Archive for June, 2008

Wanted vs V For Vendetta

V For Vendetta stillSo in a fit of mindless entertainment seeking I went to see Wanted. How poor, shallow and truly uninspiring it is. You know that things are bad in the cinema industry when ticket prices rival a small meal and can only be purchased at the ‘concession’ stand because they’ve laid off the staff who used to sell them.

Wanted is, quite frankly, garbage. All the portentious, pseudo cryptic shit the Wachowski brothers sensibly strained out when distilling The Matrix coupled with all the action stunts that got canned when they were making things like the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Add to this the most unexciting and useless train sequence since Mission Impossible 1 and you’ve got a picture with loser written all over it. I mean if you’re going to play the Dan Brown thousand year conspiracy thing, you’d really better at least watch a couple of episodes of Alias, if only to see how they make something like 16th Century Da Vinci wannabe Rambaldi into a compelling part of the plot.

As for Morgan Freeman, either he’s just got greedy in his old age or someone at Universal has something on him because this is without doubt his worst movie ever. You’ve got to hope he’s going to enjoy the money because no one is going to enjoy or remember his performance. It’s like Samuel L Jackson after Pulp Fiction when he was in that Shark/Whale film that no one can be bothered to remember and got bitten in two in a travesty of CGI – so bad people in the cinema started laughing. As for Wanted, it’s so bad no one was talking when they left the cinema.

So I get home and decide to continue the brain out by watching V For Vendetta. Bad move. This is everything that Wanted isn’t. It resonates. It forces you to think even as you’re watching Hugo Weaving do his kung fu leaping. It’s a real reflection on life today and the continuing pimping of fear. It makes you wonder how far would you go and what you’d be prepared to sacrifice even as you’re struggling to get over the often badly delivered Shakespearean doggrel.

However, it does share one thing with Wanted. Both were derived from comic books and both highlight the fact that no matter how sophisticated (or base) the comic, you can’t simply copy that into film. Film isn’t simply a succession of comic panels just as comics aren’t simply a selection of stills. Film is both infinitely more dense and compact than any comic book, while comics have a breadth and scope that film can’t even aspire to. Here are some comics that haven’t made it onto the screen well, Hulk, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Batmans 1 – 4 (Batman Begins is a film, not a comic book), Supermans 1 – 4, Elektra, Hulk (again), League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Akira (great animation, terrible, terrible ending) and Sin City. As proof, Watchmen is a fantastic comic but utterly unfilmable, while Batman Begins is a great film but would make a shit comic book. Of all the recent comic book adaptations, perhaps only Spiderman manages the crossover and that’s only in the first movie. By the time you get to Spidey 3, it’s all tedious action pieces and have a go happy endings. As far as V For Vendetta goes, the movie is more a take on the comic than any attempt to reproduce its full range, so at least it’s playing to the strengths of the film medium.

As for Wanted, the comic could be every bit as crap as the movie, but I wouldn’t know because I’m never going to pick it up.

Archive for June, 2008

Euro 2008 In Full

A collection of text messages sent during Euro 2008 between me and the Brother.

Holland v Italy

Me: Did you see that goal? Outstanding

TB: Partially and I agree that the offside decision was outstanding. Holland for president.

Me: Yes that really stuffed the Italians. It was beautiful.

Germany v Croatia

TB: How them Germans doing?

Me: I believe it’s an arsewhipping 2 – 1 defeat to the Croats. So Germany are the Engerland of their group. Here’s to Austria’s early elimination.

TB: Isn’t football more fun when Engerland aren’t playing? What a great tournament.

Holland v France

Me: What was the Dutch French score?

TB: 4-1 to the good guys.

Me: Outstanding Orange team – you win your crate of beer for that. There’s no way Les Bleus can recover and it’s the Italian French death match to come. Way to go.

Germany v Portugal

TB: I actually want Ronaldo to lose. Can this mean I support Germany?

Me: No, you are just a fairweather German. Bye bye the Ronster.

Holland v Russia

Me: Dutch or commies?

TB: What choice is there?

Me: I refer you to my previous missive. But you’re right, there is no choice – Allez Les Oranges.

TB: At Fête de la Musique – what score?

Me: Still nil nil (sung in a Eurovision Stylee)

Me: Total Hiddink Russia 1 Holland 0

Me: Joy of joys 1 – 1. Even if it was Horse Faced Wanker who scored.

