Friday, 31 December 2010

A reply to Cristina Odone

I wrote this as a reply to Cristina Odone's article in the The Telegraph, entitled "The Coalition must protect the right to be true to our Christian faith"

 I’m not a religious person; I’ll be honest about that. It’s not something I hide; I’ve been an Atheist since I was 16. And there’s no need for me to hide it – I don’t fear any serious reprisal against me because of this. However, while I personally do not believe in God, I agree that this country should not discriminate against those who do. As Cristina Odone writes, there is often a disproportionate attack on the Christian faith in this country, compared to the reaction to other religions, at least in the area of law.
  However, having conceded this, I wish to argue with the main points Cristina Odone puts forward in her Telegraph article. Firstly, of course, I would highlight the differences between the persecution of British Christians, and the persecution of Christians in other locations around the world. The persecution of anyone, anywhere, for holding a moderate religious belief is appalling, and I commend any journalist who draws attention to the killing or injuring of innocents simply because of their religions. But these atrocities are, as the author herself points out, atrocities that put the British experience in perspective. To compare the terrorist attacks against Christians around the world with the treatment they receive in Britain, a country which largely operates along Christian principles, is disgusting.
  So, what exactly are the attacks on the Christian faith she perceives in Britain? What terrible events, which she willing compares to the killing of 32 Christians on Christmas day, are being carried out against good-hearted British Christian? Odone gives two examples, presumably the worst cases of persecution present in Britain today; one airline worker being banned from wearing a Crucifix to work, and a B&B owner being forced to allow homosexuals to stay in his B&B.
  Now, I may be exaggerating, but I’m pretty certain these aren’t the most vicious examples, the most disgusting cases of anti-religious persecution in this country. Indeed, in the case of Miss Eweida, the airline worker, the banning of her crucifix was part of the airline’s uniform policy, not an attack on Christianity. Indeed, while I may be out-of-touch with religion these days, it was never my understanding that idolatry was necessary to Christianity. In the second case, the Bed and Breakfast incident, this was also not a religious attack – it is against the law to ban people from using your business because you don’t agree with their sexuality, the same as if he had banned an interracial couple. Indeed, imagine someone else refused a Christian couple access to their premises; would such a virulent defense of the hotelier’s rights be launched then?
  In either case, these incidents are hardly comparable to the persecutions religious people suffer around the world on a daily basis, nor is it even comparable to the many abuses that minority religions suffer here, in our apparently “Great” Britain. But the author moves on; next, an argument Christianity should be defended on cultural grounds. After all, it has been the British religion in one form or another since conquerors brought it to us, and in its present form, since a man wanted a divorce.  Should not this rich heritage - full of the witch-hunts, of Catholic burnings, of Church support for slavery and racism – should this not be respected?
  Of course, I’m making a one-sided argument. Religion has many strong and admirable points, and a great many religious people are worthy of great praise. However, this does not mean Christianity should be forced onto everyone. It is not common sense to respect Christian values, even when these clash with the prevailing liberal consensus. By all means, if this is what you believe, you should stick to these principles. But they cannot be forced onto everyone. Church and State are separate, and religious does not – and should not – dominate British Law. Indeed, given the clashes between the two, it is hard to understand what Ms. Odone means when she suggests the two have always worked together.
  Lastly, it is not necessarily for the State to teach more about Christian values, and less about secular, or non-dominational values. A point is certainly raised, that there is often a focus on documentaries and works produced about religion, which feature factual errors. This is certainly a valid criticism to raise – if one is going to criticize or praise anything, then their work should be as accurate as possible. And furthermore, it is important children learn about Christianity in school, but no more important than that they learn about any religion; this seems a vital factor to furthering our understanding on different people, to spreading a little tolerance.
   But it is certainly not necessary that “In schools, the National Curriculum should be beefed up so that inadequate lessons in "ethics" are complemented by the teaching of the history and tenets of Christianity.” The world has moved on, and we no longer shovel religious beliefs down the throats of children, presenting them as fact. The history of Christianity is fraught with conflict and with denominational clashes. If we are to force our children to learn one particular religion, which domination? Should it be the Church of England? But, surely, this will only act to heighten Christian persecution, as the “false” teachings of Catholicism, and indeed, any other Christian faction, are derided in schools?
  I will not link a spread of religious teachings directly to the spread of bigotry, but the last “50 years of orthodoxy” that Ms. Odone is so keen to see challenged have seen massive steps forward in the areas of Civil Rights, Religious tolerance, Gender equality. Medicine has improved, the quality of life is better, science is expanding. Religion, on the whole, is not evil – most religious people would see these steps forward for what they are; progressive developments, positive steps. But if we were to teach one particular religion as fact in our schools, to enshrine it as a requirement in medicine and in law, then we would set back our progress. To give teachers, lawmakers, doctors, the power to tell others what was fact spiritually slow the progress of our country, not further it. It would encourage difference, persecution, and it would destroy the faithful.
  The place of Christianity, of any religion, is not in the centre of public life. Your religious beliefs are at the centre of your private life, perhaps. To life by a moral code, to have absolute faith in something is not wrong. But to suggest your beliefs should shape the education of our children, the making and enforcing of our laws, and the development and application of out medicine certainly is wrong. No-one has the same religious beliefs as the next person, even if they both come from the exact same Christian denomination. By all means, fight to ensure Christians are treated as fairly as any other religions. But that is not what Ms. Odone wants. What she wants is to force Christianity on the masses, to make it necessary for anyone who wants to practice law or medicine to be a Christian, to make being a Christian necessary for getting a high-school grade. That is not protecting Christians from the small prejudices shown against them in this country, it is barbaric, and it is a step back to the dark ages. To suggest Christianity is a necessary prelude to getting employment, to earning a living, is persecution at its worst, not a blow for religious protection.

