Wednesday, 21 July 2010

The Seven-Ups

It’s been a while since I posted an entry of things that have caught my eye or that I’m looking forward to. That may have something to do with me filling this blog with bizarre and generally unwanted fiction that no-one wishes to read. Not this time, friends. Your humble narrator will now take a backseat to people with genuine talent, starting with this brilliant little short film from British director Matthew Savage and starring Noel Clarke. You may know Clarke from his on-off role in the latest incarnation of Doctor Who, but he is also turning into one of the most influential people on the UK film scene, having written and directed Kidulthood and the recent 4, 3, 2, 1. Reign of Death is a science-fiction noir in the classic style of Bogart, and shows real style and love for the genre. The good news is that with Clarke’s input Savage is seeking funding to turn his short into a full length feature, and based on this five-and-a-half minutes that would be a very good thing.

It may have a ridiculous name, but the trailer for The Cup Of Tears is a thing of visual beauty, showcasing gorgeous CGI blended with live action and coming over like the bastard love-child of 300, Sin City and Kill Bill. It’s the brainchild of Irish commercial and music video director Gary Shore, who worked for six months on the trailer in the hope of securing funding to expand his vision into a full length feature. And Universal and Working Title have picked it up for development. If done right, this could screw with your brain and polish your eyeballs. Although I will bet my right hand the title will change.

I know very little about Amock, apart that it’s from the artfx students of French university Montpellier and that it features much screaming and running about in the documentary style of Rec and Paranormal Activity. And there’s also some pretty nice creature effects in it.

This is nothing new, just a fantastic trailer for one of the very best car chase movies of all-time, Dirty Mary Crazy Larry. I saw this as a kid and instantly fell in love with Susan George (who was a staple of great 70’s genre cinema such as Straw Dogs, Fright and Venom) and desperately wanted to be the legend Peter Fonda. It’s a simple on-the-run tale as Larry and Mary pin the pedal across country in a beautiful, throbbing Dodge Charger with corrupt cop Vic Morrow in persuit. This story has been told a hundred times since, but never with this much style and just pure damn Seventies cool. Essential cinema for gear heads, beloved by Tarantino - a must-see action classic.

If you’re a fan of genre cinema, then you hold Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in the God-like status they deserve. While director buddy Edgar Wright has been putting together his adaptation of Scott Pilgrim Vs The World and preparing to go Global, Pegg and Wright have been making Paul, starring as two comic-book geeks who are on a road trip across America and pick up a friendly alien who has escaped Area 51. It’s directed by Greg (Superbad) Mottola and will be out early next year. All other details are shrouded in mystery, but if this first picture is anything to go by it should push all the film-nerd buttons - they’re at Comic-Con, for Christ sake…

If you’ve read my blog or social network shit recently you’ll know of my love for Canadian band Metric. Their Fantasies album from last year was a masterpiece of dreamy indie-rock, and Gimme Sympathy is the highlight, four minutes of the kind of music that moves the soul and makes you wonder why this four-piece isn’t playing everywhere. They’ve released a superb video to go with the song, and it perfectly captures the mood and spirit of this truly innovative band.

Finally, I know nothing of this except it’s about a young innocent who is drugged, brainwashed and abused by a corrupt clergy, receives a sign from God to seek vengeance on her tormentors with a huge arsenal, which she does, and then the church hires a motorcycle gang to track her down. IMDB say this is out next year. There hasn’t been a decent nunsploitation picture since MS.45, and I don’t care if this is so bad it’s good or just plain bad. I can be a cheap and easy date, and I’m sold on the title, that decription and this poster, and as such I WILL be watching a film called Nude Nuns With Big Guns.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

The Old Boys

First in an occasional series of short pieces featuring legends who have slipped into an alternative universe. This week - Bob and Al in Working Blues

The lights were low, the air heavy with the scent of incense. Smoke appeared like mist in the haze of the lamps. Pacino stretched his neck, heard the cartilage crack. ‘You really need that shit burning?’ he grumbled.

‘Yeah, I do. It helps me get in the zone, and I don’t see it disturbing you.’

‘You used to get in the zone with a pint of scotch. What the fuck happened to you, Bob?’ Pacino winced as he tweezed another hair from his nostril. ‘In fact, what the fuck happened to both of us?’

De Niro shrugged, stared at his aging profile lit by the bulbs around the greasy mirror, could just about remember how good he used to look. ‘A new breed came along my friend. Young and easy, without all the drugs and the baggage. Without the status of legends.’

‘Yeah? Well I liked being a legend,’ Pacino said. ‘What I don’t like is plucking hairs, sniffing your hippy sticks and sitting here in my own sweat.’ He sighed and rubbed a hand across his tired eyes. ‘You heard back from Marty lately?’

‘I leave messages, but he doesn’t return my calls,’ De Niro replied, unable to keep the disappointment from his voice. ‘Too interested in that kid DiCaprio these days.’

‘Fucking loser. I’ve seen no talent in that pretty little shit. And as for Scorcese, what the hell has he done recently? I saw Shutter Island, and it was no Goodfellas, let me tell ya.’

De Niro span around on his stool, the heavy woollen leggings he wore crackling with static. ‘Maybe not. But it wasn’t Rocky And Bullwinkle. And correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t you grace the screen in Gigli?’

‘Oh, fuck you.’

‘Al, let’s face it, we took some wrong turns, made some bad choices. At least we’re still working.’

Pacino didn’t answer, just ran black panstick around his eyes and struggled his skinny frame into the thick brown vest that matched the leggings worn by his friend. Both of them stood together, and Pacino scooped up the horse head that lay in the corner, it’s empty eye sockets mocking him. In a few moments he knew his own manic stare would be filling those dark holes. He looked at De Niro for a moment, and in unison they picked up the .45’s from the dresser. There was nothing more to say, only actions to be taken.

A knock on the door, and a moment later a young, blonde man pushed his head around the frame. ‘Two minutes and we’re on, Gents,’ he said, his voice high and grating. ‘If we can just-’ He stopped and shook his head. ‘Jesus, how many times do I have to say it. No guns. This is a family pantomime.’

‘Sorry,’ De Niro said, and they both returned the replicas to the dresser. ‘It’s a hard habit to break, y’know. Right, Al?’ Pacino didn’t speak, just kept his eyes toward the floor.

‘Okay, okay,’ said the runner. ‘Just put your bloody hooves on and let’s move.’

Pacino waited until he’d gone and then slipped the horse head over his own, glad that the tears in his eyes were shielded from his colleague. Behind him he felt Bob grab onto his hips, bend over into a ninety-degree angle, and heard his muffled voice telling him to go. At least he had the head tonight, he didn’t think he could handle being the ass, not the way he was feeling. They fumbled their way out of the tiny dressing room and moved up the corridor, hooves beating a slow and sad melody against the tiles as they headed toward the stage…

(c) 2010 Rich Wilson