Thursday, 27 November 2014

I will try this reviewing thing again and here comes The Words

Having watched another movie whilst fairly distracted by pointless mobile games, I feel I am qualified to publish yet another instalment in my very popular Distracted Movie-Film Reviews series.

On this occasion, I flung myself (figuratively and literally) at The Words, a film about a writer (two writers? three writers? who knows) because I'm, y'know, cultured and shit.

The Words starts off giving us what we professional film critics call a "frame", that is, someone reading the story we are about to watch and thus narrating the movie. This someone is Dennis Quaid (although since I was sufficiently distracted from actually watching the thing, at some point I wondered whether it was Morgan Freeman telling the story. This might be because Dennis Quaid was doing a decent Morgan Freeman impression, or possibly because of an ingrained assumption I never knew I had that any narration in film must naturally be undertaken by Morgan Freeman).

Benedict Cumberbatch's deranged uncle Dennis

Dennis Quaid (seriously, the first thing I associate him with is his role in the movie Innerspace, where he punches/slaps himself in the face to get sober, which is quite far removed from a serious accomplished writer-person, so maybe that's why I couldn't believe it was him telling the story?) reads from his obviously successful book The Words (strike 1, never put the movie/song title in the movie/song!) which is (get this:) about a writer.

This writer - Bradley Cooper (contemporary dreamboat acting person with hair), while happy in his private life (played by Zoe Saldana), is struggling to get anything published and eventually has to resort to getting a day job (gasp!) at a publisher's (which is obviously below him) to fund his lifestyle.

They keep doing it, so they must be happy!
Then he - by accident - finds a manuscript for a novel which is apparently so mindblowingly emotional it makes everyone who comes into contact with it break out in a case of the great big wet sobs and after some hesitation (but not much though, come on), publishes it as his own and becomes mega-successful (and presumably mega-rich, and presumably also more mega-sexually potent).
The big question is of course: Is he ever confronted with the truth about his stealing ways (to which the answer is yes) and if so, what happens next (well you'll have to watch the feckin' film I guess)?

I have to note at this point that whenever I choose a movie (which is, by the way, a hard thing for me to accomplish so you may start applauding me now), I mostly go by the actors involved, to ensure that, even if it turns out to be crap, I at least spend those precious 90 minutes with a familiar (read: smokin' hot) face on my TV screen.
Therefore my main reason for choosing this particular film was Bradley Cooper (who on my personal dreamboat scale scores anywhere between 5/10 and 8/10 depending on form on the day).
However, for anyone considering watching (or not watching) this film, please be informed that it brings with it some rather nice unexpected dreamboat madness™ in the form of Ben Barnes, who plays the main character in the stolen book and who is so impossibly and ridiculously handsome that he seems to get roles only in films that are either fantasy-laden, such as Stardust and Narnia, and therefore justify above-average perfectness, or the film version of The Picture of Dorian Gray, which for bloody hell's sake is all about someone who is almost supernaturally handsome.

Completely and utterly ridiculous.

Therefore, strike 2: If you have bloody Ben Barnes in your movie, put Ben Barnes on the bloody promotional pictures. Other than that: nice surprise, thank you <3

On a related note, there is an old man in the film played by Jeremy Irons with a horrendous accent that sounds exactly like, well, a British person badly putting on an American accent. I forget whether he actually mentions in the movie that his character "spent some time growing up in London" (or was I imagining that?), but even if that is the case, in no possible universe would some time in London and some time in Paris result in such a monstrosity of a confused accent. Geez, get it together, Jeremy.

Accent peeves aside (mind you, they are no trifling matter to me!) - in summary, this film about a successful book about a successful stolen book is not a bad movie. The ending is interesting as it directly discusses the meaning of the book and thereby also the film (wow so meta) but then doesn't give you a definitive answer, so presumably it's supposed to make you go away and think and have discussions with your intellectual friends (you know, like Inception) about what it all meeeaaans, but in my case, it just made me go "oh" and then turn my mind to something completely different. 

