Posts Tagged ‘40 Days’
My favourite movie of all time stars Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine in a quite extraordinary film based on the play by Anthony Shaffer. Both stars play their parts brilliantly – Olivier is the best selling author Andrew Wyke who loves playing games; Caine is the hairdressing lothario who is having an affair with Wyke’s estranged wife – and capture your attention from the very first moment to the unexpected ending. The film is akin to one of Wyke’s games; complicated and full of twists and turns which elevate it from a standard whodunnit to a whosgonnadowhatnow?
The script fairly crackles and gives both actors ample opportunity to chew up the screen, taking turns to play victim and hunter, all the while seemingly having a ball.
Unlike many of the same genre, Sleuth bares watching many times because while the ending remains the same, there are some little touches and props which you will catch anew upon repeat viewings. I love to see which of the victorian mechanical toys or playsets.
An excellent film, beautfully written, acted and directed.
Oh, and a good trivia question is always, “Name a film where all of the actors were nominated for Oscars”.
My comic book posts have been fairly DC centric, but the first superhero I encountered in my formative years and who I still hold a literary torch for is Spider-Man. It was probably because of Marvel UK publishing their Spider-Man weekly title that I met the wallcrawler, and then subsequently the broadcast of the first animated series in the UK in the 70s, which was closely followed by the live-action films and TV show starring Nicolas Hammond as Peter Parker/Spider-Man.
The character is the Everyman, given power accidentally and using it as a force for good. His life isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination and he’s been put through the ringer countless times in both his personal and “professional” lives, but he gives it all he has and triumphs, bringing hope to us all. Then he picks up his books, or pulls on the mask and goes again.
Truly a classic character who has transcended successfully from page to screen; a bookish nerd who comes good.
Don’t we all want to be him?
Oh, they are so awesome! Really. If you don’t like them, fine. You know what though, how have you had them? Boiled until they are a soggy, stinky mess? Highly probable, and if that’s the case you OWE it to yourself to give them another go, cooking them simply and deliciously. Since Day 37 is a Tuesday, which is also designated here at The Smorgasbord as Recipe Tuesday, here’s how to make the brussel sprouts awesome for your holiday table (and beyond):
Wash the sprouts, taking off some of the external leaves
Cut a cross at the bottom of the sprout
Now, either steam them for 7-9 minutes or pop them in a microwaveable dish with a little water and microwave for 5 minutes.
When done, toss with a little butter and for a festive twist add some grated nutmeg.
You could also toss them in the pan with some pancetta and maple syrup if you like. It’ll add some richness and sweetness.
Alfred Hitchock/Strangers on a Train
I love Alfred Hitchcock movies. Eat them up, I do. He created some of the greatest thrillers (Hell, lets say it, greatest films) of all time. My personal favourites are Rope, Vertigo, North By Northwest and I do have a soft spot for Family Plot, his last creation. But none of them compare to Strangers On A Train a classic which sees two men who both have someone in their lives that they would rather not – Guy Haines (Farley Grainger) a tennis professional who wants a divorce from his wife to marry a senator’s daughter, and Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker) who wishes his father were dead – meet and discuss swapping murders, this way ridding each other of their pain whilst providing the other with an alibi. Guy takes it as a joke but the psychotic Bruno does not and follows through, killing Guy’s wife and leaving evidence.
I’ll spoil no more, save to say that this is another example of Hitchcock’s mastery (the viewpoint of the murder being one) and that 2 key moments are set in the fairground. the second being the climatic battle on a children’s carousel which thrilling to say the least. The speed that the carousel rotates as the two men fight amidst the horses is only amplified by the shots of the carnie crawling underneath to get to the control booth and shut it off. Breathtakingly scary.
Last Exit To Nowhere
The Internet (or Teh Internet depending on your disposition) is an awesome and often dire place. Lets not dwell too much on the latter, for this is all about teh awesome. One of the best things that teh internet has given us is a chance to purchase great products at truly innovative places.
Last Exit To Nowhere is certainly one of those. Here a simple concept was taken (create apparel that bears the slogan and symbol of fictional locations/companies) and pitched at the masses who, loving the literary reference, purchase for themselves or their equally geek brethren. Inspired.
