On a hot summer day, a bicycle is found in a wheat field, and, nearby, the body of a young girl. The killer is never found. 23 years later. Same date. Same place. Another bicycle. Another girl. This time round, an ageing detective convinced that history is repeating itself, comes out of retirement determined to track down the perpetrator with the help of his young colleague. Spanning a week in the investigation, both of them will begin a journey that will see intact worlds shatter apart. A striking debut, The Silence is based on an award-winning novel and follows European crime thrillers such as “The Killing” and “Wallander” as it delves into the psyche of detectives and criminals to deliver a chilling story of murder and betrayal.
2010 – Certificate 15 – German Film
Strong language and sexual violence
8.5 out of 10
I’ve got sore fingers. Fed up with my existing career options, I’ve decided to take advantage of the Christmas week and learn how to play the guitar. Once I’ve done this I’ll become a rock star. I’ve got plenty of social grievances and failed love affairs to write about, so it ought to be pretty easy to do once I’ve managed to learn a chord. Posters of me in seductive, semi-naked poses will soon be starring down from the walls of countless, teenage girls’ bedrooms up and down the country. Justin Bieber will just have to piss off down the dole office where he belongs. My guitar is a rather nice, left-handed Westbury Standard, a model that was made for a few years around 1980 and bought for me by one of those aforementioned failed lover affairs. Despite my cack-handed abuse of it, it rarely goes out of tune and I’ve yet to break a string, even though my playing has all the subtlety of Freddy Kruger in a maternity ward. But how hard can it be? Look at all the stupid people who seem to have managed. Sadly, I apparently have hands like a horse’s hooves when it comes to playing. Why does it need so many strings and why are they so close together? Stupid design. I thought it would only take a few hours, but apparently it takes longer than that…. I’m not a happy bunny.
This is a film with no happy characters in it; at all. No one comes out of it well. Everyone ends up more fucked up than they were to start with. No, it’s not a documentary about real life, but a German movie about two paedophiles and the police investigation to apprehend them. I’m personally not a big fan of crime films. All that Sherlock Homes, Poirot, Scooby Doo stuff, where at the end everyone’s in a room and all the details get blurted out. Yawn… Fortunately this is a lot better. What actually makes it so good is the way it gets inside everyone’s head and exposes all the guilt within; the police, the victims’ families, the perpetrators, the perpetrators’ families. It’s a real lose-lose story. I found it hard at times not to feel sorry for everyone, even the ‘baddies’ in their own, screwed up way. I was also struck by just how scruffy, undisciplined and a bit mad all the German police seemed to be. At times the feel of the film reminded me of the French horror “7 Days”, although that’s even darker. Overall this is very close to being a genuinely great film. Only it’s slightly frustrating habit of introducing ideas that it then doesn’t really do anything with, let’s it down.
The music used in this film is fine and works well.
Considering this is a trailer with no words it actually not bad. I’m not sure it tells a great deal about the film’s plot, although it does a decent job of getting the atmosphere across.
Recommended for the police, caretakers and architects.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Everyone is so miserable and wracked with guilt that it’s difficult to find anything worthy of being considered badass. I guess the weather was nice most of the time; lovely warm, sunny days. Summer is badass. Winter is just crap; short days, cold, damp and wet. Yuk.
Isolation… alienation… happiness. In America they all go hand in hand. Buy a new TV and you will be happy. Still not happy? Experience alienation. Can’t afford a new TV? Then live in isolation. “Be happy”, and if that doesn’t work, pretend to make it work. For the characters in Todd Solondz’ award winning, subversively funny film “Happiness”, the struggle to attain such a state is fraught with perils both heartbreaking and hilarious.
