Posts tagged “Fantasy

Pan’s Labyrinth: 4.0 Stars


Pan's Labyrinth - Front Blu-ray Cover (UK)I got six new light bulbs this week.  This might not seem much of a big deal, but to me, after living in a perpetual twilight for the last month or two, is nothing short of a miracle.  The fact that I paid over £70 for them shouldn’t be allowed to dilute the effect of the spontaneous celebrations that have been breaking out throughout Cactus World to mark the occasion.  I now have light in my kitchen that doesn’t back away in fear when threatened by a candle, and a lounge that doesn’t has a less welcoming glow than a lump of plutonium in your bed.  Low energy light bulbs?  For £70 I expect them to be so efficient I actually receive payments for supplying electricity to the national grid every time I use them!

2006  –  Certificate: 15  –  Mexico

This is a brilliant film.  It’s original, interesting, childlike and innocent, yet grown-up and horrifying.  I watched it on Blu-ray and it sounded great and looked wonderful.  The only reason I haven’t given it a higher score is that I never quite connected with the main characters in it.  Even at its most intense, it did feel like they were playing a secondary role in supporting the movie’s feel and atmosphere.  In a different film I’d probably be moaning about how one dimensional they were, but in this case it doesn’t seem to matter; in fact their simplistic, goodness vs evilness helps to focus the mind on the textual elements of the film.  I’ve no idea what I just wrote means, but it sounds great to me!  It’s a wonderfully dark, genera-mixing and unique film.  Go watch.

Recommended for people that like the concept of horror nursery rhymes.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.

Top badass moment?  Mercedes dealing with Captain Vidal.  He was a seriously arrogant asshole with an inferiority complex and a whole take-away of chips on his shoulder.  Dealing with people like that is always badass.  The Joker look suited him.

Pan’s Labyrinth at IMDB (8.3 / 10)


The Entity: 4.5 Stars


The Entity  -  Front DVD CoverMy ability to remain busy doing nothing never fails to amaze me.  It’s not that I’m lazy or procrastinate a lot (well not often anyway), but time seems to just vanish at far too fast a rate for my taste.  They say time appears to go more quickly as you get older, which makes me feel really ancient.  Take today for example.  I got up quite late (okay around 10:30) and feel as if I haven’t stopped all day.  Yet a glance around the room makes me realise that I’ve spent nearly 12 hours doing absolutely nothing.  It’s not that I think I’ve wasted my time, it’s just that I can’t see the results of anything I’ve done, or remember doing anything that took even remotely like 12 hours to do.  All I’ve done is get up, cook lunch, take a photo, buy a few DVDs, write a posting in an online forum and answer a few online questionnaires.  I’ve no idea how I’ve managed to make that last 12 hours, especially as I know I didn’t spend any longer on any of those things than I actually needed to.  I think at the weekend I somehow get transferred into another dimension, where time goes more quickly.  (To be fair the same thing happens during the week too, when I’m at work and never have enough time to do what I want.)  Maybe I’m just slow, period.  How normal people with normal lives cope with everything I’ll never know.  This movie features ‘something’ from another plane of existence; but I swear it’s not me.

1981  –  Certificate: 18  –  USA
Rating Details: Language; Infrequent, Strong.  Sex/Nudity: Occasional, Strong.  Violence: Occasional, Strong.  Other: Horror, Sexual Assault

This is a genuinely great horror film.  It was one of the first horror DVDs I bought and is probably in my Top Ten horrors of all time.  And despite it going all a bit “Ghostbusters” at one point, it remains genuinely scary and horrifying.  It also has one of those classic bits of horror music, which in this case is little more than the same chord played over and over again, but the ugly violence of the sound really enhances the scenes it’s used in to up their impact.  The movie is based on what’s claimed to be real incidents in someone’s life, which gives it a bit of an unpleasant edge too. Barbara Hershey is great as our hero Carla Moran.  She convincingly portrays a whole range of emotions really well.  She also manages to vary her appearance too, from sexy and determined through to vulnerable and beaten.  Sadly, time hasn’t been so kind to the special effects, which definitely look dated now; the wobbly ice-cube thing near the end really has past its sell-by date.  It’s not the sort of film I can watch and then feel comfortable going into another room after, without quickly switch on the light.  However, the scariest thing of all is Doctor Phil Sneiderman, the psychiatrist who Carla goes to see.  He’s stalker-like attraction to Carla is pretty weasel-like; eew!  You expect poltergeists’ behavior to be kind of strange, but not your doctor’s.  What a weirdo.  I can’t imagine this film won’t be ‘reimagined’ at some point in the near future.

Recommended for fans of high quality, scary horror.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.

Top badass moment?  Has to be Carla Moran’s “I’ve finished running” monologue.  When you’ve got a supernatural being wanting to rape you, you’re trapped in a building with big containers of liquid helium suspended over your head and your bathed in stupid red lights and wailing sirens (courtesy of some dodgy scientists’ entirely superfluous “emergency mode” lighting), then calling the invisible baddie a bastard at that moment has got to be badass.  I think it probably just pissed him off though.

