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Review: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel by Jamie

Ugh. Why did I do it? Why did I sit down and force myself to watch this film? I hated the first one. I knew I would hate this one. Probably more because of A) The fucking stupid title and B) Because it’s a sequel (Yes, sequel. Not squeakquel, SEQUEL) to one of the most annoying, pointless and just plain shit movies that I have ever seen and sequels are rarely, rarely better than the first films especially when they are nothing more than blatant cash-grabs as this film so clearly is.

Plot synopsis? Well, Ok. Alvin, Simon and Theodore do stupid things and occasionally get in trouble but then they get out of it again. Also there are the girl chipmunks, The Chipettes, More than that? Fine. Dave (Jason Lee) gets injured in Paris during a Chipmunks concert and, after another accident involving Dave’s wheelchair bound aunt or grandmother (Yes, injuring old people in wheelchairs. The good wholesome family fun of the Alvin and the Chipmunks of my youth…), the three rodents find themselves in the care of Toby (Zachary Levi), who I guess is Dave’s cousin or something. Toby is a pathetic, loser of a manchild who spends all of his time playing video games and isn’t responsible to look after himself, let alone three talking chipmunks.

Dave has also decided that the Chipmunks need a normal childhood and so he’s sending them off to school which is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. Remember, these are chipmunks. I think we can pretty much safely assume that all of the world’s chipmunks are as intelligent as people in this film’s universe which means that they should probably have their own schools and things. In fact, this film would have been awesome if it had been about all the chipmunks coming out of the woods and trying to get equal rights. I suppose it wouldn’t have made a very good kids film but it’d be interesting.
Meanwhile the evil record producer from the first film, Ian (David Cross) has fallen on hard times since losing the deal with Alvin and Co. Luckily for him a package arrives containing the Chipettes and so he begins his attempted domination of the music industry all over again.

Back at school and all the girls go crazy over the fact that they have the superstars at their school and it seem as though they’d very much like the arboreal rodents to fuck them… No. I’m sorry, I’d done with an in depth synopsis. Basically, the school needs money to keep it’s music program going. Both the Chipmunks and the Chipettes enter a contest to help the school win the money and in the end they join forces. Oh, and Alvin briefly joins the football team and shirks the responsibilities of being in the group, much to Simon and Theodore’s chagrin. Oh, and David Cross loses the Chipettes, leaving him to pretend to be them with the aid of two sock puppets at a gig in the Staples Center. It might actually be the only funny bit in the entire film.

I really don’t know what can be said about this film. There’s so much to moan and bitch about here but it seems so futile since the third one will be out later this year and yes, I’ll probably end up watching that as well because I am a glutton for CGI rodent-based punishment. So I’ll just sum up several ridiculous points in some face book statuses written whilst watching it: “Wh-Why are the chipmunks going to high school? They gotta be abut 8 at the most… Which is about the average life expectancy of chipmunks in captivity so I assume this ends with Dave crying as they slowly die of old age.”, “Female CGI chipmunks should not be trying to be sexy. I need to burn my eyes out.”, “You’d think rodents would be excused from dodgeball…”, “WHY DOES EVERYONE LOVE THE CHIPMUNKS SINGING? IT SOUNDS LIKE HOW CHIPMUNKS MIGHT SOUND IF THEY COULD SING I.E. SQUEAKY AND NOT GOOD.”, “A CHIPMUNK CAN’T PLAY AMERICAN FOOTBALL! THERE ARE SEVERAL REASONS AS TO WHY THIS IS A FACT!” “You’re not good with heights? You’re an arboreal rodent, you fucking moron.” That’s just a small taste of the lunacy of this movie.

In summary, fuck this movie. It gets half a pint out of five and that’s for the ending with David Cross in drag. Laterz.

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Generation X – Part 3: Squeeze by Jamie

Generation X: Squeeze (Production No. 1×02)

Written By Glen Morgan & James Wong, Directed By Harry Longstreet.

