Sunday, 29 January 2012

Seperated At Birth - FA Cup Edition

Watching the Liverpool v Manchester United FA Cup game at the weekend I was drawn to the similarities and the eerie lookalikes in the world of football. See what you think.

Antonio Valencia

Michael Jackson (circa Off The Wall)

Luis Suarez

Freddie Mercury (circa Sheer Heart Attack)

Andy Carroll

Monkey from Monkey Magic


Dirk Kuyt

Sloth from The Goonies


Anton Ferdinand

Scooby Doo


David De Gea

Shaggy from Scooby Doo

----------------------Special Bonus Lookalike------------------------------

Franck Ribery

Dr Evil

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Exploding Helicopter - Midnight Run

My work at Exploding Helicopter H.Q. means I have to sit through a lot of cinematic turkeys in order to catalogue the fiery delights that light up their otherwise turgid bowels. So, imagine my sheer joy at being able to actually review a film that I enjoyed from start to finish. I almost wept real tears.

Bobby De Niro plays embittered bounty hunter Jack Walsh out to do one last big money job (it’s always the last job isn’t it?) by tracking down and escorting embezzling mob accountant Jonathan “The Duke” Mardukas (Charles Grodin) from N.Y to L.A. whilst avoiding the attentions of the Mafia, FBI and rival bounty hunter (John Ashton). Think of it as Beverly Hills Cop meets Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Kudos to director Martin Brest for sticking to his guns, despite intense pressure from Paramount to ditch Grodin in favour of bigger name, as the chemistry between the emotionally repressed De Niro and Grodin’s laconic Mardukas is a joy. As with all great actors in their element they can say more with a couple of looks then lesser actors with a page of dialogue. As they lurch from disaster to disaster the nuanced comedy and non sequiturs elevate the film from what could have been Road Trip territory into a bona fide classic.

Great though it may be that is no guarantee of entry into the hallowed vaults at E.H.H.Q. Luckily for cast and crew, the powers at be had the good sense to include a chopper fireball in order for us to allow their admittance.

De Niro, Grodin and Ashton find themselves on the wrong end of machine gun fire as their car is peppered by trigger happy enforcers in a helicopter, who have picked up their trail in Amarillo, Texas. The goons manage to force the car off the road and Grodin winds up in the river, totally exposed to the hovering chopper and its impressive firepower. Just as the Mob is about to finish off the job, De Niro takes careful aim at the copter’s rotor arm and with a couple of well placed shots from his pistol causing the chopper to spin wildly out of control like a bucking bronco at too high a speed. It veers too close to the cliff face and WHAM! It goes up like a shellsuit on bonfire night.

Artistic merit

A pleasingly large CGI free explosion with some nice supporting shots of the debris rolling down the cliff side and a lingering pyrotechnical aftermath.

No surprise that Beverly Hills Cop director Martin Brest is at the helm as the film also contains the familiar mix of action and humour. However he has cut back on the Gorgonzola as the movie has a surprising amount of pathos, morality and sensitivity amongst the normal cheesy one liners, wailing guitar soundtracks and formulaic car chases that are the staple diet of this genre. The scene involving Walsh’s daughter and the final goodbye between Walsh and Mardukas are genuinely moving moments.

Exploding Helicopter Innovation:

Nothing of any real note but the whole set piece is nicely shot and handled with enough skill to satisfy most exploding helicopter enthusiasts.

No of exploding helicopters:


Do the Passengers survive?:

Unless they are made of asbestos, no.


The casting director should be applauded for a fantastic ensemble cast. If the alchemy between DeNiro and Grodin doesn’t wet your whistle then you have Yaphet Kotto chewing up the screen as the menacing Agent Mosely (you might remember him as Parker in Alien), slime-ball loan shark Joe Pantoliano (Eddie Moscone AKA Francis Fratelli in The Goonies), John Ashton (lunk-headed rival bounty hunter Marvin Dorfler AKA Sgt Taggart in Beverly Hills Cop) and Dennis Farina as badda-binging Mob boss Jimmy Serrano. You might not know their names but you definitely know their faces.


If I were hyper critical I would question the Mob’s decision to hire a machine gun toting helicopter as a means of discretely locating a missing fugitive. I guess the Mafia isn’t synonymous with subtlety.

Film historians might point to DeNiro’s subsequent Golden Globe nomination as the catalyst for his slippery descent into the legacy-threatening light comedy hell that has been Analyze That, Shark Tale and Little Fockers. Don’t get cocky kid.

