Rebellious teenager Stevie (Cameron Van Hoy) finds his mother’s gun and along with his girlfriend (Mischa Barton) impulsively decides to rob a bank, becoming a latter-day Bonnie & Clyde in the process. The pair find themselves in over their heads, as they take hostages and the FBI become involved in negotiating Stevie’s absurd demands. Head FBI agent (Burt Reynolds) struggles to control the mounting tension in the bank, as he tries to keep the violence from escalating. “Pups” is an edgy, post-modern response to the growing trend of senseless gun crime in America, featuring “two of the most natural and freed performances I have seen by actors of any age.” (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
1999 – Certificate: 15 – Rating Details: Strong Language and Moderate Sex References – American Film – 6.5 out of 10
This week I’m seriously hating on the Royal Mail, the Post Office, Parcel Force, or whatever it’s called these days since it was stolen from everyone and then sold back to a small proportion of us. In January I ordered a CD from Japan. Instead of getting my CD, I got one of the dreaded, silver cards, explaining that I owed a £3.85 customs charge, plus a piss-taking £8.00 “handling fee”. (And my name was spelt wrongly on the card too.) So anyway, I paid the fees online eight days before the payment deadline but nothing then got delivered. When I rang up (and it took three calls to get anywhere), I discovered that the CD had been returned to sender as it was claimed I’d not paid the fees. So I then had to complete a claim (a two page P58) form to try and get my money back, plus the additional postage I’m now having to pay to get the CD reshipped to me, after I’d also had to go and sort that out with the company I’d bought it from. The claim form itself was totally shit, as in festival toilets shit, as it asked loads of questions that I had no idea of the answer for, yet it was covered in threats telling me that if I didn’t answer them all my claim couldn’t be processed. The form totally wasn’t designed for what I need to make a claim for. The online version was even worse, as I couldn’t even get past the first page, or indeed the first paragraph. I haven’t had a reply yet. Why do they even need to know half the questions it asks anyway, as my CD clearly got as far as the UK or I’d not have been sent the silver card? I remember when it cost 3p to send a first class letter (and 2.5p for second class). Now it costs 93p (31 times as much) and the service seems worse, despite all the extra technology available these days. It better pay my own, personal £8.00 “handling fee” I’ve added to my claim too. And if this wasn’t all bad enough, two days ago I got a letter saying I needed to pay £9.14 VAT, plus an even bigger piss taking £13.50 “Clearance Fee” before they’ll redeliver it. A total of £22.64, nearly twice as much as last time! The CD only cost £20.34. What a load of bollocks it all is! Unless the company has seriously undercharged me for delivery, then there’s no way the VAT can be £9.14. The cost of the shipping would need to come to £25.36 for that VAT figure to be correct and I was only charged £8.03 for it each time. I shall be interested to see what the packaging says, should it ever actually be delivered. I don’t mind paying the VAT, but I can’t see how it’s been worked out correctly, or understand why the handing fee has now become a clearance fee and nearly doubled. Fucking Nazi Postman Pat can fucking fuck off. I’m going to write to The Queen, it is the Royal Mail after all; I’m sure she’ll go and bang a few heads together when she hears about this. Right now I can so understand the protagonist in this film. I feel like I want to go postal.
There’re three things about the US that no one else in the world understands. These’re its favourite sports, its approach to public health care and it’s obsession with the right to own guns. This film is about the latter. It was made 16 years ago, yet despite a seemingly ongoing parade of nutters with guns going into shops, schools, offices and other places during this period, nothing much seems to have changed since then. That’s kind of sad and reflects badly on the huge number of people there who do actually have some common sense. This is quite a rubbishy movie. The whole approach the police take to deal with the situation makes little sense and what Burt Reynolds is up to most of the time I have no idea; he spends most of it sitting in a car waiting for the kids in the bank to do something, pacing around smoking and scowling, or fielding calls from his wife. The police and FBI seem to have very little control over the onlookers and the press too; there’re armed police everywhere as well as the kids with guns, yet they’re all within a few metres of the bank. I’m not in law enforcement, but aren’t they supposed to keep everyone well away? Even when one of the kids comes out waving a gun about they still don’t get the hint. They seem to have about the same grasp on what to do as the Royal Mail has on postal delivery services. In fact pretty well everyone seems to have a bit of a death wish. However, it’s one saving grace is the boy with the guy. He’s so over-the-top hyper and mad most of the time that it’s worth watching just for his performance. He’s pretty unlikable, but somehow I feel a certain kindred spirit burns inside him. Overall, the film is more entertaining than the sum of its parts might suggest. At least they had a nice day for it, sunny and warm. I’d imagine if it had been wet and cold, it would have been a much more miserable experience for everyone, especially those outside.
Recommended for school children, police officers and bank staff.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Banks aren’t exactly top of most people’s lists of favourite things right now, so with hindsight I’d like to consider the spontaneous decision by the two kids to rob one on the way to school, as an unconscious choice to stick it to the Man and get our money back. That’s badass. You’d do the same thing too, if you had the guts!
For some weird reason, there doesn’t appear to be an English language copy of the trailer on YouTube!
From the mind of horror author Edward Lee, comes this horrifying tale of gruelling revenge and backwoods terror! Stewart Cummings (Jake Suffian), a government agent playing both sides of the law, finds himself in the nightmarish crossfire of a bloody family vendetta. Forced to delve deep into a series of gruesome murders, Cummings encounters the most twisted method of revenge ever conceived by man: The Header. What’s a header? Only redneck Travis Tuckton (Elliot V. Kotek) and his evil “grandpappy” knows for sure… and once you learn the shocking answer, you may never be the same. Get ready for the acclaimed horror film that may be the ultimate in violence and gore! “Header” is a film of unrelenting, twisted terror!
2006 – Certificate: Not Rated – American Film
7.0 out of 10
There’s only 360 more days until next Christmas; how exciting! I’ve managed to get all the way through this Christmas without putting the heating on at home. It was my present for the planet and a middle finger to SSE (Scottish and Southern Electricity). SSE managed to really piss me off recently. I have (well had) an early version of a smart meter for my electricity. I’ve had it about 2.5 years. When I got it I had to change my tariff for a more expense one, (although to be fair it’s probably helped me save more money than the extra I spent on having it). A couple of months ago it stopped working. I e-mailed SSE to ask if it could be fixed or replaced. The reply I got (that took longer to arrive that it should have) said that it was an outdated model and it couldn’t be replaced, but that I’d get a new, free smart meter in a few years’ time! There was no suggestion that perhaps I’d like to change my electric tariff for a cheaper one again or anything. This really annoyed me. In fact it’s annoyed me so much that I’m going to change my electivity suppler next month. Doing this has been on my mind for a while anyway, as SSE isn’t exactly top of the league when it comes to producing electricity from sustainable sources. It will probably cost me a bit more, but I’m looking forward to using fair-trade, organic electricity in future, that’s produced by whole African villages of people peddling really quickly on static bikes to produce the stuff for me. Quite why we can’t harvest the same stuff locally from all the private gyms around here I don’t know. I guess it’s a similar situation to apples, where in the autumn I can either buy English Cox’s (the world’s best apple), or some tasteless replica with a brand name variety (like Pink Lady) grown in New Zealand. That’s just weird. So’s this film.
