From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ang Lee comes an epic American love story, “Brokeback Mountain”. Set against the sweeping vistas of Wyoming and Texas, the film tells the story of two young men – a ranch-hand and a rodeo cowboy – who meet in the summer of 1963, and unexpectedly forge a lifelong connection, one whose complications, joys, and tragedies provide a testament to the endurance and power of love.
2005 – Certificate: 15 – American Film
Rating Details: Strong language, moderate sex and violence
8.0 out of 10
I had a very disappointing day today. I went to a meeting in a place called Lymington. It’s about as far south-west as I can go and still remain in ‘my patch’ at work. If I’d gone much furthered I’d have entered the “South West” and risked immediate kidnap, assassination, or worse, from my colleagues in that part of the country. Although we’re officially “One Team” these days, at a local level there’re still some patches of tribalism, although it’s nothing that a forty-foot high electric fence topped with razor wire wouldn’t cure. Anyway, Lymington is on the edge of the New Forest National Park. But what a swizz it all is! I drove right across it and all I saw were loads and loads of old trees, some of which actually looked dead and had ‘things’ like birds, bats and bugs living in them. There were hardly any young ones at all. How ‘they’ get away with such a bare-faced lie I’ve no idea; surely there must be some sort of advertising standards law they’re breaking? It’s a terrible reflection on us all that these days unless something’s labelled new or improved, no one’s interested in it; indeed, I seem to suffer from this problem myself. Washing powder and smartphone manufactures have a lot to answer for. “A mosaic of ancient and ornamental woodland, open heather-covered heaths, rivers and valley mires, a coastline of mudflats and salt-marshes and pretty, historic villages; the largest area of lowland heath left in southern England.” Who’s going to be interested in that when they could go and play Laser Quest and then get pissed in the pub afterwards? Like the New Forest, this film also grossly misrepresents itself, as it fails to provide any sort of back injury whatsoever, not even a pulled muscle.
I’m not a big fan of westerns. I also imagine Hell to have a soundtrack that features country music on heavy rotation. Characters engaged in herding animals about and shooting others, have to work hard to overcome their inherent, non-vegan nature and don’t tend to attract my sympathy either. It’s been a while since I was a cowboy too, so I’m probably a bit out of touch with what’s hot and what’s not in lasso-land; in fact the last time it happened I was very young and had been given a cowboy outfit for my birthday; I didn’t even know which way around to hold the gun and consequently went about shooting myself rather than the hordes of evil Indians that I imagined were busy invading our flat in central London. I guess what I’m trying to say is that this film was not one that on the surface I was likely to enjoy and up until now, unlike every other human being on the planet, I’d never watched it. Fortunately, I quickly realised what it’s really about and it suddenly made a lot more sense to me. “Brokeback Mountain” is basically a reimagining of a number of Thomas Hardy’s novels, where the dictates of society prevent two people from being together. “People go on marrying because they can’t resist natural forces, although many of them may know perfectly well that they are possibly buying a month’s pleasure with a life’s discomfort.” (Jude the Obscure). It’s a film that, like many Hardy novels, involves a lot of rural landscapes, shepherds, folk music and drinking in bars. I was just waiting for all the sheep to find a cliff somewhere to throw themselves over. Like Hardy, “Brokeback Mountain” demonstrates the futility of life and the inevitability of being disappointed, let down and kept apart from those you hold most dear. At the very least, the credits should have said something to the effect that it was inspired by the poems and novels of Thomas Hardy. “Brokeback Mountain” is a bleak and touching film, with the last half hour providing a powerful bit of cinema. The admission that your feelings for someone have effectively fucked up everyones’ lives; priceless wisdom. This is also a lovely looking film (and I’m not just talking about Michelle Williams, who looks very cute in it), with lots of great views of the countryside.
Country and western music, noooooooooooo..!!! I’m just a woman and my man beats me up and shot my dog for fun and had an affair with my sister and hates me but he’s still my man so I’ve got to love him…. The rest of the soundtrack isn’t bad and it does have ‘that’ bit of music, “The Wings” by Gustavo Santaolalla.
Recommended for fans of good movie making. Not recommended for anyone that thinks gay people are an abomination or mentally ill; for you I recommend you go fuck yourselves instead, which if you’re a guy is actually a pretty gay thing to do when you think about it; but you probably won’t want to think about it.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? It takes him long enough, but Jack finally giving Lureen’s father the bollocking he deserves. I despise people like that who’re so full of themselves; what a bullying, arrogant prick he was.
