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Sunday, 13 July 2014

Coisas que eu aprendi durante a Copa do Mundo. (Or things I learned in the World Cup)

I hate football.

It's a bit of an odd start to a blog relating to the biggest football tournament in the world, but I think that the game is hideous non-sport business-led juggernaut that involves grossly overpaid missing-link specimens, red-nosed gum-chewing managers whose antics in any other profession would get them hurled into a disciplinary conduct hearing quicker than you could say "Fergie time," and  who's fans have a reputation that Hitler would've thought was a 'bit obsessive'. But I think that David Mitchell can say it better than me.

However the world cup that has recently just finished with Germany being crowned the Bestest Kickers of Balls 4 EVA has had me oddly drawn in throughout the whole of the thirty-odd days it's been running (or in the case of some players not running but hurling themselves through the air in a fashion that would get them at least a bronze in the Olympic floor exercise gymnastics). I don't know why this is. Maybe it's the spectacle of the international event that's distracted me from the fact that hundreds of poverty stricken Brazilians have been forcibly removed from their homes to make way  for the international money that's been flooding in. Possibly it's because a lots of the top teams have had their arses handed to them by the so-called minnows of the groups. Nevertheless, I have watched and enjoyed a lot of the tournament and learned a few things along the way. Things like this:


  • Brazil have a Hulk, Fred and Bernard in their squad; which sounds like a Last of the Summer Wine/Avengers crossover. 
  • If you want to melt the brain of Jonathan Pearce, use goal line technology.
  • The USA will latch on to any sport that they think they're good at for five minutes. 
  • Lots of football players have GREAT beards. 
  • Phil Neville commentating sounds like someone using an electric shaver. 
  • Mark Lawrenson would sound bored in any continent he was in. 
  • Costa Rica disappointingly don't use any connection to Jurassic Park in any aspect of their football, but nevertheless did really well. 
  • Luis Suarez is the name of a football player. 
  • Schweinsteiger is the most satisfying name to say ever. 
  • Luis Suarez plays for Uruguay. 
  • Every camera operator in Brazil appears to be a pervy man. 
  • Luis Suarez is both a terrible actor and a terrible vampire. He is also a complete dick who's (now) bitten three people. 
  • From what I've seen on twitter, nearly every man who watches football would turn for Thierry Henry.
  • Less so for Gary Lineker (unless he puts his sexy glasses on).
  • No one watches ITV unless they're forced to. 
  • Shaving foam can now be classed as multi-purpose. 
  • The geeks truly have inherited the earth after this was shown at half time in the final on the BBC.
  • England took part. No-one noticed. 
  • Christiano Ronaldo has the most punchable face in the world. Except for Piers Morgan. 
  • I still hate Piers Morgan.
  • Oh, and Germany won. 
So That's what I've learned. I also learned that Wales only ever played in the finals in 1958 and were beaten by Brazil in the days when they weren't being thrashed by Germany. That's nice.

So onto Russia in four years when I will possibly give a shit about football again. But four years is a long time to hold your breath.

Until then, Adidas.


Friday, 27 June 2014

An incredibly late thought filled blog about Skyfall

When it comes to recent films I'm worried that I've become one of two things;

1. I'm worried that I've got to a point where I'm too old to enjoy current big summer/event films without thinking that this "is a bit silly".
2. I'm worried that if I ever watch another Adam Sandler film (or God forbid I actually watch a film by someone  like Kevin James) I'll actually enjoy it and my brain will reconfigure itself to this pathetic level and never recover.

If number 2 happens I'll just kill myself. it'll save everybody a bit of time and prevent people having to read a useless blog post, but it's the first point I'm worried about. One of the main things I like about films like that is switching off the brain and just being entertained without having to think too much and seeing how much popcorn you can get in your mouth at any one time. There should be nothing to worry about watching superheroes fighting inter dimensional aliens and then having a takeaway after. I first felt about point number 1 after watching The Avengers. I felt it again after recently watching Skyfall.

The main feeling I felt after watching Skyfall was feeling a bit underwhelmed, but that may be the fact that I was expecting truly great things after hearing so many positive things in the media, specifically in the places that you wouldn't normally expect a good write up (Hello Sunday Times Culture magazine). I mean, it's not bad but it's just......well I'll get to that.

As it starts, it features Bond running after some guy who has stolen a bit of a laptop from another guy who's clearly the victim of the government's new crackdown of leaving flash drives on trains, as he's been stabbed (or shot, I'm not sure but he was bleeding and that, I feel, was the main point). Bond displays an unusual thing on his face called "emotion" and then continues his running. He then gets in a car with Moneypenny (sorry SPOILERS) and he fulfills the sexist requisite of the Bond character by implying she hasn't got the balls to drive like a man and therefore crashes it into the bad guy as much as possible before they both jump onto bikes, because the car simply isn't phallic enough. They then do stuff which ends up with them both on top of the a train and M tells Moneypenny to shoot the bad guy, which makes her shoot Bond (coz, y'know girls cant shoot straight and talk about hair and boys and stuff). He falls into the opening credits and pops up at the bottom of a Heineken bottle in an undisclosed location. Centreparks if I'm not mistaken.

