He stole from the rich, gave to the poor and desperately needs the help of Tom and Jerry! Now the famous outlaw Robin Hood has been captured by the evil Sheriff of Nottingham, and Robin Hood’s true love, the fair maiden Maid Marian, faces grave danger at the hands of greedy Prince John. Can sworn adversaries Tom and Jerry set aside their differences long enough to save the day? With high-flying action, daredevil stunts and rollicking songs, your favourite cartoon Cat-at-Arms Thomas and Merry Mouse Jerry take furry aim at the beloved medieval tale in a new, full-length original movie. It’s all for one and fun for all in Sherwood Forest’s most madcap swashbuckling adventure ever!
2012 – Certificate: Not Rated – American Film
7.0 out of 10
I was so busy at work last week that I didn’t even have the time to be busy. And I don’t think this week is going to be any better. Tomorrow I’ve got to get up at stupid o’clock to drive to Croydon to interview people all day. Perhaps I can just curl up under the table and go to sleep; there are four of us interviewing so I probably won’t even be missed. In other Cactus World news, the weather continues to be unseasonably warm and I still haven’t had to put any heating on at home yet, although I have recently started to deploy ‘The Blanket’ sometimes, to put around myself when sitting in the lounge. In my head I imagine I look a little like the Dark Knight, wrapped in his cloak and brooding over what to do about the latest crime wave in Gotham; whereas to anyone else I probably look like a little fat bloke with a maroon blanket wrapped around him, because he’s too mean to put the heating on. But I’m happily sitting in just a t-shirt right now; (and trousers and stuff), so it’s not cold. If only I can make it to Saturday, I’ll have got to November and can make some pointless point about something or other. This Climate Change stuff isn’t all bad you know. Worldwide, economic meltdown, wars, mass migration and a few ocean states totally obliterated under the waves, is a small price to pay for my comfort. It almost makes me want to start eating meat again. Or maybe not… Oh wow, I’ve just had a really, really, REALLY cool idea. In future I’m going to comment on the weather in each film I watch. Is that not the most exciting thing you’ve heard for ages? When I was in my teens I wanted to become a meteorologist. I’m a Bit, we’re obsessed with the weather, it’s genetic. The problem was that I was crap at just about all the subjects that you needed to be good at to become one. So instead I ended up working for an organisation whose mission is basically to get people to dig lots of small, differently shaped holes and then fill them in again, or burn stuff.
Thought I’d been given the wrong disc when I first played it, as all I got was two posh guys going about their obsession with money and power and how they wanted to tax the poor more. I thought I’d mistakenly been sent a rogue copy of a party political broadcast on behalf of the Conservative Party. But then I realised that it wasn’t; George Osbourne doesn’t have a beard. So having sorted that out I was faced with a Tom and Jerry film that actually didn’t do too badly in terms of not abusing the general Robin Hood legend (for an American cartoon). It also fancied itself as a bit of a musical, which again is quite a nice nod to the fact that a lot of Robin Hood folklore comes in the form of ballads. Fortunately T&J don’t sing anything; that would just be a step too far. Wars have been fought over less. I actually quite enjoyed it and the plot was a bit more sensible than normal too. Wasn’t nearly enough cat on mouse on cat violence though. Why does everything have to be so toned down these days? I watched loads of old school Tom & Jerry when I was young and it never did me any harm; and anyone who says different can fucking go and die horribly with an ironing board smashed into their face, whilst being ripped apart in a food blender, before being blown up in an oven and sent flying skyward and then sucked through a jet airline engine. Anyway, another good point is that Maid Marian turned out to be a bit of a sex kitten in her strange, leotard-like dress; she was quite the feisty babe. It was one of the rare occasions in T&J animations that I could really see what was ratting everyone’s cage, so to speak. If you want to watch some modern T&J and see a bit of plot too, then you could do a lot worse than this movie.
Well it’s a musical of sorts and Tom and Jerry, not being the most talkative of guys, have traditionally always had full soundtracks to support their relationship. There’s nothing especially memorable here, but overall it’s pretty good stuff. The musical songs actually sound like proper musical songs too, rather than crappy, modern pop.
Movie Weather Forecast. Nothing to report. Well I only just thought of the idea so to be honest I didn’t really notice anything when I watched this last week.
The trailer’s okay, but it does undersell the movie a bit. The film’s better.
Recommend for politicians, outlaws and anyone planning next year’s (2015) Labour Party election publicity.
