After all, it's just a ride….


Catherine Coulson RIP (1943 – 2015)

Oh no, now this won’t do, this won’t do at all. Catherine Coulson wasn’t just the highly regarded Log Lady of Twin Peaks fame, she was an instrumental member of Lynch’s retinue throughout his career, charting back to his early short The Amputee and a crucial production assistant on Eraserhead. She was always in good spirits about her miniscule claim to fame in such a cult TV show, and I think she will be a douglas fir sized absentee in 2017’s return to that small, sleepy Washington town. Heck, she was even married to Henry for a few years, which in it’s own way must have been quite a trip. Rest in peace, and may your sprit fly swift to the White Lodge enigmatic Log Lady;

The Knick (2015) TV Series

A quick detour into TV courtesy of Mr. Soderbergh, I’m only three episodes into his Cinemax sponsored series The Knick and I think we’ve diagnosed the best series of the year. Set in a turn of the 20th century New York hospital the period design is incredible, with a fantastic coterie of characters with some very promising futures.

I also love the Clint Mansell score which in its seething electronica contortions should be incongruous with the period detail, but it works perfectly, in a very odd way. Soderbergh (who directs every episode of the ten episode run) also manages an absolute miracle, dissecting a charismatic performance from Clive Owen, who so often is something of a vacuum on screen – he plays a brilliant, visionary surgeon, who just happens to be a severe heroin addict. Be prepared through as it horribly gruesome, it doesn’t skimp on the horror of the period when it comes to medicine, racial and social conditions, and thankfully the second series has already been commissioned. Can’t wait to burn through the rest of the season…..

Let’s Tango….

Blah blah |Greek financial holocaust blah blah new Firefly is possibly back blah blah behind the scenes Star Wars footage. All of this pales in comparison to the real coup of the week, Ash is back baby;

Not all the jokes landed for me but it really doesn’t matter, this looks like gore drenched fun and defiantly in spirit with the best of the franchise. I can’t say I ever thought we’d see him back with Raimi and it looks like they’ve pulled it off – the Mint is a happy bunny…..

The White Lodge Speaks…..

What was that about not posting TV material? Well, after a rather hectic weekend I haven’t found the effort or inclination to finish my John Wick review, so instead let me join my voice to the chorus – c’mon Showtime, give Lynch what he wants, for everyone’s benefit;

Just to be a disgusting, facile male Madchen and Sherilyn are still looking cherry pie eh? Here’s some ephemera from the extra material of the FWWM Blu-Ray disk, sweet and unsettling dreams to all;

True Detective Season 2 Teaser

I don’t normally resort to TV postings but hey this has movie stars in it, so it counts – OK?

Oscar Winners 2015

2015Yes it’s Oscar time again, and I frivolously wonder what will be the new addition to this list. One thing’s for sure, I bet we wont get as memorable an acceptance speech as this. As usual I made some herculean efforts to see as much of the material as possible, with the exception of Mr. Tuner I think I’ve covered the majority of stuff, as I want to see that properly on the Blu-Ray to appropriately wallow in Dick Pope’s cinematography rather than watch the damn thing on my computer. I managed to track down Unbroken (run of the mill three star bio-pic), Still Alice, (strong but thoroughly predictable Alzheimer tear-jerker) The Judge, (tediously average moral transformation tedium) Selma, (moving and graceful historical picture, and yes it’s a deep disgrace that Oyelowo wasn’t nominated) Into The Woods (a musical ergo not my thing and Streep’s automatic nomination is absurd) and a cluster of the animated pictures – whew. So that’s almost all the high-profile and technical awards covered, shame I couldn’t find any of the animated live action or documentary shorts on-line but to be honest I didn’t try very hard this year. Here is a great article on the some of the most absurd upsets of the ceremony since its 1927 inception, from one of the best movie sites on the web – if American Sniper wins anything then I’m going postal. I’ve got a Hungarian and Argentinian TV feed running as insurance should one drop out, isn’t the future of telecommunications grand?

