Posts tagged “1979

Laura / Wow! How to be a Great People Manager


Laura  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK Release

The sensually provocative images of internationally acclaimed photographer David Hamilton again move and breathe in Laura. A delicate journey through innocence, beauty and sensuality involving a 16 year old ballet dancer who falls in love with her mother’s former lover, a 40 year old sculptor. A classic cinematic treatment of mother-daughter competition and the first stirrings of sexuality.  With utmost taste and talent, Hamilton presents the gratification of budding womanhood.

1979 –  Certificate: 18  –  French Film
5.0 out of 10

For reasons that mostly baffle me but probably point to a severe breakdown in the decision-making process somewhere, I’m trusted with the management of nine people at work, plus another two or three that are ‘incoming’. I’ve never received much in the way of training to accomplish this, but I do my best.  I try to work them all to within an inch of their lives, make them feel worthless and in awe of me, blame them when something goes wrong and take the credit when something goes well.  I provide them with impossible deadlines and grass them up to more senior people when they fail to meet them.  I invent or overcomplicate existing procedures, to make their lives as difficult as possible.  My managerial catch-phrase is, “if you don’t like it you can leave”.  In fact the only book on management I’ve ever read is “The Art of Demotivation”.  I’d heartily recommend this to anyone who manages staff.  I keep my well-thumbed copy by my desk at all times.  Despite my obvious lack of emotional intelligence, in a strange way I consider these ‘resource units’ as my family.  (In that sense I care for them deeply, in the same way that Captain Janeway on the Starship Voyager cared for her crew, but still managed to nearly get them killed most weeks.)  Consequently, I get very distressed when any of them decide to fly the nest or take maternity leave.  (Mainly because of the extra hassle it’s going to cause me.)  In the next couple of months I have to recruit three or four new members of staff.  From experience, I’m pretty sure that interviewing is about as close as a man can get to giving birth.  The only difference is that we interview during office hours to a sensible timetable that minimises the disruption it causes.  It is however a painful experience, in which you deal with things as best you can, when all you really want to do is scream and moan about how long it’s all taking, as you wait for the candidate(s) to come into the room so to speak.  And my top tips for interviewing?  Always have the interview panel with the light behind its back.  I find it helps to put interviewees at ease if you silhouette yourselves.  I also find that starting off interviews with the question, “what’s the worst question we could ask you today?” often helps to put candidates at ease too.  If I don’t see tears by the end, I know I’m facing a tough son-of-a-bitch, who might one day challenge my Alpha Male status, an attribute that at work we call Wow; strangely, these people always score really poorly and consequently never get appointed.  There’s nothing Wow about this film either.

David Hamilton made a few films like this and they’re all crap. This is probably because I know nothing about art and can never relate to anything or anyone in them.  And I hate the ‘soft focus’ (i.e. out of focus) photography that always seems to get used too, so it’s not just the people, plots and places I don’t get.  I guess if I was cultured enough I’d think this movie was a cinegraphic masterpiece that “presents the gratification of budding womanhood” and unrequited love, rather than some child porn dressed up as art.  But what do I know?  I’m probably just an ignorant, Mail-reading Brit, who thinks anything foreign is rubbish (unless it’s American or curry).  I guess if I go out and kill someone on purpose, as long as I do it tastefully it’s art, not murder.  Having said that, there is a story of sorts (a somewhat pervy love triangle) and a bit of action when something catches fire.  There’s also some ‘fun’ with weed-killer too.  (It’s a good example of what happens when you don’t store and use chemicals correctly.)  I guess if you can work around all its technical and plot foibles, then you could get something positive out of it.  (It’s not unlike a trashy B-movie in that respect.)

The soundtrack is mainly plinky-plonky ‘emotional’ piano or dated prog rock. It’s not something I’d miss if it was somehow erased for existence by time-travelling, intergalactic film critics.

Trailer. Well if there is one I couldn’t find it.  Yes, the Internet has let me down.  The best I managed to locate were some clips, so I’ve picked out an especially action-packed one for here.

Recommended for sculptors, dancers and anyone with a very open mind.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment? I guess it’s another reason for me to be sent to Hell, but Paul (40) manages to get off with Laura (15).  It’s not that I approve or would want to be in his place; it’s just that he could, which makes it badass, although mostly just bad.  What’s he got that I haven’t?  Other than he’s good looking, French, talented, sexy and (in these post-Saville times) “a sinister pervert who used his fame to get close to young women and girls”.  No wait, that’s Rolf Harris.

