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== Waz - Just another exploitation movie? == This movie was released in 2007. If you remember back to 2007, we were right in the middle of the torture porn era, and film makers were out to shock their viewers with scenes of violence never seen before. It was almost a throwback to the exploitation movies of the seventies and eighties that were banned due to their graphic content. Classic examples of this type of movie would be any of the hundreds (feels like) of saw movies, hostel and more besides. Now, if those films are considered torture porn, then I think waz is soft core to say the least. That said, the film is stronger in so many ways because of it. The film is set in New York, and its is a gritty, urban jungle to say the least. Eddie is a tough cop, paired with a new female rookie partner, he is made follow a bread crumb trail of corpses, only to find that the deaths, and the circumstances behind them are inextricably linked with his dark past. Eddie is played by Stellan Skarsgard, supported by Mellissa George as the rookie Helen. For the most part the film is acted very well, with only Skarsgard''s rather wooden voice letting it down. Its so sad, as he plays the part very well, and his physical acting is strong. I just couldn''t relate to the characters voice. It seemed expressionless and not in keeping with the other actors. George plays her role very well, and I think she is a rather underrated actress, who continually plays strong leads well. The visual aspect of the movie is great, with its dark lit camera matching the mean streets of downtown New York perfectly. The soft core nature of the torture/gore benefits the film as it has to have more of an impact with the storyline. For an 18 rated film, it really is not too bad, with none of the ''close your eyes'' moments of some of its counterparts. That said, the film does not look as polished as some of its rivals, which leaves it looking more dated than it should be. A lot of these films were made on a shoestring budget, but managed not to look it. Waz is kind of the tramps string vest of the genre. It covers most of the bases, but leaves a few glaring holes. So, overall waz is an enjoyable watch. There''s a nice twist at the end, and some strong performances throughout. You are only as strong as your weakest link however, and when that happens to be the male lead, it is hard to recover from. Stronger on storyline than similar films, but lacking in the vital areas, Waz leaves you part satisfied, but hungry for more. The film is available from as little as a couple of quid, so worth a look if you get the chance.
This review is based from the perspective of a carpet fitter, although this knife has no shortage of other uses for which it is likely going to be just as good.
Carpet fitting is a hard job. To make it pay, you need to get through a lot of yardage. In order to do this easily, and effectively you need the right tools for the job. The main tool in any carpet fitters armoury is definately his knife. No matter what type of carpet they are fitting, or for what purpose, the knife must be easy to hold, easy to use and fairly robust.
Carpet comes in many different types, but none of these types is particularly easy on blades. Blades therefore wear out quickly so it is an important feature of any knife that it can store a few blades, and also that it is easy and quick to change them. last but not least, the knife should be useful in situations where precision is needed. as such, there should be no movement of the blade.
The knife is about seven inches long. this is a good length to allow it to be held in a firm grip. It is shaped with gentle curves that fit the hand very well. This combined with its light weight mean that it can be used for long periods of time without becoming awkward to hold due to fatigue in the hand. The front third of the knife consists of a brass turnning screw for opening and closing the knife to accept new blades. this does not get in the way, nor is there and rattling or movement from it. It seems a fine system, and I have experienced no problems with this portion of the knife. The knife itself bends slightly here, which is the standard shape for carpet fitting use. Sometimes known as dolphin shaped. It works perfectly for carpet fitting, as it allows you to get quite a lot of pressure to the blade in situations where the cut us hard. Overall, ergonomically the knife is great. It's shape fits it's purpose beautifully, and it does not tire the hand over long periods. 5 stars from me.
The knife is made from silver metal. It is strong, but also incredibly light. The knife itself has withstood substantial use by myself and looks to have retained it's original appearance. The only thing I would say, is that over time the metal area around the blade has actually been worn down slightly by coming in contact with so much carpet. This has not, however altered it's usefulness. As mentioned already, the brass screw for opening the knife does not wobble, and has been well constructed. I need to change blades on multiple occasions per fitting, and even with this extreme usage has not affected it. 5 stars again.
Changing the blade
As just mentioned, I need to change blades regularly. The large screw is easy to get at, and turns quickly and easily. The knife opens up to reveal a compartment that hold 15 blade comfortably, which is good as they come in sheaths of 5. The blade is held in place firmly, and cannot move as there is two notches at the top, specially shaped to hold 'stanley' blades. Changing the blade is a quick and easy experince, that has not got worse over time. It makes my use of the knife easier, and so it is 5 stars once more, from me.
In conclusion, this knife is perfect for the carpet fitter. It is easy to hold, and light enough that it is not sore to hold for long periods. It's shape means that it can be used with a great deal of precision and force at the same time. It has served me well for a long period of time, so I can have no issues with its durability. Its changing mechanism is easy to use, and does an effective job. I cannot fault this knife, and would not hesitate to suggest it's use for others in my situation. I can also see how it would be equally as good in other applications as well. Top marks all round!
In recent reviews I have made it known that I work in a carpet warehouse. In such a job, a good tape is essential. I perform several measuring tasks in my work, and one of these is to go to potential customers houses to measure up for new carpet. This task often means measuring on your own, and for that reason a strong tape is essential.
The Rolson 5m tape is a great one to use on your own. At 19mm width, it means you can extend the tape out a fair way before it bends, making an accurate measure impossible without moving. At risk of sounding lazy, when you are taking several measurements on your knees, you can do without having to get up and down all the time. This is where I found the Rolson was great.
