Posts tagged “Action

Tom and Jerry: Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse / Climate and Weather


Tom and Jerry: Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse  -  Front Blu-ray Cover  -  US Release

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.

Tom and Jerry: Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse at IMDB (6.5/10)
Tom and Jerry: Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse at Wikipedia
Tom and Jerry: Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse trailer at YouTube


Green Lantern / Being Fearless at Work


Green Lantern  -  Front Blu-ray cover  -  UK Release

In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, an elite force of protectors for peace and justice has existed for centuries. They are the Green Lantern Corps.  When a new enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the universe, their fate and the fate of Earth lie in the hands of the Corps’ newest recruit, the first human ever selected: Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds).  Bringing the popular superhero to the big screen for the first time, “Green Lantern” also stars Blake Lively (“Gossip Girl”), Peter Sarsgaard (“Orphan”), Mark Strong (“Sherlock Holmes”), Academy Award nominee Angela Bassett and Academy Award winner Tim Robbins.

2011 –  Certificate: 12  –  American Film
Rating Details: Moderate fantasy violence
8.0 out of 10

I spent about two and a half hours today at work, attending a data protection webinar. So now I’m too scared to write anything here… about anything…  What I will say is that one of my colleagues, who will remain nameless (Oonagh), thought it would be funny to send a text to someone else in another office who was also attending it; so we got to hear that person’s mobile beep in the background during the webinar.  We all thought it was very funny!  It’s good being a grown-up.  Here’s something else that’s a bit childish too.

I can sort of understand why so many people trashed this film, but I thought it was jolly good fun. This might be to do with the fact that I lit my lounge with a green bulb to watch it, to help me feel immersed in the action so to speak, of which there was plenty.  So it’s a bit camp at times and the plot somewhat wooden (although it does have some good lines in it), but sometimes all we need are a few easy to identify goodies and baddies to have fun.  I thought Ryan Reynolds was pretty good as Green Lantern, even though he’ll always be the fat guy in “Just Good Friends” to me.  Maybe it’s because when I was young the Green Lanterns were very much B-class superheroes who I never really engaged with much; so I didn’t have any previous perceptions to have spoilt.  They actually have an interesting and unusual back story too, which makes them different to most of their super-colleagues.  But in the end I guess they’re just another manifestation of the United States, in terms of them acting as self appointed protectors of everyone else.  At first I thought the movie was some sort of documentary about environmentally friendly torches.  It took me quite a while to realise that it was actually about an arrogant test pilot.  I’m not a test pilot, but there’s still a chance that I might one day be selected as a Green Lantern, as I learnt that “In order to be chosen by the ring, it is said that one must be without fear.”  I’m pretty sure the discussions I have with my manager every month after I’ve submitted my financial variance report, puts me into that select group.

The soundtrack is pretty good. It’s suitably epic.

The trailer’s okay, but I don’t think it really captures the feel of the film that well. It seems a bit disjointed and not quite sure what sort of film it’s mean to be promoting.

Recommend for test pilots, xenobiologists and anyone who likes the colour green. Not recommend if you don’t like green; this movie will just make you retch.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment? Hal Jordan’s been a Green Lantern for five minutes when he stomps into the Guardian’s hang-out and gives some impassioned speech about Earth and humans and stuff.  I’m not sure about anyone else, but if you get recruited by a Fortune 500 company, are you really going to barge into the boardroom on your first day and tell the directors, who have been there for basically forever, how to do things?  He doesn’t get his way but he doesn’t get the sack either.  That’s got to be badass behaviour in anyone’s book.  I have a feeling he’s going to be on the fast track to a more senior position very soon.

Green Lantern at IMDB (5.7 / 10)
Green Lantern at Wikipedia
Green Lantern at Roger Ebert (2.5 / 4)
Green Lantern trailer at YouTube


Go / Boomtown Fair 2014


Go  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK Release

From the director of “Swingers” comes a black comedy tracing the outrageous misadventures of a group of young American delinquents.  18-year-old check-out girl Ronna (Sarah Polley – “The Sweet Hereafter”) is trying to score some rent money before she is evicted on Christmas Eve.  Accompanied by reluctant partner in crime Claire (Katie Holmes – “TV’s Dawson’s Creek”), she embarks on her first drug deal…  Meanwhile, impulsive Brit Simon (Desmond Askew – TV’s “Grange Hill”) is driving a stolen car with buddy Marcus (Taye Diggs – “How Stella Got Her Groove Back”) during a no-holds-barred night of partying in Vegas, as TV stars Adam (Scott Wolf – TV’s “Party of Five”) and Zack (Jay Mohr – “Jerry Maguire”) find themselves in the middle of a real-life drug sting – and a very creepy Christmas dinner…

1999  –  Certificate: 18  –  American Film
Rating Details: Strong sex, coarse language and drug use
8.0 out of 10

I don’t do music festivals.  Never have.  I’ve been to hundreds of gigs over the years but only a few festivals, which have mostly been indoors and only lasted a day; in fact I’ve only been to four outdoor music events ever.  In 1983 I did hitchhike from London to Stranraer in Scotland, got the ferry across to Larne in Northern Ireland, before hitching down through Belfast and then Dublin, to go to the Punchestown Racecourse.  That was to see The Undertones last ever gig (until the band reformed in 1999).  Dire Straits was the headliner, but I left before it came on.  This was still a one-day event, but I slept in a random field in the open by a haystack the night before.  (Until that is, I was woken up in the middle of the night by a lot of very drunk Irish guys, who ‘insisted’ I slept in their tent, which just happened to be elsewhere in the same field.  Being woken up by being dragged along the ground in your sleeping bag in the middle of the night by a load of incoherent drunks is a strange experience).  But that’s the nearest I’ve got to the real ‘festival experience’… until this year.  For some reason I rashly agreed to buy a £167 ticket to go to the Boomtown Fair near Winchester in Hampshire last month; four days of dance, reggae, ska and punk, all mixed up in a ‘pop-up’ town with 38,000 other people. Four days of drinking cider at 10:00am; eating nothing but bread and falafels; getting virtually no sleep courtesy of camping right next to the Hidden Woods and it’s seemingly non-stop diet of what I think young people might consider dubstep; and wandering around in what tuned into a quagmire of mud. I was lying in my tent one morning, holding onto the inner part of it in the hope that the tail end of what used to be Hurricane Bertha wasn’t going to blow it away; I’d never seen tent poles bend like that before.  (Typical Yanks, sending us their worn out, second-hand weather.)  I ‘lost’ my wallet at NOFX, (who were pretty crappy actually); lost my red/black hat (a huge tragedy) as I got too drunk; had something weird happen to my eyes so it looked like I’d not slept for 50 years; got so sunburnt that my nose fell off (well nearly); and spent a lot of time wondering about and occasionally dancing even more stupidly than normal to bands such as New Town Kings, Dirty Revolution, The Skints, Imperial Leisure, Culture Shock and Sonic Boom Six.  For most of the Skints’s set it poured down; not normal rain, but the sort of rain that Noah had to deal with.  I couldn’t have been wetter if I’d sat in a bath in my clothes.  There’s something very surreal about dancing in the pouring rain on a surface that’s rapidly turning into a mud slide.  The best ‘new’ bands were Smiley & the Underclass and (by coincidence) Smiling Ivy.  Other than the music, the other sound I heard most often was people filling balloons full of nitrous oxide to inhale.  In places the ground was covered in the little metal canisters it normally comes it.  We were also asked at least a dozen times if we were ‘selling’ anything.  I never realised I looked so much like a drug dealer.  Then again, about 99% of the people there were younger than me, so I guess to deal drugs is the only reason ‘old people’ go to festivals.  And then there were the toilets…  Would I go again?  Fuck, yeah!  And for those of you interested in the rather random set of photos I took, they can be viewed hereThis is a film about musical culture too, in this case the rave scene at the end of the 90’s.  (Nice segue me.)

So, this isn’t a film about the ancient, Chinese game of Go.  A sort of cross between “Pulp Fiction” and “Trainspotting”, we follow the exploits of a group of young friends over a weekend, seeing the story unfold three times as it focuses on different people.  It feels a bit OTT and kind of dated (pre mobile phones), but is actually very funny and well put together.  I’m not sure what I was doing when all this rave stuff was going on originally.  I seem to remember it was towards the end of the 80s and early 90s.  I own some 12” singles from that period, which would suggest I had some knowledge of it, but that’s all.  Maybe I was totally out of it on E, X, J or W, or whatever letter of the alphabet people took in them days.  Or perhaps I fell asleep in front of the TV for a few years or something.  Yeah, reach for the lasers…

For a film about rave culture, it has surprisingly little music in it and what there is sounds a bit bland.  It’s okay but a bit of a wasted opportunity; a little like this sentence really.  It does have Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” in it, which seems to turn up in a lot of films.  But it was used in “Star Trek; First Contact”, so that’s a good enough recommendation for me.  

The trailer’s not bad.  Actually it works quite well as an introduction to the film without giving much away.

Recommended for people who work in supermarkets, drug dealers, dodgy cops and losers in general.

2 cats, no chainsaws or decapitations.  Cute cats, awwww.  One has some top dialogue; it’s dubbed into English too, which is great for anyone that doesn’t understand cat language.

Top badass moment?  To raise money to pay her rent, Ronna starts selling aspirin and antihistamines and telling people that they’re drugs.  (That’s drugs as in drugs, not drugs as in, em, drugs).  People buy them and then think they’re having the sort of effect they expect.  It reminded me of how bottled water is sold to the masses.  Marketing pointless crap to stupid people successfully is, begrudgingly, badass. 

Go at IMDB (7.3 / 10)
Go at Wikipedia
Go at Roger Ebert (3.0/4)
Go trailer at YouTube


Cutie Honey / Even More Root Canal Treatment…


Cutie Honey  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK Release

Popular manga comic “Cutie Honey” is brought to life. Honey is an office worker who hides a secret.  Developed by her father, Honey has the ‘I System’ a necklace that allows her to transform into the super hero “Cutie Honey”.  The evil Claw Gang attempt to steal the necklace and “Cutie Honey” must use all of her superpowers to save the world from hate.  With plenty of eye candy and madcap villains, “Cutie Honey” is pure fun and truly wacky entertainment.

