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  • When a bunch of punks paid tribute to Johnny Cash at a low point in his career
    12:28 pm


    Johnny Cash
    The Fall
    Pete Shelley
    The Mekons

    Last night I saw a concert by Billy Bragg, whose socialistic music and entire socialistic steez has taken on new ultra-relevance in an era in which Donald Trump is the President of the United States of America. Bragg was suitably fired up, and you can be sure he whipped the audience at Cleveland’s Music Box Supper Club into a righteous frenzy before the night was out.

    Opening was the venerable Jon Langford of the Mekons, and he told an amusing story from the stage involving Johnny Cash. The starting point was the ‘Til Things Are Brighter project, which Langford and former Fall member and later BBC deejay Marc Riley spearheaded as a way to pay homage to Cash. This was the late 1980s—seven years after Cash was nearly killed by an ostrich in 1981—and Cash’s stock was at a relative nadir. As Langford explained, Cash was a bit dejected because it looked for all the world like his productive career was over and he had little to look forward to beyond a lengthy dotage and an inevitable slide to obscurity.

    The roster of musicians is rather eye-popping. The album opens with Michelle Shocked, whose breakthrough album Short Sharp Shocked came out the same year, doing “One Piece At A Time.” Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks covered “Straight A’s In Love” while Cabaret Voltaire‘s Steven Mallinder took on “I Walk the Line.” The Triffids’ David McComb gave “Country Boy” his best while Langford’s Mekons and Riley played “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Wanted Man,” respectively.

    All thirteen backing tracks were recorded by Langford and Riley and their house band in one day at RikRak Studio in Leeds, and the vocal tracks were picked up as various opportunities arose over the next several weeks. As the Guardian’s Graeme Thomson wrote in 2011,

    Langford recalls that Marc Almond, the one “proper” pop star taking part, came in and “told me I’d cut “Man in Black” in the wrong key. He had a horrible fit in the studio. Sally [Timms, from the Mekons] talked him down and coaxed this fantastic performance out of him, but I think he was a bit nervous. It was maybe a bit odd for him to be doing Johnny Cash songs.”

    Odd perhaps, but Timms did some good work there—Almond’s vocal track is arguably the best thing on the album.

    One of Langford and Riley’s clever ideas was to have Mary Mary, the (male) singer of the Grebo band Gaye Bykers on Acid execute a cover of Cash’s classic song “A Boy Named Sue.” They were concerned that Cash might not be enthusiastic being covered by anybody associated with a band of that name, but not a bit of it, he was totally open to it and found the idea entirely amusing.

    Keep reading after the jump…

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    The Teen Angel zine lovingly documented Chicano culture for decades
    11:51 am


    Teen Angel

    From 1977 to 2000, one of the strongest voices in the zine community was a Chicano artist and writer going by the name “Teen Angel.” Several years of working at a magazine called Lowrider delving into the details of Latino car culture convinced him that there was a market for a zine catering to broader issues in the Chicano community, which inspired him to start a zine with a name based on his pseudonym—Teen Angels.

    Teen Angel sought to expand the Lowrider concept into areas like fashion, art, and politics, and adopted a thoroughly unpretentious style with strong ties to Chicano prison art and tattoo design. Any young person seeking to find an identity in the Varrio was inevitably going to gravitate towards Teen Angels magazine. Chain stores, finding its offerings vulgar and limited in appeal, refused to carry the title, so Teen Angels was forced to find space in the places regular people actually congregated—in liquor stores and bodegas. Teen Angels gave young Chicanos an way to connect to other Chicanos using a catch-as-catch-can variety of strategies, including poems, doodles, photos, art, and a forum for pen pals.

    Designer Christian Acker believes that the name of the magazine is “a reference to the 1950s doo-wop and early rock ‘n’ roll song by Mark Dinning. There is a very heavy retro fifties influence in the entire culture of Southern California. And the way cholos dress and the hot rods and music are still very heavily influenced by that fifties, sixties early youth culture.”  He adds, “It seemed to give a medium and a voice to people who may not have had a way to get their art, poems, and writings out to an audience. It no doubt also gave inspiration to countless kids within that lifestyle to express themselves in these ways, or provide a model that was acceptable.”

