Posts tagged “American

Red Tails / Another Childhood Obsession


Red Tails  -  Front Blu-ray Cover  -  UK ReleaseAcademy Award Winner Cuba Gooding Jr. and Academy Award Nominee Terrence Howard lead a powerful ensemble cast in this high-flying epic inspired by the real-life adventures of the first African-American combat unit to serve in World War II.  Italy, 1944.  As the war takes its toll on Allied forces in Europe, a squadron of black pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen are finally given the chance to prove themselves in the sky… even as they battle discrimination on the ground.  Featuring jaw-dropping aerial action and thrilling special effects, Red Tails is a breathtaking tribute to the unsung heroes who rose above extraordinary challenges and ultimately soared into history.

2012  –  Certificate 12  –  American Film
Rating Details: Moderate war violence
8.5 out of 10

When I was young I was kind of obsessed with aeroplanes.  In particular, those used during the Second World War.  I used to read as much as I could about them, make and paint models of them to hang from my bedroom ceiling, and see them in museums and shows whenever I could.  I knew EVERYTHING there was to know about them.  I also used to buy as many copies of the Commando war comics as I could, (just the ones featuring WW2 aircraft, although I did occasionally stoop to reading stories set during WW1 or about gliders).  In these, I discovered how the brave, British Tommy basically won WW2 on his own, all the Germans were called Fritz or Hans and all they ever seemed to say was “Gott im Himmel!” or “mein gott!”, as an RAF Spitfire or Hurricane blasted to pieces whatever bit of German engineering the unfortunate Hans and Fritz happened to be in at the time.  (I think the Italians fared even worse, as they always seemed to be presented as either cowards or traitors.)  A few stories were set in Asia or North Africa, but most featured Europe.  Despite all this, I like to think I’ve grown up with a fairly balanced view of Germans and history.  In fact I had a lovely German girlfriend for many years, until she saw sense and left me.  (Somewhat ironically, the printing of the comics was moved to Germany last year.)  It’s many years since I threw them all away (and seeing the price some early copies now sell for, I wish I’d kept them), but my love of the aircraft has remained.  “The Battle of Britain” is one of my all-time favourite films.  Sadly, there aren’t a huge number of such films and there’s not exactly a lot being made these days, so I was quite excited when this one was released.  So were my childhood memories trashed by the Yanks?

This movie is two things.  Firstly, it’s a drama about the first American, Black fighter pilots in WW2 and the shockingly ignorant behaviour towards them by their own side.  It’s also an action film about brave, gung-ho heroes, blowing up loads of Nazi stuff.  Unfortunately the two things don’t quite go together.  Only someone wearing with a silly-looking, pointy white hat, (or possibly some Daily Mail readers or EDF morons) are not going to accept the point of the first element.  Although it provides a framework for everything else, this isn’t really looked into in enough depth to be totally satisfying.  If simply raising awareness of what went on was the point then this part was a success, (it was all new to me), but as a drama about what happened, it was a bit ‘empty’.  This brings us to the action side of things.  In many ways this film was a bit of an ego project for George Lucas, but given his background you’d hope it would be fun; and it is.  Nearly everything was created as computer graphics and watching it on Blu-ray they looked fab.  The dogfight sequences are worth watching for their own sake.  The film seems to have attracted a lot of criticism, but what did people expect?  It’s about as realistic as “Star Wars” or “Indiana Jones”, but as a movie that bought the vibe of my Commando comics to life, it did good.  For a lot of the time I forgot that most of the characters were Black and just enjoyed the sight of our heroes blasting away at all manner of Nazi hardware and personnel; trains, fighter aces, airfields, destroyers and even the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet all get blown to bits.  The scrip is far from perfect and once or twice it felt more like I was watching Snoop Dogg rather than a 1940’s guy flying a plane; sometimes the characters seemed too modern.  After starting with two clichéd lines of dialogue that really should only been seen in a comic book frame, it did finally produce a couple of powerfully emotional scenes towards the end.  I loved it for what it is, but I can understand why it disappoints so many others.

The soundtrack is decent enough and it felt there’s an awful lot of it used.

The trailer is also decent enough, if a bit superficial.

Recommended for Second World War aircraft obsessives and war comic fans; not recommend for military historians, racists or ‘Lucas haters’.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Joe “Lightening” Little does two strafing runs over a Nazi destroyer in his P-51 Mustang.  The ship basically blows up.  That’s badass.  For that reason alone, we shouldn’t let a little something like military realism, the ‘law of averages’ or historical accuracy spoil the action.  That’s what the History Channel is for.

