2019 In Film – A Preview – January

Greetings, Glancers! 2018 was a year in which some movies were released. I can’t remember which, but that’s only because most of them were crap and I’m still drunk from Christmas. 2019 will see the release of even more films to be excited and bored by, and just like every other stinking blogger out there who craves the anonymous approval of people they’ll never meet, I’m here to finger the internet (look on Wikipedia) to see which upcoming movies might interest me. A lot of films won’t have been announced yet and my list most likely won’t include minor releases, straight to DVD or streaming, or foreign films (which tend to be the ones I’m most interested in). Today, it’s the first month of 2019 – Krocus (January)!

Escape Room

We kick off the year with what will most likely be a forgotten horror movie – that’s fine with me as even the most forgettable horror is more interesting to me than most of the recent Oscar Bait. Escape Rooms are all the rage these days – cheap mobile phone games turning into fully fledged hen-do entertainment. Hell, even Belfast has a few of these. Not that I’ve been to any. it was only a matter of time before someone made a movie about this fad, even though similar ideas have been shown on screen before. Best hope for this is that it becomes a Saw/Cube knockoff. The cast doesn’t really contain anyone I’m overly interested in and the director hasn’t done anything I’ve loved – he wrote the worst Paranormal Activity entry and directed an Insidious movie which I haven’t seen yet, though I did enjoy The Taking of Deborah Logan. The trailer is fairly standard as far as modern horror trailers go – it basically shows the entire movie with no spoiler warning – and what’s with the use of all the shitty old timey songs? I assume it’s meant to be creepy, but it never is and just annoys me as the songs are invariably crap. I actually like the idea behind this – mazes and puzzles have always fascinated me, and movies concerning them I’ll always give a chance, but I can’t say I have high hopes. I’ve talked enough about this movie which I probably won’t see for a few years.

A Dog’s Way Home

I’ve always wondered how these types of films get made. I mean, does anyone go and see them? January is usually a dumping ground as no-one can be arsed freezing their arse off to go and watch something which doesn’t feature a Stan Lee cameo, but these sweet and harmless movies seem more suited to the small screen. It’s about a dog who gets separated from its owner and begins a journey home. I know you read about these things in the news from time to time, but in reality 90% of these end the same way – the dog being hit by a car, starving to death, or being picked up by a warden and then euthanized after a few days of starving. Why doesn’t anyone make a movie like that? Oh, right. Lets give it some credit – it stars the great Ashley Judd for some reason, and it’s directed by Charles Martin Smith who I’ve always enjoyed as an actor (and who of course directed the pilot episode of Buffy). I can’t imagine I’ll ever see this.

The Upside

Well, it’s a remake of the hit French film so we’re already on shaky ground, and it’s an idea we’ve already seen before in films like Scent Of A Woman. I can’t imagine anything new or interesting here – it’s like a buddy cop movie without the action. And with that cast, probably without the comedy. Plus, it has been delayed for a year already, so lets not pretend this is going to be anything but balls. I like Bryan Cranston, I like Nicole Kidman, but I can’t take Kevin Hart seriously as a lead actor, or a comedian, or a human…. I think I’ll pass.

Glass

Now we’re talking. Unbreakable is my favourite Shyamalan movie and he has been on an upswing recently. I enjoyed Split and although I’m apprehensive about how this will all work as the trailer made things look too action packed, I’m still fully on board. It’ll be good to see if Willis actually pulls his fist out of his ass and does something worthwhile too.

The Kid Who Would Be King

There has been a rejuvenation of all those 80s kids adventure movies recently, thanks to the success of Stranger Things – that’s not where it started, but that’s likely what has enabled so many to go into production. It’s exactly the sort of movie I would have loved growing up so I’m hoping for some nostalgic charm here rather than generic member-berry stuff. The story and cast seem so-so, but I have always like Cornish since the Adam and Joe days. Hopefully something good here, but again I don’t have high hopes. Andy Serkis’s son is the lead in his debut – I’m generally not a fan of such nepotism but it’s ridiculously prevalent in the business and always has been. Which reminds me, I must write a post about that.

Serenity

It’s not Joss Whedon, so I’m already depressed. This sounds like one of those cheap ‘sexy’ 90s thrillers where the only thing less shocking than another hackneyed double cross was the sight of an A-Lister in a thong. I like the cast though none of them are must sees for me, though Knight is generally a talented writer. I already know I’ll probably never see this unless it hits Showgirls levels of dirt but I’m sure someone out there will get something out of it (a quick fap).

The Aspern Papers

I’ll admit I haven’t read the book yet, but it’s on my list. I like the idea, though the fact that it stars various socialites and members of the Redgrave clan has me on edge. Also, I’m not a big fan of costume stuff.

Sgt. Will Gardner

This looks interesting; again it’s an idea we’ve seen before – a military vet comes home only to find an internal war which affects his daily life and relationships. These films are always interesting to me though they rarely go beyond that to something more, and although it’s a subject often tackled in films it’s one that isn’t discussed enough in reality and leads to devastating multi-generational harm – something that is likely to get worse with the Warmonger-In-Chief. It also looks like a road movie, and I love me a good road movie. I do have a couple of concerns – first, that it will be too patriotic, something I can’t stand or understand (COuntry music shite in the trailer), and second that it looks like a passion project by Martini who writes, directs, and stars. Oh yeah – Martini almost always plays a soldier or military dude in movies – what’s that about? I do love the cast though – Robert Patrick, Gary Sinise, Lily Rabe, Dermot Mulroney, JoBeth Williams, Liz Rohm, are all performers I admire.

