The Cultural Gutter

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

Movies! Movies! Movies!

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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.

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 […]

FantAsia Film Festival 2012

The FantAsia site is up and running with many, many trailers to get you ready for the festival. (Or at least, what films to keep an eye out for).

When to start laughing: Homicidal hillbillies and absurd horror-comedies

Sometimes life is uncooperative. The consequences extend from our highest functions to the lowest corners of the cultural gutter. Here, friends, is the result of my non-compliant life situation: a list of things that make me think of other things, loosely organized around the theme of absurd horror-comedies! I’ll start with Tucker and Dale vs. […]

Taira no Kiyomori

Kenichi Matsuyama, who played L in Death Note, Masura Kato in Gantz: Light in the Dark and who Midnight Madness fans might remember as  Negishi/Johannes Krauser  from Detroit Metal City, is playing the 12th Century/Heian Era, Taira no Kiyomori, in an eponymous 50 episode NHK television series. The Japan Times covers the series’ development and […]

Slate’s 25 Best Horror Films of the 2000s

Slate has a nicely ecletic and thoughtful list of the best horror films of the ’00s, including many Midnight Madness favorites and films by Rob Zombie, David Lynch, Takashi Miike, Sam Raimi, Tomas Alfredson, David Cronenberg, William Friedkin, Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury.

Most Anticipated Asian Films of 2011

Wildgrounds breaks down their most anticipated films of 2011.

13 Assassins Reign!

It’s assassins galore with John Woo and Su Chao-Pin’s Reign of Assassins and Takashi Miike’s remake of the classic chanbara, Thirteen Assassins.

Asian Western Round Up

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This month we’re mixing it up at the Gutter with each editor writing about something outside their usual domain. This week Carol Borden writes about movies. She can normally be found here. The world is clamoring for more Asian Westerns. Or at least I am.  I’m talking Thai, Chinese, Japanese and Korean Westerns. They seem […]

Yatterman!

Takashi Miike follows up his smart and fancy family films Great Yokai War and Zebraman with Yatterman. Looks promising–there’s a giant dog robot and a lot of leather. (What the hell, trailers for GYW and Zebraman, too).

The Road To Mundo Fine: Zombies vs. Robots

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The road to the end of the world is shorter than we think. Just when we’ve adjusted our rear and sideview mirrors and selected a soundtrack, the end stands before us, eyes shining in our halogen lights, ready to total our engine block. The only question now is: zombies or robots?

Red Eye

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15 hours on the road and I was my own red-eye on I-94′s corridor of stripclubs, fireworks and roadkill, racing past dead deer in Michigan, then Gary, Indiana’s steel mills and through Chicagoland, the Sears Tower in the distance waiting for its evil eye, till the highway gave out in Wisconsin. Yes, I went to […]

Good, Weird, no Bad

Tears of the Black Tiger, Sukiyaki Western Django and now Kim Jee-woon’s The Good, the Bad and the Weird, starring Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun and Jung Woo-sung.  Asian Westerns are where it’s at.

Why Is Miike Smirking?

Takashi Miike smirks, and I shudder.

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Jon Peterson discusses how Gary Gygax lost control of Dungeons & Dragons. “What did Gygax see, in that moment? He saw enough shares in play that he stood to lose control of TSR, a company he had founded and transformed into a global brand. But he surely also saw something even more dear at stake: that he might lose control of Dungeons & Dragons.”

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    At Paleofuture, Matt Novak writes about Idiocracy‘s unpleasant implications: “Sure. As an over-the-top comedic dystopia, the movie is actually enjoyable. But the movie’s introduction makes it an unnerving reference to toss around as our go-to insult….Unlike other films that satirize the media and the soul-crushing consequences of sensationalized entertainment (my personal favorite being 1951′s Ace in the Hole), Idiocracy lays the blame at the feet of an undeserved target (the poor) while implicitly advocating a terrible solution (eugenics). The movie’s underlying premise is a fundamentally dangerous and backwards way to understand the world.” (via The Projection Booth)

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    Friend of the Gutter, Will McKinley looks at “The 1979 Rockford Files Episode That Inspired The Sopranos.” “A gang from Newark’s South Side is hiding Vinnie Martine’s body in a restaurant freezer. Tony’s mad because Anthony Jr. got caught pranking another mobster. And a boss who’s trying to reform gets his mansion sprayed with bullets. Remember that episode of The Sopranos? If you do, your memory’s playing tricks on you, because all these things happened on a 1979 episode of The Rockford Files—written by Sopranos creator David Chase.”

    And McKinley defends classic television with, “In Praise of Vintage Television.”

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    Journalist Margot Adler has died. She is best known for her work as a journalist on NPR, but she also created the speculative fiction radio program, “The Hour Of The Wolf” and was the writer of Drawing Down The Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today (1979) and Vampires Are Us: Understanding Our Love Affair with the Immortal Dark Side (2014). The New York Times, NPR and  Suvudu have obituaries.  Here Adler discusses Vampires Are Us. And here is an excerpt from Adler’s memoir, Heretic’s Heart (1997).

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    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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