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Richard Littlejohn's House of Fun: Thirteen Years of (Labour) Madness

FREE! Cut out and keep dartboard...
As you may have gathered from previous posts, Richard Littlejohn is not one of our favourite human beings (if that is indeed what he is. Rather than, say, a festering pile of manure that's been left out in the sun). In fact he's right down towards the bottom with Nick Griffin. This is mostly to do with his racist, misogynistic, homophobic and generally repellant views. At this juncture you could point out that well thought out and reasoned opinion is a basic human right. Which is all very true, except that none of that applies to Littlejohn's writings; based, as they are, on lies, prejudice, misinformation and incorrect assumptions. But anyway, Richard released his new addition to the Western Canon earlier this year with the not-at-all cumbersome or one-sided title of Richard Littlejohn's House of Fun: Thirteen Years of (Labour) Madness. Obviously those who give it one star are right, so we'll look at the idiots who gave this rallying cry for the BNP five stars instead:
It`s pretty clear that there is a campaign to discredit this book on here (This much is true. And I thank you Amazon readers for all the incredibly sarcastic and witty fake 5-star reviews), Trouble is when you are as brutally frank and honest as Littlejohn you are going to ruffle a few feathers (Or, you're going to ruffle feathers when you lie through your teeth or are horrifically prejudiced against any/every minority. One of the two). I have no axe to grind (You can have an axe in your head if you want. I'll gladly take time out of doing this to deliver it to you post haste), I read all kinds of books (Piers Morgan as well eh?) and as an ordinary joe so much of what I`ve read in this book rings true (I presume you get your news from the Daily Mail then? Only one of you could be so ill informed in this country). Littlejohn writes it as it is (No he doesn't, he invents most of his stories out of thin air. The rest are drawn from the Daily Mail's own made-up stories). I find this book entertaining,funny and echoes the feelings of many people today who are in disbelief at what new labour have done to this country (What, lead it through the greatest economic boom in years? No? Then the improvement in education and health? Still no? Oh, then you're referring to the economic crisis. You realise that was America and the banker's fault right? Of course not. Why let the truth get in the way of a good jab at the 'loony left'...). You dont need to be a Daily mail reader to enjoy Littlejohn but it probably helps! (Well of course it does. Only Mail readers would be so stupid to think a word of what's written in here is true. 'Hurrah for the Blackshirts' and all that...)
Here's another:
What I found most hilarious is that the majority of people that have rated it 1 haven't read it (Who needs  to? It's Littlejohn, we all know what will be contained therein. And it ain't better than Tolstoy no matter what he says...). It's typical Labour rubbish of claiming that anyone that disagrees with them is bigoted or racist (This would be a better defence if Littlejohn weren't bigoted and racist.). When probably his views are fair and balanced. (They aren't. I've read some of them. They're enough to make a man cry...)

I actually found the book fantastic (Can we get a lobotomy to here!). It highlighted some of the absolute nonsense that went on under Labour (Yup. Like Increasing VAT during an economic recovery. Or increasing tuition fees, whilst simultaneously making far less money available for Universities and trying to discourage foreign students from gaining access. Or cutting up to 40% from local councils. Oh, wait hang on, that was all the Tories in less than a year...). They'd rather spend money on daft diversity programmes (Those equality loving bastards!) such as encouraging more of ethnic minorities to go fishing (Actually I think they were encouraging them to go on to higher education) than spend money on cancer drugs that could have saved my father's life! (Look. NICE are in charge of all that, and they are independent. You're precious Tories are taking them away, meaning that whatever drug is currently being touted by your precious 'newspaper' [I use the term quite incorrectly] as a 'miracle' will be approved. Who cares if it is no better than placebo in proper medical trials, Mrs Bloggs says she was saved while she was on it therefore it will cure everyone and it only costs £500,000 a box...)
I'm sorry, I know I normally do 3 or so, but this time I can't. If I read any more reviews about the 'loony left frothing at the mouth' or 'nulabor' (They can't even spell Labour the British way...) I will end up on the 6 o'clock news having hacked my way through most of England. These people make me ashamed to be British, they really do. Perhaps I will come back to it at some later date, but just now, it's all too depressing...

