Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

  
Young soldier Lt. Frederick Manion (Ben Gazzara) stands accused of first degree murder, after he shot the man who raped his wife Laura Manion (Lee Remick). Seeking the help of attorney Paul Biegler (James Stewart), Lt. Manion looks to prove that a moment of insanity made him commit the murder. Will he win his case?

  
Well you’ll have to watch and find out. I’m a sucker for a good courtroom drama, and for the most part Otto Perminger’s ‘Anatomy of a Murder’ delivers. It’s got a great cast too, with supporting acts like George C. Scott, who was nominated for an Oscar. The story is gripping to begin with, and you kind of get an idea of what happened, but since Otto Perminger disliked the use of flashbacks, there are no images to go along with Mrs. Manion’s or the Lieutenant’s account of what happened the night of the rape and murder. As Biegler goes around questioning witnesses of the night Laura Manion was raped, you get the idea that he’s fleshing out his case for the defence of Lt. Manion, but you get no real sense of urgency. A better way of telling the story would be if Lt. Manion had already been convicted and was due to be executed. That way you could build the suspense and really create an interesting drama. 

  
It’s not that ‘Anatomy of a Murder’ is a bad movie, far from it. The problem is at a running time of 2hrs 40mins you feel that a lot of what happens is filler. Often this movie is cited as a masterpiece, but I would be inclined to disagree. I’ve seen other courtroom movies that are a lot more engaging and suspenseful than this. James Stewart is always worth a watch, and he brings that sort of naive, everyman charm to the role of Paul Biegler that he does in most movies I’ve watched him in. Lee Remick is stunning as Laura Manion, and it was interesting to see a young Ben Gazzara as I only really remember him from The Big Lebowski and also as the big bad in Roadhouse.

  

If you’re into courtroom movies then there is a lot to like here. However I felt that the 3rd act was lacking and undid some of the good groundwork laid earlier. Interestingly enough James Stewart’s father was so offended by this movie that he took out an advert in a local newspaper telling people not to go and see it. Reason for his offence was that this was one of the first movies to have words like panties, slut, rape and sperm used in a script. The film was also banned in Chicago upon its release. Worth a watch, but there are better legal themed movies out there. 

3/5

JM

  

Run (1991)

  
Charlie Farrow (Patrick Dempsey) is a cocksure law student in Boston, who works part time as a mechanic. When his boss tasks him with driving a Porsche to Atlantic City and get paid $200 for the trouble, he can’t see a downside. On the way however the car breaks down and Charlie is forced to stop off to get it repaired. 

  
Whilst visiting a gambling den, Charlie gets into a disagreement with a fellow gambler, who falls, hits his head and dies in the ensuing struggle. However this ‘gambler’ was the son of a local mob boss. Now Charlie must run for his life from mob enforcers, crooked cops and anyone else looking to claim the bounty on his head. 

  
I have to say I did really enjoy this. Once Charlie has to run, the movie doesn’t let up. Patrick Dempsey plays the part of the cocky Charlie well. Someone who’s mouth seems to get him into more trouble than out of it. Not a great start for a law student one would imagine. Kelly Preston is passable as the gambling den waitress that Charlie must turn to for help. I’ve never really cared much for Kelly Preston and find that she’s a very poor actress, but luckily she doesn’t have much to do here, so it doesn’t really cause too much of an issue. 

  
This is the sort of movie that you would catch on TV late at night. It doesn’t require much thought or investment and sets out to entertain, which to me is what movies are all about. There’s a lot to like in this movie, and it’s easy to see why Dempsey has become a star as he exudes a lot of likeablity here. Recommended. 

4/5

JM

  

Hollywood, Je T’Aime (2009)

  
Jérôme Beaunez (Eric Debets) returns home to find his partner having sex with another man. Initially shocked and saddened, he pokes fun at the fact that his boyfriend is now “bottoming”, to which his boyfriend replies “well I never had the chance to bottom with you.” Jérôme leaves, but not being able to face a winter alone in Paris, he books a trip to Los Angeles with dreams of being an actor. 

  
Once stateside Jérôme meets and makes friends with a colourful bunch of folks who make him feel welcome. It’s then that he meets Ross (Chad Allen) and the two fall for each other, but deep down Jérôme misses his hometown and you feel it will have an effect on his holiday romance. 

  
There are some very funny moments during the movie, but not enough to shake the amateurish feel that permeates throughout. I understand that it was made on a low budget, but it felt at times that I was watching a student movie, which hampered my enjoyment. The chemistry between Jérôme and Ross is believable however and reminded me a lot of the chemistry between Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain, which is still one of my favourite movies. You can believe in the romance blossoming between Jérôme and Ross, and would understand that it would transcend mere infatuation. 

  
The supporting cast are humorous, such as Jérôme’s cheating partner, but I felt that they trod the line between reality and stereotype once too often for my liking. Probably not something I’d revisit again, as it just doesn’t hold up to recent gay cinema outings. Be sure to stop by http://www.out.tv and check out what’s on offer. 

2/5

JM 
  

Does Zavvi hate you?

  
Zavvi. Everyone pretty much knows the above logo, and can remember when they first came on the scene. I’ve dealt with Zavvi on multiple occasions and for the most part it has not been a pleasant experience. Zavvi are so inept at dealing with customers that it borders on total incompetence.

 One incident I had, and I know a few others who were in the same boat, was when Zavvi accidentally changed the price of the original Star Wars trilogy steelbook. I can’t remember the exact price it was changed to, but it was somewhere around £15. There was a mad scramble and many placed their orders. When Zavvi realised their massive cockup they went into damage limitation mode. Now most companies that would make that sort of error would honour original purchases and changed the price before any future purchases can be made. But not Zavvi. No they decided to cancel all orders made and basically tell people who complained that it was tough shit. Zavvi don’t always make those sort of errors, but how they deal with customers and their complaints is consistently awful. You can’t phone Zavvi and complain. You can phone them, but it’s automated and tells you to email them via the site before the call cuts out. Emailing them is equally infuriating. The reply is nearly always robotic in its tone and lacks any real sense of wanting to help the customer. Basically in a nutshell, Zavvi just don’t care. 

