Posts tagged “London

Slaughter High / When Words Resemble Monkey Sick


Slaughter High  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US Release

There’s horror in the halls… lynching in the lunchroom…  murder in the metal shop.  Welcome to “Slaughter High”, where the students are dying to get out!  In high school, Marty was the kid all the students teased, taunted and tortured mercilessly.  One day, things went too far; one of their jokes backfired, disfiguring Marty for life.  Now, five years later, Marty has arranged a special reunion for all his high school “friends.”  The prom queen, the jock, the class clown, the rebel and a few select others have been invited… and it’s going to be a gala of gore!

1986  –  Certificate: Unrated  –  American Film
7.0 out of 10

I’m crap at everything.  However, I try very hard and surround myself with more able and talented people, which in some limited cases enables me to function in society without everyone pointing in my direction, or crossing the road when they see me coming.  Yesterday was a good case in point.  I spent all of it trying to complete a quotation (that a colleague had already done most of the work for), in response to a competitive tender document for a project to help set up a new community group, to care for the areas along the line of an old railway.   It didn’t really come with any sort of structure for what it was asking for, which means trying to do it was like trying to play a game that no one’s explained the rules to me about.  All that choice!  Vegans don’t deal with choice well; it’s typically the green salad, or chips, or nothing for us.  At about half past four I found myself staring at the words on the screen, able to read and understand them, but totally unable to work out what they meant, or how one string of them (a thing we call a sentence) related to any other.  Talk about not being able to see the wood for the trees.  Somehow I managed to complete about 98% of it, although when I proof-read it this morning most made less sense than a wall covered in a bucket full of scrabble letters and monkey sick.  There was one little bit that I had to complete by hand and I swear it looks like a six-year-old did it.  I don’t think I can write anymore; I used to have lovely handwriting too.  Sometimes I feel like life is teasing me for a laugh.  One day I’ll react like Marty in this film….

Oh dear, it’s the uncut version of a ‘forgotten classic’.  To be fair it’s probably not that obscure and it’s probably not that bad either.  It’s not boring anyway.  Here we have a group of young adults who behave in an almost entirely irrational way, an isolated location, a seriously pissed off guy harbouring a grudge… and you know the rest.  The murders are a mixed bag; I guess my favourite was the electric shock during sex, although the lawnmower one isn’t too bad either.  Did I like Marty the vengeful killer?  Well he was/is a dork, but clearly after his injury the law failed to provide him with the justice he genuinely did deserve, so in a way I can’t blame him for taking things into his own hands.  The guy had probably had a very successful and exciting career ahead of him too.  Actually, the more I think about it the more I realise that he really is the victim here.  The fact that the group that bullied him didn’t even seem to have any remorse for what they did, even though the outcome probably was an accident and unintended, just makes things worse.  What a nasty set of individuals.  Awful.  I’m glad they’re all dead now.  And another thing, the level of health & safety in the school’s science lab was woeful.  Seriously, no one would store a really large, glass bottle of nitric acid on top of a narrow, wobbly, free-standing shelf unit that itself is sitting on top of a table in the middle of a room, not even in the 80s.  And the bottle wasn’t labelled properly either.  And where were Marty’s gloves and protective goggles?  He didn’t strike me as the sort of guy who wouldn’t wear them because he didn’t look cool.  Then again, he does appear to take the time to take his Doddsville County High School jacket off in the middle of his science experiment starting to blow up all around him, so I guess his appearance did matter a lot to him, which probably explains why he got so worked up about being hideously burnt.  For that matter, why wasn’t he being supervised?  I know the school only appeared to have one teacher, who worked in the gym, but even so.  I know, I’m probably over analysing things.  Despite its intentions, the most offensive thing in the whole movie was the dreadfully racist scene involving the Black caretaker.  I image this is one of Jeremy Clarkson’s favourite movies.

Musically we’re deep into 80s low-budget territory.  Yes, very deep.

The trailer isn’t so bad, although it does manage to give away the entire plot and partly show a number of the murders too.  Then again, the plot isn’t exactly an original and you don’t get to see all of the murders.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.  Surprisingly.

Top badass moment?  No one likes a bully.  And we like groups of bullies even less.  So it’s high-fives all round for Marty, as he slowly dispatches them all one by one.  Also, given the speed at which he appears to be able to get from place to place at around the school, he’s apparently invented some sort of personal teleportation device too.  That’s seriously badass; or just dreadful editing.

Slaughter High at IMDB (5.0 / 10)
Slaughter High at Wikipedia
Slaughter High trailer at YouTube


Mum & Dad / I’m Going Travelling


Mum & Dad  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK Release“Mum & Dad”, the impressive debut by writer-director Steven Sheil, is one of the most disturbing Brit-shockers to emerge in recent years.  When Lena, a young Polish immigrant working as an office cleaner at Heathrow Airport, misses her last bus home, she accepts an offer of help from friendly co-worker Birdie, who lives nearby with her ‘adoptive’ parents.  Knocked unconscious after arriving at the house, Lena soon finds herself imprisoned in a suburban house of horrors, a living nightmare of abuse, torture and murder.  Designated a ‘Mummy’s Girl’, Lena’s only options appear to be to become part of the family – and join Mum & Dad in their insanity – or die.

2008  –  Certificate 18  –  British Film
Strong bloody violence, torture, terrorisation and sex references
7.5 out of 10

I’ve been a pretty lucky bloke over the past few months.  I’ve been to Mexico, Bavaria in Germany, the mountains of Colombia, hung out with a rock ‘n’ roll band and met the Devil, flown around Los Angeles with a superhero, gone into space and met an alien (The Alien actually), been hassled by Japanese zombies that live in a toilet; yes, life’s been pretty interesting.  Of course I’ve not left my living room either, because that would mean, well, going out, making an effort and mixing with other people.  However, I’ve enjoyed these experiences through the films I’ve watched.  A much safer, easier, cheaper and more convenient alternative I’m sure you’ll agree.  I’ve never understood the urge some people have “to travel”.  It sounds like my worst nightmare; a commute that never ends, surrounded by people who don’t speak English and will probably kill or rob you given half a chance; wildlife that will sting you to death or eat you; constantly sick from the weird, contaminated food you’ll be forced to eat; and a rate of exchange that you won’t understand and before you know it you’ll have spent all your money on a can of Coke.  Even if you manage to survive all that lot, you’ll end up in prison forever, being buggered by a half human – half religious fanatic, all because you broke some local law you never knew existed, by making what you thought was a friendly gesture to someone. That’s what “going travelling” really means.  However, not wanting to miss out on all the fun it offers and on my return the chance to entertain everyone with my stories and deep understanding of how people in other places live their lives, I’ve decided to start plotting all my travel adventures on a map.  This will hopefully provide me with a constantly evolving picture of where I’ve been, complete with the odd photo and comment.  I look forward to boring sharing this with the world!  In a kind of appropriate way, this film takes place near Heathrow Airport in London, which will be the starting point for my global trek.

This is a decent, violent, low-budget horror that has the advantage of being set in a suburban house near Heathrow Airport.  It features some pretty normal looking people with normal jobs and an assortment of syringes and basic DIY tools; very British.  It’s a refreshing alternative to the endless American versions that tend to take place in the back of beyond and involve some in-bred weirdos having endless bad hair days and an impressive collection of power tools.  “Mum & Dad” boasts plenty of realistic looking gore and a cast of suitably deranged characters.  Dad is especially freaky.  It’s particularly impressive when it subverts normal family life; (for example, instead of breakfast TV on in the background over a typical breakfast, this family has hardcore porn on the telly).  Some of the justification used for Lena’s treatment is pretty scary too.  The late addition of a couple of extra residents in the house tends to slightly dilute the story a bit, even as it ups the yukiness score.  And if I thought about things too hard I started to wonder “why didn’t she just do” this, that or the other to escape, but other than that it’s a solid horror.  The scene with the wooden mallet is particularly effective.  It’s good to see that my lottery ticket money is being put to such good use.  It’s also a film that explains where all that lost luggage at airports end up.

There a limited amount of music used in this movie, other than the big Christmas Day scene, where it rather cleverly makes the likes of “Silent Night” etc rather creepy.

The trailer’s a fair enough representation of the film.

Recommended for cleaners, airport baggage handlers and Polish immigrants.

1 decapitation, no cats or chainsaws.

