Archive for 1987

CLASSIC SCENE: “Let Me See Your War Face”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on June 6, 2013 by Mark Walker

Film: FULL METAL JACKET.
Screenplay: Stanley Kubrick, Gustav Hasford, Michael Herr.

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Setting the Scene: On a Parris Island Marine barracks we are introduced to recruits who stand at attention in front of their bunks. Master Gunnery Sergeant HARTMAN (R. Lee Ermey) walks along the line of blank-faced recruits, observing them before proceeding his barrage of profane verbal abuse and humiliation.

HARTMAN
I am Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, your Senior Drill Instructor. From now on, you will speak only when spoken to, and the first and last words out of your filthy sewers will be “Sir!”
Do you maggots understand that?

RECRUITS
(in unison)
Sir, yes, sir!

HARTMAN
Bullshit! I can’t hear you. Sound off like you got a pair.

RECRUITS
(louder)
Sir, yes, sir!

HARTMAN
If you ladies leave my island, if you survive recruit training … you will be a weapon, you will be a minister of death, praying for war. But until that day you are pukes! You’re the lowest form of life on Earth. You are not even human fucking beings! You are nothing but unorganised, grabasstic pieces of amphibian shit!

Because I am hard, you will not like me. But the more you hate me, the more you will learn. I am hard, but I am fair! There is no racial bigotry here! I do not look down on niggers, kikes, wops or greasers. Here you are all equally worthless! And my orders are to weed out all non-hackers who do not pack the gear to serve in my beloved core. Do you maggots understand that?

RECRUITS
(in unison)
Sir, yes, sir!

HARTMAN
Bullshit! I can’t hear you!

RECRUITS
(louder)
Sir, yes, sir!

[Sergeant Hartman stops in front of a
black recruit
]

HARTMAN
What’s your
name, scumbag?

RECRUIT #1
(shouting)
Sir, Private Brown, sir!

HARTMAN
Bullshit! From now on
you’re Private Snowball! Do you like that name?

SNOWBALL
(shouting)
Sir, yes, sir!

HARTMAN
Well, there’s one thing that you won’t like, Private Snowball! They
don’t serve fried
chicken and watermelon on a daily basis in my mess hall!

SNOWBALL
Sir, yes, sir!

[A voice is heard from the back of the barracks]

RECRUIT #2
(whispering)
Is that you, John Wayne? Is this me?

HARTMAN
Who said that? Who the fuck said that? Who’s the slimy little communist, shit twinkle-toed, cocksucker down here, who just signed his own death warrant? Nobody, huh?
The fairy fucking godmother said it! Out-fucking-standing! I will P.T. you all until you fucking die!
I’ll P.T. you until your assholes are
sucking buttermilk.

[Sergeant Hartman grabs Recruit #3 by the shirt]

HARTMAN
Was it you, you scroungy little fuck, huh?!

RECRUIT #3
Sir, no, sir!

HARTMAN
You little piece of shit!
You look like a fucking worm!
I’ll bet it was you!

RECRUIT #3
Sir, no, sir!

RECRUIT #2
Sir, I said it, sir!

[Sergeant Hartman steps up to him]

HARTMAN
Well… no shit.
What have we got here, a
fucking comedian? Private Joker? I
admire your honesty. Hell, I like you. You can come over to my house and fuck my sister.

[Sergeant Hartman punches Joker in the stomach. Joker sags to his knees]

HARTMAN
You little scumbag!
I’ve got your name! I’ve got your ass! You will not laugh!
You will not cry!
You will learn by the numbers.
I will teach you. Now get up! Get on your feet!
You had best unfuck yourself or I
will unscrew your head and shit down your neck!

JOKER
Sir, yes, sir!

HARTMAN
Private Joker, why did you join
my beloved Corps?

JOKER
Sir, to kill, sir!

HARTMAN
So you’re a killer!

JOKER
Sir, yes, sir!

HARTMAN
Let me see your war face!

JOKER
Sir?

HARTMAN
You’ve got a war face?

[He Screams in his face]
Aaaaaaaagh! That’s a
war face.
Now let me see your war face!

JOKER
[shouting]
Aaaaaaaagh!

HARTMAN
Bullshit! You didn’t convince me!
Let me see your real
war face!

JOKER
[Screaming]
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!

HARTMAN
You didn’t scare me! Work on it!

JOKER
Sir, yes, sir!

[Sergeant Hartman walks over to Recruit #3 again and speaks into his face]

HARTMAN
What’s your excuse?

RECRUIT #3
Sir, excuse for what, sir?

HARTMAN
I’m asking the fucking questions
here, Private. Do you understand?!

