Killer of Sheep (1978) This Bitter Earth, Family Life And The Slaughterhouse

KILLER OF SHEEP (1977)

I have to start off with 5 F-Bombs with the last F-Bomb being stretched right out to last at least 10 seconds. How can a film be so devastatingly filled with brooding sadness and doom but equally hit you with such incredible deep innocent sweetness? It shouldn’t be possible but somehow director and writer Charles Burnett creates the impossible with Killer Of SheepContinue reading

What’s Been Watched This Month – November 2019

Whats Been Watched 43

Here’s what the ole Wolfensteiner had been watching in November 2019.

I watched Pennyworth the origin story of Batman’s butler Alfred. I wasn’t expecting it to be so good. Jack Bannon plays a young Michael Caine version of Alfred set in an alternative 60s London. However it warps timelines together. It effectively molds Victorian and World War Two into the 60s. This is not the CW television universe of PG superhero series. No this is pure adult in nature and is extremely gruesome and dark. Shock standout of the series is, would you believe it?, singer Paloma Faith. Like a northern terminator “fancy a brew love?“. It’s really very good indeed.

Some proper Star Wars has hit our screens at last in the shape of The Mandalorian. The short run-times were off putting at first but when you get used to it you realise you can watch the episode again straight away. Pedro Pascal is the man under the mask in the Jon Favreau created series. So far a few big names have popped up like Nick Nolte’s voice, Werner Herzog looking dodgy and who wouldn’t love seeing Carl Weathers as a bad ass bounty hunter? The first 3 episodes are excellent but be warned episode 4 is a real stinker! Fingers crossed it was just a wobble. Perfect family time and everyone loves the little baby Y…

That’s it for the TV.

Wolfman’s Rating System Explained – We All Have A System Don’t We?

17 films this month and a total of 205 this year
697 since the start of the blog in January 2017.

Born to Kill (1947) – Wolfman Rating 8.5 – IMDB Rating 7.2
Cold murderous film noir film. Ooooo it’s so brutal. Have a look what I thought over at my Wolfy Write Up

Angel Has Fallen (2019) – Wolfman Rating 6 – IMDB Rating 6.5
Third part in the Gerard Butler action series. I really liked Olympus Has Fallen but London Has Fallen was total crap. Angel is better than that and a pretty good action fun. Made better with an old man Nick Nolte.

Apache Warrior (2017) – Wolfman Rating 6.5 – IMDB Rating 6.8
Also known as The Veil. A documentary about a squadron of Apache Attack Helicopters involved in a massive cluster fuck of a mission. It’s OK but ultimately shows some real inept planning up the command chain. Best bits, “there aint no birds out here“. The city lights going out and seeing the state of the Apaches at the end. I bet Boeing was rubbing their hands for new contracts after. On Netflix.

Shaun of the Dead (2004) – Wolfman Rating 10 – IMDB Rating 7.9
Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost created a perfect zombie comedy. Lots of copycat zom-coms came after but this is the daddy. Watched it so many times and I still love it. I’d introduced it to Nyah a few years ago and she joined us for Kofi’s turn. Brilliant.

Sherlock Holmes Dressed To Kill (1946) – Wolfman Rating 7.5 – IMDB Rating 6.9
Back for two more Sherlock and Dr Watson’s.

Sherlock Holmes The Spider Woman (1943) – Wolfman Rating 8 – IMDB Rating 7.1
This one was most excellent. Really enjoyed them all but this one is higher up the rankings for me.

Jane Eyre (1943) – Wolfman Rating 7.5 – IMDB Rating 7.5
A rare film for just me and Mrs Wolf to watch just together. She’s a Charlotte Brontë mega fan but hadn’t seen this version before. I was surprised to see it have film noir styles in it’s execution. We both enjoyed it and Orson Welles was his usual bit moody self but it was pointed out to me that Joan Fontaine is way to pretty for the Jane Eyre. Plus I learnt they missed out a whole section of the book. Still, hopefully we will be watching more films together! We’ll see? hehe

Parasite (2019) – Wolfman Rating 10 – IMDB Rating 8.6
Masterful storytelling and direction from South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon Ho. Very recommended, check it out. It’s perfect.

