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Showing posts from March, 2007

Passings: Freddie Francis, Cinematographer and Director

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Freddie Francis, one of the twentieth century's finest lensmen and director of some of the most enjoyable efforts of the British horror film boom of the 1960's and '70's, passed away on St. Patrick's Day at age 89. The man's incredible (and for this movie nerd, indispensible) body of work has merited volumes of scholarly study and more than a few tributes. Rather than wax too verbose myself, do yourself an enormous favor and check out this brief but excellent reflection by Tim Lucas . I can only point at Lucas's fine work and say, um, "What he said." Directors like Martin Scorsese and David Lynch hired him to shoot their films, but if you'd like to see what all the hubbub is all about for yourself, here's an on-the-fly list of Freddie Francis's most essential efforts--both behind the camera lens and in the Director's Chair--from this cramped quadrant. That many of these films have already merited mention in this here Blog over t

Sting has Stung, the Hogs has Riz...

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...I wonder where my patience is? Excuse me while I rant in the corner like a really crabby old man for a bit about movies (and a concert) that I'll never see. People of America, why for the love of God's white silk knickers have you made Wild Hogs an across-the-board hit ? Are you so utterly starved for escapism, so bereft of functioning grey matter that you're willing to pack theaters--at 11 bucks a head, no less--and waste 90 minutes of your lives on high-concept product that'd be laughed out of a King of Queens script powwow? Can you not see straight from the trailers that the star chemistry is more forced than the grin on Katie Couric's face? Am I the only human being in the U.S. of A who wants with all my heart and soul for Tim Allen and Martin Lawrence to go the hell AWAY?! And while we're at it, is anyone taking a collection to pay the wonderful William H. Macy NOT to do numbingly-dumb crap like this? If so, count me in. You'd think that seriou

Mining for Overlooked Pop Music Jewels: Jigsaw

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Venerable record chain Tower Records filed for bankruptcy late last year, and its demise bummed me out in a big way. I hadn't shopped with frequency at Tower in ages--put bluntly, their steep prices of late alienated me big-time--but back in the eighties the chain's size and diversity did a lot to open my ears. I remember every purchase I made at Tower Records' Tacoma store from my first at age 14 (for the record, a cassette of Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy and a vinyl copy of Sparks' Angst in My Pants ), all the way to just before I moved to Seattle at age 21 ( Invisible Lantern by the Screaming Trees --and yes, I AM a big ol' dork for remembering). Rampant sentimentality, however, did bupkis to keep me from picking at the chain's dying carcass late last year like any good bargain-hunter. Right before the Tower Records on 5th Avenue in Seattle breathed its last in December, it bestowed one last parting gift in its final week: a 90%-off sale that dr