Sunday, 21 June 2009

Of True Blood Season 1

Better. Than. Twilight.

Honestly at this point in time where Twilight dominates the news and media this is all that has to be said. Twilight is vampires for people who don't want blood and sex (it's written by a Mormon for Christ's sake), however that isn't what vampires are. As I've previously said Vampires are literally sex. There's something about them just exudes that sexual magnetism. They're general mysteriousness. The whole biting young women as they sleep. How is that not sexy? And to be fair Twilight does it as well but in a way too censored way. Edward Cullen is the sexual fantasy to most teen girls at the moments. Me and a friend get into arguments over the Twilight and honestly it just seems that Edward Cullen is hot. So even Twilight is taking advantage. But in completely the wrong way.

This is where True Blood steps in. This show is on HBO. Which means blood, swearing and sex. They don't have censors telling them what they can and can't do and thank fuck for that. This is a show that has at least one sex scene an episode, a guy drinking too much vampire blood causing him to need the blood drained from his penis, a vampire being staked and spewing blood all over a woman and a man turning into a dog. There's blood sucking, death, fucking and plenty of swearing. It's also a hell of a lot of fun and packs in more into one episode than almost any other show on television, apart from The Wire. But The Wire could never do cliffhangers like this show.

This is where the show excels. The general plotting of the show is absolutely superb. There is no telling where the show is going to go. Whilst if you've read the books you'll have some idea (in fact the show does a little under a chapter of each book in an episode a few pages early for a cliff hanger) the show does well to incorporate characters and events not seen in the book. For starters Tara is a character not seen in the first book plus events like Jason having sex with someone are only mentioned, in the show we actually see them. This is mostly because the show made the very wise decision to not only focus on Sookie but instead let us meet the other residents of Bon Temps and get to know them on their own.

Needless to say this being a cable show means we get a great many characters and some really good actors. Everyone is amazingly adept at their role with particular stand outs of the first season being the ever so funny Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis), Bon Temps gay black drug dealer/prostitute. An insanely adult character but has more than enough charisma to be almost anyone's favourite character on the show. Another favourite of mine was Amy (Lizzy Caplan) who has made into a pantheon of actors I thoroughly enjoy seeing after her stint on True Blood as well as her regular role on Party Down (although it does help she spends most of her time on True Blood completely naked). However everyone on this show is just fun to watch. There's the obvious main couple of Sookie and Bill. The mysterious Sam (another favourite of mine), the ever cool and mysterious Vampire, Eric, Eddy the vampire played by Stephen Root (aka Milton from Office Space) and a Jessica the girl raised christian now a rebellious vampire. As well as nice boy Hoyt, play boy Jason (again a favourite). It would take far too long to give their characters their due but honestly there's a lot to love.

The show it self plays out like a mystery. In the first season we're trying to find out who is killing the women around town. Ending in a shocking reveal and whilst perhaps not as shocking as another favourite mystery show of mine (*cough*Veronica Mars Season 2*cough*) it's still a great moment when we find out who it is. Even if it does mean the death of one of my favourite characters. But still all around this we get all the trappings of a great vampire story with lots of sex and side stories to literal pack the full season to the seems and Season 2 is currently doing it even more so meaning the amount of entertainment in one episode of True Blood is comparable to no other show.

The writing cannot be ignored. Whilst it isn't as award baity as Alan Ball's other work (the Oscar winning film American Beauty and Six Feet Under) it is just plain fun. It seems there's something about fun and gay men that just goes together so well. Russel T. Davies (even if he can't write sci-fi), Bryan Fuller and Alan Ball have created three of the most fun shows on television to just sit down and watch and be taken away. Whilst True Blood is definitely far more adult than Doctor Who and Pushing Daisies it has a definite tongue in cheek feel to it. Stuff like genuinely horrendous accents may turn off some people (it's a definite love it or hate its show) but you can tell it's very knowing of itself with stuff like in the third episode when a vampire is feasting of someone and looks up mouth covered in blood "You want a piece of Jerry?" It's a genuinely funny moment that just tells us the show knows it's stupid but it's fun and a heck of a lot of it and that's what matters.

