Saturday, 9 May 2009


Depending upon I-don’t-really-know-what, I shall endeavour once a month to provide a brief wrap-up of all of the films I have watched during that time …

Isn’t that sweet of me? …


Academy Award nominated documentary concerning the exploits of one Father Oliver O’Grady, a Catholic priest who, over more than two decades during the 70’s and 80’s, abused dozens of the faithful, leaving nothing but shattered childhoods, abandoned trusts, and deep emotional trauma in his wake.

Then, of course, there is the hierarchy to whom O’Grady was, or should have been, accountable, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. Despite knowledge of O’Grady’s behaviour, the extent of it, and how long it had been going on, next to nothing was done, next to nothing acknowledged. In more than a few cases, the only action taken was to move O’Grady to another parish and, on these occasions, this rarely amounted to more than a move some scant fifty miles away. They may as well just have spat in the eyes of the parents and raped their kids all over again for all the good that did.

More than once while watching this, I had to punch the pause button to spend some time muttering darkly at the walls, a fairly inefficient way of expending some of the rage I felt over the way these people had been, and were still being, treated by the church, that faith in which they had placed such significance, such meaning.

There is one couple who welcomed O’Grady into their home as a friend, had no doubts or qualms about his behaviour (had no reason for any such doubts), and entrusted their daughter to his care. This is a couple who have been together so long that they have grown into that quaint habit of being able to finish off each other’s sentences. As the father comes to recall the time, the number of times, the moment when O’Grady’s betrayal became fully known to him, his voice, choked with anguish, blurts out that he should have known, that he was the one who trusted this man, and how could “he have let it happen?”

Imagine … To be a father who thinks himself a “failure” at his responsibilities because a pedophile abused his daughter.

Thus does a parent’s prime, primeval, duty of care to their children, that is, to protect, come to be shabbily thrust aside and trampled upon as one selfish other chooses to indulge and inflict it’s penchant for furtive spurts of sexual subterfuge with no regard, no sliver, no glint of understanding as to the consequence to anybody of their actions. And then to scuttle behind a church pew and be assured protection simply because you are clothed in the dark rags of this absurdly popular cult.

O’Grady spent some time in prison for his crimes, but that is due in no part to any action from the church. Today, he is free and living in Ireland, the country of his birth. He willingly takes part in this documentary, where he speaks freely of his actions, his desires, his (so-called) motivations.

Remorse eludes him.

When one considers that many of the most devout proselytisers of this faith consider the “evils of homosexuality” to be the frontier most worth fighting on, and then one considers the subject matter of this superb film and the seeming insignificance of it to the architects and defenders of this belief system, one could be forgiven for thinking the whole Catholic Church is not just out-of-step with reality, but so far out of time they make the Amish look like The Jetsons.


Utterly incoherent, yet oddly compelling. Makes no sense whatsoever. Blood gushes from severed limbs like water from a fire hydrant. There’s an English dub that sounds like it was performed by graduates of the Ed Wood school of vocal technique back in the ‘50’s. Some of the prosthetics are quite good.

You could try drugs. Some drugs and beer. That might work.


Jennifer Carpenter (from
“Dexter”) is in it …

The next time I see a movie shot like this, I’m gonna go out and buy a fucking tripod and send it to the fucking director as an act of fucking charity. I’m fed up to the fucking back teeth with this fucking shaky-cam shit.

Just fuck off.


Dialogue, for example …

- “How you doing?”

- “I’ve got no legs, I’ve got no balls, and I piss through a tube, how the fuck do you think I’m doing?”

And …

- “She’s probably at the Thaiger Club. It’s not spelt “tiger” but. It’s Thai, like the food.”

- “Like the country?”

- “There’s a country too?”

Good, yes?

The eternally youthful Matthew Broderick plays a “reformed” alcoholic and gambling addict who finds out his niece (Bettany Snow) is a hooker in Las Vegas and, to prove to himself, if not least to his long-suffering wife, that he has the stamina to resist the temptation to drink and gamble there, he pops off to Vegas to find her and drag her to rehab.

Very funny, very sharp, no soap or sap. Think
“After Hours” and “Something Wild” and ignore the horrid poster art and byline which seems to indicate some sort of sexual thing may arise from Broderick and Snow’s relationship. There’s no such theme, and nothing of the sort happens.


Another bloody zombie movie. Is there anyone who isn’t making another bloody zombie movie? You probably shit another bloody zombie movie for breakfast. Even I had an idea for
another bloody zombie movie. And someone actually expressed an interest in making the bloody thing.

I should probably get around to writing something resembling a bloody script. YA BLOODY RECKON????? Bloody oath.

Anyway, this one is set in a bloody high school.

And there’s a bunch of bloody zombies about.

What a bloody surprise.

Fuck off.

“END OF THE LINE” (2007)

Independent Canadian horror film.

The leader of a religious cult, a Rush Limbaugh lookalike, gives the word and his acolytes scoot about in a righteous frenzy attempting to “save” the souls of non-believers by stabbing the shit out of them. Takes place in a subway.

Very well done, no CGI (hooray!), good story, quite effective jolts. Ends well, too. Original. Good. Yes.

Yes, you may watch this. It has a brain and there was talent involved in its making.

“DYING BREED” (2008)

“Your testicles are tacos!”

That’s not a line from the movie, but I wished it had been.

Inbred cannibals in Tasmania.

Who’d have guessed?

“Deliverance” … meet “The Hills Have Eyes”.

Animal traps. Teeth. Retards.

