Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The R-Patz Factz

What is Robert Pattinson?
No-one truly knows.
Until now:

  • Robert Pattinson's first job was cleaning out the Queen's hutch.
  • Robert Pattinson has submitted fourteen comics to 2000 AD, all featuring Robot Pattinson, a charismatic acting-bot who solves sexy crimes.
  • Robert Pattinson thinks Ebony and Ivory is a really meta-textual song: 'It's a song about pianos, for pianos'.
  • Robert Pattinson spurned a whale.
  • Robert Pattinson bathes in Calippo melt water.
  • Robert Pattinson once wrote to contemporary President George W. Bush with a suggestion of ways to ease Africa's chronic debt problems by allowing the afflicted continent to collectively pay back all loans with grains of sand numerically equivalent to the number of pounds they owed Western countries. He is eagerly awaiting a response.

These are just a selection of the true lies about the manigma that is Robert Pattinson. 

A fuller selection, in the form of a .pdf, is available below for the sum of £2.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

A Scornful List

10. Arcade Fire

Mimsy bag for life guff whimperers neigh-neighing organic hued rodents of melody arse-thru-navel to be snorted by dish cloth wearing vinyl snobs semis in hand and wide-ons a-tweeze. Kill cows in front of them for sport, shop at Amazon just to bring down their favourite boutiques. Fans must be sterilised, singer must be welded to his guitar so he can't quite reach the strings, all future gigs must be played in pits beneath herds of incontinent elephants on curry-benders.

Vulpine. Gits. Shitsheaths. Beige sages. To be drowned. In bees.

9. Doctor Who

It's not The WireThe Wire it's not. No. Everything should be THE WIRE. It's perfect. I love it. I put my sex parts through the holes in the DVD and it makes me complete. It's the best thing ever. And Doctor Who is silly bright colours kiddy friendly Timmy Mallett 'Everything's Not Lost' by Coldplay shiny burpy NODEATHNODEATHlalala ooh it's wacky. I hate wacky. I hate ribald. I hate purity. I hate goodness. I want everything corrupt. WHY ISN'T TV ENTIRELY SERIOUS ALL THE TIME god I hate JOY.

8. Brave

Racist supbar past-mongrel dainty felch nationalism sodden pissflap-of-a-let-down avec accent disparity and dismemberment of past glories how dare they how dare they be merely above average may as well have killed Nemo by being consensually bummed to death by seagulls that's the legacy of Brave that's it right there dead flopping bloodied prolapsed Nemo right there you failed Ellen de Generes YOU FAILED he's dead GRAAAH seagulls.

7. Stewart Lee

Lazy quiet loud (don't look up) excuse hypocrite denial powered aggrandising of 'act' not pure like Frankie cut with bullplop one joke cut with bullplop and stretched out like a frog at a dissection is frog dissecting funny is it is it only if you went to a posh school you elitist fud how would you like it lee how would you like it i bet you'd like sick fuck seagulls SEAGULLS seaguls that's you that is see there's a joke from when you were last relevent

why can't you be more like russell kane the peoples' bell end

6. Lauren Laverne

she's only on this list as the token female

5. Edward Monkton

ooh it's a biscuit + kooky message but biscuits are not in and of themselves funny monkton how have you made money from this i disagree i bet you eat dormice i bet you cruch dormice and spit bones and divine messages of such crushing twensity you instantly have bukkake beatrix potter friday even though it is monday monkton you scab

4. Julian Assange

his nob is the new 9/11 (it's a conspiracy)

3. Batman

Neo-con pussy

2. your mother

Neo-con pussy

1. This list

It used to be good but now it's shite BOOK DEAL?

Friday, 24 August 2012

Interactive TV: Expensive, Invasive, Orwellian

At the Edinburgh TV Festival, an interesting contrast of ideas arose between separate events on separate days.

In the main foyer of the venue was an X-Box display, demonstrating new technology and software based around the Kinect system. Microsoft were also in attendance at a presentation of new TV technologies the next day. In between visiting these, documentary maker Adam Curtis was holding a master-class.

Most of Curtis' talk was little to do with technological developments. Briefly, though, he answered a question regarding interactive television.

