Archive for January, 2008

Beadle’s Not About

January 31, 2008

Napoleon’s post prompted this mini-tribute. 

In memory of bearded funster, Jeremy Beadle. May God have mercy on his mischievous soul.

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Grand Designs

January 30, 2008

Kevin McCloud 

Digital T.V. is ace, especially free digital telly. The combination of the history channel and Dave means a chap can watch either a program about the Nazis or some macho broadcast about survival in a jungle at almost any time of day.

In the afternoons on Dave you can watch porky survivalist Ray Mears learning to bludgeon a deer to death with it’s own antlers in the traditional Navaho way. In-between bouts of Ray terrorising the local animal population and turning them into wicker spoons, there are lots of adverts. Long strings of dull adverts for manly things, because Dave is the channel for blokes, but still adverts none the less. I hate watching adverts so I switch over to another channel while they are running and watch something else.

That’s how I first got caught by Grand Designs – like members of the Who or mildly creepy comedians, I didn’t mean to get into this horrible perversion – it just sort of happened.

I should hate everything about Grand Designs. If someone at a party starts talking about their kitchen, I have to fight the urge to scribble on their face with a pen. Property bores the pants off me so much that I think about buy-to-let mortgages as an aid to delay ejaculation. Just entering Ikea or Homebase brings me out in a murderous rage that can only be placated by gin and Swedish meatballs.

The people on it are terrible. Smug middle-class types who have spent a life of wealthy mediocrity in a large detached house outside Surbiton are suddenly filled with hubris and a compulsion to build some monstrosity out of baked bean tins and concrete as a way of finally expressing themselves before they die.

They fret over window-fittings and spend thousands of pounds getting a shower that is just the right shape. One couple spent thousands having the interior of their house spray-painted to get just the right texture on their walls – and then used wallpaper instead.

It is everything I hate in an hour slot, but I can’t stop watching it. At first I watch the show with a sneer on my face, occasionally flicking Vs at the screen just to show how much I hate everyone in it, but after only five minutes I’m hooked, like the bitch that I am.

I really hope their build doesn’t go massively over-budget when they decide to get the cat flap made out of Tuscan Marble, I’ll think. Sometimes I jump for joy when they find that the asymmetric windows made from recycled spam fit in their oblong shaped floating bathroom.

I hate that I love it so much and that I’d do anything for another fix of it. Now, when I watch Ray on Dave, it’s only so I can switch over to Grand Designs and fret over if Mr and Mrs Grape-nuts have chosen the right shade of mauve for their Mock-Colonial mansion made out of old biscuits.

Thank God You’re Here

January 28, 2008

Thank God You're Here

Thank God You’re Here is a new effort by ITV to put some decent comedy about. They succeeded with Harry Hill’s TV Burp, which for my money is the only laugh out loud thing on TV at the moment. Actually – not ‘for my money’ at all as it’s on ITV – it’s more ‘for my ability to sit through a series of rubbish thirty second adverts every fifteen minutes’.

Anyhow, Thank God You’re Here is hosted by Paul Merton, an old hand when it comes to improvisational comedy. TGYH involves well-known comedy faces walking onto a set in a costume. Actors, in character, are ready for them and set the scene immediately, enabling the hapless arrivals to attempt to seamlessly fit in and find their role. Obviously, with no preparation, this can be pretty amusing as the improvisers attempt to steer the situation in their own direction.

Featuring on Saturday were Marcus Brigstocke, the current Mr Show-Me-The-Money of television, having taken up Jimmy Carre’s crown when he decided to do that rubbish news parody thing with Trevor Mc Trevor McDonald. He did alright, thrown into a situation where he was a surgeon reporting on a child’s progress. More impressive was Phil Nichol, an American comedian who dealt impressive with the Wild West scenario he found himself in, managing to develop his character as a gay, fashion-obsessed outlaw who’d just returned from Milan. Bizarre, but impressive. Lee Mack was my favourite of the night, responding in his usual dry manner to being a bronze Olympic medallist who was giving a presentation to a school room. I laughed at all these bits.

Sadly it all fell down a peg or two when Coronation Street’s Fizz took to the stage. It’s not often the viewer can honestly say ‘I could do better than that’, unless they’re watching Paul Robinson on international duty. Or, as in this case, Fizz off of The Street trying to be funny. She died.

Peculiarly, Paul Merton also fell apart when taking to the stage as a clown being interrogated by a Ringmaster. His improvisation wraps up the show and is clearly an attempt at rounding things up professionally. Sadly, the actor he was meant to bounce off barked questions at him so quickly he’d have had trouble coming up with anything other than half a one-liner. A half-liner, if you like.

