26 Dec 2009

Sob Story

Was watching Bridge To Treabithia today. A family/kids film seeemingly perfect for boxing day and sore belly that comes with it.

Its a pretty basic tale of a boy and girl who are outsiders at their school but find a release for their imaginations and fears in woods near their home by inventing a new world of creatures and adventure called Terabithia.

So, anyway, its all going along nicely when the boys music teacher asks if he wants to visit a local museum. As he fancys her he doesn't invite the girl. On his return he finds that she has died after falling into the stream which borders Terabithia. Cue me starting to cry!!! No idea why but got very emotional. I did not see that one coming and it really got me in my lady-genes. Not that good a film really but what does that matter when it does such a job on the viewer.

Ho ho ho.

25 Dec 2009

Oh No She Didn't

Woke up this morning to hear a yound lady rugby tackled ex-Nazi Youth member, Pope Benny the Dick. Tremendous.

Merry xmas y'all.

21 Dec 2009

Love And Death

This may be my favourite Woody Allen film. Love And Death is a homage and send up of the epic Russian literature of the like of Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy. You don't know anything literature? Neither do I and most people who have seen this but its make no difference. This is laugh out loud from beginning to end.

Allen is the odd one out in a world of glorious Russian stereotypes and Napoleon's invasion of the Motherland. We see him first as a small boy struggling with the contradictions of religon and patriarchy before he blossoms into a young man...struggling with the contradictions of religon and patriarchy but mostly war and his love for his cousin, Diane Keaton.

The on-screen interaction between Keaton and Allen leaps forward from Sleeper they slip between farce, epic monologues and lyrical waltz's with ease. The film again looks great while the score is dominated by bouncy Russian classics.

Love And Death was the last hurrah (for a while) of the carefree gags of Allen's youthful output. While Anne Hall still has them they are tightly bound up in that film's leap forward into a more mature and introspective vision. So find and watch Love And Deathso get a taste of what real comedy can be.

The trailer below is not the best quality so sorry about that. However, it still gives a good taste of the film. An even better sample is the clip which is much better quality and shows off the perfect balance of Love And Death between Allen's roots in absurdism, the developing on screen relationship with Diane Keaton and the ingenius philosophical comical lyricism which came to dominate his future productions.

19 Dec 2009


Sleeper continues where Play It Again Sam left off. Woody Allen and Diane Keaton again star together and its one liners, sight gags and even more of a double act.

Allen plays an unfortunate jazz musician (and health food owner) who goes in for a routine operation in 1973 and after complications gets frozen and then dug up 200 years laters in an America which is now a futuristic police state.

Untraceable, the revolutionary underground ask Allen to help them in the bid to topple The Leader. Soon he is on the run and seeks the help of vacuous socialite Diane Keaton. And on it goes in that form as their love grows despite of their comedic efforts to break loose of the state and the underground.

This is a brilliant film. Its very very funny. The inter-play between Allen and Keaton is effortless. The vision of the future is suitabley nihilistic. The score is superb collection of ragtime jazz. So many great moments I cannot list them but do give the jazz score some justice I have included an hysterical scene below where the hungry fugitive Allen breaks into a farm of the future to steal giant fruit and veg. Be careful of banana skins.

16 Dec 2009

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)

Next is a film which really should be the definition of a sex comedy, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask).

Woody Allen's adaptation of a best selling sex manual is a series of short stories or vignettes, if you would prefer, featuring Woody Allen in various roles, John Carradine, Anthony Quayle and Lynn Redgrave and Gene Wilder.

The stories all cover various sexual quirks, perversions, temptations and discharges:

1. Do Aphrodisiacs Work?
In which a court jester gives a love potion to a Queen but is foiled by her chastity belt. There are references to Shakespeare's Hamlet throughout.
2. What is Sodomy?
In which a doctor falls in love with the partner of an Armenian patient. His sheep.
3. Why Do Some Women Have Trouble Reaching an Orgasm?
About a woman who can only reach orgasm in public. Allen's homage to Italian film-making in general and Casanova 70, Michelangelo Antonioni and Federico Fellini in particular.
4. Are Transvestites Homosexuals?
In which a middle-aged married man experiments with women's clothes.
5. What Are Sex Perverts?
Which features a parody of the game show What's My Line? called What's My Perversion? After the panel fail to guess that the contestant's perversion is "Likes to expose himself on a subway", a second segment of the show is presented, in which a rabbi gets to act out his bondage and humiliation fantasy.
6. Are the Findings of Doctors and Clinics Who Do Sexual Research and Experiments Accurate?
In which a researcher and journalist visit a sexual scientist. After they see a series of bizarre sexual experiments underway at the lab and realize the scientist is insane. The segment culminates with a scene in which the countryside is terrorized by a giant runaway breast created by the researcher.
7. What Happens During Ejaculation?
Which is set in a man's brain (and other parts of the body)m a la the beano's numbskulls, as he gets involved in a sexual clinch. We see the NASA-like control center in the man's brain (headed by Tony Randall and Burt Reynolds) and see the soldier-like sperm as they are dispatched paratrooper-style into the great unknown.

This film was very successful at the time but I think it is the weakest of his 1970s output. It's not just that so many of the jokes are from a seventies time-capsual of outdated sexual preconceptions, but some of the stories peeter out a little.

But it's still a gag-fest and all of Allen's characters are perfectly played. The best story? Well the Gene Wilder sheep-love tale one is played so straight its hard to tell if you want to laugh or cry. However, the inner workings of mans body during courtship, seduction and intercourse, steals it. Especially when the black sperm turns up!

