Thursday, 31 March 2011

I Went To A Real Shop And All You Got Was This Lousy Blog Post

Having not visited an actual, physical shop in order to buy DVDs for literally a while now, and with time to kill the other day between the usual thrilling engagements that make up my Bondesque social life (I'd misread my watch and was an hour early meeting the Mrs from work), I tiptoed gingerly into the Westfield branch of HMV, or hmv as it appears to be called in these upper-case-phobic days. And let me tell you, it was an education. You might learn a lot from sitting at a computer boggling at the internets till your optic nerves shrivel up, but sometimes there's just no substitute for a field trip.

So come with me on a pictorial odyssey through the aisles of mystery, the shelves of wonder and the price tags of insanity as we discover just some of the fascinating titbits we can learn from "the real world".

Every single one of the top sixteen books for sale in HMV - sorry, hmv - has been adapted into a film. Are hmv customers completely ignorant of the 99% of literature that remains unfilmed? Of course not. But I am concerned they might be behind a grand conspiracy whose next step is to get Frankie Boyle's 'My Shit Life So Far' into cinemas.

For just twenty of the Queen's pounds you too can be insulted and patronised by these horribly marketed box sets of 1980s films "for him" and "for her". My love for Footloose is now the love that dare not speak its name, but I hope to reassert my masculinity soon with a viewing of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, especially the bit where Matthew Broderick takes a shower.

hmv have employed a team of construction workers to erect an enormous wall of DVDs, the centrepiece of which is an eight-foot-high tower of Toy Story 3 boxes. In an unprecented display of swaggering over-confidence, these have been produced in insanely large numbers and priced at just £29.99, which is pretty much the epitome of optimism. Good luck shifting those suckas.

There's a Lake Placid 3! I didn't even know there was a Lake Placid 2! Amazing tagline there though ("DON'T FORGET YOU'RE LUNCH!"), playing on the most basic human fears of the aberrant apostrophe, the inadvertent failure to remember one's midday repast and being eaten by an unconvincing crocodile slash alligator. Linguistic virtuosity.

Love your Mum? Why not prove it by treating her this Mother's Day to one of the most reviled, woman-hating films of all time?

I didn't want hmv to think I was taking the piss by hanging around in there taking photos all day so I bought these completely brilliant DVDs. When I got home I discovered I could have ordered them both online for almost half of what I had just spent. That was irritating.

Still, thanks to hmv for allowing me to photograph every square inch of it like some kind of potential terrorist, and if they want to send me Volumes 2 to 6 of the Tom & Jerry Classic Collection and the Looney Tunes Golden Collection I'm sure I could write something nice in return, like how lovely the staff are or how clean the floor is or something, I don't know, God, stop going on about it.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Blog Post About Blog Posts Heralds End Of Days

I love this website. I don't know if it's called SlashFilm, Slash Film, slashfilm, slash film, Slash film, Slashfilm, slashFilm, slash Film, /Film or /film and as far as I can tell, nor do they, but I still love it. It's the greatest online dumping ground for news, posters, trailers, rumours and all sorts of other piffle. I can even forgive their frequent and apparently unironic use of "LOL" to prefix stuff that may precipitate a slight raising of the corner of the mouth but is rarely, if ever, Laugh-Out-Loud-worthy (that's right Mum, it doesn't stand for Lots Of Love).

Their ceaseless mission to provide at least six posts per minute, however, reached critical mass on Monday when they hit us with a hat-trick of stories that have no place on the information super-highway, being neither informative nor super. I love a bit of gossip as much as the next idiot, but some of these posts are as pointless as a gallery of pictures of Roger Moore in knitwear:

I'm a busy man. There's a lot of stuff out there on the internet. What I don't really need clogging up my eyeballs is the news that a film I didn't think was happening still isn't happening. I made a "joke" about this on Twitter which I hereby recycle so as not to have to think of a new one:
If you're not following me on Twitter I bet you wish you were now.

I'm still trying to untangle this headline, but: "Development of Fourth 'X-Men' Movie Leads to Fifth Film"? Surely the development of the fourth film has in fact just led to the fourth film? Or is the point that the fourth film leads to a fifth film? I don't know, but if it is I look forward to future articles about how day leads to night, unprotected sex leads to babies or itching and Zack Snyder directing a Superman film leads to a shit Superman film.

