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Wednesday, 26 January 2011

"Glee" was Created by an Insane Person. Apparently This is News to People...




Today it was reported by E! Online (I was linked there from IMDB, I swear!) that Glee Creator Ryan Murphy ranted about the Kings of Leon, calling them a bunch of self-centred assholes (he is American, so don’t call me out on the Americanism – though, having said that, IMDB doesn’t list his birth place, which it usually does. It’s like reading the Splinter Cell manual; everyone’s birthplace is listed except for Sam’s. Is Ryan Murphy a member of Third Echelon? The answer, quite simply, is ‘no’). The reason for this outburst, apparently, is that the Kings of Leon were asked by Murphy to allow him to use one of their songs in the show ‘Glee’, and they refused, basically likening it to “selling out”. Murphy responded with his tirade on the grounds that a band who refuse to sell out in order to promote a crappy TV show must be sick, and incredibly anti-arts education. His full tirade went as follows:


"Fuck you, Kings of Leon! They're self-centred assholes and they missed the big picture. They missed that a 7-year-old kid can see someone close to their age singing a Kings of Leon song, which will maybe make them want to join a glee club or pick up a musical instrument. It's like, OK, hate on arts education. You can make fun of Glee all you want, but at its heart, what we really do is turn kids on to music."


Yes, Murphy, because seeing a 23 year old actress dressed as a schoolgirl poorly mimicking a song by a, let’s face it, not that great band, is really what “arts education” is all about.


Well, it's certainly an education. Of sorts...


Also, I’m going to start calling you Ryan so people don’t think I’m talking to Robocop.



Am I the only one who thinks these two look disturbingly similar?


Within minutes of the article being published on E!, hundreds of people had commented, expressing their outrage at what a self-centred asshole Ryan Murphy is for thinking his show is the one great source of education for kids, and that listening to the original tracks by the bands who wrote the songs is somehow criminal, and that all bands need to sell out to help educate the children. Aside from the odd troll, and a Glee fan who is so dumb they actually wrote the word “then” when they meant to say “than” and put in. Lots of unnecessary. Full Stops. It seems that pretty well everyone now considers Ryan Murphy to be a douchebag (which reminds me, can you believe they’re making a UK version of Jersey Shore called ‘Geordie Shore’? I mean, come on, that’s practically going to be an advert for ethnic cleansing!) who needs to take his head out of his own self-righteous arse. However, before you start thinking you’ve accidentally clicked on perezhilton.com, I feel it is my duty to inform you that this is not the first time Ryan has come out with an offensive rant against a group of individuals and tried to pass it off as being a moral argument, and some of these totally legitimate quotes I have acquired from his ex-publicist show that there is a far, far darker side to Ryan Murphy than any Glee fan would believe...





RYAN MURPHY ON...


Jersey Shore



"Fuck ‘The Situation’. That self-centred Douchebag gets about 12 girls’ numbers in a night, then just chucks out the numbers of the girls he doesn’t want to see again. He’s missed that guys like me spend night after night in the club, and never get a single girl’s number, and that we would literally pay good money to buy girls’ numbers off him, so we can call them at night and find out what they’re wearing. It’s like, OK, hate on a playa when you should be hating on The Game. Which you just lost.”



On Social Healthcare



"Fuck you, Barrack Obama! You’re a socialist bastard in a country where for some reason calling someone a socialist is considered a bad thing, and you missed the big picture. You missed that a 7-year-old kid who gets cancer probably did something to anger Jesus, which resulted in him getting Leukaemia when he doesn’t have any health insurance to cover the treatment, so doesn’t deserve our pity. It's like, OK, hate on America. You can make fun of Capitalism all you want, but at its heart, what we really do is fuck over the poor make the world a fairer place."



On the Anti-Creationism Movement



"Fuck you, Stephen Hawking! You’re a self-centred Spacker and you missed the big picture. It doesn’t matter if you’re good at science – you’re in a fucking Wheelchair and you sound like a robot. It’s like, OK, you’re the smartest man in the world. Big deal. You can solve all the physics problems you want, but at the end of the day the only physical activity you’ll ever beat me in is a drooling contest. If I ever see you in person, I’m going to push you down a flight of stairs, you Special Olympics-competing mother fucker!"


Fuck this guy too.



On Apartheid



"Fuck you, Nelson Mandela! You ANC terrorist bastard! You missed that guys like me don’t want to have to catch a bus full of smelly black people when we’re trying to get to a World Cup Match. It’s like, OK, hate on White People just because you’re not as good as us. You can eat all the Chicken and Watermelon you want, but keep all your dirty African friends away from me so I don’t get robbed!"




On The Liberalisation of the Education System



"Fuck you, Liberals! You’re all child corrupting scumbags! Why are school children bombarded with homosexual references in maths, geography and science lessons as part of a Government-backed drive to promote the gay agenda? It’s like, OK, bring in a gay curriculum like it’s no laughing matter. You can make fun of the ┼░ber-right wing fascist parties all you want, but at the end of the day, they’re the ones who are going to survive when the rest of the world turns gay and stops making babies. Which is blatantly what will happen if you teach school children about seahorses and emperor penguins and other faggy animals. We should teach kids more important things. Like Fuckin' Magnets - How do they work???"






