Posts tagged “British Columbia

Alone in the Dark / Working for Fighter Command


Alone in the Dark  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US ReleaseEdward Carnby (Christian Slater) is a private investigator specializing in unexplainable supernatural phenomena.  His cases delve into the dark corners of the world, searching for truth in the occult remnants of ancient civilizations.  Now, the greatest mystery of his past is about to become the most dangerous case he has ever faced.  With the help of his ex-girlfriend, archaeologist Aline Cedrac (Tara Reid), and his bitter rival, government agent Richard Burke (Stephen Dorff), Edward is about to learn that just because you don’t believe in something doesn’t mean it cannot kill you!

2005  –  Certificate Not Rated  –  German/Canadian Film
4.0 out of 10

I hate this time of year.  It’s not just the fact that all the good bits of the winter are over and it’s still months until the summer; or the fact that I’ve got no money as I squandered it over the Christmas period; or even that there’s hardly ever any decent gigs to go to.  No, it’s also the time of year when everyone I care for dies and my relationships always end.  On top of all this, it’s when we write our Financial Plan at work too.  The latter is less a mathematical exercise and more a futile attempt to predict the future; (and the scale of my successes in the National Lottery over the past 20 years nicely demonstrates how well my precognitive abilities have been developed).  The process bares all the hallmarks of Fighter Command at the height of the Battle of Britain, wondering where the next plane or pilot is going to come from, as its fully committed assets are quickly depleted.  The consequences of all this is that it generally feels like we’re looking into a dark, bottomless abyss, as the world as we know it ends.  (Although on the up side, we are still here after nearly 55 years).  More to the point, I have to spend this afternoon and evening working, because I’ve been told to move loads of numbers about in mine; I’m not sure why, they won’t get any bigger however many times I move them.  This film is also about the end of the world as we know it.

Other than all the things and people I hate, despise or loathe, I like to think of myself as a pretty easy-going, laid-back, tolerant guy.  But even I have my limits and this film has just reached one.  What makes things worse is that it could have been really good.  The story’s fine (it’s based on a computer game), the effects are decent enough (the gun-shot one borders on impressive) and even I’ve heard of its three, principal actors.  Christian Slater was the Communications Officer on the Excelsior for goodness sake; it’s not the most challenging bridge job around that’s true, but it was on Captain Sulu’s ship so that must count for something.  And Tara Reid, the Choir Chick from “American Pie”, gets given some glasses to wear, so she can look intelligent and thus play the part of an archaeologist.  The chase scene, (once we’ve got over the longest “Star Wars” like preamble in cinematic history), is actually pretty good too.  Unfortunately, the characters are so poorly written that the Oxford English Dictionary is considering using them as part of its official definition of one-dimensional.  The Alpha Male rivalry between Richard Burke and Edward Carnby is a key plot element.  (Edward used to work with Richard, so consequently they scowl at one another a lot.)  It’s probably fair to say they don’t get on, aren’t each others’ friends on Facebook and don’t send one another Christmas cards, not even e-cards.  Then, in the middle of a big battle Edward shoots a ‘bad guy’ who’s coming up behind Richard.  The latter gives Edward a brief nod of gratitude.   This incident is never acknowledged or further developed, but from then on they’re instantly the best of buddies.  Is that what it takes to remove years of personal animosity?  Maybe I’ve entirely missed some sort of gay subplot, which would explain a great many things, as well as why Edward and Aline are ex-lovers. The whole film is littered with a garbage script and stereotypical characters that act in nonsensical ways.  I especially enjoyed the Abkani (they’re the bad guys) charging towards some soldiers and then basically stopping a few metres in front of them to growl and throw their limbs around a lot, thus allowing the latter to blast away at them for ages and ages; not that the sight of thousands of rounds of ammunition fired at point blank range not seeming to have much of an effect, puts them off trying.  When I see a movie like this I want to really believe the world is about to end, not keep glancing at the clock to see how long I’ve been watching it for.  So basically it’s great, except for the characters and everything they say or do…

It has a Scandinavian, heavy metal soundtrack.  Nightwish aside, this tells you a lot.  Listen up.  Heavy metal (and all its sub-genera) should never be used for any film with a budget of over $500,000, ever.  It’s just not right.

The trailer’s like the rest of the movie; it seems to promise lots but contains nothing.

Recommended for archaeologists, private investigators, ‘Government agents’ and anyone who wears glasses to look intelligent.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  At one point Steven Dorff throws a bit of a wobbly.  He picks up a few bits of paper (probably the script), scans them briefly and then pushes over a table and screams out, “My guys are dying out there for nothing; for fucking nothing!”  Seeing an actor demonstrate a high level of emotional intelligence by empathising with the audience whilst also staying in character, just has to be badass.