1 cat (obviously), no chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Jerry shoots an arrow at Tom from a powerful, mounted crossbow, which pins Tom to a wooden post. When Tom looks down and notices, we’re rewarded with one of his classic ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGHs!!! Unfortunately the arrow only goes under Tom’s arm rather than through him, such are kids’ cartoons these days. But those moments are always badass. As an adult I still mentally react in the same way as Tom whenever the occasion arises.
Eager to shift thoughts away from The Troubles during the 1970s, music fanatic Terri Hooley (Richard Dormer, TV’s “Game of Thrones”) opens a record store, ‘Good Vibrations’, in the heart of one of Belfast’s roughest districts. As the shop gains a loyal following, Terri starts a small record label with the aim of launching some of the local bands, including The Undertones whose first single, ‘Teenage Kicks’, is championed by legendary Radio 1 DJ John Peel…. A heart-warming and hilarious true story, Good Vibrations is not a feel-good film – it’s a feel-great film!
2012 – Certificate: 15 – British/Irish Film
Rating Details: Strong language, once very strong, and drug use
8.5 out of 10
In 1981 I was selecting what universities might be desperate enough to entertain me with an offer of admission. This, you’re told, is an important decision that could affect your whole life and one you should make after due, diligent consideration. At my sixth form college we had folders and files bulging with all the propaganda, prospectuses and other marketing materials from all the universities and polytechnics in the country. At the bottom of one cabinet, filed away under U, was a folder containing a slim, A5 sized booklet, and that’s it. Unlike everything else, which was dog-eared, scribbled over and had pages torn from it, this little publication was in pristine condition, untouched, unread. In the early 80s The Troubles were in full swing in Northern Ireland and no self-respecting student from an okay suburb in north-west London was going to even consider the New University of Ulster. The Undertones was (and still is) a punk band from Derry, which is about 30 miles from Coleraine, where the main campus was for the NUU. Entirely on the strength of this geographical connection and much to the consternation of my parents, I picked the NUU as one of my five choices of university. In the end I got offers from three of these, including the NUU. Six months later, thanks to some less than stellar A Level results, it’s where I ended up. (In truth I think it would probably have take just about anyone from England, regardless of their stupidity levels, as it was so desperate for ‘overseas’ students.) This film explains why this happened and why my life has turned out the way it has. I’d like to think I’m a tiny, unwritten footnote somewhere that’s connected to this film. I still have the Good Vibrations price labels on a few records (I didn’t want to peel them off) and without consciously trying to collect them have most of the label’s early releases too. Some wonderful songs were released during that period. It’s hard to believe it’s almost ten years since John Peel died too.
I’ve never met Terri Hooley and I probably never will, but I think I’d like him if I did. He released the Undertones first single “Teenage Kicks” on his own little label that he started in his record shop in Belfast. He then got a copy to John Peel, who played it twice in a row on his show on BBC Radio 1. The rest is well documented history. If he’d not done this, I’d never have heard of the Undertones and that modest prospectus would have remained hidden in the blue file in the bottom draw. I think I still have it somewhere as I ‘borrowed’ it from the file; I don’t suppose anyone ever noticed it was missing. It’s quite an experience to watch a film that tells the story of someone who had such an unplanned effect on your own life. As a stand-alone movie it’s not perfect. Of course it has a montage of The Troubles and lots of characters who could only be from Northern Ireland. (When they weren’t busy marching around, shooting each other and blowing things up, the Northern Irish were some of the nicest and kindest people you could meet. Better than the English anyway!) In that sense it’s very clichéd, yet it’s still a really fun and enjoyable watch. The fact that it’s based on a true story just adds to its attraction. From my own knowledge of things, there are a number of scenes and touches in the film that really reflect what happened, although I’m sure there’s plenty of dramatisation too. An essential watch.
This is a film about someone who loves music. As such it features lots of great tunes, from reggae through to bands like the Outcasts, Rudi and of course the Undertones. It also contains absolutely the best music porn I’ve ever seen. For around 15 minutes it presents the story of “Teenage Kicks” and it couldn’t have been done better. It’s perfect and a brilliant and loving homage to it. After a couple of false starts the song finally bursts out on the screen and for 2 minutes and 28 seconds (more or less) we just get to experience the moment it was first played by John Peel. Of course, the band has written better songs since, but none will ever quite have the impact and resonance of “Teenage Kicks”. (They even managed to get some actors to play the band who mostly had a decent resemblance to the real people.) I must have about a dozen copies of it on various records and CDs. Of course, I already have a ticket for the band’s next gig in London, in nine months time.
