The Cultural Gutter

beyond good and bad, there is awesome

"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

    At Atlas Obscura, J.W. Ocker writes about Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” in monuments, memorials, artifacts and ephemera. “I spent more than a year visiting memorials, mementos, monuments, and more dedicated or connected to Edgar Allan Poe in the places he lived and visited. That meant traveling from Massachusetts all the way down to an island in South Carolina, as well as across the Atlantic, seeing amazing Poe sites and artifacts and meeting the people responsible for maintaining his physical legacy. By far, some of my most favorite sites were directly related to ‘The Raven,’ most in surprising ways.”

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    Actor and singer Polly Bergen has died. Bergen has roles in film and television series as diverse as Desperate Housewives, Commander In Chief, The Sopranos, The Love Boat, Move Over DarlingCape Fear (1962), and The Polly Bergen ShowThe Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The Guardian have obituaries. Here Rex Reed and Bergen talk about Gershwin. Here Bergen sings, “What The World Needs Now Is Love.”

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    Andy Khouri celebrates “the Happy Hunks of Tom of Finland” at Comics Alliance. “Tom of Finland was the Jack Kirby of gay porn. Working in a section of the comics industry that most fans perhaps spend little time exploring, Tom was a masterful artist, a pioneer, and an inspiration. His work helped establish a gay aesthetic and made him a celebrated figure on the New York art scene of the 1970s. His art, once sold from under counters in brown paper bags, has been exhibited at some of the world’s most prestigious galleries, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art. He’s surely one of the 20th century’s most pirated artists — and one of comics’ great cultural icons.”

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    NPR interviews cartoonist Alison Bechdel on the occasion of her MacArthur Genius Grant. “I guess I’m proudest of just really sticking with this odd thing I loved and was good at — drawing comics about marginal people (lesbians) in a marginal format (comics). I never thought much about whether that was responsible, or respectable, or lucrative.”

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    At Comics Alliance, Kate Leth provides, “Roll With It”–an interactive tool for deciding on your Halloween costume this year.

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    Tom Burtonwood has created Folium, a book of three-dimensional printing of bas relief, for the Art Institute of Chicago from its collection. (Via Boing Boing)

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