Archive | June, 2012

Toodles.

30 Jun

Tomorrow (at the unholy hour of 7am) I shall be hitching a ride to rural Galway with 7 other buddies. Since the locals have only recently discovered electricity, I shall of course be offline until I come back next Saturday. I expect this trip to resemble the first Evil Dead movie, structurally at least. Perhaps with less zombies/possessed people/murder and more Captain Morgan’s. See yiz later!

BYE BYE!

Scarred for life.

22 Jun

So I drove into the city with my mam today. She had to leave something in with her union at Merrion Square (bloody communist!) and I thought I’d accompany her. That was my first mistake.

My second error in judgement was presuming that the drive would be a comfortable and safe one. Why wouldn’t it be? It was mostly on the motorway (highway for any Americans reading this) and even once we got to the city, the route was fairly straightforward.

The final and most critical fault in my reasoning was that I genuinely believed my mother to be a decent driver. No doyenne, but an acceptable one at least.

“But Simon!” I hear you holler at the top of your lungs, “How did you not know your mother’s driving abilities already? Surely she’s driven you places.” Not really. Never more than lifts here and there; she’s never driven me as far as Dublin, I usually get the bus.

Since 11am this morning, when we left, I’ve endured the horrified looks of several pedestrians as my mother almost ran them over, several occasions where no hands were on the steering wheel to “fix her hair”, a few seconds of going the wrong way ON THE BLOODY MOTORWAY, which in turn led to the single terrifying U-turn I’ve ever been involved in. Three red lights were broken in total and various death threats were thrown her way. She came out with horrifyingly memorable one-liners as “I ignore the lights” , “lets see if I can knock down those kids” and “that bastard in the suit is driving a Jag, will I try and block him in?”. I spent an unreasonable amount of times in the bus lane, despite the fact mam drives a small, silver Citroen. I’d quicker go on a gay pride parade in deepest, southernmost Texas where the reddest of necks hate people because they love God so much, before her driving me anywhere again.

On that note, I renounce my atheism. The fact that I’m still alive proves that there must be a divine power guiding us, for nature clearly wanted me dead today. Since all deities are equally (un)fathomable I’m gonna go with the Flying Spaghetti Monster. He seems the most delicious.

Brb, making pasta to honour His tastiness.

Simon.

‘Rubber’ – Movie Review.

19 Jun

I thrive on weird films. In most cases, it’s the stranger the better for me when it comes to movies, but with that said it would take an absolute masterpiece to have a film work based on absurdity alone. With that in mind, let us consider a film about a serial killer tyre with psychic powers.

Rubber opens up with a man explaining to a group of people how familiar classics of cinema, such as E.T., Love Story and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre make no sense when you think about it. With that in mind, the aforementioned crowd grab their binoculars and turn to gaze at a tyre in the distance. The tyre, later credited as ‘Robert’, rises up out of the desert sands. He rolls around, squishes a plastic bottle and a scorpion, and eventually discovers his telekinetic powers. He proceeds to blow up a glass bottle, a rabbit, a crow and eventually a man’s head. So begins his murderous rampage!

The film embraces its weirdness, and runs (rolls?) with it. Aside from the main, eh, character, Rubber exudes strangeness. The concept of the audience within the film is an interesting one. It’s taken for granted that they represent us, the viewers, in as far as their reactions appear to mirror our own. The various people each have their own individual reactions to what they’re seeing: some complain about the lack of action, while others yet praise the uniqueness of what they’re seeing. The sheriff and, I suppose, lead human character often acknowledges that they’re acting in a movie: he orders his officer to shoot him, to prove his point.

Reality is questioned throughout – characters suddenly find themselves to be holding stuffed alligators, Robert falls in love with a pretty French girl (and inconspicuously watches her shower) and the ending just drinks crazy juice out of a clown shoe. The film manages to make us empathise with a mute piece of rubber – he clearly has emotions. He appears to have fallen in love with the girl, and he appears to murder a few people out of spite. He enjoys watching aerobics videos, having a dip in the pool and he even takes a shower at one point. Even though he is clearly a psychopathic killer, we feel for him because he’s small and voiceless.

Robert outside his love interest’s motel room.

So what does the film mean? It certainly has some underlying point to it; Rubber is the stereotypical ‘film studies-student’ movie in that it contains an undercurrent of something. My impression of the film is that it serves to be a critique of Hollywood and commercialism. I interpret the scene where the audience viciously devours the turkey to be an attack on mainstream blockbusters: the turkey is a Michael Bay film. Those who eat it fall ill and die, representing perhaps the dullness of the mind viewing such films may cause. However, the lone man who refuses to munch on the dead bird is ‘the fan of indie films’, and he in turn helps the film later on.

But like I said, it takes an outstanding film to be able to ride the crazy train all the way, and Rubber is far from this. My main problem with the film is its length: it lasts for 82 minutes, and frankly it begins to drag around halfway through. Now it’s not due to lack of patience on my part, it just gets a little bit dull. Rubber is a one-joke film and while it is a unique and quite funny one, it’s simply not good enough to last as long as it does. They could cut a lot of filler from this film, rearrange things a bit and make a mind-blowing, concise and utterly fantastic 20-minute short, which would be a guaranteed cult masterpiece. But as it stands, it is merely good.

With this movie, Quentin Dupieux manages to balance college playwright tendencies with an air of David Lynch-esque dreaminess and lots of over-the-top cheap gore effects. For the most part it works, and is without a doubt a very clever movie. It is such an odd film that it demands to be viewed purely on the basis that there is nothing else quite like it. However, for many Rubber will simply be too big a pill to swallow. But everyone else can follow Robert’s absurdity, and eagerly await the heavily hinted-at sequel. In short, watch it! It’s quirky, fun and one of a kind.

Simon says:  Slightly tyresome, but wheely good.

Tradition lives on.

13 Jun

Today I went to my first session of ‘Milk & Cookie Stories’. It is a monthly event for friends to gather round and listen to various stories, anecdotes and monologues, with each gig carrying a certain theme. This month’s focus was on the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately I had to leave at the half-time intermission, because I had to run for my bus. But while I was there I was entertained by funny, cute and very interesting stories, and a tangible atmosphere, driven by the packed crowd.

What I like about it is that it recalls the ancient Celtic tradition of storytelling, which is deeply rooted in our culture and history. The concept is similar to the old Irish bard, who would wander around the country telling stories. Of course back then there was no internet, no video games and no movies so people had far less to occupy themselves with. But judging by tonight’s performances, embracing the sheer art of storytelling is still both a moving and entertaining experience.

Any Dubliners reading this, or those in the vicinity, do check it out. It’s free of charge and held every second Tuesday of each month at The Exchange in Temple Bar, Dublin 2. Oh, and I must not forget to mention the delicious cookies, brownies and hot drinks that were on offer. Hopefully this shall become a monthly feature of mine!

Simon.

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