2018 in films part 3

The Yes Men Are Revolting – Good stuff as always with the Yes Men, though in this film it feels like they’ve lost their impetus for activism, what with one of them moving to Scotland to start a family. This leads the film to have a melancholic tone overall (especially the ending) but still watchable. I await their next instalment and will probably donate to their cause. 9/10

Sicario – Quite average. Alejandro and Matt come off as true bastards, a little predictable. 7/10

The Sixth Sense – A masterpiece. Gripping from start to finish, one of the few times I’ve watched a film in one go – in recent years anyway. Despite the twist being ruined for me a decade earlier, this was still highly enjoyable to watch. There was an instance where the scene was too disgusting to watch. I can only imagine how much I would have enjoyed it if, I didn’t know about the twist. 10/10

Bone Tomahawk – Very disgusting. This film comes very close to rivalling the horror I saw in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Whilst the latter nearly gave me nightmares the former merely made me turn my head in revulsion. It has a captivating plot though the ending ruins any shred of realism this film has got left, a crippled man being able to hobble long distances, ascend a hill and rescue the captives. Disappointing Hollywood hogwash. It would have worked better as a horror where they don’t make it. Was I the only one somewhat cheering for the troglodytes? 8/10

I, Daniel Blake – Another masterpiece. Tugs the heart strings, though a little predictable, it is done very well. Very good attention to detail and the mood and tone is perfect. I don’t doubt the authenticity of the narrative. Of course the government have trotted out the PR propaganda rebuttal. Nevertheless, it would be interesting to hear from actual Job Centre staff on the accuracy. 10/10

Solo: A Star Wars Story: So much promise only to be dashed as with other Disney made Star Wars films. The first hour was incredible and embodied everything a Star Wars film should be. Then flaws started to appear. It seems to be a very large coincidence that Qi’ra appears to be in the same place that Han ends up, after being separated for years especially as they say people don’t leave the planet Corelia. Then there’s the feminist robot L3, who came across as very obnoxious and unfunny. Of course the terrible dialogue/cringeworthy humour is present in this film as it is with others, somewhat of a tradition now in the Disney franchsie. The ending/twist was banal though slightly entertaining. 7/10

Rambo 2008 – I came in with low expectations, as I do with any other successful franchise revived by Hollywood after years of nothing. The dialogue was really funny, especially the cockney who was a douchebag. Though he does win you round towards the end, redeeming himself. The violence is extremely gory and graphic but overexaggerated to the point of a cartoonish caricature so you don’t feel as bad watching it. It just looks so unbeliavble to the point of being comical. 10/10

Senna – They actually managed to make Formula 1 interesting! The sport was a lot more dispicable back in the 80s than it is now. 7.5/10

Vitamania – If you’re expecting a 90 minute long Veratassium video or a treatise on vitamins, you’ll be disappointed, the film is neither. The film is too long to keep interest like his short videos and it doesn’t go into enough detail, for my liking, on all the vitamins. Maybe he felt the story of Vitamin K wasn’t interesting enough, he still could have summed it up in a minute. A few things really pissed me off about this film. First was the story of one Cian Moore, a young australian man who never ate fruit or vegetables and nearly went totally blind. Serves him right if you ask me. In a similar vein, an american man who ate nothing but american cheese and bread for many years develops rickets, I have a little more sympathy for him as his decision may be based on poverty. Secondly, Derek Muller has this ghastly fat bastard singing horribly, where there are these childish animated vitimins prancing about on screen. If I wanted to watch cartoons, I’d stick to anime thanks. Who is he trying to appeal to here? Do you think 5-14 year olds will be watching a 90 minute documentary on the history of vitamins? Thirdly, Muller asks constantly: “Should you be taking vitamin supplements?”. The answer is simple, talk to your doctor, don’t take advice from a physics graduate moonlighting as a filmmaker. Lastly, some of the information in the film is just outright wrong. He claims that bread is fortified with folate in the UK, which is incorrect. I’m glad I didn’t pay anything to watch this. Though, there was some interesting trivia here and there. 6/10

Deadpool – I really wanted to be able to say I hated this; I resent the rise of capeshit but this film was quite funny, if not distatstefully crude, and entertaining. The structure of the plot is annoying, I wouldnt mind if they showed the opening battle, brought us up to speed, then carried on from there. It’s showing minutae of the future in between the past, that irked me. I din’t like the umpteenth meta-gags. Sgt Brodie’s wife looking hot as ever. 7.5/10

I think this is the most 10/10s I’ve given out in a film review post. I must be getting soft…

How To Stop Brexit – And Make Britain Great Again – Reviewed

How To Stop Brexit - And Make Britain Great AgainHow To Stop Brexit – And Make Britain Great Again by Nick Clegg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This isn’t as much a book as much it is a pamphlet, a fact that Clegg himself readily acknowledges. If you wanted, you could probably read the whole thing in two hours, maybe less if you’re a fast reader. It is well written and referenced with sources which is a bonus. Nick Clegg writes eloquently dispelling misconceptions around Britian’s membership of the EU. It is a great shame, that these arguments weren’t shared during the flawed referendum of 2016.

