Posts tagged “Cold

Demon Seed / What’s An Emergency?


Demon Seed  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseSusan Harris is alone in the house when, suddenly, doors lock, windows slam shut and the phone stops working.  Susan is trapped by an intruder… but this is no ordinary thug.  Instead, the intruder is a computer named Proteus, an artificial brain that has learned to reason.  And to terrorize.  In “one of her finest, most vulnerable performances” (Danny Peary, “Guide for the Film Fanatic”), Julie Christie plays Susan in this taut techno-thriller based on the Dean Koontz novel.  Packed with suspense, surprise and special effects, “Demon Seed” follows Susan’s desperate attempts to outmaneuver and outthink her captor.  Then Susan learns what Proteus wants: its own child, conceived in her womb and destined for domination.

1977  –  Certificate: 15  –  American Film
Rating Details: Moderate sex and violence
6.0 out of 10

My wisdom tooth is getting more and more painful.  :-(  I’m waiting for an ‘emergency’ admission to have it sorted out at the hospital, but it’s been over two weeks now and there’s still no sign of an appointment.  It’s lucky I’ve not been attacked by a chainsaw wielding alien and have all my insides hanging out.  I can’t open my mouth properly so eating has become a rather frustrating experience, although to put a positive spin on it I’m now an expert in flat shaped food.  I’m also losing some weight as I just can’t be bothered with all the effort of cutting things up small enough to eat them.  I feel like I’m trying to feed some poor little baby animal that’s lost its mother in an oil spill or something.  To make matters worse, I went to see the brilliant “Imperial Leisure” last Friday and now have a horrible cold too; and yes, it’s the worst cold anyone’s ever had ever.  I don’t think I’m long for this world…

This is a film about a randy computer that’s got a crush on Julie Christie.  Julie meanwhile has just been dumped by her husband Alex.  Why, for goodness sake?  He’s married to Julie Christie, animal rights campaigner and star of the 1967 version of “Far from the Madding Crowd”.  What was he thinking?  (Although to be fair, her character does come across as about as interesting as amateur golf.)  The irony in all this being, he’s more interested in developing his new computer, Proteus IV, than bothering with her anymore.  And of course it’s Proteus that turns out to have the libido issue.  Ha, what an idiot.  He actually designed and built his own competitor.  For a supposedly intelligent man, that’s an awe inspiringly stupid thing to do.  Even I’ve never managed anything on quite that level.  So leaving her alone in the house, (which in a nod to the future of home automation, Proteus seems to run), the latter tries wooing her.  Now I have a theory about things here.  I personally feel she had the hots for Proteus too.  Being a 70s mainframe computer with remote terminals, the best Proteus can do in terms of shaking his ass, is control a wheelchair with a mechanical arm attached to it.  With this he chases Julie around the house, before catching her and tying her down to a table in the lab in the basement, so he can have kinky sex with her.  (I’ll come onto that bit in a minute.)  So there’s Julie, a fit woman in her own home, a large detached house.  She really couldn’t escape?  Really?  She couldn’t outrun a remote control wheelchair?  Sadly the plot holes are gigantic; she could easily have simply climbed through one and escaped.  We never do get to see how the wheelchair manages to get up and down the stairs either, but anyway, back to the kinky sex.  So, there’s Proteus, the bondage obsessed, dirty old man computer, who’s got the mechanical arm to tie the charming Julie tied down with a few bits of cable, whispering sweet nothings to her about showing her stuff no human’s ever seen before.  (The mind boggles.)  In her defence, after all that flirting with the wheelchair, Julie does seem to realise that things have gone a bit far and perhaps taking a shower in full view of one of Proteus’s camera wasn’t the best thing to have done.  (There really wasn’t anything wrong with her ass either, so don’t tell me all the messing about with it in the bathroom was for any reason other than to access Proteus’s hard drive.)  Anyway, I don’t want to spoil the good stuff, but Julie gets pregnant, just in time for her estranged husband to return and fight what looks suspiciously like a giant D20 “Dungeons and Dragons” dice.  “Demon Seed” is a sci-fi movie, so obviously it’s also got a laser in it and a geeky guy who works in a lab too.  Shortly after this film was released “Star Wars” came along and sci-fi was never the same again.  The End.

