Archive for May, 2015

The Sunday Intertitle: Bang! (Bum!)

Posted in FILM, Television with tags , , , on May 31, 2015 by dcairns

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Intertitle from SLECHETNY COWBOY SANDY, a Czech TV movie from 1964 which bears astonishing similarities to Oldrich Lipsky’s visually stunning western comedy LEMONADE JOE. Both Czech westerns reduce the genre to a level below the archetypal — the characters are hinged icons, ritually repeating bits of western business with only little blurts of free will to break them out of their obsessive-compulsive rootin’-tootin’ and get them on to the next scenario.

SLECHETNY, co-written and directed by someone called Eman Kanera, adds more inventive visual gags, and also inserts mock TV commercials inspired by events in the plot. Here’s one gag ~

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Gunpowder is slowly seeping from a barrel (top right) — as it passes in front of the snoring man (bottom right), his exhalations rhythmically cause the lantern (left) to flare up violently as grains of TNT are wafted into it. Punchline: the sleeper sneezes and there’s a huge explosion.

Followed by a helpful commercial for fire prevention facilities ~

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The film is wordless but gets along with charming Victorian intertitles, the simpler of which are handily bilingual.

Several cuts above Benny Hill, and I like to see reiterations of silent movie style, when it’s done well.

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Listen up, here’s the plan…

Posted in FILM with tags , , on May 30, 2015 by dcairns

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Over the years, at Shadowplay, I have occasionally devoted a full week to a filmmaker I wanted to get to grips with — off the top of my head, I can think of Frank Borzage, Joseph Losey, Otto Preminger, Anthony Mann and Rene Clement. Plus I did a week on American period movies of the seventies and supernatural blaxploitation movies.

From my point of view, those weeks certainly expanded my knowledge and motivated me, in a pleasurable way, to see a bunch of stuff I’d failed to catch up with. But maybe a sense of satiety set in, which meant I haven’t watched many Borzage, Preminger or Losey films since, and I still have quite a few to see. There aren’t that many Mann or Clement films left, but I’d like to catch up with the odd one or two, and revisit things like PLEIN SOLEIL in the light of my greater appreciation of the filmmaker.

So, I think I’m going to revisit each filmmaker, one a week, and devote a post to some interesting work previously missed. I just ran THE CRIMINAL (above), which I always knew I’d love, and somehow never previously got around to. It has all Losey’s best qualities and few of his worst and it’s scripted by Alun Owen of A HARD DAY’S NIGHT fame. So expect that one this week…

Now I just need something to call this series. THROWBACK THURSDAYS seems too obvious, and it would have to make way for The Forgotten every fortnight. Suggestions?

The Adams Family

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2015 by dcairns

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“I feel like I’ve joined a family!” burbled Fiona, who is now a submissions editor at Edinburgh International Film Festival.

“The Adams Family,” suggested Diane Henderson. Mark Adams being the new creative director, you see.

Anyhow, one film Fiona spotted in her viewings was BEREAVE, which got programmed and now she’s hugely looking forward to meeting the filmmakers, Evangelos and George Giovanis, and their stars Malcolm McDowell and Jane Seymour, who are all coming. The latter two are doing an In Person event each. Also In Person: Ewan McGregor, Johnnie To, and Seamus McGarvey interviewing Haskell Wexler, which is unmissable.

Also of interest to me: FUTURE SHOCK! a documentary on 2000AD, the comic book that warped my young mind; seasons on Walter Hill, American TV movies of the seventies (Michael Mann, Steven Spielberg, Tobe Hooper, Sam Peckinpah), and Mexican cinema, featuring a few revivals of classic cine dorado offerings MACARIO and MARIA CANDELARIA.

Fiona and I are equally excited about Neil Innes, whose The Rutles is showing.

I’ve written four reviews for the program this year, on MISERY LOVES COMEDY, IT’S ALREADY TOMORROW IN HONG KONG, THE CHAMBERMAID LYNN and, um, something else. Maybe more on that later.

The long-awaited new Peter Bogdanovich, SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY appears! Which I think used to be listed on the IMDb under the title SQUIRRELS TO THE NUTS, a CLUNY BROWN reference which indicates his heart is in the right place. The cast is a VERY exciting medley of P-Bog favourites, including Tatum O’Neil, Cybill Shepherd, Colleen Camp. Austin Pendleton, Joanna Lumley, with leads Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson and Imogen Poots. I’m going to give it a shot.

COP CAR stars Kevin Bacon but second lead is Shea Whigham, and that’s enough to get me seriously stoked. Whoh!

They’re showing ROAR! That’s the one WTF decision. Otherwise, you get revivals of THE THIRD MAN, WATERLOO, THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123, DREDD (3D), THE BRAVE DON’T CRY and the newly-restored, de-Weinsteined director’s cut of 54. I saw the original release version, about the popular disco for heterosexuals. I’m assuming the new cut will be about 89% less heterosexual otherwise I’m still not going to be satisfied.

Animation: Barry Purves, possibly the best stop-motion artist in the world, is attending with his oeuvre. And from the sublime to Ralph Bakshi: three of his seventies features are screening. Plus Pixar;s INSIDE OUT and three shows of shorts (not enough, in my view).

I always pick a random smattering of the Black Box screenings, which is the experimental strand. I never know what I’m going to get, because it’s not really my area, but I’ve learned to trust the programmers there.

Most exciting, for us: though this is the first time in two years we don’t have a film in the fest, our great friend Colin McLaren, who wrote DONKEYS, does, and it’s the opening film. Robert Carlyle stars and directs with an unrecognizable Emma Thompson in THE LEGEND OF BARNEY THOMSON (see top). More soon…