  
Zavvi tend to release a lot of steelbooks. A lot of these are also ‘exclusive’ to Zavvi and no other retailer. Now this is bad. Bad because it forces you to buy from them rather than give you the option of shopping around. Now this means Zavvi get to set the price. They also pull a few nasty tricks too. One involved the Guardians of the Galaxy steelbook. Zavvi quickly sold out, but later on ‘discovered’ a few in the warehouse. However when the steelbook went back up on the site the price had risen from £24.99 to £49.99. Zavvi decided they’d beat the eBay scalpers to the punch and marked that sucker up for double the price. Film companies need to stop giving Zavvi exclusive rights to release some movies, maybe then Zavvi would start to treat their customer base with some respect.

 
Which brings me to the dreaded ‘ZBOX’. The ZBOX was Zavvi’s way of tapping into that whole mystery box thing which seems to be all the rage. This wouldn’t be a bad thing if their ZBOX wasn’t full of junk that Zavvi charged £19.99 for. When the ZBOX wasn’t selling that well Zavvi tried lowering the price, but this didn’t work in raising its popularity. So Zavvi tried a different tact. They started selling the ZBOX with exclusive steelbooks. Meaning if you wanted a choice steelbook, you’d have to buy their box of useless shit too. Didn’t buy the box, don’t get the steelbook. It’s that kind of underhanded approach to selling that really makes me dislike Zavvi. 

  
Their packaging is probably the only positive thing about Zavvi. The above picture is not what they send steelbooks in, but it was for a time. Zavvi changed from the sturdy boxes to the crap Jiffy bags as it was cheaper. However after some uproar Zavvi went back to using the boxes. Lots of people complain about Zavvi, but I don’t think Zavvi listen. Even complaining to them via Twitter elicits a robotic response. Zavvi need a drastic overhaul if they are to instill any confidence in customers looking to purchase from them. 

JM

Stan Lee 1/6 scale figure from Hot Toys

  
Wow. Just look at the sculpt on this awesome 1/6 scale figure of comic book legend Stan Lee. Available to pre order now on the link below via Sideshow Collectibles:
Stan Lee Stan Lee Stan Lee Sixth Scale Figure

 
Hot Toys and Sideshow have always been at the top of the table when it comes to scale figures and busts. This really is an uncanny likeness of Stan Lee and it is available at a great price. 

JM

  

Wes Craven – (1939 – 2015)

  
Just awoke to some terrible news today. Director Wes Craven, who gave new life to the horror genre when he created A Nightmare on Elm Street, has died aged 76 after a battle with brain cancer. This man played a huge part in my growing up. He gave me some of my favourite horror movies such as The People Under the Stairs and The Serpent and the Rainbow, not to mention the obvious one A Nightmare on Elm Street. He also made some gritty horrors in the 1970’s with The Hills Have Eyes and Last House on the Left. Twice when the horror genre was lagging, did he breathe new life into it again when he made New Nightmare in 1994 and also in 1996 when he made Scream. His last movie was Scream 4 in 2011. RIP Wes. 

   
    
 
JM

Support this great cause. 

  
Dave Robinson over at the wonderful http://www.80spicturehouse.co.uk is doing something crazy in support for St. David’s Hospice in North Wales. As its the 2nd annual Stuart ‘Shotgun Jones’ Chapin day over at 80’s Picture House, so Dave will be flying down a blindingly fast zip line to raise money for the hospice. It’s a cause close to the guys hearts and the legend Stuart Chapin has also been bravely battling the illness. So to help support the guys, please head over to https://www.justgiving.com/80sPictureHouseDave/ and donate what you can for this great cause. 

  
JM

Scalers – from NECA

Hi guys, JM here. Check out this announcement from NECA about a new, pretty awesome, product. Gotta get me some of these! 

Hillside, NJ—October 29, 2013—National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA) today announced SCALERS, a new line of licensed electronics accessories that builds on its established relationships with some of the hottest intellectual properties to bring a brand new concept to the marketplace. SCALERS are decorative cord accessories in the shape of miniature character figures, with a patented mechanism that fastens to headphone cords, device cables and more.  

More than 50 licenses will be incorporated into the SCALERS product line, including Pacific Rim, Aliens, Predator, Godzilla, Portal, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street.

Each SCALER is a sculpted, hand-painted miniature figure from some of the most widely recognized properties in the world. With SCALERS, consumers can express their own personality while decorating or identifying electronics cords. 

See http://www.necaonline.com for more killer products. 

Shall we begin?

Well the road starts here folks. I’m a massive movie fan. I consume films of every kind. I don’t pretend to know it all, and what I don’t know I look up. I love to introduce folks to new film experiences and in turn get recommendations from them. So that’s what has brought me here today. The first real step in communicating with the movie world. As we progress, for what I hope will be a long journey, I shall share many things with you. I shall post film news, reviews of old and new titles. I shall post reviews of film memorabilia, be it posters, toys or anything else I get my hands on. I am excited as I write this. Excited to venture into the great unknown of movie fans. Because let’s face it we are a passionate bunch, and we are prone to the hissy fit once in a while. We don’t always agree on what we like, but that’s what makes it great. Discussions lead to new experiences, and those of us more open minded will venture forth and discover films which will open our eyes to a world that we never knew existed. There are many films I haven’t seen, but I am excited to go seek them out. I hope you’ll join me.

Your film friend.

JM