Tag Archive: film & television

“Syndromes of a new century”

Well, hey. Here we are in a new day. It has been so here in the uk for an hour and 53 minutes, probably more by the time this is posted, and i think to myself “Geez Adam” (cuz that is my name. As much as i wish i’d been christened Either/Or/Bored. Can you imagine that on a birth certificate? How cool would that be?) “it’s been a while since you’ve posted anything filmy.” So, i shuffle over to the sight & sound website and lo-and-behold if they don’t have an article from their feburary issue all up online. It’s good, it has depth, it is interesting. so here it is. in part. you got to click the click for the rest. I read this in the magazine itself, because a subscription to it was one i desperately wanted for a christmas present.

One aspect of the phrase “a camel is a horse designed by committee” is that no one knows who said it first (apparently it was either Vogue magazine, Sir Alec Issigonis or philosophy professor Lester Hunt – I like to think they came up with it together). When it comes, however, to the list of 30 films of the 21st century published here, I can name the guilty parties.

Having recently polled the critical world for the most impressive films of 2009, the S&S editorial team decided, as far as the past decade was concerned, to tether our own camel to the masthead. Kieron Corless, James Bell, Isabel Stevens, Nick Bradshaw and myself met, having each first selected our own ‘top 20’. Yet the debate we had led to a list that we feel reflects the cultural significance of the films better than our own subjective tastes; it took 30 titles to satisfy us that we’d touched on the important themes of the decade.

The list’s conception was, in any case, supplementary to our desire to publish a collection of articles about those themes, and to pick out the decade’s six most influential directors. Overleaf you’ll find Shane Danielsen’s overview of the significant national cinemas of the past ten years – particularly those of Romania, Argentina, Korea and Mexico. Further on, Mark Cousins revels in the new, addictive ways of consuming films that developed over the decade; Michael Atkinson is sceptical about the potential deterioration of American cinema; Hannah McGill charts the decline of the movie star; Jonathan Romney considers the peculiar aesthetic dominance of ‘Slow Cinema’; and Nick Roddick argues for the noughties as the decade of the digital revolution. What I want to do here is to show how those trends are reflected in the 30 films and six key directors we have chosen.

Certain restrictions were put on the list. First, you won’t find any television drama series – The Sopranos, The Wire and the like. It’s a partisan gesture on our part, because we think that 2010 may be the last significant moment at which one can still argue for the complete distinction of the feature film. Second, a half-dozen of the most important directors have each been allotted only one representative film. So Jia Zhangke’s Platform also represents Unknown Pleasures and Still Life, Michael Haneke’s Hidden counts for Code Unknown et al, Claire Denis’ 35 Shots of Rum for White Material, The Son for the Dardennes’ equally excellent The Child, Talk to Her for the whole golden run of Almodóvar’s noughties films, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Tropical Malady stands also for Syndromes and a Century (2006).

BFI | Sight & Sound | Syndromes of a new century.
Read the list of Sight & Sounds 30 key films of the decade


“When I woke up this morning after watching Avatar for the first time yesterday, the world seemed … gray. It was like my whole life, everything I’ve done and worked for, lost its meaning,” Hill wrote on the forum. “It just seems so … meaningless. I still don’t really see any reason to keep … doing things at all. I live in a dying world.”

You really gotta read the whole article. Could this be anymore cyberpunk? It’s all over people, it’s all over.

Audiences experience ‘Avatar’ blues – CNN.com.


1. The Joker – The Dark Knight


The Joker, a self-described “agent of chaos,” is about as psychopathic as one can get.  He doesn’t care about how he looks, ritualistically smears makeup across his scarred face, and relishes any scheme that undoes order.  Nicholson’s Joker was a clown, but Ledger’s Joker was a frightening, unpredictable terrorist.  The Joker’s abandonment of all societal norms, coupled with his violent, disruptive behavior makes him one of the more memorable movie psychos.

2. Hannibal Lecter – The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal


The infamous Dr. Lecter is a genius with a taste for flesh and brains, an unnerving paradox of sorts that helps cement him in the mind of anyone who happens to cross his path.  Being a serial killer is psychotic enough, but Lecter’s got cannibalism on his resume, too, raising the bar for psychopaths everywhere.  Simply put, Lecter is one dangerous S.O.B.  Also from Silence of the Lambs, Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb is a memorable psycho, but his mangina doesn’t hold a candle to Lecter’s psychopathic tendencies.

