Last Night in Soho
Greetings, ‘Last Night in Soho’ is a 2021 horror film directed and co-written by Edgar Wright. The director is perhaps best known for his contributions on the Cornetto Trilogy but he was also involved in various works such as ‘Spaced’, ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’, ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ ‘Ant-Man’ and the critically acclaimed ‘Baby Driver’. The film stars upcoming actress Thomasin McKenzie, known for being in Taika Waititi’s ‘Jojo Rabbit’, as the main protagonist named Eloise ‘Ellie’ Turner. Other notable cast members include Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, the late Diana Rigg, Terence Stamp and Pauline McLynn. The music was composed by Steven Price and, similar to ‘Baby Driver’, this movie contains a lot of retro hits from artists such as Peter and Gordon, Sandie Shaw, the Kinks, Cilla Black and Barry Ryan.
The plot begins when aspiring fashion designer, Ellie, is accepted into the London College of Fashion as a first year student. After spending most of her life in rural Cornwall, Ellie is excited by the prospects of moving to metropolitan London and the sense of freedom that comes with it. She quickly comes to realize that her optimistic dreams and the harsh reality are too very different scenarios as her love of Swinging Sixties culture, her rural background as well as her dress style makes her stand out from the rest of the students. It is also subtly hinted that Ellie has a connection to the supernatural when she sees her deceased mother’s reflection in mirrors which further adds to her alienation. After deciding that she wasn’t going to get on with her snobbish roommate called Jocasta, Ellie decided to take up accommodation in a rundown bedsit run by the elderly Miss Collins.
Ellie is more at home in the older flat as she is able to play her old hits in peace and is encouraged to do so by the nostalgic Collins. During her first night there, Ellie falls asleep and wakes up in another time. She has been transported back to the glitz and glamour of London during the 1960s in a dreamy vision. At the Café de Paris she watches as a confident blonde makes her way around the club and introduces herself as Sandie to a teddy boy named Jack. Sandie explains that she wants to be a singer at the Café. Being a manager, Jack agrees to launch her career in showbiz and the two begin a relationship in which he gives Sandie a love bite on her neck. Ellie wakes from the blissful dream and discovers the hickey is on her own neck. Suspecting the dream may have been real in some sense, Ellie looks forward to visiting the London of the past once more but is oblivious to how her paranormal perception will come to haunt her.
I really enjoyed this film and appreciated the visual style Wright brought to the screen as well as the accompanying soundtrack that really added to the experience. I was never entirely sure where the plot was headed but I certainly had fun watching it unfold towards its climactic ending and trying to unravel the mystery. Most characters were well developed, with Ellie and Sandie being particularly well done, but some of the more secondary characters never got much chance to grow in my opinion although this is a minor point. After thoroughly enjoying this and his previous work ‘Baby Driver’, I am keen to see what else Edgar Wright has in store for his next venture in storytelling.
Quote of the Day
Song is over, Baby. But I'm afraid you still have to face the music.
The Quiz Part 13
Greetings, November has come once again and that can only mean one thing. My quiz, that now long standing annual tradition, has returned to put you through the paces and see who can come out on top. The answers are, as always, at the bottom of the page and please remember to put your score in the comments. Joh earned first place last year with 9 correct answers out of 10 while Aaron and Mark tied in second place with 7 points each. I’m intrigued to see who will come where in the ranking this year. Good luck!
1. David Burke and Edward Hardwicke both played Dr. John Watson in Granada Television’s ‘Sherlock Holmes’ but who portrayed the titular character in what is regarded as one of the finest performances depicting the famed detective?
2. Who said this? – "You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Well, then who the Hell else are you talking- You talking to me? Well, I'm the only one here."
3. Charlemagne, the King of the Franks, the King of the Lombards and the Emperor of the Romans, formed which European empire in the Middle Ages?
4. Which of these villains is primarily from Spider-Man’s rogues’ gallery? – A. Red Skull B. Doctor Doom. C. Magneto. D. The Shocker E. Thanos
5. How many Wallace and Gromit movies are there in the main series when the feature film ‘Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit’ is included but spin-offs such as ‘Shaun the Sheep Movie’ are not counted?
6. What is the name of the haunted American town in which the Headless Horseman pursues Ichabod Crane in Washington Irving’s famous story that was published in 1820?
