The Cultural Gutter

dumpster diving of the brain

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

Learning from Akira Kurosawa and Stanley Kubrick

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Tony Zhou looks at “The Geometry of a Scene” in Akira Kurosawa’s The Bad Sleep Well and Domus looks at Stanley Kubrick’s use of one-point perspective. (Make sure to watch Tony Zhou’s other video essays in his Every Frame A Painting series). Like this:Like Loading…

“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…

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At Graveyard Shift Sisters, Ashlee Blackwell considers Jonathan Demme’s Beloved as a horror film as part of their Black History & Women In Horror Month series. “Beloved takes us on one journey of the Black American experience of slavery through the body of a Black female protagonist.”

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    Watch Nigerian writer and director Nosa Igbinedion’s Oya: The Coming Of The Orishas here.

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    At Bitch Media, Sara Century wonders why Michonne isn’t in charge and considers which medium is better for the ladies of The Walking Dead: comics or tv. “As I was thinking about the numerous questionable writing choices made with these could-be-so-great female characters, I got to wondering, which medium is better for the ladies of The Walking Dead: the TV show or the comic? In other words, which one is less sexist?

    I wrote up a short list of the main female characters that appear both on the show and in the comic to decipher the differences in how these women are written. These descriptions contain spoilers through season five of the TV show, because it’s impossible to write about The Walking Dead without talking about how people die all the time.”

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    Vixen Varsity shares Olufemi Lee-Johnson’s tribute to Milestone Media and Dwayne McDuffie. “For the first time in my life, I was around comic writers of color telling stories that mirror or surpassed the storylines of America’s favorite heroes. Icon dealt with being the ultimate immigrant and not understanding current black culture. Rocket (Raquel Irvin) was his guide, but also aspired to be more than just a woman in the projects. Static (Virgil Hawkins) was just a normal teenager dealing with fitting into school and then was put into this extraordinary circumstance of being a hero. Hardware (Curtis Metcalf) wanted respect from his mentor, but later learned about the bigger picture when it came to being a hero and the characters from Blood Syndicate…they were just trying to make it day by day and maintain their respect as a gang.”

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    At Soundcheck, John Schaefer talks with Jim Jarmusch about “making music for someone else’s films, and a penchant for walking the tightrope between narrative and abstract art in his own movies. And if you thought his C.V. was looking a little thin, Jarmusch is also working on an upcoming opera about the Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla, with Robert Wilson and composer Phil Kline.” (Thanks, Kate!)

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    Alex Deuben interviews artist Nate Powell about the second volume of The March and working with Rep. John Lewis and Andrew Aydin. “We are taught — and we tend to perpetuate this myth — that the Civil Rights Movement was nine words long: ‘Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, I Have a Dream.’ I think what you’re saying really backs up that notion. In terms of John Lewis’ personal journey, ‘Book Two’ is certainly a deepening of discovery and involvement. Not just a worldview broadening, but becoming much more personally aware of the counter-escalation to any progress that the Movement made.”

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