The Heiresses

At first glance I thought this was a costume drama, at least a foreign costume drama which usually trumps Hollywood’s stuff for me, but one second glance that’s not the case. It looks like a story about two wealthy friends suddenly rendered poor and how they cope. I’ll probably never see it.

An Acceptable Loss

See, the problem I have with films like this is that they feel that they could have been, and already have been covered in a single TV episode. Person Of Interest deals with stuff like this all the time. However, I’m all for keeping Jamie Lee Curtis busy as she is a vastly underrated and underused actress. Tika Sumpter I don’t know much about while director Joe Chappelle is known more for his TV work than his crappy horror movies. Actually, looking at his TV credits, that pretty much confirms my original point.

Adult Life Skills

See, the problem I have with quirky indie movies like this is that people like this don’t really exist in real life and when they do, they are seriously damaged individuals. Of course there are many people out there who like to claim they are quirky in this manner, but that’s emotional damage of another sort. I have no qualms admitting my own damage and the fact that I often hate myself for my quirks, but they I don’t go around making a show of them. That along with the fact that the humour in these films almost always doesn’t work for me is pretty much ensuring this will be a no no. The positive risk with this though is that when these films do work for me, I love them and they become an all time favourite. The fact that this was made in 2016 doesn’t bode well.

The Standoff At Sparrow Creek

Now, this is more like it. This has been getting rave reviews on the festival circuit, and it looks and sounds fantastic. It has a cast featuring non-A-Listers that I love including Patrick Fischler, Chris Mulkey, James Badge Dale, and it seems like a limited set seige thriller. That set-up is of course one of my favourites, with films like Assault On Precinct 13. Reservoir Dogs, and the original Dead Trilogy all winning examples. I have high hopes for this one, but I’m sure it won’t be anywhere near a Cinema near me.

King Of Thieves

Where siege movies are intriguing to me, heist movies usually don’t I admire the cinematic touches, but they too often follow tropes I don’t like and most annoyingly they glamourize the whole thing. Thieves are scumbags – I don’t care what the motivation is, I don’t care how stylish they make it look, or how nifty they (always) look in suits – they’re scumbags taking money from the rest of us and they don’t deserve our attention. You already know exactly what this will be like, ignoring the fact that it’s based on a true story and has the unique quality of featuring a bunch of old guys. It’s good the cast it still getting work, and most of them I like, but for me when I’ve seen one heist movie, I’ve seen them all.

The Wild Pear Tree

Another films receiving rave reviews since Cannes, this one I have no doubt will be good, but again it’s subject matter I can’t get overly invested in. It looks both gorgeous and dank, Ceylan certainly has a unique voice, and his stuff is different from the usual Hollywood fare. I just need to be in the right frame of mind for it.

Which January releases interest you? Let us know in the comments!

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Best Music (Scoring) – 1974

Official Nominations: The Godfather Part II. Chinatown. Murder On The Orient Express. Shanks. The Towering Inferno. The Great Gatsby. The Little Prince. Phantom Of Paradise.

The category continues to be divided into two, with the official winners being The Godfather Part II and The Great Gatsby. After the mess surrounding the score and snub for The Godfather, there was only one winner here. In truth the score isn’t all that different from Part I but it’s still strong enough to be the choice. Jerry Goldsmith’s Chinatown is the only other potential, a woozy score with plenty of wistful moments, a score which on its own evokes Marlowe imagery, lonely PIs and boozed up dames, and maybe the odd footchase through a dark alley.

The Murder On The Orient Express soundtrack always reminded me of a score from decades earlier, albeit done with better production values – it’s classy, has sudden dramatic outbursts, and the necessary touches of glamour and romance. Shanks isn’t about a series of prison stabbings – it’s somehow worse. It’s amusing that a movie about a killer doll gets nominated for an Oscar. Well, not quite, but it is about a puppeteer played by Marcel Marceau who, with the help of an evil doctor, can control the dead. How William Castle got Alex North to work on this I don’t know, possibly via the use of an evil doctor and puppeteer, but it’s an Oscar Nomination for a horror movie so I can’t complain. It actually isn’t that bad a film – lent authenticity by Marceau’s performance and North’s wispy stop-start score – you can imagine the notes being pulled up and down by the invisible hands of a puppeteer.