Whilst watching this film, I realised that my life is a lot like Robocop’s. Like him, I used to be a normal guy with a normal life, job I liked and was good at, friends, relationship, etc. Then one day stuff happened and I ended up a half-crazed cyborg, owned by my employer, devoid of outside interests, single-mindedly saving the planet, dealing out swift justice to those that dare trash it in any way. These days I mindlessly follow the instructions I’m given to the letter, fill in lots of forms and databases, drive around in a souped-up Ford, (well okay I changed the stereo in it), and seek out funding wherever it’s hiding, 24/7. I’m tormented by fragments of memory from my former life and long for redemption; and call me paranoid, but I think the rest of the environmental sector is out to get me too, because I want to do more than map and count every bug and flower there is, over and over again. Like Robocop, I also have four Prime Directives:
1) Serve the membership
2) Protect the planet
3) Follow procedures
4) Make money (as is the case for Robocop, this last one is classified, so don’t tell anyone please)
Okay, so I’m not really a cyborg (although I do wear glasses and contact lenses and have a few fillings); and I also sleep and do other stuff at times as well; and I’m hopeless at doing what I’m told, but really, the parallels are startling. And if more proof was needed, then about 12 years ago, when I was just starting a new job with my current employer, I had to make a presentation to a number of people, including the Group Director. There’s a great line in this film from Dick Jones, Senior President of Omni Consumer Products. He stands up in front of the board of directors, adjacent to a bank of TV screens showing images of the company’s products, to do something quite similar to what I had to do. He starts off by saying, “Take a close look at the track record of this company” and then goes on to describe how the company has “gambled in markets traditionally regarded as non-profit”. That’s what charities generally get up to, so I’ve always felt there were a lot of similarities between what I do in my job and what OCP was looking to achieve with Delta City; I’m sure I’d fit right on in there, should it be looking to recruit anytime soon at the C-level. With my crappy little PowerPoint presentation (which I still have a copy of), I began with a very similar line. I’m not sure anyone there at the time made the connection, but to me it was awesomely cool! This movie is awesomely cool too.
1987 – Certificate: 18 – USA
I love this film. I’ve watched it loads of times. It was one of the first DVDs I ever bought. I imagine it’s required viewing for all the new Police and Crime Commissioners that were voted for this week too. The whole story feels quite unique, it’s got a number of great characters in it, the acting’s good and it looks good as well, even though some of the special effects are now a little dated. Its take on corporate greed works for me and even the theme tune is dead-on. (I’ve no idea why the trailer uses the music from “The Terminator”.) Be sure to watch the Director’s Cut, to get all the most violent bits. Since her appearance in “The Philadelphia Experiment” three years before, Nancy Allen has certainly toughened up her act. I guess all that running around with two guys transported through time does that to you. And it’s got Miguel Ferrer in it, who was at one time the First Officer on The Excelsior in Star Trek. Imagining having that on your CV! The remake (which I think is due out in 2014) will be interesting.
Recommended for awesome people. I’m sorry, but if you don’t like this film you’re not awesome and I can’t be your friend, as I’m simply too cool and you’re probably a square.
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws. However, plenty of other body parts do get ‘removed’.
Top badass moment? The advert for Nuke Em. A sample of this was used by Random Hand for “The Eyeballs of War”. As the 5th best band on the planet, this makes it badass.