On a lighter note, Happy 4,540,002,011th Birthday Earth, try not to get too drunk eh? And stay away from that Venus, she's not good enough for you...

Thursday, 30 December 2010

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, part 2

Cover of the original UK paperback edition of ...
I can think of some people I'd like to go hitch-hiking around the galaxy... Image via Wikipedia
Well, you may have thought that Ben comprehensively covered all the negative, stupid reviews of H2G2 that were available to the normal person. But, the truth is, Ben is a failure, and missed some.
  No, not really. The fact is, there is only so much idiocy that any one of us can cope with per post, which is why I'll now be reviewing some other foolish reviews.
  Before I start, I should say I understand that, for some people, HHGTTG may be too absurd, and while I would disagree with such a view, I can see why they hold such a view as the view we just viewed. So, to make things more confusing, I give you reviews featuring STUPIDITY! Reviews full of RANK HYPOCRISY! and IDIOCY! Reviews that, in the wrong hands, COULD COST YOU YOUR LIFE!
Adams is surely one of the most overrated writers of modern SF (Well, the genre isn't that old, and the book was written 30 years ago. So not really modern. But that's beside the point), along with Terry Pratchett, Anne McCaffrey, et al (It's amazing that you alone hold the talent to show up these people as the worthless hacks they are, isn't it? And how strange, considering the literary prowess you must hold, that we find you writing bad reviews on Amazon, rather than writing for world peace - A lofty goal, certainly, and one many would feel could not be achieved through the written work of one man, but a goal I feel you could achieve nonetheless). This supposedly humorous book (Well, it is humourous. Humour is subjective, of course, but the majority of people find this series to be funny. So, speaking purely on democratic principles, this book is humourous. Do you care to object to this democracy, Herr Hitler? Yes, that's not an over-reaction, you're a Nazi. This is the way to write a calm, structured critique, children.)  is too precious (Like a baby's smile? How can you hate this book so much then, if it is a baby's smile?), too diffuse and just plain too dull (Strange, seems that diffuse and dull contradict each other). He constantly zigs when he should zag: when he should be hard-edged, he gets soggy and sometimes vapid; when he tries to be edgy, it falls flat (Strange, how with all this zigging, zagging, hard-edged wateriness, that the book is also dull. Are you sure you're not just using buzz-words? Incidentally, Douglas Adams isn't doing any of these things, because he's dead. Do you think he's a zombie? Because that's stupid, you fool). I read this on the urgent recommendation of a friend, and (as if you couldn't tell (I couldn't.)) I was tremendiously disappointed with it. Actually, I though you treasured it more than your own mother. But there we go.
I suppose this book is written for a different type of reader than I am (One who can form a proper sentence?). I enjoy scifi, but this bordered on ridiculousness (Yes. Yes it did. This is, I assume, meant to be a criticism. You see, the book doesn't strive to not be absurd in parts. As such, this criticism falls flat. I mean, it would be valid if this was a biography of Winston Churchill. Is that what you wanted?), and i was quite disappointed with the lack of substantial stuff going on (There was a whale. Was it not substantial enough for you? Because whales are pretty substantial)(I ended the last page feeling I wasted my time (Really? What would you have done with it, that was so important? I'm hoping it was to learn how to write decent reviews)). Even though I hated reading it, I will admit to bursting out loud in laughter a few times. It is truely funny in parts (Wait, what? I got where you were coming from before, where I thought you didn't find it funny. But what you're saying is you read a book that is quite blatantly comedy, laughed several times, and found it genuinely funny. So how did you waste your time?). This is a great book for monty python fans (which i am not). For anyone else looking for a serious read (But that's the point - no-where is this portrayed as a serious read. Why are you angry, were you tricked into reading it? Did you think it would unlock the secrets of life?), buckle down and get some Heinlen or Gibson.

