The Year of the Box Office Bomb

So The Mummy dropped last week and it sucked, like really sucked. In all honesty, and without trying to sound too pessimistic, I thought it would. Cruise is too old for the action-star shtick, Alex Kurtzman has only directed two full-lengths including this and the trailers came across as flat, soulless and completely lacking the humour, pace and charm of there 1999 Brendon Fraser-led predecessor. At least we cant do them for false-advertising.

Not only was it received about as well critically as a Gary Glitter Greatest Hits compilation at a children’s party it didn’t make many waves financially either. Coming in with a budget of $125 million not to mention millions more in promotional costs it has so far made around $180 million worldwide. Don’t get me wrong such an amount could probably do a lot of deserving people a lot of good who once resided in the Grenfell Tower (don’t get me started) but with a budget like that the numbers just don’t cut it.
In fact The Mummy isn’t alone in its failings as this seasons Big Budget Financial Bomb-Squad is as stacked as I can ever remember it being with the likes of Power Rangers, Ghost in the Shell, Baywatch and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword all slumped up against the bar wondering what the hell went wrong. Well there’s a few things that it could be attributed to.

Power Rangers was a surprisingly competent and ambitious effort with some good acting and effects but it was inconsistent tone-wise and the marketing campaign made it unclear as to whether it was aimed at kids or older audiences; therefore alienating both.

Ghost in the Shell was far better than it had any right to be but by being yet another entry in the Japanese Brand Readapted for US Audiences Club, you know alongside Dragon Ball Evolution etc, it already had audiences turning their noses up before it even hit screens. Along with Scarlett Johansson’s failure to do any PR or promotion for it its safe to say Ghost in the Shell was dead on arrival.

Moving onto Baywatch… Come on, its Baywatch. The show that isn’t currently available on any mainstream streaming networks and hasn’t been socially or culturally relevant since Joey and Chandeler sat back in their recliners to watch it on TV in the 90’s. Need I say more?

As for King Arthur. Two words; Charlie Hunnam, yes he was the main guy in Green Street, and two shows; Game of Thrones and Vikings. Nowadays Fictional Period Films are not exactly in high demand, then again this film was originally conceived almost a decade ago which explains a lot, but when they can be obtained on Netflix once a week from the comfort of your front room it all but dooms the ones that hit the big screens. Plus, like Power Rangers, its promotional campaign was confusing and half-hearted. Double plus; Charlie Hunnam. FYI I really don’t like Charlie Hunnam.

All of the above could be considered valid reasons for why in ten years time the fan base for these films will be holding their reunion in a phone booth but perhaps the reason that they’re taking an early dirt nap and have about as much chance of receiving a sequel as Tha Bozz does of receiving a Grammy runs deeper than that. Except their financial failings what one other thing do these movies have in common? They are all reboots or reimagining’s of a franchise that came before them.

Reboots are the thing and have been for a while. The likes of Michael Bay have made a killing off them but if we’re honest a lot of them are not exactly up to much. It seemed like for a while that this was fine with the most recent Transformers and Ninja Turtles films doing good business but perhaps the game is changing and people are finally getting sick of these soul-less or at least average reboots and its time for Hollywood to make some changes? Unless your Disney, Disney will be fine…

I’m Tha Bozz and that’s my opinion.

Tha Bozz: Yes I Can (My First OFFICIAL Online Mixtape)

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Today is the day that my mixtape has finally broken its restraints and escaped into the world of online music.

I present my 13 track monster, that comes with a bonus video of a full performance taken from the BBC Studio’s in sunny Wrexham, not surprised if you’ve never heard of Wrexham and even less surprised if you’ve never heard of me because I’m not great like that.

Either way the price of admission is 3 of your finest British Pounds and 99 pennies, I’m not really bothered about how fine they are. I will also be donating 99p of every download to Nightingale House Hospice, a hospice in Wrexham.

http://thabozz.bandcamp.com/ Here is the link and now I’m free to sit back, watch Game of Thrones with my flatmate and let nature take its course. Many thanks for reading and even more thanks to those that have supported, stuck by and have believed in me and I hope that you take the plunge and download this release, more importantly I hope that you enjoy the ride and come back around next time.

Peace!

PS. I would bring up the ‘hater’s’ but its been a pretty long week and I have work in the morning 😉 .

Justin Bieber – Britains biggest hater!

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The funny thing about the internet is that despite my best efforts and despite how long it’s been around its still something I struggle to keep up with. I don’t just mean the constant and mostly unnecessary updates for everything that seem to be surfacing every 20 minutes that serve no purpose other than to turn us into a bunch of moronic air-heads who can hold a conversation without picking our phones up for about the same amount of time as the average person can hold a live fish but also the constant stream of information, again most of it pretty useless.

