Thursday, May 28, 2009

Shadowchaser: The Gates of Time

AKA Orion's Key, Alien Chaser, Project Shadowchaser 4

The number of names this film goes by you'd think it was trying to hide something, well it seems to have worked because despite this being the forth 'Shadowchaser' film it's the first i've heard of the series. Looking over the directors IMDB page reveals the high point of his career to be 4 episodes of 'Peak Practise' and 2 episodes of 'Ultimate Force', so we've not got a regular Scorsese on our hands here but TV work has to at least be functional so this shouldn't be too painful on the eyes.

We've got a fairly simple storyline to grapple with here, 5000 years ago aliens are in contact with an African tribe. After one of their little get togethers the aliens spaceship is struck by lighting and explodes. You'll just have to run with this and ignore how unlikely it is that a civilisation capable of space travel are unfamiliar with the concept of a Faraday cage. Jump to present day and a team of archaeologists are digging around the crash site and find this little key thing that the aliens gave to the tribes people before they came to their untimely end. Well most of them came to an untimely end, all except for large alien cyborg Sirius who wakes up at this point and goes in search of the key.

Sirius is the films main problem, it's really hard to take a killer alien robot seriously when he looks like Duke Nukems' homosexual cousin. Nobody can look badass with a bleached blonde flat top and black spandex shirt but worse is to come when he opens his mouth. Just to make sure you know that Sirius is a robot he has a computerised robot voice that makes it sound like he is underwater. This guy makes Johnny5 from 'Short Circuit' look like Robocop.

So the big gay robot chases the archaeologists around for a while but this is only the beginning of their problems. They have a son who was hurt in a car crash and is in hospital and apparently dying. You'd never have guessed though, when they go to visit him he looks fine probably just faking it to get some attention. The doctor is however convinced he's dying so maybe i'm missing the subtlety of the kids performance, it couldn't possibly be that he's not even trying. The poor archaeologists can't catch a break it seems as when their boss finds out about what they have found he sends a group of mercenaries after them to retrieve the key. If more employers used hired guns as a motivational tool would productivity increase?

The rest of the movie plays out in a slightly underwhelming action movie style, oh except for the spectacular stunt that never was. A truck is forced off the road and down a steep hill, well the shot appears to be set up to catch the truck rolling down the hill but it gets stuck on a rock at the very top and refuses to move. So your probably wondering what the key unlocks, i mean it must be pretty important to cause an hours worth of chases and gun fights. Well for once it actually is. The key opens an alien temple that contains an elixir that cures all illness, even the symptomless one that the archaeologists son is 'dying' from.

So for once a £1 shop movie verges on competent in all areas, not really 90 minutes wasted but hardly 90 minutes well spent.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Attendant

You might think watching all these cheap movies is a rather perverse hobby but some of my favourite films were bought from £1 shops. However after watching 'The Attendant' i might have to agree with you, putting myself through this was a mistake.

Everything was looking quite promising to begin with, i mean the box art seems to suggest a simple slasher film, the synopsis tells of campers being done in by dark forces and the IMDB shows a respectable score of 7.6. None of this is at all accurate, i'm not even convinced the guy on the box is actually in the film.

From the off it's clear that the film cost tuppence to make, shot on video using a single camera. You can tell it's a single camera and that the cameraman has very little experience using it when the happy campers stop at a roadside diner. Everything is fine outside but then muggins forgets to adjust his white balance for the interior scenes. When one camper goes to the toilet she disappears into a sea of over exposed yellow fuzz.

So at the diner the locals tell them not to go to the nearest petrol station because the titular attendant is a little creepy but they do anyway. As they drive to the petrol station the sun starts to set and it seems the budget didn't stretch as far as lighting so from now on every scene is poorly lit and most are actually out of focus (tsk, tsk, Mr. Cameraman). The attendant turns out to be a bit weird but perfectly polite even telling them where the best camp site is, what a nice guy!

Cue some more driving and inane drivel disguised as dialogue as they make their way to the camp site, oh and one of them is a psychic or something i think that's supposed to be important. So they make it to the camp site and start setting up camp but the psychic one has a bad feeling about something or other. Everyone ignores her and settles down in front of the camp fire with a bottle of tequila. Now you might think this set up has taken maybe 20 minute, half hour tops. Well your wrong we are currently a whole HOUR in! An HOUR and nothing has happened! So now you might be thinking 'God this must be quite a long film, to waste so much time on set up.' Well no your wrong again, the credits are going to roll in TEN MINUTES. Unfortunately the sprint to the finishing line isn't really any more exciting than the leisurely stroll leading up to it. How can a film get its pacing so colossally wrong?

Turns out the camp ground is haunted by a little girl who very quickly gets all but one of our campers to kill themselves in a variety of ways (including a man fellating an axe, handle first, not really a way i'd have considered taking my own life but credit for originality) and then its over. Well there is some attempt at an explanation at the end but i don't know what the fuck it was on about.

I would rather pass a right angled turd than watch this again.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Earth Alien

Time for another look at the cheaper end of the DVD market with a trawl though the local £1 shop. First up is Earth Alien

Well as far as titles go ‘Earth Alien’ ranks as one of the stupidest. Luckily it’s only the title of the British DVD version, the original US release had the slightly better title ‘Endangered Species’. Looking at the credits on the back of the case was probably a mistake; they only served to get my hopes up. To start with we’ve got John Rhys-Davis (the angry midget without hairy feet from Lord of the Rings) and music by Harry Manfredini (Friday the 13th 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,9 and 10 but not 8) while not legends both capable individuals.

