Posts tagged “Canada

Lars and the Real Girl / Doing Less Than Nothing


Lars and the Real Girl  -  Front DVD cover  -  US Release

Sometimes you find love where you’d least expect it.  Just ask Lars (Academy Award Nominee Ryan Gosling), a sweet but quirky guy who thinks he’s found the girl of his dreams in a life-sized doll named Bianca.  Lars is completely content with his artificial girlfriend, but when he develops feelings for Margo, an attractive co-worker, Lars finds himself lost in a hilariously unique love triangle, hoping to somehow discover the real meaning of true love.  You’ll be swept off your feet by “Lars and the Real Girl”, hailed as “One of the Year’s 10 Best” by The Associated Press.

2007  –  Certificate: PG-13  –  American Film
Rating Details:  Some Sex-Related Content
8.0 out of 10

I’m on something called Annual Leave at the moment.  This is a strange, but rather welcome concept through which I get paid my salary to do sod all.  In fact for the last two days I’ve done even less than that and in doing so have actually discovered a new physics, which I’ve decided to call “Anti-nothing”.  This is a weird, quantum effect wherein you can actually do less than nothing at all.  It’s pretty scary stuff too.  It’s only through washing my sleeping bag at one point that I avoided crossing over the non-event horizon and falling into some sort of parallel dimension where no one does anything ever.  I’ve never been there myself, although I think I’ve met a few people who have.  Doing nothing has given me the time to enjoy the view out of my window a little more than usual.  I’ve notice a huge, bright orange building that has suddenly spring up amongst the trees that I’ve never seen before.  There’re also a couple of cars in the car park that have had most of their windows smashed in, which are accompanied by a number of dented panels.  I’ve no idea what the story is behind them, but they’ve been sitting there, neatly parked, side by side for several days now, and resemble a couple that have had a row and now aren’t speaking to one another.  Whoever owns then hasn’t even bothered to sweep up the glass or block up the holes.  Weird.  I’ve also observed the police dealing with who I imagine is my local drug dealer.  They spent ages searching him and his car yesterday morning; I watched all the action through my binoculars.  The good thing is that the car has gone now, because it’s been frequently and annoying parked just where I turn in.  There’s never a dull moment around here!  This movie has none of these exciting things in it, yet it’s still very entertaining.

This is basically a comedy-drama about a guy who buys a blow-up sex doll to have as his girlfriend.  Now I’ll readily admit that I’m not an expert in such ‘things’, but I’m willing to bet that most who are don’t take them outside to meet other people very often.  Although we live in relatively enlightened times, I’m not sure the world is quite ready for ‘significant others’ down the pub, at the shops or in the cinema, who are made of silicon and rubber and have lifelike ‘bits’ under their clothes.   It’s probably acceptable in the Star Trek version of the far future and in Japan right now, but for the rest of us it’s a bit of a social faux pas.  But this film sees Ryan Gosling doing exactly that.  This would all seem to suggest that this movie’s going to be full of smutty innuendo and body-function-based humour.  Actually it’s nothing like that at all.  It’s much more of a study of how one individual starts to recover from a life-long difficulty in relating to people.  Yes it is very funny at times, but it’s also quite moving too.  I really like Ryan Gosling and he seems to totally nail the part in this film.  The plot does start to stretch the boundaries of realism, especially towards the end, but it’s well written, acted and made.  Kelli Garner is very cute too.  An original, well-observed and great film.  It’s got one of the worst titles ever though.

The soundtrack is fine for what it is, but isn’t very memorable.

The trailer makes this movie seem more of a comedy than it really is.  It probably has most of the best jokes in it.

Recommended for people who work in builders’ merchants, mums-to-be, parents that want to have to explain what a “Living Doll” is to their offspring whilst watching the movie, and anyone who works in an office with people who clutter their desks with toys.  (I despair at some of my own colleagues, who stick lumps of brightly coloured fur-with-eyes to their monitors and clutter their work spaces with animal-based, plastic fripperies and desk tidies full of virtually unusable and hideously ugly pens.)

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  In the same way as I’ve never met anyone who’s admitted to voting for UKIP, I’ve never met anyone who’s admitted to using a blow-up sex doll. However, given the number of votes and sales associated with both, I probably have unknowingly met quite a few.  So it’s a pretty badass thing to take your blow-up girlfriend out and about with you, especially if you start to have conversations with her in public too.  (I’m not so sure voting for UKIP is though.)

