Saturday, 30 May 2009

Drag Me to Hell

Sam Raimi's latest goes back to the shocks and schlocks well. Alison Lohman's aspirational loan clerk has her eyes on a big office promotion, unfortunately her every effort is undermined by rich-boy slick dicking. She needs to show her stones, and what better way to do that than to have an elderly crone evicted? Said Witch doesn't take this slight lightly, cursing Lohman to three days of misery before she is whisked off to the underworld by a goat ghoul. Drag Me to Hell dances expertly between boiling soundscape scares, and revolting, oozing creep-outs. There is a gonzo fight sequence that winningly combines WWF test-of-strengths, prowling feline aggression and bone-popping body recalibration. It's a dizzy cocktail that offers both winces and gasping gore guffaws. Raimi masterfully twists tone and tense from horror to comedy, and back again, without ever undermining the escalating sense of peril. The perfect ghost house thrill ride, and a demonstration of what genuine talent can achieve within the oxymoronic slum of PG-13 horror.

Friday, 29 May 2009

A Boy and His Dog

Nasty wasteland yarn from Sam Peckinpah regular L Q Jones. Based on a Harlan Ellison short story, A Boy and His Dog tracks the titular Vic and Blood's rad-zone escapades. In the aftermath of the fourth world war, civilisation has been reduced to bare spots of porno reeling shanty towns in a sea of endless desert. Hot commodities include tinned fruit, popcorn, and women. To this end, telepathic canine Blood assists his dopey master Vic in the hunt for the latter, in exchange for either of the former. Despite being the nominal hero, Vic's intentions are just as violent and debased as those of the roaming rape-gangs. Procreational urges are whittled down to the basest action, the intellectual Blood-hound sneering at the revolting humans. Vic is such a stud that he is noticed by the impotent masters of an underground overclass, desperate for offspring. Lured into a perpetual pancake-faced Protestant parade, Vic finds himself hooked up to a milking machine. It's not the life he wanted. A Boy and His Dog is a rather callous film, that never patronises the posited post-nuclear misery. Daily life a sequence of survivalist decision making, that places subsistence at a premium.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Red Dawn

Great concept - America is invaded by a coalition of Communist countries following a Soviet agricultural disaster. Shock troopers parachute into Colorado, intent on machine gunning droning history teachers to death. In the chaos, Patrick Swayze and a band of survivalist jocks skip town to hide out in the mountains, eventually forming their own mini-Mujahideen. John Milius' Red Dawn was among the first films to receive the PG-13 rating from the MPAA. The rating was created in response to parent group complaints about graphic violence in PG rated family blockbusters such as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Gremlins. A median certificate between PG and R was demanded. After conferring with cinema chain power brokers, MPAA president Jack Valenti hit upon PG-13.

Red Dawn is a prime example of the mature content charade now associated with the rating. No foul language, no nudity or sexual content (although Red Dawn does contain some fleeting allusions to anal gang rape), but you can have as much bloodless violence as you like, as long as it doesn't stray into grim methodology. Thus, Red Dawn is full of sniper-post ambushes. Partisan children strafe ineffectual Soviet special forces from on high. All very detached and unconvincing. At times Red Dawn does flirt with a conversation on the brutalisation of child soldiers, particularly when the squad rescue a F-16 fighter pilot, but any notions of examination are quickly buried under jingoistic triumphalism. Red Dawn's slyest touch is the make-up of the vengeful invading forces. Rather than them being strictly Russian, the first wave of troops are Spanish speaking soldiers drawn from Latin America. So much for Radio Swan eh?

Maintenance Glove Z

Don't want any nasty fingerprints on your brand new Go Nagai totem do you?

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Dazzle! Excitement! Fallout!

While we're on the subject: for your viewing pleasure, an absolutely stunning Fallout 3 machinima, posted by YouTube user agoministrator. It's The Capital Wasteland struggles filtered through scale-model pyrotechnics and 70s policer macho melodrama. Glorious dead zone heroes trample brain-bot antagonism! Team ethos collectivism! Collision zoom eyecatches! This one's got 'em all. Sound, desperately required. Fallout 3 TV Drama Edition!

Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage

Bethesda Game Studios' first expansion pack release for Fallout 3 is a contrary addition to the rad-blast landscape. Operation Anchorage junks the scavenge root dynamic of the main game, instead focusing on bread crumb action adventuring. Drawn to a lethal military simulator by a strangled distress call, players enter an impression construct of a decisive pre-nuclear exchange battle. Inside the total immersion video game, players are treated to a wilfully limited culture clash sortie: weapons are distributed and maintained by red blinking vending machines, enemies digitally crumble after defeat, and invisible walls prevent off-mission exploration. Is Operation Anchorage an interactive critique? An attempt to expose action game survival furniture as spell-breaking distraction? Or just a series of easily identifiable signposts to mark the game-within-a-game structure?

The contrast between Anchorage's assistance sign-posting, and The Capital Wasteland's desperate scrounging couldn't be blunter. Bethesda have pared their explore engine down to a tight Black Ops jaunt, players emboldened by a generous difficulty nose-dive and access to overwhelming force. Coupling time-freeze VATS aiming with low-yield Chinese armour makes Anchorage a lubricated jaunt, full of head-popping anti-resistance. This is the problem: by presenting Operation Anchorage as a separate sale expansion item, Bethesda have asked the user to judge the title on its own, limited, merits. Anchorage would have been best served as an on-disc side-quest. There, this brisk homage to tactical espionage would have shone as a welcome narrative diversion.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

"Somewhere in space, this may all be happening right now..."

Star Wars was 32 yesterday, so here's a vintage trailer! 20th Century Fox's pre-release shill-short is a curiosity in of itself, the sounds especially. It evokes a totally different mood having droning shriek music bracketing proceedings doesn't it? The lack of John Williams' triumphant fanfare makes everything seem rather desperate and fatalist. Our heroes will barely survive! They're pushing Chewie like a headliner too, his framing and the frequency of his profile shots in the opening seconds seems to posit him as the male lead. A rather excellent notion, I'm sure you'll agree. Contrast that with Han Solo's screen time, fleetingly glimpsed frantically plugging away at endless soldier robot thingies. What's his role? Maybe a quick death diversion whilst the Princess and her hirsute bodyguard make a break for it? Hopefully the plucky child manning their laser-cannons can keep the intergalactic fuzz off their tails! It's also quite amusing to hear mention of thousands of alien worlds, then have the trailer cut from a Sandperson to Ben Kenobi. He's from the wizard planet!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Guy Savage

Whilst imprisoned in a hyper-tech Gulag, Metal Gear Solid 3 hero Naked Snake dreams a playable mini-sequence entitled Guy Savage. In this interactive nightmare, users take control of a ninja swift trench-coat killer, dicing swathes of swollen undead coppers in a sepia-grain urban-decay corner.

Directed by Zone of the Enders:The 2nd Runner helmer Shuyo Murata, Guy Savage is an excellent stealth time-out. The player is allowed a brief stretch of undemanding hyper-violence in the midst of a game primarily dedicated to methodical sneaking. It's an expert breather. Lasting a little over two minutes, Guy Savage has the barest of slash interaction mechanic, with a fizz of super-mode escalation. After a set number of enemies are dispatched the action-man enters a frenzy mode: the screen blurs, and normal hack attacks become ribcage rending atrocities. Guy Savage is paced so that this power-up sequence can be fleetingly achieved twice, deftly building a sense expectation, then delivering on it. The title's brevity keeping the willfully shallow death-count building blocks from going stale. Why mention this now? Rumour has it that series director Hideo Kojima is working on a full-length version entitled Max Savage. No stranger to endless interact invention, lets hope Kojima can maintain this grue minded cause-and-effect over a feature length game.

Apprentice the Fifth

He finally went. Gordon Gekko's chubbly little toddler is out. Apprentice evictee Ben Clarke even did a frustrated little couch punch after exiting. He dearly wanted it! I'm skipping ahead: this week's challenge saw King Alan dole out teams to parents Lorraine and James. The leaders needed to have kids, 'cos they was selling baby stuff see? It had nothing to do with either's rather iffy reputation. No sir! Lorraine got Howard the underexposed, and Kate Ting Ting. James found himself heading up Yasmina Friend Stabber, Dastardly Debra and VietBen.

