Tuesday, August 05, 2014

True Detective


Still mourning...

"This is Jim Rockford. At the tone, leave your name and message. I'll get back to you." *beep*
"$200 a day, plus expenses..."



And this is how I fly a flag at half-mast...

Farewell, Jim Rockford. Rest in Peace, James Garner.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It Came From The Archives! - Seijun Suzuki’s Branded To Kill

One of my favourite films Of All Time arrives as an Arrow Films Dual Format Blu-ray and DVD from Monday 28th July.

Excited? You should be. Once upon a long ago, I wrote 4,000 words on Seijun Suzuki's Branded to Kill for the Wallflower Press book 24 Frames - The Cinema of Japan and Korea. Would you like to read it? I've got you covered. Steam up some rice, find a comfy chair and get reading.

If this embedding business works like I hope it will, you will be able to find that essay below (along with many others worthy of your time) courtesy of Google Books webmagic. (Click and scroll to Chapter 9).



Want some more? You may have noticed that the other chapter I contributed to that volume on Kinji Fukasaku's Battle Royale is not available via Google Books. But you can find that right here.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Obsessive Compulsions: Who's on First?

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello are responsible for at least three "Firsts" in my life that I can recall. They were the first comedians that I can remember laughing at as a child, and they were the stars of the first horror movie I ever saw - Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein.

My first memorable laughs and my first memorable scares. That ain't bad.

I loved Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein. Still do. And I was thrilled when I discovered that Abbott and Costello had their own show and I could watch repeats of it Every Single Day. Which is where I discovered my third "First".

"Who's on First?"

It's a great bit. I'm still in awe of it. I almost forget that these were two seasoned pros that had honed and polished the skit for years on the vaudeville and burlesque circuit before it got anywhere near me.

Here it is in all it's punning glory.


It's such a strong bit that it's been borrowed and tinkered with, ripped apart and put back together again differently so many times over the years. And even when I hear a lesser riff, I still laugh.

Here's Morris Day and Jerome Benton in Purple Rain. Say the password, onionhead!

EDIT 22/07/14: And that clip from Purple Rain has already been removed from YouTube. So here is the scene in question from an undated draft of the script by Albert Magnoli and William Blinn. (Sadly, it lacks the glorious usage of the insult "onionhead" and instead has something quite...different.)


Morris: ...we ought to have like, a signal.

Jerome: A password.

Morris: Okay. What's the password?

Jerome: You got it.

Morris: Got what?

Jerome: The password.

Morris: The password is what?

Jerome: Exactly.

Morris: The password is exactly?

Jerome: No, it's--

Morris: -- Hold it now.  Slow down. The babe walks in and you see her.

Jerome: I see her.

Morris: You come get me.

Jerome: I come get you.

Morris: And I'll probably have a couple little sexies on the stand-by, and we don't want to upset them, do we? So you just glide by me and say...what?

Jerome: Okay.

Morris: The password is okay?

Jerome: Far as I'm concerned.

Morris: Dammit!  Say the password.

Jerome: What.

Morris: Say the password, sperm breath!

Jerome: The password is what.

Morris: (frustrated) That's what I'm asking you!

Jerome: (more frustrated) It's the password!

Morris: The password is it?

Jerome: (exasperated) Ahhhhh! The password is what!

Morris: It!  You just said so!

Jerome: The password isn't it!  The password is--

Morris: -- What?

Jerome: Got it!

Morris: I got it?

Jerome: Right.

Morris: It or right?
               
Jerome: (perplexed) What??


And here's Chris Tucker having a crack at it in Rush Hour 3:


Friday, June 13, 2014

Chewing Gum For The Ears

This is my goddamn jam.

Mike Paradinas of Planet Mu mixes up over a hundred theme tunes and sound bites from the vast wasteland of 70s and 80s British television. There's more about it here. So Damn Good.



Thursday, May 29, 2014

Come What May

Stray Bullets proudly (and shamelessly) presents... "Shards of AKA At Large over the last month". Aaaaaand...Action!







Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Greatest Clicks


To commemorate a decade of this blog, here’s a Top Ten rundown of the most clicked-upon posts Of..All...Time! I‘m loathe to call them “the most read”, because it may be more accurate to say these are things people clicked on, stared at for ten seconds and clicked away again in abject boredom. Who knows? Nevertheless, I’m doing it anyway. Here we go...

10. Black as Midnight on a Moonless Night

In which I rhapsodise about the Tao of Special Agent Dale Cooper and his eternally wise words on the finest beverage of all - a damn fine cup of black coffee.

9. Quid Pro Quo, Douchebags
I hate The Hangover with a vengeance. Even more than The Hangover hates you (and believe me, it does). So I decided to articulate my enmity here at some length. It warms the cockles of my blackened heart when people tell me how much they agree with me. Since I wrote this post, I found out that Mel Brooks is a big fan of The Hangover. This makes me ineffably sad.

8. Justice Is What I Seek - Avenging The Lone Ranger

My vigorous defence of Gore Verbinski’s unfairly-maligned future-classic The Lone Ranger, my favourite film of 2013.

7. Spring Break Forever, Bitches
My look at Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers refracted through the lenses of Joseph Campbell’s monomyth and Dorothy Gale’s Technicolor trip to the merry ol’ land of Oz.

6. Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die

Some thoughts on one of my literary heroes, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, after sitting through the somewhat dissatisfying Alex Gibney documentary Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. When the going gets weird, the weird turn to blogging.