The trailer is perfect. It contains “Teenage Kicks”.
Recommended for dreamers, musicians, music fans and anyone who’s ever fallen under the spell of any song.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitation.
Top badass moment? After the great built up, “Teenage Kicks” bursting out of the speakers provides THE most badass experience it’s possible to have. An iconic tune by the best band on the planet. Still gigging and still way ahead of their peers.
“Hello I Must Be Going” features acclaimed actress Melanie Lynskey (“Up In The Air”, “Two And A Half Men”) in her breakout role as Amy, a recent divorcée who seeks refuge in the suburban Connecticut home of her parents (Blythe Danner and John Rubinstein). Demoralized and directionless, Amy begins an affair with 19-year-old actor Jeremy (“Girls”’ Christopher Abbott) that reignites her passion for life and jumpstarts her independence. Coupling Danner’s riveting performance as a frustrated empty nester with Lynskey’s endearing depiction of both the comic and tragic avenues of life at a crossroads, “Hello I Must Be Going” is a modern, unconventional love story infused with sex, humour and raw, emotional honesty.
2012 – Certificate: R – American Film
Rating Details: Language and Sexual Content
7.0 out of 10
I went to see the dentist today. Not my usual one but a “minor dental surgery” dentist. I reported to reception and was promptly sent “downstairs”. Isn’t that were they normally keep all the torture equipment in dungeons, along with the soundproofed rooms? My earliest life memory is of a dentist removing one of my teeth when I was about five or six. I just remember screaming my head off because of the pain and my mum coming into the room and pinning the dentist up against the wall, no doubt giving him quite a large piece of her mind. Those sorts of things tend to stick in your mind. I don’t think I’ve had a dentist remove any of my teeth since. So anyway, downstairs I went. The dentist I met appeared to have zero sense of humour and his comment that I’d been sent to him “as an emergency” to “have my wisdom tooth dug out” sounded a little too near the truth for my liking. Well I’m terribly sorry my “emergency” has taken so long to get sorted out that my body has given up waiting and decided to deal with the pain problem itself. In future I’ll gargle with hot, melted sugar every four hours. He had a five second look in my mouth before declaring that he could remove it there and then, but it would probably hurt. He then ‘explained’ why this was so in such a way as to make no sense to me whatsoever; something to do with the fact that as it isn’t bothering me much now it would hurt to remove it. (“But” I wondered to myself, “what about the injections and stuff you could give me to stop it hurting?”) So instead he sent me away with another course of antibiotics and an instruction to go back next week. When I tried to book the appointment I was told he was fully booked, so I now have to go back in two weeks instead. The only other thing he told me was that the tooth was close to a nerve, so I might end up with numbness in my lip, chin or tongue, forever; although he did say that probably wouldn’t happen in my case; I guess that was his way of trying to cheer me up. I don’t think he liked me… When I left I was given a sheet of paper with some information on it. This included the gem that, “ …wisdom teeth can cause a number of problems that mean the truth is best removed.” Typo? I don’t think so. Maybe I’ll have a go myself with a bit of string tried to a door handle? I think I’ll make a will. This film is also about a life changing experience.
35 year old divorcée has affair with 19 year old guy. Various embarrassing thing happen. The end. Why is it even called “an affair?” She’s not married anymore and neither is he. In fact neither of them is in any sort of relationship. Calling it “an affair” just makes it seem a bit seedy. I also hate that her family is one of those American ‘film families’ that go on about having no money, yet live in a big, flash house and even have workman in doing loads of improvement work to it. Sorry, but that’s not my definition of poor. My definition of poor includes taking the rubbish bags from outside the likes of Starbucks at night and going through them, looking for discarded packets of sandwiches etc that have passed their sell-by date. Having said all that, this is actually quite a good film which is genuinely funny in places. Melanie Lynskey makes it work. The rest look like they were purchased from the Slightly Quirky Film Characters (American Division – Middle Class) Company.
It’s got a decent trailer, except it does big up the physical stuff a bit. Most of the time Amy and Jeremy aren’t even onscreen together. It’s far more of an embarrassing comedy that an erotic romance.
The movie contains a lot of well meaning but somewhat weedy, folky, guitar music. It’s okay, it works.
