Tag Archives: comedy

Wednesday Watch: ‘Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace’.

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I had a cat once. I dropped a sofa on it. It was a write-off, so I stood on its head.” – Dean Learner

You would be forgiven for not having been aware of today’s recommendation. Criminally, this excellent and ground-breaking televisual feast was given a graveyard slot on channel four, subjected to a piss-poor marketing campaign and lost in amongst the dank fug of tripe being peddled out by mid 2000’s channel four.

Thankfully, in this case, quality lasts and inevitably shines through, and no other show that I can think of glistens with the comedic sheen that ‘Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace’ does. Broadcasted in 2004 ‘Darkplace’ was and remains a cult show that truly defines the term, clasped lovingly to the collective breasts of its loyal fan base and revered by many as the funniest show to grace UK screens of the last decade. High praise indeed when we consider this a time of relative success in terms of UK comedy – think ‘The Office’ and ‘Peep Show’.

There will be some reading this who know of ‘Darkplace’, and it is likely that they are already fervent fans. However, as mentioned earlier, this slipped under the radar of many. Mostly due to a minimal advertising campaign that failed to translate exactly what the show was about and also a late night slot apparently designed promote to failure.

‘Darkplace’ is the twitching brainchild of creator Matthew Holness and is presented as a lost classic: a television series produced in the 1980s, though never broadcast at the time. The presentation features commentary from many of the “original” cast, where characters such as ‘Garth Marenghi’ and ‘Dean Learner’ reflect on making the show.

The beauty of the comedy is how the entire debacle is played completely straight, the talking head interviews are note perfect and exhibit the acting brilliance of Holness as well as ‘editor’ Dean Learner (Richard Ayoade) and Todd Rivers (Matt Berry). What makes things massively hilarious is how terrible the original show was. ‘Darkplace’ parodies numerous aspects of ’80s low-budget television, including fashion, special effects, production gaffs, and music. The dubbing, jump cuts, wooden acting all create a heady mix of pure comedic genius, allowing for very little respite to collect air from guffawing so much. It’s that good folks.

In the eyes of ‘Marenghi’ and ‘Learner’ this was cutting edge, era defining television. The joke lies within how it most certainly was not.

Unfortunately, ’Darkplace’ only lasted a meager six episodes. In some ways this is probably the perfect way for the show to remain as each episode is a comedy classic with stories ranging from a mutated eye-child called ‘Skipper’ to Sanchez falling in love with a woman who turns in to a stick of broccoli. To continue would potentially have led to a drop in quality albeit unlikely with the talent involved. Channel four in an admission of their almighty balls up, re-ran the series and cobbled together a fantastic DVD package a couple of years after the show aired – definitely worth picking up for a few quid.

Since its release, Ayoade has moved on to ‘The I.T Crowd’ and directing with the brilliant ‘Submarine’ and recently starring in a Hollywood comedy with A-list big dicks Ben Stiller and Jonah Hill. Similarly, Matt Berry also starred in ‘The I.T Crowd’ taking over the enormous shoes of legend Chris Morris.

I cannot recommend this show enough, it is utterly exceptional and sits amongst greats such as ‘Alan Partidge’ and ‘Brass Eye’ in my personal, awesome opinion.

I will leave it to Garth sum up…

“Greetings traveler. I’m Garth Marenghi, horror writer. Most of you will probably know me already from my extensive canon of chillers, including Afterbirth, in which a mutated placenta attacks Bristol. Back in the 1980s, I wrote, directed and starred in Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, a television program so radical, so risky, so dangerous, so goddamn crazy, that the so-called powers that be became too scared to show it, and gypped me. Much in the same way women have done ever since they sniffed out my money.” – Garth Marenghi

Enjoy pilgrims…

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Monday Movie Review: ‘Ruby Sparks’ (2012).

Whilst I attempt to keep up appearances as a chap of meaty, man-size proportions, I tragically have a dirty, sordid secret. One that if known would wipe all remnants of my masculinity away in one foul swoop. I am not speaking of a concealed vagina nor a third nipple (that has long since gone) but I do have a soft and tickly spot for something no man should really ever claim to have.

That vice is the romantic comedy.

Whoa there sport! I’m not talking gloopy sugar-fests like ‘Love Actually’ or ‘The Notebook’, so please lower those furrowed brows. My kind of romantic comedies, or I should say romantic dramas, have a twitching brain and an ability to spark genuine thought and post-film pondering. To give you a scent of what I dig, my ‘rom-com-dram’ favourites range from ‘Vanilla Sky’, ‘Knocked Up’, ‘The Five-Year Engagement’ to today’s reviewed movie-film, ‘Ruby Sparks’.

“Ruby what?!” You yell, and you may have a point, but please stop yelling, your voice is whiny and annoying.

Released this year, ‘Ruby Sparks’ stealthily slipped under the prying eyes of the masses and was subject to a very selected release in the UK which was reflected in meagre box office performance. But, don’t let that stop you from checking this one out because ‘Ruby Sparks’ is a stone cold fox of a release. I skipped in with fairly muted expectations on a wet Thursday afternoon but waltzed out a jaunty and exultant young man after witnessing a movie that jockeyed position to take number three on my top five flicks of 2012. (Skipped, waltzed and jockeyed – maybe I should be concerned).

‘Ruby Sparks’ is the tale of a young writer-type, Calvin (Paul Dano), who is struggling with chronic writers block. Crumpling under the weight of his early but now waning success after writing a bestseller at the precocious age of 19, Calvin has been unable to finish a novel since. His life is one of mundane routine and he deeply craves the love of another woman. Calvin, after a dream whereupon he meets a young girl, begins to write a story based on the female. To his amazement, the female then becomes real. Her every thought and move mirroring the words that Calvin types.