what the heck was this junk?(A book.) how didit get published (Well, to be honest, I don't know. But that's because I don't know about how the book publishing world works. Technically, I'm a published poet, but that's besides the point. I was 7. Anyway, I don't think you're the person to question the literary abilities of others). I had to read it for school and the only time i read it was when i had to go to sleep because this book helped get me to sleep very easily (I assume it was for an English class. Maybe you're more of a numbers person.). Easier than a sedative (So you claim). DON"T READ THIS BOOK FROM MY PERSONAL AND UNFORTUNATE EXPERIENCE (I don't even know how to read a book from your personal experience. Do you think I can read your mind?
Seriously, is this what my life has come to? Bullying a child on the Internet... And now, for something completely different
This book is marginally funny, at best (Well, no. But, perhaps it isn't your kind of thing...). At its worst, it's just plain boring (Well, yes. Many things are boring at their worst. And many things, at their worst, are far worse than being boring. You should just be glad your book didn't commit genocide). I bought this book because I heard it was on the same level as Monty Python (Well, no. Because you can see them. It's different), nothing could be further from the truth (Really? What if I said the book was on the same level as the number 4? Is that more true? Is this book more 4 than Monty Python? I don't even know what that means...), Monty Python has jokes, funny ones (Yes. Yes it does), this book relies on lame puns (Erm... No. Have you, perhaps, bought a book of puns in error?). Most of the time the book is just plain weird, some of it doesn't make a lick of sense (Seriously? You've proffessed a great admiration for Monty Python, but you feel this book is weird and doesn't make sense? Have you actually seen anything by Monty Python? Please explain to me the social realism of the television series, and how it was above all else, sensible), a hippie with three arms is president, people can understand any language in the universe by holding a fish to their ear, the meaning of life is 42, what the hell is that all about (You see, the ironic thing is, that all sounds like the kind of thing you might find in a Monty Python sketch. I just don't understand your point)? Is this supposed to be funny (No. It's meant to be sexually arousing.)? Seems there are only two schools of thought on this book, people who think it should outsell the Bible (I've always found something distasteful about companies that mass produce Bibles to sell for a markup, but that's beside the point) and people who use it for kindling (Kindling's comprised of wood. That's intrinsic to kindling. You're just thinking of using it to make a fire.). I use my copy to help cure my insomnia. (Did you hit yourself with it many times, until your ears bled?)But seriously, what are youon about? It's one thing to not enjoy surreal or absurd humour, that's something I can understand. But to claim to be a fan of Monty Python, then complain about weird humour that doesn't make sense is utterly ridiculous. Besides, Adams wrote for Monty Python, even appearing in Monty Python's Flying Circus. How you've managed to take these two similar styles, and imagine them seeming so different is beyond me. Are you mad? Do you spend your days gluing pianos to other pianos then complaining they're not the same?
Lastly, the most stupid review of more than one sentence that I've seen in, oh... Several days
This book definetly made me snore (Definitely? Well, thank God you're so certain!). I spent about 5 minutes reading it and I knew it was going to be the worst (or one of the worst) books I have ever read (You can also see the future? It must be great, to pick up a much-admired book, and within 5 minutes, assess its worth). The galaxy part made absolutely no sense and the way the author had objects on earth be something REALLY important in other planets was just plain dumb (You know what the point of a review is? I'll give you a clue - it isn't to write fucking stupid sentences that don't help anyone decide to purchase a product). So in conclusion...this book sucked...don't buy it. (That's a conclusion? You think three sentences of bollocks needs a conclusion? I'm going to eat your keys)
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Wednesday, 29 December 2010