Recommended for lawyers, divorcées, ‘poor people’ and teen guys that fancy ‘older women’.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? 19 year old Jeremy gets off with 35 year old Amy. Well that’s pretty badass isn’t it?
Academy Award Winner Cuba Gooding Jr. and Academy Award Nominee Terrence Howard lead a powerful ensemble cast in this high-flying epic inspired by the real-life adventures of the first African-American combat unit to serve in World War II. Italy, 1944. As the war takes its toll on Allied forces in Europe, a squadron of black pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen are finally given the chance to prove themselves in the sky… even as they battle discrimination on the ground. Featuring jaw-dropping aerial action and thrilling special effects, Red Tails is a breathtaking tribute to the unsung heroes who rose above extraordinary challenges and ultimately soared into history.
2012 – Certificate 12 – American Film
Rating Details: Moderate war violence
8.5 out of 10
When I was young I was kind of obsessed with aeroplanes. In particular, those used during the Second World War. I used to read as much as I could about them, make and paint models of them to hang from my bedroom ceiling, and see them in museums and shows whenever I could. I knew EVERYTHING there was to know about them. I also used to buy as many copies of the Commando war comics as I could, (just the ones featuring WW2 aircraft, although I did occasionally stoop to reading stories set during WW1 or about gliders). In these, I discovered how the brave, British Tommy basically won WW2 on his own, all the Germans were called Fritz or Hans and all they ever seemed to say was “Gott im Himmel!” or “mein gott!”, as an RAF Spitfire or Hurricane blasted to pieces whatever bit of German engineering the unfortunate Hans and Fritz happened to be in at the time. (I think the Italians fared even worse, as they always seemed to be presented as either cowards or traitors.) A few stories were set in Asia or North Africa, but most featured Europe. Despite all this, I like to think I’ve grown up with a fairly balanced view of Germans and history. In fact I had a lovely German girlfriend for many years, until she saw sense and left me. (Somewhat ironically, the printing of the comics was moved to Germany last year.) It’s many years since I threw them all away (and seeing the price some early copies now sell for, I wish I’d kept them), but my love of the aircraft has remained. “The Battle of Britain” is one of my all-time favourite films. Sadly, there aren’t a huge number of such films and there’s not exactly a lot being made these days, so I was quite excited when this one was released. So were my childhood memories trashed by the Yanks?
This movie is two things. Firstly, it’s a drama about the first American, Black fighter pilots in WW2 and the shockingly ignorant behaviour towards them by their own side. It’s also an action film about brave, gung-ho heroes, blowing up loads of Nazi stuff. Unfortunately the two things don’t quite go together. Only someone wearing with a silly-looking, pointy white hat, (or possibly some Daily Mail readers or EDF morons) are not going to accept the point of the first element. Although it provides a framework for everything else, this isn’t really looked into in enough depth to be totally satisfying. If simply raising awareness of what went on was the point then this part was a success, (it was all new to me), but as a drama about what happened, it was a bit ‘empty’. This brings us to the action side of things. In many ways this film was a bit of an ego project for George Lucas, but given his background you’d hope it would be fun; and it is. Nearly everything was created as computer graphics and watching it on Blu-ray they looked fab. The dogfight sequences are worth watching for their own sake. The film seems to have attracted a lot of criticism, but what did people expect? It’s about as realistic as “Star Wars” or “Indiana Jones”, but as a movie that bought the vibe of my Commando comics to life, it did good. For a lot of the time I forgot that most of the characters were Black and just enjoyed the sight of our heroes blasting away at all manner of Nazi hardware and personnel; trains, fighter aces, airfields, destroyers and even the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet all get blown to bits. The scrip is far from perfect and once or twice it felt more like I was watching Snoop Dogg rather than a 1940’s guy flying a plane; sometimes the characters seemed too modern. After starting with two clichéd lines of dialogue that really should only been seen in a comic book frame, it did finally produce a couple of powerfully emotional scenes towards the end. I loved it for what it is, but I can understand why it disappoints so many others.
The soundtrack is decent enough and it felt there’s an awful lot of it used.
The trailer is also decent enough, if a bit superficial.
Recommended for Second World War aircraft obsessives and war comic fans; not recommend for military historians, racists or ‘Lucas haters’.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Joe “Lightening” Little does two strafing runs over a Nazi destroyer in his P-51 Mustang. The ship basically blows up. That’s badass. For that reason alone, we shouldn’t let a little something like military realism, the ‘law of averages’ or historical accuracy spoil the action. That’s what the History Channel is for.
