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dadmancat

dadmancat

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since 27/07/2000

170

Tribute to Jack Johnson - Miles Davis 07/06/2006

Funk Off

Tribute to Jack Johnson - Miles Davis Post 'Bitches Brew', amid the slow disintegration of the second great quintet, at a time when Columbia didn't know or even care how they marketed Miles, Davis produced this pearler. 'On the Corner' would follow, a series of mishandled live albums, and then ill health combined with his ongoing cocaine addiction would see Davis disappear for the greater part of the seventies. 'A Tribute to Jack Johnson' however is Davis at one with his material, interviews reveal this to be a project Davis dug, really dug. A longtime fan of boxing, and constant visitor to the ring to keep fit (relatively speaking for a cocaine addict with shot hips), in Jack Johnson Davis spotted a kindred spirit. The album was the soundtrack to a documentary about the legendary heavyweight. Johnson was THE great black hope in the early 20th century, an African American boxer who destroyed all of his opponents, and lived life in the fastest of the fast lanes. Cars, women, fine clothes, newspaper headlines, and a nation that baulked as a negro stood at the pinnacle of his profession. There was an awful lot for Miles to identify with. The energy on this record is palpable. A tangible electricity flows through the 2 tracks that make up the standard edition release. Davis was never just Davis though, in the early days of be-bop he was in the shadows of Charlie 'Yardbird' Parker, with the birth of cool jazz it was Davis and Gil Evans and his quintet with Coltrane, Bill Evans, 'Cannonball' Adderley, Paul ...

Taste The Blood Of Dracula (DVD) 12/10/2005

Disciple of Dracula

Taste The Blood Of Dracula (DVD) Hot on the heels of the box office returns from 1968s 'Dracula Has Risen from the Grave' Hammer rushed it's next vampire project into production. In what was common practice at the house of horror, promotional materials were on the prospective distributors desks before a word of the script had been typed. With Christopher Lee ruling himself out of the role after his dissatisfaction with 'Risen' and a combination of boredom and a fear of typecasting with the role, Tony Hinds set about fashioning a screenplay without the titular vampire. The plan was to groom a new actor in the role of Dracula's disciple, and to hopefully keep the series ticking over well into the 1970s. Distibutors Warner Seven Arts threw a stake into the works on delivery of the screenplay, and couldn't help but wonder where Dracula was, and more importantly the box office draw of Christopher Lee. Cue the usual call from Hammer supremo James Carreras to Christopher Lee, and the now legendary begging / pleading / bartering that would see a reluctant Lee return to the role a further 3 times. Upon securing Lee's participation, Hinds hurriedly reshuffled the pack, whereby Dracula could return to wreak havoc in Victorian England following his crumbling to dust at the end of 'Risen from the Grave'. A travelling salesman, an Englishman abroad (Roy Kinnear) to collect curios from the Counts homeland, is bundled from his coach by an unsavoury pair. Stranded in deep forest, miles from anywhere, he is ...

Dracula Has Risen From The Grave (DVD) 10/10/2005

You Can't Keep a Good Man Down

Dracula Has Risen From The Grave (DVD) 1968s entry into Hammer's long running Dracula saga broke box office records for the studio, at a time when the gothics were becoming deeply unfashionable. 'Dracula Has Risen From the Grave' however leaves one in no doubt as to why the Hammer star was fading, why gothic was out, and the only mystery in the picture is how it set the box office alight. As a character, 'Dracula' is pretty hot material, with crawling down walls, turning to mist, transforming into various creatures of the night, and much more at a scriptwriters disposal. Allied to a derisory budget usually around the £150,000 mark, and you can begin to scratch off all of the interesting stuff, until what remains is a chap who sleeps all day, has to drive his own coach around, and is forever preying on dopey barmaids. Try and give him dialogue at your own peril. What exactly is a man who has lived for centuries going to say when pitting his wits against the bland stereotypes that inhabit Hammer's assorted villages and towns? Furthermore, by the time Christopher Lee donned the cape for this third outing, he was an actor that demanded a far higher fee than in those earlier groundbreaking horrors. Hammer's cost cutting answer was to pencil him in for a few days in the studio, and pad out the films with extraneous characters all impressively uninteresting and out of place in these movies. 'Risen from the Grave' gives formulaic a bad name. In it's tired approach to the subject matter even continuity goes out of ...