Alone in the Dark at IMDB (2.3 / 10)
Alone in the Dark at Wikipedia
Alone in the Dark at YouTube

No trailer I’m afraid, thanks to YouTube blocking the video.  Liongate clearly doesn’t want anyone to find out about this film!


The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants: 4.0 Stars


The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)I was driving home tonight and turning off the M3.  At the junction a car had just broken down in the middle lane of three, at a set of traffic lights. (A BMW, ha-ha-ha).  The driver behind it got all inpatient and started flashing and honking the broken-down driver.  Then he suddenly pulled into the inside lane right in front of me, forcing me to brake hard and throw everything off the seat next to me and onto the floor, before he drove straight through the now red light.  Asshole.  If my car’s lights had been lasers (the sci-fi gun version, not the CD reading version), I’d have blown him to pieces, such was my annoyance.  I doubt he heard it, but my language would have embarrassed more than just a nun too.  People like that should be taken outside and shot.  And no, I’m not going to give him a second chance on the assumption that he’d just had a bad day.  My life might not amount to much, but I’m going to waste it at my discretion, not some stupid moron behind the wheel of a car’s.   And talking of nuns, I thought this film was going to be about them.

2005  –  Certificate: PG  –  USA
Rating Details:  Mild language and sex references

Anyway, there I was, on Saturday evening, ready to watch what I thought was going to be a sleazy 70s, exploitation flick about nuns and kinky underwear.  So you can imagine my disappointment when, on starting to view this film,  instead of seeing nuns running around losing their clothing and wearing each other’s panties, I got a chick flick about four young friends and a pair of second-hand jeans.  Bloody American’s, why do they have to mess about with OUR language; pants are, well, pants, not trousers or jeans.  And a sisterhood really ought to have something to do with convents.  With hindsight, I suppose the PG certificate and the “Perfect film for teen girls” splash on the front cover should have warned me, but I thought they were just part of the marketing; I didn’t think they, you know, really meant what they said.  Anyway, to make the best of a bad job I watched it; I guess someone has to.  After the first ten minutes I was already tiring of the four-teenage-girls-all-talk-and-giggle-at-once-about-nothing narrative.  Still, a film has to be pretty bad for me to totally give up on it, so I persevered; and I’m glad I did.  What I ended up with was a really great movie about four friends who are separated one summer for the first time and how they keep in touch with one another, grow as individuals and ensure their friendship remains intact.  (Sounds a bit bluurrgg, doesn’t it?)  To be honest, some of the subtleties of this were probably lost on me; I’m an old(ish) bloke, so I’ve next to no chance of understanding teenage angst or relationships; hell, I didn’t even understand them when I was a teenager, although come to think of it, that’s maybe the point of them.  Okay, so it’s all a bit dumb, the ending is a bit too upbeat for my liking and the four main characters could basically be summed up as rebel, slut, wallflower and latch-key kid.  But it’s all done with such sincerity that it’s hard not to get swept along with it.  Most of it’s pretty lightweight stuff as you’d expect and the plot goes everywhere and nowhere, but every now and again a scene came along that enabled the whole movie to punch above its weight.  It’s been done a million times before in films, but the scene in the hospital was a genuinely great bit of acting and you’d have to be made of stone not to be affected by it.  I’m not sure if it’s a perfect film for teen girls, but it worked for this cynical old guy.  I didn’t even miss there being no nuns in it either; (it does have some panties though).  I wonder what the follow-up is like?

Recommended for teenage girls (according to the Sunday Mirror); and old blokes who are willing to step outside their comfort zones.  (But if you need an excuse lads, it has some women’s football in it too.)

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.

Top badass moment?  The subplot involving Tibby and Bailey is especially affecting; (or is it effecting, I can never remember)?  This had lots of little scenes that are really quite special.  Learning to care about someone is one thing; learning to show it is another.  This is badass.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants at IMDB (6.6 / 10)


White Noise: The Light: 4.0 Stars


White Noise: The Light  -  Front DVD CoverI’ve got nothing to write about today.  For two days I’ve done nothing, except work.  Then again, I have been pretty awesome there, even if I’m the only one that thinks so.  I’ve done tons of stuff and promoted 4-dimensional synergy across a diagonal slice of the organisational structure, effectively creating product evangelists who will live the values of the organisation on an agnostic platform, using the sort of blue sky granularity that will engender a paradigm thrust in the engagement pipeline.   After all, we wouldn’t want to wrong-side the demographic.  Scary stuff.   This movie is also scary.

