The Joker – Questions Raised by the Clown Prince’s New Look



Well, it doesn’t look like any Joker we’ve seen before. But, to be fair, we need to judge this latest interpretation in its own context. No comparisons to Heath Ledger or Jack Nicholson here, folks.

Film is a visual medium and directors obviously know the importance of visuals. No respectable director would purposefully release an image that didn’t communicate exactly what they wanted to communicate.

So let’s give the benefit of the doubt and assume all my questions below are exactly what the director wanted us to ask.

I’ll start with the big one:

What the actual fuck?

Who is this guy? Why is he topless and covered in tats? Why does he look like an LA street gang member? Is he an LA street gang member? Why am I supposed to care about a shock-rock reject, emo gang member? Is this look supposed to suggest a kind of juvenile machoism? Is that why he looks like a bad video game character? But then why isn’t he physically intimidating? Why is he striking a pose that suggests vulnerability? Why is he so obviously striking a ‘pose’? Does he do this pose a lot? Is this pose totally him? Did someone go to take a photo of him and he was like “wait, hold on, I’m gonna do my ‘arrrghh’ pose cos that’s totally me”? Why didn’t the other person tell him that’s a bad idea? Did the person taking the photo not care about how silly this looks?

Why has he got tattoos? When did he get them done? Was it when he was too young to know better? Is he embarrassed by them now? Is that why he’s like ‘noooooooo’ cos someone’s taking a photo of him without his top on and he doesn’t want it to go up on Instagram and make him look like a prat? Did he design the tattoos himself, or point at a picture on the wall of the tattoo parlour and say, “that skull, please”? Did he get drunk and wake up with hahahahahahaha written across his chest and go, “ohhhh, man, I was so wasted last night, what a mistake”? Is he proud of these tattoos? Why does he want everyone to know he’s damaged in the head? Is he physically damaged or emotionally damaged? Is that a cry for help? Are we supposed to feel sorry for him? Because if we’re supposed to feel sorry for him, why does he look like such a douche?

Why the jester and gambling iconography across his body? What does that mean to him? What’s the point of tattooing those things on his body? Does he walk around topless at parties to show these off? Does he like to take his top off in public and make old ladies nervous? Has he got a lot of time on his hands to get this kind of stuff done? Does he think he’s a fan of the Joker from the Batman comics and wants to prove how much of a fan he is in order to appear ‘edgy’ in front of his mates, but actually he’s only read a couple of graphic novels and doesn’t really get the character? Has he such a lack of a personality that he needs to draw on common iconography found elsewhere and stamp it on himself to claim an ‘identity’? Did he lose a bet?

Does he want to fit in with the rest of the LA street gang he’s a member of and prove how much of a badass he is but everyone teases him because he’s such a try-hard and is that why he thinks he’s ‘damaged’? Does he shave his body hair? Why does he dye his hair bright green? Does he think it makes him look cool? What’s up with his eyes? Is that make-up? Does he know he looks a bit like Marilyn Manson? Is that intentional? Why does he look like he’s about to cry?

Why does he wear a big, ugly gold ring on his pinky finger? Was it a gift from his granny? Does it have sentimental value? Does he like bling? Did he steal it or did he buy it? Is that supposed to show off how rich he is? And why does he wear a single purple satin glove? Is he a Michael Jackson fan? Is something wrong with his hand? Was that the only glove he could find? Does he realise it looks a bit silly? And that it makes people think of Michael Jackson? Is that a comparison he is happy for people to make? Or did he not really think about it?

What happened to his teeth? Does he think that makes him look scary or did he spend all his money on gold rings and couldn’t afford proper dentures? Why do his top teeth look rotten? Does he not brush properly and is that why he has fake teeth? Were they knocked out? Was he bullied and is that why he feels ‘damaged’? Why did he choose that font to express how ‘damaged’ he is? Does he think it’s poetic or romantic? Is this guy a bit of a romantic? Does he write poetry in swirly handwriting? Does he have a Tumblr account? Did he get these tats to impress girls?

Why is the photo taken at a completely flat level against a plain background and why is he tilting a little? Why does it look like he’s going “woooooaaaahhhh”? Why does the style, tone and shadowing look like something from a glossy magazine shoot? Is that what it’s supposed to look like? Or is this supposed to be something like a mugshot taken by the police? Did the police ask him to take his clothes off, but told him to keep on the glove and the ring? Why would they do that? Or did they arrest him while he was walking around topless? Why does he walk around topless? Does he not wear clothes? If he usually wears clothes why have they released a photo of him not wearing clothes? Is it just so we can see his stupid tattoos?

Why is he holding his head like that? Does he have a headache? He looks like he’s freeeeeeeaking out. Did he ingest some bad ‘shrooms? Why is he like “nooooooooo what have I done!?”? Why does this look like a bad album cover?

Why is he not far enough away to look hauntingly remote and mysterious, yet not close enough to look intimidating and intense? Why is he perfectly positioned to look like a normal, average guy with stupid tattoos and make-up pulling a funny face? Is the point that he’s just a normal guy with stupid tattoos and make-up pulling a funny face? If that’s the point, are we supposed to get excited?