I hate job interviews. I’d rather face the end of the world, on a wet day, when I’ve got a stinking cold, than be interviewed. They have the bizarre effect of temporarily rendering me insane and only capable of repeating, over and over again, that my would-be employer is the world’s worst organisation and one I despise in every way; think of the bastard corporate offspring of McDonalds, Nestle, Procter & Gamble and Rio Tinto, appointing Pol Pot, Idi Amin and Augusto Pinochet as directors and you’ll get some idea of the problem. Eric Cartman probably interviews better than me. Interviewing others however, is very different; I quite enjoy doing that as I’m a sadistic, evil psychopath, who hates absolutely everyone. In the last couple of weeks I’ve been involved in interviewing seven people for two jobs. I accept that in life I probably can’t get away with murdering every single individual on the planet, so the next best thing is to torture a small number of them, by using a legal loophole that enables me to psychologically damage people using an interrogation technique, which involves asking them a lot of deeply personal questions about their darkest fears and experiences. If I can throw in a question about Star Trek, even if it has nothing whatsoever to do with the job (and I can’t imagine why such a question every would have), so much the better. (I imagine there’s a whole sub-genera of films based around this particular fetish, although I’ve not personally come across any yet.) There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing an empty box of tissues on the table at the end of the day. Interviewing is like being an actor in a play, (a pantomime is probably the best analogy). You do and say the same things, over and over again, for each ‘victim’. I guess there’re a lot like slasher horrors too; you know a group of (generally) young people are going to go to a mysterious, isolated location, where something truly horrible will be done to them, one by one, by a strange, inhuman entity of some sort; and only one will survive! I like to think of myself as a bit like Jason Voorhees when I’m interviewing; focused on a single outcome, without a shred of compassion, empathy or humanity. This film is of course, about being interviewed…
2009 – Certificate: 18 – USA
Rating Details: Strong bloody violence and strong sex
This is the reboot of Friday 13th. So, a group of young people go somewhere and run into a bad guy with a big knife. They don’t get on. The end. I can’t really imagine there’re a lot of people who will watch this film and not already have a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen. It’s not a bad film by any means, but it suffers a bit from the ‘Twilight Effect’, by which I mean it’s a horror story superimposed on a teen drama. It never truly becomes too gory, too scary or too horrifying, although to be fair it does have its moments. Critically, it manages to keep the characters sufficiently annoying and irritating, so that the viewer will never really start to sympathise with them, which is what’s important when the real point of the movie is to see them all get killed by the man in the hockey mask. There’s nothing worse than feeling a twang of sorrow for the victims when a horror icon is going about his, her, or its business.
Recommended for anyone who isn’t genetically programmed to watch reboots of old classics to automatically say something along the lines of, “well, it’s not as good as the original.” This may often be true, but just blurting it out with no thought makes you sound like a Sun reader.
No cats, 3 decapitations and no chainsaws. Only one decapitation is on-screen, but it’s done to Major Kira Nerys from Star Trek Deep Space Nine; what a tragedy of epic proportions! One of the others is only in the deleted scenes.
Top badass moment? There are surprisingly few potential choices, so in the end I’m going for Jason’s excellent throw with the full-sized, double-headed axe. Getting one of them to fly through the air any sort of distance would be hard enough, but throwing one with enough accuracy and power to fell someone who’s running fast and a good 20m or so ahead of you, is pretty impressive. What a shame he didn’t get the opportunity to take up the javelin, discus or hammer; things might have worked out very differently if he had.
Didcot in Oxfordshire is famous for one thing, its power station. Its physical presence transforms the entire Vale of Oxford, whilst its six towers are visible from nearly the entire length of the Ridgeway; and probably from just about every other point in the universe too. This film starts with (and features from time to time) a view of two cooling towers that look exactly like the ones in Didcot. There’s no totally explicit connection made between them and the film’s main character, Dawn, but as a guy who’s (as everyone knows) a bit of a sexual Adonis on the side, I’m going to be giving the ladies from there plenty of space in future.
2007 – Certificate: 18 – USA
Rating Details: Very strong sexualised gore
Despite its leg-crossing plot, this is a pretty good comedy horror. It’s really a coming-of-age comedy, with some ‘weird stuff’ added into the mix. The story is a bit, em, different and for a film of this kind contains quite a few interesting ‘social commentaries’; if you took all the latter out of the film and analysed them, you’d probably come to the conclusion that we’re living in a pretty fucked-up world. (Oh yes, I forgot, we are.) The acting’s decent, it looks good and the funny bits are, by and large, funny. It’s just crying out for a sequel though. I thought Jess Weixler did a good job of playing Dawn, the character with the ‘special powers’. Kudos to the make-up people as well, as they managed to make her look gorgeous in some scenes and a bit of a mess in others.
Recommended for dentists who’re considering expanding their work into gynaecology. (That’s probably not a large number.)
No cats and no decapitations. (It does however, feature examples of something altogether far, far worse than simply having your head cut off.)
Top Badass moment? I guess it has to be Dawn dealing with her “unique selling point”. She goes from prissy good girl to proto bad-bitch-from-hell in 90 minutes. A new type of superhero for the 21st Century!