I hope Fox takes note and pulls Glee from the air as a result of these statements. Then again, the last 2 quotes are probably going to land Ryan Murphy his own show on FOX News where he calls out Glenn Beck for being such a democrat-enabler, so maybe we don’t want Fox to get wind of this? Whatever the final result, Ryan Murphy is an angry, angry man, and should not be trusted...




He's just murdered someone with that award. You can tell from the cold, dead look in his eyes...




Voice

Monday, 10 January 2011

Inglourious Basterds Review (Text)




Now, I’m fairly sure that absolutely everyone else who was ever going to see Inglourious Basterds has already seen it, therefore making a review slightly pointless. However, that’s never stopped me before, so I’m just going to write my thoughts on this movie, and see whether or not anyone agrees with me. Enjoy.

The first thing I would like to discuss is the title of this piece. The title of the movie was, of course, taken from the 70s film “Inglorious Bastards” (a.k.a “G.I. Bro” for all you Blaxploitation fans out there), and changed the second “a” in “Bastards” to an “e” for reasons unknown (and added an extra “u” to Inglorious, if my spelling ability isn’t completely fucked.


This is not a photoshop. This is genuinely the alternate poster and title for the original Inglorious Bastards.


This however, does not concern me. What I really want to know is why take the title from Inglorious bastards in the first place, even without the whole a/e thing? After all, Inglourious Basterds is clearly not a direct remake of Bastards, so why use the name? My guess would be that it was simply because QT thought the name sounded cool, and figured that since there isn’t a black soldier in the film he couldn’t get away with calling it “G.I. Bro”, so went for “Inglourious basterds” instead. However, despite the fact that the two stories are completely different for the most part, there is one similarity which none of the reviews I have read managed to pick up on (then again, I suspect I’m one of the only people in the world to have seen the original Inglorious Bastards before seeing QT’s version).

In the original film, the Bastards are a group of deserters heading for Switzerland who come across what appears to be a German platoon on their way to the Alpine border. The Bastards engage the enemy, and kill all of them, before discovering that they were an undercover American unit sent in to apprehend the German’s V-2 prototype by infiltrating the train it was set to be transported on. The Bastards feel it is their duty to fill in for he Americans they killed, but only have one German speaker in the group. Not only this, but one of their men is also Black, and a French resistance fighter points out that he won’t be able to go undercover as a German soldier. This one element of the story is closely mirrored in “Basterds”, when the three German speakers from the group are all killed, and Diane Kruger’s character points out to Brad Pitt that they will never be able to infiltrate the German film festival (this will sound odd if you haven’t seen the movie, but basically, there is a film festival all the Nazis are going to in Paris, and the basterds want to get in and blow them up) if none of them can speak or even look German. This is literally the only part of the original movie to appear in Tarantino’s movie, which seems odd given they share the same title. But, I guess if you wanted to watch Inglorious bastards, you may as well pick up the original, so I can see why QT didn’t just copy it.


Because, let's face it, this is gonna be hard to top...


Regarding Tarantino’s movie, however, the new plot is interesting enough. As mentioned above, it focuses on a plot by the Inglourious Basterds, a group of Jewish-American guerrilla fighters led by Brad Pitt, who intend to assassinate the Nazi leadership when they attend a film screening in Paris. The movie splits its time between the Basterds, and the characters of Shosanna Dreyfus, the French owner of the Paris cinema the Nazi screening is due to take place in, whose Jewish family was murdered by an SS Colonel at the start of the film, and Fredrick Zoller, a young German war hero who is desperate to woo Dreyfus, unaware of her past or heritage. Dropping in on both storylines, we also have Colonel Hans Lander, the SS officer who murdered Dreyfus’s family at the beginning of the film, who adds menace as the “Jew Hunter” tasked with bringing in the Basterds.


This guy... is un-fucking... believable.


Essentially, the entire film is made up of just a couple of scenes, put together to form the story. We change location 10 times at the very most over the course of the movie, and each of the five “chapters” is essentially made up of one small “set-up” scene, followed by a long “action” scene. Of course, this is very familiar Tarantino turf, being exactly the same as the structure he used in Reservoir Dogs, True Romance and Pulp Fiction, all of which were essentially just collections of cool scenes put together to make a film. But in Basterds this is even more exaggerated, to the extent that you feel the film really has been told in only 6 scenes. This is a really cool way of telling a story, because it allows a lot of tension to build in each scene, as there is no pressure to cut away to something else going on in a different location, so Tarantino is free to have 20 minutes build up to a pay off, and can really make the best use of his incredible dialogue-writing skills.


Never forget...


Although Tarantino himself lists the very first scene in the film as the best scene he has ever written, I would have to disagree with that statement. The scene in the basement of the Inn where the German speaking-members of the Basterds go undercover to meet their contact is one of the best scenes I have ever seen committed to film, and shows that Tarantino really does still have the magic that made Pulp and Dogs such memorable movies. In fact, I would say that this scene probably surpasses the infamous “Sicilian Scene” from True Romance as being the best scene Tarantino has ever written or shot, as it is just perfect. And the fact that he can keep that level of quality up for the half hour or so the scene runs for just shows the man’s pure mastery of cinema.