2007  –  Certificate: 15  –  Canadian
Rating Details: Supernatural horror

This is a really creepy horror.  In fact I’d go as far as to say it’s the scariest film I’ve seen this year.  I can generally deal with murders, wars, zombies, rapes, freaks, destruction of the Earth and other day-to-day stuff like that.  But things that involve the dead poking their noses where they don’t belong (i.e. around the living) tend to weird me out a bit.  To be fair, I sort of lost track of the nuances of the plot at some point, but the whole ‘I can see when someone is going to die and do something to stop that happening’ vibe is kind of cool; the reluctant superhero sort of thing mixed up with a bit of ghostbusters.  It’s not a comedy though.  The main character (Abe) was a sympathetic enough guy for me to want him to get it all sorted out in the end.  The ‘piano crash’ scene is great too.

Recommended for people who enjoy soiling their underwear.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.

Top badass moment?  Abe’s doing the superhero thing and tying to save people from dying.  That has to be badass, especially if you’re not a ‘real’ superhero and it’s only been a few days since you tried to commit suicide following the violent death of your own family.  What a shame it all goes a bit pear-shaped.  All in all, not a great week by anyone’s standard.  Still, he got a kiss from his nurse, so it’s not all bad.

White Noise: The Light on IMDB (5.8/10)


Bang Bang You’re Dead: 3.5 Stars


Bang Bang You're Dead  -  Front DVD CoverI feel a bit disconnected from the world at present, even more than usual.  Nothing I do at the moment seems to satisfy me and I’m not sure anything I’m doing is making the slightest difference to anything or anyone.  In the last three days I’ve done loads of stuff at work, yet somehow it all feels a bit pointless.  “Is That All There Is?” by Cristina pretty well sums everything up at the moment.  (I think it was first recorded by Peggy Lee; PJ Harvey has done a version of it too, but the Cristina Monet version from 1980 is the definitive one.)  I realised today, that with so many of my colleagues at work having recently been  ‘restructured out of existence’ I’m suffering from a form of ‘survivor’s guilt’.

2002  –  Certificate: Not Rated  –  United States

By a strange co-incidence, this move has an equally uplifting plot.  This is a drama about a play of the same name, being performed by a character in a similar position as the character in the play. (Oh oh, I think I’m going to need a painkiller soon, that sounds way too complicated now I’ve written it down.)  It’s a film about bullying in schools and the effect it has on some individuals who’re the victims of it.  This is a very American movie.  In the UK, victims of school bullying generally hide in their rooms and self-harm or commit suicide; in American it seems they build bombs or get guns and go to school and kill people.  Okay, I’m hugely trivialising and oversimplifying something that’s really tragic in reality, but it did feel a little over dramatic at times; then again, this sort of thing really has happened.  This film was made in 2002 and is based on a play written in 1999, so there’re no mobile phones to be seen anywhere in it, which makes it feel a bit dated now, especially as the mobile has become the modern-day school bully’s weapon of choice; all those embarrassing and humiliating videos, it’s what YouTube was invented for after all.  If most American schools really are like this, then it mystifies me as to why the country manages to turn out so many clever, imaginative and decent people; (I like Americans in general, even though I love to snigger behind their backs at their lack of culture and understanding of irony; and get frustrated by their politics.). The original play has apparently been performed thousands of times in schools and similar places and from reading the comments on IMDB and Amazon (USA) it’s clearly had a massive impact on lots of people, yet I didn’t fully connect with it myself; I guess I’m too old and too much of a Brit to fully appreciate it.  However, even taken as a stand-alone film it’s well worth a watch; but when you then take into account its background it takes on a while extra dimension.  It does feel a bit weak in places, but the power of its general narrative and all-around American goodness drags it through these parts with sufficient force to make you, you know, ‘a believer’.  Good quality drama with a social conscience.

Recommended for bullies.  If it makes a difference to any of them (and considering how many people have seen the play or film, I’m sure it must have had a positive effect on some of them), then it’s all been worth it.

No cats and no decapitations.

Top badass moment?  In that very American ‘we fucked up but then overcame our failure thus proving we were right to do what we did all along’ kind of way, it’s the big ‘penny drops’ scene when everyone watches Trevor’s videos taken by the police from his house; giving people a serious guilt trip they deserve is definitely badass.

Bang Bang You’re Dead at IMDB (7.9)