Angela (Sigrid Thornton, “The Man from Snowy River”) is a young hairdresser thrown out of home by her puritanical mother after too many nights out. She quickly falls in with the modeling crowd and does some modeling work herself, while it seems she is being stalked by a mysterious figure driving an ice-cream van! Also known as “Snapshot” and directed by award-winning director Simon Wincer (“Lonesome Dove, “Free Willy”), now see this Ozploitation film in its original scope format – first time anywhere in the world!
1979 – Certificate: R – Australian Film
5.0 out of 10
Next week I have to face one of the greatest horrors in the civilised world. Something so frightening, that juggling with chainsaws with one arm tied behind my back, in a cage full of hungry lions, would be preferable. I have to go to a two-day meeting at work, one that everyone who’s anyone will be at. (I guess a typo somewhere meant I got invited by mistake too.) However, hanging out with the good and the great doesn’t bother me; after all, I’m pretty sure I was born to meet a higher purpose than I’ve so far managed to climb to, so I may as well get used to it. I also don’t mind the fact that some of my more ambitions colleagues may well trample me to death on their way to ‘the top’ as they attempt to impress. Even the thought of conversing ‘professionally’ with people so important that their job titles are almost too long to fit on a business card, is of little consequence to me. (As long as I don’t have to make ’small talk’, as that’s a skill I’ve never developed as I don’t have a life to talk about.) No, what really terrifies me is the fact that right at the bottom of the information I was sent it says, “Dress code smart casual”. What does that even mean? My idea of smart is wearing a new t-shirt that doesn’t have the name of an obscure punk band on it. This requirement has bought into sharp focus the inadequacy of my wardrobe. It’s years since I wore a shirt and I doubt there’s a diet in existence that will prepare me for wearing any of the ones I still own by next Wednesday. In the trouser department things are even more desperate. Can you even iron combat trousers? I think the last thing I ironed was a screwed-up poster of the Buzzcocks to put on my wall when I was a student. When I turn up wearing a hoddie, everyone is going to stare at me as if I’m some sort of migrant worker at a UKIP conference. Life is so stressful. Life as an aspiring model is stressful too, except the smart casual issue probably isn’t much of a problem to one.
Despite what it says on the cover, this film has nothing to do with Halloween, opening doors, answering phones or looking in attics. There’s nothing anywhere in this movie that wants you either. It’s barely even a horror. In fact it’s barely anything at all. I rarely find films boring but this one I did. Get the feeling they’re trying to hide something? It’s competently made and acted, but the script is just so dull. It manages to take some interesting ideas and make them as exciting as watching magnolia paint dry. All the men in it are horrible too, they’d hardly a redeeming feature amongst them. (Actually most of the women are as well.) It was originally called “Snapshot”, which is a far better name for it. About the most interesting this about it is its lead actress Sigrid Thornton, who manages to look convincing as both a model and a woman out of her comfort zone. (Next Wednesday I’ll know how the latter feels.)
The soundtrack is competent without being especially memorable. It’s used a lot too. The ‘Elvis’ is quite amusing though.
In the same way as the DVD cover, I think the trailer is trying to promote an entirely different film.
Recommended for models, stalkers, ice-cream sellers, hairdressers and photographers.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Given that this is a dull film with few characters that have any redeeming features, I’m going to have to go for Madeline running down her would-be lesbian lover’s stalker in his Mr Whippy ice-cream van. Trust me, it sounds a lot more interesting that it really is, but I guess it beats most chat-up lines.
This superb film effortlessly combines outstanding performances, stunning images and spectacular photography, top create a hypnotic and symbolic masterpiece. As the title suggests, “Walkabout” is a journey not only in distance, but also in the transition for one Australian Aborigine, from adolescence to manhood. While on a family picnic a beautiful teenager and her brother suddenly find themselves very much alone after the tragic death of their father. As they wander through the outback they meet the young Aborigine. The film unfolds and tells the tale of survival, resourcefulness and sexual awareness, as the travellers become lost in the Australian wilderness.
