A Discussion about Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

David Lynch’s spin off film of his exquisite show TWIN PEAKS has garnered many divisive opinions. Masterpiece or nonsense? True to the show or does it bastardise it? Here’s my take.

An excerpt from an upcoming podcast in which Paul (aka me) discusses David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.

https://soundcloud.com/thegub/a-discussion-about-twin-peaks-fire-walk-with-me

How to Make an Art-House Masterpiece

Arthouse movies are usually hit or miss. Only a few select individuals actually know how to create a masterful piece of cinema. However, is it really that hard to do it?

Art-house. What does it mean? It’s not a house full of art, but an explosive mental experience that only a select few human beings can comprehend. Simply put – since your Neanderthal brains are so dense – art-house is the highest form of visual entertainment and you should feel bad for not grasping its cultural significance. This article will not only educate you on what art-house cinema is, but also how to become an auteur like Alejandro Jodowrosky, David Lynch, Andrei Tarkovsky, Uwe Ball and Terrence Mallick. So strap in, concentrate and for once in your life use your brain. This; is how to make an art-house masterpiece.

First off, forget the script. Cinema is all about the visuals. Dialogue? Please, unless you want to seem like another bog standard idiot who runs about Hollywood chasing wads of cash and being hated by everyone, including your own family, you’ll scrap any notion of including any spoken lines. Don’t restrict yourself to a strict structure, let the camera tell the story and allow the visuals to flow.

One notable example is Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi (try saying that after a few pints). It’s a masterful film that explains how much of a destructive imbecile you really are, but not by telling you through mere words, but by holding a mirror up to your face and jabbing it into your eyes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PirH8PADDgQ

Lighting is key for any film to appear artistic. If nothing of any interest is actually going on, just have a two hour slow moving montage of a bunch of locations which have a pretty light in them. Red lighting specifically as you can basically say the red represents sex, anger or death. The perfect recipe for any first date.

Legendary auteur Ryan Gosling showcased how well he can utilize lighting to make a scene powerful, memorable and downright arousing. Take this scene from Lost River, where Ben Mendelson serenades the audience with a lovely jingle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1lWdZtf9Pw

When you’re finally putting it all together, add some highbrow moral message about how pandas are the greatest living beings to have never lived or about how being single is the equivalent of being a racist, mass murdering psychopath who throws up before eating their victims. If people don’t get it, then they’re idiots, not you.

Birdman, for example, is a perfect example. Alejandro González Iñárritu basically mocks the audience, critics and basically everybody else in the world as he knows, like me, that everyone is a moron who only likes watching explosions, clichés and porn – they’re all basically the same thing aren’t they?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4d5KovCbU8w

And there you have it; if you have followed this guide then I don’t expect to see you at the Oscars as that’s for Oscar baiting hack frauds that thrive on nothing but money. But at least you’ll develop a cult following who will defend your film to the death. Now fuck off.

SICARIO Review: A Masterclass in Suspense Filmmaking

SICARIO released to wide acclaim and no wonder. This tense, hard hitting thriller is one of the best action thrillers of the year and is right up there with the best. 

Canadian director Denis Villeneuve once again shows us how underrated he truly is. After the likes of Incendies, Prisoners, and Enemy, he may have just outdone himself with Sicario. It’s an outstanding display of how to make a truly memorable thriller.

Sicario is set on the US-Mexican border and it follows the story of FBI Agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) who joins Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), an elite government task force official, and Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), a suspicious ‘consultant’ to Graver, on a mission to eliminate the head of a Mexican cartel network.

From the get-go the film tosses you into a pit of energetic tension and thrilling set pieces that linger on in your head long after the credits finishing rolling. Villeneuve’s ability to create and sustain palpitating suspense throughout the entirety of the film is a testament to his genius behind the camera. Simply put, Sicario more than delivers as a crime thriller. It surpasses any thriller that has come out in the past three years (at the least).

Just as was expected of Villeneuve, Sicario is marvellously shot. The striking beauty he can find in the grim, barren, and basically war torn Border landscape makes this a feast for the eyes and every shot again assists to prolong the sense of dread and keep the audience weary of what awaits them. However, this film never lies to you.