3. Patrick Bateman – American Psycho


If there ever was a lovable psycho, it was the privileged elitist Patrick Bateman.  With good looks, wealth, and a remarkable sense of style, Bateman personifies the 80s Wall Street yuppie.  The irony that is Pat Bateman, though, is that despite being a psychopathic killer, he’s more in touch with emotion and reality than his superficial, materialistic peers.  We can debate whether Bateman really did kill people or if it was all in his head, but either way you look at it, Bateman is one sick puppy.  If you’ve read the book, by the way, you know that the book version of Pat Bateman makes the movie version look like a saint.  Don’t just stare at it, eat it!

Unreality – Thirteen of the Most Memorable Movie Psychopaths |.


Whether it’s Tony Montana snorting lines of coke the length of pool tables, Cheech and Chong puffing on some quality bud, Harry Goldfarb injecting himself with smack, or crack smoking on The Wire, mind-altering and recreational drugs have been a major part of movies and television for a long time.  But there are also a gangload of fictional drugs to consider, when the stuff that already exists isn’t potent enough.

Some fictional drugs can be simply a great time, while others grant the user incredible perspective or abilities.  One thing’s for sure, they are all a lot more powerful than the dime bag you bought from the creepy guy on the corner.  Anyway, there are quite a few that stick out, so take a look at the most memorable fictional drugs in movies and television.

Unreality – Fictional Drugs from Movies and Telelvision |.

Partial list of winners for the 67th annual Golden Globe Awards, announced Sunday in Beverly Hills, Calif.:


–Picture, Drama: “Avatar.”

–Picture, Musical or Comedy: “The Hangover.”

–Actor, Drama: Jeff Bridges, “Crazy Heart.”

–Actress, Drama: Sandra Bullock, “The Blind Side.”

–Director: James Cameron, “Avatar.”

–Actor, Musical or Comedy: Robert Downey Jr., “Sherlock Holmes.”

–Actress, Musical or Comedy: Meryl Streep, “Julie & Julia.”

–Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds.”

–Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique, “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.”

–Foreign Language: “The White Ribbon.”

–Animated Film: “Up.”

–Screenplay: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, “Up in the Air.”

–Original Score: Michael Giacchino, “Up.”

–Original Song: “The Weary Kind” (theme from “Crazy Heart”), (written by Ryan Bingham, T Bone Burnett).


–Series, Drama: “Mad Men,” AMC.

–Actor, Drama: Michael C. Hall, “Dexter.”

–Actress, Drama: Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife.”

–Series, Musical or Comedy: “Glee,” Fox.

–Actor, Musical or Comedy: Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock.”

–Actress, Musical or Comedy: Toni Collette, “United States of Tara.”

–Miniseries or Movie: “Grey Gardens,” HBO.

–Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Kevin Bacon, “Taking Chance.”

–Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Drew Barrymore, “Grey Gardens.”

–Supporting Actor, Series, Miniseries or Movie: John Lithgow, “Dexter.”

–Supporting Actress, Series, Miniseries or Movie: Chloe Sevigny, “Big Love.”



Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award: Martin Scorsese.

Movie awards season – Salon.com.

The Cure‘s Robert Smith and Franz Ferdinand are amongst the artists who will feature on the upcoming soundtrack of Tim Burton‘s film adaptation of Alice In Wonderland.

Released on March 2 and called ‘Almost Alice’, the soundtrack was already set to feature a collaboration between Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus and Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz, as well as a song by Avril Lavigne.

Now MySpace reports that Robert Smith will cover the song ‘Very Good Advice’, while Franz Ferdinand have worked on the track ‘The Lobster Quadrille’.

Also appearing on the soundtrack are bands such as Owl City, Plain White T’s and Aussie rockers Wolfmother.

Burton‘s adaptation of Lewis Carroll‘s Alice In Wonderland is scheduled for release on March 5. It stars Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska and Anne Hathaway, with other actors set to appear including Matt Lucas, Stephen Fry, Barbara Windsor and Paul Whitehouse.

The Cure and Franz Ferdinand added to ‘Alice In Wonderland’ soundtrack | News | NME.COM.

I have actually seen fragments of the film that is spoken of here. I found them in a torrent of kenneth anger’s films.


In 1955, Kenneth Anger made a voyage to Cefalu in Sicily to shoot a documentary about Aleister Crowley’s erotic frescos, Thelema Abbey.
“The film was made for Houlton Television which was  a branch of Picture Post an extinct British Magazine. They lost it. I tried to find it and it’s untraceable. I lived in Crowley’s house, alone, but that kind of thing doesn’t bother me. I had to. It was the only way to get it done. I spent three months there scraping the whitewash, which had turned to stone, off the walls. It was a big job, but one of the most exciting things I have ever done. They were still there – all those hyper-psychedelic murals: goblins and demons in fabulous color, scarlet and pumpkin-red. Actually they were good paintings, similar in feel to Ensor.”

