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DVD GIVEAWAY : COMPLETE SERIES ONE AND TWO OF ‘THE WINDSORS’

THE WINDSORS (Complete Series One & Two) will soon be available in Australia.

THE WINDSORS is a fictional comedy soap opera, following the imagined lives and loves of a family, with big comic characters loosely based on Wills & Kate, Prince Harry & Pippa Middleton, Camilla & Charles, and various other royals.

The Windsors are a royal family divided:

Prince Charles (Harry Enfield) dreams of ruling Britain but Wills (Hugh Skinner) just wants to be ordinary, to fly helicopters and mingle with the people.

Kate (Louise Ford) is proud of her humble origins and wants to find her role, but Camilla (Haydn Gwynne) is plotting to destroy Wills and Kate to get power for herself.

Meanwhile, Harry (Richard Goulding) might be in love with Pippa (Morgana Robinson) but has a new girlfriend, Meghan Markle (Kathryn Drysdale).

Beatrice (Ellie White) and Eugenie (Celeste Dring) want to make it as women in business.

Fergie (Katy Wix) is partying like it’s 1982, and all of them are being terrorised by their joyless puritanical aunt, Anne (Vicki Pepperdine).

The Guardian called it “riotous hilarity” and wondered if ‘They’ were watching.

Thanks to Acorn Media Sydney Arts Guide is  offering 10 lucky readers DVD box sets to Seasons One and Two of the hilarious UK series THE WINDSORS. 

Email your details to editor.sydneyartsguide@gmail.com with WINDSORS in the subject line by COB Friday 24th November.  Only winners will be notified. One last note:  the DVDs don’t arrive in Australia until 6th of December!

DAVID LYNCH : THE ART LIFE

It’s forty years since Eraserhead fixed David Lynch into the cultural landscape. We know what he’s been doing since then, especially lately with the new episodes of Twin Peaks, but what came before?

DAVID LYNCH : THE ART LIFE goes some way in defining Lynch’s formative years. Although directed by a trio of aficionados, Jon Nguyen, Rick Barnes and Olivia Neergaard-Holm, DAVID LYNCH: THE ART LIFE is pretty much a self portrait, with Lynch narrating anecdotal stories of his childhood, school days, early days and film work right up to the shooting of Eraserhead.

Lynch  talks of an idyllic upbringing, with early memories of sitting in a mud hole with a pal. Into adolescence, he recalls what most boys would identify with,- “I was real busy doing things my mother didn’t want me doing.” Continue reading DAVID LYNCH : THE ART LIFE

THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY

One of the eagerly anticipated cinema releases of this month is LION starring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman. For those who missed his previous film, THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY, there is now the opportunity of catching up with this woefully underrated gem.Infinitely fine film that makes maths add up to a grand sum of entertainment.

Writer/Director Matthew Brown’s THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY shows all the pluses and none of he minuses in a sterling piece of bio-pic the equal of, if not superior to, The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything.

Beginning in Colonial India, 1913 we are introduced to Srinavasa Ramanujan (Dev Patel) a 25-year-old self-taught genius, whose obsessive, solitary study of mathematics compels him to scratch out his calculus on the slate floors of an old temple, not such a strange place considering Ramanujan believed that an equation has no meaning unless it expresses a thought of God. Continue reading THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY

LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP

One of the best films of the year, LOVE & FRIENDSHIP is now available to be loved and befriended in the privacy of your own home.

A sly story of sex and sensibility, the script is based on an obscure short fiction called Lady Susan by Jane Austen, adapted for the screen and directed by the wily Whit Stillman.

Set in two hundred year ago England, the film starts explosively with a domestic disturbance at a stately country home and the ominous narration “If only it hadn’t been for Langford how happy we might have been.” Delicious. Continue reading LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP

DAVID BOWIE : THE MAN WHO STOLE THE WORLD

Six months after the seemingly sudden expiration of David Bowie, the world is still in shock.

This seismic reaction is explained some in the DVD release of DAVID BOWIE: THE MAN WHO STOLE THE WORLD.

The documentary begins the day after the announcement of Bowie’s death last January as fans gather to share their shock and grief at the passing of this legitimate icon of music, art and fashion. Continue reading DAVID BOWIE : THE MAN WHO STOLE THE WORLD

THIS ONE’S FOR AL

Above- Al Pacino in Danny Collins. Featured- Al Pacino in Manglehorn
Above- Al Pacino in Danny Collins. Featured pic- Al Pacino in Manglehorn

Go figure! It’s 8 years since Al Pacino has had a film in cinema release in this country, whereas his contemporary Robert De Diro has had the tiresome DIRTY GRANDPA, THE INTERN, JOY, and LAST VEGAS released.

