Cinepub


Documental: Nerdcore Rising by Jamie

The internet has done many great and wonderful things. It has made instant, worldwide communication possible, it has become a repository for all human knowledge and it has allowed for the easy dissemination of massive amounts of the filthiest pornography known to mankind. Seriously, there’s shit on there that would make Pinhead baulk.

But that’s not all it has done. It has provided a safe haven for geeks. Millions of people who used to sit alone in darkened rooms playing on their computer were suddenly connected to millions of other people who were also sat alone in darkened rooms playing on their computer. Before anyone knew what had happened, geek had gone mainstream. Sure there had always been gatherings at conventions and geek culture has always been around but this was different. Geeks not only utilised the internet but they were it’s pioneers, boldly going where no man had gone before, finding new lands and building websites upon it… or something like that.

Now it’s almost impossible to find any aspect of life which has been touched by the hand of Geek. It’s kind of easy to influence the world if you’re the ones who know how to utilise it’s greatest technological development. Now we’ve got all kinds of things tailored specifically to geeks. Movie companies, for example, will specifically keep track of what the geeks are talking about with regard to their latest film, especially that rash of comic book movies we’ve had lately. God forbid you piss of the geeks. Bad word of mouth, in an instant over the internet, can really fuck up that big movie you had such high hopes for.

TV has caught on as well. Think of all the TV shows which are tailored specifically to geeks and geek humour hoping to get that all important internet demographic. Shows like Robot Chicken, Family Guy, The Big Bang Theory, Myth Busters and a whole host of others. We are Geekdom. All your culture are belong to us.

The reason, I think, that geek culture has permeated so fully is that everyone has a little bit of geek in them (And you can have a bit more in you if you play your cards right. Smooth.) Everyone has that movie that they can quote without even thinking about, everyone has a video game that they love and everyone that little piece of pop-culture that they are obsessed with. It just that you’re full on geeks that to the next level.

It turns out that geek culture has even gotten itself into that most unlikely of places, that would seem to be almost it’s exact opposite, the world of Hip Hop. The sub-genre, nerdcore as it’s known, has been growing in popularity over the past few years and I myself have become exposed to it through mc chris frequent contributor to Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. To give the uninitiated an idea of what nerdcore kind of is, I shall post here ‘Fett’s Vette’ probably one of mc chris’ most popular songs.

So there you go. That’s a small sample of nerdcore and it’s essentially exactly what it seems to be, rapping about subjects which one would typically associate with Geekdom, things like Star Wars, computing, role playing and the like. It also happens to be the subject of the documentary we’re going to look at today ‘Nerdcore Rising’. Wow, that’s probably the longest preamble to a review I’ve ever written.

Anyway, Nerdcore Rising follows the story of the grandfather of nerdcore, MC Frontalot as he embarks on his first national tour and the ups and downs that he and his band, The Minibosses, encounter along the way. It also interviews some of his fans who show up to watch him play and they are arguably the most interesting parts of the film.

The parts that follow the band are interesting, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that they seem just like every other documentary I’ve seen that’s followed a small band embarking on their first tour, just with a slightly geekier edge. And it is that geekier edge which does provide some amusing moments. For example there’s a scene where they are discussing their first ‘groupie’ who has followed them for three shows. They start to make fun of her a little bit until they come to the realisation that the reason that they’re being a little mean is that girls make them nervous.

There’s also a scene in which one of the band members tries to explain the rules of Magic: The Gathering, a game which requires level of geekiness far beyond what I can muster in order to play it. This explanation takes about two hours and forty five minutes. Still it’s that passion for their obsessions that you really have to admire in the hardcore geeks and I do because I know I have a similar level of passion for my own particular obsessions.

Still, as I said, the most interesting aspects of the film are the interviews with MC Frontalot’s fans. It’s through these that you really get a sense of what his music means to them as geeks and you get a wider view of geek culture as a whole. The sense that you get throughout most of it is that they’re just appreciative that someone is out there making music about the things they care about. They have no interest in rhymes about popping caps in asses and pimpin’. They want music about the things I mentioned earlier, Star Wars, computing, role-playing and the like and they are just really glad that someone has finally created a genre of music they can relate to.

Also of interest are the interviews with other musicians. They’ve got rappers from the more mainstream areas of hip hop, other nerdcore rappers (including mc chris) and permanent geek favourite, Weird Al Yankovic. What’s most impressive is that the mainstream rappers are really quite supportive of the whole nerdcore movement. They respect the fact that they are making music that is important and culturally important to themselves. Most importantly they respect the fact that they are keeping it real. It was really quite touching. Oh, and Weird Al was just his awesome, awesome self.

The tour culminates with a performance in front of 7000 people at the KPAX gaming expo, set up by the guys from Penny Arcade. I gotta say that it’s a beautiful thing to see geeks gathered together, waving glowing lightsabers around and just having a good time. As for MC Frontalot, well, whilst I fully support the whole nerdcore movement and respect him and his efforts, I can’t say I’m a fan. Something about the way he raps just kinda irritates me. I think I’ll just stick with mc chris for now… Though there was a group called Optimus Rhyme and, even though they are now defunct, that name alone demands at least a listen. It’s also good because my own idea for a nerdcore rap name, Hip Hoptimus Prime is still available. In terms of other ‘geek‘ musicians outside of the nerdcore subgenre well, I don‘t think you can ever go wrong with Jonathan Coulton.

Well, that’s that. Overall it was a fairly enjoyable documentary even if it didn’t get me fully on the nerdcore wagon. I’ll give it 3.5 pints out of 5. Laterz



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.



Review: Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen by Jamie

Here is the review of Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen. My written accompinament will follow shortly.



The True Meaning of Christmas by Jamie
24/12/2008, 3:47 pm
Filed under: Fake Trailers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

With the rampant comercialisation of this festive time of year, it’s often easy to forget just what Christmas is really all about. Why is Christmas is a question you will often hear gramatically challenged people in the street cry out in desperation as they waste money of the latet ‘Jerk Me Off Elmo’ or the ‘Curse Like A Fucking Dockworker Furby’. Here then is the answer to that question… Well I guess technically it’s more about the meaning of Eastr perhaps but still, it’s a video I made some time ago and I’d like to share it once more a this jolly time of year.




%d bloggers like this: