26 Mar 2009


Of course when we talk TV movies there are three words which must be celebrated and respected. Alex Moviedrome Cox.

I still have no idea why but when I was younger my folks would get to me to go to bed (for school in the morning) at a regular time but let that slide when I was watching some particular films and this spread into the age of Moviedrome. This was BBC2's cult and long lost film show which was presented by director Alex Cox over the late 1980s and 1990s.

Now my folks were not big movie fans, far from it. But maybe they saw something in that which was more beneficial than Gary Davies on Radio 1. Anyway Alex Cox always gave good intro. Letting into some of the background, myths, themes and politics of the films. Moviedrome was the ultimate in eclectic viewing. Spaghetti Westerns, Horror, Comedy, Paranoid Thrillers, Grindhouse, Arthouse and Sci-punk-fi were all on the bill.

One film that always stayed with me was Alligator. As the below trailer will let you know, this was about an alligator. A big one. It comes up form sewers. It eats people and causing some class based carnage. The old guy from Jackie Brown is in it. And a big alligator. A really fun and nasty tail....haha

25 Mar 2009

After Dark Pleasures

All that talk and boyish gushing over Warren Oates got me thinking and surfing. Remember the days before the proliferation of satellite or cable tv when the terrestial channels would show forgotten classics, cults wonders and weirdo cinema as the midnight hours descended.

It seems to me that that just doesn't happen anymore. The main channels would rather show repeats of tv shows, straight to video faux drama and hollywood halfbakes.

When I was young I saw some films that really influenced my life choices in later life. I do not mean that they directly influenced opinions, decisions or choices but just if you grow up enjoying Warren Oates, Alan Paluka or Jason Robards then you are less likely to like Angelina Jolie, Billy Joel and Joey.

So I thought why not talk about some of these and let you see the trailer...which of course means great 70s/80s trailers!! First up and thanks to Mr Oates, its Race With The Devil. Two men. Two women. Satanists. A sacrifice. And a Winnebago. I repeat. A Winnebago!!!

22 Mar 2009

Pour Dr Nick

He may know the law. He may about British Trotskyism from 1948-67 & 1978-93. He may know about the 1980s. But...

Dr Nick don't know Warren Oates. Last week in the pub he declared Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garciaas Warren Oates's cinema debut. Dr Nick was wrong by about 16 years and 30 films. The conversation struck a nerve and I thought I would dedicate a post to late-great Mr Oates whilst offering the Dr some help with his facts.

The first thing you need to know is, Who Is Warren Oates? Well for the most of his career Oates was the guy you missed, the guy in the background, the partner to the main character, the weird walk one role. As part of Sam Peckinpah's stock acting group alongside Strother Martin, LQ Jones or Dub Taylor, Oates was a vital part of some of Peckinpah's alternative western universe.

Tough, grizzled and sometimes quiet, you always noticed him on screen. Outwith of westerns he still played out most roles behind the main stars but during the 1970s he appeared in a host cult movies such as Two Lane Backdrop, Kid Blue, Race with The Devil, Cockfighter and Badlands.

Given these leading roles Oates did little to change his style of acting. Therefore the films reflected his laconic, mumbling and at times deranged style. His best performance during this period was in the aforementioned Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia.

Just as Bill Holden had been Peckinpah's alter ego in The Wild Bunch, Oates becomes the on screen representation of the increasingly nihilistic and lost director. His memorable monologues with a decapitated head show Oates at his best.

I have included the trailer for Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia below. Excluding the near comedy stylings of a traditional 1970s trailer, hopefully it gives a good idea of the film which is as brilliant as it is disturbing, psychotic and nihilistic (sorry to say that twice but its the films central theme).

I have also included some links to a few really good articles about Oates and his career.

Warren Oates - Article 1
Warren Oates - Article 2
Warren Oates - Article 3

15 Mar 2009

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Three movies. Three opinions.

