Thursday, July 24, 2014

Skellig Michael becomes alien world

There's a 54 acre 715 ft high unpopulated rock off the coast of Co. Kerry that's about to become one of the most famous places on the face of the planet.


Apparently J.J. Abrams, the custodian of my religious beliefs has been given permission by the OPW to film scenes for Star Wars VII on Skellig Michael of all places.

I'm hoping that it will be where they find the crazy old hermit Jedi Master Luke Skywalker living because that would be class and Hamill is sporting a beard [left] that would not look out of place amongst the locals down that direction.

But of course anything they doe will bring an influx of tourism to the island is it has to places like Tunisia and as it also contains a 6th century monastery, part of a UNESCO world heritage site, they may come away with more knowledge than they could possible imagine... ...as well as see some puffins.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Godzilla


Since last year, due to increased responsibility elsewhere, I stopped jumping to the cinema to see absolutely every movie that may have a hook for me. This policy shift has for about 80% of the time, saved me from [according to trusted sources] wasting my valuable time. However the final 20% seems to be split unevenly between movies that I perhaps should have gone to see [4%], and movies I should not have gone to but did [16%]. Godzilla is one such movie in the latter case.

This new Godzilla, apparently an homage to the old Tohiro movies is easily one of the best examples of lazy, pointless, unstructured, maddening, vacant, unentertaining film-making of the decade. For some unfathomable reason, Warner Bros. gave $160m to Gareth Edwards, a completely green first-time director whose only previous work of note was some monster effects for something, I know I read it somewhere but can’t recall now. It’s obvious that the man does indeed have some skill in that field as I’m unable to fault the overall quality of the special effects, pyrotechnics, CGI, modelwork and art direction. However everything else that makes up a movie was almost entirely missing, and sadly it’s a big part.

Edwards quotes three major influences on his career that’s only several years old now – George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino, three of the most successful film creators in the world. Sadly Edwards captured almost none of what these men are known for. The movie has action, without sense of adventure and thus displays none of Lucas’ influence on him. It does have a plot but it’s without story and it’s soulless which is not how Spielberg would have influenced him, and despite having some of the screens’ more competent acting ensembles as Tarantino often does, Edwards wastes their talent with uninspired direction on top of already bland dialogue. There was one moment where Ken Batman Begins Watanabe reveals the creature’s name as Godzilla, it’s supposed to be a dramatic movie-defining moment to send chills down everyone’s spine but instead elicited shrieks of laughter from the audience. I’m glad some people had something to enjoy anyway, but this wasn’t overall a “so bad it’s funny” effort, this was just “bad.”


I don’t understand fully at what point in the process a story from David Callaham who competently penned the story and screenplays for both Doom and The Expendables could be so damaged by Max Borenstein and or further incompetently handled by Edwards. Neither Borenstein nor Edwards have such credits to their names so logically the fault must be with one or both of them. Not at fault were the actors who did their best with what they got. BAFTA nominated Aaron Kick-Ass Taylor Johnson took the lead as Lt. Ford Brody, a Naval EOD technician who for some reason could execute a perfect HALO jump? [but if I started listing all the military issues I had with this movie, I’d be here all day], the aforementioned SAG, Golden Globe and Oscar nominated Ken Watanabe as the obligatory scientist who ‘understands’ Godzilla, Brian Breaking Bad Cranston who has been nominated or won every TV acting award for the past 10 years is the scientist who speaks the truth but no one listens until it’s too late and of course we must mention Godzilla himself, except he’s really only a supporting character in this shoddy flick.

One major issue I must address was that the sound quality was horrendous. In all my years, I’ve never had such a terrible aural experience in the cinema, and I include the few times I’ve been in the back row far corner with some now-forgotten female conquest, away from the true surround experience in the centre area I insist on today. It was like as if they resampled the sound into 128kbps MP3 with some points sounding as tinny and warbled as 96kbps! It may have been an issue with the cinema sound itself [but I've since been in that cinema without issue] but it’s more likely the movie, and it suits me to blame the movie as I’m hating on it anyway. The sound issue certainly did not help Alexander Desplat’s music score but considering it was only marginally less droning, derivative, uninspired and toneless than the rest of that talentless hack’s other efforts, I don’t think it would have made much difference.

