K-Stew, I kind of love you a bit…

Yesterday, I got a brilliant text message from my very good friend Caroline (blog found here) while I was at work. It said “Oh Kristen – what have you done…?” Which was an excellent question, because being at work I hadn’t had a chance to trawl through the internet look for exactly what it was Kristen Stewart had done to offend the world. But boy am I glad I did, cos it’s pretty much the most excellent thing ever. Well… I say ‘excellent’… Anyway! For those of you that missed it: K-STEW TOTALLY CHEATED ON R-PATZ WITH SOME CREEPY LOOKING DIRECTOR DUDE! (In plain English, that translates to: Kristen Stewart cheated on Robert Pattinson with Rupert Sanders, also known as, the director of Snow White and the Huntsman.) Cue all hell breaking loose.

Why are affairs always “steamy”?

The story was broken by US Weekly and rather than just letting it slide and leaving it all open for speculation, Kristen instead chose to release this statement:

“I’m deeply sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I’ve caused to those close to me and everyone this has affected. This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob. I love him, I love him, I’m so sorry.”

Which, aside from being a bit tragic and almost making me feel kind of upset for her, is a bit of a clusterfuck really. I mean, those of us who read trash-mags are pretty much expecting everything to be at least 90% made up. We’re used to stoic silence or feirce denial. No one ever actually admits to these things. Sheesh.

Since K-Stew stuffed up and actually released a statement, Sanders, a married father of two, had to clarify:

“I am utterly distraught about the pain I have caused my family. My beautiful wife and heavenly children are all I have in this world. I love them with all my heart. I am praying that we can get through this together.”

Oh good. Now we’re all on the same page – the page where you both regret ever shagging – let’s take a moment to examine why I am so perversely happy about this.

With the advent of social media platforms, this is playing out like a high school drama and I am flipping loving it. Ok, so first of all, Sanders’ wife, Liberty Ross, took to Twitter almost as soon as the split was announced to post the kind of cryptic, pseudo-inspirational bullshit that the average 14 year old posts when their friends won’t sit with them in the playground at lunchtime.

“sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

Oh please. Heaven help us. But then she (allegedly) got kind of vengeful and (allegedly) posted this picture on her Instagram feed.

Oh snap…

In case you missed it, that’s a not-so-subtle dig at the fact that K-Stew played Snow White in Sanders’ movie. I would just like to take a second to point out that the woman posting this is a 33 year old mother of two. I’m not saying that she shouldn’t get angry. If that’s your bag, go for it. But I just feel like we should have hit a point with social media where people realise that it isn’t just a soapbox for airing your emotional turmoil and begging sympathy from strangers.

But whatever. Please feel free to keep doing so. It gives me something to do with my time. The other brilliant thing to come of this has been the flooding of the internet by indignant/outraged/upset/hysterical Twlight fans. It’s seriously the best. Jezebel has collected some lovely tweets from devastated Twilight-loving tweens. My favourite is this one though:

When we look back in 20yrs time and we ask why feminism kicked the bucket, I want you all to remember that it was because a 22 year old actress had the audacity to snog an older director behind her boyfriend’s back. Damned hussy should have sorted her shit out. (There really needs to be a font for sarcasm.)

In case the tweet-stream wasn’t enough to explain to you exactly how deranged Twilight lovers are, please watch this Chris Crocker-style video about the whole affair.

Oh that’s some quality viewing. I’ve watched it like, 6 times. It doesn’t get any less cringe-worthy. The rest of this lady’s channel is also worth checking out, because she’s the kind of super-fan who is famous for being a super-fan. She made a video of herself reacting to the release of the trailer for New Moon, or whatever the second film is called. She cries three times and screams for about 2 minutes straight. The video is only about 4 minutes long. Yeah. That kind of fan.

I’m going to wind it up now, but I couldn’t leave this post without throwing in my two cents. Kristen Stewart is 22. TWENTY-TWO, PEOPLE! I’m 22! I can’t tell my arse from my elbow. I can’t manage to make a relationship work for 3 months, let alone 3 years. Your 20s are supposed to be for making an idiot of yourself. Or at least, I hope they are, cos otherwise I’ve gone terribly wrong somewhere. Kudos to Kristen, I say. Stuff up some more. You’re allowed. Also, if you ever feel the need to re-evaluate your sexual identity, call me. The no smiling/awkward thing – it does stuff for me.

