On the magic Summer’s night of high school’s end, Julie, Helen, Ray and Barry get into Barry’s new Beamer and drive out to celebrate, their lives and hopes before them. But on the road they have a terrible accident; hit and kill a man. In the shock and panic that follows, they dump the body in the sea rather than reporting the accident. As the body sinks, the hand of the dead man breaks the surface in a last grasp at life, then disappears into the murky depths. The four friends realise they are now guilty of murder and swear to take their secret to their graves. But now someone is stalking them, someone who knows who they are, knows what they did last Summer, and seeks revenge…
1997 – Certificate: 15 – American Film
8.0 out of 10
Recently I’ve been reading a lot of books. Not just any old book though, but Star Trek books. (This is cue for you to both yawn and go find something else to do, or think this is the best thing, ever. I don’t mind which you choose; after all, not everyone mentally and emotionally matures at the same speed.) So anyway, for those of you who have matured sufficiently… I’ll admit that in the past I’ve flirted a little with Star Trek novels and Star Trek audiobooks. (I must confess that I especially love the minimal effort the latter take to enjoy and that I can do other things at the same time, like drive or go to sleep. What’s not so good is the limited range of titles available, their cost and the fact that most have been greatly abridged.) Star Trek was always as much about the relationships between the characters, as the ‘blowing things up’ stuff. If it sometimes tries too hard to project a perfect version of America as itself, then I can forgive it that. Most of these stories were based somewhere in the known Star Trek timeline, generally between this episode or that episode, or occasionally kind of outside it. Following the release of “Star Trek: Nemesis” a void opened up, one as large as the universe itself. The Star Trek reboot, whilst brilliant in its own way, can never hope to fill this space; it’s simply the wrong shape, size and timeline. This void is empty except for one thing, a single Question; what happened to everyone? The novels from this period are generally really entertaining and exciting, well written and treat ‘known’ Star Trek history with the appropriate level of respect and consistency. However, they don’t answer that Question. Then in May 2001, “Avatar” was published, a story written and set after the end of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”. Over next few years more books came out that did a similar thing and were set after the various TV series and then finally Nemesis itself. Suddenly we could have answers to the Question. Of course not everyone likes how future history is working out and what’s happened or happening to all those characters we travelled with for so long, but I’m finding the experience to be wonderfully entertaining. No longer hemmed in by ‘official’ history or the limitations of TV or film productions, the books set in the period after Nemesis are able to chart their own way forward, taking the Star Trek story further into the future. They also do a pretty good job of maintaining their internal consistency from one to the next and between different authors. This makes it feel like they’re all part of one, giant story arc, rather than just random tales. I’ve just finished reading the “Destiny” trilogy. This does fundamental things with the Star Trek universe that would have taken a whole series on TV to do justice to them, as well as a sizable special effects budget. For anyone who hasn’t taken the plunge and started to read these books, I’d fully recommend you find the time to do so. I wish I could write stories… This film was the first part of a trilogy. I think that’s about as far as I can push the comparison.
This movie initially worried me. If someone really did know what I did last summer, then it was likely to be a totally over the top erotic thriller, with elements of horror, science-fiction and comedy mixed in with it. (Although I must admit I was curious to see who was playing me in it.) In the end it turned out to be a teen horror with Buffy in it and some killer running around wearing a yellow pacamac and carrying a hook so bent I can’t imagine it was easy to get it to go into anything, never mind a squealing teen. It also features the absolutely worst pretend ice cubes I’ve ever seen a movie; seriously, they don’t even sound like ice. And it heavily features “Hush” by Kula Shaka on the soundtrack too, one of the most insipid, horrible tunes ever to be conjured into existence. It’s awful. I can remember walking past the video hire shop (remember them) in Colliers Wood on a number of occasions when it first came out on VHS and seeing a big, cardboard cut-out for it in the window. (Come to think of it, it could have been for one of its two sequels, but let’s ignore that possibility for now. N.B. Actually I’ve thought about it some more, I think it might have been an advert for the whole trilogy.) I can’t recall exactly what went through my mind at the time, but I think there was a level of disappointment that suggests to me now I wasn’t expecting to see it. It’s weird how you can sometimes recall these random thoughts years later. I guess my disappointment must have been pretty profound. Despite all this (and more), it’s actually a really good film, but I can’t for the life of me work out why. Pretty enigmatic, isn’t it? I think they’re making a new version of it too…
The evil of Kula Shaker aside, the soundtrack is actually okay and includes songs by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and The Offspring.