Special agent Jeremy Reins (Stephen Dorff) is about to have a very bad day. He wakes up in total darkness, confused and disorientated. The only light comes from the blood-red digital numbers ticking away above his head. Jeremy quickly realizes he’s in trouble. It’s hard to breathe. He can barely move. And no one will answer his cries for help. Then, he hears the sound of an engine and it all becomes clear…he’s trapped in the trunk of a moving car. As his captors reveal their motives, Jeremy realizes he won’t be set free until he discloses classified Government information he has sworn to protect.
2012 – Certificate 15 – American Film Rating Details: Strong violence and bloody images 7.0 out of 10
My car’s boot is nearly always full of stuff to recycle. Tins, bottles, bits of metal, broken and discarded electronics, batteries, bulbs, paper and cardboard; they all end up rolling about in the boot along with a first aid kit, a box about a quarter full of bottles of COUNTDown, a sharps kit, a pair of wellington boots and a 12” base speaker. When I’m at my more organised these items are joined by a 4’ crow bar, a 21” bow saw, a spade and a pair of loppers. A car boot is basically a giant pocket; it’s the male equivalent of a ladies handbag. (I’m not sure what women drivers keep in the boot of their cars; it’s not the sort of question you ask in polite society. Make-up? Lipstick? Soft toys? Shoes? Who knows?) I imagine there’s a whole branch of science that can determine someone’s past, present and future lives, simply by investigating what that person keeps in their boot. The stuff for recycling does get removed from time to time, whenever I drive past the Smallmead Household Waste Recycling Centre; (or “the dump” as it’s know by just about everyone). In a double-whammy of individual person-power, I not only recycle just about everything I can, but don’t make special trips to the dump to get rid of stuff either. The Earth is so lucky to have me as a friend! I suppose all I’m trying to do is point out that I don’t often have a special agent in my boot; or even a common or garden variety one; they don’t take either for recycling at the dump anyway. And even if I did they’d just be able to rip the cover and get out, as I drive an estate with one of those roll back covers for hiding what’s there.
This is a film where 95% of the action takes place in the boot of a car. A lot of the time most of what’s going on is only lit by the eerie glow from a large, red, digital timer. This could have easily resulted in a very boring film and it’s true to say that it’s not the best one to watch if you’re trying to show off your new Blu-ray player and 65” smart TV to your mates. However, on balance it’s a very watchable move that’s only let down by a few ugly plot-holes and a terrible ending that even I managed to predict. Having said that, I liked the ending; it makes a change from the sort of thing we normally get. I’m not sure Stephen Dorff manages to totally convincing 100% of the time, but when all you can do is shuffle about a bit in the dark and look confused, I guess it’s not an easy thing to do when you have to deliver an occasionally dodgy script. All in all it’s enjoyable and a little bit different. It’s just a shame they didn’t manage to keep up the level of some of the more intense parts. It was so set up for a sequel too.
The soundtrack is fine and suitably thriller-like. It comes and goes as it should. The trailer here does a decent job of presenting the film. I’ve no idea what the sleeve is all about though; it looks like that famous poetic licence that all DVD release companies have access to, has been invoked again. I don’t think we see a gun sight, helicopter or the White House in the film at all. I’m not sure about the person in the black gear with the gun either.
Recommended for special agents, terrorists and anyone who’s thinking of marrying a special agent.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Jeremy knows the location of the president and vice president. Some terrorists want to know where they are. They do various ‘not nice’ things to Jeremy and kidnap and threaten to kill his wife too, along with some other people. But does Jeremy blab? “This guy’s fucking hardcore!” That’s badass. I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him though. A very bad day indeed.
It’s a New Year! Hurray! Penny decided to help herself to the tea from my mug this morning, but I then forgot she had and went and made myself a new cup without cleaning it first. Then she was sick on the lounge carpet. (I’m not sure what this says about our relative hygiene levels.) Over Christmas she’s also developed an almost obsessive need to sit right next to me when I’m trying to work on the computer, sitting on the mouse and occasionally wondering around on the table and stamping all over the keyboard; I think she’s trying to tell me something. I hope there’s not some sort of “Rise of the Planet of the Cats” kind of thing going on. The bulb in my desk lamp has just stopped working too. Still, on the plus side it’s warm enough not to have to have the heating on at home. Welcome to 2012.
Right now I’m listening to “Boys of Summer” by Klubbheads.