Friday, 31 October 2008

Bad, bad TV shows

As a Nathan Barley fan, this pains me to write this but the zombie in big brother house serial Dead Set in truly awful. For a start its not scary. I'm a total coward when it comes to zombies (in a truly embarrassing way, they freak me the f**k out) and this one didn't spook me. Now that's bad. That's a sign of complete lack of craft visually and with pace. In about three hours it had five minutes of atmosphere (a bit with a lone guy travelling up a river in a boat).

Worse is the fact the Charlie Brooker, a man behind man terrific Guardian articles, screenwipe and the aforementioned Nathan Barlay, couldn't be arsed writing a script or characters. The basic idea is that people are trapped inside the big brother house during a zombie outbreak. Yet this is standard zombie material. I find it difficult to write about this as everything is so basic, the acting so dull. It's difficult to find an angle without sounding utterly despondent as this filth is so cliched. Angry boss who gets ripped apart by zombie hordes- check. Feisty female lead oppressed by sexist louts- check. Social commentary- check (but done as a blatant Romero steal, the ultimate zombie gesture). Doomed geeky oppressed boyfriend of leading lady- check. There's just nothing there. Worse is that Brooker sets them up simply to murder every character and can't be bothered hiding that fact so the plot is deadly. Any reality TV jokes implied by this boring by the first episode. Yet it goes on for another four atrocious half-hour slots where time slowly dies. Any moment of possible interest, such as a guy ripping apart a dead zombie as meat to others zombies would seem fresh only if you haven't seen Day Of the Dead. And there it was done better. The idea of a doomed compound in the UK was done two years ago in 28 weeks later, and much better, with clearer social points and actual character motivations (and a proper dark ending, and a better bit on a boat amidst zombies). I'm going to stop now as it will simply be a list on how Brooker failed on every possible level. To wrap it up, its the most boring zombie fiction ever (and there's a lot of competition).

From zombies to heroes. This is a really stupid show that I mention as I watch it because its so utterly moronic in every possible respect but is weirdly addictive in a car crash type of way. You have terrible dialogue and almost catatonic sense of framing and light, vying with either bad young acting or slumming older acting by people who should know better (take a bow Malcolm McDowell and Robert Forster). The show would be far better if the slumming actors got all the lines as at least they are fun to watch. But the young leads. Jesus. Vacant reactions that are always off. You know those comments by actors that its hard to act against someone who is not reacting and simply waiting for their next line. These kids show what that comment means. You have a perky idiot blond who can't die (but god please let her, she's woeful), an idiot fat cop who does nothing, ever, an idiot fat Japanese guy who talks about heroes (he's gotta be learning disabled), a guy who's the son to those in power and seems to be interacting with a future version of himself a lot (He's the best actor of the bunch. I don't know about his acting abilities because his character is so dumb. But he's pretty painless so I'm not awestruck by awfulness). The so bad he's downright surreal acting performance is by a guy playing this scientist looking for a cure (but who's now turning into the fly). This guy is so awful, so incapable of any emotion that I'm amazed he's not starving in the streets. He's incapable of saying simple lines without causing utter embarrassment to himself. The only young actor who does well is one playing this villain called Sylar. This guy is fun and seems to have watched the hamming, slumming older actors and figured out how to get the hell out of this show with some dignity. (This dumb show also has pulled in two good actors from The Wire, Jamie Hector and Andre Royo. They have nothing to do while being above it all).

The plots make no sense and I think given time we can see some Ed wood style speeches, if you give this cast and these writers enough time at it. That's what's keeping me going. So will we see Malcolm McDowell say "Pull the string! Pull the string!"

Now there are some tacky shows that I genuinely like. I am not so high and mighty. I have seen every season of 24. I saw the Colin Baker Dr Who's. I'm waiting for someone in the new terminator show to go mad at the twelfth time someone says yeah in three minutes. I have seen the entirety of Blade The Series.

And to a specific English friend reading this, Lost really is atrocious.

Waiting On Distributors

Got an email to say that a distributor that I sent my film to will be viewing it in the next few days. This of course makes me very nervous as its both the kind of distributor I think my film is suited for, and I'm generally nervous about people looking at the film. Your opinion always goes towards the negative on your abilities once someone else gets involved. As many distributors are folding due to the recession, its a difficult arena at the moment.

Of course I'm determined to be optimistic.

Quantum Of Solace

Quantum Of Solace is one of those annoying films. Its okay, has good moments but is hobbled by certain decisions, the most problematic is the choice of director. Its very inferior to the terrific Casino Royale. As most of the reviews so far has suggested, Daniel Craig still in command of his role and carries the film, even though his direction is vague and some of the writing spare to being the point on non-existence.

The film itself is a fragmented revenge tale that obscures the revenge aspect for too long, the direction always too distanced, so that the idea that Bond is looking for revenge, is furious but will not acknowledge it never comes through enough. The director, Marc Foster, is unable to show what's going underneath Bond nor create a multi-faceted character, always keeps things one-note, which is annoying as it means that plot dominates. He also is focused one only one aspect of a scene per scene so if its an action scene then there's nothing but action, talk is nothing but talk. The film has no variation nor subtlety and the pacing is off, has little variation. You don't need that normally in a Bond film but as Casino Royale was good at handling the mix of styles I was expecting more of the same. I think it was written to feel out of control always but the director wasn't up to the task.

The plot itself has many side-tracks, which felt necessary for the hunt and for the idea of Bond going rogue, working against a complex organisation. It feels like it should work, has ambitions but due to the stiff direction never finds focus. Frankly there needs to be more dialogue. While they went for a fast pace there is a feeling that there isn't enough story, and a lack is felt where you feel there should be more talk. The film feels like a remake/remix of On Her Majesty's Secret Service and License To Kill, the early scenes of investigation having the pace and feel of the Lazenby film while the South American locale and Bond going rogue felt like the Dalton film. But the investigation in this film isn't as interesting as Majesty nor the revenge and the idea of Bond in over his head as personalised as License.

So its a film that doesn't quite work but is a lot of fun. I think the quality drop from the last film and the fact the Craig and a decent plot is squandered by a weak director irritates. But its still far superior to the Brosanan films.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

The final Trebeck film

Alpha One, the final Trebeck film, was shooting for three weeks before the death of its star, had already lost its director Warwick Jehane after the first fortnight. It had two weeks left of shooting when Dalton died.

