Jiro (Keisuke Koide) meets a mystery girl (Haruka Ayase) on his birthday! One year later, they meet again. It is a shock to Jiro as she confesses and turns out to be a cyborg from the future that Jiro has sent to him as a present! Getting along with this mischievous cyborg girl friend, Jiro falls in love but she has no feelings at all. All of a sudden a disastrous earthquake his Tokyo, the cyborg saves Jiro’s life by sacrificing herself and the ultimate mystery of cyborg is going to be revealed.
2008 – Certificate IIA – Japanese Film
8.5 out of 10
Because I’m a fairly stupid person I sometimes buy DVDs or BDs (Blu-ray discs) that I’ve already got a copy of. I also occasionally upgrade from a DVD copy of a film or TV series to a BD one, or buy an alternative version because it’s longer or uncut. This means I gradually accumulate a supply of discs I no longer want. I used to sell these on eBay, but mostly I can’t be bothered to anymore so just get rid of them via MusicMagpie instead. The latter doesn’t pay a lot, but it’s quick and easy to dispose of them this way. Sadly, its home collection service is, (from my first attempt to use the latter), entirely shit. I waited about at home from 8:00am to 8:00pm on the relevant day for someone to come and collect my parcel, but no one came. It’s not like I live in an invisible castle floating in the sky, stuck in a parallel reality and out of phase with the regular universe, protected by a high (electrified) fence, a pack of hungry attack dogs and a set of visitor traps that even Indiana Jones would think twice about tackling; I live in a flat with a clearly marked buzzer on the outside wall by the door. And in a rare bit of good, British urban design, there’s always space outside to park too, without fear of getting a ticket or being clamped. I e-mailed the company a couple of days ago to find out what the problem was, but I’ve yet to get a reply.
Despite it’s time-travelling, disaster, sci-fi, slapstick, action-movie clothing, this is really a romantic comedy, the sort where nothing else really has any real world consequences outside of the two main characters. Get caught in the middle of a restaurant shooting? Big Deal. Doing your Terminator ‘thing’ in the middle of a busy road junction? So what? Your capital city gets destroyed? Whatever. It’s another one of those movies that only Japan seems to be able to produce, where this eclectic mixture of genres not only works together but feels entirely normal. In a damming indictment of our screwed up, star gossip culture, our hero, the nice but exceedingly dull and boring student Jiro, has become a bit of a celebrity in the future. This is enough for someone to want to travel back in time and meet him. Or something like that anyway. The special effects are decent enough and the story is fun in its own way, but it’s a film that gets its kicks from frequently and suddenly changing its mood. The scene where they travel to Jiro’s home village is really rather touching. It also has a dance-off scene that’s pretty cool too. The ending is a bit of muddle, as if the writers were suddenly struggling with how to sort out all the loose ends, but it’s a fab and fun mash-up of a movie, full of little Terminator references and well worth watching. Haruka Ayase is very cute too; not at all like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The soundtrack varies from forgettable to okay, with the use of some pop songs filling in the gaps. J-pop is an interesting beast…
The trailer isn’t bad, although it does underplay the ever-changing mood of the film. The use of some questionable music over the action probably doesn’t help; then again, maybe it’s very appropriate given the ‘atmospheric turbulence’ of the movie. For some reason, YouTube has cut the second line off the subtitles; it probably doesn’t make a lot of difference though.
Recommended for dull students, both geeks and nerds, cyborgs (and other artificial life forms) and teachers who like to throw bits of chalk about. (Does that still happen these days or is chalk now classed as an offensive weapon?)
1 cat, no chainsaws or decapitations. A body does get severed in two though.
Top badass moment? I’m not sure someone/something that’s programmed to be what’s basically badass can actually then do anything that should count here, which leaves us with wusey Jiro. Sadly the latter fails to do anything remotely badass for the entire movie, which leaves me with a bit of a constitutional crisis. I’ll need to consult a solicitor before I’m prepared to comment further. Raoul, Jiro’s pet cat (not the lizard), puts in a couple of excellent performances; his eating from the dish was especially nuanced and controlled.
