Posts tagged “Snow

Snow Cake / Being 50


Snow Cake  -  Front DVD Cover (UK Release)Alex (Alan Rickman), a tight-lipped Englishman recently freed from prison, is driving through Ontario when he begrudgingly picks up the vivacious teenage hitchhiker Vivienne (Emily Hampshire).  On the outskirts of her hometown, a truck hits the car. Vivienne dies instantly and Alex finds himself, for the second time in his life, grieving for someone he never knew.  Devastated by the accident, Alex goes to the frozen backwater of Wawa, Ontario to visit Vivienne’s mother Linda (Sigourney Weaver).  There, he discovers that she is autistic with an unconventional take on life and mourning. Drawn in to the small frozen backwater community, Alex soon forms a close relationship with Linda, begins an affair with her sassy neighbour Maggie (Carrie-Anne Moss), and becomes the object of scrutiny by the ineffectual law enforcement officer Clyde (James Allodi).  As the funeral approaches, life in Wawa seems to have enabled Alex to face the present, but how will he cope when the dark secrets of his past finally emerge?

2006  –  Certificate 15  –  UK/Canada
Rating Details:  Strong Language
8 out of 10

Well that’s it over with then.  Life I mean.  Last Sunday it was my 50th birthday.  A future of increasing ill-health, an inability to do or remember things, walking sticks, Zimmer frames, bifocals, tablets from the doctor, hip replacements and finally death, are all I have to look forward to now. As the Borg might say, “Your life as it has been, is over.”  I awoke this morning to find that overnight, a year’s worth of new aches and pains had been applied to my body, plus the special ‘new decade’ bonus ones, plus the 50 year Jackpot selection.  To say I now feel as if I’m virtually bed-bound wouldn’t be an exaggeration.  I did nothing to celebrate the momentous occasion, except mope about at home.  In some ways I was quite sad; I wished I could thank my parents for having me, being 50 felt like an especially appropriate point to do so, but it’s a bit too late for that now; (or, if your belief system supports it, a bit too early).  I was rubbish at being a young person, ineffective in middle-age and now I’m probably well on my way to becoming a cantankerous, teenager-hating, lecherous, ‘the world owes me a living’ old person.  Actually I’m quite looking forward to that.  In a similar way, this movie is about life as it has been, being over.

I really enjoyed this film.  It’s touching, funny and grounded.  It has some really wonderfully acted characters.  The aforementioned car crash provides a full-blown OMG movie moment.  Sigourney Weaver’s Linda is as far away from Ripley (“Alien”) that it’s possible to get, although both characters share a strength of character.  Her portrayal of a woman with autism seemed very convincing.  Alan Rickman’s laconic Alex is a sympathetic and interesting character, despite his background.  It’s also a film with a proper start, middle and end.  It’s not perfect though.  Sometimes the storyline goes a bit off track; I especially had trouble accepting Alex to be such a babe magnet and the subplot involving him and the neighbour did distract from the rest of the story a bit.  Vivienne is also one of those teenagers that doesn’t really exist in real life, but turns up in films on a regular basis.

There isn’t a large amount of music in the film and much of it is pretty generic.  However, when it is used, it greatly adds to the impact of the scenes.  Lovely job.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Recommended for people who like character-driven dramas.

Top badass moment?  Finding out from Linda that having a mouthful of snow is like having an orgasm.  That’s pretty badass when you think about it, and cold.

Snow Cake at IMDB (7.4/10)


The Box / Zombie Invasion (On Bicycles)


The Box  -  Front Blu-ray Cover (UK)Press the button and get a million dollars, but someone whom you don’t know will die. This is the offer given to Norma and Arthur, an ordinary decent couple played by Cameron Diaz and James Marsden, by the mysterious Arlington Steward (Frank Langella).  The question “What would you do?” will ring in your ears as you witness that their decision is just the beginning. Based on a short story by the writer of “I Am Legend” and from the director of “Donnie Darko”, “The Box” takes you on a tense, gripping and totally unpredictable ride as the couple realise that they are part of something greater and far more terrifying than they could ever have imagined.

2009  –  Certificate: 12  –  USA
Rating Details:  Moderate horror and psychological threat
7 out of 10

Has some sort of universal death wish descended on the world’s cycling population this week?  Or does a bit of snow render all bicycle lights inoperable and telepathically compel cyclists to wear really dark clothing?  The number of people riding bikes in the dark with no lights or anything reflective on, seems to have skyrocketed this week.  They’ve been everywhere, literally jumping out in front of me as I drive along, like zombies, except on bikes, and faster, and not undead with bits of rotting flesh hanging off them, not yet anyway.  I’m really starting to think that I should take a few of them out with my car, get the issue on the front pages and thus in the long run save many more from getting themselves run over.  I know I know, it’s another opportunity for me to become a national hero; and probably locked away by an uncaring judiciary for my troubles too.  Whatever happened to the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few? I’ll end up a citizens’ champion, losing my liberty for upholding the teachings of Surak, the subject of many an online petition to have my trial or sentence re-examined. This film offers a not dissimilar choice to people, to sacrifice your own freedom for someone you’ll never met.

This intellectual, sci-fi thriller is a brave attempt to do something a little different; it partly succeeds and the first part is excellent, but in the end it sort of looses the plot a bit, literally.  The idea is great, it looks good and it’s fun enough to watch, but it sort of gets a bit too complicated whilst at the same time being a bit too simplistic and leaving too much open to interpretation.   If you have to listen to the commentary to find out what was going on, then it’s kind of failed.  A second watch would probably be more rewarding, which isn’t such a bad thing.  I also didn’t really warm to the main characters Norma and Arthur.  They had plenty of money, a nice house, son and lifestyle, yet had over-extended themselves financially a little.  However, they didn’t seem to be in any particular difficulty but still choose to press the button.  An “ordinary decent couple” it says in the overview.  They just condemned someone to death.  Geez, I’d hate to meet an ordinary couple that wasn’t decent then.  After that, they did lose what little sympathy I had for their ‘plight’.  The end should have been pretty heart-rending, but I just found myself thinking that the situation they found themselves in served them right.  Maybe that makes me a bad person, but I really don’t think I’d have pushed the button.  The best scenes are the ones with Employee Arlington Stewart in them; an excellent bit of acting and a wonderfully rendered character.  The music is pretty good too.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Recommended for people willing to concentrate.

Top badass moment?   Cameron pressing the button.  Greedy bitch.

The Box at IMDB (5.6/10)