To cover this, rewrites were done to complete the film. Gabriel Van Dyke, looking shocked, took over for his only real lead. We were also hastily introduced to the son of Dalton's character, hired to act the rest of Dalton's scenes. That made no sense at all, as Dalton was shown to be a total loner. Film feels like Plan 9 From Outer Space of that final Pink Panther film in its cobbling together various bits of footage to make a mess that should have been burned then buried.

There were three directors in all, none of whom wanted credit.

Idea was that Dalton and Van Dyke are aliens who look like humans, who are protecting Earth from Wheatley, also playing an alien, but an evil one, with time travel abilities and many weapons. This explanation makes more sense than the film itself.

It was meant to be a pilot for series. The show was picked up on cable and lasted seven episodes. Van Dyke appeared once in the show, for about two minutes, looking bored, before finally retiring.

Below is a script page for a scene shot by Jehane and placed in the film. I would say that the location that the film was shot in looked like a bland TV set, lit to be over-bright, making it look even faker, the costumes very eighties sci-fi. It had shaky camera so you could never tell what the hell was going on, we unable to work out screen direction or tactical actions exactly beyond generic basics. It was not Jehane's finest hour as a director, was shot in the middle of his drug dependency peak. The sound of the children in scene were never redubbed, so they wear American clothes but speak with an Eastern European accent. As you will see, characters are not named so use actor's names in script, which is very unprofessional.


Wheatley has a tooth-pick between his teeth. Pull back in a Hitchcock Vertigo zoom in/pull out to reveal laser-guns.

Shot ends and Wheatley begins to speak.

I know what you’re thinking.

Dalton and Gabriel look at him in disgust.

Bitch. You’re a long way from home.

I’ll break your d**k off and feed it to my cat!!!

This machine, now inside me, makes me a god.
Can be everywhere but nowhere. Can be one
with life. Come on mother****er, lets dance.

They start firing at one another, with laser-guns, in steady-cam, laser-shots missing targets. Wheatley jumps on a flying surf-board and charges at them, they dodging, get on flying bikes, having a stupid laser-fight. Then over streets and heads of orphan children, lots of wow shots going over/just missing children. Wheatley slowly fades out after a time, surfboard blowing up, nearly killing them and nearby children, who Dalton and Gabriel save.

They land, look around at shocked children.

Don’t worry children. We’ll get him!

Gabriel nods, loading his laser-gun.

What can I say.

It gets worse. Below is another Jehane shot scene, unfortunately still in the film. A Return Of the Jedi inspired bike sequence in the jungles of Vietnam, everyone shirtless like a Michael Bay film, with bad tree effects. It feels like they are trying to do something ambitious on a low-medium DVD budget sans taste and self-control. It jumps from professional to insane and back almost every shot, with some moves good, reactions to trees approaching, odd fight moves suggesting some skill, but with shaky-cam and strange ideas its just a total unmatchable mess in the making. Dalton is watching, knowing without a doubt his career is over. It is an offensive to the living and the dead.

Here it is:


Now Vietnam flying surfboard laser-fights, moving past trees with charlie stripped, firing, underexposed and yelling like a mother*****r, as well as get some!!!. They have tanks firing at them, napalm backgrounds, Dalton and Wheatley doing sword-fighting, back flips etc. Dalton does a kung fu fight with a sword on the surfboard with Wheatley generally, both using swords to fighting one another and to deflect masses of bullets.

Vietnam area is burned by laser blasts at end of sequence, Gabriel is injured, goes MIA.

The film goes back to the birth of Christ, forward in time to see that Wheatley wins and becomes a god, has lots of chases in cheap looking future back projection and bad cgi, with the son character wandering in and out without sense. So Dalton goes back and assassinates Wheatley, only the son does the killing, but it turns out its only a guy who looks like Wheatley. They go back and forward a lot, murdering people in scenes that make no reasonable sense, sometimes it being Dalton, sometimes its the son, Van Dyke always there with a comment. They have dull scenes explaining the logic of this but nobody cares. It's meant to be a chase movie, blowing stuff up. It's such a disaster that dying seems like a good career move.

A few of you may have seen it. Apparently it was based on a novel.

So that's the sad end of Dalton Trebeck. Few careers, save Bela Lugosi and Peter Sellers, ended on such a low.

As a completest, I feel obliged to provide over-views to the careers of Sean Decassey, Warwick Jehane and of course Dirk Michael Wheatley in the near future. Until then.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Dalton Trebeck: The Post-Jummy Hollywood Films

Oh how the mighty fall when losing their creative soul-mate. I write of Dalton Trebeck and his Hollywood years following the untimely death of his director-producer Jummy Rainer. It was dreck and we unfortunately have to wallow a little in Dalton's misery.

Dick Freebie's Totem, Die Hard on an Indian reservation, came first, is an incredibly weak and offensively stupid film. It's also a difficult film to remember, as it feels like it goes on for so long without a point. Dalton plays Sammy Jones, a bland-sounding a ranger on the land, seems kind but has no family or character. Shrugs a lot and talks nonsense about wisdom. I should point out now that the film was a Jummy idea (but as Indians scalping white's) but he was busy on Spine. Dalton was to play a man named Defries, first name never said, who was the ranger stalking Indians who have gone mad, not able to take the economic oppression anymore. While he was meant to be tracking them he was killing their enemies, working out white patsies for the murders, while finding the Indians to talk them around, try and interest them in a score against their oppressors. he finally catches up with them as they butcher a banker and her lover, Defries finishing the job off. At this point they go off on a score, massacring their enemies, stealing hundreds of thousands, leaving decapitated heads all over the villain lair. They return to their settlement, planning another score. The film, also named Totem, was to end with them giving some money to their people, aiming to travel to Washington for their next score. Obviously Jummy hated the banks. Alas, as Spine was going over-budget, this idea, originally a Head Rush follow-up project, was plucked and placed in the hands of a liberal hack, who changed much before shooting and more on set. He brought in Juluis H. Smight, a man of low talents, insisted that the film should humanise Dalton, that the Indian reservation is too unique for the original idea and had to be the base of a truly original action film. Jummy objected but was too busy to intervene. Then the idea of ambiguous Indians was too much for the director to bear. So they became victims. Jummy suggested that the killer Indians and Dalton should at least become a crew fighting back but the hack said no, Dalton has to be alone and mythic. So this is how the film now plays out. Some villains come to attack the Indians for some reason (never explained) and Dalton fights back with lethargic moves, having been injured when shooting Spine. It takes half an hour to get to that. Before its a lot of families and their social situation, with sentimental music. These people barely appear when the action gets going. The villains are essentially racist idiots throughout, working for a man who thinks there may be oil on their land, wants to force them out, blame them for violence, destroy the concept of an Indian reservation. As if the American government doesn't do that every year. The henchmen shoot weakly at Dalton, letting him get to places to make easy escape. He kills some of them but without real impact, as hack hates brutality. The villains track Dalton through the land, cutting him off from supplies. Then continue to track him for about forty minutes without anything interesting save a few slayings. Meanwhile their bosses are cruel to the Indians, who are different Indians than set-up originally. Most are children. Then suddenly there's the finale. Eventually Dalton kills them all, the ending taking place at an Indian burial ground. Dalton gets the capitalist scum arrested due to testimony by flunkies (yes, not even a good death scene for the villain). It's a slow moving action flick, with much Indian talking bollocks like losers, and dull landscape shots repeated interminably. It was Dalton's first flop and even he tries to forget it, as it is far worse than anything that followed. The reviews were rightly horrible. A horrible ending to what could have been a great action series.