Favourite Quote:

Jonathan Mardukas: No I don't have to do better than that, because it's the truth. I can't fly. I suffer from aviaphobia.
Jack Walsh: What does that mean?
Jonathan Mardukas: It means I can't fly. I also suffer from claustrophobia and agoraphobia.
Jack Walsh: Well if you don't shut up, pretty soon you're gonna suffer from fistaphobia.

Interesting fact:

Grodin decided to take a 13yr hiatus after starring in Beethoven and eschewed the Hollywood lifestyle to be a stay-at-home dad to his kids. Aaah, what a bloody nice bloke.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Websex - What's the harm? BBC3 9PM

To be a man in the modern age and to never have seen any pictures of naked ladies on the internet is like owning a car and never having used the steering wheel. I would actually think you were extremely odd individual never to have done so.

We buy our shopping online, we talk to friends online, we get our news online it was only a matter of time before we got our sex online. Whilst I have had the odd "liaison" through the medium of online dating what I have got up is small potatoes compared to what today's kids are getting up to on the Wild Wild Web.

Last night's BBC3 documentary by the delightful Nathalie Emmanuel, catering predominantly for the 16-24 crowd, casts its eye on the myriad of tools available for tech-savvy youth to get their end away.

One such tool is Facebook. Whilst I've only ever really used it to share idle banter and show off exotic holiday photos some actively use social networking sites like Facebook and Bebo to find potential sexy time. One such brazen lothario is 18yr old Raf, less a man and more a crafty penis on legs, who treats his conquests like a video game where befriending and shagging a victim equals

"passing a level"

He describes trawling Facebook for pretty girls and then getting friendly with them on Blackberry messenger. He charmingly has them divided on his phone into different types like "special gash" & "sociable gash". Now that's organisation.

He then is kind enough to show presenter Nathalie where the magic happens, a grubby log strewn area deep in the woods of Birmingham where he woos his subjects in the hope of getting "B.J's" as he

"doesn't like to spend money on them"

Its not just straight men that treat the internet as a sex supermarket. Gay guys even have their own App called Grindr which has 2m users using GPS on their phones to put them in touch with other gay guys in the area. Walking around Soho with her gay guide, Nathalie seems to be on a sexual treasure hunt as the place is swarming with guys looking to

"get a bit of cock"

For shy people the App is incredibly useful and it obviously circumvents that tricky conundrum for any homosexual guy "How do I know if the guy I hit on is straight or gay". It must avoid a million black eyes.

One segment that caught my attention was the practice of Camming i.e using a webcam to post live video of yourself naked. Apparently there are quite a few sites you can go to where strangers will show you their bits for free. Nathalie interviews Kane a guy in his early 20's who started using them in his teens to overcome his shyness with the opposite sex and has now has no problem exposing himself.

"My worries and doubts are gone when there is a naked girl in front of you"

Now he is an old hand and takes Nathalie on a tour of camming sites which seem to consist exclusively of horny guys with their dicks out.

"But it’s a Wednesday afternoon?

exclaims Nathalie desperately before proclaiming that she doesn't want this type of thing "in her face". Probably not the best choice of words in the circumstances.

It is clear from the programme that men are still more at ease using the internet for sexual motives then women. This is somewhat reassuring for me as it shows society has completely degenerated into Bacchanalian levels of depravity. There is a new sister app for straights called Blendr that works in the same way as it's homosexual counterpart but there are about 10 male profiles to everyone female profile listed. There is still the stigma for openly sexually women who would be considered sluts whereas their male counterparts will be given a hearty pat on the back for their sexual conquests.

Sadly the internet isn't a magic tool to make all your dreams come true. There are downsides. First of all and fairly obviously with more sex comes more STD's of which there has been a massive increase. Even if you decide to partake in the much safer pursuit of "camming" there is a risk that your images will be hijacked or capped by unscrupulous types keen to sell your images to porn websites and circulated around the world. What may have been a private moment between you and your other half can turn you into an unwitting porn star.

Also whatever you do, don't piss off a vindictive partner as nowadays the internet can make your life hell. Nathalie interviews Peter who after catching his girlfriend cheating on him changed her Facebook profile picture to one of her completely naked and playing with herself (perhaps not the sort girl you would take home to meet mother) and changed her occupation to "loves sucking cock". You have to admire his creative chutzpah.

So the internet, once only the realm of weirdoes in rain macs, has opened up a liberating new realm of sexual possibilities for all personality types and using it for this purpose is now considered mainstream behaviour. There is no stigma to internet dating these days and I'm sure it will only be a matter of time before that same nonchalant attitude transfers over to those who want nothing more than quick shag.

