There’s only one way to describe Brian De Palma’s five-decade-long career: all over the shop. There have been glorious artistic highs, far too many Hitchcockian homages, the odd mainstream megahit, a sprinkling of high-profile awards, condemnation for tawdry subject matter, a pronounced tendency to work with the same collaborators both in front of and behind […]
Memorable Directors: Brian De Palma: Part One
Blaxploitation #8: Coffy (1973)
I think I’ll let the tagline do the talking: They call her Coffy and she’ll cream you!
What the hell are these crazy cats up to? Coffy’s eleven-year-old sister is in a juvenile rehab center trying to kick smack. It’s obviously time for our heroine to tackle LA’s growing drug problem by setting up a Neighborhood Watch, noting down any suspicious activity and passing on the information to those upstanding boys in […]
There’s a famous old Peter Cook and Dudley Moore sketch in which a one-legged actor auditions for Tarzan. The casting agent can’t believe what he’s being confronted with (“I’ve got nothing against your right leg. The trouble is, neither have you”) while the disabled actor remains oblivious to his chances of snagging the athletic role. […]
Fucked-Up Films #9: Death Wish II (1982)
Film TitleDeath Wish II
Chuck loses in love but wins at carnage. Thank God.
What are these sick bastards doing? Sending civilization to hell in a handcart. Luckily, one man has the answer. And it isn’t rehabilitation or any other namby-pamby shit. How skuzzy are the men? Our obnoxious five-strong street gang is happy to sit around at fairgrounds scoping potential victims. Apart from having names like Stomper and […]
Bloody Sam says “Hi”.
Dying before he was sixty seemed like a fitting final action for the maverick film-maker Sam Peckinpah. Better to burn out than fade away and all that. For whenever Sam was in town the rage-filled stories of excess flew thick and fast, tales that included wild on-set bust-ups, legendary alcohol and coke consumption, budget blowouts, […]
Starring debuts #20: Lorraine Stanley in London to Brighton (2006)
Film TitleLondon to Brighton
“Nice isn’t it? To see a bit of color.”
DirectorPaul Andrew Williams
“Nice isn’t it? To see a bit of color.” So says Kelly (Stanley) as she looks at the green fields through a train window on the way from London to the seaside. It’s a banal observation and yet so telling. There is no color in Kelly’s life. No joy, no hope, no normality. Every day […]
There’s a terrific scene in The Terminator when Arnie strides into a nightclub looking for Sarah Connor. A bouncer tries to stop him by slapping a hand on his shoulder, but our futuristic hit man doesn’t even bother looking around. Instead, he grabs the offending limb and gives the fool a taste of his cybernetic […]
My brain…? It’s my second favorite organ.
Woody Allen is a prolific artist who’s been making roughly a film a year since the late sixties. His timid yet talkative onscreen persona (simultaneously intellectual and stupid, riddled with self-doubt and wrapped up in his weedy, balding, bespectacled frame) surely places him among the most distinctive film stars of all time. It’s a double-edged […]
Blast Of Cannon: Part 2
Lifeforce (1985) Horror director Tobe Hooper made three flicks with Cannon in rapid succession, but the relationship only further sullied his artistic reputation. Together they coughed up the derided remake Invaders from Mars, a comedic sequel to his blistering Texas Chainsaw, and the box office bomb Lifeforce. Still, at least this sci-fi flick has reached […]
Blast of Cannon: Part 1
You’ve probably heard of MGM and United Artists, but what about the very lovely Cannon Films? It was a studio that took on the Hollywood big boys in the 1980s. For a glorious, plate-spinning few years it became the world’s largest independent movie production company, cranking out up to six low-budget pictures a month. How […]