Spook-Game is next, the ghost film. Dalton is apparently the lead but really a chief supporting part to the effects. This is another Jummy idea ruined, this time by aging hack John R Jackson. As written by Jummy, it was meant to be a tough child's film, Dalton leading kids through a haunted location in 3-D. Dalton was to play a mystery man, of few words, who lead the kids through a mysterious island after their plane crashes. They would find ghosts, all of which had emotional ties to the children's past. Dalton would also have his past reveleaved by the end, as they escape from the horrible island. It was a romp, a treasure island type of movie, different from the other films, a new direction. The first draft script still left room fro improvement but it was ready, was a solid base. By the time the film appeared the film was set in a haunted LA house, without 3-D. The kids were teenagers, Dalton was in grief for Jummy and was filmed away from the rest of the cast on blue-screen. The plot was him as a cop hunting a serial killer who is trying to find the ghosts of his victims. That is a strange reason. Meanwhile the nut is killing the teenagers off-screen. Dalton eventually hooks up with the teenagers to defeat the killer. There are also spies chasing the killer for a reason that no-one can fathom. It was still aimed at children until they realised how creepy the serial killer idea was. By that point the film was such a mess that they never could be bothered adding more gore for adults so the film was left to die horribly on release. So no good characters, with teenagers act like ten year olds as the character-based rewriting was half-hearted at best, so there was no context for the behaviour. Dalton acts to them as if they are children. He may have not been told of the reacting due to the circumstances of production, in some interviews claimed as much. Dalton is also dull and uninterested throughout, when there needed to be curiosity. There is no logic to increasing action, as actions occur that the viewer does not understand the reason for, action occurring in a thrill-ride Indiana Jones rip-off sort of way. At least it was better than Totem due to unintential laughs but was Dalton's second bomb. It was his notorious disaster.

After a two-year gap, Dalton returned to Sean Santiago in Gem. Again it was based on a Jummy idea ruined. Jummy had five ideas for Sean Santiago. The innocent young woman and niece had moved away (after Ghost-spook bomb, no more kids it seemed) and Dalton chases a high-level female jewel thief who was being stalked by a serial killer. This Santiago was drunk a lot of the time, depressed. It was supposed to be a theme but felt like padding, the old Santiago always on the move, like a shark. He never gets anywhere with the jewel thief, who is slashed to death two-thirds in. Eventually Dalton gets interested in the non-plot and kills a few people to find the killer, pulling out the guy's heart. This one is worse than any Dirty Harry sequel. Directed by Los Angeles director Tom Riene, who went onto television. Now the original idea was different. Gem would be the idea of what is lost. The innocent young woman was to lose her child to leukemia, was to be the villain in this film. She would start killing other women, do many a foetal abduction and have many babies, all dead due to starvation. She would also kill healthy women for no reason. Dalton was to be chasing this killer, oblivious to who it was, would be brutally murdering people to get the information. There would be gangster ties and high-brutality chases that would escalate and be odd and twisted, burning sky-scrapers at night and families of gangster scum killed due to frame-ups by the young woman, before he finds out the truth. As he was also in grief, he would end up killing her while kissing her, acknowledging his unhealthy desire for her that had been suppressed through-out the other stories and would be very obvious through-out this one. Story would end with him handing in his badge and leaving the city, unsure what to do next. A far more interesting, if messy story, instead of what we got.

Switch The Ditch was another Riene disaster, a heist film where Dalton plays second fiddle to a dull plot and a cast of show-offs. Not much to say. Again Dalton looks depressed and drunk. Plot is dull, a few double-crosses on the escape. Was meant to be a tribute to The Getaway but had no mood. Dalton was killed off two-thirds in as a shock that induces yawns. There's also a brutal shoot-out at the end where everyone dies. The film is someone trying to be brutal without style, a bad-Jummy imitation. Which it was. This was the Totem sequel, now with vague criminals rather than Indians. The sequel idea was that the first half was a brutal sting in Washington, ripping into politicians in brutal blackmail schemes, Dalton hiring someone as a front man, making various politicians paranoid about one another and investments made through banks. (again the bank hatred). As soon as the scam was worked, the Indians kill the politicians brutally, suggesting gang-land connects, move off with the money. Second half is the getaway, as a few ties seem to lead back to them, which they have to plug up in some tense action beats. Dalton is brutally murdered here by his own friend, when he think he's sold them for profit. It would have been tragic, friend versus friend. Losing the control, the Indians kill many others, some innocent, being brutally killed one by one, leaving one Indian left, the one who killed Dalton, unable to return home, killing off the last of his enemies who can tie him to the scam, having the money but nowhere to go. He would be followed into the next dark adventure. All of this is gone in the film. There are no heroes, anti-heroes, surprises. Definitely no Indians. Only the title and one idea, of killing Dalton.

