The Cultural Gutter

the cult in your pop culture

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

“He’s the guitar string that resonates at the frequency of America”

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Danny Bowes writes about Christopher Nolan’s Interstallar, baseball and Matthew McConaughey at Letterboxd: “McConaughey is a great movie star for a number of reasons, but one of which is that the nature of his charisma derives from his singular quantum Zen surfer good old boy state of being. His charisma switch doesn’t just have one […]

Interstellar and a certain kind of science fiction

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Abigail Nussbaum considers Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar at Asking The Wrong Questions.  “As much fun as it is to watch this sort of story–and the enjoyment is only increased by Interstellar‘s refreshing rejection of Hollywood’s standard save the cat story template, with multiple complications and decision points that give the film an almost novelistic feeling–there’s no […]

The Desire For Certainty In Film

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“In the world of online film discourse, there’s a veritable cottage industry devoted to bringing certainty to ambiguity.” The Dissolve has more. Meanwhile, Film Critic Hulk writes about film logic, plot holes and “THE ONLY ANSWER THAT ACTUALLY MATTERS.” Like this:Like Loading…

“That’s Not A Plot Hole. Allow Me To Explain”

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Scott Nye writes about plot holes, deflection, and characters explaining for the audience at Ebert.com‘s “Balder & Dash” blog: “Characters must constantly address questions on behalf of a too-curious audience awash in complexly-plotted mega-stories. The movies are trying to plug leaks in a boat before the whole thing sinks—never quite repairing it, but doing just […]

Superman and Transcending Reality

“Words like ‘realism’ and ‘dark’ and ‘gritty’ get bandied about Hollywood as if the only merit a story can have is in its verisimilitude, but that’s a lie. Emotional honesty transcends reality; it’s what allows disbelief to be suspended, and yet what makes a story stay true.” Writer Greg Rucka writes more about Superman and […]

“The Rape of James Bond”

Sophia McDougall writes about “sexual assault and ‘Realism’ in popular culture.” (via @Pornokitsch) Like this:Like Loading…

The Dark Knight and the ACME Bomb: Batman and realism part I

The ending to The Dark Knight Rises left my wife doubled over laughing in the parking lot of the theatre. I tried to take a picture for posterity, but it was too dark. Given that no one else in the audience seemed affected in the same way, I expect I’ll need to explain why: simply […]

Batman vs. The French Revolution

“A hero can be anyone, even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy’s shoulders to let him know the world hasn’t ended.” “The mask is to show that Batman could be anybody.” Is saying anyone can be Batman the same as saying anyone can be a […]

King of the World 3D

David Bordwell tells the story of digital projection, 3D and how James Cameron lobbied theaters to buy the technology to show the films he wants to make. Meanwhile, Christopher Nolan wants to save 35mm film.  (Thanks, Kimberly Lindbergs!) Like this:Like Loading…

Inception in Real-Time

Inception in Real-Time.  All the dreams played against one another and with editorial comments. (via Entertainment Weekly’s blog) Like this:Like Loading…

In Living Colour

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This  last month at the Gutter, we’ve been mixing things up, with the editors writing outside of their usual domains. This week, instead of romance, Chris Szego will talk about movies or comics. Hey, wait! How about movies AND comics? Or rather, comic book movies? Recently, the theatre’s been a good place for comics. Not […]

HELLO DOCTOR NAME CONTINUE YESTERDAY TOMORROW

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I had really hoped that my list of the top 10 films of the decade would be more surprising. Or perhaps I just assumed that I was less predictable. I thought about a lot of other films, some of which you’ll see in my runners-up rundown at the foot of this article, but these are […]

Batman vs. Batman, Turkey

“The royalty of the name ‘Batman’ belongs to us … There is only one Batman in the world. The American producers used the name of our city without informing us[.]”  The city of Batman in Turkey plans to sue Christopher Nolan. (via Lady, That’s My Skull)   Like this:Like Loading…

HAVING YOUR DUALITY AND EATING IT, TOO

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Spoiler warning. When the question arises of who could be the villain in a third Batman movie, I’m stymied. I can’t picture The Penguin or The Riddler or Catwoman working in the world Christopher Nolan has created. Poison Ivy? I don’t think so. The Mad Hatter? Clayface? Kite Man? Bane? Nope, nope, nope and please […]

“If this is Gotham, get me a one-way ticket to Metropolis.”

Mel at Bluestocking Banter smells some Frank Miller in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight:  “Dark, sure. Violent, yes. But fascist? Maybe.” Like this:Like Loading…

MAN-BAT NINJAS, NINJA BATMEN AND ART WITH NO CONTENT

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At the risk of tearing up Carol’s yard (a risk I’ll take, since she’s parked on my lawn currently, leaving me nowhere to pull up). I’m going to talk about comics for bit here. Don’t worry, I’ll get to the screen part soon enough. Like this:Like Loading…

13 Ways of Looking at a Bat

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“Among twenty empty warehouses, The only moving thing Was the eye of the Batman.” –sorta Wallace Stevens You should know right from the start that I’m a terrible geek—not extremely geeky, but bad at being a geek. Continuity in the sense of an overarching, epic and harmonized chronology just isn’t that important to me. What […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At Comics Alliance, Chris Sims talk abouts the art of lettering in comics. “Comic book lettering is up there with inking and coloring in the holy trinity of underrated comic book skills, but it’s also one of those things that, once you start paying attention to it, you’ll never be able to not notice it again. I’m not exaggerating even a little bit when I say that it’s one of those things that can absolutely ruin a comic if it’s done wrong, even if everything else is perfect. But to be honest, of those three elements, lettering is still probably the most underrated. The thing is, when it’s good, it can be absolutely gorgeous in its own right. And fortunately for us, there are a lot of people who do it very, very well.”

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    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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