    Teen Angel went on to create over 200 issues, which today fetch high prices among collectors (especially tattoo artists).  In 2005 a passionate fan of the publication named David De Baca stumbled upon some of Teen Angel’s art at an art fair, and realized, after spotting a signature on some of the art, that Teen Angel’s real name was actually Dave Holland. De Baca and Holland struck up a friendship, but unfortunately Holland passed away in 2015.

    This weekend, there will be a special exhibition focusing on the prolific output of Teen Angel, which will be held at the LA Art Book Fair at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. Kill Your Idols will also be publishing a limited edition book on Teen Angels magazine (500 copies).


    Tattoo typography

    Much more after the jump…....

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    That time Lemmy recorded a single with the (not so) ‘squeaky clean’ Nolan Sisters

    The Young & Moody Band were an R&B group formed around the talents of Bob Young and Micky Moody. Young was a musician and regular collaborator with Status Quo, co-writing with Franco Rossi some of the band’s best-known hits like “Caroline,” “Paper Plane” and “Down Down.” Moody was guitarist with Whitesnake. The pair met while Quo and Whitesnake were on tour and decided one late evening to form their own sideline band together. They settled on the catchy and easy to remember name of Young & Moody and duly recorded their first album which they released in 1977. Though decent enough this self-titled debut didn’t bring home much bacon. But there was enough interest from friends and fellow musicians for Young & Moody to develop into the unlikeliest of “supergroups.”

    In late 1980, Motörhead appeared on the BBC chart music show Top of the Pops. At that point in their career, Motörhead seemed to almost have booked a residency on this renowned pop show as they seemed to be on it so frequently—and were certainly one of the reasons for watching it. The thing about TOTP was its utterly baffling mix of hip, cult or heavy metal bands and rap artists with odious light entertainment trash. The likes of “The Birdie Song” or Renée and Renato could be heard warbling on the same show as say, Siouxsie and the Banshees or PiL. Watching TOTP was often self-inflicted harm, like pigging out on a box of candies just to find your one favorite soft center—to paraphrase Forrest Gump. 

    The night Motörhead were on the show, a popular light entertainment act was topping the bill—The Nolans.

    Now you have probably never heard of The Nolans or The Nolan Sisters as they once were known, but this quintet of fresh-faced sisters was Ireland’s most famous export next to probably Guinness or St. Paddy’s Day, at least until U2 made the big time. The Nolans looked like they’d spent the whole of their childhood singing in front the bedroom mirror with a hairbrush in hand. They were the female Osmonds or the Irish Jackson Five. They were good girls. They were wholesome. They were squeaky clean.

    The Nolans started out playing pubs and clubs in the north of England. They were real troupers. In 1974, they debuted on It’s Cliff Richard—the born-again Christian pop star who was once hailed as England’s Elvis.

    In 1975, the Nolans supported Frank Sinatra on his European tour. From then on the saccharine sisters never seemed to be off TV singing about “Scarlet Ribbons” or whatever. Then came a record deal and their breakthrough single “I’m in the Mood for Dancing” which catapulted the girls into global fame. Well, fame everywhere save for America.
    Lemmy and the Nolans—a match made in…. (photo Rama.)
    When Lemmy met the Nolans he only had only one thing on his mind as he told Q magazine in 2010:

    “No (there was no fling), but it wasn’t for the want of trying. They are awesome chicks. People forget those girls were onstage with Frank Sinatra at the age of 12. They’ve seen most things twice.

    “We were on Top of the Pops at the same time as them and our manager was trying to chat up Linda: the one with the bouffant hair and the nice boobs. He dropped his lighter and bent down to pick it up. Linda said to him, ‘While you’re down there, why don’t you give me a…’ It blew him away. We didn’t expect that from a Nolan sister. None of us did.

    “We were supposed to be the smelliest, loudest motherf**kers in the building but we more than met our match. We were in awe. You couldn’t mess with the Nolan sisters.”

