25 February 2013

Live And Die On This Day

Owning a dog for the first time is such a strange experience because suddenly you become part of a club. Other dog walkers insist on saying ‘hello’ as though we've instantly bonded over the shared chore of the night time stroll and the burden of picking up shite. They say that a dog is man’s best friend but if that's true then we wouldn't be cleaning up after them. I mean, as much as I love my dog, and I do, if my actual best friend decided mid-conversation to squat down and take a dump, then our relationship would probably come to an abrupt end… not only that, but the crap that my dog does is seriously huge. All she eats is biscuits and yet somehow she manages to squeeze out something larger and more rank than I could manage after overfeeding at a buffet, after a joint. I am definitely her best friend.

As well as making instant friends with like-minded animal lovers, the other thing you'll find yourself doing more often is kicking strange, other dogs square-in-the-face. Basically what tends to happen is that some stupid fucking cunt raises their pet to be like one of the knobhead hounds from Hell and then lets it off its lead. My dog on the other hand is a docile, happy little thing. She just bounds around banging her face into doors, staring at me expectantly and moving her toys into the most inconvenient place possible. So when we're out, if one of these bastard mutts comes charging at her with no empathy from the owner, the poor little bugger just panics. Don’t get me wrong, my dog has other doggy friends, but on occasion, rather angry and aggressive canine-kick-offs appear like Zubats in a dark cave. When that happens you'd be surprised how therapeutic hoofing an angry dog right in the chops can be. So far I think I've had to do this about four or five times and on each occasion I've gone home feeling just that little bit better about life.

"Get away from my Jews, you bitch!"
Knowing how enjoyable this experience is, I couldn't help but ponder the inspiration for the film The Grey or as it was known on the internet Liam Neeson: Wolf Puncher. It was released in 2011 and directed by Joe Carnahan who some pitiful fools might remember as the director of The A-Team. The film begins with a depressed Neeson sticking a gun in his mouth having presumably just seen the reviews for Taken 2. However in an attempt to make the film last longer than three enjoyable minutes, he obviously chickens out of this suicide attempt and decides instead to take a trip on a plane. By this point it should be obvious that Neeson is in full on gruff-man mode and is not the same badly mulleted Jedi that once rescued over a thousand Jews before failing a plot to destroy Gotham City.

Another textbook landing from Jeff.
Having chosen to fly with some cheap Easy Jet style airline, the plane has a slightly bumpy landing when it smashes nose first into Alaska leaving most of the passengers either dead or mutilated. Here, the crash sequence is truly terrifying and possibly the scariest thing in the whole film. When I go on a plane, I'd like to think that their alien-quim gunk-meals will be the scariest thing I'll experience but now I think I'll also be getting flashbacks to this scene too. I know they say that flying is the safest form of travelling but is it really? If a cars engine fails you pull over and wait for assistance. If the same happens on a plane then you'll fall from the sky like an iron turd from Heaven and end up with your teeth poking out of your arse. I'm not particularly afraid of flying but I do sort of live under the assumption that I'm statistically less likely to die in a plane crash if I simply refuse to go on a plane.

Once awake, the passengers split themselves up into two groups with those alive attempting to survive and the dead ones deciding to remain at the crash to fester and decompose. Unfortunately for Group A, surviving in the isolated, arse-end of the world after being involved in a major accident isn't as easy as it sounds. Quickly they find themselves at the rapey side of nature as temperatures reach as low as Katherine Heigl's cold, stoney heart and they're hunted by a pack of angry ravenous wolves. Of course Liam Neeson becomes the gang’s leader because firstly he's the most famous actor here and secondly he's Liam Neeson -- who wouldn't want to follow him? Oh and by sheer coincidence, his job before the crash happens to have been hunting wolves which is fairly lucky. None of my jobs have been as exciting as that so if I was in his position, my survival skills would extend simply to shitting my pants, puking down my tits and then slitting my wrists on a bit of broken aeroplane.

Ban this lying filth!
When the film was released there was bizarrely a lot of controversy surrounding it's depiction of the wolves. As it turns out, animal lovers don't have a sense of perspective and so started moaning about “the facts” which seems like a fairly pointless thing to do. I mean sure the animals are portrayed as blood thirsty killing machines but at the end of the day it's just a movie. I know fuck all about wolves but even I know that their aggression is obviously an exaggeration for the sake of the narrative. The fact that they are even wolves is clearly irrelevant as they're simply just a device used to extend the metaphor of ‘nature’ as the film’s main villain. If this was an Attenborough documentary then sure I'd agree that maybe they should inject a little bit of truth here and there but that's not what this is. I mean, since when was there a law passed that stated animals must be portrayed with absolute authenticity? Lets face it, if that was the case then Disney would be well and truly fucked. Also the last time I checked we humans couldn't shoot super-strength, stretchy-spunk from our wrists but I don't remember anybody protesting against the reliability of Spiderman.

