Posts tagged “2007

Look / Resolutions


Look  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US Release

There are an estimated 30 million surveillance cameras in the United States.  On any given day, the average American is captured approximately 200 times.  Every one of us is constantly being observed at our jobs, on the street, while shopping, and sometimes even in our own homes.  Every one of our secrets, lies, crimes and most private moments are all being recorded.  But who is watching us?  Rhys Colro (“Entourage”), Hayes MacArthur (“The Game Plan”), Jamie McShane (“24”) and Spencer Redford star in this award-winning drama from writer/director Adam Rifkin that takes the ultimate look at our ‘Big Brother’ world.  “This is a brash, darkly humorous and unsettling piece of work filled with startling scenes and fine performances,” raves Richard Roeper of Ebert & Roeper At The Movies.  “”Look” is a film worth seeking out!”

2007.  Certificate: R.  American Film.  Rating Details: strong sexual content, pervasive language, some violence and brief drug use.  8.0 out of 10.

Okay, it’s the start of the New Year so I feel obliged to make some New Year resolutions that I won’t keep.  So firstly, I’m going to lose some weight.  I have a pair of trousers (actually several) that I’ve never been able to use, so my target is to be able to wear them and not cause some horrible internal injury to myself.  I don’t exactly have a plan for doing this, but I’m sure it’s possible.  I guess ‘eat less’ is a good place to start.  Secondly, I’m going to not get behind with things at work.  I seem to perpetually be explaining why I haven’t done things and there’s only so many times I can use the “dog ate my homework” excuse before it starts to look a bit lame, especially as I don’t have a dog.  My target is to simply not have to explain my temporal inadequacies any more.  I don’t exactly have a plan for doing this either, but I’m equally sure it’s possible too.  I guess working ‘smarter’ is a good place to start.  (Well that’s what I tell my team whenever any of them whine about having too much to do; it doesn’t seem to work for any of them though.)

Well I must say, I wasn’t really expecting this film to be that great, what with its promise of crappy quality ‘security camera’ footage and their associated static camera shots; a bit like a found footage film but without the ‘shaky cam’, monsters, ghosts and up nostril views.  102 minutes later and I was really disappointed that it had ended.  It cleverly mixes up footage from lots of cameras to tell the stories (or partial stories) of a number of people, whose lives to some extent overlap.  Of course it does include murder, rape, ATM abuse, car crashes, bombs, child abduction, male strippers, sex (both gay and straight), office perverts and farts in elevators, but really, it’s all just about a lot of pretty mundane and dull people going about their day to day lives; so something I could relate to.  Well put together, this is strangely hypnotic movie and well worth watching.

There’s a lot of music used in this film, but most of it just sort of fades into the background.  Forgettable.

The trailer really doesn’t tell you a lot, other than it’s a ‘clever’ film that uses surveillance camera.  Try not to fall asleep.

Movie Weather Forecast:  Warm and sunny throughout.  It looks like it’s going to be a lovely summer!

Recommended for bimbos, petrol station attendants, teachers, bored office workers, parents and perverts.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Tricky; there’s not a lot of choice in a film filled with unprincipled losers dressed in a veneer of youth or respectability.   I guess the nearest we get to a hero is the guy working in the petrol station, who manages to report a couple of killers who call in for supplies.  Strangely he looks one of the most loser-like too.  Never judge a book by its cover.

Look at IMDB (6.6 / 10)
Look at Wikipedia
Look trailer at YouTube

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Lars and the Real Girl / Doing Less Than Nothing


Lars and the Real Girl  -  Front DVD cover  -  US Release

Sometimes you find love where you’d least expect it.  Just ask Lars (Academy Award Nominee Ryan Gosling), a sweet but quirky guy who thinks he’s found the girl of his dreams in a life-sized doll named Bianca.  Lars is completely content with his artificial girlfriend, but when he develops feelings for Margo, an attractive co-worker, Lars finds himself lost in a hilariously unique love triangle, hoping to somehow discover the real meaning of true love.  You’ll be swept off your feet by “Lars and the Real Girl”, hailed as “One of the Year’s 10 Best” by The Associated Press.