True Blood exudes sex and violence from every pore. It's campy and self knowing but it's fun and packed to the seams with cool characters and plot twists. The show has the best cliffhangers of any show ever (sorry Alias) and keeps you constantly guessing. In fact the first season ends on a note that makes you feel one way but within two minutes of the second season has you asking a million more question when it makes a complete left turn from what you thought would happen.

If you can get through bad accents and what some would call bad acting (honestly I don't think it is) then you will have found an amazing show. A true vampire classic that should be receiving all the buzz Twilight gets and, in some corners, is. The first season is only 12 episodes long and makes for addictive viewing. If you're looking for an adult show that is just fun with almost no quiet moments and one of the fastest moving plots of any show on television. Even if you have just a passing interest in vampires this is a show for you. It may even begin to rival Buffy in terms of definitive television vampires (although I know a lot of people who would disagree). The first season is heartily recommended and the second season is currently just as good. Just watch it.


Of Twilight

Firstly let's get this out of the way. This review will not be long and it won't be gushing about a deep love of this movie. This movie is just plain wrong. I might not be the target demographic, i.e teenage girls, but I sure as hell know that this movie isn't a true vampire movie. Whilst I might not be as obsessed with demons and vampires and werewolves as some people, I do know a fair bit. And guess what, none of the fucking vampires in Twilight are fucking vampires.

Vampires are quite possibly the most basic thing to get in movies. They're evil and suck blood. Whilst occasionally do get a vampire who is "good" (or has managed to curb his appetite but still occasionally suffers from vampiric outbursts) he definitely has an evil side. Look at Angel in Buffy, for 90% of the series he's a certified good guy. After one night fucking Buffy he turns into Angelus who is a certified cock who wants nothing better than to torture his ex-lover.

This is where Twilight fails. Vampires are sexual beings. People get turned on by the idea of someone biting them. They are sexy, undeniably so. One of the most common images of vampires is the guy in the cape coming to bite a young girl in a nightie, at night. It's just this overtly sexual image of the female being dominated by the male. Even Joss Whedon twists this sexual image by making it a metaphor for losing your virginity, lose it to the wrong person and bad shit is going to happen. Twilight on the other hand revels in abstinence from sex. Because you know, teenagers aren't horny as fuck and just don't give a shit about sex.

Yes, Edward Cullen is a poster boy for the emo movement due to being caring and brooding. Fuck, you could class me as emo due to my taste in music (some not all) but seriously? Edward Cullen is the poster boy for the movement? A genre full of screaming guitars and shouty lyrics about loss of love and copious swearing? A guy you doesn't have sex with his girlfriend and is paler than if you buried him underground for 50 years and then let him come back when the sun is in permanent eclipse?

In fact that's another thing that annoys me. Yes vampires are supposed to be pale. Guess why they're pale? They can't come out during the day. Vampires aren't made of fucking diamonds that show up in sunlight, or at least strong sunlight, because obviously there isn't constant sunlight during the day is there!! Guess who does vampires correctly? True Blood and Buffy. Yes in True Blood it takes a while for the sunlight to kill them but they literally start to cook and in Buffy they become ash the moment sunlight touches them. You don't go fucking around with vampire lore unless you have a valid reason. From this movie the only valid reason I can see is that Bella wouldn't be able to meet him at night because school isn't on (duh).

Let's jump back on the sex bandwagon again. The closest we get is a kiss (which recently won best kiss at the MTV Movie Awards, you know the awards where the public is allowed to vote for such great films as Twilight and High School Musical in the realms of best actor and best film) in a bedroom, which almost leads to sex, if it weren't for the seriously neutered effect this movie has. Seriously she's 17 years old and he's a 100 year old vampire. Again I have to say it, they would be horny as fuck!!! They're clearly attracted to each other so why aren't they ripping off each others clothes? Oh it's aimed at the Disney generation of girls so they can't have anything too scary, that explains it*.

The movie is just too damned neutered to be anything like a true vampire story. There's one fight scene in the entire film and it's shit. Whilst by the end of the fight the villain gets ripped to pieces and set on fire, we don't see this. Instead it's silhouetted in the background whilst we get the pseudo-sexual image of wrist sucking. Because nothing says "I love you" like sucking poison from your wrist. Except from sucking from your neck, boob or a vein that runs past your sex organs, but we'll forget that.