At least two pictures Al has made in the last couple of years more than warrant, nay deserve, a release. They are MANGLEHORN and DANNY COLLINS.

Both are now available on DVD for home consumption, and both put paid to the old stigma of “straight to video”. Continue reading THIS ONE’S FOR AL

GASPAR NOE’S NEW FILM ‘LOVE’

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Three minutes of mutual masturbation between Murphy and Electra serves as a kind of narrative foreplay for the fetishist flashback that is LOVE, Gaspar Noe’s explicit epic of ennui.

Murphy (Karl Glusman) and Electra (Aomi Muyock) were lovers until Murphy impregnated Omi (Klara Kristin), the result of a broken condom. Omi had been bedded by both in a menage a trois but a takes two to tango tryst is an affronting betrayal and Electra becomes a mourner, morbidly jealous, suicidal. Continue reading GASPAR NOE’S NEW FILM ‘LOVE’

Toast Of London TV Series Comes To DVD

Toast of London- Series 2

Luvvies love looking in and TOAST OF LONDON is a luvvie fest that looks in on London’s likeliest contender for worst actor, Steven Toast.

Actually, Toast isn’t really such a bad actor, it’s just that he has either made bad choices or has had an agent make bad choices for him. At least he’s a working actor which is more than can be said by many. Although he does seem to spend an inordinately long time having tete de tete with his agent, Jane.

Co-created and starring Matt Berry as the eponymous Toast, TOAST OF LONDON is part sit com, part satire and part musical which takes to abseiling absurdity as gleefully as it does descending to the gutters of smut and potty humour in the best British tradition and does not scorn soft comedy porn or scoff at politically incorrect opportunities to lambast and skewer.

Continue reading Toast Of London TV Series Comes To DVD

A Girl Walk Home Alone At Night

Inset pic- The Girl
Inset pic- Sheila Vand plays The Girl in true silent film style in Iranian filmmaker Ana Lily Amirpour’s film ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night’. Featured pic- Ana Lily Amirpour. Pic by Jason Bedient

The vampire genre has found its vintage again in the last year with Jim Jarmusch’s ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE and the Kiwi cult hit WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS.

Now an Iranian film makes a thrilling trifecta in the hallowed hall of the unhallowed, A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT.

Set in a seedy outer suburban outskirt surrounded by oil wells plundered in perpetual motion by machines evoking some kind of dunking birds designed by H R Giger, a woman walks home alone night after night, a shadowy figure in her chador, her garb not unlike a cape and cowl, evocative of Transylvanian tailoring according to Hollywood filmmakers of yore. Continue reading A Girl Walk Home Alone At Night

Hector And The Pursuit Of Happiness

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In the fabulous book WHAT I LIKE ABOUT MOVIES, published by Faber & Faber, editor David Jenkins writes “Simon Pegg is the very definition of the kind of bloke you’d want to go down to the pub with.”

In his latest film, HECTOR AND THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS, the Peggster reteams with his World’s End co-star, Rosamund Pike and instead of doing a pub crawl, embarks on a continent hop, in pursuit of contentment.

Pegg plays Hector, a London psychiatrist who has become increasingly tired of his humdrum life. He tells his girlfriend, Clara, played by Pike, that he feels like a fraud: he hasn’t really tasted life, and yet he’s offering advice to patients who are just not getting any happier. So Hector decides to break out of his deluded and routine driven life. He embarks on a global quest in hopes of uncovering the elusive secret formula for true happiness.          Continue reading Hector And The Pursuit Of Happiness

The Fall Series 2

the fall series 2

Series writer, Allan Cubitt, takes over directing duties as well in the second, and assumingly, final season of the serial killer epic, THE FALL.

Season one was a five part thriller with Gillian Anderson’s Detective Super Intendant Stella Gibson brought in to Belfast to catch Jamie Dornan’s psycho-sexual stalker, known as Spector.