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

Now there's some sound advice. And in such friendly letters too...
A radio show broadcast in 1978 on BBC Radio 4, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy was transferred to the written form by its original creator and writer, Douglas Adams. This book found even more fans than the radio show. Spawning 5 sequels, a TV series in the 80s and a film released in 2005, HHGTTG has become a cornerstone in both sci-fi and comedy writing. Sadly, not all people agree. Even more sadly, some people disagree badly...:
I guess I'm just old fashioned: But I prefer a good old SF classic based on a beleivable storyline: Like The Triffids (How is that 'believable'?) or The Trouble with Litchen or The Cephae (I understand that the author of The Trouble With Cephae shares the same surname and initial as the author of this review. Coincidence...?) or even Oryx and Crake. I had been recommended the Hitchhikers by several 'intelligent' friends (Are the inverted commas suggesting that, because they liked this book, they are no longer to be considered intelligent?) but after reading a couple of chapters I found that the story, like other fantasy (Sci-fi and fantasy are different. For example: Ringworld is SF, Lord of the Rings is fantasy), just did not hold my attention, so I dropped it into our local charity shop. Sorry Douglas, I tried, but this one's not for me. (You do realise that this book is a comedy right? A believable story is somewhat unnecessary for this book. Besides, it's not impossible that it could happen. Unlikely, sure, but not impossible. Please learn that humourous books need not be completely sensible. In fact, their lack of sensibleness is often why they are funny to start with...)
Here we have some American's views on this incredibly British book. This was never going to go well was it?:
I think that this book was one of the oddest I have ever read (Well, it's not a by-the-numbers thriller certainly). I really found no joy in reading it (God you're a depressing old cretin aren't you? No joy? You have issues mate) and didn1t see the point of the story line (What the fuck? If you're going to be like that, then what's the point in any storyline?). If I had known that this book was so absurd I wouldn1t have read it (Do you not have book reviews in America? Surely you could have checked this out before buying it?). While reading it I had to struggle to comprehend the characters1 bizarre surroundings and conflicts (It's not a tricky book to follow. It gets a bit more complicated in the sequels but this one is pretty straight forward). If I had to give this book a rating I1d give it one out of five stars (Well, you did have to because you decided to write this review didn't you.). I give it one star because there were some rare funny parts in the book (The pot plant had better be included in those 'rare funny parts' or I'm going to castrate you.). These parts really didn1t pertain to the book at all though. (Well they kind of did. And even the ones that seem unlinked are often referenced in the later novels in the series)
And here's another:
Not the kind of book to read if you are into thoughtful S.F like Frank Herbert or Asimov (I've never read Herbert, but I do very much like Asimov, so that's your argument derailed already...). The only good thing I can say the author is totally original (Well we agree here I suppose) and there is now way someone can figure the story line (Actually, I understood it fine when I first read it as a 13 year old...)(there isn't one (Actually there is a storyline. You may not feel it is a good one, but it definitely exists...)), every page is a surprise. (What does this mean? Is it bad that you couldn't tell what was going to happen next? Because that sounds good to me...)
And one more:
I do not understand why people love this book (Because it's funny and well written?). Or why they think it's funny (People have different ideas of funny you know. You don't have ultimate power over what is and is not funny...). It's just so boring (HHGTTG may be many things, but boring is not one of them). There's no plot, there's no character development, and the characters are one-dimensional anyway (Actually, while admittedly limited, there is character development, especially of Arthur. And the other charges are even more ridiculous.).
The entire story can be summed up in one sentence: The Earth is destroyed, and Arthur is saved by Ford Prefect, who is an alien researching Earth. (That's not the entire story. And anyway, almost anything is that simplistic when you boil it down to one sentence)
Woo, what an exciting plot. Honestly, I'd rather be on the Earth when it was destroyed than go on this boring adventure. (I can arrange for the bit of the Earth you're standing on to explode if you'd like...)
However, it's obviously a cult classic (Cult classic would suggest that its enjoyed by a small number of people, when in actual fact its enjoyed by most), and I guess it's just one of those books that everyone must read at least once in their lifetime. And finally I've been able to understand a lot of sayings and jokes that I've been hearing for all these years and not knowing where they came from. :) (As you're an Aussie, and I've just been listening to your team being hammered in the cricket, I can't resist but say - you got owned!)
Sorry, but I don't know any Aussies to mock, so I had to find someone...

Monday, 27 December 2010


The M stands for Mörder don't you know. You can
 probably guess what that means... image filmjournal
The German master director Fritz Lang made a lot of noteworthy films during his long career, including Metropolis in 1927 and the Dr. Mabuse movies. However, the film that he regarded as his finest work was 1931's M. M told the story of a child-killer in Berlin and the measures taken by the police and fellow criminals to stop him. A biting critique of the fascist methods of justice, the film was banned by Hitler's Nazi government shortly after it came into power. The following reviewers, however, most definitely disagree with the esteem in which it is held:
I know my comments will provoke the ire of movie fans who hold this movie in high regard (Well, at least you're prepared I suppose...), but I can't remain silent about a movie that fails to deliver in the end, especially after all the exaggerated reviews I've read concerning its place in film history (Like the film or not, it is an important piece of work in the history of cinema). What's more, from what I could see, most of "M" is bogged down by excessive talk that doesn't propel the story forward (I must disagree here. The vast majority of the dialogue does move the story along. Without much of the talking the viewer would be unsure as to what is going on.). In fact, it does the opposite and holds the movie back (It really doesn't you know.). Case in point, in one scene, you have the chief of police on the phone talking to his superior about what's being done to capture the killer (That was required so that the audience would be aware that  the police were doing everything they could, making the criminals' methods seem the more attractive). I think 10 minutes or more elapsed before the next scene even appeared (I don't remember it being that long to be honest...). Why Lang decided to cover the minutiae of the investigation is beyond me (He doesn't discuss everything. Just enough so that it is clear how much the police are trying to catch him). It just wasn't necessary, especially when a superficial account would have sufficed (It really wouldn't have. The whole film is a comparison between the fascist and traditional justice systems. It would have been biased in favour of the fascist methods without these scenes). But to be fair, this is 1931 and tight scrip writing wasn't part of the writing craft. (Timeist...)

Also, Lang took so much away from Lorre's character just to focus the film on the volk, in terms of their fears, helplessness, and anger over the situation they'd been thrown into
(Well that wasn't the point of the film, now was it. It would have failed as a criticism of fascism if it didn't bother covering fascist methods, don't you think). Instead, he should have redirected his efforts on Lorre so we, the viewer, could understand what twisted forces compelled "Hans Beckert" to kill little girls. (First of all, you do find out at the end. And second of all, you're a moron who has failed to grasp the central concept of this film.)