The tape is quite robust, and feels nice in the hand. The grip is a nice feature, as it makes the tape feel more solid in the hand. The tape itself is easy to read, having the full range of imperial and metric markings. It seems to be virtually rust proof, due to the blade being covered in PVC. This also means its slightly harder to cut yourself on the side of the tape.
Then only downside is the anti retract feature. It will not go back in until you push a button. Most are the other way round, and they go in unless you push the button. Call me old fashioned, but I just find this operation awkward. That said, the Rolson has been a good servant, and I would happily suggest its use to anyone.
I work in a flooring warehouse, and part of my job is to cut off carpets to be fitted that day. This calls for an easy to use, and easy to read tape. When we last purchased tapes for the warehouse, we decided to go for Stanley tapes, as they are a name that is widely used and trusted by tradesmen up and down the country.
The tape feels fairly sturdy in the hand. this combined with its diminutive size meant that it handles well. 5m is a good size for us, as it makes it lighter and easier to use when pulling hefty carpets off the roll. Any bigger, and it really starts to become cumbersome, and awkward to use long term.
The loc mechanism, though perfectly adequate, is not something that we make use of in the shop. It seems to grip tightly, and I can see how it would be useful for certain applications, but in our case it was not necessary.
The major down side of this tape is that Although it shows both centimetres, and inches, it does not show feet. I realise that some of you will say that I should be using metric anyway, but it is customary in my trade to use feet and inches. I also know that it is not mentally taxing to turn inches into feet, but when you are in a hurry, and have ten carpets to cut up, a tape with feet written on it would be so much easier to use.
Also, one day the tape decided to explode on me, which resulted in the tape flying off its coild, and one nasty gash on my right hand. It did not live up to my expectations of quality of the Stanley name. We have used many tapes of varying price points, and several cheaper tapes have performed much better than this one. For that reason I would not reccomend this tape, and suggest you look at alternative out there.
My other brain
I work in a carpet and flooring warehouse. Although quite good at maths when I was at school, I still use my 'other' brain when it comes to working out square yardages, and such like. It pays to do this, as a relatively small mathematical mistake can lead to quite a large financial mistake, not to say the grief I would get from the boss!
For that purpose, an easy to use and reliable calculator is a must. Of course, any calculator is only as good as the person pushing the buttons, but I have found the casio mx-8v to be a reliable and simple little calculator that has kept my mistakes to a minimum.
Simple layout, with only the basic functions as well as M+, M- and MR. Perfect for my situation, as i have no need for scientific functions in work. The buttons are quite big, and nicely spaced making it easy to use, and hard to push buttons accidentally. The light grey colour of the main unit looks very officey, but with prolonged use in our warehouse environment, can get grubby quickly. The dual powered battery/solar cell power means that in the two years i have been using it, there has never been need to change the battery. The display is clear, and has never faded, so I can only assume that the battery is still good, and it is not only running off the solar cell.
The casio mx-8v is a great all rounder. Simple to use, and not so complex that it needs a degree to operate. The calculator is perfect, where relatively simple calculation is needed, so I would reccomend it for office use, but not for my son, who needs scientific elements for use at school. I have never had a problem with it in over two years of use, and would suggest it's use to anyone.
When is a sequel not a sequel?
Many great films have been followed by poor sequels. The word sequel has become synonymous with dross films that are not worth watching. Let's just pick a few at random. Godfather 2. Jaws 2. Robocop2. All sequels, all rubbish.
Now, I am not for any stretch of the imagination calling the original resident evil film a masterpiece, but it was a rip-roaring film, with enough about it to hold you in. It was followed by resident evil apocolypse, which was a typical stinker of a sequel. Really, really poor affair only made better by the fact that Milla Jojovic. It seems that our formula is correct. Sequels are rubbish.
But when is a sequel, not a sequel? When its good. And resident evil extinction, the third film in the series, is good. Again, rather like the original, it's no world beater, but it is a good watch. Plenty of action, decent story, decent acting, and Mills kicking zombie ass. What's not to like?
Milla Jojovic as project Alice and her clones ( more of her to love.).
Oded Fehr as Carlos Ferreira, survivor from the previous film.
Ali Larter as Claire
Iain Glen as doctor Isaacs
Ashanti as Betty.
The t-virus has continued to spread throughout the world. It changes more than human DNA, causing the landscape to change, leaving behind a barren wasteland. Infected roam everywhere, and those who survive need to keep on the move.
A group of survivors are moving round in a convoy, keeping together for protection, and company in this inhospitable world. They move along, looking for survivors, and generally trying to stay alive.
There is one exception, or hero project Alice, who moves alone. People get hurt when they are with her, so she stays away. However, when her motorbike is destroyed, she finds the convoy, and they travel together, fighting zombies, crows and various other baddies in a bid to survive.
My two cents.
This film starts out looking like it is going to follow the similar format that's been done to death, but you soon realise that this time round the film is taking a bit of a different tack. Gone are the constrictive walls, and in are the wide open landscapes, and the zombies in different locations look different. This keeps it fresh, and funky. That has been the downfall of sequels to date,they try to be the original film. That is, I think, where apocolypse went wrong.
The action is quick, slick and full of tricks. Several hundred litres of fake blood later, and you are still watching with full interest, as some of the moves pulled off by project Alice are simply amazing. The speed of the zombies in a few of the scenes have been vastly increased. This combined with a rather jerky form of camera work makes these scenes really exciting.
The soundtrack is good, and has some nice high tempo pieces to match the high tempo fight scenes. This all adds to the overall effectiveness of the camera work in the film. It also manages to keep links with the original games, which is important as the players of these games are predominantly the watchers of the film.
