Eager for one final vacation before their lives change forever, six friends embark upon a camping trip to a remote mountainous area. By nightfall, their lives will change forever… in ways too horrific to imagine. For in the shadows awaits a pack of the most evil, vicious rejects of humanity, addicted to violence and thirsty for blood! This is “Psycho Holocaust”…
2011 – Certificate: Not Rated – USA
6 out of 10
I’m not just an uncouth, middle-aged yobbo, who only listens to angry punk music and watches slasher movies. No, I also have a cultured, respectable side, the sort that The Queen would be entirely at home with. In proof, I offer up the fact that I’ve just finished reading “The Hand of Ethelberta” by Thomas Hardy, not for the first time either. In between reading Star Trek novels I read Thomas Hardy ones. The latter is of course, the greatest writer the world has ever seen. In fact I’m a fully paid-up member of the Thomas Hardy Society. That’s how cultured I am. Unlike “The Terminator” Sara Connor’s “No fate but what we make”, Hardy’s novels generally provide more of a ‘fate will do whatever it wants with you, despite your best efforts to do otherwise, and you probably won’t like it either’ point of view. Even though it’s one of Hardy’s more light-weight stories, “The Hand of Ethelberta” once again provides us with a reminder that it’s basically pointless trying to do something about your lot in life, or dream about bettering yourself. When it comes down to it, you might win a few battles, but the war will be lost. I find Hardy an excellent counter-balance to the optimism and can-do attitude prevalent in Star Trek. Together, they help to keep me grounded! This movie is more Thomas Hardy than Star Trek.
“Six friends embark upon a camping trip to a remote mountainous area” eh? I wonder what on Earth this film could be about? Ornithology? Geology? Photography? Actually, it features three veterans of the conflict in Iraq, in a searing and damming documentary about the effects of combat on individuals and the political implications of going to war. Okay, I lied a bit. It does indeed feature three veterans (and one was a documentary film maker), but then it all sort of goes where a million low-budget horrors have gone before. In its favour, our six ‘heroes’ weren’t teenagers and even the three war veterans displayed a clear lack of fantasy indestructibleness. (Cool, a six-syllable word that Word approves of.) The latter also exhibited a genuine concern for their local environment, (an attractive woodland). It was heartening to see a couple of sick and twisted psychos busy taking two of their victims off to a location to kill them in, discussing an impending plan to turn the area into “one big fucking suburb”. A small quirk of fate and they’d have been running about, carrying out direct action in the name of Earth First instead. That’s the ‘Hardy Effect’ for you. The violence is well up to scratch and some (though not all) of the special effects are generally pretty believable. The lead baddie is suitably effective and entertaining, even though he did look a little too like Simon Pegg to be totally convincing. I kept expecting him to pick up a pile of LPs and use them as weapons. Despite the occasionally horrific bit of acting, the film works well as a B-movie and the violence scores highly on the official sick-gross-eew scale. Turning to health and safety now, a number of different tools get used in the film, including two carpenter’s saws, a claw hammer, a few hand axes, a double-headed axe and a sort of flat bladed butcher’s hatchet, as well as a chainsaw. By and large, these were used in a generally appropriate and certainly effective way, although the arm that was cut off wasn’t really secured properly and the no-handed use of one of the saws isn’t a formally recognised technique. (You may wish to give that some further though.) Unfortunately, as is often the case, the chainsaw was used with little or no attention paid to safety. I couldn’t see any PPE in use and even an idiot must surely realise that running about in a woodland carrying a running chainsaw, over uneven terrain full of trip hazards, isn’t a terribly good idea. It never fails to amaze me how few chainsaw wielding psychos use their equipment safely. Particularly in this case, considering the latter were ex-military; this was disappointing and certainly made the whole movie feel a lot less realistic. However, it did seem to start really easily, from both hot and cold, so at least it looks like it was being maintained properly, which is promising.
1 cat, 1 chainsaw and 1 decapitation. Bingo! The first film I’ve watched for ages that gets a full set. (I think the cat was just a bystander that ran onto the set though.) There’re a few other rather painful amputations too.
Recommended for would-be psychos. An excellent training film.
Top badass moment? It’s certainly a gentleman’s leg-crossing moment, but Laura’s treatment of her would-be rapist was pretty awesome; I’m just not sure how feasible it would be in real life (so says Mr. Modest-Bigboy). It wasn’t that she’d had an especially good day up to then either. A whipping, a drowning, another rape, a bashing on the head with a big rock and finding her boyfriend missing a leg, (who then promptly fell on her when she tried to help him, trapping her), do not a good day make for anyone. And let’s not forget her safe and effective use of the double-headed axe too.
Five years have passed since Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) was sent howling back to hell. But now, a new kid on Elm Street is being haunted every night by gruesome visions of the deadly dream stalker. And if his twisted soul takes possession of the boy’s body, Freddy will return from the dead to wreak bloody murder and mayhem upon the entire town. When “A Nightmare on Elm Street” made a killing, horror fans shrieked for more. Soon the diabolic Freddy was resurrected with a vengeance, along with some of the most terrifying special effects ever to splatter the screen. Look for Robert Englund minus his Freddy face in the opening sequence. He’s a real scream!
1985 – Certificate: 18 – USA
Rating Details: Strong violence and horror
I’ve often considered Boxing Day to be a sort of inferior sequel to Christmas Day. Well, okay, to tell the truth I’ve never actually thought that at all. In fact, until about two minutes ago the idea had never even crossed my mind. But there I was, sitting here and trying to think of something to write about this film and life in general and it just popped into my head. I lead such a dull and monotone existence that it’s not always easy to come up with interesting stuff to say on the spur of the moment; there’re only so many things I can comment on about the weather and the amount of e-mail I get at work. I did the washing-up about an hour ago, but that didn’t really give me the sort of emotional connection with the subject matter I was really looking for. I do wish I could learn to rinse up a glass after I’ve used it though, it would really reduce the amount of washing-up I need to do quite considerably; but I’ve never been one for doing that when there’s a clean supply in the cupboard ready for use. Even when I was young I was like this. I guess I was just a hardcore rebel, fighting the system, looking to piss off The Man, running through the dark streets at night, giving the finger to society; or maybe I was just lazy. Anyway, as I was saying, I’ve often considered Boxing Day to be a sort of sequel to Christmas Day; and all I really wanted to point out is that sequels are generally not as good as the originals, which is a bit like Boxing Day and Christmas Day. Which brings us to this film.
Freddy’s revenge eh? Sounds like serious stuff and to be fair at this point in the franchise Freddy was still the evil ne’er-do-well he started out as in the first movie; his later penchant for clever one-liners had yet to really take hold. Trouble is, he spends most of this film trying to physically escape from inside some young lad, rather than terrorising loads of teens. True, he does take time out to turn up at a party and trash it, but most of the time he’s inside rather confused teen Jesse. Then again, this is the gay Nightmare movie, so it’s perhaps not so surprising after all. If you view the film from this prospective it makes a lot more sense; if you’ve never done that, try it and see. (By which I mean watching the film; I’m not suggesting everyone goes out and has a homosexual experience just so they can understand this film better, although if you want that’s fine too.) I did quite enjoy the school bus scene the beginning, which does a clever job of turning a normal trip on a bus into a, em, nightmare one. Then again, I could have just as much ‘fun’, albeit at a far lower speed, travelling on a Night Bus in London in the early hours of a Saturday morning. All in all it’s a pretty average film, but the two main characters are quite engaging in their own way and I suppose you have to respect the makers for trying a slightly different angle this time around. And it does have Fred Krueger in it of course.
Recommended for those that watched “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, obviously.
1 cat, no chainsaws or decapitations. Well I think it’s a cat but it’s not a very nice cat. I guess it suits Freddy though; I can’t really imagine him playing nicely with a cute kitten.
Top badass moment? It has to be Lisa Webber driving to the old steelworks in the middle of the night, to confront Freddie and rescue her crush Jessie. Not only is this a completely stupid thing to do under any circumstances, but he’s already told her he’s killed two people, including a mutual friend, whilst standing in front of her covered in blood; he’s also tried to kill her too, he’s trashed her home and when she tried to make out with him he wasn’t even into it. That’s true friendship for you and friendship is badass.
Rainn Wilson (TV’s “The Office An American Workplace”) takes centre stage in this wildly irreverent comedy about living your dreams – and embarrassing your family – at any cost. Twenty years after being kicked out of his nearly famous ‘80s rock group, Robert “Fish” Fishman (Wilson) gets a hilarious second chance at stardom when he joins his nephew’s high school garage band. Without missing a beat, Fish vows to reclaim the rock-god throne he always thought he deserved… while taking his much younger band-mates along for the rides of their lives!
2008 – Certificate: 12 – USA
Rating Details: Moderate sex references and infrequent muffled strong language
Today is a special day. From the mid-late 80s until the mid-late 90s, I didn’t really go to see many gigs; in fact off the top of my head I can only remember one. Then I went to see China Drum at ULU (University of London Union) and everything changed. It was the band that singlehandedly reintroduced me to live music. Then after three albums, China Drum split up and the world became a slightly more crappy place. It’s been at the top of my “wish they would reform” list for years. Now, twelve years on, China Drum is playing a gig in February in London. To say I’m a bit excited is like suggesting the sun is a bit warm. This movie is about something a little similar.
