Posts tagged “America

Header / SSE


Header  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US Release

From the mind of horror author Edward Lee, comes this horrifying tale of gruelling revenge and backwoods terror!  Stewart Cummings (Jake Suffian), a government agent playing both sides of the law, finds himself in the nightmarish crossfire of a bloody family vendetta. Forced to delve deep into a series of gruesome murders, Cummings encounters the most twisted method of revenge ever conceived by man: The Header.  What’s a header?  Only redneck Travis Tuckton (Elliot V. Kotek) and his evil “grandpappy” knows for sure… and once you learn the shocking answer, you may never be the same. Get ready for the acclaimed horror film that may be the ultimate in violence and gore! “Header” is a film of unrelenting, twisted terror!

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

There’s only 360 more days until next Christmas; how exciting!  I’ve managed to get all the way through this Christmas without putting the heating on at home.  It was my present for the planet and a middle finger to SSE (Scottish and Southern Electricity).  SSE managed to really piss me off recently.  I have (well had) an early version of a smart meter for my electricity.  I’ve had it about 2.5 years.  When I got it I had to change my tariff for a more expense one, (although to be fair it’s probably helped me save more money than the extra I spent on having it).  A couple of months ago it stopped working.  I e-mailed SSE to ask if it could be fixed or replaced.  The reply I got (that took longer to arrive that it should have) said that it was an outdated model and it couldn’t be replaced, but that I’d get a new, free smart meter in a few years’ time!  There was no suggestion that perhaps I’d like to change my electric tariff for a cheaper one again or anything.  This really annoyed me.  In fact it’s annoyed me so much that I’m going to change my electivity suppler next month.  Doing this has been on my mind for a while anyway, as SSE isn’t exactly top of the league when it comes to producing electricity from sustainable sources.  It will probably cost me a bit more, but I’m looking forward to using fair-trade, organic electricity in future, that’s produced by whole African villages of people peddling really quickly on static bikes to produce the stuff for me.  Quite why we can’t harvest the same stuff locally from all the private gyms around here I don’t know.  I guess it’s a similar situation to apples, where in the autumn I can either buy English Cox’s (the world’s best apple), or some tasteless replica with a brand name variety (like Pink Lady) grown in New Zealand.  That’s just weird.  So’s this film.

Agent Stewart Cummings is having a really, really bad day.  (I know he’s an agent as he spends most of the film running around in a t-shirt with the letters ATF on it.  (The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.)  His wife has a mystery illness for which the drugs she needs cost a fortune and his boss is less than supportive of him taking any sort of initiative when it comes to investigating crime.  And on top of that someone locally has started doing rather icky things with peoples’ heads.  Sadly for Stew it goes even further downhill from then on.  After the first ten minutes or so I thought I was going to be faced with an entirely crap film featuring poor production, acting and script.  Weirdly, as it progressed it improved.  It was like it was filmed in chronological order and everyone just got better as they went along.  That’s not to say it’s likely to worry the Oscars in any way, but it got good enough not to distract too much from the watching experience.  I’d love to tell you exactly what a header is, but that would spoil it for you.  Needless to say, it’s not got a great deal to do with aerial prowess in the penalty box, or plumbing.  If nothing else, it’s worth watching just to see Grandpappy, a brilliantly, over-the-top character who brings a level of enthusiasm to proceedings that I wish I could replicate myself when doing my budget forecasts at work.  I did have a lot of sympathy for Agent Cummings, a generally decent guy who just had a run of bad luck, really bad luck.  Sometimes you just have to lose it.  Whilst watching this movie, into my head popped the idea that American rednecks have a lot in common with the UK’s UKIP voters.  More weirdness.

There isn’t a lot of music used in the film, it’s mainly just over the credits, but it’s a decent bit of whatever sort of music it is.

The trailer isn’t exactly forthcoming with details.  (There is a better one on the DVD, but I couldn’t find a link to it anywhere to put here.)  I guess that’s what comes from having a ‘big secret’ that you don’t want to blow to quickly.

Movie Weather Forecast:  Warm and sunny through the course of the film.  Nice.

Recommended for police officers, cobblers, drug dealers and adulteresses.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  In a fit of anger that wouldn’t have been out of place in the final verse of Eminem’s “Guilty Conscience”, Agent Cummings finally gets pissed at his bad luck.  I’m not condoning his behaviour of course, but, well, you can understand it.  I’m sure when I eventually ‘lose it’ I’ll go on the rampage too, probably on the London Underground in the rush hour, or maybe in Reading’s Oracle Shopping Centre, on a Saturday afternoon just before Christmas.

Header at IMDB (4.7 / 10)
Header at Wikipedia
Official Site
Header trailer at YouTube


True Adolescents / A Simple Recipe for a ‘Good Day’


True Adolescents  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US ReleaseAt 34, struggling Seattle musician Sam (Mark Duplass, “Humpday”, “The League”) finds himself broke, jobless and losing touch with the person he wants to become.  When his girlfriend kicks him out, he’s forced to crash with his Aunt Sharon (Academy Award winner Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”) and is reluctantly enlisted to take her teen son, Oliver, and his friend Jake camping.  Edgy, funny and honest, Craig Johnson’s film follows the trio into the rugged Pacific Northwest as unforeseen revelations and transformations force them to face adulthood.  Set to a mesmerizing soundtrack featuring both emerging and established artists including Band of Horses, The Black Keys and Devendra Banhart, “True Adolescents” remind us that sometimes people need to get lost to truly find themselves.

2009  –  Certificate: Not Rated  –  American Film
7.0 out of 10

I didn’t want to get up yesterday morning.  It was raining outside (again), grey and unpleasant.  On my journey to work, I was busy mentally congratulating myself on my meteorological forecasting skills and subsequent ability to make the journey during a break in the rain, just as it started to pour down for the last few minutes.  I got soaked.  It’s Fair Trade Fortnight and where I work was attempting to serve free tea, coffee and breakfasts to people outside; the rain pouring off the canopy in front of the building and onto the pavement was ‘intense’.  Strangely, I left work at about six feeling quite upbeat.  On my walk home I was wondering why, after such an unpromising start to the day, it had turned into quite a good one.  I didn’t really come up with anything, other than there were a number of nice, small things and a lack of bad things, which probably did the trick.  A CD/DVD I’d ordered on Sunday was delivered.  This was unexpectedly early.  I was due to have to go and do something all day, (basically sit and observe someone delivering a training course), but the date for this has now been changed, so I had an extra day in the office and got a lot of things done that I wasn’t expecting to get done.  I had a nice lunch with a colleague in the cafe, something I don’t often do.  Someone in the office got a grant of £2,500 to do some work; we were only expecting to get a few hundred, so this was a welcome surprise.  For the first time that I can remember, all eight volunteers and staff were in at the same time today; the place felt quite alive and buzzy.  Someone bought a big, homemade cake in.  I completed a grant claim that’s been hanging about for ages and I’ve had loads of hassle over.  I got a few other bits of outstanding work done that had been playing on my thoughts for a while.  I didn’t go into Tesco on the way home and buy crap for my dinner; I came home and cooked proper food instead.  So there you go, my recipe for an okay day.

A thirty-something guy takes his nephew and his nephew’s friend camping for a weekend.  They all grow up a bit.  The end.  This is a decent enough film that’s worth watching mainly for Mark Duplass’ man-boy character, who’s funny but in a believable way.  The main thing that bugged me was the fact that many of the various things that happen to them, especially the two most significant ones, don’t seem to get dealt will in any depth; they felt more like plot contrivances to take us towards the end, rather than big events that ought to have been considered in more detail.  Shame that.  It’s a decent enough watch though.   

This film makes much of its musical content and the main character is also a guitarist/singer in a not very good indie rock band.  Unfortunately most of the music is pretty mundane.  That’s a shame too.

Like a lot of things, the trailer is there or thereabouts.  It does a good job of not spoiling the film, but at the same time doesn’t tell you a great deal about it either.

Recommended for not-famous guitarists, rubbish indie rock bands, teenage boys and kindly aunts.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment? The two lads ask Sam if he’s going to wear his hiking boots.  Sam glances down at what looks like a rather battered pair of Converse baseball shoes on his feet and says, “These are my hiking boots”, (with the emphasis on “are”).  Yeh, that’s rock ‘n’ roll for you!  I then spent the rest of the film all tensed up, waiting for him to turn his ankle over.  Weirdly, this fate befalls one of the other characters.  As someone who sprained his ankle hiking a couple of years ago, I could relate to this, which makes it badass.  Converse boots really aren’t good for hiking.     

True Adolescents at IMDB (6/0 / 10)
True Adolescents at Wikipedia
True Adolescents at YouTube


Shame / Water Meters & Toilet Rolls


Shame  -  Front Blu-ray Cover (UK Release)Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a 30-something man living comfortably in New York balancing a busy job and active social life.  When the wayward Sissy (Carey Mulligan), turns up at his apartment unannounced, Brandon’s carefully managed lifestyle spirals out of control.  From award-winning director Steve McQueen (“Hunger”), “Shame” is a compelling and timely examination of the nature of need, how we live our lives and the experiences that shape us.

2011  –  Certificate 18  –  USA
Rating Details: Strong sex and sex references
7.5 out of 10

I’m having a water meter fitted at home.  No longer will I pay Thames Water £36.60 a month for the few drops of H2O that I use every day.  (Apparently it has to dig up half the town to fit it, but who cares?)  No longer will I feel guilt if I wash-up, flush the toilet, have a shower or do some washing, as I’ll simply stop doing all of those things.  This will save me money and, more importantly, save the planet too.  Who would have though becoming a lazy, housework-averse, smelly slob would actually be more community-minded than keeping your whites white and your home clean?  The next time I see someone washing his or her car I’m going to go up to the criminal (and let’s face it, you can’t do much worse than destroy the whole planet), and tell them just how selfish they are.  They may as well just get a gun and start killing people.  Indeed, a clean 4×4 has a lot in common with a minigun.  In a mostly unrelated incident, the first thing I did this morning was knock an almost entirely new toilet role into the toilet, while I was using it.  I managed to knock it off the holder and in an effort to stop it falling on the floor, only managed to redirect it into the bowl instead.  (My hands were pretty full at the time.)  For the second time in about a month, I enjoyed the taboo experience of urinating onto something that’s not really meant to be treated in that way; (last time it was my mobile phone).  In a not dissimilar way, this is a film about a successful guy with an addiction to sex.  We also get to see him using a toilet in a similar fashion to me, although minus the bog role and with a ‘physical presence’ that made me feel somewhat inadequate.