The Devil Thumbs a Ride (1947) – Wolfman Rating 7 – IMDB Rating 6.9
A dangerous road trip with Lawrence Tierney. Check my write up for details here if you wish.

Bodyguard (1948 ) – Wolfman Rating 7 – IMDB Rating 6.5
Really enjoyable Lawrence Tierney in good guy role drama. Check it out here on my wolfy write up

The Ghost Ship (1943) – Wolfman Rating 6.5 – IMDB Rating 6.7
After doing three posts featuring Lawrence Tierney I was surprised to see him pop up in this murder on the seas film. I had no idea he was in it. He’s a good guy again too? Really! The film is ok but elevated by a strange looking mute guy called Finn played by Skelton Knaggs. He was most excellent.

Murder, My Sweet (1944) – Wolfman Rating 9 – IMDB Rating 7.6
I got there in the end. Classy noir from director Edward Dmytryk starring Dick Powell and Claire Trevor to name a few. A complex web of mystery and deceit around every corner. I will be watching this again.

Fight Club (1999) – Wolfman Rating 10 – IMDB Rating8.8
Perfection in this classic from David Fincher. I introduced it to my daughter, she loved it too. So good to see again it after so long. It’s so good it’s been imprinted on the mind. Even after 20 years it felt like yesterday I had seen it. Every scene and detail incredible to just watch it unfold.

L.A. Confidential (1997) – Wolfman Rating 10 – IMDB Rating 8.2
Same as above. Introducing a classic to my daughter Nyah and getting to re-watch a film I loved so much again after such a very long break. Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce were all top of their game here. Surrounded by superb performances from all corners. Another incredible film.

Desperate (1947) – Wolfman Rating 7 – IMDB Rating 6.8
You can read some stuff on this one on my wolfy write up here.

The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) – Wolfman Rating 8 – IMDB Rating 7.7
This is a wonderful little beautifully told story. Shia LaBeouf is back on form but this is the Zack Gottsagen show. Zak runs away from his care home to make his dream of becoming a wrestler come true. It’s has a great vibe in this nice natured film. Recommended.

King Kong (1933) – Wolfman Rating 9 – IMDB Rating 7.9
I haven’t seen this since being a kid. It’s just so awesome. The effects are out of this world, still. What an inventive story too. Fay Wray is just so divine and the perfect scream queen. If you wanna know more about her then you will be in the right place if you pop on over to Mike’s Take On The Movie’s and read his amazing interview with Fay’s daughter Victoria Riskin. 10 Questions with Victoria Riskin.

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Any goodies in there you have seen and liked? Thoughts, recommends etc always welcome if you fancy too.

Keep watching the screens. Thanks for having a look to see what’s been watched. All the best……… The howling one, Mikey

Ghost Dog The Way of the Samurai (1999) Forest Whitaker And Jim Jamusch Follow The Code

Ghost Dog The Way of the Samurai (1999) Forest Whitaker poster dvd bluray cover art work

Mister Ghost Dog (Forest Whitaker) has just jacked a nice slick car for our journey through the City streets. He selects his pre-recorded CDR mixtape and off we cruise through the dark neighborhood. No words, just nodding and contemplating.

Tagline – All assassins live beyond the law… only one follows the code…

Ghost Dog The Way of the Samurai (1999) Forest Whitaker hitman stolen car cd cdr music

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai is one cool as fuck film. On so many levels. Scene to scene it effortlessly portrays style. It’s deeply sad in its nature, helped along with Forest’s sorrowful demeanour. However it features pitch perfect black comedy at every turn. This gangster and hitman drama whole inner essence resembles more of a traditional western. And somehow it manages to also fuse African American, Italian and Japanese cultures together within it’s narrative. Further that, it features a soundtrack that keeps your head rocking. Every aspect of this film sweetly, perfectly, just bubbles away.

Ghost Dog The Way of the Samurai (1999) Forest Whitaker reading Hagakure

Ghost Dog is our anti hero. A once bruised, battered and bullied kid now filled with a deep honor and a code. Personally indebted to an old Italian gangster called Louie (John Tormey) for saving his life. Ghost Dog repays his debt, with respect to Louie, carrying out contract jobs. You see, Ghost Dog is a hitman. He abides by a strict code. Followed step by step through the ancient traditional spiritual and warrior code teachings within his beloved book, Hagakure by Yamamoto Tsunetomo.