Top badass moment?  Lena looks pretty miserable for most of the movie, as well she might given the circumstances.  However, she never really gives up trying to get away, despite all the unpleasantness.  That’s badass.  Having said that, she was being offered free accommodation.  A room in a decent house in the Heathrow area has got to be worth £400 / month and for all they knew, she could have been an axe murderer or something.  To be honest, it makes her seem a bit ungrateful.

Mum & Dad at IMDB (5.9 / 10)
Mum & Dad at Wikipedia
Mum & Dad at YouTube


Aberdeen / My Aston Martin


Aberdeen  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US ReleaseKaisa (Lena Headey), a beautiful and feisty Scottish woman, finally has her life together, at least until her mother (Charlotte Rampling) asks an enormous favour; to bring back to her Kaisa’s estranged larger-than-life father (Stellan Skarsgård).  The two of them, father and daughter together, set out on a wild, brutally funny yet heartbreaking journey, which takes them through their emotional past before reaching their ultimate destination.

2000  –  Certificate: Not Rated  –  Norwegian / British Film
9.0 out of 10

Despite being a lowly nobody at work, a combination of staff sickness and annual leave yesterday meant that all the more senior staff with direct line management responsibility for me weren’t in.  Taking advantage of my self-appointed, temporary CEO role, I finally got to order that Aston Martin V12 Vantage S I’m always on about.  I knew my recent ‘job enrichment’ as “An Authoriser” would come in handy.  With this new company car, I’ll soon be making better use of my valuable time, by utilising its top speed of 205m.p.h.  (I spent over six hours driving today, mostly on the M25, covering a little over 200 miles in that time; it would’ve only taken me an hour in the Aston.)  I haven’t been able to find out much about it fuel consumption or exhaust emissions, but luckily it’s got a catalytic converter so I’m sure it’ll be really good for the environment too.  I can’t wait for it to be delivered.  I imagine the optional, 1000W Bang & Olufsen BeoSound with ICEpower technology audio system I’ve included in my order is pretty good as well.  This film features a decent car, but it’s not an Aston Martin.  I should have watched a James Bond movie instead.

I’ve been to Aberdeen.  It’s gray, depressing and bloody cold.  It’s so cold even ice tries to avoid the place.  The fact that many years ago I got dumped there by the most beautiful woman on the planet (although with hindsight she was clearly way out of my league), has no bearing whatsoever on my opinion of the place.  I’m nothing, if not a consummate professional when it comes to giving factual, well-balanced information about things.  (I remember the two of us building a huge snowman in a park.  A short time later as we walked past it again, we saw some little bastards abusing it.  They had just pushed its head off, in what turned out to be a remarkably accurate metaphor for our future together.)  This is an amazing film that features the relationship between a father and daughter, two emotionally damaged individuals; one an alcoholic and the other a successful solicitor who’s seemingly lost the ability to love anyone.  It’s essentially a road-trip movie, in which the daughter has to go from London to Norway to collect her father and then transport him to Scotland.  I like films like this, as they me feel better about myself.  Lena Headey and Stellan Skarsgård, who seem to turn up in quite a few films I watch, both put in wonderful performances and manage to make their characters sympathetic and somewhat endearing, despite their not being very nice people.  I really did end up caring about what happened to them.  If it has a fault, then it’s that some of the situations they run into on their journey just seem a bit too random and strange.  This is an emotionally tiring film to watch, but worth every second.  The trailer really doesn’t do it much justice.

To be brutally frank, the soundtrack’s unlikely to result in a circle pit in your living room.  However, I don’t think that was the intention.  Like most things about this film, the music works and really enhances the scenes its used in.

Recommended for alcoholics, solicitors and dysfunctional families.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  I’ve never been an alcoholic; I don’t have the time or the money.  So I’ve never experienced what it’s like.  Tomas is an alcoholic and spends most of the film very drunk.  However, he does manage to go into a bar at one point and drink just water.  I’d imagine that’s pretty hard to do when you’re an alcoholic.  That’s badass.

Aberdeen at IMDB (7.1 / 10)

Aberdeen at Wikipedia

Aberdeen at YouTube


Kidulthood / Phall Curry


Kidulthood  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseFor 15-year-old Trife, life is a day-to-day struggle.  Trapped between the worlds of his school friends, the girl he loves and the draw of his powerful and dangerous uncle, Trife must choose between the path he knows is right and a life of guns, drugs and violence that he has come to know only too well.  When a classmate’s suicide leaves Trife and his crew, Moony and Jay, with the day off school, the tragedy seems overshadowed by the opportunity to shop, get high, get laid and party; but in a world where sex is currency, drugs are easy and violence is a way of life, trouble can never be too far around the corner.  On these streets kids grow up fast and 48 hours can be a lifetime.

2005  –  Certificate: 15  –  British Film
Rating Details:  Strong violence, language, sex references and drug use
8.0 out of 10

I haven’t really enjoyed this week.  It’s hard to identify one particular thing that’s made it a bit rubbish, it just was.  It’s been the sort of week where you’d spot a pound coin on the pavement, then when you’ve bend over to pick it up a car’s driven through a nearby puddle and soaked you.  To celebrate the better parts of the week and the fact that I’d got to the end of it, I decided to treat myself to an Indian takeaway.  However, to also enable the latter to best reflect how things have been recently, I decided to get a vegetable phall.  I really like curry, but this version is basically a few bits of vegetable with a goo made out of chillies all over it.  It’s virtually impossible to eat and tastes of nothing, except chillies and the inside of the Sun.  It’s the sort of thing guys eat when they want to try and impress other guys.  (I know, how on earth did humans manage to get to the top of the food chain?)  As I’ve got no friends and I ate it on my own, I’m not quite sure who I was trying to impress.  I think it was simply a cry for help, a punishment for not being good enough at work all week.  I imagine if I’d not eaten it I’d now feel obliged to roll around naked in a patch of stinging nettles instead.  And I didn’t win the National Lottery either.  Still, things could be worse; I could live in the ‘wrong’ part of W11, where this film is set.

I went to school in central London.  In my day we didn’t have mobile phones or gangsta rap; drugs were something you took for a toothache (and in any case were always called tablets) and oral sex meant talking about it, not that we knew what ‘it’ really was.  So films like this are really helpful in enabling me to keep myself ‘street’, ‘happening’ and ‘down with the kids’; although as anyone who’s a teenager now would have been about 7-years-old when it was made, I suspect things have moved on a bit since then.  Eschewing the fascination that movie-makers have with the East End, south London, Camden and Hackney, this movie mostly takes place in that forgotten realm west of the West End, where only the Hammersmith & City Line dares to go.  A land of council estates and old terrace housing hidden away behind the ‘glamour’ of Notting Hill, it’s about as uncool and unfashionable as you can get.  If it wasn’t for Portobello Market and the nearby Carnival, it would probably hold the world record for being the most unhip and dowdy place in any capital city anywhere.  In fact if you Google it, nothing comes up.  Despite my trashing of the location, this is actually an excellent film; (awful title though).  I’m also lucky to be gangsta enough to be able to understand what they’re all saying most of the time, which is just as well because my copy didn’t come with any subtitles.  I haven’t heard so much slang since I watched “Attack the Block”.

With a soundtrack that’s almost pure London hip-hop, grime and rap, it’s as good (or as bad) as you think that is.  Rodney Smith, Maxwell Ansah, Dylan Mills and Michael Skinner all provide parts of the soundtrack.  (And if you don’t know who they are then that makes you a total square.)

Recommended for ganstas, bros, crews and feds, init?

One cat, no chainsaws or decapitations.  A cute grey cat makes a brief but scene-stealing appearance, jumping off a sofa and then wondering about a bit.

Top badass moment?  There are plenty of small ‘growing-up’ badass moments scattered throughout this film, but I’m going to choose Alisa giving some home truths to the bullies on the tube.  They were really horrible!  Still, at least I know they’re probably all junkies, prostitutes or unmarried mothers by now.  I blame the parents.  (When I write things like that they so make me sound so like a Tory.  I’m really not, honest!)

Kidulthood at IMDB (6.5 / 10)

Kidulthood at Wikipedia


Satanic Sluts: The Black Order Cometh / Piñon Pine Incense Cones


Satanic Sluts:The Black Order Cometh  -  Front DVD Cover (UK Release)The Satanic Sluts are an all female collective (similar to the Suicide Girls), numbering up to 666 of the world’s most sexual, attitudinal, confrontational, creative and challenging women that have ever chosen to walk down the left-hand path.  In this exclusive and unique DVD six members of The Satanic sluts have bared their corrupt souls for your delectation and their dubious pleasure.  Featuring real bloodletting, Japanese rope bondage, whippings and satanic crucifixions, through to fantasized sequences involving torture, medical experiments and vampirism.  Watching this DVD will be akin to having your eyeballs licked – prepare to go blind!

