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Theo Robertson

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Hansen Vs Predators, 15 February 2017

Chris Hansen ? A modern day folk hero in my opinion . TO CATCH A PREDATOR must have been the most life affirming thing in the history of television . A man turns up expecting to have sex with a child only to find that their next sexual encounter will be in the shower block of the state pen . Be very careful what you wish for . Worse than going to jail is being immortalised by Chris Hansen's witty quips which makes Kerr Avon from BLAKES 7 seem dim-witted in comparison . After TCAP got in to legal difficulties which saw the TV station settle a case out of court the show was cancelled and after intermittent rumours over the years Hansen has returned to the sting operation . Get the popcorn ready because justice has never been entertaining

Except for one slight problem - the world has moved on and other people have taken up the cause , all of which makes Chris Hansen look tame in comparison . Anyone reading this heard of Shane Brannigan ? He's a Briton who uses the Hansen sting technique but while Hansen is merely brilliant Brannigan is brutal and brilliant . You need cheering up ? Then go on youtube and type in "Shane Brannigan nonce hunter" and you'll get the playlists . A particular favourite of mine is the Andy Slater sting where Brannigan confronts Slater in the predator's workvan . Brannigan tells him in no uncertain terms via the F and C words what will happen . Despite the countless number of swear words used by Brannigan his etiquette is British royal family compared to his decoy who is phoned up and asked "You need to talk to this f*cker and you tell him what you think of him . Go on girl"

Phone is handed to predator

"Andy ? Andy ?"

"Yes ?"

"Oh you dirty little...."

I don't think I need to tell you what a woman who has been posing as a 14 year old child and has had to endure naked photos and the most disgusting sexually charged conversations with a 52 year old man over the course of weeks might have to say to a paedo but if there's a swear word in the English language then Slater was called it before the police turned up to arrest him . There's other Brit paedo hunters such as Internet Interceptors , The Hunted One and probably my favourite Guardians Of The North , a bunch of really scary blokes from the mean streets of Sunderland . There's similar groups all around the world posting stuff on youtube , perhaps most famous are The Surrey Creep Catchers from Canada

Chris Hansen started a revolution but now he's been left behind . Thank you for everything Chris but you're yesterday's man

Ironic Hypocrisy, 15 February 2017
1/10

Browsing through youtube I was struck by the title of this documentary . Let's face it with a heading of PAGAN INVASION 2:INVASION OF THE GODMEN that sounds an even better title for a movie than SNAKES ON A PLANE . Even if it's produced by the SyFy channel and its entire runtime is nothing more than a bluescreen and no soundtrack you'd still be happy to pay money at a cinema to watch this due to its completely bonkers title . Not even the most deranged showrunner of DOCTOR WHO would ever think of such twisted genius creativity . So you can tell I was intrigued to see this at any cost . Have I used up my ten line tariff ? I was just going to say I was bitterly disappointed after seeing it but I'll elaborate by saying it's not bad enough to be classed as pseudo- documentary but is highly entertaining in its own way

After a three minute title sequence composed of 3D animation which is painfully dated we're introduced to two presenters Chuck Smith jnr and Caryl Matrisciana warning us about "The rise of paganism" which is "invading us from the East" . Hold on a minute . Isn't Paganism the indigenous religion of Europe which wasn't replaced by Christanity until the 3rd Century ? Apparently Paganism and Hinduism are the same thing though . Cut to Delhli India where one of the "Godmen" Darshan Singh who wears a turban addresses a crowd who are similarly dressed . He's called Singh and wears a turban ? He'll be a Sikh in that case , something the voice over doesn't point out but hey I guess if you're not a follower of the Abrahamic cult then this means you're a Pagan. Have I got that right ? If I haven't then let me guard my back by saying my knowledge of Paganism is very limited but I thought it was a deist philosophy whose followers worship nature and unlike Hinduism and Sikhism isn't an organised religion per se . I'm willing to be proved wrong but I don't think I am

Chuck and Caryl seem to have it in for these Pagans .and it's all Shirley Maclaine's fault ! No seriously I'm not making that bit up . Watch this on youtube . An erstwhile Hari Krishna couple are then interviewed and we're told that 90 per cent of Krishna marriages end in divorce due to the dogma of celibacy . Cut to Caryl stating "In some schools of thought to be spiritual is to be celibate but in others sexual perversion is practised not only by the gurus themselves but by their disciples including young children" . I take Caryl it is referring to children being raped ? What organised religion has the worst reputation for child rape ? you ask yourself in an entirely rhetorical way