It is, Curtis said, self-selecting, anti-narrative, and more concerned with engineering than content. The stats in the Festival Programme state that sixty percent of households have a games console. Of this percentage, it isn't stated how many have a Kinect device, and of those how many actually use their Kinect regularly. Certainly the audience for interactive TV is based on those who actively pursue it through their hardware purchases, although the first of four presentations demonstrated software that aimed to increase that audience.

Josh Atkins, one day later in the same room as Curtis, stood up on behalf of Microsoft to talk about their developments in interactive television programmes. Streaming a specially written episode of Sesame Street showed us how a child can have an outrageous amount of fun interacting with Grover and the Cookie Monster. It was undeniably impressive, but a niggle remained despite Atkins' insistence that it wasn't a game, it was a television programme. It can be watched without interaction.

No, it is still a game', went the niggle. It's an interactive game the like of which is already available on DVD. What's been added to is the option to turn the game off and just watch. Just because it's streaming from the net doesn't alter the fact that it already exists. The delivery is altered of an unchanging medium. It's a limited audience and won't work for fiction as a mainstream form of entertainment without compromising narrative or, at best (from its point of view) becoming a fad like 3D cinema hopefully is.

None of this changes the way most people watch television. What will change - if this technology is used for, say, game shows - is the speed with which viewers can interact. At the X-Box stand I was introduced to the idea of complimenting games with occasional Kinect flourishes (e.g. in Modern Warfare there are plans to allow you to construct your own gun using floating 3D images of parts and hand gestures), but it's hard to see how complimenting existing technology represents that large a revolution.

Presented by Suveer Kothari and Tristia Clarke respectively, Google TV and You View also utilise existing technology. The latter is a piece of hardware that allows access to the on-demand content of multiple channels at once, complete with 500 GB hard drive to record them onto. Currently plans exist to add more providers of content, and 140 channels have expressed an interest. Unlike some IPTV services, it will also include radio stations, and seems fairly intuitive to pick up. All you need is a broadband connection, a telly, an aerial, and a You View box. The drawback here is that the boxes currently retail at £299, but will come as part of Talk Talk's broadband packages. It seems convenient than downloading on-demand apps for games consoles, but then that was the ambition of the Phillips CD-i. If a similar system gets bundled in with other companies hardware - and it seems hard to believe this won't eventually happen - then it might well prove an increasingly hard sell.

Google TV will come built in to hardware (it is currently available in Sony LG box sets), and is essentially an version of Google's Android system designed for televisions, including a range entertainment, news and lifestyle apps. It recommends You Tube videos to watch on TV in HD, and has search engines and tools for immediate social network sharing. The Redux feature allows experts to curate a session of programmes on certain subjects, complete with information text, allowing the viewer to discover new programming. THUUL is a curious piece of software which monitors which sporting events are available to view and how exciting they are. It's these extra apps that differentiate Google TV from just plugging your computer into a telly and using the internet. Google TV also comes with an app for The Guardian, who presumably are too excited about innovative new formats to remember all that fuss about Google's privacy settings (which you'll now be able to read about on Google TV).

There was also a presentation from Anthony Rose, the founder of Zeebox, an example of the rise of 'second screen' technology. Zeebox is a free mobile app that searches for popular shows, links up with your social networking accounts, and allows you to interact with other viewers so you can watch a show with them even when home alone (Rose described the experience as 'Veg 2.0', adding 'You don't have to watch alone', even though, technically, it's just you and two screens). It tells other people what you are viewing (unless you turn this feature off) so they can interact with you. It also uses targeted sponsored advertising associated with certain phrases so that a link will appear to a product or song when it crops up on screen, instantly attainable. The aim is to integrate different things (Twitter, IMDB, stalking, isolation) together so that the process is streamlined.

Host Marcus Brigstocke pointed out that these capabilities were already available, with only the tiniest amount of online research, and without targeted adverts. The reply came that Zeebox was 'frictionless' in moving from viewing to purchasing, the links making it easier to make immediate purchases. Zeebox creates a desire to buy. Which didn't really answer the question satisfactorily. If anything, it made the device seem more Philip K. Dickensian.

It's like Twitter crossed with Letters to The Metro crossed with rampant predatory capitalism.