I’m a bit of a sucker for films about music and bands and I really like Rainn Wilson, so it’s probably no surprise that I enjoyed this one. There’s nothing especially groundbreaking about it, but it’s fun and at times really very funny; it has some great lines in it. It just about manages to stay on the right side of becoming a parody à la “Spinal Tap” and Fish remains a likable character. It seems to get compared to “School of Rock” a lot, but I think this is the better of the two films as it feels (okay slightly) more grounded. It has a number of clever little references in it to other films and ‘pop culture’ and there’s even a small cameo from Peter Best, The Beatles’ original drummer. The DVD has loads of extras too. Highly recommended.
Recommended for people who used to be into music and then ‘grew out of it’, but secretly wishes they hadn’t.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? The ending is terribly clichéd, but who doesn’t want to get one over on someone who got one over on them years ago? There’s nothing like holding a lifelong grudge; even I have one or two. It’s not the most grown-up way to get rid of the latter, but beating a long-standing nemesis is most certainly badass. Rock on!
Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) is a struggling street puppeteer. In order to make some money, Craig takes a job as a filing clerk. One day he accidentally discovers a door… a portal into the brain of John Malkovich (played by John Malkovich)! For 15 minutes, he experiences the ultimate head trip – he is being John Malkovich! Then he’s dumped onto the New Jersey turnpike! With his beautiful office mate Maxine (Catherine Keener) and his pet-obsessed wife (Cameron Diaz), they hatch a plan to let others into John’s brain for just $200 a trip. See what all the critics are talking about.
1999 – Certificate: 15 – USA
I’ve got far too fat this year. Too much to do at work, along with a very slowing recovering ankle injury (sustained whilst trying to walk the South Downs Way, that well-known hiking equivalent of climbing K2), have somewhat curtailed my more extreme sporting aspirations over the past 18 months. It totally sucks, I must be the only fat vegan on the planet. Although some kinds of exercise do have an attraction (by which I mean ‘dancing’ at punk and ska gigs), eating less has very little to recommend it using just about every system devised for measuring human fun levels. Several years ago I didn’t eat anything for 35 days, which lead to my losing 23kg, but this didn’t exactly leave me with a lot of energy or get up and go; even less than normal, attributes which are often in short supply anyway. (Please insert joke here about my get up and go having got up and went years ago.) So this time I need a slightly different approach. Having considered the wide range of fad diets and other crap that’s published about how to lose weight, I’ve realised that what I actually need is a more industry-standard, heavy-duty model; less like a pair of scissors and more like a chainsaw. So for the last four days I’ve been following what I’ve dubbed the Husqvarna Diet; (other chainsaw-themed weight-loss programmes are available, probably). And yes, I’m afraid it was a Christmas present to myself. I need to lose 35kg, which will leave me weighing about the same as when I was born, I think. I’m not sure what that is in ‘old money’ but I suspect it’s quite a lot. At this point I’d like to reveal the details of the Husqvarna Diet, but I’m afraid I can’t; if it works I’ll be looking for a publishing deal to sell my brilliant idea to all the other obese, lazy, losers ‘out there’. If I’m looking forward to one thing, it’s being able to wear a lot of totally out of date clothing, which like many people I’ve kept in the wardrobe for years and years in the stupidly misguided hope that somehow it will fit me again one day. In fact, I’d go as far as to suggest that they’ll be so old-fashioned as to actually be cool and retro. Like my diet plan, this film is also truly unique and rather ridiculous.
I really like this movie. With what’s probably a one of a kind plot, it’s clever, amusing and watchable. Unfortunately, it’s also just a little bit too clever for its own good. Then again, the story doesn’t really make any sense, yet somehow is perfectly coherent and believable. It could come across as a bit freaky and gruesome, but it doesn’t. The characters could all easily seem quite unpleasant, but they aren’t. A bit like in Star Trek when they use a bit of techno-babble to get around problems, this film creates a whole mythology around its characters and living forever, but doesn’t bother to explain where most of it came from. You just need to accept things as is, but for all that it doesn’t really matter and it’s highly entertaining stuff. Cameron Diaz is almost unrecognisable as the pet fixated wife, whilst Catherine Keener just looks sexy.
Recommended for people who enjoy weird films; but weird in a good way.
1 cat, no chainsaws or decapitations. In a film featuring a lot of animals, it’s sad that the cat only has a brief cameo, but even so does introduce a classic continuity glitch. You can’t keep a good animal actor out of the limelight!
Top badass moment? This has to be John Malkovich playing (what I assume is a rather subtlety shallow version of) himself. That’s just weird and weird is badass.
I’m vegan. This makes me better than most other people. I’m not being big-headed or stupid or anything, that’s just the way things are. (See “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” for more details.) I’m lucky, in that the whole population of Cactus World is vegan, which makes things a lot easier. However, the same can’t be said for some of the neighbouring areas. My flat has a couple of air vents in it with built-in fans. These appear to be connected to all the other vents in the building, via a series of pipes buried in the walls. They’re the sort of vents you can use to ‘enjoy’ a ‘domestic’ going on next door. If I lived in a Hollywood film in an old apartment in New York, I’m sure I’d regularly hear murders being committed through them, (which there’d mysteriously be no evidence for when the police arrived to investigate things); or perhaps a major terrorist attack (with a nuclear bomb of course) being planned. I suppose I should be thankful that the vents are in the kitchen and bathroom, as they don’t seem to pick up the sound from other rooms of happy couples em, coupling. So anyway, a little while ago I went to the aforementioned bathroom, to do some ‘bathroom things’. As soon as I opened the lounge door, my senses were assaulted by the smell of cooked fish. I doubt the world’s oceans smell as fishy as my flat right now. Unfortunately, the vents transport smells as easily as they transfer sounds. Four emergency incense cones have now been lit, in an effort to neutralise the insidious odour. (High-powered ones obtained from the US military, through a special arrangement with the authorities in New Mexico. They have “the fragrant aroma of smouldering Piñon firewood that is characteristic of the whole Southwest and the foothills of the Rockies.”) We’ve yet to hear any announcements regarding whether this is a deliberate chemical weapons attack on Cactus World, the result of a massive industrial accident, or simply the outcome of dinner-time for one of my neighbours. For a vegan however, it’s pretty crap; and annoying. The last time my flat smelt this fishy was the day I first came to see it prior to moving in. This was later determined to be a deliberate ploy by the previous inhabitants to disguise one of their leisure activities; it was about a year before it ceased to smell of dope; my predecessors were apparently keen on a joint or two. This film doesn’t feature any of these things. In fact, it couldn’t ‘unfeature’ them more if it tried.
2004 – Certificate: 15 – USA
Rating Details: Moderate sex
I need to go on a diet, (even more than I normally do). This film was so syrupy and sweet that just watching it has made me put on about 5kg. The plot twist at the end is also so obvious that it probably shouldn’t really count as one at all; it’s like one of those weakening fronts you see on weather maps, which by the time they arrive only consist of a few clouds, so if they weren’t pointed out to you you’d probably not even notice them. I’m not much of a fan of period dramas, so a movie set mostly in the 1930s and 1940s isn’t the sort of thing to really excite me. The chances of there being many big explosions, spaceships or gratuitous violence felt slim. Then again, any film with Ryan Gosling in is worth checking out. James Garner’s in it too, who was already old even when I was young. So anyway, okay, this is actually a great film, with the most romantic/tragic ending it’s probably possible to have. As a fan of Thomas Hardy, I’ve always had a soft spot for relationships that get fucked-up by families, class, money, etc. This film delivers a classic Hardy class-barrier storyline, rich city girl and poor country boy; (sounds awful doesn’t it)? Fact is, this film doesn’t really do anything very much else and it certainly doesn’t break any new ground, but what it does do it does really, really well. In fact the only part that felt a bit weak was the Mother’s ‘revelation’; it did feel a bit of a plot contrivance rather than something that fitted into the overall narrative. As a romantic period drama, this does deliver; and yes, it is, especially the ending, tissue-friendly.
Recommended for true romantics. In the perfect world, we’d all end up with our first loves forever. (Aw, see, I can be romantic too.)
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.
Top badass moment? I have to give this to Lon Hammond. He just goes to prove that even if you’re handsome, a war hero, successful, attentive and an all-around nice guy, you don’t always get the girl. Being a good loser is badass and he manages here to be a top bloke about everything, when he probably had every right to be really, really pissed off.