Why did they take a good actor, cover him in so much distracting shit that it completely buries any characterisation he might be trying to pull off, and then make him do a pose that looks like something out of a shitty music video?

Do they want us to think the movie is going to be shit?


Prometheus trailer: chest-burstingly awesome

It’d be totally wrong of me to blog pictures of the girl from The Hunger Games looking booby without paying any attention to what is by far one of the most exciting films of recent years: Prometheus.

Since 1986, the rule has been that if someone says a sentence containing the words/syllables ‘new’, ‘alien’ and ‘-quel’, the next few words to come next are almost guaranteed to be ‘probably’, ‘be’ and ‘shit’. If Ridley Scott pulls this off, it’s a huge bloody deal.

Watch new Prometheus trailer and viral video online now |

Shutter Island Review

Shutter Island has been given some lousy reviews by people who are clearly idiots. It’s a superb movie and only a misguided sense of self-importance will interfere with your enjoyment.

Directed by Martin Scorsese, Shutter Island’s premise sees US Marshall Leonardo DiCaprio investigating the mysterious disappearance of a dangerous patient from the eponymous prison for psychos. We soon discover DiCaprio is a man struggling with his own demons and that there’s far more to the island than the question of a missing woman…

Most people agree the film seeps style like sweat from my over-toasty testicles. Some of the shots are absurdly stunning and a damning reminder that your own hideously composed and unspectacularly lit life is attractive to nobody. The cast are excellent, albeit in that “acting like I’m acting in a movie” way. This is carried off well, however, and I thought it provided a sense of timelessness. I think the popularity of this film will only increase over the years.

The main beef people seem to have with the movie is the so-called “twist” ending. This is bullshit. It’s all M. Night Shyamalanayan’s fucking fault. He popularised the idea that a “twist” means plopping in some nonsense ending which has barely any impact on the rest of the movie (Sixth Sense being the one exception, but for other reasons I’ll explain in a bit). Let’s have a look…

Unbreakable. Samuel L. Jackson is the bad guy and has the exact opposite powers of Bruce Willis. That’s stupid. Since when do super-villains mirror the abilities of their heroic counterparts? How unthreatening is a baddie that is chronically weak? Jackson’s frailty is a result of a medical condition. Unbreakable Man is given no such explanation for his abilities. The two could be completely unrelated. Twist? Fuck off.

The Village. Stuff happens. It turns out they’re in the present day. The film ends. Did the fact that they were living in the now affect anything that happened before we found out? I can’t remember, so I’d guess probably not. Still, you didn’t see it coming, did you? Does that make it good? No.

The thing with the end of the world, or something. Bees? I dunno, haven’t seen it. I’ve only heard it’s shit.

Signs. Fuck me. Worst film ever. The aliens couldn’t hack water? What a twist! Literally had no idea you’d pull that out your ass, Mr. Shyamalanananynan.

Lady in the Water. Can’t even remember what happened. The twist was that everyone in the apartment block could be crowbarred into being characters in a story, right? Ah, who cares.

These are “twists”. They are also all cheats. The idea is that if you sit through an hour or so of unbearably lame film-making you’ll be rewarded with something that makes you go, “oh”. It’s cheating because the “twist” could be anything. There were no clues; the reveal doesn’t force you to reassess what you’ve already seen; it doesn’t challenge any preconceptions you may have had.

Take Sixth Sense. An excellent example of a game-changing reveal. OMG, Bruce Willis is a ghost! Brilliant. Didn’t see that coming. Though, on a second viewing, you realise that it’s obvious, particularly astute people could have figured it out and, in fact, what you’re watching only really makes sense knowing this. You never see Bruce interact with anybody other than the kid! That’s genius. You would’ve thought you’d notice that and, watch it again, it’s almost painfully obvious. That’s why it’s such a kicker.

It doesn’t so much as “twist” the plot as to explain it.

Yeah, I guess that’s the distinction. A twist screws with your mind, while an effective reveal unscrews it.

This is why Shutter Island should not be dismissed for having a “twist” that didn’t make you shit your pants. Most people I know who’ve watched it say they were disappointed because the reveal was obvious. I suspect they did not guess quite as much as they think, but I’m sure they had an inkling. I also say I kind of had it guessed (though, as I’m sure most people do, I use the scattergun approach to solving the riddles in this type of film – when watching whodunnits I annoy the hell out of my girlfriend by claiming most characters as the murderer and then saying “told you so” at the end). This isn’t a bad thing though. You can figure it out because the makers of the film are not trying to trick you or cheat you.

Here’s why Shutter Island had a more satisfying reveal than Sixth Sense: logical consistency. Because Shutter Island isn’t deliberately setting out to confuse you, the clues to what’s going on are barely clues at all. All the lines of dialogue, the way every character behaves, everything you see is in keeping with the rigid structure of the premise. Admittedly, it’s an elaborate premise, which makes the consistency of the logic and the characters all the more important. Shutter Island pulls this off brilliantly, never once lying to you in an attempt to make a punchier ending.