Ghost Dog –In the words of the ancients, one should make his decision within the space of seven breaths. It is a matter of being determined and having the spirit to break through to the other side.

His name, Ghost Dog, sums him up. A lone wolf. Stealth like, invisible, like a ghost. A man deep in thought. He keeps himself to himself, well apart from his feather friends. Surrounded by his beloved pigeons he shadow spars and meditates within the open space of the rooftop. No one knows what he does. No one knows hes a deadly efficient killer. With no phone the only contact to his work is directly through Louie with the use of a tiny message tied to the foot of a pigeon.

kinopoisk.ru

Louie –For the past four years, he’s done, maybe, twelve perfect contracts. Perfect, Like a ghost.

You see, Ghost Dog is a hitman. A hired assassin for the mob. The dying last breed of aging Italian gangsters, sit, hanging on to what little turf they have left. Huddled together these old men occupy the back room of what was once probably a thriving Italian restaurant but now replaced with a Chinese takeaway.

Whereas Ghost Dog’s scenes are, cool, deep and sad, the gangsters on the other hand give us the dark humour of the film.

Ghost Dog The Way of the Samurai (1999) Henry Silva Ray Vargo Cliff Gorman Sonny Valerio Gene Ruffini

The gangsters are lost in the past. Still trying to hold on to the old ways. Oblivious to the fact they are not what they were. The old guard are dying. The youth have moved on. The organisation hung together by three men sitting around around a table. The shouting deaf toothless pensioner (Gene Ruffini), an intense chiseled psychotic looking mobster in his twilight years with an insanely over tense stare called Ray Vargo (Henry Silva).  And lastly and best of all the Flavor Flav rap rhyming lyrical dropping gangster and spokesman, Sonny Valerio (Cliff Gorman)

Sonny Valerio –My favorite was always Flavor Flav from Public Enemy. You got the funky fresh fly flavor.

Ghost Dog The Way of the Samurai (1999) Forest Whitaker sword roof top cult film

Ghost Dogs methods are perfect. His hits meticulously worked out. Always clean. No mistakes. Perfection. A new job is received from his trusty feathered friend. His hit? To take out Handsome Frank (Richard Portnow). One thing is different, out of his control! Incompetent useless gangsters! The plan still works. Just one change? Ray Vargo’s daughter witnesses the hit. Now old gangsters and their morals can be unpredictable. Ghost Dog finds himself now the hit, the hunted. The Italian’s are all, “Who is this black bear like, pigeon loving man? I want him dead!! You hear? Dead.” Putting in motion a whole chain of painful events.

Sonny Valerio – It’s time to tell us everything you know about this mysterious, ghost-like, untraceable, fuckin’ button man. He needs to be neutralized. Erased from the face of the planet.

Ghost Dog The Way of the Samurai (1999) Forest Whitaker hitman gun silencer blue suit

Now what’s so imaginative and beautifully put across is Forest Whitaker’s performance. He’s far removed from being a traditional stealth like, professionally hitman. Especially with his big hulking bear like frame but Forest couldn’t be more perfect for the part. Obsessively learning the art form of passed down teachings from ancient samurai warriors. He tip toes like mouse, hides within the shadows and strikes with the power and precision of a snake.

Ghost Dog –According to what one of the elders said, taking an enemy on the battlefield is like a hawk taking a bird. Even though it enters into the midst of a thousand of them, it gives no attention to any bird than the one it first marked.

As I say at the beginning, this film is beautiful in its set scenes. The relaxed approach to film making. Quiet thoughtful moments. Ghost Dog sat on a park bench. A young girl sits and watches him. A dog stares him out. An ice cream is bought. We sit in the passenger seat of a stolen car and listen to Ghost Dogs hand picked tunes. We look out the window watching the night city streets hustle and bustle. One of the truly remarkable scenes is the friendship between his only friend Raymond (Isaach De Bankolé) the French speaking ice cream seller. They both chat away not understanding what each other says. Yet beautifully they do. Happy to be in conversation together. A close bond.

Ghost Dog The Way of the Samurai (1999) Forest Whitaker Isaach De Bankolé

A Few Things About The Film.