Unlike most people my age I don’t have a phone that can tell me which direction the winds blowing in, how to open a can of tuna or which professional football player this week is apparently sleeping with his teammates insanely attractive girlfriend but guess what, I don’t want one either. Call me old fashioned but the idea of possessing such a device doesn’t appeal to me much. I like my clunky old LG device, when its fully charged it can live for about as long as the average goldfish plus you don’t have to feed it, it calls and sends texts in a very intuitive manner and unlike those shiny new IPhone’s you can’t break it with harsh language or a cold stare.

Again, call me old fashioned, no seriously call me it it’s one of the only things that gives me a sense of identity but I suppose I come from the last remnants of a generation that wasn’t completely alien to the concept of ‘Playing Outside’.  When I was a child high-speed Broadband was an urban myth and computers were only owned by the kids in school who were either considerably more nerdy than I was, not an easy thing to be, or considerably richer than I was, an extremely easy thing to be. I was committed to the concept of ‘Playing Outside’ and I do mean committed. Have you ever tried playing Baseball by yourself? Or even worse playing Baseball with your older brother who is 10 years your senior, has his own bat and holds you responsible for the fact that his Christmas presents are getting smaller and has quite frankly held a grudge against you ever since you were small enough to be referred to as ‘The New Baby’?  

Due to this and the fact that I’m fairly sure my Mum is still unsure of how to open her e-mails and my Dad is still sitting in the dark waiting for Gas to make a comeback I was introduced to computers and therefore the internet relatively late. As a result, I’m quite late on the subject that I’m about to discuss but if you’ve read this far you may as well stick with me because things can only get better as D-Ream once told us. Then again the last time I heard anything about those guys was when they were playing to a crowd of about 20 people in a bar somewhere in Wrexham, so they could very well be full of the brown stuff.

Never the less the subject I am about to discuss is Justin Bieber and his apparent dislike for my homeland. You probably think I’m about to stick the boot in and give him the usual tirade of abuse that he’s no doubt used to getting from people who aren’t as rich as he is but you would be wrong. Granted, he looks like what would happen if one of those putty people from those God-awful Morph cartoons bred with Dolph Lundgren and his music is about as formulaic and spice-free as a tin of Baked Beans but I’m actually fairly indifferent to the kid. He did catch my attention though when he released a statement saying that after his recent tour of the UK he will never be coming back. Most people responded with phrases along the lines of ‘great’ or ‘I hope you never tour again, period’ and other equally smart and eloquent responses. The first thing about this that caught my attention was how this pesky kid has managed to sell so many damn records when apparently everybody fortunate enough to own a keyboard and an opinion hates his guts? I think somebody’s fibbing…

The statement made by Morph Lundgren may not be pleasant to read but being a resident of the largest city in the country that I live in, yes Wales is a country for any non-Brits unfortunate enough to be reading!, I can almost understand where he’s coming from. What with performing shows slap-bang in the middle of places such as London, Birmingham, Manchester and indeed Cardiff it is likely that as soon as the putty-faced git stepped out of his hotel he was greeted by traffic jams that began at 4 in the morning, real-estate prices that would make Sir Alan Sugar break out in hot flushes, the rudest and most pig-ignorant people imaginable and the sort of environment where English is a fourth language and it rains 10 months out of every calendar year. If that’s all I’d ever seen of Britain I would probably hate it as well. I am of course generalizing but the chances are that our pint-sized crooner had little time to see any other side of my great homeland, well its only half mine I’m actually 50% Sicilian but you get the point.   

However, there are always two sides to every story/argument and I’m not entirely convinced from what I’ve read that the kid isn’t at least partly to blame for the less-than-warm welcome and treatment that he received. It’s not exactly responsible touring practice to hit the stage more than 2 hours late for practically every performance you are booked for. It’s especially irresponsible when 50% of your audience has a 10 o’clock curfew, 30% of it has a 9 o’clock curfew, 10% of it still wets the bed and the other 10% are the unfortunate parents who have to stand their waiting and shelled out £200 for the pleasure. When I was 14 years of age I attended a Snoop Dogg concert and he was around 90 minutes late hitting the stage. He had a genuine reason in that his opening act had been in a car accident and as a result the slot was empty and Snoop’s transport couldn’t get him to the venue until it was his time to go on. Despite the authenticity of his excuse the first thing the Dogg did after his first number was apologize profusely for the late showing and this is a guy who keeps a blue flag hanging out his backside but only on the left side because, you know, that’s the Crip side and what not. Apparently JB issued no apologies for his late showings.

Something you should know about the British if you’ve never been here before, we do not like waiting, cuing or anything that involves standing still and doesn’t involve making money or getting laid. I’ve seen full scale brawls break out over cues at the post office let alone over 2 hour waiting times for American Ken-dolls that people have shelled out their hard earned money to see. Needless to say, Bieb’s conduct likely upset quite a few punters.

Reports also state that Bieber’s performances were for the most part poorer than usual and he often appeared distracted, uninterested and even drunk. Granted, I’m sure an overly pampered 19 year old from Canada would probably become inebriated on British fumes but this news still doesn’t look good on the boy.