2004  –  Certificate: 12  –  Japan
Rating Details: Mildly sexualised posing
9.0 out of 10

It was back to the dentist for me again yesterday, to finish the root canal treatment on a tooth that was started in January.  For over 90 minutes my dentist drilled (as in I could see and smell clouds of smoke rising), filled and generally hacked about inside my tooth.  It’s actually really hard to lie still for that long on your back; (which is something that my many, many lovers could confirm).  Dentists’ chairs aren’t the most comfortable bits of furniture in the world and I was started to get a bit bored too.  There’s only so many times you can count the screws in a light-fitting before you realise that attempting yet another recount is probably not going to yield a more accurate total.  The ‘calming’ classical music playing on the CD kept skipping as well, which really started to bug me after a while.  The injection at the start was really weird.  I felt like it hadn’t really worked, as nothing seemed to go numb.  Normally you lose some of the sensation in the side of your face or lips, but this time I had none of that.  I was expecting the first touch of the drill to feel like it was boring into the centre of my brain or something, but actually it was fine.  Afterwards I had no sensation of the anaesthetic wearing off either. It was like I was just immune to the pain.  Maybe I’m a superhero, with the mental and physical power to control my body’s own pain reflexes?  (Nope, I don’t really believe that either.)  I was starting to think there must be more miles of canals in my tooth than in the whole of Birmingham, when the dentist finally declared she couldn’t do it.  Whatever’s blocking my root canal, it’s defeated the best that modern dentistry can provide.  (Perhaps I should give the Canal & River Trust or Inland Waterways Association a call?)  This was followed by a discussion about what I wanted to do about it.  I say ‘discussion’, but as I still had a mouth full of rubber dams and other weird stuff, I was limited to saying ur urggurggh, guhhh urgghhher; so it was a bit one-sided.  So now I’m the proud owner of a temporary filling, whilst we see how it settles down.  So it looks like there might be a sequel to this horror sometime.  Can’t wait…  This film is about a superhero who has perfect teeth.

I loved this film.  I’ve no idea what demographic the makers were aiming it at, but it was great.  Like a Power Ranger on acid, Cutie Honey (and that must be the worst superhero name ever) deals with the Panther Claw Gang, one by one.  Based on a manga/anime character, the story is some nonsense about saving the world from hate.  As a movie it has many highlights.  The opening 15 minutes are as fun as any opening to any film ever.  It does calm down in the middle a little and the ending is a bit wimpy, but overall it’s an over-the-top mess of action and fun.  I was especially impressed with the Black Claw’s song and dance routine.  When I’m involved in a fight to the death, I always like to start with one of those too.   My copy came in a vivid pink, DVD case.  Don’t think I’ve got many of those.

We see Honey change into her superhero alter-ego a number of times, which comes with a bit of music that wouldn’t be out-of-place in the world’s worst game show.

The trailer is a shambles of colour, noise and imagery.  It’s great.

One cat, no chainsaws or decapitations.  A beautiful, ginger cat (with a brief speaking part), steals the whole first scene from an otherwise naked (except for bath bubbles) Eriko Sato.

Recommended for police officers, journalists and anyone with an uncle who can invent cool stuff.  Also recommended for criminal gangs that want to fill the world with hate, (you know who you are).  Good for fans of 60’s Batman; not good for fans of Nolan’s Batman.

Top badass moment?  Starring Eriko Sato (Japan’s top swimsuit model).  That’s badass.  Well that bad just about everywhere really.  (Note for ‘old people’: that’s “bad” as in good, not “bad” as in bad).  In any case, any film that carries the BBFC Insight “Mildly Sexualised Posing” has got to be worth watching.

Cutie Honey at IMDB (6.5 / 10)
Cutie Honey at Wikipedia
Cutie Honey trailer at YouTube


Death Wish V: The Face of Death / MxPx at the Underworld


Death Wish 5  -  Front DVD Cover  -  Canadian Release

Paul Kersey has been retired from vigilantism for several years. Under an assumed identity, he’s adopted a new life as a teacher in a small town college outside New York.  Paul is a changed man.  He’s even fallen in love and become engaged to Olivia, a former fashion model turned industrial entrepreneur.  But fate won’t leave Kersey alone.  On a visit to Manhattan he finds himself caught in the middle of a street shootout.  Then he learns that his fiancé is a victim of a protection racket run by her ex-husband mobster Tommy O’Shea.  When Olivia goes to the district attorney for help, Tommy has her disfigured, then brutally killed.  Once again, Kersey becomes the relentless vigilante.  Only this time, instead of relying only on his .357, Kersey uses some creative technology to avenge his lover’s murder!

1994  –  Certificate: 18A  –  American Film
7.0 out of 10

Went to see MxPx at the Camden Underworld last night.  That’s the fourth time I’ve seen MxPx since 2005, although the last time was in 2008.  It only has one of the original members left these days, at least as a touring band.  I like the Underworld.  It has a capacity of 500, the sound’s decent, the vibe’s good, there’s no crash barrier in front of the stage and the beer isn’t too extremely priced for a London venue; (it was £4.20 for a pint of cider yesterday, even though I do have the distinct feeling that the price varies from gig to gig).  It’s the gig venue I go to most often.  Unlike the 100 Club, the concrete pillars that’re in front of the stage (they hold the building above up) don’t seem to get in the way too much.  It has a decent raised area around the dance floor too, with a railing that’s good for leaning on when you want to watch a band and don’t want to get your drink spilt.   It even seems to have got some new signs outside recently, so you can actually tell it’s there!  It was a lot of fun, even though I felt a bit ‘slow’.  I think I’ve been to see too many old bands and reggae groups recently; I’ve forgotten how fast punk rock can be live.  There were a lot of young women crowd surfing last night; clearly the new ‘no stage diving / crowd surfing’ poster stuck on one of the concrete pillars wasn’t having much effect.  There was also a young chap with his mum there too, right at the front; it’s a 14+ venue but he didn’t look any older than 12 to me.  He went for a surf too at one point.  That’s one cool mum.  It’s also been quite a while since I’ve seen so many happy people at a gig.  Nearly everyone seem to be so pleased just to be there, which was rather nice.  I can’t be bothered with miserable sods at gigs these days.  Got wacked the mouth at one point in the most pit so have a bit of a fat lip today, but that’s okay.  Charles Bronson does more than that to people in this movie.  (This is probably just as well, as otherwise it would have been a very boring vigilante film.)

Another year and another of Paul Kersey’s relationships ends with a rape and/or murder.  Some people seem to be born unlucky.  This, the last Death Wish film, doesn’t break the cycle.  Released in 1994, it’s a film that now looks and feels its age, in fact older; some of the story is a bit silly too.  However, Tommy O’Shea is one of the ‘forgotten’ badass movie baddies.  It’s worth watching for him alone.  In fact it has quite a few good characters in it.  Paul Kersey is a strange guy, even ignoring his habit of blowing away underworld scum.  Here he is, engaged to Olivia Regent, who has a young daughter.  Olivia is a ‘big deal’ in the New York fashion industry, (and about 30 years younger than him).  Yet he doesn’t seem to know very much about her ex-husband or even to have met him before, yet he turns out to be ‘Mr. Big’ when it comes to extorting money through controlling the local fashion industry and Olivia’s company in particular; as well as being her daughter’s father.  You would have thought they might have talked about him just a bit at some point; it hardly struck me as a whirlwind romance.

I didn’t much care for the soundtrack, but for the film itself it’s a great fit and helps to set the mood well.  In that sense it’s a bit like rain; it’s a pain in the arse when I want to do something outside, but it helps make things grow.

This film has a great trailer.  In fact, if someone ever makes a trailer about me, I want the guy who does the voiceover on this one to do mine.

Recommended for fashion designers and entrepreneurs, vigilantes, ineffective police officers and gangsters.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Charles Bronson and one of the best ‘forgotten’ movies baddies ever, Tommy O’Shea, face off in the last Death Wish film.  There’s enough badass action in this movie for you to need a rectal examination after watching it.  Charles Bronson was 74 (I think) when he made this film.  If he got involved in setting governmental pension policies, I doubt any old grannies would be dying from hyperthermia in winter because they couldn’t afford to put their heating on.  That would be badass too.

Death Wish V: The Face of Death at IMDB (4.6 / 10)
Death Wish V: The Face of Death at Wikipedia
Death Wish V: The Face of Death trailer at YouTube


Olympus Has Fallen / Being Kidnapped by Terrorists


Olympus Has Fallen  -  Front Blu-ray Cover  -  UK Release

When a group of terrorists launch a daring ambush on the White House, the President (Aaron Eckhart, “The Dark Knight”) is taken hostage inside an impenetrable underground bunker. Only former U.S. Secret Service agent, Mike Banning (Gerard Butler, “300”), is left in the besieged building to protect the President, at all costs. Acting President Speaker Trumbull (Morgan Freeman, “The Dark Knight Rises”) must rely on Banning to rescue the President before the extremists can unleash their ultimate terrifying plan.

2013 – Certificate: 15 – American Film
Rating Details: Strong bloody violence and strong language
8.0 out of 10

I don’t know about anyone else, but I often sit and wonder how much effort my employer would make to rescue me if I was kidnapped by international terrorists. It probably wouldn’t pay a ransom, (it can’t afford it and I’m not worth anything anyway), but a rescue? I don’t have a secret, underground bunker to run off to at the first sign of trouble either, although due to the building where I’m based being constructed on a bit of a slope, you do have to go ‘below’ street level to reach my office. I also haven’t a large number of personal, highly-trained, armed bodyguards, (or even one actually), but the lock on the door frequently bamboozles me, even if I manage to pick the correct key for it. And trying to get through it with loads of hand grenades and guns etc would probably be a bit awkward; it’s certainly a challenge if you’ve got mugs of hot tea or coffee in each hand, as it has one of those self-closing hinge things on it. It’s true, the terrorists wouldn’t have to blast a hole on the wall to get in the building as its open to the public most of the time, but the signage inside is pretty ropey, so they’d probably struggle to find my office. And that’s important if you’re working against the clock and would only have a few minutes before the inevitable air support arrived to protect me. Those jets are pretty fast nowadays, but I wouldn’t like them to mess up the roof garden with their missiles and stuff, as it’s taken a lot of hard work over many years to get it as nice as it is. I’d be pretty disappointed if I escaped, only to find all the plants and trees in bits, scattered all over the car park outside.

Last weekend I went to the cinema. I don’t go very often as I’ve got no friends to go with and I’m too shy to go on my own. I went to see the Lego Movie; (those Lego women really do something for me, even fully clothed). Unfortunately I only got to see the adverts, although the one for Lego was pretty impressive; it went on for nearly two hours! Morgan Freeman was in it, playing a sort of mystic. But what a difference a week makes. Now I discover he’s become the Acting President of the United States of America. That’s seriously being on the fast track, whatever career path you’ve chosen. (My own organisation has recently introduced a bit of a process for doing a similar sort of thing, although I think I’m still stuck on the platform at one of those little stations that hardly any trains stop at; and when they do it’s always one of the slow, crappy ones with hardly any carriages and rubbish heating, which stop everywhere and take forever to get where they’re going to. But at least you get to enjoy the view out of the window.) In this film, President Asher (along with most of the other people who seem to be important) get kidnapped and his house gets trashed by North Korean terrorists. I’ve watched a lot of films that feature the President of the United States of America and few, if any, have been quite so ineffectual as the version in this film. Seriously, he really doesn’t do anything very heroic. President Whitmore in “Independence Day” nukes part of his own country for goodness sake, that’s how hardcore he was, whereas Asher is more than happy to sacrifice a whole country (South Korea) to save himself and his immediate staff a bit of grief. Worse than that, he actually puts his own country at risk too. And it’s even his fault the terrorists get into his underground bunker in the first place, because he chooses to ignore his own rules. What a moron! If international terrorists burst into my office and took any of my team hostage, I’d expect them to be tortured to death rather than hand over the password to even their e-mail accounts. Doing the latter would clearly be grounds for dismissal for gross misconduct anyway. Despite my disappointment with the “leader of the free world”, I did enjoy this film a lot. It’s total nonsense, but it’s still a really good-looking, tense action thriller that kept me well entertained. It’s not a wimpy PG either, so we get to see some blood and stuff as well. The first part of the film, up until the plane crashes, is especially good.

