New Releases: 21st April

THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY:

poster-1Romantic adventure comedy-drama extravaganza directed by and starring Ben Stiller. The film is the second adaptation of a short story by the inimitable James Thurber. 1947’s stab starred Danny Kaye as a daydreaming proofreader – “an inconsequential guy from Perth Amboy, New Jersey” – getting lost in pulp mag daydreams. It looks to be an infinitely more charming film than Stiller’s, and it has Boris Karloff in it. That said, this new go seems rather amiable in it’s own way. Stiller plays a negative assets manager at Life magazine, a daydreamer, also kinda inconsequential. The film is about him tracking down a missing negative that’s supposed to provide the cover for the last print issue of Life before it goes online only (and it’ll be interesting to see how it treats that shift). It has Kirsten Wiig and Adam Scott in it – good comic eggs (eggs, happy Easter) – and Stiller is usually more enjoyable when he’s directing himself. Parts of the trailer suggest a bit of heart and maybe something closer to Thurber’s wit, other parts look way sugary and blown out. If those qualities are juggled right, this could be a fun one.

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KILL YOUR DARLINGS:

Kill-Your-Darlings-PosterSometime last year, Rob Munday – Video City’s beloved ex, now in prison – gave Kill Your Darlings what is perhaps the best one line put-down I think I’ve been privy to. It was something like, “it’s not even a film”. Not. Even. A. Film. Amazing. Rob’s sage words in mind, I still really want see this not-film. I love a patchy or failed biopic, usually more so than a successful one. People are patchy, and the world’s a failure after all. Also, I don’t even know if the not-film is a failure (here’s hoping). Anyway, it’s about the early interactions of the Beat generation. Centred on Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), it’s only the second narrative film, as far as I’m aware, to represent his relationship with Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan). That’s one of the more exciting and neglected bits of the Beat story, and if you like this film I really recommend seeking out Gary Walkow’s Beat. Anyway, I think Radcliffe looks cute and convinced, and DeHaan “hot and dangerous”, which coincidentally is also what Entertainment Weekly think. Also, Ben Foster – this guy – is playing William Burroughs. The trailer hints at an entire lack of subtlety compounded by unrelenting over-excitement for the subject matter. But whatever, we’re dealing with youth and heady passion, so that might be cool. In short, feeling good about this non-film.

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THE PATROL:

MV5BMTY2ODQ0Mzc5OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjg2MTg0MTE@._V1_SY317_CR9,0,214,317_Well. Honestly, couldn’t be further from what I want to see. But apparently, supposed to be good. Got “British answer to The Hurt Locker” on poster. Just noticed that Soda, usually a cut above, have put it out. Now reading some decent things online. Now, feel bad for dismissing it. Guessed it was tabloid soldier porn, tarted up with a fat film festival credit. Writer and director said some good: “There was initial resistance when I first showed people the script, no one wanted to touch it. I think the reason for that, apart from being a first time writer, is the lack of contemporary British anti-war films and the touchy and heavily political subject. Some readers just didn’t know how to deal with it. Here’s a film that doesn’t portray us in a brave role, it’s not jingoistic and people were very wary of it. I think the Afghan conflict suffers the same problem in the real world: people don’t know how to deal with it, but we know we’ve got to support our troops. Consequently we think we can’t going around asking questions about what they’re doing there because that’s seen as being unsupportive. I found this a lot while making this film.” Well. I don’t support the troops, but I do feel bad about almost writing this off.

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KISS THE WATER:

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Jerry Seinfeld said that watching Kiss the Water is “like dreaming and eating desert at the same time”.  Sold! Director Eric Steel made The Bridge documentary in 2006 – the guy’s got range. Here’s Mark Kermode’s Observer review, pillaged: “lyrical blend of atmospheric Highland footage and expressionist animation … much more than a documentary about the dying art of hand-fashioned fishing hooks … the life of renowned fly-tier Megan Boyd who wound up providing bespoke flies by royal appointment … reflective interviews that unfurl at an unhurried pace … flies fashioned to attract fisherman rather than their prey … Boyd’s hatred of the fact that her creations were used to “kill fish” … Make sure this strange little film isn’t one you let get away.” Okay, Mark, but Jerry had me at “desert”.

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ALSO OUT THIS WEEK…

NURSE JACKIE SEASON 5:

NURSE JACKIE (Season 5)

Posted by William Goodey

This Week’s New Releases (14th April)

NEBRASKA:

Nebraska-Poster-QuadAlexander Payne (Sideways) directs Bruce Dern (shouldn’t have to tell you, try Psych-Out), Will Forte (a young go-getter from SNL), June Squibb (Hannah’s grandma in the latest season of Girls) and Stacey Keach (Fat City) in a contemporary black and white Midwest road movie. All signs point to Nebraska.

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CELLULOID MAN:

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A wonderful documentary about archivist, scholar – Celluloid Man – P.K. Nair. Read an enticing little piece about the film here.

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FILL THE VOID:

fillthevoidI like that poster. Set amongst the Haredi Jewish community in Tel Aviv, Hadas Yaron stars as a young woman pressured to marry the husband of an older sister who has died in childbirth. Wouldn’t want to hazard too much of a guess at how this one is, how about you take it out and come let me know yeah?

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VIOLET AND DAISY:

violet-and-daisy-posterTime for another instalment in the blog’s occasional ‘7 YouTube comments about…’ series!

7 Youtube comments about Violet & Daisy

the feet fetish is strong in this one

The fact this has a 21% and Man of Steel has a 56% just proves critics are worthless.

Cutest movie i’ve ever watched :D

The two girls with the bluest eyes in Hollywood

Waste of time watching this shit movie

relly cute slim and Fragiles body girls useing guns ….

