“Choke! Gasp!” Not A Podcast! Not Comics! No, Films! Hey, It's Free!

Hey, I remembered there's no podcast this week! Just so you don't miss out on your free content I banged some words down about three films. It has nothing to do with comics at all. Nor sense. But I did it for you because I care. Anyway, I hope Messrs Lester and McMillan are having a right old knees up or whatever they are doing. And I hope you all find some tiny distraction in the words which follow.

Bit of a rush job here again so, y'know, not even a picture before the "more". Slacking, innit. Sort it out!

BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD (2007) Directed by Sidney Lumet Written by Kelly Masterson Original music by Carter Burwell Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman (Andy), Ethan Hawke (Hank), Albert Finney (Charles) and Marisa Tomei (Gina)


My hopes weren't too high for this one what with it being Sidney Lumet’s final film and also it being about a “botched heist”. Chances were high it was going to be some kind of geriatric attempt at a Tarantino-type pop culture and profanity doohickey. You know, a film about other films. Being old, there’s a limit to how many films I can watch about how many films the filmmaker has watched, and I reached that limit in about 1996. Charmingly Mr. Lumet seems to have made a film about people. How quaint! Oh, don’t worry they are odious and repellent people and their morally bankrupt antics send them into a downward spiral which is quite hard to watch at times. Lumet tests his audience’s resolve from the off by immediately attacking your eyes with the image of Philip Seymour Hoffman enthusiastically trying to shove himself inside Marisa Tomei, which is a bit like seeing an articulated lorry repeatedly rear ending a shopping trolley. After that you’ll be pleased to hear everything gets worse for everybody.  There's a nicely tricksy time structure to Masterson's (excellent) script that makes the inevitability of everything even more psychologically claustrophobic.  The whole ordeal left me feeling grubby, upset and a little bit less hopeful for the future of the human race. Which is VERY GOOD! because I am a chirpy rascal and no mistake.

44-INCH CHEST(2009) Directed by Malcolm Venville Written by Louis Mellis & David Scinto Original music by Angelo Badalamenti Starring Ray Winstone (Colin Diamond), Ian McShane (Meredith), John Hurt (Old Man Peanut), Tom Wilkinson (Archie), Stephen Dillane (Mal) and Joanne Whalley (Liz Diamond)


I only give him a tap and he’s sparked right out. You clear the upstairs but don’t mess on the bed like last time, it’s dirty and there’s no real need. Here, he was typing summat. It says here, right, it says here, “I like good dialogue and I’m pretty enamoured of wilfully baroque banter that draws attention to its artificiality while also inexplicably appearing to be naturalistic. While light on plot the film succeeds due to the excellence of the cast and the almost epicurean pleasure they take in the words which they roll around their reliable mouths… ”. What’s that about, eh, what’s he on about there, tell me that why don’t you. Sounds like one of them la-di-dah college types, don’t he now? Like a right royal wanker. Hang on, let me get this lit. Better. Bad for me, what are you, me nan. Sell ‘em in sweet shops don’t they, can’t be bad then. Kids and shit, see. Me uncle Ted smoked two packs a day all his life, where’s the harm, eh. Course he died at twelve. Just messing, little joke there. Lightening the mood and that. Hey, I seen this film on dodgy from Big Ted Nutkin down the car boot. Not really stealing is it. Guess what this film is full of. Words, pal. Chocka, in fact. Knoworrimean. Think Pinter, think Little Marty Amis. Nowhere near as good but that’s what they’re after. Think nasty men in a crappy room smacking a dishy waiter around ‘cos he went and diddled one of their missusses. The cheek, diddling a missus. Not so cheeky now, is he? Nor her neither. Can’t have that. Actions have consequences, girl, and no mistake. Could be a dream cunnit, or a whassit, a psychodrama thing. Bout misogyny, y’know, men and women, all that business. Feminist rubbish, innit, everyone loves their old Mum. Or maybe it’s a bunch of top actors effing and jeffing and smacking a bloke about for a bit. Think what you want, son. Free world and all that. Right, he’s coming around, get the silver and let’s f*** off out of it. What? VERY GOOD!, do I have to spell everything out, you total c***.

SPEEDWAY CHIMP (1964) Directed by Richard Thorpe Written by Alan Weiss Original music by Joseph J. Lilley Songs performed by Elvis Presley Starring Elvis Presley (Chet Flip), Sylvia Gams (Mahogony Weatherbee), Bill Bixby (Danny Bridle), Walter Matthau (Chet Flip Snr), Angel Lansbury (Talulah Flip) with Disraeli (Chitters The Chimp)


One for Elvis completists here as it's only available to subscribers of the Journal of Official King Ephemera. Speedway Chimp was abandoned during post production due to the death of Sylia Gams during filming, in circumstances described by Variety as "inexplicable" and "uncouth". The surviving footage has been newly restored and re-mastered by MGM and released on this once-in-a-lifetime collector's disc. Fans of Elvis' cinematic oeuvre will be cock-a-hoop to learn that this is another knockabout sing-a-long romp no-brainer from Elvis the Entertainer! The King plays a half-Cherokee, half-Hawaiian, half tree stump heir to a soda pop fortune, who escapes the responsibilities he is soon to inherit by joining a travelling speedway circus. Chet soon finds a pal in the person of jolly jackanape Danny Bridle but the pair's good natured japes attract only disdain from tomboy mechanic Mahogony Weatherbee. To win her reluctant heart Chet enters a Singing Speedway-Burn-Off . Complicating matters somewhat it turns out that Chitters The Chimp has witnessed a mafia killing and in order to keep him safe Chet must pretend he is his pillion pal! He's got a lot of wooin' to do! He's got a lot of animal witness protecting to do! And Elvis may just have the songs to do it all! An EXCELLENT! film  to lift the hearts of anyone who is very easily pleased indeed. Anthony Lane gushed, “This is awful. Please take it away.” Pauline Kael declared it “The death of Cinema. With songs.Featuring the songsGirl Surprise!”, “You Can’t Peel A Banana In A Sports Car”, “Flingin’ Shit”, "Dance You Little Bastard, Dance!" and “Speedway Chimp (Cha-Cha-Cha)".

Have a simply splendid week, my darlings! Cheers and all that stuff.

(I would like to make it clear that I did not get 44-INCH CHEST from the car boot. I watched it from the rental shop and paid sterling to do so.)