The trailer. It’s better with the sound off.
Recommend for students and fisherman.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Despite being an entirely obnoxious rich-boy who seemed to exist entirely for the purpose of pissing off his friends and showing his stomach muscles off to the viewer, Ray finally does the right thing and saves The Girl from The Baddie. As well as being a cliché of the first degree, this is (if it was real of course) a really badass thing to do. (However, he’d probably have been killed by Ben if it was real life, so it’s just as well it’s only a movie.)
In the fame-obsessed world of Los Angeles, a group of teenagers take us on a thrilling and disturbing crime-spree in the Hollywood hills. Based on true events, the group, who were fixated on a life of glamour, tracked their celebrity targets online and stole more than $3 million in luxury goods from their homes. The victims included Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, Rachel Bilson and Lindsay Lohan. The gang became known in the media as “The Bling Ring”. Written and directed by Academy Award Winning Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation”, “The Virgin Suicides”, “Marie Antoinette”),”The Bling Ring” stars Emma Watson (“Harry Potte”, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”), Leslie Mann (“This is 40”, “Knocked Up”), Taissa Farmiga, Claire Julien, Israel Broussard and Katie Chang.
2013 – Certificate: 15 – American Film
Rating Details: Strong language and drug use
7.0 out of 10
In an effort to bolster our fading place in the world, us Brits often like to remind others that the last person to successfully invade mainland Britain was William the Conqueror, who in 1066 shot King Harold in the eye at the Battle of Hastings. (And that’s about all we actually bother to learn about the story, even though that last bit probably isn’t even true either. The fact that it happened before America and much of the rest of the world had been invented, is good enough for us. ) Last week I had a chance to do something similar. (No, not shoot someone in the eye! God, do I really need to even write that?) Instead, I had a chance at fame and fortune on the south coast myself, when due to a severe lack of (and I’m putting it diplomatically) coordination at work, I found myself giving a presentation to a lot of ‘important people’. (Well important in Hastings anyway.) I spent the guts of two days (including a Sunday) putting the sort of PowerPoint presentation together that really ought to be released as a stand-alone DVD for others to enjoy. Indeed, a limited cinema run wouldn’t be out-of-place. It was all very stressful though; at one point I even had to order myself an Indian takeaway from the Alamin Tandoori to recover from the whole, ‘creative experience’. (These things don’t just come together; each slide was torn from my very soul.) So the day of the presentation arrived. In my mind I had a vision, a vision of a room full of people, many of them standing, clapping and cheering me as an environmental saviour. (A bit like Noah, but without the boat.) Sadly, the train I was travelling on broke down and I ended up arriving 20 minutes late; obviously the 40 minute, ‘crappy public transport safety margin’ I’d opted for wasn’t up to the job. Apparently there was a “communication problem” with the train; the driver couldn’t speak to the guard or something; (or Train Manager as they seem to get called these days.) Bollocks to that. How did them not being able to have a chat about last night’s TV stop the wheels turning? Sitting in the train, watching three guys in orange jackets wondering about outside, the only other thing I could see was a bit of hawthorn growing nearby, as we’d got stuck in a cutting. John Lydon told us all that “Anger is an energy”. I could probably have solved the world’s energy crisis single-handedly such was my mood, which would have been quite ironic under the circumstances. Well, it turned out to be the fastest PowerPoint presentation I’ve ever given to anyone, that’s for sure. Thanks to Southern Trains, my chance to become an international eco-celebrity was ruined. All I want to do is save the planet, I’m not asking for much really. Next time I’ll rob a few rich people instead. It worked for Robin Hood and I’m sure I can find a few affluent bankers that no one really cares about. By a strange coincidence, this film covers a not dissimilar topic. (That’s robbing the rich and famous, not inefficient pubic transport.)