This film has a story and a plot of sorts, but if you’re the sort of person who likes a story that sort of has a purpose, then you may not find it that satisfying.  On the other hand, if you like films with a vibe and an atmosphere, then you might quite enjoy it.  Depending on your world view, I guess you’ll either consider Brandon is ‘the man’ or a ‘total loser’.  (If it helps you, please feel free to insert a pair of diametrically opposed euphemisms of your choice in place of the two I’ve just used, perhaps more suited to your age and social background.)  This is actually a very good movie.  I didn’t really want to like Brandon, but somehow he manages to come across as a decent guy with two sides to his life; one a success at work and the other an uncontrollable addict that he keeps bottled up by routine and ‘rules’.  Then his somewhat messed up sister arrives on the scene.  I felt quite sorry for him actually.  This probably has a lot to do with how Michael Fassbender portrays the character, which is in a quite understated way.  The story does leave a lot of unfinished business and unanswered questions in its wake, but really, it’s the mood of the film that makes it work.  Mostly depressing (like most of what I watch), it’s a visually and emotionally entertaining portrayal of a guy with a problem, a guy with a problem that he then tries to do something about.

I really love how the music is used in this film, a mixture of mainly 80s pop, Johann Sebastian Bach and some great incidental stuff by Harry Escott.  It also seems to be part of the trigger that makes Brandon try to change his behaviour.

No cats, decapitation or chainsaws.

Recommended for perverts, obviously.

Top badass moment?  Twice in under two hours, we see Brandon make ‘meaningful’ eye contact with attractive women on the Subway.  I’ve spent hundreds of hours on the Tube and never managed that; in fact I’ve only seen it happen once between anyone.  Somehow that’s badass, or jealousy, I’m not sure which.

Shame at IMDB (7.3/10)


Close Encounters of the Third Kind: 3.5 Stars


Close Encounters of the Third Kind  -  Front Blu-ray Cover (UK)Steven Spielberg’s classic film is back now on this never-before-released Ultimate Edition Blu-ray Disc, which includes all three versions of the sci-fi blockbuster.  Richard Dreyfuss stars as cable worker Roy Neary, who along with several other stunned bystanders experience a close encounter of the first kind – witnessing UFOs soaring across the sky.  After this life-changing event, the inexplicable vision of a strange, mountain-like formation haunts him. He becomes obsessed with discovering what it represents, much to the dismay of his wife and family.  Meanwhile, bizarre occurrences are happening around the world.  Government agents have close encounters of the second kind – discovering physical evidence of extraterrestrial visitors in the form of a lost fighter aircraft from World War II and a stranded military ship that disappeared decades earlier only to suddenly reappear in unusual places.  Roy continues to chase his vision to a remote area where he and the agents follow the clues that have drawn them to reach a site where they will have a close encounter of the third kind – contact.

1977  –  Certificate: PG  –  USA
Rating Details:  Mild language and scary scenes

In a departure from my normal viewing habits, I decided to take a look at some promotional films this week.  Quite randomly, I thought I’d start with this rather overlong ‘advert’ for the Devils Tower National Monument.  Looming more than 1,200’ above Wyoming’s eastern plains and the Belle Fourche River, it’s a one-of-a-kind natural wonder.  Northern Plains tribes have worshipped near this remarkable, geological formation for thousands of years.  Fur trappers, explorers and settlers alike were awed by the tower’s majesty.  In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt established Devils Tower as America’s first National Monument.  Certainly it’s an amazing feature; I’d love to visit it one day.  However, what really gobsmacked me what that this was the site of Earth’s very first contact with aliens.  How the Hell did I miss that?  Possibly the most important thing to happen in my lifetime and I knew absolutely nothing about it!  This promo, which to be honest is more of a documentary than anything else, describes the actual meeting and there’s even film of the aliens in it too, as well as a load of scientists and other people.  Apparently some French guy called Steven Spielberg, who worked for an electricity company and used to be a shark fisherman, first made contact with them when his young son ran away one night.  In fact he was nearly run over by a flying saucer.  What’s especially interesting is that the aliens’ culture appears to be almost entirely based on the music of the Electric Light Orchestra; even the design of its flying saucers is based on the cover of ELO’s most successful album, “Out of the Blue”; a strangely apt title under the circumstances.  Incredible!  What isn’t made clear is what the aliens actually came here for, other than to give us a load of stuff they nicked during the Second World War; maybe an alien child took it and his/her/its mother send him/her/it back to return it, I’m not sure.  The only thing they seemed to introduce us to is the concept of ‘sonic branding’, something that Intel has been using ever since.  I have to admit I’m still having difficulty coming to terms with all this.  I’ve tried Googling “aliens”, but there’re 133 million pages of stuff about them.  Totally mind-blowing.

Unfortunately, despite the game-changing news it contains, this promo/documentary itself isn’t that great.  A lot of things aren’t explained very well.  I wanted to know about the aliens, not the personal relationships of the people involved.  The film of the spaceships does look excellent on Blu-ray, although their grasp of music, based as it is on ELO, isn’t exactly going to set the charts alight, or burn-up any dance-floors anytime soon.  Their song really could do with a good remix.  The same goes for this film.  I imagine if they’d got someone in who knew what they were doing, it would have been a lot shorter, more to the point and made it far clearer what the aliens wanted.  I guess it was just put together by some local film company; a tourist board would hardly be in a position to hire a top Hollywood director.  Come to think of it, as a fan of cinema I’m surprised no one has tried to make a movie about this event.  It would make an awesome film.

Recommended for idiots like me that missed this bit of news back in 1977.  I guess I was too busy with punk to notice.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.  Though I imagine there were a load of ray guns and stuff on the spaceship and who knows, maybe some aliens pets too.

Top badass moment?  Aliens landing on Earth for real?  What do you think?

Close Encounters of the Third Kind at IMDB (7.8/10)


A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge: 3.5 Stars


A Nightmare On Elm Street Collection - Front Blu-ray Cover (UK)Five years have passed since Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) was sent howling back to hell.  But now, a new kid on Elm Street is being haunted every night by gruesome visions of the deadly dream stalker.  And if his twisted soul takes possession of the boy’s body, Freddy will return from the dead to wreak bloody murder and mayhem upon the entire town.  When “A Nightmare on Elm Street” made a killing, horror fans shrieked for more. Soon the diabolic Freddy was resurrected with a vengeance, along with some of the most terrifying special effects ever to splatter the screen. Look for Robert Englund minus his Freddy face in the opening sequence. He’s a real scream!

1985  –  Certificate: 18  –  USA
Rating Details:  Strong violence and horror

I’ve often considered Boxing Day to be a sort of inferior sequel to Christmas Day.  Well, okay, to tell the truth I’ve never actually thought that at all.  In fact, until about two minutes ago the idea had never even crossed my mind.  But there I was, sitting here and trying to think of something to write about this film and life in general and it just popped into my head.  I lead such a dull and monotone existence that it’s not always easy to come up with interesting stuff to say on the spur of the moment; there’re only so many things I can comment on about the weather and the amount of e-mail I get at work.  I did the washing-up about an hour ago, but that didn’t really give me the sort of emotional connection with the subject matter I was really looking for.  I do wish I could learn to rinse up a glass after I’ve used it though, it would really reduce the amount of washing-up I need to do quite considerably; but I’ve never been one for doing that when there’s a clean supply in the cupboard ready for use.  Even when I was young I was like this.  I guess I was just a hardcore rebel, fighting the system, looking to piss off The Man, running through the dark streets at night, giving the finger to society; or maybe I was just lazy.  Anyway, as I was saying, I’ve often considered Boxing Day to be a sort of sequel to Christmas Day; and all I really wanted to point out is that sequels are generally not as good as the originals, which is a bit like Boxing Day and Christmas Day.  Which brings us to this film.

Freddy’s revenge eh?  Sounds like serious stuff and to be fair at this point in the franchise Freddy was still the evil ne’er-do-well he started out as in the first movie; his later penchant for clever one-liners had yet to really take hold.  Trouble is, he spends most of this film trying to physically escape from inside some young lad, rather than terrorising loads of teens.  True, he does take time out to turn up at a party and trash it, but most of the time he’s inside rather confused teen Jesse.  Then again, this is the gay Nightmare movie, so it’s perhaps not so surprising after all.  If you view the film from this prospective it makes a lot more sense; if you’ve never done that, try it and see.  (By which I mean watching the film; I’m not suggesting everyone goes out and has a homosexual experience just so they can understand this film better, although if you want that’s fine too.)  I did quite enjoy the school bus scene the beginning, which does a clever job of turning a normal trip on a bus into a, em, nightmare one.  Then again, I could have just as much ‘fun’, albeit at a far lower speed, travelling on a Night Bus in London in the early hours of a Saturday morning.  All in all it’s a pretty average film, but the two main characters are quite engaging in their own way and I suppose you have to respect the makers for trying a slightly different angle this time around.  And it does have Fred Krueger in it of course.

Recommended for those that watched “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, obviously.

1 cat, no chainsaws or decapitations.  Well I think it’s a cat but it’s not a very nice cat.  I guess it suits Freddy though; I can’t really imagine him playing nicely with a cute kitten.

Top badass moment?  It has to be Lisa Webber driving to the old steelworks in the middle of the night, to confront Freddie and rescue her crush Jessie.  Not only is this a completely stupid thing to do under any circumstances, but he’s already told her he’s killed two people, including a mutual friend, whilst standing in front of her covered in blood; he’s also tried to kill her too, he’s trashed her home and when she tried to make out with him he wasn’t even into it.  That’s true friendship for you and friendship is badass.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (5.1/10)


The Rocker: 4.0 Stars


The Rocker  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)Rainn Wilson (TV’s “The Office An American Workplace”) takes centre stage in this wildly irreverent comedy about living your dreams – and embarrassing your family – at any cost.  Twenty years after being kicked out of his nearly famous ‘80s rock group, Robert “Fish” Fishman (Wilson) gets a hilarious second chance at stardom when he joins his nephew’s high school garage band.  Without missing a beat, Fish vows to reclaim the rock-god throne he always thought he deserved… while taking his much younger band-mates along for the rides of their lives!

2008  –  Certificate: 12  –  USA
Rating Details:  Moderate sex references and infrequent muffled strong language

Today is a special day.  From the mid-late 80s until the mid-late 90s, I didn’t really go to see many gigs; in fact off the top of my head I can only remember one.  Then I went to see China Drum at ULU (University of London Union) and everything changed.  It was the band that singlehandedly reintroduced me to live music.  Then after three albums, China Drum split up and the world became a slightly more crappy place.  It’s been at the top of my “wish they would reform” list for years.  Now, twelve years on, China Drum is playing a gig in February in London.  To say I’m a bit excited is like suggesting the sun is a bit warm.  This movie is about something a little similar.

I’m a bit of a sucker for films about music and bands and I really like Rainn Wilson, so it’s probably no surprise that I enjoyed this one.  There’s nothing especially groundbreaking about it, but it’s fun and at times really very funny; it has some great lines in it.  It just about manages to stay on the right side of becoming a parody à la “Spinal Tap” and Fish remains a likable character.  It seems to get compared to “School of Rock” a lot, but I think this is the better of the two films as it feels (okay slightly) more grounded.  It has a number of clever little references in it to other films and ‘pop culture’ and there’s even a small cameo from Peter Best, The Beatles’ original drummer.  The DVD has loads of extras too.  Highly recommended.

