In our continuing series of ’47 Films to see before you’re murdered in your dreams’, we look at Alan Parker’s Voodoo Noir Angel Heart.
The Eighties were fascinated by the Fifties. There were chart-topping reissues of Wonderful World, there were Levi adverts and in movies Stand By Me, Diner and Back to the Future played on an ever hungry nostalgia for the period. Even Billy Joel revived his career with doo-wop ditty Uptown Girl. But for me the best take on the era came from one time British commercials director Alan Parker. His dark noirish fantasy begins in a wonderfully realized 1955 New York, with Mickey Rourke as Harry Angel, a gum shoe with a sleazy commitment to his job, permanent stubble and a thing about chickens. Hired by Louis Cyphre (Robert de Niro) to find dance band crooner Johnny Favorite, Harry finds himself roughed up and bounced from Harlem to the bayous of Louisiana as his quest takes in fortune tellers, evangelicals, good old boys, corrupt cops and practitioners in the dark arts. Haunted by fearsome dreams of an elevator, the Private Eye only just manages to keep on top of things, but when he also falls for Evangeline Proudfoot (Lisa Bonet) you know things are going to get bloody.
Parker consistently made beautiful grim looking films. No one does grit quite as well in commercial cinema. Far less fond of the sheen than compatriot Ridley Scott, Parker also made consistently downbeat films, from the nightmarish view of a Turkish prison in Midnight Express, to the dirty end of fame in … well Fame, even when he made a kids movie, it was a weirdly filthy gangster pic – Bugsy Malone was a musical to boot.
Angel Heart is possibly his best film. The performances are terrific, with great cameos from Charlotte Rampling, Brownie McGhee and Robert de Niro himself, and a towering Mickey Rourke in his disheveled gone to seed perfection. Alongside Rumblefish, the best performance of his tragically curtailed career. With a haunting theme by Trevor Jones, those saxophones played by Courtney Pine, Angel Heart is the cool noir to set aside Blade Runner as the most inventive reinventions of the genre.
For more of our ’47 Films to see Before you are Murdered in your Dreams’ Click Here.
HOLLYWOOD – The first image of Alan Parker’s Angel Heart 2 starring Kanye West was released onto the internet today.
Although he hasn’t made a film for almost a decade, Alan Parker is filming a follow up to his 1987 supernatural thriller Angel Heart, provisionally entitled Angel Heart 2.
Alan Parker spoke with the Studio Exec EXCLUSIVELY:
We left Angel Heart on a natural finish point. I felt there was a satisfying twist and I didn’t feel any need to revisit it. But Kanye West is a huge fan and we began to talk one evening after a gala screening of the Road to Wellville (and yes they do have them) and we got to talk about what happened to the baby.
What happened to the baby?
Yeah, Harry Angel’s kid. Of course, we know that Harry was either executed or serving a life sentence for murder but what happened to the devil child he spawned. That’s when Kanye said, ‘What if he grew up to be me?’
And from small acorns…
Mickey Rourke is on board and Robert deNiro will do a cameo.
And the script?
It’s a collaboration between myself and Kanye. We’re using a lot of his own life, because it does kind of smell of sulfur.
Angel Heart 2 will be released in 2019.
SERBIA – Former actor Robert De Niro – last seen in 1987 in Alan Parker’s Angel Heart – has sensationally returned to the entertainment world; but not as we know it!
Now performing under the stage name Mija Aleksic, the artist formerly known as Robert De Niro is set to take the Eastern European folk charts by storm with his heady mix of suggestive lyrics and thumping rural soundscapes. His debut album Seksi Keks (translation: Sexy Bare Bum Cheeks of the Lady in the Waterfall) is already causing waves in the industry with pre-release vinyl orders going through the barn roof! Speaking from his humble farmhouse recording studio, Aleksic spoke to Studio Exec about the inspiration behind the new album:
It’s a political album at heart, but also a love letter to the people of this complicated and changeable region of the world. On the eve that Kosovo struck for independence, the germ of the album took seed and it’s grown and flowered into this undergrowth of expression that I hope will spread to all my brothers across the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia. There’s also a strong current of sexy bum, which I think will have Pan-European appeal.