Well, this film seems to be lost, but here you can find another film from Anger about Crowley’s paintings. And here is a montage of photos (not from Anger) showing Thelema Abbey and its frescos.

I Put a Spell on You « OMBRES BLANCHES.


When asked about the importance of Saving Private Ryan, Spielberg said “I had a sense in Saving Private Ryan that I was establishing a template based on the experiences of the veterans that were communicated to me, and the very few surviving photographs by the great wartime photographer Robert Capa. I combined those to make a 24 frames-per-second representation of terror and chaos. Although we’ve done the same with The Pacific, it does have a different “look” to it than Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers.” Hanks went on to explain that, “After that HBO blip at the beginning, this was our story to tell with our own pacing.” They began talking about this project in earnest when they both worked on The Terminal, so this has been six years in the making.

via Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg Return to WWII for The Pacific – Film School Rejects.

Nest of the skeletons

extract of Insanely Great stop-motion film by UK sculpter Tessa Farmer

co-directed by Sean Daniels, with sound design by Mark Pilkington of Strange Attractor Journal. The full video will be screened in London this Friday, January 15, as part of Luminous Aephemera, the Strange Attractor Salon’s film night.

It’s only an extract, to be sure, but it looks amazing! I wish i lived in london….
< via >

Sometimes in my web wanderings I will come across something worthy of bloggage but yet, either through distraction, lack of focus or general apathy, i won’t throw it up.  Kenneth Anger’s latest short film would definately be in that catagory.

For my film-school dissertation I decided to focus on the counterculture and film which by its very definition exposed me to alot of avant-garde work. Kenneth Anger is probably one of the most famous of these types of film makers and I’ve said in the past that i would do a post devoted solely to him and his work. Needless to say, such a post has yet to be written, but if you have yet to be exposed to his filmmaking i urge you track down more of his stuff, perhaps on youtube, and read some of the writings on him if you can find it. Either that, or, you know, wait for me to do that post.

In the film, Anger, Gallo, and Butler depict an occult ritual that symbolizes the stage of ego death in the process of spiritual attainment.

Brian Butler, Kenneth Anger, and Vincent Gallo’s “Night of Pan”.

Solid gold genius amusement right here.  I just tried to follow the link off of boingboing but aparently wherever this is hosted has maxed out its bandwidth for today. Surely some enterprising fellow will mirror it!

UPDATE: I can’t be bothered to wait for someone to mirror it. Here it is yanked from the google cache.

UPDATE the 2ND: now the google cache mirror is down and the original link is working again.

“The knave abideth.” Sweet baby Jesus, the attention to detail in this sucker is just mindblowing! What a thing of beauty. Here’s the carpet-staining scene:

WOO: Rise, and speak wisely, man–but hark; I see thy rug, as woven i’the Orient, A treasure from abroad. I like it not. I’ll stain it thus; ever thus to deadbeats. [He stains the rug]

THE KNAVE: Sir, prithee nay!

BLANCHE: Now thou seest what happens, Lebowski, when the agreements of honourable business stand compromised. If thou wouldst treat money as water, flowing as the gentle rain from heaven, why, then thou knowest water begets water; it will be a watery grave your rug, drowned in the weeping brook. Pray remember, Lebowski.

THE KNAVE: Thou err’st; no man calls me Lebowski. Yet thou art man; neither spirit damned nor wandering shadow, thou art solid flesh, man of woman born. Hear rightly, man!–for thou hast got the wrong man. I am the Knave, man; Knave in nature as in name.

BLANCHE: Thy name is Lebowski.

via Big Lebowski rewritten as a work of Shakespeare Boing Boing.

Disturbing and powerful short film about sex trafficking. I can’t find an embedable version but the link below will take you to a page that will autoplay it. Be sure to read the interview with Emma Thompson as well. Thanks to Sion for the link.

Richard Jobson and Emma Thompson’s short film about the brutal realities of sex trafficking.

To buy Richard Ashcroft’s theme music to The Journey click here. All proceeds from the sale of the single go to the Helen Bamber foundation

WARNING This video contains strong sexual and violent images that viewers may find disturbing

The Journey: A short film on sex trafficking

Emma Thompson: ‘Chances are you’ll know somebody who pays for sex’

I actually managed to get hold of a copy of The Guardian yesterday. Even though I didn’t really feel like reading a newspaper it’s such a rare occurance that I brought it anyway.  One cool thing about the guardian is that you can link to anything you read in there because their web portal is so all encompassing. This is one of those. Worth a read for the insight into Tolstoy, news of a forthcoming biopic on the man and, in my case, as a reminder to read the bastard!