I thought I was good at just coming up with any old garbage on a quiet day (let's say today, for example), but I must confess I'd never thought of posing a question in the title of a blog post only to answer it firmly (but bizarrely) in the negative in the first sentence. If Russ Fischer would like to get in touch and explain the linguistic rationale behind the mind-boggling phrase "any realistic level of reality", I'm all ears, because it seems to me like he may have watched Inception once too often. Amusingly, about 24 hours after posting this, Russ wrote another post claiming "'Justice League' Definitely Planned For 2013", which implies that we are now officially operating on an unrealistic level of reality.

Having said all that, keep it up fellas. Lovin' your work!
*winks, makes 'chk-chk' sound*

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Farley Granger 1925-2011

"You've been trying to get rid of me long enough.
Now I'll go you one better!"
- Guy Haines, Strangers On A Train

The Man With The Golden (Cardi)Gun

I was thrilled (read: appalled) recently when blogger, journalist and occasionally sober '80s throwback Your Turn Heather brought this beauty to my attention:
That's nice isn't it? Further "research" unveiled some equally alarming images from Sir (Knighted for Services to Knitwear) Roger Moore's past:
Sixty years later, and we still haven't learned anything:
Can we PLEASE stop putting Bond in a cardigan?

Monday, 28 March 2011

A Great Night For Film, A Bad Night For Feminine Micturition

The Jameson Empire Awards were held last night, and The Incredible Suit can exclusively reveal that some people won some awards, some people said some funny sentences and some people got drunk and fell over.

The night's big shock, however, was revealed in the photo press release, which clearly demonstrates that the biggest oversight at the ceremony was the absence of a ladies' toilet, which led to several actresses, models, whatevers and Christ-knows-whats having to spend the night standing cross-legged to avoid drowning the entire population of London's Grosvenor House Hotel in a tsunami of ladypiss.
Still, at least they all maintained their dignity, which is more than can be said for some people. On an entirely unrelated but possibly related note, here's a picture of Dexter Fletcher:
The lead role in The Incredible Shrinking Tim Burton is surely his for the taking.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Source Code

After the success of Brokeback Mountain, it's only natural that Jake Gyllenhaal would be attracted to another script in which he finds himself inside the body of another man. However this time round it's his mind which is squeezed into some poor sap's unwitting noggin as he's made to relive the same eight minutes of time over and over until he can discover who blew up the 0730 train to Chicago. [insert obligatory Groundhog Day reference]
Despite all the marketing to the contrary, Source Code isn't concerned with time travel as much as it is with parallel universes. At least I think that's what it's concerned with - it was a bit tricky to glean from a rushed and mumbled exposition scene in which Jeffrey Wright babbled about quantum physics and parabolic calculus before pointing over my shoulder and shouting "What's that?!" then running away before I had chance to ask what the hell he was on about.

Obviously it doesn't matter a hoot how Jake ends up in his doomed temporal loop, but what happens during those repeated minutes, and fortunately what happens is sufficiently exciting for a Saturday night popcorn flick, if not as extraordinary as director Duncan Jones' fantastic debut Moon might have led us to hope.

Given a considerably larger budget this time round, Jones sensibly doesn't blow it on massive CG sequences and set-pieces. Source Code is still a relatively "small" picture about two or three people, and like all the best time travel - sorry, parallel universe - movies, the fantasy element is there to serve the story rather than vice versa.

Gyllenhaal is as watchable as ever, Michelle Monaghan (to whom I am married in a parallel universe) does an exceptional job of dealing with the insanity of the plot in a totes convincing fashion, Vera Farmiga talks into camera a lot and Jeffrey Wright has clearly polished off all the catering truck's ham.
Ben Ripley's script is good old-fashioned hokum for the most part, although the ending raises countless moral and ethical questions that the film isn't interested in, suggesting a darker, more interesting sequel in some version of the future.