Lars and the Real Girl at IMDB (7.4/10)
Lars and the Real Girl at Wikipedia
Lars and the Real Girl at Roger Ebert (3.5/4)
Lars and the Real Girl trailer at YouTube

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Death Wish V: The Face of Death / MxPx at the Underworld


Death Wish 5  -  Front DVD Cover  -  Canadian Release

Paul Kersey has been retired from vigilantism for several years. Under an assumed identity, he’s adopted a new life as a teacher in a small town college outside New York.  Paul is a changed man.  He’s even fallen in love and become engaged to Olivia, a former fashion model turned industrial entrepreneur.  But fate won’t leave Kersey alone.  On a visit to Manhattan he finds himself caught in the middle of a street shootout.  Then he learns that his fiancé is a victim of a protection racket run by her ex-husband mobster Tommy O’Shea.  When Olivia goes to the district attorney for help, Tommy has her disfigured, then brutally killed.  Once again, Kersey becomes the relentless vigilante.  Only this time, instead of relying only on his .357, Kersey uses some creative technology to avenge his lover’s murder!

1994  –  Certificate: 18A  –  American Film
7.0 out of 10

Went to see MxPx at the Camden Underworld last night.  That’s the fourth time I’ve seen MxPx since 2005, although the last time was in 2008.  It only has one of the original members left these days, at least as a touring band.  I like the Underworld.  It has a capacity of 500, the sound’s decent, the vibe’s good, there’s no crash barrier in front of the stage and the beer isn’t too extremely priced for a London venue; (it was £4.20 for a pint of cider yesterday, even though I do have the distinct feeling that the price varies from gig to gig).  It’s the gig venue I go to most often.  Unlike the 100 Club, the concrete pillars that’re in front of the stage (they hold the building above up) don’t seem to get in the way too much.  It has a decent raised area around the dance floor too, with a railing that’s good for leaning on when you want to watch a band and don’t want to get your drink spilt.   It even seems to have got some new signs outside recently, so you can actually tell it’s there!  It was a lot of fun, even though I felt a bit ‘slow’.  I think I’ve been to see too many old bands and reggae groups recently; I’ve forgotten how fast punk rock can be live.  There were a lot of young women crowd surfing last night; clearly the new ‘no stage diving / crowd surfing’ poster stuck on one of the concrete pillars wasn’t having much effect.  There was also a young chap with his mum there too, right at the front; it’s a 14+ venue but he didn’t look any older than 12 to me.  He went for a surf too at one point.  That’s one cool mum.  It’s also been quite a while since I’ve seen so many happy people at a gig.  Nearly everyone seem to be so pleased just to be there, which was rather nice.  I can’t be bothered with miserable sods at gigs these days.  Got wacked the mouth at one point in the most pit so have a bit of a fat lip today, but that’s okay.  Charles Bronson does more than that to people in this movie.  (This is probably just as well, as otherwise it would have been a very boring vigilante film.)

Another year and another of Paul Kersey’s relationships ends with a rape and/or murder.  Some people seem to be born unlucky.  This, the last Death Wish film, doesn’t break the cycle.  Released in 1994, it’s a film that now looks and feels its age, in fact older; some of the story is a bit silly too.  However, Tommy O’Shea is one of the ‘forgotten’ badass movie baddies.  It’s worth watching for him alone.  In fact it has quite a few good characters in it.  Paul Kersey is a strange guy, even ignoring his habit of blowing away underworld scum.  Here he is, engaged to Olivia Regent, who has a young daughter.  Olivia is a ‘big deal’ in the New York fashion industry, (and about 30 years younger than him).  Yet he doesn’t seem to know very much about her ex-husband or even to have met him before, yet he turns out to be ‘Mr. Big’ when it comes to extorting money through controlling the local fashion industry and Olivia’s company in particular; as well as being her daughter’s father.  You would have thought they might have talked about him just a bit at some point; it hardly struck me as a whirlwind romance.

I didn’t much care for the soundtrack, but for the film itself it’s a great fit and helps to set the mood well.  In that sense it’s a bit like rain; it’s a pain in the arse when I want to do something outside, but it helps make things grow.

This film has a great trailer.  In fact, if someone ever makes a trailer about me, I want the guy who does the voiceover on this one to do mine.

Recommended for fashion designers and entrepreneurs, vigilantes, ineffective police officers and gangsters.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Charles Bronson and one of the best ‘forgotten’ movies baddies ever, Tommy O’Shea, face off in the last Death Wish film.  There’s enough badass action in this movie for you to need a rectal examination after watching it.  Charles Bronson was 74 (I think) when he made this film.  If he got involved in setting governmental pension policies, I doubt any old grannies would be dying from hyperthermia in winter because they couldn’t afford to put their heating on.  That would be badass too.

Death Wish V: The Face of Death at IMDB (4.6 / 10)
Death Wish V: The Face of Death at Wikipedia
Death Wish V: The Face of Death trailer at YouTube


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!


Defendor / Going Back to Work


Defendor  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseArthur Poppington (Woody Harrelson, “2012”) doesn’t need super powers or fancy toys to fight crime.  Armed only with a childlike sense of wonder and his quirky arsenal of cheap, home-made gadgets, he becomes “Defendor”!   He finds an unexpected partner when he rescues and falls for a local prostitute (Kat Dennings, “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”).  Can the two of them take down the city’s most fearsome crime boss without getting killed in the process?