 

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Superman: The Christopher Nolan Effect

I know I spent last week’s post ranting about The Dark Knight Rises, but there’s a lot of shit going on surrounding the humble superhero film, so I thought I’d take a second to discuss the upcoming Man of Steel. They released a poster at Comic Con (which I didn’t bother to discuss in my Comic Con-related post) which looks like this:

Dark, broody poster. Slight frown wrinkling his oh-so-chiselled superhuman features. Beacon of hope shining across his glorious ‘S’ logo. Now take a look at this teaser trailer that came out the other day:

Woah, you guys! Does anyone else smell a rebranding? Like, I know that Superman has always been ‘the man of steel’ but usually we get a little more than just his tagline for a title. And what about that trailer? He’s got a beard and a dog. He seems like he’s doing hard labour on some tiny fishing boat somewhere. He’s hitch-hiking, for Pete’s sake! It looks positively…gritty. Superman isn’t gritty…he’s Superman! I have developed a name for this new-found phenomenon, bear with me. I’m calling it “The Christopher Nolan Effect.”

You’ve probably already guessed where this is going, but allow me to elaborate. Cast your minds back to all of the cinematic and television incarnations of the Batman that you can remember. I’m willing to bet that the first two that you think of are probably Adam West’s Batman from the TV series and Michael Keaton’s version from the Tim Burton movies. Both of those are equally valid, but they’re pretty camp and that’s what everyone remembers.

His Bat-mask literally has angry eyebrows painted on it.

Everyone thought Burton’s revamp was pretty gloomy (read as: walked, talked and rained like a Burton movie) but then you sort of remember that the Joker had a dance number to a Prince track, and no matter how creepy Jack Nicholson is there’s no moving past that.

Then, along comes Christopher Nolan and makes Batman genuinely dark again in a way that reflects some of the brilliant writing that’s appeared in the comic books in recent times. It’s the goddamn Batman with a full range of human flaws. Unsurprisingly, due to the monumental success of Nolan’s bat-films, Hollywood and DC are now trying to replicate this with Superman.

Problem with Superman is, it’s surprisingly hard to make him a fully-fledged emotional character because he’s perfect. He’s super-strong, he can fly, he has a sense of justice unfettered by the more terrible end of the spectrum of human feeling and he is like, really chiselled and handsome and shit. When they were writing the comics it got to a point for the authors where they had to stop and go, “Oh crap… We’ve created someone who is indestructible and MY GOD is that boring. There is NOTHING we can do with him. We should probably invent a weakness or something, yeah? We’ll call it uuuuh…kryptonite?”

So, existing is never really going to be all that much of a struggle for Superman. But, using faulty Hollywood logic, the fact that the Batman films were successful because of a flawed and ultimately human superhero, means that we should then repeat that formula for everything that follows it. That, ladies, gentlemen and other variations thereof, is what I have dubbed ‘The Christopher Nolan Effect.’

This is, of course, pure speculation. I’m probably being a bit mean. I’ve always been more of a Marvel fan. Man of Steel could be totally unique and surprising. I’d be willing to put money on the fact that it isn’t though. If the teaser is anything to go by, it has a grand vision of bringing humanity into the Superman character/being very similar to Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

The Man of Steel release date has been pushed way, way back to June of next year so until then, enjoy all the promotional material they’re going to attempt to excite you with and I will go back to waiting for them to make another X-Men movie or some shit.

Also, if you’re Superman super-fan and you haven’t seen the video below, you should definitely check it out. It’s by Max Landis, the writer of Chronicle (which is worth a watch) and it is a rather humorous re-telling of The Death of Superman. I laughed so hard I cried a bit.

Batblog: The Dark Knight Rises

Today I am powered entirely by caffeinated beverages. This is because I stayed up until midnight on Wednesday so that I could be there for the first screening of The Dark Knight Rises. In case you have been living under a rock/haven’t left the house in the last 9 months/have sworn off the internet (how did you get here?)/have taken an adamant stance against all things pop culture related (why did you get here?)/ think that cinema is the devil’s work, Dark Knight Rises is the much-hyped finale in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. The poster looks like this:

Batsplosion! (I may or may not spend the rest of this post putting “Bat” in front of unnecessary words.)