2008  –  Certificate: 18  –  UK Film
Rating Details:  Very strong language, nudity, bloody gore and fetish
3.0 out of 10

I’ve always quite liked scented things for rooms.  I’m not talking about those dreadful air freshener sprays that appear to be a close relation of tear gas; or them plug-in abominations, whose mere existence confirms the inevitability of environmental Armageddon.  No, I’m talking about things like incense and oil burners.  A couple of years ago, two friends came to stay with me and gave me a gift of some piñon pine incense cones.  They were lovely, but sadly they ran out ages ago; (the cones, not the friends).  I hunted around on the Internet looking for a supplier, but they were all in America and the idea of paying zillions for shipping wasn’t that appealing.  All I could find closer to home were piñon incense sticks, which just weren’t the same.  However, I finally came access a cone supplier on eBay a month or two ago, based in the UK.  My flat now smells like an open wood fire in New Mexico.  Apparently it also repels mosquitoes. The only smells likely to emanate from this film are rubber, latex and leather.

Just for a moment, think about your favourite, male, movie action-hero. Okay, now imagine him in a tough spot; his gun’s out of ammo, he’s securely tied up with the film’s beautiful heroine and they’ve only got five minutes before the nuclear bomb they’re sitting on explodes, killing millions of innocents in Los Angeles.  He might say something along the lines of, “this is bad… really bad”.  Now, forget about the bomb and stuff and plonk that same action-hero in front of a TV and make him watch this film for a bit.  Spot the difference in the dialogue?  No, I can’t either.  Part drama and part documentary, this movie is made up of a series of quite random short scenes and interviews with some of the ‘cast’.  It’s probably supposed to provide an insight into an alternative lifestyle, whilst exciting the parts other films can’t reach.  Well it did neither and it all felt strangely old-fashioned to me too.  I’ve never quite understood the appeal of all that gothic, dominatrix in leather stuff; I suppose that comes of being vegan.  I did find myself wondering at one point how hot it must get wearing all that latex.  I use to have a pair of PVC trousers in my more flamboyant days and they used to really warm up if the sun got on them; they were good in wet weather though.  I can only imagine the 170 seconds of footage that the BBFC insisted were cut from the film to enable it to gain an 18 certificate, must have all the plot and ‘good stuff’ in them.  Yes, the compulsory cuts that were required to remove the “unsimulated sight of restrained woman’s arm being cut with a scalpel” must be where it all is.  I guess the sight of someone having needles pushed into various parts of her face is okay though, it was probably just something to do with acupuncture that I’ve misinterpreted.  And as I never open the security grills on the windows in my office at work, the stuff with the cages didn’t seem that big a deal to me.  However, the scariest thing about this film is that it’s the first part of a trilogy.  That will give me sleepless nights.

I’m not sure what sort of music soundtrack this film had.  Industrial techno?  Who knows? Anyway, it wasn’t very good.

Recommended for acupuncturists, nuns, birds in leather and nurses.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.  However, one of the ‘stars’ calls herself Chelsea Chainsaw.  I hope she has the proper ‘industry tickets’ for that name, at least CS30 and hopefully CS31 too.

Top badass moment?  Someone has lots of needles pushed into her face, for the entertainment of others.  It’s not made entirely clear what she gets out of it, but whatever, that’s kind of badass.  I might give it a miss myself; there’re some reruns of “Bargain Hunt” with David Dickinson I’m keen to catch up with this weekend.

Satanic Sluts: The Black Order Cometh at IMDB (2.3 / 10)


Hot Fuzz / English as a First Language (and 2nd, 3rd, 4th…)


Hot Fuzz  -  Front DVD Cover (UK Release)When top London cop, PC Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg), is reassigned to the quiet town of Sandford, he struggles with his seemingly crime-free world… and oafish partner Danny (Nick Frost).  When several grisly accidents rock the village, it’s not long before Danny’s dreams of explosive, high-octane, car-chasing, gun fighting, all-out action become reality!  It’s time for these small-town cops to hand out big-city justice!

2007  –  Certificate: 15  –  UK Film
Rating Details:  Very strong language and strong comic bloody violence
9.0 out of 10

I went to the local chemists yesterday.  To get there I had to walk up a steep hill.  As I was doing so, I passed a young guy (I guess he was about 13) having a conversation in the street with a friend.  (I say conversation; they were actually shouting at one another across the road and into an adjacent playground.  Maybe it was just a new type of cheap, limited range not-very-smart phone they were trying out; who knows?)  So anyway, I got to hear quite a long exchange between them, as I staggered, wheezing, red-faced and exhausted, up the near precipice I was attempting to climb.  Maybe my physically overtaxed body was to blame, but I could barely decipher a word of what they were shouting to one another, despite the fact that I think they were speaking English.  Today I went to a meeting in Redhill; (which despite the name, doesn’t appear to have a hill of any colour in it, just some shops and offices).  I had to get up at the unwholesome hour of 5:58am to give me time to get there and the train was too crowded for me to get in a decent sleep on the way too. Maybe my mentally overtired mind was to blame, but I sat in a meeting with four other people who, although very nice, used so much ‘management speak’ that I could barely decipher a word of what they were saying to one another, despite the fact that I think they were speaking English.   I guess I’m not cool enough to ‘hang out on the streets’ with ‘the kids’ or clever enough to exchange ‘intellectual banter’ with ‘corporate leaders’.    The film features a number of language issues relating to the “metropolitan police vocabulary guidelines”.

This is a genuinely great action-comedy.  If you’ve never seen it, rectify the situation now.  If you have seen it, go and watch it again, now.  That’s all I’ve got to say about it really, because it’s one of those movies you really ought to have seen already and it’s got Scotty in it.  It’s also one of those rare British films where you want the police to win.  If you think the locals as characterised in the movie are just a bit over-the-top; well, I’ve met people like them for real.  Most of them are parish and town councillors.  Lovely people, but a bit scary too…  The Shires of southern England have a lot in common with the Wild West…

Between the inspired use of Adam and the Ants’ “Goody Two Shoes” at the start and Supergrass’ “Caught by the Fuzz” at the end, the music settles down into a more mundane but fun mixture of mostly 60s and 70s brit-pop songs, which often reinforce the images on the screen through their lyrics.  Actually it’s a pretty good soundtrack.

Recommended for police officers, town/parish councillors, florists, journalists, publicans, hoddies, supermarket managers and anyone associated with a neighbourhood watch group.

No cats or chainsaws, but two decapitations, plus one head totally splattered with a church spire.

Top badass moment?  Trashing your local supermarket has to be badass.  (Is there anyone who hasn’t at some point wanted to pull the bottom can or packet out of one of those ‘food towers’ they build them from?)  Doing so in the name of law and order simply gives you access to the moral high ground too.   Imagine all the bargains there the next day, on the ‘slightly shop soiled’ shelf?  (Actually, do they still construct those towers?  I half think they’ve been done way with in the name of health and safety.  Those “Tin of beans and it’s toast for toddler” types of headlines don’t look good.)

Hot Fuzz at IMDB (7.9 / 10)

Hot Fuzz 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


Hardware / My New Water Meter


Hardware  -  Front Blu-ray Cover (UK ReleaseIn a post-apocalyptic, nuclear-scarred future, the world has become a radioactive, neon drenched, industrial wasteland, populated by the disenfranchised and the demented.  Amidst the dust and decay of a poisoned landscape, a Zone Tripper manages to salvage a disembodied robotic head.  But what is initially mistaken for discarded techno trash is in fact the mechanical remains of the M.A.R.K. 13, a merciless killing machine programmed to activate, exhilarate and exterminate.  After ending up in the isolated apartment of an introverted artist, the M.A.R.K. 13 re-assembles itself for an eye-gouging, chainsaw-wielding, body-drilling, skull-crushing rampage, where no flesh shall be spared.  Directed by Richard Stanley (“Dust Devil”), “Hardware” features a face pounding soundtrack and appearances from rock legends Iggy Pop, Motörhead’s Lemmy and Fields Of The Nephilim’s Carl McCoy.  Available for the first time as a Special Edition, “Hardware” remains a highly original, mind-melding, Cyberpunk, horror/sci-fi cult classic.  So plug-in, turn on, download and prepare to have your inner circuits pulled out and re-wired.

