Cam

The first thing my wife said when watching this was ‘there’s a lot of tits in this for being rated 15’. I was thinking the same thing, although I hadn’t noticed the Netflix age rating until she brought it up. Yes, there are quite a lot of tits in Cam, which only seems right given the subject matter. It’s just sleazy and voyeuristic enough without bordering on outright porn in its very lightweight depiction and discussion of the latest sell your sexuality craze.

Viewers in the UK will likely be aware of TV channels such as Babestation. I’m sure they have similar stuff in the US and around the world – late night channels which are little more than women in various states of undress, gyrating around and mimicking sex acts for the viewer. Viewers are encouraged to call in and get one on one time with the girls but if you don’t want to fork over the cash, you can simply watch, presumably with one hand down your gunks. In other words, it’s dumb, exploitative, and ugly; in other words, it’s great. Similar websites exist for the same purposes, if simple porn isn’t interactive enough for you. Admittedly, it’s not a rabbit hole I’ve ever been down but there are plenty of non-porn or softcore versions all over the web that it’s easy to stumble upon – Twitch girl gamers with huge cleavage, girls and guys simply eating or reading in front of the camera for your likes and cash – every possible fetish is catered for and it is a massive business that will seem bewildering to most but is only becoming more commonplace. Taken further – basically every YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram page is set up in the same way, for likes, for attention, for money, clicks, and affirmation. Hell, even this blog. But believe me, the people in this movie look a lot better with their tits out than I do.

So what’s it all about – a scathing satire of this modern societal behaviour? A deep dive into the psyche of the individual and the populace who drive this shift in morality? No, I can’t say that any of those critiques hold true although in the opening moments I assumed this was the way the movie was going to go, wrapped in a story of identity theft and horror. We follow our main protagonist Alice – your typical view of a Millennial who seems to exist almost entirely online. She is a Cam girl, and has her eyes set upon a top 50 spot in her website of choice. There is a funny moment later on when we see just how many accounts there are – in the tens of thousands – which gives a giggle concerning the prevalence of the phenomena. It seems like in order to reach the hallowed Top 50, you need to perform more and more extreme acts – show more skin, a little bit of S&M, dressing up to satisfy your flighty viewers’ whims. Alice is shown to be manipulating it all for her own gains – she is paid in tokens which translate to hard cash – and doesn’t balk at spending five grand on a new sofa. She’s doing alright, but starts to get more fame and attention due to her stunts regarding violence. One event in particular seems to get her a lot of notice and as she laps up her new found infamy her online and offline life begin to merge and collapse.

There’s another Alice out there – breaking Alice’s own rules of things she will never do. This Alice has her face, her voice, but is willing to do those things Alice will not – and she starts to take Alice’s viewers away. Soon Alice is blocked from her account. Soon she begins seeing her online fans on the street, in her local stores. Soon she is the one being manipulated and she becomes the viewer, logging in and forcing the new Alice, paying the new Alice into certain acts in the hope of finding out what the hell is going on. It’s an interesting place to start for a story, but one which deserves a better pay off. It’s listed as a horror movie, but it’s absolutely more of a thriller – there is little horror to be found and any thrills and drama come out of mystery rather than fear or tension. It’s all a bit silly though it does appear to take itself seriously. The writers and director have a good grasp of the material, from the perspective of people who exist in this world, and while Alice herself is an interesting enough character played with spark by Madeline Brewer, the surrounding characters are mostly surface and irrelevant, and any deeper meaning beyond ‘wouldn’t this be spooky if it happened to you’ is never unwrapped. We do get some moments between Alice and tech people, between Alice and the Police, and between Alice and other Cam girls which uncover some of the trials and dangers and pressure the people living in this world must go through, but these came across as basic laughs more than outright satire.

The film is around 90 minutes long so it doesn’t wear out its welcome at any point. I know my wife had mostly given up caring by the end while I was still interested enough to see how it all panned out and if there would be any late twists. Once it becomes a procedural drama with Alice putting on her Detective cap and investigating any potential leads, the film loses a little of its spark. I was happy to learn about the people in front of and behind the camera ensuring this business continues to exist and evolve – it’s absolutely an interesting world and I’d like to have learned more about the people behind the curtain or the people pulling the strings. I’m torn between thinking the film doesn’t go far (or at all) enough with its horror, or whether it should have removed any horror elements completely. I think the latter would have made a better film, but the former would have become a very silly horror albeit set in a unique world. It’s a shame then that we don’t delve more into the exploitative aspects, the satire, and the realism as such an existence is ripe for peeling back and peering inside.

