The End Of The World Is Nigh! Better have the premiere soon, then

 *MULTIPLE SPOILER ALERT*

Over the last decade or so, disaster movies have got bigger. In the '70's and '80's you had fairly localized disasters. The maximum potential casualties hovered in the low thousands. The unholy trinity I remember from that era are:

The Towering Inferno

A tower block goes on fire. Some Americans die of fatness. Ollie Reed plays a bastard. Probably a few hundred deaths. The film justifies at least half of them as the 'baddies' get their comeuppance via the allegorical death in a pit of fire.

The Poseidon Adventure

A big boat goes tits up. Some Americans die of fatness. Everyone has to walk around on ceilings. Some people fall from great heights and drown. Others just drown. The boat sinks. The purest of heart survive to tell the tale and get their story syndicated.

Earthquake

My favourite of the old disaster movies. The biggest death toll by far, in places it was actually scary as well. Lots and lots of wobbly camera work and people falling into chasms. Again, the people with the most steadfastly American characteristics live to tell the tale.

These films were fun, for sure, but lacked a bit of scope. I guess annihilating a larger segment of society than a city would be prohibitive cost-wise, in an era when CG was not available. So it should be no surprise, then, that the advent of better-quality CG meant that a whole new glut of American-centric disaster movies would be released. Add to this all that nonsense about the Millennium (remember that?) and some shonky Mayan prophecies, and these films just keep coming. I have reviewed some of these below, and arranged them by death toll. The ones where everyone dies being the best.

Armageddon (<1000)

Probably only a few hundred deaths, this abysmal, Aerosmith-soundtracked abortion of a movie was helmed by Michael Bay, my absolute favouritest director evar. Unfortunately a christ-like Bruce Willis saves the day by using his skills honed on an oil rig (really) so that the earth is not torn a new one. This film is also notable for putting the first nail on the coffin that has become Ben Affleck's career. So emotional does he become that his future dad-in-law will soon be solemny sacrificing himself for AMERICA, I was surprised he didn't start dry humping. He said 'I love you' about a hundred times. Bears all the staples of a Michael Bay classic - lots of slow motion, ridiculous action sequences and very terrible all round.

Deep Impact (>500,000,000)

This is a bit like Armageddon, only well-written, intelligent, properly researched and believable. Morgan Freeman is the black president of the United States and has the grim task of preparing the earth for utter destruction. Did I mention he is black? So screw you Dennis Haysbert, If anyone blazed a trail for Obama it was Morgan Freeman. He done it first, see? But at least you did Mandela before him, so you guys are quits. Sorry about that. Deep Impact is really a very good film. A bit emotional for my tastes in places, but I guess if you were faced with imminent destruction you'd get a bit teary. The best thing about this film is that, while the main asteroid is diverted from the earth via the sacrifice of the whole space shuttle crew (not just one chiseled guy in ludicrous circumstances a' la Armageddon), a smaller asteroid does indeed hit and wipe out the entire Eastern seaboard. Poor old Eastern seaboard. It always gets destroyed. I reckon at least a 50 million dead in the USA, and a Tsunami that size would no doubt wipe out poor old Blighty and Western Europe too. So hundreds of millions. Not bad for a film with an ultimately happy ending.

The Day After Tomorrow (>2,000,000,000)

To me, the day after tomorrow is when I'll get round to doing that work thing I keep putting off . But really I should think on. The premise of this movie is that at any time, icicles travelling hundreds of miles an hour could kill us all. Already expertly lampooned by South Park, this sanctimonious pile of junk is a double-pronged morality tale: Hey guys, let's stop raping mother earth, and while we're at it, let's be nicer to the brown people, because they will soon have the only inhabitable land left on the earth. This film is somewhat rescued by a decent death toll; probably about a third of the planet perishes.

2012 (Everyone, but probably not John Cusack, a token love interest, and his kids)

I haven't seen 2012 yet. I will see it when it's free. But the Mayan prophecy says everyone dies, so it needs to be here. Correct me if I'm wrong, and if you care that I'm wrong.