"I want that, but with ham and pineapple..."
Films do not claim to be a medium in which facts are crapped out so let’s not get too upset when they start to squeeze out a little bit of bullshit too. Having said that I don't think Neeson did the defence any favours when he admitted to having eaten wolf meat in preparation for the movie. Considering he said this at the height of the controversy, you can look at it in one of two ways; either you could be enraged by his eating of an animal that we westerners would deem too endangered and too cute to chow down on as though it was a particularly rare and hairy chicken nugget… or you could take the opposite approach and instead simply admire just how few fucks Neeson actually gives about anything. I know actors like us to think that they're tough, but you've got to admire the credentials of a man who would see Harry Potters Professor Lupin as a potential pizza topping.

Whatever you think though, there's certainly no denying that it's Neeson's gravitas that makes this film exactly what it is. Contrary to what you might expect, The Grey is actually a grim, nihilistic journey into introspection and existentialism and that just happens to be something his baggage allows him to do. Apparently Bradley Cooper was originally cast in this but in all honesty I couldn't see myself being led by somebody who thought The Hangover Part 2 and Valentine's Day was a good idea. There's a scene here in which the characters have to literally jump over a huge ravine which, if suggested by Cooper, would seem really fucking stupid. Would I listen to a friend if they told me to jump over a cliff? Well, probably not, but if I was mates with Liam Neeson I'd certainly give it a consideration. There something about him that just makes me think he's probably quite experienced at surviving in a grim and hostile environment. I suspect it's the Irish accent.

As I mentioned at the beginning, the online joke title for this movie was Liam Neeson: Wolf Puncher however that's really not what you get. I mean sure a few wolves get killed and I think one of them has its head ripped off, but there's no silly catch phrases about being sick of these motherfucking wolves in this motherfucking snow. Considering that's what everybody suspected it would be, I can't help but admire the genius of the films conclusion. I won't ruin it, except to say it's a lot more ambiguous than I'm sure a lot of people would have liked. Basically right at the point that half of the audience will be thinking they're finally about to get what they've paid for, it cuts to black and starts the credits. I think I liked this conclusion firstly because of it's openness but mostly because of how I know it will have pissed so many people off. I'm pretty sure they probably ended at the point that they did for artistic reasons but I still couldn't help but appreciate the huge mass of annoyance it will have caused. Imagine if you were shagging someone and right before you could spaff, they punched you in the face and knocked you the fuck out… and thats pretty much the basic structure of this film.

Someone keep those monsters away from me!
The Grey might not quite reach the Herzogian heights that it aims for, but as a bit of throwaway 70's-eaqe grimness it's still good fun. If you were hoping for something silly like a furry, four legged version of Snakes on a Plane then you're going to be gutted. If however you like the idea of watching a suicidal man try his best to make it through a blizzard of grief, then this is the film for you. The downside to this focus is that any non-Neeson characters aren't necessarily drawn with as many dimensions as him. 
Kind of like your average iPhone obsessed teenager- their personality is basic at best making it obvious that if this was a Star Trek movie they'd all mostly be wearing red. But that's a minor quibble in what is otherwise a great film. A spokesperson for PETA compared the demonisation of the animals here to that of what Jaws did to the reputation of sharks. I dunno about you but if I was in charge of marketing, that complaint would be one of the most prominent quotes of endorsement on the film’s poster. 

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18 February 2013

Cool Your Jets

Quickly I'm coming to the realisation that males and females just don't belong to the same species. It's not that I don't like girls because I really do, it's more that their thought process is a complete and utter mystery to me. Trying to work out what a girl wants is as difficult as trying to read Tolstoy's War and Peace if it was written in Klingon by a dyslexic nutter with shit for ink. In fact I'd still be oblivious as to whether a girl liked me even if she whipped out her tits and lunged pussy-first towards my cock. I think with guys you know where you stand because for the most part we're fairly simple beings. I mean if a bloke hasn't punched you in the face or slyly dipped his knob in your pint then the chances are that he thinks you're okay. Girls on the other hand will have you jumping through fucking hoops to get their approval as though you're a horny dolphin desperately performing for just a whiff of fish.

