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Sunday, 16 September 2012

The X Factor

So The X Factor is losing ratings apparently. Simon Cowell's talent search juggernaut has been telling us what Christmas number one to buy since 2004 and suddenly it seems people are less interested than they used to be.
Well, possibly. I think they're just more selective in how they choose to waste two hours of their life each week.
Personally i record it, zip through all the sob stories, the scenes in which pensioners are condescended to, the judges' back stage eating things and the shots of the wannabe stars as kids filmed at their Auntie Beryl's birthday murdering a Mariah Carey track.
That leaves a cosy 10 minutes of music, or eight if you count how mich was featured in one show.
As i have better things to do with my life, like getting rid of toilet limescale with weapons grade bleach, The X Factor cut down suits me just fine.
However, if Steve Brookstein returned, i'd watch that in its entirety.
Easily the most interesting winner because he bumbled his way through the finale and did a vanishing act worthy of a stealth fighter.
The X Factor: take a bow. You've made cleaning the loo a more rewarding Saturday night experience.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

the bourne legacy

'Hi, Tony Gilroy here. You know, that super smart screenwriter and director? Anyway, i've got an idea for a new Bourne movie, the twist being Jason's not even in it. Yep, we get Jeremy Renner, who looks great with a gun and his shirt off. He'll play a new guy who runs around a lot. We get Dan Bradley from the other movies to do the stunts and some heavyweight actors like Ed Norton and Stacy Keach to play the government bods who watch the hero on monitors a lot. Sounds good? I might even throw in phrases and words like 'run out of brain' and 'mestacisize'.
Okay, it might go on a bit, but as long as there's a big chase, some cool fights and lots of patriotic 'this man - who is obviously a hero but we'll think is a villain' scenes about him threatening national security, we should get away with it.'
All of the above is of course hypothesis and never actually happened, but the new Bourne movie is a good watch in places. It does go on too long and Rachel Weisz spends too long crying, but Renner is a knockout as Arron Cross and with a tighter running time, another Cross movie wouldn't be a terrible prospect.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Chronicle: review

An annoying mash up of The Tommyknockers, Heroes, Clocerfield and Akira, this found footage offering is a 10 minute finale stretched out to 115 minutes.
It centres on a misfit virginal teen called Andrew. We know this because his name is mentioned about 100 times before the closing credits roll.
After he and a couple of mates happen upon and underground alien artefact, all three are imbued with telekenesis and the power of flight.
All of which would be great if they didn't spend most of the time yelling 'Dude! I can fly!' and 'Dude! this is amazing!'
Dude! We don't care.
So after around 50 mins of exposition and yelling 'Dude!' things get interesting as director Josh Trank emulates scenes from Akira, hurling cops and people around like rag dolls.
Like Cloverfield the dialogue grates and the over reliance on the video camera is so 1999.
However, some of the effects are okay and there are flashes of what could have been.

Great Scott

It's 1987 and after years of waiting I finally watch The Hunger on VHS, an uber stylish vampire flick in which David Bowie ages before my eyes and Susan Sarandon has an unforgettable close encounter with Catherine Deneuve.
A few months later I'm in a Wolverhampton cinema watching Top Gun. A mate's girlfriend leaves before the film starts so he goes after her while I soak up the lush visuals if not the preposterous plot.
Though Beverly Hills Cop 2 is a massive letdown it proves watchable escapism for a couple of hours, but by 1995 I'm on the edge of my seat. Crimson Tide proves to be one of the best sub thrillers in years and marks the beginning of a successful relationship with Denzel Washington.
The Fan is less memorable, but True Romance, Man on Fire, Deja Vu and Unstoppable are brooding, epic, silly and great entertainment.
I've spent 25 years watching Tony Scott work his magic on the big screen so when I'm sat at Newark airport one Saturday night in August 2012 I stare at Entertainment Weekly in disbelief. The Geordie action maestro has been dead a week; I'd been hermetically sealed on a cruise with little news filtering through.
It takes me days to get over it and even now, a week later, it's hard to believe there will be no more hyper stylish, silly adventures from the king of action cinema. He never won an Oscar or bafta, but Tony Scott won many fans.
Hell be sorely missed.