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Batman Vs Superman

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First of all, I need to get this out of the way. Upon my first viewing I wanted to call this review Batman Vs Superman: Yawn of Justice. I know right, I’m so whimsical. But I felt I needed to watch it again, so I did! And I rethought my initial knee jerk reaction and gave it another deserved chance. This film has been quite undeservedly derided universally. Now I can see why but it is a bit unfair. It’s going to be hard to convince you otherwise if you already hate it and to be honest, I’m not going to try. The best way to approach this is the simplest approach, what was good and what was bad. Right, the good.

Batman fights Superman. If like me you’ve been waiting for this since your teens it delivers and then some. But Zack Snyder makes you wait, oh he makes you wait. It is worth it to be fair. The fight borrows heavily aesthetically and in terms of action from The Dark Knight Returns. The heavily advertised metal suit Bats sports, the use of kryptonite and Superman’s inability to see through lead based products with a craftily deployed smoke bomb. The fight is everything I hoped for. Two titans kicking the living tar out of each other.

Ben Affleck. Holy fuck! His hulking frame, shown in a glorious training montage, is impressive enough but his performance behind the beef and indeed the cowl is spectacular. His Batman is world weary, greying, physically and mentally broken. And gone beyond vigilante, I mean he flat out kills loads of guys in this movie! And there has been a lot of huzzah about this. I don’t feel any moral outrage about it, I don’t condone it but I understand the reasoning. He sees it as the only way to solve Gotham’s problem. Well, it’s either this or burning the whole place down, the place is a hole.

Henry Cavill. Sadly, like in the woeful Man of Steel, treated rather shabbily by an underwritten part and a hammy script. Anyone who knows me is well aware of my dislike of Superman, but he can be made interesting (see Death of Superman (graphic novel), the first two original Superman movies with the impeccable Christopher Reeve). There are glimpses of hope in this movie. Supes is struggling with the weight of being himself. Cavill does a great job but is let down by an underdeveloped arc.

Jesse Eisenberg. I wanted to hate this version of Lex Luthor. The trailers made me physically wince and shift uncomfortably in my seat, but he grew on me over the course of this film. His maniacal, and as the film moves forward completely mental plans are made all the more delicious by his unnerving jumpy nature. This guy really hates Superman and he goes to great lengths to try and stop him.

Gal Gadot. It’s pretty easy to shoehorn in a hot chick to play a well-loved, renowned superhero but with the casting of Gadot, the film does Wonder Woman a great justice. She was powerful, sexy and could hold her own with the two guys. I will gladly watch her in her inevitable solo outing! Which, in a rather ham fisted way, brings us to the bad elements of this movie.

Wonder Woman. Not Gadot. Or indeed the character in general, no it was more the way she was shoehorned in to be one of the reasons for Bats and Supes to forget their hatred and unite to fight a common foe. The last half hour is rushed as fuck. And an email attachment Bruce Wayne sends her instantly sets up the Justice League with tiny trailers for Aquaman, Cyborg, The Flash and indeed Wonder Woman. Now the whole rushed ending. Two things here.

Doomsday. I got it, I totally got it but come on that ridiculous CGI, the lasers and really bright flare. Completely ruined an otherwise great battle. And ultimately, he was only here so our heroes could team up. To be fair, Gadot can handle that Lasso of Truth like a boss and looks bad ass doing it. Could have done with less of this hulking CGI mess. Now another reason that the last half hour was ham fisted and lazy as. I got a hold of an exclusive deleted scene. Text only mind.

INT: ABANDONED WAREHOUSE. Batman stands triumphantly over Superman. He raises his arms up to bring down a kryptonite tipped spear into Superman’s chest. Just before he bring sit down, Superman wearily raises a hand.

Superman: “Wait.”

Batman looks at him, smirks and slowly brings his arms down to his side.

Batman: “Make it quick. This ends now!”

Superman: “Right on the count of three, say the first thing that comes into your head.” Batman: “What?”

Superman: “Say the first name that comes into your head.”

Both: “Martha!”

Batman: “What?”

Superman: “Did we just become super best friends?”

Batman: “I think we just did…. Shit.”

 This didn’t happen like this I admit but it was pretty close. I call bull shit, Zack Snyder!