BBC Air Date: 03/10/1994

Well we finally come to the first of the ‘Monster of the Week‘ episodes of the X-Files and what a monster it is. First, the synopsis. Scully is asked to help on mysterious murder case by an old friend Agent Colton (Donal Logue). The cases are mysterious due to the fact that there seems to be no obvious point of entry and the liver is torn from each victim with the killers bare-hands. Mulder joins the investigation with his own theories and immediately gets Colton‘s back up. They apprehend a subject and, when Mulder introduces some of his own questions during a lie detector test, Colton officialy gets him taken off the investigation and the suspect, Eugene Victor Tooms (Doug Hutchins), is set free . Mulder, believing Tooms to be a genetic mutant who needs livers in order to hibernate for decades at a time, continues anyway since the case has some similarities to one of his X-Files and Scully decides to side with him instead of Colson. In the end, of course, it turns out that Mulder was right and they finally capture Tooms again.

This episode was one of the first that gave us the sense that The X-Files was going to be something more than aliens and abductions all the time and thank fuck for that. I mean, seriously, the whole over-arching mythology is alright in small doses but there is no way in hell I‘d be able to take that for an entire series. Really, it‘s these Scooby Doo-esque episodes which make the series, especially later when the mythology just becomes bloated and convoluted.

So, allow us then to delve deeper into this episode. There are some awesome moments held within. Mulder in particular is in top form. There are some great character moments when he’s dealing with Agent Colton who basically seems to view Mulder as a fucking joke. One of the first questions Colton asks Mulder if he suspects little green men are responsible for the murders. Mulder responds completely straight faced that the little men are in fact grey, from Reticula and that they are notorious for the extraction of human livers due to an iron deficiency in the Reticulan galaxy. He then asks him if he knows what liver and onion goes for in the Reticulan galaxy before turning around and doing his fucking job like a real FBI agent. This episode also features on of Mulder‘s classic lines after realising he‘s just put his hand in human bile, “Is there anyway I can get it off my fingers quickly without betraying my cool exterior?” Classic Mulder.

It‘s also nice to see Scully siding with Mulder in this episode, having had enough of Colton constantly bad mouthing him. It‘s clear that, though she may not agree with all of his ‘spooky‘ ideas, she does have a certain amount of respect for him and regards him as a partner who she is loyal to. You also get to see her kicking the ass of a killer mutant who has already killed several people showing that she‘s more than just an expert in medical science. She‘s also an expert in Ass-Kickery.

Finally onto Tooms himself. This really needed to be a strong episode in order to show that The X-Files could be more than that show about aliens and stuff and thankfully it was. This was mainly down to the character of Eugene Victor Tooms, a genetic mutant who is over one hundred years old, eats human livers in order to allow him to hibernate for periods of thirty years and also has the ability to stretch and squeeze into tiny places. That is a fucking awesome concept for a monster and it‘s the reason that Tooms remained one of the series favourite villains despite only appearing in two episodes.

I did always feel a little sorry for Tooms though. I got the impression that if he didn‘t get those livers and enter his hibernation, he‘d wither and die. Of course if he‘d just end up aging naturally at the same speed as everyone else or at a much faster rate is up for debate I suppose. You also do get the strong impression that Tooms does quite enjoy his little acts of murder.

Overall this is a thoroughly enjoyable episode that kicks of the whole ‘Monster of the Week‘ concept and kicks it off strong, deepens the characters of both Mulder and Scully and presents an awesome villain. Four and a half pints out of five. Laterz.



Generation X: Part 2 – Deep Throat by Jamie

Generation X: Deep Throat (Production No. 1×01)

Written By Chris Carter, Directed By Robert Mandel.
BBC Air Date: 19/09/1994

In this episode Mulder and Scully investigate the disappearance of an Air Force Colonel and a possible cover-up involving crashed UFO’s, hybrid experimental aircraft and a pseudo-Area 51. Mulder is warned to stay away from this case by a mysterious man in a bar bathroom, the titular Deep Throat, but decides to investigate anyway. He comes closer to the truth than he ever has before but also comes to experience first hand the kind of power that those behind the conspiracy wield.

There, I think I’ve got that little problem with my synopses going on forever sorted at last. Anyway, on with the review. This is the first full on episode of the X-Files complete with theme tune, opening credits sequence and is the introduction of Mark Snow as the series composer. I have to say that I really do love that theme. It just sums up the feel of the series, evoking the feeling of creepiness and mysteriousness that comes with dealing with the paranormal.