Series 2 settles into a six part police procedural, where Gibson is still delving into Spector’s crimes even though the killer has, apparently, retired and moved away. Continue reading The Fall Series 2

Beneath The Planet Of The Apes (1970)

Beneath The POTA2

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014) comes out on both DVD and Blu-ray next month and, if too many monkeys are never enough, 20th Century Fox are also releasing a new box-set entitled (for no entirely clear reason) Caesar’s Warrior Collection, featuring all eight films in the series – Planet Of The Apes (1968), Beneath The Planet Of The Apes (1970), Escape From The Planet Of The Apes (1971), Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes (1972), Battle For The Planet Of The Apes (1973), Planet Of The Apes (2001), Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (2011) and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014) – all in High Definition and specially packaged in a Caesar bust sporting his penetrating simian stare. Hollywood producer Arthur P. Jacobs, the man behind the whole Planet Of The Apes franchise, had purchased the rights to Pierre Boulle‘s novel Monkey Planet back in 1965, mainly because he wanted to remake King Kong (1933) but couldn’t obtain the rights to that particular property.

I was lucky enough to make Arthur’s acquaintance while on the set of his version of Tom Sawyer (1973): “I spent about three-and-a-half years of everyone refusing to make the movie,” he told me. “First, I had sketches made, and went through six sets of artists to get the concept, but none of them were right. Finally, I hit on a seventh one and said ‘That’s how it should look!’ Then I showed the sketches to the studios, and they said ‘No way.’ Then I got Rod Serling to do the screenplay, and went to everybody again – absolute turndown. I went to Rank in England and Samuel Bronston in Spain. Everyone said no. So then I figured, maybe if I got an actor involved, and went to Charlton Heston who, in one hour, said yes. Then Heston suggested Franklin Schaffner as director, and he also said yes. Now I have Heston, Schaffner and a screenplay and all the sketches. I go right back to everybody and they throw me out again!”

Continue reading Beneath The Planet Of The Apes (1970)

Planet Of The Apes (1968)

Charlton Heston takes on the apes in the legendary movie series
Charlton Heston takes on the apes in the legendary movie series

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014) comes out on both DVD and Blu-ray next month and, if too many monkeys are never enough, 20th Century Fox are also releasing a new box-set entitled (for no entirely clear reason) Caesar’s Warrior Collection, featuring all eight films in the series – Planet Of The Apes (1968), Beneath The Planet Of The Apes (1970), Escape From The Planet Of The Apes (1971), Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes (1972), Battle For The Planet Of The Apes (1973), Planet Of The Apes (2001), Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (2011) and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014) – all in High Definition and specially packaged in a Caesar bust sporting his penetrating simian stare.

Superficially childish, but in many ways very grown-up, was the original Planet Of The Apes (1968), one of the two commercial American-made science fiction blockbusters that year, the other being Charly (1968) starring Cliff Robertson. The French had a hand in this as well, for it was based on Monkey Planet, a rather ordinary satirical novel by the popular French novelist Pierre Boulle, author of Bridge On The River Kwai (1957).

The director, Franklin J. Schaffner, probably had no real affinity with science fiction, though he later made another science fiction movie, The Boys From Brazil.

Continue reading Planet Of The Apes (1968)

Spielberg Collection: Jurassic Park (1993)

Dinosaurs running amok in JURASSIC PARK
Dinosaurs running amok in JURASSIC PARK

By the early nineties Steven Spielberg had established his position as the preeminent Hollywood director, but his films over the previous decade had largely decayed into cloying cuteness and overblown sentimentality.

So the buzz that Spielberg had secured the rights to Michael Crichton’s exciting novel JURASSIC PARK (published 1990) did not settle well with fans (cuddly dinosaurs speaking in childlike voices?) but anyone emerging from a cinema after the two-hour screening must have felt that dinosaurs were truly walking the earth. Spielberg was back in form – Jurassic Park (1993) wasn’t just good, it was Jaws (1975) good!

JURASSIC PARK tells of one man’s dream to create a unique game preserve on a remote jungle island near Costa Rica. Billionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) has amassed a core group of experts who have discovered how to genetically engineer live dinosaurs from their fossilised DNA remains found in the blood of prehistoric mosquitos encased in amber, and has populated his scientific Disneyland with long-extinct breeds of dangerous carnivores. Continue reading Spielberg Collection: Jurassic Park (1993)

The Spielberg Collection: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

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Spielberg’s vision of childhood – innocent and open, unable to distinguish between fantasy and reality, with triumphs and traumas which adults find incomprehensible – can be found in much of his work. But it had its fullest, most plangent treatment in a comparatively modest little film called E.T THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982) which became the most popular film ever made within a few weeks of its release.

