Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Father of Q

Me! Fool!
Q-The winged serpent is one of my faves both for poster artwork and as movie and I completely forgot to mention Q’s legitimate father. It took me flipping through an old Sci-Fi Age issue and stumbling upon a Top Ten Great Bad Movies article to remember this pearl. A belated spotlight for: The Giant Claw (’57) father of Q.
A movie that Mick Martin calls
“A must-see for bad-movie buffs”.

The The Giant Claw poster sports a very different style from it’s late relative Q (’82), it reminds us with it’s use of vibrant colours more of the eye-catching covers old pulp magazines like Astounding Stories used to feature. With the attacking giant bird, which did, as portrayed in this image by artist Carl Lundgren which was obviously inspired by this movie, have a closer semblance to a Vulture, mimicking the popular stance of the American Eagle.

Friday, June 26, 2009

In memoriam Farrah Fawcett

Fawcett, 62, died Thursday morning at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, after being diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006.

Read it yesterday on TV-text, it’s always sad when somebody dies that young.
I will keep her in my memory as one of the Angels, that’s what she always was to me, part of the Angels, together with Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson.
And who could’ve resisted at age nine or ten a show featuring three beautiful crime fighting women. But it’s never fair to reduce an actor to a single role, I do remember her naturally from her short appearance in Logan’s Run, too, and from starring in Saturn City.

I also will remember her from playing Marjorie in Extremities, a movie about a woman taking revenge on a rapist. More than the Death Wish movies did, and more than the ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan movies did, Extremities stirred up the emotions here and started a heated discussion about how far has revenge a right to go?
Maybe it’s just the idea of a woman taking revenge that traditionally sits uneasy with the masses. However, Extremities was a heavily discussed movie, a difficult to stomach one, and an important one at that.
Kudos for taking that role.

Thank you for the memories Farrah and my condolences to friends and family mourning her death.

In closing let me quote Christina Applegate:

Today please donate money to a great cancer organization for research. This damn disease has taken another. We must find a cure. Farrah RIP.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Julie & Julia

This poster motive for Julie & Julia had me almost in stitches, it might just be my dirty mind working overtime but I can’t help to think that two eggs, no matter how inconspicuous looking, ain’t that good a motive. The innuendo might be intended though, and you can picture my surprise when I found out that it has nothing to do with procreation whatsoever, it rather seems to be about cooking or something.

What’s more is it's tagline:
Based on Two True Stories, that practically screams for an addition.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Promotional sticker for Les douze travaux d'Astérix (The twelve tasks of Asterix) from around 1976. The German title translates to Asterix conquers Rom.

Paul McCartney and the Wings in Rockshow; Spider-Man: The Dragon's Challenge both from 1981

Splash; Short Circuit from 1984 & 1986, the tag on the "Splash" sticker roughly translates to:

Better to see Splash than have a crash, obviously who ever wrote that thought rhyme to be more important than message.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Day

We heard the call and decided to follow.

I would love to be able to say that 2001 was the first Sci-Fi movie I saw, but that wouldn’t be true, neither on TV nor in the cinema, and it wasn’t the first Sci-Fi book I read either, but both book and movie changed how I regarded Sci-Fi, lifted my expectations for future works.

So naturally my appreciation post goes to Arthur C. Clarke.
And the movie 2001 – A Space Odyssey, which even today, more than forty years after it’s initial release, stands as one of a kind, hardly ever surpassed in quality.
Still today it inspires generations, and still today people bow their head in acknowledgment of what it achieved in the Science Fiction field (a most recent homage is seen in Wall-E in form of a mischievous cousin of HAL9000).

Now I’ve seen people complain about 2001’s end being to contrived, as not making much sense, and I do have to agree with them, any recommendation of 2001 wouldn’t be complete without an encouragement to read at least Clarke’s novel, too, better yet read both the novel and Clarke’s recollection of how book and movie came to pass in The lost Worlds of 2001.

The sixteen years later sequel 2010 – The year we make contact, was neither visually nor in story as exciting as its predecessor but it helps to better understand some of the themes explored and thanks to some formidable FX work and great actors it is still worth watching.

It is arguable where 2001 stands in terms of quality compared to Clarke’s overall work, probably closer to the middle field than on top, but the impact his cooperative work with Stanley Kubrick had on the field of Science Fiction is indubitable. But just how influential Clarke’s writing was is probably best illustrated by the script for Airport ’77, which turns out to be in all but name a most faithful adaptation of his novel A Fall of Moondust written some sixteen years earlier.