Whilst watching this film, I realised that my life is a lot like Robocop’s. Like him, I used to be a normal guy with a normal life, job I liked and was good at, friends, relationship, etc. Then one day stuff happened and I ended up a half-crazed cyborg, owned by my employer, devoid of outside interests, single-mindedly saving the planet, dealing out swift justice to those that dare trash it in any way. These days I mindlessly follow the instructions I’m given to the letter, fill in lots of forms and databases, drive around in a souped-up Ford, (well okay I changed the stereo in it), and seek out funding wherever it’s hiding, 24/7. I’m tormented by fragments of memory from my former life and long for redemption; and call me paranoid, but I think the rest of the environmental sector is out to get me too, because I want to do more than map and count every bug and flower there is, over and over again. Like Robocop, I also have four Prime Directives:
1) Serve the membership
2) Protect the planet
3) Follow procedures
4) Make money (as is the case for Robocop, this last one is classified, so don’t tell anyone please)
Okay, so I’m not really a cyborg (although I do wear glasses and contact lenses and have a few fillings); and I also sleep and do other stuff at times as well; and I’m hopeless at doing what I’m told, but really, the parallels are startling. And if more proof was needed, then about 12 years ago, when I was just starting a new job with my current employer, I had to make a presentation to a number of people, including the Group Director. There’s a great line in this film from Dick Jones, Senior President of Omni Consumer Products. He stands up in front of the board of directors, adjacent to a bank of TV screens showing images of the company’s products, to do something quite similar to what I had to do. He starts off by saying, “Take a close look at the track record of this company” and then goes on to describe how the company has “gambled in markets traditionally regarded as non-profit”. That’s what charities generally get up to, so I’ve always felt there were a lot of similarities between what I do in my job and what OCP was looking to achieve with Delta City; I’m sure I’d fit right on in there, should it be looking to recruit anytime soon at the C-level. With my crappy little PowerPoint presentation (which I still have a copy of), I began with a very similar line. I’m not sure anyone there at the time made the connection, but to me it was awesomely cool! This movie is awesomely cool too.
1987 – Certificate: 18 – USA
I love this film. I’ve watched it loads of times. It was one of the first DVDs I ever bought. I imagine it’s required viewing for all the new Police and Crime Commissioners that were voted for this week too. The whole story feels quite unique, it’s got a number of great characters in it, the acting’s good and it looks good as well, even though some of the special effects are now a little dated. Its take on corporate greed works for me and even the theme tune is dead-on. (I’ve no idea why the trailer uses the music from “The Terminator”.) Be sure to watch the Director’s Cut, to get all the most violent bits. Since her appearance in “The Philadelphia Experiment” three years before, Nancy Allen has certainly toughened up her act. I guess all that running around with two guys transported through time does that to you. And it’s got Miguel Ferrer in it, who was at one time the First Officer on The Excelsior in Star Trek. Imagining having that on your CV! The remake (which I think is due out in 2014) will be interesting.
Recommended for awesome people. I’m sorry, but if you don’t like this film you’re not awesome and I can’t be your friend, as I’m simply too cool and you’re probably a square.
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws. However, plenty of other body parts do get ‘removed’.
Top badass moment? The advert for Nuke Em. A sample of this was used by Random Hand for “The Eyeballs of War”. As the 5th best band on the planet, this makes it badass.
I hate the way big manufacturers make it as difficult as possible for the plebs (i.e. the rest of us) to dissect what they do, what they tell us and what they sell us. Today I wasted 45 minutes trying to find out what colour white a Vauxhall Astra van at work is, so I could go and buy some paint and repair a couple of dents in it; about an hour’s work for me but probably £500 worth of work if it was done by a garage. You’d think this would be easy to do, but after three quarters of an hour spent Googling things and searching for various stickers and plates all over the place, and studying the ridiculous codes they put all over them, I was none the wiser. Why don’t they just put the name of the colour on the vehicle plate? Casablanca White anyone, rather than Z354 or whatever it’s going to turn out to be in the end? This is simply bollocks designed to make it more difficult for people to do something that ought to be very simple, so that we give up and pay someone a shed load of money to do something we could do ourselves. I’m all for convenience and don’t mind paying for it at times, but I want the option of deciding when and where I do so; I don’t want to be forced into it by some greedy corporate asshole, who’s not half as clever as he thinks (and they nearly always are “hes”). I shouldn’t need to emulate Sherlock Homes in an effort to find out a basic bit of information. It’s a shit combination of crappy marketing and nefarious corporate shenanigans, which has the sole purpose of making the rest of us spend more of our money than necessary on their overpriced tat. How many versions of white do we even need anyway? I think I’ll just go and buy a huge tin of magnolia emulsion instead and paint every single vehicle I ever come across in my life, it would be a lot easier and quicker. This movie features a kitchen that gets painted blue, everywhere. I’ve no idea what shade of blue that was either.
1985 – Certificate: 12 – USA
Despite myself I enjoyed this film. It even made me laugh out loud a few times. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s my geek side trying to exert itself? It’s full of plot holes, but then again the latter is so ridiculous that it doesn’t matter than much anyway. What it does do is give us a couple of ‘failures’ to follow, a ‘perfect woman’ to lust after and a set of stupidly stupid opponents for said failures and woman to overcome. Of course, in the end everyone comes out of it a better person and they all (metaphorically) ride off into the sunset together, happy in the notion that they’ve made the world a slightly better place. It sounds dreadful, but its redeeming features are that it is actually pretty funny, the characters are for the most part likable (even the bad ones) and it’s entertaining. It’s also a horrible reminder of how tacky the 80s were, so the feeling of relief at the end when you remember it’s really 2012, is palpable. (Until of course you remember all the things you don’t like about 2012 too).
Recommended for anyone who’s under the illusion that the 80s were anything more than superficial rubbish, or who lived through them the first time around and wants to be reminded. (Why, for God’s sake?) Also highly recommend as an educational tool to demonstrate to people that life existed before Twitter, Facebook and uploading hilarious videos to YouTube of their drunk friends tripping over. (Things where so much more innocent in those days, he thinks wistfully…)
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.
Top badass moment? Listen, if you really could create your own ‘perfect woman’ with an old computer, a ‘floppy’ floppy disk and a narrowband connection, I’d be doing it right now rather than writing this. If it was possible, it would be way off the badass scale.
I watch a lot of horror films. So you’d think by now that I’d be used to people being killed, mutilated, raped, dismembered, or otherwise psychologically damaged. But this week I’ve come face to face with real horror. My Cyclamen has been infected with Mealy Bugs! Like a crappy, straight-to-video horror, these little bastards just appeared, with little or no back-story and just got down to the business of terrorising my pot plant and by association, me. It’s a home invasion experience of the worst kind. All the leaves and even the pot are covered in some sort of evil, disgusting, Mealy Bug pus, whilst the sniveling little cowards hide beneath the leaves, plotting their next nefarious move. Like a good slasher movie icon, they pouch on the innocents, newly emerging leaves, infecting them with an unearthly virus (or whatever it is that Mealy Bugs do). It’s like watching a house plant version of “28 Days Later” or “Doomsday”. They’re hideously ugly and have an aura I can only describe as feeling like undiluted, pure hate. In a similar was to the Borg, they are seemingly linked to a single hive mind, intent on destroying all houseplant life on my bedroom window sill. I’m half expecting the US to target my flat with a Cruise Missile, in an effort to destroy them before they take over the world. I’ve not quite worked out how to get rid of them yet. Negotiation has so far proved futile. Strangely, my Cyclamen seems little effected by their malevolent presence thus far and is currently presenting me with 15 beautiful, pink flowers, although its leaves drip with a rancid, putrid slime that could have come from Hell itself. I’ve got to rid my plant of them, and in a way that doesn’t leave any opportunity for a sequel! After facing this crisis, this movie seems a bit tame.
2004 – Certificate: 18 – USA
Rating Details: Strong bloody violence
I’d forgotten just how good a thriller this film is. So, it also gets credited for popularising torture porn, which later movies in the series do feature more heavily, but this one isn’t that explicitly gory. It is however, clever, interesting and challenging. Although I didn’t really care for the two main characters, I still worried about what was going to happen to them. Sure they were flawed, annoying and a bit pathetic, but I was concerned enough about them that part of me wanted them to escape; no one deserves that much shit. The film also does a good job of making the viewer feel a bit sorry for the perpetrator, too, which makes for a great set-up if you want to experience a range of feelings as things progress. A great modern horror classic.
Recommended for fans of genuinely great thrillers and horrors.
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws. There are a couple of hacksaws though.
Top badass moment? It’s got to be Alison Gordon, fighting back against Zep and doing so pretty successfully. With only the advantage of surprise, she manages to defend herself and her young daughter against a younger guy armed with a gun. That’s got to be badass. She’s had more balls that her pathetic husband, whose mindset was, “oh, my child and wife (whose back behind I’m having an affair) are in trouble; I know, I’ll cut my foot off.” Yeh, good thinking Batman, give that man a cigar.