Jennifer Garner (“Daredevil”, TV’s “Alias”) and Mark Ruffalo (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) star in this hilarious flash-forward romance about a pre-teen girl who goes from geek to glamorous. With the help of some magic wishing dust, 13 year-old Jenna Rink (Garner) becomes 30 and gorgeous overnight, with everything she ever wanted, except for her best friend Matt (Ruffalo). Now, this grown woman must create some magic of her own to help the little girl inside find the true love she left behind.
2004 – Certificate: 12 – American Film
Rating Details: Moderate sex and drug references
8.0 out of 10
Went to see the New Town Kings last night at the Camden Underworld in London. It’s probably the best ska band in the country. (Quite why people listen to stuff like Coldplay when they could be listening to bands like the NTK entirely escapes me, but I think it’s probably just another symptom of the fall of humanity; the signs are all around us after all, this is just another scream of terror from the depths of hell into which we’re falling.) The gig was great, had a little bit too much to drink but managed not to be too uncoordinated or tread on too many feet. I really like going to gigs in the summer, as when you leave at the end in a sweat-soaked t-shirt, you don’t walk out into a dark night that has a wind chill that wouldn’t feel out of place in an Antarctic winter. I hate that and hanging about at Paddington Station afterwards, waiting for a train that’s either packed and you can’t get a seat, or freeing cold. (I know it’s partly my fault as I wear the same things all year, but cloakrooms are a pain so if I can’t wear it under ‘combat conditions’ or tie it around my waist, then it’s too much hassle. I’m sure regularly undergoing a freeze-thaw cycle is good for something; it’s good for some seeds anyway.) Have to say I’m feeling pretty fit at the moment. I remember seeing NTK a couple of years ago and I was knackered at the end. This time it didn’t feel that big a deal. I truly have the body of top sportsman! (Darts probably).
I can’t believe it, but this is the fifth comedy I’ve watch in a row. What’s come over me? Then again, I do choose the films I watch entirely at random, although there are a lot of complicated rules that govern this process, but at the end of the day it’s still pretty random. Anyway, let’s not consider how clichéd or stupid this film is. Let’s just consider it and its (I think for me) unique, pink DVD case. To deflect the fact and consequent embarrassment that comes from my sitting and watching a chick-flick on my own, I like to consider this as a movie with a hard science fiction storyline, that just happens to have some sort of romance built into it somewhere. We first meet our hero Jenna around the time of her 13th birthday, just before she travels about 27 years into the future, into an alternative time-line. So okay, the ‘time-machine’ consists of some sort of ‘fairy dust’ that we never get an explanation for, but that’s the nature of these things, apparently. Then in the future she does stuff and it all works out okay. Right? It is actually an excellent film, even though it’s rubbish too; I did feel myself getting emotional once or twice, (just a tiny bit of course). It also has one of those brilliant, so-crap-it’s-good dance routine scenes in it; Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” being the victim in this case. (You should check out all the people at IMDB seriously discussing how realistic this scene is and how poor the choreography is; and I thought I had trouble living in the real world sometimes.) Technically I like how this film looks and sounds on DVD.
This movie uses it’s soundtrack to strongly emphasise its 80s vibe. In this, thanks in part to the way the sound blasts out every time a song is played, it succeeds well. Even I have to begrudgingly admit that it’s not that bad.
Recommended for magazine editors, freelance photographers, 13 year-old girls and anyone who thinks 80s pop music is of any value; (yes, you there at the back, I can see you).
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Biach Tom-Tom getting her comeuppance. So she gets a drink spilt on her, a few harsh words and some work ripped up in front of her face; but when you’re 13 and have a social position to maintain in front of your friends, that’s probably not dissimilar to having your head blown off with a big gun by the unsung hero in the climatic final scene in a bloody action film.
