Posts tagged “Police

Header / SSE


Header  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US Release

From the mind of horror author Edward Lee, comes this horrifying tale of gruelling revenge and backwoods terror!  Stewart Cummings (Jake Suffian), a government agent playing both sides of the law, finds himself in the nightmarish crossfire of a bloody family vendetta. Forced to delve deep into a series of gruesome murders, Cummings encounters the most twisted method of revenge ever conceived by man: The Header.  What’s a header?  Only redneck Travis Tuckton (Elliot V. Kotek) and his evil “grandpappy” knows for sure… and once you learn the shocking answer, you may never be the same. Get ready for the acclaimed horror film that may be the ultimate in violence and gore! “Header” is a film of unrelenting, twisted terror!

2006  –  Certificate: Not Rated  –  American Film
7.0 out of 10

There’s only 360 more days until next Christmas; how exciting!  I’ve managed to get all the way through this Christmas without putting the heating on at home.  It was my present for the planet and a middle finger to SSE (Scottish and Southern Electricity).  SSE managed to really piss me off recently.  I have (well had) an early version of a smart meter for my electricity.  I’ve had it about 2.5 years.  When I got it I had to change my tariff for a more expense one, (although to be fair it’s probably helped me save more money than the extra I spent on having it).  A couple of months ago it stopped working.  I e-mailed SSE to ask if it could be fixed or replaced.  The reply I got (that took longer to arrive that it should have) said that it was an outdated model and it couldn’t be replaced, but that I’d get a new, free smart meter in a few years’ time!  There was no suggestion that perhaps I’d like to change my electric tariff for a cheaper one again or anything.  This really annoyed me.  In fact it’s annoyed me so much that I’m going to change my electivity suppler next month.  Doing this has been on my mind for a while anyway, as SSE isn’t exactly top of the league when it comes to producing electricity from sustainable sources.  It will probably cost me a bit more, but I’m looking forward to using fair-trade, organic electricity in future, that’s produced by whole African villages of people peddling really quickly on static bikes to produce the stuff for me.  Quite why we can’t harvest the same stuff locally from all the private gyms around here I don’t know.  I guess it’s a similar situation to apples, where in the autumn I can either buy English Cox’s (the world’s best apple), or some tasteless replica with a brand name variety (like Pink Lady) grown in New Zealand.  That’s just weird.  So’s this film.

Agent Stewart Cummings is having a really, really bad day.  (I know he’s an agent as he spends most of the film running around in a t-shirt with the letters ATF on it.  (The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.)  His wife has a mystery illness for which the drugs she needs cost a fortune and his boss is less than supportive of him taking any sort of initiative when it comes to investigating crime.  And on top of that someone locally has started doing rather icky things with peoples’ heads.  Sadly for Stew it goes even further downhill from then on.  After the first ten minutes or so I thought I was going to be faced with an entirely crap film featuring poor production, acting and script.  Weirdly, as it progressed it improved.  It was like it was filmed in chronological order and everyone just got better as they went along.  That’s not to say it’s likely to worry the Oscars in any way, but it got good enough not to distract too much from the watching experience.  I’d love to tell you exactly what a header is, but that would spoil it for you.  Needless to say, it’s not got a great deal to do with aerial prowess in the penalty box, or plumbing.  If nothing else, it’s worth watching just to see Grandpappy, a brilliantly, over-the-top character who brings a level of enthusiasm to proceedings that I wish I could replicate myself when doing my budget forecasts at work.  I did have a lot of sympathy for Agent Cummings, a generally decent guy who just had a run of bad luck, really bad luck.  Sometimes you just have to lose it.  Whilst watching this movie, into my head popped the idea that American rednecks have a lot in common with the UK’s UKIP voters.  More weirdness.

There isn’t a lot of music used in the film, it’s mainly just over the credits, but it’s a decent bit of whatever sort of music it is.

The trailer isn’t exactly forthcoming with details.  (There is a better one on the DVD, but I couldn’t find a link to it anywhere to put here.)  I guess that’s what comes from having a ‘big secret’ that you don’t want to blow to quickly.

Movie Weather Forecast:  Warm and sunny through the course of the film.  Nice.

Recommended for police officers, cobblers, drug dealers and adulteresses.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  In a fit of anger that wouldn’t have been out of place in the final verse of Eminem’s “Guilty Conscience”, Agent Cummings finally gets pissed at his bad luck.  I’m not condoning his behaviour of course, but, well, you can understand it.  I’m sure when I eventually ‘lose it’ I’ll go on the rampage too, probably on the London Underground in the rush hour, or maybe in Reading’s Oracle Shopping Centre, on a Saturday afternoon just before Christmas.

