Saturday, 29 May 2010


Is it clichéd to have Dorian Gray play a role in a story that's not The Picture of Dorian Gray?

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Future future...

Oh! I remember now! I was going to talk about Moonlight, why it was cancelled and why that was a terrible mistake with consideration to the fact that True Blood and Vampire Diaries and fucking Twilight are seeping through into the public consciousness. Oh, and why Moonlight is Angel but without all the baggage.


Law and Order - Why Dick Wolf Is Wrong.

I think that Dick Wolf did something amazing when he came up with Law and Order, way back in the late 80s. He created a new kind of format for the police procedural that it became the format for countless others. CSI sprung up from that format, Without A Trace, The Practice-- both sides of the story, the Law and the Order (as the original narration tells us). From Law and Order came Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and also my personal favourite, Law and Order: Criminal Intent. There were misfires, Law and Order: Trial By Jury, Conviction-- it seems that Wolf can't work a law and law show like The Practice could way back when.

I've been binging on Law and Order: Criminal Intent for three-ish weeks now. With birthday money comes great horror when you set up 1-Click Shopping for Amazon on your mobile phone. So I have the first three seasons, and am just starting the third this week. I love it. You can't go wrong. There are reasons for this, but I'll get to it in a moment.

Law and Order has been cancelled. 20 years this show has been on the air, and it's been cancelled. Not before the networks green light Law and Order: Los Angeles of course, or Special Victims Unit gets another season, and Criminal Intent is reformatted to revolve around Jeff Goldblum's character Zach Nichols (not a terrible thing, but bear with me)... the original (and some might say the best-- I wouldn't) has been cancelled. It's a shame. Not for me, I don't think, I stopped watching it around the time I got into Criminal Intent, and it's never been the same without Jerry Orbach as Lenny Brisco. God, I loved that man.

But something caught my eye in my recent perusal of the internet when it came to Law and Order. Dick Wolf said that it doesn't matter what the cast is (in regards to Vincent D'Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe being moved off Criminal Intent), because the audience is more interested in the stories.

Well that's just ridiculous.

The reason I watched Law and Order was because I loved seeing Jerry Orbach in action. I loved Sam Waterston as DA. I think I caught the tail end of the Benjamin Bratt era and met Jesse L Martin when he came onboard. That was great. These were the characters I'd watch and care about. Just because major details about their lives weren't revealed doesn't make them any less interesting. Without them on the screen I wouldn't have been half as interested. As time went on I stopped caring about Law and Order because the episodes became derivative of themselves, but what do you expect when you're on air for 20 years? I wish I'd stuck with it though, because the later seasons introduced Jeremy Sisto and Anthony Anderson, brilliant actors who shined in their previous outings in other shows-- Sisto in Kidnapped, one of those amazing shows that was cancelled after one season, and Anderson in The Shield, where he demosntrated an ability to mainline malevolence like nothing else. Good stuff. But I stopped caring because the quality fell, because characters I loved were no longer present.

With Criminal Intent, that show was all about Vincent D'Onofrio as Bobby Goren. It wouldn't have been the same thing without him. I didn't care as much about the stories, more about how he would solve them. D'Onofrio bought so much to the role that I doubt the show would have been as successful without him as the lead. Kathryn Erbe as Eames was the great resounding view point character, helping to... not simplify, but explain... every single leap that Goren made. The stories came second.

So for Wolf to say that Law and Order isn't about the actors is just a ridiculous statement for a man who had previously reached pinnacles of greatness. He's out of touch with his audience, more interested in boosting up his ego than admitting that the only reason his franchise has been as popular as it has been is because of the actors that have come into frame. Orbach was the heart of the show. Chris Noth was so popular as Mike Logan that after he was fired from the main show he got a spin-off film and then became one of the main detectives in Criminal Intent. You don't forget these guys. But you forget the stories.

So who's right, Dick Wolf? The people or you?

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Future future...

