Tag Archives: definitive review

Dredd, the definitive review (7/10)

It’s not just a different director or writer that makes Dredd (of 2012) such a massive success where Judge Dredd (of 1995) was a gigantic turd sandwich: it’s the time we live in.

In 1995 everything was on the up. We weren’t in any major wars, the economy was happy, people were sitting pretty in the joy of the music of Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise or Shaggy’s Mr Boombastic, depending on which of the two songs you liked (it had to be one of them).

It was imperfect, but it was good. So the Judge Dredd of 1995 was a seriously Americanised take on a very satirical British concept. A man personifying the police state and what becomes of those in charge when the word inevitably fucks up becomes a quipping tough guy with a “funny” sidekick and a love interest.

Nobody had even heard the word ‘derp’, so no negative opinions on Rob Schneider could accurately be vocalised.

He took his helmet off, both ignoring the rule that had been in place since the early days of the Dredd comics and going totally against the fact that he is meant to be faceless. He is justice. He is the law. These things do not have a face to them. They are inhuman. They are concepts. They are not slightly wonky faced men who slur their words and look a bit like my dad.

1995 was stupid, uncaring and shit because everyone was happy.

Dredd 2012 is in a world where we genuinely see everything becoming like the comics. We’re fucked, people are getting killed in wars, nobody has any money apart from the elite few, discontent is spreading and it often feels just a misspoken word from a politician away from anarchy, or a misinterpreted comment on religion (by pretty much anyone) away from all-out war in some places.

The police state is slowly coming to be a reality in many so-called civilised countries and, obviously, we’re all just sitting back and taking it like the good little bitches we are. We have new Doctor Who, so it’s fine.

Dredd reflects that. It’s un-fuck-giving. It’s contained, in a relatively small locale. It’s simple and straight to the point, because nobody can be bothered paying (or has the time to pay) attention anymore. It doesn’t need to explain beyond exposition of where the world currently is in the film, because we’re already comfortable with the idea of those in positions of authority having unarguable authority we would never question. The Judges just seem like a natural evolution of how things are going, at least right now.

The thing about Dredd 2012 is, it just makes sense. In 1977 it was started as a commentary on the police state, fascism, authoritarianism and the rule of law. Now it just seems like a prescient documentary, and the movie is a fantastic representation of that.

I lost track of what I’m saying at some point here – it happens when you write without a particular plan. But my basic point is: I really like Dredd. I think it’s a very good sci-fi action flick, and the level of violence is refreshing, because it seems we haven’t had it – not in this sort of ridiculous fashion – since Verhoeven’s 80s output.


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Total Recall 2012, the definitive review (7/10)

In Total Recall 2012, a woman approaches Co-Lin Farrell and offers him her ‘services’. Her services include the fact she has three breasts, which she reveals to our favourite star of In Bruges.

It is not explained why she has three bosoms, or if she approaches every single man on the street with her oh-so-tempting offer. She just jumps in, says her piece, shows her pieces, and fucks right off again.

In Total Recall 1989 (or was it 1990 I can’t be arsed checking), a woman turns to Ah-nolt Schwarzenegger at the bar after being recommended to him by the barkeep. She reveals to him her chest, and while the audience is fully aware that mutations have occurred to people on Mars, we see she has three chest orbs.

It is explained why she has three breasticles. It is logical why she approaches Ah-nolt. When Benny says he wishes he had three hands, we laugh at his casual objectification of this working woman.

See, a Paul Verhoeven film is actually more subtle – more subtle – and nuanced than a non-Paul Verhoeven film.

The new Total Recall does not bother trying to make sense. It makes some clumsy attempts at overlong exposition then sort of just gives up and moves on, explaining little else along the way.

Dave, who I saw the film with, asked a series of questions beginning as soon as the credits started rolling. He did not stop asking these questions through the walk out of the cinema, on the way to the bus stop, as we parted ways, or even after we’d split and I was receiving texts from him on the bus.

This shows both that Dave is an irritant, and that Total Recall 2012 has so many stupid fucking holes in it – more than even Prometheus – that it’s making me hate modern, mainstream sci-fi.

