The Cultural Gutter

dumpster diving of the brain

"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

    Friend of the Gutter, Will McKinley writes about his past as a soap opera fan and the return of a classic soap opera, The Doctors, and its significance for the genre.

     

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    Action choreographer, director and stunt performer Panna Rittikrai has died. Films Panna worked on, whether as a choreographer, director, producer and/or actor include: Born To Fight / Gerd Ma Lui (1986 and 2004), Tom Yum Goong (2005), Chocolate (2008), Spirited Killer (1994),  Power Kids (2009),  Dynamite Warrior/Khon Fai Bin (2006), Bangkok Knockout (2010) and all three Ong-Bak films (2003, 2008, 2010).  Film Business Asia, The Bangkok Post and Wise Kwai’s Thai Film Journal have obituaries. City On Fire and Far East Films also remember Panna. Here’s an interview with Panna from Thai Indie.  Panna kicks ass in this tribute video.

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    Actor and singer Elaine Stritch has died. Stritch worked extensively on Broadway, but she also appeared in September (1987), Small Time Crooks (2000), Monster-In-Law (2005), the British television series, Two’s Company3rd Rock From The Sun, My Sister Eileen and 30 Rock. The New York Times Variety and The Detroit Free Press. Saara Dutton remembers Stritch in her piece, “In Praise of Broads.” Here Stritch performs, “Zip” from Pal Joey, “Why Do The Wrong People Travel?” from Sail Away and “I’m Still Here” at the White House. Here she is in a 2008 production of Endgame. And here she is on Theater Talk.

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    Actor and producer James Garner has died. Garner is probably most famous for his role as Jim Rockford in the tv series, The Rockford Files, but he also starred in Maverick (the tv series and the 1994 film), Support Your Local Sheriff (1969), Marlowe (1969), The Great Escape (1963),   Victor/Victoria (1982), Move Over, Darling (1963), My Fellow Americans (1996), Space Cowboys (2000), God, The Devil and BobDivine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002),  8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter and The Notebook (2006). The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and Variety have obituaries. Here is Garner in what is reportedly his favorite television series, Nichols (1971). And here Garner talks about acting.

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    The Projection Booth watches Mario Bava’s Planet of the Vampires with Troy Howarth.

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    The Comics Journal takes an in-depth look a Tony Wong Yuk-Long, Ma Wing-Shing and the massive Hong Kong comics publisher, Jademan Holdings Ltd., and Jademan in North America: “He is a showman, this Tony Wong–a real Stan Lee, though I would argue that he is more interesting than the American model.” (via Kaiju Shakedown).

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