Harry Callahan is a tough, streetwise San Francisco cop whom they call Dirty Harry. In this action classic, you’ll see why – and also why Clint Eastwood’s reputation as a premier film star and moviemaker is secure. A rooftop sniper (Andy Robinson) calling himself Scorpio, has killed twice and holds the city ransom with the threat of killing again. Harry will nail him , one way or the other, no matter what the “system” prescribes. Filming on location, director Don Siegel made the City by the Bay a vital part of Dirty Harry, a practice continued in its four sequels. Forty three years after its arrival the original remains one of the most gripping police thrillers ever made.
1971 – Certificate: 18 – American Film
7.5 out of 10
This week I’ve inadvertently become a champion and role-model for the downtrodden masses, as I successfully concluded my fight for compensation as a result of the evil and corrupt banking industry misselling me Payment Protection Insurance for a credit card. As we all know now, every single person who’s ever worked for a bank is a child of the Devil. From the CEO to the office cleaners. They exist for one purpose only and that’s to rip everyone else off. Well they made one BIG mistake trying to take me on. After many letters, the MBNA has finally capitulated, agreed it made a ‘mistake’ and has paid me back, with interest. I can’t decide what to spend it on first, a yacht, a jet or an Aston Martin or two. I guess a few lines of coke and some high-class ‘escorts’ wouldn’t go amiss either. I can finally get rid of all my pathetic, stupid, so-called friends and buy myself a whole lot of new ones that better fit my improved social status. The rich and the powerful will invite me to everything. A-list celebrities will be at my beck and call. My membership of the Bilderberg Group is assured. I’m going to start voting Conservative at once, not that I really need to worry about politics now, as I could easily buy myself a whole country if I wanted to. So I guess you probably want to know how much I got? Well, the cheque I was sent is made out to me for 20p…
“Dirty Harry” is a film about a naughty policeman, which was inspired by the Lurkers’ 1999 non-hit “Go Ahead Punk”. (I’ve got this on a very limited edition 7” single in grey vinyl, number 34 of the 125 that were made.) Its main character Harry Callahan was based on James Callaghan, who was British Prime Minister from 1976-1979 and thus oversaw the invention of punk rock by the downtrodden masses that he created during the Winter of Discontent. “Winter of Discontent” was also a great track from Political Asylum’s Winter EP, a copy of which I was sold by the band on the Fulham Palace Road, on my way to a Lurkers gig at the Fulham Greyhound. (The latter was tragically renamed/relaunched earlier this year as an American theme pub called the Southern Belle. WTF?) Its historical significance aside, this film gave us the original police officer who doesn’t play by the rules but gets away with, who still haunts TV and films to this day. Scorpio is also a great psycho without a thread of remorse whatsoever and stands up well to the more modern versions that have followed in his wake. I doubt there’s anything else I could possibly say about this film that hasn’t already been said 100 times before, so won’t. But for what’s now quite an old film, it still looks good. Essential viewing.
This movie is pretty light on music, which is just as well given it was made in the early 70s.
The trailer’s very long and seems to be desperate to portray Harry as more of a victim of circumstance than a police officer who really ought to be sacked for gross misconduct at the very least. He could easily be Martin Riggs‘ father.
Recommended for police officers, psychos and school bus drivers.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Not once but twice, Harry gives us one of his two, world-famous quotes, here and here. What other character would have the audacity to do that? (Arnie’s done it but not twice in the same film I don’t think.) That’s like a DJ playing the same song back-to-back, it just doesn’t happen; (unless you’re John Peel and you’re playing the Undertones, but that’s okay). He must have been feeling lucky, punk.
Brigitte is the first work selflessly took care of his sister Hannah, who turned into a werewolf. Now her suffering worse. Sam’s sister Brigitte was infected! In the full moon must figure out how to cure it to prevent further bloody rampage. At least that’s how Google translates it from the Czech on the cover of my DVD. I think it’s losing something… Who’s Sam and why has Brigitte had a gender reassignment? I don’t remember either of those in the film. Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if everyone spoke the same language? Ideally English…
2004 – Certificate: 15 – Canadian Film
7.5 out of 10
I have/had an American Express Nectar Credit Card; (that’s the Amex Card that plebs are allowed to have.) Recently it decided to introduce an annual fee of £25 for the ‘privilege’ of having one. I, like (I’ve no doubt) millions of other ‘outraged customers’ decided that I didn’t fancy paying for something I can get for free elsewhere. So I rang up and cancelled it. There are three things that make American Express ‘different’ to ‘other’ credit card companies (i.e. Visa and MasterCard); 1 – nowhere accepts Amex credits cards; 2 – they identify you as a shallow, egotistic, posh snob, who wants to flaunt his or her success in the face of others; 3 – they have good customer service. So you can imagine my profound disappointment, when I got a letter a few days later confirming my cancellation. The letter said; “We are sorry you have decided to cancel your Nectar Credit Card. For this reason we have cancelled your Nectar Credit Card account as you requested.” So basically it’s cancelled the card because it’s sorry I’ve decided to cancel the card? What would have happened if it hadn’t been sad? Would it had continued to force me to have it and pay £25 a year for doing so? It seems good customer service stops when you leave. And yes, I realise that that’s a bit of a boring tale without much of a punch line. Mountains and mole hills come to mind.