That’s the only weakness in this pretty diverting hour – the fact that the constructed situations can be a little too restrictive. It’s hard to know what limits to put on the actors, but I suppose it’s best they’re not allowed to drift off as they did in the woeful latter days of Whose Line Is It Anyway. But a bit more freedom for talented types like Nichol and Mack would’ve made this comedy gold.

On reflection, I watched this whilst seven pints deep on a Saturday night, so don’t take my word for it being alright. I’ll laugh at a potato when I’m half cut, so it may well be utterly unloveable poo. I once laughed at an episode of Friends, but we’ll blame that on the vicious strain of sensimellia my mate had skinned up a few minutes previous to the telly being flicked on. Also, that episode featured a monkey, which further excuses me.

I Am Legend

January 27, 2008

Vaguely spoilerish in places

The opening scene of I Am Legend is brilliant, absolutely brilliant. In spooky American-TV-o’vision you get a faux news clip featuring an uncredited Emma Thompson as a scientist who claims to have cured cancer. She explains how she has evolved the idea of inoculation to use the ravaging effects of the cancer disease to her advantage, how she has reversed the traits of the virus and has created a seemingly foolproof counter to mankind’s greatest killer – and then the screen goes black. It’s an amazing opening. Chilling, dramatic and unnerving, it immediately presents you with a terrific sense of foreboding and despair as you know that this great leap forward can only end badly…

And it does, for when we fade back in we are in a desolate and empty New York City… Times Square has become abandoned and overgrown, the bright lights have faded and died, cars are let to rust and there is an eerie silence that is rarely heard in even the vow-silenced monestary. Something has gone quite horribly wrong. Like I say, it’s a brilliant opening.

Will Smith plays Will Smith. Well, he doesn’t. He plays Will Smith being somebody else with a different name, but he’s quite clearly Will Smith. There are moments when he tries really hard not to be Will Smith, and those moments are sometimes good, but even then you can’t help but think “wow, look how well Will Smith is pretending not to be Will Smith. That must mean he’s a really good actor.” Luckily I like Will Smith, so I enjoyed his pretending and thought it great that he was pretending so hard.

Where was I? Oh yes. So Will Smith is pretending to be a viral biologist army man, which is really useful as he was in charge of New York before everything went wrong AND is the only person in the world who is immune to the virus… think about that for a second! The only person in the world! And he is overwhelmingly qualified to sort it out! That is so lucky for Will Smith! You see, the virus killed most of the world and turned the rest into pigmented albino ‘dark seekers;’ a kind of litigation denying vampire that is medically explainable in it’s aversion to sunlight and while Will Smith has the rule of the roost in daylight, they control the night-time where they run amok and generally eat anything that moves.

So Will Smith is the last human being on Earth. All he once knew has gone and been replaced with CGI; there’s CGI animals, and CGI devastation, and CGI zombies, and CGI cars, and CGI spinning helicopters and CGI people and so much goddamned CGI (even his favourite movie – Shrek – is CGI) that you really begin to empathise with his characters solitude as it must be lonely living on a fucking greenscreen.

By day he hunts CGI deer, and by night he hides from CGI zombies in the bathroom, clinging to his beloved dog Sam (who, in a late developing twist you discover is really a Samantha and just about the biggest surprise in the film – after all, you couldn’t have Will Smith’s emotional support a male character – that’d be too gay).

After about 45 minutes of really hard pretending not to see the CGI, the zombies suddenly overcome all their previously attributed characteristics and start attacking Will Smith. This is ludicrous for several reasons; that they look like the hilariously bad CGI Scorpion King from The Mummy Returns and are totally unscary, that they make traps and cunning plans while supposedly feral and having lost “all traces of being human” and the audience was kind of digging the slow vibe and this has totally lost their attention. The zombies are the worst thing in this movie, a needless CGI interference that tears you out of whatever zen state you were in. These lithe, athletic, sprightly shadows are a laughable foe and totally undermine whatever serious levels of pretending the filmmakers were going for.

Will Smith fights CGI for a while longer, then his dog dies and a couple of Jesus freaks turn up and try to convince him of a settlement colony, then Will Smith denies God – which is like, a whole new level of pretending because to pretend to not believe in God is, like, an indication of HOW FAR his character has fallen… then another inexplicable plot points kicks in and the general murmuring that was in the cinema before becomes a chorus of “WHAT?” as the ending suddenly happens and there’s this overwhelming sense of disappointment.

