YNWA

Unlucky boys. Lose your best player in a freakish challenge, concede three freakish goals the likes of which you wouldn’t expect to concede in a single year never mind a single game, but two shocking mistakes too. The powers that be weren’t on our side tonight.

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Q – The Winged Serpent

*Originally written in 2003

When I was younger, because of my interest in dinosaurs I would always watch any film with a dinosaur in it. I saw a few of the Godzillas, and watched all the Sinbad and Harryhausen movies. This is one I was always fond of, mainly because it had what I thought was a cool name, and there were always a few scenes that stayed with me. I have still only seen it a few times, it’s rarely shown, and I haven’t seen it on DVD anywhere. I did catch it again recently though and can say now that the effects have aged badly, and it is obviously dated. It has a typical storyline, if a little madcap, but it’s still interesting and good to watch if you get the chance. Some good acting, some cheesy stuff, some laughs, and a good one to show the kids if they have an interest in such things as it is not as scary as Jurassic Park, but still has its moments.

In New York, Police have been receiving reports of a giant flying dinosaur which they of course think is a hoax. Soon however a number of civilians are eaten, snatched off rooftops while sunbathing. This moment I am always reminded of when I watch ‘Marge in Chains’ – the Simpsons episode where Marge is arrested for shoplifting. There is a scene in which Otto is on a rooftop, and the camera swoops down on him from directly above, very similar to what happens in Q. Anyway, Michael Moriarty plays a thief who has just robbed a jewelry store and is hiding in the Chrysler building. There he finds what appears to be a nest, with eggs and parts of human corpses. David Carradine plays the lead cop who soon realises the Aztec God Quetzalcoatl is the beast attacking. Soon Moriarty and Carradine are squaring off, Moriarty the only one who knows where the creature is, and wants to make sure if he makes a deal he will get something in return.

A seemingly silly idea for a film, but no less silly than Godzilla, King Kong, and many other monster movies. It is the same idea, updated for the eighties. Cohen allows some ominous camera-work over the city, meaning we never know when Q is going to attack, or from where, and the relationship between Carradine and Moriarty is interesting. Cohen always seems to choose strange and innovative topics for his film-making, ensuring he has gained a small cult status in the horror community. He has done better films, but this is still good. A strange mix of genres which does not always work, but is worth seeing anyway.

Let us know in the comments what you think of Q The Winged Serpent!

Best Director – 1973

Official Nominations: George Roy Hill. George Lucas. Ingmar Bergman. William Friedkin. Bernardo Bertolucci.

This is a weird catagory – Bergman and Bertolucci are immediately out for their films having been made the year before. I always felt the Lucas nomination was a weird one – the USA loves their flag-waving of course, but still I didn’t feel the film was the sort they would tend to nominate. Lucas is assured and the film is a labour of love – it ain’t no Star Wars though. That leaves Friedkin and Hill – Hill, with The Sting, was always going to be the winner here. There isn’t much to choose between the pair, both iconic films, both directed with style and confidence. In that case if comes down to personal preference – for me The Exorcist wins every time.

My Winner: William Friedkin

My Nominations: William Friedkin. George Roy Hill. Terence Malick. Nicolas Roeg. Robert Clouse. Guy Hamilton. Martin Scorsese. Peter Bogdanovich. Franklin J Schaffner. Sidney Lumet. Robin Hardy.

A bunch of additional entries for me, starting with the most likely to have happened in reality. Badlands – Malick’s first movie was acclaimed but didn’t get a lot of recognition until much later while Roeg’s visionary work on Don’t Look  Now was praised even if the final product was not deemed as successful. I’m surprised Bogdaovich didn’t get nominated for Paper Moon – it’s not all about the O’Neals after all, and Lumet could feel a little miffed at Serpico being largely passed over. The less likely nominations include Schaffner for the spirited Papillon and Scorsese for Mean Streets – the near documentary realism perhaps too close in style to the actual documentaries he had been releasing to this point. Completely out of left field are my final picks – Guy Hamilton for Live And Let Die – one of my favourite outings for 007 and to my mind one of the most shamelessly entertaining, and Robin Hardy for The Wicker Man as chilling and authentic a horror film as you’re ever likely to see. Finally, Robert Clouse deserves a nomination simply for helming the single most famous martial arts movie ever – it’s stylish, it’s fast, it’s violent, and it’s the first film most people will think of when asked to name a kung fu movie.