RECRUIT #3
Sir, yes, sir!

HARTMAN
Well thank you very much! Can I be in
charge for a while?

RECRUIT #3
Sir, yes, sir!

HARTMAN
Are you shook up? Are you nervous?

RECRUIT #3
Sir, I am, sir!

HARTMAN
Do I make you nervous?

RECRUIT #3
Sir!…

HARTMAN
Sir, what? Were you about to
call me an asshole?

RECRUIT #3
Sir, no, sir!

HARTMAN
How tall are you, Private?

RECRUIT #3
Sir, five foot nine, sir!

HARTMAN
Five foot nine? I didn’t
know they stacked shit
that high! You trying to squeeze an inch in on me somewhere, huh?

RECRUIT #3
Sir, no, sir.

HARTMAN
Bullshit! It looks to me like the best part of you ran down the crack of your mama’s ass and ended up as a brown stain on the mattress! I think you’ve been cheated!

Where in hell are you from anyway, Private?

RECRUIT #3
Sir, Texas, sir!

HARTMAN
Holy dogshit! Texas! Only
steers and queers come from Texas, Private Cowboy! And you don’t look much like a steer to me, so that
kinda narrows it down!
Do you suck dicks?

COWBOY
Sir, no, sir!

HARTMAN
Are you a peter-puffer?

COWBOY
Sir, no, sir!

HARTMAN
I’ll bet you’re the kind of guy that would
fuck a person in the ass and not even have the goddam common courtesy to give him a reach-around! I’ll be watching you!

[Sergeant Hartman walks down the line to another recruit, a tall,
overtweight boy
]

HARTMAN
Did your parents have any
children that lived?

RECRUIT #4
Sir, yes, sir!

HARTMAN
I’ll bet they regret that! You’re so ugly you could be a modern art masterpiece! What’s your name, fatbody?

RECRUIT #4
Sir, Leonard Lawrence, sir!

HARTMAN
Lawrence?
Lawrence, what, of Arabia?

RECRUIT #4
Sir, no, sir!

HARTMAN
That name sounds like royalty! Are you
royalty?

RECRUIT #4
Sir, no, sir!

HARTMAN
Do you suck dicks?

RECRUIT #4
Sir, no, sir!

HARTMAN
Bullshit! I’ll bet you
could suck a golf ball
through a garden hose!

RECRUIT #4
Sir, no, sir!

HARTMAN
I don’t like the name Lawrence!
Only faggots and sailors are called Lawrence! From now on you’re Gomer Pyle!

PYLE
Sir, yes, sir!

[Pyle has the trace of a strange smile on his face]

HARTMAN
Do you think I’m cute, Private Pyle? Do you think I’m funny?

PYLE
Sir, no, sir!

HARTMAN
Then wipe that disgusting grin off your face!

PYLE
Sir, yes, sir!

[Sergeant Hartman waits for a moment]

HARTMAN
Well, any fucking time, sweetheart!

PYLE
Sir, I’m trying, sir.

HARTMAN
Private Pyle, I’m gonna give you three
seconds. Excactly three fucking seconds, to wipe that stupid-looking grin off your face, or I will gouge out your eyeballs and skull-fuck you!
One… Two…Three!

[Pyle purses his lips but continues to smile involuntarily]

PYLE
Sir, I can’t help it, sir!

HARTMAN
Bullshit! Get on your
knees, scumbag!

[Pyle gets down on his knees]

HARTMAN
Now choke yourself!

[Pyle places his hands around his throat as if to choke himself]

HARTMAN
Goddamn it, with my hand,
numbnuts!!

[Pyle reaches for Sergeant Hartman's hand. Hartman jerks it away]

HARTMAN
Don’t pull my fucking hand over there! I said choke yourself!
Now lean forward and choke yourself!

[Pyle leans forward so that his neck rests in Sergeant Hartman's open hand]

[Hartman chokes Pyle, as he gags and starts to turn red in the face]

HARTMAN
Are you through grinning?

PYLE
(barely able to speak)
Sir, yes, sir!

HARTMAN
Bullshit! I can’t hear you!

PYLE
(gasping)
Sir, yes, sir!

HARTMAN
Bullshit! I still can’t hear you! Sound off like you got a pair!

PYLE
(gagging)
Sir, yes, sir!

HARTMAN
That’s enough! Get on your feet!

[Sergeant Hartman releases Pyle's throat. Pyle gets to his feet,
breathing heavily
]

HARTMAN
Private Pyle, you had best square your ass away and start shitting me
Tiffany cuff-links or I will definitely fuck you up!

PYLE
Sir, yes, sir!

