Lying Bankers
The other day I decided to cancel a subscription to an online movie rental package (after all two was probably a little excessive).  Although I expected my last rentals would probably arrive back within the allocated time, I was cutting it a little fine and didn’t want next month’s payment to be taken out automatically before they’d registered the return of the DVDs.

I checked my online bank account and the rental package wasn’t included amongst my direct debits, so figured it must be something I was paying for through my debit card.  Turns out it was a Continuous Payment Authority (CPA).  I rang the Co-op, who provided the account in question, to ask them to cancel any future payments from the rental company.  I was told that I needed to cancel the payments with the company themselves.  I explained that I’d already cancelled the package but wanted to make sure that no further payments could be taken.  I laid it on pretty thick, stating how important it was that the payment didn’t go out because I couldn’t afford it, etc. Again, they insisted that it was out of their hands and that short of starting somekind of long winded dispute that would have taken weeks; there was nothing within their powers to help my situation.  I would have probably just accepted their word for it had I not vaguely recalled something I heard on the radio about banks not following the regulations in such circumstances.  So I had a quick Google and came across a very useful page on the FSA (Financial Services Authority) website which very clearly stated what banks’ obligations were regarding regular card payments

With my newfound consumer confidence I rang the Co-op a second time, simply requesting a cancellation for all future payments to the DVD rental company.  Once again I was told that there was nothing they could do and that I really did have to contact the company themselves.  I informed them that according to FSA guidelines they were obliged to stop payments directly if I instructed them to.  Suddenly their assured but supposedly understanding and helpful tone changed.  They became a little vague and non-committal but essentially said they would ensure no further payments were taken from my account.  I told the chap on the phone that I thought it was a pretty poor service to be told by two of the Co-op’s representatives that I couldn’t do something that they knew full well was my legal right.  They mumbled something about “taking note of my concerns”, so point made I left it at that.

In my case it was only £15 but it could easily have been a stress inducing larger figure, or a variable amount with questionable validity.  Whilst you do have the right to cancel these payments, I should be clear that you are still liable for any money you may owe, but I know I’d rather dispute the matter with my money safely in my wallet.



 
 
Iron Sky
After anticipating it for literally years, and travelling the 160 mile round trip to our nearest screening, I finally got to see Iron Sky last night.  I'd obviously been hoping it was amazing, but having seen the filmmakers' previous effort Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning my expectations were not too high; I basically loved the concept, admired the devotion and passion of those involved and just the fact that it was a participatory film.

It's easy to pick holes in Iron Sky, the CGI and humour were hit and miss and the whole production has a shambolic amateur feel to it, but if approached with a simple willingness to be entertained, I don't think it disappoints.  There are great characters and  some laugh out loud moments, the scene with the Indian representative (who incidentally looks a lot like Norwich's Puppet Man) at a conference of world leaders springs to mind, and most importantly it has moon Nazis and big explosive space battles.  Well worth checking out when it is released on DVD in a couple of days.

Check out Tug Wilson's interview with Iron Sky director Timo Vuorensola
 
 
Tenement
Last night I went to the cinema to see Safe, which was perfectly enjoyable in a ridiculous way, with the always good value Jason Statham.  However, it was one of the trailers I saw before the film, that I'm a little more excited about.  The Raid looks like the sort of film that has enough ultra-violent fueled energy to power a small country.  Twenty SWAT cops storm a 30 storey tower block, run by a vicious crime lord, encountering non-stop bloodthirsty nastiness on each floor.  Bring it on!  Out in cinemas, 18th May.

If you can't wait another week for high rise apartment fun, and want something considerably less slick, check out Tenement on DVD, which has a similar theme.  The residents of a tower block grass up their local drug dealers and soon learn to regret it, once the gang are released back into the community.  The gang work their way up the floors, attacking each apartment, getting their revenge on the residents inside. 

Tenement has a really grungy tone, like other New York films from the time, such as The Warriors.  Whilst The Warriors also had a dilapidated bleak feel to it, the film was nonetheless good fun.  Tenement is much more brutal, and had it been made with more skill it could have been quite a powerful, if nihilistic film.  Interestingly, for such a masculine film, it was made by a female director, one Roberta Findaly, who with her husband Michael, made numerous pornographic/exploitation films during the sixties and seventies.  Check out The Flesh Trilogy to see their art at its finest. 

 
 
Iron Sky
I've been looking forward to the release of Iron Sky for a long time now, in 2010 I was chuffed to have had the opportunity to interview the director Timo Vuorensola and my excitement hasn't abated since.  Just from speaking to other people, I know I'm not alone.  

It seems Iron Sky's distributor Revolver may be underestimating the potential pulling power of this much anticipated movie, as they have only allocated one day's screening in UK cinemas.  Surely it's the sort of high concept fun that will attract the crowds; it's about Moon Nazis for fuck's sake!

Anyway, if you're wanting the opportunity to see this film projected, and don't want to be pinned down to watching it on the one day that is scheduled, then take a few minutes to help the team at Iron Sky get their film the release it deserves:


STEP 1: CONTACT Revolver Entertainment, and tell them what you think of their plans to release Iron Sky for just one day to cinemas in UK. Please email to info@revolvergroup.com.

STEP 2: LET THEM KNOW what you think also on their Facebook page – www.facebook.com/revolverentertainment – and on their Twitter feed – @ironskyuk

STEP 3: DEMAND to see Iron Sky in your local film theatres. Go to www.ironsky.net/demand and place your Demand.

STEP 4: SPREAD THE WORD and machinate your friends to join the campaign also. Share this link everywhere on the Internet; let’s make sure Revolver hears your voice.

 
 
Scream Bloody Murder
Scream Bloody Murder is a film that I knew nothing about before sticking into my DVD player the other night, just something I downloaded on a whim from Cinemageddon.

I all started quite promising, uncomfortably salacious school uniforms, incredibly lewd camera shots, bawdy dialogue and the promise of 'screaming bloody murder'.

Now, I've watched a lot worse (a lot worse) but ultimately it was just dull.  It had some potential, it was actually quite funny in places but a film of this type really needed more violence (there was very little), and I'm sorry to say comrade sisters, it also needed some gratuitous nudity (it had none).  For it's school report, it would be marked 'could do better'.