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Travis Bickle’s got the shakes
09:38 pm


Travis Bickle
Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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The Loving Trap: Brilliant Adam Curtis parody
02:23 pm


Adam Curtis

Absolutely spot-on parody of BBC documentarian Adam Curtis’s signature style by “psychonomy.” Perfectly encapsulates my own reaction to each and every one of his films:

In a landmark new documentary produced for YouTube, Adam Curtis has not examined his career and laid bare his style in the light of some confused academic papers he stumbled across on the internet. Instead, I have plundered various video archives and ripped him off, up, down, left, right and back again.

The documentary films of Adam Curtis are entertaining, for sure, and thought-provoking, too, but I always feel that he takes but one strand of a very complex braid of historical confluences, and then presents this sliver of history as if it is THE received truth in that authoritative BBC voice of his. I do enjoy watching his films (and I like his blog, too) but he completely fails to win me over to his arguments each and every time.

Thank you Niall O’Conghaile and John Caples!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) disguise kit

Truly one of the dumbest products I’ve ever seen. Apparently with this, uh… versatile mustache disguise kit you can pretend you’re in Star Wars, endorse Colt 45 malt liquor or be a mac daddy ladies’ man. It’s entirely up to you!  The mustache is $7.99 at the Star Wars Shop.

(via Gorilla Mask)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Happy Birthday Norman Bates: Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ turns 51 today
01:43 pm


Alfred Hitchcock

Today in 1960, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho was released, ushering in the age of ultra-violence in American cinema and to some extent the independent movie (Paramount were aghast at Psycho‘s script, so Hitchcock financed the film via his own Shamley Productions for $806,947.55)

Based on the novel of the same name by famed author Robert Bloch, Psycho was inspired by real-life murderer Ed Gein. It was filmed in black and white, not just to save money, but because Hitchcock knew that the shower scene would have just been too much in color. Principle filming took place on the set of Revue Studios, the same location where Hitchcock shot his television show. The Bates Motel set is still standing at the Universal Lot (see above).

Janet Leigh was apparently so upset after she saw the infamous shower scene (which had over 50 edits and used chocolate sauce for as the blood stand-in) that she tried to avoid them for the rest of her life. Leigh told documentary producers in 1997 that she would only shower if everything in the house was locked down first and she felt safe. She also always left the bathroom door open.

As, well, psychotic as Psycho is, it would take another twelve years before Hitchcock would film his sickest film of all, Frenzy. You wanna talk about a sick film? Frenzy makes Psycho seem tame by comparison. Today’s “torture porn” ain’t got nuthin’ on Hitch, baby!


Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Cast and Crew’: Documentary on the making of the ‘The Long Good Friday’

It started when producer Barry Hanson asked writer Barrie Keeffe, one night, what film he’d like to see? Keeffe said he wanted to see an American gangster film set in the East End of London. There was nothing like it on at the cinema, so Hanson told Keeffe to write it. The result was The Long Good Friday, a movie regularly voted the greatest British gangster film, and one of the best British films, of all time. High praise for a movie that was nearly re-cut, dubbed and pumped out onto TV by its original parent company, ITC, who hated it.

I was lucky enough to see The Long Good Friday, when it was screened at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 1980 as the highlight to a mini-retrospective of director John MacKenzie’s work. It had an indelible effect.

MacKenzie was established as a major talent, having made the films Unman, Wittering and Zigo with David Hemmings in 1969, and Made with Carol White and Roy Harper in 1972. He had also achieved further success directing Peter MacDougall’s brilliant dramas Just Another Saturday, which won the Prix Italia, Just A Boys’ Game, which starred rock singer Frankie Miller, and MacDougall’s adaptation of notorious hardman, Jimmy Boyle’s biography, A Sense of Freedom. Now he had just completed a film that captured the essence of 1980’s Britain under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Written by Barrie Keeffe, a former journalist who made his name writing political drams for TV and theater, Scribes (1976), about newspaper workers during a strike, .Gimme Shelter (1975–7), a powerful trilogy that dealt with deprivation, frustration and anger of working-class youth, and the tremendous BBC drama Waterloo Sunset, starring the legendary Queenie Watts.

