Saturday, 18 July 2015

My thoughts on Gay Pride/Women's Day etc...

Though this blog title makes this post sound like it's going to be really negative, I promise it's not.

Today is Newcastle Gay Pride 2015 and thousands of people, gay, straight, pansexual etc., are flocking to wear rainbow colours, party, celebrate and have a good time. And here's my first point. Straight people will be attending to celebrate and show public acceptance of  being gay and that's really amazing. Especially considering even twenty, thirty years ago that just couldn't have happened and being homosexual was shunned and denied. But now we get to embrace all sexualities and choose the kind of love we want, and have a day to celebrate it.

However my problem lies in the fact that only homosexuality is being celebrated. I'm not saying that in a closed-minded grandparent kind of way where it's like, 'why must they flaunt it why is there no straight day back in my day...' Because that kind of closed-minded thinking is why it's taken so long for (most of) society to be as accepting as it is today and for prejudice to still be scarily prevalent among all generations of people.

My thinking is not that we shouldn't celebrate gayness, but that all sexualities should come together one day a year to celebrate all types of love. No one chooses to be straight or gay or any other sexuality, and just because heterosexuality is more socially accepted doesn't mean it shouldn't be celebrated too. In fact I would go so far to say that a Straight Pride day would in fact be transgressive and counter-productive, because it isolates anyone who isn't straight. Though Gay Pride has straight people too their sexualities aren't also being celebrated. Loving any kind of human being is an act in itself which should be celebrated by all. I would really enjoy seeing Sexuality Pride (maybe something a bit catchier) becoming popular, and everyone no matter what their preference partying together and being a bit more inclusive to any human who wishes to celebrate loving people. That sounds really hippie-ish but I really believe it. 

This brings me to my second point. Women's Day. Because I'm a woman I feel I can speak more openly about this topic without seeming subversive to the causes these days are trying to promote. I realise that of the two genders, women have been the most oppressed and still are to this day. However having a Women's Day will not solve this. The only people it seems to invite to celebrate being a woman is obviously... Women. It's so polarising. It's like, "men, get you're own day. This is ours!" In my opinion polarising whoever you are seeking to gain equality to isn't the right way of achieving your goal. Again, no one chooses their gender but it does tend to define you if you let it. Glass ceilings, fashion, segregated toilets, maternity/paternity leave etc. males also get discriminated, possibly not as much as women I have to say, but still there are  problems with identifying as a member of either, both or neither gender. Having a Gender Day (again let's think of a better name...) would be so much better. The whole of humanity celebrating the primary difference that separates two halves of Earth's popularity. Oh and guess what? Gender Day means whether you're transsexual, genderfluid, whatever you want to be, you get to celebrate that too!

We would all get to celebrate the fundamental differences that we all possess that not just make us unique but also connect and relate us to those who ALSO have those differences! 

Anyone that can call themselves a supporter of all of the following has a name. If you believe in equality for all races, sexualities, genders, don't use names like feminist etc. the word is HUMANIST. You believe all humans have the same worth. And though everyone is entitled to their opinion if yours is that anyone is worth less than anyone else, then your opinion is WRONG.

Just to throw some others into the mix: Black History Month. Like Morgan Freeman said, how can you fit the whole of black history into one month? More to the point, WHY should you? Celebrating your race/sexuality/gender whatever it is that makes you different, should be something that happens every day. Ideally we should be accepting of all differences - but that would be in a perfect world. Until that time can we all not just be accepting of ourselves and everyone else instead of picking one thing and saying "okay this is the difference we'll celebrate today and no one else should join in." What we should be doing is saying "okay we're all different why don't we all accept those differences and those of others." 

So let's work on some catchier names and start celebrating complete and total equality. 

Humanists unite!

Friday, 17 July 2015

Knock Knock (2015) Film Review

Keanu Reeves. What have you done?

There's just no explanation for his career nosediving at the moment. One minute (well, like two decades ago) he's starring in The Matrix, one of the best sci-fi films ever, the next he's starring in piles of turd like John Wick and Knock Knock. WTF?

John Wick was laughable, stupid, poorly thought out, zero characterisation, illogical, conventional, predictable. And yet it had a bit of action and it was so bad it was funny, so it wasn't too bad. Knock Knock, on the other hand, is the worst film I have EVER subjected my brain to. Ever. In my whole life. It was even worse than the hour and a half of nothingness which was Open Water. (Remember - that film where those two idiots went on some risky half-price deep sea diving session and got left behind and then the sharks try and eat them for a bit and you think they're going to be saved and then they both die so the whole thing was pointless anyway and not like 127 Hours where at least it gave you a bit of optimism and hope to remember it by? No? And BTW before you complain about spoilers that film is over 11 years old and if you haven't seen it now you never will. And you never should.)