Cut to an interview with Tal Brooke which led me to wonder if you need either a mundane name like Chuck to appear in this documentary or one that sounds rather silly . No one asked me for my opinion or to star in this but that's probably because Theodore sounds like a sensible name . Anyway Tal tells us that there's a vacuum ready to be filled by either LSD or God . Can I point out just because someone doesn't believe in God it doesn't make them acid heads and listening to Tal gibber on about anti-Christs , Regan from THE EXORCIST and Shirley Maclaine I'm glad I've never touched LSD . If you think I'm making this up then don't take my word for it . It's on youtube

Caryl then tells us "Growing up in India I saw first hand how the Hindu belief system greatly contributed to the poverty and suffering of India. I remember seeing the very poor give up their last bowl of rice to a sacred cow . I remember seeing the well do offering large amounts of food to wooden idols while children starved to death. All the while gurus lived in mansions compelling their followers into turning their possessions over to them" I too have experienced first hand the Hindu caste system as a tourist in India. It is obscene . My disgust at it is an instinctive human concern , same as I'm disgusted at the likes of all these Christian evangelists on the God channel wanting a large donation who "Live in mansions compelling their followers into turning their possessions over to them" See what I did there ?

If nothing else watching this utter nonsense made me feel somewhat entertained . I don't claim to be any type of intellectual but after seeing INVASION OF THE GODMEN I feel I'm up there with the likes of Charles Darwin . I might even watch some more of this garbage . Anything that has Shirley Maclaine branded as the anti-Christ is grade A entertainment . Don't believe me ? Then watch it on youtube

The Tribe (2016)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Missed Opportunity, 15 February 2017
5/10

Three sisters have survived a pandemic that has devastated humanity . Living in their remote outpost their lives change when a young man looking for sanctuary turns up

With a synopsis like this I was reminded of the Don Siegel/Clint Eastwood 1971 movie THE BEGUILED . It is something of a Western that could take place in a 19th Century homestead rather than a post apocalypse scenario in the 21st Century . Unfortunately the screenplay constantly misses opportunities or more specifically can't make up its mind what it wants to be . The sexual tension created by the character dynamics is explored but quickly forgotten when the plot takes a swift turn . At this point I was expecting the very real female fear of sexual assault seen earlier in Boyle's 28 DAYS LATER to take centre stage but again this isn't really followed up

All this is a pity because it's an independent feature which is impressive from a technical point of few with the main aspect being the striking cinematography . It's a great looking low budget film but goes to prove cinema is visual storytelling and if the story isn't focused it makes for an unsatisfying film

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Somewhat Pathetic Drama About Pathetic Proles, 15 February 2017
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The kidnapping of Shannon Mathews is a pitifully grim true life story of Modern Britain . Shannon was a nine year old child who went missing from the Moorside housing estate in Dewsbury . After a month long manhunt and frantic fundraising she was eventually found at the house of one Michael Donovon , uncle of Craig Meehan – the boyfriend of the kidnapped girl's mother, Karen Matthews.As the mystery quickly unravelled it turned out the "kidnapping" was a huge hoax carried out by Karen Matthews , Donovon and Meehan in order to raise money for themselves and they all ended up in jail for it . This two part BBC drama tells the story of the case

I came in to this drama with an open mind but found myself rather irritated the way the story is told . The narrative is seen through the eyes of Matthews friend Julie Bushby as she unfailing pulls out all the stops to find the lost child and coming to terms with the betrayal of friendship and friendship continuing in the face of adversity and according to a caption at the end Bushby still stayed in contact while Matthews served her sentence

You have to question could the story not have been told better ? A case like this is ripe with ready made black comedy . For example the real life case saw a psychic called Joe Power who somewhat prophetically claimed someone called "Mike" might be behind the kidnapping . "Might" as in "Might not be involved" if Joe had to guard his back as in this case by not noticing the abduction was faked . On a similar note the case was directly inspired by the case of Madeleine McCann whose disappearance led to millions of pounds being raised by a gullible , naïve public but this aspect as a motive is entirely downplayed for whatever reason . It is a relatively well made and acted drama but trying to paint greedy , ignorant , selfish lumpen proles who'd traumatized their own kin in order to make money in a sympathetic light doesn't work for me I'm afraid