Weird ass movie. But interesting and touching.
Would recommend.

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G.B.F.:

g-b-f-poster01A teen movie in the great tradition of teen movies that celebrate difference by smashing you in the face with magnificent stereotypes as a way of saying, whatever stereotypes are stupid but cool yet dumb also fun! That’s a compliment. I give it two thumbs up. Occasionally it’s little neutered and/or neutering, but I’ll forgive it that. For the last few weeks I’ve regularly been stood in front of a poster for this film on the DLR platform at Canning Town station. Looking out at Canary Wharf and One Canada Square – and I’m flanked by Caprice, Fawcett, Tanner, ‘Shley (above left to right) – I want to rage out and smash it all down.

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ALSO OUT THIS WEEK…

WALKING WITH DINOSAURS MOVIE:

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HARRY HILL MOVIE:

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MOSHI MONSTERS MOVIE:

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CALIFORNICATION SEASON 6:

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BIG C SEASON 4:

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posted by William Goodey

 

Fire in the heart: Teenage (2013)

teenageposterReviewed by Rob Munday

It feels like the birth of the teenager has been well covered by film and television and yet generally boils down to: “Elvis arrived, shook his hips, and set fire to youngsters hearts minds and groins”. Teenage takes a different, and altogether more interesting, tack. It charts the rise of the teenager over the first half of the 20th century and Presley doesn’t even get a look in.

Teenage combines archive footage and soundbites with modern re-enactments and narration. Based on the book by British author Jon Savage the narration is based on teenage diary entries and concentrates on four emblematic characters: Brenda, a self-destructive Bright Young Thing; Melita, an idealistic Hitler Youth; Tommie, a rebellious German Swing Kid; and Warren, a black Boy Scout. The focus on Britain, Germany and America works well in contrasting the different youth movements while encompassing the central driving forces of war and music.

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The tale starts with the abolition of child labour that gave kids the chance to stay in school and experience adolescence without the burden of work. When the first world war hit these burgeoning teenagers were sent into battle. But with war comes travel and the arrival of US forces in Europe bought a new musical craze: Swing. It’s fascinating to see the development in youth movements from Scouts to the Hitler Youth, flappers to sub-debs, and how they link in with history and politics.

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The re-enactments are well done with suitable grain and scratch but lack the life of the archive material. You can see the idea of adding continuity to the visuals and filling narrative gaps but as the film progresses they feel increasingly redundant. There is also something mannered in the use of established actors reading the narration that grates against the fizz of teenage existence. In contrast to this the archive footage feels fresh and alive. To see old home-movies reminds us that kids were just the same back then: full of energy and swagger, interest and uncertainty, always willing to arse about. This brings immediacy to these old stories with the realisation that the events back then aren’t so far away.

The various elements in this collage of sound and image are pulled together by the ambient music of Bradford Cox that works to heighten the ebb and flow of the narrative. Director Matt Wolf has succeeded in translating this book to screen without it ever feeling weighed down by the scale of the story or the complexity of history. Teenage manages to be an accessible and enlightening picture of a modern phenomenon and an effective comeback to the rock ‘n’ roll clichés.

Get On/Go Out/Get Off/Get Down: Film-related News and Events

BIRDS EYE VIEW FILM FESTIVAL:

LuckyThere’s still time to catch this festival – ending this Sunday – which celebrates and champions the work of female directors from around the world. Ones to watch out for include Night Moves (loving the wonderfully enigmatic trailer), the new feature by Kelly Reichardt, director of the excellent Wendy and Lucy (2008) and Meek’s Cutoff (2010) which is showing on Friday night. Also, there’s a chance to catch a rare screening of Claudia Weill’s  Girlfriends (1978) which is being shown on Sunday. Now considered something of a classic of late 70s independent US cinema, the film was originally championed by Stanley Kubrick but later fell into semi-obscurity. Fortunately, the film has been picked back up by a new generation of film-makers in recent years. Lena Dunham has cited it as an inspiration and its influence on her series Girls is clear; there are also clear parallels with Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig’s Frances Ha (2012), so fans of these should nip down there and guzzle up the good stuff. The documentary, Lucky (pictured above), by former journalist, Laura Checkoway, about a spirited single mother living on the streets of New York also looks like one to catch. The festival screening has sadly passed, but there’s still a chance to catch it at the Lexi Cinema in Kensal Green on Tuesday the 15th April.

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DRUNKEN BUTTERFLIES:

I3PLzYlbAn independent, Newcastle-based production directed by Garry Sykes, centering around a gang of teenaged girls and featuring production design by our very own Tom Moore, is screening as part of the London Independent Film Festival this Sunday – check the LIFF website for details and head down there (TONIGHT WE ARE GOOD WE ARE FINE)! The festival runs from 10th-21st April.

FRINGE! FILM FESTIVAL:

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The queer film and arts festival is back this weekend with its Spring Fling: a collection of screenings, talks and parties dotted around Hackney.

TATE MODERN: MAGICIENS DE LA TERRE: RECONSIDERED:

markerresnaislesstatuesmeurentaussiMarking the 25th anniversary of the controversial exhibition in Paris, Magiciens de la Terre, which exhibited works of over 100 artists, many of whom were described as non-western, Tate Modern has put together a tasty-looking collection of screenings which “offers reflection on the cinematic history and legacy of colonialism, on developments within ethnographic film and on emerging discourses of globalisation. The diverse programme includes works by David Byrne, Maya Deren, Len Lye, Chris Marker, Claes Oldenburg, Alain Resnais, Jean Rouch and Dziga Vertov, together with significant contributions by filmmakers who are less well-known in the UK. The films are contextualised through discussion with original contributors to Magiciens and contemporary respondents.” – Tate Modern website

CHRIS MARKER RETROSPECTIVE AT THE WHITECHAPEL GALLERY:

la-jetee-orlyA fine chance to get a comprehensive look at one of the 20th Century’s great filmmaker-photographer-writer-artists. Come in and grab Sans Soleil/La Jetee in preparation for the exhibition which runs from 16th April-22nd June.

