Sunday, 25 August 2013


Just four years between Neill Blomkamp’s incredible District 9 and his similarly structured Elysium. It’s tough to judge his latest venture without comparing it to the 2009 smash hit. You have the two contrasting worlds, the use of non-human characters and the brilliance that is Sharlto Copley. A small number of rich people live an idealistic lifestyle visibly far from Earth, where the not so rich people are overpopulating the land and struggling to get by. The story follows the journey of Max (Matt Damon) who’s about to die and needs to get to Elysium if he wants any chance of staying alive. Unfortunately, Max’s story is neither engaging nor exciting.

Elysium begins with few flashbacks of Max’s childhood, where he promises his girl-friend that one day he’ll take her to planet Utopia. It sets up a few dialogues that will predictably be used in the latter stages. However, not once throughout the body of the story does Blomkamp look to enhance this love story; with only some minor references made towards the climax. Max
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has a tragic accident at work and gets told that he has a few days to live. His motive is to get to Elysium and use their excellent healthcare to heal himself and that’s the story in a nutshell. The focus on Max took way too much away from the excellent potential that this movie had with it. Blomkamp said in an interview that Elysium is reflective of today’s human condition; but following the selfish journey of the central character makes no political references or comments on society. Unless he wants to say that every single one of us – rich and poor – are selfish people. In which case, it’s a poor comment to make. Some more background into how the two worlds separated from each other is beckoning at the earlier stages. Furthermore, why is Earth only filmed in one location? To portray overpopulation, wouldn’t it have been wise to make reference to more than one city, more than one country, more than one continent?

The scenes at Elysium were aesthetically beautiful and hats off to the designers who clearly had their work cut out. The action scenes were well choreographed. Jodie Foster was good as the intimidating defence secretary and Matt Damon give some heart to his unjust character. I’m disappointed with the use of Sharlto Copley. His excellent delivery and charming accent is made to look awkward when they turn him into a monster. Another problem is that none of the characters seem to be justified as to why they are the way they are.
Elysium fails terribly for three reasons: 1) the story of Max is a selfish one that isn’t engaging whatsoever, 2) there is too much going on that doesn’t matter with barely any real focus on the two worlds and 3) compared to District 9, it’s a million miles apart. At best, this is an okay popcorn entertainer with some excellent visuals. Otherwise a wasted opportunity to pull some political strings and provide a much needed Sci-Fi classic.


Thursday, 22 August 2013

Kendrick Lamar's Control Verse

“Don’t ask for your favourite rapper. He dead, Amen (I killed him)” Kendrick Lamar- Rigamortus

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Around a week on and people still be talking about this Kendrick verse. I’m seeing a lot of interesting points being made; a few startling debates kicking off and some utter gas being spoken about the decade’s most controversial verse. First of all, let’s just make it clear that Kendrick is ahead of every single rapper in the game right now. Section 80 was incredible, GKMC was historic and almost every feature he’s done has been golden. Not only that, he’s been the busiest artist this summer playing at sell-out festivals around the world. If anyone was to drop bars like this at a time like this, I think it’s fitting that it was Kendrick. You can’t have a Jay Z, Nas or Andre verse like that right now cos they all God’s already. By dissing Kendrick for this verse the way that Ortiz, Ferg and a few other have done, you ain’t understood what the guy has tried to do and basically…you’re stupid.

If you follow the rap battle leagues URL, KOTD or our very own Don’t Flop, then you’ll know that MC’s constantly send for one another. A huge level of mutual respect is overshadowed by an even bigger sense of competition; to be the best in the game. It’s nothing personal, or at least it shouldn’t be. That’s what Kendrick is trying to do here man and instead of repeating all the things that is written in this article, why don’t you have a read for yourself?

He probably could have made the same impact if he didn’t name drop those “new n*ggas” and just named himself amongst the best rappers. That way, the other “new” dudes won’t have been so hurt not to have been mentioned. Whatever though, I don’t care what inspired Kendrick to write this verse but I’m so f*ckin’ glad for it. The overhype on Twitter, meme responses on Instagram and crazy amounts of Kendrick Lamar Response YouTube videos are just the beginning of a new and healthy era for hip hop; or at the very least, that’s what I hope it’ll be. 

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Breaking Bad

Sup, bitch.