How do you think the album will translate to your American fans?
I have a song called The Mighty Condor which is about the story of a boy born of a village whore and a monkey, the boy grows to become a great hero and single handedly saves the harvest from the raiding parties of the Blue Faced Mean Ones. It’s universal. There’s a verse where he sees a sexy bum through a crack in a grain cart.
Seksi Keks will be available by mail order in the Spring.
MIAMI – Don Johnson and Steve Guttenberg are to team up for the best mash up movie of the 80s EVER: Police Academy: Assignment Miami Vice.
Director, Alan Parker, said that the film will partly be a remake of Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach ‘but as we had Don interested we changed the script so we could bring in his character of Detective James Crockett.’
A short synopsis issued by the studio reads:
When Officer Carey Mahoney (Steve Guttenberg), now a teacher at the famous Police Academy takes his rambunctious and hilarious misfit students on a field trip to Miami, he was hoping for a week of bikini clad fun, but instead he ended up gatecrashing Detective Crockett’s (TV’s Don Johnson) toughest assignment yet. And when a bunch of Chinese North Korean terrorists kidnap Crockett it is up to Mahoney and the gang of surprisingly old students to rescue him and foil a plot to blow up something inexpensive.
Johnson said he was delighted to be working with the director of Midnight Express on such potentially award worthy material and Gu
ttenberg said he was delighted to be working. Guttenberg expanded:
When I first heard about the project I thought oh no. Because I had turned down the original Miami Police Academy movie thinking basically I’d done four and it was time to get into some serious acting. Little did I know of the wasteland that my career was to become.
Parker revealed also that he wanted Philip Michael Thomas to return as Tubbs, Crockett’s erstwhile partner, but the actor turned down the role citing scheduling problems with his infomercial commitments.
Police Academy: Assignment Miami Vice will be released in 2017.
NEW YORK: Hey everybody. I guess Donald Trump doesn’t need to go around introducing himself anymore, because everyone already knows who I am. I am Donald Trump, Reality TV star, business tycoon and the next President of the United States of Trumpania.
When my good friend the Studio Exec asked me to write a film review of my favorite film, I couldn’t help but wonder why someone hadn’t asked me to write one before. I’m the best at writing filming reviews because when I watch a film I know if it is good, or if it is bad instantly. As I’m watching it. I can even tell from just reading who is it in it. Before I even see it. But the question was what was my favorite film? That’s a good question. At first I thought The Bible! But then I realized that was a private matter and I wans’t even sure there was a film called The Bible. So then I realized my favorite is Alan Parker’s musical Pink Floyd: The Wall.
I know what you’re thinking. Brilliant choice Mr. Trump. Oh and can I have a job? Yes, I know it’s a brilliant choice. I made it. And talk to my people. I’m not dealing with hiring at the moment.
Pink Floyd: The Wall is about a guy called Pink – I know clever right – who builds this beautiful wall. I mean you should see it. White bricks – that’s not racist, but they are the best bricks – nice and tall, no beautiful door in it but still you can see where I’m going. So that’s the issue of illegals dealt with. But Pink Floyd: The Wall includes pretty much a policy document for me.
We Don’t Need No Education: that’s my education policy. The University of Life is enough for anyone with the smarts to make it in the real world.
Mother, do you think they’ll drop the bomb? Not if we drop it first and the Chinese know full well that I’m the kind of guy to do it!
Is there anybody out there? Yes, thousands of raping Mexicans. That’s why Pink builds the wall.
Does Anybody Here Remember Vera Lynn? Yes, World War Two forces sweet heart. What do I win?
Comfortably Numb: In two words my ideal electorate!
Pink builds himself a Tea Party-esque political movement and gets a haircut, which was long overdue. Though there is some lightness when he accidentally cuts his eyebrows off as well.
My only criticism of the film is that at the end they ‘bring down the wall’. That is dumb! Who would build a wall, spend their whole life building the wall only to tear it down at the end? Probably John McCain! Am I right?
For more Favorite Films, Click HERE.
More 47 Films to see before you’re murdered in your dreams. This episode we take a trip to the South at the height of the Civil Rights struggle to witness Mississippi Burning.