Ghost Dog The Way of the Samurai (1999) Forest Whitaker sleeping with Jim Jarmusch directing.

  • Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai is directed by the brilliant Jim Jamusch. Such a creative writer and filmmaker. I loved most of his films especially Stranger Than Paradise (1984) Down By Law (1986) Mystery Train (1989) and Broken Flowers (2005).  Though I would say Ghost Dog is my personal favourite. Looking through his filmography I’ve some how missed Night On Earth (1991) and Dead Man (1995) so I can’t wait to visit them. And I’m not sure what to do about his new one? The Dead Don’t Die (2019). I was so excited about his take on a zombie film but then the reviews started coming in. Hopefully it will come to Netflix soon.

Ghost Dog The Way of the Samurai (1999) Forest Whitaker meets respect RZA soundtrack

  • The soundtrack is by rapper, record producer and beat maker RZA. Featuring tracks by Wu-Tang Clan, Killah Priest, and Public Enemy. My favourite tune in the film is when Willie Williams record Armageddon Time blasts from the car stereo system.

Ghost Dog The Way of the Samurai (1999) Henry Silva in La mala ordina (1972)

  • Cult legend and total bad ass Henry Silva is perfect as one of the head gangsters. He’s been in the film game since 1950 and appears mostly typed cast as the villain. With those distinctive looks he was destined to be the ultimate bad guy. And rightly became the legend that he is. An iconic cult film fav. B-movies would later come but he appeared alongside Frank Sinatra in Ocean’s 11 (1960) and The Manchurian Candidate (1962). I need to see his Italian films like The Boss (1973) and The Italian Connection (1972) plus one I’ve been itching to get too for years, as it sounds cool as fuck, Johnny Cool (1963). Ghost Dog has become his last film apart from a cameo homage in Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Rashomon - 1951

  • There’s lots of nods to classic Japanese films with the likes of the classic Rashomon (1950) with it’s theme of people seeing different versions of the same event. And the gun shot through the sinks drain pipe was from director Seijun Suzuki’s amazing film Branded To Kill (1967).

It’s hard to come across a film as effortlessly cool as Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. From a career high performance from Forest Whitaker in a role specially written for him by Jamusch. A few of the little things I love are the muted friendship, the respect shown on the street, the cartoon loving gangsters, the way Ghost Dog uses his gun like a samurai sword.  The quiet moments of reflection, the soundtrack, the sadness and the humour. Everything is perfection for me.

I walked out the cinema with the biggest smile on my face. I knew I’d just witness a perfect film for me. Everything right on-point. I knew I’d be revisiting this movie over and over. I was right.

Hey thanks for popping in. Keep loving film. All the best… Mikey Wolf

Desperate (1947) Menacing Smashing Man Hulk Ironside Relishes Vengeance

Desperate (1947) Steve Brodie Audrey Long Anthony Mann directed film noir movie poster

Trucker Steve Brodie life is turned upside down. This review is for the noir on the run thriller Desperate (1947)

What’s going down?

Happily married couple Steve (Steve Brodie) and Anne (Audrey Long) are giddy in love. With the prospect of starting a family and buying a house Steve is eager to work hard. As an independent trucker he agrees to take on an out of hours pick up and delivery at a warehouse. It soon becomes apparent that the job is way dodgy. Stolen goods. He know’s the hoodlum, Radak (Raymond Burr) and henchmen. Steve doesn’t want any part of this job. Things are soon to escalate fast out of his control. He will be running for not only his but his wife’s life too. A cross country escape with a crazed mad man on a death vengeance mission not far behind.

Desperate (1947) Steve Brodie Audrey Long flowers bunches newly wed noir

The main players

Steve Brodie – Steve Randall
Audrey Long – Anne Randall
Raymond Burr – Walt Radak
Douglas Fowley – Private Detective
William Challee – Reynolds
Jason Robards – Lieutenant Louie Ferrari
Freddie Steele – Shorty Abbott

Tagline – MURDER at any moment! SUSPENSE… in every step!!!

Sure I’ve seen them in something?

I really didn’t know Steve Brodie all that well before this week. Though I had seen him in the two superior noir Robert Mitchum films Out of the Past (1947) and Crossfire (1947). It’s now I realise I’d also seen him last year in the Humphrey Bogart’s World War Two drama The Caine Mutiny (1954). So please feel free to recommend me some more Brodie thank you.