Around 4 months ago, I remember my friend struggling to convince me to watch Breaking Bad because the way he explained the story sounded so ludicrous. He said something like “Breaking Bad is about a school teacher who has cancer and starts making crystal meth and gets involved into all sorts of crazy situations”, to which I kept telling him “get the hell out of here”. He wasn’t the only one that failed to give an accurate description of what the show is about. It’s safe to say, persuading someone to watch Breaking Bad will need a lot longer than just a few minutes. It was the constant persistence from these friends and “OMG BREAKING BAD!!!” tweets that inspired me to stream the first season during a critical deadline period. The first episode was engaging, a satisfying affair that I could see myself predicting the outcome of; by the third episode, I slapped myself at that thought. I had to avoid watching the show for a further week because of the deadline period and once it’d passed, I locked myself in my halls, avoided human interaction and was hooked on a show about a school teacher who has cancer and starts making crystal meth and gets into all sorts of crazy situations. With just a few hours left until the new episodes air on AMC, I want to talk about why I love this truly unique, innovative piece of television.

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Realistically portrayed unreal situations
Would you believe me if I said that my old IT teacher was involved with the phone hacking scandal, or that my old History teacher helped to develop Wikileaks? Would you believe me if I said my old Chemistry teacher began making his own pure crystal meth and sold it too? The journey of Mr. White is one that’s unheard of and the writers of the show thrive on that. Each character has their strengths, weaknesses and detailed personality. It’s in the pure emotion that each actor brings to the table that add realness to otherwise bizarre situations. The emphasis on delivering accurate chemistry solutions make you wonder, could this be done in real life? I’m not promoting it though, chill.
Drama and nothing but drama
Breaking Bad is a classic, old-fashioned drama that would work in any generation. Other than the use of mobiles phones and some security equipment, there’s hardly any emphasis on modern technology or the digital culture. There’s not even emphasis on shooting in beautiful locations either. The show purely relies on developing new challenges for the characters, and constantly adding twists to their rollercoaster journeys. With traditional features like unpredictable turn of events, devastating cliff-hangers and flip-phones, Breaking Bad is designed to make our heart rates rise so high that any wait for the next episode is met with utter frustration.
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A true starcast
Take your pick for favourite character. Maybe it’s the urban intellect of Jesse Pinkman. Maybe it’s the Paul Heyman-esque loud, proud and unlawful lawyer Saul Goodman, or the I-Don’t-Give-A-Fuck attitude of Mike. Were you incredibly intimidated by the quiet presence of Gus, with his subtle approach and enunciated speech? Or is your favourite the engrossing, amazing and troubled character of Walter White? Whose journey is the hub of Breaking Bad; whose family we fear for and whose identity as Heisenberg we want to ensure never gets out. Considering that I’ve not mentioned a selection of awesome characters that graced our screens in previous seasons, it’s no wonder that the respective actors are constantly nominated for various awards, as is the show itself.

I’m probably going to appear offline from social media for 24 hours until my good friends at Netflix upload the show. You know, I had to narrow down to 3 paragraphs from a potential 8 for this post. There’s just too much I could write about Breaking Bad and I hope that this post - alongside the hype that’s about to come on social media - will inspire you to lock yourself in your room and catch up with all five seasons. If you’re already a fan of the show, then prepare yourself for the craziest last few episodes of our favourite show of all time. I’m fucking bursting with excitement.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Chennai Express (Movie Review)

Before reading on, I invite you to read my expectations post on to perhaps compare where I was spot on, or purely wrong.

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As predicted, the story of a Mumbai man taking an unexpectedly long journey on a train was never going to be the focal point. It acted as a stimulus for the manic chemistry between SRK-Deepika, the absurd portrayal of Southern India and the stimulating action scenes. Some scenes effortlessly bought the house down and these took part mostly in the first half of the film. The entire sequence on the Chennai Express train was joyous; SRK putting his hand out DDLJ-style to welcome on crazy looking gangsters; the singing-in-speech between SRK-Deepika and the shoe-feigning are just a few examples. The madness continued strongly during the scenes at Deepika’s village, run by her intimidating father. I’d like to mention how beautifully the locations have been shot. I'm not sure how I’d feel if it was my village, my people and my language that was being so heavily mocked. However, I’d be happy at how beautiful my village has been made to look. I especially enjoyed the character of the Singh police officer, who bought some conventional relief alongside SRK. The movie lost its consistency in the second half as the focus shifted on understandably developing the love story between the central characters. That being said, some of this development seemed unnecessary. Shetty’s placement of two contrasting songs back-to-back is an example. Furthermore, SRK shouldn't be mocking iconic lines from his own movies and I understand that this is going to be an unpopular opinion but other than the aforementioned DDLJ sequence, none of the other dialogues were necessary. I can’t help but think of it as a desperate measure.

