Lala, (Inés Efrón) a teenager from the most exclusive suburban neighbourhood in Argentina, is in love with the Guayi, the 20-year-old Paraguayan maid working at her mansion. The pair hatch a plan to rob Lala’s family to fund their dream of living together in Paraguay, but while Lala waits to be reunited with her lover, she is detained in a prison in the outskirts of Buenos Aires for a crime she committed long ago. Desperate to be with her girlfriend, Lala devises a dangerous rescue plan to get her back. Boasting beautiful cinematography and electrifying performances from its two female leads, celebrated Argentine director Lucía Puenzo (“XXY”) returns with a gripping tale of forbidden lesbian romance and a crime heist gone awry.
2009 – Certificate 15 – Argentinean Film
Rating Details: Strong sex
7.0 out of 10
I spent well over an hour at the dentist last week, whilst she explored the inside of my sore tooth. Given all the sawing and drilling that went on I was expecting to be presented with the oral equivalent of a handmade chest of draws, but all I’ve got out of it is a bill for £100, no reduction in the agony I’m feeling and an extra visit to go back a third time for more treatment on the same tooth. Four hours or so? What’s she up to in there? Rebuilding my entire mouth at the molecular level? Not only this, but my sore tooth has made a friend, another tooth that thinks it’s hilariously funny to give me pain and misery. So now I’ve also got a wisdom tooth that needs removing in a completely different place in my mouth. My dentist got one of her colleagues to come have a look at it. Once he’d finished with the paramedics that came after he’d fainted from horror at the sight of it, he did make a remarkable effort to appear blasé about things, but suggested that he couldn’t deal with either and I really ought to have it removed at hospital. Why don’t they just cut out the middle man and sent me to see an undertaker? My tooth is clearly that bad. I’m starting to forget a time when I didn’t have excruciating agony and was able to open my mouth properly. Gosh, it’s lucky I’m not the sort of person that makes a big song and dance about things. This is going to cost me an arm and a leg to get sorted out too, although ironically, the limb replacements I’ll then need I can get on the NHS for free. The next American who suggests that Brits have bad teeth will need a visit to the dentist himself soon after. I’m glad to say this film has no teeth-focussed scenes whatsoever.
I’m pretty sure there’s a great movie in here somewhere, trying to get out. Trouble is, it got a bit buried under the non-linear timeline and suffered at the hands of my presently reduced mental capacity; (which sadly is more tooth-ache than alcohol related). At its heart this is an out-and-out romance, which collides with a crime thriller in a less than satisfying way. Oh, there’s also something about a legend regarding the Fish Child that swims around in a lake near a tree. I imagine there’s some analogy between the latter and the characters or the plot, but in my painkiller induced drug high I did struggle a bit with everything. It doesn’t provide an especially glowing reference for Argentinian parenting either. Visually it’s a nice looking film with an intense feel and the two lead actresses are both talented and attractive, although in quite different ways. Unfortunately it’s all a bit of a confused muddle at times, although it does gradually sort itself out a bit. I probably ought to watch it again; I think I’ll get a lot more out of it the second time around.
There was one especially jarring and frightening scene with what I can only imagine is South America’s version of One Direction, (which can be seen for a brief moment in the trailer), but overall the soundtrack is pretty good.
The trailer tells you as much about the film plot as watching the whole movie will; i.e. not a lot.
Recommended for housekeepers, messed up families, lesbians, dog trainers and vets.
1 cat, no chainsaws or decapitations. A big black cat plays dead as it’s rudely removed from the vet’s operating table so he can deal with someone with a gunshot wound. Oi! Get you’re priorities sorted out mate!
Top badass moment? Lala goes in search of her lover, who’s been ‘rented’ from the local prison by a powerful ‘businessman’ for his own ‘entertainment’. His house is protected by dogs and armed guards, but that doesn’t stop her. Love is blind and all that, but deliberately walking into a ‘situation’ that you clearly have no way of getting out off (unless you’re Batman) is quite obviously top grade badass. (Note to self: why all the inverted commas all of a sudden? What’s wrong with you?)
After the death of her cousin Tomoko, reporter Reiko hears stories of a videotape that kills everyone who sees it exactly one week after viewing. At first she discounts the rumours, but when she learns that Tomoko’s friend (who watched the video with her) died at exactly the same time, she begins to investigate. After viewing the tape herself, strange things start happening and so she teams up with her ex-husband to try to stop the death clock that has once again begun ticking.
