Posts tagged “Olympics

The Invention of Lying: 4.0 Stars


The Invention of Lying  -  Front Blu-ray CoverLast week I spent two days away from home on a ‘business trip’, talking about how to revolutionise the support of environmental volunteering in the UK.  I had to stay in a hotel in Leeds.  I selected the cheapest one I could find, the Discovery Inn.  It was fine, if a bit warm; then again, I can sleep just about anywhere.  The reception desk was on the third floor, which was kind of weird, so I had quite an adventure in the hotel even before signing in.  All those lifts, staircases and corridors, it was like a really rubbish role-playing game, not a dwarf or gelatinous cube to be seen. The nearest I came to finding a ‘monster’ was when I finally got to reception, where a guy was hassling the chap behind the counter for a different room, because his was too noisy.  It’s the middle of Leeds, the third largest city in the UK; what did he expect, total silence broken only by the occasional hoot of an owl?  And I’m not suggesting that the hotel was seedy or anything, but I had to pay a £10 deposit to get a remote control for the TV in the room so I could watch it.  My room’s en suite bathroom was quite large, with the sort of flooring you could throw water all over without it causing a problem.  All the walls were covered in really large, really bright, white tiles.  It smelt a bit of cleaning fluids, appeared to be antiseptically clean and had the sort of acoustics that an alpine mountain range would pay good money for.  It reminded me of a morgue.  It was the sort of bathroom in which an axe murderer could kill someone and then easily clean up the mess afterwards.  In fact, given all the shouting coming from one of the rooms near mine at one point, I think that’s exactly what was happening.

2009  –  Certificate: 12  –  USA
Rating Details:  Moderate comic sex references

I really liked this film.  Any film featuring a fat loser who ‘gets the girl’ is assured of my vote, even if this does clearly identify it as a work of fiction.  I also liked it because he’s basically a decent guy, who doesn’t suddenly become a megalomaniac or power-mad psychopath when he finds out he has a unique gift.  (Unlike “Limitless” or “Chronicle” for example, to give two recent examples).  Sure, he does exploit it a bit, but not in a really bad way.  He also gets the girl without much in the way of cheating either.  Despite our showing in the Olympics and Paralympics, us Brits do like a loser, especially one who comes good in the end.  More negatively, I couldn’t quite work out why some characters couldn’t stop themselves from blurting out stuff that really didn’t need to be blurted out; not lying is one thing, but saying bad stuff about people that doesn’t need to be said just for the sake of it, is a bit mean.  This film also seems to have become quite controversial, due to its atheist leanings.  In fact I could probably write pages and pages about this subject, but frankly I’d rather just watch and enjoy it as a fun, gentle comedy.  It’s actually quite a moving film.  The scene in the hospital manages to be both funny and heart-wrenching at the same time; it made me cry, but then it’s not been that long since my mum died, so it probably had more resonance for me that it might otherwise have had.

Recommended for losers who want a good role model.  Or those who think Ricky Gervais is a comedy god.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.

Top badass moment?  Fat loser Mark getting the beautiful girl.  That is so totally badass, (if highly improbable).  What a shame it never happens for real.

The Invention of Lying at IMDB (6.4/10)

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Organ: 1.5 Stars


Organ  -  Front DVD CoverThe Olympic Opening Ceremony in London was amazing.  I wasn’t even going to bother watching it, but then I thought it might be a bit interesting to see what they were going to do with some farm animals and all that grass in the middle of the stadium.  Six hours later, I realised I’d witnessed a modern-day miracle.  So many things could have gone wrong; all that technology, animals, kids, mechanics and volunteers, a recipe for disaster.  I ended up feeling I was watching England playing football and waiting for the inevitable failure that would leave the country ridiculed by the rest of the world for the next 1,000 years.  Actually I’ve no idea what the rest of the world really thought of it, but I think it was pretty spot on; it totally worked for me.  I loved the narrative that ran through it and it was great to hear three of my favourite 50 all-time songs (by OMD, the Jam and the Sex Pistols) used.  The part where the teams all parade around did go on for a bit, it was a little too like the voting section in the Eurovision Song Contest, which always seems never-ending.  Highlights were the team (and I forget which county it was) that came out in wellies so brightly coloured they’d not even be allowed into the Glastonbury Festival; the Queen fiddling with her nails whist the rest of the stadium went mental as the GB Team appeared, (well I guess if you’ve just jumped out of a helicopter and parachuted into the stadium with a famous fictional character, your nails might get a bit messed up); a realisation that I’ve never even heard of half of the countries in the world, (which all seem to be volcanic atolls in the Pacific somewhere, not that it’ll matter once they all disappear under the waves thanks to Global Warming, courtesy of the rest of us); David Beckman just being himself; and the countries that had woman athletes competing for the first time, (2012, has it really taken this long)?  Danny Boyle is a god.  The whole thing was great.  Unlike this movie…

