Posts tagged “Québec

Lost and Delirious / The End of Summer


Lost and Delirious  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseShy, unassuming teenager Mary ‘Mouse’ Bedford (Mischa Barton, “The OC”, “St. Trinian’s”) is enrolled at a prestigious all-girls’ boarding school.  Upon arrival, she is welcomed by her two attractive and sexually adventurous roommates, the carefree Tori (Jessica Paré, “Wicker Park”) and excitable Paulie (Piper Perabo, “Coyote Ugly”, “The Cave”).  Mary soon discovers that Tori and Paulie are embroiled in a passionate relationship, yet when Tori’s younger sister finds out and threatens to break the secret to her friends and family, Tori breaks off the relationship.  Unable to deal with losing the other half to her whole, Paulie will do anything to get her ex-girlfriend back, even if it means risking her own life…  A deeply moving and acclaimed film from the director of the award-winning “Emporte-Moi”, Léa Pool’s “Lost and Delirious” features a trio of young and talented actresses burning up the screen years before they went on to break Hollywood.

2001  –  Certificate: 15  –  Canadian Film
10 out of 10

I closed my bedroom window yesterday.  There’s nothing especially unusual about that, except I did it in the morning and I wasn’t going out anywhere.  The click of the handle had a certain finality about it.  As I repositioned the pot plants on the sill, I was struck with the thought that this was probably the last time I’d do so for many, many months, as the weather has got a lot colder in the last few days.  The final closing of the year is one of the Five Signs That Summer Has Ended and that the winter, with all its months of gloom, damp and cold, is fast approaching.  Winter sucks; like old age, it has almost no real benefits.  All that rubbish about those crisp, bright, winter days.  Bollocks. They’re bloody cold, only last five minutes before the sun sets again and coming home from gigs at night soaked in sweat is a truly miserable experience.  It’s going to be especially hard to cope with this year, as we actually had a really lovely summer.  The carefree, happy days are at an end; fast approaching is the vindictive malevolence that is winter.  The season of Hell is nearly upon us.  And as for autumn, it’s just the rubbish bin of summer, containing the dead leaves and trash of good times past.  This film is also about the passing of time, the loss of a relationship and an inability to cope with it.

I love this movie.  If I had a Top 20 list of films, this one would probably be in it.  On first impressions it looks like it’s going to be a bit crappy and should only appeal to me because of its girl-on-girl action.  Set in a posh girls’ (very liberal) boarding school full of rich kids in Canada (so there’s not a lot there for me to relate to), the first 30 minutes or so are pretty mundane.  Yes it’s got girls in school uniforms and the main characters are in a same-sex relationship, but other than that it’s pretty forgettable.  But then it starts to get interesting…  This is a dark movie.  There’s a subtlety in it that only becomes apparent when you think about it afterwards.  It’s occasionally a bit melodramatic and the odd bit of dialogue doesn’t quite work, but it’s wonderfully acted and has a number of genuinely heartbreaking moments in it.  The use of Shakespeare and the hand-rearing of a Falcon as metaphors for the plot, are wonderfully interwoven into the story too.  The character of Paulie is so well written.  It’s quite strange considering she doesn’t superficially have anything in common with me, but I so totally ‘got it’ in terms of what she was going through.  I guess emotions and feelings aren’t very gender, age, culture or sexuality specific.  (It probably also means that I’m as messed up as she is and one day I’ll probably take it out on the world.)  There aren’t a lot of characters from films or books that I can fully relate to and understand, but she’s one of them.  Seeing her gradually lose the plot and take more and more bizzare actions to try to change the unchangeable, felt uncomfortably familiar.  Despite her acting like a total loser a lot of the time, there’s a strange kind of honour in Paulie’s behaviour that goes beyond what she does and its consequences.  Everyone should watch this movie.  And if you’re one of those people who really can’t accept same-sex relationships then just ignore it, as other than on a superficial level (and as a huge plot contrivance) it’s really not that important to the feel of the film.

The ability of this movie’s music to write words where there are none, without dominating the visuals or attempting to drag (rather than lead) the emotions, is really well done.  The mood shift provided in the scenes relating to the Falcon are very effective too.  And any film that features any music by Ani DiFranco can’t be bad.

Recommended for anyone who’s ever been dumped by someone they really, really, really loved.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  There’s something very noble about doing something you know is going to fail and make you look really stupid, especially when it’s not funny.  You know you’re about to do it but still go ahead.  It’s probably got less to do with getting what you want, than demonstrating to yourself that you tried and remained true to your beliefs.  It’s ultimately futile and pretty pointless, but very, very badass.  And very Klingon too.

