miercuri, 31 mai 2023

Succession (2018-2023)

RIP Succession (HBO)

After 4 intense seasons -actually they could've done in in three...too much repetition of weddings, anniversaries, team buildings, board meetings and corporate and family cliffhangers...

tho I believe it to be one of the most poignant series in recent (and not only) Television series.

         My favourite character was Kendall Roy played with uncanny intensity by Jeremy Strong.

I mean, I went for the series because of Brian Cox (Logan Roy, the Patriarch, and the king of F**k off's) & mostly because of a mention in the HBO documentary House of Hammer, but I got under the spell of the three siblings, intolerable brat Romulus/Rome-Kieran Culkin, vitriolic Shiv Shiobahn-Sarah Snook and Ken-Kendall, the chief conspirator. Also in the shade lures Alan Ruck as the elder Connor Roy. Most shakesperian show there ever was, empahasis on a King Lear riff mixed with poisonous Richard III, some Great Dane Hamlets and all the Tituses, Coriolanus, Yagos and Poloniuses there are. All in the world of mega-media corporate royalty, which means they're worse than murderers & thick as thieves.

Cynicism, black humour and sarcasm galore. A chronicle of our vulgar & tabloid age. An absolute  classic.

The Guardian on the ending of the series, calling it better than Sopranos ending,  and "probably the most feel-bad ending in TV history".

duminică, 28 mai 2023

Sisu (2022)

Finnish director (& writer) Jalmari Helander did Rare Exports (2010, on my top of 2011 & here), bsed on his 20023 short film and the high-concept action Big Game (2014). Took him a while to do his third feature, Sisu (2022), his best to date. Sisu means in Finnish a form of crazy courage & determination against all odds. 

The main character is inspired by a real sniper from the "Winter War" in WW2, Simo Häyhä, aka The White Death. It's set in Lapland in 1944, and what better villains than the Nazis? It starts with a lonely man discovering the mother lode into the wilderness (the Ecstasy of Gold), like in the vignette of Coen's bros. 2018's The Ballad of Buster Scruggs with the Gold prospector played by a scrubby Tom Waits. Then he starts a journey western style until he meets the Nazis, here a convoy of bad, bad Nazis retreating (Sven Hassel's style). Nazis in Nordic cultish films were seen in Dead Snow and its sequel by Tommy Wirkola, but those were (Norwegian) Nazi zombies, and in Anders Banke's Frostbitten (Sweedish vampires nazis). 

Sisu premiered in Toronto Film Festival last Fall on Midnight Madness and picked by Lionsgate -US/ Sony (intl.) for distribution (Intercomfilm in Romania). Even though the film can now be found on the torrent sites I strongly advice those in for the ride to go and watch it on the BIG screen, it's absolutely worthy, due to the great cinematic compositions in widescreen by Kjell Lagerroos (2.39.1), glorious colors, the sound design, music (could've gone with a song on the End Credits-a bit of Morricone/Leone homage done a la Hans Zimmer in Broken Arrow) and spellbinding landscapes. 

Finn Jorma Tomilla is Aatami Korpi, surnamed by the Russians Koschei-"the immortal" . Tomilla was in Rare Exports the father hunter alongside his son, Onni Tomilla, who was in Big Game and here is the tank driver, Schutze. Norwegian actor Aksel Hennie (Headhunters, Max Manus, The Trip) is the very bad baddie, SS officer Bruno Helldorf, he reminded me of a cool younger Mads Mikkelsen, but he probably fares better than MM in the upcoming Indiana Jones V-th chapter. 

Korpi is like Rambo in the 1st film, First Blood, and like Mad Max ( a subplot is similar to Mad Max: Fury Road) and The Man with No Name. Surely a lot of spaghetti westerns went into the mix. Helander brings also John Woo into the inspiration for the film. 

The action sequences could be from Raiders and Indy 3 (the tank and under the car stunts) up to James Bond-esqe exploits (mostly the plane sequence).

People compare this with John Wick but there is no resemblances, the dog thing was part of Mad Max 2 and so many films way before the Keanu franchise. First Blood is the main ingredient here. Also Inglorious Basterds comes to mind, especially for the structure and lettering of the Seven Chapters (which are in fact classic 60's-70's film lettering).