Keeffe wrote The Long Good Friday in three days, over an Easter weekend. Originally called The Paddy Factor, the story dealt with East End gangster Harold Shand (Bob Hoskins) who plans to go into partnership with the Mafia to redevelop London, only to fall foul of the IRA. The film co-starred Helen Mirren, (who battled to make her character, Victoria, stronger), a young Pierce Brosnan, and Eddie Consantine, as the Mafia don.

The script came from all the stories Keeffe heard growing-up and working as a reporter on the Stratford Express, as he told the Arts Desk last year:

The seeds were planted then; it was a very fertile time, just before the end of the Krays’ empire, and a lot of my plays, and some of the incidents in The Long Good Friday, came from my experiences. For instance, one of the gangland punishments, if you strayed into someone else’s territory, was to crucify you to the warehouse floor. As a very innocent junior reporter, a young 18, I was sent to interview a guy in hospital. He was covered in bandages and I asked him what had happened. He said, with that wonderful East End humour, “Do you understand English, son? Well, put it down to a do-it-yourself accident.”

Filmed the same year as Thatcher’s election, The Long Good Friday predicted much of the change Conservative rule would bring to London and the British isles.

The Long Good Friday was obviously about the transformation of the East End. The Bob Hoskins character was talking about the end of the Docks and mile after mile of territory for “profitable progress” - I think that was his phrase. I saw the film again about five years ago and it has a scene showing this model of how the area would look under the developers. It underestimated it completely - it ought to have shown Canary Wharf looking like Manhattan. Looking at it, I was taken by the fact that none of us had foreseen the enormous scale of change.

The Long Good Friday was a film “raging” at what was about to happen to the country, the story of gangsterism / Thatcherism / Captialism coming face-to-face with terrorism / idealism.

Cast and Crew: The Long Good Friday brings together John MacKenzie, Barrie Keeffe, Barry Hanson, actor Derek Thompson, casting director Simone Reynolds to discuss the film, its making and its legacy. There are also interviews from Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren. Watching Keeffe and MacKenzie around a table together, there is still the crackle of creative tension, as writer and director both lay claim to the film’s success.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

The ‘Get Carter’ Killing

Singer Frankie Miller stars in Peter MacDougall’s legendary gang film ‘Just a Boys’ Game’

More from ‘Cast and Crew’ plus bonus clip, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Le Tigre: Who Took the Bomp?

It’s been some time since we’ve last heard from iconic feminist rockers, Le Tigre. A new DVD titled Who Took the Bomp? Le Tigre on Tour has just been released with a mix of footage from their 2004 world tour and conversations with band members JD Samson, Johanna Fateman and Kathleen Hanna. It was directed by Kerthy Fix. interviewed Hanna about the project:

How did the documentary come about?
We were about to go on tour in 2004 and I was thinking how there was no good documentation of the projects I’ve done, and about how weird we all were in the ‘90s, like “Don’t photograph me!” We were so freaked about being sucked up by the mainstream that we didn’t even document ourselves. I didn’t want that to happen to me, as a grownup. We put some money into a camera to shoot our shows, just to have it, not really thinking that we’re making a movie. Then we started filming stuff on the bus or backstage. After, we stopped touring, revisited some of the material and slowly started putting it into the project and finally it’s done, six years later.

What’s your favorite part of the movie?
I like a lot of the stuff that Johanna says about JD in the interview part. There is some stuff that we never really say to each other because it’s too corny. Like, you don’t actually sit in a room and go, “Here’s what you brought to the band.” It was interesting to hear Jo say these sweet, sentimental things about JD. She talked about a lot of stuff that happened in terms of JD’s gender and presentation, how that did change how people perceived us as a band. I definitely got an education by seeing the way a journalist would treat her and not know how to treat her. I don’t know, I guess it just brought this issue to the fore. It felt really good to have that spoken out loud.

