Posts tagged “2010

The Silence / Learning the Guitar


The Silence  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseOn a hot summer day, a bicycle is found in a wheat field, and, nearby, the body of a young girl.  The killer is never found. 23 years later.  Same date.  Same place.  Another bicycle.  Another girl.  This time round, an ageing detective convinced that history is repeating itself, comes out of retirement determined to track down the perpetrator with the help of his young colleague.  Spanning a week in the investigation, both of them will begin a journey that will see intact worlds shatter apart.  A striking debut, The Silence is based on an award-winning novel and follows European crime thrillers such as “The Killing” and “Wallander” as it delves into the psyche of detectives and criminals to deliver a chilling story of murder and betrayal.

2010  –  Certificate 15  –  German Film
Strong language and sexual violence
8.5 out of 10

I’ve got sore fingers.  Fed up with my existing career options, I’ve decided to take advantage of the Christmas week and learn how to play the guitar.  Once I’ve done this I’ll become a rock star.  I’ve got plenty of social grievances and failed love affairs to write about, so it ought to be pretty easy to do once I’ve managed to learn a chord.  Posters of me in seductive, semi-naked poses will soon be starring down from the walls of countless, teenage girls’ bedrooms up and down the country.  Justin Bieber will just have to piss off down the dole office where he belongs.   My guitar is a rather nice, left-handed Westbury Standard, a model that was made for a few years around 1980 and bought for me by one of those aforementioned failed lover affairs.  Despite my cack-handed abuse of it, it rarely goes out of tune and I’ve yet to break a string, even though my playing has all the subtlety of Freddy Kruger in a maternity ward.  But how hard can it be?  Look at all the stupid people who seem to have managed.  Sadly, I apparently have hands like a horse’s hooves when it comes to playing.  Why does it need so many strings and why are they so close together?  Stupid design.  I thought it would only take a few hours, but apparently it takes longer than that….  I’m not a happy bunny.

This is a film with no happy characters in it; at all.  No one comes out of it well.  Everyone ends up more fucked up than they were to start with.  No, it’s not a documentary about real life, but a German movie about two paedophiles and the police investigation to apprehend them.  I’m personally not a big fan of crime films.  All that Sherlock Homes, Poirot, Scooby Doo stuff, where at the end everyone’s in a room and all the details get blurted out.  Yawn…  Fortunately this is a lot better.  What actually makes it so good is the way it gets inside everyone’s head and exposes all the guilt within; the police, the victims’ families, the perpetrators, the perpetrators’ families.  It’s a real lose-lose story.  I found it hard at times not to feel sorry for everyone, even the ‘baddies’ in their own, screwed up way.  I was also struck by just how scruffy, undisciplined and a bit mad all the German police seemed to be.  At times the feel of the film reminded me of the French horror “7 Days”, although that’s even darker.  Overall this is very close to being a genuinely great film.  Only it’s slightly frustrating habit of introducing ideas that it then doesn’t really do anything with, let’s it down.

The music used in this film is fine and works well.

Considering this is a trailer with no words it actually not bad.  I’m not sure it tells a great deal about the film’s plot, although it does a decent job of getting the atmosphere across.

Recommended for the police, caretakers and architects.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Everyone is so miserable and wracked with guilt that it’s difficult to find anything worthy of being considered badass.  I guess the weather was nice most of the time; lovely warm, sunny days.  Summer is badass.  Winter is just crap; short days, cold, damp and wet.  Yuk.

The Silence at IMDB (6.8 / 10)
The Silence at Wikipedia
The Silence at Roger Ebert (3.5  / 5)
The Silence at YouTube

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Exam / There Are Always Alternatives


Exam  -  Front Blu-ray Cover (UK Release)Eight candidates face the interview from hell.  Led into a windowless concrete bunker they are given eighty minutes to answer one simple question.  A question that will take each candidate to the very edge… and beyond, as they are forced to confront their deepest, darkest, most violent fears.  This nerve shredding thrill ride features a cast that includes Colin Salmon (“AvP”, “Die Another Day”), Jimi Mistry (“2012”), and Luke Mably (“28 Days Later”). Do you have what it takes to sit the “Exam”?

2010  –  Certificate: 15  –  UK
Rating Details: Strong language and one scene of torture
8.5 out of 10