TB: Back just in time for extra time. Who’s winning on points?

Me: Commits.

Me: Sorry, I meant Commies.

Me: That’s the end of Total Football.

TB: Russkies bossed the extra time.

Me: Bossed the whole match to be honest. Dutch just didn’t turn up.

TB: Go Spain.

Spain v Italy

TB: Well well well, 0 – 0 after extra time in an Italy match. So glad the final result was OK. Current preference: Russia, Spain (if they start to play well again), Turkey, Germany

Me: Russia – they attacked. Germany – Great midfield. Spain – could be good if they sped up a bit. Turkey – that match was so boring I nearly died.

Germany v Turkey semi final

Me: Panic panic! Who do I support least? Germermany or Turkey?? Very confused.

TB: Go Turkey

Me: Surely that Kazim fellow is really English. Germany are shit.

TB: I would enjoy a Lehman/Swinefudger own goal farce. Why is David Seaman playing for Turkey?

Me: Joy – pub TV has given up. That’s Austro-Swiss technology for you or maybe it’s for the best.

Me: What I really want to know is why is Gareth Southgate playing for Germany?

TB: Here in France as well. We’re watching highlights of Russia Holland.

Me: Far better match. Are Germany shitter than Engerland?

TB: Clearly, evidently, obviously.

Me: Also, why do the Germans say ‘for fuck’s sake’ in English when decisions go against them? Spare us from extra time.

TB: Turkey will score 3 in the last two minutes. Lost transmission again.

Me: TV has died (again) in protest at the quality of play. Sitting in the pub listening to the radio reminds me of the spirit of the Blitz. Germany score and bomb the Turks into submission. Now they will have to score three.

TB: News travels fast. I was going to text the score, but you beat me to it.

Me: That’s the beauty if European integration. Now we have pictures with radio commentary. But the radio commentary is ahead of the action. Very bizarre.

Me: Pub goes wild. Does this mean extra time again?

TB: Turkish district goes wild. Clearly Turks will score again.

Me: Corner shop exploding with joy.

Me: Gareth Southgate scores for Germany.

TB: Three minutes left and no pictures.

Me: We have pictures, but only 2 minutes. It’s shit football but very exciting.

TB: What’s happening?

Me: Turkish free kick just outside the area.

TB: Still nothing.

Me: Entire German nation in the wall. He shoots

Me: He balloons it over the bar and the Germans are through. Bastards.

TB: Bummer. Yet another triumph for them. Go Russia.

Me: Thanks for taking part. Here’s to the historical reenactment of World War 2 in the final.

Russia v Spain semi final

Me: Doh! I’ve only just got the Seaman reference from last night. He was shit wasn’t he? Go Commies.

TB: On my way home. What score?

Me: Easy Tiger. It’s still in the Early Doors, head tennis phase. Go Spain.

Germany v Spain final

TB: Just switched on. Who is winning on points?

Me: Pretty even. Spain just beginning to shade it.

TB: How did he manage to get one past the mighty Lehman?

Me: Pretty clear who is in front now. Go Spain.

TB: Bullock down.

Me: Classic headbutt. No attempt to play the ball, just the Ballack.

TB: Referee sends him off again for having a bollocks haircut.

Me: German coach should get himself sent off again, that seemed to work against the Portugeezers. If you want to talk about shit haircuts, Frings is your man.

TB: The Seaman of Germany.

Me: Looks like the Rio Ferdinand of Germany is getting ready to come on. I am finding this half dull so far.

Me: Germany are playing like Engerland would if we could ever get to a final and that’s bad.

Me: Getting less bored.

TB: Still clearly time for the Germans to bore back into it.

Me: Not now they’ve brought on Gomes. He can’t buy a goal.

TB: I personally detest Klose more. Shame we won’t get to see him miss a penalty. Remind me why we take off Torres every game.

Me: What’s this ‘we’ business? Torres comes off to give the other side a chance.

TB: We’re winning.

Me: How did we do that? And without the tedium of actually qualifying. I preferred the Germany Turkey match.

TB: Go Engerland 2010.

Me: Spain – perennial overachievers. Bastards.

TB: No doubt now as to who are classified as the perennial losers of world football.