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MICKEY ROONEY (1920-2014)

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posted by Dixie Turner

 

New Releases: 7th April

HOBBIT 2 – DESOLATION OF SMAUG:

MV5BMzU0NDY0NDEzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTIxNDU1MDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_It’s The Hobbit. Part two, of three. Peter Jackson made it. Apparently a better film, and an altogether more genial affair, than it’s predecessor An Unexpected Journey. You know whether or not you want to see this.

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SVENGALI:

svengali-posterThis is Jonathan Romney’s Observer review: “In this lo-fi music-biz comedy, which began life as an online series, scriptwriter Jonny Owen plays a naive music fan who dreams of being a rock manager. With sparky prestige support (Martin Freeman, Maxine Peake, Matt Berry) and cameos from Alan McGee and Carl Barât, Svengali ought to be sharper, but this good-natured, clunky labour of love feels about as fresh as a 2002 copy of the NME. It’s curiously timeless, though, and with its Soho locations, could almost have been made in the British pop boom of the late 50s – like Expresso Bongo for Libertines nostalgists.” For an ostensibly bad write-up – it gets one out of five stars – it kind of makes me want to see the film. ‘Good-natured’ and ‘clunky’ are the kind of descriptors that befit what’s an essentially good-natured and clunky thing: modish indie Brit-rock/rot. A kind of music that shouldn’t be taken seriously, unless you’re in Camden (where all trends go to die), but really really is by the likes of Svengali‘s protagonist. And that’s fine, and good, because sincerity, much like good-naturedness and clunkiness, is sorely undervalued in contemporary cinema/the world. I mean it might genuinely be one star awful, but there’s some funny bits in the trailer, kicks to be had in seeing how London’s used, and how many new releases get compared to the fabulous Expresso Bongo?

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THE SUMMIT:

summit_xlgYet another documentary about Mountain(eering). Won something at Sundance. At the risk of repeating myself, you know whether or not you want to see this.

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BORDERLANDS:

Borderlands_Poster_LR-700x1033This is the kind of useless poster that would stop me from even considering watching what actually seems like a decent little film. Found-footage horror meets Peep Show say the papers. A dour Vatican investigator (Gordon Kennedy) and his hired tech assistant (Robin Bean, star of Down Terrace and frequent Ben Wheatley collaborator) probe into alleged supernatural events at a reconsecrated medieval Catholic church in the West Country. Scary, comic and smart, say the papers.

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OLDBOY:

oldboy_ver2_xlgSpike Lee says and does stupid stuff. Back in the day he occasionally made complex, angry and stylish films which belied the rubbish he’d say about them (Do the Right ThingBamboozled, etc.)  None of the above and devoid of even the attendant rubbish, this is a seemingly humourless and by all accounts ineffectual remake of Park Chan-Wook’s Old Boy. Why bother? Chin up though because the next Spike Lee joint is called Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, and that’s a title. There may still be hope for Spike Lee.

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Posted by William Goodey.

BATTLESHIPS AND FIREWORKS

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Stills from Battleship Potempkin (1925, Sergei Eisenstein) and Fireworks (1947, Kenneth Anger)

posted by Tom Moore

New Releases: 31st March

TEENAGE:

Teenage_PosterThe best film out this week and  one of the best films I saw last year, Teenage is an adaptation of Jon Savage’s book Teenage: The Creation of Youth 1875-1945. Director Matt Wolf made the exceptional Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell and I Remember: A Film About Joe Brainard.

“Teenagers didn’t always exist. They had to be invented. As the cultural landscape around the world was thrown into turmoil during the industrial revolution, and with a chasm erupting between adults and youth, the concept of a new generation took shape. Whether in America, England, or Germany, whether party-crazed Flappers or hip Swing Kids, zealous Nazi Youth or frenzied Sub-Debs, it didn’t matter – this was a new idea of how people come of age. They were all “Teenagers.”

A hypnotic rumination on the genesis of youth culture from the end of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th, TEENAGE is a living collage of rare archival material, filmed portraits, and diary entries read by Jena Malone, Ben Whishaw, and others. Set to a a shimmering contemporary score by Bradford Cox (Deerhunter / Atlas Sound), TEENAGE is a mesmerizing trip into the past and a riveting look at the very idea of “coming-of-age.””

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CARRIE (2013):

carrie-2013-posterHer name is Carrie, if you didn’t know. Judging by the trailer, this looks to be a cut above similar (and usually awful) contemporary horror remake/horse-flogging exercises. Director Kimberley Pierce also made Boys Don’t Cry, so one might hope that the film has an interesting bit of weight, right? Julianne Moore should be something of a match for Piper Laurie’s terrifying turn as Carrie’s mother in the De Palma original, but will it do anything or even capture something of that film’s intensity and panache? Worth a watch to see hey? Oh and this is what Lally has to say about the original.

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BEAUTIFUL DARLING:

beautiful-darling-posterI’m really glad this film has gotten a DVD release and that we’ve gotten it in. In lieu of my own thoughts – the post is late this week, I apologise – here’s a great review by Amy Taubin at Artforum. I love Candy Darling and it’s important that films like this get made.