Full of surprises, this one.



In that “I’m so quirky!” way some independent films irritatingly insist on being at times ...

- “Hey, Brent! I took all these QUIRKY people and put them in a movie together!”

- “That’s brilliant, Gavin! We’ll call it “WHEN QUIRKS COLLIDE!”

Ben Kingsley plays a pot-smoking psychiatrist who offers counseling sessions as payment for dope to his emotionally constipated young dealer who then ends up falling in love with Kingsley’s daughter.

Life lessons are learned.

Gee, I didn’t see that coming.

Mary-Kate Olsen’s in it. I thought she was a “tween” phenomenon, not a legit actress.

So. You see? I have learnt something. She turns up here as a zonked out bar and party slut. She’s not too bad at it either.

Fancy that.


There’s a cover blurb that quotes a review something like this, “The Most Sexy, Shocking Thriller of the Year!!”

No, it isn’t. There’s some sex scenes in it. Big fucking deal.

A bunch of girls join a bunch of guys on a boat and have a party. A girl dies. Everyone tries to extricate themselves from being implicated in her death and ends up turning on one another.

As you do.

Half way through watching this, I began to think, “I’d really like to see
“Shallow Grave” again”.

So I did.

“THE WAVE” (2008)

German film. Based on a true story, or parts of one.

Firstly, you have to accept the premise that a group of well educated senior students would, in the space of only five days and as part of an experiment on autocratic society, enthusiastically transform themselves into a bunch of robo-fascists at the behest of a rather uncharismatic lecturer.

I didn’t.

Ay, there’s the rub.

‘Cause there ain’t no “secondly” if that don’t happen.

“DEATH PROOF” (2007)

Tarantino’s contribution to the “Grindhouse” experiment didn’t work for me the first time around but after reading this re-evaluation on
Bright Lights recently I thought I’d take another look.

As the reviewer notes, the half-way point massacre, Stuntman Mike’s “vehicular homicide” takes out those protagonists in whom we’ve just invested time and attention and leaves us with no choice but to callously discard our empathies for these characters and start over again. It’s an alienating experience, or at least it was and may have been one of the reasons I found the film initially resistible. I didn’t want to start over again on account of I’m bone lazy and impatient and get cranky when I’m asked to make an effort. And, at the time I was far more impressed by Robert Rodriguez’s sublimely unhinged
“Planet Terror” and it’s “why the fuck not”* attitude to story-telling.

Another thing, Tarantino’s habit of having his characters lapse into fanboy enthusiasms, such as the name-checking of “road” or, to be more precise in this case, “rod” movies which happens here is getting a little too self-consciously twee and I wish he’d knock it off. I get the point, get back to the movie please.

Second time around, however, it did work for me, there being subtleties and spaces throughout that become far more apparent when you pull it away from the immediacy of expectations that typically cluster around Tarantino’s work.

As a matter of fact, I think it’s a work of utter bloody genius.

The difference between the two groups of women became far more apparent to me the second time around. The first group, the victims, give the initial impression of independence, full of smart mouth sass and attitude. But no, they’re not that at all. They’re just in the process of becoming tomorrow’s housewives today, still looking to have their existence validated by some man, whether it’s the boyfriend who hasn’t turned up, or the film director who won’t remember a birthday, or some gormless sleazebags in a bar. Girlie girls all dressed up waiting to go somewhere with someone, to be courted and paid for.


The second group, on the other hand, they’re the real deal. Beholden to no one, dependent on nothing, they live fast, for and in the moment. These women are cooler than fuck, as tough as nails and goddamn it if they’ll take any shit from anyone. But there’s no attitude here, no style that they’ve adopted to telegraph their individual philosophies, who they are.

Some guy tries some cheesy line on these women in a bar, they’d have his balls for breakfast. For tapas.

Kurt Russell, as Stuntman Mike, with the first group, he’s the bad guy, the mean, nasty murdering motherfucker. But against the second group? Nah, he’s just another lip-licking, toe-sniffing, garden variety crybaby creep. As are they all.

Fucking brilliant.

Where Rodriguez played his exploitation hand as fondly reverential spoof, Tarantino has played his by demanding the audience too fully immerse themselves in an “exploitation” attitude, dispensing with fashionably post-modern concerns about the fate and motivation of characters and asking only that everything put before them is fast, sexy, violent and fun. That there be no point, no lesson, no thing of learned value to be taken away from this experience other than, “Did you see how the car took the top of her head off?! Cool!” is all there should be.

And that was a fucking excellent scene.

* For example:

- Why don’t we throw this in?

- Why the fuck not!


I made myself a very nice bacon and egg sandwich halfway through this movie. With HP sauce. Four strips of bacon and two eggs.

I left the plate out overnight on the couch? And the next morning, there were ants crawling all over it ‘cause there were a couple of drops of sauce left on the plate.

It’s not the first time, either. They just come from nowhere and crawl over anything that may have a trace of food on it. It’s not like I leave stuff out all the time. There aren’t food scraps lying all over the fucking place. It’s respectably clean, my house.

It’s a weather thing with ants, isn’t it? Maybe they’ll piss off when the weather cools down.

Because it’s beginning to give me the shits.


Toaf said...

I like the sound of 'Quarantine'.

Terry Wright said...

Your review for The Day The Earth Stood Still was better than David and Margaret's!

reb said...

There's a lot to be said for bacon and eggs and HP sauce - especially if everything is undercooked and allowed to run free like the sludgey mess it was born to be. Four and half stars from me.

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