Me: That will be the Germans.

TB: 3 World Cups, 3 European Championships, countless finals, not even bothered to count the semis, quarter finals get out of here. Not sure this particular rest significantly tarbushes their copybook.

Me; Ballack’s year. League Cup Final LOST to Spurs, Champions League Final LOST to Man U, Euro 2008 Final LOST to Spain. How can the English compete with that level of failure?

TB: With a team who bases its attacking threat on Stewart Downing.

Me: I still believe in the combination of Downing and Defoe. Actually I pity the poor nation. Are we capable of actually qualifying for SA2010?

Archive for June, 2008

Euro 2008

The German Gareth SouthgateAdmittedly Football Pub hasn’t been the same since England buggered up their qualification so completely 7 months ago. Still there have been some interesting moments and some not so successful innovations. I remain to be convinced that the combination of Live Football and Thursday evening Pub Quiz is going to be a winner and there’s something really weird about watching TV football with no commentary.

Euro 2008 has generally been OK. It’s better than Euro 2004 simply because the sides that attack and really press the midfield tend to win. But the fact that Portugal, Croatia, Holland, Italy AND Spain all failed to show up for the quarter finals (even if Spain did sneak past a defensively tedious Italy) has meant that Russia aside, none of the successful teams have actually done anything of merit yet.

So far the best match has been Holland’s destruction of Italy, closely followed by Russia’s demolition of Holland, but by and large there’s been no great shock and no one, Arshavin aside, who’s really impressed. The first semi, Germany vs Turkey might have been exciting, but it never lapsed into greatness like the World Cup semi between Germany and Italy. Sure there were goals, some of them even good ones, and sure, the Turks did their usual thing of attacking like nutters and getting a goal in the last few minutes (only to be outdone by the Germans who got the winner a few seconds later), but like the Croatians they just can’t hold onto a win. All the defences here seem to be utterly, utterly shit. Football Pub enjoyed itself when the live feed from the stadium went down (that’s the reputation of Austro-Swiss reliability down the toilet for the next century or so) and we had to make do with the radio commentary like they did in the olden days. A few old dufferes started going on about the Blitz and attempted to pay for rounds using old money they dug out of their trousers.

It’s hard to believe that this German team is the one that absolutely killed off the Portuguese, snuffing out their creativity and dominating the midfield. They were battered for 85 minutes, and only came out of their shell 3 times. Admittedly they scored 3 times, which was one more than the Turks did in 85 minutes of goal bombardment. On this form you’ve got to hope the Russians kick their arses in the final.

Archive for June, 2008

The Departed

Watched The Departed again. A truly excellent movie, where even Matt Damon gives a great performance. I have to say that each time I watch it it seems to be shorter and shorter as it becomes more and more psychological. I can’t help thinking that as we get more and more used to DVDs and watching and rewatching movies, we enter a state that is closer to that of the director/editor who watches their film countless times during its construction. Each time you revisit a classic movie like this you appreciate new nuances and depths.

This time I was struck by the parallel mental collapse of both central characters. Dicaprio’s is all in the mind, he’s in a permanent state of paranoid terror, while Damon’s is physical, he can’t have sex or establish relationships. And ultimately both characters are equally trapped and controlled by Jack Nicholson’s Mobboss.

And the glorious ending where everyone betrays everyone and everyone is in turn betrayed just gets more and more intoxicating each time I watch it. The tag line is that it’s his best film since Goodfellas, but I think it blows Goodfellas out of the cinema. This just blows your mind.

Archive for June, 2008

Welcome to Dads Space

Dads Space homepage

After what seems like the gestation period of an elephant but was really a couple or three months, we’ve managed to launch Dads Space, a central point for information, advice and help for dads of all sorts.

Currently the site comes pre-packed with a healthy dose of information on all aspects of dadidge, from the first realisation that ‘oh f**k, we’re having a baby’ to how to get those bloody teenagers out of the house. It’s laced with video elements, including the opening Dawn of the Dad video, which somehow includes me as some kind of workaholic weekend dad type.

As if all that wasn’t enough, there are some sneaking video elements including Robin Gibb from the Bee Gees. Not normally my sort of thing, but in this case it kind of works. Everyone together, “Ha, ha, ha, ha Staying a Dad.”

Dads Space is at