On the magic Summer’s night of high school’s end, Julie, Helen, Ray and Barry get into Barry’s new Beamer and drive out to celebrate, their lives and hopes before them. But on the road they have a terrible accident; hit and kill a man. In the shock and panic that follows, they dump the body in the sea rather than reporting the accident. As the body sinks, the hand of the dead man breaks the surface in a last grasp at life, then disappears into the murky depths. The four friends realise they are now guilty of murder and swear to take their secret to their graves. But now someone is stalking them, someone who knows who they are, knows what they did last Summer, and seeks revenge…
1997 – Certificate: 15 – American Film
8.0 out of 10
Recently I’ve been reading a lot of books. Not just any old book though, but Star Trek books. (This is cue for you to both yawn and go find something else to do, or think this is the best thing, ever. I don’t mind which you choose; after all, not everyone mentally and emotionally matures at the same speed.) So anyway, for those of you who have matured sufficiently… I’ll admit that in the past I’ve flirted a little with Star Trek novels and Star Trek audiobooks. (I must confess that I especially love the minimal effort the latter take to enjoy and that I can do other things at the same time, like drive or go to sleep. What’s not so good is the limited range of titles available, their cost and the fact that most have been greatly abridged.) Star Trek was always as much about the relationships between the characters, as the ‘blowing things up’ stuff. If it sometimes tries too hard to project a perfect version of America as itself, then I can forgive it that. Most of these stories were based somewhere in the known Star Trek timeline, generally between this episode or that episode, or occasionally kind of outside it. Following the release of “Star Trek: Nemesis” a void opened up, one as large as the universe itself. The Star Trek reboot, whilst brilliant in its own way, can never hope to fill this space; it’s simply the wrong shape, size and timeline. This void is empty except for one thing, a single Question; what happened to everyone? The novels from this period are generally really entertaining and exciting, well written and treat ‘known’ Star Trek history with the appropriate level of respect and consistency. However, they don’t answer that Question. Then in May 2001, “Avatar” was published, a story written and set after the end of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”. Over next few years more books came out that did a similar thing and were set after the various TV series and then finally Nemesis itself. Suddenly we could have answers to the Question. Of course not everyone likes how future history is working out and what’s happened or happening to all those characters we travelled with for so long, but I’m finding the experience to be wonderfully entertaining. No longer hemmed in by ‘official’ history or the limitations of TV or film productions, the books set in the period after Nemesis are able to chart their own way forward, taking the Star Trek story further into the future. They also do a pretty good job of maintaining their internal consistency from one to the next and between different authors. This makes it feel like they’re all part of one, giant story arc, rather than just random tales. I’ve just finished reading the “Destiny” trilogy. This does fundamental things with the Star Trek universe that would have taken a whole series on TV to do justice to them, as well as a sizable special effects budget. For anyone who hasn’t taken the plunge and started to read these books, I’d fully recommend you find the time to do so. I wish I could write stories… This film was the first part of a trilogy. I think that’s about as far as I can push the comparison.
This movie initially worried me. If someone really did know what I did last summer, then it was likely to be a totally over the top erotic thriller, with elements of horror, science-fiction and comedy mixed in with it. (Although I must admit I was curious to see who was playing me in it.) In the end it turned out to be a teen horror with Buffy in it and some killer running around wearing a yellow pacamac and carrying a hook so bent I can’t imagine it was easy to get it to go into anything, never mind a squealing teen. It also features the absolutely worst pretend ice cubes I’ve ever seen a movie; seriously, they don’t even sound like ice. And it heavily features “Hush” by Kula Shaka on the soundtrack too, one of the most insipid, horrible tunes ever to be conjured into existence. It’s awful. I can remember walking past the video hire shop (remember them) in Colliers Wood on a number of occasions when it first came out on VHS and seeing a big, cardboard cut-out for it in the window. (Come to think of it, it could have been for one of its two sequels, but let’s ignore that possibility for now. N.B. Actually I’ve thought about it some more, I think it might have been an advert for the whole trilogy.) I can’t recall exactly what went through my mind at the time, but I think there was a level of disappointment that suggests to me now I wasn’t expecting to see it. It’s weird how you can sometimes recall these random thoughts years later. I guess my disappointment must have been pretty profound. Despite all this (and more), it’s actually a really good film, but I can’t for the life of me work out why. Pretty enigmatic, isn’t it? I think they’re making a new version of it too…
The evil of Kula Shaker aside, the soundtrack is actually okay and includes songs by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and The Offspring.