This film seems to not be able to decide whether it is tongue in cheek or completely serious. It fades in and out of both, leaving you confused on how to take the film. If it had been just a bit more ridiculous and out there it could have been hilarious. But it took itself too seriously right up until the very last scene when it left you thinking - was I supposed to laugh through this?

The first half is basically any middle-aged man's wildest fantasies come true. But it literally takes half the film to introduce characters and setting and for a bit of flirting. Exposition should not be half of the film. It is so slow paced I considered leaving the cinema, which I have never done. Then things actually begin to happen and you kind of wish it would just go back to nothing happening because there are so many *facepalm* moments it's hard to keep track. Then it's all about karma, bitch. But you feel nothing for Keanu's character so it's hard to care what happens to him. I kind of wish more had happened to him for a bit of excitement or mystery but nope. Convenient visitors happen instead.

Keanu plays his character well, but who can take him seriously as a dad? He, like, smiles and everything. It's weird. It's cringey. The two women who play his tormentors are a bit over the top at times, and some of the torture techniques are downright stupid, but they are believable as psychos. When the credits rolled I suddenly understood why he had starred in this hyper-sexual film. He was only the executive producer! Now it all makes sense. I used to love Eli Roth films (Hostel series, Cabin Fever). When I was of a single digit age. Now I'm older and I have standards I know that his films are generally to be avoided. His only achievement was being "The Bear Jew" in Inglorious Basterds. And that was a long time ago now. (As a side note - did we all realise that Cabin Fever is getting a reboot this year? Of all the films that deserve a remake, this is not one of them.)

I honestly would not recommend this film to my worst enemy. The crappest film I have ever seen and I wish I could get my cinema fee back so I could buy this DVD just to use it as my own torture technique. It would be better than any actually used in the film anyway.

TL;DR: Complete heap of turd. Keanu has sold out.

My rating - 0/10.
IMDb - 6.5/10 (Did they see the same film as me?)
Rotten Tomatoes - 4.4/10

PS. *SPOILER* If someone threatening to kill you says "you must stay in the house!" you do not stay in the house. You do not then, five minutes later when they are actively seeking you, try to leave the house. You do not then immediately trip over THE WORLD'S BIGGEST RANDOM TROLLEY OR WHATEVER WAS OUTSIDE THAT HE TRIPPED ON HOW DIDN'T HE SEE IT THEY WERE GOING TO KILL HIM WHY WASN'T HE LESS CLUMSY IN THIS SITUATION?!?!!?!

Ted 2 (2015) Film Review

We saw this over a week after its release date and yet even still the cinema was completely packed! Not a spare seat was to be had, which is pretty impressive, considering the whole room of around one hundred adults were all sitting, waiting expectantly to see a film about a bear with a more interesting life than all of us put together.

Ted (the first) was funny but not too memorable. I think this film, surprisingly for a sequel, is even more hilarious than its predecessor! It's witty, smart, topical, unexpected. Particularly funny, without ruining it, were the comedy club scene, the F. Scott Fitzgerald piece. Just having the characters bounce off each other with their jokes and random conversations, so natural it seemed real, were the funniest parts. 

All the things we no longer expect from a comedy. Just when you think comedies have run out of ideas, a teddy bear sues America for its human rights. After seeing the advert I wasn't sure how they'd stretch that idea out over a feature film length of time but they managed. Some of the plot was tediously relevant, some was crazy but forgiveable because of its entertainment factor. Seth MacFarlane, with all his gags about drugs, must have been on some himself to write this mental film.

Mark Wahlberg's character in the first half is so cut up over his divorce to Mila Kunis' character from the first film that actually he's a wet drip and rarely amusing until he gets into it a bit and they stop focusing in on their cover up for whatever reason Mila didn't want to rejoin the cast. Amanda Seyfried plays a totally different character as a drug-obsessed lawyer but it was strange and kind of jarring hearing her swear and watching her take hits from a bong when normally she plays sweet or PG-rated characters. She played the character well, but I think a funnier actress could have brought the role much more life. However the Lord of the Rings references made to her made me laugh so hard it hurt. Obviously Seth MacFarlane did an amazing job as Ted, without so much as one flat joke. Liam Neeson's five minutes of fame in the film were so random, weird and crazy but fun none-the-less.

Plot aside, the film did what it was supposed to. It had us laughing pretty much constantly from start to finish, with belly laughs aplenty. Belly laughs are the true measure of a good comedy, anything can have you chuckling but only a true funny film can have you with tears in your eyes. You leave in a better mood than you arrived, and what else can you ask for?

Obviously it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea with its slapstick, rude, crude jokes but it definitely was mine. It'll never be a firm favourite but it's one of the funniest films I've seen this year.