Allen the Jester seduces the queen.....

14 Dec 2009

Play It Again Sam

After Bananas Woody Allen's next comedy classic was Play It Again Sam which he wrote but did not direct. This was his first film with Diane Keaton who would go on to co-star in six other Allen movies.

While the the physical and verbal gags still come pretty fast in Play It Again Sam I think its main difference is that the relationship between Allen and his love interest (Keaton in this instance) was more central to the plot rather than a series of sketches that dominated Allen's earlier output.

Allen plays another neurotic loser whose wife has left him and broken his fragile spirit in the process. Allen's best friends, Keaton and the brilliant Tony Roberts, try to help him out his lonely depression by getting him back into world of dating. Cue lots of clowning around on dates and lashings of self-depreciating humour from Allen while he also invokes the spirit of Humphrey Bogart to help him 'be a man.'

Slowly Allen and Keaton's characters fall for one another and the plot thickens....

Again I really enjoy this film whenever I see it. His self-diagnosis of having 'homosexual panic' is brilliant as well as his futile attempts to sweep an array of women of their feet.

I've included the trailer below and a scene from one of his dates when poor Allen gets all confused about what she wants. A very 1970s scene and not really a scene that would make it intact nowadays but I thnk Allen's face during the girls monologue his hysterical.

13 Dec 2009


Woody Allen's third full feature as a director was Bananas. Very much in same mould as Take The Money And Run its one liners and visual gags come at you like a tornado.

Bananas tells the story of Fielding Mellish, a loser working as a product tester who is searching for his calling and some lady action. Desparate to impress a sexy young political activist Mellish heads to Central America to dip his toe into the country's revolutionary turmoil. Eventually he ends up in the leadership of the guerilla forces and becomes President following their successful insurrection.

No worries, this is more Groucho Marx than Karl Marx, as the politics are ridiculous and its all about Woody Allen trying to use his situation to win back the girl. Its funnier than Take The Money And Run with a successful joke ratio of about 88%. Highlights are Mellish helping his parents with some surgery, an uncredited Slyvester Stallone beating up Mellish on the subway and the final court room scene where Woody Allen represents and questions himself. Personally I love the sketch where Allen is asked to secure food supplies for the rebels and ends up in ordering sandwiches in a local deli.

At 85 mins its a lean, mean comedy machine.

This scene is from the beginning of the film and his Allen's loser character trying to buy porno mags in a busy magazine store.

11 Dec 2009

Take The Money And Run

Was chatting to Shatbass and Jaconelli in the workplace the other day and was really sad to hear that Shatbass had not seen any of Woody Allen's early output. So sad and a yes I am patronising.

But I thought it would be nice to have a Woody Allen theme for the next few posts and cover his output up to Manhattan.

Take The Money And Run was Allen's directorial debut and is a fabulously fake documentary about a notorious criminal who is totally hapless and destined for failure. The film is a blueprint for his 70s output with its extremely heavy doses of one liners, slapstick and sight gags. In this they come at a 100 mph and while not all them hit the mark its extremely close to Allen's stand up routines.

Highlights include Allen's character playing in a marching band armed with a cello and chair, his courtship of his wife and prison exploits. Below is the trailer.

Youtube had a small selection of clips but this is one of the ones I was hoping for. An example of Allen's twisted humour as Virgil desparately tries to rob a bank but none of the tellers can decide what his note says.

8 Dec 2009

Miss Dolly & The Silver Lion

Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers that is. Was flicking in a digital style thru my country christmas orientated tunes and was reminded that this track was meant to close my comp last year. I even went to the trouble of fading it at the end and cutting about a minute of children singing "I believe in Santa Claus" along with with Dolly and Kenny. But like I said before I just do not think its either alternative, ironic or bare-able enough to use.

So like a piece of peeling skin I other it as a cut price pressie this Xmas period.

dolly parton & kenny rogers - I Believe in Santa Claus (edit)

6 Dec 2009

Help The Hag This Christmas

Jeezo and I thought I was a little grumpy this time of year. Thanks Merle for making me feel like Timmy Mallet compared to youself.

Merle Haggard - If We Make It Through December

5 Dec 2009

Who Is That Ugly Old Woman Shrieking?

Oh, its Rod fookin Stewart. I hate Rod fookin Stewart.

Its not just that he looked like an old woman when he was 21 and its not that he looks like an old croan today. Its that...plus the fact he is a cockney git who pretends to more Scottish that horizontal sleet, plus every west of scotland family seems obsessed with his old woman arse shaking...plus my upstairs neighbour is watching his pishy ITV special and playing it full volume.

I am currently sitting on the sofa listening to my xmas mix to chill out, watching a muted Enemy At The Gates and occasionally shouting "Rod Stewart Sucks!!!" at the top of my voice.

I think I need to get some Squarepusher out.

Country Christmas

I would like to thank y'all for the positive feedback for the 2009 Xmas mix. There has been a couple of "best yet" reviews as well as few "Bob Dylan!!!" comments.

Well I thought that for the rest of December I would put up a few tracks which would not normally reach the annual comp. These will probably be country christmas tracks cause although I know I could get away with one or maybe two of them, they can be to much of an acquired sound and one whose novelty quickly wears off.

I have started with a beautifully sung track from Gram Parsons collaborator, Emmy Lou Harris. If the Cohen brothers made an xmas version of Oh Brother Where Art Thou this would be the title track.

Emmylou Harris - Christmas Time's a-Coming