Before setting up shop at a Baby trade show thingy, the teams needed to pick product. James' team opted for a very deep paddling pool, and Captain Dashing Swift's patented contrabulated fantabulated Horse shaped kid rocker. The latter a snip at ten million billion pounds. Lorraine homed in on an M branch collapsible pram, and a silence hat for babies. Oh they said it protected their noggins, but all I saw was big Velcro claps swamping earholes. Issue them at snip, and you'll be raising a generation of fearless hawk-eyed nutters. Head banging is basic cause and effect teaching! Don't take it away! Thankfully, no-one chose the baby sized high-heels. Cute? Abuse, more like.

Unfortunately for Lorraine she hadn't haggled down a trade price for her wondrous capsule pram. Curses! She was stuck selling it £35 dearer than cannier stalls. Unfortunately for James, no-one at the show was an extravagant millionaire. The Rocking Horse sat there gathering contempt. Debra, desperate to justify her horsey enthusiasm, gave the hard sell to anyone who strayed anywhere near the stall. No-one bit. Boardroom! Despite being chronically undersold Lorraine sailed to victory. As a reward, she got to meet Gerald Scarfe, who drew each of her team as repulsive feature faces. I'm very jealous indeed. James brought back Ben and Equine enthusiast Debra. Despite James' assurance that he'd have brought Debra in twice, King Alan dumps Ben. But not before he's told us for the millionth billionth time that he got a scholarship to Sandhurst (but didn't go). Bye Ben!

Sketch Sunday: Batman

May 1939's Detective Comics #27 saw the first appearance of Bob Kane and Bill Finger's Batman. Drawing on literary adventurers such as Sherlock Holmes and The Shadow, Kane and Finger devised a potent cocktail of urban sleuthing and mysterio brutality that has seen the character twist and turn through countless tweaks and reimaginings. For this sketch scratch I hoped to evoke lo-fi avenging, a young Batman still puzzling out his kit and methods.

Year One!

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Involved In Creative Endeavours: Trespasser

Another short for your viewing pleasure. Trespasser is a dimension-hop, time travel mash-up puzzler specifically designed to leave your head wringing. Director Gary Ellison asked me to write a time shift slanted piece for his final Film and TV Production project, I fired back a brief slice of undo dead-ending, inspired by constant GTA4 restarting. Gotta get that mission perfect. And what if you met yourself coming back? Once again, it's an uncommon treat to see and hear scribbled bits and bobs spring to life. Gary did a fantastic job with zero financial backing, and uncooperative British weather.

A big thank you to everybody else involved in Trespasser's production. That'll be: Peter Shuff, Adam McCarthy, Giorgio Riolo, Nicola-Elizabeth Potts, Soraya Deria, Elizabeth Ellison, Malath Abbas, and George Ellison.

Trespasser Part 1
Trespasser Part 2

Trespasser HD Part 1
Trespasser HD Part 2

Hope you folks enjoy.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Sketch Sunday: Slash

Ha ha! No, not Guns N' Roses' former top-hatted axeman! Why, it's the Dimension X sired Ninja Turtle! That was your second guess, right? Slash fills the requisite evil opposite role in the wider Ninja Turtles universe, he is usually an intergalactic criminal, or super-mutated Bebop pet. Being a shade character, Slash is spikey lethality to the Turtle's chubby cuddly. He even rocks a set of Shredder stab-claws. Yikes! Slash had a great ugly toy, and a few faltering cartoon series appearances to his credit. It's not enough.

Evil means bad teeth, and anti-groom stubble!

Steven Spielberg vs The Empire of Japan

Trailer for HBO's forthcoming Band of Brother's spiritual sequel The Pacific. This shill-short derives from series co-investor Seven Network, an Australian outfit. No doubt this is why our attention is repeatedly brought back to Aussie relevance. Maybe it's an advertising investors reel? Either way, the series' proposed outline is of United States Marine Corp operations in the Pacific Theater, with particular attention to Jurassic Park's all-grown-up Joseph Mazzello. Disregard the pomp and bugling. The pedigree is ruggedly unsentimental.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Hwang Jang Lee!

