The Cultural Gutter

going through pop culture's trash since 2003

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

RIP, Ken Takakura

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Actor Ken Takakura has died. Takakura starred in films such as Brutal Tales of Chivalry (1965); Red Peony Gambler (1968); Miyamoto Musashi: Duel at Ichijoji (1955) and Miyamoto Musashi: Duel at Ganryu Island (1956); as well as in co-productions like The Yakuza (1974); The Bullet Train (1975); Black Rain (1989) and Riding Alone For Thousands […]

Interview with Director Ringo Lam

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At Kaiju Shakedown, Hiroshi Fukazawa interviews director Ringo Lam. “Not as flashy as John Woo, never as hyperkinetic as Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam is one of Hong Kong’s most underappreciated directors. He made his name with sophisticated, downbeat crime dramas that came to define a certain style of urban Hong Kong cinema in the Eighties […]

Photographs of 1950s and 1960s Hong Kong

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A gallery of Fan Ho’s photos of Hong Kong from the book, Fan Ho: A Hong Kong Memoir. (Thanks, Clarice!) Like this:Like Loading…

Patrick Lung Kong & Tsui Hark Discuss A Better Tomorrow

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Patrick Lung Kong and Tsui Hark discuss their work together and Lung’s influential film, The Story Of A Discharged Prisoner (1967), during a retrospective of Lung’s work. ‘Protesters called “and said ‘Burn that film, burn it!’” Lung Kong said. The timing was off, with Hong Kong embroiled in riots, and demonstrators targeted a government official […]

“A Beginner’s Guide To Jademan”

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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). Like […]

Kaiju Shakedown: Hopping Vampire Edition

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With the US release of Juno Mak’s Rigor Mortis, Grady Hendrix decides it’s time to revisit the hopping vampire movies of yore. Like this:Like Loading…

Sixties and Seventies Asian Pop Record Covers

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A gallery of Singaporean, Malaysian, Indonesian,  Hong Kong and Japanese pop album covers. Like this:Like Loading…

Ushering In A New Regime: Johnnie To, Crime Films and Dissent

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Last month, I wrote about British (and a little pre-People’s Republic Chinese) censorship of Hong Kong movies and the ways that wuxia and kung fu movies in particular got around British control of political speech. And now, with wuxia and kung fu movies seemingly all nationalistic, dissent has creeped into the crime films, so this […]

“Going Home” in China

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At The New York Times, Dan Levin writes about Kenny G. and his song “Going Home” in China. “There are many things about modern China that defy easy explanation: parents posing their children next to live tigers, the sight of grown women wearing furry cat-ear headbands while shopping, the performance-art-like spectacle of strangers napping together […]

“The Wayward World of Wuxia”

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“While the 1950s were considered a tumultuous period of history for the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong was undergoing an incredible revitalization of literature and cinema, a period informally known as the Golden Age of Wuxia (武 侠), or martial arts fantasy.” Terence Hsieh has more on wuxia, wuxia novels and wuxia novelists at The Word Of Chinese. Like this:Like Loading…

Blurry Images Coming Clear: Hong Kong Cinema, Censorship and Me

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Every April, we like to switch things up at the Gutter, with the editors writing about something outside their domains. This week, Comics Editor Carol writes about subtitles, censorship and Hong Kong cinema. I don’t remember the first kung fu movie I ever watched. I am terrible at remembering “firsts.”  But I do remember the […]

“A Gaggle of Golgo 13″

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Over at Teleport City, Keith takes a look at live-action and animated adaptations of Takao Saito’s manga, Golgo 13. Like this:Like Loading…

Revenge In South Korean Cinema

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Some interesting thoughts on South Korean cinema with “A Dish Best Served Bloody: Revenge In South Korean Cinema” and this Cannes program piece on Arirang (1926) and the history of Korean film. Like this:Like Loading…

“The Architecture of Kowloon Walled City”

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Architecture Daily has an excerpt from City of Darkness detailing the development of Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City. “By the 1970s, the City had filled out to its maximised form, with buildings of up to 14 storeys in height, and virtually no ground level daylight penetration save at its centre. Its density was estimated to […]

RIP, Wu Ma

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Actor Wu Ma has died. The South China Morning Post, The Straits Times, and The Hollywood Reporter have obituaries. Scene Asia has tributes. Wu Ma is probably best known for his role as a ghost-hunting Taoist priest in A Chinese Ghost Story, but he appeared in almost 300 films. Here’s the trailer for his first […]

In Memoriam, Run Run Shaw

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The Gutter’s own Carol writes a little about Run Run Shaw, Shaw Brothers and TVB.  “So often we talk about history as this disembodied thing, these external events. And then there is someone like Sir Run Run, who contained almost the entire arc of modern entertainment in his lifetime, in his self.” Like this:Like Loading…