Raising Arizona * * * * 1/2

Posted in Adventure, Comedy with tags on December 24, 2012 by Mark Walker

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Directors: Joel & Ethan Coen.
Screenplay: Ethan & Joel Coen.
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, John Goodman, William Forsythe, Trey Wilson, Frances McDormand, Sam McMurray, Randall “Tex” Cobb, T.J. Kuhn, Lynne Kitei, M. Emmet Walsh.

In 1984, “Blood Simple” was released and it marked the debut of a certain couple of siblings named Joel & Ethan Coen. It’s was a marvellously dark and twisted, low-budget, modern noir and put their names on the film industry’s map. You’d think that once a particular, successful, style has been established it would be wise to stick with that winning formula but the brothers’ sophomore effort went in an entirely different direction and they delivered a wickedly, wacky and hilarious comedy, proving that their talents are comfortable in any genre.

H.I. McDunnough (Nicolas Cage) is a repeat offender for petty theft and can’t quite keep out prison. It’s in the slammer though, that he meets his sweetheart Ed (Holly Hunter), the police photographer, and not before long the unlikely pair are hitched, on the straight and narrow and ready to start a family. Problem is, Ed finds out she’s infertile and deeply longs for a baby. It just happens around this time that local and well-known furniture salesman Nathan Arizona’s wife has just given birth to quintipulets. H.I. & Ed decide that having four babies is more than anyone can handle and decide to kidnap one for themselves. It’s here that all sorts of problems begin for H.I. & Ed as they try to keep their new family together with escape convict friends (John Goodman, William Forsythe) paying a visit and a rogue bounty-hunter biker (Randall “Tex” Cobb) on their trail.

The first and still one of the best of the Coen brothers’ comedies. This was the film that proved that the siblings could do zany and outlandish comedy with absolute ease and consummate skill. It also allowed them to show off their ability to film with such a kinetic energy and an introduction to their (ever growing) catalogue of zany characters. The performances across the board are outstanding with special mention going to the two leads; Nicolas Cage is marvellous as the hen-pecked, buffoonish, human form of Woody the Woodpecker and Holly Hunter is equally as good as his neurotic and controlling spouse. Cage has become a bit of laughing stock in the film industry these days but back in the 80’s and early 90’s he delivered some memorable roles. This is certainly one of them. What a joy it would be to see him reprise these type of roles and what a joy it is to watch such a sharp and exciting comedy from quite possibly the most consistant filmmakers around today. If ever there was a film that could be labeled as a live-action animation, this could possibly be it. It’s not just the work in front of the camera that excels though; behind it, cinematographer (and future director himself) Barry Sonnenfeld does some sublime work. He assembles some very fine action set-pieces and keeps the camera moving at an almost unbearably frantic pace. Roger Deakins has now established himself as almost another Coen sibling with his consistently reliable work on their recent films but he wasn’t always the man to bring their vision to the screen. Sonnenfeld was. Another frequent collaborator is the always reliable Carter Burwell who infuses all the mayhem with a pefectly fitting score that brings the whole package together.

Quite simply, this is how comedies should be made. It has a little of everything and it shows exactly why, I regard the Coen’s as the most consistently surprisingly and creative filmmakers we have today.

(This review was part of a “double take” with Eric who runs the IPC blog. To read the post in full and get his alternate take on it, please go here.)

Mark Walker

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Prince Of Darkness * * * * 1/2

Posted in Horror with tags on October 18, 2012 by Mark Walker

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Director: John Carpenter.
Screenplay: John Carpenter.
Starring: Donald Pleasance, Lisa Blount, Jameson Parker, Victor Wong, Dennis Dun, Susan Blanchard, Anne Howard, Ann Yen, Dirk Blocker, Peter Jason, Alice Cooper.

During the 70’s and 80’s director John Carpenter was delivering consistently, innovative pieces of work; his shoestring budget sci-fi “Dark Star“, followed by his homage to Howard Hawks’ “Rio Bravo” with “Assault On Precinct 13” and his horror classic “Halloween” which was one of the original slasher films. He followed these up with cult classic “Escape From New York” before eventually delivering “The Thing” and “Big Trouble in Little China” to poor box-office receipts. Two highly undervalued films but ones that also marked the point where Carpenter couldn’t get his films the proper financial backing anymore. As a result, he went back to making lower budget films and “Prince of Darkness” is one of them. It may be lower budget but Carpenter’s abilities never left him.