Alan Parker’s Mississippi Burning got a hard time on its release for suggesting – it was felt – that the Civil Rights struggle was won by some well-meaning and white FBI agents doing honest police work in the face of vile opposition. The film is in fact far less ambitious than that. It’s really a murder procedural played out against the background of the Civil Rights struggle. More Dirty Harry in the South than Selma.
When three activists go missing in 1964, Rupert Anderson (Gene Hackman) and Alan Ward (Willem Dafoe) are sent to the small town on the Mississippi to investigate. Here they meet resistance from the local law enforcement, the major and the Klan friendly citizenry. The black populace are even more unwilling to be seen to be helping as they are in constant danger from violent reprisals, church burnings and lynchings. Despite his relative youth, Ward is the superior who insists that everything will be done according to procedure. Anderson, himself a good ole boy and once a Sheriff of a similar town, however believes in breaking the rules to get results and is more than comfortable with fighting fire with fire. They are – to coin a phrase – chalk and cheese, but the cliché of the mismatched pair doesn’t really matter when you have two actors of this calibre firing on all engines. Hackman in particular is fantastic, whether he’s wooing the locals or grabbing Michael Rooker by the crotch until Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer weeps like a child.
With great support from a young Frances McDormand as the wife to Brad Dourif’s brutal deputy sheriff, as well as Dourif himself and Stephen Tobolowsky and R. Lee Ermey as the mayor, Mississippi Burning also looks fantastic thanks to an on form Alan Parker who had just made Angel Heart a year earlier. Having taken something of a dip post-Commitments, Parker disappeared, leaving erst while rival Ridley Scott as the senior Brit made good, but with a body of work that includes these two films as well as Pink Floyd the Wall, Fame, Birdy and the amazing Bugsy Malone, a reappraisal is long overdue.
For more of our 47 Films to see before you’re murdered in your dreams CLICK HERE.
HOLLYWOOD – Liam Neeson is a busy actor at the moment and he’s just added to his roster signing up for Alan Parker’s new film Operation.
Based on the world famous skill game, Operation will center on the story of an surgeon who must operate on the President of the United States of America after his body has been implanted with a twelve mini-nuclear bombs.
Liam Neeson spoke EXCLUSIVELY to the Studio Exec about the project:
I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about this one, lads. I mean the way they’ve weaved terrorists and imminent thermonuclear destruction into what once was a table top game for kiddies is utterly fan-bloody-tastic. I can’t believe I wasted all that time with that Oscar Schindler crap when I could’ve been doing this.
Alan Parker – the director of Angel Heart and Midnight Express – who has come out of retirement spoke of his renewed taste for making films.
Liam is a versatile actor who can literally do anything. He is one of our finest character actors, but his commitment to making money has led him to also appear as an action star in the Taken series, single-handedly invent the board game genre and of course, who else would have dared to taken on Hannibal and pull of a performance that George Peppard would have been proud to own. Operation will be high drama and tension. Think of it as The Hurt Locker mixed with House. It’s political and dark, thrilling really and there is a moment of humor when the president’s nose glows red and a buzzer sound is heard. Don’t worry, it’s a false alarm caused by a mobile phone left on vibrate and POTUS’s alcoholism.
Operation: the Motion Picture will be released in 2016.
LONDON – A new campaign has started to liberate Alan Parker, the British film maker behind such hits as Angel Heart and Midnight Express, who has been held under house arrest since his atrocious The Life of David Gale was released in 2003.
Lisa Bonet joined other celebrities at an event in the K-Mart car park near Venice Beach where protesters sacrificed chickens and danced about in a way that by-standers called ‘disturbing’ and ‘irrelevant’.
However, though the Bugsy Malone director has many supporters, not everyone believes Mr. Parker should be freed.
‘The Life of David Gale was pretty bad and before that Angela’s Ashes, sheesh,’ butted in Martin Scorsese. ‘Then Pink Floyd The Wall and Fame [makes being sick noises].’
Despite Scorsese’s hatred of Parker, others have rallied to his defence, including Dennis Quaid who appeared in Come See the Paradise and Nicholas Cage who had an early role in Birdy back when he was still acting.