The Towering Inferno is, I always forget, another score by John Williams. Even before he made all the soundtracks you love he was knocking it out of the park. If anything, this one actually reminds me of Star Trek – there’s that sense of ambition and exploration and scope in the music. Not a lot of memorable cues though. The Great Gatsby… not a book or an adaptation or a period of time and place I’ve ever really enjoyed so I’m usually biased against such things. Thankfully the score doesn’t go too far down the sound of the period that I don’t like, but still… The Little Prince is a strange one – an unsuccessful musical with a good cast. In theory it sounds like a musical version of the story could work, and that’s coming from someone who hates musicals, but this one doesn’t work. Most of the songs are annoying and the music is forgettable – it’s not a patch on the 2015 version. Finally, Phantom Of Paradise is the weirdest one of the lot – another musical, or maybe more accurately a Rock Opera with horror elements, directed by Brian De Palma. The rock opera movie would have a more successful release the following year, but this one has its moments, possibly let down by the lack of known performers. It’s a film about a disfigured rock star who seeks revenge against an evil producer who steals all his work and gets rich. A number of the songs are good, the overall score is consistent, though none of it became a hit and the film wasn’t a huge success.

My Winner: Chinatown

My Nominations: Chinatown. The Godfather Part II. The Phantom of Paradise. Black Christmas. Foxy Brown. Earthquake. The Taking Of Pelham 123. Blazing Saddles. Dark Star. The Sugarland Express. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Young Frankenstein.

Three of the official choices make it to my list – you should know by now my choices tend to be somewhat more eclectic.

Black Christmas has a pretty unnerving and chilling soundtrack, filled with moans and creaking and wind howls along with twist on Christmas classics. Foxy Brown on the other hand is just good, solid, sexy fun by the great Willie Hutch. John Williams was just starting to hit his stride in the early-mid 70s, as you’ll see from this list and pretty much every subsequent year. Both Earthquake and The Towering Inferno have decent central themes and much to love and quite a few similarities. Elsewhere, he also collaborated with the little known Senor Spielbergo on The Sugarland Express – a weird one which has too much wailing harmonica and not enough of the good stuff – strings, building brass, hooks, yet is great when it works.

David Shire’s The Taking Of Pelham 123 feels like a disaster score, which I suppose is apt. It’s suitably chaotic, the lead ba-dum-da-dum brass pulsating and pounding. Finally, we’ve got to have The Texas Chainsaw Massacre soundtrack (Wayne Bell and Tobe Hooper) – perhaps more than any other main theme this year does it catch in your memory. Those screeching, ‘whatever they ares’ in the intro remain horrifying now, setting up a truly unique and nightmarish film – you watch and hear the opening, and you know you’re in trouble. Aside from that there is booming distortion, clashing cymbals, and other anti-music just off-putting enough to create an unequaled atmosphere.

Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Dark Star. I was going to pick The Godfather Part 2, but lets not.

My Winner: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Let us know which score gets your vote!

2018 In Memoriam Part 4

Scott Wilson (March 29, 1942 – October 6, 2018)

Known most widely in recent years due to his work as Hershel on The Walking Dead, Wilson career stretches back to the 1960s and covers TV and Movies. He will be remembered for works including In The Heat Of The Night, The Ninth Configuration, Junebug, The Last Samurai, and CSI. 

Will Vinton (November 17, 1947 – October 4, 2018)

Although he should be a much more famous name in the US due to his work on commercials and TV specials, his work is also universal. He won one Oscar and was nominated two others, and he worked on Moonwalker, Return To Oz, Speed Demon, and The Adventures Of Mark Twain. 

Raymond Chow (8 October 1927 – 2 November 2018)

It’s not a stretch to say that Chow was one of the most important figures in the history of cinema, creating Golden Harvest and essentially enabling Martial Arts movies and Hong Kong Cinema to exist. Without Raymond Chow, there would be no Jackie Chan, no Bruce Lee, and likely a very different approach to action cinema.

Douglas Rain (March 13, 1928 – November 11, 2018)

Rain was a respected theatre actor and appeared in various TV series and TV movies, but his most well known role was as the voice of HAL in 2001 A Space Odyssey and its sequel.

Stan Lee (December 28, 1922 – November 12, 2018)

It was bound to happen sooner rather than later. The ever youthful Stan Lee worked right up until his last days and was a huge supporter of visiting comic cons and speaking with fans – only right as he essentially invented the whole thing. Much of modern pop culture in the last 10 years has been shaped by him thanks to the MCU domination, but his career goes all the way back to the 1930s and his creations have appeared on TV and movies for almost as long. If you somehow still don’t know him, he’s the man behind Spiderman, The X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, Ant-Man, The Avengers, Iron Man, The Fantastic Four, Daredevil, and basically most of their surrounding cast, and as well as appearing in most of the MCU movie and TV creations he can be seen in X-Men, Deadpool, Mallrats, Teen Titans Go To The Movies, Muppet Babies, The Simpsons, and many many more.

William Goldman (August 12, 1931 – November 16, 2018)

One of the best combination screenwriter/authors of the 20th Century, Goldman was a two time Academy Award winner and created seminal works in at least four decades including Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, All The President’s Men, The Princess Bride, Misery, and Marathon Man. 

Nicolas Roeg CBE (15 August 1928 – 23 November 2018)

One of the most influential and respected British directors ever, Roeg’s films included adult and children’s horror, sci-fi, comedy, drama. Starting out as a cinematographer working on Lawrence Of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, Casino Royale, Roeg found his own voice and delivered classics including Don’t Look Now, The Witches, Walkabout, and The Man Who Fell To Earth.

