Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The China Syndrome

I caught this movie on cable last night, just by chance.
It's a funny co-incidence because at the moment I'm conducting an interview with Richard Herd, who appeared in this very movie.
I decided to watch it based purely on the fact Richard was in it. I was very surprised to see who else was in it.
I was amazed with everyone's performance. This movie shows these actors at the top of their game.
Here's the trailer.

Here's the poster.

I know Jack Lemmon could act but up until now I've only ever seen him in comedic roles.
After watching The China Syndrome those comedic roles didn't do him justice.

I can't describe it to you but if you want to see Jack at his best, you don't have to look much further than this movie.

Here he is as Jack Godell.

And here's Jane Fonda as Kimberly Wells.
At first I didn't recognise Jane but I can safely say she should be very pleased with her performance in this movie.
Jane brought a human-edge to a very human story, and she did it very, very well.

Michael Douglas, well, just look at him here.
I was surprised to see him with a beard, but it works. Michael plays the fly-by-night cameraman Richard Adams, who isn't afraid to stand for his issues.

I'm probably sounding like a broken record here with all the praise, but Michael's performance was amazing.

Here's an image of Jack Lemmon in the control room of the nuclear power plant. This is where it all happens, and you don't have to be a nuclear scientist to appreciate it.

Jane and Michael spend a good part of the movie playing off one another and it works. There's some real chemistry between these two and they're a delight to watch.
Kimberly Wells is very serious about her job whereas Richard isn't. What makes them interesting together is their beliefs and desire to see those beliefs upheld.

As I wrote above I watched this movie purely to see Richard Herd, and I waited for him to come on screen.
And I was shocked. He had hair!

I'm used to seeing Richard as Mr Wilhelm from the Seinfeld TV series, as shown below.
Richard's performance in The China Syndrome? Well, let's just say my patience for Richard to appear on screen was well paid off.
He's brilliant as Richard McCormick.

Another surprise was the appearance of James Hampton, as Bill Gibson.

You probably know James Hampton more for his role as Harold Howard in Teen Wolf.

Then there's this guy. Wilford Brimley played the role of Ted Spindler, an engineer at the power plant.
Wilford Brimley looks and acts so much like my father in law it's scary.

I have the movie novelisation for The China Syndrome stored away somewhere, and after seeing this movie I'm very eager to unearth it and give it a read.
I really hope you give this movie a watch also, because (for probably the twentieth time now) I'm telling you; it's really, really good.

And being a late 70's movie it's always very cool to see all the dials, buttons, and buzzes used back in that time.
And the phones! My god, I'd love a phone like those used in this film.

9 out of 10.

Until next time!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Terminator Salvation

Having seen all Terminator movies, bar the first film, in the cinema I felt obligated to see Terminator Salvation on the big screen when it was released in 2009.
I'd had a passing interest in the movie. After the road trip movie which was Rise Of The Machines I didn't think there was much that Hollywood could do to further crap on the franchise.

I was wrong.
But in it's defence, even though this movie is a dump, at least there's some parts which are cleaned up and look alright.
Here's the movie poster.

Here's the trailer
Now judging from this teaser trailer I was pretty impressed. The director, McG, looked like he knew what he was doing and he certainly gave us what we've been wanting to see since the first film; the world at war with the Terminators.

My only problem with this film though is John Connor (Christian Bale). Now into his third film in the franchise John's been turned into a wanna-be hard ass momma's boy.

I know Christian Bale was playing John Connor as a war-weary soldier, leading his men because of his destiny, but I felt he played it way to seriously.
Because he couldn't relax, I couldn't relax. I couldn't enjoy the movie, especially whenever Christian was on screen.

There's a point in the movie where something happens which is meant to reinforce the fact that we're following John in this story, and that if he gives a suggestion you should probably follow it. I felt though that John came off as a know-it-all. And still, one big momma's boy.

Critics and movie reviewers were all in praise for the role of Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington).

I can see where they came from as Marcus brought something new and exciting to this movie. When compared to John Connor's very serious mood, Marcus was a breathe of fresh air.

He also gave the ladies something to look at too.

One point I was looking forward to was seeing Kyle Reese back in the franchise. Terminator fans know who Kyle Reese is, and to see someone new in the role was interesting.
Anton Yelchin did a bang-up job in the role and if there happens to be a Terminator 5, again with Anton playing the role of Kyle, I'll look forward to seeing it.