Having said that though, I would much rather be living this life in my sheer confusion than be gay. I know we're meant to live in an open minded world but unfortunately we don't. Personally I couldn't care less who fancies who but sadly there are still a lot of ignorant fuckwits out there making other peoples lives unnecessarily difficult. Homophobia is such a strange thing because it basically involves getting Hulk smashingly mad about somebody else's fondness for a bit of bum-loving. I don't know about you but becoming so emotional over what some guy does with his own dick sounds pretty gay to me. Luckily though there is one place on this Earth where prejudice doesn't exist and men who love each other can live in peace. I am of course talking about an American Naval aircraft carrier which according to Top Gun is the most homo-happy place in existence. If that film is to be believed then these ships are just giant floating gay bars but where they fly planes and blow people up instead of dancing to Kylie and getting slack from poppers.

"Your ego is writing cheques your body can't cash."
I feel at this point that I should summarise the plot of the movie which is annoyingly a pretty difficult thing to do. There are two ways to read this film which is the intended way or the gay way. The intended way is that it's about a bunch of pilots who all bond and fly planes and I think briefly fight some Russians… to be honest though, that version of the film is actually pretty dull. Taken for what it is, Top Gun is an overly cheesy, 80's movie that thankfully has at least a few good action scenes in it. Unfortunately though watching footage of planes fly around for two hours really isn't that enjoyable to me considering I'm not a six year old child or a maladjusted dullard. As much as I appreciate a glimpse of the metal bird as it whizzes past with its shiny wings, I'd still prefer at least a tiny bit of story now and again too. Oh and with its cheap keyboard-cat sounding music the film has really badly dated to shit in the last twenty years. In fact the only other thing that I can think of that has aged this badly since the 80's is probably Mickey Rourke's face which now resembles a death mask of his own arse.

However to fully enjoy this film you really need to watch it with the gay slant in mind. I'd heard of Top Gun’s reputation for being about a gang of homo-pilots but nothing prepared me for quite how unsubtle it was. Back in 1994 a film was released called Sleep With Me in which for some reason somebody had once again given Tarantino an acting job. Although the film has been mostly forgotten the one thing that it is remembered for is QT's spot on analysis of Top Gun as being a gay metaphor. To quickly summarise his points, it's that Tom Cruise is sexually confused and torn between being straight or gay. Here the Navy represents homosexuality and Kelly McGillis's unprofessional tutor represents heterosexuality. Throughout the film both the Navy and Kelly McGillis fight for his affection before Cruise makes his choice and inevitably becomes a full on, high-flying sodomite.

"So tell me again about fisting..."
There are several obvious reasons why this film is brilliantly about a bunch of gay people and all it takes is a simple viewing to figure it out. These observations aren't particularly analytical because it's just so in your face that I genuinely can't see how it could be unintentional or go unnoticed. For a start all of the characters have clearly got boyfriends so Maverick is obviously fucking Goose, Iceman is fucking Slider and Viper is fucking Jester. They all announce if they have an erection from seeing each other, spend way too much time flashing their cocks whilst lingering in the changing rooms and then there's the dialogue. At one point as an example Slider asks, “Whose butt did you kiss to get in here anyway?” to which Goose replies. “The list is long, but distinguished” before Slider ends the conversation by saying, “Yeah, well so is my Johnson”. It might sound tenuously about the Military but it is clearly a jealous man accusing another of being a slag before concluding the debate by trying to seduce him.

"Utter one more syllable and I'll have you killed."
Perhaps out of context it might sound like I'm reaching for it, but seriously- watch it and you'll see that every conversation between any two men is just brimming with sexual tension. Every time I see Maverick and Iceman together it genuinely feels as though they're about to violently fuck each other whilst Goose has a cry in the background. Sure Maverick might shag Kelly McGillis at one point but it's clear he's picturing Valerie Kilmer when he does it and you can tell he's sticking it up her arse for old time’s sake. It's such a joyless fuck between them that it simply highlights Cruise and McGillis complete lack of compatibility. Maverick probably has more sexual chemistry with miscellaneous props such as tables and microphones than he does with her although in her defence microphones are fairly cock-shaped. Also if McGillis is the character that is intended to lure Cruise into being straight would it not make sense to cast someone at least a little more tempting? At the time she looked old enough to be his bloody mother but now aged just 55 she's already started to resemble a cheap Judi Dench lookalike.

Anyway I know I'm going on about the gay thing but that's because it's clearly the best thing about this movie. Minorities are always neglected when it comes to having heroes and so it's nice that here exists an action movie that non-judgementally provides them with a few. Night of the Living Dead is always being praised for providing the world with its first black hero for which colour was irrelevant and I genuinely believe Top Gun deserves equal credit. On its own, this film is just a series of adverts for ships, planes, motorbikes and stupidity. By assuming they're all boyfriends though everything suddenly makes a lot more sense and the film is elevated into a brilliant 80's oddity that even homophobes can obliviously enjoy. Sure the aviation footage is pretty cool but if all I wanted to see was what the world looked like from up high I'd probably just throw myself off a bridge… which of course brings me neatly to the subject of director Tony Scott.