2007  –  Certificate: PG-13  –  American Film
Rating Details:  Some Sex-Related Content
8.0 out of 10

I’m on something called Annual Leave at the moment.  This is a strange, but rather welcome concept through which I get paid my salary to do sod all.  In fact for the last two days I’ve done even less than that and in doing so have actually discovered a new physics, which I’ve decided to call “Anti-nothing”.  This is a weird, quantum effect wherein you can actually do less than nothing at all.  It’s pretty scary stuff too.  It’s only through washing my sleeping bag at one point that I avoided crossing over the non-event horizon and falling into some sort of parallel dimension where no one does anything ever.  I’ve never been there myself, although I think I’ve met a few people who have.  Doing nothing has given me the time to enjoy the view out of my window a little more than usual.  I’ve notice a huge, bright orange building that has suddenly spring up amongst the trees that I’ve never seen before.  There’re also a couple of cars in the car park that have had most of their windows smashed in, which are accompanied by a number of dented panels.  I’ve no idea what the story is behind them, but they’ve been sitting there, neatly parked, side by side for several days now, and resemble a couple that have had a row and now aren’t speaking to one another.  Whoever owns then hasn’t even bothered to sweep up the glass or block up the holes.  Weird.  I’ve also observed the police dealing with who I imagine is my local drug dealer.  They spent ages searching him and his car yesterday morning; I watched all the action through my binoculars.  The good thing is that the car has gone now, because it’s been frequently and annoying parked just where I turn in.  There’s never a dull moment around here!  This movie has none of these exciting things in it, yet it’s still very entertaining.

This is basically a comedy-drama about a guy who buys a blow-up sex doll to have as his girlfriend.  Now I’ll readily admit that I’m not an expert in such ‘things’, but I’m willing to bet that most who are don’t take them outside to meet other people very often.  Although we live in relatively enlightened times, I’m not sure the world is quite ready for ‘significant others’ down the pub, at the shops or in the cinema, who are made of silicon and rubber and have lifelike ‘bits’ under their clothes.   It’s probably acceptable in the Star Trek version of the far future and in Japan right now, but for the rest of us it’s a bit of a social faux pas.  But this film sees Ryan Gosling doing exactly that.  This would all seem to suggest that this movie’s going to be full of smutty innuendo and body-function-based humour.  Actually it’s nothing like that at all.  It’s much more of a study of how one individual starts to recover from a life-long difficulty in relating to people.  Yes it is very funny at times, but it’s also quite moving too.  I really like Ryan Gosling and he seems to totally nail the part in this film.  The plot does start to stretch the boundaries of realism, especially towards the end, but it’s well written, acted and made.  Kelli Garner is very cute too.  An original, well-observed and great film.  It’s got one of the worst titles ever though.

The soundtrack is fine for what it is, but isn’t very memorable.

The trailer makes this movie seem more of a comedy than it really is.  It probably has most of the best jokes in it.

Recommended for people who work in builders’ merchants, mums-to-be, parents that want to have to explain what a “Living Doll” is to their offspring whilst watching the movie, and anyone who works in an office with people who clutter their desks with toys.  (I despair at some of my own colleagues, who stick lumps of brightly coloured fur-with-eyes to their monitors and clutter their work spaces with animal-based, plastic fripperies and desk tidies full of virtually unusable and hideously ugly pens.)

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  In the same way as I’ve never met anyone who’s admitted to voting for UKIP, I’ve never met anyone who’s admitted to using a blow-up sex doll. However, given the number of votes and sales associated with both, I probably have unknowingly met quite a few.  So it’s a pretty badass thing to take your blow-up girlfriend out and about with you, especially if you start to have conversations with her in public too.  (I’m not so sure voting for UKIP is though.)

Lars and the Real Girl at IMDB (7.4/10)
Lars and the Real Girl at Wikipedia
Lars and the Real Girl at Roger Ebert (3.5/4)
Lars and the Real Girl trailer at YouTube


Blood & Chocolate / My ‘New’ Phone


Blood & Chocolate  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseA werewolf tale from the producers of “Underworld”, “Blood & Chocolate” tells the story of Vivian (Agnes Bruckner), a young teenage girl who must choose between her love for a young artist and loyalty to her werewolf lineage.  Others may have secrets, but none as extraordinary as Vivian.  One of the last of her kind, she comes from a line of loup garoux, shape shifters able to transform into the form of both human and wolf at will.  When Vivian’s affections for a visiting artist threaten to reveal her family’s secret society, she must decide whether to prove her allegiance to their secret vows or follow her heart and betray them all.