Header at IMDB (4.7 / 10)
Header at Wikipedia
Official Site
Header trailer at YouTube

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Lars and the Real Girl / Doing Less Than Nothing


Lars and the Real Girl  -  Front DVD cover  -  US Release

Sometimes you find love where you’d least expect it.  Just ask Lars (Academy Award Nominee Ryan Gosling), a sweet but quirky guy who thinks he’s found the girl of his dreams in a life-sized doll named Bianca.  Lars is completely content with his artificial girlfriend, but when he develops feelings for Margo, an attractive co-worker, Lars finds himself lost in a hilariously unique love triangle, hoping to somehow discover the real meaning of true love.  You’ll be swept off your feet by “Lars and the Real Girl”, hailed as “One of the Year’s 10 Best” by The Associated Press.

2007  –  Certificate: PG-13  –  American Film
Rating Details:  Some Sex-Related Content
8.0 out of 10

I’m on something called Annual Leave at the moment.  This is a strange, but rather welcome concept through which I get paid my salary to do sod all.  In fact for the last two days I’ve done even less than that and in doing so have actually discovered a new physics, which I’ve decided to call “Anti-nothing”.  This is a weird, quantum effect wherein you can actually do less than nothing at all.  It’s pretty scary stuff too.  It’s only through washing my sleeping bag at one point that I avoided crossing over the non-event horizon and falling into some sort of parallel dimension where no one does anything ever.  I’ve never been there myself, although I think I’ve met a few people who have.  Doing nothing has given me the time to enjoy the view out of my window a little more than usual.  I’ve notice a huge, bright orange building that has suddenly spring up amongst the trees that I’ve never seen before.  There’re also a couple of cars in the car park that have had most of their windows smashed in, which are accompanied by a number of dented panels.  I’ve no idea what the story is behind them, but they’ve been sitting there, neatly parked, side by side for several days now, and resemble a couple that have had a row and now aren’t speaking to one another.  Whoever owns then hasn’t even bothered to sweep up the glass or block up the holes.  Weird.  I’ve also observed the police dealing with who I imagine is my local drug dealer.  They spent ages searching him and his car yesterday morning; I watched all the action through my binoculars.  The good thing is that the car has gone now, because it’s been frequently and annoying parked just where I turn in.  There’s never a dull moment around here!  This movie has none of these exciting things in it, yet it’s still very entertaining.

This is basically a comedy-drama about a guy who buys a blow-up sex doll to have as his girlfriend.  Now I’ll readily admit that I’m not an expert in such ‘things’, but I’m willing to bet that most who are don’t take them outside to meet other people very often.  Although we live in relatively enlightened times, I’m not sure the world is quite ready for ‘significant others’ down the pub, at the shops or in the cinema, who are made of silicon and rubber and have lifelike ‘bits’ under their clothes.   It’s probably acceptable in the Star Trek version of the far future and in Japan right now, but for the rest of us it’s a bit of a social faux pas.  But this film sees Ryan Gosling doing exactly that.  This would all seem to suggest that this movie’s going to be full of smutty innuendo and body-function-based humour.  Actually it’s nothing like that at all.  It’s much more of a study of how one individual starts to recover from a life-long difficulty in relating to people.  Yes it is very funny at times, but it’s also quite moving too.  I really like Ryan Gosling and he seems to totally nail the part in this film.  The plot does start to stretch the boundaries of realism, especially towards the end, but it’s well written, acted and made.  Kelli Garner is very cute too.  An original, well-observed and great film.  It’s got one of the worst titles ever though.

The soundtrack is fine for what it is, but isn’t very memorable.

The trailer makes this movie seem more of a comedy than it really is.  It probably has most of the best jokes in it.

Recommended for people who work in builders’ merchants, mums-to-be, parents that want to have to explain what a “Living Doll” is to their offspring whilst watching the movie, and anyone who works in an office with people who clutter their desks with toys.  (I despair at some of my own colleagues, who stick lumps of brightly coloured fur-with-eyes to their monitors and clutter their work spaces with animal-based, plastic fripperies and desk tidies full of virtually unusable and hideously ugly pens.)

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  In the same way as I’ve never met anyone who’s admitted to voting for UKIP, I’ve never met anyone who’s admitted to using a blow-up sex doll. However, given the number of votes and sales associated with both, I probably have unknowingly met quite a few.  So it’s a pretty badass thing to take your blow-up girlfriend out and about with you, especially if you start to have conversations with her in public too.  (I’m not so sure voting for UKIP is though.)

Lars and the Real Girl at IMDB (7.4/10)
Lars and the Real Girl at Wikipedia
Lars and the Real Girl at Roger Ebert (3.5/4)
Lars and the Real Girl trailer at YouTube


Dirty Harry / Beating the Banking System


Dirty Harry  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseHarry Callahan is a tough, streetwise San Francisco cop whom they call Dirty Harry.  In this action classic, you’ll see why – and also why Clint Eastwood’s reputation as a premier film star and moviemaker is secure.  A rooftop sniper (Andy Robinson) calling himself Scorpio, has killed twice and holds the city ransom with the threat of killing again.  Harry will nail him , one way or the other, no matter what the “system” prescribes.  Filming on location, director Don Siegel made the City by the Bay a vital part of Dirty Harry, a practice continued in its four sequels.  Forty three years after its arrival the original remains one of the most gripping police thrillers ever made.