That said, however, there were a couple of directorial choices that I didn’t like in the film. The first of these was the title we got when first introduced to the character of Sergeant Stiglitz, and the cheesy voiceover we got when his past adventures were shown. It just felt way too cheesy for the film, and really didn’t fit the tone of the rest of the movie. It’s a though Tarantino still hasn’t got all his Grindhouse fanboy love out of his system, which is a real shame, given how good this movie is for the most part, and how realistic he keeps most of it. I suspect that he just couldn’t think of a good way to introduce Stiglitz’s backstory within the film without killing the pace or making it seem gratuitous so just figured “fuck it, if this thing’s gonna stick out, I’m gonna make sure it’s right in everyone’s face!”. The second cutaway scene like this with the explanation of why 35mm film was so flammable isn’t quite so annoying, probably because we had already had one cutaway explanatory scene by that point, but still killed the tone and pace a little, just as Stiglitz’s backstory did. However, I’m fairly sure Samuel L. Jackson did the voice over, so it was kind of cool just sitting there going Yep, that’s Sam Jackson all right.” (I just checked IMDB to make sure, and was surprised to see that the OSS officer we hear speaking to Brad Pitt near the end of the film was Harvey Keitel. How about that?).


No caption required. Oh wait...


I also felt that a couple of scenes of violence were a little gratuitous. Now, I don’t really mind violence – I mean, come on, I just admitted that one of my favourite film scenes is one which involves (Wait, sorry – SPOILER ALERT – probably best apply that from here on out, really) two guys getting their balls shot off, and a whole room full of people machinegunning each other – but a couple of bits just felt unnecessary. For example, the second time we see Brad Pitt carve a swastika into someone’s head, I felt like we didn’t really need to see it in such detail, because it worked well the first time when we didn’t actually see anything (just like the “ear scene” in Reservoir Dogs). I also didn’t like the scene when Eli Roth shoots a recently killed character in the face about 20 times as he lies on the floor. I mean, I can understand what its showing – it’s showing his hatred and anger at the guy for killing so many Jews, but I’m not entirely sure we needed to see a shot of his face as it was blown apart. We could have seen the first impact, then cut to Eli firing until his mag ran out. That way we would have understood what was happening, and understood what the character was feeling, but not been subjected to such unnecessary gore. I know that war is actually horrible and unpleasant to look at, but at the same time, that wasn’t really the point the movie was making (given how overly stylized and “cool” most of the violence is), so the shot just felt a bit over-the-top, as though it was only in there to spark controversy.


NOT that kind of controversy...


Other than that, though, I really didn’t have any problems with this film. I’ve heard people complain about how most of the film is in French and German, but while I did miss the end of a couple of subtitles, this really didn’t bother me for the most part. In fact, I quite liked the effect it gave, because I don’t see how some of the scenes could have been resolved were the entire film shot in English, as the language is pivotal to the plot in places (e.g. the Jews in the barn not speaking English, or the Germans in the bar).

What did really surprise me about this film, though, was the way that it doesn’t stick to factual events, but instead writes its own version of the war. Whilst this seems strange, setting a movie in history and ignoring historical facts (it almost seems disrespectful to the people who were actually there), this effect does keep the tension up, because it means that literally anything can happen. One of the reasons prequels tend to be worse than the original films (except for “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” and the prequel sections of “The Godfather part 2”) is because you already know exactly what will happen, so there is no real tension. With an altered history line, however, Tarantino is able to keep the tension going, as we are left unsure of whether or not the Basterds really will be able to kill the Nazi leadership and end the war. Plus, I suppose every historical story twists events to better suit the cinema anyway, so if they’re changing things in supposedly “true” stories, what harm does it do to make an entirely fictitious piece of work and set it in an actual historical event?





So, I loved the technical side of things, and the story and direction of the film, but what about the actors?

To be honest, I felt Brad Pitt was bad in this film. I felt he was a little too concerned with his accent, and not really that bothered by anything else. In the scenes where he is supposed to be playing an Italian, he is acting like he is Joe Black, and even in the other scenes, he seems as though he is just trying to play the whole thing for laughs. “Hey guys, listen to this stupid accent – isn’t this funny? I’ll get an Oscar for this!”. The other actors, however, are a different story.





For starters, I was very impressed by Eli Roth’s acting. He was overacting quite a bit in scenes, but for the most part seemed to pull of his character really well, which is pretty good for a guy who’s actually known as a director, rather than an actor. Hell, if his name wasn't in the credits or the posters, I'm certain I would have thought he was an actual actor, rather than a director. Till Schweiger is also really good, considering I had only seen him as Heinz Hummer in Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo before. This was possibly even more distracting than seeing Austin Powers playing a British General (though he was barely recognizable, and were his name not in the opening credits, I probably wouldn’t have known it was him).


He is pretty difficult to recognize, after all...


