18 Apr 2010

Forty Guns

Forty Guns is a 1957 western filmed by Sam Fuller. I do not know a lot about Fuller except he made some films filled with the bizarre, randmomness and at time, a little bit of genius.

To help understand his process if may help to see a picture of him:

We know if Swordfishtrombones grew his hair out, starting smoking again and aged a few years, this would be his photofit.

Back to Forty Guns. Wow! What a western. Bearing all the hallmarks of a low budget cult western that sneaked past the big studio editing machine, its bursting to death with corn, conservative parody and sexual steam.

The Forty Guns are the 40 hired guns that Cattle-Range boss Barbara Stanwyck gallops and dines alongside. Enter Barry Sullivan and his brothers, US Marshalls with a warrant for one of Stanwyck's men. From then on its a zig-zagging affair which jumps from one set piece to another with giant metaphors grinding against self mocking dialogue almost too corny to believe ("I want to hold your trademark"..."Careful it may go off in your face").

Incoherent in a good way is feels like a film Sergio Leone or Corbucci might have seen and decided it opened the door to ripping on Ford and Hawks. Its sexuality is loud and proud while it has those themes of changing times which Peckinpah would perfect.

My only gripe would be that Stanwyck is not the domineering force she could have been. Unlike Joan Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge in Johnny Guitar whose control over their men and worlds eventually destroys them, Babs quickly loses her masculinity to her need for a strong man who she can love. But who cares, in amongst the chaos of the film you are more interested in what will happen next.

14 Apr 2010


The third and last LCD Soundsytem album is coming in mid May. You can now listen to it on their website. Me and a mucka are heading along to see them at the Barra's in a couple of weeks so I have veen practicing some moves. There are still tickets Jackie.

2 Apr 2010

Match Point

Was checking all the depressing stories on BBC news and this one although a lil' sad also brought a smile that one person's daft-cheeky-naughty photo could have such a resonance.

Say cheese.

27 Mar 2010

Boardwalk Empire

I was about to post a blog about how I think Martin Scorsese how really flatlined as a creative force in cinema. About how I believe his films reflect a comfort zone which many directors find themselves in after years of struggle.

Now I am not suggesting this zone is necessarily a bad thing for them personally as who does not need a break from the creative grindstone. However, his years of turmoil produced Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, After Hours and The King Of Comedy. His years of post Goodfellas comfort include unsatisfying and sometimes self indulgent product like Cape Fear, Gangs Of New York, Aviator, Kundun, Casino and now Shutters Island.

So in my rummaging for a suitable pic I cam across another story and one mjuch more interesting than my opinions on Scorsese (but i think i am on the right track with marty).

Coming in the fall of 2010 (fall - thanks America) comes a new HBO series from Sopranos writer Terence Winter and including directing spots from Sopranos regular Tim Van Patten and Scorsese himself doing the pilot.

Its called Boardwalk Empire and will have Steve Buscemi leading the cast. Something that is long overdue. Anyway set in Atlantic City as prohibition begins in the USA, Buscemi plays the head kingpin controlling the booze and assorted other illegal activities. From the looks of the preview clips it looks like a Sopranos/Deadwood mixture of sex, violence, corruption and action.

Roll on fall.

22 Mar 2010

Breaking Bad Season Three

Breaking Bad's third season started last night in the US of A and man o' man the opener was sensational. I am struggling to put into words how perfect every aspect of this programme is.

The character development, the writing, the water tight narrative, true originality, cinematic direction and plot teasing leaves me shaking like a leaf.

Thanks AMCTV.

16 Mar 2010

Hoop Delusions

A new edition to the feet patrol. Thanks to the excellent cut in price at Crooked Tongues I have been able to pick up a pair of trainers I was checking out in November but felt the price was a bit high for a pair I had not seen close up. Anyway got them today and they are most hip and tick all the boxes I hoped they would. Here is a little video that traces the development of sneaker.