1998 – Certificate: 18 – American Film
Rating Details: Adult theme, strong sexual references, language and sex
8.5 out of 10
The National Lottery spoilt my day today and it was going so well too. It started off sunny. Then I drove to Berkhamsted, which included a slow selection along the M4. This provided me with a golden opportunity to open all the windows and ‘educate’ my fellow motorists in what good music sounds like, whether they wanted educating or not. It’s never too early in the day for some noisy punk rock. I then passed my MiDAS trainer/assessor reassessment. This means I can continue to train people to drive minibuses in my own, inimitable style. (e.g. “Just put your foot down.” “It’s not your vehicle, so don’t worry.” “You’re not paying for the insurance.” “You’re bigger than they are.”) I then drove home again with the windows open. This time there was no slow section, so thanks to a large articulated lorry I no longer need to tidy up the interior of my car, as all the rubbish in it suddenly got sucked out of the window as the lorry went past. Then I got home and opened a letter from the Disclosure and Barring Service, which was happy to report that I’m not a pervert or a weirdo; at least not one that’s been caught anyway. But then the Lottery spoilt my happiness by rejecting a funding application I’d made for a project. For the second time! Bloody hell! I even buy two lottery tickets every week by Direct Debit. That should guarantee success. (Then again, I don’t know why this surprises me. In the 19 years it’s been running, I’ve bought one or two tickets virtually every single week and personally never won more than £10; and that’s not happened more than a few times either. I’m relying on a Lottery jacket win to act as my pension too.) My failure was highlighted in some nonsense about insufficient evidence of need. I guess interviewing every single person on the whole planet about the project and finding that all 7,164,915,211 of them supported it and would benefit from it, wasn’t sufficient. Still, I’ve been invited to reapply if I can provide more information. It’s lucky I’ve just got my DBS Certificate, as I’m now going to need to hang about in various maternity wards and try to consult with some babies as they come out of the womb, as just about everyone else has already expressed an opinion. It’s not the rejection that hurts, (well okay it is really), but the fact that some of my colleagues north of the border seen to be able to provide enough evidence for similar applications, by simply stating that they think the project they’re apply for money for would be “nice”. This doesn’t make me very happy. It’s so easy being Scottish. We have to work hard in the South East of England for everything. I think a career as a diplomatic would suit me better. That would make me much happier too. This is a film about happiness.
This is a sick film. It’s exactly the sort of perverse movie that the DBS should ask about before issuing Certificates. It’s also very funny, in a blacker than black way. There’re loads of reviews of it on the Internet, half of which say it’s great and the other half say they walked out of it after 15 minutes because it was so “disgusting”. Despite its reputation as a bit of a dodgy film, it’s also surprisingly moving and very well acted. I think I like it as it features a load of people who think they’re happy but actually they’re not, yet they still are in a rather strange way. I like to see people bought down to my level. It’s a movie for grow-ups you should watch. You can always use a pair of sharp scissors to cut the DVD in two if you don’t like it. (But remember to take care with the scissors, especially as DVDs can suddenly shatter into sharp pieces when stressed. I’d advise you wear gloves and goggles too, just in case.)
There is a soundtrack but it’s pretty unmemorable. Music is sparsely used, although when it is it does support the action nicely. On many occasions it’s used more as an element in the scenes themselves, rather than simply as background ‘noise’ to build tension or whatever. Michael Stipe does sing the theme song though.
Recommended for weirdos. (Sorry, I can’t be arsed to write anything else.)
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? At the start of the film, Allen strikes a blow for downtrodden men everywhere, with his “I’m Champagne” tirade. Admittedly he picks on the somewhat weedy Joy as the target for his ‘stand’, but nevertheless he knocks the ball right out of the ground. Yeah; men rise up and take back your birth right! No more will we be under the thumb of woman-kind! Reclaim the mighty sword of masculinity and trousers of relationship power! (Do I come across as sounding bitter or twisted at all?)
International superstar Gérard Depardieu plays André, a divorced father whose life is turned upside down when he takes his headstrong teenage daughter (Katherine Heigl) on a tropical island vacation. André’s troubles begin when his daughter, Niki – trying to impress the boy of her dreams – concocts an elaborate life story for herself, including the outrageous notion that André is really her boyfriend masquerading as her father. What follows is a comedy of errors and confusion that wreaks hilarious havoc on Niki’s budding romance and her father’s reputation. “My Father, The Hero” will take you on a charming, laugh-filled vacation you’ll never forget!
1994 – Certificate PG
Rating Details: Language and elements of sensuality
6.0 out of 10
I’ve drunk three cans of Pepsi Max today. Does that make me a bad person? No one in this film is actually a bad person, but…
This movie was directed by the same guy who directed Friday the 13th Parts 2 & 3; but this is a horror of a different kind… A remake of “Mon Pere Ce Heros” (which also starred Gérard Depardieu), “My Father The Hero” is a lightweight(ish) comedy that’s full of contradictions. On the surface it all seems to make sense, but as soon as you think about anything (and I mean anything) you realise that it’s all a load of bollocks. It’s like they wrote down a lot of funny scenes and then tried to linked them altogether with a plot. No one acts in a rational way and the paedophilic(ish) central story just makes matters worse. In fact it’s only saving grace is that it is quite funny at times and it looks nice; (well most of it was filmed in the Bahamas, so you’d have to work hard to make that look like crap). I’m not entirely sure who the target demographic was for this movie. I watched it on Blu-ray and the quality was surprisingly good. However, the ‘extras’ consisted of nothing whatsoever; unless you think scene access is an extra. Even finding a copy of the trailer proved exceedingly difficult; (so thanks to Retro Junk; a great site for people of a ‘certain’ age). So to sum up, this film is a bit like the Sex Pistols, circa 1976; impossible to see, offering a weird sexuality and apparently appealing to no one. According to IMDB, it’s grossed over $25M in the USA and over £2M in the UK. Who are these people?