Anyway, I enjoyed it more on the second viewing. Not a perfect film by any means but it is enjoyable. And serves as a nice taster for The Justice League and reportedly three solo Batman films starring Ben Affleck and hopefully in the guise of his ever present butler, Alfred Pennyworth the ever reliant Jeremy Irons. He was great in this film and did a great job as Pennyworth. If you haven’t seen it, I would recommend going to see it as it is a lot of fun but don’t expect any jokes.

2.5 / 5




Written by thepanch

April 3, 2016 at 10:52 am

Dark As The Knight

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“Oh, what are you reading….. The Dark Knight Returns?? Tsk, is that a comic?” Technically no, it’s a graphic novel but if it gets up your nose then yes, yes it is a comic. With Bloomsday behind us, I got to thinking about literary greats and their weight on our world. Personally, I found James Joyce boring, long winded and ultimately a bad writer. Have you ever tried to read The Portrait of The Artist as A Young Man? You’d have more luck decoding the Big Bang Theory and definitely more fun, which brings me to my point, dear reader.

Why graphic novels are never talked about in literary circles. But wait James, Watchmen is on the The Times Greatest 100 Novels of All Time. Just a numbered placement on a grander scale, it will never be revered in the same way The Great Gatsby, Huck Finn and Ulysess is. Why I hear you decry? Again, this is only from personal observation and from encounters I have had myself. Snobbery, snobbery and a sense of general ignorance.

“Comics are only for children.” I got news for ya, there are loads of things people do that they carry on into their adult years. Washing, breathing and I don’t know putting on fancy clothes because it makes you feel special. There is nothing wrong with growing older, it’s when you grow up that you want to get worried because the day you do is the day you edge closer to the grave.
With that in mind dear reader, here are five graphic novels I can highly recommend!!!!

The Walking Dead: Volume One Days Gone By

A relatively new one and one that I’m sure you will only be familiar with thanks to the sublime AMC show of the same name. The graphic novels tell the story of the television story, despite them coming first! It is a page turner par excellence and keeps you on the edge of your seat with a cliff hanger pretty much at the end of every chapter. I could go into the minor, sometimes major differences of the show and the novel but that would mean spoilers. Go read it!

The Killing Joke

One of the most brutal graphic novels I have ever read, written by Alan Moore with art work by Brian Boland. The Joker breaks out of Arkham Asylum and goes straight back towards Gotham targeting Jim Gordon or more specifically his daughter Barbara. What ensues is a violent, horrible series of events and there undercurrents of sexual deviancy. The Joker then tries to drive Jim Gordon insane it is truly a monumental piece of art and for my money the definitive Joker Story.

From Hell

Another one from Alan Moore. This novel mixes historical fiction and crime noir. It tells the tale leading up the Whitechapel Murders by Jack The Ripper and the cover ups that ensue. An outsider is named as “The Ripper” and challenges you to accept that maybe the story we all know could very well be a massive cover up in itself!!


The novel that reinvigorated the idea of a “superhero”which has a sprawling, gargantuan script undercut by gorgeous art work, set in an alternative universe. A universe where the good old US of A is nearing nuclear war with the Soviet Union, Tricky Dicky is in his fourth term of office and a masked vigilante named Roscharch is convinced that masked superheroes are being targeted and murdered. Can the “Watchmen” in their diminishing numbers stop the war? Read it and find out!!

The Dark Knight Returns

Simply put this is one of the greatest graphic novels of all time. And this bad boy was a major influence on Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, (as was Knightfall but more on that at a later date). TDKR follows the brooding, dark character that we know today. Released in 1986 it emerged at a time when Batman was laughed at thanks to the camp tv show and his general sense of camp crusader.
Bruce is old, old and broken down and he has a lot to contend with. His city is falling to shit, a new Robin is on the rise and he has to deal with The Joker and Two-Face! But he does what he does best, kicks in teeth and wreaks vengeance. The art work is gaunt, claustrophobic and stark. It paints Gotham as a hell on earth, a place that seemingly has no hope and where gangs run riot with no sign of a hero. A staggeringly good novel which is a follow up to the also impressive Batman Year One, and a precursor to The Dark Knight Returns Again but the less said about that travesty the better!

