Mr Nobody turns out to be quite something.

Prompt : “Write a review of a movie or product”

The concept of an individual’s fate hinging on one particular moment is hardly a new one. After all, it happens every single second of the day for us. Eat an extra doughnut now, 5 years later die of blocked arteries. Take a sick day from work and miss the office typist going doolally and wiping out the entire floor with sharpened staples. If you grasp the concept of dimensional physics you probably believe that all possible outcomes are occurring simultaneously in response to every single decision you and everyone else on the planet is making in that same miniscule sliver of time.

It’s really not something you want to think about with a hangover.

So obviously, this premise is going to pop up in movies now and then to differing degrees of success. Tie it in with the whole cause & effect time-travel paradox hoopla and you’d have a hefty chunk of celluloid to wade through, though admittedly a lot of it is utter drivel. It might, therefore, come as a bit of a surprise to know that one of my all-time favourite movies deals with exactly that hypothesis .. multiple outcomes from one single achingly critical moment.

The film is Mr Nobody, and it was directed by Jaco Van Dormael, and released in 2009.

Never heard of it? I’m not surprised. It had a limited release in a handful of countries, and that just breaks my heart because the movie is truly beautiful, in my humble opinion. Of course, I’m not claiming to be any sort of expert on films, but I know what I like. And I liked this very much indeed.

A young boy is given a choice when his parents separate, to live with his mother or father, and it is this pivotal moment from which sprout the possible outcomes. How many outcomes is a matter of debate and depends entirely on your interpretation of the story. Yes, it’s one of *those* films. It’s a Thinker. But don’t dismiss it as another artsy-fartsy euro offering, the acting is top-notch and the cinematography is often hypnotising in its artisty. At core though, it’s a story about love. Love between a child and it’s parents, love between man and woman, obsessional love, commitment, loss, eternity.

The film doesn’t hand you anything on a plate. In the beginning it can be confusing, but as the narrative unfolds and the main character Nemo Nobody tells his stories you can’t help but be drawn in and wonder what 9 yr old Nemo means when he says “You have to make the right choice. As long as you don’t choose, everything remains possible.” It’s not a complex film, but it does require , and deserve, attention.

I don’t want to give any more details away, I want you to see it.  10 / 10 .

 

The Official film website.

Zombie Chicken Death Peck-O-Rama.

What would I do with a sudden and totally unexpected $1 million windfall?

3 words.

Zombie Chicken movie.

I was reminded of this by this post last night by one of my blog buddies.
So, Yes, that’s right. Today I am going to discuss the issue of undead poultry, and how the concept would make a totally kick-ass movie.

Now, before I get started I just have to say up front and with complete seriousness..
1) Do NOT Google “Zombie Chickens”
2) If you do, do NOT click on “Poultrygeist : Night Of The Chicken Dead”
and
3) If you’re still going to keep ignoring my advice anyway please feel free to scroll past the reviews and watch the trailer at the bottom. Go on. In fact, watch it whilst eating spaghetti and meatballs with lots of tomato sauce. That’ll teach you.

*ahem* Annnnyway…

When discussing any zombification a couple of issues always arise :
a) How did they become zombies? and
b) Exactly what sort of zombies are they?

Old school zombies are usually either a “Whoops, bit of a cock-up there, sorry.” moment by the local nuclear testing facility, some dodgy virus, a meteor, or a new and entirely plausible ( to zombie aficionados ) GM crop munching. So let’s assume a meteor has crash landed in the middle of Old MacDonald’s GM Poultry Feed And Free range Chicken farm and BAM, in the morning a shrill scream shatters the otherwise tranquil but slightly misty fields as Mrs Old MacDonald discovers her husband’s corpse buried under a mass of glassy-eyed yet slightly un-nerving hens. Yes, that’s right… death by uber-pecking. It’s a long, drawn-out, and especially irritating around the ankles way to go…

Hold on a sec though… why just the chickens? Why not all the birds? Hitchcock demonstrated quite clearly how menacing our feathered friends could be. OK, so not entirely terrifying if you’re being maliciously flapped at by, say, a blue tit, but I don’t care how much bravado you show – an undead ostrich comes hurtling towards you at top speed with the sole intention of chowing down on your grey matter and the world is going to shoot out of your bottom pretty damn fast.

But no, just the chickens this time. I may explain it in the director’s cut on the limited edition holographic dvd or something.

So, what type of zombie?

Traditionally zombies of all varieties are slow-shuffling bumbling-around-and-casually-losing-limbs-without-noticing-it creatures, which in the case of chickens lends itself more to mockery than gut-twisting terror. Imagine a flock of hens stumbling slowly towards you, none even big enough to reach past your knees, staggering around like they’ve been on a Dublin pub crawl and are all totally shitfaced. What are you going to do? Yep – you’re going to wet yourself laughing, that’s what. And then you’re going to film yourself smacking them about a bit with a cricket bat a-la-Shaun Of The Dead on your camera phone and post it on YouTube.

However, New Wave zombies are an entirely new and scary kettle of piranhas. Imagine instead if those zombie chickens were FAST. “28 Days Later” fast. Not so funny now, eh? Im not sure at what point it was decided that the undead weren’t scary enough and that making them damn near impossible to finally kill OR outrun would be a fun adaptation, but I don’t like it. Chickens hell-bent on eating my brains is so much more amusing when they don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of actually managing it.

And finally, one more issue. With your average run-of-the-mill bumbling animated cadaver you can usually stop their casual strolling by something akin to decapitation. Now think about those chickens again.

See where this is going?

Those buggers can still keep going after you lop their heads off!! In fact, whilst the average survival time with nothing above the neck is apparently a few minutes at most , the record is 18 months .

W. T. F. ?!?

Bad bad bad news if you’re mounting a counterstrike, and even more unsettling when you’re sitting down to your Sunday roast and the lemon-stuffed main meal suddenly leaps up and attempts to head neck-butt your offspring. Well, I say unsettling, but I’d probably laugh hysterically for the 12 seconds or so it took me to become a vegetarian.

Time to work on that screenplay.

Let The Beast Run Free…

I thought that today I would write about one of my favourite films, The Company Of Wolves. I’m the only person I know who’s actually seen this film, let alone loved it, so it’s nice to be able to share my enthusiasm for this rich little gem.

Why do I love this film? Well, let’s start at the very beginning. I adore it when a movie’s title is open to interpretation and could be taken in any number of differing ways. Is this about wolves in various guises as companions, whether literal or metaphorical, or are they merely playing a role in some elaborate scenario in our personal fabrication of reality? As it turns out, both. This flick is BIG on the symbolism and the worst wolves are, to quote, “hairy on the inside.”

Secondly, and let’s not beat about the bush ( pun entirely intentional ) the movie is positively dripping dark gothic sexuality. Not that is has any sex scenes per se ( though there is the least erotic lovemaking scene between the heroine, Rosaleen’s, parents at one point ), but it’s a Freudian orgy. Sensuality swamps practically every scene, and though it has been known for me to over-analyse a tad 😉 it’s hard to resist the urge to intermittently shout out “ooh, lipstick as a labia metaphor!” or “That tree has a phallus!” ( which is why I stopped watching films with my parents decades ago… I think I was embarrassing them.)

"Oh come ON Mum !!!! The tree quite obviously has a penis!!" "I think I'll go make a pot of tea now..."

Like the much later “Ginger Snaps” lycanthropy is pretty much a metaphor for sexual awakening, however, here the nature of the beast is firmly rooted in seduction. Even the walks in the mist-shrouded forests bring a quickening of the pulse that can’t always be attributed to unease.

Possibly my fascination for this collection of stories within a story comes from seeing it for the first time when sexuality was foremost in my own mind. That said, it is classified as a horror movie and has a couple of impressive wolf transformations that haven’t aged too badly, though they distracted me from my preferred focus of the gothic ambience. In my world Beauty and the Beast wouldn’t have been totally ruined by the Beast becoming yet another bland Prince, and the happy couple would have embraced their attraction and maybe popped out a few puppies or something. But then I would have preferred Beauty to have not been put off by her beau having a bit of extra fur on him. Likewise, when the wronged ‘witch’ in one of the tales exposes the vile aristocracy for the savage beasts they truly are, and thereby commanding the respect she deserved, then I, for one, cheered her on.