Recommended for people who used to be into music and then ‘grew out of it’, but secretly wishes they hadn’t.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  The ending is terribly clichéd, but who doesn’t want to get one over on someone who got one over on them years ago?  There’s nothing like holding a lifelong grudge; even I have one or two.  It’s not the most grown-up way to get rid of the latter, but beating a long-standing nemesis is most certainly badass.  Rock on!

The Rocker at IMDB (6.2/10)


The Road: 5.0 Stars


The Road  -  Front Blu-ray Cover (UK)Academy Award® nominee Viggo Mortensen leads an all-star cast including Guy Pearce, Academy Award® winners Robert Duvall and Charlize Theron and an incredible debut performance from Kodi Smit-McPhee.  “The Road” is a thrilling and deeply moving tale of survival as a father and his young son journey across a barren, post apocalyptic America.   Respectfully adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s hallowed novel, “The Road” boldly imagines a future in which men are pushed to the worst and the best that they are capable of; a future in which a father and his son are sustained by love.

2009  –  Certificate: 15  –  USA
Infrequent strong violence, language and gory images

It’s Sunday evening.  Monday is Christmas Eve.  Unlike most of my colleagues at work and indeed most other people everywhere else around these parts, I’ll be at my desk tomorrow, protecting the planet so the rest of you can enjoy the festive season, secure in the knowledge that the Earth is in safe hands.  Scanning the skyline for environmental Armageddon and other unpleasant circumstances, I’ll be poised, like a coiled snake, ready to pounce at a moment’s notice, should someone send in an e-mail for any reason that’s needs answering.  I’ve said this before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but when I’m at work I really do feel like I’m one of the Avengers or part of the Justice League.  This movie features a hero too.

The trailer is really quite deceptive (and actually not very good), as it seems to suggest this is some sort of action film.  It does have moments, but overwhelmingly it’s slow, quiet and thoughtful, with most of the action involving hiding rather than fighting.  I have to admit to having a soft spot for post apocalyptic movies; I think they probably reflect my life in some ways.  However, this is possibly the best film I’ve seen for the first time this year.  It has few weaknesses.  It’s heartbreakingly sad.  As you watch an ordinary, decent guy trying to protect his wife and young son from everyone and everything, the hopelessness it presents will pretty well jump out of the screen, sit down and embrace you; eww, gross.  With so many superheroes and action-heroes routinely overcoming impossible odds in films, it’s easy to forget that most of us aren’t actually like that and there’s a limit to what we can do.  Seeing The Man (none of the characters’ names are ever given) slowly give up more and more of himself and his humanity is depressing beyond words and what few happy moments there are (and “happy” has to be taken to mean better relative to everything else), are quickly crushed.  The scene with the wallet and wedding ring is a real killer and the ending will make you want to cry; it did me. The scene when they catch up with the guy who’s stolen their belongings is pretty shattering too.  The photography is great.  I watched it on a Blu-ray disc and really gets across the whole look and feel of the landscape; everything dead, everything smashed up, looted, burnt out, destroyed, colourless.  The whole time it’s damp, cold and miserable, the sun hardly shines and it rains, a lot.  (Actually that’s not unlike the view from my lounge window recently, what with the weather and all the fly-tipping around the rubbish bins.)  The acting is top draw stuff too.  The two main characters spend most of their time sleeping, looking for food, trying to keep warm and walking.  This doesn’t sound very interesting, but the script is so good that you’ll want to celebrate whenever they get a bit of luck.  The only thing that lets it down slightly is the ending, which has a rather big “why didn’t they” moment.  I actually wanted to get something to eat whilst I was watching it, but I felt so bad for the characters that I didn’t;  I needed to empathise with their hunger, (although I did draw the line at soaking myself in the shower, opening all the windows and rolling around in the dirt outside in the dark).  This is a bleak movie; it offers a few moments of hope, but it’s overwhelmingly a wrist-slasher.  It’s also a must-see film.  I’m going to buy the book it’s based on.

Recommend for anyone with emotions. Probably not a great film for Christmas Day viewing; or Lieutenant Commander Data.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Like Batman, he’s not perfect and he doesn’t have any superpowers, but The Man’s single-minded devotion to protecting his son is pure Badass.  Yes, that’s badass with a capital B.

The Road at IMDB (7.3/10)


Twelve Monkeys: 3.5 Stars


Twelve Monkeys  -  FrontBlu-ray Cover (UK)What’s the point of daylight in winter?  Even on the odd occasion that it’s sunny, it’s so cold that no one really wants to spent time outside.  But most of the time it’s grey, miserable and wet, like today.  By 4pm it’s virtually night.  It’s so cold, the days are so short and it’s so dark all the time, that nothing grows.  Trees and plants have been around a lot longer than humans, so if they think the winter is a waste of time and just go to sleep, I really don’t see that we should be questioning their good judgement.  We should hibernate in the winter and enjoy the summer, when we can actually have fun being outside and it’s light for more than 20 minutes a day.  If I ever get my hands on a time machine, I’m going to grab myself a good pair of scissors and go back to wherever it was in our evolution that we decided that hibernating was a bad thing and snip off that particular evolutionary branch before it goes anywhere.  Trust me, you’d thank me for it.  This film is all about time travel and snipping off our evolutionary branch right here, right now; (well 1997 actually, but who’s counting)?

1995  –  Certificate: 15  –  USA

Good, another film about animal rights weirdos.  Seven years before trying to turn everyone into zombies in “28 Days Later”, here they are apparently trying to “erase humanity from the planet”.  They never want to do anything nice, do they?  (The irony being, we seem to be doing a good job of this ourselves, anyway, without any ‘help’).  Bloody hippies; I bet they all enjoy a McDonald’s double flesh-burger with calf-stomach rennet cheese when they think no one’s looking.  So throw in a bit of time-travel and a moody Bruce Wills and what do you get?  A decent, if sometimes confusing, slightly too clever for its own good, sci-fi  film, with a couple of horrendous one-line plot contrivances that appear to have been added in a desperate attempt to stop the story smashing into a dead-end, from which there would be no escape.  Image someone marooned on the Moon, air running out and with no chance of rescue, then suddenly coming across the remains of one of the lunar models from the 70s in which there’s not only a supply of air, but also an engine capable of allowing it to be piloted back to Earth safely, including a manual, in a language the guy understands of course, to teach him how to do this; with none of this being explained other than by something like the guy thinking, “wow, aliens must have done all this, lucky for me.”  I didn’t really like either of the main characters either.  Bruce Willis had a bit of an excuse, his character being a bit distressed and having a somewhat difficult lifestyle and everything, but I really wanted to strangle Madeleine Stowe’s Dr Kathryn Railly.  For someone who was meant to be an experienced and well thought of psychiatrist, she managed to turn into a rambling idiot bimbo at the drop of a hat.  And what on Earth did she like about Bruce’s character; god, there’s hope for me yet.  However, it is a decent film, despite all that, with the secret, special ingredient that Terry Gilliam adds to all the films he makes; I’m not sure if it’s good for you but I could definitely taste it.  A bit like what Colonel Sanders puts into Kentucky Fried Chicken to try to disguise what it is and make it edible, probably.

Recommended for animal right activists.  Not recommended for monkey enthusiasts, as there aren’t 12 in it; in fact I’m not sure they’re any in it.  Sounds like an e-mail to Trading Standards might be in order.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  I’m struggling a bit here, but I’m going for Bruce bashing the hell out of a pissed-off pimp with an old-fashioned telephone.  I’d like to see someone do that much damage with a modern, hands-free set or mobile.  It’s good to talk, but clearly even better to bash someone’s brains out with a phone.  That’ll stop the silent calls and salesman ringing.  Finding a way to combat the latter is most certainly badass.

Twelve Monkeys at IMDB (8.1 / 10)


Terminator 2: Judgement Day: 5.0 Stars


Terminator 2: Judgement Day: Skynet Edition   -   Front Blu-ray cover (UK)I went to see The Wedding Present play in London last night.  There’s not much point me saying anything about its performance, as it’s the 4th best band on the planet.  Instead, here’s what I remember about the gig that doesn’t include the band.  At the end of its set, the guitarist from the first support band, Dead Wolf Club, smashed his guitar on the stage; very rock ‘n’ roll, except I got the distinct feeling he does this a lot and then just glues it back together again for next time.  The other support band, TOQUIWA (formally the Pinky Piglets), was from Japan and therefore made no sense whatsoever; three Japanese women running about on stage singing about wanting a chocolate and doing a lot of things that I haven’t a clue about, confirming my belief that Japan isn’t really from this Earth.  The venue, Koko in Camden, was really cold.  Koko has the worst bar of any venue in London; nothing on draft, with tins of bog-standard cider around £4.50 a can.  Koko has the worst decor of any venue, all gaudy red and gold.  Koko is the worst venue to get out of afterwards; considering its size, it takes forever.  A few years ago Koko used to have crappy sound, but it’s now much improved.  Between each band’s set, the stage lights got pointed towards the crowd, which was really annoying; I shall be seeing yellow spots before my eyes for weeks.  The stage at Koko is too low.  (As you’ve probably gathered, Koko is not my favourite place to see a band.)  As far as I can remember, this was the first time I’d been on the proper Guest List for a gig; I’d like to say I was a ‘friend of the stars’, but in reality I just happened to get my ticket in a slightly obtuse way.  My journey there was swift and easy, as I basically walked onto all three trains without a wait; I think the track in the West Country should get flooded every week, as it seems to improve train availability, despite there being lots of cancellations and delays.  My journey back was also easy; I even had my ticket checked on the train.  The woman sitting in the row of seats in front of me didn’t have a ticket, although there’re a million ways to buy one at Paddington Station, so it was obvious she was trying to get away without paying; she had an American Express credit card too, so I doubt she’s exactly poor; I’d have thrown her out of the train’s airlock into deep space (or whatever the train equivalent is) if I’d been the ticket inspector.  I read the London Evening Standard on the journey back, as there was a copy on the seat.  The Standard is a shit paper, no wonder it’s given away free.  This edition included some dreadful rubbish about young people and claiming housing benefit; if any other group in society was so picked on and vilified, we’d all be out on the street demanding equality and new laws.  Had an interesting chat with two guys in the crowd while waiting for the bands to appear; one later decided my t-shirt’s arm would make a great way to dry the sweat off his head, but I’m sure it was a sign of solidarity; but honestly, what sort of person wears a leather jacket in a most pit?  It’s going to be hot there!  The Wedding Present has very happy fans; the guys behind me in the crowd spent half the set just laughing as everything going on around them.  The band’s fans are mostly men. The gig finished before 10:00pm; a nice, civilised time.  Like the Wedding Present, there’s little point in my trying to give any sort of objective consideration to this film, as it’s just so awesomely amazing.

