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League of Gentlemen: Apocalypse – not giving people what they want

League of Gentlemen: Apocalypse – not giving people what they want

Surely one of the first rules in any endeavour is to give your customers what they want. Unfortunately, while the League of Gentlemen have been extraordinarily clever and quite resourceful with the film League of Gentlemen: Apocalypse, it’s not actually that funny.

Part of the problem is that you want to see the characters in The League of Gentlemen, preferably being funny. Instead in the film, they mostly go around pontificating about their creators and getting into various japes – some of which are hilarious, but do seem a tad out-of-context compared to the dark character-based laughs one is used to having from The League.

Also, the other film within the film – the film that The League are supposed to be writing – seems to have been written almost as an afterthought. While it works as an affectionate semi-spoof on horror films, it doesn’t really go anywhere at all.

A few excellent good gags and some excellent performances aren’t quite enough to make up for seeing characters you’ve grown to “love” reduced to Media Studies graduates pondering on their existence. And it feels far too cult-y to work effectively in a mass-audience way like cinema. But it’s still worth seeing.

The Waters of Mars…

The Waters of Mars…

The TARDIS arrives on MarsWell, that was definitely a very scary and chilling episode of Doctor Who meeting 28 Days Later. Either that or I’m just so proud of myself for not gibbering and hiding behind the sofa. My jumbled random thoughts after the jump…

Zombies! What are they good for?

Zombies! What are they good for?

Zombies only want you for your brains

Zombies only want you for your brains

A debate that HyperHam seems to be having with her mother (and defacto, me) …

What can you do with an untamed zombie?

So we’re leaving out the zombies at the end of Shaun of the Dead, Fido and Land of the Dead, ie the ones that have either been trained, or shown signs of doing things other than wanting to eat your brains out.

This does include zombies who can talk and reason – as in the ones in Tasty Flesh and Marvel Zombies – just as long as they still have an all-consuming desire to eat your brains and flesh.

Suggestions that we’ve had so far include:

  • Prostitutes/escorts – which wouldn’t work because prostitutes/escorts work for money. And what’s the good of money if it doesn’t get you brains? Plus, of course, would a zombified escort want their client’s money or their brain? Their brain, of course.
  • Loan shark heavies – ie a loan shark, or someone you owe money to, threatens to send zombies to your door. This wouldn’t work because a zombie let loose would end up chomping through the brains of the person you owed money to – or worse yet, turning them into zombies. And a zombie isn’t going to work hard to pay up your debt.

Surely, the whole reason that zombies are such a popular topic in culture is because they stand for the relentless, the indefinable. The thing that cannot be stopped, reasoned with or outnumbered.

Of course, I say all this without having seen a single zombie film (aside from the rather terrible Resident Evil: Apocalypse) because I’m rather scared of them in the movie world. Of course, this didn’t stop HyperHam buying me the surprisingly good The Zen of Zombie: Better Living Through the Undead which is a great read. With a couple of good life lessons thrown in for good measure.

Note to future self: I’m scared of zombies. So stop looking for Flickr pics of zombies at midnight. Because it’s just going to scare you.

Film pop quiz, hotshot…

Film pop quiz, hotshot…

I’ve been tagged by Jan to do this follow up to the 100 books meme, using the Channel 4 list of top 100 films (which is probably a bit more realistic than the AFI one).

Don't go on an apocalyptic binge

Don't go on an apocalyptic binge

Thanks to a random link I stumbled across, I’ve just spent the last fifteen minutes giving into my inner fascination with apocalyptic fiction and browsing through Wikipedia’s rather substantial list of post-apocalyptic fiction, reminding me of the UK’s relatively substantial contribution to the genre – The War Game, Threads, Day of the Triffids, 28 Days Later and culminating in World War Z, a gripping account of the Zombie World War.

Right now, I feel rather ill, nauseous and sick right now (bit like radiation poisoning, I’d imagine). Which is amazing given that with the notable exception of 28 Days Later and Day of the Triffids, I’ve never actually had the courage to sit through the rest of the above. But I will have to resolve to buy World War Z, not least because the British government apparently starts its fight back against the zombies from Conwy, less than a mile away. So at least I have somewhere to run to when the zombie hordes invade.