But most of all the coolness comes from the fact it's Finnish (though I would've loved the nazis to speak German and not English...:( and to cut to the last scene before any lines...much better than any recent fare of this type. I hope Helander will keep on making his films and not become some gun-for-hire in the Hollywood up-and-down hills...So far it looks like it might be another Sisu film or maybe announced and postponed Jerry and Ms. Universe.

                                                                   The Red band trailer!

Check it out and see first if it's your kind of film ride, cos it's hyperviolent and kinda doomy/gloomy in its whole pulpy construction. With a lot of Finnish black humor. Perkele!

3 1/2 out of 5, 7 out of 10!

4 awards at Sitges Film Festival 2022, best film, best actor, cinematography and music !

sâmbătă, 27 mai 2023

The Trip (2021)

In seria #ALDrecomandă ultima oară v-am îndemnat să vedeți niște Woody Allen pe Amazon Prime. De data aceasta trecem la o comedie scandinavă, tot de pe Netflix. Nu e pentru toate gusturile, ați fost preveniți!

The Trip sau I onde dager (2021, regia Tommy Wirkola)

O comedie neagră, thriller sângeros — dar care nu se ia în serios, cu Noomi Rapace, actrița suedeză descoperită cu rolul Lisbeth Salander din trilogia Millennium (Fata cu un dragon tatuat) și vedetă internațională (Prometheus, Sherlock Holmes) în rolul principal. Rapace e aici Lisa, o actriță ratată suedeză, măritată cu norvegianul Lars -Acksel Hennie (Headhunters, Max Manus, Sisu), regizor de TV. Ei nu se înțeleg deloc decât într-o singură privință, vor să se omoare reciproc. Profită de un weekend la cabana lor de la munte, dar lucrurile se complică… onde dager înseamnă la rău, de la „la bine și la rău”. Interacțiunea lor cuprinde și o păruială lingvistică, Norvegia versus Suedia, cu accentele și glumițele de rigoare pe care le pot prinde doar cei de limbi scandinave.

Tommy Wirkola e un regizor norvegian de filme cult sângeroase, dar amuzante, Kill Buljo 1 și 2, o parodie la Kill Bill și Dead Snow și continuarea, cu naziști zombi. În mod interesant, a filmat în România What Happened to Monday (2017), tot cu Noomi Rapace, un SF distopic ambițios, cumpărat de Netflix în America pentru streaming. The Trip a ieșit în cinematografe în Norvegia la sfârșitul lui iulie, a fost la festivalul de la Sitges și a avut premiera pe Netflix pe 15 octombrie. Seamănă cu filmele de început ale lui Alex de la Iglesia (Crimen ferpecto), plus un touch de Raising Arizona, cu trioul Petter, Roy și Dave, pe modelul Three Stooges.

Soundtrack-ul e pigmentat cu piese cântate de trupe norvegiene de rock (Dum Dum Boys).

Și e tradus în românește Călătorie bestială (bestial titlu)!


din articolele pentru revista Golan in ianuarie 2022 aici:


miercuri, 24 mai 2023

RIP Tina Turner

The Acid Queen, Dame of Rock'n Roll is gone... Tina Turner was 83, living in Swizerland and retired a long time now...

There's an  doc on her on hbomax, Tina (2021), her life in 5 acts.

From Ike & Tina, the Phil Spector years, to The Rolling Stones-she was the one who taught Mick Jagger how to dance-, to Tommy and Private Dancer (composed by Mark Knopfler, 1984) to doing one of my top James Bond songs is GoldenEye (1995), sang by her, composed by Bono and The Edge.

She was also Aunty Entity in the third Mad Max film from 1985, Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome.

Biopic What's Love Got To Do With It in 1993 with Angela Bassett.

obit in The Guardian here

I’m so saddened by the passing of my wonderful friend Tina Turner. She was truly an enormously talented performer and singer. She was inspiring, warm, funny and generous. She helped me so much when I was young and I will never forget her.

marți, 23 mai 2023

RIP Ray Stevenson

The (literally) big (and tall) (Northern) Irishman Ray Stevenson (1m 91) died on May 21st, in Ischia Italy, causes undisclosed (yet). He was supposed to shoot there the Italian flick Cassino in Ischia as Nic Cassino, a film that seemed interesting. 

