To check the dubious reasoning behind these posts, check the original here:
In this new series of posts I’ll be selecting a Star at random from every decade (who was born in that decade) starting from the 1880s up until the 1990s to be interred in this land of magic and wonder, who will for ever more see their name set in stone far beyond the places where Gods dare to tread. Each name will have a unique star placed and statue built-in their honour. Often accompanying these additions will be news of a new store or museum to go alongside those stars whose work is of particular genius, and you too can visit and see the place of your dreams, simply by closing your eyes….
1880s: Louis B.Mayer: For contributions to Cinema.
One of the founding fathers of MGM and Cinema itself, Mayer was also a Producer and known for taking a personal interest in nurturing the stars which he discovered and for creating and enhancing a large part of North American culture. It is clear that the business and movies themselves would not be the same today without the work Mayer achieved.
1890s: James Cagney. For contributions to Cinema and Theatre.
Like many stars of his time, Cagney began on the vaudeville circuit as a dancer and actor before eventually hitting it big as one of cinema’s best villainous actors. Although frequently typecast, it has Cagney’s charm and wide array of acting talents which ensured he became a multiple Oscar nominee and eventual winner and which make him one of the most enduring of Hollywood’s stars. He is remembered for works such as White Heat, Public Enemy, and Angels With Dirty Faces.
1900s: Cary Grant. For contributions to Cinema and Theatre.
Multi Oscar, Bafta, and Golden Globe nominee Grant is remembered for being one of the most charming screen presences in history, often appearing as the debonair gadabout or flirtatious womanizer. Comfortable in romances, comedies, thrillers, and action films, Grant was a James Bond before Bond ever appeared on screen and contributed to some of the greatest movies ever made. He is remembered for works including North By Northwest, Charade, and None But The Lonely Heart.
1910s: Karl Malden. For contributions to Cinema, Television, and Theatre.
One of the finest, most recognizable character actors of all time, Malden was equally comfortable and memorable on stage or on the big or small screen. Usually turning up as an affable everyman or foil to a lead, Malden nevertheless won an Academy Award and an Emmy and became a star and draw in his own right. He is remembered for works such as On The Waterfront, Patton, and I Confess.
1920s: Peter Donat. For contributions to Cinema, Television, and Theatre.
Most well known for his performances in many TV shows over the decades, Donat has also appeared in many high profile movies and indie movies. He is known for works such as The X Files, The Godfather II, and Time Trax.
1930s: William Friedkin. For contributions to Cinema and Television.
Friedkin is one of a handful of directors who has made critically acclaimed films in genres as diverse as horror, action, crime, and comedy. A frequent writer of the films he directs, Friedkin was one of the first mainstream directors to shoot with a much grittier, realistic style from what audiences were used to. He is known for works including The French Connection, The Exorcist, and To Live And Die In LA.
1940s: Harry Shearer. For contributions to Cinema, Television, and Music.
Although most well known for his long running voice work, Shearer had been a well established writer and actor on the big and small screen since the Seventies, having started out in the 50s as a child actor. He is known for works such as This Is Spinal Tap, The Simpsons, and A Mighty Wind.
1950s: Jenny Agutter. For contributions to Cinema, Television, and Theatre.
OBE Agutter began her career as a child actress in a string of global hits before transitioning with greater success to adult roles. Although she has always balanced her TV and Cinema work, in recent years her more recognizable roles have been on the small screen. She is known for works including Walkabout, An American Werewolf In London, and Call The Midwife.
1960s: Jack Black. For contributions to Cinema, Television, and Music.
Although it wasn’t until the turn of the Century that Black became recognised world-wide, he had already been appearing on the big and small screen since the early Nineties. Usually picking roles which highlight both his comic and musical ability, Black’s distinctive voice and energy continue to earn him many followers. He is known for works such as School Of Rock, Kung Fu Panda, and King Kong.
1970s: AJ Cook. For contributions to Cinema and Television.