Let us know in the comments what you thought of Cam!

My Blog – April 2019

It’s my Birthday! Not today, but yes, my Birthday is in April. Isn’t that exciting? Did you get me a present? No? Well thanks buddy, that was awful swell of you. This month, I’m going to give a shout out to some other nice blogs which I follow. These guys are some of the cream of the crop. Lots of blogs do this sort of post – promoting and sharing the blogs they love and as I’m feeling festive I thought I would join in. Try these sites out, you should like them. Anyone angry about not being covered – apologies, I just went to the Manage My Following page and went down in order, grabbing a few of the blogs which have been most recognizable to me recently.

Scruffy Storms

Scruffy writes about the gigs she has been to, featuring a few of my favourite bands, namely Manic Street Preachers. Interestingly or upsettlingly I knew someone called Scruff. He was a friend from school. He’s dead now though. Sucks.

Aircraft, Albatross, and A Beast

This guy writes about Iron Maiden, about history, and about how the band merges the two. If you’re a fan of the band, you’ll enjoy.

Mondo Vulgare

Horror thoughts and essays, written with a critic’s precision and a fan’s love. Come here not for mere reviews, but more thought-provoking talking points.

Elena Square Eyes 

I can’t vouch for whether her seeing orbs are round or of the cube variety, but she does write about books and movies and other stuff you like. She doesn’t just review new stuff, which I like.

Emmakwall

This 21st Century Clarissa helps explain it all for us – movies, soundtracks, and funnies. Go climb in her window (or just click the link above for a less creepy alternative).

Perpetually Past Due

Book, music, and movie reviews, and the odd bit of personal stuff too, again with reviews coming late to the party which I can appreciate.

Steve For The Deaf

Songs. Lots and lots of songs. Seemingly at random, but probably not. He writes about music in a more superior way than my repetitive ramblings, plus the blog is prettier.

Stuff And That

They do stuff and that. They like to say yo. What do you get if you cross a Yo and a Yo? Paper cuts.

Jordan And Eddie

Movie reviews from down under. Yes, that’s right – they live in a sewer.

Established 82.com

He was established in 82. I was 83. We went to school together, but don’t tell anyone – it’s a secret. Wait – ah, balls.

Cinematic Coffee

I don’t like coffee, but I like this blog. John has a huge love for film and a wide knowledge of cinema which puts the rest of us to shame. He doesn’t have enough followers, so go do the thing.

Want to check out these blogs? Click da linx! Want me to share your blog here? Send me money! Want to comment? Slap one in below!

My Blog – February 2019

Look! Look at this! I’m being all regular, and I haven’t even eaten any brown bread this week! Poo jokes aside, welcome back to my monthly post about Gawd knows what. As a heads-up, I’ll try to post more music related stuff this month – I have a bunch of posts written this time last year which I haven’t published yet, so expect more of my thoughts on Bowie, Madonna, Bon Jovi, Roxette, Chart Music from various years, and maybe a couple from the Top 1000 Series.

So, I was looking for a list of questions to introduce myself on my blog (even though I’ve been at it for nearly a decade) when I found this site about ‘the three questions who need to ask yourself’ about why your blog isn’t successful – you know, typical click-bait stuff. Not being interested in making money off this thing or worrying whether I get nineteen or nine hundred views a day (I’ve had both), I clicked on it anyway to see what angle the article took. It was about making readers subscribe rather than just visit once, and their number one key to success for this was making sure that the viewer knew what your blog was about at first glance. Makes sense – if it’s a movie blog, give it a movie related title and drown it in movie pics, right? Naturally being obtuse, my blog name doesn’t make sense and it goes out of its way to not be about anything. That says almost everything you need to know about me. Regardless – lets get on to some random questions about me!

Note – before looking, I have a feeling what these questions are going to be like, so next month I’ll probably devise some questions myself. I’m shamelessly nicking these questions from other blogs, so don’t @ me. I don’t know what that means.

Note part deux – a simple Google search uncovered a book called ‘The Complete Book Of Questions’ by Garry Poole. I might dip into that too and answer a few every month. Enough talk, question me up!

  1. What are your nicknames? What do you prefer to be called?

Well, truth be told, my actual name is not Carlos Nightman. Shocker, right? I don’t know of too many (any) people named Carlos from Northern Ireland. That’s where I’m from, by the way. I don’t have an Irish sounding name either, so no Paddy McSpud here. I’ve had a variety of nicknames over the years – Nightman of course, Sonic, Pandy, Appleskin, Skin, Droid, etc, but the one which sticks most is Mal. It’s Latin for evil, and I did Latin in school for seven years. What do I prefer to be called? I have no preference… names are silly.