1990  –  Certificate 18  –  British Film
Rating Details:  Strong bloody violence and sex
5.0 out of 10

I had a water meter fitted yesterday.  When I went to make a cup of tea afterwards I got soaked by a sudden explosion of water out of the tap, as the supply sorted itself out in the pipes.  Nice.  I currently pay about £330 a year for water rates, so I’ve convinced myself that by having a meter fitted, after just a few months I’ll have saved enough money to retire and go on that round-the-world cruise I’m always promising myself.  (Well I know the maths doesn’t really add up and I’d probably get bored after about five minutes on a cruise, but it’s the principle I’m trying to establish here.)  Who’d have thought that saving the planet could be so profitable?  I wonder how long you can go for and not flush a toilet?  A week?  Well it works for washing up…  In this film, water seems to be in pretty short supply; they should all have got meters fitted.

It’s the future, after some unspecified nuclear incident has taken place.  We join a guy who’s collecting junk in a desert.  This guy then sells some of the items he’s found in the sand, which include a bust-up robotic head, to a chap called Mo.  Mo, who’s obviously a true romantic, takes it to his girlfriend’s place in the city for her as a Christmas present.  Despite the fact that Jill’s more than a bit pissed off with him for being away so long, his gift has the desired effect (if you know what I mean).   She’s a sculptor, so she decides to put it into something she’s working on.  Unbeknownst to them, the head was part of a secret government war-bot programme.  Oh dear, it comes back to life and rebuilds itself from common household appliances; (I hate it when that happens, it really interferes with your day and the cost of replacing everything afterwards can be quite considerable).  It then starts killing people; although luckily it never really gets out of her flat.  Truth be told, this is a pretty crappy film.  It has a few interesting cameos, such as Iggy Pop as a radio DJ and Lemmy as a taxi-driver, plus some interesting musical choices, but most of the time it’s too dark or orange, or both, to make watching what’s going on a rewarding experience.  Even on Blu-ray it was still a murky mess.  One random sub-plot revolves around a pervy neighbour, who spies on Jill with a telescope whilst he ‘enjoys’ himself.  Unfortunately, we never really get to see what he finds so inspiring, thanks to the Anadin-sponsored visuals.  If ever there was a bad advert for sun beds, this film is it; there’s more orange about than in an episode of “Bargain Hunt” with David Dickinson.  The times I found myself thinking, “Jill, put the bloody light on, for God’s sake”)…  For all the time I spent in her apartment, I never managed to gain any sort of understanding as to its layout.  How hard can it be to find a large robot in a flat?  It’s not all bad by any means and it does have some interesting elements, but overall they just don’t overcome the ‘over-stylish’ look of the film.

One of this movie’s saving graces is its soundtrack. From traditional American folk to Public Image Ltd. we get a range of music that does its best to make up for what we can (or more accurately can’t) see.  “This is what you want, this is what you get.”  I don’t think so.

Recommend for people who like cult sci-fi.  And it is a British, low-budget sci-fi film from 1990; can you even name another?

No cats or decapitations, plus one ‘built-in’ chainsaw.  Someone does get sliced in two though, by a front door closing on him.  (I don’t think you’d get one that tough from B&Q.)

Top Badass moment?  To be honest she had the chance to get away on more than one occasion, but no one likes their place to get trashed by strangers.  Reluctant hero maybe, but Jill’s defence of her home is most definitely badass.  Not many people manage to really break a baseball bat over anyone’s (or anything’s) head.   I hope her insurers will take all this into account when they come around to assess her claim.  I wouldn’t want to be a Jehovah Witnesses in her neighbourhood.

Hardware at IMDB (5.7 / 10)

Hardware at Wikipedia


The Waiting Room / Happy Shopper Brown Sauce


The Waiting Room  -  Front DVD Cover (UK Release)“The Waiting Room” is the beautiful, feature debut of Academy-Award nominated writer/director Roger Golby.  The sterling cast give ‘top-notch performances’ in their portrayal of two strangers – Anna (Anne-Marie Duff) and Stephen (Ralf Little) – who are brought together by chance as they sit together in a deserted waiting room.  Here they make a brief but powerful connection, forgetting their individual lives for an isolated moment in time.  As Stephen and Anna’s lives move onwards, they find themselves thinking more and more of the stranger they met in the waiting room – and what would happen should they meet again.  This highly acclaimed and deeply moving film presents a fresh, edgy and totally romantic view of contemporary life and love in London.

2008  –  Certificate: 15  –  British Film
Rating Details: One strong sex scene and strong language
8.5 out of 10

On my way home from work two days ago I did a bit of food shopping.  A sudden impulse buy was a bottle of brown sauce.  I can’t remember the last time I bought any, but it must have been years ago.  If I’d had any sense I’d have bought some decent stuff, like HP.  Instead, I bought some cheap, Happy Shopper Brown Sauce.  It tasted sort of okay, but it contains about a tonne of salt per gram.  (No, I don’t know how that’s possible either; I guess it’s this sort of ‘new physics’ that makes the experiments being done with the Large Hadron Collider so exciting.)  Using it gave me a sore throat and I could feel my arteries bulging as if they were about to explode, thanks to my suddenly elevated blood pressure.  All in all it’s pretty toxic stuff.  I can only imagine that a large-scale deployment of Happy Shopper Brown Sauce would probably cross someone’s “red line” somewhere or other…  I’m glad I only have the one bottle.  I’ve not checked frame by frame, but I’m not aware that this film contains any brown  sauce, or  sauce of any colour for that matter.  If anyone spots any do let me know.

I can’t understand why this film isn’t better known.  It’s set in Wandsworth, south London and features a lot of Southern Trains suburban services in it; I mean seriously, how much more cool and fashionable could it possibly get?  It’s a story that revolves around three couples, their relationships and a chance meeting between two people in a waiting room at Wandsworth Common Station.  This is a gentle but hugely touching film about ordinary people.  Like many character-driven stories, it just sort of jumps into a period in their lives and then after a while it leaves them again, giving us a glimpse into their thoughts, feeling and actions.  It has a number of scenes that provide the sort of emotional impact that all good films should and characters, though flawed, it’s still easy to sympathise with.  Funny in places and intensely sad in others, at times it felt a bit too close to home for my linking, which is partly why it’s such a brilliant movie.

The soundtrack is generally restrained and unmemorable, but quietly gets on with business of extending the impact of the scenes it’s used in.  A job well done.

Recommended for anyone who accepts that their life is as good as it’s ever going to get.

No cat, chainsaws or decapitation.

Top badass moment?  Stephen, one of the two main characters, works in a nursing home.  When my mum was in a nursing home all the care staff there seemed too overworked to really spend much time with the residents.  Perhaps that’s the reality of it, but if any of them did ever have a bit of time on their hands, I’d have wanted them to be like Stephen.

The Waiting Room at IMDB (6.3 / 10)


Imagine Me & You / Pubs (In Didcot)


Imagine Me & You  -  Front DVD Cover (UK Release)Heck and Rachel are a young London couple about to embark on a new life together when an unexpected meeting turns Rachel’s world upside down.  What follows is the romantic, humorous and sometimes poignant journey familiar to anyone who has ever fallen in love at first sight.  And what if you discover that the one person you are destined to spend the rest of your life with might not be your boyfriend, but a perfect stranger?  “Imagine Me & You” shows that the path to true love isn’t always straight…

2005 – Certificate: 12  –  British Film
Rating Details: Moderate sex references and strong language
8.0 out of 10

Yesterday I went to see “Oblivion” at the cinema.  Intelligent sci-fi riddled with clichés.  Basically it’s Tom Cruise with an attractive woman on the back of his motorbike and flying around beating bad guys.  Afterwards I went for a drink in three pubs.  I don’t often go for a drink these days.  This is partly because I have no friends, partly because the ones I do have generally have the sense to live a long way-away from me, partly because it’s expensive, fattening and not good for you, and partly because I don’t think they ‘make’ pubs for people like me; I’m clearly not a demographic worth targeting.  Take yesterday for example.  Didcot is a town that’s not known for much, other than a railway museum and a power station; and the power station has now closed.  Broadways, a pub in the centre of the town, was almost empty and was the sort of place that if a fight broke out in it, they’d just pick up the broken glass and sweep the bodies to the side so no one tripped over them.  The Prince of Wales, opposite the station, was full of late teens and 20-somethings getting tanked up for a night on the town.  The Ladygrove, which was also full, is located on a ‘new’ estate and caters for “where did my life go wrong” 20 and 30-somethings with screaming kids in tow, eating anonymous pub-grub under searingly bright lights.  None of them had any decent cider.  Broadways caters for the working-class and underclass that the rest of us try to pretend don’t exist; the Prince of Wales for those that still think they can get on in life; and the Ladygrove for the same people as the Prince of Wales but ten years later.  I think I preferred Broadways, in the same way I’d prefer to break my arm than lose a finger.  There’s a scene in a pub in this film; actually there might be a few, but I can’t remember now.