oscarAnd as usual the Menagerie standard disclaimer, I don’t treat these awards as anything other than a fun exercise, an adjunct to serious cinephilia, just like the BAFTA’s where Under The Skin was nominated and lost in precisely one category. Exactly which film will still be debated, dissected, admired and crucially inspire upcoming filmmakers in visual culture a decade from now? The Imitation Game? The Theory Of Everything? I won’t insult you with the answer to that puzzle. Industry observer wise though the awards are important, as potential winners will find themselves elevated to a new strata of importance with greater funding dexterity, and that is essentially interesting – just consider the A list dreck that superb actress Helen Mirren has been mired in since her 2006 win, and that’s just one example of multitudes. No, I’m not having a go at her specifically, it’s just an observation considering her pre and post win material, for example should Linklater win director or film will he be on the industry list for an adjunct  Star Wars picture? Yes, and that’s food for thought. If he’s interested. Anyway, you know the drill by now, right? I’ll be darting around with a few scattered thoughts on each nominee section I’ve listed below, apologies in advance for potentially incoherent and bdaly spelld reportage but we are eight hours behind here in the UK so the ceremony doesn’t even start until 1:30am.  Those I’ve seen are in bold, those I predicted would win are in italics, and those that did win are in gold, naturally. FINAL TALLY – I have no idea and at this point I don’t care, but I’m fairly sure that Boyhood was fucked…..

Best Film



I’m wasted yet first instincts are this – for the past three years we’ve had three films celebrating cinema and performance – The Artist, Argo and now Birdman. Solid films in their own way, but as a nest this is insular and uncomfortable. Not good, not healthy;

American Sniper – Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole

Boyhood – Richard and Cathleen Sutherland

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson

The Imitation Game – Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman

Selma – Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner

The Theory of Everything – Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten

Whiplash – Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook and David Lancaster

Best Actor



Really? A great start, don’t get me wrong, a first act convincing physical performance but I can’t think that it didn’t quite continue for the rest of the film as this movie was more about other characters, especially when compared to the scope of the other nominees.

Steve Carell – Foxcatcher

Bradley Cooper – American Sniper

Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game

Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

Michael Keaton – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Best Actress



I’m a fan of Moore so great, good for her as its a reasonable film but it still smacks of the old yet appropriate cliché – illness equals Oscar. , ;

Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night

Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore – Still Alice

Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon – Wild

Best Director



Yeah, he did well with a great panoply of material directing a play, but this film was all in the actors and cinematographer.  If that equals best assembly of material then fine, but I still can’t feel that Linklater was cruelly robbed,,,?

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Boyhood – Richard Linklater

Foxcatcher – Bennett Miller

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson

The Imitation Game – Morten Tyldum

Best Supporting Actor



Well that ceremony opening from NPH didn’t particularly grab me but here we are – yet we are off with a first win, with a succinct speech from J.Jonah Jameson – a good start;

Robert Duvall – The Judge

Ethan Hawke – Boyhood

Edward Norton – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

 Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher

 J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress



Brilliant and utterly deserved, maintaining that performance was quite a thing over that breath of time, and a great, appropriate politically aligned speech – that one line she delivers in Boyhood was something else. Also immortal in Lost Highway of course;

Patricia Arquette – Boyhood

Laura Dern – Wild

Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game

Emma Stone – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Meryl Streep – Into the Woods

Visual Effects



Well of course. There has been some queries on the accuracy of the black hole realism to which I say this – erm, what? I’m running behind now but really, the accuracy of how we imagine black holes?…..

Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist

Guardians of the Galaxy – Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould

Interstellar – Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher

X-Men: Days of Future Past – Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer

Original Screenplay



Maybe a late surge for the other awards? We shall see…..Nightcrawller deserved some attention though, but here we are… a modern world. Have I missed the….oh….

The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo

Boyhood – Written by Richard Linklater

Foxcatcher – Written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness

Nightcrawler – Written by Dan Gilroy


Adapted Screenplay



Writers love the historical guess, a obvious choice.

American Sniper – Written by Jason Hall

The Imitation Game – Written by Graham Moore

Inherent Vice – Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson

The Theory of Everything – Screenplay by Anthony McCarten

Whiplash – Written by Damien Chazelle


Animated Feature



Yes, at this stage I’m doing well I think, losing count of my…..count. I’ve lost the Argentinean feed but the European  insurance is still going. Other options are being pursued. Can’t wait to see again Blackhat tomorrow either. Heh ;

Big Hero 6 – Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli

The Boxtrolls – Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable and Travis Knight

How to Train Your Dragon 2 – Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold

Song of the Sea – Tomm Moore and Paul Youn

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya – Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura




OK, things are getting little out of control, it’s late and the bourbon is bruising. But yes another win, for one of the greatest cinematographers drawing breath. Maybe one day Deakins will win but this is another appropriate award….

