The Cultural Gutter

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

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 […]

Godzilla Noir

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The Gutter’s own Carol shares a bit of her hardboiled Godzilla detective fiction at Monstrous Industry. Here’s a segment from “Three Kings” and two from “A Mark In Blue.”: ‘“Hell,’ I muttered, glancing down. My side was a mess of rearranged gears and blue coolant weeped from a broad gash. There was another smear of […]

RIP, Bob Hoskins

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Actor Bob Hoskins has died. Most sources are mentioning Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but Hoskins also appeared in Brazil, Nixon, The Long Good Friday, Pink Floyd The Wall, Unleashed, The Secret Agent and the tv show, Tales From The Crypt (“Fatal Caper”). And Hoskins was Chris Claremont’s first choice for Wolverine (via @Zemrag).  The Guardian, The […]

RIP, David Hannay

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Producer David Hannay has died. Hannay is probably best known for Dragon Flies / The Man From Hong Kong (1975), The Kung Fu Killers (1974) and Mapantsula (1987).  The Sydney Morning Herald, NZ Edge and IF.com.au have obituaries. Jon Hewitt remembers Hannay at SBS. Brian Trenchard-Smith remembers Hannay on Hannay’s Facebook page. Hannay speaks at […]

RIP, Lorenzo Semple

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Screenwriter and creator of the Sixties Batman television series Lorenzo Semple has died. Besides Batman, Gutter readers might know Semple best from his screenplays for, The Parallax View, Flash Gordon (1980), Papillon, The Drowning Pool, Never Say Never Again, Sheena, and King Kong (1976). The Los Angeles Times,  The Hollywood Reporter and Comics Alliance have […]

RIP, James Rebhorn

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Actor James Rebhorn has died. The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and The Hollywood Reporter have obituaries. Rebhorn had roles in films including Independence Day, Basic Instinct, The Talented Mr. Ripley and He Knows You’re Alone. And he had roles in television shows including, Search for Tomorrow, Guiding Light, As The World Turns, […]

Fan Theorizing and True Detective

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“Fan-crafted theorizing is fun enough – it’s a solid way to keep up audience engagement over a show’s run and even inject excitement into series that might be flailing on its own (see: that horrifying “dead mother” theory that’s been circulating amongst How I Met Your Mother fans, which is either entirely insane or decidedly […]

The 39 Steps

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“Alfred Hitchcock’s original 1935 version of The 39 Steps is one of those films that’s so seminal that when watched today it can seem like little more than a parade of hoary old clichés; that is, until you consider that The 39 Steps is where many of those clichés originated.” Friend of the Gutter Todd […]

Kuala Lumpur Noir

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At Pulp Curry, Andrew Netter reviews, KL Noir: “Kuala Lumpur may not seem like the most obvious place to set an anthology of noir fiction. On the surface, at least, it has a reputation as an orderly, well behaved city. But if this book is anything to go by, a lot is going on under […]

“He looks just like what you want a hitman to look like”

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Jeanne Marie Laskas tells the story of an ATF agent who works undercover as a hitman. Hear an interview with her at NPR and read the story at GQ.

Tales of Desolation

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Friends of The Gutter Todd Sharp and John Crye are releasing chapters of their new serialized photo book, Tales of Desolation, every Tuesday and Thursday. “I was ten when everything changed. That’s when it all stopped working.”

RIP, Antonia Bird

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Director and producer Antonia Bird has died. Bird is probably best known for her films Ravenous (1999) and Priest (1994), but she also directed UK television series, episodes and  tv movies such as, The Village,  Cracker, MI-5, Inspector Morse and EastEnders. The BBC has an obituary. The Guardian has collected tributes to Bird. The Guardian […]

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, […]

“The Art of Stealing”

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Lex Boon explores “The Art of Stealing: The Tragic Fate of The Masterpieces Stolen from Rotterdam”: “Picasso, Gauguin, Matisse, Monet, Meijer de Haan and Freud. On television they are talking about a loot worth hundreds of millions of euros. The amount is not important to her. The pictures are evidence against her son and destroying […]

“Blood, Meth and Tears”

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At Cinema Junkie, Beth Accomando says good-bye to Breaking Bad: “In the end for me what Breaking Bad delivered was a portrait of America and a distinctly American sense of identity. By tapping into the western genre, the show starts with something quintessentially American. That genre is prone to celebrate the individual over the community […]

The Fatal Flaw of Dexter

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And Todd Van Der Werff has some thoughts on the series finale of Dexter at The AV Club: “The fatal flaw of Dexter has always been that its writers have rarely, if ever, treated the central character with anything like a clear vision of who he’s meant to be.”

“Walter White, Angry White Man”

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“If…other antihero shows played off the thrill that results from being able to do anything or take whatever one wants, then Breaking Bad is increasingly about how unpleasant that actually is in real life. Walt’s justifications for why he should have what he wants stem almost entirely from believing that he’s owed in some way, […]

Bad Fans and a Mind-Bending Phone Call

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Emily Nussbaum writes about the complexity of one phone call in Breaking Bad‘s “Ozymandias” episode.

Old Crime Photos in a New Context

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Marc Hermann superimposes historic NY Daily News crime photos onto contemporary photos of the same locations. (Thanks, Edie!)

“He used to be on police dramas, then he met a bad buy in real life.”

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Portrait of actor Tom Ligon at The New York Times: “Fans of 1970s police shows have Mr. Ligon’s face stamped in unconscious corners of their minds.  He played bit parts in Baretta and Police Woman. In an episode of Starsky and Hutch, he played a character listed in the credits as Young Man, a mumbling, brainwashed […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Open Culture has a round-up of eight free and complete films by Dziga Vertov, including Man With A Movie Camera (1929) and the first Soviet animated feature, Soviet Toys (1924). (Thanks, Earl!)

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    Matt Zoller Seitz has written a lovely meditation on Robin Williams at RogerEbert.com: “Williams wore the invisible garments of depression. He carried that burden. A lot of the time we didn’t see it, because he was a bright and enthusiastic comic performer and a great actor. But the weight was always there.

    Somehow he lived 63 years.

    What a warrior he was.”

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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 and early Nineties. After getting his start in television at CTV and TVB, he directed five features before finding his stride with 1987’s City on Fire, the movie that provided the blueprint for Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.”

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    “[Grace] Jones — who was famous not just for her music, but also for her acting and modeling — took Lundgren to New York, where they partied at the legendary Studio 54 and Andy Warhol took pictures of Lundgren. Jones introduced Lundgren to the world of show business. Meanwhile, Lundgren was still set to begin his Fulbright scholarship at MIT. ‘I started sort of thinking, “Wow, this is kind of cool,”‘ Lundgren remembers: ‘”I don’t know if I want to go back to engineering after this.”‘ More at NPR.

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    “A mid-20th century collaboration between artists, poets and printers gave rise to a unique book of surrealistic creatures accompanied by complementary typographic art poems.” See more at BibliOdyssey. (Thanks, Andrezo!)

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    A gallery of vintage photographs of women with their motorcycles.

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