I think that like many people I genuinely had no clue of how much of a fan of him I was until he'd died. Throughout his career I tended to dismiss news of his upcoming films on the grounds that they would probably be shit. As it turns out most of them actually were. However as rubbish as Beverly Hills Cop Two might be, it's hard to actually dislike many of his films simply because of their huge balls and joyful simplicity. Scott may have been a little keen on the hand-cranking in his later films but it was never at the expense of character or acting. When you remember Man on Fire it's not the shoot-outs that linger but the emotion between Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning. Well that and the whole bomb up the arse thing I suppose.

With hindsight, Scott really was one of the kings of crappy action movies but unlike Michael Bay he didn't simply rely on CGI and the dedication of a brain-dead fanbase of morons. In Top Gun when the planes fly about at break-neck speed it was because he had ensured the support and assistance of the American Navy. If Bay had made that film you can guarantee everything would be made of pixels and instead of being joyously gay it would probably be disturbingly sexist.

"These balls have sand all over them!"
Scotts death made me want to re-view his work and when going through his back catalogue you'll quickly notice that there's always a True Romance and Last Boy Scout for every Domino and Déjà Vu. Sure Top Gun is a bit crap but I can honestly say that at no point did I find myself bored. Admittedly his films are at their best when watched in company and without too much concentration but in the end that's not a bad thing. When casually hanging out with a gang of friends it's more fun to watch something as silly as Top Gun than banging in Schindler's List and then organising a few minutes silence for after the credits. People slag Top Gun off for trying to show the Navy in an appealing light but fuck them! It's not a promotional tool for the Military but an educational film about homosexuality. Anyone who doesn't believe that is clearly yet to behold the joy and proof of the gayest volley ball scene ever committed to film.

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11 February 2013

It's A Cruel World After All

Disney fucking pisses me off, with their happy-happy world that just doesn't exist in any form of reality whatsoever. In a Disney film, everything is so boringly perfect and everybody so annoyingly happy that I can only assume that all of the characters are off their tits on ecstasy. Just for once I'd like to see a story that focuses on the adventures of Mickey and Goofy as they try to hide the rotting corpse of a butchered up whore who they killed whilst raging on bath salts. 
I understand that these are kids’ movies but children really need to know that the world is a shitty place just so that adulthood doesn’t come as quite a shock to them. I don't remember how a film like Dumbo actually concluded but I doubt they went for the realism of having the elephant shot in the face so that its teeth could be turned into an expensive piano.

"We should stab each other."
The depressing truth is that in our world, the closet thing to a happy ending is the cheeky wank you  receive after a particularly expensive massage. As for the idea of couples in love living happily ever after, well, that little Disney rule can go fuck itself up the arse with a dildo wrapped in serrated divorce papers. Let’s try to pretend that people do stay together and happy then one of them has to die first leaving their partner old, frail, depressed and alone. The only way a loving couple can live happily ever after is if at the peak of their joy they make a suicide pact and hurl themselves off a particularly high bridge and into that day’s heavy rush hour traffic. It's not that I hate Disney films, it's just that I can't cope with the misery of our world after ninety minutes of their bullshit propaganda for the gullible optimist.

Despite it's preoccupation with world domination and in-between buying and owning everything ever, Disney has somehow found the time to release a new animated film called Wreck-It Ralph. This film tells the story of how our computer game characters come alive within their consoles when there are no humans around to play them. So basically it's kind of like the setting of Tron crossed with the concept of Toy Story but without the constant references to a young boy playing with his Woody. Within the arcade community of Wreck-It Ralph, the various characters can travel into each others worlds and interact with each other allowing them to form a society consisting of bars, support groups and prejudice. Like we humans ignorantly hate our minority groups or anybody different to ourselves, so too do computer game characters. As a result when everybody comes alive they all have a great time except for the game’s villains who are demonised and cast out like AIDs infected lepers at a lucky-dip sex party.
"After killing 85 people I hid in the subway
and the police just forgot about me"

The film follows the title character of Wreck-It Ralph who is the bad guy in his own game and starting to feel a little lonely after being shunned for thirty years by all of the heroes. As a result, Ralph attends a support group for game villains in which they all discuss their grievances and learn to accept themselves for who they are. It's a strange to note that of all the cameos in this scene they bizarrely don't have anybody from Grand Theft Auto which is a shame. Having said that, with some of the things I've made Niko Bellic do, there's a chance he may have been shunned from even here. In a way I suppose break-time in Hell would be similar to this, with wrongdoers consoling each other. But instead of Bowser and Doctor Eggman it'd be cunts like Myra Hindley, Vlad the Impaler and Bernard Manning. This group session however results in Ralph declaring that he's sick of being the bad guy and that he actually wants to be liked by those that he spends his working day tormenting. Kind of like a Nazi prison guard deciding that when he's off duty he should be more than welcome down at the local synagogue.