Future blog posts involve a rant about Dick Wolf and how he's out of touch with his audience when it comes to the Law and Order franchise. There are others, but I'm trying to remember before... I... forget...

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

"The Losers" - Review

The Losers is one of the best comic book adaptations that I have ever seen, and full of every single great thing I love in a film, let alone in-between the pages of a Vertigo comic. The original Andy Diggle and Jock book is a superb piece of story telling, but that's not what I'm here to talk about. No. The film takes all the cues from the source material, builds on it, and changes in ways that don't make the overtly familiar viewer resent Hollywood (which was my problem with the recent A Nightmare on Elm Street remake). I enjoyed this film. I really did. I had one problem, and it was minor, so I think I'll get it out in the open first:

There was an over-reliance on slow motion, something that's been rife in film making since 300. Rife in comic book adaptations even. I blame, obviously, Zack Snyder for this. 300 just... mainlined it, and then, since, it's become overused and clichéd, and I just don't enjoy it like I should do. Sure, it did punctuate moments, such as the rocket launcher moment with Aisha near the end of the film, but the sex scene was really... shlocky. It took me out of the story. Shame.

Now, everything else.

The core cast were brilliant. Anyone who knows me knows that I adore Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and turn as Clay was brilliant. Haunted, tragic, funny and full of all the other qualities one needs to be a leader, he lead the cast through every scene, and it was a delight to see him in a fun role after the horror of The Comedian in Watchmen. His relationship with Idris Elba's Roque was one of a few divergences that I adored. In the original comic they were distant from one another, but in this... wow. They felt like best friends from the get, and the betrayal at the end of the second act was a gut punch, even though I knew it was coming. Chris Evans was wonderful as Jensen, filling the role with a sense of humour that was terrible and wonderful to watch. He seems to be really good at inhabiting these roles, and after seeing merely a moment of him in Scott Pilgrim Versus The World as Lucas Lee with That Eyebrow was an air-punching good time. Colombus Short was acceptable as Pooch, kind of the emotional centre of the group but not very watchable, while Óscar Jaenada did exactly the same as Evans and made Cougar bad-ass to the nth degree. Zoe Saldana was enigmatic and capable of flashes of emotion that were impressive... all in all, the main actors behind The Losers feel like they're at the top of their game, and I think the reason I have a reason with Short is that he didn't have enough to do. Sure, he had his moments of bad-assery like everyone else, but it was just... a bit vacuous. Shame.

It was great that Jock's visuals were incorporated into the film itself, with freeze frames punctuating the identities of The Losers. The fact that the screenwriters were comfortable enough to keep so tightly to the source material goes to show that Andy Diggle's original work-- the same kind of respect paid to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons in Snyder's Watchmen. I hate a comic book adaptation that is embarrased of what came before. It's why I'm dreading Jonah Hex. I'm terrified of that film. I want to enjoy it, I want to see a "superhero" Western, but apparently they're giving Jonah supernatural powers, and that's not the character. What's the point? The direction as a whole was really strong, and the use of music was fantastic. I adore Journey in any context and Jensen singing along in the lobby? Oh, come on. Partnered with the telekinetic bit, taken from the comic itself? Perfection.

In the original comic book series Max wasn't revealed until the tail end of the run, a mysterious and scary man-in-black that we didn't fully understand. The film makers chose to make him a very real figure, and you can tell that Jason Patric is having a whale of time performing as the villain. He's hilarious, with a hair trigger fuse that is unleashed throughout the piece. The head nod was a great comic moment and the umbrella was obvious and executed perfectly. If The Losers are some of the best heroes a story could have, then Max is one of the best villains.

I loved The Losers, and I'm going to see it again as soon as I can. This film, and I called it within the first ten minutes of viewing, is better than The A-Team remake. It's everything The A-Team is going to want to be. I might be proven wrong, but I don't think I will.


Monday, 24 May 2010

"The Chain" - FOR POSTERITY!