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

Advertisements

Storytelling / I Meet My New Manager


Storytelling  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)Storytelling is comprised of two separate stories set against the sadly comical terrain of college and high school, past and present. Following the paths of its young hopeful, troubled characters, it explores issues of sex, race, celebrity and exploitation…

2001  –  Certificate: 18  –  USA
7.5 out of 10

On the walls in my office at work are maps of the eight counties that make up the South East of England.  (By the way, I’m not looking now to debate if Sussex is one or two counties, or if the Isle of Wight is one or not, so if you don’t like the number I’ve come up with please feel free to substitute your own; and anyway, I haven’t actually put up the maps for two of them yet, as there’re some old filing cabinets in the way that someone was meant to have got rid of ages ago but hasn’t).  The point of them is so when someone rings and starts talking about a detail of his/her tiny village somewhere, I have a chance of actually being able to find it quickly, seeing where it is relative to other places and not sound like I don’t have an intimate knowledge of every part of the 7,373 square miles of the South East.  The latter seems to be what most people assume and then get all defensive about when I ask something like, “where exactly is Deeping Minor?”  Near the edges of these maps is written stuff  that I simply translate as “here be dragons”.  I believe these to be blasted, post apocalyptic wastelands, inhabited by mutants, aliens and huge, people-eating monsters.  I never go there but I’m pretty sure that’s what it’s like.   (Okay, London runs along much of the top of the maps, but really, it’s so small and anyway in its own way it’s full of even weirder stuff.)  I have a new boss at work, my fifth in under seven years; (I guess I must be a nightmare to manage).  I had to go and visit him last week in his village, a place called Norwich.  This is so far away it wasn’t even on the maps.  I thought you just fell off the edge of the world if you went that far, but apparently not.  The journey took days.  It started on a (fairly) modern train and ended with an uncomfortable trip in the open wagon of a local journeyman, who spoke a strange Middle Earth dialect and was selling reeds for thatching; (he was probably a mutant too, but I didn’t like to ask).  On reaching my destination I was confronted by a small, blue hut by a muddy river.  I was ushered into a tiny room with a cup of some weird, local beverage, where my new manager was waiting.  With hindsight, I believe the drink to have included some sort of witch-doctor truth serum.  My new manager is a giant, at least thirty feet tall, which somewhat confirmed my suspicions about the conditions to be found beyond the South East.  Ever heard or read stories about people confessing to crimes they didn’t commit?  I used to think they must be very weak-minded.  However, after my long journey and then over 20 hours of non-stop interrogation about what we do in the South East, work-wise, I was ready to agree to anything, just to get away.  For some reason I now find myself with financial targets even ExxonMobil would be happy to achieve, so I guess I’m going to be a real bitch-from-hell manager to my team this year.  This film is also about telling stories and interpreting life though the prism of a parallel, fictional narrative; or something.

This darkly funny movie is actually two films joined together.  One features the students in a creative writing class and the other a would-be documentary maker.  They don’t have anything to do with one another, except that push the overall point of the film along, which seems to be to highlight the hypocrisy of how people react to different things, based on how society perceives them rather than simply as a reaction to absolutely how good or bad they are.  This is a very dense film in the sense that there’s a real mesh of subtexts and other stuff under its surface.  I recommend Goolging it if you want to find out more about them.  However, simply on a superficial level, (which is where I generally spend my time), the movie works.  It provides plenty of nuanced, flawed characters for us to like, despise, relate to or misunderstand; a set of dysfunctional people trying to do more (and sometimes less), than they’re capable of and failing to realise, whilst getting lost in maze of political correctness and self-importance.  Well worth watching, especially for the ‘did he/she just say/do that?’ moments.  I watched the uncensored version; that’s the one that doesn’t have the big red rectangle over the ‘rude bits’, which itself was used as a statement by the Director.

Recommended for people who enjoy seeing others fail; not so good for the less-than-liberal middle-classes, who find anything less that PC perfection to be on a level equivalent to the Holocaust.

1 cat, no chainsaws or decapitations.  A lovely grey and black stripy cat gets a brief bit of ‘lap-action’, but overall I felt it was very underutilised.  A wasted opportunity.