7. Name the character.
8. Unscramble the letters to reveal an actor- MHERUYPH ATOGBR
9. Was ‘Truth’ published before or after ‘The Feud’ on Write Wise?
10. Which Nintendo video game console was the successor to the Wii and was released in 2012?
1. Jeremy Brett
2. Travis Bickle
3. The Carolingian Empire
4. D. The Shocker
5. 5 Films
6. Sleepy Hollow
7. The G-Man
8. Humphrey Bogart
10. Nintendo Wii U
Quote of the Day
Ah, Gunther, I can't pay for this right now because I'm not working, so I've had to cut down on some luxuries like uh, paying for stuff.
Greetings, ‘Silver Bullet’ is a movie from 1985 that was directed by Dan Attias, which is currently the only feature film that he has directed in his career, and it is based on the Stephen King novella, ‘Cycle of the Werewolf’. The book had only been published two years earlier in 1983 and skews early on in King’s bibliography. The movie has a considerable cast, staring the likes of Corey Haim, Gary Busey, Megan Follows, Terry O’Quinn and Everett McGill who may be best known for his reoccurring role on Twin Peaks. The music was composed by Jay Chattaway who is mostly known for his work on several Star Trek series including Next Generation, Voyager and Enterprise.
The plot is set in the quiet town of Tarker’s Mills, Maine, and begins when a lone railroad worker by the name of Arnie Westrum is working late into the night. The isolated Arnie is slaughtered by an unseen attacker, the result of which severs the head from his body. His mangled remains are found the next morning to the shock of the residents in the sleepy little town. That would prove to be only the first murder and the killer would keep returning to pick off unsuspecting locals. Among the victim’s is Brady Kincaid, a close friend of the wheelchair bound child Marty Coslaw. The latest murder is the last straw for the people of Tarker’s Mills and, having grown dissatisfied with the unsuccessful efforts of the local sheriff Joe Hales, they form a vigilante group. Joe, fearing what an unruly mob could do in the name of justice, tries to stop them but is ultimately powerless to reel them in. The hunt goes disastrously for the vigilantes in which some are killed by the attacker they sought.
With the murderer still on the loose, Hale orders a curfew to be put in place and cancels any official 4th July celebrations in the interests of public safety. The Coslaw family decide to hold their own celebration and Marty’s eccentric uncle, Red, is invited to join in on the festivities. Red gifts Marty with a custom built wheelchair, complete with motor engine, and named it the ‘Silver Bullet’ upon delivering it to his nephew. He also gives Marty some fireworks, hoping that it would help cheer him up after the death of his friend and being confined to his own home. Marty is thankful for the presents and sneaks out of his room that night to let off some fireworks at a bridge some miles away from his home. He isn’t alone. The fireworks draw the attention of the werewolf. A terrified Marty, thinking quickly, fires a rocket at the creature once he sees it. The firework lodges in the werewolf’s eye and explodes but, as Marty flees, it is revealed that the monster is still alive.
‘Silver Bullet’ is a solid werewolf movie overall and worth a watch for fans of lycanthropes but it wouldn’t be on par with the often touted pinnacle of werewolf movies, ‘An American Werewolf in London’. The book, which is King’s shortest novel as it is comprised of only 127 pages, and the film are fairly similar in terms of plot. While they both attempt to give a voice to several characters in the larger setting of the town, it mostly focuses on Marty and his unusual uncle as he accidently uncovers the identity of the werewolf. If you’re looking for a werewolf movie to watch and have already seen some of the more famous names in the genre, I’d certainly recommended giving ‘Silver Bullet’ a go.
Quote of the Day
It was the boogeyman.
The Kominsky Method
Greetings, ‘The Kominsky Method’ is a Netflix original television series created by Chuck Lorre who is known for creating hit shows like ‘Two and a Half Men’ and ‘The Big Bang Theory’ that have carved out their place in popular culture. By comparison, ‘The Kominsky Method’ could be described as a series that has flown under the radar even while having significant stars such as the two main leads of Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin. Other prominent cast members include Sarah Baker, Nancy Travis, Paul Reiser, Kathleen Turner and Haley Joel Osment. There is also a significant number of special guests that appear during the course of the show such as Danny DeVito, Elliot Gould and Bob Odenkirk. The music was conducted by Jeff Cardoni who has composed for other programmes with some of more notable ones being ‘CSI: Miami’, ‘Pimp My Ride’ and ‘Wilfred’.