The Entity at IMDB (6.4)


The Invention of Lying: 4.0 Stars


The Invention of Lying  -  Front Blu-ray CoverLast week I spent two days away from home on a ‘business trip’, talking about how to revolutionise the support of environmental volunteering in the UK.  I had to stay in a hotel in Leeds.  I selected the cheapest one I could find, the Discovery Inn.  It was fine, if a bit warm; then again, I can sleep just about anywhere.  The reception desk was on the third floor, which was kind of weird, so I had quite an adventure in the hotel even before signing in.  All those lifts, staircases and corridors, it was like a really rubbish role-playing game, not a dwarf or gelatinous cube to be seen. The nearest I came to finding a ‘monster’ was when I finally got to reception, where a guy was hassling the chap behind the counter for a different room, because his was too noisy.  It’s the middle of Leeds, the third largest city in the UK; what did he expect, total silence broken only by the occasional hoot of an owl?  And I’m not suggesting that the hotel was seedy or anything, but I had to pay a £10 deposit to get a remote control for the TV in the room so I could watch it.  My room’s en suite bathroom was quite large, with the sort of flooring you could throw water all over without it causing a problem.  All the walls were covered in really large, really bright, white tiles.  It smelt a bit of cleaning fluids, appeared to be antiseptically clean and had the sort of acoustics that an alpine mountain range would pay good money for.  It reminded me of a morgue.  It was the sort of bathroom in which an axe murderer could kill someone and then easily clean up the mess afterwards.  In fact, given all the shouting coming from one of the rooms near mine at one point, I think that’s exactly what was happening.

2009  –  Certificate: 12  –  USA
Rating Details:  Moderate comic sex references

I really liked this film.  Any film featuring a fat loser who ‘gets the girl’ is assured of my vote, even if this does clearly identify it as a work of fiction.  I also liked it because he’s basically a decent guy, who doesn’t suddenly become a megalomaniac or power-mad psychopath when he finds out he has a unique gift.  (Unlike “Limitless” or “Chronicle” for example, to give two recent examples).  Sure, he does exploit it a bit, but not in a really bad way.  He also gets the girl without much in the way of cheating either.  Despite our showing in the Olympics and Paralympics, us Brits do like a loser, especially one who comes good in the end.  More negatively, I couldn’t quite work out why some characters couldn’t stop themselves from blurting out stuff that really didn’t need to be blurted out; not lying is one thing, but saying bad stuff about people that doesn’t need to be said just for the sake of it, is a bit mean.  This film also seems to have become quite controversial, due to its atheist leanings.  In fact I could probably write pages and pages about this subject, but frankly I’d rather just watch and enjoy it as a fun, gentle comedy.  It’s actually quite a moving film.  The scene in the hospital manages to be both funny and heart-wrenching at the same time; it made me cry, but then it’s not been that long since my mum died, so it probably had more resonance for me that it might otherwise have had.

Recommended for losers who want a good role model.  Or those who think Ricky Gervais is a comedy god.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.

Top badass moment?  Fat loser Mark getting the beautiful girl.  That is so totally badass, (if highly improbable).  What a shame it never happens for real.

The Invention of Lying at IMDB (6.4/10)



The Masked Girl: 2.5 Stars


The Masked Girl - DVD Front CoverYou never know what life’s going to throw at you.  Today for example, I got talked into going to see a rugby match in March, the day after my birthday and the day after I’ve been to a gig; (the New Town Kings, amazing ska band).  I have zero interest in rugby.  In fact, I’ve less than no interest in it, I’ve actually got anti-interest in it.  The idea of paying £20 and then sitting in a cold, half empty football stadium, watching a load of blokes carrying a stupidly shaped ball around for 80 minutes, fills me with the sort of dread normally reserved for exams, opening my bank statement and getting a bollocking at work for not doing something I should have done.  Anyway, here’s a mental challenge for you.  Please first think of the Power Rangers in a typical episode.  Okay, hold that image.  Now replace them with two Japanese schoolgirls in school uniforms.  Still with me?  (Oh for goodness sake, keep your focus on the relevant details here.)  Good.  Now replace the ridiculous baddies the Power Rangers were fighting in your mind with a sinister organisation called The Clown, which wants to take over control of the Earth;  (unless you have a different copy of this film, where you may find that that for some reason the translation turns The Clown into The Joker, although not the Batman one).  If you’ve managed that successfully (and well done if you have) then you’re part way to conceptualising this Japanese action movie.  (Well I say movie, but it’s only actually 45 minutes long.  It does feel very much like a pilot episode for a TV series that’s never existed.) 

2008  –  Certificate: Not Rated  –  Japan

Despite this being an entirely absurd film it’s actually quite entertaining, for both intentional and unintentional reasons.  Join best friends Anne and Eunice (the names of the heroines in my translation of the film), as they do battle with The Clown.  We never really find out a lot about The Clown and the motivation of the girls’ games teacher makes zero sense to me too.  And I’m sorry to say this and I know it’s kind of sexist and everything, but Anne really does ‘run just like a girl’ the first time she appears in the consolidated armour.  It wouldn’t inspire me if I saw her run like that and was waiting for her to come and help me fight a group of ‘henchman’ and the weird guy in the mask and leathers.  (And before I forget, note for translators.  We normally call it “bust size” okay?  Also, you don’t have to bother to keep adding subtitles to “Mmmm”, as that’s much the same in any language).  There are plenty of silly laughs to be had in this movie and it’s really quite sweet in its own way.  I’ve not checked but I don’t suppose it was nominated for any Oscars.

Recommended for anyone who likes films at the “Dude, Where’s My Car?” level or below.  Not good for people who think a film needs any sort of depth to it.  No one’s going to drown in this movie.

No cats and no decapitations.

Top badass moment? Waking up chained to an under-lit table, surrounded by weirdos and finding out that you’ve had your body transformed somehow and you’re about to be brain-washed so you’ll do the bidding of an evil organisation know as The Clown, I imagine is a tough situation to accept.  Then finding out soon after that you’re going to have to fight to destroy this organisation before it kills you, probably makes things worse.  Still, Anne more or less takes it all in her stride.  That’s got to be badass at any age.

The Masked Girl at IMDB