Spielberg, not a conscious intellectual, would probably be sarcastic about comparisons with the poet William Wordsworth but, for both, the world of childhood is central to their vision of adult life. Wordsworth quite simply saw children as being closer to God than is possible for grown-ups, and the actual process of growing up he saw as a slow corruption and darkening of their vision. To be an adult is to have lost not just one’s innocence but also one’s joy. Wordsworth called it The Vision Splendid: “At length the man perceives it die away, and fade into the light of common day.” To grow up is to become confined: “Shades of the prison-house begin to close, upon the growing boy.” Continue reading The Spielberg Collection: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

The Spielberg Collection: Duel

Duel photo 1

Steven Spielberg has been hailed as a latter-day Disney, another Irving Thalberg, a Sam Goldwyn-type who can talk straight. Actually, he’s more like the Ronald McDonald of movies, a chap who’s able to take the same old basic ingredients and make them palatable to an enormous number of people.

His name came to public notice in a modest way with his first feature DUEL (1971) which was made for American television and broadcast in November 1971. It was not his first professional work, however. He had tried to enter the film school at the University of Southern California on the basis of amateur movies he had made, including his two-hour-long science fiction film Firelight. He failed. They had accepted George Lucas, John Milius, and were about to accept John Carpenter, but they would not take young Spielberg. But eventually, at the age of 21, after haunting the lot at Universal Studios and making a 35mm documentary about hitchhiking called Amblin’ he was given a job as one of three directors making a television pilot for a new series called Night Gallery.

In 1971 he had seven separate episodes for various television series broadcast, but DUEL – which was an actual full-length movie and not just an episode of something – was what caught people’s eyes. There was no immediate excitement – although DUEL was well received by both critics and audiences alike, it was not until 1973 that it gained release as a cinema film in Europe and Australia with added footage, increasing its duration from 74 minutes to 90 minutes. That was when it started winning festival prizes and rave reviews, and suddenly Spielberg’s career really took off.

DUEL is a text-book example of the Monster Movie – one of the best ever made – with a very unusual monster, a large rather decrepit-looking semi-trailer truck. The script was by the Richard Matheson, based on his own short story originally published in Playboy magazine.

Matheson was responsible for scripting a record number of unforgettable genre hits which include The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), The House Of Usher (1960), The Pit And The Pendulum (1961), Burn Witch Burn (1962), Tales Of Terror (1962), The Raven (1963), Comedy Of Terrors (1963), The Devil Rides Out (1968), The Legend Of Hell House (1973), What Dreams May Come (1998), as well as made-for-television movies like Trilogy Of Terror (1975) and The Night Stalker (1972). Matheson also scripted sixteen immortal episodes of Rod Serling’s original Twilight Zone series, and I’d bet at least a quarter of The Simpsons Treehouse Of Horror stories are also inspired by Matheson’s writings!

Dennis Weaver plays the man in DUEL whose car is repeatedly attacked for no particular reason by a truck he has overtaken. It is definitely the truck that is the ‘monster’ and not its driver, who is never fully seen. It is the truck itself that seems malevolent, its headlights like the glowing eyes of some great dinosaur as it lurks in ambush, its engines like the growling of some vast beast.

The film has virtually no dialogue, it is pure cinema brilliantly edited, about an ordinary man-in-the-street (like most of Spielberg’s heroes), being driven to the brink of madness by a violent attack out of no-where. The idea of horror erupting out of normality is basic to the Monster Movie, and it has rarely been done better.

Even the ending has its own wonderful logic, when the truck finally leaps voraciously, not on Weaver but his car, and goes over a cliff in the attempt: In the one moment of overt horror, the truck utters a bellowing death-cry as it plunges to its doom.

Spielberg made two more feature-length movies for television: Something Evil (1972), about the possession of a young girl, and Savage (1973) was a run-of-the-mill private eye story. Both were competent, neither was extraordinary, and neither received cinema release. But after the overseas success of DUEL, he was given a cinema feature to direct: Sugarland Express (1974) starring Goldie Hawn and William Atherton as the jailbird couple on the run in an effort to save their baby boy from being adopted. Well-made and sentimental, it quietly sank out of sight due to poor promotion. Next on Spielberg’s ‘To Do’ list was the box-office record-breaker Jaws (1975) and the rest, as they say, is history.

