Posts tagged “UK

Slaughter High / When Words Resemble Monkey Sick


Slaughter High  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US Release

There’s horror in the halls… lynching in the lunchroom…  murder in the metal shop.  Welcome to “Slaughter High”, where the students are dying to get out!  In high school, Marty was the kid all the students teased, taunted and tortured mercilessly.  One day, things went too far; one of their jokes backfired, disfiguring Marty for life.  Now, five years later, Marty has arranged a special reunion for all his high school “friends.”  The prom queen, the jock, the class clown, the rebel and a few select others have been invited… and it’s going to be a gala of gore!

1986  –  Certificate: Unrated  –  American Film
7.0 out of 10

I’m crap at everything.  However, I try very hard and surround myself with more able and talented people, which in some limited cases enables me to function in society without everyone pointing in my direction, or crossing the road when they see me coming.  Yesterday was a good case in point.  I spent all of it trying to complete a quotation (that a colleague had already done most of the work for), in response to a competitive tender document for a project to help set up a new community group, to care for the areas along the line of an old railway.   It didn’t really come with any sort of structure for what it was asking for, which means trying to do it was like trying to play a game that no one’s explained the rules to me about.  All that choice!  Vegans don’t deal with choice well; it’s typically the green salad, or chips, or nothing for us.  At about half past four I found myself staring at the words on the screen, able to read and understand them, but totally unable to work out what they meant, or how one string of them (a thing we call a sentence) related to any other.  Talk about not being able to see the wood for the trees.  Somehow I managed to complete about 98% of it, although when I proof-read it this morning most made less sense than a wall covered in a bucket full of scrabble letters and monkey sick.  There was one little bit that I had to complete by hand and I swear it looks like a six-year-old did it.  I don’t think I can write anymore; I used to have lovely handwriting too.  Sometimes I feel like life is teasing me for a laugh.  One day I’ll react like Marty in this film….

Oh dear, it’s the uncut version of a ‘forgotten classic’.  To be fair it’s probably not that obscure and it’s probably not that bad either.  It’s not boring anyway.  Here we have a group of young adults who behave in an almost entirely irrational way, an isolated location, a seriously pissed off guy harbouring a grudge… and you know the rest.  The murders are a mixed bag; I guess my favourite was the electric shock during sex, although the lawnmower one isn’t too bad either.  Did I like Marty the vengeful killer?  Well he was/is a dork, but clearly after his injury the law failed to provide him with the justice he genuinely did deserve, so in a way I can’t blame him for taking things into his own hands.  The guy had probably had a very successful and exciting career ahead of him too.  Actually, the more I think about it the more I realise that he really is the victim here.  The fact that the group that bullied him didn’t even seem to have any remorse for what they did, even though the outcome probably was an accident and unintended, just makes things worse.  What a nasty set of individuals.  Awful.  I’m glad they’re all dead now.  And another thing, the level of health & safety in the school’s science lab was woeful.  Seriously, no one would store a really large, glass bottle of nitric acid on top of a narrow, wobbly, free-standing shelf unit that itself is sitting on top of a table in the middle of a room, not even in the 80s.  And the bottle wasn’t labelled properly either.  And where were Marty’s gloves and protective goggles?  He didn’t strike me as the sort of guy who wouldn’t wear them because he didn’t look cool.  Then again, he does appear to take the time to take his Doddsville County High School jacket off in the middle of his science experiment starting to blow up all around him, so I guess his appearance did matter a lot to him, which probably explains why he got so worked up about being hideously burnt.  For that matter, why wasn’t he being supervised?  I know the school only appeared to have one teacher, who worked in the gym, but even so.  I know, I’m probably over analysing things.  Despite its intentions, the most offensive thing in the whole movie was the dreadfully racist scene involving the Black caretaker.  I image this is one of Jeremy Clarkson’s favourite movies.

Musically we’re deep into 80s low-budget territory.  Yes, very deep.

The trailer isn’t so bad, although it does manage to give away the entire plot and partly show a number of the murders too.  Then again, the plot isn’t exactly an original and you don’t get to see all of the murders.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.  Surprisingly.

Top badass moment?  No one likes a bully.  And we like groups of bullies even less.  So it’s high-fives all round for Marty, as he slowly dispatches them all one by one.  Also, given the speed at which he appears to be able to get from place to place at around the school, he’s apparently invented some sort of personal teleportation device too.  That’s seriously badass; or just dreadful editing.

Slaughter High at IMDB (5.0 / 10)
Slaughter High at Wikipedia
Slaughter High trailer at YouTube


Mum & Dad / I’m Going Travelling


Mum & Dad  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK Release“Mum & Dad”, the impressive debut by writer-director Steven Sheil, is one of the most disturbing Brit-shockers to emerge in recent years.  When Lena, a young Polish immigrant working as an office cleaner at Heathrow Airport, misses her last bus home, she accepts an offer of help from friendly co-worker Birdie, who lives nearby with her ‘adoptive’ parents.  Knocked unconscious after arriving at the house, Lena soon finds herself imprisoned in a suburban house of horrors, a living nightmare of abuse, torture and murder.  Designated a ‘Mummy’s Girl’, Lena’s only options appear to be to become part of the family – and join Mum & Dad in their insanity – or die.

2008  –  Certificate 18  –  British Film
Strong bloody violence, torture, terrorisation and sex references
7.5 out of 10

I’ve been a pretty lucky bloke over the past few months.  I’ve been to Mexico, Bavaria in Germany, the mountains of Colombia, hung out with a rock ‘n’ roll band and met the Devil, flown around Los Angeles with a superhero, gone into space and met an alien (The Alien actually), been hassled by Japanese zombies that live in a toilet; yes, life’s been pretty interesting.  Of course I’ve not left my living room either, because that would mean, well, going out, making an effort and mixing with other people.  However, I’ve enjoyed these experiences through the films I’ve watched.  A much safer, easier, cheaper and more convenient alternative I’m sure you’ll agree.  I’ve never understood the urge some people have “to travel”.  It sounds like my worst nightmare; a commute that never ends, surrounded by people who don’t speak English and will probably kill or rob you given half a chance; wildlife that will sting you to death or eat you; constantly sick from the weird, contaminated food you’ll be forced to eat; and a rate of exchange that you won’t understand and before you know it you’ll have spent all your money on a can of Coke.  Even if you manage to survive all that lot, you’ll end up in prison forever, being buggered by a half human – half religious fanatic, all because you broke some local law you never knew existed, by making what you thought was a friendly gesture to someone. That’s what “going travelling” really means.  However, not wanting to miss out on all the fun it offers and on my return the chance to entertain everyone with my stories and deep understanding of how people in other places live their lives, I’ve decided to start plotting all my travel adventures on a map.  This will hopefully provide me with a constantly evolving picture of where I’ve been, complete with the odd photo and comment.  I look forward to boring sharing this with the world!  In a kind of appropriate way, this film takes place near Heathrow Airport in London, which will be the starting point for my global trek.

This is a decent, violent, low-budget horror that has the advantage of being set in a suburban house near Heathrow Airport.  It features some pretty normal looking people with normal jobs and an assortment of syringes and basic DIY tools; very British.  It’s a refreshing alternative to the endless American versions that tend to take place in the back of beyond and involve some in-bred weirdos having endless bad hair days and an impressive collection of power tools.  “Mum & Dad” boasts plenty of realistic looking gore and a cast of suitably deranged characters.  Dad is especially freaky.  It’s particularly impressive when it subverts normal family life; (for example, instead of breakfast TV on in the background over a typical breakfast, this family has hardcore porn on the telly).  Some of the justification used for Lena’s treatment is pretty scary too.  The late addition of a couple of extra residents in the house tends to slightly dilute the story a bit, even as it ups the yukiness score.  And if I thought about things too hard I started to wonder “why didn’t she just do” this, that or the other to escape, but other than that it’s a solid horror.  The scene with the wooden mallet is particularly effective.  It’s good to see that my lottery ticket money is being put to such good use.  It’s also a film that explains where all that lost luggage at airports end up.

There a limited amount of music used in this movie, other than the big Christmas Day scene, where it rather cleverly makes the likes of “Silent Night” etc rather creepy.

The trailer’s a fair enough representation of the film.

Recommended for cleaners, airport baggage handlers and Polish immigrants.

1 decapitation, no cats or chainsaws.

Top badass moment?  Lena looks pretty miserable for most of the movie, as well she might given the circumstances.  However, she never really gives up trying to get away, despite all the unpleasantness.  That’s badass.  Having said that, she was being offered free accommodation.  A room in a decent house in the Heathrow area has got to be worth £400 / month and for all they knew, she could have been an axe murderer or something.  To be honest, it makes her seem a bit ungrateful.

Mum & Dad at IMDB (5.9 / 10)
Mum & Dad at Wikipedia
Mum & Dad at YouTube


Breaking the Waves / God for a Day


Breaking the Waves  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseIn the early 1970s a naïve young girl, Bess (Emily Watson – 1996 Academy Award Nominee – Best Actress), living in a small community on the north-west coast of Scotland, falls in love with oil-rig worker and man-of-the-world Jan.  Despite local opposition they marry and live out a brief but intense love life.  Jan returns to the rig, whilst Bess counts the days to his homecoming sure that their love is made in heaven.  When an accident renders Jan paralysed he is worried that Bess will cut herself off from a normal life. Realising that he will be bedridden, he convinces her that she will aid his recovery by taking a lover and relating to him their sexual acts.  “Breaking the Waves” with its electronic seventies soundtrack (featuring Deep Purple, T-Rex and Elton John) is a truly astonishing film, adored by critics and audiences alike.

