Archive for July, 2008

They Shot Paddington Today

I don’t know if any of you saw the news story this morning on the BBC Website about the bear with a jar stuck on its head but something about it struck me as odd. I think it’s maybe some of the quotes from the people involved in dealing with the bear.

The article says that the local wildlife service had been following the bear for three days as it wandered around, unable to eat or drink and looking like a 1930’s movice serial spaceman.

I admit that their reasoning for having to shoot the animal sounds plausible at first, it was starving and had wandered into the middle of town. I’ll buy that, it’s a powerful wild animal and is likely to snack on anything it manages to get its claws on. Then I thought, well why didn’t they just shoot it with tranquiliser darts? Well rather amusingly they couldn’t tranquilise the beast because (quoting what the guy in charge told the BBC) “it stayed in forested areas”.

IT’S A BEAR where did you expect to find it, selling pirate DVDs at the Barras?

Also note the picture that accompanies the article. If someone could get close enough to take that picture, someone else could get close enough to tranquilise the poor big bastard. Especially since the wildlife officers had been chasing it around the countryside for SIX DAYS. Let’s be honest here, someone in Minnesota just REALLY wanted a bearskin rug. They might as well have claimed he was a muslin extremist or had weapons of mass destruction in his jar.

No word either on what’s to happen to the arseholes that left the giant jar lying around the countryside for the bear to get stuck in either.

Someone Needs to Dump on Hollywood's Childhood

Like most of the western world I’m getting fairly apathetic towards the current slew of remakes, reboots and regurgitations coming out of the Hollywood Movie Machine. Worse the few genuinely original ideas seem doomed to mishandling, miscasting or simply being downright crap.

Take Hancock the latest Will Smith blockbuster for an example. The core idea was fairly originally and engaging: What if the world’s only superhero was an alcoholic, self pitying jakey who’s only redeeming quality, his attempts to selflessly help people all is constantly (and humorously) marred by the way he goes about it. It could have been a great comedy movie but instead the Hollywood Movie Machine made it into something else. It swung bizarrely between action movie and comedy while steamrollering over plot holes without even a moments hesitation.

The Editing Room deals with Hancock’s problems in a far more witty form than I’ll manage here, go and check it out. I’ll wait, my rage for my next point knows no bounds of time, space or angular dimension.

Now I’ve been reading on /Film about the forthcoming GI Joe Movie and almost every single piece of available information makes me want to set fire to Hollywood. In fact it makes me want to invent REALLY SLOW FIRE and set fire to Hollywood with that.

When I was a boy I had GI Joe stuff, well it was called Action Force here in the UK but it was essentially the same thing with a few decals changed. For those of you unfamiliar with the toys etc, it was all about a unique team of US Special Forces. They were a hodgepodge of every branch of the US armed forces all hand picked for their skills and abilities. No two of them were alike and they all dressed in less than regulation style. One of them was always cutting about in an American football top for a start. They all had cool code names like Snake Eyes, Gung-Ho, Roadblock and they had everything a boy could want: Ninjas, marines, spies, fighter pilots and even astronauts. They were lead by General Hawk and represented truth, justice and the American way.

They were pitted against Cobra, a terrorist organisation with seemingly limitless resources that constantly concocted bond villain-esque plans to rule the world. Cobra was lead by Cobra Commander who spent much of the time with his face hidden either behind a mirrored face mask or underneath a blue hood.

The battles between GI Joe and Cobra spanned pages of comics, a cartoon series and several animated films all of which continue to this day. The comic tended to be darker and more realistic than the films and notably cobra seemed a far more credible threat on the printed page rather than the cartoon’s bunch of incorrigible ragamuffins.

Unfortunately it seems that Hollywood have thrown all of the rich background out the window in favour of one of these god damn REBOOT things. The director Stephen Sommers and the screenwriter Stuart Beattie have managed to make a boatload of stinkers between them. The mummy returns and Van Helsing to name some of the worst.

Sienna Millar as the Baroness doesn’t convey the look or feel of European Aristocrat. She looks like a naughty schoolgirl in that picture. Christopher Eccleston is a good actor and I’ve seen him in a few things I liked, but he isn’t Destro, they should have got a REAL SCOTSMAN to play a Scotsman for once and wheeled in James Cosmo.

Roadblock isn’t in it, and even if he was I bet they wouldn’t cast Ving Rhames as him. Dennis Quade hasn’t been an action hero since the eighties and even that was as a microbe in Inner Space. As for the rest of the cast, I can honestly say I’ve never heard of ANY of them. I’m assuming they’re the latest batch brewed up during happy hour at the POD PEOPLE factory.