Instead it is brutally honest. You find yourself catapulted into the harsh reality of gangland Juarez and all you can do is push onwards. Every set piece is its own contained suspense building experiment that feels just as tense as any Hitchcock movie. Combined with Jóhann Jóhannsson’s thumping soundtrack, all you can do is sit forward and be swept up by the sea of suspense.

Finally, the stars of Sicario do not fail to deliver performances that shadow their previous roles. Benicio Del Toro portrays the hitman Alejandro with such presence and power that every scene with him you know something is going to go down.

Emily Blunt however steals the show. She plays as one of the realest female protagonists that I’ve ever seen in a long time. Her ability to portray a female character so well written – which is truly refreshing at this time – and so life like is a strong reason why she may be one of the best female actresses around. Blunt’s character is by no means an every-woman, but the character feels so real and so human that she blows every other glamourized female protagonists in past films away. Finally, a female character not defined by her gender and one who does not fall under overused tropes.

Believe the hype around Sicario. It is a spectacle to behold and this will not be forgotten anytime soon. If you’ve been craving for a film that grabs you by the balls and pulls you in so fiercely and engrosses you in non-stop thrilling action, then look no further than Sicario. What a thrill!

Jeremy Corbyn and Scotland: He’s Not the Answer to Scotland’s Problems, but He could be the Answer to Britain’s

After an amazing victory in the Labour leadership contest, Jeremy Corbyn steals the show even though just a few months before he was a distant outsider. He won 59.5% of the vote in the first round and was given a clear mandate to lead the party as he topped in all three categories of the Labour Party. Now that he is leader, his first – and arguably, his toughest – contest will be to try to win back Scotland in next year’s Scottish Parliamentary Elections. However, two major barriers lie in his way: the SNP and Scottish Labour.

The first barrier is a no brainer. The SNP have been polling spectacularly, after May’s triumph when they took 56 out of 59 seats in Scotland they were also tipped to increase their majority in Holyrood just one year later. With the election of Corbyn some think that he may have thrown a spanner in the SNP machine. However, it does not look like it. The SNP are now a household name across Scotland and the party has only just started. Corbyn may turn many heads but at the end of the day Scottish voters will return votes to the party that has been well received in the last few years. Plus if another independence referendum is on the SNP manifesto then you can expect there to be a new burst of energetic campaigning from Yes voters.

The second barrier Corbyn faces however is even more troublesome than the SNP – for his chances to compete with the SNP. Scottish Labour is a party that no one cares for anymore. The Labour Party itself may have been energised with hope but the Scottish Labour Leader, Kezia Dugdale, is just another figurehead of same-old-New-Labour. She only reminds voters of its incompetence, naivety, and betrayal of 21st Century Scottish Labour. Her own comments about Jeremy Corbyn before his victory also show the disconnect she has with traditional Labour voters. The only hope for Scottish Labour is if the deputy leader, Alex Rowly, and Jeremy Corbyn himself are spearheading the election campaign, not Dugdale.

However, here comes another predicament. Jeremy Corbyn does not understand Scotland. His position that there should not be another independence referendum will not win any SNP voters. That just leaves us with Alex Rowly. Can one-man singlehandedly somehow save a dying party and compete against the majority party that only seems to be growing? I highly doubt it. Labour are dead and buried in Scotland.

If Jeremy Corbyn is not the answer for Scotland, then what is the point? If he cannot somehow win an unwinnable battle then why does anyone think that he has a chance of winning a UK General Election? The answer is actually rather simple.

It is no lie that England is the centre of British politics and the three other home nations will always have a lesser say no matter what. England is the real battleground for the two main parties. It is also fertile ground for a new kind of political view. Turnouts in England have been anything but good; voter disillusionment is far more common than it should be.  Only 25% of the electorate voted for the Conservatives, of those who voted it was only 34%. There is a large amount of non-Tory votes that Corbyn could easily win over by continuing to promote his vision of hope and honesty in politics.