I have to admit to a certain liking of the film’s soundtrack. It does the job.

A trailer that nearly as bombastic as the movie itself. Not bad.

Recommended for terrorists, presidents, disgraced heroes and North Koreans, whatever hairstyle the latter have; (as long as it’s one of the approved ones).

No cats, chainsaws or decapitation.

Top badass moment? Any actor that can keep a straight face and with complete sincerity say to his shirt cuff, “Mustang this is Top Hat, bring it up to full package”, is badass in my book. Gerard Butler is worthy of an Oscar for that alone; (never mind the fact that he also singlehandedly foils an attempt to destroy America). I must try and sneak that sentence into a meeting at work one day, to see if anyone notices.

Olympus Has Fallen at IMDB (6.5 / 10)
Olympus Has Fallen at Wikipedia
Olympus Has Fallen at Roger Ebert (3.0 / 4.0)
Olympus Has Fallen trailer at YouTube


Dirty Harry / Beating the Banking System


Dirty Harry  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseHarry Callahan is a tough, streetwise San Francisco cop whom they call Dirty Harry.  In this action classic, you’ll see why – and also why Clint Eastwood’s reputation as a premier film star and moviemaker is secure.  A rooftop sniper (Andy Robinson) calling himself Scorpio, has killed twice and holds the city ransom with the threat of killing again.  Harry will nail him , one way or the other, no matter what the “system” prescribes.  Filming on location, director Don Siegel made the City by the Bay a vital part of Dirty Harry, a practice continued in its four sequels.  Forty three years after its arrival the original remains one of the most gripping police thrillers ever made.

1971  –  Certificate: 18  –  American Film
7.5 out of 10

This week I’ve inadvertently become a champion and role-model for the downtrodden masses, as I successfully concluded my fight for compensation as a result of the evil and corrupt banking industry misselling me Payment Protection Insurance for a credit card.  As we all know now, every single person who’s ever worked for a bank is a child of the Devil.  From the CEO to the office cleaners.  They exist for one purpose only and that’s to rip everyone else off.  Well they made one BIG mistake trying to take me on.  After many letters, the MBNA has finally capitulated, agreed it made a ‘mistake’ and has paid me back, with interest.  I can’t decide what to spend it on first, a yacht, a jet or an Aston Martin or two.  I guess a few lines of coke and some high-class ‘escorts’ wouldn’t go amiss either.  I can finally get rid of all my pathetic, stupid, so-called friends and buy myself a whole lot of new ones that better fit my improved social status.  The rich and the powerful will invite me to everything.  A-list celebrities will be at my beck and call.  My membership of the Bilderberg Group is assured.  I’m going to start voting Conservative at once, not that I really need to worry about politics now, as I could easily buy myself a whole country if I wanted to.  So I guess you probably want to know how much I got?  Well, the cheque I was sent is made out to me for 20p…

“Dirty Harry” is a film about a naughty policeman, which was inspired by the Lurkers’ 1999 non-hit “Go Ahead Punk”.  (I’ve got this on a very limited edition 7” single in grey vinyl, number 34 of the 125 that were made.)  Its main character Harry Callahan was based on James Callaghan, who was British Prime Minister from 1976-1979 and thus oversaw the invention of punk rock by the downtrodden masses that he created during the Winter of Discontent.  “Winter of Discontent” was also a great track from Political Asylum’s Winter EP, a copy of which I was sold by the band on the Fulham Palace Road, on my way to a Lurkers gig at the Fulham Greyhound.  (The latter was tragically renamed/relaunched earlier this year as an American theme pub called the Southern Belle. WTF?)  Its historical significance aside, this film gave us the original police officer who doesn’t play by the rules but gets away with, who still haunts TV and films to this day.  Scorpio is also a great psycho without a thread of remorse whatsoever and stands up well to the more modern versions that have followed in his wake.  I doubt there’s anything else I could possibly say about this film that hasn’t already been said 100 times before, so won’t.  But for what’s now quite an old film, it still looks good.   Essential viewing.

This movie is pretty light on music, which is just as well given it was made in the early 70s.

The trailer’s very long and seems to be desperate to portray Harry as more of a victim of circumstance than a police officer who really ought to be sacked for gross misconduct at the very least.  He could easily be Martin Riggs‘ father.

Recommended for police officers, psychos and school bus drivers.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Not once but twice, Harry gives us one of his two, world-famous quotes, here and here.  What other character would have the audacity to do that?  (Arnie’s done it but not twice in the same film I don’t think.)  That’s like a DJ playing the same song back-to-back, it just doesn’t happen; (unless you’re John Peel and you’re playing the Undertones, but that’s okay).  He must have been feeling lucky, punk.

Dirty Harry at IMDB (7.8 / 10)
Dirty Harry at Wikipedia
Dirty Harry at Roger Ebert (3.0/4.o)
Dirty Harry Trailer on YouTube


Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan / Cinematic Perfection


Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan  -  Front Blu-ray Cover  -  UK Release Box SetFeeling that the future holds nothing close to what the past once did, Admiral James T. Kirk begins to believe that galloping around the cosmos is a game for the young.  Yet on a routine inspection of the U.S.S. Enterprise, Kirk’s Starfleet career enters a new chapter as a result of his most vengeful nemesis: Khan Noonien Singh, the genetically enhanced conqueror from late 20th-century Earth.  Escaping his forgotten prison, Khan sets his sights on both capturing Project Genesis, a device of god-like power, and the utter destruction of Kirk.

1982  –  Certificate 12  –  American Film
10.0 out of 10.0

Yesterday was Wednesday; time for another trip to the dentist.  My dentist (who for some reason reminds me more and more of a vampire each time I see him), seemed in a slightly better mood this week; (I guess he must have had a good feed of virgin’s blood or something).  He still didn’t want to remove my misbehaving wisdom tooth though.  Instead he gave me even more antibiotics.  In this film Khan says to Kirk, “I’ve done far worse than kill you, Admiral.  I’ve hurt you.  And I wish to go on hurting you.”  This time my dentist gave my antibiotics that I’m not supposed to drink alcohol with.  I’m pretty sure I know how Kirk felt about Khan at that moment.  I think my dentist might be into my “utter destruction” too.  It’s just a feeling I have.

When people ask me what my favourite film of all time is, I often say this one. The best sequel ever, I’ve watched it 1,000s of times (poetic licence okay) and can probably quote most of the dialogue, but I still love watching it again.  And I’m probably about to gush a load of insufferable, embarrassing and slightly degrading stuff about it and how it’s affected my life, but I don’t care.  If this movie hadn’t become the success it was, it’s quite likely there’d have been no more Star Trek and basically life as we all know it would be futile and virtually meaningless.  Star Trek gives us meaning and purpose, and this film is probably as close as any of us will get to perfection.  From the awesome first scene, where most of the regular crew appear to get killed, until the final one where someone really does, it’s just one, long, cinematic orgasm.  It’s the sort of film the Borg would enjoy in its search for perfection.  The fact that it was revisited for “Star Trek: Into Darkness” (which was also an amazing movie) just goes to prove how good it really is.  It’s got a great villain and a great (if slightly clumsy looking) space battle in it too.  Made over 30 years old, it’s theme of getting old has become more and more relevant to me with each viewing, as they characters in it haven’t aged a bit but I have; I guess it wasn’t such a big deal when it was first released when I was 19.  I use so, so many out of context quotes from this film in my day-to-day life.  Indeed, I think I’ve probably arranged my life to better fit the film, entirely for this purpose.  So, for example, when I drive about in my car I secretly, (or not so secretly if I’ve got a passenger with me who I don’t feel will think I’ve lost it), when I go from one area to another, ‘borrow’ from Sulu’s words during the Kobayashi Maru scene and say something a bit like, “exiting the Berkshire sector, for the Hampshire sector”.  (Yes, I really do that; in fact it’s become such a habit that I have to actively stop myself doing it if I don’t want to weird anyone out too much.)  When I do my budget forecasts at work I often think that I’m facing my very own Kobayashi Maru test and then find myself quoting Sulu again, “We’re not going to make it, are we?”  In fact my whole life is a “no win scenario”.  And as someone who used to do something quite similar to “exploring strange new worlds” and “galloping around the cosmos”, but is now stuck behind a desk delivering the occasional bit of training, I can totally relate to Kirk when he says the latter “is a game for the young”.  If it didn’t mean I had to go outside when it was cold and wet, I’d follow McCoy’s advice; “Get back your command. Get it back before you really do grow old.”  Sadly I’ve never had anyone say anything like “Commanding a starship is your first, best destiny; anything else is a waste of material” to me.  I guess that means I was as rubbish at what I used to do as what I do now.  Shame really.  I guess I’ll have to steal one of our minibuses from work, go back in time and save the Dodo or something like that; which seems strangely apt.  (But that’s another tale for another Star Trek film.)  And the list goes on and on.  Sad, isn’t it?  And as for the overall story arc of starting the day with a routine bit of work and ending it literally saving the universe from an evil genius with a terrifying weapon; well, that’s not as unusual for me as it might seem.

Is there’s a bigger gap anywhere between a great film and a diabolically bad trailer?  I don’t think so.  OMG, it’s bad!  (Note for young people:  That’s “bad” as in actually bad, not “bad” as in wicked, sick, hot, etc.)

Not only is this film almost perfect, it’s also got an amazing soundtrack; I even bought it on CD and I hardly ever do that.  There’s a bit of music which is used when the Enterprise is first seen in dry dock just prior to launch.  Whenever I’ve start anything epic in my life (which is exceedingly rare), or driven a new vehicle for the first time (also exceedingly rare), that bit of music is my soundtrack to the event.  Imagine the lights coming on, the music booming out and try it yourself, it really works!  (Incidentally, I’ve never really understood why Kirk looks so uncomfortable in this scene.  Whatever Saavik says or does, it’s Sulu that’s actually ‘driving’, so I can’t imagine for a moment he’s just going to go ahead and crash into something if she makes a mistake.)

Recommended for everyone.  Seriously, if you don’t like this film you really need to go see a doctor.

