Rise of the Footsoldier

December 30, 2007

Director: Julian Gilby

Year: 2007

Well, if violence doesn’t put you off and you like films like Goodfellas, this one might be for you. Extremely gritty, without a single BBC accent, this English gangster film is really pretty powerful stuff. True, it has its slow moments, and there isn’t really a whole hell of a lot of plot, but all the same it has some great acting, striking dialogue (I challenge anyone to find a film where the word cunt is used more often) and overall pretty decent cinematography.

But like I said, there is blood. Lots of it. Baseball bats. Teeth smashed in. Hatchet to the head. Pizza cutter to the face. So, this kind of thing might put some people off. But if you’re up for it, check it out.

Mysteries of the Court of London

December 29, 2007

A few months back I bought a book called Mysteries of the Court of London, by George M. Reynolds. Well, it is actually a book in ten volumes, each volume being about 500 pages. So, it is a 5,000 page novel essentially-which is about three times as long as War and Peace. Now, when I bought the set, I was perfectly aware that Reynolds had written a book titled Mysteries of London, but somehow imagined that it was part of Mysteries of the Court of London. Now, after seeing some of the text of the previously mentioned work, I have discovered that it is completely different, though equally as long! Apparently, the two works together are made up of 4.5 million words. As they were written over a twelve year period however, this averages about 1,100 words a day, or about four pages, which is quite a lot, but not phenomenal. What is phenomenal however, is that in this same period he completed another 11 series, including Mysteries of the Court of Naples and Mysteries of Old London. As these titles are very difficult to come  by however, I am uncertain about the lengths.

Here is a little taste from Mysteries of London:

Women press their little ones to their dried-up breasts in the agonies of despair; young delicate creatures waste their energies in toil from the dawn of day till long past the hour of midnight, perpetuating their unavailing labour from the hour of the brilliant sun to that when the dim candle sheds its light around the attic’s naked walls; and even the very pavement groans beneath the weight of grief which the poor are doomed to drag over the rough places of this city of sad contrasts.
    For in this city the daughter of the peer is nursed in enjoyments, and passes through an uninterrupted avenue of felicity from the cradle to the tomb; while the daughter of poverty opens her eyes at her birth upon destitution in all its most appalling shapes, and at length sells her virtue for a loaf of bread.
    There are but two words known in the moral alphabet of this great city; for all virtues are summed up in the one, and all vices in the other: and those words are
    WEALTH.    |    POVERTY.  


3:10 to Yuma

December 28, 2007

I saw this lat night. The 2007 version. What a bad film. Indeed, 2007 has been a pathetic year for films, particularly in Hollywood. The script to this sorry attempt at a western is truly shameful and the only thing more shameful is that is appears to have received good reviews. How depressing.

Giovanni dalle Bande Nere

December 26, 2007

Director: Sergio Grieco

Year: 1956

A vaguely interesting historical drama starring the great Vittorio Gassman as Giovanni de Medici.

The costumes are quite nice and the war scenes, though they verge on the absurd due to the lack of extras (the French army is represented by about twelve men), are satisfying. There is also a fair bit of rape and pillage, if rape and pillage is your thing.

Probably the highlight of the film is towards the end, when Giovanni is confronted by Gasparo (Gérard Landry) who betrayed him. Giovanni spits out the ultimate insult: “Verme traditore carogna!” (roughly translated as “traitorous worm carrion” and then, after a brief struggle, proceeds to beat Gasparo’s brains out with a pyx.

This might not be for everyone, but I imagine it is a lot more interesting then the latest Die Hard film and is yet another example of something which would be nice to have available to an English speaking audience—though in truth, it is not even commercially available in Italian.

(Below is the German language poster.)

Diet Soap Review

December 19, 2007

The Fix has a review of the new zine Diet Soap up here.

There is a brief mention of my metrophilia story Xi’an. But the mention is only slightly more brief than the story itself, so . . .

I Delfini

December 18, 2007

Director: Francesco Maselli

Year: 1960

A number of wealthy young people in provincial town in Italy. Dissipation. Drinking. Talking. Leading empty lives. A young woman from a poor background (Claudia Cardinale) wants to become part of their circle. Such is the plot.

The cast is quite interesting, featuring Betsy Blaire of all people as Contessa Rita Cherè. I say of all people, because it seems rather bizarre that the same person who played the homely girlfriend in Marty, here plays an “elegant” contessa, with her voice dubbed in Italian. And we also have Tomas Milian, who, as is the case with just about all the films he is in, steals the show, as the spoiled and perverse Alberto De Matteis.

One scene in particular stands out, where Milian is blazing down a narrow road in his Ferrari, narrowly missing road workers, women on bicycles etc. and finds himself behind an ambulance, honking his horn savagely before passing.

The black and white cinematography is truly excellent and the script, as far as I am concerned, leaves nothing to be desired.

This film would be perfect for a Critereon DVD release, as it is certainly as good as most of what they have put out, and better than many.  

i delfini

By the way…

December 12, 2007

This offer is still good.


December 11, 2007

My story Pits is up here, at Pequin.org. It was originally published in an anthology called See You Next Tuesday from Better Non Sequitur press and is part of my Metrophilia series. Better Non Sequitur is currently looking for submissions for their second volume in this series—click on my link and go to the bottom to be directed to their homepage. 

The Girl of Wax

December 10, 2007

Got a copy of a magzine today called The Willows, which contains my story The Girl of Wax. The magazine came out in July, but I haven’t seen it until now…


December 6, 2007

Finished another (short) book today. So, that is good.