Thursday, December 14, 2006

Open Season

Tune in to Eastside 89.7 FM today at 17.30 to hear me appear on Cinemascape. This week you'll hear reviews of Casino Royale and A Scanner Darkly as well as my thoughts on the latest computer animated feature Open Season, released just in time for Christmas.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Black Dahlia

As a huge Brian DePalma fan it with trepidation that I approached reviewing The Black Dahlia. His extraodinary output in the 70s and early 80s including Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Scarface and The Phatom of the Paradise was always going to be hard to live up. Unfortunately The Black Dhalia, despite being based on an James Elroy novel and starring the gorgeous Scarlett Johansson, is terrible, falling in line with DePalma's recent disasters like Mission to Mars. To hear the rest of my thoughts on the film please tune in to Cinemascape this Friday at 17:30 on Eastside 89.7 FM.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

In Print

Its about time I gave you an update of where I've been in print; the latest issue of Smoke & Mirrors features my interview with Cinesite's Matt Johnson discussing his work on Omen 666 and V for Vendetta.

The last couple of issues of Shivers have featured my work; Issue #129 concluded my set report from Stephen King's Nightmares & Dreamscapes and Issue #130 includes my interview with producers Matt Metcalf and Alan Davies discussing the making of The Ferryman.

Finally the December issue of Film Review includes my vox pop report on what Sydneysiders thought of the wonderful Little Miss Sunshine.

I also recently interviewed director Gregory Read about his recent Australian thriller Like Minds starring Toni Collette and Richard Roxburgh.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Shortbus on the radio

I'll be reviewing John Cameron Mitchell's controversial Shortbus this Friday on Eastside 89.7 FM's Cinemascape show this Friday at 17:30 for those in the Sydney area. As a huge fan of Hedwig and the Angry Inch I was intrigued what Mitchell would do next but I don't think anyone could have been prepared for Shortbus. An ensemble cast play a group of New Yorkers who converge on an underground club called Shortbus; a place where there are no boundaries and sex, drugs and art is for everybody. Among those we meet are Sofia, a sex therapist who has never had an orgasm, James and Jamie, a gay couple who bring in an additional partner to save their relationship and Severin, a deeply confused dominatrix. The depiction of sex is incredibly graphic. In the first five minute almost every taboo known to mainstream cinema has been broken in explicit detail. What separates Shortbus from a regular porn film, however, is the human spirit on display. You grow to love the characters; the sex becomes secondary to the relationships between the characters and NYC. Shortbus is a brave, post 9/11, look at the sexual morays of a city that is only just beginning to recover from such a traumatic event. Highly recommended for the open minded, a word of caution for the easily offended....you will be!.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

More fun on the radio

I'll be on Eastide FM's Cinemascape show reviewing Roberto Benigni's The Tiger and the Snow this Friday at 17:30. Tune in if you can.

Last Tuesday I also discussed film criticism and in particluar The Complete Stanley Kubrick by David Hugnes and The Time Out Guide to the 1001 Films To Change Your Life on Eastside FM's Between the Covers book review show.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Happy Friday the 13th

To celebrate the fact that today is indeed Friday the 13th here’s my review of the horror classic from www.cinephilia.net.au. Keep checking the site for my cult film and DVD reviews.

In 1957 at Camp Crystal Lake a young boy had been drowned as uninterested counsellors ignore his cries. In 1958 two teenagers are brutally slain, in 1962 fire causes the camp to be closed. In 1979 the camp is re-opened but soon the counsellors are being killed one by one by a mysterious killer. As they fight for their lives and try to save the children in their care, it becomes a battle of the strong to see who will walk out of “Camp Blood” alive.

Director Sean. S. Cunnningham had already made a name for himself working with Wes Craven on Last House on the Left. Following the success of John Carpenter’s Halloween he saw that the horror genre was the next big thing and looked for a name for his project that would strike terror into the audiences. Friday the 13th was the unlikely moniker but on its release the film became a box office sensation. Carpenter may have done it first in the US but Friday the 13th was the film that put the body count movie on the map. The film spawned a multitude of sequels; some great, such as Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter, and some frankly awful, Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan being one such. All had one thing in common, the psychotic Jason Vorhees wielding an axe and killing as many sex-crazed teenagers as possible. All that is, except one, the original.

Looking past the blood, gore and sex and the original Friday the 13th is a good little movie. Yes, watching it now the plot seems hackneyed but back in 1980 this was inspired stuff. One tends to forget that the villain of the piece the first time around was Jason’s mum, distraught at the general malaise that the modern day teenager had fallen into. The summer camp tutors were more interested in sex than saving her son from drowning so she revenged her child by murdering any young couple intent on getting frisky.