Ricky Jay (June 26, 1946 – November 24, 2018)

Primarily a magician, Jay’s stage presence enabled him to find a way into numerous TV shows and movies in often memorable cameos including The X Files, Boogie Nights, Tomorrow Never Dies, and The Prestige. 

Stephen Hillenburg (August 21, 1961 – November 26, 2018)

It’s another name which many people won’t be familiar with, but you will certainly be familiar with his work. Hillenburg was the creator of Spongebob Squarepants which won him a couple of Emmys. Prior to that he worked on, and eventually became lead director on Rocko’s Modern Life. 

Bernardo Bertolucci (16 March 1941 – 26 November 2018)

It’s not easy being controversial, polarizing, influential, award winning, successful, and have a career lasting sixty years, but Bertolucci ticked each of those boxes thanks to films such as The Conformist, Last Tango In Paris, The Dreamers, The Last Emperor, and Little Buddha. It’s difficult to understate the loss to the film world that Bertolucci’s passing is.

Don Lusk (October 28, 1913 – December 30, 2018)

One of the last surviving animators from the Golden Age of Disney, Lusk began working for the company in 1933 and his touch can be seen on films such as Cinderella, Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, and Fantasia. Outside of Disney he also worked as an animator and director for various shows and movies including Tom And Jerry, The Smurfs, Peanuts, and The Flintstones. 

Ringo Lam (1955 – December 29, 2018)

A huge loss to the Asian movie industry and action movies everywhere, Ringo Lam was a director, writer, and occasional actor whose films had a major influence on Hollywood. He will be remembered for films such as City On Fire, Full Contact, Twin Dragons, and Maximum Risk.

Dame June Whitfield (11 November 1925 – 28 December 2018)

A stage and radio performer in the 1940s, Whitfield gained her most popular roles in a run of sitcoms in the 80s and 90s even though she had performed on TV and in films consistently in the decades between. She will be remembered for The Carry On Series, The Benny Hill Show, Terry And June, Doctor Who, Friends, and Absolutely Fabulous.

Robert Kerman (December 16, 1947 – December 27, 2018)

A mainstay of all those porn movies from the 70s that your dad watched, Kerman was a trained actor who also appeared in a number of notable films including Spiderman, Cannibal Holocaust, Night Of The Creeps, and No Way Out. 

Donald Moffat (26 December 1930 – 20 December 2018)

Starting out with a stage career which led to a Tony nominations, Moffat remains most well known for his TV and film work including The Thing (Gary), Clear And Present Danger (The President), License To Kill (Webster), and Dr Quinn Medicine Woman. 

Peter Masterson (June 1, 1934 – December 18, 2018)

Actor, director, writer, Masterson appears in films such as The Exorcist and In The Heat Of The Night, directed The Trip To Bountiful and Lost Junction, and wrote The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas. 

Penny Marshall (October 15, 1943 – December 17, 2018)

One of the first truly successful female directors in Hollywood, Marshall made her name as an actress first, earning multiple Golden Globe nominations for Laverne And Shirley while also appearing in Happy Days, The Odd Couple, The Simpsons and other seminal shows. She directed films including Big, Awakenings, and A League Of Their Own. 

Rob Deshotel

A TV producer and writer, Rob worked on That 70s Show, Fantasy Island, and Man With A Plan while also contributing to over thirty episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, including writing personal favourite episodes Killed By Death and The Puppet Show. 

Roger (2006 -2018)

Roger was that kangeroo everyone knew, shared in memes for his beast mode physique.

The Dynamite Kid (5 December 1958 – 5 December 2018)

Thomas Billington, better known as The Dynamite Kid was one half of The British Bulldogs and one of the most successful British wrestlers of all time winning multiple titles across the globe including the WWE Tag Championship.

Geoff Murphy (12 October 1938 – 3 December 2018)

One of the first majorly successful directors from New Zealand, Geoff Murphy acted as a 2nd Unit Director on the LOTR Trilogy but also directed his own films including Young Guns 2, Under Siege 2, and The Quiet Earth. 

Feel free to share any memories of those who died in 2018 in the comments.

2018 In Memoriam Part 3

Brian Christopher (January 10, 1972 – July 29, 2018)

Another post, and another major loss within the wrestling world, Christopher was the son of Jerry The King Lawler yet was more popularly known as Grand Master Sexay thanks to his partnership with Scotty 2 Hotty and Rikishi. Too Sexy were one of the most popular tag teams bag when I was in ‘big school’, with moves such as The Worm being emulated by friends no matter how many times the TV told us to ‘Don’t Try This At Home’.

Elmarie Wendel (November 23, 1928 – July 21, 2018)

Known to me as Mrs Dupcek from 3rd Rock From The Sun, Wendel grew up in a travelling performer family and worked on stage and on Broadway in her younger years. A prominent voice actor, she also lent her talents to NYPD Blue, Seinfeld, and George Lopez.

Shinobu Hashimoto (18 April 1918 – 19 July 2018)

Here’s a name you may not know, but it belonged to a man whose impact on film cannot be understated. He was a director and screenwriter – writing such little known movies as The Seven Samurai, Rashomon, Ikiru, The Hidden Fortress, and Lake Of Illusions. 

