I recently appeared on another episode of the Lambcast, this time discussing character actors along with Dan Heaton of Public Transportation Snob, Nick Powell of The Cinematic Katzenjammer and Dylan Fields of Man I Love Films. We each picked a dream roster of North American character actors to populate a mythical film, selecting from various age groups, and with an In Memoriam round, and you can go vote on who selected the best lineup here:
Obviously the choice is easy, as my list is comprised of such greats as Ernest Borgnine, Gene Hackman, Sam Elliott, James Woods, Yaphet Kotto, Stanley Tucci, John Hawkes, Christopher McDonald and Giovanni Ribisi. There isn’t a weak link amongst them, and if you look at the films these guys have made between them you get some terrific performances. Here’s a quick five from each actor, to really showcase the power of this cast: Continue reading →
Next up on my celebration of horror movies via top 10 lists is another real-life threat, but one more sinister than snakes or spiders – serial killers. It’s not the happiest of subject matters, but it does make for some great stories to tell. Whether they’re based on real life instances or completely fictional, there’s a great overarching threat of a character intend on killing not just one, but multiple – and occasionally vast numbers – of people.
It could be for good – maybe the people they’re killing are even more evil – for bad, or for the sake of random craziness, but however you slice it, the serial killer will remain a great villain in cinema. And the fact that it’s usually just another person – as all the entries on this list are – without any kind of supernatural powers or abilities makes them potentially all the more scary, because you could just walk down the street and never even know it’s them. You walk past Freddy Kreuger and you know something’s up. But Mark from Peeping Tom? Why, he’s just another guy with a camera, who’s he gonna hurt?
Oh, and bounty hunters like Anton Chigurh don’t count. He’s on a mission to kill one person, and anyone that gets in his way is just collateral damage. And this isn’t a list of my favourite movie serial killers – I’m not sure how I’d rank how much I like them – this is based purely on the movies they’re in. There’s also quite a few that didn’t make the list, purely because I haven’t seen them yet. Films like Night of the Hunter (which I should be getting to soon, hopefully), The Killer Inside Me (I want to read the book first) and Hitchcock’s Frenzy. Also, no documentaries, just because. And the few that I can’t actually remember very much about but do intend to catch up on include Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Natural Born Killers and the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre (which I’ll be getting to shortly too).
La Notte follows a couple, Giovanni and Lidia (Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau), who were no doubt once in love, but have more recently begun to drift apart. We track them across one 24 hour period on the launch day of Giovanni’s new book as they visit a dying friend in the hospital, attend multiple parties and each encounter potentially adulterous situations along the way, all whilst dealing with their own inner conflicts regarding their marriage and their past. Continue reading →
Last week was spiders, this week we celebrate that other great scary creature – snakes! I know I got some negative feedback from scaring people with the spider pictures – sorry Dylan, you big pansy – and that’s unlikely to change this week, especially because my girlfriend is frankly terrified of snakes, so sorry about that honey, but it is October, after all.I’ve got no problem with snakes, but then again I’ve never actually encountered one that isn’t trapped in a perspex box, apart from the one an obnoxious twat was parading round a shopping centre near me recently, deliberately trying to scare people and using the snake as a clear replacement for the lack of any other reason people would have to notice or talk to him. But it would seem they show up an awful lot in films. This is probably because, similarly to spiders, they have completely the wrong number of legs for any normal animal, yet still manage to function effectively. How much fear do you think you’d strike into the heart of small children without any limbs? Not a great deal, probably, but that’s because you’d probably have an awful lot of trouble moving around unaided, whereas snakes get along just fine. It’s impressive, really.So, the obvious answer everyone’s shouting is Snakes On A Plane, to which I say yes, it’s a great film, but no, it’s not on the list, because of the same reason I ignored Eight Legged Freaks and Arachnophobia last week – it’s just lousy with snakes. There’s too many for any to stand out, so they all suffer because of it. And as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t quite bring myself to include Monty Python, nor did I allow Lt. ‘Cobra’ Cobretti on, mainly because I haven’t seen Cobra. And I was tempted to include Mark Wahlberg’s appendage in Boogie Nights, but decided against it at the last minute. There is one questionable not-really-a-snake inclusion, but there’s no way he could be omitted. Anyway, enough preamble, here’s the list: Continue reading →
So apparently all I’ve got time to write at the moment is my weekly top 10 lists. Sorry about that, I’ll get back onto the reviews in good time. I’m especially annoyed because this year I was planning on celebrating Hitchcoctober, which of course would have been dedicated to reviewing as many Hitchcock films as possible, but as I still haven’t moved yet and my girlfriend probably doesn’t want to be subjected to lots of old and/or scary films, that will have to wait until next year, I suppose. But I’ll be doing at least something a little topical with a few horror-themed Top 10s. First up, spiders. Now, I’m not scared of spiders, I just fucking hate the little shits. The way they skitter about, can seemingly climb anything (other than bathtubs, suckers) and just have far too many legs than any living creature should. So many joints! If I could select one species to be wiped clean from the Earth, I’d pick spiders in a heartbeat. Actually, I’d pick daddy-longlegs (otherwise known as crane flies) because they’re just as horrifyingly hateful as spiders, except they can fly, and have seemingly no real purpose or knowledge of their surroundings. They just float around, this way and that, not giving two shits about where you are and how many rolled up socks you’re throwing at them. Fuck crane flies. Sorry, I got a little side-tracked there. Spiders are evil, hateful demons from the dusty, unswept corners of Hell, who purposefully leave cobwebs across doors or alleyways, just for me to walk through and become semi-cocooned in. And I’m not the kind of guy to trap it under a glass and release it back into the wild. No, those spiders came into the house for a reason; they like it in here. And if you let them outside, they’re just gonna come straight back in again. Therefore, the only resort is arachnicide, preferably via flip-flop. There’s no need to be unnecessarily cruel here – I’m not the kid from Chronicle – I get it over with quickly, and hope that all the other spiders get the message. I think I’ve rambled on long enough now. Proof of just how horrible spiders are can be clearly seen in how often they appear in films as monsters. As such, here’s my top 10 movie spiders. Oh, and I’ve immediately disqualified Eight Legged Freaks and Arachnophobia, because there’s nothing but spiders in those films, and I can barely remember them.Continue reading →