The Cultural Gutter

taking trash seriously

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

Pirates On One Hand, Privateers On The Other

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Director Lexi Alexander writes about movies and piracy and wonders if studios are more damaging. “I would argue that releasing crappy movies has a far greater effect on the film industry bottom line than piracy ever could. Similar things happen when a hyped TV show bombs or an anticipated game is a letdown. Companies don’t […]

“Girl Power: Remembering Shirley Temple”

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In a tribute to Shirley Temple, Nitrate Diva offers a thoughtful analysis of Temple’s career and appeal. “When I watch Temple, it is with the rapt astonishment that one might feel before a great magician. Not because I consider her talents a ‘trick,’ but rather because I find something infinitely more sacred in the strength […]

RIP, Sid Caesar

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Comedian, actor and writer Sid Caesar has died. The New York Times and Variety have obituaries. Time has gathered clips of his work. The Archive of American Television has an interview with Caesar here.

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 […]

Operation Scraping Netflix’s Data

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“This database probing told me three things: 1) Netflix had an absurdly large number of genres, an order of magnitude or two more than I had thought, 2) it was organized in a way that I didn’t understand, and 3) there was no way I could go through all those genres by hand. But I […]

RIP, Joan Fontaine

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Joan Fontaine has died. The Hollywood Reporter, The New York Times  and NPR have obituaries. Here are a clip of Fontaine in Suspicion, the trailer for Jane Eyre and Fontaine’s screen test for Rebecca. Fontaine co-hosts the Mike Douglas Show in 1967 here.

“Two Easy Steps To Make Hollywood Less Sexist”

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Geena Davis has two suggestions for making films and television shows less sexist. They’d work well for increasing diversity of all kinds.  

Another Look At Why So Many Movies Follow the Same Plot Rules

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Jason Pargin (aka, David Wong) and Jack O’Brien talk about the very precise plot conventions of big Hollywood movies and how they shape our expectations in watching films on the Cracked podcast.

The Weinstein Company vs. Asian Cinema

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At Daily Grindhouse, Ric Meyers writes about, “A History of Disrespect: The Weinstein Company’s War on Asian Cinema.” Meanwhile, at Flavorwire, Jason Bailey asks and answers. “Why Do Asian Films Have To Be Dumbed Down For An American Audience?”

“Michelle Rodriguez Made Me Cry At Comic-Con”

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Kate Conway writes about how powerful she found the Women Who Kick Ass Panel in San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall C. “These dudes onstage weren’t selling themselves to me; they didn’t even care what I thought. Here we were, in the biggest room at Comic-Con, and I only felt disgust. And then, out came Michelle Rodriguez.”

“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 […]

In A Lonely Place

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At Pulp Curry, Andrew Nette looks at In A Lonely Place, both Nicholas Ray’s cinematic adaptation and Dorothy B. Hughes’ original novel.

“Why Does Every Movie Released These Days Feel Exactly The Same?”

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It turns out there’s a reason why movies are starting to feel the same: “Summer movies are often described as formulaic. But what few people know is that there is actually a formula—one that lays out, on a page-by-page basis, exactly what should happen when in a screenplay. It’s as if a mad scientist has […]

Pop Culture Propaganda

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Peter Gutiérrez looks at the pop culture propaganda of Ender’s Game, Pacific Rim and G.I. Joe marketing campaigns. “The interesting, if obvious, thing about these marketing posters is that they seem to rely on the viewer’s familiarity with propaganda. Does that mean that the audience for blockbuster movies these days is sufficiently “media literate” that […]

Interview with Takashi Miike

The Hollywood Reporter interviews director Takashi Miike about his new film, Shield of Straw: ” In Japan now, films are very safe. When I was young and went to old cinemas, they had a distinctive feel, an adult smell about them. As you got in your seat and the lights went down, there was a […]

The Algorithm of Success

The New York Times has a piece on the statistical quest for a sure thing box office hit. Meanwhile, The AV Club pans Netflix’s original series, very much grounded in algorithms, Hemlock Grove: “The genius of Netflix’s computer-programmed, demographic targeting approach to TV is that it doesn’t need to create amazing, or challenging, or even […]

“So I wrote a book”

Elmore Leonard talks about writing, Westerns, crime fiction, adaptations and Justified. “They made me an executive producer on the show, and executive producers don’t’ really do anything. I thought, ‘How can I sit here and collect money and not do anything?’ So I wrote a book, Raylan.”

Listen Up

Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones –a 1990 documentary about composer and musician Quincy Jones is online and complete.

The History of Mexploitation Cinema

Filmmaker and writer Aaron Soto discusses the history of Mexploitation cinema with Miguel Rodriguez on Monster Island Resort Podcast!

Reservoir Dogs at The Projection Booth

Mr. White and Mr. St. Mary have an in-depth look at Reservoir Dogs at The Projection Booth podcast. Special Guests: podcaster Jamie Jenkins, Film Threat‘s Paul Zimmerman and Reservoir Dogs executive producer, Monte Hellman. Special features include, Mike White’s video, “Who Do You Think You’re Fooling?” comparing Ringo Lam’s City On Fire and Reservoir Dogs, […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    The Toronto International Film Festival has announced its Midnight Madness and Vanguard programs for 2014. There’s lots of goodness in there and it’s worth taking a look even if you aren’t going to the festival, so you can you movie watching later this year or next. We’ll be posting the trailers from the films later.

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    Actor James Shigeta has died. Shigeta appeared in Die Hard (1988), The Crimson Kimono (1959) The Flower Drum Song (1961),  Bridge To The Sun (1961), Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966), The Yakuza (1974) and many, many television shows.  The AV Club, Den Of Geek and Angry Asian Man have obituaries. Bridge to the Sun is discussed by Robert Osborne and Dr. Peter Feng on TCM.  At RogerEbert.com, Matt Zoller Seitz writes an appreciation of Shigeta’s life and work. “Shigeta, who died yesterday at 81, was a marvelous performer, and his work as Nakatomi Corporation President Joseph Takagi in the original 1988 Die Hard is one of my favorite examples of how an imaginative actor can sketch out a life in just a few scenes and lines.”

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    At RogerEbert.com, Alan Zilberman explores the history of the eye in cinema from Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) to Mark Cahill’s I Origins (2014). (via Matt Zoller Seitz)

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    At Never Get Off The Bus, Debbie Moon writes about Captain America: First Avenger. “When adapting existing material, it’s easy to assume that in order to reach point F, you simply have to work through points A – E. To set up Steve Rogers in the modern world, simply romp briskly through everything that happened before he got there. But your character may not be undergoing a single united emotional journey during that period. “

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    At Sequart, friend of the Gutter Colin Smith is taking an exhaustive look at the American superhero comics of Mark Millar–and by exhaustive, we mean, “28 Part.”

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    Friend of the Gutter, Will McKinley writes about his past as a soap opera fan and the return of a classic soap opera, The Doctors, and its significance for the genre.

     

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