If I were to have one criticism it would be this : the movie is often interpreted as having a feminist bias, with the men all being portrayed as beasts in disguise, cruel brutes, or seducers. Whilst I can see why a confused and blossoming pubescent girl may see things this way it’s only balanced by a quote from Rosaleen’s mother that goes, “It there’s a beast in men it meets it’s match in women too.”

His eyebrows meet in the middle and he speaks with an accent. Yup, he wants in her pants.

"My, what big teeth......." I think we all know where this is heading.

...Annnnd... all his clothes fell off. What a surprise.

Have a dig round and have a watch if you like your films with more than just a thin veneer of quirky 🙂

Teleportation, and why Jeff Goldblum put me off doughnuts for weeks.

Teleportation is Time Travel’s slightly less attractive sister. Beautiful in her own right but often standing in the shadow of her more popular and often written about sibling. Who could blame us? Time travel is , hypothetically, one hell of a trip.

I’d love, for example, to go back to the very first time a boy kissed me. I was 5, it was the end of playtime and I was sitting on a desk dreamily swinging my legs and thinking about nothing in particular. Suddenly, out of nowhere comes a shy and quiet dark-haired boy who quickly pecked me on the lips and took a tentative step back in expectation. I looked into his dark eyes, took stock of the situation, and weighted up how I felt about it. And then I punched him on the nose. To this day shy and quiet males still find me slightly intimidating, despite the fact I haven’t punched anyone in…well… months.

So, in comparison, what does teleportation offer? For every stunning sunset on an equatorial paradise there’s one barely repressed memory of Jeff Goldblum vomiting over the “guy with a beard” in “The Fly.” I don’t want my dna diddled with, not even for the hilarity value of potentially ending up with a surplus penis in a jar in my medicine cabinet.

Neither do I fancy the idea of planet-hopping a-la-Stargate. I like the Earth and find it pleasantly furnished with assorted greenery and conveniently oxygenated.

OK, so how about some outstandingly picturesque tropical island? Tempting, but no. I may be able to hop over in the blink of an eye but there’s still all those uncomfortable anti-malaria shots to think about. Not to mention big hairy-arsed spiders that want to leap at me Arachnaphobia-style and lay eggs in my eye sockets. And yes, I *am* one of those people who’s nervous around bunches of bananas for fear they’re harbouring an 8-legged assassin, and no amount of mocking will make me see it any other way.

That’s one of the reasons I love living where I do, you don’t get many scorpions knocking on your door when you live on the third floor of a block of flats. They can’t press the intercom button hard enough for starters.

Hmm, maybe somewhere cooler with a lower percentage of vindictive and life-threatening flora and fauna?

The truth is, unless I could take someone with me I wouldn’t go anywhere. The heartbreaking beauty of this planet is even more heartbreaking if you have nobody to share it with, even if all you do is both sit in silence and experience it at the same time. Unless they then take the opportunity to kiss me, ‘cos then I’m going to deck ’em.

Hold on a second…. what, no lesbian action at all ???

I’m not a career gal, I never have been. It’s not like I can’t see the lure of the concept, because I can, it’s just not “me”. I’ve tried in the past to commit to a long term career path, but each time I’ve come to my senses before it was too late.
As a result I’ve had a lot of jobs, and by “a lot” I mean more than I can actually remember. That said, I have an appalling memory and “more than I can actually remember” could be a number as low as 6 or 7. A byproduct of this is that my CV is a constantly evolving fantastical work of fiction, so much so that I can’t recall exactly what I have done and what I’ve just plucked out of the air on a whim.

