Category Archives: Watchings

Stuff I am or have recently been watching

BritBox, ‘Shallow Grave’ and not drinking gin

Watching Shallow Grave, because finally BritBox has augmented its previously meagre movie offering with some, I don’t know, actual films you might want to watch, instead of a miscellany of minor Carry Ons and half a dozen Ealings and Archers and Hitches.

It’s thanks to a lash-up to the Film4 brand, so we gets some decent fare – more from the 90s Scottish dream team of Boyle-Hodge-Mcdonald with Trainspotting; none-more-4 pictures like Bhaji On The Beach, Bent and Sister My Sister; crime classics like Mona Lisa, Sexy Beast and The Long Good Friday; and noirish dramas like Croupier, Hidden City and Paper Mask.

Could still do with a more comprehensive catalogue – particularly of stuff which otherwise wouldn’t get an airing (yer The Kitchen Toto, Drowning By Numbers, Young Soul Rebels, 1871, Eat The Rich, Angel, Giro City), but a good start nonetheless.

Anyway, Shallow Grave: I can still remember watching it for the first time, mainly for the fact that I missed everything up to the final ten minutes or so.

I’d met up with a bunch of oppos in a pub back in the homelands, for the first time since our post-school diaspora. A fine time was had, except for the discovery of my kryptonite – quinine.

Turns out G&T is definitely not my drink of choice. The proof of this was Pollocksed all over the pub’s toilets, and then after chucking out time all over the exterior of a friend’s car. He had offered to drive us to the new kip of one of our number up in Sunny Hackney (in short order a decision he would come to regret), hence my queasy head bouncing into and out of vomity unconsciousness for all thirty miles of its sojourn , periodically purging out the window.

Can’t say I remember much about that journey, except being very confused at one point to wake up alone in the front passenger seat in an empty Jeep at an East London Maccy D Drive-Thru.

Anyway, got to matey-boy’s digs, met his flatmates, ‘Have you seen Shallow Grave? It’s great,’ says he, sliding a VHS into the video and pressing Play, and promptly I fall asleep on the floor to the opening bars of the Leftfield score, waking only right at the end ready for the reprise to kick in. But it was enough to catch the final reel fight, Sabatier-in-the-shoulder, that foley and all, and the twist, and I was hooked. So we watched it all over again. A decent flick, and shows how Boyle stretched himself from competent episodic TV drama director to an exciting, filmic helmsman.

As an aside, I do like how we the audience are manipulated to identify with the wrong person at every step. When David asks “Is that going to be deep enough?” we’re invited to roll our eyes at his pessimism, especially when Alex casually shuts him down with “Don’t worry about it!” But THE CLUE IS IN THE NAME!

Anyone who stands still is a well-disciplined actor: Kubrick, Colceri and Ermey

The story of how R Lee Ermey commando raided his way from film set military advisor to snaring the pivotal onscreen role of drill instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket is a hoary old anecdote.

In pre-production Kubrick needed to audition a whole cadre of young actors as newly-conscripted marines entering Parris Island and being faced with the implications of military life for the first time. Knowing that Kubrick, who was in the habit of not being present for such run-throughs but instead preferred to have them videotaped for his later inspection, Ermey figured out that someone would be needed to deliver the feed lines from the drill instructor to each one of the actors. He further realised that this was his chance to show Kubrick (who had earlier turned down his request to audition for the part of the drill instructor) what he himself could do with the part – in effect hijacking thirty audition tapes, ostensibly of other people, but in which he was the biggest, brashest, most electric element. It was a power play that worked, particularly as a prompter rather a player he was unrestrained by Kubrick’s unwavering demand for actor’s to stick to the dialogue as written, and could instead fall back on his lived experience as a Viet Nam-era DI to machine-gun the shell-shocked Hollywood young bucks with soul-crushing putdowns and the foulest of insults.

It was a power play that worked. The director was amused by Ermey’s sneakiness, and impressed by his embodiment of the character. So Kubrick, that master micro-manager of movies, hired him to be his Hartman – and sacked the actor whom he had hired for the part years previously, despite having had him rehearsing for twelve hours a day, six days a week for eight months on his own, apart from the rest of the cast.