11 Mar 2010

Countdown 20 - 1

Doing things a little different for the end of the countdown with a wee bit about each film and why its so high on the list.

Also want to say a bit about how the list made itself. For me it's not about the most watchable films, funniest films, experimental films, obscure films, criticallly acclaimed films or popular films.

For instance whenever Dantes Peak is on TV I watch it. I love its corn, the cheese and the fact it does not attempt to engage with me. But it would never be near this list because its cinematic candy which I can switch in and out of with no regret. Need a cup of tea, away I go. Want to watch another channel for 20 minutes, will do and the return in comfort.

But in this top 250 there is La Fracture du Myocarde and Yojimbo. I have seen the first once and the second twice. However, they are so memorable I can still remember the excitement and emotion of watching them before heading to school to tell everyone about them. Not sure I would be in such a rush for Dantes Peak.

So basically this is list of films that changed my cinema horizons, made my laugh so much I got a stitch, had me hiding behind my hands, welling up into a tear waterfall and hoot 'n' roar for a hero. Maybe some of them are as pretentious as my little chat but I doubt it.

IMDB (but hopefully you wont need the link for this 20)

1. The Wild Bunch

Sam Peckinpah's masterpiece. Cool, action packed and tragic. The perfect bridge between John Ford and revisionist westerns. How many films have you in tears for a group of murderers who leave a trail off blood wherever they go.

2. 12 Angry Men

This film should be shown to all children and young adults. Its like a blue print for rational thought. Thanks to my dad for telling me constantly to watch this.

3. Assault On Precinct 13

It was late on a Sunday night. A film began with some youths walking down a passageway. Cops suddenly kill them all. Then the awesome sound of John Carpenter on a casio keyboard rumbles in. And then the sound of silencers.....

4. Jaws

Totally terrifying to watch as a kid. Now totally thrilling as an adult. Brilliant form the start but as soon as Quinn, Brody and Hooper get on the boat it takes off to perfection.

5. The Searchers

An old skool western which was basically already hinting at the revisionism of the 60s and 70s. John Wayne hate filled beast of a character was his best and like a lot of this top 20, it always makes me cry at the end. Also best opening/closing sequence ever.

6. Taxi Driver

This reeks of the the malaise, cynicism and corruption of 1970s America. A film full of menace and literally dripping in the disturbed thoughts of Travis. Scorcese's greatest moment, the whole experience is addictive.

7. Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid

A broken disjointed classic. Peckinpah's world was falling apart as he made this and it shows. However, it all falls together and once again for a film of violence and betrayal it has moments of great humour and sadness.

8. Blazing Saddles

Funniest and most quotable film of all time. He's the new sheriff and he's black. Let's roll.

9. A Matter Of Life And Death

This was made in the 1940s but feels like some 1960s breakthrough piece of drug fuelled creation. Is it heaven? Is it another world? Or is David Niven in coma? Visionary.

10. Badlands

Another late Sunday night find. This was not like a dream but more like a daydream. Moments of beauty and tenderness or spliced with our dark side which flits in and out of reality.

11. Planes Trains And Automobiles

You laugh for 89 mins. Cry for 1 min. Smile through the credits. This is a John Hughes film that makes the rest of his films feel like John Hughes films.

12. The Godfather

Surely this cannot be nearly three hours long. The big boss of gangster films. Better than its sequel until the moment I change my mind again.

13. The Godfather Part Two

This is all about Michael and his descent from bady guy to evil dude. The scariest character created for film.

14. Chinatown

Born out of the same machine as the Godfather this again is an almost perfect film with a dense pot which has a real shock value.

15. Amelie

The happiest film I have ever seen. And a film about falling in love with a french girl called Audrey.

16. Airplane

Slightly behind Blazing Saddles in terms of quotableness but only because BS has cowboys. At 400 gags per minute all records are broken.

