The Cultural Gutter

geek chic with mad technique

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

An Excerpt from Resistance

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Tor has an excerpt from Resistance, the latest book by friend of the Gutter, Samit Basu: “A giant lobster rises slowly out of Tokyo Bay. It is an old-school kaiju, 300 feet long, and stands upright, its hind limbs still under water, in defiance of biology, physics and all codes of lobster etiquette.”

Summer Fun Time Reading ’14

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Summer is almost here, and I can’t tell you how glad I am. So smear yourself up with sunscreen and bug repellent, find your kickiest sandals, put the finishing touches on your Wicker Man and don’t forget to wear a hat because I have some comics to make your summer just a little more fun […]

Interview with Natsuo Kirino

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Japan Review interviews Natsuo Kirino, an author best known for her dark crime novels:  “I don’t think I exclusively tell stories of women criminals. However, being a woman in this society is mainly an anonymous existence. I don’t think the fact that the environment is such that women are nameless and overlooked is a good […]

RIP, Noribumi Suzuki

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Filmmaker Noribumi Suzuki has died. Suzuki was probably best known for School of the Holy Beast (1974), Sex and Fury (1973) and his Torakku Yarõ / Truck Yaro / Trucker Guys films starring Bunta Sugawara. Here Suzuki talks about working with actresses Reiko Ike and Miki Sugimoto, who appeared in his  pinku eiga/ “pinky violence” […]

RIP, Donald Richie

Writer Donald Richie has died. Richie is best known for his writing on Japanese culture and film.  The Japan Times and The New York Times have obituaries. Fora.tv has a conversation with Donald Richie in 2009, “Life in Japanese Film: Donald Richie.”

New Osamu Tezuka Manga

The Japan Times reports on an unpublished manga created by Osamu Tezuka in his teens.

RIP, Isuzu Yamada

Actress Isuzu Yamada has died. Yamada worked with a range of directors including, Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi, Mikio Naruse, Yasujiro Ozu and Kinji Fukasaku. The New York Times has an obituary.  The Gutter remembers her with a scene of her performances as Lady Washizu in Throne of Blood.  

Most Anticipated Asian Films of 2011

Wildgrounds breaks down their most anticipated films of 2011.

The Iwai Detective Agency

Slouching Towards Bethlehem has found tantalizing evidence of a detective agency operating in Meiji Era Japan, The Iwai Detective Agency.

Portrait of the Artist (with the Sound of Cicadas)

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Tatsumi Yoshihiro’s A Drifting Life is all the proof anyone would ever need that comics can be serious art. It will show up at the top of year end lists and on syllabi. The fanciest of blurbs will be written about it. Comic fans will hound the unsuspecting at parties and in their homes to […]

10 Comics I Liked in 2008

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Here they are, ten comics I liked in 2008 that I haven’t written about yet. All ready? Alright.

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?

Detroit Metal City: No Music, No Dream

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We live in a time of film adaptations of comic books massive and tiny, from Iron Man and The Dark Knight to Wanted and The Surrogates. But I don’t need to see any more. I have seen Detroit Metal City and it is a testament to awesomeness.

2008 Madness Begins

The 2008 Midnight Madness films have been announced.  If you’re in Toronto then, you’ll have a chance to see movies like Chocolate, Detroit Metal City, JCVD and The Burrowers (no trailer) on the big screen. I’ma be there.

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 […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    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.”

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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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    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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