The real surprise of the bunch, however, is Diane Kruger, who I had previously only seen stumble through family movies like National Treasure and Troy. She seemed really bland in those films, and didn’t seem at all competent. And yet now I realize why – because she’s fucking German. Duh. When speaking her native tongue, or even speaking English but using her regular accent, Kruger nails the dialogue perfectly almost every time, and is perfect as German actress Bridget Von Hammersmark. I can see why she would have sucked in the movies when she was having to put on an American accent, of course; their accents make it hard enough to act even for us Brits – imagine how hard it must be to have that effect compounded on top of he fact that you’re not speaking your native language – but it’s still awesome to finally see her do a half-decent performance. I get the feeling she was previously only ever cast because she’s hot, so it’s cool to see her finally act, rather than just model in films. Although, actually, Tarantino does seem to have a foreign girl fetish (the Swiss chick in Pulp, the french chick in Kill Bill, also possibly Lucy Liu in Kill Bill, the Kiwi stuntwoman in Deathproof), so maybe he did cast her just because he fancied her?


I have no idea why German girls have such a bad rep in this country. They may actually be even hotter than French girls...


However, the best performance of the piece, of course, goes to Christoph Waltz, for his incredible performance as Colonel Heinz Hummer – sorry – Hans Landa. Fuck, now I’ve got Rob Schneider stuck in my head. Thanks a lot, Schweiger!


Yep, that's Till Schweiger, about to have his cock grabbed by 'Undercover Brother'. You're welcome.



Waltz won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Colonel Landa, so that pretty well tells you all you need to know about the performance. Waltz nails it, being the smartest, evilest, yet most charming villain we’ve had since Die Hard. He’s such a cool character that as we started to near the end of the film I was actively hoping he wouldn’t die, because he was so awesome. I genuinely felt that a character that smart deserved to survive the film, in spite of the fact that he had killed countless jews, and that’s a good indication of how well Waltz played his part – he turned one of the most unlikeable bastards ever into a character you were genuinely rooting for. Now that’s acting.

I really enjoyed his film, then, and would highly recommend it. The only other thing I want to know is – How come Eli Roth and Omar didn’t leg it out of the theatre once they’d shot all the guys in the opera box and planted the bomb? The weren’t locked in, as only the doors to the main seating area were locked, and they had done their job – so why not just run? Seemed a bit weird to me, but whatever – it was still a cool ending to an awesome movie. Well, actually, the very final scene after was even better, especially the closing line. But I shan't spoil it for you if you haven't already seen the film...





Rating:

****

4 Stars




I wouldn’t say it’s definitely better than Inglorious Bastards, but it is very different. This film contains some absolutely incredible scenes and performances, and is easily Tarantino’s best film since Pulp Fiction. It’s not flawless, but it is great fun, and you could definitely do a lot worse. This movie shows why Tarantino is considered one of the great directors of our time despite producing so few movies, and so few actually decent films out of those he does. Definitely worth a watch, and a great way to spend 2 and a half hours, as long as you’re not an American who can’t bear to watch something with subtitles.




Voice






Before I forget, today’s review was sponsored by Bin Laden photobombing Ed Miliband:








Apparently Eli Roth was dating Peaches Geldoff for a while. Here’s to hoping he punched Bob in the face!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Call Me a Nerd if You Want. I Don't Care. You're Just Jealous My Controller Glows in the Dark and Yours Doesn't.




I play consoles round friends’ houses relatively often. Not because I’m such a socially retarded douchebag that I only hang out with people to play video games, but because often it’s cool to just kick back and play some Xbox when you’re waiting for inspiration to strike. But something which has always surprised me about playing on other people’s consoles is this: I would very often go to pick up the nearest controller, and be told by the console’s owner that I had to use the other controller, because the one I picked up is their “limited edition Halo controller”. In fact, this has happened with 4 different people (You would think I would learn after the first 3, really). No joke.


You've probably seen them around...


The reason I always found this bizarre is simply because everyone who owns an Xbox 360 seems to own a “limited edition Halo controller”, and those who don’t have a “limited edition Call of Duty controller”. In fact, these supposed “limited edition controllers” seem to be just as common as the regular controllers, so it just seems bizarre that anyone would care more about one than they would an ordinary controller.

Not only this, but they seem to only exist for games that everyone is a fan of, and that everyone will consequently own the controller for. Now, I see the logic behind this for the company producing the controllers, because they’re going to make a lot more money this way. But I don’t see the logic behind why people who buy these dirt-common controllers for popular games then act as though they’re some sacred ultra-rare artifact that needs to be guarded against the evils of my palm sweat (and possible “sticky palms”. Oh wait, I do see the logic behind protecting your possessions from that).




But today, I received something which has changed my view of controller snobs forever. Today, I finally got the controller of my dreams, the controller I deserve. That’s right, I got a limited edition Splinter Cell controller for the PS2:





Now, I know what you’re thinking: Splinter Cell was also a very popular game (hence the four sequels), so I’m not really showing my originality by purchasing this controller. However, not only is Splinter Cell a far more underground series than “Call of Duty”, “Halo” or “Medal of Honor”, but, let’s face it, how many people do you know who owned ‘Splinter Cell’ brand controllers for their PS2 back in the day? I’m guessing none.


