Posts tagged “Spanish Film

The Dark Hour / My E4300

The Dark Hour  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseThe world is teetering on the brink of the apocalypse.  A group of survivors have found themselves isolated from the remnants of society and under siege living in a subterranean bunker.  They dare not abandon the crumbling complex as it is the only security from the enemy that awaits them outside.  Living in a constant state of fear, they face the fact that food supplies and ammunitions are running out, giving them no choice but to leave the secure area.  Together they start their quest for survival, facing an enemy that is stronger than expected, with a power that can destroy all of mankind.

2006  –  Certificate: 15  –  Spanish Film
Rating Details:  Strong language, moderate violence and gore
7.5 out of 10

I’m teetering on the brink of an apocalypse too.  At work I use a Dell Latitude E4300 laptop.  This is a nice bit of kit that works well and still looks good, despite its age and the numerous scratches and marks on its minimalist, black lid.  It’s also narrow enough that I can use it on a train without a table, even when I’m having one of my ‘fat days’.  In fact it only has one fault.  Every time I go to any ‘important meetings’ where people get out their laptops to pretend they’re doing something, all those with an E4300 spend the first five minutes repairing all the bits that have fallen off it since the last time they used it.  The part around the screen is especially good at detaching itself.  As well as this, mine also has various other bits of trim that have either broken off and vanished; or are hanging off but refusing to let go, like teeth used to when you were little and losing them.  More recently, it’s decided that it would be extremely cool to allow one of its hinges to develop a more three-dimensional personal space than is generally regarded as normal for one.  For my part I don’t think a hinge that’s desperate to do a bit of twerking whilst I’m trying to work is all that helpful, or sexy.  A massive split the size of the Grand Canyon has also appeared in the case and my laptop now finds connecting to the Internet, either via a network cable or wirelessly, all a bit of a strain.  Today I wasted over an hour yanking the screen about from ‘here’ to ‘there’ in an effort to make the hinge behave and whatever inside wasn’t connected properly, connect.  I ended up pleading with it on my knees, using that well-known ‘tech support prayer’, “connect to the network you fucking bastard asshole machine!!”  (I know, I’m not the most tolerant when it come to technology.)  In the end I got it to work.  My previous laptop was a D610, a machine with all the combative prowess of the Terminator.  Sadly, the E4300 looks pretty, but is about as sturdy as a pink marshmallow.  This film is all about a group of people in a ‘no win’ scenario too.

Spain, as well as being a great place to grow oranges, has also developed a nice side-line in independent horrors.  This is one of them.  What’s interesting, is that in most apocalypse films, as soon as something goes wrong, the whole of civilisation quickly collapses and nearly everyone who’s left becomes a homicidal maniac.  In this one, we join a small group of people for a few days, who’ve banded together and are trying to live a vaguely ‘normal’ life, despite their circumstances; (for a while anyway).  I guess it’s a bit of tribute to the enduring values of humanity.  Alternatively, it’s got more to do with, “we’re a small group of people stuck in a small place without much to say, or the budget for a lot of special effects.”  In truth, there’s a lot of ambiguity in the plot and a lot of unexplained things, but as an ‘atmosphere’ film it’s great.  It also has two different groups of baddies, which makes for a change too.  The characters are mostly well written and believable; I did start to care what happened to them.  Two are called Jesús and Judas; I couldn’t decide if this was just a coincidence, or some sort of biblical reference relating to the film’s storyline that I couldn’t see.  Like I said, there’s a lot of ambiguity.  Even when we get to the inevitable ‘people running about in corridors with guns’ part, it manages to stay interesting.  This is a grimy looking, depressing film.  The ending is quite unexpected too and helps add to general air of despair.  I enjoyed it!

The soundtrack is one thing that makes this more of a horror than a sci-fi movie.  It’s also pretty good too and sounds ‘expensive’.  Like what I imagine an effective butler would be like, it turns up in all the right places, does what it’s meant to do and then leaves.  You won’t remember it but it does a great job of supporting everything else that’s going on.  Good stuff.

Recommended for apocalypse survivors.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  I suppose having to deal with an apocalypse is pretty badass.  It’s not the sort of thing you generally chat to the career counsellor at school about when you’re 16.  Nurse, IT support, train driver, police officer, teacher, celebrity maybe, but the conversation probably doesn’t go along the lines of, “I’d like to become an Armageddon survivor please.  Which A Levels do I need to study to do that?”  Dealing with unexpected changes is badass, as most of us are crap at it.

The Dark Hour at IMDB (6.0 / 10)      The Dark Hour at Wikipedia      The Dark Hour at You Tube

The Orphanage: 3.5 Stars

The Orphanage  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)I’ve pulled a muscle, or fractured a rib, or damaged some vital internal organ, or something like that anyway. I’d like to be able to report that I did this in some heroic fashion, saving a kitten from a tall tree, preventing a goal in a tense penalty shoot out, or thwarting a mugger.  However, it happened when I sneezed whilst working on my computer.  Stupid cold!  Now every time I cough I suffer a stab of pain just at the bottom of my right rib cage that’s so intense, it would have most people begging for morphine.  I’m not one to make a fuss though.

2008  –  Certificate: 15  –  USA
Rating Details: Strong psychological horror and strong injury detail

Well, here we have a ghost story. A very good ghost story as it happens.  Something about orphans haunting an orphanage, where some bad goings on had gone on.  There’s nothing especially original about the plot, but the film is very well made and at times pretty creepy.  It does go a bit “Ghostbusters” at one point, but by and large it’s a first class movie.  It sounds especially good too, all those creaks, rattles and booms all over the place.  The main reason why I’ve not given it a higher score is because I really didn’t warm to the main characters in it.  I’m sure they were very decent and good people and all that, especially as they were trying to open a home for disabled youngsters and had adopted a HIV Positive baby, but my God, were they boring!  Mr and Mrs Mogadon.  So middle of the road.  Worthy but dull, like a bag of flour.  I also didn’t much care for how he reacted at the end. For a very practically minded guy who disagreed with his wife’s interpretation of what was going on for the entire film, and struggled more and more to deal with her increasingly neurotic behaviour, he certainly changed his mind quick enough in the end.  Then again, perhaps that was just his way of coping with things; me, I didn’t care enough about him to be that bothered one way or the other.  He looked the kind of guy who would quickly go and find himself another bland woman to marry anyway. Guillermo Del Toro was the executive producer, but he may as well have been the writer and director too, given how much the tone and atmosphere of the film matched that of “Pan’s Labyrinth” that I watched a few weeks ago.  Not a criticism though, just an observation.

Recommended for those who like horrors that don’t involve half-naked people being tortured every five minutes; or a guy with a massive knife or something killing off an isolated group of youngsters; or zombies.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  When all around you doubt your views and in a nice way are telling you you’re as nutty as a fruitcake, sticking to your guns when no one else believes you is pretty badass.  Well done Laura.  (Shouldn’t the saying really be as fruity as a fruitcake?  I’m sure there’s more fruit than nuts in them.  Unless you buy a really expensive one perhaps.)

The Orphanage at IMDB (7.5/10)