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Peep Show Logo, Channel 4, E4, Harvey Danger, Flagpole Sitta

As a British male under 40, there are very few things that unite almost everyone in this demography – a love for Peep Show, is one of those things. To those unfamiliar, it’s a British sit-com about two flatmates that uses First-Person (from the character’s perspective) viewpoints, and their stream-of-consciousness internal thoughts as part of the dialogue.

Peep Show Mark Corrigan - They can laugh, but I win, they think I've pissed myself. They have no clue I came in my pants

I remember being so confused the first couple of episodes – why is it filmed like this? Is he saying this out loud? WTF is going on? But when it clicks it’s seamless. (Not unlike Family Guy’s confusing jumping to unrelated events, timelines, and situations). Essentially, Peep Show is Being John Malcovich, but through the eyes of two atypical British guys.

Peep Show Jez Jeremy Usbourne Vegetarian Chicken fish posh bacon

Most of the comedy comes from the two central characters being wildly opposing personalities; and although they’re almost caricatures – we can all relate to a bit of each of them. One is an uptight, awkward, history boffin loan manager with confidence issues; the other is a happy-go-lucky, idiotic failed-musician / eternal waster. Naturally, these two try to help each other feel more normal, and hijinks / hilarity ensues. We love them because you hear what they think, which is usually what everybody thinks, but society says you shouldn’t say out loud – and you never hear on other shows.

Peep Show Super Hans is the bottom half of me on fire?

What separates the Peep Show style of humour from other comedy series’ is that it’s so awkward & realistic – with some scenes being difficult to watch. The closest thing I can think of is that it’s a bit like Party Down but – being British – has more deadpan/reserved characters and less glamorous settings & scenarios: basically, everyone’s like Roman & Henry.

Peep Show Mark She like me blog it public record

Although it isn’t quite as witty, or well-written, as shows like Arrested Development or Father Ted (the storylines are often a bit clunky) the charm of Peep Show is that it’s grounded, brutally honest and unfiltered – like your own thoughts. Because of this, it can stand proud alongside British TV Comedies like Fawlty Towers, BlackAdder, The Young Ones, The IT Crowd and Mr Bean. If anyone was interested in knowing what It’s actually like being awkwardly British in today’s world, take a look at this.

Peep Show Super Hans You Get a Van, we could be men with ven

As a bonus, I’m from a Scottish City called ‘Aberdeen’, which is name-checked a disproportionately high number of times for a TV show (i.e. way more than once)

 

Peep Show Mark and Jez

Chinese Zodiac - CZ12 - Jackie Chan, Kwon Sang-woo, Liao Fan, Yao Xing Tong, Zhang Lan Xin, Laura Weissbecker, Jonathan Lee, Vincent Sze, Alaa Safi, Pierre Bourdaud, Emmanuel Lanzi, Rosario AmadeoChinese Zodiac (十二生肖, CZ12): professional relic hunters scour the planet for 12 lost Chinese artifacts of the zodiac calendar. This most reminded me of The Extra Ordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc Sec – in that it’s a kids film with a big story, historical fantasy, and some PG-rated action. Speaking of which, no matter how many Jackie Chan action set-pieces you see, they never get tired or boring, and always have a jaw-dropping, unbelievable quality about them. It’s also a testament to his skills that even when he writes and choreographs the scenes – the ones where he’s not on-screen lack that special touch. Outside of the action, the film’s OK: a pretty standard globe-trotting, multi-lingual, universal-rating, big-name, big-budget, ‘big-appeal’ movie that’s been killed by committee. If this was only made of the JC action scenes you’d have to give this film a 10/10, however, the overly complicated story, continual flipping between languages, and some clunky CGI haul the overall product into the average zone.

Score: 6/10

CZ12 - Chinese Zodiac - Jackie Chan, Kwon Sang-woo, Liao Fan, Yao Xing Tong, Zhang Lan Xin, Laura Weissbecker, Jonathan Lee, Vincent Sze, Alaa Safi, Pierre Bourdaud, Emmanuel Lanzi, Rosario Amadeo

Buried [Blu Ray]: An American truck driver in Iraq wakens up in a coffin with a Zippo, Blackberry phone and a few other items; his shit has hit the fan. From Reynold’s instant panic at the blacked out start, and with the entire film playing out inside the box, this is very claustrophobic and unbelievably suspenseful. As time ticks down, and the story snakes forward it’s impossible not to get whipped up in the boiling tension – especially during the latter half when bigger events unfold. It’s not often that black humour can lighten the mood but when a film is this intense, being put on hold or flippant sarcasm does take the edge off – momentarily.  Technically, it’s superb – the camera work, varied lighting and sound maximise the intensity, and for the Blu Ray, while the picture’s not particularly ‘worthy’, every single scratch, movement, phone tone and background noise punches through. The only limitation of the film is that if you don’t buy in, it will only ever be ‘a guy stuck in a box’. With a scope this tiny, you’d think 90 minutes would be a long stretch, but Buried is quite the opposite – hyper-dramatic to the very last frame – it’s amazing how much Cortés forces out of this concept, and kudos to Reynolds, who took yet another gamble on a left-field movie. Proof that a tiny, tight project can be just as good as any ‘tent-pole’ picture.

Score: 8.5/10

Speed Racer: (Blu Ray) Follows the Racer family of car-enthusiasts as their son Speed takes on the biggest companies in the world. Off the bat this is blatantly aimed at kids but off the bat I didn’t really care much because this looks absolutely outstanding. The Wachowski‘s mash together so many elements for the visuals: the Jetsons space age, Metropolis, 1920s, Al Capone, Neo Tokyo, extreme sports, The Gumball Rally, Wipeout & Rollcage games, and the list just keeps going… pretty much all green-screen. The editing adds another layer on top, with some awesomely bamboozling wipes and cuts. The comic roots shine through as the overall visuals sit somewhere between classic manga and souped-up CGI. With all of this behind it, the visuals are almost too good as it ends up being a sustained assault on your eyes over the 2hr 10min runtime – especially during every race / ‘Car-Fu’ battle. Looks aside, the story & characters are terribly textbook and the absurd Kid & Monkey combo kept trying their hardest to make me hate the film, it started to work by the end. There’s some genuinely funny nubs of humour throughout like the R-R logo and Paul Frank ‘human’ shirt on the monkey. There’s also a nice James Bond assassination-attempt homage and couple of criminally underused actors – like Moritz Bleibtreu. The BD Picture’s is among the best I’ve seen so far – with everything from the huge city-scapes down to the roads rendered so sharply it feels like 3D in parts – the sound quality is less impressive but the mix still flies out all the speakers during the action scenes. Overall, despite the plain story and shallow characters I was absolutely mesmerised by the spectacular visuals. One of a kind.

Score: 5.5/10