London doesn’t really get well represented in films.  It seems the north and west are full of ‘beautiful people’ who behave like Hugh Grant, the east gangsters and immigrants and the south chavs.  Nowhere else exists.  This movie is set in ‘the north’ of the city.  It’s also a rom-com. So you now know most of the plot and what the characters are like.  Fortunately, this film has two elements that manage to drag it out of the cesspit of predictable, bland, anonymous, chick-flicks.  Firstly, it’s actually very funny.  The script works well and all the characters manage to be suitably engaging.  Secondly, it provides a bit of a plot-twist that gives it an element of originality, (although it quickly becomes very predictable again, so it’s not going to provide anyone with much of an insight into anything).  This is much more of an out-and-out comedy that a romance, which does it no harm at all.  It’s very watchable and fun.  And let’s not forget it’s got Giles (the man behind Buffy) and Sarah Connor (of Terminator fame) in it.  And one more thing, it’s one of those films where the seasons don’t seem to follow the narrative; there’re an awful lot of autumnal leaves on the trees, considering most of the film is set in the winter.  Because of my job I notice these things.  Our climate isn’t quite that fucked up, yet.

Music; exactly what you’d expect.  Exactly.

Recommended for people who like comedy who can manage not to retch at the more corny rom-com elements of it.  Not so good for anyone looking for a romantic weepy.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Yelling out “You’re a wanker number nine” while standing on the roof of a car, in a traffic jam, outside Bank Station in London, does it for me.  It’s interesting to note that if this film was set in New York, there’d be an endless honking of horns and abusive taxi-drivers shouting out things; in London, hardly a sound.  Our traffic jams are so much more civilised!  I’m not entirely sure how “you’re a wanker number nine” would translate either.

Imagine Me & You at IMDB (6.7 / 10)


Little Deaths / Margaret Thatcher


Little Deaths  -  Front DVD Cover (US Release)Welcome to the terrifying world of “Little Deaths”, where everyday people are thrust into nightmares that push the limits of sensuality and violence beyond the breaking point.  From a young homeless woman sucked into a whirlpool of cruelty by a wealthy couple, to a call girl used as a tool in a diabolical medical scheme and a domineering woman with a very unusual phobia, no one escapes unscathed and most don’t make it out alive.  Featuring a mesmerizing soundtrack and unpredictable twists and turns, this stylish, groundbreaking vision of terror has been hailed as “one of the most unique and challenging horror anthologies in quite some time” (FEARnet).

2011  –  Certificate: Unrated  –  British Film
8.5 out of 10

Margaret Thatcher has died.  The human personification of Marmite; you either love her or hate her.  An old woman of 87, suffering from senile dementia and living in a nursing home, (well okay, in the Ritz Hotel in London), has gone to a better place.  Well better that is, until she starts ‘sorting things out’ there.  I’ve watched loads of movies where the dead do (or try to) come back to life, with varying results; right about now I expect that a line of refugees from Heaven or Hell (depending on your point of view) to be winding its way back to Earth, resulting in a humanitarian crises that will make Syria look like Platform 5 at Reading Station after a train’s been cancelled.  The amount of shit written about her everywhere in the past few days has been quite overpowering; I’d forgotten just what a hated witch she was (and still is).  She’s getting a better press in Argentina than here!  I guess it’s easier to be rude about someone once they’ve died; it not like she’s going to get up out of her bed and twat anyone with her handbag.  You’re all tough guys now, aren’t you?  I can’t understand why anyone had a problem with her selling all the stuff we already owned back to us; sounds like a great business model to me.  I certainly enjoyed myself as one of the 3,500,000 unemployed in the 1980s, along with my time on that Government training programme that suddenly got cancelled one day; I wasn’t able to afford to buy those lovely oranges from the greengrocers on the hill in Rayners Lane after that.  And who can forget her services to vegan-kind, in her earlier guise as The Milk Snatcher?  Smashing the Unions, fighting General Galtieri and dealing with a party full of Tories would have been easy after dealing with the UK’s dairy industry.  I hate how people always dwell on the negative things she did.  She won three general elections for goodness sake; the only other person to do that recently was Tony Blair and everyone loves him.  Northerners, they’ve got such a blinked view of life; they can only see as far as the end of the mine shaft they’re working in, never the big picture.  Other than in Preston, where I think I still owe about £25 in Poll Tax, I can now freely explore the former council estates of Britain, safe in the knowledge that I’m surrounded by good, lower-middle-class owner-occupiers working in IT, breathing in air that’s free of heavy-industry pollutants or coal smog, knowing that thanks to Right to Buy and the resulting shortage of public housing and the artificially inflated cost of houses, I’ll be stuck in privately rented accommodation forever; until that is, I need to be moved to a nursing home like the Ritz.  Thank you Maggie, I’ll miss you.  You were great in “The Iron Lady” too; an excellent horror film that you really did look a lot like Meryl Streep in.  Anyway, I’m looking forward to playing my “In Memoriam: Margaret Thatcher” CD from Chumbawamba that got delivered yesterday.  I ordered it on 3rd March 2009, so it’s about time it arrived.  This is a horror film too.

Actually it’s a horror anthology.  I don’t normally like these but this one was actually really good.  Three stories.  The first stars a guy who looks scarily like George Osborne acting like Iain Duncan Smith, demonstrating the Government’s latest policy to deal with ‘welfare scroungers’.  The second features a bucket of semen; it’s been a while since I came across one of those.  And the final one’s about guy in a dog mask with a dominant girlfriend who’s terrified of dogs.  All pretty grim stuff.  Maggie was right, there really isn’t any such thing as society.  They’re all pretty pervy though.

The music varies between the three films, but is generally fine, if a bit forgettable.  However, the final one ends with a section that’s top stuff; brilliant.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Recommended for Government ministers, vivisectionists, homeless people, Nazis, prostitutes, drug-addicts and animal lovers.  You will find yourself in at least one of these films.

Top badass moment?  When you’ve just been done over by a George Osborne look-alike and his wife, it’s good to know that you and your mates will still get the last laugh.  Another Government policy to deal with spending on welfare goes wrong…

Little Deaths at IMDB (4.6 / 10)


Notes on a Scandel / Nightmare in Cactus World (Again)


Notes on a Scandal  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)Academy Award Winners Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett give outstanding, Oscar-nominated performances – one as a woman consumed by her colleague’s guilty secret, the other, a victim to her own dark obsessions – in this intelligent and stylish thriller.  Dench mesmerises as Barbara Covett, a teacher who rules over her classroom with an iron fist, yet leads a desperate, solitary life outside it.  That is, until she meets radiant new art teacher Sheba Hart (Blanchett).  Although at first overjoyed with her newfound kindred spirit, when Barbara discovers that Sheba is having an affair with a student, her jealously and rage spiral out of control.  Also starring Bill Nighy, “Notes on a Scandle” is “The first great British film of the year” (The Guardian).

