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Thursday, 30 December 2010

The Book of Eli Review (Text)




The book of Eli is a post-apocalyptic action film starring Denzel Washington as the eponymous Eli, a man who is on a mission to travel west across the vast wastelands of what was once America, in order to deliver his book to whoever is worthy.

The movie opens with Eli out hunting in a polluted forest, where ash is falling from the sky and blanketing everything in sight. We see Eli crouching in the cover of bushes, breathing through a gas mask, as he lines up a shot with a bow, and kills a hairless cat. This image tells us everything we need to know about the new world, and sets up the rest of the movie for us nicely. Although it is never made clear exactly what wiped out most of the human population, and laid cities to waste, it is a fairly safe bet that the destruction is the result of nuclear fallout (Eli suggests at one point in the film that during the war, “they” blew a hole in the sky, and the sun burnt everything left unprotected by this). I was slightly worried at one stage during this first scene, because in the shot where Denzel actually fires the arrow at the cat, we see the arrow launch, then time slows down almost to a stop (bullet time) as the arrow flies past the camera, before speeding right up again to actually hit the cat. The reason this concerned me was that it is such an overused effect, and whilst it may make visually impressive shots, often ruins the pace of fight scenes. My concern at this stage was that The Book of Eli could turn into another 300, or Watchmen (in which, let’s face it, the only scene outside of the flashbacks to the days of The Minutemen and the Vietnam war which really needed to change speeds was the one where the delivery guy tries to assassinate Veidt), but thankfully this did not happen, and the playback speed was left well alone for the most part, and not used gratuitously after that point.

Visually, The Book of Eli is a stunning film. As you may expect from a post-apocalypse movie, the colours are all very neutral, with a lot of faded greens and browns, but not many reds and other such colours. This works perfectly, as the film takes place mostly in the desert, and when combined with the CGI skyline, gives quite a surreal effect, which looks just gorgeous. The fact that the movie is borderline sepia also complements the old-west town style setting that a large portion of the film takes place in, as it feels almost as though you are watching a western at times.


Except, you know, with Black people...


Storywise, the film is very much like a western in many ways as well. A large part of the story focuses around the events that occur when Eli reaches a town on his way west, and decides to stop off to get his iPod charged up (I am not actually joking about this, either, as retarded as it sounds), and collect water for his journey. Whilst there, Eli gets into a bar fight with a posse of thugs, and learns that the town is controlled by a rich overlord (Gary Oldman), who enforces his will with an Iron Fist, and treats women like slaves. Essentially, this could be a remake of any John Wayne film ever made, except the epic fight scenes that occur make it more likely to be an updated Clint Eastwood movie.

The first one of these occurs when Eli comes across a woman in the desert screaming for help, but realizes that this is a honey-trap (I guess he spent some time in Glasgow before the apocalypse?), and fights off his would-be-muggers with a giant machete. This fight scene is incredibly badass, as we watch it unfold from inside a tunnel, with the characters all silhouetted against the outside light flowing in, as Denzel hack his way through 5 or 6 thugs, including one who is wearing a mask and wielding a gigantic chainsaw… Sound familiar?


I STILL have nightmares about this fucker...

And the fight scenes only get better from there. We have a very Fistful of Dollars-esque shootout in the middle of the town, in which Eli manages to take on most of Gary Oldman’s men singlehandedly, shooting them with more ease than Jean Reno shot them in Leon, and eventually get to a shootout nearing the climax of the film in which an entire building is literally torn apart by machinegun fire. The sound effects throughout these scenes are incredible, with shifts in ambient sounds changing greatly depending on the noise of the guns, dampening some to reflect the effect the gunshots and explosions would have on your ears if such a situation were to occur in real life, and this isn’t the only element of the film in which sound is significant. In a number of places, one specific sound may be picked up on more than others, highlighted because it serves a distinct purpose – perhaps a bird flying overhead, or a far-off engine, or even a tea cup rattling on a saucer – these things are intentionally made clearer against the background noise because they have some significance, and this effect is fantastic, especially when considered in conjunction with the twist (which we shall discuss later. Obviously if you’re a regular to the site, you know I love to ruin movies, so please continue as planned. If you were unaware of this fact, then you should probably stop reading when I start to mention things nearing the end of the film).

Whilst the actual scenes set within Oldman’s town could easily be taken from a John Wayne film, there is a scene beforehand which most definitely could not be. We see Eli making his way along the road, and coming across a couple who are being harassed by a group of bikers. The bikers shoot one of them, and then go to rape the woman who is still alive, and Eli just remains in his spotting position, saying “stick to the task, stick to the task”. Whilst it is clear that he wants to help, the fact that he does not is strongly reminiscent of the scene from “Escape from New York” in which Kurt Russell walks past a couple of “freaks” raping a girl, and just gives them a distasteful look before walking on without helping. Of course, at the time, this caused a great deal of controversy, because a hero who walks on when a woman is being raped is most certainly not a hero, but this really worked for the character of Snake Plissken, and in some ways made him even more badass; he just didn’t care about anyone.

voice from the pillow escape from new york Pictures, Images and Photos


Whilst Eli evidently does wish to help the girl, given he has to talk himself out of acting, it does strongly resemble this scene, and establishes that Eli is not a flawless hero, but a man who can get scared, and who is not willing to risk his own life, and the completion of his task, to save another.

The task Eli has been set is, of course, to deliver “The book” referred to in the title, to the remnants of society still left out west. Whilst I started off suspecting that the book was going to be the Qu’ran, as it would obviously need to have some religious significance, it became clear pretty soon that it was, in fact, the Bible. I have no idea why I thought it would be the Qu'ran originally. Maybe because I'm a racist and think all black people must be Muslims? Or it was going to be making a point about how one man's God is not always anothers, so Oldman would be after the Bible when Eli had the Qu'ran, or something? I don't know. But it is, in fact the Bible, and as Muslim as Malcolm X was, Denzel is not one here.


A lot of the story, therefore, is about faith, and about the extent to which God is real, and protects us. Whilst it is made clear throughout that religion was blamed by many as the cause of the nuclear holocaust, Eli himself still clearly believes in religion, and believes that God is protecting him on his mission. We see an example of this when Oldman’s thugs (led by Ray Stevenson with a bitchin’ shaved head and sunglasses – a look I am now considering going for. Though it may not look so cool outside of a desert environment...) try to shoot Eli, and the bullets apparently are unable to either hit or injure him, making it appear as though God truly is on his side. Of course, Gary Oldman does not believe this, and insists that Eli is just a man (he actually says that exact line. I couldn’t help but think of the Frenchman in The Matrix Reloaded when he did. Though, this film is superior to that one), and tries to hunt him down to take the Bible, so he can enslave the hearts and minds of the weaker individuals still populating the Earth.

This is one of the more interesting political points of the film. Whilst there is a strong spiritual overtone to the movie, with Eli set out as the chosen one, whom bullets cannot touch, Oldman also makes the point that religion can be used as a weapon. It is the perfect was to pacify those who would fight you, whilst at the same time make those on your own side fight far harder, as one who believes they will go to heaven after they die will not be so worried about dying. This same point was made fairly effectively in Starship Troopers 2: Marauder (That’s right, I said it – Hero of the Federation is NOT a Starship Troopers film, it is a crappy low-budget horror film which doesn’t star a single member of the original cast and brought shame upon the original movie. Marauder is the only Starship Troopers sequel, and even that doesn’t hold a candle to the original), in which the humans, who have previously outlawed religion, bring it back after discovering that the brain bugs are using the idea of religion to enslave the minds of the arachnoids to make them fight, and use it as propaganda to encourage people to fight, saying “God is on our side”. Whilst this plays cleverly on the old tradition that everyone felt God was on their side (“Gott mit uns”, anyone?) and that they were the righteous ones, it also makes the valid point that the easiest way to enslave the minds of individuals and make them do the state’s bidding is through religion (Religion, after all, is the opiate of the masses. Just as quoting Karl Marx is the opiate of college-age douchebags, such as myself). Of course, this went somewhat against the analogy made in the original Starship Troopers, in which the bugs seemed to represent the Russian communists almost perfectly (a technologically inferior race that is impossibly difficult to beat owing to its weight of numbers and iron will, who destroy all the farms and humans within the “quarantine zone” whilst retreating?), but works perfectly in The Book of Eli, owing to there being no comparisons with the communists at any point.