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THE FAMILY:

familyA more enthusiastic review than I’m capable of can be found here. Needless to say, I will probably watch this because it’s Robert De Niro in Normandy.

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DOM HEMINGWAY:

DomHemingwayPosterI don’t get it.

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HOMEFRONT:

Homefront_PosterStatham plays a DEA agent whose quiet family life is rocked by yucky James Franco (meth kingpin) and his merry band of drug traffickers. The backwater vigilante film vibe – if obviously compromised by Stathan’s gov’t job – is kind of attractive, as is the sight of him stabbing someone with a gas pump. Winona Ryder is never ever a bad thing and Franco looks more than plausible, a rarity for that polymath of pose. Most importantly though, STALLONE adapted the screenplay oh yes!

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ALSO OUT THIS WEEK:

FROZEN:

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PARKLAND:

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KLOWN:

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LONG WAY FROM HOME:

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MOONE BOY SEASON 2:

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posted by William Goodey

Staff A-Z of Films… F is F-f-for (Pt. 3):

LALLY SAYS:

freaks-posterF for Freaks (1932)

Based on the short story ‘Spurs’ by Clarence Aaron “Tod” Robbins, Browning’s ‘Freaks’ is set at a sideshow and is a story of unrequited love, honour, discrimination, and revenge. Hans (Harry Earles – The Wizard of Oz), a midget, recently rich through inheritance, is seduced by the Circus’ gold-digging trapeze artist, Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova – The Man Who Laughs). With the help of the show’s strong man, Hercules (Henry victor), Cleopatra plots to marry and kill Hans for his fortune, underestimating the strength of the ‘code of the freaks’ and their familial bond.

“We accept you, one of us! Gooble Gobble!”

The plot may sound quite familiar, it is an age-old, love-triangle tale. However, it is the setting and supporting cast that makes “Freaks” so distinguished. Unlike many of today’s films in which we have 5-6 foot tall actors portraying 3-4 foot tall characters, ‘Freaks’ the pre-CGI horror film had its titular heroes played by bona fide stars of the American sideshow and circus industries.

tumblr_l7vzslZ4Pq1qbbjxvo1_500In 1896 a 16-year-old Tod Browning ran away from his well off family in Kentucky, to pursue one of his life long fascinations, the circus. He travelled for many years with various sideshows and carnivals featuring as a Talker for ‘The Wild Man of Borneo’, as a clown for the Ringling Brothers Circus and performed as ‘The Living Corpse’ in a live burial act. In Vaudeville theatre he worked as clown, actor, dancer and magician, and in New York City he was the director of a variety theatre where he met fellow Louisvillian W. D. Griffith. Browning’s directorial carrier evolved into silent cinema throughout which he worked frequently with horror legend, Lon Chaney. In 1929 he directed his first talkie The Thirteenth Chair with Bela Legosi, a partnership that only two years later would lead to the immortal Dracula.

Browning’s successful yet, oftentimes tumultuous career in the horror genre was brought to a rapid halt after the release of Freaks, only making four more pictures before leaving the director’s chair altogether. Now considered a milestone in cinema, this film is also one of history’s most controversial features. From the first test screenings, in which one lady claimed it to have caused her miscarriage through shock, until today, this pre-code horror has continued to maintain its dangerous reputation. Soon after production, Freaks was reduced from its 90 minute running time to just 64 minutes (the cut footage is now considered to be lost), a happier ending was clumsily added as ordered by MGM studios and it wasn’t until 1963 that the UK finally lifted it’s 30 year ban on the film.

tumblr_m69fvbVGMX1qbbjxvo1_500In general the film presents the ‘freaks’ as honourable kindly characters, whilst the ‘normals’ come across as shameless and a-moral. However, no individual is presented so simply. For example, as Hans’ infatuation for Cleopatra increases, his consideration for his fiancée Frida is almost entirely neglected.  Meanwhile, of the two good ‘normals’ in the film, Phroso and Venus, who are kind to the ‘freaks’, Phroso, has his morally grey areas with regards to his attitude to women: “You dames is all alike. Yer sharp-shootin’, yer cheap, and how you squeal when you get what’s coming to ya”.
After the initially shock-inducing introduction to some of the ‘freaks’, where those who call them “monsters” are invited to see them as the “children” they are, the film plays out as more of a drama than a horror film. Browning elegantly turns from the exploitative and sensationalist nature of the side-show industry, to look at the every day mundanities of the ‘Freaks’ Lives. Once we have become accustomed to their way of life, and have learnt to distinguish the performers by their personalities and not just their abnormalities, Browning reverts to utilising sensationalism once again. The infamous scene in the woods helps establish Freaks as one of the greatest horror films of its time. This visually powerful sequence, in which a host of the ‘freaks’ crawl to attack, is enhanced by the erratic dance of storm-induced light and shadows, with beautiful yet hauntingly monstrous results.

002As controversial as it has been over the years, Freaks is a fascinating study of the sideshow world, one all too seldom looked at with such honourable intentions as Browning clearly held. Freaks may not be considered a scary horror film by today’s high-definition, gore-fest standards but it is horrifying in the true sense of the word, and yet also tender, funny, and quite unforgettable.

Interesting facts:
After Freaks was withdrawn and shelved by MGM, the notorious American director and producer of exploitation films, Dwain Ester, bought the rights at low-cost and travelled the country showing it under titles “Forbidden Love” and “Nature’s Mistakes”.

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Olga Baclanova’s bird suit worn near the end of the film was originally designed by Lon Chaney, but he unfortunately died before being able to put it to use. It was kept in an MGM store cupboard for years before Browning brought it out.