All these novels are available online. I can recommend The Big Bang in Dundrum Shopping Centre. I get a regular supply from these guys. Find them on Facebook and tell them Jamie sent you. Happy reading!!!

Written by thepanch

July 6, 2013 at 9:38 pm


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Jamie’s Good News

As you may or may not be aware dear reader Enniscorthy Drama Group is up and running! And we are hitting the ground running and the 24th of August sees the first productions hitting the stage of the Presentation Centre. The Tinker’s Wedding by JM Synge (directed by Colum Cooney) and Ritual For Dolls by George MacEwan Greene (directed by Siobhan Duggan). I will be playing the role of Bravo, a toy soldier, alongside Caroline Busher (Arabella), Tim Connaughton (Golly) and Eimear Hanlon (Jo-Jo). That’s two great one act plays for the price of one on the 24th August in the Presentation Centre!!

Find us on Facebook: Enniscorthy Drama Group

Twitter: @enniscorthydg

What A B*****d!!!!

Watching Hannibal on Sky Living got me thinking, thinking hard. Now I will not reveal anything about the show apart from the fact that this incarnation of Dr. Lecter played with creepy perfection by Mads Mikkelsen is for all intensive purposes the epitome of pure evil. Cold, calculated genius evil and in short a complete b*****d!! With that in mind, come with me on a journey to discover five of the biggest b******s to ever slink, crawl and run riot on our screens!!

5. Sean Noakes, Sleepers (1996) (played by Kevin Bacon)

One of many prison guards that would ritually and sadistically sexually abuse beat and molest a collection of young men from Hell’s Kitchen who were sent to a Young Offenders Institute for a summertime prank gone horribly wrong. He strides around the Institute with an unmistakable swagger and runs the place like a sadistic prick. His acts of bastardry include knocking over dinner from a tray and making the victim eat if off the floor “if he’s that hungry.”

Ultimate Act of Bastardry:

During the first of many beatings, a young defenceless boy shivers in the dark and looks up at his attackers pleading. “What do you want?” Noakes coldly and coolly replies, “A blowjob.”

4. Percy Whitmore, The Green Mile (1999) (played by Doug Hutchinson)

Percy Whitmore got his job thanks to family connections and the guy seems to have been born with a stick up his derriere. The sense of entitlement he displays is counter balanced by his utter repulsiveness. I have no idea how hard it is to be a prison guard, but I would imagine it would be less hard as long as all guards are a team. Percy does not share this belief for he is out for Percy and Percy alone.
His penultimate act of bastardry is crushing Del’s mouse, Mr. Jingles. That scene gets me every time and I want to reach in and wrap my hands around his smug, gangly neck. But that pales in comparison with his ultimate act.

Ultimate Act of Bastardry: Having pushed his way onto the execution party of Edward Delacroix, he is not contented watching the man fry for his crime. Percy neglects to wet the sponge that will be placed on Del’s head which will go some way as to soften the blow of being shot full of electricity. What follows is absolutely horrific; Del’s body shoots into flames on account of the electricity passing through it. Only upshot is Percy gets the tar knocked out of it by Tom Hanks and the other guards!!

3. Gunnery Sgt Hartman, Full Metal Jacket (1987) (played by R. Lee Emery)

This man oozes b****** from head to foot and for the entire time he’s on screen! So he does not have one “ultimate act”. Instead here’s a choice few quotes:

“Are you quitting on me? Well, are you? Then quit, you slimy fucking walrus-looking piece of shit! Get the fuck off of my obstacle! Get the fuck down off of my obstacle! NOW! MOVE IT! Or I’m going to rip your balls off, so you cannot contaminate the rest of the world! I will motivate you, Private Pyle!”

“Five-foot-nine, I didn’t know they stacked shit that high!”

“I bet you’re the kind of guy that would fuck a person in the ass and not even have the goddamn common courtesy to give him a reach-around. I’ll be watching you.”

“Private Pyle I’m gonna give you three seconds; exactly three-fucking-seconds to wipe that stupid looking grin off your face or I will gouge out your eyeballs and skull-fuck you! ONE! TWO! THREE!”

“What is your major malfunction, numbnuts? Didn’t Mommy and Daddy show you enough attention when you were a child?”

“Bullshit. It looks to me like the best part of you ran down the crack of your mama’s ass and ended up as a brown stain on the mattress.”