1971  –  Certificate: 18  –  American Film
7.5 out of 10

This week I’ve inadvertently become a champion and role-model for the downtrodden masses, as I successfully concluded my fight for compensation as a result of the evil and corrupt banking industry misselling me Payment Protection Insurance for a credit card.  As we all know now, every single person who’s ever worked for a bank is a child of the Devil.  From the CEO to the office cleaners.  They exist for one purpose only and that’s to rip everyone else off.  Well they made one BIG mistake trying to take me on.  After many letters, the MBNA has finally capitulated, agreed it made a ‘mistake’ and has paid me back, with interest.  I can’t decide what to spend it on first, a yacht, a jet or an Aston Martin or two.  I guess a few lines of coke and some high-class ‘escorts’ wouldn’t go amiss either.  I can finally get rid of all my pathetic, stupid, so-called friends and buy myself a whole lot of new ones that better fit my improved social status.  The rich and the powerful will invite me to everything.  A-list celebrities will be at my beck and call.  My membership of the Bilderberg Group is assured.  I’m going to start voting Conservative at once, not that I really need to worry about politics now, as I could easily buy myself a whole country if I wanted to.  So I guess you probably want to know how much I got?  Well, the cheque I was sent is made out to me for 20p…

“Dirty Harry” is a film about a naughty policeman, which was inspired by the Lurkers’ 1999 non-hit “Go Ahead Punk”.  (I’ve got this on a very limited edition 7” single in grey vinyl, number 34 of the 125 that were made.)  Its main character Harry Callahan was based on James Callaghan, who was British Prime Minister from 1976-1979 and thus oversaw the invention of punk rock by the downtrodden masses that he created during the Winter of Discontent.  “Winter of Discontent” was also a great track from Political Asylum’s Winter EP, a copy of which I was sold by the band on the Fulham Palace Road, on my way to a Lurkers gig at the Fulham Greyhound.  (The latter was tragically renamed/relaunched earlier this year as an American theme pub called the Southern Belle. WTF?)  Its historical significance aside, this film gave us the original police officer who doesn’t play by the rules but gets away with, who still haunts TV and films to this day.  Scorpio is also a great psycho without a thread of remorse whatsoever and stands up well to the more modern versions that have followed in his wake.  I doubt there’s anything else I could possibly say about this film that hasn’t already been said 100 times before, so won’t.  But for what’s now quite an old film, it still looks good.   Essential viewing.

This movie is pretty light on music, which is just as well given it was made in the early 70s.

The trailer’s very long and seems to be desperate to portray Harry as more of a victim of circumstance than a police officer who really ought to be sacked for gross misconduct at the very least.  He could easily be Martin Riggs‘ father.

Recommended for police officers, psychos and school bus drivers.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Not once but twice, Harry gives us one of his two, world-famous quotes, here and here.  What other character would have the audacity to do that?  (Arnie’s done it but not twice in the same film I don’t think.)  That’s like a DJ playing the same song back-to-back, it just doesn’t happen; (unless you’re John Peel and you’re playing the Undertones, but that’s okay).  He must have been feeling lucky, punk.

Dirty Harry at IMDB (7.8 / 10)
Dirty Harry at Wikipedia
Dirty Harry at Roger Ebert (3.0/4.o)
Dirty Harry Trailer on YouTube


The Silence / Learning the Guitar


The Silence  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseOn 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.

The Silence at IMDB (6.8 / 10)
The Silence at Wikipedia
The Silence at Roger Ebert (3.5  / 5)
The Silence at YouTube


Freeze Frame / Pavement Wars


Freeze Frame  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseSean Veil (Lee Evans) is an ultra-paranoid murder suspect who films himself around the clock to provide an alibi, in case he’s ever accused of another crime.  When the police come calling to investigate a new murder, the one tape that can prove his innocence has mysteriously disappeared.  Past and present collide as Sean strives to prove his innocence of this and all the other crimes that have been laid at his door.  But the accusations and the tension mount and just when Sean thinks it’s all over, an unexpected twist finds him fighting for his life…

2004  –  Certificate: 15  –  UK/Irish Film
Rating Details: Strong violence and language
8.0 out of 10

