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.)
Arthur 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.
Chad (Aaron Eckhart), furious about the way women are ruining his man’s world, enlists his wishy-washy co-worker (Matt Malloy) in a callous plan to date then dump a vulnerable secretary (Stacy Edwards). Both horrifying and hilarious, “In the Company of Men” is “a brilliant black comedy… sure to be one of the best pictures of the year. This is a movie event.”
1997 – Certificate: R – Canadian Film
8.0 out of 10
For the past few days I’ve had the worst cold ever. The sort of cold that’s so bad it’s probably new to medical science and if anyone but me had it they’d be in hospital in intensive care; but I don’t like to make a fuss. Somewhat ironically, the day before I got it I’d remarked to a colleague how I hadn’t had one for ages and was considering the possibility that I’d somehow become immune to all forms of illness. Actually I’m blaming it on foreigners. It came on when I was in Kent for an overnight stay, so it’s probably some weird pathogen that somehow got blown across the Channel from France or somewhere. I think I’ll vote UKIP in the next election; I bet they’d keep this sort of thing out of the country. It’s Sunday evening now and its effects are starting to recede a little. Typically and somewhat heroically, I’ve been sick over the weekend. I often wonder if it’s better to be sick in my own time and reduce the consequential pile-up of work that results if I’m sick during the week. Life as a middle manager is tough, let me tell you. This film is about middle managers too.
I watch plenty of films with unpleasant, creepy or just plain nasty people in them. Destroying the universe, taking over the Earth, torturing innocents and blowing stuff up are commonplace. Whatever. Fortunately, most of these sorts of people don’t exist, or only do so in very small numbers. However, this film features two of the most annoying guys I’ve come across for quite a while, probably because they’re just a bit too ‘normal’ to explain away as a script writer’s dirty fantasy; I suspect people like them really do exist. One’s an exploitative, misogynist, back-stabbing middle management type with absolutely no redeeming features whatsoever. The other is one of his colleagues and a weedy, whiney loser. This is a movie about two ‘ordinary guys’ deciding to mess up a young woman’s life for no better reason than because they want to. In a lot of ways it reminded me of “Cruel Intentions”. It’s the sign of a good film when the two principal characters are uniformly loathable, yet somehow you half want them to keep going. The fact that the woman they pick on is disabled (and to be honest a bit boring), just makes it all worse. I felt like I was visiting the scene of a car crash; of course not wanting anyone to be hurt, but secretly getting a bit excited by the fact that someone might have lost a limb or two anyway.) It’s the same as watching motor racing; you don’t want anyone to get hurt, but the crashes and the risk of them do make things more exciting. At the end I didn’t know whether to be horrified, or think, “fuck, yeah, lucky bastard.” This is a nicely made and acted film; I enjoyed it! The trailer makes it look much more of a comedy than it really is.
The only music used in this film is made up of the sound of a saxophone being strangled over the top of a drum solo of sorts. I guess it’s some type of modern jazz. I have to say it works very well though.
Recommended for assholes, secretaries, middle managers and feminists.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? That’s a tough question. This is a film full of ambitious but somewhat inadequate middle managers, who wouldn’t know a badass moment if they sat on the toilet for a week with one. It’s a movie without a single, redeeming act of kindness or heroics in it, so for the first time in many months I have to admit defeat and accept my failure to identify one. Sorry. :-(
The 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.
Shy, 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.
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.
I’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.