Stevenson would've been 59 in just four days...:(

He was Frank Castle in The Punisher: War Zone, version of 2008, Porthos in The Three Musketeers, version of 2011, Danny Green in Kill the Irishman, Volstagg in three Thor movies, Redridge in The Book of Eli, DC in The Outpost, Gruner in Cold Skin. All tough guys, some of them too tough to not be played with some dry Irish humor. He was also the super-evil Scott Buxton in last year's Indian mega-hit RRR (that can be seen on Netflix).

He did a lot of TV, from Rome (Titus Pullo) to Black Sails (Blackbeard), Vikings, the new Das Boot and his last part will be the Disney+ Star Wars spin off, Ahsoka, that comes out in August- in which he is the baddie Baylan Skoll.

tributes here

sâmbătă, 20 mai 2023

RIP Rick Dalton

Tarantino posted on his Video Archives twitter account that Rick Dalton, his fictional actor, (anti) hero from Once Upon A Time in Hollywood had died. He would've been 90. 

He wrote a biography of the actor, entitled The Films of Rick Dalton. One of them, featuring Cliff Booth in the 80's is The Fireman (a trilogy, no less!!, produced of course by Cannon!), which sounds like a rip-off (homage?) of The Exterminator (1980) and its sequel, Exterminator 2 (1984), both with Robert Ginty,  ;). Is that where the flamethrower of McClusky came by, or was it from Le Vieux Fusil;) ?

Rest in peace, Rick...;)

more here


Rick passed away peacefully in his home in Hawaii and is survived by his wife Francesca.

(so, that one was a keeper ;)


vineri, 19 mai 2023

RIP Jim Brown

First time I saw him on The Dirty Dozen (1966), part of that band of misfit bastards that 

Last time I saw him on 100 Rifles (1969), together with Raquel Welch in what was then a very risquee affair. 

100 Rifles can be seen on youtube here.

Now I caught-up with the heist film from 1968 The Split, one of his first leading roles. 

Jim Brown was a great NFL player, the first one to swap the field for Hollywood. He died on May 18th (same day as Helmut Berger) of natural causes. Jim Brown was 87. 

Acting highlights:

Dark of the Sun (1968) aka The Mercenaries

Ice Station Zebra (1968)

El Condor (1970) can be watched on youtube here. with Lee Van Cleef

Slaughter (1972) and its sequel Slaughter's Big Rip-off (1973)-blaxploitation

blaxploitation classic: Three the Hard Way (1974) with Fred Williamson and Jim Kelly

Take a Hard Ride (1975) one more time with Lee Van Cleef, Fred Williamson and Jim Kelly

Fingers (1978), James Toback's maligned underrated and still unknown masterpiece.

The Running Man, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, Mars Attacks!, Any Given Sunday, Small Soldiers (voice).

joi, 18 mai 2023

RIP Helmut Berger

He was Ludwig (Luchino Visconti, 1973). 

He was Alberto Finzi-Contini (Vittorio De Sica, .

He was Dorian Gray (Massimo Dallamano, 1970) 

Austrian Helmut Berger (born Helmut Steinberger, in Salzburg in 1944) was also Luchino Visconti's partner til the director's death. Visconti discovered him in 1965 and gave him the best parts of his career, La Caduta degli dei -The Damned (1969), Ludwig (1973) and Gruppo di famiglia in un interno (1974). Also he was the lead in Duccio Tessari's 1973 giallo Una farfalla con le ali insaguinate (The Bloodstained Butterfly). Had a small part in The Godfather part III (1973). 

He died on May 18th, 2023 (same day as Jim Brown), just ten days before he would've been 79. 

sâmbătă, 13 mai 2023

Beau is Afraid (2023)



Tati's Playtime

Roy Andersson

Scorsese's After Hours

a bit of Haneke Funny Games

all in 3 hrs overlong, uneven, pretentious but mesmerising one-of-a-kind psychotronic epic

Beau is Afraid

black comedy/psychodrama/horror/arthouse Freudian nightmare/apocalyptic fantasy

Ari Aster's third feature, after Hereditary and Midsomar, both in my top of their years release, 2018 and 2019 respectively. Some reviews mentioned Synecdoche, New York (mhh, not really) and the ending reminded me of Pink Floy's The Wall trial (my buddy said The Truman Show-mhh, not really),  also back to Kafka's The Trial (which inspired also the animated sequence from the Alan Parker film).