Knowing (Everyone, sans 2 kids and some rabbits. And presumably 2 of every animal. Why let silly science like Minimum Viable Population get in the way of a good yarn)

I saw this and had no preconceptions about it. I hadn't read about it, didn't even know what genre it was. But the synopsis seemed to have promise. So the fact that I knew I would have to endure Nicolas Cage extensively did not deter me from watching it. Imagine my joy when I realised that, what first appeared to be a clone of  'Next' (which also stars Nicolas Cage, how does Francis Ford Coppola's nephew get so much work?), turned into the extinction of the human race, via solar flare. The film does have silly aliens in it, and at points you have to suspend your disbelief via an intricate system of ropes and pulleys. It is also dangerously Christian at times. But the Director, Alex Proyas, just about gets away with it, in my opinion. If you want to see a great, and equally odd Proyas film, watch Dark City. Nicolas Cage's best role is surely in The Wicker Man.

Southland Tales (Everyone, plus every planet, solar system and galaxy (I think))

Not sure what's going on with this one, to be honest. I can't help but like this film. I even got the graphic novels to enhance my understanding but it's still a bit vague. Not a disaster movie as such, but I think that everyone dies at the end, right after the guy blows up the blimp while standing on the side of the ice cream truck which is floating hundreds of feet in the air. Then the 2 guys that were thought to be twin brothers but are actually the same people from divergent universes occupying the same space at the same time which happens to be in the aforementioned floating Ice Cream truck cause the entire universe to implode. So it's not just the Earth that buys the farm, but also the entire universe.That's the way to do it.

Travellers: My 10 - Point plan for integration, happiness, and well-being

It looks like common sense is finally prevailing and that the thieving, scrounging scum affectionately known as travellers will be evicted from Dale Farm today. Well, some of them. Because of some outright stupidity, only the structures/caravans mentioned explicitly in the order can be removed. Therefore there will still be 2 buildings and 3 caravans left on what is greenbelt land. Although hopefully the assembled protesters will fuck off, who are even more objectionable than the pikey scum they profess to support.

Travellers claim that they are misjudged by people unfairly, that they are an ethnic minority and the persecution they face now is no different than that faced by black and Asian communities over the years. Their right to travel should be protected by constitutional law and they should be treasured instead of vilified, like the Masai Mara in Kenya, or the Native Americans in the USA (Ha!). I wholeheartedly agree, and in order for the travellers to be accepted into British culture, they need only do the following to make the transition from pariahs to saints easier.

1) Travel

Travellers by their nature are a migratory species, turning up in packs in various towns like the littlest hobo, and strangely disappearing again when everything that has not been nailed down has been stolen. The poor travellers in Dale Farm seem to have lost their way in this respect, having occupied it to various degrees since the 1960's.  The government should issue each traveller a long stick and a tablecloth, and allow each traveller to put as many of their possessions in said cloth before hitching the cloth to the stick and sending all the travellers on their merry way with a baton to the face.

2) Stop stealing stuff!

You have to love the cheeky rascals as they scamper about the place, ripping up copper from railway lines or liberating lead tiles from people's roofs! Descending into towns and villages en masse and effectively picking them clean of anything of value before defecating everywhere, the charming traveller will also threaten to kill anyone who objects to them 'exercising their rights'

3) Stop forcing yourselves on young girls!

Nowadays, women are confused by having the freedom to choose a partner and vote, read, etc which is obviously beyond the capabilities of their tiny little minds. There is no sight that brings a nostalgic tear to the eye more than a podgy 17-year old lad with a mullet and string vest forcing himself on a 14-year old girl. And they say romance is dead! Well, not to the traveller, whose courting ritual employs as much sensitivity and grace as their grasp of the English language.

