Posts tagged “New Mexico

Cowboys & Aliens / The Dentist: Part 2


Cowboys & Aliens  -  Front Blu-ray Cover  -  UK ReleaseFrom the director of “Iron Man”, comes an action-packed, sci-fi adventure starring Daniel Craig (“Quantum of Solace”, “The Golden Compass”), Harrison Ford (“Morning Glory”, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”) and Olivia Wilde (“Tron Legacy”) as the only posse who can save the world from alien invasion.  With cutting edge special effects and one-of-a-kind story, “Cowboys & Aliens” is a showdown you won’t want to miss!

2011  –  Certificate 12  –  American Film
Rating Details: Frequent moderate action violence and scenes of intense threat
7.0 out of 10

Isn’t it funny when you spill food down your front?  Yes it’s really, really, hilariously funny, especially when it happens loads of times.  Last week I spent another 90 minutes at the dentist, having various things pushed inside my sore tooth, although I have to say it isn’t hurting nearly as badly now as it had been. Unfortunately its new best friend, (who we’ll call sore wisdom tooth), has taken over the role of Mouth Tormentor.  It’s not exactly painful in the normal sense, although there is an ongoing, uncomfortable feeling that I suspect is slowly getting worse with time.  Poking and prodding it causes no undue effects either.  However, I’m finding it very hard to open my mouth more than’s required to speak or drink cider; (or other beverages).  If I try to open it anymore it hurts, a lot.  I’m on antibiotics (and this is the only time I can recall ever taking any), but they don’t seem to be making the slightest difference.  Not only is this pissing me off, but trying to eat anything other than tiny amounts of flat-shaped food in one go, invariably results in some of it ending up all over whatever I’m wearing.  Given that my washing machine’s dryer still isn’t working, I can only conclude that there’s some sort of conspiracy going on between washing powder manufactures and aliens keen to discover how long it takes to make someone go mental.  I’m seeing the dentist again tomorrow, so I’ll ask her what she thinks about my theory.  This film’s got aliens in it, but there’s not a lot of washing powder around; although a bar of soap does make a brief appearance.

It’s got Indiana Jones, James Bond and aliens; and cowboys.  Steven Spielberg’s special effects people did the em, special effects, too.  How can it not be great?  I often ask myself the same about the England football team.  This is another case of the sum of the parts being greater than the whole.  I really wanted this to be a great movie too.  Daniel Craig spends a lot of time standing about looking mean and moody and the rest of it wondering about like he’s spent way too long watching Yul Brynner in “Westworld”.  I guess he was just a bit pissed off because they took his nice car way and gave him a horse instead. Meanwhile, Harrison Ford spends most of the film being grumpy and surprised by what’s going on. Welcome to real life Hans.  Other than an underperforming script and an entirely superfluous ‘annoying young kid’ character, this film get’s most things more or less right.  It’s nice to see a film that’s not Scary Nightmare Potter Weapon 9 or something too.  It’s just a shame it all felt a bit soulless.  On the positive side, James and Indiana manage to move cowboy – native American relations on quite a bit, although there is a certain irony in them needing the latter’s help to sort out an alien invader that’s trying to wipe them all out with its superior technology.

The soundtrack provides a satisfactory but underwhelming noise to accompanying things.  The pseudo-western sound just didn’t work for me.

The trailer’s okay.  It doesn’t give a lot away and makes out the film’s more of a horror than it really is.

Recommended for cowboys, Indians (of the native American kind), aliens (nasty and otherwise) and parents with annoying offspring.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.  However, a number of aliens do get rather splattered, which includes their heads.

Top badass moment?  A device that looks like it fell off a passing Borg or Transformer gets attached to James Bond’s wrist and he manages to shoot down an alien aircraft of some sort with it, even though he has no idea what it’s for or how to use it.  When I first went 10 pin bowling I got a strike with my very first go.  That was badass too.

