Random Rants

The many chips on The Upodcast team’s broad shoulders!

ShahRukh Khan’s Special Appearances are injurious to your Box Office!

With the release and subsequent overall dismissal of Always Kabhi Kabhi at the Box
Office, a movie produced by ShahRukh Khan‘ s banner Red Chilies, a thought occurred
to me as soon as I saw the tired looking superstar jiggying on the promotional
Item song “Antenna”, has a special appearance by ShahRukh Khan ever
helped a movies chances to success? Have a look at the list below and let us
know what you think?
Special Appearances:
These are the earlier appearances or cameo’s that Shahrukh used to do before he
became the star we all know and love. Some were favors to by-gone friends, some
were about experimenting with new genres or just about visibility during a lull
in release schedules. None of these movies were really successful with the
exception of Saathiya. Although Hey Ram was a critical success and King Uncle
is a guilty pressure of ours especially of Jackie Shroff’s moustache and
Shahrukh still had that jumping jack charm and the uncoiffed mullet from the
early days. Shahrukh started his inability to make a movie successful when
sporting a hairy upper lip with the Sri Devi vendetta movie Army and it also
proved that overselling Shahrukh’s special appearance as a major part of the
movie was always going to disappoint his now steadily growing legion of
die-hard fans.

The smaller the role, the bigger the face on the poster

Item Songs:
We did a whole podcast about Item songs with our good friends Paresh from the
Currysmugglers and FilmiGirl (which you can find by clicking here, it was a hilarious
episode) but the only song from the list below that got a mention was Ishq
Kamina from the Nana Patekar, Karisma Kapoor “women empowerment themed
Bollywood ishtyle” – Shakti the Power, and since it was Paresh’s pick we
were more enamored with Aishwarya’s ghatti charm then Shahrukh’s mesh vest.
Heyy Baby was probably the only movie that did manage to keep SK’s appearance
under wraps and was probably the most successful. We saw the movie in theatres
and do clearly remember when that purple sherwani came on screen and how hearts
were sent aflutter. This is probably the type of appearance audiences enjoy the
most but if the movie doesn’t hold up then a promotional numbers can only do so
much. ( Oh Kaal, was pretty good wasn’t it? but boy was Krazzy 4 terrrrrible)

I See You, a movie no one saw

Narrator/ Voice over:
A trend started by the emperor of Bollywood (Amitabh Bachchan) but tried by The
King after that with pretty horrible results. Usually a favor to movie
producers who are or were friends of SRK one time but as we know from his
appearance on Koffee with Karan, friendships wih Shahrukh never seem to last
too long. Probably only Kismat Konnection as a moderate hit at the time,
probably due to smart budgets and Shahid Kapoor’s new found pectorial glory,
and I have to be honest I did not remember SRK’s involvement until I looked it
up on IMDB as is the case with the rest of the list!
Playing Shahrukh:

Madhuri..so pretty... oh right, we were talking about SK weren't we?

We have entered the age of the meta narrative where movies realize they live in a
world where people watch movies and where stars exist in real life. Usually
targeted at smaller niche audiences or the so called- metro’s (although I have
no clue who Gaja Gamini was aimed at but I won’t make fun of it as the director
has just passed away and the timing isn’t right).
Billu might jump out on the list as he was playing Sahir Khan and not Shahrukh
As a final thought maybe a
piece of advice for the King of Bollywood from that “M*thaF*cka to the Max”
Carlito Brigante: A Favor will kill you faster than a Bullet!

Let us know in the comment section if you agree or disagree with our analysis in the comment section below!

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Adverts that really p*ss me off; part 327

Although this has been running for a while and I thought nothing of it, something has changed recently to make me wholeheartedly despise the advert that I will outline below.

Maybe it’s the fact it’s been repeated a lot recently, but something nauseates when it comes to the Renault Megane adverts currently being screened in the UK. Seeking not to promote a car, but merely to make and reinforce pointless and spurious comparisons between a colder, less sunny town in the north of England and a supposedly happier town in the south of France, this advert is pure evil.

Firstly, let’s talk about the stereotypes. French men have to have 2 days worth of stubble (at least), must not be able to learn any proper English or master the wholly simple English accent. Furthermore, in order to look stylish, they must also wear a cravat. A cravat? No, not a cravat in the sense of “oh, that’s what the French call a tie”. No. Something that only quite old people (or eccentric) or both, wear. Think of David Niven and you’ll probably know what a cravat is.

I’ll not dwell on the English stereotypes, but a more contrived sample of people you could not even conjure up. Wonky teeth, over-weight, classical “Northern” i.e. Lancashire, accent and lacking the oh so sophisticated Gallic flair.