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ROB SAYS:

ku-xlargeF is for A Field in England (2013)

A psychedelic, black and white, British civil war movie – what more do you want?
Ben Wheatley has put his stamp on the gangster film (Down Terrace), hit man movie (Kill List), and caravan comedy killer flick (Sightseers). Here set out to revive the much missed midnight movie.
With visuals that mix Jodorowsky with Sergio Leone and a script by Amy Jump that feels completely authentic but also fresh and alive, Wheatley takes us down a psychological rabbit hole into a world of alchemy and spiritual hoodoo. The trademark intensity of Reece Shearsmith will sear into the mind, Michael Smiley intimidates with venomous vigour and you’ll find yourself sucked into a world out of kilter.
a-field-in-england-2013-001-man-in-wheat-field_1000x750Does it all make sense? I’m not sure, but it’s trip you won’t forget in a hurry.

 

Staff A-Z of Film: F is For… sexy, speedy and faster faster FASTER

WILLIAM SAYS:

F is for Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (Russ Meyer, 1965)

FASTER PUSSYCAT, KILL! KILL! is the story of [a] new breed of SUPERWOMEN emerging out of the ruthlessness of our times. We are introduced to three buxom Go-Go girls: VARLA, ROSIE, and BILLIE, wildly dancing the Watusi before the leers, jeers and lecherous come-ons of their drooling all-male audience. The violence, implicit in the girls’ tease, is quickly moved out of the microcosmic bar into the outside world as they literally let go of themselves, embarking on a wild, violent, deadly journey of vengeance on all men. VARLA, the outrageously abundant KARATE MASTER leader of the pack, breaks the arms and back of one man, runs her Porsche over two others, grinds a fourth, a muscleman, against a a wall and eventually, deliberately goes down the path of her own self-destruction, dragging her two buxotic cohorts along with her.

– Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! press kit

Perhaps it is the sincere irreverence of the whole endeavor  – the sense that all involved (actors, director, spectators) know exactly that what they are dealing with is ironic, yet continue to nevertheless to believe in “the lie that tells the truth” and all without a trace of either condescension or naitvité – that makes  FASTER PUSSYCAT, KILL! KILL! in the words of the likes of John Waters, no less, “Beyond a doubt, the best movie ever made.”

– Mark Betz, “Camping in the Movies of Russ Meyer: Some Notes in Passing”, Gerbil: A Queer Culture Zine no. 9

+ folllow Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! with …

F is also for Fluff (William E. Jones, 1999)

Watch it here – not suitable for weurghk, without headphones

Fluff is at once a tribute to abstract video art and an affectionate send-up of the promotional language of 1970s gay porno flicks.  As in the opening sequence of Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, a gravelly, almost satanic, voice-over modulates simple black and white patterns.  The narrator speaks more and more quickly until the piece becomes a frenzy of overwrought prose and bracing disco music.

– William E. Jones

F is also for Fear Eats the Soul (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974), Fireworks (Kenneth Anger, 1947), Flesh (Paul Morrissey, 1968) Frenzy (Alfred Hitchcock, 1972), and – Tom’s right – First Blood (Ted Kotcheff, 1982)

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ALY SAYS:

fastandthefurious4_posterF is for FAST AND FURIOUS

“I live my life a quarter-mile at a time.” 
Fast and the Furious is about illegal street racing and heists. Street racer and ex-convict Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew are under suspicion of stealing expensive electronic equipment. The late Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) is an undercover police officer who attempts to find out who exactly is stealing the equipment.
vinCars, girls and money, that does it for me! With the combination of high-octane car chases, stunts and elaborate heists sequences I enjoyed this film more that I thought I would. One of my favourite parts of the movie is when one of the characters, Jesse, is asked to say grace and he delivers a grace like I’ve never heard before.
    “Dear Heavenly… uh…Spirit. Thank you for providing us with the direct-port
     nitrous… uh… injection, four-core intercoolers, an’ ball-bearing turbos, and…
     um… titanium valve springs. Thank you.”
After the success of the first Fast and the Furious movie, it has been followed by six sequels with number seven of the series was being worked on as we currently. But with the resent passing out one of the main characters Paul Walker, will the series end here? Only time will tell.
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ALY SAYS:
friday-night-lights-2F is also for FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (TV Series)
Friday Night Lights is an American drama television series based around a high school football team in the town of Dillon, Texas. It follows the trials and tribulations of the towns football players, their friends, family, and coaching staff.
Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of American Football, there is very little actual game time action and more about what goes on behind the scenes of the sport much like Moneyball (Brad Pitt & Jonah Hill). Episodes of the show tackle race and class, and what life is like for those who don’t embrace either God or football.
If you enjoy the first season and feel like you want more, don’t fret, the other four seasons are finally available in the UK as well as a movie starring Billy Bob Thornton with the same title.

New Releases: 24th March

PHILOMENA:

PHILOMENA-poster-773x1024-504x667Judi Dench and Steve Coogan (zzzzz) are two unlikely companions on a journey to find her long lost son in the highly acclaimed new comedy from director Stephen Frears (zzzzz). Based on an incredible true story (zzzzz).

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DON JON:

don-jon-posterVainglorious anti-porn pseudofeminism. I see through you, Joseph. A film that wants to have its cake, gobble it, then call James Franco to talk about the finer points of  not only having your cake, but, also, eating it. One day they will choke. I haven’t watched this yet (I will), but I’m probably right, ha ha ha.

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JEUNE ET JOLIE:

Jeune-et-Jolie-quadI shall be watching Jeune & Jolie for the simple fact that the story takes place over the course of a year and is divided into seasonal segments, each separated by a Françoise Hardy song. Simple pleasures.