A couple of months ago I started walking into work again, rather than driving.  Regularly walking the 2.4 miles each way has turned me into a hyper-fit super-being, but it’s not without its drawbacks.  Today I’d like to briefly consider the concept of Pavement Wars.  My journey includes a significant section along the Oxford Road in west Reading, where I find myself walking ‘against the tide’, as most people are going in the other direction and into town.  I’m used to the barbaric anarchy of rush-hour on the Tube, where a fallen body is considered nothing more than an annoying trip hazard; but I thought out on the open road (well pavement) of the Home Counties, things would be a little different.  I thought people would lift their hats in polite greetings as they passed one another, whilst exchanging a few words of small talk, about the weather or cricket scores perhaps?  Sadly it’s more like a pedestrianised version of Carmageddon, with the sort of manoeuvring that would lose a driver his or her license in a moment.  Seriously, it’s like a war zone out there and I’m not winning.  I’ve lost count of the number of time I’ve been forced into walls, bollards and the road, in an effort not to get mowed down by others’ irresponsible walking.  But this guy is fighting back!  Last Thursday, my path was blocked by two women coming in the other direction.  Any decent human being, when walking next to a friend, would make sure they got out of the way if someone was coming in the opposite direction and the two of them were totally occupying the path.  But not these two.  And they both saw me coming along, I’m quite sure of that.  Did they expect me to step out into the road to let them pass, even though I had my back to the traffic?  Was I the innocent victim of bitchy office politics, which meant nether of them wanted to walk behind the other, in case this more submissive stance might have some bearing on an inter-departmental power-struggle?  Perhaps my “Do You Like Waffles?” t-shirt wasn’t scary enough?  Or were they just inconsiderate, stupid, thoughtless, brain-dead bimbos?  Who knows?  Whatever, this time there was going to be no hanging about waiting between the bollards for them to pass.  I braced myself for the inevitable impact, which happened just about here.  As we passed my arm briefly collided with the tall blonde’s.  I suppose with hindsight it was probably the most exciting sexual caress she’s had for ages, but to me it meant only one thing; at last, I was a true Pavement Warrior!  No longer will I cower in shop entrances, between bollards, behind bins or pavement furniture.  Reading take note; there’s a new kid on the block, a new kid who’s no longer gonna be pushed around by people who think the sidewalk owes them a living.  I’m ready for war.  Are they?  Given all that, it’s a shame I’m not about to consider a viewing of “Mad Max”.

In a thriller with more twists than a shop full of Curly Wurly bars (or an avenue of Corkscrew Willow if you prefer), comedian Lee Evans convincingly portrays a paranoid and socially inept guy (Sean) who films his every waking (and sleeping) moment.  Fortunately, we’re spared most of the more ‘intimate’ moments of his life, but  it does make for an original and interesting, although somewhat convoluted movie.  I’m a bit stupid so I’m pretty sure I didn’t manage to follow everything, but it was still a really good watch; (despite the overuse of blue filters and a tiny, non-anamorphic 2.35:1 picture).  So this probably means it’ll be a good watch next time too, as I still won’t know what’s going on; being an idiot does have its advantages.  I did feel sorry for Sean; putting up with dodgy TV reporters, useless and greedy psychologists, a whole population that thought he was a triple murderer and cops that ‘cross the line’, is enough to send anyone a bit round the bend.  The amount of plot twists in the last ten minutes are likely to send most viewers a bit round the bend too.  His ‘underground house’ was interesting though.

The soundtrack is exactly that.  There’re no dumb pop records put into the film to enable some sort of “as featured in” soundtrack to be released.  It’s just decent music added into scenes to make them better in that way that only music can.

Recommended for police detectives, the paranoid, the tabloid press, everyone who hates CCTV and any innocents who’ve ever been accused of murder.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitation.

Top badass moment?  In a film full of twists and turns, the fact that Sean managed to keep himself together enough to do what he needed to do, qualifies as badass.

Freeze Frame at IMDB (6.3 / 10)

Freeze Frame at Wikipedia


Death Wish 4: The Crackdown / Soft Drink Shortage Hits Cactus World


Death Wish 4: The Crackdown  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US ReleaseThe streets are filled with death and destruction.  Ruthless drug traffickers prey upon the poor, the lonely, the helpless.  LA is a city desperate for deliverance… until now!  Charles Bronson returns as Paul Kersey, the original urban vigilante and one-man demolition force in this pulse-pounding, take-no-prisoners thriller!  Two rival drug gangs have a death-grip on LA’s battle-torn inner city.  But their brutal reign of terror is about to come to a violent end.  One man is out to avenge the cocaine-induced death of his girlfriend’s teenage daughter.  His name is Paul Kersey – and he’s armed, dangerous… and mad as hell!

