Something appalling and terrible happened in Colorado yesterday. One of those things that tends to put things in a clearer focus but at the same time manages to bewilder us at a fundamental level. A lot has been said and I'm sure anything I have to say would be one of countless versions of the same sentiment most people are expressing.
But a friend posted something on Facebook that I think is pretty appropriate
Thoughts with all of those affected by yesterday's events.
Presuming this is from The People That Time Forgot.
Whilst flipping through the DVD review section of this month's copy of Empire, I caught a quick glance at their thoughts on Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. One particular bit amused me where the film in question was compared thus:
"pleasingly naff, like a Doug McClure movie on space dust."
This got me thinking about the great man (TM) and those 4 films he did with Amicus based on Edgar Rice Burroughs stories, The Land That Time Forgot, The People That Time Forgot, At The Earth's Core and Warlords Of Atlantis. I have the classic Doug McClure Fantasy Adventure Triple Bill DVD set. Classy.
All pretty terrible films but mostly films I love. Go figure. In fact, At The Earth's Core was the one that really got my attention as a kid, particularly with it's bizarre electronic soundtrack. It's frankly ridiculous but fantastic. Forgive me if I've gone on about this before, but if so, it's going to happen again.
Therefore, be aware that some of the next posts will feature ropey miniature effects, rubber dinosaurs, cavemen and Keith Barron.
The Sound of Music
Planet of the Apes
The Sugarland Express
Road to Perdition
Driving Miss Daisy
The Eiger Sanction
Speaks for itself.
Oh, and in all likelihood, no Zanuck = no Spielberg.
Mark Harris' Scenes from a Revolution and Leonard Mosley'sZanuck (a biography of his father, Daryl F. Zanuck, who both hired him and fired him as head of 20th Century Fox) are good references on his career.
He was working right up to his sudden end and had produced a lot of Tim Burton's recent output.
Catching up on my Fellini. That could be a euphemism, I suppose. This thought saddens me.
After several aborted attempts, I finally watched La Strada a few nights ago. I admit, I had trouble watching it but it's worth it by the end.
Incredibly moving. Utter desolation.
But the fact that Anthony Quinn and Richard Basehart are dubbed was off putting. I can barely stand foreign films dubbed into English, unless they're mad Japanese monster movies, but it seemed that dubbing English Language performances was common in Europe, or Italy at least. While Quinn's dubbed voice of Zampano is relatively close to his own in tone, the fact that it's not him (I'm presuming) took me out of the final scene slightly. Zampano sobs in grief/guilt finally at the fate of Guilietta Masina's Gelsomina and buries his face in the sand. It's an incredible moment but it made me think of how Quinn's performance might have been altered by the use of someone elses voice. It really worked against Richard Basehart's Fool / Il Matto. The voice dubbed over his performance is ridiculously overdone and pitched much higher than Basehart's own, making him sound like a caricature of a clown. Obviously my own knowledge of Basehart's voice (he was, after all, the deep, gravelly voice in the opening of Knight Rider) affects my opinion of this, but the fact that Fellini chose such a daft voice for the character is odd. Would an actor find that insulting? I found this equally distracting with Donald Sutherland's performance in Fellini's Casanova.
Here's an example (without subtitles). There is something a bit too childlike or clownish about it for me.
And then, oddly, Basehart dubs his own performance into the English language version in the same scene as above.
But this is still a great film with moments of utter sadness, particularly when Gelsomina waves goodbye to the nuns. An awful resignation from a girl who's naivete is torn from her by a cruelly indifferent man who realises his error far too late.And a beautiful score from Nino Rota.
You may have noticed a slight change in the look of the blog. I've tried to make it more in line with the look of my main website and have also added buttons to take you to pages over there as well in an attempt to make it seem like the same beast. As I tweak/massively overhaul/make a mess of the website, the blog may change correspondingly.
Just like Eric Sykes, who we also lost this past week, Ernest Borgnine was one of those guys who never seemed to stop.
I loved him. A really great character actor. A lot of folks knew him as a villain from movies like From Here to Eternity, Bad Day at Black Rock and Johnny Guitar, but seeing as I grew up in the late 70's and 80's, I knew him first from movies like The Poseidon Adventure, Flight of the Phoenix, Escape from New York and The Black Hole and on TV in Airwolf.
And then I saw Marty.
To my young mind, what a revelation.
He seemed a lovely, genial man who was not afraid to poke fun at himself on The Simpsons or even on live television when whispering about how had achieved such longevity.
He kept working up until recently and was even known to young kids as the voice of Mermaid Man on Spongebob Squarepants. Just a cool, hard working actor who seemed to really love what he did.
The man was a ubiquitous element to my viewing as a youngster and even afterwards. 96 is a great age.
I occasionally write film reviews for Geek Chocolate, normally on comic book movies and other in your face event films. I should probably branch out and do others as I have pretty catholic taste in movies.