No cats, chainsaws of decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Can I say the whole film?  I guess not, so I’m going to select Kirk’s reprogramming the Kobayashi Maru test so he could beat it.  Is that not the ultimate in thinking outside the box?  (You could set up an entire and very lucrative, senior management training programme around that one.)  It’s just a shame it’s not possible to do it to real-life.  I’d have my Aston Martin by now if it was.  It’s still totally badass though.

Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan at IMDB (7.8 / 10)
Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan at Wikipedia
Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan at Roger Ebert (3.0/4.0)
Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan trailer at You Tube (the original one)
Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan trailer at You Tube (a better one)


Fanaa / Hating Google


Fanaa  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseChoices… to choose between right or wrong is simple, but what defines one’s life is the decision between the greater of two goods or the lesser of two evils.  This is the advice that Zooni Ali Beg (Kajol) receives from her father just as she is about to venture out into the world on her own for the very first time.  Little does she know that these very words will shape her life.  Zooni, a blind Kashmiri girl, meets Rehan Qadri (Aamir Khan), a local tour guide and an incorrigible flirt. Her friends warn her against this good-for-nothing roadside Romeo, but she chooses to ignore them.  It is now her time to discover life, and love.  Is this really the right choice?  Rehan is fascinated by Zooni and wants her to see life as it should be seen, in its many colours.  He promises her that the time spent with him will be the most precious in all her life.  Zooni sees Delhi, life and love like she never has before, because of Rehan.  What Zooni doesn’t know is that Rehan has another side of his life that he has kept from her – something that can not only change her life, but can also destroy it.  Fanaa… destroyed in love…

2006  –  Certificate: 12  –  Indian Film
7.5 out of 10

I’ve had enough.  By this I mean I’ve had enough of Google, that clever little search engine that used to be run by a few fun people somewhere in California; a gang of outsiders, rebels fighting the ‘corporate system’ and using ‘new media’ to make their point.  However, Google now IS that corporate system and I’ve decided I hate it.  It’s officially become the first Spawn of the Devil of 2014.  From this point forward I won’t use its search engine, I won’t use it’s mapping system, I won’t Google anything, I won’t engage with any of its other, stupid ‘toys’ and I will never, ever, buy or use a smartphone or any other hardware that runs on Android, or anything else it invents in the future.  I despise everything it stands for.  Now, at this point you might be wondering, why?  Well, much to my disgust and with no notice whatsoever, it’s closed my YouTube account.  Even worse, its crap customer service is about as much use as a Ferrari 458 Speciale (and what a pretentious name that is) in the Somerset Levels right now.  If I get one more cheerful, automated e-mail telling me the good news that my account is fine and I just need to change my password if I can’t log in (and that’s not the problem you mindless cretins, as I’ve told you more than once), I will personally kill every cute, small puppy I come across with a version of Android’s Operating System.  I’ll become known as the Stupidly Named Food Themed Operating System Serial Puppy Killer.  Fucking Google can fucking fuck off and die, painfully.  The sooner Satya Nadella crushes this aggravating little upstart, the better.  Then we can go back to a world of Microsoft vs Apple and not worry about the slimy, data stealing evil empire that thinks giving us a few stupid pictures of our own street is payment for all its underhand and nefarious activities; which is somewhat ironically more than it pays in taxes.  It knows more about you than you do.  But don’t take my word for it, just Google (bollocks, it’s hard to get out of the habit) search for “Why Google Is Evil” on Bing.  I imagine my 600 YouTube subscribers are at this very moment planning the sort of campaign of civil disobedience that will make the Arab Spring seem like a bad day in Springfield.  I’m sorry if my rant has crashed Google’s share price but you know what?  I’m glad.  Anyone who’s invested in this dictatorship deserves what they get.

A power spike wrecked the PSU on my computer last Friday, so I’ve had to go and buy a new one and fit it, (a Corsair CX750M if anyone is interested).  It’s the 4th one my current computer’s had.  I was so distressed that I had to go sit down and watch nearly 3 hours of Bollywood style action-romance to recover.  I must confess that I’m getting to like Indian films.  The plot is nearly always sort of the same, random over-the-top song and dance routines break up whatever’s going on and bizarre bits of action suddenly populate the girl-meets-boy-loses-boy-meets-boy-again stuff.   But really, they’re a lot of fun and these days are well made technically.  Anyone that’s not watched a few really ought to try some.  In the same way that some things only become funny with repetition, films like this become entertaining once you’ve watched a few.  Probably best taken with alcohol. 

The trailer’s not bad.  Watch out for those weedy power chords that start 33 seconds in.  Reminds me of The Undertones 4th album.

The music is exactly what you’d expect.  Not saying it’s bad or anything, just that there’s nothing especially interesting about it either.  The silly ‘kid’s song’ “Chanda Chamke” is kind of sweet though.

Recommended for anyone with a visual disability, terrorists, tour guides and dancers.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?   It’s a huge spoiler, but shooting and killing your husband and the father of your child that you’re totally besotted with, in the back, because he’s a terrorist and going to set off a nuclear bomb and kill millions of people, is about as badass as it gets.

And okay, I know I’ve posted a YouTube link below.  I’m just so fickle.

Fanaa at IMDB (7.2 / 10)
Fanaa at Wikipedia
Fanaa at YouTube


Cowboys & Aliens / The Dentist: Part 2


Cowboys & Aliens  -  Front Blu-ray Cover  -  UK ReleaseFrom the director of “Iron Man”, comes an action-packed, sci-fi adventure starring Daniel Craig (“Quantum of Solace”, “The Golden Compass”), Harrison Ford (“Morning Glory”, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”) and Olivia Wilde (“Tron Legacy”) as the only posse who can save the world from alien invasion.  With cutting edge special effects and one-of-a-kind story, “Cowboys & Aliens” is a showdown you won’t want to miss!

2011  –  Certificate 12  –  American Film
Rating Details: Frequent moderate action violence and scenes of intense threat
7.0 out of 10

Isn’t it funny when you spill food down your front?  Yes it’s really, really, hilariously funny, especially when it happens loads of times.  Last week I spent another 90 minutes at the dentist, having various things pushed inside my sore tooth, although I have to say it isn’t hurting nearly as badly now as it had been. Unfortunately its new best friend, (who we’ll call sore wisdom tooth), has taken over the role of Mouth Tormentor.  It’s not exactly painful in the normal sense, although there is an ongoing, uncomfortable feeling that I suspect is slowly getting worse with time.  Poking and prodding it causes no undue effects either.  However, I’m finding it very hard to open my mouth more than’s required to speak or drink cider; (or other beverages).  If I try to open it anymore it hurts, a lot.  I’m on antibiotics (and this is the only time I can recall ever taking any), but they don’t seem to be making the slightest difference.  Not only is this pissing me off, but trying to eat anything other than tiny amounts of flat-shaped food in one go, invariably results in some of it ending up all over whatever I’m wearing.  Given that my washing machine’s dryer still isn’t working, I can only conclude that there’s some sort of conspiracy going on between washing powder manufactures and aliens keen to discover how long it takes to make someone go mental.  I’m seeing the dentist again tomorrow, so I’ll ask her what she thinks about my theory.  This film’s got aliens in it, but there’s not a lot of washing powder around; although a bar of soap does make a brief appearance.

It’s got Indiana Jones, James Bond and aliens; and cowboys.  Steven Spielberg’s special effects people did the em, special effects, too.  How can it not be great?  I often ask myself the same about the England football team.  This is another case of the sum of the parts being greater than the whole.  I really wanted this to be a great movie too.  Daniel Craig spends a lot of time standing about looking mean and moody and the rest of it wondering about like he’s spent way too long watching Yul Brynner in “Westworld”.  I guess he was just a bit pissed off because they took his nice car way and gave him a horse instead. Meanwhile, Harrison Ford spends most of the film being grumpy and surprised by what’s going on. Welcome to real life Hans.  Other than an underperforming script and an entirely superfluous ‘annoying young kid’ character, this film get’s most things more or less right.  It’s nice to see a film that’s not Scary Nightmare Potter Weapon 9 or something too.  It’s just a shame it all felt a bit soulless.  On the positive side, James and Indiana manage to move cowboy – native American relations on quite a bit, although there is a certain irony in them needing the latter’s help to sort out an alien invader that’s trying to wipe them all out with its superior technology.

The soundtrack provides a satisfactory but underwhelming noise to accompanying things.  The pseudo-western sound just didn’t work for me.

The trailer’s okay.  It doesn’t give a lot away and makes out the film’s more of a horror than it really is.

Recommended for cowboys, Indians (of the native American kind), aliens (nasty and otherwise) and parents with annoying offspring.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.  However, a number of aliens do get rather splattered, which includes their heads.

Top badass moment?  A device that looks like it fell off a passing Borg or Transformer gets attached to James Bond’s wrist and he manages to shoot down an alien aircraft of some sort with it, even though he has no idea what it’s for or how to use it.  When I first went 10 pin bowling I got a strike with my very first go.  That was badass too.

Cowboys & Aliens at IMDB (6.1 / 10)
Cowboys & Aliens at Wikipedia
Cowboys & Aliens at Roger Ebert (3.0 / 5)
Cowboys & Aliens trailer at YouTube


Red Tails / Another Childhood Obsession


Red Tails  -  Front Blu-ray Cover  -  UK ReleaseAcademy 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.

Red Tails at IMDB (5.9 / 10)
Red Tails at Wikipedia
Red Tails at Roger Ebert (2.5 / 5)
Red Tails at YouTube


Alone in the Dark / Working for Fighter Command


Alone in the Dark  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US ReleaseEdward Carnby (Christian Slater) is a private investigator specializing in unexplainable supernatural phenomena.  His cases delve into the dark corners of the world, searching for truth in the occult remnants of ancient civilizations.  Now, the greatest mystery of his past is about to become the most dangerous case he has ever faced.  With the help of his ex-girlfriend, archaeologist Aline Cedrac (Tara Reid), and his bitter rival, government agent Richard Burke (Stephen Dorff), Edward is about to learn that just because you don’t believe in something doesn’t mean it cannot kill you!

2005  –  Certificate Not Rated  –  German/Canadian Film
4.0 out of 10

I hate this time of year.  It’s not just the fact that all the good bits of the winter are over and it’s still months until the summer; or the fact that I’ve got no money as I squandered it over the Christmas period; or even that there’s hardly ever any decent gigs to go to.  No, it’s also the time of year when everyone I care for dies and my relationships always end.  On top of all this, it’s when we write our Financial Plan at work too.  The latter is less a mathematical exercise and more a futile attempt to predict the future; (and the scale of my successes in the National Lottery over the past 20 years nicely demonstrates how well my precognitive abilities have been developed).  The process bares all the hallmarks of Fighter Command at the height of the Battle of Britain, wondering where the next plane or pilot is going to come from, as its fully committed assets are quickly depleted.  The consequences of all this is that it generally feels like we’re looking into a dark, bottomless abyss, as the world as we know it ends.  (Although on the up side, we are still here after nearly 55 years).  More to the point, I have to spend this afternoon and evening working, because I’ve been told to move loads of numbers about in mine; I’m not sure why, they won’t get any bigger however many times I move them.  This film is also about the end of the world as we know it.