1996  –  Certificate: 18  –  Danish Film
Rating Details:  Language: occasional, strong.  Sex/Nudity: occasional, strong. Violence: once, moderate. Other: drama, religion, marriage.
8.5 out of 10

I had a good day today.  To start with I woke up bright and early and reasonably ‘with it’ from the get go.  Then I walked into work and did a load of stuff that needed me to actually give it some thought; (complicated grown-up things, you know what I mean).  Sometimes I go to work and I wonder whether I’ve tarnished my god-like status in any way, especially when I find myself cutting the stamps off envelopes to (ironically) give to charity, straightening the leaflets in their dispensers for the sake of it, or laminating things just because it’s fun to laminate.  (And yes, I really did do all these things today too.)  However, any doubts as to my usefulness were swept away by my fundraising prowess, as I got a letter telling me I’d manage to get a grant of £8,891 from the Big Lottery Fund.  Like a lion hunting prey to feed its hungry family, (or perhaps more appropriately a scruffy yappy dog with a bone it won’t give up), I didn’t allow myself to be put off by my two previous attempt to get money for the same project from the same funder.  This was third time lucky.  Like Captain Kirk, I don’t believe in the No Win Scenario; however I do believe in flogging a dead horse, however unvegan that might appear.  The people of Eastleigh, Hampshire, will soon be worshiping my very footsteps, as the money transports them to a whole new plain of existence, enabling them to finally escape the trauma of Chris Hume tying to get himself a presenter’s job on “Top Gear”.  I wonder where they’ll erect my statue?  In complete contrast, this film is crushingly depressing.

Over two and a half hours long, this is a drama about love, belief and God. “Dude, Where’s My Car?” it isn’t.  A nihilistic nightmare, it features the slow destruction of a young woman (who appears to have some sort of undisclosed mental illness), trapped between her love for her husband and her love for God.  Set in the Highlands of Scotland, one of the most beautiful places in the world, it manages though a combination of miserable weather, a washed-out, grainy picture and an overbearingly dismal atmosphere, to make it feel like the bleakest place on Earth; even the happier scenes feel like they’re caught in a membrane of gloom.  Emily Watson puts in a stunning performance as Bess.  It’s well worth watching the whole film for her performance alone, before you go off and slash your wrists. Talking of the ending, it’s somewhat bizarre.  A great film and essential viewing.

Set in the first half of the 70s, this film includes some curiously long chapter interludes that feature music from the period.  It tries hard to pick some good stuff out, but it can’t hide the fact that pop music at the time was pretty dire.  However, when inserted into this film, it really does help to set the scene and drag you down to its level.

Recommended for religious zealots, Scots, God, doctors, nurses and people who work on oil and gas rigs.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  At Bess’s wedding reception, a somewhat drunk Terry (one of ‘the lads’) crushes an empty beer can.  Not to be outdone, her grandfather squeezes and breaks a glass in his hand, cutting himself.  Considering this is a deeply religious guy who appeared to live in the last century, not have a sense of humour and was lukewarm at best with respect to the wedding, this did seem rather bizarre thing to do.  Why?  I’ve no idea if it was a joke, a threat, or what?  However, confounding people’s expectations is badass.

Breaking the Waves at IMDB (7.8 / 10)

Breaking the Waves at Wikipedia


Saving Private Ryan / Saving Everyone Else


Saving Private Ryan  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseInternationally acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan” is an unforgettable film achievement that has had profound and lasting impact throughout the world.  Winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Director, the film also captured Oscars for Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound and Sound Effects Editing.  Saving Private Ryan was the top-grossing motion picture of 1998.  Seen through the eyes of a squad of American soldiers, the story begins with World War II’s historic D-Day invasion, then moves beyond the beach as the men embark on a dangerous special mission.  Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) must take his men behind enemy lines to find Private James Ryan, whose three brothers have been killed in combat.  Faced with impossible odds, the men question their orders.  Why are eight men risking their lives to save just one?  Surrounded by the brutal realities of war, each man searches for his own answer – and the strength to triumph over an uncertain future with honour, decency and courage.

1998  –  Certificate:15  –  American Film
Rating Details:
9.0 out of 10

The Internet is awash with every possible analysis of this film.  So, let me just start by summarising its real plot.  Tom Hanks gets given a job to do with his team.  They have a few concerns and questions as to the point of what they’re asked to do.  The end.  Well, big deal.  Welcome to the modern world of employment gentleman.  I find myself in that situation a lot in my job, that’s just how it is.  It’s true, I’m not likely to kill many people or get killed if it all goes a bit pear-shaped, but as someone who’s employed to save the planet, it can get a bit onerous at times.  So here’s some advice for you Tom.  “You really need to visualise the big picture and stop looking at the details.  We’re all One Team and we’re all in this together, so stop giving bandwidth to our value chain and metrics that doesn’t concern you.  Just be happy to be a small piece in a big jigsaw and relentlessly concentrate on fitting yourself into the right place at the right time, for the greater good.  It’s other people’s challenge to sort out those sorts of mission critical, strategic goals, so you don’t need to quantify the methodology yourself.   Let them drill down, do the blue-sky thinking, and deal with the structural underpinning.  You’re good at what you do, so leverage your core competencies to provide locally focused, robustly broad-based solutions, as we incentivise our external stakeholders to strongly buy-in to our USP.  As a matrix organisation, your knowledge and experience as one of our best product evangelists and of interacting with a wide range of partners at a delivery level, is vital.  We know we can trust you to provide a flexible approach, as we move forward and in the current period harvest the low-hanging fruit.  Tom, it’s just a different way of working.  Allowing well-qualified colleagues to take the burden of decision-making away from you, should leave you time-enriched and in better shape to play your part, as well as provide you with a more focused environment in which to do so.  You don’t need to worry Tom, we’ve got everything covered for you, but I wanted to give you the heads-up on this.  However, if you have any other difficulties in living our values, let’s touch base offline and share a thought-shower; my office door is always open.”  As an unambitious nobody, it works for me.

This film is the 37th best ever movie, according to IMDB.  That’s pretty impressive.  Whilst I admire Steven Spielberg’s work, I sometimes find it makes me feel a bit queasy, as if I’ve eaten too many yummy sweets.  However, “Saving Private Ryan” is one of the good ones.  The battle scene at the start is 27 minutes of real movie magic and there are plenty of other parts that come pretty close to this too.  It’s essential viewing.  War is truly the biggest obscenity of all.

With a full orchestral score, music is used sparingly but effectively.  I think you can buy it on CD if you’re desperate enough.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Recommended for soldiers, politicians and middle managers.

Top badass moment?  Take your pick, there’s plenty of choice.

Saving Private Ryan at IMDB (8.6 / 10)

Saving Private Ryan at Wikipedia


Kidulthood / Phall Curry


Kidulthood  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseFor 15-year-old Trife, life is a day-to-day struggle.  Trapped between the worlds of his school friends, the girl he loves and the draw of his powerful and dangerous uncle, Trife must choose between the path he knows is right and a life of guns, drugs and violence that he has come to know only too well.  When a classmate’s suicide leaves Trife and his crew, Moony and Jay, with the day off school, the tragedy seems overshadowed by the opportunity to shop, get high, get laid and party; but in a world where sex is currency, drugs are easy and violence is a way of life, trouble can never be too far around the corner.  On these streets kids grow up fast and 48 hours can be a lifetime.

2005  –  Certificate: 15  –  British Film
Rating Details:  Strong violence, language, sex references and drug use
8.0 out of 10

I haven’t really enjoyed this week.  It’s hard to identify one particular thing that’s made it a bit rubbish, it just was.  It’s been the sort of week where you’d spot a pound coin on the pavement, then when you’ve bend over to pick it up a car’s driven through a nearby puddle and soaked you.  To celebrate the better parts of the week and the fact that I’d got to the end of it, I decided to treat myself to an Indian takeaway.  However, to also enable the latter to best reflect how things have been recently, I decided to get a vegetable phall.  I really like curry, but this version is basically a few bits of vegetable with a goo made out of chillies all over it.  It’s virtually impossible to eat and tastes of nothing, except chillies and the inside of the Sun.  It’s the sort of thing guys eat when they want to try and impress other guys.  (I know, how on earth did humans manage to get to the top of the food chain?)  As I’ve got no friends and I ate it on my own, I’m not quite sure who I was trying to impress.  I think it was simply a cry for help, a punishment for not being good enough at work all week.  I imagine if I’d not eaten it I’d now feel obliged to roll around naked in a patch of stinging nettles instead.  And I didn’t win the National Lottery either.  Still, things could be worse; I could live in the ‘wrong’ part of W11, where this film is set.

I went to school in central London.  In my day we didn’t have mobile phones or gangsta rap; drugs were something you took for a toothache (and in any case were always called tablets) and oral sex meant talking about it, not that we knew what ‘it’ really was.  So films like this are really helpful in enabling me to keep myself ‘street’, ‘happening’ and ‘down with the kids’; although as anyone who’s a teenager now would have been about 7-years-old when it was made, I suspect things have moved on a bit since then.  Eschewing the fascination that movie-makers have with the East End, south London, Camden and Hackney, this movie mostly takes place in that forgotten realm west of the West End, where only the Hammersmith & City Line dares to go.  A land of council estates and old terrace housing hidden away behind the ‘glamour’ of Notting Hill, it’s about as uncool and unfashionable as you can get.  If it wasn’t for Portobello Market and the nearby Carnival, it would probably hold the world record for being the most unhip and dowdy place in any capital city anywhere.  In fact if you Google it, nothing comes up.  Despite my trashing of the location, this is actually an excellent film; (awful title though).  I’m also lucky to be gangsta enough to be able to understand what they’re all saying most of the time, which is just as well because my copy didn’t come with any subtitles.  I haven’t heard so much slang since I watched “Attack the Block”.