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (DVD) 06/10/2005

Madman of the Century?

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (DVD) Hammer's Frankenstein cycle was a far superior product than the concurrent Dracula franchise. Both ran from the buoyant boom days of the late 50s through to the stagnation of the horror studio in the early 70s. Unlike the unsteady Dracula outings where the vampire was reduced to occasionally appearing from the shadows to hiss and snap at big bosomed wenches, Frankenstein was always the one with most potential for character development, and above all motivation. Afterall, Dracula was rather a one trick pony, and the series suffered from formulaic scripts that often found their way into the hands of far less proficient directors than Terence Fisher. Fisher remains one of the unsung heroes of British film, his output alone can be classed as the great revival of gothic horror in the cinema. He gave us the Mummy, the Werewolf, the Phantom of the Opera, Dracula and the dark deeds of Baron Victor Frankenstein. In their clamour for box office returns, the great creatures of the gothic were forced to return again and again to our screens, in lesser and lesser adventures. Frankenstein though remains resolutely Fisher's saga, and of the seven films made, he directed 5, and the less said about the non-canonical 'Evil of' and 'Horror of' the better. Under the guidance of Fisher, the tales interlinked, and we were able to witness the descent into madness of the Baron, where once he was a man striving to revolutionise medicine, and do good deeds, by the time of the final hurrah - ...

Football Factory, The (2004) 18/06/2005

"You're Going Home in a Mediocre Ambulance..."

Football Factory, The (2004) Nick Love's 2004 drama 'The Football Factory' has about as much to say about football violence as 'Dunston Checks In' has to say about the depletion of rain forests, and the disappearing habitat of the Orang-Utang. A more confused film you couldn't wish to watch. It so wants to condemn and deplore the firms that roam the country looking for someone to clump, but at the same time, it works desperately hard to glamourise the lifestyle. Ironically the DVD extras feature a video by 'The Streets', and the movie itself plays out like an extended music promo. Pitching the film squarely at the Chav market, all Argos gold jewellery and Burberry, it occasionally throws a morsel to the rest of the human race, with some clumsy moralising from the older generation. Tommy Johnson (Danny Dyer) lives for fighting, drinking and drugs. The football is secondary to the activities of the Firm he rides with. Up in the pecking order, he gets the respect of those above and below him, unlike other poor unfortunates in this group of rent-a-cockney stereotypes. Infighting, doublecrossing, and some just damned stupid decisions slowly begin to dissolve the unity of the Chelsea firm to which he belongs, and more worryingly, he starts to have recurring dreams of it all going horribly wrong for himself. Haunted by a vision of himself dying, he begins to question the validity of the lifestyle he has chosen, and wise words from his grandfather chip away at his desire to be involved in the big one. ...

Time Bandits (DVD) 02/09/2004

How Long Have You Been a Robber?

Time Bandits (DVD) That most uneasy of genres, childrens fantasy, is given an almighty shake up by Terry Gilliam in this 1981 slice of nightmarish fairytale time travelling sci-fi historical war drama comedy. Well, it is Terry Gilliam after all, I didn't say this was going to be plain sailing. Reaching into the crevices of his imagination, he has put on screen an endlessly enjoyable romp through, time, space and your childhood wardrobe. Co-written with fellow Python Michael Palin, who one suspects gave the screenplay a solidity and kept it within boundaries, Gilliam tells the tale of schoolboy Kevin. Kevin lives in suburbia, with suburbanite parents, glued to their television watching gameshows and keeping up with the Joneses. So far, so familiar territory. Form hereon in, much like it's only stablemate 'The Princess Bride', 'Time Bandits' sidesteps condescending, sentimental moralising, and enters a world that never preaches to children. Instead, Gilliam and Palin decide to give them the heebie-jeebies, and entertain the living daylights out of them. Shut away in his bedroom, Kevin loses himself in books. Books about history, about derring-do, about chivalry and honour before death. These books are read beneath the covers of his duvet, with the help of a torch. A torch which will soon be used to pinpoint the worrying noises in his bedroom. Something is seriously wrong in his room. If he didn't know better, he'd say a collection of motley dwarf pickpockets were fighting to get out of his ...

Top 10 Ways To End a Relationship 31/08/2004

I Think I Might Be.....