Sixth Sense on the other hand, and despite my previous praise, is a wee bit tricksy in this respect. It’s all forgivable of course, but marks Shutter Island as a more intelligent piece of work. The most notable example of Sixth Sense’s failing is Bruce Willis’ relationship with his wife. We see him go home, try to get into his study, turn up late to a meal… but we never see what he does when he’s not on camera. Does he not exist when he isn’t on camera? If so, why does he exist during these scenes if not solely for the benefit of the audience and the big reveal at the end? If he does carry on his life as normal when the camera’s not following him, then he surely would’ve tried talking to somebody while walking the streets and been confused while they ignored him. Does he drive from A to B? Is he in a ghost car that people don’t try and drive through? And why is he even helping the kid? Was he sent by God? If so, why didn’t God tell him he was a ghost and explain to him exactly how to help the kid before he sent him?

Lots of questions. Shutter Island is not as crass as that. It doesn’t chuck you any red herrings or cheeky “look how clever we are” scenes. If you think through everything that happens in Shutter Island logically, the only plausible conclusion is the one we’re given. I don’t really see how people could be disappointed by this. Unless they’re stupid.

My biggest gripe with Shutter Island would probably be the way it was marketed. I don’t think I’m the only one who started watching it after being led to believe it was a horror. I’m sure that’s how it was advertised on TV. It’s not a horror. Not even close. It’s an intelligent pulp thriller with a nostalgic vibe and, at times, a chilling atmosphere. It’s a gripping whodunnit (or whodunwhat) packed full of emotion and character.

I’m too fussy to give anything a proper rating, but on my CrunkScale I give it a 1st: “there’s nothing I would want to change about this movie”.

Friday Trailerfest #1: Half a Dozen Awesome Movie Trailers (Cowboy Vampire Porn Edition)

1. The Magnificent Seven

“Seven, seven, seven. The Magnificent Sevennnnnnnuuuhn! They were only seven but they fought like seven hundred…” Great theme tune. There’s only a few lines of dialogue in this trailer (seemingly selected at random), but they manage to get a mention of rape in there.

Best YouTube Comment:

“who sing this song in trailer “”They were only 7, but they fought like 700…” ? anybody knows? :) and what is title of this?”

2. Let Me In

The original Swedish version, Let The Right One In, was a superbly brooding, atmospheric take on the vampire legend – like Wallander meets The Lost Boys (disclaimer: I’ve seen neither). This US remake, starring the girl from Kick-Ass and the boy from The Road, seems to have (pointlessly) replicated it in painstaking detail. The trailer doesn’t fill me with confidence, but it’s a great story and should be worth watching if you haven’t seen the original and can’t stand subtitles. I’m going to watch it if only to find out a) if they ruin it and b) how.

Best YouTube Comment:

“This is scariong the shit out of meeee XD don’t know why it’s probably cuz watching scary stuff at nigth time alone scares me a lot”

3. Red

The Queen meets Die Hard. They’re not too old for this shit. Get used to the cliches, I don’t think this action flick is looking to add any further Academy Award nominations to the casts’ already impressive CVs. John McClane, God, Being John Malkovich and Helen Mirren are retired CIA agents, reunited to blow shit up and fight the menacing future Judge Dredd. I’m already giving it 9/10. This is surely a must-see solely for the sight of Helen Mirren looking freakishly sexy shooting stuff. To paraphrase Dazed and Confused, “that’s what I love about these old chicks, man. I get older, they get less able to put up a fight.” I’m not sure that works.

Best YouTube Comment:

“Helen Mirren looks fantastic with an MP5K.”

4. Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Fantasy

I just want to echo the sentiments of star0shadows in the YouTube comments: “Why the hell don’t they still make classy musical pornos anymore… *sigh*”.

Seriously. This movie looks amazing. Check out some of the clips on YouTube (my favourite can be found here).

Best YouTube Comment:

“Yeah but there are cumshots tho”

5. Fistful of Dollars

“This short cigar belongs to the man with no name. This long gun belongs to the man with no name. This poncho belongs to the man with no name.” I wish I didn’t have a name. And owned cool stuff like a poncho. Remind me to get a paranoid mule.

Best YouTube Comment:

“1:02 PWND!!!”

6. Son of Rambow

Son of Rambow is currently being sold in WH Smiths for the bargain price of £5. It’s a lovely film. Set in the early 80s, it’s rich with the kind of evocative nostalgia I wish I genuinely felt. Of course, I would’ve been only a wee baby back then and didn’t even see First Blood until I was in my 20s. The historical references only had any meaning for me from watching films, made in the 80s, in the 90s. It’s all very complicated. But what’s not complicated is the affecting tale of friendship, imagination and triumph, which we can all relate to. Or, at least, recall similarly themed movies that showed us what experiencing those things should feel like.

Best YouTube Comment:

“for all those gay ass fuckers who are basing this movie off of the god damn previews go suck a cock. this is the best movie ever.”

King’s epic The Dark Tower to become Hollywood fodder [filed under: oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, please don’t fuck it up]

Dark Tower cover, J. Scott Campbell - Eldelgado

Stephen King’s The Dark Tower blew my fucking mind.