The reason for this guess is that I wasn’t even aware they existed until just over a week ago. Seriously, I don’t ever remember seeing one when the PS2 was big – otherwise I would have bought one back then – and I’ve never heard anyone else mention they had one. Which is why I was so surprised to find one online, on Amazon Marketplace, for a measly £7.90. For comparison’s sake; the cheapest you can get a standard PS2 controller for is £6.99. The official Sony one like my other controller is £18.99. Now, whilst the Splinter Cell controller is not an official Sony product, it is still officially licensed by Ubisoft, who make the Splinter Cell games, so was guaranteed to be bitchin’. The fact is, I went online looking to buy a regular controller, saw the wireless ones for £9.99 (unofficial) and thought “why not?”, then noticed the Splinter Cell controller and thought “I must have it”, so bought that one instead. And you know what? I’m damn well glad I made that choice. “Why’s that?” you may ask. And I shall tell you.



IT GLOWS IN THE GOD DAMN DARK!!!!!!



Yes, I am as easy to amuse as a 6 year old. Problem?


But seriously, the analogues handle well, the triggers are better than on my official Sony controller (though that is getting on a bit in Sony’s defence), and did I mention it GLOWS IN THE FUCKING DARK?



Seriously, what's cooler than playing a stealth ninja who creeps through the shadows wearing night vision on a controller which glows green (the same colour as night vision!!!!) when it's dark? Literally nothing.


Good attempt, though.


Sure, the vibration function is pretty bad, and vibrates too much so ends up just rattling in your hand rather than giving a realistic buzz as the Sony controllers do. But hey, this shit is rare, which instantly makes it cool. Hell, it seemed a shame just to take it out the packaging, given it had been kept in there in perfect condition for so long. But I did take it out, and you know why? Because damn it, I couldn’t resist the temptation to play Chaos Theory on a Glow-in-the-Dark controller. Ok?



Heaven is a place where controllers glow green in the dark.





Voice



When not masturbating over the Splinter Cell series, Voice reviews the odd film, and wishes he was even half as cool as Morgan Freeman.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

I Think I Just Came...

WARNING! THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE CONSISTS OF NOTHING MORE THAN ONE MASSIVE FANBOY RANT.






AWWWWW YEEEEAH!!!!!


It’s official, people – They’re making a movie of my favourite video game series, Splinter Cell. If you recall, at the end of my review of “The Other Guys” I suggested that the $90 million they put into that film should have instead gone into funding the Splinter Cell movie, and it looks like someone took my advice (though, too late to stop ‘The Other Guys’ from existing, unfortunately).

The film is slated for release in 2013, and will be the third Tom Clancy film to be released over the coming 2 year period, along with a new Jack Ryan film, and a Rainbow Six movie. Does life get any better than this?



Not even close, Ladies.


Whilst there are many questions which need to be answered regarding this project – who will direct it? Will it be based on one of the games, or will it be an original script? Which game will it be based off of if it is based on one? - The real talk at this stage is, of course, on who will play Sam Fisher.


Option #1 - Gorgeous George




As you may remember (especially if you followed the link I gave above), I was advocating that George Clooney play the part of Fisher. He’s done some action movies before, so can definitely pull off the tough-guy act, even if a stunt double is required for the half-split jumps. Not only this, but he has the right sort of facial structure, too – a combination of the classic all-American hero look, with a softer, more distinguished appeal which whilst making him appear more classically handsome does not diminish his overall rugged appearance. Plus the grey hair and short stubble look really suits Clooney, as we all know. But my main reason for picking George? He’s the right age (My ‘Chaos Theory’ Manual informs me Fisher was born in 1957, whilst IMDB says Clooney was born in 1961. Bear in mind that Chaos Theory was set in 2008, and Clooney is exactly the right age). I would hate to see Splinter Cell remade with a young guy playing Fisher, because one of the things I most loved about the character was that he was an old guy with a daughter who was called back into service because in a world where the intelligence services are full of computer nerds who know how to hack algorithms, there was still a need for a hands-on tough guy who could get to the info that wasn’t just online, and grab targets without the need for a Delta team to be sent in. That said, however, I am prepared to discuss other potential actors for the part.



Option #2 - The Original Sam Fisher




Whilst Michael Ironside is absolutely perfect for the voice of Fisher, I feel that he may, unfortunately, be too old for the part (though he is only 11 years older than Clooney). I also feel that Ironside may not be quite so convincing in such an athletic part, because although he does look tough, he looks more like a brawler than a “stealth ninja”. I also feel that people may have gotten too used to seeing him as either a bad guy, or an insane Lieutenant who has some pretty cool dialogue, and would therefore find it hard to relate to Ironside if he was actually on-screen, rather than just providing a voice. Points to him for being exactly the right height, though.



Option #3 - The Guy Who Played a Very Similar Part in that Other Movie...




My next choice for the part would have to be Liev Schreiber, who by 2013 will be only 1 year younger than Sam was in the original game (set in 2004). The reason I like Schreiber for the part is due to his turn as Clark in The Sum of All Fears (though he was awesome in Defiance as well). Clark is a very similar character to Fisher – a hard as nails stealth agent with a dark sense of humour. However, the reason I like Schreiber for the part is, unfortunately, the exact reason why I can’t back him to play Sam: Schreiber has to play Clark in ‘Without Remorse’ and ‘Rainbow Six’, I just don’t see anyone else being able to play the part. I mean, sure, Willem Dafoe played Clark in ‘Clear and Present Danger’, but that was a semi-retired, older Clark who wasn’t on active duty. Clark is the leader of Rainbow Six, the most elite SWAT-style spec-ops unit on the planet; he has to be a total badass, and Liev Schreiber can definitely deliver. I am therefore asking that the producers of these films do not ask Schreiber to play Fisher, but instead recast him as Clark for the other two films. Yes, I realize that they are probably not all being produced by the same company, but you guys can still work together to give the people what they want - what they NEED - right?





