Jupiter Ascending review: Out-of-this-world bad

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(Picture: Warner Bros)

Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) leads a humdrum life cleaning toilets, until one day she is targeted by the ruthless son of a powerful family that live on a planet awaiting a new heir. Along with a genetically engineered soldier called Caine (Channing Tatum), she sets out to stop his evil reign.

There’s a scene in which Jupiter is knocked out while wearing a hospital gown. When she comes to, Caine, a genetically engineered soldier she hardly knows (at this point) is in the room. When Jupiter notes she is back in her normal clothes, Caine admits that he changed them – while she was unconscious –  and Jupiter is only mildly annoyed. This isn’t the only instance where this happens.

Will the Wachowskis ever make anything as good as The Matrix? I know it’s unfair to keep comparing, but it becomes more and more apparent with each middling-to-meh movie they make (Cloud Atlas, middling; Speed Racer, meh).

The Matrix had both mind-melting visuals AND a decent plot about survival and the strength of the human spirit – I think. Ascending is totally lacking in story. It’s like they took the basic idea of  “Channing Tatum as a space dog on rollerskates” and tried to mould a plot around it, which would explain why the story jumps all over the place, with some parts of it abandoned altogether. Dialogue feels like filler between action sequences, and even they’re dodgy – the two leads look like blurry splotches against the sky during an spaceship-chase near the beginning.

There is zero chemistry between Channing and Mila, both solid actors trying to make the best of a bad script. Eddie Redmayne, that’s OSCAR NOMINATED Eddie Redmayne, is great in The Theory Of Everything but laughably hammy in this, like a Lidl-version of Voldemort. Douglas Booth and Tuppence Middleton are ineffectual and forgettable – in fact they’re literally forgotten by the film’s last third. They just disappear and their stories are never resolved. Sean Bean is clearly there for the pay check, talking about bees and how they’re ‘designed to recognise royalty’ (WHAT), but at least you can have fun guessing whether he’s going to bite the dust this time or not.

I could say go and see Jupiter Ascending if you’re after some easygoing Friday night fun at the cinema, but Shaun The Sheep The Movie is out, so see that instead.

ONE OUT OF FIVE

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5 Things That Need To Stop in 2015

Another year has passed, and so much hasn’t changed. World, I’m ashamed of you.  As you might remember from previous years, this yearly list doesn’t tackle big issues like racism, sexism, how dreadful Richard Ayoade is, or the fact that people are stupid enough to buy something called ‘Smart Water’. No, this is basically just a list of stuff that has annoyed me this year, so I think they should stop. As ever, don’t worry if there are things on this list that you disagree with, because just remember – your opinion doesn’t matter to anyone but you. Happy New Year!

5. Clunky shoes

Look, I don’t know what the hell is happening here, but fashion is going backwards – and not in a good way. I’m all for self-expression (I’m not, I’m really not okay with it and I believe that we should all wear government-issued uniforms and live in Levittown houses) but these clunky shoes are the fugliest things ever.

Don't disagree with me, because you are wrong

Don’t disagree with me, because you are wrong

Do you remember the 90s? I remember some of it – not because I was WASTED and having MAD BANTZ but because I was a child, you numbnuts, an innocent, beautiful child. And these shoes were around back then, at the same time that the Spice Girls tried to bring them back. Sadly, no matter how many times I asked my mum if I could get a pair she’d always reply “No, you idiot, you’re already freakishly tall for your age, the doctors think there’s something wrong with you”, and I’d have to attend birthday parties in my flat shoes like some kind of penniless cretin while my peers strutted around in their colourful platform shoes. Well, the jokes on you, mum – I topped out at 5’4”, so can I get my clunky platform shoes now?