Lost and Delirious at IMDB (6.8 / 10)

Lost and Delirious at Wikipedia

Lost and Delirious at YouTube

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Affliction / Horseburger Threat To Life As We Know It


Affliction  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)I got a feelin’ like a whipped dog. Someday, I’m gonna bite back.”  Throughout his life, Sheriff Wade Whitehouse has been cowed and brutalised by his father, a venomous alcoholic.  But a child never forgets a cruelty, and two suspicious deaths in their small New Hampshire town lead inexorably to a cataclysmic confrontation between father and son.  Dark, powerful and moving, Paul Schrader’s adaptation of Russell Banks’ novel creates an indelible impression, enhanced by stunning performances from James Coburn and Nick Nolte.

1997  –  Certificate: 15  –  USA
6.5 out of 10

Apparently Tesco used its Store Defence Grid ground to air missile capability today to shoot down a helicopter in the centre of London, in an effort to deflect the news about its new range of delicious ‘horseburgers’ from the front pages.  That’s pretty harsh, even for a business that’s run like Tesco.  I can’t imagine Waitrose doing that, or the Co-op.  I wouldn’t go shoplifting in Tescos if I was you, its store detectives don’t take prisoners.  The way a lot of people appear to have reacted to ‘horseburgergate’ is rather like their reaction to the loss of the so many independent stores from our town centres.  They shake their heads in sadness at the loss of diversity in the ‘high street,’ yet use the very shops that are causing the problem.  In the same way, they react in horror at the idea of a horseburger, whilst happily chewing up bits of other animals made into disc shapes and given alterniatve names to disguse what they really are.  What the fuck?  That makes no logical sense at all.  Be like the French and just eat everything with a face, at least that’s consistent.  Meanwhile, that other destroyer of the high street and leading non-payer of what the tabloids think is a fair level of tax, Amazon, must be pissing itself laughing at the moment, in the week that Play, Blockbuster and HMV all rolled over and died.  I went to buy a DVD from it this evening and for some reason they’re all now priced £30 or more.  I guess the cost of plastic must have gone up…  This is a film that I bought from Amazon, when it was the new kid on the block, the rebel outsider taking on the ‘big boys’.

This movie, despite its good points, I struggled to relate to.  I probably need to file it under “too American”.  Then again, a film about a son’s relationship with his abusive, alcoholic father is one I’m quite happy to feel I’ve missed out on.  (My own father died almost 30 years ago; I wish I could remember more about him.  He’s the person who gave me my love of music, even though his tastes and mine weren’t exactly the same; although I do have an inexplicable liking for easy listening, such as James Last, Mantovani, Franck Pourcel, Bert Kaempfert, etc.  I still use the turntable he bought in 1969, a Thorens TD-150 Mk II, a wonderful bit of engineering.)  This is a thoroughly depressing movie, on nearly every level.  Nick Nolte does a great job of making the main character seem a decent guy, despite his failings.  James Coburn is brilliant as his father; an evil motherfucker who’s as compelling to watch as he is a total bastard.  What an awful character; my heart goes out to all those people who are (or have been) in the position of having someone like that as a father.  It’s a shame he doesn’t get more screen time as you’ll really want to boo him and throw stuff at the TV.  He won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for this role and I can see why.  The rest of the film sort of gets lost in a weird narrative that doesn’t quite make sense, as we watch the life of his son, the local sheriff, fall apart.  We get to see what happens but we don’t really get inside his head.  I never got to fully understand why, after so many years, he suddenly got all weird about things.  I’m a sympathetic guy, I wanted to understand his pain, not just watch him bugger up his whole life.  He was a really crap police officer though; he should have become a dentist; (it makes sense if you watch the film).  As a side issue, I thought his young daughter was a really whiny bitch.  Geez, I’m bitter and twisted about everything today!

Recommended for James Coburn.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?    It’s often hard to find a badass moment in a depressing film and this one is no exception.  I accept defeat with good grace.

Affliction at IMDB (7.0/10)


The Secret: 3.5 Stars


The Secret  -  Front DVD Cover (USA)What if you got one more chance to say goodbye to your loved ones after you died? But what if the only way to do that was to inhabit your daughter’s body?  David Duchovny (“The X-Files” and “Californication”) and Lili Taylor (“The Haunting” and “Ransom”) are Benjamin and Hannah, happily married soul mates whose relationship is brutally severed when Hannah is killed in a car accident.  As she dies, a bizarre twist of fate propels Hannah inside the body of her beautiful teenage daughter, Sam (Olivia Thirlby, “Juno” and “United 93”).  Immersing herself in Sam’s world, Hannah discovers some shocking truths about her daughter’s secret life, while at home, she and her husband draw closer and closer to rekindling their romance….