1971 – Certificate: 12 – Australian Film
6.0 out of 10
There’s been a lot in the news over the past few days about a suspected al-Qaeda attack in the Arabian Peninsula. Well last week I uncovered an equally devious plot to undermine the very core of the English nation, cause widespread civil unrest and consequently destroy the very fabric of our society. Eschewing the need for a dirty bomb hidden in someone’s underpants, this evil and nefarious scheme uses our very own, wonderful, home-grown fruit against us, specifically cherries. Just think about cherries for a moment. They’re lovely, aren’t they? The look nice, taste great and we can grow them in England. In fact the Wild Cherry (Prunus avium) is one of our native trees. They’re as English as St. George; (well probably more so than he was.) Every day I walk beneath one on my way to and from work and glance up longingly into the high branches above to see the fruit teasingly hanging there, just out of reach. Cherries are really romantic too. Not only are they slightly heart-shaped (it’s called an artistic licence), but they normally come joined together, two sharing a single stalk. What other fruit so accurately reflects the hearts of two lovers, growing and maturing together, forever closely entwined? Last week I had to drive to Hastings. All along the A21 in East Sussex, there were signs by the side of the road with giant drawings of romantic cherries on them, swiftly followed by what appeared to be people sitting in lay-bys or gaps at the side of the road, their car boots open, adjacent to tables covered in delicious, locally grown cherries. I decided right there and then that on my way home I’d stop and buy some of these edible gems. On my return I missed the first couple of cherry-sellers, as they were either on the other side of the road, or it wasn’t obvious where to pull in until it was too late to do so. The other motorists on the road seemed more interested in driving as far up my ass as they possibly could, than buying cherries. Any unexpected breaking on my part was likely to result in whoever was driving behind me ending up sitting in my back seat, along with the remains of their car. Finally I managed to pull into a lay-by, salivating at the thought of getting my hands on some ripe, fruity cherries. So you can imagine my horror on finding there was no one there selling anything. The big cherries for sale sign was there but of anyone selling anything, there was no sign. I was pretty devastated. So I drove on and to my delight soon came across another sign promising an overdose of yummyness. Guess what? Exactly the same thing; no cherries. It was hard to hold back the tears on the drive home after that. I ended up taking out my anger on life by stopping for some chips instead and causing a satisfyingly long-tail back as a result of my top-notch parking. But I can’t helping thinking there’s more than meets the eye to this sudden cherry famine. Like cherries, this film is also about something very English, although in this case they don’t fit in to their environment at all.
In the same way that a cute baby in a pram can turn rational, intelligent adults into goo-goo-ga-ga uttering imbeciles, this movie seems to have the ability to turn similar people into fawning, complement-gushing Walkabout-sycophants. I’m sorry, but the plot really doesn’t make any sense. Jenny Agutter and the director/writer’s son get stranded in the Outback, meet up with an Aboriginal boy and then try to get back home. Now, I’d be the first to admit that seeing Jenny Agutter all messed up by days and days of walking about in the hot sun with next to no food and water would be a little distressing, but with the exception of one brief interlude, she and her clothes managed to remain looking pristine throughout. I’ve walked about in the sun for a few days and you get knackered and really grubby. The movie did feature a lot of wildlife, (even though a great deal of it was very dead); I kept expecting David Attenborough to turn up and give them all a lift home. There aren’t many Certificate 12 films you can watch and see an attractive 16-year-old girl take off her school uniform, get naked and go swimming in, either. Oh, did I mention I once shook Jenny Agutter’s hand and at the time she was congratulating me for something? I haven’t washed that hand since. I’m probably being a bit mean about things. There is a lot of good stuff and symbolism in this film; and it was made in 1971, so you need to give it the sort of understanding you sometimes need to give to older people. And really, I’m just trying to correct the imbalance in the universe’s yin and yang that all the praise it’s had has caused.
The music used is atmospheric but a bit screechy. When you realise it was mostly written by John Barry, it suddenly becomes a bit of a disappointment.