William Dunlop (23 July 1985 – 7 July 2018)

The only funeral on the list which I personally attended, local hero William Dunlop was the son and nephew of legends Robert and Joey Dunlop respectively. It goes without saying what a lethal sport motorcycle and road racing is and it claimed another of the best this year.

Claude Lanzmann (27 November 1925 – 5 July 2018)

Lanzmann was a documentary filmmaker known for his Holocause works including Shoah, Sobibor October 14, and the recently released Shoah Four Sisters.

Robby Muller (4 April 1940 – 3 July 2018)

This Dutch Cinematographer contributed his vision to a number of groundbreaking films yet surprisingly was never nominated for an Academy Award. He will be remembered for his work on films including Breaking The Waves, To Live And Die In LA, Korczak, Ghost Dog Way Of The Samurai, Paris Texas, and Dead Man. 

Aretha Franklin (March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018)

It seems unlikely that we’ll suffer a bigger loss in the music world this year than Aretha Franklin, The Queen Of Soul. Not only is she one of the greatest and most influential singers of all time, she was also the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, received the Presidential Medal Of Freedom, and was a prominent Civil Rights activist and all round epic human.

Jim Neidhart (February 8, 1955 – August 13, 2018)

2018 seems to have been a particularly rough year for Wreslting losses, with Jim The Anvil Neidhart yet another successful figure to depart. With appearances in TNA, WCW, ECW, and of course WWE, Neidhart was one of the Hart family members and won the WWE Tag Championships twice with Bret.

Barry Chuckle (24 December 1944 – 5 August 2018)

One half of The Chuckle Brothers, which won’t mean anything to anyone outside of the UK, Barry was part of one of Britain’s most beloved kids comedy double acts. Nobody can quite put their finger on why they were so successful, but watching them as a child was a joy and they were one of those groups which stoned University students regularly tuned into, their show Chucklevision lasting over twenty years.

Otis Rush (April 29, 1934 – September 29, 2018)

One of the last surviving original authentic Blues guitarists, Rush lent his voice and licks to classics such as I Can’t Quit You Baby, All Your Love, and Double Trouble. 

Marty Balin (January 30, 1942 – September 27, 2018)

As one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship, Balin contributed to some of the most iconic and psychedelic hit songs of the 60s, his output continuing with varying degrees of success over the next few decades.

Al Matthews (November 21, 1942 – September 22, 2018)

Most famous for his terrific turn as Sgt Apone in Aliens, Matthews was a bona fide Vietnam Vet with two Purple Hearts and a love for the Corps. He also had a top 40 hit in the UK in the 70s and appeared in many other movies including The Fifth Element, Tomorrow Never Dies, and Superman III. 

John Cunliffe (16 June 1933 – 20 September 2018)

Another legend of children’s entertainment, Cunliffe was the creator of Thomas The Tank Engine and later Rosie And Jim, creating safe and idyllic worlds where kids could let their imagine roam free.

Denis Norden CBE (6 February 1922 – 19 September 2018)

Another titan of British Comedy Television, Norden’s canned camera shows were must see TV growing up, his dry humour often annoying kids who wanted to get straight to the clips. Aside from his work on It’ll Be Alright On The Night and Laughter File, he was a scriptwriter for TV, Radio, and Movies including My Music and Buona Sera Mrs Campbell.

Fenella Fielding OBE (17 November 1927 – 11 September 2018)

With a distinctive husky voice, Fielding made a career as a voice actor and as a sultry screen vixen spanning seven decades. Her voice is recognisable in works including The Prisoner, Dougal And The Blue Cat and will be remembered on screen in Carry On Screaming, The Uncle Jack Series, and Guest House Paradiso. 

Burt Reynolds (February 11, 1936 – September 6, 2018)

One of the biggest stars of the 70s and 80s, Burt Reynolds had a captivating presence and energy which ensured that even the poorest film became good and that a great film became legendary. In a career spanning seven decades he appeared in some of the most iconic TV shows and movies of all time including The X Files, Deliverance, Out Of This World, The Twilight Zone, Riverboat, The Longest Yard, Boogie Nights, and of course the Cannonball Run and Smokey And The Bandit series.

Carl Duering (29 May 1923 – 1 September 2018)

Duering’s most famous role was as Dr Brodsky in A Clockwork Orange but also performed in Darling Lili, The Guns Of Navarone, Biggles, Sunday Night Theatre, Gold, and The Boys From Brazil. 

2018 In Memoriam Part Two

Michael Anderson (30 January 1920 – 25 April 2018)

Almost reaching the age of One Hundred, Anderson had a long and varied career starting in the 1930s. Some of his many TV and Film credits include Logan’s Run, The Dam Busters, Around The World In 80 Days, and The Martian Chronicles. 

Arthur B Rubinstein (March 31, 1938 – April 23, 2018)

Another composer and another non-household name deserving of recognition, Rubenstein worked on the scores for works including WarGames, Blue Thunder, the Stakeout series, The Simpsons, and Tiny Toon Adventures.

Verne Troyer (January 1, 1969 – April 21, 2018)

Known to most as Mini-Me from the Austin Powers series, Troyer performed in a variety of other shows and movies including Jingle All The Way, Men In Black, Fear And Loathing In las Vegas and as a regular guest on popular British game show Celebrity Juice. 

