24 June 2013

We Are A Plague And He Is The Cure

Superman represents many things to many people. To some he means hope and to others he symbolises pure kindness. To me however he simply exists to show off how pathetic we humans are as a species. For a start, he's an alien who we literally cannot harm and so if he turns against us we're fucked. Not only that but since first appearing, Earth has been invaded by several monstrous villains all of which would have destroyed us if it wasn’t for him. It seems we're not alone in the universe and everything else out there is a lot more advanced and powerful than us. The Kryptonians have already mastered long distance space travel whereas we as a species spend our days eating cheesy crisps and wanking our way through old episodes of Buffy. Or at least that's what I do. Either way we're certainly very, very crap in comparison. To our alien cousins, we are the slimy lizard-fish that's only just crawled out of an oozing lake of filth. The furthest we've gotten with space travel is a shit game of golf on the Moon and even that's only possible if we make it out of our atmosphere without becoming a NASA-funded firework display.

Another reason that Superman represents our crapness is the failure of his last film to be embraced as a franchise by the public. In 2006, Superman Returns was released into cinemas and, contrary to what everybody else now says, I genuinely love it. I know there are a lot of confused people out there who think it's rubbish but I'm more than prepared to fight them to the death over it. I won't go into ‘why’ because that could/will be a blog entry all on its own but suffice to say I patiently waited a long time for a sequel to that. You can therefore imagine how happy I was to hear that after about half a decade it was announced that the next film in the series would instead be a reboot from the director of Sucker Punch. Man of Steel retells the origins of Superman, detailing the destruction of his home planet and how he ended up on Earth. Russell Crowe plays his biological father and to be fair, despite my initial hesitance, I can't imagine not enjoying any film that begins with the Ex-Gladiator casually riding about on a dragon. It also starts with Michael Shannon as the villain General Zod who spends a lot of his time screaming his angry bug-eyed face off. Anyway, to cut a long story short, the planet Krypton explodes, Zod escapes and the newly born Superman gets blasted off to earth like an alien Moses in a basket of metallic-looking sci-fi shit.

His face is so boring it actually angers me.
The first third of Superman's time on Earth is presented in a non-linear fashion as he wanders the land trying to discovery who he is. His real dad might be the Irish sounding Robin Hood but here on Earth, his adopted father is Kevin Costner, the tacky, mulleted Prince of Thieves. Now, I should say that I did actually enjoy the film quite a lot but the scenes in Smallville were a little on the schmaltzy side. Now known as Clark Kent, there's a section where as a child he is overcome by his alien powers and so hides in a cupboard in his school. His mother is called to talk him out and so asks what is wrong with him. The sappy music kicks in and he answers, “The world’s too big, Momma”, to which she responds, “Then make it small”. I'm sorry but really who talks like that? If my kid said that I'd just scream, “get your arse out of that cupboard right now” and then I'd have the pretentious little fuck sectioned. Also, I'm never usually a fan of Kevin Costner because he bores the absolute tits off me with his dull, charisma-free soul, however here I was very close to enjoying him. The problem again was sadly with the slightly ‘up itself’ writing. Costner couldn't just answer a question normally but had to deliver a long meaningful monologue every time he spoke. You could ask him the fucking time and he'd answer you with a stern face, looking towards the horizon. 

By the time we get to the second third, Zod has made his way to Earth and is threatening to destroy us conveniently at the exact same time that Superman discovers that he's Superman. I suppose I quite liked the design of the new costume but if I'm being completely honest, I kind of missed the red underwear. I know wearing your skiddies on the outside is a bit stupid but the character has been around for like eighty-years and so I was kind of use to it. Also, I don't expect Earth’s saviour to be pant-pissingly funny but would it kill him to crack a smile at least once? Clark discovers he's got super powers and yet spends the majority of the film looking as though he's just found out he'll need a testicle amputated. Believe me, if I'd just discovered I had x-ray vision then I'd be perving so much that I'd never frown again. I don't care what anybody says- if any one of us developed any kind of superpower, we'd be using it for at least minor evil within the hour.

