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sad news the badass Frank McRae has died aged 80 : although he wasn’t a huge star and quite often found himself in smaller roles Frank managed to put his own stamp on the movie world, giving us character’s we fondly remember, with eye catching performances such as Harry in *batteries Not Included, Ogden Jones alongside Dan Aykroyd in 1941, Mr Teasdale in the 1984’s cult classic Red Dawn, Dekker in The Last Action Hero, and Haden in 48hrs, he also starred in other films such as 007’s Licence to Kill, 1973’s gangster film Dillinger and not to mention his collaboration’s with Sylvester Stallone on film’s such as F.I.S.T., Paradise Alley, Lock Up and Rocky II : as I look around my film library and spot some of the film’s mentioned I’m sad at his loss but I also smile reminiscing at the many delightful performances this wonderful character actor has given us….
A couple get stranded in an abandoned 6-meter pool alongside a deadly Crocodile that has recently escaped captivity : I love watching world cinema and recently discovered the work of Thailand’s Ping Lumpraploeng an excellent writer/director who’s latest work THE POOL captured my imagination, so without further ado here’s my movie thoughts : Theeradej Wongpuapan is one of Thailand’s most popular stars and his performance in The Pool is one of the main reasons the movie is so damn watchable, from it’s opening shots of Wongpuapan’s character Day slowly opening his eye’s to find himself in the depths of the drained pool and as he tries to fend of the jaws of this gnarly crocodile with a bucket I knew instantly this would be my movie jam : what I really look for in a good survival movie is whether it’s filmmaker can bring something new to the party and keep the film from being the same old…. well Lumpraploeng’s The Pool is certainly not stale, it’s inventive and for it’s 90mins runtime your truly on the edge of your seat : I love the way the film shifts it’s dynamic and goes from Day’s crocodile attack at the beginning to “6 Days Earlier…” it’s quite brilliant as we not only discover how Day and Koi find themselves at the bottom of this abandoned pool but we also get the build up to the events of those opening survival shots : along with it’s cast and location another triumph in creating the film’s high anxiety levels is the film’s sound, of course the growl of the Crocodile or the crack of thunder is effective and nerve jangling but it’s the atmospheric score that really does ramp up the tension levels : some of my favorite moments in the movie include that scene with an injured Day crawling through the underground drain tunnels and manages to get through an adjacent manhole… also that moment when Day tries to retrieve the tape from the open jaws of the basking Crocodile is nail biting… in these type of movies you can usually call a few things before they happen but I have to say that what happens to Lucky the dog absolutley floored me, it came right out of the blue and what followed straight after was insane and tough to swallow : so if you love your survival movies then look no further than Ping Lumpraploeng excellent THE POOL it’s SUPERB and highly ENTERTAINING ★★★★
Born on the 18th December 1946 : STEVEN SPIELBERG has crafted one of the finest, unparalled bodies of work of any movie director, his films have touched, entertained and astonished millions across the world : his work includes some of my personal favorites such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jurassic Park and E.T. and so many more that I have grown up watching, loving and revisiting as often as I can : his latest movie to hopefully land on the big screen will be the remake of West Side Story and keeping busy Spielberg is in pre-production on The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara a film based on the book by David I. Kertzer and will reunite it’s director with Mark Rylance : to celebrate Steven Spielberg‘s 74th birthday I think it’s only right that I quote one of my favorite lines from his finest movie “It’s not the years, honey. It’s the milage” (Indiana Jones)
One of my favorite Steven Spielberg quotes : “When you listen, you learn, You absorb like a sponge : and your life becomes so much better than when you are just trying to be listened to all the time”
Number 16 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : A group of people barricade themselves in an old farmhouse to remain safe from a bloodthirsty, flesh-eating breed of monster who are ravaging the United States. : “They’re coming to get you, Barbra!…” : There’s good zombie films and then there’s George A Romero’s 1968 ghoulfest NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD : crafted in black & white with a runtime of 96mins this slice of horror is pure suspense, alongside a towering performance full of energy & style by New Yorker Duane Jones & scares that would make most of today’s horror films blush Night of the Living Dead is high calibre filmmaking, by a director at his most raw & potent best : I recently rewatched the restored Criterion edition and was reminded (like I am every year) on how creepy the movie holds up, from it’s unique appearance, how fiendishly evil the undead look to the films unsettling graveyard and old farmhouse shot’s with it’s black-and-white filming only adding extra spice to the unnerving viewing experience : Judith O’Dea’s Barbra is terrific, the way she shows us her character’s shock after loosing her brother in the cemetary attack and the terror she’s overcome with is quite chilling : I love the scene in the movie which sees Harry coming up from the basement and arguing with Ben on why they should all be barricaded in down below, Hardman & Jones have the floor mostly to themselves and it’s all quite riverting, Tom & Judy’s ill fated trip to collect some gas from the barn is also one my movie highlights, from it’s chaotic build up, big explosion to the aftermath of Harry locking Ben out of the house to be breathtaking : since it’s release Night of the Living Dead has spawned a zombie franchise and countless other immitations but for me Romero’s original beats all others hands down and is still a spine-chilling masterpiece ★★★★★