Cowboys & Aliens at IMDB (6.1 / 10)
Cowboys & Aliens at Wikipedia
Cowboys & Aliens at Roger Ebert (3.0 / 5)
Cowboys & Aliens trailer at YouTube


Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen / Decorating My Kitchen


Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen  -  Front Blu-ray Cover  -  UK ReleaseThe battle for Earth continues in this action-packed blockbuster from Michael Bay and executive producer Steven Spielberg.  When college-bound Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) learns the truth about the ancient origins of the Transformers, he must accept his destiny and join Optimus Prime and Bumblebee in their epic battle against the Decepticons, who have returned stronger than ever with a plan to destroy our world.

2009  –  Certificate 12  –  American Film
Moderate action, violence, language, sex and drug references
8.0 out of 10

This is going to be boring, sorry, as it’s about decorating; I’ll get to the film later on.  When I moved into where I live now, nearly eight years ago, everything was painted magnolia.  I hate magnolia like I hate the idea of all my limbs suddenly detaching themselves; (well obviously not really, but I’m trying to make a point).  The first thing I did when I moved in was paint nearly everything a different colour; hall white, bathroom blue and white, lounge yellow and green.  For reasons too complex to go into now, (but basically they revolve around me being too poor and lazy), the bedroom and kitchen never got done; and that’s how things have remained ever since.  However, inspired by my washing machine’s recent breakdown (and I still haven’t got around to getting it fixed yet) and the subsequent OH MY GOD horror when confronted with the state of things under and behind the washing machine when I pulled it out from its normal resting place, I’m going to ‘do’ the kitchen.  It’s going to be red and white.  It’s going to be red and white because the kitchen still boasts all it’s original fixtures and fittings and when I pulled all the horrible sticky plastic off everything it’d been stuck on, those are the colours I found underneath.  I hope it doesn’t turn me into a Manchester United fan.  This is an especially weak link, but the big tile cutter I’ve bought, with all its levers, moving parts and things, could well be a robot in disguise…

Ever eaten too much ice cream, cake or sweets?  The big ‘I can rule the world’ sugar hit followed by the comedown?  This film is like that.  Two and a half hours of too-fast-to-work-out-what-the-hell-is-going-on-half-the-time action, followed by the dreadful realisation that you’ve just taken several months off your lifespan by wearing your soul out.  This is a film that’s wrong in so many ways, but if you ignore all of them and just let the stuff that’s going on in front of you batter you senseless, then it’s actually loads of fun.  Enjoy watching what’s basically “Team America: World Police” on steroids.  Marvel at Megan Fox’s enormous, ‘porn star’ lips.  Relish the challenge of working out which fast-moving bundle of scrap metal is which.  To impress your mates with later, memorise Optimus Prime’s “Fate rarely calls upon us at a moment of our choosing” line.  Cheer along at every highly unlikely bit of good fortune that comes our heroes’ ways.  Be amazed that a load of robots that are huge, clumsy, noisy and trash everything they come into contact with, have managed to stay so well hidden for so long.  The highly irritating Sam Witwicky is back, although he’s marginally less irritating this time around, in the same way that a wasp is slightly less irritating than two wasps.  Megan Fox is also here again; (I don’t think her character’s got a name, as she’s Megan Fox in a range of tight shorts, so no one really cares about what her character gets up to).  On an entirely superficial level (which worked for me), the whole movie looks and sounds great.  The special effects are excellent and relentless; whilst it boasts a soundtrack that’s great for pissing off your neighbours.  One thing puzzles me though.  When I was young, Transformers weren’t “Robots in Disguise”.   What they were, were crappy little toys that you quickly lost half the bits for, got annoyed by and soon moved on from.  Who are all these people who’re so into them?  I’ve never met a single one in my life.  When I hear Hasbro, all I can think of are those sticky, disgusting jelly sweets made by Haribo.

Suitably bombastic, the soundtrack does all the things you’d expect it too.  It’s not bad.

The trailer is nearly two and a half minutes long, which means you get to see about 1/60th of the film by watching it.  Lucky you!