Now, this whole episode draws heavily from the myths surrounding the top secret US Air force base, Area 51 or Groom Lake even going so far as to have a parallel to the Little Ale’Inn, which is just down the road from Area 51, in the form of the Flying Saucer Restaurant. What I don’t understand is why they didn’t just go ahead and use the name Area 51? I mean, they use the real name in later episodes, including some brilliant ones that have Michael McKean making a special guest appearance. Anyway the point is that if you’re blatantly just going to use Area 51, just call it fucking Area 51.

This episode also has some great examples of some early 90s CGI in the form of a hovering triangle that has a few bright lights. Of course it’s easy to look at it now and comment about how shitty and cheesy it looks by today’s standard. We think we’re so fucking great with our ‘Avatars’ and our ‘Iron Mans’. We sicken me. Anyway, I’m sure that little nine year old me was suitably impressed watching it in the darkened living room of our house. I bet I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The most worrying thing is that it actually looks about as good as some of the CGI effects I’ve seen in the incredibly recent series ‘Spartacus: Blood And Sand’. Damn that show’s cheap looking.

As for what goes on in the episode, well, there are a few key scenes. The introduction of Deep Throat is a pretty big one and I’ll delve into that a little bit later. What you really get is an idea of the clashes between the personalities of the two agents but also how dedicated they are to ensuring each others safety. You also get an idea of just how dedicated Mulder is to trying to uncover the truth behind the conspiracy, going so far as to break into a top secret military facility and strolling onto the runway to get a better look. Honestly it’s pretty fucking stupid for someone who’s apparently a Cambridge educated FBI agent but what’re you gonna do? This is a series that kinda hinges on suspension of disbelief.

As far as being a ‘Mythology’ episode this one isn’t as bad as later ones would become. It doesn’t have the huge, convoluted history behind it so it’s still a bit light and generally an easy watch. Since it also has a separate mystery going on beside the mythology stuff, it manages to keep you interested whereas I think that some of the later ones that had Mulder and Scully investigating the conspiracy for the sake of investigating it lacked that aspect.

Finally I’ll just go back to the fact that this episode introduces us to the character of Deep Throat, obviously based on, and possibly intended to be, the Deep Throat who leaked information during the Watergate scandal. Deep Throat was the first of many informants that would approach Mulder and do what seemed as little as possible in order to aid him in the quest for the truth. His first scene is a little odd. He approaches Mulder in the bathroom of the bar and advises him not to investigate the case as the military won’t look to kindly on an FBI investigation. I don’t know about you but if an older gentleman ever approaches me in a bar bathroom and his name is Deep Throat then I’m getting the fuck out of there. Still, he’s an important character and does help in providing some information on the conspiracy without which we’d probably be as lost as Mulder. He also finishes the episode with a fantastic line. When Mulder ask him if ‘they‘ have really are here on Earth, he responds with “Mr. Mulder, they have been here for a long, long time.” Awesome.

Overall it’s a decent enough episode if not just a bit average. I’ll give it three pints out of five. Laterz.



Generation X: A Look Back At The X-Files: Part 1 – Pilot by Jamie

It’s hard to imagine now just how big The X-Files was back in the 90s. It permeated everything and as a result the 90s was also a time filled with bullshit about the paranormal and conspiracy theories. Every week it seemed as though there was some special documentary about the Roswell Incident or whether or not the moon landings were faked. Still, as much as the X-Files was responsible for a lot of belief in complete and utter bullshit I feel as though it’s also responsible for the Sceptical movement coming to such prominence over the past 10 years or so as people battle tirelessly to undo the damage the show has done.

The show started on September 10, 1993 in the US and came to the UK in 1994. I was but a young lad of 9 when it first started and I distinctly remember watching it from the beginning and, like so many others, I completely bought into the paranormal and believed in practically all aspects of it until really quite recently. I gobbled up those documentaries, read book after book and had quite an extensive collection of magazines that dealt with the subject. Still much in the same way that the X-Files is probably at least partially responsible for the growing sceptical movement, it’s probably also the reason that I am a sceptic now myself. Without it I probably would have never paid much attention to the paranormal and so wouldn’t care about ridiculous beliefs in it either way.