The film has an OK plotline. It works, but just and relies on you being a fan of the series a bit too much. Although it is a good film, and a decent 90 minute adventure, it would not work as a stand alone film. The film has perhaps been thrown together a bit haphazardly, safe in the knowledge that it will get fanatical people who would watch if it had have been called - resident evil paint drying. That said, the film is a great one from the perspective of a non thinker. Great action, great effects and Milla. Now that's a great combination!
WARNING - this review contains terminology that could be offensive to some. The nature of this film, I feel requires an equally graphic review. I have tried to keep spoilers to a minimum. Please do not continue if easily offended.
There is a line.
Anyone who has read any of my reviews, will know that I have a great interest in film, and especially in any film that has a reputation for being over the top and nasty. It started as a fascination in the films from the so called video nasty period, and has continued on to modern day films. Anything that has pushed the boundaries will eventually get a watch from me, and as a result I will formulate an opinion on it.
The film industries have had boundaries since it began. Scenes such as rape, child molestation, extreme and unnecessary violence, the male form in a state of sexual arousal, ejaculation and animal cruelty are such boundaries, all of which have been broken. Solo, for its scenes of sodomy and child molestation, 9 songs for its famous ejaculation scene, cannibal holocaust for its rape, and animal cruelty. Here are only three films, and yet several of the ancient boundaries have been broken. So where is film to go now? Where will the extremist directors move on to, in order to continue to push the boundaries and shock us further? The answer is that they make up a completely new genre, allowing them to bring scenes so graphic and shocking that they have no predecessor to compete with. That is exactly what Srdan Spasojevic did in 2010, when he made the infamous little 'A Serbian film'.
The main two players in this film are Sedan Todorovic who plays Milos, and Sergej Trifunovic who plays Vukmir.
OK, so Milos is an ex porn star, who has left all that behind to become a family man. An old porn star friend approaches milos, and tells him of a businessman called Vukmir, who is making an art house film, and that he wants Milos to star in it. Although Milos does not want to go back to that type of life, he decides that the huge pay day offered will set him up for the rest of his life, so he decides to do it against his better judgement.
Contract signed, Milos is taken to an orphanage and meets a little girl, who he is shown seductively eating an ice lolly. Milos is pleasured by a nurse, and is then instructed through an earpiece by Vukmir to receive the same from the little girls mother while she watches. Milos refuses but is forced to continue. Milos meets with Vukmir, who describes to the actor his artistic vision. He shows milos a video of a woman giving birth, only for the new born to be raped. This vision of Vukmirs 'newborn porn' is too much to Milos.
Milos wakes up three days later, covered in blood and druggeb to the hilt. Its only now that this film gets going. The scenes I have described so far are the tip of a very bloody iceberg. I do not wish to put them into my own words, both to prevent spoilers for those who want to see the film, and also for the fact that it is truly vile.
My two cents.
As I have stated, I like gore. I like films that push the boundaries. I like to be shocked. This film however does cross that line. Every boundary is broken, and new ones are made and they bare broken too. We get abuse, rape, sodomy, necrophilia, blood, guts and spit by the bucket load. We get the new concept of newborn porn, which truly disgusted me. This was simply made to disgust. The film holds very little in terms of a story. The effects, though truly bloody, are not superb. The acting is for the most part poor. What it does do well, is disgust.
If I analyse this film, I can just about make an artistic link between a Serbian film, and Serbia as a country. Milos being forced to do things against his own will in his drugged state can be likened to how the government forces the everyday people of Serbia to act out of character. That said, the link is tenuous to say the least. It was perhaps used to allow the film to come into creation, but the content that went into the piece itself is nothing short of an abomination.
I do not easily get shocked. I have watched, and in seen champion Cannibal holocaust. I have seen almost every slasher, and torture film imaginable. The content in this film makes the other look like films you would put on for you kids to watch. I struggle to find any reason for you to watch it, unless like me, you like to be shocked. This one went too far though, and the little tingle of excitement I usually feel from a scary film, was replaced by a churning in my stomach as I watched through squinted eyes.
I read reviews, as well as write them, and one review I read contained a line that I wish to share, and receive no credit for. The writer said 'you cannot unwatch a Serbian film'. How right he was. This film lingers in the mind like a door to door salesman with his foot in your doorway. You really want to get rid of them, but try as you might, you just can't. By all means watch this film, but do not go into it with rose tinted glasses. This is a tough watch, and will stick with you for a while. Beware.
== It's all in the name. ==
If you know anything about horror films, and were asked to name the most influential director of Japanese psycho-horror, you would surely answer with the name Takeshi Miike. His name is synonomous with over the he top psychological horror, and he has made some truly fine, if somewhat underrated films to date. One of his most famous works is the positively zany Ichi the killer. Having recently watched Ichi, I must say I was pleasantly surprised. It was gloriously gory, and wacky to boot. It was the reason I then searched out this film, and bought it on eBay. The DVD was the collectors edition, released by tartan, and costing the princely sum of £3.00.
I wanted to see if Miike was capable of mixing it up a bit, or if all his films followed in a similar fast paced gore-fest manner. And mix it up he did in this notorious film, which is not only chilling, but extraordinarily well written. Audition is the bipolar opposite of Ichi, as it drags you in slowly, and surely, during which time you become emotionally attached to the characters. It is this emotional attachment that makes the climax of the film so hard to watch, and so damn creepy. It sneaks up on you when you least suspect it, and that is the key to this film. Suspense followed by surprise.