So, some people from Gisburn haven’t left England? I bet some people from fucking Menton haven’t left France either; backward looking, ignorant peasants. I’ll also bet however that everyone in Gisburn can rely on an indoor toilet.

So whilst I’ve dished out a few stereotypes of my own there (merely to make a point you understand), what really annoys me is that there can only be a couple of explanations for such an ad. Firstly, it’s serious in which case it wants to undo more than a century of entente cordiale; which would be bad. Or perhaps secondly, it is meant to be funny, a parody or ironic in some clumsy way. In which case it has failed.

And amongst all of this, there is not one thing I find funny.

Renault ought to be boycotted by any living Englishman AND Frenchman for such obvious cliches and hackneyed comparisons. Likewise the ad agency Publicis (another great Anglo-French coming together?) for having the barefaced cheek to produce such twaddle.

In any case, the newer Megane looks like a Ford Focus (a much better car) and the ad for its predecessor was far superior, due to it actually having a sense of humour and for it advertising quite an interesting looking car.

Oh well, c’est la vie…enjoy the far superior ad with much posterior

3D rant

For this, you DO need crappy glasses

No, you don’t need crappy plastic glasses to read this one. I was sat in the pub during the week, watching football in 3D and thinking to myself “this is quite shit”.  OK, shit may be a bit harsh, but it just didn’t do anything for me.  Maybe a little bit of extra depth, but the most notable thing was the Sky Sports logo coming out of the screen. So what’s all the fuss? I ask myself.  Firstly with football and perhaps sport in general, it isn’t filmed in such a way that the ball will come flying towards you as it screams into the goal, or that a tackle is shown heading right for you.  When watching sport, you need a complete picture and that means wider camera angles, further away from the action.  And of course this lessens the impact of 3D viewing.   I wouldn’t say that the experience is a total washout, but just nowhere near what is promised.

3D does have some advantages

However, this did all get me thinking about 3D in general – on TV, at the cinema – and where we’re going with it.  Already there are what I’ll refer to as divisions.  Firstly, we have films such as Avatar and JackAss 3D.  Filmed in 3D and deliberately so, so as to take advantage of the medium these look great and have been designed to maximise the viewing experience.  However, what we also have is films that are adapted 3D; such as Tim Burton‘s Alice in Wonderland.  Whilst I don’t have a problem with this, it seems to me a bit of a cop out and it would also appear that studios and theatre owners have a battle on their hands.  Not that the battle is due to “real” 3d or otherwise, but could we be witnessing more of these conflicts as more and more releases contain 3D?  Quite posibly yes, is my theory.

But as the march towards total 3D continues apace, could there be an even bigger hurdle to overcome for total and utter 3 dimensional domination?  According to this report 12% of Britain is 3D blind, meaning that whatever 3D is dished-up, be it at home or on the big screen, a lot of people will genuinely not care  - far more than I don’t care because I see it as an unnecessary gimmick.  These people won’t be buying the TVs or the DVDs and they sure as hell won’t go to watch the films.  But then, is 3D really anything serious?  Is it the make or break between a good film and a bad film?  I think not.  Whilst Avatar is the highest grossing film of all time, it didn’t win a “proper” Oscar, it just looked great.  Nothing wrong with that of course, but this reviewer has had enough of what is essentially an old technology being stuffed down his throat in all 3 glorious dimensions.

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HELP! Glee beats the Beatles!

Do they know that L with thumb & fore-finger means loser?

More disappointment this week for Beatles fans when it was revealed that one of the most enduring records in pop history was broken. Having held the top spot for a non-solo artist with the most records in the top 100 since 1964 (with 71) the juggernaut of a show that is Glee can now count on 75 singles having entered the American top 100.

The fab 4 show us how it's done but it doesn't mean Help! in semaphore 😉

What you may ask, does all of this mean? Well, if you’re a Beatles fan like I am, then on the surface it’s depressing. Surely the fab 4 were more musical, more talented and in hindsight, more loved than those 1 dimensional Disney-esque puppets the public can’t seem to get enough of? Well, apparently not; at least in terms of top 100 records anyway! However, start to scratch the surface and some of the Glee shine (could be a furniture polish with that name) starts to fade.

Not only do the Beatles win a top 10 head to head (34 v 1) but even this one from Glee was a cover version of a song people only like in an “aren’t the 80s cool”, ironic way, because ultimately Don’t Stop Believin’ is kinda crap. Jeez, the band was even called Journey FFS! Furthermore the Beatles didn’t release 5 singles a week and weren’t backed by multi-media marketing frenzy and more channels through which to buy music.

So bask in the artificial glory all you Glee lovers out there…the Beatles will take you on mano e mano when the back catalog is out for legal download and if anyone even knows what Glee was in 45 years time I’ll be mightily surprised.