Recommended for geologists, English schoolgirls and young Aborigines.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? I know it’s a puerile, creepy and incredibly immature comment, which I wholeheartedly apologise for right now, but Jenny Agutter nude? Learning the straw in the muddy puddle trick was pretty cool too; I’m just not sure I’d trust it to work in lowland England; too much cow piss.
Panel vans, drive-ins, friendship rings & surfie beads. The ultimate coming-of-age film “Puberty Blues” is back. Based on the novel by the same name, written by the infamous Salami Sisters, namely Gabrielle Carey and Kathy Lette, “Puberty Blues” traces the adventures of Debbie (Nell Schofield) and her life-long companion Sue (Jad Capelja). Two teenagers are desperately trying to break into the “in” group who dominate Greenhill Beach. Once they are accepted into the group, they realise that the laid-back, ultra-cool façade is just that: a glossy cover-up. As they fall into all of the group’s vices, including drug-usage and casual sex, they willingly present themselves to the males of the group as virtual slaves, ready to serve their pre-chosen lover’s every need. Soon though, the girls grow tired of playing the victim role, and they work to regain respect and equality. From the Academy Award Winning Australian Director Bruce Beresford (“Driving Miss Daisy”, “The Club”, “Barry McKenzie” & “Black Robe”), “Puberty Blues” is the ultimate Australian beach classic.
1981 – Certificate: M – Australian Film
7.0 out of 10
As you should already know, I’ve recently become a fully fledged Pavement Warrior, in recognition of my bravery in standing up to greedy, urban footpath-hogging bastards. Just because this is an entirely self-administered qualification, shouldn’t reduce its significance. Indeed, as I’m the only Pavement Warrior in existence, it does in fact make the award all the more special. As part of my walk to and from work, I have to pass the planet-sized Tesco store on the Oxford Road in Reading. Behind the store is its car park, a car park so big that the other side of it is hidden by the curvature of the Earth. I have little choice but to cross this expanse of tarmac on my journey, corner to corner. Given its lack of surface features I need to navigate by compass; the tarmac interferes with GPS signals by destabilising the Earth’s magnetic field, as its metallic components combine with a thousand lost Smartphone signals to set up a sort of virtual Faraday Cage. Many a time I’ve come across lost shoppers, wondering hopelessly amongst the endless rectangular parking bays, surviving on the remains of their shopping, desperate to locate their cars before they starve to death; (which is somewhat ironic given the nature of Tesco’s core business). In winter I battle hurricane force winds and horizontal rain; whilst in summer baking hot temperatures and sunlight reflected from the ground, test me to my physical and mental limits. Now, you know those films where heroes walk out to their aircraft, before flying off to almost certain death? I’m thinking of “Battle of Britain” or Tom Cruise in “Top Gun”. (Except in the “Battle of Britain” they always ran to their aircraft and they were genuine heroes, whilst Tom Cruise swaggered to his jet like the overpaid Hollywood actor he is.) Well today in the Tesco car park I saw something very similar. Two guys were slowly walking out across the barren tarmac, their hair blowing in the summer wind, dressed in their Tesco high-vis jackets. They were going to their home delivery vans. I knew they were about to go ‘out there’ alone, face unknown horrors*, deliver their payloads and if lucky, God willing, return safely again. (*Such as ignorant home-shoppers who don’t even help them carry the bags from the vans to their kitchen tables, because they paid a few pounds for the privilege of having someone else do their shopping for them and expect to treat the delivery guys like their personal slaves for five minutes.) As they started their engines and drove slowly out of sight, I felt quite humbled and I’m not ashamed to admit it bought a lump to my throat. Home delivery drivers are the new heroes! This film has two heroes of its own.
Made in 1981, this movie is a nearly random slice of life in what I guessed passed for teenage normality in Australia around that time in the sort of place it features. This appeared to consist of thoughtless guys on surfboards who just put up with girls so they could have sex, (or root them as they tended to put it); and stupid young women who went along with this. It has all the normal stuff you’d expect, late periods, drug overdoses, drinking too much, ‘condom problems’, parental confusion, an ‘in-crowd’, drive-ins, ‘growing-up’, etc. This is an unusual film, in that it’s pretty boring but weirdly compelling too. For some reason Debbie reminded me of Wayne Rooney. (Facially at least; I doubt Rooney’s body looks like hers in a bikini.)