Cook has had a consistent career in Movies and Television since first appearing in the late 90s. Although she frequently appears in the horror genre, she is most well known for dramatic roles on the small screen.She is known for works including Final Destination 2, Criminal Minds, and The Virgin Suicides.
1980s: Bijou Phillips. For contributions to Cinema, Television, and Music.
Recent years have been quiet for Phillips, but in her early years she was prolific, appearing in multiple shows each year with frequently praised performances. She is known for works such as Almost Famous, Bully, and Hostel Part 2.
1990s: Madeline Carroll. For Contributions to Cinema and Television.
Starting out as a child actress and guest starring in various popular shows, Carroll has since taken in larger roles in movies while maintaining regular appearances on the small screen meaning the future looks bright. She is known for works including Swing Vote, The Spy Next Door, and Mr Popper’s Penguins.
In addition to the stars and statues erected in honour of the people above, the following attractions have also been created:
In Honour Of Jack Black: The School Of Rock has been built, an authentic musical experience for kids to attend for specialized courses, classes, lessons, and tuition on how to play and write music, especially epic rock music!
In Honour Of Carey Grant: The Carey Grant Bar and Restaurant has been established. This upmarket Bar features only the finest in American and European cuisine, a stunning locale, and sumptuous decor so that you can spend a few hours indulging in flirtatious chat and intrigue.
In Honour Of Harry Shearer: The Simpsons World Experience: A fully realised Springfield from the hit show has been created from the ground up, featuring every building, character, and attraction from the hit show built to scale. Attached to this are multiple hotels and rides – essentially every Simpsons related theme park or fairground attraction ever seen on Earth has been faithfully recreated here.
Which of the above attractions would you like to visit and which attraction based upon any of the stars or their works above would you love to see being created? Let us know in the comments!
A wonderfully shot film with a strong cast and some nicely choreographed fight and action sequences, Teddy Chan’s historical drama doesn’t quite match up to the likes of Ip Man and struggles while trying to maintain realism in light of all the fantastic elements. Set in 1905 Hong Kong, it is a time of revolution and intrigue, with various murders and power struggles shaping the course of history. Sun Wen, an influential politician opposed to the Qing Dynasty, is coming to Hong Kong to discuss plans to overthrow the dynasty, but the Emperor sends multiple assassins to kill Sun and put an end to his uprising. The Emperor’s power is overwhelming and given that the British Colonials do not wish to become involved in internal struggles, Sun, along with Chen Shaobai – a revolutionary and newspaper editor – and his businessman friend Li Yutang, try to prevent the assassination by bringing together a group of bodyguards a la The Magnificent Seven.
The film features big hitters such as Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Nicholas Tse, Tony Leung (Ka Fai), and Lin Bingbing in a large ensemble cast. The basic story is simple, but the plot becomes unnecessarily overblown with each character having their own minor arc which in most cases only confuses matters rather than helping to expand upon the character. I mistakenly thought this was going to be a primarily led Donnie Yen movie, and while Yen does feature heavily, especially in the various action set-pieces, this is more of an ensemble piece. I can’t say I’m remotely familiar with the period the film is covering, but the constant over the top action clashes with the realism of the film. This is usually fine, but the film sets itself out to be a serious historical drama rather than a fantasy based retelling like Ip Man. Hong Kong does look beautifully authentic, with bustling multi-national alleys filled with rickshaws and market stalls, and there is a sense of revolution and paranoia in the air. The costumes, the setting, the choreography are all strong, and most of the set-pieces, while not memorable or outstanding, do get the heart pumping. With an exciting finale where many of our heroes are dispatched, it is a film that is worth a watch for fans of Hong Kong action, but be prepared for more drama that you may have expected.
Have you seen Bodyguards And Assassins? How does it rate against other historical martial arts epics? Let us know in the comments!
Official Nominations: Jack Albertson. Seymour Cassel. Daniel Massey. Jack Wilde. Gene Wilder.