I hate job interviews. I’d rather face the end of the world, on a wet day, when I’ve got a stinking cold, than be interviewed. They have the bizarre effect of temporarily rendering me insane and only capable of repeating, over and over again, that my would-be employer is the world’s worst organisation and one I despise in every way; think of the bastard corporate offspring of McDonalds, Nestle, Procter & Gamble and Rio Tinto, appointing Pol Pot, Idi Amin and Augusto Pinochet as directors and you’ll get some idea of the problem. Eric Cartman probably interviews better than me. Interviewing others however, is very different; I quite enjoy doing that as I’m a sadistic, evil psychopath, who hates absolutely everyone. In the last couple of weeks I’ve been involved in interviewing seven people for two jobs. I accept that in life I probably can’t get away with murdering every single individual on the planet, so the next best thing is to torture a small number of them, by using a legal loophole that enables me to psychologically damage people using an interrogation technique, which involves asking them a lot of deeply personal questions about their darkest fears and experiences. If I can throw in a question about Star Trek, even if it has nothing whatsoever to do with the job (and I can’t imagine why such a question every would have), so much the better. (I imagine there’s a whole sub-genera of films based around this particular fetish, although I’ve not personally come across any yet.) There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing an empty box of tissues on the table at the end of the day. Interviewing is like being an actor in a play, (a pantomime is probably the best analogy). You do and say the same things, over and over again, for each ‘victim’. I guess there’re a lot like slasher horrors too; you know a group of (generally) young people are going to go to a mysterious, isolated location, where something truly horrible will be done to them, one by one, by a strange, inhuman entity of some sort; and only one will survive! I like to think of myself as a bit like Jason Voorhees when I’m interviewing; focused on a single outcome, without a shred of compassion, empathy or humanity. This film is of course, about being interviewed…
2009 – Certificate: 18 – USA
Rating Details: Strong bloody violence and strong sex
This is the reboot of Friday 13th. So, a group of young people go somewhere and run into a bad guy with a big knife. They don’t get on. The end. I can’t really imagine there’re a lot of people who will watch this film and not already have a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen. It’s not a bad film by any means, but it suffers a bit from the ‘Twilight Effect’, by which I mean it’s a horror story superimposed on a teen drama. It never truly becomes too gory, too scary or too horrifying, although to be fair it does have its moments. Critically, it manages to keep the characters sufficiently annoying and irritating, so that the viewer will never really start to sympathise with them, which is what’s important when the real point of the movie is to see them all get killed by the man in the hockey mask. There’s nothing worse than feeling a twang of sorrow for the victims when a horror icon is going about his, her, or its business.
Recommended for anyone who isn’t genetically programmed to watch reboots of old classics to automatically say something along the lines of, “well, it’s not as good as the original.” This may often be true, but just blurting it out with no thought makes you sound like a Sun reader.
No cats, 3 decapitations and no chainsaws. Only one decapitation is on-screen, but it’s done to Major Kira Nerys from Star Trek Deep Space Nine; what a tragedy of epic proportions! One of the others is only in the deleted scenes.
Top badass moment? There are surprisingly few potential choices, so in the end I’m going for Jason’s excellent throw with the full-sized, double-headed axe. Getting one of them to fly through the air any sort of distance would be hard enough, but throwing one with enough accuracy and power to fell someone who’s running fast and a good 20m or so ahead of you, is pretty impressive. What a shame he didn’t get the opportunity to take up the javelin, discus or hammer; things might have worked out very differently if he had.
My ability to remain busy doing nothing never fails to amaze me. It’s not that I’m lazy or procrastinate a lot (well not often anyway), but time seems to just vanish at far too fast a rate for my taste. They say time appears to go more quickly as you get older, which makes me feel really ancient. Take today for example. I got up quite late (okay around 10:30) and feel as if I haven’t stopped all day. Yet a glance around the room makes me realise that I’ve spent nearly 12 hours doing absolutely nothing. It’s not that I think I’ve wasted my time, it’s just that I can’t see the results of anything I’ve done, or remember doing anything that took even remotely like 12 hours to do. All I’ve done is get up, cook lunch, take a photo, buy a few DVDs, write a posting in an online forum and answer a few online questionnaires. I’ve no idea how I’ve managed to make that last 12 hours, especially as I know I didn’t spend any longer on any of those things than I actually needed to. I think at the weekend I somehow get transferred into another dimension, where time goes more quickly. (To be fair the same thing happens during the week too, when I’m at work and never have enough time to do what I want.) Maybe I’m just slow, period. How normal people with normal lives cope with everything I’ll never know. This movie features ‘something’ from another plane of existence; but I swear it’s not me.
1981 – Certificate: 18 – USA
Rating Details: Language; Infrequent, Strong. Sex/Nudity: Occasional, Strong. Violence: Occasional, Strong. Other: Horror, Sexual Assault
This is a genuinely great horror film. It was one of the first horror DVDs I bought and is probably in my Top Ten horrors of all time. And despite it going all a bit “Ghostbusters” at one point, it remains genuinely scary and horrifying. It also has one of those classic bits of horror music, which in this case is little more than the same chord played over and over again, but the ugly violence of the sound really enhances the scenes it’s used in to up their impact. The movie is based on what’s claimed to be real incidents in someone’s life, which gives it a bit of an unpleasant edge too. Barbara Hershey is great as our hero Carla Moran. She convincingly portrays a whole range of emotions really well. She also manages to vary her appearance too, from sexy and determined through to vulnerable and beaten. Sadly, time hasn’t been so kind to the special effects, which definitely look dated now; the wobbly ice-cube thing near the end really has past its sell-by date. It’s not the sort of film I can watch and then feel comfortable going into another room after, without quickly switch on the light. However, the scariest thing of all is Doctor Phil Sneiderman, the psychiatrist who Carla goes to see. He’s stalker-like attraction to Carla is pretty weasel-like; eew! You expect poltergeists’ behavior to be kind of strange, but not your doctor’s. What a weirdo. I can’t imagine this film won’t be ‘reimagined’ at some point in the near future.
Recommended for fans of high quality, scary horror.
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.
Top badass moment? Has to be Carla Moran’s “I’ve finished running” monologue. When you’ve got a supernatural being wanting to rape you, you’re trapped in a building with big containers of liquid helium suspended over your head and your bathed in stupid red lights and wailing sirens (courtesy of some dodgy scientists’ entirely superfluous “emergency mode” lighting), then calling the invisible baddie a bastard at that moment has got to be badass. I think it probably just pissed him off though.
Today the world woke up to the fact that however good Polish workers are, you wouldn’t want to employ one to fix your roof. This afternoon, England managed yet another lacklustre performance and gained a draw against Poland. However, the real highlight of the football coverage came yesterday, watching ITV’s commentary team, lead by Adrian Chiles, desperately trying to fill two and a half hours, sitting in a studio watching it raining outside. The highlight was Chiles’s genuine query to the rest of the team, “What’s the difference between heavy rain and a downpour?” It gave a whole new meaning to the word “inane”. Sadly, we were not treated to any great insight or wisdom on this matter either, which just goes to prove that men really can’t talk about anything other than football. Although it has to be said that a group of men employed to commentate on an international football match probably do represent the pinnacle of male development, so it’s hardly surprising that something as complex as the weather might elude them. I also enjoyed FIFAs attempts to entertain the crowd with its throw-back to the golden age of silent cinema; watching the referee regularly come out with a ball and then randomly throw it into the air and watch it land with a splash without bouncing, was a wonderful pastiche of the early greats, such as Charlie Chaplin Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton. It was raining, the pitch was clearly getting more and more waterlogged, what did he expect to happen? (If he was an astronaut he’d be the one to go outside and take off his helmet, just to check that there really wasn’t any air there.) Not a smile did he flash either, not even for a moment; I couldn’t tell if he was totally raging inside at the futility of what he was being told to do, in front of millions of people, and getting soaked doing it, or he really was taking it very seriously. Jeez, he needs to lighten up a bit. He had all the demeanour of a detective investing a serious crime scene; which considering the nonsense with the automatically closing roof that they didn’t close, he sort of was. This film also features a number of serious crime scenes.
1997 – Certificate: 18 – USA
Rating Details: Strong Bloody Violence
Try as I might, I just can’t work up any real enthusiasm for this film. I feel it ought to be a lot better than it is, which just added to my disappointment. There’s nothing really wrong with it, but nothing really right with it either. It just kind of exists because “Scream” exists, a bit like the relationship between dead leaves in autumn and trees. It’s not really very scary, it’s not really very funny, it’s not really very gory and it’s not really very hip. It doesn’t help that I get “Scream” and “Scary Movie” mixed up in my head, so in my mind it’s become a sort of inoffensive Frankenstein film made up of several others; (let’s not forget the two further sequels to “Scream” and the three sequels to “Scary Movie”. That’s eight nearly identical films, so it’s no wonder I’m confused. Watching it felt like one of things you just have to do from time to time, not something to get worked up about or anything, but just something you do and not give much thought to, like going to the toilet I guess. What I did hate was that it was non-anamorphic, so with its widescreen aspect ratio I ended up watching a picture the size and shape of an enlarged match, without a head. God, I can’t be bothered with anymore thinking about this film right now.
Recommended for people who saw Scream, I guess.
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.
Top badass moment? Whatever. It might as well be Cotton Weary finally getting what he wanted (greedy asshole) and becoming a sort of hero(ish). That’s badass(ish).
Ever watched any of those TV ads, which always seem to feature a young and good-looking guy in a white shirt and tie, sitting on a train with loads of space around him? The ones where it’s sunny outside and the train is passing through some beautiful countryside, which the guy in the shirt glances at contentedly whilst he works away on a laptop, looking happy and in control, as he drinks his complementary and delicious cup of coffee and deals with his important but achievable workload? Well that’s total bollocks. I’ve spend a lot of time recently sitting on trains trying to work on a laptop and its had about as much in common with that image, as someone sweeping the floor in an aircraft hangar has with Tom Cruise in “Topgun”. So here’s a reality check.
1) The trains are always over-crowded and no one looks happy.