I think I should probably preface this by saying I’m not actually the hugest bat-fan. I’m more a Marvel than a DC girl, and I find myself eternally disappointed that not one modern cinematic adaptation features the Adam West “nananananananana” theme song. I’m also not a gigantic fan of Nolan’s interpretations. Don’t get me wrong, I quite like The Dark Knight. Mainly for the reason that everyone else likes The Dark Knight: Heath Ledger is a very fucking good Joker. However, I spent most of Batman Begins trying not to fall asleep. Even on the rewatch I was still bored. I don’t think I’ve ever actually watched it all the way through because I keep having microsleeps or day-dreaming about what I want for lunch. So I feel like the trilogy of bat-films have been a bit more hit-and-miss than people are willing to admit.

Which brings me to the other thing that irritates me about these films: the fan-base. They’re nuts. They’re so fanatical about the whole affair that Rotten Tomatoes had to disable the comments section on The Dark Knight Rises because people were using it as a platform to send death threats to reviewers who were anything less than completely gob-smacked at the flawlessness of Nolan’s cinematic vision. I feel like even the reviewers make too big of a fluff of it as well. The Hollywood Reporter said that the film “makes everything in the rival Marvel universe look thoroughly silly and childish.” Time throws around the words “grand”, “epic” and “achievement” a bunch. Guys. Seriously? Writing off the entire Marvel universe as childish because there wasn’t a thinly veiled (sometimes poorly written) commentary on America’s deteriorating economic climate and an emotional crisis dealt with through graphic violence and gothic imagery just serves to further illustrate the cloud of bullshit that sometimes lingers around this franchise.

But, I did enjoy myself. I was never bored in The Dark Knight Rises. Tired (midnight to 3am is late, yo) but not bored. The good bits were very, very good. I always find the supporting players in these films to be the show-stealers. Christian Bale’s Batman is a solid character, but I never feel like he’s the one to watch. (Also, sometimes when he does bat-voice I have to stuff my fist in my mouth to keep from giggling, but that’s another story.) This film is no exception and he was totally upstaged by Anne Hathaway as Catwoman and Tom Hardy as Bane.

Anne Hathaway gets an awfully bad rap from a lot of people. I don’t really understand why, but when I question people it usually just results in them screaming “I hate her face!!!” and then running off. Anyway, I think I might have died and gone to heaven this year, because there have been two seriously excellent female characters appearing in superhero films, running around and kicking ass with the boys. Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow is a total badass in The Avengers. Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman is similarly cool. Since the Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman days they have (thankfully) toned down the plether bondage outfit, to a (slightly) more demure black catsuit with “ears” that are actually her cat-burgalling spy-goggles tucked behind her hair. She does do all of her fighting in absurdly high stiletos, but to be fair they are actual stiletos and she does use them to slice up bad guys with some super-bendy high kicks. She’s got a lot of good lines and the moral ambiguity of her character makes for some quality cinema.

Villains have always been Nolan’s strong point. Obviously, the Joker is the one that everyone is going to talk about forever, which makes me feel a little bad for Tom Hardy. He’s following Ledger’s now-iconic portrayal with a pretty special performance as Bane. He is a totally chilling fear-incarnate, but then becomes strangely human at the end. He doesn’t have a mouth to express himself with, and no eyebrows, so everything has to come through the eyes and he does a wonderful job of it. But, unless he meets a tragic end in the next couple of months, people are only ever really going to talk about Ledger’s stint. (I say that with love. I actually cried when Heath died. He was my first proper teenage crush on an actor.) The only problem for Hardy is that the mask sometimes makes him impossible to understand. When that’s coupled with Christian Bale’s bat-voice, there are whole chunks of the film where I have only a very vague idea of what was actually said.

As for the rest of the cast, I have nothing but praise. Gary Oldman also does a stellar job. Again. Because he’s Gary Oldman, bitches. (I definitely have unresolved Oldman issues.) Michael Caine as Alfred is always a highlight and he has a good story arc this time around. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is as adorable as he ever is. I’m pretty sure there were a lot of JGL fans in the audience, because whenever he came on screen there was a collective sigh of lust. And, of course, Christian Bale’s Batman is…well…Batman, I guess.