I'm serious about that, go get the book (ask your local library if they have it if you don't want to buy it blindly on a madman's recommendation) and then watch the movie (I'm sure you find somebody that secretly has it still stored, taped from TV long ago).

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I consider myself a huge fan of the Angel movies, although their actual quality is certainly debatable. The movies paint a much romanticised picture of working on the street, which makes a large part of their charm; they allow us to pretend that even if the world we live in ain’t perfect, there are always enough good people to be found in it.

In all honesty the main draw to these movies was for me that at the time Angel came out I was too young to watch it, and that stroke me as kind of ironic: There was this movie which was clearly shot with my age group as target audience in mind (and probably a few pervs) and yet I was not allowed to see it. So all I had was the poster to admire; and Donna Wilkes in Hot Pants was, well, looking damn Hot!*

And if we are being honest at the moment let me also admit that I haven’t seen Angel 4, yet.
But up to Angel 3: The Search I enjoyed them all.

*The school uniform had something to it, too!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Slave Leia

Return of the Jedi is another one of my ‘off the wall’ posters.
I was thirteen (not going on thirty) when it came out, and naturally I felt inexplicably drawn to Slave Leia. So the poster did make it on the ceiling directly above my bed. *smirk*

Now, as a teen you take the things as they come and don’t think too much about it, having grown older I do start to wonder: Isn’t it strange that the same moral apostle that felt the need to go back and change the encounter between Han Solo and Greedo to make Solo, well, less roguish, has no qualms to show his only female lead in the trilogy as a Sex-Slave?

Sure, one could bring up that she freed herself, yadda, yadda, female empowerment, yadda… but the fact would still remain that when we think of Slave Leia, female empowerment is the least thing on our mind. So showing rogues as rogues is morally unacceptable, but to show women as sex objects is?

Don’t get me wrong, I do not say that he should go back once again and mess up the movies even more, but I think he should check his moral compass.
In the end I'd say Carrie Fisher is a beautiful woman, and the scenery is innocent enough.

Still, the question remains:
What could have made him change one scene but not the other?
If the idea was that Han Solo shooting Greedo first in precipitated self-defence could lead impressionable kids to shoot others unprovoked, then it would be just as fair to say that the image of Leia as Sex-Slave can encourage the same impressionable kids to far more despicable crimes…

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Street Fighter

Street Fighter, Bad movie,
bad with a capital B.
What could have been mindless entertainment à la Mortal Kombat turned out to be an almost complete waste of time, yes, I said almost. Raul Julia in the probably worst role of his career is the movie's saving grace, he delivers a artful depiction of game villain General Bison.
That was the old Street Fighter movie.

Expectations for further adaptations of the game ran consequently low, and yet despite my better knowledge when I stumbled over the poster motive for the new Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li it instantly managed to stir my interest. I like the style they use here. The earthen colour palette and the use of structured backdrop lend it an air of dignity, a gravity the movie most probably doesn’t possess.

As it stands, this is the motive I prefer out of those I came across, it is to me reminiscent of The Tailor of Panama, another motive I always kind of liked although I thought the execution could have been better. With it’s column like build-up The Tailor of Panama never quite spoke to me as much as I thought it could have, as much as Legend of Chun-Li does.
I find it interesting how two so different movies can connect with each other via artistic style.

The motive that probably gives us the fairest idea of the movie is the Japanese version, it perfectly captures the feel of an arcade game adaptation, and makes it look still worthwhile. In style this is a more accomplished version of the rather lacklustre US pendant where the use of the actors faces needlessly confuses what otherwise might have made for a passable teaser motive.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Picture perfect moment

There seems to be a agreement among critics all over that the cannibal movie had no message to convey. With those people ‘meaning’ is an important feat, they are not happy until they found some that they can apply to a movie.
This scene from La montagna del dio cannibale should make them happy:
A beautiful woman surrounded by (male) savages.

This might be an unintentional message, but it bears the suggestion that it was not the vile depiction of violence, or the open show of racism that made critics detest them, no, it was this uneasy feel the cannibal movies gave us, that they simply shrugged off all civilized pretension to show us society as it really is, which did.

A show of hands please, who didn't instantly think of the ferocious little T-Rex Gon when he first saw those little buggers from Ice Age 3?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Graveyard Shift

The past is a different place,
they do things differently there...