Recommended for robots, students and young women with ‘pouty’ lips.  Probably not the best movie for anyone interesting in recruiting new air force or navy pilots; or Egyptians.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Despite all the ‘good-guys bad-guys’ stuff going on, the sound of a Transformer saying “bollocks” to a door, works for me.  It’s probably the best line in the whole script.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen at IMDB (6.0 / 10)
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen at Wikipedia
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen at Roger Ebert (1.0 / 5)
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen at YouTube


Deterrence / Fun With Laptops and Phone Lines


Deterrence  -  Front DVD Cover  -  Dutch ReleaseIn the year 2008, U.S. President Walter Emerson (Kevin Pollak), who recently took office after the death of the former chief executive, is campaigning for re-election.  After winning the Colorado state primary, Emerson finds himself stranded in a roadside diner after a freak snowstorm.  While the president exchanges pleasantries with the diner’s staff and customers, a new bulletin appears on TV: Udei Hussein, son of the late Saddam Hussein, has invaded Kuwait and butchered several hundred U.S. peace-keeping troops.  Outraged, the president announces that if Hussein and his forces do not withdraw and officially surrender, he will begin dropping nuclear weapons on Baghdad.  However, Iraq responds that if they are attacked, 23 cities in the United States and allied nations will be immediately destroyed in a counterattack.  Emerson, his advisors, and the others trapped in the diner with them debate long and loud about what to do, and what the potential consequences could be.

1999  –  Certificate: Not Rated  –  French / American Film
8.5 out of 10

A few weeks ago I wrote about my work laptop having a few ‘issues’.  Work-related stress, cruel and heartless management and a failure to ‘work smarter and not harder’, had reduced it to an untidy pile of nearly useless components unable to do the simplest things, other than make up excuses for not having done them. (Oh wait, that’s just me.)  Over the past week or so, to coincide with moving our office, trying to sort out the old one and get the new one in a state to be used as anything more than a second-hand furniture shop, I’ve had ‘The Man From Dell’ visit no less than four times, in an attempt to fix my laptop’s problems.  However, I’m now the proud owner of what looks like a new computer; although it’s been totally pulled to bits so many times and so many parts have been replaced, that I’m not sure it even recognises itself now.  More importantly, it actually works.  I really enjoyed downloaded the four million or so e-mails that have piled up for me over the past couple of weeks, many of which are increasingly angry ones from people demanding that I do this, that and the other by yesterday.  I doubt they’ll care that moving office takes a bit of effort, my laptop’s gone mental, my mobile phone went into hiding and the new office looks like Engineering on the Enterprise after a particularly bad day dealing with Klingons.  They’ll just think I’m a lazy, work-shy imbecile, who can’t be arsed to make an effort; trouble is, they’re probably right.  In related news, ‘The Man From BT’ was also in today, to put in two basic phone lines.  Quite why this took him (and a colleague) most of the day, I’m not sure.  We’re in the centre of the town, there’re landlines and junction boxes everywhere.  Unlike BT and myself, the President in this film manages to ‘get things done’, even though he’s stranded in a cafe with just a few phone lines and a TV, as he organises universal Armageddon faster than BT can get a telephone to work.

Despite all its plot holes and general dumbness, this is actually a really clever and tense political thriller.  A number of its assumptions have since proved to be quite prophetic too.  Its clever use of stock footage of American Presidents playing at “Team America: World Police” and TV coverage of the developing crisis, works very well.  I wasn’t entirely sure if it was making a point about war being bad or necessary; or that American presidents have too much power or a responsibility to use that power.  However, there is something very chilling about seeing someone ordering a nuclear attack on another country.  It was also rather depressing to see how little value was placed by the Americans on the lives of its enemies and allies alike.  (If it wasn’t for us, they’d still be riding around firing bows and arrows at one another.)  I can’t really say much more as knowing about the plot would spoil things, but I’d certainly recommend watching it.  It’ll give you lots to talk about afterwards too.

The soundtrack is good example of understated music making a big difference to the feel of the film.  Good job.

