Sunday, 29 May 2011

Best & Worse of the Franchise

I love movie franchises (a series of 3 films or more). Contrary to this idea that they are counter active to new stories, I like the idea that a character and a story has more to it than the single 2 hour film. Yet there is no escaping the notion that every franchise has the best and worst episode. So here they are from some of my favourite film franchises.

Indiana Jones - Temple of Doom wins it hands down. Kingdom of the Crystal takes the wooden spoon with dubious honours!

Star Wars - This one is an easy formula. The more time Vader spends on the screen and the more menacing he is, the better the Star Wars film. So Empire Strikes Back is the best... Phantom Menace is the worst, even though it still has the best lightsaber fight in the series.

Die Hard - You can't beat the original. It has the most claustrophobic setting and the best villain. Conversely, Die Hard 4.0 has the most boring villain and the most expansive setting, making it the weakest in the series.

Bourne - Ultimatum is the ultimate in that it is 100mph and smart throughout. Supermacy is the weak link in that for all that great action, we don't really learn all that much about Bourne. It really only serves as a set up for the 3rd film.

Terminator - T2 still is the definitive Terminator film. Even with time having passed by, the special effects hold up and the story is the most compelling, laced with a ridiculously high level of tension. Which makes you wonder how they could have gone so spectacularly wrong with the lacklustre T3. Those damn machines should have quit whilst they were ahead.

Saw - Was the first one ever going to be beaten for its ingenuity? No but they had a good go at trying. And then we got graced with Saw IV. The most predictable of all the films and ironically, the most confusing too. If you haven't seen the films, watch Saw, Saw II and Saw III and then stop. The next 4 films are nothing to shout about except for how they improved Lionsgate's bank balance.

Star Trek - The J.J Abrams entry nearly stole it but the Borg manage to hold him off for First Contact to take the win. Where as the very first Star Trek film is by far the worst. It makes you wonder how they got to film 11 when you see where they started with film 1!

Batman - Lumping all of them into one franchise, it is painfully obvious that The Dark Knight was always going to win this one. I never thought I would see someone do a better job with The Joker than Jack Nicholson. I was wrong. Heath Ledger succeeds in taking a great film into the realms of all time classic. However, Batman and Robin is truly horrendous. When it is so bad that the Adam West entry doesn't even get a flicker of a thought, you know you've messed up!

Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers should be the worst. The story doesn't majorly progress and the big showdown with Shelob is pushed to Return of the King. Yet it is the one film that balances the various stories the best and offers the menace and atmosphere that should be riddled throughout the films. Problem is, you get to Return of the King and it is bloated and unbalanced. I watched Return of the King in the cinema and almost screamed out a plea for it to end because it made like a Duracell battery and kept going and going.

Spider-man - Simple this one. No. 2 is the best... No.3 is the one where the studios and the fans thought it would be a good idea to take over. What? 2 good films and we couldn't just leave Sam Raimi to it?!

007 - Casino Royale is my favourite. Everybody has a different one but this was the Bond film that I felt the biggest emotional attachment to. But On Her Majesty's Secret Service... well I couldn't have cared less and this is the one film where Bond gets married, only to see his wife killed shortly afterwards.

M:I - The only franchise that Tom Cruise has done and he manages to break the rule of it. Typically the second in a trilogy tends to be the best. In this one, it is easily the worst. A plot that could have been written in crayon and cinematography that looks like it was MTV behind the camera. They should have stuck with the formula of the first one. Espionage at its very best. Just because most people were too stupid to understand it doesn't mean you should dumb it down.

There are plenty more to be discussed... you know how that commenty thing works below! Use it!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

If The World Was Going To End

It is a question that we ask every now and then, maybe since time began but more recently because of the terror edged world we live in.  It is the question “What would you do if the world was going to end tomorrow?” and no doubt we all have different answers, depending on our situation. Well, you probably haven’t seriously contemplated the answers. Maybe because you don’t want to think that it may happen but let’s discuss this and that way avoid the panic during an impending apocalypse. The options abound but here are the merits and down sides to each possibility.

You could go and tell all your loved ones how you really feel about them.  Now that might mean telling someone you don’t like why you dislike them and just spilling out your disgust and rage in one go. The world is ending and so other people might as well feel like theirs just did. The flipside is telling people you care about that you love them. It would make the whole statement decidedly cheap and forced. You might get away with it because the other person is about to die too. But if you struggle to tell someone that you love everyday that you care, then informing them before their inevitable demise is about as valuable as a second hand condom. So you might want to re-think that answer.

