Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Soused at the South Pole

Our main purpose is as caretakers of an expensive American facility, just like Jack Nicholson in The Shining, but with more geopolitical significance and fewer axe murders.

Overdone but nevertheless interesting tale of boozing at the South Pole. I'm intrigued to note that the drink of choice is Bailey's and coffee and there's a vast pit of human faeces just to add a little bit of extra dread to global warming.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Round up the usual suspects

Too often I forget that the entertainment industry is genuinely beyond parody. Behold, Casablanca: The TV Series:

Another series, briefly broadcast on NBC in 1983, starred David Soul as Rick, Ray Liotta as Sacha and Scatman Crothers as a somewhat elderly Sam.

Casablanca popped into my head after playing The Darkness. Which is good, by the way - complete nonsense, wildly inconsistent, and not as good as previous Starbreeze effort Chronicles of Riddick, but it does engage you in the telling of a not uninteresting story. Although it would have done a lot better had it felt the need to actually comment on your sudden sprouting of demonic tentacles, rather than immediately relegating them to the status of slightly disfiguring scar - something that people occasionally comment on but don't see as particularly outlandish.

One of the many touches I did like, however, is the TVs in the game, which have been loaded up with royalty-free footage black-and-white footage: The Man With The Golden Arm, old episodes of Flash Gordon, some terrible rock band I suspect are related to the developers. It's a really small, pointless detail that has no bearing on the plot, but I really like it: it's far more convincing than the hoary aren't-we-funny nonsense in the background of Max Payne (which this reminded me of quite a lot, unfortunately) or Vice City, and it's such a cheap, obvious thing to do I'm surprised nobody else has done it before.

Anyway, Sinatra in black and white reminded me of Casablanca, which I want to watch but can't - I'm pretty sure I threw the VHS tape away when I moved and in any case the VCR is still at work, left over from a photoshoot recreating an awesomely primitive tableau of The Way We Were. Sad story. Richard, always well-stocked with really terrible cultural artifacts, pointed out that Barb Wire is a transparent remake but tragically I don't have that either. I'm reduced to reading the Wikipedia entry, which brings me back once again to little details that make me smile:

The version shown in the Republic of Ireland at the time of release had all references to adultery cut, rendering the plot incomprehensible.