This video is the story of the hoary old anecdote, told not from the perspective of cheeky old Ermey, but from that of the man whose part he snatched: Tim Colceri. An interesting watch.

Essay on cinematic portrayal of NYPD and LAPD cops as ‘monsters’

Now this is quite interesting: ‘The Big City Rogue Cop as Monster: Images of NYPD and LAPD’ – a chapter from a book called Monsters In And Among Us : Toward A Gothic Criminology edited by Caroline Joan Picart and Cecil Greek (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2007).

I’ve not read the rest of it, so I haven’t really a scoobie where they’re going with the whole ‘Gothic Criminology’ thing, but I do like me a bit of sleazy big city American cop drama, so I gave this chapter a go.

Author Cecil Greek refines his focus onto a bunch of Sidney Lumet films for the Big Apple end of things – Serpico, Prince Of The City, Q&A and Night Falls On Manhattan – whilst the City of Angels is represented by Extreme Justice, Dark Blue, Training Day and TV show The Shield.

The gist is, movies show cops in big, bad cities doing some seriously dark shit in the shadows – how much of it really reflects real life? (Spoiler: Knapp, Serpico, Durk and Leuci pretty much covered the historical NYPD stuff, whilst there have been no shortage of similar investigations and exposés of LAPD excesses.)

Oh, and Greek is big on the ‘golem’ thing:

…In the original tales the Golem is created from clay by a rabbi familiar with Jewish mysticism, and brought to life to save members of the ghetto community from anti-Semitic attacks…The Golem is an obedient protector at first, but later becomes ungovernable when asked to carry out more self-aggrandizing activities by the populace. Ultimately, the Golem must be returned to clay as he has no ability to discern which commands he should follow and can harm those he was created to protect. His attempts to participate in the adult world of humans – the Golem seeks to have a bar mitzvah and to marry-are treated as inconceivable as he lacks a soul.

The Golem in fact begins to awaken to his subordinate position and starts to desire very human things. He demands food, drink and sex and when he doesn’t get them, goes on a rampage, taking what he desires. In the process the Golem destroys property and takes innocent lives. He appears to lack the higher level human understanding that such actions have consequences and assumes he has immunity from reprisals.

By no means the deepest analysis (and that’s being generous), and the pool of films looked at does seem curiously limited (for example, no The French Connection or Cop Land or Bad Lieutenant or Fort Apache, The Bronx or 16 Blocks for NYC, no Colors or Rampart or LA Confidential or The New Centurions or End Of Watch or Internal Affairs or Street Kings for LA), but certainly very readable.

A few irritating gripes persist, though: Peter Maas’ book about Frank Serpico came out in 1973 not 1997; Training Day is not about undercover but plainclothes officers; etc.


‘Incident At Oglala’ – documentary about the shoot-out between the FBI and the American Indian Movement at Pine Ridge

Incident At Oglala DVD cover

Still folder digging, and came across a stash of stuff I did when I tarted up an avi of Michael Apted’s excellent documentary about the Pine Ridge shoot-out, Incident At Oglala, into a proper DVD with chapters, music, on-screen menus and a cover. I’m still moderately happy with the cover.

It is a well-crafted documentary, and gives a good overview of the context, events and aftermath of the Pine Ridge shootout, from a director who also approached the same material from a different perspective with the fictionalised version Thunderheart.

If you are not familiar with AIM, its struggle against the europeanised colonial state – and  in turn the FBI’s campaign against it, twentieth century indigenous resistance, the shootout, and prominent figures involved such as Leonard Peltier (still in prison), then this is an accessible place to start.

On Australian crime drama – from ‘Scales Of Justice’ to ‘Bikie Wars’

Been watching a few rather decent Australian crime dramas lately…

Firstly there’s Bikie Wars: Brothers In Arms, a recent based-on-true-events series revolving around the Comanchero-Bandido split that culminated in the 1984 Milperra Massacre (that’s not a spoiler, it’s presaged in an on-title screen before each episode).