2009  –  Certificate 15  –  Canadian Film
Strong language, sex references and drug use
8.5 out of 10

I’ve got to go back to work tomorrow.  At the moment it feels I’d have more chance of launching a 20 tonne satellite into space with an elastic band, than being able to work productively when I get into the office.  But I’m sure once I arrive, inspired by the latest tales about the England Cricket Team’s fighting spirit, I’ll soon be protecting the Earth once again from all manner of ‘bad guys and stuff’.  (That really is my job.)  I can sometimes feel a little ill-equipped for my mission though.  I guess in many respects that makes me a lot more like Defendor than Superman; just a few toys, homemade gadgets and no superpowers.  I have a quote on the wall in my office that says, “Do you ever find yourself striving for perfection with a virtually worthless attempt at it?”  I like to think it’s inspirational.  Indeed the whole song it’s taken from (“Lemon Water” by Guttermouth) is inspirational and can be applied to very many situations in life.

Billed as a comedy, this movie has quite a dark heart, whilst it highlights the value of friendship and sticking to what you believe in.  I was a bit worried that having a lead character with a mental illness might make it a bit uncomfortable to watch, but actually it more or less gets away with it; it quickly ceases to be anything more than a facet of Arthur’s make up and is rarely mentioned explicitly, other than on a couple of occasions where it fits appropriately into the scenes.  This is one of those films that after the first 15 minutes or so I thought I was watching a bit of an Edsel; but then it started to get good.  The final scene is pretty powerful and for a superhero film about a guy with no superpowers who takes on a ‘crime boss’, quite realistic.  This isn’t exactly a kid’s film, as it’s full of drug references and swearing, as well as quite a bit of violence too.  It’s not as good as the amazingly brilliant “Super”, but it’s most definitely worth watching.  If it has a weakness then it’s probably that it takes time for Arthur’s/Defendor’s character to settle down into someone understandable, but once it does you’ll be right behind him.  In many ways he’s as much a tortured soul as Batman, only he doesn’t realise it.  I love films like this.  I can relate to them.

I really like this movie’s soundtrack.  There’s not a lot to it really and it could so easily have ended up as a parody of what superhero films should sound like, but in fact it’s really good.  It makes a big difference when it matters.  I even went out and bought the track that plays over the first half of the end credits too. 

This trailer is a decent enough, although it probably plays down the darker elements of the film and instead highlights the comedy.

Recommended for superheroes (obviously), prostitutes, corrupt police, drug barons and ‘nice guys’.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Nearly all superheroes are badass and Defendor’s no exception.  Going after the city’s crime boss armed with only a few marbles and wasps is pretty ballsy; it’s also one of the most stupid things you can probably do too.  Monumental stupidity is always badass.

Defendor at IMDB (6.8 / 10)
Defendor at Wikipedia
Defendor at YouTube


Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare / Bread Nightmare


Rock 'n' Roll Nighmare  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US ReleaseA hot new rock group… their sexy young girlfriends…  It should’ve been the best time of their lives, but it ended up being a “Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare”!  Recording some new music in an isolated farmhouse, the band gets more than they bargained for when something horrifying stirs in the darkness.  Eternal evil haunts this place and the band members start turning into demons from Hell itself!  After a day of making music – and making love – this band is starting to break up… one by one… limb by limb.  The bands lead singer, John (Jon-Mikl Thor) Triton, holds the key to defeating this horror once and for all… a secret that culminates in a battle between good and evil!  Triton versus the Devil himself!  This is it!  The hard rock cult sensation “Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare” finally explodes onto home video in this amazing Synapse Films Special Edition!  Available for the first time on DVD with rockin’ special features, a killer high-definition video transfer from the original negative and a brain-melting re-mastered 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack!  Featuring head-banging heavy-metal music by rock sensation Jon-Mikl Thor and some amazing visual and special make-up effects!

1987  –  Certificate: R  –  Canadian Film
5.5 out of 10

Bread is the spawn of the Devil.  It’s full of salt and shit calories, doesn’t fill you up one bit, tastes really nice and goes with everything.  Its one purpose is to make people fat.  I eat too much bread.  I can’t help it, I’m addicted to it.  There, I’ve said it now.  That’s the first step on the journey to recovery, so I’m regularly told at the Bread Eaters Anonymous meetings I attend.  Drugs, drink, smoking, gambling and Internet porn all pale into insignificance next to the horrors of a bread addiction.  Like cannabis, it comes it a range of different forms that can be utilised in many ways, loafs, baguettes, ciabattas, roti, French, soda, the list is endless.  Over nine million loafs are sold in the UK every day, as it invades 99% of households and infests them with its evil will, controlling minds and corrupting children in the form of sandwiches, baps and warm, crusty rolls.  That’s sick.  Like the Devil, it has a range of names, such as Allinson, Mother’s Pride, Hovis and Warburtons.  It even has a ‘good cop bad cop’ vibe, with the wholemeal vs white ‘thing’ going on.  It’s also got its own illness too, coeliac disease.  Bread will ultimately lead to the downfall of humans.  However, starting today I’m fighting back against this foul sputum of malevolence and bringer of despair.  Yes, it’s time for another one of my stupid, home-made diet plans!  From now on I’m not going to eat any bread, unless I make it myself.  Let it do its worst, I’m ready for it.  This movie is also about dealing with the Devil.

