Posts tagged “Doctor

Side Effects / The Dentist: Part 3


Side Effects  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseEmily (Rooney Mara “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) and Martin (Channing Tatum “The Vow”) are a successful New York couple whose world unravels when a new drug prescribed by Emily’s psychiatrist (Jude Law “Sherlock Holmes”) intended to treat anxiety, has unexpected and dangerous side effects.  From director Steven Soderbergh (“Contagion”, “Ocean’s Eleven”, “Ocean’s Twelve”, “Ocean’s Thirteen”) comes a riveting psychological thriller where neither the symptoms nor the cure are quite as straightforward as they seem.

2013  –  Certificate: 15  –  American Film
Rating Details: Strong language, sex and violence
7.0 out of 10

Despite its capacity to bring good news, joy and happiness, the word “no” generally feels pretty negative.  So hearing a dentist mutter it twice whilst prodding and poking around in your mouth is not something that often generates a smile.  (Then again, when you’ve got a mouthful of torture devices masquerading as dental equipment, there isn’t actually an especially wide range of facial expressions at your disposal.)  My third 90 minute appointment this month bought me these two highlights, along with a comment at the end that she’d managed to get a few a millimetres further but the blockage was still there.  An hour and a half for that?  It’s not the London Crosslink rail tunnel; although all the talk of drilling, canals, bridges and crowns does put me in mind of a major, civil engineering project.  The only thing that kept me going we the fact that this was the last part of my own, personal, dental horror trilogy, (which itself was an expansion of the two-parter that had originally been planned).  Unfortunately, the news at the end was not good.  A fourth instalment is now required and ‘filming’ takes place in April, once the spin-off “The Dentist: Sore Wisdom Tooth” has wrapped. I still haven’t got the date for my trip to hospital to have the latter dealt with, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the most massively inconvenient one possible.

In the UK, you go to see your doctor and sometimes he or she gives you a prescription for some drugs.  You go to the chemist and he or she gives them to you.  You take them and hopefully feel better.  The end.  I don’t know anyone who has any sort of discussion about what brand of drug they want.  I guess it happens sometimes, but not very often.  They don’t get advertised on TV and I’d hazard a guess and say most people have no idea what make of drugs they’re taking or even if it stays the same between prescriptions.  Not so in America, where drug companies widely advertise their products and patents frequently tell their doctors what brand of drugs they want, presumably based on which has the best advertising on TV.  A movie like “Side Effects” simply wouldn’t make sense if it was set in the UK.  This film has more twists that you get in a big bag of that twisty-shaped pasta that’s always cheaper than any other shape of pasta.  (And why does the shape make such as huge difference to the price?  It’s feels like you’re charged a premium if it’s an easier shape to get onto a fork.)  It’s not a bad movie, as long as you concentrate, give its plot a bit of latitude and forgive its sometime dubious portrayal of same-sex relationships and mental health.  Jude Law and Rooney Mara are both great.  I guess if I wasn’t wracked with tooth inflicted agony and befuddled by antibiotics and pain-killing drugs (and no I’ve no idea what brand they are), I’d have got more out of it.

There’s a lot of music in this film.  None of it is especially memorable, but it’s there, in the background, most of the time.  A bit like weather.

Trailers for thrillers are often quite frustrating.  They want to encourage you to see the film, yet don’t want to give away the plot.  I guess it’s a bit like reading a book without looking at the words.  This is a good example.

Recommended for psychiatrists, lesbians, inside traders, drug pushers and conspiracy theorists.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  You have to give Jude Law a bit of respect.  When the going gets tough he digs in and keeps going.  Bloody mindedness is always badass; and bloody annoying to everyone else too.

Side Effects at IMDB (7.1 / 10)
Side Effects at Wikipedia
Side Effects at Roger Ebert (3.5 / 5)
Side Effects trailer at YouTube

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Godsend / Magnolia Hell


Godsend  -  Front DVDCover  -  UK ReleaseStarring screen legend Robert De Niro, “Godsend” is the story of an eight year old boy named Adam Duncan.  A kind, thoughtful and well-behaved child, he’s the apple of his parent’s eye, until one day he’s knocked down by a car and tragically killed.  With both parents totally grief-stricken, the mysterious Dr Richard Wells (De Niro) offers them another chance of happiness.  He can create a clone of Adam that will be identical to the child they lost.  Nine months later they have their child back.  Identical in every way, it’s like Adam had never left them.  He has his mother’s eyes, his father’s smile, but when he crosses the age at which he died, terrifying things begin to happen.