With a soundtrack that’s almost pure London hip-hop, grime and rap, it’s as good (or as bad) as you think that is.  Rodney Smith, Maxwell Ansah, Dylan Mills and Michael Skinner all provide parts of the soundtrack.  (And if you don’t know who they are then that makes you a total square.)

Recommended for ganstas, bros, crews and feds, init?

One cat, no chainsaws or decapitations.  A cute grey cat makes a brief but scene-stealing appearance, jumping off a sofa and then wondering about a bit.

Top badass moment?  There are plenty of small ‘growing-up’ badass moments scattered throughout this film, but I’m going to choose Alisa giving some home truths to the bullies on the tube.  They were really horrible!  Still, at least I know they’re probably all junkies, prostitutes or unmarried mothers by now.  I blame the parents.  (When I write things like that they so make me sound so like a Tory.  I’m really not, honest!)

Kidulthood at IMDB (6.5 / 10)

Kidulthood at Wikipedia


Freeze Frame / Pavement Wars


Freeze Frame  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseSean Veil (Lee Evans) is an ultra-paranoid murder suspect who films himself around the clock to provide an alibi, in case he’s ever accused of another crime.  When the police come calling to investigate a new murder, the one tape that can prove his innocence has mysteriously disappeared.  Past and present collide as Sean strives to prove his innocence of this and all the other crimes that have been laid at his door.  But the accusations and the tension mount and just when Sean thinks it’s all over, an unexpected twist finds him fighting for his life…

2004  –  Certificate: 15  –  UK/Irish Film
Rating Details: Strong violence and language
8.0 out of 10

A couple of months ago I started walking into work again, rather than driving.  Regularly walking the 2.4 miles each way has turned me into a hyper-fit super-being, but it’s not without its drawbacks.  Today I’d like to briefly consider the concept of Pavement Wars.  My journey includes a significant section along the Oxford Road in west Reading, where I find myself walking ‘against the tide’, as most people are going in the other direction and into town.  I’m used to the barbaric anarchy of rush-hour on the Tube, where a fallen body is considered nothing more than an annoying trip hazard; but I thought out on the open road (well pavement) of the Home Counties, things would be a little different.  I thought people would lift their hats in polite greetings as they passed one another, whilst exchanging a few words of small talk, about the weather or cricket scores perhaps?  Sadly it’s more like a pedestrianised version of Carmageddon, with the sort of manoeuvring that would lose a driver his or her license in a moment.  Seriously, it’s like a war zone out there and I’m not winning.  I’ve lost count of the number of time I’ve been forced into walls, bollards and the road, in an effort not to get mowed down by others’ irresponsible walking.  But this guy is fighting back!  Last Thursday, my path was blocked by two women coming in the other direction.  Any decent human being, when walking next to a friend, would make sure they got out of the way if someone was coming in the opposite direction and the two of them were totally occupying the path.  But not these two.  And they both saw me coming along, I’m quite sure of that.  Did they expect me to step out into the road to let them pass, even though I had my back to the traffic?  Was I the innocent victim of bitchy office politics, which meant nether of them wanted to walk behind the other, in case this more submissive stance might have some bearing on an inter-departmental power-struggle?  Perhaps my “Do You Like Waffles?” t-shirt wasn’t scary enough?  Or were they just inconsiderate, stupid, thoughtless, brain-dead bimbos?  Who knows?  Whatever, this time there was going to be no hanging about waiting between the bollards for them to pass.  I braced myself for the inevitable impact, which happened just about here.  As we passed my arm briefly collided with the tall blonde’s.  I suppose with hindsight it was probably the most exciting sexual caress she’s had for ages, but to me it meant only one thing; at last, I was a true Pavement Warrior!  No longer will I cower in shop entrances, between bollards, behind bins or pavement furniture.  Reading take note; there’s a new kid on the block, a new kid who’s no longer gonna be pushed around by people who think the sidewalk owes them a living.  I’m ready for war.  Are they?  Given all that, it’s a shame I’m not about to consider a viewing of “Mad Max”.

In a thriller with more twists than a shop full of Curly Wurly bars (or an avenue of Corkscrew Willow if you prefer), comedian Lee Evans convincingly portrays a paranoid and socially inept guy (Sean) who films his every waking (and sleeping) moment.  Fortunately, we’re spared most of the more ‘intimate’ moments of his life, but  it does make for an original and interesting, although somewhat convoluted movie.  I’m a bit stupid so I’m pretty sure I didn’t manage to follow everything, but it was still a really good watch; (despite the overuse of blue filters and a tiny, non-anamorphic 2.35:1 picture).  So this probably means it’ll be a good watch next time too, as I still won’t know what’s going on; being an idiot does have its advantages.  I did feel sorry for Sean; putting up with dodgy TV reporters, useless and greedy psychologists, a whole population that thought he was a triple murderer and cops that ‘cross the line’, is enough to send anyone a bit round the bend.  The amount of plot twists in the last ten minutes are likely to send most viewers a bit round the bend too.  His ‘underground house’ was interesting though.

The soundtrack is exactly that.  There’re no dumb pop records put into the film to enable some sort of “as featured in” soundtrack to be released.  It’s just decent music added into scenes to make them better in that way that only music can.

Recommended for police detectives, the paranoid, the tabloid press, everyone who hates CCTV and any innocents who’ve ever been accused of murder.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitation.

Top badass moment?  In a film full of twists and turns, the fact that Sean managed to keep himself together enough to do what he needed to do, qualifies as badass.

Freeze Frame at IMDB (6.3 / 10)

Freeze Frame at Wikipedia


Kicks / I’m Experimenting With Drugs


Kicks  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseThe feature debut of Lindy Heymann is a clever comment on modern celebrity culture. Nicole (Kerrie Hayes) a Liverpudlian teenager, spends her time hanging around the gates of Anfield and the Liverpool training ground, desperate for a glimpse of her idol, the star footballer Lee Cassidy (Jamie Doyle).  There she meets aspirant WAG Jasmine (played by Nichola Burley from “StreetDance 3D”), instantly.  They trawl the city and its nightspots, fantasising about a time when they might have Lee for themselves, yet when the news breaks that the footballer is a transfer target for Real Madrid, they take drastic action to prevent him leaving…  Stand-out performances from the two lead actresses make this energetic, funny and tense film one of the best UK debuts of recent years.

2009  –  Certificate: 15  –  British Film
Rating Details: Strong language, sex and injury detail
8.5 out of 10

I’ve just drunk two big mugs of really strong coffee with Kahlúa poured into it.  I’ve not had anything to eat for nearly 24 hours, (yes I’m still on my stupid ‘eat every other day’ diet), so I expect it’s about to have some sort of weird physical, emotional and mental effect on me.  I’m about to experience the outer limits of human perceptions and experiences…  There’s something weird about this film too.

It’s a really bizarre feeling when you see someone who really reminds you of someone else.  You know it’s not the same person, yet you have a natural tendency to react to them as if it is.  You can’t help it, it just happens.  It’s futile to resist, as you’re trying to logically reason your way out of a whole lifetime of experience and memories, many of which you’ve subconsciously distorted over time to better fit your needs.  (I’ve no doubt this is what’s behind the many incidences of random people coming up to me in the street and calling me names; or maybe that’s just how I am?)  Kerrie Hayes (the blonde woman in the trailer) really, really, really reminds me of someone I knew years ago when she was a similar age; in fact we’re still close.  (By “close” I mean we see each other three or four times a year, which for someone with a social circle as meagre as mine, makes us virtually Siamese twins.)  They share the same mannerisms, the same look, the same intensity.  It made watching this film probably a more unique experience for me than normal.  This is a great movie.  It takes a while to get going and the ending is a bit (and I’m using that word again, it must be the coffee) weird.  You probably need to get drunk in ‘real time’ along with the characters, to get the most out of the latter part and to make their behaviour make sense.  The two lead actresses in it are excellent and I love the whole look and feel of the film, depressing though it is.  It’s basically a movie about a friendship between two young women, celebrity culture and living with this ‘illness’.  Definitely recommended.  I imagine if it isn’t already, obsessing over celebrities probably does has a medical name.  The clinical test to determine if you suffer from it being that you can watch a new series of “Celebrity Big Brother” or “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here” and recognise over 25% of the ‘celebrities’ in it.  I’m pleased to say I’d struggle to recognise more than a couple.  So basically what I’m saying is that the media has created a new disease for everyone to suffer from and deliberately spreads the ‘virus’ around in the form of gossip mags, Internet rubbish and fake newspaper stories, in the hope of infecting more people.  What sort of sick bastards are they?  Well it’s certainly crossed one of my red lines, so it’s just as well for them that I’m not World President Obama, or they’d be some serious consideration going on, relating to the arming of freedom fighters like myself with big pairs of scissors, so we can go into shops selling this rubbish and cut it all up into small pieces.  Watch out News UK, we know who you are… even if you have just changed your name out of shame.

The soundtrack is all, slightly atmosphere indie rock.  The individual tunes weren’t that exciting, but they surprisingly all hang together pretty well and nicely enhance the impact of the scenes they’re used in.  They’re a really good fit into the overall feel of the film.