This is a film that tries to present its main characters as a kick-ass, mother of a rock band.  Indeed, Jon-Mikl Thor is such a character for real and has a bigger chest than most women.   Sadly, as everyone now knows, 80’s ‘rock bands’ were nothing but posers with big hair, who wrote uniformly crap songs.  Like monkeys on typewriters, they occasionally produced something worth listening to, but generally the results were not pretty.  This film does nothing to challenge that observation.  However, its worst offence is to have the band’s leader exhibit all the rock and roll excess of a successful estate agent.  I’m pretty sure that at one point he said everyone should get a good night’s sleep and then did some washing up.  WTF?  Very much a B-movie, this does have some good points, but a lot of it really isn’t that great.  It is a bit endearing in its own way though and I’ve got a soft spot for films about bands and music.  I don’t want to spoil the ending, but it had a twist that is even worse than, “then he woke up and found it was all just a dream”.  Really, it’s that ridiculous.  It’s like they started making the film, decided it was a bit crap, so changed the plot entirely and ended up with something even worse.  Ironically, the DVD looks really good and has a nice cover and loads of extra.  Don’t forget to watch out for the ‘rubber starfish’ too.  Rather frighteningly, it has a sequel lurking out there somewhere.

As a film that’s focused on a band, the music ought to be as important as the characters.  There is a fair amount in it, but sadly it’s firmly grounded in the worst horrors of its time and place.  Prepare to be scared, very scared.

Recommended for bad motherfuckers, rock bands, hairdressers and the Devil.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  John Triton fights and defeats the Devil.  Well I’m not sure about you, but I can’t help thinking that’s pretty badass.   Even Arnold Schwarzenegger struggled with that.

This film doesn’t seem to have a trailer, but this music video is sort of one.  But if you want to hear a really good song called “Energy“, check out this one by the Buzzcocks.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare at IMDB (3.9 / 10)

Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare  at Wikipedia

Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare at YouTube


Suck / A New Challenge


Suck  -  Front Blu-ray Cover  -  UK ReleaseThe greatest rock ‘n’ roll vampire comedy ever made, “Suck” stars rock royalty Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop and Henry Rollins, and brilliant performances from Moby and British screen legend Malcolm McDowell (“A Clockwork Orange”).   The Winners are a struggling band desperate to make it to the top and strike a record deal.  After another mediocre gig, Jennifer (Jessica Paré “Hot Tub Time Machine”) the sexy female bassist, disappears with a young vampire and returns the next morning sprouting fangs and a taste for blood.  One by one each member succumbs to the dark side and leaving a trail of lifeless groupies in their wake, they soon reach the heights of success that they could only dream of as mere mortals.

2009  –  Certificate: 15  –  Canadian Film
Rating Details: Strong language and comic gory horror
7.5 out of 10

Yesterday I walked to work at my new office for the first time.  No longer do I need to trek thousands of miles (well it felt like thousands) each day, face death as I cross the busy A4, deal with selfish pavement hogs along the Oxford Road, heroically climb ‘The Mountain’ or risk loss of sensory deprivation as I bisect the country-sized Tesco car park.  My journey now takes about 15 minutes and I don’t need to set up a series of resupply depots and emergency evac protocols to enable me to take the trip.  A number of other differences were apparent too.  For a start, I had to battle my way through two (yes two) school runs, as I passed two primary schools.  A pavement jam-packed with slow-moving mothers, toddlers in pushchairs and chaotic, hyper-active youngsters, who randomly change direction with no respect for The Rules.  I’m an experienced Pavement Warrior, but this was something else.  It’s only going to be a matter of time before I accidentally mow one of these tiny terrors down and end up in jail forever as a child killer.  Then there were the others, a mixture of students going to the Tesco Metro (I didn’t realise any got up that early) and men and women in business suits, power-walking into the centre of Reading.  On my previous journey, I’d count myself unlucky to be overtaken by even one person, but yesterday it happened twice, as I was left choking on the burning rubber left behind by the soles of two pairs of fast-moving, expensive shoes, worn by who I can only assume are relatives of Usain Bolt.  Unless I’m carrying a heavy bag, being overtaken by someone is a direct challenge to my sexuality, questions my prowess in bed and lessens my status as an Alpha Male.  Clearly more of a sprint than the marathon I’m used to, I’ll not be caught out next time.  Game on…  This film is about a group of people who make a change to how they do their job.