Unless my worryingly patchy memory is misfiring, I think I first read The Gunslinger (prime instalment of the seven-book epic tale) during a summer of effective unemployability. A time in which I drifted between will-sapping part-time agency jobs and waited for an eccentric millionaire to stumble across me in the street, recognise my awesomeness and sponsor my desired life of creative decadence. This never happened. What did happen was a short and brutally tedious stint performing menial data entry work for Bookpoint – a national book distribution service and a jobs behemoth in the Didcot area, swallowing many thousands of young lives over the decades (some unfortunate ones never did escape). This was possibly the worst job I’ve ever had. But as with all painful experiences, I sought some slight slither of light to sustain me through the darkness. My options for enjoyment were few, however; just about the only resource I had at hand was an extremely long list of books.

Rather fortuitously, it was this never-ending inventory of novels (and their damned ISBN numbers) where I found my salvation. Disassociated titles tickled my mushy brain pipes and gradually sparkled my imagination. None more so than The Dark Tower; in particular, The Gunslinger. I suppose most readers pick books based on word of mouth, favoured authors or heavy marketing. With shying away from all things King in the past, no prior inkling of the series, and, even now, never meeting a single other human being who has read any of the books, this is a rare example of purchase by mental attrition. Unable to resist, I went and bought The Gunslinger from WH Smiths. And then I bloody well read it.

I’ve said this was during the summer. I can’t say with certainty that’s true. I do distinctly remember a warm, ochrey backdrop to my life during that short period, but this may have just been me channeling The Gunslinger’s world into my own. It had that much of an effect on me.

King’s first steps into forging his own Lord of the Rings (mine would have more elven porn) began when he was 21, although the version I read had been rewritten by a writer, far older and presumably far wiser. The book was perfect. Even the introduction, On Being Nineteen (And A Few Other Things), had me completely enthralled (and, incidentally, compelled me to bother reading the introduction notes of every novel I’ve since come across – just in case). The tale of the world’s last gunslinger, Roland of Gilead, was, and I believe still is, unlike anything else I’ve ever read. The Gunslinger is raw, wild, free… In the aforementioned introduction, King writes about a popular novelist writing for the audience. Possibly that’s true of the later (arguably more polished) books in the series, but number one strikes me more as a passionate eruption of talent, magnificently unfettered and unrefined. The mystery, the knowing references, the uncompromising progression… It’s the kind of don’t-give-a-fuck story any aspiring writer would want to pin down onto paper. If I may again refer to the introduction, King repeatedly references a “mean-ass Patrol Boy”. This guy wants to knock you into line and take a baseball bat to the shell of spirited enthusiasm you wear in your youth until it becomes a broken husk of its former self, in a process commonly known as growing up. I wonder if he looks back at The Gunslinger, compares it to the still excellent but somewhat more domesticated later novels, and has as much fondness as I do for the work of King, the Pre-Patrol Guy version.

I write all this after reading an article on The Guardian’s film blog, revealing plans for a The Dark Tower movie, directed by Ron Howard. This could be an absolute disaster. Ron Howard’s directed some great films and can beckon some excellent actors (though he had better not cast Russell fucking Crowe as Roland), but I worry he met his Patrol Guy a long time ago. There’s talk of producing “compelling television” with some “cool twists and turns”. For sure, Stephen King as a pop novelist is definitely geared towards those type of movies and The Dark Tower has plenty of moments which would be cinematically awesome. But I honestly can’t see how a film could capture what makes people love The Dark Tower so much and still appeal to a wider audience. Honestly, the ending alone, while, I believe, is perfect considering the nature of the story, would satisfy just about nobody. If you know the ending isn’t going to work, why even bother starting from the beginning?

And that question leads neatly on to my biggest concern. A multiverse-jumping epic spanning seven books squeezed into three movies? A hell of a lot is going to need to go (and let’s hope they don’t shove in any wargs). I have a feeling The Gunslinger, as I know and love it, will be mercilessly culled. I’ve read a review on Amazon suggesting newcomers to The Dark Tower series actively skip this book. It’s true that much of what takes place in The Gunslinger has little bearing on future events. And I can envision how the bits that are vital to the story could be incorporated in different ways. Although I understand all of this, to cut it out would still be a tragedy. Roland’s evocative first outing frames the epic in its entirety – even as the heroes dip in and out of different worlds, timeframes and realities, that warm, ochrey glow still flickers in the background, reminding us about who Roland really is when the shit’s about to hit the fan and there’s no-one to turn to ‘cept his twin revolvers and wits. The Gunslinger is the beam that holds the other books together. Get rid of it and the story becomes nothing more than a quartet of weirdos fighting robots and walking long distances (note: this is massively understating the sheer awesomeness of what actually happens in books 2 through 7 and I feel guilty for playing them down… but I hope any Dark Tower fans reading this understand what I’m getting at!).

Like the pic at the top? I’ve got a sprinkling of more Dark Tower fan art on my Tumblr blog.

Piranha 3D: the closest you’ll get to sticking your face between Kelly Brook’s boobs in real life [movie review]

****This review contains spoilers****

Piranha 3D is a rare movie experience. It’s a stupid movie made for stupid people, but at only 1hr 30mins long I was surprised to find it end long before I expected or really wanted it to. Its main redeeming feature is that stuff happens at such a relentless pace you aren’t given time to get bored or question things too much. Strangely, the only scene that seemed to drag is a 4-5 minute butt-naked swimming scene with Kelly Brook and pornstar Riley Steele.

