Posts tagged “Fantasy

The Mothman Prophecies / Decorating as a Weapon of Mass Destruction


The Mothman Prophecies  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK Release

Based on true events, “The Mothman Prophecies” is a  compelling, heart-pounding, bone-chilling thriller that will jolt you off your seat!  Driven to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding his wife’s death, John Klein (Richard Gere – “The  Hoax”, “Chicago”) uncovers chilling secrets behind The Mothman, a timeless, nameless horror whose appearance spells doom for all those who see it.  Klein discovers a connection between the supernatural being and Point pleasant, West Virginia; a small town paralysed by fear where he meets Connie (Laura Linney – “The Exorcism of Emily Rose”, “Mystic River”) who helps shed light on the crisis.  If you see it, are you safe? If you don’t… are you next?

2002  –  Rating: 12  –  American Film
Rating Details: Moderate Horror and Infrequent Strong Language
8.0 out of 10

So where have I been for the last month?  Serving a prison sentence for inciting a popular but ultimately unsuccessful uprising?  On a world tour to promote my latest bestseller?  Locked away in a Scottish castle writing my autobiography?  In a drunken stupor in a gutter somewhere?  Nope, in fact I’ve been decorating my kitchen.  Shortly after I moved in seven or so years ago, I found myself suffering from ‘decorating burnout’.  This is a tragic ailment for which the most common symptom is knowing exactly where everything is in the local B&Q, even when they keep moving the stuff on the shelves around from week to week.  This sadly happened before I’d got around to doing the kitchen, so it’s remained ‘as was’ ever since, slowly becoming more and more embarrassing and an increasing threat to world health.  My flat isn’t exactly what you’d call huge.  It’s so small that even when a single item gets left away from its normal resting place, the whole, fragile ecosystem of my life starts to break down.  This normally includes injuring myself on some bit of furniture or other item that I’ve inadvertently walked into or on, as I’ve tried to navigate around the out of place ‘thing’.  So you may wish to consider the real-life horror I’ve been living with that results from emptying everything out of my kitchen and storing it elsewhere in my flat.  I’ve seen tidier looking places in post-holocaust movies just after the bomb’s dropped.  My favourite injury this time was from a bracket that sticks out too far as it’s too big for the shelf it’s supporting.  Normally it’s not a problem, but this time I knelt down by it at one point in an attempt to open the door of the fridge that was facing directly towards a wall.  I managed to rip two nice grooves out of my right leg.  Oh what fun it was!  I’m sure I’m going to end up with a hideous scar.  It reminded me of why I don’t do DIY very often.  The kitchen took 36 days to finish.  It’s now going to take as long to sort out the chaos it caused everywhere else.  For anyone that’s interested, here’re a few photos of the final result:

I think I’m becoming a bit of a wuse in my old age.  I think it’s because as you get older you get nearer to death, so anything that involves ghostly dead things that are still around, starts to worry you more.  This film doesn’t exactly have ghosts in it, but it’s near enough.  It’s a 12 certificate film, how scary can it be?  Well it had me looking at the open door of the lounge as I was watching it, too scared to go over and close it in case the Mothman, or something like it, suddenly flew in.  If you want to frighten a few 12 year olds but be a goody-goody and not pull out you latest 18 certificate torture porn or “Exorcist” Blu-ray, show them this film.  Don’t forget to mention that it’s based on a true story too.  It helps that it takes a while for the nature of the Mothman to be revealed, as not knowing makes it all the more scary.  It also has great sound.  I didn’t think the two main characters had that much on-screen chemistry, but it punches above its weight in terms of mood and general atmosphere.  Things feel a bit safer once you find out what’s going on, but it still has a pretty good disaster movie ending to enjoy.

The soundtrack is decent enough.  I can’t remember anything else about it now, but it was good.  Honest.  I think it even won an award or something, so it must be good.

The trailer is pretty standard stuff.  You’ll watch it and then forget it.

Recommended for reporters and police officers.  (Wow, that’s original.)