    Now this is how one of the sisters, Colleen Nolan recounted meeting Lemmy in an article from 2015:

    Lemmy was the nicest, most intelligent, philosophical person you could ever meet - he’ll probably be turning in his grave now I’ve said that. Though, I was terrified when I met him for the first time in 1981. I was a Nolan sister and he was this scary-looking heavy metal guitarist. He was in The Young and the Moody band and The Nolans recorded the single, “Don’t Do That,” with them.

    I remember how much he loved women and big boobs . He was certainly fascinated with mine. He used to say: “Great t*ts!” but he was never being lecherous, he was just saying: “Be proud of yourself.” It wasn’t creepy, Lemmy actually made me feel good about being a woman.

    He did once ask me out for a drink though. I said: “Seriously, I could NOT take you home and introduce you to my mum - she’d have a heart attack!” But he found out that The Nolans weren’t that innocent either. When we did Top of the Pops he bent over to pick something up in front of us and Linda said: “While you’re down there…”

    The look of shock on his face was priceless.

    He thought he’d have to watch his behavior in front of the Von Trapps and there was Maria von Trapp being so crude. From that point on he realized we were ordinary people and we got along great.

    Music from Lemmy and The Nolans, after the jump…

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
    Joan of Arc video recreates Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight’ clip with stop motion animation
    11:11 am

    Pop Culture

    Phil Collins
    Joan of Arc

    Here’s Chicago’s Joan of Arc with a Dangerous Minds exclusive premiere of their new music video for “Never Wintersbone You” from their latest—and first album in five years—He’s Got The Whole This Land Is Your Land In His Hands out now on Joyful Noise Recordings. Directed by band members Melina Ausikaitis and Todd Mattei, and featuring a puppet and set design by Melina, “Never Wintersbone You” plays off of the infamous myth surrounding Phil Collin’s 1981 hit song, “In the Air Tonight,” from his debut solo album Face Value. The new video is modeled after that older music video, and stars a mullet-sporting Phil Collins stand-in doing some soul searching in empty rooms and endless hallways.
    I asked the band’s publicist about the “In the Air Tonight” myth and he said:

    The myth goes something like: a young Phil Collins and his friend went swimming and the friend was having trouble staying above water.  The life guard on the shore froze and did nothing to help. Phil’s friend drowned. Later, Phil hired a private detective to find the lifeguard, sent him a free ticket to his concert, and premiered “In the Air Tonight” with a spotlight on the man the whole time.

    Totally untrue but an awesome story. has a lot of information on the subject:

    Of all pop songs for which elaborate, apocryphal backstories have been created to explicate the lyrics, Phil Collins’ 1981 hit, “In the Air Tonight” (from his Face Value album), has perhaps the most varied and fantastic set of legends associated with it. Encompassing adultery, rape, murder, drowning, and the dramatic exposure of a reprehensible wrongdoer (resulting in an arrest or suicide), the narratives all include despicable acts either witnessed by Phil Collins or visited upon him and his family (or friends), inspiring the musician to exact a form of revenge by encapsulating the experience in the lyrics of a song.

    Amazing that such interesting stories can revolve around such a boring subject!

    The Joan of Arc video premieres today, right after the jump…

    Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
    The art of mourning: Vintage wreaths & other memorial keepsakes made with the hair of the dead
    10:22 am


    mourning wreaths

    A depiction of a French cemetery scene in a mourning dome made with human hair from 1881.

    Memorial artifacts that were made or contained the hair of the recently deceased is a mourning tradition that dates as far back as the 1600s. As a matter of fact, a place in Independence, Missouri that claims to be the “only hair museum in the world” Leila’s Hair Museum is in possession of a Swedish mourning brooch by that dates to 1640. Works of art made from hair were actually a pretty common thread throughout the world and while not all were intended to symbolize a person’s passing, the examples featured in this post were.

    During the Victorian era, owning mementos made with or containing hair was a way of life. Some families would create a hair wreath using hair from every member of their family which were used as a family tree of sorts and utilizing the hair as a way to communicate details about their lineage. Even churches were known to create hair wreaths created by donations from members of their congregations. Mourning wreaths would generally be constructed in a distinct half-moon style to convey that the deceased had begun the journey to the afterlife. Though they are in every sense of the word macabre, they are also intricate, intimate works of art.

