In 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.
In 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.