2007  –  Certificate 12  –  American Film
Rating Details: Moderate violence, horror and drug references
7 out of 10

I’ve been provided with a new work mobile.  Well it’s not really new, it’s one that’s been ‘reallocated’; but it’s new to me.  Its predecessor, a seven-year-old Nokia 6300, had become a bit of an embarrassment, what with its unbusinesslike, tatty appearance and talk-time that struggled to get me past the ‘how are you?” stage of a phone conversation.  You can probably imagine how my pulling that out of my pocket at a critical moment in one of the many, high-powered meetings I attend, can undermine my negotiating position.  My new one is a Nokia E5.  It’s the first smart-phone I’ve ever had.  Something tells me it’s not a medal contender in the mobile coolness rankings, although as I don’t have a contract for it that includes a data allowance, this rather limits its use for anything resembling “smart” anyway.  It does seem to be able to ‘talk’ to my network at home though.  I’m not quite sure what all the buttons and icons are for yet, although I have managed to sort out the most important things, like the ringtones it uses.  For calls it plays “Do You Like Waffles?” by Parry Gripp, whilst for texts it blares out “Marco Polo” by Guttermouth.  The latter is 15 seconds of punk rock noise that when combined with its cheap, in-built speaker, is likely to send anyone else within 10m of it when it plays in an ‘office environment’, into an incandescent fury.  There’re quite a number of people in this movie who get pretty pissed about things too.

When they’ve got over bitching about how much this film doesn’t resemble the book of the same name, people seem to then suggest it’s some sort of teen romance about werewolves.  So let me tell you it’s really an out-and-out action movie; all it needs is Sylvester Stallone and it would be the whole package.  Big explosive finale?  Check.  Some guns and stuff?  Check?  An unlikely hero who performs way beyond the call of duty?  Check.  Some cheesy one-liners?   Check.  Being able to write and draw (our hero Aiden is a penniless graphic novel writer) is pretty cool; if you think my writing is bad you should see my drawing.  I took my last art exam when I was 14 years-old.  I got 18%.  I tried to draw sadness but it came out as a disgusting shambles of green, painted squiggles.  I imagine the teacher probably thought I was taking the piss but really, that was the best I could do.  Sadly (and somewhat ironically given the focus of my work), my canvas had all the emotionally resonance of a newly painted bathroom radiator, in magnolia.  To this day my ability to draw remains at the level of a 4 year-old; and not a talented one either.  I’m always a little in awe of those than can seemingly and effortlessly draw things; a genuine talent.  However, I’ve never considered that the traits that make someone a good artist or writer, would also equip the same person to be an action-hero too.  This movie is about a penniless artist/writer, who falls in love with a chick.  Of course, like many potential in-laws, hers don’t really take to him, so being werewolves they decide to kill him.  In the space of a day or two, our quiet, unassuming (although a little stalker-like) artist turns into one, badasss motherfucker, taking on half the werewolves in Bucharest.  To explain these abilities, the movie provides a brief throwaway line about something to do with his relationship with his father not being that great.  Bloody hell, poor guy.  What a bastard he must have been!  Aiden even manages to survive what looks like a good 50’ drop through a broken sky-light, before coming to a very sudden stop, dangling upside down, with his leg caught in a rope, without this causing him the slightest injury.  He even has the audacity to blame Vivian for the situation he’s in, even though he spends half the film virtually stalking her.  I’m certainly no expert on relationships, but something tells me theirs isn’t going to last much longer than the end credits.  Fortunately, what all this means is that I can admit to seeing this movie without having to invent an imaginary girlfriend “who made me watch it” as an excuse for doing so.  I have to say Agnes Bruckner does do a good, surly teenager, sulky pout.  It’s actually a decent film, well worth watching.

The soundtrack has a sort of gothic-Klingon-“The Equaliser” vibe going on.  Sadly it’s as ‘good’ as it sounds.  Serviceable but forgettable.

