Friday, 30 May 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past - The scoop and digest

With its colourful array of complicated heroes and malevolent baddies, the Marvel universe continues to fascinate beyond obsession.

DC?  What's that?

Bryan Singer takes the usual suspects back on board as we indulge with a sequel to First Class, featuring references/inferences to The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Mindless action outing Wolverine’s Rage hogged Game Boy Colour d-pads in 2001.

X-Men 2: Wolverine’s Revenge on PS2 was released to coincide, but wasn't canonical to X2 as hacking and third-person slashing through the titular char’s mysterious past of 1968 smelled of distinct mediocrity.

I could go on and on about related comic book pixels, but…  

Plot details and/or spoilers are sent from the future to repair the past.

Causing ripples in the river of time include:

Hugh Jackman – Wolverine/Logan
James McAvoy – Charles
Michael Fassbender – Erik
Jennifer Lawrence – Mystique/Raven
Patrick Stewart – Professor Xavier
Ian McKellan – Magneto
Halle Berry – Storm
Ellen Page – Kitty
Peter Dinklage – Dr. Trask
Nicholas Hoult – Beast/Hank

In 2023, Sentinels bear no mechanical scruples when obliterating human and/or mutant ass.  Those pinned down in Moscow do their utmost to resist but sensing their aggressors’ oppression will imminently overwhelm, Kitty’s ability to project a person’s consciousness back in time saves the longest of days.

The sagacious ramblings of Professor X and Magneto suggest for Kitty to send Wolverine's sub-conscious back to 1973 so the major disaster of Mystique dispatching Sentinel creator Dr. Trask can be averted, as finding her DNA will create the might of a robotic army - 50 years hence.

The future’s bleak, the future’s Sentinels.

Before waking to seek the help of Charles and Erik’s youthful selves, we take an unofficial time out to remember Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, The Who’s rock opera Quadrophenia (loosely adapted for the screen in 1979) and Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells.

Films of particular importance include The Exorcist, Mean Streets, Enter the Dragon, Don’t Look Now and The Wicker Man.

Anyway, Logan locates Charles and Beast at the empty X-Mansion and busting Erik out of an apparently impregnable prison beneath The Pentagon sounds like a plan.

In order for this impossible feat to become a reality, they secure the lightning speed of Peter/Quicksilver.

If you haven’t already, I’d definitely recommend American Horror Story…

Pong is given a blast in his retro den which isn't a clanger, because Atari’s arcade was released in 1972.

A superbly staged and occasionally comical prison break follows, with slowdown so juicy, even Super R-Type would blush.

The foxy Mystique is mischief-making in Saigon and prevents Stryker from rounding up a bunch of mutants for Trask’s research.

Our asses inhale the atmosphere of France’s romantic capital and assuming the guise of an army suit, Mystique’s murderous intent is thwarted by the arrival of Logan, Beast and co.

A large mural of Eugene Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People spans the entrance doors.

Erik believes the future will paint a very picture if Mystique is erased, but his lousily directed shot succeeds in only wounding her.

After Tricky Dicky approves the Sentinel programme, Mystique’s blood is recovered which might give the pint-sized Trask an idea…

Erik intercepts a train and ensures the prototypes are ready for action by adding a little iron to their diet.

In order to regain his telepathic powers, Charles packs in the habit of intravenously injecting serum and becomes wheelchair-bound.

As Nixon unveils a clutch of robot baddies at the White House, Erik uses the Robert F. Kennedy Stadium as a makeshift barricade.

The Sentinels open fire and the good guys fail in their attempts to subdue Erik.  Logan is impaled by iron procured from nearby rubble and thrown into the distant drink, seemingly condemned to a watery grave.

Meanwhile, the DNA-enhanced Sentinels of the future eventually overpower mutant resistance.

Reverting back to the past, Erik prepares to kill Nixon but proves to be a naïve blunder, as the 37th president is in fact Mystique.

Charles persuades the girl in blue not to kill the Doc and because of this, the future is rewritten.

