play. It looked so ingeniously designed (the heights of masturbatory design) and seamless in it's game-play. In comparison to Fallout 3 it looked creamier and more luxurious. Then when I decided to play the game for myself I was disappointed a little, although I don't really know why. I found the game to be a little off-putting somehow and became reluctant to play it—whether because I had seen my brother play it or not I'm unsure. It has a great storyline and it's fun for beginners and pros alike. The different levels of difficulty make it easier to dismiss the short game-play as it, realistically, toughens the game up substantially. The only faults would be that it's a little tedious and when you save a game I have no idea which one it is! A serious design flaw I hope they re-design for the second game, for which I see adverts on T.V. already. A

Halo 3: I mean what can I say? For a sequel it's pretty poor—they take everything directly from the second one and just tweak the graphics. Although the graphics are a nice step up (obviously it's the Xbox 360) it's not enough to draw your attention away from the confusing/weak storyline. It took me around 3 plays to figure out exactly whats going on and even now would appreciate some help with it. While the first Halo (and even parts of Halo 2) had some memorable level designs Halo 3 doesn't have many. Maybe the one where you first see a Spider and have to take it out on the beach or the Crows Nest where you need to hold off the Covenant forces. Although the storyline becomes tedious almost instantly it still holds the key elements from Halo. A−
I want one of these!!! Seriously...! ;p It's made by Porter—a Japanese company who specialize in bags and wallets for men but there's also a range for women! :p

Now for a fashion post—I love these by Gaspard Yurkievich (especially the tooth down the sleeves and I like the shoulder pad ideas :p):

Saturday, 6 February 2010

From now on I'm gonna write short film reviews - just movies I've picked up (previously seen and unseen).

Donnie Darko: A movie which I wish had focused more on the schizophrenic side of the human psyche or the way teenagers feel rather than just the stupid dark coolness it tries to create (it's obvious teens have sucked this up). Jake Gyllenhaal tries his best with a pointless storyline. 3 Stars

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Has a great message which they know is almost too hard to open up fully. An original film which falls back onto the strength of the performances and the great imagery. 3.5 Stars

Lost in Translation: A great chemistry between Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray, an obvious classic that avoids being cheesy or overly sentimental. Brilliantly funny (although is that everyone's image of Japan?) and a film that truly makes you think. 4 Stars

The Hurt Locker: I thought that directors and writers would be all over the Iraq war like they were over Vietnam and sooner, this being the age we live in? A film that plays the Hollywood game but holds it all together with a documentary feel. 4 Stars

Up: Wow! Finally the first good - no scratch that - great kids movie in a long while. Characters so vivid and realistic you could almost link them to people you know and a subtle storytelling from Pixar. This could be movie of the year. 4 Stars

No Country for Old Men: A strange but brilliantly directed film from the Coen Brothers. Realistic and correctly paced with beautiful cinematography throughout. Actor of the year should go to either Josh Brolin or Javier Bardem. 4 Stars

Avatar: A film that's so hard to judge because the amazing graphics and attention to detail completely outweigh the basic storyline (dancing with wolves) and uninteresting conclusion. I'm sure a lot of people will find this disappointing yet enjoyable and I hate to give it such a grade but it has to be so. 4 Stars

Boogie Nights: A brilliant movie which is so seamless in it's presentation. The direction allows us to actually believe the situations and makes the characters real too. Probably a movie which will go down as a personal favourite for many although they won't know why. 4 Stars

Deathproof: Yet another naively presented movie from the head in his arse i.e. Quentin Tarantino. Following the typical rut Quentin has made for himself he allows no suspense to build whatsoever which is almost a necessity in these kinds of movies. I also which he had focused on only the primary characters as the first group of girls were poor characters who I hated. 2.5 Stars

Pulp Fiction: To align Pulp Fiction, Tarantino's best work, to Deathproof, one of his worst, is an obvious exercise. A movie that actually merits his use of ‘cool’ and a storyline that is executed which such a great subtlety it's easy to mistake it for mediocre. A personal favourite of mine since being a teen, as with most things teens worship, the effects are wearing off fast. Still, it deserves a place in any best-of list. 4 Stars

Raging Bull: Placed 4th on the ‘AFI 100 Greatest Films of all Time’ list this film deserves it based on cinematography alone. A movie that some may misjudge and therefore possibly forget for a few other more culturally known films. This is definitely one of my favourite films and I could argue the merits of the acting, the storyline or even the direction but I'll leave that to film students. The reason why this is so good is that for the first time since I don't know when my father stayed awake for the whole film even though it broke the 12 o'clock mark. I could tell, even though he probably wouldn't have liked to have show it, that he was literally blown away by this movie. For a man who hates technology, that's saying something. 4 Stars

Die Hard: Cheesy, very cheesy, but enjoyable with beer. It's the ultimate action movie and with one of the best villains of all time played by Alan Rickman I can see why it's become such a male favourite (males being animals who lack major thought processes). The major flaws are the pointless talks between Bruce and Reginald (as every man knows) and all the other filler moments which distract from the storyline. It almost feels like a corny Christmas movie (oh wait isn't it set at Christmas?) but with blood and loud noises. If you see it from a storyline point of view and avoid all the cheesy attempts to make this a classic it really does stink, doesn't it? 2 Stars

Michael Clayton: Breathtakingly directed and a storyline so memorable it's the kind of film I wish was revered as a classic but won't be. With an incredible cast who downplay any Hollywood-ness this is something I could watch again and again at appropriate intervals. 4 Stars

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

I'm not always one for conspiracy theories but with my last post and this one it might be apparent that I am. I guess I'm on the fence! :p

Anyway, apparently (or should I say actually) the HIV (AIDS) virus is a mutation of VISNA - a virus first apparent in Icelandic sheep made by the Nazi's. Apparently (I'll use this word a lot) there is a government agency called the ‘Special Virus Program’ in the U.S. which took the VISNA virus and adapted it so that it would cause immune system dysfunction to be used primarily for biological warfare. The ‘U.S. Special Virus’ was first used in combination with Hepatitis B jabs in both New York and central Africa during the late 1970's and 80's. There are medical papers that literally report this to be true and I can't help but wonder why this hasn't been fully investigated? Dr. Boyd Graves is the only person to have followed this up after reading these documents - taking it to court in 1992. I seriously, seriously, can't believe this hasn't been followed up - if only to be disproved. This is worrying.