Cunningham and the writer Victor Miller may well be trying to make a statement there but you can’t help but think all they were really trying to do is scare the living daylights out of the viewer.Cunningham directs with style, cranking up the tension at every opportunity. He is ably assisted by make-up legend Tom Savini, fresh from his work on George. A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, and Henry Manfredini, whose score became the blueprint for every slasher movie made in the 80s. So many of the films shock moments became synonymous with the genre that many ignore what an important part Mario Bava’s Twitch of the Death Nerve played in the conception of Friday the 13th and its sequels, especially, Part 2. Plagiarism aside, however, these films are everything that was great about the 80s horror film and you even get to see a young Kevin Bacon with an arrow through his neck! How could you refuse?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Paris, Texas DVD review

Travis (Harry Dean Stanton) a lone figure walks out of the desert into a bar and collapses. All memories of his previous life have seemingly gone so it’s up to his brother Walt (Dean Stockwell) to help Travis piece together the flashbacks of his fractured life and discover why this loner left his wife Jane (Natasha Kinski) and child.

Paris, Texas marks the career best for many of the cast and crew. Director Wim Wenders may have flown high with Wings of Desire but Paris, Texas shows a director at the height of his powers. Never before or since has his grasp of the frailty of the human spirit and fragility of life been so emotively portrayed.

He is helped immensely by his two leads; Harry Dead Stanton was wonderful in Alex Cox’s Repoman and David Lynch’s Wild at Heart and who can forget him as Molly Ringwold’s father in Pretty in Pink but in Paris, Texas he plays a man at the edge of a precipice. No one can be unmoved as Travis slowly and painfully unravels the mystery of his forgotten life. Natasha Kinski by 1984 had appeared in Roman Polanski’s Tess to press hysteria and bared all in Hammer Film’s To The Devil a Daughter and Paul Schrader’s Cat People. Here she displays a warmth and sensual vulnerability as Jane, the object of Travis’ torment.

The other stars of the film are Ry Cooder’s slide guitar and the eye of cinematographer Robby Muller. The soundtrack Cooder creates is wonderful and perfectly compliments the mood and tone of the visuals whilst creating an independent character of its own. Many will know his work from The Buena Vista Social Club but he has also supplied soundtracks to such diverse films as Walter Hills Southern Comfort and Mike Nichols’ Primary Colours. Muller’s exceptional camerawork gives the arid desert landscapes an otherworldly quality perfectly suiting the films hypnotic power.

Not to be missed on any count; this deeply moving and haunting account of a shattered life will leave no one unaffected. Madman Films have sweetend the deal even further with a nice collection of deleted scenes and footage of Wenders and Kinski at Cannes. An informative running commentary by Wenders rounds off an essential purchase.

DVD available from Madman Films

Friday, October 06, 2006

Little Miss Sunshine on the radio

Next Friday 13th at 5:30pm on Eastside FM 89.7's Cinemascape Show I'll be reviewing one of my favourite films of the year; Jonathan Dayton and Valarie Faris' wonderful comedy Little Miss Sunshine. I urge each and everyone of you to see this film as soon as it opens. You won't regret it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Greg McLean talks killer crocodiles

Last night I interviewed director Greg McLean about Wolf Creek, his new movie Rogue and his thoughts on the state of the Australian film industry, in particular the recent spate of low budget horror films. Mclean revealed himself to be a huge fan of Alien and Jaws so the thought of a giant crocodile rampaging through Australia's Northern Territory just gets better and better. The interview will appear in Shivers magazine and will form part of my Antipodean horror film article in Dazed & Confused next year.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Back to School

Here are the details of the film symposium I will be taking part in this Friday at the University of Sydney. I will a member of the film forum discussion panel at 12:10pm.

Eternal Sunshine of the Academic Mind:
Film, Faith, Culture and the University.


A one day symposium on current trends in
Film study and film teaching

Supported by the Religion, Literature and the Arts Society And Studies in Religion
University of Sydney

9.00AM - 5.30PM
22 September 2006
Woolley Common Room

Call for papers: research on film, culture, religion and pedagogy are welcome, please submit your abstract to Chris Hartney by 31 August at (hartney@arts.usyd.edu.au) Studies in Religion, Woolley A20, University of Sydney, NSW 2006.
- Registration Cost: $35/$20 (inc. lunch, morning/afternoon tea, notes etc)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Latest News

Last night I spent a splendid few hours chatting away with Doug Turner and Stacey Edmonds; the creative force behind the forthcoming I Know How Many Runs You Scored Last Summer. We were also joined by the films lead Jai Koutrae. Check out the trailer at http://www.therunsmovie.com/. My interviews will feature in Shivers and an Aussie horror special that will appear early next year in the newly launched Australian version of Dazed & Confused. My interview with Malcolm McDowell will be appearing in issue 2 of the magazine hitting newstands soon.

In other news the second part of my on set report on Stephen King's Nightmares & Dreamscapes features in issue #129 of Shivers magazine. Last week I also had the great pleasure of interviewing John Rhys Davies about the forthcoming The Ferryman. The consumate professional, he was an absolute delight to talk to. I look forward to sharing our discussions in the pages of Shivers early next year.

Next week I'll be taking part in the University of Sydney's Film Symposium. I'll be appearing on a panel with Jamie Leonarder from the Mu Mesons archive and SBS's At the Movies show to discuss religion in film. The film forum takes place on Friday 22nd September.