1987  –  Certificate: R  –  American Film
6.0 out of 10

The unseasonal run of warm days we’ve been having recently has put an unprecedented strain on reserves of cold drinks in Cactus World.  In fact I’ve run out of normal soft drinks and the things I only drink in an emergency, like bitter lemon and ginger ale, have been in the fridge so long they’ve all frozen solid.  I tried opening one this afternoon, but so much pressure had built up in the bottle that the contents started to explode everywhere; in fact I read this evening that earlier today America had briefly gone to DEFCON 1, as some military satellite had mistaken my attempts to get something cold to drink as a ballistic missile launch.  I think it’s all okay now though.  Fortunately, I also found some old bottles of Bacardi Breezer (Pineapple) in the back of the fridge that the alcohol had stopped from freezing.  It tasted okay(ish), considering it was two years past its Best Before date.  I also have to report the good news that the far worse scenario of there being a shortage of cold, alcoholic drinks, is not presently a concern.

Before we had mega-budget screen superheroes and nutters like Martin Riggs cleaning up urban scum, we had Paul Kersey.  The original street-level vigilante, here’s a chap who reluctantly goes off on his own and sorts out bad guys.  In many ways he’s a lot like Batman, a tortured soul who’s lost the ones he cares for most; except he’s not especially fit and strong, isn’t a billionaire and doesn’t have a flash car, cave, computer, utility belt or butler.  Then again, he does use guns and he hasn’t got an annoying sidekick either.  Last time we saw him, he was busy helping disadvantaged communities in New York become more resilient.  This time he’s back in America’s other city, Los Angeles, sorting out corrupt police and drug barons; you know, the usual stuff architects deal with.  Scarcely have I recovered from seeing Lieutenant Commander Chakotay turn up in “Night of the Comet” when along comes Lieutenant Commander Tuvok in “Death Wish 4”.  Clearly working under cover for Starfleet in some sort of time-travel paradox, he inadvertently gives some drugs to some dumb bimbo, who promptly kills herself with them.  She just happens to be the daughter of Charles Bronson’s latest love interest too.  In another interesting parallel with “Star Trek” I would say it was at least as deadly being a friend of Paul Kersey, as it is wearing a red shirt as a member of a landing party.  There’ve been five Death Wish films and nearly all of his ‘nearest and dearest’ have ended up being raped and/or murdered.  You do see Bronson take out Tuvok’s car with a grenade in an underground garage, but I’m pretty sure I saw him being beamed out just before it exploded.  Tuvok could’ve easily stunned them all with his phaser, but he probably didn’t want to contaminate the time-line or such like.  I watched the hardcore, uncut version, not the old, UK cut one with its missing 54 seconds.  Because of that I’d have probably turned into a serial killer by now, if it wasn’t for the fact that it was also a pan and scan version too, so half of it was missing.  I hate it when they do that.  It was mono as well.

There’s not a great deal of music in this movie and what there is has a tendency to sound like a reject from The Terminator.  The theme music is horrible though; some nasty saxophone-heavy garbage that sounds like it escaped from an obscure, 70s porn VHS.

Recommend for architects, vigilantes, would-be superheroes and anyone who might make friends with Paul Kersey.  And a warning to the latter; DON’T DO IT!

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.  However, someone does sort of explode into nothing after having a grenade fired into him.  And you thought The Terminator came up with that one first?

Top badass moment?  Dumb question. Charles Bronson IS badass.  And when someone asks, “who the fuck are you?” and you simply reply (after a tension building pause), “death”, that’s badass too.  And keeping a M203 grenade launcher attached to a M16 assault rifle in a cupboard behind your fridge is badass too.

Death Wish 4: The Crackdown at IMDB (4.8 /10)

Death Wish 4: The Crackdown at Wikipedia


Hot Fuzz / English as a First Language (and 2nd, 3rd, 4th…)


Hot Fuzz  -  Front DVD Cover (UK Release)When top London cop, PC Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg), is reassigned to the quiet town of Sandford, he struggles with his seemingly crime-free world… and oafish partner Danny (Nick Frost).  When several grisly accidents rock the village, it’s not long before Danny’s dreams of explosive, high-octane, car-chasing, gun fighting, all-out action become reality!  It’s time for these small-town cops to hand out big-city justice!

2007  –  Certificate: 15  –  UK Film
Rating Details:  Very strong language and strong comic bloody violence
9.0 out of 10

I went to the local chemists yesterday.  To get there I had to walk up a steep hill.  As I was doing so, I passed a young guy (I guess he was about 13) having a conversation in the street with a friend.  (I say conversation; they were actually shouting at one another across the road and into an adjacent playground.  Maybe it was just a new type of cheap, limited range not-very-smart phone they were trying out; who knows?)  So anyway, I got to hear quite a long exchange between them, as I staggered, wheezing, red-faced and exhausted, up the near precipice I was attempting to climb.  Maybe my physically overtaxed body was to blame, but I could barely decipher a word of what they were shouting to one another, despite the fact that I think they were speaking English.  Today I went to a meeting in Redhill; (which despite the name, doesn’t appear to have a hill of any colour in it, just some shops and offices).  I had to get up at the unwholesome hour of 5:58am to give me time to get there and the train was too crowded for me to get in a decent sleep on the way too. Maybe my mentally overtired mind was to blame, but I sat in a meeting with four other people who, although very nice, used so much ‘management speak’ that I could barely decipher a word of what they were saying to one another, despite the fact that I think they were speaking English.   I guess I’m not cool enough to ‘hang out on the streets’ with ‘the kids’ or clever enough to exchange ‘intellectual banter’ with ‘corporate leaders’.    The film features a number of language issues relating to the “metropolitan police vocabulary guidelines”.

