30 July 2012

The Amazing Garfield

How amazing would it be if we, as humans, could actually take on certain animal abilities? The Nazis experimented with it, God bless them they tried, but perhaps they went about it the wrong way. As much as I'd love to be able to fly like a bird or jizz like a pig, anything associated with the holocaust tends to be a bit of a mood killer. Peter Parker was bitten by a genetically modified spider and suddenly took on the best of its characteristics. Although that did happen without the need for any genocide, by not following safety regulations the specky twonk was still bloody lucky. For all he knew, he could have ended up with eight eyes and the ability to hang upside down from his arse-hole. If that's how simple the science behind all this is then I can only assume that Lindsay Lohan was bitten by a radioactive whore. If I could be crossed with any animal I think it would be a cat. Nine lives and the flexibility to lick my own balls sounds like a dream life for me.

Of course though everybody knows about how Spiderman got his powers. Not only has it been explained countless times in comic books and cartoons, but now also in two films released only a decade apart. The Amazing Spiderman therefore had two challenges that it would need to overcome: on the one hand it needed to be a good film and on the other it needed to justify itself in telling the same story as Sam Raimi did back in 2002. Not only that but this current version wouldn't have Toby Maguire's angry running/cum face to look forward to.
Toby Maguire angrily blowing his load for some reason.
The Amazing Spiderman begins with a childhood mystery. The young Peter Parker's house is broken into which results in him being forced to live with his Aunt and Uncle. His parents do what every teenager dreams they would and simply fuck off. Under the guidance of Uncle Ben, Peter grows up into an intelligent but shy teenager who gets bullied at school and has the hots for class-mate Gwen Stacey. I'm not saying Emma Stone looks old but there's no fucking way she's 17. It really creeps me out when older people play school kids. It's as though Hollywood is trying to wean paedophiles onto real adults but at the same time may accidentally be running the risk of weaning normal people onto school children. 

In a way it's almost pointless continuing with the plot because the odds are you already know it. Peter gets bitten by a spider, he meets an older mentor who becomes a sympathetic villain whilst Parker’s current love interest is a little too conveniently tied into every. single. plot. strand. It might seem too easy to slag this film off for being too similar to the previous one but fuck it, that doesn't make it any less valid. Casino Royale, Star Trek and Rise of the Planet of the Apes are perfectly good examples of how to restart a franchise without going over the same old ground. For me at least, The Amazing Spiderman stuck too closely to the formula of the original to justify starting again. If this film was an animal it would definitely be that second cat to walk past the door in The Matrix.

Another problem with this film is that it has apparently fallen under the spell of Nolan's Dark Knight saga. It seems that since Batman Begins, every superhero film to be released has to be darker and grittier. If that's the case then fuck it, why stop at comic book adaptations? I'd love to see the Christopher Nolan version of Mr Bean as a mentally retarded man who is one dark thought away from dry fucking his teddy bear and then going on a shooting spree. My point is that it's a shame The Amazing Spiderman had to jump on the bandwagon of grim, and wasn't simply allowed its own identity.

However, that's not to say that there's nothing to like about this film. In fact, contrary to all of the above I did actually quite enjoy it. For a start I think that Andrew Garfield may in fact be my new favourite Peter Parker. That's even despite a post film conversation with a friend who insisted Spiderman had in fact just been played by tennis loser Tim Henman. Garfield may not look 17 but he certainly doesn't seem as ancient as the 28 year old actually is. With this and The Social Network on his CV Garfield is starting to get typecast as an underdog who gets bitch slapped by the super geek. I know that Zuckerberg technically isn't as evil as a giant rampaging lizard but that doesn't make him any less dangerous or creepy.

In fact I would say that overall the cast is slightly better than in Raimi's versions. Particularly when it comes to Aunt May who, when played by Rosemary Harris, was more irritating than having crabs on your gooch. It's not that I didn't like her but if I was Peter there'd be no way I could live in that house without smothering her in her bed and then blaming it on old lady cot death. In comparison, Sally Field does a good job by appearing more like a parental auntie and less like the previously manipulative grandma death.

Martin Sheen also does a good job of playing the doomed rice maker Uncle Ben. Although his character is at a little strict at times, he kind of gets away with it for simply being Martin Sheen. If he has the strength to chop up a fat slab of Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now then he's clearly a man to be listened to. To be fair as well who can blame him for being a harsh parent? Two of his children are Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen. If he didn't lay down the law with Peter then he too might end up as either a dullard or a junkie. Having said that I would quite enjoy watching a Spiderman film in which Parker is stood on top of a roof stoned off his tits, waving a machete in the air and drinking tiger blood.

As villains go Rhys Ifans is okay as Curt Conners even though he is basically playing the same type of person as Alfred Molina did in Spiderman 2. If somebody has to play a character that looks like two fingers being flicked up at the patiently ditched Dylan Baker then I guess Ifans does a good job. In honesty, I haven't seen him in too many films and so I am always slightly surprised by how good an actor he actually is. I'm not sure how Conners lost his arm but knowing Ifans real life shambolic appearance I would assume it was in a similar way to how Leto lost his in Requiem for a Dream.