Recommended for Special Agents, dictators and anyone caught in a snowstorm or who works in a cafe.  Definitely not recommend for American Presidents.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  The American President ordering a nuclear attack is about as badass as you can get.  Shame it’s not a good type of badass.  I wouldn’t like to piss him off though.

Deterrence at IMDB (6.4 / 10)

Deterrence at Wikipedia

Deterrence at YouTube


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)


The Notebook: 4.0 Stars


The Notebook  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)I’m vegan.  This makes me better than most other people.  I’m not being big-headed or stupid or anything, that’s just the way things are.  (See “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” for more details.)  I’m lucky, in that the whole population of Cactus World is vegan, which makes things a lot easier.  However, the same can’t be said for some of the neighbouring areas.  My flat has a couple of air vents in it with built-in fans.  These appear to be connected to all the other vents in the building, via a series of pipes buried in the walls.   They’re the sort of vents you can use to ‘enjoy’ a ‘domestic’ going on next door.  If I lived in a Hollywood film in an old apartment in New York, I’m sure I’d regularly hear murders being committed through them, (which there’d mysteriously be no evidence for when the police arrived to investigate things); or perhaps a major terrorist attack (with a nuclear bomb of course) being planned.  I suppose I should be thankful that the vents are in the kitchen and bathroom, as they don’t seem to pick up the sound from other rooms of happy couples em, coupling.  So anyway, a little while ago I went to the aforementioned bathroom, to do some ‘bathroom things’.  As soon as I opened the lounge door, my senses were assaulted by the smell of cooked fish.  I doubt the world’s oceans smell as fishy as my flat right now.  Unfortunately, the vents transport smells as easily as they transfer sounds.  Four emergency incense cones have now been lit, in an effort to neutralise the insidious odour.  (High-powered ones obtained from the US military, through a special arrangement with the authorities in New Mexico.  They have “the fragrant aroma of smouldering Piñon firewood that is characteristic of the whole Southwest and the foothills of the Rockies.”)  We’ve yet to hear any announcements regarding whether this is a deliberate chemical weapons attack on Cactus World, the result of a massive industrial accident, or simply the outcome of dinner-time for one of my neighbours.  For a vegan however, it’s pretty crap; and annoying.  The last time my flat smelt this fishy was the day I first came to see it prior to moving in.  This was later determined to be a deliberate ploy by the previous inhabitants to disguise one of their leisure activities; it was about a year before it ceased to smell of dope; my predecessors were apparently keen on a joint or two.  This film doesn’t feature any of these things.  In fact, it couldn’t ‘unfeature’ them more if it tried.

2004  –  Certificate: 15  –  USA
Rating Details: Moderate sex

I need to go on a diet, (even more than I normally do).  This film was so syrupy and sweet that just watching it has made me put on about 5kg.  The plot twist at the end is also so obvious that it probably shouldn’t really count as one at all; it’s like one of those weakening fronts you see on weather maps, which by the time they arrive only consist of a few clouds, so if they weren’t pointed out to you you’d probably not even notice them.  I’m not much of a fan of period dramas, so a movie set mostly in the 1930s and 1940s isn’t the sort of thing to really excite me.  The chances of there being many big explosions, spaceships or gratuitous violence felt slim.  Then again, any film with Ryan Gosling in is worth checking out.  James Garner’s in it too, who was already old even when I was young.  So anyway, okay, this is actually a great film, with the most romantic/tragic ending it’s probably possible to have.  As  a fan of Thomas Hardy, I’ve always had a soft spot for relationships that get fucked-up by families, class, money, etc.  This film delivers a classic Hardy class-barrier storyline, rich city girl and poor country boy; (sounds awful doesn’t it)?  Fact is, this film doesn’t really do anything very much else and it certainly doesn’t break any new ground, but what it does do it does really, really well.  In fact the only part that felt a bit weak was the Mother’s ‘revelation’; it did feel a bit of a plot contrivance rather than something that fitted into the overall narrative.  As a romantic period drama, this does deliver; and yes, it is, especially the ending, tissue-friendly.