The X-Files influence on me doesn’t end there either. The X-Files is possibly responsible for my having a ridiculously large DVD collection. When the series began to be released on the new format I bought them as soon as each one was released. It pretty much gave me the collecting bug and from then I was pretty much fucked and doomed to have a collection far beyond the size of anything that I really should.

So keeping the massive effect the series has had on my life in mind and considering the fact that I haven’t really watched them for years, I’ve decided to go back, revisit the show and review every damn episode. Why? Well because an undertaking of this magnitude will probably cut into my movie viewing somewhat (not to say that this will completely overtake the blog, there will still be movie related things of course including some big video things that I’ve got planned) and it’s a good excuse to have a consistent stream of things to post. Let’s get underway.

Pilot (Production No. 1X79)

Written By Chris Carter, Directed By Robert Mandel.
BBC Air Date: 19/09/1994

So then, this is it where it all begins with the imaginatively titled pilot episode, ‘Pilot’. It’s our first introduction to many a character including the Cigarette Smoking Man, their boss who isn’t Skinner at this point and, of course, Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. It’s pretty obvious that David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson pretty much had the characters down from the beginning. Mulder is the sarcastic, witty and all around charming guy and Scully is the sceptical, scientific and slightly serious character that they would pretty much remain throughout the entirety of the series. The only major difference is that in this episode Scully seems a little more open to Mulder’s point of view and a little quicker to accept his paranormal explanation then she would in later episodes.

There are a few things which mark this out as a pilot. For example the iconic theme music is no where to be found at all in this episode. There’s not even an opening credit sequence, instead just a black screen filled with large white letters exclaiming that ‘The following story is inspired by actual documented accounts.’ Of course they are.

Still, other then that there’s not really that much to distinguish this from and average episode. We hear how Mulder discovered the X-Files and the story of how he saw his sister Amanda being abducted by aliens for the first time but it doesn’t really seem like the big thing that it would become later in the series, more like an event that just led to his interest in these kind of cases.

Now the story of the first episode is essentially that a small town has had a rash of unexplainable deaths, each one involving the graduating class of the local high school. Mulder and Scully go off to investigate after Scully is assigned to work with Mulder, essentially being instructed to keep an eye on exactly what he‘s up to. Mulder seems to believe that extra-terrestrials are somehow involved in the case. As they are driving towards the town the radio and clock in their car go a bit haywire and Mulder pulls over, marking the spot with a big red X.

They begin to investigate the deaths much to the chagrin of the local sheriff and medical examiner who both seem to know more then they’re letting on, arousing Scully’s suspicions. They visit two of the graduating classes remaining survivors in a hospital finding one in a wheelchair and the other in a vegetative state due to a vehicular accident that both were involved in. Mulder notices that both have strange marks on their body and decides to exhume the body of one of the former victims in order to see if it has similar marks upon it.

What they discover in the coffin is a little bit of a shock as it doesn’t appear to be the body of a human but rather that of a desiccated orang-utan. They take some X-Rays of the thing which reveals a small, metallic implant in it’s naval cavity. Mulder decides to go and check out the woods were all these incidents have been occurring… Fuck, I wanted this to be a concise synopsis. Right, on the way back from the woods the two agents experience a blinding flash of white light and seem to have lost nine minutes, a phenomenon generally reported by those who believe that they have been abducted by aliens.

Upon returning to their hotel they find out they receive a mysterious phone call telling them that the girl from the hospital is dead. Whilst investigating this new death, their hotel catches fire, destroying all the evidence they have gathered up to this point which really pisses Mulder off. They meet the person who had phoned them, the medical examiners daughter who it turns out was also part of the graduating class and Mulder begins to suspect that the boy in the vegetative state is involved in the murders. A visit to the hospital reveals he has dirty feet and Scully begins to turn around to Mulder’s way of thinking.