== The cast. ==
Ryo Ishibashi as Shigeharu Aoyama
Eihi Shiina as Asami Yamazaki
Tetsu Sawaki as shigehiko aoyama
Jun Kunimura as Yasuhisa Yoshikawa
Although there are more characters, these are the four that the story centres around, and with whom the emotional part of the film is concerned.
== The plot. ==
After losing his wife to cancer, shigeharu struggles to bring up his son, and start and grow his own business. Seven years after his mothers death, shigehiko sees how his father looks tired, and suggests to him he should remarry. Shigeharu confides in his best friend yasuhisa, and tells him how he is going to look for the perfect woman. She must be beautiful, engaging, well educated and have a mature outlook on life.
The two friends come up with a scheme to hood an audition for a new heroine for TV, and they will use this audition to find shigeharu's future wife. One candidate stands out, and Shigeharu falls head over heels for Asami, who's story is as tragic as it is captivating. Still, despite having her career as a ballet dancer ruined through injury, she looks positively at her life, and the experience it has given her. They hit it off, and there is obvious chemistry between them.
As the relationship develops, it becomes apparent that Asami has had a hard life, and Shigeharu feels pity for her, and desperately wants to make her his wife so that he can help her forever. As there relationship grows, not becomes evident that things are not what they seem. But which of our two lovebirds is the real bad guy? Only time will tell.
== My two cents. ==
This film got rave reviews, and has been regarded as a real gory film. The truth of the matter is that for the most part it is a love story. If you were to remove the five minute torture scene from the film, there would be nothing in the film to make it worthy of more than a fifteen rating. However, what you see in this scene is really chilling. For the most part, due to the fact that you have grown attached to the characters of Asami and Shigeharu.
Asami makes you feel sorry for her, and rightly so. She is alone. She has had the one thing that gave her happiness taken away from her though injury. She was abused as a child. She is beautiful, but does not know it. These endearing qualities are portrayed superbly by Eihi, who also acts the horror scenes expertly in one of the most creepy ways imaginable. For those who have seen the film, never has the word 'deeper' chilled me to the bone so much.
Shigeharu is a bumbling businessman, who is sad and lonely. The monotony of his life is broken up by Asami and as such he becomes lovestruck. His 'audition' was inherently wrong, and it is not the right way to meet your future wife, but it was bore out of desperation. You feel sorry for Shigeharu, but in a very different way than you do with Asami. Again a really strong acting performance, coupled with superb on-screen chemistry makes the world created by Miike so believable, and safe.
The films audition even contains a lot of humour, and a dark comedy aspect can be seen in the film. This adds greatly to the film, as it makes for a deeply interesting watch. Miike likes to add humour ( sick or otherwise.), to his films, and this one is no exception. That said, for 95% of the film the overpowering emotion is love.
Films that are subtitled are often more difficult to watch, but I found audition to be easy to follow, and having to read the words did not take away from the cinematic experience. The films Hour and fifty minutes flew by, and it was a great watch. The climax is surprising, hard to watch and leaves you with an funny feeling. One of our beloved characters is very bad indeed, but why do you feel sorry for them and not their captive? Who is the monster in this piece? I will let you decide.
== One small step ==
Moon is a modern day miracle. A low budget film, from a debut director, that not only cuts the mustard, but creates it's own flavour as well. Duncan Jones has boldly gone further than any other first time director has done for some time. Not surprising that he was so good at telling a story in space since he is the original space oddities son.
== One giant leap ==
Any self respecting son of David Bowie's has to be out there to a certain extent, and Jones' style certainly is different. He creates a very claustrophobic atmosphere that is perfect for this film. Although early days in his career, he seems to have a great future in film, and if he is half as successful as his old man, then he will go far. The fact that he admits taking influence from the film 'alien' and using it in his own work stands him in good stead.
== Cast ==
Sam Bell - Sam Rockwell
GERTY - Kevin Spacey
That is all!
== The plot ==
Sam Bell has been harvesting a renewable energy source from the dark side of the moon for almost three years. His shift is almost up, and he wants to get back to his other half, and his little girl. Having been stuck up here on his own, with no direct link to back home since the transmitter went down, Sam is quirky to say the least.
Things are weird after the accident. He finds a man who looks just like himself. He's called Sam Bell to. Strange. At least the computer, GERTY is there to keep him sane. If it wasn't for him, then that other Sam might try and take over. But at least he's company for Sam. We'll just have to keep an eye on him.
== My two cents. ==
The problem with being the only on-screen actor is, that you have no-one to fall back on. Your performance is everything. Thankfully Sam Rockwell is fantastic. He has a unique talent for being able to portray several emotions at once, and he was perfect for this role. The obvious cabin fever Sam is experiencing needs a certain type of madness on screen. His performance is a powerful one, and it is that alone that makes this film work.
The setting is typically bleak, and as such it is beautifully obsolete in the film. It does add somewhat to the claustrophobic nature of the film. As does the clinical set. No fun to be had here. Just the already small walls closing in on you. All this creates a great atmosphere, which combined with Rockwell's superb performance has you really feeling for Sam. His madness, and childishness has you really wanting to look after him, and compelling him to be OK.
The plot is a good one, and the twist is unexpected and different. This type of film is not a common one, and so it will be new ground to most who watch it. That in itself will keep you watching, as it drags you along with it. There will be obvious comparisons to space 2001, especially with the computer role of GERTY.
Kevin spacey has no on screen part in the film. He is the voice of the station computer. That said, he actually does this very well, and his overwhelming calmness contrasts well to Rockwell's frantic mania. I love the little screen on GERTY's front. It is a little smiley face, the expression of which matches the computers mood. This can lead you to plot twists, and also adds a little bit of dark humour to proceedings.