I hated the theme tune. Strangely it fitted the move well, but it was a dreadful dirge of the worst kind. However, I did rather like the version of Split Enz’s “Nobody Takes Me Seriously” that plays over the ‘climatic scene’ near the end of the movie.
Recommended for surfers, Australians, fans of Australian school uniforms (like they used to wear in “Neighbours”) and Wayne Rooney haters.
1 cat, no chainsaws or decapitations. A lovely black cat makes an appearance in a bedroom scene. (No, not ‘that’ sort of bedroom scene). It provides a master-class in how to lay on a bed and look cute.
Top badass moment? After 77 minutes of film-time living in the gender stone-age, Debbie and Sue finally realise that they can be something more. Overcoming a lifetime of stereotyping has got to hard-core badass.
Intensely grotesque and shocking as hell, “Feed” is a heavyweight thrill ride through the depths of depravity. A veteran of cyberporn investigations, Australian cop Philip Jackson is no stranger to the dangerous side of sexual fetishes. He may have found his sickest case yet when he discovers a sinister side to an American website devoted to fat-admiring men and obese women called “feeders” and “gainers.” Could the man behind it all be force-feeding missing women to death? Tense, dark and deeply disturbing, director Brett Leonard (“The Lawnmower Man”, “Virtuosity”) takes the crime-thriller genre to a twisted, gut-wrenching new level.
2005 – Certificate: Not Rated – USA
7.5 out of 10
This film provided me with the ideal opportunity to review how my secret, special, weight management programme (aka my diet) is going. I’ve now been on it for 46 days. Mystifyingly, I haven’t lost 35kg yet, my initial target. I thought it would only take a week or two, but apparently it takes long than that. I don’t actually own any scales, so it’s difficult to be sure, but my wardrobe of retro trousers and other clothing from the 80s and 90s still remains stubbornly undersized. It’s amazing how modern washing powders make most clothes shrink, isn’t it? However, I do think I’ve lost some weight; if I breathe in enough, my trousers definitely seem looser. You know how they say that ex-smokers are the worst type of non-smoker? Well, what really drives me on is looking forward to being able to go up to fat people in the street and tell them they’re weak-willed, hideously ugly, pathetic, lazy, stupid and a serious drain on the NHS that people like me are forced to pay for; basically human garbage. Most of them can’t even be bothered to breathe in a bit; no community spirit at all, they’re just so selfish. In comparison, I have a Zen-like ability to control my mind and body, like David Carradine in the 70s TV series “Kung Fu”. Like him, my training and sense of social responsibility repeatedly forces me out into the open, to fight for justice or protect the underdog; which in my case would mainly mean telling fat people they’re fat, well once I’m not one of them, obviously. Sometimes you have to be tough to be kind. I’m not without compassion though. In school you learn about epidemics involving bubonic plague, flu, smallpox, malaria, cholera, etc; but I can tell you nothing’s as bad as the present Obesity Epidemic. I’ve seen what it’s like; cakes, sweets, beer, burgers, takeaways, chocolate, all sitting in shop after shop on the high street. It’s awful, having to stuff yourself silly with junk food and other crap; let me tell you it’s Hell out there. I’m glad to say I’ve never suffered from bubonic plague, but nothing could be as bad as having to sit on the sofa all evening watching TV and eating a big tin of sweets.
This is another ‘cop on the edge’ film, taking the law into his own hands, who doesn’t get on with his boss, etc, etc, zzzzz. Fortunately it’s also got a pretty unique focus for the story, some great characters and a nice, dark, stylish atmosphere; I really liked how the music was used in it too. And let’s not forget our hero’s somewhat vivacious girlfriend. Burnt out by his time as a ‘cyberporn cop’, Australian police officer Phillip Jackson begins investigating the activities of a guy who feeding a woman to death on the Internet, whilst others are betting on when she’ll die. When he gets told to ‘take some time off’, he decides to go to America to track down this guy. Depending on your world view, you’ll either find this movie perverted, cool or totally gross. I liked it, but I can image a lot of people hating it. Beyond the obvious plot, there’s quite a lot going on under the surface as well, about the nature of relationships, love, all that girly stuff. Interestingly, the deleted senses remove a whole subsection of the film’s plot; it’s a while since I’ve seen that happen. I recommend having a really big meal and then sitting down to watch it with some of your larger friends.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Recommended for fatties of course. It provides the idea incentive to go on a diet.
