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Jan 012010
 

So O2 is giving away free downloads for the 12 days of Christmas (or something like that) and have just given away a free copy of the film “Lesbian Spank Inferno” … sorry I mean “Lesbian Vampire Killers“. Well as it was free, I decided to give it a go …

The first thing to note is that watching films on an iPhone is a pretty bad idea. Ok, it is portable and probably isn’t too bad for watching an old film that you are familiar with for entertainment on the move (although reading a book is probably better). The screen is just too small.

As for the film itself, well you will have to turn off your “PC filters” before watching – the title itself and the first few minutes reveal a misogynistic fear of lesbians (the writers seem to be under the impression that lesbians are that way through a hatred of men!).

After you turn off these filters, what do you get ? Well two principle characters who are pretty repulsive Рone pathetic type whose girlfriend  is routinely unfaithful (and with good reason), and another who is even more pathetic and unsurprisingly has no girlfriend.

These two pathetic losers journey to a village under an ancient curse whereby all 18 year old women suddenly turn into lesbian vampires (surely a contradiction in terms). They meet up with an unlikely bunch of history students – all female and all with a predilection for wearing low-cut tops. At which point the “story” (if it can be called such) progresses through an unlikely series of events until our two “heros” with a surviving love interest manage to defeat the lesbian vampire queen.

It isn’t good porn (whatever that is).

It isn’t comedy. And no I’m not being superior – I like simplistic “Carry On” style smutty comedy.

It isn’t a good vampire story. It doesn’t even have much of a story.

All in all, a complete waste of time. One of those “freebies” that cost too much.

Don’t bother.

Jul 152009
 

Every so often I encounter a discussion on whether film is better than digital or digital is better than film, which usually degenerates into someone mentioning large format film and someone else mentioning the convenience of digital (or even the convenience of film). It’s all balderdash (and I wrote this post just to use that word … not!). More or less.

When making images (which is what photography is all about after all) it does not matter whether you use film or digital, because using either you can just occasionally produce jaw droppingly good images. Indeed for many such images, the quality of the source does not matter too much as you will be concentrating on the subject rather than the relatively minor “issues” with the image quality such as film grain, ISO noise, chromatic aberration, etc.

What does matter is using whatever makes you comfortable. I cannot shoot film because the thought of actually paying money per shot makes me freeze up. Exposure bracketing ? Forget it. Others cannot shoot digital because computers fill them with horror (and I can certainly understand that!!).

For me, digital is better. For those others film is better.

What counts is the final production – the image, and not the mechanics of how it came about.

Dec 032008
 

Format: DVD

IMDB entry: here

A rambling incoherant documentary that is so impenetrable that it will take you some time to realise the subject is beastiality (although if you have just pulled the DVD off the shelf in the video store you probably know). Most of the time skating around the subject in question is wasted time; there is no point in being subtle about this subject. Those who are going to be offended by the subject are going to be offended however subtle you are.

So why waste the time on being subtle ? The extra time could have been better spent interviewing more participants, or more experts on the subject. The long, lingering, landscape shots were very pretty but also pretty pointless.

Thumbs down.

Note that I am deliberately not judging anything other than the film itself; I’m not condeming the film because of the subject matter at all.

Nov 292008
 

Format: DVD

IMDB entry: here

(although they insist on calling it “The Last Hangman” (which is completely wrong of course))

This is the story of one of the last hangmen in Britain and his journey through learning his trade to becoming the top man in his profession. And his increasing doubt about the morality of his work. It is an oddly fascinating story, with Albert’s home life being so mundane that you wouldn’t have been able to pick him out in the street.

A film that anyone in favour of the death sentence should watch.

When we think of reasons why the death sentence is wrong we normally concentrate on those who are executed. But perhaps we should also look at the executioner and the dehumanising effect of perhaps decades of executions with hundreds of official killings

Not only should we question whether the state should descend to the level of murderers in carrying out executions, but whether the state has the right to ask another human being to kill. Because in the end there is always a killer carrying out the execution.

Nov 262008
 

Format: Blueray

IMDB entry: here

The story of a woman who first encounters criminal violence with her boyfriend; she is beaten and he is killed. During her recovery, she encounters more criminal violence which she deals with using an unlicensed gun. The later might make this a pro/anti gun control issue film, but that does not interest me.