The fact is Bieber likely has his own reasons for wanting to leave Britain in his wake and eating dust sandwiches but when he turns up 2 hours late for his shows and after 20 minutes of his set he’s sucking wind so badly that the first 4 rows are passing out from oxygen deprivation it’s likely that most of his British fans would like nothing more than a custard cream and a nice pot of English tea to go with said sandwiches. I don’t hate the 19 year old; frankly I feel that my energy is far better spent hating people that I know in-person but the headline caught my eye and what you have just read was my 2 cents so to speak. If he’s not planning on coming back, maybe I could take his slot? Given my current financial state I’d perform with no microphone, in my draws, in front of a pack of frustrated Baboons during the mating season and I wouldn’t even ask for half the money!

Agree? Disagree? Love Bieber? Hate Bieber? Think I need a new phone? Feel free to leave your thoughts and thanks for reading!

Yes, this is a Star Wars Post!

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I haven’t posted anything in quite a long time and for this I apologise. I have no excuse other than things have been rather busy at the moment and as a result my head feels like theirs a comprehensive Megadeth reunion tour taking place inside it and my body feels like it’s been through 3 full rounds of professional boxing with the Mike Tyson from the 80’s whilst having my 4 different limbs tied to 4 different horses running in 4 different directions. Honestly, I took a look in the mirror the other day and thought that the person staring back at me was a vampire and it’s literally getting to the point where I’m going to the gym to ‘relax’, so actually I guess I kind of do have an excuse. Alas I do miss my WordPress account a great deal though, I’m getting pretty sick of calling it a ‘blog’ because the more I use the word the more it sounds like the name given to a fat, sloth-like water creature that resides in dirty lagoons, bathes in frog spawn and subdues its live prey by farting into the water but I digress. I do miss it because it’s therapeutic and believe me we all need therapy just ask my therapist and unfortunately simply walking out of my apartment and shouting a similar group of phrases to the ones you are now reading at the first passer by that I see is the type of behaviour that can get you placed in one of those rooms where everything is white and padded and your lunch is fed to you via syringe.

One thing I have noticed in my absence though is that the internet is rather rife with Star Wars related posts as of late. This is mainly due to the fairly recent news that Lucas has finally decided to step down from the position of Project Director of ‘Operation kill and butcher the franchise that we all knew and loved as children’ and has instead decided to pass the buck over to another party so they can do the exact same thing whilst he watches from the side lines. The other party is of course Disney and predictably enough this news has been met with a mixed reaction. I’m not going to throw my largely speculative and largely irrelevant 2 cents into this one because let’s face it; it’s pretty much just that isn’t it? Purely speculative and completely irrelevant, there’s a good chance the new trilogy is going to come out and stink worse than my Blog Monster mentioned earlier but my foot will be lodged firmly in my own mouth if it comes out and ends up being the best creation since the guy with the stick and the rock and I’ve spent the previous 2 years ripping the very concept a new arse hole.

I actually feel a little bit sorry for J.J. Abrams for being the guy selected to carry the torch for this new trilogy. The task of keeping the millions of ridiculously hard to please, not to mention, ridiculously disillusioned fan-boys happy is one that makes the prospect of Jedi training seem like a week long holiday to a five-star suite in Hawaii where, as Mr Michael once put it, the Club Tropicana drinks are indeed as free as the day is long and simply kicking your heels together gets you a free ‘massage’ from Freida Pinto and Haile Berry whenever you so desire it. The amount of damage that the recent trilogy has done to the credibility of the franchise has been detrimental in the eyes of some and it’s a little hard to argue with these people. Many people criticised the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi for being silly and pointless and saw the prospect of these 3 foot primitives armed with stones and sticks defeating a battle hardened army of 6 foot storm troopers armed with guns and a love of all things Dark Side to be ridiculous. It’s a fair point in my eyes, so the people responsible for The Phantom Menace respond to these criticisms by creating Jar-Jar Binks a character so unbelievably irritating that he makes Peaches Geldof seem bearable, so unbelievably racist and degrading that he makes the black fella’s in Cool Running’s seem factually accurate and so unbelievably stupid that he unwittingly grants the Dark Lord of the Sith who wants to destroy and rule the galaxy the authority and means to do just that. Not to mention that the character essentially ruined the career of Ahmed Best, a guy who is actually pretty damn talented and is really only guilty by association.