Other than all the things and people I hate, despise or loathe, I like to think of myself as a pretty easy-going, laid-back, tolerant guy.  But even I have my limits and this film has just reached one.  What makes things worse is that it could have been really good.  The story’s fine (it’s based on a computer game), the effects are decent enough (the gun-shot one borders on impressive) and even I’ve heard of its three, principal actors.  Christian Slater was the Communications Officer on the Excelsior for goodness sake; it’s not the most challenging bridge job around that’s true, but it was on Captain Sulu’s ship so that must count for something.  And Tara Reid, the Choir Chick from “American Pie”, gets given some glasses to wear, so she can look intelligent and thus play the part of an archaeologist.  The chase scene, (once we’ve got over the longest “Star Wars” like preamble in cinematic history), is actually pretty good too.  Unfortunately, the characters are so poorly written that the Oxford English Dictionary is considering using them as part of its official definition of one-dimensional.  The Alpha Male rivalry between Richard Burke and Edward Carnby is a key plot element.  (Edward used to work with Richard, so consequently they scowl at one another a lot.)  It’s probably fair to say they don’t get on, aren’t each others’ friends on Facebook and don’t send one another Christmas cards, not even e-cards.  Then, in the middle of a big battle Edward shoots a ‘bad guy’ who’s coming up behind Richard.  The latter gives Edward a brief nod of gratitude.   This incident is never acknowledged or further developed, but from then on they’re instantly the best of buddies.  Is that what it takes to remove years of personal animosity?  Maybe I’ve entirely missed some sort of gay subplot, which would explain a great many things, as well as why Edward and Aline are ex-lovers. The whole film is littered with a garbage script and stereotypical characters that act in nonsensical ways.  I especially enjoyed the Abkani (they’re the bad guys) charging towards some soldiers and then basically stopping a few metres in front of them to growl and throw their limbs around a lot, thus allowing the latter to blast away at them for ages and ages; not that the sight of thousands of rounds of ammunition fired at point blank range not seeming to have much of an effect, puts them off trying.  When I see a movie like this I want to really believe the world is about to end, not keep glancing at the clock to see how long I’ve been watching it for.  So basically it’s great, except for the characters and everything they say or do…

It has a Scandinavian, heavy metal soundtrack.  Nightwish aside, this tells you a lot.  Listen up.  Heavy metal (and all its sub-genera) should never be used for any film with a budget of over $500,000, ever.  It’s just not right.

The trailer’s like the rest of the movie; it seems to promise lots but contains nothing.

Recommended for archaeologists, private investigators, ‘Government agents’ and anyone who wears glasses to look intelligent.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  At one point Steven Dorff throws a bit of a wobbly.  He picks up a few bits of paper (probably the script), scans them briefly and then pushes over a table and screams out, “My guys are dying out there for nothing; for fucking nothing!”  Seeing an actor demonstrate a high level of emotional intelligence by empathising with the audience whilst also staying in character, just has to be badass.

Alone in the Dark at IMDB (2.3 / 10)
Alone in the Dark at Wikipedia
Alone in the Dark at YouTube

No trailer I’m afraid, thanks to YouTube blocking the video.  Liongate clearly doesn’t want anyone to find out about this film!


Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen / Decorating My Kitchen


Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen  -  Front Blu-ray Cover  -  UK ReleaseThe battle for Earth continues in this action-packed blockbuster from Michael Bay and executive producer Steven Spielberg.  When college-bound Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) learns the truth about the ancient origins of the Transformers, he must accept his destiny and join Optimus Prime and Bumblebee in their epic battle against the Decepticons, who have returned stronger than ever with a plan to destroy our world.

2009  –  Certificate 12  –  American Film
Moderate action, violence, language, sex and drug references
8.0 out of 10

This is going to be boring, sorry, as it’s about decorating; I’ll get to the film later on.  When I moved into where I live now, nearly eight years ago, everything was painted magnolia.  I hate magnolia like I hate the idea of all my limbs suddenly detaching themselves; (well obviously not really, but I’m trying to make a point).  The first thing I did when I moved in was paint nearly everything a different colour; hall white, bathroom blue and white, lounge yellow and green.  For reasons too complex to go into now, (but basically they revolve around me being too poor and lazy), the bedroom and kitchen never got done; and that’s how things have remained ever since.  However, inspired by my washing machine’s recent breakdown (and I still haven’t got around to getting it fixed yet) and the subsequent OH MY GOD horror when confronted with the state of things under and behind the washing machine when I pulled it out from its normal resting place, I’m going to ‘do’ the kitchen.  It’s going to be red and white.  It’s going to be red and white because the kitchen still boasts all it’s original fixtures and fittings and when I pulled all the horrible sticky plastic off everything it’d been stuck on, those are the colours I found underneath.  I hope it doesn’t turn me into a Manchester United fan.  This is an especially weak link, but the big tile cutter I’ve bought, with all its levers, moving parts and things, could well be a robot in disguise…

Ever eaten too much ice cream, cake or sweets?  The big ‘I can rule the world’ sugar hit followed by the comedown?  This film is like that.  Two and a half hours of too-fast-to-work-out-what-the-hell-is-going-on-half-the-time action, followed by the dreadful realisation that you’ve just taken several months off your lifespan by wearing your soul out.  This is a film that’s wrong in so many ways, but if you ignore all of them and just let the stuff that’s going on in front of you batter you senseless, then it’s actually loads of fun.  Enjoy watching what’s basically “Team America: World Police” on steroids.  Marvel at Megan Fox’s enormous, ‘porn star’ lips.  Relish the challenge of working out which fast-moving bundle of scrap metal is which.  To impress your mates with later, memorise Optimus Prime’s “Fate rarely calls upon us at a moment of our choosing” line.  Cheer along at every highly unlikely bit of good fortune that comes our heroes’ ways.  Be amazed that a load of robots that are huge, clumsy, noisy and trash everything they come into contact with, have managed to stay so well hidden for so long.  The highly irritating Sam Witwicky is back, although he’s marginally less irritating this time around, in the same way that a wasp is slightly less irritating than two wasps.  Megan Fox is also here again; (I don’t think her character’s got a name, as she’s Megan Fox in a range of tight shorts, so no one really cares about what her character gets up to).  On an entirely superficial level (which worked for me), the whole movie looks and sounds great.  The special effects are excellent and relentless; whilst it boasts a soundtrack that’s great for pissing off your neighbours.  One thing puzzles me though.  When I was young, Transformers weren’t “Robots in Disguise”.   What they were, were crappy little toys that you quickly lost half the bits for, got annoyed by and soon moved on from.  Who are all these people who’re so into them?  I’ve never met a single one in my life.  When I hear Hasbro, all I can think of are those sticky, disgusting jelly sweets made by Haribo.

Suitably bombastic, the soundtrack does all the things you’d expect it too.  It’s not bad.

The trailer is nearly two and a half minutes long, which means you get to see about 1/60th of the film by watching it.  Lucky you!

Recommended for robots, students and young women with ‘pouty’ lips.  Probably not the best movie for anyone interesting in recruiting new air force or navy pilots; or Egyptians.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Despite all the ‘good-guys bad-guys’ stuff going on, the sound of a Transformer saying “bollocks” to a door, works for me.  It’s probably the best line in the whole script.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen at IMDB (6.0 / 10)
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen at Wikipedia
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen at Roger Ebert (1.0 / 5)
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen at YouTube


Superman: Brainiac Attacks / The Truth About Superman


Superman: Brainiac Attacks  -  Front DVD Cover  -  American ReleaseEmbittered by Superman’s heroic successes and soaring popularity, Lex Luthor forms a dangerous alliance with the powerful computer/villain Brainiac.  Using advanced weaponry and a special strain of Kryptonite harvested from the far reaches of outer space, Luthor specifically redesigns Brainiac to defeat the Man of Steel.  But when Brainiac betrays Luthor and reveals its sinister plans for world domination, Superman must brave the mysterious Phantom Zone to find the strength to survive this deadly showdown. Fly with this all-new, feature-length spectacular and experience the action, adventure and excitement that only Superman can bring home!

2006  –  Certificate Not Rated  –  American Film
6.0 out of 10

If I’m ever in a position to suddenly change my whole life, I’m going to seriously consider becoming an insurance loss adjuster in Metropolis.  From the evidence presented in this film, I’d never be out of work.  Between the two of them, Superman and Brainiac trash a large amount of the city as they fight on and on and on, whilst failing to work out that no matter how often one of them throws the other through a building, it won’t do them much harm.  On the other hand, the damage to properly and the hundreds (if not thousands) of fatalities caused by all that Alpha Male nonsense is going to tie up Superman’s solicitor for a long, long time.   All that stuff about him not killing anyone, well I’m sorry, but it’s clearly a load of rubbish.  The guy’s a mass murderer on a scale even the worst war criminal would be hard pushed to match.  He’s a total psycho.  If Brainaic wants to steal all the data on Earth then I say let it.  Braniac’s a super-intelligent, incredibly strong, almost indestructible android that can access any computer at will, fly huge distances through space and probably answer any question on “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire”.  So really, what’s it going to learn by having access to the sum of human knowledge?  Is the back-story for “Eastenders” really that important to it?  Basically, us humans are having to deal with the consequences of their little tiff back on Krypton and Superman’s schoolboy crush on Lois Lane.  The guy’s so immature.  She’s only using him so she can move up the journalistic ladder; I’m sure she wouldn’t have any issues tapping his mobile phone if she thought it was worth it.  As far as I’m concerned they can all piss off and finish their stupid argument elsewhere.  I’ll take my chances with Batman thanks.

So it’s business as usual in Metropolis, (which according to Google Maps is apparently a motobike shop in south London.)  Bad guy arrives, Superman gets rid of bad guy and rescues Lois Lane.  Bad guy miraculously comes back to life.  Superman gets rid of bad guy again, after trashing huge areas of real estate and rescuing Lois once more.  Lex Luther whinges about things a bit and the local rag gets some good photos and copy to print.  The End.  To be fair, Superman’s been revamped so many times he’s probably succumbed to some sort of multiple personality disorder by now; and it’s not like he was the brightest superhero of the bunch to start with.  He’s never been the coolest one either, despite his muscular physique and Fortress of Solitude.  The latter could be so awesome, but it doesn’t even have a bed in it.  What bit of totty is going to want to hang out in the coldest, dullest pad on the planet?  Basically he’s just a cross-dresser that spends too long with the weights (and I’m pretty sure he’s on steroids too if you know what I mean), who’s got a 1,000 yard stare that really will cut right through you.  And what’s that alter ego Clark Kent all about?  Is that the best he could come up with?  What a dweeb.  You can probably tell I’m not Superman’s biggest fan.  The film itself is okay.  It’s fun.  I guess I’m easily pleased.

