Monday, 26 January 2015

American Sniper

America's Most Lethal Sniper*
A two-hour propaganda movie for a political party populated by old white men and right wing nut-jobs, directed by a white, old, right wing nut-job based on the "story" of a compulsive liar and right wing nut-job.  Perhaps a more appropriate title would have been the working title for American Hustle; American Bullshit.  #OscarGold

Three Interesting "facts" about Chris Kyle

1. The Great-American bullshitter claimed to have killed 30 "bad guys" in New Orleans, post Hurricane Katrina.
2. The Great-American bullshitter claimed he donated the profits of his book to War Vets.  A generous act if true... he actually kept them.
3. The Great-American bullshitter was successfully sued for $1.8M by Jesse Ventura, the former Governor of Minnesota, WWF Superstar and star of Predator and The Running Man.

*according to the front cover of the Great-American bullshitter's book

Friday, 23 January 2015

Ten Things '24' Taught Us

01. The most dangerous time to do anything is from five minutes to the hour until o’clock.  Whether it’s babysitting, shopping at the mall, boarding a plane or simply driving through the streets of Los Angeles, if you’re unfortunate enough to find yourself in one of the little boxes as the clock winds down you might want to forgo paying the cable bill.  Alternatively, the safest time to water the plants, feed the dog, go to the shop for milk is from o’clock to five minutes past the hour as should someone decide to kidnap you for execution, broadcast online there’s sufficient time to extricate yourself from the situation.
It's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all...
but five times is just careless!
02. Of the seven people we know Jack Bauer to have had a sexual relationship (Marilyn, Teri, Nina, Kate, Claudia, Audrey, Rene) with only two are known to still be alive.  That’s a mortality rate of 71.43%.  Smallpox had a mortality rate of 30-35%.  The Ebola virus reportedly has a kill rate of 24-90% depending on the host’s age and pre-existing health but probably won’t go rogue and attempt to assassinate the Russian premiere to avenge your death.  Incredibly, if you apply Jack Bauer’s mating mortality rate to Kiefer Sutherland’s good pals Charlie Sheen’s claims of bedding 5,000 women there would be 3, 571 fewer ladies in the Greater Los Angeles area.

03. Jack Bauer has killed 267 people in 10 days (8 full seasons, 1 limited run season, 1 TV movie).  That’s an impressive 26 people per day.  If Jack Bauer was the month of February he’d have killed 7, 476 people by St. David’s Day.  That’s 500 more than the average English Football League One attendance.  Bauer’s tally is almost exactly half the capacity of a Boeing 747 which, though impressive, pales in comparison to some of 24’s reoccurring characters.  Remember Mandy, the bisexual assassin from Day One, Two and Four?  She doubled Jack’s complete total before the first commercial break in the first episode of the show by doing what?  Blowing up a 747.
No Experience, No References Necessary. Apply Within.
04. The biggest villain of 24 is not Charles Logan.  It’s not Cheng Zhi.  It’s not even Graem Bauer who tried sending his own brother off to the farm… twice!  The biggest villain of the show is CTU’s Human Resources department.  Over the eight full seasons and one limited run season, CTU has seen no less than 8 traitors who have been responsible for act of terror like –the attempted assassination of a U.S Senator, numerous nuclear attacks, deadly nerve gas attacks, U.S drones being hijacked and state sponsored murder.  Put simply, if CTU’s HR administrators actually carried out proper employee screening procedures at least seven major terrorist attacks across the United States (and England) could have been averted and Valencia, CA wouldn’t be a radioactive wasteland.

05. The only thing that loves Jack Bauer more than the die-hard 24 fans is trouble.  Across the 10 days in which Bauer has been in the middle of it, he has actually only been an employee of the Counter Terrorist Unit on 2 occasions (Day One, Day Three).  On the all other occasions he has been either inactive (Day Two), working for the Secretary of Defence (Day Four), presumed dead (Day Five), recently released from a Chinese prison and asked to die for his country (Day Six), on trial for war crimes (Day Seven), full-time grandpappy (Day Eight) and on the run (Live Another Day).  Looking at it as cold-hard cash, out of the 206 hours Jack has been “on the job” 16 of these have been part of a core hour shift, 32 have been on whatever the agreed CTU overtime rate is and a staggering 158 have been free.  Even at minimum wage that’s an incredible amount of Presidents to lose out on.
Form an orderly line.  Everyone gets a
turn at being President.
06. Speaking of Presidents, 24 has seen 7 different people sit in the Oval Office with another 3 presumed to have taken the office thanks to either death, impeachment or pre-existing leader (as there was obviously a sitting President unseen during Season One).  10 Presidents across 16 years is a new Chief to hail every 1.6 years which isn’t even one third of a term of office.  When you consider that David Palmer saw out one full term of office that’s 9 Presidents in 12 years providing one of the most politically chaotic, constitutionally volatile periods of (fictional) U.S history.  To put it into context.  If a child was born on the day of the California Presidential Primary (Day One), based on the 24 political turnover, by the time that child could legally drink in the State of California it would have seen out 13 Commander and Chiefs.  In the real world (based on one term Presidents) that same child would be 52 years old to live through the same number of Presidents and 104 if they all served two terms.