A lot of unusual choices for performances this year, with Jack Albertson doing nothing out of the ordinary in the merely ordinary The Subject Was Roses. In a bleaker look at the falling apart of family and American values, Faces has a number of nominated performers including Seymour Cassel but none of them truly stand out for me while Daniel Massey camps it up memorably as Noel Coward in Star! Jack Wilde does an okay job as The Artful Dodger, and while those accents just grate on me his portrayal is the one I know best. Finally,Gene Wilder announced himself to the world in sterling form in The Producers.
My Winner: Gene Wilder.
My Nominations:Gene Wilder. Jack Wilde. Robert Vaughn. Robert Helpmann. Karl Hardman. Henry Fonda.
Only Wilde and Wilder make it to my list, with four overlooked performances added. Karl Hardman is the opposing force to Duane Jones’s Ben in Night Of The Living Dead – creating one of the most punchable people in horror history yet an utterly human and understandable character, all the more surprising given Hardman was a Producer not an actor. Robert Helpmann likewise crafted an iconic figure in the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitt Bang Bang, while Robert Vaughn is the unlikable politician Chalmers Bullitt. Finally, Henry Fonda is even more unlikable and cast against type brilliantly as the devious killer Frank in Once Upon A Time In The West.
My Winner: Gene Wilder
Who is your pick for the Best Supporting Actor of 1968? Let us know in the comments!
Greetings, Glancers. Today I list my top 10 favourite Disney movies. Animated movies that is, as most of their non-animated stuff is muck. For almost a hundred years, Disney has been synonymous with animation and they have crafted some of the world’s most imaginative movies with stunning visuals, timeless stories, wicked villains, tireless heroes and heroines, and a multitude of memorable side characters and songs which have become cultural touchstones – there simply isn’t another company like it. While I have yet to see all of their central animated movies and hardly any of the many many straight to DVD sequels and spin offs, my Top Ten represents a fairly wide array of choices to represent just what made, and continues to make them so special.
10. The Sword In The Stone
One of the lesser known and most unusual Disney movies, this tale based on Arthurian Legend doesn’t feature a princess in need of rescue or any overly memorable songs, but it does have cutesy animal characters, quirky humour, and a host of slapstick action and ideas. The animation has a similarly bland feel to 101 Dalmations but a variety of colour schemes and transformation scenes which are magical in my childhood and were likely all the more impressive at the time of release. Arthur is an unusual hero, a bumbling but well-meaning idiot, surrounded by brash masculine figures, a crabbidy old owl, and a wizened old wizard. Madam Mim makes for a unique villain, a crazed witch who doesn’t really have a goal in the overall film’s plot, but her scenes are a lot of fun and make you wish she played a bigger part. The plot of the story is fairly bizarre too, as it simply chronicles a short stage in Arthur’s life as he moves from weak little squire to England’s rightful ruler – but it features some early meta-humour and enough oddities to make it charming for a viewer like me.
I almost was not going to include this monstrosity, but I have seen it so many times that it is not only a huge pop culture phenomenon, but something which my family has watched together numerous times. If you’re a parent of young children then you’re probably in the same boat – Let it Go will haunt your waking hours without warning, your house is adorned with Frozen memorabilia, clothes, toys, and you know the characters, dialogue, and story by heart. It’s difficult to be cynical when the film is so good at wrapping up the kids in its wonder, and its’ very easy for an older viewer to get pulled in again. It’s classic Disney stuff, with many tropes twisted on their heads, clever one-liners, great characters, and a message which values true love in any form over blind faith.
8. The Lion King
Like Frozen I almost feel obliged to include The Lion King in my Top Ten. I know it’s going to many people’s favourite, especially people of my age who think it’s ever so clever to announce at the top of their voices that it’s based on Hamlet. There are quiet a few films not included on this list that I enjoy more than The Lion King, but where it succeeds over those is in the quality of animation, music, performances, and humour. The cast of The Lion King is superb and breath life into even the most minor character, and with a list including Simba, Mufassa, Scar, Timone, Pumba, the hyenas, and many more, there is so much to love. Throw Elton John, Hans Zimmer, and Tim Rice’s music and lyrics into the mix and you have one of the most successful movies ever made. The subtle use of CG merged with gorgeous traditional animation serves up a sprawling view of Africa – bright, mammoth, and deadly, but brimming with life and wonder.
