Archive for July 2009
A women running down an empty country road at night, her bare legs flashing in the moonlight from beneath her trench coat; one of the classic opening shots. And it is from what is considered to be one the classic film noirs with Ralph Meeker as Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer that has somehow previously escaped me.
The woman, Christina, escaped from a lunatic asylum, flags down Hammer who gives her a ride. Then his car is forced off the road by a couple of thugs. Afterwards semi-conscious Hammer hears Christina being tortured to death. Partly out of wanting revenge and partly just from his PI instincts that something big is behind her death he starts investing into the woman’s background. Read the rest of this entry »
I remember when Spaced came out. Channel Four gave it a really bad promotion – not even hinting at all the science-fictional references in it – so I just expected some rubbish, twenty-something flat-sharing sitcom. So, after promoting from friends, I only finally caught up with it on DVD. And I ended up loving it of course, though it does vary a bit during the run. Then more recently Shaun Of The Dead came along. Whilst for the most part it worked, I had issues were the comedy and the horror (in particular the tragic stuff) did not really work together and it kind of unravels in the final minutes.
Now Hot Fuzz has arrived and it’s sort of perfect. It celebrates the essential naffness of the British policeman, at least cinematically. Something to do with the uniform and lack of guns, but the only UK cop films that have succeeded (and there’s very few of them full stop) are plain clothes efforts like The Sweeney. This time the plot works with comedy and the integration of the ‘US Cop Buddy Movie’ genre into a West Country small town is excellent. This is helped by the film-makers not being shy to include elements of other genres like Hammer horror and television crime dramas like Midsomer Murders. It also helps that they have managed to secure an utterly unprecedented number of quality actors for every single role, no mater how small. In Midsomer you know the most famous guest actor is the murderer, in Hot Fuzz everyone is famous. Read the rest of this entry »
So, this is it then, the film of the famously unfilmable, greatest graphic novel evah; the dark, complex, deep and, above all, adult comic book, Watchmen.
So do we have an equally dark, complex, deep and, above all, adult comic-book movie, then? In some ways, possibly – complex, yes; certainly adult enough to get an ‘18′ rating… but overall, no, not really. But then again I don’t think it was ever really possible.
I’ve written about Watchmen in the past, but for the uninitiated: the comic-book (and film) takes place in an alternate reality where, for several decades, costumed vigilantes have battled costumed criminals. It’s the 1980s and Nixon is sat in the White House, able to extend his presidency past two terms on the back of the single truly super-powered individual in the world, Dr Manhattan – a nude, bright blue, post-human demi-god, the result of a scientific experiment gone wrong, who can control all matter and see past, present and future simultaneously – enabling the US to win Vietnam. But the Cold War has not gone away and the world stands of the brink of nuclear armageddon, and the costumed vigilantes – now officially banned – have either retired or gone underground. Then the Comedian, a super-soldier, is murdered; thrown through the window of his high-rise New York apartment by an unknown assailant. Is a ‘cape-killer’ gunning for the ‘Watchmen’ or is a more subtle and sinister plot in effect? Read the rest of this entry »