Jupiter Ascending review

Ambitious, visually splendid yet camp and absurdly silly, I spent most of Jupiter Ascending’s lengthy and tedious action scenes wondering quite how Kunis, Tatum, Bean and Redmayne were convinced to sign up.
   I can assume that the Wachowski name was enough alone to secure funding for the film as I can’t believe anybody read the script.
I’m a sci fi fan, i’m a fan of The Matrix, even the ropier parts of the trilogy didn’t overly phase me.

The sad thing is that i was looking forward to Jupiter Ascending, but with it’s cheesy humour, clunky dialogue, strange pacing, violence, partial nudity and the way the film seems at pains to remind us of the gravity of the situation our protagonist finds herself in I cannot think who the movie is aimed at.
   In the end Jupiter Ascending reminds me uncomfortably of some odd concoction between Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Fifth Element and Battlefield Earth.
To summarise; green screens, unexplained tech gadgets and cliches do not a movie make.

Why You Shouldn’t Watch Television With Me

I tend to comment on everything i see on television. Most things annoy me. I often sit and provide a running commentary of why a program is insulting, redundant or just shit. I imagine people don’t enjoy watching television with me. This is also why i do not have a television myself, as i only enjoy half a dozen programs and cant sit still for long. I also need to do something else whilst watching a show, such as play Football Manager, browse random websites or type blogs about how much television annoys me. Right now i’m watching Community. Its better than most but its not quite the best comedy I’ve seen, i’d give it a 7.
What annoys me most about television is the adverts. Don’t get me wrong, i hate adverts in all contexts (except adverts for cars i like), but in a magazine or on a billboard they are far easier to ignore, they don’t scream out and seep insidiously into your subconscious as they do on television. I am thankful, however, that i don’t live in America. From my brief holiday there two years ago and occasional streams of American broadcasts i get the impression that they get a lot more adverts than us. The half time break on the Fox Soccer coverage of Liverpool v Chelsea the other week ran thusly; 4 mins adverts- 25 seconds in the studio with a pundit asked 1 question- 4 minutes adverts- back to the studio and another solitary question- 4 minutes adverts- back into live coverage of the game. I think i would find that level of intrusion genuinely unbearable. In my strangely frequent trips to the cinema of late i have wondered whether the irony of 35 minutes of adverts (yes adverts, maybe 2 movie trailers involved), including three about the public killing cinema (“you wouldn’t steal a car so don’t download a movie” and “an experience shared…lost”), is lost on people. Cinemas are killing cinema by charging £9 for a ticket and £4 for a drink and then making us wait around for 35 minutes before a film. That’s not even taking into account that i mostly go to the cinema on dates, thus doubling the cost, or the stupidity of the adverts. I do not go to the cinema to be with other people, i strongly dislike other people; they sweat, talk and rustle throughout a movie. I would much prefer to watch every good movie in my bedroom, in my bed with a blu ray rip on my 32in 1920×1080 tv alone or with a girl, so you’re really not getting my support for your campaign to stuff 100 strangers into a room and charge them a ridiculous amount. As for equating torrenting a movie to stealing a car…come on! I’m not going to sit here and justify my download of a blu ray rip as being somehow morally positive but i would look at the absurd inflation charged by my own establishment before accusing everyone of being hellbound car thieves. I appreciate that movie piracy/cinema pricing is a chicken/egg conundrum so i won’t extrapolate further but i think that with all the problems in the world one only has so many fucks to give out and the cinema industry isn’t gonna receive one from me.
Anyway, enough preamble. Yes, that was preamble, i warned you that i can get carried away typing sometimes. This is a blog about television adverts so i decided to record a typical advert break on a freeview tv channel at 8pm this evening. I might have missed the first advert on as i was skipping channels to find them. Here is what i witnessed:

An E-On advert that implied that the company cares about making its customers warmer, ergo happier people. Seriously, lets cut the bullshit, energy companies essentially dictate their own prices and hike them up regularly. It is difficult to provide your own sustainable energy so people are reliant on an energy company, they hold all the cards. They care about profits, their executives don’t sit up at night worrying about how to make people warmer and fuzzier and happy, they worry about who their wife has been banging whilst they’ve been at work all week plotting how to improve profits by 3.2% per quarter.

A Nivea  commercial for their new deodorant for women who exclusively wear black and white dresses. Apparently this is a genuine problem and isn’t limited to Cruella Devile impersonators. Ok that was a lie, it was something to do with white marks or something. I’ve never had a problem with my deodorant/anti perspirant and i don’t think that would change even if i had a penchant for unusually coloured jumpers. These aren’t real problems. If i did a commercial for Nivea it would be of a person spraying their pits and then saying “now i wont sweat so much”. Job done.

Up next was a commercial encouraging people to buy their Christmas champagne at Morrisons and to store it on a shelf in their garage, implying that most people store their wines on a shelf in their garage rather than a wine cellar. It irritated me for two reasons; Christmas is over a month away and Morrisons is trying to be “down” with the lower middle classes who would keep their wine in a non conventional yet logical place, as opposed to the working classes who simply drink wine as soon as it comes into their possession and the upper classes who have vast vaults and catacombs beneath their homes in which they store decades worth of the finest wines. I dislike any advert by a major soulless corporation which attempts to knowingly wink at their target demographic in a “we’re just like you” way, no you’re not like us, your staff are but you aren’t. You are an advertising executive, you live in a small London flat which costs £1k a month to rent and you drive an Audi A4 company car. You are a douche.

