Archive for Wachowskis

Everybody’s a Critic

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on January 30, 2016 by dcairns

Dead Critics D Cairns from David Cairns on Vimeo.

So, I may have mentioned that I directed twenty seconds of the bottom right-hand corner of CLOUD ATLAS…

The filmmakers wanted a fast montage showing the book Knuckle Sandwich by Dermot Hoggins (Tom Hanks, in maybe the best of the film’s many makeups) becoming a runaway bestseller after Hoggins murders his only reviewer by chucking him off a tower block. Tom Tykwer seemed to find the idea of killing a critic highly amusing, so I went along with that when I took the job of directing

I think enough time has passed that I can post the video of my bit. If you see the movie, the splitscreen goes by so fast and in a babel of sound that you wouldn’t really know it had happened. Looking at the piece now, I don’t like it too much — the “satirical” tone is unconvincing and it’s not clear what kind of show this is meant to be. It totally lacks the satirical authenticity of a Brass Eye, for instance. I do think we could probably have done something in between our minute-long first cut and the twenty-second final version, which might have played better, but a job’s a job.

There was a suggestion that all the split-screen segments might turn up as extras on the Blu-ray but I don’t think this ever happened — correct me if I’m wrong.

Jo Gil and Nelisa Alcalde were my ace team.

The Knuckle Sandwich plotline of CLOUD ATLAS also features Niall Fulton as one of Hanks’ brothers, marking a pleasing connection with LET US PREY, NATAN, CRY FOR BOBO and THE NORTHLEACH HORROR, in which he also appears, playing, respectively, a psychotic GP, a papier-mache film producer, a Keystone cop and a Nazi officer.

My review of CLOUD ATLAS, posted from the Dublin International Film Festival where NATAN was also showing, is here.


Blue Sky Casting: Preston Sturges’ MATRIX

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on March 10, 2008 by dcairns

 I know kung-fu

There’s an unproduced Preston Sturges script, first written in the thirties, later floated in the forties as a possible Gene Tierney vehicle, called MATRIX. I once contacted the Sturges family via their website, asking if there were any plans to publish the document. It would be more useful to have out there than all the scripts of the Sturges films that WERE made, excellent though they are.

Alas, the Sturgeses (Sturgi?) replied that they preferred to keep MATRIX to themselves, which struck me as slightly selfish, but it’s their right I suppose.

So we must use our imaginations as to what Preston Sturges’ MATRIX might have been…

We don't know who struck first, us or them

The Cast:

Eddie Bracken … Neo (Let’s be honest, how many computer geeks look like Keanu Reeves?)

William Demarest … Morpheus (I want to see him do that pratfall [above] in “bullet time”)

Ella Raines … Trinity (my octogenarian friend Lawrie said, “I was always very interested in Ella Raines, because I’d heard she was a lesbian, and of course… I had no idea what that meant.”)

Al Bridge … Agent Smith (he’s got the DRAWL)

Jimmy Conlin … Oracle

Franklin Pangborn … The Architect 

Veronica Lake … Persephone

Akim Tamiroff … Twin #2

Lionel Stander … Twin #1

Eric Blore … the Merovingian (and why not?)

The body cannot live without the mind

I feel a little guilty about casting a white guy in Larry Fishburn’s role, but I would feel more guilty about casting Sturges’ favourite black actor, “Snowflake”… although he’s a very funny guy.

Sturges had the best stock company of supporting players of any filmmaker. I bet you could cast any movie with that troupe. As Easter approaches, I’m thinking about doing KING OF KINGS.

Euphoria #29 Bang Bang!

Posted in Comics, FILM, MUSIC with tags , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2008 by dcairns

Welcome to the first Euphoria Double Feature!


My bestest pal Robert Thomson suggested — immediately — this example of Euphoric Cinema from the recent V FOR VENDETTA. Despite my recent vow to keep action movie climaxes out of this slot, I remembered how moved I was by this flick, and relented.

Contains mega-spoilers (it’s the end of the film, OK?).

Blowing up the Houses of Parliament is a fantasy that only really took hold of me during this latest Labour administration. During the Thatcher years I tended to dream more modestly, of assassination. But direct action like that rarely results in actual political improvements, however satisfying it might feel at the time.

V FOR VENDETTA is a political fairy tale, and they’re obviously not worried about such concerns.

It’s pretty amusing that Tony Blair’s son assisted in crowd control when they filmed outside Parliament. The more so since the filmmakers aren’t fooling — the dystopian fascist state they portray is the one we’re living in, and the government they suggest detonating is the one sitting in power right now.


Although I find the V.O. cheesy, and weakening to the message, I must admit I had tears in my eyes as the end creds rolled to the tune of “Street Fightin’ Man”

I can understand Alan Moore getting cheesed off at the bad films made from his comics (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was such a simple concept you really would have thought that even Don Murphy could get it right; From Hellhad a central principle of historical accuracy behind it which, once abandoned, renders the whole exercise of adaptation pointless) but he should have cut this one some slack. The Wachowskis altered the premise, and the message, mainly to bring it up to date and make the film more cutting and relevant.

Our second explosive outburst is the suggestion of producer Laura Clarke: the ending of FIGHT CLUB. Here the fireworks arguably come second to the song, the Pixies’ lovely Where Is My Mind? A lovingly chosen song can be infused into a film and meld with its images; on the other hand, a big-budget film can just buy up great songs and pour them over its scenery like syrup. Deciding which is the case here is a matter for you.

FIGHT CLUB’s romantically nihilistic endpoint was seen by some as rather embarrassing after 9:11, but seems to have emerged from that shadow. Many terror-pundits prophesied that large-scale destruction would no longer be dished up as entertainment after the WTC conflagration, but we knew better, didn’t we? And I’d argue that it’s America and Britain’s behaviour since 2001 that has made scenes like the V FOR VENDETTA pyrotechnics display so desirable and cathartic.

DAMN it felt good to watch that building blow up.

But there will be no more such eruptions here at Euphoria Shadowplay: nothing that explodes, ignites, crashes, or gets riddled with bullets and falls to the ground in a blood-sodden heap. Just the little moments that make you joyous. So come on, all you wonderful people out there in the dark — this is YOUR chance to show the world your smiliest things!