4) Learn to read

Perhaps the issue of theft would be less associated with travellers if any of the men could read. They probably quite innocently steal from building sites, barns, gardens, vehicles and houses because they cannot read the signs saying not to trespass or steal so they can't really be blamed for this one. We should install loudspeakers in our properties which continually spout Irish gibberish at high frequencies to ward them away.

5) Slow down with the old breeding lark

With the exception of domestic violence, the confines of a caravan is a very boring place. Therefore the travellers like to entertain themselves by making the beast with 2 backs bareback all the time, until their caravan is so full of sprogs that the male does not even have room to move his fat arse in a back and forth motion to procreate. This does have the unfortunate effect of producing dozens of ill-mannered, thieving and disgusting feral kids who then each have dozens of ill-mannered, thieving and disgusting feral kids themselves but that's ok, the government can pay, and any misbehaving is the fault of the teachers!

6) Start paying any kind of tax

I know this is controversial but there are some radical schools of thought who believe if you want to be supported by your government and local authority then you have a duty to pay a fee to said government in order to provide healthcare, infrastructure and roads etc. This is generally known as 'tax', and, amazingly most people pay this. Generally a pre-determined percentage of earnings is the way this happens. Although there is an argument that theft should be tax exempt, as generally this is not considered to be a form of employment.

7) Pistols at dawn

Obviously, nothing will ever be quite as elegant a method to resolve a dispute as bare-knuckle boxing but pistol duels have their good points too - for a start, there will be no annoying rematches once said duel has been settled, and everyone's caravan will suddenly feel more spacious, as, every day,  more and more rat-faced thugs will meet their makers.

8) Learn to speak English proper like

As charming as a cockney mashup with a tick Oirish accent is, some people may struggle to understand what's being said. This probably leads to misunderstandings with the locals, which are really needless. If they understood that you merely wanted their car keys and any spare metal you have lying around, they would be much more compliant and you wouldn't have to set your dogs/kids on them.

9) The protesters are not your friends

Look at the protesters who are supposedly supporting you and engage your few firing neurons to divine why they are supporting you. You will find the answer disquieting, and if you listen hard enough you will hear plummy, public school-educated vowels occasionally escaping from their stupid mouths as they try to confuse you with their best cockney accent. These parasites are not your friends. They are a collective of incredibly spoiled little brats with enough money and time on their hands to generally get narked about anything they see as an excuse to get their very gormless faces printed in the papers.

The so-called 'Activists' traipse up and down the country from one dispute to another like the world's most ineffective vigilantes, and, things being what they are, it won't be long before they up sticks and get very angry indeed about something else. Soon, you will be yesterday's news, and then these Etonian fuckwits will return home to mummy and daddy for a jolly good wash, after which they will regale their equally clueless friends about their adventures over a skinny latte. These Che Guevara wannabes are actually your enemy and, seeing as they are barricaded into your cesspool of a caravan site you have the ideal opportunity to kick their heads in with extreme prejudice, then blame the Police. Simples!

10) Go 'Home'

It's not called the 'emerald isle' for nothing. The Irish accent may be there (for some reason) but lots of the younger travellers have never left the shores of Britain. Ireland is so much better than Britain. The accent is similar enough as to not be rendered unintelligable. There is an abundance of unspoilt, greenbelt land just waiting to be covered in tarmac, caravans, faecal matter, and wild children kicking the shit out of each other. Scrap metal grows in fields in abundance in Ireland, so any 'Scrap Metal Reclamation Engineers' would fill their boots there. Every pub you walk into has a shire horse at the bar and the lakes are full of Guinness, and what's more, no-one cares if you steal, because everyone's blind drunk!

Steve Jobs is dead. But Apple will never die

Right now I should be writing a post about Steve Jobs being that he is dead and that I am one of the most vociferous opponents of any stupidly overpriced device which is rendered essential because of the inclusion of an 'i' before it. But as I said, he is dead, and while he lived as a savvy and Machiavellian corporate git he no doubt died as the same. However, the ugly face of revisionism is rearing its head once more as sections of the media (particularly the left) are proclaiming him to be a latter-day saint, a philanthropist, the 21st-century embodiment of Jesus Christ. A genius, up there with the likes of Einstein, Edison, Newton etc.