I saw Pocahontas quite late, after generally seeing the 90s Disney output shortly after release. I remember only watching part of it after its VHS release, and then only watching it fully some years later on TV. It continues the gorgeous art work of the 90s Disney features before the CG began taking over, and features a very strong female lead in the title character, continuing the company’s trend which started with The Little Mermaid. The story of the cultured white man coming to the new world and staking his claim may get criticized for being simplistic, but along with the general environmental message this is a story with heart and meaning – aimed at children. I have no doubt that the messages sink in to younger minds and hopefully once watched a bunch of more tolerant people come out the other end.
We have a dastardly villain who may not be the most memorable in the Disney canon but still is eminently slappable, a strogn male lead in John Smith, a few decent side kick characters, and of course Pocahontas herself. It isn’t a joke heavy movie, but there are a few funny moments, strewn between some effective action scenes and of course a load of great music – it’s the music which raises the movie well above average and reminds us of the message.
Disney struck gold again after the modest financial and critical success of their previous two movies with Mulan. I don’t remember this getting much praise upon release and it seems like the movie’s popularity has grown with time. Mulan is a divisive character, getting both praise and sharp criticism from feminists, but in my mind she is another progressive Disney woman who controls her own destiny. I also would rank Mulan as one of the most beautiful looking Disney films -the oriental art style and the setting being unique and one I wish the company would return to. Shan Yu is one of the most vicious and evil Disney bad guys, although he is perhaps not memorable due to his lack of comic moments. The voice cast is superb, with Ming na Wen, BD Wong, and James Hong all giving terrific performances, but Eddie Murphy steals the show as the dragon Mushu. The battle scenes are epic and exciting, the songs are wonderful, there are plenty of visual and slapstick gags, the hero’s journey is hopeful and poignant, and we even get an excellent montage, Rocky style.
Moving on from the Girl Power Disney Princesses of the 90s, the Noughties Disney girls retained their strength while still being girly – never more obviously shown than with Rapunzel. I’ve always loved the story of Rapunzel and was excited when Disney said they would be tackling it. It’s one of the fastest paced, most fun Disney movies with gloriously bright visuals and a fairly sad plot. Rapunzel is an extremely lovable character, somehow always upbeat even though she was kidnapped at birth an locked in a tower for her whole life, while Flynn Rider is an affectionate rogue in the Han Solo mould. Mother Gothel is one of the most interesting villains in Disney history – ambiguous enough that we think she does sort of love Rapunzel, but clearly wicked and self-interested. It must have been a difficult task for the writers to turn the witch of the original story into someone as wily and engaging as Gothel, and Donna Murphy gives her rambunctious diva breath. While the songs may not be as monumental as those in other movies on this list, they are a hell of a lot of fun and performed in a light, bouncing spirit.
What always disturbed me about most versions of the original story was how the first half focused on these loving, poor parents who have a child, and in the second half it’s all about Rapunzel, the Witch, and the Prince – the parents apparently never find out what happened to their baby; Tangled changes this for the better. It’s maybe cynical that her parents are King and Queen, but who cares – it’s magic!
4. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Okay, I’m cheating a little with this one as it isn’t really a classic Disney feature, but it’s still a product of them – current animators, ex-animators, and it spices up the list giving something with a little bit of flavour. It is a fantastic story, imaginative, dark, and filled with cheeky charm. The stop motion still looks as good today as when I saw it in the cinema, and Jack Skellington is a legend. An unusual love story like several of Tim Burton’s others, this is a tale for kids who are perhaps that little bit lonelier than others or who simply appreciate the darker things in life or maybe see the world through a rim of shadow that a ray of light – but who still dream and hope.
Another one I saw in the Cinema upon release, Aladdin must rank among the most entertaining, funny, and action packed Disney movies and has possibly the best single performance in any animated movie – Robin Williams as The Genie. Disney has a record of employing iconic comedians for their movies, but never before or since has someone as loved as Williams provided so much of their own style , personality, and energy into a character.