2. Skeletor, Masters Of The Universe (played by…. Skeletor)

I know, I know. He’s a cartoon! Doesn’t mean he cannot be a bona fide b*****d!! Like any good demented leader, he was unbelievably rude to his crew; his loved ones and he had a whole castle all to himself but spent the majority of the series trying to steal the Sorceress’ castle!! What a prick.

Ultimate Act of Bastardry: In the Filmation TV series Skeletor kills a villager and starts to prey on He Man’s conscience. He has He-Man convinced that he was the killer of the innocent villager, nearly driving He-Man insane. He killed someone in cold blood and tried to convince He-Man he did it! Hardly My Little Pony…

1. Patrick Bateman, American Psycho (2000) (played by Christian Bale)

I hate the 80’s as a whole. The fashion, the music and the general sense of dread, but Patrick Bateman embraces all the hallmarks of the era. Stock market greed, immaculate business suits, technology and oh yea killing ladies. He tries to feed a stray kitten into an ATM machine…. A stray kitten…. He’s demented!!

Ultimate Act of Bastardry: He kills senselessly and then throws on some Phil Collins. End of argument. There’s your Number One B*****d!

N.B. I have not included Darth Vader in this list because he’s overused in these types of polls and he looks like a giant black pedal bin with a fan on his face and suffers from a bad throat. Until next time!!

Written by thepanch

July 6, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Beware False Prophets

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Jamie’s Good News

Batman: Arkham City was for my money the greatest game I have ever had the privilege of getting my mitts on. To go full geek, you actually felt like Batman. Your decisions as to how you approach a fist / gun fight had outcomes for you and at some stages the poor unwilling innocents held victim by the scum of Gotham. And you got XP points for “intimidating” said scum. Now for those who haven’t played it first off, what the hell? Secondly, I will not produce any major spoilers as regards the ending. But it left the game in a quandary, where do you get a sequel from that? The simple answer, you don’t!

This train of thought must have influenced the decision for the newest addition to the Arkham franchise, Batman: Arkham Origins. As I said, it is not a sequel and Rocksteady Games will not be developing the title which initially made me recoil in nervous horror but from what I’ve seen so far it looks pretty tasty despite this revelation! The game focuses on Batman’s early years as The Caped Crusader.

However it is not a direct “origin” story instead it focuses on The Black Mask aka Roman Sionis who puts a bounty on Bat’s pointy eared head to try and get him off his back. Batman goes on to take out a number of assassins who are out to claim their prize and make their name over the course of a cold and dreary Christmas Eve in Gotham.
Early screenshots look pretty impressive featuring the aforementioned Black Mask, The Penguin and Deathstroke.

Half of the game will take place in Old Gotham, years before it was turned into the prison we saw in City. The second half will take place in New Gotham which looks to borrow heavily from Tim Burton’s Batman. This pleases me greatly as I wanted to live in that Gotham for a good two years when I was a young chap. The release date is set for October 25th this year and for more information and screenshots and indeed all things Bats, go to:


Beware False Prophets

Now William Martin Murphy and his Dublin Millionaires
Tried bribery, corruption, hypocrisy and prayers
To spite the Transport Union their scats they did enlist
But all their graft was shattered by a scarlet iron fist.

When the bosses tried to sweat the lads way down on Glasgow’s Clyde
A voice like roaring thunder soon shook them in their stride
In Liverpool and Belfast where worker lives in Hell
But Connolly rose and gave them hope, the truth to you I tell.

Oh Irishmen the day will come when workers one and all
will rise up from their bended knee and rally to the call
Throw out the bosses tyranny and shout from shore to shore
For a working man’s Republic and freedom evermore.

And Connolly was there, Connolly was there
Bold, brave and undaunted; James Connolly was there.

You know what it’s like. You’re in a bar, you see a woman that catches your eye. You are no longer John, the accountant from up the road who still lives with his mammy after the messy divorce. No, you are Big Bill Brady. You are just back from a three month trek in The Andes where you went mountain climbing in your spare time. Your time was mostly spent helping poor orphans who were left homeless because of some disaster. You would offer her a lift on the Harley but it’s in the shop. People lie. If you want something, you lie to obtain it. The people you swore into power lied. They lied hard to get what they wanted.