The music is a pretty foul mixture of synth pop and rubbish poppy calypso, plus pretty anonymous, although serviceable, incidental music. A film set in the Caribbean and that’s the best they can do; shameful. Prison sentences wouldn’t be out-of-order for those responsible. I will add that Gérard Depardieu playing and singing “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” is one of the more ridiculous/funny/creepy parts of the film.
Recommended for God knows who.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Katherine Heigl’s ass in a white, thong swimsuit. A 14-year-old playing a 14-year-old pretending to be 16; or something like that. Doing this will enable you to better relate to the plot about a middle-aged guy pretending to go out with a child who’s actually his daughter.
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.
I’m a bit fragile today. I got ‘dragged around’ the Ashmolean Museum (of art and archaeology) in Oxford yesterday. After two hours of looking at random bits of broken china in glass cases, bent bits of metal in more glass cases and portraits of people I’ve never heard of in rooms hotter and drier than the Sahara, I had a desperate need to ‘refresh’ myself in one of Oxford’s fine alehouses, to recover from this ordeal. The museum was interesting enough, if you like that sort of thing, but when someone says “painting” to me, it’s normally a spot of DIY that comes to mind; and if I see bits of broken pottery, I tend to swear a bit and get a brush to sweep up the broken mug I’ve just dropped. Neither of these things featured very heavy at the Ashmolean, although I did see a pound note; it’s amazing how quickly you forget about these things. My joke about giving all the old Greek coins there back to Greece as it might find them useful now, fell on somewhat stony ground too. I don’t suppose I’ll be allowed back in there anyway, as the person I was with first got told off for carrying her bag on her back (they don’t like small rucksacks in museums, in case you turn around and trash something with it); then one of her shoes developed a really loud squeak, which in a museum of ‘quiet stuff’ probably annoyed just about everyone there. Yes, I needed to recover afterwards; it was all way too exciting for me. I don’t think I’ve got that drunk for a long time and I’m trying not to remember what my companion for this adventure did in the middle of the high street in Oxford on the way back to the station; thank goodness it was dark. For the first time in my life ever, I also managed to leave my mobile phone on the seat in the train when I got back to Reading, but fortunately some community minded spirit saw it and ran after me to return it; what a nice guy! So what’s all that got to do with this film? Well, there’s a couple of scenes in it (including the first) where some small figurines are featured, which later get broken; if that had happened to them 3,000 years ago they might have ended up in the Ashmolean Museum. It also features a conversation about a mobile phone too. Yes, it’s tenuous, I know.
2006 – Certificate: 15 – USA
Rating Details: Strong sex and language
This is a great and rather cleverly written and acted drama, a real train-crash of a story, (as subtlety portrayed in the trailer). Plenty of dysfunctional families and individuals. Kate Winslet having sex. A dark and depressing story. Yep, all boxes ticked. Just as well really, as it clocks in at 131 minutes. Discover what goes on in the dull lives of a bunch of reasonably well-off people dissatisfied with their existence and relationships. For a fairly mainstream Hollywood film, it does manage a high WTF quota too, which is good. The ending is a bit inexplicable, but does sort of make sense in terms of the story and provides some suitable closure to things. Yes, it’s well worth watching, even though it doesn’t have any aliens or explosions in it. (I realise that this is a somewhat dull paragraph, but I’m struggling a bit today with basic things, like thinking.)
Recommended for people who like intelligent, great films. It’s as simple as that.
No cats and no decapitations.
Top badass moment? Larry overcoming his own problems and his hatred of pervert Ronnie. Okay, so first Larry had to all but to kill Ronnie’s mother and then the latter castrate himself before he managed to do this, but I suppose he got there in the end. Overcoming deeply held prejudices is badass; and generally a very good thing too.