Trask is subsequently arrested for making a fast buck on military secrets.

The Logan of the future awakes and explores the Professor’s school who after bumping into old friends, asks the wily old dog to jog his memory from say, 1973.

Impersonating Stryker, Logan is rescued by Mystique in the past.

Providing your bum is willing to be numb for a little longer, a post-credits scene shows Apocalypse constructing a pyramid via telekinesis as four horsemen look on.

Is Mister Sinister already among us?  We’ll see...

This matches or even topples X2.

Effects naturally sparkle and action twinkles in the moonlight.

The concept of going back and forth mustn't drink from the chalice of stupidity and happily, plausibility is guzzled by the gallon.

Mystique altered the future, so the franchise is effectively rebooted because the previously deceased (including Scott and Jean), are all ship-shape and Bristol fashion.

Although most pieces to this puzzle fit, a few stones are left unturned.

Wolverine has bone claws in the past but adamantium in the future.

This is because Stryker hasn't yet reinforced his skeleton but in The Wolverine, the Silver Samurai (Yashida) slices off his claws that swiftly regenerate as bone.  So it remains to be seen when indestructible steel was crafted (again).

Also, Kitty's ability to send people back in time doesn't make sense as she could only pass through matter in The Last Stand.

Visiting Moscow left me seething with anger because Blink and you’ll miss portals.

Holy fucking shit.

I almost expected ‘Chell’ to overcome a series of increasingly difficult tests, guided by darkly sarcastic artificial intelligence which promises deliciously moist cake, (which of course is a lie).

Her namesake is also an essential supernatural ability needed to progress in Dishonored, which allows Corvo to ahem, teleport short distances.

Since meeting up in the year 2000, Mystique outrageously stole the memorable sound of Robert ‘T-1000’ Patrick imitating those unfortunate enough to be sampled by physical contact.

Remember, the mimetic poly-alloy cannot form complex machines.  Guns and explosives selfishly have chemicals, moving parts.  It doesn't work that way, but forming solid metal shapes, such as knives and stabbing weapons, aren't so hampered (dipshit).

It should be taken with a pinch of pepper sauce, but anything faintly resembling Stargate in X-Men: Apocalypse would cause more destruction than an unstable neutron bomb.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Burglary of video game sleeve art

It's not only DVD, posters and music sleeve designers that do what they shouldn't.

The weird and wonderful, the past and present - they're all dying to meet you.

Region code (and year) has been taken into account.

Let the stench of similarity begin.

Xybots vs Gryzor

Gradius vs Elite

Midnight Resistance (Japanese) vs Operation Wolf (NES - Japanese)

Resistance: Fall of Man vs Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas vs Beyond Good & Evil

Final Fight 2 (North America) vs Streets of Rage

It's fairly amusing that the exclusive SNES sequel ripped off one of the many blatant clones of Capcom's arcade classic.

I suppose it's a case of what goes around...

Now it gets rather ooky and even downright kooky.

Rygar vs Kentilla

Die Hard Trilogy 2: Viva Las Vegas vs Times of Lore

'Nam 1965-1975 vs Joe Blade

Sleeping Dogs vs Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike vs Shenmue

While they who 'surround' remain relevant, do not avert your gaze from he looking at nothing in particular.

It seems that Wei and Ryu owe Ryo a pint, but hold the pump bartender, is there a sting in the scorpion's tail?

You betcha, because Robert and Art of Fighting 3 deserve a top shelf shit mixture.

It's bad manners to point, but not according to these guys.

Part 1: Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure vs Gauntlet (NES)

Part 2: Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos vs Call of Duty 2 vs Line of Fire

Part 3: Rampart (Master System) vs Cabal

For originality personified, look no further than mischief on NES, which of course came out after those existing on disc or cassette.

Let's face it, all you need is 8 bits.

Finally, Will Ferrell action caper Land of the Lost also bears a very strange resemblance...