Recommended for artists, writers, teens, chocolate-addicts and action-heroes.  Not recommend for werewolves.  They always seem to end up on the losing side.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  It has to be our mild-mannered, stalker/artist/writer/hero, Aiden.  He utters the one-liner “Drink Up” just before he sets fire to a load of alcohol to burn a couple of werewolves to death, after a fire-fight with a gang of them.  This is especially impressive as we’re not led to believe he makes a habit of this sort of thing.  The ability to up your game when the time comes is definitely badass.  It’ll be a brave person who gives any of the graphic novels he writes a bad review…

Blood & Chocolate at IMDB (5.2 / 10)

Blood & Chocolate at Wikipedia


Hot Fuzz / English as a First Language (and 2nd, 3rd, 4th…)


Hot Fuzz  -  Front DVD Cover (UK Release)When top London cop, PC Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg), is reassigned to the quiet town of Sandford, he struggles with his seemingly crime-free world… and oafish partner Danny (Nick Frost).  When several grisly accidents rock the village, it’s not long before Danny’s dreams of explosive, high-octane, car-chasing, gun fighting, all-out action become reality!  It’s time for these small-town cops to hand out big-city justice!

2007  –  Certificate: 15  –  UK Film
Rating Details:  Very strong language and strong comic bloody violence
9.0 out of 10

I went to the local chemists yesterday.  To get there I had to walk up a steep hill.  As I was doing so, I passed a young guy (I guess he was about 13) having a conversation in the street with a friend.  (I say conversation; they were actually shouting at one another across the road and into an adjacent playground.  Maybe it was just a new type of cheap, limited range not-very-smart phone they were trying out; who knows?)  So anyway, I got to hear quite a long exchange between them, as I staggered, wheezing, red-faced and exhausted, up the near precipice I was attempting to climb.  Maybe my physically overtaxed body was to blame, but I could barely decipher a word of what they were shouting to one another, despite the fact that I think they were speaking English.  Today I went to a meeting in Redhill; (which despite the name, doesn’t appear to have a hill of any colour in it, just some shops and offices).  I had to get up at the unwholesome hour of 5:58am to give me time to get there and the train was too crowded for me to get in a decent sleep on the way too. Maybe my mentally overtired mind was to blame, but I sat in a meeting with four other people who, although very nice, used so much ‘management speak’ that I could barely decipher a word of what they were saying to one another, despite the fact that I think they were speaking English.   I guess I’m not cool enough to ‘hang out on the streets’ with ‘the kids’ or clever enough to exchange ‘intellectual banter’ with ‘corporate leaders’.    The film features a number of language issues relating to the “metropolitan police vocabulary guidelines”.

This is a genuinely great action-comedy.  If you’ve never seen it, rectify the situation now.  If you have seen it, go and watch it again, now.  That’s all I’ve got to say about it really, because it’s one of those movies you really ought to have seen already and it’s got Scotty in it.  It’s also one of those rare British films where you want the police to win.  If you think the locals as characterised in the movie are just a bit over-the-top; well, I’ve met people like them for real.  Most of them are parish and town councillors.  Lovely people, but a bit scary too…  The Shires of southern England have a lot in common with the Wild West…

Between the inspired use of Adam and the Ants’ “Goody Two Shoes” at the start and Supergrass’ “Caught by the Fuzz” at the end, the music settles down into a more mundane but fun mixture of mostly 60s and 70s brit-pop songs, which often reinforce the images on the screen through their lyrics.  Actually it’s a pretty good soundtrack.

Recommended for police officers, town/parish councillors, florists, journalists, publicans, hoddies, supermarket managers and anyone associated with a neighbourhood watch group.

No cats or chainsaws, but two decapitations, plus one head totally splattered with a church spire.

Top badass moment?  Trashing your local supermarket has to be badass.  (Is there anyone who hasn’t at some point wanted to pull the bottom can or packet out of one of those ‘food towers’ they build them from?)  Doing so in the name of law and order simply gives you access to the moral high ground too.   Imagine all the bargains there the next day, on the ‘slightly shop soiled’ shelf?  (Actually, do they still construct those towers?  I half think they’ve been done way with in the name of health and safety.  Those “Tin of beans and it’s toast for toddler” types of headlines don’t look good.)

Hot Fuzz at IMDB (7.9 / 10)

Hot Fuzz at Wikipedia


The Visitor / Ghost Trains


The Visitor  -  Front DVD Cover (UK Release)Walter Vale (Richard Jenkins, “Six Feet Under”), a widower of five years, lives an aimless life as a college economics professor in suburban Connecticut.  When Walter reluctantly agrees to fill in for a colleague at a conference in New York City he discovers a young couple, Tarek (Haaz Sleiman) and Zainab (Danai Gurira), have been scammed into illegally renting his vacant flat.  Walter agrees to let them stay until they find a place of their own.  However when an interaction with the police lands Tarek, an undocumented New Yorker, in an ICE detention centre, Walter emerges as the only person able to visit Tarek.  When Tarek’s mother Mouna (Hiam Abbass) appears in search of her son, Walter’s emotional commitment in Tarek’s case is sealed.  As the four people struggle to deal with the stark realities of the US immigration system and their own individual lives, their shared humanity is revealed in awkward, humorous and dramatic ways.