Agent Stewart Cummings is having a really, really bad day. (I know he’s an agent as he spends most of the film running around in a t-shirt with the letters ATF on it. (The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.) His wife has a mystery illness for which the drugs she needs cost a fortune and his boss is less than supportive of him taking any sort of initiative when it comes to investigating crime. And on top of that someone locally has started doing rather icky things with peoples’ heads. Sadly for Stew it goes even further downhill from then on. After the first ten minutes or so I thought I was going to be faced with an entirely crap film featuring poor production, acting and script. Weirdly, as it progressed it improved. It was like it was filmed in chronological order and everyone just got better as they went along. That’s not to say it’s likely to worry the Oscars in any way, but it got good enough not to distract too much from the watching experience. I’d love to tell you exactly what a header is, but that would spoil it for you. Needless to say, it’s not got a great deal to do with aerial prowess in the penalty box, or plumbing. If nothing else, it’s worth watching just to see Grandpappy, a brilliantly, over-the-top character who brings a level of enthusiasm to proceedings that I wish I could replicate myself when doing my budget forecasts at work. I did have a lot of sympathy for Agent Cummings, a generally decent guy who just had a run of bad luck, really bad luck. Sometimes you just have to lose it. Whilst watching this movie, into my head popped the idea that American rednecks have a lot in common with the UK’s UKIP voters. More weirdness.
There isn’t a lot of music used in the film, it’s mainly just over the credits, but it’s a decent bit of whatever sort of music it is.
The trailer isn’t exactly forthcoming with details. (There is a better one on the DVD, but I couldn’t find a link to it anywhere to put here.) I guess that’s what comes from having a ‘big secret’ that you don’t want to blow to quickly.
Movie Weather Forecast: Warm and sunny through the course of the film. Nice.
Recommended for police officers, cobblers, drug dealers and adulteresses.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? In a fit of anger that wouldn’t have been out of place in the final verse of Eminem’s “Guilty Conscience”, Agent Cummings finally gets pissed at his bad luck. I’m not condoning his behaviour of course, but, well, you can understand it. I’m sure when I eventually ‘lose it’ I’ll go on the rampage too, probably on the London Underground in the rush hour, or maybe in Reading’s Oracle Shopping Centre, on a Saturday afternoon just before Christmas.
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.)
A serial killer makes New York unsafe. Brutally murders he maimed his female victims. Inspector Williams in the dark. Meanwhile, the killer continues to make victims and the police harass with nasty phone calls. When the girlfriend of Williams is likely to be the next victim of the frustrated police launch an intense manhunt … The New York Ripper (Los squartatore di New York) is one of Lucio Fulci’s most controversial films: stylish and exciting, but also extremely bloody, brutal and sadistic. A horror classic of the first water! (Thanks Google, you’ve managed a perfect translation of the Dutch overview from my DVD!)
1982 – Certificate: 16 – Italian Film
6.0 out of 10
I like to watch films; and TV too, although I virtually never do the latter. I enjoy the experience and often have a wee drink as an accompaniment. I’m not 100% sure, but I suspect there’s a correlation between how much I enjoy what I watch and what I have to drink, (or more accurately, how much alcohol I have to drink). Not being the sort of person to pass up an opportunity to carry out radial, left-field, cutting edge research when the occasion arises, I’ve decided to report this information here from now on. I know it’s not going to provide a cure for Ebola, sort out any civil wars or grant Scotland independence, but it’s still pretty exciting stuff isn’t it? There is one small problem though. I can’t actually start to do this yet, as I can’t remember what I had to drink whilst I was watching this film. I guess Einstein had days like this too.
Why do I watch films like this? A serial killer (who talks like a duck for reasons explained near the end of the movie) is on the loose in New York and a burnt out cop is after him. I’m not a fan of cop films or 70s production values. (It was made in 1982 but it looks like it was made in 1974.) I guess as an example of ‘that’ kind of film it’s actually pretty good and carries an uncomfortably authentic level of sleaziness. Most of the men in it are just dreadful. I watched the uncut version. In the UK the film was refused a certificate when first released (effectively banned) and an instruction given that all the prints of the film should be removed from the country. It’s never been released uncut in the UK. So I ended up watching a Dutch import of an Italian film set in America, in which most of the actors are speaking Italian that was later dubbed into English for its release. These days, now we’re more enlightened (i.e. when we’re happy for youngsters to play video games where they can actually rip people to pieces), most of it did feel dated and clichéd, although some of its murder scenes are still pretty unpleasant. Probably not a good first date movie.
The soundtrack is uniformly horrible. In other words, it’s an ideal fit for the movie and adds a great deal to its sleazy, dated feel. Way too much sax.
The trailer below is the ‘nice’ one. If you want to see the ‘not nice’ one, follow the link below instead. Either way, they’re a suitably faithful representation of the film. I can’t help thinking they overdid the screaming though, just a little bit.
Recommended for police offices, serial killers and psychiatrists; and sleazy guys in general.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? At the start of the film, a young woman on a bike (Rosie) manages to stupidly crash into a guy’s car and scratch it down the side. She’s uninjured and her bike undamaged, but he’s naturally a bit pissed about it. However, she just calls him an asshole and cycles off, leaving him with a lot of hassle and a big repair bill. Shortly afterwards she’s murdered by a serial killer. I know it’s wrong and everything and I’ll probably go to Hell for it, but a little bit of me was glad. Payback is a bitch… and badass.
Paul Kersey has been retired from vigilantism for several years. Under an assumed identity, he’s adopted a new life as a teacher in a small town college outside New York. Paul is a changed man. He’s even fallen in love and become engaged to Olivia, a former fashion model turned industrial entrepreneur. But fate won’t leave Kersey alone. On a visit to Manhattan he finds himself caught in the middle of a street shootout. Then he learns that his fiancé is a victim of a protection racket run by her ex-husband mobster Tommy O’Shea. When Olivia goes to the district attorney for help, Tommy has her disfigured, then brutally killed. Once again, Kersey becomes the relentless vigilante. Only this time, instead of relying only on his .357, Kersey uses some creative technology to avenge his lover’s murder!