Recommended for bored teenagers, journalists who write about Kim Kardashian’s baby and professional footballers.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  There’s frequently a dearth of badass in movies like this.  It’s all people with no real hope, no belief and no future.  This one is no exception.  So I guess the best I can come up with is the friendship that develops between the two main characters, Nicole and Jasmine.  In a film about the shallowness of celebrity, it’s the one really meaningful thing in it.

Kicks at IMDB (4.3 / 10)


Satanic Sluts: The Black Order Cometh / Piñon Pine Incense Cones


Satanic Sluts:The Black Order Cometh  -  Front DVD Cover (UK Release)The Satanic Sluts are an all female collective (similar to the Suicide Girls), numbering up to 666 of the world’s most sexual, attitudinal, confrontational, creative and challenging women that have ever chosen to walk down the left-hand path.  In this exclusive and unique DVD six members of The Satanic sluts have bared their corrupt souls for your delectation and their dubious pleasure.  Featuring real bloodletting, Japanese rope bondage, whippings and satanic crucifixions, through to fantasized sequences involving torture, medical experiments and vampirism.  Watching this DVD will be akin to having your eyeballs licked – prepare to go blind!

2008  –  Certificate: 18  –  UK Film
Rating Details:  Very strong language, nudity, bloody gore and fetish
3.0 out of 10

I’ve always quite liked scented things for rooms.  I’m not talking about those dreadful air freshener sprays that appear to be a close relation of tear gas; or them plug-in abominations, whose mere existence confirms the inevitability of environmental Armageddon.  No, I’m talking about things like incense and oil burners.  A couple of years ago, two friends came to stay with me and gave me a gift of some piñon pine incense cones.  They were lovely, but sadly they ran out ages ago; (the cones, not the friends).  I hunted around on the Internet looking for a supplier, but they were all in America and the idea of paying zillions for shipping wasn’t that appealing.  All I could find closer to home were piñon incense sticks, which just weren’t the same.  However, I finally came access a cone supplier on eBay a month or two ago, based in the UK.  My flat now smells like an open wood fire in New Mexico.  Apparently it also repels mosquitoes. The only smells likely to emanate from this film are rubber, latex and leather.

Just for a moment, think about your favourite, male, movie action-hero. Okay, now imagine him in a tough spot; his gun’s out of ammo, he’s securely tied up with the film’s beautiful heroine and they’ve only got five minutes before the nuclear bomb they’re sitting on explodes, killing millions of innocents in Los Angeles.  He might say something along the lines of, “this is bad… really bad”.  Now, forget about the bomb and stuff and plonk that same action-hero in front of a TV and make him watch this film for a bit.  Spot the difference in the dialogue?  No, I can’t either.  Part drama and part documentary, this movie is made up of a series of quite random short scenes and interviews with some of the ‘cast’.  It’s probably supposed to provide an insight into an alternative lifestyle, whilst exciting the parts other films can’t reach.  Well it did neither and it all felt strangely old-fashioned to me too.  I’ve never quite understood the appeal of all that gothic, dominatrix in leather stuff; I suppose that comes of being vegan.  I did find myself wondering at one point how hot it must get wearing all that latex.  I use to have a pair of PVC trousers in my more flamboyant days and they used to really warm up if the sun got on them; they were good in wet weather though.  I can only imagine the 170 seconds of footage that the BBFC insisted were cut from the film to enable it to gain an 18 certificate, must have all the plot and ‘good stuff’ in them.  Yes, the compulsory cuts that were required to remove the “unsimulated sight of restrained woman’s arm being cut with a scalpel” must be where it all is.  I guess the sight of someone having needles pushed into various parts of her face is okay though, it was probably just something to do with acupuncture that I’ve misinterpreted.  And as I never open the security grills on the windows in my office at work, the stuff with the cages didn’t seem that big a deal to me.  However, the scariest thing about this film is that it’s the first part of a trilogy.  That will give me sleepless nights.

I’m not sure what sort of music soundtrack this film had.  Industrial techno?  Who knows? Anyway, it wasn’t very good.

Recommended for acupuncturists, nuns, birds in leather and nurses.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.  However, one of the ‘stars’ calls herself Chelsea Chainsaw.  I hope she has the proper ‘industry tickets’ for that name, at least CS30 and hopefully CS31 too.

Top badass moment?  Someone has lots of needles pushed into her face, for the entertainment of others.  It’s not made entirely clear what she gets out of it, but whatever, that’s kind of badass.  I might give it a miss myself; there’re some reruns of “Bargain Hunt” with David Dickinson I’m keen to catch up with this weekend.

Satanic Sluts: The Black Order Cometh at IMDB (2.3 / 10)


Hardware / My New Water Meter


Hardware  -  Front Blu-ray Cover (UK ReleaseIn a post-apocalyptic, nuclear-scarred future, the world has become a radioactive, neon drenched, industrial wasteland, populated by the disenfranchised and the demented.  Amidst the dust and decay of a poisoned landscape, a Zone Tripper manages to salvage a disembodied robotic head.  But what is initially mistaken for discarded techno trash is in fact the mechanical remains of the M.A.R.K. 13, a merciless killing machine programmed to activate, exhilarate and exterminate.  After ending up in the isolated apartment of an introverted artist, the M.A.R.K. 13 re-assembles itself for an eye-gouging, chainsaw-wielding, body-drilling, skull-crushing rampage, where no flesh shall be spared.  Directed by Richard Stanley (“Dust Devil”), “Hardware” features a face pounding soundtrack and appearances from rock legends Iggy Pop, Motörhead’s Lemmy and Fields Of The Nephilim’s Carl McCoy.  Available for the first time as a Special Edition, “Hardware” remains a highly original, mind-melding, Cyberpunk, horror/sci-fi cult classic.  So plug-in, turn on, download and prepare to have your inner circuits pulled out and re-wired.

1990  –  Certificate 18  –  British Film
Rating Details:  Strong bloody violence and sex
5.0 out of 10

I had a water meter fitted yesterday.  When I went to make a cup of tea afterwards I got soaked by a sudden explosion of water out of the tap, as the supply sorted itself out in the pipes.  Nice.  I currently pay about £330 a year for water rates, so I’ve convinced myself that by having a meter fitted, after just a few months I’ll have saved enough money to retire and go on that round-the-world cruise I’m always promising myself.  (Well I know the maths doesn’t really add up and I’d probably get bored after about five minutes on a cruise, but it’s the principle I’m trying to establish here.)  Who’d have thought that saving the planet could be so profitable?  I wonder how long you can go for and not flush a toilet?  A week?  Well it works for washing up…  In this film, water seems to be in pretty short supply; they should all have got meters fitted.

It’s the future, after some unspecified nuclear incident has taken place.  We join a guy who’s collecting junk in a desert.  This guy then sells some of the items he’s found in the sand, which include a bust-up robotic head, to a chap called Mo.  Mo, who’s obviously a true romantic, takes it to his girlfriend’s place in the city for her as a Christmas present.  Despite the fact that Jill’s more than a bit pissed off with him for being away so long, his gift has the desired effect (if you know what I mean).   She’s a sculptor, so she decides to put it into something she’s working on.  Unbeknownst to them, the head was part of a secret government war-bot programme.  Oh dear, it comes back to life and rebuilds itself from common household appliances; (I hate it when that happens, it really interferes with your day and the cost of replacing everything afterwards can be quite considerable).  It then starts killing people; although luckily it never really gets out of her flat.  Truth be told, this is a pretty crappy film.  It has a few interesting cameos, such as Iggy Pop as a radio DJ and Lemmy as a taxi-driver, plus some interesting musical choices, but most of the time it’s too dark or orange, or both, to make watching what’s going on a rewarding experience.  Even on Blu-ray it was still a murky mess.  One random sub-plot revolves around a pervy neighbour, who spies on Jill with a telescope whilst he ‘enjoys’ himself.  Unfortunately, we never really get to see what he finds so inspiring, thanks to the Anadin-sponsored visuals.  If ever there was a bad advert for sun beds, this film is it; there’s more orange about than in an episode of “Bargain Hunt” with David Dickinson.  The times I found myself thinking, “Jill, put the bloody light on, for God’s sake”)…  For all the time I spent in her apartment, I never managed to gain any sort of understanding as to its layout.  How hard can it be to find a large robot in a flat?  It’s not all bad by any means and it does have some interesting elements, but overall they just don’t overcome the ‘over-stylish’ look of the film.

One of this movie’s saving graces is its soundtrack. From traditional American folk to Public Image Ltd. we get a range of music that does its best to make up for what we can (or more accurately can’t) see.  “This is what you want, this is what you get.”  I don’t think so.

Recommend for people who like cult sci-fi.  And it is a British, low-budget sci-fi film from 1990; can you even name another?

No cats or decapitations, plus one ‘built-in’ chainsaw.  Someone does get sliced in two though, by a front door closing on him.  (I don’t think you’d get one that tough from B&Q.)

Top Badass moment?  To be honest she had the chance to get away on more than one occasion, but no one likes their place to get trashed by strangers.  Reluctant hero maybe, but Jill’s defence of her home is most definitely badass.  Not many people manage to really break a baseball bat over anyone’s (or anything’s) head.   I hope her insurers will take all this into account when they come around to assess her claim.  I wouldn’t want to be a Jehovah Witnesses in her neighbourhood.

Hardware at IMDB (5.7 / 10)

Hardware at Wikipedia


The Waiting Room / Happy Shopper Brown Sauce


The Waiting Room  -  Front DVD Cover (UK Release)“The Waiting Room” is the beautiful, feature debut of Academy-Award nominated writer/director Roger Golby.  The sterling cast give ‘top-notch performances’ in their portrayal of two strangers – Anna (Anne-Marie Duff) and Stephen (Ralf Little) – who are brought together by chance as they sit together in a deserted waiting room.  Here they make a brief but powerful connection, forgetting their individual lives for an isolated moment in time.  As Stephen and Anna’s lives move onwards, they find themselves thinking more and more of the stranger they met in the waiting room – and what would happen should they meet again.  This highly acclaimed and deeply moving film presents a fresh, edgy and totally romantic view of contemporary life and love in London.

