Archive for aeroplane

THE STRAIN By Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2010 by stanleyriiks

Mmmm… A modern re-telling of the Dracula story, moved to New York, and with vampirism a mutating virus, turning its victims into blood-sucking fiends with proboscis-like extra tongues that act like blood-seeking whips.

For all its modern-twists, this is a basic vampire story in which the Master plots his domination of the new world, and travels on a plane which is the centre of the story for about half the book. The build up is very well done, but feels like the first part of a trilogy, as the plane lands dark, no lights, no power. When investigators go in to see what’s going on they find the entire plane is dead, including all the passengers. The CDC (Centre for Disease Control) is called in and the investigation begins with Dr Ephraim Goodweather in charge, that is until he is set-up by the Master’s mysterious human aids, and the entire planeful of bodies goes missing from the morgue, returning home to kill their families.

Some parts of the book work well, the build-up with the plane is intense and completely feasible. The second half of the book, as a rodent-killer traces the vampires to the World Trade Centre ruins, and our heroes suddenly become much better as handling the deadly undead, and the vampires act more like rodents or zombies than traditional vampires, and things start to get a bit stretched. Even more so when our unlikely squad of heroes head down into the vampire’s nest and kill most of them with a light-bomb, and almost everything goes back to normal. A rather weak ending.

For all its clichés, and reinventions, it’s still a fairly exciting book to read. With such a lack of originality in vampire fiction, this still rates as one of the better modern takes on the evil breed in many years, despite it feeling a little like a remake.

Not quite up there with Anno Dracula, possibly the best vampire novel since Dracula, but The Strain holds a lot of promise, despite its problems, and I certainly look forward to the second and third instalments to see where this will go.

Ridiculous Reviews, Fascist media, and Antichrist

Posted in Life..., Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2009 by stanleyriiks

I was on a British Airways flight back from a weekend in Stockholm, lovely city by the way, plenty of museums, clean, efficient, and loads of ice cream; when I picked up the Daily Mail, a traditionally English tabloid, often lambasted for its view on johnny-foreigner, who are obviously to blame for all the ills of England.

The paper was free so I thought I’d flick through, the new is invariably bad so I tend not to watch or read it often, I find the several stabbing a day, rising crime, cheating and fraudulent politicians, all rather depressing. Most of the articles I barely read, more exciting staring out the window and waiting to get off the plane, it’s only just over two hours away.

When I got to the media reviews I found an article on Lars Von Trier’s new film Antichrist and read that with interest, and then rising disgust. The film is apparently sexually graphic, but that’s not what I found completely repugnant. It was the fact the reviewer had never even seen the film or intended to, he started off the article saying that he wouldn’t bring himself to watch such filth (I should have stopped right there), and then proceeded to say how evil, wrong, and corrupting the film was. How the film was not only a moral hazard, bound to turn even the most angelic of children into rapists and murderers, but also a sign of the liberal attitude of British Board of Film Classification. A Board which banned the erect penis from all films and kept hardcore pornography illegal until only a few years ago, British still has one of the strictest classification systems in the world, and certainly the strictest in Europe. Barring Albania obviously.

I don’t mind a film being completely ridiculed or critically torn apart, if it deserves it all the better. What I can’t stand, really can’t stand, is when someone gives an opinion, which will be taken seriously by many of the Mail’s readers, without one ounce of knowledge.

You cannot and should not be allowed to write a review of anything without having actually seen or read or heard some of it. Fair enough if the whatever is so bad you couldn’t make it all the way through, I wish I hadn’t wasted two hours of my life sitting through the hideousness that was Crank. But you must try, you must, with all integrity, attempt to watch the film.

To review it after reading what sounds like a brief plot summary from the publicists aimed at stirring up controversy, is prejudice of the highest order and really shouldn’t be allowed.

The fact that this non-review, a basic, hypocritical, bullying tirade is allowed to be published in a daily newspaper just makes me cringe. It makes me angry that such idiots, I say this without ever having met the reviewer, but obviously that isn’t important in making an informed decision about their intelligence, are allowed to spout such nonsense in a legitimate avenue of so-called journalism.

I haven’t watched Antichristso I won’t try to defend it or review it,  although I might get it on dvd, all that sex makes it sound very much like home-viewing material.