1991  –  Certificate: 15  –  USA

What can I really say about this movie? Everything about it is great.  It’s probably in my Top Ten films of all time.  This was the first time I’d watched it on Blu-ray and it looked and sounded fab on that.  I was also watching the Ultimate Cut for the first time, which includes a number of extra scenes, even more than the Director’s Cut, including a great dream sequence that features Kyle Reece from the first Terminator movie that was entirely omitted from the version shown in cinemas; and a not quite so great extended ending.  A modern classic and possibly the greatest action movie ever made. 

Recommended for everyone.  Well nearly everyone.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.  There’s a fair bit of shattering, melting and general ripping apart going on though.

Top badass moment?  “Come with me if you want to live.”  No ifs or buts there.  100% badass and good advice at any time, especially when some liquid metal freak is after you.  Trust me, I know….

Terminator 2: Judgement Day at IMDB (8.6 / 10)


The Notebook: 4.0 Stars


The Notebook  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)I’m vegan.  This makes me better than most other people.  I’m not being big-headed or stupid or anything, that’s just the way things are.  (See “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” for more details.)  I’m lucky, in that the whole population of Cactus World is vegan, which makes things a lot easier.  However, the same can’t be said for some of the neighbouring areas.  My flat has a couple of air vents in it with built-in fans.  These appear to be connected to all the other vents in the building, via a series of pipes buried in the walls.   They’re the sort of vents you can use to ‘enjoy’ a ‘domestic’ going on next door.  If I lived in a Hollywood film in an old apartment in New York, I’m sure I’d regularly hear murders being committed through them, (which there’d mysteriously be no evidence for when the police arrived to investigate things); or perhaps a major terrorist attack (with a nuclear bomb of course) being planned.  I suppose I should be thankful that the vents are in the kitchen and bathroom, as they don’t seem to pick up the sound from other rooms of happy couples em, coupling.  So anyway, a little while ago I went to the aforementioned bathroom, to do some ‘bathroom things’.  As soon as I opened the lounge door, my senses were assaulted by the smell of cooked fish.  I doubt the world’s oceans smell as fishy as my flat right now.  Unfortunately, the vents transport smells as easily as they transfer sounds.  Four emergency incense cones have now been lit, in an effort to neutralise the insidious odour.  (High-powered ones obtained from the US military, through a special arrangement with the authorities in New Mexico.  They have “the fragrant aroma of smouldering Piñon firewood that is characteristic of the whole Southwest and the foothills of the Rockies.”)  We’ve yet to hear any announcements regarding whether this is a deliberate chemical weapons attack on Cactus World, the result of a massive industrial accident, or simply the outcome of dinner-time for one of my neighbours.  For a vegan however, it’s pretty crap; and annoying.  The last time my flat smelt this fishy was the day I first came to see it prior to moving in.  This was later determined to be a deliberate ploy by the previous inhabitants to disguise one of their leisure activities; it was about a year before it ceased to smell of dope; my predecessors were apparently keen on a joint or two.  This film doesn’t feature any of these things.  In fact, it couldn’t ‘unfeature’ them more if it tried.

2004  –  Certificate: 15  –  USA
Rating Details: Moderate sex

I need to go on a diet, (even more than I normally do).  This film was so syrupy and sweet that just watching it has made me put on about 5kg.  The plot twist at the end is also so obvious that it probably shouldn’t really count as one at all; it’s like one of those weakening fronts you see on weather maps, which by the time they arrive only consist of a few clouds, so if they weren’t pointed out to you you’d probably not even notice them.  I’m not much of a fan of period dramas, so a movie set mostly in the 1930s and 1940s isn’t the sort of thing to really excite me.  The chances of there being many big explosions, spaceships or gratuitous violence felt slim.  Then again, any film with Ryan Gosling in is worth checking out.  James Garner’s in it too, who was already old even when I was young.  So anyway, okay, this is actually a great film, with the most romantic/tragic ending it’s probably possible to have.  As  a fan of Thomas Hardy, I’ve always had a soft spot for relationships that get fucked-up by families, class, money, etc.  This film delivers a classic Hardy class-barrier storyline, rich city girl and poor country boy; (sounds awful doesn’t it)?  Fact is, this film doesn’t really do anything very much else and it certainly doesn’t break any new ground, but what it does do it does really, really well.  In fact the only part that felt a bit weak was the Mother’s ‘revelation’; it did feel a bit of a plot contrivance rather than something that fitted into the overall narrative.  As a romantic period drama, this does deliver; and yes, it is, especially the ending, tissue-friendly.

Recommended for true romantics.  In the perfect world, we’d all end up with our first loves forever.  (Aw, see, I can be romantic too.)

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.

Top badass moment?  I have to give this to Lon Hammond.  He just goes to prove that even if you’re handsome, a war hero, successful, attentive and an all-around nice guy, you don’t always get the girl.  Being a good loser is badass and he manages here to be a top bloke about everything, when he probably had every right to be really, really pissed off.

The Notebook on IMDB (7.9 / 10)


RoboCop: 5.0 Stars


RoboCop Trilogy  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)Whilst watching this film, I realised that my life is a lot like Robocop’s.  Like him, I used to be a normal guy with a normal life, job I liked and was good at, friends, relationship, etc.  Then one day stuff happened and I ended up a half-crazed cyborg, owned by my employer, devoid of outside interests, single-mindedly saving the planet, dealing out swift justice to those that dare trash it in any way.  These days I mindlessly follow the instructions I’m given to the letter, fill in lots of forms and databases, drive around in a souped-up Ford, (well okay  I changed the stereo in it), and seek out funding wherever it’s hiding, 24/7.  I’m tormented by fragments of memory from my former life and long for redemption; and call me paranoid, but I think the rest of the environmental sector is out to get me too, because I want to do more than map and count every bug and flower there is, over and over again.  Like Robocop, I also have four Prime Directives:

1)  Serve the membership
2)  Protect the planet
3)  Follow procedures
4)  Make money (as is the case for Robocop, this last one is classified, so don’t tell anyone please)

Okay, so I’m not really a cyborg (although I do wear glasses and contact lenses and have a few fillings); and I also sleep and do other stuff at times as well; and I’m hopeless at doing what I’m told, but really, the parallels are startling.  And if more proof was needed, then about 12 years ago, when I was just starting a new job with my current employer, I had to make a presentation to a number of people, including the Group Director.  There’s a great line in this film from Dick Jones, Senior President of Omni Consumer Products.  He stands up in front of the board of directors, adjacent to a bank of TV screens showing images of the company’s products, to do something quite similar to what I had to do.  He starts off by saying, “Take a close look at the track record of this company” and then goes on to describe how the company has “gambled in markets traditionally regarded as non-profit”.  That’s what charities generally get up to, so I’ve always felt there were a lot of similarities between what I do in my job and what OCP was looking to achieve with Delta City; I’m sure I’d fit right on in there, should it be looking to recruit anytime soon at the C-level.  With my crappy little PowerPoint presentation (which I still have a copy of), I began with a very similar line.  I’m not sure anyone there at the time made the connection, but to me it was awesomely cool!  This movie is awesomely cool too.

1987 – Certificate: 18  –  USA

I love this film.  I’ve watched it loads of times.  It was one of the first DVDs I ever bought.  I imagine it’s required viewing for all the new Police and Crime Commissioners that were voted for this week too.  The whole story feels quite unique, it’s got a number of great characters in it, the acting’s good and it looks good as well, even though some of the special effects are now a little dated.  Its take on corporate greed works for me and even the theme tune is dead-on.  (I’ve no idea why the trailer uses the music from “The Terminator”.)  Be sure to watch the Director’s Cut, to get all the most violent bits.  Since her appearance in “The Philadelphia Experiment” three years before, Nancy Allen has certainly toughened up her act.  I guess all that running around with two guys transported through time does that to you.  And it’s got Miguel Ferrer in it, who was at one time the First Officer on The Excelsior in Star Trek.  Imagining having that on your CV!  The remake (which I think is due out in 2014) will be interesting.

Recommended for awesome people.  I’m sorry, but if you don’t like this film you’re not awesome and I can’t be your friend, as I’m simply too cool and you’re probably a square.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.  However, plenty of other body parts do get ‘removed’.

Top badass moment?  The advert for Nuke Em.  A sample of this was used by Random Hand for “The Eyeballs of War”.  As the 5th best band on the planet, this makes it badass.

RoboCop at IMDB (7.5 / 10)


Weird Science: 3.5 Stars


Weird Science  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)I hate the way big manufacturers make it as difficult as possible for the plebs (i.e. the rest of us) to dissect what they do, what they tell us and what they sell us.  Today I wasted 45 minutes trying to find out what colour white a Vauxhall Astra van at work is, so I could go and buy some paint and repair a couple of dents in it; about an hour’s work for me but probably £500 worth of work if it was done by a garage.  You’d think this would be easy to do, but after three quarters of an hour spent Googling things and searching for various stickers and plates all over the place, and studying the ridiculous codes they put all over them, I was none the wiser.  Why don’t they just put the name of the colour on the vehicle plate?  Casablanca White anyone, rather than Z354 or whatever it’s going to turn out to be in the end?  This is simply bollocks designed to make it more difficult for people to do something that ought to be very simple, so that we give up and pay someone a shed load of money to do something we could do ourselves.  I’m all for convenience and don’t mind paying for it at times, but I want the option of deciding when and where I do so; I don’t want to be forced into it by some greedy corporate asshole, who’s not half as clever as he thinks (and they nearly always are “hes”).  I shouldn’t need to emulate Sherlock Homes in an effort to find out a basic bit of information.  It’s a shit combination of crappy marketing and nefarious corporate shenanigans, which has the sole purpose of making the rest of us spend more of our money than necessary on their overpriced tat.  How many versions of white do we even need anyway?  I think I’ll just go and buy a huge tin of magnolia emulsion instead and paint every single vehicle I ever come across in my life, it would be a lot easier and quicker.  This movie features a kitchen that gets painted blue, everywhere.  I’ve no idea what shade of blue that was either.

1985  –  Certificate: 12  –  USA

Despite myself I enjoyed this film.  It even made me laugh out loud a few times.  I’m not sure why, maybe it’s my geek side trying to exert itself?  It’s full of plot holes, but then again the latter is so ridiculous that it doesn’t matter than much anyway.  What it does do is give us a couple of ‘failures’ to follow, a ‘perfect woman’ to lust after and a set of stupidly stupid opponents for said failures and woman to overcome.  Of course, in the end everyone comes out of it a better person and they all (metaphorically) ride off into the sunset together, happy in the notion that they’ve made the world a slightly better place.  It sounds dreadful, but its redeeming features are that it is actually pretty funny, the characters are for the most part likable (even the bad ones) and it’s entertaining.  It’s also a horrible reminder of how tacky the 80s were, so the feeling of relief at the end when you remember it’s really 2012, is palpable.  (Until of course you remember all the things you don’t like about 2012 too).