The trailer. It’s better with the sound off.
Recommend for students and fisherman.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Despite being an entirely obnoxious rich-boy who seemed to exist entirely for the purpose of pissing off his friends and showing his stomach muscles off to the viewer, Ray finally does the right thing and saves The Girl from The Baddie. As well as being a cliché of the first degree, this is (if it was real of course) a really badass thing to do. (However, he’d probably have been killed by Ben if it was real life, so it’s just as well it’s only a movie.)
After a long night tending bar for a bunch of annoying drunks, Laura isn’t really feeling up to a long bus-ride home. She hails a cab and settles into the back seat, relieved that her terrible night is over. She doesn’t know it yet but her evening is about to get worse. A lot worse. Once Laura figures out what her driver has in mind, it’s too late and she must accompany him on a terrifying journey that she may not survive! “Bleed With Me” is a horrific journey into the mind of a cold-blooded killer.
2009 – Certificate: Not Rated – Danish Film
3.0 out of 10
Today was the hottest day in England for seven years, 92.3F. (I remember the hottest day ever in 2003, when it reached 101.3F. I stood in the roof garden of where I was living at the time and thought it was great.) It’s also really humid and sticky too. I feel like I’m experiencing all the fun of an evening of lovemaking, but without the lovemaking bit. On a related topic, I briefly saw on the Internet tonight that the Duchess of Cambridge has joined the Labour Party and this has made her have a baby. I’m not sure of the details but I expect I’m going to be sickened by the sheer weight of sycophantic and nauseating media coverage of the event over the next few weeks. Please God, if the Earth is going to be invaded by aliens in the next few years, make it now so that we aren’t force-fed Royal baby news 24/7. Not that I’m a killjoy; I’m celebrating by drinking a pint of the organic Dutchy beer Prince Charles brews for Waitrose. As long as mum and baby are fine I don’t need or want to know anymore. I really don’t care what sort of nappies they use or how much the baby’s nose resembles his grandfathers, etc, etc, etc, etc. Like press coverage of the Royal baby, this horror is overwhelmingly sickening too, but for all the wrong reasons.
This is the worst movie I’ve watched for several years. Before you even get to the DVD, you have to deal with the crappy cover and its dreadful photo-editing. I don’t think the building or the woman shown on it are even in the film. And the overview on it (and reproduced above) isn’t even factually correct. The only accurate thing in it is the reference to Laura’s evening getting worse, which is clearly what happened when she first had to sit through a viewing of this rubbish. And don’t even get me started on the fact that it’s an American DVD release of a Danish film, but doesn’t have any subtitles. What’s the point of that? Then again, given its overall quality and the fact that it’s got so little dialogue, not understanding it is probably a mercy; I don’t think they spent much time discussing anything to worry the Nobel Prize or Oscar people. Oh, and the review on IMDB that was blatantly posted by someone to do with the movie, doesn’t exactly earn it any brownie points or sympathy. But what of the film itself? Well, we’re led to believe that Laura’s had a crap evening at work, although we only ever see one customer; (but to be fair the guy was a total asshole). Then she gets a cab home with the most inept killer to grace the small screen for many a year. (Hint to all would-be serial killers out there; don’t leave your tools and weapons where the victim can reach them. It’s stupid, okay?) For much of the film we’re treated to endless minutes of them driving along in his taxi not speaking, at night. He does stop a couple of times, including to kill two prostitutes who he gets the address of his ex-partner from. I’ve no idea why they knew. Why he decided to (presumably) purchase their time to treat him to an erotic dance (whilst he sat with a bag on his head) before killing them, I’m not sure. But whatever, each to their own. At one point the taxi gets randomly stopped by the police but then… nothing happens and we’re back in the taxi driving along again. It was like they were shooting the scene and suddenly realised how awful everything was and just gave up filming it. I can’t finish without mentioning one more thing. Near the end Laura is running away and you’ll never guess what happens? Go on, try. Give up? Okay then, she falls over, enabling the killer to catch up with her. Dreadful. 74 minutes of purgatory. The only emotional response it elicited out of me was boredom.