Then you’ve got some of the criticism centred on the character of Princess Leia. Some fan boys, particularly in A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, describe her character as broody, obnoxious and generally unlikeable, again fair points. So the team behind the newer trilogy respond to these criticisms by creating Queen Amidala of Naboo. The first thing that you’ll notice about this character when you see her is she is royalty through and through and I mean the old school kind of royalty, caked in white make-up, flamboyant garments and enough ice to make the hottest room temperature drop. The second thing you’ll notice is that she’s an arsehole, again through and through. Her planet is being invaded by an army of soulless Droids who are under orders to kill anything that gets in their way and she says that she ‘won’t condone an act that will lead us to war’. Has it not dawned on her by now that while she sits in her fancy thrown room that war is already upon her? You can’t really be ‘lead’ to something that’s already banging on your front door and wiping its dirty shoes on your welcome mat. Even worse, when the senate vote to send inspectors to her planet to survey the situation she turns them down, stating that she wants the problem resolved immediately. Surely when the inspectors get there and discover the burning buildings, the 10,000 strong metal army and the fact that every politician is either dead or under house arrest the senate would vote to do something about it? This trail of thought doesn’t cross her mind though and the plot point is dropped quicker than the 3 ‘jobber’ Jedi that get cut down by Darth Sidious right before he gets totally owned by Mace Windu aka the only black guy in the galaxy.

What really takes the biscuit though is that while the Queen is unwilling to send her own people to war she is more than happy to see a group of unwitting Gunguns take up arms to fight a near indestructible Droid army instead whose only weakness is the inability to show any form of human compassion or emotion, which given the situation isn’t really a weakness at all, and the Gunguns are armed with beach balls that carry some sort of EMP energy and ride into battle on wild animals. What-a-d*ck!

There are many other ridiculous plot points that are present in the newer trilogy. Like how about the way that once the Jedi Council meet Anakin for the first time and sense his potential power but also how volatile and potentially dangerous he could be they decide to have him trained anyway and despite the obvious risks they put him under the care of a Jedi who just days before was only a Padawan/Apprentice himself. Or how about the way that they then choose to send this volatile Padawan to a remote location on a faraway planet to protect a politician who is as ridiculously good looking as Natalie Portman, seemingly just as horny as he is, and who most people Anakin’s age would give their left nut for an evening with let alone an entire film! Honestly, the Jedi quite frankly deserved to meet the end they did because of their ridiculous stupidity. How can Mace Windu call himself a Jedi Master, emphasis on ‘Master’ meaning intelligent and wise, and then go to arrest the Dark Lord of the Sith, a being so powerful and deceitful that he’s managed to blend in with you and escape your gaze for decades, and only take 3 other Jedi with him for back-up? He lives in a building that houses every known Jedi in the galaxy, take 10 other Jedi with you, take 20 other Jedi with you,  you know what take the whole bloody temple with you if you can I don’t really think the phrase ‘over-kill’ applies to this situation.

What I’m trying to say is that J.J. Abrams has an order ahead of him so tall that Treebeard would probably struggle to step over it and because of that I have to feel a little bit of compassion for the guy. If he gets back a few of the original cast members this is going to create problems, Mark Hamill is distinctly past it, Harrison Ford has become notoriously hard to work with and the last time I saw Carrie Fisher she looked like the sort of person who sleeps in until 2pm and puts whiskey on her breakfast cereal. Beyond casting and plot issues though is the perception of the whole thing. Let’s face it, most people think these films are going to be terrible and nothing less than something superb is going to change that.

All in all, I’m apprehensive. I’m not expecting these new films to blow my mind like the originals did during their re-release in the 90’s but I seriously don’t expect them to achieve the new levels of mediocrity that were achieved by The Phantom Menace. In order for me to truly form a fair opinion on these films I will go into them with an open mind, I hope others will do the same.

Are you a Star Wars fan? Are you NOT a Star Wars fan? Do you agree with me? Do you think I’m full of the brown stuff? Would love to read your thoughts so please feel free to comment and sub, many thanks!

Old School Film Review (2) – House of the Dead

house_of_the_dead_ver2_xlgAm I ever a glutton for punishment? Having barely survived last month’s viewing of Street Fighter with all of my sanity, something that I probably already lacked due to the fact that I decided to view it again in the first place, I have now delved even deeper into the realm of films based on videogames. This is a realm that truly contains content more painful than a bag of salt in the eye and is about as apologetic as a new born puppy the first time it takes a shit on your brand new carpet. You wouldn’t expect the mutt to apologize for its actions and you would be a fool if you expected the director of the film I am about to review to do the same for any of his.

The director in question is Mr Uwe Boll, if you haven’t heard of him all I can say is “well done” because your life is probably richer for the lack-of experience. Often compared to Ed Wood, Mr Boll is convinced that his films carry cinematic merit despite the criticism that he has been bombarded with and has labeled his critics as ‘f*cking retards’ and even challenged them to boxing matches. I’m actually not making that last bit up, in 2006 Boll challenged his 5 harshest critics to Box against him and when he defeated all 5 opponents he proclaimed that it was proof that his films were not terrible.

The film I am about to review from Boll’s fun house of cinematic accidents is House of the Dead and it’s actually one of his better productions. Despite the fact that it has more flaws than a tower block in Peck ham and to many it’s probably about as pleasant to look at and be around I actually enjoyed it in an odd way, its classless and dirty to the point that it will probably make you feel like you’ve tried to sleep with your best friends mum but most of Boll’s other works will make you feel like you’ve succeeded so in that sense House of the Dead actually deserves some praise.