Reviews I saw moaned about it being slow going, with lots of unanswered questions hanging in the air (like why did Jock Ross want to ‘expand’), but I’ve found it pretty decent viewing three episodes in. Plenty of familiar faces: Callan Mulvey (Drazic from Heartbreak High and Mark Moran in Underbelly series one), Damian Walshe-Howling (Benji Veniaman in Underbelly series one), Jeremy Lindsay Taylor (Norman Bruhn in Underbelly season four, Razors), Lauren Clair (Tracey in Underbelly series one), Richard Cawthorne, Anthony Hayes, Luke Hemsworth, Fletcher Humphrys etc. One bum note, though – what’s with ex-Australian rugby league player Matthew Nable (Gary Jubelin in Underbelly season five, Badness) and that terrible Scots accent?

Also based on real events is 2011’s Killing Time, which focuses on the events leading up to the imprisonment of Andrew Fraser, brief-of-choice for a bunch of Melbourne crims that includes the Pettingill family (subject of the film Animal Kingdom and the thinly-veiled earlier TV series Phoenix). With the notorious Walsh Street killings as its fulcrum, infamous real life grotesques such as Kath Pettingill, Dennis Allen and Victor Peirce all involved, and police incompetence/corruption endemic, it’s pretty dark stuff – and far less stylised than anything in the Underbelly franchise.

David Wenham is very strong in the lead role, and there’s beefy backup from the likes of Colin Friels as Lewis Moran (cf Underbelly series one, where he was played by Kevin Harrington), Richard Cawthorne and Fletcher Humphrys from Bikie Wars, Kris McQuade (Jacs Holt in the Prisoner reboot Wentworth), and Ian Bliss (science teacher Mr Bell in Heartbreak High, and Thomas Hentschel – originally anonymised as ‘Mr L’ – in Underbelly series one). All round, Killing Time is very strong.

Also recently I saw for the first time Joh’s Jury, a telemovie about the perjury trial of former Queensland Premier Johannes Bjelke-Petersen in the wake of an inquiry into corruption…

Good to see some familiar, solid faces in the cast: Norman Yemm (The Sullivans), an early appearance for Noah Taylor as a tetchy young juror, plus a strong performance from Malcolm Kennard (who appears a few years later in both Bikie Wars and Killing Time). In terms of staging, nothing outstanding, but a nice little mood piece that helps provide a bit of context for us non-antipodeans wading through period crime drama.

On the writing side, though, it packs a punch, thanks to the pen of Ian David (who would later be responsible for Killing Time). Previously he had written two other similar docu-drama style TV films about bent cops: Police Crop, about an investigation into corruption in New South Wales, and Police State – which covered the Fitzgerald Inquiry that forms the backdrop to Joh’s Jury.

Immediately after Joh’s Jury, David scripted the peerless mini-series Blue Murder, which looked at the symbiotic relationship between crooked detective Roger Rogerson, and career standover man Neddy Smith. That one covered a whole slew of grim true crimes, like the murder of Sallie-Anne Huckstepp, and includes real-life wackoes like Chris Flannery (as featured in series two of Underbelly as well as The Great Bookie Robbery and feature film Everynight … Everynight). Matching the bite of the story toothmark by toothmark, Blue Murder is directed in a gritty, almost documentary style by Michael Jenkins, who also handled Scales Of Justice in much the same way.

Meanwhile, handling direction for Joh’s Jury – as he did for Police Crop – is Ken Cameron. It’s unflashy (well, how flashy can a film largely set in a jury deliberation room be?), but gets the job done. Cameron also helmed a few other works of note, including internationally successful mini-series such as Brides Of Christ and Bangkok Hilton. Then there was The Clean Machine, a semi-fictionalised movie about a team of police ‘untouchables’ set up to get rid of corrupt cops in New South Wales, which he co-wrote alongside Terry Hayes. Hayes, who earlier had scripted also worked on Bangkok Hilton, later penned breakout Oz psychological horror film Dead Calm and then a clutch of Hollywood pictures (Payback, From Hell)…

The so far unmentioned element linking many of these dramas is the production environment. Many of them came out of Kennedy Miller Productions, the ambitious Australian company set up by George Miller and Byron Kennedy to manage the birth of Mad Max. Kennedy Miller then gave us lightning in the same place a second time with Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, which announced the arrival of professional, popular Australian film making, particularly in America.

