Sunday, 31 August 2008
Saturday, 30 August 2008
Friday, 29 August 2008
Thursday, 28 August 2008
Wednesday, 27 August 2008
Anyway, I'll play the game again, although I really do find it difficult to pick just ten titles and I certainly won't be putting them in order of preference as Cerpts did...and anyway, I'll change the list tomorrow. So, without further ado (I'm simply playing for time) here's the ten favourite films for today in no particular order.
2. VERTIGO (Alfred Hitchcock) My favourite Hitchcock without a doubt.
3. WINTER LIGHT (Ingmar Bergman) Powerful, chilling and above all personal masterpiece
from the director who reaches the places few others dare to venture.
4. PERSONA (Ingmar Bergman) Bergman's "vampire" movie - another indispensible masterpiece fro the master of angst.
5. MEAN SREETS (Martin Scorsese) Possibly not the very greatest of films by Scorsese but still my personal favourite, full of exciting ideas, terrific performances and a real sense of a director totally in love with his medium.
6. CITIZEN KANE (Orson Welles) What can I say that has not been said before ? Each time I see it I fall in love with films all over again and find that the excitement of watching it has not diminished.
7. THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (Michael Powell) When it comes to Powell there is so much to choose from and I could have easily chosen A CANTERBURY TALE, PEEPING TOM, THE RED SHOES or A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH.
8. SEVEN SAMURAI (Akira Kurosawa) One of the greatest of adventure films.
9. RED BEARD (Akira Kurosawa) This was the wild card. I expected my second Kurosawa to be his other masterpiece IKIRU but RED BEARD jumped in at the last moment.
10. MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (John Ford) Iconic Western from America's great poet of the frontier.
Well, that's it. I can live with telling people that they are my favourite movies...but tomorrow the list might include Marcel Carne's ENFANTS DU PARADISE, Hawk's RIO BRAVO and...damn it!
I'll quit while I'm ahead.
Tuesday, 26 August 2008
Thursday, 21 August 2008
Monday, 18 August 2008
Copy the list below.
Mark in bold the movie titles for which you read the book.
Italicize the movie titles for which you started the book but didn’t finish it.
Tag 5 people to perpetuate the meme.
1. Jurassic Park
2. War of the Worlds
3. The Lost World: Jurassic Park
4. I, Robot
8. The Stepford Wives
9. The Time Machine
10. Starship Troopers
11. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
14. The Running Man
16. The Mothman Prophecies
18. Blade Runner(Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?)
20. The Island of Dr. Moreau
21. Invasion of the Body Snatchers
22. The Iron Giant(The Iron Man)
23. Battlefield Earth
24. The Incredible Shrinking Woman
25. Fire in the Sky
26. Altered States
28. The Postman
29. Freejack(Immortality, Inc.)
31. Memoirs of an Invisible Man
32. The Thing(Who Goes There?)
33. The Thirteenth Floor
34. Lifeforce(Space Vampires)
35. Deadly Friend
36. The Puppet Masters
38. A Scanner Darkly
40. Monkey Shines
42. The Handmaid’s Tale
45. From Beyond
48. Body Snatcher
I tag Dave's Blog, Serena Cairns, Choking the Alligator
Sunday, 10 August 2008
My initial reaction to this movie was diappointment. I really enjoyed much of the plot because it is set in the same milieu as the novel "Carter Beats the Devil" - the world of stage illusionists. When the film's twist was finally revealed I felt hugely let down that the story had moved into the world of science fiction. I spent the whole of the next day mentally deciding how I was going to express my disappointment on this blog. Finally, I sit at the keyboard and wham! I realise just how clever the film is...and how I really need to see it again and how it will become a different film. I'm not even sure that the film's ultimate twist is revealed to the audience if what one of the characters says is adhered to.....
