Does life mirror art or art mirror life? This is the question Leonardo DiCaprio should be asking after starring in his latest film Inception.

The plot revolves around a group of ‘mind thieves’ who enter their victims’ subconscious and ‘extract’ vital information for their clients.

Imagine a sort of mental corporate espionage, such as stealing Mr Kipling’s latest cake recipe while the great man slumbers, and you’ve got the gist of Inception

It’s quite enjoyable hokum but then Leo goes all earnest on us explaining that he can plant the seed of an idea in an unsuspecting mind and set in place a chain of events that will alter the subject’s life.

It got me thinking. Has young Leo has been a victim of this practice himself?

I believe someone planted a seed in his mind that he was a good actor.

And by god, he believes it.


Gadzooks. I can’t believe they have re-made Piranha which was possibly the worst ever premise for a horror film bar killer rabbit movie Night of the Lepus.

The original film, which the director loftily tells us was a parody of Jaws, focused on the aftermath of military project to infest the rivers of ‘Nam with genetically modified piranha.

Cue skinny dipping teenagers being devoured ten to the dozen, gratuitous riverbank sex and the waterways of America running red with theatrical blood.

The sequel featured flying piranha – now THAT is more like it – so the body count could be cranked up and land lubbers sunning themselves on the river bank could be slaughtered by the ensuing airborne assault.

Hollywood’s greedy maxim that a remake is guaranteed a quick financial return is threatening to back-end itself into current releases they are so desperate to keep the money flowing.

Expect a musical remake of Harry Potter within the year.


No boy’s journey through adolescence is complete without reading a few Sven Hassel novels about the exploits of a German penal regiment during World War II.

Penal regiments consisted of regular army conscripts convicted of various crimes. They were given the choice of lengthy sentences in military jail or service in penal units often sent to fight in the most dangerous areas.

The most infamous of these was the Dirlewanger Brigade, which was initially a unit of convicted poachers whose ranks were later swelled by criminals with convictions for rape, assault and theft along with patients from psychiatric hospitals.

Hassel wrote more than 15 novels about the adventures of the fictional 27th Panzer Regiment (penal) and its various miscreants including Porta, Tiny, the Legionnaire, Barcelona Blom and Julius Heide.

Hassel is in the books himself claiming they are based on his real life exploits as a Danish conscript sent to the regiment for desertion.

This has been challenged by several sources including Danish writer Erik Haaest who claims Hassel gathered his material from former soldiers while in jail and was, in fact, a member of a special Danish police unit established by the Gestapo.

Others say that Hassel was indeed a serving member who was heavily decorated during his military career.

Regardless, they are a cracking read and sold millions of copies during their heyday in the late 1970s/early 80s.

There are several films based on Hassels’s novels.  None have translated well to the big screen although the highlighted clip does capture the classic face-off between Tiny and the Legionnaire when they first meet.


Prevue is a free film review magazine you’ll find in the foyer of Vue cinemas.

It describes forthcoming film The Expendables as ‘a touching and thought provoking emotional drama.’

Great, I think. An intellectual French weepy about immigrant factory workers. I eagerly read on…

‘The Expendables are a group of mercenaries headed up by Barney Ross (Stallone). Fearless and void of emotion, his only attachment is to his pickup truck, his seaplane and his team.

Behind him stand Lee Christmas (Statham); former SAS knifeman, Yin Yang, master of close quarter combat; Hale Ceasar (Crews), long-barrel weapons specialist; demolitions expert, Toll Road (Couture); and Gunnar Jensen, a combat veteran and expert sniper.

When Barney takes on a job to infiltrate a South American country to overthrow its ruthless dictator, he thinks it will be a routine mission. Soon this crack squad of ultimate killers…’

Yes, it certainly does sound ‘touching and thought provoking.’

How many people will Stallone kill? Will ex-Bridget Neilsen sue for more alimony if it’s a hit? How many more Transporter films can Jason Statham make?

I will certainly be going to see it.


Isn’t it time criminal mastermind Fu Manchu made a return to the big screen?

The dastardly exploits of Sax Rohmer’s fictional character put the Chinese tourist industry back a few years in the first half of the 20th Century with his ever inventive schemes for world domination.

One of his most fiendishly diabolical plans included coating the lips of some brain-washed babes with a rare man-killing poison who are then sent off to seduce the world’s leaders. What a plot! Jane Austen eat your heart out.

Fu Manchu was an oriental version of Sherlock Holmes’s nemesis, Professor Moriarty, and also had a detective rival in the shape of  Nayland Smith and his sidekick Dr Petrie.

Rohmer described his protagonist as ‘a person, tall, lean and feline, high-shouldered, with a brow like Shakespeare and a face like Satan, … one giant intellect, with all the resources of science past and present … Imagine that awful being, and you have a mental picture of Dr. Fu-Manchu, the yellow peril incarnate in one man.”

Yikes! You don’t want to be ordering your chicken balls from this bloke.

Rohmer’s portrayal of an Oriental baddie offended a lot of people with its negative stereotyping. There are some hilariously over sensitive comments including the claim that it ‘perverted Chinese masculine expression’ and was an assault of ‘effeminate stereotypes on Asian men.’

Rohmer responded bullishly to saying that his portrayal of Fu Manchu was “fundamentally truthful” because “criminality was often rampant among the Chinese.”

It’s a good job the English aren’t so sensitive about always being typecast as bounders and cads.


The film industry and its associated parasites are never more disingenuous and self serving than when they are promoting their product.

There are few things that stick in my craw more than seeing some actor/actress extolling the virtues of appearing in Shrek 3 or the existential experience of Piranha II.

Hell, Adrien Brody was even spinning a line recently about his new film Predators telling us it was an evolutionary thread from the original. Give me a break. How dare he sully the role of Arnie’s gun toting alien exterminator

It takes a couple of old-timers to tell it like it is sometimes and admit they appear in crap films to fill up the financial coffers.

Two examples come to mind.

Brit stalwart Miachael Caine made no bones about the reasons behind starring in Jaws 3: the revenge saying: “I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.”

Alex Guinness also told it as it is after getting fed up with his role as Jedi master Obi Wan in Star Wars saying: “I just couldn’t go on speaking those bloody awful, banal lines. I’d had enough of the mumbo jumbo.”

Jul 262010

What happened to the killer ant film?

Oh for the glory days of Them, Phase IV and Empire of the Ants when a little radioactivity went a long way and mankind had a proper fight on its hands.

Cold war paranoia seems to be coming back into fashion these days so it can only be a matter of time before the bugs follow..


Just who is the world’s worst martial arts actor?

The mighty Chuck Norris is a god in the pantheon of mumbling mono syllabic club thumpers but there have been many challenges to his throne.

Stallone mumbled his way out of contention, Van Damme blew his credibility trying to be funny, while Dolph Lungren couldn’t figure out how to turn the door handle to get into the audition.

Surely Steven Seagal must come closest in his humourless and tediously repetitive catalogue of films that always seem to have kill or death in the title.

A choice selection for any newcomer include Hard to Kill, Out for a Kill, Kill Switch, Driven to Kill, Machete, Pistol Whipped and Today you Die.

Those about to die salute you, Steven.


It seems everyone is having to work harder to make ends meet these days

Intergalactic bucket-head Darth Vader is no exception having been caught on CCTV trying to rob a bank in America.

One day the galaxy, the next New York. How the mighty fall.

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