Overall, Moon is a very enjoyable watch. It is not one for lovers of action, as there is not too much to see here. It is a mood film, that will keep you watching due to your empathy for the lead character. Its went largely under the radar on its release in 2009. I only heard about it a few months ago, and only got round to watching it now, but it was worth the wait. If this is what we are to expect from Duncan Jones, then I am looking forward to seeing more. Five stars.
Silly old me
Some things in life are certain. Day follows night, the Earth revolves around the sun, and every year around halloween, the scary film series' produce another sequel. As it turns out, the only scary thing about them is how they still manage to rape us of our hard earned cash, and continue to be a success in the box office. I was hoping Paranormal activity 4 would be different. Having seen only the original film before, and quite liking it, I felt that this film may quench my thirst for fear. How wrong I was.
Kathryn Newton as Alex Nelson
Matt Shively as Ben
Brady Allen as Robbie
Aiden Lovekamp as Wyatt Nelson/ Hunter Rey
Alexondra Lee as Holly Nelson
Stephen Dunham as Doug Nelson
Katie Featherston as Katie
The plot (?).
In 2006 We are witness to an obviously possessed girl called Kate, kills her sister and her husband. She takes her sisters baby away, and they are not seen or heard of again.
In 2011, Alex and her family of run-of-the-mill, all American rejects are living out their boring mundane lives. That is until a new family move in next door. Although a bit weird, the new families son Robbie is liked by the family, and when his mom gets taken away ill, they take Robbie in, and that's when everything changes. Creepy things happen, and they get progressively more violent until they reach a catastrophic crescendo, the likes of which this sleepy street will not forget.
My two cents.
We all like a good scare, yeah? It gets loads of chemicals flowing in the body, that give us all kinds of emotion, some of which verge on pleasure. That's why we hairless apes like things like roller coasters, sky diving and asking the boss for a pay rise. I am no different, and love the horror, and sci-fi film genres for this reason. A good movie can emulate these emotions. A good movie. A bad movie has the opposite effect, and becomes potentially as boring as watching paint that is already dry, well..... dry.
The first paranormal film was pretty good. It was a new kind of edgy. not just jump out of your skin edgy, but more like continually terrified edgy. It drew in the viewer and held on to them with it's demonic claws. it was a lost footage type of horror like Blair witch, but done really sharply. It was slick, well acted and ultimately did what it said on the tin.
The problem, it seems, when it comes to the fourth film in the series, is that the tin has been read too many times before. Any scares that the first film brought our way, have been played out again and again, without trying to freshen it up. Nothing here is new.
The film is equally as well acted. It has an almost identical plot line. It uses the same effects. For that reason it feels like a film you have seen before. I for one lose all interest in a film if I have seen it before, and find it hard to give it my full attention. That happened to me here. Ok, there were some trade mark 'make you jump' moments, but what went on between was complete drivel, and as such it failed to lock me in like the first film.
The film is not terrible. It contains a scare or two, and you will jump. I just don't see the point of it. That angers me, as it becomes clear to me that the only reason that the film was made, was to tear the hard earned money from our grasp. It has little or no artistic merit, and was created on a shoe-string budget to maximise any profit. It left me disappointed, at the money I spent on it, and the time I won't get back having watched it. can't recommend this film at all, when there are so many good horrors out there, that don't rely on the cheap thrill.
A proud history
"What would I possibly be able to tell you about this film that you don't already know? It's a classic action movie featuring Arnold schwatzen.... no wait, that was the first film. What was Predator 2 like?"
This viewpoint is shared by more people than you would think, such is the legacy that has been left by the first film in the series. It hit our screens at the right time, way back in 1987 when I of course, was only a nipper. Everyone back then loved an action movie. Arnie, Sly stallone and Van Damme All made a good living, despite being rather poor actors, because they looked how I imagine I look after several beers.
Predator was slightly different, in that it had a plot. Not a great one, but it was in there somewhere. bad ass group of killers go into the jungle, and are picked off one by one, until our hero is left alone. He then overcomes the odds, by surviving and killing the thing that was hunting them. Brilliant.
It was very well done, quite well written, had buckets of blood, was scary and generally it was a rip roaring ride, with very few dull moments. It seemed that the latest big money franchise had been found. The potential was there for it to become as successful the film that was to become it's twin in later times, Alien. But somehow it went wrong, but as a fan of the movie myself, I just don't know how.
Kevin Peter Hall ... The Predator
Danny Glover ... Lieutenant Mike Harrigan
Gary Busey ... Peter Keyes
Rubén Blades ... Danny Archuleta (as Ruben Blades)
Maria Conchita Alonso ... Leona Cantrell
Bill Paxton ... Jerry Lambert
Robert Davi ... Captain Phil Heinemann
Adam Baldwin ... Garber
Kent McCord ... Captain B. Pilgrim
Morton Downey Jr. ... Tony Pope
Calvin Lockhart ... King Willie
Stubborn Los Angeles cop, Lt Mike Harrigan (Glover.), is struggling to keep control of the streets. Colombian and jamaican drug lords are at war, and the are armed to the teeth. Harrigan has been fighting these guys for some time, and they are tough hombres.
During one chase, Harrigan follows the colombians, only to find them all dead in horrific circumstances. even though he had seen them shortly before this. Who would do this? Who could do it? The one Colombian's that escaped is pursued by Harrigan to the roof, where he he is shot down when seemingly scared senseless by something. when The lieutenant turns he sees the blurred outline of a man, that he thinks is a trick of the light. Little did he know that what he saw was one of the greatest hunters the world has ever seen. A predator.