Sadly, this movie wasn’t so bad that I’m able to say it sucks.  Nether was it some sort of  unimaginatively named 70’s porn.  It’s actually quite a lot of fun and does feature a number of real rock stars amongst its cast.  (By the way, who originally came up with the expression “rock royalty”?  It’s an unspeakably dreadful term.)  The cast put in generally spirited performances and the whole thing is really quite endearing.  It’s got Malcolm McDowell in it as well, as vampire hunter Eddie Van Helsing; and let’s not forget that this is the guy who killed Captain Kirk!  That’s real ultra violence.  And while we’re on the Star Trek theme, it’s also got Ezri Dax in it.  Moby (who’s vegan and thus awesome), plays a character called Beef Bellows, lead singer of rock band The Secretaries of Steak.  See, even vegans have a sense of irony.  Jessica Paré, who plays bassist Jennifer, was a bit disappointing.  I’m not quite sure why, but she didn’t quite pull off the vampire diva ‘thing’ that was meant to propel the band to stardom.  Much more of a comedy than a horror, this movie’s a good excuse to while away 91 minutes of your life.

A film about a band needs to have good music, but unfortunately this one suffered a similar fate to so many others and features a lot of mediocre, bland, forgettable, indie rock.  It’s a film about a band of vampires, but the music’s about as gothic as One Direction.  The performances are pretty good though.

Recommended for rock stars, would-be rock stars and vampires (and the undead in general).

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Nicole de Boer has a part in this film.  That’s badass.

Suck at IMDB (5.9 / 10)

Suck at Wikipedia

Suck at YouTube


Godsend / Magnolia Hell


Godsend  -  Front DVDCover  -  UK ReleaseStarring screen legend Robert De Niro, “Godsend” is the story of an eight year old boy named Adam Duncan.  A kind, thoughtful and well-behaved child, he’s the apple of his parent’s eye, until one day he’s knocked down by a car and tragically killed.  With both parents totally grief-stricken, the mysterious Dr Richard Wells (De Niro) offers them another chance of happiness.  He can create a clone of Adam that will be identical to the child they lost.  Nine months later they have their child back.  Identical in every way, it’s like Adam had never left them.  He has his mother’s eyes, his father’s smile, but when he crosses the age at which he died, terrifying things begin to happen.

2004  –  Certificate: 15  –  American Film
Rating Details:  Language: once strong.  Sex/nudity: infrequent moderate.  Violence: infrequent moderate.  Other: moderate horror.
8.0 out of 10

Whilst I have a lot of sympathy for Jean-Paul Sartre’s view that “Hell is other people”, he failed to take into account their surroundings.  After this last week I now know that Hell is less to do with people, or fire and brimstone for that matter; in fact Hell is a large room painted magnolia.  In the same way as the Devil has a variety of different names, such as Satan, Beelzebub, Lucifer, etc, so magnolia disguises it’s presence amongst us as alternatives like light brown, biscuit, white with a touch of brown, beige, mushroom, wheat, taupe, fawn and harvest.  This week we moved our office at work, (or more accurately moved everything in our office to a different building to use as a new office; we didn’t actually dig up the existing one and put it elsewhere).  Moving is a stressful and spirit-sapping experience at the best of times, but when you have to paint every single surface, including the floor (about 500 square metres in all) before you leave, in three days, mostly magnolia, then you come to realise what pain is really all about.  The only respite was repainting the ceiling, doors, door frames, skirting boards and 12 radiators, white.  And painting something white on a white background in a weakly lit area isn’t exactly my idea of a fun day at Alton Towers either.  In fact the only facet of pleasure came from deciding which shade of gray to paint the floor, slate or frigate; and after magnolia, gray is the next worst colour.  I imagine there are more advanced species in the universe that have, in a similar way to smallpox, totally eradicated magnolia and grey from existence.  Magnolia is the distilled essence of evil.  However, for some reason there are many sick-minded and weak-willed individuals who appear to gain a sort of inner peace from using this colour.  Why?  What’s wrong with them?  Appearing initially to be the colour equivalent of elevator music, any close encounter with it soon dispels any pretence it has of being ‘neutral’.  It’s a vile, boring, sick, nauseating abomination, which is as attractive as having a squashed, pregnant cockroach smeared on your mouth; and then some.  And why is it always the cheapest paint you can buy?  The artificial distortion of the paint market in this way is clearly the work of some ungodly power.  If our media had any real balls, it would be investigating this bizarre and unwarranted proliferation of magnolia; it’s destroying lives.  In a similar way, this film is about something that goes against the laws of nature and scared the crap out of me too.

At its core, this is a thriller/horror about a disturbing, eight-year-old skinhead called Adam, who develops a mental illness of some sort.  The reasons for the latter are, unusual.  The rest of its runtime is spent faffing about with his parents and Robert De Niro, as they act and react to what Adam gets up to.  If you analyse the plot too much, you’ll come to the conclusion that some of it doesn’t really make a lot of sense.  Visually it’s not a very exciting film either; it looks a lot like it was ‘made for TV’ with a colour pallet that’s far too much like magnolia for my liking.  However, the acting’s pretty good and the story interesting enough.  The decision of the parents to have a clone of their recently killed son created is worthy of further study.  This part of the film could easily have been the whole story, but because it’s not it does get treated a bit superficially, which is a shame really.  What the movie does do really well is be creepy. I’m sure I aged a few years watching it, which is a somewhat alarming thought.  It’s one of the most unsettling films I’ve watched for quite a while.

