Posts from 27th May 2004

27
May 04

Cheaters Never Prosper!

TMFDPost a comment • 184 views

Cheaters Never Prosper! And indeed the only winners here are German bierkeller-quiz masters who have a fine new question or two.

FT Top 100 Films 94: NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD

Do You SeePost a comment • 884 views

Anthony Easton says:
Night of the Living Dead is Romero practicing. It is the beginning of using horror to express social concerns, it is beginning of making low budgets respectable, and it is the origin of the sex kitten as first victim. The best thing about it though, is his use of the domestic. Horror only really works when fundamental taboos are being shattered, and the idea of family as safe refuge is torn to pieces here. From the bickering sister and brother who notice the first zombie, to the makeshift commune at the farm house, to the child eventually eating her mother, any notion that you might have had that family both born and created would save anything no longer matters after viewing this film.

Pete Baran says:
Night Of The Living Dead shares a similarity with the previous film on the list, Some Like It Hot with regards to the way it is shot. You might say that the set-up and effects are inferior to the later Dead movies, but the zombies are that little bit more convincing. This works better as a horror, the others as satires, because it is in black and white. Just as Billy Wilder chose to film Some Like It Hot in black and white because the make-up made Jack Lemmon look green, the same Dead make-up – so persuasive here – looks blue in Dawn and Day Of The Dead. The shambling masses are still there, but in the later films resembling Smurfs. Which is terrifying in a wholy different way.

JIMMY JONES – “Good Timin'”

Popular26 comments • 2,482 views

#103, 9th July 1960

In the film The Hudsucker Proxy, the hero’s irritant and eventual nemesis is a guy called Buzz. Buzz is shrill, unshakably upbeat and entirely dumb; he is the living spirit of chirp. His traits include a glintful eye, a manic handshake and the habit of repeating his just-made jokes in order to cackle loudly at them. When I hear “Good Timin'” with its hyena chorus I think of Buzz.

But what infuriates on film can entertain on vinyl. “They had timin'” sings Jimmy Jones, “Ticka-ticka-ticka-tock timin'”, and really he could end it there, it’s catchy enough, but hold on, “TAY-AY-AY-AY!” – what makes this record isn’t the wisecracking, or the beat, it’s how gratuitous its hook is.

Tanya’s Round of Rubbish: Sade – “The Sweetest Taboo”

I Hate Music1 comment • 1,649 views

Ever wonder why Robert Elms and Sade split up? No, nor did I, I always thought it was self evident. But for those of you for whom doting on minor celebrities of the eighties is a must, the hint is in this song about the worst mixed alcoholic drink in creation. You see he keeps “giving me, giving me the sweetest Taboo.” Sade is not wrong here. There is no bouzy melange sweeter than this designer eighties pisswater. And if my bloke kept giving it to me, he would be out on his Spandau Ballet loving arse faster than he could say Chant No.1.

Info hound Nick Dastoor

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 391 views

Info hound Nick Dastoor has stumbled across this helpful anthropological study into British pub ettiquette by the Social Issues Research Centre. And you know what. It is pretty good. It sticks by its own maxim to not take things too seriously, and seems to have a healthy disrespect for pubgoers (and probably CAMRA members). The section on pub types is fair, with an admirable setion on estate pubs. It may paint pubs as being far friendlier than they really are, but if a foreigner were to follow the guidance within they would probably feel a lot more at home in the pub.

Of course it has already inspired much debate on ILX, (including debate on whether it has been publogged before), and there are simplifications as well as a few clangers – especially the opposite sex chapter. But then this is not a guide to what we do, it is like all good anthropolgy an attempt to explain the rules to someone to whom this is a mystery from a culturally superior standpoint. It does need a chapter on pub toilets though to be comprehensive.

Diagnostico confirmado: Pete Baran es un nabazo.

Do You SeePost a comment • 294 views

Diagnostico confirmado: Pete Baran es un nabazo. Such was the suggestion the last time I reviewed an Almod’var film, Talk to Her. And now I am back at the nabazo coalface, having seen La Mala Educaci’n(Bad Education). Will Argentinean youths be scoffing at my naive, western centric rush to canonise the giant of Spanish film-making. Probably.

First up though, I can already say that Bad Education will not be my film of the year. It is a fun puzzle, an exciting self-referential thriller but is emotionally inert. Anyone expecting to be put through the same kind of moral wringer that Talk To Her did would go away unsatisfied. Anyone looking for a thoroughly enjoyable two hours in the cinema would be on the right track. And while the film is surprisingly distant from its audience, it is probably the film I have already discussed more than any other I have seen this year. Almod’var shows he can do all that Charlie Kaufmann script trickery, whilst still engaging us in a great story.

So why all this guff about emotion? Partially due to Talk To Her and All About My Mother were such emotional films. But possibly more because the general consensus has been that Bad Education is a partially autobiographical film. From an autobiography point of view, it looks like Almod’var is playing the same game that Woody Allen did with Deconstructing Harry. Yes, there may be some superficial characteristics between Almod’var and the lead film-maker Enrique. But it pushes credulity to think that he would be involved in such a real life murder, so why should we attribute anything more than cosmetic comparisons between the character and director? The lack of emotional engagement comes from the obscuring of character motivation, it is clear that this is Almodovar’s version of a noir thriller, a day-glo noir but one where no character can be trusted.

As an aside, my companion noticed a surprisingly large number of single men of a certain age and a certain rainproof attire in the cinema. We wondered if this was a traditional audience for an Almod’var or if the reviews, the poster and seeming subject matter had dragged out a paedophile audience. If so they will be sorely disappointed. The most visual, and central plot of the film revolving around the abuse of the leads as children in catholic school is almost presented as an aside. The morality of this situation as well could not be any less clear. As Gael Garc’a Bernal, (compelling in the lead and looking good as a trannie) says in one of the final scenes ‘You don’t love a ten year old boy. You abuse him, molest him.’ Raincoat audience take note.