I have to say that the author is overly sanguine. He says the silver lining of Brexit is that, the referendum has instilled a need to reform the EU for fear of further departures. Clegg says, it is likely that the EU will evolve into a satellite model, whereby member states will be organised into concentric circles with varying levels of alignment with the EU. A nice idea, though sadly this appears to have been ruled out by Michel Barnier. Clegg talks about why it is right to stop Brexit, namely the myriad of lies peddled by the Vote Leave campaign and its affiliates and also that democracy is not a one time event: people are allowed to change their minds in the face of new evidence, similar to buying a dodgy appliance and returning it later.

Examining the lies, it was the high priestess of the Tory party Margaret Thatcher herself, who was instrumental in creating the single market. Something which Brexit supporters deride, yet they idolize the Iron Lady. The author argues that Britain has held a position of great privilege and influence within the EU. The UK is not in the Schengen area, has a rebate, a veto, it is not in the Eurozone and it did not sign up to all 130 of the EUs Justice and Home Affairs laws. Far from being a vassal with no say. People often argue that, when we joined the EU in 1973, it has since morphed into a gargantuan, overarching, faceless, bureaucratic machine. They forget that throughout the decades that the UK has been setting the agenda for the policy changes that have led to the EU today. Something which domestic political parties have often boasted about in their manifestos (reform of common agricultural and fishing policies, cross border cooperation of foreign policy and terrorism, trade, expanding the EU to name a few).

On immigration, he says businesses have benefited from access to EU workers, who would otherwise face shortages of skills and labour. The change in local jobs and wage levels are small and they in fact make a net contribution through the taxes they pay. The UK was one of only three countries that did not delay free movement following EU expansion, which has led to greater immigration than in surrounding countries. So the government was the source of the so called ‘uncontrolled migration’ rather than the EU. All too often migration into the EU has been conflated with migration within the EU, largely thanks to populist opportunists. There is a design flaw within the EU: removing internal borders within the Schengen area while failing to fix eternal ones, is not working. Flaws in freedom of movement are due to failures of domestic government (open labour markets, no residence checks, universal access to healthcare), which can be alleviated by following examples in countries like Liechtenstein and Germany.

Dominic Cummins, a former government advisor, says he doesn’t think the referendum would have had the outcome it did, if they hadn’t lied about giving the NHS £350m per week on exiting the EU. They lie about being a grassroots anti-establishment operation, where they are actually backed by billionaire’s and come from positions of privilege themselves. There were also lies about Turkey joining the EU following a remain vote.

Later, he then sets out an impressive strategic action plan through ‘pressure, argument and passion’, of how to stop Brexit: i) Visit your MP monthly ii) Attend local party meetings iii) Attend party conference and table motions iv) write to Jeremy Corbyn v) If necessary walk away. On the Tory side: i) Join the party ii) Challenge Brexit MPs in remain seats iii) Vote in the leadership contest iv) Go to the party conference v) Write to Theresa May. More generally: Persuade 5 friends and neighbours, join a campaign group and use social media (e.g. Peoples Vote), mobilise with other volunteers, mobilise your union and demonstrate.

On making Britain great again, he’s talking about the UK’s future relationship with the EU. Rightly he says that things cannot stay the same in light of the Brexit vote, with reform to freedom of movement being a priority. Quite a bold proposal is a coalition of John Major and Mark Rutte negotiating Britain’s place in the concentric rings satellite model.

Nigel Farage hailed the vote for Brexit as a victory for the ‘little people, the real people…the ordinary, decent people’. A few months later Farage, a privately educated ex-City trader with a taste for a post-prandial glass of port, flew across the Atlantic to join President Trump at the billionaire’s victory party. There is a famous photo of the pair celebrating in front of one of Trump Tower’s gold-plated lift doors. The little people must have been just out of shot.

Desmond once explained his motivation: ‘I don’t know if we should be in [the EU] or not, but I don’t like being controlled by Brussels and these faceless people.’ He apparently prefers control by unelected newspaper proprietors and hedge-fund managers instead.

‘If it’s not delivered. there will be the most terrible damage to the political establishment.’ There you have it: the voice of the new Brexit elite worrying about the impact on the political establishment. Surely he, and everyone else, should be more worried about the damage being done to the country than to the reputation of the establishment?

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The Book of the Year 2018: Your Definitive Guide to the World’s Weirdest News – Reviewed

The Book of the Year 2018: Your Definitive Guide to the World’s Weirdest NewsThe Book of the Year 2018: Your Definitive Guide to the World’s Weirdest News by No Such Thing As A Fish
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I actually got this book for free after attending a live podcast recording. After last year’s book I didn’t have much appetite to buy a similar book again. If like me, you keep abreast of the news then much of the stories in this book, will be revision. Though very occasionally, there is a gem of a story that is unknown to you and is genuinely hilarious. One fact that stands out is: “Scientists invented a contact lens that lets you shoot lasers from your eyes”. It was entertaining enough to stave off boredom. Like I said last time, the audiobook is probably a lot more entertaining.

This time, I skipped the “For x, see y” sections entirely because it very rarely had any jokes in it previously. There was one factual inaccuracy, in that they say cannabis is a viable cure for glaucoma. No physician in the world would prescribe smoking weed as a glaucoma treatment. I think I saw some statistics about this once, that said several tonnes of weed would have to be smoked for any tangible effect. There was a nice section on mocking Trump, as in yesteryear.

Again they do not cite sources for their content and it may be difficult to fact check the assertions or simply read about a topic further.

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