Silver Fox! Arriving in Hong Kong in 1976, Korean thump-champ Hwang Jang Lee found himself high-kicking his way through several early stand-out Jackie Chan hits; his rapid fire thunderleg antagonism more than a match for Chan's bumpkin capering. Rarely seen not thrashing his legs about hapless stunt performers, Hwang carved out an electric career as a series of hyper-fighting moustached bastards. Hwang's pin-power apparently extended into real life too. IMDb has it that Hwang kicked a bushwhacking Vietnamese knife-fighter to death, whilst trying to teach Tae Kwon Do to the Korean army. Yikes! Here's a spiffy little slaughter showreel.

Born to kick!

Friday, 15 May 2009

A5: The Mighty Ducks

Rebrand Margate! This seaside town could do with a lick of London think-paint, so King Alan's dispatched his interviewees to have a themselves a spruce. Howard attempted a little backbone, putting himself forward as team lead for Team Empire, but Debra was having none of it. None. Howard was already on to a loser when he started to pitch himself to Debra. She's not the boss! What she thinks doesn't matter! She's bamboozled you with thin lips and icy stares Howard. Stare back! She's not that tall. Team structured, James suggests pitching to the gay market, they are most rich! Mona is apprehensive. She lives near Kent, and doesn't know any gay people. This means she is poisonously homophobic. We will all wince whenever she does anything now. It's 2009! Nobody anywhere is allowed to misunderstand anything.

Over at Ignitesville, Yasmina has breezed into Captaincy with ease. Full backing! She's had a think and family is where it's at. A novel approach, I think. I'm sure all of Margate are kicking themselves for missing that trick. The brutalised loner pound is looking a bit slim by comparison. What were they thinking? Floating around in self-appointed Lieutenancy is Lorraine. Poor Lorraine. She has some good points, but she can't help being rather patronising. She can make: "Good idea! Well done." sound like "You're a right thick twat aren't you? Fucken CARRYING you, I am." A text heavy poster campaign is assembled. It's a bit Haven / "So, you're returning to work?" leaflet. No matter how doctor's waiting room Ignite's effort looks, it can't hold a candle to Empire's ad campaign. Empire have gone for reception class chic: lots of floating photos on drab big-card backgrounds, with a comic-sans alike font. Exciting! I bet they put some glitter on too! Margate's assembled dignitary were not impressed. Neither team had come up with anything groundbreaking. Wasn't their nebulous rebranding request oblique enough? They wanted to be wowed! But they're just not sure what by.

Boardroom! Debra's team are sunk. Their leaflets had blank bits. King Alan wants to know why Empire's pitch was so rubbish. All signs point to Debra's squinting belligerence, but Mona goes anyway. She's been coasting. Except, you know, last week were she sold ice to Eskimos. Something else next week!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Shogun Assassin

Banned since 1983! Cobbled together for New York grind audiences from a couple of films in Toho's Lone Wolf and Cub series, Robert Houston's Shogun Assassin plays like a murder mixtape. All killer. No filler. Feeder flicks Sword of Vengeance and Baby Cart at the River Styx (both directed by Kenji Misumi) have been strip mined with an emphasis on brevity and schlocky incident. Tomisaburo Wakayama's Lone Wolf wanders from massacre to massacre, infant son Daigoro in tow, the child papering over absent plot machinations with a cart's-eye voice-over. Drafted into the slaughter by his father, Diagoro views events with the casual indifference of the indoctrinated.

Roughly combining, and dubbing, two legitimate post-Leone pose down features is ever bankrupt, but Shogun Assassin does have a magic about it. Mark Lindsay and W Michael Lewis' psychologically tense electronica score coupled with Daigoro's impassive chattering, and a narrative that's more mosaic than plot, make a dream of proceedings. An awed son imagining his grumpy, but tender, father as a one man slaughterhouse, striving to please / kill his own fierce parent, here represented as the titular Shogun. Papa Shogun is never pleased. Always frowning. Always judging. It's an on-the-fly ordering that tallies pleasantly with the concluding chapters of Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima's originator manga. By that epic's end, the three leads are karmically aligned as a warring pseudo family. Shogun Assassin is an elliptical horror show, full of razor sharp cruelty, and pomp-quotes tailor made for hip-hop sampling.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Watch (More?) Watchmen