The soundtrack’s fine, but forgettable.

As a trailer I suppose this does just about do its job.  I hate all those MTV ‘fast cuts’ though; they give me a headache.  It feels a lot longer than 42 seconds.

Recommended for superheroes, powerful computers, androids and journalists.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  I’m a bit mean about Superman sometimes, but when Brainiac gets into the Fortress of Solitude it takes Sups about five seconds to decide to totally trash the place, so Brains can’t get his hands on all the Kryptonion knowledge stored there.  Considering what the place means to him, that’s got to be badass.  Most people do a similar thing by having a mother of a party, but I guess Superman doesn’t have a lot of friends to invite, or a stereo.  Let’s be honest, who wants to hang out with a muscle-bound bore once he’s finished impressing everyone with all his beer-can crushing tricks?  I bet he’s a crap dancer too.

Superman: Brainiac Attacks at IMDB (5.8 / 10)
Superman: Brainiac Attacks at Wikipedia
Superman: Brainiac Attacks at YouTube


Cyborg She / Rubbish MusicMagpie


Cyborg She  -  Front VDV Cover  -  Chinese ReleaseJiro (Keisuke Koide) meets a mystery girl (Haruka Ayase) on his birthday!  One year later, they meet again.  It is a shock to Jiro as she confesses and turns out to be a cyborg from the future that Jiro has sent to him as a present!  Getting along with this mischievous cyborg girl friend, Jiro falls in love but she has no feelings at all.  All of a sudden a disastrous earthquake his Tokyo, the cyborg saves Jiro’s life by sacrificing herself and the ultimate mystery of cyborg is going to be revealed.

2008  –  Certificate IIA  –  Japanese Film
8.5 out of 10

Because I’m a fairly stupid person I sometimes buy DVDs or BDs (Blu-ray discs) that I’ve already got a copy of.  I also occasionally upgrade from a DVD copy of a film or TV series to a BD one, or buy an alternative version because it’s longer or uncut.  This means I gradually accumulate a supply of discs I no longer want.  I used to sell these on eBay, but mostly I can’t be bothered to anymore so just get rid of them via MusicMagpie instead.  The latter doesn’t pay a lot, but it’s quick and easy to dispose of them this way.  Sadly, its home collection service is, (from my first attempt to use the latter), entirely shit.  I waited about at home from 8:00am to 8:00pm on the relevant day for someone to come and collect my parcel, but no one came.  It’s not like I live in an invisible castle floating in the sky, stuck in a parallel reality and out of phase with the regular universe, protected by a high (electrified) fence, a pack of hungry attack dogs and a set of visitor traps that even Indiana Jones would think twice about tackling; I live in a flat with a clearly marked buzzer on the outside wall by the door.  And in a rare bit of good, British urban design, there’s always space outside to park too, without fear of getting a ticket or being clamped.  I e-mailed the company a couple of days ago to find out what the problem was, but I’ve yet to get a reply.

Despite it’s time-travelling, disaster, sci-fi, slapstick, action-movie clothing, this is really a romantic comedy, the sort where nothing else really has any real world consequences outside of the two main characters.  Get caught in the middle of a restaurant shooting?  Big Deal.  Doing your Terminator ‘thing’ in the middle of a busy road junction?  So what?  Your capital city gets destroyed?  Whatever.  It’s another one of those movies that only Japan seems to be able to produce, where this eclectic mixture of genres not only works together but feels entirely normal.  In a damming indictment of our screwed up, star gossip culture, our hero, the nice but exceedingly dull and boring student Jiro, has become a bit of a celebrity in the future.  This is enough for someone to want to travel back in time and meet him.  Or something like that anyway.  The special effects are decent enough and the story is fun in its own way, but it’s a film that gets its kicks from frequently and suddenly changing its mood.  The scene where they travel to Jiro’s home village is really rather touching.  It also has a dance-off scene that’s pretty cool too.  The ending is a bit of muddle, as if the writers were suddenly struggling with how to sort out all the loose ends, but it’s a fab and fun mash-up of a movie, full of little Terminator references and well worth watching.  Haruka Ayase is very cute too; not at all like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The soundtrack varies from forgettable to okay, with the use of some pop songs filling in the gaps.  J-pop is an interesting beast…

The trailer isn’t bad, although it does underplay the ever-changing mood of the film.  The use of some questionable music over the action probably doesn’t help; then again, maybe it’s very appropriate given the ‘atmospheric turbulence’ of the movie.  For some reason, YouTube has cut the second line off the subtitles; it probably doesn’t make a lot of difference though.

Recommended for dull students, both geeks and nerds, cyborgs (and other artificial life forms) and teachers who like to throw bits of chalk about.  (Does that still happen these days or is chalk now classed as an offensive weapon?)

1 cat, no chainsaws or decapitations.  A body does get severed in two though.

Top badass moment?  I’m not sure someone/something that’s programmed to be what’s basically badass can actually then do anything that should count here, which leaves us with wusey Jiro.  Sadly the latter fails to do anything remotely badass for the entire movie, which leaves me with a bit of a constitutional crisis.  I’ll need to consult a solicitor before I’m prepared to comment further.  Raoul, Jiro’s pet cat (not the lizard), puts in a couple of excellent performances; his eating from the dish was especially nuanced and controlled.

Cyborg She at IMDB (7.0 / 10)
Cyborg She at Wikipedia
Cyborg She at YouTube


Hancock / Tony Hancock


Hancock  -  Front Blu-ray Cover  -  UK ReleaseWill Smith explodes onto the screen in this action-packed comedy as Hancock, a sarcastic, hard-living and misunderstood superhero who has fallen out of favour with the public.  When Hancock grudgingly agrees to an extreme makeover from idealistic publicist Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman, “Juno”), his life and reputation rise from the ashes and all seems right again – until he meets a woman (Charlize Theron, “Aeon Flux”) with similar powers to his and the key to his secret past.  A past that will have earth shattering consequences…

2008  –  Certificate 15  –  American Film
Strong language, sex and violence
9.0 out of 10

I sort of remember Hancock’s comedy genius from when I was young.  Not so much directly, but more from my Father, who was a bit of a fan.  So I was understandably worried when I first found out that Hollywood was going to make a film about his life; and even more concerned when I found out it was going to ‘reimagine’ him as a superhero and have a Black guy play his part.  I like Will Smith, but Tony Hancock lived in East Cheam and I’d hazard a guess and say there weren’t a lot of Black people living in that part of Surrey in the late 50s.  Fortunately, this modern film biography captures many facets of his life; his comedy timing, his ‘loser persona’, his personal fight with alcohol, his wife’s attempted suicide, his affairs with other men’s wives.  It’s all here.  Not only that, but it also cleverly introduces the plot from his most famous film, “The Rebel”.  In this, he plays the part of someone else, whilst the title itself is also well reflected by Smith’s superb portrayal of the part in this new movie.  It’s a much-see for all fans of British, post-war, kitchen sink comedy.  Oh wait; I’ve fucked up again here haven’t I?

For some reason that I’m not fully aware of, I love this film.  I guess the idea that a superhero can be a scruffy, underachieving alcoholic who hates people, gives me hope for my own life.  The script is surprisingly well observed and it manages to provide most of the elements you’d expect to see in a movie about a superhero, without becoming a parody of one.  Will Smith is actually very good in it and manages to make Hancock seem genuinely not very nice, rather than a watered down Hollywood bad guy suitable for kids.  For a ‘summer blockbuster’, it does pretty well on the darker elements of the story, violence and language.  Then again, I watched the uncut version that basically has ten minutes or so of the good stuff that was removed for the version that was shown in most cinemas.  (It was good to see all the “jackass” references replaced with the original “assholes”.)  Of course it has a few crappy scenes, (the one with Hancock having sex is an especially cringe-worthy example of a pretty pointless one); and don’t bother trying to count the plot holes either.  But overall it’s a brilliant action film with a fun story, original lead character and a surprising amount of gravitas when it needs it.  I enjoyed the ending too, even though you sort of know what’s going to happen.  Go watch.

This is the ‘action’ orientated trailer; there’s a ‘comedy’ one out there too.  It’s okay, but it doesn’t really sell the film especially well, unless you’re just into big explosions and stuff.  It’s a far more multi-layed movie that this makes it seem.

I really like the soundtrack to this film.  It’s everything a soundtrack is meant to be, enhancing what’s on-screen without ever taking over.

Recommended for superheroes, losers, rebels, drunks and PR consultants.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  It’s a film about a superhero.  Go figure.

Hancock at IMDB (6.4 / 10)
Hancock at Wikipedia
Hancock at Roger Ebert (3.0 / 5)
Hancock at YouTube


The Philadelphia Experiment 2 / Marks & Spencer


The Philadelphia Experiment 2  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US ReleaseIn the hit sci-fi thriller “The Philadelphia Experiment” the sole survivor of a wartime experiment is catapulted 41 years into the future and must race to save the world as we know it.  It’s now 10 years later, 1993.  David Herdeg (Brad Johnson), the surviving hero, has built a life for himself and his young son that’s unravelling fast.  The U.S. military is conducting another Experiment, one that not only alters Herdeg’s DNA makeup, but also threatens the fabric of the entire universe.  The Experiment’s goal is to transport a Stealth Fighter back to 1943 to use as the ultimate war machine, but its effect hurls Herdeg into another time warp, still 1993, but a 1993 where Germany has won the war.  Can Herdeg win the race against time and save his son and the world from a terrible future?  Or will the future be a twisted reality distorted by the Philadelphia Experiment?