2) You always have to chuck someone out of the seat you’ve booked, who’s always the person most genuinely in need of a seat on the whole train; typically a heavily pregnant but exceedingly fray old lady, who’s often from a Black or Asian community too, so that everyone else on the train can brand you both a bastard and a racist.
3) You can never plug your laptop in anywhere; there either isn’t a plug, or someone else is using it and will defend it to the death if need be. You’d have more chance of negotiating a peace treaty between North and South Korea.
4) The tables are too narrow to have the screen at the right angle or the keyboard in the right place; and there’s always some other poor sod sitting on the other side of the table trying to use a laptop too; and the nightmarish possibly that the backs of the lids might accidentally touch one another, would feel not unlike experiencing your best mate suddenly touching you ‘inappropriately’ and declaring he’s always loved you.
5) You’re always stressed out because you’ve got too much work to do. Internet access costs nearly £5 for an hour and at best is annoyingly intermittent and slow, so you end up having to close and reopen Outlook loads of times in an effort to send or receive any e-mail. And don’t even think you can use a mouse, as the train’s movement will result in your clicking on everything but what you wanted and a screen full of usless boxes and windows that you’ve then got to try to close, an equally futile exercise that just perpetuates the nightmare. And if you saved the link your mate sent you last week for that comedy bestiality gay porn website, you can be sure you’ll accidently click on it and everyone in the carriage with hear your tinny laptop speakers blare out the fact, confirming in their minds that you’re a social deviant as well as being a bastard and a racist, and probably a paedophile too. Your only defence against all this is that the chance of you actually finding a suitable space in which to move a mouse around, is rather less than that of the Earth suddenly exploding right now… nope, we’re still here. (And here’s a friendly bit of advice; don’t bother trying to use your mouse on your thigh, it doesn’t work and after it’s fallen on the floor with a loud clatter a few times, everyone will be adding stupidity to your growing lists of crimes.)
6) The person sitting opposite you always has a better laptop that makes you feel like a Luddite and failure, as you look at your scratched Dell with its broken bit of trim in the corner; whilst his is miraculously in pristine condition, despite its apparently nomadic existence; they’re nearly always Macs too; does Apple pay people to travel on trains just to make it look like it has a bigger market share than it really does?
7) The weather is always wet and horrible; or really bright and the sun shines directly onto the screen of your laptop, rendering it unreadable.
8) The person next to you acts as if he’s Beelzebub’s cousin and insists on staking his claim to every square nanometre of his allotted space; even using his bag and jacket to build something akin to the Berlin Wall between you and him. The unspoken threat this leaves hanging in the air will lead you to prefer the option of wetting yourself, rather than ask him to move so you can go to the toilet.
9) If the person next to you is a woman, she will continually use body language that strongly suggests the world’s most evil-smelling pervert has just sat next to her. Unlike Beelzebub’s cousin, she will attempt to curl up in as small a space as possible, mathematically as far from you as she can, whilst texting her mates non-stop to tell them of her ongoing trauma.
10) The coffee is mediocre, costs £2.20 and comes in a paper cup.
This film is set in 1972. Before laptops existed. (And I really actually like trains.)
1991 – Certificate: PG – USA
Before I watched this film I couldn’t remember anything about it or why I’d bought it. Neither the overview nor the trailer suggested that it’s going to be anything other than a fairly crappy, 90s, mainstream Hollywood romantic/family comedy with a precocious, ‘Hollywood-style’ kid in it. An evening of British stoicism beckoned, as I looked forward to 98 minutes of mediocre averageness. But when a film starts with an 11-year-old girl speaking directly into the camera, claiming to have caught haemorrhoids and explaining how her breasts are developing at different rates and that means she’s got cancer, does suggest that it’s going to have more balls that it ought to. (Sorry if that all sounds a bit Jimmy Savilley, it’s not meant to.) For a PG rated film, I bet that freaked out a few parents in the cinema! It’s basically a film about death, a suitable depressing topic that probably explains why I bought it in the first place. In the end, it still turned out to be a 90s, mainstream Hollywood romantic/family comedy with a precocious, ‘Hollywood-style’ kid in it, but at times it’s also a genuinely touching and powerful bit of drama. The adults are more or less cardboard cut-out characters, but the kids make the film come alive and the script’s surprising subtle. It’s got a good soundtrack too. (Problem is, I still can’t get used to Dan Aykroyd not hunting ghosts, or Jamie Lee Curtis not fighting Michael Myers.)
Recommended for people who want to revisit the experience of losing someone they love.
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.
Top badass moment? Vada sulking in the supermarket and throwing can after can from the shelf into the trolley. Am I the only one who thinks doing this without looking at the shelf or fumbling any of the cans, whilst the trolley is moving, was pretty clever? It’s hard to make sulking look cool, so managing to do so is badass.
I went to a gig last Saturday, to see Random Hand, Tyrannosaurus Alan and four other bands. One of the latter was Tallowah, a great reggae band from Southend-on-Sea which I hadn’t seen before; but now I have I’ll want to see again. I haven’t been to that many gigs over the past couple of months and oh boy did I feel it; all that ‘dancing’ and stuff people do. I felt really unfit and my neck is sore now too. It was like I’d forgotten what to do; weird. Random Hand was great; it’s pretty well always great. I’ve no idea why it’s not huge; (but then again, having heard today that the most pirated artist in the UK is Ed Sheeran, that doesn’t really surprise me). Tyrannosaurus Alan is continuing to get better and better. Saturday was by far the most moshing I’ve ever seen at one of its gigs. A highlight was the tallest guy in the room crowd surfing for an entire song without touching the floor; he must have been at least 12 feet tall and as is usual for the tallest person at every gig I’ve ever been to ever, he’d managed to stand in front of me. On the train journey home I also thoroughly enjoyed the antics of the snogging young couple sitting opposite. She finally ended up asleep with her head in his lap, (well I think she was sleeping); probably due to a lack of air, poor thing. I think this all goes to prove what a jolly nice, decent and tolerant person I am. However…
2001 – Certificate: R – USA
Rating Details: Drug use, language, some sexual content and a scene of violence, all involving teens.
One thing I really hate is when the cover of a DVD has little to do with the content. Here we have a classic example. Whoever it is that’s on the cover, she’s not in the film at all. Not only that, but her knickers are clearly white, whereas any we seen in the film are black; (and her skirt is totally different to the ones worn in the film too). That’s two DVDs in a row I’ve watched that have suffered from ‘false advertising’ in this way. Whoever designed and authorised the sleeve used for this DVD should go directly to prison and suffer some embarrassing, undignified and degrading experiences in the toilets, before finally being put up against a wall and shot. Well okay maybe just life imprisonment then; I did say I was a tolerant person. Oh, and before I forget, the title of the film is entirely misleading too; there’s no pastry-based food featured in it anywhere, with or without a sweet or savory filling! So anyway, now I’ve trashed the marketing, what about the film itself? Well, it basically follows a group of boring, spoilt, rich kids who go to a private school in New York, who spend most of their time taking drugs and trying to be ‘rebellious’. Of course, someone gets killed, friendships get tested and we all learn a bit more about life and ourselves; well, I’m certainly glad about all that then and I’m sure you are too. Actually I’m probably making it sound worse than it is; it is entertaining enough in its own way. Dominique Swain (Cat Storm) looks great in a school uniform (nice legs) and her mother is some sort of saint. It just somehow doesn’t really seem to get going before it’s all over. Even the injection of some oh so naughty bestiality and shocking gay sex can’t wake it up. (I bet you really do want to see it now.) Actually there’s a brilliant review of it on IMDB, which is so good it sort of put me off even trying to write anything better here. Go read it.
Recommended for boring, spoilt, rich kids, school uniform ‘enthusiasts’ and fans of the private education system.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? In a film filled with boring, self-centred people, the only contender is Lily Storm. Faced with an argumentative, selfish daughter and with an equally crappy ex-husband, she remains supportive, caring and understanding. Being the sort of mother everyone needs/wants is totally badass.
One of the things that’s always puzzled me about trees is that you chop them down and then you chop them up. What’s all that about then? This film features no scenes in which trees play a significant part, (although one does have what you might call an important ‘supporting role’ at one point); there is, nevertheless, quite a lot of chopping up going on in it.
2007 – Certificate: R – USA
Rating Details: Violence (including rape), sexual content, language and substance abuse all involving teens
When I was 17/18, I spent most of my time either trying to learn things, or talking to my best mates, Jacob and Simon, about music and stuff. It’s true, sometimes life wasn’t much fun, but I don’t recall anyone being branded the “school slut” or any murders taking place amongst the school population. I guess everything really is bigger and, eh, ‘better’ in America. Despite the sometimes weak acting, this is a generally fun horror to watch. It’s especially fun if you like to see the clever, quiet girl at school (called Michelle in this example) get abused and then branded as the “School Slut”, before she takes revenge on her tormentors by killing them off, one by one; I know I do. I have to say I could see her point, bullies are bad. Her mum was the mother-from-hell too, with the film providing us with a master-class in how to be a bad parent. If I was Michelle I’d had dealt with her at the same time; in for a penny in for a pound as they say. Angelique Hennessy (Michelle) puts in a decent performance, some of the time anyway; but in truth all she really needs to do is look foxy (which she does) and let her unfeasibly long legs do the acting for her. (Why the cover art on the DVD doesn’t even seem to feature her, I have no idea.) She’s vegan too according to IMDB (the actress not the character), so as far as I’m concerned that means Michelle was just getting rid of a few carnivores, so we should all be thankful to her for that. What this film does do well is take its time giving the main characters personalities that aren’t all a carbon copy of one another and seem more like real people with real motivations, before the inevitable blood-bath starts up. It made watching them die more enjoyable! Oh yes, the main male character Aaron, looks an awful lot like Tim Wheeler from Ash, which was decidedly weird. On a technical note, it features a Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack. Where’d the base channel go? It did have a distinctly scratchy sound and would probably send any dogs unfortunate enough to hear it into a rage. By the way, don’t watch this and expect it to be very realistic, it will just spoil it for you if you do.