This is a genuinely great action-comedy.  If you’ve never seen it, rectify the situation now.  If you have seen it, go and watch it again, now.  That’s all I’ve got to say about it really, because it’s one of those movies you really ought to have seen already and it’s got Scotty in it.  It’s also one of those rare British films where you want the police to win.  If you think the locals as characterised in the movie are just a bit over-the-top; well, I’ve met people like them for real.  Most of them are parish and town councillors.  Lovely people, but a bit scary too…  The Shires of southern England have a lot in common with the Wild West…

Between the inspired use of Adam and the Ants’ “Goody Two Shoes” at the start and Supergrass’ “Caught by the Fuzz” at the end, the music settles down into a more mundane but fun mixture of mostly 60s and 70s brit-pop songs, which often reinforce the images on the screen through their lyrics.  Actually it’s a pretty good soundtrack.

Recommended for police officers, town/parish councillors, florists, journalists, publicans, hoddies, supermarket managers and anyone associated with a neighbourhood watch group.

No cats or chainsaws, but two decapitations, plus one head totally splattered with a church spire.

Top badass moment?  Trashing your local supermarket has to be badass.  (Is there anyone who hasn’t at some point wanted to pull the bottom can or packet out of one of those ‘food towers’ they build them from?)  Doing so in the name of law and order simply gives you access to the moral high ground too.   Imagine all the bargains there the next day, on the ‘slightly shop soiled’ shelf?  (Actually, do they still construct those towers?  I half think they’ve been done way with in the name of health and safety.  Those “Tin of beans and it’s toast for toddler” types of headlines don’t look good.)

Hot Fuzz at IMDB (7.9 / 10)

Hot Fuzz at Wikipedia


The Untold Story / Birds Eye Potato Waffles


The Untold Story  -  Front DVD Cover (US Release)In a riveting performance that won him 1993’s Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actor, Anthony Wong (“Hard Boiled”) stars as the owner/chef of the Eight Immortals Restaurant, where the original owner and his family mysteriously disappear.  As the police, led by Danny Lee (“The Killer”), intensify their investigation, they gradually uncover the shocking truth.  Definitely not for the squeamish, “The Untold Story” is also an intelligent character study filled with dark humour touches. And remember… it actually happened!

1992  –  Certificate: Not Rated  –  Hong Kong Film
Rating Details:  Scenes of extreme violence and graphic sexual situations
6.5 out of 10

In the late 80s I stopped eating Birds Eye Potato Waffles.  This is because I got really bad food poisoning from them, twice in a row.  I can still remember it quite vividly.   I think it’s the last time I took time off work through being physically ill.  They’re the only thing that’s ever given me food poisoning, as far as I can remember.  A few months ago I decided to try them again.  The good news was, no sickness or diarrhea etc, a promising start.   (I don’t recommend trying to microwave them though, the results aren’t especially satisfactory.)  Now, these are potato waffles; they’re probably one of the Bird Eye brand’s ‘signature products’.  On the side of the packaging is a marketing highlight which proudly proclaims, “Made with REAL potatoes”.  What the fuck?  Potato waffles and they’re actually made with potatoes; surely not?  Is that really the best thing they can come up with?  It doesn’t bode well for the rest of the product if that’s the highlight.  This also left me wondering what exactly is an unreal potato.  The packaging also goes on to say each 100g of waffles is made with 109g of potatoes.  Really?  I guess an understanding of particle physics is helpful if you want to enjoy Birds Eye Potato Waffles; it must be all that ‘new physics’ stuff again.  Personally, I’d rather know that all the potatoes used are grown within 40 miles of the factory where they make them, which is what it says on its web site; I think that’s much more worthy.  Has our food become so crap these days that the fact it contains what you’d expect it to contain has become such a big deal that it needs bragging about?  (Oh, I forgot about all the horse burgers.)  Birds Eye in Europe is presently owned by private equity group Primira. One of its 11 Business Principles is “Comply with both the letter and the spirit of all applicable laws, regulations and contractual obligations”.  I guess that’s why it has its finance team based on Guernsey; nothing to do with its tax haven status then?  This film features a restaurant and food that makes people sick; and dead.

