Posts tagged “Financial Plan

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!

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Historias Mínimas / Hell is 16,000 Rectangles


Historias Minimas  -  Front DVD cover (UK)A charming and affecting tale charting the fortunes of three small town heroes pursuing their dreams, Carlos Sorin’s “Historias Mínimas” offers further evidence of the current riches to be found in Argentine cinema.  Awarded a special jury prize at the San Sebastian International Film Festival, it’s a deceptively simple, yet delightful road movie concerned with three disparate characters heading for the Argentine city of San Julian amid the beautiful landscapes of Patagonia.  Roberto (Javier Lombardo) is a travelling salesman hoping to impress a young widow by surprising her child with a birthday cake.  Don Justo (Antonio Benedictis) is an old man with poor vision who sits in front of his son’s grocery store and entertains passing children by wiggling his ears.  Maria (Javiera Bravo) is a shy young mother who has won an appearance on TV game show “Multicoloured Casino”.   Gently probing the hopes and aspirations of his characters, Sorin uses the interconnected, tripartite structure to offer astute observations both on a culture relatively unscathed by modernity and on contemporary Argentina itself.

2002  –  Certificate: 15  –  Argentina
7 out of 10

I work for a charity.  Ironically, considering we’re basically penniless (because we use all our dosh on doing ‘good stuff’) we spend a lot of time counting our money.  We count it up, we count it down, we count it sideways, we even lend it to one another (a loving and intimate experience we call an “internal transfer”) so we can count it some more.  Every year, to punish ourselves for not having enough money with which to save the planet, we like to spend ‘quality time’ counting what little we have.  It’s a quasi-religious experience for us all, where staff from far and wide go back to their offices and sit in front of a computer, before subjecting themselves to a living Hell.  In the ‘old days’ we called these bi-annual events “budgeting” or “forecasting”.  Then, discovering we actually had less money than we thought, we decided to count it four times a year instead and call it “financial planning”.  These are watched over by a group of pan-dimensional super-intelligent beings we call the Leadership Team, (although throughout the annuals of human history they’ve sometimes been given many other, less flattering titles).  Their names are known to everyone, but few claim to have met any, (which certainly helps to keep the God theme going).  Like visiting a priest, this is a time for people to confess their sins and fess up to all the non-existent income they’ve been claiming they’re going to raise.  The naughtier you’ve been, the longer you’re required to do this for.  This year I’ve been really bad, so I’ve just spent 6 days in Purgatory, filling in around 16,000 rectangles that needed a number put into them, mostly, as you might imagine, zeros. There were also about 100 pages of notes, to explain what all the noughts mean.  I guess I could have spent six days filling in forms to gain some money to put into all the boxes that have nothing in them, but what do I know?   I suppose if you add enough noughts together, they’ll end up equalling more than nothing; there must be some ‘weird’ maths somewhere that results in that happening, or maybe there’re just typos.  That reminds me, I must go and spend my HMV Vouchers on Saturday.  This is a film about some people without a great deal of money, who seem to get by okay.

This is a cute drama/comedy about three people undertaking different journeys in Argentina, from the same, small village to a (not so) nearby town.  Unlike the last film I watched, “Say Yes”, which was a road trip movie about a psycho hitchhiker in Korea, this one is slow, nothing much happens and it’s really quite boring.  Yet despite this it’s actually quite engrossing.  There’s something very ‘reality TV’ about watching ordinary people going about their business and seeing how important seemingly small things are to them.  Those little events that mean you have a good day or a crap day; in the big scheme of things they don’t make the slightest difference, but to us individually they’re immensely significant.   This movie also highlights the fact that most people are inherently quite decent, which isn’t something you see in a film very often. If there isn’t at least one person trying to fuck up someone else’s life, then it’s just weird.  If you remember “The Fast Show’s” Chanel 9, you’ll be able to relate to the Multicoloured Casino part.  There’s something quite funny about watching a film in Spanish featuring a really crappy game show, which uses the word “multiprocessor” too many times.  Some of scenery is pretty inspiring too, so it’s a shame the quality of the picture isn’t that great.  Nice film, go watch.

Recommended for people who can manage 88 minutes without any aliens, explosions or superheroes.  It’s tough I know, but someone has to do it.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  I’m going for the workman who helps Don Justo get his dog back.  True, it’s probably not actually his dog and the workman does have to buy it from some guy, but considering he didn’t really know Don Justo, that was a pretty badass thing to do.  And there I was, thinking that all that Argentinians are heartless bastards who just want to reinvade the Falklands.  I guess that’s what happens when you confuse politicians with human beings.

Historias Mínimas on IMDB (7.3/10)


The Longest Day: 3.0 Stars


The Longest Day  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)Once again, my ego is crushed as an epic film disappoints me.  I was so totally convinced that this was a documentary about doing my Financial Plan at work a couple of months ago.  Okay, so it says on the box that it was made in 1962, but I thought that was just a typo.  In the old days (well last year) we used to write budget forecasts, but now we prepare Financial Plans.  These involve filling in hundreds and hundreds of little boxes with numbers.  (Technically they’re rectangles, but you know what I mean.)  Anyway, it takes a long time to fill in all those little boxes and doing so makes me feel quite heroic, even though, at the time, it’s hell.  Every number I fill in that represents income is like a shot at the evil, triple alliance of decrepit resources, job loss and bankruptcy.  It’s like I’m defending Cactus World and its allies from certain doom, which in fact is exactly what I am doing.  So imagine my disappointment when I found out this film was about something called the Second World War.  Bloody hell, it’s not even the original, it’s just a sequel. How ego deflating is that?

1962  –  Certificate: PG  –  USA
Rating Details:  Mild Violence

There are some great war films out there; this isn’t one of them.  Despite its epic scale, it somehow doesn’t feel epic very often.  It has so many characters in it that you scarcely get to know any of them before we’re whisked off to meet someone else. Yet you never really get a feel for the magnitude of what’s going on, or learn anything much either.  It doesn’t work as a character study film (“Private Ryan”) or a fictional documentary (“Battle of Britain”); it’s just a load of A-listers in cameos with their own little stories, few of which actually join up in any useful way.  As far as the Invasion goes, all I learnt was that we were having a normal crappy summer weather-wise, the Nazi’s made loads of mistakes because they were too arrogant, the rest of us blundered about in the dark lost and the air forces from both sides basically went on holiday.  It wouldn’t really matter of course, but this was a significant point in history and a lot of people lost their lives or were horribly injured, etc.  They deserve something better than Robert Mitchum and John Wayne wondering about acting like gung-ho heroes; Wayne with his broken ankle and Mitchum with his soggy cigar and drug-addict eyes.  I can where Captain Kirk got his inspiration from.  It’s sort of annoying how it just ends too; I know it’s The Longest Day and all that, but after 171 minutes I’d liked to have had a bit of closure, but it just kind of, ends; not unlike the trailer acually.

Recommended for people with three hours to spare.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.

Top badass moment?  There were plenty of heroes in this movie, but the real badass ones are those that actually took part in this event for real.  Yes, even the American ones.  Ironically, modern Germany is light years away from the one depicted in this film, whereas some of us still think we’re fighting the war and running an empire.  Losers.

The Longest Day at IMDB (7.8 / 10)