One role I felt was very much downplayed was the role of Kate Connor (Bryce Dallas Howard), John Connor's wife.
Bryce Dallas Howard was pregnant during filming, and they've even worked her baby bump into the scribe, but only in passing. I thought this was strange considering family is an underlying theme in the Terminator movies.
I thought the fact that John had a baby on the way could've been played up some more.
But then again, maybe Kate Connor was expecting 8 kids, so we could have had a Terminator version of John & Kate plus 8. I think we all know how that would've ended.....

Added into the movie for those of us who were getting bored with seeing machines blowing stuff up was Blair Williams (Moon Goodblood).
Blair was a hard-ass soldier, and fun to watch.

Just look at this image and tell me I'm wrong.

Arnold also makes a return to the franchise (sort of). You have to "love" computer animation, don't you?

Hopefully by the time Terminator 5 comes out Arnold Schwarzenegger won't be Governor of California anymore and can return to this franchise.
If Arnie's back, you know I am too.

All up I give this movie 7 and a half out of 10.

Please let me know what you thought of this review, by commenting below.
Until next time!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Interview with... Jerome Pradon

Jerome Pradon loves musical theatre, having worked in both France and the US.
Jerome is so good at what he does he's even been nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award 2004 for 'Best supporting role in a musical' for his portrayal of the Shogun's Mother and the French Admiral in 'Pacific Overtures'.

Film wise Jerome has appeared in many France films. His US work consists of Simon Sez, starring alongside Dennis Rodman.
Have a read below to see what Jerome has to say about this movie.

Jerome has produced some incredible work with the theatre production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

This all makes for one very interesting interview.

1. What was it like to work on Jesus Christ Superstar?

That was a tremendous and unique experience. It's very rare to be able to work on a filmed version of a musical. It's a totally different technique altogether, since you have to record the vocals first in a studio and then lip sink the whole piece the best you can while intensely acting at the same time and filming. So yes it was intense and demanding and great. I keep it as a fantastic memory.

2. What do you love about the theatre?

The fact that every day you have to give a new, fresh performance and have to challenge yourself in many ways to achieve that.

3. What do you feel are your strengths as an actor?

That's a tough question, I don't think I'm the best one to answer it.

4. What has been your favourite theatre role, to date?

I have been lucky enough to play a lot of great roles; I don't have one favourite, but I have some great memories: Marius, Napoleon, Rasputin, Judas, Road Movie, Pacific Overtures, L'Opera de Sarah.

5. Can you please tell us a bit about working on the Dennis Rodman film, Simon Sez?

It was great, and my character gave me the opportunity to have a lot of fun. It was awesome to play the bad guy in this wacky movie.
I only really worked with Dennis Rodman on the last scene in the film, and he was very thorough and efficient, although not particularly friendly nor sociable. He stayed very much on his own or
with his own crew and didn't seem to like to meet the other actors.
But it was fun to work with him. That last fight in the film left me with some very sore muscles for a few days since we both did our own stunts.

6. What's coming up next for you?

I'm on a few projects in France, both in musicals and straight acting plays, as well as England.

Thank you very much Jerome.
I hope you enjoy continued success in all your endeavours.
Until next time!

Interview with... Simon Rhee

It's always fun to interview someone who's had a broad range of work.
Simon Rhee is known for both his stunt work as well as his acting prowess. Starring in 42 TV and film productions, Simon has performed stunts for some 100 films and TV shows.
Needless to say, Simon's a busy man.
So when the chance came to interview he, I didn't let it slip by.

I hope you enjoy my interview with Simon Rhee.

1. What is the appeal of stunt work?

I like the adrenaline and camaraderie of stunt work. The fact that it helps feed my family is also a good thing!

2. How has stunt work changed over the years, from such movies as Double Impact, to films like Inception?

There has been significant change in stunt work over the 3 decades I have been involved with it - mainly the use of CGi and green screen technologies. Lots of new talent in the martial arts and in all aspects of stunt work also.

3. Do you find much difference between stunt work on TV, and film?

Stunt work is pretty much the same in TV and in feature films, but there is usually more prep and rehearsal time in films because of the larger budget. Also, the bigger budget can allow for more spectacular stunts.

4. What do you think has been your greatest stunt so far?

Probably my Full body burns in "Letters from Iwo Jima" and high fall from a helicopter in "Universal Soldier".

5. Is there a stunt you don’t think you can master?

I have my preferences, and I probably would prefer not to master car hits at this point in my life.

6. What’s coming up next for you?

Currently, I am in Philadelphia working on Jason Statham's movie, "Safe", and after that I will be doing fight choreography for the new "Muppets" movie.