Plus, Schreiber might actually be a bit too big to play Fisher, being 6’3” and built like a brick shithouse.






Option #4 - The IMDB Users' Choices




Some people on IMDB are calling for Clive Owen and Gerard Butler to play the part. Now, I have to completely disagree with Clive, owing to the fact that he cannot do an American accent for shit, and his delivery is too dull for Fisher, who has a more coarse voice (though, admittedly, Owen has the pitch dead on). I also cannot see him in a stealth suit climbing walls and pipes and doing the whole ninja-bit, because he’s just too suave for that sort of thing, damn it! (Ed: And Clooney isn’t?). Butler, however, I can kind of see in the part, given he looks a bit like Fisher:


Photoshop Courtesy of Steve a.k.a "PurpleApe".


I can also see him being very capable of doing all the physical stunts, and he certainly has the right body for Fisher (even if he is just a little on the tall side), so undoubtedly has the look down. I am a bit worried about his accent, though, as I’ve not heard him do an American accent. I am also a bit concerned that the producers would completely change the story to appeal more to the ‘300’ crowd if Butler was in it, too, so would have to be sure the character would not change to be more in-your-face and angry if he was cast. Also, it had better not have loads of slowing-down and speeding-up fight scenes, unless the director wants to die. But still, I can get behind butler in the part.



Option #5 - The Goddamn Punisher!




He was awesome in War Zone and The Book of Eli. If only Ray Steenson hadn't been in The Other Guys - then I could recommend him for the part of Sam Fisher. but then again, he has the same problem as Schreiber - he's just too God Damn big! Although, if he were cast as Fisher, we could always bring in Denzel to play Lambert, which would be pretty sweet.



I completely forgot these two had also done a movie together.



Option #6 - That Other Guy Who was Also in Someting Else Playing a Similar Character.





Kiefer Sutherland is also, of course, a candidate, and I feel he would be able to play the part very well indeed. The only problem is that everyone’s so used to seeing him as Jack Bauer that they won’t be able to take the movie seriously – they’ll just think it’s a story about Bauer’s special forces days. Don’t believe me? I was watching ‘The Sentinel’ with a friend (don’t ask), and when we are first looking around Michael Douglas’s apartment, we see a photo of his character with Kiefer Sutherland’s on his desk, and my friend literally said “Ha! There’s a picture of him with Jack Bauer! They must have put that in as a tribute to 24, or something”. Of course, it wasn’t a 24 reference, and Kiefer just happened to be acting in the film as well - but that’s all anyone associates him with. And that’s Kiefer’s problem – if it weren’t for 24 I would never have considered him for the role of Fisher (since the only other movies I’ve seen him in are things like ‘The Lost Boys’ and ‘A few Good Men’), but because he’s too well known for 24, he can’t possibly play another special forces character like Fisher.

On the subject of Bauer, though, I have a good suggestion for the actor to play Irving Lambert. Obviously Don Jordan, who voiced Lambert in every Splinter Cell game but Pandora Tomorrow cannot play Lambert, owing to the fact he looks like this:





However, you know who voiced Lambert in Pandora tomorrow? A man who not only worked with Kiefer Sutherland in 24, but who also narrated the Call of Duty games. That’s right – Dennis motherfucking Haysbert.





Dennis Haysbert is actually closer to the age I imagined Lambert to be whilst playing the games, as opposed to what the instruction manuals say (there’s about a ten year discrepancy). Not only that, but at 6’4” (and a half, according to IMDB), he also has the same dominating presence as Lambert. Plus, we already know he has the ideal voice for the part, having already played the character once before. In fact, I’m gonna say definitely on this one that Dennis Haysbert is the man I want to see in the part. He’s proven he can still do action with shows like ‘The Unit’, and more than proved his acting worth in ‘24’. In fact, you know what? I’m calling it right now. Clooney and Haysbert for Fisher and Lambert in Splinter Cell. I’m gonna start circulating a petition for this shit.



Oh wait, I forgot I'm incredibly Lazy.




Voice.



And for what it’s worth, I reckon Tanoai Reed could pull off a pretty good Sam(oan) Fisher, judging from his skills in this video (first kill after about 2:25).

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

The Bad Lieutenant Review (Text)




Well, it finally happened. I’ve been trying to see The Bad Lieutenant ever since I heard about it from Noah Antwiler way back in April (On the very same day I was tripping out on Sub Coca Dragon, in fact), and today, I finally managed it. Fuck Yeah.




“So”, you may be thinking to yourself “what did you think of it? Was it any good?” to which I shall respond: Hey, you know how these reviews work – I talk about plot, then actors, then technical crap, and then conclude with what I thought at the end. If you don’t like it, go elsewhere. But don’t really, because I need the viewers. I may even get AdSense if I can ever break 10,000 viewers a month (I won’t).