1994 – Certificate: 18A – American Film
7.0 out of 10
Went to see MxPx at the Camden Underworld last night. That’s the fourth time I’ve seen MxPx since 2005, although the last time was in 2008. It only has one of the original members left these days, at least as a touring band. I like the Underworld. It has a capacity of 500, the sound’s decent, the vibe’s good, there’s no crash barrier in front of the stage and the beer isn’t too extremely priced for a London venue; (it was £4.20 for a pint of cider yesterday, even though I do have the distinct feeling that the price varies from gig to gig). It’s the gig venue I go to most often. Unlike the 100 Club, the concrete pillars that’re in front of the stage (they hold the building above up) don’t seem to get in the way too much. It has a decent raised area around the dance floor too, with a railing that’s good for leaning on when you want to watch a band and don’t want to get your drink spilt. It even seems to have got some new signs outside recently, so you can actually tell it’s there! It was a lot of fun, even though I felt a bit ‘slow’. I think I’ve been to see too many old bands and reggae groups recently; I’ve forgotten how fast punk rock can be live. There were a lot of young women crowd surfing last night; clearly the new ‘no stage diving / crowd surfing’ poster stuck on one of the concrete pillars wasn’t having much effect. There was also a young chap with his mum there too, right at the front; it’s a 14+ venue but he didn’t look any older than 12 to me. He went for a surf too at one point. That’s one cool mum. It’s also been quite a while since I’ve seen so many happy people at a gig. Nearly everyone seem to be so pleased just to be there, which was rather nice. I can’t be bothered with miserable sods at gigs these days. Got wacked the mouth at one point in the most pit so have a bit of a fat lip today, but that’s okay. Charles Bronson does more than that to people in this movie. (This is probably just as well, as otherwise it would have been a very boring vigilante film.)
Another year and another of Paul Kersey’s relationships ends with a rape and/or murder. Some people seem to be born unlucky. This, the last Death Wish film, doesn’t break the cycle. Released in 1994, it’s a film that now looks and feels its age, in fact older; some of the story is a bit silly too. However, Tommy O’Shea is one of the ‘forgotten’ badass movie baddies. It’s worth watching for him alone. In fact it has quite a few good characters in it. Paul Kersey is a strange guy, even ignoring his habit of blowing away underworld scum. Here he is, engaged to Olivia Regent, who has a young daughter. Olivia is a ‘big deal’ in the New York fashion industry, (and about 30 years younger than him). Yet he doesn’t seem to know very much about her ex-husband or even to have met him before, yet he turns out to be ‘Mr. Big’ when it comes to extorting money through controlling the local fashion industry and Olivia’s company in particular; as well as being her daughter’s father. You would have thought they might have talked about him just a bit at some point; it hardly struck me as a whirlwind romance.
I didn’t much care for the soundtrack, but for the film itself it’s a great fit and helps to set the mood well. In that sense it’s a bit like rain; it’s a pain in the arse when I want to do something outside, but it helps make things grow.
This film has a great trailer. In fact, if someone ever makes a trailer about me, I want the guy who does the voiceover on this one to do mine.
Recommended for fashion designers and entrepreneurs, vigilantes, ineffective police officers and gangsters.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Charles Bronson and one of the best ‘forgotten’ movies baddies ever, Tommy O’Shea, face off in the last Death Wish film. There’s enough badass action in this movie for you to need a rectal examination after watching it. Charles Bronson was 74 (I think) when he made this film. If he got involved in setting governmental pension policies, I doubt any old grannies would be dying from hyperthermia in winter because they couldn’t afford to put their heating on. That would be badass too.
In the fame-obsessed world of Los Angeles, a group of teenagers take us on a thrilling and disturbing crime-spree in the Hollywood hills. Based on true events, the group, who were fixated on a life of glamour, tracked their celebrity targets online and stole more than $3 million in luxury goods from their homes. The victims included Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, Rachel Bilson and Lindsay Lohan. The gang became known in the media as “The Bling Ring”. Written and directed by Academy Award Winning Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation”, “The Virgin Suicides”, “Marie Antoinette”),”The Bling Ring” stars Emma Watson (“Harry Potte”, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”), Leslie Mann (“This is 40”, “Knocked Up”), Taissa Farmiga, Claire Julien, Israel Broussard and Katie Chang.
2013 – Certificate: 15 – American Film
Rating Details: Strong language and drug use
7.0 out of 10
In an effort to bolster our fading place in the world, us Brits often like to remind others that the last person to successfully invade mainland Britain was William the Conqueror, who in 1066 shot King Harold in the eye at the Battle of Hastings. (And that’s about all we actually bother to learn about the story, even though that last bit probably isn’t even true either. The fact that it happened before America and much of the rest of the world had been invented, is good enough for us. ) Last week I had a chance to do something similar. (No, not shoot someone in the eye! God, do I really need to even write that?) Instead, I had a chance at fame and fortune on the south coast myself, when due to a severe lack of (and I’m putting it diplomatically) coordination at work, I found myself giving a presentation to a lot of ‘important people’. (Well important in Hastings anyway.) I spent the guts of two days (including a Sunday) putting the sort of PowerPoint presentation together that really ought to be released as a stand-alone DVD for others to enjoy. Indeed, a limited cinema run wouldn’t be out-of-place. It was all very stressful though; at one point I even had to order myself an Indian takeaway from the Alamin Tandoori to recover from the whole, ‘creative experience’. (These things don’t just come together; each slide was torn from my very soul.) So the day of the presentation arrived. In my mind I had a vision, a vision of a room full of people, many of them standing, clapping and cheering me as an environmental saviour. (A bit like Noah, but without the boat.) Sadly, the train I was travelling on broke down and I ended up arriving 20 minutes late; obviously the 40 minute, ‘crappy public transport safety margin’ I’d opted for wasn’t up to the job. Apparently there was a “communication problem” with the train; the driver couldn’t speak to the guard or something; (or Train Manager as they seem to get called these days.) Bollocks to that. How did them not being able to have a chat about last night’s TV stop the wheels turning? Sitting in the train, watching three guys in orange jackets wondering about outside, the only other thing I could see was a bit of hawthorn growing nearby, as we’d got stuck in a cutting. John Lydon told us all that “Anger is an energy”. I could probably have solved the world’s energy crisis single-handedly such was my mood, which would have been quite ironic under the circumstances. Well, it turned out to be the fastest PowerPoint presentation I’ve ever given to anyone, that’s for sure. Thanks to Southern Trains, my chance to become an international eco-celebrity was ruined. All I want to do is save the planet, I’m not asking for much really. Next time I’ll rob a few rich people instead. It worked for Robin Hood and I’m sure I can find a few affluent bankers that no one really cares about. By a strange coincidence, this film covers a not dissimilar topic. (That’s robbing the rich and famous, not inefficient pubic transport.)
Closely mirroring the real events it’s based on, this movie follows the exploits of a group of celebrity obsessed teenagers, who start robbing the homes of the rich and famous. Paris Hilton, whose home they broke in to a number of times, allowed these scenes to be filmed in her house. OMG! OMG! (OMG I’m starting to talk like them now…) A whole room full of shoes? A nightclub room, complete with pole? I own six pairs of shoes, including two pairs of steel-capped boots for work. The only poles I come into contact with are the ones living near me. Not a lot seems to happen in this film. Vacuous teens are not the most exciting of people, unless you like watching them hanging out in nightclubs taking selfies and immediately posting them on Facebook. Even the break-ins are somewhat low-key and most of the time they just messed about when they got into these people’s homes. Google Maps is every villain’s friend. Somewhat trippy one moment and almost documentary-like at others, it’s actually quite entertaining. Given that it’s based on a real group of people and real crimes, the extras are especially interesting and add quite a lot to the whole story. The car crash scene works well too; it made me jump anyway. The sound is pretty good, as is the overall look of the movie and the acting. Well worth a watch. At the end I was left with two questions. Firstly, why? Secondly, it features a group of very good-looking young people, plus drink and drugs; yet there wasn’t any sexual chemistry or apparent attraction between any of them, not even a little bit of tension. That’s just a bit weird. I guess celebrities really do screw up your life.
