vineri, 30 iunie 2023

RIP Alan Arkin

Uncanny, cos' I just had a conversation last night with Mein Amerikanishe Freund about Catch 22, and mentioned Alan Arkin who played Yossarian in Mike Nichols' 1970 adaptation of Joseph Heller master work. And then next day I find out from Variety that Alan Arkin died, age 89. He was born in 1934, same year as my mom...He had a voice and style, instantly recognisable. Kind of a sarcastic tone and malitious smile. A great versatile actor, he did about 100 films. 

Arkin was considered more of a comedic actor and I know him from The In-Laws (directed by Arthur Hiller) which I saw with my parents at Astra cinema in Brasov in  1979 or 1980 (film came out in 1979 in the US), brilliant action comedy. But he was a brilliant psychopath in Blake Edwards' thriller Wait Until Dark (1967), where he terrorized blind Audrey Hepburn. Next year he was playing inspector Clouseau in the same titled Inspector Clouseau film, directed by Bud Yorkin and co-written by Edwards but the film was a flop (and not really funny, but hey, better than the Steve Martin crappy remakes) and Peter Sellers came back to the character in 1975, with Edwards directing it.

He wasn't initially an actor, but a folk singer in a group called The Terriers. He recorded with them in 1955. Then he was a singer on Broadway. He also directed TV and the  cult film Little Murders in 1971, a very black nihilistic comedy starring Elliott Gould, based on a play by Jules Feiffer Arkin directed on stage in 1969.  

He won an Oscar (and a BAFTA) for Little Miss Sunshine (supporting) but he deserved one for Argo.  He played last the psychiatrist (as in Grosse Point Blank) in the Netflix series The Kominsky Method (for which he was nominated for 2 Emmys).

I think I will revisit The Russsians are Coming, The Russsians are Coming (1966), where he was nominated for the first time for an Oscar (out of four noms) and won a Golden Globe. 

miercuri, 28 iunie 2023

RIP Julian Sands

Warlock himself gone...

...disappeared in the mountains near LA gone hiking 5 months ago (Jan. 13, 2023) was found...

Julian Sands  died just a week after being 65...

He was Shelley in Ken Russell's Gothic, Liszt in Impromptu, a doctor in The Doctor and the Devils, the doctor in Boxing Helena, the doctor in Arachnofobia and The Phantom of the Opera (Erik) in Dario Argento's adaptation of the tale from 1998.

Last I saw him in The Killing Fields (1984), one of his early parts on the screen, which I saw again this winter. 

vineri, 23 iunie 2023

RIP Frederic Forrest

"Chef "is gone...He was 86. Frederic Forrest was one of Francis Coppola's favorite actors, he put him in The Conversation, Apocalypse Now, One form the Heart and Tucker: A man and his Dream.

Forrest was nominated for an Oscar for best supporting role in Mark Rydell's The Rose (1980).

He was also Dashiell Hammett in Coppola's produced Hammett, directed by Wim Wenders in 1982, a flop and BO failure at the time, but very good movie. He was doctor Judd in Dario Argento's US shot Trauma. And the nazi store owner in Falling Down. Last film in 2006, in the remake of All the King's Men by Steven Zaillian. 

sâmbătă, 3 iunie 2023

Ian Hunter-Defiance part 1

 Ian Hunter is 83 of the most underrated Greatest R'n'R legends still here...

he just put out a new album out in April, Defiance part 1 (I agree;)

I Hate Hate (my ne faved song;)


Pavlov's Dog

Bed of Roses

joi, 1 iunie 2023

Rolling Thunder (1977)

Rolling Thunder.

USA, 1977.

with: William Devane, Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Haynes, Dabney Coleman, Luke Askew, James Best.

written by Paul Schrader. Re-written by Heywood Gould.

produced by Laurence Gordon.

Directed by John Flynn.

Not to be confused with Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue. And the doc by Marty Scorsese.

Tarantino had put it on his top ten films list, said is his favorite Revenge flick, he named his distribution company after it. He dedicated a whole chapter in his book, Cinema Speculation to this film (and another one to another John Flynn's classic, The Outfit -1973).

RT was supposed to be a 20th Century Fox release but they were so appalled so they sold it to AIP (American International Pictures). 

It's one of the earliest entries into the "Angry/dissilusioned Vietnam Vet coming home" genre, a gritty revenge film which strikes close to Sam Peckinpah and Walter Hill. Schrader disowned the script, which was at the time, a companion piece to Taxi Driver! Travis Bickle even makes a cameo appearance in the original Scharder script, linked to Linda Lovelace...

I saw the film more than 10 years ago, out of the Grindhouse folder of fame, and Tarantino was the biggest advocate and champion of Rolling Thunder, making it more and more known, and made it intriguing to people to search for it and see it. Which brings it to the latest showing, in the Tarantino's surprise film in his guest spot in the Quinzaine des Realisateurs at the Cannes Film Festival (his first time there!) just a week ago.

So, it made me yearn to see it again. Und I did ;)

Devane is brilliant, I know him from my childhood when I saw him in Yanks (1981). Loved the guy, deserved a bigger career. Tommy Lee Jones is cool too, but mostly I liked Luke Askew's Automatic Slim (I Know Askew as a baddie I guess from Cool Hand Luke and in my childhood, Walking Tall II).  The film is slow, gritty and seems less exploitation than it was described back in his premiere days, it grew older in a good way. Of course it's not 'the shit" as QT sees it, but it stands Tall on its own. Great title too.

And I just love the opening and closing song, the country elegy "San Antone", sung by Dusty Brooks. I know it from one of my favorite films, obscure and underrated, The Ninth Configuration (1980), directed by George Peter Blatty, based on his novel Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer, Kane. And that's because of Barry De Vorzon, who composed the song and the score for both of these movies. 

Rolling Thunder: 7 out of 10, 3 1/2 out of 5!

                                                           "You learn to love the rope".