I want to thank Simon and Cindy Rhee for their time and patience with this interview. I really do appreciate it.
I'd love to know what my readers' think of this interview, so please feel free to comment below.
You can also check out Simon's website at
Until next time!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Interview with... Ludovic Canot

Yes, I've been known to interview a porn star here and there, but today I bring to you something a little different.
Something which some still consider to be a little taboo.
I know when I told my Dad I was interviewing Ludovic Canot he didn't like the idea all that much.
See, Ludovic Canot is a gay male porn star.

Keep that in mind, because I hope you read through this interview and realise, like I have, that Ludovic is a nice guy.
And for my female readers I'm hoping you get through to the end, see his photos, and think "too bad his gay."


1. How did you get involved in this industry?

just wanted to try and figure out how is it to shoot a porn scene. always watch porn in my life so would like to know how it feels to shoot one.

2. What prep work do you do before each production

eat healthy, go to bed early, go to to the gym etc etc

3. Have you done any modelling work?

yes i did , and it s really fun to do =)

4. Who is your favourite actor to work with?

matt hughes , he is from UK, and he is cute, and kind, and easy to work with and i would like to marry him =)

5. Have you done any convention work for promotion of your films?

not really but i did twice in europe "the porn film festival"in paris and anthens , and it was really interesting to do and talk about porn and show some movies sometimes people cannot see

6. Do you have any advice for people wanting to get into the industry?

can u handle this? =)there is a difference between doing a one shot , it means just doing a one scene like that just to try, and would like to become a huge porn star and would like to have a name in this industry. both are fun , but the second one could be sometimes disturbing =), so you should be ready for that. and its not just because you like sex that you can shoot a porn scene its a different level, its something else.

7. What’s coming up next for you?

get ready, the new era is coming =)

8. Is there an event or charity you would like to bring to my readers’ attention?

nothing special in mind, just enjoy the life , have fun and in the same time be careful, life is cool and you could have fun for so many years so have safe sex, and use a condom; go to the gym and work your body in a healthy way : don't do steroid etc etc

As the last image shows you can check out more of Ludovic at his website, but be warned, there are explicit adult images on his site.

I close up by thanking Ludovic for his time, and also for the super-cool autograph he sent me.
You're a top bloke Ludovic!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Interview with... David Hedison

Whenever I interview someone related to the James Bond movie I really love it because I get to rub it in my brother's face.
By far he is a much bigger fan of the film series than I am, although I did like some of Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig's first Bond film.
But I digress.
David Hedison was in two Bond films, as well as plenty of TV work such as Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Trapper M.D., and Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea.

I thank David for all his time in this interview, and I hope you enjoy the read...

1. How did you get involved in the Bond movies?

After my second daughter was born, we lived (and I worked) in the UK for a few years. I was friends with the screenwriter, Tom Mankiewicz, and he let me read his script with an eye for me to play Felix Leiter. I liked the script, Tom got me a meeting with the producers and I was cast to play the part with Sean Connery. Then Connery quit, and my good friend Roger Moore was hired to play James Bond.

2. What were they like to film?

First class, all the way. I loved doing both my Bond pictures, I was treated so very well. Cubby Broccoli and his wife were friends. I had a lovely time filming both.

3. Would you please tell us about your work on Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea?

It was very hard work, we had to produce an hour show in 6 and 1/2 days or go over budget and Irwin didn't like us to go over budget. So we worked. It was easy with Richard Basehart, he was always prepared, ready to shoot, always gave me something to work off. We had a good cast, everyone got along and we got the episodes filmed. It was beginning to wear on me, after three years. I basically had no life when I was filming, but I thought we did some really fine work those four years, in shows like Mutiny, The Saboteur, and the Two Phantom episodes.

4. Which do you prefer; TV work, or film work?

Film. They are always in such a rush to get TV work done. I never feel I have any time to establish any kind of character development. One take, two, move on.

5. Have you done any theatre work? Would you please tell us about this?

I made my stage debut at age 13, I worked as an apprentice at Wellesey and Newport in 1949 and 1950, did regional summer stock theatre in 1951, 1953, and 1954 and worked in New York City 1952-1956. I toured in plays in 1969, 1979 and did summer stock again in 1981, 1985, 1988 and in 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2007. I've done plays in Los Angeles and Connecticut and Palm Beach, FL. I've done stage work on PBS and the BBC. I love doing theatre anywhere I can, in between my film and television work.

6. What is it like filming in front of a live studio audience?

You have to keep your concentration. And where you are in the piece. It can be nerve-racking, as there are no cuts or re-takes. On stage in a theatre, you can sometimes hide a mistake, but not live. You have to go out there and do it and hope you get it right.

