Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Adventureland - DVD

I had fancied seeing this film for a time. I was mainly attracted by the soundtrack full of '80s alternative rock and Lou Reed. The story is set in the mid-80s in small town America. A guy is planning to go to graduate school in New York but he has no money. He takes a shitty job in a theme park to save some cash.

He meets a cool girl there. He realises that he likes her but nothing in life is simple. The performances in the film are believable and the plot is lifelike. I was very impressed by Martin Starr as a Robert Crumb style free thinker. I hope to see Starr in a few more films in the future.

I was not disappointed by the soundtrack. Husker Du, The Replacements, the Velvets, The Jesus and Mary Chain and the Cure. My ears are happy.

A nice film. Worth seeing

Hot tub time machine - film review

Hot tub time machine is not the best film I've ever seen. Bits of it were funny. I very much like the squirrel element to the film. Some of it wasn't too funny. This would probably have been better if I was still a teenager.

Watch it on TV and you might smile. Don't run to the cinema or pay too much for the DVD

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Contemporary Glasgow Punk Bands

A couple of weeks back (4th of May) I saw some punk bands at the 13th Note.

The first band was called Wheelchair Wheelchair Wheelchair Wheelchair. They are a 2 piece noise outfit and reminded me of Graveyard Rodeo or Dillinger Escape Plan as interpreted by No Age. I also heard a bit of SSD in there. The drummer wasn't too impressed by the Dillinger comparison as Wheelchair x 4 are 'not that technical' but they are noisy and fast.

The other band were called Jackie Onassis and were more traditional hardcore punk. I heard the misfits, black flag and the dead kennedys. I made a mental note to track down one of their CDs.

I went home after the first couple of bands because I had other stuff to do.

American - The Bill Hicks Story

Bill Hicks was 32 when he died of pancreatic cancer in February 1994. He was younger than me although he looked a lot older. I was surprised when he died and a bit sad but I didn't realise he was so young.

The comparative youth of Hicks only struck me when I saw the film American - The Bill Hicks Story yesterday. I'm a fan of Hicks and I know a lot about him. I've seen or heard most of his major routines and I was aware of his slow rise to fame, his years of self-abuse with alcohol and cigarettes (and self-abuse) and I was aware of his death from pancreatic cancer. I just wasn;t aware that he was so goddam young.

Hicks was one of the stars of my youth, a navagational point with Jello Biafra, Ian MacKaye and Hunter S. Thomson. He encouraged me to think for myself and to question the powers that be and to read books. He reminded me that it was OK to be intelligent. He affirmed that it was cool to swear a lot.

American didn't really tell me much about Hicks that I didn't already know. There wasn't a lot of unseen footage. I think that better documentaries have been made about his life. This film didn't really teach me anything although I perhaps miss Hicks more now. What would he have said about George W. Bush, the second invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan, September the 11th and Obama? Would he have grown into a cool elder statesman or would he have become a lone nut, tilting against windmills?


'it's just a ride'

Friday, May 07, 2010

UK election result

I'm glad we have a hung Parliament. Neither of the big UK political parties really represent my beliefs and I have been voting Liberal for the past 15 years.

I think Britain has become more stupid in the past 15 years. Reality TV and mobile phones have rotted our brains. The internet has probably fucked us up a bit too. Our politicians now come from a 'political class' and are essentially a group of greasy public relations liaisons who only want to line their pockets with gold. They don't seem to have intellectual depth. Most of them would have loved to appear on Big Brother or the X-factor.

The recent expenses scandal combined with the economic collapse and an ongoing unpopular war in the middle east. None of the main parties offer real hope or change. My own party, the Liberals, are probably nothing new. I only vote to invalidate votes for parties I hate.

So now we have a hung Parliament. The tories have 36.1% of the popular vote (they probably should have 234 seats instead of 306). Labour have 29% (188 imaginary seats but 258 real seats) and the Liberals have 23% and only 57 seats. With proportional representation the Liberals would have 150 seats. 6.8million people voted for the Liberals. The first-past-the-post system fucks all these people over.

So now we have an impotent Westminster, sitting in it's own shit and unable to clean itself up. I like to visualise Westminster with the face of David Cameron at the moment. He looks a wee bit crestfallen. Nothing is going to happen until British politics grow up.

We need a coalition government that forces itself to work. We need a centralist multi-party government where the extremists are pushed to the sidelines. We need balance and if we're lucky we'll get it. I hope we are entering a new political age, baptised with the death of spin-doctoring. I hope we will have a more mature, northern European style of collaborative government. I think we might have a chance and it might just work out. If the Liberals and the Tories balance each other out we might survive. Electoral reform might be good (although we would probably end up with at least one BNP cunt in office)

People are really worried about the financial market collapsing at the moment. I think the markets will improve when we see some political stability.

There's a song by the band Bright Eyes called 'lets not shit ourselves'. It's a great song. Listen to it and watch the party.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Iron Man 2 - Film review

As I have previously written on this blog, I loved the first Iron Man film. It was funny and warm and had a personality that is often missing from superhero films. I've been looking forward to Iron Man 2 since the lights went up in the cinema at the end of the first film. The reviews of Iron Man 2 in the press have been less than favourable so I admit having been slightly nervous when I went to the cinema tonight.

I know I don't have the greatest taste in the world and that I enjoy a lot of low-brow entertainment but I have to admit that I really enjoyed this film. Robert Downey Jr was excellent as Tony Stark (again) and Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) was prominently featured in the plot. We were also introduced to the Black Widow and War Machine and we were teased with Captain America's shield.

It was a big, loud, funny comic book film. It's a stepping stone to the film version of the Avengers. Good fun.

THEM: adventures with extremists by Jon Ronson

I picked up THEM after enjoying another Ronson book, The men who stare at goats. THEM deals with different groups of extremists scattered around the world. Ronson met them between 1995 and 2001 while working on different journalist projects.

The various extremists sketched in the book are all very human and faintly ridiculous. Muslim extremists, racists and other militants all seem equally bizarre. A lot of these people seem to be a bit dim.

Sadly, dim people have strong beliefs and they end up killing other people. The book is entertaining but the universal paranoia and hate that it showcases provokes a sense of unease. Human nature is fairly unpleasant at times.

A good read.