Never released in the UK, Anthony Wong plays a restaurant owner called Wong Chi-Hang and it’s worth tracking down a copy of this film for his performance alone.  The guy has some serious, anger management issues.  When he’s not feeding his clientele with the ground-up remains of people he’s killed, raping his staff, beheading children or cheating at Mah Jong, he’s being beaten up by various people, generally the police or the relatives of those he’s murdered.  For a pretty gruesome and dark film that’s basically about a serial killer, the police are presented as only a few steps above the Keystone Cops.  The senior detective and his team investigating the case don’t seem to do a lot of work, they continually belittle the only woman in the team, they happy beat up poor old Anthony with the least provocation and the senior detective nearly always has a prostitute with him at work.  It’s not often you can have any sympathy for a serial killer, but he’s clearly a product of his environment; well, sort of.  Set in Macau, this film is meant to be based on a real crime too.  It’s a bloody horror with the occasional bit of almost slapstick comedy; very watchable if you can deal with all that.

This film has a fair amount of background music, much of which is clearly inspired by the “Psycho” ‘shower scene’.  You’ll not want to watch this film for the music.

Recommended for catering students, the police and anyone who’s crap at Mah Jong.

No cats or chainsaws and three decapitations; two of the latter were after they were dead though.  It’s not often you see a child have her head cut off in a film…

Top badass moment?  In the middle of cutting a load of people up, it was good to see Anthony Wong take time out to sharpen the meat cleaver he was using.  (He forgot to wear safety goggles or gloves whilst using the grinder though.)  No wonder he was so pissed off when the cutting edge got damaged soon after.  (Maybe he sharpened the blade too finely for cutting bones; or perhaps he hit the floor with it by mistake?)  Caring about your tools, even if you’re a serial killer, is good practice and therefore badass.  They do say a blunt tool is more dangerous than a sharp one.

The Untold Story at IMDB (6.8 / 10)

The Untold Story at Wikipedia


Dread / Getting Caught Up in a Police Chase, Very Slowly


Dread  -  Front DVD Cover (UK Release)Based on the acclaimed short story from Clive Barker’s “Books of Blood: Volume II”, “Dread” is a psychological thriller centered on three college students who study other people’s fears.  As the study unfolds, one of the students begins to seek salvation from his own obsessions by exploiting the terrors of his fellow participants.  Starring Jackson Rathbone (“Twilight Saga”, “S. Darko”) and Shaun Evans (“Telstar”, “The Take”).

2009  –  Certificate: 18  –  USA
Rating Details: Strong language, once very strong, and strong bloody violence
8 out of 10

Last Tuesday I had to go to a meeting, in central London.  I didn’t have to be there until 12:30, so I’d thought, great, that would give me a couple of hours to read the things I needed to go through, before taking a nice, comfortable trip (out of the rush-hour) on the train.  I switch on my computer at 8:15.  Nothing happened.  No sound like I’m in a wind-tunnel (thanks to the eight fans inside the case), no meaningless messages on the monitor, no rattling of the metal case (because I’m too lazy to do up the screws from when I last pulled it to bits).  No sound is not a good sign.  Using my brilliant Homes-like powers of deduction, I quickly deduced that the power unit has failed, again; it’s only been about two years since I last replaced it too.  (What is it with electronic things these days, does every-single one break-down after two years?)  No matter; that’s a quick, two-mile round trip to Maplins for a new one and back, nothing that £70 won’t put right; then I’ll quickly put it in and it’s all fixed before it’s even 9:00.  Now, Reading’s traffic system is ‘fragile’ at best.  So when someone decides to try to get away from the police, crashes and gets killed, it tends to bring the whole lot to a grinding halt.  I eventually got back home after 10:30; it had taken me two hours to drive less than three miles!  I did get to see the aforementioned ‘incident’ on the other carriageway as I, very, very slowly, drove past it, which despite the crash happening the night before, was still totally blocking the main route into Reading from the M4.  It’s not that I’m not unsympathetic.  The poor guy, just 19 years old, was being chased by six police cars (including an armed response team and dog-handlers), crashed, got thrown from the vehicle and then run over by one of the police cars chasing him.  I can only imagine he must have been an international terrorist, with an armed nuclear device and special powers that would somehow have enabled his clap-out Ford Fiesta to outrun any police vehicle, hence the need for such a response.  He wasn’t even a Muslin, or Black either, just some local lad who’d probably done something he shouldn’t’ve.  And now he’s lost his life, his family and friends are all devastated and one police officer has that on his conscience forever.  I guess that puts my broken power unit into prospective.  And I ended up having to stand on the train, in both directions.