7. What is coming up next for you?

I've been working with the Southern California Special Olympics. Those kids have so much heart. I enjoy raising money for their competitions and being a judge and handing out medals. It is a very rewarding experience. I also teach acting at the Actor's Studio West. I enjoy sharing my decades of experience with the young talent that comes to learn there.

8. Is there an event or charity you would like to bring to my readers’ attention?

See above. Special Olympics Southern California Chapter

Thank you very much David!

I'd love to know what you thought of this interview, so please feel free to leave a comment below.
Until next time!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Interview with... Frazer Lee

I've interviewed some cool people since starting this blog, but I didn't realise how cool someone would be until I had a chance to interview horror writer/director Frazer Lee.

I've long been an admirer of Frazer's work, and so when I interviewed him I kind of slipped in a request for an autograph. Not only did he send me an autograph, he sent me his written work, Urbane And Other Horror Stories (see the image below).
WOW! So to that I say thank you Frazer.

And I'll thank you if you comment after reading this very cool interview.

1. What was your first paid movie work?

My very first paying job in movies (and I'm showing my age now) was as a film extra in a musical rom-com called "Bert Rigby You're A Fool" starring Robert Lindsay. I worked for three days, as a "football hooligan", "coal miner strike supporter" and (excitingly) "bus passenger". It gave me valuable insight into how a movie crew works and taught me that on set there is zero glamour and a lot of waiting around freezing your ass off! From there I worked a lot of different crew jobs, runner, production assistant, best boy, gaffer - anything that kept me on set and learning.

2. How did you go from being a writer to being a director?

I'd done a little bit of writing and directing (theatre) at college, so i always did both really. When I adapted Christopher Fowler's short story 'On Edge' for the screen, I was in no doubt I would direct the movie too, as the subject matter just sang to my perversions and obsessions. Luckily I found production partners who were willing to risk their money on my vision for the film as writer/director. Nowadays I have projects that are pure writing projects including screenplay assignments, short fiction and novels - some that are writing/directing projects - and others which are purely directing projects (from other writers). Each one has its own kind of character and I know instantly if it feels like something I'll want to direct. A few movies got made that I worked on as writer only: 'Palazzo Massacre' is a Norwegian/Italian giallo short I script-doctored, and 'Simone' is a horror short based on my script 'Hair of the Dog' made by the talented folks at 386 Films USA (unrated DVD available now from 'Panic Button' is a feature-length horror/thriller I was hired to write by Movie Mogul Films that just wrapped in Cardiff, Wales. It has been a weird and strangely liberating experience to do the intense writing work and then kick back and get onto the next thing while someone else has all the fun on the actual movie shoot!

3. Please tell us about the short films you’ve directed.

'On Edge' was my first short film as writer/director. I aimed high with the film because I really wanted it to make an impression. It was shot 35mm Anamorphic with top-of-the-range Panavision kit - I was like a kid in a candy store! Author (of the original short story) Christopher Fowler kindly allowed me to adapt and shoot it, and was hugely supportive during the process, helping us to get the editing done at his facility The Creative Partnership - and he even made a cameo appearance in the movie, look out for him in the dentist's waiting room! We had some amazing talent to work with, not least cinematographer Alan Stewart, FX guru Bob Keen and actors Doug Bradley, Charley Boorman and Beth Murray. Everyone put a real shoulder behind it during a difficult shoot in a cramped dental studio, I couldn't praise the cast and crew enough really. The film premiered at Rotterdam Film Festival and since then has played dozens more festivals, Web screenings, TV - even winning some awards along the way. It also received theatrical distribution from Columbia TriStar, playing with a feature film in London cinemas. I was very proud of that achievement as you don't see many short films in theatres these days.

'Red Lines' was an entirely different approach. The film was my reply to a challenge set by some producers who were setting up a horror anthology show for Internet and TV and who specified the maximum running time could only be 5 minutes... oh and they needed a finished film within 6 weeks! I woke up from an intense nightmare one evening and scribbled notes for the screenplay on the back of an envelope in red ink. Next day, I sat down and wrote the script, circulated it and got great feedback. A few days later, cast and crew were in place and 'Red Lines' was born. We shot it digitally as it was only really ever meant for TV and the Web, but the anthology show folded, so the film started playing festivals. The shoot was manic, we covered everything in 12 hours, just crazy. Doug Bradley shot his scenes on his only day off in between shooting 'Hellraiser: Deader' and 'Hellraiser: Hellworld'. I remember it was Bonfire Night (5th November in the UK) and fireworks were going off outside during the shoot, which made things difficult. Doug announced a special anniversary while we were filming - it was Bonfire Night 20 years previously that marked his first shoot as Pinhead in the original 'Hellraiser'! Another proud moment came when the film opened for 'The Toolbox Murders' at its San Francisco premiere (at Fearless Tales Genre Festival). Director Tobe Hooper was there and he came up to me and congratulated me on "creeping him out" - I couldn't believe it! He was a real gentleman in person and continues to be a real inspiration of mine. 'Red Lines' won Best Short at that festival too, so I flew home a very happy man.

