Wednesday, 13 June 2012

I'd Rather Punch Myself Than Watch...

An inspiring speech, earth shattering news, touching human connections: these are all things that prompt us into saying something, making a change, rising from the ashes like a golden phoenix, wings spread and powerful...

Rising like a hobo Joaquin Phoenix from the ashes...

I prefer anger. Raj. Things that really rip my knitting. So guess what film has motivated me into blogging for the first time in a LONG time, nudging me from a comfortable nest of quiet ponderousness and online nonchalance...

Oh that's right.

Barren, soulless, desolate: much like Paisley high street.
Prometheus marks the much anticipated return of prestigious director, Ridley Scott, to the popular Alien franchise. Acting as a prequel to the hugely popular original Alien in 1979, Prometheus charts the journey of a team of explorers investigating the origins of life on other planets. Sounds simple enough. *smirks*

Boasting an impressive cast from Academy Award winner Charlize Theron,star of original Swedish Dragon Tattoo films, Noomi Rapace, to man of the moment, Michael Fassbender, and the main guy's hot brother from the OC (yes, I spent the first 20 mins of the film placing him...) the film holds a lot of promise for movie-fans and sci-fi fanatics alike.

"He's got the whoooolllleeee worrlllddd in his hands. He's got the whole.wide.worldddd in his hands."
That is until you venture to see it and find yourself repeatedly uttering the same question amidst smirks and discerning snorts...


Now, I'm no Luddite. I appreciate the concept of suspended belief when embarking on a film of this genre however too many questions remain unanswered and too many implausible plot flaws destroy any sense of "Hmm ok you've got me, they probably DO need to wear those space suits if there ain't no oxygen...until inside that unmarked space cave yonder..."

The fascination with life, creation and ultimate death are all fair topics on which to base a film/ theory but this is just hilarious. For example, the reasoning behind freezing geologists and scientists and sending them on a spaceship to an unknown planet to discover why man was created only to find out they weren't so much interested in creating life as much as death is dealt with in the first hour.  WHOOPS.

So what's left, you ask? WHY GORE OF COURSE. From there on in we resort to a classic slasher, which is FINE, if it had just said that on the tin in the first place. Locked out of the spacecraft,  body invading parasites, gore, blood, slime, ooooozing...all fine and good. Wouldn't be an Alien film without something bursting out of one person and into another *ahem*

Most. Anemic. Picture. EVER.

As for the limp relationship between the "stern" Miss Vickers (Theron) and her father *gasps* (apparently played by Guy Pearce, under mountains of wrinkly prosthetics) or the weakly portrayed "romance" between the two main scientists, who incidentally fell in love over a cave drawing in the Isle of Skye, well frankly these were neither well acted nor necessary to what should essentially be classed as a visually exciting and impressively gory space romp.

The saving grace of the film was almost definitely the performance by Fassbender as a soulless android, who acts as a metaphor for the entire question on existence, epitomized in potentially the only affecting scene in the film as he discusses his creation.

And the best WORST part? Undoubtedly the self-cesarean scene (funnier than it sounds).
Why would a female officer have a "self-operation" machine which only works on men. Sexist futurebots.

In short:
Watch Flight of the Navigator instead.

Saturday, 31 December 2011


Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.  ~Oprah Winfrey

As verbose as she is disgustingly rich, big mama O states the glaringly obvious and so must I. 
So as another year draws to its close it's time for the age old tradition of recapping the best and worst of the films to hit our cinema screens in 2011 through my favourite medium: a ham-fisted, thrown-together,rapid review.

And a sure as I am that Santa has type 2 diabetes, i realise my loyal readership MUST be desperately awaiting my rankings for 2011. Alas, wait ye no more more loyal readership (Dad) for below I bestoweth my views-eth...

1. Drive
Literally what it says on the tin. Just like a sexy Ronseal.
Drive follows the stoic stunt driver, played by Ryan Gosling, as he finds himself drawn into a role of murder, corruption and deception. A minimalist role in some respects (he says approx. 30 lines the entire film) Gosling still pulls off a stellar performance as the silent hero of the film. On-screen chemistry with co-star Carey Mulligan is palpable, particularly in the elevator scene - well until things get, somewhat gruesome. But HEY in the words of Dean Martin - that's amore.
Soundtrack is also beastly - and I do NOT use that term loosely.