The film begins with a bunch of no-name adolescents who would probably struggle for roles in my 10 year old sisters school play meeting up on a harbor to catch a boat to, what else but, the ‘rave of the century’ which is taking place on a deserted island with thousands of other people. As an adolescent I wasn’t a massive fan of raves, a massive fan of deserted islands or a massive fan of people so I find that this scenario goes completely over my head but it is during these early sequences that the films main problem begins to rear its ugly head. This problem is that most of what happens is completely irrelevant and often makes absolutely no sense. For a start, the kids end up missing the boat, despite the fact that they are seen brandishing invitations that clearly state the departure time of said boat. Did this rave take place on a day where the clocks went forward and out of the five characters none of them were aware of it? Were they purposely tricked into missing the boat? Or was Mr. Boll more interested in showing close-up boob shots of the female protagonists, by the 5 minute point I had already counted around 4, than actually creating a coherent story. Due to the fact that this film contains more unnatural breast than a KFC restaurant during peak-trade I am inclined to go with the third option.

Not to be deferred, the kids approach a nearby fishing vessel and bribe the captain whose name is Captain Kirk, again I am not making this up, and his first mate Salish for a ride to the island. These two characters are played by Jűrgen Prochnow and Clint Howard respectively, some would refer to these 2 actors as ‘B-Movie Icons’ I would simply refer to them as ‘actors who have been in a lot of B-Movie’s’ but having them in it is quite a nice touch and at least adds a small measure of star-power to the otherwise blander than a Chicken Korma line-up. Unfortunately this again leads to another pointless plot thread as whether the kids caught their scheduled ride on time or not, they would still have made it to the island and participated in the ensuing chaos and these two additional characters add nothing to the story as a result. Since where on the subject, what kind of person decides to throw a rave on a deserted island anyway? I think the clue is in the name, most islands are deserted because their uninhabitable and this island is no exception. Honestly, it’s the sort of place that would be perfect if Mr. Boll was looking to create a sequel to Castaway but buying that the ‘rave of the century’ is taking place on that piece of earth is like swallowing a pint of absynth, mixed with red pepper while somebody tickles your throat with a feather.

As an added addition to the list of pointless plot threads, you know things are going badly when you can justify calling it a list, Captain Kirk and his new best friends are followed to the island by the ‘United States Marine Patrol’, an organization that I’m fairly sure doesn’t actually exist, who think that Kirk is smuggling contraband. The unit is headed by Casper, played by Ellie Cornell, an actress so small in stature that she would need a cardboard box and 5 years’ experience of high-jumping in order to punch me in the thigh but one that were supposed to believe is a gun-wielding law enforcement bad ass.

You probably don’t need me to tell you that shortly after arriving on the island chaos ensues as the rave, which looked like something that Ferris Bueller could pull off in his back garden by the way, has been gate crashed by zombies. The kids and their new found companions feel about as welcome on the island as a colony of Ants at a royal picnic and with all communications cut off in typical horror film fashion they are left to fight the undead themselves. It’s at this point that the film makes another ridiculous decision by turning the group of teenagers who, up until this point seemingly wouldn’t know a wrist lock from a wrist watch, into a group of gun-toting, martial arts-knowing machines as soon as a gun is put in their manicured hands.

Its scenario’s like this and a number of other tacky filming decisions that drag this film down faster than a sprinter running through quick sand, with a hunting dart in his side and concrete slabs on his feet. The zombies themselves, while not badly designed by any means, have no consistency. One minute their lumbering around like a drunken single mother on a midlife crisis after a Sambuca fuelled evening at an 18-30’s spot and the next their moving through the terrain with the speed and agility of what would come out if Colin Jackson bred with Usain Bolt and then had its DNA spliced with Brock Lesner.

There are also some serious visual and story-based inconsistencies; for example, a scene takes place on Captain Kirk’s boat where the crazy skipper is attacked by zombies whom he promptly shoots back into the water with the type of casualness that’s usually reserved for tying your shoelaces. In this scene the rain is coming down so hard that you would swear they were shooting in Black pool but then the film cuts to the teenagers who are on the island itself and things are drier than a packet of Tesco brand Gram-Cracker’s, despite the fact that the two scenes are taking place less than a mile apart. Perhaps worse is a scene that takes place later in the film where the remaining survivors have barricaded themselves in an old cemetery building after a fight scene that I would wager at least 6 million of the films reported 9million dollar budget was blown on. The events that precede this scene all clearly take place at night but during the indoor shots sunlight can clearly be seen streaming through the curtains, meaning that this scene was actually shot in the day and no effort was made to cover it up.

As mentioned before, the plot of House of the Dead is pretty shoddy but hey, it’s a zombie movie right? When asked to respond to the negative criticism that the film was met with Boll responded by stating “It’s a movie based on a videogame where you kill zombies for 2 hours, were they expecting Schindler’s List?” This is actually a fair argument in my opinion, or it would be if Uwe Boll would have at least worked hard to create an accurate and enjoyable interpretation of the videogame. Alas, as it stands House of the Dead has about as much in common with its source material as The Green Mile has with Lesbian Vampire Killers.