Laura at IMDB (6.0 / 10)
Laura at Wikipedia
Laura clip at YouTube

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The Day After Halloween / Real Life Horror


The Day After Halloween  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US Release

Angela (Sigrid Thornton, “The Man from Snowy River”) is a young hairdresser thrown out of home by her puritanical mother after too many nights out.  She quickly falls in with the modeling crowd and does some modeling work herself, while it seems she is being stalked by a mysterious figure driving an ice-cream van!  Also known as “Snapshot” and directed by award-winning director Simon Wincer (“Lonesome Dove, “Free Willy”), now see this Ozploitation film in its original scope format – first time anywhere in the world!

1979  –  Certificate: R  –  Australian Film
5.0 out of 10

Next week I have to face one of the greatest horrors in the civilised world.  Something so frightening, that juggling with chainsaws with one arm tied behind my back, in a cage full of hungry lions, would be preferable.  I have to go to a two-day meeting at work, one that everyone who’s anyone will be at.  (I guess a typo somewhere meant I got invited by mistake too.)  However, hanging out with the good and the great doesn’t bother me; after all, I’m pretty sure I was born to meet a higher purpose than I’ve so far managed to climb to, so I may as well get used to it.  I also don’t mind the fact that some of my more ambitions colleagues may well trample me to death on their way to ‘the top’ as they attempt to impress.  Even the thought of conversing ‘professionally’ with people so important that their job titles are almost too long to fit on a business card, is of little consequence to me.  (As long as I don’t have to make ’small talk’, as that’s a skill I’ve never developed as I don’t have a life to talk about.)  No, what really terrifies me is the fact that right at the bottom of the information I was sent it says, “Dress code smart casual”.  What does that even mean?  My idea of smart is wearing a new t-shirt that doesn’t have the name of an obscure punk band on it.  This requirement has bought into sharp focus the inadequacy of my wardrobe.  It’s years since I wore a shirt and I doubt there’s a diet in existence that will prepare me for wearing any of the ones I still own by next Wednesday.  In the trouser department things are even more desperate.  Can you even iron combat trousers?  I think the last thing I ironed was a screwed-up poster of the Buzzcocks to put on my wall when I was a student.  When I turn up wearing a hoddie, everyone is going to stare at me as if I’m some sort of migrant worker at a UKIP conference.  Life is so stressful.   Life as an aspiring model is stressful too, except the smart casual issue probably isn’t much of a problem to one.

Despite what it says on the cover, this film has nothing to do with Halloween, opening doors, answering phones or looking in attics.  There’s nothing anywhere in this movie that wants you either.  It’s barely even a horror.  In fact it’s barely anything at all.  I rarely find films boring but this one I did.  Get the feeling they’re trying to hide something?  It’s competently made and acted, but the script is just so dull.  It manages to take some interesting ideas and make them as exciting as watching magnolia paint dry.  All the men in it are horrible too, they’d hardly a redeeming feature amongst them.  (Actually most of the women are as well.)  It was originally called “Snapshot”, which is a far better name for it.  About the most interesting this about it is its lead actress Sigrid Thornton, who manages to look convincing as both a model and a woman out of her comfort zone.  (Next Wednesday I’ll know how the latter feels.)

The soundtrack is competent without being especially memorable.  It’s used a lot too.  The ‘Elvis’ is quite amusing though.

In the same way as the DVD cover, I think the trailer is trying to promote an entirely different film.

Recommended for models, stalkers, ice-cream sellers, hairdressers and photographers.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Given that this is a dull film with few characters that have any redeeming features, I’m going to have to go for Madeline running down her would-be lesbian lover’s stalker in his Mr Whippy ice-cream van.  Trust me, it sounds a lot more interesting that it really is, but I guess it beats most chat-up lines.

The Day After Halloween at IMDB (4.7 / 10)
The Day After Halloween at Wikipedia
The Day After Halloween trailer at YouTube


Alien / Immigration


Alien Anthology  -  Front Blu-ray Cover  -  UK ReleaseThe massive space-tug Nostromo glides silently through space.  Back from the outer reaches of the galaxy, it’s taking its seven-member crew back to Earth.  But when the ship’s computer receives a distress signal from a nearby planetary system, it rouses the crew from their cryo-sleep.  It isn’t until after the Nostromo has landed on a barren planet named LV-426 and three crewmembers have gone out to investigate a huge derelict spacecraft that the signal is deciphered and found to be a warning.  But one crewmember has already experienced a shocking face-to-face encounter with an alien creature while inspecting an egg-shaped pod.  And so the horror begins – a horror which will end the lives of six crewmembers and alter the life of the seventh forever.

