Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The Killing

I just finished watching The Killing and I have to say I was very impressed. I found it hard to concentrate on the subtitles at first without endless tweeting and fannying around as I normally do when I watch something, but it grips you quite quickly (I'd say 2 episodes in). NB. I'll try not to spoilerise for those who haven't seen it but I might mention a few minor details so if you want to be safe, you might not want to read (I wouldn't, because I'm really anal about not reading reviews until I've seen something). But don't worry, I wont tell you whodunnit.
I'm trying to work out what makes this show so watchable, and what's good about it, but it's hard to explain. I wouldn't watch an ITV drama about a murder investigation, so why this? Well, initially because of the hype, of course. But just what is so gripping about it?
I think the format is partly responsible; 20 days to solve a murder investigation gives you enough time to get into it and really look forward to the next episode.
The main draw, I suppose, is the lead character DCI Sara Lund, who's one hairstyle is a ratty ponytail, and two outfits that consist of a white jumper your nan would knit you for Christmas with black stitching, and then the exact same jumper in black with white stitching. At one point she rips the jumper; the next day she's still wearing the fucker. She never stopped to sew it up, I'll tell you that much. She doesn't even stop to sleep. The main story is that she gets so wrapped up in solving the murder of Nanna Birk Larsen (get ready to hear the words 'Nanna Birk Larsen' about 20 billion times) that she forgets she has a boyfriend, son, and pretty much everything else.
There are lots of good things about The Killing. I like the relationship with her 'partner' Mayer (actually her replacement, but she outstays her welcome). He's a brilliant character, scoffing Wotsits and chain smoking (indoors! Racy) pretty much the whole series. I like the fact Lund is so dismissive of his smoking and then about halfway through she asks for a toke on one of his fags, and after that she's just a full time smoker.
There are so many cool scenes in it; *spoiler*when she stops the plane was soooo fucking cool. You were just thinking 'so, she's really going back to Sweden?' then it's like 'nah!' I like the tension in the first few episodes when her boyfriend is just constantly ringing saying 'so you're coming today?' and she's 'yeah, I'll be there Saturday.' Yeah.
In fact the whole way the end of the episodes is set up is cool, it's shot really nicely and they play this tense music so you know shit's about to kick off. They always have a good cliffhanger, too.
The other key character is the unfortunately named Troels Hartmann, aka a blonde Martin Kemp, who is running for Mayor of Copenhagen and gets dragged into the murder case, although by the amount of fuss about the election you'd think he was running for President of the USA. So is he the only honest politician on the planet? His assistant (Claudia Winkleman) is certainly a bit shady.
My suspicions were raised when it looked like they solved the murder in episode 15 (with 5 episodes to go? Come on) and in an episode shortly after that something so shocking happens I could barely sleep that night. Is it far fetched? Completely! But it's totally compelling. Lund's spiral into complete obsession with cracking the case is brilliant, and brilliantly acted. I like it at one point when she gets into trouble and they take her badge off her. When her boss realises she was right, he doesn't say sorry, just gives her her badge back on the sly. It's little touches like that which keep it really clever and cool. Towards the end she's still trying to run the investigation from the back of a police car. You've got to admire her spirit.
OK, I haven't ruined too much, I hope. If you haven't seen it, watch it! And when you watch the last episode, at the end they have an advert for The Killing 2, which got me all excited! I'm going to be fluent in Danish at this rate.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Piers Morgan's Life Stories: Russell Brand