    A close look at a memorial hair dome created in 1886.

    A mourning hair wreath made with human hair, wire, and wood. Approximately 1850-1900.

    More mourning wreaths after the jump…

    Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
    The ‘Pocket POTUS’: Tiny Trump meme taken to next level with video treatment
    09:45 am


    pocket POTUS

    Everyone by now has probably seen the photoshopped tiny Trump memes on social media and various websites. Including Trump himself. They’re everywhere. Well, npw some clever little fuckers by name of Evil Ice Cream Pictures decided to take it to the next level and created the “Pocket POTUS” video. It’s hilarious.

    I say keep these memes coming, as you know damned well Trump is looking at these. They have to be making him furious.

    Christian Nightmares

    Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
    Behind the scenes shots from the bloody set of ‘Reservoir Dogs’
    09:09 am


    Quentin Tarantino
    Reservoir Dogs

    Tim Roth (Mr. Orange) and Michael Madsen (Mr. Blonde) clowning around during the shooting of the 1992 film, ‘Reservoir Dogs.’
    Twenty-five years ago a 29-year-old Quentin Tarantino gave us all the gift of the blood-splattered bank robbery film gone wrong, Reservoir Dogs. Inspired by a number of Tarantino’s favorite films such as The Pope of Greenwich Village, The Taking of Pelham 123 and Stanley Kubrick’s audacious 1956 flick, The Killing, before shooting began Tarantino got a call from the Sundance Institute asking him to attend a filmmaker-centric workshop that solicited feedback on their concepts and techniques from people already deeply immersed in the film industry. 

    The first group that was exposed to Tarantino’s filming technique skewered the director regarding his skills as a cameraman. However, the second group that got a peek into the future mad scientist of filmmaking included Terry Gilliam—an obviously unconventional filmmaker in his own right. Gilliam clearly saw Tarantino’s potential and became an instant fan. So if you’ve ever wondered why Terry Gilliam’s name appears in the credits under the “special thanks” category, now you know. Also, if the scenes that were shot inside of the warehouse—which was actually once a mortuary—look authentically uncomfortable, there’s also a simple explanation for that as well. The film was shot in Los Angeles during its warmer months, which in turn helped pushed the inside temperature of the mortuary turned warehouse to 100 degrees at times. Because of this while poor Mr. Orange was lying around in an ever-expanding puddle of his own fake movie blood, he would occasionally find himself attached to the floor thanks to the faux blood’s reaction to heat.

    I could quite honestly fill an entire post based solely on the mythological backstory concerning this film but as I’m sure it is a favorite of our readers, I won’t go into more detail. What I will do is share with you loads of shots from the set as well as other candid images connected with the film that I really dug digging up for you. I’ve also included footage of Tarantino and Buscemi rehearsing scenes for the film together that you should watch right away before it gets pulled. And since this is Reservoir Dogs we’re talking about, some of what follows is NSFW. Much like Mr. Tarantino himself.

    Quentin Tarantino, Steve Buscemi (Mr. Pink), and Harvey Keitel (Mr. White) on the set of ‘Reservoir Dogs.’

    Tarantino at the LA premiere of ‘Reservoir Dogs’ in 1992.
    More after the jump…

    Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
    ‘Man Vs. Sofa’: Premiere of new music from Adrian Sherwood & Pinch
    09:03 am


    Adrian Sherwood
    Sherwood & Pinch

    You could be streaming all of the brand new UK bass album by Sherwood & Pinch, Man Vs. Sofa, at the bottom of this post right now. But instead you’re here, reading this, like a sucker. It’s as if, rather than walking directly through the entrance to a massive party, you paused to listen to a guy in a ratty sweater who was standing by the door shouting about how much fun he had inside.

    Sherwood is Adrian Sherwood, the English record producer and dub adventurer I interviewed for DM last summer, during the all-too-brief period when it was possible for me to feel smug about Brexit. The music on his second LP with the Bristol dubstep artist Pinch gets its science-fiction quality by superimposing claustrophobia on a wide-open dub soundscape: it gives you the experiences of contraction and expansion at once, like a spacesuit or a TARDIS.

