Rocknerd: Not Dead Yet

New free online Melbourne zine

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catch cry is ‘who is your trashicon?’

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fortnightly in the form of a photography exhiniibtion

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user submission more than welcome…

movie review: Inside Man

This would have to be the most conventional film Lee has made in his career, and of his recent films, one of his most successful.

Lacking the elegiac tone of The 25th HourInside Man (2006, dir: Spike Lee) is still another love letter to New York in the shape of a crime thriller with more stars than it has work for. Really, it’s too many. I’m sure Jodie Foster doesn’t really need the extra money.

Lee’s not as prolific as Woody Allen, but fellow New York spruiker Spike Lee does pump the flicks out. He has a bigger cast than usual, and a script written by someone else for once, alongside a bigger budget probably than many of his other films combined.

It’s unlikely that the racial and class themes permeating his earlier work have been abandoned. Here, they’re mostly put on hold in order to deliver a mainstream heist flick with a high wattage cast that doesn’t outstay its welcome, and, though profoundly unlikely in its conclusion, doesn’t make me want to punch random strangers in the crotch.

But those elements are still there. His work post September the 11th has always included the profound impact that terrible day had on the metropolis, and its reflection in themes of race and perception. So the way people relate and the presumptions they make are all given time to shine. But the impetus behind the film is still to deliver a highly-strung crime thriller, just that it’s situated in the melting pot that is New Amsterdam.

So it’s conventional, big deal. So it doesn’t end with a bag so much as it ends with an “Oh, okay, right, so that’s what it was all about, then.” So what? Most films end with “Look, we ran out of ideas and money, so here’s some shit we threw together.”

Good heist capers are rare, and whilst this doesn’t rank up there with the best of them (Rififi, Le Cercle Rouge, Police Academy 1 through47), it’s competent enough that it staved off boredom for at least a couple of hours. And, look, I need to be distracted every now and then. I need competent action crime thrillers to distract me from the horrific torment that suffuses my every waking and sleeping moment. Just like most people.

The film opens with Clive Owen talking directly into the camera, as he sits in what appears to be a jail cell. He admonishes the audience to listen carefully, as he intends to explain something once, and that he won’t repeat himself. Even though at the end of the film he clearly repeats himself. So much for keeping promises.

He refers to the “how” of the heist, and, gently truncheon-fucking Shakespeare’s undead corpse, mumbles that therein lies the rub. He and his fellow crims then proceed to rub one out for the next two hours.

Four highly competent crims take over a bank. They are quick and efficient, and very technically minded. They take the bank’s employees and customers hostage, forcing them to dress in the same outfits as what the crims are wearing. The crims, especially Clive Owen’s character, give every impression of being ruthless and willing to kill everybody in order to achieve their aims.

The hostage negotiator (Denzel Washington) and his partner (Chiwetel Ejiofor) are dispatched to try and get things sorted out with a minimum of deaths. The police in general act competently and without resorting to Rodney King style violence, until they either hear what they think is an Arab accent or see a Sikh guy who they confuse with Uncle Bin Laden. Then they lead with their truncheons, as they should. Those pesky Sikhs have been asking for it for fucking years.

The cops also, at one point, get confused and start thinking that maybe remnants of the Soviet Empire are perpetrating the robbery. This is played for comedy more than any comment on the Cold War, though I would have enjoyed hearing the Russian national anthem.

It becomes clear that the crims are far sharper than the cops (as you’d want them to be in such a flick), and as the situation gets more complex you wonder how it’s all supposed to work out. Yes, you’re actually, to use an Americanism, rooting for them to win, though Jehovah knows why that would be the case. There’s barely anything to the characters apart from what they do, the plot is moved by momentum rather than any character development. This isn’t, and it gets name-checked, Dog Day Afternoon. But it moves briskly, it has time for quiet moments which amuse and entertain around the action, and it throws in enough complications to keep most audience members awake.

