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Shock Corridor (1963)

Third up in the list of Film Noir is Shock Corridor. Total spoilage: it’s not a happy ending with this one but otherwise is just as strong a story as Blast Of Silence. And what do you know, Larry Tucker aka Big Ralphy is in this one too. He must’ve done the rounds of early 60s noir and then hung up his acting hat.

larrytucker

So anyway this film was showing us the whacky and grizzly insides of an insane asylum a good deal before Jack crazied it up on One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. You could probably do a great Intro to Film Studies essay about this movie because there’s three characters that represent different parts of the shadow that the US cast over itself and other parts of the world, including the very fresh over-hang of racial segregation.

shockcorridor
Trent cracked up after being hounded out of the university he was in theory entitled to attend.

The main character gets shock treatments but they don’t scramble his brains immediately and there’s one scene where for a moment he loses the ability to talk. It uses voice over to tell us what he’s thinking and he’s wanting to open his mouth and wondering why it won’t work. That was a great little bit of visual story-telling.

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I also watched a couple of ‘70s science fiction movies: Logan’s Run (1976) : kind of weird but had some great ‘70s breasts in it (they just seemed kind of different back then) and Silent Running (1972) which I remeber seeing when I was real little, as in back in the BTV6 cargo cult days. Maybe I was 7 or something. This was the first time I’ve watched a movie and felt ‘this seemed much bigger when I was little’ in the way that a town where you grew up might. My memory of the ship Bruce Dern was floating around on was that it was much bigger and I can remember being quite tramatised when one of the little walking-boxes (robots) got his foot stuck in the railing and got blown away in a space storm. I guess that sense of ‘hey this could be much bigger’ is a good thing because maybe this is one film-story that could be re-done successfully but I guess it’d have to be done outside hollywood, a la Moon.

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One photography app I’ve been mucking around with recently is VSCO cam, which free but that’s just to lure you in to get you to spend some money. I didn’t mind so much since these little, invisible things are all I’m spending money on now (other than food). One thing I do really like is the VSCO Grid idea. This is exactly what Hispstamatic should’ve done instead of piss-farting around with Oggl; an instagram clone. A nice minimal, arty-lookin’, centralised webfront for people to show off their hipstamatic shots. Again, free at first and then charge for enhanced services/features later. Like leading lemmings off a cliff. Here’s my grid.

2 film noirs

I’ve been watching selections of film noir as recommended by the wikipedia page on such things. First up was Blast Of Silence (1961) which had a kind of ameteurish feel to it but liked it. And it’s also notable that about half of the story is told by a narrator in 2nd person.

blastofsilence
A visit to Big Ralph’s to order a gun in Blast Of Silence.

The second film was The Manchurian Candidate (1962) which was based on a book—aren’t all the best films adapted from books? Frank Sinatra, and evil Angela Lansbury, a killer plot and some really clever scenes (see below) – what’s not to like?

manchuriancandidate
Genteel horticulture enthusiast or dastardly Stalinist brainwasher?

, — YS @ 7:31 pm, July 5, 2013

Heat (1995)

deniro-in-heat

I don’t know how but I missed this movie up til now. Maybe it didn’t too well at the box-office, but has a pretty good storyline and a big cast. I have said it before, I really don’t know what good acting is. Maybe it’s this -> ^ when Robert De Niro does his brief side-glance thing. (This can also be seen Goodfellas). Anyway, very different from the Miami Vice TV series that Michael Mann is best known for, featuring De Niro as the criminal, Al Pacino as the cop and a whole bunch of other people including Val Kilmer and Henry Rollins.

The only reason I came across this film is that one of the heists set ups gets borrowed and drafted into the upcoming Grand Theft Auto 5 which’ll be released this year.

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I’ve really been meaning to try and get around to putting a bit of individuality into this wordpress template layout but the more push-button they make them, the harder they are to modify and my html skills aren’t what they used to be.

Also, probably like most weblogs, I get the odd hand-delivered attempt at slipping some SPAM through the net (how miserable must these people’s lives be, finding weblogs to cut n’ paste spam into each day?) and most of them are lame-o nonsense but I have to note the below example as one that made me pause for a second, thinking it might’ve been a real commenter.

‘Hello there’ writes:

Hi! I understand this is kind of off-topic but I had to ask.

Does managing a well-established website like yours take
a large amount of work? I’m completely new to running a blog but I do write in my diary on a daily basis. I’d like to start a blog so I can
share my experience and feelings online. Please let me
know if you have any ideas or tips for brand new aspiring bloggers.
Thankyou!