2. What books on your shelf are begging to be read?

Can books beg? A brief glance at the shelf behind where I’m typing this contains an Arnold Schwarzenegger biography, a Bruce Dickinson biography, a few recent Stephen King and Anne Rice novels, some oldies by Clive Barker which I haven’t started yet, a couple of volumes from The Black Library, Joe Hill, Fever by Deon Meyer, Madness Is Better Than Defeat by Ned Beauman, From The Fatherland With Love by Ryu Murakami, and South Of The Border by Haruki Murakami. My neck is getting sore twisting to see the shelf, so that’s enough. I’ll get to them all, no preference as to what comes next. Oh yeah, there’s a tonne of Buffy books too – those semi-official tie-ins. I started buying those second hand from Belfast’s charity shops, haven’t read any yet but they’re probably terrible.

3. How often do you doodle?

Never. I’m not a child.

4. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep? Toss and Turn? Try to get up and do something productive?

I’ve always had trouble sleeping. That’s not entirely accurate. It’s getting to sleep in the first place that’s the problem, ever since I was a young child, and it’s never gone away. When I was older I used to leave the house and walk around the streets and town at night and enjoy the peace. There’s something about lying down and not being able to sleep which causes dark and troubling thoughts to well up inside and envelop you, but walking around seems to free my mind and push that crap away. My mattress is uncomfortable at the moment so I get sore if I stay away for too long. My wife is usually asleep within 1 minute of turning her lamp off, which is something I cannot fathom. I’ll be tired all day, but as soon as it hits 10pm, become startlingly awake. Nowadays I can’t really get up, because I’ll wake everyone else and the cat will want fed. I just force myself to sleep, but try to read or watch something till I can’t keep my eyes open – doesn’t always work because I want to keep reading/watching.

5. How many days could you last in solitary confinement? How would you do it?

Are you kidding. When I was younger, this was my dream. My ideal world had no-one else in it. Or maybe a handful of people I liked. Of course now I have my own family. I could happily be with them and never see anyone else. Before them, I could easily go indefinitely without speaking to or seeing another human. I go out of my way to avoid most people in person – not because I don’t like them, or I’m shy, or awkward or anything, more because I prefer it that way and I like to do my own stuff without being interrupted. So in this fantasy scenario, if I was placed in solitary confinement I would probably thrive and create a cure for, I don’t know, world hunger or Aids or reality television.

6. Do you save old greeting cards and letters? Throw them away?

I used to, but now I don’t care as much. I keep some which mean something to me. I’m 35 at the time of writing, so I left school 17 years ago. School crushes and funny shit from then… I keep a few of those cards. I used to physically write out text messages and emails from those days. Cards now, like Christmas and Birthdays etc. I’d rather people didn’t waste the paper and money. I keep the Birthday cards my kids get, some day they might want to see them again.

7. Who is the biggest pack rat you know?

I have absolutely no idea what this means. What is a pack rat? Is this a political thing or something about someone you don’t like?

8. When making an entrance in to a party, do you make your presence known? Do you slip in and look for someone you know? Do you sneak in quietly and find a safe spot to roost?

These are very American questions. This is Northern Ireland (bitch), we don’t do parties. These questions are very much catered towards the cutesy little creative wallflower so that they can tell us all how precious and offbeat they are. Having said that, I’ve never been big on social gatherings, again because I’d rather do my own thing. I don’t have much interest in meeting new people or doing whatever people are supposed to do. I’d much rather be in the pub or house with people I already like. I’d need to go back to University for examples of me turning up at what this question refers to. I have a thing about never being late, so I’m usually there early or exactly on time. I wouldn’t be going to a party if I didn’t know someone there. There is no sneaking or looking for safe spots. I go in. I drink. I talk. I sleep on the floor. I go home the next day. Sometimes there are shrooms and scarecrows.

9. What is your strongest sense? If you had to give one up, which would it be?

Assuming you’re talking about the big five, not my sense that a ninja could be about to attack at any moment? I wear glasses because I’m short-sighted, but I’m really good at seeing things which people miss. Like, I’ll be the first to find a cat in a crowded street, or I notice little things or details which others miss. I do have very good hearing though. For example, we’ll be watching TV at night with the doors closed, maybe people are talking, and I’ll know someone is coming to the door because I’ll hear a car door closing at the bottom of the drive. This is a great trick and people are frequently, genuinely amazed by it. Can’t give up hearing or sight or touch… though being able to live without physical pain would be great. Taste I could live without I guess, but it’s got to be smell. People say it’s the best sense for memory, but that’s complete balls. You know what the best sense for memories is? Remembering.