Schoolboy Q, 2 Chainz, Young Jeezy, Bassnectar, Really Doe, Kid Cudi. Yep, you’re right, that means it’s time for a hip-hop based soundtrack. Given the nature of the movie, the music works really well.
The trailer’s pretty good.
Recommended for vapid, non-celebrities and anyone who posts loads of pictures directly to their Facebook page without bothering to delete the technically crap ones (they make my eyes hurt) and doesn’t see the irony in doing it in the first place. Also anyone who thinks they matter to anyone outside of their immediate family and friends. Trust me, you really don’t.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? The scenes where they break into Paris Hilton’s home were really filmed in Paris Hilton’s home. She has cushions with her face on them! Really big pictures of her face. In her own home. Whatever the story behind them, that’s just not normal. Seriously, it’s not. It’s only one step away from going to bed with a picture of yourself. Still, at least I know what to get in future as presents for ‘those awkward people who have everything’. Thanks Paris! Sorting out this year’s Christmas pressies for me is badass.
Harry Callahan is a tough, streetwise San Francisco cop whom they call Dirty Harry. In this action classic, you’ll see why – and also why Clint Eastwood’s reputation as a premier film star and moviemaker is secure. A rooftop sniper (Andy Robinson) calling himself Scorpio, has killed twice and holds the city ransom with the threat of killing again. Harry will nail him , one way or the other, no matter what the “system” prescribes. Filming on location, director Don Siegel made the City by the Bay a vital part of Dirty Harry, a practice continued in its four sequels. Forty three years after its arrival the original remains one of the most gripping police thrillers ever made.
1971 – Certificate: 18 – American Film
7.5 out of 10
This week I’ve inadvertently become a champion and role-model for the downtrodden masses, as I successfully concluded my fight for compensation as a result of the evil and corrupt banking industry misselling me Payment Protection Insurance for a credit card. As we all know now, every single person who’s ever worked for a bank is a child of the Devil. From the CEO to the office cleaners. They exist for one purpose only and that’s to rip everyone else off. Well they made one BIG mistake trying to take me on. After many letters, the MBNA has finally capitulated, agreed it made a ‘mistake’ and has paid me back, with interest. I can’t decide what to spend it on first, a yacht, a jet or an Aston Martin or two. I guess a few lines of coke and some high-class ‘escorts’ wouldn’t go amiss either. I can finally get rid of all my pathetic, stupid, so-called friends and buy myself a whole lot of new ones that better fit my improved social status. The rich and the powerful will invite me to everything. A-list celebrities will be at my beck and call. My membership of the Bilderberg Group is assured. I’m going to start voting Conservative at once, not that I really need to worry about politics now, as I could easily buy myself a whole country if I wanted to. So I guess you probably want to know how much I got? Well, the cheque I was sent is made out to me for 20p…
“Dirty Harry” is a film about a naughty policeman, which was inspired by the Lurkers’ 1999 non-hit “Go Ahead Punk”. (I’ve got this on a very limited edition 7” single in grey vinyl, number 34 of the 125 that were made.) Its main character Harry Callahan was based on James Callaghan, who was British Prime Minister from 1976-1979 and thus oversaw the invention of punk rock by the downtrodden masses that he created during the Winter of Discontent. “Winter of Discontent” was also a great track from Political Asylum’s Winter EP, a copy of which I was sold by the band on the Fulham Palace Road, on my way to a Lurkers gig at the Fulham Greyhound. (The latter was tragically renamed/relaunched earlier this year as an American theme pub called the Southern Belle. WTF?) Its historical significance aside, this film gave us the original police officer who doesn’t play by the rules but gets away with, who still haunts TV and films to this day. Scorpio is also a great psycho without a thread of remorse whatsoever and stands up well to the more modern versions that have followed in his wake. I doubt there’s anything else I could possibly say about this film that hasn’t already been said 100 times before, so won’t. But for what’s now quite an old film, it still looks good. Essential viewing.
This movie is pretty light on music, which is just as well given it was made in the early 70s.
The trailer’s very long and seems to be desperate to portray Harry as more of a victim of circumstance than a police officer who really ought to be sacked for gross misconduct at the very least. He could easily be Martin Riggs‘ father.
Recommended for police officers, psychos and school bus drivers.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Not once but twice, Harry gives us one of his two, world-famous quotes, here and here. What other character would have the audacity to do that? (Arnie’s done it but not twice in the same film I don’t think.) That’s like a DJ playing the same song back-to-back, it just doesn’t happen; (unless you’re John Peel and you’re playing the Undertones, but that’s okay). He must have been feeling lucky, punk.
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?)
On a hot summer day, a bicycle is found in a wheat field, and, nearby, the body of a young girl. The killer is never found. 23 years later. Same date. Same place. Another bicycle. Another girl. This time round, an ageing detective convinced that history is repeating itself, comes out of retirement determined to track down the perpetrator with the help of his young colleague. Spanning a week in the investigation, both of them will begin a journey that will see intact worlds shatter apart. A striking debut, The Silence is based on an award-winning novel and follows European crime thrillers such as “The Killing” and “Wallander” as it delves into the psyche of detectives and criminals to deliver a chilling story of murder and betrayal.
2010 – Certificate 15 – German Film
Strong language and sexual violence
8.5 out of 10
I’ve got sore fingers. Fed up with my existing career options, I’ve decided to take advantage of the Christmas week and learn how to play the guitar. Once I’ve done this I’ll become a rock star. I’ve got plenty of social grievances and failed love affairs to write about, so it ought to be pretty easy to do once I’ve managed to learn a chord. Posters of me in seductive, semi-naked poses will soon be starring down from the walls of countless, teenage girls’ bedrooms up and down the country. Justin Bieber will just have to piss off down the dole office where he belongs. My guitar is a rather nice, left-handed Westbury Standard, a model that was made for a few years around 1980 and bought for me by one of those aforementioned failed lover affairs. Despite my cack-handed abuse of it, it rarely goes out of tune and I’ve yet to break a string, even though my playing has all the subtlety of Freddy Kruger in a maternity ward. But how hard can it be? Look at all the stupid people who seem to have managed. Sadly, I apparently have hands like a horse’s hooves when it comes to playing. Why does it need so many strings and why are they so close together? Stupid design. I thought it would only take a few hours, but apparently it takes longer than that…. I’m not a happy bunny.
This is a film with no happy characters in it; at all. No one comes out of it well. Everyone ends up more fucked up than they were to start with. No, it’s not a documentary about real life, but a German movie about two paedophiles and the police investigation to apprehend them. I’m personally not a big fan of crime films. All that Sherlock Homes, Poirot, Scooby Doo stuff, where at the end everyone’s in a room and all the details get blurted out. Yawn… Fortunately this is a lot better. What actually makes it so good is the way it gets inside everyone’s head and exposes all the guilt within; the police, the victims’ families, the perpetrators, the perpetrators’ families. It’s a real lose-lose story. I found it hard at times not to feel sorry for everyone, even the ‘baddies’ in their own, screwed up way. I was also struck by just how scruffy, undisciplined and a bit mad all the German police seemed to be. At times the feel of the film reminded me of the French horror “7 Days”, although that’s even darker. Overall this is very close to being a genuinely great film. Only it’s slightly frustrating habit of introducing ideas that it then doesn’t really do anything with, let’s it down.