Although, maybe I missed something? There's clearly some connection...


The only other real political point made during the course of the movie is one made by Eli when telling Mila Kunis’s character what the world was like before the war, where he simply tells her that it was a world based on greed, and not caring, in which people would throw away things that they would kill for in the post-apocalyptic world. In other words, he tells us to be thankful for what we have, and not be such greedy bastards, which I suppose is a fairly sensible moral, although I would like an X Box 360 and an HD TV. This point returns at the end of the movie when Oldman has retrieved the Bible from Eli, but in the process has lost almost all of his men, and sustained an injury himself, meaning he no longer has the power to control the town, and so through his greed to obtain the weapon to control the people, he has lost what little control he had before. And that’s the real moral of the story.

But off the story for a little while, just to say: Everything is directed and edited very competently, and as I said before, is shot beautifully. The cast is terrific, with one hell of a set of supporting actors, including Michael Gambon and, as already mentioned, Ray “The Motherfucking Punisher” Stevenson, who I was pleased to see in this, as it no longer means the last film I watched him in was the God-awful “The Other Guys”. The effects are also brilliant, with all the gore scenes looking fairly realistic, or incredibly cool when intentionally stylized, and the explosions being big yet believable (a fine line, trust me). The make up used to give most of the cast scars and burns from the war is also really convincing, and completely changes Gary Oldman’s appearance (which makes him quite hard to recognize in conjunction with his putting on an American accent).



Gary Oldman without make-up, using his ordinary accent.


But, onto the ending of the film (so stop reading if you don’t want spoilers and haven’t done so already). Near the end, we see Oldman shoot Eli, and take the Bible from him, which he takes back to his town. Mila Kunis saves the wounded Eli, and drives him to San Fransisco, where there last remaining element of contemporary society remains intact. When he gets there, Eli tells the survivors that he has a copy of the King James Bible, and when asked to produce it, tells them to bring paper. He then recites the whole bible to a scribe, who writes everything down as Eli dictates it. Whilst I expected this to happen, I was not prepared for the other revelation. We see Gary Oldman open Eli’s book, only to discover that it is written in Braile. That’s right, the motherfucker who managed to shoot about 20 guys without missing a single shot was BLIND!

Now, it is of course debatable whether or not Eli was blind throughout the entire film, or whether he was a blind man before the war, but was granted sight for his task, and then had it taken away afterwards. Personally, I think Eli was supposed to be blind all along, as there are clues to his condition (for example, when he tells Michael Gambon he must have missed the sign saying “No Trespassers”, and his heightened senses of smell and hearing), and thus is one of the ultimate badasses of recent cinema history! Seriously, if the dude could do all that shit whilst blind, imagine what he could have done if he could see – he probably could have reversed the nuclear fallout and brought all the dead back to life, or something. I therefore vote that all “Chuck Norris Facts” be changed to “Eli Facts”, because Eli is now officially the biggest badass on Earth. Whilst we’re at it, as well, who came up with the one “when Chuck Norris does a push-up, he pushes the world down?” – Everyone does that, it’s one of the basic rules of forces: there will always be an equal and opposite reaction to any force. So if I use the Earth to push myself up, I must also be pushing the Earth down at the same time.




Overall, then, I felt that The Book of Eli was a very well made movie, which told a very exciting story, and is definitely worth a watch. The cinematography is incredible, and the film is very enjoyable. I’m sure not everyone will enjoy it, but I for one really liked it. Great stuff.




Rating:


****


4 stars




This is one of the better films I’ve seen this year, and I loved its religious-epic-turned-western style of storytelling. It’s not groundbreaking in any way, but it’s a good bit of fun, and a reasonably intelligent script. To be honest, I thought it might have been adapted from a graphic novel, though looking online, it doesn’t seem to have been. It has that kind of feel to it though, which I really liked. I thoroughly recommend this movie. The sequel doesn’t look bad, either:







Voice





I hope Gary Oldman's happy he's got his fucking picture now.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

A Serious Man - Review (Text)




Earlier this evening, I watched A Serious Man, the latest movie from the Coen Brothers (unless you count True Grit, but that hasn’t actually been released yet) for the first time. I’ve been a big fan of the Coen Brothers for quite some time now, and own a number of their movies (for trivia purposes: The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Barton Fink, Intolerable Cruelty, The Hudsucker Proxy, Fargo, No Country for Old Men, The Man Who Wasn’t There, Miller’s Crossing and Blood Simple – though I have seen all their other films except The Ladykillers and Raising Arizona), so naturally was looking forward to seeing this movie.

A serious Man centres around the life of a Jewish Mathematics professor, Lawrence Gopnik, and the events that happen in his life over a 2-week period in the run up to his son’s Bar Mitzvah. It is set at some point in the relatively-recent past, but does not specify a specific year. In fact, it feels as though it could be set at almost any time in the last half-century, and this is a really cool effect. Of course, since it features a song by Jefferson Airplane at multiple points, it is probably set in the 70s, but the feeling of ambiguity is nice regardless.

In a lot of ways, the film is strongly reminiscent of ‘The Man Who Wasn’t There’, the Coen Brothers’ 2001 movie in which Billy Bob Thorton plays a depressed man who finds out his wife is cheating on him for his boss, and decides to blackmail him as revenge. A Serious Man similarly features a lead who is incapable of understanding other people, forever left dazed and confused by their actions, having increasingly worse things happen to him, yet seemingly not being able to process the events and find the right emotions for them, and finally falling into neo-insanity as a result. The movie often plays on the deadpan style humour of a man just not knowing how to react to different situations, and accidentally making things increasingly worse by simply not reacting at all, and this creates some hilarious scenarios.

The different elements of the movie all come together very well, and the story progresses brilliantly, with small incidents often culminating in larger events later in the film. These events include Gopnik’s wife Judy revealing she intends to divorce him and marry another man, Sy Ableman, who dies soon after in a car crash, and whose funeral Lawrence is asked to pay for – “His own estate is in probate, but why does it have to be me? Or is it wrong to complain? Judy says it is.” – and being blackmailed by a South Korean student who failed an exam but still wants the pass grade, whose father later threatens to sue Gopnik over the incident:


Father: This is Defamation!
Lawrence: I could pretend the money never appeared? That's not defaming anyone…
Father: Yes. And a passing grade.
Lawrence: A Passing grade?
Father: Yes.
Lawrence: Or... you'll sue me?
Father: For taking money.
Lawrence: So he did leave the money?
Father: This is defamation!
Lawrence: It doesn't make sense. Either he left the money or he didn't.
Father: Please. Accept the mystery.

As always, the Coens’ dialogue is some of the sharpest and funniest you are likely to hear, and there are a number of incidents in the movie where the performances and dialogue are absolutely fantastic. The movie is one of the bleakest, darkest comedies to come out in a while (probably since ‘The Man Who Wasn’t There’), but still delivers good laughs at regular intervals throughout. The whole piece seems so well put together, as well, and it is nice to see the Coens back on top form with their writing, having slipped a bit with ‘Burn After Reading’, and adapted ‘No Country’ pretty well word-for-word from the book (creating probably the most accurate film presentation of a book since Orson Welles' adaptation of Kafka's "The Trial").

The movie also moves deeper, taking a look at faith itself, and exploring religious imagery, and Jewish culture in an often entertaining and hilarious manner. Lawrence’s experiences talking with numerous Rabbis about his problem, and his conversations with his lawyer are both comedic and revealing, and give the film a deeper, spiritual base, which is important for the ending. Essentially, though, the main theme of this side of the film is that God works in mysterious ways, and even if you do all you can to find meaning in things, some questions will never be answered. This is highlighted excellently with a scene in which one of the Rabbis tells Lawrence the story of a man who came to him looking for meaning in the events that were happening to him, but never reveals what the man found at the end of the tale.

The are a large number of other references to religion and Jewish culture within the film that don’t deal with this theme as well, and undoubtedly there are countless things hidden within the story that I missed. For example, there is a scene in which Lawrence is fixing the aerial on his family’s TV, and has to get up on the roof to do this. Whilst he is up there, we see him fiddling with the aerial, trying to make it work, and the hidden reference contained here is, of course, that he is literally “fiddling on the roof”. I suspect that there are numerous other incidences of things like this occurring within the movie, but a lot of them are probably only obvious to those with a Jewish background. Still, even acknowledging the fact that I probably missed 90% of the references, I still really enjoyed this movie, and watching the story unfold.