Top badass moment?  I’m not for a moment suggesting it’s something anyone else should look to emulate and she was a bit of a nutter on the quiet, but Consuelo’s way of dealing with unemployment was an interesting and radical departure from the norm.  A definite bit of thinking outside the box badassness.

Storytelling at IMDB (6.7/10)


Being John Malkovich: 4.0 Stars


Being John Malkovich  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) is a struggling street puppeteer.  In order to make some money, Craig takes a job as a filing clerk.  One day he accidentally discovers a door… a portal into the brain of John Malkovich (played by John Malkovich)!  For 15 minutes, he experiences the ultimate head trip – he is being John Malkovich!  Then he’s dumped onto the New Jersey turnpike!  With his beautiful office mate Maxine (Catherine Keener) and his pet-obsessed wife (Cameron Diaz), they hatch a plan to let others into John’s brain for just $200 a trip.  See what all the critics are talking about.

1999  –  Certificate: 15  –  USA

I’ve got far too fat this year.  Too much to do at work, along with a very slowing recovering ankle injury (sustained whilst trying to walk the South Downs Way, that well-known hiking equivalent of climbing K2), have somewhat curtailed my more extreme sporting aspirations over the past 18 months.  It totally sucks, I must be the only fat vegan on the planet.  Although some kinds of exercise do have an attraction (by which I mean ‘dancing’ at punk and ska gigs), eating less has very little to recommend it using just about every system devised for measuring human fun levels.  Several years ago I didn’t eat anything for 35 days, which lead to my losing 23kg, but this didn’t exactly leave me with a lot of energy or get up and go; even less than normal, attributes which are often in short supply anyway.  (Please insert joke here about my get up and go having got up and went years ago.)  So this time I need a slightly different approach.  Having considered the wide range of fad diets and other crap that’s published about how to lose weight, I’ve realised that what I actually need is a more industry-standard, heavy-duty model; less like a pair of scissors and more like a chainsaw.  So for the last four days I’ve been following what I’ve dubbed the Husqvarna Diet; (other chainsaw-themed weight-loss programmes are available, probably).  And yes, I’m afraid it was a Christmas present to myself.  I need to lose 35kg, which will leave me weighing about the same as when I was born, I think.  I’m not sure what that is in ‘old money’ but I suspect it’s quite a lot.  At this point I’d like to reveal the details of the Husqvarna Diet, but I’m afraid I can’t; if it works I’ll be looking for a publishing deal to sell my brilliant idea to all the other obese, lazy, losers ‘out there’.  If I’m looking forward to one thing, it’s being able to wear a lot of totally out of date clothing, which like many people I’ve kept in the wardrobe for years and years in the stupidly misguided hope that somehow it will fit me again one day.  In fact, I’d go as far as to suggest that they’ll be so old-fashioned as to actually be cool and retro.  Like my diet plan, this film is also truly unique and rather ridiculous.

I really like this movie.  With what’s probably a one of a kind plot, it’s clever, amusing and watchable.  Unfortunately, it’s also just a little bit too clever for its own good.  Then again, the story doesn’t really make any sense, yet somehow is perfectly coherent and believable.  It could come across as a bit freaky and gruesome, but it doesn’t.  The characters could all easily seem quite unpleasant, but they aren’t.  A bit like in Star Trek when they use a bit of techno-babble to get around problems, this film creates a whole mythology around its characters and living forever, but doesn’t bother to explain where most of it came from.  You just need to accept things as is, but for all that it doesn’t really matter and it’s highly entertaining stuff.  Cameron Diaz is almost unrecognisable as the pet fixated wife, whilst Catherine Keener just looks sexy.

Recommended for people who enjoy weird films; but weird in a good way.

1 cat, no chainsaws or decapitations.  In a film featuring a lot of animals, it’s sad that the cat only has a brief cameo, but even so does introduce a classic continuity glitch.  You can’t keep a good animal actor out of the limelight!

Top badass moment?  This has to be John Malkovich playing (what I assume is a rather subtlety shallow version of) himself.  That’s just weird and weird is badass.

Being John Malkovich at IMDB (7.8/10)


Hounddog: 3.0 Stars


Hounddog  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)This is a film about a young girl who overcomes great adversity.  Whereas I’m a sad old bloke who’s got a cold right now and can’t be bothered to even try to do anything about it.  Let the fiery depths of Hell take me; at least it’ll be warm there.