 2. Midnight in Paris

Nothing says Paris like Marion Cotillard and a chap with a prominent shnozz

"I wish we hadn't seen it already so we could watch it again," was the response of my mother dearest this festive season (apparently unfamiliar with the widely-known theory that DVDs are in fact re-watchable). 

Alas, Renee makes a good point. This latest offering from Woody Allen is a right cockle-warmer; charming as it is absurd. The plot of Midnight in Paris follows the token pathetic Allen protagonist, Gil (Owen Wilson), as he struggles with notions of self-doubt and the unbearable malaise of a family vacation in one of the most artistic cities in the world. That is until a midnight stroll leads him into the company of his literary and artistic heroes, from Hemingway to Dali. 
Warm, funny and wickedly lavish this is not to be missed.

NB: Not one for those with a heightened desire for realism. SILLY ALERT!

3. We Need to Talk About Kevin

Spot the odd one out.....PSYCHE!!! there isn't one.
And on the polar opposite end of the "silly spectrum" is Lynne Ramsay's film adaptation of Lionel Shriver's hit novel We Need to Talk About Kevin

This harrowing tale of a mother struggling with day-to-day survival in the aftermath of her son's murderous rampage through his high school is as unsettling as it is enthralling. Superb performances from Tilda Swinton as the mother, and newcomer, Ezra Miller as teenage Kevin, make bring to life a story that has gripped the attention of readers worldwide. 

Ramsay's stark use of white and the colour red, combined with just the right degree of hinting at the grotesque to set your mind racing, resulting in a film that could be as easily categorized in the horror genre as thriller. 

Unsettling is an understatement.

 4. The Guard

The staring competition between Cheadle and Gleeson brought in audiences in their tens.

2011 wasn't all doom and bloody-murderous-gloom, as discovered upon watching comedy detective romp, The Guard. Anyone who's seen In Bruges will be well aware of Brendan Gleeson's comedic ability, and Don Cheadle...well he's OK too. The story is as ridiculous as an international drug-smuggling ring based in a sleepy Irish town sounds. However, Gleeson alone provides genuine LOLs as the unorhtodox detective with a wickedly sarcastic sense of humour and a penchant for prostitutes.
Nuff said.

5. Submarine

I could ramble on about my love of quick-witted, Welsh-set comedy, Submarine, but guess what - I'VE ALREADY BLOGGED ABOUT THIS! 

Check it out here: SUBMARINE BLOG!

As for the flops of 2011, quite frankly I dare not dignify them with more than a one-line put down, so my bottom few of 2011 are:

1. One Day

Nice specs Hathaway. No really.
I'd like one day to go by where I don't boke at the thought of this rancid flick.

2. Breaking Dawn

Smuggery at its finest.
Boring audiences at break-neck speeds.

3. The Rum Diary

No, Depp. Just no.

Turning Thompson into Carry On and Depp into a caricature in one foul swoop - and BOY to I mean foul.

Finally, so as not to leave a bitter taste in your 2011 mouth, here are my suggested top swatches for 2012!

1. Dark Knight Rises:

2. The Artist:

3. The Woman in Black:

4. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


Just when you thought I was gone, offline and out of the blogosphere after a three week hiatus I show up again, lingering all over your interwebs with the threatening presence of the friendly neighbourhood "spesh".

Just call me Boo.

The reason for my untimely absence is I recently went and got me wan a they joabs - i do believe it's referred to as "full-time employment" which takes up more time than you'd imagine.

So here's what on the Carlin Agenda of What to Discuss this week:

Film: The Beaver

Gibson and his beaver: inseparable
Some of you may recall a past blog dedicated this cinematic masterpiece, Mel Gibson's latest ground-breaking movie venture, The Beaver.

This heart-warming (and LOL-evoking) emotional roller coaster follows the demise of a man at the very cusp of breakdown, that is until he finds his voice through a beaver hand-puppet.


Needless to say this hotly anticipated offering is tipped as a "Must See" for a number of reasons: seeing Mel losing his marbles on-screen (sailing close to the wind there - guaranteed cringe), the murmurings that there is in fact some heart-felt warmth to this film and, most importantly, sniggering at the constant references to the word beaver.