The film is shot incredibly well, as always, although this time round the Coens seem to be playing with the camera a little more than usual, tilting the camera to indicate that we have switched from a story to real life or vice versa, or to signal a change in location. There is also even more soft-focus photography employed in this film than in their other films, with some shots blurring all but the character’s face. Of course, the Coens have been doing this since Miller’s Crossing, and are known to be avid fans of long-lenses, but it is just interesting seeing it being exaggerated further than usual in this film. The blurring between reality and fiction in the movie is also great, with a couple of scenes included that could either be reality or fiction, especially when viewed in conjunction with scenes which we know are imagined or “made-up” by the characters. This blurring of reality becomes significant when we view the end of the movie.

But this is where things got strange: the ending of the film. It is so abrupt. We go through the entire film building this story, and as Lawrences family and money problems seem to have resolved themselves, he gets a call from his doctor (who we see him with at the start of the film) telling him he needs to come in to discuss his X-Ray results (“can’t we do it over the phone?” “I think you’d be more comfortable hearing it in person”). We know that this is obviously bad news, and as this scene concludes, we cut to Lawrences son, at school, standing outside and watching a tornado about to hit. The song “Somebody to Love” by Jefferson Airplane kicks in, as it does at 2 points earlier on in the film, and then the screen goes black, and cuts to the credits. It is by far the most abrupt ending to a film I have ever scene, and tops even “The Italian Job” for the bizarre cliff-hanger ending award.

Now, I can understand why the film ends like this; it is supposed to represent exactly what the Rabbi was talking about when he told Lawrence the story earlier in the film that did not have an answer at the end: We all search for meaning, but we are not always given answers. However, it just seemed like such a rip-off; we had waited for some kind of pay-off, and then the movie just ended. That’s it, movie’s done. Of course, this was the point they were trying to make about life, but it just felt disappointing. The ending was so abrupt it was almost as though the last reel had been lost, or the Coens had run out of ideas whilst scripting and thought “doesn’t matter, we’ll think of a way to end the script once we’ve filmed it”, and then couldn’t.

Unfortunately, the Coens seem to have gotten into a habit now of ending their films abruptly, and without wrapping everything up. ‘No Country for Old Men’ skipped some of the last chapter from the book, missing out what ultimately happens to Chigurh, and the kid who takes his gun from the wrecked car, and ‘Burn After Reading’ just cut from mid-story to the ending scene, explaining everything in a voice over but not tying things up properly, and now this. Whilst No Country didn’t really need those extra scenes, and the abrupt ending to ‘A Serious Man’ does make a very valid point about life, and meaning, it is still frustrating, and honestly did feel lazy. An abrupt ending can be good, but we need our pay-off first. Think about The Long Good Friday; the ending is an abrupt cliff-hanger/twist ending, but since the main part of the story was all wrapped up by the time we reached the ending scene, it fit perfectly. A Serious Man does not end this well, leaving a lot more to be desired, and thus was a very disappointing movie, despite how enjoyable it was for the most part.




Rating:


***


3 Stars




A very well written often-times hilarious black comedy which I would definitely recommend to anyone who is a fan of the Coens (especially ‘The Man Who Wasn’t There’), but otherwise would suggest you don’t watch. This film is incredibly well made, and very well written, but the ending is such a disappointment I just don’t feel I can give it 4 stars, no matter what point it may be making with this ending.




Voice

Monday, 27 December 2010

Happy Post-Festivus, People! (A Christmassy Message About Being Pathetic)




Hey guys, it’s your friendly neighbourhood Voice from the Pillow, back once more after our brief holiday. Hope everyone had a great Christmas/Hanukkah, and I hope our Ba’hai friends have a great New Years when it does come round. Same goes for my Chinese homies – Mad props, boys. Keep the faith!






I’ve managed to accumulate a couple of presents this year which should hopefully be review worthy, so you can be expecting to see a few more reviews fairly soon (although I do have an essay for my Masters course due in on January 10th, so forgive me if the posting is a little light for the next couple of weeks). My younger brother bought me The Bad Lieutenant, which I’ve been trying to see since about May, so hopefully I’ll get a review of that posted once I’ve watched it; and also got me a copy of the remake of Inglorious Bastards, having bought me the original for Christmas last year, so you may see a review of that soon too. I also got the Frank Miller run on Batman (The Dark Knight Returns) from my older brother, and so I may post a review of that too, given the last comic review I did was on Halloween last year (unless you count that rant about Preacher). So, that’s January’s reviews pretty well laid out for you, but be sure to check in occasionally even if you aren’t interested in reading any of those, because I’ll almost certainly be posting musings, stories and politics articles as well, as I am wont to do, as well as possibly hitting the cinema or catching something on TV, as has happened on occasion with my reviews.



Today, however, I am still recovering from the standard Christmas excitement, so shall not be posting anything as complex as a review, but shall simply stick to a basic sociological/psychological discussion of something that’s been really confusing me.



Recently, I have seen a few posts like this on Facebook:


Photobucket


… and it makes me fear for the future of the human race. I mean, are people just not fucking any more?


Good Question...


Seriously, what’s the deal with posts like this? I remember once a couple of years ago some girl I had once worked with sent me a text asking what I thought of her, and giving options saying “I like you as a friend”, “I’d date you in a second”, “I’d marry you”, and other similarly ridiculous things, and my response was basically “why are you asking me this shit? If you want to get with me just come out and say it, because I can’t think of any other reason you would send a message like that”, and that’s exactly what I think when I see posts like this. Anyone posting this sort of status isn’t just doing it for the fun of it; I’m a fun loving motherfucker, and you don’t see me posting such questions on my Facebook page – the only reason anyone posts a status like that is because they’re “secretly” hoping that someone they want to get with is going to “like” it.



SINCE WHEN DID WE ALL BECOME THIS FUCKING PATHETIC?

Photobucket
This is apparently a legitimate fantasy in some people's lives. Some really sad people...


I mean, honestly, if there’s someone you’re into, why not just ask them out? Why not just give them a call, or a private message or something saying “hey, do you want to get together some time?”. How fucking difficult is that? Instead, we’re treated to a world where people are too scared to make a move on prospective mates, and so post statuses such as this, in the hopes that the other person will make the first move after reading it, and this will take the pressure off of them to do so. Only, that doesn’t happen, because what happens is the other person will be thinking “maybe this isn’t just directed at me? I’ll ‘like’ it, but if he wants to get with me, he’ll have to make the first move” (for simplicity’s sake, I’m assuming a man is posting the status, and is into a woman, though as I showed with my example earlier, it is just as likely to be the other way around), and thus leaves the original poster in the same position he was before. “Well, she ‘liked’ the status saying she would kiss me, but maybe that’s just because she wants to be friends and thinks it’s a bit of fun? After all, Gary ‘liked’ it, and I’m fairly sure he isn’t a homosexual. I really don’t want to private message her in case she was just having fun. I guess I’ll have to leave it.” STOP BEING SO FUCKING PATHETIC AND ASK HER OUT RIGHT NOW, MOTHERFUCKER! YOU, READING THIS, PICK UP THAT PHONE RIGHT NOW, AND FUCKING CALL HER UP, AND ASK HER OUT ON A DATE! ENOUGH OF THIS PUSSY-FOOTED FACEBOOK SHIT! MAN THE FUCK UP! Seriously, I don’t want to see any more of these messages on my news feed. Any guy who posts one is officially having their man-card revoked. After all, what’s so scary about asking a girl out? “Oh no, she might say ‘no’!” – What the fuck do you think will happen if you aren’t man enough to even ask her on a date? Do you really think she’ll suddenly decide to ask you out instead, or will she assume you’re not interested and get with the next half-decent guy to ask her on a date instead? I don’t study statistics, but I know which option I’d bet on…


This is possibly the only instance in which I disagree with the infinite knowledge of comedy T-Shirt manufacturers...


Sorry to tell it like it is, guys, but come on – I would love to have a girl in my life I was interested in, and wouldn’t waste the opportunity douching-it-up on Facebook. No offense…



I understand that's like saying "No offense, but you're a cunt", but work with me here, I am genuinely trying to give good advice, just not in a very pleasant manner...