    However you interpret the title, couch-lock is not the vibe. It’s late-night, clenched-jaw music. You could, perhaps, bathe your mind all day in the jazz chords resonating in Martin Duffy’s piano on “Midnight Mindset,” if they did not hang over beats the press materials describe as “technoid, insectoid and paranoid.”

    Sherwood’s longtime collaborator Skip McDonald, who played guitar in the Sugarhill Gang before he joined Mark Stewart’s band and founded Tackhead, is on here. Lee “Scratch” Perry appears on “Lies” to matter-of-factly inform the world’s liars of their damnation, as serenely as a postman delivers a disconnection notice. The London rapper Taz turns up on the last track, “Gun Law.” And is that Buckminster Fuller talking about infinity and self-deprogramming on “Unlearn”?

    Of particular interest to the DM reader is the Sherwood & Pinch remake of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s theme from Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, the 1983 film starring David Bowie as a British officer in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, which enters unexplored territory. (My friend from German Army recognized the tune immediately when we were listening to Man Vs. Sofa in his car yesterday.)

    Have a listen, after the jump…

    Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
    Oil paintings of ‘Seinfeld’ reruns
    01:36 pm



    In 2012 New York-based artist Morgan Blair was asked where she would be in 10 years. Among other things she looked forward to knowing “how Breaking Bad ends.” In the same interview she cited “whoever made the paintings above the Drake’s TV and couch in Seinfeld season 4 episode 22 “The Handicap Spot’” as her favorite artist. (I went and looked them up; they didn’t seem all that to me.)

    Blair clearly had Seinfeld on the brain around that time, which is also when she began turning out Seinfeld canvases. As she later stated,

    My process involves watching episodes of Seinfeld on my computer with my fingers poised to take screenshots at key moments, specifically when characters are covering their faces, at close-ups on plot device objects (a hand holding a business card, an eclair in the trash, etc) or any kind of situation that looks like a painting to me. Then I just go into each one trying to stay free, without really rendering them into blatant fan-art type images. Ultimately, I want the screenshots to serve as compositional jumping off points for more abstract studies, but sometimes they turn into more devoted representations of the characters.

    Blair’s website does not emphasize that the canvases are for sale, but she has sold a few of them, it seems.

    Not much of Elaine to be seen in the paintings on the website; George appears to be her favorite subject.


    Check more out after the jump….....

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    Gangsters and guns in Tokyo: Sydney Pollack on directing Robert Mitchum in ‘The Yakuza,’ 1974

    Robert Mitchum hated being a movie star. Being famous meant nothing to him. After all, as he often pointed out, one of the biggest stars in the world was Rin Tin Tin, “and she was a four-legged bitch.” Acting wasn’t real work. Real life was always more important than any two-bit ham who turned up, hit his mark and said his lines on cue. 

    Mitchum once claimed he had only two types of acting, one type for when he was on a horse and another when he was off. There was always this sense he was somewhat embarrassed by all the adulation from fans and sycophantic journalists who thought they owned a piece of him. It made Mitchum hate Hollywood with all the venom of someone who owed it everything he had.

    Yet for all his bravado, Robert Mitchum was one of Hollywood and cinema’s greatest actors. Over fifty-four years, Mitchum appeared in 110 movies. Many which were then and are still now considered among the best movies ever made—and this was often down to the quality of Mitchum’s performance whether he on or off a horse.

    While he was happy to share stories about his life and career with family and friends, Big Bad Bob had a reputation of being difficult to interview. Chat show host Michael Parkinson once had a very awkward interview with Mitchum where every question asked by Parkinson was met by the sleepy-eyed actor’s answer “Yep.” After about twenty minutes, Parkinson had had enough of this monosyllabic performance and asked if Mitchum if he ever said anything other than “Yep”? To which Mitchum replied, “Nope.”