In many ways, I hope this review will have the same effect on you.


Picture credits/links

Monday, 7 July 2014

Throwaway literature, part two

"Carefully, he draped the heavy cloth over the mirror on the dresser. 'Not tonight, Elaine', he whispered, 'not tonight', as a single tear rolled down his now emaciated face."

Always There With You, a novel about a woman who is having an affair with her husband's reflection.


"my head
is filled
with wool."

my head is filled with wool., an anthology of variations of one single poem which consists of the single line 'my head is filled with wool' repeated approximately 300 times throughout the book with different punctuation, typefaces and accents.


"You there! With the playful trousers! How many times have you walked past a naked refrigerator on the street and wished you could just shake its delicious hand?"
"I had tits and gravy for breakfast!" 

Poo poo poo, Russsell Brand's latest attempt at engaging with the general public.


"I had a bubble bath around midnight. It was surprisingly shit. And I usually love bubble baths."

Life-changing, a first-person account of a series of (not very) unusual experiences.


Thursday, 3 July 2014

More bad writing

A mist rises above the city. 

The day is in its nineteenth hour, and it is tired of all the shit you've been giving it.

The sky is situated in a general upward area, and the ground, unsurprisingly, remains where it is.

From somewhere far away, behind the clouds, a sound begins to build. 

A low drone floats our way, like static, bypassing the conscious mind, barely leaving a trace. 

It reverberates. It vibrates. Then suddenly, it concentrates.

A quick series of nine syndrum beats punches you gingerly in the face, a weedy, yet somehow piercing attack on the nation’s collective eardrum. 

dum dum   -   dum dum dum – dadadada

To the melody of the EastEnders theme tune, united we chant our anthem, because no! we cannot resist:

Everyone you love is dead.
Everyone you love
and you ever have cared for
Everyone you love is dead
might as well give up
and shoot yourself in the head.

Birds land on the tops of makeshift market stalls, perching among small puddles of yesterday’s rain, collected with care as if they were liquid antiques, staying there indefinitely, like mould on a five-year-old cheese.

Ruffling their feathers reluctantly, the flying vagrants bring the drug deal to a close. Tweety only wanted an eighth today.

Business is slow.
And so the wind blows.

"dude, are you there?"

Monday, 24 March 2014

Reverse hipster

No one wants to be a hipster.

I'm not sure what it is, but currently the main pastime of even the most vaguely 'alternative' people seems to be avoiding the label hipster at all costs (except for a small percentage of cardigan-wearing, moustache-twirling gin drinkers who quite possibly embrace the term, or equally possibly might prefer the term artiste).

Yeah you want to be individual, yeah you want to do your own thing, but hipster? HIPSTER? You'd whack the bastard who suggested that such a term might apply to you heartily in the face before reflecting on its possible truth, surely.

Wikipedia has this to say on the subject:
"Members of the subculture do not self-identify as hipsters, and the word hipster is often used as a pejorative to describe someone who is overly trendy or effete."

Yes, I myself have been accused of being a hipster, for the audacious crime of having a haircut. Why else would I be writing this?

So, what I'm currently doing to work against the hipsterism growing inside me - and I haven't planned this, it just happened - is I'm having a phase of "discovering" and liking music that was mainstream-style popular a few (say between 2 and 5) years ago. I like to think of this move as the reverse hipster (which also sounds like an appropriate name for a sexual position and I will gladly accept suggestions as to what it could entail).

For starters, have some waffles, made and buttered for you by the perfectly-haired Darwin Deez:

And then, of course, there's Grimes, an act who, though I was dimly aware of her, completely sailed past me when the album Visions was everywhere about 2 years ago - even when the album was playing at the office and a customer I was talking to on the phone noticed it playing in the background and interrupted his questions about a Teacher's refresher course to explain to me how awesome that album was.

