Posts tagged “Armageddon

The Dark Hour / My E4300


The Dark Hour  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseThe world is teetering on the brink of the apocalypse.  A group of survivors have found themselves isolated from the remnants of society and under siege living in a subterranean bunker.  They dare not abandon the crumbling complex as it is the only security from the enemy that awaits them outside.  Living in a constant state of fear, they face the fact that food supplies and ammunitions are running out, giving them no choice but to leave the secure area.  Together they start their quest for survival, facing an enemy that is stronger than expected, with a power that can destroy all of mankind.

2006  –  Certificate: 15  –  Spanish Film
Rating Details:  Strong language, moderate violence and gore
7.5 out of 10

I’m teetering on the brink of an apocalypse too.  At work I use a Dell Latitude E4300 laptop.  This is a nice bit of kit that works well and still looks good, despite its age and the numerous scratches and marks on its minimalist, black lid.  It’s also narrow enough that I can use it on a train without a table, even when I’m having one of my ‘fat days’.  In fact it only has one fault.  Every time I go to any ‘important meetings’ where people get out their laptops to pretend they’re doing something, all those with an E4300 spend the first five minutes repairing all the bits that have fallen off it since the last time they used it.  The part around the screen is especially good at detaching itself.  As well as this, mine also has various other bits of trim that have either broken off and vanished; or are hanging off but refusing to let go, like teeth used to when you were little and losing them.  More recently, it’s decided that it would be extremely cool to allow one of its hinges to develop a more three-dimensional personal space than is generally regarded as normal for one.  For my part I don’t think a hinge that’s desperate to do a bit of twerking whilst I’m trying to work is all that helpful, or sexy.  A massive split the size of the Grand Canyon has also appeared in the case and my laptop now finds connecting to the Internet, either via a network cable or wirelessly, all a bit of a strain.  Today I wasted over an hour yanking the screen about from ‘here’ to ‘there’ in an effort to make the hinge behave and whatever inside wasn’t connected properly, connect.  I ended up pleading with it on my knees, using that well-known ‘tech support prayer’, “connect to the network you fucking bastard asshole machine!!”  (I know, I’m not the most tolerant when it come to technology.)  In the end I got it to work.  My previous laptop was a D610, a machine with all the combative prowess of the Terminator.  Sadly, the E4300 looks pretty, but is about as sturdy as a pink marshmallow.  This film is all about a group of people in a ‘no win’ scenario too.

Spain, as well as being a great place to grow oranges, has also developed a nice side-line in independent horrors.  This is one of them.  What’s interesting, is that in most apocalypse films, as soon as something goes wrong, the whole of civilisation quickly collapses and nearly everyone who’s left becomes a homicidal maniac.  In this one, we join a small group of people for a few days, who’ve banded together and are trying to live a vaguely ‘normal’ life, despite their circumstances; (for a while anyway).  I guess it’s a bit of tribute to the enduring values of humanity.  Alternatively, it’s got more to do with, “we’re a small group of people stuck in a small place without much to say, or the budget for a lot of special effects.”  In truth, there’s a lot of ambiguity in the plot and a lot of unexplained things, but as an ‘atmosphere’ film it’s great.  It also has two different groups of baddies, which makes for a change too.  The characters are mostly well written and believable; I did start to care what happened to them.  Two are called Jesús and Judas; I couldn’t decide if this was just a coincidence, or some sort of biblical reference relating to the film’s storyline that I couldn’t see.  Like I said, there’s a lot of ambiguity.  Even when we get to the inevitable ‘people running about in corridors with guns’ part, it manages to stay interesting.  This is a grimy looking, depressing film.  The ending is quite unexpected too and helps add to general air of despair.  I enjoyed it!

The soundtrack is one thing that makes this more of a horror than a sci-fi movie.  It’s also pretty good too and sounds ‘expensive’.  Like what I imagine an effective butler would be like, it turns up in all the right places, does what it’s meant to do and then leaves.  You won’t remember it but it does a great job of supporting everything else that’s going on.  Good stuff.