Closely mirroring the real events it’s based on, this movie follows the exploits of a group of celebrity obsessed teenagers, who start robbing the homes of the rich and famous. Paris Hilton, whose home they broke in to a number of times, allowed these scenes to be filmed in her house. OMG! OMG! (OMG I’m starting to talk like them now…) A whole room full of shoes? A nightclub room, complete with pole? I own six pairs of shoes, including two pairs of steel-capped boots for work. The only poles I come into contact with are the ones living near me. Not a lot seems to happen in this film. Vacuous teens are not the most exciting of people, unless you like watching them hanging out in nightclubs taking selfies and immediately posting them on Facebook. Even the break-ins are somewhat low-key and most of the time they just messed about when they got into these people’s homes. Google Maps is every villain’s friend. Somewhat trippy one moment and almost documentary-like at others, it’s actually quite entertaining. Given that it’s based on a real group of people and real crimes, the extras are especially interesting and add quite a lot to the whole story. The car crash scene works well too; it made me jump anyway. The sound is pretty good, as is the overall look of the movie and the acting. Well worth a watch. At the end I was left with two questions. Firstly, why? Secondly, it features a group of very good-looking young people, plus drink and drugs; yet there wasn’t any sexual chemistry or apparent attraction between any of them, not even a little bit of tension. That’s just a bit weird. I guess celebrities really do screw up your life.
Schoolboy Q, 2 Chainz, Young Jeezy, Bassnectar, Really Doe, Kid Cudi. Yep, you’re right, that means it’s time for a hip-hop based soundtrack. Given the nature of the movie, the music works really well.
The trailer’s pretty good.
Recommended for vapid, non-celebrities and anyone who posts loads of pictures directly to their Facebook page without bothering to delete the technically crap ones (they make my eyes hurt) and doesn’t see the irony in doing it in the first place. Also anyone who thinks they matter to anyone outside of their immediate family and friends. Trust me, you really don’t.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? The scenes where they break into Paris Hilton’s home were really filmed in Paris Hilton’s home. She has cushions with her face on them! Really big pictures of her face. In her own home. Whatever the story behind them, that’s just not normal. Seriously, it’s not. It’s only one step away from going to bed with a picture of yourself. Still, at least I know what to get in future as presents for ‘those awkward people who have everything’. Thanks Paris! Sorting out this year’s Christmas pressies for me is badass.
At 34, struggling Seattle musician Sam (Mark Duplass, “Humpday”, “The League”) finds himself broke, jobless and losing touch with the person he wants to become. When his girlfriend kicks him out, he’s forced to crash with his Aunt Sharon (Academy Award winner Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”) and is reluctantly enlisted to take her teen son, Oliver, and his friend Jake camping. Edgy, funny and honest, Craig Johnson’s film follows the trio into the rugged Pacific Northwest as unforeseen revelations and transformations force them to face adulthood. Set to a mesmerizing soundtrack featuring both emerging and established artists including Band of Horses, The Black Keys and Devendra Banhart, “True Adolescents” remind us that sometimes people need to get lost to truly find themselves.
