The Cultural Gutter

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

RIP, Hal Needham

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Director, stunt coordinator  and stuntman Hal Needham has died. Needham directed Smokey and the Bandit and The Cannonball Run, but he also performed and coordinated stunts in The French Connection II, Three The Hard Way, Chinatown, Our Man Flint, The War Wagon and Blazing Saddles. and in television shows such as, Mission: Impossible, Star Trek, […]

“Classical Filmmaking: The Theme that Drives all of Sam Raimi’s Movies”

Matt Singer explores two elements that recur in all of Sam Raimi’s films, Pandora’s box and, “The Classic,” a 1973 Delta 88. “Using The Classic to play Uncle Ben’s car may have just been a fortuitous way for Raimi to shoehorn in his beloved trademark, but in the larger context of his career, it imbues […]

Escaping the Truck Stop Killer

“[It] occurred to me that this investigation of mine wasn’t a detective novel. It was a ghost story.” In 1985, Vanessa Veselka escaped a terrifying trucker who probably was Robert Ben Rhoades, the Truck Stop Killer and, years later, tries to understand her experience and learn more about the teenage girls who disappeared while hitchhiking.

Making The Blues Brothers.

At Vanity Fair, Ned Zeman explores the history of The Blues Brothers. “It is October 1979, and The Numbers are not to [Lew] Wasserman’s satisfaction. The culprit is Universal’s big-ticket production The Blues Brothers, a movie that pretty much defies logic and description. Some call it a musical; others, a comedy; others, a buddy movie; […]

Clip from The Host 2 / Gwoemul 2

Here’s a clip from Bong Joon-ho’s The Host 2/ Gwoemul 2 (sequel to the 2007 film, The Host / Gwoemul). More river monster + a little behind the scenes look.

Vanguard 2012 Trailers!

This year’s Vanguard program at the Toronto International Film Festival also looks pretty sweet with Soi Cheang’s Motorway, starring Anthony Wong Chau-Sang; 90 Minutes; Berberian Sound Effects; Blondie; I Declare War; iLL Manors; Painless; Pusher; Sightseers; Thale; and Michel Gondry’s The We And The I. I haven’t found trailers for Beijing Flickers; Here Comes The […]

Sourcing the Drive Soundtrack

Black Hole Reviews runs down the possible sources for the Drive soundtrack, track by track.

“Chaos Cinema: The Decline of Action Filmmaking”

In his video essay (also available in text form), Matthias Stork details the elements of what he calls, “Chaos Cinema” and their effects on film and viewer experience: “The film doesn’t seduce you into suspending your disbelief.  It bludgeons you until you give up.”

The History and Art of the Title Sequence

A couple of looks at the art and history of film title sequences.

Fun with Mad Men’s Jon Hamm

Lexcorp needs a bailout and a yeti needs a lift.

Batmobile, Examined

Do you have all the information you require regarding the Batmobile’s physical evolution and its history?  Probably not.  Fortunately, these two sites have made a start. (Thanks, Humash!)

Most Anticipated Asian Films of 2011

Wildgrounds breaks down their most anticipated films of 2011.

Midnight Madness 2010 Trailers

Here are trailers for 6 of the 10 movies at the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness program this year: Fubar II; The Vanishing on 7th Street; The Butcher, The Chef and The Swordsman; Red Nights; Fire of Conscience; and Stake Land. (SUPER, Insidious, Bunraku and John Carpenter’s The Ward don’t have trailers yet).

The Best Thing Is The Worst Thing, Too

And more comics with Ask Chris. The Invincible Super Blog’s Chris Sims explains what the best thing and what the worst thing about comics culture are: fans. He also has pictures of a Bat-Monster Truck. 

Kathryn Bigelow Retrospective

Kathryn Bigelow won a best directing Oscar for The Hurt Locker. Time for a retrospective. Here’s the trailer for Near Dark and some clips. Point Break (i.e. Keeanu Reeves best movie). Jamie Lee Curtis in the cop thriller, Blue Steel. The premillennial tension of Strange Days. The Pirelli ad, Mission Zero. And her sub movie, […]

VARIETY PAK

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It’s been just over a year since I became a partner in the Mayfair Theatre, Ottawa’s oldest operating cinema. We’ve shown a lot of films in that time (we average about 40 a month), and I’ve written the synopsis for almost every one.

Phobia 2 Trailer

Hey, Phobia 2, what’s with the “scare quotes?”

RIP, David Carradine

Cinematical remembers David Carradine: “Even as his resume became filled with more and more television work and direct to video movies during the late 80s and into the 90s, he maintained an edge to the characters he played and, where appropriate, a spirited air of bemusement.”

Who Wants to Play Velociraptor Offroad Safari?

Who wants to play Velociraptor Offroad Safari or Minotaur China Shop or Blush, where players are neon attack squids? I do. Gamasutra interviews indie game designers, Flashbang. (via Make It Big)

GO!

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I recently had a chance to watch the Wachowski siblings’ live-action adaptation of Tatsuo Yoshida’s Speed Racer (aka the much-more-evocative Mach Go Go Go) for a second time. After 135 hallucinatory, candy-coated minutes of Mobius strip racetracks and Mobius strip plot, I was left with one question: is this the future of cinema?

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    An interactive sculpture of Hanuman made from 26,000 light bells made by Charuvi Design Labs. to promote their film Sri Hanuman Chalisa. Here is a video of the interactive experience. (Thanks, Beth!)

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    At The Daily Beast, Arthur Chu writes about GamerGate, Disco Demolition and Lilith Fair. “The biggest 1970s music bonfire was not done by a church, and the records they destroyed weren’t metal records. And they didn’t use kerosene and a match, they used explosives. And rather than singing hymns and being quietly self-righteous, the event erupted into an orgy of violent rage. I’m talking, of course, about the ill-fated promotion the Chicago White Sox ran on July 12, 1979, known as ‘Disco Demolition Night.’

    Yes, in an era where Christians literally believed rock bands were Satanic cults who used backward masking to hypnotize people, the worst violence against music was wrought by guys who just didn’t like disco.”

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    Actor Elizabeth Peña has died. Peña appeared in both film and television including, La Bamba (1987), Batteries Not Included (1987), Blue Steel (1989), L.A. Law, Lone Star (1996),  The Incredibles (2004), Justice League, Prime Suspect and Modern Family. NPR remembers Peña. The Guardian has collected clips of Peña’s work. Latino Review, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and  The Hollywood Reporter have obituaries.

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    The Book Design Blog has a gallery of Valeria Brancaforte’s hand-printed books.

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    Jake Adelstein has shared an unpublished chapter of his book Tokyo Vice online.  “This chapter never made the final cut of Tokyo Vice because it’s not about crime or the underworld. It is about the battle to tell the truth when it is inconvenient for the powers that be to have it known.  It could probably use some more editing but for those who feel like the Japanese government isn’t telling you the whole truth about the actual environmental damage coming from the Fukushima meltdown–which is still going on–because if they stop pumping in water, nuclear fission will start again, this should help make you even a little more paranoid.  Enjoy.”

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    “Lights Out, Please combines retellings of traditional ghost stories and urban legends, alongside new, personal stories from a variety of international authors in order to tell others about the kinds of fears we live with. We tell our stories as a ghost story or urban legend to get people to believe us.” Find out more here and then play it!

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