By the time we get to the final third, the film descends into all-out action. I hate to sound like I'm getting old but perhaps for me the fighting was a little too fast. I knew people were getting the shit kicked out of them but all I could see was a blue blur and then devastation. Sadly too, the fighting just didn't feel painful which makes it all slightly redundant. In The Dark Knight, there were two psychopaths, one dressed as a clown, the other a wrestling bat and when they hit each other you felt the impact. Here though, faces get dragged across the smashed up concrete road and the only pain you feel is that of the council who will be one day tasked with mending it. This conveniently leads me to my next criticism which is in regards to the complete and utter annihilation of Metropolis. During the climactic battle between Superman and Zod, that city gets well and truly fucked. Our saviour throws his enemy through skyscrapers with such little regard for human life that it becomes clear that he really doesn't give a shite about us. During the city’s destruction, director Zack Snyder throws up imagery that is clearly reminiscent of the events of 9/11 but this is like that day on crack. Tens of buildings topple and it is very clear that millions of innocent people will have died. I can only assume that by the time of the sequel, Metropolis will have turned to communism because there's sure as fuck not enough money to rebuild it. Once again, this complete disregard for human life highlights my initial theory about how Superman represents our species’ complete and utter insignificance in the universe.

I guess to summarise and conclude, I thought the film was pretty good but had an odd mix of clever and dumb about it. I still wish I'd seen a sequel to Superman Returns but there was enough here to enjoy that I'm interested to see what happens next. I'm going to presume the city will be rebuilt by Lex Luthor  and Superman will have a newfound aversion to killing. It'll also be intriguing to see how the Clark and Lois Lane relationship pans out considering it'll seemingly have a slightly different dynamic to perhaps how it did in previous films. Also, the couple don't exactly start things off on the best of terms as Superman says the weirdest post-kiss line ever. She says to him, “They say it's all down-hill after the first kiss”, to which he rudely responds, “That's only if you're kissing a human”. So either he's telling Louis that she's going to enjoy the relationship a lot more than him or he's casually endorsing experiments into bestiality. I suppose this clumsiness with women must be a result of him being from either Krypton or even worse- Kansas.

Anyway, so that's the end of the blog.

Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.
I certainly hope you had more fun reading it than I did writing it. As a little added bonus though I just thought I'd mention a slightly irrelevant observation that I made about the film. Is it just me or is Man Of Steel a prequel to the The Matrix franchise? Firstly and most obviously it's clear that both Superman and Neo are a version of The One. They can both fly about, are here to save us and I'm sure must both be based loosely on an arse-kicking Jesus Christ. Secondly, both this film and The Matrix feature babies being artificially raised in little bubble pods by sinister looking insect-like machines. Not only that but Zion's defender, Commander Lock appears here as pretty much the exact same character but this time named General Swanwick. More noticeable perhaps though is that Commander Lock is not alone. Morpheus is also joining him although currently running a News Paper and known as Perry White. As far as I know, we never learnt of Morpheus's real world name and this current employment puts him in a perfect position to become slowly aware of the existence and importance of The One. Like I say though, it's all just a theory and, I agree, possibly slightly tenuous. But whatever, if you don't agree then the blog officially ended one paragraph ago. See you next week and in the meantime try not to die... I need the hits. Goodbye.

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17 June 2013

'Til Death Do Us Part

There was this one time that I was sitting at the computer at two in the morning when I noticed something odd going on outside. Through the window I could see two youths trying to break into the house opposite where I knew an old man lived alone. At first I wasn't sure what to do. I knew I should phone the police but then I also knew the old man was a proper miserable prick. I decided therefore to be diplomatic and not pick sides, only calling for help once they'd finally broken in. After a few minutes of trying to pick the lock they gave up and attempted the less sophisticated technique of kicking the door in. That didn't work either and sadly a car then drove past- scaring them off and ruining my show. There's something about voyeurism that I'm convinced is built into us all as a guilty pleasure. It's one of the reasons why middle-aged women like to people-watch, why teenaged boys like porn and why Rear Window is my favourite of Hitchcock's film.

Released in 1954, Rear Window tells the story of James Stewart- a bored photographer with a broken leg. As he sits in his apartment he starts to spy on his neighbours, slowly learning what each of them does. It's basically an interesting insight into the shit people used to get up to before the popularity of television. Some play music, some dance, some attempt suicide and others just chop up their wives and then scatter her around the local area. Or at least that's what it looks like to our crippled peeping Tom. I guess to summarise, the story here is pretty much a straight up rip off of Disturbia but with the film having the malicious cunning of being released about fifty years earlier.     