I'm sorry but the accolades are undeserved
(They really aren't. I've studied this film at Uni, and it is a beautifully directed, well thought out picture, with a timely warning about fascism), except for Lorre's acting which was top notch in my opinion (At least we agree on something.). And another thing I'd like to point out, just because Criterion releases a film they deem is deserving of their rolls-royce treatment doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be a winner. (No. I suppose not, but that being said, this one is a winner. By almost any definition.)
Here's another:

"M" is an example of a good idea that is poorly executed (In what way? I do hope you are going to expand on this point, but I doubt it). Peter Lorre plays a child murderer who is terrorizing a city in Germany to the point where both the police and members of the local underworld are hunting him down. With more action involved, this could have been the "intense psychological thriller" that many critics claim it to be, but it is very hard to become emotionally involved in a film when 80% of the film comprises non-descript characters (police and gangsters) sitting around and discussing the need to capture the murderer (If 'action' is what you like from a film then perhaps you had better stick to Die Hard, or The Terminator. Or if they're too good for you, Transformers). It is repetitive to the point of being sleep-inducing (I don't remember it repeating itself much. Are you sure the disc wasn't skipping?) and with the exception of Lorre's murderer (who barely even appears in the first hour of the film), all of the characters feel like the same "person" (How? They all look different, sound different and say different things. The police and the criminals have very different motives for wanting to catch the killer. I really can't see where you got this from). They have no real distinguishing characteristics (Well, Lohmann is fat for a start, whereas Der Schränker isn't and wears a leather jacket. That is surely incredibly easy to spot, even if you fail to see the more subtle differences). Even by the standards of the time when this was made (1931), "M" is a slow-moving and uneventful film (Another timeist I see. Not all old films are slow, just as not all modern films zip along. It depends on what the story in question calls for), which is surprising, since director Fritz Lang himself had already demonstrated that he was capable of making better films with 1927's "Metropolis", a film which is just as engrossing as any modern film (Whilst Metropolis is also an exceedingly good film, I remain unsure as to which I prefer, such is the brilliance of both.). If you want to see one of Fritz Lang's "masterpieces", then "Metropolis" is the way to go, not "M". (Or, perhaps [and I realise I'm putting forward a radical, even dangerous idea here] they could watch both and make up their own mind?)
And another:
Maybe this shocked in its day, but it's terribly dated, with long dialogue scenes that could have been condensed way down (Yes. Lang should have realised that morons in the future would dislike films with talking and put some robots fighting in the corner for them instead while everyone else is given important plot details...). Interesting to see Peter Lorre so young and speaking German. But I thought I'd be caught up in the actual movie, but was forced to watch it as a piece of film history, like a college film class (I did it at uni, and was expecting it to be something of a chore to be honest. I was very pleasantly surprised to find an interesting [on many levels], absorbing piece of cinema that was eminently watchable). The one thing that prevents film from being the greatest art form is movies date so quickly (How? Because it's in black & white? Because its set in the past? This is the most ridiculous statement I've seen for a while. Of course film is art. How can you see films such as this, or Bergman films, or The Godfather movies or Luis Bunuel films and say that they are not art? Either you are pretentious and feel only works by famous painters or sculptors can be art, or you are an idiot. Which is it?). This is a perfect example (Of a really good film).
That's your lot for today folks, hope you had a merry Christmas and such like. 

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Disaster Movie

If you want to not laugh at a film, then
this is the one for you...  via comingsoon
Disaster Movie has a most apt title. The film is a complete and utter disaster from start to finish. By some way this is the worst film I have ever had this misfortune to watch. It's not even bad in a funny way (like Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus). It's just an unfunny, offensive piece of horseshit. No scratch that, horseshit is useful as fertiliser, make it chickenshit. These Amazon reviewers, however, are severely misguided and ought to seek counseling as fast as their dragging knuckles will let them:
First time I saw this film it had me in stitches (Why? Was it so awful that you threw yourself through a 3rd story window? I would've if I'd paid for it...). So I thought I have to buy it and have as a keep sake (A keep sake to remind you forever of the day you saw this tripe?). Laugh out loud stupid comedy (I didn't laugh at this film. Not once.). Great. (If you think this was 'great' then I pity you.)
Here's another moron who writes for our entertainment. I'm guessing this review is in reply to people (quite rightly) pointing out that the 'disaster' in Disaster Movie barely gets a look in...:
well i disagree with you both there was a disaster (Technically speaking you're correct, but at the same time, it doesn't actually make fun of disaster films very often. It doesn't even really make any attempt to parody the character tropes that are so prevalent in the disaster genre. It just makes fun of just about anything. For example, one of the main characters is a parody of Juno.) so the name applys and the spoof of all those movies was hilarious (Those movies not actually being disaster movies. Just movies in general...).Better then than superhero movie by far. (Actually, I have also seen Superhero Movie, and while not exactly The Godfather, it's not too bad. It's certainly twice the film of this fetid pile of excrement. It enjoys the distinct advantage of being actually funny in places. In no small part due to an actual focused attack on superhero movies.)
And another... (This is actually how it was set out. Someone should probably tell him not to hit 'enter' so much...:
i just watched this with my brother and 
honestly its the funniest thing i have ever seen (Really? The funniest thing? You poor mirthless sod.)
Like the other review states the sarcasm is 
excellent (especially teh sex and the city scene) (I fear sarcasm is far too high humour for this turd...)
It had me peeing it was so funny (When? When was it funny?) and it was on for a reasonable 
amount of time too (87 minutes. And you notice every single one. Dunbar would love this film... [any Catch-22 readers will get that. If you haven't read it, then trust me when I say my joke was hilarious...])
Alot better than Meet the spartans (Isn't that a bit like saying that having sex with a boiling kettle is preferable to having sex with Ann Widdecombe?)
Overall excellent (Oh dear Lord...)
thank you for reading my review (I'll need more than thanks for reading that.)
It's people like these that result in films like Transformers making a shit load of money. A spot of eugenics is in order methinks...*