Heck and Rachel are a young London couple about to embark on a new life together when an unexpected meeting turns Rachel’s world upside down. What follows is the romantic, humorous and sometimes poignant journey familiar to anyone who has ever fallen in love at first sight. And what if you discover that the one person you are destined to spend the rest of your life with might not be your boyfriend, but a perfect stranger? “Imagine Me & You” shows that the path to true love isn’t always straight…
2005 – Certificate: 12 – British Film
Rating Details: Moderate sex references and strong language
8.0 out of 10
Yesterday I went to see “Oblivion” at the cinema. Intelligent sci-fi riddled with clichés. Basically it’s Tom Cruise with an attractive woman on the back of his motorbike and flying around beating bad guys. Afterwards I went for a drink in three pubs. I don’t often go for a drink these days. This is partly because I have no friends, partly because the ones I do have generally have the sense to live a long way-away from me, partly because it’s expensive, fattening and not good for you, and partly because I don’t think they ‘make’ pubs for people like me; I’m clearly not a demographic worth targeting. Take yesterday for example. Didcot is a town that’s not known for much, other than a railway museum and a power station; and the power station has now closed. Broadways, a pub in the centre of the town, was almost empty and was the sort of place that if a fight broke out in it, they’d just pick up the broken glass and sweep the bodies to the side so no one tripped over them. The Prince of Wales, opposite the station, was full of late teens and 20-somethings getting tanked up for a night on the town. The Ladygrove, which was also full, is located on a ‘new’ estate and caters for “where did my life go wrong” 20 and 30-somethings with screaming kids in tow, eating anonymous pub-grub under searingly bright lights. None of them had any decent cider. Broadways caters for the working-class and underclass that the rest of us try to pretend don’t exist; the Prince of Wales for those that still think they can get on in life; and the Ladygrove for the same people as the Prince of Wales but ten years later. I think I preferred Broadways, in the same way I’d prefer to break my arm than lose a finger. There’s a scene in a pub in this film; actually there might be a few, but I can’t remember now.
London doesn’t really get well represented in films. It seems the north and west are full of ‘beautiful people’ who behave like Hugh Grant, the east gangsters and immigrants and the south chavs. Nowhere else exists. This movie is set in ‘the north’ of the city. It’s also a rom-com. So you now know most of the plot and what the characters are like. Fortunately, this film has two elements that manage to drag it out of the cesspit of predictable, bland, anonymous, chick-flicks. Firstly, it’s actually very funny. The script works well and all the characters manage to be suitably engaging. Secondly, it provides a bit of a plot-twist that gives it an element of originality, (although it quickly becomes very predictable again, so it’s not going to provide anyone with much of an insight into anything). This is much more of an out-and-out comedy that a romance, which does it no harm at all. It’s very watchable and fun. And let’s not forget it’s got Giles (the man behind Buffy) and Sarah Connor (of Terminator fame) in it. And one more thing, it’s one of those films where the seasons don’t seem to follow the narrative; there’re an awful lot of autumnal leaves on the trees, considering most of the film is set in the winter. Because of my job I notice these things. Our climate isn’t quite that fucked up, yet.
Music; exactly what you’d expect. Exactly.
Recommended for people who like comedy who can manage not to retch at the more corny rom-com elements of it. Not so good for anyone looking for a romantic weepy.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Yelling out “You’re a wanker number nine” while standing on the roof of a car, in a traffic jam, outside Bank Station in London, does it for me. It’s interesting to note that if this film was set in New York, there’d be an endless honking of horns and abusive taxi-drivers shouting out things; in London, hardly a sound. Our traffic jams are so much more civilised! I’m not entirely sure how “you’re a wanker number nine” would translate either.
Ever watched any of those TV ads, which always seem to feature a young and good-looking guy in a white shirt and tie, sitting on a train with loads of space around him? The ones where it’s sunny outside and the train is passing through some beautiful countryside, which the guy in the shirt glances at contentedly whilst he works away on a laptop, looking happy and in control, as he drinks his complementary and delicious cup of coffee and deals with his important but achievable workload? Well that’s total bollocks. I’ve spend a lot of time recently sitting on trains trying to work on a laptop and its had about as much in common with that image, as someone sweeping the floor in an aircraft hangar has with Tom Cruise in “Topgun”. So here’s a reality check.
1) The trains are always over-crowded and no one looks happy.