TV: Angry Boys

If you don't laugh at this you're a flamin' gallah. Fact.
The latest offering from Aussie funny-man Chris Lilley will probably spark as many disapproving looks as it will genuine ROFLs - the really good, guilt-infused childish sniggers that come only with laughing at something so utterly un-PC you almost forget that some of it could be classed as casual racism and instead find yourself asking if it's REALLY that bad anyway.

Staying true to Summer Heights High form of no-holds-barred *ahem* colourful characters, he's certainly not lost the comic touch with new mockumentary, Angry Boys.

With characters ranging from twin brothers Nathan and Daniel, one of whom is deaf and a few clubs short of a full pack, Gran a straight-talking, guinea-pig loving prison warden at a young offenders institutions who's favourite pass-time is playing "gotcha"s on the boys in her custody (brilliant) and African American rapper S. Mouse - no comment necessary.

Gran, warm and fuzzy and utterly nucking futs

S. Mouse (Yes. This is really happening.)

Guaranteed laughs, this is mockumentary at it's finest.

Offensive, borderline inappropriate and uncomfortable at points.

Just makes good telly, innit.

The Beaver is at cinemas nationwide from June 17

Angry Boys begins tonight on BBC3 at 22.40

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


GFT 1960 (Sorry guys - you're about 40 years too early)
We're through the looking glass people. Yesterday I was granted a key.

"Pray do tell Carlin, a key to WHAT?" I hear you cry. And so I take a deep breath and my heart swells with pride as I regally announce: "WHY, A KEY TO THE GFT!"

And with this the crowds break out into cheer, streamers are thrown, couples embrace, mothers tell their children "note this day, for you shall remember it forever" and a gold statuette is erected in my honour...

Too far?

Somewhat of an over-dramatisation: there were no cries of joy, streamers or gold erections (dare you to click that link) - but i still got a key.

I started my role as a Film Festival Assistant yesterday at the Glasgow Film Theatre, home of quality international cinema and Glaswegian institution - I couldn't be more chuffed.

And it's even better than just being allowed inside the building - I also get an insider's view of how the GFT is run and how festivals come together, not to mention working with all the lovely folks that MAKE THINGS HAPPEN - including the delightful Claire aka brainchild behind uber-cool events company In The Company of Wolves.

PLUS I'm working on a prrrrrrretty cool project to boot. Basically, I'm working with Festival Director extraodinaire Seonaid to get a couple of successful films from this year's Glasgow Film Festival commissioned at other International Festivals. Fun? YES. Even better, what sets these films apart is they've both been re-scored by up and coming British musical acts. Let me tell you some more:

Dramatic readings of the latest Jackie Collins always draws in a crowd
F W Murnau's epic cinematic portrayal of Faust tells the tale of a wager between God and Satan to tempt a learned alchemist into selling his soul. That's the short version of this 1926 silent classic. Now take this incredible story and images and set it against a new semi-classical score for string quintet and electronics by Scottish music producer and DJ, Alex Smoke.

Alex Smoke. Trippy
Featuring the Scottish Ensemble performing the classical elements of the score and a multitude of electronics weaving in hidden references and meaning.


The second film, for all you sci-fi lovers out there (hey Dad), is Douglas Trumbull's 1972 classic, Silent Running.
What? No, I don't have this poster above my bed...*blushes*
Bruce Dern plays the sole crew member of a spaceship harbouring Earth's last nature reserves. Accompanied only by three robots, he ponders the fate of his last pocket of nature and the deaths of his fellow crew members in this far-looking (and highly entertaining) speculative film.
What could make this masterpiece even more desirable? Why, a post-rock alternative/experimental rock sound track of course, courtesy of alt rock outfit 65daysofstatic.

I get this a lot. Just ignore them and they'll go away.
 This band use keyboards, drum samples, angry post-rock guitars and gritty synth noise to create headphone-hungry, cinematic soundscapes for the digital age. Perfect for a strategically orchestrated 90-minute score to compliment this science fiction classic. If you like sci-fi, and you like experimental rock - GET IN.

