Posts tagged “US

Psycho Holocaust / Thomas Hardy and Star Trek, Separated At Birth


Psycho Holocaust  -  Front DVD Cover (USA)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.

Psycho Holocaust at IMDB (4.9/10)

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A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge: 3.5 Stars


A Nightmare On Elm Street Collection - Front Blu-ray Cover (UK)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.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (5.1/10)


The Rocker: 4.0 Stars


The Rocker  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)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!

The Rocker at IMDB (6.2/10)


Being John Malkovich: 4.0 Stars


Being John Malkovich  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)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.

Being John Malkovich at IMDB (7.8/10)


Terminator 2: Judgement Day: 5.0 Stars


Terminator 2: Judgement Day: Skynet Edition   -   Front Blu-ray cover (UK)I went to see The Wedding Present play in London last night.  There’s not much point me saying anything about its performance, as it’s the 4th best band on the planet.  Instead, here’s what I remember about the gig that doesn’t include the band.  At the end of its set, the guitarist from the first support band, Dead Wolf Club, smashed his guitar on the stage; very rock ‘n’ roll, except I got the distinct feeling he does this a lot and then just glues it back together again for next time.  The other support band, TOQUIWA (formally the Pinky Piglets), was from Japan and therefore made no sense whatsoever; three Japanese women running about on stage singing about wanting a chocolate and doing a lot of things that I haven’t a clue about, confirming my belief that Japan isn’t really from this Earth.  The venue, Koko in Camden, was really cold.  Koko has the worst bar of any venue in London; nothing on draft, with tins of bog-standard cider around £4.50 a can.  Koko has the worst decor of any venue, all gaudy red and gold.  Koko is the worst venue to get out of afterwards; considering its size, it takes forever.  A few years ago Koko used to have crappy sound, but it’s now much improved.  Between each band’s set, the stage lights got pointed towards the crowd, which was really annoying; I shall be seeing yellow spots before my eyes for weeks.  The stage at Koko is too low.  (As you’ve probably gathered, Koko is not my favourite place to see a band.)  As far as I can remember, this was the first time I’d been on the proper Guest List for a gig; I’d like to say I was a ‘friend of the stars’, but in reality I just happened to get my ticket in a slightly obtuse way.  My journey there was swift and easy, as I basically walked onto all three trains without a wait; I think the track in the West Country should get flooded every week, as it seems to improve train availability, despite there being lots of cancellations and delays.  My journey back was also easy; I even had my ticket checked on the train.  The woman sitting in the row of seats in front of me didn’t have a ticket, although there’re a million ways to buy one at Paddington Station, so it was obvious she was trying to get away without paying; she had an American Express credit card too, so I doubt she’s exactly poor; I’d have thrown her out of the train’s airlock into deep space (or whatever the train equivalent is) if I’d been the ticket inspector.  I read the London Evening Standard on the journey back, as there was a copy on the seat.  The Standard is a shit paper, no wonder it’s given away free.  This edition included some dreadful rubbish about young people and claiming housing benefit; if any other group in society was so picked on and vilified, we’d all be out on the street demanding equality and new laws.  Had an interesting chat with two guys in the crowd while waiting for the bands to appear; one later decided my t-shirt’s arm would make a great way to dry the sweat off his head, but I’m sure it was a sign of solidarity; but honestly, what sort of person wears a leather jacket in a most pit?  It’s going to be hot there!  The Wedding Present has very happy fans; the guys behind me in the crowd spent half the set just laughing as everything going on around them.  The band’s fans are mostly men. The gig finished before 10:00pm; a nice, civilised time.  Like the Wedding Present, there’s little point in my trying to give any sort of objective consideration to this film, as it’s just so awesomely amazing.

1991  –  Certificate: 15  –  USA

What can I really say about this movie? Everything about it is great.  It’s probably in my Top Ten films of all time.  This was the first time I’d watched it on Blu-ray and it looked and sounded fab on that.  I was also watching the Ultimate Cut for the first time, which includes a number of extra scenes, even more than the Director’s Cut, including a great dream sequence that features Kyle Reece from the first Terminator movie that was entirely omitted from the version shown in cinemas; and a not quite so great extended ending.  A modern classic and possibly the greatest action movie ever made. 

Recommended for everyone.  Well nearly everyone.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.  There’s a fair bit of shattering, melting and general ripping apart going on though.

Top badass moment?  “Come with me if you want to live.”  No ifs or buts there.  100% badass and good advice at any time, especially when some liquid metal freak is after you.  Trust me, I know….

Terminator 2: Judgement Day at IMDB (8.6 / 10)


The Notebook: 4.0 Stars


The Notebook  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)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.

The Notebook on IMDB (7.9 / 10)


RoboCop: 5.0 Stars


RoboCop Trilogy  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)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.

RoboCop at IMDB (7.5 / 10)


Weird Science: 3.5 Stars


Weird Science  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)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.

Weird Science at IMDB (6.4 / 10)


Saw: 4.5 Stars


Saw  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)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.

Saw at IMDB (7.7 / 10)

Cyclamen


Friday the 13th: 3.5 Stars


Friday the 13th  -  Front Blu-ray coverI 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.

Friday the 13th at IMDB (5.5/10)