Top badass moment? Bad guy Carter’s conversation with Phillip Jackson in the hotel room. It’s a load of psycho babble but it sounds sort of cool, until you remember he’s a complete nutter. I’m not sure the coffee was that great though.
Today I bought myself a Zyliss Swivel Peeler! It has a chunky, ergonomic handle designed to fit comfortably in the palm, whilst the hardened steel blade gives it long-lasting performance. (I’ve got the black and white version, but they make a green one too; the colours are apparently inspired by nature.) It also has a sharp steel tip for the removal of blemishes and de-eyeing; just how fucking cool is that? It comes with a 5 year guarantee as well. I tried it on a potato tonight and OMG, it was like being let loose in a Bugatti EB 16.4 Veyron Super Sport (the world’s fastest production car) on a race track, after spending years in Reading’s rush-hour traffic in a Fiat Doblo (the car with the worst acceleration that’s currently available to buy in the UK; 0-60 in 21 seconds). I was in potato heaven. That’s worth £8 of anyone’s money. Anyway, my Zyliss Swivel Peeler is a product of Swiss “precision design”, made by a German company in China; but hey, it’s distributed in the UK, so that probably means we’re at the top of the potato peeler food chain… This movie is pure Australian and isn’t at the top of anything.
2009 – Certificate: Not Rated – Australia
This film was shot entirely in an old shed, in Australia, at night. It features a group of five young ladies who’ve decided to take revenge on a guy who’s been abusing one of them for years. He’s described and shown as having absolutely no redeeming features whatsoever; (cue not very funny feminist joke about all men fitting this description). The only real bit of social commentary in the film is a brief conversation about that fact that he doesn’t realise he’s done anything very wrong, which could have led somewhere a bit more interesting; but this is quickly thrown aside in an effort to get back to the ‘action’. Unfortunately, most of the ‘action’ consists of the group moralising over what it’s doing, rather than simply just doing it. Yes I want to do it, no I don’t want to do it… in the end I didn’t really care one way or the other. The acting wasn’t going to gain itself many Oscar nominations either. I did briefly start to feel sorry for Kat when she was describing how her life had been messed up, but most of the time I couldn’t care less about any of them. Once or twice the acting became so bad that I started to feel sorry for the actors themselves, rather than the characters. I have this film on Blu-ray. I think it’s the worst looking Blu-ray disc I’ve ever watched. I’m not sure if it was just filmed badly, or the crappiness was deliberately added post-production to give it a more ‘authentic, gritty’ feel, but it’s horrible. The sleeve even manages to get the sound mix hopelessly wrong; there’s nothing Dolby Surround 7.1 about this film. (Can you even get Dolby Surround 7.1 on consumer discs? I think not. “Toy Story 3” was the first film with Dolby Surround 7.1 sound and that didn’t come out until June 2010, the year after this film was released.) At its most gruesome, this movie does make you (guys anyway) want to cross your legs, very, very tightly, but most of the time you’ll just be getting angry because of the quality of the picture, the crappy lighting and all the moralising going on. The masks that are worn at one point will also baffle even the most astute viewer. (Really, what were they for?) Australia also appears to have the world’s most ineffective police force too. Sure, they turn up, but the time it took them to get into the shed was pitiful. Don’t expect anything much in the way of special effects either; it’s really not an especially gory film, although it does have its moments, just not very many of them. I did start to feel that the person who was suffering the most was me. It could have been a good film, but it ends up lost somewhere between torture porn and thriller and not in a good place either. “What happens in the barn stays in the barn.” I wish. And finally, the scene where a knife is sharpened on a sharpening stone uses entirely the wrong technique; all what was shown would achieve is to blunt the knife and trust me, it really needed to be sharp for what it got used for.