No Sean, I don't want a new fucking phone!
Voyeurism is probably the reason that this is my favourite Hitchcock film. It's an element that has featured in many of his other movies too but this is the one that most directly comments on us as cinema goers. The way Stewart helplessly stares at his neighbours through a sheet of glass is identical to the way in which we view other peoples’ lives through a television set. He scours each window looking for something of interest to watch in the same way that we channel surf. Turns out that in each case there's piss all of interest but at least he doesn't have to endure the banality of crap adverts in which Sean Bean desperately tries to flog us a shitty O2 phone. I'm currently making a list so that I remember never to buy anything that won't let me skip it after five seconds on YouTube. Actually, speaking of which, there is a young couple constantly shagging in one of the rooms opposite him and every time they do, they annoyingly close their curtains. I guess now that we also view so much content on the internet, the curtain of those young fuckers kind of represents the film’s version of parental controls.

Interestingly one of the ways in which Hitchcock adds to the sense of voyeurism is by only ever filming from the one room. Pretty much everything we see is through that window so that over the course of the story, we really do become one with Stewart’s character. It's therefore even more impressive to consider that everything we see in Rear Window was filmed in a studio. Every one of the apartments opposite were fully working, with the studio able to recreate various times of day and weather. Basically Hitchcock decided to play The Sims but because it was yet to be invented he instead had to make do with A-List actors and a life-sized liveable set instead. Apparently he would direct only from Stewart’s room and communicate with the other actors via radio and small ear pieces. When most people decide to play God, it involves climbing onto a roof and taking potshots at passing mothers with a rifle. Hitchcock on the other hand not only kept himself murder free but also managed to get paid for the inconvenience. 

Throughout his career, The Master of Suspense has often concentrated on examining our greatest fears and biggest horrors. One of these terrifying repulsions that constantly pops up in his films is the theme of love and romance. Rear Window continues this idea with Stewart and Kelly's relationship being the very obvious heart of the film. The basic problem is that she wants to settle down and marry and unfortunately for her, he doesn't. I guess that I'm aware of how Stewart’s character is a massive dick to Ms. Kelly in the way that he so brutally shits over her idea of happiness. However, as history has turned me into a massive sexist, I couldn't help but think that he spoke the most sense.

In fact it could be said that the whole film is a reflection on the themes of romance. In every other room, something is happening that could help Stewart make up his mind as to what he should do. As I've mentioned, there's the newly weds fucking, the lonely woman attempting suicide, a man writing love songs and also an attractive, available girl constantly dancing. It's as though each room is showing Stewart one of the different paths that he could take. Of course though, the window that he focuses on is the one in which he believes a man has hacked up his better half. Whether or not he's right in his assumption, the fact that this is what he instantly concludes simply goes to show his cynicism towards the idea of marriage and happiness. Thanks to my regrettable levels of misanthropy and light misogyny, I once again concur.

They look like humans after some horrible nuclear disaster...
Although this is only a minor point, there is a saying which states that the harder you look, the less you'll see. I guess this just means that if you concentrate too much on one thing then you might miss what's going on with the bigger picture. A few rooms up from the potential wife killer is a songwriter. This musician was played by the actual songwriter Ross Bagdasarian Jr who in reality then went on to invent the concept and sound of The Chipmunks. Had Stewart not become so obsessed with one little homicide then perhaps he could have prevented an even greater crime from taking place only a further few feet away. One woman's death can't affect more than a handful of people however I think we've all been tortured by the high-pitched warbling of Alvin and his mongoloid race of rancid rodents.    

For me, this film was released during Hitchcock's Golden Period where, for the next decade, he didn't put a foot wrong. Afterwards, Stewart continued his successful career in which he played every variation of the likeable everyman re-teaming with Hitchcock again for The Man Who Knew Too Much and Vertigo. Grace Kelly too was phenomenal here and became the quintessential blonde of which the infamous director was clearly obsessed. After Rear Window, she too continued her acting career before marrying into royalty, living every girls dream life and then dying the traditional Princess death of being mangled in a car crash. The film is witty, insightful, funny, thrilling and pretty much everything you'd expect from one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. If you've not seen it then you really should. Like The Godfather, A Clockwork Orange and Two Girls, One Cup this really is one of those classic movies that you need to see before you die. 