Was there anything that you might have forgotten about or were surprised to see?
Just how goofy we were. I don’t think people think of us as being that goofy and I don’t think of us as being that goofy, but looking back at the footage I was like, “Oh my God.” Every time the camera went on we were totally goofy and I know when the camera went off, we were equally goofy. I sort of forgot about that, that everything was kind of a joke and lighthearted and it was really in contrast to some of the other things that were going on that were really heavy. It was either really heavy, like “We’re being boycotted!” and then trying to put a Band-Aid on everything with humor, all the time.

Read more of Kathleen Hanna Looks Back on Le Tigre, Praises Lady Gaga’s Gay Pride, Dismisses ‘Boring’ Odd Future (Spinner)
Below, a live “Deceptacon” from Who Took the Bomp?

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Tom Selleck and Sean Young’s screen test for ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’

Here’s a screen test shot back in 1980 of Tom Selleck and Sean Young performing “the bar scene” for Raiders of the Lost Ark. Apparently Tom Selleck was the first choice for the role of Indiana Jones, but CBS would not let him out of his Magnum PI contract to film the movie. And yeah, the audio is a bit out of sync.

Not too shabby. I think Tom Selleck would have made a convincing Indiana Jones. I’m not so sure Jones would sport a pornstache, though.

Bonus: Indiana PI

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Selleck Waterfall Sandwich

(via Super Punch)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Cold Fish: Sion Sono film festival at Cinefamily
11:20 am


Sion Sono
Love Exposure
Cold Fish

I’ve been raving about the work of Japanese film director Sion Sono for a few days here on the blog. This weekend at Cinefamily in Los Angeles, several of Sono’s films will be shown and there will either be an introduction or else a post-film Q&A with the director. Friday night there will be a special free screening of Sono’s latest film, Cold Fish:

Right from its sucker-punch opening with its jagged hand written titles and razor editing, Sion Sono’s Cold Fish grabs you by the hair and drags you through an intense narrative of betrayal, infidelity and murder. Ostensibly inspired by the story of a real-life Japanese serial killer (who raised dogs, rather than fish), Cold Fish has all of Sono’s trademark brilliance and nihilism in its tale of sad-sack Shamoto (Mitsuru Fukikoshi), who’s stuck with a failing fish store and a family who hates him. When Shamoto meets the the charismatic and rich Murata, owner of a popular high-end fish shop and a hot-red Ferrari (Denden, in one of the greatest serial killer portrayals of the last few decades), his life changes irrevocably. Easily manipulated and coerced into progressively worse situations, it’s not long before Shamoto realizes that not only has Murata car-jacked his life, but he’s also shut the windows, locked the doors and is driving them full-speed off of a cliff.

Series co-presented by Giant Robot and Bloody-Disgusting

Watch the trailer for Cold Fish blow. Register for free tickets to the screening here.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘There Will Be Blood’ and ‘Boogie Nights’ redubbed with Disney character voices


YouTuber dingdangler is back with the most violent scene from There Will Be Blood redubbed with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck voices. This is damn hysterical, especially near the 1:07 mark. 

Bonus: Mark Wahlberg and John C. Reilly AKA “Dr. Steve Brule” rocking out in Disney Nights.


(via The High Definite)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Heads Up Their Asses: ‘Human Centipede II’ banned in the UK

Picture from Needles and Sins.
Well, it feels like quite a while since we’ve had a genuine “ban this filth” furore kicked up over a horror film in the UK. Moral panic over celluloid work is something the British do very well - and not just the infamous Video (Nasties) Recording Act of 1984, but also the public and private reactions to films such as Reservoir Dogs, A Clockwork Orange, Child’s Play 3, The Exorcist, Visions of Ecstasy and more. Now there’s a new film to be added to that list, or if you will sown on to the end of the chain. The British Board of Film Classifications (the BBFC) has taken the decision to place an outright ban on director Tom Six’s soon-to-be-not-released Human Centipede II (Full Sequence).