The music used in this film is fine and works well.
Considering this is a trailer with no words it actually not bad. I’m not sure it tells a great deal about the film’s plot, although it does a decent job of getting the atmosphere across.
Recommended for the police, caretakers and architects.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Everyone is so miserable and wracked with guilt that it’s difficult to find anything worthy of being considered badass. I guess the weather was nice most of the time; lovely warm, sunny days. Summer is badass. Winter is just crap; short days, cold, damp and wet. Yuk.
Sean Veil (Lee Evans) is an ultra-paranoid murder suspect who films himself around the clock to provide an alibi, in case he’s ever accused of another crime. When the police come calling to investigate a new murder, the one tape that can prove his innocence has mysteriously disappeared. Past and present collide as Sean strives to prove his innocence of this and all the other crimes that have been laid at his door. But the accusations and the tension mount and just when Sean thinks it’s all over, an unexpected twist finds him fighting for his life…
2004 – Certificate: 15 – UK/Irish Film
Rating Details: Strong violence and language
8.0 out of 10
A couple of months ago I started walking into work again, rather than driving. Regularly walking the 2.4 miles each way has turned me into a hyper-fit super-being, but it’s not without its drawbacks. Today I’d like to briefly consider the concept of Pavement Wars. My journey includes a significant section along the Oxford Road in west Reading, where I find myself walking ‘against the tide’, as most people are going in the other direction and into town. I’m used to the barbaric anarchy of rush-hour on the Tube, where a fallen body is considered nothing more than an annoying trip hazard; but I thought out on the open road (well pavement) of the Home Counties, things would be a little different. I thought people would lift their hats in polite greetings as they passed one another, whilst exchanging a few words of small talk, about the weather or cricket scores perhaps? Sadly it’s more like a pedestrianised version of Carmageddon, with the sort of manoeuvring that would lose a driver his or her license in a moment. Seriously, it’s like a war zone out there and I’m not winning. I’ve lost count of the number of time I’ve been forced into walls, bollards and the road, in an effort not to get mowed down by others’ irresponsible walking. But this guy is fighting back! Last Thursday, my path was blocked by two women coming in the other direction. Any decent human being, when walking next to a friend, would make sure they got out of the way if someone was coming in the opposite direction and the two of them were totally occupying the path. But not these two. And they both saw me coming along, I’m quite sure of that. Did they expect me to step out into the road to let them pass, even though I had my back to the traffic? Was I the innocent victim of bitchy office politics, which meant nether of them wanted to walk behind the other, in case this more submissive stance might have some bearing on an inter-departmental power-struggle? Perhaps my “Do You Like Waffles?” t-shirt wasn’t scary enough? Or were they just inconsiderate, stupid, thoughtless, brain-dead bimbos? Who knows? Whatever, this time there was going to be no hanging about waiting between the bollards for them to pass. I braced myself for the inevitable impact, which happened just about here. As we passed my arm briefly collided with the tall blonde’s. I suppose with hindsight it was probably the most exciting sexual caress she’s had for ages, but to me it meant only one thing; at last, I was a true Pavement Warrior! No longer will I cower in shop entrances, between bollards, behind bins or pavement furniture. Reading take note; there’s a new kid on the block, a new kid who’s no longer gonna be pushed around by people who think the sidewalk owes them a living. I’m ready for war. Are they? Given all that, it’s a shame I’m not about to consider a viewing of “Mad Max”.
In a thriller with more twists than a shop full of Curly Wurly bars (or an avenue of Corkscrew Willow if you prefer), comedian Lee Evans convincingly portrays a paranoid and socially inept guy (Sean) who films his every waking (and sleeping) moment. Fortunately, we’re spared most of the more ‘intimate’ moments of his life, but it does make for an original and interesting, although somewhat convoluted movie. I’m a bit stupid so I’m pretty sure I didn’t manage to follow everything, but it was still a really good watch; (despite the overuse of blue filters and a tiny, non-anamorphic 2.35:1 picture). So this probably means it’ll be a good watch next time too, as I still won’t know what’s going on; being an idiot does have its advantages. I did feel sorry for Sean; putting up with dodgy TV reporters, useless and greedy psychologists, a whole population that thought he was a triple murderer and cops that ‘cross the line’, is enough to send anyone a bit round the bend. The amount of plot twists in the last ten minutes are likely to send most viewers a bit round the bend too. His ‘underground house’ was interesting though.
The soundtrack is exactly that. There’re no dumb pop records put into the film to enable some sort of “as featured in” soundtrack to be released. It’s just decent music added into scenes to make them better in that way that only music can.
Recommended for police detectives, the paranoid, the tabloid press, everyone who hates CCTV and any innocents who’ve ever been accused of murder.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitation.
Top badass moment? In a film full of twists and turns, the fact that Sean managed to keep himself together enough to do what he needed to do, qualifies as badass.
The streets are filled with death and destruction. Ruthless drug traffickers prey upon the poor, the lonely, the helpless. LA is a city desperate for deliverance… until now! Charles Bronson returns as Paul Kersey, the original urban vigilante and one-man demolition force in this pulse-pounding, take-no-prisoners thriller! Two rival drug gangs have a death-grip on LA’s battle-torn inner city. But their brutal reign of terror is about to come to a violent end. One man is out to avenge the cocaine-induced death of his girlfriend’s teenage daughter. His name is Paul Kersey – and he’s armed, dangerous… and mad as hell!
1987 – Certificate: R – American Film
6.0 out of 10
The unseasonal run of warm days we’ve been having recently has put an unprecedented strain on reserves of cold drinks in Cactus World. In fact I’ve run out of normal soft drinks and the things I only drink in an emergency, like bitter lemon and ginger ale, have been in the fridge so long they’ve all frozen solid. I tried opening one this afternoon, but so much pressure had built up in the bottle that the contents started to explode everywhere; in fact I read this evening that earlier today America had briefly gone to DEFCON 1, as some military satellite had mistaken my attempts to get something cold to drink as a ballistic missile launch. I think it’s all okay now though. Fortunately, I also found some old bottles of Bacardi Breezer (Pineapple) in the back of the fridge that the alcohol had stopped from freezing. It tasted okay(ish), considering it was two years past its Best Before date. I also have to report the good news that the far worse scenario of there being a shortage of cold, alcoholic drinks, is not presently a concern.