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FIRE IN THE BLOOD:

fire-in-the-blood-posterJohn Pilger: “Fire in the Blood is one of the most powerful, important and humane documentaries I have ever seen. It’s the story of ordinary people standing up to unaccountable power. The struggle to save millions from the ravages of untreated HIV is revealed as a struggle against the new lords of the world, transnational corporations, their greed and lies. Genuine hope is rare these days — you’ll find it in this film.”

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SAVING MR BANKS:

Saving_Mr._Banks_Theatrical_PosterDisney do Disney? Pitchfork once reviewed a Jet album by posting a YouTube  video called ‘monkey peeing in his own mouth’. Get my drift?

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DIANA:

Naomi-Watts-Diana-Biopic-Poster-Ecosse-Films-07112013-01Oh dear, if only Frank Perry (Mommie Dearest) had been around to make this.

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ALSO OUT THIS WEEK:

THE MISSING PICTURE:

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FREE BIRDS:

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MR SELFRIDGE SEASON 2:

MRSelfridge

posted by William Goodey

So sorry we don’t have Zardoz (1974) on DVD…

… because it looks amazing. A film Roger Ebert described as an “exercise in self-indulgence” on the part of director, John Boorman, who, following the success of the unforgettable Deliverance (1972) – one of the greatest films of the 70s, could basically do whatever he liked.  And this is what that ‘whatever’ looks like (and why not? we ask):

1524628_10153867148915487_480391146_nStraight away alarm bells are ringing and about a half-dozen reasons why perhaps not spring to mind. There’s so much going on here I don’t even know where to begin… A look only the bravest should cultivate. Bound to raise a few eyebrows down at your local Weatherspoons. And, was this the inspiration for Sacha Baron-Cohen’s eye-watering Borat outfit, I wonder?

SNN11BORAT-280_612344aBut let us press on…

STARRING:    

28704581SEAN CONNERY

Zardoz.avi_snapshot_00.50.49_%5B2011.06.20_21.13.57%5DCHARLOTTE RAMPLING

Zardoz+LadyDIRECTED BY:

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JOHN BOORMAN

On a post-apocalyptic Earth, the population is divided between the ‘Eternals’ – an immortal elite who lounge about on their country estate called ‘The Vortex’ – and the mortal ‘Brutals’ who are basically a slave race, existing in a wasteland and supplying the Eternals with food (post-apocalyptic? Sounds like London now). Zardoz, a giant flying stone head rules over the ‘Brutal Exterminators’ whose job is to liaise between the two races and collect the food from the Brutals (in our London analogy, Zardoz would presumably be Boris Johnson – a giant floppy, blonde head flying about, barking – though the flying stone head of Zardoz seems somehow more serious and believable). Sean Connery, playing one such Exterminator gets himself in a bind (not surprising given his fancy suspenders) and finds himself captured by the Eternals, experimented upon (again, perhaps not surprising) before finally escaping and destroying The Vortex along with most of the Eternals (at this point, I shall discontinue the London analogy..)

Interestingly, Ebert compares the film to Alain Resnais’ Last Year in Marienbad (1961), but only in as much as both films are likely to leave your brain in a fog of bemusement. It has been described as THE place where genius and madness actually meet and many have wondered how a film with this plot – not to mention these costume designs – actually made it from conception all the way to the big screens, but I have it on good authority from two of my Video City colleagues that Zardoz is indeed as AMAZING as it looks – especially as it looks as though it were made on a budget of about £15 – and so, I repeat, so sorry we don’t have it on DVD…

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Ben Wheatly (director of Sightseers, Kill List, A Field in England) discusses Zardoz in the Telegraph, and The Den of Geek celebrates Zardoz’s strangest moments.

Posted by Dixie Turner

 

10 picks from BFI FLARE: LONDON LGBT FILM FESTIVAL

The party started last night.

Here are ten things you should try and see before it’s over (the Sunday after next)…

Valencia: The Movie/s (Various, 2013) – FRI 21 20:20, SAT 22 11:30, SUN 23 18:30

A collaborative queer punk ‘exquisite corpse’ adaptation of Michele Tea’s 2000 cult autobiographical novel.

Will You Dance With Me?: Recording Tests For Ron Peck’s Empire (Derek Jarman, 2014) – SAT 22 18:40

Unedited and previously unseen dance footage shot by Jarman in September 1984 at Mile End gay club Benjy’s.

Queer Bollywood – FRI 28 + SAT 29

One talk, two screenings and a club night celebrating the history of popular Hindi cinema from a queer perspective.

Age of Consent (Charles Lum and Todd Verow, 2013) – TUE 25 20:40, WED 26 13:00, SAT 29 16:40

Festival favourites Lum and Verow deliver a documentary about London’s only leather bar, The Hoist. Buckle up.

Caged Lesbians – SAT 22

One talk, one screening (John Cromwell’s 1949 women-in-prison classic, Caged) and “a night of musical mischief, intimate interrogations and sexy cell block encounters” exploring lesbians behind bars.

I Always Said Yes: The Many Lives of Wakefield Poole (Jim Tushinski, 2013) – SAT 22 14:15, SUN 23 16:10

A fascinating and much necessary portrait of gay porn auteur/renaissance man Wakefield Poole.

Scream Queens: Gay Boys and the Horror Film – FRI 21, MON 24, WED 26 + FRI 28

Four bloodcurdling screenings and an illustrated history of horror through a queer lens from festival programmer Michael Blyth.

Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton (Stephen Silha, 2013) – THU 27 18:10, SAT 29 13:00, SUN 30 14:10

Another much necessary portrait of another perceptive visionary; poet/filmmaker/radical, James Broughton.