On a final note I've finally sercomed to the dreaded MySpace so check me out on www.myspace.com/davemichaelbrown. Its probably the only way I can pretend that Ennio Morricone is my friend.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Cinemascape

This Friday at 17:30 I'll once again be appearing on Sydney's Eastside FM 89.7's Cinemascape show. Unfortunately this time around I'll be reviewing Mike Binder's Man About Town starring the woeful Ben Affleck.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Snakes on a Plane review

“I’ve had it with these motherf**king Snakes of this motherf**king plane!” There you go, I’ve said it, the line that Samuel. L. Jackson was born to say. The whole film seems to be building up to that line but unfortunately by the time it comes Snakes on a Plane has run out of steam. Don’t get me wrong, Pacific Air Flight 121 is a fun ride, but after all the internet generated conjecture, rumours and publicity, that’s all this film is. Any hope of Snakes on a Plane being the ultimate trash experience have been sucked out of the window along with a few rotting snake riddled corpses along the way.

The premise is slim to say the least, a mere excuse to get the cast on the plane and become snake food. The cast too is a glorious collection of clichés that wouldn’t be out of place on any 70s disaster movie, with the possible exception of the Paris Hilton look-alike Mercedes Harbunt with her pet Chihuahua Mary Kate who provides the film with one of its biggest deliciously macabre laughs. Samuel. L. Jackson is fantastic as the FBI agent Flynn and Julianna Marguiles is likeable as airhostess Claire Miller despite continuing her run of post E.R. performances in trash like Ghost Ship. Australian actor Nathan Philips of You and Your Stupid Mate and Wolf Creek is fine as Sean Jones but to be honest everyone pales into insignificance next to Jackson at full throttle. Ex- stuntman David. R. Ellis handles the directing duties with aplomb moving up from previous efforts like Cellular and Final Destination 2 but the biggest let down unfortunately for a film called Snakes on a Plane, is the snakes. The dreaded CGI beasts just don’t look real, the image is often blurred and despite the best efforts of the actors, just don’t look scary. They even throw in a green tinged snake-cam to no real effect. This is possibly why the studio allowed the crew an additional five days to up the horror and move the film away from the family fun of a PG-13 to a harsher, hopefully more profitable R. The moments that are added are pretty obvious, copious mile high club style nudity, bloody insert shots and the glorious profanity of Jackson’s infamous line were all added after poor audience reaction at test screenings.

Here come’s the crunch; with a film like Snakes on a Plane you have to be able to laugh at people being killed by snakes in a more and more preposterous fashion. If you don’t find the thought of snakes leaping out of a toilet funny, then don’t go and see Snakes on a Plane. If the name of this film gets you excited at its mere utterance then grab a group of friends and see it at a packed multiplex. It’s as simple as that.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Aussie horror

Over the next couple of weeks I'll be talking to the makers of a couple of low budget horror films. Tonight I'll be chatting to Daniel Armstrong; the director and producer of The Disturbed, a zombie film being shot in Melbourne by Strongman Pictures. Set in an aslyum the film promises to be an apocalyptic vision of violence, terror and insanity. They have just completed a five minute promo and are presently finalizing finance for the full feature. For all you make up artists out there check out issue three of Smoke and Mirrors for a competition to play a member of the undead in the film.

Then next week I'll be meeting up with Doug Turner, the director and driving force behind I Know How Many Runs You Scored Last Summer. A gore filled comedy in the tradition of Shaun of the Dead, a killer is on the loose with a razor sharp cricket glove and sharpened stumps for weapons with revenge on his mind! The film was shot in Sydney bv Media 42. Its refreshing to see filmmakers just going out and making movies despite the lack of funding possibilites for genre films in Australia. After the success of Wolf Creek and the forthcoming The Ferryman and Black Sheep here's hoping we're on the brink of a resurgance in the antipodean horror film.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Cinemascape

This Friday I’ll once again be appearing on Eastside 89.7 FM’s Cinemascape show. I’ll be reviewing Rian Johnson’s Brick so for all you Sydneysiders please tune in at 17:30. For those who have been listening I recently also reviewed the new Australian sporting comedy Footy Legends on the show.

Monday, August 14, 2006

How Twisted is Bryan Brown?

Well last week started off well when I got to chat with the legendary Aussie actor Bryan Brown; the star of Cocktail, Gorillas in the Mist and FX - Murder by Illusion to name a few. We talked about his new TV show Two Twisted, a return to the sinister and disturbing worlds of The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Present's. He has gathered together a fine array of talent both infront and behind the camera including Sam Neil, Melissa George, Paul Middleditch and Jacqueline McKenzie. Lets hope it kick starts a deluge of home grown television drama production down under. Keep posted for when the interview will be published. For Australian readers Two Twisted is now showing on Mondays on Channel Nine.

In some brief news my report from the set of Stephen King's Nightmares and Dreamscapes appears in the Shivers supplement of Starburst Special #76 and my talk with ILM's Grady Cofer will be appearing in the third issue of Smoke and Mirrors, on shelves very soon.