For many years, in the basement of an abandoned church lies a vat containing a unknown and moving green liquid. It had been protected by a priest that had belonged to a secret sect and upon his death, the sinister secret of the vat’s existence is passed on to Father Loomis (Donald Pleasance) who enlists the help of a physics Professor (Victor Wong) and his graduate students to investigate. Upon closer inspection, they find that the vat contains the son of Satan who is intent on breaking free and releasing his father into the world.

Like most of John Carpenter’s films it’s his own music score that first grabs your attention – this is no different. His synthesiser mixed with pop sounds
set the foreboding tone wonderfully. Not before long, he hits you with a superlative concept of both science and religion combing to understand a super demonic power while also tapping in the subconscious and
incorporating dream-states, premonitions and the possibility of time travel through “tachyons“. Of course, while all this is going on, Carpenter is delivering the frights slowly but surely. His skill lies in his eerie use of space and being able to make city streets and rooms seem lonely and isolated. By doing so, the horror takes hold. He keeps the danger lurking – as if it’s just outside the door – and shows an absolute command of his material. He knows the tricks; the pace, the mystery and finally the satisfaction of a truly horrific delivery. This film creeps me out every time I see it and regardless of how I get my frights, I still get them. He sets in the panic amongst the characters at just the right time, cranking up his wonderful score and delivering a depth that is so often unappreciated in his work. He’s an intelligent filmmaker and, quite simply, this is one of his most frightening and affecting pieces. Due to budgetary constraints though, the film does have flaws; the acting is certainly one of them (I’ve probably never seen acting so bad in a film that I actually like) but if it wasn’t for these small indiscretions the film might not have worked as well as it does. If anything the abysmal performances add to the overall low-key feel. I don’t want to overstep the mark and fool people into watching something that they just might not appreciate as much as I do but if the faults are overlooked then there is much to admire here. Horror is definitely a genre that I’m highly critical of, so when one happens to be available that far exceeds the dross of today, it deserves to be looked at. Most critics have panned this film and to some extent I can see why but if you see beyond the poor performances, the slightly dated appearance and occasional sticky dialogue then you’ll still find that Carpenter’s intelligence and skill is at the core of this imaginative and deeply unsettling, Lovecraftian horror. (The second instalment in Carpenter’s ‘Apocalypse Trilogy’, starting with “The Thing” and finishing with “In The Mouth Of Madness“).

One of the most underrated horror films of all time with a director working within the confines of a very low budget yet still managing to transcend his restrictions and allow his abilities to astound. If only all horror had as much originality and concepts as ingenious as this.

Mark Walker

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The Witches Of Eastwick * * * *

Posted in Comedy, Fantasy, Horror with tags on February 2, 2012 by Mark Walker

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Director: George Miller.
Screenplay: Michael Cristofer.
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Cher, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer, Veronica Cartwright, Richard Jenkins, Keith Jochim, Carel Struycken.

Playing the Devil must be highly appealing to an actor. It gives them the chance to let their darker side out and three of the most prestigious have done just that; Al Pacino gave it gusto in “Devil’s Advocate”, Robert DeNiro had a creepy stab at it in “Angel Heart” and this was Jack Nicholson’s fun filled and menacing turn.

Alex (Cher), Jane (Susan Sarandon) and Sukie (Michelle Pfeiffer) are three dissatisfied single women from the picturesque village of Eastwick, who laughingly try to conjure a man to fulfil all their desires. Soon enough, Daryl Van Horne (Jack Nicholson) movies into the town, but he will have a strange effect on each of them, granting them strange powers and as the lives of everyone in the whole town start to unravel, it becomes increasingly clear what Daryl’s real identity might be.

“Just your average horny little devil” is one of the first self imposed descriptions we get of Daryl Van Horne as Jack Nicholson revels in playing such a vibrant and perfectly suited character. That’s not to say that the rest of the cast aren’t impressive. They are. The three female leads are all perfect, particularly Sarandon with her transformation from shrinking violet to no-nonsense slut. Richard Jenkins, as usual, is able support as the quietly spoken local journalist and a special mention must go to Veronica Cartwright for her hilarious yet frightening turn as his possessed, churchgoing wife who sees Van Horne for what he is. Despite such a solid cast though, this is still the Jack Nicholson show. With every scene, he just chews up the screen and when his darker side is revealed, his performance only gets better, helping to forgive the fact that the shift in tone of the film is slightly uneven. It ranges from fantasy, through comedy, to horror. It’s a transition that won’t appeal to all and the special effects suffer slightly also. However, there’s that much fun to be had with this film that it’s hard to pick holes.

Movies are to be enjoyed and this is a film that has fun and excitement in abundance, helped by a great supporting cast and a dynamic performance by Nicholson, in a role that ranks as one of my favourites from him.

Mark Walker

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