Recommended for apocalypse survivors.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  I suppose having to deal with an apocalypse is pretty badass.  It’s not the sort of thing you generally chat to the career counsellor at school about when you’re 16.  Nurse, IT support, train driver, police officer, teacher, celebrity maybe, but the conversation probably doesn’t go along the lines of, “I’d like to become an Armageddon survivor please.  Which A Levels do I need to study to do that?”  Dealing with unexpected changes is badass, as most of us are crap at it.

The Dark Hour at IMDB (6.0 / 10)      The Dark Hour at Wikipedia      The Dark Hour at You Tube


Satanic Sluts: The Black Order Cometh / Piñon Pine Incense Cones


Satanic Sluts:The Black Order Cometh  -  Front DVD Cover (UK Release)The Satanic Sluts are an all female collective (similar to the Suicide Girls), numbering up to 666 of the world’s most sexual, attitudinal, confrontational, creative and challenging women that have ever chosen to walk down the left-hand path.  In this exclusive and unique DVD six members of The Satanic sluts have bared their corrupt souls for your delectation and their dubious pleasure.  Featuring real bloodletting, Japanese rope bondage, whippings and satanic crucifixions, through to fantasized sequences involving torture, medical experiments and vampirism.  Watching this DVD will be akin to having your eyeballs licked – prepare to go blind!

2008  –  Certificate: 18  –  UK Film
Rating Details:  Very strong language, nudity, bloody gore and fetish
3.0 out of 10

I’ve always quite liked scented things for rooms.  I’m not talking about those dreadful air freshener sprays that appear to be a close relation of tear gas; or them plug-in abominations, whose mere existence confirms the inevitability of environmental Armageddon.  No, I’m talking about things like incense and oil burners.  A couple of years ago, two friends came to stay with me and gave me a gift of some piñon pine incense cones.  They were lovely, but sadly they ran out ages ago; (the cones, not the friends).  I hunted around on the Internet looking for a supplier, but they were all in America and the idea of paying zillions for shipping wasn’t that appealing.  All I could find closer to home were piñon incense sticks, which just weren’t the same.  However, I finally came access a cone supplier on eBay a month or two ago, based in the UK.  My flat now smells like an open wood fire in New Mexico.  Apparently it also repels mosquitoes. The only smells likely to emanate from this film are rubber, latex and leather.

Just for a moment, think about your favourite, male, movie action-hero. Okay, now imagine him in a tough spot; his gun’s out of ammo, he’s securely tied up with the film’s beautiful heroine and they’ve only got five minutes before the nuclear bomb they’re sitting on explodes, killing millions of innocents in Los Angeles.  He might say something along the lines of, “this is bad… really bad”.  Now, forget about the bomb and stuff and plonk that same action-hero in front of a TV and make him watch this film for a bit.  Spot the difference in the dialogue?  No, I can’t either.  Part drama and part documentary, this movie is made up of a series of quite random short scenes and interviews with some of the ‘cast’.  It’s probably supposed to provide an insight into an alternative lifestyle, whilst exciting the parts other films can’t reach.  Well it did neither and it all felt strangely old-fashioned to me too.  I’ve never quite understood the appeal of all that gothic, dominatrix in leather stuff; I suppose that comes of being vegan.  I did find myself wondering at one point how hot it must get wearing all that latex.  I use to have a pair of PVC trousers in my more flamboyant days and they used to really warm up if the sun got on them; they were good in wet weather though.  I can only imagine the 170 seconds of footage that the BBFC insisted were cut from the film to enable it to gain an 18 certificate, must have all the plot and ‘good stuff’ in them.  Yes, the compulsory cuts that were required to remove the “unsimulated sight of restrained woman’s arm being cut with a scalpel” must be where it all is.  I guess the sight of someone having needles pushed into various parts of her face is okay though, it was probably just something to do with acupuncture that I’ve misinterpreted.  And as I never open the security grills on the windows in my office at work, the stuff with the cages didn’t seem that big a deal to me.  However, the scariest thing about this film is that it’s the first part of a trilogy.  That will give me sleepless nights.