2004  –  Certificate: 15  –  American Film
Rating Details:  Language: once strong.  Sex/nudity: infrequent moderate.  Violence: infrequent moderate.  Other: moderate horror.
8.0 out of 10

Whilst I have a lot of sympathy for Jean-Paul Sartre’s view that “Hell is other people”, he failed to take into account their surroundings.  After this last week I now know that Hell is less to do with people, or fire and brimstone for that matter; in fact Hell is a large room painted magnolia.  In the same way as the Devil has a variety of different names, such as Satan, Beelzebub, Lucifer, etc, so magnolia disguises it’s presence amongst us as alternatives like light brown, biscuit, white with a touch of brown, beige, mushroom, wheat, taupe, fawn and harvest.  This week we moved our office at work, (or more accurately moved everything in our office to a different building to use as a new office; we didn’t actually dig up the existing one and put it elsewhere).  Moving is a stressful and spirit-sapping experience at the best of times, but when you have to paint every single surface, including the floor (about 500 square metres in all) before you leave, in three days, mostly magnolia, then you come to realise what pain is really all about.  The only respite was repainting the ceiling, doors, door frames, skirting boards and 12 radiators, white.  And painting something white on a white background in a weakly lit area isn’t exactly my idea of a fun day at Alton Towers either.  In fact the only facet of pleasure came from deciding which shade of gray to paint the floor, slate or frigate; and after magnolia, gray is the next worst colour.  I imagine there are more advanced species in the universe that have, in a similar way to smallpox, totally eradicated magnolia and grey from existence.  Magnolia is the distilled essence of evil.  However, for some reason there are many sick-minded and weak-willed individuals who appear to gain a sort of inner peace from using this colour.  Why?  What’s wrong with them?  Appearing initially to be the colour equivalent of elevator music, any close encounter with it soon dispels any pretence it has of being ‘neutral’.  It’s a vile, boring, sick, nauseating abomination, which is as attractive as having a squashed, pregnant cockroach smeared on your mouth; and then some.  And why is it always the cheapest paint you can buy?  The artificial distortion of the paint market in this way is clearly the work of some ungodly power.  If our media had any real balls, it would be investigating this bizarre and unwarranted proliferation of magnolia; it’s destroying lives.  In a similar way, this film is about something that goes against the laws of nature and scared the crap out of me too.

At its core, this is a thriller/horror about a disturbing, eight-year-old skinhead called Adam, who develops a mental illness of some sort.  The reasons for the latter are, unusual.  The rest of its runtime is spent faffing about with his parents and Robert De Niro, as they act and react to what Adam gets up to.  If you analyse the plot too much, you’ll come to the conclusion that some of it doesn’t really make a lot of sense.  Visually it’s not a very exciting film either; it looks a lot like it was ‘made for TV’ with a colour pallet that’s far too much like magnolia for my liking.  However, the acting’s pretty good and the story interesting enough.  The decision of the parents to have a clone of their recently killed son created is worthy of further study.  This part of the film could easily have been the whole story, but because it’s not it does get treated a bit superficially, which is a shame really.  What the movie does do really well is be creepy. I’m sure I aged a few years watching it, which is a somewhat alarming thought.  It’s one of the most unsettling films I’ve watched for quite a while.

The soundtrack is unmemorable, yet works well.  Job done.

Recommended for dodgy doctors, desperate parents, teachers, photographers and eight-year-olds that want to freak their parents out.  And clones of course.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  We all know that a good teacher can change someone’s life, but in this film we also learn that it can literally save your own life too.  I sometimes provide training as part of my job and like most things I suck at it.  I’ve never managed to impart a single bit of knowledge to anyone and tying to do so has never saved my life or changed anyone else’s for the better.  So I guess being a good teacher is badass.