Upon hearing about the bank robbery, the bank’s founder Arthur Case (Christopher Plummer) gets into a tizzy, threatening to deluge his adult diapers. He instantly hires Madeline White (Jodie Foster) to find a way to protect one tiny piece of his legacy held captive in a safety deposit box in the bank, which had no record of existing.

Madeline clearly is some type of power player who knows everyone and can somehow magically get into the bank, with the support of the Mayor of New York, who sported a suspiciously Third Reich accent. I kept waiting for him to scream “Schnell!” at some hapless deli owner.

So the plot chugs along, until one of the detectives realises, “wait a second, these crims are smarter than us!” Then it’s on for young and old.

There are several flash forwards to after the crime, when the cops are interrogating the hostages, where it’s clear to us that it’s unclear as to what the outcome could possibly be, even with the information given away. Denzel gets to charmingly overact in ways that don’t detract or distract from the film. Even the sexist ogling of a well-endowed young lady with a concrete-penetrating Queens accent (think The Nanny, now unthink it if you can) is handled well.

It’s a pleasure watching it all unfold, I have to say. But the ending is way, way too neat and tidy. Incredibly so. I find it highly implausible as well, but that hardly matters. I still can’t believe the government led by John Howard has been in power for ten years, and looks to be in power for twenty more. Long may He reign.

So with my credulity or otherwise in question, I can’t say that the overall explanation really gels with reality, but it doesn’t really matter. In these heist / con job films, the ones being fooled the most aren’t supposed to be the other characters, it’s supposed to be the udience, up until the very end. Here, it’s not so much the ending, but the mild amusement, gentle laughter and prostate exams we received along the way that make it worthwhile, or at least tolerable.

There were lots of little scenes that I liked. A kid trapped with everyone else plays his portable Playstation. Not content with the violent atmosphere surrounding him in the bank, he plays a game clearly intended to take the piss out of the Grand Theft Auto games, wherein a no-good hood does a drive-by on a fool, leaps out of his lowrider blasting caps into said fool’s ass, before plonking a grenade into his mouth to finish him off. The scenes with a construction worker helping the police out by helping them translate the language picked up through surveillance are priceless to me. A different director or different editor would have balked at including it, but it was so New York and so funny that I’m glad they left it in. As with a scene with the police interrogating the Sikh bank teller, they’re vintage Spike Lee, but without the didactics or belabouring the point.

In another scene, the fixer Foster plays and Denzel’s character conduct an argument perfectly situated beneath multiple posters saying “WE WILL NEVER FORGET”, supposedly referring to the terrorist attack of five year’s ago. I prefer to think of it as being a reminder that even actors of the calibre of these two could be in films as bad as Nell and The Preacher’s Wife.

The repartee between the leader of the crims, the detectives and the fixer are all written and acted pretty well, and those are the kinds of scenes I love, so, considering everything else, consider me more than happy with this whole package. Sure it’s nothing overly special, and most of the highly-talented people involved can do this in their sleep, but it’s still enjoyable to see this kind of flick done and done well.

Sandro – 7 times I’d be happy to examine the evidence in the alleged case of the violation of Section 34 DD out of 10

– ‘Money can’t buy you love’ ‘Why thank you, Mr. Bank Robber’. – the economics of romance, Inside Man.

Record label joins MP3 lawsuits – against the RIAA

The large Canadian independent label and management company Nettwerk, which has been behind artists from Sarah McLachlan to Severed Heads, has joined the RIAA anti-filesharing lawsuits — on the side of the users being sued. Nettwerk has agreed to pay the total legal expenses of one user, being sued for having an Avril Lavigne song available for downloading on their computer, as well as any fines should they lose.

Nettwerk, who manage Lavigne, got involved after defendant David Greubel’s 15-year-old daughter emailed MC Lars, who had released a pro-filesharing track titled “Download This Song” and is also managed by Nettwerk.

