“Toke, toke it up man! Kinda grabs you by the boo-boo, don’t it?” Tommy Chong, Up in Smoke The stoned protagonist is a proud cinematic tradition. Red-eyed and confused, these baked heroes give the audience a pleasing contact high while generally lacking the self-destructive impulses of their heavy drinking counterparts. Their love of marijuana is… Continue reading Reefer Madness
No matter how close they might hew to reality, movies can’t help but be a reflection of the people who made them. Despite ostensibly being set in the same city a couple years apart, the New York of Woody Allen’s Manhattan is not the same place as Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. The former is a city… Continue reading Evolution of the West
“Joey, have you ever been in a Turkish prison?” Captain Oveur, Airplane The stock of spoof films has fallen quite a lot in recent years. From the relentless battering of Scary Movie’s in the early 2000’s to the Friedberg and Seltzer glut of jokeless reference-athons (Meet the Spartans, Vampires Suck, the forthcoming Who the F#@K… Continue reading The Incredible Trip in a Crazy Airplane
Watching a bad movie can be an incredibly depressing experience. You’re watching paper-thin characters spout inane dialogue while perusing some ill-defined McGuffin when a horrible realisation dawns on you: you have paid for this feeling. If not with money, then at the very least with your time. At the end of a ninety-minute bad movie… Continue reading What Makes a Good Bad Movie?
The electricity of live music is like nothing in the world. There is a sense that you are experiencing something direct and raw, a moment that won’t outlive your experiencing of it. To try and capture that energy on film can seem an impossible task, like running into a storm with an open bottle and… Continue reading The Art of the Concert Film
Arnold Schwarzenegger contains multitudes. Action star, 1970’s Mr Olympia, governator, upcoming host of Celebrity Apprentice. But he is also the vessel through which some of the finest action-film writers have funneled their genius. Much like Frank Sinatra, Arnie is not a writer but an amazing interpreter of material, in his case mostly pun-based insults yelled… Continue reading Arnie, The Violent Poet
When Taxi Driver was released in 1976, the demonically violent final act had early reviewers referring to it as an exploitation film, critical shorthand for an easy couple of dollars for the young director. In an interview with Roger Ebert, director Martin Scorsese was appalled by the idea. “Jesus! I went flat broke making this… Continue reading Scorsese’s Art of Murder