Dial D For Detonation is the final Sean Santiago flick, as Gem managed to make money, far less than Head Rush. as this one also did, but only later, on video. Was a public failure theatrically. Is a Detroit bomb squad film, Santiago aiding them in the hung for a mad bomber. It is better than the previous post-Jummy films, as Santiago does have a little more life, and is re-united with innocent young woman and niece at the end. But hunting down a killer who likes bombing places (has none of the specific odd targets that Jummy provided) is dull, with many cutting the wire scenes. Bomber wants his family back as motivation we find. But they are dead, killed by him. Even this doesn't work as it has no lead-up, but it's a bit of life I suppose. As previously noted, this was the first film that Gabriel Van Dyke and Dirk Michael Wheatley appeared, as his buddies. But they have nothing to do and you can't imagine this character having buddies. Directed by Jeff Vasco, another TV hire to be, this film was of no real use. The outline by Jummy reads different. This one had Santiago in Mexico, watching the Mexicans, taking assassination jobs, having lost all moral compass. He would sleep with prostitutes, shoot people for no reason, essentially willing people to kill him. The title referred to his self-destruction. It would be a spare film, have little dialogue. It's base would be picked apart and used somewhat for the Japan films. Eventually in the story Santiago would get into a brutal gun-fight with the police, not the gangsters, and is killed for no political reason. He simply made the situation more difficult for people left in his wake. A downer but it would have been a perfect ending to the series. Instead we have something stupid.

The good news is that Dalton dusted himself off and went to Japan after these fiasco's started working with real talents who appreciated him.

Dalton Trebeck: The Jummy Films

The Jummy years, in the urban crime trilogy: Bullet In My Brother's Gut, Swimming From Nicaragua and Burn My Hated Demon's Heart, were great for Dalton Trebeck. He was a stunning athlete during this time, matched by the visual imagination of producer/director Jummy "Sphinx-boy" Rainer. Let's go straight for the films shall we.

Bullet In My Brother's Gut is a simple revenge tale. Sean Santiago's brother is brutally shot to death by the mob in the first scene. He was seeing a gangster's innocent daughter. He pays for this with his life, has his body cut up and spread and buried through-out the city. Dalton is a cop in another city who comes back home. With the help of his rage-filled mother, he kidnaps the innocent daughter, thus making the gangsters panicked and worried about their bosses and then targets the gangsters, finding body parts of his brother bit by bit. After he has beaten down an important gangster they have a choice. Body part or their own death lasting days. He kills them anyway but gets the body parts, starting with the head. He talks to his brother's head throughout the film, takes it on raids. He talks to his brother's head while talking to the innocent young woman the brother loved, just to see what she really thought of him. Then he goes back to killing, avoiding traps set by gangsters, eventually getting the entire body (the gut area with the bullet is the last part found) so as to have a funeral. By this point there's only a few top gangsters left, and minimal henchmen. Their enemies sit-back and wait for them to die. The innocent young woman is also. So in front of an entire church congregation, Dalton takes out some vicious gangsters, brutally murdering them in a church. The cops arrive, take the bodies, cover it up. They respect Dalton. Everyone in church wants the gangsters dead so no-one will speak. Dalton returns to his own city to establish justice. At the end we find that the innocent young woman is pregnant. She is left unsure of her future.

Swimming From Nicaragua is of course about drugs. It takes place in LA, never getting near Nicaragua. Dalton is undercover, looking for a kingpin connect to prove in court. He is set-up as a kingpin in the first ten minutes by the real kingpin, who has found out his undercover status and murdered the other supervising agents, framing Dalton, suggesting a rogue agent. That's all the set-up we need as Dalton has to take take down this beast while avoiding the cops (who want to take down Dalton as the drug kingpin themselves) and his own people, who are hungry for revenge. It's a chase movie through LA, as Dalton meets and beats, tortures bank mangers, flunkies, corrupt cops, avoiding killing the good cops and his own people no matter what they do. But he can maim them. A bus station is trashed en masse halfway through, a few hotels are totaled, there's a motorbike chase with cops all over the place, trying to catch Dalton. The film never stops and on recollection there isn't really a through plot, as Dalton is simply always on the run, trying to find the kingpin's location through beating on thugs at pace before cops or crooks raid wherever he is at (he never gets more than a minute to beat a guy for information before something else happens). He does keep sending his agency clues on the real agency and how he was set-up. Finally he catches up with the kingpin, beats a confession out of him, as well as drug connects. Then he throws the scum into the plane engines to get diced. Dalton's agency finds the proof to clear him. The film takes place over one night. The epilogue is Godfather-inspired, as various South American drug kingpins are taken out.

Burn My Hated Demon's Heart is Sean Santiago's return. He is in his home turf, Detroit, and is hunting a bank robbing gang in the first brutal section, that ends on a bank robbery gone wrong after a long hunting sequence. Turns out, as he finally takes them down, these guys have an in with corrupt bankers, who are hiding losses through robberies and stolen papers, who in some cases forged more high-level robberies from the information stolen by the robbers, that only these bankers can take advantage of once they have the information officially reported stolen. The rest of the film is him and his group of borderline cops taking down the bankers, terrorising them, attempting to get confessions, messing with them and their families. The bankers of course, hire other nuts to target these cops and a war breaks out between cops and various types of crooks, before the cops lose a few guys and start massacring bankers, figuring the thugs won't fight unless they are paid. So they hunt the bankers in brutal ways. The film ends with a raid of cops on a flea-bitten hotel, where the remaining bankers have fled, protected by their goons, the cops finally taking out all the scum, losing a few of their own on the way. The film is fun, works as a Dirty Dozen-type story, as the cops around Dalton all have quirks, as do the various bankers. It's the funniest, most well-loved Dalton Trebeck film. It's the one with all the funny lines and character touches. Having cops killing bankers doesn't hurt either. Also interesting is that the innocent young woman and her daughter stay with Dalton from the previous Sean Santiago story, has to be protected throughout the story. It works surprisingly well, gives a human dimension to the threat. At the end of the film Dalton is taken to hospital, injured, which leads to his next film.

Head Rush is the breakout studio film. Its a Sean Santiago film. He's having his wounds taken care of when the hospital is sieged, he having to get his niece and innocent young woman to safety and then start hitting back. There are cops outside but most of the experienced ones are in hospital. All surviving cops from the last film are brutally murdered by the villains at the start, leaving very weak police presence outside. We never find out the reason for the siege until late and we simply watch Dalton, without gun, use drugs and tactics slowly against the villains, always slow and injured, which adds always to his plight. Its a post-Die Hard film but without many explosions, is more character based, as Dalton tries to work out the reasons for the attack, decipher the lies of the failing villains while staying fast, avoiding letting anyone get near his loved ones, protect the people inside, wonder about the out for the villains. Its all about atmosphere, with Dalton always about his surrogate family. So there's a reason given at the end for the attack but its difficult to remember what it is as its cut down and made to feel vague. The film is about a nightmare situation. It was his break-out smash hit film. The script was longer, had more of the cops at the beginning before they are killed, making that action more shocking. But it's played quicker and is still horrifying. Dalton sees more work by the villains, giving them more character, weaknesses, seeming trapped themselves but that gets cut. the explanation at the end is more specifically odd, as if there can be no real explanation. It feels like mass madness. everything cut was to make the film more visual, to avoid repeating story elements, Jummy really on a roll by now, very confident in his visuals.