No cats or chainsaws, but 1 decapitation. The latter a one-swipe classic with a machete, in a full Jason Voorhees outfit. Excellent!
You know what sort of characters are featured in this film; you know what they get up to; so you know exactly the sort of demographic it’s recommended for.
Top badass moment? It was good to see Michelle, even during her killing spree, was taking the time to continue with her studies. A good education is very important and therefore badass; after all, you can’t be a serial killer forever.
I’m pissed off with both Argos and IKEA. IKEA is a perennial dislike of mine, with its unsubtle attempt to make every home reflect the state of many of our high streets, with each one looking exactly like the next one. In comparison, I’m generally quite forgiving of Argos. Sadly, both have now enraged me by showing their true, bloated, evil, stupid, corporate selves. I need some more shelves to store DVDs on. I can’t imagine I’m the only person ever to have had this interior design requirement, but after dealing with the aforementioned companies I think I must be, as they’re both so shockingly crap at selling what I would have thought was a very standard, simple, basic bit of furniture. Bloody hell, I only want to store some DVDs, not the Ebola virus. After having considered and then rejected some of my more bizarre, expensive or inconvenient solutions, such as moving to a bigger home, converting all my DVDs to digital files and storing them on a huge hard drive somewhere, or distorting the local space-time continuum (it’s the “space” bit there that’s most appealing), I decided to try and buy some new storage units for them, to match the ones I already have. In the past I’ve bought these from Argos; except last time when it appeared to have discontinued the style I’ve always bought, so I had to get a different type, which kind of pissed me off, because they don’t look the same. Anyway, this time the old style had miraculously reappeared, but the new style I bought last time had vanished entirely. This also pissed me off, as I’d decided what I wanted based on the latter. No matter I though, I’ll just waste a bit more of my life re-measuring everything to see how to fit the old style in the available space instead. A common theme with these storage units over the years is that every Argos on the planet only ever has a maximum of two in stock at any one time, so if you want more than that you have to keep going back to the shop, over and over again, until you’ve got the number you want. No matter I thought, again, I’ll buy them online instead and pay the very reasonable £3.95 delivery charge, (which includes the ability to pick the delivery day too). I got all the way through this process and ordered five, only to be told after I’ve paid that only one was actually in stock for home delivery, so my order had been changed and the others cancelled. What sort of large, modern company doesn’t link its website sales to its stock? This really pissed me off, a lot. Half an hour later, after finally getting the purchase confirmation e-mail and then spending ten minutes on hold, I got through to Betty, (who because she sounded like ‘everyone’s favourite granny’ I didn’t have the heart to get annoyed with about all this), who cancelled my order; (because guess what, you can’t cancel your order online either). All this messing about had sufficiently annoyed me that I decided to go and buy the same things from IKEA instead. It sells what’s basically an identical unit for £1.99 less. So I get through all of its ordering system only to be told it costs £35 for delivery. Seriously, IKEA is taking the piss here. If I was IKEA, I’d use the same delivery firm as Argos and charge its customers a 10th of what they’re presently charged and offer a choice of delivery days too. So after wasting well over an hour of my time, I’m still no closer to solving my original problem. Bollocks to them both. This film also features an ‘issue’ with space and time.
1984 – Certificate PG – USA Rating Details:
Mild Language, violence and horror
“Star Wars” was made in 1977, seven years before this film. It looked amazing at the time and still looks really good now. This movie looks and feels like it was made in 1960. Most of the special effects belong in the 50s; in fact the whole feel of it does too. Despite this, I do rather like this film in a strange sort of way. Maybe it’s the inherent decentness of the hero, David Herdeg. (Although he doesn’t seem that bothered when a car of fellow military personnel that’s chasing him crashes and blows up, certainly killing everyone inside it; it’s not like they were even trying to do anything bad to him either). And come to think of it, that’s far from his only sociopathic reaction to what’s going on around him. In fact, he’s not really very nice at all. So perhaps it’s the natural sexiness of fellow escapee (née kidnap-victim) Allison (Nancy Allen) that does it for me then? She was great in “Robocop”. However, her 80s hairstyle and somewhat pathetic-useless-woman persona do start to grind you down after a while; she even falls over at one post during a chase. Sadly, there’s nothing very attractive about an idiot. Of course, I appreciate that both of them had a lot of shit going on in their lives; he having to deal with the consequences of suddenly being transported 41 years into the future and her having not got a job she’d applied for. But really… Actually I’ve now realised I’ve no idea why I like this film. Enigmatic eh?
Recommended for people who long for the return of rubbish 50s sci-fi. Yes, these people really do exist.
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws. However, one unfortunate guy does sort of get trapped in the deck of the ship with his head half embedded in the metal. That’s going to take at least two paracetamol to sort out.
Top badass moment? Move along, there’s nothing to see here; certainly no one heroic enough to do anything worthy of the accolade of “Top Baddass Moment”.
When you drive from Reading towards Oxford, as you leave the town you pass a number of road signs proudly proclaiming you’re entering Oxfordshire, the Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and, most importantly of all, that the speed limit is now 50mph. After the slow 30mph climb out of Reading, with its 100s of speed cameras ready to catch the weary, the inattentive and the downright stupid, the sudden vista of trees and open fields, a straight road and all that ‘roadside furniture’ is enough to turn even the most mind-mannered driver into a Mad Max style petrol-head. So imagine my pleasure recently, as when leaving the town along this very road, at the very moment of transition from high-tech military oppression to the anarchy of the countryside beyond, onto my car stereo came Andrew W.K.’s “Party Hard”. This is a great bit of ‘speeding up’ music. However, the intro goes on for 27 seconds. Even in a Ford Focus that’s a lot of acceleration time. I was quite surprised when I looked down to see I was doing over 200mph. That’s pretty impressive for a diesel. This film also has a main character that talks a lot of bollocks but thinks he’s making sense.
2002 – Certificate 15: – USA
Rating Details: Language: Frequent, Strong. Sex/Nudity: Infrequent Moderate References. Violence: None. Other: Substance Abuse.
I feel a bit guilty for not liking this drama / black comedy more. I did try, but I just couldn’t get behind the ‘hero’ Wilson. I know he was having a bad time, what with his wife’s suicide and all that, but he had plenty of friends, family and work colleagues who wanted to help him. But what does he do? Not open the letter his wife left for him and develop a somewhat unhealthy interest in sniffing petrol and (in his own words) “radio-control”. For a successful winner like me, who’s never failed at anything in his entire life, it’s hard to see someone behaving quite so pathetically over such a small thing. What a wimp. Loser. Anyway, don’t let me put you off watching this film, because it is pretty entertaining and the acting’s great too. It’s just that I got a little too much pleasure out of seeing Wilson make a bit of a tool of himself once too often and then that made me feel guilty. I didn’t really get to feel his pain, you know what I mean?
Recommended for radio-controlled boat and plane enthusiasts.
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.
Top badass moment? In a film filled with flawed, somewhat sad individuals, where no one really ‘rises to the challenge’, this is not an easy thing to do. So rather than bother I’ve decided that anyone who flies radio-controlled aeroplanes is badass. For a hobby that’s easy for everyone else to ridicule, (it’s only one step above train-spotting in my mind), who hasn’t secretly wanted to have a go at it anyway? Pursuing your interests when the rest of the world thinks you’re just a stupid kid who won’t grow up, is badass. It’s just jealousy you know.
I’ve bought myself a new camera. It’s a Samsung ST200F. It’s a hideous purple colour, (because they were out of stock of the black ones.) It’s got a 16 megapixel resolution, which is a lot because one mega of anything is a lot, so 16 must be an awful lot. It’s got a memory card in it that allows me to store 3,403 pictures on it, if I take them all at the camera’s maximum resolution, or 97,346 if I take them at its minimum. I doubt if I’ve taken more than 5,000 photos in my entire life, which means if I continue to take photos at the same rate in future, I could use the same memory card to store all the photos I take between now and when I’m 954 years old. I can’t help thinking that even if I live that long, both the camera and the memory card will have stopped functioning by then. Or to put it another way, I’d have to take 16-17 photos an hour for a whole year (assuming I had eight hours sleep a night) to fill the memory card in that time. I’m not sure even my lounge is worthy of that much study. Anyway, this is the first ‘bit of technology’ I’ve bought for a couple of years, so it’s all very exciting; and when I work out why I might want to take advantage of one of its functions and upload my photos into a cloud, I’ll let you know. It also has a setting called Beauty Shot, which apparently improves the appearance of someone by automatically removing blemishes from them. I don’t know why it doesn’t just go the whole way and simply provide you with a picture of a professional model, superimposed on a background of your choice. Still, I can’t wait to test this function’s capabilities on myself, that’ll give it a real workout; I hope it doesn’t break it. It sounds a lot cheaper and a lot less hassle than conventional plastic surgery. I ought to point out that I’ve only bought this camera as I broke my old one when I dropped it on the ground and a tiny bit of plastic snapped off it. I did this the same day I was walking backwards in front of a load of people and fell over a huge boulder that had been pulled out of a river and left there. It’s quite hard to appear nonchalant and casual when you’ve just been dumped on your ass like that in front of 30 people, but I think I got away with it…. Like my life, this film features a plot with a technological edge to it too.