13 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
Masochism Offered To Us By Sadists, 14 February 2017
3/10

"Hey Theo , what's a young good looking boy like you doing sitting alone watching films on Valentines day ? You should be taking a beautiful woman out on a romantic date "

Well thanks for the concern but I really do think Christopher Hitchens summed up the long term sexual relationship perfectly by the soundbite "Now this is masochism - but it's being offered to you by sadists" . The Hitch was of course referring to religion but both religion and the long term sexual relationship have an identical definition . I'm also reminded of how Albert Einstein described idiocy:"Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result" . In the case of the 50 SHADES narrative we're subjected to idiotic masochism

If you've seen the first film you'll be entirely puzzled as to the casting because I don't think I've seen an actor and actress so badly cast in a film where the whole concept of the story revolves around sexual attraction . Both Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson are two actors best suited for lead roles in a bland daytime soap opera . Let's remind ourselves Christian Grey is a multi billionaire oozing in Byronic sexuality while Ana Steele is , or rather was a naïve young woman embarking on an intensely mind blowing sexual relationship with Grey and the casting really does not work . In fact several sexually charged scenes are unintentionally funny and will cause howls of laughter as the two leads spout their lines before engaging in sex . Add to this as a possible love rival in the form of Jack Hyde as played by Eric Johnson and you've got a hat trick of actors with the sexual charisma of drowned haddock . Casting Kim Basinger in a small role makes things worse because you're reminded of her on screen chemistry with Mickey Rourke in 91/2 WEEKS which while not being a great film did have an erotic quality to it and despite some fairly explicit sex scenes for a mainstream Hollywood movie in 50 SHADES DARKER it's fairly devoid of erotica

Dead On Arrival, 14 February 2017
3/10

I recently got a private message from someone asking if they'd seen their film DEAD KANSAS , "it is the first zombie film to use Point Of View (POV) zombies - in other words, the camera is the "zombie's eye" in some scenes." . Actually this isn't true because a while ago I saw a short film featuring a zombie apocalypse where a human witnesses a zombie attack , gets bitten and they become a zombie where the human beings are now the antagonists , the title of which escapes me .Nevertheless I wrote back I'd be happy to review though warned my reviews are always honest . Unfortunately I've got to keep to my word and say I did not like DK one bit

I noticed there's a large number of external reviews from other sites and the vast majority of them seem rather kind , possibly because they don't want to upset the feelings of someone who has gone to the time and trouble of politely asking reviewers to take a look at their movie . It's obviously a project made out of love and hopefully the crew had a lot of fun making because as a neutral viewer I didn't have much fun watching it . The budget is non existent which isn't a criticism but this means you've got to cast mainly amateurs in key roles and they're just not good enough to carry the film . In fact in one bizarre segment the female lead turns in to a completely different actress reinforcing this is some modern day Ed Wood type production . This puzzled me so much that I had to check the trivia section to find out what was going on and found out several interesting things about DK . One is that it was originally envisaged as a short film , then blossomed in to a web series and eventually got re-edited in a near feature length film . The filming took place over a period of months which along with the lack of budget explains its disjointed car crash like quality . I hope I haven't reduced to tears the production member who asked me to review their film but I'm afraid I didn't like it . Sorry and please don't hate me .

"Isis" (1975)
I Thought This Was A Documentary About Theocratic Murderers !, 14 February 2017

Always know your enemy has been part of my mindset . You're travelling to the Middle East then how better to educate yourself than watching a documentary about THE SECRETS OF ISIS which will inadvertently give away their weaknesses in amongst their shallow propaganda . Wow these mass murdering terrorists really know how to big themselves up . As the titles start anyone finding "This amulet you and your descendants are endowed by the Goddess Isis . With the powers of the animals and elements . You will fly with the falcons , run with the speed of gazelles and command the elements of sky and Earth" Well who said propaganda has to be truthful in anyway ? Especially if it's being spouted by religious maniacs

I started to get a bit confused when "A young science teacher dug up the amulet and found she was heir to the secrets of Isis" . Let me get this straight