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Richard Gere goes house hunting with his wife and they decide to have sex in a wardrobe there, before being disturbed in it by the estate agent asking if they’re interested in buying the house.  I’m not sure what’s most badass, doing that at their age, or the way the estate agent closes the deal.  Well okay it’s not the latter; I just can’t make myself think of an estate agent as badass.   I don’t think I’d have space in my wardrobe to do that.

IMDB (6.5 /10)
Wikipedia
Roger Ebert (2/4)
YouTube

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Cutie Honey / Even More Root Canal Treatment…


Cutie Honey  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK Release

Popular manga comic “Cutie Honey” is brought to life. Honey is an office worker who hides a secret.  Developed by her father, Honey has the ‘I System’ a necklace that allows her to transform into the super hero “Cutie Honey”.  The evil Claw Gang attempt to steal the necklace and “Cutie Honey” must use all of her superpowers to save the world from hate.  With plenty of eye candy and madcap villains, “Cutie Honey” is pure fun and truly wacky entertainment.

2004  –  Certificate: 12  –  Japan
Rating Details: Mildly sexualised posing
9.0 out of 10

It was back to the dentist for me again yesterday, to finish the root canal treatment on a tooth that was started in January.  For over 90 minutes my dentist drilled (as in I could see and smell clouds of smoke rising), filled and generally hacked about inside my tooth.  It’s actually really hard to lie still for that long on your back; (which is something that my many, many lovers could confirm).  Dentists’ chairs aren’t the most comfortable bits of furniture in the world and I was started to get a bit bored too.  There’s only so many times you can count the screws in a light-fitting before you realise that attempting yet another recount is probably not going to yield a more accurate total.  The ‘calming’ classical music playing on the CD kept skipping as well, which really started to bug me after a while.  The injection at the start was really weird.  I felt like it hadn’t really worked, as nothing seemed to go numb.  Normally you lose some of the sensation in the side of your face or lips, but this time I had none of that.  I was expecting the first touch of the drill to feel like it was boring into the centre of my brain or something, but actually it was fine.  Afterwards I had no sensation of the anaesthetic wearing off either. It was like I was just immune to the pain.  Maybe I’m a superhero, with the mental and physical power to control my body’s own pain reflexes?  (Nope, I don’t really believe that either.)  I was starting to think there must be more miles of canals in my tooth than in the whole of Birmingham, when the dentist finally declared she couldn’t do it.  Whatever’s blocking my root canal, it’s defeated the best that modern dentistry can provide.  (Perhaps I should give the Canal & River Trust or Inland Waterways Association a call?)  This was followed by a discussion about what I wanted to do about it.  I say ‘discussion’, but as I still had a mouth full of rubber dams and other weird stuff, I was limited to saying ur urggurggh, guhhh urgghhher; so it was a bit one-sided.  So now I’m the proud owner of a temporary filling, whilst we see how it settles down.  So it looks like there might be a sequel to this horror sometime.  Can’t wait…  This film is about a superhero who has perfect teeth.

I loved this film.  I’ve no idea what demographic the makers were aiming it at, but it was great.  Like a Power Ranger on acid, Cutie Honey (and that must be the worst superhero name ever) deals with the Panther Claw Gang, one by one.  Based on a manga/anime character, the story is some nonsense about saving the world from hate.  As a movie it has many highlights.  The opening 15 minutes are as fun as any opening to any film ever.  It does calm down in the middle a little and the ending is a bit wimpy, but overall it’s an over-the-top mess of action and fun.  I was especially impressed with the Black Claw’s song and dance routine.  When I’m involved in a fight to the death, I always like to start with one of those too.   My copy came in a vivid pink, DVD case.  Don’t think I’ve got many of those.

We see Honey change into her superhero alter-ego a number of times, which comes with a bit of music that wouldn’t be out-of-place in the world’s worst game show.

The trailer is a shambles of colour, noise and imagery.  It’s great.

One cat, no chainsaws or decapitations.  A beautiful, ginger cat (with a brief speaking part), steals the whole first scene from an otherwise naked (except for bath bubbles) Eriko Sato.