Now, something that surprised me about this story was how early on Nicolas Cage makes Lieutenant. We literally only have one scene before he is promoted, in which he saves a prisoner caught in his cell as the floods caused by Hurricane Katrina sweep in (yeah, it’s set in New Orleans after Katrina, did I not mention that?), and then we go straight to the ceremony where he is made lieutenant and awarded the medal of valour for his bravery in jumping into the water to save the guy. This wasn’t what I had been expecting, as I had thought we were going to see Nicolas Cage set up as being the bad cop who is about to be kicked off the force for abusing suspects and taking drugs and drinking on the job, who the Commanders are forced to promote against their better judgment after he commits a truly heroic act that gets a lot of media attention – and whilst this is sort of what happens, it seems as though none of the characters really know about Cage’s problems at the start of the film, and the possibility that he only starts using drugs on a regular basis after injuring his back trying to save the prisoner in this first scene is also hinted at. Whilst this was completely different to what I was expecting, however, I still thought this set-up worked really well.

The primary reason for this is that it adds a whole new layer of meaning to the film. Cage’s character, Terence, is prescribed drugs for his back injury right at the start of the film, but starts using more and more illicit drugs as the film goes on. Whilst the character was clearly supposed to have been using drugs for quite some time before hand, it is implied that he starts to take a lot more to self-medicate for his back pain, and this is a theme which the movie comes back to at several points. The movie switches from manic and hyper, to dark and depressed, to slow and chilled, like it was nothing. These transitions are incredibly smooth, and don’t always fit the action on the screen, but are still very noticeable, and really affect the feeling of the movie. Clearly, the movie is shot in this manner to reflect Terence’s mood swings, as he succumbs either to the effect of the drugs, or to a post-injury mental illness, most likely a form of bi-polar disorder, judging from the mood swings and hallucinations. This is a really cool effect, and shows how the injury, stress and the consequent abuse of drugs is really taking its toll on the character, which makes the film infinitely more fun to watch.

Whilst the infamous ‘Iguana scene’ does have a hilarious surreal quality to it, in the same manner as a lot of the humour in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas came from the characters reacting to hallucinations or severe attacks of paranoia, a lot of the funniest scenes in the film occur when Cage appears to be completely lucid, owing to his bizarre interactions with other characters. The drug-store argument is sheer genius, and an amazing scene. But it is topped later on in the film with yet another similarly-insane scene.

One of the funniest reactions Cage has whilst out of his head on crack and heroin is depicted in a scene where he attempts to interrogate an old woman to find out where her grandson is, and winds up almost suffocating another elderly woman by taking her oxygen tube out of her nose. When the Grandmother tells Cage where the boy can be found, Cage returns the woman’s oxygen tube, before going on a rant about how he should have let her die, and how people like her who live in homes and use up all their kids inheritance are what’s ruining the country. It’s a hilariously over-the-top reaction, and incredibly dark, but a brilliantly filmed and acted scene, where you can really see the insanity start to creep in for Terence.




But not all of the humour in the film is derived from the increasing insanity of its main character. Instead, there are a lot more subtle jokes hidden within the film. For example, at one point we see Cage walking into a Grocery Store in a black neighbourhood, as some kids play outside. One kid walks past Cage and right by the camera, and we realise "hey, that isn't a kid, that's a dwarf!" - Herzog actually dressed a midget in kids clothes just to fuck with white people who can't tell the difference between a black kid and a black midget - And it's the small things like this that really add surreal humour to the movie without being in-your-face insane. Another such example is one of the first things that really made me laugh out loud whilst watching ther film, where in an early scene where we see Terence sitting and talking to his captain with his gun shoved down the front of his trousers like he’s a gangster. What made this even funnier is the sheer size of the weapon – a .44 magnum. In fact, during a later scene where Terence goes to arrest a suspect, we see him walking through a neighbouring house and yard in a brown suit, holding the gun up with his hair back, and he looks just like Dirty Harry. This is obviously an intentional reference on Herzog’s part, but was a really cool tribute, and also possibly shows what the character thinks of himself. He feels he is like Harry Callaghan, breaking the rules, but still getting results he couldn’t if he stuck to them. Or maybe it’s because he’s gone so batshit insane he doesn’t care how it looks for a Detective Lieutenant to be walking around with a gigantic handgun just casually shoved into his waistband.


Is that an anti-tank weapon in your pants, or are you just pleased to - OH FUCK IT'S A CANNON!


Not only is the humour in the film all fantastically executed, but the actual story itself is a really cool, exciting one, which would have still worked really well even without the surreal elements. The plot unfolds nicely, with various story arcs overlapping each other, and coming together with comical results. The execution of these storylines is flawless, and is very reminiscent of Guy Ritchie’s early films, where he would set up multiple storylines for different characters, and let them progress individually before finally bringing them all together in one dramatic scene. Of course, The Bad Lieutenant is entirely focused on Cage (I believe he is in every scene), so there is nothing quite this complicated going on, but it still unfolds in a similar manner, with different plotlines overlapping at times, as if by chance, and it is really cool just sitting back and watching everything come together.