I’m not sure what sort of music soundtrack this film had.  Industrial techno?  Who knows? Anyway, it wasn’t very good.

Recommended for acupuncturists, nuns, birds in leather and nurses.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.  However, one of the ‘stars’ calls herself Chelsea Chainsaw.  I hope she has the proper ‘industry tickets’ for that name, at least CS30 and hopefully CS31 too.

Top badass moment?  Someone has lots of needles pushed into her face, for the entertainment of others.  It’s not made entirely clear what she gets out of it, but whatever, that’s kind of badass.  I might give it a miss myself; there’re some reruns of “Bargain Hunt” with David Dickinson I’m keen to catch up with this weekend.

Satanic Sluts: The Black Order Cometh at IMDB (2.3 / 10)


The Likely Lads: 1.5 Stars


The Likely Lads  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)Starring Rodney Bewes as Bob and James Bolam as Terry, “The Likely Lads” is the hilarious feature-length spin-off from the popular television series, written by acclaimed duo Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais (“Auf Wiedersehen Pet”, “Porridge”).  Yet again the two lovable Geordies are up to their likeable necks in trouble.  It begins when Bob`s wife talks Terry and his Finnish girlfriend into touring the North of England in a caravan.  And it ends with both like-minded lads running away to sea. But what happened in between adds up to the funniest, if unlikeliest misadventure of all.  With a fantastic script from Clement and La Frenais, “The Likely Lads” is vintage, essential British comedy.

1976  –  Certificate: PG  –  United Kingdom

Today I got to glimpse what life would be like after an apocalypse.  I worked in my office all day and received no phone calls, no e-mails and saw no one outside in any of the other units.  No disturbances, no grief, no hassle.  Now, does anyone know anything I could do that would really, really piss off the Russians?  This film was made at a time when words like Internet, mobile and voicemail didn’t even exist.  Blimey, what on earth did teenagers and executives do with themselves all day?

When I was growing up, “Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads” was probably my father’s favourite TV series.  (Well it was either this or The Benny Hill Show.)  I think he could relate to the characters in it.  It provides a small but indelible element of my childhood memories from the early-mid 70s.  He’s sadly been gone for many years, but the programme remains and a couple of years ago I watched both series of it, along with its early-mid 60’s predecessor, “The Likely Lads”; (which confusingly has the same name as the film).  I didn’t much care for the latter, but “Whatever Happened to…” is still funny today.  Despite being nearly 40 years old and suffering from some of the worst excesses of 70s clothing, (like suits with flared trousers and kipper ties), the humour was often still pretty good.  It also managed to contain surprisingly little that was based on race or gender stereotypes, which for a 70s TV series was pretty progressive.  I was quite sad when which I finished watching the last episode, partly because I liked the link it gave me to my past, but also because I’d enjoyed watching it on its own merits.  So it’s two years later now and I finally get around to watching the spin-off film that was made a couple of years after the final episode.  Sadly it’s pants.  Despite containing all the same ingredients as the TV series and evoking much of the same feel, as well involving its principle stars and writers, it’s just too over the top and stupid.  Whilst the ridiculous situations Bob and Terry sometimes got themselves into in the TV series were often quite silly, the film stretches things too far.  I’m afraid my “That Wouldn’t Happen In Real Life” alarm went off far too many times, which rather spoilt things for me.  The whole scenario around the B&B was particularly awful.  Still, it was good to see a Vauxhall Chevette in action.  Apparently its two stars, Rodney Bewes and James Bolam, haven’t spoken to each other since this film was made, which probably means we’ll never need to deal with the confusion that a “Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads” film would cause.  Shame really.

Recommended for Likely Lads completests.  I really can’t see many other people finding it much good. 

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Although it’s about as likely as me managing it, Bob getting off with the B&B owner’s daughter has to be considered badass.  Real Men don’t need to try, which makes them badass.

The Likely Lads at IMDB (6.5/10)


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)