2007  –  Certificate 15  –  USA
Rating Details: Infrequent strong language
8.5 out of 10

In the last two days I’ve had the same, unnerving and surreal experience, twice; once last night and once this morning.  I’ve travelled on two trains and each time had a whole carriage to myself.  (I’ve seen plenty of films where people travel on empty trains and they never end well.)  Last night I could sort of understand; who wants to go from Oxford to London at seven minutes past midnight on a miserable, Monday evening?  (I’d been at a Stranglers gig; amazing band.)  But today I was going from Reading to Winchester at just gone midday.  I was really quite surprised (although relieved) to reach my destinations and not be accosted by a psychotic killer or two, or the undead, or some zombies; it was quite disappointing really.  There is something uniquely creepy about being on what feels like an empty train at night; you can’t see anyone, you can’t see anything out of the windows, you’re just in this metal tube that’s rumbling through the darkness like an out of control monster-thing.  It’s a bit of a tenuous link, but the last scene in this film takes place in a train station.

This is a great film.  It’s really well written, filmed and acted.  It makes a point (about the immigration system in the USA).  It has characters that don’t feel like they were cut out of the back of a cereal packet.  The interaction in it between people who, on the surface have little in common, is top stuff.  Despite their ‘illegal’ status, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Tarak and Zainab; in fact I can’t imagine anyone with any shred of humanity not sympathising with their situation.  Tarak is also Syrian, which give the film an extra poignancy at the moment, although it was made just before the civil war there started.  He comes across as a decent, nice person, a little reminder that most people there are just like the rest of us.  (At this point I started going on about Syria, politicians and diplomats, but when I read it back to myself it sound like total shite, so I deleted it; yes, it really was that bad.)  Anyway, yes, this film.  It was written and directed by Thomas McCarthy, who also wrote and directed “The Station Agent”, probably one of the best ten movies ever made.  “The Visitor” isn’t as good at that, but it’s still pretty awesome.  Watch.

This is another of those films where the music is almost a character in it.  I love them.  A lot of the ‘action’ revolves around Tarak teaching Walter how to play the djembe.

No cats, decapitation or chainsaws.

Recommended for the living.  Plenty of emotional ups and downs, so maybe not so good if you tend to throw up on rollercoasters.

Top badass moment?  When it comes to doing new things, I’ll be the first to admit I’m a coward.  My comfort zone is very well-defined and heavily defended by some serious, state of the art hardware.  Seeing Walter join the drumming circle in the park is most definitely badass.

The Visitor at IMDB (7.7/10)


The Secret: 3.5 Stars


The Secret  -  Front DVD Cover (USA)What if you got one more chance to say goodbye to your loved ones after you died? But what if the only way to do that was to inhabit your daughter’s body?  David Duchovny (“The X-Files” and “Californication”) and Lili Taylor (“The Haunting” and “Ransom”) are Benjamin and Hannah, happily married soul mates whose relationship is brutally severed when Hannah is killed in a car accident.  As she dies, a bizarre twist of fate propels Hannah inside the body of her beautiful teenage daughter, Sam (Olivia Thirlby, “Juno” and “United 93”).  Immersing herself in Sam’s world, Hannah discovers some shocking truths about her daughter’s secret life, while at home, she and her husband draw closer and closer to rekindling their romance….

2007  –  Certificate: R  –  France
Rating Details:  Language Including Some Sexual References and Drug and Alcohol Use Involving Teenagers

I spoke to two people yesterday, on the phone, for quite a long time.  This made me realise that I can’t actually speak properly anymore or string a sentence together at ‘speaking speed’.  I’ve not really had a proper conversation with anyone for weeks; well since before Christmas anyway.  I’ve had plenty of ‘shop chats’ (where you just say “thanks” or “cheers”),  a few other short ones on the phone, plus some on the Tube and in venues where it’s really noisy so you have to shout, but no ‘normal’ ones.  I forgot how to have a normal conversation years ago, but now I can’t even make up sentences up that work grammatically or make sense.  I imagine this might make me even more of a social outcast than I already am, another embarrassing faux pas I can add to a growing list.   Then again, it doesn’t seem to have stopped Professor Stephen Hawking being a genius, although I probably don’t have his insight into ‘how things work’.  I can’t see myself being asked to advertise an insurance comparison website anytime soon; or writing a book on how the universe came into being either.  This film features someone who suddenly finds himself unable to communicate with his wife in the way he’s been used to doing.