1979  –  Certificate: 15  –  American Film
Rating Details:  Contains strong language, moderate violence and horror
8.0 out of 10

So anyway, I sat through this entire film convinced I was watching a party political broadcast on behalf of the Conservative Party; one that had chosen to spotlight the Party’s views on immigration.  Why?  1.  Well, for a start it’s called “Alien”, a phrase which seems to sum up a large proportion of everyone the Daily Mail, (which is the propaganda wing of the Party), doesn’t like.  2.  It features a crew of people who are “working hard to get on in life”, before having things suddenly buggered up for them by a nasty alien.  This is obviously a reference to wholesome, law-abiding Middle England British families having to deal with the effects of uncontrolled immigration.  3.  It features a hideous, unstoppable creature that wants what we have and bleeds acid everywhere if you piss it off.  (Well, it’s 45 years since Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech, so I guess you have to up the ante these days.)  This is clearly an allusion to foreigners, especially the billions of people from Bulgaria and Romania who’re poised to ‘invade’ Britain (or more importantly the Tory heartland of the South East of England) on the 1st January 2014.  From what I’ve seen in some of the media recently, I doubt there’ll be anyone left in either of those two countries by the time everyone here goes back to work the following week.  Not that we’ll have jobs anymore, because they’ll all have been taken by them instead, whilst they’re simultaneously signing on the dole, having babies and not learning to speak English.  And Romanians in particular are all just gymnasts, orphans or vampires, so why should they be allowed into the country?  4.  Crewmember Ash turns out to be an android, in the pay of some nefarious organisation, ready to sacrifice everyone to make sure the alien gets back to Earth.  Ash just has to be Vince Cable, working for the Lib Dems.  His dark, evil plan?  To let some foreigners into Britain.  Traitor!  And what does the android turn out to be full of? Nasty, goo-spewing Cables.  Case proved I think.  5.  The movie features a lot of people desperately running and creeping about in dark corridors, with a weird device that uses technobabble to find aliens, until they finally manage to successfully track one down.  To me that sounds a lot like politicians quoting from random surveys and statistics, in an effort to concoct some evidence to support their views.  6.  When they stop worrying about the alien for a few moments, it suddenly explodes out of John Hurt’s chest.  I think that’s self explanatory; give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.  7.  When they actually manage to find the alien, they quickly throw together some sort of bizarre, home-made weapon to try and get rid of it, which is undoubtedly analogous to their hastily thrown together ideas about caps on immigration; badly thought out, probably illegal, unfair and unworkable.  8.  The alien kills everyone off one by one, which is exactly what all foreigners want to do to our way of life.  Indeed, that’s their only reason to exist.  (And let’s not forget that John Hurt was also Doctor Who).  9.  Most things in the film have an alternative,  sexual interpretation, which somehow just comes across as eww.  Ever seen British politicians trying to be cool, attractive, or in-touch?  It’s provides much the same feeling.  10.  The alien is killed, after  just about everything is destroyed, including the whole spaceship.  This is exactly what will happen to the country if the Tories deal with immigration in their way.  Babies and bathwater.  Apparently there’s a party political broadcast on behalf of UKIP somewhere too.  It’s called “Aliens”.

There can’t be much that hasn’t been said or written about this film.  So I’m just going to say it’s essential viewing for anyone interested in cinema.

Most of the music used was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, one of the best film composers ever.  It’s good.  Very good.

Isn’t this a rubbish trailer?  Slow, confusing, and sounding and looking horrible, it makes the film seems about as appealing as snogging a face hugger.

Recommended for aliens, foreigners, politicians and anyone that works on a spaceship.

1 cat, no chainsaws or decapitations.  Despite providing one of the most famous cat characters in all of film history, Jonsey doesn’t even get a mention in the credits.  It must suck sometimes being a cat.

Top badass moment?    Vince Cable giving the rest of the Government shit about its approach to immigration.  No, wait, I’m mixing this film up with a Conservative party political broadcast again.  Malevolent aliens?  Bulgarians?  Romanians?  It’s confusing.  Don’t worry, I’ll check the facts in tomorrow’s Daily Mail.  (Interesting, when I was 16 I’d have probably said the top badass moment heavily featured Sigourney Weaver’s panties.  I must be getting old.)