The soundtrack is unmemorable, yet works well.  Job done.

Recommended for dodgy doctors, desperate parents, teachers, photographers and eight-year-olds that want to freak their parents out.  And clones of course.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  We all know that a good teacher can change someone’s life, but in this film we also learn that it can literally save your own life too.  I sometimes provide training as part of my job and like most things I suck at it.  I’ve never managed to impart a single bit of knowledge to anyone and tying to do so has never saved my life or changed anyone else’s for the better.  So I guess being a good teacher is badass.

Godsend at IMDB (4.7 / 10)

Godsend at Wikipedia

Godsend at YouTube


Lost and Delirious / The End of Summer


Lost and Delirious  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseShy, unassuming teenager Mary ‘Mouse’ Bedford (Mischa Barton, “The OC”, “St. Trinian’s”) is enrolled at a prestigious all-girls’ boarding school.  Upon arrival, she is welcomed by her two attractive and sexually adventurous roommates, the carefree Tori (Jessica Paré, “Wicker Park”) and excitable Paulie (Piper Perabo, “Coyote Ugly”, “The Cave”).  Mary soon discovers that Tori and Paulie are embroiled in a passionate relationship, yet when Tori’s younger sister finds out and threatens to break the secret to her friends and family, Tori breaks off the relationship.  Unable to deal with losing the other half to her whole, Paulie will do anything to get her ex-girlfriend back, even if it means risking her own life…  A deeply moving and acclaimed film from the director of the award-winning “Emporte-Moi”, Léa Pool’s “Lost and Delirious” features a trio of young and talented actresses burning up the screen years before they went on to break Hollywood.

2001  –  Certificate: 15  –  Canadian Film
10 out of 10

I closed my bedroom window yesterday.  There’s nothing especially unusual about that, except I did it in the morning and I wasn’t going out anywhere.  The click of the handle had a certain finality about it.  As I repositioned the pot plants on the sill, I was struck with the thought that this was probably the last time I’d do so for many, many months, as the weather has got a lot colder in the last few days.  The final closing of the year is one of the Five Signs That Summer Has Ended and that the winter, with all its months of gloom, damp and cold, is fast approaching.  Winter sucks; like old age, it has almost no real benefits.  All that rubbish about those crisp, bright, winter days.  Bollocks. They’re bloody cold, only last five minutes before the sun sets again and coming home from gigs at night soaked in sweat is a truly miserable experience.  It’s going to be especially hard to cope with this year, as we actually had a really lovely summer.  The carefree, happy days are at an end; fast approaching is the vindictive malevolence that is winter.  The season of Hell is nearly upon us.  And as for autumn, it’s just the rubbish bin of summer, containing the dead leaves and trash of good times past.  This film is also about the passing of time, the loss of a relationship and an inability to cope with it.

I love this movie.  If I had a Top 20 list of films, this one would probably be in it.  On first impressions it looks like it’s going to be a bit crappy and should only appeal to me because of its girl-on-girl action.  Set in a posh girls’ (very liberal) boarding school full of rich kids in Canada (so there’s not a lot there for me to relate to), the first 30 minutes or so are pretty mundane.  Yes it’s got girls in school uniforms and the main characters are in a same-sex relationship, but other than that it’s pretty forgettable.  But then it starts to get interesting…  This is a dark movie.  There’s a subtlety in it that only becomes apparent when you think about it afterwards.  It’s occasionally a bit melodramatic and the odd bit of dialogue doesn’t quite work, but it’s wonderfully acted and has a number of genuinely heartbreaking moments in it.  The use of Shakespeare and the hand-rearing of a Falcon as metaphors for the plot, are wonderfully interwoven into the story too.  The character of Paulie is so well written.  It’s quite strange considering she doesn’t superficially have anything in common with me, but I so totally ‘got it’ in terms of what she was going through.  I guess emotions and feelings aren’t very gender, age, culture or sexuality specific.  (It probably also means that I’m as messed up as she is and one day I’ll probably take it out on the world.)  There aren’t a lot of characters from films or books that I can fully relate to and understand, but she’s one of them.  Seeing her gradually lose the plot and take more and more bizzare actions to try to change the unchangeable, felt uncomfortably familiar.  Despite her acting like a total loser a lot of the time, there’s a strange kind of honour in Paulie’s behaviour that goes beyond what she does and its consequences.  Everyone should watch this movie.  And if you’re one of those people who really can’t accept same-sex relationships then just ignore it, as other than on a superficial level (and as a huge plot contrivance) it’s really not that important to the feel of the film.

