Monday, August 28, 2017

I think I know why

I think I've cracked why I hate new movies so much.


It's all comes down to a sense of perspective in the end. I came to this realisation while watching the original remastered Star Trek series. It's wonderfully schlocky, (by today's perspective) misogynist, and yet, I was enthralled. How could that be? Well, it comes down to the wonders of imagination, characters, heady subjects, strong plots and competent and logical progression. Spock would be pleased. It was not because I was captivated by the set design - although it does still hold up surprisingly well - it was because they had well-realised and starkly individualised characters. I would think that if Bones were to be cast today he would be as a 20-something ex Days Of Our Lives automaton who was vetoed for his sex appeal rather than as the best choice for the role. I don't think even Leonard Nimoy would be spared. And herein lies the problem.

Where once we had characters, actors and stories at the forefront of the directors and producer's list, they now focus on CGI, mass-market appeal and a movie which is more geared towards making a good trailer than a story we care about. Even fairly gifted directors like Ridley Scott have not yet realised this lesson - even though he has had more than enough time to do so. He still puts out pretty amazing-looking trailers ... but pretty poor films which most people hate due to their lack of coherent plot, believable characters or a film which makes any sense in the end. Unfortunately I don't think this current trend is going to subside any time soon, so all we can do now is simply look to the past for solace and remember a time when stories, characters and plot were still revered. It could quite be that movies of yore were forced to do this simply because they couldn't use the visual spectacle to curtail our ability to identify a stupid plot or poorly-realised characters.

So, given what we have learned, directors could simply drop the production value so we can forgive their failures as writers - or at least give a passing grade. And this is why The Room is so good ... because it's so bad. You have your out, Hollywood. I've given you a way of even further maximising your ROI, eh?

Monday, August 21, 2017

Hollowness incorporated

I'm not quite sure how Rogue One got it so wrong. Somehow they made an action film which caused me to seriously question why I had ever been born. When the most charismatic character in the show is a flagrantly gay and sarcastic robot, you know there are problems. The main character is played by 'Soup strainer' as I like to refer to her; an English actress with the most unfortunate set of teeth. She puts the yundun yook girl to shame, much to Mick Jagger's daughter's chagrin.

Image result for rogue one meme

Then we have a collection of nondescript characters, Asian actors (for the sole purpose of marketing in China), a boring plotline (which we already know the punchline) ... and AT-ST's!!! Everyone has a dead expression, with no personality and no sense of urgency to any of their actions. The video review for the previous link (once you get past the bludgeoned joke introduction) aligns horribly well with my views. Where they give it an ehhh, I give it a do not watch. You should not watch this and your life will be all the better for it. In comparison to The Force Awakens, this is terrible. In hindsight I'd rather watch a horrible clone of A New Hope many times over. Now we have the wonderful cash grab Star Wars expansion of the new Adventures of Han Solo which has all signs pointing to it being a great success. I have to wonder what Disney is getting out of this enterprise (outside of money). At what point do they as a company question whether what they are doing is truly of benefit to the general public. At this point all I want Disney to do is bankrupt themselves and all this film ends up doing is making me regret that this franchise was ever created.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

De-dumb your life

Now, before you think I've Americanized myself to such a point that I am comfortable with making up words, I have a point: How many times have you seen a poster with 'De-stress your life'? Does it make you more stressed just reading it? If so, I've got a helpful suggestion the next time you're responsible for writing a motivational poster.

Related image
Using negative words prefixed with a de or an un on the front is wrong

For those of you hard-of-thinking, I'll give you the alternate and correctly-framed sentence: 

'Relax your life'

See? Isn't that so much nicer to read and, more importantly, sits nicely in your head? You're not thinking about stress but you're more focussed on how much nicer it would be to relax a little more. Now, I've read a number of motivational books and, for the most part, they're a little too much like faith than practical advise but I did gain a few take-aways; namely that using positive words internally and externally will result in you being more positive and that using (what boils down to) a chakra each morning will start you off on the right foot. I think those elements do work and you will feel better if you avoid negative words and words which are not conducive to your well-being. On second thoughts, I can re-frame the sentence completely to be even more motivational:

'Aim for your best but remember to still enjoy the ride along the way'

Maybe it's not as pithy but I do think it's better, don't you?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Transgressing the standards

I watched Wonder Woman last night and it was okay. There were moments in it that I enjoyed and there were moments that I didn't and, yet, I cannot help feeling a cynical distaste that they were merely check-boxes on an imaginary build list on how to make a relatively competent movie.

Now, as you may already know, I've got a selective taste. One where upside down is despised, Frequencies is appreciated and Bucky Larson is adored. To which, most of you would probably respond with, huh? How is it that Bucky Larson gets a thumbs up while being, quite clearly, a terrible film? I'm not sure ...  but I would like to think that this video from Vox goes a long way to explaining why: 


But, now, back to why I was indifferent about Wonder Woman. I think one of the main issues I had was that Gal Gadot was miscast in the lead role. Her acting ability is very limited and she was unable to create a character which was either charismatic or interesting. Yes, she looked very striking in her vogue cover girl make-up but that's not enough to sustain my interest over the course of a 2+ hour movie. The funny part is that the younger versions of her earlier in the movie conveyed a lot more character and personality than the final product. Make no mistake: Wonder Woman (and every other franchise) are merely products designed to separate you from your money. As the producers / owners of this movie, they would like to try and point out that little girls finally have a strong female role-model to look up to - but that is just silly. I'll give you just a small list of present-day strong female leads/heroes/ass-kickers: Black Widow, Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider/Salt/Wanted, Gamora (from Guardians of the Galaxy), Lucy, Super Girl,  Hit-Girl (from Kick-ass) ... and plenty more. From my vantage point, it seems pretty clear that strong female leads are pretty well-catered for - it's just that marketeers like to try and confuse us with statements to the contrary. Could it be that I'm simply being sexist because I didn't love the movie? Scientist man says otherwise.