I genuinely think the screen writers were higher than a giraffe’s genitals when they wrote the script, there are film techniques on show that I used in a college project 6 years ago, the acting is third rate and the action sequences are contrived but all this could be forgiven if the film didn’t slap fans in the face harder than Rampage Jackson on a happy slap crusade by completely disregarding the source material. The game takes place in a science lab where a crazed scientist has lost the plot, ironically enough, and created an army of zombies to destroy the world, the protagonists are a pair of special agents sent in to apprehend the scientist and rescue survivors. Is that really a difficult premise to translate to film? Apparently so as instead Boll goes for the deserted island, the obnoxious teenagers and a ridiculous explanation of it all involving a Spanish conquistador discovering immortality and murdering the captain and everybody else aboard the ship he was being detained on. By the way, we get conformation of this from a captains log book that were told by the character reading it, states that the conquistador killed everybody aboard the ship…Yet somebody aboard said ship was able to write all about it! How does that make sense!?

I really don’t know what to make of House of the Dead if I’m honest. Its low budget, clichéd and at times very derivative but it still has a certain charm. The first 45-50 minutes contain some fairly enjoyable action sequences, the female cast members are all hotter than the type of curry that’s sold in a restaurant that will give you the meal for free if you finish it and although the dialog is generally awful it does contain a few giggles here and there. A frequent criticism of Uwe Boll’s work is that he struggles with pacing and House of the Dead is no exception, the first 30 minutes are to slow, the second 30 minutes are the best of the bunch as it’s here that most of the action takes place and the final 30 minutes are where the writers rush to create some incentive for the audience to care about the meat sacks left alive by making them all full in love and snog each other.

All in all House of the Dead knows what it is but that doesn’t excuse its shortcomings. It’s fun in parts but is also seriously flawed to the point that it becomes difficult to recommend. I won’t scold it as much as other critics have in the past but I will say that viewers should probably pass it up if their not a fan of B-movies or not as tolerant of amateurish film-making as I am.

P.S The soundtrack is actually really good and worth checking out.      

How did it take-off!?

While walking through an isle of a clothing shop full of garments that I wouldn’t be able to afford if my work hours doubled, my rap career took off, I sold my freedom into slavery and my body to chemical testing I was greeted by a ridiculous item that like Revenge on E4 is sadly catching on; the onesie. What’s even sadder is that the shop in question was only Primark and I still felt like I was punching above my weight like Manny Pacquiao climbing into the ring with Nickolai Valuev in the budget department but I digress, why are people wearing onesies on the street in broad daylight? They were originally advertised as comfort clothing to be warn at night but to be honest when told to wear one in the bar I work at for a themed night I pulled the tighter than tight garment over my body, pulled the zip up and felt what I can only describe as the clothing equivalent of being in a prison cell. I’m a skinny individual and as a result I barely touch the sides of most of my clothes so this was a shock to the system. Due to the ‘strapped in’ nature of the item I was sweating to the point that most punters could probably see their faces in mine and the tightness of it was causing my movements to resemble those of C3-PO.

What’s even more shocking is that in some shops these hideous and ridiculously uncomfortable items, by the way the zip-lines on them rub so bad that you would think they were made of barbed wire, cost upwards of £50! I’m going to Wembley for an FA Trophy final next weekend and that only cost me £60, this all leads me to ask the simple question of how did it take off?

There are many items that have led me to ask the very same question and as I often do with things that annoy me I have decided to put them into a list and have a good old fashioned rant. You may like some of these items and I could be completely off the mark but guess what, it’s my post and I’ll cry if I want to.

The Tamagotchi – This item was originally sold in Japan by Bandai in 1996 and the concept was at the time quite ground breaking. The Tamagotchi was a small egg-shaped computer with a few buttons attached and a baby animal, monster or even dinosaur living inside the screen, depending on which version you bought. Once you activated the computer your job was to keep the creature alive by feeding it, playing with it, getting it to sleep at a reasonable time and even teaching it tricks. The problem is that if you didn’t actually own one I don’t think you would possibly understand how fitting the word ‘job’ is when describing the process of keeping these little buggers alive. In a way the creators of these digital devils deserve some credit for crafting an experience that is probably very much like raising a real adolescent. The creature slept for hours on end, threw strops when you didn’t give it any attention, ate like a pig after a hunger strike and if you missed one item on its list of demands it would pack its bags and threaten to leave. All it needed was bad acne, wet dreams and absolutely no chance with the opposite sex and they would’ve gotten full marks.

However, even with full marks the truth still remains that these digital monstrosities lacked a serious fun-factor. They were ridiculously time consuming, they would always get you into trouble in school when they went off every 10 minutes demanding food, the games were automated so involved no challenge or interaction at all and if I’m honest the black and white sprites were hideous and had all the charm of the Emperor breaking the news to you that he’s just turned your puppy to the dark-side of the force. Alas by 2010 over 76 million of the things had been sold worldwide, how and why are two things I may never know the answer to.