With all the anti-Muslim fearmongering and hatred in the world at the moment I’m surprised Aladdin is still as beloved as it is. Hopefully that shows that a good film will always be a good film no matter how culture changes and how many fools decide to show their true colours. At its heart though, this is classic Disney – dreams of better days, love and romance, freedom and desire, all offset against wicked, ruthless, and selfish ambition. Like many Disney classics of old we get a roster of classic characters – Aladdin the adventurous street rat, Jasmine the lonely Princess who wants true love and a real life of possibility, Jafar the insidious cheat and power-hungry magician, The Genie and more. The movie builds upon the CG experiment unveiled in Beauty And The Beast to provide dazzling thrills and timeless set pieces – the escape from the Cave Of Wonders, Jafar’s last stand, and of course a little sequence involving a song called ‘A Whole New World’. Disney truly expanded its horizons in the 90s and Aladdin was a key component of that expansion – it remains as effervescent and amusing and enjoyable to new viewers new as it was to oldies like me.
2. The Jungle Book
In some ways I’m surprised this one is so high up my list – when I was young it was the Disney movie I probably saw most and at times I got annoyed about this because I wanted to check out other Disney movies but the only thing being shown was The Jungle Book. It got quickly to the point that I knew the dialogue and lyrics off by heart, meaning I would unleash impromptu King Louie performances upon unsuspecting school friends (I never could manage to skip over my own arms though). The Jungle Book is maybe the central ‘Boy’s Disney Movie’ as it skips many of the traditional Disney tropes – Princesses, romance, some typical bad guy to overcome, and instead it’s basically an adventure, a journey through the jungle with a bunch of friends getting into various scrapes. There is of course Shere Khan, voiced deliciously by George Sanders who acts in the antagonist role, but rather than being a constant stalking presence, he’s only there so we have a greater sense of threat and conflict. It’s about leaving home, finding your place in life, finding friends, and making your own home, family, and future. There’s also a lot of singing and scratching your arse against trees.
The Jungle Book has some of Disney’s finest songs and funniest scenes. In Baloo the bear we have the perfect madcap folly to the straight-laced Bagheera, in Mowgli we have the innocent wide-eyed man-cub who is easily influence by the world and characters around him a la Pinocchio, and there’s a host of supporting characters from Primate mobsters, Scouse vultures, and marching elephants. If you don’t laugh at Baloo shouting in Bagheera’s face, or if you don’t dance, sing, and woo-bee-doo at this, you have no soul.
- Beauty And The Beast
It couldn’t really be anything else, could it? You can rank Snow White as the most important, Pinocchio as the archetype, The Little Mermaid as the first return to form for the Company, but for me Beauty And The Beast trumps everything else – in those categories and more. Arguably the first animated movie in 50 years to be taken as a serious piece of art*, it was the first animated feature to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, it breathed new life into an old story and completely rejuvenated a Company that many would have claimed to be past their best. It brilliantly utilizes the state of the art CG which was just creeping into the industry, seamlessly blending with traditional artwork to create a sweeping re-imagining of a tale as old as time, with classic characters, timeless music, and a story everyone will enjoy.
Belle is one of the finest Disney heroines – containing all the Princess tropes of beauty and kindness, but possessing an inner and outer strength, a huge imagination, and a dream of there simply being more to life than her quiet provincial existence. Thrust into a nightmare, it is her inner strength which turns her fears to fantasy and her fantasy to reality as she sacrifices her future for her father’s safety and embarks upon an adventure where beast can be more human than man and love can be the only thing to save us. The Beast is a fantastic creation – terrifying when he needs to be, and scary when he doesn’t, dumb, shy, proud, funny, lonely, regretful, but at his heart he learns to be heroic and to also understand a selfish sacrificial act. We have Gaston as the worst of humanity – a pinnacle of manhood – masculinity for masculinity’s sake, a man who believes the world should obey his puerile whims, and someone who is cruel, calculating, and will let nothing sway him from the pursuit and completion of his goals. Then there are the side characters of Lumiere, Mrs Potts, Coggsworth, Chip, Belle’s father and many more who each are important in their own right and each make the movie that bit more special. It is rare for any movie, let alone an animated one, to have such fully formed and interesting characters in such a vibrant world.