That’s my opinion. Now, for a little extra trivia, if you’re wondering about the girl who sent me the aforementioned text: I ended up going on a date with her after, and kinda hitting it off (she was fairly cute, but not exactly a knockout). I agreed I’d come to her party a couple of weeks later, but then blew her off at the last second to do coursework and hang out with my Chinese buddies up in Pompey, and as revenge for this she got with some other dude at the party. She then decided not to mention this, and tried to hook up with me again, but I saw a message he’d left on her Facebook wall and was like “the fuck, bitch? You can’t make out with another dude and expect me to still be interested. We’ve only had one date.” – strange times.

Still, hopefully the people posting these messages will have more luck in the love department than I do (though I highly doubt it, given if you’re not confident enough to ask someone on a date, you’re gonna struggle even more working up the confidence to actually fuck them…). Though, presumably they’ll be more interested in the individual they’re after than I was in that instance. Girls, you know you’re not important to a guy when he blows off coming to your Birthday party to do coursework, so if that happens, get with some other dude; it’s the only way to ensure he’ll still be talking about you in a year’s time ;)



On second thoughts, he's probably even more likely to still be talking about you in a year's time if you get with another girl instead. Just a suggestion...




And now that I’ve severely depressed some of you, in an effort to prevent another holiday-period suicide, here is U2, with a special message for you, Mr. Suicidal:





Have a great bank-holiday Monday and Tuesday, everyone!




Voice




Sorry to anyone linked to this page by searching for "girls kissing" on Google images. I apologise unreservedly for the inconvenience. Here's a link to some porn: enjoy.






UPDATE (01/01/11):



UPDATE 2 (05/01/11): Guess I'm not the only one...

http://failbook.failblog.org/2011/01/05/funny-facebook-fails-21/#comments

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Battlefield: Bad Company 2:Vietnam Review (Text)




The Vietnam war may have been one of the greatest military fuck-ups ever on the side of the Americans, and to this day still eclipses the utter cluster-fucks that are the Iraq war and the war in Afghanistan, but it sure has given us some sweet films and music. But now, we have a game dedicated to this infamous military action, and I spent most of yesterday playing it. So, since the banner of this site states that it is a Blog which contains “musings and reviews on music, games, films and life”, and I have not, as yet, reviewed a single game, I think it’s about time to dig into Battlefield: Bad Company 2: Vietnam. Enjoy!





“Vietnam” is a downloadable expansion for the game ‘Battlefield: Bad Company 2’ which was released yesterday. It does not contain a campaign mode, which was a little disappointing, as I could imagine how good they could make a campaign set in Vietnam and was just itching to play through it. However, it does contain some awesome online multiplayer games.

Although they did not introduce any new game types for “Vietnam”, the new maps they have brought in are very expansive, and great fun to play on. I started playing the game at around 3 yesterday afternoon, and by that point it was clear that most of the people I was playing against had already managed to familiarize themselves with the maps. However, after dying about 5 times without getting any kills, I caught up pretty quickly, and was soon moving through the landscape with as much ease as I have become accustomed to doing on Bad Company 2’s regular maps. Although the maps are all restricted to being Vietnam-based, and there are therefore no snowy or desert maps, the actual landscapes in them change enough that each map has its own unique feel; some are based around rivers and lakes with cliff-sides to fight on, another is based around fighting in villages and rice fields, and yet another is based in the jungle, fighting around the ruin of an ancient temple (possibly inspired by Apocalypse Now?). There is even a map where the Vietnamese side start on an already-napalmed hillside, and have to fight off the Americans taking cover amongst the smoldering remains of trees, and a destroyed landscape. Given how limited their location options were, the makers seem to have made the most of this, and given us a great range of maps (I was only able to play the 4 standard maps, and not the extra unlockable one).

Whilst the modes are pretty basic, with the standard “Deathmatch” and “Team Deathmatch” options being available, I had a lot of fun battling it out with numerous others on the “Team Rush” game mode, which was always the most enjoyable game mode in Battlefield: Bad Company. I never could be bothered with “capture the flag” in the Call of Duty Games, but I personally feel “Rush” is one of the most exciting games there is online, and should be made standard on all war-scenario games. The skill in assaulting a base and placing charges on a key console (or other such target), then having to defend it as the charge counts down provides limitless fun, as it gives you both an attacking and defending role no matter which side you are on (so ‘attackers’ will attack the console to plant charges, then defend it as they wait for it to explode, and ‘defenders’ will do the opposite). In fact, the only time I’ve ever had a problem with this game mode was when I played a team who destroyed all the cover around one of the bases we were attacking, then set themselves up on all the ridges with sniper rifles, and shot everyone who ventured into the clearing.


Bastards!


They were able to do this thanks to my favourite feature in the Battlefield: Bad Company series; the fact that you can destroy pretty well anything. In the ‘Call of Duty’ games, you can destroy the odd wall by shooting at it, or knock down the odd tree, but in “Battlefield: Bad Company”, you can literally destroy entire buildings. You can destroy obstacles such as walls, fences and sandbags, and can level entire forests with the right weaponary. This makes it much harder for people to just ‘camp’, and makes the game infinitely more interesting. In one round in non-Vietnam Bad Company 2, I once sat at the top of a staircase the enemy had to come up to place charges (in “Rush” mode), and just shot everyone who came up. In Call of Duty, they wouldn’t have been able to kill me, as no-one could get a line of sight on me without coming into my firing range, and everyone would have cursed me as a “camping bitch”. In Battlefield, however, all that happened was that after I had killed 6 guys or so, someone blew up the wall of the building behind me with an RPG, and then shot me in the back. And had that not worked they could have blown up every wall of the building to leave me essentially in the open. No other game does this, and this is what I love about Bad Company 2. And Vietnam is no exception, keeping this function in, and allowing complete destruction of any shacks or buildings you may come across (apart from very large or key buildings, like the temple ruins). They did, however, restrict the damage slightly, so it takes a bit more firepower to destroy a wooden building than it would have in non-Vietnam mode, and also makes it impossible to slash through bamboo with a knife, which is a little disappointing, but it is still great to see the function surviving, in spite of the fact Call of Duty does not include it yet outsells Battlefield by miles.


You still get faggots camping by spawn points, though...



Fuck you.


The graphics on Vietnam are also spectacular, with the same basic graphics as Bad Company 2, but with the odd change. Whilst mountains on the horizon are looking a bit more pixilated in Vietnam than they were in the regular game, they have improved the close-up visuals on plants and people so that the near details are far-superior, and now don’t look like 2-dimensional objects as they sometimes did before. The water animation is still the best graphics in the game, as it was in the regular version, with some of the streams looking real, and a setting sun going down over a river in one of the maps looks phenomenal. In terms of Graphics, this blows Black Ops out the water by miles, and I suspect probably rapes Medal of Honour’s graphics too (though I haven’t actually played it yet). In fact, the graphics in Bad Company 2 have to be some of the best I have ever seen. They are just peachy.

There are a number of different or modified weapons in Vietnam to what there are in the regular version of Bad Company 2 as well, which makes things a bit more interesting. We have the standard M16 and AK47 as the main assault weapons of each side, and the number of weapons per side seems to be balanced out about perfectly, with each side having suitable assault weapons, sniper rifles, LMGs and sidearms. This, however, does not matter, as each side can pick any weapon they wish, and do not have to stick to their own team’s weapons (which makes sense, as both sides could capture each others weapons in a war). I was slightly annoyed by this, as I would have liked both sides to have different weapons, and can’t imagine it would be that hard to balance them out and make each side even, but I suppose lacking a campaign mode, that sort of thing really isn’t important, as you’re playing against people with varying degrees of weapon unlocked anyway.

The weapons can still be customized as before, with scopes, extra mags, more damaging bullets, etc. But one of the best features they have brought in for the new guns is that you can now get a classic wood-stocked M14, rather than the synthetic sniper version from the regular version of the game, and it is now fully-automatic, as it was when it was actually in service in Vietnam. Whilst I favoured the higher capacity of the M16, it was still cool to see a full-auto M14 in action, and the sound of one going off was incredible.