As you check the credits, you see that Emma Thompson isn’t there. Then you realise that she knows, like you now do, that her part was the best bit and to be associated with any other part would be a discredit.

This film was first kicked into production in 1995. It has gone though numerous big name producers, writers, directors and stars – including Michael Bay, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ridley Scott and the Oscar winning Akiva Goldsman. After 12 years and that much talent this is the best they can come up with. I Am Legend? I Am Bollocks, more like.

One Minute Review: Crimewatch

January 24, 2008

 Crimewatch

Dear the BBC (You bastards),

Can you please, on behalf of the British people, make Crimewatch the same as it was before you buggered about with it? Y’see, last night’s edition was:

  • Fronted by a Scotch woman (too many Celts on the telly, far too many).
  • Co-presented by a man who looked like he had cancer, with a name.
  • I can’t pronounce (Anrahallyawallyaawaa … see?).
  • Infested by some musclebound superman cop who kept looking at the camera and saying something just ‘didn’t add up’.
  • Full of crazy music and camera angles.
  • Full of reconstructions presented by real policemen (i.e. people who wouldn’t know how to present a TV show if you shoved it up their arse).
  • Always going on about its fancy new website.

Can we just have it back to the way it was? Y’know, the Crimewatch that’s:

  • Presented by the reassuringly English Nick Ross.
  • Co-presented by a woman with a nice face and only a 23% of being murdered by either gangland criminals or mad people who live in her neighbourhood.
  • Full of reconstructions with voiceovers by either the dependable Ross, or his shapely female co-presenter (and possibly mistress).
  • Got DC Jackie Haines in it doing whatever it was she did.
  • Has that bald copper with the muffled voice doing the photo-fits.
  • Got him off of the Antiques Roadshow showing us the fancy goods villains have been nicking from the more well-to-do.

Can you do that? Because, y’see, you’ve made Crimewatch all fancy now, and that’s shit. I don’t want a shit Crimewatch – I just want Crimewatch, the way it was.

ON THE MURDERED BONES OF JILL DANDO, THE BBC, I COMMAND THEE TO MAKE CRIMEWATCH BE LIKE IT WOT ONCE WAS, LIKE.

Cheers!

Napoleon.

Scouting For Girls – Elvis Ain’t Dead

January 22, 2008

The video starts with an 8-year-old boy getting out of bed; suddenly he’s playing the keyboards!! Actually, for someone of his age he’s jolly good (if he’s not miming to his dad doing it!) I bet he’ll be going to stage school when he’s older, even if he is miming!!! Ahahahahaj (really, he’s a good mime, but he may actually be doing it!!! Ar har).

There are parts when the boy is singing and frowning and being all-serious and between you and me, like he’s playing with his willie very fast, but he’s not, he’s just playing the keyboards! Phew, I bet his mum was pleased, I should imagine she’d be jolly cross if he was doing that sort of thing. Not that there would be any mess, I don’t think he’s old enough. Lets not think about that as it’s disgusting and people like that should be killed.

Anyway, we see the boy out and about on his own – this was nerve-racking for me because I’m not sure if he knows about the Green Cross Code yet – and this is where things get a bit dark. He’s still frowning and looks a little confused. This made me sad 😦

I hope he gives Childline a telephone-call. Poor boy. What if his mum hasn’t given him change for the phone box? Arrrgghhhh, danger.

I didn’t like this video because it made me feel sad and I was worried the boy might be sad as well 😦 The music of this boy isn’t very good either and it isn’t realistic. Also, I couldn’t understand what the boy was trying to do??? But he’s still very good at playing the keyboards for a boy (or miming ahahahahahahashi;)

Btw, Elvis is dead so this boy is a porky-pie liar as well. My mum H8’s lyers (liars)

BYE

Come Dine With Me

January 21, 2008

I’ve been sitting on my appreciation of this particular show for quite some time, but I can contain it no longer. It’s time for the walk of shame. Like a voluminous fart, finally released with great relief after a day spent with the in-laws, the truth must out.

I really, really like Come Dine With Me.

What’s more, if I’m wasting Sunday the way Sunday is meant to be wasted, I can’t resist the temptation – flicking over to More4 in the early afternoon, bracing myself for the Come Dine With Me marathon. All the cool kids will be doing it soon enough. It can’t just be me who becomes heavily immersed in a series of filmed dinner parties on the day of rest, every week?