My two cents
On it's release in 1990, the film was generally considered to be a disappointment, and received fairly negative reviews. It reached number 4, and probably broke even in terms of revenue. That said, I personally believe it to be on par with the first predator. Ok, so Glover would not have been my first choice for the action hero role, but he pulls off a passable performance, and manages to bring a little humour, that is so greatfully received in this type of movie.
The story is a good one. In the original, the predator hunted a select group. the jungle, however did not provide him with the veritable feast of targets that Los Angeles does. Different situations call for different tactics. hence they have evolved the predator in this movie. rather like the Alien it's twin movie adapts to the human environment, the predator adapts his hunting technique. This is a definite plus for me.
Bill Paxton, who off the top of my head, is the only actor to feature in a film from the Alien franchise and the predator franchise, is very good in this film. He plays a similar character to Hudson from Aliens. he is a bit wacky, but in the end his heart is in the right place. He has great on screen chemistry with Glover, and also with Maria Conchita Alonso, who plays Leona Cantrell. Especially in their initial scenes, where he learns she is not a girl to mess with!
The film is not without faults. Glover lacks the leading man cutting edge of Schwartzenegger or Stallone. They ooze character, and can take complete control of any role. Although Danny plays the role to a decent level, I can't help but feel that Someone With a bit more of a history in action movies may have been better. He almost stumbles through this one, though on the whole it is quite enjoyable.
The ending of the film is superb, and in that scene, we learn that the predators have been playing these games for centuries. The scene when Harrigan receives a pistol from 1715, left me thinking that there was definately going to be a sequel. And perhaps there would have been, had the films reception been better. However I think that it's poor box office performance was the first step towards the action movie graveyard. Perhaps the film was a little ahead of it's time, or a little too late. Whichever it is, it seems that the film is destined to be predators ugly sister. unfairly placed outside with the trash, largely forgotten when it should have been so much more.
Unrest was a film that I first watched more by accident than good planning. Insomnia is a hard mistress, and when you combine that with a nexus 7 and a Netflix account, and you end up getting through the good stuff too quickly. When the good is gone, you inevitably end up on the dark side. Unrest is definitely on the dark side.
Alison is a young medical student, on her own and in a new place. She is bright, beautiful and generally happy. Something, however feels wrong. Oh well. To be expected I suppose.
She is to learn anatomy. Taught in the morgue. Creepy. Still , she has to put on a brave face in front of the other students, especially if she is going to make friends. She is assigned a group, and a cadaver. A real live dead person. Wow! Why does it make her feel so weird. Why does it look like the body cut herself. Has she had a baby. This feels wrong. Too personal.
She won't disrespect the body. It feels wrong. Bad things might happen. Bad things do happen. It still feels wrong. Is she really dead. Is she watching. Waiting. Looking for revenge. Is she at peace, or in a state of unrest?
My two cents
I went into this film without expecting too much. That way I wasn't going to be disappointed. It was an independent film from 2006, that went straight to DVD and was largely missed by the vast majority of people. It couldn't be up to much?
The truth of it is that Unrest is mediocre at best. The story itself isn't too bad. Archeologist opens burial ground and release souls, take on weird characteristics and tops herself. Her body goes to a morgue hundreds of miles away where our Jane doe is studies by med students. Weird things happen. Standard stuff.
Then plot is not a gripping one. I am not sure if it the poor, unknown pool of acting talent, or the long dull pauses between the action. Perhaps its both. Whatever it is, the film just didn't reach out to me.
The film was set in a real morgue, and it is widely believed that real dead bodies were used. Not the first time in the genre,with 1987 Chinese film 'men Behind the sun' famously using a young child's cadaver for an autopsy scene. Anyway, real or not, it didn't seem to add any believability to the film. It seemed hopelessly staged, and very unbelievable. Really a missed. Oppurtunity, because if the movie had a bit of Hollywood magic injected right into the jugular, I firmly believe that it could have been a fairly slick psychological horror. As it is, we have a very poor, and frankly quite boring film, with little or no positives to take away.
You will not gain anything from watching this film. I managed to fill a few hours, when sleep could not find me one night, but as it turns out I would have been better off watching RoboCop for the fifty sixth time. I'd buy that for a dollar!
Watch unrest if you must. I don't suggest it. There are many better movies out there. There are few worse. Please just let it rest, OK?
Questions will be answered.
The infamous tagline to the 2012 film Prometheus. Some may see this as intriguing, but I am a nerd. I see it as a challenge. I challenge that I have since duly accepted, and been left hollow and empty. It seems to me that questions will not be answered, rather, more questions will be asked, and the answers seem further away than the films setting.
The alien franchise is, in my opinion, one of the best series f films in terms of atmosfear ( see what I did there?). I have long since been a fan, and pride myself in having an in depth knowledge of the films. I have to agree that the first two films are far superior to the rather thrown together Alien 3, and the slap dash ressurection. That said, the thought of q new film linked to the franchise got the hairs standing on the back of my neck again.
As then release date grew closer, I re-watched the Alien films to 'swat up' in preparation. I watched and read any material on the film that I could, in order to be fully prepared for the test. The film promised answers, and I wanted to make sure I knew what questions to ask.
We start with two archeologists who find a drawing on a cave wall. A seemingly innocuous cave drawing showing nothing more than a link to our past. That is until it is put beside several other almost identical drawings from centuries apart. Civilisations that could not possibly have known eachother. All linked by a series of five spheres in the sky. Spheres that match one solar system in the modern sky. A solar system where the spaceship Prometheus now travels to, with the archeologists and a team of scientists on board in stasis.