It led to a big budget Spine, Jummy Rainer's only film that he didn't write. It's still a lot of fun, is essentially another Die Hard riff, this time at NASA, terrorists trying to put up a satellite that will attack targets at will, as well as take out anything that attempts to stop it. Dalton plays an assistant to the guy in charge of NASA security. He has to track and kill the terrorists through the various launch tubes, rigging's, launch areas and control centre. Most of the people have been killed, NASA protected by Spine, a land-based version of the killer satellite, that can keep the army out. So Dalton has to avoid been seen at any time by this thing, as well as terrorists. Jummy rewrote the script, added elements of family outside, people grieving for their loved-ones, gave Dalton a back-story but that is spare in the final film, at the producers insistence. It does lose a little character by not having these elements, feels a little cold if very controlled visually, very exciting with momentum. Of course two-thirds in, all hell breaks loose and the shuttle takes off, Dalton inside. He manages to destroy the satellite Spine, being brutally beaten while doing it, kill the terrorists, almost dead by then, finally crash the space shuttle into land-based spine, bailing out at the last second with a handy parachute. Jummy wanted him to die, shot it but it was never used. the film was a hit, not as big as Head Rush, nor was it as personal. But it was fun. There are rumours of a longer cut on DVD sometime soon. Was a shame that Jummy went out with his weakest film in narrative and character, there being no real supporting acting of note.

So that's the Jummy years. Up soon the post-Jummy wilderness.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Dalton Trebeck: The Early Films

You may wish to know about Dalton Trebeck's early years. While there are biographical details available, date of birth, early jobs, they are unfulfilling. I would like to imagine Mr Trebeck born moments before entering the cinema as a full-grown action star.

Yet there are early films, before he made his name and entered the mainstream in the urban crime trilogy: Bullet In My Brother's Gut, Swimming From Nicaragua and Burn My Hated Demon's Heart, made by the producer/director Jummy "Sphinx-boy" Rainer, who would then go onto make the Dalton mega-hit Die Hard riffs Head Rush (hospital siege, no guns, just fighting and inventive use of drugs, more John Carpenter influenced than Die Hard) and Spine (NASA and terrorists, killer satellites, surprisingly tense and emotive). Hack Dick Freeburn made Totem, the Die Hard on an Indian reservation (yes the finale was in a Indian burial ground). It was during the shooting of that film that Jummy Rainer, prepping the yet unnamed Dalton 3-d Ghost movie, died in a car crash.

It was never the same after that. Spook-Game was the name of the ghost film, was not in 3-D, was heavily re-written to have a serial killer sub-plot (post-Seven craze) that made no sense with the ghost aspect. There were also a lot of spies and it was a horrible mess. Dalton avoided publicising it nor was interested in making a film for two years after that bomb, returning to a few lacklustre action films, such as Gem (jail thief film obviously, but had yet another serial killer), Switch The Ditch (bank heist, double crosses, felt DTV) and Dial D For Detonation, a bomb squad film without suspense (If Dalton is looking at two wires, you think he's going to chose the wrong one? There are five of those scenes.) The bomb squad film, his publicised come-back, was such a disaster that it was all over for Dalton theatrically. This was the first film that Gabriel Van Dyke and Dirk Michael Wheatley appeared, as his buddies. So he went to Japan.

So there are a few early films where he was not the star, made before he was plucked to be brute Sean Santiago in Bullet In My Brother's Gut.

The first one was a vampire henchman in a low-budget, for many years unreleased Cannon flick Hunger Slash, a honest to goodness made in Israeli lesbo vampire flick. Yes, this was so bad that even Cannon wouldn't release it, even with lesbian sex scenes. It was meant to be Europe but no-one tried to hide that it was shot in Israel. You watch it kind of hoping that someone points out that the main vampire is obviously Jewish and try and make that old testament aspect interesting, bring in some Palestinians and Muslim faith but no such luck. She's meant to be a good Catholic girl, seducing many people of various genders for no explained reason. Dalton has the David Bowie part but doesn't die apparently. He simply is there and then is not in the second half. Must have died off-screen.

During the making of this film he was spotted as something interesting by Cannon and placed as second lead in the Delta Force rip off SEAL Squad, a film not as bad as Navy Seals. (Yes, Cannon would rip-off their own movies). His natural charisma dominated the alleged star Jonathon Likie and the film was a minor hit on video, is always on late-night TV.

Next came the Cannon Charles Bronson flick Domino Twelve, where he was the doomed partner, dying at minute twenty. He had three scenes but there met Jummy, who was the writer. Jummy hated Bronson, saw Dalton as a star in the making, and on that film vowed to make a film with Dalton as the lead.

The funding was raised while Dalton played a doomed boxer in Euro-pudding Box For Glory. Dalton plays the supposed villain who drops dead in the ring at the end, ruining the hero's chance at glory. The lead was some Irish git that no-one remembers. It was an awful film. It could have ruined Dalton if the funding hadn't been raised for Bullet In My Brother's Gut.

During this time Dalton also did a small role in an unreleased and reportedly unfinished Godard film Spring Notre, a film about crooked elections. Apparently Godard called Dalton "a very nice man."

That is all that there is to say about the early years of one Dalton Trebeck.

Dalton Trebeck's Japan Trilogy

The Japan Trilogy is as follows: Into Death Us We Kill, Respect For The Mad Buddhist Death and A Father's Tale.

Into Death Us We Kill has many good points. It's the first in the two films made by Derek Q DeLain, who also directed A Father's Tale. There are no American supporting parts. Trebeck says ten lines in the film. There are no subtitles, the Japanese saying a few words here or there and you know what they mean. People butcher one another in many a small Japanese town. Many a young lass goes into the online porn trade, tutored by aging men. Through it all Dalton murders his way to get back his kidnapped daughter, taken in the first scene in Tokyo. Its episodic, essentially Trebeck going from town to town, murdering gangster scum and accidentally killing many innocent bystanders. Trebeck looks increasingly unhinged throughout. He ends up finding his daughter dead, then decapitates all that he sees in a small town. This is a film with three whorehouse shoot-outs, two destroyed police stations (the police are in on it), ten castrated businessmen (one is a politician) and no message beyond brutal revenge. It's great but unseen largely in America due to its insane levels of violence.