RIP, Run Run Shaw

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Film and television producer Run Run Shaw has died. Sir Run Run founded Shaw Brothers with his brother, Run Me Shaw. They produced hundreds of films in all genres, but were best known for their revolutionary kung fu and wuxia movies. Shaw also produced myriad television programs for TVB. The South China Morning Post remembers […]

Boxers & Saints: Finding People In History

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If, like me, you have watched countless kung fu movies, then you’ll recognize this story: a boy goes with his father and elder brother to a local village festival. An ardent fan of Peking Opera, the boy goes off by himself to watch the festival performances. Hearing some commotion, he investigates and sees his father […]

Interviews and Q&A from Midnight Madness 2013

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All the red carpet interviews and post-screening question and answer sessions from this year’s Midnight Madness Programme at the Toronto International Film Festival.  And all conducted by friend of The Gutter and Soldier of Cinema, Robert Mitchell! [Update: Link fixed!] Like this:Like Loading…

Midnight Madness 2013!

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The Midnight Madness Program at the Toronto International Film Festival has been announced. The films being screened are: All Cheerleaders Die; The Station / Der Blutgletscher; The Green Inferno; Oculus (that’s the trailer for the original short); Afflicted; Almost Human; Rigor Mortis; R100; Why Don’t You Play In Hell?; and, Witching & Bitching / Las […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Comics Alliance suggests seven Star Wars comics to read before Disney makes them disappear. (Including a comic by one of Comics Editor Carol’s favorite creative teams–Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman). “Starting in 2015, Disney’s handing the publishing of any and all new Star Wars comics over to Marvel Comics, with an all new, optimized-for-corporate-synergy canon that will spread across all their media platforms. Anything that’s not a movie (especially one of the Original Trilogy movies), or a Clone Wars cartoon, will be unceremoniously Order 66-ed out of existence, giving future filmmakers a clean-ish slate to make movies (and money) on. But what about all those Dark Horse comics? That’s where we come in with 7 Dark Horse Star Wars comics you should track down before they disappear.”

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    At the New York Observer, Ashley Steves writes about Craig Ferguson’s The Late, Late Show. “No one could ever prepare you for watching an episode of Ferguson’s Late Late Show. A friend could not sit you down and explain it (“Well, it’s really meta and deconstructive and there’s a horse”). There was really no good way to recommend it. It was something you discovered and became a part of. You had to stumble upon it on your own, perhaps restless or bored or simply curious while flipping through channels when your eye quickly caught some of the madness. And that’s the best part. It was an unexpected gift. At its worst, it could still send you to bed grinning and comforted. At its best, it was art. It was silly and fun and truly not like any other late night show.”

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    At Comics Alliance, Chris Sims interviews Ed Brubaker about his work on Batman, Gotham Central and Catwoman. “When I look back at [Catwoman], I’m so proud of the first 25 issues of that book, when I felt like everything was firing on all cylinders. I probably should’ve left when Cameron Stewart left instead of sticking around. That’s one of those things I look back at and think “Ah, I had a perfect run up until then!” (Incidentally, Comics Editor Carol’s first piece for the Gutter was about Brubaker’s first 25 issues of Catwoman).

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    At Sequential Art, Greg Carpenter writes a lovely piece about Charles Schulz’ Peanuts. “After only two installments, Schulz had solidified the rules for his comic strip.  Random acts of cruelty would punctuate this irrational world, and Schulz’s trapped little adults would be forced to act out simulations of human behavior, using hollow gestures to try to create meaning in a universe where no other meaning was evident.  If Shakespeare’s Macbeth had been a cartoonist, the results of his daily grind, “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,” might have looked somewhat similar—each character a “poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage” until he or she was heard from no more.”

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    The Smithsonian Magazine has a gallery of US spy satellite launches. “Just as NASA creates specially designed patches for each mission into space, [National Reconnaissance Office] follows that tradition for its spy satellite launches. But while NASA patches tend to feature space ships and American flags, NRO prefers wizards, Vikings, teddy bears and the all-seeing eye. With these outlandish designs, a civilian would be justified in wondering if NRO is trolling.”

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    At The Guardian, Keith Stuart and Steve Boxer look at the history of PlayStation.“Having been part of the late 80s rave and underground-clubbing scene, I recognised how it was influencing the youth market. In the early 90s, club culture started to become more mass market, but the impetus was still coming from the underground, from key individuals and tribes. What it showed me was that you had to identify and build relationships with those opinion-formers – the DJs, the music industry, the fashion industry, the underground media.” (via @timmaughan)

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