Thursday, March 29, 2012

Copy Fail: Next

Generally speaking, it’s not a good idea to use more words describing a product’s drawbacks rather than its positives.

The fact that the writer makes little effort to sell a £10 product is bad enough, but the fact that more text is dedicated to the problems of returning the product automatically produces the implication that the customer is likely to be unhappy with the purchase, and will probably want to return it.

It’s a bit like that warning they read to you very quickly at the end of adverts for loans or mortgages. But now imagine that message was longer than the actual advert.

Seriously, at least put the warning in small writing, somewhere away from the main message. Otherwise, as in the case, the product looks problematic and more trouble than it’s worth.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Word of the Week

Debouch - to march out from a narrow or confined place into open country, as a body of troops. To come forth; emerge.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

February Film Highlights

Bit late this month, but you could always just look at the blog instead.

The Iron Lady (2011) Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Olivia Colman, Alexandra Roach, Harry Lloyd, Stuart Heard. Dir: Phyllida Lloyd.

Elderly Margaret Thatcher reflects on her rise to power and political career. Makes its case for Thatcher as a formidable, yet human, force to be reckoned with, but her divisive policies remain an awkward elephant in the room. Without Streeps excellent performance, it’s little more than a daytime TV melodrama.


Bullets Over Broadway (1994) John Cusack, Dianne Weist, Jennifer Tilly, Chazz Palminteri, Joe Viterelli, Jack Warden, Jim Broadbent, Rob Reiner, Tracey Ullman. Dir: Woody Allen.

A playwright reluctantly accepts a gangster's money to stage his play, but then must suffer his girlfriend as his star. Entertaining backstage farce with a great cast and standout turns from Weist and Broadbent. Asides from being laugh-heavy it’s also a great satire on pretentious artists, their commitment and integrity.


Steamboat Bill Jr.(1928) Buster Keaton, Ernest Torrence, Marion Byron, Tom McGuire. Dir: Buster Keaton.

A father struggling to save his Steamboat is shocked to discover his son’s become a dandy. Keaton displays his skill at mise-en-scene with some of his most memorable visuals and most elaborate visual gags. With an endearing story and exciting climax, he’s at the absolute hilarious height of his powers.


Village of the Damned(1960) George Sanders, Barbara Shelley, Martin Stephens, Michael Gwynn. Dir: Wolf Rilla.

A village’s population black-out at the same time; when they awake, the women are pregnant. Sci-fi horror where invaders take on the uncanny form of children, chillingly emotionless and cruel, yet still childlike. Intelligently written, economical handling is its strength and weakness, there’s more potential beyond its short running time.


The Muppets (2011) Jason Siegal, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Jack Black, Peter Linz, Steve Whitmore, Eric Jacobson, Dave Goelz. Dir: James Bobin.

A Muppet fan discovers their studio is being demolished and tries to re-group the gang to save it. Canny revival that appeals to old fans so they’ll bring the kids. Some gags misfire, but successfully restores the gang back to their daft, anarchic roots. Songs are good, but cameos a bit disappointing.


Thirst (2009) Song Kang-ho, Kim Ok-bin, Shin Ha-kyun, Kim Hae-sook. Dir: Park Chan-wook.

A priest survives a botched medical experiment but develops a taste for blood, and lust. A witty refreshingly different vampire thriller, one that blends faith questioning, domestic drama and film noir with lashings of black comedy. It’s less a horror, but a love story, one that’s pleasingly demented.


War Horse (2011) Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, Peter Mullan, Niels Arestrup, David Thewlis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, Eddie Marsan. Dir: Steven Spielberg.

A boy raises and trains a horse, but when WW1 comes, both are called into battle. With a script so acclaimed, why would you change it? Spielberg and Co smother it with sentimental goo and blunt its edges with cosy characterisations. Looks great, but not a patch on the play.


Divorce, Italian Style (1961) Marcello Mastroianni, Daniela Rocca, Stefania Sandrelli, Leopoldo Trieste, Odoardo Spadaro. Dir: Pietro Germi.

Unable to divorce his wife, an Italian nobleman tricks her into having an affair so he can honour-kill her. If Ealing Studios ever made a trip to Italy – clever satire on the ludicrous contradictions of traditional Sicilian relationships, brought to screen with style and wit and a great star performance.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Word of the Week

hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia - fear of long words.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Yet Even More Bad Trailers

They're not good, but when compared to trailers like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and 21 Jump Street, they seem positively bursting with vitality.

Hell of the Living Dead

You’re supposed to pick the best moments for your movie trailer, not just any old bits of the movie. And not 4 minutes worth of bits. Even the zombies look tired – watch for the one who puts the gun in his mouth voluntarily. Still, nice to see some of the characters get offed in the trailer, so you know not to care about them.


They can escape a whole spaceship’s security force but they can’t escape a sexually confused super-soldier on earth?


At what point do they disturb the graves of the dead? I don’t think they need worry too much, native American monsters can’t seemingly can’t perform acts of vengeance away from a black background – true fact.

As if massacring them and taking their land wasn’t insulting enough…

The Frozen Dead

But, it says that they were frozen alive right at the beginning, so how can they be dead? And why are their arms sticking out of a wall? If you can put a living head in a box surely you can store and preserve limbs in a more sensible manner.

The Doberman Gang

And you thought violent dogs were a contemporary problem. Let’s hope the council estate kids don’t start having these ideas… Although, frankly, the cost of training the dogs and then the printing and decorating costs of building such an elaborate rehearsal set would mean that they would have to commit three robberies before they broke even.


One man, you say, but which man? Who is it? Don’t keep us in suspense – oh, wait, you didn’t.

It Came Without Warning

Who in this trailer doesn’t get a warning? I mean there’s the squeaking sound for starters… Maybe just wear a balaclava or a hat?

Attack of the Puppet People

They’re not puppets and they’re not attacking anyone. That’s a double fail. And they don’t seem to mind being small that much; doesn’t stop them putting on a show.

The Glamazon Bone Crushers of The Wrestling World

Things were tough before internet porn. It’s no coincidence that when the titles say 70 minutes of interrupted action, the 70 looks like 10 – and that’s just the skipping rope scene.