Recommended for anyone who’s under the illusion that the 80s were anything more than superficial rubbish, or who lived through them the first time around and wants to be reminded. (Why, for God’s sake?)  Also highly recommend as an educational tool to demonstrate to people that life existed before Twitter, Facebook and uploading hilarious videos to YouTube of their drunk friends tripping over.  (Things where so much more innocent in those days, he thinks wistfully…)

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.

Top badass moment?  Listen, if you really could create your own ‘perfect woman’ with an old computer, a ‘floppy’ floppy disk and a narrowband connection, I’d be doing it right now rather than writing this.  If it was possible, it would be way off the badass scale.

Weird Science at IMDB (6.4 / 10)


Saw: 4.5 Stars


Saw  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)I watch a lot of horror films.  So you’d think by now that I’d be used to people being killed, mutilated, raped, dismembered, or otherwise psychologically damaged.  But this week I’ve come face to face with real horror.  My Cyclamen has been infected with Mealy Bugs!  Like a crappy, straight-to-video horror, these little bastards just appeared, with little or no back-story and just got down to the business of terrorising my pot plant and by association, me.  It’s a home invasion experience of the worst kind.  All the leaves and even the pot are covered in some sort of evil, disgusting, Mealy Bug pus, whilst the sniveling little cowards hide beneath the leaves, plotting their next nefarious move.  Like a good slasher movie icon, they pouch on the innocents, newly emerging leaves, infecting them with an unearthly virus (or whatever it is that Mealy Bugs do).  It’s like watching a house plant version of “28 Days Later” or “Doomsday”.  They’re hideously ugly and have an aura I can only describe as feeling like undiluted, pure hate.  In a similar was to the Borg, they are seemingly linked to a single hive mind, intent on destroying all houseplant life on my bedroom window sill.  I’m half expecting the US to target my flat with a Cruise Missile, in an effort to destroy them before they take over the world.  I’ve not quite worked out how to get rid of them yet.  Negotiation has so far proved futile.  Strangely, my Cyclamen seems little effected by their malevolent presence thus far and is currently presenting me with 15 beautiful, pink flowers, although its leaves drip with a rancid, putrid slime that could have come from Hell itself.  I’ve got to rid my plant of them, and in a way that doesn’t leave any opportunity for a sequel!  After facing this crisis, this movie seems a bit tame.

2004  –  Certificate: 18  –  USA
Rating Details: Strong bloody violence

I’d forgotten just how good a thriller this film is.  So, it also gets credited for popularising torture porn, which later movies in the series do feature more heavily, but this one isn’t that explicitly gory.  It is however, clever, interesting and challenging.  Although I didn’t really care for the two main characters, I still worried about what was going to happen to them.  Sure they were flawed, annoying and a bit pathetic, but I was concerned enough about them that part of me wanted them to escape; no one deserves that much shit.  The film also does a good job of making the viewer feel a bit sorry for the perpetrator, too, which makes for a great set-up if you want to experience a range of feelings as things progress.  A great modern horror classic.

Recommended for fans of genuinely great thrillers and horrors.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.  There are a couple of hacksaws though.

Top badass moment?  It’s got to be Alison Gordon, fighting back against Zep and doing so pretty successfully.  With only the advantage of surprise, she manages to defend herself and her young daughter against a younger guy armed with a gun.  That’s got to be badass.  She’s had more balls that her pathetic husband, whose mindset was, “oh, my child and wife (whose back behind I’m having an affair) are in trouble; I know, I’ll cut my foot off.”  Yeh, good thinking Batman, give that man a cigar.

Saw at IMDB (7.7 / 10)

Cyclamen


Friday the 13th: 3.5 Stars


Friday the 13th  -  Front Blu-ray coverI hate job interviews.  I’d rather face the end of the world, on a wet day, when I’ve got a stinking cold, than be interviewed.  They have the bizarre effect of temporarily rendering me insane and only capable of repeating, over and over again, that my would-be employer is the world’s worst organisation and one I despise in every way; think of the bastard corporate offspring of McDonalds, Nestle, Procter & Gamble and Rio Tinto, appointing Pol Pot, Idi Amin and Augusto Pinochet as directors and you’ll get some idea of the problem.  Eric Cartman probably interviews better than me.  Interviewing others however, is very different; I quite enjoy doing that as I’m a sadistic, evil psychopath, who hates absolutely everyone.  In the last couple of weeks I’ve been involved in interviewing seven people for two jobs.  I accept that in life I probably can’t get away with murdering every single individual on the planet, so the next best thing is to torture a small number of them, by using a legal loophole that enables me to psychologically damage people using an interrogation technique, which involves asking them a lot of deeply personal questions about their darkest fears and experiences.  If I can throw in a question about Star Trek, even if it has nothing whatsoever to do with the job (and I can’t imagine why such a question every would have), so much the better.  (I imagine there’s a whole sub-genera of films based around this particular fetish, although I’ve not personally come across any yet.)  There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing an empty box of tissues on the table at the end of the day.  Interviewing is like being an actor in a play, (a pantomime is probably the best analogy).  You do and say the same things, over and over again, for each ‘victim’.  I guess there’re a lot like slasher horrors too; you know a group of (generally) young people are going to go to a mysterious, isolated location, where something truly horrible will be done to them, one by one, by a strange, inhuman entity of some sort; and only one will survive!  I like to think of myself as a bit like Jason Voorhees when I’m interviewing; focused on a single outcome, without a shred of compassion, empathy or humanity.  This film is of course, about being interviewed…

2009  –  Certificate: 18  –  USA
Rating Details:  Strong bloody violence and strong sex

This is the reboot of Friday 13th.  So, a group of young people go somewhere and run into a bad guy with a big knife.  They don’t get on.  The end.  I can’t really imagine there’re a lot of people who will watch this film and not already have a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen.  It’s not a bad film by any means, but it suffers a bit from the ‘Twilight Effect’, by which I mean it’s a horror story superimposed on a teen drama.  It never truly becomes too gory, too scary or too horrifying, although to be fair it does have its moments.  Critically, it manages to keep the characters sufficiently annoying and irritating, so that the viewer will never really start to sympathise with them, which is what’s important when the real point of the movie is to see them all get killed by the man in the hockey mask.  There’s nothing worse than feeling a twang of sorrow for the victims when a horror icon is going about his, her, or its business.

Recommended for anyone who isn’t genetically programmed to watch reboots of old classics to automatically say something along the lines of, “well, it’s not as good as the original.”  This may often be true, but just blurting it out with no thought makes you sound like a Sun reader.

No cats, 3 decapitations and no chainsaws.  Only one decapitation is on-screen, but it’s done to Major Kira Nerys from Star Trek Deep Space Nine; what a tragedy of epic proportions!  One of the others is only in the deleted scenes.

Top badass moment?  There are surprisingly few potential choices, so in the end I’m going for Jason’s excellent throw with the full-sized, double-headed axe.  Getting one of them to fly through the air any sort of distance would be hard enough, but throwing one with enough accuracy and power to fell someone who’s running fast and a good 20m or so ahead of you, is pretty impressive.  What a shame he didn’t get the opportunity to take up the javelin, discus or hammer; things might have worked out very differently if he had.

Friday the 13th at IMDB (5.5/10)


The Entity: 4.5 Stars


The Entity  -  Front DVD CoverMy ability to remain busy doing nothing never fails to amaze me.  It’s not that I’m lazy or procrastinate a lot (well not often anyway), but time seems to just vanish at far too fast a rate for my taste.  They say time appears to go more quickly as you get older, which makes me feel really ancient.  Take today for example.  I got up quite late (okay around 10:30) and feel as if I haven’t stopped all day.  Yet a glance around the room makes me realise that I’ve spent nearly 12 hours doing absolutely nothing.  It’s not that I think I’ve wasted my time, it’s just that I can’t see the results of anything I’ve done, or remember doing anything that took even remotely like 12 hours to do.  All I’ve done is get up, cook lunch, take a photo, buy a few DVDs, write a posting in an online forum and answer a few online questionnaires.  I’ve no idea how I’ve managed to make that last 12 hours, especially as I know I didn’t spend any longer on any of those things than I actually needed to.  I think at the weekend I somehow get transferred into another dimension, where time goes more quickly.  (To be fair the same thing happens during the week too, when I’m at work and never have enough time to do what I want.)  Maybe I’m just slow, period.  How normal people with normal lives cope with everything I’ll never know.  This movie features ‘something’ from another plane of existence; but I swear it’s not me.

1981  –  Certificate: 18  –  USA
Rating Details: Language; Infrequent, Strong.  Sex/Nudity: Occasional, Strong.  Violence: Occasional, Strong.  Other: Horror, Sexual Assault

This is a genuinely great horror film.  It was one of the first horror DVDs I bought and is probably in my Top Ten horrors of all time.  And despite it going all a bit “Ghostbusters” at one point, it remains genuinely scary and horrifying.  It also has one of those classic bits of horror music, which in this case is little more than the same chord played over and over again, but the ugly violence of the sound really enhances the scenes it’s used in to up their impact.  The movie is based on what’s claimed to be real incidents in someone’s life, which gives it a bit of an unpleasant edge too. Barbara Hershey is great as our hero Carla Moran.  She convincingly portrays a whole range of emotions really well.  She also manages to vary her appearance too, from sexy and determined through to vulnerable and beaten.  Sadly, time hasn’t been so kind to the special effects, which definitely look dated now; the wobbly ice-cube thing near the end really has past its sell-by date.  It’s not the sort of film I can watch and then feel comfortable going into another room after, without quickly switch on the light.  However, the scariest thing of all is Doctor Phil Sneiderman, the psychiatrist who Carla goes to see.  He’s stalker-like attraction to Carla is pretty weasel-like; eew!  You expect poltergeists’ behavior to be kind of strange, but not your doctor’s.  What a weirdo.  I can’t imagine this film won’t be ‘reimagined’ at some point in the near future.

Recommended for fans of high quality, scary horror.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.

Top badass moment?  Has to be Carla Moran’s “I’ve finished running” monologue.  When you’ve got a supernatural being wanting to rape you, you’re trapped in a building with big containers of liquid helium suspended over your head and your bathed in stupid red lights and wailing sirens (courtesy of some dodgy scientists’ entirely superfluous “emergency mode” lighting), then calling the invisible baddie a bastard at that moment has got to be badass.  I think it probably just pissed him off though.