Other than that under the credits there isn’t a lot more music in this movie, other than a few ‘horror noises’. The exception being when our friendly driver visits the prostitutes, when we’re forced to listen to several minutes of horrible euro-techno-pop as they dance. But at least that’s in English.
Recommended for taxi drivers, bar workers and trainee killers. (Actually I don’t recommend for anyone.)
1 cat, no chainsaws or decapitations. With its brief on-screen appearance and a speaking role that eclipses any of the human actors for its naturalistic delivery and emotional impact, Jonesy (who was apparently named after the cat in “Alien”), is the highlight of the film.
Top badass moment? Never mind the film, anyone careless enough to watch this garbage all the way through deserves to consider themselves badass. I salute your bravery, tenacity and heart. You’re a true movie-warrior who’s faced and overcome great adversity!
This “deeply emotional…extraordinarily profound” film became a must-see sensation at the Sundance Film Festival. “Beautiful, bright and fearless” newcomer Brit Marling and fan-favourite William Mapother (TV’s “Lost”) star as Rhoda and John, two people whose worlds collide after a tragic accident. Their intimate drama plays out against the astounding discovery of Earth 2, a parallel world that poses provocative and fascinating possibilities. Does a new Earth mean a chance at another life? Another destiny? Another self? “Another Earth” is science fiction at its best, with a mind-bending surprise ending that you will never forget.
2011 – Certificate: 12: – American Film
Rating Details: Moderate sex and one scene of bloody accident injury
8 out of 10
I’m on holiday for two weeks. What this actually means is that I’m off work for two weeks, which isn’t exactly the same thing; I’m not planning on going away anywhere. When other people come back from being on holiday they say things like: we went windsurfing and it’s so easy once you get the hang of it; we made great friends with Dawuma of the Ingoca-Ti Tribe and helped them build a solar-powered oven; we got drunk every night on French wine in our château, but never had a hangover because it was really good quality stuff; we sat at the top of Ben Nevis and watched the sun go down, it was so romantic; we saved a species of bird from extinction by planting trees to extend the rainforests; we laid on the beach all day and got a perfect suntan; we went to Alton Towers and didn’t have to queue-up for any of the rides; we went to Butlins and the kids loved it; we went paragliding over Norwegian glaciers; we met the Dali Lama and now perfectly understand the Tibetan wish for autonomy, but respect the Chinese viewpoint too; etc, etc. I’ll just end up going to a few, half-empty gigs and trying to catch up with all my old e-mails from work, so I won’t have so much of a backlog to deal with when I start on the 500 new ones that will have arrived in my absence. This film features a great new place to go on holiday.
What if there was another you? Rhoda Williams is an ace student that gets accepted to go to university to study astronomy. On her way back from celebrating this news, its announced on the radio that a planet identical to Earth has been discovered. She looks up into the air to see if she can see it in the night sky and crashes her car, changing her life forever. (Most of us have to settle for fiddling with the car stereo to achieve the same thing, but I guess that’s not quite so exciting.) The rest of the movie is basically about her dealing with the consequences of this, which is played out against the background of Earth 2 (as it gets named) slowly getting closer and closer to us. Just occasionally I watch a film and I really, really want it to be great. This was one of those films. It turns out that it is great, but it isn’t GREAT. It has a wonderful, if mostly downbeat, ‘other-worldly’ vibe (literally) and a fairly unique background, but the narrative leave a little too much unsaid for my liking. Star Trek at least has the good sense to use some techno-babble to explain things; “Another Earth” just leaves you wondering. Even the ending is a bit of a “what?” one. This is really just a simple drama about two fucked-up people that’s played out against the biggest thing ever to happen to anyone. It’s nicely shot too. You really should watch this film.