Respect For The Mad Buddhist Death is a Warwick Jehane film, the first collaboration stalled by many falling outs. It's the only one of the three Japan films that received real American distribution and is the best one. It has the dumbest plot but the best direction. It has Dirk Michael Wheatley being a CIA agent turned priest, butchering Buddhist Japanese children in the first five minutes, his friend played by Gabriel Van Dyke sent in to kill him. Gabriel loses an arm and a leg in a brutal fight. Then we cut to Dalton. Dalton is murdering a family of yakuza, is betting attacked by men, women and children, hacking them all to bits with a sword. He walks out of the house, looks around, goes to the next house. Next scene he gets a call from Van Dyke, telling him of Wheatley being in town, gone mad. Dalton goes to meet Wheatley, sees that Wheatley has gone too far, tries to kill him. What we have is a ten-minute long fight which goes from Buddhist temples to hotels, murdering literally hundreds. Dalton is left for dead, is rescued by surviving Buddhist, is brought back from death. Wheatley stays on the hunt while Dalton recovers, killing people, burning bodies and buildings then disappearing. He looks tortured. Buddhist track him from spirits, sending Dalton after him, Dalton always too late, finding burned out remains and being blamed, as a white man. So he repeatedly has to fight his way out. Which he does without pity, destroying already injured men. Wheatley then falls in love with a Japanese woman, then kills her for being unpure. Then he does it again. Dalton keeps reliving old assignments, all scene, where he kills people, feeling ashamed. Dalton also kills a pig that is said to be the re-incarnation of an old enemy. That's unusual, even for a Dalton Trebeck film. Finally, after a few near misses, Wheatley attacks a yakuza mainstay, Dalton running in halfway through the scene, they both killing the yakuza before turning on one another for a brutal yet quick fist-fight, Dalton literally beating Wheatley to death before himself being shot by a child survivor. This is a film, massacre after massacre, that offers continually inventive, off-hand brutality. It's genius.

A Father's Tale is the quiet one. There is literally no violence for the first hour. Trebeck finds a baby from a dead prostitute and looks after it. He is in a Japanese village (one of the ones destroyed in Into Death Us We Kill). For the next hour he looks after the baby, interacts with the locals, speaks some Japanese, and is kindly to all. He does a pretty good job of being human. He plays a CIA agent who is hiding out, having been turned on by old friends. The film becomes an action movie when the father of the baby returns to the village, a thug trying to be a businessman, finds out about the dead hooker (who he wanted kept alive, was in love with). This man hunts down those who killed her, or plotted to have her killed. Trebeck is off-screen for half an hour here as this guy kills a lot of people. Finally the two men meet, Dalton deciding it is best to hand over the baby to the father, that he will look after him. Dalton moves on, continuing to be in hiding. This was supposed to be a start of a Japanese series but due to the lack of Trebeck action it was never released in the US. It did well in Asia and the Trebeck part was recast film to film, different director every film, no continuity, the films becoming violent and ungainly. They do not bear watching.

So it was odd to Eastern Europe after these Japanese films. Is a shame. He did a great job there.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Psycho Remake And What Happens To Directors As They Age Or Die

The Psycho remake by Gus Van Sant, one of the most original directors working today, from a distance seems like a very important film in his development (kind of like Dead Ringers with Cronenberg, who went towards quieter subject matter) Here is the film, that while flawed, moved away from the mainstream narrative and was interested in people that as unknowable. Before this Van Sant seemed prone to having people talk too much about theme. After it, save a minor film, he went to the amazing films like Gerry and Elephant. It's ironic that he made the move within a film that's script is the mother of over-explanation (joke is intentional, couldn't resist).

The film is made from a real division. The Hitchcock original is visually brilliant (though very contained, only working within nightmare logic.) Norman Bates is a great, original character is a hodge-podge of every over-wrought theory on sex and violence (from mother-love to skinning to voyeurism to jealousy). They don't miss one and it doesn't make sense as a character when you think about it. But the dream logic on Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins, trapped in their own polite private hells, more genuine and oddly British than any Merchant Ivory film has ever managed, has real resonance and manages to focus the stupid aspects of the story. Many of the talk scenes work beautifully even if they are only directed to surface readings, the cast doing deeper work than Hitchcock likely cared about. The end reveal is great as visual nightmare imagery, gives a lot of the undercurrent of fear that runs from the beginning but doesn't make a lick of sense as character. The last five minutes of the original is really bad. So I'm saying essentially that as visual entertainment its a stunner but as a script its got some woeful qualities.

The remake is interesting in that it insists on being shot by shot, is fascinating in many ways yet is hamstrung by the script flaws Hitchcock created. The remake doesn't go in for literal dream logic. Its a film about emotional distance. The people in it are confused, fidgety. The visual style is of rooms with far too much information, from the offices, to Norman's front office, to the stores. The film is very European in that it expresses this through colours that explode through clothes, lighting that is perfect and rich, full of life. Yet the framing, while studying Hitchcock, is not focusing on what Hitchcock loved, which was showing information, then more information, showing the logic of suspense and then making it loopy and neurotic, so the plot becomes nightmarish. This film obscures plot points through diluting focus by so much colour, so you follow but from more objective quality. And you see the people not sure how to interact with one another except through cliches, suspicion or over-expressed emotion that pops through and causes awkwardness. Eyes are always watching others. The Marion Crane voice-overs, while in the original showed plot information and signs of nervousness, now dominate with nervous energy and lack of focus from the main character. Norman Bates is seen in the remake as not a likable fresh-faced young man but instead is a lonely neurotic who isn't quite right. For me, all of this is fascinating. All of the polite notes of the original are betrayed in subtle ways, showing a different world. The talk in the back room in the original was terrific but here is very desperate, as Vince Vaughn, in one of his best performances, is a fidgeting, hollowed out scared freak. When Marion Crane is killed, Norman is not a character you care about following here, is distanced. As a character work its far more intriguing on some level than in the original, as it places the tortured killer in his proper place, is not damning, is viewing him as one of many confused souls. Unlike Hitchcock, Van Sant isn't abusing your natural sympathies by making you identify with a killer for what are actually weak reasons on a rational level (he seems so sweet and victimised) even though they have interesting aspects. This levelling out on the characters, as well as distance, means that the second half loses a little in momentum (But the Macy- Vaughn verbal duel is great). The killings also lose immediacy as you are both disturbed by and aliented from the characters more, and by the killings themselves not being Van Sant's strength. The nightmare logic of the final ten minutes, when Norman's demons are revealed don't have any punch. They do look weak and grabby towards psycho-analysis. It's a shame in that while Van Sant's visualising does a lot of great stuff on character and mood, the plot does hobble him. What's good about Vaughn's performance, that he is hollowed out, nervous tics that cover vacant, nervous emotions, also suggest darkness, that hints at what's coming. But they also suggest something more mysterious and open to interpretation that was written in the original script. Some of the plot suspense that Hitchcock liked, that in his closed-off world added threat when Norman bates seems nice, seems to waste time when you feel there's something wrong, due to performance.