Beyond the actors, The Dark Knight Rises was watchable and I enjoyed it immensely. I would even go so far as to recommend people go and see it. HOWEVER (doomdoomdoom) there were some flaws and they were large enough to niggle at me. I’m not going to go into a huge amount of detail for a couple of reasons: for one, I’m really tired and the idea of writing much more than this makes me want to cry, and two, I’m trying to keep this as spoiler free as possible for the millions of you who didn’t stay up until 3am watching the damned thing. So, the script wasn’t phenomenal. For the most part it was good. It wasn’t as good as Dark Knight, but it wasn’t awful either. There were, however, several moments of dialogue where I literally cringed. Like, physically curled up and made a quiet “uuuurrrrgh” noise. If you’re going to write banter between villain and hero, do it right. Don’t turn the punchline into “I came back… to kill you” and then stick some dramatic music over the top of it. You’ve got the world riding on your shoulders for this one, Nolan. That shit isn’t going to fly.

It wasn’t just the dialogue either. In trying to tear Gotham to the ground, Nolan draws a lot on the contemporary economic and political climate in the US. ‘Revolution’ in the face of an oppressive regime of out-moded class systems and emphasised gaps between have and have-not, is a theme pulled straight from the Occupy movement. Honestly though, it’s just a little clunky. Making a grandiose social statement in a superhero film is cool and all, but you gots to handle it right. This time round it was so thinly veiled that there may as well have been a sign. Having said that, given the nature of Nolan’s film making, I’m not sure subtlety has ever been a strong point.

Also, the technology has reached maximum ridiculousity this time round. I realise that, because the Batman’s superpower is essentially the ability to spend money on cool shit and also work out a bunch, the technology has to be “state of the art”, crazy cool, sci-fi movie stuff, but I spent a lot of time watching the gadgets in this and thinking, “that’s just silly.” I was concerned for the Batman’s health and safety as well. There’s a lot of long shots of him riding his bat-bike (I did warn you at the beginning I was just going to chuck ‘bat’ on the front of every word possible) with his cape flying out behind him. Which is fine, except that my first thought was like “Oh shit, what if that gets caught on something? This movie might end before it starts and wouldn’t that be tragic?” That’s obviously not a major downfall, but I just didn’t feel like the gadgets were cool enough to suspend disbelief.

Anyway, I think what I’m trying to say overall is that I liked it more than I expected to, considering my ambivalent responses to the first two. I am also trying to say that these films aren’t the be-all and end-all of the superhero genre. All other contenders do not need to pack up and go home. Stop making Nolan’s Batfilms into the best thing that’s ever happened to cinema ever. They’re not. They’re good. They’re maybe even great. But they’re not fucking perfect. Learn to take some criticism, fanbase. The Dark Knight Rises is in cinemas everywhere. Those who don’t go see it immediately will be drawn and quartered by an angry mob.

Comic Con Times

As a blog centred on pop culture, I feel that it would be lax of me not to write a blog about Comic Con. Despite living on the other side of the world and thus, having no access to the wonders of the event itself, it is still my favourite time of year because all my most visited  websites blow up with announcments. There’s a huge influx of pictures, videos and stuff that makes me happy. For a couple of days I just sit in front my laptop squealing and no one is allowed to interrupt me. To be fair, it’s not that different from what I do normally, but it’s a little more intense. So, for this year, I have gone through and picked out my favourite moments/ major announcements from Comic Con 2012 and compiled them here. (It’s very much a geek-centric post, so those of you who just come here to see me talk about Matthew McConaughey’s tiny arms may want to avert your eyes and tune in a little later when I talk about something else.)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Excitement!!

A couple of days before everyone was scheduled to appear on the panel, Peter Jackson released the official Hobbit Comic Con poster. It looks like this:

I actually squealed aloud.

I don’t know about you guys, but I am practically levitating with excitement over the first installment of The Hobbit, which premiers in December of this year. It has all the things I love: high fantasy, adventure, hobbits, epic cinematography, Martin Freeman. In anticipation of the release, Peter Jackson screened a 12 minute preview at Comic Con which was apparently very cool, though surprisingly not screened in the 48 frames per second that film was shot in. Naturally, this isn’t available, but you can read a full description of how it went down over at Entertainment Weekly. EW also have a lovely interview with the panel about the film.

Some beautiful things came out of that panel, but my favourite has to be that we get to see Martin Freeman in a baby blue pork pie hat. Martin. Baby. What are you wearing? It’s glorious. I also like the contrast between Martin and Sir Ian McKellen, who is wearing a baby pink blazer with a black and white checkered tie. In contrast with everyone else, who wore black.

Martin Freeman cares not for your opinion of his jaunty little cap.

Anyway, everything about this is excellent. Having seen the trailer, I don’t think I believe Martin Freeman when he says he will only bring disappointment. This looks epic and I cannot wait until December 14th (it’s so far away, please make time go faster, oh my god).