    In January 1974, Mitchum arrived in Tokyo, Japan, to star in a gangster movie called The Yakuza. The script was written by two young writers, brothers Leonard and Paul Schrader. The film came about after Leonard Schrader went to Japan to dodge the draft in 1968. He found a job teaching, but when this fell apart, Schrader started to hang out with young yakuza gangsters. He was intrigued by their sharp suits, wraparound sunglasses and strict code of honor. He wanted to write a book about these gangsters but his brother Paul convinced him to turn it into a movie script instead.
    Leonard Schrader’s book ‘The Yakuza.’

    Written over a few weeks The Yakuza tells the story of a retired detective Harry Kilmer (Mitchum) asked to rescue a friend’s daughter who has been kidnapped by a yakuza gangster, Tono (Eiji Okada). Kilmer worked as a military policeman in Japan after the Second World War where he formed a relationship with a local woman Eiko (Keiko Kishi) who was working the black market to obtain penicillin for her sick daughter. Eiko’s brother Ken (Ken Takakura) a recently returned Japanese soldier was outraged by his sister’s friendship with the enemy. Kilmer ended the relationship with Eiko after helping her find the drugs for her child. He then returns to Tokyo to enlist Eiko and Ken’s help in saving his friend’s daughter from the yakuza.

    The script was hyped as “The Godfather meets Bruce Lee.” It started a bidding war among the studios which eventually delivered a $325,000 payout to the brothers and their agent—though Leonard only made twenty percent of the take. A young Martin Scorsese read the script but Paul Schrader wanted a big name to direct. Robert Aldrich was hired with Lee Marvin as lead. When Marvin dropped out, Mitchum took over. However, Mitchum stipulated he did not want Aldrich as director—there was bad blood between the two. Mitchum said he wanted Sydney Pollack instead.

    Pollack may have seemed an odd choice. He had just finished making The Way We Were a slushy romantic feature with Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. However, he had also directed the war movie Castle Keep, the western The Scalphunters, both starring Burt Lancaster, and the Oscar-nominated They Shoot Horses Don’t They? starring Jane Fonda and Michael Sarrazin.

    Pollack liked the script but thought it needed a rewrite. He brought in Robert Towne, who had written Villa Rides for Sam Peckinpah, The Last Detail for Hal Ashby and was then working on Chinatown for Roman Polanski. Towne later explained his involvement with The Yakuza: Japan, Yakuza films are sort of B-movies, where these gangsters … they’re sort of a combination of … if you took out soap operas on daily television and our B-gangster movies and mashed them together, you’d get a Yakuza film. Because the Japanese are very melodramatic, particularly in these films, in almost everything. And all these gangsters are stricken with this terrible sense of duty and obligation, that they’re obliged to do these things, so that in the end they end up killing 25,000 people or themselves or both or mutilating themselves. What was interesting to me was that the story deals with an American who goes over there to do a favor for an old friend. And in order to do this favor for an old friend, he has to see a Japanese gangster whose sister he had once been in love with, and asks him to help him rescue this friend’s daughter from other Japanese gangsters. And the kind of tangled web of obligation that results from this was interesting to me to work with, to make actions that are almost kind of … they’re really like a fairy tale. You just don’t imagine some guy getting to the point where he’ll be able to kill 25 people. To try and make that credible was interesting to me. And it deals with things like loyalty and friendship and abiding love, and it’s very romantic. And it was fascinating to me.


    I took it to be my task in reworking it, in the structural changes I made and in the dialogue changes and the character changes, to make it, from my point of view once you accepted the premise, credible that this American would go over there, would do this, would get involved in the incidents that he got involved in the script which would involve recovering a kidnapped daughter and then ultimately killing his best friend and killing 25 other people along with it and immolating himself. And I thought that in my reading of it, I just didn’t feel that he was provoked in the right way to do all that. It’s hard to make it credible that somebody would do that, and I tried to make it, from my point of view and the point of view of the director, more plausible. Not absolutely plausible, but plausible in the framework of this kind of exotic setting. […] When I had read it, I said these are the things that I felt should be done, and they agreed with me, so I did them. But it was pretty much agreed upon with the director and myself.

    More on ‘The Yakuza’ plus video of Pollack giving his own insight into the film, after the jump…

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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