Godsend at IMDB (4.7 / 10)

Godsend at Wikipedia

Godsend at YouTube


Occupation / Inapproprate Advertising


Occupation  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseThis powerful, compelling drama traces the fraught interwoven journeys of three British soldiers who take part in the invasion of Iraq in 2003, return to Manchester, but are then inspired to revisit the chaos of Basra.  Danny, Mike and Hibbs, friends in the same army regiment, have their own very different reasons to return.  Danny (Stephen Graham) sees rich financial pickings in private security work, in a land awash with billions of dollars of reconstruction money.  Mike (James Nesbitt) has fallen in love with Iraqi doctor Aliyah.  Hibbs (Warren Brown) goes back because he believes in the mission to rebuild the country and help the Iraqi people.  Life in the new Iraq however is unpredictable, chaotic and dangerous.  Over the course of five years, the friendship of the three men comes under fierce pressure, as they pursue their dreams against the backdrop of growing fundamentalism, sectarian violence, and corruption in the world of privatised security.  Occupation is a darkly humorous and emotionally involving story, which slowly builds to a gripping and moving finale, as their conflicting ambitions come to define not just their own lives, but the war and the occupation of Basra itself.

2009  –  Certificate:15  –  British Film
Rating Details:  Strong language, injury detail and violence
9.5 out of 10

I went to see Bad Religion last Tuesday at Camden Koko. Whilst standing in the queue waiting to go in, (no thanks to the Tube, which thought it would be funny to have no trains in either direction running to Mornington Crescent), someone was handing out flyers for other gigs.  After having one of these shoved into my hand, I took a brief look at it.  FFS!  What do I see on the front but concerts by Barry Gibb, Rick Wakeman, Peter Gabriel and Wet Wet Wet.  I’m a baby-eating punk skinhead monster, standing in a queue waiting to see one of the best American punk bands ever and what do I get given?  A flyer for two very old prog rockers, a guy who sounds like he hasn’t got any balls and the extremely well named Wet Wet Wet.  If anyone at the Bad Religion gig decided to go to any of those concerts, he or she should be shot for treason.  If would be more appropriate to give out money-off coupons for Bernard Matthews turkey drumsticks at the Vegan Society AGM. To say I was incandescent with fury would be to rather understate the feeling.  However, I somehow managed to control my rage.  Bad Religion was great.  The support band Arcane Roots didn’t really do anything for me musically, but their sound was the nearest I ever want to get to being shot.  Koko probably has the most powerful bass system of any venue for its size in London and they had the kick drum totally maxed out.  Everything in the place just shook.  I’ve never experienced that intensity of bass before, so thumbs up to the band for such an unpleasant experience!  This film has some seriously intense stuff and people being shot in it too.

I always find it difficult to assess what I think of films when they’re based on true events, especially when the events weren’t very long ago; the drama and history remain so interconnected and the effects of the latter so raw and often still evolving, that it’s difficult to be objective.  This is one such example.  This film was originally a three-part BBC miniseries and it’s awesome.  A totally absorbing and sometimes uncomfortable watch, it manages to give a real sense of the chaos, suspicion and differing world views of and in Iraq, during and after the American-led invasion, as it chops back and forward between Iraq and Manchester.  It also manages to effectively explore the effects of this mess on some of the people caught up in it.  It has a number of genuinely powerful scenes, the sort you just think “wow” after.  It looks very authentic, the acting’s excellent and the script very nuanced.  What a shocking nightmare it all was, and still is in many ways too.  As an entertaining drama and as a reflection of what went on, it’s essential viewing.

There is very little music in this film.  It’s there and adds nicely to the scenes when it’s used, but no one’s going to watch this movie for that reason.

No cats or chainsaws.  There may or may not be a decapitation, but I don’t want to spoil what’s one of the most intense scenes in the film, so you’ll just have to watch it to find out.

Recommended for politicians and anyone who has any decision-making role relating to Syria.

Top badass moment?  In a movie full of very flawed heroes, there’re plenty of would-be badass moments.  But being a Brit and this being a drama rather than a documentary, I’ve had to pick out Mike (James Nesbitt) and his mercy dash with the young girl who got blown up by a hand-grenade.  The hospital was a frightening example of what happens when you try to pour a gallon into a pint glass.  James Nesbitt is the Undertones number one celebrity fan too!