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10 June 2013

The Trouble With Choice

Conditioning is basically the idea that a specific stimulant can elicit some sort of involuntary response. The brains behind this idea was a physiologist named Pavlov who used his crazy new concept to torment dogs by tricking them into dribbling. The plan was to serve them food every time a bell rang until eventually they associated the noise with feeding time. After a while they'd simply salivate when hearing, it regardless of if they'd been fed or not. As great as all that is though, I think I'd prefer scientists to piss about with dogs only after they've cured cancer and discovered whatever species Gary Busey is. Having said that, it was whilst learning this concept in school that a fellow student enquired if we could condition ourselves into getting better grades. The teacher responded by asking how he planned on doing this to which he announced that every time he did well in an exam, he would have a quick wank to reward himself. Although the teacher failed to inform us if this would work, I can confirm that from my own experiments the answer is a very sad no.

A Clockwork Orange is a 1971 film by Stanley Kubrick that is assumed by idiots to glorify violence. Set in a dystopian future Britain, it tells the story of a pleasant young chap named Alex whose amiable personality is only slightly let down by his love of ultra-violence. Like Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket the film itself is kind of split into two halves. The first shows Alex revelling in his rape-y joys and the second depicts his subsequent comeuppance. In the same way that my fellow student wanted to wank himself into a brighter future the government of A Clockwork Orange attempt to condition Alex into being a better member of humanity. Famously, this conditioning sequence involves sitting him in front of a screen and pinning his eyes open as though he's about to be forced to watch Sex and the City 2: Pigs in a City. Instead however he's made to feel sick and shown violent imagery until he associates the two things together. He's then released back into the wild where he quickly learns that society is a massive, scary twat and without the means to defend himself, he'll be well and truly fucked.

Wait- what are we watching?!
Recently I saw a documentary called Room 237 in which a bunch of oddball movie fans rambled on about their understanding of The Shining for a couple of hours. Each of their theories ranged significantly in subject so that by the end the only thing we as an audience could be sure of was that these obsessive weirdoes should probably be locked up. The point is though that with Kubrick, there are so many possible interpretations of his films that it's difficult to really come to a definitive conclusion as to what they're really all about. With A Clockwork Orange though I suppose the main thing that I get from it is that it is an examination into the morality of freewill. I'm sure a million other people could watch the film and decide that it has a different agenda and for them I recommend the comment section below. Not only would we be able to have an interesting debate but most importantly it'd help me get some more traffic here. As anybody with a blog will know, I'm a whore for the hits.

Anyway, as valid as alternate interpretations may well be, if there's one thing that this film definitely does not do, it is portray violence for the sheer joy of it. I think probably the only idiots who assume A Clockwork Orange contains gratuitous horror are those who can't be arsed to actually watch it themselves. Hearing a film has been banned for 27 years for inspiring copycat crimes does sound a little grim but that's only because the reputation is a sensationalist slab of shite. I don't believe that films can cause somebody to act out of character as I stupidly have some small degree of faith in humanity. Perhaps a few psychopaths did commit similar crimes to Alex, but crazy fucktards will always find something to inspire them. Blaming anything other than their own mental health is lazy and dangerous. With the amount of violent films I own, I could commit more or less any crime I liked without worrying about being held responsible. The reason it was banned too was not actually because of its dangerous influence on society. Apparently it was because people were so outraged about its fake violence that their only response was to threaten Kubrick with the genuine stuff. Thankfully the film was re-released in 1999 when its recently deceased director became notoriously more difficult to murder.

That's not to say of course that I'm denying the violence of a scene in which somebody gets their head caved in by a giant cock. In my opinion all the rape, murder and assault simply exists to promote a discussion on the nature of freewill and morality. The more shocking Alex's earlier antics are the more justified his later brainwashing may seem to be. The title A Clockwork Orange implies that something might seem natural on the outside but under the surface everything is robotic and controlled. Pavlov's dogs didn't dribble because they were hungry but because like Alex, they had been conditioned into an involuntary response. Alex might have changed his violent ways but that's not because he has become a better person and the lack of choice surely undermines the morality of the situation. Adding to this, the experiment wasn't done to improve society either but instead was being used as a political advert for a self-serving Government. I'm not saying that Alex doesn't deserve to be punished but allowing those in charge to try and keep power by dicking about with his brain doesn't seem right either. Perhaps the message of the film is that the price to pay for freewill is that some people will always act like cunts.