2006  –  Certificate: 15  –  UK
Rating Details: Strong language and sex references
8.5 out of 10

Almost two years ago a nightmare descended upon Cactus World.  The entity known as The Amplifier became ill.  It suddenly ceased to have a voice; its thoughts, so important to every citizen of Cactus World, were gone.  Not a sound was to be heard from its mighty 7.2 outputs.  To locate a cure, special doctors in a land far, far away had to be tracked down.  The Amplifier then had to be prepared for the perilous odyssey it needed to undertake to visit them.  In the meantime the population were left despairing, with little to occupy their minds, as most of Cactus World’s entertainment infrastructure ground to a halt.  Some basic music services were eventually enabled through alternative means, but these bore little resemblance to the thoughts of The Amplifier, whilst TV and films remained entirely off-line.  Of course, as we all know now, The Amplifier eventually returned from its journey and with the help of Cactus World’s finest scientists, was reconnected in all the right places.  But this weekend, disaster!  The Amplifier became silent again.  Exactly the same evil curse has befallen it, as Onkyo’s entirely shit amplifier design raised its ugly head once more.  Government officials were observed frantically trying to put a call through to the doctors that helped us before; (unfortunately they seem to be closed at the weekend).  However, the citizens of Cactus World are nothing, if not resourceful.  After what happened before, a new emergency procedure was developed, known as Protocol One.  For the last 18 months this has been distributed to the entire population; schools have taught it as part of the curriculum, anyone wishing to settle in Cactus World has been required to lean about it.  It was a moment no one hoped they’d experience, but when the warning sirens unexpectedly went off on Saturday, indicating a malfunctioning Amplifier, it was hard not to be moved by the sight of the entire population quietly but determinedly going to their designated muster points, or reporting for their civic emergency duties; heroes, every one of them.  Anyway, Protocol One has two elements.  The first is focused on the safely of our citizens, (and if you’re a little bit cynical like me, is also there to prevent too much civil disobedience).  The second involves a plan to entirely reconfigure the national entertainmnet nexus, to bypass The Amplifier and provide full access to both music and films, something that has never ever been attempted before.  At the moment I’m feeling quite emotional and deeply indebted, along with the rest of the population I’m sure, to Cactus World’s best scientific minds and highly trained engineers, who have successfully carried out this complex procedure.  Pushing the boundaries of technology ever further.  Full, high-definition pictures and sound across all DVD and Blu-ray copyright region zones are now available and have been fully(ish) tested on this film.  It’s true, my living room does looks a bit like the Starship Enterprise on a bad day in Engineering, with cables and open maintenance panels all over the place, but the important thing is it works and I can watch films in the manner in which I’m accustomed.  This film pushes boundaries too, but in its case those of relationships.

When she’s not running Her Majesty’s Secret Service and telling James Bond to get his act together, Judi Dench spends her time as a psycho lesbian, teaching at a typical secondary school in north London.  Yes, it surprised me too.  Starting out with a ‘not that original’ plot about a teacher having an affair with a student, this proved to be a very tense thriller that ends in the way that all films featuring a ‘psycho something or other’ should end.  The acting’s terrific, the script’s great and it’s good to see a bit of anonymous, unglamorous London featured in a film for a change.  It’s also a movie that under the surface has a lot to say about chronic loneliness.  Both the primary characters are easy to sympathise with too, despite their behaviour.  This is a film you should see.

Recommended for psycho nutters everywhere; and school-teachers.

1 cat, no chainsaws or decapitations.  Portia, a beautiful, long-haired cat, has a small but key role, adding both depth to the plot and an air of pathos that the film was otherwise sadly lacking.  Unfortunately, as is often the case, I believe its lines, both meows and purrs, were dubbed.  When is the film industry going to end this shameless practice?

Top badass moment?  Judi Dench’s Barbara; a great, unsung movie bastard-from-hell.  So bad she’s badass.

Notes on a Scandal at IMDB (7.5 / 10)


Penetration Angst: 3.5 Stars


Penetration Angst  -  Front DVD CoverYesterday I drove for two and a half hours, then spent three hours teaching three people how to drive a minibus, then spent another two and a half hours sitting in a minibus watching them drive it, then drove for another two and a half hours home.  Yesterday the world seemed to be full of idiots driving cars, and I’m not referring to the learners who I was with either.  At one point on the way home I was driving along a bit of dual carriageway and slowly catching a yellow car up.  I don’t generally drive that fast, rarely more than 60 m.p.h., as I want to give myself the illusion that somehow I’m doing my bit to save the planet whilst simultaneously driving nearly 1,000 miles a month.  Anyway, I pulled out to overtake the yellow car.  As I passed it and looked in my mirror to see if I could go back into the inside lane, I noticed it had speeded up.  I ended up doing over 80 with this fucking asshole still playing stupid buggers next to me.  After having had to put up with so many other cretins on the roads yesterday, something snapped inside.  I jerked the steering wheel to the left and hit the yellow car, forcing it off the road and down an embankment into a field, where I think it hit a tree or something and burst into flames.  I’m not sure what happened to the driver and I don’t care as long as it hurt; I didn’t bother to stop and check what had happened to him.  What a selfish bastard he was too, as I’ve now I’ve got a dent in my car to explain away and get fixed. It’s a jungle out there on the roads.  (Just like Dennis Weaver in Steven Spielberg’s classic “Dual”, I never really got a good look at my protagonist.)  Well, okay that only happened in my mind, but the intent (if not the guts) was there.  In fact what did happen is that I gave up trying to overtake the yellow car and humiliatingly went back to 60 m.p.h. behind it.  However, as cars, driving and men are inextricably linked to the latter’s sexual prowess and I failed to overtake the yellow car, I think I’m probably impotent now.  He, on the other hand, is probably making his first porn movie even as I type this.  Great!  In a similar way, this film is about a young woman with intimacy issues.

2003  –  Certificate: 18  –  United Kingdom

I think the makers of this film started off wanting to make a serious torture porn movie but then got fed up with the idea and decided a comedy slasher/thriller would be a much better idea.  Otherwise why suddenly introduce a bizarre sub-plot involving Siamese twins and then another one about a bank robbing stripper? It’s original, I’ll give it that.  It suffers from some of the worst acting I’ve ever seen, yet at other times it’s really okay.  Fiona Horsey (the lead character) is a bit of a babe; (am I still allowed to say stuff like that)?  All the men in the film are portrayed as perverts, deviants, weirdos, rapists, sociopaths and murderers; the woman don’t do a lot better either, but the guys really do get a bit of a hammering.  Ultimately it’s an entertaining movie, simply because it’s so ridiculous.  I did feel a bit sorry for Helen, no one is that unlucky with men.  Most of it was filmed on the Isle of Wight too.

Recommended for someone; not sure who, but someone.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.  However, plenty of men do, em, ‘disappear’ inside Helen, totally.

Top badass moment?  In a film filled with characters that are simultaneously both pathetic and horrible, there’s not a terribly large choice.  So I guess it has to be Helen, for simply putting up with so much shit.  They say dealing with it well makes you a stronger person.

Penetration Angst at IMDB (3.9/10)


School of Rock: 3.5 Stars


School of Rock  -  Front DVD CoverI went to two really great gigs this weekend, the New Town Kings at the London Camden Barfly and Random Hand at the London Hackney Trashbar.  Each had really good support bands too.  The Barfly is in an upstairs room over a pub and the Trashbar in three adjoined cellars below an organic food store.  The Barfly is a well established venue, whilst the Trashbar only opened in March.  It took me six trains to get to and from home to the Barfly and four trains and two busses to get to the Trashbar and back; only London can manage to have a traffic jam for busses to get caught up in at midnight!  The Barfly sort of has some sort of air conditioning so it was only hot, the Trashbar has zero anything and a really low ceiling, so it was about 1000 degrees in it; in fact the ceiling is so low that two of the bands’ singers had to stand on the floor in front of the little stage, as they were too tall to stand upright on it.  Well anyway, both gigs were great and I was suitably knackered at the end of  them.  I felt sick on the way back from the NTK one on the Tube (too dehydrated) and (a first for me) felt sick on the way to the Random Hand one, (before realising I’d hardly eaten or drunk anything all day so was again dehydrated and probably suffering some sort of energy crisis as well).  Talking of gigs and music (and it makes a change to actually be able to draw a sensible link between the crap I’ve written in this paragraph and that in the next)….

2003  –  Certificate: PG  –  USA
Rating Details: Mild language and sex references

I can’t decide if I want to really really like this movie or really really  (which makes it a lot more realistic), the kids in it are generally pretty cool and okay it’s quite funny in places too.  Against it are the facts that the music featured in it is shit, (well, mostly anyway, except the Clash and Ramones songs, and I guess Immigrant Song is okay too if you really have to like that sort of thing), the school is also shit and has zero child protection in place, the end is way too “Hollywood” and Jack Black’s character is at times just a little bit too creepy.  I really want to like Jack Black, simply because he doesn’t look like George Clooney or Johnny Depp, but he makes it so, so difficult in his films at times.  (It’s the eyebrows I think, he moves then about way too much for me; they certainly take me outside my comfort zone.) In the end I’ve decided it’s an okay movie.

Recommended for people who like the sort of rock music that punk should really have finished off when it had the chance; you will either like hearing it, or get annoyed at hearing your favourite songs mangled by a load of kids and associated grown-ups; a good thing too if you take it that seriously.

No cats and no decapitations.

Top badass moment?  It has to be Jack Black’s “touch the kids” line.  It’s so way out of the park compared with the rest of the very safe script that you end up thinking, “wtf, did he really just say that”?  The delayed reaction of all the parents present in the scene (who are obviously busy thinking over what he’d just said too) makes it the best badass line in the film.