I rest my case.

P.S. Kudos to Asim for creating the headline!
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RANT: Justin Bieber…

(Justin shows us what he thinks of us, with this upside down "fuck-off" hand gesture).

I was going to write a huge long rant about Justin Bieber…but having just given out about Lady Gaga, I’ve realised I just can’t go on…basically I don’t have a problem with Bieber (OK, certain things DO annoy me) but I’m just too old to be able to critically compare how great or not his music is to the music people from X-Factor or Britain’s Got Talent release.  And tarring him with that brush is basically where I think his music deserves to be, so I can’t rant about that. 

What however does bug the fuck out of me is the fact he’s released an autobiography and this was what made me aware of  Justin and his weird sounding surname that sounds like beaver, hehe, snigger.  But seriously – he’s how old (in his teens yet?) and has an autobiography?! This is plainly wrong – what have we come to when a 16 year old has led such an interesting life he can write a book about it?  Oh no, it’s not about that is it?  It’s about Simon Cowell and the like exploiting young kids and their parents’ wallets.  So in fact, this rant is really about exploitative pop music for young kids who know no better.  That’s too big a topic for a rant, so I’ll bow out as gracefully as I can!

Or am I just scared by this kid?  Enjoy…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4v9tfSCaHg

Ranting time once again

Or could be subtitled, “one of the crappest cinemas in the UK”. My advice for anyone wanting to watch a film in the West End, is pretty much to visit any cinema you like (and preferably the Prince Charles, it’s great) apart from the CineWorld in the Trocadero, near Leicester Square.

Let me tell you for why. Firstly it’s in the Trocadero; so if you’re not teenaged or a tourist or into LaserQuest, or video arcade games or dodgy food (or a combination of any of those) then you’re not exactly onto a winner already. And of course you have to negotiate these to get to the cinema itself. Secondly, for a tenner you then get a hugely disorganised queuing system that no-one can understand and is also staffed by people who presumably don’t get paid enough to give a shit about communicating who should go where and at what times, for what films. If like us, you’re watching a sold-out advance screening of Scott Pilgrim, then this is mayhem and frustration.

Moving swiftly on to point three, the almost unbelievable cost of food is staggering. A medium “cinema-hotdog” (you know the kind of thing I mean) and drink (medium, NOT beer) comes to £6.75 or $11 in world money. A good job therefore that McDonald’s is 90 seconds away and offers (and I can’t believe I’m writing this) a far tastier and cheaper alternative.

Having been blown away by Scott Pilgrim – such a good film – the icing on the cake of nastiness that is CineWorld Trocadero, was the entirely odd and out of place wooden, mediaeval style frieze that you can see when you’re coming down the escalator. Not only out of place, but just kind of crap; much like the cinema in question.

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Friday rant Virgin 1 & Navy Seals

Well well, what’s been getting my goat this week then? TV has been a consistent theme of mine since I started these weeklies and no changes to this week’s format I’m afraid. However, not merely content with picking on a TV show I am taking on a whole channel this time. Step forward and claim your prize Virgin 1.

Now, this isn’t a rant against Richard “Beardie” Branson and his beloved brand. I’ve flown on his airline, I’ve bought his records and I’ve even (briefly) taken out a pension. All of which are worthy causes (not sure about the Cola though…) but not enough to rescue the TV channel though.

My main criticism has to be endless repeats; of X-files and Sexcetera mainly. Strangely though, I am now convinced that Virgin 1 has screened Navy Seals (see trailer below) almost many times and that’s a bloody film frchissakes! Naturally I’ve now seen Navy Seals a couple of times in recent weeks and frankly, it’s a poor film. A peculiar relic of late 80’s cinema, there are numerous cliches – acting, plot (yes it does have one), dialogue and right down to some scenes even being cliche.

Notable however in hindsight not just because Charlie Sheen is sober and actually acting (see rant passim Two and a half men) but also because Dennis Haysbert is starring in what must be one of his earliest roles.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-MlVm9FzM4

So, Virgin 1 + Navy Seals = not a good look. Please, please Virgin, if you’re going to repeat films endlessly, why not make it something decent? I suggest Wedlock starring Rutger Hauer, Mimi Rogers, and Asim’s favourite, Stephen Tobolowsky! Released only a year later and much more fun!!

Necklace with a difference

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cei0_t8eF_4

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Saturday rant – I’m Lost

Slightly tired and recovering after a “few” beers from last night I realise the Friday rant is overdue…So following from Asim’s blog about Lost; the show now gets my own treatment.