For anyone reading in London I'm very jealous indeed as this year's Frightfest Festival starts in a couple of weekends time on August 24th with a charity screening of Chris Smith's Severance. The line-up over the long weekend is sensational so if you live in London and don't have tickets, shame on you. Those days squashed behind The Cinema Store's table with Theo and Neil flogging zombie DVDs in The Prince Charles cinema's basement seem so far away! Have a great one Paul, Alan and Ian and everyone who is attending.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Latest news

While travelling I was lucky to catch up with a couple of filmmakers to discuss their latest endeavours. In London I caught up with Matthew Metcalf and Alan Harris, the producers of the forthcoming New Zealand horror film, The Ferryman. Starring John Rhys Davies; the duo promise that the film will be a gory return to the 80s glory days of The Evil Dead, The Thing and Braindead. I can hardly wait! My interview will appear in Shivers near the time of the films release.

The always-entertaining Lloyd Kaufman welcomed me into Troma’s NYC office with open arms and excitedly discussed his latest horror masterpiece Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead. It tells the story of a fast food establishment that is built over an Indian burial ground with disastrous results. My chat with Lloyd will appear in a future issue of Filmink.

As always, it was a pleasure to catch up with the guys at Visual Imagination. I’m very happy to report that the July issue of Film Review features my all-new set report from Superman Returns plus highlights from my interviews from the pages of Starburst; that’s twenty pages of Superman Returns fun by yours truly.

To round things off the second issue of Smoke and Mirrors is on the shelves now and features my interview with Wil Cohen, the man who handles the special effects on the new series of Dr Who. Talk of werewolves and Cyberman bodes well for the new series.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Sydney Film Festival report - week 2

Better late than never, having returned from a month overseas, it’s about time I wrapped up the second week of the Sydney Film Festival.

C.R.A.Z.Y, a French Canadian production, follows the life of a young boy, obsessed with David Bowie and confused about his sexuality, the film perfectly portrays the inner turmoil’s raging through the body and mind of a teenager in the Seventies. Directed with panache by Jean-Marc Vallée and perfectly played by Marc André and Michael Cóté as the boys Patsy Cline loving father; C.R.A.Z.Y is highly recommended for film and rock music fans alike.

Edmond, starring William. H. Macy and directed by Stuart Gordon, the man who gave us The Re-Animator took David Mamet’s source play and gave us an unsettling account of a man unhinged by the tortures of modern day life. Using the streets of New York to claustrophobic affect, Macy’s central performance is an excellent portrayal of frustration and desperation but the rest of the talented cast is underused. A good effort but the film lacks the ferocity and unease of watching the story unfold on stage.

Much has been said about Rian Johnson’s Brick, a film noir detective story set in an American High School and for the most part the exultations bestowed upon the film are spot on. Beautifully shot and brimming with visual flourishes Brick maintains its dark foreboding mood whilst never releasing the tension as it unwinds its complex plot. Joseph Gordon Levitt shows that the promise he showed in Greg Araki’s Mysterious Skin was no fluke.

Andrew Denton’s God On My Side was an interesting, if flawed, look at religion in the United States. Often going for the easy laugh, Denton made for an affable host but the film showed none of the rapier wit and fascinating mind that he displayed at the Q&A that followed the screening. A valiant attempt that belied its television origins.

My favourite films of the festival, however were Nicolas Winding Refn’s extraordinary Pusher trilogy. Exciting, shocking and hilarious; all three films show a director completely at home in the genre displaying a virtuosity and style completely at odds with the films low budget. Pusher followed the lives of Frank and Tonny, two low life dealers, played by Kim Bodnia and Mads Mikkelsen, as they try and make good a drug deal that has gone disastrously wrong. The sequels With Blood on my Hands: Pusher II and I’m The Angel of Death: Pusher III tell the stories of Tonny and drug overlord Milo respectively. Milo, played by Zlatko Buril is a work of comedic genius, his vain attempts to separate his daughters birthday party and a particularly gory and harrowing drug deal are the work of genius and its no surprise that Mikkelsen has taken the role bad guy in the next Bond film. I cannot recommend these films more.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Sydney Film Festival report - week 1

Things kicked off well with the festival opener, Rolf De Heer’s Ten Canoes. A fantastic little film; beautifully shot in colour and black and white made with the help of the people of Ramingining; Ten Canoes is a million miles from grubby nightmares of Bad Boy Bubby. Starring Jamie Gulpilil and narrated by his father, the legendary David Gulpilil, the actors speak in their native indigenous tongue. The cinematography by Ian Jones is breathtaking and the humour the aboriginal stars bring to their roles is thoroughly engaging. How kidnapping, sorcery, revenge and canoe building fit onto the story you’ll have to wait and see but this is delightfully entertaining cinema that treats its subject matter with the utmost of respect.

Hard Candy, the directorial debut by David Slade was amazing. Uncompromising, unflinching and unrelenting in its vision of revenge and mental torture, the film grabs the audience from its opening seconds and never lets go. What’s truly special about the film is how little Slade actually shows, the audiences imagination is left to run wild. The performances are excellent, in particular Ellen Page, an actress whose young years belie an amazing talent, definitely a face to watch in the future. Highly recommended.