Then we have the fact that there is next to no blood in this movie, or fangs. Vampires have normal, which if you're human you'll know is incredibly difficult to break the skin, let along several layers of skin and begin to suck blood. There are moments of blood such as the final scene and a brief drip coming from Edward's lip in a fantasy sequence. But that's it. Not a drop more. In a movie about creatures that suck blood. Even the vampires who suck human blood (because good "vegetarian" vampires don't suck human blood but animal blood, completely missing the vegetable portion of the word vegetarian) have two attacks and they aren't shown apart from at weird camera angles. We do however get a baseball scene set during a lightning storm with Muse playing in the background. Exactly what we want from vampires, especially during the day.

Now that I've bashed the movie here are the good points. The lead actors do have chemistry and are actually quite good together. There are some funny moments between them and they are decent actors. It's just a shame they're given such a shitty script. The movie is well directed and actually looks decent with some cool effects and interesting camera moments. But the writing just drags this down completely. The fact that Stephenie Meyer just doesn't appear to understand what vampires are, how to pace a story or how to anything except dribble on a page. I feel sorry for the people involved in this project. If it wasn't about vampires or based on a badly written book this wouldn't be as insulting. It could have made an interesting teen drama. Instead we've decided to follow the book which spends at least a sentence or two per page focusing on how beautiful Edward is. If it didn't take a shit over everything vampires stand for it could have been half decent. The other half would have come from not letting Stephenie Meyer touch a pen again. She does have good music taste though, send her to go sign up some cool bands and maybe I'll forgive her.

Overall Twilight might not be aimed at me but it doesn't make it any less insulting. Teen shows and movies have been done before and have been done well. Veronica, Gossip Girl and even Mean Girls are good fun at showing teenagers life. But sadly Twilight doesn't take note of any of these. It even completely ignores what should be the tome for all vampire stories set in high school that is Buffy. If you want to watch something decent involving vampires watch True Blood, if you're looking for social outcasts and a mystery go and catch Veronica Mars. You want both? Buffy. Just stay the fuck clear of Twilight.


Expect a review of New Moon later on this year where I trash the series' treatment of werewolves.

* this is aimed at the bigger Disney and not subsidiaries like Pixar and Touchstone who still make great stuff like Lost and Wall-E

Of Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

It has arrived. The latest Michael Bay explosion fest. Luckily he does not disappoint with the movie clocking in at over 2 hours with plenty of explosions to keep the 12 year olds happy. Also he threw in some slow motion just for good measure.

I can't review this properly because normal reviewing tactics just don't hold true. I can't criticize the story due to the fact that it is almost non-existent, but I do know these guys can give us a good story since they wrote both Fringe and Star Trek this year so they can give us a good yarn. However Transformers 2 doesn't need a story. Instead everything that happens is just another excuse for Michael Bay to put more explosions in the movie.

So this movie has to be judged by different factors. Did I enjoy this film? Yes I did. Not to the same extent as I enjoyed Star Trek or last years Iron Man but Michael Bay can direct a certified popcorn flick better than anyone. Apart from possibly Roland Emmerich (new 2012 is essentially Day After Tomorrow but this time everything dies). I enjoyed Star Trek and Iron Man more mostly because the actors were good and they actually had comprehensible storylines. But they didn't have nearly as many explosions as this movie.

What is the story I hear you ask? Well there's an evil alien living on Saturn who built the pyramids and hid a massive laser inside them which could destroy the Sun to unleash energon. Luckily he was stopped by the Prime family and banished from Earth. However Decepticon forces have decided to help him in his quest to destroy the known universe. In the mean time Sam Witwicky is experiencing girlfriend issues and seeing ancient letters in front of his eyes and the Autobots are going around pwning all the left over Decepticons on Earth (and I do mean pwning). Eventually all these storylines come together in one massive explosion fest which takes up about 30 minutes of the films 150 minute run time (that's Dark Knight length people!!). That's the plot and whilst it seems fairly fleshed out let me just point out that most of that comes from a five minute monologue two hours into the movie and the rest is just guess work from a movie which throws random characters at you and then takes them away at Michael Bay's retarded whim (BTW Major Spoilers to follow later on).