Firefly Reunion – Further Excitement!!

THIS IS A GOOD THING.

I actually yelped when I heard this was happening, because nothing makes me more excited than that TV show. Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk. Geek heaven. 10 years on, the SciFi channel is making a documentary about the reunion at Comic Con. I’m not going to talk to much more about it, because the whole thing has been filmed and put on YouTube. It runs for about an hour and I spent the whole time making a high-pitched “eeeeeeeeeeee!” noise.

JOOOOSSSS WHEEEDDDOOOON!!! *sobbing*

Joseph Gordon-Levitt puts his foot in it – *facepalm*

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a new movie coming out. It’s called Looper and it looks pretty average. It could surprise me and be really great. But it also has Bruce Willis in it… so I’m not holding out high hopes. Anyway, the movie also features the gorgeous and very talented Emily Blunt, who you  may recognise from The Devil Wears Prada, or more recently, The Five Year Engagement.

Emily Blunt at Comic Con.

When asked how it was to work with Blunt, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was enthusiastic. So enthusiastic, in fact, that he forgot himself and said, “Pretty girls aren’t usually funny.” Cue collective facepalm from the room. He did quickly back-pedal, saying that he didn’t want to “make sweeping generalisations” but it’s still pretty idiotic. I only mention it because some of you may have been concerned that we could have gone five minutes without a “women in comedy debate” happening somewhere in the world.

Marvel Announcements

Marvel released a lot of tasty little things for its “Phase Two” movies (which sounds really ominous). We got some delicious concept art for Guardians of the Galaxy (phweee!) and the title cards/ release dates for Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Solider. They look like this:

Guardians of the Galaxy, concept art.

Feast your eyes on THAT.

So, the comic book heroes will start gracing our screens again from November next year. Excellent news. However, my favourite announcement from Marvel was the fact that they have an Ant-Man movie in the works, and that the glorious Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) is attached to it.

There a probably a couple of you who are going “huh?” right about now. Ant-Man isn’t exactly the first thing most people think of when they think of superheroes. For the uninitiated, Antman is a dude who can change his size. Edgar Wright jokingly referred to the character as “kicking your ass one inch at a time.”

Also kicking ass in silly hats.

There’s no release date for that one yet, but according to those who saw the test footage screened at Comic Con this year, it is also shaping up to be pretty funny. I wouldn’t expect anything less from Wright, but it’s a bit of a shift for Marvel. Although, having said that, there’s not a lot of ways that you can do an ant-sized guy kicking the ass of supervillans without having some seriously funny script to back it up. It’ll also be interesting to see which incarnation of Ant-Man they choose, as the guy has had a few alter-egos over the years. The current Wiki article says that they’re running with Henry Pym and Scott Lang, a biophysicist and reformed thief respectively. Anyway, the title card looks like this, and I’m a bit excited about the whole affair.

Seth Green’s Instagram Feed

Seth Green is one of my favourite nerds. He makes nerdy excellent. Obviously, he was at Comic Con. He was ostensibly there as part of the Robot Chicken crew, but we all know he probably would have been there either way. After months of not posting anything on Instagram, the man suddenly floods everyone’s feed with adorable pictures of his wife, cosplayers and general awesome stuff. My favourites include a sneaky Edgar Wright photo (the man had been attempting to convince everyone he was in London and not at the Con) and the height difference between Green and Joe Manganiello (they both played werewolves at one point in their career, but there’s about a foot and a half size difference).

A selection of my favourites.

There’s about 4million more of them. If you have the appropriate technology, you can find Seth Green on Instagram at 53th_6r33n or on Twitter. It’s a nice look at the Con floor as well as some nifty behind-the-scenes stuff as well.

Matt Smith might actually be my favourite human being ever – dead, I am dead.

You can’t have a geek-fest without at least mentioning Doctor Who. The more I see of Matt Smith, the more I think that he might actually be the living soul of the Doctor. He’s amazing. Don’t get me wrong, David Tennant is my baby, but there’s something about Matt Smith. Check out this picture of the gang being the adorable hipster threesome they are.

I just want to hug all of them.

I’m not going to say any more about it, because you should just watch this video. If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, skip through to 6.35 and explode into a puddle of squee.

Well…tears.