That is the only thing that prompts me to write. I can live with the fact that gibbering loons dribble at the prospect of the next iteration of a device which is approximately .2 millimetres thinner and a bit shinier and queue up round the block to get it. I can live with the fact that iTunes is the singular worst piece of software that I have ever used in my miserable existence. I can even live with the fact that Apple supposedly offer a 'cool' alternative against the faceless corporate might of Microsoft, despite the fact that no-one exerts more control over vendors or suppliers than Apple does. Apple is a behemoth, a monstrous entity which constantly tries to convince the world that it is not, endlessly plying its' subtly improved wares like clockwork at vastly inflated prices. But I can live with that, good luck to the shifty nobends.

But Steve Job's fans are driving me nuts. Leaving half-eaten apples and candles all over the various faceless identikit shops which plague our highs treets with their smugness and enormously inflated prices. I'm waiting for the launch of the iPhone 5, which I'm sure Apple will somehow dedicate to Steve Jobs, and adjust the price to ever more bewildering amounts accordingly. I'm waiting for the special 'Steve Jobs' edition of said phone, which will have his signature on the back of it, along with an embossed version of his death mask. Something tells me this man will never go away.

I said I wasn't going to write about Steve Jobs in the opening paragraph and in a way I haven't - preferring instead to concentrate my ire on the company itself and the uselessly stupid people who would buy a lump of turd from you put it in a plain white cardboard box and affixed a £500 price tag to it. You are all so stupid and bereft of anything approaching common sense. I hate all of you. Steve Jobs was credited with having the foresight of knowing where the market is going, and he was absolutely right; he knew, back in the '70's, that by now we would all be completely incompetent luddites with pretty much no idea about anything, so he set his mind to building devices which even retards or women could use without several hours of one-to-one instruction.

And if this was his aim, he certainly succeeded. He deserves acclaim for being the face of a corporate juggernaut that has hoodwinked so many people. It is staggering that there are actually people out there who think that Apple invented the mp3 player, the touch screen, the tablet pc, the mouse, even Graphical User Interfaces. In fact, it's not staggering, because Apple pretty much claim to have invented these things in their self-satisfied adverts. There are some people who have never transferred a music file from their computer onto a mp3 player without the disgusting inconvenience of itunes. Imagine that! These poor cretins don't know what else is out there, and probably never will, as they are incapable of even seeing any gadgets which do not have the Apple logo on them.

So, there you have it, Steve Job's true legacy is an entire generation of unfortunates who actually think that Apple is some groovy, San Francisco indie company, where the R&D guys chill out on beanbags while they nonchalantly redesign the world before lunch. His legacy is local councils spending all the money that should be spent on fixing potholes or crime prevention on iPads instead, because people are just that incapable that they can no longer use actual pads, or laptops, or far superior and cheaper tablet devices that are not made by Apple. His legacy is morons who snort with derision if you produce an android phone, or express a preference for Microsoft or Blackberry. His legacy is all the twats who clog up Starbucks with their iMacs as they pretend to write the next 'Catcher in the Rye' and not just look at girls they vaguely know on facebook. Well done Steve, you've turned us all into dense, image-obsessed fuckwits. Jobs done. LOL

The ZZZ Factor

After a few weeks of relative banality, (and I use the term 'relative' because, taken in isolation, ALL of the 'X Factor' is banal) The X Factor is finally to go 'live' next week. So this weekend we were treated to two episodes of the Judges houses. Saturday's episode had all the singers perform songs in their entirety, apart from those who were destined to not go through, who instead were allocated 30 seconds of singing which was further intercut with their own pathetic proclamations that they would have no idea how to rebuild their shattered lives if they were not to make it through to the live shows. I really felt for them and I'm sure all the people who are starving or being ethnically cleansed felt for them too.