Whilst we’re on the subject, the sound in this game is phenomenal. Playing with surround sound on, it is possible to hear exactly where gunfire is coming from and hitting, and exactly how close it is. The “ringing in your ears” you experience and muffled sounds after explosions is also incredible, and it’s great to see how far we’ve come since we first experienced this sort of thing in “Call of Duty: Finest Hour”. Another great feature about the sound is also the music which plays sometimes during the game. When you access the Vietnam title screen on the Bad Company 2 menu, you are greeted by the sound of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son”, and this really helps set the tone for the game, and gives that super-cool Vietnam feeling we all know. In fact, the only better songs I could think of for a Vietnam theme are Jimi Hendrix’s version of “All Along the Watchtower”, and “Time of the Season” by The Zombies, which we all know from this epic Vietnam scene:





Throughout the actual game we also get snippets of music, coming from radios, speakers on tanks, and other such devices. The very best of these, however, came when I heard the rotor blades of a helicopter flying overhead, and through the din, heard the familiar sounds of “Ride of the Valkyries” (from Wagner’s ‘Die Walk├╝re’). This Apocalypse Now inspired moment was one of the greatest in-game tributes I have ever heard, and brought a real smile to my face. It was great, because it was clearly an homage, unlike “World at War”, where the Stalingrad scenes where you are firstly in a fountain surrounded by dead bodies and have to snipe Germans as explosions go off, and then go into a building containing mannequins and have to have a shoot-out with an elite German sniper, just seem like a plain rip-off of Enemy at the Gate. Not to rant on about it too much, but it seems as though Treyarch just thought “no-one in America is going to have watched a British film about the war on the Eastern Front, we can steal all we want from it and no-one will mind” as opposed to actually just paying homage to it. I wouldn’t have cared if they’d actually called the characters “Vasily Zaytsev” and “Commissar what’s-his-face. You know, Joseph Fiennes’ character? … You know, the guy from Flash Forward and Shakespeare in Love?... You know, Voldemort’s Borther?” “Oh, him. Yeah!”, but they didn’t. Still, you have to admire the Call of Duty guys for one thing, they sure can pick a fucking voice cast.



Gary Oldman doesn't get a picure?


The new vehicles available are a cool addition as well, with Huey helicopters appearing in a couple of the maps. I also had the Americans use an airstrike against my team once when I was Playing as the NVA/VC, but I have no idea how they unlocked that, since I got kill streaks of 10-15 multiple times and didn't unlock anything. That said, I never was a fan of the way you unlock harriers and such on COD, so am not all that bothered I never got one. Regardless of whether or not it detracts from the gameplay, though, it looks cool as shit seeing a bomber fly in and blow the living fuck out of everything in an area - definitely a good addition from that perspective.

A slight fault in the game is that they seem to have either downgraded the power of rockets, or upgraded the armour of tanks (judging by the lessened destruction of buildings caused by RPGs, I’m guessing they downgraded the power of rockets). This is fine if you’re in a tank, but is annoying as anything if you’re outside of one. In one streak between kills, I first managed to get the enemy out of a tank, then got in myself as the driver and killed 8 enemy soldiers, then got out of the tank and deactivated a charged placed on one of my bases, shot all the enemy soldiers around that base with my M16, then got back on the tank, this time on the machine gun, and killed another 5 or 6 enemies with that before finally being taken down by two RPGs that hit at the exact same time. I think I got about 3 streak achievements for that, and God knows how many points, without ever leaving the one tiny village that “Base A” was located in.

I also found some sight difficulty with the aiming, and once shot an enemy in the centre of the torso, but did not have a hit register, in spite of the fact there’s no way the shot could have missed. I also found myself having to put entire magazines into enemies to kill them at times (3 round bursts, naturally, so the gun doesn’t rise too much) because the targeting seemed a bit off at times, but it was fairly good throughout most of the time I was playing, with only the occasional glitch.

Another thing I didn’t like was how everyone started at the rank they had achieved in Bad Company 2, so if you had unlocked all the weapons in that game, you automatically had every weapon unlocked in Vietnam. I think that if they had made it so we had to work back up through the ranks again, it would have felt more like a seperate game, rather than just a couple of map add-ons, and so would have made it feel like more of an experience, and therefore more worth the money (1200 gamer points).

Aside from this, however, it is a great add-on, with the only real flaw being that you can’t have 2 people playing multiplayer on the same console, which so many games come with as standard nowadays. However, as an online game for one person, I believe that Bad Company 2 is just about unbeatable (well, for 1st person shooters, anyway) and Vietnam is a great variation on it.

The last thing I want to say is that I also tried out the “Onslaught” mode for the non-Vietnam Battlefield Bad Company 2, and it was great to see a scenario where you could play with 3 other people against computer-controlled opponents just like a co-op story mode. Not only this, but you still got points for killing the computer controlled enemies, and I managed to rack up an amazing kill streak owing to the fact that they are easier to kill than actual people (in general, obviously not N00BZ). So, if you are thinking of getting Bad Company 2, download “onslaught” as well (400 GC) to get your level up before you hit up “Rush” or “Deathmatch” modes.



Rating:


****

4 stars



One of the best upgrades to a game I’ve seen in a while, and certainly deserving of a 5 star rating. Vietnam brings 5 new maps to the game, and also sets an interesting theme for the gamer, with weapons and characters. It’s also nice to see an upgrade which isn’t about Zombies for once. It’s just a shame there isn’t a campaign mode available on Vietnam, or the ability for 2 friends to play on the same machine. Other than that, however, this upgrade is near flawless, and definitely worth the points.



Voice

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Next: Review (Plus introduction message for all you perverts out there).




Now, I’m not judging you. I’m pleased about the increased traffic coming to this site. Really, I am. I went from averaging 1,700 - 2,000 views per month over the last quarter to over 4,000 views in the first 20 days of December, and I am truly thankful for the support. It’s just that, well, I get a little concerned when I go to check my traffic sources, and see this in my ‘Search Keywords’ section for the past week:




In fact, ‘Lazy Town Porn’ has been such a popular search that it’s now ranked on the ‘All Time’ list for searches that have brought people to the site, right behind ‘Hugh Laurie’, ‘Hugh Laurie (in Russian)’, ‘Ellen Page’ and ‘Steven Seagal’.




Seriously, ‘Lazy Town Porn’ is effectively the fourth most popular search to bring people to this site, and the first time I ever mentioned Lazy Town was in the last article I posted, less than 2 weeks ago. Are there really that many people out there searching for pornographic images of a Children’s cartoon that it can get to 4th place on my All Time Keyword Searches for Traffic Sources in 2 fucking weeks? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU FUCKING PEOPLE?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know most of these people are probably just looking for a comedy video or article relating to the subject, rather than an actual porn video to get off on. But at least some of these people genuinely want to have a tug over some Lazy Town action. And that’s not right. I’ve often joked about doing various sexually deviant acts in my articles, and I suppose a guy who did a crude photoshop (read: edited in Microsoft Paint) of Hannah Montana in the bath and stated that he would shag Ellen Page in spite of the fact that this would totally make him a paedophile because she looks about 13, can’t really get all that worked up about people searching for Lazy Town porn online, but damn it, don’t bring that filth onto my site! You’re making me regret ever including that section in my Clockwork Orange post.

So, in light of this, I shall be taking the tone of this article in a very different direction. We shall not be focusing on sexually deviant acts involving young pink haired girls and guys named Sportacus, nor shall we post pictures of said people on this site ever again. In fact, from now on, we’re going to stick to doing proper, intelligent, informative reviews, with no more of this obsession with sex and stalking and other such nonsense I used to post before I found enlightenment.



Right after a discussion of Jessica Biel’s tits.





Now, I’m not the kind of guy to rate a movie based on the hotness of its female lead (which is probably technically Julianne Moore in this situation anyway). You’ll never hear me state that an otherwise crap movie was “All right – cos it’s got tits in” (hence I actually dissed ‘Shoot ‘Em Up’ a while back in spite of the fact that I know Clive Owen. And by ‘know’ I mean he borrowed my coat. Once. Years ago… for his daughter to wear), and I stick to those principles. You should never judge a movie simply on whether or not there’s a hot girl in it; otherwise you get retarded things happening like Transformers selling more copies than Reservoir Dogs (more on this in a bit). However, in this case, I feel obligated to pick up on this point, because I want to know when the fuck Jessica Biel got so damn fit!


"I think I just filled the cup."


Seriously, I saw her in things like “The Illusionist” and “Blade: Trinity” and thought she was kinda hot, but since then she seems to have grown the most amazing set of boobs ever and stolen a black woman’s butt whilst keeping her waist as thin as it ever was. What the hell? I mean, she used to be almost flat-chested as far as I remember, and now she’s… Well, she’s looking incredible. There’s some hope for Kiera Knightley yet!