According to the BBFC’s website, here are the reasons for the ban:

*Spoilers Alert!*

The principal focus of The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is the sexual arousal of the central character at both the idea and the spectacle of the total degradation, humiliation, mutilation, torture, and murder of his naked victims. Examples of this include a scene early in the film in which he masturbates whilst he watches a DVD of the original Human Centipede film, with sandpaper wrapped around his penis, and a sequence later in the film in which he becomes aroused at the sight of the members of the ‘centipede’ being forced to defecate into one another’s mouths, culminating in sight of the man wrapping barbed wire around his penis and raping the woman at the rear of the ‘centipede’. There is little attempt to portray any of the victims in the film as anything other than objects to be brutalised, degraded and mutilated for the amusement and arousal of the central character, as well as for the pleasure of the audience. There is a strong focus throughout on the link between sexual arousal and sexual violence and a clear association between pain, perversity and sexual pleasure. It is the Board’s conclusion that the explicit presentation of the central character’s obsessive sexually violent fantasies is in breach of its Classification Guidelines and poses a real, as opposed to a fanciful, risk that harm is likely to be caused to potential viewers.


I saw Human Centipede (First Sequence) at the cinema, and enjoyed it a lot (it was in fact a first date, and we are still very much together). While I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was a classic, it was well made, delivered some good scares (mostly centred around the excellent, unhinged performance by Dieter Laser as herr doktor, above) and it wasn’t as gory as I was expecting. The horror did indeed come from the central idea, a rare feat in today’s saturated, torture-porn market. While last year’s A Serbian Film featured some very heavy sexual violence, and was heavily cut by the BBFC, it still played in cinemas and on DVD systems across the land. It seems that mere graphic sexual violence is not enough to get a film banned, it is indeed about the film maker’s intent. And herein lies the problem.

Personally I do not believe in the power of prohibition, and feel particularly irked by the thought that there are a group of people somewhere making decisions on what I can and cannot watch without knowing a single thing about me (and yet assuming the worst about my character). What is the point in this day and age when uncut versions of pretty much anything can be obtained at the click of a mouse? However, I also know how the horror industry works, and absolutely any whiff of scandal that can be created must be exploited for maximum exposure. Human Centipede II (Final Sequence) was shot in England, so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that director Tom Six knew the BBFC guidelines and decided to deliberately flout them. The UK has a relatively small market but a powerful media presence, and let’s face it, the film will get a hell of a lot more column inches now than it would have otherwise. For a series of horror films based on a truly disturbing central idea, getting one banned is a masterstroke. Because no amount of onscreen depravity will ever match up to the dark fantasies we create in our heads when imaging how bad a banned film might be.

Writing this post (which I wouldn’t have done were it not for the ban) I decided to look up the trailer for HC2FS, and was rather dismayed at the result. It’s all going a bit Von Trier for my liking - that is when a director’s ego and persona becomes much larger, and more of a focal point, than the actual work they are creating and promoting. Thus bad film making can be excused through a cult of personality. And before any fan people jump on me for that statement, it’s acknowledged that Von Trier has used his own persona, and people’s perception of it, to break his films out of the Danish art market and on to the international stage. It’s not a crime per se, but it still pisses me off, especially if the directors are just not as interesting as they think they are, as is the case here. So, principle photography and at least the first edit of HS2:FS must be ready for the BBFC to pass a judgement, but when it comes to trailers all the public can we see is this rather self-indulgent and poorly executed “personality director” clip. Is this supposed to brew disturbing images in my mind and make me want to see the new film? Sorry Tom Six, but it doesn’t. It bores me and makes me want to see it less: 

Thanks to Keith Jukes for the headline!


Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Discussion
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