Donald Sutherland would like to point out the closing scene of 1978 classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers (a remake of the 1956 original), is entirely relevant. 

It was expertly parodied in an after-credits scene from the first series of C4 comedy series The IT Crowd.

Before I disappear like a fart in the wind...

Bully: Scholarship Edition vs Street Fighter Alpha 2

Awesome, right?

Class dismissed.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Artistic beauty in music

The second chunk of three comes from the world of musical magnificence.

Although iconic imagery will inevitably feature, I never intended this to escalate into a compilation of great album covers, as I'm sure many would struggle to qualify.

While I'll always mention artist, title may be on sick leave...

You'd think that Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Hattie Jacques or even Bernard Bresslaw would get the nod but 'oh hello', Charles Hawtrey beat off all Carry On competition.
George Best + appeared later as an enhanced cash cow.
The Manchester United and Northern Ireland legend featured in satirical track So This is Great Britain? by The Holloways.
"The prince of pleasure lost his crown by getting high and getting down"
He is also referenced in Danny Boyle's Trainspotting when Sick Boy (Johnny Lee Miller), reminds Renton (Ewan McGregor) of his unifying theory of life.
"Well, at one time, you've got it, and then you lose it, and it's gone forever. All walks of life: George Best, for example. Had it, lost it."

Yeah.  And?

Well as you don't 'watch' the back of a TV, the reverse reveals all.

Channel 1 (if you like) features Ian 'Beefy' Botham but switching over to Channel 3 displays surely one of the most instantly recognisable images in sport as shortly after defeating Ray Reardon 18-15 to be crowned World Snooker Champion in 1982, a tearful Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins beckons his wife and baby to come and share the moment.

His last great hurrah was coming back from 7 zip down to beat Steve Davis 16-15 in the 1983 UK Championship.

However, the infamous exclamation of "I'm fucking back" didn't go down at all well with the WPSBA.

He had the chance to become the Master in 1987 but blew a big lead against Dennis Taylor.

Nobody can argue his flamboyant and unpredictable style made snooker what it is today.

On 15 November 1957 at Madison Square Garden, Neal Rivers connects with an absolute pearler of a punch on Gene Fuller.
Fuller eventually won by majority decision at the end of the tenth.
Head of Jym - Frank Auerbach
Eliran Kantor
Breakthrough Dreaming - Jennifer Hathaway
Mila Furstova
Coldplay - Ghost Stories
Isonicotinic Acid Ethyl Ester - Damien Hirst
Like I've previously said, this also appears in the original Kick-Ass.
David Harouni
Tida Bradshaw claims a visual reference of the personal nature of the album itself.
East India Youth - Total Strife Forever
Paul Normansell demonstrates what can be achieved by using gloss on aluminium.
A dreamy and idyllic effort by John Craig.
Paul Ryan
My Great Heart - Peter Howson
Pilot 2 - Michael Kagan
Usually associated with Yes, Asia and Psygnosis, Blue Desert is one of the many sublime pieces by Roger Dean.
Just don't mention Avatar, it may piss him right off...
Sajime Sorayama created many Sexy Robots to oil many crotches.
Aerosmith fancied this shiny example.
Untitled - Gregory Euclide
This wonderful landscape complements Bon Iver's eponymously titled follow up to their debut For Emma Forever Ago.
Winston Chmielinski
Hannah Hooper
The Beatles had John Lennon, T-Rex had Marc Bolan, Nirvana had Kurt Cobain and The Doors had Jim Morrison.

As for Freddie, God save the Queen.

Anyway, before mysteriously disappearing and officially pronounced dead in 2008, the Manics boasted Richey 'James' Edwards.

Under UK law, if the missing person has not been known to be alive for a period of at least 7 years, an application can be made to declare or presume death.

Cheerful stuff.

I hope for their sake that new album Futurology will be better than the utter shite Rewind the Film.

(Sorry lads).

Anyway, Jenny Saville serves two slices of warm apple pie.