You would be excused to think it all sounds massively hokey and a bit like a 2012 re-imagining of ‘Mannequin’ but you would be bloody wrong as this a very smart and original film. Chiefly, this is testament to a script that is punchy, original and smacks of reality. To achieve this is impressive considering the premise of the story being so unbelievable. I sympathised with Calvin and wanted him to find a woman who satisfied his wants and aspirations but similarly I felt for Ruby who was essentially being manipulated and bent to his will.

Thankfully, Ruby’s character isn’t written as an irritating ‘Juno’ type pixie girl either, and this benefits the story. As Calvin is effectively creating his dream spouse it is hard to not empathise as their relationship inevitably descends in to chaos. She is blameless throughout yet punished when she does not abide to Calvin’s preconceived notions of what he wants the relationship to be. This could easily have been ham fisted in its approach and Ruby, in the wrong hands, would have been a massively annoying twerp.

The early sparks of love are translated perfectly as Calvin’s life immeasurably improves the more that Ruby (Zoe Kazan) bleeds into it. There are definite echoes of 500 Days of Summer in the light but tragic style in which the narrative is delivered.

Paul Dano is brilliant as the young writer and convincingly portrays a fragile but talented scribe, so much so that I intend to watch a few more of his canon. Zoe Kazan, as Ruby is not at all irritating and kooky and cute enough to make Calvin’s love for her seem plausible. There is notable support in the shape of Steve Coogan, Annette Benning and Antonio Banderas.

The film chugs along at decent pace shifting from a bright and breezy introduction before moving in to dark more thought provoking territory. After the credits rolled, I was left quite affected. Much in the same way I felt after watching ‘500 Days of Summer’. Rather than fluffily investigating love, jealousy and solitude, Kazan’s narrative attacks those subjects in a unique and original manner.

Essential viewing.

Furthermore, The Ross Report is changing formats to three days a week. Circumstances dictate that I must pull back a little, so please bear with me and keep on reading, its massively appreciated.

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Friday Filth: Kate Upton (trust me on this) and Channing Tatum.

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It’s grot-day, otherwise known on the Ross report as Filth Friday. Due to my 12 hour working day this will be the briefest of brief blogs.

A wise pervert once said that a picture tells a thousand words. Well, that’s dandy because I’ve got a stack of snaps to share.

My choice was difficult this week after being inundated with requests from work colleagues, but I’ve stuck to my massive guns and selected a lady I think you will all dig.

Today’s eye candy hails from the States, allow me to introduce the saintly Kate Upton as this weeks object of affection. From what I can muster, Miss Upton is known chiefly for her sizeable assets and a collection of trouser tearing viral videos.

Take a look at this ‘Cat Daddy’ vid. It makes no sense, but who really cares when making no sense is this foxy.

As for the females, I’m throwing you a morsel of man. It may seem an obvious choice but I also realise that including this chap in my blog will, without fail, drive traffic and views to the site.

No apologies for that.

Therefore, bean flick yourselves to Mr Channing Totum, I mean Tatum. Tee-hee.

Plus, ‘Magic Mike’ was very decent and his comedic chops were earned in ’21, Jump Street’ alongside the human version of a deflated skin balloon, Jonah Hill.

Enjoy and I’ll be coming back-atcha like Cleopatra on Monday.

 

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Friday Filth w/ bonus funny: Jessica Nigri (HAWT) and Mr R. Gosling.

Click on her boobs for a gallery.

Friday morning has plopped out of Thursday night’s perky bottom and the weekend is now tantalising close. For all you ‘normies’, this means booze, rest, partying and hookers – you lucky bunch of blighters.

With my trade, weekends are strictly rationed out and snaffled up hungrily on the rarest of occasions that I have them off.

But, I won’t sit here and weep like a teased vagina.

Instead, to warm mine and your jealous and pervy cockles, Uncle Ross has conjured up a female of the foxiest form to lust over in those colder, lonelier moments over this windy, wet, winter weekend. Her name is Jessica Nigri and she dresses up as Pikachu and stuff.

Miss Nigri is a rare and bewitching creature – an unapologetically geeky specimen who spends her free time constructing outfits based on famed video game characters. Then squeezing into said outfiits and initiating cardiac arrest on swathes of chubby nerds at comic conventions. Well, it was going to be her or the industrial vat’s of Wotsits they shove down their gullets.

She also has massive…….opinions on global warming and world peace and… Oh sorry I was looking at her tits. Enjoy.

Click on the picture above to see a little more of Miss Nigri.

For the ladies then, just because I feel a prime turd if I purely hark on about stonking fun bags, as a token gesture, here is a gallery to the effortlessly suave Ryan Gosling. Even a dashing rogue like I can appreciate he is a handsome bastard.

Plus, he has been in a spate of stupendously cracking films over the last 18 months. Any human who watched ‘Drive’ and felt no rumbling in their loins, by my calculations is either a droid or rotting inside.

Click on his giant head for a gallery of Mr Gosling.

And as a final goodbye for the week I charitably mined a shining chunk of funny for you all.

On a recent trip to Barcelona, my two rampaging chums and I were holed up in our rented apartment nursing weapons grade hangovers. A good two hours was spent whoring the apartment Wi-Fi on YouTube and after much deliberation and Jaegermeister, this little gem was considered video of the night.

Butter flooring, if you haven’t heard of it yet; spend a valuable ten minutes of your working day versing yourself on this brutal pranking craze.

I shall see you mucky lot next week for my world famous movie chat. As always, follow me on twitter to recieve all this goodness and more.

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