Alien at IMDB (8.5 / 10)  –  43rd best film ever
Alien at Wikipedia
Alien at Roger Ebert (4.5 / 5)
Alien at YouTube


Star Trek: The Motion Picture / Being Related to Someone Famous


Star Trek: The Motion Picture  -  FrontBlu-ray Cover (UK Box Set Release)For the first time on Blu-ray, see the original theatrical version of the film as it was initially released in theatres.  A massive alien presence of enormous power enters Federation space destroying three powerful Klingon cruisers and neutralising everything in its path.  As it heads towards Earth, Admiral James T. Kirk returns to the helm of an updated U.S.S. Enterprise and sets course to meet the aggressor head-on.

1979  –  Certificate U  –  USA
7 out of 10

At work I often feel like Kirk does in this film.  Like him, I’ve been promoted to such an enormously high level that I too haven’t logged a single star-hour in over two and a half years; (or at least our equivalent of them).  Also like him, if I went out and tried to do a real day’s work like I used to, I’d not have a clue what I was doing.  And I too, have needed to surround myself with people who do actually know how to do things properly, so I can make myself look good and benefit from their abilities.  And, of course, like Kirk, I save the Earth on a regular basis.  Actually, now I’ve thought about it in a bit more detail, pretty well the only way to tell us apart, other than the fact that he will live 300 years in the future and I’m here right now, is the fact that he did everything with the support of an effectively endless supply of resources; whereas I do the same with almost no resources whatsoever.  I guess we’re probably cousins.

It’s hard to imagine there’s anything that hasn’t been said about this film 1,000s of times before.  Yes it’s slow.  Yes it’s overlong.  Yes it’s not really like any other Star Trek movie or TV show.  Yes it’s full of plot holes.  One the other hand, it is Star Trek.  It was the first new bit of Star Trek for years, (especially if you ignore the animated episodes) and we didn’t know then what we know now about the Star Trek Universe.  It was a genuine attempt to turn Star Trek into proper, hard science-fiction; (not like that ‘other’ famous sci-fi film from the late 70’s that was clearly made for children).   It’s got Klingons in it, (although not nearly enough of them).  Both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy give great performances; and Persis Khambatta had great legs and was a very attractive skinhead.  It’s also a reminder that three of its stars have now been taken from us.  :-(  It’s far from the best bit of Star Trek ever made, but it’s had a bad press over the years and I think the passage of time has helped it.  I watched it on Blu-ray.  At points it looked great, but at others it’s pretty dodgy; some of the special effects are certainly showing their age, although to be fair many of them still look very cool.  But it’s far from being a great, high-definition presentation.  Another odd thing is that I don’t think any of it was filmed outside; it’s all studio shot, which is quite unusual for a major feature film.  The trailer is terrible though; it’s like it’s for a low-budget, 50s, B-movie, sci-fi horror.

Jerry Goldsmith’s sound track is one of the high points of the film.  From the Star Trek Theme through to the great scene where Kirk (and us) first see the new Enterprise, great stuff.  The latter bit of music always reminds me of Jurassic Park for some reason.  I wish I was talented enough to write music like that.

No cats, decapitation or chainsaws.  There’re some photon torpedoes though; much cooler.

Recommended for people who seek out new life and new civilisations; even when they’re just down the road shopping.

Top badass moment?  WTF?  It’s the return of the Enterprise!  Nothing could be more badass than that.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture at IMDB (6.3/10)


Scum: 3.5 Stars


Scum  -  Front DVD CoverMy amplifier has broken down.  This nightmare scenario means all I can do at home now is sit and stare at the walls.  Life as I know it, is over, so in many ways it’s a bit like being assimilated by the Borg, without the good parts.  Films like “The Terminator” and “War Games” paint a frightening vision of the future, where computers and machines control and ultimately try to eliminate humans.  I’d like to think this sort of thing is just entertainment, but sadly I know better.  When I switched on my laptop at work today many of the keys failed to function, despite my abuse of the keyboard in an attempt to get it to type them; (who would have though the letter Z was so important)?  The mouse was quite dead too (and I can’t pin the latter on Penny either).  It now needs fixing.  No one is going to tell me that this is just a coincidence.  The amplifier and the laptop are clearly communicating with a level of sophistication that us stupid humans cannot even begin to comprehend.  My amplifier and laptop are just the start; tomorrow it’s probably going to be nuclear missiles and stuff.  Great, that’s going to really mess up my weekend of wall watching.  How depressing.