1998 – Certificate: 15 – Japanese film
6.0 out of 10
Despite being an antisocial loser and having no friends, I recently found myself in possession of a birthday party invitation. Stress! For a start, how does one present one’s self for such a social gathering these days? Formal? Casual but smart? Street smart? Metrosexual urbanite? And as for presents; that’s a total, social minefield. Still, not wanting to waste this once-in-ten-year opportunity to ‘have-a-good-time’ and ‘meet people’, last Saturday found me sitting in the sun in a garden in west London, twerking to ska-punk and reminiscing how when I was 13 I used to know be able to identify every car on the road and every plane in the sky; (a party animal, I know). I also learnt loads about what it’s like to control one of those massive cranes that you see on building sites; met a really famous drummer, (I think it was either Charlie Watts or Tré Cool, but I’m not sure now); knocked a can of cider on the kitchen floor and starred somewhat dumbly at the mess as someone else cleaned it up; drunk an inappropriate mixture of drinks that included cider, port, Buckfast, Midori, vodka and some Lithuanian spirit that tasted a lot like medicine; had a long conversation about Syria; ate some peanuts and samosas, (which were very nice) and talked to someone who’s getting married in six weeks. I probably bored a lot of other people too, but I can’t actually remember much else, but I imagine I wasn’t very interesting or coherent and spoke mostly drunkanise. Finally I left and forgetting that when I’d learnt which way to turn to take me to the train station (which was a two-minute walk away) I’d had the map upside-down, went totally the other way, took two buses and ended up wandering around the empty corridors of Heathrow Airport all night, like an extra from a zombie apocalypse film, before finally getting an entirely empty coach back to Reading at five in the morning; (well it had a driver in it, and me, obviously). I don’t suppose I’ll get another invite to a party anytime soon, but I was glad to have this opportunity to reconfirm that I have no social skills and really shouldn’t drink more than a pint of shandy. And it took me over two days to recover too. Frightening stuff.
This film has a fearsome reputation for being really, really scary. It’s not really. Well a couple of times it was but mostly it wasn’t. It’s more creepy than anything else. The anticipation that something was about to be scary was often more scary than what actually happened; a bit like crossing a busy road. I suppose if you get off on a certain kind of Japanese ghost horror then you’d be more likely to have an underwear malfunction, but not otherwise. The plot’s got something to do with a cursed video and a woman in a well. In many ways it’s as much a whodunit thriller as a horror. If a similar sort of thing happened today, it would end up on YouTube and probably wipe out most of the Earth’s population. Given its video-based story, it hasn’t aged well. Having said all that, it’s actually quite watchable. I guess I just found it a bit of a disappointment after all the hype.
There isn’t a great deal of music in this movie and what there is sounded like it came straight off of “Now That’s What I Call Horror Film Music, Volume 34”. The theme tune (used at the end of the film and on the trailer) is pretty horrific, but not it a good way.
Recommended for vindictive ghosts, journalists and ex-husbands. It’s probably a real nightmare if you’re involved in the manufacture of videos or DVDs, etc; I can imagine something like this would really take the bottom out of the market.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? I just can’t think of one. Had too much to drink at the party.
I spent this afternoon working, updating my financial budgets. I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time on these, yet somehow they never seem to be quite up to date or accurate enough for anyone. Numbers on a spreadsheet, there must be more to life than adding up endless numbers on a spreadsheet. It doesn’t achieve or change anything. A chief executive of a small, community regeneration charity in London once told me that “regeneration was invented to keep the liberal middle-classes happy”. I think she meant projects that are set up to make a difference to people don’t really achieve much, but keep a lot of the latter group in jobs that make them feel good about what they do. This film offers a similar view of the world. Its main character Andreas even spends his days in an office adding up numbers on a computer screen. Oh God, I think I’ve become him! I need to go find a window and throw myself out of it; (which someone in this film appears to do as well.)
2006 – Certificate: 15 – Norway
Rating Details: Scenes of strong gore
If you don’t like films with neat, tidy endings, or that make it clear what they’re about, then you’ll probably hate this one. I viewed it as a statement on the mundane, superficial and uncaring lifestyles that many of us live these days, but maybe that’s just me. As someone whose way of life is tissue-paper thin and pretty meaningless, I could relate to it. A mindfuck of a movie, this is a nicely made black comedy that’s well worth a watch. The snogging scene at the beginning is really quite disturbing and sets the tone for the rest of the movie. The best bit of escape tunnelling I’ve seen since “The Great Escape” too; and a much better plan than trying to play with subway trains. The more I’ve thought about it since I watched it a few days ago, the better it seems to become. It represents 20% of my entire Norwegian film collection as well.