2008  –  Certificate: R  – USA
Rating Details: Disturbing sexual assault of a young girl, and brief sexuality

You know they often say that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, or that something often acts as a catalyst to help others achieve more together than apart?  Well whatever the opposite of those is, applies to this drama.  It looks good and the acting is great, but somehow the story and script didn’t really work for me; I guess it’s one of those films that takes too many of its cues from its setting; in this case the southern states of the US in the 50s, a time and place I can’t readily relate to.  From what I saw in this film, it was pretty crap anyway and I’m glad I don’t know it.  I like films that utilise music as a component in the plot and this one uses Elvis Presley and The Blues to decent effect; and there I was, thinking the Wasted and One Direction represented the pinnacle of popular music.  I did enjoy seeing a dysfunctional family again too, it’s been a while since I’ve come across one in a film.  Dakota Fanning, who plays Lewellen, the young girl, really does an amazing job with the role; the film is worth seeing for that alone.  Her singing is pretty impressive too.  I was also stuck by the number of times objects just happened to be in the right place to save someone or other’s blushes; I’ve not seen so many strategically placed house plants etc since the Austin Powers movies.  The biggest letdown was the script; the characterisation was excellent, yet I felt I had to fill in too many gaps in the plot; maybe it’s my cold, but some important things just seemed to pass me by.  I suppose that makes it a film for clever people, not like me.  This is also a film that’s famous for one particular scene, where Lewellen is horribly raped by a milkman.  It really isn’t that graphic or anything, but I suppose the idea of what’s happening and the fact that it looks very real on the screen does give it a great deal of power.  The second half of the film wouldn’t really work without it either.  Also, if you don’t like snakes, this is a film to give a miss; there’re a lot of them in it.

Recommended for intelligent people who aren’t going to freak out over ‘that’ scene.

No cat, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Charles, Lewellen’s unofficial mentor.  Despite his slightly unhinged view of the world, which is probably a result of his hanging out with too many snakes, he does represent just about the only character in the whole film that’s able to move things forward.  Anyone with that much belief in the power of music has to be badass.

Hounddog at IMDB (6.0 / 10)


The Longest Day: 3.0 Stars


The Longest Day  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)Once again, my ego is crushed as an epic film disappoints me.  I was so totally convinced that this was a documentary about doing my Financial Plan at work a couple of months ago.  Okay, so it says on the box that it was made in 1962, but I thought that was just a typo.  In the old days (well last year) we used to write budget forecasts, but now we prepare Financial Plans.  These involve filling in hundreds and hundreds of little boxes with numbers.  (Technically they’re rectangles, but you know what I mean.)  Anyway, it takes a long time to fill in all those little boxes and doing so makes me feel quite heroic, even though, at the time, it’s hell.  Every number I fill in that represents income is like a shot at the evil, triple alliance of decrepit resources, job loss and bankruptcy.  It’s like I’m defending Cactus World and its allies from certain doom, which in fact is exactly what I am doing.  So imagine my disappointment when I found out this film was about something called the Second World War.  Bloody hell, it’s not even the original, it’s just a sequel. How ego deflating is that?

1962  –  Certificate: PG  –  USA
Rating Details:  Mild Violence

There are some great war films out there; this isn’t one of them.  Despite its epic scale, it somehow doesn’t feel epic very often.  It has so many characters in it that you scarcely get to know any of them before we’re whisked off to meet someone else. Yet you never really get a feel for the magnitude of what’s going on, or learn anything much either.  It doesn’t work as a character study film (“Private Ryan”) or a fictional documentary (“Battle of Britain”); it’s just a load of A-listers in cameos with their own little stories, few of which actually join up in any useful way.  As far as the Invasion goes, all I learnt was that we were having a normal crappy summer weather-wise, the Nazi’s made loads of mistakes because they were too arrogant, the rest of us blundered about in the dark lost and the air forces from both sides basically went on holiday.  It wouldn’t really matter of course, but this was a significant point in history and a lot of people lost their lives or were horribly injured, etc.  They deserve something better than Robert Mitchum and John Wayne wondering about acting like gung-ho heroes; Wayne with his broken ankle and Mitchum with his soggy cigar and drug-addict eyes.  I can where Captain Kirk got his inspiration from.  It’s sort of annoying how it just ends too; I know it’s The Longest Day and all that, but after 171 minutes I’d liked to have had a bit of closure, but it just kind of, ends; not unlike the trailer acually.

Recommended for people with three hours to spare.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.