The slightly related response, if not very crude, is to sleep with the next good looking person that was up for it. Now if being promiscuous is your thing, then why are you suddenly waiting for Armageddon to roll around? Not only does it prove you are hopeless as a player, relying on desperation in its ultimate form but also that you are unbelievably shallow. However, how bad would you feel if you asked for sex before someone was about to die and they turned you down? Eternal celibacy was preferred to a night of passion with you. Oh dear. Look on the bright side; you’ll have less than 24 hours to moan about it.

Some say that they would have their favourite meal, watch their favourite film or do their favourite activity before it all ends. Not to put a damper on things but the fact that this has been brought on by the end of the world means none of those things would be enjoyable. The food would be tasteless, the film would be a waste of two hours and your favourite activity probably would not be available due to pandemonium.

The only real answer is that you would PANIC! And then see what kind of monster would come out; it would be one of those times you would see your raw real self and it may shock you, maybe impress you. However, you wouldn't get a long to look at it and you should be grateful. You might find yourself to be a shallow, selfish character. The only people who won’t panic are the best of us; those who have made peace with their God and, more importantly, themselves. To them, the Apocalypse would be the full stop on a very complete sentence and they are the people I envy the most.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Strength In Silence

Something I don't get is the notion that talking about your problems makes things better or makes you feel better.  It seems a perverse notion to me.  Dig up a problem and relive it with another party, so they too can live with the burden, how does that make it better?

I say all this as a person that a lot of people turn to with their woes.  I don't think my listening ear or my stone-cold delivery about the reality of the person's situation improves anything.  In fact, it is just verbalising a process that has probably already taken place inside their head.  So it makes me wonder why they turn to me to unload their problem.

It could be attention seeking.  This makes little sense to me.  Exposing your weakness to a person doesn't make you want to be around them more.  In fact, done to excess, it just irritates and alienates.  The phrase "get over yourself" jumps to mind more often than not.  I listen to these people go on, I give them my advice and do you know what they tend to do?  Ignore me and continue in the behaviour that got them into the trouble in the first place.  I now operate a three strike policy.  If I have to repeat my advice three times and it goes ignored every time, my ears are closed for business.

Or maybe it is that they need to do it to help their thought process.  You know what, if you have to speak to someone to clear your thoughts, pray to God, write it down, see a shrink.  The divine already knows, the paper can be burned and the shrink has to observe client privilege.  Anyone else can turn it into a piece of gossip.  That is a whole new burden to live with.  Now someone knows another one of your weak spots and let me impart a wise piece of advice I was once given.  Never let anyone see you bleed.

Or maybe they just want to scream and rant about something... you know what, if you want to do that... start a blog.

Let me put it simply.  Talking about your problems does not help.  Do you know why?  Because no one really understands.  No matter how good, caring or decent someone is, they do not understand what you are going through.  Because it is your problem, crafted by your choices and circumstances.  You ended up there, you have to find your way out and don't ask for help unless you need it.  It will make you stronger in the long run, more cynical maybe, but stronger.  And then you won't care about what other people think of you because they will be too busy telling you their woes and that is when you'll realise that you really are stronger than you thought.  There is strength in silence.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

My Personal Soundtrack

Simple one this game but harder than it looks. In the various movie scenes of your life, what would you have as the song to go with it?

1. Opening theme - Teardrop by Massive Attack
2. Car chase - Black Betty remix by Spiderbait
3. Battle scene - Just Like You Imagined by Nine Inch Nails
4. Romantic scene - Glory Box by Portishead
5. Comedy scene - Machismo by Gomez
6. Dramatic twist - Hello Zepp by Charlie Clouser
7. Tragedy moment - She Has No Time by Keane
8. Bad guy - Supermassive Black Hole by Muse
9. One on one fight - Rollin' by Limp Bizkit
10. Musical (song sung in the movie) - Let It Rock by Kevin Rudolf
11. Dance routine - I Like The Way You Move by Bodyrockers
12. Gun fight - Rockstar (Jason Nevins Remix) by N.E.R.D
13. Climatic showdown - Myotis by Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard
14. Uplifting success - Soar by Christina Aguilera
15. Closing theme - Grounds For Divorce by Elbow