Before we had mega-budget screen superheroes and nutters like Martin Riggs cleaning up urban scum, we had Paul Kersey. The original street-level vigilante, here’s a chap who reluctantly goes off on his own and sorts out bad guys. In many ways he’s a lot like Batman, a tortured soul who’s lost the ones he cares for most; except he’s not especially fit and strong, isn’t a billionaire and doesn’t have a flash car, cave, computer, utility belt or butler. Then again, he does use guns and he hasn’t got an annoying sidekick either. Last time we saw him, he was busy helping disadvantaged communities in New York become more resilient. This time he’s back in America’s other city, Los Angeles, sorting out corrupt police and drug barons; you know, the usual stuff architects deal with. Scarcely have I recovered from seeing Lieutenant Commander Chakotay turn up in “Night of the Comet” when along comes Lieutenant Commander Tuvok in “Death Wish 4”. Clearly working under cover for Starfleet in some sort of time-travel paradox, he inadvertently gives some drugs to some dumb bimbo, who promptly kills herself with them. She just happens to be the daughter of Charles Bronson’s latest love interest too. In another interesting parallel with “Star Trek” I would say it was at least as deadly being a friend of Paul Kersey, as it is wearing a red shirt as a member of a landing party. There’ve been five Death Wish films and nearly all of his ‘nearest and dearest’ have ended up being raped and/or murdered. You do see Bronson take out Tuvok’s car with a grenade in an underground garage, but I’m pretty sure I saw him being beamed out just before it exploded. Tuvok could’ve easily stunned them all with his phaser, but he probably didn’t want to contaminate the time-line or such like. I watched the hardcore, uncut version, not the old, UK cut one with its missing 54 seconds. Because of that I’d have probably turned into a serial killer by now, if it wasn’t for the fact that it was also a pan and scan version too, so half of it was missing. I hate it when they do that. It was mono as well.
There’s not a great deal of music in this movie and what there is has a tendency to sound like a reject from The Terminator. The theme music is horrible though; some nasty saxophone-heavy garbage that sounds like it escaped from an obscure, 70s porn VHS.
Recommend for architects, vigilantes, would-be superheroes and anyone who might make friends with Paul Kersey. And a warning to the latter; DON’T DO IT!
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations. However, someone does sort of explode into nothing after having a grenade fired into him. And you thought The Terminator came up with that one first?
Top badass moment? Dumb question. Charles Bronson IS badass. And when someone asks, “who the fuck are you?” and you simply reply (after a tension building pause), “death”, that’s badass too. And keeping a M203 grenade launcher attached to a M16 assault rifle in a cupboard behind your fridge is badass too.
When top London cop, PC Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg), is reassigned to the quiet town of Sandford, he struggles with his seemingly crime-free world… and oafish partner Danny (Nick Frost). When several grisly accidents rock the village, it’s not long before Danny’s dreams of explosive, high-octane, car-chasing, gun fighting, all-out action become reality! It’s time for these small-town cops to hand out big-city justice!
2007 – Certificate: 15 – UK Film
Rating Details: Very strong language and strong comic bloody violence
9.0 out of 10
I went to the local chemists yesterday. To get there I had to walk up a steep hill. As I was doing so, I passed a young guy (I guess he was about 13) having a conversation in the street with a friend. (I say conversation; they were actually shouting at one another across the road and into an adjacent playground. Maybe it was just a new type of cheap, limited range not-very-smart phone they were trying out; who knows?) So anyway, I got to hear quite a long exchange between them, as I staggered, wheezing, red-faced and exhausted, up the near precipice I was attempting to climb. Maybe my physically overtaxed body was to blame, but I could barely decipher a word of what they were shouting to one another, despite the fact that I think they were speaking English. Today I went to a meeting in Redhill; (which despite the name, doesn’t appear to have a hill of any colour in it, just some shops and offices). I had to get up at the unwholesome hour of 5:58am to give me time to get there and the train was too crowded for me to get in a decent sleep on the way too. Maybe my mentally overtired mind was to blame, but I sat in a meeting with four other people who, although very nice, used so much ‘management speak’ that I could barely decipher a word of what they were saying to one another, despite the fact that I think they were speaking English. I guess I’m not cool enough to ‘hang out on the streets’ with ‘the kids’ or clever enough to exchange ‘intellectual banter’ with ‘corporate leaders’. The film features a number of language issues relating to the “metropolitan police vocabulary guidelines”.
This is a genuinely great action-comedy. If you’ve never seen it, rectify the situation now. If you have seen it, go and watch it again, now. That’s all I’ve got to say about it really, because it’s one of those movies you really ought to have seen already and it’s got Scotty in it. It’s also one of those rare British films where you want the police to win. If you think the locals as characterised in the movie are just a bit over-the-top; well, I’ve met people like them for real. Most of them are parish and town councillors. Lovely people, but a bit scary too… The Shires of southern England have a lot in common with the Wild West…
Between the inspired use of Adam and the Ants’ “Goody Two Shoes” at the start and Supergrass’ “Caught by the Fuzz” at the end, the music settles down into a more mundane but fun mixture of mostly 60s and 70s brit-pop songs, which often reinforce the images on the screen through their lyrics. Actually it’s a pretty good soundtrack.
Recommended for police officers, town/parish councillors, florists, journalists, publicans, hoddies, supermarket managers and anyone associated with a neighbourhood watch group.
No cats or chainsaws, but two decapitations, plus one head totally splattered with a church spire.
Top badass moment? Trashing your local supermarket has to be badass. (Is there anyone who hasn’t at some point wanted to pull the bottom can or packet out of one of those ‘food towers’ they build them from?) Doing so in the name of law and order simply gives you access to the moral high ground too. Imagine all the bargains there the next day, on the ‘slightly shop soiled’ shelf? (Actually, do they still construct those towers? I half think they’ve been done way with in the name of health and safety. Those “Tin of beans and it’s toast for toddler” types of headlines don’t look good.)
In a riveting performance that won him 1993’s Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actor, Anthony Wong (“Hard Boiled”) stars as the owner/chef of the Eight Immortals Restaurant, where the original owner and his family mysteriously disappear. As the police, led by Danny Lee (“The Killer”), intensify their investigation, they gradually uncover the shocking truth. Definitely not for the squeamish, “The Untold Story” is also an intelligent character study filled with dark humour touches. And remember… it actually happened!
1992 – Certificate: Not Rated – Hong Kong Film
Rating Details: Scenes of extreme violence and graphic sexual situations
6.5 out of 10
In the late 80s I stopped eating Birds Eye Potato Waffles. This is because I got really bad food poisoning from them, twice in a row. I can still remember it quite vividly. I think it’s the last time I took time off work through being physically ill. They’re the only thing that’s ever given me food poisoning, as far as I can remember. A few months ago I decided to try them again. The good news was, no sickness or diarrhea etc, a promising start. (I don’t recommend trying to microwave them though, the results aren’t especially satisfactory.) Now, these are potato waffles; they’re probably one of the Bird Eye brand’s ‘signature products’. On the side of the packaging is a marketing highlight which proudly proclaims, “Made with REAL potatoes”. What the fuck? Potato waffles and they’re actually made with potatoes; surely not? Is that really the best thing they can come up with? It doesn’t bode well for the rest of the product if that’s the highlight. This also left me wondering what exactly is an unreal potato. The packaging also goes on to say each 100g of waffles is made with 109g of potatoes. Really? I guess an understanding of particle physics is helpful if you want to enjoy Birds Eye Potato Waffles; it must be all that ‘new physics’ stuff again. Personally, I’d rather know that all the potatoes used are grown within 40 miles of the factory where they make them, which is what it says on its web site; I think that’s much more worthy. Has our food become so crap these days that the fact it contains what you’d expect it to contain has become such a big deal that it needs bragging about? (Oh, I forgot about all the horse burgers.) Birds Eye in Europe is presently owned by private equity group Primira. One of its 11 Business Principles is “Comply with both the letter and the spirit of all applicable laws, regulations and contractual obligations”. I guess that’s why it has its finance team based on Guernsey; nothing to do with its tax haven status then? This film features a restaurant and food that makes people sick; and dead.