Whilst Byron Kennedy died in 1983, the company went on to produce an impeccable run of theatrical features, TV movies and mini-series, including Dismissal, about the constitutional shenanigans that led to PM Gough Whitlam being booted out, The Cowra Breakout (about a little-known mass escape of Japanese PoWs from an Australian camp), Bodyline – about the notorious 1932/3 Ashes tour – and, of course, the third installment of their post-apocalypse franchise, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985.

The magic did not stop there – next came historical mystery The Riddle Of The Stinson, then Vietnam, about the Aussie involvement in southeast Asia, Hollywood star-packed hit The Witches Of Eastwick, the more parochial The Year My Voice Broke, domestic epic The Dirtwater Dynasty and then the aforementioned The Clean Machine.

Rounding out the 1980s were Dead Calm, which gifted the world Sam Neill, Nicole Kidman and Billy Zane (well, I take it we’re not calling Omen 3, BMX Bandits or a telemovie about the Hillside Stranglers year zero for these three actors), followed by Bangkok Hilton (another strong performance from Kidman), and then from writer-director John Duigan 1991’s Flirting, a continuation of his earlier The Year My Voice Broke. In both Duigan films young Noah Taylor was afforded the opportunity to shine – much as he would again in Joh’s Jury. John Duigan had previously notched up story credits on Vietnam, which he co-directed along with Chris Noonan, who also helmed The Cowra Breakout and The Riddle Of The Stinson for Kennedy Miller, before taking on Police State for ABC in 1989. It was back to Kennedy Miller that Noonan returned in 1995 for his biggest hit: Babe, the talking pig kids’ flick. And there we leave KMP, as we’re straying far from the crime drama path.

But the point is clear: in the 1980s-1990s there was a real concentration of creative talent in Australian television and film, which – particularly when backed by strong production support, whether from an independent like Kennedy Miller, or from a broadcast network like ABC – meant that the local industry was boxing well above its weight.

The ‘Great Communist Bank Robbery’ of 1959, the ‘Ioanid Gang’ and Jewishness in Soviet-era Romania…

Reconstruction of the 1959 'Great Communist Bank Robbery' in Bucharest

I recently caught a documentary film called Marele Jaf Comunist AKA Great Communist Bank Robbery. It was about a 1959 payroll heist in Soviet era Romania.

The gist is, a small group of armed robbers held up a van carrying wages to the Romanian National Bank – an unthinkable crime in a ‘Socialist’ state.

After a major police dragnet which saw scores of suspects arrested, interrogated and in many cases tortured, the cops drew a blank. Then eventually a lead turned them onto what became known as the ‘Ioanid Gang’ (named after two of its members) – five men and a woman. All were Jewish-Romanians, and either state functionaries or officers of the Securitate.

They were made to ‘confess’, and compelled to play themselves in a docu-drama film made to illustrate how they carried out their dastardly crime. This film, Reconstruction, was later shown to high ranking Party officials and trusted journalists. Subsequently all were found guilty at trial (their Party careers conveniently forgotten – now they were simply a ‘corrupt and rotten element’, a ‘swindler’, a ‘fake intellectual’, an ‘adventurer’, a ‘gangster’, and a ‘marginal element’…) and all but one sentenced to death.

A 2001 documentary film, also called Reconstruction (which I haven’t yet managed to watch), later covered the topic. Finally, in 2004 the aforementioned Marele Jaf Comunist was made, looking at the robbery, the police investigation, the making of the original documentary Reconstruction, and efforts by the son of one of the gang members to review the Securitate files.

One strand which could have been covered more in depth was the specific details of the suspects’ prior involvement in the Party and the apparatus of the state, and in particular the wartime resistance activities of some of them. One suggestion made during the film was that the execution of the five condemned men was a ruse so that they could be ‘disappeared’ and used as agents of espionage elsewhere. Again, this was not pursued with any real vigour.

So can anyone point me in the direction of any (English language) books which cover the story in depth? It seems entwined with the issue of Jewish emigration from Romania, anti-semitism, and purges within the Partidul Muncitoresc Român/Partidul Comunist Român as Gheorghiu-Dej steered towards an undestalinised ‘national communism’, so any suggestions on that front would also be welcome, as would pointers to good works on the Securitate.