Right, so it took, what? Eleven months? Gah, I hate that. I hate that it took so long. I think, removing all the stops I had on it (Because I didn't know writing a novel was so damn hard) it was about six months? Probably less? I know I didn't write it every day. That would have hurt. But yeah. I'm done. The Chain is finished and I'm just tightening it up before I send it off to people. Then I'll send it out for editing and then I'll cry as my editor lays into me.

So, final stats of the raw, unedited copy?

Sixty Chapters. Woof. I like that. Feels meaty. It was... forty? Forty five, maybe, before I ran through and let it breathe.

Just under Seventy Thousand and Fire Hundred words-- which to me feels like nothing. Like it's a nothing piece of nothing and I've not achieved anything. Bah.

I have a document saved with the run down of every character, every character *mentioned* that I'm going to turn into a spreadsheet for the sequel. If I get round to it. I feel like I might fall back on my strengths and do it like an anthology, but I'm not sure. I have stuff planned, but I don't know if I can deliver.

I don't know if I've delivered with this one now, do I?

I might do a run down of everything that went into the novel. Inspirations. Music, films, television. I'm hoping that I'm psyched for this tomorrow. Or I could be terrified.

Oh, God.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Point One

Just because you have a camera, and take photos in black and white of the horizon, does not a photographer make. Professional? No, you need to think about what you're doing, right?

...But then again, so do I...


I hit the 3k mark I needed to, and am now delving into the depths of 70k. Want to hit 80, and have it be done, but I don't know if I can stretch the narrative out that far. Would be a shame if, having done so much, I can't push a bit more, but it feels like I'm more concerned with the sequel (I know, I know, shut me up) than the first right now. Maybe because all the baggage will be unloaded? Because it will be simpler? Characters seem to be doing what they want to do right and not what I want them to do...

I mean, honestly, why would Lucifer betray Taylor? It makes sense because he's the Devil and CONFLICT!! but really it felt like it came from nowhere... but did it? Maybe I need to write more like that. But then I'll lose myself entirely. At least I've got all the major plot points out there. That's a relief.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010


How is it that I can't write anything but what I've started, and even then, it's a struggle to write, say, my novel? I have like 3k I want to get done before the end of the month, and then I want to get another 10 or 20k done before I say "I'm done" but that's not going to happen, I don't think.

But I tried writing something different a few days ago and I failed. Started, got a way in, then crashed. Couldn't do it. Couldn't structure the story at all so I just stopped.

What's up with that?

Thursday, 13 May 2010

"The Human Centipede: First Sequence" - Review

Oh, my God.



I have...


I've wanted to see this film for some sick reason for months. Since I first saw mention of it, since I first saw some promo images. I've been chasing the internet down to find some way to view it, and now I can... 'happily'... say I have done. And what did I think?


Human Centipede, the first of a proposed two-piece film series (ohhhh God), has claimed to be '100% Surgically Accurate'. Okay. That's... something. There was surgery, horrifying surgery, well researched surgery... and I don't think that this was a good film. No. I'm getting straight to the point. It was unnecessary. I don't understand it. It was porn. If you've read my other reviews, you know I detest the term "gore porn", but this... I don't... I just think it wasn't necessary. Who wants to see two women and an angry Japanese dude sown together arse-to-mouth. I don't know. I don't. It was such an aggravating film because it was so weak and flimsy. The main character... Doctor... Heller? Keller? See, I don't even know, it was so weak. The plot follows thusly: Doctor makes a Sweet Three Dog. Sweet Three Dog dies. Doctor wants Human Centipede. Kidnaps people. Makes Human Centipede. Stuff happens. Rectum blood, shitting in mouths, face pus, I just... seriously, I don't know why this was made.

The story telling was shit, and the characters flat. I don't understand why anyone would care about the female victims because they were so damn shrill and irritating. They feel entitled. They're ignorant to the country they're travelling through and don't understand that you can drive on a flat tire (it's just not advisable). There was one moment of character development, without context, that cost me a lot of my caring, right near the end when the film needed it the most. An ill-advised speech that came from nowhere that lead to a very selfish act that made me feel very betrayed by such a shoddy technique. I won't ruin it, because I think you should see it so you can share my anger, but really... why?

