Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What makes a film for me…

The other day I got to thinking. I was wondering about what makes a film special for me. What are the different ingredients that make a movie resonate and ensure I will return for more. I should stress I’m going to jump around in genres here a bit. There is no one film that will contain all these things (at least I don’t think there is?) After some thought I came up with the following list.

a Futile Gesture

Nothing better than a character(s) in a movie laying down their lives for very little point. With a cry of either "You go on without me" or "I'll hold them off" the plucky sidekick is instantly doomed and royally screwed. Examples: Almost the entire cast of Aliens, Miles Dyson (Terminator 2), Spoon (Dog Soldiers) Ok I admit boxing a werewolf is cool but be honest he was fucked.

Breaking the 4th Wall

Wikipedia defines this as  “The presence of the fourth wall is an established convention of fiction and drama, which has led some artists to draw direct attention to it for dramatic or comedic effect. When this boundary is "broken", for example by an actor onstage speaking to the audience directly, or doing the same through the camera in a film or television program, it is called "breaking the fourth wall”

Mel Brooks is very good at this and he does it all the time, see the example below. Nothing funnier than a glimpse behind the curtain so to speak. Other good examples in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, National Lampoon’s Animal House and The Mask.

time travel / Time machines

Doesn’t matter if it’s Back to The Future, The Time Machine, Primer, Twelve Monkeys or The Time Traveller’s Wife. Messing about with the linear nature of the universe is just epic. I enjoy nothing better than the headfuck that is a good temporal paradox. I saw Hot Tub Time Machine the other day and it dealt with the macguffin that is time travel excellently. It was also great to see Chevy Chase on screen again as I love Fletch. I tried reading the article on Wikipedia about time travel but my head threatened to implode and then explode.


Highlander alone should be reason enough to have this on the list but there are many other splendid films that feature the merry swash and buckle of swords. Kill Bill would not have been half as special if it had been all gun rather than sword play.  Other prime examples include Zatoichi, The Sword and the Sorcerer and The Princess Bride.

The Lower Lip wobble

Something that always amuses me, when it really shouldn’t, is when an actor attempts subtle emotion on screen. Some lovely lower lip acting going on in this scene from Jerry Maguire. Fucking hilarious!

an epic finale

I have much love for Who Dares Wins, I’ve discussed it before at some length. One of the reasons is this ten minute sequence toward the end of the film. If your not that interested in watching the whole clip cut to around 9.05 and enjoy the macho hall jogging.

So there you have it. All you Directors out there please take note. All you need do is create a film that has even one of these elements and I’m there. Two or more and I will be your willing slave for life.


A Cinematic Cheesecake

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Judging a book by it's cover

One of my greatest pleasures in life is getting lost in a good book. I read a lot and enjoy seeking out my next purchase almost as much as the reading itself. Last weekend I shuffled off into town and found myself in my local bookshop with a crisp tenner burning a hole in my pocket.
At this point I'll pause briefly to explain one thing. I am a creature of habit and tend to stick with authors I know and trust. If I read a title from an author and enjoy it then they can be pretty much guaranteed my continued support for life, what can I say I am nothing if not loyal.

I do, however, occasionally like to dabble in the unknown territory of a NEW AUTHOR - please note when I say new author they could have been around for donkey's years it's just that I've never read any of their work. I guess I mean a new author to me. (Just so you know.)
After much rummaging and lots of uumms and aahhs I ended up picking up The Age of Zeus by James Lovegrove. Why? Check out the cover below and the answer becomes clear.

Anthony Hopkins.....sorry Zeus

It's got fucking Anthony Hopkins on it! With added lighting coming out his chuffing head. How cool is that? If that’s not enough we have some military types and a helicopter flying near a mountain. Also a review of the author on the back by someone called Saxon Bullock. Saxon Bullock FFS what an absolutely epic name. Cha-ching I'm sold. (On a side note I can't believe I  just wrote cha-ching in a blog. I feel like I've just jumped the blogging shark)
I had never realised before how much sway an interesting cover has on my book buying, When I buy anything from an unproven author the cover has got to grab hold of my brain. Here's another perfect example.

Hmmm a bit sinster I think

How could you not want to read this.  I just oozes mysteriousity. Loving the art deco retro 1920/30s feel and it’s just a little bit creepy. I am so buying this.

Now some of you may consider my new book buying policy a trifle devil may care and I suppose your right. It is entirely possible instead of ending up with an exciting new author to enjoy I purchase something incredibly shit just because I was taken in by the shiny promise of the cover. Well so far so good. I’ll live with the risk. It’s a chance I’m just gonna have to take. That’s the kind of extreme bibliophile I am!

 Danger is my middle name....

Now ssssshhhhhh! I’m reading

Mr Cheesecake

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Undefined Randomness from the Cheesecake of Darkness

Spies and Vikings

Its been an age since I purchased any new books. My e-reader is pretty full and I am slowly working my way through the backlog. There are however a couple of upcoming titles  which I am very keen to get my hands on and will have to go old school a buy paper copies of both.

Mark Chadbourn's The Sword of Albion will hit the shelves soon and as I've got all his other books it seems likely I'll buy this one as well. Spies in Elizabethan England - oh yes I think so.

I am also really looking forward to Wolfsangel by MD Lachlan. I've heard lots of good things and so will be rushing out to buy once it is released into the wild. Vikings! Yeah I'll have me some of that. Hmmm when it comes to Vikings you do have to go some to top this though......

Kittens...Fucking Awesome
Consider the gauntlet well and truly laid down Mr Lachlan, good luck sir! Full Led Zepplin inspired goodness can be located here.


Even shite movies deserve some love. When I was a teenager I amassed a vast collection of B-Movies. I went though a phase where the longer or sillier the movie title the more interested I was in viewing it. How could you not love Class of Nuke'Em High Part II: Subhumanoid Meltdown?

Not long ago I realized a lot of the so called 'mainstream' stream films I've been watching were missing the sense of silly fun that comes with a good B-Movie. I decided it was time to get back in touch with my B-movie roots. I’ve purchased the following from Amazon and I await it's arrival in the next couple of weeks.

That's right peoples a 12 disc B-Movie boxed set. Hell Comes to Frogtown, The Stuff (come on who wouldn't love a film about a rampaging yogurt?) Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, Night of the Living Dead. The list just keeps throwing out gems. Return of the Killer Tomatoes - you have to appreciate the joy of this. People need to know that one of George Clooney's first movie roles is about killer fruit.

'But Pablo' you cry 'B-Movies are laughably bad'. You are essentially right but lets not forget the heartwarming story of Mr P Jackson. I'm sure some of you may have seen the Lord of the Rings trilogy but would that exist, or indeed be as good, without the bugnuts insane delights of his earlier work? I demand you go now and seek out Bad Taste, Braindead and Meet the Feebles. Once you've viewed all three then we'll talk.

Gadget Envy

Mrs Cheesecake got a new phone recently. She is not a great fan of touchscreen tech so instead got herself a Crackberry 8900. I have to admit that even though it's not the smart phone I would buy for myself I do find it quite a neat little bit of techno-wizardry. I still have 12 months to go before I can get a new phone so I must gaze on enviously as she tweets and msgs effortlessly.

Till next time. Don't you go changin.

Cheesecake Out
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