Top 10 Ways To End a Relationship A bad morning in the world of drawing things, and making alot of words fit into not alot of space, decrees that Dadmancat flails wildly into the Cafe and grabs randomly at opinions. "When can we move in somewhere of our own?" "Do you ever think about what it might be like to have children?" "Perhaps it's time you started spending less on DVDs and perhaps started thinking about our future..." Imagine those questions being asked, except you're on a beach, in a deckchair. On hearing them, consider a camera zooming and pulling on your sweat beaded face. No, there may not be a giant shark about to eat some bathers, but there might as well be for all the horror such questions hold in store. "Buy less DVDs? Are you mad woman? Are you totally deranged?" It's time to ditch this broad. Before you know it, she'll be asking you to 'tidy up after yourself' and 'show a little thought for others'. Crumbs. At this rate she'll get a job and start demanding to vote too. This has to be stamped out. If the back of the hand doesn't bring instant results and a nice cup of tea, then it's time to face facts. She's outta here...or there. Here are 10 options. Each carefully designed to break her heart and leave you guiltless... 10. I think I might be Gay. A cliche. But here's the clever part. Not gay as in mince, but gay as in happy. Yeah. Thats right, like it's 1930 and you're deliriously excited about something. Just tell her you're so gay that you don't need her in your ...

Top 10 Things Not to Do on a Date 26/08/2004

The Rules of Distraction

Top 10 Things Not to Do on a Date Be under no misapprehension. Suffer no illusions. This is a poorly constructed rant, and not to be mistaken for some guide to etiquette or courtship. No handy hints on opening doors or coats over puddles, not by a long shot. Instead a collection of don'ts and don'ts picked up from people watching in the cattle markets about my drink fuelled, tracksuited, bling, having it large hometown. This is not 'An Affair to Remember', nor is it 'Brief Encounter'. For Trevor Howard, imagine some guy known only as Trev. Trev has a tattoo on his neck, and wears expensive clothes. He's not sure how to co-ordinate the expensive clothes, or why style is so much more important that fashion. He likes gold. He likes aftershave. Try and forget Deborah Kerr. Think more Debs, but more likely Britney, Chelsea or Cheltney. Cheltney will have a tattoo, probably in gothic script, on her lower back. It will say Daddy's Girl, and will continue to say that in 60 years time when she is being lined up for a hip replacement. 'Chel likes wearing as little as possible. What she does wear must be pink or furry or both. She likes to end the night with a bag of chips, vomiting, crying about how Dave 'totally like blanked her like'. 10. Telefon. Do not take the mobile phone. Just don't. What important event that you must know about could conceivably happen during a meal, a cinema visit, a stroll along the waterside etc. If it's a friend, or some mates, or that nice looking bloke/bird from behind the ...

A Fistful Of Dynamite (DVD) 26/08/2004

Duck You Sucker

A Fistful Of Dynamite (DVD) The merest mention of Sergio Leone will draw excitable gasps from any self respecting film fan. That his career contains a small handful of films while his name is revered is testament to the skill of the late Italian filmmaker. Writer, producer and director, Leone's name instanltly conjures up images of sprawling revisionist westerns, spaghetti westerns. Leone cannot claim to have invented the genre, for it was alive and well in Italy and Spain before he turned it on it's head. What Leone did do was shake the whole concept up. Where before the films were crass exploitation potboilers, he constructed strong elegant storylines, hard cynical anti-heroes, and set pieces of jaw dropping scale. He brought Eastwood to our attention, when Fonda and Bronson were beyond his financial means, in the 'Dollars' brace of films, and of course 'The Good, The Bad and the Ugly'. 1968 brought the peerless 'Once Upon a Time in the West' which had a troubled reception outside of Europe. Then to all intents and purposes, Leone dropped off the film making map for 16 years. Weighing in with the occasional screenplay, or an uncredited co-direction appearance, Leone returned to prominence with 1984s 'Once Upon a Time in America'. All of which ignores a delightful picture shot and released in 1971. Apparently Leone was far from eager to handle the film, but what appears on screen is as impressive as anything he ever created. The script fizzes, the sweep and scope is enormous doing justice to a ...

Annie Hall (DVD) 09/08/2004

The most fun I've ever had without laughing...