What started out in the first two seasons as something quite novel and intriguing rapidly went downhill pretty much as soon as (in the UK at at least) it started to be shown on Sky TV rather than Channel 4. This switch and my inability to keep following the show revealed to me that you know what…it ain’t actually that good. Certainly not good enough to get me to a) get a Sky subscription or b) even spend time downloading it or c) definitely not buying the DVDs.

The main reason I, ahem, lost patience was nothing to do with the polar bears, the hatch, the timer or even the existence of the others. These are all good things. It was knowing that after 2-3 seasons, it was never going to get better for the remaining 4 or so seasons. Not a snowball in hell’s chance of maintaining decent writing, plot, intrigue and or mystery.

And this is a common bug for me – why do execs believe shows can run and run (see Rant passim Two and half men)? The notion that you can spin out a show like Lost with engaging ideas for that long is just plain wrong and I knew this as soon as I heard it was 7 seasons: inevitably, the show would have to more crap as more episodes came out and the plot became thinner and thinner. Inexorably the plot turned slowly and surely into a sci-fi show, which given the promise shown early doors is frankly a cop out worthy of the Dallas writers getting away with Bobby Ewing walking out of the shower. It was all just a dream…yeah right.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvinAPPfyAQ

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Friday rant (only just)

Well well, it’s been quite some week, batting illness and the effects of an insane partying weekend in Sweden. However, here I am for another little shout from my soapbox. And in some ways, last weekend shapes the nature of the blog / rant this week.

American TV (see Friday rants passim) is currently held to be in somewhat of a golden age and generally speaking I have to agree, despite my protestations to the contrary. There is in my mind no doubting the sheer quality of a number of shows, from The Sopranos to The Wire, from Scrubs to Six Feet Under. But rather than focus on shows that I find to be merely crap and then tell you all that American TV ain’t all that good, I thought I’d draw your attention to something Anglo-Swedish – just to show that Europe still has a trick or two up its sleeve.

You may or may not have heard of Wallander, a Swedish detective show featuring Kurt Wallander as the lead role. Now, if you haven’t seen this programme, I’ll be honest; it’s a little bleak and a little dark, but then reality is little bit bleak and a little bit dark, so we shouldn’t complain greatly. First shown on UK screens in 2009, it accompanied the BBC remake of the same show. Fair enough you might say: a good cop show deserves a mention. But what is more interesting is not that the source material is good, but that the BBC has remade it for Brits in quite an interesting way. Rather than simply transplanting the show lock, stock into England and rather predictably London; the production – starring Kenneth Brannagh as Wallander – leaves the show in Sweden, with a host of good quality, jobbing British actors and a smattering of Swedish acting talent too.

The joy of this comes not only from it seeming more like the original, but at the same time in doing so (leaving the show set in Sweden) lends a far greater sense of originality (somewhat oddly). The remake by the Beeb succeeds where, alas, other remakes (UK version of CSI anyone?) fail in that the photography and feel of the original are maintained and we are allowed to see the lead character in situation as intended. BBC 4, you have once again done us proud.

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Friday rant part three: Two and a half men

ANother Friday, another chance for American TV to get it in the neck from me…

This time and with due consideration that this is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel I have chosen two and a half men.

Tag line = Two adults. One kid. No grown-ups. Yeah, we’re rolling on the floor with laughter already. The description then goes on…

A hedonistic jingle writer‘s free-wheeling life comes to an abrupt halt when his brother and 10-year-old nephew move into his beach-front house.

…no. No it doesn’t. It’s always difficult to sustain a show based on a kids/adults relationship theme and this is why films like Home Alone or 3 men and a baby or Look Who’s Talking are short-lived successes, but ultimately fail to charm as time passes. In the end, we’re adults, not kids.

I know the whole “plot” doesn’t involve the adult / child interaction; but to return to my point above, there’s no real problem wth this type of thing, but why oh why does this show get 7+ seasons and pay its stars so much ($500k per episode)? Again, further proof that for every Scrubs, Dexter or 6 feet under; there is of course a TV exec willing to wantonly ignore the notion of good quality TV entertainment.

More in next week’s rant, where I may veer away from cursing US tv and start with other non-tv matters!

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Friday rant (pt 2…and on Monday) Reaper

Well, another week passes and another thing bugs me. And I do understand I’m a little slow here, but Goddamnit I was upset when I found out that Reaper was only deemed worthy of 2 seasons.

This from the country that gave us Friends for God only knows how many seasons too many! And however many versions of CSI..?

What’s not to like about a show where the lead has to capture souls for the devil after his parents sold their son’s soul to the Devil? Played brilliantly by Ray Wise; possibly better know for being Leland Palmer in Twin Peaks. Throw in some alcohol and drug references, demons, angels and other whackery and this is surely a winner worth more airtime.

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