Archive for the Film Category

For Shame, I think I’m just too much of a prude

Posted in Film on January 13, 2012 by Johnnie

Despite the onset of adulthood, I’m still one of those people who squirms, then chortles or sucks through his teeth whenever a TV continuity announcer says that the following programme “contains sexual scenes from the start”.   I do wish Steve McQueen’s new film Shame came with one of those as a preface.  Or maybe, in my case, a warning that “those of a squeamish or sensitive disposition should perhaps look away for the next 101 minutes”.

For all that it’s called Shame, it shows little abashment when laying out, as starkly as is legal, the full, squalid horror of sex addiction.  It takes its subject very seriously indeed, thrusting it in front of your eyes and making you watch every grunt and grimace – the camera rarely averts its gaze.  Yet, even with a high number of stickily realistic sex scenes, Shame still manages to be a resolutely unsexy film.  McQueen’s crowning achievement has been to make sex addiction look as repellent onscreen as heroin addiction.  It’s harrowing stuff. Continue reading

Roger? I still would…

Posted in Film, Heroes, Star "Style", TV on October 14, 2010 by Johnnie

Sir Roger Moore turned 83 today.  They say you shouldn’t meet your heroes but I always hold out a little hope I’ll meet him one day.  He was my first pin-up hero, the first ‘person I wanted to be’.  I’m not sure who bought me the giant Roger Moore poster on my wall when I was only 4, but I really wish I still had it.

As I spent a huge proportion of my childhood in front of the telly (which is why I’m 25 stone and live on crisps*), he came into my live (suavely) as Simon Templar in The Saint and as Lord Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders with the late, great Tony Curtis.  I’ve been watching reruns of The Saint lately and they still stand up; he’s still heroic.

He was also my first style icon.  Whenever my grandmother would take me to buy clothes, even as a 3-year-old, I only wanted to buy shirts and ties – that’s what Roger always wore.  Not sure they were matching paisley-patterned ones, mind you, but it was good enough for me. Continue reading

Tony Curtis 1925-2010

Posted in Dearly Departed, Film, Grave News, TV on September 30, 2010 by Johnnie

Very sad to hear of the death of one of my childhood heroes, Tony Curtis, at the age of 85.

A handsome, rugged and stylish man, he was a surprisingly versatile actor in his younger days.  He received an Oscar nomination for his performance as John ‘Joker’ Jackson in 1959′s The Defiant Ones, starring alongside Sidney Poitier and Lon Chaney Jr, he played the slave Antoninus in Stanley Kubrick’s magnificent Spartacus, and was the uncredited voice of Donald Baumgart in Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, but he’s probably most famous for his role as Joe/’Josephine’ in Some Like It Hot, co-starring with Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe.  However, he came into my life when I was a youngster when he played New York rough diamond Danny Wilde in ITC’s wonderful TV series, The Persuaders. Continue reading

Afraid of the dark..?

Posted in Film, New Stuff on August 13, 2010 by Johnnie

I’m rather looking forward to the new Guillermo del Toro co-production, Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark, due out early next year.  Rather bizarrely, it’s a remake of the TV movie of the same name from 1973, something of a favourite of mine.  Del Toro has co-written the script too, and there’s a nice teaser trailer for the film, which stars Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce, showing the expected, lush production values, spooky old house setting, and jumps and shocks aplenty to be all present and correct.  Interestingly too, it’s being first-time-directed by comic book artist Troy Nixey, who also provides the stunning artwork for the film poster.  In all, it looks like a delightful project, considering the source material is one of those films you tend to see accidentally, yet stays with you all your life. Continue reading

The first sign of madness

Posted in Advice, Film, Grave News, Words on August 12, 2010 by Johnnie

I talked to myself a lot as child.  I would act out TV dramas on my own, playing all the parts, goodies and baddies (but obviously romantic entanglements were out because I couldn’t play women, and there was no such thing as ‘gay’ when I was growing up), always timed to last as long as the real programmes themselves, including ad breaks (where I’d go to the toilet or have a snack).  I was frequently overheard, because your childhood bedroom is never the soundproofed, reality-protected haven you hope it is.  For these crimes, I was always described as a “Cadbury’s” (as in, Fruit and Nut) and threatened with the “wee green bus”, the one that comes to take you “away”.  The threat was never rescinded, as I recall.

