Posts tagged “Cameron Diaz

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)

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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)