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Showing posts from April, 2020

GOODNESS GRACIOUS, GREAT BALLS OF FIRE [233]

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“Nine hundred years after the Great Nuke. The world man created, he destroyed. Out of the darkness and ignorance of the radioactive rubble emerged a new order... and the world was woggos." (in old speak that means - Crazy!)” Sometimes, these films just end up finding you. What is the plot of “America 3000”? “In 2890, 900 years after a nuclear apocalypse, warriors Korvis and Gruss stage raids to free men enslaved by the powerful women now ruling Earth.” How lovely does that sound, especially for a film released in the same year, 1986, as the original novel of “The Handmaid’s Tale”? There is the extra layer of slime in knowing this film was released by Cannon. They had already employed the writer and director of “America 3000,” David Engelbach, to write the script of “Death Wish II” – he later co-wrote the story for the Sylvester Stallone arm-wrestling debacle “Over the Top.” It is quite possible that Cannon were making “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace” at this poin

YOU’RE THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE [232]

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Something feels a bit “adult Famous Five” about “The Devil Rides Out,” its main characters being a group that have been friends for years. Dennis Wheatley’s original 1934 novel is the second in a series of eleven to feature the group, led Duc de Richleau, played here by Christopher Lee. Not all of them deal with supernatural themes, although the last, “Gateway to Hell,” definitely did - it was released in 1970, two years after Hammer Film Productions released their version of “The Devil Rides Out.” Furthermore, Dennis Wheatley’s writing led him to become an authority on Satanism, despite having complete disdain for it, becoming a member of the Ghost Club, founded in London in 1862 to investigate and research the paranormal. “The Devil Rides Out” begins with one friend acting strangely, having fallen in with a cult and its charismatic leader. The others must use black magic to fight the cult leader, who will face divine retribution for summoning the angel of death. It is a rol

YOU RESCUE ME, I RESCUE YOU [231]

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So, how are your New Year’s resolutions going? To all those that declared that 2020 was going to be “their” year, it feels natural to write it off as a false start, and skip to 2021. Twelve days were “lost” when the Gregorian calendar replaced the Julian calendar, in Europe, in 1582 – we could do it again! Australia could have Christmas in winter! Addressing severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the cause of coronavirus disease 2 (COVID-19), has taken time because I believed doing so would not be helpful. Realising I needed to do it for myself, concerns over tone, and point of view, melted away. We all need hope, but we have our own hopes. I understand the characterisation of the fight against coronavirus as a war, because of our collective memory of the last national emergency on this scale, mobilising an entire country against a common enemy, even if the Queen saying “we’ll meet again” at the end of her special broadcast made me think of “Dr

A TRIP ON A TRAM [230]

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Does exactly as it says in the title! Manchester Metrolink, August 2019.

DANCE WITH ME, DON’T DANCE WITH ME [229]

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"Kid Auto Races at Venice" is a six-minute film from 1914, best known as the film that introduced Charlie Chaplin, and his “tramp” character, to the world. Also known as “The Pest,” it is about a man constantly walking into the view of a newsreel camera, filming soapbox and car races at Venice Beach, California – from his first moment on film, Chaplin’s eyes are fixed on the camera, and his audience. The premise - and all that happens - is Chaplin posing in front of the camera, in some cases only feet from being hit by a car, before being pushed out of shot by the director, giving Chaplin multiple ways of throwing himself out of shot. Only Chaplin, the director, and the cameraman are actors, with the watching crowds of people being members of the public there to watch an actual race meeting, gatecrashed by a film crew. This is the only time Chaplin appeared as the “tramp” without anyone knowing who he was. As improvised as it may look, “Kid Auto Races at Ven