Posts tagged “Alcoholic

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


Aberdeen / My Aston Martin


Aberdeen  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US ReleaseKaisa (Lena Headey), a beautiful and feisty Scottish woman, finally has her life together, at least until her mother (Charlotte Rampling) asks an enormous favour; to bring back to her Kaisa’s estranged larger-than-life father (Stellan Skarsgård).  The two of them, father and daughter together, set out on a wild, brutally funny yet heartbreaking journey, which takes them through their emotional past before reaching their ultimate destination.

2000  –  Certificate: Not Rated  –  Norwegian / British Film
9.0 out of 10

Despite being a lowly nobody at work, a combination of staff sickness and annual leave yesterday meant that all the more senior staff with direct line management responsibility for me weren’t in.  Taking advantage of my self-appointed, temporary CEO role, I finally got to order that Aston Martin V12 Vantage S I’m always on about.  I knew my recent ‘job enrichment’ as “An Authoriser” would come in handy.  With this new company car, I’ll soon be making better use of my valuable time, by utilising its top speed of 205m.p.h.  (I spent over six hours driving today, mostly on the M25, covering a little over 200 miles in that time; it would’ve only taken me an hour in the Aston.)  I haven’t been able to find out much about it fuel consumption or exhaust emissions, but luckily it’s got a catalytic converter so I’m sure it’ll be really good for the environment too.  I can’t wait for it to be delivered.  I imagine the optional, 1000W Bang & Olufsen BeoSound with ICEpower technology audio system I’ve included in my order is pretty good as well.  This film features a decent car, but it’s not an Aston Martin.  I should have watched a James Bond movie instead.

I’ve been to Aberdeen.  It’s gray, depressing and bloody cold.  It’s so cold even ice tries to avoid the place.  The fact that many years ago I got dumped there by the most beautiful woman on the planet (although with hindsight she was clearly way out of my league), has no bearing whatsoever on my opinion of the place.  I’m nothing, if not a consummate professional when it comes to giving factual, well-balanced information about things.  (I remember the two of us building a huge snowman in a park.  A short time later as we walked past it again, we saw some little bastards abusing it.  They had just pushed its head off, in what turned out to be a remarkably accurate metaphor for our future together.)  This is an amazing film that features the relationship between a father and daughter, two emotionally damaged individuals; one an alcoholic and the other a successful solicitor who’s seemingly lost the ability to love anyone.  It’s essentially a road-trip movie, in which the daughter has to go from London to Norway to collect her father and then transport him to Scotland.  I like films like this, as they me feel better about myself.  Lena Headey and Stellan Skarsgård, who seem to turn up in quite a few films I watch, both put in wonderful performances and manage to make their characters sympathetic and somewhat endearing, despite their not being very nice people.  I really did end up caring about what happened to them.  If it has a fault, then it’s that some of the situations they run into on their journey just seem a bit too random and strange.  This is an emotionally tiring film to watch, but worth every second.  The trailer really doesn’t do it much justice.

To be brutally frank, the soundtrack’s unlikely to result in a circle pit in your living room.  However, I don’t think that was the intention.  Like most things about this film, the music works and really enhances the scenes its used in.

Recommended for alcoholics, solicitors and dysfunctional families.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  I’ve never been an alcoholic; I don’t have the time or the money.  So I’ve never experienced what it’s like.  Tomas is an alcoholic and spends most of the film very drunk.  However, he does manage to go into a bar at one point and drink just water.  I’d imagine that’s pretty hard to do when you’re an alcoholic.  That’s badass.

Aberdeen at IMDB (7.1 / 10)

Aberdeen at Wikipedia

Aberdeen at YouTube


Affliction / Horseburger Threat To Life As We Know It


Affliction  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)I got a feelin’ like a whipped dog. Someday, I’m gonna bite back.”  Throughout his life, Sheriff Wade Whitehouse has been cowed and brutalised by his father, a venomous alcoholic.  But a child never forgets a cruelty, and two suspicious deaths in their small New Hampshire town lead inexorably to a cataclysmic confrontation between father and son.  Dark, powerful and moving, Paul Schrader’s adaptation of Russell Banks’ novel creates an indelible impression, enhanced by stunning performances from James Coburn and Nick Nolte.

1997  –  Certificate: 15  –  USA
6.5 out of 10

Apparently Tesco used its Store Defence Grid ground to air missile capability today to shoot down a helicopter in the centre of London, in an effort to deflect the news about its new range of delicious ‘horseburgers’ from the front pages.  That’s pretty harsh, even for a business that’s run like Tesco.  I can’t imagine Waitrose doing that, or the Co-op.  I wouldn’t go shoplifting in Tescos if I was you, its store detectives don’t take prisoners.  The way a lot of people appear to have reacted to ‘horseburgergate’ is rather like their reaction to the loss of the so many independent stores from our town centres.  They shake their heads in sadness at the loss of diversity in the ‘high street,’ yet use the very shops that are causing the problem.  In the same way, they react in horror at the idea of a horseburger, whilst happily chewing up bits of other animals made into disc shapes and given alterniatve names to disguse what they really are.  What the fuck?  That makes no logical sense at all.  Be like the French and just eat everything with a face, at least that’s consistent.  Meanwhile, that other destroyer of the high street and leading non-payer of what the tabloids think is a fair level of tax, Amazon, must be pissing itself laughing at the moment, in the week that Play, Blockbuster and HMV all rolled over and died.  I went to buy a DVD from it this evening and for some reason they’re all now priced £30 or more.  I guess the cost of plastic must have gone up…  This is a film that I bought from Amazon, when it was the new kid on the block, the rebel outsider taking on the ‘big boys’.

This movie, despite its good points, I struggled to relate to.  I probably need to file it under “too American”.  Then again, a film about a son’s relationship with his abusive, alcoholic father is one I’m quite happy to feel I’ve missed out on.  (My own father died almost 30 years ago; I wish I could remember more about him.  He’s the person who gave me my love of music, even though his tastes and mine weren’t exactly the same; although I do have an inexplicable liking for easy listening, such as James Last, Mantovani, Franck Pourcel, Bert Kaempfert, etc.  I still use the turntable he bought in 1969, a Thorens TD-150 Mk II, a wonderful bit of engineering.)  This is a thoroughly depressing movie, on nearly every level.  Nick Nolte does a great job of making the main character seem a decent guy, despite his failings.  James Coburn is brilliant as his father; an evil motherfucker who’s as compelling to watch as he is a total bastard.  What an awful character; my heart goes out to all those people who are (or have been) in the position of having someone like that as a father.  It’s a shame he doesn’t get more screen time as you’ll really want to boo him and throw stuff at the TV.  He won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for this role and I can see why.  The rest of the film sort of gets lost in a weird narrative that doesn’t quite make sense, as we watch the life of his son, the local sheriff, fall apart.  We get to see what happens but we don’t really get inside his head.  I never got to fully understand why, after so many years, he suddenly got all weird about things.  I’m a sympathetic guy, I wanted to understand his pain, not just watch him bugger up his whole life.  He was a really crap police officer though; he should have become a dentist; (it makes sense if you watch the film).  As a side issue, I thought his young daughter was a really whiny bitch.  Geez, I’m bitter and twisted about everything today!

Recommended for James Coburn.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?    It’s often hard to find a badass moment in a depressing film and this one is no exception.  I accept defeat with good grace.

Affliction at IMDB (7.0/10)