I have been totally immersed in Russell Brand this year, from Booky Wook 2, to binging on all the old BBC6 and Radio 2 podcasts- I've been listening to about five or six a week so I'll virtually got Russell Brand narrating my thoughts at this point.
Yet- what's wrong with this picture? Mr Katy Perry doesn't speak like the Russell in my head ie. like himself anymore. America has chipped away at away at all his rough edges, all the little things that make him him. His films are poor. I have always thought he works better off the cuff, on Dancefloor Chart and Big Mouth and running wild on the radio. A script sucks the life out of him.
Anyway, it's still good to see his gummy old face, so let's see what he's got to say to old Piers.
WTF it was like he just walked onto Stars In Your Eyes at the start! Weirdness. I miss his beard! That's the first thing I'll blame the boring Perry for. His hair looks gross, too.
Oh hold up, he's talking in his normal accent! Rejoice. He seems weird and awkward! What's he wearing? It's like he's got his school uniform on.
Mr Gee! Do a poem. I've never actually seen his face before. That's weird.
SACHSGATE. Oh God, is there anything left to be said? Russell should just say 'it was a joke, get over it.' It doesn't deserve the seriousness that they're treating it with.
An advert for Arthur? A coincidence, surely! Ahem.
I liked hearing the stuff about his youth and relationship with his parents and reinventing himself when he went to college.
DANCEFLOOR CHART! Amaze. What great clips from that. I need the whole series of Dancefloor Chart on DVD NOW. I used to hate Russell at first when he was on that, and then just suddenly realised he was a genius. All my best celebrity relationships start with hate: Morrissey, Courtney, Russell. Dancefloor Chart is comedy in its purest form and makes me feel deeply nostalgic for those glory days of raving. It is so of its time, it makes me want to weep.
I'm not surprised he doesn't regret taking drugs, because they gave him some fantastic anecdotes, and shaped who he is. I like the revelation: 'I spose you don't have to take drugs every day.'
He IS vain, I don't care what he says! OMG I'd die to watch all those old Big Mouth's again- someone must have them! Stick 'em on a torrent! PLEASE.
Why is Helen Mirren so up his arse! She lurves him.
His answer to being faithful is not very reassuring, I don't think. If my boyfriend said that, I wouldn't be happy. I don't personally think Russell can be faithful and I do wonder what will happen him. But then, I'm not married to him. I also worry that she's the first great love of his life. There's a lot at stake there. Personally, I don't think she's interesting or intelligent enough for him. But he does seem happy.
I do think Russell is less funny now he's controversial. That's not to say I want him back on drugs or unhappy. But he has lost his edge.
Me and my boyfriend had a bet (which would have helped our evening along) that involved Russell Brand mentioning Morrissey in this interview. But he didn't. And frankly, it's ruined our evening. BOO.

Monday, 11 April 2011

I'll still be watching Misfits

As with most things these days, I discovered Misfits late (earlier this year in fact). I wasn't too keen on the thought at first, having stuck it in the box marked 'Skins'. Superheroes are not particularly a subject I relish either.
Well, both of these preconceptions were entirely WRONG. The story centres around five kids in their early twenties who meet doing community service. They are NOT superheroes, but each gets given a superpower when they get hit by lightning in a storm. For the life of me I'll never understand how Alisha's power is of any benefit whatsoever, but I won't spoil it. The brilliant hook of the first series is you don't get to find out what Nathan (the main character's) superpower is until the last episode.
The show is nothing like Skins, and is for adults, although I can imagine if I'd discovered it at 15 I would have been gleeful with all the sex and swearing in it.
The casting is excellent, with main character Nathan a particular joy. He is half super-annoying, half super-funny, crude, rude, cute and stupid. He's an arrogant little upstart, but you just love him. Kelly, the incomprehensible chav is also inspired casting with the best one liners. She's one of the most peculiar looking people I've ever seen, but that makes her perfect, because they're almost like caricatures/ cartoon characters. There's also Simon the super-geek, Curtis the Olympic runner-turned-drug cheat, and Alisha the sex maniac. You really fall for the characters.
The writing is really excellent, and the fact that half the town also has superpowers is a brilliant device as it gives them new scope for ideas and storylines each week. The writer who thought of that little twist must be very pleased with him/herself. It is also beautifully shot(I'm still not even sure where it's set!); I love the fact it all centres around the community centre and the rooftop they hang out on is the kind of place that only exists in TV or on films. I'm wondering if it will still be in the community centre next series as their ASBOs have all expired, but maybe they'll get done for something new!
The first series ends in an episode with Nathan on a roof, giving the best speech in any TV series since Stuart's coming out speech* in Queer as Folk. I won't ruin it, but I think it might have been the coolest moment on TV I saw this year, and certainly only Breaking Bad gets much cooler than that, and in a much more understated way.
The second series is just as good as the first, with the Grand Theft Auto episode being particularly inspired- the writers just understand their target audience so well. And I mean really understand it; not giving us what they think we want like T4 or something. The Christmas episode seemed a bit cobbled together, but worth it for Simon's line 'I'm going to kill Jesus.'
I was going to write this blog anyway this week, but it's timely because the Irish actor Robert Sheehan who plays Nathan announced he's not going to do the third series because he's had a successful movie. There's been uproar with people going they're not going to watch it anymore, but it's not ALL about Nathan. They are casting a new character, and if they get it right, and I don't see why they shouldn't, I think the show can survive. I'll be gutted to see the back of Nathan because he's brilliantly played and written. But the show must go on and I will still be watching. I think Curtis's character could be fleshed out a lot more, and all the nonsense with Simon and Alisha is presumably going somewhere, so there's still lots more to know about. I hope Kelly takes centre stage, because she's underused as well, and she's great. I will miss Nathan calling Simon Barry, and his afro, and his superpower, which was of course, the best one of all.
But I will still be watching Misfits. If you haven't seen it, you've got a brilliant few episodes to watch. Enjoy.