The Entity at IMDB (6.4)


Scream 2: 3.0 Stars


Scream 2  -  Front DVD CoverToday the world woke up to the fact that however good Polish workers are, you wouldn’t want to employ one to fix your roof.  This afternoon, England managed yet another lacklustre performance and gained a draw against Poland.  However, the real highlight of the football coverage came yesterday, watching ITV’s commentary team, lead by Adrian Chiles, desperately trying to fill two and a half hours, sitting in a studio watching it raining outside.  The highlight was Chiles’s genuine query to the rest of the team, “What’s the difference between heavy rain and a downpour?”  It gave a whole new meaning to the word “inane”.  Sadly, we were not treated to any great insight or wisdom on this matter either, which just goes to prove that men really can’t talk about anything other than football.  Although it has to be said that a group of men employed to commentate on an international football match probably do represent the pinnacle of male development, so it’s hardly surprising that something as complex as the weather might elude them.  I also enjoyed FIFAs attempts to entertain the crowd with its throw-back to the golden age of silent cinema; watching the referee regularly come out with a ball and then randomly throw it into the air and watch it land with a splash without bouncing, was a wonderful pastiche of the early greats, such as Charlie Chaplin Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton.  It was raining, the pitch was clearly getting more and more waterlogged, what did he expect to happen? (If he was an astronaut he’d be the one to go outside and take off his helmet, just to check that there really wasn’t any air there.)  Not a smile did he flash either, not even for a moment; I couldn’t tell if he was totally raging inside at the futility of what he was being told to do, in front of millions of people, and getting soaked doing it, or he really was taking it very seriously.  Jeez, he needs to lighten up a bit.  He had all the demeanour of a detective investing a serious crime scene; which considering the nonsense with the automatically closing roof that they didn’t close, he sort of was.  This film also features a number of serious crime scenes.

1997  –  Certificate: 18  –  USA
Rating Details:  Strong Bloody Violence

Try as I might, I just can’t work up any real enthusiasm for this film.  I feel it ought to be a lot better than it is, which just added to my disappointment.  There’s nothing really wrong with it, but nothing really right with it either.  It just kind of exists because “Scream” exists, a bit like the relationship between dead leaves in autumn and trees.  It’s not really very scary, it’s not really very funny, it’s not really very gory and it’s not really very hip.  It doesn’t help that I get “Scream” and “Scary Movie” mixed up in my head, so in my mind it’s become a sort of inoffensive Frankenstein film made up of several others; (let’s not forget the two further sequels to “Scream” and the three sequels to “Scary Movie”.   That’s eight nearly identical films, so it’s no wonder I’m confused.   Watching it felt like one of things you just have to do from time to time, not something to get worked up about or anything, but just something you do and not give much thought to, like going to the toilet I guess.  What I did hate was that it was non-anamorphic, so with its widescreen aspect ratio I ended up watching a picture the size and shape of an enlarged match, without a head.  God, I can’t be bothered with anymore thinking about this film right now.

Recommended for people who saw Scream, I guess.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.

Top badass moment?   Whatever.  It might as well be Cotton Weary finally getting what he wanted (greedy asshole) and becoming a sort of hero(ish).  That’s badass(ish). 

Scream 2 at IMDB (6.0/10)


My Girl: 4.0 Stars


My Girl  -  Front DVD coverEver watched any of those TV ads, which always seem to feature a young and good-looking guy in a white shirt and tie, sitting on a train with loads of space around him?  The ones where it’s sunny outside and the train is passing through some beautiful countryside, which the guy in the shirt glances at contentedly whilst he works away on a laptop, looking happy and in control, as he drinks his complementary and delicious cup of coffee and deals with his important but achievable workload?  Well that’s total bollocks.  I’ve spend a lot of time recently sitting on trains trying to work on a laptop and its had about as much in common with that image, as someone sweeping the floor in an aircraft hangar has with Tom Cruise in “Topgun”.  So here’s a reality check.

1)  The trains are always over-crowded and no one looks happy.

2)  You always have to chuck someone out of the seat you’ve booked, who’s always the person most genuinely in need of a seat on the whole train; typically a heavily pregnant but exceedingly fray old lady, who’s often from a Black or Asian community too, so that everyone else on the train can brand you both a bastard and a racist.

3)  You can never plug your laptop in anywhere; there either isn’t a plug, or someone else is using it and will defend it to the death if need be.  You’d have more chance of negotiating a peace treaty between North and South Korea.

4)  The tables are too narrow to have the screen at the right angle or the keyboard in the right place; and there’s always some other poor sod sitting on the other side of the table trying to use a laptop too; and the nightmarish possibly that the backs of the lids might accidentally touch one another, would feel not unlike experiencing your best mate suddenly touching you ‘inappropriately’ and declaring he’s always loved you.

5)  You’re always stressed out because you’ve got too much work to do.  Internet access costs nearly £5 for an hour and at best is annoyingly intermittent and slow, so you end up having to close and reopen Outlook loads of times in an effort to send or receive any e-mail.  And don’t even think you can use a mouse, as the train’s movement will result in your clicking on everything but what you wanted and a screen full of usless boxes and windows that you’ve then got to try to close, an equally futile exercise that just perpetuates the nightmare.  And if you saved the link your mate sent you last week for that comedy bestiality gay porn website, you can be sure you’ll accidently click on it and everyone in the carriage with hear your tinny laptop speakers blare out the fact, confirming in their minds that you’re a social deviant as well as being a bastard and a racist, and probably a paedophile too.  Your only defence against all this is that the chance of you actually finding a suitable space in which to move a mouse around, is rather less than that of the Earth suddenly exploding right now… nope, we’re still here.  (And here’s a friendly bit of advice; don’t bother trying to use your mouse on your thigh, it doesn’t work and after it’s fallen on the floor with  a loud clatter a few times, everyone will be adding stupidity to your growing lists of crimes.) 

6)  The person sitting opposite you always has a better laptop that makes you feel like a Luddite and failure, as you look at your scratched Dell with its broken bit of trim in the corner; whilst his is miraculously in pristine condition, despite its apparently nomadic existence; they’re nearly always Macs too; does Apple pay people to travel on trains just to make it look like it has a bigger market share than it really does?

7)  The weather is always wet and horrible; or really bright and the sun shines directly onto the screen of your laptop, rendering it unreadable.

8)  The person next to you acts as if he’s Beelzebub’s cousin and insists on staking his claim to every square nanometre of his allotted space; even using his bag and jacket to build something akin to the Berlin Wall between you and him.  The unspoken threat this leaves hanging in the air will lead you to prefer the option of wetting yourself, rather than ask him to move so you can go to the toilet.

9)  If the person next to you is a woman, she will continually use body language that strongly suggests the world’s most evil-smelling pervert has just sat next to her.  Unlike Beelzebub’s cousin, she will attempt to curl up in as small a space as possible, mathematically as far from you as she can, whilst texting her mates non-stop to tell them of her ongoing trauma.

10)  The coffee is mediocre, costs £2.20 and comes in a paper cup.

This film is set in 1972. Before laptops existed.  (And I really actually like trains.)

1991  –  Certificate: PG  –  USA

Before I watched this film I couldn’t remember anything about it or why I’d bought it.  Neither the overview nor the trailer suggested that it’s going to be anything other than a fairly crappy, 90s, mainstream Hollywood romantic/family comedy with a precocious, ‘Hollywood-style’ kid in it.  An evening of British stoicism beckoned, as I looked forward to 98 minutes of mediocre averageness.  But when a film starts with an 11-year-old girl speaking directly into the camera, claiming to have caught haemorrhoids and explaining how her breasts are developing at different rates and that means she’s got cancer, does suggest that it’s going to have more balls that it ought to.  (Sorry if that all sounds a bit Jimmy Savilley, it’s not meant to.)  For a PG rated film, I bet that freaked out a few parents in the cinema!  It’s basically a film about death, a suitable depressing topic that probably explains why I bought it in the first place.  In the end, it still turned out to be a 90s, mainstream Hollywood romantic/family comedy with a precocious, ‘Hollywood-style’ kid in it, but at times it’s also a genuinely touching and powerful bit of drama.  The adults are more or less cardboard cut-out characters, but the kids make the film come alive and the script’s surprising subtle.  It’s got a good soundtrack too.  (Problem is, I still can’t get used to Dan Aykroyd not hunting ghosts, or Jamie Lee Curtis not fighting Michael Myers.) 

Recommended for people who want to revisit the experience of losing someone they love. 

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws. 

Top badass moment?  Vada sulking in the supermarket and throwing can after can from the shelf into the trolley.  Am I the only one who thinks doing this without looking at the shelf or fumbling any of the cans, whilst the trolley is moving, was pretty clever?  It’s hard to make sulking look cool, so managing to do so is badass.

My Girl at IMDB (6.5/10)


The Invention of Lying: 4.0 Stars


The Invention of Lying  -  Front Blu-ray CoverLast week I spent two days away from home on a ‘business trip’, talking about how to revolutionise the support of environmental volunteering in the UK.  I had to stay in a hotel in Leeds.  I selected the cheapest one I could find, the Discovery Inn.  It was fine, if a bit warm; then again, I can sleep just about anywhere.  The reception desk was on the third floor, which was kind of weird, so I had quite an adventure in the hotel even before signing in.  All those lifts, staircases and corridors, it was like a really rubbish role-playing game, not a dwarf or gelatinous cube to be seen. The nearest I came to finding a ‘monster’ was when I finally got to reception, where a guy was hassling the chap behind the counter for a different room, because his was too noisy.  It’s the middle of Leeds, the third largest city in the UK; what did he expect, total silence broken only by the occasional hoot of an owl?  And I’m not suggesting that the hotel was seedy or anything, but I had to pay a £10 deposit to get a remote control for the TV in the room so I could watch it.  My room’s en suite bathroom was quite large, with the sort of flooring you could throw water all over without it causing a problem.  All the walls were covered in really large, really bright, white tiles.  It smelt a bit of cleaning fluids, appeared to be antiseptically clean and had the sort of acoustics that an alpine mountain range would pay good money for.  It reminded me of a morgue.  It was the sort of bathroom in which an axe murderer could kill someone and then easily clean up the mess afterwards.  In fact, given all the shouting coming from one of the rooms near mine at one point, I think that’s exactly what was happening.

2009  –  Certificate: 12  –  USA
Rating Details:  Moderate comic sex references

I really liked this film.  Any film featuring a fat loser who ‘gets the girl’ is assured of my vote, even if this does clearly identify it as a work of fiction.  I also liked it because he’s basically a decent guy, who doesn’t suddenly become a megalomaniac or power-mad psychopath when he finds out he has a unique gift.  (Unlike “Limitless” or “Chronicle” for example, to give two recent examples).  Sure, he does exploit it a bit, but not in a really bad way.  He also gets the girl without much in the way of cheating either.  Despite our showing in the Olympics and Paralympics, us Brits do like a loser, especially one who comes good in the end.  More negatively, I couldn’t quite work out why some characters couldn’t stop themselves from blurting out stuff that really didn’t need to be blurted out; not lying is one thing, but saying bad stuff about people that doesn’t need to be said just for the sake of it, is a bit mean.  This film also seems to have become quite controversial, due to its atheist leanings.  In fact I could probably write pages and pages about this subject, but frankly I’d rather just watch and enjoy it as a fun, gentle comedy.  It’s actually quite a moving film.  The scene in the hospital manages to be both funny and heart-wrenching at the same time; it made me cry, but then it’s not been that long since my mum died, so it probably had more resonance for me that it might otherwise have had.

