Sunday, 30 November 2008

MEMENTO: BEN KINGSLEY. SEXY BEAST

You're on two per cent, two and a half, maybe even three. Depends on the usual bumflufferies. It's not about the money with you and me is it, Gal? It's the charge, it's the bolt, it's the buzz, it's the sheer fuck off-ness of it all. Am I right?



Ray Winstone has always struck me as a particularly hard bastard. Features chiseled out of granite, big imposing figure and that broad cockney accent all combining to fashion a man you most definitely do not want to piss off. Still, people can mellow over time... take a gander at his role in Jonathan Glazer's SEXY BEAST. Here, Raymondo plays Gal; a retired criminal who departed from rain-sodden England to enjoy the fruits of his labours in Spain with his 'old lady' Dee Dee (Amanda Redman) and two friends, Jackie and Aitch. For a while, things go swimmingly as lazy hot days melt into barbecue nights with nothing more serious than tackling the next rib eye. Such a drastic change in lifestyle invariably has a rather profound effect: people get complacent and weak. Surely not our Ray, though? Surely you'd be safe putting every penny of your wedge on him rising to the occasion and crushing anyone who threatened to cast a shadow over his life on easy street? Well, you ain't met Don Logan yet! One night over dinner, Aitch whispers this simple combination of forename and surname, and things go v-e-r-y quiet. Just one phone call from London ("It was Don Logan"), and this quartet act like the end of the world is about to take place, with Gal suddenly looking like a broken man. The Bogeyman? As a matter of fact, it is, so let's meet Don and see if he lives up to all the pre-match hype.



Our first view of him sees a man walking quickly and in time, eyes looking straight ahead as he marches towards a waiting car to take him to Gal's villa; a journey of deathly silence. Upon arrival, Don announces "I'll have to change my shirt. It's sticking to me. I'm sweating like a cant", and proceeds to engage Gal in the one-to-one chat he was dreading. Turns out Teddie Bess (a suitably menacing Ian McShane) needs 8 men to do a London bank, and DL has been dispatched to drag Gal out of retirement. As Logan sets about persuading Gal to "Do the job", some of the audience will doubtless recognise Don from their own experiences. Seen him at the football ground, bouncer at your local club and then moving on to organised crime with a CV that would doubtless make for terrifying reading. While his verbal assault on Gal switches from comical to downright scary, the envelope is well and truly pushed (more like screwed up and launched) during a brutal attack on Gal in his own bed. Next day, with his mission seemingly ended in failure, Don departs for a flight to London, only to reappear following an airport encounter involving a cigarette and an allegation of sexual assault. Now, we really see Logan go into overdrive, subjecting Gal to a truly vicious tirade of abuse. This really is one savage bastard of a performance from Kingsley, installing him as one of the scariest figures in British Cinema. While Raymondo and McShane are both on the top of their game, Kingsley takes the honours here by a country mile, getting all the best lines and running with them in an orgy of expletives mixed with some very funny dialogue.



"What you think this is the wheel of fortune? You think you can make your dough and fuck off? Leave the table? Thanks Don, see you Don, off to sunny Spain now Don, fuck off Don. Lying in your pool like a fat blob laughing at me, you think I'm gonna have that? You really think I'm gonna have that, ya ponce. All right, I'll make it easy for you. God knows you're fucking trying. Are you gonna do the job? It's not a difficult question, are you gonna do the job, yes or no?"



I won't give the game away for those of you yet to see this film, but you'll love the final shot which had me in stitches, accompanied by a slight shiver. I first caught SEXY BEAST at London's National Film Theatre during a hot July evening (remember those?), and was immediately blown away by Kingsley's psychotic performance (anyone else lose a few quid when he lost out at The Oscars?). Ah, a villain in the truest sense of the term and although his character has inspired drunken impersonations in pubs and clubs all over England, I have to say the blokes a cant. End of.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

READ THIS

Just finished reading a terrific post on Jeremy's Moon In The Gutter blog. Ken Loach's CATHY COME HOME was first broadcast in the UK on 16th December, 1966, and was watched by one quarter of the population. Check out Jeremy's tribute to this film. I'm sure you all follow his excellent work but for anyone who is new to blogs, click on this link http://mooninthegutter.blogspot.com/2008/11/overlooked-classics-ken-loachs-cathy.html
I intend to highlight posts from other blogs on a weekly basis, and this is a nice way to start.

Friday, 21 November 2008

AWAYDAYS: THE NEW TRAINSPOTTING?