Spielberg’s biggest hits remain those that tell of unearthly wonders from a child’s point of view – like E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial – or at least from the point of view of the child within – like Jurassic Park (1993). When he tries to break out of this familiar formula, he is usually criticised for doing so.  For instance, his first attempt at a non-fantastic film resulted in The Colour Purple (1985) which was accused of sanitising Alice Walker’s original novel and deemed a failure by many critics.

However, when Spielberg works within his formula, he has unparalleled success, and almost single-handedly given Hollywood’s special effects industry a huge boost.

What with giant dinosaurs, alien visitors, temples of doom and the like, DUEL is the least complicated film Spielberg would ever make, however it still plays very powerfully today.

DVD REVIEW: ALIEN RESURRECTION (1997)

Alien Resurrection photo 1Next week you can grab the Blu-ray set of one of science fiction’s finest franchises in all-new Nostromo-style packaging with lots of additional goodies, released to coincide with the original classic’s 35th Anniversary. Complementing the the theatrical and extended cuts of Alien (1979), Aliens (1986), Alien 3 (1992) and Alien Resurrection (1997) in HD are two discs chockablock full of special features, a set of mini-reproductions of the original theatrical posters, eight art cards by the late great H.R. Giger, and a reprint of the illustrated Alien comic.

Thirty-five years ago, when audiences first thrilled to the nightmarish images of Alien, not only did the groundbreaking creature effects evoke astonishment, so too did the plucky determination of the film’s heroine. Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley would serve as a prototype for a new generation of gutsy action heroines and Sigourney Weaver, whose film career was launched by the defining role, would subsequently reprise the character in two sequels: Aliens and Alien 3. Continue reading DVD REVIEW: ALIEN RESURRECTION (1997)

DVD Review: ALIEN (1979)

Alien photo 1Next week you can grab the Blu-ray set of one of science fiction’s finest franchises in all-new Nostromo-style packaging with lots of additional goodies, released to coincide with the original classic’s 35th Anniversary. Complementing the the theatrical and extended cuts of Alien (1979), Aliens (1986), Alien 3 (1992) and Alien Resurrection (1997) are two discs chockablock full of special features, a set of mini-reproductions of the original theatrical posters, eight art cards by the late great H.R. Giger, and a reprint of the illustrated Alien comic.

Back in 1979 a new kind of horror movie hit the screens. The marketing campaign practically dared you to watch the film, warning that ‘In Space No One Can Hear You Scream’. Alien helped to make an ex-BBC television designer a household name and a hot property in Hollywood, launched the career of Sigourney Weaver, and changed the perceptions and expectations of science fiction and horror films. Aside from its many imitators it also spawned three direct sequels (not counting the Alien Versus Predator spin-offs) and one hell of a legacy. Continue reading DVD Review: ALIEN (1979)

Nicholas Cage in JOE

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Nicolas Cage’s career has had a see saw swing ever since he took the Oscar for his alcoholic tragic in Leaving Las Vegas. For every The Rock and Face Off there’s been the dire dross of substandard supernatural or splatter film. Many of his latter films have had no theatrical release, and most did not deserve to have one.

JOE, however, in  which he plays the titular character, is as deserving a theatrical release as any, yet has been denied a big screen showing.

Cage plays a bloke in boondocks Americana who runs crews whose task is to poison trees for land clearing. He’s a down to earth boss who rewards conscientious workers and is more than willing to give a kid from a dysfunctional family a job. Continue reading Nicholas Cage in JOE

The Amateur Monster Movie

Second PicIf you like truth in advertising, then you’re going to love the title of this week’s film screening on TVS: The Amateur Monster Movie (2011). It certainly is amateur, and it is indeed a movie (if only in the strictest technical sense). The only thing wrong with the title is the word ‘monster’ because there’s more than one! That’s right, this is both a zombie movie AND a werewolf movie! Now that’s real value for money! It’s the first feature film starring, written, directed, produced, catered and edited by twenty-two-year-old Milwaukeean Jozef Kyle Richards – presumably because no one else would. The title tells you right away that it’s going to be both campy and goofy (along with the other five dwarfs) and played strictly for laughs. Continue reading The Amateur Monster Movie