Recommended for true romantics.  In the perfect world, we’d all end up with our first loves forever.  (Aw, see, I can be romantic too.)

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.

Top badass moment?  I have to give this to Lon Hammond.  He just goes to prove that even if you’re handsome, a war hero, successful, attentive and an all-around nice guy, you don’t always get the girl.  Being a good loser is badass and he manages here to be a top bloke about everything, when he probably had every right to be really, really pissed off.

The Notebook on IMDB (7.9 / 10)


Vacancy: 4.0 Stars


Vacancy  -  Front DVD CoverLet’s talk houseplants.  I’ve just spent 20 minutes looking for a plastic container that I use to water my houseplants.  It’s quite large and bright yellow.  My flat isn’t exactly what you’d describe as huge, so a 20 minutes search for something so big and brightly coloured should have been about as difficult as locating a computer that has Google set up at its homepage, in Google’s headquarters.  I was about to go into an explanation that part of my flat had probably passed through some sort of distortion in the space-time continuum recently and that my watering container had somehow fallen into a rip in continuum; but then I found it; (by which I mean the watering container, not a distortion in the space-time continuum).  How it stupidly got itself wedged nearly behind the hot-water tank I’ll never know; perhaps there is some ‘new physics’ at work here after all?  Anyway, I’ve watered all of my modest collection of houseplants now.  One of my plants is an Easter Cactus.  I’ve had this for more years than I can remember and it’s followed me about from place to place as I’ve moved homes over the years.  It’s not that big but it does grow some new leaves (well technically I think their part of its stem) each year, as it quietly passes the time in a pot hanging from the ceiling.  In all this time the ungrateful so-and-so has never so much as offered me a single flower.  However, the BIG NEWS is that when I was watering just now, I noticed two, big, vivid red, flower buds on it!  A discovery of this magnitude seriously rates alongside that of penicillin and fire.  If an alien walked into my flat now and ask me to take (him?/her?/it?) to my leader, I’d be less interested in that than in the flowers-to-be on my plant.  The level of excitement and anticipation in my life has just increased by a magnitude of, em, something really, really big; like the universe for example.  After what’s been a pretty miserable start to the year in Cactus World, when news of this leaks out onto the streets there’s going to be some serious partying going on.  Oh no, I’ve wet myself…again.  By the way, this film didn’t feature any houseplants whatsoever.  (Well okay, there was a pot on the motel front desk that looked like it might have some sort of plant growing in it, but it didn’t look very healthy.  There was also a bigger plant in the room elsewhere, but I have a feeling that wasn’t real.  The motel’s owner didn’t come across as the sort of person that would be that good with plants.)

2007  –  Certificate: 15  –  USA
Rating Details: Sustained terrorisation and strong violence

This is actually a very good movie.  In fact I’d go as far as to say that in the crowded ‘group trapped somewhere and being stalked by a mad killer’ genera, it’s one of the best.  Much of it is pretty generic, (broken down car, no mobile signal, spooky motel in the middle of nowhere, etc), but what makes it different is that its two main characters actually behave in a generally sensible, consistent and logical way; (I’d definitely have trashed all the ‘hidden’ cameras though, if it was me).  This in turn makes it feel a much more realistic film and consequently a lot more scary than it might otherwise have been. It made me jump several times; all that banging on the doors! It’s got Kate Beckinsale in it too, looking lovely as ever.  However much she kicks Lycan (or whoever’s it is) ass in the “Underworld” films, she’ll always be that nice, girl-next-door in “Shooting Fish” to me; the latter is also the only film I’ve ever been kicked out of a cinema while watching, although I have to say this was less to do with my behaviour and more to do with the fire alarm going off; it was quite a while before I bought it on DVD and saw the ending.

No cats and no decapitations.

Recommend for scary film fans.  Not recommend for houseplant fans.

Top badass moment?  When you’re being chased by thugs making a snuff movie, starring you, pretty well any excuse you use to turn the role down is going to be badass.  They’re plenty of examples here, but when a director wants you it’s pretty hard to get across that “no” means no.

Vacancy at IMDB