“My family is one of many seemingly randomly chosen families to be sued by the RIAA. No fun. You can’t fight them, trying could possibly cost us millions. The line ‘they sue little kids downloading hit songs,’ basically sums a lot of the whole thing up. I’m not saying it is right to download but the whole lawsuit business is a tad bit outrageous.”

 

Charles Mudd, the lawyer selected to represent the defendants and a veteran of similar lawsuits, issued a statement about the RIAA’s lawsuits and the injustice of them:

“Since 2003 the RIAA has continually misused the court and legal system, engaging in misguided litigation tactics for the purpose of extorting settlement amounts from everyday people — parents, students, doctors, and general consumers of music,” Mudd stated. “In doing so, the RIAA has misapplied existing copyright law and improperly employed its protections not as a shield, but as a sword. Many of the individuals targeted by the RIAA are not the ‘thieves’ the RIAA has made them out to be. Moreover, individual defendants typically do not have the resources to mount a full-fledged defensive campaign to demonstrate the injustice of the RIAA’s actions. Today we are fortunate that principled artists and a management company, Nettwerk Music Group, have joined the effort to deter the RIAA from aggressive tactics — tactics that have failed to accomplish even the RIAA’s goals.”

movie review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

When I heard Chocolate Factory (dir:Tim Burton, 2005) was going to be remade, I had a sick feeling in my gut. When I heard Tim Burton would be the one helming it, that sick feeling grew to full blown, explosive nausea.

Maybe it was the hangover, maybe it was the dodgy curry. I don’t know, I’m not a doctor. But I can say that see the finished product was a decent cure.

It is a good film. It’s not great, but then having seen the original a few weeks ago as well, neither is that one. Johnny Depp is no Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, but then again clearly no-one wanted him to be.

Instead of going down the track of trying to replicate that experience, Burton has done to this what he mercilessly did to Planet of the Apes: he’s “re-imagined” the character of Willy Wonka. Instead of being a mysterious Wizard of Oz type, eccentric aristocratic figure such as in the book and (to a lesser extent) in the first film, here Wonka is just an out-and-out freak.

Much has been made in the press of the idea that Wonka as played by the deathless and ageless Depp is reminiscent of Michael Jackson and Peter Lorre (the bug-eyed German actor from such classics as M, Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon). There’s none of the former and more of the latter, in my estimation.

Depp does play Wonka as a freak, someone with no social skills, who hasn’t progressed beyond the oral stage of development, or puberty, for that matter, and who is a chocolate maker who hates his primary market: children. The kids in the film, naturally all loathsome except for Charlie (Freddie Highmore), all clearly hate Wonka as well. They are there out of greed and have nothing but sneers and contempt for Wonka.

And so they should. If you saw this guy offering your kid any candy, you’d beat him to death with the nearest Oompa Loompa. There is a significant story-based reason why such a difference has been made in the script.

It’s because he doesn’t have a loving family, you see. Orphans, hearken to Tim Burton’s word. He is here to heal the pain.

To some, giving Wonka more motivation and backstory to explain his eccentricities and livelihood might be akin to blasphemy prompting Roald Dahl to piss and moan in his grave in between some lacklustre spinning, but for me it worked. As much as it needed to; it’s hardly a deep character study.

No, for a film costing allegedly $200 million dollars to make, it’s about the visuals. Charlie is still Charlie, thankfully. Whilst everything and everyone else seems to be solidly entrenched in the current era, Charlie, his parents and his four grandparents are resolutely from somewhere in London during World War II. Their clothes, their creaky home and everything about them down to their values and grimy cotton socks would make Winston Churchill tear up. The irony is that they seem more anachronistic than Willy Wonka and his factory do.

As such, since Charlie is our wholesome hero, everything he does and says is so golly-gee-willikers that it would be sick inducing had the role been played by anyone else. But Freddie Highmore, slumming in the role, is way better than that.