Many thanks 🙂

A Year In Film: 2012

Well, I have finally totted up the numbers… Over the course of last year I watched a total of 165 films, with 119 virgin viewings, 46 old favourites, and a measly 4 in the picture palace.

That compares with 169 films last year, 102 in 2010, 345 in 2009, 252 in 2008, and a whopping 359 in 2007.

My top 20 recommendations, based on what I watched in 2012, would go like this (in purely alphabetical order):

  • City Of Life And Death AKA 南京! 南京! (2009)
  • Down Terrace (2009)
  • Dreams Of A Life (2011)
  • Drive (2011)
  • Essential Killing (2010)
  • Hanna (2011)
  • Haywire (2012)
  • Két Félidő A Pokolban (1963)
  • Kill List (2011)
  • Margin Call (2011)
  • NOKAS (2010)
  • Texas Killing Fields (2011)
  • The Alcohol Years (2000)
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)
  • The Guard (2011)
  • The Naughty Room (2012)
  • The Raid: Redemption (2012)
  • The Time-Traveler’s Wife (2009)
  • Tony (2009)
  • Wild Bill (2011)

The full list is up on the 2012 Film.Log page.

On The Planet Of The Apes: Searching for the POTA gold

Been working through the box set, so reckon it’s time for a poll…

  • Now, the original Planet Of The Apes is exquisite, but it’s almost too familiar – “Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!” and all that – to retain the full power of one’s first viewing. You can’t fault Franklin J Schaffner’s direction.
  • Beneath The Planet Of The Apes I am particularly fond of. Sure, the Franciscus-for-Heston switcharoo is a bit distracting (though he’s no more wooden than Big Moses himself), and the monkey makeup is a bit ropey in places by comparison, but there’s a lot going for it, especially once we leave Ape City and enter the Forbidden Zone. Ted Post seems a touch hamfisted in comparison to Schaffner.
  • Escape From The Planet Of The Apes was one I was less enamoured by, though it’s pretty tight with the whole reversal scenario, plus we get to meet Dr Hasslein. The echo of its premise could be heard in eighties films like ET and Short Circuit. Ex-actor Don Taylor (the flash flyboy officer from Stalag 17) directs perfunctorily.
  • Then we get onto Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes. This one surprised me when first I saw it, it’s got real power despite the clearly limited budget. It’s a nice near-future set-up for the first and second movies, and links in well with the third. British journeyman director R Lee Thompson (Tiger Bay, Ice Cold In Alex, The Guns Of Navarone, Death Wish 4) does well in the circumstances.
  • Finally (Amongst the originals), there’s Battle For The Planet Of The Apes, again directed by Thompson. Definitely not my favourite, but it adds a little colour to the post-Conquest ape planet.
  • Next up is Tim Burton’s 2001 remake Planet Of The Apes. I’ll have to give it a fair go before I vote, as I only watched a bit of it previously, and my impressions were not overwhelmingly positive.
  • Ditto the 2011 reboot Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, directed by Rupert Wyatt. All I know about it is something about a gorilla and a helicopter. Will investigate further.

I’d better get on and work through the whole lot then…

Oh, some top POTA websites:

Moviedrome revisited

I can’t quite recall why, but the other day someone mentioned something which put me in mind of Moviedrome, the BBC2 banner under which first Alex Cox, and then Mark Cousins, selected and introduced films.

I always preferred Cox’s era (1988-1994) to Cousins’ (1997-2000). For a start it coincided with me being of an age where I was hungry for brain food, and Cox – Elvis sneer, palsied chops, assertive voice and all – was ready to deliver. Cousins, with his nervous, Celtic purr, just seemed too artsy, too formal.

But they both introduced me to some great films. True, some pretty meh ones too, occasionally, but damn, looking down the list compiled by Kurtodrome, an impressive strike rate.