Recommended for police officers, journalists and anyone with an uncle who can invent cool stuff.  Also recommended for criminal gangs that want to fill the world with hate, (you know who you are).  Good for fans of 60’s Batman; not good for fans of Nolan’s Batman.

Top badass moment?  Starring Eriko Sato (Japan’s top swimsuit model).  That’s badass.  Well that bad just about everywhere really.  (Note for ‘old people’: that’s “bad” as in good, not “bad” as in bad).  In any case, any film that carries the BBFC Insight “Mildly Sexualised Posing” has got to be worth watching.

Cutie Honey at IMDB (6.5 / 10)
Cutie Honey at Wikipedia
Cutie Honey trailer at YouTube


Alone in the Dark / Working for Fighter Command


Alone in the Dark  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US ReleaseEdward Carnby (Christian Slater) is a private investigator specializing in unexplainable supernatural phenomena.  His cases delve into the dark corners of the world, searching for truth in the occult remnants of ancient civilizations.  Now, the greatest mystery of his past is about to become the most dangerous case he has ever faced.  With the help of his ex-girlfriend, archaeologist Aline Cedrac (Tara Reid), and his bitter rival, government agent Richard Burke (Stephen Dorff), Edward is about to learn that just because you don’t believe in something doesn’t mean it cannot kill you!

2005  –  Certificate Not Rated  –  German/Canadian Film
4.0 out of 10

I hate this time of year.  It’s not just the fact that all the good bits of the winter are over and it’s still months until the summer; or the fact that I’ve got no money as I squandered it over the Christmas period; or even that there’s hardly ever any decent gigs to go to.  No, it’s also the time of year when everyone I care for dies and my relationships always end.  On top of all this, it’s when we write our Financial Plan at work too.  The latter is less a mathematical exercise and more a futile attempt to predict the future; (and the scale of my successes in the National Lottery over the past 20 years nicely demonstrates how well my precognitive abilities have been developed).  The process bares all the hallmarks of Fighter Command at the height of the Battle of Britain, wondering where the next plane or pilot is going to come from, as its fully committed assets are quickly depleted.  The consequences of all this is that it generally feels like we’re looking into a dark, bottomless abyss, as the world as we know it ends.  (Although on the up side, we are still here after nearly 55 years).  More to the point, I have to spend this afternoon and evening working, because I’ve been told to move loads of numbers about in mine; I’m not sure why, they won’t get any bigger however many times I move them.  This film is also about the end of the world as we know it.

Other than all the things and people I hate, despise or loathe, I like to think of myself as a pretty easy-going, laid-back, tolerant guy.  But even I have my limits and this film has just reached one.  What makes things worse is that it could have been really good.  The story’s fine (it’s based on a computer game), the effects are decent enough (the gun-shot one borders on impressive) and even I’ve heard of its three, principal actors.  Christian Slater was the Communications Officer on the Excelsior for goodness sake; it’s not the most challenging bridge job around that’s true, but it was on Captain Sulu’s ship so that must count for something.  And Tara Reid, the Choir Chick from “American Pie”, gets given some glasses to wear, so she can look intelligent and thus play the part of an archaeologist.  The chase scene, (once we’ve got over the longest “Star Wars” like preamble in cinematic history), is actually pretty good too.  Unfortunately, the characters are so poorly written that the Oxford English Dictionary is considering using them as part of its official definition of one-dimensional.  The Alpha Male rivalry between Richard Burke and Edward Carnby is a key plot element.  (Edward used to work with Richard, so consequently they scowl at one another a lot.)  It’s probably fair to say they don’t get on, aren’t each others’ friends on Facebook and don’t send one another Christmas cards, not even e-cards.  Then, in the middle of a big battle Edward shoots a ‘bad guy’ who’s coming up behind Richard.  The latter gives Edward a brief nod of gratitude.   This incident is never acknowledged or further developed, but from then on they’re instantly the best of buddies.  Is that what it takes to remove years of personal animosity?  Maybe I’ve entirely missed some sort of gay subplot, which would explain a great many things, as well as why Edward and Aline are ex-lovers. The whole film is littered with a garbage script and stereotypical characters that act in nonsensical ways.  I especially enjoyed the Abkani (they’re the bad guys) charging towards some soldiers and then basically stopping a few metres in front of them to growl and throw their limbs around a lot, thus allowing the latter to blast away at them for ages and ages; not that the sight of thousands of rounds of ammunition fired at point blank range not seeming to have much of an effect, puts them off trying.  When I see a movie like this I want to really believe the world is about to end, not keep glancing at the clock to see how long I’ve been watching it for.  So basically it’s great, except for the characters and everything they say or do…