In a movie that feels a bit like a job interview, Duncan Jones proves that he can handle the complexities of a larger budget, a few action scenes and another brain-twisting script, but the final product contains none of the atmosphere or great moments of his debut. He's clearly a talented director and the inevitable superhero reboot and Christopher Nolan comparisons await, but for now Source Code feels like a step on the way to greater things. The next step being to stop shoehorning Chesney Hawkes' "The One And Only" into his films. Nobody needs that.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Nine Things About The Italian Job For No Particular Reason

In perhaps one of The Incredible Suit's most pointless exercises, I thought I'd highlight some of the things that make "knockabout caper" The Italian Job a highly enjoyable experience for anyone with the capacity for the enjoyment of things. If all this seems a bit redundant just imagine it's 1969 and it'll instantly become new, original and groovy.

The Opening

How is it possible to make a leisurely drive through the Alps in a Lamborghini Miura even more enjoyable? Simple: get Quincy Jones and Don Black to write a lovely song and have Matt Monro drizzle it into your ear like honey but without the irritating clean-up operation that the aural drizzling of actual honey would necessitate. 'On Days Like These' immediately sets up the breezy, unaffordably stylish nature of The Italian Job before slamming it into a bulldozer and exploding in a ball of fire.

Michael Fucking Caine
Michael F. Caine's entrance in The Italian Job is cinema gold. As if his very presence wasn't so effortlessly magnetic in the first place, he magnifies the effect by leering right up to the lens and looking like - well, like some kind of lovable cheeky cockney geezer on the cusp of a "knockabout caper".

He's also uniformly amazing for the rest of the film, working wonders with an already great script. Forget "You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off" - I frequently find myself quoting lines like "This car belongs to the Pakistani ambassador!", "B-I-G. Big," and "You wouldn't hit a man with no trousers on, would you?" in circumstances as appropriate as you can imagine.

The Bit Parts
Benny Hill! John Le Mesurier! Irene Handl! It's like some kind of dream dinner party. It's easy to drop a bunch of famous faces into a film for almost no reason; it's another thing entirely to get away with it. But then The Italian Job is all about getting away with it.

The Clobber
animated gif maker
Until Caine pulls on the blue jumpsuit that he wears for the duration of the heist, he wears a different outfit in almost every single scene. That's over fifteen costume changes in the first hour of the film. Even Anne Hathaway didn't have that many on Oscar night. And what's more, he looks utterly godlike in every single one, even the ludicrous flowery shirt he gets measured for and NEVER WEARS AGAIN.

Sir Noël Peirce Coward
He was born in 1899 you know. EIGHTEEN NINETY-NINE!

The Self Preservation Society

Has there ever been a more jubilant musical celebration of lovable cheeky cockney geezers enjoying a "knockabout caper" than this song? I've thought long and hard about it, and I've come to the conclusion that probably not. AND it's not even called 'The Self Preservation Society', it's called 'Getta Bloomin' Move On!' Mental.

The Motors
Everyone bangs on about the Mini Coopers, and quite rightly. They're lovely. And although there are 412 separate mentions of the word "Mini" on The Italian Job's IMDb trivia page, at no point does it mention the fact that the crew had to cut holes in the bottom of each one for the actors to put their feet through and run like in The Flintstones because Italian petrol was so expensive. Unbelievable.

The Waltz Of The Mini Coopers

Speaking of the Mini Coopers, this deleted scene fulfills all the requirements of great deleted scenes in that a) it has absolutely no place in the film, and b) it works brilliantly as a standalone piece of nonsense.

The End
Genius. But, like everything else I've mentioned here, you know that.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Made Up Reviews 2: Made Up Boogaloo

Following the runaway success I had with my last batch of made-up reviews ("runaway success" = a couple of retweets), I decided to do it all over again. And when I say "decided", in no way do I mean that I've run out of ideas and haven't seen anything that's out this week.

Cave Of Forgotten Dreams stars barmlord director Werner Herzog as the titular cave. When Nicolas Cage enters him he finds the elusive dream recorder we all wish we had, and he stays there for a hundred years watching all his old forgotten dreams until he gets to the one where he turned up at school with no pants on, at which point he leaves the Herzog-Cave via the nearest exit in a scene reminiscent of 1992 horror Society. It's rubbish.

Country Strong is the riches-to-riches story of an annoying actress who, having tested everybody's good will to the limit several times over, finally realises her dream of singing live at the Oscars. Despite stiff competition she beats everything else at the ceremony to win the coveted title of Worst Thing. Starring Gwyneth Paltrow as Gwyneth Paltrow. It's rubbish.

