Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Film #23: Nick Fury Agent of Shield

This looks like a made of TV movie and stars the Hoff in the titular role, called back from retirement to stop a Hydra plot to release a poison into Manhattan. It's a load of old bollocks. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Film #22: Fatal Deviation

Recommended by OSW, this film is so bad it didn't even make the Bad Movie Bible. It's a cross between the funfair scene in Father Ted and Van Damme's Blood Sport. It has Mikey Graham from Boyzone in it and even he can't save it. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Film #21: Ninja III Domination

As a ninja nerd growing up I watched many ninja movies and this one was probably my favourite. Lucinda Dickey (her from Breakdance) plays a telephone engineer/aerobics instructor who is possessed by the soul of a dying ninja warrior. She picks up his powers and begins to take out the cops who shot him...her...it's complicated.

It's a Cannon film and it's full of 80s nonsense. The effects are rubbish, and the acting is bad, but the film is still very entertaining. 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Film #20: Do or Die

Two buxom American agents are put into a game by bad-guy Mr Miyagi who sends 6 teams of assassins after them. Erik Estrada plays a military guy sent to go and protect them. 

1. One of the women turns a golf club into a rocket launcher, which is almost as good as Macgyver's coffin jetski. 
2. "We only have an hour to change our clothes and catch our plane to Vegas" is my favourite line. 
3. The women feel the need to change clothes an awful lot.
4. You will learn a lot about model aircraft.
5. A cat dies a terrible, but quick, death.
6. Miyagi's character is a sex guru. This isn't the wipe on wipe off sensei I grew up with.
7. Explosive baseballs

Film #19: Gymkata

Part of my plan to make my way through the best worst movies all time I've started with Gymkata, a film about a gymnast martial artist who has to travel to the made up country of Parmistan to win a competition so he can install a Star Wars monitoring station in the country.

This film was all over the place and here are the things that stood out:
1. Gym apparatus is built into the sets so that the gymnastic fighting can happen - the best being a pommel horse in an asylum.
2. I don't think the lead made another movie, I guess gymnastic based martial arts didn't catch on.
3. When I'm done getting through this list I think I'll need to watch all of Richard Norton's films. He's the bad guy in this and in most bad movies I remember growing up with.
4. I kept thinking Mel Brooks was playing the Parmistan ruler.
5. One guy has two faces and another cuts his arm off for no reason.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Film #18: You Were Never Really Here

This film is not a happy film, and not knowing anything about it I wished I hadn't picked it as it bummed me out. I go the cinema to escape to a happy or silly place. Not a bleak hole like this. It's very similar in mood to Requiem for a Dream or Taxi Driver.

Joaquin Phoenix is very good in this. The violence is mostly off screen and the story (he rescues girls from paedophile rings) isn't Disney. It'll get good reviews for the performances but the stand out for me was the soundtrack, which is great.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Event: Old Rope @ The Phoenix

Headline was Felicity Ward (funny Australian)
MC was Tiff Stevenson (always good)

Katherine Ryan (My favourite tonight, and she was brutal!)
Mark Watson (Funny!)
Pierre Novielle (A good opener)
Bec Hill (No showed - Alfie Brown took her slot)
Tom Ward (He's very good!)

Monday, March 05, 2018

Film #17: Red Sparrow

Jennifer what’s-her-face is a bad Russian ballerina who quickly becomes a super spy trained in the martial art of seduction and is sent undercover to out a mole in the Russian government. People in this film seemed to have a problem closing doors behind themselves and there’s a scene where it’s revealed you can get a close shave with just a single blade; take that Gillette! Jeremy’s Iron has a Russian badge on his uniform that says “Boopy”; we never find out why.

Charlotte Rampling Jarre always seems to be getting the old teacher roles and she's doing it again here. Clearly the casting agent was impressed with her similar performance in Streetdance 3D. Jennifer does fine, she never seems to be remarkable in anything she does. The plot is alright though but you know things are never what they seem when you're watching a spy movie. 

Friday, March 02, 2018

Event: Labyrinth @ The Vaults

After last year's rather excellent Alice Underground, the announcement of a similar attraction themed to 90s The Labyrinth was a no-brainer.

In their announcement on Facebook they stated the following.

Is your will strong enough to withstand the wiles of the cunning Goblin King?
Late Night Special Feature presents a spectacularly immersive journey through the winding world of the LABYRINTH. 

There was no immersive journey. Having been kept waiting in the chillout room for the show to start we were told that it was all taking place in one room, the room that was just playing badly mixed tunes loudly.

Come and explore the invisible corridors and avoid ending up in the oubliettes. Watch in wonder as actors and acrobats give life to the Goblin Realm through awe-inspiring aerial performances and astounding circus feats. Listen as magnificent musicians serve up a soundtrack guaranteed to make you dance, magic, DANCE! 