This is a decent fantasy thriller.  It’s based on a Japanese one called “Himitsu” that I watched years ago.  (I don’t suppose the fact I watched the latter influenced the decision to make this film.)  It would be quite interesting to Go Compare them side by side, (which for those that haven’t made the connection, relates to the “insurance comparison website” I mentioned earlier).  There’re a number of ‘body swap’ movies out there, but most of them are comedies; this one isn’t.  This could have been a great film, but somehow it just doesn’t quite make it.  The script pulls its punches a bit when it could have really landed a few know-out blows.  The characters don’t quite feel coherent enough to be totally believable; there were too many gaps in time between some scenes, which changed their relationship without us really seeing or knowing why.  This is a shame, as this really is the core of the whole film and at times is really played out well.  It could have explored the difficulties of the situation a lot more too, which would be helpful to anyone who ever found themselves in the same one for real; (okay, so not very likely I admit).  Some of the minor characters seem a bit caricaturish too; I was half expecting them all to go off to a remote location somewhere and get killed by a nutter with a big knife.  Olivia Thirlby’s acting as the daughter/mother is great though.  In a few scenes she switches between them and it’s really spookily convincing.  The car crash one works well too, as does the one in the hospital, very realistic and effective.  So, it underachieves a bit, but at its best it’s more than worth a watch.  As for the rating details, they sound like they could be applied to life in general.

Recommended for people who want to debate the “would if have been incest or not” issue; which doesn’t include me as apparently I can’t speak anymore.

No cats, no chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  It’s not every day you have to deal with your dead wife being sort of reincarnated inside your daughter’s body.  That has to make things really complicated, not that it’s something I’ve ever had to deal with personally you understand.  Under the circumstances, I thought Benjamin took it all pretty well and dealt with it in a relatively thoughtful way.  Dealing with adversity well is badass.

The Secret at IMDB (6.2/10)


White Noise: The Light: 4.0 Stars


White Noise: The Light  -  Front DVD CoverI’ve got nothing to write about today.  For two days I’ve done nothing, except work.  Then again, I have been pretty awesome there, even if I’m the only one that thinks so.  I’ve done tons of stuff and promoted 4-dimensional synergy across a diagonal slice of the organisational structure, effectively creating product evangelists who will live the values of the organisation on an agnostic platform, using the sort of blue sky granularity that will engender a paradigm thrust in the engagement pipeline.   After all, we wouldn’t want to wrong-side the demographic.  Scary stuff.   This movie is also scary.

2007  –  Certificate: 15  –  Canadian
Rating Details: Supernatural horror

This is a really creepy horror.  In fact I’d go as far as to say it’s the scariest film I’ve seen this year.  I can generally deal with murders, wars, zombies, rapes, freaks, destruction of the Earth and other day-to-day stuff like that.  But things that involve the dead poking their noses where they don’t belong (i.e. around the living) tend to weird me out a bit.  To be fair, I sort of lost track of the nuances of the plot at some point, but the whole ‘I can see when someone is going to die and do something to stop that happening’ vibe is kind of cool; the reluctant superhero sort of thing mixed up with a bit of ghostbusters.  It’s not a comedy though.  The main character (Abe) was a sympathetic enough guy for me to want him to get it all sorted out in the end.  The ‘piano crash’ scene is great too.

Recommended for people who enjoy soiling their underwear.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.

Top badass moment?  Abe’s doing the superhero thing and tying to save people from dying.  That has to be badass, especially if you’re not a ‘real’ superhero and it’s only been a few days since you tried to commit suicide following the violent death of your own family.  What a shame it all goes a bit pear-shaped.  All in all, not a great week by anyone’s standard.  Still, he got a kiss from his nurse, so it’s not all bad.