Based on Kevin Sampson's cult novel, AWAYDAYS is set for UK cinema release in March 2009, after two sell-out screenings at the recent London Film festival. Sampson wrote AWAYDAYS in 1982, but it would be 16 years later before the book was picked up and released. The story is set in late 1979, some six months into Margaret Thatcher's first term which, for many people, was "like watching a virus take hold". The main character, Paul Carty, is 19 and heavily into football and music. Following his mother's death, Paul is offered a way into 'The Pack'; a gang of football hooligans who travel the country seeking confrontation with rival firms. As Paul sinks deeper and deeper into his new lifestyle, relationships threaten to explode amidst paranoia and jealousy.


With a soundtrack boasting songs from Joy Division, Magazine, Wire and The Cure, together with other UK bands, AWAYDAYS promises to be a vibrant, vital slice of British culture and a must-see for those who were there and those who remain curious about the era.

DVD POLL RESULTS

Thanks to everyone who took time out to vote in my poll regarding DVD buying habits during what is obviously a difficult time for the economy.
I asked: Compared to last year, are you buying more DVDs, about the same, less or none until things get better. The results:

More 22%

About the same 22%

Less 29%

None until things get better 26%

Clearly, the current recession has forced a fair percentage of folks to cut down on their leisure spending, which is bad news for us and the industry.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

AT LAST


24th February 2009. Region 1.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

POSSIBLY MY BOOK OF THE YEAR

An Alternative Derby, by Johnny Vincent, will be nostalgic reading for those of us who frequented The Kings Hall, Cleo's, The Ajanta and The Rainbow Club. It was at those venues where I caught the likes of The Clash, The Jam, The Slits, Crass, SLF, Subway Sect, Joy Division and many other punk bands. Johnny's book promises a journey through the Derby uk music scene from 1976 to about 2000 and the joys of being on the dole, trying to form a band and trying to escape the hang mans noose of retail.This book has interviews with many of the people on the punk scene, and we have a look at many of the venues that the bands played in.
I'm sure this book will provoke feelings of joy and also a little sadness, as many of the readers will get to re-experience a part of their lives which are captured in the pages of UK music history. Although I'm unable to rush straight out and order a copy, the book is on my Christmas present list and a full review will follow.

NEW ISSUE OF SIGHT & SOUND



The latest issue of Sight & Sound magazine arrived yesterday, and, as usual, it's packed full of goodies. Highlights include:


An interview with Oliver Stone


A feature on THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX


Brad Stevens' feature on Abel Ferrara and why his most recent films are so difficult to see


A look at the Dardenne brothers new film THE SILENCE OF LORNA


Details on an exhibition of Andy Warhol's film and video work, which can be seen at London's Hayward Gallery


You'll also find cinema and DVD reviews, including DREAM OF LIFE, QUANTUM OF SOLACE, RED DESERT, ERASERHEAD, CALIGULA: THE IMPERIAL EDITION, EUREKA, and Tim Lucas' review of HOW THE WEST WAS WON. Essential reading, as always.


Saturday, 15 November 2008

ALPHABET MEME

Jeremy over at Moon In The Gutter tagged me to do the following meme, devised at Blog Cabins. The rules are:

1. Pick one film to represent each letter of the alphabet

2. The letter "A" and the word "The" do not count as the beginning of a film's title, unless the film is simply titled A or The, and I don't know of any films with those titles

3. Return of the Jedi belongs under "R," not "S" as in Star Wars Episode IV: Return of the Jedi. This rule applies to all films in the original Star Wars trilogy; all that followed start with "S." Similarly, Raiders of the Lost Ark belongs under "R," not "I" as in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Conversely, all films in the LOTR series belong under "L" and all films in the Chronicles of Narnia series belong under "C," as that's what those filmmakers called their films from the start. In other words, movies are stuck with the titles their owners gave them at the time of their theatrical release. Use your better judgement to apply the above rule to any series/films not mentioned.

4. Films that start with a number are filed under the first letter of their number's word. 12 Monkeys would be filed under "T."

5. Link back to http://blogcabins.blogspot.com/ in your post so that I can eventually type "alphabet meme" into Google and come up #1, then make a post where I declare that I am the King of Google.