Recommended for losers who want a good role model.  Or those who think Ricky Gervais is a comedy god.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.

Top badass moment?  Fat loser Mark getting the beautiful girl.  That is so totally badass, (if highly improbable).  What a shame it never happens for real.

The Invention of Lying at IMDB (6.4/10)


Tart: 3.0 Stars


Tart  -  Front DVD CoverI went to a gig last Saturday, to see Random Hand, Tyrannosaurus Alan and four other bands.  One of the latter was Tallowah, a great reggae band from Southend-on-Sea which I hadn’t seen before; but now I have I’ll want to see again.  I haven’t been to that many gigs over the past couple of months and oh boy did I feel it; all that ‘dancing’ and stuff people do.  I felt really unfit and my neck is sore now too.  It was like I’d forgotten what to do; weird.  Random Hand was great; it’s pretty well always great.  I’ve no idea why it’s not huge; (but then again, having heard today that the most pirated artist in the UK is Ed Sheeran, that doesn’t really surprise me).  Tyrannosaurus Alan is continuing to get better and better.  Saturday was by far the most moshing I’ve ever seen at one of its gigs.  A highlight was the tallest guy in the room crowd surfing for an entire song without touching the floor; he must have been at least 12 feet tall and as is usual for the tallest person at every gig I’ve ever been to ever, he’d managed to stand in front of me.  On the train journey home I also thoroughly enjoyed the antics of the snogging young couple sitting opposite.  She finally ended up asleep with her head in his lap, (well I think she was sleeping); probably due to a lack of air, poor thing.  I think this all goes to prove what a jolly nice, decent and tolerant person I am.  However…

2001  –  Certificate: R  –  USA
Rating Details:  Drug use, language, some sexual content and a scene of violence, all involving teens.

One thing I really hate is when the cover of a DVD has little to do with the content.  Here we have a classic example.  Whoever it is that’s on the cover, she’s not in the film at all.  Not only that, but her knickers are clearly white, whereas any we seen in the film are black; (and her skirt is totally different to the ones worn in the film too).  That’s two DVDs in a row I’ve watched that have suffered from ‘false advertising’ in this way.  Whoever designed and authorised the sleeve used for this DVD should go directly to prison and suffer some embarrassing, undignified and degrading experiences in the toilets, before finally being put up against a wall and shot.  Well okay maybe just life imprisonment then; I did say I was a tolerant person.  Oh, and before I forget, the title of the film is entirely misleading too; there’s no pastry-based food featured in it anywhere, with or without a sweet or savory filling!  So anyway, now I’ve trashed the marketing, what about the film itself?  Well, it basically follows a group of boring, spoilt, rich kids who go to a private school in New York, who spend most of their time taking drugs and trying to be ‘rebellious’.  Of course, someone gets killed, friendships get tested and we all learn a bit more about life and ourselves; well, I’m certainly glad about all that then and I’m sure you are too.  Actually I’m probably making it sound worse than it is; it is entertaining enough in its own way.  Dominique Swain (Cat Storm) looks great in a school uniform (nice legs) and her mother is some sort of saint.  It just somehow doesn’t really seem to get going before it’s all over.  Even the injection of some oh so naughty bestiality and shocking gay sex can’t wake it up.  (I bet you really do want to see it now.)  Actually there’s a brilliant review of it on IMDB, which is so good it sort of put me off even trying to write anything better here.  Go read it.

Recommended for boring, spoilt, rich kids, school uniform ‘enthusiasts’ and fans of the private education system.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  In a film filled with boring, self-centred people, the only contender is Lily Storm.  Faced with an argumentative, selfish daughter and with an equally crappy ex-husband, she remains supportive, caring and understanding.  Being the sort of mother everyone needs/wants is totally badass.

Tart at IMDB (4.3/10)


Bad Reputation: 3.5 Stars


  • Bad Reputation  -  Front DVD CoverOne of the things that’s always puzzled me about trees is that you chop them down and then you chop them up.  What’s all that about then?  This film features no scenes in which trees play a significant part, (although one does have what you might call an important ‘supporting role’ at one point); there is, nevertheless, quite a lot of chopping up going on in it.

2007  –  Certificate: R  –  USA
Rating Details: Violence (including rape), sexual content, language and substance abuse all involving teens

When I was 17/18, I spent most of my time either trying to learn things, or talking to my best mates, Jacob and Simon, about music and stuff.  It’s true, sometimes life wasn’t much fun, but I don’t recall anyone being branded the “school slut” or any murders taking place amongst the school population.  I guess everything really is bigger and, eh, ‘better’ in America.  Despite the sometimes weak acting, this is a generally fun horror to watch.  It’s especially fun if you like to see the clever, quiet girl at school (called Michelle in this example) get abused and then branded as the “School Slut”, before she takes revenge on her tormentors by killing them off, one by one; I know I do.  I have to say I could see her point, bullies are bad.  Her mum was the mother-from-hell too, with the film providing us with a master-class in how to be a bad parent.  If I was Michelle I’d had dealt with her at the same time; in for a penny in for a pound as they say.  Angelique Hennessy (Michelle) puts in a decent performance, some of the time anyway; but in truth all she really needs to do is look foxy (which she does) and let her unfeasibly long legs do the acting for her.  (Why the cover art on the DVD doesn’t even seem to feature her, I have no idea.)  She’s vegan too according to IMDB (the actress not the character), so as far as I’m concerned that means Michelle was just getting rid of a few carnivores, so we should all be thankful to her for that.  What this film does do well is take its time giving the main characters personalities that aren’t all a carbon copy of one another and seem more like real people with real motivations, before the inevitable blood-bath starts up.  It made watching them die more enjoyable!  Oh yes, the main male character Aaron, looks an awful lot like Tim Wheeler from Ash, which was decidedly weird.  On a technical note, it features a Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack.  Where’d the base channel go?  It did have a distinctly scratchy sound and would probably send any dogs unfortunate enough to hear it into a rage.  By the way, don’t watch this and expect it to be very realistic, it will just spoil it for you if you do.

No cats or chainsaws, but 1 decapitation.  The latter a one-swipe classic with a machete, in a full Jason Voorhees outfit.  Excellent!

You know what sort of characters are featured in this film; you know what they get up to; so you know exactly the sort of demographic it’s recommended for.

Top badass moment?  It was good to see Michelle, even during her killing spree, was taking the time to continue with her studies.  A good education is very important and therefore badass; after all, you can’t be a serial killer forever.

Bad Reputation at IMDB (4.9/10)


The Philadelphia Experiment: 3.5 Stars


The Philadelphia Experiment  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)I’m pissed off with both Argos and IKEA.  IKEA is a perennial dislike of mine, with its unsubtle attempt to make every home reflect the state of many of our high streets, with each one looking exactly like the next one.  In comparison, I’m generally quite forgiving of Argos.  Sadly, both have now enraged me by showing their true, bloated, evil, stupid, corporate selves.  I need some more shelves to store DVDs on.  I can’t imagine I’m the only person ever to have had this interior design requirement, but after dealing with the aforementioned companies I think I must be, as they’re both so shockingly crap at selling what I would have thought was a very standard, simple, basic bit of furniture.  Bloody hell, I only want to store some DVDs, not the Ebola virus.  After having considered and then rejected some of my more bizarre, expensive or inconvenient solutions, such as moving to a bigger home, converting all my DVDs to digital files and storing them on a huge hard drive somewhere, or distorting the local space-time continuum (it’s the “space” bit there that’s most appealing), I decided to try and buy some new storage units for them, to match the ones I already have.  In the past I’ve bought these from Argos; except last time when it appeared to have discontinued the style I’ve always bought, so I had to get a different type, which kind of pissed me off, because they don’t look the same.  Anyway, this time the old style had miraculously reappeared, but the new style I bought last time had vanished entirely.  This also pissed me off, as I’d decided what I wanted based on the latter.  No matter I though, I’ll just waste a bit more of my life re-measuring everything to see how to fit the old style in the available space instead.  A common theme with these storage units over the years is that every Argos on the planet only ever has a maximum of two in stock at any one time, so if you want more than that you have to keep going back to the shop, over and over again, until you’ve got the number you want.  No matter I thought, again, I’ll buy them online instead and pay the very reasonable £3.95 delivery charge, (which includes the ability to pick the delivery day too).  I got all the way through this process and ordered five, only to be told after I’ve paid that only one was actually in stock for home delivery, so my order had been changed and the others cancelled.  What sort of large, modern company doesn’t link its website sales to its stock?  This really pissed me off, a lot.  Half an hour later, after finally getting the purchase confirmation e-mail and then spending ten minutes on hold, I got through to Betty, (who because she sounded like ‘everyone’s favourite granny’ I didn’t have the heart to get annoyed with about all this), who cancelled my order; (because guess what, you can’t cancel your order online either).  All this messing about had sufficiently annoyed me that I decided to go and buy the same things from IKEA instead.  It sells what’s basically an identical unit for £1.99 less.  So I get through all of its ordering system only to be told it costs £35 for delivery.  Seriously, IKEA is taking the piss here.  If I was IKEA, I’d use the same delivery firm as Argos and charge its customers a 10th of what they’re presently charged and offer a choice of delivery days too.  So after wasting well over an hour of my time, I’m still no closer to solving my original problem.  Bollocks to them both.  This film also features an ‘issue’ with space and time.

1984  –  Certificate PG  –  USA Rating Details:
Mild Language, violence and horror

“Star Wars” was made in 1977, seven years before this film.  It looked amazing at the time and still looks really good now.  This movie looks and feels like it was made in 1960.  Most of the special effects belong in the 50s; in fact the whole feel of it does too.  Despite this, I do rather like this film in a strange sort of way.  Maybe it’s the inherent decentness of the hero, David Herdeg.  (Although he doesn’t seem that bothered when a car of fellow military personnel that’s chasing him crashes and blows up, certainly killing everyone inside it; it’s not like they were even trying to do anything bad to him either). And come to think of it, that’s far from his only sociopathic reaction to what’s going on around him.  In fact, he’s not really very nice at all.  So perhaps it’s the natural sexiness of fellow escapee (née kidnap-victim) Allison (Nancy Allen) that does it for me then?  She was great in “Robocop”.  However, her 80s hairstyle and somewhat pathetic-useless-woman persona do start to grind you down after a while; she even falls over at one post during a chase.  Sadly, there’s nothing very attractive about an idiot.   Of course, I appreciate that both of them had a lot of shit going on in their lives; he having to deal with the consequences of suddenly being transported 41 years into the future and her having not got a job she’d applied for.  But really…  Actually I’ve now realised I’ve no idea why I like this film.  Enigmatic eh?