1999 – Certificate: 12 – USA
So, at long last, here’s a romantic comedy that ‘real men’ can watch, because it’s really a tough, no-nonsense science fiction movie. Well, sort of. It hasn’t got any aliens in it, or spaceships, but it does have a couple of big explosions and a dodgy CGI aeroplane. I’ve always like Alicia Silverstone too, because she’s a great actress, honestly. It has nothing to do with what she looked like in her Batgirl costume two years before. No, really it doesn’t. I do have to admit that I did kind of enjoy this film. To be sure, it’s entirely unrealistic, stupid and unbelievable, but it is quite funny in places and the background to the entirely predictable plot is really quite fun and certainly different. The supporting cast does a great job as well. They could have done a lot more with the interesting ‘trapped underground for 35 years’ scenario, but I guess that’s what happens when you let romance get in the way of a perfectly good sci-fi story. However, it’s all very watchable, easy on the brain and well made too. An effortless way to spend 99 minutes.
Recommended for fans of extreme cinema who want to push the boundaries of romantic comedy to its limits. Or maybe not.
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.
Top badass moment? As a bit of a dance-floor diva myself, (honestly, please don’t assume I’m lying), Adam’s dancing in the nightclub deserves some respect. Being able to do that after living your whole life in a hole in the ground with just your parents for company, has to be badass. In fact being able to do almost anything after growing up in those circumstances is probably badass.
Where I work there’re people called Regional Finance and System Managers. They generally manage few staff and control few resources or budgets. Yet despite this, they are feared! Unbending, emotionless and utterly without compassion, they demand absolute and total compliance from the rest of us, least we complete a spreadsheet incorrectly, or enter a field of data wrongly into The Management Information System. Generally mild-mannered and calm, (which makes them sound a bit like Clark Kent but don’t let that fool you), they are in fact imbibed with arcane, secret and awesome powers. Up until a couple of years ago, when we had a bit of a reshuffle at work and the Regional Finance and System Manager I dealt with was physically transferred into the entity known as the IT Department, (at least that what I think happened to him, as no one’s seen him in person since), I viewed him as rather like Judge Dredd. All that “I Am The Law” stuff and everything. Well I don’t think he ever actually said that, but it’s the way you say things that matters, not what you actually say. What he typically did was write an e-mail to ask if I could provide him with a few bits of information. In my head this became a vision of him riding into my office on his massive Lawmaster bike, (after blowing the door and part of the wall away with his Lawgiver sidearm, using an appropriate high-explosive round to do so), into the chaotic fire-fight that passes for my finance management and generally non-existent record keeping. I felt ‘judged’ on many occasions. “At the end of the day, when you’re all alone in the dark, the only thing that counts, is this, the MIS.”
1995 – Certificate: 15 – USA
I think this movie gets a bit of a bad deal from people. So it doesn’t stick to the mythology of the Judge Dredd comics very well. More Judge Stallone than Judge Dredd, it’s still a lot of fun in a brainless sort of way. I enjoy watching Sylvester Stallone, he always seems to put so much effort into everything. For an action film, it’s actually the slower parts that feel the best put together. All those explosions and ‘car chases’, they just seem so mundane. I wonder what the new version, due out later this year, will be like? Oh, but what were they thinking of when they released the DVD I watched? A non anamorphic transfer? If I wanted to watch something as if I was watching it thorough a letter box, I’d go and put the TV behind a real letterbox and stand in the street outside and watch it through that. I didn’t spend all that money on my massive TV just to have a little slice of picture shoved into the middle of it. Twentieth Century Fox, back of the class for you.
No cats, no decapitations and no chainsaws.
Recommend for law-abiding citizens everywhere, who need a hero to look out for them.
Top badass moment? People parking thoughtlessly is a real bugbear of mind. Too lazy, stupid or selfish to park sensibly and walk a few yards to the shop, they ‘abandon’ their cars all over the pavements, on junctions, in disabled parking bays, or generally in the most piss-taking places they can find. As far as I’m concerned, seeing how Judge Dredd deals with an anti-social motorist (he blows up his car, completely destroying it) is totally badass. The sooner they arm Traffic Wardens with large calibre weaponry like that, the better.
Using words like “Games”, “Two Thousand and Twelve”, “2012” or “Twenty-Twelve”, in association with the words “London”, “Medals”, Sponsors”, “Summer”, “Gold”, Silver” or ”Bronze”, is apparently illegal under the 2006 Olympic Act. So I’d just like to say that my comments here are the Official Pointless Whinging London Summer Olympics 2012 Gold Medal winning ones. I bet that will piss off McDonald’s and Visa no end. What’s with all this Official nonsense anyway? Don’t these companies care that the rest of the word is pissing itself laughing at them, as if anyone else gives a damm? I guess not, as (for example) everyone within 10,000 miles of an Olympic event will be forced to buy chips (sorry “fries” I mean) from the scary clown, because no one else is allowed to sell any portions of chips on their own. (Not that the fries McDonalds sells share any real similarities with proper chips anyway; it’s just that I hate the idea of lots of first-time visitors to England getting the wrong idea about what is actually our biggest contribution to the world’s classic foods.) I guess I now know what all those missiles and RAF jets are for, to enforce the “No Chips Unless They’re From McDonald’s Exclusion Zone” around the Olympics. You walk into that area with a bag from the local chippy and you’re likely to get targeted by a smart bomb. (I wonder who’s the supplier of the Official Dog Turd to the Olympics? Oh, I’ve just noticed, it McDonald’s again, it’s on the menu, 99p; actually that’s pretty good value when you think about it, as it comes with a side salad and a plastic toy if you’re over 4.) It’s like living in some sort of mythical, hard-line communist state, where you have no choice and ‘everything’ is provided for you, which is a bit ironic considering where McDonald’s came from in the first place. With about as much credibility and connection to the truth as Official Olympic stuff has to the amazing abilities of the athletes competing there, this film claims to be “the most brutal movie ever made”. Well, let’s peak in and find out…
2005 – Certificate: Not Rated – USA
I’d just like to start by saying that I watched this film on 13th July 2012, the day one of the actors in it, Sage Stallone, sadly died. Poor guy. So anyway, this horror pretty much follows the normal routine; two young women go off into the woods and bad stuff happens to them. If you don’t like films like this, then nothing else in it is going to make up for that fact and you’ll hate it; it’s pretty gross stuff. A lot of people seem to object to the fact that the bad guy (Chaos) gets away with it in the end, but that’s life. Baddies often get away with a lot in real life before (sometimes) getting their comeuppance. The picture quality of the DVD I watched was really good and some of the acting and the effects weren’t bad either. The script was a bit dodgy at times and the ending, while quite a lot of ‘fun’, was a bit bizarre. The police (let’s call them cops so as to differentiate them from the good old British Bobby), are portrayed as hugely racist and somewhat ineffectual. But the two young actresses in it and Kevin Gage (Chaos) put in pretty convincing performances, including the more harrowing scenes. I’d quite like to see Chaos again, he’s one sick bastard. So is it “the most brutal movie ever made”? Well how on earth should I know? Do you think I’ve watching every single film ever made? Do you think I own some sort of Official Brutal Movie measuring device? Of course not. Those are being provided by Samsung as part of the Summer Olympics, so I’m not allowed to have one. Finally, I can’t finish without commenting on the “rave” mentioned in the Overview. From what you get to see and hear of it, this has to be The most disappointing party of all time. Things really are slow in the sticks in America.
No cats, no decapitations and one chainsaw. The chainsaw was used in a somewhat unconvincing attempt by the father of one of the women to fight Chaos. I’d stick to cutting up logs in the garden mate, if I was you.
Recommended for people who want to watch a sick bastard torture and kill just about everyone else. Oh, I guess they include me then; how embarrassing. Someone on IMDB said “These movies are made for one audience – psychotic future and current serial killers, rapists, and other vile humans. I wish movies, and the audience members who enjoy this crap would all instantly combust in flames and burn for eternity.” I wonder if the writer of that saw the irony in it?
Top badass moment? Justine’s (Deborah Lacey) last stand at the end. Entirely futile, but that’s what makes it so badass. I just hope she got some small satisfaction from knowing she’d been right all along.
By the way, I really couldn’t find a trailer in English anywhere; it seems only the Germans were honoured with one, so here it is.
