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Halloween movies & Assault on precinct 13.

1 Nov

(bit of backround music for ya;)

The television lineup for the halloween weekend, bar Ghostbusters 1&2  being shown, was disapointing. Incredibly disapointing. No scream, no chucky, no nightmare on elm street, no carrie, no nothing. And this wasn’t just the Irish channels I get here either; this was cable. All the major channels from the British isles, and there wasn’t a scrap of halloween fever among them.

Noticing this, it got me thinking about my favourite scary movies.Personally, I’m not actually that big into horror movies. I watched the first ‘Saw’, got a bit of a giddy thrill out of it but then got bored pretty quickly: “oh no! yet ANOTHER dastardly mindfuck-trap? whatever will happen?!”. I was never a huge fan of the Exorcist or anything either, because that shit’s just wrong. Most movies nowadays put a young girl humming/singing chillingly in a hallway and it’s implied(or, depressingly, presumed) that it’s scary; the exorcist went to fucking town on that shit. it was wrong, and damn scary.

Sure, I don’t necessarily love or watch those films all too often, but it adds to the halloween spirit when I find myself skipping over them on the tv schedule a bit quicker than I need to for fear that letting the remote linger on them too long will awaken something dark from the floorboards…

But anyway, thinking about all of this I remembered my favourite scary film. It’s not really a ‘horror’, but damn it’ll get you in the same mood.

Years and years ago in my early teens; back when tamagotchis were the equivalent of iPhones and Zack Morris was the Johnny Depp of the day, I had the house to myself one weekend night. I stayed up late, slipping out back for a sneaky joint every once in a while and had the kind of enjoyable time to myself you can only have when your that age, feeling like it’s your house, your life and your time to do whatever you want with.

Around 1 in the night I stumbled past the Irish language television channel “TG4”, which has the uncanny ability to pick up the best cult films and tv shows around. As of writing this, it is still the only channel out of all of the ones on cable that has picked up the phenomenal “The Wire” from across the Atlantic…that’s how good it is, and it’s targeted at an Irish speaking population of about two hundred thousand (at most…that’s a high guess).

Anyway, knowing it had this ability -seeing as it had introduced me to the classic “The Warriors” only a few weeks beforehand, I stuck around for a few minutes to see what film it was lining up. Little did I know, it was about to introduce me to one of my all time favourites.

Everything in it, from the cinematography to the drawn out atmosphere of the setting to the broken down city in the backround almost acting as a supporting actor did something to scare the bejeesus out of me. I have yet to find, watch or even hear of a film that creates such a tense atmosphere without resorting to cheap orchestra music or shock value. It’s an incredible movie.

One of the single things that shook me about it though was the feeling or atmosphere that it evoked in the first half hour. In that time the film shows dusk in a city and a sad sense of apathy, isolation and hopelessness that just struck a spark with me. When watching it I could smell that feeling in the air as I have done many times when walking around the city, that dusk time emptying of the streets…it’s quite a feeling. If you’ve felt it you know, if not might be best off haha, it’s some ‘dark night of the soul’ stuff.

I’m not gonna tell you much about it actually. Don’t try to find out about it, just find it and watch it. In this day and age it’s almost required that you look up everything about a film before you watch it because you don’t want to waste your time but believe me, this is worth knowing nothing about. Besides, all you need to know is up on that classic poster (they don’t make ’em like they used to).

Oh: and do not watch the remake. Don’t. Just, …just don’t. It’s horrible.

Doc of the day: Assault in the ring

6 Aug

I saw this a while ago, and must say it’s really something. The basic story covered is one of a fixed fight between two relatively unknown boxers way back in the day, but the bigger picture is an incredible insight into the people involved’s lives, motivations, regrets and -unbelievably in one case- lack of them, and a host of other nuances that probably won’t be seen on first look.

The documentary follows Luis Resto and his journey to understand, deal with and ultimately accept his past and the effect it’s had on his own life and everyone else involved. Even if you know or care nothing about boxing, it’s worth the viewing just to observe the people involved. Personally I love people watching; trying to understand people’s reactions, their behaviour and reasons behind, and this film is complete with a host of interesting characters.

Be warned though; there are some graphic images of violence and unsavoury characters, who may or may not have your blood boiling.

Have a look of you get a chance, it’s an incredible story. First part below. Can’t link the playlist for full viewing in youtube, but search for ‘assault luis resto 1/2/3/etc…’ and you should find it easily enough.


Choose your moment to speak, and choose it wisely

13 Jun

Learning a martial art has taught me a lot about picking your moment. Too fast or rash, and you leave yourself open. Too slow or deliberate and you do the same. You have to pick just the right moment to act, otherwise you’re left behind with a new set of circumstances to assess and deal with.

In conversation and debate, whether it’s between friends, family or complete strangers, it’s not unusual to notice people who slip into one of the two problems above.

There’s the brash one; slamming their opinion down your throat without regard for your side while managing to remain completely oblivious to the fact that it’s a discussion in the first place. To them a conversation isn’t an open, reasoned and friendly discussion but a chance to assault you with their own particular brand of special. Sure; they might seem intelligent about it, and they might even manage to stay calm while pasive-aggressively ‘informing’ you that you’re wrong and going to hell for it, but their demeanor can’t be completely hidden, and you know it. You know that feeling; that feeling of “Hold on now, just hang on a second…is this really happening?”

Then there’s the others; the ones who listen to all without agreeing to any. They can be swayed by one side or the other and still manage to seemingly stay neutral in the end, because they’re too slow and deliberate to confidently explain their perspective on the discussion. In an attempt to be reasonable, they end up being too reasonable and get left behind in the conversational flurry. While this may seem an enlightened way to do things, the truth is it usually ends up leaving the debate horribly one sided.

Best thing to do? Pick your moment, and pick it well.

I don’t know if I can explain it properly, but have you ever heard someone speak who just has that perfect balance? What they’re saying is rousing, yet clinical. Passionate without being aggressive. motivational, but in both senses of the word; inspirational and confrontational at the same time, never giving too much leverage to one or the other.

Pick your moment, and pick it well. I’m not saying you should be a superman about it straight away though; we only learn how to do it properly by jumping from both perspectives I’ve listed above. Practice practice practice.

This is an incredible example. He didn’t speak for years, yet had a nation and the world enthralled by his talent. Then, when he saw his moment, he picked it incisevely and executed it masterfully.

(I love the look on his face at the very end, just love it. It looks like he’s thinking, after actually hearing those words and sentiments out loud, “My god…it’s possible, it actually is possible“)

For fear of both denying myself the opportunity of making the ‘freshly pressed’ list by virtue of a well judged swear word, and exposing my soft side by a not so well judged gushing, I have to say:

Don’t worry if tear up a little with that one. The inclusion of Hans Zimmers’ music (from inception) is a masterstroke, and…well fuck me; he knew what to say and when to say it, didn’t he?

In praise of the sweet french girl…

6 Jun

…Who, in a bar last night, gracefully sidestepped the complete drunk who was barrelling through the crowd towards her with the eye of the tiger.

‘La Haine’ is a relatively old film about three friends growing up in the suburbs of Paris. Set in a volatile time of riots, police brutality and crippling economic depression, it charts a day in their life and the trials within.

It’s in french, with subtitles so if that’s not your thing no worries at all. I highly recommend you try and find a dvd of it though, although that could be tough seeing as it’s old, arty and not made in hollywood. Ahem, *Cough*

The film tackles and discusses important questions about society, personal development, the path our decisions take us on and, in the scene below, the need to open yourself up and acknowledge your faults to improve yourself.

It’s well worth the watch.

All the best!