Phantoms (Dean Koontz)

At the beginning of this novel, the author has added an apology for writing it and I understand why. Phantoms is scary! There is something so extraordinarily powerful, capable of wiping out a whole town, capable of being everywhere at once, something omnipresent and omnipotent…and yet I had no clue what it was for a good chunk of the book. But I was aware that everyone in that town pretty much got their asses kicked (and worse), and I thanked my lucky stars that I wasn’t there with them. But I won’t give away any major plot spoilers. [Read more…]

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Dressed To Kill (1980 USA)

Dressed-to-Kill-1I wish Michael Caine had not been cast in this because he is too conventional and limited an actor to portray such an extremely unconventional character. That aside, Brian De Palma’s mash-up of Argento and Hitchcock really made headlines on release. Outraged feminists in the north of England invaded a cinema while it played and threw blood at the screen in protest. That kind of publicity guaranteed more curiosity and meant bigger box office than expected. A master filmmaker manipulated his audience with dark, politically incorrect twists filled with impure thoughts, deeds, guilty pleasures, illicit sex, and its punishing aftermath… [Read more…]

Calvin & Hobbes (Bill Watterson)

(I’m not reviewing a particular C & H book, as there’s so many. I recommend the Complete Collection. Unfortunately, some may need to mortgage their grandmother to afford that) It is amazing that comics can be so rich in content. We all know that the world is ‘unfair’, but Calvin and Hobbes makes it more evident than anyone else. As social critiques they may be rated on a par with many ‘serious’ writers. Calvin is a whiny, uncooperative 6-year-old kid who thinks the whole world revolves around him. The boy has a lot of imagination too, and he often uses them as a metaphor in real life, but he thinks that it really happened. Hobbes is the only one who believes him, but he’s a stuffed tiger, so he can make him believe everything. [Read more…]

American Made (2017)

Mr Show Pony himself, Tom Cruise, is here recycling his usual mannerisms – the grin, the hand gestures – even revisiting his own cinematic past as a pilot. Yet this time around his showboating is not meant to be wholly admired. Originally, Cruise was liked by the public, then fell out of the public’s good graces for some reasons…sofa jumping on Oprah, shilling for a cult, suing gay porn star after gay porn star until they were pauperized…but now, due to his skill as an actor, he is conditionally liked again. Director Doug Liman, having directed The Bourne Identity and Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow, knows a thing or two about fast pace, intrigue, and the limits of idealism. And American Made really is American made! Amazing. [Read more…]

A Cry In The Night (Mary Higgins Clark)

This is classic MH Clark. She takes the reader to the edge of anticipation, excitement, and makes you feel like you are hiding in a closet/wardrobe/cupboard – take your pick,  peeking in on what’s happening. I like all her older novels but none of the ones she’s written in the last 20 years. If you don’t mind having an unorthodox protagonist then this novel (first published in 1982) is fantastic and eerie–not every book has to have a strong leading character. Our heroine is pretty passive by modern western standards, virtually helpless, and this may upset the feminists and others who are used to women being more pro-active these days. [Read more…]

28 Likes 0 Dislikes

The above stat is pretty respectable for You Tube. Yours truly should have pitched in and made it 29 but I couldn’t be bothered signing in. Sting gives you a catchy tune, a great bass riff, lines that rhyme, some political-metaphysical speculations. And if you had five bucks and wanted to buy this single back in 1982, you’d even get some change. Now that’s value for $.

1984 (United Kingdom 1984)

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” There are plenty of evil forces in the world attempting to do just that. George Orwell’s 1984 is one of the most celebrated novels of the 20th Century . We have words like ” Orwellian ” that have come in to everyday modern usage. There’s at least two television shows, Big Brother and Room 101 who take their concepts from 1984. It seems logical that if someone was going to make a film adaptation of the novel then 1984 would be the perfect year to release it. It was even filmed between April and June, the period of the year the novel had been written. Unfortunately Michael Radford’s interpretation clashes between the good and the bad. [Read more…]

Minder (1979–1994 United Kingdom)

Anyone who had a TV set in Britain, (or in one of the colonies like here in NZ with its Anglophile programming) in the 1980s will know Minder. A beloved series to many, a guilty pleasure to many more and a load of old codswallop to a few others. It is in fact the finest comedy drama that TV has produced. Period. Yep. The show ran like a backbone through British TV in the 80’s. To watch it now is nostalgic and in some ways quite cosy viewing, but there is so much more to it than that. Unlike phony Sly Stallone, at least Dennis Waterman had some real boxing experience in the ring. This helped fight scene authenticity. [Read more…]

The Hit (1984 UK)

It’s hard to put my finger on just what it is, exactly, that makes this film so impressive. One can hardly point to substantial character development, because the characters (with one exception) never really become true flesh and blood to us. The director knew how to combine simple, pure elements–strong, bold colours, bright sunlight, stark images, and exactly the right sounds–in ways that seem to speak of things larger than themselves. So what is it? Certainly the locations and the music, the general ambiance, add a lot to The Hit. [Read more…]

Geriatric Bad Boys

Bill Wyman maybe made rock history with his juicy bass playing on this. Welcome to Cocaine Junkie aerobics, 1981 style. Mick can barely fit into his Jane Fonda jazzercise T shirt. He is so into this that I bet they didn’t do a second take without paramedics being on standby. Or a vet. None of the guitars are plugged in…Charlie Watts and Bill are watching Mick and Ronnie go through a midlife crisis. Keith just wants to throw up. As usual. My favourite few seconds are between 00.29 and 00.39….Jagger is really trying to get the inner woman to come out of him with some coquette-ish self mockery.  You’re watching sweaty arm pit history here.

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