White Noise: The Light on IMDB (5.8/10)


Bad Reputation: 3.5 Stars


  • Bad Reputation  -  Front DVD CoverOne of the things that’s always puzzled me about trees is that you chop them down and then you chop them up.  What’s all that about then?  This film features no scenes in which trees play a significant part, (although one does have what you might call an important ‘supporting role’ at one point); there is, nevertheless, quite a lot of chopping up going on in it.

2007  –  Certificate: R  –  USA
Rating Details: Violence (including rape), sexual content, language and substance abuse all involving teens

When I was 17/18, I spent most of my time either trying to learn things, or talking to my best mates, Jacob and Simon, about music and stuff.  It’s true, sometimes life wasn’t much fun, but I don’t recall anyone being branded the “school slut” or any murders taking place amongst the school population.  I guess everything really is bigger and, eh, ‘better’ in America.  Despite the sometimes weak acting, this is a generally fun horror to watch.  It’s especially fun if you like to see the clever, quiet girl at school (called Michelle in this example) get abused and then branded as the “School Slut”, before she takes revenge on her tormentors by killing them off, one by one; I know I do.  I have to say I could see her point, bullies are bad.  Her mum was the mother-from-hell too, with the film providing us with a master-class in how to be a bad parent.  If I was Michelle I’d had dealt with her at the same time; in for a penny in for a pound as they say.  Angelique Hennessy (Michelle) puts in a decent performance, some of the time anyway; but in truth all she really needs to do is look foxy (which she does) and let her unfeasibly long legs do the acting for her.  (Why the cover art on the DVD doesn’t even seem to feature her, I have no idea.)  She’s vegan too according to IMDB (the actress not the character), so as far as I’m concerned that means Michelle was just getting rid of a few carnivores, so we should all be thankful to her for that.  What this film does do well is take its time giving the main characters personalities that aren’t all a carbon copy of one another and seem more like real people with real motivations, before the inevitable blood-bath starts up.  It made watching them die more enjoyable!  Oh yes, the main male character Aaron, looks an awful lot like Tim Wheeler from Ash, which was decidedly weird.  On a technical note, it features a Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack.  Where’d the base channel go?  It did have a distinctly scratchy sound and would probably send any dogs unfortunate enough to hear it into a rage.  By the way, don’t watch this and expect it to be very realistic, it will just spoil it for you if you do.

No cats or chainsaws, but 1 decapitation.  The latter a one-swipe classic with a machete, in a full Jason Voorhees outfit.  Excellent!

You know what sort of characters are featured in this film; you know what they get up to; so you know exactly the sort of demographic it’s recommended for.

Top badass moment?  It was good to see Michelle, even during her killing spree, was taking the time to continue with her studies.  A good education is very important and therefore badass; after all, you can’t be a serial killer forever.

Bad Reputation at IMDB (4.9/10)


Vacancy: 4.0 Stars


Vacancy  -  Front DVD CoverLet’s talk houseplants.  I’ve just spent 20 minutes looking for a plastic container that I use to water my houseplants.  It’s quite large and bright yellow.  My flat isn’t exactly what you’d describe as huge, so a 20 minutes search for something so big and brightly coloured should have been about as difficult as locating a computer that has Google set up at its homepage, in Google’s headquarters.  I was about to go into an explanation that part of my flat had probably passed through some sort of distortion in the space-time continuum recently and that my watering container had somehow fallen into a rip in continuum; but then I found it; (by which I mean the watering container, not a distortion in the space-time continuum).  How it stupidly got itself wedged nearly behind the hot-water tank I’ll never know; perhaps there is some ‘new physics’ at work here after all?  Anyway, I’ve watered all of my modest collection of houseplants now.  One of my plants is an Easter Cactus.  I’ve had this for more years than I can remember and it’s followed me about from place to place as I’ve moved homes over the years.  It’s not that big but it does grow some new leaves (well technically I think their part of its stem) each year, as it quietly passes the time in a pot hanging from the ceiling.  In all this time the ungrateful so-and-so has never so much as offered me a single flower.  However, the BIG NEWS is that when I was watering just now, I noticed two, big, vivid red, flower buds on it!  A discovery of this magnitude seriously rates alongside that of penicillin and fire.  If an alien walked into my flat now and ask me to take (him?/her?/it?) to my leader, I’d be less interested in that than in the flowers-to-be on my plant.  The level of excitement and anticipation in my life has just increased by a magnitude of, em, something really, really big; like the universe for example.  After what’s been a pretty miserable start to the year in Cactus World, when news of this leaks out onto the streets there’s going to be some serious partying going on.  Oh no, I’ve wet myself…again.  By the way, this film didn’t feature any houseplants whatsoever.  (Well okay, there was a pot on the motel front desk that looked like it might have some sort of plant growing in it, but it didn’t look very healthy.  There was also a bigger plant in the room elsewhere, but I have a feeling that wasn’t real.  The motel’s owner didn’t come across as the sort of person that would be that good with plants.)