The music used in this film is fine and provides a nice bed for the narrative. Unfortunately I just didn’t really like it that much. What a shame.
Recommend for cleaners, astronomers, composers and mirror-makers.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? It features a new planet. It’s like Earth. Exactly like Earth. If that’s not badass enough for you then I don’t know what is.
Alex (Alan Rickman), a tight-lipped Englishman recently freed from prison, is driving through Ontario when he begrudgingly picks up the vivacious teenage hitchhiker Vivienne (Emily Hampshire). On the outskirts of her hometown, a truck hits the car. Vivienne dies instantly and Alex finds himself, for the second time in his life, grieving for someone he never knew. Devastated by the accident, Alex goes to the frozen backwater of Wawa, Ontario to visit Vivienne’s mother Linda (Sigourney Weaver). There, he discovers that she is autistic with an unconventional take on life and mourning. Drawn in to the small frozen backwater community, Alex soon forms a close relationship with Linda, begins an affair with her sassy neighbour Maggie (Carrie-Anne Moss), and becomes the object of scrutiny by the ineffectual law enforcement officer Clyde (James Allodi). As the funeral approaches, life in Wawa seems to have enabled Alex to face the present, but how will he cope when the dark secrets of his past finally emerge?
2006 – Certificate 15 – UK/Canada
Rating Details: Strong Language
8 out of 10
Well that’s it over with then. Life I mean. Last Sunday it was my 50th birthday. A future of increasing ill-health, an inability to do or remember things, walking sticks, Zimmer frames, bifocals, tablets from the doctor, hip replacements and finally death, are all I have to look forward to now. As the Borg might say, “Your life as it has been, is over.” I awoke this morning to find that overnight, a year’s worth of new aches and pains had been applied to my body, plus the special ‘new decade’ bonus ones, plus the 50 year Jackpot selection. To say I now feel as if I’m virtually bed-bound wouldn’t be an exaggeration. I did nothing to celebrate the momentous occasion, except mope about at home. In some ways I was quite sad; I wished I could thank my parents for having me, being 50 felt like an especially appropriate point to do so, but it’s a bit too late for that now; (or, if your belief system supports it, a bit too early). I was rubbish at being a young person, ineffective in middle-age and now I’m probably well on my way to becoming a cantankerous, teenager-hating, lecherous, ‘the world owes me a living’ old person. Actually I’m quite looking forward to that. In a similar way, this movie is about life as it has been, being over.
I really enjoyed this film. It’s touching, funny and grounded. It has some really wonderfully acted characters. The aforementioned car crash provides a full-blown OMG movie moment. Sigourney Weaver’s Linda is as far away from Ripley (“Alien”) that it’s possible to get, although both characters share a strength of character. Her portrayal of a woman with autism seemed very convincing. Alan Rickman’s laconic Alex is a sympathetic and interesting character, despite his background. It’s also a film with a proper start, middle and end. It’s not perfect though. Sometimes the storyline goes a bit off track; I especially had trouble accepting Alex to be such a babe magnet and the subplot involving him and the neighbour did distract from the rest of the story a bit. Vivienne is also one of those teenagers that doesn’t really exist in real life, but turns up in films on a regular basis.
There isn’t a large amount of music in the film and much of it is pretty generic. However, when it is used, it greatly adds to the impact of the scenes. Lovely job.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Recommended for people who like character-driven dramas.
Top badass moment? Finding out from Linda that having a mouthful of snow is like having an orgasm. That’s pretty badass when you think about it, and cold.
Ten year-old Harriet (Evan Rachel Wood) dreams of escaping her colourless existence. She lives with her alcoholic mother (Cathy Moriarty) and promiscuous older sister (Mary Stuart Masterson), the proprietors of a rural Pennsylvania motel. Frequently misunderstood by classmates and family, Harriet prefers her time alone, free of ridicule and abuse. For Harriet, fate arrives in the form of Ricky (Kevin Bacon), a mentally challenged young man who is passing through town with his mother. Their common bond as misfits draws Harriet and Ricky to one another. Together, they happily hatch a plan to alter their destinies. In the face of bitter resistance, Harriet and Ricky cling to their friendship even as their families try blindly to separate them.