Recommended for people who want to experience real pain when viewing a film; just not the same sort of pain that’s on-screen.
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws. It does however feature someone called Kat; and there’s an amputation too. Looks really nasty.
Top badass moment? Well I guess this has to be Crystal and her strap-on. In a film with all the lighting and colour subtlety of the inside of a metal dustbin, with the lid on it, that bright splash of pink was very welcome.
Watching the Power Rangers is a bit like standing on a bridge over a motorway and watching the traffic, secretly hoping you’ll see a crash. You know you shouldn’t do it, you know you don’t really want anything to happen and you know it’s going to be really horribly if it does; yet you stand there, staring at the road, as the cars, vans and lorries pass under you. The sad truth is, the Power Rangers are awful in just about every way that science has so far come up with to measure awfulness. They’re so nauseatingly wholesome; I can’t express in words the desperate, primeval need I have to see one of them, just once, swear, or something, anything. They’re so cheery, positive and supportive of one another, in the worst sort of way that only Americans can truly articulate. And why, in such a closely knit group of teenage friends that seem to basically hang out together 24/7, is there less sexual chemistry between them than you find in a row of teddy bears on a supermarket shelf? (The ‘relationship’ between Kimberly and Tommy doesn’t count; that’s just embarrassing.) If there’s a porn parody of the Power Rangers, it’s probably got a U Certificate. (Okay I just checked and yes they do exist). And in a series that’s featured more than its fair share of Yellow and Pink Power Ranger babes, why have they never managed to put any of them in something truly figure-hugging? A hugely wasted marketing opportunity if you ask me. However, I’m nothing if not balanced in my world view. So in an effort to see both sides of the story, I probably should collate the evidence for the defence, however pitiful that might be. So what do we have here? Well, as superheroes they don’t do a bad job; as of today they’ve been consistently on TV in one form or another for 19 years. It has to be said that they’ve probably saved the world more times than Batman or Superman, so for that alone we probably do owe them our thanks. That long, overarching story-arc does give them considerable gravitas too. And in the world of superhero franchises, which is ruled by a duopoly of DC Comics and Marvel, the Power Rangers are very much the Liberal Democrats. And let’s be quite honest here, who hasn’t moved their arm quickly through the air and made that “swoosh” noise that only the Power Rangers can truly make their own? Going on, admit it, you have haven’t you? And who doesn’t think it would be at least just a little bit cool to be able to fly a Zord or (even better) a Megazord? And finally, who hasn’t ever had a crush on one of them at some point? For the lads, the Pink Ranger has always seemed to be the focus of this, er, respect. In this case, tiny ex-gymnast Amy Jo Johnson; I doubt anyone in the history of superheroes has ever looked less likely to win in a fist fight than she does.
1995 – Certificate: PG
Rating Details: Language: infrequent, very mild. Sex/nudity: none. Violence: some, fantasy. Other: none.
Oh, the film itself? Well it’s pants of course, from the sky-diving start to the fireworks finale; but them being so nice and everything, I just can’t bring myself to hate it, even though that’s what it deserves. It has got a bikini-warrior babe in it. I saw this film when it was first released at the cinema. I saw it with someone called Tracy, who I think fancied me a bit; (look, it was a long time ago okay). So I do have a bit of a soft spot for it. And I bought the CD single of the soundtrack too. I also have to admit here that I’ve recently purchased Season 1 of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, with a view to buying all of them in the end, right up to next year’s Power Ranger Megaforce and beyond. Fact is, the Power Rangers may well be my most guilty secret. Blimey, I could write so much about this!
Recommended for grown-ups who’d rather not grow up anymore, (a bit like some sort of breakfast cereal, but I can’t remember which one now).
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws. (Wow, big surprise there…)
Top badass moment? Ninja Megazord, power up! Ninja Falcon Megazord! It’s morphin’ time! Sabre-toothed tiger! Etc! Taking time out to say stuff like that really, really fast in the middle of a fight, is definitely badass.