Everyone cried during the first show. It was amazing. You'd think that the precocious little brats had just lost a parent, such was the depth of their despair of perhaps not getting through. I found this all very difficult as I normally have a couple of people I champion each year - as even I find it difficult to dislike everyone - but I really struggled this year. As it is, I do quite like the scouse hairdresser and one of the girls, who looks like a hybrid of Grace Jones and a hungry hippo. But, nonetheless, I do think that she can sing very well, which I guess is important in a singing competition? She can also do the rapping and whatnot so she's probably trendy or whatever.

The second show spawned no major surprises, with the exception of the Scottish fat mess who bowed out, presumably because it would be very difficult to shift an album with someone so desperately ugly on the front cover. I know that, being a fat lump, things are already against her, but couldn't she at least wash her hair or face? Normally contestants scrub up as they get further into the competition. She looked like she had a superstition that washing or otherwise caring about her appearance would jinx her. The surprise call-up for the girls had to be the one with a hairline that Phil Collins would be proud of. At the end of show 2 she was shown 'made over' and the production staff were obviously concerned about all the stage lights bouncing off her massive forehead so they used a great dollop of her own hair to disguise it.

The 'girls' category is annoying me quite a lot, as it happens. There is the geordie lass who is way too serious and has so much makeup applied it is completely impossible to discern whether she is attractive or not. She must have skin like the dark side of the moon is she really needs all that slap on. And then there is the Irish twit who, to put it kindly, 'polarises opinion'. I hate her already. I really do. It's her awful mop of hair that looks like it hasn't been washed in a decade. Her horrific yellow teeth. Her 'dirty street urchin' attire. Her 'Ooh I don't like to wear shoes' whimsical charm. Her voice that sounds somewhat like the lead singer of the cranberries, if she were forced to sing while being hit repeatedly in the throat with a baseball bat. I FUCKING HATE HER, the doe-eyed fey bitch. Fuck off back to Dale Farm and get evicted already.

The 'boys' category is all a bit 'meh' really. There's the fat scouse lad, who is a bit shouty and fat, the hairdresser scouse lad, who is, to my eternal surprise, quite good AND likeable (so he has no chance of winning), the one with the hat who has a very odd way of singing but might turn out ok and then there is Frankie. Of all the contestants, he is the only one whose name I remember. Frankie Cocockface. Frankie who must have a collapsed lung as he pathetically tries to eke out a song from his rasping little voice box. He is SO BAD at singing he makes Katy Perry sound merely average as opposed to the worst singer to get anywhere near a record deal. And what a dislikable little turd he is too. This 'cheeky chappy' shit has been done to death. If Chewbacca raped Jamie Cullum, this little runt would be the resultant offspring. He has the silliest haircut I have ever seen. I need to sit down.

Louis Walsh has cemented his reputation of being pretty awful by putting through someone in the final throe of AIDS on helium, A soldier who cannot sing (but because he is a human killing machine the dopey public will forgive him of that and get him over half way in the competition) and an oriental lunatic with a Tina Turner fixation. Unfortunately the aforementioned loony had to go back to the zoo with all the other Golden Lion Tamarins (look it up) so instead big bertha from Wales was allowed to fit her huge posterior into the last remaining slot. This is a girl who can't get through a single song without sweating from every pore in her bloated body. She sweats so much because as well as being clinically obese, she also shouts every word as if ordering ham hocks from the local market.

There is one more of Louie's acts but she is such a detestable, attention-seeking CUNT that I refuse to name her here, as I wish not to fuel her ego with more publicity. Suffice to say that I hope the crazy-eyed twat with no earlobes is kicked out sometime before week 3 and becomes universally hated and hounded for the rest of her miserable life. I should talk about the groups but it really isn't worth it. suffice to say that the girl band are destined to be first out. The only thing noteworthy thing to mention about any of the groups is that one of the Essex girls is pregnant. That's right, only one. I will be using the live shows to try and work out which is, and which is just a fat duffer. Any way you look at it, Tulisa is fooked, which can only be a good thing.