Obviously, a lot of other stuff happened. Some of it, I’m also quite excited about. But right now, I have a headache from working at my much-loathed job, so I’m going to give it a break for a while. If you’re interested at looking into some more stuff about this year’s Comic Con, Entertainment Weekly and MTV had some pretty great coverage, which you can find here and here. I am off for a hot shower and a nap.

Vampire Flashback

When I went to the cinema the other day I was subjected to the trailer for the upcoming mess that is the end of the Twilight saga. There is no love lost between me and the Twilight “books” (I use the term loosely) and films. Aside from the fact that they’re badly written and have probably set feminism back about 50 years, the vampire mythology that Stephenie Meyer dreamed up to replace the tried and true ‘garlic, crosses and sunlight’ stuff is bollocks. I mean, really, Stephenie? Sparkles and baseball? Really? Whatever. I can’t right now. But it did get me thinking about other terrible vampire films that I’ve watched. (I was an avid consumer of the genre prior to the sudden vampire hysteria that happened post-Twilight.)

Everything about me says “shiny disco balls”.

I don’t know if any of you guys remember Dracula 2000 (not to be confused with Dracula 3000, which is REALLY bad, as opposed to just bad). I’d forgotten about it for a long time. Lucky for me (and you, maybe) the internet never forgets. This little gem came staggering into my line of vision a the other day. Apparently it’s been online for years without my knowledge. I’m very upset about this. Anyway, check it out.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is Gerard Butler, of 300 fame, auditioning for the role of Dracula in Dracula 2000. Amazing, no? There are so many things going on here, I don’t even know where to begin. What’s going on with the hair? Is it a wig? Is it natural? If it isn’t natural, then why did he think it was a good idea? Who was in charge of the eye-liner? Was it Gerard Butler’s initiative to put that much eyeliner on? Was it his initiative to put the eye-liner and the wig on together? Does he realise the script is terrible? So many questions. So few answers.

As a film, Dracula 2000 is pretty bad (and has a lot of Virgin Megastore product placement, randomly). To be honest, I didn’t make it through a whole rewatching because Butler’s accent was just so awful that I couldn’t cope. Needless to say, it’s very late-90s-early-00s in look and there’s a lot of puns about sucking. But thankfully, before the release date they had the common sense to re-work Butler’s look so that it was less… hair-extensions-and-eyeliner-based?

Kudos to whoever was in charge of that decision. Aside from that, the man has aged pretty well, I think.

Vampires are one of those things that people are going to keep writing. Unfortunately, with all that mythology and so much quality beforehand, it’s really easy to make a dick of yourself by becoming attached to some really terrible interpretation. Dracula 2000 is still a lot more fun than Twilight though. If you’re looking for something to do with your time and you want to revisit some of the vamp flicks that litter the pop culture landscape, this is worth a shot. You may fair a bit better than I did.

Gaming On the Big Screen

Big news for geeks everywhere today: the film adaptation of game Assassin’s Creed has got a lead in the form of Inglourious Basterds/Prometheus star and all-round attractive person, Michael Fassbender. Let’s take a look at that face, shall we?

Yes, I chose the one where he had eye-liner on. Yes, that’s a thing I have. Shuttup.

I’m into it. I’m well into it. But that’s not the main point here. What I was trying to talk about before I got distracted by that smouldering gaze is the fact that about a million geeks everywhere have just about creamed their pants.

The fact that there were plans for an Assassin’s Creed film is not a revelation. Games company Ubisoft announced at the beginning of last year that they were forming their own company (imaginatively called Ubisoft Motion Pictures) to create films based on its more popular game titles. For the uninitiated, think like Splinter Cell and, of course, Assassin’s Creed. If you’ve not played Assassin’s Creed before, chances are you’re at least familiar with that image of one of the game’s protagonists:

This is not Fassbender’s character. Which is OK with me because I fear that the hood would obscure Fassy’s face. Fassy’s face is excellent and should  be widely celebrated. It is, however, the promotional image used everywhere for Assassin’s Creed, so there’s you might have noticed it floating around.

Anyway, Sony was initially on board as a studio partner to produce the film, however eventually Ubisoft rejected the offer, preferring to keep away from the (floundering) traditional studio system. It’s an interesting move. Basically, the film remains unattached right now but CEO of Ubisoft Motion Pictures, Jean-Julien Baronnet says that they’re “open to re-discuss with key studios once the production package is finalised.” So, that’s it. There’s no release date yet, but Ubisoft have stirred up a nerd frenzy. I do love a good nerd frenzy. All we have to do now, is wait.