So the question is, if everyone is at it why aren't you?

You can watch it on the I-Player until 27th Jan here

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Exploding Helicopter -Transformers 2 - Revenge of the Fallen

Shia LeBoeuf (Sam Witwicky), John Turturro (Seymour Simmons) and Megan Fox (Mikaela Banes)are back in this overblown, protracted, charmless, empty-headed, dogs dinner of a sequel that once again sees the Autobots fighting the Decepticons to protect Witwicky who has accidentally acquired ancient secrets, after touching a shard of the destroyed Allspark, that are key to the survival of the human race and harvesting the sun vmgwsetw654hdfaifhdrty3454563....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...oh sorry...I fell asleep on my keyboard typing that. You catch my drift.

If you thought the first film was bad you underestimate the turd producing qualities of Michael Bay, who manages the seemingly impossible feat of dumbing down one of the dumbest films every made. Someone should tell him sunsets, CGI and slow motion are no substitute for a well written plot, clever direction and genuine drama.

The attempts at comedy are incredibly lame (the introduction of two wisecracking Autobot twins Skids and Mudflap reach Jar Jar Binks levels of misjudgement), the action is just so OTT you begin to zone out in the first half an hour and the plot is so convoluted only a 5yr could suspend their disbelief. The whole thing is stuck together with CGI and Megan Fox's clevage.

Yet, despite an almost universal critical panning the film made $836 million worldwide, spawned another sequel and Bay is in final negotiations to make a fourth. You idiots get the films you deserve.

Why do we put ourselves through the torture of watching this garbage? Exploding helicopters of course, and at least Bay has the good sense to include four.

The first fireball involves the Decepticon Demolishor, a huge construction vehicle that is uncovered in Shanghai. As the military attempt to take him down with a phalanx of weaponry including two Sikorsky Blackhawks he manages to catch of one the helicopters on the tail with on of its huge arms as it flys by, it breaks in two and flips out of control and out of shot.

The second and third choppers go down in quick succession at the hands of the Decepticons in the desserts of Petra in a slow motion scene which sees the damaged choppers crash through palms and onto the desert floor. There is not much of a fireball but the rotor blades hack nicely into the sand as they grind to a burning halt.

The last chopper is destroyed so quickly that if you blinked you'd have missed it, in fact, helicopter bible Rotary Action did. Decepticon leader The Fallen has clambered on top of a huge pyramid that contains a Sun Harvester (don't ask)and uses his telekinetic abilities to attract all the tanks and planes to him. Amongst the collection of vehicles that smash against the pyramid are a Sikorsky Blackhawk that slams against the side of the structure and bursts into flame.

Artistic Merit

For most directors the inclusion of an chopper fireball is a set piece to be laboured over or a highlight to pique viewers adrenalin as a denouement to an action sequence. For Bay they are nothing more than an afterthought. For a man who farts out CGI set-pieces in his sleep the inclusion of exploding helicopters to proceedings is akin to most directors adding a couple more pretty girls to a crowd scene. Two of the choppers fireballs happen in a flash with the minimum of fuss or the chance for the viewer to linger over the wreckage. The action is just so busy the explosions become redundant.

Exploding Helicopter Innovation

First known use of telekinesis to destroy a chopper? To be honest if you haven’t seen a giant robot smash up a helicopter you haven't watched the first film.

No of exploding helicopters:


Do the Passengers survive?:

In the double helicopter explosion in the Egyptian desert all four passengers emerge virtually unscathed from the downed Blackhawks despite crashing into the ground from a great height. Sand is very helicopter friendly apparently.


Megan Fox has a nice ass.


If the Transformers are supposed to live unobtrusively amongst us as cars, planes and washing machines they spend a remarkable amount of time casually strolling about in their shiny 30ft high finery loudly fighting each other and blowing things up.

Favourite Quotes:

"We got lost. We tried to get bigger. It's what happens to sequels. It's like, how do you top the first one? You've got to go bigger. Michael Bay went so big that it became too big" Shia LaBeouf

"The real fault with Transformers 2 is that it ran into a mystical world. When I look back at it, that was crap." Michael Bay

Interesting Fact:

The writing team of Rovert Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Ehren Kruger were paid $8million dollars to come up with this convoluted boloney. Probably the biggest waste of money since producers spunked £75 million making the Affleck-Lopez shit-fest Gigli.