Labour wanted to bed the country; they wanted to have its wicked way so they promised us the following:

• Child Benefit will not be touched
• No increase in college fees
• Fair Taxation and higher taxes for the rich
• Abolish prescription charges
• No Property Tax
• Burden sharing with bondholders

They all sounded lovely didn’t they? Sure, they’re great altogether. Only a moron, a dribbling moron would not vote for these smooth operators…… “What’s that? The Budget, ah sure that’s never pleasant….. Here turn up the tele there…. Sssh, here’s the first one”:

• Child Benefit to be cut by €10 a month for the first and second child, €18 a month for the third child and €20 a month for fourth and subsequent children.

“That’s not too bad…. Bit steep but sure it won’t matter….. you’ll be going to college sure….”

• €250 increase in the registration fees.

“They might hit the fat cats… I’ll be paying the same as the big fellas with their four houses….”

• €264 increase in PRSI for all those including those earning under €18,000 a year.

“Shite…. Least I’ll be able to get me tablets for me chest and your mother will be alright with the inhaler….”

• Tripled the prescription for medical card holders.

“Ah for f*** sake…..Here. Least I owns the house…”

• A property tax at 0.18% of the value of your home.

“F*****’ Hogan….. This is ridiculous…. Least them b********’ bondholders will be raked over the coals!!!!”

• Bondholders, including unsecured bondholders continue to be paid in full.

“******************************!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” (Pulls tele out of the wall and fires it out the window, gets a letter about the licence anyway)

The Great Rock And Roll Swindle? Nothing rock and roll about that, just a bunch of smooth tongued devils, not holding pitch forks though. They’re winking on camera and kissing babies, trouncing all over the ideals the party was founded on. Enda Kenny called Margaret Thatcher “a formidable leader.”
Who would’ve thought it, eh? A man admiring a woman that liked to make grown men quiver and shake like brassy school children? Oh, zat is some good strudel…. A woman that presided over a party which decimated small towns, families and vital industries and businesses, leaving families to make the decision, food or power? I can see why he was a fan alright. Goodbye Ireland, we hardly knew ye…..

Written by thepanch

July 6, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Just One More Thing

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Jamie’s Good News

I entered a competition on TV3 for the Book Club last month. I reviewed David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. Yes, I can see your mind working there, that film that was out a while ago where Tom Hanks put on funny wigs and noses, thus making him different people in different times yet somehow the same story strand. I know, you’re confused as hell. Try reading the book. Here’s the review that won me a Blackberry Playbook:

“Cloud Atlas. What? Sprawling. Mental. One story. Two Stories. Many Stories. I don’t get it. He went back. She went forward? Ah here. This is too much like hard work. Oh wait. Hold on. So he was? Jaysis. Mental. He did. She didn’t. I don’t know. Cloud Atlas. Good Jesus.”

That was how I felt while reading the book, a series of short bursts of story followed by disappointment then ultimately confusion. Some of the literary types praise it as “challenging” and that books aren’t meant to be “easy, it was written that way, to be challenging.” You can take your smugness and jump off a cliff, a high one. Books are supposed to challenge you yes, but not to the point where the narrative gets wrapped up and ultimately lost in a shambolic, rambling and ultimately messy story.

And to be fair, you are only supposed to be really challenged by books when you are in school. Maths books, Irish books. Speaking of schools, this book reeked of could have done better. It had a distinct feel of a writer failing to tie up all the loose ends and just ended a particular story by starting a new one. Oh and the film was atrocious, you know just in case you were wondering. Cloud Atlas? Shit sandwich.

Bye Bye Birdie

Good Oul Bertie. The stuttering bum, the lovable rogue from the old lovable Dubalin. Ah Jaysis, will ya have a short? I will…. I didn’t see ya comin’, yil have a babby power…. Jaysis, we’ll go up The Mero in a bit. Lovable Oul Bertie. As I’m sure you are most astutely aware dear reader, Bertie is neither lovable nor innocent. After presiding over the decimation of  the country he left his storied position in The Dail, yet still continued to pocket his pension. Now, think about that. But surely he’s entitled to a pension.