1996  –  Certificate: 18  –  Japan

This movie is mostly rubbish.  In fact it’s possibly the worst film I’ve watched this year, (so far). It makes little sense, it’s hard to follow what’s going on and the picture quality is crap.  The special effects vary from okay to laughable and the rubbish acting has made me believe I would probably have a star-studded future on the stage, should I choose this path.  The characters appear to behave almost entirely randomly; (did they use a dice to select which line goes where in the script)?  I was glad I read the overview on the DVD cover, or I’d have been more lost than Jeremy Clarkson working as a fund-raiser for Sustrans.  Even the yucky parts are mostly rendered ineffective by the murky, dingy and colourless picture.  In its favour, it does however boast quite a high body count and it marginally improves during its second half.  Then again, we’re not exactly starting from the top of the entertainment mountain here; actually having your organs removed would provide a step up in quality of life from watching it being done to others in this film.  Oh God, I’m sitting here realising just how bad it was.  I’m sure there’s a decent film lurking in there somewhere, but sadly it remained elusive.  Not Japan’s finest moment.

No cats, no decapitations and no chainsaws.  But there are quite a number of missing organs and limbs.

Recommend for any guys who want a cowardly way to dump their girlfriends.  Just invite her around to watch this.  She will quickly come to the duel conclusion that you are both sick in the head (but not in a good way) and have no idea of what constitutes a good film for an evening of romance and passion.  Problem solved.

Top badass moment?  This film features a guy searching for his missing brother and having to deal with an organised crime syndicate along the way, so I imagine there’s a badass moment somewhere in it.  It’s just that I didn’t manage to spot it anywhere.

Organ at IMDB (5.2)


Chaos: 3.5 Stars


Chaos  -  Front DVD CoverUsing words like “Games”, “Two Thousand and Twelve”, “2012” or “Twenty-Twelve”, in association with the words “London”, “Medals”, Sponsors”, “Summer”, “Gold”, Silver” or ”Bronze”, is apparently illegal under the 2006 Olympic Act.  So I’d just like to say that my comments here are the Official Pointless Whinging London Summer Olympics 2012 Gold Medal winning ones.  I bet that will piss off McDonald’s and Visa no end.  What’s with all this Official nonsense anyway?  Don’t these companies care that the rest of the word is pissing itself laughing at them, as if anyone else gives a damm?  I guess not, as (for example) everyone within 10,000 miles of an Olympic event will be forced to buy chips (sorry “fries” I mean) from the scary clown, because no one else is allowed to sell any portions of chips on their own.  (Not that the fries McDonalds sells share any real similarities with proper chips anyway; it’s just that I hate the idea of lots of first-time visitors to England getting the wrong idea about what is actually our biggest contribution to the world’s classic foods.)  I guess I now know what all those missiles and RAF jets are for, to enforce the “No Chips Unless They’re From McDonald’s Exclusion Zone” around the Olympics.  You walk into that area with a bag from the local chippy and you’re likely to get targeted by a smart bomb.  (I wonder who’s the supplier of the Official Dog Turd to the Olympics?  Oh, I’ve just noticed, it McDonald’s again, it’s on the menu, 99p; actually that’s pretty good value when you think about it, as it comes  with a side salad and a plastic toy if you’re over 4.)  It’s like living in some sort of mythical, hard-line communist state, where you have no choice and ‘everything’ is provided for you, which is a bit ironic considering where McDonald’s came from in the first place.  With about as much credibility and connection to the truth as Official Olympic stuff has to the amazing abilities of the athletes competing there, this film claims to be “the most brutal movie ever made”.  Well, let’s peak in and find out…

2005  –  Certificate: Not Rated  –  USA

I’d just like to start by saying that I watched this film on 13th July 2012, the day one of the actors in it, Sage Stallone, sadly died.  Poor guy.  So anyway, this horror pretty much follows the normal routine; two young women go off into the woods and bad stuff happens to them.  If you don’t like films like this, then nothing else in it is going to make up for that fact and you’ll hate it; it’s pretty gross stuff.  A lot of people seem to object to the fact that the bad guy (Chaos) gets away with it in the end, but that’s life.  Baddies often get away with a lot in real life before (sometimes) getting their comeuppance.  The picture quality of the DVD I watched was really good and some of the acting and the effects weren’t bad either.  The script was a bit dodgy at times and the ending, while quite a lot of ‘fun’, was a bit bizarre.  The police (let’s call them cops so as to differentiate them from the good old British Bobby), are portrayed as hugely racist and somewhat ineffectual.  But the two young actresses in it and Kevin Gage (Chaos) put in pretty convincing performances, including the more harrowing scenes.  I’d quite like to see Chaos again, he’s one sick bastard.  So is it “the most brutal movie ever made”?  Well how on earth should I know?  Do you think I’ve watching every single film ever made?  Do you think I own some sort of Official Brutal Movie measuring device?   Of course not.  Those are being provided by Samsung as part of the Summer Olympics, so I’m not allowed to have one.  Finally, I can’t finish without commenting on the “rave” mentioned in the Overview.  From what you get to see and hear of it, this has to be The most disappointing party of all time.  Things really are slow in the sticks in America.