Imagine that face on a womans body - Daaaaamn!!!


Now, back to what I was saying about Transformers earlier, because this is really the point I was trying to make with this: I know loads of guys who say that Megan Fox is the hottest girl in the world, and have basically only watched the Transformers movies because she was in them and they wanted to perve on her, but how can she have the title for overall sexiest woman when she doesn’t even win in her own category?


Though that's not to say I wouldn't... I SO FUCKING WOULD!


Seriously, if you split women into different categories and pick the hottest in each, you get a great way to shortlist candidates for the ‘Hottest Woman in the World’ title. So, we can have a category for very tall women, in which Anne Dudek will obviously be the winner (Although Miranda Hart is a close second, the saucy minx), and a category for Spanish women, in which Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek will have to fight it out for the top spot, and so on. But when we get to the category of “Girl of white and native American descent with tanned skin and big boobs”, does Megan Fox win it? Fuck no – Jessica Biel wins that category hands down! With Shannon Elizabeth fighting Ms Fox for 2nd place. So you see, your honour, Megan Fox cannot be the hottest woman on Earth, because I have subjectively proven that she is not even the winner of her own sub-category, and therefore cannot be nominated for the overall title. I rest my case.

Oh, and there’s that whole thumb thing too…



Someone call Shannon Elizabeth and congratulate her on second place...


So, my question is this: If guys are really only watching movies to check out hot chicks, how come almost no-one has heard of this movie?





Proper review time now.




‘Next’ is based off a book by Philip K. Dick and revolves around a magician, Frank Cadilac (Nicholas Cage) who can see 2 minutes into the future. When the FBI discover a terrorist plot to set off a nuclear bomb somewhere in California, they call up Tony Almeida and tell him to put Jack Bauer on that shit! No, just kidding, they decide to try and catch Cadilac (whose actual name is Chris Johnson or something) and force him to study some news channels in the classic Ludovico style to see if he can look far enough into the future to tell where the bomb is going to go off. Oh, and how the fuck does Tony come back in Season 7 of 24 when he CLEARLY dies in Season 5? I mean, really, that’s just retarded – he can’t have faked his own death because a terrorist he was trying to kill with a lethal injection took it off him and stabbed it in his chest, so unless 24 has the same writers as The Dark knight, I don’t see how they found a way around that (I’m on Season 6 at the moment, for the record). But, forget about 24 for now, because we’re discussing ‘Next’.

Plot wise it’s nothing special, really. We’re used to seeing films in which a main character can see the near future, and will change his actions accordingly so we get to view the reality where he does nothing and the reality where he acts on his premonition back to back (I’m thinking things like ‘Paycheck’ here). The problem with this sort of set-up is that it leaves you wondering why any of the events ever have to happen the way they do. Towards the end, we see Nick Cage search an entire building in 2 minutes, by merely playing through every possible situation in his future visions (for example, he turns left in one, then right in the other, and so on until he’s see everywhere he can possibly go in 2 minutes), and this makes you wonder why he would ask the FBI agents with him to search one of the floors, where a couple of them are killed, when he could easily have done that as well. In fact, if he can see the future, none of the agents on his side should die at any point, because he will be able to see ahead to what happens, and tell them exactly how to avoid death. There is also a scene where he effectively dodges bullets, by again playing through every reality until he finds a path he can take where the bad guy will not shoot him. If he can do that then why the hell did any agents have to go in at all? He could have done everything by himself – all the agents had to do was lock down the perimeter and send him in – not one FBI agent needed to die in the climax of this film, so we can only infer that Nick Cage is a bastard and wanted hem to die. What a dick.


I'm allowed to be a dick, I was in Wild Hogs, or something...


So, that’s one problem I find with movies like this, but taking that into account, the execution is pretty damn awesome. There are a couple of ways they show these visions Cage has, sometimes playing a possible reality in his head and following it up with what he actually does, and other times showing them all at the same time, so we see multiple versions of Cage on the screen at any given point. Both of these effects are awesome, the latter because I’ve never seen it done before in such a story, and it’s always nice to see something new, and the former because it creates the surreal situation where you’re not entirely sure whether you’re watching a premonition or reality at any given point.

The effects in the movie aren’t all that brilliant, with some of the CGI being pretty obvious. Now, if this was a low budget affair, then I’d be more than happy to overlook this, but at $70 million dollars, you think they could have done a little better. Then again, remember the effects in the last film with a $70m budget that I discussed? The ones in Next are far better than those, that’s for sure. To be honest, they’re not awful, but it just annoys me when directors insist on using CGI in films these days; like that scene in panic room where we go down through the floor and look around the ground floor of the house, and it’s all computer generated and looks shit – we liked that in Fight Club, David, because the point of Fight Club was that we were watching a movie, but that doesn’t mean it’ll work in every film you do! Go back to making Alien 3 or whatever it is you do

The acting in Next isn’t too shoddy, and most of the characters are fairly believable, to the extent they can be in an action movie. Nicholas Cage is, of course, playing Nicholas Cage, but then again, if you’re watching a film with him in then this is exactly what you expect. No-one watches a Seagal film expecting to see Seagal play any character other than the one he plays in every film he’s ever made, and likewise, you can always count on Nick Cage to be Nick Cage. Thomas Kretschmann puts in an appearance too, which is always a pleasant surprise. I first saw him act in the German language film “Downfall” (“Der Untergang”), and saw him turn up in a couple of things after (Blade 2, 24, Flashforward), but his performance in Rohtenburg (“Grimm Love” in the UK) as, essentially, Armin Mewes, cemented him in my brain as one of the great character actors of our generation, even if his talents are for the most part wasted in films like this and “Wanted”. To be able to take what was essentially bound to be a steaming turd of a movie, given it was a low budget horror by the director of the remake of “The Hills Have Eyes 2”, and turn it into a film where you genuinely cared about the two main characters and could really believe their relationship, impressed me greatly, and so Kretschmann and Thomas Huber have earned a certain amount of respect from me for that (Keri Russell didn’t impress me so much, but then again, she and Madeleine Stowe turned in such great performances in ‘We Were Soldiers’ that she could have starred in nothing else but post-Scary Movie Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer movies, and I’d still have to concede she can act.) As for the other parts in Next, Julianne Moore and Jessica Biel essentially play exactly the characters you expect them to be – it’s nothing special, but it’s not dire, either. It’s just the female roles in an action movie is all. Justice from Get Rich or Die tryin’ puts in a performance too, but again, this is a very standard affair. In fact, across the board, the acting is simply on a par with your typical action movie. Not great, but watchable.

What really makes this movie is the ending, which, as you have already guessed is a twist. What else would you expect from a movie based on source material by Philip K. Dick. As far as I’m aware, Paycheck is literally the only movie based on a story by him that doesn’t have a twist ending. I mean, we could call Philip K. Dick the Christopher Nolan of the Sci-Fi novel world: A Scanner Darkly, Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report ALL have twist endings (although whilst discussing Inception I got in an argument with one of my brother’s friends who would not accept that it’s entirely possible the last part of Minority Report is in Tom Cruise’s head as he’s held in the mind prison, just like some people still don’t get that in Total Recall when he says “I just had a horrible thought – what if this is all just a dream” that’s a pretty fucking big clue that it may all be a dream, even if you hadn’t already guessed it by then). Whilst this has nothing on the ending of A Scanner Darkly, which is genuinely one of the best endings I’ve seen in a long time, I still really enjoyed the twist at the end of Next, and feel that it is worth watching simply to see this.

The only other thing I really wanted to pick up on about the ending is that it is left a little too open. I liked the openness of the end, but at the same time, would have quite liked it if we could have found out why the terrorists were planning the attack in the first place. I get why we don't find this out, but it's just one of those things you like to know when watching a film. Then again, Philip K. Dick loves to fuck with everyone and not reveal everything, so I guess we can't really ask for a definitive reason behind the actions of the characters (think about Blade Runner - I watched the Directors cut, but apparently in the original there is a voice over which implies the lead replicant guy helped Deckard up at the end for a completely different reason, and apparently it doesn't fit so well with his dying monologue. This means there are two different interpretations available to explain why he acted as he did, just as there are two arguments about Deckard and his heritage, if you know what I'm talking about...)

