Close Your Eyes and Everything Will Be 12A*

So far this year two big releases, The Hunger Games and The Woman in Black, have had mere seconds of footage shaved from them in order to drop down from a 15 certificate to the Box Office friendly rating of 12A. What intrigued me about this, rather than the fact that studios are hunting for a 12A rating which makes financial sense, is the fact that the barrier between a 15 and a 12A certificate can be a few seconds of removed or edited footage. Does being three years older make you better able to handle an extra seven seconds of gore?

This got me thinking about the way our bodies naturally censor every film we watch, shaving minutes off the runtime and shielding us from all kinds of images, by blinking. So now the question is whether we blink for long enough during a film to effectively censor it enough for a lower age certificate. That is what we were all thinking, right?

I did a bit of Google investigating and found that we blink 10 times a minute under laboratory conditions and 3.5 times a minute when focussed on something (a film perhaps?). The duration of the average blink is very roughly 0.25 seconds. Are we excited yet!?

The next step in my journey into testing a pointless theory was to pick four films as test subjects. Joining The Hunger Games and The Woman in Black are The Human Centipede II and A Serbian Film; both films having undergone significant cuts to achieve a release at 18 certificate and escape being banned outright. Using the running time for each film I have calculated the total amount of blinking time, under laboratory conditions and for focussed eyes, the average viewer would experience. The results of my calculations are below:

Film Running time Blinking time
Blinking time
Amount cut by BBFC
The Hunger Games 142m 18s 5m 56s 2m 5s 7s
The Human Centipede II 86m 50s 3m 37s 1m 16s 2m 31s
A Serbian Film 99m 25s 4m 9s 1m 27s 4m 11s
The Woman in Black 94m 47s 3m 57s 1m 23s 6s

What does this tell us? In reality nothing, but in the delusion you are following me through it means that both The Hunger Games and The Woman in Black could have been released uncut with a 12A rating and our natural eyelid movements would have censored the films dramatically without the BBFC’s help. Staggeringly under laboratory conditions The Human Centipede II could have been released uncut and our blinks would have hidden all the worse of the gore for us! Only A Serbian Film, a truly grim piece of cinema, has too much offensive material for our blinks to take care of.

Taking this even further it is worth considering the fact that for the more scary/gory/extreme films we self-censor even more extensively by clenching our eyes shut, hiding behind coats, and running screaming from the room. When I first saw The Sixth Sense I spent so much time hiding behind a towel, pink and the nearest shield to hand, that I effectively edited it down from a 15 to a PG certificate. I barely saw any dead people thank you very much.

In conclusion: I have too much time on my hands. The BBFC can stop suggesting cuts and just have a BBC Sport style announcer telling viewers when to blink. I stand by my findings 100%.

*Now that you have read the whole thing the title is all the more witty and hilarious, please take a moment to quietly applaud a well written pun.

Out Now – 10th February 2012

The Muppets
All I can think is that it is the final month of BlogalongaMuppets and still need to watch Muppets in Space before I can skip along to the cinema to see this latest instalment in the Muppet franchise, written by and starring Jason Segel with music from half of Flight of the Conchords. I can’t even begin to think about the plot, involving the Muppets reuniting to save their old theatre from an oil tycoon.

The Vow
Valentine’s day is next week and so Hollywood has vomited up a good of fashioned romance for us all to avoid as we try to convince ourselves that being single is best, honest. Rachel McAdams is a woman suffering severe memory loss after waking from a coma and Channing Tatum is the husband who has to win her heart all over again. I feel sick.

Big Miracle
In Alaska a town unites to try to save grey whales trapped by rapidly forming ice. [Insert joke about Sarah Palin or global warming, or a weak pun about Wales]

The Woman in Black
Danny Radcliffe (let’s see if that catches on) in his first post-Potter lead role. Pretty classic horror territory as a young lawyer discovers a vengeful ghost is terrorising villagers. Plenty of wandering dark houses waiting for things to jump out. The play nearly made me wet myself so this film has a lot to live up to.

A Dangerous Method (London only until 17th February)*
Sexy drama about the birth of psychoanalysis from proud parents Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender in his third film of the year. Third! I barely knew who he was last year.) and Sigmund Freud (Viggo “Aragorn” Mortensen). Keira Knightley is on hand to do a bit of an accent and get spanked, it’s enough to make me blush.

Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (limited release)
Hindi comedy in which “a few drinks too many leads an uptight architect and quick-witted hairstylist to marry in Las Vegas. Can a mistake lead to friendship and love?” Yes, probably.

Girl Model (limited release)
A “thriller” documentary following “a complex supply chain between Siberia, Japan, and the U.S. within the modeling industry. The story is told through the eyes of the scouts, agencies and a 13 year-old model.” It all sounds a little creepy to me.

Casablanca (limited release)
For its 70th anniversary this classic film (you feel you should have seen so bought on DVD last week from HMV but now kind of want to see on the big screen if you can find anyone to go with you)** is back in selected cinemas.

American Evil (limited release)
Released in America way back in March 2008 we finally get to see Bradley Cooper in an odd-looking drama about a sinister priest and dodgy activities in a Native American boarding school. What a poster!

*Confession: It is late on Thursday and I’ve only just realised that A Dangerous Method actually only comes out in London for the first week. By this point I am too lazy to Photoshop Kermit’s mug into another film still, so let’s all pretend that the film is out today. It’s what Fassbender would want.
**Just me?

The Best is Yet to Come: 2012

As much as we are obliged to look back over the year just gone, we are obliged to look ahead at the year just beginning. It’s always exciting to look at the next twelve months and all the exciting treats that are coming to our screens. Below are my personal picks of the films worth seeing in 2012, and I’m hoping there will be many more besides, a few gems I haven’t even heard of yet. Continue reading