Starfish Hotel was a bit of a disappointment, with talk of David Lynch and Donnie Darko influences I had high hopes but all we got was a man walking around in a bunny suit. Probably a bit harsh but this beautifully put together film had some serious pacing issues. Unlike Nicholas Winding Refn’s Pusher and With Blood on My Hands – Pusher II; two excellent thrillers that formed part of the festivals Danish spotlight. Can’t wait for the third instalment next week. I also hear from good authority that Adam’s Apples delivered the goods.

The two screenings of Michael Frank's Ra Choi proved very popular so thanks to everyone who attended. We had people in tears at the box office at the sold out Sunday screening. Those lucky enough to get into the Dendy Opera Quays also saw two excellent Q&A sessions when Frank was joined by associate producer Milli Howson and cast members Nammi Le Benson, Nina Karen Fernandez and Paul He.

A huge surprise was Little Miss Sunshine; a fabulous little comedy about a family struggling to get their daughter to the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. Toni Collette, Greg Kennear and Steve Carell all give delightfully performances in this hilarious and moving look at a dysfunctional family with an even more dysfunctional Volkswagen van. The feel good movie of the Festival!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Cinemascape

This Friday at 5:30pm I'll be reviewing Colour Me Kubrick on Eastside 89.7FM's Cinemascape show. Please tune in if you are in the Sydney area.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Superman Returns

As the release of Superman Returns grows ever closer I thought I'd round up my articles on the film published so far; Starburst Special #74 features my first set report, Starburst #336 features my interview with Kevin Spacey, Starburst #337 includes my chat with the films writers Dan Harris and Michael Dougherty, Starburst Special #75 features my interviews with Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth and producer Gil Adler and finally onto Starburst #338 and my chats with director Bryan Singer and Parker Posey make an appearance. Articles on the film will also be appearing in Film Review, Ultimate DVD and The Works so watch this space.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Cinemascape

This Thursday I'll be live on air on Eastside 89.7 FM's Cinemascape show. This week I'll be reviewing James Gunn's hommage to the Eighties gore film Slither. The show goes out at 5:30am so if you are in the Sydney area please tune in.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Sydney Film Festival 2006 preview

The line up for this year’s Sydney Film Festival has been announced and as always, there is a fantastic variety of films on display. Rolf de Heer’s Ten Canoe’s opens festivities and after hearing about the film from David Lightfoot, producer of Greg McClean’s Rogue, it sounds amazing. Paul Greengrass’s already infamous United 93, David Slade’s Hard Candy and Menhaj Huda’s Kidulthood all sound like they will be stirring up a bit of controversy and this years retrospective on Jean-Pierre Melville will give us a welcome opportunity to see Le Samouraí on the big screen. The Hong Kong Express programme brings us Ronny Yu's Fearless starring Jet Li, anyone who knows me will know how much I love Yu's The Bride With the White Hair so I'm very much looking forward to his return to Hong Kong cinema and the festival also brings back that perrenial action favourite Jackie Chan in The Myth. It will be interesting to see what William. H. Macy makes of the title role of Edmond in Stuart Gordon’s adaptation of the David Mamet play. I saw Kenneth Brannagh play the role in London and it was one of the most astounding and disturbing experiences I have ever had at the theatre. There is, as always, also a fabulous amount of documentaries and world cinema to indulge in. In particular; Metal: A Headbanger's Journey and Starfish Hotel from Japan.

On a personal note, Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis will help with the research on my book on Paul Morrissey and last, but by no means least, Ra Choi will be making it’s Australian premiere at the Dendy Opera Quays at 1.15pm Saturday June 10th and 6.00pm Sunday June 11th.

For ticket details and availability check out www.sydneyfilmfestival.org

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Inside Deep Throat review

As this years Sydney Film Festival line-up gets announced I thought I'd look back at one of my favourite films from last years festival. Deep Throat may well be the most successful film of all time. First shown in New Yorks Time Square in 1972 to a shocked and outraged America; the porn film, which cost US$24,000 went on to make over US$600 million around the world. Inside Deep Throat tells the story of the making of Deep Throat and its effect on the American constitution; it was the film that changed the way the world looked at sexuality on the big screen and was the springboard for the sexual revolution of the 70s.

The minute Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato started investigating this fascinating saga they must have known they were on to a winner. The cast and crew of this Mafia financed porn are now an unlikely bunch of tanned lotharios, none of whom have made any money, are delighted to tell their side of the story. Director Gerard Damiano proudly shows off posters for his porn films sitting next to family portraits. Harry Reems, the assistant turned sex star who could allegedly get a hard on at the sound of a movie camera was the first ever actor to be arrested for his art. The film was condemned by the Nixon government and the FBI and proves beyond a doubt that in the States sex and politics are indelibly intertwined. The film is infamous for its female star Linda Lovelace. After the film began to gain notoriety she claimed that she was forced to make the film by her abusive husband, that she was violated in every scene of the film. She became a feminist pioneer and founded the protest group Woman Against Pornography but was flat broke, she only made $1200 for Deep Throat so she eventually returned to the porn industry that she had previously abhorred. We even get introduced to her cat named Adolf Hitler! Bizarrely one of the main reasons for the films phenomenal success was the furore caused by the government when they tried to ban it. You just can't buy that kind of publicity.