The Eagle is the long-awaited movie adaptation of the popular boys' comic of the 1950s and '60s (and relaunched in the '80s, arguably its golden age); a portmanteau film featuring Jamie Bell as the hideous alien The Mekon, Channing Tatum as the hideous alien Doomlord and Mark Strong as the hideous but expert BMX-riding alien Star Rider. It's rubbish.

A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures is the story of a bunch of characters rejected from the script of Finding Nemo for being too bland. Told in real time, it follows Sammy from birth to death and so has a running time of 83 years. It's rubbish. Ook in 3D.

Wake Wood is a knockabout caper following the hilarious exploits of the Rolling Stones as they attempt to rouse Ronnie Wood from his slumber following a five-week booze and pills bender. Mick Jagger ties him to the front of an aeroplane and flies it to Rio, and Keith Richards sets fire to him in order to snort his ashes, but to no avail. Eventually it turns out he's been dead since 1974 and nobody noticed. It's rubbish.

Faster stars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as The Faster, a man who eats nothing at all following a traumatic incident in which his wife once ate something and it made her a bit poorly. Billy Bob Thornton stars as the villain who tries to force Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to at least have a biscuit or something, but Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson refuses. Eventually Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson cracks and eats the entire world in an EXPLOSIVE FINALE. It's The Incredible Suit's Film Of The Year.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Attack The Block Poster In Non-Crap Poster Non-Shocker!

From a distance it may look like it's called A(Pi symbol)ack I Block, especially if you're an idiot, but otherwise this is a refreshingly cool poster for what is, let's hope, a refreshingly cool film. Er... innit, um... blud. Brrapp?

Oh and have a trailer while you're here, although if you haven't seen it yet you clearly need to spend more time glued to the internets like what I is.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Dutch Puns > English Puns

What's more, Johnny Holland has no need to come up with another cringing description of 3D (A Turtle's Tale's extra dimension is nonsensically described here as "SHELL SHOCKING") because their word for "also" is "ook". And "OOK IN 3D" is probably the best sentence ever. Bravo!

Friday, 18 March 2011

BlogalongaBond / Goldfinger:
Cinema's Greatest Nostrils

Dr. No and From Russia With Love might be Great Films With James Bond In Them, but Goldfinger is the first Great James Bond Film. Director Guy Hamilton established a formula here which proved so successful that the series would employ it repeatedly, with varying degrees of success, over the next forty-odd years. Every frame of Goldfinger oozes impeccable style, 1960s cool and a sense of fun that mark it out as the definitive Bond Film, and ironically it was only when future entries dared to stray from the Goldfinger template that they came close to matching this film's genius.

Although there are several amazing things about Goldfinger that helped turn its constituent parts into cinematic gold, one thing stands taller than the rest. Six feet and two inches tall to be precise, and without it the film would be nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for Mr Thomas Sean Connery.
After stomping round Jamaica in Dr. No and bimbling through Istanbul in From Russia With Love, by 1964 the 33-year-old Connery had completely relaxed into the role of the world's most high-profile secret agent. When people say he's the best Bond, they're thinking of his performance in Goldfinger. No longer in awe of his surroundings but yet to display the irritation and boredom with the role that would taint his subsequent films, it's here that Sean Connery is the centrepiece of a film full of centrepieces.

His confidence and comfort in Bond's immaculately-polished shoes are apparent from the moment he removes a plastic duck from his head to the final smooch beneath a parachute with the world's greatest double entendre, Pussy Galore. But it's the details in Connery's performance that stand out; small reactions here and there that George Lazenby and Roger Moore were incapable of, that Pierce Brosnan seemed to have to force out and that only Timothy Dalton and Daniel Craig since - as genuine actors - achieved naturally.
In Goldfinger, the requisite meeting with M is a masterclass in actorly minimalism rarely found in a 007 film. Bond is simultaneously harbouring guilt at inadvertently causing the death of the villain's mistress, a simmering lust for revenge, barely-concealed frustration with his boss for not letting him punch Goldfinger's fat head off immediately and annoyance at only being half-briefed for his next assignment. All of which are perceptible in the clenching of his jaw, the inability to look M in the eye, the impatient stance and the flaring of the magnificent Connery nostrils.

