Posts tagged “United States

Bang Bang You’re Dead: 3.5 Stars


Bang Bang You're Dead  -  Front DVD CoverI feel a bit disconnected from the world at present, even more than usual.  Nothing I do at the moment seems to satisfy me and I’m not sure anything I’m doing is making the slightest difference to anything or anyone.  In the last three days I’ve done loads of stuff at work, yet somehow it all feels a bit pointless.  “Is That All There Is?” by Cristina pretty well sums everything up at the moment.  (I think it was first recorded by Peggy Lee; PJ Harvey has done a version of it too, but the Cristina Monet version from 1980 is the definitive one.)  I realised today, that with so many of my colleagues at work having recently been  ‘restructured out of existence’ I’m suffering from a form of ‘survivor’s guilt’.

2002  –  Certificate: Not Rated  –  United States

By a strange co-incidence, this move has an equally uplifting plot.  This is a drama about a play of the same name, being performed by a character in a similar position as the character in the play. (Oh oh, I think I’m going to need a painkiller soon, that sounds way too complicated now I’ve written it down.)  It’s a film about bullying in schools and the effect it has on some individuals who’re the victims of it.  This is a very American movie.  In the UK, victims of school bullying generally hide in their rooms and self-harm or commit suicide; in American it seems they build bombs or get guns and go to school and kill people.  Okay, I’m hugely trivialising and oversimplifying something that’s really tragic in reality, but it did feel a little over dramatic at times; then again, this sort of thing really has happened.  This film was made in 2002 and is based on a play written in 1999, so there’re no mobile phones to be seen anywhere in it, which makes it feel a bit dated now, especially as the mobile has become the modern-day school bully’s weapon of choice; all those embarrassing and humiliating videos, it’s what YouTube was invented for after all.  If most American schools really are like this, then it mystifies me as to why the country manages to turn out so many clever, imaginative and decent people; (I like Americans in general, even though I love to snigger behind their backs at their lack of culture and understanding of irony; and get frustrated by their politics.). The original play has apparently been performed thousands of times in schools and similar places and from reading the comments on IMDB and Amazon (USA) it’s clearly had a massive impact on lots of people, yet I didn’t fully connect with it myself; I guess I’m too old and too much of a Brit to fully appreciate it.  However, even taken as a stand-alone film it’s well worth a watch; but when you then take into account its background it takes on a while extra dimension.  It does feel a bit weak in places, but the power of its general narrative and all-around American goodness drags it through these parts with sufficient force to make you, you know, ‘a believer’.  Good quality drama with a social conscience.

Recommended for bullies.  If it makes a difference to any of them (and considering how many people have seen the play or film, I’m sure it must have had a positive effect on some of them), then it’s all been worth it.

No cats and no decapitations.

Top badass moment?  In that very American ‘we fucked up but then overcame our failure thus proving we were right to do what we did all along’ kind of way, it’s the big ‘penny drops’ scene when everyone watches Trevor’s videos taken by the police from his house; giving people a serious guilt trip they deserve is definitely badass.

Bang Bang You’re Dead at IMDB (7.9)


The Terminator: 5.0 Stars


The Terminator  -  Front DVD cover“Listen, and understand.  That terminator is out there.  It can’t be bargained with.  It can’t be reasoned with.  It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear.  And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.”  That reminds me, we’ve been going through a bit of a restructure at work.  It’s not been a hugely enjoyable experience.  I guess in the long-term it’s the ‘right’ thing to do, in the same way that the large-scale, post-war slum clearances in areas well-known for high levels of social need, led to their replacement with modern, high rise flats, which are now well-known for, em, high levels of social need, (okay so it’s probably not the best analogy on a wide range of levels), but it still sucks.  By some strange quirk of fate I seem to have survived this process and now find myself in a ‘job-enriched’ environment.  Considering my almost total lack of ambition and ability this is indeed a strange turn of events.  At the moment I’m finding I’m saying good-bye to a lot of colleagues, some of who I’ve known for years and have so much respect for and many of whom have probably helped me cover up my singular lack of talent in the past.  (What can I say?  The only thing I’m really good at is bigging myself up on the back of others’ hard work.)  It’s all pretty depressing though.  I want to be angry about it, but I can’t identify anyone or anything to get angry with, which makes it all even more frustrating.  Maybe what’s going on at work now is a bit like this film and it will spawn a hugely popular, multi-million pound franchise that goes on for years and years.  I look forward to the time when I walk into a room and people look at me in awe, huddle together in groups and in hushed tones say to one another, “you know who he works for, don’t you?”