Kate Bornstein Is a Queer & Pleasant Danger (Sam Feder, 2013) – FRI 21 18:30, SAT 22 18:10, SUN 23 16:00

“Kate Bornstein is an author, playwright, performance artist, gender theorist, recovering Scientologist and pioneering gender outlaw.”

Killjoy’s Kastle: Allyson Mitchell’s Lesbian Feminist Haunted House – ALL HOURS

Re-animating a large-scale installation Mitchell staged in Toronto in October 2013, Killjoy’s Kastle multimedia frenzy presents “a nightmarish and glorious vision of feminist terror”. Mitchell hosts a free talk about the project on Sat 22 March at 14:30.

Posted by William Goodey

New Releases: 17th March

BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR:

Blue-is-The-Warmest-Color-Poster-HD-WallpaperI’m really struggling with this film. I was really excited about it coming out, really excited by the the stir, adoration and outrage it pulled out of people, and admittedly kind of excited by the notion that this straight man had made this politically bad, very wrong-footed Palm d’Or winning film about two queer women. I tried to not read too much about it – found much of what I did read too right-on, too simplistic, too drooling – went to see it, and sort of loved it. Since then I’ve thought and talked about it quite a lot and now I’m far from positive about the film. I think it’s  largely reprehensible. But, I also think that in certain respects it’s quite powerful and resonant. I sort of like it in spite of myself. Now this is a terribly uninformative, contradictory mess of a blurb for such an easily hyped new release, but you should absolutely watch it (and please come tell me what you think). Then we can talk specifics and I’ll tell you why it sucks and why it doesn’t. The wonderful Eileen Myles realllly hated Blue is the Warmest Colour, and though I do too, I was also really into it.

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HUNGER GAMES 2 – CATCHING FIRE:

catching-fire-poster7 YouTube comments about the The Hunger Games: Catching Fire…

This movie is perfect….literally everything about it is perfect. -333

i want to watch it !!!!!!!

ive never even read the book and this is one of my favorite movies

can anyone tell me what happend at the ending of the movie im so confused

Although I do like The Hunger Games but I still prefer The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

Today i readed book. :)

this movie is gona be different

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THE COUNSELLOR:

world-exclusive-new-poster-for-the-counsellor-144467-a-1378966818-470-75Cormac McCarthy’s first original screenplay directed by Ridley Scott. I like how quiet the trailer is, until the bad song starts. The Counsellor is Michael Fassbender, a lawyer who finds himself in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking. It looks fairly entertaining, but, as Video City’s Andrei mentioned to me, this kind of material works better in the hands of the Coen brothers (who adapted McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men), than in the cloven hooves of R. Scott. It’s received quite mixed reviews, but the rave ones are enticing; Manohla Dargis of The New York Times noting how  “Mr. McCarthy appears to have never read a screenwriting manual in his life […] That’s a compliment”, and Scott Foundas at Variety drawing a comparison to John Boorman’s Point Blank. Hmm.

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ESCAPE PLAN:

escape_plan_ver3When Drinkenstein and Turbo Man do porridge, Lord knows you want a sugary spoonful!

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ALSO OUT THIS WEEK:

SALAMANDER SEASON 1:

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CALL THE MIDWIFE SEASON 3:

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OUTNUMBERED SEASON 5:

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Posted by William Goodey

Staff A-Z of Films: F is For… (Pt.1)

TOM SAYS:
936full-first-blood-poster
F is for First Blood (1982) – dir. Ted Kotcheff
I was really wracking my brains trying to come up with an F-Film, then I checked the list. It happens that a lot of my very favourite films begin with the letter F, including two that I claimed were “My favourite film of all time” at various points, but only when badgered for an answer. (Do real people really have a favourite anything of all time?) These “all time” tops were The Fly and Faces. Faces has some of the most exquisitely natural performances I’ve ever been blessed to see and The Fly has a scene where Geena Davis gives birth to a giant maggot… but, I really really need to tell you about the original Rambo film, First Blood.
 
The film is about Vietnam veteran, John Rambo, who in searching for his friends returned from the war, finds them prematurely dead in an uncaring America. He is bullied by small town police who he escapes and is then pursued by. It is a simple film dealing with big themes of authority, responsibility, freedom, societal constraint, and wilderness. Stallone is perfect for this role, part everyman, part fearsome force of nature, part wounded animal. 
firstblood1The film’s thrust mirrors that of the song Born In The USA by Bruce Springsteen, and like Springsteen the film is very populist whilst not pandering. For the reasons that a Springsteen song will always hold me tighter than a meandering ramble by Bob Dylan, I believe First Blood is an infinitely stronger film than The Deer Hunter, arguably its closest and more critically acclaimed rival.
 Born In The USA – Nebraska recording video.

First Blood’s reputation as an elegant and sensitive film is ruined by its sequels. James Cameron, the blame is at your feet, and not just for this. Mr Cameron made a series of weak action movie sequels to a string of amazing original films, sparking them into awful movie franchises. Aliens was a saccharine bloodbath that followed the nuanced terror of Alien. Rambo: First Blood part II, (arguably the dumbest title ever) reduces meaning, style, content, …basically everything except the body count, until you are left with a dulled-out nothing of a feature in which even the endless killing is completely flat. Just when you’re starting to believe he is doing all this out of some kind of demented malice you realise even his own films aren’t safe, and he runs the terrible formula on Terminator. I concede his original is a solid sci-fi horror which he proceeds to pump full of Disney morality for a horrendous joke of a follow on. 
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BEN SAYS:
fargo14F is for Fargo (1996)

This quirky and darkly funny thriller is the brainchild of Joel and Ethan Coen. Set in the locations of Brainerd, Minnesota and Fargo, North Dakota it tells the tale of a ransom gone horribly wrong.