My rating: 8/10

IMDb rating: 6.8/10

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 4.6/10

True Detective (2014) TV Series 1 Review

True Detective series one managed to stay under the radar for quite a while. It didn't plague our TVs, mainly during adverts time for Sky Atlantic, really until series two, when Colin Ferrell and Rachel McAdams' faces were plastered everywhere. 

Me and my friends decided to watch series one on a whim. I hadn't heard if it was good or bad, knew nothing of what it was about or how well it had been received. All we knew was it was quite probably going to be about two detectives played by Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey. I love both of these actors and I know in recent times they only star in roles of films that I have really enjoyed.

Woody - The Hunger Games series, Zombieland, Seven Pounds (that one that flopped with Will Smith but was really good) and No Country for Old Men (amazing book). Apparently Woody was also in Friends With Benefits??

Matthew - Interstellar and The Wolf of Wall Street, where he began gaining a reputation as being a real, serious actor at last.

(Let's not talk of their career beginnings. I'm looking at you, Matthew, with those awful romcoms like Failure to Launch with Sarah Jessica Parker, How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and Sahara. But 
everyone's got to put dinner on the table somehow, I suppose.)

Anyway, based on the credentials of the show's two lead males, it looked good. So we tried, three times, to watch it, but each time we ended up getting bored around 10 minutes in, talking over the top of it, getting confused, and giving up. This didn't bode well. The fourth time, we decided to not talk and really concentrate.

The first episode is good, but not great. The characters are interesting, the plot is set up, and the flashbacks and present timelines intersecting is a really intriguing way of telling the story, because we were all asking, "Where is this going to go? What have the characters done? Who exactly are the real detectives?" For most of the series, there are more questions than answers. The series builds and builds throughout, each episode better than the last, right up until the last two episodes. The ending, for me, fell massively flat. 


So we are given a fascinating, intricate plot that keeps you guessing all the time about who could be the ultimate murderer. From episode one, I was convinced either Woody, Marty, or Matthew, Rust, or both were the murderers. I imagined this web of lies, involving the police as was suggested by Matthew all along, with a huge ending revealing everyone who appeared so innocent actually being a part of the ring of murders. The episodes grew in tension and we couldn't turn it off, dying to find out more and the mystery growing deeper and darker.

Woody, Marty, is a character who seems so nice and innocent on the surface, but is really a cheat, abusive to his family, a drunk, and a liar. Matthew, Rust, is a reserved, intelligent, philosophical character who I think we're supposed to dislike but who was my favourite throughout. I loved the long soliloquies where he would talk and teach about some philosophical idea like life being a circle. Because Rust only hurts himself with drugs and drink I didn't think he would be the murderer. Because Marty hurts his family and lost control of his emotions when he shot those men at the covered up drug shoot out I thought it was him. Rust said whoever the killer was had done it before and I thought that was hinting to Marty. Nope.

The last two episodes were confusing. They added irrelevant questions and confusing details that seemed to make no sense and come out of thin air to move the plot along. Then there was the big reveal. Who have they been chasing this whole time? 

Only a conventional, fat, red neck character who was like any The Hills Have Eyes or House of Wax stereotypical evil man who is psychotic, inbred, disgusting, fat, unhygenic, in a hillbilly house that's vile. What the hell, True Detective? It promised a perpetrator worthy of the high quality the series had delivered so far, and then they drop this bombshell that actually it was the dude we briefly met that is really tediously attached to the schools, not involved with the police, not involved with anyone just himself and his sister/wife. All the build up, mystery and intrigue were completely let down. The big reveal was just the guy sitting on his little lawnmower muttering to himself and that's how you find out it was him. Right.

Marty and Rust, to catch the killer, have to run through this weird labyrinthine underground hideout where he hid all the bodies. Which got me thinking. If this dude is smart enough to kill and hide them never to be found in his Batman cave thing, then why the hell does he put the very first murdered girl on a damn hill with reindeer antlers and devil gates or whatever those sticks are, for the police to find?! Especially decorating her up with easy clues to connect him with her? Idiot.

So we're in the cave. The guy's there doing this weird voice-throwing thing that has Rust tripping balls seeing skies open in the roof. Then Rust is stabbed, Marty saves him, for Rust to then save him in return. So many mega convenient  deus ex machina that just have you rolling your eyes wishing for the end. Then the end comes, by way of an emotional conversation followed by a philosophical conversation that seems like it should be relevant but tries to hard to be #deep. Such a good series ruined by its rushed, sub-par ending. I would think twice about recommending this just because of the disappointment every viewer will inevitably feel.

The first six episodes - 9.5/10
The final two episodes - 4/10
Overall - 7

TL;DR: Watch it for the bromance, but don't get too attached to the storyline.