In fact Connery deploys the nostril flare with devastating effect at various points in the film when he's seething with sub-surface rage at Goldfinger and his dastardly deeds. It's there when he calls Felix Leiter to tell him about the gold-painted corpse in his room, and it reappears when Bond and Goldfinger finally meet at the golf club. It's a tiny movement of a few small muscles but it speaks volumes about Bond's state of mind; the only visible crack in his cool exterior that suggests the boiling fury beneath.
It's not all about the snotholes though; Connery's reactions when warned to pipe down by M after pretentiously diagnosing the problem with Colonel Smithers' disappointing brandy, when put in his place by Q's withering "I never joke about my work, 007" remark, and when introduced to a girl whose name may as well be Alotta Fagina, are all priceless.

Of course it takes more than the pulling of a few faces to make a convincing James Bond. A former Mr Universe, Sean Connery is physically peerless in Goldfinger. This is just before he became one of the most recognisable faces on the planet and let fame go straight to his gut, and I don't care how rampantly heterosexual you are, there's an undeniable pleasure in watching a man who can stride about in an alarming baby-blue terry-towelling playsuit as confidently as he does in a beautiful three-piece grey plaid number.
Trust me, I know from bitter experience that neither of those looks are easy to pull off.

It would be another 23 years until audiences saw another convincing James Bond, albeit a totally different one to that seen in Goldfinger, when Timothy Dalton arrived to take the character back to his literary roots. For now, though, one man would own the role, and for many people will continue to do so forever. For once, the posters got it right: Sean Connery IS James Bond.

The pre-title sequence
Goldfinger marks the first time we get a complete Bond mini adventure before the actual story begins, and it's also one of the finest. In less than five electrifying minutes it packs in exotic locations, gadgets, action, futuristic production design, a dinner jacket, a treacherous naked breast-shaking hottie, a close-up of an expensive watch, a massive explosion, a great scrap with a vicious thug and a tremendous kiss-off line. Infinitely better than the whole of Moonraker.

The unsolicited laser surgery scene
Further proof of Connery's skillz comes as we watch him try to think his way out of the impending separation of one side of his body from the other, beginning with his most treasured possessions. However we're also spoiled with an abundance of technical talent in this scene: Richard Maibaum and Paul Dehn's endlessly quotable script; Ken Adam's deliciously angular set; Norman Wanstall's (Oscar-winning) sound effects; Peter Hunt's increasingly frantic editing; and John Barry's terrifying musical accompaniment to Bond's mounting fear. Only when the laser is turned off do you realise you haven't breathed out for about two minutes.

Ken Adam's Fort Knox set
Having never seen the inside of Fort Knox, Ken Adam was asked by Cubby Broccoli to create "a cathedral of gold". If there was ever a perfect example of the overused phrase "every penny is on the screen", this is it.

The fight with Oddjob
While not as technically groundbreaking as From Russia With Love's train-bound fisticuffs, Bond's showdown with Oddjob is equally as satisfying. With Harold Sakata's mute henchman apparently made of concrete, Bond clearly isn't going to beat him with his fists and Q has yet to invent the convenient poison dart-firing wristwatch. Pleasingly, 007 resorts to his wits to defeat Oddjob in a scene which also brings out the best in the aforementioned jaw-dropping set. 

John Barry's Score
"Oddjob's Pressing Engagement"

I'm going to attempt to not bring up John Barry's score for every Bond film he did, but when it's as phenomenal as this one it's impossible to ignore. Brassy, jazzy, bombastic and suspenseful, it's probably the best thing he ever did. Imagine how happy the Beatles-hating Bond would have been when the soundtrack album dumped the Fab Four off the top of the charts. Oh yeah, there's quite a good song too.

And finally: We get another of these beauties:

Bond, in bed with a semi-naked blonde, is on the phone to Felix Leiter.
What's that? Dinner?

The semi-naked blonde twirls her hair into Bond's ear.

No look I'm sorry, I can't. Something big's come up.
BlogalongaBond will return with Thunderball

What the hell is BlogalongaBond? I'll tell you.
Further BlogalongaBondareading here