School of Rock at IMDB (7.1)


Thunderbirds: 3.5 Stars


Thunderbirds  -  Front DVD coverI took down my birthday cards today, all three of them; (thank-you Jacob, Rebecca and Laurel).  My birthday was almost two months ago; and yes, I do realise that’s it’s a little bit pathetic to leave your cards up for that long.  On my birthday I went to see a band at a venue in north London, the New Town Kings; a great ska band and the 12th best band on the planet at present.  Then I did something I’ve not done in 33 years of going to see gigs.  The set finished late, 00:10.  No problem I thought to myself, I’ll just walk down to the Underground station and get the Tube to Paddington in time for the last train to Reading at 01:00.  Oh…shit.  It’s that one night of the year when the clocks get put forward an hour.  So three night buses later and I’m contemplating spending the next six hours at Paddington Station; it was bloody freezing and nothing in the area was open.  The only people who seemed to be around were pimps and prostitutes, drunks and druggies; the last two groups of whom seem to be mostly lying about on the pavement outside the station.  Oblivious to the cold and their surroundings, I came to envy them.  I spent the night standing by the entrance to the Underground, where a slightly warm breeze of air was blowing out from the tunnels and passageways below.  Now I generally don’t mind my own company, but on my birthday, in the freezing cold, all night, in the world’s most boring location, when I’m tired and knackered from dancing at a gig which is rapidly becoming a dim and distance memory thanks to my semi-conscious state, I was not on best form.  I must have read the notices and adverts around the Underground entrance 100 times, as I endlessly paced slowly up and down the eight, small strides between the two ends of the locked gate, attempting to warm one side of myself followed by the other; I even learnt to do this with my eyes closed and get it right almost every time.  I read all the print on the screen of the Kindle in the Kindle advert that was shown for a few seconds every now and again, in one of those high-tech advertisement boards that show a revolving series of different ads; (it wasn’t a very interesting story, something about a big storm in London in the middle ages.)  I attempted a conversation with the rail maintenance guy who came and stood with me for around an hour, but my question suggesting that perhaps he ought to be out “repairing the track or something” didn’t get me very far; I guess that’s how he wastes some of his time each night.  I mused at great length on the fact that of all the people I’d heard on the night buses, not one was speaking English; (well except a group of Americans but that doesn’t count).  I considered the value of having ‘live’ indicator boards at bus stops, especially the one at the stop which said I had 20 minutes to wait and just as I was about to go off into some bushes to answer the call of nature, my bus came along, so I nearly missed it.  Of course, in my half awake, hypothermic condition, I’d forgotten that they’re actually special London Transport Minutes, which are only vaguely related to normal ones; so I’d forgotten to convert them; silly me.  At 06:45 I got the first train, along with a group of equally bedraggled and zombie-like others, who had all crawled out of various holes after spending equally miserable nights enjoying the concept of European Summer Time.  I even had the indignity of having to travel part of the journey back on the dreaded rail replacement bus service.  It’s a shame International Rescue weren’t having a bit of a quiet night too, I could have done with being rescued.      

2004 – Certificate: PG  –  USA
Rating Details: Mild violence, peril and language

Why are so many people so mean about this film?  I grew up watching Thunderbirds on TV; in fact it’s probably my most vivid TV memory from my youth.  I know this movie is full of plot holes, spends most of its time focusing on three kids (rather than the Thunderbirds) and comes across like “Spy Kids” on speed; but it’s still a fun and breathless watch.  It has a villain who’s basically a bad Captain Picard, it was directed by Commander Riker, has a big scene in it set in Jubilee Gardens in London (where I saw the Undertones play in 2003) and a cute scene with a puppet hand.  I even like the theme tune by “Busted”.  It’s also almost wall-to-wall action too.  Did you know that Thunderbird 1 can travel at up to 15,000mph?  That’s nearly seven times faster than the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest aircraft ever.  So don’t tell me that’s not cool.  That Brains dude, he’s one awesome genius.

Recommended for anyone who’s not going to bore me senseless by saying something along the lines of, “but that’s not how it was in the 60’s TV series”.  Get a life; even I realise its not 1965  now.

No cats and no decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Nearly 40 years after the original TV series, seeing Thunderbirds 1 and 2 in action again in the opening scenes is most definitely badass.

Thunderbirds on IMDB


Attack the Block: 3.5 Stars


Attack the Block  -  Front DVD coverI’ve recently come to realise that I live in a drug-dealing hotspot.  I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve looked out of my window and seen a couple of dudes parked up outside at the back of the car park, only for another car to drive up, someone get out, go over to the first car, swap some brief ‘pleasantries’ by the window and then go back to the second car and drive off.  This is often followed by the first car leaving shortly after.  I guess they could be twitchers, swapping sightings of some rare bird recently seen in Reading, but somehow they don’t really look like they have much of an interest in ornithology.  I think next time I see anyone there I’ll go out to them and ask which rare warbler they’re searching for.  If they engage me in spirited conversation about the habit, feeding patterns and mating rituals of their favourite bird I’ll know I had them all wrong; on the other hand, if they get out a piece or shiv and merk me, then I‘ll know I was right and go and grass them to the feds.  (See?  I learnt loads of new words from this film.)  What’s stranger, is that the bins in the corner of the car park suffer regularly from fly-tipping; quite why people make the effort to drive there to dump stuff, but then can’t quite manage to put the rubbish in the bins rather than all over the ground escapes me, but that’s lazy, dirty bastards for you I guess.  Anyway, what’s weird is that I’ve never seen this actually being done, it just appears, by magic.  Clearly fly-tipping is a far bigger offence than drug-dealing.

2011 – Certificate: 15 – United Kingdom

Rating Details: Strong language, violence, gore and soft drug use

This film features a drug dealer, but it’s okay because it’s only Nick Frost and he always plays Cornetto eating characters in films, well except this one.  He’s not really in it that much anyway.  This is a good film.  It could have been a great film but it doesn’t quite get there.  I guess the ‘greatness fairy’ was out of town when this movie was being made, which is a shame really as it’s a lot of fun and filmed and based in south London.  Any film that features the always slightly seedy Oval Tube Station at the start is going to be good in my book.  I rather liked the aliens in it, even though I can imagine a range of soft toys modelled on them wouldn’t look out of place in a young child’s bed; all fluffy and cute.  I can also imagine that their teeth wouldn’t look out of place in a Government health promotion on oral hygiene either.  They all looked like they had really good teeth.  (I’ve got to go to the dentist soon, so I think I’ve got a bit of a fixation about teeth at the moment; where else can you go and pay a lot of money to someone to deliberately hurt you?  No, not that sort of pain, I mean the ‘bad’ sort; pervert.) 

Recommended for hoddies and chavs everywhere, who want to expand their vocabulary.  It worked for me and I don’t even own a hoodie.  (On the rare occasion I do put on a hoddie for some reason, I just get an overwhelming urge to start shadow boxing, skipping and appear an exercise montage, à la Rocky.)

No cats and 1 decapitation.  (Well I think there was one; that crash helmet certainly went flying across the room and I think it probably still had a head inside it.)

Top badass moment?  When you’re dealing with alien scum, there’s no shortage of badass moments.  However, I’m selecting tiny-tot tearaways Probs and Mayhem and their Super Soaker filled with petrol.  You grow up fast in south London.  Streetwise nine-year-olds are badass; and probably really annoying too if you live near any.

Attack the Block on IMDB (6.8)


28 Weeks Later: 4.5 Stars


28 Weeks Later  -  Front DVD CoverThis film features a Britain that’s been entirely depopulated by an infection; just about everyone who wasn’t evacuated is now dead.  (And to think it all happened because of some cruel and pointless experiments on animals in the prequel “28 Days Later”).  Most of it’s filmed in London.  It’s set around six months after the first movie and focuses on the repopulation of the country, which has started in and around Canary Wharf.  NATO (mainly the US Army) is in charge of this.  While watching this movie I was struck by just how inexplicably uncomfortable the later felt.  There’s no suggestion in the film that they’re doing this for any other reason than the obvious one, but it made me realise just how undesirable the armed forces from another country might feel if they were in your country and in control of things.  I suppose it’s a feeling of powerlessness and not totally trusting people who aren’t ‘your own’.  Needed perhaps, helpful possibly, but not really wanted.  I think I now understand a little more about the relationship between the West and elsewhere and why countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya (and even Russia) react they way they do to Western involvement in their affairs.  All politicians and soldiers should watch this part of this film.  