Never released in the UK, Anthony Wong plays a restaurant owner called Wong Chi-Hang and it’s worth tracking down a copy of this film for his performance alone. The guy has some serious, anger management issues. When he’s not feeding his clientele with the ground-up remains of people he’s killed, raping his staff, beheading children or cheating at Mah Jong, he’s being beaten up by various people, generally the police or the relatives of those he’s murdered. For a pretty gruesome and dark film that’s basically about a serial killer, the police are presented as only a few steps above the Keystone Cops. The senior detective and his team investigating the case don’t seem to do a lot of work, they continually belittle the only woman in the team, they happy beat up poor old Anthony with the least provocation and the senior detective nearly always has a prostitute with him at work. It’s not often you can have any sympathy for a serial killer, but he’s clearly a product of his environment; well, sort of. Set in Macau, this film is meant to be based on a real crime too. It’s a bloody horror with the occasional bit of almost slapstick comedy; very watchable if you can deal with all that.
This film has a fair amount of background music, much of which is clearly inspired by the “Psycho” ‘shower scene’. You’ll not want to watch this film for the music.
Recommended for catering students, the police and anyone who’s crap at Mah Jong.
No cats or chainsaws and three decapitations; two of the latter were after they were dead though. It’s not often you see a child have her head cut off in a film…
Top badass moment? In the middle of cutting a load of people up, it was good to see Anthony Wong take time out to sharpen the meat cleaver he was using. (He forgot to wear safety goggles or gloves whilst using the grinder though.) No wonder he was so pissed off when the cutting edge got damaged soon after. (Maybe he sharpened the blade too finely for cutting bones; or perhaps he hit the floor with it by mistake?) Caring about your tools, even if you’re a serial killer, is good practice and therefore badass. They do say a blunt tool is more dangerous than a sharp one.
It was the film that put Peter Jackson on the international film circuit. It was the film that rocketed Kate Winslet to fame. It was the film based on a crime that shocked a nation. Discover the grim and wonderful world of “Heavenly Creatures”. Pauline is a student in New Zealand who has no affection for her family or her classmates, but when the beautiful and wealthy Juliet enrols at her school the pair become best friends. Through their shared tastes in art, literature, and music they begin to build an elegant fantasy world. However, when Juliet’s parents threaten to separate the girls, they make a ruthless pact to preserve their fairytale forever, whatever the cost… Starring Academy-Award winner Kate Winslet (“Titanic”), Melanie Lynskey (“Two and a Half Men”, “Win Win”) and directed by Academy-Award winner Peter Jackson (“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy), “Heavenly Creatures” is a gripping and intelligent account of a friendship with a dark edge.
1994 – Certificate: 18 – New Zealand
Rating Details: Infrequent strong bloody violence
8 out of 10
About a year ago we ‘rebranded’ at work. Out went all the stuffy, 20th Century imagery and in came a fun, cool, 21st Century, 20-teens look. Our sturdy, reliable fleeces were ripped from our backs by ‘The Management’ and burnt in a huge pyre of green and black polyester. In their place came thin, dark blue hoodies, with bits of trendy string and other things hanging from all over them; (remember the latter, they’re important later on). Everyone over the age of 25 had to attend special training courses, to enable us to wear them without spontaneously going into either an 80’s training montage (a la “Rocky”), or out to hang around on street corners and mug old ladies. I was told mine made me looked 20 years younger, (or as I suspect, just like an old bloke trying to look 20 years younger). Now, let’s come back to the present day. On Friday I was answering the call of nature. In an effort to prevent one of the “bits of trendy string” ‘getting in the way’ so to speak, I undid the zip on my hoodle. In doing so, a pocket thought it would be really fun and cool to throw my mobile phone into the toilet. Our trusty fleeces had deeper pockets with zips on them; I’d never had a fleece pocket do that to me. So there I was, urinating on my own mobile, casually wondering how long it could withstand being in the water and how exactly I was going to get it out in anything resembling a hygienic way. Anyway, one rubber glove and several minutes later… Although it had been switched on before it went swimming, it now wasn’t working. It was well and truly dead, save for a couple of flickering, fading lights at the side that put me in mind of The Terminator’s eyes after it gets bashed to bits and dies, just before it comes alive again; although there was no sign of my phone rerouting itself to take advantage of an alternative power source. My mobile is a Nokia 6300, the sort of phone that’s given to ‘top executives’ like myself, at least it was 7 years ago when I got it. And despite its slick 90’s styling, it’s about as water-resistant as, well (as we’re on the subject anyway), a sheet of toilet paper. I disassembled it, poured the urine/water mixture out of it and left it to dry. At least it hadn’t exploded; if my life was a Hollywood action movie I’m pretty sure it would have done and I really wasn’t in the mood to deal with an exploding lavatory. The next day I put all the bits back together again and switched it on. Nothing happened. I shook it, hit it, put it in the microwave oven for 30 seconds, (okay I lied about the microwave), but still it didn’t work. I started trying to think of excuses I could use when fessing up at work that I’d broken it. Who could I blame? The hoddie designers? The branding manager? The chief executive? Maybe I could just say it had broken of old age? Then I had an “Independence Day” moment. Do you know the bit in the film when the President of the United States is flying a jet fighter and fires a missile at one of the alien spaceships and it doesn’t work and he says something like, “I’m going to have one more try?” Well I had much the same experience with my Nokia. I pressed the on button, kept my finger on it for ages and suddenly it shook and spluttered into life. Amazing. Now I’ve just got to work out how to decontaminate it. This movie doesn’t feature any of these things at all, not even a passing reference to them.
This film is based on the true-life story of two school-girls in the 50s who formed a very close relationship and ended up murdering one of the mothers. It was the movie that bought Peter “Lord of the Rings” Jackson and Kate “the second most beautiful woman in the world” Winslet to public prominence. After 20 minutes I really thought it was going to be rubbish, especially as I’m not a great fan of period dramas or real-life dramatisations, but then it suddenly got good. It’s a hard film to pigeonhole, a genuine one-off. It’s really an adult fairytale, despite it closely following the story of the murder. The music in the film works really well and it has one scene, near the end, that’s an authentically brilliant bit of intense cinema. It’s not a perfect movie by any means, but it is probably one that everyone should see. It also throws up a whole range of interesting questions, about the nature of their relationship, the reaction of their parents to it, their mental condition, their treatment at school, their relationship with their parents. In many ways it’s a shame it’s based on a real story, as the fact that someone really was killed sort of makes it hard to form a detached opinion of everything. I watched the shorter, original cut (as I have it on Blu-ray and it looked really nice); of course, being the sad, nerdy film person I am, I also own the extended version too, on DVD.