Come back Jim Cameron, all is forgiven. And come back Paul Verhoeven, I love you. Oh, and Joss Whedon. And whoever did The Man From Earth. And trashy 50s B-movie sci-fi flicks. And John Carpenter. And anyone else.

I seriously need to write something, because this shit gets made and I can be at least as good as Total Recall 2012. IT DID NOT EXPLAIN THE TRIPLE-TITS.


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Prometheus: the definitive review (7/10)

So the first thing I should tell you about Prometheus is that I think it’s a stinking pile of bollocks that has ruined my day and sullied what little respect I had left for Ridley “I’m shit really” Scott.

That about sums it up. I’ll try to avoid spoilers.

The basic premise of Prometheus is sound. Message from life outside earth. Travel the stars to where this message points. Find evidence we came from elsewhere. Realise all is not what it seems.

It’s the stuff inbetween that overarching plot that drags this nonsensical piece of blockbuster tripe down. The script feels like it was written by – and I choose my words very wittily and cleverly here – an idiot.

You can’t just have your main characters explaining to the audience what just happened. That’s called patronising – which means talking down to people*. Seeing a character intentionally cut his video feed should be enough, even for idiots. We don’t then need another character to say “he cut me off, the son of a bitch!” seconds after the fact. We know. We’re not stupid.

And when your Big Reveal about certain relationships is handled, there are more subtle ways of stating it than picking the most obvious, boring route and making it stand out like a sore thumb. The IT Crowd mocked the whole “FATHERRRR!” thing for a very good reason. It’s rote. Boring. Bland. Obvious.

Then there’s the actual story behind the film, of how it was once a prequel to Alien but now isn’t but it is or is it? And without ruining things: it’s just as confusing in the film. The entire premise of what the Engineers (Space Jockeys) are doing is so convoluted it’s ridiculous, and the fact that what they’re doing isn’t actually defined in any real way just makes it worse.

It’s Ronald D Moore syndrome, where it feels there was no real plan and things have been slapped together in a haphazard fashion. Made up as it goes along. “Oh, let’s put a tattooed, mohawked ginger bloke in who goes mental about being a geologist.” “Why?” “DO NOT ASK WHY JUST DO IT.” “Should we have some character development so the audience actually gives a shit about 95% of the cast?” “Character devwhat? I literally don’t understand what you are saying.”

[A developmental meeting for Prometheus, a few years ago]

The musical score too is just terrible, and actually single-handedly ruins some scenes. Where you want tension, you want seriousness, you want to be made to feel the impact of a scene you have some rousing “USA! USA!” Bill Pullman-backing music from Independence Day. Not only does it not fit – it actively brings down the entire experience.

When someone’s explaining that the whole reason for someone existing has been based not only on a lie but on the fact that what they’ve been searching for all along is solely intending to destroy them, you don’t want something that sounds like an Indiana Jones theme song rip-off playing in the background. Awful.

On the plus side, it looks astonishing at times. And Michael Fassbender is genuinely brilliant, and single-handedly saves the film from being absolute gash. It feels at many points as if it was initially to be made with his character the main focus, but minds were changed halfway through production, leaving a mish mash of story threads that feel nothing more unsatisfactorily resolved.

But yeah, he has nice hair.


*Copyright Legs Akimbo Theatre.

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Captain America: The Film Subtitle: the definitive review (7/10)

I liked it.


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Alesto Sweetened Dried Cherries – the definitive review (7/10)

I made what some would call an impulse purchase the other day. Browsing the aisles at Lidl (I may be an international superstar these days, but I still find time to return to my roots) I came across one of my favourite sections: dried fruit and nuts.

Reaching for my usual helping of Alesto Nuts Royal (I’d take the walnuts out at home, of course) my gaze was dragged to the right. There I saw something… different. New. Special. Alesto Sweetened Dried Cherries.

Now I knew already how great dried cherries were, thanks to the fine efforts of Waitrose and their Love Life fruit/nut selection. Delicious little bastards, some might say. So I took the plunge – £1.49 being beyond what I’d normally spend on such a crazy, wacky impulse buy, but I am a renegade.

Getting them home I was eager to tuck in. A few chores stood in my way – waxing the gibbon, flossing the tables and wiping your mum’s knees off (none of these are euphemisms, nor are they true). But once clear I sat, readied myself, tore open the bag, tore it again the other way as Alesto has stupid bag designs and they never open properly first time, dipped in my misshapen claw and tucked in.