Here's the book Frazer signed for me. You should check it out for yourself and give it a read (just not in the middle of the night when you're home alone).

4. What is the appeal of working in the horror genre?

I always say horror is the King of all genres because you can have your love story, your action sequences, your favourite character types and what have you - everything any other drama has. But on top of all that you get to play with this amazing box of tricks - special FX, atmosphere, allegory (and of course just "gory"!). I have worked in other genres, but I can't help but work in horror because that's how I'm hardwired. I might be writing a "cutie fluffy bunny family picnic" scene and I know - I just know - that people are going to start bleeding. I just can't help it.

5. What would be a dream film to direct?

Honestly, anything that's on my slate currently would be a dream to direct. And it is a big dream, because for every film that gets made there are hundreds, thousands, that sit on the shelf gathering dust. "Persistence is all" in this game.

6. What’s coming up next?

More fiction, more scripts and hopefully more films! I guess I've learned my lesson the hard way, by talking about movie projects prematurely and then feeling like an idiot when they don't go into production. So I'll just say I have a couple of things that might, if the movie gods decree, happen. And if they do my friends, they will scare the living crap out of you!

I encourage you to check out Frazer's website at
and I hope you enjoyed this very interesting interview.
Until next time!

Red Hill

Red Hill is everything an Aussie movie should be.

It's not common place for me to review movies which have just been released in cinemas however I braved the Christmas shoppers at the local shopping centre to see this movie. After looking for a car spot for 20 minutes, and waiting in line to get my ticket for 15, I can safely say my patience was rewarded.

Red Hill awoke the bigotry in me.
That's what makes the bad guy so bad. The perceived initial hatred you have for him. Until it's justified and he starts blowing people away.
Here's the trailer.

And here's the movie poster.

The story is easy enough to follow. Shane Cooper (Ryan Kwanten) moves to Red Hill to take up a position at the local police station.
The same day as convicted killer Jimmy Conway (Tom E. Lewis) escapes from prison and begins heading to Red Hill to get his revenge.

Yep, that's Ryan Kwanten, from Home & Away, and also of True Blood fame.
I haven't watched True Blood but if this movie is anything to go by, Ryan's in for a long career in the movie industry, going from strength to strength.
I still think this is Ryan's best piece of work so far though.

Playing alongside Ryan is Steve Bisley as Old Bill, Chief Inspector of Red Hill.
Old Bill is a force of nature and I could think of no one better than Steve Bisley to play the role. In fact, Steve was the entire reason I saw this movie.

Here we have Shane's wife Alice (Claire Van Der Boom). Unfortunately I couldn't find an image of Alice, but Claire Van Der Boom plays her very well.
And I just realised her character's name is Alice Cooper. I wonder if that was intentional?

Shane quickly finds that things run a little slower in Red Hill, and Old Bill's word is gospel.

But it doesn't take long for the shit to hit the fan. That's when the fun begins.

I was reluctant to show you a photo of Jimmy Conway (Tom E. Lewis), as his disfigurement is quite spectacular. I wonder how long he had to sit in the make-up department each day....

And even still he still looks like Aussie actor, Shane Cooper (no relation to Ryan's character).

Among the cast is Aussie stalwart and all-around likeable bloke Kevin Harrington, who plays the role of Barlow.
Barlow brings some much needed laughter to the film, even if it is just for the first few scenes.

Rounding out the Aussie cast is Gleason (Cliff Ellen). Those who know Cliff Ellen know the TV shows and films he has appeared in. He's a hard-working true blue Aussie legend.

All up I enjoyed this film thoroughly. I do have a gripe though in that the film makers give Jimmy Conway a back story, rather than have him solely be a convicted murderer and cop-killer, on the hunt for more victims.
Whilst I heard some movie patrons crying over Jimmy's back story, I felt it was a real cop out.
The questioning of Jimmy's guilt felt like a means to appease the lefties and tree-huggers who couldn't stand to see an Aboriginal as the bad guy killer.

Overall though I give this movie 9 out of 10.
In a time when the term "Aussie film" puts a bad taste in your mouth, Red Hill stands out as a brilliant, brilliant piece of cinema.
I highly recommend you go see it.