Desperate (1947) Steve Brodie Audrey Long hidding on the the run noir thriller

I only know Audrey Long from last week’s grim noir Born To Kill (1947). However I just learnt a fun fact that she married Leslie Charteris the thriller author, screenwriter and creator of world famous anti-hero criminal Simon Templar aka The Saint.

Always good to see Raymond Burr in these early thrillers where he’d always be cast as the big brooding hoodlum with a temper. Check the awesome Raw Deal (1948) with Dennis O’keefe and Claire Trevor. Also check Pitfall (1948) with Dick Powell. Then of course he’s in one of the greatest Alfred Hitchcock films, Rear Window (1954). Burr can be seen in the mega depressing Dennis Hopper flick called Out of the Blue (1980) before being immortalized as Ironside and then solving a gazillion Perry Mason cases.

Notes on production?

As of the beginning of my movie blog in 2017 I hadn’t seen any of Anthony Mann’s directed films. Flash forward 3 years and I’ve ticked off quite a bunch. T-Men (1947) Raw Deal (1948) Side Street (1950) all being superb noirs. Big fan of Men In War (1957) with Robert Ryan and Aldo Ray. The Naked Spur (1953) added some cowboy flare. WW2 action with The Heroes of Telemark (1965) and A Dandy In Aspic (1968) would become his last film. Maybe he’s best known for El Cid (1961) and The Glenn Miller Story (1954). Anthony Mann’s filmography is pretty awesome and I still have lots to see.

Desperate is from a story written by Mann and Dorothy Atlas. With the screenplay put together by Harry Essex who also wrote the screenplays for last weeks Bodyguard (1948) the sci-fi classic It Came from Outer Space (1953) and the incredible Kansas City Confidential (1952). I spy he directed a Mickey Spillane’s story of Mike Hammer called I, the Jury (1953). I fancy giving that a go.

Desperate (1947) Steve Brodie Audrey Long Raymond Burr gangster noir

Hits like a sledge hammer

One of the main things we love these thrillers for is their toughness. Desperate fulfills that quota well, especially when the brooding smashing man hulk Burr is on screen. Just the use of a swinging beam of light casting shadows of pure menace as the brutally ready gangsters show they mean business. A bottle smashed with jagged shards of razor sharp glass ready to slice and dice. A clutched fist fires across the screen. Walt Radak is ready to kill.

Random Observation

It’s just dawned on me that 1947 and 1948 were two crazy years for awesome noirs. Those two years seem to have been relentless for brilliant little thrillers.

Desperate (1947) Steve Brodie Audrey Long Anthony Mann directed film noir gun blast pistol

Verdict

How much bad luck can you have on road trip escape? Steve and Anne certainly get their fair share as their desperate flight of survival unfolds. As with most of these thrillers from the era they keep everything nicely packed and rolled out in a short run-time. You root for Steve and Anne as each corner of their journey hits another snag.  Burr’s Radak fills his part well as the brutal thug and there’s even nice little touches with some of his henchmen like Shorty and Pete the “pushing his luck” private eye.

Desperate (1947) Steve Brodie close up thriller on the run film noir

All in all it’s a good little movie. Yeah it’s a little light on the dark noir we love but those moments with vicious Burr and that above mentioned swinging lamp make-up for our loss. Great to be able to tick another Anthony Mann film from the list and at the same time get to notice and add Steve Brodie to my future viewings. Desperate is here to stream if you fancied it

Rating score

Wolfman’s rating 7/10       IMDB 6.8/10

Feel free to recommend me related movies and any other trivia if you wish. Keep having fun at the movies…. Mikey Wolf

A Little Tribute To Gary Loggins From The Cracked Rear Viewer Film Site

Cracked Rear Viewer

Just heard the very sad news that Gary Loggins has passed away leaving with him his vast knowledge of film and his legacy of his Cracked Rear Viewer film blog. He was one of the first bloggers to follow me when I started my own venture into blog-land. Gary always had tip top recommendations to fill way too many extra hours of watching time.  I was always in awe at his wealth of information and the time and dedication he regularly put into his posts. He was relentless. A new post would appear every 3 days. Continue reading