Annie Hall (DVD) For me, Allen's cinematic legacy should be 'Annie Hall', 'Manhattan', 'Broadway Danny Rose', 'Purple Rose of Cairo' and 'Hannah and her Sisters', and after that it's all a bit of a lottery. 'Manhattan' is easily his most accomplished piece of film making, while 'Purple Rose' is a delightful piece of whimsy devoid of the later Allen bitterness and spite. 'Hannah' is drama and comedy pefectly combined, and 'Danny Rose' is like his standup routine stretched to feature length, anecdotary and unceasingly funny. Leaving us with 1977's 'Annie Hall'. His first film to venture away from slapstick, and focus entirely on the laughs to be found in his neurosis. 'Play it Again Sam' for the more discerning viewer. Innovative in the comedy genre, Allen diluted his love for Bergman into great little touches, rather than plundering as he would on subsequent films, including split screens, addressing the camera directly and using out of body experiences. The comedy is broad, and also reliably Allen, something for everyone. The screenplay bubbles along and even at his most bitter and resentful, Allen's lead character Alvy Singer is likeable and warm. Aided no end by sparkling support from DIane Keaton as the titular Annie Hall, it's as pleasurable a way to spend 90 minutes as I can imagine. Alvy Singer (Allen) is a gag writer, a Jewish gag writer, a neurotic Jewish gag writer. Failed relationships, a career stuttering in sitcom land, Alvy shuffles through life examining how it all ...

10 Things that Remind Me of the 80's 28/07/2004

Hang the DJ

10 Things that Remind Me of the 80's The only decade to make the 1970s look like 10 years of sophistication, cutting edge design and fashion. Billowy dresses big enough to swamp a house pale into insignificance next to drainpipe jeans and acid yellow polo shirts. Let the onslaught begin. Let's savage the decade that allowed 'Living in a Box' and 'Go West' to prosper. The decade that gave us some of the most detestable films in history, hello 'Howard the Duck' and 'The Golden Child'. The Aston Martin Bulldog could only have crawled from such an inept decade. 'The Fall Guy'. More back projection please Vicar. 10. Miami Vice. Now don't get me wrong here, I have no quibbles with the show itself, alternately gritty and plain daft overblown nonsense. It gave Michael Mann a break after all, but did make Don Johnson think he could act. Rather more criminally, it gave us deck shoes, cotton suits, round necked t-shirts and designer stubble. "But muuuuum, I don't want to wear socks to school." "It's freezing out, and besides it's raining. Those silly shoes will get soaked" "But muuuuuuuuuuum." Earlier in the decade I'd whined about wanting socks, fluorescent ones, but now, a few short years on, socks were bad. Evil. Crockett would never wear socks, or do his history homework. 'Miami Vice' also foisted Jan Hammer upon his, and I recall the weeks and weeks and weeks of Simon Bates introducing 'Crocketts Theme' on 'Top of the Pops'. A fat balding guy with one of those synth-guitar-keyboard ...

Ten Worst Dinner Guests 27/07/2004

The Narked Chef

Ten Worst Dinner Guests So okay, I have a flat totally unsuited to dinner extravaganzas, and the volatile lot I'm about to invite would surely kill each other while huddled about my breakfast bar. Enough of the reality though, for that would suggest that I'd gone to the trouble of making some food. Instead I would have phoned in some take away, hurriedly thrown the packaging away and then dirtied some random pans and objects of cutlery. Having applied moisture to my forehead, and jumped around a bit for the proper 'hassled' appearance, I'd wait for the doorbell and the fun to begin. Lo, 'ding dong' it's the doorbell, which guest will it be? Well, who'd have thought it, on time and clutching a brown paper bag, it's everyone's favourite German actor, Klaus Kinski. "Good evening Mr Kinski" I offer. "F*** you, you pig raping c***" "Yes it is a lovely evening" I counter, "May I take your coat?" "Touch me and die you perverted piece of English s**t!", and Klaus pulls a revolver from his brown bag. I let him make his own way into the flat, allow him to sit where he chooses, and do as he wishes. Barely has he begun tearing the books from my shelves when the doorbell sounds again. "My, my" I say, smiling at Klaus, "More guests". Klaus is slowly and deliberately loading his gun. To my surprise, it's none other than Oliver Reed, actor, drinker, general hellraiser, and someone who has shared a film or two with Klaus. They should soon be chatting like old friends. "Come in ...