The plot revolves around the life of Sandy Kominsky, an aging actor who had a brief stint in the limelight but became an acting coach after he felt he was never going to land a significant role in the movie business. Even though he resigned himself to teaching, Kominsky couldn’t help but hope that he might one day hit the big time and become recognised as a high calibre actor. Sandy is best friends with his agent, Norman Newlander, a fellow figure in the industry who is also getting on in years and a rather cranky individual. The two characters have an interesting relationship which involves them constantly trading barbs with each other but ultimately being able to understand their respective experiences as they share common ground due to working in the same fields. Norman is going through a rough patch in his life at the beginning of the show as his daughter, Phoebe, is a complete screw up who is in and out of rehab clinics while his wife, Eileen, is losing her battle with cancer.
As this is ongoing, Sandy takes a fancy to one of his acting students called Lisa who he discovers has an attraction to him too. After some debate as to if it is a good idea to date one of his students, Sandy decides to throw caution to the wind and seize the day by asking her out. Lisa agrees and the two go on a date. All is going well until it is interrupted when Sandy’s adult daughter from a failed marriage, Mindy, informs him via phone call that Eileen has died. In a memorable first date, Sandy takes Lisa, who asked to come along as a form of support, and his daughter Mindy to the hospital that Eileen was taken to. They discover that Norman won’t leave his wife’s side and it takes a while for Sandy to convince his friend that he is able to break away from her and take the important initial step of going home as part of the long healing process.
In my opinion, ‘The Kominsky Method’ is a very different beast to the crowd pleasers made by Lorre as mentioned previously for a few reasons. The first is that it followed a distinguishable plot that only ran for 3 seasons from 2018 to 2021 and consists of 22 episodes in total while the others lasted for considerably longer, resulting in meandering storylines. Another factor is that it typically deals with more serious topics and relies on light, witty humour to brighten the mood as opposed to attempting to garner a laugh from the audience every minute or so with situational comedy. Due to this, I suspect ‘The Kominsky Method’ would be less accessible to some audiences and may be overlooked because of it. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this programme and would recommend it if you are looking for a drama with some light hearted humour that can be watched in a fairly short amount of time.
Quote of the Day
The point is ladies and gentlemen that greed, for lack of a better word, is good.
Greetings, The Car is a horror film from 1977 that was directed by Elliot Silverstein who had also written for series such as the Twilight Zone and Tales from the Crypt during his career. The cast includes James Brolin as the lead protagonist, Captain Wade Parent, who is a police officer in a small American town. Brolin had previously had a major role in Michael Crichton’s film Westworld in 1973 and is also the father of the prolific actor, Josh Brolin. Other cast members include Ronny Cox, who played a large part in 1972’s Deliverance, Kathleen Lloyd, John Marley as well as the sister actresses Kim and Kyle Richards. The music was composed by Leonard Rosenman whose impressive list of work includes Rebel without a Cause, Barry Lyndon, the animated Lord of the Rings film, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Robocop 2. While ‘The Car’ may not be a well-known horror title, I had first become aware of it due to an early Futurama episode called ‘The Honking’ which served as a homage to the film and it left such an impression on me that I was keen to seek the movie out.
The story begins in a remote American town where two young cyclists are out for a leisurely ride. A black Lincoln Continental Mark III with tinted windows travels up the dusty road behind them. It soon becomes apparent to the cyclists that the car isn’t going to overtake them but is menacingly toying with them instead by ramming their tires with its bumper. Things take a more sinister turn for them as the vehicle becomes increasingly hostile in its pursuit. The car crushes one cyclist against a wall and forces the other over a bridge, killing the rider in the fall, before speeding off under a tunnel. The mysterious car has only begun its bloodshed and is on the prowl for more helpless victims. After the massacre, an unaware hitchhiker is busy practicing his French horn while waiting on a lift from a generous driver as the sun shines down on the desolate landscape. The hitchhiker is sat near the house of one Amos Clemens, a local well known for being a domestic abuser.
The music gets on the nerves of the homeowner so much so that Clemens leaves his house to berate the hitchhiker. He aggressively orders him to stop playing. The hitchhiker puts up a feeble defence against the demands before bowing out and walking away as he was told to do so. The annoyed traveller walks down the road and becomes even more frustrated when a black car drives past him, trailing up dust in its tracks. He cusses out the driver during an angry fit and realizes that it was a mistake to do so when the car reverses. It manages to run over the fleeing hitchhiker several times, ratcheting up the death toll to three for that morning. The cops, including Wade Parent, arrive on the scene after being called by a concerned Amos. They quickly come to understand that a mad man was committing vehicular manslaughter in their sleepy little town after the bodies of the two cyclists were found.