2007  –  Certificate: 18  –  United Kingdom

Rating Details: Strong bloody violence and gore

This is a sequel that’s actually better than the original.  It’s an action-horror and possibly one of my ten favourite horror films of all time.  It’s weird seeing so many shots of London entirely empty of people and traffic.  With some great special effects, it works well as both a horror and an action film.  It’s only its MTV-esque fast editing (which gives anyone over the age of 16 a headache) during some of the action scenes that I don’t like.  It has a few classic “oh that’s so stupid” plot moments, but by and large it’s edge of the seat stuff; good music too.  And did I get the very slight feeling that it might just have ended with a set up for another film?  I think I did.  This is a film you should watch.

Recommended for anyone who thinks zombies would be much better if they didn’t tend to stagger around very slowly; and for anyone who doesn’t like banks.

No cats and at least six decapitations.  (You’d need to watch parts of it frame by frame to get the correct number; a helicopter blade can do a lot of damage!)

Top badass moment?  Seeing the City fire-bombed to bits by the US Air Force.  That’ll give us a banking crisis to really whine about.  Bye-bye Canary Wharf Tower; a building that normally contains thousands of people who’re employed to press buttons all day; how constructive.  Far more useful I’m sure, than a plumber, a carpenter, a scientist, an engineer, a teacher, a farmer, a nurse, a care worker…

28 Weeks Later at IMDB


Creep: 3.5 Stars


Creep  -  Front DVD CoverI’ve probably made thousands of journeys on the London Underground in my life, a lot of them early in the morning or late at night.  I think I can say that I’ve never noticed anyone famous, seen any fights, heard a gun-shot or met any homicidal maniacs.  I’ve met a small number of weirdos, but that’s about it.  I’m always secretly impressed by people who seemingly see a politician or film star on the Underground nearly every week, have tales of gunman or knife-wielding hoddies to share, or who regularly get trapped for hours in tunnels on broken-down trains.  Maybe it has something to do with my ability to put on an iPod and fall asleep in almost any location; to me, the Underground is basically an uncomfortable, mobile bed.  It’s like sleeping in a communal dormitory, where half the people look as miserable as sin, wear suits and never speak, whilst the other half talk all the time (but never in English), wear a range of strange clothing (I guess it’s all in fashion somewhere in the world) and continually look with confusion at a pocket-sized map of the Tube.  However, I love the Underground, it’s a great social leveler.  It’s a place where everyone can share equally in its sweltering, fetid, humid, summer ambience; enjoy having their faces pushed into other peoples’ armpits; or try desperately not to end up standing in the middle of an aisle, miles away from the doors that they’ve got zero chance of getting to when they want to get off and where whoever’s sitting adjacent to where they’re standing will have an eye-level and close-up view of their crotch, whether they want to or not; (remember kids, don’t get ‘excited’ and always go to the toilet and check your undies for the dreaded VPL, before you travel).  It’s another example of a great bit of British engineering!  (The Tube, not crotches.)

2004  –  Certificate: 18  –  United Kingdom

Rating Details: Strong bloody violence

This is a pretty good horror.  The London Underground has plenty of potential to provide a creepy environment in which to trap people and it’s cool to see it used in this way in a film.  It does drift off into torture porn territory towards the end, but it’s still entertaining.  There’s loads of unrealistic stuff in it too, but let’s not dwell on that, as it will only spoil an otherwise pretty good movie.  It also does a good job of making you have some sympathy for the ‘baddie’ too.  I do hope all the survivors got checked for Weil’s Disease afterwards; it would be shame to escape from everything, only to succumb to an unpleasant disease a few weeks late; that would really suck.

Recommended for Tube fans, commuters and people who enjoy swimming in sewerage.  If you fall into all three groups, then you’re in for a real treat; and you’re one sick puppy too.

No cats and no decapitations.  There were a lot of rats and some decent neck cutting scenes though.

Top badass moment?  It really has to be Kate throughout most of the film.  She has to try to save the life of a guy who tries to rape her, deal with unhelpful London Underground staff, swim around with rats in sewerage, watch several people get killed, deal with the baddie herself and then still have to get home afterwards.  Shit happens; dealing with it is badass.

Creep at IMDB


The Italian Job: 4.5 Stars


The Italian Job  -  Front DVD CoverBefore I wised-up and realised that cars were the spawn of the Devil and responsible for the political, environmental and social decline of our world, I was a bit obsessed with them.  When I was in my early teens I’d buy Motor magazine every week; I’d send off for reviews of cars from other magazines too, just so I could spend hours and hours comparing them.  I went to the Motor Show.  I had just about every pack of Top Trump cards you could get that were about cars.  I had about 50 Matchbox toy cars and regularly used to run them along a long section of track that started at my bedroom window (on the first floor) and went down into the garden below, before carefully putting them back in the box in the order of the ones that got the furthest down the track.  (I must have got a lot of exercise keep running up and down the stairs and into the garden, if I did that each time for all 50.)   I had a Saturday and school holiday job in a car repair shop, where I worked for several years.  (I earned £5 a day).  I could recognise and name just about every car on the road, in a matter of seconds.  When I was old enough to drive, I had several cars at different times, which I pulled to bits and rebuilt in various ways.  So basically, what I’m saying is that I knew everything about cars.

So what car did I decide to drive?  A Mini?  Nope.  In fact I choose the arch nemesis of the Mini, the Hillman Imp.  (I also had a Singer Chamois coupe and a Sunbeam Imp Sport too, which were basically different versions of the Imp.)  It was a great little car; even though it overheated all the time it was miles better than the boring old Mini; it just had an aversion to motorways.  It had a rear engine, which made it really like a Porsche, kind of.  When I was at university I managed to roll an Imp onto its roof, with five of us in it.  Fortunately no one was hurt.  I still have the pictures of what was left of the car.  I got done for careless driving too!  Who’s ever heard of a man who drives carelessly?  The police tried to make out I was doing over 60mph, but in fact the Imp struggled to get to that speed even on a motorway with just me in it.  When I went to the police station the next day to make a statement, there was a little piece of my Imp’s bodywork (it was partly fibreglass) in an ashtray on the desk; they’d thrown a bit of my car away!  (I didn’t ask for it back though.)  The police only found out about my accident as we were pushing what was left of the car along the road to get it home, when one overtook us and smashed head-on into one driving in the other direction.  Amazingly no one was badly hurt in that crash either, even though they must have hit each other at a combined speed of about 70mph.  I remember someone coming out of a nearby house, spotting some oil on the ground in the darkness and exclaiming with what I remember seemed a lot of excitement in his voice, “Is that blood?”  Weirdo.  Anyway, what I’m getting at here is that this film would have been a lot better if they’d picked Imps rather than Minis to star in it.

1969  –  Certificate: PG  –  United Kingdom

Rating Details: Mild violence, language and sex references

This is a true classic and contains one of the most quoted lines in movie history; (5, 4, 3, 2.. you know the one I’m talking about).  Made when England were still football world champions (okay I know it’s an old film), it’s got the added bonus of having Michael Caine and Noël Coward in it and the Brits getting one over on Johnny Foreigner, (always a good thing of course).  Sadly, as we don’t make anything in Britain anymore, including cars (and have become pretty hopeless at football too), there isn’t likely to be a undated version of it made anytime soon; (and I’m talking about a British version of it here, not something set somewhere like, oh, Los Angeles, for example).  It just wouldn’t be the same if they drove Peugeot 107s, or got the bus instead.  I watched a Blu-ray version of this film and if anyone wants to see what this format can bring to old films, I’d recommend watching this one, as it looked stunning. 

Recommended for fans of classic movies and for all English people.  It brings a lump to the throat and swells the heart; (with pride not cholesterol.)  If there was such a thing as an English passport, the watching and enjoyment of this film would be a mandatory requirement for getting one.  Also recommended for staff managers everywhere, as it contains some excellent advice from Charlie Croker; “Now, it’s a very difficult job, and, the only way to get through it is we all work together, as a team.  And that means, you do everything I say.”  Words of wisdom.

3 cats and no decapitations.  Enjoy the awesome cats-on-laps action, matched with some expertly written and delivered dialogue. 

Top badass moment?  The Minis in the sewer pipe, the Minis on the dam, the Minis on the steps, the Minis in the shopping plaza, etc.  Celebrating the best bit of British engineering since the Spitfire is badass; if you’re a Brit anyway.

The Italian Job at IMDB