Nice social-engineering you got going there. Close but no raisin toast.

, , , , — YS @ 6:16 pm, May 16, 2013

Manhunter (1986)

I watched this movie last night and quite liked it. It was based on a novel called The Red Dragon (I think) but adapted (written & directed) by Michael Mann, the guy who did Miami Vice, so his style is all over it but the subject matter is a bit darker in that it’s dealing with psycho-killers. This was going on about Hannibal Lektor when Jodie Foster was still in Highschool. But some other dude is the main villain in it, and here’s a picture of him:

manhunter-1986

But he’s not a one-dimensional psycho and there’s a moment where it seems like he’s found mercy but his craziness gets in the way. I don’t know why films that have a stylised element like this get shit-canned so often, it’s not as if you ever go see a Hollywood movie for a dose of reality. I love this kind of depiction of the 80s and the soundtrack’s pretty good too.


I watched the first couple of episodes of The X Files the other night. That was 1993. That was 20 years ago.

, , , — YS @ 1:29 pm, January 20, 2013

rambles from a big chair

I almost never go to the cinema because I don’t like to deal with peasants and their mobile phones spoiling my immersive experience. I guess it’s the darkness of the room, the loud surround sound and the fact that I can’t pause it every half hour to go to the toilet. It’s more like taking a bus in that I have to plan to go to the toilet before hand and hope that I don’t feel the need during the film because it’s annoying knowing that it’s continuing back in there and I’m missing it while I’m doing my thing.

And then when it finishes I’m ejected from a womb-like setting into the horrible bright world—where I bump off walls, am grumpy and cannot communicate for at least 20 minutes.

But J-e found a cinema where there’s only thirty (ultra comfy) seats. It was a bit spendy, and the other people in the cinema were still distracting but we went. And saw Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond movie. Click more for review including spoilage. (more…)

, , , — YS @ 9:54 pm, November 3, 2012

Two genres: two movies (pt 1)

I don’t know that genre is the right word here but it’ll have to do. One is Rasta the other is early hip-hop.

I think I was having a quick read of the wikipedia page on Rastafarianism and came across a short list of films to do with it. One is Rockers (1978). Apparently it started off only intending to be a doco on Rasta life but turned into a full-length film with something of a story to it. This is the thing that the two movies mentioned here have in common – they do really well at showing a slice of the niche they’re about but the plotline is barely there. I don’t mind that. I got to thinking we put too much emphasis on whether a plot makes sense when it comes to film.

There was quite a bit of the ganja smoking in it. There was also several well know Jamaican musicians from the time. I found the fashion kind of interesting. Eventhough the main Rasta colours are red, green and gold, occasionally the colours of the Angolan flag, red green and black pop up. Somewhere this is mentioned on the wikipedia page but I forget what it’s about.

And even more interesting was the creole of English that they use there in Jamaica. There were subtitles, and they were speaking English of a kind but I’d be buggered if I could understand it without the subs. There were certain words that got used a lot, like ‘forward’ and ‘rascal’ and it makes me wonder why those particualr words…   Also, words used to insult people, like “bumba clot” (something I heard a lot in grand theft auto 4) was actually bum cloth, which I guess is another way of saying ‘asswipe’.

 

The hip-hop film is Wildstyle (1983). I came across this because it was mentioned on this really awesome page that had a whole bunch of pictures of ghetto blasters. I don’t know where that page is now. Wildstyle shows a bit of the graffiti culture and the rapping culture that are central to hip-hop. At times the film is almost like a musical. Again, there’s a bunch of rappers who were famous at the time cameoing, like Grand Master Flash.

, — YS @ 5:11 pm, October 1, 2012

my new 911 2012

I watched the Sacha Baron Cohen film, The Dictator (2012) last night. Damn funny.

This scene in the helicopter cracked me up.

, — YS @ 10:57 am, September 16, 2012

three movies

Car Wash (1976)

There’s a rusty old petrol station over the street down below me and attached to it is a hand-job car wash. When I’m feeling a bit down or flat I look out there and think Well at least I’m not working at the Car Wash. Although I’m sure that it’s possible to work there and be happy with a beat kind of simple lifestyle too. It made me think of the disco song, Car Wash by Rose Royce. I do have it amongst my voluminous music files but not the version that was in my mind’s ear. There was another version on yootoob and thereupon I discovered that it was also connected to a 1970s LA movie.

I watched the movie. Nothing earth-shattering – just depicting life in the 70s being a black person working at the car wash. There was no real main character, it had about 15 characters it’d switch between. It made it a little difficult to connect with. Richard Pryor does a cameo as do the Pointer Sisters.