1) She's a woman

2) She's in to science

Both of these points would get you murdered in the Caliphate but I guess if you're making a propaganda video to stick on youtube then it's probably best to downplay the negative aspects like summary execution and sexual slavery and if you've a cute career woman as your poster girl then potential Jihadis will jump to conclusion that they've a ready made wife waiting for them in the Caliphate . Seems a bit hypocritical that she's allowed to walk around semi naked while the rest of her sisterhood are under a jackboot that makes Il Duce look like a libertarian anarchist combined with Emily Pankhurst in comparison

It seemed that the makers of this propaganda haven't gone very far to make their videos . It looks like it was filmed in California somewhere with a multi-ethnic cast who all speak English , but hey they're sugar-coating what is a war where they've alienated the entire Muslim world against them . I did get a wee bit confused by things like American police cars appearing but I guess the Arabs left them behind same as they left all their other American equipment and vehicles when they deserted in 2013

It wasn't until seeing several episodes of this dire , patronising , family fare that the penny dropped that this was nothing to do with the so called Islamic State and was a rival to WONDER WOMAN except even worse . Can we all stop referring to the terrorist organisation as ISIS and call them "Daesh" roughly translated from the Arab acronym "Those that cause trouble and disconcern" . If we do that means I wouldn't have wasted a morning watching this rubbish .

Lion (2016)
4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A Roaring Success That Might Spring A Surprise At The Oscars, 30 January 2017
8/10

As soon as I heard about LION I instantly got it in to my head that I might be watching a reincarnation of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE . Let's face it , India , street urchins ,rail journeys lasting days , Dev Patel trying to find a special woman in a sub-continent of over a billion people . Seen it all before in an Oscar winning movie from Danny Boyle . If nothing else the challenge of Saroo Brierley trying to find his mother after a gap of 20 years and thousands of miles mirrors that of director Garth Davis trying to make a film that won't have the audience shout out "Final answer" . And yet Davis succeeds in a film that might just surprise the Oscars this year

You might have to meet the film on its own terms in order for it to work fully . By this I mean straight from the opening scene I was expecting a caption to crop up at any moment proclaiming "Australia 20 years later" as the pivotal moments in India are shown through flashback . This isn't a film that uses a fractured narrative to tell its story . Instead it's very linear and the first half plays out entirely as a foreign language film . Perhaps I'm misleading you because there is very little dialogue in the first half , instead the audience are asked to feel for the plight of young Saroo and nothing needs to be said . The second half then concentrates on Saroo as a young man in Australia only half complete as a human being as he tries to find his long lost mother and brother

One genuine criticism I have at this years Oscar nominations is that many of the contenders feel rather poetic , slow and aloof compared to the in your face stylised LA LA LAND . Not to discredit it LION too has a strangely poetic feel but unlike MOONLIGHT which becomes cold and uninvolving after a while LION continues to keep its slightly hypnotic quality . Some people might claim this might be down to a slightly manipulative soundtrack by Bertelman and O'Halloran but I found the score haunting . Indeed the entire film is a haunting experience and is the film I hope will cause a couple of shocks at the Oscars this year .

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Why Lie When You're Presented With An Open Goal ?, 30 January 2017
3/10

Dinesh D'Souza ? Rings a bell and I looked him up to find he once took part in a religious debate against Christopher Hitchens which you can catch on youtube . Easily forgettable as it was predictable . The Hitch slapped some sense in to God boy without breaking sweat while the ignoble loser went home to lick their wounds . Perhaps mindful of this D'Souza then went in to film making and you're left with the impression that he might be doing this because film making is both subjective and non interactive therefore you don't have nasty atheists hurting your feelings . Cutting D'Sousa some slack I was intrigued to know his target is the American Democratic Party , a party that has discredited itself and of wider centre left politics . It could be Dinesh and myself might be singing from the same hymn sheet and I can't believe I just wrote that