Structured Reality Television – You can probably already see where I’m going with this one. I would like you to say the phrase ‘Structured Reality Television’ 3 times, aloud or in your head.

I know right!? The phrase doesn’t make any sense. How can something be called ‘Reality Television’ but then still bend to the will of a structure and therefore a script? The answer is quite simple, it can’t and that is why I can’t for the life of me understand how these shows have managed to do so well.

On one hand you have a show like Geordie Shore that centres on a group of girls, in which only one of them is actually worth a spot in the bank, and a group of guys who would probably tell you that a Quarter-Back was a refund. This group of rowdy and obnoxious Newcastle natives are basically paid to get as drunk as they can in the city centre and then argue with each other. That really is pretty much all they do, none of them seem to have any background or other hobbies and it’s almost as if they were grown in test tubes somewhere in the MTV headquarters and then released into the wild to draw revenue, a bit like Britney Spears really.

Then on the other hand you have a show like Made in Chelsea which is of course set in the disgustingly fortunate district that it’s named after. This show also features an ensemble of male and female characters but unlike their Geordie rivals these characters are more content to experiment with hairstyles that would get you a firm beating in any other part of the UK, swan about throwing their Daddy’s money around like its water and speak with the sort of tone that would lead you to believe that at some point in their lives they actually suffered a fall so bad that it broke their accents. They try hard to convince us that ‘rich people have problems to’ but the only problem is that it’s so contrived that it becomes hard to buy into and we all know that rich people don’t have problems anyway.

These two main culprits may seem very different at face value but you’ll soon find their similar in almost every way and the characters are equally as big a bunch of twats as each other; it’s just a different shade of twat. One may smell a little better and the other may be a bit better to have around when it all kicks off but rest assured their both the type of people I would get my phone out to avoid and I simply don’t get why people tune in every week. Rest assured they do though, the ratings for these two shows and there other rivals have often been very high. It’s just hard to understand why when there is no talent of any kind on display and it all plays out in such a way that shows that it’s so obviously scripted.

Rihanna – Okay, maybe this last one is a bit harsh but I really do genuinely struggle to understand how this money making Barbadian cash injection has managed to become just that.

Let’s start with the fundamentals; she isn’t a particularly good singer. Granted, she sounds better than a cat getting run-over or Whitney Houston by the end but is that really worth over 25 million albums. Couple that with the fact that one of her more recent singles is just her repeating the phrase that she once found love in a really rubbish place and some meaningless shite about some yellow stones and to an impartial ear she’s really not that impressive.

It is often the case with music though that it’s more about image than actual talent, which makes Rihanna’s success even more surprising. The girl has a terrible image, back in February 2009 she took a beating from Chris Brown maybe she got the ingredients of his sandwich wrong or something? Now in 2013 she is back with him, therefore contradicting every statement she made on it at the time and on a serious note frankly setting a horrible example for her younger female fans to follow on what they should be expected to tolerate from a male partner.

Her shows have faced criticism for being provocative to the point that their unsuitable for her audiences and even border on a level of smut that isn’t particularly sexy anymore, it must be pretty bad then. A friend saw her in Manchester last year and said she was dry humping what appeared to be a 15 year old girl and barely did any singing at all.

Her acting career hasn’t exactly flourished. Her most notable role in Battleship was criticised for being bland and let’s face it how many military figures do you know who look like that? Yet despite the bad acting, smutty shows, terrible personal decisions and inconsistent musical material Rihanna continues to flourish. I don’t particularly dislike her any more than any other modern female pop singer around at the moment whose name isn’t Emeli Sandé or a few other examples but I do find her continued success and momentum nothing short of a mystery.

Have your own examples? Agree with mine? Disagree with mine? Or just have something to comment on? Please feel free to post below, many thanks for reading.Image

Money in a Zip-bag

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I recently recorded a song called ‘Money in a Zip-bag’; it was written by yours truly, produced by Deeside Beats and recorded at Aerial Studios, Wrexham. Although I have not released the song yet I decided to send it to one of my harsher critics to get his opinion. Saying that this critic, who will remain unnamed, doesn’t particularly like me would be like saying that Adolf Hitler didn’t particularly like the Jews and ironically enough I sometimes get the impression that he would love nothing more than the chance to dispose of me in an orderly fashion. Due to the fact that I don’t own a single KRS-1 CD, have a single blemish on my non-existent police record and require a layer of factor 20 just to sit in the shade for 30 minutes in April this critic believes that like a deaf person at a listening party I simply don’t belong.