Inside Deep Throat is an entertaining and eye opening watch, as director Bailey says these days watching porn is a solitary experience so he wanted to give a modern audience a glimpse into what it was like in the 70s watching a porn film in a packed cinema. When the moment came (excuse the pun) the response from the Sydney Film Festival audience was shock, laughter and gasps; it was a brave move to feature any explicit footage but it works and helps continue the legend of Damiano’s classic piece of 70’s smut.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Cinemascape

Once again for any Sydneysiders out there I'll be on Eastside 89.7 FM's Cinemascape show at 17:30 on Thursday April 20th. This time around I'll be reviewing The World's Fastest Indian starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and written and directed by Roger Donaldson.

Supervixens DVD review

Russ Meyer had his fingers burnt with the major studios. The success of Vixen had led to a fractious relationship with Twentieth Century Fox, which produced Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and the little seen The Seven Minutes. Both films had been financial failures and drove Meyer back into independent filmmaking with Supervixens.

Supervixens plays like a Russ Meyer best of. All of his quirks are visible on screen; nazi’s, square jawed heroes, rapid fire editing, ribald dialogue, sex in the desert and girls with unfeasibly large breasts. The film is full of familiar faces for Meyer afficiandos; Haji from Good Morning and Goodbye!, John Lazarr from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Stuart Lancaster from Faster Pussycat Kill Kill! and the legendary Uschi Digard from Cherry, Harry and Raquel.

The film received a lot of criticism for its violence. The scene where Harry Sledge murders Super Angel in the bathtub is very graphic and jars with the rest of the film. Saying that, Charles Napier is fantastic as Sledge, an impotent cop seething with macho rage. The women, all of whom have Super in their name, are all extraordinary and Shari Eubank excels in her dual role of Super Angel and Supervixen. Her venomous dialogue is spat out with searing rage as she taunts Sledges advances. The film comes alive when the duo is on screen; their verbal sparring is a high point that the film never quite matches. The film does meander along at times and some segments could have been easily excised, Ramsey’s desert go-carting escapade for example. Supervixens is Meyer’s road movie and Road Runner cartoon rolled into one; even down to the “Meep Meep” sound effects. It’s a bit too episodic in its storytelling and outstays it welcome but when it works it shows the director at the height of his powers.

Since he passed away Meyer’s films have, at last, been given the special edition treatment on DVD they deserve, its great to see Madman have included Meyer in their Director’s Suite series.

Check out www.cinephilia.net.au for full review

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Latest News

As the release date of Superman Returns draws ever closer Starburst has begun to publish reports from my visit to the set last year. Starburst Special #74 features a set report and Starburst #336 will feature my interview with Kevin Spacey who plays Lex Luther. The more I hear about the film the better it sounds, can't wait until June 29th. Starburst will feature much more from my set visit in future issues so keep your eyes on the shelves over the next few of months.

The first issue of Smoke and Mirrors has hit the shelves and looks great. The issue features my Rogue set report and a profile of UK company Framestore CFC.

Issue 5 of Cinema Retro is due out soon and will include my look at the exhibition Stanley Kubrick: Into the Mind of a Visionary Filmmaker including excerpts of my interview with Malcom McDowell and Christianne Kubrick.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Cinemascape - Eastside 89.7FM

This Thursday marks my first day as part of the Eastside 89.7FM Cinemascape team. Each week we will review three new release movies and this week I'll be looking at the film version of Alan Moore's graphic novel V For Vendetta starring Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving. The show goes out every Thursday between 5:30 and 6:00pm.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Interview wirh Roger Donaldson, director of The World's Fastest Indian

Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing director Roger Donaldson. A passing glance at his résumé shows an eclectic and varied array of films that show a man not afraid to try out every genre. From Cocktail to Species, The Getaway to Thirteen Days, there’s something for everyone. We met up to discuss his new film, the fabulous The World’s Fastest Indian starring Sir Anthony Hopkins. It tells the true story of Burt Monroe, an obsessive biker who spends his whole life building an “Indian” motorbike with one aim, to break the land speed record. Thanks to Charlotte Greig for arranging the chat.

How was it returning to New Zealand to make The World’s Fastest Indian after years working in Hollywood?

That’s one of the reasons I made the film, I was looking for an excuse to go back and do something that was relevant to own history really. Because this movie started out as one of the very first films I ever made as a documentary on Burt Monroe. I was at the very beginning of my film-making career, I was in my early twenties so it just had a lot of personal stuff in it for me. In fact one of my daughters saw the film and said, “oh my God Dad, you’ve made a film about myself!” which probably I have in a funny way.

I saw the film last night and apart from trying to break the land speed record it was my Dad, the garage, the motorbikes.