2009 – Certificate: Not Rated – American Film
7.0 out of 10
I didn’t want to get up yesterday morning. It was raining outside (again), grey and unpleasant. On my journey to work, I was busy mentally congratulating myself on my meteorological forecasting skills and subsequent ability to make the journey during a break in the rain, just as it started to pour down for the last few minutes. I got soaked. It’s Fair Trade Fortnight and where I work was attempting to serve free tea, coffee and breakfasts to people outside; the rain pouring off the canopy in front of the building and onto the pavement was ‘intense’. Strangely, I left work at about six feeling quite upbeat. On my walk home I was wondering why, after such an unpromising start to the day, it had turned into quite a good one. I didn’t really come up with anything, other than there were a number of nice, small things and a lack of bad things, which probably did the trick. A CD/DVD I’d ordered on Sunday was delivered. This was unexpectedly early. I was due to have to go and do something all day, (basically sit and observe someone delivering a training course), but the date for this has now been changed, so I had an extra day in the office and got a lot of things done that I wasn’t expecting to get done. I had a nice lunch with a colleague in the cafe, something I don’t often do. Someone in the office got a grant of £2,500 to do some work; we were only expecting to get a few hundred, so this was a welcome surprise. For the first time that I can remember, all eight volunteers and staff were in at the same time today; the place felt quite alive and buzzy. Someone bought a big, homemade cake in. I completed a grant claim that’s been hanging about for ages and I’ve had loads of hassle over. I got a few other bits of outstanding work done that had been playing on my thoughts for a while. I didn’t go into Tesco on the way home and buy crap for my dinner; I came home and cooked proper food instead. So there you go, my recipe for an okay day.
A thirty-something guy takes his nephew and his nephew’s friend camping for a weekend. They all grow up a bit. The end. This is a decent enough film that’s worth watching mainly for Mark Duplass’ man-boy character, who’s funny but in a believable way. The main thing that bugged me was the fact that many of the various things that happen to them, especially the two most significant ones, don’t seem to get dealt will in any depth; they felt more like plot contrivances to take us towards the end, rather than big events that ought to have been considered in more detail. Shame that. It’s a decent enough watch though.
This film makes much of its musical content and the main character is also a guitarist/singer in a not very good indie rock band. Unfortunately most of the music is pretty mundane. That’s a shame too.
Like a lot of things, the trailer is there or thereabouts. It does a good job of not spoiling the film, but at the same time doesn’t tell you a great deal about it either.
Recommended for not-famous guitarists, rubbish indie rock bands, teenage boys and kindly aunts.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? The two lads ask Sam if he’s going to wear his hiking boots. Sam glances down at what looks like a rather battered pair of Converse baseball shoes on his feet and says, “These are my hiking boots”, (with the emphasis on “are”). Yeh, that’s rock ‘n’ roll for you! I then spent the rest of the film all tensed up, waiting for him to turn his ankle over. Weirdly, this fate befalls one of the other characters. As someone who sprained his ankle hiking a couple of years ago, I could relate to this, which makes it badass. Converse boots really aren’t good for hiking.
It’s summer in Sweden… A primary school teacher decides to teach her colleagues a lesson they’ll never forget. Teenage girls are indulging in a webcam tease and seducing strangers. University students are taking male bonding to a new level. And as day turns to night, a coach driver decides enough is enough and won’t drive his passengers any further. Showered with International awards and praised by critics the world over, “Involuntary” is a dazzling and highly original comedy from the new enfant terrible of Scandinavian cinema, Ruben Östlund.
2008 – Certificate 18 – Sweden
Rating Details: Very strong language and strong sex references
7 out of 10
Ever at the very cutting edge of technology, today at work we had our first regional management team meeting by phone; (or as important people like me prefer to call it, a Teleconference). Instead of a very expensive, rush-hour-period trip on a crowded train into central London to sit in a cold, wooden shed in the woods with my colleagues, I had to endure a leisurely trip into my office, where I could lounge around, unshaven, in just my underwear, drinking coffee, adding elastic bands to our elastic band ball and sorting out the ever-growing collection of hole punches in the stationary cupboard; whilst making the occasional, worthwhile and insightful comment about something or other to impress the others, as we discussed how to reduce the amount of travelling we do by having more Teleconferences. There are however, some downsides to all this. As well as shocking the postman with my underpants, I’ve realised that listening hands-free on a cheap phone for hours that wasn’t designed with high fidelity sound in mind, has probably destroyed some part of the music-sensitive area of my brain. The experience was not unlike being trapped for hours on a bus to Hell, with only a group of teenagers on the back seats listening to Top 40 R&B on a tinny smartphone for company. This film also features two really annoying teenage girls, and several annoying adults too.