It’s formulaic, but you’re constantly kept guessing as to which particular formula it’s playing around with at the time. The problem with formulaic movies is that they’re predictable. Whether by design or accident, Piranha 3D sidesteps this pitfall by energetically jumping from cliche to cliche. It picks something up and then seems to drop it later down the line, then leads you somewhere else only to return later to that thing you’ve already half-forgotten.

It’s like some hot girl seducing you into walking down a back alley where she mugs you, only to return half your money later that evening and flash her tits at you. On the whole, you wouldn’t say it was the greatest experience, but it was certainly interesting and you’re not too worse off at the end of it.

This doesn’t sound great but it seems to work for Piranha 3D, mainly because of the refreshingly short runtime. Though the shocking ending does help almost magically alleviate many of the faults in the plot by simply not attempting to resolve anything.

The Harry Potter movies could learn a lot from Piranha 3D. If you’re watching the Potter movies for the story, you should really learn how to read. Targeted at kids, the makers of the Harry Potter movies would probably be better off if they forgot most of the plot and simply tried to cram only the most entertaining bits from each book into one and a half hour instalments. I don’t think many kids would mind if they skipped the tedious exploration of Professor Lupin’s angsty existence and just had a fucking scary werewolf kicking ass. They could also end at the most exciting part of the beginning of the next book, thus avoiding the lame endings; wrapping everything up is pointless when you know the same shit will just kick off next time around.

What’s good about it:

The very best thing about Piranha 3D is that you go to the cinema thinking it’s a cheesy horror about killer prehistoric fish with a cameo from Kelly Brook’s chest, only to discover it’s actually just a movie about boobs.

I love Jerry O’Connell and his disastrous career choices. While the transition to three dimensions was restricted to the fish and not the characters (hohoho), O’Connell’s performance as a sleazy porn director was, at least, energetic. His character seemed to be the only one who actually enjoyed life.

The gore is pretty ace.

The cheeky opener starring Richard Dreyfuss mumbling along to “show me the way to go home”.

Riley Steele motorboats Kelly Brook. Brbrbrbrbrbr.

What’s bad about it:

Absolutely pointless 3D effects. Possibly the stupidest thing about this movie occurred within the first 30 seconds and summed up all that’s wrong with most 3D movies. The FX guys clearly forgot how perspective works and attempted to apply a ropey 3D style to the distant mountains. The cardboard backdrops in Wizard of Oz were more convincing. As my eyes struggled to adapt to this abnormal way of viewing a landscape any hope for an immersive experience was instantly shattered.

I was having a piss when they explained the origin of the killer piranhas. But, from the movie poster, I gather 200 million years of evolution created the perfect killing machine? I’m no expert in evolution, but wouldn’t the result of spending 200 million years in the chilly depths of a sealed cave with no source of food be more likely to produce virtually blind, slow-moving, physically retarded, albino fish with an aversion to light? I suppose this is nitpicking, but I honestly believe the film wouldn’t have suffered if Christopher Lloyd had said “I have no fucking idea how these things exist! It doesn’t make sense!”. I don’t understand why screenwriters think these dubious, pseudo-scientific justifications for fantastic creatures need to be included. At best these explanations are merely confusing and at worst they are so clearly ridiculous they shatter any suspension of disbelief you were desperately clinging to.

Most of what happens is stupid and doesn’t make much sense. Like I said, this isn’t a huge problem because some nice boobs are never too far away to distract you. But if you don’t like boobs or get hung up on this type of thing you will find a lot of the plot and character work intolerable. Here’s a few examples:

The main protagonist fits the mold of a typically down-on-his-luck everyman, guiding us through extraordinary circumstances until he saves the day and gets the girl. However, he spends most of the time outside the main scope of events being really boring.

Two kids (two of only a handful of characters whom I genuinely cared about whether they lived or died) are stranded on a small island surrounded by water filled with flesh-eating super-piranha. We are teased with their peril when the girl cuts her foot in the water and, unwittingly, narrowly avoids being nipped by one of the fishes. We kind of forget about them, however, until later when our protagonist spots them on the island and has the boat move closer for a potentially dramatic rescue. Worryingly, it’s a big boat in shallow water and the kids must go waist-deep into the water to reach it. The audience grows tense as the adorable innocents enter the water… and then casually board the boat without anything happening. They spend the rest of the movie comfortably avoiding any real danger.

The main guy’s love interest starts the movie with an arsehole for a boyfriend. This always annoys me as it instantly establishes her as a dickhead and makes you assume the main guy must also be dickhead for loving her. She further cements this opinion when she ditches the arsehole boyfriend because he lied about having backstage passes (note: she was happy to stay with the arsehole boyfriend when he and his best mate were acting like cunts towards our protagonist). There is not a single scene in this movie in which she isn’t being a dick.

Love interest is trapped in the cabin of the rapidly sinking yacht fending off piranha with a frying pan while the protagonist desperately tries to rescue her through a skylight which is, despairingly, too narrow and out of her reach. Our hero does the only thing he can do: call his mum. The movie then completely changes pace, another couple of challenges are thrown in to distract us from the main event and, minutes later, the mum arrives to rescue our hero. After a few more minutes of pointless dialogue, you find yourself wondering if the love interest has already been eaten in a deleted scene. Eventually, our hero finds the right time to mention her plight.