Bruno Sammartino (October 6, 1935 – April 18, 2018)

Every year brings a number of deaths in the Wrestling world, but few would have the impact of the loss of Hall of Famer Bruno Sammartino. Sammartino set a world record for bench pressing in the 1950s and holds the record for both longest single WWE title reign and longest time as champion at eleven YEARS. One suspects that these records will never be topped, as much as Brock Lesnar would love to try.

Pamela Gidley (June 11, 1965 – April 16, 2018)

Gidley is most widely known as the ill-fated Teresa Banks in Fire Walk With Me, but also starred in TV shows Angel Street, Strange Luck, The Pretender, and movies including Thrashin’, and The Little Vampire. 

Harry Anderson (October 14, 1952 – April 16, 2018)

Harry Anderson was a recognisable face on stage as a comedian and magician and on the big and small screen as an all round performer – you’ll known him from Cheers, SNL, IT, Night Court, and Dave’s World. 

R Lee Ermey (March 24, 1944 – April 15, 2018)

Ermy had one of the most enduring screen voices and presences no doubt enabled by his years as a marine and drill instructor, and popularized by appearances in Full Metal Jacket, Toy Story Series, Apocalypse Now, Body Snatchers, Starship Troopers, Willard, and The Simpsons. 

Milos Forman (18 February 1932 – 13 April 2018)

One of the most successful directors from Europe who transitioned to Hollywood, Forman’s films received over 30 Oscar nominations and almost twenty wins including two wins for Best Director. He is known for films including One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s  Nest, Amadeus, Man On The Moon, and The People Versus Larry Flynt.

Isao Takahata (October 29, 1935 – April 5, 2018)

One of the most famous directors of animated work whose name isn’t Hayao Miyazaki, Takahata formed Studio Ghibli with Miyazaki and worked on most of the studio’s earliest hits. He directed many classics including Grave Of The Fireflies, Pom Poko, Only Yesterday, and The Tale Of Princess Kaguya. 

Eric Bristow MBE (25 April 1957 – 5 April 2018)

Bristow was one of the most famous Darts players in the world and one of the first to truly popularize the sport. A five time World Champion along with many other accomplishments, Bristow also worked as a TV pundit for the sport and appeared on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. 

Joe Jackson (July 26, 1928 – June 27, 2018)

Patriarch of The Jackson Family, it is fairly safe to say that without Joe there would be no Jackson Five, no Bad, no Thriller, no Rhythm Nation. Strict with his children, his training and managing of them led to some of the greatest music the world has ever heard.

Vinnie Paul (March 11, 1964 – June 22, 2018)

The older brother of Dimebag Darrell who he founded Pantera with, Paul’s drums set the tone for the groove metal band as well as their later collaboration Damageplan.

Koko (July 4, 1971 – June 19, 2018)

Arguably the most famous Gorilla not named Kong, Koko was famous for her relationships with humans, cats, and her seemingly amazing ability to learn, understand, and use sign language. Not only could Koko respond accurately to questions using sign language, she could ask her own, hold conversations, train other gorillas in its usage, and every so often merge signs to deceive or make jokes as well as creatively making up her own combinations of signs to describe objects or feelings she had not been taught the signs for. The star of many viral videos and documentaries, Koko was also known for caring for and loving cats.

Vader (May 14, 1955 – June 18, 2018)

The Wrestling world suffered another major loss this year, one I was much more familiar with. Vader was one of the biggest and best super heavyweight wrestlers in the world. As with most wrestlers he worked in multiple promotions around the world, including WCW, TNA, and WWE, his monster style no barrier to his aerial stunts and speed.

Leslie Grantham (30 April 1947 – 15 June 2018)

I’m conflicted in talking about Grantham, given his shady past – he served ten years in prison for murder – and the man he killed (Felix Reese) likely never gets spoken of. Grantham was a mainstay on British Television thanks to his role as Dirty Den on Eastenders, but also appeared in Doctor Who, Cleudo, and Urban Gothic. 

Eunace Gayson (17 March 1928 – 8 June 2018)

The first Bond girl, appearing in the first two movies in the series as Sylvia Trench, Gayson’s career started in the 40s, preferring to work on Stage but nevertheless also appearing in Carry On Admiral and The Revenge Of Frankenstein.

Nikolai Volkoff (October 14, 1947 – July 29, 2018)

Yet another major Wrestling loss, Volkoff was known for partnering/feuding with the likes of Sgt. Slaughter, Million Dollar Man, and The Iron Sheik, becoming one of the most popular villains of the 80s and 90s, winning the Tag Belt at the first Wrestlemania.

 

2018 – In Memoriam Part One

It’s that time of the year again, when we look forwards, backwards, and under (the tree). We are thankful for who and what we have, and remember those we’ve lost. In the last twelve months or so, I’ve lost a Grandmother to old age, an Aunt to Cancer, a friend to depression and addiction, and a friend’s kid to murder. I set up this blog primarily to post my old movie reviews from IMDB but as I just can’t help myself, it grew into other movie posts, music reviews, lists, and assorted crap, though I have always kept it as a secret space away from my personal life. With this yearly post I take a look at those famous faces who died in the year and who meant something to me – whether it be a movie they were involved in, because of a ball they kicked well, or because they played a mean guitar. I’m writing this on 11/28/2018 – these posts usually take a few weeks to write, so between now and then the Reaper’s Scythe will likely fall again. I will update as I go along, but I plan to post as close to the end of the year as possible – I’m sure I’ve missed some, but feel free to add anyone important to you in the comments.

