LOLing: Paris Hilton for President

John McCain put out a slam-ad (or should I say yet another slam-ad) recently trying to paint Barack Obama as too much of a celebrity to be a credible president.

It uses a few shots of people like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton to imply that, like them, Obama is all fluff and no substance. A stance which didn't go down particularly well with the uber-rich Hilton family, who had just made sizable donations to the McCain campaign before the ad was released.

Somewhat impressively, Paris has responded with her own campaign commercial.

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Now a fame-whore does what a fame-whore does and this could well be an attempt to capture the spotlight once more but it was nice to see that she isn't afraid to take the piss out of herself in the process.

I'm not buying "her" energy policy particularly but am happy to give her points for showcasing how ridiculous and desperate the McCain camp seems to be getting.


Finishing up: GTA IV - shooting pigeons

My time playing GTA IV is slowly coming to an end - this time around at least.

I've finished the story, hunted down all the police Most Wanted, done the stunt jumps and stolen all of the necessary cars. All that remains (I think) is that most onerous of Grand Theft Auto tasks, the collection mission.

In this instance, it's to scour the 3 or 4 islands and shoot the 200 cunningly tucked away pigeons. While they do explode in a rather gratifying puff of feathers, this is perhaps the most grindy part of any GTA game. There may well be a plethora on online resources telling you exactly where the "flying rats" are but it's still a drag moving around the map from one to the next - unsure when you get to the next location whether you might have already popped one of the pigeons during the course of the game. (Unlikely for the most part - the stat showed that I'd only shot 18 or so by the end of story mode)

So why bother? Well, being an Xbox 360 game there is an achievement reward at the end of it, which ups the tally on my Gamer Score (essentially an online e-peen competition which shows just how 1337 you are) and it's one more step towards absolutely completing the game 100%.

Why is 100% important? I think ultimately it's about dominating the game - a strange relationship is developed between a player and a game during the course of play - it seduces, entertains, moves, teases and taunts you at various points and sitting on the stats screen is this tiny reminder that you haven't yet done everything possible to beat it (and perhaps also the hundreds of people who worked on the game). Only on reaching that 100% mark, it seems, have you truly won.

So a pigeon hunting I must go.

Fortunately, in the course of searching for an image to illustrate this post, I stumbled across a richer online guide to this task than the one I've been using.

Thanks to the awesome mattdean76 for the hours of effort put into your guide - which can be found at http://faqs.ign.com/articles/872/872599p1.html


Dreading: Death Race

You maniacs - you screwed it up. (Or to put it another way - I'm almost positive you are screwing it up)

Back in the day (1975), schlockmeister extraordinaire Roger Corman brought out an astoundingly awesome piece of exploitation cinema called Death Race 2000. It told the tale of an America run by a vaguely fascistic single party government who keep the population entertained and in line with a violent gladiatorial tv spectacle, the Transcontinental Road Race.

The race features an assortment of heavily weaponised cars and is won based on finishing time (from the East to the West coast of America) as well as number of pedestrians run over. Beyond this, there are pretty well no rules and the racers - macho drivers teamed with hotty navigators - are free to do what they wish to eliminate competitors from the race.

As you often find in more marginalised sci-fi exploitation type films, there are buckets of pointed social commentary, sweetened with a tasty coating of blood and guts and explosions.

But don't take my word for it, check out the trailer. (And yes, that is David - Kung Fu - Carradine and Sylvester Stallone)

Ok, so what's the problem - so far so awesome right?

Well, now I read that there is a remake - well more of a re-imagining - coming out around December this year. At first glance you'd think, ok, Jason (The Transporter) Stratham - brings the action and Ian (Deadwood) McShane - brings the grittiness. And ooh, who's that directing - Paul Anderson - the guy behind Magnolia, Boogie Nights and There Will Be Blood - kick arse.

Oh wait - that's Paul Thomas Anderson - the director of Death Race is actually Paul W.S Anderson, director of Mortal Kombat, Alien Vs Predator and Resident Evil. (Actually I didn't hate any of these but alarm bells are already starting to ring.)

Let's let the trailer pick up the Death Race story.

Where to start?

The Death Race is now a private enterprise (so it's not the Government or powers-that-be that are the bad guys behind this) and it's just within the confines of a prison (so "the innocent" are no longer at risk). There's a man imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit (so he has to race, it's not because he wants to) and I'm not really sure that I can go on - it's just too disappointing.

I can accept that you don't want to make a shot for shot remake of an old film - there's nothing wrong with tweaking it for a modern audience and to make better use of modern technology - but for the love of all that is holy - why completely throw out an edgy story for a bunch of recycled cliches. Prisoners being used in cruel and unusual gladiatorial tv spectacle - check. Evil prison warden - check. Uber-talented innocent hero framed for the murder of his wife to draft him into the sport du jour - check.

Don't even get me started on the use of Guns'n'Roses' Welcome to the jungle as a large part of the trailer soundtrack. Seriously. Do not go there.


Oh and one more thing - from the looks of this, the cars are all racing around a track inside the prison - what exactly is the need for navigators?

Who could be behind this? Who hates cult cinema that much?

And then the penny drops - Tom Cruise, of all people, is one of the main producers of this film.

I've been prepared to forgive Tom a lot over the years - all the $cientology guff (ok, most of it), causing Our Nicole to dump him and essentially playing the same character in film after film after film. He has still managed to pull out some impressive work (particularly in the previously mentioned Magnolia) and so I'll let the other stuff slide.

But no more.

Damn you Cruise, damn you to wherever $cientology hell is.