1997 – Certificate PG – USA
6 out of 10
I’ve had to buy a new printer. My trusty, seven-year-old HP Deskjet 5652 stopped working last week; I guess the two bits of metal that fell out of it a few months ago were important after all. So off I went to Argos for a new one. Doesn’t anyone these days make printers that just, well, print? Most of the ones I looked at faxed, scanned, made tea, looked after small children and developed countermeasures based on home alien invasion scenarios. I just wanted a printer to print stuff. In the end, having decided that I’d been satisfied by my old printer, I decided to get another HP, this time a Deskjet 3000; £50, including delivery. To say the new one doesn’t feel exactly robust would be a bit of an understatement. I’m quite worried that if I open a window in the summer, the first gust of wind and it’s going to be flying away into the great beyond. I guess it’s all those high-tech, space-age materials it’s probably made of. My old printer would have made an effective close combat weapon, for anyone with the strength to pick it up. A similar thing goes for the noises it makes when it prints. The old one made a satisfyingly expensive and comforting sound whenever it printed anything. The new one makes all my fillings want to fall out. I now know what ‘cheap’ sounds like. It said on the box it takes four minutes to set up. Bollocks! It took me four hours over two evenings. Those bastards that write instructions and installation software, do they ever actually try out what they throw together? Do they ever actually speak to the people who market the things they write for? No! No, they don’t! They just write trash to palm off on the technically inept public they sell stuff to and their IT-illiterate bosses who are too stupid to know how to check it; I image the consumer printer software and instruction writing department at HP is rather like that featured in “The IT Crowd”. Trying to get it to talk to my network at home was harder than (inset politicians from your ‘favourite’ Middle Eastern conflict here) in the same room to actually talk about things like grown-ups. In the end I totally ignored the instructions and the software and did it ‘my way’. Result? I can now print wirelessly from both my home computer and my work laptop.
This was another of those frustrating movies that could have been so much better than it actually was. At its best it’s a sad and touching film about life and friendship; at its worst its, well it’s just a bit rubbishy. Given the plot, it should have had a lot more emotional ups and downs, but it felt a bit flat to me. I suppose what bought the film down most was some of the script, which at times didn’t seem very realistic. The reactions of the characters to many of the sad or unexpected things that happened felt understated too. It also had the misfortune to host yet another overly grown-up youngster; are all young kids in America either precocious, drug-dealing thugs, misfits or would-be superheroes? They’re the only ones ever featured in the movies anyway; I guess the rest must be very boring or something. In this particular case, Harriet was also just a bit too much of a little horror to gain much of my sympathy. Brat. It was strange to see Kevin Bacon not playing a shady character for a change. His portrayal of Ricky, a man with learning difficulties, was generally really well done. The depressing thing about the film was that I was sort of waiting for the ‘inevitable scene’ of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ that it seemed to be setting up between its two main characters.
Set in the late 1960s, the film features a nice selection of music, including some originals from the period. One of its better features. It’s always good to hear “Magic Carpet Ride” by Steppenwolf; as well as containing one of rock’s greatest guitar riffs, it is of course the song that was played when humans first broke the light barrier in 2063. (It’s a Star Trek thing.)
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Recommended for those who want to watch a decent little film that glosses over the worst bits of life.
Top badass moment? The friendship that develops between Harriet and Ricky, as well as being the heart of the story, was also its best element. A friendship forged in the heat of battle, at a time when whole civilisations rose and fell at the whim of the undead; two ordinary people rise up as heroes, to fight for good and the future of the human race, defeating overwhelming odds and overcoming personal tragedies for the good of mankind! Okay, so I made that last part up. Sounds good though…
Based on the acclaimed short story from Clive Barker’s “Books of Blood: Volume II”, “Dread” is a psychological thriller centered on three college students who study other people’s fears. As the study unfolds, one of the students begins to seek salvation from his own obsessions by exploiting the terrors of his fellow participants. Starring Jackson Rathbone (“Twilight Saga”, “S. Darko”) and Shaun Evans (“Telstar”, “The Take”).