This could be a film that would be one of those run of the mill things that just does not make an impression, but Jodie Foster’s acting adds enough that you connect with the character and have an interest in her journey. Perhaps not a great film but definitely a good film.

Nov 242008
 

Format: TV broadcast with an ugly as hell station logo

IMDB entry: here.

This is your usual hollywood action movie; there isn’t enough plot to say anything about it. It is just a vehicle for a lot of special effects, explosions, car chases, and the like. If you want a film to make you think, then this would be a bad choice, but there is nothing wrong with a bit of mindless entertainment. And this is mindless entertainment in spades … which may sound like a criticism, but it is a fine film of its kind.

But it did make me think (so perhaps it wasn’t perfect). The storyline (without trying to give too much away) includes a whole bunch of policemen making a trip to a foreign country to “kick some ass” (or more correctly some arse). It occurred to me that this is a rather common theme in certain US films of the action variety – the evil villains are lurking in some foreign country and the heros just go after them without considering that what they are doing is effectively an act of war.

I am sure that US foreign policy is not controlled by US action films in any way, but the genre may lead the US population to be more accepting of more extreme forms of foreign policy and the belief that the US government is entitled to use practically any form of action against targets in foreign countries. This also implies a disrespect for international laws which leads to very little opposition when the US government ignores those laws.

The US is known (outside the US at least) as being more than a little gungho in certain foreign policy matters. Does the propoganda of actions fims let the US get away with this without as much criticism as it perhaps deserve ? Or even worse does being brainwashed by action films lead those who set US foreign policy act a little more gungho than is wise ?

There is nothing wrong with “carrying a big stick”, but those who do should remember the first part of the phrase “speak softly”. In the right circumstances, the more extreme forms of foreign policy are perfectly justified, but they also alienate the residents of those foreign parts. If you do not need to annoy people, why do so ?

Nov 152008
 

Format: Blueray

IMDB Entry here

Now this is what I call an action movie. A bunch of mercs are hired to get a case off somebody, and are gradually whittled down by casualties, and betrayal until it becomes about something other than just the job. Not only are the action scenes interesting and believable (too many modern films have action scenes that require the existence of superhumans), but include some of the best car chases anyone has ever seen.

It also has a lot of depth with a surprisingly complex and twisting story. Tons of mystery; not least of which, what was in the case ? Nobody knows.

Definitely worth a watch.

Nov 012008
 

Format: Blueray

IMDB entry: here.

On the surface this seems to be a simplistic story about a man who stumbles on a drug trade gone wrong, picks up some money, and finds himself pursued by those who want it back at any cost. But there is a far more complex story going on hidden beneath the violence having to do with the thoughts and feelings of an old sherif who follows on behind trying to pick up the pieces.

The added complexity adds interest and makes this interesting than a typical action film. It keeps your interest during a lazy rainy afternoon and is worth the time.

Oct 262008
 

Format: Blueray

IMDB Link: here

A re-make of Les Liasons Dangereuses with a pathetic Hollywood gloss. The core story could have been quite amusing if they had had the sense to portray the characters as properly dissipated young people. The characters in Cruel Intentions are schoolchildren which makes their actions somewhat unbelievable. This is not the fault of the actors; simply the age of the characters. The original story portrays a level of dissipation far beyond what is revealed here; making the theme of redemption through love considerably less powerful.

Don’t waste your time; try one of the film adaptations closer to the original.

Oct 252008
 

Format: Blueray

IMDB Entry: here

Now this one is a treat I have seen several times. The story itself is somewhat simplistic (although I believe that owes something to the studios wanting to exorcise the anarchist themes of the original comic book) being the old story of an attempt to overthrow a repressive regime. But as we learn more about the history of this regime, we begin to see parallels with what is happening in our current society.

Now being thwacked around the head with a serious political message is not usually considered to be an entertaining experience, which is why films like V need to gloss up the message in a story. And the story whilst simplistic does have enough twists to keep one interested.

The main message is that we need to be wary of sacrificing our civil liberties in the name of security.

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