Ginger Snaps is one of the best horror/comedy/teen/fantasy films ever. So what about its sequel? Well the comedy part has gone. The teen bit has also been diluted too. It’s still got teenagers in it (including the two stars from the previous instalment), but it’s not really a film about teenagers anymore; the story could have featured people of any age really. Instead we get an out-and-out horror and it’s not a bad one at all. Smiling less than an emo girl having a bad day, (a part Emily Perkins plays so well), Brigitte is a patient at the Happier Times Care Centre, a rehab clinic where she inexplicably seems to appear after an altercation over a few library books. I didn’t realise reading was quite that addictive. Unfortunately, the Centre isn’t a good advert for the voluntary sector providing health services, as most of the staff there are a bit weird or pervy and it looks very much like a rundown prison. I guess we’ll just have to blame it on funding cuts. It’s the sort of place Jimmy Saville would have enjoyed visiting. The ending is a bit rubbishy, but the rest of the film is fine and it’s good to see werewolves being given a bit of ‘quality screentime’; in footballing terms they always felt a bit like Manchester City, if you imagine vampires to be Manchester United; an occasional flash of success but basically always living in the shadow of their more successful, interesting and flamboyant neighbours. Sadly the stunning Katharine Isabelle (Ginger) isn’t in it very much, but considering what happened to her in the original film that’s not that surprising. Instead we get Ghost, a slightly creepy 13-year-old, who suffers from Hollywood Child-in-a-Film Syndrome, in that she acts like no real 13-year-old would; perhaps that’s why she was in the clinic in the first place? (Tatiana Maslany, who I think was actually 19 when she made this film, really doesn’t look her own age.) Anyway, it’s a very good film, well made, well acted and with decent special effects; but watch the brilliant Ginger Snaps before going onto this one, as it’s a direct sequel to it.
The music is serviceable, but forgettable. Some rather dull, alternative rock and an infrequently heard film score don’t make it a movie to remember.
Recommended for werewolves, junkies, emos and anyone providing health care services in the voluntary sector.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? “I’m going to kill it. Get me all the sharp things you can find.” No running away and falling over for her, Brigitte’s outcome-focused approach to dealing with an issue would be welcomed by many in the private sector, keen for employees with a clear vision of what they want to achieve and how they’re going to achieve it. Mission Drift isn’t something the viewer needs to worry about in this movie.
Altogether then, to the tune of “Celebration”, that horrible, horrible Kool & the Gang hit from 1980. Ulster Bank has finally managed to get my account details up to date; it’s only been 21 days since it broke its computer and my account stopped working. I wonder how many of the four credit card companies that haven’t been paid on time as a result of this, (“I’m afraid you won’t be able to make any manual payments from your account until it’s fixed”, said the nice man from Ulster Bank on the phone last week), will be looking to put a ‘hit’ out on me in retaliation? (Look, since the ‘Banking Crisis’ they’re pretty hot on this stuff; killing off a few, stupid late-payers will probably help the global economy no end. Yes technically it’s illegal, but since when has that been an issue for a bank?) On a more serious note, I can’t wait to see all the different bailiffs turn up on the doorstep and start fighting amongst themselves as to who gets my TV and lava lamp. So now let’s go from the Ulster Bank to a film about Ulster (sort of).
2009 – Certificate: 15 – United Kingdom
America has spent the last 37 years churning out films about Vietnam, in an attempt to rewrite history or justify it, (depending on your viewpoint). Northern Ireland is becoming the UK’s own personal Vietnam, as more and more films about The Troubles get released, to, em, ‘review’ what went on. This one does have the added authenticity that it’s based on real interviews with two men who were involved as victim and perpetrator. Liam Neeson is great as the downbeat killer, whilst James Nesbitt (who’s an Undertones fan and therefore ‘the business’ as far as I’m concerned) does a great job as the increasingly unhinged victim’s brother. It does lurch from genuinely menacing to somewhat comedic from time to time in a rather haphazard way, but what’s going to happen in the end is pretty well hidden and although it feels a bit slow at times it does keep the attention; (well it kept mine anyway). I always feel a bit crap about being entertained by films based on real life tragedies, especially ones that identify the individuals concerned; kind of like laughing at a funeral, or looking for the bodies at the scene or a car crash. I’m glad most of this stuff has now stopped in Northern Ireland. I lived there for years and I really liked it, well except the crappy weather and that fact that hardly any non-local bands played gigs there; I’m convinced I was exposed to too much country music when I was there and this has had a negative and long-lasting effect on my mind…
Recommended for people who like decent drama with a bit of an edge. (This a weak statement I know; I just can’t think of anything else to say right now.)
No cats and no decapitations.
Top badass moment? I can’t say, because it would spoil the ending if you haven’t seen it. If you have seen it then you’ll know what I mean.