Stranded somewhere in the Ardennes after his van breaks down, Marc Stevens (Laurent Lucas “Harry He’s Here To Help”), a travelling cabaret singer, is taken in by a kindly inn keeper who offers to fix his van and give him shelter for the night. But the motivation for the innkeeper’s kind actions soon changes from altruism to a fervent desire to prevent his new guest from ever leaving. The thing is Marc reminds the lonely inn-keeper of his long-lost wife. Before Marc knows it, his van is sabotaged and he is stranded. But this is only the start of his ordeal and what follows has to be seen to be believed… “The Ordeal” (aka “Calvaire”) delivers a terrifying and darkly comic tale of obsession, kidnap, and borderline psychosis that brings to mind films such as “Deliverance”, “Straw Dogs” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, but that has a continental flavour very much its own.
2004 – Certificate: 18 – Rating Details: Strong bloody violence – Belgium Film – 5.0 out of 10
I don’t drink a lot of wine; (except ginger wine, but I’m not sure that really counts). I don’t know a lot about it either. I know it comes in three colours, bottles or boxes, sometimes it’s fizzy and in France they feed babies with it, but other than that… So imagine my surprise when I sat down on Friday evening and found myself drinking an excellent 2004, organic Merlot from the Central Valley of Chile. (Actually I bought it from Majestic Wines in Reading a number of years ago, due to my misunderstanding its rules about having to buy at least 12 bottles at a time; but you know what I mean.) I think I probably selected it based on four things; it was organic, it was vegan, it wasn’t from France and it was strong (14% vol). That’s basically how I select wine; although do generally prefer rosé wine because I can put it in the fridge and drink it cold, without the wine police raiding my home; and it’s a more interesting colour than white wine. I’m not especially a fan of red wine, but this was actually pretty nice. I’d had it laid down in my wine cellar for nearly ten years. (I don’t like to brag, but my personal wine cellar is a small rack I bought from Argos that sits on the bottom shelf of a bookcase in my hall.) I actually had to wipe all the dust off the bottle before opening it. Along with the bollocks written on the label and the lack of a hangover the next day, that pretty well demonstrates just how authentically high-quality it really was. In fact it was nice enough for me to finish off the whole bottle on my own whilst watching this film. With hindsight, it’s probably just as well, as this movie was a bit like the wine bottle’s label.
Well, this was all a bit rubbish. Weirdly, it seems to have a number of fans at IMDB, but really, it’s not very good. For a start it’s not funny. The sleeve says it is but it isn’t, unless it’s being ironic and we’re supposed to laugh at it because it’s so bad. The continuity is dreadful. Perhaps I’m missing something here, but to me it just looked like the weather changed from shot to shot; in one case from no snow at all to a thick layer of snow on the ground, in the middle of a chase. I’m sure dealing with weather is a nightmare for filmmakers, but most seem to manage. I didn’t find any of the characters the least bit sympathetic, not even the victim, although I think that was intentional; the guy was a stupid, boring wuss and his singing was crap too. There were just too many random incidents that really don’t go anywhere or explain anything. And at times the editing was more jarring than dropping to sub-light speed; (probably, as I’ve not actually done the latter, yet). Maybe I’m being a bit mean. Some of the cinematography is actually very impressive, the acting decent and the bizarre dance the guys do in the pub was nearly worth it for the wtf moment it provides. But no, actually I’m not. It’s entertaining in its own way, but I preferred my bottle of wine.
This movie has a very space soundtrack, very sparse. I guess what there is of it works well.
The trailer makes the film look a lot more horrific, a lot faster and more action packed than it really is.
Movie Weather Forecast. Heavy rain, followed by entirely random sunny spells, snow and rain showers, with the latter sometimes settling and sometimes melting very, very quickly, before suddenly coming back again. Cold at all times, but not so cold that a thin jumper won’t keep you warm enough.
Recommended for inn-keepers, cabaret singers and farmers.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? This is a movie with far too many arbitrary happenings in it, but credit where credit’s due. The random dance by the guys in the village pub is completely inexplicable, creepy and downright weird. Somehow (and I can’t really explain why), that makes it pretty badass.
Young Manuel lives with his hard-working farmer parents in the remote, mountainous region of the Colombian countryside. While the adults in their lives try to avoid both the armed military and the guerrilla rebels fighting each other in the area, Manuel and his friend Julián are obsessed with playing soccer any chance they get. Shortly after his birthday, the new ball Manuel received as a gift gets kicked off to a minefield, and he, Julián and their albino friend Poca Luz will do everything in their power to recover their prized belonging – an essential part of their everyday lives and dreams.
2011 – Rating: Not Rated – Columbian Film
7.5 out of 10
So “comet of the century” ISON turned out to be more of a metaphor for life; all that potential, expectation and excitement, followed by an invisible anti-climax. However, I would like to propose a new verb for the English language. Ison: a state of disillusionment; e.g. “the band’s performance was somewhat isoning; or “I’m really isoned by this whole project of yours.” It’s good to invent words.
This is an interesting, watchable but ultimately depressing film. It’s a very simple story about three football-obsessed young boys, whose ball ends up in a minefield. As this is not something that happens very often in the English Premier League, it provides a somewhat different viewpoint of the game. Let’s not forget that the Colombian national team is ranked fourth in the world, whilst England is ranked 13th. There’s a lot to be said for sharpening you team’s reactions with a few, well-placed landmines. What this movie does really well is focus on the story from the boys’ point of view, allowing the realities of the ongoing, three-sided civil war in the area to colour what happens. The insidious effect of the latter on the local people slowly comes into focus as the story moves along. As the kids plot to recover their ball, things around them gradually fall apart and begin to directly change their lives. It’s hard not to feel upset by the situation. There isn’t anyone mowing down half the jungle with a minigun, or 100s of people being blown to pieces in huge, set-piece scenes. Instead you get an insight into the subtle ways conflict changes things. Not nice and very sad. Filmed in the mountains, the scenery looks lush; (as in very green, not sexy). Understated and documentary like, the whole movie feels very authentic and is well worth watching. However, I do wish Americans would learn to spell “colour” correctly; it’s very irritating!
There’s a lot of ‘Spanish sounding’ music in the film. It’s great.
Recommended for football fans, guerrillas, freedom fighters and Roy Hodgson.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? The teacher gets the kids to paint a big mural over the ‘war graffiti’ on the school building. This is probably not the most sensible thing to do if you’re looking for a quiet life, but it is most definitely badass.