Those We Lost… 2017 In Memoriam

Those We Lost… 2017 In Memoriam

Year In Review

2017 continued deaths relentless march through the great and good of Hollywood.  Here’s a selection of those who passed in 2017 whose deaths will be felt within them film library of Phil’s Quick Capsule Review…

(Apologies for any one we have missed out)

Miguel Ferrer
Martin Landau
Richard Hatch
Don Rickles
Roger Moore
Bill Paxton
John Hurt
Jerry Lewis
Powers Boothe
Adam West
Richard Anderson
Hugh Hefner
John Hillerman
Rose Marie
Mary Tyler Moore
 William Peter Blatty
 Gorden Kaye
Frank Pellegrino
George Romero
Peter Sallis
Jonathan Demme
Heather Menzies-Urich
Frank Vincent
Harry Dean Stanton
Loren Janes

 

 

Rest In Peace and may your considerable legacy’s live on.

My Favourite… Frank Vincent Film

My Favourite… Frank Vincent Film

My Favourite… Other Cr*p

As death continues it’s relentless march through the gifted and talented of TV and film, My Favourite… celebrates those we have lost by taking a look at a slice of their best work. Well sometimes best, sometimes just the one I like the most.

This time out: My Favourite…. Frank Vincent  (1937-2017) Film (Well actually this time out TV show!)

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THE SOPRANOS (1999-2007)

Tony Soprano juggles the problems of his fractious family with those of a “Family” of a different sort – the mob. He sees a therapist to deal with his professional and personal problems, which bring on panic attacks. He deals with personal and professional power struggles, affairs, violence, the threat of exposure and betrayal, and a whole bunch of people being whacked.

The Sopranos defined a TV generation.  And whilst the presence of James Gandolfini loomed large, the show still had a load of room for memorable support characters.   Mob Boss Phil Leotardo, played by Frank Vincent, was for sure one of those. Leotardo was one of the mafioso who were sent to prison during the “Mafia Crackdown of the 1980s” and, after serving 20 years, was released as part of the “Class of ’04” at the beginning of season 5.  Joining the show late was no barrier for impact.  He was a pretty much the reason why the show ended how it did and the hail of gunfire that took many a life.  An old school gangster, he was played with charm and menace and quickly become one of The Sopranos most iconic characters.

 

See also: Goodfellas, Casino, Raging Bull

 

 

 

My Favourite… Loren Janes Film

My Favourite… Loren Janes Film

My Favourite… Other Cr*p

As death continues it’s relentless march through the gifted and talented of TV and film, My Favourite… celebrates those we have lost by taking a look at a slice of their best work. Well sometimes best, sometimes just the one I like the most.

This time out: My Favourite…. Loren Janes  (1931-2017) Film

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THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963)

Based on a true story, a group of allied escape artist-type prisoners-of-war (POWs) are all put in an ‘escape proof’ camp. Their leader decides to try to take out several hundred all at once. The first half of the film is played for comedy as the prisoners mostly outwit their jailers to dig the escape tunnel. The second half is high adventure as they use boats and trains and planes to get out of occupied Europe.

Loren Who, I hear you ask?   Well Loren Janes was a pioneer stunt man, a trail blazer of the industry who worked on over 170 film and TV projects between 1955 and 2002.  He worked with the best directors and doubled some of the most notable actors in Hollywood.

But for me there was only ONE favourite film: The Great Escape where he doubled Steve McQueen, one of many times they would work together.  A close bond was formed between the two.    Janes was a gentleman and an unsung hero.  Co-ordniator, stun-man, stunt double and someone I had the honour to interview back in 2008.  He leaves behind a family and a legacy that shaped modern cinema.

See HERE for more. 

See also: Casino, Escape From New York, Bullitt 

 

 

 

 

My Favourite… Tobe Hooper Film

My Favourite… Tobe Hooper Film

My Favourite… Other Cr*p

As death continues it’s relentless march through the gifted and talented of TV and film, My Favourite… celebrates those we have lost by taking a look at a slice of their best work. Well sometimes best, sometimes just the one I like the most.

This time out: My Favourite…. Tobe Hooper (1943-2017) Film

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Poltergeist (1982)

A young family are visited by ghosts in their home. At first the ghosts appear friendly, moving objects around the house to the amusement of everyone, then they turn nasty and start to terrorise the family before they “kidnap” the youngest daughter.

Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist may have has a few issues around who the true director was (Spielberg was rumoured to have had a hand in production) but, these few issues aside, it’s still a damn scary film.  Yes he’ll be known always more for Texas Chainsaw, but Poltergeist was the film that scared me witless as a kid and had me freaked out every time I saw static on the TV.  Sadly Hooper wouldn’t ever top his top most famous early works and in fact made some right ross latter on BUT Poltergeist still stands today as a scary as hell thriller.  Avoid the remake.

 

See also: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Salem’s Lot

 

 

My Favourite… Sonny Landam Film

My Favourite… Sonny Landam Film

My Favourite… Other Cr*p

As death continues it’s relentless march through the gifted and talented of TV and film, My Favourite… celebrates those we have lost by taking a look at a slice of their best work. Well sometimes best, sometimes just the one I like the most.

This time out: My Favourite…. Sonny Landam (1941-2017) Film

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PREDATOR (1987)

A team of special force ops, led by a tough but fair soldier, Major “Dutch” Schaefer, are ordered to assist CIA man, Colonel Al Dillon, on a rescue mission for potential survivors of a Helicopter downed over remote South American jungle. Not long after they land, Dutch and his team discover that they have been sent in under false pretenses. This deception turns out to be the least of their worries though, when they find themselves being methodically hunted by something not of this world.

So Landam wasn’t the lead in Predator. But man he was memorable.    As Billy Sole Landam struck in intimidating figure that if you believe the behind the scenes talk stretched off screen as well. He’s the first to get wind of the group being watched and stands face to face with the Predator, machete, leading to his final death.   As a film Predator holds up well, it’s a brutal, memorable and lean action film.

See also: The Warriors, Action Jackson, 48 Hours

 

 

My Favourite… George A. Romero Film

My Favourite… George A. Romero Film

My Favourite… Other Cr*p

As death continues it’s relentless march through the gifted and talented of TV and film, My Favourite… celebrates those we have lost by taking a look at a slice of their best work. Well sometimes best, sometimes just the one I like the most.

This time out: My Favourite…. George A. Romero (1940-2017) Film

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DAY OF THE DEAD (1985)

Zombies rule the world, except for a small group of scientists and military personnel who reside in an underground bunker in Florida. The scientists are using the undead in gruesome experiments; much to the chagrin of the military. Finally the military finds that their men have been used in the scientists’ experiments, and banish the scientists to the caves that house the Living Dead. Unfortunately, the zombies from above ground have made their way into the bunker.

Whilst Night of The Living Dead created the sub genre and Dawn Of The Dead cemented Romero’s subversive world view, for me it was always Day of The Dead that showed me what society would become should the apocalypse ever break out. It’s a brutal, nihilistic film with little hope or joy.  People die, the zombies win, humanity falls apart.  It was obsessed with this film.  Mix in some of the best practice effects i’d ever seen in a horror movie (Tom Savini take a bow) and a quotable script and you have one of the boldest, darkest films of the 80’s.  In later years Romero failed to come even close to this trilogy but even all these years later they and their influence hold up.

 

See also: Dawn Of The Dead, Night of The Living Dead

 

 

Barry Norman: 1933 – 2017

Barry Norman: 1933 – 2017

Other Cr*p

One of the best movie critics ever sadly passed away yesterday, aged 83.  Barry Norman, host of the BBC Film series before it was taken over by celebrities rather than critics,  was instrumental to my love of film criticism and is in a large part why I have this blog today.  I didn’t always agree with his opinions BUT the way he delivered them, the knowledge and depth that went into them was peerless.

Film critic Mark Kermode: “Watching Barry Norman review films was a pleasure, an education, and an inspiration. Wit, knowledge & wry enthusiasm. He was the Master.”

Jonathan Ross, who took Norman’s place as the BBC programme’s presenter, said on Twitter: “Very sad to hear that Barry Norman has left us. A great critic and a lovely, lovely man.”

Stephen Fry tweeted: ‘Sad to hear of Barry Norman’s departure. A film critic and a provider of fine pickled onions. That’s a good life.’

Gone but never forgotten.

 

 

 

 

My Favourite… John G. Avildsen Film

My Favourite… John G. Avildsen Film

My Favourite… Other Cr*p

As death continues it’s relentless march through the gifted and talented of TV and film, My Favourite… celebrates those we have lost by taking a look at a slice of their best work. Well sometimes best, sometimes just the one I like the most.

