Sunday, 27 February 2011

On 27.2.11 by KieronMoore in ,    No comments
Having made a tidy profit of 15 pence betting on the BAFTAs, my attentions turn to tonight's Oscars ceremony (I may not watch it all, because it's on past my bedtime and these things have a tendency to go on a bit). My previous gambling success shows my unequalled power of prediction, so here's what to place your last minute bets on*.

Best Film: The Social Network's a strong contender, but The King's Speech is going to win. Nevertheless, all the contenders (at least the 7 I've seen) are great; 2010 was a good year for film.

Best Actor: Really, do I need to say? I'll say Jesse Eisenberg, then on the ridiculously low chance that he wins, everyone shall proclaim me a God of predicting unlikely things. Yes, Jesse Eisenberg. (On a side note, William Hill have given me my winnings for Colin Firth to win early. Makes sense.)

Best Actress: I've not seen Black Swan, but it'll be Natalie Portman. It's taken 6 years, but she may have finally shaken off the embarrassment of the Star Wars prequels.

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale. Deservedly so, I saw The Fighter last week and, while I didn't enjoy it quite as much as some of the other films up for Oscars, Bale's excellent and believable performance was the standout element.

Best Supporting Actress: Hailee Steinfeld should win, but Melissa Leo's more likely. Nay, Hailee Steinfeld should win Best Actress, being on screen for 90% of True Grit, but some farcible bungler has got the categories all wrong.

Best Director: David Fincher. Nobody had really heard of Tom Hooper before December and it's about time the man behind Fight Club and Se7en got the recognition he deserves.

Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3

Best Foreign Film: Biutiful (at least I hope so, as I seem to have bet on it)

All the other ones: Who gives a shizzle? (but probably The King's Speech)

*Disclaimer: I am not to be held responsible if you lose all your money after betting on my predictions. If you win, I am entitled to 70%.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

On 19.2.11 by KieronMoore in , , , ,    No comments
To lighten up your weekend, here's some stuff that I made:

First up, MegaCitrus Begins, a fruity stop motion animation which I produced for A level Art. The topic was "Express Yourself", so it's quite clear how I ended up going down this route. There's a quite obvious and few years out of date political message in there because Mrs Bamford told me to. At least it didn't go all pear shaped.

The music used is "Sunshine v.2", "Villainous Treachery -- Distressed" and "Hero Theme" by the sublime Kevin MacLeod (

And here's a comedy film trailer I directed for Media Studies coursework:

Please ignore the interlacing problems. Or blame them on Ric.

Apart from the weeks of torture trying to get these files to work, I enjoyed working on this trailer. The guy in the impressive robot costume is me, as is the guy in the equally impressive purple shirt/tie combo. Well done to Ric and Kev for putting up with my work ethic, meaning we've finished the project way ahead of the other groups. Now we have nothing to do in coursework lessons but create the school's promotional campaign.

The music is by Ric's band, Signposted Disaster.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

On 16.2.11 by KieronMoore in ,    No comments
There are some truly offensive things in the world today. Sexist football commentators, homophobic cartoons in the Daily Mail, the behaviour of Justin Bieber's fans towards the artist who beat him at the Grammies, the existence of Justin Bieber, the conservative government... the list goes on. With some things that cause offence, however, one does feel the need to grab the offendees by the lapels and shout "Goodness, my dear fellow, get a grip!" Alternatively, one could do as Rastamouse would and come up with a simple plan to make them see the error of their ways, then chill the complainers through the medium of reggae. Yes, Rastamouse, the BBC's new animated children's series, which has drawn many complaints due to its apparent stereotypical portrayal of a community of rastafarian rodents.

Thus, with the elaborate excuse of investigating whether its criticism was justified, I booted up the iPlayer, donned my rasta hat and energised myself with a Levi Roots microwaveable meal (well, one has to get into the spirit of things) before setting off on a Rastamouse marathon. I'm not embarrassed to say I was hooked from the title sequence. It's not the new The Wire and, comparing it more fairly to other children's programming, it doesn't reach the comedic peak of Shaun the Sheep, but what I found was a fun and entertaining show with a positive ethos, encouraging forgiveness and the solving of problems through kindness and understanding.