Looking through the list I decided to finally tally up how many movies Moviedrome had actually initiated me into. Of course, the passage of time buggers up one’s memory somewhat, so I can’t always definitively say if I first saw a film on Moviedrome or not; but I have had a crack. List is as follows…

RED = HAVEN’T seen it (on Moviedrome or anywhere else)
PINK = HAVE seen it but NOT on Moviedrome
AMBER = HAVE seen it and FAIRLY CERTAIN saw it on Moviedrome
GREEN = HAVE seen it on Moviedrome

The Wicker Man
Electra Glide in Blue
Big Wednesday
Fat City
The Last Picture Show
The Hired Hand
Johnny Guitar
The Parallax View
The Long Hair Of Death
Invasion Of The Body Snatchers
The Fly
One From The Heart
The Man Who Fell To Earth
The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
One-Eyed Jacks

The Man With The X-Ray Eyes
The Thing From Another World
The Incredible Shrinking Man
California Dolls
THX 1138
Stardust Memories
Night Of The Comet
The Grissom Gang
The Big Carnival
(AKA Ace In The Hole)
Two-Lane Blacktop
The Buddy Holly Story
Five Easy Pieces
Sweet Smell Of Success
Sunset Boulevard

Assault On Precinct 13
Get Carter
Goin’ South
Dead Of Night
The Terminator
The Honeymoon Killers
Ulzana’s Raid
The Loved One
An American Werewolf In London

A Wedding
The Phenix City Story
Walk On The Wild Side
Il Grande Silenzio
Quien Sabe?

The Beguiled
Something Wild
Carnival of Souls
/ The Prowler
At Close Range
The Duellists
/ Cape Fear (duels)
The Music Lovers
Hells Angels on Wheels
/ Rumble Fish (gangs)
Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?

Mad Max II / F for Fake
Dead Ringers / Rabid (Cronenberg)
The Serpent And The Rainbow
Les Diaboliques
La Strategia Del Ragno
Escape From New York
/ Q – The Winged Serpent
Wise Blood
/ The Witchfinder General
Play Misty For Me
The Day Of The Locust
/ The Big Knife (Hollywood satires)

House Of Games
Escape From Alcatraz
/ Un Condamné À Mort S’est Échappé (prison)
The Hill
/ Lenny
Invasion Of The Body Snatchers
(1978) / Romance Of A Horsethief
/ The Navigator
The Terminator
Get Carter
/ Week-end
Rebel Without A Cause
/ 200 Motels
/ Grim Prairie Tales
Run Of The Arrow
/ Verboten! (Fuller)
The Long Riders
The Big Combo
Face To Face
¿Qué He Hecho Yo Para Merecer Esto?

1994 (Alex Cox’s final year)
The Andromeda Strain / Fiend Without A Face
Talk Radio
Carnal Knowledge
Coogan’s Bluff
/ The Narrow Margin
The Harder They Come
The People Under The Stairs
Halloween / The Baby
Girl On A Motorcycle / Psychomania
Race with the Devil
/ Detour (keep death on the road)
/ 84 Charlie Mopic (experimental filming)
To Sleep With Anger
/ Le Mépris
/ Nothing Lasts Forever
Naked Tango
/ Apartment Zero (Buenos Aires)
Major Dundee
/ Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia (Sam Peckinpah)
Kiss Me Deadly

/ Demon Seed (futuristic)
The Fly
/ Society
Blue Collar
/ American Gigolo (Paul Schrader)
Dazed And Confused
/ La Vie Sexuelle Des Belges (growing up)
The Girl Can’t Help It
/ Take Care Of Your Scarf, Tatjana (music)
The Warriors
/ La Haine (gangs)
Spanking The Monkey
Logan’s Run
/ Fahrenheit 451 (future)
The Fog
/ Darkness in Tallinn
/ Ruthless
Vanishing Point
/ The Devil Thumbs A Ride (road movies)
Bad Timing
The Conversation
All That Heaven Allows
/ The Reckless Moment

/ Force Of Evil
Funny Bones
Cat People
The Killers
Caged Heat
Thunderbolt And Lightfoot
/ Le Samourai
El Patrullero

Ed Wood
/ The Body Snatcher (B-film)
/ Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye
Carlito’s Way
The Osterman Weekend
Mommie Dearest
Johnny Guitar