Edit: So, the first time I posted this I stuffed up and said that the image above was Desmond Miles. It’s not. It’s another guy. Clearly I don’t game. But luckily, my friend does and has been waiting with baited breath for me to stuff up. It’s been corrected now. Thank you, Jonathon.

Matthew McConaughey’s Freakish Arms

Magic Mike came out recently. I haven’t seen it. Apparently it’s suprisingly good… by which I mean people are shocked that it’s not the worst thing to happen to cinema since forever. So, why am I blogging about a film I haven’t seen? Because all the press photos have brought something of grave importance to my attention. That something is: Matthew McConaughey’s freakishly tiny dinosaur arms. Yes, I am being serious. Yes, I have a lot of time on my hands right now. No, I will not get a “real” job. Seriously though. I know I’m not the first person to notice this. I know this because as soon as I jumped on Google to find more pictures of Matthew McConaughey, it auto-completed to “has short arms.” Further experimentation revealed that it also churns out “has tiny arms” and “dinosaur arms”. (Hours of fun to be had.)

Why is this so interesting to me? Well, to start with, let’s take a look at the man, shall we?

McConaughey, duckface.

Look at this shit. This is the kind of man that women’s magazines tell you that you’re supposed to be in love with. He’s tanned. His jawline is very square. He cleans up alright in a suit (although I’m not really sure what’s going on with that one up there cos it looks like something I bought at a charity store one time). He looks good enough with some stubble that you’re supposed to feel like maybe it would be OK getting a facial rash after making out in the back of his car for an hour (not that that is ever a thing that has happened to me, cough). The bit that we’re all supposed to really enjoy though, is the washboard stomach. It’s everywhere in Magic Mike and, oh, I dunno…EVERY OTHER MOVIE THE MAN HAS EVER DONE. In case you’ve never seen anything he’s done – I wouldn’t blame you, he’s not got a great track record – this is what he looks like without a shirt on:

In ‘Magic Mike’ as some sort of…leather cowboy? I don’t know.

In fact, judging by my Google searches the man may not actually own any shirts. Perhaps they all died in a horrific shirt-related fire. Maybe that’s why no one talks about it? Maybe I am getting off topic? Moving on.

You will notice that I have helpfully removed all of his arms in these photos. That’s because I want you to understand that, looking at him without arms you may think “Oh. That’s a bit of alright. I don’t know what she’s whinging about. Maybe she just doesn’t understand that men are supposed to be blonde, chiselled muscle creatures who apparently never grew any body hair and prance around in leather cowboy outfits.” BUT YOU ARE SO VERY WRONG!! Lurking in the outer edge of these cropped photos are some ludicrously out of proportion arms. They are just as toned and tanned as every other part of him. They’re just much, much smaller. I have compiled the best examples into a photo collage.

First of all, who does this many shirtless exercises in a public space? And second, DO YOU SEE IT!? DO YOU!? Look at the jogging photos, especially. You look at it, you think “Oh it’s fine. Nothing to see here.” And then you stare a little harder. And you realise: Matthew McConaughey has the teeny tiny arms of a velociraptor. At any second he could just break into a run and hunt you down and destroy you using only his mouth and very powerful legs, because his arms are too small to really do anything. How does he hug his wife and child? How does he eat? Does he have to lean in really far to turn on light switches? How does he reach the top shelf in the cupboard?

OK. I am exaggerating slightly. But his arms are really small and I’ve had a lot of coffee. Anyway, that’s it. That’s the gag. I’m sorry. If you want to see more of his freakish arms, Magic Mike is in cinemas everywhere.

The Amazing Spiderman: Andrew Garfield is a Perfect Human.

So…they rebooted the Spiderman movies, guys. This is the bit where the tumbleweed rolls past and the sound of millions of people not giving a shit echoes in your ears. Which is fair enough. Just 5 years after the last of the original films came out, they’ve done the whole shebang again with The Amazing Spiderman. They haven’t really revamped the plotlines at all, but they have done a whole shiny new cast. Which is nice.

