Tag Archives: Malcolm McDowell

A Clockwork Orange vs A Clockwork Orange

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A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Alex is a teenage thug in a future world. He and his gang drink and take drugs and go out to attack and rape whoever they can. But his gang are sick of him taking control and set him up to be sent to prison. After two years in prison, he ends up in an experimental program that uses a combination of drugs and extremely violent footage to bring about waves of extreme nausea, stopping any ability for the offender to re-offend. However, thrown back out into society, Alex is lost and vulnerable to those who, justifiably, want to harm him.

It’s a tough read because Alex, who narrates the books, uses a lot of ‘Nadsat’ terms – that is, a made up teenage talk. There is a glossary at the end of the book, but I battled through without it as I was reading it on a Kindle. Generally, it wasn’t hard to figure out what he meant, but it did require some work. The use of nadsat distanced me from a lot of the violence, I think, although I remember some of the images from watching the movie many years ago. What I found most interesting, and it will take a re-watching of the film to confirm this, but I suspect was left off the film, and that was the final chapter. This suggests that the only cure to this thuggery is time and age, and I imagine if this is how it was read, it would have been hugely controversial as it is almost allowing their behavior.

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A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Indeed, it seems that the last chapter of the book is not addressed in the film, but there is certainly enough sex and violence in this film to make it challenging – at lease, in the early seventies. I recall that even the director of the film, Stanley Kubrick, had some issue with it. A quick and not at all thorough bit of research revealed that Kubrick’s issue came after several copycat crimes occurred and he received death threats. He was able to pull the release of the film in the UK but it still received Oscar nominations.

The violence in the film is so melodramatic that now it comes across as almost comical, which probably says an awful lot about how graphic depictions of violence, including rape, are nowadays. I’d say it is still an extremely good film that makes very interesting points on culture and punishment, but I cannot imagine it having the type of impact that it would have upon release almost forty-five years ago.

A Clockwork Orange was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Stanley Kubrick), Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Stanley Kubrick) and Best Film Editing.

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Tank Girl (1995) Film Review

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I’ve been scared to re-watch this film. Scared because I remember loving the film back when it was released, and was very nervous that it would not hold up. Finally, I took the plunge. Thank God! It’s brilliant!

It’s based on the comic strip of the same name, and follows the slightly insane Tank Girl (Lori Petty), a rebel in a future-world where water is extremely scarce and controlled by an evil corporation led by Kesslee (Malcolm McDowell). After teaming up with engineering genius Jet Girl (a young and fabulous Naomi Watts) and the mysterious rippers (mutants which are part human part Kangaroo and totally gorgeous, and include Ice-T among their number), Tank Girl sets out to take over the corporation and liberate the water.

So good. Funny, a bit violent, quite dated but in a terrific way, and worth watching just to see what tank girl will be wearing next. Where is Lori Petty these days? I don’t know. Hey, Hollywood? Give us more Lori Petty please.

 

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Easy A (2010) – Film Review

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Olive(Emma Stone) is your average high school student – working toward college, keeping to herself, not noticed by most of the school. Until a rumour gets out that she has slept with a college guy, and suddenly she gets the reputation of being the school slut. Rather than challenging this, she uses this reputation to help others; her gay friend hides his true sexual leanings; an unpopular, ugly guy starts to garner female attention after people think he has hooked up with Olive. It’s not altruistic, though; Olive takes cash or vouchers for her favours. She starts to dress to the character, however eventually it becomes too much for her and she needs to find a way out.

It’s a good high school film. One of those films where the parents are way too cool and ace to be believed and that behaviour that almost certainly would not be tolerated in a school is ignored. (Or at least, at this school, that seems extremely middle class and conservative. Conservative enough that the concept that one student has had sex can stop the whole school in its tracks) I think it would probably be a good film for high school students when looking at bullying and reputation – along with Mean Girls.

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