December 30, 2017

U.S. remake piracy

I've been brewing up this one for years...

U.S. versions of the TV shows and films from other countries always have to strip away ambiguities and make situations and characters explicit, because the audience can't be trusted to get the point otherwise. A feelgood factor is also obligatory. It's akin to still needing stabilisers on their bikes. The U.S. version of The Office is accordingly far inferior to the original in both intellectual and satirical terms, and doesn't feel far off having a canned laughter track to ram the point home. But this is nothing surprising: in the entire history of American plundering of British (or other foreign) source material, I doubt there has ever been a single case where the original has been matched, let alone improved on, and in some cases the results have been hideous, such as the American remake of Being Human or Lee redoing Oldboy. Perhaps House of Cards was an exception to the rule in being a different beast to its parent and thus having different virtues. Even more so in the case of Soderbergh’s remake of Solaris, where Tarkovsky’s original got lost in cold abstraction and the remake isn’t just more coherent, but also manages to convey gut-wrenching emotion. 
But it’s a sad indictment of the bulk of American film and TV culture (some excellent HBO productions and a few independent filmmakers excepted) that not only are unimaginative remakes of their own and others’ works so widely accepted by mercenary actors and the viewing public alike, but that 99% of the time they will reduce everything that is distinctive to the lowest common denominators, resulting in an expensive but formless grey sludge.

November 28, 2017

Ignorance is no defence

So, this is another sorry tale that Brexit has brought up. And if you confront the half of the population that have contributed to this, many will insist they didn't know this would occur, because being an idiot is better than being evil. Now, what historical parallels can a culture brought up obsessively with a war fought more than 70 years ago conjure up, I wonder?
Just disown all Brexiteers. It may do the country harm in the short term, but I want to kick them when they're down. And kick them again. It worked for the Germans.

June 18, 2017

You're in charge of the biggest sport in the world...please fuck it up for us

Really. Never mind over 10 years of resisting technology to stop travesties in things the referee didn't or didn't want to see occurring. Never mind being blind to video assistance while always remembering to take giant bribes. No, apparently what we want from FIFA is making football matches 2/3 of the length. Putin, Trump, FIFA are all supposedly democratically chosen in some way. It may not be the Cold War, but it doesn't feel much more equitable or reasonable. Anyway, the Cold War did have one thing in its favour: very few Russians got out of their shitty country.

May 14, 2017

No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!

Have a couple of million to spare? The country not getting wrecked fast enough for your liking? Why not use your hard-pilfered loot to try to oust democratically-elected MPs who haven't yet changed their tune on Brexit? It's a free country, isn't it? Surely, it's up to the individual whether to spend their surplus hoard on skewing an election or building a secret base inside a volcano.

December 03, 2016

Kick them when they're down, why don't you?

El Daily Heil no sabe nada. Can't believe this wasn't picked up, but then ironic juxtaposition isn't exactly their strongest suit.

November 10, 2016

Yes, it's the Nazi comparison. Bear with me.

I'm aware that invoking Godwin's Law at this time needs extreme justification, but I think there's one angle that I haven't seen anyone pick up on yet. Namely, the choice between Hindenburg and Hitler in 1933 was a much more forgivable situation for the electorate to make a grievous mistake on than what has just happened. Most of the populace had a lack of any real media access, the economic situation was truly dire with starvation only a stone's throw away for many, the whole world was far less culturally tolerant and the trauma and injustice of recent history hung heavy over it all. On top of that, one side employed actual widespread violence to bend opinion.
Yet Hitler didn't actually win the election. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

June 24, 2016

Apathy in the UK

So, the fearful disenfranchised have voted against the educated and we're now heading out of an institution that curbed the worst excesses of successive Tory governments against them through protective legislation. Regardless of how any individual may justify their grounds for this act of blithe stupidity, it's the immigration issue and it's corrosive effect on uncomprehending minds that has won the day, as if leaving the EU will somehow furnish all those discontents with jobs they were never qualified for in the first place. Rather than meaning that in the long run, there'll be fewer jobs to go around, with the economy going up the Swannee.
It should, nevertheless, not escape anyone's attention that a voter turnout of 72%, while high in comparison to the pathetic totals for recent national, council and EU elections, is depressingly low for the most important vote most people are ever likely to have cast. That the polls got it so badly wrong is surely a result of the mass of the undecided taking the easy way out by staying at home, what with the weather being a bit inclement, leaving it up to other people to decide their future. I find this possibly even more depressing than the size of the Leave vote that materialised.
Now, the two European holidays I'm taking in the next few months have just got about 7% more expensive since yesterday. I'm off to town to find the first group of people who look pleased with themselves and demand my money back off them.