The Cultural Gutter

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"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

Mithun Chakraborty Returns!

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On a Special Beth Loves Bollywood Audio Edition, Beth and the Gutter’s own Carol discuss Mithun Chakraborty’s Gunmaster G9/secret agent films: Surakksha (1979); Wardaat (1981); and Guru (1989). Fights, mad scientists, zombie robots, radio-controlled locusts, the Green Revolution, amazing clubs that look like Nintendo games or that have plaster animals and villain lairs are discussed. […]

Prithviraj Kapoor Is Alexander The Great

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At Beth Loves Bollywood, Beth watches Sikandar, a 1941 Hindi-language, sword and sandals movie in which Alexander the Great’s army sings these words as they march on Hindustan: “Life exists because of love, so let it be spent in love.”

Disco! Disco! Disco! Disco! Yeah!

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The Gutter’s own Carol was invited to watch and discuss the 1983 Bollywood classic, Disco Dancer, with Beth at Beth Loves Bollywood as part of the Mysterious Order Of The Skeleton Suit‘s Swap-a-thon. See pictures, read a report and listen here. (Carol also has a little about it here).

Filmi Fiascos

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Beth Watkins seeks out the truest fiascos in Indian film, which, of course, includes Shaitani Dracula. “To paraphrase Seinfeld, these movies are a mess—and they’re spectacular.”

It Started Out Being A Book That Obeyed The Laws of Physics: An Interview with Samit Basu

via Times of India

Author Samit Basu’s first American release, Turbulence, is the story of a few regular people who arrive in Delhi on a flight from London…with superpowers. Talk about baggage. Not just the standard flying, invisible, very very fast kinds of superpowers, either: each one of them gets what they most want in life. Basu doesn’t bother […]

100 Years of Indian Film

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of filmmaking in India, CG Guest Star Beth Watkins offers some things she loves about Indian film.

Using Fantasy To Be Better Than We Are In Real Life

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Instead of raving about Satyajit Ray’s well-known-outside-of-India projects like the Apu Trilogy (Pather Pancahli/Song of the Little Road, Aprajito/The Unvanquished, and Apur Sansar/The World of Apu) or Jalsaghar/The Music Room (available through Criterion), I want to rave about his fantastic fantastical 1968 children’s film Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne/The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha.

Filmi Top Ten and More

At Beth Loves Bollywood, Beth shares her top ten films of 2012–and adds special recognition categories such as:  “Women Doing Stuff,” “Hip-Flicking Earworm,” and “The Unpopular Movie That Has A Surprising Number of Supporters and We’re Vocal About It.”

Biceps and Glasses

Move over Ryan Gosling, Beth Loves Bollywood has a gallery of filmi actors wearing spectacles and flashing their biceps.

Responding to Perceived Bimbo Love

Beth Loves Bollywood responds to Firstpost‘s “My favourite bimbo: Why America loves brain-dead Bollywood”:

Shashi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan’s Filmi Bromance

At Bollywood Journal, Beth Watkins writes about her favorite Hindi film pairing: “Shashitabh,” aka, Shashi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan. “The joy of the pairing is the actors’ chemistry, no matter what roles they are playing.”

Filmi Disco

Beth Watkins brings Hindi film disco to the Wall Street Journal’s blog  (with plenty of links). “Disco might just be the pop music soul mate of Hindi films, though it’s not like Bollywood ever needs an excuse to bust out the skin-tight shiny costumes, the opulent sets or the pulsating light design.”

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Friend of the Gutter, Will McKinley looks at “The 1979 Rockford Files Episode That Inspired The Sopranos.” “A gang from Newark’s South Side is hiding Vinnie Martine’s body in a restaurant freezer. Tony’s mad because Anthony Jr. got caught pranking another mobster. And a boss who’s trying to reform gets his mansion sprayed with bullets. Remember that episode of The Sopranos? If you do, your memory’s playing tricks on you, because all these things happened on a 1979 episode of The Rockford Files—written by Sopranos creator David Chase.”

    And McKinley defends classic television with, “In Praise of Vintage Television.”

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    Journalist Margot Adler has died. She is best known for her work as a journalist on NPR, but she also created the speculative fiction radio program, “The Hour Of The Wolf” and was the writer of Drawing Down The Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today (1979) and Vampires Are Us: Understanding Our Love Affair with the Immortal Dark Side (2014). The New York Times, NPR and  Suvudu have obituaries.  Here Adler discusses Vampires Are Us. And here is an excerpt from Adler’s memoir, Heretic’s Heart (1997).

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    The Toronto International Film Festival has announced its Midnight Madness and Vanguard programs for 2014. There’s lots of goodness in there and it’s worth taking a look even if you aren’t going to the festival, so you can you movie watching later this year or next. We’ll be posting the trailers from the films later.

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    Actor James Shigeta has died. Shigeta appeared in Die Hard (1988), The Crimson Kimono (1959) The Flower Drum Song (1961),  Bridge To The Sun (1961), Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966), The Yakuza (1974) and many, many television shows.  The AV Club, Den Of Geek and Angry Asian Man have obituaries. Bridge to the Sun is discussed by Robert Osborne and Dr. Peter Feng on TCM.  At RogerEbert.com, Matt Zoller Seitz writes an appreciation of Shigeta’s life and work. “Shigeta, who died yesterday at 81, was a marvelous performer, and his work as Nakatomi Corporation President Joseph Takagi in the original 1988 Die Hard is one of my favorite examples of how an imaginative actor can sketch out a life in just a few scenes and lines.”

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    At RogerEbert.com, Alan Zilberman explores the history of the eye in cinema from Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) to Mark Cahill’s I Origins (2014). (via Matt Zoller Seitz)

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    At Never Get Off The Bus, Debbie Moon writes about Captain America: First Avenger. “When adapting existing material, it’s easy to assume that in order to reach point F, you simply have to work through points A – E. To set up Steve Rogers in the modern world, simply romp briskly through everything that happened before he got there. But your character may not be undergoing a single united emotional journey during that period. “

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