1993  –  Certificate: PG-13  –  American Film
Rating Details: Military violence
6.0 out of 10

Who actually shops in Marks and Spencer, unless they want a new bra or a pair of socks?  It’s like a John Lewis, except with all the interesting stuff removed.  For a start, it only sells a limited range of household things, none of which anyone would need; unless you feel owning a big, weirdly shaped glass jar full of ‘interestingly’ coloured marbles is essential.  Or a pastel coloured cushion with tassels on it rates as highly for you as food, shelter and safety.  Then there’s the Food Hall.  These huge caverns are full of food nobody really buys.  True, it’s all very nice and tasty looking, but it’s also all eye-wateringly expensive, pre-pealed, pre-prepared, over-packaged and marketed as over-valued ‘superfood’.  I don’t know why M&S doesn’t just take that find step and pre-digest it for you too and sell that instead.  In fact, just send it your money and save yourself from even having to bothering to do the shopping in the first place. The branch I went to, near Southampton, has its entrance 5m from a huge Sainsbury; why does an M&S Food Hall even exist there?  A small, plastic bowl-like container full of cherry tomatoes on the vine, asparagus tips and rocket, costs about a million pounds.  (Whatever happened to lumps of cucumber, lettuce and grated carrot?)  At the sort of prices it charges, I’d expect the rocket to be a fully functioning space shuttle, complete with crew.  Just before Christmas I won £500 of Marks and Spencer vouchers in a competition.  Unable to use them online, (and what’s the point of vouchers these days you can’t use online), I finally plucked up courage last week to go into an M&S store and use them.  It was a scary experience.  I had no idea how to behave.  I was convinced I’d get arrested for breaking some sort of social code of conduct, only known to people who have large jars of marbles in their bathrooms.  I was served by four people all at the same time, who insisted on wrapping everything up in millions of layers of paper to ‘protect’ it.  Do I look that clumsy?  What did they think I was going to do with it all?  I’m now the proud owner of the most expense set of pans it sells, two kitchen knives that actually cut, some glasses that match one another and a set of chopping boards that aren’t home to most of the world’s infectious diseases.  (And being the system-smashing rebel I am, I’m presently using the blue one that’s got the fish symbol on it, even though I don’t ever eat fish.)  I’ve also spent the last week or so living on strawberries, cherries, nectarines and ‘speciality’ apples.  My body thinks it’s been irrigated with bleach, such is the purity of my insides now.  I did manage to find some packets of pasta hiding away in the corner of the store, but the rice defied my best efforts to locate it anywhere.  This film is about someone who finds himself somewhere he’s not used to being.

The Philadelphia Experiment was an interesting, if horrendously dated-looking film that came out in 1984.  Nine years later we got the sequel.  In many ways this is a better film, although it still manages to look terrible dated.  It’s portrayal of an America 50 years after the Nazis won World War Two is really quite nicely presented. Very Orwellian.  I was interested to see that the concrete HQ ‘bunker’ that features in the film looks a lot like many of the new stations on the Jubilee Line in London.  The sight of a Nighthawk ‘stealth fighter’ decked out in swastikas makes a suitably big impression on the senses.  A few elements in the film reminded me of The Terminator too.  All the father-son-baseball nonsense at the beginning was a bit nauseating, but once we got past this it was a decent enough movie. Gerrit Graham puts in a good show as the slightly mad Dr. William Mailer.  Sadly, the sum of its parts is not up to its individual elements; it feels like a film that ought to be better than it actually is.

The soundtrack is a decent effort, with a mixture of what you’d expect, along with a bit of cowboy music and some suitably overwrought Richard Wagner.

Recommended for Nazis, slightly mad scientists, pilots and baseball fans.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  David kills Mailer’s father, which results in some time-based shenanigans and Mailer disappearing, thus solving a number of tricky challenges.  I often do something quite similar myself, which makes it badass.  I can never understand why people have to complicate life so much.  If you don’t like something, just go back in time and try again.  It’s not rocket science.

The Philadelphia Experiment at IMDB (4.4 / 10)

The Philadelphia Experiment at Wikipedia

The Philadelphia Experiment at YouTube


Meatball Machine / Epic Breakfast Fail


Meatball Machine  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US Release“Meatball Machine” is a wild, splatterific, experimental sci-fi/horror rollercoaster that will have your entire brain and body shaken and stirred.  Capable of making biomechanical weapons out of human flesh, alien parasites grotesquely invade the Earth, turning their hosts into maniacal killers who seek and destroy each other to the bloody death!  And yes, it’s also a human love story, even though the budding romantics are infested with slimy, tumour-like globules.  Co-directors Junichi Yamamoto and Yudai Yamaguchi (“Battlefield Baseball”) pull out all the stops and don’t let up until the final epic battle.  It’s a touching testament to young love, blood, and alien ooze that leaves you screaming for more!

2006  –  Certificate: Not Rated  –  Japanese Film
7.0 out of 10

I used to be quite a good cook.  Like many things, it’s an ability I seem to have lost.  Today I tried to make myself some breakfast, just some porridge and a cup of tea, not exactly rocket science.  I managed to burn the porridge to the bottom of the pan, let the tea go cold and fill my flat with the smell of ‘burnt something or other’ that even lighting an incense cone (mesquite) has failed to cover up.  It’s all a bit sad really.  I suppose it could have been worse; I could have been taken over by an alien.  Now that really does mess up your day.  By a strange coincidence…

I was very relieved to discover that this film was not about the exploitation of animals and their conversion into a disgusting, processed, flesh-food of the worst kind.  Instead, it focuses on humans infested by alien parasites, who take them over, convert them to necroborgs and then go about killing each other in very gruesome and bloody ways.  Much nicer, I think you’ll agree.  There’s blood and yukiness aplenty in this Japanese movie.  That pretty well sums the plot up, other than the inclusion of some soppy nonsense about the two main characters falling in love and ending up fighting.  Fortunately, this doesn’t really get in the way of the mess, which does look good.  By and large the effects are very nicely done; the little aliens in the tumours have an especially high ‘eew factor’.  For a film of this type it’s actually really well made.  The overall effect is kind of what would happen if the Borg went to English football matches in the 70’s but in Japan, got really pissed and then went looking for a fight with some rival team’s Borg supporters.  Despite all the gruesome action, it’s so comic book like that it doesn’t really leave much of a sickening after-taste.  The DVD I have also has good subtitles and loads of extras; a quality release.  Recommended.

The music’s there, it does it’s stuff.  That’s it really.  It works, feels accessible yet still Japanese.  Can’t think of anything else to say about it.

Recommended for factory workers, lovers and guys that like to tinker with electronic things.

No cats or chainsaws and 1 decapitation, (plus another head that blows up).

Top badass moment?   Sigh.  It’s so romantic.  The shared love of Yôji and Sachiko, helping them to overcome the power of the alien parasites infesting their bodies, before making the ultimate sacrifice.  Well, bollocks to that.  Seeing people turned into cyborgs, loads of blood, heaps of gross body parts and that unique Japanese touch that goes into films like this, is far more badass.  Give me a huge gun growing out of someone’s chest any day of the week over a candlelit dinner for two.

Meatball Machine at IMDB (5.8 / 10)

Meatball Machine at Wikipedia

Meatball Machine at YouTube


Spider-Man / Being “An Authoriser”


Spider-Man - Front DVD Cover - UK Release

Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is an ordinary guy who lives with his beloved aunt and uncle and quietly pines for the girl next door, Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst).  But when a genetically engineered “super-spider” bites him while on a school trip, Peter develops unusual skills – fantastic acrobatic strength, supernatural awareness and a talent for web-spinning.  It’s not until tragedy strikes at home that Peter decides to use his new powers to fight crime under a secret identity, Spider-man! When the evil Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) attacks the good people of New York and endangers the life of Mary Jane, Peter commits himself to the ultimate tests: to thwart his arch-enemy and to win the heart of the girl that he loves.

2002  –  Certificate: 12  –  American Film
8.0 out of 10

With great power comes great responsibility…  That reminds me, I attended a webinar at work today, to enable me to become what’s called “An Authoriser”.  Thanks to having so recently watched “Spider-Man” I totally “got it” and realised the awesome obligation that had been bestowed on me.  True, it’s not given me enough super-powers to be able to go out and buy an Aston Martin as a company car, which I’m always going on about, but still.  I’m already responsible for saving the planet on a daily basis, so I guess adding this to my ‘portfolio of stress’ won’t make a lot of difference.  Jim gave the training, who’s the calmest person in the whole organisation.  Just as well really, as An Authoriser sounds more like someone who gives orders in a crime syndicate; or takes dead bodies, puts them in baths and pours acid all over them so they dissolve.  I probably watch too many films.  Ha, I just realised how apt attending a webinar was after watching Spider-Man. 

I enjoy superhero films.  It’s the ‘tortured hero that always comes good in the end’ that I can relate to.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there’s a thin line between my job and Spider-Man’s, or any superhero’s for that matter; we all save civilisation on an almost daily basis.  This is a great film that still looks good.  In the big scheme of things, Spider-Man always came a distant fourth for me when I was young, behind Batman, Superman and Popeye (the spinach guy), but he looks good in action here.  It’s the usual stuff, guy finds he’s got super powers, pisses off someone powerful and bad, has a crisis of identity, then comes good and saves the girl, before giving her up for the greater benefit of everyone else.  Yep, sounds like my life, except the exciting and positive parts.

This film has a really good soundtrack by Danny Elfman, even though all the best bits of it sound like rejects from the Batman movie.

Recommended for people like me, photographers, military weapon designers; and, most importantly, arachnologists.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment? It’s so mundane and predictable, but after spending ages (literally most of his life) chasing his soul mate, Peter Parker rejects her so he can ‘pursue’ his new ‘career’ more effectively.  What a do-gooder!  He didn’t even take her to bed first.  What a nice guy.  He made be stupid and he may be misguided, but the world needs more badass ‘nice people’ like him.

Spider-Man at IMDB (7.3 / 10)

Spider-Man at IMDB

Spider-Man at YouTube


Men In Black / Profanity Top Ten!


Men In Black  -  Front Blu-ray Cover  -  UK Release“Men in Black” follows the exploits of Agents K (Jones) and J (Smith), members of a top-secret organisation established to monitor alien activity on Earth.  The two MIB find themselves in the middle of a deadly plot by an intergalactic terrorist (Vincent D’Onofrio) who has arrived on Earth to assassinate two ambassadors from opposing galaxies.  K and J face a simple imperative: track down the interloper or the Earth will be destroyed.  It’s all in a day’s work for the Men in Black.

1997  –  Certificate: PG  –  American Film
Rating Details:  Mild language, violence and horror
7.5 out of 10

At last, another film that has aliens, spaceships and explosions in it, as well as a plot I can relate to in a very meaningful way.  As well as dealing with the scum of the universe, I also work for an organisation that does its best to remain hidden, even down to changing its name on a regular basis, to help ensure we remain a secret.  Along with a somewhat stupid smartphone and a Dell laptop with bits falling off it, I have one of those ‘flashy things’ (a neuralyzer) to make people forget stuff, too.  And I’m certainly never seen in anything but a black suit/tie and white shirt combo.  And as for the cool shades, well I bought mine from eBay for about £2.  Will Smith is a talented chap.  He can act, sing and dance.  I guess when he talks to people about me he says, “that Paul’s a boring guy.  He can’t do bugger all.”

For a sci-fi movie made 16 years ago, this one still holds up well; it hasn’t really dated at all.  I watched it on Blu-ray and it looks really lovely in that way too.  According to IMDB this film contains 1 possible f-word, 13 anatomical terms (including 2 uses of a term for male genitals, i.e. dick), 18 scatological terms (crap, shit and piss), 29 mild obscenities, 3 religious profanities and 2 religious exclamations.  There’s also some name-calling (bastard, prick, etc).  Sadly, I had to watch the censored version, which of all this lot chooses to replace the word “prick” twice, with “twerp” and “jerk”.  There must be a ‘league table’ of ‘bad words’ that people refer to, to find out how bad each one is.  I wonder how they check if it’s correct?  Get a big group of people in a room, swear at them a lot and see how offended they get?  Funny thing is, someone must have sat down and made a record of all that; I bet that job’s a conversation starter at parties.  “What do you do for a living then?”  “Me?  Well I count profanities.”  You may also be interested to know that “the principal female character wears a short skirt that reveals a lot of her bare legs.  Once, for less than a split second, it hikes up to reveal a little of her lower buttocks.”  I must have missed that, I guess I’ll have to go back and use the frame-by-fame function to check for myself; thanks IMDB for letting me know, that’s my evening’s entertainment sorted out.  It’s not even that short either.  Actually I think I look a bit like Will Smith.

The music in this film is a bit of a disappointment.  Danny Elfman wrote the totally brilliant music for “Batman”.  I even bought the soundtrack of that on CD.  But for this film he seems to have had a bit of an off-day.  It’s serviceable but entirely forgettable.  On the other hand, we do get Will Smith and his fun theme tune.

Recommended for anyone that works for a secret organisation, aliens and females that wear short skirts.

One cat, no chainsaws or decapitations.  A true, starring role for a lovely ginger and white cat, complete with some real acting and lines.  He/she just blew Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith off the stage.

Top badass moment?  There’s something to be said for driving a souped up car along the roof of an underground tunnel full of traffic and taking the time out to give some advice to your passenger about dealing with stress at work; whilst singing along to Elvis and trying to save the Earth.  Even I don’t get to do that every week.  That’s therefore very cool and very badass.

Men In Black at IMDB (7.2 / 10)

Men In Black at Wikipedia


Gwendoline / Changing Evolution


Gwendoline  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseFrom acclaimed master of erotica Just Jaeckin (“Emmanuelle” “Story of O” “Lady Chatterley’s Lover) comes “Gwendoline”, one of the most sought-after ‘guilty pleasure’ movies of all time!  Filled to the brim with enough female flesh and fetishistic imagery to satisfy the most demanding of voyeurs, this is one cult fantasy film you definitely won’t want to miss!  Follow the adventures of the sweet and innocent Gwendoline (Tawny Kitaen of “Bachelor Party” and those legendary Whitesnake videos) in which she travels as a stowaway to the Far East with her sexy friend Beth (played by French actress and model Zabou) on a mission to track down her father, who has mysteriously disappeared whilst on a mission to find a mythical butterfly.  Rescued from a group of lecherous seamen by the hunky adventurer Willard (actor and male model Brent Huff), Gwendoline persuades him to make up their trio and embark on a daring journey to the land of the Yek Yeik, a country ruled by a diabolical dominant Amazon queen and an army of female fetish-clad Amazonian warriors!  There, Gwendoline must defeat the evil queen and prevent Willard from being forced to spawn a new race of female warriors – or face certain death.  Gwendoline is a bizarre adventure like no other, freely adapted from John Willie’s acclaimed erotic comic strip, which fans will be talking about for years to come.

1984  –  Certificate: 18  –  French Film
Rating Details:  Strong violence
7.5 out of 10

Right now I’m sitting here drinking a bottle of Batemans Victory Ale; (6% and Vegan Society approved), thinking how great the summer is.  I know, every year the weather’s a bit of a disappointment, but somehow it’s still loads better than the winter.  However crappy the weather is, it’s still always a lot lighter in the summer than the rest of the year.  In the summer, the sun goes down to the right of that tree over ‘here’.  In the winter, it goes down behind the tree over there; (trying to hide its embarrassment, no doubt).  It’s 8:42 pm right now, warm and light enough to sit and read in my lounge without a light or coat on.  In the winter at this time it would be freezing cold, dark and depressing dank outside.  If I ever own a time machine, I’m going to go way, way back, to the point where humans (or whatever we were then), evolved away from hibernating during the winter.  Out will come a very sharp pair of secateurs and whatever genetically mutated freak of nature caused us to stay awake all year, is going to find itself well and truly snipped away from the evolutionary tree.  Bastard!  This film is about natural history too.

I thought this was one of those nature documentaries, where we’d follow an intrepid explorer searching for new species of something, in this case a butterfly.  So you can imagine my surprise when I was confronted with a chisel-jawed anti-hero, two beautiful woman who’s tops fell off slightly more often than was strictly necessary, a lot of bald chicks in leather bikinis, a lost tribe of women and a quite imaginative torture chamber.  Then again, I’ve never been on as expedition to search for anything, so perhaps Sir David Attenborough runs into things like this all the time.  I guess that would explain why nature documentaries are so popular.  Nevertheless, it is a film all about a hunt for a butterfly and without wanting to spoil the ending, it looks a lot like a blacker and larger version of a Swallowtail.  Normally I’m not exactly inspired by trashy films like this.  It’s certainly another of those vegan-unfriendly, birds-in-leather with whips films.  However, this one’s funny enough (both intentionally and unintentionally), well-made enough, epic enough and silly enough, to provide a highly entertaining and fun watch.  It looks really good and the acting is pretty spirited too.  Brent Huff at the hero Willard is a hoot and Tawny Kitaen, (who goes from innocent convent-educated girl to kick-ass, gladiatorial warrior in less than 100 minutes), looks… good.  The movie starts with an establishing shot in a busy, crowded, claustrophobic market near a harbour; I think it’s meant to be in China.  In the first three minutes we see someone nearly get run down and his cart of fruit tipped over, a fight break out, a theft of goods from the quayside with some associated shooting as the crew attempt to stop the getaway lorry, a group breaking into storage boxes, someone stealing food and someone else having a trolley taken from him; whilst two mounted police look on magnanimously, clearly on the lookout for some real crime under their noses.  That pretty well sums this movie up, as does the “Barbarella meets Indiana Jones” line on the DVD’s cover art.  It’s interesting that the BBFC’s “insight” (that’s what we call the rating details), now just says “strong violence”.  When it was first released it had 194 seconds cut out of it to enable it to get a cinema release in the UK; whilst America suffered from a version 16 minutes shorter.  Clearly, chariots pulled by semi-naked woman have lost their impact in the 21st Century.

In a B movie kind of way, this film has quite a decent soundtrack.  There’s not a lot else I can say about it really.

Recommended for naturalists, lepidopterists, heroes and anyone with a convent-based education.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Willard first appears in the film by crashing through a window.  He then takes a few moments to adjust his hat and smile, before dispatching all the bad guys with a display of high quality, hand-to-hand combat and rescuing two women from human traffickers.  That’s badass.  I’ll never be that cool.  :-(

Gwendoline at IMDB (5.0 / 10)

Gwendoline at Wikipedia


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


Universal Soldier / Being Pointless


Universal Solider  -  Front Blu-ray Cover (UK Release)The ultimate weapons of the future have just declared war… on each other.  Non-stop adrenaline pumped action starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren as genetically enhanced, unstoppable killing machines, out for blood.  A team of elite soldiers are used by the government to fight terrorism.  With exceptional physical capabilities, they seem to be the perfect soldiers, but behind their existence there is a secret; they are not human, but fighting machines, created from the bodies of soldiers killed in the Vietnam war through the wonders of advanced genetic engineering.  But things begin to go wrong when two of the soldiers, Luc Devreux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) begin to regain their memory – and a violent feud that should have died years ago is reborn.

1992  –  Certificate: 18  –  American Film
Rating Details: Strong violence
5.5 out of 10

Ever felt like your input into existence was kind of pointless?  Like you score a zero on the “I Matter Scale”?  I had a day like that today.  I basically spent it doing sums at work and wondering, “why?”  I guess even Superman has days like this sometimes.  And I bet Batman gets tied up in paperwork from time to time too.  This film is also pretty meaningless, but unlike my day at work it had some action in it as well.  Anyway, here’s a funny story about a soldier.  When I was little I was sitting in my pushchair one day.  Apparently a woman came up to me and I pointed my finger at her and kept saying “sod yer”.  This somewhat horrified the woman and embarrassed my mother.  It turned out I was actually pointing past the woman and trying to say “soldier”, as there was a solider standing behind her.  Okay, it’s not that funny I guess.

There’re movies like “The Terminator” and “Robocop”… and then there’s “Universal Solider”.  (And I’m not wanting to nit-pick or anything, but shouldn’t it really be called Universal Soldiers?  One Terminator; one Robocop; lots of Universal Soldiers.)  Most franchises manage at least a few decent films before they get a bit crappy, but not this one.  As an action movie it’s fine, with lots of big bangs and stuff.  As science fiction it’s okay too, with a decent idea behind it. But as far as the characters and plot were concerned, I couldn’t give a toss.  The opening scenes at the Hoover Dam are pretty good, but then it goes downhill faster than the guy running down the dam wall itself.  It’s just two, overgrown junkies with a fetish for cold baths, going on the rampage across the desert.  So what?  At least Dolph Lundgren swaggers around looking like the sort of taller-than-anyone-else boy at school, who would steal dinner money from little kids, harasses all the girls and think he’s way more attractive than he really is; in other words a natural thug and bully, (aka asshole).  Unfortunately, Jean-Claude Van Damme is too much of a pretty boy to be badass enough for anything bad.  It’s true, he does get to be the ‘good guy’ in this film, but he’s meant to be an emotionless killing machine, not Robbie’s replacement in Take That.  This movie also boasts the most irritating woman I’ve seen in a film for a long time. A feisty TV reporter (how original), she was so full of herself she was almost inside out.  Surrounded by “genetically enhanced, unstoppable killing machines” and none of them managed to kill her?  Not even by accident.  (If I’d been watching it in 3D I think I’d have climbed into the film, just to kill her myself.)  If it was up to me I’d send them all straight back to Samsung (or wherever they came from) and ask for a refund.  What a bloody annoying (and stupid) individual she was!  It’s all pretty well summed up in the ‘big scene’ where Jean-Claude gets home and meets his parents for the first time in something like 25 years.  Considering they also thought he was dead, their reaction was about on par with the one you’d give to the postman if he bought you an unexpected parcel. The film did entertain me and there’s plenty going on, but it all felt a bit meaningless and unimaginative.

Music.  It was so generic I can’t even remember it, even though there was a lot; except the pointless and out of place rap over the end credits.  Body Count’s in the House?  I guess Ice-T got stuck after writing the first line. I wonder how much he’s earned from saying the same two words a lot of times?  (Well okay, we did also get one or two of each of the following from him too: ugh, yeh, come on, make some noise, BC.  So I’m probably being a bit mean and unfairly denigrating his work…)

Recommended for people that like action films.  Really, no one else.  Believe me.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment? The UniSol Truck is pretty badass.  It’s big, bad, green and belches out dry ice every time it stops and someone gets out of it.  All it needed adding to it was a few machine guns and missile launchers.  Considering the Universal Solider programme’s meant to be top secret, it’s the most unsubtle lorry I’ve seen since the F.L.A.G. Mobile Unit semi in “Knight Rider”.

Universal Soldier at IMDB (5.8 / 10)