About once a week I travel by train in the evening between Reading and London.  I use First Great (delusions of grandeur) Western’s non-stop service to/from London Paddington; takes about half an hour, there’s hardly ever a seat and it’s always cold.  When I come back afterwards, if I’m lucky, I get the chance to travel on one of its stopping services, which are much the same except they take nearer an hour, are colder and even more crowded.  It’s public transport for cattle, but it’s fast, (well except the stopping service).  Yesterday I went to see the awesome Random Hand at the Borderline in central London.  (An evening that included the observation by Robin the singer, that one side of the Wall of Death looked ready for action and the other like the end of a stag do; which I have to say was profoundly accurate.)  So I got to Reading Station, only to discover that the whole line into Paddington is closed over Easter, while Railtrack plays ‘train sets’ with it.  Three rail replacement bus services were being offered instead; noooooooooo!  However, Reading isn’t a transport ‘node’ for nothing.  Hidden away in the corner on the new platforms is the South West Trains direct service to London Waterloo.  I never take it, as it stops 16 times and dumps you in south London 82 minutes later.  (In fact under normal circumstances, it would actually be quicker to get the Paddington train and then travel on the Underground across London to Waterloo.) Putting my best Indiana Jones foot forward I decided to chance it and test out this hitherto, unexplored world.  I can now confirm that it does officially ‘take forever’ to reach London this way.  However, there was hardly anyone on the train (in either direction) and the carriages (which are pretty new) were actually quite warm.  It all felt quite civilised, rather like I image the Orient Express to be, minus the “Express” and “Orient” bits; and probably most of the rest too.  But all in all, it passed the test.   This movie is about a test too.

I hate exams.  Other people seem to breeze through them but I hate them.  This probably has something to do with my being very stupid and not knowing anything, although I used to blame it on the injustices of a system that rewards people with large, page-filling handwriting. With this in mind it’s hard for me not to consider this film a horror, by it’s really a thriller.  There are a few plot holes and other inconsistencies, but it’s otherwise a great study of a group of highly motivated people, who allow themselves to get spooked by stress and the environment they’re in.  I remember being on a ‘Training the Trainer’ training course many years ago and for some reason when all the shutters on the windows of the room we were in were closed, it had a similar effect.  This is an excellent film, made almost entirely in one room.  “Resilience is a key attribute in these dark times and if you can’t survive our selection process you won’t survive in the job.”  I must remember that for the next time I interview anyone at work, to put the candidates at their ease.

For a nice change this isn’t a film that’s a marketing exercise for a CD of tunes by loads of boring bands who have 15 second clips of their songs in it, who are also all strangely on a record label owned by the same company as the film.  This movie has a soundtrack that you won’t remember, but if it was taken away you’d notice.  It’s nicely done, tension-building stuff.  The one exception to this ‘invisibility’ is the song that part of sounds exactly like the beginning of “Twilight of the Innocents” by Ash.

Recommended for anyone who‘s involved in setting exams, interviewing or just likes to mess with peoples’ heads.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  The Invigilator walks into the room, gives out the instructions for the exam to a group of highly qualified people and then leaves.  That’s badass.  I wish I could be that cool and self-assured.  If it was me, I’d have forgotten some of what I was meant to say, made some not funny comments, confused everyone and then left.

Exam at IMDB (6.8 / 10)



The Virginity Hit: 3.5 Stars


The Virginity Hit  -  Front DVD CoverCactus World doesn’t have its own football team, so the population is forced to support England.  This has a couple of drawbacks.  For a start, England never actually wins anything.  (Well that’s not strictly true I know and I was in fact alive when England last won anything, the World Cup in 1966, not that I remember this directly.)  This makes for an ultimately depressing experience.  Even if it did win something we’d find a good reason to trash the whole adventure and ensure that no one got any credit for the achievement.  Secondly, on the odd occasion England win any individual matches, they do so in such a stress-inducing way that it’s been medically proved that it takes three months off the expected life-span of anyone unfortunate enough to witness the event.  It’s only a matter of time before the England Football Team has to carry a big health warning on its strip, like cigarettes. Last night’s 3-2 win against Sweden is proof of this.  When I watch England I have to drink a bottle of strong cider each time it scores a goal, (plus one to start with to prevent, ahem, dehydration); however, drunkenness is rarely a problem.  I like to consider this not as a soft drugs problem, but more as a prescription, a medical thing, to help me deal with big-match stress issues.  (Being made of apples, each bottle of cider also provides me with one of my five-a-day portions of fruit and vegetables, which makes it doubly good.)

2010  –  Certificate: 18  –  USA
Rating Details:  Strong sex and sexualised nudity and frequent drug use

There are so many things to hate and despise about this film. I scarcely know where to start listing them.  However, it’s also far funnier and better than it sounds like it ought to be.  A group of young guys decide to ‘help’ one of their number, Matt, to lose his virginity and to put all the ‘action’ up on YouTube.  I did genuinely feel sorry for Matt, even though he was a bit of a twat; but somehow he was a sympathetic enough character that I found myself on his side.  In fact, for all their unpleasant traits, most of the characters in this movie are really quite likable, most of the time anyway.  The relationships between them and their reactions to what happens feel very natural and help to offset the rest of the nonsense going on. The music works well in the film too, as does the documentary feel.

Recommended for people who aren’t going to get offended by, well, everything in the movie really.

No cats and no decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Matt’s friends collecting money so they can pay his favourite porn star, Sunny Leone (who’s a real porn actress and plays herself in the film), to have sex with him.  How sweet.  True friends like that are hard to come by and are therefore badass.

The Virginity Hit at IMDB (4.4)