2008  –  Certificate: 15  –  British Film
Rating Details: One strong sex scene and strong language
8.5 out of 10

On my way home from work two days ago I did a bit of food shopping.  A sudden impulse buy was a bottle of brown sauce.  I can’t remember the last time I bought any, but it must have been years ago.  If I’d had any sense I’d have bought some decent stuff, like HP.  Instead, I bought some cheap, Happy Shopper Brown Sauce.  It tasted sort of okay, but it contains about a tonne of salt per gram.  (No, I don’t know how that’s possible either; I guess it’s this sort of ‘new physics’ that makes the experiments being done with the Large Hadron Collider so exciting.)  Using it gave me a sore throat and I could feel my arteries bulging as if they were about to explode, thanks to my suddenly elevated blood pressure.  All in all it’s pretty toxic stuff.  I can only imagine that a large-scale deployment of Happy Shopper Brown Sauce would probably cross someone’s “red line” somewhere or other…  I’m glad I only have the one bottle.  I’ve not checked frame by frame, but I’m not aware that this film contains any brown  sauce, or  sauce of any colour for that matter.  If anyone spots any do let me know.

I can’t understand why this film isn’t better known.  It’s set in Wandsworth, south London and features a lot of Southern Trains suburban services in it; I mean seriously, how much more cool and fashionable could it possibly get?  It’s a story that revolves around three couples, their relationships and a chance meeting between two people in a waiting room at Wandsworth Common Station.  This is a gentle but hugely touching film about ordinary people.  Like many character-driven stories, it just sort of jumps into a period in their lives and then after a while it leaves them again, giving us a glimpse into their thoughts, feeling and actions.  It has a number of scenes that provide the sort of emotional impact that all good films should and characters, though flawed, it’s still easy to sympathise with.  Funny in places and intensely sad in others, at times it felt a bit too close to home for my linking, which is partly why it’s such a brilliant movie.

The soundtrack is generally restrained and unmemorable, but quietly gets on with business of extending the impact of the scenes it’s used in.  A job well done.

Recommended for anyone who accepts that their life is as good as it’s ever going to get.

No cat, chainsaws or decapitation.

Top badass moment?  Stephen, one of the two main characters, works in a nursing home.  When my mum was in a nursing home all the care staff there seemed too overworked to really spend much time with the residents.  Perhaps that’s the reality of it, but if any of them did ever have a bit of time on their hands, I’d have wanted them to be like Stephen.

The Waiting Room at IMDB (6.3 / 10)


Imagine Me & You / Pubs (In Didcot)


Imagine Me & You  -  Front DVD Cover (UK Release)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.

Imagine Me & You at IMDB (6.7 / 10)


Little Deaths / Margaret Thatcher


Little Deaths  -  Front DVD Cover (US Release)Welcome to the terrifying world of “Little Deaths”, where everyday people are thrust into nightmares that push the limits of sensuality and violence beyond the breaking point.  From a young homeless woman sucked into a whirlpool of cruelty by a wealthy couple, to a call girl used as a tool in a diabolical medical scheme and a domineering woman with a very unusual phobia, no one escapes unscathed and most don’t make it out alive.  Featuring a mesmerizing soundtrack and unpredictable twists and turns, this stylish, groundbreaking vision of terror has been hailed as “one of the most unique and challenging horror anthologies in quite some time” (FEARnet).

2011  –  Certificate: Unrated  –  British Film
8.5 out of 10

Margaret Thatcher has died.  The human personification of Marmite; you either love her or hate her.  An old woman of 87, suffering from senile dementia and living in a nursing home, (well okay, in the Ritz Hotel in London), has gone to a better place.  Well better that is, until she starts ‘sorting things out’ there.  I’ve watched loads of movies where the dead do (or try to) come back to life, with varying results; right about now I expect that a line of refugees from Heaven or Hell (depending on your point of view) to be winding its way back to Earth, resulting in a humanitarian crises that will make Syria look like Platform 5 at Reading Station after a train’s been cancelled.  The amount of shit written about her everywhere in the past few days has been quite overpowering; I’d forgotten just what a hated witch she was (and still is).  She’s getting a better press in Argentina than here!  I guess it’s easier to be rude about someone once they’ve died; it not like she’s going to get up out of her bed and twat anyone with her handbag.  You’re all tough guys now, aren’t you?  I can’t understand why anyone had a problem with her selling all the stuff we already owned back to us; sounds like a great business model to me.  I certainly enjoyed myself as one of the 3,500,000 unemployed in the 1980s, along with my time on that Government training programme that suddenly got cancelled one day; I wasn’t able to afford to buy those lovely oranges from the greengrocers on the hill in Rayners Lane after that.  And who can forget her services to vegan-kind, in her earlier guise as The Milk Snatcher?  Smashing the Unions, fighting General Galtieri and dealing with a party full of Tories would have been easy after dealing with the UK’s dairy industry.  I hate how people always dwell on the negative things she did.  She won three general elections for goodness sake; the only other person to do that recently was Tony Blair and everyone loves him.  Northerners, they’ve got such a blinked view of life; they can only see as far as the end of the mine shaft they’re working in, never the big picture.  Other than in Preston, where I think I still owe about £25 in Poll Tax, I can now freely explore the former council estates of Britain, safe in the knowledge that I’m surrounded by good, lower-middle-class owner-occupiers working in IT, breathing in air that’s free of heavy-industry pollutants or coal smog, knowing that thanks to Right to Buy and the resulting shortage of public housing and the artificially inflated cost of houses, I’ll be stuck in privately rented accommodation forever; until that is, I need to be moved to a nursing home like the Ritz.  Thank you Maggie, I’ll miss you.  You were great in “The Iron Lady” too; an excellent horror film that you really did look a lot like Meryl Streep in.  Anyway, I’m looking forward to playing my “In Memoriam: Margaret Thatcher” CD from Chumbawamba that got delivered yesterday.  I ordered it on 3rd March 2009, so it’s about time it arrived.  This is a horror film too.

Actually it’s a horror anthology.  I don’t normally like these but this one was actually really good.  Three stories.  The first stars a guy who looks scarily like George Osborne acting like Iain Duncan Smith, demonstrating the Government’s latest policy to deal with ‘welfare scroungers’.  The second features a bucket of semen; it’s been a while since I came across one of those.  And the final one’s about guy in a dog mask with a dominant girlfriend who’s terrified of dogs.  All pretty grim stuff.  Maggie was right, there really isn’t any such thing as society.  They’re all pretty pervy though.

The music varies between the three films, but is generally fine, if a bit forgettable.  However, the final one ends with a section that’s top stuff; brilliant.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Recommended for Government ministers, vivisectionists, homeless people, Nazis, prostitutes, drug-addicts and animal lovers.  You will find yourself in at least one of these films.

Top badass moment?  When you’ve just been done over by a George Osborne look-alike and his wife, it’s good to know that you and your mates will still get the last laugh.  Another Government policy to deal with spending on welfare goes wrong…

Little Deaths at IMDB (4.6 / 10)


Notes on a Scandel / Nightmare in Cactus World (Again)


Notes on a Scandal  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)Academy Award Winners Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett give outstanding, Oscar-nominated performances – one as a woman consumed by her colleague’s guilty secret, the other, a victim to her own dark obsessions – in this intelligent and stylish thriller.  Dench mesmerises as Barbara Covett, a teacher who rules over her classroom with an iron fist, yet leads a desperate, solitary life outside it.  That is, until she meets radiant new art teacher Sheba Hart (Blanchett).  Although at first overjoyed with her newfound kindred spirit, when Barbara discovers that Sheba is having an affair with a student, her jealously and rage spiral out of control.  Also starring Bill Nighy, “Notes on a Scandle” is “The first great British film of the year” (The Guardian).

2006  –  Certificate: 15  –  UK
Rating Details: Strong language and sex references
8.5 out of 10

Almost two years ago a nightmare descended upon Cactus World.  The entity known as The Amplifier became ill.  It suddenly ceased to have a voice; its thoughts, so important to every citizen of Cactus World, were gone.  Not a sound was to be heard from its mighty 7.2 outputs.  To locate a cure, special doctors in a land far, far away had to be tracked down.  The Amplifier then had to be prepared for the perilous odyssey it needed to undertake to visit them.  In the meantime the population were left despairing, with little to occupy their minds, as most of Cactus World’s entertainment infrastructure ground to a halt.  Some basic music services were eventually enabled through alternative means, but these bore little resemblance to the thoughts of The Amplifier, whilst TV and films remained entirely off-line.  Of course, as we all know now, The Amplifier eventually returned from its journey and with the help of Cactus World’s finest scientists, was reconnected in all the right places.  But this weekend, disaster!  The Amplifier became silent again.  Exactly the same evil curse has befallen it, as Onkyo’s entirely shit amplifier design raised its ugly head once more.  Government officials were observed frantically trying to put a call through to the doctors that helped us before; (unfortunately they seem to be closed at the weekend).  However, the citizens of Cactus World are nothing, if not resourceful.  After what happened before, a new emergency procedure was developed, known as Protocol One.  For the last 18 months this has been distributed to the entire population; schools have taught it as part of the curriculum, anyone wishing to settle in Cactus World has been required to lean about it.  It was a moment no one hoped they’d experience, but when the warning sirens unexpectedly went off on Saturday, indicating a malfunctioning Amplifier, it was hard not to be moved by the sight of the entire population quietly but determinedly going to their designated muster points, or reporting for their civic emergency duties; heroes, every one of them.  Anyway, Protocol One has two elements.  The first is focused on the safely of our citizens, (and if you’re a little bit cynical like me, is also there to prevent too much civil disobedience).  The second involves a plan to entirely reconfigure the national entertainmnet nexus, to bypass The Amplifier and provide full access to both music and films, something that has never ever been attempted before.  At the moment I’m feeling quite emotional and deeply indebted, along with the rest of the population I’m sure, to Cactus World’s best scientific minds and highly trained engineers, who have successfully carried out this complex procedure.  Pushing the boundaries of technology ever further.  Full, high-definition pictures and sound across all DVD and Blu-ray copyright region zones are now available and have been fully(ish) tested on this film.  It’s true, my living room does looks a bit like the Starship Enterprise on a bad day in Engineering, with cables and open maintenance panels all over the place, but the important thing is it works and I can watch films in the manner in which I’m accustomed.  This film pushes boundaries too, but in its case those of relationships.