Paramount UK are teasing with a set date for multiple Watchmen DVD and Blu-Ray releases, no solid word on which version of the film you'll be ponying up for though. The cads! Will we be offered the extended Director's Cut immediately? Or can we expect a nefarious drag-out launch with milestone releases scattered down the unfolding year? Fingers crossed for the former, although I think we can expect the complete 'graphic novel' edition with integrated animation elements to be held over for a Christmas double-dip. Prove me wrong Paramount! Although a deeply flawed take on Moore and Gibbons' tights and fights (review here), I have been hankering to give Zack Snyder's take another spin. For all the dribbling brutality, Snyder did manage a sucker punch or two.

UPDATE: The Hollywood Reporter carried a story yesterday about the US Warner Bros Blu-Ray edition of Watchmen carrying a live synch-up commentary option for Facebook pals. Really Warners, you spoil us. Social networking claptrap aside, the article confirms Watchmen's home video release schedule. Expect the theatrical edition on a single disc release, with the Director's Cut on two disc DVD and Blu-Ray. I shouldn't think Paramount will go to the trouble to create it's own platter. Gratefully port! No word on the Black Freighter edition though, Christmas I tells ya!

Star Wars

Viewed for the first time in an age, it's exciting to note how much of Star Wars' screen time is apportioned to two puppets bickering and struggling through a desert. Compared to the immediacy of the blockbusters the hugely successful film begot, it's almost an art house move. In these moments George Lucas and his team manage to wring a sympathetic, childlike, performance out of a remote control bin and a couple of bleeps - the minutiae of this universe is so well conceived that when R2 wanders down a dark sand crevice it's actually quite distressing.

Lucas' biggest coup is the pervasive, used-universe dressing. Technology in Star Wars isn't brand new or even clean, it's leaky trash, cobbled together by space pirates. It tells a story - a great civilisation has vanished, their whizz-tech now in the hands of simpletons and bushwhackers. The digital elements added along the years tend to undermine this distressed, analogue mood. It's impressive enough to see a sand monster sunbathing at the corner of a frame, we don't really need to see it capering in the foreground. The design work in Star Wars is imaginative enough to exist as the effect, without any need for hyper-mobility. It's a shame then that Lucas doesn't seem to agree; the original cinema release is only available (officially) in a deliberately marginalised, non-anamorphic DVD that requires zooming to fit the dimensions of a 16:9 television set.

Enough griping. It's easy to see why Star Wars became such an immediate success. Lucas stages two equally exciting, successive, climaxes. The daring rescue of Princess Leia would be quite enough for any usual hero yarn, not Lucas' though. As soon as the rescue party dock they're being outfitted for dog-fighting - blasting off in nimble X-Craft for a suicidal space war. The attack on the Death Star is still a thoroughly dazzling sequence. Aside from some incredible model work, it's refreshing to see so much absolute carnage. The tension, courtesy of editors Marcia Lucas, Paul Hirsch and Richard Chew, ratchets up into the stratosphere as stereotypical cosmic pilots are zipped and zapped by faceless Reich robots. Soon only The Chosen One is left. Use the Force Luke!

Good, Bad, Red

Trailer for Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar's Autumn dated western sandbox. Redemption follows up 2004's Red Dead Revolver, previously an orphaned Capcom project that Rockstar rescued, and reworked. Revolver was a grimy ode to 60s Spaghetti Westerns, with Morricone on the soundtrack, and a squinting Clint clone up front. Redemption appears to have leaped forward a decade to the revisionist oaters of the 70s. There's more than a little Peckinpah in this here shill-short; the industrial revolution, and shrinking frontiers hanging heavy. Who doesn't want an interactive shrine to outdated, auto-destructive masculinity? Not me, no sir. Sign me up!