10. How many times a day do you look at yourself in the mirror?

Almost never. I should shave every day, but I usually do it once a week. So I check then. I brush my teeth away from the bathroom, I never do anything to my hair, I don’t wear make-up, I wear whatever is lying on the floor. I have absolutely no reason to look in the mirror.

That should do for now. Feel free to answer these questions yourself and slap them in the comments. Now you know me a little more, hopefully I haven’t scared anyone off. I know I come across as a dick when answering these things, but really, you’d love me if you met me.

Reminder on blog links:

A-Z Reviews: This category is a single post with links to all my movie, music, and book reviews. It’s the best place to start and you can check it via THIS LINK. I try to update it regularly.

Amazon Vine: I’m a member of Amazon Vine, a program where Amazon’s best reviewers are provided with free products for reviewing purposes in order to drum up publicity before the product is released to the general public. You can find links to the Products I have received here.

Book Reviews: Something I don’t really do anymore, even though I still read plenty. I need to get back into this, but movies are so much easier to review. Maybe I’ll come up with a different format.

Blogging: A new category! This is where I’m going to put this exact post, and the others like it to follow.

Changing The Past: This category is where I go back through every Oscars since 1960 and pick my winners from almost every category. I pick my winners from the official choices, and then I add my own personal list of who I feel should have been nominated. It’s based on personal preference, but it’s also not based on any of the usual Academy political nonsense and I bypass most of their archaic rules. It’s not quite me just picking my favourite films, but it’s close.

DVD Reviews: I should probably just change this to Movie Reviews. It’s what you would expect – reviews of the movies I’ve watched. I’m not a big fan of reviewing every new film which comes out – there are a billion other blogs out there all doing the same thing. I don’t often watch new movies as they release, unless they’re streaming, so instead you’ll be getting reviews of those films a few years later, once I get around to them. Here you will find horror, actions, classics, foreign, indie, sci-fi, comedy, drama – everything. A word of warning – I frequently post reviews that I wrote almost twenty years ago when I didn’t have a clue – they’re crap, but I add them here in all of their badly written glory.

Essential Movies: I’ve only published an intro post for this category, but I have written some other posts for the future. I’m basically questioning what actually makes a film Essential, because it cannot be a definitive statement. What’s essential for you, may not be for me, so I’ve broken down the defintion into a few generic user types, then gone through some lists of the best movies of each year to see which ones are essential for each viewer. It’s pretty boring, and I already regret starting it, but that’s me.

Foreign Cinema Introduction: This category hasn’t been published yet, but once again it exists and I’ve written a bunch of posts for the future. The idea came from my many years of hearing people I know IRL or on the internet dismissing anything not mass-produced by Hollywood. If you only watch movies made in the USA – you’re not a movie fan, it’s as simple as that. I follow a few Facebook fan pages and blogs on WordPress which completely dismiss foreign movies – it’s ridiculous as you are missing out on many of the best films ever made. More than that, you are missing out on films which I know for a fact you will adore. So, this is me breaking down all that bullshit about subtitles, about foreign stuff being boring and every other excuse you’ve ever heard, while giving some very basic thoughts and introductions of the various countries of the world from a film perspective.

Lists: Here I post lists – some with comments, some without. All sorts of lists – from monthly previews of the year’s upcoming movies, to my favourite movies by actor or director, to best horror anthologies, best Christmas songs and TV shows, best movies for Halloween, my favourite episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, my ranking of Bond movies, songs, and girls, my favourite albums by decade, my favourite songs by artist, bands I’ve seen live etc. I love lists.

Manic Street Preachers Song By Song: One of the first reasons I started this blog was to try to spread the Gospel of my favourite band, especially as they are not well known outside of Britain. Defo not in the US. Then I found out there were other blogs doing it too. Ah well. These are my thoughts on each song. Don’t know them? They are a Welsh rock band who have been around since the late 80s, early 90s. They are highly political and intelligent, on the left wing, and they are probably the finest lyricists in the world. Their main lyricist suffered from various addictions and mental health issues and disappeared in 1995 – although there have been sightings, nobody has ever confirmed they have seen him and no body has ever been found, though the band, fans, and family are still looking. After three albums with him, they suddenly became commercially successful after his disappearance. If you like rock music… if you like music in general, please give them a try.