I can’t leave without commenting on the music – not only do we have a fantastic array of songs, but the incidental music is superb too – just listen to the opening track played over the prologue which blossoms into ‘Belle’. The music meant multiple Oscar nominations and two wins for Best Original Score and Best Original Song, but lyrically they are excellent too – funny, poignant, and imaginative – getting right to the core of the character or struggle. Howard Ashman wrote most of the lyrics for the soundtrack on his deathbed, adding another layer of tragedy and something bittersweet – he never got to see the final product, but there could surely be no finer passing gift.
So there you have it, my personal favourite Disney movies. A polarizing company with many polarizing works – but if you’re reading this I’m sure you have your own favourites. Why not share them and your reasons in the comments below!
*Grave Of The Fireflies might have something to say about that.
‘Fascinated by good/Destroyed by evil/What is there to believe in?’
Ready For Drowning
Long before Harry Potter, but long after Grottbags, there was another Sorcerer’s Apprentice – young Dean, star of today’s episode of AYAOTD. We deal with magic and obsession, a well worn trope in fiction seen in everything from the seductive nature of The Dark Side Of The Force, to the addictive calamity witnessed in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Lets see what Amazon’s blurb has to say about this one:
Dean has trouble at school – especially with chemistry. His best friend, Alix, seems to be the only one who understands him. One day an archaeologist visits the class and brings along a bewitching snake which entrances Dean. Soon thereafter Alix begins to notice changes in his personality.
We’re in familiar territory as the episode opens with the group heading to their usual spot. On the way though they find a grave where two of our more ethnic members play a prank. Betty-Anne is telling tonight’s story, one which seems to involve skulls, or headless corpses, or skeletons or something, given the way she’s fondling that bone between her hands. We go back to 1966, some museum-looking school where a time travelling kid (they’re wearing 90s clothes) drops a bucket (?) into a puddle (?). I don’t know, it’s not very clear. We flash forward to Present Day and meet Dean, an unusually attractive young chap who doesn’t appear to be popular and isn’t great at school work, as explained by the pitbull teacher’s battleaxe face and grumpy one-liners. I had my fair share of witches in school – what is it about a career in education that can drain all the moisture from one’s face and replace it with a medicine ball-shaped Gorgon texture? Dean sort of looks like a cross between River Phoenix and Michael Pitt.
We then meet Alix (America) who, for some reason happens to be Dean’s friend. Likewise I also had girls who were, for the same ‘some reason’, my friends. I really feel like today’s story is speaking to me. Or maybe I’m too lazy to think of another angle to write from today. What the hell pictures did she have in her locker? It appears to be – A random Cosby; a saturated black and white still of a woman terrified beneath a tree; two cartoon skiers chasing a heart down the slope of Mount Fuji; the face of the bad guy from Ghostbusters II cut out and placed on the body of stylish 90s business women. That’s quite a collection. We never had lockers in my school, just schoolbags packed with everything you needed for the day, and that was usually dumped in a corner once you got in. Something else we rarely had in school was special guests – in this episode a redhead archaeologist comes to speak in Dean and Alix’s class, bringing with her a wide array of artifacts. One such artifact is a giant cobra sceptre which once belonged to a reputedly evil sorcerer – perhaps he who wields the sceptre will absorb the sorcerer’s power.