The ability of this movie’s music to write words where there are none, without dominating the visuals or attempting to drag (rather than lead) the emotions, is really well done.  The mood shift provided in the scenes relating to the Falcon are very effective too.  And any film that features any music by Ani DiFranco can’t be bad.

Recommended for anyone who’s ever been dumped by someone they really, really, really loved.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  There’s something very noble about doing something you know is going to fail and make you look really stupid, especially when it’s not funny.  You know you’re about to do it but still go ahead.  It’s probably got less to do with getting what you want, than demonstrating to yourself that you tried and remained true to your beliefs.  It’s ultimately futile and pretty pointless, but very, very badass.  And very Klingon too.

Lost and Delirious at IMDB (6.8 / 10)

Lost and Delirious at Wikipedia

Lost and Delirious at YouTube


Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed / Amex Customer Service


Ginger Snaps  -  1-3  -  Front DVD Cover (Czech Release)Brigitte is the first work selflessly took care of his sister Hannah, who turned into a werewolf.  Now her suffering worse.  Sam’s sister Brigitte was infected!  In the full moon must figure out how to cure it to prevent further bloody rampage.  At least that’s how Google translates it from the Czech on the cover of my DVD.  I think it’s losing something…  Who’s Sam and why has Brigitte had a gender reassignment?  I don’t remember either of those in the film.  Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if everyone spoke the same language?  Ideally English…

2004  –  Certificate: 15 –  Canadian Film
7.5 out of 10

I have/had an American Express Nectar Credit Card; (that’s the Amex Card that plebs are allowed to have.)  Recently it decided to introduce an annual fee of £25 for the ‘privilege’ of having one.  I, like (I’ve no doubt) millions of other ‘outraged customers’ decided that I didn’t fancy paying for something I can get for free elsewhere.  So I rang up and cancelled it.  There are three things that make American Express ‘different’ to ‘other’ credit card companies (i.e. Visa and MasterCard); 1 – nowhere accepts Amex credits cards; 2 – they identify you as a shallow, egotistic, posh snob, who wants to flaunt his or her success in the face of others; 3 – they have good customer service.  So you can imagine my profound disappointment, when I got a letter a few days later confirming my cancellation.  The letter said; “We are sorry you have decided to cancel your Nectar Credit Card.  For this reason we have cancelled your Nectar Credit Card account as you requested.”  So basically it’s cancelled the card because it’s sorry I’ve decided to cancel the card?  What would have happened if it hadn’t been sad?  Would it had continued to force me to have it and pay £25 a year for doing so?  It seems good customer service stops when you leave.  And yes, I realise that that’s a bit of a boring tale without much of a punch line.  Mountains and mole hills come to mind.

Ginger Snaps is one of the best horror/comedy/teen/fantasy films ever.  So what about its sequel?  Well the comedy part has gone.  The teen bit has also been diluted too.  It’s still got teenagers in it (including the two stars from the previous instalment), but it’s not really a film about teenagers anymore; the story could have featured people of any age really.  Instead we get an out-and-out horror and it’s not a bad one at all.  Smiling less than an emo girl having a bad day, (a part Emily Perkins plays so well), Brigitte is a patient at the Happier Times Care Centre, a rehab clinic where she inexplicably seems to appear after an altercation over a few library books.  I didn’t realise reading was quite that addictive.  Unfortunately, the Centre isn’t a good advert for the voluntary sector providing health services, as most of the staff there are a bit weird or pervy and it looks very much like a rundown prison.  I guess we’ll just have to blame it on funding cuts.  It’s the sort of place Jimmy Saville would have enjoyed visiting.  The ending is a bit rubbishy, but the rest of the film is fine and it’s good to see werewolves being given a bit of ‘quality screentime’; in footballing terms they always felt a bit like Manchester City, if you imagine vampires to be Manchester United; an occasional flash of success but basically always living in the shadow of their more successful, interesting and flamboyant neighbours.  Sadly the stunning Katharine Isabelle (Ginger) isn’t in it very much, but considering what happened to her in the original film that’s not that surprising.  Instead we get Ghost, a slightly creepy 13-year-old, who suffers from Hollywood Child-in-a-Film Syndrome, in that she acts like no real 13-year-old would; perhaps that’s why she was in the clinic in the first place?  (Tatiana Maslany, who I think was actually 19 when she made this film, really doesn’t look her own age.)  Anyway, it’s a very good film, well made, well acted and with decent special effects; but watch the brilliant Ginger Snaps before going onto this one, as it’s a direct sequel to it.

The music is serviceable, but forgettable.  Some rather dull, alternative rock and an infrequently heard film score don’t make it a movie to remember.

Recommended for werewolves, junkies, emos and anyone providing health care services in the voluntary sector.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  “I’m going to kill it.  Get me all the sharp things you can find.”  No running away and falling over for her, Brigitte’s outcome-focused approach to dealing with an issue would be welcomed by many in the private sector, keen for employees with a clear vision of what they want to achieve and how they’re going to achieve it.  Mission Drift isn’t something the viewer needs to worry about in this movie.

Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed at IMDB (6.4 / 10)

Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed at Wikipedia


Brokeback Mountain / The New Forest


Brokeback Mountain  -  Front Blu-ray Cover (UK Release)From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ang Lee comes an epic American love story, “Brokeback Mountain”. Set against the sweeping vistas of Wyoming and Texas, the film tells the story of two young men – a ranch-hand and a rodeo cowboy – who meet in the summer of 1963, and unexpectedly forge a lifelong connection, one whose complications, joys, and tragedies provide a testament to the endurance and power of love.

2005  –  Certificate: 15  –  American Film
Rating Details: Strong language, moderate sex and violence
8.0 out of 10

I had a very disappointing day today.  I went to a meeting in a place called Lymington.  It’s about as far south-west as I can go and still remain in ‘my patch’ at work.  If I’d gone much furthered I’d have entered the “South West” and risked immediate kidnap, assassination, or worse, from my colleagues in that part of the country.  Although we’re officially “One Team” these days, at a local level there’re still some patches of tribalism, although it’s nothing that a forty-foot high electric fence topped with razor wire wouldn’t cure.  Anyway, Lymington is on the edge of the New Forest National Park.  But what a swizz it all is!  I drove right across it and all I saw were loads and loads of old trees, some of which actually looked dead and had ‘things’ like birds, bats and bugs living in them.  There were hardly any young ones at all.  How ‘they’ get away with such a bare-faced lie I’ve no idea; surely there must be some sort of advertising standards law they’re breaking?  It’s a terrible reflection on us all that these days unless something’s labelled new or improved, no one’s interested in it; indeed, I seem to suffer from this problem myself.  Washing powder and smartphone manufactures have a lot to answer for.  “A mosaic of ancient and ornamental woodland, open heather-covered heaths, rivers and valley mires, a coastline of mudflats and salt-marshes and pretty, historic villages; the largest area of lowland heath left in southern England.”  Who’s going to be interested in that when they could go and play Laser Quest and then get pissed in the pub afterwards?  Like the New Forest, this film also grossly misrepresents itself, as it fails to provide any sort of back injury whatsoever, not even a pulled muscle.

I’m not a big fan of westerns.  I also imagine Hell to have a soundtrack that features country music on heavy rotation.  Characters engaged in herding animals about and shooting others, have to work hard to overcome their inherent, non-vegan nature and don’t tend to attract my sympathy either.  It’s been a while since I was a cowboy too, so I’m probably a bit out of touch with what’s hot and what’s not in lasso-land; in fact the last time it happened I was very young and had been given a cowboy outfit for my birthday; I didn’t even know which way around to hold the gun and consequently went about shooting myself rather than the hordes of evil Indians that I imagined were busy invading our flat in central London.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that this film was not one that on the surface I was likely to enjoy and up until now, unlike every other human being on the planet, I’d never watched it.  Fortunately, I quickly realised what it’s really about and it suddenly made a lot more sense to me.  “Brokeback Mountain” is basically a reimagining of a number of Thomas Hardy’s novels, where the dictates of society prevent two people from being together.  “People go on marrying because they can’t resist natural forces, although many of them may know perfectly well that they are possibly buying a month’s pleasure with a life’s discomfort.”  (Jude the Obscure).  It’s a film that, like many Hardy novels, involves a lot of rural landscapes, shepherds, folk music and drinking in bars.  I was just waiting for all the sheep to find a cliff somewhere to throw themselves over.  Like Hardy, “Brokeback Mountain” demonstrates the futility of life and the inevitability of being disappointed, let down and kept apart from those you hold most dear.  At the very least, the credits should have said something to the effect that it was inspired by the poems and novels of Thomas Hardy.  “Brokeback Mountain” is a bleak  and touching film, with the last half hour providing a powerful bit of cinema.  The admission that your feelings for someone have effectively fucked up everyones’ lives; priceless wisdom.  This is also a lovely looking film (and I’m not just talking about Michelle Williams, who looks very cute in it), with lots of great views of the countryside.

Country and western music, noooooooooooo..!!!  I’m just a woman and my man beats me up and shot my dog for fun and had an affair with my sister and hates me but he’s still my man so I’ve got to love him….  The rest of the soundtrack isn’t bad and it does have ‘that’ bit of music, “The Wings” by Gustavo Santaolalla.

Recommended for fans of good movie making.  Not recommended for anyone that thinks gay people are an abomination or mentally ill; for you I recommend you go fuck yourselves instead, which if you’re a guy is actually a pretty gay thing to do when you think about it; but you probably won’t want to think about it.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  It takes him long enough, but Jack finally giving Lureen’s father the bollocking he deserves.  I despise people like that who’re so full of themselves; what a bullying, arrogant prick he was.

Brokeback Mountain at IMDB (7.7 / 10)