What this means to Scotland is anything. If the SNP include another referendum in their manifesto, and the SNP do return a majority in Holyrood, then a referendum will certainly be on the cards. This referendum will be majorly decided by the EU referendum more than anything will, but regardless of what the outcome is, I can expect nothing but a victory for the independence camp. Corbyn, as much as he is the Union’s last hope, can do nothing to stop the inevitable. In addition, with the referendum being before 2020 General Election, a Yes victory could embarrass the Conservatives and cause them to lose the election. An independent SNP-led Scotland and a Corbyn led UK could be an extremely led partnership. A Union without shackles. I hope that a United States led by Bernie Sanders could join in on the fun too; or is that too much?

Comedy and it’s Racist Problem with Stereotypes

For the past decade comedy has undergone a rather awkward phase. With social justice finally becoming a wide-spread and paramount cause for many, comedy too has had to adapt to this. Well, it’s not, but it should.

Firstly some background on my own personal views to give some context as to where my opinion on comedy lies. I would consider myself left-wing libertarian, I firmly support social justice/feminism/egalitarianism, the concept of race actually annoys me but I feel forced to acknowledge it due to the times we still live in, plus I am pro-political correctness. However, I strongly believe in freedom of speech and expression and criticism. The saying, “I may not agree with what you are saying but I would fight for your right to say it” (may have paraphrased a bit) sums it up perfectly. Political correctness and freedom of speech has always been viewed as opposites, that you can only stand for one and not the other, but frankly that is massively untrue. When it comes to racist/sexist/homophobic/anti-Semitic/islamophobic attitudes, my approach is always criticism, satire, and ridicule. I believe that anyone who has those attitudes needs re-educating, but I do not believe that criminalising someone for them is the way forward.

So how does this all tie into comedy?

Well, all you need to do is look at the most popular comedy acts and shows. Jeff Dunham and Family Guy are the two best examples as they are massively popular in the US. Comedy for a long while has been dominated by something that really I can’t consider comedy: stereotypes. I can’t fathom how simply stating a stereotype – whether it is racist or whatever – can be considered funny, there is no joke, it is the lowest form of comedy that there is – and even calling it comedy is a stretch. This may sound like I’m saying you cannot bring subjects like that into comedy, but that is not what I am saying. I just cannot understand how comedians like Jeff Dunham, and shows like Family Guy, get so much praise for simply stating a racial stereotype. Where is the creativity?

But it’s not just the laziness of stereotypes that annoys me. Of course, stereotypes and generalisations themselves annoy me. And since they are still extremely rife in comedy, it still shows the disconnect between media and reality.

So can stereotypes be used at all, inoffensively but also successfully in comedy? Of course they can. Consider Always Sunny in Philadelphia. In season 6 episode 9; Mac, Dennis and Frank discuss black face. Frank makes the absurd comment that “you gotta make the lips look funny” when pulling off black face. So let’s deconstruct this line and see why it’s actually funny. Is it funny because it plays up the racial stereotype that black people have big lips? Of course not, it’s funny because of the absurdity from Danny DeVito’s character, Frank, who is a massive (not literally of course) racist. The narrow mindedness and belief that someone would actually think that is what’s funny, not the racist remark itself. This is called satire and it’s something that many liberals tend to forget. It’s not offensive or racist, instead it’s making a mockery of racists.

Now compare this with family guy where most of the jokes are that they are racial stereotypes. I don’t get it… is stereotyping funny?

So in reference to the title, how does popular comedy nowadays contribute to the longevity of racism? It’s rather simple, the more and more people are exposed to stereotypes as humour; they do it themselves. They think that by stating a stereotype they are being funny, making a joke, when they’re not. Stereotypes are not harmless, generalisations are also not harmless, so stop thinking they are. It’s not “political correctness gone mad” when someone calls you a fucking intolerant idiot because you said that Mexicans are lazy or Asians are good at math.

I’ll finish up by being real passive. This is of course my opinion, I’m not saying that Family Guy should be banned or that Jeff Dunham thrown in jail. They can do whatever the hell they want and they can say what they want, it’s their right to. But it’s also my right to call them out and call them what I think they are: unimaginative pieces of crap whose humour is scraping the bottom of the non-existent barrel.