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

 

 

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 

 

 

My Favourite… Michael Parks Film

My Favourite… Michael Parks 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…. Michael Parks (1940-2017) Film

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Red State (1979)

Kevin Smith’s Red State is set in Middle America where a group of teens receive an online invitation for sex, though they soon encounter fundamentalists with a much more sinister agenda.

Now this is an odd one because, actually I’m not the greatest Red State fan. BUT for whilst the film overall falters in the third act, the performance by Michael Park’s is nothing short of amazing.  Yes others such as Tarantino reignited interest for the once blacklisted actor, but Smith’s Red State gave Parks a role he could chew on and chew on it he did.  With relish.  Sinister, cold and dark his central monologue is chilling.

Yes there are better films with Park’s in them but Red State stands as one of his great performances, in a career of great performances.

 

See also: From Dusk Till Dawn, Argo

 

 

My Favourite… Jonathan Demme Film

My Favourite… Jonathan Demme 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…. Jonathan Demme (1944-2017) Film

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THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991)

A young F.B.I. cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims.

Jonathan Demme’s Oscar winning horror thriller wasn’t the first Hannibal Lecter film. But it’s the one everyone remembers.  Endlessly spoofed and homaged, The Silence of The lambs gave us career defining performances from both Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins whilst cementing Demme as one of Hollywood’s hottest directors.  TV, film and books would follow but few would get as close to the public consciousness as this film did.

Sadly Demme would struggle to hit the heights of Lambs again (Philadelphia being the notable exception) but if you are going to leave a mark there are far worse ways to do it.

 

See also: Philadelphia, Married To The Mob

 

 

My Favourite… Don Rickles Film

My Favourite… Don Rickles 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…. Don Rickles (1926-2017) Film

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CASINO (1995)

Greed, deception, money, power, and murder occur between two best friends: a mafia enforcer and a former sports handicapper turned casino executive, for a trophy wife over a gambling empire.

Sometimes you don’t need the biggest role to make an impact. It’s the memorable support cast, the walk on part, the character with the memorable lines that you remember.  Well in that case, Casino was a true stand out for Don Rickles.  A man with a lot of experience of Vegas (he worked there as a comic and was a honorary Rat Pack member), Rickles played casino manager Billy Sherbert a savvy, smart veteran of the gambling industry who could easily pick out the untrustworthy.  Starring alongside Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci, Rickles earned rave reviews for this role which took up just minutes of screen time but was memorable enough to introduce a new generation to his work and comedy.

See also: Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3