Submarine

Originally published on Panic Dots.

It’s no fun growing up different. At least, that’s what anyone who was born in the early 80s had drummed into them on a daily basis. It’s only been in the last ten years or so that being a geek has taken on a cultural significance of its own, with cardigans very much being en vogue and thick rimmed glasses a must for any scenester worth his salt. It’s quite unsettling seeing the kids who used to chase you around the playground with poo on a stick all grown up and wearing a dungeons and dragons t-shirt, strutting their stuff at the indie disco. But fashions change, and for the time being, at least, geek chic is here to stay.

Submarine is set in Wales circa 1980s, and tells the tale of 15 year old Oliver (Craig Roberts), a young and troubled boy, who’s a little bit on the freaky side of eccentric. It will come as no surprise that it has little, if anything, to do with submarines.

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Cave Of Forgotten Dreams

Originally published on Panic Dots.

Cave Of Forgotten DreamsIt may come as a surprise that I can be a bit of a cynical git (quiet, there at the back), but this renaissance of 3D films has left me feeling somewhat cold and indifferent. It’s just another way for huge studios to make even more money from films that just don’t cut it. Who needs a plot when you’ve got knives flying out of the screen towards your face? Your FACE. That is, until I had the pleasure of seeing Cave Of Forgotten Dreams, the latest documentary from legendary film maker Werner Herzog.

In 2010, Herzog and his crew were given access to the Chauvet caves in the south of France. Now, those of you who didn’t just click the link may be wondering what all the fuss is about. Well, the Chauvet caves happen to be filled with the oldest cave paintings known to mankind. Some of them date back as far as 32,000 years, making the Pyramids look like the Eiffel Tower in comparison, time-wise.

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The Rite

Originally published on Panic Dots.

The RiteI wasn’t expecting to be affected by The Rite. Years spent watching chainsaw madmen ruthlessly hunt teenagers through corn fields, and dream demons invading the sleep of supple young women made me feel invincible to the terrors of the supernatural. Like a lot of people my age, I found The Exorcist hilarious (there are so many moments in that film that are pure comic genius), so I had nothing to fear from what I expected to be yet another modern spin on the classic formula of “old priest meets young priest, priests meet troubled young girl possessed by demon, priests exorcise demon, old priest may or may not pass away in the process.” The Exorcist didn’t scare me. The Rite did.

Like all good exorcist films, this one was inspired by true events – but then, they all are so that’s no guarantee of quality. What does make this film stand head and shoulders above the rest of them is the story surrounding the events. I’d even go so far as to say it surpasses The Exorcist in terms of plot, characterisation and good ole’ fashioned scares.

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South Of The Border

Originally published on Panic Dots.

South Of The BorderIt could be said that Oliver Stone’s movies have gone off the rails in recent years (I stopped watching after U-Turn), but there’s still some light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to his documentaries. If you haven’t seen Commandante, the 2003 documentary Stone filmed around his visit to Cuba and the notorious interview with Fidel Castro, do it now.

Stone’s follow up, South of The Border, focuses mainly on Hugo Chavez and his rise to power within Venezuela. It’s also a damning critique of the US media and its relationship with foreign policy; from 9/11, the Iraq invasion and its failure to locate WMDs, and its insistence on portraying South America’s democratically elected leaders as dictators.

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Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Originally published on Panic Dots.

Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Well, where to start with this absolute car crash of a movie. Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides succeeds where the last two sequels failed: I now cannot stand the sight of Captain Jack Sparrow. The last two films had worn my patience dangerously thin with the Keith Richards inspired buccaneer, but he was still the best thing to be found in two truly terrible films.

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