It has a Scandinavian, heavy metal soundtrack.  Nightwish aside, this tells you a lot.  Listen up.  Heavy metal (and all its sub-genera) should never be used for any film with a budget of over $500,000, ever.  It’s just not right.

The trailer’s like the rest of the movie; it seems to promise lots but contains nothing.

Recommended for archaeologists, private investigators, ‘Government agents’ and anyone who wears glasses to look intelligent.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  At one point Steven Dorff throws a bit of a wobbly.  He picks up a few bits of paper (probably the script), scans them briefly and then pushes over a table and screams out, “My guys are dying out there for nothing; for fucking nothing!”  Seeing an actor demonstrate a high level of emotional intelligence by empathising with the audience whilst also staying in character, just has to be badass.

Alone in the Dark at IMDB (2.3 / 10)
Alone in the Dark at Wikipedia
Alone in the Dark at YouTube

No trailer I’m afraid, thanks to YouTube blocking the video.  Liongate clearly doesn’t want anyone to find out about this film!


Yoga / Keeping Fit With Indian Takeaway; and Beer


Yoga  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US ReleaseStriving for the ultimate inner beauty can be deadly.  Six gorgeous yet narcissistic women, driven by their superficial existence, are lured to the most prestigious underground yoga studio.  Their desire for beauty holds no bonds and each will stop at nothing to achieve it.  As they settle in the studio and begin their quest, strange and disturbing events start taking place.  Girls start disappearing and it is evident there’s an evil presence among them.  Their quest for beauty brought them to this haunted studio; their will to survive is the only thing that can get them out.

2009  –  Certificate: Not Rated  –  Korean Film
5.5 out of 10

My campaign to get fit, live forever, save the planet and save money, literally took a giant step forward this week, when for four days in a row I walked to work and back, a total of nearly 20 miles!  To celebrate this and mitigate the worrying fact that I may be turning into some sort of boring, fitness junkie, today I ordered a giant Indian takeaway for my dinner, complete with beer.  Oh well, it’s back to the starting line next week.  This film is about something not altogether dissimilar.

Like me, this movie is all about people who only care how they can use their looks to get on in life.  Consequently, it’s hard to sympathise with them when they start to ‘disappear’.  They’re simply obsessed with being bitchy in the way adults are and being more beautiful than anyone else.  They can’t even follow the yoga teacher’s simple rules.  It doesn’t help that all of them are already gorgeous looking anyway.  It’s very much an ironic case of, tough, but you can’t have your cake and eat it.  Outside of its six babes, this is a movie that looks good, in a gloomy, haunted house kind of way, but commits the number one sin for a horror; it’s simply not scary.  After I’d watched it, I didn’t have any problems going to the toilet via the dark hall outside my living room.  The best horrors can have me checking inside the shower and not turning my back on the bathroom door, ‘just in case’.  Testing the lock on the front door and looking inside the wardrobe are not unheard of either.  It’s passable as a film to spend an evening watching, but its lack of really scary stuff makes it quite boring at times.

Music.  There isn’t much, although it’s so forgettable that I’ve forgotten about it already.

Recommend for yoga teachers, TV presenters, shopping-channel aficionados and consumers of vapid, shallow, corporate-sponsored glamour and beauty.  Not recommended for yoga students.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment? Near the end of the film, Hyo-jung is in a subway station, where she starts to see people she thinks are dead.  The symbolism of it was all rather lost on me. However, at precisely 1:33:37 she lets out a wonderful, nine second long scream.  A great bit of movie mini-magic, which therefore makes it badass.  You’d never guess she had lungs that big.