When she’s not running Her Majesty’s Secret Service and telling James Bond to get his act together, Judi Dench spends her time as a psycho lesbian, teaching at a typical secondary school in north London.  Yes, it surprised me too.  Starting out with a ‘not that original’ plot about a teacher having an affair with a student, this proved to be a very tense thriller that ends in the way that all films featuring a ‘psycho something or other’ should end.  The acting’s terrific, the script’s great and it’s good to see a bit of anonymous, unglamorous London featured in a film for a change.  It’s also a movie that under the surface has a lot to say about chronic loneliness.  Both the primary characters are easy to sympathise with too, despite their behaviour.  This is a film you should see.

Recommended for psycho nutters everywhere; and school-teachers.

1 cat, no chainsaws or decapitations.  Portia, a beautiful, long-haired cat, has a small but key role, adding both depth to the plot and an air of pathos that the film was otherwise sadly lacking.  Unfortunately, as is often the case, I believe its lines, both meows and purrs, were dubbed.  When is the film industry going to end this shameless practice?

Top badass moment?  Judi Dench’s Barbara; a great, unsung movie bastard-from-hell.  So bad she’s badass.

Notes on a Scandal at IMDB (7.5 / 10)


Eat The Rich: 5.0 Stars


Eat The Rich  -  Front DVD CoverI’ve won £500 worth of vouchers for Marks & Spencer.  I completed some questionnaire about holidays at http://www.tickbox.net and then got randomly picked by a computer as the winner.  After getting over my initial excitement and then realising I wasn’t actually going to be able to retire on the proceeds, I got down to the business of deciding exactly how I was going to squander away my newly found fortune.  At this point I realised that Marks & Spencer doesn’t actually sell anything I want/need.  Whatever it’s demographic is, I’m not in it.  There are only so many pairs of sensible underpants and socks you can wear.  I guess it’s just a bit too upmarket for me.  I could buy about 220 bottles of Lancashire Dark Mild I suppose; I’ve no idea what it tastes like but the M&S website says its vegan.  And I ought to get a new bag for work; anyone who’s seen the torn and battered one I use at the moment would probably agree with that idea.  I need a new potato peeler too, as I accidentally threw my beloved ‘high performance’ one away a couple of months ago, by leaving it in the bag with the peelings.  A decent toaster would be good as well; the handle you push down has fallen off mine and some of the plastic at the top has melted.  And some new drinking glasses, as I seem to have broken all but one of my nice ones; and a new duvet and pillows for the winter; and a couple of decent kitchen knives and some new pans.  Humm, maybe I can spend them after all.  Oh, and if anyone is interested, I’ve completed 895 questionnaires on this web site and this is the first time I’ve ever won anything.  I reckon that’s works out at about £8.50/hour.  Anyway, now I’m so filthy rich, this film should scare me….

1987  –  Certificate: FSK-16  –  United Kingdom

I love this film.  It’s the sort of film that was only made in the 80s, at a time when Britain was producing lots of new, alternative comedy; okay some of it was rubbish but at least it was happening.  Nowadays most comedy, at least what you get to see on TV, is pretty bland. This movie is a mess of politics, civil unrest, greed and generally awesome nonsense.  And I have to ‘fess up that it’s one of those films that I quote lines from in general conversation, from time to time.  It also has loads of cameos from properly famous and well-known people.  Other reasons to like this film?  I love the scene in the dole office; I don’t believe there’s a person alive who hasn’t wanted to do something like that, at least once in their life, when faced with annoying, inefficient and unfair, petty bureaucracy.   As Alex says in the film, “You’d do the same if you had the guts!”  I also love the basic premise of the story that demonstrates that vegans (as usual) would be able to take the moral high ground.  It has a Triumph Herald in it (a V6 of course), which was my second favourite car when I was in my teens.  Most of the outdoor scenes were filmed in Oxfordshire too; I’ve tried to work out the exact location but I’m not sure, but I think it’s probably south Oxfordshire somewhere.

Recommended for people who remember the 80s and how crappy they were a lot of the time.  25 years on and not a lot has changed, with many of this film’s themes in the news as much today as they were then.  Depressingly so in fact.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.  A lot of people do get turned into mincemeat though.

Top badass moment?  Alex in the dole office; one of my favourite all-time movie scenes.  I’m fortunate that I’ve not had to make a claim for any benefits for quite a while, but in the 80s/90s I had to deal with many less than competent jobsworths, idiots and assholes at the DHSS; (no wonder it ended up getting rebranded as Jobcentre Plus).  Alex is a true hero for the downtrodden masses and taking on the establishment is 100% pure badass.

Eat The Rich at IMDB (5.7/10)


Eden Lake: 3.5 Stars


Eden Lake  -  Front Blu-ray CoverWorking in the ‘environmental sector’ as I do, I frequently find myself watching films and noticing ‘environmental errors’.  This one has a classic.  Most of the movie appears to have been shot towards the end of the summer, given the condition and size of the Bracken that’s seen growing everywhere.  However, the aerial shots appear to have been filmed in mid winter, given the totally dead appearance of the Bracken and the lack of leaves on many of the trees.  I know, I know, I should ignore this stuff, but it’s hard to!  Talking of big mistakes, Jenny and Steve made one or two in this movie.

2008  –  Certificate: 18  –  United Kingdom
Rating Details:  Strong bloody violence and sustained terrorisation

Eden Lake is what the director happily calls a “genre film”.  Group go somewhere isolated, group piss someone off, group get chased, group suffer the consequences; in this case it’s a young couple and some local kids, who spend most of the movie chasing each other around the woods.  Having said that, it is a really good example of this type of horror/thriller, with decent acting, good photography/effects and well thought-out characters.  The latter do actually manage to act in a reasonably realistic way most of the time, even if there were just a few too many coincidences used to push the plot along.  I’ve slept in a tent ‘in the middle of nowhere’ lots of times and I’ve always had a slight fear that one night some weirdo is going to come and ‘disturb’ me.  This film did nothing to allay my fears.  I did struggle to relate to the couple (Jenny and Steve) a little.  They were nice enough, but God were they boring; and he was also an irritating yuppie too.  His attempts to be the ‘alpha male’ were somewhat pathetic as well, if sadly realistic.  They were the classic, “what a shame they’re going to build all over this nice bit of land, so let’s go and enjoy it first by driving there in our 4×4, just to use as much fuel as we can doing so” middle-class couple.  Very light green ‘greens’ if you ask me.  I bet she uses a reusable shopping bag to buy her organic veg each time she goes to the shops in said vehicle.  It was quite a while before I started to feel sorry for them.  Not that the kids were any better; rural delinquents with equally crappy parents.  The ending is pretty brutal too.  And finally, a quick note for horror script writers.  If you’re running around in the woods in England (and probably most other places too) trying to avoid others, (like in this film), it’s really not that hard to hide.  Two intelligent adults trying escape from a group of thick kids in an area that probably covers 100s of acres, really shouldn’t be that difficult. The place was full of tall Bracken.  Just! Don’t! Walk! Along! The! Paths!

Recommended for fans of classic modern horror.  (Can you actually have classic modern anything?)

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.

Top badass moment?  Well all the kids were thick plebs, (and my thanks to the Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, Member of Parliament for Sutton Coldfield and Government Chief Whip, for reminding me of that one).  Steve was simply an annoying yuppie, too full of his own importance for anything he could ever do to be considered badass.  So this only leaves Jenny really.  She never totally got into full bad-bitch-from-hell mode, but for a primary school teacher she didn’t do too badly.  That makeshift dagger was very effective!  Considering the trying circumstances, her efforts probably should be considered badass.

Eden Lake at IMDB (6.9/10)


Five Minutes of Heaven: 3.5 Stars


Five Minutes of Heaven  -  Front DVD CoverAltogether then, to the tune of “Celebration”, that horrible, horrible Kool & the Gang hit from 1980.  Ulster Bank has finally managed to get my account details up to date; it’s only been 21 days since it broke its computer and my account stopped working.  I wonder how many of the four credit card companies that haven’t been paid on time as a result of this, (“I’m afraid you won’t be able to make any manual payments from your account until it’s fixed”, said the nice man from Ulster Bank on the phone last week), will be looking to put a ‘hit’ out on me in retaliation?  (Look, since the ‘Banking Crisis’ they’re pretty hot on this stuff; killing off a few, stupid late-payers will probably help the global economy no end.  Yes technically it’s illegal, but since when has that been an issue for a bank?)  On a more serious note, I can’t wait to see all the different bailiffs turn up on the doorstep and start fighting amongst themselves as to who gets my TV and lava lamp.  So now let’s go from the Ulster Bank to a film about Ulster (sort of).

