The Cultural Gutter

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"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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  • 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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