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Apprentice vs Love

Overnight bag! This week King Alan teased his candidates with a vague insinuation of tropicality. Of course they bit: "I'm packing a deckchair and lots of sunglasses!" said one. Phillip dribbled at the prospect of seeing some ladies in the all-together. I'm not sure Kate would approve of that. More on that later. Off they trotted, lilos and wacky shorts tucked under their arms, with dreams of sandy sun lounging filling up their imagine box. Did they end up at the airport? Or maybe down the seafront for some ferrying? Nope! The candidates were dumped in a bleak motorway service void. It was raining too. Not that that bothered King Alan. No sir. Whilst the other schmoes huddled under umbrellas for a hint of dry spell comfort, his majesty simply stood there on a dictate. Being wet is for sissies!

The candidates were being shifted up North, woe is them! Their task was to sell tat to department stores and such in Liverpool and Manchester. Being from the former, I did a wince. It was only a matter of time before someone said something untoward. You just expect it. We're all thieving cannibals up here you know. Incomprehensibly backward, and dirt poor. We're a continued affront to Londondery. I don't know how they put up with us.

The candidates were wheeled of to a function building side-room for a spot of bargain basement Dragon's Den. I bet the contestants felt like King Dick and his enormous dick that day. Finally able to command a modicum of seniority over floundering pitch merchants. It was their typical day in reverse. King Alan had also lined up some meet and greets for the next day, an inside box thinker might cotton on that snapping up product vaguely relevant to these free-rides was good thinks. Thankfully the candidates think so far outside the box that typical notions of supply and demand mean nothing to them. NOTHING! "Lets buy some tat that appeals to our bored whimsy instead!" they bleated. So, rather than buy a swish little drill-bit cleaner-upper to pitch to hardware store Rapid, our heroes ended up with flash cardboard boxes for macho cat-fans, and a two handed dog lead. You know, for lovers. Or mentals.

Off they went, head wringing shite in tow, to completely balls up their pitches. On Team Lorraine, Glasses and sales lieutenant Yasmina argued like buggery all day, whilst Ben, Kate and Phillip circled nowhere in a taxi. Phillip spent the day pushing cat boxes in Kate's unamused face, whilst Ben harrumphed and tried not to stare. That's flirting! On Team Mona, James stood back grinning whilst Mona stitched up various outlets with breezy charm offences. Elsewhere, Debra simply refused to let Howard do anything. He looked like a sulky little child.

Boardroom! King Alan berates both teams for completely ignoring the sales meets he had lined up. Gang of planks. After a couple of minutes of eye rolling, and head shaking, Team Mona was announced as wins. Off they went to chug bubbly and vomit in a Helicopter. Weeeee! Lorraine dragged back Kate and Phillip. Ben narrowly escaped by keeping very still indeed. He was like the Vietcong. Phillip immediately rounded on Glasses. He's the best seller ever! Chimps and trouser can sell better than Lorraine! A risky gambit since Beanpole and Appleton Blonde failed to sell ANYTHING AT ALL. Louder and louder Phillip grew, spilling increasingly embittered slander all over Lorraine. She's worse than Stalin don't you know? When not pillorying Lorraine, Phil was doing a weird Kate defend: "We're great!" "Me and Kate can do anything!" By way of contrast, when it came Kate's turn to excuse her own gross inactivity, there was no Phil mention anywhere. Gulp! Look after Number One! Phillip shouted himself right into a taxi in the end. Lorraine thinks she's a contender now.

A quick shout out to dastardly Nick Hewer. His brief, stately, defend of Lewis' made me a bit misty eyed. Thank you Mr Hewer. Now, if only they'd have shown Sir Jacob Epstein's big naked Liverpool Resurgent. I bet he was a bugger to shoot around.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Star Trek

It begins with a wall of feedback, a cascade of electronic blips and distorted radio chatter, before diving headfirst into pitiless, soundless, space battle. Our new Kirk's nativity is marked by laser bombardments and operatic sacrifice. Eric Bana's intruder is vandalising the timeline, spinning life trajectories out of control. This is JJ Abrams Star Trek. In adapting Gene Roddenberry's deathless TV serial, Abrams has neatly sidestepped specific era expectation by staging the adventures in a detour universe that makes brawlers of Spock and Kirk. We are treated to the explicitly youthful crew's maiden voyage, tussling with a vengeful Khan alike, and his comic coloured singularity bomb. Mainstay characters are each afforded shine segments, and no swash is left unbuckled.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Tetsuo Tetsuo Tetsuo