2009 – Certificate: 18 – USA
Rating Details: Strong language, once very strong, and strong bloody violence
8 out of 10
Last Tuesday I had to go to a meeting, in central London. I didn’t have to be there until 12:30, so I’d thought, great, that would give me a couple of hours to read the things I needed to go through, before taking a nice, comfortable trip (out of the rush-hour) on the train. I switch on my computer at 8:15. Nothing happened. No sound like I’m in a wind-tunnel (thanks to the eight fans inside the case), no meaningless messages on the monitor, no rattling of the metal case (because I’m too lazy to do up the screws from when I last pulled it to bits). No sound is not a good sign. Using my brilliant Homes-like powers of deduction, I quickly deduced that the power unit has failed, again; it’s only been about two years since I last replaced it too. (What is it with electronic things these days, does every-single one break-down after two years?) No matter; that’s a quick, two-mile round trip to Maplins for a new one and back, nothing that £70 won’t put right; then I’ll quickly put it in and it’s all fixed before it’s even 9:00. Now, Reading’s traffic system is ‘fragile’ at best. So when someone decides to try to get away from the police, crashes and gets killed, it tends to bring the whole lot to a grinding halt. I eventually got back home after 10:30; it had taken me two hours to drive less than three miles! I did get to see the aforementioned ‘incident’ on the other carriageway as I, very, very slowly, drove past it, which despite the crash happening the night before, was still totally blocking the main route into Reading from the M4. It’s not that I’m not unsympathetic. The poor guy, just 19 years old, was being chased by six police cars (including an armed response team and dog-handlers), crashed, got thrown from the vehicle and then run over by one of the police cars chasing him. I can only imagine he must have been an international terrorist, with an armed nuclear device and special powers that would somehow have enabled his clap-out Ford Fiesta to outrun any police vehicle, hence the need for such a response. He wasn’t even a Muslin, or Black either, just some local lad who’d probably done something he shouldn’t’ve. And now he’s lost his life, his family and friends are all devastated and one police officer has that on his conscience forever. I guess that puts my broken power unit into prospective. And I ended up having to stand on the train, in both directions.
The first 15 minutes of this film are a mess, as a desperate race against time takes place to introduce us to everyone and establish a back-story for them as quickly as possible. There was no sign of Judge Dredd either! Fortunately, things improved greatly after that. I have to admit that this is an excellent, modern horror, which manages to capture some of the essence of what makes films like “Saw” work so well, as opposed to just featuring a series of gross ways to hurt people. As the big ‘sticker’ in the middle of the cover proudly proclaims, it stars some guy who was in “Twilight”. No matter that this blatant bit of marketing totally spoils the cover art, (not that it’s especially inspiring but, you know, it’s the principle). Interestingly, one of the lead female characters has a huge birth mark, which I think is supposed to make us feel sorry for her. Unfortunately, they picked such a beautiful actress to play the part that she just came across as looking exotic and still really hot. Still, realism isn’t what I was watching it for; I’d had plenty of that in the traffic jam and it wasn’t fun or nice at all. Needless to say, as a vegan, the scene with vegetarian Cheryl and the bit of beef was of particular enjoyment. Will she or won’t she? It was probably horse meat anyway. If you can forgive its more irritating moments, this is a great horror and well worth watching, if you like that sort of stuff.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Recommended for masochistic vegetarians and the normal array of weirdos who get their kicks watching movies like this.
Top badass moment? It’s pretty predictable and to be honest a bit weak in badass terms, but I suppose it’s Stephen going off to try to find Cheryl after she’d been kidnapped. Not that it did either of them much good. He’d had the hots for her for ages anyway. I bet he wouldn’t have bothered if it had been someone else, me for example.