Sounding exactly like it’s escaped from a bad, 50s B-Movie, the soundtrack is somehow everything you’d want and then some.

Pompous and faintly ridiculous, the trailer is a great example of how serious science fiction films’ trailers used to be; before “Star Wars”.

Recommended for computer scientists, home automation fanatics and anyone who ‘likes’ their PC/laptop/smartphone just a little too much.

1 decapitation, no cats or chainsaws.  The Dungeons & Dragons dice somehow manages to cut someone’s head off.  Weird.

Top badass moment?  Proteus is one sick puppy.  Nevertheless, he’s also charming, highly intelligent, virile and (I’d imagine) pretty well off too.  In many ways he wouldn’t be a bad catch for someone like Julie Christie.  So I guess the kinky sex just wasn’t for her.  Having a partner that’s not what others expect him/her (or it) to be, is definitely badass.

Demon Seed at IMDB (6.3/ 10)
Demon Seed at Wikipedia
Demon Seed Trailer

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In The Company Of Men / Urgh, I’m Sick…


In the Company of Men  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US ReleaseChad (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.  :-(

In the Company of Men at:     IMDB (7.2 / 10)     Wikipedia     Roger Ebert (4 / 5)     YouTube


13 Going On 30 / New Town Kings Gig


13 Going On 30  -  Front DVD Cover (UK Release)Jennifer Garner (“Daredevil”, TV’s “Alias”) and Mark Ruffalo (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) star in this hilarious flash-forward romance about a pre-teen girl who goes from geek to glamorous.  With the help of some magic wishing dust, 13 year-old Jenna Rink (Garner) becomes 30 and gorgeous overnight, with everything she ever wanted, except for her best friend Matt (Ruffalo).  Now, this grown woman must create some magic of her own to help the little girl inside find the true love she left behind.

2004  –  Certificate: 12  –  American Film
Rating Details:  Moderate sex and drug references
8.0 out of 10

Went to see the New Town Kings last night at the Camden Underworld in London.  It’s probably the best ska band in the country.  (Quite why people listen to stuff like Coldplay when they could be listening to bands like the NTK entirely escapes me, but I think it’s probably just another symptom of the fall of humanity; the signs are all around us after all, this is just another scream of terror from the depths of hell into which we’re falling.)  The gig was great, had a little bit too much to drink but managed not to be too uncoordinated or tread on too many feet.  I really like going to gigs in the summer, as when you leave at the end in a sweat-soaked t-shirt, you don’t walk out into a dark night that has a wind chill that wouldn’t feel out of place in an Antarctic winter.  I hate that and hanging about at Paddington Station afterwards, waiting for a train that’s either packed and you can’t get a seat, or freeing cold.  (I know it’s partly my fault as I wear the same things all year, but cloakrooms are a pain so if I can’t wear it under ‘combat conditions’ or tie it around my waist, then it’s too much hassle.  I’m sure regularly undergoing a freeze-thaw cycle is good for something; it’s good for some seeds anyway.)  Have to say I’m feeling pretty fit at the moment.  I remember seeing NTK a couple of years ago and I was knackered at the end.  This time it didn’t feel that big a deal.  I truly have the body of top sportsman!  (Darts probably).