In my mind I tend to ascribe that phrase to Stephen King, which might be wrong but I'm most certain that I first encountered it in some of his writing. And King being King, it ever since holds for me a ominous meaning, threatening in a not quite tangible way.

The past is a different place, and it can be threatening too, but what's more important is that inevitably we all will arrive at a point when it will have become the place where we will have spend most of our live. That’s probably the reason some of us become obsessed with it, unable to let go of the memory of our Glory Days which passed us by, the reason we become nostalgic; the knowledge that more of our live lies behind us, irrevocably lost, than lies ahead.

Sorry if this post doesn't make much of a sense to you, I guess this is just one of those days when I like to look back and draw the past over my shoulder as a comforting blanket, my personal Graveyard Shift.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sympathy for the Devil

Mr Frost is a brilliant little mystery thriller with Jeff Goldblum as a serial killer that claims to be the Devil, a fact which got perfectly portrayed on the poster; we can see both the tempting charisma and his openly threatening nature reflected in his look. Kathy Baker plays the doctor that tries to heal him, to convince him that he’s only mortal, only a disturbed mind, nothing more. And as easily as Goldblum makes us believe in the Devil, is Baker grounding us in reality, keeping us from giving in too fast. It’s a must see movie that for some reason never gained the attention it deserved.

Although at least one must have taken a close look: Der große Bagarozy was a remake of sorts of Mr Frost, here Corinna Harfouch takes on the role played by Kathy Baker and der große Schweiger plays the Devil. The movie saw itself as a erotic drama, not a thriller, cutting away most of the original plot only leaving in the psycho-duel between psychiatrist and devil. But the encounters between them steal scene by scene from Mr Frost, adding nothing really new to it. Another image from the movie, that of the Devil being caught up in a tormenting love with Maria Callas, also looks like a direct quote, though in all fairness this was not a original thought to Mr Frost either, and in German folklore the Devil is often painted as being smitten with beauty, what better way to illustrate this than the perfection of Maria Callas’ voice?

Still, the poster was one of the more worthwhile erotic posters to hit the cinema showcases; there’s something compelling to it’s plain, in your face nature that makes it almost art.
Sitting between her legs is a poodle, and this is not just mere modesty, it’s a quote from Goethe’s Faust:
“This was the poodle's real core,”
It says there when Mephistopheles, who entered Faust’s room in the guise of a poodle, finally reveals his true self. That’s how the artist brought the Devil on the poster, and the probably unintentional message
“The Devil can be found between a woman’s legs”

The poster for Der große Bagarozy also reminded instantly of another highly erotic poster artwork: Show Girls; there is that same play on the soft rounded curves of a woman’s body which make us suspect that not only the director took a close look at a fellow colleagues work. But Show Girls was subtler in it’s use of the erotic, less in your face in it’s approach, a clever take on the dangerous curves ahead signs; dangerous curves indeed, it is easy to picture how Elizabeth Berkley might have endangered traffic when passing drivers admired that poster.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Company of Wolves

Little Girls it seems to say,
Never stop among your way,
Never trust a stranger friend,
No one knows how it will end,
As you are pretty so be wise,
Wolves may lurk in every guise,
Now as then ‘tis simple truth,
Sweetest tongue has sharpest tooth.

The UK poster motive evokes images of our own youth as we see Rosaleen dreaming in her slumber of a fantastic world filled with exciting danger, encountered in fairy tales told like that of Little Red Riding Hood whom we see here getting cautioned by her grandmother.

This German poster is a great evocative image, it plays up Rosaleen’s youthful innocence against her sexual nature; she turns away from us and just the same steals a glance in our direction, looking half scared, half curious, half a child still, half woman.
We become the wolf, the one that scares her and tempts her the same.
And wouldn’t we just love to?

The Chinese motive plays with her lyrical beauty, dresses her in white all innocent as freshly fallen snow, but puts a unmistakeable look of sorrow on her face.
Something got lost, and she knows it, somewhere a line was crossed.
And this feeling gets heightened by the dark and looming presence of the woods behind her, contrasting the innocence and tranquillity of the foreground scene, making it as deceitful as the calmness in her wolf companion.