Recommended for people who enjoy thinking about the films they watch.
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws. However, at one point a finger does get amputated by an office guillotine machine.
Top badass moment? Andreas digging a tunnel to try to escape from his mundane life. Despite being frequently surrounded by the mundane myself, it’s something I’ve personally never considered doing. Trying to escape from the mundane is badass.
Before I wised-up and realised that cars were the spawn of the Devil and responsible for the political, environmental and social decline of our world, I was a bit obsessed with them. When I was in my early teens I’d buy Motor magazine every week; I’d send off for reviews of cars from other magazines too, just so I could spend hours and hours comparing them. I went to the Motor Show. I had just about every pack of Top Trump cards you could get that were about cars. I had about 50 Matchbox toy cars and regularly used to run them along a long section of track that started at my bedroom window (on the first floor) and went down into the garden below, before carefully putting them back in the box in the order of the ones that got the furthest down the track. (I must have got a lot of exercise keep running up and down the stairs and into the garden, if I did that each time for all 50.) I had a Saturday and school holiday job in a car repair shop, where I worked for several years. (I earned £5 a day). I could recognise and name just about every car on the road, in a matter of seconds. When I was old enough to drive, I had several cars at different times, which I pulled to bits and rebuilt in various ways. So basically, what I’m saying is that I knew everything about cars.
So what car did I decide to drive? A Mini? Nope. In fact I choose the arch nemesis of the Mini, the Hillman Imp. (I also had a Singer Chamois coupe and a Sunbeam Imp Sport too, which were basically different versions of the Imp.) It was a great little car; even though it overheated all the time it was miles better than the boring old Mini; it just had an aversion to motorways. It had a rear engine, which made it really like a Porsche, kind of. When I was at university I managed to roll an Imp onto its roof, with five of us in it. Fortunately no one was hurt. I still have the pictures of what was left of the car. I got done for careless driving too! Who’s ever heard of a man who drives carelessly? The police tried to make out I was doing over 60mph, but in fact the Imp struggled to get to that speed even on a motorway with just me in it. When I went to the police station the next day to make a statement, there was a little piece of my Imp’s bodywork (it was partly fibreglass) in an ashtray on the desk; they’d thrown a bit of my car away! (I didn’t ask for it back though.) The police only found out about my accident as we were pushing what was left of the car along the road to get it home, when one overtook us and smashed head-on into one driving in the other direction. Amazingly no one was badly hurt in that crash either, even though they must have hit each other at a combined speed of about 70mph. I remember someone coming out of a nearby house, spotting some oil on the ground in the darkness and exclaiming with what I remember seemed a lot of excitement in his voice, “Is that blood?” Weirdo. Anyway, what I’m getting at here is that this film would have been a lot better if they’d picked Imps rather than Minis to star in it.
1969 – Certificate: PG – United Kingdom
Rating Details: Mild violence, language and sex references
This is a true classic and contains one of the most quoted lines in movie history; (5, 4, 3, 2.. you know the one I’m talking about). Made when England were still football world champions (okay I know it’s an old film), it’s got the added bonus of having Michael Caine and Noël Coward in it and the Brits getting one over on Johnny Foreigner, (always a good thing of course). Sadly, as we don’t make anything in Britain anymore, including cars (and have become pretty hopeless at football too), there isn’t likely to be a undated version of it made anytime soon; (and I’m talking about a British version of it here, not something set somewhere like, oh, Los Angeles, for example). It just wouldn’t be the same if they drove Peugeot 107s, or got the bus instead. I watched a Blu-ray version of this film and if anyone wants to see what this format can bring to old films, I’d recommend watching this one, as it looked stunning.
Recommended for fans of classic movies and for all English people. It brings a lump to the throat and swells the heart; (with pride not cholesterol.) If there was such a thing as an English passport, the watching and enjoyment of this film would be a mandatory requirement for getting one. Also recommended for staff managers everywhere, as it contains some excellent advice from Charlie Croker; “Now, it’s a very difficult job, and, the only way to get through it is we all work together, as a team. And that means, you do everything I say.” Words of wisdom.
3 cats and no decapitations. Enjoy the awesome cats-on-laps action, matched with some expertly written and delivered dialogue.
Top badass moment? The Minis in the sewer pipe, the Minis on the dam, the Minis on the steps, the Minis in the shopping plaza, etc. Celebrating the best bit of British engineering since the Spitfire is badass; if you’re a Brit anyway.