My Winner: William Friedkin

Nightman’s Top Ten Films Of 1964

Greetings, Glancers! We continue my new series of posts which will detail my favourite films of every year since 1950. Why 1950? Why 10? Why anything? Check out my original post here. As with most of these lists the numbering doesn’t really matter much, though in most cases the Number 1 will be my clear favourite. As I know there are plenty of Stats Nerds out there, I’ll add in some bonus crap at the bottom but the main purpose of these posts is to keep things short. So!

10: Marriage, Italian Style (Italy)

9: Woman In The Dunes (Japan)

8: Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte (USA)

7:  A Hard Day’s Night (UK)

6: Seance On A Wet Afternoon (UK)

5: Dr. Strangelove (UK/USA)

4: Kwaidan (Japan)

3: Zulu (UK)

2: A Fistful Of Dollars (Italy/Germany/Spain)

1: Goldfinger (UK)

How Many Of My Films Were In The Top 10 Grossing Of The Year: Three

How Many Of My Films Were Nominated For the Best Picture Oscar: One

Nightman Listens To – My Fair Lady – Original Broadway Cast (Top 1000 Albums Series)

Oh, dear Lord, no. This is one giant WTF and should not be on a Top 1000 Albums list. Yes, yes, I haven’t heard it yet, but I already know what it’s going to sound like. I’ve seen the movie, hell, I even kind of like the movie. But musicals, in general, suck balls while simultaneously sucking the life out of me. Musicals… you’re lucky if you get two or three good songs, usually at least one centrepiece. My Fair Lady, as far as movie musicals go, has a few songs which the general public will know even if they haven’t seen the movie, but none of the songs are outstanding. Lets just get this over with.

What Do I Know About My Fair Lady: Musical, based off book, which later became a hit movie. Audrey Hepburn is awesome. She’s not here though.

Overture: It’s frantic and fast. It’s a textbook overture. You already know what you’re getting here. There’s about four seconds here to differentiate it from any other musical.

Why Can’t The English: Ridiculous talky singy. There’s only person who should be murdered here, and it’s YOU. This is just an embarrassment for all concerned. Fine in a film musical – pure torment in literally any other form.

Wouldn’t It Be Loverly: Starts horrifically. Gets gradually worse. At least this one has a memorable main line. The backing vocals are shocking. Some of Julie Andrews’ notes are ear cancer too.

With A Little Bit Of Luck: One of the things I hate most about musicals is singing with forced accents. Which means I’m basically buggered where this album is concerned. It’s so false and theatrical – I want my music, in most cases, to be honest, not acting. Of course, this is a musical so I get it’s meant to be the other way around – but as I’m listening with no visuals it just doesn’t work. The song needs to be extraordinary to get its point across. This is tripe. As far as accents go, Cockney is near the top of the list of ones I can’t abide. YOU SOUND LIKE A COCK.

I’m An Ordinary Man: More talking. I don’t care. You may as well be describing the peristalsis which occurs in your anus as your squeeze one through. Posh rapping. Women, eh, amirite? You’d prefer the Spanish Inquisition to letting a woman into your life? Hardy har. I’d prefer you and everyone you’ve ever met being skinned and set on fire than listen to this for another millisecond.

Just You Wait: Oh fuck off.

The Rain In Spain: Abortion.

I Could Have Danced All Night: I don’t mind the ‘chorus’ of this one. All else is pain and two minutes too long.

Ascot Gavotte: Noises. Marching. Then the singing starts and we all wish we were dead.

On The Street Where You Live: This one would be fine without the terrible vocals.

You Did It: Nice flutey opening descends into farce. And not good farce. The sort of farce where you’re trying to get somewhere on time but you can’t find your keys, then the car won’t start, then you get stuck behind eight cyclists who CYCLE IN A GROUP BESIDE THE FUCKING CYCLE LANE, then you get by them only to meet a tractor, before an ISIS appears in the backseat and beheads you.

Show Me: More travesties.

Get Me To The Church: Nope.

A Hymn To Him: Unlistenable.

Without You: Every single song and every single vocal delivery is identical.