The first 15 minutes of this film are a mess, as a desperate race against time takes place to introduce us to everyone and establish a back-story for them as quickly as possible.  There was no sign of Judge Dredd either!  Fortunately, things improved greatly after that.  I have to admit that this is an excellent, modern horror, which manages to capture some of the essence of what makes films like “Saw” work so well, as opposed to just featuring a series of gross ways to hurt people.  As the big ‘sticker’ in the middle of the cover proudly proclaims, it stars some guy who was in “Twilight”.   No matter that this blatant bit of marketing totally spoils the cover art, (not that it’s especially inspiring but, you know, it’s the principle).  Interestingly, one of the lead female characters has a huge birth mark, which I think is supposed to make us feel sorry for her.  Unfortunately, they picked such a beautiful actress to play the part that she just came across as looking exotic and still really hot.  Still, realism isn’t what I was watching it for; I’d had plenty of that in the traffic jam and it wasn’t fun or nice at all.  Needless to say, as a vegan, the scene with vegetarian Cheryl and the bit of beef was of particular enjoyment.  Will she or won’t she?  It was probably horse meat anyway.  If you can forgive its more irritating moments, this is a great horror and well worth watching, if you like that sort of stuff.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Recommended for masochistic vegetarians and the normal array of weirdos who get their kicks watching movies like this.

Top badass moment?  It’s pretty predictable and to be honest a bit weak in badass terms, but I suppose it’s Stephen going off to try to find Cheryl after she’d been kidnapped.  Not that it did either of them much good.  He’d had the hots for her for ages anyway.  I bet he wouldn’t have bothered if it had been someone else, me for example.

Dread at IMDB (5.7/10)


RoboCop: 5.0 Stars


RoboCop Trilogy  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)Whilst watching this film, I realised that my life is a lot like Robocop’s.  Like him, I used to be a normal guy with a normal life, job I liked and was good at, friends, relationship, etc.  Then one day stuff happened and I ended up a half-crazed cyborg, owned by my employer, devoid of outside interests, single-mindedly saving the planet, dealing out swift justice to those that dare trash it in any way.  These days I mindlessly follow the instructions I’m given to the letter, fill in lots of forms and databases, drive around in a souped-up Ford, (well okay  I changed the stereo in it), and seek out funding wherever it’s hiding, 24/7.  I’m tormented by fragments of memory from my former life and long for redemption; and call me paranoid, but I think the rest of the environmental sector is out to get me too, because I want to do more than map and count every bug and flower there is, over and over again.  Like Robocop, I also have four Prime Directives:

1)  Serve the membership
2)  Protect the planet
3)  Follow procedures
4)  Make money (as is the case for Robocop, this last one is classified, so don’t tell anyone please)

Okay, so I’m not really a cyborg (although I do wear glasses and contact lenses and have a few fillings); and I also sleep and do other stuff at times as well; and I’m hopeless at doing what I’m told, but really, the parallels are startling.  And if more proof was needed, then about 12 years ago, when I was just starting a new job with my current employer, I had to make a presentation to a number of people, including the Group Director.  There’s a great line in this film from Dick Jones, Senior President of Omni Consumer Products.  He stands up in front of the board of directors, adjacent to a bank of TV screens showing images of the company’s products, to do something quite similar to what I had to do.  He starts off by saying, “Take a close look at the track record of this company” and then goes on to describe how the company has “gambled in markets traditionally regarded as non-profit”.  That’s what charities generally get up to, so I’ve always felt there were a lot of similarities between what I do in my job and what OCP was looking to achieve with Delta City; I’m sure I’d fit right on in there, should it be looking to recruit anytime soon at the C-level.  With my crappy little PowerPoint presentation (which I still have a copy of), I began with a very similar line.  I’m not sure anyone there at the time made the connection, but to me it was awesomely cool!  This movie is awesomely cool too.

1987 – Certificate: 18  –  USA

I love this film.  I’ve watched it loads of times.  It was one of the first DVDs I ever bought.  I imagine it’s required viewing for all the new Police and Crime Commissioners that were voted for this week too.  The whole story feels quite unique, it’s got a number of great characters in it, the acting’s good and it looks good as well, even though some of the special effects are now a little dated.  Its take on corporate greed works for me and even the theme tune is dead-on.  (I’ve no idea why the trailer uses the music from “The Terminator”.)  Be sure to watch the Director’s Cut, to get all the most violent bits.  Since her appearance in “The Philadelphia Experiment” three years before, Nancy Allen has certainly toughened up her act.  I guess all that running around with two guys transported through time does that to you.  And it’s got Miguel Ferrer in it, who was at one time the First Officer on The Excelsior in Star Trek.  Imagining having that on your CV!  The remake (which I think is due out in 2014) will be interesting.

Recommended for awesome people.  I’m sorry, but if you don’t like this film you’re not awesome and I can’t be your friend, as I’m simply too cool and you’re probably a square.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.  However, plenty of other body parts do get ‘removed’.

Top badass moment?  The advert for Nuke Em.  A sample of this was used by Random Hand for “The Eyeballs of War”.  As the 5th best band on the planet, this makes it badass.

RoboCop at IMDB (7.5 / 10)