The worst insult of all is probably the casting of Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Cobra Commander. I mean seriously? Just look at his pictures on IMDB, the guy looks like cross between a chimp and a Toby Jug. I think that’s as close as you can get to being genetically related to a bell-end without actually being a bell-end. Listen here to me Hollywood and bury this project before it goes any further, these people, these so called actors are not, will not and can never be the one’s to play anyone in GI Joe except maybe some walk on parts in the deleted ROOM FULL OF ASSHOLES scene. Cobra Commander has never been friends with anyone in GI Joe, let alone a former member of it. I mean what was wrong with his original back-story? A man pushed to the brink of insanity by the greed of big business and the indifference of the US government? Too close to the reality for millions of Americans in the process of losing their homes and lives maybe?

The one bit of casting I have to agree with however is Ray Park playing Snake Eyes. He’s got the skills and since he doesn’t have to speak or even be seen it should be an easy ride for him. I will brace myself for the inevitable Snake Eyes spin off movie however.

Hollywood I dare you to prove me wrong, I dare you to make this the movie of the year for 2009 but to be frank I think everyone who see it will be of the same opinion: “This is one to downloadTM” I think 😉

Writings – Bork Pigswiller

I’ve finally uploaded another short story to the site for your amusement. This one concerns the misadventures of Bork Pigswiller a goblin mercenary and his two cohorts, Moti and Arky. It was originally planned to be a traditional fantasy story but told from the point of view of the bad guys. I had a fully plotted out story of how through malicious negligence and low cunning they managed to cause the destruction of two peaceful monasteries but it somehow mutated into its present form. The story also tends to lean towards more comedy than darkness so it should be fun for all the family.

Writing about Bork and Moti have got me thinking a bit about other stories I could thrust them into although they could use a bit more character development. Strangely I keep seeing Moti as a kind green skinned version of Danny Divito or Joe Pesci, at least before his transformation anyway. Bork I see as a more pragmatic character, sure he’s self serving and can be evil but he has some redeeming qualities. He’s loyal and has a strong sense of what’s right and wrong though maybe not what’s good or evil. Arky, well he reminds me of the dumb one out of the rescue rangers.

Check it out here.

Grammar? We don't need no GRAMMAR!

I’m really starting to worry about the BBC, or at least the people who run their news website. Today I noticed this little gem:

Since the river festival doesn’t start until 11AM they’ve evidentially borrowed Doctor Who’s TARDIS to leap into the future and check out what’s going to happen. Thankfully the article itself isn’t so clairvoyant.

The Little Sign That Did

They unseen powers that be have updated my favorite hidden landmark once more:

A truly profound statement from the wee sign on Sauchiehall Lane!

Why Did Senga Cross the Road

If I were a 1980’s computer game programmer and this dual cored monstrosity were a humble Commodore 64 I would write a game. This game would be based on that perennial classic Frogger but with a satirical twist.

The player controls an irate, overweight Glasgow woman called Senga who desperately wants to get some pies. The problem is she has to cross a very busy road to get to the pie shop. Now the player has two choices, they can walk to the crossing which is a one side of the screen or they can attempt to run across the road dodging multiple lanes of traffic.

I’ve mocked up an image of what I’m talking about here (note the blue berghaus jacket, white trackie bottoms and bottle blonde hair):

Seems easy doesn’t it? Just walk to the crossing and you win every time, well not exactly. Senga has two bars, one is her stamina bar and it decreases with every step you take, the other is her GLESCA RAGE bar which increases every second until it is either full or Senga reaches the pie shop.

If Senga runs out of Stamina the game ends as she collapses out of hunger. If Senga’s GLESCA RAGE bar reaches 100% Senga explodes in a rage and tries to run straight across the road to almost certain death.

As the levels mount up the stamina bar and GLESCA RAGE bars both get shorter to make things more “interesting”.

The Great Wheelchair Whit!?

I have to hand it to Glasgow City Council, they’ve waste our council tax on a raft of turkeys over the years but this debacle up at Port Dundas has to rank up there with the best. They’ve spent a fortune on public realm improvements and landscaping all around Cowcaddens, Port Dundas and Spiers Wharf. THere’s fancy cobbled street sections, artistic underpasses and signs, lots of signs like this one:

You can see it now, the disabled tourist or an unsuspecting cyclist comes along and sees the sign. “Outstanding” they say, “lets go check out this historic canal, I hear Glasgow Council and British Waterways have made significant investment into it in recent years.”

Their mind made up intrepid wheeled adventurers follow the signs which reassuringly show pictures of a walker, a cyclist and a person in a wheelchair. They get round the corner and they see this:

I would pay good money to see Steven Purcell and the rest of the much vaunted city fathers negotiate their way up that in a wheelchair. Wait, on second thoughts I would pay even more money to watch them ride DOWN it in a wheelchair, especially since half the steps are coming loose from their bedding.