After ruining a party that he wasn't invited to, Ralph announces to his game’s characters that he is going to become a hero for them to respect and befriend. This takes him on a huge mission that involves a futuristic first person shooter and a racing game set in some colourful world made of biscuits and product placement. So he pretty much just enters two games that so closely rip off Halo and Mario Kart that I'm surprised that their companies lawyers haven't started ejaculating with joy and plans to sue. However it's in the latter of those two places that we're introduced to the young and potentially annoying supporting character Venellope. She's a young girl who dreams of being a racer despite being a glitch. This basically means she can't help but unintentionally zap around like a broken version of X-Men 2's Nightcrawler. I suppose she's the gaming world's equivalent of someone with special needs as she suffers from an apparent case of teleportation Tourette’s.

From this point on, the film follows a fairly formulaic path which to it's benefit does manage to wrap up all of the competing subplots. However, no matter how tidily everything might end up being that still means from about half way in there's absolutely no surprises whatsoever. I suppose it's kind of like shagging the same person for the tenth year in a row, it's not that you aren't having fun but just that everything has gotten a little predictable. In fact the analogy can be taken even further as the only reason you're still doing them is because like with each character in Wreck-It Ralph, you simply enjoy their personality.  

We had to censor his
language for a reason...
Ralph himself is basically everything you'd expect from a likeable down-and-out with the voice of John C Reilly. Imagine the lonely policeman from Magnolia but instead of fighting crime, his job is to smash the shit out of buildings whilst looking like someone's turned a gorilla inside out. In actual fact for me I would say that this aspect was the biggest let down. Clearly Wreck-It Ralph aims to play off our nostalgia for computer games and as someone whose childhood consisted solely of exploring Hyrule, I have a lot of fond memories. However the film instead decides to focus on characters that we've never seen before whilst relegating the more familiar faces to enjoyable but brief cameos. To make matters more noticeable, Ralph as implied is basically a bald Donkey Kong with the hero of his game having clearly been inspired by Mario. As much as I did like Ralph, I couldn't help but think that he'd have been invested with a lot more pathos if it had actually been someone I've spent hours of my life playing as. To emphasise this point, there's a scene in which Q*bert appears as a tramp which is a lot more affecting simply because it's our neglect that has left him in this state. I say he's a tramp but lets face it Q*bert is clearly designed for one thing and that's sucking cock. He's basically just a fleshlight on legs and only slightly less sexy than Mario's equally whorish Birdo.

Another very slight problem that I had here was exactly what I ranted about at the start. The film is all about the burden of loneliness and yet still it insists on having a feel good ending. It's not that I didn't expect it but there's a moment near the end in which Ralph pretty much attempts suicide and gets annoyingly rescued before it's too late. I think it bothered me because stupidly for one nano-second I actually thought he was going to proper top himself and traumatise the children with a little bit of reality. I know people think kids should be protected from darkness but fuck that! Time Bandits is one of the best kids films of all times and that ends with the kid alone and presumably about to be sectioned. I saw Misery when I was about five years old and the only way I can think of that movie potentially damaging me is that now I can't get erections without thinking of dead animals.

The ghosts of actual
victims of this violent game.
Like I said though, Wreck-it Ralph is still an enjoyable film. It might not be overly memorable or particularly life changing but it's still good fun. To its credit, it does also seem to be continuing a rule that the best computer game movies aren't based on any actual computer game at all. Films like Scott Pilgrim and Crank are great fun whereas something like Super Mario Bros makes me want to hang myself with a NES controller whilst crying. This might not quite reach the heights of Toy Story but as a celebration of a gaming culture, I can appreciate its love for all things 8bit. I might not be desperate to see a sequel but I'm glad it exists if only to inspire kids to go out and find some retro games to enjoy. Fucktards are always accusing things like GTA of encouraging real life violence but too many people forget about the great famine of the Pacman generation. People really do get brainwashed by games and it's about time the children were told what happened to Earth's supply of cherries.

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