This has so far reminded me an awful lot of an early Buffy episode, and that’s no bad thing. The school setting, the friendship, the weird teacher and the weird artifact – these are all things that pop up in Season 1 Buffy and while that Season is seen as the worst, I still have very fond memories of watching them for the first time as a 14 year old when they first made their way to BBC 2. Dean’s interest has been piqued and he speaks with the teacher and pokes at some of her toys. She speaks in ambiguous terms so we immediately ask ourselves if she is evil. Once Dean lifts the scepter, he becomes entranced and heads into the school basement (more Buffy nostalgia). Cut to the next scene and Dean has suddenly transformed into a Beat poet rebel, complete with turtle neck and attitude, mystifying his unnecessarily angry teacher, and upsetting Alix. Dean has basically become Xander in The Pack, with cool new friends and unfortunate decision making. At this point we’re almost halfway through the episode and nothing remotely scary has happened. It is however interesting and has a coherent vibe and good performances.
There is one funny scene here as Dean speaks to the floating head of Goth, performing a resurrection ritual in what appears to be a trash can. Alix watches from about four feet away and Dean sends his acolytes after her.
For some reason Goth speaks with an English accent, and then for some reason Dean begins speaking in an English accent. And then for some reason, I begin laughing in a Jamaican accent. Goth isn’t a particularly imposing figure, and while there is a Palpatine/Vader dynamic going on, his face when he laughs resembles a worried and weeping Vinnie Jones.
Alix decides, against all known codes of honour and wisdom, to ask a teacher for help, but the angry teacher is already under Goth’s power. This bit actually unnerved me a little, because when the teacher laughs, her front teeth almost look like they turn to fangs – a little like that moment with Bilbo in Fellowship Of The Ring. However, they are apparently her normal teeth. It feels like the closing moments as Alix is chased by the acolytes (one of whom may be the begotten offspring of Robert Smith), but there are still 10 minutes remaining.
We have just enough time to get more oddly framed shots of the Campside Weirdos as they discuss acid and Alix’s predicament. Alix is being taken by Robert Smith, Dean, and the rest to a swimming pool within the school which has inexplicably been left abandoned for 25 years. Dean speaks in an English accent again – is this just something Americans (and Canadians) do when they want to sound sinister? I know that we have a history of English villains in Hollywood films, but to me the generic English accent always sounds tame and wussy. My accent though – if an English person heard me shouting they’d likely vacate their bowels and hide under the nearest tarp. I’m sure the purpose of Dean’s accent is to show he is becoming more like Goth, but it still feels jarring and silly. Goth returns in a watered down Hellraiser vision. There is some terrible make-up and costume work on Goth, but Alix and the returned-to-normal Dean stop his rise by pouring chlorine into the pool. Why there is a vat of chlorine sitting open beside the pool is anyone’s guess. Presumably Dean brought it with him for the ritual, but why the hell would you bring the one thing which will stop your master from rising? Hugs and giggles ensue, I stretch my leg to crack my knee, and we get a quick ‘twist’ ending. Why can’t the teacher perform the ritual herself? Why does it have to be a kid? Why a specific kid?
I thought this was a pretty good, engaging episode, albeit light on scares or tension. Without the two good leads though, this may have felt light and flat. There is actually quite a few speaking parts in this episode, so lets have a look and see how much more speaking these peeps have done in their careers. Behold! Dean was in a previous episode – The Tale Of The Prom Queen. If you’ll remember from that post, I asked posed the dilemma ‘I wonder if he’ll look like a scumbag’ referring to his future appearance on the show. I’m pleased to solve that puzzle today by answering that yes, he does kind of look like a scumbag in this episode, but only when he’s acting like one. Elsewhere he gives a very good performance, accent aside. We’ve covered Matthew Mackay’s career before, so lets move on. Alix (Staci Smith) seems to only have one other credit to her name, a year before this episode in the splendidly named movie Prehistoric Bimbos In Armageddon City.