Yesterday I drove for two and a half hours, then spent three hours teaching three people how to drive a minibus, then spent another two and a half hours sitting in a minibus watching them drive it, then drove for another two and a half hours home. Yesterday the world seemed to be full of idiots driving cars, and I’m not referring to the learners who I was with either. At one point on the way home I was driving along a bit of dual carriageway and slowly catching a yellow car up. I don’t generally drive that fast, rarely more than 60 m.p.h., as I want to give myself the illusion that somehow I’m doing my bit to save the planet whilst simultaneously driving nearly 1,000 miles a month. Anyway, I pulled out to overtake the yellow car. As I passed it and looked in my mirror to see if I could go back into the inside lane, I noticed it had speeded up. I ended up doing over 80 with this fucking asshole still playing stupid buggers next to me. After having had to put up with so many other cretins on the roads yesterday, something snapped inside. I jerked the steering wheel to the left and hit the yellow car, forcing it off the road and down an embankment into a field, where I think it hit a tree or something and burst into flames. I’m not sure what happened to the driver and I don’t care as long as it hurt; I didn’t bother to stop and check what had happened to him. What a selfish bastard he was too, as I’ve now I’ve got a dent in my car to explain away and get fixed. It’s a jungle out there on the roads. (Just like Dennis Weaver in Steven Spielberg’s classic “Dual”, I never really got a good look at my protagonist.) Well, okay that only happened in my mind, but the intent (if not the guts) was there. In fact what did happen is that I gave up trying to overtake the yellow car and humiliatingly went back to 60 m.p.h. behind it. However, as cars, driving and men are inextricably linked to the latter’s sexual prowess and I failed to overtake the yellow car, I think I’m probably impotent now. He, on the other hand, is probably making his first porn movie even as I type this. Great! In a similar way, this film is about a young woman with intimacy issues.
2003 – Certificate: 18 – United Kingdom
I think the makers of this film started off wanting to make a serious torture porn movie but then got fed up with the idea and decided a comedy slasher/thriller would be a much better idea. Otherwise why suddenly introduce a bizarre sub-plot involving Siamese twins and then another one about a bank robbing stripper? It’s original, I’ll give it that. It suffers from some of the worst acting I’ve ever seen, yet at other times it’s really okay. Fiona Horsey (the lead character) is a bit of a babe; (am I still allowed to say stuff like that)? All the men in the film are portrayed as perverts, deviants, weirdos, rapists, sociopaths and murderers; the woman don’t do a lot better either, but the guys really do get a bit of a hammering. Ultimately it’s an entertaining movie, simply because it’s so ridiculous. I did feel a bit sorry for Helen, no one is that unlucky with men. Most of it was filmed on the Isle of Wight too.
Recommended for someone; not sure who, but someone.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations. However, plenty of men do, em, ‘disappear’ inside Helen, totally.
Top badass moment? In a film filled with characters that are simultaneously both pathetic and horrible, there’s not a terribly large choice. So I guess it has to be Helen, for simply putting up with so much shit. They say dealing with it well makes you a stronger person.
What marketing idiot (née liar) first suggested highlighting the ‘fact’ that low-energy light bulbs last longer than old-fashioned, incandescent ones? If they’re that good, how come I’ve had five blow in the last two months? And it’s not like those are the only ones I’ve had to replace over the past few years either. On Saturday evening the latest of these failed, the Omicron 40W über-bulb-monster I had in my lounge. In doing so it took out the trip-switch too, leaving me to grope around in the dark for ages for a 5A fuse; (thanks to the amazing ability of rechargeable batteries not to actually hold their charge, my torch went flat after about a minute of use.) I’m sure the Omicron is less than two years old and it cost nearly £20 too. It’s all very well making changes to your lifestyle in an effort to ‘save the planet’, but now I’ve got to go and spend about £60 on five stupid light-bulbs. That would have bought well over 100 in the ‘old days’. What a rip-off. No wonder they’re called low-energy bulbs, because they never bloody work! In a spookily similar way, this film features modern technology that does us no good at all too.