Anyone who endured Finding Neverland, a recent film about the playwright J.M. Barrie and his virtually unknown story Peter Pan, knows that Freddie, as one of the children in the film, acted Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet and Julie Christie off the screen. He can’t be just a child, he must be some acting legend reincarnated in the form of a little person. The maturity he brought to that role isn’t eclipsed here, but he does solid work all the same. When people talk about the kids in that Harry Potter film movie franchise as actors, in comparison to someone like Freddie, I just have to chuckle.

Are there people who don’t know the story? I guess there’s a chance that a few people from a non-Anglo background who grew up in Tanzania or Ulan Bator may not be familiar with it, so here’s a quick précis: rich man runs chocolate factory, and after years of solitude gives five children around the world the chance to win a ticket to see what it’s all about.

All the other children are spoiled, indulged, rich or all three. Charlie is poor and therefore a decent young fellow with the right values, morals and underpants. Damn these Marxist parables!

Over the course of their journey through Wonka’s factory, they see magical and wondrous sights, but the rotten children are undone by their very natures, until the story reaches its inevitable but insane conclusion.

Much of the visual stuff is CGI, but a greater proportion is very elaborate and very expensive-looking sets. The chocolate waterfall and river / Preparation Room looks so impressive I bet that bit alone cost more to construct than they spent on the entirety of the original film.

The nut sorting room with the multitude of squirrels is a particular favourite of mine, and they do it very impressively in this version, much better than the other one which looked like it was constructed from tinsel and papier mache with sock puppets.

But it’s not a competition. Both films have faults, both films have virtues. The only real bad thing about the original is how crappy it looks. The problem with the new version is that Johnny Depp’s performance is too kooky and almost too annoying, and therefore distracts from the story. The kids are loathsome, but they’re supposed to be, we wouldn’t want it any other way. They only exist in the book as well as archetypes of bad child behaviour and parental neglect.

To get back to the Marxist aspect of the story, Wonka, losing his secret recipes to industrial espionage through his workers, fires them all, and replaces them with Oompa Loompas (all played by the delightfully named Deep Roy). They all work for beans, literally. Talk about slave labour, someone should call down the International Labor Organisation on this guy’s arse.

The Oompa Loompas don’t care, since being the happy little proles pacified by the opiate that is the cocoa bean, and they willingly carry out Wonka’s evil bidding. They also prepare ironic and insane musical numbers to top of the end of each kid’s stay in the factory.

They don’t repeat or redo the “Oompa, Loompa, Doopity Doo, If You Don’t Listen This Will Happen to You” songs from the first film in exactly the same way, but they do put on some elaborate and clearly insane musical numbers. They’re quite demented and funny.

One of my favourite lines in the film is where after watching one of these numbers, venerable British actor James Fox says in a disbelieving voice, “It seemed awfully rehearsed”, which almost breaks the fourth wall letting us know how insane such a situation would be in anything other than a fantasy film.

Wonka of course demurs and, making excuses like a Nationals Senator from Queensland, claims that it’s all improvised.

Hmm, sure it is.

A few of these touches add instead of detract from the experience, though I’m sure the variations will drive many in a fury of dogmatic rage. There are a few other changes which many might miss (the Slugworth character trying to get the kids to smuggle out the Eternal Gobstoppers, the visit to the Lemonade room), but they don’t matter that much in the scheme of things.

I liked it. It’s not going to replace my memories of the book or the original film, but I don’t hate it. I think Roald Dahl would have liked it. It keeps enough of the dark elements from his original work to be recognisably Dahl through the filter of Burton.

Tim Burton does an okay job for once. I haven’t thought much of his recent movies yet, but I do think he is mellowing in his old age, and this isn’t too bad a place for him to be. It makes me look forward to seeing his return to stop motion animation with The Corpse Bride which should be coming out soon.

He has been a decent fantasist behind the camera for most of his career; it’s just that telling a story is what he seems to have most difficulty with. He did all right this time, bless his cocaine-eroded heart.

