Saturday, 6 June 2009



Everything you may have heard about this film is true.


It is not a horror film. That is to say, it is not a catalogue of “kills” carried out by some lunatic fucker scuttling about in the dark with a knife or whatever. It is the anti-“Saw”, the anti-“Hostel”. And that is a good thing.

It has traditional horror elements in it, yes, but these are not the story. The story is the telling of the tenuous and tender relationship that begins to develop between bullied 12 year old Oskar and his mysterious neighbour, the “girl”, Eli, who is an “other”.

And that is all I will say, for
others have said it far better than I. I blogged about the book a while back, over here. There’s a trailer there that you can watch. Off you go.

An American
remake is in the offer. God help us. I think I shall smite them before they fuck it up.

“TWILIGHT” (2008)

Only joking.

I haven’t seen this film.

What, do you think I am insane?

I’d rather stick pins in my fucking eyes.

“MARLEY & ME” (2008)

The last 15 minutes of this movie made me a little puddle of wet.

Look, you make a movie where a central character is a dog (a real dog, that is, not one of those squeaky rat-like things), and you show the dog growing up from a puppy into old age and then dying, I’m gonna have a little eye dribble going on when that happens. Okay?

Deal with it.

And I like Owen Wilson. I like his funny-looking mashed up nose and his stoner drawl and I’ve liked him since I first saw him in
“Bottle Rocket” years ago, “Bottle Rocket” being an excellent little movie. He strikes me as the type of guy you could have a quiet beer with and just generally chill out around. Unlike this wanker, for example.

And Jennifer Aniston actually looks like a real woman still, a 40 year old woman whose face can still move when she talks. Unlike, say, Meg Ryan, who looks like she’s taken the labia from a 400 lb female Sumo wrestler and had them stitched to her face where her lips once were.

And Alan Arkin’s in it. Briefly. So.

You’ve got a movie with a boofy dog in it and Alan Arkin.

What’s not to like?


John C. Reilly. And some other people. I like Reilly. He acts, he sings, he dances. I wish I had his life, the life of Reilly.

Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-rah, too-rah-loo-ra-laiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

… So I come back from the pub after 3 beers on a Sunday afternoon, and start working my way through a bottle of wine and then I decide to watch this.

Ten minutes later, I was fast asleep.

And I had to take the movie back, because it was a one night rental and I should have watched it the night before.

I hate it when that happens.

“THE LOST” (2006)

Portrait of a teenage narcissistic psychopath who kills two people just to see what it feels like. By the end of the film, he’s well over the edge, a full-fledged fruit loop on a rampage who wants to be Charles Manson. Thankfully, the film-makers resisted the urge to show his ultimate act of horror toward the end. That would’ve been well beyond the pale.

This is good. It’s not bad, that is. It’s okay. It has a few major flaws (it is, after all, a very low-budget independent U.S. production), and it’s taken its time getting a release here (straight to DVD), but you could do worse. I mean, you could rent “Twilight”, for example. But then you’d have to stab yourself in the head after.

The only actor I recognized here was Ed Lauter in a minor role as an old guy having a fling with a woman about a third his age. And I have no idea what that storyline was supposed to achieve as every time it popped up, I thought I was watching another movie. The whole silly subplot could easily have been left out and you’d have a much tighter film, as “The Lost” runs a little too long for what it is and what it deals with. Also, I didn’t really buy the idea that the central character would be so popular with girls and others of his own age. He’s quite the preening little fuckwit, a guy who shoves crushed beer cans in his boots to make himself taller. I mean, if you were a woman who knew a guy like this and you were in possession of half a brain, this is the type of guy you’d throw your used sanitary pads at.

What else?

The sound transfer sucks. It’s as if the boom operator thought shoving the microphone up the arse of an elephant might add some depth. It doesn’t. Try it and see.

See? Told you.

You should move away from the elephant now. You’ve aggravated his anal warts.

You bastard.

