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

“It’s Time To Retire The Disney Death”

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At The Dissolve, Tasha Robinson writes about the use and overuse of the “Disney Death” in both Disney and non-Disney animated films. “Still, no matter how ambitious, sophisticated, and elaborate American animated films become, the Disney Death still dominates. It’s spread outside Disney to all sorts of films, from cartoons to adult stories; it’s a […]

Devil Girl from Inverness

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The BBC’s Steven McKenzie looks at Scotland’s influence on science fiction film and a wee bit of television. (Thanks, Matt!) Like this:Like Loading…

Interview with Jeopardy! Winner Arthur Chu

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The AV Club has an interview with Jeopardy! Champion, Arthur Chu, in which he discusses strategizing to win the game show, public personas and how the show is made.   Like this:Like Loading…

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…

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 […]

“The Most Wicked Face of Theda Bara”

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The Hairpin looks at “The Most Wicked Face of Theda Bara”: “She was the first in a long line of what came to be known as femme fatales — dangerous, devouring women who pop up in various genres at cultural moments when anxiety over the woman’s place in society is at its highest. Bara anticipated […]

Italian Film Cultural Blogathon

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Read all the posts in Nitrate Diva’s Italian Film Culture Blogathon–including one about Danger: Diabolik by The Gutter’s own Carol. Like this:Like Loading…

“The Changing Shape of Cinema”

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A history of the aspect ratio. “John Hess traces the evolution of the screen shape from the silent film days through the widescreen explosion of the 50s, to the aspect ratio of modern digital cameras.” Like this:Like Loading…

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 […]

Id Critics and Conspiracy Theories

“Room 237 is like an act of revenge from a filmmaker upon the critics,” writes Robert Greene in his review. And The Verge’s Adi Robinson interviews Room 237 director Rodney Ascher on The Shining, interpretation and conspiracy theories. “[Room 237 is] about what happens when the movie leaves the filmmaker’s hands, and the audience is […]

The Monster in Me

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I’ve been spending a portion of my wee small hours (normally spent standing under a solitary street lamp on a lonely street, staring in melancholy reverie at my cigarette) revisiting old horror films. As a budding cult film obsessive, I cut my teeth on the horror films of cinema’s early decades. In the days before […]

Jim Brown’s Hollywood

“As a Black man in American, I brought something to the screen that hadn’t really been there before.”Jim Brown talks about his film career, making the transition from football to film and producing films in two parts of a documentary by Spike Lee. Here and here. Like this:Like Loading…

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, […]

“He wanted to reflect on his world of chivalry”

A complete, online documentary about legendary film maker, Chang Cheh. Thanks to the ladies of the Heroic Sisterhood for reminding us that Feb. 10 would’ve been his 90th birthday. “He liked all actors, but he liked the naught ones more, especially the ones who didn’t listen to him.” Like this:Like Loading…

Scouting the Orientalist Fantasy of a Perfect Chinese Restaurant

Scouting NY writes of the difficulty of finding a Chinese restaurant that satisfies directors’ ideas of a Chinese restaurant in New York, because that restaurant doesn’t exist. “Literally every time I get asked to find a Chinese restaurant, it’s the same description. ‘I want a place with really over-the-top Chinese decor,’ our director will say. […]

A Conversation with Steven Soderbergh

Director Steven Soderbergh has a thought-provoking conversation with Mary Kaye Schilling at Vulture: “You’re supposed to expand your mind to fit the art, you’re not supposed to chop the art down to fit your mind.” Like this:Like Loading…

Interview with James Nguyen

Friend of The Gutter, Robert Mitchell interviews Birdemic director, James Nguyen.  They discuss film-making, Birdemic: Shock and Terror, Birdemic 2 and what people can do to reduce their negative impact on the environment. Like this:Like Loading…

Ray Harryhausen’s Collection, Documented

The Documentation Officer for the Ray Harryhausen collection shares some of Harryhausen’s film materials. Like this:Like Loading…

2 Interviews with Ti Lung

Hong Kong film legend Ti Lung/Di Long discusses his career and Bruce Lee (turn on close captioning for English translation).  And Ti Lung’s debut in Return of the One-Armed Swordsman. Like this:Like Loading…

Lo Fi Sci Fi Salon

Jim Munroe is programming a series of sci fi salons as a run-up to the 48 Film Challenge! The first is a chat with Louis Savy, Programmer for SCI-FI-LONDON, over Skype and a screening of shorts fro m SFL’s 48 Hour Film Challenge on Monday, August 31. See the entire schedule and more details here.  (Full […]

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    At The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes about Dr. Doom: “Comics are so often seen as the province of white geeky nerds. But, more broadly, comics are  the literature of outcasts, of pariahs, of Jews, of gays, of blacks. It’s really no mistake that we saw ourselves in Doom, Magneto or Rogue.”

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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 Of Miles (2005).  The Japan Times, The South China Morning Post and The AV Club have obituaries. Japan Subculture has an interview with Takakura. Here Takakura sings the theme to Abhashiri Prison (1965)

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    Producer, writer and director Glen A. Larson has died. Larson was responsible for creating tv series such as Battlestar Galactica, Magnum P.I, Knight Rider, The Fall Guy, Quincy M.E., The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries and Buck Rogers In The 25Th Century, about which the Gutter’s own Keith wrote here. The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter and The AV Club have obituaries. Watch Larson’s interview from 2010 at “Battlestar Galactica: The Exhibition”.

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    At Re/Action, Maddy Myers writes about how important the Metroid franchise, in both game and manga form, and its protagonist, Samus Aran, were to her. “Samus still represents a breakthrough. She first took off her armor to reveal a woman’s form back in 1986, the year that I was born. Samus and I grew up separately, kindred spirits who did not find one another until 2007. A best friend, a fraternal twin sister, a clone separated at birth. Or so I felt, as I let myself slip behind that visor. I wasn’t Samus myself – not yet. I stood behind her, hanging back. Did I dare? Did I dare pretend, role-play, allow myself to act as Samus? Could I be that cool?”

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    Maddy Myers writes about playing violent games, wanting to be powerful and internalized sexism. “Given my lifelong history of playing at war, and my desperate wish to feel strong, big, and powerful, it made sense that I would gravitate towards Counter-Strike and its ilk around the age of 15. But Counter-Strike, with its all-male selection of avatars and predominantly male player base, allowed no room for princesses — and the guys I played with didn’t either. I developed some traits during that time that I regret now — the belief that I was ‘special,’ and that I was ‘better’ than other women I knew because I liked playing violent games and they didn’t. The guys I played with encouraged and reinforced this behavior, assuring me that I was ‘different from those other girls,’ that my liking violence made me ‘cool.’ Girl stuff is stupid, I told myself, as I bought pants from the men’s section, told sexist jokes, and mocked all the ‘girl stuff’ that I’d liked, not so many years prior.”

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