No cats or chainsaws and 1 decapitation, although the latter is off-screen.
Recommended for all film fans; and psycho school-girls.
Top badass moment? Juliet walks into a French lesson at her posh new school and within 30 seconds tells the teacher she’s made a mistake. Having myself once been teaching on a butterfly identification course and had someone in the group suddenly shout out I’d misidentified a butterfly on one of the slides I was showing, I can personally relate just how badass that is. I’ve never run that training course since. I hate butterflies now, they’re scum, only fit to be squashed.
Whilst watching this film, I realised that my life is a lot like Robocop’s. Like him, I used to be a normal guy with a normal life, job I liked and was good at, friends, relationship, etc. Then one day stuff happened and I ended up a half-crazed cyborg, owned by my employer, devoid of outside interests, single-mindedly saving the planet, dealing out swift justice to those that dare trash it in any way. These days I mindlessly follow the instructions I’m given to the letter, fill in lots of forms and databases, drive around in a souped-up Ford, (well okay I changed the stereo in it), and seek out funding wherever it’s hiding, 24/7. I’m tormented by fragments of memory from my former life and long for redemption; and call me paranoid, but I think the rest of the environmental sector is out to get me too, because I want to do more than map and count every bug and flower there is, over and over again. Like Robocop, I also have four Prime Directives:
1) Serve the membership
2) Protect the planet
3) Follow procedures
4) Make money (as is the case for Robocop, this last one is classified, so don’t tell anyone please)
Okay, so I’m not really a cyborg (although I do wear glasses and contact lenses and have a few fillings); and I also sleep and do other stuff at times as well; and I’m hopeless at doing what I’m told, but really, the parallels are startling. And if more proof was needed, then about 12 years ago, when I was just starting a new job with my current employer, I had to make a presentation to a number of people, including the Group Director. There’s a great line in this film from Dick Jones, Senior President of Omni Consumer Products. He stands up in front of the board of directors, adjacent to a bank of TV screens showing images of the company’s products, to do something quite similar to what I had to do. He starts off by saying, “Take a close look at the track record of this company” and then goes on to describe how the company has “gambled in markets traditionally regarded as non-profit”. That’s what charities generally get up to, so I’ve always felt there were a lot of similarities between what I do in my job and what OCP was looking to achieve with Delta City; I’m sure I’d fit right on in there, should it be looking to recruit anytime soon at the C-level. With my crappy little PowerPoint presentation (which I still have a copy of), I began with a very similar line. I’m not sure anyone there at the time made the connection, but to me it was awesomely cool! This movie is awesomely cool too.
1987 – Certificate: 18 – USA
I love this film. I’ve watched it loads of times. It was one of the first DVDs I ever bought. I imagine it’s required viewing for all the new Police and Crime Commissioners that were voted for this week too. The whole story feels quite unique, it’s got a number of great characters in it, the acting’s good and it looks good as well, even though some of the special effects are now a little dated. Its take on corporate greed works for me and even the theme tune is dead-on. (I’ve no idea why the trailer uses the music from “The Terminator”.) Be sure to watch the Director’s Cut, to get all the most violent bits. Since her appearance in “The Philadelphia Experiment” three years before, Nancy Allen has certainly toughened up her act. I guess all that running around with two guys transported through time does that to you. And it’s got Miguel Ferrer in it, who was at one time the First Officer on The Excelsior in Star Trek. Imagining having that on your CV! The remake (which I think is due out in 2014) will be interesting.
Recommended for awesome people. I’m sorry, but if you don’t like this film you’re not awesome and I can’t be your friend, as I’m simply too cool and you’re probably a square.
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws. However, plenty of other body parts do get ‘removed’.
Top badass moment? The advert for Nuke Em. A sample of this was used by Random Hand for “The Eyeballs of War”. As the 5th best band on the planet, this makes it badass.
The Olympic Opening Ceremony in London was amazing. I wasn’t even going to bother watching it, but then I thought it might be a bit interesting to see what they were going to do with some farm animals and all that grass in the middle of the stadium. Six hours later, I realised I’d witnessed a modern-day miracle. So many things could have gone wrong; all that technology, animals, kids, mechanics and volunteers, a recipe for disaster. I ended up feeling I was watching England playing football and waiting for the inevitable failure that would leave the country ridiculed by the rest of the world for the next 1,000 years. Actually I’ve no idea what the rest of the world really thought of it, but I think it was pretty spot on; it totally worked for me. I loved the narrative that ran through it and it was great to hear three of my favourite 50 all-time songs (by OMD, the Jam and the Sex Pistols) used. The part where the teams all parade around did go on for a bit, it was a little too like the voting section in the Eurovision Song Contest, which always seems never-ending. Highlights were the team (and I forget which county it was) that came out in wellies so brightly coloured they’d not even be allowed into the Glastonbury Festival; the Queen fiddling with her nails whist the rest of the stadium went mental as the GB Team appeared, (well I guess if you’ve just jumped out of a helicopter and parachuted into the stadium with a famous fictional character, your nails might get a bit messed up); a realisation that I’ve never even heard of half of the countries in the world, (which all seem to be volcanic atolls in the Pacific somewhere, not that it’ll matter once they all disappear under the waves thanks to Global Warming, courtesy of the rest of us); David Beckman just being himself; and the countries that had woman athletes competing for the first time, (2012, has it really taken this long)? Danny Boyle is a god. The whole thing was great. Unlike this movie…
1996 – Certificate: 18 – Japan
This movie is mostly rubbish. In fact it’s possibly the worst film I’ve watched this year, (so far). It makes little sense, it’s hard to follow what’s going on and the picture quality is crap. The special effects vary from okay to laughable and the rubbish acting has made me believe I would probably have a star-studded future on the stage, should I choose this path. The characters appear to behave almost entirely randomly; (did they use a dice to select which line goes where in the script)? I was glad I read the overview on the DVD cover, or I’d have been more lost than Jeremy Clarkson working as a fund-raiser for Sustrans. Even the yucky parts are mostly rendered ineffective by the murky, dingy and colourless picture. In its favour, it does however boast quite a high body count and it marginally improves during its second half. Then again, we’re not exactly starting from the top of the entertainment mountain here; actually having your organs removed would provide a step up in quality of life from watching it being done to others in this film. Oh God, I’m sitting here realising just how bad it was. I’m sure there’s a decent film lurking in there somewhere, but sadly it remained elusive. Not Japan’s finest moment.
No cats, no decapitations and no chainsaws. But there are quite a number of missing organs and limbs.
Recommend for any guys who want a cowardly way to dump their girlfriends. Just invite her around to watch this. She will quickly come to the duel conclusion that you are both sick in the head (but not in a good way) and have no idea of what constitutes a good film for an evening of romance and passion. Problem solved.
Top badass moment? This film features a guy searching for his missing brother and having to deal with an organised crime syndicate along the way, so I imagine there’s a badass moment somewhere in it. It’s just that I didn’t manage to spot it anywhere.
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.