Music Reviews: This is the same as movies, except for music. Reviews of albums I’ve always loved, as reviews of albums as I’m listening as a virgin. I take a look at the Top Ten UK Charts from a random month in each year and review each song, while giving my own alternative ten songs from the same year, I am reviewing albums that I’ve never heard by artists I am familiar with – filling the gaps in those discographies. I’m listening to spin-offs of my favourite bands, I’m reviewing the Disney soundtracks. I was a metal and grunge kid, but also had a love for the best in 80 pop when I was young, so I like to listen to anything though since around the mid-noughties chart music has gone from extremely bad to entirely worthless.

The Nightman Scoring System ©: This is something I truly love, but something which nobody really pays attentino to. You’ll notice in my reviews I don’t give a score. I just talk about the thing I’m reviewing. Scores are arbitrary and when given, people jump to the score and form a conclusion and a bias. If they read the content of the review, there will be a better discussion. That made me think, in a very unprofessional, semi-scientific, ill-examined way, to come up with a fair, universal scoring system which tries to avoid personal and systematic bias as much as possible. If you look at sites like Rotten Tomatoes which are stupidly becoming reference points for quality or to convince you to watch something, or used by advertisers, it’s a completely flawed system. Anyone can post whatever they like, and drag down or push up an average. The same used to happen on IMDb. There are a lot of posts online recently about the disparity between Critical and Audience consensus on RT and it leads to more worthless arguments, because if there’s something the world needs more of these days, it’s people fighting online about pointless stuff.

I devised two scoring systems – one for movies and one for music. To use it, you have to follow the guidelines and be honest. If you’re not honest, it will be obvious, and your review won’t be valid. For both music and and movies, I break down the scoring into twenty different categories of equal weighting – out of five, for a total out of 100. Categories include acting, directing, sales; or for music – charts, influence, musical ability etc. Say you hate the Marvel movies or The Beatles. You can’t score them a 1 out of five in the Sales category because both of those were factually monster hits – they can really only be 5 out of five. In other words, some of what is opinion and bias is removed from the equation. In the same vein, the disparity between critics and audiences is reduced – typically you may think that a movie or music critic care more about how arty or original or influential something is, while the audience might care how many boobs are seen or how catchy the melody is. I’m making sweeping assumptions – but you get the idea – each category is equally weighted so that influence is only worth five points, chart performance is only worth five points, directing, advertising, whatever – each is five points. I’d love to see people use this, and I’d love to run an experiment where a group of people each use the system to score the same thing, and see how similar or different the results are. I’m positive the average would be a more true reflection than anything on RT or IMDB or anywhere else. The only issue with it is, it’s more suited to scoring once something has been out there for a while rather than a pre-release or first week review.

Nightman’s Favourite Films By Year: Self-explanatory. I list my favourite ten films from every year since 1950, with no comment. Then I give a list of my top films from each decade once I’ve done each year, but this time share some comments. There’s also some stats in there, such as how many films I picked which were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, which were top ten grossing movies etc.

Top 1000 Albums Of All Time: A journalist called Colin Larkin made several of those popular ‘Top 1000 Albums Ever’ books. I grabbed one of them, I removed the ones I had already heard, and in this series I go through the ones that I haven’t heard, give my virgin thoughts, and whether I think it deserves to be called one of the best ever. I want to sync up my Nightman Scoring System © with these. Just one word of warning – I don’t plan or put any thought into these ‘reviews’. I literally listen and type at the same time. Not the best way to give thoughts I know, but that’s the format.

The Shrine: People die. Famous people die. But they live on, in our hearts and minds and in the work they left behind. Here I offer the chance to remember and offer thanks.

The Spac Hole: Each Monday I post a random lyric from a random song. Every so often I write something which doesn’t fit in any other category. Usually it’s weird. That stuff all goes here. There are more semi-regular pieces like those posts where I use Google translate to change the lyrics of (s)hit songs or dreadful imaginings like what I would do if I owned my own Cinema.

The Spac Reviews: Carlos Nightman is my alter ego. Derek Carpet is his alter ego. He is an idiot. He likes movies. These are his reviews. They are…. different.

TV Reviews: I sometimes review TV too. I talk about my current shows and my all time favourites.

Unpublished Screenplays: Derek Carpet sometimes likes to pretend he’s a writer too. Here are some of his original works, based on other movies and TV shows.

Videogame Reviews: I do these sometimes too. Usually retro. Usually with a humourous bent.

Walk Of Fame: Hollywood has a Walk Of Fame. I have one too. Mine’s better, except I don’t update it anymore. Not only do my inductees get a star, but they get a statue too! And, in each post one lucky soul gets a special building concerning their work or life dedicated to them!