The corridors were indeed invisible. Nobody could find them. There were circus performances but all in the same room as the bad DJ.

Will you help #SaveSarah from losing herself in this topsy-turvy domain where nothing is what it seems, or will you fight for the #GoblinArmy and aid Jareth in keeping her trapped in his kingdom forever? Toby’s fate rests in your hands, so pick your side and prepare to play for keeps! 

This implies some element of choice but as there was no immersive theatre this couldn't have taken place.

It’s time to indulge in the voodoo and hoodoo, to encounter Fireys, find giant furry friends, make an entrance at the Masked Ball, dip a toe in the Bog of Eternal Stench… or just come inside and have a nice cup of tea.
Get dressed in your very best adventuring outfits, keep an eye out for crystals, and fight your way to the castle beyond the Goblin City! This will be one you’ll want to tell the grandkids about.

A lot of people did make a lot of effort with the costumes, more than the organisers did.

Reading Facebook after the event, a lot of people were disappointed with the event, which is a shame. I left shortly after midnight, had I known it was no more than a themed club night I wouldn't have bothered going.

Film #16: Game Night

Game Night has Rachel Macadams in it and she’s my second favourite thing to come out of Canada so I’m biased, but it’s a very silly funny film about a murder mystery game that goes a bit wrong. I laughed several times through the film, there's one good jump scare, and the plot is bonkers but fun.

I'll forget it in no time at all, but it was a good couple of hours not wasted as I thought might have happened. 

and the second best thing to come out of Canada is of course, Poutine.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Gig #7: Superorganism @ Behind the Bike Sheds

A free gig courtesy of Spotify saw me spending the evening see Superorganism, current media darlings of the music press. I've been listening to their stuff for a little while and I guess that's why I was chosen to go along. It was well organised; in addition to the free entry we got free drinks and a free cloakroom. The crowd were a bit odd not wanting to get too close to the front of the room; I spent most of the set on my own holding the rail. 

The band are really good live, and have Go-Team, Polyphonic spree vibe to them. The little Japanese/American front person is very comfortable with a mic, and interacting with the crowd. The songs are catchy and getting lots of radio airplay. I'm also going to be seeing them again later in the year at a festival, where I think they'll win over the crowd.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Film #15: Miami Connection

Another great bad movie and a perfect second part to the Crap Film Club's Feb double-bill.
It's time to go and celebrate with some grapes.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Film #14: Samurai Cop

One of the best bad movies of all time. It's just incredible and it was being shown as part of the Crap Film Club's February double-bill. So good!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Gig #6: Rudimental @ O2 Shepherds Bush

Rudimental are a producer team who have had some success and I'm not a fan. They weren't on the lineup when I bought the ticket and I might have reconsidered the whole night had I known. Their performance was lazy with the "DJ" twiddling knobs with one hand whilst drinking beer with the other and his mixing wasn't that good relying on filters and spinbacks to move from one track to the next. They also thought it was alright to just stop the track, shout into the crowd the name of the chap we were there for, and then put the music back on. I'm sorry, but Red Snapper showed how to give respect in a respectful way. 

Gig #5: Orbital @ O2 Shepherds Bush

The main event for me and I think most of the crowd was Orbital who I saw last year and was more than happy to see again. Yes, they have their sound and they can still win the crowd over with their early anthems but they are adapting the tracks slightly and making them still work. Their track "Satan" was by far the best track and sounded incredible on the venues soundsystem.

Gig #4: Labrinth @ O2 Shepherds Bush

Whilst this performance was the more personal of all the sets tonight, I have to admit to not feeling it. The first song was played through the monitor speakers, something went wrong with the main and the tracks were just too slow for my liking. It served as a good toilet break before the next event.

Gig #3: Freestylers @ O2 Shepherds Bush

I loved the Freestylers in the 90s with their big-beat b-boy breaks and tonight we got a nostalgic trip as they played all the tunes I remembered. (Check out their "We Rock Hard" album for the tunes).
They knew how to put on a show, their MC SirReal is really good and a good replacement for Navigator who did the original tracks.

Good fun

Gig #2: Red Snapper @ O2 Shepherds Bush

The second act of the night was Red Snapper, a band I've known about but never seen live and man, have I been missing out. These guys were excellent. Proper live musicians playing superb music and despite looking like they'd just play slow jazz, these guys flipped that and were rocking the venue. So so good and easily my surprise of the night.

They were also gentlemen in the way they toasted Ricky. 

Gig #1: Bluetones @ O2 Shepherds Bush

A benefit night for a former sound engineer, Ricky Ricketts who recently lost his battle to cancer gave my my first gig of the year and a chance to start to build my "see 100 live acts in 2018" list.