It was what you might call ‘a bit of a let-down’. In fact, I’d go so far as to say ‘it wasn’t very nice and I instantly regretted the decision of buying them’. Like I said – I’m a renegade.

All in all they taste like weird, sweetened plastic (with a hint of rubber). They taste like a waste of £1.49. They taste nothing like cherries. They taste just like people who never go to Lidl would expect everything from Lidl to taste. They taste like failure, and they taste like something that I really should just throw in the bin.

I bought them for more than 20p though, so there’s no fucking way in hell I’m binning the bastards.


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Tokyo: the definitive review (7/10)

The thing is, I saw pretty much everything in Tokyo that I both expected and didn’t expect to see. I’ve grown up on comics, sci-fi, videogames and whatever else that has Tokyo in it, and it’s all painted a pretty vivid picture of the place. So when I get there and I see much of it is true, from the fact it looks like you’re in Blade Runner some of the time to the way that yes, there are vending machines with girl’s underwear in them – it makes me a wee bit giddy.

Alright, less the crusty keks, but that’s because I’m not a weirdo. Well, I am, just not in that sense.

But then there’s the stuff you don’t think about. There’s the people who, aside from the natural salesmen trying to get you in somewhere to sell you overpriced whatever, are friendly, pleasant and welcoming. There’s the beer, which is good. The language, which is confusing. The food, which is also confusing (WHY DOES IT LOOK AND SMELL LIKE A DOUGHNUT BUT HAVE MEAT IN IT?).

Then there’s the toilets – OH! – the toilets. They are the best things in the world by a long, long way. That potential massive leap towards curing HIV they revealed recently? Bugger all compared to Japanese toilets. You know what I’m talking about, if you’ve ever read anything about Japan.

Anyway, Tokyo is massive, which scares me – as do all massive places. People there get drunk all the time, which is brilliant. The subway didn’t feel dangerous. We went into an area of Shinjuku we were warned was “a bit dodgy at this time of night” only to be confronted with The Least Dodgy Place I Have Ever Been (bar all the titty bars, obviously).

Also there was a random petshop, which was aww well cute sweet etc.

And we saw a Yakuza girlfriend. She had nice tattoos.

Possibly the best city I’ve ever been to, now I think about it, and I have to go again at some point. I’d just have to save up about £3,000,000 for a week’s worth of food and drink. Expensive isn’t the word.


6 of 14 catch up entries left to go.

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Portuguese clementines: the definitive review (7/10)

One of the main reasons I was looking forward to our jaunt to the Algarve was to see the lobster-skinned English folk roaming the region, trashing bars, fucking everything that moves and generally trying to ruin the world with our collective Small Man Syndrome that we as a small island nation seem to suffer.

No, wait – what I meant to say was: the fruit.

Fruit on the continent always seems to be better than back here at home, for whatever reason. I’m sure it’s very obvious reasons, but hey – let’s go with “whatever reason”. But now that always has to be changed to ‘usually’. Or sometimes, or rarely, or whatever I want to knock it down to.

Not always. Never always. The Continente supermarket in Loule made sure to ruin that particular dream.

In hot, sunny Portugal where would you expect their clementines to come from? We tend to get ours from Spain, possibly South Africa and a few other places between. But Portugal is sunny enough, surely? Even if it isn’t, they can literally get a truck to drive a few hours from across the border to bring some fresh, juicy deliciousness with them.

That was my logic.

What I was met with was a heap of dried up, tasteless and 40% inedible pieces of orange-coloured shit direct from – I kid thee not – Uruguay.

What’s the fucking point in that? At all? It makes no sense. Surely that can’t be cheaper than just growing them down the road and having an oxen pull a cart full of the bastard things straight to the market?

Anyway. Portugal: your clementines are shit. Because they’re from 5834 miles away. Sort it out.

(N.B. Clementines in Waitrose down the road from me travel 6146 miles and are delicious, so it’s clearly an issue with how they’re transported or ultimately stored at the market in question. But that’s too close to analysis, and I’d prefer blind reaction to thought any day of the week.)


7 of 14 catch up entries to go.

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