Ving Rhames, phoning in a “too old for this shit” cop, sacrifices himself for no good reason using an outboard motor to ineffectually chop up seemingly suicidal fishes. As he gets torn apart by a swarm of ravenous piranha the film cuts to a shot of another cop looking absolutely distraught. Who is this distraught cop? Have we seen him previously in the movie? Were they lovers? You know a director’s struggling when they need to use another actor to show the audience what emotion they should be experiencing.

The cops, led by the sheriff, hero’s mum (Elisabeth Shue), and her deputy (Ving Rhames) are utterly useless when the piranha attack. Scores of college kids on spring break are gruesomely killed because of their incompetence. Their advance knowledge of the threat saves no-one. They may as well have not even been there.

The yacht carrying our hero, the love interest, Jerry O’Connell, Kelly Brook, Riley Steele and the kids has its propellor caught in some sea weed (or something). A coked-up O’Connell freaks out, aggressively gunning the engine in an attempt to free them. This would be the perfect moment for our hero to develop as a character and assert himself by challenging the bullying O’Connell over control of the ship. Instead, he hovers around the periphery, whining that carrying on like that will break the engine. O’Connell carries on like that and the engine doesn’t break.

The hero saves the girl using the dead body of O’Connell to distract the piranha and swim into the sunken cabin. We know this wouldn’t work. During the attack on the college kids, the piranha were munching on anything and everything in the water. There was never any suggestion that the pack concentrates on one feast at a time. Even if there was, the hero would not have witnessed it. Nor does he know how many piranha are under the boat. The plan is the equivalent of pouring a bucket of chum into a mass of sharks during a feeding frenzy, moments before jumping in for a swim.

Kelly Brook’s character has a weird Gandalf-ish quality. I didn’t get it.

What I would do differently:

Here’s the thing: there’s very little I would change about this movie. Even fixing some of the issues I’ve described above would add too much complexity and detract from the film’s entertainment value. However, as I’ve already said, I wouldn’t give an explanation for the piranha’s existence. I would definitely recast the love interest and give her more of a personality (as unfashionable as that may in Hollywood). I’d also want to see more of Carlos from Desperate Housewives and Dizzy from Starship Troopers. Despite only a fleeting appearance, they had good chemistry together and brought the total number of characters who I gave even the slightest hint of a shit about up to a grand total of 5.


If you ever watched MTV’s spring break show and found yourself hoping the sexy college girl with nice rack would get her face torn off by a motorboat propellor, this movie is for you. For everyone else, I recommend Mr Holland’s Opus, possibly the best Richard Dreyfuss film ever (better than Jaws? Perhaps…). It’s great.

Jennifer’s Body review – Amanda Seyfried rules, Megan Fox drools (blood, that is)

Dead Fox by JT-Pixel

Image credit: Dead Fox by JT-Pixel

Before we begin, let me get this out of the way:

Megan Fox is hot. Truly hot. Astoundingly hot. If you thought she looked good in Transformers and, um, Transformers 2, you haven’t seen anything yet. I was genuinely agog during some of her best moments. And there isn’t much time wasted between those moments. This film is stuffed full of scenes designed solely to show some oogleable aspect of – well, the title kinda gives it away. Let me not stress this enough: Megan Fox is fit.

Good. I’ve said it. Now, I can get on with the movie review.

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Five possible Hollywood plots based on social media

As much as we all respect the quality and originality of work emerging from that bastion of down to earth sensibility Hollywood, we must admit that the geniuses that live there are prone to latch on to easy to reach fads and rinse them for all they’re worth (and beyond). Recent examples of this are Parkour (Die Hard 4, Casino Royale), Cyber-terrorism (Die Hard 4, Eagle Eye), Patriotism (Die Hard 4, Spiderman) and Hacking (included as a plot device in every film featuring computers since the dawn of time, and Die Hard 4).

Despite their apparent enthusiasm for such popular crazes, film producers rarely get the opportunity to fully understand the theme they’re shamelessly raping for profit. It’s not really their fault. Their minds are so fucked up through a dangerous cocktail of cocaine, casting couch blowjobs and listening to Michael Bay talk shit all the time, they’re totally adrift in an ocean of opulence and ignorance. Poor buggers.

Nevertheless, it’s a symbol of acceptance to have your passion (cyber-terrorism?) exploited by big white guys in suits. Which makes it strange that social media has yet to be substantially misconceived by any big budget Hollywood shitefest. Fuck, even the Nintendo Power Glove got turned into a film starring kids with freakily big heads!

Possibly, Hollywood’s reluctant to turn the spotlight on something that frequently tears their shitty business practices to pieces (other than making the internet in some way responsible for almost destroying the world – Die Hard 4). Alternatively, they may be simply unaware that social media even exists (coke, head, bay, remember?).

To make it easy for them, I’ve taken five popular uses of social media and built plots based around them using some of the industry’s favourite storylines. Evil Hollywood producer, I’d like my royalties paid for in casting couch head and hard drugs please. Keep Bay at bay.