6. If you're selected, you have to then select 5 more people.

So, here are my selections:

A. AMADEUS (Milos Forman)
B. BLOOD SIMPLE (Coen Brothers)
c. CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD (Lucio Fulci)
D. DIVA (Jean- Jacques Beineix)
E. ED WOOD (Tim Burton)
F. FIGHT CLUB (David Fincher)
G. GREEN STREET (Lexi Alexander)
H. HENRY PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER (John McNaughton)
I. IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (Wong Kar-Wai)
J. JACK THE RIPPER (Jess Franco)
K. KEN PARK (Larry Clark)
L. LA DOLCE VITA (Federico Fellini)
M. MULLHOLLAND DRIVE (David Lynch)
N. NEW YORK RIPPER (Lucio Fulci)
O. ONE FROM THE HEART (Francis Ford Coppola)
P. PERFORMANCE (Donald Cammell / Nic Roeg)
Q. QUADROPHENIA. (Franc Roddam)
R. RISE OF THE FOOTSOLDIER. (Julian Gilbey)
S. SEXY BEAST ( Jonathan Glazer)
T. TIMECODE (Mike Figgis)
U. URBAN GHOST STORY (Genvieve Jolliffe)
V. VENUS IN FURS (Jess Franco)
W. WHIP AND THE BODY (Mario Bava)
X. X FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE (Chris Carter)
Y. YOJIMBO (Akira Kurosawa)
Z. ZOMBIE FLESHEATERS (Lucio Fulci)

I'm tagging:


About A Hooligan


Hammer And Beyond


I Spit On Your Taste


Lazy Eye Theatre


Soiled Cinema

Sunday, 9 November 2008

CHECK OUT THE OTHER BLOGS

I've added a section to the right, titled MY BLOG LIST, enabling me to keep updated on some of my favourite blogs. I'm sure they are already on the daily visit roster for most of you, but thought it would be a useful addition so we can all keep tabs on their updates. They all make for excellent reading. Unfortunately, I couldn't include Kimberley's excellent Cinebeats (for technical reasons which are beyond my minus zero computer knowledge) but I'm sure you all have that one on your list.

BUDGET BLU-RAY FROM SIGMATEK


Just discovered that a company called Sigmatek have released a budget priced Blu-Ray player. The SBR-1000 can be found on Amazon UK for £153.00. This particular model uses Sony/Nichia blu laser technology, which is cheaper to produce than typical Blu-Ray lasers. This model will support 1080p (24/60), but a lack of reviews so far means it warrants further investigation when time permits.

WE WILL REMEMBER THEM


Friday, 7 November 2008

ANOTHER REASON TO GO BLU: DEAD AND BURIED


Those of you who own a Blu-Ray player or are currently considering taking the plunge may well be interested by this forthcoming release from Blue Underground.

It's available to buy from 27th January 2009, and we're promised:

Audio Commentary #1 with Director Gary A. Sherman
Audio Commentary #2 with Co-Writer/Co-Producer Ronald Shusett and Actress Linda Turley
Audio Commentary #3 with Cinematographer Steve Poster
Stan Winston's Dead & Buried EFX
Robert Englund: An Early Work of Horror
Dan O'Bannon: Crafting Fear
Theatrical Trailers

QUANTUM OF SOLACE: RETURN OF THE KING



Earlier today, my wife and I took our seats in Derby's splendid Cinema De Lux to catch the latest Bond film. Having thoroughly enjoyed CASINO ROYALE, our expectations were high and it's pleasing to report we were not disappointed. Right from the opening car chase along an Italian coastal road, QUANTUM OF SOLACE establishes itself as a worthy follow-up to its illustrious predecessor, as 007 goes after those responsible for the death of Vesper Lynd. Here, Craig establishes himself as the best Bond to date , carrying a broken heart and a burning ambition to mix revenge with duty. It's a real powerhouse performance which carries the film through a couple of stumbles, and ultimately should leave you in awe of this new age Bond and his bare-knuckle approach.


In truth, it's not all plain sailing and QUANTUM may well alienate trad Bond-ites who doubtless winced pre-film at director Marc Forster's assertion that he set out to make an art house Bond film. The action scenes are most definitely in your face and sometimes outside your pov, and it's clear that some scenes have been trimmed down, leaving questions unanswered, and high expectations for a director's cut on DVD which would possibly make for a more rounded viewing experience. Minor quibbles from me, but possibly major issues for those who also may have felt shortchanged by a different way of doing things and long for the old gadget-toting, quip-firing Bond of old. Now, we have a leaner, meaner animal and also encounter a more personal view of the life of a very special secret agent. Those of you who enjoyed CASINO ROYALE are not guaranteed to rate this latest film as highly but you'd be well advised to give your CR DVD another spin before venturing out to see QUANTUM OF SOLACE. Watch out for Olga Kurylenko's street fightin' Bond girl; a beautifully edited opera scene; some white knuckle combat on collapsing scaffolding, and a topical tip of the hat to GOLDFINGER.