Archive for the ‘In A World...’ Category

In A World Where Weevils Are Easily Recognised

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

Torchwood is back soon. Hurray! I can’t account for why I’m so fond of Torchwood when its awfulness is a truth I hold to be self-evident. I find it actually embarrasses me to think that this is one of the more widely watched examples of British TV out there in the world today. I’m also baffed to discover that a lot of the people who watch it overseas think it’s brilliant, sophisticated drama. Everything on US TV is better than Torchwood! A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila is better than Torchwood!


Sorry Jack. Sorry Gwen. If it’s any consolation, I’d still rather watch Torchwood. In fact I wouldn’t want to miss an episode. Partly that’s because its awfulness is frequently compelling, partly that’s because watching it is like a creative puzzle where you try to work out how a writer, a director and team of actors might have handled the same premise, and partly that’s because I keep wanting it to get better, and I’d hate to not be there when it does.

For the new series, the show has been culled from 13 episodes down to just five, broadcasting a single story across five nights, because tearing off the sticking plaster is better than peeling it off slowly. The story is called Children of Earth (other names considered were ‘Common Songs of Garden Birds’ and ‘Plant Pots of the Outer Hebrides’, but those were deemed too exciting), and the trailer has now arrived on the intertubes. Let’s take a look, shall we?


The hook is, ”As far as we can tell, at 8.40 this morning, every single child in the world… stopped”, and already I’m buckling in for a breakneck thrill-ride. Children standing still, you say? They haven’t quite grasped the spirit of Stephen Moffat’s trick for turning playground fears into compelling stories, have they? Children standing still is not scary; children standing still is a successful episode of Supernanny.

Still, Torchwood do investigate, because they’re interfering shits. Also, there’s some sort of worry that ‘they’ have come back. Who could ‘they’ be? What terrible and dastardly alien threat could possibly have such a hypnotic effect on an entire generation of children? I have a theory, and let’s just say the new ‘klaatu barada nikto’ may be ‘eh-oh, Tinky Winky’.


Half way through the trailer things kick up a gear when a black-clad bitch assassin blows up Gwen Cooper - which is all I really ask for in a quality drama, to be honest - and we get exciting scenes of Ianto running, Jack wearing a coat, Gwen hilariously doing a John Woo leap out of the back of an ambulance with two guns, and a man in a suit saying ‘we’re in deep deep shit’. Adult. Edgy. Grr. Jack and Ianto enjoy a quick snog, which is immediately followed by the sound of a man screaming in horror. Not a slasher, I take it. Oh, and someone gets smacked in the face with a piece of plywood. You don’t see that sort of action in 24, you know.



Same Torchwood. Fewer episodes. Who says this show never gets any better?

In A World Where Knowing Is Half The Battle

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

The first trailer for this summer’s GI Joe movie premieres during the Super Bowl, whatever the hell that is. It’s also available online. The 30-second spot shows Sienna Miller strutting around as the Baroness (a mirror universe version of Velma from Scooby-Doo), the Eiffel Tower succumbing to a nasty venereal disease that makes it go limp, and lots of very fast running and jumping with occasional shooting.


Aside from Sienna Miller’s Baroness, the main villain of the piece appears to be Christopher Eccleston as a psychotic Scotsman, thus taking work directly from Robert Carlyle’s table. I think he may even be playing Robert Carlyle’s character from Trainspotting and moving him in a bold new direction. Begbie Does Paris. 


You’ll note that the Baroness is wearing a sexy black leather catsuit (or possibly leatherette). Time was, you could tell the heroes from the villains because the villains wore sexy black leather. The first time you met a villain, they would still have that ‘new villain smell’. Times have changed. Look at the heroes!


OK, so it’s still just the villains wearing sexy black leather. The heroes, it seems, have to wear plastic gimp suits made from airline food trays. Apart, that is, from the girl, who has cereal bowls strapped to her chest (sexy, sexy cereal bowls), and Dennis Quaid, who thankfully has been allowed to wear baggy trousers and a sensible jacket. Actually, those may well be skintight trousers. At his age it could be the skin that’s baggy.

That’s Marlon Wayans in the middle of the photo, by the way. Marlon ‘White Chicks’ Wayans. Marlon ‘Norbit’ Wayans. Marlon ‘Scary Movie’ Wayans.  The same Marlon Wayans who, in 2000, starrediin two of the most depressing films ever made; Requiem for a Dream, and Dungeons & Dragons. Depressing for different reasons, obviously.