Top badass moment?  There were plenty of heroes in this movie, but the real badass ones are those that actually took part in this event for real.  Yes, even the American ones.  Ironically, modern Germany is light years away from the one depicted in this film, whereas some of us still think we’re fighting the war and running an empire.  Losers.

The Longest Day at IMDB (7.8 / 10)


Judge Dredd: 3.5 Stars


Judge Dredd  -  Front DVD CoverWhere I work there’re people called Regional Finance and System Managers.  They generally manage few staff and control few resources or budgets.  Yet despite this, they are feared!  Unbending, emotionless and utterly without compassion, they demand absolute and total compliance from the rest of us, least we complete a spreadsheet incorrectly, or enter a field of data wrongly into The Management Information System.  Generally mild-mannered and calm, (which makes them sound a bit like Clark Kent but don’t let that fool you), they are in fact imbibed with arcane, secret and awesome powers.  Up until a couple of years ago, when we had a bit of a reshuffle at work and the Regional Finance and System Manager I dealt with was physically transferred into the entity known as the IT Department, (at least that what I think happened to him, as no one’s seen him in person since), I viewed him as rather like Judge Dredd.  All that “I Am The Law” stuff and everything.  Well I don’t think he ever actually said that, but it’s the way you say things that matters, not what you actually say.  What he typically did was write an e-mail to ask if I could provide him with a few bits of information.  In my head this became a vision of him riding into my office on his massive Lawmaster bike, (after blowing the door and part of the wall away with his Lawgiver sidearm, using an appropriate high-explosive round to do so), into the chaotic fire-fight that passes for my finance management and generally non-existent record keeping. I felt ‘judged’ on many occasions.  “At the end of the day, when you’re all alone in the dark, the only thing that counts, is this, the MIS.”

1995  –  Certificate: 15  –  USA

I think this movie gets a bit of a bad deal from people.  So it doesn’t stick to the mythology of the Judge Dredd comics very well.  More Judge Stallone than Judge Dredd, it’s still a lot of fun in a brainless sort of way.  I enjoy watching Sylvester Stallone, he always seems to put so much effort into everything.  For an action film, it’s actually the slower parts that feel the best put together.  All those explosions and ‘car chases’, they just seem so mundane.   I wonder what the new version, due out later this year, will be like?  Oh, but what were they thinking of when they released the DVD I watched?  A non anamorphic transfer?  If I wanted to watch something as if I was watching it thorough a letter box, I’d go and put the TV behind a real letterbox and stand in the street outside and watch it through that.  I didn’t spend all that money on my massive TV just to have a little slice of picture shoved into the middle of it.  Twentieth Century Fox, back of the class for you.

No cats, no decapitations and no chainsaws.

Recommend for law-abiding citizens everywhere, who need a hero to look out for them.

Top badass moment?  People parking thoughtlessly is a real bugbear of mind.  Too lazy, stupid or selfish to park sensibly and walk a few yards to the shop, they ‘abandon’ their cars all over the pavements, on junctions, in disabled parking bays, or generally in the most piss-taking places they can find.  As far as I’m concerned, seeing how Judge Dredd deals with an anti-social motorist (he blows up his car, completely destroying it) is totally badass.  The sooner they arm Traffic Wardens with large calibre weaponry like that, the better.

Judge Dredd at IMDB (5.1)