Branded To Kill
The List Of Adrian Messenger
One-Eyed Jacks

Blood And Wine / Plein Soleil (nouvelle vague directors)
Rumble In The Bronx
/ Clubbed To Death (“guilty pleasures”)
The Killers
(1964) / On Dangerous Ground
The Underneath
/ The Hitch-Hiker (film noir)
/ Don’t Look Now (Nicolas Roeg)
White of the Eye
The Last American Hero

Totting up, I make that:

  • A total of 203 different films aired;
  • Of which I have seen 109 films;
  • 99 of those films I am either definite (56) or fairly certain (43) that I caught them on Moviedrome;
  • 10 films shown I missed on Moviedrome but have since caught elsewhere;
  • 94 films broadcast on Moviedrome I have not seen at all…

Hmmm, 94 films – reckon I have a new project for 2012…

So, how many films did Moviedrome introduce you to? Any memories of Moviedrome presentations? Who did you prefer, Cox or Cousins?


On his website Alex Cox supplies PDFs of the two Moviedrome guides, which collect together notes on the films covered in the 1988-1993 series:


After realising some films (Get Carter, One-Eyed Jacks, Johnny Guitar, The Terminator, Carrie) were repeated, I have revised the above numbers to make them more accurate – my bad.

Aww crap

In the spirit of keeping up a head of blogging steam, here’s how my day has panned out.

Childcare – mostly good, with some excellent napping, very good smiles and awesomely damp nappies. We have discovered he likes early 90s college rock/indie type stuff, with a particular fondness for Belly‘s Star and Flood by They Might Be Giants. Less keen on Piece Of Cake (Mudhoney).

Housekeeping – cleared all the crap from LLF’s new desk in front room (I say “all the crap”, I mean “all my crap”); finally threw out loads of threadbare old clothes I’m never going to wear and which I would feel embarrassed about dumping over at Classics; tidied front room; got rid of detritus strewn around bedroom.

Technology – finally figured out how to reset password on the wireless box, meaning I could properly protect the network as well as enable AirTunes.

Work – shilled a little (though I note that my boss at the company I’m an external for has reacted to the impending corporate restructuring by massively revising her LinkedIn profile and soliciting lots of testimonials – possibly not a good sign…); finished off a couple of (non-paying) bits for friends.

Srs – caught some of the Julian Assange/Daniel Ellsberg thing at the Frontline Club, and the tail-end of the Dispatches prog on the Wikileaks #warlogs.

Lol – watched the end of Daylight Robbery, which was better than it could have been but a lot worse than it should have been, and started watching Militia, which is very bad so far.

So that’s been my day. Wanted to finish writing up my thoughts on the ‘What’s The Blogging Story?’ thing from Friday, but didn’t get enough quiet time to sort that out. Tomorrow, maybe.

Lego rave

Only just seen via Facebook. Nice quality mp4 on the Adamish website from whence it originally came.

#BadMovieClub is GO!!! Friday 13th, The Happening…

BadMovieClub on Twitter

Graham hath spake: the BadMovieClub is go, and it shall start with The Happening!

  • The time: 9pm GMT, Friday 13th February
  • The place: Twitternet (use #BadMovieClub to find like-minded souls, or go direct to the source via @Glinner)

The first rule of #badmovieclub is…

Graham Linehan has come up with a wizard wheeze – a cluster of Twitterers all watching the same film at the same time and tweeting about it.

Film and time TBC (Glinner should be announcing his choice in the morning).

Check the hashtag #badmovieclub for more info.

Names That Obey No Gender Conventions #003: Tracey Walter

Tracey Walter

I was watching Something Wild the other day, and was reminded of Tracey Walter, stalwart character actor. Checking through his IMDb entry reminds me of the wide variety of things he’s done: The Two Jakes, Bob the Goon in Batman, Repo Man, Lamar in The Silence Of The Lambs… 151 gigs in 37 years of working, not shabby!

“…Then it would be a clear case of insanity, wouldn’t it?”

Richard Todd in 'Stage Fright'

There’s nothing wrong with my mind…

Richard Todd in 'Stage Fright'

…Nobody can prove that there is, unless…

Richard Todd in 'Stage Fright'

Richard Todd in Hitchcock’s pleasantly unpleasant Stage Fright.