Any suggestions on how I can wash my brains out? Because I don’t want to feel like this for the rest of the day!

Avoiding spiders and zombies

Avoiding spiders and zombies

As you may know, I’m a bit of a film fan. I also have a slightly obsessive interest in apocalyptic fiction and Hollywood blockbusters. So why on earth am I most likely to avoid 28 Weeks Later and Spiderman 3?

Simply put, they both scare me in totally different ways.

Spiderman 1 was a great film, fantastic on pretty much every level. Almost too fantastic. I was a bit of an emotional wreck at the last scene – how could Peter Parker do that to his gorgeous simpering Mary Jane? How could any red-costumed or red-blooded heterosexual walk away from that? Because of that, I’ve somehow managed to avoid Spiderman 2 – despite having it on DVD – and will most likely manage to “never get round to seeing” Spiderman 3.

As for 28 Weeks Later, it’s because of my fear for zombies. I’m not sure what it is about them, but I do get terrified at the prospect of seeing zombies on the screen. When Shaun of the Dead slithered into cinemas, I really wanted to see it – hey, it’s Spaced + apocalyptic fiction + London, what’s there not to like? – and so resolved to get over my fear of zombies. After all, they’re just a movie construct and fantasy, right?

Almost. My zombie-fear-aversion routine was to watch as many zombie films as I could, in growing order of horror-ness until I thought I was desensitized to zombies, and then perhaps I could manage Shaun of the Dead. So the first film I tried was Resident Evil: Apocalypse. It’s a 15-rated film, starring Milla Jovovich and it seems like a B-movie. What could be that scary about it?

Who knows? Because when it came to the scene with the shuffling zombies chasing one poor civillian up a metal staircase, I had to switch off the DVD. I just couldn’t handle it.

I did somehow manage to see 28 Days Later – there aren’t that many zombie scenes in it, after all. But I did walk out of the cinema absolutely shaken, in need of a stiff drink and some human conversation. So I knocked on my then room-mate’s door – but he told me to go away and I felt even more depressed and dejected that night. It later turned out, of course, that he’d brought a girl back to his room and was steadily making more intimate human conversation with her.

So I might just have to avoid the cinema for the next couple of days!

Yet another movie meme…

Yet another movie meme…

From Thoughts From the Left Coast:

The Films

bold the ones you’ve seen
italicize the ones you’ve seen part of
– * the ones you actually liked
– add three to the end

So I’m tagging, hrm… Lady Disdain, Flaming Zinc, and Skarlett.

What if they gave a premiere and nobody cared?

What if they gave a premiere and nobody cared?

SurlyChick and I were invited to a movie premiere in Florida, for some independent film called A Tale of Two Pizzas. It was the kind of premiere where you had to buy your own tickets, there was a row of seats reserved for actors and no red carpet so expectations of the film were not high. But at least I figured if it was an independent low-budget movie then it should at least be interesting.

Alas, no. Quite possibly the worst film of all time – simply because there was absolutely nothing original about it. Essentially about two competing pizza joints and how it sucked in their families, and every single cliche you can think of in a Never The Twain / West Side Story / Romeo & Juliet manner was dug up, but not even in an interesting manner. The competition never got going, the propreitors didn’t do anything interesting, the young leads were attractive but dull. The camerawork was dull. The film was about pizza, but didn’t even inspire me to have a pizza afterwards. The film was about love of pizza, but there was absolutely no love in this film whatsoever. It was formulaic, dull and predictable within the first five minutes. You know you’re onto a loser when most of the laughter in the theatre comes from the actors, who must have seen the film a dozen times.

Then I got to thinking, as I do, how the movie was made. Somebody out there must have smiled on the director, and agreed to give him some money for the film based on a cliche-ridden script. Then he somehow persuaded a bunch of actors (including some who appear in The Sopranos) to appear in it. When you think of all the good scripts out there struggling to get even an ounce of funding, and then dross like this gets made instead, one has to despair.