10 Signs You're Getting Old 26/07/2004

The Drugs Don't Work

10 Signs You're Getting Old So, the big 3-1 this year, and the downeard slide to 40, 50. 60 and being scared to leave your house for fear of glue sniffing miscreants breaking in and stealing your hard earned collection of miscellany. The signs of increasing age? Well they are plentiful, and I can only look forward to the more hardcore stuff like failing eyesight, failing hearing and failing bowels. So, here's my countdown to smelling like lavender, and buying the Daily Mail. 10. You start gaining weight for no apparent reason. For years you've been happy to eat and drink whatever you please with no visible side effects. The crisps get shovelled in, the chocolate devoured, and yet a downward glance reveals a beanpole figure and a waistsize that now sounds frankly impossible. Then, with no warning, at the age of about 25/26 the levee breaks, and all the years of chocolate, crisps and beer spill forth adding ripples of unwanted fat to all the most pointless parts of your body. What's the point of a chin? And why on earth should you want two of them? Love handles? Who loves them? I certainly don't. Why not deposit the lard on my stomach, why shuffle it apologetically around the sides? Now it requires exercise to keep from ballooning into Demis Roussos type tent-wear. I actually have to think about what I eat, and fear my bodies system of fast tracking chocolate straight to my waist. 9. The greying at the temples. Or just plain anywhere. Thankfully layers of styling wax do much to ...

Hammer House Of Horror - Complete (DVD) 24/07/2004

The Silent Scream

Hammer House Of Horror - Complete (DVD) 'You Can't Keep a Good Man Down' so proclaimed Hammer about Dracula, but in an effort to disprove that theory, the general public stopped going to see Hammer's gothic horrors. The Dracula and Frankenstein cycles suffered a slow death, and in the face of 'The Exorcist' Hammer made a few half hearted stabs at rebranding their packaging. Their last gasp came in 1978, when 'The Lady Vanishes' vanished on the film circuit, taking Michael Carreras with it, and Hammer needed a new owner. In desperate efforts to stay afloat, the company relaunched itself under variations on a theme, and by the time it pitched 'House of Horror' to Lew Grade's ATV in 1980, Roy Skeggs was head of the company. Seeing TV as an ideal outlet for Hammer in its new slimmed down incarnation, Skeggs negotiated a deal for 13 50 minute stories to be broadcast on the ITV networks. Filmed on 35mm film, filled with guest stars, and reuniting Hammer with some of it's past glories, the future should have been rosey. As befits a 'grasping at straws' concept, 'Hammer House of Horror' fails on the most part for being frankly unsure of itself. Should it be gory? Should it be Gothic? Should it be psychological? Should it be laden with 'Twilight Zone' twists? Should it involve fresh new talent or rely on the old timers who once kept Hammer alive? So on and so forth, and understandably the 13 episodes featured on this attractively packaged Carlton (Carlton in good DVD Shocker!) boxset are wildly variable in quality ...

The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection (Animated) (DVD) 24/07/2004

Life's Rich Pageant

The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection (Animated) (DVD) 5 Panthers caged in one box. Inspector Jacques Clouseau's misadventures as brought to the screen by Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers are available in this lushly packaged but ultimately disappointing 6 disc DVD Boxset. What do we get for our pink pounds? Well, it all starts off well enough with 1963's 'The Pink Panther', followed by 'A Shot in the Dark' from 1964. Then there is a massive leap to 1976, which thankfully circumnavigates the non-Edwards, non-Sellers 'Inspector Clouseau' from 1968. Sadly though, it also bypasses the 1974 'Return of the Pink Panther', a highlight of the series, and due to ownership and copyright issues, it was unable to be packaged in this collection. So, we are transported instead to 1976 and 'The Pink Panther Strikes Again', then 1978 for 'The Revenge of the Pink Panther', but most shamefully of all we get the execrable 1982 post-Sellers 'Trail of the Pink Panther'. Some credit is due for saving us from 'Curse of' and 'Son of', but nevertheless it leaves us with a hotch-potch of Panther films that doesn't quite do justice to the skills of either Sellers or Edwards. The earliest entries presented Clouseau as a noble and dignified character who knew he was stupid, the trick being not to let anyone else in on his secret. As the adventures progressed and Blake and Sellers grew to despise each other more and more, so the creativity collapsed and Clouseau mutated into a hapless buffoon. This isn't to say that the purely slapstick 'Strikes ...
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