1984  –  Certificate: R  –  United States

I love this film!  It’s certainly one of my 50, all-time favourite movies and a genuine classic.   The theme tune is iconic too.  Arnold Schwarzenegger is so perfect for the part of the Terminator and it’s great to see someone in a film who looks after his body as well as I look after mine.  Honestly, at times it felt like I was looking into a mirror, which was a bit disconcerting and I have to say did spoil the film slightly for me.  I think Arnie’s a bit taller than I am though.  I’ve seen this movie loads of times, but this was my first viewing of it on Blu-ray.  Reference material it’s not, but it did look great; a lot more colour and detail than I can remember from watching it on DVD.  It’s always been a gloomy, muddy looking film, but the format does manage to clean up the details a lot.  The effects still look good most of the time too, not bad for a film that’s 28 years old.  It doesn’t look especially dated either, well as long as you don’t look at Sarah Connor’s hair.

Recommended for everyone, even those who don’t like this sort of film.  Actually, those sort of people should be forced to watch it.

No cats and no decapitations.  The Terminator’s head does get a bit stripped and squashed though.

Top badass moment?  If any film offers a lot of choice, it’s this one.  Anyway, I’m picking the “I’ll be back” scene.  Be honest, who hasn’t wanted to do something like that when you haven’t got your way in a shop?  Well okay, then going on to slaughter everyone that works there is probably a bit over the top, even for me, but trashing the place with a car certainly makes a point about the customer always being right.  Consumer power at its best!

The Terminator at IMDB


The Believer: 4.0 Stars


The Believer  -  Front DVD CoverToday feels like a Sunday.  It’s actually Monday but it feels like a Sunday because I worked on Saturday.  Tomorrow is Tuesday, but I’ve no idea if it will feel like a Tuesday or more like a Monday.  This film is similarly themed around confusion, except that it’s about a Jew who’s a Neo-Nazi.  Okay, I’ve got a bit of a confession to make now.  I’ve personally harboured a secret expectation for years that I might be a real Jedi Knight, who one day will be called upon to save the human race from some horrible fate.  (I do actually do something very similar to this every day of life as part of my job, but somehow it’s not quite the same thing.)  Sadly, up to now my attempts to influence people with my mind have been a singular failure; in fact I can’t even influence my own thoughts.  I also can’t fight with a light sabre very well.  If anyone remembers Star Wars Kid from a few years ago, you will probably be able to visualise just how well I can’t wield this awesome weapon; if I had one, which I don’t, obviously.  I do however, enjoy waving a torch about when in a dark place as if it’s a light sabre, making ‘that’ light sabre sound.  In fact I suspect I do this nearly every time I have a torch in my hand, probably not to anyone’s amusement except my own.  I suppose I’m lucky that most people in Cactus World are pretty tolerant when it comes to care in the community.

2001  –  Certificate: 15  –  USA

This is a great film. Ryan Gosling makes a first class job of playing Danny, the main character in it, an anti-Semitic skinhead who’s actually Jewish.  It’s all pretty engrossing stuff and the ending is far from clear until you reach that point.  Despite his entirely repellent and ridiculous views (especially regarding Jewish people), the film does a good job of making Danny quite a sympathetic character at times.  It’s often the sign of good writing and acting when an unpleasant character can still make you feel sorry for them.  If the movie has a weakness, it’s probably that Danny seems educated and highly intelligent, yet his actions demonstrate quite a mixed up and confused outlook on life.  It would have been good to have got inside his mind a bit more to find out what was going on in there.  The film’s pivotal scene, where Danny and his gang get sent to ‘tolerance classes’ after a fight in a cafe, is genuinely powerful and heartbreaking stuff, from the point of view of both the stories that get told and the reactions to them.  This movie also has Summer Phoenix in it, who as well as being a very beautiful woman also happens to be a lifelong vegan.  Then again, all vegans are beautiful/handsome, clever, empathic, compassionate, determined, (please insert your 50 favourite human attributes here), etc.  Except me, which is a bit annoying actually.  And finally, I’d just like to remind people of the link between early reggae and skinheads.  Being a skinhead doesn’t make you a raciest, although being a moronic asshole who frequently spouts uninformed and ill-conceived, generalised crap about other cultures, often does; so really, they should be easy enough to tell apart.  Don’t fall into the trap of getting them confused and assuming they’re all the same, or you might just find you’ve become one yourself.

Recommended for people who like good films and topless vegans.  (If anyone wants to see me topless I come pretty cheap!)

No cats and no decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Danny in the scene near the end when he’s speaking to all the people at the fundraising meeting.  Doing the unexpected with style and pissing just about every one off in the process is pretty badass.

The Believer on IMDB