1 – eBay

Title – Best Match

(That’s an obscure eBay reference picked up on the eBay glossary)

Tagline – “This Fall, make a bid for love”

The Plot – Seth Grogan (playing a lovable loser who’s recently broken up with his girlfriend) winds up getting put up for sale on eBay by his hilariously whacky housemate to make some weed money. At first reluctant, Grogan agrees thinking he has nothing to lose. As a bidding war erupts between a hottie and an older woman (who keeps asking questions that cause Grogan to do that facial expression he knows), the audience know who’s gonna win in the end (they’ve seen the trailer). Long story short, our hero winds up as the love bitch of some sugar momma (possibly played by silver vixen Helen Mirren) while his ex-girlfriend (umm…Katherine Heigl?) tries to win him back.

The Twist – Seeing how he’s making his girlfriend jealous, Grogan starts playing up to Mirren only to realise (after much comedy) that she’s really the one for him. Chicks love this shit.

Best line – Grogan after being told about the eBay offer:

Grogan – (Angrily) I can’t believe this! (Pause) (Asks timidly) So how much is the minimum bid?

Housemate – Five bucks.

Grogan – Five bucks!! Five bucks!! You’re selling my body to desperate, lonely women and all you’re asking for is five lousy bucks!?

Housemate – Dude, this is eBay! People don’t buy any old crap!

(Yep, that’s the best line…)

Best scene – Easter Egg during the credits: Mirren and Grogan kissing and cheering after succesfully bidding for a child on eBay.

Why it’s ridiculously Hollywood – Selling people on eBay is strictly off limits sadly.

2. Twitter

Title – Runaway911

Tagline – “What are YOU doing?”

The Plot – Six Twitterers are simultaneously contacted by a mysterious user (Runaway911) pleading for their help. At first most of the Twitter people ignore the messages but soon they are drawn in by the frequent tweets that describe brutal and frequent torture. Led by a widower social worker (Jodie Foster) the six tweeters have to find out who this person is, where they are and why they are the ones who’ve been contacted. As the story unfolds, they start to find themselves picked off one by one by an unknown killer…

The Twist – The contacted Twitter users ARE connected! Unknown to them, they were all together a year ago on the 9th November and ignored the pleas of a desperate and rough-looking street-walker who cried for their help. They didn’t care and that woman ended up tortured and killed that very night. Runaway911 (911 – 9th November, get it?) is the sister of that woman exacting a brutal and ironic revenge on the people who refused to help her sister because of her appearance (Runaway – double meaning alert! Not only does it relate to the streetwalker who ran away from home and ended up murdered but it also could be read as Run Away… a hidden warning to the tweeterers! Wow! Layered!). Jodie Foster finds out too late and the movie ends with a new tweet popping up on her account simply echoing the supposed torture victimes first message: ‘help me’.

The Deep Message – Blah blah blah it’s all about how we judge appearances in real life and how the relative anonymity offered by social media blah blah blah. Can we get closer to people we’ve never met? That’s a shitty tagline in waiting.

Best Scene –
Probably the thrilling trailer (the film will, of course, be a disappointment). Though the epic montage/flashback scene when Foster figures everything out will be pretty ace. Mix in a couple of slanty, zoomed-in shots on Twitter messages while echoy voices repeat some of the more obvious clues over a crescendo-reaching soundtrack.

Why it’s ridiculously Hollywood – Who the fuck would use Twitter to ask for help!? And how did the sister ever find out who was on that street? Why do they all use Twitter? Ridiculous. Would/could never happen. Perfect film fodder.

3. Crowdsourcing

Title –

(That is an offensively awful title – quick post a booby pic to make people forget it…)

A bittersweet tale of a beautiful American girl (played by Scarlett Johansson – seriously, someone that hot should have a name I can spell in search engines) who moved to London with the dreams of becoming a model. One year later she’s a drug addicted prostitute (noticing a worrying theme in my material here) who’s beaten, abused and ignored by polite society. Online however, she’s the most respected and beloved figure on a crowdsourcing site ( offering help, advice and support to others in need. We follow her misery in the real world while catching glimpses of the joy she gives to others as her life intersects with her better off helpees across the city.

The Tragic Ending – She dies after a savage beating and nobody cares or notices except other users of that terribly named website. The nurse who describes her as “just another roughed up junkie whore” when they wheel her dead body away is revealed to be a woman Scarlett has spent much of the movie helping.

The Ambiguity – Our heroine died with a smile on her face. Was that because someone had finally helped her (by ending her persistently miserable existence) or was the joy she gave others enough to make her feel her life was worth living? We’ll never know. Well, I know. Maybe.

The Best Scene – To be honest, I’m getting really depressed just thinking about this film so I think I’ll forget which wrist-slittingly depressing scene is best and move onto the next plot which stars Megan Fox and no dead hookers.

