Meet Ken Boyd: small-town loner and comic-book nerd, making ends meet by pushing a broom around the local ice-cream parlour. Fresh out of the loony bin, where he spent years recovering from the horrific torture he suffered at the hands of the high school basketball jocks, Ken (Kevin Corrigan) wants nothing more than to just be left alone. But when the lovely Stephanie (Lucy Davis) comes into Ken’s life and he is reunited with his estranged, 11 year old daughter Amy, things finally seem to be looking up. Even his constantly disappointed mother (Karen Black) and the town Sheriff (Barry Bostock) start to treat him with a little more respect. That is, until those very same jocks that Ken deems responsible for his ruined life start turning up dead…
2011 – Certificate: 15 – American Film
Rating Details: Strong language and bloody violence
7.0 out of 10
For dinner last night I had a weird and not overly tasty concoction that was meant to be a chilli, except I didn’t have any chillies or chilli powder, so I thought I’d use paprika instead; well it’s nearly the same colour isn’t it? I also thought I’d use a whole garlic bulb in it too. I ground the garlic up in an electric chopper, rather than cut it up into small bits with a knife, which is what I normally do. This had the effect of spreading the taste throughout the rest of the food, instead of keeping it more concentrated in certain places. The overall result of all this was an overpoweringly garlicky mush that didn’t go at all well with the paprika. I ate it all, but I imagine anyone coming anywhere near me in the next 36 hours is likely to be putting in a call to National Grid soon after. In the flats where I live, all the kitchens have a built in vent/fan system that is supposed to remove cooking smells. It’s really not very efficient; it just makes a lot of noise. Unfortunately and from personal experience over many years, this system also doesn’t seem to be very good at venting the smells out of the building either, preferring instead to simply pump them into all the neighbouring kitchens and bathrooms instead. I imagine that many of my neighbours were busy last night with the Air Wick, in a desperate attempt to hide my dietary experimentation. Still, I’m just getting my own back for all the meat and fish based meals they share with me in the same way. This movie has a bit of a revenge theme going on too.
In common with much of life, this film is a gentle comedy with the occasional bit of slasher horror. Like far too many other films, this one features another of those young (in this case an 11-year-old) kids with impossibly high levels of emotional intelligence, empathy and stability. They really are a cliché. Listen Mr. Movie-Maker, they may make useful plot devices but they don’t actually exist in the real world. You may as well have introduced a purple alien to fulfil the same role; it wouldn’t be any less believable (and could well end up actually being more believable). Despite this and a sometimes weak storyline, the characters are actually the best things in this film; yes, even the 11-year-old with the professional life-coaching skills; (and she looks about 13 too.) I enjoyed watching this movie more for the individual scenes to see everyone interacting, rather than the overall plot. The ‘horror bits’ felt a bit bolted on to everything and it would have probably worked just as well without them. So worth a watch for the fun and the acting, but it’s a disappointing horror with a wonky story. (When was the last time you heard or saw anyone use the word “wonky” then?) I’ve just though, this is the second American film in a row I’ve watched that has a ‘token Brit’ in it. She calls someone a “wanker” anyway; a complex term that I imagine goes over the head of many Americans.
The soundtrack does what it needs to do but is otherwise pretty anonymous.
The trailer’s entertaining, but it does sort of give away the story and has most of the best lines in it as well.
Recommended for police officers, precocious kids, bullies (and their victims), basketball fans, losers and anyone in a dead-end job.
1 decapitation, no cats or chainsaws. A clean if somewhat messy cut; off in one.
Top badass moment? As a minor plot point, this film includes issues around custody of a young girl. Fortunately this appears to get sorted out in about 15 seconds to the satisfaction of all. I thought these things are meant to take ages and cost a fortune? Was this just lazy writing, or have I been brainwashed for years by the legal profession bent on maximising what it gets from the misery of others? Regardless, the DIY result in this movie seems badass.
The tense environment of a tough inner-city school where cultures and attitudes often clash is revealed in this award-winning drama based on François Bégaudeau’s best-selling novel Between the Walls. Bégaudeau himself stars as an idealistic teacher of a class of unruly 15 year-olds, whose spiky independence present constant challenges to his sometimes unconventional teaching methods. Featuring an outstanding non-professional cast of real teachers and students, Laurent Cantet’s gripping and sharply observed film offers a microcosm of contemporary society and explores the difficult issues facing education today.
2008 – Certificate: 15 – French Film
Rating Details: Strong Language
7 out of 10
I worked from home today. Despite not having nearly enough space to do so, I quite enjoy it as it allows me to work in just my underpants (the pair I was wearing the day before of course) and indulge my anti-social tendencies by not going out or seeing anyone. Today I did have to speak to people on the phone a lot, but that’s not as bad as actually having to speak to anyone face-to-face. For my dinner tonight I had some weird concoction that included tinned tomatoes, rice and tofu. To further indulge my anti-social tendencies, I do most of my food shopping online. Last time, due to an apparent world shortage of cheap, brown rice, I was gifted by Waitrose with a bag of basmati rice with added wild rice; (for the same price as the cheap rubbish I’d ordered). I’ve never eaten wild rice before, mainly because it’s about a million pounds a bag. After eating it tonight, I was left wondering how many people are willing to spend twice as much on a bag of rice as they need to, simply because it’s got a few ‘black bits’ in it. Taste-wise it didn’t seem to add anything, but I guess if you’re stupid, vein and rich, you can pander to your rice fantasies whenever you like. Finally, to indulge my anti-social tendencies still further, my meal tonight included two whole garlic bulbs. That’s a lot of garlic; and this film is French.
This is a movie that’s looks very much like a documentary. It features the staff and pupils at an inner city school in Paris and focuses on one particular teacher and his class, over the course of a year. Most of the time is spent in the classroom, watching him teaching them. Yep, that’s pretty much it; for over two hours. The teenagers act like real teenagers; sometimes they’re good and sometimes they’re bad. The teacher acts like a teacher; he gets some stuff right and some stuff wrong. Strangely, it’s all rather watchable, but I really have no idea why. Perhaps it’s the almost constant mental combat that’s going on in the classroom that makes it so absorbing? However, it has reminded me of just what a hard job teaching can be.
Music? There isn’t any. At all.
Recommended for teachers and school age teenagers. Game on!
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? This is a film about one man who thinks he can ‘make a difference’. He’s got no superpowers or cool gadgets, or a perfect physique. He does however do battle on a daily basis, with a horde of confrontational, argumentative and troubled teenagers. He’s a teacher. That’s badass.