John Morris (October 18, 1926 – January 25, 2018)

John Morris was one of the many composers in the movie industry whose name is not instantly recognizable, yet whose music will be familiar to many. Starting out composing successfully for Broadway, Morris wrote and produced his own musical before meeting Mel Brooks and heading to Hollywood. There he would write the scores for The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, The Elephant Man (Oscar Nominated), Clue, Spaceballs, Dirty Dancing, and more.

Jack Ketchum (November 10, 1946 – January 24, 2018)

As a life long horror fan, I somehow only made my way to Jack Ketchum in my late twenties. Like many writers of genre fiction, Ketchum was an anti-social imaginative child but it was his meeting with Robert Bloch which cemented his path. Ketchum would be known for his highly controversial and bloody tales such as Off Season, The Girl Next Door, and many short stories such as The Box many of which have been adapted to film.

Moya O’Sullivan (8 June 1926 – 16 January 2018)

Unless you’re Australian or a fan of Neighbours you probably won’t recognise the name. Moya appeared on TV for over 60 years but I know her as Marlene Kratz from Neighbours – a character I admit I never liked but hand the credit for that to O’Sullivan’s acting.

Dolores O’Riordan (6 September 1971 – 15 January 2018)

Although I was never a fan of The Cranberries, there’s no doubting the impact and influence Dolores and her band had on other artists and my friends, and for a number of my teenage years you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing her voice.

Hugh Wilson (August 21, 1943 – January 14, 2018)

If you know me or follow the blog you’ll know that The Police Academy series is one of my favourites – completely brilliant in its juvenile silliness. Hugh Wilson co-wrote and directed the first and best movie in the series as well as working on The Bob Newhart Show, Rough Riders, The First Wives Club and others.

Eddie Clarke (5 October 1950 – 10 January 2018)

The last surviving member of the original Motorhead lineup passed this year, guitarist Fast Eddie following bandmates Lemmy and Phil Philthy Animal Taylor. Clarke started out as a Blues guitarist but provided much of the pace and venom for Motorhead’s early hits.

Tommy Lawrence (14 May 1940 – 10 January 2018)

Lawrence was the goalkeeper for Liverpool FC at the start of their first Golden Age, playing for the club over 300 times in a twenty year period, winning the league twice and the FA Cup once before handing over to the young Ray Clemence.

Lewis Gilbert CBE (6 March 1920 – 23 February 2018)

Gilbert was one of the key icons of the Swinging Sixties, though many people today would not recognise his name. Directing Alfie in 1966 may have been his commercial and critical peak, though beforehand he had directed many successful films including HMS Defiant and Sink The Bismark, and afterwards he continued this trend with hits such as Shirley Valentine and Educating Rita. I will remember him most fondly for directing three James Bond films, including my favourite from the Connery era – You Only Live Twice. 

Johan Johannsson (19 September 1969 – 9 February 2018)

Johannsson was always interested in music from an early age and experimented with a wide array of genres, working with different artists and having a notable solo career. Most people known him from his film work as he was nominated for an Academy Award on Sicario along with composing on Mandy, Arrival, and Prisoners.

John Gavin (April 8, 1931 – February 9, 2018)

Bond fans may know him as the man who was going to take over from George Lazenby, but a huge offer encouraged Connery to return and that was that. Nevertheless, Gavin maintained a success appearing in films as varied and successful as Psycho (Loomis), Spartacus (Caesar), and Thoroughly Modern Millie while also acting as the US Ambassador to Mexico for a number of years.

John Mahoney (June 20, 1940 – February 4, 2018)

A former Vet and English teacher, Mahoney didn’t begin acting until his late thirties before appearing, usually as authority figures, in TV and movies. His most widespread role was as the sardonic sports fan ex-cop father in Fraiser, but also had an extensive career on screen and as a voice performer in works including The Iron Giant, Tin Men, Barton Fink, and The Simpsons.

Stephane Audran (8 November 1932 – 27 March 2018)

Though she primarily starred in French Productions, Audran was known to international audiences due to her performances in critically acclaimed films and every so often popped up in a US piece – Babette’s Feast, The Big Red One, The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie, and the recently released The Other Side Of The Wind are some of her more notable appearances.

Debbie Lee Carrington (December 14, 1959 – March 23, 2018)

Suffering from dwarfism, Carrington became one of the most famous and popular actresses and stuntwoman with the illness, appearing regularly in a string of hits including Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Return Of The Jedi, The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, Total Recall, Titanic, and Dexter. 