So my task from here on in is to get these bad boys distributed to film festivals across ze globe, taking my first babysteps towards total world domination.


Monday, 9 May 2011


Whoever said hacks weren't lookers?
For all my garbled ramblings on film I often neglect it's poorer, less glamorous sibling - the humble telly box.

Well not this evening, OHHHH NO.

Tonight it's getting my full attention, and not just because my brain has been sapped of all activity following a day of NCTJ law exams...but also due to an excellent two-part BBC Scotland drama, The Field of Blood.

This adaptation of Denise Mina's best-selling novel is set in the Daily News office in 1982 and follows the plight of "newsboy"  Paddy (up-and-coming talent Jayd Johnson) as she struggles to be taken seriously in the male dominated, and joyless, industry of journalism.

I'd look worried too if Malcolm Tucker was giving me that face
More than just an edge-of-your-seat who dunnit, of which my mother is a massive fan, this IS that but it's also a dark and humorous exposé of the way news rooms were run in the days before Google *HORRIFIED GASPS*

This depiction of a working environment fuelled by heavy drinking, chain-smoking, sexism and callousness is the exact reason I'm getting into journalism. Everybody wants to be a hack... (to the tune of Everybody Wants to be a Cat)

Jayd Johnson impresses in her role of brave, go-getter Paddy, in a time that she was told journalists were either mean old hacks or short-skirted little chickies who used their *ahem* charms to get ahead.

Funnyman Ford Kiernan, of Chewing the Fat and Still Game fame, does a convincing and amusing turn as a smarmy blood-lusting hack, keen to get the scoop on all things grizzly in order to fill the columns.

One can only assume he's on hold to Specsavers *chortles*

Whilst David Morrissey ticks all the right boxes as Glasgow Daily News boss, Murray "the devil" Devlin.
He is assertive, aggressive and rude. And

But alas, I DIGRESS, don't be fooled by my light-hearted bantering; this is as grizzly and dark as it is entertaining.

Let's hope the second part lives up to the first. Watch this space...

The Field of Blood is on BBC1 at 9pm TONIGHT (i.e. right now)
Or catch it on BBC Iplayer

Sunday, 1 May 2011

It's a nice day for a white wedding

Royal winchin'
You'd need to be a blind/deaf/dumb/mute/recluse to have missed the GARGANTUAN hype around the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton this weekend, and like every other female on the planet I too got sucked right in.

Who doesn't love a real life fairytale?

So I thought I'd blog about the sanctity and importance of marriage, the delicate intricacies of relationships and the much discussed pros and cons of marital union.


Let's instead look at a few examples of amusing movie marriages and woeful weddings...

Muriel's Wedding

An obvious but hilarious example of the tragic wannabe bride. Toni Collette's turn as the brassy, bold yet pathetically loveable Muriel tugged the heartstrings and tested the boak reflex of many. Muriel's Wedding is far more than just the story of a lonely girl's plight to marry...anyone: tragic? yes. Hilarious? DEFINITELY!

The Wedding Singer

The face of marital bliss.
Again, the name's a bit of a give away but again, The Wedding Singer undoubtedly pokes bittersweet fun at the ritual of marriage, with hugely amusing repercussions. Equally as pathetic as he is charming, Robbie Hart (Adam Sandler) wants to wed more than anything, yet inevitably meets many an obstacle along the way. From depression and desperation comes much humour. Cameos from Steve Buscemi, Jon Lovitz and Billy Idol add further luminous, gaudy colour to this heart-warming flick - oh and the 2 disc soundtrack is an absolute 80s beast! (Not that I own it or anything...)

Father of the Bride

Grimacing father on your wedding day: every little girl's dream

I like to imagine my dad will be something akin to Steve Martin in Father of the Bride when I get married: concerned, socially awkward and being terrorised by a massively camp wedding planner named Franc (pronounced "fronk"). LOLs come steadily and reliably throughout this remake of a Spencer Tracy classic, perfect Sunday afternoon fodder.

Now for some specific wedding moments from otherwise un-weddingy films...