I still do talk to myself.  Sadly, the threat of the straitjacket never stopped me.  Not only do I talk to myself, I answer too; the first and second signs, they always said.  I still catch myself mid-self-conversation, no matter where I am.  Usually it’s around the house but it can just as easily be when I’m walking a busy street, alongside traffic, where drivers, passengers and commuters can see me and judge what they see perfectly adequately.  I get mildly embarrassed at the time but it goes away.  The wee green bus to Bedlam hasn’t pulled up quite yet. Continue reading

Coyote gorgeous

Posted in Film on August 6, 2010 by Johnnie

Look, don’t bother going to see Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.  As if you were going to.  It’s absolute rubbish.  Even if you have children pestering you to take them to see it, avoid, avoid, avoid – it’s for their own good.

However, if you really can’t say no to your little darlings, all isn’t lost.  Preceding it is a 3-minute, 3-D cartoon of Wile E. Coyote entitled Coyote Falls.  I only had to see the Warner Bros shield logo coming bulging out of the screen and I was already laughing in anticipation.  In fact, I laughed for the full three minutes of the cartoon - there wasn’t three minutes of laughter in the entirety of Cats and DogsContinue reading

Dead Whingers Society

Posted in Film, Grave News, Music on July 29, 2009 by Johnnie

Originally published on SoundsXP, 4th May, 2005

Scene 13 – The Rector’s Office, St Xenolith the Pure, Boarding School of Music




DEPUTY: Rector, please forgive my intrusion.

RECTOR : Your expression and general demeanour don’t inspire me with confidence. I take it that I am not expected to be delighted by your forthcoming revelation?

DEPUTY: Well, Sir, regretfully, I have some… erm… grave news, Sir…

RECTOR: Out with it, Deputy!

DEPUTY: Unfortunately, I have it on good authority from the head boy; I’m afraid, Sir, that, in spite of all our best efforts, there have been subversive sounds heard in the night.

RECTOR: Subversive sounds? What sort of subversive sounds?

DEPUTY: They were described to me as, if you please, Sir.. (gulps) the faint whingeings of Fishjumpery… Continue reading

Making Radio Waves

Posted in Film, Interviews on April 26, 2009 by Johnnie

Interview with Richard Curtis and Bill Nighy, Sunday Business Post, 19th April 2009

If there’s one line of dialogue that defines the message of The Boat That Rocked, Richard Curtis’s new film about pirate radio on the waves, it comes from the disc-jockey character played by Philip Seymour Hoffman:

‘‘These are the best days of our lives.” Writer and director Curtis may have made his name with hit romantic comedies Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Notting Hill, but for his latest film he has turned to the subject he describes as his ‘‘first love” – pop music.

‘‘I wanted people to stop for a second and think how gorgeous it is to have music to provide soundtracks to times of your life,” Curtis says, relaxing into an armchair in his Dublin hotel suite.

‘‘I can tie down the years of my life [to music] – the Dylan years, the Cohen years, the Joni Mitchell years, the David Bowie years, the Madness years. Pop music has never let me go.”

Curtis and The Boat that Rocked star Bill Nighy have come to Dublin as part of a busy media tour to publicise the film, which travels back through time to 1967 and an era when more than half of Britain would tune in to pirate radio stations – some of which were based on boats – to listen to tunes which the BBC considered too subversive to play.

As many as 25 million daily listeners – including a youthful Curtis – were influenced by those DJs. ‘‘Pirate radio was like a sweet shop,” Curtis says. ‘‘You’d switch it on and hear songs you’d never heard before. It was very exciting.

‘‘Think what it would it be like if there were only two films showing in every cinema across the country, and then you heard that somewhere else there were 50 more films you could watch – that’s what it was like discovering pirate radio.” Continue reading


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