Er, on seconds thoughts, no. But speaking of the Spice Girls…

4. Geri Halliwell

I’m tired of the Spice Girls trying it, to be honest. The Olympics thing was great and everything, but there’s no need for them to even try to have solo careers anymore, the time has passed. Baby’s happy on Heart FM, Mel B’s been on and off TV and done some fitness videos, Posh is highly accomplished in the fashion world, and despite my best efforts to make it happen, Sporty hasn’t fallen off the face of the earth. Earlier this year I had to write an article for some freelancing stuff about Geri Halliwell’s new music video. I hadn’t even realised that she was back on the music scene, and while part of me was hoping that it would be a cheeky bit of shameless (albeit painfully nasal) pop like at least 40% of Schizophonic (don’t act like Bag It Up wasn’t a banger), I knew we’d be getting something more along the lines of literally any fucking thing off of Scream If You Wanna Go Faster. Fair play to Halliwell, she was never the strongest singer in the Spice Girls, but she managed to get at least two albums out of being a personality, a celebrity, a household name.

So I watched the video, hoping that it wouldn’t be totally bloody awful.

As you can see, it’s the worst thing in the history of the world. Just look at these RANDOM characters! I like to think of them as the new Spice Girls.

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Geri, you know what you’ve done wrong, but instead of trying to fix it with another song, please just re-release Schizophonic…

3. Stupid things

I hate stupid things, and I’m sure you do too. Remember the thing I just said about shoes? Those are stupid things, and like many things, they need to stop, and fuck off forever. Ahem.

26th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival - Day 3

2. Politics and economy

I’ve looked over previous “Things That Need To Stop” posts that I’ve written, and I’m worried that the things I’ve chosen in the past have been sort of frivolous and petty. So I’ve decided to tackle some political issues here, going to be really serious for number two (hahah poo). Here goes…

Politics, eh? The bloody economy and all, arrrgghhh, mental isn’t it? It’s like, who are we even voting for? Corporations and that. Mansion and bedroom taxes, I’m like, LibDems and Question Time, you know? To summarise:

vote_quimby

Nailed it.

1. Twitter

Right, number one (hahaha, wee-wee) really is serious business. 8da5034e526a4d293d6a8b90ab53f93f

Twitter, I’m sick of you. You people out there, on your phones, thinking your opinions matter and posting pictures and manually retweeting things just to comment “LOL” and “I’m dead”, you’ve ruined what Twitter was meant to be; a place where bird-watching enthusiast could get together to update one another on their weekly, even daily bird-sightings in a safe environment. And then you people came along, you people with your jokes and your pictures and your hashtags – did you know that the first ever hashtag was #LesserSpottedWoodpecker? No, I don’t suppose you did. I’m determined to make 2015 the year that Twitter dies. Look what Twitter is capable of.

It has given young girls across the world a way to hate other girls they’ve never met, purely for the reason that they like different boybands who don’t even know they exist as individuals. It has made it possible for people to join in Twitter conversations just to make hyperbolically hateful, sexist, racist, or homophobic comments because they can hide behind the anonymity of an egg avi the internet. It has made it increasingly difficult for people around the world to enjoy a television show spoiler-free because idiots don’t understand how to just shut the hell up about the big twist or reveal in a show. I truly hope that 2015 is the year that Twitter just stops because I’m sick of people and people are mostly on Twitter these days. I just can’t escape them.

Then again, Twitter did manage to get Dapper Laughs to look like this:

Never forget.

Never forget.

So maybe it’s not all bad…

Women of the Year 2014

Malala Yousafzai

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It would be impossible to have a list of the Women of The Year without including this phenomenal young lady. As the survivor of an assassination attempt and, at just 17 years old, the youngest ever Nobel Prize laureate, Malala continues to inspire women across the world with her campaign for human rights, particularly with regards to access to education for women and children in Pakistan and other countries. This is one woman who could truly change the world.

Sophie Hannah

Author-Sophie-Hannah-007

Sophie Hannah’s books have been popular with crime and fiction fans for a long time, but it is her 2014 offering that has earned Ms Hannah a place on this year’s Women of The Year list. The Monogram Murders is the newest Hercule Poirot mystery – now, we know that it’s damn near impossible to fill Agatha Christie’s shoes, but we can’t think of anyone better to take a shot at it than Sophie Hannah.