Michael Bay NEEDS to learn how to edit properly. My biggest point of contention with the movie is simply this. Please, please make it comprehensible. The Fallen literally appears about 20 minutes into the movie. On Saturn. For no good reason. Most of the characters speak little to no words, apart from the ones you expect to (i.e Optimus, Bumblebee, Starscream, The Fallen, Jetfire and (SPOILERS!)Megatron). Everyone else is left to just look cool and cause more of Michael Bay's ever so pretty explosions. Then there is the fact that like the first movie Michael Bay seems to have some kind of allergic reaction to giving characters closure. One character named Wheelie is prominently featured for the first two hours then literally disappears...mid-scene. It's almost as if the animators just forgot to render him. Even with the movie reaching for time lengths that most normal movies don't dare touch, Michael Bay seems to put in hugely unnecessary scenes (dog humping, a scene involving hash brownies and even an enjoyable cameo by Rainn Wilson from The Office) whilst missing out important details to the plot. It's like the first movie where Barricade just disappears mid-fight scene (and doesn't appear in this movie either despite being supposed to and actually having a perfectly logical reason to get rid of him in the opening set piece of the fucking movie!!!!). Michael Bay spends too long on getting the movie to appeal to as many adolescent boys as possibly whilst ignoring all the conventions of a movie editor.

I'm not saying he can't direct a movie. He's by far the best action director in the world (well action involving explosions that is) but when characters just go missing without a mention from the characters and the story makes no sense, something seems a bit odd that he can throw a half hour scene of essentially just explosions and glorified shots of planes, tanks, boats and giant robots but not actual bring conclusion to a character who up until that point was fairly prominent. It's a shame that the movie just kind of dies halfway through and almost becomes an entirely different movie as the final climax is set up.

Then there are the jokes. Dear lord the jokes. Whilst I'm sure I'm going to be criticized for this but seriously do the jokes have to be as overtly sexual that only a twelve year old would laugh. Dogs humping, robots humping, black stereotypes (yup again and this time voiced by Spongebob Squarepants!!) and robot testicles. There's no subtlety or wit to the movie. Whilst this isn't necessarily a problem just don't go into this movie thinking it's going to be as hilarious as The Hangover because this movie is aimed at a demographic where balls have not yet dropped and just the mention of sex is enough to conjure belly laughs.

But none of this a real issue. I went into this movie expecting all these problems. It is a bit too long and suffers from a moment midway through which due to the emotionality of it, they just can't quite top afterwords. Also there's the jarring change of location halfway through which is a problem, like in Michael Bay's only other sequel, Bad Boys 2. But again none of this is an issue. The movie is a hell of a lot of fun. The Transformers look great (there is scene towards the end which will make Transformers fans exceedingly happy) and as always Michael Bay shows he knows how to frame a scene, as long as there are explosions in it. In fact the movie only really suffers at the points with no explosions as it is at those points that they try to explain the non-plot. There's a lull in the movie after an hour and a half which carries on for about 30 minutes before kicking off into the final set piece. It's incredibly boring and kills the momentum that the movie has made up until that point. Just the fact that we spend so much time an hour into the movie getting the plot thrown at us and the fact that the emotional climax of the film occurs halfway through leaves us a bit hollow afterwards especially how casually they deal with the climax. I'm speaking about the emotional climax which was...

Do not read beyond this point if you do not want to spoiled for this movie

...Optimus Prime's death. This part echoes the first Transformers movie so it's not that big of a spoiler but still, it's fairly shocking when it happens. Whilst it's obvious he won't be dead for long because he's fucking Optimus Prime and even Megatron doesn't die in this movie (he does lose an arm though) the movie just doesn't take the time to deal with his death properly. He's one of the few characters who gets any "development" and deserves at least some kind of memorial. Instead the movie takes a metaphorical dump on him by literally dumping him in an army base from about 30 feet off the ground and calls him scrap metal. Hardly a fitting treatment for undeniably the coolest character in the series (apart from Bumblebee). Whilst his death is a major plot thread for the rest of the movie it still feels like the audience isn't given time to mourn and instead we move onto the third explosion filled act which takes far too long to get going.

Overall Transformers 2 is just what you expect from a summer blockbuster. Michael Bay can direct an explosion like no other man and there are some exceedingly cool moments in the film from the Constructicons, blokes being chopped in half and of course the explosions. As long as you don't go in expecting it to have a cohesive story and the silliness that comes with trying to attract 12 year olds (which honestly they almost shouldn't be able to due to the language and violence within, even if it is mostly robots, someone having their spinal column ripped out is hardly 12A material) you'll have an amazing time.