Point Blank (1967)

An action film starring Lee Marvin. Good quality action films, when you can find them or be recommended them, are really worht the time. The action genre got dragged down badly in the late 80s but when it’s good it can be one of the purest forms of film in that it emphasises action over dialogue. (sideways: interdesting article on action films here)

There was some unusual editing and cinematography in it and it alludes to The Man but calls it The Organisation. I might have to check out what else Lee Marvin did after seeing this and Violent Saturday.

The Seven Year Itch (1955)

is one that J-e wanted to watch, I think because she’d read this was the movie that has Marilyn Monroe in the famous scene where she’s standing on top of a subway air vent. I didn’t think it’d be my cup of tea but I was surprised with how modern the writing was considering the year it was from. It’s called farce style, with the main guy alongside Marilyn imagining all kinds of absurd daydreamings. Very Ally McBeal. And Monroe is one person whose image really does live up to the hype.

, — YS @ 12:32 pm, April 27, 2012

whatever you say

HIP_348061046.259053

You know, I’d gradually _lost_  most of the respect I had for George Lucas, that I once had as a kid or teen or early 20s person. The more films I see, like some of the 60s war movies about WW2 and also Akira Kurosawa movies, I see how much Georgey borrowed from them when making the original trilogy. And after seeing the second trilogy I started to wonder if he’d had any hand in writing the screenplays for the originals at all. My theory was that Joseph Campbell wrote them, but I have no proof.

Anyway, it’s interesting to read this news on a film he’s put together all by himself about the African-American pilots in WW2. Good for him. I hope it’s a success. I hope the dialog’s a bit better that when Samuel L Jackson was talking to Yoda. I’ll go see it when I’m back in Australia for the brief visit I’m heading for next week. That is, if it’s released then.

— YS @ 9:21 pm, January 12, 2012

Tuesday is Soylent Green day

soylent-green-ext

I was just watching this movie again because as a countryboy australian living in korea, it really speaks to me. If, in some far off future, where lots of bad decisions were made on the way, australia could end up as polluted, noisy and crowded as korea. That sounds pretty over the top, but more subtle, yet real examples are not being able to see the stars at night, the milk just not tasting as good, you can’t drink the water straight out of the tap, and living in one-room apartments with low ceilings.

A quick check of wickerpedia says that the film was based on a 1966 novel titled Make Room! Make Room! and that it was set in 1999, with a global population of 7 bil—funny eh? Which goes a way toward reminding us that things never turn out as bad as people and get alarmed about. (or do they?) I’m not very good at maths and such but I was wondering what the global population would be if everywhere was as densely populated as south korea. Not that it’d be sustainable for a week, even if we started eating eachother in neat little dried squares.

Anyway there’s a great story under all that ‘70s clunkiness of Soylent Green and it’s definitely ripe to be remade. It got me thinking about why Soylent green is more or less buried and another dystopian future flick from about ten years after (Blade Runner) is considered a classic—what’s the difference? A vangelis score and some long shots of futuristic cityscapes? More than that – but it’s more than I’ve got the brain-power for right now.

soylent-green-int

, , , , , — YS @ 12:20 am, November 1, 2011

the movies are always groovy

Couple of films worth noting.

Mikey & Nicky (1976) is something I came across via the beastie boys’ website.

When watching it I thought there’s something a little odd about the scenes. Kind of reminded me of the way Lynch directs. Afterward I read on weeklepedia that the director, Elaine May, was basically insane and used more film in the shooting than was used in Gone wid da Wind. I guess she cajoled the two main actors into doing the same scenes 20 times over, with each take getting looser with the acting. That scuffle in the yootoob clip where Cassavetes slips over—you can’t act accidents like that.

Suspiria (1977) is a film by an Italian director I only just heard of, Dario Argento.

suspiria-2

Visually it was extremely rich and I love that. I’m guessing it was shot in some oldish buidings somewhere in northern Italy that look amazing; the detailing in the wood of the doors is one tiny example. It’s not a film set, it’s a real, bizarre place. And many of the actors were flat out weird looking. The audio had a strange quality because the (Italian) actors performed in English, but then in post-production, they dubbed native English (English and American) actors voices over it. The lip-syncing is okay but there’s no ambient noise in the shots.

The plot is actually pretty lame and follows the standard slasher-flick structure. Still interesting to look at.

suspiria-3

, , , — YS @ 9:00 am, April 21, 2011
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