Posts tagged with “Charlie Brooker”

Posted 2 years ago
When Sony launched the Walkman back in the late 70s, its main appeal was that for the first time in history you could stroll down the high street listening to Neil Diamond belting out Sweet Caroline and no one could judge you for it. It made you the master of a private world of music. If the Walkman had, by default, silently contacted your friends and told them what you were listening to, not only would no one have bought a Walkman in the first place, its designers would have been viewed with the utmost suspicion.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for sharing thoughts, no matter how banal (as every column I have ever written rather sadly proves). Humans will always babble. If someone wants to tweet that they can’t decide whether to wear blue socks or brown socks, then fair enough. But when sharing becomes automated, I get the heebie-jeebies. People already create exaggerated versions of themselves for online consumption: snarkier tweets, more outraged reactions. Online, you play at being yourself. Apply that pressure of public performance to private, inconsequential actions – such as listening to songs in the comfort of your own room – and what happens, exactly?
Posted 2 years ago

Charlie Brooker: How to realise David Cameron's vision for Britain's film industry | Comment is free | The Guardian

British film-makers! Put down those clapperboards and pay attention because David Cameron, who happens to be a huge fan of your work – assuming you’re making The King’s Speech II – wants you to focus on films likely to be a “commercial success”. Which presumably is the last thing you want.

Cynics say Cameron knows squit about British films. When that photo of SamCam and Michelle Obama having a coffee morning in the Downing Street flat was released, there didn’t seem to be many British films in the Cameron DVD collection. Not even Carry On Screaming. Mainly US TV boxsets. Oh, and he owns the film Armageddon on DVD. It’s hard not to judge him for that.

To be fair, the photo was taken before The King’s Speech had come out on DVD. Apparently he bought 26 copies of that. Not deliberately – he thought the disc was sticking so he kept buying it again and again, until he realised the lead character had a stutter.

Posted 2 years ago
My vision of global harmony comes in a 16:9 aspect ratio

Charlie Brooker: There are two kinds of viewer in the world: right and wrong. Which are you? | Comment is free | The Guardian

Imagine, if you will, that instead of reading this garbage, you’re enjoying an exciting night out at the theatre. You take your seat and, after a few minutes, the curtain rises – but something’s wrong. The actors look decidedly squat. Stretched out horizontally. Their faces smeared to almost double their usual width.

Come to think of it, the set also looks wrong – as if it’s reflected in a funhouse mirror. The whole thing makes you feel nauseous and slightly drunk. You look at your hand, which appears normal, then back at the stage – which still looks strange. You glance around the auditorium in distress, only to discover your fellow audience members – also normal – don’t even appear to have noticed. They’re all happily following the on-stage action, apparently oblivious to the bizarre optical illusion taking place before their very eyes.

Confused, you stumble out into the lobby where, as luck would have it, you bump into an usher. You explain what’s wrong and beg him to help. But he merely shrugs and asks: “Does it matter?”

Obviously, that’s a mad scenario. But that’s the sort of thing that happens in cinemas these days, when there’s only one projectionist looking after umpteen screens. The encounter with the usher actually happened to someone I know. And to answer the usher’s question: yes, it does matter. Because if your cinema can’t be bothered to show films properly, we might as well stay home and watch dogs blowing off on YouTube.

The best rant about aspect ratio you’ll read today. Aspect ratio pedants all over the world say thank you, Charlie Brooker.

Posted 3 years ago


Charlie Brooker bashes Silvio Berlusconi

“If you don’t know who he is, he’s basically an ejaculating penis with an Italian prime minister attached to it.”

Posted 4 years ago
I gave up on Lost some time during the first season, having decided it was just a bunch of irritating people going “woo” on a rock in the sea. An episode detailing Charlie the rock star’s backstory, replete with hammy flashbacks to a wildly implausible version of Manchester, was the final straw. But since then I’d heard from devoted fans, who insisted that despite a few major wobbles somewhere round the halfway point, it was actually well worth watching. I never acted on their advice.

I could’ve bought the box set, I suppose, but that’d be a lot of investment in a show which had annoyed me so much in the past. Best just to tune in to the final two episodes ever instead, then. I can probably just pick up the story, right? Wrong. Thumpingly, obviously wrong. Far from clearing up the mystery of what the island was and why they were there, from my uninformed point of view, the finale consisted of random sequences in which irritating people went “woo” on a rock in the sea and in a city, apparently simultaneously.
Posted 4 years ago
[Nick] Clegg’s persona is roughly 50% daytime soap, 40% human, and 10% statesman. [David] Cameron is 100% something. He isn’t even a man; more a texture-mapped character model. There’s a different kind of software at work here, some advanced alien technology projecting a passable simulation of affability; a straight-to-DVD retread of the Blair ascendancy re-enacted by androids. Like an ostensibly realistic human character in a state-of-the-art CGI cartoon, he’s almost convincing – assuming you can ignore the shrieking, cavernous lack of anything approaching a soul. Which you can’t.
Posted 4 years ago
But the notion that nothing happens in Mad Men is bullshit. Every scene has a pay-off; every line has momentum. But like life, it’s often not clear in the moment quite what the direction is. Go back and watch a season again from beginning to end and the trajectories are startlingly clear. Even moments which appeared entirely aimless are suddenly sodden with purpose. There’s constant churning activity – but it’s largely happening inside the characters’ heads. Everyone in Mad Men hides a secret, often a driving force they’re scarcely aware of themselves. They don’t know who they are or what they want. Unlike many characters in TV drama, they don’t verbally telegraph their motivations: in fact they couldn’t if they tried. This is what gives the series such a steady pull: there’s a mystery at the core of every character, and they’re trying to solve it at the same time as the viewer.
Charlie Brooker reviews the Mad Men Season Three Finale, one of the finest hours of television in recent memory -   The Guardian