Despite how grim it might all sound though, A Clockwork Orange is funny as fuck with Kubrick himself describing it as “a social satire”. From what we know, Ed Gein killed about as many people as Alex did but he doesn't even look bright enough to tell the most basic of knock-knock jokes. Alex might be a nutcase but he's also capable of politeness, friendliness and at least has a decent sense of humour. There's therefore an implication that he may simply be a product of his environment which also contains aggressive authority figures and a constant barrage of casual pornographic imagery. Although it wouldn't excuse it, I suppose there could be some irony if his violent behaviour was woven into him to begin with. At the very least it would again throw up the hypocrisy of a Government that aims to control and condition somebody out of a behaviour that they're a partial cause of.

"Please believe me!"
I hate to put on my tin-foil hat and start talking in a hushed tone but with its subversive nature, if I was in charge back in 1971, I'd probably try and discredit the film in some way too. Focusing on its violence and linking it to a genuine and shocking crime seems like a good way to do that. Also, while the crispy hat of conspiracy is on, I think that the Royal Family are Lizards, Aliens live in our volcanoes and The Chuckle Brothers are really father and son. Actually, it is worth noting that at the time of its release, the film was condemned by the Catholic Church which banned its followers from watching it. Ironically though, the voice of reason in the film is probably Alex's Prison Priest who appears outraged at the idea of conditioning and declares that goodness must come from within instead. Still, I'm guessing the Church missed that point as I suppose watching and judging a film while knowing many of your representatives rape and abuse little children can be a little distracting.

Since its release in 1971, A Clockwork Orange has gone on to become a stone-cold classic. Its influence can be felt everywhere from Trainspotting to The Dark Knight and even the epic N64 game Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Despite his brilliant performance as Alex however, Malcolm McDowell's career never took off the way it should thanks in part to drug addictions and his face shrivelling up into a chestnut. Although I probably slightly favour The Shining, I don't think any Kubrick film about a likeable nutter is any less than genius. Every time I watch this movie, I notice something different. On first viewing I noticed the humour and on second I thought more about it's stance on morality. Most recently however I noticed something huge that had previously escaped me. Apparently the big gay looking man near the end that carries the cripple about is actually Darth Vader! How I've only just viddied that bolshy veck, my gulliver will never fathom. 

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3 June 2013

Never Eat Stale Crisps

Generally, I don't get sick. I got ill the other week because I ate some out-of-date Pringles but I suppose that was my own fault. They may have been a little on the mouldy side but I was hungry and as lore dictates, once you pop you just can't stop. In a fit of joy, my immune system got overexcited about finally having something to do and within a few hours I was joylessly puking up a watery-crispy combo. Sadly, this left the rest of my body open to invasion and resulted in further illness. I think what basically happened was similar to The Dark Knight Rises where Gordon gets carried away and sends every cop into the sewers after Bane leaving the rest of Gotham completely defenceless. Whilst the Battle of Pringle-itis was being fought in my gut, a crafty little virus snuck in and gave me a mini-cold. As a result, I spent several days lying around the house whilst wrapped in blankets and snorting Lemsip. To be honest, I wasn't even feeling that bad but I like the attention and only twats takes risks.

Having thankfully now recovered from my rapping upon death's door, I felt an urge to watch Steven Soderbergh's cough-athon Contagion. The film depicts a way in which the world would react if everyone developed some sort of bat-AIDs and then started smearing our hands into each others mouths. As it turns out, when infected with this mysterious illness, not only do we have a nasty habit of dropping down dead but our society has a bit of a mental breakdown too. Whilst half of the population is cancelling appointments to focus on dying, the other half goes into panic mode and starts smashing shit up. Having said that I can empathise with them as the film did a good job of tapping into my paranoias and ruining my actual life. Now that I've seen Contagion, I think I'd seriously be prepared to mutilate and maim anybody who even dares to cough in front of me. By failing to offer a range of gas masks, rubber gloves and shotguns, the film really missed out on an amazing opportunity to profit through merchandise.

"Come up to meet you- tell you I'm sorry.
You don't know how lovely you are."

The movie itself is very much an ensemble piece with each character providing a small segment of a much broader story. It does this however with a large number of A-list actors and kind of hints towards the virus being particularly drawn towards Oscar winners. There's a scene near the beginning in which Gwyneth Paltrow is found frothing on the bathroom floor because she's feeling a little ill. Although considering who she is, the initial assumption is that she's finally got around to listening to a Coldplay album. If anybody comes close to being a main character, I suppose it could be argued that it's Laurence Fishburne who seems to be in charge of dealing with this situation. I'm not sure how he managed to get this job but I was so hoping for a final scene in which he offers people a cure in the form of either a red or blue pill.