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Emmanuel Lubezski

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Robert Yeoman

Ida – Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski

Mr. Turner – Dick Pope

Unbroken – Roger Deakins

Costume Design



He’s a great stylist and can certainly muster a brilliant crew but hey Wes, where is the human dimension to your fantastic, yet cold films?;

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Milena Canonero

Inherent Vice – Mark Bridges

Into the Woods – Colleen Atwood

Maleficent – Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive

Mr. Turner – Jacqueline Durran

 Documentary Feature



For UK viewers its on TV on a couple of days. As I said before it is essential, brilliant, and terrifying in equal measure, and the craft, considering the pressure is impeccable;

CitizenFour – Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky

Finding Vivian Maier – John Maloof and Charlie Siskel

Last Days in Vietnam – Rory Kennedy and Keven McAlester

The Salt of the Earth – Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and David Rosier

Virunga – Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara




Yes, and utterly deserved. That film lives and breathes on that scattered arrangement, and the whole jazz thing works wonders in this combination of the visual and sonic. That final scene is sublime, and simply would not work without a perfectionist. A perfect win.

American Sniper – Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach

Boyhood – Sandra Adair

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Barney Pilling

The Imitation Game – William Goldenberg

Whiplash – Tom Cross

Foreign Language Film



Ah well that’s fair enough, my early streak is broken. I must see Ida again as although I enjoyed the film I did find it slightly unengaging, the fantastic B&W cinematography aside. I’ve heard great things about Wild Tales though, looking forward to that….

Ida – Poland; Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski

Leviathan – Russia; Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev

Tangerines – Estonia; Directed by Zaza Urushadze

Timbuktu – Mauritania; Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako

Wild Tales – Argentina; Directed by Damián Szifron

Musical Score



Ah well, I’ll fight this one on until the end of time, no I won’t as that’s unfair with what I’m doing now. Interstellar was great. It’s half four and eh? What. OK. Sorry…….(cries)…..

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Alexandre Desplat

The Imitation Game – Alexandre Desplat

Interstellar – Hans Zimmer

Mr. Turner – Gary Yershon

The Theory of Everything – Jóhann Jóhannsson

Documentary Short Subject


Sounds like a worthy winner, I’ll hunt it down.

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 – Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry

Joanna – Aneta Kopacz

Our Curse – Tomasz Śliwiński and Maciej Ślesicki

The Reaper (La Parka) – Gabriel Serra Arguello

White Earth – J. Christian Jensen

Make Up & Hairstyling

DID I GET IT RIGHT? YES – So now we are three for three, this is a strong start….

Foxcatcher – Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier

Guardians of the Galaxy – Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White

Original Song


Maybe should have been awesome, but nice to see Glory get some kudos. Good film, give it a watch.

“Everything Is Awesome” from THE LEGO MOVIE – Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson

“Glory” from SELMA – Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
“Grateful” from BEYOND THE LIGHTS – Music and Lyric by Diane Warren


“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from GLEN CAMPBELL…I’LL BE ME – Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond

“Lost Stars” from BEGIN AGAIN – Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois

Production Design


And no surprise, one thing you can’t fault Wes is on the texture, but where’s the wider emotion?

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration)

The Imitation Game – Maria Djurkovic (Production Design); Tatiana Macdonald (Set Decoration)

Interstellar – Nathan Crowley (Production Design); Gary Fettis (Set Decoration)

Into the Woods – Dennis Gassner (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration) 

Mr. Turner –  Susie Davies & Charlotte Watts (Set Decoration)

Animated Short Film


So I did manage to see Feast as it played ahead of Big Hero 6,but I didn’t elect to win. Stupid me.

The Bigger Picture – Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees

The Dam Keeper – Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi

Feast – Patrick and Kristina Reed

Me and My Moulton – Torill Kove

A Single Life – Joris Oprins

Live Action Short 


Wow, total luck here, I guess I should give it a bell now….