Transformers 2 is everything you expect it to be, a bigger and badder version of Transformers, even if it does get a little bloated towards the end. There are enough references to keep older fans happy and explosions and sex for the teenagers. Transformers 2 is just fun and whilst recently films like Star Trek have made far better popcorn fodder, Transformers has them all beat on explosions. And really, that's all that matters.


PS If you're not going in for the fun factor though be prepared as the movie is overly long (40 minutes could have easily been cut) and is just too confusing in terms of plot, so may need to be knocked down to a 4 or 5

Explosion count movie: lost count
Explosion count review: 15

Check back for reviews of True Blood Season 1 and Twilight (vampire head to head!!!)

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Of Breaking Bad Season 2

Breaking Bad is easily one of the strongest shows on television at the moment. What's even more amazing is that it comes from a channel for which this is only their second original. It's also not their best show, that's Mad Men. For a channel to have one show that is good is extraordinary. To have two is absolutely incredible and is a feat only equaled by HBO who have created The Wire, The Sopranos and Six Feet Under. Also True Blood (not the best show ever but DAMN is it fun).

Early last year I raved briefly about how I loved this show. In fact it made it in at number 10 on my favourite shows of last year. Honestly it could have gone a lot higher had it not been for the writers strike which meant that the show ended last year without a proper finale, instead ending on just another episode. However in a show this good 'just another episode' is of the level that most shows can only achieve when they write an amazing episode, let alone a finale. However Breaking Bad did get a full season, in fact it got 6 episodes more than last season and wow did the show make good use of these episode, crafting an amazing season of television.

Last year we got introduced to Walter White (played astonishingly well by Bryan Cranston) and his struggle with cancer. We also got a few larger than life moments, which whilst being handled incredibly humanly, were still a bit too 'television', stuff like the blowing up of a building using chemicals and the acid bath. However we also got plenty of more human moments such as Walt struggling whether to kill a drug dealer which created one of the best episodes of all round television last year. This year dealt a whole lot more with these moments. Walt becoming jealous that he isn't being recognised for bringing money to his family because of where the money is coming from or just the bickering between Walt and Jesse solidifying on of the best on screen relationships in any show currently airing.

The show deals with Walter White being diagnosed with lung cancer and then becoming a drug dealer to try and give his family a good life after he has died. However the show became so much more than that about half way through the season when a massive twist completely destroys what we thought of Walt's original motives. Whilst other shows have dealt with villainous characters and showed them to have likable traits (Walt seriously loves his family), this is the only show that portrays the full evolution of people like this. The show starts showing these completely selfless reasons and how they shape the man who it cannot be argued is 'evil'. It's a fascinating level of character growth and really comes to a head in the last scene of the penultimate which easily one of the most visceral scenes I've seen this year, along with the attic scene from Dollhouse. But the show doesn't need a sci-fi to make the story interesting, everything is completely realistic and could happen, although this being television does mean some things need to be embellished.

The biggest example of this would be the last shot of the season which had been built up all year. Whilst being completely out of left field it still feels realistic in context of the show despite being just a bit too out there. The twist is the perfect example of the damage that Walt is causing in this world and comes as a direct influence of the scene I already mentioned. Whilst it might seem to much of a coincidence to some people it is definitely a perfect way to end the season and I hope that they focus on it next season, along with the family issues that Walt has managed to create this season through his actions (two cell phones etc.)

The acting on this show is incredible. Like Dexter, Walter White is the main attraction of the show but as the show has grown the other actors have had plenty of time to flex their muscles. Whilst Bryan Cranston can hold a scene with little more than a facial expression (the scene on the sofa in the finale), Aaron Paul as Jesse has come along to be one of the most all round likable characters on television and at times can rival Cranston's performance, especially in the episode 'Peekaboo' which in my eyes was the perfect episode of the season, having some of the tensest scenes and showing that even though Jesse has always been 'street-wise' he really isn't suited to the life of crime that he apparently feels he is obliged to feel.