First up was the Bluetones who were quite big 20 years ago but I'd not seen or heard of for a long long time. They sounded great and they made a little running joke through their set of how well each song did, of course finishing with Slight Return, which got to number 1, and which still sounds superb.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Film #13: Black Panther

The final avengers film until Thanos shows up to end it all moves us to the fictional country of Wakanda where there's a dispute over who the rightful heir should be. It's a very different back story film, not just because it's African; I liked that the protagonist has a family and their power comes from tech, so they've all got it if they need it. For the most part the Avengers are all solitary people with no family so that's different. and we have Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis (Bilbo and Gollum), which makes them the Tolkein White Guys.

I enjoyed it. It's not as good as Ultron but it's way better than Ragnarok.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Event: The Hunt for the Cheshire Cat

In The Hidden City is a company that specialises in treasure hunt style adventures around several locations in the UK and a bunch of friends thought we'd give this one a go. It's obviously themed around the Alice in Wonderland story and has you trying to solve 14 clues whilst walking around Central London. The clues come via text keeping the costs down and allowing you to play at your own pace. There's also an optional path part way through that leads you to a different ending.

It was a good way to spend a few hours and mixing it with a little pub crawl filled the day nicely. There was a system issue with our group where we switched story lines with the other group but I'm sure that's a blip. I'm also surprised to find a couple of cool places I hadn't been to before. I also liked how the organisers have hooked up with some local businesses to help out.

(I don't believe I've given too much away here)

The link is here if you fancy giving it a go. We'll be doing the Sherlock Holmes one next.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Film #12: The Shape of Water

A mute cleaner falls in love with an egg-loving fishman whilst being chased by a man with smelly fingers. Someone thought this was good enough a story to release on Valentines Day. An idea as stupid as the film. The fish man costume looks like it was reused from the Hellboy films. It'll win Oscars and I will have forgotten all about it when it does.

Tonight's showing was due to have a Q&A with the director but it was cancelled because he was sick. Probably sick of the stupid questions I'd probably have asked. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Film #11: Maze Runner The Death Cure

The Benetton Advert kids get unruly, blow up a city and smash a window or two. Features a scene where someone has to run through a maze. I nodded off in the middle. The woman Teresa is deliberately dressed to have her breasts bounce about like the women in the Dead or Alive game franchise. There are zombies, cliched zombie scenes, unnecessary vehicles tipping over, a bus bungee and a man with no nose; I've no idea how he smells.

I only saw it because I'd seen the other two and needed to close the trilogy.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Sightseeing: Bosnia & Herzegovina Day 3

Today was an opportunity to escape Sarajevo and see a bit more of the country. To help me do that I booked a trip on Viator, a website that acts as a portal to local travel companies; definitely recommended. Even better given it was the down season and they were still able to accommodate my trip. It did mean I was the only one to go, but an exclusive trip is a good one, right?

Our route would take us south-west down close to the border with Croatia and Dubrovnik

Stop 1 was the town of Konjic and it's famous bridge which is a National Monument now. It was originally built in the 1680s.

Stop 2 was Jablanica a site of a famous act by the Partisan forces in the attack of the Chetnik forces. In a rather shrewd move they destroyed a bridge to fool the opposition into going another way and then rebuilt the bridge to continue on their original path. The bridge seen on the site today was put in place for a film of the story. So this ended up being a site where the bridge was destroyed 3 times.

Our furthest stop south was the town of Pocitelj, a tiny village with a really cool tower atop a hill that offered an amazing view of the area.

My favourite stop of the day was the Dervish house at the Buna River Spring in the East of the town of Blagaj. This was so scenic and the original house is in incredible condition. I did have a weird encounter when I caught a Russian Tourist putting on my boots when I returned to where we had to remove them, but a stern if amusing telling off got them back.

The final stop was the UNESCO listed city of Mostar. Another small but beautiful town that is still overcoming it's battle scars.

The centrepiece is the bridge destroyed by rocket fire but recently rebuilt. It's now part of the Red Bull Diving tour and is really pretty. They've done an incredible job restoring back to its former glory. Watching a video of the attack in a nearby museum hurt. It's ridiculous how people can do this to each other.

On the way back a quick stop at Lake Jablanica and their "Gold Gate Bridge" as the guide described it in jest. More stunning scenery.

And back in Sarajevo where I missed this piece in the park near Cafe Tito. It was originally a sculpture of a can of Spam but looks to have been given a re-theme.

This was a great day and I totally recommend this tour. Sarajevo is cool but there is so much more to see outside of the city and this was a great tour to cover some of it.

Film #23: Nick Fury Agent of Shield

This looks like a made of TV movie and stars the Hoff in the titular role, called back from retirement to stop a Hydra plot to release a ...