17. A Fistful Of Dynamite

Considered a weak Leone film I believe its his best. Steiger and Coburn are a great double act despite their awful Mexican and Irish accents. A real sad film full of huge set piece action, dark humour, rage against the machine and a little model train.

18. Annie Hall

Where Woody Allen made you laugh and think without one drowning the other. A tour de force (what's a tour de force) of New York jewish comedy. (whats jewish comedy)

19. The French Connection

New York pops up all over this list and its this 70s thriller that feels so down and dirty. Don't often root for cops but gotta love popeye. And no the car chase is not overrated.

20. Indiana Jones Raiders Of The Lost Ark

The best hero created. Clever, handsome, brave, a nazi hater, a snake fearer with the ability to laugh at himself. And Marion.

Hope this list was of some interest. Feel free to mock, challenge and debate. A list is born to be talked about and disagreed over and not live in some vaccum wwhere everyone agrees to differ. Of course we differ but lets talk.

So on that point I reccommend checking a friend of Pontiac Dream mario.blog for his own Top 250 which could not be more different but is just as interesting.

10 Mar 2010

Countdown 40 - 21

Nearly there...one armed justice, combat comedy, road rage, where the crosses grow, pounding nothingness, the devil wears momma, tobacco chewing redemption, a load of bull, revolutionary heartbreak, old man honour, old man dying, existential snowfall, put the ball in the basket, a special purpose, dustbowl love cocktails, gazoontite, biblical blasphemy, italian tragedy, a short chamber Boxer Henry 4-5 caliber miracle and a monument valley opera.


21. Once Upon A Time In The West
22. Zulu
23. Life Is Beautiful
24. Life of Brian
25. The Taking Of Pelham 123
26. The Last Picture Show
27. The Jerk
28. One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest
29. McCabe and Mrs Miller
30. The Shootist
31. Ride The High Country
32. Pans Labyrinth
33. Junior Bonner
34. The Outlaw Josey Wales
35. Rosemary's Baby
36. The Haunting
37. Cross Of Iron
38. Duel
39. M.A.S.H.
40. Bad Day At Black Rock

9 Mar 2010

Countdown 60 - 41

Three posts to go and we start with.....Charlie Hitler, old man moves, bread basket love triangle, taking it off here boss, samba drama, wings of death, the boogie man, jack's helmet, steve's white socks, a family affair, the ultimate father, no need for any badges, puking dinosaurs, deep freeze paranoia, funny how?, he wants his money, karate lessons from a bastard, phone box punch ups, girl trouble and Mr Bond???


41. The Hill
42. Paper Moon
43. The Iprcess File
44. Get Carter
45. Point Blank
46. Goodfellas
47. The Thing
48. Toy Story
49. The Treasure Of Sierra Madre
50. To Kill A Mocking Bird
51. Empire Strikes Back
52. Fargo
53. Easy Rider
54. Monsters Inc
55. Brewster McCloud
56. City Of God
57. Cool Hand Luke
58. Days Of Heaven
59. Straight Story
60. The Great Dictator

8 Mar 2010

Countdown 80 - 61

A post-oscar statuette to....george gershwin soundscapes, the pride & joy of pupkiss, mummy's boy, jazz guitar, ghosts of children, oil rage, no time for love, miserable redemption, android chaplin, snowball fury, abby normal, ten minute tears, death of a clown, illinois nazis, scab picking horror, repetitive laughs, wheat WHEAT!!, the world is ours, hell on a horse and the perfect murder.


61. Rope
62. High Plains drifter
63. La Haine
64. Love And Death
65. Groundhog Day
66. Poltergiest
67. The Blues Brothers
68. The Third Man
69. Up
70. Young Frankenstein
71. Dumb And Dumber
72. Wall-E
73. Three Colors Blue
74. Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom
75. There Will Be Blood
76. the devil's backbone
77. Sweet and Lowdown
78. psycho
79. King Of Comedy
80. Manhattan