Yoga at IMDB (5.0 / 10)

Yoga at Wikipedia


Blood & Chocolate / My ‘New’ Phone


Blood & Chocolate  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseA werewolf tale from the producers of “Underworld”, “Blood & Chocolate” tells the story of Vivian (Agnes Bruckner), a young teenage girl who must choose between her love for a young artist and loyalty to her werewolf lineage.  Others may have secrets, but none as extraordinary as Vivian.  One of the last of her kind, she comes from a line of loup garoux, shape shifters able to transform into the form of both human and wolf at will.  When Vivian’s affections for a visiting artist threaten to reveal her family’s secret society, she must decide whether to prove her allegiance to their secret vows or follow her heart and betray them all.

2007  –  Certificate 12  –  American Film
Rating Details: Moderate violence, horror and drug references
7 out of 10

I’ve been provided with a new work mobile.  Well it’s not really new, it’s one that’s been ‘reallocated’; but it’s new to me.  Its predecessor, a seven-year-old Nokia 6300, had become a bit of an embarrassment, what with its unbusinesslike, tatty appearance and talk-time that struggled to get me past the ‘how are you?” stage of a phone conversation.  You can probably imagine how my pulling that out of my pocket at a critical moment in one of the many, high-powered meetings I attend, can undermine my negotiating position.  My new one is a Nokia E5.  It’s the first smart-phone I’ve ever had.  Something tells me it’s not a medal contender in the mobile coolness rankings, although as I don’t have a contract for it that includes a data allowance, this rather limits its use for anything resembling “smart” anyway.  It does seem to be able to ‘talk’ to my network at home though.  I’m not quite sure what all the buttons and icons are for yet, although I have managed to sort out the most important things, like the ringtones it uses.  For calls it plays “Do You Like Waffles?” by Parry Gripp, whilst for texts it blares out “Marco Polo” by Guttermouth.  The latter is 15 seconds of punk rock noise that when combined with its cheap, in-built speaker, is likely to send anyone else within 10m of it when it plays in an ‘office environment’, into an incandescent fury.  There’re quite a number of people in this movie who get pretty pissed about things too.

When they’ve got over bitching about how much this film doesn’t resemble the book of the same name, people seem to then suggest it’s some sort of teen romance about werewolves.  So let me tell you it’s really an out-and-out action movie; all it needs is Sylvester Stallone and it would be the whole package.  Big explosive finale?  Check.  Some guns and stuff?  Check?  An unlikely hero who performs way beyond the call of duty?  Check.  Some cheesy one-liners?   Check.  Being able to write and draw (our hero Aiden is a penniless graphic novel writer) is pretty cool; if you think my writing is bad you should see my drawing.  I took my last art exam when I was 14 years-old.  I got 18%.  I tried to draw sadness but it came out as a disgusting shambles of green, painted squiggles.  I imagine the teacher probably thought I was taking the piss but really, that was the best I could do.  Sadly (and somewhat ironically given the focus of my work), my canvas had all the emotionally resonance of a newly painted bathroom radiator, in magnolia.  To this day my ability to draw remains at the level of a 4 year-old; and not a talented one either.  I’m always a little in awe of those than can seemingly and effortlessly draw things; a genuine talent.  However, I’ve never considered that the traits that make someone a good artist or writer, would also equip the same person to be an action-hero too.  This movie is about a penniless artist/writer, who falls in love with a chick.  Of course, like many potential in-laws, hers don’t really take to him, so being werewolves they decide to kill him.  In the space of a day or two, our quiet, unassuming (although a little stalker-like) artist turns into one, badasss motherfucker, taking on half the werewolves in Bucharest.  To explain these abilities, the movie provides a brief throwaway line about something to do with his relationship with his father not being that great.  Bloody hell, poor guy.  What a bastard he must have been!  Aiden even manages to survive what looks like a good 50’ drop through a broken sky-light, before coming to a very sudden stop, dangling upside down, with his leg caught in a rope, without this causing him the slightest injury.  He even has the audacity to blame Vivian for the situation he’s in, even though he spends half the film virtually stalking her.  I’m certainly no expert on relationships, but something tells me theirs isn’t going to last much longer than the end credits.  Fortunately, what all this means is that I can admit to seeing this movie without having to invent an imaginary girlfriend “who made me watch it” as an excuse for doing so.  I have to say Agnes Bruckner does do a good, surly teenager, sulky pout.  It’s actually a decent film, well worth watching.