Occupation at IMDB (7.5 / 10)

Occupation at Wikipedia


Hawa / First Aid


Hawa  -  Front DVD Cover (UK Release)Renu (Tabu) is a divorced mother of two daughters and the only sister of a teenage brother.  She works in her mother’s antique shop to make ends meet and moves into a new house in the outskirts of the city.  However, life in her new home is not as simple as she’d hoped as she soon senses strange and unusual happenings occurring in her house.  Her new home turns into her worst nightmare after she is brutally attacked by an unseen assailant and when her youngest daughter goes missing she races against time to save her family.  Will she be able to survive this nightmare?  Watch this spine chilling horror to find out.

2003  –  Certificate: 15  –  Indian Film
Rating Details:  Scenes of moderate horror and strong sexual violence
5.5 out of 10

I’ve spent the last two days being retrained in first aid.  This happens every three years.  It’s great, because I get to snog what’s almost a real woman (the Resusci Anne mannequin) in an effort to practice CPR; it’s hard not to get carried away, despite her lips tasting mainly of antiseptic wipes.  I’m not one to comment on what other people get up to in their own time, but sadly I think she’s a bit of a tart; she’s not that fussy who she ‘hangs out’ with from what I’ve seen and it was hard not to get jealous when I saw her ‘carrying on’ with the others on the course.  Anyway, I passed, despite during one part of the exam saying, “two to beam directly to sick bay”.  I can now feel extra guilty the next time I see someone in need of first aid in the street, as I walk straight past him/her.  Afterwards I spent far too long in the pub with some of my fellow learners, drinking too much decent cider, whilst discussing the finer points of first aid techniques and pointing out that in 20 years I’ll be like all the other old, sad, lonely men that were also sitting in the Wetherspoon pub we were in.  It was the Coronet on Holloway Road in London; it’s a converted cinema so really big inside with a high ceiling.  It’s an interesting place and it was a fun evening, but it made me late to The Ruts gig I was going to.  In an effort to review the medical knowledge I’ve gained (and will probably have forgotten by the end of next week), I’ve decided that I’ll now be spending some time following the films I watch, reviewing any ‘first aid incidents’ that are shown.

Sanjana and her family have to move to a new house, as they can’t afford to stay where they are.  Unfortunately, after some lightening and a nearby burial site for ‘bad guys’ get jiggy, things get a bit hot and heavy at the new home.  This isn’t something that looks like it going to do much for local property prices, although the Indian idea of ‘downsizing’ doesn’t seem to be quite the same as mine.  This movie is a Hindi horror that’s basically a total rip-off of “The Entity”, although the ending, which seems to involve God making an appearance, is somewhat different.  However, many of the scenes are almost word for word the same.  The special effects vary from quite effective to really ropey, literally.  It’s a while since I’ve watched a film in which you could see the actors being held up in the air on wires; it sort of takes away from the drama a bit.  And let’s not even think about the pillow over the head scene.  Having a tell-it-like-it-is bedside manner must be a requirement to become a doctor in India too.  Sanjana goes to see two after being attacked and shows them her injures.  Comments like “Oh my God” and “Oh it’s terrible” don’t exactly sound like they were designed to put someone’s mind at ease.  And in the big scheme of things, her injures weren’t actually that bad.  I wonder what they’d have said if she’d have had all her guts all hanging out?  (First aid observation: she’d have needed more than putting into a W sitting position to sort that out.)  My own doctor’s Indian, I hope he never finds anything seriously wrong with me; I’ll probably want to throw myself under a bus by the time he’s finished telling me.  I’ve also learnt that Indian estate agents are pretty mouthy too.  It’s a long film, 128 minutes, although a fair amount consists of people running about shouting “Tram” and looking for the family’s dog.  I’m trying really hard not to say this film is pants, but it’s hard not to.  The main character, played by the slightly unfortunately named Tabu, doesn’t do a bad job with what she’s given.  At times it is quite effective, but then it goes and spoils things with an unintentionally crappy bit of film-making.  Surprisingly, it didn’t feel like it lasted over two hours.