Marlon Wayans does not have the best record when it comes to picking movies. And yet, Marlon Wayans is not the most worrying thing in this trailer. When people talk about how bad Batman & Robin was, they can sum it all up in two words; “rubber nipples”. Sometimes one stupid creative decision can be all the indicator you need for the lack of wit or care that went into a production. The coolest character in GI Joe - the Wolverine of the franchise - is the silent ninja Snake Eyes. Here he is fighting his nemesis Storm Shadow.


And here he is up close.


Rubber lips. He’s a silent ninja - he’s mute - and his costume has sculpted rubber lips, right there between his moulded rubber cheekbones. When people look back on the GI Joe movie in future years, I suspect the phrase that will come to mind will be ‘rubber lips’.

Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

In A World Where Lithe Teens Get, Like, Totally Stabbed

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009


“Hey, what’s behind this curtain?”


“Ooh, lavender bath bombs!”

So, they’ve made another Friday the 13th movie. Guess what the release date is? God, film marketing people are clever. 

In what may be a regular feature here at the show, I’ve watched the trailer so you don’t have to. Not that you would have to. Even if you wanted to, there’s no reason to. I mean, it’s Friday the 13th. Some kids go to Camp Crystal Lake. Someone kills them. That’s pretty much it. Even though this is a series reboot - Jason Begins, if you will; Friday Royale - there’s not much call for a bold new direction, like turning Camp Crystal Lake into a space station or making Jason a cyborg. Whoops, they did that already.

Judging from the trailer, the movie has Sam Winchester from Supernatural come looking for his missing sister, and then everyone gets stabbed. That last part seems like a safe presumption, but the trailer actually shows - and counts off - thirteen attacks.


This is number four.

Yes, the trailer spoils the murders. It takes the tense exciting bits from a slasher movie and shows you when, where and how they’re going to happen. It does all of this so that it can count to thirteen. In other words; for no good reason. It’s not a film about the number thirteen! In comments I’m told this is a reference to the original trailer, so it’s actually a terrible idea redux. (Incidentally, the next Jason movie will be the thirteenth in the franchise, so the marketing department can really go crazy with that one.)

If you’re wondering where Sam Winchester’s brother Dean is during all this, he’s in the season’s other horror release, My Bloody Valentine, a remake of an ’80s slasher movie. My Bloody Valentine is being billed as a date movie… from hell. It’s not actually being released on Valentine’s weekend, though, presumably because that would put it up against Friday the 13th. Whoops. So My Bloody Valentine is in theatres now.

The trailer for My Bloody Valentine looks a lot more promising, not just because Dean Winchester is prettier than Sam, but because My Bloody Valentine is in 3-D! In the grand tradition of 3-D movies, the trailer doesn’t just show us clips from the movie, but also clips of the audience reacting to the movie, and they seem really excited, so it must be awesome. I wish they had done this for Punisher: War Zone. If the trailer had shown people in the audience yawning and checking their watches, I might have had a better idea what to expect.

Oh, and My Bloody Valentine 3-D has flames shooting out of the screen!


But that may be in select theatres only. It looks like an expensive effect. You just know they’re going to pay for that by marking up the popcorn.

Of course, date nights are not  just for watching horror. No, there are romantic comedies coming out next month as well, including He’s Just Not That Into You, which has such a star-studded cast of rom-com stalwarts that it could be the Crash of romantic comedies. Scarlett Johansson! Drew Barrymore! Jennifer Aniston! Jennifer Connelly! The dweeby guy from Alias! The dweeby guy from the Mac ads! The short guy from Entourage who looks like Sean Astin! And, because the smell of fresh Jennifer is irresistible to him, Ben Affleck!

The trailer promises hilarious jokes about Facebook and Blackberries that you will totally identify with, and safely predictable resolutions to all the romantic relationships that you’ll see coming from the first minute! How delightfully unthreatening! And this is the movie that finally poses the profound question: 


God, I can’t wait to find out the answer to that one.

You may not be surprised to learn that this is a film based on an Oprah-approved self-help book - which in turn is based on a line of dialogue from Sex & The City. This may be the Holy Grail of banal, intellectually bankrupt pablum!

“How do you find true love…” is not the worst movie tagline of the winter, though. That honour goes to Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, which boasts; ‘Every War Has A Beginning’. You don’t say? Wars don’t just spring  up out of nowhere? They don’t just have middles and ends? Wars begin somewhere? And, let me check that I have this right; this is true of every war?

Film marketing people are so clever.