The film, being accused of trying to recycle moments from more critically successful movies such as Duel, was not well received upon its release. Some of those less than stellar reviews had good reasoning behind them such as poor acting by a few prominent cast members but I found it to be solid B movie and enjoyed watching it. Part of this is due to its gritty 1970s charm that wouldn’t have had an impact on its contemporary audience and also because I was forewarned going in that it was not particularly highly regarded. Interestingly, this was released a few years prior to Stephen King’s beloved Christine, which is of a very similar nature, in either its book form or film adaptation. This film still lingers in the fringes of pop culture as a spin off was made in 2019 called ‘The Car: Road to Revenge’ in which there was one returning cast member but I believe it is meant to be rather woeful.
Quote of the Day
Quiet please. I am analyzing.
Robby the Robot
Greetings, Half-Life is a first person shooter video game from 1998 that was created by the game developer and publisher known as Valve. Now well regarded as one of the best video games ever made, Half-Life was the first project released by Valve and several expansion packs and sequels, such as Blue Shift, were spawned off the back of its outstanding success. The company would go on to create or publish further classic games such as the Counter-Strike, Team Fortress, Left for Dead and Portal series as well as the sandbox game Garry’s Mod. With the protagonist and cult icon, Gordon Freeman, being a silent lead there is not a particularly large or noteworthy cast of voice actors and actresses involved. Some of the talent behind the scenes include Kathy Levin as the voice for the HEV suit as well as Mike Shapiro as the friendly security guard, Barney Calhoun, and the mysterious G-Man. The atmospheric music was composed by Kelly Bailey who has mostly worked on other Valve properties.
The plot begins with a long and famed, among gamers at least, tram ride in which the physicist Freeman is transported inside the secretive Black Messa Research Facility. After clearing security and putting on the necessary hazmat suit, Gordon is tasked with brining an unusual material in for experimentation. He is instructed by fellow scientists to place the substance under a giant machine for analysis. The machinery explodes causing what is described as a ‘resonance cascade’ which opens up a portal to dimension Xen. The cataclysmic event causes the facility to descend into ruins. Freeman miraculously survives the explosion but he finds himself thrust into action as he must fight his way past terrors such as zombifed colleagues, automated turrets and alien monstrosities that came from the portal.
It isn’t long before the military arrives on the scene with relieved scientists cheering on their apparent saviours. The optimism quickly turns to dismay as the soldiers begin gunning down witnesses and the scientists come to understand the horrifying reality that the government isn’t there to help them but to wipe them out as part of a cover up. As Gordon makes his way to the surface, he is contacted by fellow scientists in the Labmda Complex who believe that they have found a way to shut down the portal but they explain that they will need help in doing so. Freeman answers the call for aid and delves further into danger as he encounters even deadlier foes along his path from both the opposing alien and human forces.
Half-Life provides a good range of enemy AI for the player to combat including slow moving zombies, long tongued barnacles and aggressive headcrabs, most of which thankfully made their way into the direct sequel and continuing episodes. I really enjoyed this game and took a great liking to the retro feel after playing it a few decades after its release. I had great fun with its imaginative sequels as well which expand on the story nicely. It is a bit of a shame that Valve don’t seem to have plans to finish the story, which they left on a dark note in Episode 2, as the world they created is a very interesting one to explore. Despite releasing a prequel game called Half-Life: Alyx as recently as 2020, I believe it is unlikely that the fans will ever get the sequel they clamoured for. After years of the tongue in cheek ‘Half-Life 3 confirmed’ meme being plastered over the internet, it may be for the best as a third entry would find it very difficult to live up to the hype or reputation it is expected to have. At the end of the day, the Half-Life games will always be there to fall back on if players are feeling a bit nostalgic and in the mood for a good old fashioned shooter.
Quote of the Day
Drainage! Drainage, Eli, you boy! Drained dry. I’m so sorry. Here: if you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw — There it is. That's a straw, see? Watch it. Now my straw reaches across the room, and starts to drink your milkshake. I drink your milkshake! I drink it up!
There Will Be Blood