The Prometheus lands on a planet, near to a strange structure. Is it natural, or has it been made? Either way, it seems that the archeologists theories were correct. Were they about to meet their creators, or were they merely on a wild goose chase? What they were about to uncover their lives forever, for better or worse.
Definitely a spectacle
Prometheus may be many things, but what is certain is that when you give Ridley Scott a job with a multi million dollar budget, it will be beautiful. The backdrops to both the opening scene on the planet, and the discovery of the 'building' are superb. Super smooth, and well rendered. That combined with the sheer detail put into the backgrounds and the non human characters (not spoiling anything for anyone, you knew there would be aliens!), cannot be rated highly enough. As a work of art, it cannot be faulted.
All star cast
The film stars Noomi Rapace ( who I have since fallen slightly in love with.), Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green, and Charlize Theron in the main roles. All of them turn in superb performances, especially Fassbender who plays David, and android. His mannerisms are superb, and some of the scenes early in the movie where he is alone on the ship, set his stall for what is a storming show. Fassbender and Noomi share some great scenes, which is good considering that they Amy well be the only two humans in the planned Prometheus 2
Part of the franchise?
For me, this is where Prometheus starts to falter. It seems that it has no real identity. It's not an alien film, nor is it a film in its own right. The story was originally made in 2000, to was put on the back burner when the farcical alien v predator series started. It seems in that time, Prometheus forgot who it really was.
Prometheus was a titan, who was largely attributed to the creation of the human race. The alien character here is said to have created us, hence them being called engineers. That story is good. It makes a film in its own right, that seems interesting and new. Why then, did they even need to try and keep the link to the alien film? And why when they decided to keep the link, did they conclude that it would be a good idea to make that link so tenuous, that only those who wanted it to work could keep all the parts together long enough for the film to be satisfactory.
Certain scenes and backgrounds are added in simply to whet the appetite of the 'alien' fan. The boneship that crashed on lv-426. The space jockey, that was famously found by the crew in the original 'alien'. All fantastic stuff, the likes of which I could only of dreamed of. But it screams that it is trying to be alien, and get instant ticket sales because of it. The alien species that wipes out the engineers before our crew get there bear no resemblance to Gigers alien. Now, I can try and explain that by looking at the aliens evolution through the original franchise, like how the alien in the third film walks on all fours due to being bred in a dog. However, I firmly believe that one should not have to work so hard to explain a film that people have been paid millions to make. This is the basis of my statement that questions will not be answered, rather more questions will be asked.
Hyper speed, or Ford Capri?
A bit of both. I cannot hide my overall disappointment in the film. It does not do enough for me, as a fan of the previous franchise. I do however think that it is down to my being a fan, that meant I was looking for to much. Maybe questions were answered, but I simply asked to many? I don't know. What I can say is that it is visually stunning. It contains several fantastic scenes, and has a really strong pool of acting talent all of whom put in a performance. The storyline is great in it's own right, though some of the links to the original are paper thin, and are best ignored.
Watch this one with an open mind, and judge it on it's own merits. Don't do what I did and expect 'alien' to continue as it left off. This left me with a void the film couldn't fill. Better to not treat it as a prequel to 'alien', but to watch it as Prometheus. You will enjoy it, and you will not have to spend the entire of it's 124 minutes scrutinising it, and looking for answers it simply won't give you.
The 120 days of Sodom
The movie Salo goes by another name. It is perhaps better known as the 120 days of Sodom, named so because of the literary work upon which it has been based. The work of the same name was written by the Marquis due Sade, and indeed the words within caused the Marquis to be label led as being quite mad. If you have ever seen this film, you may begin to understand why. Also, the Marquis's name was the origin of the word sadism, which is what most of the work is about.
Salo has foundation laid in Dante's inferno, and the film itself is split into 4 main portions inspired by such. They are the 'anteinferno', the circle of manias, the circle of shit and the circle of blood. I think that the names of the portions help to go some way to explain some of the content of the film, and may have your stomach churning somewhat, which in essence was the whole point of the work being made. Couple that with its setting slap bang in the middle of fascist Italy, and you have got a bubbling cauldron of filth and depravity.
The story centres around four powerful men, the president, the bishop, the duke and the magistrate, all of whom perform a bizarre and horrific social experiment. After that marry each other daughters, the go about capturing eighteen teenagers, nine male nine female. They do this with the aid of some young people enlisted especially for the task. They take the teenagers to the palace, and with the help of four older prostitutes, the children are subjected to various mental, physical and sexual tortures for the benefit of the 'masters'.
The plot then follows through Dante's circles, where the names tell the tale of what is to become of the young adults. The anteinferno concentrates on the capture and inspection of the kids. The circle of manias shows us some of the stories taken from Dante's work. The circle of shit shows mainly varying degrading sexual acts, up to and including the consumption of human excrement. The circle of blood concentrates on the physical torture, and evident killing of some of the captives. There is no happy ending. The strangely sickening final scene is that of two of the male guards that helped capture the kids, dancing off of n a seemingly passionate waltz.
My two cents
Director Pier Paolo Pasolini has brought us a real shock fest here. Despite being based on two famous literary disaster pieces, it seems to lack and real literary merit of its own. Salo is more of a physical watch, with the on screen sadism on show the main attraction (if you like that sort of thing.). Though classified in the horror bracket, it is like no other horror out there. It is less scary, more deeply depraved. It aims to grip you with its disgust, and consume you with the abhorrent social dystrophy that you fingd there.