Yes, there is usage of cultural stereotypes, but neither rastafarians nor any other cultures are represented negatively. It's not that the villains are token sinister foreigners - there's a variety of characters presented with wit and style, simply living in a rastafarian inspired land, which gives the show its chilled musical feel. It is all done in a humourous, light-hearted manner which gives recognition to other cultures and will in no way make children into racists. No, recounting The Easy Crew's catchphrases in the playground doesn't count as racism, because it's not. The usage of stereotypes is harmless in the same way as that in Levi Roots' Reggae Reggae marketing campaigns and in classic characters like the french skunk Pepé Le Pew. And mice don't even smell. In fact, they're quite cute. (In this respect, complaints about rastafarians being presented as rodents are especially silly - compare with Maus, a comic book by a Jewish author about Jewish mice during the Holocaust. If they were rats, perhaps complaints would be somewhat justifiable, but they're not, so no.)

Compared to other, quite dire, children's programmes, Rastamouse truly is making a bad ting good. It's proper crucial.

The only one tiny little problem I have with Rastamouse's effect on children is the positions of authority over the orphans that seemingly reformed villains are often placed in. You've stolen all the cheese in the town? You must be lonely, why not become the chef at the orphanage? You've stolen all the town's CDs, including from the orphanage? You'd better take the orphans out on trips to your pirate radio station's boat! You've hijacked the towns water supply for your ginger beer company (yes, these are all real storylines)? Why not return some of the water and then give ten percent of your produce to the orphanage? Yes, forgiveness is a good message, but really, they don't even take CRB checks! When the children of today are in charge of the country, there'll be all sorts of unscrupulous deviants in charge of the orphans.

Irie, man!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

On 2.2.11 by KieronMoore in , ,    No comments
A lot has happened in the important world of me watching television in the short time since I last blogged. So much that I just have to lie in bed telling the world about it when all my bodily functions are telling me to go to sleep. I've finished my second run all the way through The Wire (I know, over 121 hours, nearly 127 hours even, but totally worth it, more so than being stuck in a cliff), got up to the half way point of season 3 of Mad Men and the catalyst that finally set off this post was Sky Atlantic's showing of Boardwalk Empire.

No "Way Down in the Hole".

The first 2 episodes of Martin Scorsese's prohibition drama have been shown so far and after the first episode it seemed to be getting off to a strong start. Scorsese's masterful direction and the very impressive and vast Atlantic City Boardwalk set gave the pilot a cinematic aesthetic that managed to pull me in.

The story got off to an interesting start and Steve Buscemi's acting was of a very high calibre, with his corrupt treasurer Nucky Thompson showing a wide and believable range of emotions, from sinister spite to fond nostalgia for his late wife, as he sympathises with Kelly Macdonald's beaten housewife Margaret Schroeder. However, as I got to the end of episode 2, I realised that I was not sympathising with Nucky as much as I would like to with a main character, perhaps due to his unagreeable meaner side. I'm also finding it hard to get behind the supporting characters; neither Schroeder nor Michael Pitt's Jimmy Darmody are grabbing me as much as Mad Men's Peggy Olsen, the at first innocent yet ambitious girl in a changing sexist society, or Pete Campbell, the arrogant yet ambitious tit in a blue suit, were at the same stage of the show. That said, with the slow paced, long form nature, maybe my feelings for these characters will grow.

I was looking forward to seeing Michael K Williams (Omar from The Wire) in Boardwalk Empire, but so far he's played the enormous role of sitting on a chair impatiently for 3 seconds. I'm sure he'll play a greater role (he's not quite earned his place in the title credits yet), but so far, Boardwalk is losing on the actors from The Wire front. (Interestingly, when judging TV series based on how much of them features actors from The Wire, the same show comes out top as when I rate shows with a more conventional system. Bet you can't guess what it is.)

The aesthetic style of Boardwalk Empire is still impressive, although the second episode, not being directed by Scorsese, was not as good as the first in this respect. I do like the little period touches, such as the Henry Ford book The International Jew and the Ku Klux Klan chappie, who is likely to become more significant in future episodes.

Hey, it's still winning the "Actors from Reservoir Dogs" ratings system.

Overall, it has some faults but is a pooload better than most of British TV. I've not seen enough yet to make a full verdict but will stick with it.

And, of course, I intend to keep watching Mad Men. The last episode I watched was called Guy walks into an advertising agency. The pun in this title works on so many levels, but I won't go into it because I know at least one of my many readers is not up to this episode yet and I wouldn't want to spoil what happens (plus I'm falling asleep). Let's just say it's not Sterling Cooper's finest hour.

What, you want me to end this post with another Jon Hamm pun?

No way, I'm porking better than that.