From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series

Second ImageThe first season of From Dusk Till Dawn The Series (1996) has just been released on DVD this month along with a re-issue of the original film! Earlier this year director Robert Rodriguez adapted his cult classic From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) for television, and launched his new El Ray cable channel with the series. Recently screened on SBS TV, it reprises and expands upon the events of the movie, with Rodriguez directing four of the ten episodes: “There was so much I wanted to explore in that movie that I didn’t get to, and I delved a little deeper into the Mesoamerican mythologies – and Aztec and Mayan mythologies – and where vampire culture could have existed back then, and found fascinating stuff!” (courtesy San Antonio Express News). Continue reading From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series

Twin Peaks

Second ImageDavid Lynch’s innovative nineties television series is back on Blu-ray to haunt an entirely new audience! While it’s feasible that there’s the odd person over thirty-five years of age out there that didn’t see the Twin Peaks series when it was first televised in 1990, it’s unlikely that they are unaware of the cultural run-off from the groundbreaking show. Catchphrases like ‘She’s dead, wrapped in plastic’ and ‘Who killed Laura Palmer?’ adorned T-shirts, fans held coffee-and-donut parties, and large sections of the world went quiet for an hour every week. There were also several books published, some extremely funny and knowing indeed, like the Twin Peaks Tourist Guide with an ad for the local taxi service with a blind driver who always travels with his psychic brother (in actuality David Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost). Continue reading Twin Peaks

THE TURNING

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Hugo Weaving plays a hermit, drawn to campfires, who is tracked down by his son

Fresh from her Oscar tipped turn in the current box office smash, BLUE JASMINE, Cate Blanchett also shines in THE TURNING, the audacious and ambitious rendering to the screen of Tim Winton’s story cycle of the same name.

The seventeen chapters of the book have each been turned over to a film maker for cinematic rendition all linked by literary heritage and augmented by a motif of animated sand drift, a sort of sand script that introduces and connects each vignette.

As with any composite piece there will be segments better realised than others and indeed appreciated by different audiences, just as a degustation offers myriad tastes and textures.

Continue reading THE TURNING

FROZEN GROUND

John Cusack plays another villain in FROZEN GROUND
John Cusack plays another villain in FROZEN GROUND

Kiwi Scott Walker has gone north to Alaska to helm a true horror show, FROZEN GROUND (MA).

Sub zero is serial killer temperature and it’s definitely ice that’s coursing through Robert Hansen’s veins as he rapes, tortures and kills a number of women.

Detective Jack Halcombe is set to freeze the sprees that have largely gone unnoticed for thirteen years.

Nicolas Cage is cast as the cop staving off retirement for this one last case.

Continue reading FROZEN GROUND

PARKLAND

PARKLAND

Mow the grassy knoll, lock the windows of the book depository, and don’t deal with Dealey Plaza.

To commemorate the assassination of JFK check out PARKLAND on DVD.

Nonplussed that this very fine film failed to find a cinema release, nevertheless it deserves a wide audience.

Written and directed by controversial journalist Peter Landesman and based on the book by Vincent Bugliosi who prosecuted the Manson clan and author of HELTER SKELTER, the bestselling book about the case, PARKLAND takes its title from the hospital that JFK was taken to after being shot.

The opening sequences are reminiscent of Robert Altman’s MASH with all the blood and gore hubbub of a surgical emergency, and indeed the overall film has an Altmanesque quality with its big cast and multi weaving plot structure.

Zac Efron plays the overworked surgeon who valiantly tries to resuscitate the mortally wounded President, his frustration palpable as is the enormity of the situation creepingly realised by theatre nurse Marcia Gay Harden.

Shock and awe is also the register illustrated by Paul Giammatti’s portrayal of Zapruda, who fatefully filmed the most famous snuff movie in history.

Billy Bob Thornton bustles as senior secret service agent Forrest Sorrels, devastated that this incident happened on his watch and determined to close the case as quickly as possible.

As much as procedure is followed by medical and law enforcement people, a sense of panic generated by the magnitude of the act plays interference and almost immediately the seeds of conspiracy are planted.

PARKLAND also has a fascinating aspect to the Oswald connection, focusing on Lee Harvey’s brother, Robert, played by James Badge Dale. Guilty by association in the eyes of colleagues and the community, he must traverse the swampland of familial loyalty with the insanity of his sibling’s actions. Jeremy Strong portrays Lee Harvey Oswald, with Jackie Weaver as their mother, delivering more than a hint of her matriarch in Animal Kingdom.

A more than worthy addition to the Kennedy canon, PARKLAND is a movie mosaic depicting the confusion and grief of an event that stalks the zeitgeist half a century on.