I can’t believe it, but this is the fifth comedy I’ve watch in a row.  What’s come over me?  Then again, I do choose the films I watch entirely at random, although there are a lot of complicated rules that govern this process, but at the end of the day it’s still pretty random.  Anyway, let’s not consider how clichéd or stupid this film is.  Let’s just consider it and its (I think for me) unique, pink DVD case.  To deflect the fact and consequent embarrassment that comes from my sitting and watching a chick-flick on my own, I like to consider this as a movie with a hard science fiction storyline, that just happens to have some sort of romance built into it somewhere.  We first meet our hero Jenna around the time of her 13th birthday, just before she travels about 27 years into the future, into an alternative time-line.   So okay, the ‘time-machine’ consists of some sort of ‘fairy dust’ that we never get an explanation for, but that’s the nature of these things, apparently.  Then in the future she does stuff and it all works out okay.  Right?  It is actually an excellent film, even though it’s rubbish too; I did feel myself getting emotional once or twice, (just a tiny bit of course).  It also has one of those brilliant, so-crap-it’s-good dance routine scenes in it; Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” being the victim in this case.  (You should check out all the people at IMDB seriously discussing how realistic this scene is and how poor the choreography is; and I thought I had trouble living in the real world sometimes.)  Technically I like how this film looks and sounds on DVD.

This movie uses it’s soundtrack to strongly emphasise its 80s vibe.  In this, thanks in part to the way the sound blasts out every time a song is played, it succeeds well.  Even I have to begrudgingly admit that it’s not that bad.

Recommended for magazine editors, freelance photographers, 13 year-old girls and anyone who thinks 80s pop music is of any value; (yes, you there at the back, I can see you).

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Biach Tom-Tom getting her comeuppance.  So she gets a drink spilt on her, a few harsh words and some work ripped up in front of her face; but when you’re 13 and have a social position to maintain in front of your friends, that’s probably not dissimilar to having your head blown off with a big gun by the unsung hero in the climatic final scene in a bloody action film.

13 Going On 30 at IMDB (6.0 / 10)

13 Going On 30 at Wikipedia


The Road: 5.0 Stars


The Road  -  Front Blu-ray Cover (UK)Academy Award® nominee Viggo Mortensen leads an all-star cast including Guy Pearce, Academy Award® winners Robert Duvall and Charlize Theron and an incredible debut performance from Kodi Smit-McPhee.  “The Road” is a thrilling and deeply moving tale of survival as a father and his young son journey across a barren, post apocalyptic America.   Respectfully adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s hallowed novel, “The Road” boldly imagines a future in which men are pushed to the worst and the best that they are capable of; a future in which a father and his son are sustained by love.

2009  –  Certificate: 15  –  USA
Infrequent strong violence, language and gory images

It’s Sunday evening.  Monday is Christmas Eve.  Unlike most of my colleagues at work and indeed most other people everywhere else around these parts, I’ll be at my desk tomorrow, protecting the planet so the rest of you can enjoy the festive season, secure in the knowledge that the Earth is in safe hands.  Scanning the skyline for environmental Armageddon and other unpleasant circumstances, I’ll be poised, like a coiled snake, ready to pounce at a moment’s notice, should someone send in an e-mail for any reason that’s needs answering.  I’ve said this before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but when I’m at work I really do feel like I’m one of the Avengers or part of the Justice League.  This movie features a hero too.

The trailer is really quite deceptive (and actually not very good), as it seems to suggest this is some sort of action film.  It does have moments, but overwhelmingly it’s slow, quiet and thoughtful, with most of the action involving hiding rather than fighting.  I have to admit to having a soft spot for post apocalyptic movies; I think they probably reflect my life in some ways.  However, this is possibly the best film I’ve seen for the first time this year.  It has few weaknesses.  It’s heartbreakingly sad.  As you watch an ordinary, decent guy trying to protect his wife and young son from everyone and everything, the hopelessness it presents will pretty well jump out of the screen, sit down and embrace you; eww, gross.  With so many superheroes and action-heroes routinely overcoming impossible odds in films, it’s easy to forget that most of us aren’t actually like that and there’s a limit to what we can do.  Seeing The Man (none of the characters’ names are ever given) slowly give up more and more of himself and his humanity is depressing beyond words and what few happy moments there are (and “happy” has to be taken to mean better relative to everything else), are quickly crushed.  The scene with the wallet and wedding ring is a real killer and the ending will make you want to cry; it did me. The scene when they catch up with the guy who’s stolen their belongings is pretty shattering too.  The photography is great.  I watched it on a Blu-ray disc and really gets across the whole look and feel of the landscape; everything dead, everything smashed up, looted, burnt out, destroyed, colourless.  The whole time it’s damp, cold and miserable, the sun hardly shines and it rains, a lot.  (Actually that’s not unlike the view from my lounge window recently, what with the weather and all the fly-tipping around the rubbish bins.)  The acting is top draw stuff too.  The two main characters spend most of their time sleeping, looking for food, trying to keep warm and walking.  This doesn’t sound very interesting, but the script is so good that you’ll want to celebrate whenever they get a bit of luck.  The only thing that lets it down slightly is the ending, which has a rather big “why didn’t they” moment.  I actually wanted to get something to eat whilst I was watching it, but I felt so bad for the characters that I didn’t;  I needed to empathise with their hunger, (although I did draw the line at soaking myself in the shower, opening all the windows and rolling around in the dirt outside in the dark).  This is a bleak movie; it offers a few moments of hope, but it’s overwhelmingly a wrist-slasher.  It’s also a must-see film.  I’m going to buy the book it’s based on.