I guess the problem I have with most big films today is that the plots are actually approached very scientifically. I will now divulge the blockbuster hero formula:

  • If it's the first in the blockbuster film series, it will *always* be an origin film and spoon-fed to the audience so they're not too confused while they engorge their gallon of coke
  • There will always be an unexplained element of the origin story which will always be resolved by the end of the film
  • If the protagonist is from another country/world/time, there will be classic fish-out-of-water humor inserted
  • Whatever the main protagonists' main character traits are, there will be contrasting side-characters there to counter-balance those traits (e.g. naive vs worldly wise, rambunctious vs cautious etc.)
  • There will always be humorous side-kicks to distract the audience from the boring / limited acting range of the main character
  • There will be a 'you had the power inside you all along' moment
  • The arch-nemesis will always be one-dimensional and driven to do bad things ... because reasons
  • Slow motion is your friend
  • The End of the world plot is your friend
  • The final 10 minutes will be a CGI excrement-fest, with smoke, wind, lightning and random explosions that will frighten small children
Notable examples: both Guardians of the galaxy films, Wonder Woman, Thor, Hulk, Avengers, Black Panther (one would presume), Green Lantern, Brave, Captain America, Iron Man 2, The Force Awakens.

In all honesty, I did extract some enjoyment from Wonder Woman ... but it almost feels like I was forced down that path through subversive mentalist techniques. It's getting to a point where it feels like we're moving towards mass-brainwashing; where the intended agenda is prefaced years in advance so that finally, upon its release, the only possible assessment you could ever settle upon is one of complete adulation and acceptance because public media told me so**. I can't be the only one, can I?

**or else I'm obviously prejudice towards some under-represented minority

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Cover reveal and release date!

Things are looking good for my next book. So good, in fact that I can now do a cover and book title reveal!


So, the official title for the next book is
Zed: Walking the Dead
and the current release date is tentatively set at 
March 11th

Let me know what you think of the cover for my new novel in the comments section. I am very happy and very excited to see what you make of this novel. I feel it is my best and hopefully you will too.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Harrison Ford has lived too long

For any original Star Wars fan, they will be undoubtedly aware of Carrie Fisher's (nee Princess Leia) passing. Unfortunately this was not enough to thwart the release of The Force Awakens but, at least, we won't be having her cameo in any future films, will we? 

Image result for rogue one princess leia
Computer graphics have yet to surpass the Uncanny Valley
I stand corrected. Unfortunately I can categorically declare that Harrison has lived too long. We have been subjected to a rehash of his role in Indiana Jones (the horror), The Force Awakens (such pretty horror) and apparently we will soon be subjected to a disappointing rendition of an aging blade-runner attempting to interact coherently alongside the talented Ryan Gosling's antics. One would expect Gosling to play out the role as an emotionless rendition of a blade-runner from Brooklyn. 

Trey Parker is a goddamn soothsayer by this point. It's not that I don't want to have Harrison Ford acting - I just don't want him raping the good will of the films that had made him successful in the first place. Apparently I am in the minority on this as I haven't yet noted the expected droves of people shrieking in horror at the announcement / release of these films. Even if I have the tiniest of inclinations to see these abortive cash-ins, I cannot rightly support this. We are all dumber for wanting to watch or, dare I say it, enjoy them. I watched The Force Awakens (for free) recently and even with a steady stream of Rum flowing through my veins I was unable to extract any enjoyment from the experience. The film was a hollow facsimile of A New Hope with a story which held no gravitas or emotional weight. At this point I liken Star Wars to the abusive husband who promises not to hit you but still does.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I am over-franchised

Do you tire of seeing your favourite stars wearing their underpants on the outside? Have you tired of lense flares and played-out death-to-the-known-universe scenarios? Have your eyes bored at the next PG-rated infinite unobtainiumed star-destroying pile of money-grubbing merchandised-to-the-hilt pile of crap? If so, welcome to the club. You may have just reached a point where you are looking for something a little less soul-suckingly uninspired.

Is it just me or is it really irritating when every enemy/bum/love interest/arch nemesis is somehow related to everyone in a disturbing 2 degrees of Kevin Bacon. That just smacks of lazy writing and a general complacency to dumb things down for the ADD generation. Hey, at least they're not catering for the Pepsi Generation (whatever that means).


There are exceptions, of course. Movies like Deadpool did their best to eschew the standard fare while riding the coat tails of a well-trodden path. It was at its best when it was breaking the fourth wall and noting all the stupid things that it and other movies were doing - even if it's a little too easy to follow the wink-wink path. I think I became a real fan of Ryan Reynolds after he did an interview/roasts with himself after receiving the GQ Man of the Year award.

Maybe I'm just tired of the nefarious higher-ups focussing solely on maximising potential ROI rather than introspectively asking themselves: what would truly entertain/distract the drones to enough-of-a-degree that they will not thwart my plans to take over the world? Maybe the visage is slipping to a point where I am able to see past the curtain to the actual underworkings of Hollywood. Or maybe I just need a few more 'splosions and 'member berries to keep me from waking up. Speaking of which: 'member when movies were good?