The main character of the Doctor was played by a German freak of nature that was actually scary, but I can't remember his name.

See? See my problem? You remember the horror of it. And it's not horrible horror it's visceral, bloody, sticky, I-don't-know-why-anyone-would-want-to-make-this-film horror. I've seen "Saw". I like the story around it. I don't care for the torture. I don't. But I like the story, so I can watch. This had no story. It was flat and flimsy, I can only remember the name of the writer/director (Tom Six?) because I want to punch him in the balls for being a sick freak, and it was not a good horror film. Unless...

...Right. Change of subject time. I hate films where the protagonists don't stand a chance. "Hostel" seems like that, and I don't like the "Hostel" films. People always need to be able to fight back. And this film... when you're sown arse-to-mouth what chance do you have? You're trapped. You're being tortured. And that's it. So if that scares you, then this works as a concept, but it was stupid, it was pantomime, and I could care less.

So, the characters were idiots. I didn't care. The concept is disgusting, and there were maybe one or two moments of strained "Oh. Ha."s that maybe alleviated the overall crushing depression of the film. "You'll be Part B!" caused a bit of a laugh out loud moment, but meh. The characters were idiots. I didn't care. Not going to buy it on DVD (unless it has deleted scenes and a commentary explaining why why oh God why).

So that's my opinion on that. Wow.


"A Nightmare on Elm Street" - Review

I wanted to love this film so hard. I'm a massive fan of Robert Englund, who has to be one of the best, most "distinguished" horror actors of all time, and the franchise, I have to admit, amuses me to no end. Englund distils a manic, brilliant quality into his version of Freddy Krueger that is both sympathetic (come on, you route for the guy some time) and harrowing, very similar to what Robert Knepper did with T-Bag in the TV-show "Prison Break". You're psyched to see Kruger step into shot because you know he's going to do something awesome, but something was lost in translation when it came to the film I saw.

I'm glad that the team behind the recent remake of "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (the same team behind the "Friday the 13th", apparently) have driven the point home that this is a scary story. Because it is. We're supposed to be safe in our dreams and if I saw a badly dressed burn victim prancing about in my dream scape I'd probably wake up screaming. So that works.

But the thing is, the original "Nightmare" was terrifying in it's own tongue-in-cheek kind of way. Krueger was a monster, yes, and he did awful things (I'm not going to take about the sequels), and you were terrified of him. Brilliant. There were amazing set pieces to that film that burned themselves into your memory, that stayed with you (and countless other film makers after who copied the scares to lesser effect) for years to come. I know that a lot of my knowledge of horror and scares comes from that film-- "This-! Is your God!", the boiler room scenes, the bedroom scene where one of the earlier victims is pulled into the air, the arms reaching out at Nancy... So much awesome that has never been properly repeated to better effect.

The remake was rubbish. It should have been brilliant because it had so much to call upon to make a brilliant film, but no. It was cheap. It recycled the old scenes that I loved from the original and made them rubbish. I can't even construct a logical argument about how much it irritated me, but I'll try. The thing is... this film should stay with you. The first one did. The remake? Not so much. It was a recycling, a bad rehashing, and I wanted more from it. It took liberties with characters that didn't need to be taken, it, at times, felt like a shot for shot retread, and the only scene that stayed with me... was a brilliant "wet dream" bit that was pure Englund. So glad that was there-- my memory of the original is hazy in parts, but it felt like the only new bit that mattered, and even then, I could be wrong. "Nightmare 2010" could actually just be a vapid, two-dimensional void of a film. What a waste? What a money maker. It was unnecessary, and it's only going to act as a sequel machine, a new franchise reboot that the studio can milk until we've all got a bad taste in our mouths.

