Posts tagged “Boston

Good Will Hunting / Sleep and Toothache


Good Will Hunting  -  Front Blu-ray Cover  -  UK ReleaseIn an Oscar winning performance, Robin Williams (“The Birdcage”, “Dead Poets Society”) alongside Matt Damon (“The Bourne Trilogy”, “The Departed”) in the motion picture triumph that received an Oscar nomination for best picture of the year.  The most brilliant mind at America’s top university isn’t a professor… he’s the guy who cleans its floors, Will Hunting (Damon in an Oscar nominated role).  But Will is also a headstrong, penniless guy failing the lessons of life and love with his wealthy girlfriend (Oscar nominee Minnie Driver).  Facing a jail sentence after one too many run-ins with the law, Will’s fate lies in the hands of his therapist (Williams), who might be the only man able to help him see his true potential.  Also starring Ben Affleck (“The Town”, “Armageddon”), who co-wrote this Oscar winning original screenplay with Damon, “Good Will Hunting” is the inspiring, emotionally charged film that has everyone talking.

1997  –  Certificate: 15  –  American Film
Rating Details:  Strong language and violence
7.5 out of 10

My sleep pattern is all messed up at the moment.  Yesterday evening I was doing something on the computer and then suddenly felt really sleepy, so had to immediately go and lie down on the sofa in the middle of what I was doing.  I fell asleep for about an hour.  Then at about 2:00 am I woke up and was wide awake, so got out of bed, had something to eat and read a book for a while.  Something is obviously bringing out the ‘inner baby’ in me.  I blame the change in the weather and the longer evenings; I hate the winter.  I’ve also got an on-off toothache at the moment.  It’s not the physical pain I dread, it’s paying a dentist to sort it out that’s the real horror.  I’m sure something’s going terribly wrong under a crown; it feels very expensive.  I might just go for a head transplant, as it’ll probably work out cheaper.  I wonder if I can have Will’s from this film.

This is an entertaining, if somewhat bland movie.  There’s nothing especially wrong with it but there’s nothing that amazing about it either, which considering it won two Oscars is a bit of a letdown.   I just found it hard to emotionally engage with what was going on.  Matt Damon’s character (Will) was just a bit too unlikable for me to really care about what happened to him.  So he had a tough upbringing.  Big deal.  I’ve got toothache and you don’t hear me going on about it… much.  His ‘genius’ was just a bit too over-the-top too.  Even the film’s title is trying to be far too clever for its own good.   The fact that it’s currently meant to be the 143rd best ever movie (according to IMDB) just makes me worry a bit about people.  Robin Williams plays Will’s shrink nicely enough, but I’ve never forgiven him for being in “Mork & Mindy”, one of the most awful, awful TV programme ever to be conjured into existence.  When I get my hands on a time machine that’s definitely on my list of things to tamper with.  I’ll certainly have no qualms about polluting the timeline by removing “Mork & Mindy” from it.  On the plus side, this film’s got Stellan Skarsgård in it, who’s always great.  He manages to make being a professor of mathematics seem almost cool, in a non geeky way.  I do feel like I’m starting to stalk him though, as this is the third film I’ve watched with him in recently.  Minnie Driver is very cute too.  Reading that back to myself just now, I’ve realised that I’ve probably been a bit bitchy about this film; sorry, it’s the sleep deprivation and toothache talking.

The soundtrack is a bit “whatever”.  A lightweight Batman one.

Recommended for geniuses, mathematicians, swotty students and psychiatrists.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Until I was 16 I was really good at maths.  By the time I was 18 I was crap at it.  In revenge, I degrade it these days by referring to it as sums, just to get my own back on arithmetic.  And I call rectangles, oblongs and deliberately fail to remember the difference between diameter, radius and circumference.  No one’s more of a rebel than me!  Secretly though, I’m deeply impressed by anyone who can make sense of maths, especially if they can then make it mean something.  And pissing on students by being effortlessly better than them is good too.  Like it or not, that makes Will badass.

Good Will Hunting at IMDB (8.2 / 10)

Good Will Hunting at Wikipedia

Good Will Hunting at YouTube


Dread / Getting Caught Up in a Police Chase, Very Slowly


Dread  -  Front DVD Cover (UK Release)Based on the acclaimed short story from Clive Barker’s “Books of Blood: Volume II”, “Dread” is a psychological thriller centered on three college students who study other people’s fears.  As the study unfolds, one of the students begins to seek salvation from his own obsessions by exploiting the terrors of his fellow participants.  Starring Jackson Rathbone (“Twilight Saga”, “S. Darko”) and Shaun Evans (“Telstar”, “The Take”).

2009  –  Certificate: 18  –  USA
Rating Details: Strong language, once very strong, and strong bloody violence
8 out of 10