2) You always have to chuck someone out of the seat you’ve booked, who’s always the person most genuinely in need of a seat on the whole train; typically a heavily pregnant but exceedingly fray old lady, who’s often from a Black or Asian community too, so that everyone else on the train can brand you both a bastard and a racist.
3) You can never plug your laptop in anywhere; there either isn’t a plug, or someone else is using it and will defend it to the death if need be. You’d have more chance of negotiating a peace treaty between North and South Korea.
4) The tables are too narrow to have the screen at the right angle or the keyboard in the right place; and there’s always some other poor sod sitting on the other side of the table trying to use a laptop too; and the nightmarish possibly that the backs of the lids might accidentally touch one another, would feel not unlike experiencing your best mate suddenly touching you ‘inappropriately’ and declaring he’s always loved you.
5) You’re always stressed out because you’ve got too much work to do. Internet access costs nearly £5 for an hour and at best is annoyingly intermittent and slow, so you end up having to close and reopen Outlook loads of times in an effort to send or receive any e-mail. And don’t even think you can use a mouse, as the train’s movement will result in your clicking on everything but what you wanted and a screen full of usless boxes and windows that you’ve then got to try to close, an equally futile exercise that just perpetuates the nightmare. And if you saved the link your mate sent you last week for that comedy bestiality gay porn website, you can be sure you’ll accidently click on it and everyone in the carriage with hear your tinny laptop speakers blare out the fact, confirming in their minds that you’re a social deviant as well as being a bastard and a racist, and probably a paedophile too. Your only defence against all this is that the chance of you actually finding a suitable space in which to move a mouse around, is rather less than that of the Earth suddenly exploding right now… nope, we’re still here. (And here’s a friendly bit of advice; don’t bother trying to use your mouse on your thigh, it doesn’t work and after it’s fallen on the floor with a loud clatter a few times, everyone will be adding stupidity to your growing lists of crimes.)
6) The person sitting opposite you always has a better laptop that makes you feel like a Luddite and failure, as you look at your scratched Dell with its broken bit of trim in the corner; whilst his is miraculously in pristine condition, despite its apparently nomadic existence; they’re nearly always Macs too; does Apple pay people to travel on trains just to make it look like it has a bigger market share than it really does?
7) The weather is always wet and horrible; or really bright and the sun shines directly onto the screen of your laptop, rendering it unreadable.
8) The person next to you acts as if he’s Beelzebub’s cousin and insists on staking his claim to every square nanometre of his allotted space; even using his bag and jacket to build something akin to the Berlin Wall between you and him. The unspoken threat this leaves hanging in the air will lead you to prefer the option of wetting yourself, rather than ask him to move so you can go to the toilet.
9) If the person next to you is a woman, she will continually use body language that strongly suggests the world’s most evil-smelling pervert has just sat next to her. Unlike Beelzebub’s cousin, she will attempt to curl up in as small a space as possible, mathematically as far from you as she can, whilst texting her mates non-stop to tell them of her ongoing trauma.
10) The coffee is mediocre, costs £2.20 and comes in a paper cup.
This film is set in 1972. Before laptops existed. (And I really actually like trains.)
1991 – Certificate: PG – USA
Before I watched this film I couldn’t remember anything about it or why I’d bought it. Neither the overview nor the trailer suggested that it’s going to be anything other than a fairly crappy, 90s, mainstream Hollywood romantic/family comedy with a precocious, ‘Hollywood-style’ kid in it. An evening of British stoicism beckoned, as I looked forward to 98 minutes of mediocre averageness. But when a film starts with an 11-year-old girl speaking directly into the camera, claiming to have caught haemorrhoids and explaining how her breasts are developing at different rates and that means she’s got cancer, does suggest that it’s going to have more balls that it ought to. (Sorry if that all sounds a bit Jimmy Savilley, it’s not meant to.) For a PG rated film, I bet that freaked out a few parents in the cinema! It’s basically a film about death, a suitable depressing topic that probably explains why I bought it in the first place. In the end, it still turned out to be a 90s, mainstream Hollywood romantic/family comedy with a precocious, ‘Hollywood-style’ kid in it, but at times it’s also a genuinely touching and powerful bit of drama. The adults are more or less cardboard cut-out characters, but the kids make the film come alive and the script’s surprising subtle. It’s got a good soundtrack too. (Problem is, I still can’t get used to Dan Aykroyd not hunting ghosts, or Jamie Lee Curtis not fighting Michael Myers.)