Gillian Anderson

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2014 was truly a great year for Gillian Anderson. Not only did her performance in the second series of The Fall get great reviews, she also had an award-winning run as Blanche DuBois in the National Theatre’s staging of A Streetcar Named Desire. And as if that wasn’t enough for Anderson to be getting on with, in October of this year she published her first novel, A Vision of Fire, which quickly became a New York Times Bestseller.

Jess Glynne

Jess Glynne Performs At Electric Brixton In London

On Clean Bandit’s absolute banger of a tune, ‘Rather Be’, Jesse Glynne’s voice was all over the radio this year. But rather than fade away like so many featured vocalists, Glynne released her own solo material off the back off the success of ‘Rather Be’; with her husky, soulful voice reminiscent of (and dare I say it, much more interesting than) Adele, the 90’s dance vibe of ‘Right Here’ has hopefully set Jess up for a solid music career.

Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita-Nyong-o-lg-02

Sure, we included Lupita on last year’s list but that was before she won her Oscar, so she’s earned her place on this year’s list too! Not content to impress us with her powerful performance in 12 Years A Slave, Lupita’s classy and earnest acceptance speech at the Oscars earned her a place in our hearts. We can’t wait to see what’s next for her!

Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson

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If you haven’t been watching Broad City, the Comedy Central sitcom about two twenty-something women in New York, you’re missing out. This weird and hilarious show centres around Ilana and Abbi’s fictionalised versions of themselves, struggling to make ends meet and always managing to get into weird situations. It’s bold, cool and most importantly, totally hilarious – I can’t wait for series two!

Jennifer Kent

Jennifer Kent

The Babadook was easily one of the best films of the year – utterly terrifying without relying on grisly shock-gore or worn out cliches, the sense of claustrophobic terror created instead by tricks of the light and clever sound editing. The character from the film, Mister Babadook, was so scary and popular that Kent is publishing the pop-up book from the film in 2015. Just try and stop me from buying it, I dare you, I DARE YOU

Sunday Special: Bakewell Tart

Oh yeah, OH YEAH. A bit of bakewell tart on a weekend never went amiss.

It’s ‘DTSFT’s least likely to cook’ Helen here, with a recipe from The Guardian on what makes the perfect bakewell tart. I didn’t alter a single thing, so I’ll copy it wholesale from the website and paste it here. All credit to Felicity Cloake for this.

Makes a 23cm bakewell tart 
For the pastry:
140g plain flour, plus extra to sprinkle
85g cold butter, plus extra to grease
Pinch of salt
Ice cold water

For the frangipane:
110g butter
110g caster sugar
2 eggs
110g ground almonds
25g plain flour
½tsp baking powder
Zest of ½ lemon

For the compote (or use 100g low-sugar raspberry jam):
250g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
25-35g caster sugar depending on sweetness of tooth
Juice of ½ lemon
25g flaked almonds, to top

To make the pastry, mix the flour and salt in a bowl, and then grate in the cold butter. Rub this into the flour, then stir in just as much cold water as you need to bring it together into a dough; it should not be sticky. Alternatively use a food processor. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least an hour. Preheat the oven to 190C (170C fan)/gas mark 5.

Grease a 23cm tart tin and roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until large enough to line the tin. Do so, then line with baking paper and weigh down with baking beans or dried pulses. Bake for about 15 minutes until golden.

Meanwhile, make the compote, if using, by putting the berries into a small pan with the sugar and lemon juice and bringing to the boil. Simmer for about 12 minutes until thickened. Allow to cool slightly.

To make the frangipane, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy, then beat in the eggs. Fold in the dry ingredients and zest and a pinch of salt.

Remove the paper and beans and return the pastry to the oven for a couple of minutes until golden. Spread the compote over the base, and top with the frangipane. Level out and bake for 25 minutes until golden and well risen. Add the almonds on top in the last 5 minutes of cooking.

I didn’t have flaked almonds so like the pikey that I am, I took some whole almonds and chopped them a bit. Don’t bother if you haven’t got flaked almonds, not worth it!

ImageHere’s a cross-section photo for good measure:

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