This will probably be my last post before Christmas, so Merry Christmas loyal followers!

*I would like to clarify that I do not in a any way condone the systematic murder of thick people. But if any 'accident' were to befall Nick Griffin tomorrow I wouldn't exactly be crying myself to sleep...

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

The Seventh Seal

Look at that young Max Von Sydow there...
Swedish director Ingmar Bergman is widely regarded as one of the greatest directors of all time. One of his finest achievements was the 1957 film The Seventh Seal. Featuring the iconic scene of Max Von Sydow's world-weary Knight playing chess with Death, the film has been imitated and parodied in films as diverse as Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey and Woody Allen's (a massive Bergman fan) Love and Death. These people, however, seem immune to the artful direction and thought-provoking matter of this masterpiece.
Just watched this on Blu Ray. The picture is nothing special at all, DVD quality (Well what did you expect? There's only so much that can be done with a film that is over 50 years old), although maybe better than on DVD releases, don't know, but didn't look special. The film itself made no sense at all to me (Really? I mean in the first few minutes it's slightly unclear if it has skipped back in time or not. But it's cleared up 2 minutes later... Apart from that it's perfectly straight-forward) Call me a philistine (I'll probably take you up on this offer shortly...), but no plot (There is a plot. A Knight has returned to Sweden from the Crusades and is slowly making his way back home. At this point Death comes for him. The Knight requests a game of chess against Death, in order to delay his passing until he has answered the questions that trouble him - is there a God? And, if so, is he good? He then meets various people on his journey who help him attain his answer), the dialogue made no sense (Did you forget to turn the subtitles on?), just downright weird. OK, maybe you could call it pretty (It very much is), but it's no Third Man or Citizen Kane by any stretch (I would say that, at the very least, it is close to those two films in beauty). Hugely over-rated (Nope. It's quite-rightly held up as a masterpiece by those with two brain-cells to rub together...), certainly not worth £24 to buy unless you're an existing fan of the film. Glad I rented. (Philistine)
Here's another from Amazon. This one even features outstanding grammar...:
Plenty of reviews how great it is, piece of landmark cinema (I don't know where to start to fix that bad sentence, so I won't bother. Oh, and it is, undeniably, a landmark for cinema). Honestly is rubbish, you'll never get that time back if you manage to sit through it. (In your opinion. An opinion not shared by a great many people. Many of whom are far more qualified than us to determine the artistic merits of this film. And if that's what you think qualifies as a review, then you are sorely mistaken my friend.)
Here's one from
The most atheistic, nihilistic, depressing movie I have ever seen (Why is atheism something to be hated? And anyway, the film doesn't come down on any side of the God debate). Death is preferred over life in this movie (No it isn't. Why do you think the Knight wanted to live on? Acceptance of death, and the preference for death over life are two very different things. Perhaps you should watch the film again, and actually pay attention this time...). Love is called "the blackest of all plagues" (He was trying to comfort a heart-broken man. His pint was that, as wonderful as love can be, it can also be very painful. Not, I feel, a revelation to anyone.). The message of this movie is that life is meaningless (Can't argue there. But what is so objectionable about a life with no meaning? Surely living itself is reason enough? As co-discoverer [with Francis Crick] of the structure of DNA James Watson told evolutionist Richard Dawkins, when asked what he looked forward to in place of heaven, 'I'm anticipating having a good lunch') and that ideals are ridiculous and absurd (Not at all. After all [SPOILER] the Knight gives his life so that the family can escape). I was hoping for a moral at the end of the story, but sadly, this movie is just gloomy nihilism with attractive actors (You appear to have confused this film with one of the stories from the Bible. Not all stories require a 'moral'.). Western Civilization is pining away in a morass of depressed meaninglessness bc of too many movies like this. (I think you're putting a little too much power at the feet of films... And what utter rot.)
We shall end today with a review from the rental site LOVEFiLM:
Even for a subtitled movie (no idea why i rented it (Why do you find it so offensive that a Swedish director should direct a film full of Swedish actors, in Swedish?)) it was brutal and nasty (What the fuck is that supposed to mean? It wasn't that brutal. The only possible bit I can think of, is when the girl gets burned. And you don't even see that.) and why the producer reckoned 'every human should watch it', is quite beyond me (It's because it is an utterly wonderful film with very real questions to ask), it was not a story as such and hard to follow (It was a story. It has a beginning, middle and end; characters; a plot; everything a story needs really. And as I told the guy above, it is a perfectly easy to follow), Main man played chess with death on the beach and then you have no idea even if he won (Well, the game is still in progress actually...), you assume he did, as death is nowhere to be seen for quite sometime (It's not that long. Maybe ten minutes, tops.), till he pops up again as a monk (Preist actually...) and the main man is tricked into telling him how he was winning in chess against death, so far it was just an odd story (Not that odd...), but then you meet some jesters (They're a company of actors), who are (by all accounts) odd anyway (What do you mean 'by all accounts' did you actually watch this film? If not, that would explain a lot...), they have a couple who i guess are married (Well, whilst its true it never says they are, I believe Bergman presumed the audience would be able to work it out...) and have a baby (who is left wondering around the field (He was playing in a fucking field while his parents watch on! It's not like they let him wonder all the way to Holy Land or anything.)) and a single man (who seems to have it away with any woman who shows him favour (You don't know many people do you?)) they're on stage and suddenly a procession of monks goes thru, oh my word, they're hitting each other and moaning and groaning and it is one of THE oddest things i've ever seen in my life. (Really? Have you never seen a spider baby? Seriously though, it was supposed to show how religion can make people do weird things)
They pass on through after head monk gives a speech about the end of the world. (Those head monks and their ways...)
Then into a tavern where they start to pick on one of the jesters and it really is brutal (It's not that brutal. It's not brutal like the Crusades, for example, were brutal... I've seen more brutal bullying at primary school), they make him dance while chasing him with fire, it is odd (Why is everything 'odd' to you?) and quite frankly made me feel ill and i switched it off and sent it back. (Say what? That made you ill? God you're a pussy... Also, if you switched it off at that point [which can be little more than halfway through] then you have no right to review this film.)
I really have no idea how or why i ended up with this film i can only guess i thought it was something else, i'm not one to watch forgein foreign films and now i have even more reason not to do so! (Why not? Foreign films are often wonderful. By reducing yourself only to films that are in the English language you are missing out on some of the very best films that are around. What a fucking idiot you are.)
Watch at your own risk of being sick :( (Oh fuck off you ignorant prick. If you don't like it for stupid reasons, then fine, but don't tell other people not to watch this brilliant film because of your immature hang-ups.)
I think it might take me a while to calm down after that... 