No cats, no decapitations and one chainsaw.  The chainsaw was used in a somewhat unconvincing attempt by the father of one of the women to fight Chaos.  I’d stick to cutting up logs in the garden mate, if I was you. 

Recommended for people who want to watch a sick bastard torture and kill just about everyone else.  Oh, I guess they include me then; how embarrassing.  Someone on IMDB said “These movies are made for one audience – psychotic future and current serial killers, rapists, and other vile humans.  I wish movies, and the audience members who enjoy this crap would all instantly combust in flames and burn for eternity.”  I wonder if the writer of that saw the irony in it? 

Top badass moment?  Justine’s (Deborah Lacey) last stand at the end.  Entirely futile, but that’s what makes it so badass.  I just hope she got some small satisfaction from knowing she’d been right all along.

By the way, I really couldn’t find a trailer in English anywhere; it seems only the Germans were honoured with one, so here it is.

Chaos at IMDB (3.1/10)


Yentl: 3.5 Stars


Yentl  -  Front DVD CoverEach summer in the UK an ever-increasing number of music festivals seem to be organised.  Every year we hold Wimbledon on almost all open courts.  We insist on trying to have barbeques.  We invented a sport, cricket, which relies on almost totally dry conditions for it to take place.  And this year we have the Olympics too.  Why is anyone the least bit surprised that the weather is being especially wet at present?  (June was the wettest on record and half the country seems to be under threat of being flooded as I write this.)  We should be proud that the British weather has raised it game to give us the sort of summer that befits the Olympics.  Floods, lack of sunshine, torrential rain. I’m just worried that by the time the Olympics start, we’ll find that the weather has ‘gone too early’ (like a 1,500m runner starting his ‘run for home’ at the wrong time) and it might end up being a bit nicer next month.  I want all the millions of visitors that are coming to the UK to enjoy the full range of experiences our special weather can offer them.  We don’t need the drama of hurricanes, tornadoes or years of drought, our naturally understated thunderstorms, grey, drizzly weekends and ‘unseasonally cool for the time of year’ days is what they’re really coming for; I don’t want anyone to go home disappointed.  Yeh!  Yeh!  Jet Stream go!  You rule!  The idea that we might actually get what we technically refer to as ‘nice weather’ anytime soon, is frankly absurd; a little like this film really.

1983 – Certificate: PG – USA

This ‘historical’ drama would be so easy to ridicule and quite frankly it deserves to be.  For a start, it has a pretty ludicrous plot.  It conveniently ‘ignores’ loads of issues that would have made things a whole lot harder than they actually appear to be, (money anyone)?  It majors on continually reinforcing the notion that men and women have to stick to a strict code of social behaviours and expectations (that would give even a Thomas Hardy novel a run for its money); but then when they’re ignored it doesn’t seem to produce any consequences.  It has a 40-year-old woman trying to play the part of a young woman passing herself off as a teenage boy, (her ‘disguise’ is even less convincing than Batman’s), who frequently bursts into song; (yes, it’s a musical too).  After about 20 minutes I was ready to give up watching it.  I was asking myself, why on earth had I bought this film?  I don’t really like ‘period pieces’; (grown-up’s translation = historical dramas).  I don’t especially enjoy musicals either.  But then something really weird happened; it actually got, well, interesting.  As soon as it started up with the pseudo-cross-dressing-gay-lesbian stuff, things improved loads!  Well okay it’s a PG film, so don’t expect anything very explicit, but for a movie that’s basically ridiculous on nearly every level, it actually manages to feel quite realistic and touching.  It also builds a decent amount of tension around the idea that her true identify as a woman might be discovered at any moment; I was sitting there getting agitated thinking, when are one of these stupid people going to realise she’s actually a woman; it’s like so totally obvious)?  I have to say that Babs (that’s what Barbra Streisand’s fans seem to call her) does look rather fetching in it too.  So yes, in the end I did quite enjoy it and consequently have to now file it away under lock and key as a guilty pleasure.

Recommended for Avril Lavigne fans who want a new kind of idol.

No cats and no decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Barbra Streisand’s character Yentl/Anshel sticking it to ‘The Man’.  At a time and place when women weren’t allowed to go to school but basically had to just hang around at home making dinner and babies, Babs most defiantly gives the finger to all and sundry.  That’s badass!

Yentl at IMDB (6.2)