2007  –  Certificate: 15  –  USA
Rating Details: Sustained terrorisation and strong violence

This is actually a very good movie.  In fact I’d go as far as to say that in the crowded ‘group trapped somewhere and being stalked by a mad killer’ genera, it’s one of the best.  Much of it is pretty generic, (broken down car, no mobile signal, spooky motel in the middle of nowhere, etc), but what makes it different is that its two main characters actually behave in a generally sensible, consistent and logical way; (I’d definitely have trashed all the ‘hidden’ cameras though, if it was me).  This in turn makes it feel a much more realistic film and consequently a lot more scary than it might otherwise have been. It made me jump several times; all that banging on the doors! It’s got Kate Beckinsale in it too, looking lovely as ever.  However much she kicks Lycan (or whoever’s it is) ass in the “Underworld” films, she’ll always be that nice, girl-next-door in “Shooting Fish” to me; the latter is also the only film I’ve ever been kicked out of a cinema while watching, although I have to say this was less to do with my behaviour and more to do with the fire alarm going off; it was quite a while before I bought it on DVD and saw the ending.

No cats and no decapitations.

Recommend for scary film fans.  Not recommend for houseplant fans.

Top badass moment?  When you’re being chased by thugs making a snuff movie, starring you, pretty well any excuse you use to turn the role down is going to be badass.  They’re plenty of examples here, but when a director wants you it’s pretty hard to get across that “no” means no.

Vacancy at IMDB


28 Weeks Later: 4.5 Stars


28 Weeks Later  -  Front DVD CoverThis film features a Britain that’s been entirely depopulated by an infection; just about everyone who wasn’t evacuated is now dead.  (And to think it all happened because of some cruel and pointless experiments on animals in the prequel “28 Days Later”).  Most of it’s filmed in London.  It’s set around six months after the first movie and focuses on the repopulation of the country, which has started in and around Canary Wharf.  NATO (mainly the US Army) is in charge of this.  While watching this movie I was struck by just how inexplicably uncomfortable the later felt.  There’s no suggestion in the film that they’re doing this for any other reason than the obvious one, but it made me realise just how undesirable the armed forces from another country might feel if they were in your country and in control of things.  I suppose it’s a feeling of powerlessness and not totally trusting people who aren’t ‘your own’.  Needed perhaps, helpful possibly, but not really wanted.  I think I now understand a little more about the relationship between the West and elsewhere and why countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya (and even Russia) react they way they do to Western involvement in their affairs.  All politicians and soldiers should watch this part of this film.  

2007  –  Certificate: 18  –  United Kingdom

Rating Details: Strong bloody violence and gore

This is a sequel that’s actually better than the original.  It’s an action-horror and possibly one of my ten favourite horror films of all time.  It’s weird seeing so many shots of London entirely empty of people and traffic.  With some great special effects, it works well as both a horror and an action film.  It’s only its MTV-esque fast editing (which gives anyone over the age of 16 a headache) during some of the action scenes that I don’t like.  It has a few classic “oh that’s so stupid” plot moments, but by and large it’s edge of the seat stuff; good music too.  And did I get the very slight feeling that it might just have ended with a set up for another film?  I think I did.  This is a film you should watch.

Recommended for anyone who thinks zombies would be much better if they didn’t tend to stagger around very slowly; and for anyone who doesn’t like banks.

No cats and at least six decapitations.  (You’d need to watch parts of it frame by frame to get the correct number; a helicopter blade can do a lot of damage!)

Top badass moment?  Seeing the City fire-bombed to bits by the US Air Force.  That’ll give us a banking crisis to really whine about.  Bye-bye Canary Wharf Tower; a building that normally contains thousands of people who’re employed to press buttons all day; how constructive.  Far more useful I’m sure, than a plumber, a carpenter, a scientist, an engineer, a teacher, a farmer, a nurse, a care worker…

28 Weeks Later at IMDB