Cruel Intentions: 4.5 Stars


Cruel Intentions  -  Front DVD CoverI went to see The Skints last night, at The Fighting Cocks in Kingston; (that’s Kingston-Upon-Thames, London, not Kingston, Jamaica).  The Skints are a great, punk-edged reggae band from east London.  Now, I have three irrational fears in life; getting my hair cut in a hairdressers/barbers, public toilets and seeing bands in venues I haven’t been to before.  Given that selection, you’ll be please to know that my experiences last night only concerned the latter.  Kingston is a bit of a pain to get to from Reading by public transport; well it’s okay to get to but really difficult to get back from afterwards, mainly because the last train times aren’t very bohemian.  So on the odd occasion I go there I have to drive, which means I both add a little more towards the destruction of the planet (and suffer weeks of guilt-ridden nightmares as a consequence) and also of more immediate concern, I can’t really drink anything.  Why new venues freak me out I’m not sure.  I think it’s a fear of not knowing how to find where the stage is, while everyone else there knows the most intimate details of the place and will basically notice my confusion and inability to navigate myself around, leading to my being laughed at by them all (complete with pointing fingers) and as a consequence having to run away after suffering this public humiliation and never ever being able to go to a gig again, in case anyone recognises me and tells everyone and the nightmare starts again.  Now I totally realise that this probably inflates my worldly importance and significance somewhat and that in reality no one would even notice or give a dam, or would just tell me where to go if I asked, but I did say it was an irrational fear.  The venue in the Fighting Cocks is basically a shed (it looks like a garage from the outside) next to the pub.  So after arriving and sitting in my car for ten minutes to build up the courage to go, I walked up the road to meet my nemesis.  When I arrived the bloke on the door was giving some guy trying to get in a hard time, suggesting that the photo on the Driving Licence he’d provided as proof of his age had been tampered with; something to do with his eyes looking in different directions.  Anyway he was got in in the end and I just walked past the bouncer; no one asks me to prove I’m over 18 these days; not sure why…  Anyway, I walk into the place and what do I see?  Giant writing on the wall saying “Toilets and venue this way”, with a big arrow to reinforce the message.  (Well I think that’s what it said, I was just so happy that I could have thrown myself on the floor and prayed to God for thanks).  There was also a bit of a queue too, which helped reinforce the suggestion; (well it could have been a queue for the toilets I guess).  Inside the place wasn’t much bigger than a double garage, with a small bar in one corner, a stage in the other and paint peeling off the walls everywhere.  I managed to end up trying to dance more or less under the speakers, as I slowly went deaf and the sweat of 150 people dripped down the walls.  Yes, it was a pretty cool place!  Great gig too; a benefit for the band (so it got to keep all the money from the sale of the tickets), as it had a van with most of its gear and merchandise in it stolen a couple of weeks ago.  I only managed to stand on one person’s feet, which wasn’t too bad for me, but he was very forgiving.  In a complete contrast to all this, Cruel Intentions features nothing materially seedy but lots of very questionable characters.

1999 – Certificate: 15 – USA

I love this film.  I shouldn’t, but I do.  Offering some terrible role-models and dodgy morals, we get to see so-rich-its-obscene kids taking pleasure in fucking up other people’s lives just for the fun of it.  They aren’t even politicians or bankers either!  In “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” I was always more of a Willow than a Buffy fan, but Sarah Michelle Gellar manages to turn her character in this film into a total sex diva.  Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to slobber all over her as she tells you to be like Captain Picard and “boldly go where no man has gone before”.   (I’ll just add that one to my Bucket List, shall I?)  A smart script makes the most of a less the original story and the characters are sufficiently well written and acted to make this a genuinely awesome, must-watch movie.

Recommended for fans of excellent films and those that like to say things like, “what a bitch” or “what a bastard” while watching them, especially when the primary emotion when saying them is jealously.

No cats and no decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Sarah Michelle Gellar gets to be the sexy-bad-bitch-from-hell that Buffy could have become if she’d not have been a prime-time TV character; except without all the fighting.  Her every word in this film is badass and not ‘good’ baddass either.  However, I’m almost sorry she got her comeuppance in the end.  What a bad person!

Cruel Intentions at IMDB (6.7)


Quid Pro Quo: 4.5 Stars


Quid Pro Quo  -  Front DVD CoverBuying underwear is generally quite a boring task.  Maybe I just don’t have much of an imagination, but it is.  I begrudgingly buy it because I have to, not because I want to. (I guess I should add some sort of “I need it because I’m such a big guy” kind of comment here, but I can’t be arsed to right now; I’m just not in the mood).  It always seems highly overpriced for what you get, which for men is basically a crappy pair of shorts and for woman a smaller version that’s more stretchy.  (I did warn you I don’t have any imagination.).  Yet the price per square metre of underwear ‘real estate’ is way beyond that for most clothes.  If trousers were priced in the same way, you’d easily end up paying £150 a pair, minimum.  All this for something that hardly anyone will ever see or is that interested in; (and if someone does then he/she is probably more interested in what’s inside them, so getting into a discussion about underwear at that point is unlikely to be very high on his/her agenda.)  In fact, underwear is the bottled water of fashion; an item that has little intrinsic value but is overpriced and somehow seen as desirable.  And forget all that stuff about letting people see a glimpse of it; this is at best advertising (isn’t it weird how the waistbands always seems to have some sort of brand-name embellished all over them) and at worst a leading reason for the so called distortion of family values, and part of the over-sexualisation of children and the consequentially high rate of teenage pregnancies in the UK, (presently 35.5 per 1000 in the under 18 age group); I expect it’s probably responsible for Global Warming too and the rubbish weather we’ve been having recently.  It’s nearly all made by children in Bangladesh anyway, for 1p a day, just so some fat bloke in a massive office somewhere can earn more money that he could ever possible hope to spend, in an effort to impress his equally greedy and selfish friends, who all, somewhat ironically, would not look at all good in the skimpy undies they force young kids to produce, because a huge role of fat hanging out over the waistband probably wouldn’t go with the ‘cool image’ they’re trying to peddle for their overpriced underwear in the first place.  Or maybe I’m just missing the romance of it all?  This movie features very little underwear, at least in the traditional sense.