The ‘attack’ music used in the film is also a rip-off from “The Entity”, only not as good.  The rest sounded like it was copied straight off “Now That’s What I Call Scary Music For B-Movies: Volume 74”.

Recommended for doctors and ghost-hunters.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  In the big scene near the end, the parapsychologist continually implies to Sanjana that she’ll be perfectly safe, even when he’s being thrown about all over the place by the invisible baddie.  But when he’s still shouting out things such as “I will blow you asunder” as he gets impaled on a branch, you’ve got to question the validity of his outlook.  Being an optimist can be badass, if futile.

Hawa at IMDB (3.1 / 10)

Hawa at Wikipedia


Cube: 4.0 Stars


Cube  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)Six strangers awaken from their daily lives to find themselves trapped in a surreal prison – a seemingly endless maze of interlocking cubical chambers armed with lethal booby traps.  None of these people knows why or how they were imprisoned…  But it soon emerges that each of them has a skill that could contribute to their escape.  Who created this diabolical maze, and why?  There are unanswered questions on every side, whilst personality conflicts and struggles for power emerge as the tension rises.  But one thing is crystal clear; unless they can learn to co-operate to work out the secrets of this deadly trap, none of them has very long to live…

1997  –  Certificate: 15  –  Canada
Rating Details:  Language, occasional, strong; violence, infrequent, strong, horror; other, horror, science fiction.

I tend to buy a few books for myself around Christmas.  I think I do this because I have a bit more time then and when I’ve got time I start to think how nice it would be to read a book.  So off I trotted (electronically) to Amazon.  I decided to buy a couple of Star Trek novels.  For various dull reasons, the first one I selected was called “Homecoming”.  £200.68 new!  £200.68!!  For that price I’d expect it to come with a full-sized, fully operational Star Trek spaceship, including crew.  Is there suddenly a world shortage of letters?  Are the Chinese restricting exports of full stops, thus leading to frantic trading in alternative punctuation marks on global stock markets?  Have the Americans finally realised that they can’t spell and bought up the entire world output of letter Us for the next five years, in an effort to correct all those misspelt references to colour?  So anyway, I’ve ended up buying myself a Kindle, the cheapest one, which costs £69.  I can now buy the book for £4.99.  I am suffering a bit of a guilt trip though.  I feel like I should be castigating Amazon for its over-effective use of British tax laws and in fact be refusing to buy anything from it in line with the recently announced boycott.  Then there’s also the fact that I’ve effectively allowed myself to be locked into its proprietary file format and e-book system for the rest of my life.  However, there’s a certain thrill in the idea that the first book I read on it will be a Star Trek one, a franchise that frequently depicts characters reading from a small pad that with hindsight looks suspiciously like a Kindle.  As for the other issue, if you’re going to lock yourself into a sweet factory, it may as well be in Willy Wonka’s.  This film also features people who’re locked in somewhere, but there’s not a lot of chocolate around, or books, e or otherwise.

I simultaneously love and hate this film.  It’s a great and stylish horror/sci-fi thriller, with an unusual and suitably disturbing and clever storyline.  I also like how by using only seven people and virtually just a single, small set, it manages to be such a good movie.  It creates a tense atmosphere by making great use of sound and the claustrophobic set-up; the traps are ‘nicely’ presented too.  Sadly, the characters in it lack any semblance of common sense, so they seem unbelievably stupid, despite their unique talents.  There’s not a great deal of emotional intelligence on show, or indeed any sort of togetherness.  I’ve seen more communication between passengers on the London Underground in the rush hour than this lot managed, such was their inability to interact meaningfully in a ‘mission-critical’ way.   The way they develop and change during the film also stretches their credibility to pretty ridiculous levels.  At first, they seemed like a group of people under a lot of pressure, which does tend to make individuals do some strange things, but then I found myself thinking, “what the fuck”?  What sort of morons are these people?  Why don’t they just work things out together like everyone else would?  Haven’t any of them watched “The Poseidon Adventure”?   The cliché of groups of people in films who’re trapped together and then not getting on, is getting to be as bad as the one involving groups’ of young people going to remote places for a ‘good time’ and then meeting a grizzly end.  Their over or under reaction to different situations just seemed to have been determined by the writers throwing a dice.  6?  Oh dear, you’re going to freak out.  1?  That’s cool, you’ll barely notice what’s going on, you’re so laid back about it.  It’s not that the acting is especially poor, it’s more the script that’s at fault.  One plus point is that it’s got Nicole De Boer in it, the world’s third most beautiful woman, although she’s not looking her best, but I can forgive her for that given the circumstances.  Nicole De Boer is of course, Lieutenant Ezri Dax from Star Trek Deep Space Nine.  However, despite its shortcomings, Cube still manages to be a really good film. Weird eh?

