Archive for 1982

The King Of Comedy

Posted in Comedy, Drama with tags on April 29, 2014 by Mark Walker

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Director: Martin Scorsese.
Screenplay: Paul D. Zimmerman.
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Jerry Lewis, Sandra Bernhard, Diahnne Abbott, Ed Herlihy, Tony Randall, Shelley Hack, Fred de Cordova, Margot Winkler, Lou Brown, Ellen Foley, Martin Scorsese, Charles Scorsese, Mardik Martin, Chuck Low, Catherine Scorsese, Victor Borge, George Kapp.

Better to be king for a night than schmuck for a lifetime.

Although now regarded as one of cinema’s very best actor/director collaborations, “The King of Comedy” was reportedly such an unsettling experience that Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro would not work together again for several years. This was in part because of the bitter material of the script and the whole experience being so emotionally gruelling. If this is the case, then it certainly doesn’t show on screen. Scorsese delivers some of his most unsung work in a style that you normally wouldn’t associate with him. The same goes for DeNiro. In recent times, he has been delivering subpar comedic work but it’s often forgotten how strong and sharp his comic timing is in this underrated gem.

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The Thing * * * * *

Posted in Horror, Science Fiction with tags on January 25, 2012 by Mark Walker

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Director: John Carpenter.
Screenplay: Bill Lancaster.
Starring: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Richard Dysart, Keith David, Richard Masur, Donald Moffat, T.K. Carter, David Clennon, Thomas Waites, Larry Franco.

During the 1980’s John Carpenter was one of the finest directors working in movies. He was a craftsman with wonderfully inventive ideas and abilities. With “The Thing” he delivered his finest moment in showing how a horror film should be made.

An American scientific expedition to the frozen wastes of the Antarctic is interrupted by a group of seemingly mad Norwegians pursuing and shooting a dog. The dog survives but the scientists soon wish they hadn’t taken it in as it’s been taken over by a deadly alien entity who can take the shape of any being it wants, leaving the scientists fighting for their lives against an unknown enemy.

A masterpiece in suspense and one of the finest horror films ever made. When John Carpenter was in his prime, no-one came close to his unrelenting horror genius and this is him at his very best. He wasn’t a director to just go for cheap shocks or scares. He liked to use pychological devices for his horror films, to make them more effective and get into the psyche of his viewers. The exchange of bodily fluid in “Prince Of Darkness” was AIDS. With “The Thing” it was cancer, hence the shifting, growth and metaphorphosis, perfectly captured in Rob Bottin’s special effects – which still hold up to this day. The tension and distrust between the characters is physically and nervously played out, with Carpenter wringing out a masterclass of paranoia. The atmosphere is unbearably taut, helped no-end by Ennio Morricone’s fantasticaly creepy and unsettling score.

Unfortunately, John Carpenter doesn’t produce the quality he once did anymore but this has stood the test of time and is, quite simply, one of the best of it’s kind.

Mark Walker

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Tom Waits: Under Review 1971-1982 * * * *

Posted in Documentary, Music with tags on January 13, 2012 by Mark Walker

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Chances are, if your a Waits fan then you’ll want to, or will have already checked out this documentary. It follows his career from his demo tapes to his first studio album “Closing Time” with producer David Geffen, through his long collaboration with jazz engineer ‘Bones’ Howe, ending with the album “Heartattack and Vine” before Waits’ style changed completely.

The influences on him are also looked at, from his love of jazz to Jack Kerouac and the ‘beat’ generation.
Its packed full of interviews and anecdotes from people who worked with Waits and about the tenuous comparisons with his contemporaries John Prine, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. Sadly, it doesn’t shed very much light on the man himself (at least not much that a Waits fan wouldn’t already know) and although there is some nice footage of Waits being interviewed throughout the 70’s, there is no interview with him directly. We don’t get to hear his opinion on his wonderful albums throughout the 70’s era and his troubador style. It does show archival footage though, of live performances of some of his best songs throughout this time like, “Tom Traubert’s Blues”, “Kentucky Avenue” and “Small Change”, leaving you wanting more and heading straight for ‘You Tube’ to listen to the whole song.

For fans of the old Tomcat, it’s a nostalgic chance to revisit the lounge lizards early musical genius. For people new to him, it’s a nice introduction to his wonderfully original talents.

Mark Walker

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