Monthly Archives: May 2009

Real Life Swashbuckling Pirates

Real Life PiratesMaybe it was a little premature to declare the bootleg hawking Pirate of the backstreets to be a dying breed.

For sun has finally hit these shores in some meaningful sense of the word, and it was a lazy Sunday afternoon fit for the Kinks themselves. To the Pub! To the sunny, if not so green beer garden down the way!

And settled as I was, beverage in hand, my heart genuinely dropped to see a chap with backpack and DVD’s doing the rounds. Most tables gave him short thrift, but he managed to find one table where they were happy to specifically ask our man here if he had any pornos going spare.

I mean COME ON. Haven’t you people heard of The Internet?

Christ, if ever there was an industry that took a kicking from piracy then it must surely be that of adult entertainment. You rarely hear the Federation Against Copyright Theft speaking out in their defence. Perhaps a few lessons could be learnt from the one film industry which in spite of online piracy embraced the anonymity the internet offered and sold that fact to its legions of ‘keep-it-behind-closed-doors’ customers.

Still, the staff at this pub were quick to spot what was going on and duly sent Mister Shakey-cam on his way. Which then begs the question: why don’t FACT (et al) target pubs and open workplaces that attract the bootleg hawkers? I doubt there are many hostelleries that are glad to see illegal wares being peddled under their roof. Let alone porn.

I mean COME ON. Porn? In a pub? In the middle of the day? On a Sunday?  From a pirate?

Seriously. People. Whats. Wrong. With. Just. Going. On. The. Int. Er. Net?

In other vaguely related piratey news, PC World have started running an advert saying how they’ll help set you up to stream (illegally) downloaded films from the PC in your study to the TV in your living room. Which is a handy alternative to bootleg DVD’s if you’re really fucking desperate to watch porn on something other than your computer.

Movie World at PC World
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Public Service Announcement

Heres JohnnyThis being the eve of the world’s first International MS Day, those lovely commissioners at More4 have seen fit to repeat Here’s Johnny. Some might say “if you only see one documentary this year then make it this one.” That still stands true, so do make an effort to catch it if you can.

If you miss it then you should be able to catch up with it on the more-complicated-than-necessary 4onDemand.

If you really like it why not buy the smashing super special edition DVD from the filmmakers themselves? It comes with some particularly nice clippings from the cutting room floor, and with its shiny gatefold of awesome art is definitely as lovely a physical object as you’ll ever find.

Whatever you do just don’t miss it!

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Empire Magazine Gallery o’ Shame

Empire Magazine Cover[Apologies for two Galleries o’ Shame in a row, but this one literally landed this morning]

The gentle thud of magazine on carpet is always welcome, even to someone burdened with 3 more subscriptions than can be comfortably consumed in a single month. I feel pretty solitary in thinking that print isn’t wholly dead in the water, but then the latest issue of Empire has me worried at quite how desperately they seem to be clutching at straws these days.

FIRST LOOK: HEROES OF 2010! could easily pass muster as an Italian sci-fi film from the 1970’s, but Public Enemies aside it’s the number one feature of month. Ridley Scott’s will-they-won’t-they Robin Hood gets top billing, giving the unwitting punter at the newsstand a sneak-peak at Aussie Gruff-Man Russell Crowe cutting a haggard profile as the Robenhood himself.

All fine and well, I’ve already seen that picture on the internet, so what other sneaky peaks lie in store I wonder?

Whole Page

Well it’s that picture of Russell Crowe again. But reversed this time. Much like the closely studied Seagal, Crowe qualifies in that class of action hero whose face is strikingly symmetrical, making image reversing an absolute doddle. A page editor’s dream!

And all credit to the brief article, it provides short snippets of insight from the film’s scriptwriter Brian Helgeland, setting straight the record on some of the stranger rumours that have been doing the rounds on this here internet. Crowe won’t be playing both Robin and the Sheriff of Nottingham. No mullets. No swinging on ropes either. Pretty promising relative to the standard set by Kevin Costner and his rusty spoon.

Giving no disrespect to Mr Helgeland, I’m guessing the face of a scriptwriter doesn’t cut much muster with the celebrity hungry Empire magazine. But alas, alack! The studio’s only drip fed poor Empire a single image of Robin, which they’ve already had to flip for the cover and the article! What to do!

“Get the art director in here! Get me something illustrative of this here Robin Hood!”

“What do you want?”

“Bows and arrows! Russell Crowe with a bow or something, in an action pose, that’ll do! And quick sharp now, the deadline looms!”

And off the illustrator goes and does exactly that. Using that very same solitary photo as source material. Amazing what you can do with a bit of paint and tracing paper really.

Close Up Comparison

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Steven Seagal Gallery o’ Shame II

Urban Justice montage(From l to r: details from the covers to Urban Justice, Region 3 and Region 1  respectively.)

Watching a low budget action film is a lot like playing spot the difference. The game of spying the be-wigged stunt doubles when the camera cuts to a reverse angle; the mismatched profiles, the oblique body language of a man waiting to throw himself through a door. It’s brilliant. Seagal of course takes it to another level, with his unique stature he is an instantly recognisable action star who none the less doggedly refuses to do any actual action. Which makes life hard for the casting director, as there aren’t many stunt doubles taller than 6’4″ with pony tail and 7th Dan Aikido skills. That is after all what made Seagal unique in the first place. Maybe the contrast between him and stunt double is his way of underscoring just how bloody unique he is.

With Seagal this statement of identity continues on the covers of his neverending stream of direct-to-dvd output. The above comparison plays on a level of uncanniness, a certain unheimliche in being similar yet obliquely different. This isn’t just thanks to the ungodly sight of Danny (I’veseenhimbefore) Trejo winking between the two profiles. No, the image is mirrored in all but Seagal’s face. I know he almost transcends the fact that a human face cannot be completely symmetrical, but no, body mirrored, head the same. Or correction: body-mirrored, face and shirt-collar the same. Or is it? I have no idea what’s going on there…

Looking at the Mojo Priest’s crotch (steady now), I guess we could divine that the cover on the left is accurate as it has the fly stitched in a conventional fashion. Yet to my eyes then the cover on the right looks more normal. Maybe Seagal just flies in the face of ‘conventional fashion’ and gets his jeans stitched another way. The Mojo way perhaps.

But is he left or right handed? Can we determine which profile is accurate from that fact? The internet draws a blank on that one, maybe some other direct-to-dvd covers might hold an answer –

mercenary for justice montage1(From l to r: Mercenary For Justice, Czech cover and French cover respectively.)

Or maybe not.

Whatever his dexterity he sure knows one thing, and that’s how to punch, kick and elbow other men in the nuts.

EDIT: Comments on this post have revealed that Steve Seagal does in fact wears womens jeans, flying in the face of conventional fashion. Such are the ways of the Mojo Priest. [thanks to commentator ‘xyz’ for that]

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