Strategy (South Face / Front Face / North Face)
Music written by James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore.
Lyrics written by Nicky Wire and Richey James.
All songs in Everything Must Go were recorded between Autumn 95 and Winter 96.

Long-term lyrical partner Nicky Wire assisted with Elvis Impersonator Blackpool Pier and The Girl Who Wanted To Be God but Kevin Carter, Small Black Flowers That Grow in the Sky and Removables were composed entirely by Edwards.

In cult 90s BBC flat-sharing comedy Game On, the fantastic From Despair to Where from Gold Against the Soul is used in episode Matthew - a Suitable Case for Treatment.

After Chaplin buggered off to Hollywood, Neil Stuke assumed the role of self-confessed, agoraphobic macho man.

Using what he left behind, Journal for Plague Lovers illustrates posthumous and poetic genius.

We all know about Sgt. Pepper and his Lonely Hearts Club Band but Peter Blake also designed sleeves for Paul 'Modfather' Weller's Stanley Road and Oasis Greatest Hits album Stop the Clocks.

Reggie Pedro
Bye Bye Badman (Detail) - John Squire
It's good that he freely admits to ripping off Jackson Pollock.
King Crimson used the talent of P.J. Crook on several occasions.
However, this painting by Barry Godber is beyond striking.

King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King
The album title may have been a purposeful variation of Edvard Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King.

Burzum's upcoming album cover is taken from Merlin and Vivien, courtesy of an engraving by French artist Gustave Doré for Alfred Tennyson's poem Idylls of the King.
After Queen contacted Frank Kelly Freas, the cover was repainted to include the bloody demise of band members.
It's used as a running gag in Family Guy episode Killer Queen.

The bloodlust continues inside the booklet, as widespread panic understandably ensues among the human contingent.

Aerosmith were not the first to use Sajime Sorayama's Sexy Robot, as Autograph's That's the Stuff demonstrates.

Numerous works from the late and great fantasy artist Frank Frazetta were appreciated by the likes of Molly Hatchet, Nazereth, Dust and Wolfmother.

Dark Kingdom
Snow Giants
The Sea Witch
Death Dealer 1
Brought in 1973, a further five variations followed with a certain evil brick shithouse from Golden Axe looking suspiciously similar.

Ax Battler's mother, Tyris Flare's father and mother, together with Gilius Thunderhead's brother were all killed by Death Adder.
What a complete and utter asshole.

For the exclusive 1991 Mega Drive sequel, Sega used a piece by Boris Vallejo, who is largely compared to Frazetta.

Zdzislaw Beksinski tweaks the strings of my referencing violin.

Nobody knows when this or any other macabre piece came about because he refused to assign year or title to anything, but I would guesstimate sometime in the late 60s to early 70s.

Of course it's different to the above Death Dealing bad-ass but the principle lingers.

Sticking fast with Beksinski.

That has a feel of this, right?

The Face of War - Salvador Dali

Let's get back to making beautiful music because it's the turn of Philip Lawvere.

If death metal sleeves displayed fluffy clouds, bashful bunnies or playful pussy cats, they'd be definitely unsuitable for children.

Wes Benscoter artwork activated.  Selection follows.

Instead of cattle, humans are herded for imminent slaughter.
That is indeed grim but when compared to my bud Zdzislaw, Benscoter's subject matter is brighter than a rainbow. 

The corpse swilling monster reminds of Ralph Fiennes transformed as Lord Voldemort.

Stop me if I'm wrong...

A 'doodle' from Courtney Barnett
This is either fantastic coincidence or a barefaced rip-off of...

...Great Wave off Kanagawa - Katsushika Hokusai 
Okay, I don't know if she 'defends' herself in the sleeve notes but I'm betting against it.

The Crimson Projekct must have sought official permission.

Be my guest to have a bite of Swiss roll H.R. Giger.

Skewering the stunning Debbie Harry like a kebab may offend the meek. 
Emerson Lake Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery
Mordor VII
Vlad Tepes
Satan I
As things are looking Hunky Dory, Andy Warhol looks a scream, hang him on your wall.