The problem with having this many short stories starring popular actors is that inevitably somebody will be neglected. In Contagion's case, it is Marion Cotillard who seems the most ignored with the film introducing her at the start and forgetting about her until the very end. If there's one thing that Inception's Cobb managed to teach us it's that with her memorably nice face and general Frenchy Frenchness, Cotillard is not easily forgotten about. Contagion also claims to feature Bryan Cranston but if you even consider blinking, you really will miss him. As a huge fan of his I would say that this films biggest flaw is how little he's actually in it. Although I think that about Breaking Bad and in that, he's in pretty much every fucking scene. Basically, a good rule-of-thumb is that the biggest fault of any film to either star or not star Bryan Cranston is simply how little he's in it. Actually, speaking of Breaking Bad, although I mention it because I'm an obsessed fan and can't help myself, it does go to show just how good TV is these days. Although Contagion does work great as a film, occasionally it does offer hints that it may have worked even better as a mini-series. As much as I like seeing the annihilation of our species highlighted into two hours, I'm always up for watching the suffering dragged out over six hourly episodes as well.

Although Contagion really grounds itself in reality, it's interesting to see just how much of what it has to say has been borrowed from George Romero's 1973 cult horror, The Crazies. Both films tell the story of a mysterious virus wiping out humanity and both show the hysterical public twattery that accompanies it. I suppose other than the quantity of cheap orange blood however, the main difference between the two is in how they depict those in charge. With The Crazies, the Government seems to be in a suspiciously murderous mood whereas in Contagion, we as the audience can see that there is nothing more sinister going on than incompetence. In fact, Contagion's only real baddie is probably Jude Law who plays a snaggle-toothed Aussie blogger selling what he claims to be a cure. Although I enjoyed his character and story, the Dundee accent and comical front gnasher did push his character a little too close to pantomime territory. In fact, with his voice how it is, they missed a real trick by not having him just blend up a Fosters with some Kangaroo bollocks and saying, “You think that's a cure? This is a cure!”. For anybody aware of the line between making a stereotype joke and casual racism then you're very much a better person than I.

Despite not quite being a horror film, Contagion may be the closest Soderbergh has come to trying to scare us. Well, unless you count that horrific moment after Oceans 12 ends and you realise that you'd paid money to see that shit. However, most of the chills here don't come from scary monsters or creepy Saville-esque weirdos but instead by simply making the film as real as possible. In between all the stories about celebrity paedophiles, the news is full of reports of SARS, BSE, Swine flu, Bird flu and all the other psychotic bugs out there trying to murder us. All that this film does is have one of those virus's breakout and then shows the logical path that it would take. If anything though, this film is just another demonstration of Soderbergh's range. Despite being quite a slow paced chiller, his next film was the action packed Haywire which featured a small woman kicking the crap out of anyone with a gun or a dick. In fact one of my main reasons for buying this movie was to catch up on my Soderbergh collection having just watched and loved his epic Che films. After four hours of witnessing one of the most famous faces ever attempt a revolution, my friend cheered only once and it was when Guevara punched a horse right in the face. For fans of either good films or animal cruelty, I strongly recommend.

"You're missing the one who knocks..."
Anyway despite its lack of Bryan Cranston, Contagion is still a really good movie. If its job was to make you paranoid about making contact with any surface whatsoever, then it should be considered a success. It'll ruin your sense of touch in the same way that Jaws ruined a quiet seaside swim and The Human Centipede ruined the whimsy of stitching your mouth to a stranger’s arsehole. After the movie finished, I declared with genuine sincerity that I would never touch my own face again. Although, this was a point only slightly undermined by the fact that I was apparently touching my face as I said it. I think I've mentioned it in this blog somewhere before but there was once a time when I was working in a supermarket that a customer went to hand me her change before sneezing all over it. At the time, I looked at her with pure hatred and accepted the money for fear of losing my job. Having now seen Contagion, I think I'd probably glass her throat and then quarantine the whole shop. In fact, after she did that, I got ill and I think that was the last time I was sick before being recently consumed by Pringle-itis. I'm not sure what the morale of this story is but I guess it backs up Contagion’s message that we should all avoid each other at all costs. I do recommend this film but only if you're prepared to board up your windows, weld your door shut and ignore society for the rest of your life. Luckily these were precautions that I was already more than willing to make.

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