“STUCK” (2007)


Now this, this is the type of movie that makes it all worthwhile …

Stephen Rea plays a character down, and almost out, out of work and out of welfare, with no hopes on his horizons, and about to find himself spending his first night on a park bench or in a hostel …

Mena Suvari plays a nursing home carer on the brink of a promotion who, after a night of booze and pills chooses to drive home, only to collide head on with Rea’s character who becomes firmly wedged in the windshield of her car.

And then drives all the way home with him still stuck there, doing nothing to help.

Inspired by an
actual event, but not a replication of it, this is one right out of left field, but not in a “leftist” sense. (It could be out of the right field, but not in a “rightist” sense, though I guess it depends whereabouts in the paddock you’re standing and who’s throwing the balls. If you’re standing in a paddock and some bastard’s throwing balls at you, just shoot them in the fucking head, okay? You shouldn’t have to put up with that type of malarkey.)

A tight, taut (80 minutes), blackly comic, toe-curling little thriller that perfectly captures the blindly self-absorbed amoral cruelties, the (as Jules Feiffer put it) “little murders” of the soul that we and others casually commit every day in the name of our own self-preservation until all trace of our basic humanity is stripped back to the raw and chalky bone. The one-ply tissue veneer of so-called “civilised” behaviour flushed effortlessly away to sleep the sleep of the dead with the fishes.

You’ll feel every scrape, every cut, every puncture on Rea’s body ache and howl with pain as he desperately tries to extricate himself from his horrific situation, and, as Suvari’s character gradually reveals her true nature to be that of a shallow, unthinkingly vicious cunt of the first order, by the closing moments all you will want to do is grab her head by its expensively braided ‘do and slam it into a fucking anvil.

This is truly marvelous stuff, one of the best low budget indie films (Canadian) I’ve seen in quite some time, simply because it was so unexpected.

Also, there’s an instructive little sequence about the proper use of pens and pencils when you’re in a fix, and a heartwarming scene with an adorably fluffy little canine.*

… From Channel 4’s Anton Bitel,
“Stuck is disturbing in all the right ways, turning an incredible real-life story of human callousness and suffering into a tawdry entertainment that makes guffawing, sociopathic rubbernecks of us all.”

Directed by
Stuart Gordon, scripted by John Styrsik, if your local store don’t have it for rent, go out and buy it. It is that good, and hats off to Suvari for choosing to play such an (ultimately) unsympathetic and irredeemable character.

Bloody brilliant.

* Warning – Irony.


Henry Rollins was in the first
“Feast”, albeit briefly.

I think Rollins toured Brisbane earlier this year. Or maybe it was earlier last year. I forget. Once you get to a certain age, all the years look the bloody same. I’ll be dead before I know it. “Hey, Ross! You’re almost dead!” “I am? Shit, and I never got around to seeing Henry Rollins. Caaaaaark.”

I only found out he was touring at the last moment and it was a week before payday, so I was flat broke as per usual. Pfhhhhht.

And now I’m expected to work until I’m almost dead thanks to
this shithead. Christ, I started working at the age of 17, back in 1976 and now I’m supposed to stick at it until 2026? Get fucked. I’d like a few years of comfy retirement just generally farting about and taking it easy before I’m shuffled off to some cockroach ridden rathole to be given methylated spirit baths by a bunch of Nurse Ratched types. Wipe my arse, will you? I shit in your hand.

This movie has lots of goo in it.

The acting is crap, but, aside from some lousy effects work, the film improves a little the last 15, 20 minutes. It would bloody well want to.

One thing I hope I won’t be doing in comfy retirement while I generally just fart about is wasting what’s left of my life watching shit like this.

Maybe I should’ve rented “Twilight”. I could’ve rented “Twilight”, but then I would’ve had to dip my face into an acid bath and hammer nails into my testicles with a hacksaw blade afterwards.

And I’d rather not, thank you very much.