A few weeks back I read and subsequently tweeted that the USMC Hollywood liaison office decided to stay well clear of this. I should have followed suit.

Whopper Rating: *

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tonight on the main evening bias....

I'm so genuinely appalled at the news coming from the Israeli/Gaza conflict that I'll have to turn off the news. While I acknowledge the loss of life is indeed a tragedy and the war crimes on both sides of the conflict will continue, I'm fairly desensitised to that now. No I see the near global media bias against Israel as just as worrying.

Many news outlets have their own narrow-minded agenda like Fox News, Russia Today or The Guardian but thankfully they can be switched off/ignored, but when I see bias on this overwhelming scale that it can't be avoided it makes me sick. This reprehensible media bias is turning people who likely don't even know what the conflict is even about towards anti-Jewish hate-crime that make Mel Gibson at his drunken worst look like a moderate humanitarian! Many of these crimes are being committed against people of Jewish descent who may never even have ever been to Israel.

For the past two years during what was supposed to be a ceasefire, Hamas have been figuratively prodding the Israeli tiger with sticks, provoking it but to no avail. Finally they kidnap and kill three of the tiger's cubs and then they cry foul when the tiger gets pissed off and retaliates? Bollox to the media and anyone who can't see through it.

My words are full of wisdom but why not read from a holy man, a Rabbi who lives in Berkley [the cesspool of liberalism] and blogged to the normally leftist bastion of commentary The Huffington Post.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

I won't miss him this time.

One can count the number of live appearances of one Hans Florian Zimmer on their fingers even if they're missing some. Needless to say it's a pretty rare occurrence. He has done a select few live events over the years usually as publicity pieces for movies he's scored. 

In 2000 he did a live concert at the Flanders Music Festival in Ghent, Belgium which was deemed quite remarkable for the lucky folk who attended. That event was captured on "Wings of a Film" an album made from the performance.

I was pretty shocked to see him on Saturday Night Live earlier in the year with Pharell Williams who worked with Zimmer on his Amazing Spider-Man 2 score and Zimmer did another live event with whom he dubbed The Sinister Six, the musicians who helped create the songs and sounds of the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack including The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr.

I believe I have a CD or MP3 copy of every commercially available piece of music that Zimmer has scored on as well as plenty that's not publicly available so I'd be considered a true fan. He's without a single doubt the living musician I most admire.

So when he announced a concert series to debut in London in October, I vowed not to miss him again and I already have my ticket for his first performance.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Star Wars VII: Original Trilogy trio return

I don't think that just because I'm young and handsome that it somehow gives me the right to criticise the appearance of others, especially celebrities who are ageing naturally. No human being looks exactly the same after 30 or 40 years [unless you're Patrick Stewart]. Sure some folks look great for their age but there are others who do not. When some move out of the spotlight for a while and re-emerge like Val Kilmer, the result can be a shock.

Last year Mark Hamill was seen really dying for a fag and he rummaged through a public ash can to get a few puffs of sweet nicotine. This act was almost as reprehensible as the paparazzi who photographed him doing it after coming out of a burger joint which as Hamill's neck and waistline could attest to, he visited quite frequently [left]. 

This no doubt worried people about the original trilogy stars reprising their roles for Star Wars Episode VII. To be honest it also worried me a little, far more than knowing that I'd be losing almost 15 years of post ROTJ continuity begun by Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire. I mean we don't need [or want] 57 year old Carrie Fisher in her gold bikini but we do need to still see Princess Leia in her and the worry is that while active in Hollywood, both she and Hamill have been away from the front of the camera lens for quite some time.