Recommended for fans of clever sci-fi, who won’t let a few hot-headed characters spoil their geeky fun.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.  However, two heads do get well and truly mangled.

Top badass moment?  Given the uniformly un-cooperative, combative and plainly stupid behaviour of most of the characters most of the time, the top badass moments have to be whenever the Cube does something that pisses one of them off, or worse.  It’s a sad day when you end up having to cheer for the mechanical baddie.  If our ancestors conducted themselves in the same way, we’d still all be living in caves and bashing one another over the head with clubs.  Get some anger management people, for goodness sake.

Cube at IMDB (7.4/10)


Saw: 4.5 Stars


Saw  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)I watch a lot of horror films.  So you’d think by now that I’d be used to people being killed, mutilated, raped, dismembered, or otherwise psychologically damaged.  But this week I’ve come face to face with real horror.  My Cyclamen has been infected with Mealy Bugs!  Like a crappy, straight-to-video horror, these little bastards just appeared, with little or no back-story and just got down to the business of terrorising my pot plant and by association, me.  It’s a home invasion experience of the worst kind.  All the leaves and even the pot are covered in some sort of evil, disgusting, Mealy Bug pus, whilst the sniveling little cowards hide beneath the leaves, plotting their next nefarious move.  Like a good slasher movie icon, they pouch on the innocents, newly emerging leaves, infecting them with an unearthly virus (or whatever it is that Mealy Bugs do).  It’s like watching a house plant version of “28 Days Later” or “Doomsday”.  They’re hideously ugly and have an aura I can only describe as feeling like undiluted, pure hate.  In a similar was to the Borg, they are seemingly linked to a single hive mind, intent on destroying all houseplant life on my bedroom window sill.  I’m half expecting the US to target my flat with a Cruise Missile, in an effort to destroy them before they take over the world.  I’ve not quite worked out how to get rid of them yet.  Negotiation has so far proved futile.  Strangely, my Cyclamen seems little effected by their malevolent presence thus far and is currently presenting me with 15 beautiful, pink flowers, although its leaves drip with a rancid, putrid slime that could have come from Hell itself.  I’ve got to rid my plant of them, and in a way that doesn’t leave any opportunity for a sequel!  After facing this crisis, this movie seems a bit tame.

2004  –  Certificate: 18  –  USA
Rating Details: Strong bloody violence

I’d forgotten just how good a thriller this film is.  So, it also gets credited for popularising torture porn, which later movies in the series do feature more heavily, but this one isn’t that explicitly gory.  It is however, clever, interesting and challenging.  Although I didn’t really care for the two main characters, I still worried about what was going to happen to them.  Sure they were flawed, annoying and a bit pathetic, but I was concerned enough about them that part of me wanted them to escape; no one deserves that much shit.  The film also does a good job of making the viewer feel a bit sorry for the perpetrator, too, which makes for a great set-up if you want to experience a range of feelings as things progress.  A great modern horror classic.

Recommended for fans of genuinely great thrillers and horrors.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.  There are a couple of hacksaws though.

Top badass moment?  It’s got to be Alison Gordon, fighting back against Zep and doing so pretty successfully.  With only the advantage of surprise, she manages to defend herself and her young daughter against a younger guy armed with a gun.  That’s got to be badass.  She’s had more balls that her pathetic husband, whose mindset was, “oh, my child and wife (whose back behind I’m having an affair) are in trouble; I know, I’ll cut my foot off.”  Yeh, good thinking Batman, give that man a cigar.

Saw at IMDB (7.7 / 10)

Cyclamen