That’s about it for this review, since I didn’t particularly notice the score (which, depending on the intention of the composers, could either mean it did its job perfectly or didn’t work very well at all), so I’ll just leave you with this: It’s an action film starring Nicholas Cage based on a Sci-fi book. If that sounds like the sort of thing you would like, you’ll love it. If that sounds like a heap of shit to you, then you’ll hate it. It is exactly what you expect it to be. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s no Blade Runner. It’s no “A Scanner Darkly”. But it is a decent action flick, and worth a watch if you’re a fan of Mr Coppola (not Francis-Ford).



Rating:

***

3 stars



A fairly enjoyable sci-fi action film with some fairly decent action and a relatively intelligent script behind it. Not Earth shattering by anyone’s standards, but certainly more acceptable to watch in public than Lazy Town Porn, no matter what your friends think of Nick Cage.



Voice





Just jumping back to Blade: Trinity for a second – has everyone heard Ryan Reynolds is single again? Sounds like my Christmas Wish is coming true ;)




Mmmmmm…

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

A Dual-Core Processed Banana (A Voice from the Pillow story)




It all started late one night when I was sitting in the Korova with Benny and Roman, drinking a tall glass of one percent milk and getting myself in the mood for a bit of the old ultra-blunt smoking.

“You know, they’re not gonna ID you at the bar” said Benny over his pint of Bitter “if you wanted, I’m sure you could order something a bit more, you know, manly...”

“I’m fine” I replied, taking a refreshing sip of the ice cold milk seated in my rooka “but I am up for a bit of the old ultra-blunt smoking, if you two gentlemen are similarly inclined?”

My Droogs nodded their approval, and began to see their drinks off. I raised my glass and skulled every last drop of the delicious milk into my golova, and down to my stomach.

“Well then, gentlemen” I said, reveling in the refreshing taste of my beverage “shall we?”

And with that, we headed off to meet Roman’s prestoopnick friends, in the hopes that we could exchange some of our government-sponged cutter for some of the finest ultra-blunt the night had to offer.

When we arrived at the house of the fabled prestoopnicks to find Roman’s droog Billyboy attempting a bit of the old up- down in front of a DVD of ‘Lazy Town’, a look of delight spread across the bizarre chelloveck’s chiseled litso as he imagined his rooker belonging to the pink haired teenager on the screen.


This is a Childrens show?


“My, my” I smiled, looking at the veck in amusement “that’s a bit of a malenki chelloveck you’ve got there, isn’t it?”

Billyboy jumped to his feet, clearly outraged that we would dare walk in on him whilst he was watching the pink-haired girl show off her tight, underage arse to her viewers.

“What the fuck are you doing here?” He bellowed, pulling up his trousers to conceal his smooka and it’s malenki friend.

“Billyboy!” shouted Roman as he entered the room “We wanna buy some weed!”

“I’m not selling any you Spic fuck!” Billyboy roared back at him, the anger showing in his eyes “not get the fuck out of here!”

“Not so fast” I responded, offended that we were being spurned because of his own foolishness “We’ve got some perfectly good cutter here to offer you, and I expect you to honour the code of the ultra-blunt sellers, and exchange this cutter for a quart of your very finest, lest we become displeased by your services”.

I saw his eyes dart to the cricket bat beside his sofa, as he gauged whether or not he could reach it before your humble narrator had the chance to engage him in a spot of Ultra-violence.

“A quarter?” He asked, clearly residing himself to the fact that he would not be able to reach his bat in time “that’s it?”

“That’s it.” I replied, and matched his gaze. He broke eye contact quickly, and moved over to a nearby drawer.

“Well, if it’ll get you arseholes out of here” he said, as he tossed me a bag of his finest ultra-skunk. I opened the soomka and took a whiff of the fine cheese smell the potent ultra-skunk was emitting, before giving Benny the nod to hand over our collective cutter. “It’s been a pleasure doing business with you Gentlemen.”

“Likewise” I responded “Enjoy Lazy Town”.

My Droogs and I left the building, and let Billyboy carry on with his Khorosho up-down antics.



Back in the Korova, my Droogs and I lit up a spliff each, and toasted over the finest milk the east-end has to offer.

“To my Droogs” I said “may we never run out of ultra-skunk!” and we knocked back our drinks, and chased them with a long drag each. As I did so, I noticed an attractive woman walk into the Korova, and sit on the table across from us. I flashed her a smile.

“What’s caught your attention?” asked Benny, who was busy blowing his second hand weed smoke up his Poodle’s nose.


I'm only gonna die from eating this chocolate... if I... accept it as inevitable... You know what I mean?


“Why, the Brunette with the perfect litso across the room, my Droog” I stated calmly, taking another drag off my ultra-blunt. My Droogs turned their attention to the girl.

“You don’t stand a chance with her, man” said Benny, inhaling yet another lungful of skunk, and preparing himself to exhale it into his Dog’s face once more.

“Sure I do” I said, standing “I’ll speak to you later, my Droogs, once I’m through with giving this khorosho specimen a taste of the old in-out.”

I could hear the two of them laughing behind my back as I approached her table, smoothing the creases out of my risp as I did so.

“Is this seat taken?” I asked, indicating the seat at her table directly opposite her.

“It is if you’ve only come over her to hit on me” she said, looking somehow unimpressed, despite the masculine figure standing before her. I sat down.

“My name’s Voice” I said, trying to sound as friendly as possible, and extending my hand to her “Voice DeLarge”.

“Emma.” She said, refusing to shake my hand.

“Well, Emma” I said, not deterred by her apparent frigidity “Would you like me to buy you a drink? The Korova’s milk here is quite excellent.”

“You want to buy me a drink of milk?” she enquired, apparently curious by my exquisite sense of taste.

“certainly” I said “nothing prepares ones body better for a bit of the old in-out than the vitamins one gets from a glass of milk”

I saw her smile fade before she even opened her mouth “I knew it” she said “that’s all you men are ever interested in. Sex. You know what, call me when you decide you’re gay. Until that day, leave me alone.” And she got up, and left the Korova. I took a deep breath to catch the last of her perfume still hanging in the air, then went to rejoin my droogs over at the other table.

“Told you she wouldn’t be interested” laughed Benny, smashed off his face on ultra-skunk and whiskey.

“How could you have let her get away, man? What are you, some kind of maracon?” asked Roman. Benny looked at him.

“What did you just call him?” he enquired.

“Maracon.” Replied Roman, still smoking on his ultra-blunt “It means Faggot.”

The two of them burst out laughing, and I felt something inside of me rise. A thirst; for ultra-violence.

“Well, my Droogs, you certainly have my number” I laughed with them, placing my hand on Roman’s shoulder “perhaps we should vacate the Korova for the time being, and see if we can find ourselves a little more ultra-skunk elsewhere?”

The two of them voiced their agreements, and fairly soon we were outside, walking along Southsea pier. As we walked along the rustic pier, I was calm on the outside, but thinking all the time. So now it was to be “voice the faggot”, not listening when told what to do; and my Droogs laughing at me like mindless grinning bulldogs. And suddenly I bidded, that thinking was for the Gloopy ones, and that the omni ones used like, inspiration and what bogs ends. For now it was lovely music that came to my aid; there was a window open with the stereo on, and the uber-cool rap stylings of Will Smith’s ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ filled the area; and I viddied right at once what to do.

“Roman?” I enquired “I was wondering if you could tell me what the capital of Thailand is?”

“That’s easy” he laughed, still thinking me Gloopy. “Bangkok.”

And with that, I smashed the fist of my rooka into his soomka, and watched him reel in pain as the shock went all the way up his body to his golova. He leaped backward from me, screaming in agony, and as he did so went over the railings of the pier, and into the water. I rounded on Benny, who was staring slack-jawed at the scene, and pump-kicked him to the chest, sending him over the barriers as well. I watched as my droogs thrashed, and writhed in the water, and vowed that were they to ever get out of line again, there could be no greater form of punishment than this.


I stand corrected.




About an hour later, we were sitting in the Korova again. I handed Roman my ultra-blunt after just two puffs, and told him he could finish it. An omni leader knows not only when to punish a dog, but also when to compromise, so it will not bite him out of spite in years to come. I poured Benny a shot of Gold-top milk from the two gallon container I had bought for the table.

“So, all is squared away now, and we need never speak of this again, right?” I asked. The two of them simply nodded. “excellent” I said, and rolled my remaining ultra-skunk into a spliff, and began to smoke it. Suddenly, the manager of the Korova appeared behind me.

