The Cultural Gutter

geek chic with mad technique

"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

    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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    We have been bereft since GWAR lost Oderus Ungerus. But lift up your heads and rejoice, fans of GWAR, there is a new member. She is Vulvatron! (via @saladinahmed)

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    Throne of the Crescent Moon author Saladin Ahmed has posted “a micro-mini Crescent Moon Kingdoms world guide that had previously only been available as part of a UK-exclusive ebook” for people to use in their roleplaying games. But even if you aren’t a gamemaster, it’s pretty sweet.

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    At We Are Respectable Negroes, Chauncey Devega interviews friend of the Gutter Mark D. White about the virtues of Captain America. “In this, the ninth episode, of the second season of WARN’s podcast series, we talk about what comic books and superheroes can tell us about philosophy and politics, work through what makes someone ‘heroic,’ the ways that the general public often misunderstands and misreads the Captain America character, as well as how American exceptionalism, race, and identity relate to superhero and other types of comic books and graphic novels.”

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    Alexander Chee writes about difficulty some have in evaluating comics or even in taking them seriously. “As a frequent juror on prizes, colonies and fellowships, I am, it could be said, so tired of this, that in fact, I will fight you for Roz Chast’s right to be on this list. I will fight you for the right for Bechdel to get that MacArthur. In a ring, covered in grease, MMA style. That is how sick of it I am.”

    And Dylan Meconis has some suggestions on how to improve writing about comics. “This leaves all the critics who are just beginning their journey into comics reading, or who have yet to be entirely won over to the medium but want to keep an open mind (perhaps due to peer pressure: I remember a literati cocktail party where somebody near me anxiously muttered ‘I guess we’re all supposed to read graphic novels now.’) These brave souls are willing to give it a try, but they tend to make a lot of mistakes when they first start out.” (Thanks, Gareth!)

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    At Black Girl Nerds, Jamie Broadnax writes a powerful piece about racism, cosplaying, police violence and the homicide of Darrien Hunt. “The first thing we need to do is NOT let this story scare us nor intimidate us into believing that we should be fearful of cosplaying.  We should still encourage others who may not yet have participated in cosplay to know that there are several communities for people of color to have safe spaces where they can be embrace and be their nerdy selves. If there is little to no news about this incident on other mainstream geek sites that feature cosplayers, then framing this around race is pertinent and they should be called out on their silence.  Even IF this is not an incident where Darrien Hunt was actively cosplaying, the tone has already been set and anyone who is a part of the cosplay community should address this matter.  Many Black cosplayers are concerned about this, and still wonder if they would be viewed as ‘suspicious’ walking down the street.”

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