The ship in Alien, the evil corporation from Robocop or the police force from the Jaws movies are all namechecked and emblazoned across the line with dozens of others. Hell those 3 make up a small portion of the kids line.
Abe Froman? The Sausage King of Chicago?
The League of Gentlemen
Bizarre. Hilarious. Two words which readily spring to mind when thinking of this macabre comedy series based in the fictional village of Royston Vasey. Another is innovative. Add inspired and, oh heck why not, genius. The quadruplets that are The League of Gentlemen (writer/performers Mark Gattiss, Steve Pemberton, Reece Sheersmith, and writer/producer Jeremy Dyson) created something wonderful, not only with the setting but with a myriad of characters who were sometimes joyful, often sad but always funny… and strange. From Tubs and Edward to Pauline to the sinister Hilary Briss and the much maligned Papa Lazarou, these are truly grotesque but somehow endearing (why would we continue to watch, trot out the catchphrases and buy the merchandise) and a breath of fresh are in an often stale TV schedule.
The first two series were terrific, and while the third took a detour in formula it still is head and shoulders above many other offerings of the time and definitely deserves another look.
Ray Harryhausen/Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger
Ray Harryhausen was the king of stop motion animation. Bar none. From the 1940s he added the classic touch to films such as Jason and the Argonauts, Mighty Joe Young and Clash of the Titans. The creatures he designed and brought to life to threaten, fight, or protect were innovative and well ahead of their time. Even today, in the age of CGI, they seem somehow more lifelike than those generated via computer. Watching the army of skeleton warriors in Jason and the Argonauts is creepily effective.
In 1977 Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger was released, and I was taken to see it as a surprise by my mum at Muirend Cinema (sadly no longer with us). As an 8 year old, I was captivated and totally in awe. I really believed that these creatures could exist. Perhaps not in the South side of Glasgow, but somewhere anyway.
I’ve caught up now with most of the other movies that had the Harryhausen touch, but something about this one – maybe the robotic Minotaur, the huge wasp or perhaps Jane Seymour – has stuck with me.
I may have mentioned my love for the Justice League Satellite era previously, and this is one of the reasons why. I’m a bit notorious on YMB for my love of Zatanna, and not withstanding the poor episode of Smallville which saw her make her small screen debut, it hasn’t waned.
Thing is, I can’t give a clear reason why. Is it the magic? Talking backwards to cast spells? A strong female character (when used correctly) who seems to be confident in not only her abilities, but her sexuality? The fishnets and top hat? Could be, but whatever it is, she’s one of my favourite characters in any literary form.
I remember at one stage, Barry Allen (aka the Silver Age Flash) lost his wife and, as part of the Justice League title, he and Zatanna became close. A romance seemed to be in the offing, and it was interesting to see such a drama being played out in a comic book. Even at that young age, I understood the trauma that Barry must have been going through and this young woman was there to help him and perhaps help him forget. It didn’t last because Zatanna realised that Barry still loved his dead wife, but I’ll always remember that subplot.
Zatanna became a key plot point in Identity Crisis, which was a big company wide event years ago and there are some reservations about the central concept and storyline, it did enough to prove that she is a strong character.
With Grant Morrison and Ryan Sook featuring a 4 issue mini tying into Seven Soldiers of Victory, to Paul Dini featuring her in his recent run on Detective (and her new ongoing series tha the is penning next year), I have been and will continue to be a happy bunny.
Litnu txen emit.
I got into jazz late in the day. I got a new stereo system and to go with it I went and bought a few jazz cds including one by Louis Armstrong and his All Stars. I jumped to one I knew (Now You Has Jazz featuring Bing Crosby from the movie High Society).
I think I played it 30 times. Then about 40 for his version of Mack the Knife. Then I put the longevity of CDs to their ultimate test over the next few weeks, truly breaking in the stereo in.
The song which had the greatest effect on me was his version of La Vie En Rose, where his performance was so strong that I actually felt I could see him in some smoky jazz club, sitting down (no idea why) and delivering this amazing rendition of the classic song.
To this day, he is the one performer that I wish I could have seen live.