Since the soil samples that they had taken in the woods before had been destroyed in the fire they decide to the woods to gather more, only to find that the sheriff is here. It turns out that he has been tracking his son who is up and about again, having seemingly kidnapped the medical examiner’s daughter. Mulder and the sheriff witness a blinding white light surround the two youngsters whilst Scully is distracted elsewhere. When the light dissipates the two are standing there, the boy apparently aware of his surroundings once more and the mysterious marks having disappeared.

Mulder and Scully return to Washington and she presents her report on Mulder’s activities to her bosses, seemingly taking his side on the case which pisses them off to no end. The episode ends with the Cigarette smoking man putting a metallic implant, the one piece of physical evidence into a box in a massive warehouse filled with boxes probably containing masses of evidence pertaining to the supernatural in a clear homage to Indiana Jones.

So there you go. That’s the first episode of the X-Files and the beginning of, in my personal opinion, one of the greatest on-screen partnerships in all of television history. There are a few things which happen in this episode which I don’t think are ever really mentioned or explained in later episodes primarily whether or not Mulder and Scully where actually abducted. I know they are both abducted at later points in the series but I’m not sure if this experience is ever brought up again. I’m sure I’ll found out as we go along.

Still overall it’s a pretty good episode and is much better than many of the ones that would deal with aliens later on, the so called ‘Mythology’ episodes that dealt with the over-arching conspiracy. This one plays off much more like the preferred ‘Monster-Of-The-Week’ episodes even though their isn’t really a monster. Of particular note is David Duchovny who is fucking hilarious throughout this episode. Almost every other line is some witty or sarcastic remark particularly during the pairs first meeting. It’s good stuff and one of the reason I loved this show.

So there you go. That’s the first part of this ongoing X-periment. Hahaha. Did you see what I did there? I crack me up. Anyway, I’m sure I’ll get the hang of this as I go along and try and tighten up those synopses. Next up is the first of the proper Mythology episodes, ‘Deep Throat’. Until then, laterz.



Requested Review: Mars Attacks! by Jamie

Infomania: Why We Love Transformers 2 by Jamie

Since I’m going to be busy today, I needed something quick to blog if I was going to live up to my new ideal of having a new post everyday. I couldn’t think of anything and so I thought I was screwed until I was pointed to this amusing video from Infomania by one of their interns entitled ‘Why We Love Transformers 2’. Enjoy.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

More from Infomania can be found here



Transformers: Revenge of the Written Accompaniment by Jamie

So there it is. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has been released and I’ve already given my general impression of the film in a mildly drunken way in the video review. I didn’t feel, however, that the time restrictions that YouTube strictly enforce coupled with the fact that we were filming in a hotel lobby allowed me the time necessary to fully explain just where I think this film went wrong.

I’m going to try and do this as detached, unemotionally and as neutral as possible but that will be difficult since this film angered me so. Seriously, it’s now been literally ages since I saw the film and still it keeps popping into my mind and making me angry. Really angry. Far, far angrier than a movie based on a cartoon based on toys from the 80s should make any sane or rational person, something which I’d considered myself to be until the release of this movie.

So what the hell was the problem with this film anyway? Why would it evoke such a reaction in someone such as myself? Well, let’s begin by looking at the Transformers themselves. Optimus Prime returns as the only Autobot from the previous film with any real screen time or personality. (Yes, Bumblebee returns as well but his voice is inexplicably gone again and even he seems to get the short straw this time around.) This is a problem considering the fact that Optimus is missing from most of the damn film. The reason being, of course, that Optimus dies fairly early on and honestly, I didn’t care. One of my favourite heroic characters got killed, again, and I just didn’t care.

The reason being is that, unlike in the original animated film, there is no weight to Optimus’ death. There is no sense of loss from any of the characters which pretty much telegraphs the fact that the big blue guy will be back before the film is over. Seriously, there’s a scene where the Autobots are gathered around Optimus’ body and I thought ‘Ah, here we go. We’re finally gonna see some mourning for Optimus.’ But no, the scene is cut short by the arrival of the military and is soon over. Compare this to the animated film where Optimus is slowly dying with the Autobots gathered around him and are genuinely upset with the passing of their great leader. Optimus even falters as he goes to pass the Matrix of Leadership to Ultra Magnus, just highlighting the fact that he really is dying. It’s an emotional scene that genuinely tugs at the heart strings.