In terms of the film’s style I think it's fairly obvious that Marc Webb is no Sam Raimi. I really love 500 days of Summer but unfortunately there is none of that quirkiness here. Webb lacks the kinetic insanity that’s made Raimi what he is and so this film’s action is a little less exhilarating. By losing Raimi we also unfortunately lose the talking chin of irony that is Bruce Campbell. Although this may be slightly made up for with Stan Lee's best cameo so far. At this point Lee is 89 years old which in my opinion is more than enough of an excuse to stop investing in Save the Whale and start funding the immortality pill.

Luckily what Webb does have to save him with this film is in his correcting of Raimi's biggest mistake. This bit is going to be slightly spoilerific so if you haven't seen The Amazing Spiderman it might be time to stop reading and get back to watching porn. For those who can save the wank for another few minutes, the film’s initiative is in simply not having the Lizard die. To avoid rebooting these things every other week then murdering all the characters might be something to avoid. As Curt Conners only ends up in jail then perhaps we might avoid having to go through this story again and simply continue the franchise by recasting every few years.

If I have one more criticism of this film then it's during a scene in which Conners drinks a fresh cup of tea by holding the mug with his bare hand. Now unless his palms are made out of volcanic rock I have no idea how he fucking did that without burning himself. It might seem an odd thing to notice, but balls to it, I'm English. We notice mistakes with tea in the same way that the yanks notice mistakes with guns. I guess it's just part of who we are. If however you can cope with these blasphemously offensive beverage errors then I think the film is worth a watch.

There might be a fair bit wrong with it but then there's also a fair bit wrong with Lindsay Lohan. Overall though and given an opportunity they are both definitely worth a ride.

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2 July 2012

Cruise Control

Did you know that Jude Law was caught sleeping with a donkey for money? I heard the other day that Kevin Spacey got spotted bumming a tramp's dog in the woods. Is it true that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie conceived their last child by having him fist her with his spunk soaked hands?

There are lots of actors and actresses who get written about in those shitty, godforsaken gossip mags. With nothing but page after page of bullshit and sleaze you have to wonder who reads them and who cares? I'm interested in people in the movie world but only in regards to their professional output. In terms of who they're jizzing up, I really couldn't give a shiny shite. As far as I'm concerned, the only useful thing that we could do with magazines like 'Celebrity Cum Shots Weekly' is use them as fiery torches to burn the hacks who write them.

There are loads of different people that seem to have been particularly affected by them but one more so than many others must be Tom Cruise. Throughout the bulk of his career, he's been the centre of one particularly pointless rumour which is that he's gay. According to said rumour, the reason he won't admit to it and keeps getting married is to prevent any damage to his career. I'm putting it out there right now that, that is bullshit. The reason being because nobody fucking cares. Who gives a monkey-fuck if Tom Cruise takes a spunky shaft between the cheeks. As far as his reputation as an actor goes, I'm pretty sure he'll be fine. Weirdly when I go to see a film, it's to enjoy the art of cinema, not to try and second guess who's got the greasiest skin hole and why.

The main reason however, why Tom Cruise isn't staying in the closet to protect his reputation, is because he's a Scientologist. If it's his public image he's worried about then here's my advice, don't jump about on chat shows like a stupid fucking retard and don't admit to believing in dead aliens that live in our volcanos. Being gay these days is a socially acceptable thing to admit to. Being one of the most important members of a freaky E.T. church that's shrouded in secrecy and assumed to be a mad fucking cult is still a little abnormal.

Like I say though even that is irrelevant to what Tom Cruise is. If he wants to dress up as a xenomorph and wank over the night sky then by all means let him do it. What matters are the films he makes. Unfortunately I seem to be in the minority of people that think like that. Tom Cruise's career has been wrongly judged by millions for the last few decades based simply on his first few crappy films and his personal life. Maybe he does have weird beliefs and maybe he did start off by making Top Gun, Risky Business and Cocktail but things have moved on. Surely the work he's done since is enough to justify him as a great actor and not something for us to all stand around chatting about like some sort of fucking Wicker Man style gossip poll.

I'm sure he likes his films to make a lot of cash but I'm also sure that he cares a lot about the quality of those films as well. For proof just take a look at the directors he's worked with over the last twenty years or so. Oliver Stone, Michael Mann, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Stanley Kubrick are some of the most powerful people ever to make movies. I don't think they are likely to be bullied into a commercial decision at the expense of their vision by the midget actor from Days of Thunder. And that's even if he threatens to curse them into the mountains or bum them to death like the magazines said.

Regardless of any of his earlier “show me the money” shit, I love him for two simple reasons: Collateral and Magnolia. Both of these films are literally brilliant and both feature a stand out performance from Cruise. Both are proof as well that he really isn't too worried about being seen as the shiny, clean cut action star that some people think of him as.