2008  –  Certificate: R  –  USA
Rating Details: Some sexuality and language

This is a fascinating film.  I can’t really say that much about the story it as it would spoil it for you (should you have the good sense to go and watch it), but both the overview and the trailer don’t really do it any sort of justice.  Vera Farmiga is scarily, scarily convincing as the mad-as-a-hatter Fiona, the main female character.  (I’ve met women like this for real and they’re both strangely attractive and bad news at the same time; in fact I’m probably a bit of an expect and if there’s a word for them I’m a whatever the word it ologist.)  A film that’s ostensibly about people who want to be given a disability for no other reason than they want one, it’s really quite a different sort of thing entirely.  Look, it’s got a pair of ‘magic shoes’ in it and the main male character uses a wheelchair and spends a great deal of time not being picked up by taxis.  I’d like to write more about it here, but really it’s too good to spoil so just go and watch it.  It’s a cool film.  Lots of things to think about once it’s over too.  I’m not even sure if it had a happy or sad ending either.

Recommended for anyone who’s not going to be put off by the subject matter and who likes good quality drama with a healthy mind-fuck quota.  It’s also good if you like tulips.

No cats and no decapitations.

Top badass moment?  It has to be Isaac’s ‘magic shoes’.  Everyone needs a pair of those sometimes.  I hope they do a vegan version.

Quid Pro Quo at IMDB


Some Kind of Wonderful: 4.0 Stars


Some Kind of Wonderful  -  Front DVD CoverThis is a film about relationships, a subject I intrinsically know nothing about; (I blame it on my genes, it’s probably genetic or something).  As a result of this defect in my character, my entire understanding of this subject is based on films like this.  Like most other films of its type its plot is almost entirely unrealistic, which I guess must explain a great deal about my life.  The good guy always gets the nice girl in the end?  Don’t make me laugh.  When I can afford it I’ll be suing the makers of this film for messing up my life.  In my world, the 80s were full of crappy new romantic music and synth pop, (anarcho-punk and indie-pop were pushed to the sidelines) and everyone had bad hair and bad clothes.  Even I had bad hair; I can remember bleaching it and not getting it cut for over three years too; what a terrifying thought.  Scarily, this film makes the 80s seem quite cool, the fashion bearable and the music quite listenable.  See, I said it wasn’t very realistic.

1987  –  Certificate: 12  –  USA

Rating Details:  Language: Once strong, some moderate.  Sex/Nudity: Some mild references.  Violence:  Infrequent, mild.

This is a proper 80s teen classic.  It’s a classic film of its type and its era.  I hate myself for it but I really do like it.  A great bit of escapism.  From the great ‘drum intro’ at the start to the tear-inducing finale, its stupid plot and often annoying characters manage to be entertaining and often pretty funny.  I was never all that taken with Amanda Jones; she sometimes looked like a man in drag to me.  I couldn’t (and still can’t) really see what all the fuss was about.  Watts was about 100 times more interesting and better looking too.  And what a shame we didn’t get to know Duncan the skinhead more.  He was clearly the hero of the movie and someone we should have leant a lot more about.  And did anyone out there really not want Watts to ‘get her man’ in the end?  God, you’re a heartless bastard aren’t you!

Recommended for fans of classic genera movies and all things 80s; (just don’t admit the latter in public and keep taking the tablets, okay)?

One cat and no decapitations.  A quick run off scene (with dialogue) is all we get, cat-wise.  Shame.

Top badass moment?  Duncan and his gang gate-crashing Hardy’s party.  (What any annoying little prick he was.)  A rare, positive example of skinhead activism within in multi-cultural environment in a Hollywood movie.  That’s badass.

Some Kind of  Wonderful at IMDB