So that’s Optimus dealt with. Let’s move on to one of the new additions to the cast and one that I was really looking forward to, the perennial fan-favourite, Soundwave. What the fuck did Michael Bay do to Soundwave? He went to all the trouble of making sure Frank Welker was there to voice the character and he doesn’t even bother to use a vocoder to make his voice sound right? Maybe I’m being pedantic and perhaps it’s something I could have gotten over if only they’d used the character better than they did. Soundwave is Megatron’s right hand robot and should have been used as such. Instead he sits in space, fucking a satellite in order to gather information. Sure, it fits in with his position as a recon-bot but really? That’s all one of the most popular characters in the franchise is going to be used for? Fuck you Michael Bay. Fuck you. Hmm, so much for staying unemotional. I guess I can take some small comfort that Ravage was still ‘ejected’ from Soundwave.

So the question raises itself, could Soundwave have been used any better? And I put to you that yes, of course he could. Here’s how I feel the movie should have gone: Megatron is dead. Starscream has assumed the role as the leader of the Decpticons. Soundwave has come to Earth with a few other Decepticons and is following Starscream’s lead until about halfway through the film he discovers the location of Megatron’s body and goes behind his new leader’s back in order to revive him. Perhaps don’t even have him succeed until the very end of the film with a shot of Megatron, Soundwave in tow, confronting Starscream with the implication that something very bad is about to happen to him, something akin to what happens when Galvatron returns at Starscream’s coronation. That would have been awesome and keeping in line with the character’s main traits, Soundwave’s loyalty to Megatron and Starscream’s desire to lead the Decepticons.

So let’s get onto those two characters now. If I’m honest, this is one of the few things I did enjoy about the this film and I realise that my idea for a plot would have pretty much taken the Megatron/Starscream relationship out of the picture which I guess would have been a shame because it’s one of the few things that were actually done right. There are genuinely great character moments between Megatron and Starscream that harken back to the original cartoon and they were actually enjoyable, so well done Michael Bay for having something good in an otherwise relentless piece of shit.
Now let’s move onto the Autobots in general. Most of them are just here as cameos without much to do through the film. Arcee is introduced along with two other identical though differently coloured female bots and has nothing at all to do. Ironhide returns and has nothing at all to do. There are a few others who have nothing at all to do and have their names mentioned maybe once. And then there are the Twins, Mudflap and Skids and… wow… Just wow. It’s like Michael Bay wondered what his first Transformers film was missing, decided to watch The Phantom Menace and had an epiphany. “That’s what my movie is missing!” He cried in joy at his sudden realisation “A racially insensitive character who will annoy the fuck out of every human being who has ever lived… But I am Michael Bay! I must do things bigger and better! I’ll have two of them!” And so these vile hellspawn of Jar Jar Binks were born.

The final part of the film sees the arrival of The Fallen and the constructicons combining to form Devestator. I believe much has already been said about Devestator’s swinging scrote so I’ll forgo mentioning how fucking stupid that was once more. Instead I’d like to mention something which shows just how much Michael Bay cared about this film. Once Devestator has formed there is still at least one Constructicon fighting in the main battle! That’s fucking stupid and it shouldn’t have been hard to spot since the Constructicons are the only Decepticons with any damn colour!

As for the Fallen himself, well, he just sucked. He came to claim a giant sun-eating machine that had been hidden in a pyramid, which no archaeologist ever discovered for some reason, and being killed seconds later. Bravo. And people said Nero was a shitty bad guy.

Overall, I still haven’t gotten everything I hate about this film off of my chest and I don’t think I ever will. I’m just sick of writing this damn thing whilst the sun is shining outside. So screw it. Let’s wrap up. Every scene in this film was either a set-up to a shitty joke or a shitty joke. The midget scene, Devestator’s balls, the dogs fucking each other and Wheelie fucking Megan Fox’s leg are all examples of this. The rest is robot fighting filler just so Michael Bay can justify calling this a Transformers film. What really did impress me though was how Michael Bay and the writers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Ehren Kruger (for they must also shoulder a heavy part of this blame) managed to take the Transformers who were, in all honestly, one note characters with single defining characteristics and make them zero note characters.

Laterz.




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