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

The Daily Mail

Today's article from the Daily Mail (here) focuses on what drove 17-year old Ruby Thomas to kill a 62-year old man in a homophobic attack. The details of the crime are, of course, shocking - Thomas mercilessly attacked the man on the street, shouting homophobic abuse and smiling. After the death of her victim, and in her trial, she showed no remorse. So fair enough, giving her a hard time and all.
  So, what drove her to this violent act? Surely an article on this subject could be very useful, to prevent future crime and so on? Well, the mail has a theory:
"The story of Ruby Thomas, though ... is also the story of a type of girl for whom violence and thuggery has become the default setting, just like many of their male gangland counterparts."
"She began emulating the language and mannerisms — or, at least, what she and others ­mistakenly perceived as the ­language and mannerisms — of black urban youth culture.""But the ‘ghetto culture’ she had become obsessed with is also intrinsically associated with violence and sex."
So, gangster rap is to blame? Black people are, of course, the cause of all problems. One other possible reason for Thomas's violent tendencies is touched on by the mail.  This possible influencing factor in her life is, by my reading of the article, to be considered as to have influenced her less than 'black culture' - When Thomas was 10, her father, described as a "violent alcoholic", stabbed a neighbour 28 times. Now, credit to the Mail  for mentioning this topic, but surely, in an article exploring someone's mental state, this incident deserves a little bit of analysis, rather that simply being stated as part of her "family background". But no - the fact that her father murdered a man when she was a child seems, apparently, to have had less of an effect on Ruby Thomas than the harmful influence of black people.
  Of course, it is possible to argue that the "violent" music and culture she perceived influenced her somewhat, but surely more emphasis should have been placed on her severely troubled childhood than on rap?

Also, as a side note, the Mail quotes some of her Facebook statuses and the like. Fair enough, they illustrate their point about the victim's lack of remorse and so on. But then they explain "the dreadful grammar and spelling alone tells the story of a wasted education".
 Really? These are the signs of a wasted education? Bad spelling on the Internet? Not the fact she beat a man to death for no reason...
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