What has this taught me?
1) It doesn’t matter what qualifications you get at school or college, nobody ever checks. It’s possible it’s a different matter if you disclose university qualifications, but I skipped further education. I dearly wanted to attend art school and when I was told it wasn’t an option by my parents I walked out of school and got my first job ( the one where attempting to saw through your fingers was an available, and as it turns out just too irresistible, perk ).
2)Employers *might* check your last job for a reference, but they practically never check any further back through your work history. Taking a quick glance at my CV will confirm that I started off with a fabulous track record of job commitment… *ahem*
3) Learn to control your body language and use it to your advantage. They’ll be looking for it, so show them what they want. It’s devious, yes, but there’s money involved here folks.

I’ve been offered every single job I’ve ever applied for, with one exception. The interviewer at that one asked me as part of the selection process whether attending an all-girls school had meant I had lots of tales of lesbian going-ons to share. To say I just sat there in stunned silence with my mouth agape with incredulity is a complete understatement. He must have had some balls to come out with a question like that, and I had a sinking feeling he would show me them at some point if I took the position. So I just rushed the rest of the way through and made a mental note to add “self-defense” and “martial arts” to my list of interests on my CV once I got home.

All-Girls School. Less this....

...and more this.

“This is all truly engrossing,” I hear you say ( a lie, I’m not actually hearing anything, but talk of employment has obviously shifted me to “Barefaced Liar” mode ), “…but where is this thrilling tale leading me?” ( as you can see “Barefaced Liar” mode often comes with an extra module of “Over-Inflated Self Confidence”.)

Last night I watched a Brit film entitled “Exam”. Now, I think I should point out up front that I’m not a film buff ( not even on my CV ), and my knowledge of cinema probably isn’t any better than yours or any of us other Joe Regulars. Therefore, the likelihood of my comparing, for example, a stop-motion animation of a bowl of decomposing fruit with a 4 hour documentary by an existentialist Ukrainian director about the underside of a pebble on a beach is pretty slim. Good news if you just want to read about a few films you might have missed, not so great if you’re a pebble enthusiast.
I’ll spare you the synopsis ( you can read it *here* ) but I will pose the question, “What would you do to get the perfect job?”

Would you lie & cheat? Bit of a no-brainer for me, that one. Telling a massive bundle of whoppers is part of the interview process. I realise for those on a higher moral ground that this is pretty much unacceptable territory. Sorry ’bout that.
OK, then how about this one : Would you be willing to trick the other candidates out of the running? What if this was, hypothetically, the best job in the whole freakin’ world, what about then?
Watching the film was akin to a long, slightly tense, ride where you have to decide at exactly which stage of the journey down Morality Way you’re gonna bail.
Me, not being a career gal, would be happy to skip the last gruelling few disembarkation points and hop off at whatever stop was closest to the doughnut shop. I’m nothing if not fond of my pastries.

 

Film – a 10 minute Free Writing experiment.

This is the very first time I’ve tried Free Writing. I’d be interested to hear your opinions on it 🙂

Film should, for me, take me to places I’ve been before. Forgotten truths buried under thick blanket of time and denial, just waiting for me and me alone. I want richness and bleak nothingness, beauty and ugliness, joy and repulsion. It should draw from me emotions so deep, complex, yet primally simple that they defy rational analysis and conditioning. A film that doesn’t rouse empathy is lost to me. Happy bland climaxes are always inferior to a cruel and brutal reality. I want you to hold me accountable to the destruction, I want to be sickened by my blinkered suburban complacency. Take me to worlds barred from me, leave me wandering the plains of Hell forever calling, calling. A life without pain and love and passion is a life wasted, a film without depth and meaning is just time spent in a holding loop. Make me feel, cause me to cry. Induce me to love you and tell me your beautiful beautiful lies. I am yours for as long as you draw me into you and if you are worthy in return I shall never abandon you. A flash of crimson rippling upon the walls, a tear of acidic realisation, a sweet intimacy. Be extraordinary, be bold. Be the raging child seeing the world in colour for the first time. Hold a mirror up to my face so that I may view the nature of humanity. I may not want to see it, but I’m terrified not to. Show me my eyes so I may see as you see, share your vision and expand mine.