Only one of the Acolytes is credited and I’ve no idea if it’s Robert Smith or one of the others – played by Chris Nash who has at least 1 Producer, 1 Director, and 1 Composer credit to his name. As an actor he has been around in movies, TV movies, and TV shows from the early 80s to the late 90s including Freddy’s Nightmares, Wraith, and Satisfaction. Many of these movies featured early appearances from Hollywood big hitters, but for whatever reason Nash has yet to reach those heights. I’m not even sure he was one of the acolytes – according to his age on IMDB, that would have made him 31 playing a young teenager. On the other age of the age scale is Goth, an ancient Egyptian or something, played by Stephen R Hart whose size and voice have ensured that has been a respected voice and screen actor since this episode – his first appearance. Since then, he has been in Silent Hill, The Mortal Instruments Series, and voices ‘ Canada’s daily opening rant’ which I can only assume means he stands atop of some Canadian landmark and shrieks a few words or paragraphs about politics, war, famine and other such topics. Finally, the two teachers – angry woman, played by Jane Gilchrist, and Dr. Oliver played by Emma Stevens. Stevens has appeared in lesser known movies and shows including The Audrey Hepburn Story and Beyond Borders, as well as voicing in the Assassin’s Creed series. Gilchrist has had a similar career, appears in a later AYAOTD episode, I’m Not There, and Big Wolf On Campus.
There you have it, another episode in the bin. Next up we’ll be heading down to the arcade to stumble across sticky carpets and avoid the wizened old pre-divorcee wasting his hard earned quarters on Pacman in The Tale Of The Pinball Wizard. Sweet dreams!
Let us know what you thought of this episode in the comments and for more reviews of AYAOTD, check here:
Look! Look at the things! Sparkly and new and full of intrigue, like a child fresh over the fields on the first day of Summer, shoving their hand into a muddy hole in the ground and yanking out fistfuls of gem-encrusted spiders. Why are they there? What do they do? Why are they biting me? MUMMY!? That’s right, it’s time for more trailers!
Scary foreign places! Scary foreign friendlies! Maguffin. Take this to the cops! Certainly sir. Everyman roped into globetrotting political intrigue. Mark Gatiss. Seems like an interesting thriller with presumably twists and turns, but one for TV not Cinema viewing, surely?
Things To Know: Based on the book by John La Carre about a Russian Mafia boss trying to defect to the UK when he fears his life is in danger
Whos To Know: Directed by Susanna White (Nanny McPhee) and starring Ewan McGregor, Damien Lewis, and Naomie Harris.
I’ve seen the trailers for this a few times as my kids are busting to see the movie (note – since writing this post 2 months ago we have seen and loved the movie). No need for the horrible car sponsorship intro. A fine cast of characters from arse-wipe dog to cake-eating cat. Great premise, ripe for plenty of universal humour. Monty Python. System Of A Down. Plenty of jokes in the trailer, hope they’ve saved some for the movie.
Things To Know: A bunch of well-groomed pets get in trouble with a bunch of strays and have various adventures around NYC.
Whos To Know: Directed by Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney, and starring a host of stars from Louis CK and Steve Coogan to Dana Carvey and Albert Brooks.
Scary Neeson voice. Spooky gates. Irish. Lonely boy. Treebeard. Adventure. Loads of effects. A challenger for Pan’s Labyrinth’s crown?
Things To Know: Based on the book by Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd about a boy whose mother has terminal cancer who is visited by a story-telling monster.
Whos To Know: Directed By J. A. Bayona (The Orphanage) and starring Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver, and Lewis MacDougall.
I’ve seen these trailers a few times too, and it looks better than what you would expect. Naturally I’ve never played the game but it looks like they’ve crafted a decent plot out of its carcass. Again it looks like animation is where the best storytellers and ideas are.
Things To Know: Based on the inexplicably popular game, this sees birds face off against pigs in some sort of catapult siege warfare.
Whos To Know: Directed by Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly, this again has an ensemble of voice actors including Maya Rudolph, Sean Penn, Bill Hader, and Peter Dinklage.
Darkness. Voice. Rain. Oh look, it’s another Marvel movie! Yay? Benedict Cumberbatch… noooot a big fan. I don’t really know much about the character. Bald Swinton. Updated Matrix. Parallel worlds.
Things To Know: Based on the Marvel character – a doctor who learns mystic stuff after almost dying in a car crash.
Whos To Know: Directed by Scott Derrickson (Sinister) and starring Cumberbatch, Ejiofor, McAdams, and Mikkelsen.