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Lights, Camera, Sit On The Couch

by Peter Doherty


Sky Box Office, yev gotta love it.  Well not all the time granted but on occassion its quality.  One of those periods is right now fight fans. Some of the stuff they've got on is mustard.  Obviously they've still got kid movies & tampon flix but a number of the cornucopia on offer rule OK.  First off I think I should confess why I like Box Office so much. Well really its coz I fucking hate everyone & refuse to sit in a cinema with other human's. The thought of crossing mega-popcorn with some teen blert in Nike Air 95 as it might result in punctured sub-sole & splintered weener fills me with angst. So I wait, & I wait, oh & cross my fingers & moan "When's it fucking coming on" & I wait some more & then after Harry Potter & the Nan Witch's Love Egg has stopped showing for 2 months something quality pops up & so it came to pass.  For the last 10 days Sky has had 16 off me in movies & no it wasn't to watch women with skin the colour of the General Lee pretend to fudge each other with aubergines. It was to watch high class cinema. 


So last Monday, waiting for Eurogoals at 10. 30 I checked what was on.  Mmm "Good Night & Good Luck",  all-round liberal & dashing looking chap (so the HRT gang in work inform me) George Clooneys movie on McCarthyism.  1st off I 'd better make it clear that I'm a bit biased here usually residing, politically to the left of Pol Pot, & any ripping of Right Wing nuggets from Wisconsin would be right up my autobahn.  Well I wasn't disappointed.  Its an allegorical tale where the links to the behaviour of the current moon-witted encumbent of the White House & a comment on the timidity of the press today is easy to see.  Interspersed with clips of the actual McCarthyist witchhunt the film shows how TV Journalist Ed Murrow, played by the magnificent David Strathairn, realised that the allegations made by McCarthy had no substance. With frightening fortitude Murrow decided to expose McCarthy & the film details how this was achieved. Clooney is excellent as the shows producer Fred Friendly & his reserved performance lets Strathairn shine.  A sub-plot with Robert Downey & Patricia Clarkson as a secretly married couple(not allowed at work) is a bit pointless, but if you've got an hour & a half to kill go for it.


Next up on the list on Wednesday coz there was no footy coz of them bastard English playing at the weekend was "Tsotsi". The winner of the best foreign film Oscar was compared with City of God. Sorry no matter how good a film is I doubt it could ever match the jaw dropping effect that CIty of God had on me. That however is no criticism of a stunningly good film.  Tell you what the Favela's looked scary but the Townships, , jumpin' Jehosophat, they are the arsehole of the world. Based around the main character Tsotsi (Thug in Afrikaans),  an orphan from the age of 9,  & his gang of thieves this is really a story of redemption.  After stealing a car, & wounding the female owner, Tsotsi discovers a baby in the back seat.  Torn between leaving the child & helping it survive we see flashbacks to how he arrived in the shit that he's in. Managing to get rid of his gang & forming a relationship its the tale of a diamond (like the South African connection there triv fans) in the rough & his way back to something like humanity. One point I'd like to make though is that every time the film shows the township people leaving trains they've all got Nike runners on. Can't be that skint or are they Mamalodi Sundowns Casuals?? All in all a quality film just don't expect City of God.


Third up in the big spend & most surprising was "Transamerica".  The tale of a man going through a sex change who discovers the week before his knacker removal op that he's got a son who's just been nicked in the Big Apple for selling his harris. He/she (Stanley/Bree) goes to bail the son out & they set off on what must be the coolest Road Movie since the 70's.  I know the story doesn't sound the most appealing but the acting is superb, there's humour, some seriously ropey behaviour & by the end I actually gave a shit about what happened to the characters. Good sign that. Maybe one to watch with your significant other coz they'll be crying & then you can show how 1000%geezer you are.  Felicity Huffman is the best woman playing a man becoming a woman ever by the way.


Finally, & thanks for sticking with me on this, is the one I'd waited ages for. "The Proposition". I hadn't looked forward to anything this much since Monday 11/9/06 & going to work to laugh at Kopites. Can I just take this moment to say Mr & Mrs Johnson thank you for the fruit of your loins from 39000 people. Anyway back to the film. I'd scoured the listing for months waiting for this. It had had a fair old build up when it came out. The Independent did a 3 page spread, alongside "10 Best Spinning Jenny's" or some such middle class wankdorfer. Anywho this is basically a good old cowboy film, but with a twist, its set in the Australian outback in the 1800's. Now I love cowey films, I still believe "The Outlaw Josey Wales" is the greatest movie ever made & I will argue to the death over that. So yep I was geared up. I wasn't disappointed. Beautifully filmed, using the vastness of Oz like a classic John Ford, it stars Ray Winstone as Captain Stanley, an Englishman abroad in every sense.  Watching him & his wife try to live as Victorian British in the middle of a rust coloured expanse is weird at times. Stanley is hunting Arthur Burns, a serial loon played by Danny Huston. The man in the middle is Arthur's brother Charlie, played by Guy Pierce. How did Mike off Neighbours become such a good actor?LA Confidential & this is enough to complete anyone's CV never mind Memento.  The plot is that Stanley captures Charlie & gives him 9 days to kill Arthur or their youngest brother Mikey will hang. This sets off a trail of bloodletting & violence that every great cowboy film needs. Winstone is superb as the man out of place battling to keep his wife happy, safe & away from what is basically the Wild East. John Hurt pops up as a bezerk pissed up bounty hunter, Jellon Lamb. There's shotgun's blowing heads off, floggings & beheadings & more beards than you can shake a stick at. Also I should point out the music is suitably odd all the way through, like ghost folk music, not surprising as the screenplay is by Nick Cave.  Well in bat-cave man.

Fucking fantastic.


So there you have it. Money well spent even if I do say so myself. Tomorrow I might just get "Munich" with Eric Bana.  Better had coz there's always a Fast & the Furious snowdrift for 3 months on the horizon. You know its coming so gather corn whilst you may.

Sayonara from the square-eyed king













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