2009  –  Certificate: 15  –  United Kingdom

America has spent the last 37 years churning out films about Vietnam, in an attempt to rewrite history or justify it, (depending on your viewpoint).  Northern Ireland is becoming the UK’s own personal Vietnam, as more and more films about The Troubles get released, to, em, ‘review’ what went on.  This one does have the added authenticity that it’s based on real interviews with two men who were involved as victim and perpetrator.  Liam Neeson is great as the downbeat killer, whilst James Nesbitt (who’s an Undertones fan and therefore ‘the business’ as far as I’m concerned) does a great job as the increasingly unhinged victim’s brother.  It does lurch from genuinely menacing to somewhat comedic from time to time in a rather haphazard way, but what’s going to happen in the end is pretty well hidden and although it feels a bit slow at times it does keep the attention; (well it kept mine anyway).  I always feel a bit crap about being entertained by films based on real life tragedies, especially ones that identify the individuals concerned; kind of like laughing at a funeral, or looking for the bodies at the scene or a car crash.  I’m glad most of this stuff has now stopped in Northern Ireland.  I lived there for years and I really liked it, well except the crappy weather and that fact that hardly any non-local bands played gigs there; I’m convinced I was exposed to too much country music when I was there and this has had a negative and long-lasting effect on my mind…

Recommended for people who like decent drama with a bit of an edge.  (This a weak statement I know; I just can’t think of anything else to say right now.)

No cats and no decapitations.

Top badass moment?  I can’t say, because it would spoil the ending if you haven’t seen it.  If you have seen it then you’ll know what I mean.

Five Minutes of Heaven on IMDB (6.7)


Attack the Block: 3.5 Stars


Attack the Block  -  Front DVD coverI’ve recently come to realise that I live in a drug-dealing hotspot.  I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve looked out of my window and seen a couple of dudes parked up outside at the back of the car park, only for another car to drive up, someone get out, go over to the first car, swap some brief ‘pleasantries’ by the window and then go back to the second car and drive off.  This is often followed by the first car leaving shortly after.  I guess they could be twitchers, swapping sightings of some rare bird recently seen in Reading, but somehow they don’t really look like they have much of an interest in ornithology.  I think next time I see anyone there I’ll go out to them and ask which rare warbler they’re searching for.  If they engage me in spirited conversation about the habit, feeding patterns and mating rituals of their favourite bird I’ll know I had them all wrong; on the other hand, if they get out a piece or shiv and merk me, then I‘ll know I was right and go and grass them to the feds.  (See?  I learnt loads of new words from this film.)  What’s stranger, is that the bins in the corner of the car park suffer regularly from fly-tipping; quite why people make the effort to drive there to dump stuff, but then can’t quite manage to put the rubbish in the bins rather than all over the ground escapes me, but that’s lazy, dirty bastards for you I guess.  Anyway, what’s weird is that I’ve never seen this actually being done, it just appears, by magic.  Clearly fly-tipping is a far bigger offence than drug-dealing.

2011 – Certificate: 15 – United Kingdom

Rating Details: Strong language, violence, gore and soft drug use

This film features a drug dealer, but it’s okay because it’s only Nick Frost and he always plays Cornetto eating characters in films, well except this one.  He’s not really in it that much anyway.  This is a good film.  It could have been a great film but it doesn’t quite get there.  I guess the ‘greatness fairy’ was out of town when this movie was being made, which is a shame really as it’s a lot of fun and filmed and based in south London.  Any film that features the always slightly seedy Oval Tube Station at the start is going to be good in my book.  I rather liked the aliens in it, even though I can imagine a range of soft toys modelled on them wouldn’t look out of place in a young child’s bed; all fluffy and cute.  I can also imagine that their teeth wouldn’t look out of place in a Government health promotion on oral hygiene either.  They all looked like they had really good teeth.  (I’ve got to go to the dentist soon, so I think I’ve got a bit of a fixation about teeth at the moment; where else can you go and pay a lot of money to someone to deliberately hurt you?  No, not that sort of pain, I mean the ‘bad’ sort; pervert.) 

Recommended for hoddies and chavs everywhere, who want to expand their vocabulary.  It worked for me and I don’t even own a hoodie.  (On the rare occasion I do put on a hoddie for some reason, I just get an overwhelming urge to start shadow boxing, skipping and appear an exercise montage, à la Rocky.)

No cats and 1 decapitation.  (Well I think there was one; that crash helmet certainly went flying across the room and I think it probably still had a head inside it.)

Top badass moment?  When you’re dealing with alien scum, there’s no shortage of badass moments.  However, I’m selecting tiny-tot tearaways Probs and Mayhem and their Super Soaker filled with petrol.  You grow up fast in south London.  Streetwise nine-year-olds are badass; and probably really annoying too if you live near any.

Attack the Block on IMDB (6.8)


28 Weeks Later: 4.5 Stars


28 Weeks Later  -  Front DVD CoverThis film features a Britain that’s been entirely depopulated by an infection; just about everyone who wasn’t evacuated is now dead.  (And to think it all happened because of some cruel and pointless experiments on animals in the prequel “28 Days Later”).  Most of it’s filmed in London.  It’s set around six months after the first movie and focuses on the repopulation of the country, which has started in and around Canary Wharf.  NATO (mainly the US Army) is in charge of this.  While watching this movie I was struck by just how inexplicably uncomfortable the later felt.  There’s no suggestion in the film that they’re doing this for any other reason than the obvious one, but it made me realise just how undesirable the armed forces from another country might feel if they were in your country and in control of things.  I suppose it’s a feeling of powerlessness and not totally trusting people who aren’t ‘your own’.  Needed perhaps, helpful possibly, but not really wanted.  I think I now understand a little more about the relationship between the West and elsewhere and why countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya (and even Russia) react they way they do to Western involvement in their affairs.  All politicians and soldiers should watch this part of this film.  

2007  –  Certificate: 18  –  United Kingdom

Rating Details: Strong bloody violence and gore

This is a sequel that’s actually better than the original.  It’s an action-horror and possibly one of my ten favourite horror films of all time.  It’s weird seeing so many shots of London entirely empty of people and traffic.  With some great special effects, it works well as both a horror and an action film.  It’s only its MTV-esque fast editing (which gives anyone over the age of 16 a headache) during some of the action scenes that I don’t like.  It has a few classic “oh that’s so stupid” plot moments, but by and large it’s edge of the seat stuff; good music too.  And did I get the very slight feeling that it might just have ended with a set up for another film?  I think I did.  This is a film you should watch.

Recommended for anyone who thinks zombies would be much better if they didn’t tend to stagger around very slowly; and for anyone who doesn’t like banks.

No cats and at least six decapitations.  (You’d need to watch parts of it frame by frame to get the correct number; a helicopter blade can do a lot of damage!)

Top badass moment?  Seeing the City fire-bombed to bits by the US Air Force.  That’ll give us a banking crisis to really whine about.  Bye-bye Canary Wharf Tower; a building that normally contains thousands of people who’re employed to press buttons all day; how constructive.  Far more useful I’m sure, than a plumber, a carpenter, a scientist, an engineer, a teacher, a farmer, a nurse, a care worker…

28 Weeks Later at IMDB


Scum: 3.5 Stars


Scum  -  Front DVD CoverMy amplifier has broken down.  This nightmare scenario means all I can do at home now is sit and stare at the walls.  Life as I know it, is over, so in many ways it’s a bit like being assimilated by the Borg, without the good parts.  Films like “The Terminator” and “War Games” paint a frightening vision of the future, where computers and machines control and ultimately try to eliminate humans.  I’d like to think this sort of thing is just entertainment, but sadly I know better.  When I switched on my laptop at work today many of the keys failed to function, despite my abuse of the keyboard in an attempt to get it to type them; (who would have though the letter Z was so important)?  The mouse was quite dead too (and I can’t pin the latter on Penny either).  It now needs fixing.  No one is going to tell me that this is just a coincidence.  The amplifier and the laptop are clearly communicating with a level of sophistication that us stupid humans cannot even begin to comprehend.  My amplifier and laptop are just the start; tomorrow it’s probably going to be nuclear missiles and stuff.  Great, that’s going to really mess up my weekend of wall watching.  How depressing.

1979  –  Certificate: 18  –  United Kingdom

On a similar(ish) theme, this is a powerful and depressing film about life in a borstal.  It was made in 1977 as a drama for the BBC, which then promptly banned it before actually showing it (duh), so it was eventually remade as a film in 1979, (which incidentally was the best year ever for music).  It offers a peek at how genuinely crappy Britain was in the late 70s; (a bit like now, but without mobile phones, big TVs or climate change).  Thank goodness for punk!  Anyway, it’s got loads of ‘proper’ violence in it; none of that woosy American stuff with guns and knives, just metal pipes, fists and pool balls in socks etc.  It’s also got genuinely harrowing scenes of suicide and male rape, as well as some dreadful racism too.  However, none of this feels glamourised or put in just to liven things up.  It’s quality stuff, but ultimately just reflects the futility of life.  Deep.  I’ve always felt I was a bit of a philosopher on the quiet.

Recommended for people that want to see high quality drama.  It’s an ideal training video for London’s street gangs too, now the police have confiscated all their guns and stuff.

No cats and no decapitations.