Seeing her in person assuaged my fear somewhat. I was in the audience for a convention panel in Atlanta a few years back and there was little doubt Fisher [whom I share a Birthday with] commanded the love, attention and respect of those in the audience. While she said a couple of months back that she was made lose 30lbs for her new role, I'm convinced that this was something she'd have done herself anyway, to stay true to a character that obviously means so much to so many middle-aged men.

Hamill recently posed with Jedi Micky, a Jedi personification of Disney icon Micky Mouse. It's pretty obvious that Hamill not only aced the treadmill but every other piece of equipment in the gym as well and looks like a wise old Jedi Master which he damn well should be by now.

And then there's Harrison Ford who has had a stellar career on the silver screen with over 25 major appearances since ROTJ. He was considered the safe bet for being great in Star Wars VII but sadly he's turned into a grumpy old fart and broke his leg on set delaying production and causing rewrites.

Well two of of three ain't bad.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Lord of the Blogs: The Return of The King

The biggest shock I got when I jumped in grade last year was that apparently general officers attached to non CONUS commands are afforded a shitload of vacation compared with the field grades. And if you don't take it, they send around medical personnel to evaluate you if it's deemed that you've been working for too long.

I've been probed enough by both medical and non-medical personnel throughout my career so if they want me to take a month then that what I'll do. To be honest I fucking deserve it. Why? Well you're all still alive aren't you?

So I grew a beard and went off on vacation, in a south easterly direction with some other folks who similarly were forced to take accrued vacation. We went somewhere with sun, sea and sand, well actually not too much sea as we were pretty far inland. We partied hard and it's unlikely the locals will forget us soon. Those that lived. We lost a couple of our own. Well I did say we partied hard. 

Normal service will now resume.

Whopper.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fred's Dropped Dead! - RIP Rik Mayall 1958-2014

One may think that that first bit is somewhat callous for an obituary, but if you understood - or even believed you understood the comedic genius that was Rik Mayall then you'd agree that he'd find it quite hilarious, at home both as droll satire and schoolboy toilet-humour.


Mayall performed on stage in the early 1980's with long time comedy partner Adrian Edmondson whom he met at Manchester University. He co-wrote the TV cult-classic The Young Ones in which he starred as obnoxious, poetry-writing anarchist Rick alongside Edmondson before they both went on to star in their sitcom Bottom which also achieved cult status. Crass schoolboy humour, explosions, pyromaniacs and severe blows to the skull with frying-pans were the recipe for the majority of Mayall and Edmondson's slapstick comedy and they became famous because of it.

Mayall made some sporadic appearances elsewhere on television at the time. He is widely known as Lord Flashheart from Rowan Atkinson's Blackadder series shouting catchphrases such as "woof!" and "let's do-oo-oo it!". In contrast to his obnoxious and anarchic characters his last great TV character was Alan B'Stard a conservative backbencher MP for Haltemprice in The New Statesman, which ran on ITV for four series.

Mayall appeared in several movies including cult-classic Woops Apocalypse [1986] and in the final film in the Carry On series, Carry On Columbus [1992]. My post title is a pun on Drop Dead Fred [1991] arguably Mayall's most famous film role where he played the title character, an imaginary friend to Phoebe Cates. It was literally one of the worst British movies ever made probably because it was marketed as a children's movie but contained repressively dark black-comedy, profanity and themes of serious mental illness.

Mayall suffered a serious quad bike accident in 1998 and doctors had kept him on a life-support machine for five days. He began to show signs of life just before they were about to turn it off. He said the near-death experience changed his life and "the main difference between now and before my accident is I'm just very glad to be alive."

Mayall died at his home in Barnes, London on Monday from what is understood to have been a coronary event. He was 56. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Below is Mayall as Lord Flashheart in BBC's Blackadder Goes Fourth with Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Laurie, Tony Robinson and Adrian Edmonson as Baron von Richthofen.


Adrian Edmondson paid tribute to his friend, saying: "There were times when Rik and I were writing together when we almost died laughing... They were some of the most carefree stupid days I ever had, and I feel privileged to have shared them with him. "And now he's died for real. Without me. Selfish bastard."