Back in Rainy London, M stops watching Jeremy Kyle because Ralph Fiennes comes into say that she's killed enough people and can now retire. Before she can say "heating allowance" a bomb goes off and blows up MI5 (or is it MI6? what's the difference? is MI6 the "Bond universe" one so to confuse movie going terrorists?) Bond sees this on his convenient Sony TV that picks up BBC news anywhere in the world and decides that he has just enough time to come back before he loses j.bond@mi6.gov.uk email address to Jonathan in accounting and he'll have to resign himself to being j.bond1 forever.

So Bond goes through the Physical and mental test and we're now worried as he can't shoot straight anymore, because he hurt his arm earlier. Probably. However despite having a lower competency score than Frank Drebin, M allows him to go out and try and do stuff without killing anybody before getting information. Something he failed ENTIRELY in Quantum of Solace as he killed pretty much everyone he wasn't supposed to. Luckily this time he finds the guy he's after and catches him before he falls to his death and interrogates him. But as his arm is a bit poorly, the poor guy falls to his death.  Bond searches his stuff and seeing there's a contractual obligation that he can't go two films without going to a casino, he find a poker chip. Bond then goes to Shanghai, meets the bond girl "most likely to die in this film" and has an exchange of dialogue so bad Roger Moore would've questioned it before filming.

In "the morning after" Bond and soon to be dead bond girl go on a boat to meet the villain of the piece and somehow wind up as prisoners by the time they get to his bad guy island. The film then actually then begins to turn in to a proper Bond film as Javier Bardem (who apparently was the only one to turn up and have some fun) walks out telling a story about rats and suggests that he fancies Bond.

Bond retorts by flirting back and internally considering that for once sex was not a preferable escape route. The unluckiest bond girls in the world fulfills her destiny as having a completely undignified death and Bond finally thinks enough is enough and kicks the shit out of everyone and takes Javier to Britain.

However the new Q is a complete smug-arse and plugs Javier's laptop into MI6 and all hell breaks loose.

Christ I'm getting bored of this. Look; shit happens, they go to Scotland and Bond kills everyone and M gets in the way and dies. Ralph Finnes becomes M and Moneypenny becomes, well Moneypenny.

As strange as it may seem from the sarky shit I've written I actually did enjoy this film. But there was a lot that bugged me. I think what's really wrong with Skyfall is that it can't decide what it wants to be. Obviously it wants to be a celebration of Bond over fifty years (which in all honesty is something to be proud of. Only Star Trek & Doctor Who is closing in on it's fiftieth anniversary and you get the impression that celebration party would be Bond trying to ditch the Dr and Kirk and Picard with an excuse of having to get up in the morning to fill in paper work on why he's trashed his 15th Aston Martin) and that's not bad thing, but it's playing against the reboot that only happened a few years ago with Casino Royale and by mentioning exploding pens (Golendeye, philistines) and having the Aston Martin DB5 form Goldfinger as a major plot point, then it takes the continuity on a trip through a paradox so confusing you'd want to watch Primer for a more straightforward narrative.

One of the other problems is that Daniel Craig appears to be trying his hardest to accommodate a script with comedy beats in it but he just doesn't look comfortable. At all. I'm not saying he's not a competent Bond, he holds the action brilliantly and looks good in a suit, but there's something about it that just doesn't fully convince that he's Britain's greatest spy. However, on the plus side the cinematography is wonderful, it's truly beautifully shot. Especially Scotland. Also, props must go to Judi Dench who fully conveys the full weight of all that shit that's been thrust upon her (mostly her own doing, if we're honest) and makes Bond cry. I assume Geoffrey Palmer cried as well.

Some smug people in the critics circles mention that the ending is like Home Alone because of all the the traps they set for the bad guys. Except that in Home Alone Kevin doesn't actually kill Joe Pesci as otherwise he would spend the rest of his life in therapy and foster homes.

the thing is with Skyfall, if you hold it up to the rest of the Bond series then it doesn't really work. But the thing is since they rebooted the series with Casino Royale, none of the Daniel Craig films work. Bond grew up and changed. Sure they still have the references and the cars and the weapons that we're all familiar with but it could never continue the way it used to be as those times of raised eyebrows have long gone. Bardem evokes the time when Bond villians were larger than life but it it also goes to prove how dull bad guys are in a millions other sub standard thriller films these days. Barden brings a new kind of fun, that's what the series needs now.

Casino Roayle set a precedent to what the bond films can be. Skyfall doesn't help this cause, but the next few hopefully take the franchise in the way that's it meant to. Forward. But hey, it make a billion at the box office, so what do I know?