2006 – Certificate: Not Rated – USA
Hollywood remakes of Japanese horrors get a bad press, which isn’t always fair; but some film snobs like to trash them anyway, out of principle. This one was no exception. It’s true, most of the characters in it are somewhat one-dimensional and don’t always act very logically; and being a film about technology it’s aged very quickly too; it’s all pre-Smartphone era stuff. Worst still, the plot has more big holes in it than an undersized fishnet bodystocking on an elephant; (steady on, don’t get too excited about that thought). However, the acting’s okay and the special effects fine. I actually really liked it. It’s genuinely sinister, the cinematography and sound is great and the ending suitably apocalyptic. The car crash works really well too. The overall tone of the film is its best feature though, dark, disturbing, increasingly isolating and ultimately offering little real hope; the very ending reminded me of the ending of “The Terminator”. If you can get into this and overlook its weaker elements, you’ll probably really enjoy it. I don’t get the creeps from watching films very often, but I did from this one. (Memo to self: don’t watch spooky films with headphones on, in a dark room with just an eerie green light bulb, low-energy of course, for company.) When I went to the toilet after watching it, I did feel a little uncomfortable with my back to the door; I’d have hated to be grabbed by one of those dead people things when answering the call of nature. I haven’t watched the two follow ups or the original Japanese version yet, but I will at some point.
Recommended for people who like creepy films. Boo!
1 cat, no chainsaws or decapitations. The cat looked and sounded pretty gross though, having been locked in a cupboard for ages, poor thing. :-(
Top badass moment? Just because you’re on the run, escaping from unearthly, inhuman ‘dead things’ and you’ve just seen you’re best friend suddenly turn into a cloud of ash, that’s no reason to neglect dental hygiene. It was good to see reluctant hero Mattie grab her toothpaste and toothbrush from the bathroom as she made her escape. Taking the advice your dentist gives you seriously, is badass. Imagine having to deal with a bad toothache at the same time the world is facing Armageddon; that would really suck.
It’s time for another, terrible confession from my youth. When I was young, I used to do terrible things to ants. Magnifying glasses, cups of water, prisons built from Lego, electric cooker rings, boiling water, all were used to make life (and indeed death) an unpleasant experience for scores of these little creatures. (What am I saying? I hate the little bastards even now. They get everywhere and you can’t ever sit down in ‘the countryside’ without finding them trying to climb all over you. In fact they’re one of my three most hated animals. And let’s not forget the ‘Ant Wars’ that I had to fight in my home a few years ago and which I blogged about from the ‘front line’ at the time.) However, as a vegan, I do feel guilty about my feelings towards these clever little insects and my treatment of them, especially when I was young and wasn’t in the position of having to deal with a full ‘home invasion’ like I was a few years ago. I know growing-up is about learning, but I’m sure even at that age I knew that killing things wasn’t the nicest activity I could be spending my time indulging in. This film has a similar(ish) theme.
2007 – Certificate: 15
Rating Details: Strong violence and language, twice very strong.
This drama was originally made for Channel 4. Depending on your point of view, it’s either very clever or very disturbing, in the sense that it manages to put you very much on the side of the main character, a child, child-killer. I don’t suppose this is in many peoples’ comfort zone, especially when you consider the real life, high-profile murders like this that have happened over the past 20 years or so. It’s very easy to wish for these sorts of criminals to just go and rot in Hell, but this film does a great job of engaging your sympathy with someone exactly like that, which is what makes it quite uncomfortable viewing. More generally speaking, it’s nicely made and well acted. I don’t think it’s giving too much of the plot away to say that I was sitting there just waiting and waiting for him to get sussed out; it’s almost a relief when he does. With the exception of a few random plot holes and contrivances, it’s all pretty believable stuff. The ending is pretty intense too. As an added bonus, it’s got Steven Pacey in it, no lesser person than Tarrant from “Blakes 7”. The best TV programme, ever!
Recommended for people who like challenging drama. Not so good if you don’t like your preconceptions challenged.
No cats and no decapitations.
Top badass moment? Tough one this. Do I go for something involving the bad guy turned good, or the good guys turned bad? I know, I think I’ll just opt out and go for something a little different. A few scenes are shot at Alton Towers. Alton Towers is simply badass. Don’t. Look. Down.