“ACOLYTES” (2008)

Teenagers discover a body, identify and locate the serial killer responsible, and then attempt to blackmail him into killing a thug who abused them when they were children.

Elements of
“Stand By Me” and “River’s Edge” with psychopaths added for that extra zing.

The only recognisably Australian elements are the accents and the suburban topography, those red tile roof, red brick houses. I wish there more Australian films like this and less of the, “This is an AUSTRALIAN film! We gotta have colloquialisms and flannelette and men in big hats and some fucking bush, NO, not that type of bush, you cock, I’m talking shrubbery out to fucking buggery out there!” variety. I know there are some dangerously deranged freaks wandering about the fucking desert, the so-called romantics of the land, salt of the earth blah, they’d hump your leg if it had a hole in it, but you ought to see some of the people up the local mall on a Saturday morning.

This is a very well made, very (unselfconsciously) stylish psychological thriller, eschewing most of the tired and tiring clichés that bore me to tears in so many films of its type, headache inducing rapid cut editing and zoom in, zoom out, bang crash cinematography and sound that makes you know what it might feel like to be in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease and have someone smashing cymbals over your head for ninety minutes.

There’s none of that here, the three teenage actors are excellent and completely believable as characters, and Joel Edgerton avoids stereotypes altogether in his chilly and nicely restrained portrayal of the serial killer as average suburban family man.

“Images are the essence of cinema and Hewitt's cinematographer Mark Pugh, delivers some exceptional material, which is sometimes manipulated for extra effect. The sound scape is well worked into the fibre of the film and the end result is a superior piece of genre filmmaking.” - Andrew Urban from Urbancinefile

There are two alternate endings provided on the DVD. I thought the first one of these was a better choice than the one they finally went with, though that one is perfectly fine, just that the other seemed more plausible given all that had gone before and what we had come to know along the way.

You could rent this and “Stuck”, buy some booze and get some cheap Thai or Indian takeaway, and you’d be sure to have yourself a fine ol’ time in, I reckon. Or you could watch “Twilight”, swallow some Drano and wash it down with paint stripper and watch your own stomach explode.

Spoilt for choice, really.

“THE LODGER” (2009)

Man (Simon Baker) rents a room in boarding house. Quiet type, likes his privacy, charming though.

Meanwhile, someone’s killing prostitutes in the exact same manner as Jack the Ripper.

Will Alfred Molina, our burnt out, troubled cop with the burnt out, troubled marriage stop the bloodthirsty fiend before he commits yet another in his gruesome series of dastardly deeds?


Just ordinary and all over the place, it goes over here, then it goes somewhere else and forgets about where it’s been and why it was there in the first place, then it comes back and goes somewhere else and loses its keys and has to walk all the way home.

I’ve no idea what the thing with Molina’s wife was supposed to be there for, to make me understand what a complex set of situations his character has in life? His wife is troubled you see, she is in an institution being cared for because of her troubles. The fuck do I care? What does it add to the telling of the story? Why do I need to know this? What does it have to do with anything?

Anyway, “The Lodger” mostly limps along, finally coming to a “well gee what a big surprise I didn’t see that coming” cod Hitchcock conclusion, nod to “Psycho”, throw in a curly one the last few minutes, roll credits, end. Turn off player. Goodbye.

The soundtrack was good.

Soundtracks have music on them.


reb said...


Kill yourself before you watch Twilight. It is utter shite. And those ageing arseholes Margaret and David gave it 4 stars and 2 and half respectively.

Anonymous said...

Why do people think being cruel and mean = funny?

Michelle said...

Twilight wasn't that bad. I'm reading Marley and Me at the moment and it is LOL worthy. Am dreading the inevitable though. There will be tears. I'll watch the film after it.

Ross Sharp said...

Michelle, if I'm after a fix of forbidden vampire love, I'll stick with "Buffy" ... and the upcoming "True Blood" looks interesting. But "Twilight"? I'm afraid I just can't entertain the thought ...