1979  –  Certificate: 18  –  United Kingdom

On a similar(ish) theme, this is a powerful and depressing film about life in a borstal.  It was made in 1977 as a drama for the BBC, which then promptly banned it before actually showing it (duh), so it was eventually remade as a film in 1979, (which incidentally was the best year ever for music).  It offers a peek at how genuinely crappy Britain was in the late 70s; (a bit like now, but without mobile phones, big TVs or climate change).  Thank goodness for punk!  Anyway, it’s got loads of ‘proper’ violence in it; none of that woosy American stuff with guns and knives, just metal pipes, fists and pool balls in socks etc.  It’s also got genuinely harrowing scenes of suicide and male rape, as well as some dreadful racism too.  However, none of this feels glamourised or put in just to liven things up.  It’s quality stuff, but ultimately just reflects the futility of life.  Deep.  I’ve always felt I was a bit of a philosopher on the quiet.

Recommended for people that want to see high quality drama.  It’s an ideal training video for London’s street gangs too, now the police have confiscated all their guns and stuff.

No cats and no decapitations.

Top badass moment?  It has to be the riot in the food hall.  Pointless, stupid and ultimately achieving nothing (except a beating).  However, taking back a feeling of controlling your own destiny, however fleeting, is badass.

Scum at IMDB


Star of David: Hunting for Beautiful Girls: 2.5 Stars


Star of David  -  Hunting for Beautiful Girls  -  DVD Front CoverIt’s good to explore the cultures of places far away.  Doing this can help make us a lot more understanding of the views of others, better able to celebrate what we have in common and appreciate what makes us different, rather than simply go around labelling everyone else as foreigners and you know, ‘not like us’.  Looking to fully play my part in this global exploration and to help reduce my own prejudices and ignorance, I’ve been spending the past few weeks finding out all about Japan and the Japanese, through the medium of film.  First I watched “Kamikaze Girls” and discovered what it’s like to be a teenage Japanese girl in modern Japan.  After that I watched “The Masked Girl” and found out what’s it’s like to be a Japanese superhero.  Then finally I watched this film and came to understand the difficulties of being a young man in Japan, coping with a father who lacks parenting skills, (well two fathers actually).  So my conclusion?  Japan is, ‘interesting’.  (Insightful stuff I know.)  Actually Japanese films are great, because they have a whole, different set of characteristics to just about any other.  I just wish I could relate to them more, but sadly my Western brain is just too limited to comprehend most of them; I must continue my studies further…

1979  –  Certificate: Unrated  –  Japan

On some levels, this is a great, erotic thriller, with a wide range of suitably nasty, unpleasant and disturbing scenes.  On the other hand, it’s pretty distasteful for exactly the same reasons.  I didn’t really enjoy it that much, but I can appreciate it for what it is.  It did feel a little like the writer had a tick-list of ‘shocking things you can include in films’ and was going to get through the whole lot, regardless of the results.  Murder, kidnapping, rape, character assassination, incest, torture, Nazi worship, it’s all here; and I’ve no idea what the scene with the butter and the Alsatian was all about.  At times it was a bit slow, but it does have a proper plot, is nicely filmed and in a technical sense looked excellent (considering its age and small budget).  Tatsuya (the film’s main protagonist) really isn’t a very nice person!  He’s a psycho playboy basically.  Even before he turned nasty I hated him, he was far too intelligent, talented, attractive and rich for my liking; (not that I’m jealous or anything).  With all his advantages and messed up childhood, he could easily have become Batman.

Recommended for people who like to watch challenging movies and twisted movies in general; or who’re used to exploring strange new worlds and seeking out new life and new civilisations.  It’s probably not worth watching if you think “Brokeback Mountain” represents the worst extremes of depraved modern cinema.

No cats and no decapitations. 

Top badass moment? Jun Yashioji (the pop singer) whacking Tatsuya over the head with a stool, in an effort to escape; (and it looked really solid on the screen too). Her singing was pretty terrible, but at least she made an attempt to get away.  Somewhat tragic timing in the end, talk about being unlucky; even though she was a bit of a bitch I did feel sorry for her.

Star of David: Hunting for Beautiful Girls at IMDB