Sandro – 7 times I would have wanted to drown those other four kids in a hessian sack filled with rocks in a chocolate river out of 10

– Mike Teavee: Why is everything here completely pointless?
Charlie Bucket: Candy doesn’t have to have a point. That’s why it’s candy. – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”

IndieCore helps indie artists!

Industry Shill writes “NEW WEBSITE INDIECORE LAUNCHES TO GIVE INDEPENDENT ARTISTS A CHANCE TO BEEN SEEN AND HEARD!

 

Who: IndieCore – an exclusive website dedicated to helping independent artists evolve from the ground up, as well as exposing music fans to up and coming bands in the independent music scene.

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* Post up to 7 upcoming gigs

* Have unlimited hi-res photograph management

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THE FIRST MONTHY IS FREE!!! YOU WILL NOT BE CHARGED IF YOU CANCEL!

. IndieCore also provides true music lovers with an opportunity to get exposed to artists they may not otherwise had a chance to do – for free!

* IndieCore exposes true music lovers to the hottest independent artists

* IndieCore members get a chance to help their favorite bands earn money and climb the IndieCore Charts. So be a true fan and help spread the buzz.

* IndieCore members get access to all of the artist profile pages. Members can see photos, bios, show dates, and stream or download music and cell phone tools from each and every band.

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Putting the Nerd Back in Rocknerd – Synapse zine

Synapse was a magazine published in the mid-1970s, devoted to the new, exciting possibilities of the synthesiser. Now, former editor Cynthia Webster brings you Synapse in high-quality GIF to enjoy. For example:

Work yourself up into a nerdy frenzy with interviews, product reviews of what are now antiques, and how-to’s that shouldn’t even be contemplated by decent people. Synapse magazine - do yourself a favour.

Nazi Teens F**k Off

If the Olsen Twins ever became a music duo or decided to become German hate mongers circa 1936 they may have looked at Prussian Blue. Prussian Blue are two teens, Lamb & Lynx Gaede, who are currently darlings of the white nationalist music scene.

Recently ABC (USA) TV aired a report about the teens on Primetime about their brand of pro white Nazi pop and fleetingly about the white nationalist music movement. The show featured the Gaede twins gladly proclaiming their white stance, singing about Rudolf Hess and flashing the Nazi salute (from some live footage).

It seems a few years ago Fraulein Lamb Gaede of Prussian Blue called the Inga Barks Show on KERN Bakersfield (back when they were on recess from Home Schooling) under the alias “Ellie Mae”. Quite a fantastic bit of radio and the MP3 from the event can be heard here.

It seems this saga ruffled a few feathers amongst the pro-white-power types at the National Vanguard website. They were upset over host Inga Barks’ handling of the call the call while defending Lamb Gaede of Prussian Blue for using “Ellie Mae” as the name used over the air for privacy purposes, yet the article goes on to reveals her real name (so how is that going to help her privacy?).

Given all the recent interest in Prussian Blue, it seems once the Primetime story aired, Prussian Blue removed comments which were placed on their blog and also removed the option to post comments on there as well. The scary thing was this singing duo were from Bakersfield California (my current home) and have since moved. The twins’ mother April Gaede (a contributor to National Vanguard) said Bakersfield wasn’t white enough. Bakersfield hasn’t totally forgotten the twins; due to community protesters, Prussian Blue were removed from the line up at September’s Kern (Bakersfield) County Fair that featured The Village People.

Eno blags synths on Vemia

Music Thing reports that Brian Eno is selling several of his studio items on Vemia, including his beloved DX-7.

Night Watch

If Night Watch (dir: Timur Bekmambetov, 2004) is Russia’s answer to The Matrix and the other fantasy / vampire type films Hollywood has pumped out in recent years, perhaps it would’ve been best had the question never be asked.