Beau is Afraid is based on his 2011 short film  Beau -of 6'22". It was supposed to be developed into Aster's debut feature in 2016. I think it would have killed his career without parole. And I also think the movie should've been in Cannes, in a shorter version, I'd cut the whole middle out (after he runs from the Nathan Lane family til he actually gets to the house!). Or Venice, or Toronto, anyway, it seems they wanted it this way, same as with Midsomar and Hereditary, weird choices, but at least that's what I read.

(I discovered the Beau short film here on reddit, it seems it was pulled off the internet by Aster and A24, the distributor and producer).

Here's about the 2014 script vs. the 2023 version and the short, especially concerning the ending.

Beau is portrayed by a zombified, lethargic Joaquin Phoenix in the biggest stunt of his career (after I'm Still Here) as a guy with huge mommy issues. Psycho looks like Bambi compared to this guy's nightmares, urges and phobias.

Aster describes his film as:  "if you pumped a 10-year old full of Zoloft, and [had] him get your groceries."

more of his explanations here

                          a bit of Wizard of Oz meets Van Gogh -Careful with that axe, Eugene;)

as google puts it (from imdb): 
if you're a film buff who likes to watch all movies, I recommend it, but to any casual viewer, I would say stay far, far away, it's probably not for you.
Totally agreed.
I had a great experience in an almost empty theatre (we were 5 in the audience), loved the picture composition (shot by Pawel Pogorzelski, Astner's collaborator since his early shorts), the framing on the screen, the sound design, had fun many times and I appreciate the effort, being a stunt or a misfire, anyway a future cult film if you see one recently on the big screen. 
I appreciate the effort of Romanian distributors, Bad Unicorn, and I advise you, those who dare see why Beau is Afraid, to rush into the theaters, cos' it won't be a long stay for Beau...

7 out of 10/ 3 1/2 out of 5
(and wtf was with that Bill Hader's cameo???)

vineri, 12 mai 2023

Eric Clapton/Jeff Beck-Moon River (SOTD)

Bittersweet homage to Jeff Beck by Clapton, the song is by Henri Mancini & Johnny Mercer, from the soundtrack of Breakfast at Tiffany's where Audrey Hepburn sings it. It has the nostalgia of childhood, as presented by 'my huckleberry friend". Nice one, mr. Slowhand....

New double A-side 7” vinyl now featuring “Moon River” and “How Could We Know” – Available July 14, 2023.

also played by Beck & Clapton (see my order here?) in 2010 at the O2 London.

joi, 11 mai 2023

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (& the Awesome Mix too;)

Finally Volume 3 is here! 

Saw it in 3D and it was a pretty good conversion and a pretty bright one.

For a running time of 2h30 I was afraid it will bore the hell out of me but i was uber pleasantly surprised. It is much more emotional than the first two volumes and more ambitious narratively (no spoilers here but follow the teaser poster;), and it makes me put James Gunn as the best director/creator of universes in the MCU (and DC?), and glad he was back at the helm as Disney fired him back in 2019 for some bullshit remarks and the whole cast of the GotG supported him, especially Dave Bautista. Also as Gunn went into being the boss of DC now and not only because of that a fourth GotG volume will not happen, at least with this original members (& cast). So, I can only say that for me it is the best series (trilogy) in the Marvel Universe, the warmest, funniest and surely oddest! And it Rocks;)

I am Groot! 


Now the soundtrack, which was the one of the best things about the series, and the innovative way to get it on the incidental side with Quill's walkman and then its improvements. Wrote about them at the time. The first one was the cheesiest, but made it on my top soundtracks of 2014!


the second one rocked more for me, and was way more inventive to fill in the film and the narrative -the titles on Mr. Blue Sky (ELO), the analysis of Brandi (Looking Glass), the use of Fleetwood Mac's The Chain and especially Cat Stevens' Father and Son, so yep it went into the top soundtracks of 2017!


Vol. 3 Awesome Mix is:  way more darker than Vol. 1 & Vol. 2, actually for me with the best selections of songs yet. Very ecclectic but more interesting bands and less cheasier songs.

Creep (acoustic version) - Radiohead

Crazy on You - Heart

Since You Been Gone - Rainbow (grand Rainbow song from 1979's Down to Earth, on a par with Led Zep and Deep Purple's greatest, and a cover ! of an 1976 song by Russ Ballard, as far as I know this is the first appearance of the song in a film!)