4. YouTube

Title – Stream2Scream


The Plot – Jamie Bell is an just an ordinary American teenager. He’s got a ridiculously hot girlfriend (played by Megan Fox) and a bunch of stereotypical friends (these come as standard in the suburbs). They start to watch this YouTube meme of an apparent serial killer posting videos of him threatening murder and then posting the videos of the deed being committed. The killer (Stream2Scream – yes, another username title but that is how a cliche becomes tired) wears a gas mask with a mohawk made from forks and speaks in iambic pentameter. The channel receives comments and video messages of people cheering him on or criticising him (in that inane video response way). Bell and buddies join in the fun until one of them is targeted! His own girlfriend! Now it’s a race against time for him to find and stop the killer before his girlfriend becomes just another viral vid.

The Best Scene
– Megan Fox dancing around in her underwear to The Divinyls I Touch Myself. I did write a pretty good justification for that scene but I figured it’s not really necessary.

The Twist – Bell races to save her but she’s already been killed – the video is pre-recorded! (Fuck, Saw II beat me to that). The killer was Bell all along! (Fuck, done to death). Megan Fox is the killer! (Not bad – to a relative standard of bad). Umm…aliens?

Why it’ll be cool and cause controversy – Copycat videos on YouTube of people imitating the killer.

Why it is ridiculously Hollywood – Obviously, YouTube wouldn’t let anyone post videos of them murdering people. And they could be tracked easily via IP and arrested so it isn’t the most intelligent form of serial killering gimmickry. Also, to make this film even remotely entertaining and “chilling”, most of the killers actions would be mostly impossible – unless you take into account the twist ending. Which is ridiculous in itself. Still, Hollywood would love this. Activists will be screaming for YouTube to be shutdown following the premiere.

5. Blogging

Title – Blogged

– (Obvious title, but that fits – it’ll use a digitalish font and probably be green though, which is COOL – Unlike this weird picture below)


Tagline – “Free speech never cost so much”

Bah. This is so painfully unoriginal I’m throwing up on myself whilst writing it. Seriously.

The Plot – Shia LeBeouf (who else, really?) plays the same character he always does but this time is a blogger. He’s a big name in the blogosphere and enjoys his edgy rep. Note that this movie puts blogging as the new hacking, so LeBeouf goes to trendy underground clubs filled with models and dresses like he has something against living cows. Regardless, he’s happy and trying to hit on the love interest (another blogger, played by Mila Kunis) until (da-dum) he somehow gets access to something that could bring down someone. Ahem. Seriously, that shit just writes itself after that point. He’s now in a race for his life against some shadowy agency (with a duo of semi-useless agents who offer light comedic relief) while being helped by an anonymous blog legend: DNQ/DNP (pronounced Dink-Donp).

Cue some overcool scenes of him updating his blog, uploading pics (“come on! come on!”), and generally being a social media sorcerer. Stuff happens until he gets the girl and saves the day. Yawn. Highlights below:

Agency hacks his online life and ruins everything (“Dude, this is serious. Your secondlife avatar washed up dead this morning. They made it look like virtual suicide”).

There’s one shot when you think Mila Kunis might be more than just quite cute, but then it passes.

Stuff blows up and there’s a nail-biting snowmobile chase through New York (don’t ask me how or why) that is followed by bloggers using Google Maps (artistic license!)

Beoufo eventually eludes them long enough to post the full account of what happened (after the edge-of-your-seat drama of trying to find free wireless). Nailbiting scene of him trying to finish typing as the bad guys run up the stairs. They destroy the computer. “Too late, this shit isn’t on my computer man! This is in the blogosphere now! Half the world’s already seen it!”

The Twist – Underground blog legend, DNQ/DNP is 13 years old. But he’s mean with a pair of nunchucks.

Geek Money Shot – Shia LeBuff has been captured by the bad guys but was first able to post his account online. Epic montage scene of bloggers across the world reading the post and passing it on. Within minutes the FBI arrive and rescue our hero. The power of the blogosphere! Seconds later Shia’s blogging buddy phones him: “Dude, your story is on the front page of Digg!”

Why it is ridiculously Hollywood – Because it’s the worst idea for a film ever. To be honest, I probably didn’t misrepresent bloggers enough with this one to make it suitable for the suits. Anyway, Hollywood will probably go with a “true story” about some blogger going to prison. Then the tagline I came up with would work better. Did you notice it didn’t make much sense? Bah, pay attention.

Every problem ever solved by MacGyver

Out of all the television characters played by Richard Dean Anderson, MacGyver is the only one other than the guy from Stargate SG-1 that I can think of. Both characters are awesome, but while Jack O’Neill could prevent intergalactic war with his dry wit, MacGyver could create a non-lethal explosive device out of skin flakes and wheat.

MacGyver poster

MacGyver is a true American hero who (let’s face it, tried but failed to) make science cool. The hook was his ability to improvise solutions to any problem using his knowledge of chemistry and physics. He famously only carried a swiss army knife and duct tape with him – making him marginally better equipped than the average British soldier. His first name was Angus and he had big 80s hair.

Anyway, the ever-useful Wikipedia has an page titled, List of Problems Solved by MacGyver. Read this and learn something. Here’s an example of the kind of shit he got up to…

“MacGyver uses an ultrasonic device to crack the eyeglasses of a would-be assailant. He later uses two candlestick holders, a floor mat, and an electrical power cord as a makeshift defibrillator to revive a fallen comrade.”