Years ago I watched a film with someone who, after a little while, got up, went over to the DVD player, took out the disc and threw it out of the window; (I was living on the third floor in a block of flats at the time.) This was apparently a physical reaction caused by the highly annoying characters in the movie. Had “Involuntary” been the film in question, I suspect the whole DVD player would have gone out of the window too. A movie made up of five individual stories, all of which play out in small sections throughout its run-time, it features some of the most annoying and banal losers ever to have been conjured into existence. For a while I sat watching and thinking, “what’s the point of all this?” Then it dawned on me that the point was simply to watch ordinary people being ordinary. I suppose for every remarkable person there has to be thousands of unremarkable ones; this is a film about the latter. It’s a black comedy that manages to be amusing without being funny. A coach driver, a father, two teenage girls, a teacher and a group of guys, all get themselves into slightly unfortunate situations, which could so easily be real. Felling that I’d have fitted in well, it was an embarrassing experience at times. I’d sum it up as a movie that celebrates the stupid and annoying uselessness of everyone. I enjoyed it; it’s funny in the same way as seeing someone accidentally hit themselves on the finger with a hammer, or walk into a lamppost. The cast do a great job.
There’s not a lot of music in this film, just some over the credits and at times in the background. This lack probably explains a lot about the characters.
No cats, decapitation or chainsaws.
Recommended for the very, very, very patient.
Top badass moment? Never mind the Higgs Boson, this film has introduced me to the much more remarkable concept of anti-badassness. Its characters are so mind-numbingly ordinary and flawed… Seriously, Batman would feel compelled to shoot them all and do the rest of us a favour. Arrrraaggghh!
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.
This is a film about relationships, a subject I intrinsically know nothing about; (I blame it on my genes, it’s probably genetic or something). As a result of this defect in my character, my entire understanding of this subject is based on films like this. Like most other films of its type its plot is almost entirely unrealistic, which I guess must explain a great deal about my life. The good guy always gets the nice girl in the end? Don’t make me laugh. When I can afford it I’ll be suing the makers of this film for messing up my life. In my world, the 80s were full of crappy new romantic music and synth pop, (anarcho-punk and indie-pop were pushed to the sidelines) and everyone had bad hair and bad clothes. Even I had bad hair; I can remember bleaching it and not getting it cut for over three years too; what a terrifying thought. Scarily, this film makes the 80s seem quite cool, the fashion bearable and the music quite listenable. See, I said it wasn’t very realistic.
1987 – Certificate: 12 – USA
Rating Details: Language: Once strong, some moderate. Sex/Nudity: Some mild references. Violence: Infrequent, mild.
This is a proper 80s teen classic. It’s a classic film of its type and its era. I hate myself for it but I really do like it. A great bit of escapism. From the great ‘drum intro’ at the start to the tear-inducing finale, its stupid plot and often annoying characters manage to be entertaining and often pretty funny. I was never all that taken with Amanda Jones; she sometimes looked like a man in drag to me. I couldn’t (and still can’t) really see what all the fuss was about. Watts was about 100 times more interesting and better looking too. And what a shame we didn’t get to know Duncan the skinhead more. He was clearly the hero of the movie and someone we should have leant a lot more about. And did anyone out there really not want Watts to ‘get her man’ in the end? God, you’re a heartless bastard aren’t you!
Recommended for fans of classic genera movies and all things 80s; (just don’t admit the latter in public and keep taking the tablets, okay)?
One cat and no decapitations. A quick run off scene (with dialogue) is all we get, cat-wise. Shame.
Top badass moment? Duncan and his gang gate-crashing Hardy’s party. (What any annoying little prick he was.) A rare, positive example of skinhead activism within in multi-cultural environment in a Hollywood movie. That’s badass.