“Are you smoking weed in my establishment?” he bellowed, snatching the dope out of my hand. “Where did you get this from?” he screamed.

“He grows it himself” said Roman from across the table “perhaps you should call the police?”

“You bastard!” I shouted as I dodged the manager’s grabbing hands and made for the door “betrayed by my own Droogs! How could you?”

And with that, I ran out into the street, and off into the night.



By the time I got home, I was tired, and decided that a bit of good old fashioned up-down was in order, so I switched on my computer, and began watching a video of two chellovecks doing the old in-out to a rather attractive woman from each end. I began to tug on my malenky droog as I watched, and felt the excitement surge throughout my body. As I was about to spit some korova juice onto my rooka, however, one of the vecks on the video let his juice spray over the face of the girl, as the man behind was still going at it. I watched this happen, and noticed that some of his veck-juice had missed her face, and flown over her shoulder onto the other chelloveck’s leg. As I saw this, I couldn’t help but think of the Russell Brand live skit in which he describes doing the exact same thing to a friend in a 3some, and having his friend chase him around the room trying to spunk on his leg out of revenge. And that’s when it happened, I let my Veck-juice spray; whilst thinking of Russell Brand being jazzed on by another man.

At first this did not bother me too much. Yes, it was weird, but no-one needed to know. However, over the next few nights, every time I tried to do the old up-down, I would find myself thinking of Russell Brand just at the moment I let my veck-juice spray, and this began to concern me. After 2 weeks of this, I started to become ill when thinking of doing the old in-out to a woman, and could only get my malenki droog excited when thinking of Russell Brand. I decided to see a counselor.

“Oh dear” he said, as I explained the situation. “My dear boy, it seems you have performed a sort of masturbatory reconditioning on yourself, a branch of aversion therapy which revolves around the individual masturbating for prolonged periods whilst thinking about an inappropriate stimulus without coming, to associate the pain and boredom of masturbation without climax with the subject they are imagining, whilst picturing appropriate stimulus as they come, to associate pleasure with that stimulus. Unfortunately, you seem to have gotten them mixed up, and now associate heterosexual sex with pain and boredom, and Russell Brand with the feeling of climax”.

“Is there any way you can fix it?” I enquired, and he shook his head.

“No, I’m afraid not. Recidivism of sex offenders is so greatly reduced post-masturbatory reconditioning because it is such an effective treatment. I’m afraid your only option is to live out the rest of your life as a homosexual with a strong preference to guys who look like Russell Brand.”

“Could I not get aversion therapy to put me off homosexual sex?” I asked, hopefully.

“Of course” he responded “but it would not prevent you from being sick at the thought of heterosexual sex, but would merely make your body react violently to both, and to be honest, it's probably better to enjoy gay sex than none at all. At least, that's what your dad tells me.”

I stared at him in a state of shock. My world had just come crashing down around me. My Droogs were right all along.




I left the hospital soon after, and walked along Southsea common to the pier. My days of doing the in-out on women were over. From here on out, it looked like the only way I could ever stand to do in-out without making myself hurt so badly I screamed for the sweet release of death would be if I had sex with Russell Brand. I stared into the sea, wondering whether or not to jump, when a hand grabbed me from behind.

“Voice!” said a voice, and I turned to see my old Droogs standing behind me, holding porn magazines.

“We just stole these from that Atar newsagent” said benny, holding one up to me “What do you think?”

As I stared at 19 year-old Kelly from Essex, standing on the cover with her perfect 36C breasts on display, my first instinct was to grab a hold of her titties and motorboat them, but just as I thought this, I felt the sickness begin to rise in my stomach to my throat, and the pain began to burn. I screamed out in agony, and collapsed, writhing on the floor as Roman had done when I kicked him into the ocean those 2 weeks ago. Roman and Benny looked down at me.

“Should we take him to a hospital?” asked Benny, sounding genuinely concerned.

“HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN HE PUNCHED ME IN THE FUCKING COCK?” Replied Roman, scathingly. Come on, let’s just dump his head in that water trough over there and go bowling, or something.


And they did.



Fucking Spanish people and their bowling...




I awoke hours later as a feminine hand touched my golova, and I rose out of unconsciousness to see the girl Emma from the bar standing over me, in what appeared to be a bedroom in a country house.

“Where am I?” I asked.

“You’re safe” she said. I found you passed out in a water trough, and brought you home. I heard all about you in the news.”

“I was in the news?” I enquired.

“Oh yes” she responded sweetly “you’re the boy who gave himself aversion therapy by thinking about Russell Brand whilst masturbating. It’s a massive story, I’ve been following it quite intently.” I made a mental note to scratch that therapist off my Christmas card list, and look into the exact rules regarding patient-doctor confidentiality.

“What makes me so interesting now?” I asked her, and she smiled again.

“You’re living proof that Russell Brand is an evil man, who needs to be stopped. He has taken the pleasure out of sex for you with anyone but himself, just like George Clooney did to his ex-girlfriend, and we can use this as evidence that he should be scrubbed from the face of our world once and for all!”

I lay back, thinking about this for a while. She could clearly see I was tired.

“Is there anything I can get you?” she asked, her perfect lips looking so enticing. I felt the sickness begin to rise again as I thought this. “Yes, a glass of milk, please” I thought, wanting to wash the bile down. I didn’t, however, realize what effect this would have on her.

“Milk?” she asked, shocked.

“Yes” I answered “Milk. Korova Moloko. Do you have any?”

“My God!” she whispered “You’re the creepy guy from the bar who was hitting on me!”

“Yes” I said “I wanted to know if you were up for a bit of the old in-out. Why?”

“Oh, no reason.” She said, standing upright and averting her gaze slightly. “May I ask you a question?”

“Go ahead” I answered, figuring she was making such an effort to keep me well, it couldn’t hurt to answer any questions she may have.

“Well, I was wondering, what does it feel like when you think about heterosexual sex?”

“Oh, it’s horrible” I replied “I get this terrible sickness in my stomach, that boils up into my throat, and chokes the air out of me. And my head feels like it’s splitting with the pain. If I’m honest with you, it makes me feel… like I want to die.”

“I see” she said, clearly pondering something “here, let me get your milk”.

She left the room, and I heard the door lock behind her. Moments later, I heard a sound being pumped into the room through a speaker-system. It was the sounds of two women having sex.

“STOP IT!” I screamed as I felt the sickness rise once more. “PLEASE STOP” I shouted out to her “I’M BEGGING YOU! STOP IT, PLEASE!” the sounds continued to play, and I felt as though my intestines were about to burst through the wall of my abdomen, and spill all over the floor. My head felt like it was burning at a thousand degrees and my limbs felt like they had been crushed with sledgehammers. The sounds didn’t stop. I knew what had to be done. I climbed over to the window, and rolled out. I fell 30 feet, and everything went black.



NOT like that...




I awoke in hospital to see David Cameron sitting at my bedside.

“My Cameron I said, surprised “what are you doing here?”

“Well, Voice” he answered “I heard about your case in the new, and decided we couldn’t just sit by and let something like this happen to a member of the public who is registered to vote, so I pulled some strings at the NHS and, well, you’re cured.”

I looked up at him in awe. “I’m cured?” I asked “I’m really cured?”

“Certainly” he replied “good as new. In fact, thanks to you we’ve managed to ban Russell Brand from ever entering our country again. The nation owes you a terrific amunt, Voice. Especially Andrew Sachs.”

“Well, thank you sir” I said “Thank you very much.”

“No problem kid” he responded. “By the way, do you mind if I take this opportunity for a photo-op?”

“Not at all” I said “carry on.”

He smiled. “Great” he said, turning to face the cameramen in the corner “Come on over and get a picture of us, then.”

A hundred camera flashes went off as the Prime minister shook my hand in an attempt to get publicity for his next election. But I didn’t mind that he was whoring me out. In fact, I smiled, a broad cheesy grin. The kind of grin you get when you imagine yourself riding Ellen Page as the entire cast of The Trailer Park Boys looks on; because that’s what I was doing. I was back. I was cured…




Oh yes, I was very definitely cured ;)





Voice



This post is dedicated to Stanley Kubrick, one of the greatest film-makers of our time. R.I.P



The other 2 stories involving Benny and Roman can be found here and here.