The soundtrack has a sort of gothic-Klingon-“The Equaliser” vibe going on.  Sadly it’s as ‘good’ as it sounds.  Serviceable but forgettable.

Recommended for artists, writers, teens, chocolate-addicts and action-heroes.  Not recommend for werewolves.  They always seem to end up on the losing side.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  It has to be our mild-mannered, stalker/artist/writer/hero, Aiden.  He utters the one-liner “Drink Up” just before he sets fire to a load of alcohol to burn a couple of werewolves to death, after a fire-fight with a gang of them.  This is especially impressive as we’re not led to believe he makes a habit of this sort of thing.  The ability to up your game when the time comes is definitely badass.  It’ll be a brave person who gives any of the graphic novels he writes a bad review…

Blood & Chocolate at IMDB (5.2 / 10)

Blood & Chocolate at Wikipedia


13 Going On 30 / New Town Kings Gig


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

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

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

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

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

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

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

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

13 Going On 30 at IMDB (6.0 / 10)

13 Going On 30 at Wikipedia


Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed / Amex Customer Service


Ginger Snaps  -  1-3  -  Front DVD Cover (Czech Release)Brigitte is the first work selflessly took care of his sister Hannah, who turned into a werewolf.  Now her suffering worse.  Sam’s sister Brigitte was infected!  In the full moon must figure out how to cure it to prevent further bloody rampage.  At least that’s how Google translates it from the Czech on the cover of my DVD.  I think it’s losing something…  Who’s Sam and why has Brigitte had a gender reassignment?  I don’t remember either of those in the film.  Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if everyone spoke the same language?  Ideally English…

2004  –  Certificate: 15 –  Canadian Film
7.5 out of 10

I have/had an American Express Nectar Credit Card; (that’s the Amex Card that plebs are allowed to have.)  Recently it decided to introduce an annual fee of £25 for the ‘privilege’ of having one.  I, like (I’ve no doubt) millions of other ‘outraged customers’ decided that I didn’t fancy paying for something I can get for free elsewhere.  So I rang up and cancelled it.  There are three things that make American Express ‘different’ to ‘other’ credit card companies (i.e. Visa and MasterCard); 1 – nowhere accepts Amex credits cards; 2 – they identify you as a shallow, egotistic, posh snob, who wants to flaunt his or her success in the face of others; 3 – they have good customer service.  So you can imagine my profound disappointment, when I got a letter a few days later confirming my cancellation.  The letter said; “We are sorry you have decided to cancel your Nectar Credit Card.  For this reason we have cancelled your Nectar Credit Card account as you requested.”  So basically it’s cancelled the card because it’s sorry I’ve decided to cancel the card?  What would have happened if it hadn’t been sad?  Would it had continued to force me to have it and pay £25 a year for doing so?  It seems good customer service stops when you leave.  And yes, I realise that that’s a bit of a boring tale without much of a punch line.  Mountains and mole hills come to mind.