07. Aviation is the winged devil!  24 and airplanes have something of a hate/hate relationship… which shouldn’t be that surprising when you consider how the show started with a literal bang (and many pieces of unclaimed luggage falling into the sea).  Day Two continued 24’s mistrust of flight when Jack’s plane was shot down by a rogue Special Forces team led by Mitchum Huntzberger.  Day Three saw Bauer get into airborne strife in the form of a helicopter, before Air Force One was shot down by a stolen Stealth Fighter in Day Four.  Day Five saw CTU’s most problematic employee hijack a diplomatic flight before landing it on the freeway; Six not only had helicopters falling from the sky but general mayhem in the clouds with drones.  Day Seven saw passenger planes behaving like dodgems while Day Eight only exploded a chopper in Jack’s face in episode one and Live Another Day was all drones, drones, drones.  Winged devil!

I know one thing Superman isn't faster than.
08. Martha Logan’s psychological issues in Day Five are caused by years of sexual frustration and lack of gratification.  Though Charles Logan is one of the longest lasting characters of the show (spanning four seasons) his little soldiers are sent off to battle all too quickly.  In an attempt to delay her husband’s flight to meet David Palmer’s casket, Martha seduces him.  As the 6:00AM-7:00AM episode approaches an ad break, Chucky is undoing his tie.  Returning from commercials some 4 minutes later not only are Mr. & Mrs. L done but are in the middle of getting dressed and breathing normally.  Even if Nixon 2.0’s suit had Velcro seams that’s a shockingly poor display for the “Leader of the Free World”.  Having put up with physical intimacy that can be measured by a Geico commercial it’s understandable if the First Lady is a little “tense”.  She could always try the lottery and bed Bauer but the odds are most certainly not in her favour.

09. It doesn’t count if you don’t see it… and sometimes when you do.  Unless you see the autopsy there’s a chance they’re not actually dead.  We all assumed that Operation Nightfall (pre-Day One) was a success, albeit a bloody one.  Stick 18 hours on the clock and suddenly Bauer is standing pupil-to-pupil with the Serbian bogeyman; Victor Drazen.  He’s not the only person to have been tagged “dead” before their time from Nightfall as Day Three brought English gent and polo-neck lover; Stephen Saunders out of the woodwork to give everyone a really bad head cold.  Add to that Jack dying twice, once for real and once for the benefit of a corrupt Government and suddenly it seems like there might not be a farm out in Connecticut with Lassie, Teri Bauer and Jimmy Hoffa roaming free.  Even Tony Almeida got in on the action in Day Five and we actually saw him die in Jack’s arms (note, it had nothing to do with something he said).  The only person we can be 100% about is Marshall Goran.  Jack cut his head off with a hacksaw and carried it around in a bowling bag for it bit.

 photo jackattack.gif
I've too many bullets.  Here, take one.
10. If CTU shut up a moment and actually listened to Jack; Charles Logan might outlast the show.  Each Day, some stuffed suit questions Bauer’s logic and advises a less effective, more frustrating and ultimately useless course of action.  Perhaps if they kept a list of things he has thwarted it would appear nonsensical to state “Jack Bauer is now the prime suspect in the assassination of David Palmer” or “Bauer’s gone rogue”.  In ten days he’s stopped four political hits, six attempts to nuke La-La-land to the point where even Funyuns couldn’t survive, two biological attacks, and many, many coupes but that’s all in the past.  Let’s listen to Rob Lowe’s little brother, or some bureaucrat who was trying out for Model U.N when Jack was kicking ass, taking names and growling “Damn It!” whenever something was going horribly wrong; which is every 59 minutes and 59 seconds.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Cowboys & Aliens

I don't need to outrun this movie.  I just need to outrun you.
Is it a Western?  Is it Sci-Fi?  It's both... and yet it's neither.  Jon Favreau genre mega-mix is a much ado about nothing as it's little more than noise, bright lights and ooooh look weird aliens with cuddly chest cavity arms.  Had they brought a sign along with them stating "Free Hugs" the whole thing could have been a lot shorter.

Monday, 19 January 2015

In The Zone

Intergalactic Space Rangers is a website that promises Science Fiction at its best!  They are currently working on a range of creative endeavors including a TV series and Audio Book series that sets itself up as a 1950's radio-style Twilight Zone meets Tales From the Crypt purveyor of shocks, thrills, spills and kills!

Issue one of Doorways and Dimensions is available now for download [here].  Breathe tells the story of an Astronaut trapped on a space station that's slowly running out of air but filling up with company.  You might be wondering what a radio series has to do with a film blog, I can promise the motives are 50/50 good will/selfish.  In a forthcoming installment of Doorways and Dimensions, the Intergalactic Space Rangers are going to be taking on one of my short stories; recently published on Literally Stories [read here], The Front Page.

If you've $1.99 to spare help the I.S.R fund future projects and raise the bar for independent artists.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Taken 2

No talking during the god-damn movie!
It treads on ground that's pretty well covered and you don't need to be semi conscious to follow it but judged on the genre, Taken 2 (or Taken 2: Look Who's Taken Now! as I like to call it) is a movie that doesn't have the stamina to finish at the pace it starts. The additions to the cast are great. Rade Serbedzija is one of my favourite actors, always playing antagonist, always under-appreciated but more than a screen commanding match for Neeson. The final "showdown" is lackluster.  Like a John Wayne western when he was a little too old and broken to cut it.

Three things to think about.

1. Rade Serbedzija's neighbour is Benicio Del Toro.  Picture that Ramsey Street fans.
2. Famke means "Little Girl" in Frisian...
3. Imagine how different the ending would be had she (like most learner drivers) stalled it.

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