MOVIE REVIEW | The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)

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“That jerk Karl Marx said opium was the… religion of people. I got news for him, it’s money.”

John Cassevetes is a cinema name I’ve heard a lot.  But I think until a few years ago, I assumed he was just some stone faced, hard ass actor, in the vein of Lee Marvin, or Clint Eastwood, or Burt Lancaster.  Then, I somehow found out that he was a director as well as actor.  Even better, he was the kind of rogue director who acted in mainstream movies, just so he could spend his pay cheque on making his own little indies.  That’s the kind of rebel Hollywood story I love.  So I knew I had to see some of his work as a director.  Starting with The Killing of a Chinese Bookie.

Cosmo Vitelli (Ben Gazara) owns and runs a small time strip club.  It’s nothing amazing, but it pulls enough money for Cosmo to finally pay off a long standing gambling debt.  Obviously not the kind of bloke who learns from his mistakes, Cosmo celebrates paying off his last debt by going out for big night of gambling, and wracking up a new one.  $23,000 in the hole, the people Cosmo is in debt to aren’t the kind of people to accept an installment plan for repayment.  Instead, they have a deal for Cosmo. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Killing Joke – Killing Joke (1980)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “I might not be able to nail down what they are, but I do know I liked it.  I really, really like it.”

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What kind of band is Killing Joke?  I had absolutely no idea, but their name is monumentally cool.  Which is why I listened to Killing Joke, and their monumentally coolly titled album, Killing Joke.

A metronomic, wasteland beat drives relentlessly on, a beyond distorted guitar begins to roar in the distance, dramatic, over serious, but just the perfect amount of over serious vocals deliver palpable portent, and Killing Joke announces its arrival auspiciously with the intense and propulsive Requiem.   But they get a little more to the point with the more traditional rock feel of Wardance.  Well, traditional until the Dalek vocals kick in. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Rope of Sand (1949)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “I was constantly entertained every time the two power hitters came up to bat.”

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“Consider the diamond itself for instance. Carbon, soot, chemically speaking. And yet the hardest of all matters. So hard, in fact, that whatever it touches must suffer.   Glass, steel, the human soul.”

Before I started writing about movies for Bored and Dangerous, I always knew Burt Lancaster was pretty great, but I never knew why.  Tough Guys, his awesome 80s team up with Kurt Douglas and Dana Carvey, might have been the only movie of his I could name off the top of my head back then.  But in the last few years, I have seen a good handful of Lancaster joints.  Some I sought out, some I have been lucky enough to stumble across, but all have been further proof of his awesomeness.  Including my latest lucky discovery, Rope of Sand.

It’s Colonial South Africa, a time when white dudes from various European nations had decided they’d just take whatever they wanted, including South Africa’s immense deposits of diamonds.  When big game hunter Mike Davis (Lancaster) returns to town after several years away, diamond company cop Vogel (Paul Henried) is immediately on his back.  It seems last time Mike left town, it was after a vicious beating at Vogel’s hands in search of a bunch of stolen diamonds. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “It’s like watching The Golden Girls if every single character talked like Sophia when she’s slamming Blanch for being a slut.”

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“Now listen here, you mullet. Why don’t you just light your tampon, and blow your box apart? Because it’s the only bang you’re ever gonna get, sweetheart!”

To me, 20 years ago sounds like a lifetime.  Until I remember that Nirvana’s Nevermind is closer to 25 years old than 20, and that Seinfeld finished 19 years ago.  Those sorts of things feel like yesterday and like nothing has changed in the years since.  But I just watched a movie that showed me just how much has changed, and for the better.  I just watched the 22 year old The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Sydney drag performer Trick (Hugo Weaving) gets a call with an offer he can’t refuse.  A Casino in Alice Springs, the dead centre of Australia, has booked him for a show, but he can’t do it alone.  So Trick recruits the recently widowed, not so recently trans gendered Bernadette (Terence Stamp), and young flamingly flamboyant queen, Adam (Guy Pearce).  Through a little emotional blackmail, Adam scores $10,000 from his mother, buys an old bus that he nicknames Priscila, and the three head off to tackle Australia’s outback. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | The Go-Betweens – 16 Lovers Lane (1988)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “What they lacked in vocal range was always more than made up for in sincerity.”

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I like to think of myself as a serious music fan.  I try to consume as much as possible, I try to make sure I catch up on classics form before my time, even when I’m pretty sure it’s a band, artist or genre I won’t like.  Which makes it shameful that as a wannabe serious music fan from Queensland, Australia, I haven’t heard nearly enough of one of the area’s most revered bands, The Go-Betweens.  I own an album or two that I really like, I know the hits, and I know I should be a whole lot more familiar than I am.  Which is why I listened to the swansong of their original 80s era, 16 Lovers Lane.

Turning their standard acoustic, melodious rock seamlessly into flamenco passion, the impeccable song writing of the Grant McLennan and Robert Forster is on immediate display with Love Goes On!  Then the 80s vintage of the record is impossible to ignore on Quiet Heart.  It was a time when producers could make even centuries old instruments sound digitally artificial.  It’s a beautiful song, the production just does its best to strip it of all genuine beauty and feeling. (more…)