*FYI Stuart's speech went like this: 'Queers. Because I'm queer. I'm gay. I'm homosexual. I'm a poof, I'm a poofter, I'm a ponce. I'm a bumboy, batty-boy, backside artist, bugger. I'm bent. I am that arsebandit. I lift those shirts. I'm a faggot-ass, fudge-packing, shit-stabbing uphill gardener. I dine at the downstairs restaurant, I dance at the other end of the ballroom. I'm Moses and the parting of the red cheeks. I fuck and I am fucked. I suck and I am sucked. I rim them and wank them, and every single man's had the fucking time of his life. And I am not a pervert. If there's one twisted bastard in this family, it's this little blackmailer here. So congratulations, Thomas. I've just officially outed you.' Swoon.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Louis Theroux: America's Most Hated Family in Crisis

Some things are so provocatively odious (Richard Littlejohn, Amanda Platell, Jordan) that you become desensitised to the dark heart of evil because it just seems like nothing could be that awful without it being some sick joke. That's how I feel about this shower of shitbags.
Louis has covered this family before, and I've seen them on talk shows, with their whole 'god hates fags, people with cancer deserve it, we're really fucking thick and ugly, blah blah blah.'
Wearing a bandana that says 'thank god for cancer' is like someone getting a Swastika tattooed on their forehead. So ridiculously provocative, that if you're shocked by it, you're the moron, and they've won. But also you've won, because you're not having to grow an overnight fringe before a job interview. It's all fun and games.
Look at her showing off her silly signs. Their comms materials are appalling, they need a brand redesign. Everything looks like a David Icke powerpoint presentation. I honestly feel like she's taking the piss. It doesn't feel like genuine malice to me. It's just a giant attention seek.
LOL to that guy telling Louis he's up there with Pontius Pilate. I don't know who that is, but it don't sound good.
Do these guys hate Muslims, too? I mean, they must, right? Why don't the Taliban go take them down! Fight extremism with extremism! Which is better? I'd like to see that fight on Harry Hill.
This family who've disowned their daughter is tragic, but they're no more bigoted than Zainab and Masood. Hate is hate.
Jack weasel! Sad when he went to visit the daughter who left the cult and she said her dad used to be liberal and in a rock band. It reminded me of how my dad looked in photos before he got into his stupid religion. The power of religious indoctrination can turn the strongest people into mindless sheep; I've seen it happen, and more than once. It's the hardest thing to argue with in the world.
The daughter seemed very wise and knew exactly what that religion was all about; control. As with most religions (if not all). Cults are worse than cancer or car accidents in lots of ways, because the way out is there, they just won't take it. It's a living tragedy, like someone you love with incurable brain damage.
LOL I like her Lady Gaga 'fornicating' remix. Why wont someone shoot that cunt (not Gaga, this old hag)? There's enough people with guns out there. Why aren't people gobbing on her or knocking her out and saying 'it's God's will'? Gift horse times!
This pop video parodying thing is just another attention seek. They'll be parodying pornos next.
This girl with the tsunami wallpaper (very cute- can I get some child abuse curtains to go with that?) looks like she's got fucking ugly since 2006. Proves you get the face you deserve as she's turning into the mother crone before our VERY eyes.
LOL to hearing an 11 year old saying 'they're just a bunch of filthy fags' and telling Louis to shut up. What a well-brought up young man! Delightful child.
So is Louis culpable for feeding the trolls? I don't know. He's not exactly on their side, is he, but do they need the publicity? Should we put them on TV? I don't see why not, really. They're hanging themselves.
It was weird to hear Louis say 'you're deeply wrong and offensive'. I prefer it when he just raises an eyebrow, personally. We KNOW he thinks that.
LOL to them calling the Koran an 'piece of trash'. The Daily Mail would love this bitch! She's a piece of work. Beyond. Oh no, they got to me, because I did just start to feel angry! ARGH! I was rising above it so well!
On an aside: look at the size of the houses these people have in America! I'm jealous.
That realisation the 2nd girl who left the cult had who just had that feeling 'I've got to get out of here'- THAT'S the feeling that you can't force someone to have. That's the feeling a battered wife has to feel, and that you can never talk into her. That's a real epiphany; and some people get one- and some don't, and die, or rot. It's the human spirit- and sometimes you can claw it back. But often not. Thank god she did. Poor thing.
The loathing I feel for parents that don't give a fuck about their children is beyond words. They are the ones going to the 'hottest part of hell'.
'I'm a human being'? Not so much. That wife is a dickhead- 'what he said'. Moron features. Why would God want you to live forever? You're a fucking mess! You're an (un)emotional disaster.
It was interesting when he pulled that girl (who looks like Amber off of Big Brother USA Season 8, incidentally) apart a bit about that boy that she basically has a crush on.
LOL to Louis going 'well, the Bible would say that, wouldn't it'. He's getting feisty in his old age.
Note to Lady Gaga: you need to sue these cunts. They are making your music sound even shitter than it already is. No mean feat.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Palma Nova, Majorca: A cultural review

I've never reviewed a holiday before! Cos I haven't been on holiday in ages. It saves me having to actually tell people how my holiday went and we did see some culture (of sorts). My boyfriend and I just got back from five days in sunny Palma Nova, Spain. And yes, it's sunny in Spain. Bloody sunny! In admirable Brits-abroad style we've come back burnt to a crisp.
We got a really cheap deal through Ice Lolly and flew out with Easy Jet (I'm not getting sponsored by these, more's the pity) and arrived late Sunday night. The flight was great, two hours, really easy and our hotel was right by this bar we'd read about before we went called Banana Joes- a classy establishment, drenched in neon and selling pints of vodka and Red Bull for 5 euros. We rather overdid it on the first night considering we got there at midnight and ended up not being able to sleep due to the Red Bull. Silly. The vodkas they give you are quadruples as well. We also sampled sangria but I didn't like it (surprise, surprise).
Our hotel was called Aparthotel Aquasol (also not sponsoring me) and was so cool. We had this cute little apartment with a couch, our own kitchen, bedroom, and even a bath. I loved it, it was such a great place to relax and we had our own balcony. The hotel had everything you could need from a bar, shop and an outdoor swimming pool (although it was ABSOLUTELY FREEZING!) Some of the clientèle left a little to be desired- ie. the bloke who flashed his arse and penis on the last day. Nice. It was definitely a bit on the Jeremy Kyle casting-couch side. In fact, the worst thing about Palma Nova is the pandering they are doing to the scummy British tourist, with every pub showing Corrie and Eastenders, and doing awful approximations of British food. In fact, we need to talk about the food.
Food isn't a good thing for me at the best of times, but the food in particular was TERRIBLE. Even a fry-up tasted gross, and I'd rather not mention the half roast chicken I had one night that was swimming in a pool of grease. It was absolutely rank. The best thing my boyfriend had to eat was an Indian from a place called Saffron Desi. That was the only decent food we had the whole holiday (and I don't eat Indian). We did eat about ten McDonalds (a day). Oh, I did have a nice toasted sausage sandwich on the last day.
Apart from that, we spent every day on the beach and it was absolutely gorgeous. Really deep light-coloured sand in a lovely little cove, and a small strip with shops, cafes and bars. It's a really cute little area, and it was really relaxing to just lie on the beach all day and have hardly anyone around. The sea is a perfect blue and we had a paddle but it was too cold to go in! There's not a hell of a lot to do (particularly off-season when some things are shut) but all we wanted to do was eat, drink and read so it was great.
We could also walk to Magaluf from where we are, which was quite empty, but full of trashy bars, karaoke places and people trying to drag you off the street to drink disgusting cocktails. I can only imagine what that place is like mid-summer.
The only other thing we did is on Thursday went into the town of Palma and saw the gigantic cathedral and then went to the aquarium (expensive, but pretty good, except a turtle that looked a bit mental). Apart from that we laid around the pool and drank to kill time on our last day before the flight (but we didn't drink that much, it was too hot!)
I'm really glad we went 'off-season' as it was so warm and lovely and not too busy. It definitely got busier as the week went on. I do feel a bit sorry for the staff at the hotel where we stayed as I get the feeling they must see some sights. But I think we timed it just right to avoid the glut of the riff-raff. Is it snobbery to want to experience Spanish things in Spain? If I'm gonna watch Eastenders I might as well stay at home. There's this 'British' bar/cafe there called Castaways and people go there and drink from morning to night. They are just slumped there frazzled by the end of the day. It really is a sorry sight. My boyfriend coined a new phrase for people out there *indomitable* which means they are a certain size and shape. We saw a LOT of indomitable types.
All in all, a really enjoyable holiday and worth it for the beautiful beaches alone. And our flight back only had about five people on it!