Recommend for anyone with emotions. Probably not a great film for Christmas Day viewing; or Lieutenant Commander Data.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Like Batman, he’s not perfect and he doesn’t have any superpowers, but The Man’s single-minded devotion to protecting his son is pure Badass.  Yes, that’s badass with a capital B.

The Road at IMDB (7.3/10)


The Orphanage: 3.5 Stars


The Orphanage  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)I’ve pulled a muscle, or fractured a rib, or damaged some vital internal organ, or something like that anyway. I’d like to be able to report that I did this in some heroic fashion, saving a kitten from a tall tree, preventing a goal in a tense penalty shoot out, or thwarting a mugger.  However, it happened when I sneezed whilst working on my computer.  Stupid cold!  Now every time I cough I suffer a stab of pain just at the bottom of my right rib cage that’s so intense, it would have most people begging for morphine.  I’m not one to make a fuss though.

2008  –  Certificate: 15  –  USA
Rating Details: Strong psychological horror and strong injury detail

Well, here we have a ghost story. A very good ghost story as it happens.  Something about orphans haunting an orphanage, where some bad goings on had gone on.  There’s nothing especially original about the plot, but the film is very well made and at times pretty creepy.  It does go a bit “Ghostbusters” at one point, but by and large it’s a first class movie.  It sounds especially good too, all those creaks, rattles and booms all over the place.  The main reason why I’ve not given it a higher score is because I really didn’t warm to the main characters in it.  I’m sure they were very decent and good people and all that, especially as they were trying to open a home for disabled youngsters and had adopted a HIV Positive baby, but my God, were they boring!  Mr and Mrs Mogadon.  So middle of the road.  Worthy but dull, like a bag of flour.  I also didn’t much care for how he reacted at the end. For a very practically minded guy who disagreed with his wife’s interpretation of what was going on for the entire film, and struggled more and more to deal with her increasingly neurotic behaviour, he certainly changed his mind quick enough in the end.  Then again, perhaps that was just his way of coping with things; me, I didn’t care enough about him to be that bothered one way or the other.  He looked the kind of guy who would quickly go and find himself another bland woman to marry anyway. Guillermo Del Toro was the executive producer, but he may as well have been the writer and director too, given how much the tone and atmosphere of the film matched that of “Pan’s Labyrinth” that I watched a few weeks ago.  Not a criticism though, just an observation.

Recommended for those who like horrors that don’t involve half-naked people being tortured every five minutes; or a guy with a massive knife or something killing off an isolated group of youngsters; or zombies.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  When all around you doubt your views and in a nice way are telling you you’re as nutty as a fruitcake, sticking to your guns when no one else believes you is pretty badass.  Well done Laura.  (Shouldn’t the saying really be as fruity as a fruitcake?  I’m sure there’s more fruit than nuts in them.  Unless you buy a really expensive one perhaps.)

The Orphanage at IMDB (7.5/10)