So yeah, with two year's delay so no one can have a pop at me for being cool, have Grimes being awesome with her brightly coloured hair and her awesome slight lisp:

As I'm sure everyone now realises, what I've done here is to find an excuse to post the two most hipstery videos I could think of and still make it look like I'm totally not a hipster because hey, I did it after it was cool.

Made you look though.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Throwaway novels - the best pitches of 2014 (so far)

 "And as I saw the next letter in the word, my whole body froze... it was a Z. AGAIN."

"Those two dots above the u still haunt my dreams to this day - they constitute what I can only describe as the doom-laut."

Keyboard Nightmares, a futuristic novel about a man who has an irrational fear of typing complicated words on computer keyboards.

“You think you’re hot shit, huh? Well, Harvey, I don’t like your fucking teeth.”

Swagger, a novella about a young actor who, in split-second decision, changes the final lines to a much-anticipated play during its opening night performance, thereby completely changing its meaning forever.


"If you look at the following picture (fig. 1) closely, you will see a perfectly aesthetic portrayal of a kiss between lovers by the very talented Auguste Rodin. What you will also see, in the lower right-hand corner of said picture, is a swastika. QED." 

Love is Shit, a collection of (non-)scientific essays on why love just isn't "all that."


"Tensely, they watched the news broadcast. It said that the thief had been caught and questioned, but nothing was found inside the teddy bear he tried to steal. There was really nothing for them to do, except neck each other passionately."

The Bunny Conspiracy, a novel about two teenage detectives who take it upon themselves to solve the case of why toys are being stolen from children in weird random incidents and who may or may not fall in love with each other while doing so. They may also turn into horses at some point.


"As I type this, I am much more occupied with looking out of the window, checking out the guys walking past. Erm. Where was I?"

title goes here lol, an autobiographic novel about a novelist who just cannot concentrate on her work, but gets published anyway.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

An artist and a psychiatrist walk into a bar...

"Stay" is - you guessed it - yet another movie featuring prominent ethereal feministe Ryan Gosling in a starring role. I chose this movie to review since it doesn't seem to be that well known, which is a little surprising considering its cast, which also features fairly famous (usually) Scottish (usually) bearded (but neither in this movie) dreamboy (always) Ewan McGregor, as well as fairly famous female actrice Naomi Watts.

Though I know this movie quite well I haven't seen it in several months, so I hope that will provide a decent amount of distractedness for my review to not be too good.


In a daring move, Gosling chose to play himself in this movie - a sensitive, somewhat depressive art student with hair, while An McGregor (there is nothing, and I repeat, nothing, "Ew" about Mr. McGregor) slips into the role of a psychotherapist who has taken on art-boy as a patient and likes his trouser legs to end well above his ankles (he's trendy like that). Art-Boy Gosling tells Psych-Boy McGregor that he will kill himself in a few days on his 21st birthday, in a matter-of-fact way that suggests free will has nothing to do with it. He also predicts a hailstorm, so you know he's for reals.


Naomi Watts plays McGregor's partner in this movie, who, coincidentally, also has a history of both suicide (attempted, that is) and art. She is employed in the movie to try and keep him sane while things get more and more confusing for all of us. Art-boy Gosling also gets a love interest to brood at sensitively from afar, so that's nice.


I don't want to say too much more about what happens in the movie, because it'd be a shame to spoil(er) it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet. 

My instructions would be the following: Watch it (to get it out of the way) and then re-wind your DVD in your cassette player and watch it again straight afterwards, in order to appreciate the things you missed the first time round.

Even if you don't appreciate the plot/message/whatever the movie is trying to make you think about (if anything), if you are me or a similar human you will likely love the visual quality of it. And believe it or not, that's not solely a reference to the dreamboy and -girl cast.

Maybe I should throw in the fact that there is an entire tumblr page devoted to Ryan Gosling's character in this movie (or does that not count for much these days)?