Another German poster is only notable for it’s lack of subtleness, with the tagline spouting:
“When you seek the closeness of wolves, your childhood has come to an end”

And finally we have a Indian (maybe Thai) motive that I like for its colourful, laden nature. Given, it’s nothing I would put on my wall, but I rather like how the artist narrows it all down to Rosaleen in the upper corner, or spreads it out from there, depending on the view we would like to take.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Whore's Son

Some posters are too beautiful to pass, others are too ugly to pass without a second glance, some have you just dumbfound trying to marvel out what might have went through the artists mind.

The Whore’s Son is non of that, it’s actually such a non descript image with such a equally non-descript title (a typical shock value idea for the morally up-tight) that I would usually not have given it a second glance hadn’t it been for the stupid tag:

"In spite of everything, she’s still your mom."

Not that he seems to care one way or the other, his look suggests that he’s still trying to decode if the prop department dressed him up in a vain attempt to make him look posh or if he’s supposed to be gay. His ‘mom’ on the other hand does sport a “WTF is that?” look, probably hoping that nobody will recognize him as being her son, we do not always get the offspring we hope for.
A sexually confused Mod is certainly not what she hoped for.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

From book to screen

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a book turned into a movie must be in want" -
‘cept there are, as always, exceptions to the rule:

The book was practically tripe, but it must have garnered some interest non the less.
Enough at least for Clint Eastwood to pick it up and turn it into a surprisingly poignant love story with a sadly realistic note to it’s end.

A good debut novel with a gripping story and characters we can care for, only the end was a tad to much on the melodramatic side and it made it difficult to properly connect to main character Tom Booker. The grace of the movie is that it creates a new end for the story, one that touches us more deeply than the book did. The end is reminiscent of Bridges in a way, only where there was a right and a wrong decision to be made for Meryl Streep, Kristin Scott Thomas can only choose whom to hurt in the end.

Novels work on a different level than movies do. That makes it often unavoidable to change, even cut out, scenes from the book; in the Bridget Jones movies this was done with an excellent feel for the aim of the source material. The changes retain the direction of the book, yet changing things just ever so slightly to arrive at a more serious note, leaving the slapstick humour of the book behind.

“Make room! Make room!” is basically a futuristic crime novel. Harrison contended himself with using the problematic of overpopulation and dwindling resources to illustrate the growing rift between the poor masses and the rich elite that controls them. The movie takes this premise the logic step further, coming up a with a shockingly reasonable new ingredient for Soylent Green.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Desert Hearts

In the mid 80’s Desert Hearts came out, a marvellous movie. To my mind it’s one of the greatest love stories ever, one I watched innumerabel times, and I always managed to ignore the part that said based on a novel by Jane Rule. Until a few months back on some forum the talk came up about which books we loved and one girl mentioned how she loved Desert of the Heart, the book in question on which the movie is based. Looking around the web the unite tenor is how much better and more fabulous the book was and how the movie is only a watered down, overly clichéd product that can’t do it justice.
So, I went out and got the book.
I read it.
And I hated it!

The book that gets lauded as Jane Rule’s greatest work, as the lesbian Romance, turned out to be anything but great and highly questionable as a romance. The premise of the book has Evelyn Hall coming to Reno to get a quick divorce from her husband which she can’t get along with anymore after they lived themselves apart, here she meets Anne Childs and finds herself falling in love with this woman.
Sounds great, no?
But the reasoning (in the book) for her to fall in love with Ann is (and I would quote the part in all its terribleness if I still had the book) because she has a strong resemblance to her.
It all runs down to these two women falling in love which each other because Evelyn sees in Ann the daughter she couldn’t have with her husband, and Ann sees in Evelyn the mother that left her as a child, take that and the fact that both women are portrayed as self-loving bitches that do not really care for others and you get a narcissistic incest fantasy going.
That’s far from being romantic, far from being about love at all.
And then there is this vibe, this reassurance to the straight community, that if it wasn’t for them being psychologically scarred they would love men.

The movie wisely cuts through all the psychological crap, and goes for the core:
Two women that fall in love which each other and after they spend a fantastic night together one of them gets cold feet and breaks it up, but the movie ends (as does incidentally the book) on the perfect note; not with happily ever after, but with the possibility for them to arrive there

Evelyn Hall: Ride with me to the next station.
Ann Childs:
What we gonna get settled in forty minutes?
Evelyn Hall:
I talk fast.
Ann Childs:
What is it that you want?
Evelyn Hall:
Another forty minutes with you.

There's no stupid trope to reassure the straight viewers that these women would actually rather love men, there's just a deeply felt honesty to this movie and the reassurance that every love deserves a chance.