I am unfortunately in that position where something receiving a lot of buzz and praise has left me muttering “eh” under my breath and in the length, width and girth of my review. I just don’t think that it’s really that good. I am perplexed as to the good press it has received. In a way it feels like people are praising the Russians for producing such a film in the way people praise a retarded child when he starts reading See Spot Run ten years after the other kids, because he’s really trying so hard, and doesn’t he make you want to hug a puppy? Awww…

For me, this film is mostly only different from the recent Constantine film by not having Keanu Reeves in it. They both have fantasy plots based on a war between the forces of Good and Evil, they both had nil characterisation and pointless plots, and they both had resolutions more insulting than revelatory. Still, Constantine was dumb. I’m not sure what Night Watch’s problem is, but it’s not just dumbness.

A heavily Russian-accented, English voiceover introduces us to the plot, where we are told about the forces of Light and Dark fighting a terrible battle on a bridge somewhere. For some reason, the generals of the two armies decide that killing each other is no longer fun, so what they have to do is decide to enter into a Cold War-like agreement where they don’t war in public and strictly monitor each other to ensure the truce remains in place.

This agreement persists for centuries. The two armies are made up of Others. The Others, not to be confused with the Nicole Kidman flick, are people born a bit different from everyone else. Anyone throughout human history who’s ever had a vision or any strange abilities seems to have been one of the Others. They get to choose whether they are to become members of the Light or the Dark.

The Light monitor the actions of the Dark army during the Night (hence the Night Watch title), and the reverse happens during the day. For reasons I can’t seem to work out, all the Dark Others become vampires and avoid feeding on human blood unless they’re given permission by the Light guys, who license them for feeding and for turning other people into vampires.

After the intro, the story is told in Russian, with English subtitles. It may seem odd to point something out like that, but the way the subtitles are implemented is the most creative and intelligent use of subtitles I’ve ever seen. I still think the film sucks, but the subtitling was utterly brilliant. The manner in which it conforms to what’s happening on screen, and adapts to actions, and emphasises the different situations that arise is breathtaking. I bet it is going to be ripped off shamelessly in the years that follow.

Flash forward to the present, and a nerdy guy we know nothing about at film’s beginning and nothing about at film’s end, goes to a witch to get her to make his ex-girlfriend come back to him. It’s set in what looks like a contemporary Moscow, so the idea is that this magical war goes on parallel to the real world, with the muggles oblivious to reality. Most humans can’t see Others anyway, unless they are Others themselves, and then it only happens during something especially traumatic.

The nerdy guy, Anton (Konstantin Khabensky), during the process of the witch’s spell, is revealed to be an Other, and he joins the ranks of the Light in order to battle against the forces of blah blah blah.

The story again flashes forward 12 years, where Anton, a character with no charisma, no defining traits and little to make me give a damn about him or anything he does, works on the Night Watch, specifically on a case where he is trying to protect a child who is being Called by a newly made vampire.

In the course of trying to find the child, another plot starts up where some woman from out of nowhere is revealed to be some classical mythic archetype called The Virgin, who has been cursed by someone and is inadvertently going to cause the end of the world.

The way in which one of these plots is resolved is simply idiotic. I don’t want to spoil anything in case people get sucked in by the reputation this flick has strangely built up and go see it, but I just thought it blew chunks. I was left saying “what the fuck?” out loud even though I understood what had happened.

The other leads to a twist ending so remarkable that, even with the worst foreshadowing I’ve ever seen (involving someone playing a Tekken-style fighting game in his lounge room early on), it almost makes up for the crappiness of the scripting that precedes it.

Look, I wanted to like it, I really did. I’m the natural audience for this kind of stuff. I get the references, I laugh at the humour, and I have more than enough willing suspension of disbelief to handle the premise.

But that doesn’t mean I can tolerate a poorly written script. I know it’s based on a sequence of popular Russian fantasy novels, but I don’t care. There is sloppy storytelling throughout this, and it doesn’t help that for some reason the main character seems drunk throughout the entire flick.

Not just at the beginning, where they explain it. They also introduce characters that do little if anything, leaving you to think “Well, what was the point of that?” They use technology in an idiotic simple-minded and embarrassing way, like using some kind of search engine to find out who The Virgin came in contact with over the last three days, all the people who’ve suffered bad luck in her presence, and all the puppies that have died as a result of her unlucky touch. Can I get the URL for that one, please? I knew Russian sites could be dangerous, but I had no idea how wonderful technology could be, even in the hands of mystical nerds.

And don’t get me started on the editing. Director Timur Bekmambetov has ‘transcended’ his tv commercial roots, and it shows, painfully. There are scenes so horribly and pointlessly over-edited that my fight-or-flight reflex kicked in. There’s also lots of that shaky camerawork that I really, really am not a fan of.

It also doesn’t help that Anton is such a personality vacuum of a character or actor. I actually hoped that the world would be destroyed so I wouldn’t have to see him again.

There were elements that I really did like. See, I actually like the premise / story. I just hated the plot and the way the plot went from A to B to What the fuck just happened and why?

Anton’s relationship with his next door neighbour Kostya (Aleksei Chadov) was really interesting to me. It worked well, and as circumstances changed, their friendship changed as well. All too brief. He had the possibility of being an interesting character, but disappeared. He does at least bring up the morality argument of what the Night Watch does, and whether it is right or not, which is brought up again and again throughout the flick.

The introduction of the character of Olga (Galina Tyunina) was pretty intriguing, until they then proceeded to do absolutely nothing with her that I can remember. It’s revealed that she was imprisoned in the form of a stuffed owl for sixty years for some terrible crime she committed, but then they don’t even tell us what they were. Goddamn cock teasers.

Anton’s battle with two vampires is done in a novel and entertaining way, completely different from the manner in which even the film itself jokes about by literally referencing Buffy the Vampire Slayer later on.

The little boy Yegor (Dmitri Martynov), upon learning about the existence of vampires, studies the Buffy Versus Dracula episode of the eponymous show in order to get tips, and starts carving a stake himself, which is somewhat funny to me.

The two guys that lead the armies of the Light and Dark, Geser (Vladimir Menshov) and Zavulon (Viktor Verzhbitsky), are pretty cool. The way in which Zavulon uses a sword made of his own spine is the only really creepy thing in the flick.

Geser is a chubby old guy who looks like the old Communist premier Nikita Khrushchev. I will flatter all of you and pretend you’re all too young to remember what he looked like. Suffice to say he just looks like a Soviet bureaucrat. He runs the City Light Company, which is actually the Night Watch, which is like a police force / secret police / emergency response team. They even have their own trucks, which look cute and burn nitrous oxide.

Speaking of the trucks, anyone who’s seen a clip or a trailer has seen the great sequence where one of these trucks is blazing down the road and needs to avoid hitting a particular guy. The driver pulls some levers, stamps on some pedal, and the truck goes end over end in a pretty awesome (though mostly CGI) sequence.

Speaking of effects, this film was made for around US 4 million dollars. That’s the equivalent of the smell of an oily Hollywood cumrag. It is a decent effort to get the film to look so impressive, to the point where Fox Searchlight, 20th Century Fox’s indie film subsidiary, decided to pick the film up for overseas distribution. The production values are excellent.

Shame about the fucking plot. Honestly, I felt let down by the film. I’m still going to check out the next two proposed sequels, Day Watch(Dvevnoy Dozor, scheduled for 2006) and Dusk Watch, but I’m not going to go in expecting anything amazing, like I did walking into this. What a fool I was, now probably no more than ever.

But you don’t have to be. Not armed with foreknowledge as you are now, my little koshkas.

Sandro – 5.5 armies of Light and Dark that should really have found a more entertaining way to amuse me out of 10 —”Well, say something. Be human.”—Something I feel like saying on the streets of Fitzroy sometimes, but in this case comes from Night Watch.

More worst album covers

Yet more worst album covers ever, this time from Pitchfork. Here’s to Peter Saville, Neville Brody and geometry.