Kill the Giggler
22Feb/110

Lights Out Episode 6 Review: ‘Combinations’

Another Lights Out went by this week with a minimum of in-ring action, but the characters and the storyline were once more strong enough to produce an episode that would satisfy all but the most bloodthirsty of viewers.

Lights, and his seemingly eternal struggle to stay true to his family and do the right thing, was sorely tested this week, as all manner of distractions were thrown his way ahead of the big fight.

'Combinations' opens with a nice subversion of one of the key moments in any boxing story, the rowdy press conference. As Lights and Javier ‘El Diablo' Morales square up after the introduction from promoter extraordinaire, Barry K Word, they get into a shoving match that descends into a 15 man melee.

So far, so Rocky, but straight afterwards we see the two men chumming up with each other backstage, the whole thing clearly engineered as a PR stunt by Barry. Just to add an extra layer to the whole scenario, however, Javier issues a genuinely menacing threat to Lights as they part company, suggesting that, cynical PR aside, there may actually be significant bad blood between the pair.

This fudging between real and fake, right and wrong, and good and evil has been a recurring theme of Lights Out, and particularly in 'Combinations', we find Lights literally unable to focus on either side, as an errant hook in a sparring match (against a partner eager to impress the watching Barry Word) leaves him with double vision. It's a nice metaphor for Lights' current state of mind. As the pressures and temptations pile on top, it's nearly impossible to remember what he's putting himself through this for.


Read the rest of this article on Den of Geek here.

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15Feb/110

‘The Big Shave’ (1967)

I remember seeing this on a late-night, shock video programme on the Sci-Fi Channel called 'Head Cheese', or something similar, and being seriously freaked out by it. I was idly surfing around the other day and found The Big Shave, which was cool in itself - then I find out that it's directed by none other than Martin Scorsese! It's weird I never figured out that these two awesome things were linked - it's like the day I discovered Donald Sutherland was in the 'Cloudbusting' video. That wonderful, magical day.

Apparently it's an allegorical piece about the mindset of the American public during the era of the Vietnam War, but then again Marty would say that as it was part of a film school project, probably as part of some module on Visual Metaphors or something.

It's obvious from his other work that Scorsese is a bit of gorehound, I think The Big Shave works better as a black piece of Pythonesque humour than it does as social commentary - in fact, it predates a very similar piece of Terry Gilliam animation, which is also included below for your please.

So here's The Big Shave - warning, not for the squeamish, and possibly NSFW:

And the bit of Monty Python it may have inspired:

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14Feb/110

Valentine’s At The Movies – Six Clips to Scare Off Your Inner Spinster

As a dedicated and organized cynic (I attend meetings) it may surprise you to learn that I like Valentine’s Day. Before anyone splutters about it being a cynical marketing ploy invented by greeting card companies, I know that’s probably true, but come on – it’s 2011. Everything is a cynical marketing ploy. I am a big fan of romance in general, and any occasion that increases the number of insane romantic gestures per capita is alright by me. Anyway, a true romantic gesture doesn’t involve buying a fuck-off teddy bear with dead eyes from Clintons at any stage, so stop whinging.

With that said, here are some great moments in movie romance to reaffirm your faith in humanity/cement your suspicion that you will never find love and the world hates you:

THE APARTMENT

Definitely one of the top 5 films ever made, and inarguably the best romantic comedy ever made – mainly because it’s painful and depressing in all places a love story should be.

True story – I once gave a VHS copy of this film to a girl I was in love with for Valentine’s Day when I was 15. Note to teenaged lotharios everywhere – this is not a good move. 15 year old girls are not receptive to being given old B&W movies and told to “Watch it, it’s got some really meaningful bits in it. Maybe we could watch it together?” I may as well have given her a fistful of blood and hair.

ETERNAL SUNSHINE AND THE SPOTLESS MIND

Beautiful moment from one of the very best films about how relationships actually work. Pure, unbridled joy accompanied by that gorgeous Jon Brion score. *sniff*

GOOD FELLAS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyG2VKnUK4w
(embedding disabled by request)

A left-field choice for a Valentine’s roundup, perhaps, but isn’t Valentine’s Day the time where people pull all the stops and try and bring a widescreen, epic quality to their dates? And what’s this if not the most epic movie date of them all?

BEFORE SUNSET
(embedding disabled by request)

One of the great screen love stories – this is one of the most powerful moments in either of the two films. Just great.

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
(embedding disabled by request)

Yeah, this is easily the bloodiest clip on this list, but honestly? That severed head dropping into the water is one of the most romantic things I’ve ever seen.

WAYNE’S WORLD

I think one of the hardest things about being a man is not doing this. All. The. Time. Plus, this version is in French, which makes everything sexier!

Happy Valentine’s Day everybody! And be safe, ya filthy animals!

10Feb/110

Lights Out Episode 5 Review: ‘The Comeback’

One of the problems I had with last week's episode of Lights Out was the neatness of the way that the MMA storyline was handled. I understand completely why the cage fighting was limited to just the one episode. This is a show about boxing, after all. But the problem with that is that it lends an event that was already quite farfetched an extra air of implausibility when it is barely referenced in the next episode.

Lights has barely a scratch on him after the fight, meaning that his family remain none the wiser, but I think the bigger problem I had with the fight was just how reckless a decision it was by Lights, and as 'The Comeback' demonstrates, he is far from your atypical hair-trigger meathead.

Maybe I'm just spoiled by the likes of Breaking Bad, where every action, no matter how insignificant they may seem initially, has deep and far-reaching consequences that sometimes do not become totally clear until, sometimes, whole seasons later.

It looks unlikely that Lights Out will be afforded the opportunity to spread the compelling narrative of Lights and his family across more than the one season. While the ratings haven't dropped, they have remained consistently in the Kenny Loggins zone, so to speak.


Read the rest of this article on Den of Geek here.

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