Ginger Snaps is one of the best horror/comedy/teen/fantasy films ever.  So what about its sequel?  Well the comedy part has gone.  The teen bit has also been diluted too.  It’s still got teenagers in it (including the two stars from the previous instalment), but it’s not really a film about teenagers anymore; the story could have featured people of any age really.  Instead we get an out-and-out horror and it’s not a bad one at all.  Smiling less than an emo girl having a bad day, (a part Emily Perkins plays so well), Brigitte is a patient at the Happier Times Care Centre, a rehab clinic where she inexplicably seems to appear after an altercation over a few library books.  I didn’t realise reading was quite that addictive.  Unfortunately, the Centre isn’t a good advert for the voluntary sector providing health services, as most of the staff there are a bit weird or pervy and it looks very much like a rundown prison.  I guess we’ll just have to blame it on funding cuts.  It’s the sort of place Jimmy Saville would have enjoyed visiting.  The ending is a bit rubbishy, but the rest of the film is fine and it’s good to see werewolves being given a bit of ‘quality screentime’; in footballing terms they always felt a bit like Manchester City, if you imagine vampires to be Manchester United; an occasional flash of success but basically always living in the shadow of their more successful, interesting and flamboyant neighbours.  Sadly the stunning Katharine Isabelle (Ginger) isn’t in it very much, but considering what happened to her in the original film that’s not that surprising.  Instead we get Ghost, a slightly creepy 13-year-old, who suffers from Hollywood Child-in-a-Film Syndrome, in that she acts like no real 13-year-old would; perhaps that’s why she was in the clinic in the first place?  (Tatiana Maslany, who I think was actually 19 when she made this film, really doesn’t look her own age.)  Anyway, it’s a very good film, well made, well acted and with decent special effects; but watch the brilliant Ginger Snaps before going onto this one, as it’s a direct sequel to it.

The music is serviceable, but forgettable.  Some rather dull, alternative rock and an infrequently heard film score don’t make it a movie to remember.

Recommended for werewolves, junkies, emos and anyone providing health care services in the voluntary sector.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  “I’m going to kill it.  Get me all the sharp things you can find.”  No running away and falling over for her, Brigitte’s outcome-focused approach to dealing with an issue would be welcomed by many in the private sector, keen for employees with a clear vision of what they want to achieve and how they’re going to achieve it.  Mission Drift isn’t something the viewer needs to worry about in this movie.

Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed at IMDB (6.4 / 10)

Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed at Wikipedia


Heavenly Creatures / Rebranding Has Unforeseen Consequences


Heavenly Creatures  -  Front Blu-ray Cover (UK Release)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.

Heavenly Creatures at IMDB (7.5/10)


The Secret: 3.5 Stars


The Secret  -  Front DVD Cover (USA)What if you got one more chance to say goodbye to your loved ones after you died? But what if the only way to do that was to inhabit your daughter’s body?  David Duchovny (“The X-Files” and “Californication”) and Lili Taylor (“The Haunting” and “Ransom”) are Benjamin and Hannah, happily married soul mates whose relationship is brutally severed when Hannah is killed in a car accident.  As she dies, a bizarre twist of fate propels Hannah inside the body of her beautiful teenage daughter, Sam (Olivia Thirlby, “Juno” and “United 93”).  Immersing herself in Sam’s world, Hannah discovers some shocking truths about her daughter’s secret life, while at home, she and her husband draw closer and closer to rekindling their romance….

2007  –  Certificate: R  –  France
Rating Details:  Language Including Some Sexual References and Drug and Alcohol Use Involving Teenagers

I spoke to two people yesterday, on the phone, for quite a long time.  This made me realise that I can’t actually speak properly anymore or string a sentence together at ‘speaking speed’.  I’ve not really had a proper conversation with anyone for weeks; well since before Christmas anyway.  I’ve had plenty of ‘shop chats’ (where you just say “thanks” or “cheers”),  a few other short ones on the phone, plus some on the Tube and in venues where it’s really noisy so you have to shout, but no ‘normal’ ones.  I forgot how to have a normal conversation years ago, but now I can’t even make up sentences up that work grammatically or make sense.  I imagine this might make me even more of a social outcast than I already am, another embarrassing faux pas I can add to a growing list.   Then again, it doesn’t seem to have stopped Professor Stephen Hawking being a genius, although I probably don’t have his insight into ‘how things work’.  I can’t see myself being asked to advertise an insurance comparison website anytime soon; or writing a book on how the universe came into being either.  This film features someone who suddenly finds himself unable to communicate with his wife in the way he’s been used to doing.

