Regularly added bite-sized reviews about Literature, Art, Music & Film.
Voltaire said the secret of being boring is to say everything.
We do not wish to say everything or see everything; life, though long is too short for that.
We hope you take these little syntheses in the spirit of shared enthusiasm.
(dir. Bob Rafelson) (1970)
The great American film about class, a road movie with style and not much plot; towering performance by Jack Nicholson, and others. Jack is from a high-born musical family but he is on the run from them, marking time as a blue-collar guy, spending his beer money on sweet but simple girlfriend (a sublime Karen Black). Then his Dad gets badly ill, he has to head north, and all his class consciousness comes embarrassingly to the fore. Along the way, they pick up two hitch-hikers who act their way into film legend. And remember: “No substitutions”.Continue Reading →
Necrotic facial tissue was never so fascinating. Brilliant (well, in theory) plastic and reconstructive surgeon wants to fix his daughter’s face, ruined in an accident – but he needs replacement skin. That does not bode well for the the pretty young students of Paris….
TVC knows of no scene more chilling than when the callow student is treated to a handkerchief soaked in chloroform…
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(dir. John Carpenter) (1981)
L considers this the best ‘B’ movie ever; P prefers The Boys From Brazil, but it is certainly in the top rank. An auteur effort from Carpenter (also contributing to script and the futuristic Wurlitzer soundtrack) with legendary, over-the-top sneering performance by Kurt Russell as the perverse Snake Plissken (‘Call me Snake’ – ‘OK, Snake’ – ‘The name’s Plissken’) and a great cast including Ernest Borgnine, Isaac Hayes, Lee Van Cleef, Harry Dean Stanton and Donald Pleasance as the extremely odious POTUS. The ‘sequel,’ Escape from LA, is pretty much Escape from New York with a change of geography and with surfing.
MINORITY REPORT FROM LESLEY.
No, it is THE best “B” picture. Snake isn’t rebelling against whatever you’ve got, he just hates it, whatever it is, if he can be bothered. Atmospheric, synthetic, grungy and pitiless. Ooo look – a car with chandeliers.
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(dir. Richard Brooks) (1960)
Dr Gantry sets aside his unwanted toasters and vacuum cleaners and returns to where he belongs, in the evangelical business. A sprawling, gargantuan rendering of Sinclair Lewis’ novel, with giant performances, particularly Lancaster as Elmer, Jean Simmons as Sister Falconer, Shirley Jones as Ms Baines and Arthur Kennedy as the journalist following the big tent. “It wasn’t really acting” quoth Burt Lancaster of his performance, “It was me”.Continue Reading →
(by Hannah Arendt)
The Varnished Culture finished this work none the wiser but better informed. Valuable as all eye-witness accounts are, it is nonetheless a moot point as to whether the ultimate Nazi bureaucrat is worth study at all. A trickier topic is the Stockholm-style compliance by some Jewish leaders, and touching on that exposes the author to a charge of excessive severity.Continue Reading →
(dir. Tim Burton) (1994)
Somewhere after What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, Johnny Depp became an art-house ham. There’s plenty of scenery to chew in this enjoyable romp of the notorious Fellini-Without-Talent (see: The Golden Turkey Awards (1980), Medved Bros) and which is stolen by Martin Landau as the incomparable Bela Lugosi.Continue Reading →
In sweet, windy Edinburgh, a revelation was the new National Museum, beautifully done, no expense spared by the look of it. An old fashioned Anglophile collection, all over the shop, with a refreshing lack of ‘unifying themes’ so one could enjoy the diversity.
Dolly the Sheep, Lewis chessmen, the tomb of Mary, Queen of Scots, a fractured Meisson lion, Ching Ching the Panda (a childhood friend) a pavilion packed to high rafters with enough stuffed animals for an ark. And a corker of a restaurant on the 5th floor*. A nice way to keep out of the paint-stripping breeze.
*This is called ‘The Tower’ and you can look over clouds scudding fast past old rooftops while dining, as we did, on asparagus hollandaise, lobster, Scottish oysters and pork cutlets, washed along with Chablis. L, dripping irony, said she’d prefer the Balcony Cafe on level 3, where you could lunch on focaccia seasoned with a child’s shrieks…Continue Reading →