Recommended for people who want to revisit the experience of losing someone they love.
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.
Top badass moment? Vada sulking in the supermarket and throwing can after can from the shelf into the trolley. Am I the only one who thinks doing this without looking at the shelf or fumbling any of the cans, whilst the trolley is moving, was pretty clever? It’s hard to make sulking look cool, so managing to do so is badass.
If you’re crap at interviews, you’ll probably never get a decent job, however good you are at anything else. It’s how The Man has decided the world works, and that’s that. So the next time you see a bit of dole-ite scum hanging about up to no good (and probably planning some scam to rip off all the hardworking members of society), then just remember what separates you from him/her. In the same way, if you’re no good on dates, you’ll probably never get a decent boyfriend/girlfriend etc. I like to remember these two facts when I’m reviewing my progress towards the mountain-top of life. I’m incredibly intelligent, perceptive, knowledgeable, witty, charming, generous, sexy, handsome, thoughtful, sympathetic, understanding, empathic and generally a great guy, yet somehow I’ve failed to become chief executive of anything, or found anyone desperate enough to put up with me on a ‘social basis’ for very long. I put this down to the two small flaws I have, which just happen to relate to interviews, (I forget everything I know and insult the organisation I’m attempting to get a job with) and dates, (I suddenly can’t think of anything interesting to say and end up staring into space or at her breasts). None of these attributes are very helpful at the time, even though and somewhat ironically, if you are successful with both you’ll end up spending a great deal of time moaning about the organisation you work for and staring at your partner’s body. For every one of life’s Edmund Hillarys, there’s a load of us stuck in the foothills, getting lost and trying to find the pub before it closes. And speaking of dates…
2006 – Certificate: 15 – USA
Rating Details: Moderate sex reference, gross humour and strong language once
This isn’t a very good comedy. It’s funny in places, but for every ‘funny bit’ there’re two ‘embarrassingly stupid and shit bits’ to balance it out. (By the way, these last two phrases are examples of film critics’ technical jargon, so don’t worry if you don’t fully understand them.) I really wanted to like this film, a lot. It stars the world’s most beautiful woman (Alyson Hannigan), who coincidentally shares my birthday. (My card from her must have got lost in the post this year, again.) Even when she’s really fat in the movie, she’s beautiful. (Am I even allowed to say fat these days? Perhaps I’m meant to say slimmingly-challenged or something?) It has houmous-based jokes in it as well and houmous is one of the five great foods of the world; and some cats too. So it had a lot going for it. Maybe I just don’t watch enough romance comedies so didn’t understand the subtleties and the entomology of the highbrow humour involved? Yes, I’m sure that’s it. Or maybe it was the gross beefburger scene and the fact that Sophie Monk (who plays the sexy Andy and is a vegetarian in real life) rubs them all over herself and chews some too. Nice. Not. Beefburgers are a lot of things, most of them bad, but what they’re not is sexy; if they were, McDonalds would have exploited the fact by now. On the other hand, it does have loads of extras on the DVD, so it might be worth missing out on watching the film ‘proper’ and going straight to these instead; the anti-commentary by two film critics who also didn’t think it was that great, is worth a listen. I watched the “Unseen Version” too, so got to enjoy over two minutes more of the most raunchy parts. Lucky me…
Recommended for people who spend way too much time watching chick-flicks.
6 cats (plus 2 pretend ones) and no decapitations. Cute, especially the grey one, but I have to say the pretend puppet cats are vile. It’s like watching some sort of cat-Frankenstein movie. Listen up Hollywood. Cats. On. Toilets. Farting. Simply. Aren’t. Funny.
Top badass moment? Tricky. Okay, I give up. There isn’t one. Well maybe Carmen Electra being covered in King Kong snot is, but that’s in the deleted scenes so I’m not sure it counts; I’ve no idea why it’s badass anyway, but she’s wearing a leopard-print bikini when it happens, so who cares?