New flesh fans rejoice! Screen Daily carried a story yesterday about the imminent release of a third Tetsuo film. Although not completed in time for this year's Canne Film Festival, director Shinya Tsukamoto is still journeying to the French resort to shop around for distribution deals. Show reel! For the uninitiated: 1989's Tetsuo: The Iron Man featured a salary man's metal fetish infection, and his subsequent transformation into a junk-pile march messiah. Tetsuo II: Body Hammer transposed a nominal action thriller narrative onto proceedings, a meek father finds he can metamorph into a walking weapon when his child is kidnapped by skin-head ability shades. Cataclysm ensues. Fingers crossed for a speedy international rights pick-up on Part III! Get Tarantino and the Weinsteins on the case.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Happy George Lucas Space Opera Day!

No, not the 1977 release date, that's May 25th, this is the rubbish pun day. May the Fourth be with you. Very droll. Anyway, Colourless Vader says 'hi' too.

Sunday, 3 May 2009


Heads up! BBC 2 begins screening The Wire Season 2 tomorrow. Season 2 continues the urban devastation vein, delving into the plight of a marginalised working class. With dock-fronts slowly disappearing to make way for condo space, how does Joe Blue Collar survive? Aside from eroding class distinctions, viewers can also expect dapper Nation hitmen, a season long case, and more drug dealer bureaucracy. If that piques your interest, pencil in an 11:30 appointment with Baltimore's finest. If it doesn't, bang your head against something until it does.

Sketch Sunday: The Tank

Another delightful Left 4 Dead Boss, this time it's roaming mutant muscle The Tank. This swollen monstrosity thankfully puts in scant appearances on a normal campaign. Stay clear! He'll sock you senseless! This HGH lunk-face also has a nasty habit of digging up concrete to hurl at hapless survivors. He's a brute force fink, and must be surrounded!

On penmanship note, I really shouldn't have drawn this on such rubbishy paper. Look at that marker bleed from different pages. Rookie mistakes all over the place. I should also look into getting a Copic blender pen.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Apprentice 5: The Quickening

Late, and short! I spoil you people. After some team swapsies, King Alan presents task: shift some of this tat I've got lying about. To keep you interested: one or two items are actually worth something. Sneaky, sneaky! Ben and Philip are leading, it couldn't happen to two bigger planks. Ben seems to think he's a hard boiled war-vet, because kill academy Sandhurst dropped him an offer that he didn't even take. First Blood! In his mind he's a wheezing Nam-nightmare, stitching his scarred body back together with gunpowder and grit, whilst the other candidates bleed and die. Eye of the Tiger! In reality he's a no-chin flounderer, whose cack-handed belligerence seems to have aroused King Alan's like gland. God knows how. Philip is a beanpole yawn with a taste for badgering girls he doesn't find attractive. What a gent! No matter what Lorraine says, Philip will interpret it as a gross, indecent slander. She's poison! He'll simply have to scrunch his face up and scream venom in her face just to cope with all negativity. Philip is a heavy lifter.

On task, both leaders simper and whine with negligible sense of direction. It's a pennies game, there will be no hard sell triumph here. One will simply outdo the other by the smallest possible margin, scraping through for another week. And so it is. Eventually, Philip limps to a victory, but not before Margaret speaks up. King Alan's lady muscle kills the yuk-yuk yuppie dick waggling with a Lorraine shout-out. She's a soothsayer don't you know! Maybe candidates should listen to her occasionally? Post-task celebrations focus on Philip throwing her a vague compliment; by way of response the edit comes up with a seemingly unconnected misery-guts Lorraine reaction shot. They're telling a story!

So who's back in the boardroom? Unflappable Ben has a panic, first stating an intention to drag back a fairly blameless James. After a round of withering stares, not to mention James yelping, Ben brings back church mouse Noorul, and GBH mouth Debra. Actually Debra more or less bullies him into it. She's dying for a scrap! Despite Ben having all the composure of a drowning child, King Alan ejects Noorul. Ratings innit?