You know, I think that’s what it was for me to. It was really, in its own funny way, a homage to my own father, who’s still alive. But I think everyone has that kind of relationship with his or her Dad. You know the little kid in the film in a way is me. I used him as a vehicle to ask those questions that I was asking as a young twenty year old. I remember being impressed with this guy. I can still remember what he had to say and what he did; he’s attitude to life and all that. When I look at the documentary I realise there’s a lot I actually took verbatim from the documentary and reworked for the movie.

Anthony Hopkins is fabulous in the film, how close is he to the real Burt Munroe?

Tony (Hopkins) took his body language, his speech patterns, his accent and he’s done an amazing job. But then also a lot of the movie is fictitious as well, even though it’s very true to the spirit of the sort of character he was. I was never there when he first turned up at the Salt Lakes, or what he though or what he said. I took things that he talked about and tried to put them into the context of a road movie.

How did you discover Burt Monroe?

I not quite sure how I discovered him other than me and my filmmaking partner Mike Smith, who lives up in Brisbane now, we both had motorbikes. I guess through our interest in bikes we heard about this guy on the grapevine because he wasn’t that well known really. Maybe if you were into racing motorbikes you would have heard about him more than we had. We were just casual motorbike enthusiasts. Anyway, I remember we wrote to Burt and he invited us to go down and see him. We lived up in Auckland at the time and he lived in the most southern city in New Zealand on the South Island. Anyway, I remember we got there at 10 o’clock at night and we had this address. We arrived in the suburban street, then we got to Burt’s property and there’s nothing there. It was just waist high grass and this shed. I was like “oh, we must have got the address wrong,” we checked and it was the right place. We knocked on the door of the shed and this crusty old guy emerges from the shed and he’s really fired up with enthusiasm. He had a sparkle in his eye and said “let me show you my bike.” He wheels it out and cranks it up and it screamed. I mean our bike (in the film) made a lot of noise but his was a 200mph monster. Ours was just a replica that was meant to go all day and everyday so it was a much more detuned version but his bike screamed! He was revving the guts out of her, the lights were coming on in neighbours houses and people were hurling abuse over the back fence and Burt was as deaf as a post as he is in the movie. He couldn’t hear a darned thing. We were just killing ourselves laughing and excited that we had really discovered a treasure here.”

A full version of the interview will be published soon, keep posted for details.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Ra Choi news update

I am happy to report that the sold out world premiere of Ra Choi at the London Australian Film Festival went down a storm and paves the way for a busy next few months on the festival circuit. The film will now also be playing at the prestigious Rome Independent Film Festival (April 7-13) http://www.riff.tv and the Worldfest Houston Film Festival (April 21-30) www.worldfest.org

For any Australian readers we are pleased to announce that director Michael Frank will be appearing on The Movie Show on SBS, he will be interviewed by the shows host Megan Spencer. The interview will be screened on Wednesday 22nd March at 8pm.

After being named best film at the Australian Writers Guild awards, Ra Choi has been awarded ‘Commended’ at the Australian National Literary Awards.

“The National Literary Awards attract hundreds of entries from every state of Australia and success in this award is a reflection of both the quality of the entry and strength as a writer” – Gail Blundell, Co-ordinator, National Literary Awards.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Between the Covers

Once again, for any Sydneysiders reading I'll be on the "Between the Covers" book review show on Eastside 89.7FM. This time I'll be looking at Scorcese: A Journey Through the American Psyche published by Plexus and edited by Paul. A. Woods. I'll be on air at 11:30 am on Tuesday 14th March.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Revolver DVD review

Any film starring the late great Oliver Reed is a winner in this humble reviewers opinion and Revolver is no exception. Reed, the charismatic drunkard was known for attacking difficult roles with relish. From his early days with Hammer Films in The Curse of the Werewolf to his long-standing association with Ken Russell in the likes of Women in Love and The Devils, Reed exuded a rugged charm that won him many fans. In fact Russell was the only director who truly let the actor run riot on set

He brings his tough guy persona to the fore in Revolver as the cop who will stop at nothing to find his kidnapped wife. Joined by Italian heartthrob Fabio Testi, star of Four Gunmen of the Apocalypse and The Big Racket, the duo make an unlikely alliance that makes for a winning cinematic combination. Both actors seem to enjoy the challenge and director Sollimo keeps Reed’s tendency to over act to a minimum. Revolver joins a series of tough cop thrillers that proved to be box office gold in the 70s and 80s in Italy.

Every Italian director worth his salt tried his hand at the genre. Lucio Fulci inevitably hit the screens with the ultra gory Contraband and the genres stalwart Enzo. G. Casterelli gave us The Heroine Busters. Sollimo became an expert of the harsh city streets with such thrillers as Run Man Run and Violent City. The interesting thing about the Italian approach to the cop thriller was that the good guys were often as corrupt as the criminals they hunted. Revolver draws a very fine line as the Warden engulfs himself into the criminal underground and that’s what makes the film so interesting. The Warden is just as corrupt as the prisoners he spends his life incarcerating. The pounding soundtrack by maestro Ennio Morricone is the icing on the cake on this highly recommended thriller.