2007  –  Certificate: R  –  France
Rating Details:  Language Including Some Sexual References and Drug and Alcohol Use Involving Teenagers

I spoke to two people yesterday, on the phone, for quite a long time.  This made me realise that I can’t actually speak properly anymore or string a sentence together at ‘speaking speed’.  I’ve not really had a proper conversation with anyone for weeks; well since before Christmas anyway.  I’ve had plenty of ‘shop chats’ (where you just say “thanks” or “cheers”),  a few other short ones on the phone, plus some on the Tube and in venues where it’s really noisy so you have to shout, but no ‘normal’ ones.  I forgot how to have a normal conversation years ago, but now I can’t even make up sentences up that work grammatically or make sense.  I imagine this might make me even more of a social outcast than I already am, another embarrassing faux pas I can add to a growing list.   Then again, it doesn’t seem to have stopped Professor Stephen Hawking being a genius, although I probably don’t have his insight into ‘how things work’.  I can’t see myself being asked to advertise an insurance comparison website anytime soon; or writing a book on how the universe came into being either.  This film features someone who suddenly finds himself unable to communicate with his wife in the way he’s been used to doing.

This is a decent fantasy thriller.  It’s based on a Japanese one called “Himitsu” that I watched years ago.  (I don’t suppose the fact I watched the latter influenced the decision to make this film.)  It would be quite interesting to Go Compare them side by side, (which for those that haven’t made the connection, relates to the “insurance comparison website” I mentioned earlier).  There’re a number of ‘body swap’ movies out there, but most of them are comedies; this one isn’t.  This could have been a great film, but somehow it just doesn’t quite make it.  The script pulls its punches a bit when it could have really landed a few know-out blows.  The characters don’t quite feel coherent enough to be totally believable; there were too many gaps in time between some scenes, which changed their relationship without us really seeing or knowing why.  This is a shame, as this really is the core of the whole film and at times is really played out well.  It could have explored the difficulties of the situation a lot more too, which would be helpful to anyone who ever found themselves in the same one for real; (okay, so not very likely I admit).  Some of the minor characters seem a bit caricaturish too; I was half expecting them all to go off to a remote location somewhere and get killed by a nutter with a big knife.  Olivia Thirlby’s acting as the daughter/mother is great though.  In a few scenes she switches between them and it’s really spookily convincing.  The car crash one works well too, as does the one in the hospital, very realistic and effective.  So, it underachieves a bit, but at its best it’s more than worth a watch.  As for the rating details, they sound like they could be applied to life in general.

Recommended for people who want to debate the “would if have been incest or not” issue; which doesn’t include me as apparently I can’t speak anymore.

No cats, no chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  It’s not every day you have to deal with your dead wife being sort of reincarnated inside your daughter’s body.  That has to make things really complicated, not that it’s something I’ve ever had to deal with personally you understand.  Under the circumstances, I thought Benjamin took it all pretty well and dealt with it in a relatively thoughtful way.  Dealing with adversity well is badass.

The Secret at IMDB (6.2/10)


Scanners: 3.0 Stars


Scanners - Front DVD CoverThe Internet broke yesterday; at least the bit of it I use.  My washing machine’s dryer function also developed a fault at around the same time, which meant it worked fine for about five minutes and then stopped; so I had to stand by it all the time so I could keep resetting it, over and over again.  Fortunately, with the Internet not working as well, I had endless time on my hands as I’d nothing else to do, so it was an ideal time for the washing machine to break down.  What a brilliant coincidence, I must be the world’s luckiest person!  At the time this film was made, there were 237 Scanners on Earth, out of a population of four billion.  I feel that ‘special’ right now.

1981  –  Certificate: 18  – Canada

This really isn’t that great a movie.  The idea is interesting, the exploding head is a bit of cinema history, (I read somewhere that this was the first time this had been seen on the screen) and the ‘epic battle’ at the end is a classic bit of good vs. evil.  Unfortunately, a lot of the rest hasn’t aged well; the dialogue sounds stilted, the acting’s wooden and the whole feel of the film makes it seem far older than it is.  The scanning process sadly provides plenty of opportunities for some less than high-quality overacting too; mouth full of sticky toffee anyone?  The audio tracks on my DVD were all thin, tinny and hissy as well.  What’s the point of DTS sound if all that bandwidth is just going to be used on the latter?  I guess I’m probably being a bit mean, as this film’s basically just a B-movie that’s had its status elevated beyond a level it’s really comfortable with.  On the plus side, the special effects still look pretty good, in a “Thunderbirds” kind of way, even after over 30 years.  It’s foreshadowing of the Internet is pretty cool too.  If you like a certain type retro-vibe in a film, then this is probably as good as it gets.

Recommended for fans of this sort of stuff; I can’t imagine anyone else getting off on it.

No cat, decapitations or chainsaws.  However, there is the famous exploding head, so that’s sort of like a decapitation in a way.

Top badass moment? The whole exploding computer lab scene, from the “no fireworks” comment through to the “oh shit” look of the guy sitting on his ass in the corner, surveying the mess.  Trashing your whole organisation’s computer system is badass, although it’s not a move that’s likely to expand your career options greatly. It might be a good time to book an appointment down at the local Job Centre.

Scanners at IMDB (6.8/10)