Now, I can try and be positive. The directing was solid, and the 'dream-scape' transitions made me so happy, because they felt slick and stylish without foregoing the source material. Dissolves and fades, when done right, are some of my favourite directorial tools, because you can't overuse them else they become obvious, so when used, and used well, I fall in love with the film on that basis alone. The dream scenes themselves remind me of some of the best visuals from the "Silent Hill" film, but then again that reinforces the fact that "Nightmare 2010" is so derisory that there wasn't a point in making it.

Jackie Earle Haley is, as ever, a tour de force of energy and fear that you just can't go wrong with casting. He's been my favourite thing in countless projects over the years-- Watchmen, Little Children, Human Target-- and that trend continues here. He's such a small man, and he's so powerful with his ferocity, that I sometimes can't believe it. I'm aware that the film makers made a concentrated effort to get his Krueger's voice away from Rorschach's, but it was a complete failure, because all I could hear was him shouting "WHERE'S MY FACE!" whenever he pushed himself over his vocal edge. Not bad, but when you make such a big deal in interviews that you're trying to make a difference, don't fail at it, yes?

Haley's make-up was daunting as all hell, moving away from the demonic visage that Englund originally brought to the role and going for a more visceral, obvious, burn victim style that was scary as all heck. I mean... wow. Whenever he was on screen I was scared. I'm not joking, it was terrifying to see this man run around with a hole in his face and his mouth barely moving (a flaw, I'm sure, but I could see past it... (well, apparently not...)). It looked like this man was in pain, and you could kind of understand why he was doing what he was doing...

...If you believed he wasn't a paedophile. I loved the doubt. For a moment, you wondered... are they really going to go somewhere different and have it be that he was unjustly killed? God. That would have been daunting, right? But no, the Hollywood cop-out ensued and he was a dirty kiddy-toucher... a role that Haley seems to be dominating recently, have you seen "Little Children"? Wow. I mean, his Fred Krueger, pre Molotov-ing, was that creepy/kind loner that he's masterful at. I don't think I could stop praising his acting. Haley plays sociopath to the hilt, and I wouldn't have it any other way. And the twist that Freddy was luring his victims into remembering him more so he could exert more influence over them was brilliant, I think that's a new twist that I quite enjoyed. And the way he was pushing Nancy harder and harder so she'd go into a coma? Brilliant.

Oh, and speaking of Nancy...

The worst thing in the film were the protagonists. I don't have any love for the new breed of actors that have come out of television recently... Kyle Gallner has appeared in "Smallville" and then had a major role in "A Haunting In Connecticut", so he had the chops, but he was just... no. Hated him. AS Nancy, Rooney Mara was doing something awful with her mouth that made every line delivery an incessant drawl that pushed me near over the brink of insanity. For some reason the writers stripped the Nancy character of any strength until the very end... she cowered and she cried, but the original Nancy attacked Freddy with a pipe, I'm sure of it. Maybe that's me misremembering, but what was the point of this film at all?


Monday, 10 May 2010

Another Politics Post

I feel awful for Gordon Brown. He stepped down as leader of the Labour Party today, and it's just... he wasn't made for this brand of politics. He was old school and in this new school of media manipulation and spin, he just wasn't able to keep up. I don't believe any of the slur against the man. I don't believe he was a raging monolith of anger and abuse. No. I think that he was a genuinely good man that was dragged down by people looking for a story, dragged down to their level.

And yes, I do believe that the woman was a bigot, no matter what the media say, and I think that we've all been there, saying something we shouldn't have said. He wasn't MADE for the media-centric bull shittery that this election, heck, what politics, became!

So I'm saddened to see the country turn on him. Do I believe that he should lead the country? I prefer him to Cameron (no brainer) and I believe that a coalition government with Clegg and Brown would have been the best bet. But hey, we'll see how the country goes to shit now, yes?

"The Chain" - SEQUEL TITLE!

The sequel is tentatively titled "Lightbringer".