On this occasion, The Velvet Underground & Nico advise against trying to unzip and eating the white bits.
And now for something rather strange.

Time - Gediminas Pranckevicius (2009)
New Age Manhattan - Jacek Yerka (1993)
Now don't those exceptionally detailed structures look largely alike?

You can't even say that Pranckevicius took inspiration, and/or simply followed in Yerka's Polish footsteps because he's Lithuanian.

Taken directly from the album notes:
Cover image - 'Lebe, Das Leben' from the collection of Susan Nicholson
While that doesn't particularly help, it seems The Dali Skull legacy unofficially continues...

Elizabeth Peyton
Her contemporary style immediately shouts of Edvard Munch's most celebrated work.

The Scream

There's a reason why Dan Porter's artwork stands out.

I know it, and now, the world knows it.

Roy Lichtenstein 1964 pop art
Busted.  Big time.

Even discount chain Home Bargains had the lips to rape The Kiss.

Yeah, I noticed.

OMC - How Bizarre.

This unrelated and earlier example had the same but different idea.

Chromatics - Night Drive
Mark Kostabi was responsible for something unbelievable.

Use your Illusion II became very blue.
I sai Raphael, what do you think?

About what?
Yer' know, Guns n' Roses, the illusion of innovation and all that jazz?
What the FUCK are you talking about?
Oh never mind.  No wonder you can't bed April with an attitude like that.

Mr Kostabi indiscriminately 'borrowed' the excerpt from The School of Athens. 

Should timeless masterpieces be doctored, reenacted or parodied?

Regardless of opinion, these album covers deemed it necessary to do so.

Bacchus and Ariadne - Titian
Crash Test Dummies - God Shuffled His Feet
Raft of the Medusa - Theodore Gericault
The Pogues - Rum Sodomy & the Lash
Luncheon on the Grass - Claude Monet
Bow Wow Wow - The Last of the Mohicans (EP)
Bal du moulin de la galette - Renoir
Rod Stewart - A Night on the Town
The Death of Marat - Jacques-Louis David
Cold Chisel - East
Welcome, Bonny Boat! - James Clarke Hook
Saint Etienne - Tiger Bay
Nighthawks - Edward Hopper
Chris Rea - The Blue Jukebox
The Last Supper - Leonardo da Vinci
Steel Panther - All You Can Eat
This was perversely subject to desecration.

Napoleon Crossing the Alps - Jacques-Louis David
Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! - Pardon My French
Is the band's name referencing Jeff Cohen's character from The Goonies?

(Shrugs shoulders).

Featuring efforts by Caravaggio, Johannes Vermeer, Gustav Klimt and Van Gogh, the music video 70 Million by Hold Your Horses! has band members recreate famous paintings.

Cover art by John Van Hamersveld for The Best of Grateful Dead - Skeletons from the Closet, includes Venus's head from Botticelli's The Birth of Venus.
Apart from including artist and album title (or sometimes not), the following are left perfectly preserved.

If only they'd do the same with films...

Liberty Leading the People - Eugene Delacroix
Coldplay - Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
The Garden of Earthly Delights: Hell (detail from the right wing) - Hieronymus Bosch
Deep Purple - 3
Netherlandish Proverbs - Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
Basket of Roses - Henri Fantin-Latour
New Order - Power, Corruption and Lies
The Ghost of a Flea - William Blake
Bruce Dickinson - The Chemical Wedding
Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War) - Salvador Dalí
Thought Industry - Songs for Insects
Study of a Seated Nude with Long Hair - Gustav Klimt
Simone Felice - Strangers
The Chinese Girl - Vladimir Tretchikoff
Chumbawamba - Slap!
The Garden of Earthly Delights: Earth (detail from the centre panel) - Hieronymus Bosch
Dead Can Dance - Aion

Brilliant, right?

Another wondrous journey ends but as video games and more will eventually be installed, that's cause for premature celebration.
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