DFS have caught Christmas fever too. Apparently everyone and his wife is clamoring to buy a pvc and chipboard settee to plump their arses down onto on December 25th. Who genuinely wants a large item of furniture for Christmas? Isn’t the whole experience of Christmas stressful enough without 3 blokes tramping through your living room with a huge sofa? The advert even goes as far as to show the sofa as being some kind of central fixture in Christmas celebrations, adults caress it whilst smiling dementedly, children drop their toys to lounge on and cuddle the cheap furnishings. Finally, when a business runs a sale for 365 days a year the quoted sale price is the actual price, not a markdown bargain.

Oh and to round it all off, the final advert was for the new smaller iPad. Remember, the one they constantly insisted they would never build and that there was no market for? I still can’t see why someone with a smart phone and a tablet would require a slightly smaller tablet, nor can i see why the hell anyone would buy an iPad apart from to show everybody how alternative and cool they are by being part of the 99% of the Western world who clamor to own a technically inferior product which is marked up and finished in a trendy white enamel. I had an iPhone, it was alright but relied on you using iEverything rather than allowing you to just drag and drop your own media to it. I imagine that if everything you own is by Apple then its a good idea to continue with that (highly expensive) strategy but i couldn’t deal with it and upgraded to a Galaxy S3, on which i can install emulators, copy my blu ray rips and listen to my music without going through a baffling 2 hour ordeal which ends up in all my phone numbers being wiped. I had a Galaxy tab at the same time as my iPhone and, aside from an exciting honeymoon period, cannot see for the life of me why somebody would need both a tablet and a smart phone as they do essentially the same thing except a tablet can’t make calls. My friend countered this argument by saying he enjoyed the significantly larger screen size of his tablet, but if you’re buying an iPad mini this doesn’t really apply as the difference is negligible. Then again, i doubt many iConsumers really tend to consider logic when making their purchases.
Yeah, so don’t watch tv with me.

Paranormal Activity 4 Review

Horror films
Ok, firstly, i must admit that i am not a horror movie fan. I do not particularly enjoy them. It may be because they are, on the whole, cheap to produce and cost effective. Production companies simply churn them out, they are the pop music of the movie world. Dozens of ambiguously creepy titled movies with unknown actors and unwritten scripts pop out each month, further diluting the pool. In my experience horror films are more likely to be laughably shit than truly terrifying, with a few notable exceptions. However, i do seem to find myself watching them surprisingly often. Whenever i go to the cinema with a friend “for something to do” and we haven’t researched what is on we always plump for a horror. I think this is because it is easy. When you are confronted with a dozen ubiquitous titles which you do not recognise it is difficult to select a movie, then you see something like “Dead Awakening” and you know what you’re going to get. Such was the case this evening when i saw “Paranormal Activity 4” listed.
I’d seen the original Paranormal Activity and ,i must admit, it creeped me out. It goes alongside The Exorcist and Ring as the scariest film I’ve seen. I think with all three of these movies the thing which makes them frightening is the element of the unknown enemy, the force of supernatural or undying evil which is rarely visible. The first Paranormal Activity is never graphic, it is a film about nothing, right up to the last twenty seconds. Nothing happens, a girl sleepwalks, footprints appear, there are no suspenseful ‘jumpy bits’, the power of the film, the true horror comes from what you can’t see, like “what the fuck just dragged her out of the bed”. The first Paranormal Activity is why i don’t have my legs hanging out of the covers when i sleep and why, if i woke to find a female bedfellow standing over me, motionless, with her head hanging down, i would leap up screaming and relentlessly punch her in the face til i was dragged away for a few years of pillowbiting in ‘D’ wing. It was a true horror film.

Paranormal Activity 4 sucks balls. It really does. There, that’s my review. No need to read further.

Still here? Ok then. Well, for the sake of honesty, i did look away or brace myself a few times in the cinema. PA4 has fallen foul of the horror movie cliche of low static noise, building menacingly into a crescendo and then oh my days its a small child who appears suddenly and the music cuts or jolts with a loud bass note. That’s the thing with PA4, more often than not the jumpy bit is something like a cat or a small child or an ordinary thing that happens to move rapidly into focus, the false alarm occurs far more often than the actual threat. I’m not going to analyse the threadbare plot or rip into the fact that, in order to suspend disbelief, we have to accept that this family has a macbook sat in four different rooms of the house that runs throughout the night and records from its webcam in standby mode because i could go on about how stupid it is for pages and pages. No, instead, I’m just going to be brief. Great horror leaves a mark on you, i checked my corners for weeks after watching Ring, shit horrors make you jump six times because the music screeched up and a child dashed past the camera. That’s why PA4 sucks and PA was awesome, PA never showed you the threat, it was always subtle, creepy and immaterial, an evil so incomprehensibly terrifying that lived beyond our plane of existence; whereas PA4 shows you a child who is more autistic than haunted and then reveals the threat 25 minutes from the end. PA never shows you the demon, the closest thing to an embodiment of the threat we see is at the very end when the girl throws her dead partner at the camera then growls and leaps at it. In PA4 we see a fairly attractive thirty year old brunette prowling around and throwing bodies about, with an occasional demonic face cgi effect. When the protagonist runs out into a garden and turns to see ranks of possessed people and then is set upon by demonface brunette, we find ourselves in a zombie film. I was struck by the sheer ridiculousness of the film, much like in ‘House At The End Of The Street’ when we learn that the handsome young man is the killer, the idea that all of the bumps and jolts are just the result of what are essentially zombies takes any of the remaining edge off. Imagine if, in Jaws, the first scene had been someone swimming up to the great white with a tape measure and going “wow, 35 footer, bet you eat a few humans”, it throws the entire movie into farce. When the credits rolled i laughed a little too loudly.