Monday, February 22, 2010

I’m not 100% sure how to feel about this

It’s Robbie Williams. In a romper suit. On a plane. Why? Good question. In an age where all celebs worth their salt need to ‘give something back’ (or put it away) to avoid looking like, erm, billionaire Macca, who built his kids a hamster cage for Christmas, or guitar-slinger Sheryl Crow, who limits toilet paper consumption to ‘one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two to three could be required’, good old Robbie spent a recent flight from London to LA dressed in a Primark romper to ‘thank his fans’.

Look at his expression. Is that the face of an international popstar larking about at 3000 feet above sea level? Nope. It’s the face of an old man with a bad back who’s been zipped into a giant sock against his will. And look at the woman in the background. She isn’t bothered. NO-ONE on this plane is bothered. Look at them. They see this shit ALL THE TIME. His romper could be bumless and they still wouldn’t care.

‘What better way to celebrate a lifetime achievement award than in an £8 Primark all-in-one?’ he Tweeted. ‘Come on!’

Despite this worrying lack of imagination, it’s the maths I’ve got a problem with. With the Robster’s post-Take That output weighing in at an frightening thirty-six singles, eight studio albums, eight stadium tours, two compilations and probably a keyring or two, his average fan will have spent approximately £400 on Robbie-related tat over the last two decades. Now, given that each of his albums sell, oh, a couple of million copies a go, that’s quite a few fans he’s thanking with that polyester piece of crap.

‘Hey guys! See this microscopic speck of dust on the smallest piece of thread somewhere around the crotch area? This one’s for YOU!’

Friday, February 12, 2010

prison: a non-prophet organisation

Despite the fact that newcomer Tahar Rahim looks suspiciously like ex-England goalie David Seaman in a dodgy tracksuit, this trilingual lock-‘em-up offering from French director Jacques Audiard came up trumps at Cannes thanks to a killer soundtrack, Oscar-worthy central performances, and a convoluted plot more macho than Mr. T doing bicep curls in a bath of raw steak.

Beardy Corsican mobster César (Niels Arestrup) takes volatile Arab kid Malik El Djebena under his wing, only to **SPOILER ALERT** teach him the dubious lesson that accepting a blowjob in jail is a surefire way to check out early. Though Malik ain’t the sharpest tool in the book – note to self: ten kilos of hash should be left OUTSIDE the supermarket – his gift for languages enables him to absorb Cesar’s underworld savvy, set up a competing drug cartel from Prison HQ, and… oh, you can guess the rest.

The old David vs. Goliath setup is a formula more tried and tested than Cow & Gate baby milk, and though it’s more a question of ‘how’ rather than ‘when’, Malik’s eventual revenge on bullying César is a masterclass in restraint – and all the more effective for it. Factor in a festival-friendly dose of freakiness in the form of a Arab ghost with a penchant for setting his fingers on fire, an educational flick through the '100 most inventive ways to top your cellmates' manual, and it’s one in the eye for a recent spate of disappointing gangster movies that included Vincent Cassel’s Mesrine failing to live up to its promise, and Michael Mann snorefest Public Enemies failing to do anything whatsoever.

Right, I’m off to wedge a razor into my gums.