For me, it goes too far. The apparent youth of the captives, and its seemingly paedophilia laden story is a concern. The fact then, that these people are predominantly naked (full frontal) is hard to watch. The terror on their faces as the ask the question 'why' without speaking. That, for me, is far more difficult to watch than the sodomy, violence and coprophagia (the eating of excrement.).
Of course, the sheer fact that these activities are here warrant the watch, to see how they deal with it, and how graphic it is. Lovers of shock horror should find enough here to tie there insides in knots. The effects are good, even given the film being released way back in 1975, and it really does shock you to the core. The film has a bizarre ability of making you want to watch it, but making you hate yourself for it.
The film remains banned to this day in several countries all over the world, but is free to view here. It is worth a watch to see what is quite possibly a realistic view of what went on in fascist Italy in 1944. The fact that it could happen is truly sickening, and my suggestion is that if you can leave your stomach at the door, then do so. It will be a difficult watch, but fans of shock horror owe it to themselves to see it. Not one for the more delicate constitution.
Me man, me must hunt.
There is something to be said for basic instincts. I am not talking about the Sharon stone movie made famous for that one scene. You know the one, the one where she drives a car (hmmm.). no, I am talking about the instincts that lie deep in all of us. The instincts of self preservation, of reproduction and somewhere deep down inside all men of a certain age, the instinct to hunt. You know, the need to bring food back to the cave.
A few years ago, I found my hunting instinct. It hit with a vengeance, as I initially took up fly fishing, and I must say I have never looked back since. The thrill of outwitting a wild brown trout, by imitating a fly using nothing but feathers and thread on a hook cannot be surpassed. Besting a hard wintered fish after a tense battle of brains and brawn gives one an intense feeling of pleasure, that can be likened only to those of your formative years, when you are in the loving walls of you family home. Indeed, I have come full circle now, as I bring my kids with me often when I fish. They seem to get as much pleasure from as I do, not to mention the fresh air and long hikes to the best spots.
The instinct took me further still, and I as so many men are, was drawn to the sea. I think that it holds an awe and wonder that cannot be matched elsewhere. So beautiful, yet so violent. And what lies beneath is anyone's guess, as we have explored far less of the sea as a species, than the rest of the world. The urge to fish the sea took my, and as I did not have access to a boat, I found myself in need of a rod sufficient to use to cast from the beach.
I wanted to try this out, but like all new skills, I did not know if i would like, or even be any good at beach fishing. First stop was the internet, where I found that the sea could be fished without need of a liscence, and really any spot can be fished from, as long as there are no local by-laws in place stating otherwise. A quick phone call to my local council put any worries at rest, and I knew that I was legal, and ready to go.
With that info in tow, my search for a rod grew pace. I was able to borrow a real, and line etc was not hard to come by, but a rod needed to be thought about. I needed it to be cheap, robust and easy to master. After a few minutes searching the net, the alpha x had threw up its rather beautiful head several times. pricewise, it ticked all the boxes, and reviews were not too bad. Also it was by Shakespeare, a name I new well from my fishing past, and one that goes hand in hand with quality. That was it. I was going to order the alpha x, and start my sea fishing adventure.
What is the rod like?
The rod arrived a few days later. As I bought it through sports direct for the princely sum of £24.99, not only did I get my rod and cloth bag, but also a novelty oversize sports direct mug. Bargain! The rod was well wrapped, and came with the afforementioned flimsy cloth bag. The quality of the rod bag doesn't bother me, as I rarely use them, but if you plan to then bear this in mind.
The rod was 12' in length. Not as heavy as I first thought it would be, and fairly pretty looking. The rod appears black, but on closer inspection in bright light, it has a textured graphic effect on it that gives it an olive green hue. Rather pleasing to the eye. As I inspected the rod further, the eyes are well put on, and are lined for better wear. The handles are of tough black foam. just as you would expect really. On putting my oversized sea fishing reel on the rod, the feel became more realistic. The reel mounts were cushioned and kept a firm grip of the reel, allowing it no movement which can be potentially devastating.
The rod is rated 4-8 oz, or 100-200grams. This means that it is capable of casting large weights, and performs best when throwing out weights of between 100, and 200 grams. When I got out fishing, I found this to be ideal, as you need to cast really big weights to get out to the fish, and this rod handled them beautifully. The stiff action of the rod really need this weight to get the most efficient cast, as it is this weight that allows the rod to flex and create the potential energy that propels your bait the 100 plus yards that you need.
What did I think?
The rod is great. I have found it to be sturdy and easy to manage. The fact that it is a three piece means that it is easy to transport and set up. It certainly pings those large weights out there, and uses every inch of its twelve feet and all of its stiffness to great benefit. Its light to hold, without feeling flimsy, and whats better, I have caught lots of lovely fish using it.
On the downside, the rods bag is poorly made, but again this was not a problem to me. More of a problem was the fact that the stiffness of the rod means that you get a poor fight out of smaller fish like mackerel. I fear that this is a problem with all so called beachcaster rods, and it unfortunately is necessary to get the fish on the hook in the first place. Perhaps the fact that I catch decent trout on light fly tackle has spoiled me, and the fight was never really going to be any good by comparison.
The rod has been a good buy, and has got me going in the world of sea fishing. I think that it will still only be a once in a while activity for me, which means that I can justify the rods small price tag, and enjoy it. I would recommend this rod to anyone wanting to start out beach casting. It will stand up to whatever the beginner can throw at it, and it will not break the bank. Great budget rod.