Jim Bowen (20 August 1937 – 14 March 2018)

Bowen always seemed to me to be one age – old. I don’t mean that as an insult – growing up on in the 80s and seeing him on TV every week, he always looked old and yet never seemed to age. A natural comedian, it wasn’t until his late twenties that he began stand-up routines which led to friendships with established comedians (such as the next guy on the list) who recommended him for TV roles. Most will know him as the long-serving host of the hit game-show Bullseye, but he also appeared in Phoenix Nights, Last Of The Summer Wine, and continued his stand-up shows.

Sir Ken Dodd (8 November 1927 – 11 March 2018))

Dodd began delivering stand-up shows in the 1950s, merging traditional music hall stylings with more surreal and rapid-fire delivery, becoming on of the most popular entertainers on the circuit. This popularity saw him transition to radio and television where his popularity soared, gaining him many spots on The Royal Variety Performance. One of his many specialties was introducing songs into his comedy routines and these were so successful that he had a music career too – his cover song Tears remains one of the biggest selling singles of all time. Aside from his own shows, which ran for seven decades, he also appeared in Branagh’s Hamlet, and Doctor Who. 

Michael Gershman (June 17, 1944 – March 10, 2018)

Not a name familiar to most, Gershman was a TV Director and Cinematographer known mainly for Crossing Jordan and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. He was DP on over 80 episodes of BTVS including most season openers and finales and many visually memorable episodes such as Hush. His finest moment was as a Director on the show, directing my favourite episode Passion, along with taking the lead on Seeing Red, This Year’s Girl, and others.

David Ogden Stiers (October 31, 1942 – March 3, 2018)

A prominent voice actor, Stiers was also known for his on screen work in shows such as MASH, Perry Mason, Stargate Atlantis, North And South, The Majestic, but it was his relationship with Disney which he is likely most popular for – voicing in films such as Beauty And The Beast, Lilo And Stitch, Pocahontas, and many more.

Frank Doubleday (January 28, 1945 – March 3, 2018)

Again, not a name most will know, Doubleday is one of those people you’ll recognise from a host of cult films. Often appearing as a bad guy, Doubleday is recognisable in Assault On Precinct 13 the ice cream killer), Escape From New York, Broadcast News, and Nomads. 

Rock And Roll Music

Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Okay. 3: Good. 4: Great

I was never a huge fan of this song, mainly because it’s been covered soo many times, by soo many artists that it’s completely pointless for anyone else to do it. There are a bunch of songs from this era which are better, which have hardly ever been covered, and plenty of artists with a similar sound who we know the band love who they haven’t covered. Why not do some Del Shannon? We know James loves him. Anyway, it’s given a nice thick edge, the piano remains intact, you know the song already and this isn’t really any different from any other version you’ve heard.

Rock N Roll Music: 2/Okay

The Walking Dead – Unpublished Screenplay 7

EXT. A GRAVEYARD. DAY

RICK GRIMES: Lori, I just wanted to say… I’m sorry. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you when all the zombies came, and now I’m here and you’re in this grave, dead.

CARL: Hi, dad. What you doing?

RICK GRIMES: Oh, hello son. I was just talking to your mother, and putting some flowers on her grave.

CARL: Uh, dad. What are you talking about? Mom’s not dead.

RICK GRIMES: Yes she is, remember? You were there.

CARL: No, that was some other lady. Look, mom’s over there.

RICK GRIMES: Huh? Where? Where!

CARL: Ha ha! Made you look!

Nightman’s Top Ten Films Of 2005

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!

Close, but you’re way off: Corpse Bride. The Devil’s Rejects. A History Of Violence. Serenity.

10: Land Of The Dead (US) George A Romero

9: Hostel (US) Eli Roth

8: A Bittersweet Life (SK) Kim Jee Woon

7: Sympathy For Lady Vengeance (SK) Chan Wook Park

6: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (US) Shane Black

5: The Descent (UK) Neil Marshall

4: The 40 Year Old Virgin (US) Judd Apatow

3: Revenge Of The Sith (US) George Lucas

2: Sin City (US) Frank Miller/Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino

1: Batman Begins (US/UK) Christopher Nolan

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

How Many Of My Films Were Nominated For the Best Picture Oscar: None

Best Writing (Original) – 1974

Official Nominations: Chinatown. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. Day For Night. Harry And Tonto. The Conversation.

Coppola was a busy boy this year, with The Conversation and The Godfather Part II. He also wrote the screenplay for The Great Gatsby. While his entry here could have won another year, it’s up against Chinatown – one of the greatest screenplays ever written. Day For Night gets the vote for trying, successfully, something different, while Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore is one of the great examples of the new feminist movement. Harry And Tonto is charming enough, but not on par with the others.

My Winner: Chinatown

My Nominations: Chinatown. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. Day For Night. The Conversation. Blazing Saddles. Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia. Dark Star. A Woman Under The Influence. Thunderbolt And Lightfoot.

We only drop Harry And Tonto and add Blazing Saddles in its place for planting 1970 US speak into the Old West and being filled with the lewd, the satirical, the juvenile, and more. Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia is a violent and often confused mystery peppered with a variety of grim characters while Dark Star makes a mockery of 2001. A Woman Under The Influence is a gritt, almost overwhelming character study, while Thunderbolt And Lightfoot is a shining example of a genre which would quickly be lampooned as the decade drew to a close and beyond.

My Winner: Chinatown

Let us know which film you pick as winner!