I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face: Starts with ridiculous aplomb. It’s all words words words spoken in the same dumb way. Once we finally get to the ‘good’ bit it’s too little too late.

What Did I Learn: I’m fairly competent that several thousands brain cells died while listening to this.

Does It Deserve Its Place In The Top 1000 Albums Of All Time: Are you seriously asking me that with a straight face? Every copy of this wank should be wiped from existence.

Colin Larkin’s Ranking: 559.

Yeah, don’t even comment. In fact, forget I even mentioned it.

Train To Busan

By now if you haven’t seen Train To Busan you’ve probably at least heard of it – breaking box office records and hearts at a furious pace. If indeed you haven’t seen it, you need to set aside a couple of hours, right now, and watch it – Train To Busan is the horror movie of the year and shows that there is still plenty of life left in the shambling undead genre providing you have the right people behind and in front of the camera.

Train To Busan gets right what many horror films get wrong – character. Too often character is sacrificed for plot, or worse, for kills. I love a good beheading or stabbing as much as the next horror fan, but sometimes we want more – more substance, more feeling and care. Cannon Fodder is all well and good, but the impact when someone we actually like, or actively dislike bites the dust is more powerful and the memory of their death and the associated emotional weight stays with us longer. There’s an old belief/saying/remark that I generally accept as containing a lot of truth – that the best horror films are often made by people who don’t make horror movies. While that’s not true across the board, it does sometimes take a person outside of the genre to bring something truly unique or horrifying to the butcher’s table. While Yeon Sang Ho was no stranger to dark material, it would be difficult to classify his previous work as strictly horror – his debut animated feature The King Of Pigs an unsettling look at violence, class, bullying, masculinity, and the follow up The Fake is an equally divisive, unflinching depiction of religion and abuse of power. Train To Busan was the director’s first Live Action movie, and although he filmed it alongside the animated prequel Seoul Station, it depicts a level of character building and command of genre usually reserved for the greatest directors.

At just under 2 hours, Train To Busan covers a lot of ground and gets off the ground within moments – we meet the ‘bit of a dick’ protagonist – a divorcee who apparently cares more for his job than his young daughter. As her Birthday present, she wants to visit her mother in Busan and her dad reluctantly agrees to take her. As they get on the train we pass by several other characters – a working class tough guy with his pregnant wife, a superior wealthy business men, estranged elderly sisters, and a school baseball team with their own interconnected dramas. Just as the train is setting off, a young, sick, injured woman collapses into one of the carriages and the fun begins as she decides to take a chomp out of one of the train workers. The way the ‘virus’ spreads here is more akin to 28 Days Later where a serious bite will result in death and ‘turning’ in a matter of seconds. Within minutes the train is in chaos, with factions being formed, people being slaughtered, some hiding, some fighting, some locking others away to their doom, all while the train scurries along to its final destination.

The pace with which the virus spreads is matched by the plot pacing and direction. There is rarely a moment to breath or relax without some new twist or threat emerging. The characters from different backgrounds all react to the carnage differently, yet all want to survive. The arguments here are of course reminiscent of NOTLD and Day Of The Dead with each voice and ego demanding to be heard and refusing to accept any other opinion as valid. There are a number of terrific set pieces, from scrolling beat-em up fight scenes through zombie filled carriages, to white knuckle tension filled moments as one group tries to lock out another, to the seeming safety of arriving at another station only to find it completely overrun too. Indeed, most of the excitement and scares of the film come from the pacing and the character driven plot, rather than jump-scares or gore.

While the film has its bloody moments, it isn’t overly gory or off-putting for newcomers. Seasoned horror fans will enjoy the action and invention, while new fans will likely be sucked in by the story which is frequently heartbreaking. The performances from top to bottom are great, something vital when you are relying so heavily on character, and most of the writing is on point too. You’ll have fun guessing who, if anyone, will make it to Busan, and the energetic nature of the film will have you thirsting for a rewatch. This is a highly entertaining, game-changing zombie film which reinvigorates a genre bloated by the procession of Walking Dead episodes and clones and frequently equals the heights that the best of the genre has to offer while encouraging those unfamiliar with these types of movies to get on board.

Let us know in the comments what you thought of Train To Busan!