Stark Reviews: 49-17 (1917)

49-17

Stark says: Go West and find me a population!

In my brief tenure as Dedicated Western Reviewer for Pornokitsch, I’ve tried to take my mission seriously. I’ve wallowed in the bewildering technicolour depths of Soviet-era musical comedy westerns, I’ve crammed Disney’s Robin Hood into a pair of chaps, I’ve burned these hands on the most acidy of acid westerns, and sought out rare and mythical VHS tapes that feature James Earl Jones in a terrible wig, and a cameo performance by Jeremy Beadle.

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Friday Five: 5 Frosty Favourites for Snowy Weather

As #snowmageddon ravages Britain, we're looking forward to the weekend. We have firm plans to camp out - pressed against the radiator, under a dozen blankets (and two cats), with whisky in hand. Also, books. * 

Here are a few of our cold weather favourites.

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Stark Reviews: A Man from the Boulevard des Capucines (1987)

A Man from the Boulevard des Capucines

Stark says: May I drop dead if that thing doesn't clear the head better than whiskey

I bet after I reviewed Lemonade Joe – the bizarre, brilliant Czech Soviet-era comedy musical western – you thought you were safe. “There cannot be another Soviet-era comedy musical western,” you may have said. “That would be absurd, and reviewing it would be willfully niche.”

But then I discovered A Man from the Boulevard des Capucines. What did you expect me to do? I pounced on it like a bobcat on a rump steak.

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Stark Reviews: A Fistful of Fingers (1995)

Fistful of Fingers

Stark says:

“What are you digging for?”

“Fuck knows!”

"Don’t you call me a Fuck Nose!” *Punch*

Somewhere in London, at the very back of a filing cabinet in my agent's office, there's novel that – if I can help it – will never see the light of day. Thinking about it makes me squirm with embarrassment. It's my debut and it's a mess; a big, insane mash-up of influences that were swimming around my nineteen-year old head and which scatter-gunned mercilessly onto the page.

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Otared, Graustark and The Winning of Barbara Worth

OtaredOne very modern book and five very old ones. Are there common themes? Is there a pattern?! Not really, no.

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Mohammed Rabie's Otared (2016) is a harrowing existential thriller, set in a near-future Cairo. The city has been occupied by a mercenary army - a sort of quasi-Masonic organisation that swept through in a sudden coup with distinctly Cruaderish underpinnings. Cairo persists - everyday life plods along, despite the foreign invaders and the ominous ring of battleships.

Otared is a former policeman who, infuriated by the way the government rolled over, has joined the rebellion. His job is distasteful: assassin, freedom fighter, terrorist - everything in-between. Otared repeatedly asks the same question - how far would you go? - with different nuances and inflections each time. The voiceless people of Cairo are choosing between two - if not 'evils - brutalities. Otared decides what he will do, how far he will go, in the name of a city that he never particularly liked and certainly never liked him. It is particularly telling that the resistence is led neither by civilians nor military, but policemen - who Otared describes less as a public service and more like a necessary evil. 

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Wolverine rides off into the sunset - with heart, style, and more than a few scars

Logan

If you’re even slightly interested in seeing Logan, you probably know that it’s getting rave reviews. So much so that for some people, it’s going to be tough for it to live up to the hype. So let me say right out of the gate that Logan isn’t a perfect movie. But it is a very good one, and a significant enough departure from previous instalments in the X-Men franchise that your enjoyment (or lack thereof) of the earlier movies probably isn’t a very good predictor of whether you’ll like this one. On the other hand, if you’re a fan of Westerns – and specifically the gritty, melancholy, washed-up-gunslinger-reluctantly-takes-on-one-more-job trope, this film is for you.

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Al Swearengen - Saloonkeeper, Kingpin, and Total Cocksucker

Al Swearengen by Caspian Whistler
WARNING: This month’s post includes spoilers for HBO’s Deadwood. It also includes bad language, because Deadwood.

Let me say first that you should all be extremely proud of me for making it this far before indulging myself with my favourite villain of all time, Al Swearengen. Come to think of it, Al isn’t just my favourite villain, he’s my favourite TV character of all time, period. So the fact that I made it through five Villains of the Month before scratching that itch shows remarkable restraint, don’t you think? Yes, thank you, I think so too.

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Stark Reviews: Lemonade Joe (1964)

Lemonade Joe

Stark says: “Wounds, shock, sore feet, Kolaloka will cure all!”

Ever since I staggered headfirst into a clip from Lemonade Joe on YouTube, I’ve been dying to review it. “Who the hell is that?” I thought, watching a man with a curly moustache prance through a musical routine, “what is this film? Why are those Jan Švankmajer-style wax heads spinning around? Wait, IS THIS A WESTERN?”

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Stark Reviews: Alice's Wild West Show (1924)

image from 66.media.tumblr.com

Stark says: “Gimme uh double one”

Yes, so granted you’re getting used to me reviewing some pretty odd Westerns, but I have to say this one’s particularly odd, even for me. In it a six-year old girl – who also happens to be Sheriff – smokes a cigar and cheerfully massacres a room full of strangers, later beating up a load of troublemakers with a stick. Sounds like something out of a peyote-crazed Acid Western, right?

Wrong. It’s a Disney film.

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