This of course has nothing to do with the fact that the one script I’ve had noodling in my head for the last 10 years is essentially the same premise, but of course much more outrageous and no sissy romantic subplot. Somehow after seeing my indifferent response to this film, I don’t think I can expect anyone else to like my version, even if it does end in a nuclear apocalypse.

The premiere party itself was interesting – if only for the fact nobody talked about the film, and the pizza was barely touched. An hour into the party, quite a few people had left. And I’m assuming movie premiere parties are not ten-a-penny in that part of Florida.

I got talking to someone, who eventually made to leave and handed out his bottle. I thought he was trying to give it to me, but instead he wanted to do the whole cheers thing. So I guess I can never set foot in that bar. Again.

The death of environmental idealism

The death of environmental idealism

Ever since I became politically aware, I’ve been aware of environmental issues (greenhouse gases, ozone layer etc.) and tried to modify my behaviour as such.

I recycled my goods, minimized packaging, used green electricity and biked around – although I could never bring myself to be a total vegetarian. I also used to bore people around me on the topic – which just resulted in glazed looks, before they drove away in their gas-guzzler of a car.

The biggest sacrifice I’ve made was not buying a car. Alas, the older I got, I’d get more and more looks of sheer incredulity for revealing my lack of car despite my massive fortune, and occasionally begging for a lift from people to buy a bookshelf. Half the dating questions I got in Cardiff also tended to revolve around what car I drove, which would then lead to a 10-minute explanaition about why I didn’t have a car, where people would just look at me blankly before never calling me again.

After 10 years of trying to persuade people of the ills of having a car, and having absolutely no effect whatsoever (my sister will literally drive to the corner shop. which is a 2 min walk from her house), I gave up. I also figured I might as well have some fun with a car before rising oil prices and sea levels forced a shivering humanity into underground igloos. Oh, and I needed to get to the gym so I could try to get fit and get more dates. (ha bloody ha).

So after some research, I bought the most environmental car I could afford – a second-hand Daewoo Matiz. X-Reg, of course. (Although I dream of a Toyota Prius). Ironically, the day I bought it, the Guardian reported climate fears as carbon levels soar.

Since then, I’ve discovered the freedom of having a car. I can go anywhere, when I want, any time. And it seems dead easy. Plus the Daewoo is very economical on fuel.

Then JoeCas posted a veritable angry rant about Tescos, globalisation, and the laziness of Western society sparked by an advertisment I’d completely glossed over. And she’s totally right.

Now I feel guilty for having bought the car. But you know what – the planet humanity Western civilisation as we know it is doomed already. Especially if America votes in Bush – although Kerry isn’t that keen on Kyoto either. I might as well try to have some fun before the planet gives up on us.

(Although the good old BBC also suggests that global warming may just be a symptom of the West’s enduring obsession with the end of the world)

The end of the world is nigh…

The end of the world is nigh…

The Pissed Kitty has posted up her signs that the apocalypse is nigh. Charmingly, apparently in Los Angeles hetero-anal is in, as is being bisexual. Well, I thought it was cool only for women anyway.

However, us UK’ers have been experiencing our own vision of the apocalypse lately, with Summer storms across the UK. Naturally, since a storm would actually constitute an interesting weather phenomenon, it didn’t come anywhere near Cardiff. Although it’s been incredibly hot and muggy, and we’re all resorting to electric fans.

In my younger days, I’d visit the United States very often. (Ahhh, when Clinton was in power…) While there for the odd summer week, I’d always be mildly impressed and amazed at the wall of heat everywhere, from Seattle to Louisiana, from sea to scolding sea. And the ubiquituous whirring sound of electric fans and air conditioning, which would whir all through the night. I’d lie in my bed, listening to that white static noise, and think “Only In America”, a land where everyone drives in their air-conditioned car to the corner store down the round for a pint of milk.

Ten years later, I’m repeating my own little piece of Americana, and the white noise is now constantly by my head. That is, unless said lesbians have swiped the sole electric fan for themselves.

Fortunately, I still don’t have a car so I haven’t abandoned all my environmental principles. (Plus my electricity is all green). But I’m wondering how long my environmental ideals can hold out against the need to drive down the block with my top down, pulling them crazy Cardiff chicks.

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