For full review please check out www.cinephilia.net.au

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bowie bonus

As anyone who knows me will attest I'm a huge David Bowie fan so I just couldn't resist in sharing this wonderfully camp clip from The Cher Show originally broadcast in 1975. They perform Young Americans which segues into a delerious medley of classics from Motown and The Beatles. It takes a while to load up and the picture isn't too great but its quality entertainment!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Latest News

I’ll be interviewing two more of Russ Meyer’s leading ladies; Kitten Natividad starred in Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens and appeared with Raven De La Croix in Russ Meyer’s Up! Both actresses will be chatting about the forthcoming Australian DVD release of the films and the pre-production of the new documentary Bosommania: Herstory - The Women. Check out http://www.bosommaniathemovie.com/ for details. The interviews will appear in a forthcoming issue of Filmink.

In other news Ra Choi will now also be screening at the Rome Independent Film Festival and the Worldfest in Houston. For Australian readers, director Michael Frank will also be interviewed by Megan Spencer on The Movie Show on SBS broadcast on March 22nd.

My second preview of my Superman Returns set visit will be the cover feature in Starburst #334. It will feature excerpts of my interviews with Bryan Singer, Kevin Spacey and Brandon Routh.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

RA CHOI world premiere in London

We are proud to announce that the World Premiere of Ra Choi will take place in London at 20:30 on March 6th as part of the prestigious London Australian Film Festival. The screening will take place at The Barbican and will be introduced by director Michael Frank. He will also be holding a Q&A session after the film. Other films being shown include The Proposition, Three Dollars and Little Fish.

Literally "coming out to play" in Vietnamese, Ra Choi follows four homeless kids struggling for a life worth living on the mean streets of a Sydney suburb. Teenagers Dac Kien, Lahn, Trinh and Lucy are the most modern and tough of 21st century urban families, in this raw feature debut from M. Frank, whose experimental shorts have reaped awards and critical praise on both sides of the equator. (Excerpt from Australian Film Festival website)

For ticket details and availability please go to http://www.barbican.org.uk/

The film’s European tour will also take in the Cinemasia Festival in Amsterdam on April 8th where Ra Choi closes the event. For festival details and screening times please check http://www.cinemasia.nl/.

As I have previously mentioned I am handling the publicity on Ra Choi, if any media publications are interested in covering the film, interviews with the cast and crew or any other details please do not hestitate in contacting me on davemichaelbrown@yahoo.co.uk. Also check http://www.rachoi.com/ for new screening announcements.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Nightmares and Dreamscapes set visit

I’ve just returned from a brief sojourn to Melbourne visiting the set of Stephen King’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes. Having walked around the set of the Battleground episode starring William Hurt and seen Melbourne’s Prince’s Park transformed into London’s Crouch End I must say the series looks like it may well be a winner. My report on the eight episodes based on short stories by Stephen King will run in Shivers later in the year. Thanks as always to Fiona Searson for arranging the trip.

Tommy DVD review

Visually stunning and full of fantastic music Tommy brings new meaning to the phrase directorial tour de force. Director Ken Russell was no stranger to musical biographies; Mahler, Elgar and Tchaikovsky had all been given the Russell treatment and anyone familiar with The Devils and the rest of his work knew that Tommy was going to be something special.

Based on the rock opera Tommy by The Who the film stars lead singer Roger Daltrey as the titular Tommy, the deaf, dumb and blind kid who sure plays a mean pinball. The rest of the members of the band make small appearances, but it’s the late great Keith Moon who shines as the sleazy Uncle Ernie. The cast is a who’s who of rock and film legends. Jack Nicholson, Oliver Reed, Eric Clapton, Tina Turner and Elton John all make memorable appearances although Reeds singing voice does leave a little to be desired at times. Reed was a regular collaborator of Russell’s also starring in Woman in Love, The Devils and The Debussy Film amongst many.

The musical numbers have become iconic to say the least, Elton John’s rendition of Pinball Wizard clad in giant bother boots and glasses and Tina Turner’s Acid Queen are exceptional. The music from the Who’s album has been re-recorded for the film and sounds wonderful in this new restored print. There are some great touches like the toy trumpets during Tommy Can You Hear Me the church of Marilyn Monroe during Eyesight for the Blind and the guitar as Tommy breaks loose during I’m Free. It’s a musical that will draw in even the most cynical of viewer.

The films use of flash frames, animation and strange abstract imagery pre-dates the pop video by years. Russell’s directorial style is perfectly suited to Townsend’s epic muse. The resulting film is a very British affair, Robert Powell, Ann Margaret, Paul Nicholas and Reed all support Daltrey with aplomb. Margaret in particular hurls herself at the role in one classic moment writhing around in gallons of baked beans. Russell and Daltrey worked so well together that the singer was given the lead in Russell’s next film, the much maligned Liztomania.
This reviewer wholeheartedly loved every second of Tommy. As a huge fan of The Who and the work of Ken Russell it’s a marriage made in heaven. Its exuberant style may alienate fans of the gritty scooter filled thrills of Quadrophenia but there is still much acid fueled delirium to be enjoyed.

For full review see www.cinephilia.net.au