5. Kentucky Fried Friedkin
Following a screening of his blistering southern fried noir Killer Joe at London's BFI Southbank in 2012, William Friedkin took to the stage for a Q&A with Mark Kermode. I captured the best bits here.

4. Unhappy Campers - Kirkman, Moore & Adlard's The Walking Dead

Once upon a time, The Walking Dead was only a hugely popular ongoing black-and-white comic series and I loved it. I still love it and this is where I wrote about why.

3. Peeking under the hood of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive
I am eternally conflicted about both Nicolas Winding Refn and his film Drive. For all the things I like about both, I am convinced he’s just a trickster plagiarist who pilfers bits from his favourite movies and then bolts them together into sleek, shiny Frankenstein monsters. After watching Drive, I tried to unpick Refn’s myriad influences and wrote about them here.

2. It Came From The Archives! - Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale

This one is super lucky! I first wrote about Battle Royale back in 2003 for a book. Then the book went out of print. So I took those words and put them here for the world to enjoy anew.

1. Living In A Box - Paul King's Bunny & The Bull
I can’t account for the popularity of this post on the little-seen and largely-forgotten 2009 film Bunny and the Bull. Either hardly anyone has ever written about it or (more likely), people are actually Googling for the 1953 Warner Brothers Looney Tunes short Bully for Bugs and are landing here instead...

Ten Years A Blogger

Ten years.

Ten years since this.

Ten years of my unfiltered witterings, bad jokes and thinking aloud in public.

That's fifty-three dog years.

I wanted to mark the occasion by saying Thank You. If you've ever read anything here and enjoyed it, or laughed, or rolled your eyes, or just landed here because you were Googling for filth and this is where it brought you, then Thank You.

Here's a roll-call of my favourite search terms that brought people to my little cul-de-sac of the web over the last decade:

"dreamed about wee wee"
"Murdock & B.A. kiss"
"the end of easy riders was bullshit"
"nonchalance bukkake"
"teenage girl facking"
"what is batty-watty"
"sucka loely big prick in public"
"dishwasher safe sex toys"
"Isaac Hayes sexual accomplishments"
"Goddamn Lapidus"
"georgette romero the dick sucker with champagne"
"In July peas grow there"
"jerking off in theatre"

I salute you all, frantic one-handed Googlers, and I'm sorry you didn't find what you wanted. You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find, you get what you need, baby.

Which applies to me too. Thank you.


And stick around, so we can see what happens next together.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Doubleplusungood

Yesterday, in the wake of the latest Budget announcements, Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps posted the following on Twitter:
There are lots of things I could say about that, but I know that you are already thinking the same thing, so I’ll skip over it to get to this next bit - an excerpt from George Orwell’s 1984. Emphasis in the following extract is mine. (And a h/t to Tom Muller for pointing me towards this):

“So long as they continued to work and breed, their other activities were without importance. Left to themselves, like cattle turned loose upon the plains of Argentina, they had reverted to a style of life that appeared to be natural to them, a sort of ancestral pattern. They were born, they grew up in the gutters, they went to work at twelve, they passed through a brief blossoming-period of beauty and sexual desire, they married at twenty, they were middle-aged at thirty, they died, for the most part, at sixty. Heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbours, films, football, beer, and above all, gambling, filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Michael Bay's The Birds

It was announced today that Michael Bay, frame-fucker extraordinaire, will be producing a remake of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds.

I'll let that sink in for a minute.

Regular visitors to the blog will be familiar with my antipathy towards Mr. Bay's oeuvre. This afternoon, I just couldn't help myself. Which is why I went on a crazed tweet spree imagining Michael Bay as the auteur steering this remake. I have Storified those tweets for posterity. Nothing You Have Ever Witnessed Before Has Prepared You for Such Sheer Stabbing Shock!



...And remember, the next scream you hear could be your own!


Friday, February 14, 2014

Heart of the City


This morning, as I made my way across London, my mind wandered (as it is wont to do at this time of year) to thoughts on Valentine’s Day. And I was thinking about how deeply strange it is that we associate this day with romance. There are many stories about Saint Valentine that differ in a variety of ways, all of which may well be apocryphal, but they do all have a number of common strands. Bishop Valentine lived in Third Century Rome, and on February 14th (of an indeterminate year) he was incarcerated, tortured and finally beheaded. And we commemorate this with chocolate and flowers and gushy, hollow sentiments.

So when someone says “Be My Valentine”, they are essentially saying “I want to decapitate you”. We are a population of surreptitious skull-fuckers…

Whilst all of this was rattling around my head, I was battling the reliably unreliable London Underground and, for reasons far too dull to enumerate here, my journey forced me to be disgorged from the Tube at Charing Cross. As I brought myself back to street level, I found myself in Trafalgar Square, and I stopped in a little bit of breathless awe. I looked across at the entrance to the National Gallery, and I looked up at the granite slope of Nelson’s Column. I was surrounded on all sides by the four bronze lions, their surfaces slick and shiny with rain.

Amongst all the concrete and grey, over on the fourth plinth I could see Katharina Fritsch's Hahn/Cock, a splash of bright blue popping on a grey landscape. I turned my face to the sky to feel the light bite of the drizzle falling from the flat slate grey sky and I just thought that it was All So Damn Beautiful. All of it.

I've lived in London from the day that I was born, in University College Hospital. Can’t get much closer to the heart of the capital than that. That’s over four decades moving around and over and across and beneath this city. And I find it endlessly surprising and infuriating and delightful. It still shows me new sides of itself. It still finds way to please and stimulate me, even when I’m not in the mood. And I thought...Now, that is love.

Happy Valentine’s Day everybody.