Their adverts, you may have noticed, are as funny as a prolapse at a funeral.

Frankly, fuck Zeebox. Fuck it right in the eye. Except that if you did it would probably try to sell you some sort of Eye Fuckery Enhancement device.

If you have it downloaded then please destroy the smart phone or tablet device you downloaded it on to. With magnets. Just to delete every last trace of it.

After this pitch, it was disappointing news to hear that You View - an sensible but potentially flawed idea - was looking to introduce second screen technology at a later date. All of these devices have their uses, but the reality is that they are minor enhancements to television and gaming. Content, as Curtis said, is not really being changed. It's like being told that your door opens slightly faster than it used to, even though it's still a door. Only now it's spying on you.

If you need me, I'll be watching telly and tweeting about it on my laptop like an outdated freak.

August 2012.

(On the subject of Letters to the Metro, this is somewhat calming)

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Possible Future Films for Sarah Jessica Parker

If you think of Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor or Beatrice Kiddo you will notice the actresses behind them have done a lot of work in other genres. Few dedicate themselves to a genre in the way that Jason Statham has (the genre of JASON STATHAM), knowing that there is always an audience for them there. The role of a woman in many an action film is, at best, a supporting character (even one when they're better than the eponymous hero).

Example #2

What, you might wonder, has any of this got to to do with Sarah Jessica Parker? Has she not burned her bridges of goodwill after making the Sex in the City movies? There's no denying that, to put it politely, that film was not made for people like me. I worked in a cinema when it was on. It did terrifying things to its audiences. While seeing another usher being swept away by an impatient tide of cinema goers will haunt me to my dying days, it's also worth remembering the earlier part of her career: FootlooseHocus PocusEd Wood, and Mars Attacks (well, I like it) to name but a few. 
“I will not be judged by you or society. I will wear whatever and
blow whomever I want as long as I can breathe and kneel.”
Then, since 1998, her filmography has largely consisted of romantic comedies as she has clung Statham-like to the one genre (safe in the knowledge that it has its fans just as action does). This article will therefore be written under the assumption that a bad action film is generally more fun than a bad romantic comedy. Often they are much, much funnier.
There's obviously nothing wrong with a good romantic comedy. However, comedy is a good way to smuggle in another kind of film altogether. That way everybody gets something out of it. 
I mean, can't we all just get along?

Film #1: All Fun And Games Until Someone Loses An Eye
Director: Edgar Wright
Supporting Cast: Josh Brolin, Sean Astin, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Welch

Edgar Wright turned down the forgettable and forgotten romantic comedy You, Me and Dupree. This rom-com would be more his style. Christopher Brookmyre's award winning novel is set in Scotland and part of its plot revolves around Celtic's 2003 UEFA Cup Final match in Seville. AFAGUSLAE is the story of Jane Fleming, a forty-something Granny who goes from the everyday life in a small Scottish town south of Glasgow to full on Bond movie globe-trotting spy escapades.
In the first two films of the Blood and Ice Cream trilogy Wright has shown he is adept at the heady contrast between the drudgery of everyday life and the excesses of genre movie set pieces. We've got a romance sub-plot, escapist fantasy, tense espionage sequences, and a quest across Europe to find Jane's missing son. Tweaking the plot to start in America doesn't necessarily get rid of the Catholic guilt angle, and having Parker play a busy Gran is another welcome step towards presenting some sort of realism before everything goes all movie-logic on us. While the book will doubtlessly lose some of its depth being transferred to an American setting and visual medium, if anything it'll probably be less different from the source novel than the TV adaptation of Brookmyre's d├ębut novel Quite Ugly One Morning.

Film #2: Rampant Escapism
Director: Steve Bendelack
Supporting Cast: Colin Firth, Matthew MacFadyen, Judi Dench, Hugh Grant, Miranda Hart.

Sarah Jessica Parker plays Rio, a waitress who is resigned to her life dwindling to a gin-induced tranquillity. She is understandably surprised when a stray cat wakes her in the middle of the night and tells her that she is Queen now. When her bedroom door opens onto a seemingly palatial interior, it seems that this is true, and she spends her days travelling around the country attending civic events and meeting deeply attractive landowners at big dinner parties. No-one seems to question why she is suddenly Queen, or why she has a cat on her head, but Rio isn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Not even when she has an actual gift horse. Then she is given an ultimatum: marry Colin Firth, the most eligible bachelor in the country, brother of the Prime Minister (Matthew MacFadyen), and founder member of the Oxford Sodomy Club, or the country will be forced to declare war on Turkmenistan. 
Should she marry for love, or save the lives of millions of innocent people? Unsurprisingly, the cat is in favour of war, and running away with the Prime Minister for a quick snack at Little Chef before retiring to a Cold War bunker to live their lives on their own terms, and drink Gin as often as they want.
Okay. This is a bit garbled. But on the bright side, it's less predictable than quite a lot of romantic comedies.

Film #3: Living Doll
Director: Peter Jackson
Supporting Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Adrien Brody, Brad Dourif, Freida Pinto.

Sarah Jessica Parker plays Marina Hansell, a model who murdered her rival, and is killed by electric chair (cue spinning newspaper headlines reading 'Hansell: so hot right now'). Some god with a keen sense for ironic punishments transfers the model's soul into the body of a Barbie doll. While Hansell is initially delighted to find herself alive in some form, her afterlife is one of dramatic contrasts.
By night, she revenges herself on the modelling world that scorned her in her middle age, using her tiny frame to sneak through air ducts, open windows and under floors. The ensuing deaths are violent, for Hansell's days instil a sense of rage in her. This is because being a sentient Barbie doll is rubbish. She is attacked by dogs, cats and rats. Small children dress her up in terrible clothes, throw her around the room, and then undress and molest her. Whenever she tries to kill herself, she wakes up again in the the body of another Barbie doll, so she is fated to try to come to terms with her fate.
So, Child's Play crossed with Groundhog Day crossed with a Dario Argento film, with Peter Jackson having tired of making films where someone's brain isn't dragged out of their skulls through their nose. I can't see this one being drastically unpopular.

Film #4: Sex and the City 3
Director: John Landis
Supporting Cast: Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davies, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth.

Carrie and Mr Big are ever so happy. They are married, have lots of money and stuff, and are the proud parents of a beautiful baby boy, Heseltine. With Nanny Woowar (Jenny Agutter) looking after the infant, everyone is really incredibly happy indeed.

Then Carrie is bitten by a werewolf.

March 2012

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Possible Future Films for Milla Jovovich

A question for you: Is Milla Jovovich the nearest thing we have to a female Jason Statham? I mean this entirely in terms of her film choices, not that she looks like Jason Statham dressed as a woman - if such an entity did exist I am completely sure James Clayton would already have married it.

As some of you are doubtless aware, Jovovich makes plenty of films that don't consist of slow-motion shots of her balletic dissection of necrotising spectres. However, these are not widely distributed outside of America an by contrast, the Resident Evil films in which she plays Alice are massively popular worldwide (with a huge audience in both the USA and Japan).

If you think of Milla Jovovich, chances are it'll either be through her association with this series, or her performance as Leeloo in The Fifth Element. She is more renowned for the arse kicking films she makes with her husband, Paul W. S. Anderson, than movies such as Famke Janssen's debut feature, or dramas with Robert de Niro and Edward Norton, so this list will try to reflect that.

Film #1: Without Faith
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson
Supporting Cast: Jude Law, Jeff Goldblum, Sean Pertwee, Lucy Punch.

In the year 2777 humankind has explored much of the Milky Way. Now, for the first time, a manned mission beyond our galaxy is launched. The SS Belieber (named in honour of the Earth's greatest living artist) is designed to provide future generations of explorers with comfortable living standards until they arrive in the next galaxy. After that, they're on their own. When they do arrive, they find something more terrible than they could ever have imagined: a godlike being who claims to have created the Earth, and feeds on prayers.

Initially astounded, then ecstatic, the crew of The Belieber soon become really very terrified indeed. For they have found proof of God. Proof denies faith. Without faith, It is nothing. Proof cannot be allowed to escape.

Or in other words, it's Event Horizon but with God instead of Satan. But, on the bright side, it's Event Horizon with God instead of Satan. I haven't decided if Milla Jovovich plays the scientist desperately trying to transmit proof of God's existence back to Earth or if she will be playing God. Or both. One thing is for sure: Jeff Goldblum is going to play a nervous wisecracking scientist who goes a bit crazy and starts mutilating himself. Jude Law will probably get his balls out, and then explode. Possibly in that order.

Film #2: The Deptford Mice
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson
Supporting Cast: Colin Salmon, Sue Johnstone, Tim Curry, Ewan Bremner, Peter Sallis, Orlando Bloom.

Based on Robin Jarvis' children's book trilogy, this film will mark something of a departure for director Anderson, making both an animated and a children's film for the first time. This is a dark fantasy, though, rather than a fun romp for all of the family. Under the streets of Deptford, the dark god worshipped by rats creates an atmosphere of all pervading fear in the sewers. Sorcery, death, and terror await the family and friends of the mouse, Albert Brown. Audrey Brown, his daughter, is not a little angry to hear from cheeky city mouse, Piccadilly, that Albert has almost certainly met his death at the hands of the evil god, Jupiter.

It is not a happy book. You don't generally expect anthropomorphic animals to commit suicide. It'd fit Anderson's style better than many children's stories, and while we're perhaps best not to expect an entirely faithful adaptation in terms of tone and content, it'd at least give them a film they could watch with their daughter without having to explain why Colin Salmon just fell into approximately eighty-six very regular pieces. Probably. To be honest, they could probably have a mouse being cut to pieces after being swept through a sharpened drain grille if they wanted to.

Film #3: Minesweeper
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson
Supporting Cast: Bernard Hill, Alison Steadman, Sting, Benedict Wong.

If Battleships can be a film, so can bloody Minesweeper.

It is the future. A bit. I don't know. 2090 or something. The world has still not recovered from the recession earlier in the century, and so Thunderbirds and Stingray and all that have completely failed to happen. Instead, to cut down on a crowded prison population, criminals will be forced to take part in Minesweeping tournaments. Old football grounds (all Premiership footballers having bought the Moon and sodded off to live there) are now home to the new sport of Minesweeping, where the pitch is divided up into squares with a certain number of mines on it. Using logical deduction, the player has to traverse the AI-enhanced pitch without setting off any of the mines. The winning team of eleven is the one who has more players left at the end of it.

Some fans are gloryhunters, supporting the more successful prisons, and others stay loyal to their local team. It is, however, a wonderful new sport for the masses. Such a shame, then, that shady businessmen are looking to take it and turn it into a plaything of the nouveau riche. Can longterm players of the game, including Milla Jovovich's taciturn Alyssa (whose terrible crime is never revealed), resist the encroaching stain of professionalism?

Film #4: Hidden Hills
Supporting Cast: John C. Reilly, Cher, Heather Graham, Joaquin Phoenix, Jodelle Ferland, Mark Wahlberg, Sam Elliott.

Rich, cantankerous former athlete and property tycoon Jeclan Brommely is dying. His wife, socialite and former model Andromeda Brommely isn't sure how to present this in the ongoing docudrama about her daughters, Anemone and Persephone, and their attempt to rebuild their lives following the decline of their acting and music careers. Jeclan has one ambition left: to build a watercourse from his house to the sea, so that he may construct a longboat to be set ablaze and then finally drift out to the ocean.

Show Runner Brian Ridgewater is unhappy. So is aspiring dancer Kassie Barnton. In the latter's case it is because the route will demolish the home she brings up her sister in, and in the former's case because if the Brommely sisters are not the focus he may well be fired. Meanwhile, rock star Chud Toag is trying to find inspiration for his solo album from the sights he sees all around him, and Horror maestro George Borland is filming the latest entry in his decreasingly popular Flesh Seekers series. All of these events dovetail together, as each character goes on a journey of self-discovery (not necessarily for the better), culminating in Jeclan's flaming funeral pyre sliding down the gangway and crushing the head of either Brian Ridgewater, or a dummy filled with pig offal that has been stolen from the set of Coterie of Flesh Seekers as a number of the cast struggle to free themselves from the ship's hold, filled with Jeclan's worldly possessions.

March 2012