Geek Chocolate is a pretty good place for modern geek culture. Setting itself wide apart from the likes of Aint It Cool News (not a put down as they often have good articles, especially on Doctor Who), it doesn't just focus on movies but also includes thoughtful interviews with comic, science fiction and fantasy authors and similar figures (the likes of Neil Gaiman and China Mieville...), has great pieces on genre TV and film and great reviews on new science fiction books. It's run by a good bunch of guys who take their love of these things seriously. But not too seriously.
Regular readers (I believe you exist...) will know I don't just write about movies and may also know of my aversion to sport.
This summer has been a nightmare for the non-sport folks, like myself. The football season ended and then the never-ending Rangers saga took hold and is still pummelling our senses every day. We've had to endure even more football with Euro 2012. The build up to the Olympics is becoming unbearable. And Wimbledon. Well, I don't mind Wimbledon. My wife loves tennis and taught me the rules so I can watch a match (for a short time at least) and not want to shear my face of with a broken pint glass.
So, Andy Murray.
Good luck to the guy. But I feel a bit sorry for him. It's amazing he's gotten to the final (first for 74 years or something like that?) but the pressure on the guy from the media is staggering. I have to be honest and say I don't think he'll win. It's Federer and, even if he has an injury and isn't quite up to scratch, it's Federer.
And so all the gags about him suddenly being Scottish for not winning. Which is pathetic, really. There is such a bizarre culture in the UK of either congratulating failure (hello Scottish Film Industry) or eviscerating it. There's no such thing as accepting a situation, taking stock of it and planning ahead. We're just shit in the UK, or so the prevailing attitude from "geniuses" such as Charlie Brooker and Andy Parsons seems to teach us. We think encouragement is a bad thing. No wonder things aren't great right now. And that seeps its way into peoples' lives. How about we take things a step at a time, instead of meeting failure and then raising our collective hands up about other peoples' achievements and having a go at them? Folks who win see failure as a lesson and learn from it, a habit I'm trying to get into myself.
Rant, rant, rant. But I think my point is somewhere in there.
Best of luck today to Murray, Di Resta, Hamilton, Button and anyone else out there who's putting their arse on the line for the UK. Just remember to thank them.
And now back to our regularly scheduled rantings...
The interwebs are beginning to fill up with very good word about The Dark Knight Rises.
After the massive disappointment of Prometheus (seriously, Sir Ridley, what were you thinking?) and the enjoyable but ultimately frustrating Amazing Spider-Man, something is telling me to temper my expectations for other big releases this year. But the more I hear about the finale to Christopher Nolan's Batman series, the more I want to do an Eric Cartman and find some way to hibernate for the next 19 days until the movie comes out. I may have to make do with a double bill of Batman Begins (still a weak title) and The Dark Knight at Cineworld in a week and a half. The Cameo is doing all three films, from 11.30pm on the 19th, finishing with The Dark Knight Rises at 6.30am but I won't be doing that - their seats are so damn comfortable I'd likely not make it 30 minutes into the first film.
Some spoilers are slipping out now so blindfolds on, fingers crossed and find other things to do...
Until, of course, it comes time for Warner Bros to start a new Batman series (I hate using that word, "reboot"), which I have little problem with, as much as I love the Nolan films. I'd like to see something a little closer to the recent comics. Quite a fan of the look Jim Lee gave Batman. Very curious as to which direction they choose to go. Nolan has given us a very real world Batman and the degree of direction change is going to be very tough for whomever succeeds him.
Ron Perlman donned the Hellboy make up (a process I hear can take up to 4 hours at times) to help make the wish of young Zachary, as part of the US Make A Wish Foundation. Zach not only wanted to meet Big Red himself but also wanted to become Hellboy. So the guys at Spectral Motion granted this for him.
People can be good. In fact, in all of the useless cynicism of today - not all of it is useless, mind you, it can just be a lazy default setting for some folks who don't know they're alive - we get to see a good deed like this. I always liked Ron Perlman and this just seals the deal. Hellboy 3 is meant to be very unlikely as he says he's getting on and isn't keen on the daily make up sessions anymore. As others have said elsewhere, what a class act.
Everyone has been going on (quite rightfully in most cases) about several films that are most anticipated this year, namely The Avengers (yay!), Prometheus (boo!) The Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall and The Hobbit. But there is another movie out later this year that most definitely sits in that category.
I stone cold LOVED Inglourious Bastards and Django Unchained seems to be taking the same kind of bent to a different genre. I'm really glad Tarantino's cast Christoph Waltz as Dr King Schultz. Bring it on, Mr T.
I'll be bracing myself for The Amazing Spider-Man tomorrow. Please don't be crap...
After a bit of a down period, I've got my backside in gear and created a professional website now to put myself out there in the real world. Time to stop hiding the light under the old bushel (what the hell is a bushel anyway?) and push myself in a more professional manner.
So, my details can now be found atrobinsonwritesfilm where you can also find some samples of my screenwriting, previous experience and some films I've made or contributed to. I can see the website expanding over time with more things and a better headshot. It also links to this blog and consequently I'm considering changing the name of the blog to keep it in line with the new website but the old content will remain. If I do, there'll be plenty of warning about changing where to go to if you want to continue to observe my haverings.