This time out: My Favourite…. John G. Avildsen (1935-2017) Film

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THE KARATE KID (1984)

Daniel (Ralph Macchio) moves to Southern California with his mother, Lucille (Randee Heller), but quickly finds himself the target of a group of bullies who study karate at the Cobra Kai dojo. Fortunately, Daniel befriends Mr. Miyagi (Noriyuki “Pat” Morita), an unassuming repairman who just happens to be a martial arts master himself. Miyagi takes Daniel under his wing, training him in a more compassionate form of karate and preparing him to compete against the brutal Cobra Kai.

It didn’t break any ground, it wasn’t the film he won an Oscar for and for the most part it’s not even that well made (and the less said about the ‘Karate’ on display the better) BUT director John G Avildsen’s The Karate Kid was still one of the most seminal films of my childhood and even now, 30 plus years on, stands as a damn entertaining film that time has dented too much.  It was also the film that made me fall in love with Elisabeth Shue, has one of the best movie songs of the decade (“Your The Best”) and launched a million attempts by kids of all ages to pull of a crane kick (Which no one did until years later Anderson Silva pulled it off in the UFC).   Yeah so Avildsen did Rocky (a far more worthy film) but The Karate Kid was the one that kept me coming back to watch it year after year.

 

See also:Rocky, The Karate Kid Part 2, The Karate Kid Part 3

 

 

My Favourite… Adam West Film

My Favourite… Adam West Film

My Favourite… Other Cr*p

As death continues it’s relentless march through the gifted and talented of TV and film, My Favourite… celebrates those we have lost by taking a look at a slice of their best work. Well sometimes best, sometimes just the one I like the most.

This time out: My Favourite…. Adam West Film (1928-2017) Film

 

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ALIEN (1979)

Kaaapowie! Holy feature film, Batman … one based on the tongue-in-cheek, campy 1960’s television series. Watch Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) battle sharks, Catwoman, The Joker and The Riddler on the big screen. Can they try to prevent the bad guys from taking over the world? With a wham! and a pow! and a zip! … our heroes just might win

It’s a pretty easy choice this one.  Whilst West has made many other films and appeared in TV shows such as Family Guy., it’s his iconic work as Batman that he’ll best be remembered for.  Camp but full of charm, Batman: The Movie features so many classic scenes: West trying to dispose of the bomb (“Some days, you just can’t get rid of a bomb.”), the shark on the leg scene and many, many more.  There’s never been a superhero film like Batman: The Movie and there probably never will be.  At it’s core is one of the most gleeful, warm and fun superheroes ever put on screen.  Snider, DC et al you have a lot to learn here…
See also: Family Guy, Batman: Return Of The Caped Crusader, Return To The Batcave

 

 

My Favourite… Roger Moore Film

My Favourite… Roger Moore Film

My Favourite… Other Cr*p

As death continues it’s relentless march through the gifted and talented of TV and film, My Favourite… celebrates those we have lost by taking a look at a slice of their best work. Well sometimes best, sometimes just the one I like the most.

This time out: My Favourite…. Roger Moore (1927-2017) Film

 

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LIVE AND LET DIE (1973)

When Bond (Roger Moore) investigates the murders of three fellow agents, he finds himself a target, evading vicious assassins as he closes in on powerful Kananga (Yaphet Kotto). Known on the streets as Mr. Big, Kananga is coordinating a global threat, using tons of self-produced heroin. As Bond tries to unravel the mastermind’s plan, he meets Solitaire (Jane Seymour), a beautiful tarot-card reader, whose magic is crucial to the crime lord.

Let’s face it whoever followed Connery was going to find it tough.  But when Lazenby tanked (Best film worst Bond!) and Connery returned for a somewhat half arsed effort, it was TV’s The Saint that would inherit the infamous Walter PPK and gadget packed cars and in turn capture people’s hearts as a very different (but much welcomed) style of Bond.  Yes the scripts got saltier and the films more silly as Moore’s run continued but it was Live And Let Die that captured the right amount of grit carried over from the Connery era and mixed with the new, more suave 007.  It’s voodoo, black magic and mystery all the way in what is a pretty dark film at times.  Oh and other than MAYBE Goldfinger, Live And Let Die still has the best Bond theme for me.

 
See also: Cannonball Run, The Spy Who Loved Me, The Wild Geese