So, I'm going to write absolutely nothing about the plot. If you've not seen it, do so. If you like it, watch it again and, more importantly, if you don't like it, still watch it again. Director is Chistopher Nolan and he's working with two of his Batman stars - Christian Bale and Michael Caine and Hugh Jackman is excellent as well. Look out for David Bowie in an important supporting role. Rating ***
Monday, 4 August 2008
You couldn't make it up if you tried....a comedy directed in by comedian Woody Allen about a psychopathic strangler featuring not only Woody himself but Mia Farrow, John Malkovich, Madonna, Donald Pleasence, William H. Macy, Fred Gwynne, Kate Nelligan, John C.Reilley, John Cusack, Cathy Bates, Lilly Tomlin and Jodie Foster! As if that isn't enough the whole thing is filmed in black and white in the style of a German Expressionist film of the 1920's. I've spoken to admirers of Woody Allen who have never heard of this film. Woody plays Kleinmann (ie. little man) who is roped in by a group of vigilantes who are searching for the mad strangler who is terrorizing a fogbound European city. What Woody doesn't know is that he is the bait. While wandering the dark streets he meets Mia Farrow who has run away from the circus......All this gives Woody a chance to explore some pretty heavy stuff about love, happiness, pain and the whole damn thing. For me this film is Woody at his very peak bringing together all the things that really matter to him and damn the audience if they don't like it. Like so many great films the ending is controversial inasmuch as you either get it or you don't (or if you don't perhaps you love it so much you don't care either way) and is right up there with WINTER LIGHT, ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA and ZATOICHI as one of the endings that haunt my dreams. Rating : ****
Saturday, 2 August 2008
Over on the sidebar you will see a quote from Harlan Ellison which I stole from my pal Cerpts over at The Land of Cerpts and Honey. I don't know where Cerpts got it from but I thought it was important enough to have on my blog as well. I've not read anything by Harlan Ellison for years and years but after I saw that quote I went on YouTube an caught up with some Ellison clips. It was good to see that Harlan has lost none of his bite. Two of the most enjoyable books I read by the writer were THE GLASS TEAT and THE OTHER GLASS TEAT which were collections of Harlan's TV criticism and I've often thought back to those volumes (sadly no longer in my possession) and thought how accurate were Harlan's predictions about the way popular television was heading. Harlan saw it twenty-five years ago. But sadly, the decline is spreading out from TV into the wide world. Good to see you are still out there fighting the fuckers HE.
Friday, 1 August 2008
This film is very special to me for several reasons. I saw it when I was still at school and it was one of the first "grown up" films I chose for myself. I remember that when my friend Brian and I came outof the cinema we couldn't stop talking about it. We found the whole style of the film exciting and fresh - so different from the, mainly, Hollywood product we had been exposed to. We were both just beginning to explore the wide world of cinema thanks to the Holloway School Film Society and seeing the film again after all these years made me re-live some of the excitement of those days. On a more personal level I was captivated by the actress Lelia Goldoni, not only for her beautiful eyes and engaging smile but because I was going out with a girl who looked just like her (oh, Elaine Weston, where are you now?).
John Cassavetes occupies a niche all of his own in American film history. Like Orson Welles before him Cassavetes was an actor as well and over the years continued to act to finance his own films. Like Welles he tended to work with people who were his friends - Peter Falk, Ben Gazzara, Seymour Cassell, his wife Gena Rowlands and others. Cassavetes was famously loyal to these friends and if John was working there was a good chance that he'd rope in a few buddies, even on other peoples films. When Cassavetes got to star in the excellent TV series JOHNNY STACCATO his SHADOWS cast all got guest spots - Lelia, Ben Carruthers, Tom Reese. When John was cast as one of THE DIRTY DOZEN he suggested Ben Carruthers for a role.
Sadly, today SHADOWS is a shadow of itself. It almost became a lost film. This restoration is made up of "selected sequences" and instead of the original 89 minutes we have a mere 70 odd minutes. Whether the rest of the film can ever be restored from the extremely bad condition original negative is doubtful. SHADOWS is not the greatest film ever made, it is sometimes crudely amatuerish but it is, I feel, an enormously important film. It's influence on later directors is obvious from the opening shots (Scorcese particularly - see WHOSE THAT KNOCKING AT MY DOOR, MEAN STREETS and even GOODFELLAS). The film was improvised and it is fascinating to see how the actors cope with this - some like Lelia and Hugh Hurd seem perfectly comfortable while others like Anthony Ray are obviously less so. But this all adds to the extraordinary feel of realism. Lelia Goldoni gives a brilliant performance as the black girl who can pass for white and Hugh Hurd is totally convincing as her older brother, a crooner whose career is on the skids. Ben Carruthers as the younger brother is all anger and James Dean moodiness in a performance that is rather too mannered but quite captivating at the same time.
SHADOWS is part racial drama (Goldoni is seduced by asshole Antony Ray who is shocked to discover her racial background) and it is part I VITTELONI as Carruthers and his two buddies hang out, aimlessly, on the mean streets of New York.
I'm more an admirer of Cassavettes than a real fan. My problem with his films such as FACES and HUSBANDS is that I can't stand Ben Gazzara and when Cassavetes was letting his actors improvise scenes often go on far to long. His mainstream films are all worth a look and he was, perhaps, for me, at his best when combining the two styles in films like GLORIA. He was a true maverick as a director and often a fascinating actor. America should treasure his memory..
Trvia : Near the start of the film Carruthers goes to see his brother in a rehearsal room. As he enters a guy in dark glasses bounces past the camera in time with a practising chorus line - it's Bobby Darin who would later star in Cassavettes TOO LATE BLUES. Rating ****