The show leaves you craving more, as everything comes crashing down around them, you want to see somewhat at least some of them come out of this better. We want to see Jesse come out of this on top and whilst we as an audience are made to like Walt because he is doing what he is doing for a good cause, the show will have to inevitably end with him dying (although that being said the show has never gone down the obvious path). Throughout the season we got great teases as to what was going to happen by seasons end and it wasn't anything at all like we imagined.

Breaking Bad is one of the best written, best directed and best acted shows on television at the moment. I know I recommend a lot of shows but honestly at this point in time my two biggest recommendations are Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Lost is a firm favourite but it is Breaking Bad and Mad Men which just show how amazing this medium can be. Bryan Cranston is an acting god and is given so much to do with this character and the writing is perpetually top notch. The show is realism grounded in fantasy and it never takes the obvious option when it comes to story telling. There isn't a wasted second in this second season as the choices that Walt has made finally begin to have an affect on his real life away from his life as a drug dealer.

Overall the second season of Breaking Bad is a massive improvement over Season 1 which was fantastic to start with. The way the story is told through these 13 episodes is incredible and by seasons end what seemed at start as a neatly wrapped package is now blown to the four winds as we start next season not only dealing with the repercussions of the scenes fantastic last scene and the confrontations that will inevitably stem from Walt's choices. Breaking Bad still stands head and shoulders above most of the current television landscape and receives my highest possible recommendation 9.5/10

Sunday, 7 June 2009

E3 2009

This is actually quite a simple blog post, just a whole heap of trailers for a whole heap of games you SHOULD be excited for.

Alan Wake - 360, PC

APB - 360, PC

Assassin’s Creed 2 - 360, PS3, PC

Bioshock 2 - 360, PS3, PC

God of War 3 - PS3

Brutal Legend - 360, PS3

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 - 360, PS3, PC

Crackdown 2 - 360 PS3

The Last Guardian - PS3

Scribblenauts - DS

Left 4 Dead 2 - 360, PC

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks - DS

Metroid: Other M - Wii

Super Mario Galaxy 2 - Wii

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves - PS3

Saturday, 6 June 2009

New Pollz 2

Another new poll in the form of whether or not you like Pixar movies. In my eyes they are by far one of the best film studios in the world and I want to see whether you people agree with me. To be honest, these are the guys who made Toy Story, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Wall-E and Ratatouille, so they clearly have a lot of pedigree. Whilst Cars isn't great, it still isn't a bad movie. So when their worst is still decent, it's hard to disagree that they know what they're doing.

Plus they have Up and Toy Story 3 coming out soon so really how could you say no?

June 2009

I know it's been June for almost a week now but due to examinations and E3 I've been delayed a little. So here we are, June and with it Summer, my busiest time of the year. This is mostly because I'll be relaxing a lot, filming a short movie (in which I'm going to be thrown off of a rooftop), going on holiday and commencing my Summer Television Catch-up. I did something similar last year with How I Met Your Office, The Office, The OC, Supernatural and Battlestar Galactica but this year I'm going to be far more ambitious. So without further ado, my full list of shows which I aim to be watching this summer period.

TV Show List
- Supernatural Season 2 (possibly more)
- Battlestar Galactica Season 2 (possibly more)
- Buffy Season 2
- Alias Season 1 (this one was actually started last year)
- Friday Night Lights Season 1
- Deadwood
- Freaks and Geeks
- My So-Called Life
- Undeclared
- Wonderfalls

This along with Mad Men, Damages and True Blood as actual shows that will be on over Summer mean I'm going to be quite busy. Don't expect reivews of EVERYTHING, but I will aim to do some of them (don't expect on Alias, I just really am not feeling that show).

Since I got through Gossip Girl so fast, I think I might be able to get through most of these this summer but filming and hopefully some creativity might mean I don't get through everything, but definitely a lot of it.

Stuff Coming Soon
Summer Television Catch-Up
Breaking Bad Season 2 Review
Angels and Demons Review
Terminator Salvation Review

Currently Listening To: Lady Blue - As Cities Burn
Waterfalls - Moneen
Two Weeks - Grizzly Bear
Currently Watching (TV) - True Blood Season 1
Currently Watching (Movie) - Coraline

Friday, 5 June 2009


If you're looking for an awesome DS game, you need to see play this: