Tag Archives: films

Far, far away

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a bloke who’d never seen a Star Wars movie and was arguably better off for it on balance.

Until recently I would probably have said I love Star Wars. Yeah I’m one of those ancient bastards who just about remembers it coming out as a kid – the second one obviously, I’m not an OAP for Christ’s sake. As we know, the second one’s a lot better than the first and third. The fourth one’s childish drivel, five and six are forgettable. Seven is a remake of the first one for no discernible reason, eight was a glorified chase movie and nine brought little beyond blessed relief that we were finally done with it all.

So I’m really looking forward to 10, 11 and 12, as you can tell, because oh fucking sweet Christ they’ve only gone and announced another trilogy.

Continue reading Far, far away

Screen 15

Westfield Shopping Centre in Shepherds Bush, on Black Friday. Whoops.

It didn’t occur to me when I booked my ticket. I had to be out west later to see a band, I had time to see a film first, there’s a cinema in this hideous place: fine, I’ll tolerate it. Little did I realise I’d encounter a battalion of rabid consumers surging towards me in waves with their unlimited boxes of trainers, always bloody trainers.

Still, not even people soon to realise that bargain Converse won’t fill the hole in their soul can ruin one of my favourite experiences – going to the pictures. That honour instead falls to the Vue cinema chain.

Continue reading Screen 15

Witty but woebegone

If 2016 was the year of celebrity deaths, 2017 was surely the annum of celebrity downfalls.

Sparked by the toppling of one of Hollywood’s most prolific alleged sex pests Harvey Weinstein, an entire balustrade of power-wielding, pussy-grabbing men has come tumbling down in recent months; Kevin Spacey, Louis CK and Brett Ratner head up a very lengthy list. Of course, the most powerful man on the planet has had many a finger pointed in his orange direction, but so far, to no avail…as has another wormy, smarmy, self-obsessed star.

Continue reading Witty but woebegone


It must be nice having a following. Lots of people interested in what you have to say, or at least interested enough to click a button on a website, once, ever. Friends vicariously enjoying your morning flat white, while Liking the articles about global warming, feminism and the KKK you link. I think you’re one of the few people in the world who really gets it. I wish I had half as much influence.

To be fair I’m not really putting the effort in. Take YouTube. I don’t post many videos, but I’m proud of the three subscribers to my ‘channel’ who enjoy my valiant efforts to improve the internet. This involves a video of a band called Snuff doing the theme to Test Match Special, and a collection of clips you could bracket under the title ‘The Best of Jason’s Murders from the Friday the 13th Franchise’.

Continue reading Tiddies

No ghost

I finally know what it feels like to be a man. Specifically, I know what it feels like to be a man watching superhero movies, or Bond, or Star Trek, or pretty much any fucking movie ever. I’ve seen the new Ghostbusters, and I swaggered out of that cinema feeling like I could punch a lion in the throat.

Is this it? Is this how it feels to watch representations of yourself kick several shades of ass on the big screen? And if so: how has it taken this long? Do you know how cheated I feel that I had to wait until I was thirty-bastard-eight years old before this happened? And how many levels of angry I am with all the whiny manbabies who hate the concept of a female Ghostbusters? I mean, I was angry with them before. But now I’ve seen it, and now I know how great it made me feel, I’m beyond furious.

Continue reading No ghost

Magical redheads

I watched Harry Potter yesterday. I’ve had quite a lot of time on my hands over the past few weeks, for one reason or another, and it’s something I’ve known was going to happen eventually; things that are so easily achieved are rarely put off forever, I find, and I thought that ‘well over half my life’ was long enough to leave this particular activity before completion.

I got called ‘Hermione’ quite a bit at school as well, so it seemed best to find out the precise implications of that before I forgot the entirety of what being at school was like. Admittedly this name-calling was mostly contemporaneous with the early films, back when she was mainly just a smart-arsed pre-teen with massive hair (I see what they meant, the more film-savvy kids), and tailed off drastically when it emerged that she’s quite fit and physically heroic as well as the book-learned kind. I’m not going to pretend that didn’t smart a bit.

Oh, also, when I say “I watched Harry Potter recently”, I should also add the caveat that what I actually did was watch the last two, or one, depending on how you look at it. I’m fairly sure I’ve seen the first one, having been alive for a decade’s worth of Christmases since its TV debut, so that didn’t seem worth it, and having skipped that I thought I may as well cut to the ‘good stuff’, as it were.

It wasn’t an unenjoyable experience, I’ll admit that now. They’re not demanding films, even when lacking knowledge of the bulk of their backstory, and having grown up utterly irritated by the leads they didn’t grate excessively on my nerves. What really pissed me off, more than the shitty CGI acting or the word ‘Muggle’ or the sheer scale of the stupid moral showboating on display, was that bit at the end when Harry chucks that really powerful wand in the moat thing.

It’s presented as a moment of great importance. Harry’s the ultimate Goody Two-Shoes, a pacifistic non-ruffler of…bloody unicorn feathers, or whatever, and he’s just so fucking great that when presented with ‘the most powerful wand in the world’, he thinks, ‘Nah’. He’s not up for that. That’d be bad probably. So he snaps it in half, this wand that’ll only answer to him anyway, and he lobs it off a big bridge.

‘Most powerful wand in the world’. That’s a relative thing, that. That suggests a scale of power with this stick at its zenith. Harry’s just destroyed the biggest evil in the world and he’s got sole control over the thing that’s most powerful out of what’s left, and instead of looking after it with some sodding willpower he thinks, again for clarity, ‘Nah.’

Whilst I think understand that particular sentiment more than most (thinking ‘Nah’ and fucking something off because it seems like a bad plan, that is), this strikes me as somewhat problematic. Take the aforementioned Power Wand Index. Surely there’s a second most powerful wand in the world that’s just been promoted? How great a margin can there truly be between the two? And what’s going to defeat that? Harry? Not anymore, no. He’s thrown away the thing he’d need to sort that out. His stupid friends didn’t even stop him, they just stood there looking precious and a bit grubby, and then it cuts to them all rubber-faced with lots of ginger children.

I know you wear unfortunate glasses, you scabby git, but for God’s sake have a bit of foresight. That snake-nosed bloke might be gone, but are you so naive as to think that he’s the only one? Weren’t there other baddies you didn’t murder? One of them’s got the most powerful wand in the world now, and he’s going to fuck you up with it. This is how this sort of thing works, and no number of magical redheads will be able to save you this time.

Harry Potter and the Gigantic Fuck-Up. I knew there was a reason I’d avoided this shit.

Guy Pearce-era Neighbours

The more films or TV shows you watch, the more you realise that everything follows a pattern. The couple that seem to hate each other will get together. The plain Jane will suddenly scrub up to be beautiful. Remember Guy Pearce-era Neighbours and you get my gist. Soon you start to notice lazy plot items, and the end is sure to be nigh.

Impressionism appears to have passed the popular film media behind. Never will you see a mundane act tackled without it leading to the same fucking conclusion. If a character is washing up, you can guarantee they will cut themselves on glass or a sharp knife. Should a cut occur, the house will have a full first aid kid with bandages and rafts of gamgee. A burst water pipe in the garden? Clearly a dead body is down there. Milk is either off or empty. Rubbish bags always burst. Mobile phones have no signal or no battery. Mundane always leads to a plot twist.

Has anyone ever just used a bathroom in a film without needing to talk to themselves in a mirror? If someone announces they are washing clothes, secret love message will be scooped out of a pocket. No one just reads a book, it has to be a metaphor. Bills are always overdue. Getting drunk means clutching a toilet and refusing to move for a few days – strange, as I know people who get drunk, don’t vomit and manage to go to work with a hangover. Even eating isn’t safe – ketchup is pulled by gravity out of a bun onto a shirt or tie. The majority of film stars just hilariously burn food, and don’t get me started on crisps put in bowls. In bowls? Why?

The exceptions appear to be European art films and depressing soaps. In Walford you can witness people cleaning with even more misery than you would usually associate with such a meaningless task. Watch a European Art film and everything is reversed. For hours a woman will stare endlessly at the washing up, each bowl symbolic of her wasted youth, a spoon a reflection of her aged face. I once heard of a two-hour film all about a married couple watching a potato boil. I’m not stupid, I know it’s a metaphor, but a) you do not boil a potato for two hours, and b) who the fuck watches food boil? Maybe that’s why I cant cook rice.

If art imitates life, where are the boring Sundays where all you do is eat crisps and watch Antiques Roadshow? Without wanting to sound like a Mike Leigh film, just let people talk while they do normal things. Or maybe just surprise us occasionally with a ring not falling down a plug hole.

Leaving enough people alive for the sequel

I walked into my local Sainsbury’s yesterday to be met with a display of cartoon ghosts, fake cobwebs and posters saying things like “enter…if you dare”. Although not particularly noteworthy in itself, this had been put up where the baskets normally are, which meant I had to walk a bit further to get one. As well as creating a minor diversion, it was also a mallet-over-the-head way of telling me that Halloween is on its way.

It’s been on its way for a while. Since the start of the month there have been violent, gruesome nods to its imminent arrival. Even if your supermarket hasn’t replaced its entrance and basket storage area with the ubiquitous pumpkin face or witches’ hats, you’ll know it’s coming because of the rise in trailers and posters for horror films. The one I’ve seen most of is Annabelle. I gather from the trailers it’s about a doll, which is probably possessed, which is highly likely to infiltrate an otherwise happy family, which will kill some arbitrary characters before maybe killing someone in the family but leaving enough people alive for the sequel. Except apparently it’s a prequel so there’s already a sequel. I guess they’ll just keep spinning it off, sequel and prequelling it until it’s as dead as the spirit that possessed Annabelle.

Perhaps it’s not like that at all. Perhaps it’s a really well thought out plot with a new and clever approach to the tired haunted-killer doll routine. Maybe someone’s taken the horror genre and tried something different. A bit like Saw, which as a standalone film was pretty good, and because it had the audacity to be pretty good and do well at the box office it got franchised to death. I don’t know how many sequels got made in the end. I think I watched up until four and that was as much as I could bear. They’re probably still making them as we speak. It’s a simple enough format once you’ve gone past the point of giving a shit whether it makes any sense; elaborate death scenes, wheel out that creepy puppet at some point and reference that dead or dying bloke from the first one. Bosh; Saw film in a nutshell.

I’m sure there are legions of Saw fans who would see me strung up in some messy death-machine game against a ticking clock before correcting my brutal generalisation of their very favourite torture porn series, so I’ll have a pop at Hostel while they’re making their way over here. Although I like to watch a film that challenges me and gives me something to think about, I draw the line at watching something that makes me feel like being sick in my hands, which is what Hostel did. I felt revisiting such emotions would be unnecessary so I didn’t bother watching Hostel Part II. I found my limit after watching a straight to DVD movie called Rest Stop. At that point I felt I’d seen enough hacked up torsos and limbs. The sound of my own retching was starting to drown out the dialogue, superfluous though it was, and that was the end of torture porn for me.

That’s not to say I don’t like or won’t watch a good horror film. I like a scare as much as the next person. And sometimes that scare will come from something you really don’t expect to be that bad. For me it was Jeepers Creepers. Yeah, that’s right. A shit monster film. Even if you felt the shit monster ruined the film, you can’t deny the first hour was a pretty impressive build-up of suspense and scares. It did what a good horror film should do; you couldn’t take your eyes off the screen because you were in such a nervous state of anticipation of what the fuck was going on. Not like Saw II-XXXVI, and Hostel I & II and Rest Stop where you had to turn your eyes away from the screen lest you bring up your popcorn. Cinema snacks are bloody expensive, they’re not something you want to waste.


Halloween is actually a legitimate thing. Well, in so much that it’s based on an ancient pagan tradition of celebrating the dead, so it really depends how much stock you put in paganism and/or tradition. It’s celebrated around the world and in some countries for more than one day. In countries like ours and the States it’s become a festival of getting dressed up and trying to mug sugary treats off your neighbours, and if that’s how you choose to celebrate it then you’re free to do so. Because we’re fortunate enough to live in countries where we are ultimately free to do as we please.

Whether you spend it covered in fake blood in a bar you’ve had to buy a ticket for to listen to Thriller on a loop, or you spend it in a cinema watching nubile young things get their clothes ripped off and their throats ripped out, spare a thought for those of us less adapted to such celebrations. Spare a thought for those of us not organised enough to buy a ticket, and not arsed enough to buy a costume, and those of us who lack the cast-iron stomach required for the current rash of film releases.

We’ll just be sat at home quietly counting down the days to Guy Fawkes’ Night. At least it’s at the start of the month so we don’t have to wait very long. So, penny for the Guy, anyone?