In fact, the cast change is probably the only thing I can talk about with this reboot because plot-wise, it’s pretty average. It’s the origin story…again. Probably because they couldn’t think of a way to reintroduce Spiderman with a new actor without having him get bitten by something. This time, instead of battling the Green Goblin, we have Lizard AKA Curt Connors, yet another mad scientist who wants to make humans evolve into better, more efficient beings (mainly lizards) by exploding some kind of green smoke over Manhattan. (On a side note, do you think New Yorkers ever get sick of seeing their city get ripped to shreds?) Also, there’s some unresolved daddy issues regarding Peter Parker’s absent father, which are never really properly dealt with anyway. Basically, there’s nothing in the story that you haven’t seen before, either in the other Spiderman films or in every other origin story ever.

But there’s a new cast, you see?

Well then… what’s new? Why bother remaking the damn thing? Good question. Like I said, the main difference with this film has been the cast change and the character shift that comes with it. Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker was the archetypal nerd: he was shy, he was awkward, he stuttered a bunch. Basically, he just looked and acted like the guy destined to get the shit kicked out of him in films set in American high schools. Over 3 films, his character develops a bit – enough to have some weird (awkward) dance sequence in the last film – but not a lot. By contrast, Andrew Garfield’s Parker is a smartass. He’s still somewhere near the bottom of the high school social food chain (you have to be an underdog to be that kind of hero, I think), but he has a certain something. He’s a bit of rebel whilst still being likeable and a bit jumpy. He’s also vengeful. Uncle Ben’s “with great power” speech is skipped in this film (although, don’t worry: we still get the joy of Uncle Ben being brutally murdered) so Spidey is kind of left to nut out what crime-fighting means for him through a series of misguided crime-fighting pursuits.Which makes sense. Because Spidey is a teenager. Teenagers don’t immediately grasp the intricacies of justice and moral grey areas so much.

Speaking of teenagers: Andrew Garfield is THE PERFECT teenager. A lot of the time, when you get a 27 year old man playing a high school student (which happens a silly amount in these films) you have this weird thing where, despite playing the awkward teenager, the actor is way too in control of their body. They’re too comfortable in their own skin and it just doesn’t work. Andrew Garfield is just all limbs. Like everywhere. He just looks like he never grew into them. You’ve seen the Bambi comparison yeah?

He fucking IS Bambi.

He’s kind of delicate and clumsy looking. So when he’s waving these absurdly long limbs around, you get the distinct impression that he might actually be the sulky teenager he’s portraying. He has the best introduction to his powers I’ve seen in a superhero film in a while, because it’s so accurate for the part of Peter Parker that is still just a teenager. And when he finally starts to become the superhero he’s supposed to be, he starts to move with actual spider-like grace. Which is perfect.

Gwen Stacy, Parker’s love interest, played by Emma Stone, is a bit of a change-up from Kirsten Dunst’s Mary-Jane Watson. Mary-Jane always spent a bit too much time screaming and waiting to be saved for my liking. Gwen does her best to actually participate in the action – as much as the role of “love interest” will ever be allowed to participate in the actual plot of the film, anyway. She’s an intelligent science intern who does have some ridiculous “IT’S SCIENCE!” moments that propel the plot along nicely. (By nicely, I of course mean “in a really obvious fashion”, but hey! She’s involved. It’s cool.) She’s likeable too. Not in the way that Mary-Jane is. Mary-Jane is the “nice girl” – that girl-next-door that we’re all supposed to fall in love with. Gwen, like Peter, is a teenager. She’s awkward too. There’s a lot of nodding and smiling and silences in this film. Which is a pretty accurate depiction of two teenagers who want to have sex trying to have a conversation. Also, it’s bleedingly obvious that Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield are boning in real life. Chemistry up to the eyeballs, people.

Basically, I felt much the same way about The Amazing Spiderman as film, as I did with Spiderman 1, 2 and 3. It was OK. I watched it. There were parts I really enjoyed. My mind wandered a bit, but it was worth seeing. It’s kind of suffering from the same problem that Hulk and The Incredible Hulk had. Having been released so close to each other, everyone remembers Spiderman. Had The Amazing Spiderman been the film that was released in 2002, I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more. Unfortunately, because I have a reference point and an origin story already committed to memory from a film that came out when I was old enough to actually appreciate it, it just seems like more of the same. Which is a shame because I’m not kidding when I say that I think Andrew Garfield is the PERFECT Peter Parker. He really, truly is excellent. Oh well. Maybe they’ll make a second one… and it’ll be…better? Trailer here, in case you missed it.

Random bonus opinion: Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone make a much hotter couple than Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. Because I am shallow this immediately ups my opinion of this film. Shuttup.

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