Sunday, March 23, 2014

Never Take Candy From a Stranger and These are the Damned.

OHohoh! Two more flicks from British studio Hammer Film Productions. Both movies came on one DVD. The first: Never Take Candy From a Stranger (British title: Never Take Sweets From a Stranger). Very well done! The acting is spot on. Unbelievably suspenseful. The trailer is quite clever too.

Interesting handling of subject matter ahead of its time. The Canadian court room scenes are so intense. 

This movie comes right out swinging. Nothing could be better than. The Carter family move to a new town to accept Mr. Carter's new position of school principal. The good times come to a screeching halt when Jean and her friend Lucille visit Mr. Olderberry Sr for "free" candy.  What seems like a slam dunk case against a pedophile, ends up with practically the entire town shunning the Carter family; the writing is on the wall - Drop the case. 

Even though Jean's parents are behind her on the case, the drop all charges. They don't really have a choice. As predicted by Mr. Olderberry Jr., the prosecuting attorney chews Jean up and spits her out. Jean's parents feel it is just too much for her and pull the plug. 

The entire town turns a blind eye and blames the girls, meanwhile Mr. Carter resigns and the family plans to move. But wait….there's more…

Don't let the movie post fool you; this film is a must see! Talk about an art house poster child! It's sci-fi lite, it's surreal, it's teen rebellion, it's a government conspiracy and it all comes together is a desperate escape attempt. Oh, and it has about the coolest opening theme song ever.

Hands down, this is one of my fav images from the movie. The ever dashing Oliver Reed stars as Teddy Boy King who uses his lovely sister Joan to lure tourist to back alley ways to be mugged. 

This film is loaded with fantastic camera work. Very interesting camera angles employed though out. 

To be quite honest, I'd rather watch a black and white film than today's digital gagas. Ugh. When I watch a film in a theater proper it just looks, well, too proper. Black and white seems to caress shadows and texture making them both seem slightly other worldly. 

There's no happy ending here. Again, I love a film that doesn't wrap everyone in a nice happy bow. 

A Clockwork Orange came 10 years or so years later, but there is clear influence from this film. King and his Teddy Boy cronies are a precursor to Alex and his Droogs. Both groups wear hats, King/Alex walk around with a cane/umbrella, and they aren't a nice lot. In both films there's a sculptress whose work is trashed. 

American Beauty

Based on conversations at work, I added American Beauty to my NetFlix DVD queue. I'd watched it when it came out in theaters back in the day. I loved the darkness about it but I wanted to see what my thoughts would be today. I remember reading a small paragraph announcing a new HBO show Six Feet Under which it first came out. I was intrigued by the description, but when I saw Alan Ball's name attached, it was a done deal.

I got tired of the use of red roses and I'm guessing that is part of the point. Something that's so beautiful can be ugly when it's over done or just too beautiful. Maybe that's part of the message; finding beauty where it's not obvious is much more real and lasting.

There has been a lot written about this movie. I find that fascinating when a film lives on while being dissected by the masses who are so clever at such things. Here's a link to a blog posting that focuses on the theory that in reality there wasn't just a lot of red, but there was a lot of red, white, and blue throughout the movie.

There are some opinions I don't agree with. I don't agree that Carolyn was materialistic. Wanting to live in a nice neighborhood, have lovely furniture, and wanting to succeed are not necessarily bad traits to have. Lester was just way too self-centered. I think Buddy broke off the affair because he was embarrassed that the cuckhold hubby was working at a burger joint. "If I work out, a sixteen year old girl will want me." Uh…..yeah…

I have to admit, though, if I'd met someone like Ricky when I was Jane's age, I would have just flipped!   He was mysterious, artistic, and he didn't worship someone Angela. HHm….that's another point I've just realized: things that seem beautiful maybe aren't so much in another light.

I've worked places where there was some hot chick (listen to me bashing beauty - seriously I would like to be beautiful for just 1 week and try it out) who  guys would just go ape over. They usually had the personalities of plastic bags (well, not really, I'm just having a mean streak today). I remember one chick who had really long straight blonde hair the guys were gaga over. There was a married guy in another department who made no bones about how hot he thought she was. One day, someone let out loudest scream that everyone in the tiny building heard. It turns out the guy who was flipping over her got brave and decided to touch her hair. Turns out she had a thing about having her hair touched. Somebody got in trouble.

I worked with another guy who talked about how he met his hot wife at a dirt bike race and got her to leave with him. We all told him to bring her in, we'll be the judge of how hot she is. Dennis was a nice enough guy, but he was no GQ model. His wife was a knock out! She was easily a foot taller than him. Her legs were longer than I am tall. She had what I would describe as mermaid hair.  After she left I had to tell him how frackin' smokin' she was. I will never forgot that he turned to me and said, "Two words; high maintenance."

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Love Hurts, Actually / The Monkey Poet

I caught a performance of Matt Panesh, aka Monkey Poet's Love Hurts, Actually @ Indy Fringe last night! Matt is one ball of absolute creative energy. If you get a chance see this guy - GO!  Matt does a sort of shrink to the tiniest bits then blow up large version of the movie "Love Actually". His Alan Rickman is just sublime. He finishes up his performance with his own stand up poetry show. Clever lad, that.

The evening performance opened up with two local slam poetesses - Januarie York and Gabrielle Patterson. The ladies rock it. I had seen Gabrielle perform before and was just blown away. I'd always wanted to see Januarie; now I know why.

This is not your mother's moon in june kind of poetry. This stuff is raw, emotional, and in your face.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


I watched Alibi last night via a library DVD. I just love this stuff! Chick Williams gets out of the big house, hooks up with a dame, and hooks up with a gang. Joan's (the dame) father (a copper) tries to frame Chick for a recent fur heist/murder. Her father has help from a fellow copper who had/has a soft spot for Joan.

The speakeasy scenes had art deco a-go-go walls and doors. The speakeasy dancers and singers are a hoot! There is one number where the girls all have a hand mirror.

The under cover cop had a death scene that went on so long I thought it was going to be finished on an additional DVD. 

I highly recommend watching these classic films; they stand the test of time and you can clearly see that practically every film noir to follow has a bit of DNA in it from these predecessors. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

True Romance

I saw this movie when I it came out in 1993 and loved it. Quentin Tarantino script directed by Tony Scott. True Romance stars just about everybody - Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Brad Pitt, Gary Oldman, Christopher Walken, Val Kilmer, Dennis Hopper, Chris Penn, Samuel L Jackson, James Gandolfini. I love the premise; A novice (4th date in 3 days) call girl is hired by a comic books store worker's boss to give him a good time on this birthday. They hook at a Sonny Chiba film fest and things are not quite the same after that. 

Very eclectic characters and great acting, but something just doesn't quite click this time around. I really didn't like the movie as much I thought I did at one point. Maybe it's seeing so many films directed by Tarantino and realizing Tony Scott just does not quite hit the mark. It almost seems to be made by a Tarantino wanna be. Tony Scott has directed some amazing films; he gets close here, but manages to miss the mark. 

Clifford Worley, played by Hopper, was a weak character up to the point where he stands up to Coccotti. Maybe that's how were supposed to see him; he seems completely worthless, but will not snitch on Clarence. Some other characters just didn't seem to quite it the mark; close but no cigar. No, I am not a movie director. I think that maybe I've been ruined by watching so many Tarantino movies that I expect his directorial handling of his scripts.