Number 20 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : Carrie White is a shy teenage girl, sheltered in life by her domineering mother, unleashes her telekinetic powers after being humiliated by her classmates at her senior prom : As Stephen King movie adaptions go Brian De Palma’s CARRIE is the finest to date, a supernatural horror centered around high school bullying, bad parenting and the over powering use of religion : like King’s novel Carrie is heartbreaking to watch and the way De Palma’s movie shows Carrie’s transformation from innocence to power weilding destroyer is quite terrifying : I know some people will always criticise the changes from book to movie but in fairness the only change which I was slightly unhappy with was how Carrie killed her momma played in the movie by the deliciously evil Piper Laurie (in the book Carrie killed her by stopping her heart with her powers, in De Palma’s movie she was killed by various knives nailing her to the wall like a Crucifixion) : along with the great Sissy Spacek & Piper Laurie I was absolutley floored by Nancy Allen’s turn as Chris, her nasty, lick lipping performance is enough to make you spit blood and absolutley loathe her character : the use of sound and score by Pino Donaggio is enough to stand your hair on end and De Palma captures each scene with haunting precision and although the bucket scene at the prom is the film’s most talked about moment and by god it made my stomach turn, my favourite has to be when Carrie is argueing with her momma whilst getting ready to be picked up by Tommy and taken to the prom, it’s terrific piece of acting by both, the bed scene is still quite unnerving “Sit Down” yells Carrie and you can see the fear in Piper Laurie’s eye’s as she’s pinned to the bed : CARRIE (the 1976 version) is as powerful and disturbing today as it was back upon it’s release, a film full of religious themes and supernatural elements that shock, anger and reward thanks to it’s great performances & disturbing narrative ★★★★★
Ripley is rescued by a deep salvage team after being in hypersleep for 57 years during which time LV-426 has been colonized, but contact has been lost. A bunch of colonial marines along with Ripley are sent to investigate : Written and Directed by James Cameron ALIENS is the BEST MOVIE SEQUEL OF ALL TIME, it was filmed back in 1986 for $18 million (yep your reading this right) and in my opinion it even betters Ridley’s first movie for pure action, suspense and incredible effects : For my latest rewatch I decided to revisit the Aliens Special Edition which contains a VITAL 17 minutes of extra footage : those extra scene’s really do add to the great characters that we have grown to love and hate over the years, adding much more depth and filling some of the theatrical release plot holes such as Newt’s backstory, more stunning panning shots on LV-426, extra scenes involving the marines and more of Hudson’s badass humor : One thing that doesn’t get mentioned too much is the film’s terrific action score by the late composer James Horner, considering the time restriction and conditions Horner found himself in during filming his atmospheric, bruising and deliciously heart thumping score certainly left it’s mark, receiving an Oscar Nomination and contributes greatly to Cameron’s movie : One of my favourite scenes in the movie is when Ripley takes it upon herself to go and rescue the marines after Gorman decides to have a meltdown, it’s a hand in the mouth moment that’s exhilarating to watch as she’s straps Newt in and takes control of their vehicle, but in fairness each and every scene in ALIENS are so damn good : There’s no doubt if your a fan of the franchise and have not seen this special edition then and get out and buy a copy & of course it’s just another excuse to submerge yourself in some mind blowing scifi by one of the masters of the genre James Cameron ★★★★★
After serving time in prison a 47-year old Al Capone starts suffering from dementia and is haunted by his violent past – Blurring his past with the present comes a facinating character study into one of the most evil gangsters of all time – Josh Trank’s CAPONE is an absorbing watch, with flashes of violence & brilliance that shows once again the might of Tom Hardy and the formidable work of Linda Cardellini – along with the film’s injection of black humor such as Capone’s fishing meltdown alongside Matt Dillon and the brilliant Tommy Gun scene you also get to feel quite sad for this monster as you watch his final moments decend into lunacy, incontinence and utter mayhem – My only criticism is that CAPONE felt 30mins too short, Trank could have delved further into Capone’s fascinating backstory, more carnage and maybe let the viewer discover a little more about his wife and best friend Mae Coughlin (maybe a prequel Josh?) but that being said the film is outstanding, well written and almost Kubrick in style and I for one can’t wait to revisit Capone many more times ★★★★½
I never really knew the man Philip Seymour Hoffman – I only knew his film & stage work, his memorable scene stealing performances in the mid 90’s to his later roles that gave him some critical acclaim with four Oscar Nominations amongst which a gold statue for Best Actor in 2005’s Capote – he was quite simply one of the screen’s finest actors, a towering movie star who lit up any movie with his undoubted presence and stature – it was testament to his talent that every director wanted to film him and every actor wanted to work with him – Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014)
Whenever I see a cool movie montage I get chills up and down my spine and wish the day was long enough to watch them all one after the other – this 2mins clip of the classic movies of yesteryear is not quite long enough but gives you a small taste of what MGM has given us all over the years, so many memories and so many wonderful pictures – take a look at the video below & whilst your enjoying the clip wish MGM a Happy 90th Birthday!!!