Two and a half hours (ie – five episodes condensed) sounds heavy going, but the show is so heavy with filler and catch-up that it’s almost as if you’re not watching television. You’re just being fed a series of easily consumed baby-food spoonfuls.

As with all reality TV, this is heavily edited to make it as amusing as possible and to imply that, over the course of a three-course meal, something uproarious occurred every five minutes. But it’s reality TV that makes no attempt to prove its integrity. That fact is confirmed when you consider Grub Smith (that bloke who used to do the sex columns for FHM) does the voiceover, which plays continuously throughout. He spends the entire time mocking the diners. As you comment ‘you don’t look like you need an extra portion, love’, Smith’s voice will say the exact same thing a millisecond later, like some weird pre-delayed echo.

The fact that five strangers are forced to meet every weekday meeting in a single week is really what makes it all work. In the same way Wife Swap pits complete opposites against one another and waits for a spark, CDWM shoves members of the public together willy-nilly and makes them converse, eat, cook, fight, moan and drunkenly flirt on five consecutive evenings, as they wallow in the boozy claustrophobia of the exercise. In fact, it becomes so oppressive that the final cook is always at a disadvantage. By day five the contestants are all so hungover and overfed that being marked down is inevitable. Add to that the arguments they’ll have had, usually starting on Day Two, and the final cook is never going to come first.

On yesterday’s marathon we saw a fat, pretentious twat called Pippa cook what was meant to be a chicken pie for the diners, though, alas, she forgot to put the chicken in before baking. When one of her guests arrived at 6.15 – 15 minutes early, she was made to wait in the cold rather than being welcomed in with a glass of warm booze. I’d have put a brick through her window if she’d done that to me.

Stuart was another contestant, his menu evidence that he still inhabited the brain of a pissed student. The less said about his bacon and egg korma, the better, I feel.

He came equal last with Vera (the diner left out in the cold by that rotund bell-end, Pippa). Vera was a lovely old, no-nonsense boiler who, when making a compote, took some strawberry jam and added a bit of tap water. Genius. She was docked a whole heap of points when her little dog walked into the dining area, trumped out a killer fart and then waddled off, ruining everyone’s’ meal. Who needs words?

Paul should’ve won it. He made the best food, extremely well presented, but his bravado was probably his downfall. He ended up losing to Craig, a bizarre contradiction of a man. An androgynous student, South African but with an Etonian accent, part Prince Harry, part Mark Almond, I didn’t really know what or who he was. I think he managed to win by insisting he was allergic to everything including crockery, whilst confusing everyone to the point they could only see a disapproving blur when they looked at him.

He won the £1,000 prize but really, he’s the ultimate loser. He was bullied by a drunken Pippa into arranging a date, despite their 20-year age difference and obvious incompatibility. The thought of his skinny frame enveloped by her rolls of white flesh is quite enough to put anyone off their three-course dinner.

One Minute (and a bit) Review: Skins trailer

January 18, 2008

I managed about two and a half minutes of the previous series of Skins. It was hyped to the point where the viewer was led to expect Wim Wenders levels of production and cinematography. What you actually got was a budget version of Hollyoaks, except – ooooh, edgy – the kids occasionally talked unconvincingly about drugs and sex. Call me a stuck-in-the-past bore, but even as a kid I think I would have hated it, considered it unrealistic shit and followed up this thought process by yelling at my parents and drinking Cinzano in a shed.

So now series number two is upon us and even those of us who don’t watch it have to endure the fucking advert being replayed over and over and over and over and over again during every commercial break.

The Radiohead song that accompanys the trailer is quite classy. The first time. By the fifteenth it’s the sound of a cat being castrated over a spit. The visuals feature nubile lovelies of both genders wandering around a party in a confused state, presumably on drug-related comedowns in the early hours. One of them, that little boob from About a Boy, appears to be dead in a bath. Lots of girls make out with each other. Water drips from the ceiling. It is a hedonistic vision of glamourous decadence.

Problem is – these are little teenagers. Perhaps this’d work if we were talking about supermodels, rock bands or coke-dealers, but we’re actually dealing with little shits whose pocket money would probably stretch to one bottle of exhibition cider rather than a bag of the best pills known to man. In reality, they wouldn’t be kissing and making out and staring at the ceiling in blissed out confusion, they’d be dry-humping, puking into their own laps and smashing windows for a laugh. It is – frankly – bollocks. Only a Grange Hill boxset, an injection of hardcore realism, can save us now.