As it turned out for a documentary featuring Hilary Clinton there's not a lot of Hilary . Yeah I know that's not necessarily a bad thing but considering she wasn't good enough to beat the lacklustre Kerry for the Democratic Party nomination in 2004 . Neither was she good enough to beat Obama in 2008 and it was on this campaign trail she proved herself to be a compulsive liar with her trip to Tuzla in Bosnia where she braved anti-aircraft missiles followed by intensive sniper fire . This should have been enough to destroy a political career but for some ridiculous reason she was made Secretary Of State throughout the Obama years . Much of the world's problems in 2017 can be laid firmly at the door of the Obama administration - Russian expansionism and the creation of the Islamic Caliphate to name but two - due to the administration's isolationism and indifference and just all round incompetence . Is Clinton blameless ? Of course not and worse still her reward was to get the Democratic Party nom for President . If they'd picked anyone else , anyone from Bernie Sanders to Michael Moore they'd be a Democrat in the White House today

There's so much D'Souza could have put in to this documentary but instead he goes through two hundred years of American history blaming everything from the genocide against the native people of America , slavery and racism down to the American Democratic Party while it was Republicans such as Lincoln who made the world a better place . I won't bother signing up to a University class to study American history but might there not be an element of cherry picking going on ? Worse still would someone like Lincoln be doing the right things for the wrong reasons ? For example the American civil war was the North wanting to get its hands on the cotton fields in the South and abolishing slavery was a peripheral reason for the conflict ? D'Souza also seems to think progressive politics , communism and fascism are similar philosophies when they're not .

It's not until well in to the final third that Hilary becomes the focus , most especially her relationship with her husband William Jefferson Clinton . Much of this information is culled from a 1999 book titled NO ONE LEFT TO LIE TO written by one Christopher Hitchens ! See what I mean about cherry picking ? I wonder if D'Souza would have used this as a reference if Hitchens was still alive ? To quote Hitchens "You're pushing an open door with me ..." and anything that exposes the arrogance bordering on delusion that comes with Hilary Clinton is only to be welcomed but this pseudo documentary full of distortions , half truths and outright lies is far from welcome . I could have made a better documentary myself . So could Christopher Hitchens and he's been dead for over five years

Oh and thanks to the American Democratic party we've got Trump in the White House , Putin in the Ukraine and Daesh in Iraq and Syria . Anyone got a space rocket ? I want to move to another planet

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Very Interesting But There's Not A Lot Of Horror ., 29 January 2017
8/10

Legendary British film critic Mark Kermode said this was his favourite film of 2016 . His description of it as "A British production , filmed in Jordan set in Iran during the Iran Iraq war and filmed in Farsi" did pique my interest in that UNDER THE SHADOW is also a horror movie . Right can someone name me any other horror movies set during the Iran Iraq war of the 1980s ? Anyone ? Do you think Kermode might be getting elitist due to the unique nature of this movie ?

To be blunt there's two stories trying to escape from the movie . One is the dilemma of the female protagonist Shideh living under the jackboot of Islamic theocracy brought on by the Iranian revolution of 1979 . The other story is the one of Djinns asserting their power . The problem is that the two stories have a problem gelling together seamlessly

If nothing else we're treated to the best opening credits sequence of 2016 , a simple but very effective montage of war footage from the Iran Iraq war , a conflict that was mainly ignored by the Western media at the time . It's also easy to forget Iran was a victim of Iraqi aggression . Iraq started the war but because of the bellicose proclamations of the ayatollahs , usually denouncing the infidel West , it was the Iranians who were seen as the baddies of the conflict . I can't claim to know what life was like in 1980s Tehran but UNDER THE SHADOWS does give us a view what the home front might have been like for Persians and it was this aspect that had me hypnotised as I a lover of women and of freedom and of the occasional binge drinking session had to watch a fictional character in a real life setting realise that misogynistic men of God are now doing the thinking for everyone via 7th Century scripture and who are descended from the prophet Mohammed

When you're confronted by such man made horrors - and let's not pretend religion and God aren't entirely man made - then mythical Djinns are pretty small fry . Perhaps conscious of this the horror element doesn't come close to making an appearance well in to the second half . It is in equal measure clichéd but well done . The usual jump scare tactic of turning the noise down then ramping it up a startle moment causing the audience to jump . You've seen it all before , just not with Persians getting bombed by Arab neighbours

One can understand hardcore horror fans being bitterly disappointed by UNDER THE SHADOW but it's not really a film produced for horror fans . There is a novelty value to it due to the crossed genre themes but lovers of world cinema and those of us with an interest in modern Middle East geo-politics will find a lot to like about this unique film


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