Top badass moment?  It has to be the riot in the food hall.  Pointless, stupid and ultimately achieving nothing (except a beating).  However, taking back a feeling of controlling your own destiny, however fleeting, is badass.

Scum at IMDB


Creep: 3.5 Stars


Creep  -  Front DVD CoverI’ve probably made thousands of journeys on the London Underground in my life, a lot of them early in the morning or late at night.  I think I can say that I’ve never noticed anyone famous, seen any fights, heard a gun-shot or met any homicidal maniacs.  I’ve met a small number of weirdos, but that’s about it.  I’m always secretly impressed by people who seemingly see a politician or film star on the Underground nearly every week, have tales of gunman or knife-wielding hoddies to share, or who regularly get trapped for hours in tunnels on broken-down trains.  Maybe it has something to do with my ability to put on an iPod and fall asleep in almost any location; to me, the Underground is basically an uncomfortable, mobile bed.  It’s like sleeping in a communal dormitory, where half the people look as miserable as sin, wear suits and never speak, whilst the other half talk all the time (but never in English), wear a range of strange clothing (I guess it’s all in fashion somewhere in the world) and continually look with confusion at a pocket-sized map of the Tube.  However, I love the Underground, it’s a great social leveler.  It’s a place where everyone can share equally in its sweltering, fetid, humid, summer ambience; enjoy having their faces pushed into other peoples’ armpits; or try desperately not to end up standing in the middle of an aisle, miles away from the doors that they’ve got zero chance of getting to when they want to get off and where whoever’s sitting adjacent to where they’re standing will have an eye-level and close-up view of their crotch, whether they want to or not; (remember kids, don’t get ‘excited’ and always go to the toilet and check your undies for the dreaded VPL, before you travel).  It’s another example of a great bit of British engineering!  (The Tube, not crotches.)

2004  –  Certificate: 18  –  United Kingdom

Rating Details: Strong bloody violence

This is a pretty good horror.  The London Underground has plenty of potential to provide a creepy environment in which to trap people and it’s cool to see it used in this way in a film.  It does drift off into torture porn territory towards the end, but it’s still entertaining.  There’s loads of unrealistic stuff in it too, but let’s not dwell on that, as it will only spoil an otherwise pretty good movie.  It also does a good job of making you have some sympathy for the ‘baddie’ too.  I do hope all the survivors got checked for Weil’s Disease afterwards; it would be shame to escape from everything, only to succumb to an unpleasant disease a few weeks late; that would really suck.

Recommended for Tube fans, commuters and people who enjoy swimming in sewerage.  If you fall into all three groups, then you’re in for a real treat; and you’re one sick puppy too.

No cats and no decapitations.  There were a lot of rats and some decent neck cutting scenes though.

Top badass moment?  It really has to be Kate throughout most of the film.  She has to try to save the life of a guy who tries to rape her, deal with unhelpful London Underground staff, swim around with rats in sewerage, watch several people get killed, deal with the baddie herself and then still have to get home afterwards.  Shit happens; dealing with it is badass.

Creep at IMDB


The Italian Job: 4.5 Stars


The Italian Job  -  Front DVD CoverBefore I wised-up and realised that cars were the spawn of the Devil and responsible for the political, environmental and social decline of our world, I was a bit obsessed with them.  When I was in my early teens I’d buy Motor magazine every week; I’d send off for reviews of cars from other magazines too, just so I could spend hours and hours comparing them.  I went to the Motor Show.  I had just about every pack of Top Trump cards you could get that were about cars.  I had about 50 Matchbox toy cars and regularly used to run them along a long section of track that started at my bedroom window (on the first floor) and went down into the garden below, before carefully putting them back in the box in the order of the ones that got the furthest down the track.  (I must have got a lot of exercise keep running up and down the stairs and into the garden, if I did that each time for all 50.)   I had a Saturday and school holiday job in a car repair shop, where I worked for several years.  (I earned £5 a day).  I could recognise and name just about every car on the road, in a matter of seconds.  When I was old enough to drive, I had several cars at different times, which I pulled to bits and rebuilt in various ways.  So basically, what I’m saying is that I knew everything about cars.

So what car did I decide to drive?  A Mini?  Nope.  In fact I choose the arch nemesis of the Mini, the Hillman Imp.  (I also had a Singer Chamois coupe and a Sunbeam Imp Sport too, which were basically different versions of the Imp.)  It was a great little car; even though it overheated all the time it was miles better than the boring old Mini; it just had an aversion to motorways.  It had a rear engine, which made it really like a Porsche, kind of.  When I was at university I managed to roll an Imp onto its roof, with five of us in it.  Fortunately no one was hurt.  I still have the pictures of what was left of the car.  I got done for careless driving too!  Who’s ever heard of a man who drives carelessly?  The police tried to make out I was doing over 60mph, but in fact the Imp struggled to get to that speed even on a motorway with just me in it.  When I went to the police station the next day to make a statement, there was a little piece of my Imp’s bodywork (it was partly fibreglass) in an ashtray on the desk; they’d thrown a bit of my car away!  (I didn’t ask for it back though.)  The police only found out about my accident as we were pushing what was left of the car along the road to get it home, when one overtook us and smashed head-on into one driving in the other direction.  Amazingly no one was badly hurt in that crash either, even though they must have hit each other at a combined speed of about 70mph.  I remember someone coming out of a nearby house, spotting some oil on the ground in the darkness and exclaiming with what I remember seemed a lot of excitement in his voice, “Is that blood?”  Weirdo.  Anyway, what I’m getting at here is that this film would have been a lot better if they’d picked Imps rather than Minis to star in it.

1969  –  Certificate: PG  –  United Kingdom

Rating Details: Mild violence, language and sex references

This is a true classic and contains one of the most quoted lines in movie history; (5, 4, 3, 2.. you know the one I’m talking about).  Made when England were still football world champions (okay I know it’s an old film), it’s got the added bonus of having Michael Caine and Noël Coward in it and the Brits getting one over on Johnny Foreigner, (always a good thing of course).  Sadly, as we don’t make anything in Britain anymore, including cars (and have become pretty hopeless at football too), there isn’t likely to be a undated version of it made anytime soon; (and I’m talking about a British version of it here, not something set somewhere like, oh, Los Angeles, for example).  It just wouldn’t be the same if they drove Peugeot 107s, or got the bus instead.  I watched a Blu-ray version of this film and if anyone wants to see what this format can bring to old films, I’d recommend watching this one, as it looked stunning. 

Recommended for fans of classic movies and for all English people.  It brings a lump to the throat and swells the heart; (with pride not cholesterol.)  If there was such a thing as an English passport, the watching and enjoyment of this film would be a mandatory requirement for getting one.  Also recommended for staff managers everywhere, as it contains some excellent advice from Charlie Croker; “Now, it’s a very difficult job, and, the only way to get through it is we all work together, as a team.  And that means, you do everything I say.”  Words of wisdom.

3 cats and no decapitations.  Enjoy the awesome cats-on-laps action, matched with some expertly written and delivered dialogue. 

Top badass moment?  The Minis in the sewer pipe, the Minis on the dam, the Minis on the steps, the Minis in the shopping plaza, etc.  Celebrating the best bit of British engineering since the Spitfire is badass; if you’re a Brit anyway.

The Italian Job at IMDB


Boy A: 4.0 Stars


Boy A  -  DVD Front CoverIt’s time for another, terrible confession from my youth.  When I was young, I used to do terrible things to ants.  Magnifying glasses, cups of water, prisons built from Lego, electric cooker rings, boiling water, all were used to make life (and indeed death) an unpleasant experience for scores of these little creatures.  (What am I saying?  I hate the little bastards even now.  They get everywhere and you can’t ever sit down in ‘the countryside’ without finding them trying to climb all over you.  In fact they’re one of my three most hated animals.  And let’s not forget the ‘Ant Wars’ that I had to fight in my home a few years ago and which I blogged about from the ‘front line’ at the time.)  However, as a vegan, I do feel guilty about my feelings towards these clever little insects and my treatment of them, especially when I was young and wasn’t in the position of having to deal with a full ‘home invasion’ like I was a few years ago.  I know growing-up is about learning, but I’m sure even at that age I knew that killing things wasn’t the nicest activity I could be spending my time indulging in.  This film has a similar(ish) theme.

2007  –  Certificate: 15

Rating Details:  Strong violence and language, twice very strong.

This drama was originally made for Channel 4.  Depending on your point of view, it’s either very clever or very disturbing, in the sense that it manages to put you very much on the side of the main character, a child, child-killer.  I don’t suppose this is in many peoples’ comfort zone, especially when you consider the real life, high-profile murders like this that have happened over the past 20 years or so.  It’s very easy to wish for these sorts of criminals to just go and rot in Hell, but this film does a great job of engaging your sympathy with someone exactly like that, which is what makes it quite uncomfortable viewing.  More generally speaking, it’s nicely made and well acted.  I don’t think it’s giving too much of the plot away to say that I was sitting there just waiting and waiting for him to get sussed out; it’s almost a relief when he does.  With the exception of a few random plot holes and contrivances, it’s all pretty believable stuff.  The ending is pretty intense too.  As an added bonus, it’s got Steven Pacey in it, no lesser person than Tarrant from “Blakes 7”.  The best TV programme, ever!

Recommended for people who like challenging drama.  Not so good if you don’t like your preconceptions challenged.

No cats and no decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Tough one this.  Do I go for something involving the bad guy turned good, or the good guys turned bad?  I know, I think I’ll just opt out and go for something a little different.  A few scenes are shot at Alton Towers.  Alton Towers is simply badass.  Don’t. Look. Down.

Boy A at IMDB