On the way back from a meeting today I had to drive across the Vale of Oxford, a rolling landscape of large fields and not a lot of trees or hedges. It does however, provide some quite panoramic views of the sky. Today I was accompanied on my journey by one of the scariest clouds I’ve ever seen. An enormous line of meteorological anger, brightly illuminated by the sun, pushing huge, white fists of fury high up into sky above. It was like the very Gates of Hell had opened across the Berkshire Downs and pure evil was boiling up from the ground below and into the heavens. No really, it was that awe-inspiring! A true litany of terror* stretched out before my eyes; Mother Nature telling us not to fuck with her any more. I was put in mind of the clouds in “Independence Day” that the spaceships then appear out of, before the alien scum inside them start to trash the Earth. (I’ve always liked the expression “alien scum”; I got it from Activision’s BattleZone 2 Combat Commander that was released in 1999, which is still my favourite all-time computer game.) I was expecting Reading to be wiped off the map this afternoon by a deluge so awesome that Noah would have wimped out. However, in the end it rained for about five minutes. I wish I’d taken a photo, but my camera is totally broken now so I need to buy a new one. This film is about aliens that seem to want to destroy the Earth and is also awesome, but not in quite the same way. *A quote from this film.
2003 – Certificate: PG-13 – USA
Rating Details: Crude and sexual humor including dialogue
This movie is dumb. This movie is stupid. This movie isn’t really very funny. Having said all that, it is actually quite entertaining. It also contains plenty of quotable lines too, which you’ll be able to have hours of fun using should you be lucky enough to find another human being somewhere who’s seen it too. “Not a problem” I felt was particularly helpful and would have a number of ‘real-world’ applications. “Enthuse for Rabirr” probably has a more limited range of specialist uses. Anyway, it’s got a 100’ tall giant called Croker (who’s probably the funniest thing in it), one of the most ineffective ray guns in any sci-fi film ever and some less than subtle product placement. Another plus is the version of the theme tune played at the end. This is by Nerf Herder, which was also responsible for the theme to TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and is the 2nd best band on the planet. A high-quality B-movie; if there is such a thing.
Recommend for anyone who secretly likes to watch a totally dumb film once in a while.
No cats and 2 decapitations. (There’re also two heads that sort of get vaporised). I have to say that the decapitation count is a little disappointing, considering that at one stage during the film we’re promised around 5.8 billion of them; which is probably the most in any film ever.
Top badass moment? However stupid those threatening to use them were, the cow’s determination not to give in to chainsaw and machete wielding aliens, was badass; its badass enough to make Ronald McDonald join the Vegetarian Society. (I probably should have rewritten that sentence, it’s a bit of a mess syntaxically. Oh, and now it contains a made-up word too. I’m just digging the hole deeper and deeper…)
I’m a bit fragile today. I got ‘dragged around’ the Ashmolean Museum (of art and archaeology) in Oxford yesterday. After two hours of looking at random bits of broken china in glass cases, bent bits of metal in more glass cases and portraits of people I’ve never heard of in rooms hotter and drier than the Sahara, I had a desperate need to ‘refresh’ myself in one of Oxford’s fine alehouses, to recover from this ordeal. The museum was interesting enough, if you like that sort of thing, but when someone says “painting” to me, it’s normally a spot of DIY that comes to mind; and if I see bits of broken pottery, I tend to swear a bit and get a brush to sweep up the broken mug I’ve just dropped. Neither of these things featured very heavy at the Ashmolean, although I did see a pound note; it’s amazing how quickly you forget about these things. My joke about giving all the old Greek coins there back to Greece as it might find them useful now, fell on somewhat stony ground too. I don’t suppose I’ll be allowed back in there anyway, as the person I was with first got told off for carrying her bag on her back (they don’t like small rucksacks in museums, in case you turn around and trash something with it); then one of her shoes developed a really loud squeak, which in a museum of ‘quiet stuff’ probably annoyed just about everyone there. Yes, I needed to recover afterwards; it was all way too exciting for me. I don’t think I’ve got that drunk for a long time and I’m trying not to remember what my companion for this adventure did in the middle of the high street in Oxford on the way back to the station; thank goodness it was dark. For the first time in my life ever, I also managed to leave my mobile phone on the seat in the train when I got back to Reading, but fortunately some community minded spirit saw it and ran after me to return it; what a nice guy! So what’s all that got to do with this film? Well, there’s a couple of scenes in it (including the first) where some small figurines are featured, which later get broken; if that had happened to them 3,000 years ago they might have ended up in the Ashmolean Museum. It also features a conversation about a mobile phone too. Yes, it’s tenuous, I know.
2006 – Certificate: 15 – USA
Rating Details: Strong sex and language
This is a great and rather cleverly written and acted drama, a real train-crash of a story, (as subtlety portrayed in the trailer). Plenty of dysfunctional families and individuals. Kate Winslet having sex. A dark and depressing story. Yep, all boxes ticked. Just as well really, as it clocks in at 131 minutes. Discover what goes on in the dull lives of a bunch of reasonably well-off people dissatisfied with their existence and relationships. For a fairly mainstream Hollywood film, it does manage a high WTF quota too, which is good. The ending is a bit inexplicable, but does sort of make sense in terms of the story and provides some suitable closure to things. Yes, it’s well worth watching, even though it doesn’t have any aliens or explosions in it. (I realise that this is a somewhat dull paragraph, but I’m struggling a bit today with basic things, like thinking.)
Recommended for people who like intelligent, great films. It’s as simple as that.
No cats and no decapitations.
Top badass moment? Larry overcoming his own problems and his hatred of pervert Ronnie. Okay, so first Larry had to all but to kill Ronnie’s mother and then the latter castrate himself before he managed to do this, but I suppose he got there in the end. Overcoming deeply held prejudices is badass; and generally a very good thing too.
If you’re crap at interviews, you’ll probably never get a decent job, however good you are at anything else. It’s how The Man has decided the world works, and that’s that. So the next time you see a bit of dole-ite scum hanging about up to no good (and probably planning some scam to rip off all the hardworking members of society), then just remember what separates you from him/her. In the same way, if you’re no good on dates, you’ll probably never get a decent boyfriend/girlfriend etc. I like to remember these two facts when I’m reviewing my progress towards the mountain-top of life. I’m incredibly intelligent, perceptive, knowledgeable, witty, charming, generous, sexy, handsome, thoughtful, sympathetic, understanding, empathic and generally a great guy, yet somehow I’ve failed to become chief executive of anything, or found anyone desperate enough to put up with me on a ‘social basis’ for very long. I put this down to the two small flaws I have, which just happen to relate to interviews, (I forget everything I know and insult the organisation I’m attempting to get a job with) and dates, (I suddenly can’t think of anything interesting to say and end up staring into space or at her breasts). None of these attributes are very helpful at the time, even though and somewhat ironically, if you are successful with both you’ll end up spending a great deal of time moaning about the organisation you work for and staring at your partner’s body. For every one of life’s Edmund Hillarys, there’s a load of us stuck in the foothills, getting lost and trying to find the pub before it closes. And speaking of dates…
2006 – Certificate: 15 – USA
Rating Details: Moderate sex reference, gross humour and strong language once
This isn’t a very good comedy. It’s funny in places, but for every ‘funny bit’ there’re two ‘embarrassingly stupid and shit bits’ to balance it out. (By the way, these last two phrases are examples of film critics’ technical jargon, so don’t worry if you don’t fully understand them.) I really wanted to like this film, a lot. It stars the world’s most beautiful woman (Alyson Hannigan), who coincidentally shares my birthday. (My card from her must have got lost in the post this year, again.) Even when she’s really fat in the movie, she’s beautiful. (Am I even allowed to say fat these days? Perhaps I’m meant to say slimmingly-challenged or something?) It has houmous-based jokes in it as well and houmous is one of the five great foods of the world; and some cats too. So it had a lot going for it. Maybe I just don’t watch enough romance comedies so didn’t understand the subtleties and the entomology of the highbrow humour involved? Yes, I’m sure that’s it. Or maybe it was the gross beefburger scene and the fact that Sophie Monk (who plays the sexy Andy and is a vegetarian in real life) rubs them all over herself and chews some too. Nice. Not. Beefburgers are a lot of things, most of them bad, but what they’re not is sexy; if they were, McDonalds would have exploited the fact by now. On the other hand, it does have loads of extras on the DVD, so it might be worth missing out on watching the film ‘proper’ and going straight to these instead; the anti-commentary by two film critics who also didn’t think it was that great, is worth a listen. I watched the “Unseen Version” too, so got to enjoy over two minutes more of the most raunchy parts. Lucky me…
Recommended for people who spend way too much time watching chick-flicks.
6 cats (plus 2 pretend ones) and no decapitations. Cute, especially the grey one, but I have to say the pretend puppet cats are vile. It’s like watching some sort of cat-Frankenstein movie. Listen up Hollywood. Cats. On. Toilets. Farting. Simply. Aren’t. Funny.
Top badass moment? Tricky. Okay, I give up. There isn’t one. Well maybe Carmen Electra being covered in King Kong snot is, but that’s in the deleted scenes so I’m not sure it counts; I’ve no idea why it’s badass anyway, but she’s wearing a leopard-print bikini when it happens, so who cares?