In the Meantime - Spacehog (from 1994, I knwe the song but didn't know the band!, the vocal sounds a bit like GnR)

Reasons - Earth, Wind & Fire

Do You Realize?? - The Flaming Lips

We Care A Lot - Faith No More (yes!!!)

Koinu No Carnival - EHAMIC

I'm Always Chasing Rainbows - Alice Cooper  ( I looove the inclusion of the Coop in the soundtrack, with a song from Alice Cooper Goes to Hell-1976, and as coincidences happen, just before going to see the movie I was listening to the Coop From the Inside 1978 album, which I haven't heard since 2019 to be precise !!!) And I'm Always Chasing Rainbows is one of my faved AC songs!

San Francisco - The Mowgli's

Poor Girl - X

This Is the Day - The The

No Sleep Till Brooklyn - Beastie Boys

Dog Days Are Over - Florence + The Machine

Badlands - Bruce Springsteen  (1978, this one I don't get, it plays over the closing credits, nice but a bit pointless, and also it's sort of a dark song, would've loved the Boss doing a new tune for this, yes the idea of the soundtracks of GotG was to be old ones, but on the credits of Vol.2 we got a Hasselhoff and cast remix, so new one)

I Will Dare - The Replacements  (from 1984's Let it Be)

Come and Get Your Love - Redbone (reprise from the 1st GotG movie)

James Gunn says

“I snuck my friends The Replacements (‘I Will Dare’) in there. I snuck Alice Cooper (‘I’m Always Chasing Rainbows’), my hero in there, (and it) actually has a pretty big sequence in the movie.”

The music comes with the words with the script, I write it in, but sometimes I change it − some things on this, it was very difficult choosing the music for this movie because in the first two movies, they were all AM, ’70s pop hits.”

Technology introduced at the end of “Vol. 2,” courtesy of Yondu’s gift of a Microsoft Zune digital music player to Quill, expanded that character’s music knowledge and, thus, the song possibilities.

“It's music from the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, 2000s, and I could choose from anything,” he said. “It's at the end of ‘Hurt Locker’ with him looking at all the stuff on the shelves and not knowing how to make this choice, so it was very difficult because of that.

Gunn keeps a list of hundreds of songs that could potentially go in one of his films (see the Peacemaker series which made me discover the excellent and irresistible cheesy  Wig Wam-Do You Wanna Taste it?, which put the Norwegian band back on the map) .

 Needless to say, with something that extensive, not every tune will make the cut because it’s a matter of how the song fits into a scene.

“‘Cruel To Be Kind’ by Nick Lowe has been on every list that I've had for the movies, and I've just never found a place to work it in,” he said.


joi, 4 mai 2023

Tangerine Dream la TIFF 22!!

I-am vazut la Spandau Zitadelle im Berlin acum 14 ani...intre timp Edgard Froese is no more, also Klaus Schultze cu care au inceput...

Acum insa: 


Pionierii muzicii electronice Tangerine Dream vor susține un concert pe 15 iunie la Casa de Cultură a Studenților. Înființată în 1967 de Edgar Froese în vestul Berlinului, Tangerine Dream este o trupă formatoare pentru muzica electronică. Albumul lor revoluționar Phaedra, lansat în 1974, a atins statutul de cult în Marea Britanie și a devenit un reper al genului. Tangerine Dream a compus piese lungi, cu structuri unice, deschizând noi dimensiuni în sunet, stilul lor fiind catalogat drept Kosmische Musik. În ultimii 50 de ani, trupa a lansat peste 100 de albume de studio și a fost nominalizată de șapte ori la premiile GrammyTangerine Dream a creat peste 60 de coloane sonore de film, inclusiv pentru Legend (1985) al lui Ridley Scott, pentru thrillerul Sorcerer (1977) al lui William Friedkin și pentru filmul neo-noir Thief (1981) al lui Michael Mann. Din discografia lor face parte și The Night In Romania, piesă care ar fi trebuit să se afle pe coloana sonoră a filmului The Keep (r. Michael Mann, 1983), dar care a fost lansată doar în 2020, pe un album special. În 2013, Tangerine Dream a compus muzica pentru jocul video Grand Theft Auto V, care a devenit unul dintre cele mai de succes jocuri din istorie. Muzica lor apare și în serialul Netflix Stranger Things.