Anyway piss poor naming aside what we have here is a film that is heavily in debt to films like ‘Alien Nation’ and ‘Dark Angel’. Evil alien (David van Day look-alike) kills loads of people for reasons barely explained so friendly alien (bad dude from ‘The Mummy’) and straight talking cop have to team up to stop him.

To put the audience’s collective mind at rest this film lays its cards on the table very quickly, after 4 minutes if you want me to be precise. Four minutes in and people are naked and getting shot in the head. It’s the perfect hook! Well if you like films with tits and violence, it’s the perfect hook! Sadly it can't keep this up with people generally wearing more clothes and getting shot less as the film goes on.

The script needs a mention here for its childish sense of humour, every so often a line will be so absurd or vulgar that you’ll want to rewind to check you actually heard it right, the best one being the news reporter advising people if they have to go out at night ‘to travel in groups and carry big sticks’.

It all starts to go downhill when the business of actually apprehending the evil alien gets in the way. The key to making a film on the cheap is to keep within your means, something the makers of this forgot early on. If you’ve got no money don’t write vast chase sequences full of explosions and invisible cars. Oh yeah you read that right, invisible cars! Half the budget probably went on the none too convincing green screening so the evil alien could hang out of the window of his invisible car.

It’s only towards the end when our heroes go to blow up the nasty villains conveniently invisible spaceship that you realise no explanation for the previous 80 minutes has even been attempted but its something to with the Earth being an alien game reserve and the bad guy being an intergalactic tailor who does a nice line in human suits.

So while the storyline isn’t up to much the film is just about worth £1 if only to watch John Rhys-Davis accidentally shoot himself in the eye and for the definitive answer on who would win in a fight between Superman and Mighty Mouse (basically the mouse would be crushed to death while trying to fly up Superman's anal passage in an attempt to rip his heart out from the inside, crafty little bugger!)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

50's Grill

Another takeaway menu fell though my letterbox this morning, normally i just put them in the pile with all the other practically identical menus and leave it be. This one however managed to irritate me something rotten.

How many grills/diners circa 1950 do you know that sold halal meat let alone curries and paninis? Now you might be thinking 'Hold your horses, you haven't looked inside yet. Maybe the inside can yet redeem the '50's Grill'.

Well no it can't

Old school dishes? Old school dishes? They're not old school dishes, they're the standard curries you'd expect in any curry house (or in this case 50s grill). Maybe you'd like something from the grill which enticed you in the first place, well i'd stay clear of the 50s Special burger or as most people would call it a cheese burger with some onions. There is nothing 'Special' about putting onions on a cheese burger. Or maybe you'd like to try the 'Relish Burger' described as 'a burger smoothered with relish'. Fancy that! A relish buger has relish on it!

Ahh fuck it! All this anger has made me peckish, think i'll order a 50's Tortila Wrap.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What Does This Button Do?

My search for a job reaches new levels of incompetence with this delight


Thanks for your email.

Would it be possible if you could POST me your CV as I am having problems downloading & printing the CV for my Recruitment Manager.

Please post your CV ASAP as the deadline for the CV'S is SATURDAY 16TH MAY 2009.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Having trouble downloading and printing? It's an attachment! Just open it and press print for fucks sake! It amazes me that people like this can get dressed by themselves let alone get a job.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sorry But No Round 2

Let's begin with

Dear Milo_Myage

Administration Assistant

Further to your recent application for the above position, we have now had the opportunity to review all the applications.

Although we were impressed with the quality of all the applications received, I regret to inform you that, on this occasion, there were candidates whose background and skills more closely matched the job specification than your own. However, we will keep your details on file should a suitable vacancy arise in the near future.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the interest you have shown in our firm, and wish you all the best with your continuing job search.

Kind regards.

and move on to

Dear Milo_Myage

Thank you for applying for the position of Sales Assistant

We have received a high volume of applications for this specific role and unfortunately on this occasion other candidates have demonstrated greater suitability for interview.

You have demonstrated the attributes we look for at ****** and we will keep reviewing your application against other suitable roles as they arise.

We would also encourage you to go to www.*******.jobs and register for job alerts in order to be the first to hear of our new vacancies.

Once again we would like to thank you for your interest in *******.

Kind Regards,

Next up we have short and to the point

Dear Milo_Myage


Following your recent interview I regret to inform you that you have been unsuccessful on this occasion.

I wish you every success in finding suitable employment in the future.

Yours sincerely

and to round off Aprils rejections

Dear Milo_Myage

Re: Part Time Resourcing Assistant

Thank you for your recent application for the above position.

Due to the high level of applications, which matched the criteria of the role more closely than you, I regret to inform you that on this occasion your application was unsuccessful.

We hope you will not hesitate to apply for other suitable positions that we advertise in the future.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your interest in *********** and I would like to wish you every success in finding a suitable position.

Kind regards

So that was April. Well Aprils e-mail rejections, the retro letters are on my floor somewhere probably under all the dirty washing. Not really that many for a month but thats more to do with companies not even bothering to get back to me (some don't even bother to call you after you've been for an interview) than me being lazy. Instead of monthly updates i'm gonna start posting them up as i get them to give me something to do more than anything else. So until the next rejection.