Recommended for people who long for the return of rubbish 50s sci-fi.  Yes, these people really do exist.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.  However, one unfortunate guy does sort of get trapped in the deck of the ship with his head half embedded in the metal.  That’s going to take at least two paracetamol to sort out.

Top badass moment?  Move along, there’s nothing to see here; certainly no one heroic enough to do anything worthy of the accolade of “Top Baddass Moment”.

The Philadelphia Experiment at IMDB (6.1/10)


Love Liza: 3.0 Stars


Love Liza  -  Front DVD CoverWhen you drive from Reading towards Oxford, as you leave the town you pass a number of road signs proudly proclaiming you’re entering Oxfordshire,  the Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and, most importantly of all, that the speed limit is now 50mph.  After the slow 30mph climb out of Reading, with its 100s of speed cameras ready to catch the weary, the inattentive and the downright stupid, the sudden vista of trees and open fields, a straight road and all that ‘roadside furniture’ is enough to turn even the most mind-mannered driver into a Mad Max style petrol-head.  So imagine my pleasure recently, as when leaving the town along this very road, at the very moment of transition from high-tech military oppression to the anarchy of the countryside beyond, onto my car stereo came Andrew W.K.’s “Party Hard”.  This is a great bit of ‘speeding up’ music.  However, the intro goes on for 27 seconds.  Even in a Ford Focus that’s a lot of acceleration time.  I was quite surprised when I looked down to see I was doing over 200mph.  That’s pretty impressive for a diesel.  This film also has a main character that talks a lot of bollocks but thinks he’s making sense.

2002  –  Certificate 15:  –  USA
Rating Details:  Language: Frequent, Strong.  Sex/Nudity: Infrequent Moderate References.  Violence: None.  Other: Substance Abuse.

I feel a bit guilty for not liking this drama / black comedy more.  I did try, but I just couldn’t get behind the ‘hero’ Wilson.  I know he was having a bad time, what with his wife’s suicide and all that, but he had plenty of friends, family and work colleagues who wanted to help him.  But what does he do?  Not open the letter his wife left for him and develop a somewhat unhealthy interest in sniffing petrol and (in his own words) “radio-control”.  For a successful winner like me, who’s never failed at anything in his entire life, it’s hard to see someone behaving quite so pathetically over such a small thing.  What a wimp.  Loser.  Anyway, don’t let me put you off watching this film, because it is pretty entertaining and the acting’s great too.  It’s just that I got a little too much pleasure out of seeing Wilson make a bit of a tool of himself once too often and then that made me feel guilty.  I didn’t really get to feel his pain, you know what I mean?

Recommended for radio-controlled boat and plane enthusiasts.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.

Top badass moment?  In a film filled with flawed, somewhat sad individuals, where no one really ‘rises to the challenge’, this is not an easy thing to do.  So rather than bother I’ve decided that anyone who flies radio-controlled aeroplanes is badass.  For a hobby that’s easy for everyone else to ridicule, (it’s only one step above train-spotting in my mind), who hasn’t secretly wanted to have a go at it anyway?  Pursuing your interests when the rest of the world thinks you’re just a stupid kid who won’t grow up, is badass.  It’s just jealousy you know. 

Love Liza at IMDB (6.8)


Blast From The Past: 3.5 Stars


Blast from the Past  -  Front DVD CoverI’ve bought myself a new camera. It’s a Samsung ST200F.  It’s a hideous purple colour, (because they were out of stock of the black ones.) It’s got a 16 megapixel resolution, which is a lot because one mega of anything is a lot, so 16 must be an awful lot.  It’s got a memory card in it that allows me to store 3,403 pictures on it, if I take them all at the camera’s maximum resolution, or 97,346 if I take them at its minimum.  I doubt if I’ve taken more than 5,000 photos in my entire life, which means if I continue to take photos at the same rate in future, I could use the same memory card to store all the photos I take between now and when I’m 954 years old.  I can’t help thinking that even if I live that long, both the camera and the memory card will have stopped functioning by then.  Or to put it another way, I’d have to take 16-17 photos an hour for a whole year (assuming I had eight hours sleep a night) to fill the memory card in that time. I’m not sure even my lounge is worthy of that much study.  Anyway, this is the first ‘bit of technology’ I’ve bought for a couple of years, so it’s all very exciting; and when I work out why I might want to take advantage of one of its functions and upload my photos into a cloud, I’ll let you know.  It also has a setting called Beauty Shot, which apparently improves the appearance of someone by automatically removing blemishes from them.  I don’t know why it doesn’t just go the whole way and simply provide you with a picture of a professional model, superimposed on a background of your choice.  Still, I can’t wait to test this function’s capabilities on myself, that’ll give it a real workout; I hope it doesn’t break it.  It sounds a lot cheaper and a lot less hassle than conventional plastic surgery.  I ought to point out that I’ve only bought this camera as I broke my old one when I dropped it on the ground and a tiny bit of plastic snapped off it.  I did this the same day I was walking backwards in front of a load of people and fell over a huge boulder that had been pulled out of a river and left there.  It’s quite hard to appear nonchalant and casual when you’ve just been dumped on your ass like that in front of 30 people, but I think I got away with it….   Like my life, this film features a plot with a technological edge to it too.

1999  –  Certificate: 12  –  USA

So, at long last, here’s a romantic comedy that ‘real men’ can watch, because it’s really a tough, no-nonsense science fiction movie.  Well, sort of.  It hasn’t got any aliens in it, or spaceships, but it does have a couple of big explosions and a dodgy CGI aeroplane.  I’ve always like Alicia Silverstone too, because she’s a great actress, honestly.  It has nothing to do with what she looked like in her Batgirl costume two years before.  No, really it doesn’t.  I do have to admit that I did kind of enjoy this film.  To be sure, it’s entirely unrealistic, stupid and unbelievable, but it is quite funny in places and the background to the entirely predictable plot is really quite fun and certainly different. The supporting cast does a great job as well.  They could have done a lot more with the interesting ‘trapped underground for 35 years’ scenario, but I guess that’s what happens when you let romance get in the way of a perfectly good sci-fi story.  However, it’s all very watchable, easy on the brain and well made too.  An effortless way to spend 99 minutes.

Recommended for fans of extreme cinema who want to push the boundaries of romantic comedy to its limits.  Or maybe not.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.

Top badass moment?  As a bit of a dance-floor diva myself, (honestly, please don’t assume I’m lying), Adam’s dancing in the nightclub deserves some respect.  Being able to do that after living your whole life in a hole in the ground with just your parents for company, has to be badass.  In fact being able to do almost anything after growing up in those circumstances is probably badass.

Blast From The Past at IMDB (6.4)


Chaos: 3.5 Stars


Chaos  -  Front DVD CoverUsing words like “Games”, “Two Thousand and Twelve”, “2012” or “Twenty-Twelve”, in association with the words “London”, “Medals”, Sponsors”, “Summer”, “Gold”, Silver” or ”Bronze”, is apparently illegal under the 2006 Olympic Act.  So I’d just like to say that my comments here are the Official Pointless Whinging London Summer Olympics 2012 Gold Medal winning ones.  I bet that will piss off McDonald’s and Visa no end.  What’s with all this Official nonsense anyway?  Don’t these companies care that the rest of the word is pissing itself laughing at them, as if anyone else gives a damm?  I guess not, as (for example) everyone within 10,000 miles of an Olympic event will be forced to buy chips (sorry “fries” I mean) from the scary clown, because no one else is allowed to sell any portions of chips on their own.  (Not that the fries McDonalds sells share any real similarities with proper chips anyway; it’s just that I hate the idea of lots of first-time visitors to England getting the wrong idea about what is actually our biggest contribution to the world’s classic foods.)  I guess I now know what all those missiles and RAF jets are for, to enforce the “No Chips Unless They’re From McDonald’s Exclusion Zone” around the Olympics.  You walk into that area with a bag from the local chippy and you’re likely to get targeted by a smart bomb.  (I wonder who’s the supplier of the Official Dog Turd to the Olympics?  Oh, I’ve just noticed, it McDonald’s again, it’s on the menu, 99p; actually that’s pretty good value when you think about it, as it comes  with a side salad and a plastic toy if you’re over 4.)  It’s like living in some sort of mythical, hard-line communist state, where you have no choice and ‘everything’ is provided for you, which is a bit ironic considering where McDonald’s came from in the first place.  With about as much credibility and connection to the truth as Official Olympic stuff has to the amazing abilities of the athletes competing there, this film claims to be “the most brutal movie ever made”.  Well, let’s peak in and find out…

2005  –  Certificate: Not Rated  –  USA

I’d just like to start by saying that I watched this film on 13th July 2012, the day one of the actors in it, Sage Stallone, sadly died.  Poor guy.  So anyway, this horror pretty much follows the normal routine; two young women go off into the woods and bad stuff happens to them.  If you don’t like films like this, then nothing else in it is going to make up for that fact and you’ll hate it; it’s pretty gross stuff.  A lot of people seem to object to the fact that the bad guy (Chaos) gets away with it in the end, but that’s life.  Baddies often get away with a lot in real life before (sometimes) getting their comeuppance.  The picture quality of the DVD I watched was really good and some of the acting and the effects weren’t bad either.  The script was a bit dodgy at times and the ending, while quite a lot of ‘fun’, was a bit bizarre.  The police (let’s call them cops so as to differentiate them from the good old British Bobby), are portrayed as hugely racist and somewhat ineffectual.  But the two young actresses in it and Kevin Gage (Chaos) put in pretty convincing performances, including the more harrowing scenes.  I’d quite like to see Chaos again, he’s one sick bastard.  So is it “the most brutal movie ever made”?  Well how on earth should I know?  Do you think I’ve watching every single film ever made?  Do you think I own some sort of Official Brutal Movie measuring device?   Of course not.  Those are being provided by Samsung as part of the Summer Olympics, so I’m not allowed to have one.  Finally, I can’t finish without commenting on the “rave” mentioned in the Overview.  From what you get to see and hear of it, this has to be The most disappointing party of all time.  Things really are slow in the sticks in America.

No cats, no decapitations and one chainsaw.  The chainsaw was used in a somewhat unconvincing attempt by the father of one of the women to fight Chaos.  I’d stick to cutting up logs in the garden mate, if I was you. 

Recommended for people who want to watch a sick bastard torture and kill just about everyone else.  Oh, I guess they include me then; how embarrassing.  Someone on IMDB said “These movies are made for one audience – psychotic future and current serial killers, rapists, and other vile humans.  I wish movies, and the audience members who enjoy this crap would all instantly combust in flames and burn for eternity.”  I wonder if the writer of that saw the irony in it? 

Top badass moment?  Justine’s (Deborah Lacey) last stand at the end.  Entirely futile, but that’s what makes it so badass.  I just hope she got some small satisfaction from knowing she’d been right all along.

By the way, I really couldn’t find a trailer in English anywhere; it seems only the Germans were honoured with one, so here it is.

Chaos at IMDB (3.1/10)