Aya – Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis

Boogaloo and Graham – Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney

Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak) – Hu Wei and Julien Féret

Parvaneh – Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger

The Phone Call – Mat Kirkby and James Lucas

Sound Editing


Ah well these usually come in twos, but not this year. I have sourced a great piece on how instrumental this craft is for movies, gimme a few moments to track it down. Hopefully this is the only nod for Sniper.

American Sniper – Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Martin Hernández and Aaron Glascock

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Brent Burge and Jason Canovas

Interstellar – Richard King

Unbroken – Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro

Sound Mixing


Yup, another one in the bag. Cool.

American Sniper – John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga

Interstellar – Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten

Unbroken – Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee

 Whiplash – Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley

Penny Dreadful Season 2 (2015) Trailer

It’s rare for me to delve into the complex world of TV here at the Menagerie, but I will make exceptions for genuine hair-raising fare. In that light, here is the trailer for Penny Dreadful, probably my favorite TV series after True Detective of the last 18 months – this looks great;

Speaking of horror here is a legendary pairing which we never thought would come together – but talk about vomit-inducing results. Not rich enough already eh you greedy fucks? I am also contractually obliged like any film blogger to link to the days big trailer release, I’m drawing the embargo curtain over the inevitable trailers 3 and 4, and is it me or is the image quality of this footage strangely degraded?

It Is Happening Again…..

Fuck me gently with a chainsaw as Heather would say, yes I saw the rumors and the enigmatic tweets from Frost and Lynch over the weekend, yes it did play on my mind that something genuine might be afoot, but apparently after twenty five years – and never let us remember we have been instructed – it appears that we’re finally popping out for coffee again. This will take some time to percolate as quite frankly not every revisit / reboot / remake / over the history of communication entertainment has always been great, but the news that Lynch is directing all of the episodes and Frost is writing them, well, since Dave scuppered hope of any new film on the remote horizon a few months ago we can take this as some sort of consolation prize. Here, as I’m sure you are all fascinated to see is a deleted peek from the Fire Walk With Me Blu-Ray;

I wonder if they were waiting to see how much of a cultural and financial splash the Blu-Ray set made before making the final plunge? I dunno, I’m sure it will be fun but ever since the original mystery was solved the show went south almost immediately (as Lynch walked away to make Wild At Heart) but if they can come up with some new way to get us into the Lodge and find out ‘Where’s Anne?’……..oh, and apologies for the obvious post title which everyone else will use but hey, my mind is spinning…..

54 degrees on a slightly overcast day…..

Just a quick post – As we finally launch into the Blu of the activities of that sleepy yet sulphurous small town I have to say that the box set is a thing of particular ergonomic beauty, I’m wistfully reminded of seeing the opening of this legendary series in it’s European cut version;

I’m massaging a few other series – murdering Season 3 of the The Walking Dead, impeaching season 2 of House Of Cards (didn’t see that early collusion, huh?) but can I restrain myself from accelerating through to the extra 90 minutes of Lynchian backstory, despite some fantastic behind the scenes recollections on when and how that material was shot from the original culprits?  Who can say?

Heh. Anyway, our great chronicler of genre material Kim Newman has delivered a full article treatise of the enhanced and extended material which I have studiously ignored in this months S&S, a skim read assures us that the particulates of the mystery continues. I will be back once that extra FWWM material has been consumed, until then this walk down memory lane reminds me of that crucial era, a more innocent time which may thrum with more innocent chords;

James Gandofini RIP

Some sobering news to wake up to this morning, as Tony Soprano has finally been snatched up by the pizzeria in the sky. Fifty-one is absurdly young isn’t it? I think I first noticed him alongside many others in this infamous scene of True Romance, given it’s incredibly violent nature it kinda feels wrong to push that upfront in an obituary post, so lets open with his first big screen role what he earned when his small screen career really started to gain traction;

There was such a world-weary, hand-dog demeanour on one hand, with a quivering quiet menace on the other, you just know that if he had a couple too many drinks then things could get really ugly around this guy;

In two scenes he totally stole that movie. I also looked his turn in this, proving their was some breadth to his skills beyond Italian American nervous wrecks, and of course he also had a long and distinguished career in theatre before getting picked up by the small and silver screens;

He also had that working class, second son of immigrants aura to him, proudly American but also melded to his home country origins, I think we have to as be obvious as a corkscrew rammed through the ear and close this brief mark of respect with the role he was born to play;