The critic sent me a harsh response to the aforementioned song citing that it is ‘shallow’, ‘materialistic’ and above all else focuses too much on money when there is apparently ‘so much more to life’. Believe it or not I recognised almost instantly that he didn’t approve of the song and my previous feeling of optimism bombed faster than the ratings of my last music video, yes it has now officially been long enough that I can find it amusing. Not only was I ever-so slightly disheartened by the fact that the feedback received was the sort of harsh that’s reserved for when you deliberately stab a full volume microphone into a god-knows-how-many-watt speaker when both objects are plugged in but also by the question it raised in my mind. This question was not whether or not I should get a few tattoos, pick up some ‘street slang’ and book myself in for a 6 month stay at Hotel HMP but rather one that referred back to something said by my critic in that is their really ‘so much more to life’ than money?

I will make it clear before I continue that I am for the most part of a completely sound state of mind. I have no desire to take any dirt naps of any kind and my therapist is fully aware that I frequently don shoes with laces on both feet and she’s perfectly fine with it. The comment simply got me thinking because I believe that when the critic made it that he was eluding directly to a specific line in the song. The line is ‘I want money from the street, I want money from the bank, they say it won’t make you happy, but I bet that it helps’.

Many people claim that money is the route of all evil, I disagree, being a complete and utter tosser is the root of all evil and that’s the case whether you drive a BMW or you drive your Mother up the wall because try as you might you simply can’t afford to move out of her basement and give her back the free access to her book club meeting room. It also seems to me that the majority of the people making this ridiculous claim don’t buy their clothes from Primark, drink their bottles and spirits with a straw and think that riding the bus is ‘beneath them’. The sad reality is that there is not a whole lot more to life than money as you don’t strictly need it to be happy but I dare you to try and be happy without it.

Disagree with me? Okay, I invite you to wake up tomorrow morning, quit your job and tell your girlfriend, whose father probably hates you by the way, that money is not important and all you need is love to be happy. If you manage to survive the monstrous tirade from your girlfriend that will inevitably follow and will involve said girlfriend transforming from a creature that resembled Tiara Banks into a creature that now looks more like Phillip Banks then strap in and get all of that sweet love that you can because you are going to need it.

For the first week or so everything is great. You and your companion wake up whenever you see fit, you strut around the flat in your matching onesies, watch Jeremy Kyle all morning and spend your afternoons strolling around town with your other-half in your arms and that smug ‘don’t you wish she was yours’ look on your face. The sun is shining, the lager is cold and Wrexham FC are going to get promoted that is of course until rent day. Despite the fact that all of this warm and fuzzy love is sustaining you beautifully the landlord doesn’t quite share your optimism with regards to your current situation. Over the last week you spent all of your money on brand label onesies, I can’t believe they exist either, candle lit dinners and bags of those same green substances that you used to try and pass off as pencil shavings whenever your mum used to find them in your school bag because sometimes doing nothing can all feel like too much. The landlord puts up a notice of eviction, the lights go off and your girlfriend moves in with your best friend because she decides that without the perks mentioned above putting up with the friction burns that she gets off your facial hair, your beer gut and the way that you always leave your toe nail clippings on the bathroom floor is all too much for her to handle. You’re left in a sobbing state and you can’t even drink yourself happy because low and behold you have no money!

The point that I am trying to badly illustrate is that although money may not be the sole component needed to achieve happiness it is very hard to achieve happiness without it. I see people with no money on the street all the time, we call them ‘homeless’ and they look about as happy as a catholic priest locked in a 6×9 with 3 un-baptised homosexual couples obnoxiously ‘making-out’ in front of him while simultaneously being lectured by Richard Dawkins on the theory of Evolutionary Biology. The fact is that most of the things we do are centred on making money. I did 3 years of study at Glyndwr University so that I could get a decent job and make some good money. Granted, I went out and partied a lot but I wouldn’t have lost any points if all I did in the 3 years was eat, sleep, sh*t study and masturbate in fact if I had done just that I would probably be a lot more employable.

This post wasn’t written to make you feel sad and it sure as hell wasn’t written to plug my music, I have a Facebook page and a Twitter account full of unfortunate homo-sapiens for that which I am more than ready to flood with my obnoxious and irritating music-related statuses and tweets. The quote from my critic, who truly is the Roger Ebert to my Uwe Boll, just happened to get me thinking. All of the conventions of what truly make a person happy are unachievable without a substantial amount of money. The chances of a person marrying the person of their dreams, moving into their cosy love nest and raising 3 demanding children without money are about as high as Jordan winning next year’s World Cup, the country not the super model by the way. The person of your dreams is hardly going to want to stick around if your home is made of cardboard and your idea of a romantic evening is cuing up at the soup kitchen and handing your future kids a spear and sending them to the park whenever they get hungry may very well get you institutionalised.

In closing I will say that in my opinion happiness comes in many forms. I believe that in order to truly achieve it a person needs a number of factors to work in his favour but you would be a fool to believe that one of these factors isn’t the same one that makes you get up and go to work every morning. As a result wanting money doesn’t make you a bad person and getting happiness out of it sure as hell doesn’t either.

Completely agree? Completely Disagree? Please feel free to leave any thoughts below; all opinions are welcome and many thanks for reading.