Last Tuesday I had to go to a meeting, in central London.  I didn’t have to be there until 12:30, so I’d thought, great, that would give me a couple of hours to read the things I needed to go through, before taking a nice, comfortable trip (out of the rush-hour) on the train.  I switch on my computer at 8:15.  Nothing happened.  No sound like I’m in a wind-tunnel (thanks to the eight fans inside the case), no meaningless messages on the monitor, no rattling of the metal case (because I’m too lazy to do up the screws from when I last pulled it to bits).  No sound is not a good sign.  Using my brilliant Homes-like powers of deduction, I quickly deduced that the power unit has failed, again; it’s only been about two years since I last replaced it too.  (What is it with electronic things these days, does every-single one break-down after two years?)  No matter; that’s a quick, two-mile round trip to Maplins for a new one and back, nothing that £70 won’t put right; then I’ll quickly put it in and it’s all fixed before it’s even 9:00.  Now, Reading’s traffic system is ‘fragile’ at best.  So when someone decides to try to get away from the police, crashes and gets killed, it tends to bring the whole lot to a grinding halt.  I eventually got back home after 10:30; it had taken me two hours to drive less than three miles!  I did get to see the aforementioned ‘incident’ on the other carriageway as I, very, very slowly, drove past it, which despite the crash happening the night before, was still totally blocking the main route into Reading from the M4.  It’s not that I’m not unsympathetic.  The poor guy, just 19 years old, was being chased by six police cars (including an armed response team and dog-handlers), crashed, got thrown from the vehicle and then run over by one of the police cars chasing him.  I can only imagine he must have been an international terrorist, with an armed nuclear device and special powers that would somehow have enabled his clap-out Ford Fiesta to outrun any police vehicle, hence the need for such a response.  He wasn’t even a Muslin, or Black either, just some local lad who’d probably done something he shouldn’t’ve.  And now he’s lost his life, his family and friends are all devastated and one police officer has that on his conscience forever.  I guess that puts my broken power unit into prospective.  And I ended up having to stand on the train, in both directions.

The first 15 minutes of this film are a mess, as a desperate race against time takes place to introduce us to everyone and establish a back-story for them as quickly as possible.  There was no sign of Judge Dredd either!  Fortunately, things improved greatly after that.  I have to admit that this is an excellent, modern horror, which manages to capture some of the essence of what makes films like “Saw” work so well, as opposed to just featuring a series of gross ways to hurt people.  As the big ‘sticker’ in the middle of the cover proudly proclaims, it stars some guy who was in “Twilight”.   No matter that this blatant bit of marketing totally spoils the cover art, (not that it’s especially inspiring but, you know, it’s the principle).  Interestingly, one of the lead female characters has a huge birth mark, which I think is supposed to make us feel sorry for her.  Unfortunately, they picked such a beautiful actress to play the part that she just came across as looking exotic and still really hot.  Still, realism isn’t what I was watching it for; I’d had plenty of that in the traffic jam and it wasn’t fun or nice at all.  Needless to say, as a vegan, the scene with vegetarian Cheryl and the bit of beef was of particular enjoyment.  Will she or won’t she?  It was probably horse meat anyway.  If you can forgive its more irritating moments, this is a great horror and well worth watching, if you like that sort of stuff.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Recommended for masochistic vegetarians and the normal array of weirdos who get their kicks watching movies like this.

Top badass moment?  It’s pretty predictable and to be honest a bit weak in badass terms, but I suppose it’s Stephen going off to try to find Cheryl after she’d been kidnapped.  Not that it did either of them much good.  He’d had the hots for her for ages anyway.  I bet he wouldn’t have bothered if it had been someone else, me for example.

Dread at IMDB (5.7/10)


The Box / Zombie Invasion (On Bicycles)


The Box  -  Front Blu-ray Cover (UK)Press the button and get a million dollars, but someone whom you don’t know will die. This is the offer given to Norma and Arthur, an ordinary decent couple played by Cameron Diaz and James Marsden, by the mysterious Arlington Steward (Frank Langella).  The question “What would you do?” will ring in your ears as you witness that their decision is just the beginning. Based on a short story by the writer of “I Am Legend” and from the director of “Donnie Darko”, “The Box” takes you on a tense, gripping and totally unpredictable ride as the couple realise that they are part of something greater and far more terrifying than they could ever have imagined.

2009  –  Certificate: 12  –  USA
Rating Details:  Moderate horror and psychological threat
7 out of 10

Has some sort of universal death wish descended on the world’s cycling population this week?  Or does a bit of snow render all bicycle lights inoperable and telepathically compel cyclists to wear really dark clothing?  The number of people riding bikes in the dark with no lights or anything reflective on, seems to have skyrocketed this week.  They’ve been everywhere, literally jumping out in front of me as I drive along, like zombies, except on bikes, and faster, and not undead with bits of rotting flesh hanging off them, not yet anyway.  I’m really starting to think that I should take a few of them out with my car, get the issue on the front pages and thus in the long run save many more from getting themselves run over.  I know I know, it’s another opportunity for me to become a national hero; and probably locked away by an uncaring judiciary for my troubles too.  Whatever happened to the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few? I’ll end up a citizens’ champion, losing my liberty for upholding the teachings of Surak, the subject of many an online petition to have my trial or sentence re-examined. This film offers a not dissimilar choice to people, to sacrifice your own freedom for someone you’ll never met.

This intellectual, sci-fi thriller is a brave attempt to do something a little different; it partly succeeds and the first part is excellent, but in the end it sort of looses the plot a bit, literally.  The idea is great, it looks good and it’s fun enough to watch, but it sort of gets a bit too complicated whilst at the same time being a bit too simplistic and leaving too much open to interpretation.   If you have to listen to the commentary to find out what was going on, then it’s kind of failed.  A second watch would probably be more rewarding, which isn’t such a bad thing.  I also didn’t really warm to the main characters Norma and Arthur.  They had plenty of money, a nice house, son and lifestyle, yet had over-extended themselves financially a little.  However, they didn’t seem to be in any particular difficulty but still choose to press the button.  An “ordinary decent couple” it says in the overview.  They just condemned someone to death.  Geez, I’d hate to meet an ordinary couple that wasn’t decent then.  After that, they did lose what little sympathy I had for their ‘plight’.  The end should have been pretty heart-rending, but I just found myself thinking that the situation they found themselves in served them right.  Maybe that makes me a bad person, but I really don’t think I’d have pushed the button.  The best scenes are the ones with Employee Arlington Stewart in them; an excellent bit of acting and a wonderfully rendered character.  The music is pretty good too.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Recommended for people willing to concentrate.

Top badass moment?   Cameron pressing the button.  Greedy bitch.

The Box at IMDB (5.6/10)


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)