My Week in Movies, 2015 Week 42

Sometimes I think of my blog as a means of chronicling my failures, and this week’s post is no different. The fact that I refer to it as “This week’s post” rather than being more specific says it all as to my output lately. It seems I’ve lost my review-writing mojo recently. Whenever I sit down at the keyboard my mind dries up like a sponge in a kiln. I’ve had half a review of Carrie written for French Toast Sunday for weeks, and I’m about a month late for a review of John Wick for Blueprint: Review, not to mention the 12 other films I’ve watched and not reviewed yet.

It doesn’t help how busy I’ve been recently, and how little has gone to plan weekend and evening-wise. Take this past weekend, for example. Yesterday’s scheduled Lambcast was a John Carpenter Director Retrospective. The intention was for myself and my guests to discuss nine of Carpenter’s bigger films, all of which were ones I’d either never seen, wasn’t very familiar with or really wanted to re-watch, so I’d planned to watch them all, which is what most of the rest of this post will cover. Tuesday to Thursday saw me watching one a night, subjecting Aisha to a bunch of films she had negative interest in seeing. On Friday she was supposed to go out for a work meal, meaning I’d have a full evening into which I could cram three of the films she’d want to watch the least (I’d anticipated The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live), leaving me three to watch, one Saturday morning, one Saturday evening and a final film on Sunday morning. Alas, whilst Aisha was walking Murphy before I got home from work (she’s blessed with an early finish on Fridays) Murphy ran off, following a runner who refused to stop despite this unfamiliar dog jumping up at him. Coming across a road on the runner’s presumed route Aisha was understandably distraught at the notion that our little fluff-ball might have come a cropper with a car, but fortunately another kind dog-owner had wrangled Murphy onto her lead, called Aisha’s number on his tag and waited for her to arrive. Bless this woman and all she ever does. The whole experience rather put Aisha off an evening out, so we stayed in and watched Big Trouble in Little China instead.

This little kerfuffle obviously put a dash into my Carpenter-viewing schedule, so I attempted to make up for it on Saturday, knocking off two films early in the morning. Problems arose when real life crept in. We were due to have our guest bedroom re-plastered this week. It was supposed to be done late in the week, so Saturday afternoon we prepped the room, removing the furniture, wall-fixings and stripping the wallpaper from the walls and ceiling. Why is there wallpaper on the ceiling? Because the previous inhabitants were lunatics, clearly. Moving the furniture was fine – though the house is now so cluttered that navigating our bedroom now feels like I’m playing a game of minesweeper with my feet – but when I came to detach the radiator the valve nut was painted shut so much that the nut didn’t turn, the downpipe bent and began leaking water. The emergency plumber stopped the leak but didn’t fix the pipe and later it started leaking again with no signs of stopping. a few buckets of water later and it subsided, after we ran out of dry towels, and the next morning we fixed it after a trip to Wickes (all praise Wickes, the church of DIY), but after that ordeal we didn’t get a lot of films watched on Saturday night. Sunday proved just as fruitless, with me just about cramming In the Mouth of Madness in a couple of instalments between radiator fixing and wallpaper stripping before the podcast recording at 5pm. The plasterer got in touch, moving the proposed date  I just about finished stripping the ceiling in time, hastily pieced an intro together and logged onto Skype, only for two of the guests not to show up (with valid reasons, so I won’t name and shame). The only present guest, Aaron from The Code is Zeek, and I decided the best course of action would be to reschedule, so all the rushing was for nought, but at least it gives me a chance to watch the two Carpenter films I hadn’t re-watched yet (They Live and Halloween). It also meant Aisha didn’t have to finish the wallpaper stripping alone, I could help out with dinner and take Murphy for a walk and have more of a relaxing evening after the weekend of stress, so there’s a silver lining to the cloud. Also, I got to phone my Dad (whom I’d called to help out with the leaky radiator, as he is something of a DIY guru, but who was in Wales watching a football match at the time) and say that I’d fixed a problem without his assistance, and that made me really rather happy.

Oh, while I’m at it, I’m going to go ahead and call the time of death for HitchcOctober 2015. Apologies, but it’s not happening this year. I’m too far behind on other things as it is, but next year. There’s always next year. Here’s what I watched this week:
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Top 10… Movie Cab Drivers

This week’s Lambcast is another Movie of the Month, and this month the topic of conversation was Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. As such, here’s a rundown of my Top 10 Movie Taxi Drivers:      VVa3lael6qrninjqCHYu8rP9o1_1280

Honourable mention: John McClane & Zeus Carver (Bruce Willis & Samuel L. Jackson), Die Hard With A Vengeance?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

OK, technically neither John nor Zeus (who does not look Puerto Rican to me) are taxi drivers, but at various points throughout this New York-set sequel they do drive a taxi, so technically they are taxi drivers, and therefore eligible for this list. I’ve loved Die Hard with a Vengeance since many years before I even saw Die Hard, and I think it’s the bickering relationship between the two that drew me to it. Specifically, I love the scene in which the two must make it across town in a very short amount of time, during rush hour traffic. The solution? drive straight through Central Park, ploughing through cyclists and pedestrians alike. This scene gives way to my favourite line in the film, when Zeus asks if McClane is aiming for the people, he replies “No, well, maybe that mime.” Other great taxi drivers I could have used are the pain in the ass sports fan who Cuba Gooding Jr. is lumbered with in Rat Race, Darwin (Edi Gathegi) the underused evolving mutant in X-Men: First Class, who we first meet driving a cab, Beauregarde from The Great Muppet Caper, Alan Ford in An American Werewolf in London, J B Smoove in Date Night and the terrifying, snarling, grotesgue “Ain’t much better in here, kid” guy from Home Alone 2. Continue reading

Top 10… Snakes

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.promo189333424I’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