First up, Role Models. Even with the always funny Paul Rudd in it, I did not want to watch this. The presence of Seann William Scott (Stifler from American Pie) was a real turn off as well as the guys teach kids to live/kids teach guys to live plot.

But it was great. One of those American comedies which have a strong cast of comedians who all seem to know each other and it shows in so many scenes where you can see few smiles and giggles between the participants. Jane Lynch (the manager from 40 yr old Virgin) as the youth programme leader with a fine taste in metaphor.

Stifler is dead long live the Role Models

Next up is an epic pile of pretentious nonsense, Rachel Getting Married.

A film about a drug addict with a tragic past who goes for her sisters wedding and family strife. Yawnnnn. So boring. You have no sympathy for any character as the family and friends all seem to inhabit a liberal wet dream of a jazz-world music playing musos who live of each others feeling of selfworth. Specifically there is a scene, an epic 25 minute scene, at a pre wedding dinner where you get to see around 8-9 guests toast the couple. Wedding toasts only work if you are a guest. If you a viewer it was was like watching a the 5 hr opening wedding sequence in Deer Hunter.

Rachel is Getting Binned.

And lastly, Sunday's choice. In its trailer Clint Eastwood's, Gran Torino,looks like a 21st Century Death Wish set to cash in on old whitey's fear of Barack Hussain Obama. But of course the studio makes the trailer and Clint's film is much more intelligent, playing some games with the viewer, although there are few suprises in the film.

Unfortunately there are some shaky points. Clint's grumpy old man slips into parody on too many occasions. There is pointless use of rape as character motivation (when will cinema move on from that!!!) and the young guy in it is an awful actor.

But hey its Clint. Respect it, watch it....and forgive him his attempt of singing as credits roll. he sounds like the Great Gonzo.

But any in honour of the big man and his contribution to the best genre ever. Here is the soundtrack to cinema's greatest Dance of Death as Clint, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach stare each other down in a graveyard as the civil war wages around them.

Ennio Morricone - The Trio (Main Title)

11 Mar 2009

Watch Men?

Firstly its been a rough week but life is now moving on. We aren't forgetting Mary Doll nor missing her any less, just getting on with we have to do.

As part of that and cause I am off work this week and went to the cinema this morning to see The Watchmen. Now I will put my hand in the air and say that I did not really know anything about the film or the graphic novel/comic/whatever that the film is based on except for an article about it in Empire magazine last year.

From that I knew it was a closely followed comic (I gonna use that phrase now) with loyal fans and big expectations following it. I got the idea that this was not The Defenders of The Earth version of a group of heroes, that they were a dark representation of the ideal.

The result after the two and a half hours was lost interest, thoughts of what to cook for dinner and disappointment. Not boredom, more the mixture of emotions you may experience after a blind date.

What I liked? The fact that, with the exception of Professor Brooklyn, that the Watchmen's powers and abilities were underplayed and treated as secondary to their actions. Although no character was that likeable or dislikable, Rorschach at least kept me interested.

What I disliked? Too long. Too much of Dr Manhattan's boring rambles. Too much, wa too much of the psycho-superhero-moral-gibberish that poisoned Dark Knight. Just hit somebody!!!! In all it felt like a cross between Sin City-Mystery Men-Dark Knight-Spiderman 3

Maybe it could be called The Sins of a Man Watching Mysterious Men On The Web.

But lets be positive. Below is one of those Family Guy moments that makes it rise above its questionable rape and domestic abuse gags. Very funny and continues ot make Christian Bale look like a dick.

I had to remove the link to the audio track as it was not playing right for some unkown digital related reason. Here is the clip from You Tube.

1 Mar 2009

Yesterday was the first anniversary of the blog. I had plans for an Report card/State of the Nation post to cover how far the blog has come and where it may go.

However, Elaine, the love of my life, lost her mum today after a long and determined battle against illness. She is free from pain now but we all miss her so much. So there will be no celebration of a blog. Just a song which her mum really enjoyed.

For Mary.

Leona Lewis - Run