Wayne's World 2

Anyone who knows me will know I have the unique talent of quoting both Wayne's World films VERBATIM,  and one of my favourite scenes from the second offering, the aptly named Wayne's World 2, is the "race to the alter" scene, in which Wayne (Mike Myers) has to stop Cassandra from marrying Bobby (Christopher Walken). This delectable parody of a classic (The Graduate) is befitting of the wit and humour of the other two films, and has resulted in me battering any full length window I come across in my adult life and screaming: "Jesus God NO! CASSANDRAAAA!"

Night at the Roxbury

My ideal Prince William
The climactic scene in ridiculous comedy classic, A Night at the Roxbury, is the arranged wedding of Steve Butabi (Will Ferrell) and Emily Sanderson (Molly Shannon) and as imagined the path of true love never runs smoothly. Skillfully cramming in as many parodies as possible within a 15 minute sequence, this bad boy gets me every time.WHAT IS LOVE?

Tuesday, 26 April 2011


Review: Scream 4

Poor Emma mixed up bees and murderers when it came to staying completely still until they go away
As you may have read from a previous blog my expectations for Scream 4 were pretty low other than the promise of it being "more stabby".

And more stabby it was.

However, what I wasn't prepared for was quite so many LOL moments.

Now it may have been due to a few post-exam afternoon g&ts in the sun - but I really don't want to take any credit from Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson. This was laugh after bloody laugh, with extra ROFL-waffles on the side.

Starting off in that age-old SHOCKING way of a film within a film, the audience need only wait roughly 5mins before the first gruesome gut-busting - WAHEY! (Even better - it's Anna Paquin on the receiving end - a fitting revenge for her part, and accent, in the horrific True Blood.)

And just like - that we're thrust into an onslaught of ghost-face slashings!

You'd think by this stage she'd lose the frightened expression. SURELY.

The story picks back up in the elusive town of Woodsboro (why anyone still lives there is beyond me, like the village in Midsummer Murders) with Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) returning to promote her self-help book (sweet irony) and like the grim reaper, she brings the slaughtering of pretty much every teen in the town.

Fans of the previous 3 films will no doubt be wondering where on earth they plan on taking the plot now, but at least the brains behind this franchise can poke ample fun at themselves. The Scream films started a cult following of slasher-fans, akin to those enamored by the Halloween series, and now they're riding the wave all the way to parody island (which I hear is lovely this time of year.)

The plot and acting is laboured but by GOD is it funny! They're laughing too...

Yes Courtney, we're wondering what you were thinking too...
There are so many humourous aspects to this film I'm having great difficulty deciding on one definitive factor, so instead, here's a few...

  • The most perceptive and fearsome police deputy in 10 counties - Officer Dewey (David Arquette). Continually showing up to crime scenes 2 minutes too late and apprehending no suspects, making no arrests and effectively having no purpose in the community at all, it's little wonder anyone's still alive in Woodsboro. BUT HE MEANS WELL, and everyone loves a trier, right?
Dewey has yet to locate the victim. Hmmm if only there were a sign...
  • The new cast include the usual assortment of "hotties" and creeps along with what is undeniably a Culkin (of Macauley's clan - did u know there are SEVEN of them?!) Rory Culkin to be precise, along with Emma Roberts (of Julia and Eric's clan), Adam Brody - yon geek aff the O.C and the decidedly masculine Hayden Panetierre, who's gravelly voice and visible adam's apple are somewhat of a distraction throughout.

  • One of the other most alarming elements of this horror, guts and gore aside, is Courtney Cox's collagen-infused visage. Showing no fear in the face of danger (because she can't) the big screen is no friend of the frozen faced.

He's right to scream if she turns around.
  • The moment in which someone (no spoilers here) is stabbed through a letter box.

          Yes, really, a letterbox.

Knock knock. Who's there? STAB!

  • The "reveal" scene in which the audience discovers the true identity behind the ghostly mask is particularly amusing, especially when followed by an extended scene of self-mutilation that had our packed cinema in stitches (excuse the pun). And just when you think it's over...oh no, there's more punchy, stabby, shooty action to come. The laughs just don't stop!

Don't get me wrong, the jumpy edge-of-your-seat, nervous-laughter moments are still plentiful as are the blood, guts and gore but never before have I encountered such mass amusement during a "horror" film.

A definite must-see for those seeking a bloody rolicking good time!

Scream 4 is open in cinemas nationwide now.

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