Hold that thought. Only seven out of 116 ministers gave up their pensions when the news about Bertie broke, this was despite the introduction of a system to allow them to do so. Also at this time none of the Fianna Fail ministers chose to give up their pensions despite being the ones presiding over the crash. Now, I don’t blame them entirely, they didn’t crash the money ship, but they were driving it. Let’s talk figures.

On this pension, Good Oul Bertie pockets a tasty €12,500 a month. A month!! I know, right! That’s roughly around €3,000 a week for doing nothing, literally nothing. Well unless you count traipsing around the country giving lectures nothing. Now, why all this anger you say? Well as many of you may or may not know, Good Oul Bertie has been appointed chairman of the IFF (International Forestry Fund). What so ever can this mean, James? Well dear reader, gather around and I’ll tell you a tale.

Good Oul Bertie was directly involved in giving away lorry loads of our oil and gas during his time in power and now he is chairman of the very organization that the now government are looking to flog our forests and woodlands to. This is an abomination, an absolutely abhorrent way of pulling in more dirty money. There is no other way to describe it, and with a man in power who has no scruples pocketing €3,000 a week for the honour of being a retired Taoiseach, wave bye bye to all your favourite walkways.

Remember those happy memories of bringing your children or indeed being brought for a walk in one of these lovely areas? Well you better hope you took photos because the government will soon have them flogged off to the highest bidder, who will probably be Good Oul Bertie. The snake.

I am putting all politicians on notice for when you decide to campaign for re-election. Well when you all recover from your readily funded rips to the USA for Paddy’s Day so they could all laugh at the poor Paddies. Best to avoid me. Cross the street if you see me and do not even comprehend darkening my door. You are all snakes, cowardly weak snakes. And I know you won’t lose one iota of sleep over this, but this country is on it’s knees and you are going to preside over it being pushed over the edge. For what died the sons of Roisin…….

Written by thepanch

July 6, 2013 at 8:49 pm

To Boldly Go (Spolier Free)

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The Onion ran a great story around the time of JJ Abram’s 2009 film version of Star Trek. It was a video which featured “trekkies” portrayed by actors that were bashing the film for being “fun, watchable and there isn’t one scene where the Klingons words weren’t subtitled”. It went on to bemoan the casting of Chris Pine as hot headed captain James T. Kirk. It was inspired hilarity. I don’t know if it was based on fact but the film did get a lot of flak from “trekkies”. And it was this video that made me venture to the cinema to see it! I remember being sceptical about the release as I am not a Trek fan in any way shape or form. And it was all those things mentioned in the Onion video it was fun watchable and one hell of an adventure.

Roll forward four years and we are being treated to a sequel Star Trek: Into Darkness. This film focuses on the tenuous relationship between James T Kirk and his Vulcan first officer, Dr. Spock. The two personalities are perfectly matched as one is hot headed, impulsive and reckless and the other “can’t even break rules, never mind bones.” In the first movie, they were finding their feet but here Kirk is the captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise and leads the ship and the crew on an exploration mission which results in Kirk being demoted and losing control of his ship. But a far greater threat lies in wait.

Enter Benedict Cumberbatch. He is a joy to watch in this movie as John Harrison, a captain hell bent on destruction and death. And he does a damn fine job of causing both. An attack on the Star Fleet Headquarters prompts an emergency meeting of the powers that be in which Kirk is assigned to be Captain Pike’s first officer on the U.S.S Enterprise. The scene plays out as a nice little homage to the helicopter attack in The Godfather Part III. Kirk is back on active duty and requests permission to track down and kill Harrison. This is where the film kicks up ten notches and is non-stop action.

That being said the performances in this film betray its loud and brash action scenes. There are a load of fatal casualties with some key characters being obliterated. And relationships play out against a backdrop of stun phasers, space battles and mid space flight. Pine is fantastic as Kirk and displays a huge emotional arc in trying to reach Spock on a human level. Speaking of Spock, Zachary Quinto is inspired here and for my money and despite Cumberbatch being a complete and utter bastard this film belongs to Spock.

His journey is the centre of the film and not to give away plot twists or indeed indicate a spoiler, Quinto delivers a first rate performance as the pointy eared logical one. And the fights between him and Uhura are played for laughs, having a familiar domestic ring to them despite one half of the couple being a Vulcan. The last half hour delivers in terms of action, character development and two surprisingly emotional scenes which might bring a tear to even the most hardened Trekkie’s eye. I’ll admit, it was handled beautifully and despite the risk of appearing cheesy actually made me a bit emotional and one scene ends with a familiar guttural roar from a central character.