I thought SRK would struggle, I honestly did. To collaborate with a director who conventionally works with natural comedians such as Ajay Devgan, Abhishek Bachchan and the Golmaal team, I thought SRK would be found either trying too hard or simply not funny enough. I was wrong. SRK delivers one of his funniest ever performances as Rahul the ‘Halwaii’ and at times, brings the house down single-handedly. He excels in the action scenes and is a natural during the romantic ones. As some random fan tweeted, Chennai Express proves that we are all still suckers for the tearful, cheesy and loving SRK. We feel hurt when he’s getting beaten up and feel satisfied when he’s achieved. However, the star of the show was surprisingly not the King Khan for me. It was the up and coming superstar that is, Deepika Padukone. The fact that a fairly new actress - sharing screen with one of the most iconic figures in Bollywood - can steal a show the way she has is testament to her undoubted growth and abilities as an actress. Deepika nails her language proficiencies, her scenes alongside SRK and delivers a great level of emotion when required. These two look brilliant together and I can’t wait to see them work again. Satyagraha doesn't get enough scope but both him and Nikitin Dheer look intimidating and right for the part.

The music of the movie could have been better placed, but One Two Three Four and Titli did well in keeping us in our seats. Chennai Express is truly a great entertainer and is the funniest movie of the year so far. The cast have done brilliantly, the locations look beautiful and the director’s work is visible throughout. Don’t take the movie seriously and once you've found you can do that, then go and enjoy this fun-filled train ride for what it is, not for what it’s not.

3 ½*

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

An Evening of the Absurd: Are We All Still Waiting For Godot?

So basically I sometimes get sent to write reviews for my lovely friend Neil, who then puts them on his website My most recent show was an underground piece part of the Camden Fringe arts festival. Please do click on the following link and if you're in the London area, then make an effort to go and see the show! 

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Thursday, 1 August 2013

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

It was 23:40 and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was about to start in 10 minutes on BBC One. I’d seen the movie on various best ever lists and had been meaning to watch it. Normally, what I do when it comes to a classic film is watch the trailer, read a synopsis and usually read some reviews to get an understanding of what to expect and why it’s so great. I didn’t do any of that for Cuckoo’s Nest and went in to the movie with a glass of milk and chocolate; nothing else. My under prepared nature had me in for a huge range of spontaneous reactions, in response to the absolute madness that took place in the Oregon psychiatric hospital.
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The story itself is similar to those Basketball/American Football outings where the star player has a bunch of weasels to coach; except, it’s set in a psychiatric ward. The star player in this instance is Randle McMurphy, played by the legend that is Jack Nicholson. The guys he has to coach are a select few unable characters who suffer from a range of inabilities including Tourette’s, paranoia, anger problems, epilepsy and one notable mute/deaf individual. As someone who has acted before and looked for inspiration, I genuinely felt spoilt for choice in this movie. The patients are so detailed with their body language, expressions and speech and they challenge each other in various scenes. Danny DeVito’s consistent smiling becomes a haunting image by the end; Will Sampson’s incredible stature and ironic lack of speech gives him a powerful presence; William Redfield’s academic abilities is overshadowed by his extreme paranoia and Dourif’s final scene is a magical example of believable acting. In acting terms, Cuckoo’s Nest is Stanislavski combined with elements of Beckett.

Nicholson has done a fine job in this movie, with an unusual role to say the least. His efforts are reflected by the fact that he won so many awards that year for Best Actor. Randle McMurphy reminded me of a rebel cockney geezer who doesn’t give a f*ck about anything, anyone; until he finds a motive with his fellow inmates. Whilst I acknowledge Nicholson’s performance as one of his best and respect that not many people will agree with me on this, I think the standout performer – who literally steals the show – is Louise Fletcher. When the movie had ended, Fletcher’s stern look was an image that stayed with me until this very moment. The way she has adapted her voice as Nurse Ratched is truly frightening. Her voice is eloquently intimidating and her presence is gripping every single time she appears. The evil look of intent in her eyes during the group votes, the final scene with Billy Bibbit and throughout the many stand-offs with Ratched are just a few examples of her world class performance. I don’t know if it was just me, but I think there wasn’t enough scope given to the obvious conflict between Nurse Ratched and McMurphy. Maybe just a few more scenes exclusively between them would have created more tension.

I'm really intrigued about the book that inspired this story. Forman's ability to contrast emotions is second to none. Cuckoo’s Nest is a strange combination of feel-good moments with disturbing ones and you can understand why they’ve stated this as one of the best movies of all time. 

££££ ½

My theatrical version of Stan

My theatrical version of Stan