But hey, don't take my word for any of this. Let's see what ex-Marilyn Manson bassist and prominent film critic Tim Skold has to say about today's movie recommendation:

... or maybe not.
...Remind me to (try to) consult him on the next one.

so long

Image sources
not sure about the Tim Skold picture, I've had that on my hard drive for ages because it's literally that good

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Meet Doctor Skellington, the world's foremost Bone-ologist

(read the following in a raspy, Peter-Falk-does-Columbo-esque voice with a highly exaggerated American accent)

"Dammit, we don't have time! This is the worst case of Bone-itis I've ever seen. We need to perform a full skeletal lavage. I will be removing the skellington through the nasal cavity for the purposes of the lavage. Nurse Tibia, get me a bone-saw, stat!"

"Doctor Skellington, the patient has sustained a GSW to the teeth. What is your plan of action?"

"We can't risk his Bone-itis flaring up again. I need to remove the entire skellington via the rectum. Book OR 1, stat."

"But Doctor... are you even qualified to do that?"

"I have a double doctorate in Skeletal Proctological Surgery, of course I'm qualified you moron!!"

Dr. Skellington's emergency Skeletal Proctology field kit.


Stay tuned for the pilot episode of the upcoming Dr. Skellington comedy radio show.


P.S. This the kind of thing that happens when you watch one too many episodes of Grey's Anatomy.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Hipster Who?

 "I liked this band before they were cool. Because I went back in time to before they were cool and then I spent a while liking them and then came back here to brag about it. You know what? I liked them before they existed."

"Hipster! Hipster! The Daleks broke the coffee machine and killed 500 innocent people!"

"Unlike you, my dear, the TARDIS and all its contents are 100% organic, gluten-free, dairy-free and free-range, sweetheart."

"Who will be........*drumroll* the new HIPSTER? #hipsterwho #regeneration #countdown" (twitter campaign)

Promo shot of the Hipster's personal barista at work inside the TARDIS

Hipster Who is a spin-off of a popular long-running BBC sci-fi drama series. BBC programme directors wanted to bring the concept of the Doctor "into the modern world" to something more up-to-date, more hip, with more coffee, more ironic retro-sexism, more moustaches and more steampunk gear than the original (and, for that fact, than you could ever imagine), and so, ignoring the fact that the show was basically already veering into this direction, commissioned a spin-off for the "younger generation" (mostly early 30s white males with pretentions upon being/becoming an artiste in their own right). Thus the Hipster Who concept was born. 

An early sketch of the exterior of the TARDIS bicycle

Featuring the same core elements - an overly wacky white male upper class hero with hair, the time-travelling TARDIS, the trusty and ever-rotating female companions, the Deus-ex-machina element that is the Sonic Screwdriver (albeit modified slightly, to Steam Screwdriver), evil alien monsters the Daleks (with a new steampunkesque styling), as well as the most important thing: a complete lack of appreciation for the possibilities travel through time and space opens up narratively - Hipster Who takes us on mind-bogglingly tedious and one-dimensional journeys through space (yawn) and time (snore) via the TARDIS bicycle, the size of an everyday bicycle on the outside, the size of a spacious artisanal coffee shop on the inside (complete with an array of pastries and a toppings buffet), accessed via a portal in the horse-leather mahogany brown saddle.

As Douglas Adams once wrote in the fifth part of his Hitchhiker's Guide trilogy: "Anything that, in happening, causes itself to happen again, happens again."

With that, I leave you to your thoughts.


But not, of course, without planting one little seed of an idea in all of your minds: The International Cheese-Fries Review's perfect fictional/alternate universe Doctor Who. Doctor Who as it should be, with markedly less of that old bow-tie wit:

 Vod from Fresh meat IS The Doctor:

Moss from the IT Crowd IS The Companion:

Graham Linehan (Father Ted, the IT crowd, Black Books) IS The writer:

Everything else is immaterial.


Image sources
Artisanal coffee shop -
Steampunk bike plans -
Vod -
Moss -
Graham Linehan -