So it's an unique film, far more fascinating than has been suggested on the remake's initial release. Hopefully people will begin to look at it more objectively. It may have a chance now as I don't think Hitchcock has the same cultural currency that he had when it was made. Hitchcock, it seems to me, is sort of like John Ford. He was of an era, was an entertainer who had great craft, who made a few great films that went beyond the limits of entertainments, had lots of interesting instincts. But to be a real lasting artist never really made enough great films, was not focused enough on what his work was about. I think in the last ten years Hitchcock has fallen away a little. Everything you can write about him, from Catholicism, Freud, use of suspense, misogyny, has been written. There's nothing really left. He's not as interesting as a person or as a director as Welles, Murnau or Kubrick, not to mention European masters like Bression, Antonioni, Bergman or Bunuel (if you want pervert as artist, he's the real deal), nor the Japanese genius of Ozu. He's not even as interesting as a British director as Powell-Pressenger, who made more great films, were consistent, hugely under-explored. All of these difficult directors have had far less writing done on them, probably because they are more difficult as subject matters. Hitchcock at the moment is in a slump. It'll be interesting to see what his real legacy is, as it is forming.

Directors are odd as they age. After death they become geniuses for five years then a lapse. When they come back into interest, they always seem different, as if now complete and following a period of what could have been. Someone like Hitchcock is defined already, wouldn't have gotten better as there was little curiosity. Someone like Wells you can't help but wonder. As the movie brats approach the age when some will soon likely start dying, it'll be interesting to see what occurs. Will Speilberg and Scorsese last much beyond their deaths? My bet is Coppola will get the long-term praise, as his seventies work still towers above all else. His failings will mean he's less praised than people such as Bresson but he seems the most interesting still.

Of the younger generation, still in the potential, its a little bleak. Cronenberg, Malick and Van Sant seem to have gotten a second wind, Schrader remain interesting but of the younger generation from them there's a slight dullness and collapse that seems reminiscent of the movie brats in the early eighties. Fincher made Zodiac, a toweringly dull film with no character or point, following Panic Room, an over-produced tech exercise with no ambition. He seems so focused on technical aspects that he ignores content now. Paul Thomas Anderson is doing good work now but not great. He always seems poised but seems better at craft than having an over-view of what he wants to do with his film. The Coens seem to be faltering uninterestingly between too broad comedies and humourless dramas but seem to have lost a spark, especially with dialogue, their great strength. Wes Anderson is faltering badly. His first two films were wonderful, the next two good but a tad ill-defined but still great mood. Now The Darjeeling Limited is such a bad film, so under-written and terminably stupid that it's hard to work out what the hell is happening with him. Essentially, is he aiming to be like Preston Sturges, once great, now a has-been after a brief flush. Alexander Payne seems focused on being horrendously smug and pretentious, Tarantino gone la-la on his movie geek fixation (but he doesn't, to me, seem terminal as of yet), Sofia Coppola interesting but too vague as of yet. You wait for some passion from her. Other people of interest are the Wachowski brothers, who like Fincher seem to be a bit too technophile but have more ambition (when they go wrong at least its wrong in ways that you think, that's interesting) So they seem to have promise, although they could avoid stating the subtext so much. As could Christopher Nolan, another director interested in visualising ideas, even though he can be a bit tin-eared. But his fascination with self-destructive duality obsessed loners is pleasing. Let's hope he starts watching Melville movies. Aaronofsky I never really liked and The Fountain makes me not want to bother any more. One of the more interesting directors came a few years ago, is from this generation. Adam McKay does Will Ferrell comedies but is such an inventive entertainer with Anchorman and such-like, that he's just as original as the others mentioned. And more consistent. Of course the king of inconsistency is Steven Soderberg, who is all over the place, but does make interesting films generally (save a few Ocean's films) and recent films like Solaris and Bubble and the promise of the forthcoming Che make you wish more directors were as nuts as he obviously is. He still seems the brightest hope of this bunch. Hopefully the above is just a sign of looking at a weak moment of this generation and not the sign of something going horrendously wrong.

Anyway, over-long rant over, go see Psycho remake. It's really interesting.

William Shatner's Hair

For reasons best known to my subconscious I watched Star Trek 3 (on the plus side also watched a documentary of Italian gialli genius Dario Argento)

Well, it wasn't very good, neither downbeat or meditative enough to be a film genuinely about grief nor flight of foot in a way that is an exciting adventure. Basically they're in grief, go to a planet, have a few fights, go to Vulcan, make Spock better. The end. Not much in the way of story there. Not even blowing up the Enterprise or killing Kirk's son helps it be interesting. The death of Kirk's son is hilarious, first the incompetent death itself, which is one of the weakest fights even to disgrace celluloid, and then Shatner's reaction, which is is pure ham, not one moment that's not fake, making it a laugh riot.

It was the film where it was becoming obvious that watching these old guys fight wasn't really working, was very mirth-inducing. Shatner spends most of his time keeping in his ample stomach. The fight between Kirk and the Klingon, despite being against a backdrop of an exploding planet, is truly hilarious, no punch ever seeming to land but gets a reaction, the pauses between cuts, reactions, all painfully slow. (Someone, not Shatner, does a back-flip as Kirk). Worst is Shatner's hair-piece, blown by strong wind. I swear I was getting distracted and missed half the fight watching this bloody thing.

And then the finale. A Vulcan ceremony done against lots of fades, set against some truly bad acting (especially by Scotty, who just doesn't seem to give a f**k). And that final line, minutes after Spock gets his brain back. "Your name is Jim, isn't it?" Pure cheese.

So, long story short, I have so little pride that I will watch Star Trek 3 of a Sunday afternoon.

An Obituary Three Years Too Late.

Yes, this is an odd one.

Essentially I was looking through the internet and found out that a writer I liked as a teenager, John Brosnan, died in 2005.