There are loads of little nods to previous Trek films and the Trek folklore littered throughout the movie. These should please the “trekkies” among you and if you are not there is plenty here to enjoy. Overall, a joy of a film with just the right amount of space talk and huge, huge explosions. You might even cry a little. You can see why hard-core Trekkies will probably hate on it.

4.5 / 5

Written by thepanch

May 15, 2013 at 10:51 am

To Know, Know, Know Him….

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To Know, Know, Know Him

After the release and subsequent unprecedented success of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws in 1975 it did some irrepressible damage. Not to box office, ticket sales or any real harm in a physical sense. Quite the opposite there, it broke all kinds of records and became the first “summer blockbuster.” No, it did lasting damage to the people that saw it. It put people into the mind-set that great white sharks were flesh hungry beasts and if you swam in the ocean, you were likely to stumble across one, and would wind up in a mouthful of teeth. In short, Jaws turned Great White Sharks into, as far as the public were concerned, bastards.

I cannot claim to have swam with or met any Great Whites, but I have heard of more people being run over on the roads than eaten alive by Great Whites. What I’m getting at is if something is painted in a certain light it is left like that. In short, shit sticks. And if someone is painted out to be a mental case, chances are he is probably capable of a grievously dastardly deed. And so we come to Harvey Phillip Spector, or as you know him, Phil Spector.

I can see your mind working. Yes, that Phil Spector that rose from humble working class roots, deprived of a father at the tender age of six through suicide to become one of the most influential music producers of all time. He would go on to record one of the most successful singles of all time, You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling by The Righteous Brothers. He would also famously produce The Beatles’ Let It Be. As a result he would fall out with McCartney because he plastered his infamous “wall of sound” over the sparse, mainly acoustic tracks on the album.

Indeed Spector was to become notorious for going to extremes with his artists and prone to temperamental outbursts in the studio, frequently shooting a gun off to illustrate a point or simply to garner some form of an emotional response. William Friedkin used similar techniques while filming The Exorcist. He was never charged with murder, now that I come to think of it. Before we go any further, my personal opinions on the case are just that, my own and I do not presume to believe Spector is either innocent or guilty.

This brings us to David Mamet’s Phil Spector, a little gem of a film that despite dealing with the death of Lana Clarkson and the fallout from it does not presume to determine guilt or innocence in any way. It is a film that focuses on the relationship between Spector (Al Pacino) and his defence attorney played by Helen Mirren. But more importantly it asks the question, do we create monsters or are they created in the media through pictures, sound-bites and caricatures?

Indeed Mirren’s character asks that very question very intelligibly, “Why does the monster live in a castle? Why does the minotaur live in a cave?” This is just one of the brilliant exchanges between characters in Mamet’s trademark dialogue in so much as it is terse, to the point and smooth. Spector does little to protect his image as a “monster” by living in a walled off mansion with sentry dogs and barbed wire littering the perimeter.

Pacino is surprisingly restrained and plays Spector as a rambling, intelligent eccentric man. He focuses on the obvious mental illness that Spector suffers from and this comes out in his involuntarily shaking hands, his foaming mouth and roving eyes. He also portrays Spector as a frequently empathetic, genuine person when he gives Mirren’s character a blanket as she is cold and whispers to her, “I know how sick you are, and how much this is costing you. I have met some insane people in my time, but very few sane ones. Even fewer that I could talk to.”

Mirren plays her defence attorney with a level of empathy, compassion but never sympathy. She treats it as just another case, but is somewhat worn down by Spector’s eccentricities and sometimes good humoured nature. The film has one major flaw. The court-room scenes are woefully short and given Mamet’s penchant for long, rewarding exchanges these opportunities seem wasted ultimately. But as I said earlier, the film is a character study and does not attempt to presume either innocent or guilt so I’m just nit-picking.

I can highly recommend this film and it runs a neat 92 minutes. Go get it!!!!

4.5 / 5

Written by thepanch

May 13, 2013 at 6:12 pm