Chad (Aaron Eckhart), furious about the way women are ruining his man’s world, enlists his wishy-washy co-worker (Matt Malloy) in a callous plan to date then dump a vulnerable secretary (Stacy Edwards). Both horrifying and hilarious, “In the Company of Men” is “a brilliant black comedy… sure to be one of the best pictures of the year. This is a movie event.”
1997 – Certificate: R – Canadian Film
8.0 out of 10
For the past few days I’ve had the worst cold ever. The sort of cold that’s so bad it’s probably new to medical science and if anyone but me had it they’d be in hospital in intensive care; but I don’t like to make a fuss. Somewhat ironically, the day before I got it I’d remarked to a colleague how I hadn’t had one for ages and was considering the possibility that I’d somehow become immune to all forms of illness. Actually I’m blaming it on foreigners. It came on when I was in Kent for an overnight stay, so it’s probably some weird pathogen that somehow got blown across the Channel from France or somewhere. I think I’ll vote UKIP in the next election; I bet they’d keep this sort of thing out of the country. It’s Sunday evening now and its effects are starting to recede a little. Typically and somewhat heroically, I’ve been sick over the weekend. I often wonder if it’s better to be sick in my own time and reduce the consequential pile-up of work that results if I’m sick during the week. Life as a middle manager is tough, let me tell you. This film is about middle managers too.
I watch plenty of films with unpleasant, creepy or just plain nasty people in them. Destroying the universe, taking over the Earth, torturing innocents and blowing stuff up are commonplace. Whatever. Fortunately, most of these sorts of people don’t exist, or only do so in very small numbers. However, this film features two of the most annoying guys I’ve come across for quite a while, probably because they’re just a bit too ‘normal’ to explain away as a script writer’s dirty fantasy; I suspect people like them really do exist. One’s an exploitative, misogynist, back-stabbing middle management type with absolutely no redeeming features whatsoever. The other is one of his colleagues and a weedy, whiney loser. This is a movie about two ‘ordinary guys’ deciding to mess up a young woman’s life for no better reason than because they want to. In a lot of ways it reminded me of “Cruel Intentions”. It’s the sign of a good film when the two principal characters are uniformly loathable, yet somehow you half want them to keep going. The fact that the woman they pick on is disabled (and to be honest a bit boring), just makes it all worse. I felt like I was visiting the scene of a car crash; of course not wanting anyone to be hurt, but secretly getting a bit excited by the fact that someone might have lost a limb or two anyway.) It’s the same as watching motor racing; you don’t want anyone to get hurt, but the crashes and the risk of them do make things more exciting. At the end I didn’t know whether to be horrified, or think, “fuck, yeah, lucky bastard.” This is a nicely made and acted film; I enjoyed it! The trailer makes it look much more of a comedy than it really is.
The only music used in this film is made up of the sound of a saxophone being strangled over the top of a drum solo of sorts. I guess it’s some type of modern jazz. I have to say it works very well though.
Recommended for assholes, secretaries, middle managers and feminists.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? That’s a tough question. This is a film full of ambitious but somewhat inadequate middle managers, who wouldn’t know a badass moment if they sat on the toilet for a week with one. It’s a movie without a single, redeeming act of kindness or heroics in it, so for the first time in many months I have to admit defeat and accept my failure to identify one. Sorry. :-(
After the death of her cousin Tomoko, reporter Reiko hears stories of a videotape that kills everyone who sees it exactly one week after viewing. At first she discounts the rumours, but when she learns that Tomoko’s friend (who watched the video with her) died at exactly the same time, she begins to investigate. After viewing the tape herself, strange things start happening and so she teams up with her ex-husband to try to stop the death clock that has once again begun ticking.
1998 – Certificate: 15 – Japanese film
6.0 out of 10
Despite being an antisocial loser and having no friends, I recently found myself in possession of a birthday party invitation. Stress! For a start, how does one present one’s self for such a social gathering these days? Formal? Casual but smart? Street smart? Metrosexual urbanite? And as for presents; that’s a total, social minefield. Still, not wanting to waste this once-in-ten-year opportunity to ‘have-a-good-time’ and ‘meet people’, last Saturday found me sitting in the sun in a garden in west London, twerking to ska-punk and reminiscing how when I was 13 I used to know be able to identify every car on the road and every plane in the sky; (a party animal, I know). I also learnt loads about what it’s like to control one of those massive cranes that you see on building sites; met a really famous drummer, (I think it was either Charlie Watts or Tré Cool, but I’m not sure now); knocked a can of cider on the kitchen floor and starred somewhat dumbly at the mess as someone else cleaned it up; drunk an inappropriate mixture of drinks that included cider, port, Buckfast, Midori, vodka and some Lithuanian spirit that tasted a lot like medicine; had a long conversation about Syria; ate some peanuts and samosas, (which were very nice) and talked to someone who’s getting married in six weeks. I probably bored a lot of other people too, but I can’t actually remember much else, but I imagine I wasn’t very interesting or coherent and spoke mostly drunkanise. Finally I left and forgetting that when I’d learnt which way to turn to take me to the train station (which was a two-minute walk away) I’d had the map upside-down, went totally the other way, took two buses and ended up wandering around the empty corridors of Heathrow Airport all night, like an extra from a zombie apocalypse film, before finally getting an entirely empty coach back to Reading at five in the morning; (well it had a driver in it, and me, obviously). I don’t suppose I’ll get another invite to a party anytime soon, but I was glad to have this opportunity to reconfirm that I have no social skills and really shouldn’t drink more than a pint of shandy. And it took me over two days to recover too. Frightening stuff.
This film has a fearsome reputation for being really, really scary. It’s not really. Well a couple of times it was but mostly it wasn’t. It’s more creepy than anything else. The anticipation that something was about to be scary was often more scary than what actually happened; a bit like crossing a busy road. I suppose if you get off on a certain kind of Japanese ghost horror then you’d be more likely to have an underwear malfunction, but not otherwise. The plot’s got something to do with a cursed video and a woman in a well. In many ways it’s as much a whodunit thriller as a horror. If a similar sort of thing happened today, it would end up on YouTube and probably wipe out most of the Earth’s population. Given its video-based story, it hasn’t aged well. Having said all that, it’s actually quite watchable. I guess I just found it a bit of a disappointment after all the hype.
There isn’t a great deal of music in this movie and what there is sounded like it came straight off of “Now That’s What I Call Horror Film Music, Volume 34”. The theme tune (used at the end of the film and on the trailer) is pretty horrific, but not it a good way.
Recommended for vindictive ghosts, journalists and ex-husbands. It’s probably a real nightmare if you’re involved in the manufacture of videos or DVDs, etc; I can imagine something like this would really take the bottom out of the market.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? I just can’t think of one. Had too much to drink at the party.