Collateral was released in 2004 which makes me feel depressingly fucking old and tells the story of a poor unfortunate cab driver whose next customer happens to be a sociopathic hitman. Throughout the night the cabbie obliviously drives form one target to the next only becoming aware of the situation when like The Weather Girls predicted it starts raining men. Or at least it starts raining one man, onto the roof of his taxi and with a couple of bullet holes in his body. From this point on they continue the task of bumping off a couple of unfortunates with each murder being punctuated by a car ride and philosophical conversations about the meaning of life.

Cruise is literally amazing as Vincent and sails through the film like a slick, silver haired assassin. He's basically Philip Schofield but with a slightly more psychotic ability to kill. In a way this film is sort of like the anti Mission Impossible. Both are action movies in which Cruise plays a hired killer but whereas 'Ethan Hunt' is character designed solely to allow Cruise to show off his stunts, Vincent is much more talkey. With his philosophical views on life and what we should be doing, he's basically a selfish Tyler Durden.

Both Vincent and Durden can see how shit our world is and how stupid we all are. They can both see how we allow ourselves to be repressed by the rules we don't necessarily agree with and how we might accidentally fall into an averagely boring life simply because it's the done thing. The difference is that Tyler wants to change this, he wants to shake up the system, have us all revel in anarchy and be who we want. Vincent on the other hand is quite happy to exploit it for his own gain. When Durden finds a man in a job he hates he shoves a gun into his mouth and tells him to become a vet within the the next few weeks or he'll come back and kill him. When Vincent finds out that Jamie Fox has been a driver for 12 years he simply mocks him for it.

The way that Cruise plays Vincent is as though he's a lone wolf lost in the city. He's hunting for survival in a environment that he doesn't belong in. As things go slightly wrong he starts to look uglier and angrier and any likeable charm that he may have been displaying is instead replaced by a sociopathic need to kill. With his grey hair and sunken eyes Cruise basically looks like how he's going to in twenty years time when the aliens really do land here and just point and laugh at the notion of Scientology.

Likeability aside though there's no doubt that Vincent is cool. He's got an answer for everything, a decent sense of humour and he couldn't give a shit about the consequences of what he's doing. You get the impression that he's not even killing for the money rather because it's simply the only thing that there is for him to do. In todays economy and with jobs being as scarce as they are, a man with that “can do” attitude for work should only be respected in my book.

His performance in Magnolia however is the complete opposite of this again. 'Frank TJ Mackey' is a smug, slimy, misogynist cunt. He's exploitative, defensive and if it wasn't for his shitty past, he'd be pretty much morally unforgivable. Justin Bieber is the kind of celebrity maggot that exists simply to make a lot of people a lot of money. Bieber is an artistic vacuum, a talentless product and a commodity for young girls to drool over before they realise that vaginas are for more than just pissing with. Basically that punchable muppet is the kind of dislikable, money whoring tool that Tom Cruise is wrongly accused of being. I say wrongly because if Cruise was even slightly part of the system that Bieber is he wouldn't have done Magnolia. Think of the audience Bieber aims himself at and then try and imagine how disillusioned they would become if they heard him say lines like, “Seduce and Destroy will teach you the techniques to have any hardbody blonde just dripping to wet your dick.”

Magnolia is a slice of genius and one of the best ways to pass three hours that won't result in a dead hooker and a cocaine addiction. It's a modern epic with one of the best casts of all time doing their best to give the most memorable performance within a particularly mental but heartfelt story. However it's Cruise that runs away with the movie for simply throwing himself into the character without a worry for his dignity or reputation. By the time the credits come up we've seen frogs fall from the sky, a random musical number and a young boy piss himself. Despite this though, most people are still thinking about whether they actually heard that young warrior from Legend telling a crowd of sweaty men to, “Respect the cock and tame the cunt”.

'Frank TJ Mackey' is what people would for some reason call a brave performance. I fucking hate that though as to call a performance brave is to basically admit that you don't understand acting. We're not judging Cruise for the things Mackey says because unless you're remedial it's kind of obvious that they're two different people. The only performance I could think of as being brave would be The Deer Hunters Russian Roulette scene and that would only be if it was done for real. I don't think that playing Mackey was brave because of what it might do to Cruise's public reputation. Rather, I think that it was a good move for him to show off how good an actor he actually is. It's a basic rule that if you shout cock and cunt for long enough we'll eventually forgive any cheese that an actor may have made in the 80's.

Either way though, I guess nothing is going to change anytime soon. The people who read those fuck awful trash magazines will continue to lap up all of the bullshit celebrity sex and misery that is printed in them. Tom Cruise will continue to be disliked by many for reasons other than his films and the world will continue it's downward spiral of stupidity, shallowness and self-destruction. In fact the only celebrity whose sex life should maybe be mentioned is Roman Polanski or Richard Gere's. The day Tom Cruise bums a child or shoves a rodent up his arse is the day I'll show mild but passive interest. Until that day though I'm pretty sure there's a new Mission Impossible to catch up with.

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