This is a decent fantasy thriller.  It’s based on a Japanese one called “Himitsu” that I watched years ago.  (I don’t suppose the fact I watched the latter influenced the decision to make this film.)  It would be quite interesting to Go Compare them side by side, (which for those that haven’t made the connection, relates to the “insurance comparison website” I mentioned earlier).  There’re a number of ‘body swap’ movies out there, but most of them are comedies; this one isn’t.  This could have been a great film, but somehow it just doesn’t quite make it.  The script pulls its punches a bit when it could have really landed a few know-out blows.  The characters don’t quite feel coherent enough to be totally believable; there were too many gaps in time between some scenes, which changed their relationship without us really seeing or knowing why.  This is a shame, as this really is the core of the whole film and at times is really played out well.  It could have explored the difficulties of the situation a lot more too, which would be helpful to anyone who ever found themselves in the same one for real; (okay, so not very likely I admit).  Some of the minor characters seem a bit caricaturish too; I was half expecting them all to go off to a remote location somewhere and get killed by a nutter with a big knife.  Olivia Thirlby’s acting as the daughter/mother is great though.  In a few scenes she switches between them and it’s really spookily convincing.  The car crash one works well too, as does the one in the hospital, very realistic and effective.  So, it underachieves a bit, but at its best it’s more than worth a watch.  As for the rating details, they sound like they could be applied to life in general.

Recommended for people who want to debate the “would if have been incest or not” issue; which doesn’t include me as apparently I can’t speak anymore.

No cats, no chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  It’s not every day you have to deal with your dead wife being sort of reincarnated inside your daughter’s body.  That has to make things really complicated, not that it’s something I’ve ever had to deal with personally you understand.  Under the circumstances, I thought Benjamin took it all pretty well and dealt with it in a relatively thoughtful way.  Dealing with adversity well is badass.

The Secret at IMDB (6.2/10)


The Bothersome Man: 3.5 Stars


The Bothersome Man  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)I spent this afternoon working, updating my financial budgets.  I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time on these, yet somehow they never seem to be quite up to date or accurate enough for anyone.  Numbers on a spreadsheet, there must be more to life than adding up endless numbers on a spreadsheet.  It doesn’t achieve or change anything.  A chief executive of a small, community regeneration charity in London once told me that “regeneration was invented to keep the liberal middle-classes happy”.  I think she meant projects that are set up to make a difference to people don’t really achieve much, but keep a lot of the latter group in jobs that make them feel good about what they do.  This film offers a similar view of the world.  Its main character Andreas even spends his days in an office adding up numbers on a computer screen.  Oh God, I think I’ve become him!  I need to go find a window and throw myself out of it; (which someone in this film appears to do as well.)

2006  –  Certificate: 15  –  Norway
Rating Details:  Scenes of strong gore

If you don’t like films with neat, tidy endings, or that make it clear what they’re about, then you’ll probably hate this one.  I viewed it as a statement on the mundane, superficial and uncaring lifestyles that many of us live these days, but maybe that’s just me.  As someone whose way of life is tissue-paper thin and pretty meaningless, I could relate to it.  A mindfuck of a movie, this is a nicely made black comedy that’s well worth a watch.  The snogging scene at the beginning is really quite disturbing and sets the tone for the rest of the movie.  The best bit of escape tunnelling I’ve seen since “The Great Escape” too; and a much better plan than trying to play with subway trains.  The more I’ve thought about it since I watched it a few days ago, the better it seems to become.  It represents 20% of my entire Norwegian film collection as well.

Recommended for people who enjoy thinking about the films they watch.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.  However, at one point a finger does get amputated by an office guillotine machine.

Top badass moment?  Andreas digging a tunnel to try to escape from his mundane life.  Despite being frequently surrounded by the mundane myself, it’s something I’ve personally never considered doing.  Trying to escape from the mundane is badass.

The Bothersome Man at IMDB (7.4 / 10)