Brosnan was a heavy drinker apparently but he did write some fun sci-fi books, both fiction and non-fiction, such as The Sky Lords trilogy (lots of fun) and The Primal Screen (a book on sci-fi films, which is great and I still have). There was also novels under pseudonyms, such as Harry Adam Knight (HAC), which was The Fungus and Simon Ian Childer (SIC), which had a terrific pulp novel called Tendrils ("Long black glistening streaks of people-eating death" and it lives up to that. Back cover also has "Their insides were being dissolved, digested and sucked out until only skin remained").

He also wrote some fun columns for Starburst magazine, which were fun and nasty to Trekkies and Dr Who fans, as well as being truly nasty to dumb sci-fi fans. It was great.

So there goes a figure from my youth.

Does Loyalty Count For Nothing?

I ask this as I got messed around on getting a job that I have done quite a few times before (stagehanding at a pantomime), is easy, is something I'm competent at, am usually over-qualified for the job I'm doing there. So I usually apply for it, get it, usually it was not even needing an interview as hiring was a backstage concern over personnel used. That kind of thing happened a lot. Yet it comes around and I get messed around due to corporate upgrades, meaning the office people take over, and what was a simple filler job that leads to little during the year but is good for Christmas, becomes a job I can't even get, as there is sudden corporate concerns on the situation. Is it me or does office rules become more complicating rather than simplifying. I have to wonder how professional these types of people actually are, because the decisions make you wonder how they study the areas under their control in their job. Certain jobs, such as backstage theatre, have always been pretty much based on personal ties, knowing who can do what, really are not areas that these people know about practically and yet they make decisions about it. I don't think theatre works with too tight a rein like this, treating it in a corporate way. Of course I'm biased.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Am still alive, honest

Yes. I simply have not anything interesting to write about. Have been busy but not in any way that would create anything that could be remotely mistaken for fascinating. Alas.

Unless anyone wants something on the hilarity on the McCain-Palin combo. But The Daily Show does that better.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Please Burn After Reading

The intro to the positive Phillip French review of Burn After Reading reads: A cast of morally bankrupt Americans descend into paranoia and madness in the Coens' brilliantly contrived comedy-thriller.

He's so very wrong.

This is the Coen Brothers worst film, is easily the worst film I've seen all year in the cinema and is high on the worst films on the decade.

I've defended the Coen brothers and their weaker films, defended Intolerable Cruelty and The Ladykillers, found many good things in them. I love Miller's Crossing, Raising Arizona, Barton Fink, Big Lebowski among others. I'm a huge fan. Yet this film is taking the piss. I now know what those Star Wars fans meant by the "raping my childhood" line. Although this is more molesting my teenage auteur discovery-type of thing.

First thing I want to know if they were drunk when writing and directing this. I wonder because the script just wanders from scene to scene without any interest in plot or character. Actions occur, we having many scenes that simply wander without interest through locations without curiosity to what goes on with character. The film is incredibly tolerant of boredom. All the plots end up combining in ways that are obvious from the get-go and the film then ends, many characters left off-screen for their pay-off, like someone just turned off the light and went home, utterly disgusted.

The writing is better than the direction. There is no unconventional sequences, intriguing moments. The images are flat and vague. On the rare occasion that they use cinematic storytelling it seems like a rip-off of fifties Hitchcock rather than a bounce from it for some individualistic insanity. For example there's one repeating location, a park, which has various meetings, crying out for some visual imagination. Yet it remains a boring park. Inter-cutting between characters in scenes are awkward, ill-paced and ugly at times.

The acting is dire, especially from Malkovich, who doesn't even try. He's like a bad, bored Deniro performance, yet somehow tops late-era DeNiro in how vague, uninspired and deeply annoying one actor can be on the screen. Everyone is playing idiots yet all are painfully one-dimensional and almost impossible to give life to (Clooney's distinguishing feature is in regard to a sex-toy, which is an awful joke). Which leads to the dialogue, usually the Coen strong-point, here being TV-movie like, directed to monotone in many scenes, no-one seeming to be paying attention, acting scenes unshaped to give specific beats, are simply read without focus.

This is such a wretched mess that I'm furious that the Coens' are responsible.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Siege the book

The first novel I wrote, Siege, is now available at Lulu on book or download form (link available at Blog List). It was written a while ago, and I have tried to avoid revising it, save sorting a few mistakes. I'm quite proud of it, am glad to have it available.

Another novel The Study, will be available from next month, same format.

Of the two The Study is the easier read, is a little more commercial, is based around family dynamics while being a thriller. Siege is a little more ambitious, is darker. The first six pages of Siege are available at LULU and I'll probably post a few other examples soon.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Polanski documentary

This will be brief. As a Roman Polanski fan, I watched the documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired, and was appalled by it.

The subject matter was very interesting but the film-makers managed to do nothing with it. A good chunk of the film was showing Polanski's past, which tended to paint his life and interests in a very obvious fashion, showed information that you could get with a little research without comment worth a damn, managed to find no intriguing opinion on him, simply commented that he liked to party and made dark films, that he had an awful past, that his wife and unborn child was killed.

The rape case was a mess in how it was handled. The film seemed to avoid trying for objectivity, was stacked completely in favour of Polanski. The crime was pushed to the background for so much of the documentary, save for a few talking heads of the victim and the testimony, which was typed white testimony against black background. That simply wasn't good enough. This was a man who had sex with a thirteen year old girl. And yet the film was far more focused on how the judge was messing with Polanski, how poorly he was treated, how he couldn't proceed with his next film, yet they seemed to be letting him off with probation for a very serious crime, which he should have gone to jail for. The judge looked to be scared of giving Polanski jail time, yet not wanting to give him jail time, which was a mess of course. But it wasn't worth half the film, wasn't interesting in itself, nor in its handling, as it became special pleading for a sex offender. If this was not a famous film director, all the defences of Polanski would be seen as ridiculous and he would be thrown in jail, seen as a sex pest. That happens to others who do this horrible crime. But the film focuses away from that, from any objectivity, on a minor element of a crazy judge, the fear of jail due to his actions causing Polanski to flee, rather than face the crime itself and the way the law was bending to suit the defendant, because he was a talented film director. A focus on sex offenders, a contrast of the handling of the case to other sex offenders would have made a much better and more honest film.

So film never takes any intelligent stance, in what is a very difficult subject matter, never truly gets into the horror of the crime, nor chastises Polanski. Basically it's a complete disgrace.