The movie is also shot in a really interesting way, with most of the action framed in a fairly conventional manner, but occasionally deviating into completely different styles when trying to highlight a certain point. For example, in a shootout scene, the lighting is done in such a way that the smoke seems to hang in the air for ages before finally settling, and the gunshots are all highlighted as though the director is trying to show their importance. Likewise, in one scene set at the scene of a traffic incident, we cut away from the action to a crocodile sitting by the side of the road, watching, and the camera changes to what appears to be a Super-8 film, and some chilled-out trippy music starts to play as the Croc just sits there, and watches everything unfold. To say Oliver Stone would be proud is an understatement. I think Werner Herzog got fed up with Stone making films like World Trade Centre and Alexander, and decided cinema needed to be taken back to the days of Natural Born Killers. And who could argue with that?


Certainly not Robert Downey, jr.


The acting in the film is also amazing. Cage plays the unhinged Terence fantastically, and only plays Nicolas Cage in a couple of scenes, managing to actually create a different character to himself for most of the film (contrary to what I may have said in my review of “Next”). Val Kilmer is also great as Cage’s partner who just does not give a fuck about anyone. At a couple of points, he advocates just letting suspects die, or even actively killing them, and when Cage is blatantly hallucinating in the iguana scene, Kilmer just stands there, not particularly bothered by the whole affair. He also appears to have lost some of the ridiculous amount of weight he put on post-Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, which is good to see.


Shit, actually, he doesn't look that much fatter than I am - I need to rethink my life...


Eva Mendez also turns up as Cage’s prostitute girlfriend, and gives a fairly convincing performance. Not to give too much away on my final rating of the film, but it’s funny that Mendez has appeared as the girlfriend/wife of a cop in both what are probably my favourite and least favourite films of 2010. It’s also quite funny that she always seems to be the girlfriend of the ultra-criminal drug dealing cop, regardless of whether it’s Nicolas Cage or Denzel Washington.


She got dat FINE ASS!


The biggest surprise in the casting, however, has to be XZibit, who turns up as one of the bad guys of the piece, who Cage starts to work for once his case against him falls apart, and he gets heavily into debt. I think the last time I saw XZibit in a film was when I watched Derailed years ago. No, scratch that, he was in triple X 2: The Next Level as well. However, both of those films intentionally cast rappers simply because they were rappers (Derailed also starred RZA from the Wu Tang Clan, and XXX 2 also starred DMX or Method man or someone who once did a song with Limp Bizkit). In The Bad Lieutenant, however, X seems to have been given the chance to show off his actual acting cred, and he’s pretty damn good. Though, not good enough that people are likely to start remembering him for his acting rather than his meme potential:




Stiffler’s mum from American Pie is in it, too, but that’s a story for another day.



Sorry.


Aside from the actual content of the film, however, one of the things which is most outstanding is the locations depicted. We go from the richer, fully intact and repaired areas of New Orleans, where there are high-rise hotels and casinos, down to the projects, and see the level of devastation present. Whether the neighbourhoods shown in the film were deliberately messed up to make them look more like they did right after Katrina hit or not is something I’d be interested in knowing, having seen the Top Gear special where they go to New Orleans a couple of years after the disaster to see that nothing’s changed in the projects, and everywhere is still in ruin. Herzog uses all the locations he can find to great effect, and executes his scenes masterfully.

Other than that, there’s really not all that much to tell. The soundtrack is eclectic, reflecting the state of Terence’s sanity at varying points, and the lighting is all very well done and not too in-your-face, and that’s about it. This movie is fantastically dark whilst still laugh-out-loud hilarious, and is shot and acted in beautifully. This is undoubtedly one of my favourite movies of 2010, right up with Inception, Toy Story 3, and The Book of Eli (and, of course, The Expendables). Maybe 2010 wasn’t the best year for cinema, and the Oscars were a joke – but we have had a couple of great movies, right?


Just before I wrap this up, I just wanted to talk about the title. The DVD case says “Bad Lieutenant” (Without “The”) on it, but when I was watching the actual film, the title was given as “The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call, New Orleans” – is this just because the British title was changed from the American one but they couldn’t be bothered to re-edit the title sequence, or is this really a movie with 2 names? I still find it weird when I go to watch Rambo and realize it’s actually called ‘First Blood’, so I was freaked out a little by this. But not to worry, I’ll post this as a review of “The Bad Lieutenant”, and leave the rest up to God. Or Allah, or whoever…



I guess now I just need to watch the original Harvey Keitel film, right?





Rating:


*****

5 stars



Sorry to give you such a short review, but I really don’t want to spoil anything for you – this is a great movie, and a must see. Hell, even if you’re not a Cage fan, there’s still a good chance you’ll like it, it’s that well done. I would say this is probably my favourite movie of 2010, beating Inception simply because Inception invited you to think about it through its complex plot, and thus felt like it was intentionally trying to make us look at the plot holes that were present in the story. The Bad Lieutenant, however, is clever, but not in such a way that forces you to over-analyse it, and is incredibly good fun to just sit back and watch. I highly recommend this film – it’s undoubtedly Cage’s best work. Now I suppose I should go check out Rescue Dawn and see if Herzog is consistently great.




Voice



P.S. Since it’s been exactly 25 years since Phil Lynott died, I leave you with this YouTube link as a tribute to the man.



If only there was more music like Thin Lizzy around these days, huh?