William H Macy plays car sales man Jerry Lundegaard, who due to financial difficulties decides that he can make some good money by having his wife kidnapped…! His plan is to pay his hired kidnappers, played by the brilliant Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare, $80, 000 but tell his wealthy father-in-law that they have requested a cool one million dollars. However, this being a Coen brother’s film, things don’t go quite the way Jerry had planned.

fargo09As with many of their films, the Coen brothers deliver a clever, twisted thriller with moments of brilliant dark humour, helped fantastically by William H Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare whom are all on excellent form. Bare in mind this film isn’t for the faint of heart or for viewers looking for a light comedy. But if you don’t mind the odd bit of blood and strong language then this film really is a must… Just a quick word of warning, if you’re planning on using a wood chipper soon after watching this film, you might want to do some other house hold chores. Trust me!

BEN SAYS F IS ALSO FOR:

fugitiveThe Fugitive (1993)

I know, I know… every one over the age of 20 has probably seen this film and it really doesn’t need recommending, but I don’t think you can possibly have an A to Z list of film recommendations and not include it…

If you’re one of a unique band of people whom have not watched this film with delight then allow me to give you a brief over view…

Starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones, it centres on Ford’s character Dr Richard Kimble coming home one night to his house to find his wife being brutally attacked and murdered in their home. During the fight between Kimble and the assailant, the assailant escapes into the night and Kimble is left to pick up the pieces. Sadly for him things go for bad to worse and he is subsequently the main suspect in the crime. Faced with no alibi, he’s found wrongfully guilty and sentenced to life in prison and death row… Then just when things couldn’t get any worse for Kimble, he finds himself in an explosive bus accident when a fellow inmate attempts to flee the prison bus en-route to the jail. Seizing his chance, Kimble decides to make a bid for freedom and to try to clear his name and bring his wife’s killers to justice. I know… exciting eh? Well just when you think it couldn’t get any better, in steps Tommy lee Jones as US Marshal Samuel Gerard who is assigned the task of bringing in the now fugitive Dr Kimble at all costs. Let the chase commence…

fugitive-740If you really have not seen this film then I can assure you it’s a Saturday night must. Although rated 15 at the time, I think most of us would agree that now it would be a 12 rating and actually quite good fun if you’re looking for a family film looking for some edge of your seat thriller action. Enjoy!

BEN SAYS F IS ALSO FOR:

MSDFADO EC034Falling Down (1993)

What else can I say but Falling Down….

If you’ve ever had a day that you wish would just end and everything and anyone is making it worse than this may, or may not as the case may be, the film for you…

It’s a simple story of one man, played by Michael Douglas, who finally reaches breaking point on his morning commute to work and decides he has had enough with it all and simply wants out and to spend time with his young daughter now living with his estranged wife. As he walks away from his car after snapping, his day simply goes from bad to really really really bad as he finds himself in an attempted mugging, forced to walk through gangland territory, missing the breakfast menu in a fast food restaurant for being 2 minutes after they have stopped serving and well you get the point…

large-falling-down-blu-ray9As twisted and dark as it is brilliant, Michael Douglas doesn’t let up as the simple white-collar worker who has finally had enough of being on the bottom rung of society. His portrayal of frustration and anger at the way modern society has become is attention grabbing to say the least and in some ways reflects how many of us have felt at some point in our lives, especially with the way we move through life almost too quickly for our own good. (Just FYI the fast food restaurant scene alone makes the film worth watching…!)

BEN SAYS F IS ALSO FOR:fight-clubFight Club (1999)

The first rule about fight club is you “don’t talk about fight club”

So I wont…. (But please watch it! Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter and Meat Loaf… what more could you want?!?)

BEN SAYS F IS ALSO FOR:

Full-Metal-Jacket-006Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, this film follows a group of US marines in training in 1967, during the Vietnam War. Its central characters, Privates “Joker”, “Cowboy” and “Pyle”, become the main three protagonists in this very dark and bleak war film.

As the recruits go through week by week training under the demoralizing and often brilliantly crass and blunt Gunner Sergeant Hartman, we see how their innocence and spirit are slowly dwindled down, forcing them to question their own morality. For many, Kubrick’s portrayal of military life showed how it was far from glamorous to say the least, (compared to Top Gun made only a couple of years prior) and that he, Kubrick, wanted audiences to understand what it was like being a young G.I. in 1960’s America in war they knew little about. In fact, Kubrick’s want for realism was a major factor in casting the actors, namely actor R. Lee Ermey, who played drill instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman. For Ermey was himself a former Marine and real life Marine drill instructor! (Which also may explain most of the ad-libbing he does when confronting his trainees!!) As the film continues and their training completed they are then sent off to Vietnam in 1968 where they learn very quickly how little they are prepared for such a horrific and violent conflict. As humorous as it is dark, Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket touches on the dark physique that often goes hand in hand with war. Yet despite the dark moments, Kubrick manages to weave in moments of humour into otherwise deeply dark scenes that many other directors have tried and failed to do. So for that reason, Full Metal Jacket is regarded as one of the 100 films you must see before you die…

Other F films I recommend:

The Fighter

Family Guy Series and their take on Star Wars.

Fifth Element

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easy_rider poster

What’s Marilyn Reading?

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Hard boiled crime – “Big Brokers” by Irving Shulman

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A new script – Niagara (1953)

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Polishing off a literary tome – Ulysses by James Joyce

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Mr Monroe’s efforts – Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

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On the lawn with Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

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Fiery spanish painting by Francisco Goya

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The Passenger List in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

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Marilyn is not reading Murder By Strangulation

posted by Tom Moore

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liz poster

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