For Tolstoy fans, 2010 is set to be a wonderful year. One hundred years after the great Russian novelist fled from his country estate outside Moscow – dying three weeks later in a small provincial railway station – the world is gearing up to celebrate him. In Germany and the US there are fresh translations of Anna Karenina; in Cuba and Mexico Tolstoy bookfairs; worldwide, a new black- and-white documentary. Dug up from Russia’s archives and restored, the ­ original cinema footage shows an elderly Tolstoy playing with his poodles and vaulting energetically on his horse.

One country, however, has so far conspicuously failed to share in this global Tolstoy mania – Russia. Rumour has it that Vladimir Putin toured Tolstoy’s country estate incognito as a young KGB spy, but so far the Kremlin is not planning any major event to mark the centenary of Tolstoy’s death on 20 November. Not only that, but the makers of The Last Station ended up shooting the film not among the birch trees and northern skylines of Tolstoy’s Russia, but in the somewhat more genteel surroundings of rustic eastern Germany.

Leo Tolstoy: the forgotten genius? | Books | The Guardian.

Ed Gein: The Musicial

Ed Gein has long been an inspiration for film makers.  From Psycho, silence of the lambs, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and films directly based on his horrific actions his notorious exploits have made tasty fodder for horror scriptwriters. Now there’s Ed Gein: The musical!


According to the Associated Press, this jaunty-creepy portrait of Gein—the Plainfield resident who killed and grotesquely mutilated at least two women and dug up many more during the late ‘40s and early ‘50s, fashioning trophies and artifacts from their skin and parts—screened Saturday in Menasha, Wis.  The Green Bay Press-Gazette weighed in on it Tuesday with an editorial, calling the film “both an appalling idea and a great example of how free speech and free expression are supposed to work.”

Trailer at the link. Although this film has the potential to be amusing in a bad taste sort of way one commenter at Dangerous Minds who has seen the film says it just kinda sucks.  Even if it does you have to give the film-makers points for their truely grotesque senses of humour.

Dangerous Minds | Ed Gein: The Musicial.

Ah, boxing day. The ultimate day of lazing around. After a late late night of boozing and talking and watching Billy Elliot for the first time, activity is at an all time low.  I’ve managed to emerge into the day without a hangover but the same cannot be said for my girlfriend, who is currently napping. I’m discovering espresso based over-dosing in the sanctity of my own home with my new espresso machine. Right now I’m at the violent shaking stage…. This is definately my last latte for a while.

So, just some quick insight into Billy Elliot. I know this film has been out for quite some time now, and the fact that I hadn’t seen it before last night could be seen as blaspheme in some circles, but that’s just the way i roll. As a piece of filmmaking it is suburbly written and constructed. It reminds me of the very best of the holywood narrative technique and directing, cut with a healthy dose of social realism played not only for pathos but also for humour.

And that’s all she wrote. For now. I think i’m about to vibrate outside of the visual spectrum so before I do i’m gonna finish this coffee and flick through a new book on writing i just got. More on that later.

peace and fucking.

Avatar – Salon.com

It’s pretty hard not to feel conflicted about James Cameron, the Hollywood visionary and self-appointed “king of the world” whose new CGI-driven science-fiction opus “Avatar” is, by most accounts, either No. 1 or No. 2 on the list of most expensive films ever made. On one hand, Cameron’s career exemplifies the bigger-is-better tendency in American spectacle cinema, but on the other, you’ve got to admire his unmatched sense of showmanship and his wire-walker’s penchant for drama.After all, it’s been 12 years since “Titanic,” and many observers speculated that Cameron, now 55, was content producing TV series and underwater 3-D documentaries, and staying out of the young man’s and woman’s game of high-stakes Hollywood poker. But ever since the mid-’90s, Cameron and his producing partner Jon Landau have been working on “Avatar,” an interplanetary morality tale that required multiple innovations in computer graphics and motion-capture animation — and a budget that has reportedly crept north of $250 million.Now “Avatar” is here, and while it’s easy to damn this kind of movie with film-critic faint praise, this one is in fact a visual spectacle unlike anything else in movie history. If “Avatar” does indeed resemble a video game, both aesthetically and conceptually — well, it’s one unbelievable mofo of a video game. There’s a lot more to be said on that point, including the fact that today’s best video games are so sophisticated that the term really can’t be considered much of an insult. Another topic we’ll be sure to hear about repeatedly is that of Cameron’s relationship with his ex-wife, “Hurt Locker” director Kathryn Bigelow. I can assure you that the entertainment media en masse is hoping they both get Oscar nominations.

via Avatar – Salon.com.

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