Saturday, July 29, 2006

Need to bluff your way through a conversation about Iranian New Wave cinema ... say no more.

Green Cine, a DVD review site, has a handy set of film primers ranging from Dogme 95 to Zombies. They're relatively short and intended as an entertaining introduction to genres and movements. Each essay is accompanied by a short list of recommended titles.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

National Film Board of Canada, perhaps the all-time greatest state sponsor of animated films, now has seventy titles available online


Obit: Mickey Spillane, 88, creator of detective Mike Hammer, hence also the writer of film noir classic, Kiss Me Deadly

No Mickey Spillane, no Quentin Tarantino. Spillane's writing had an edgy toughness, some might say sadism, that seemed to dovetail with the alternately explosive and nonchalant method acting of Marlon Brando, James Dean, Dennis Hopper, Lee Marvin, and Jack Nicholson to create a new anti-hero archetype.

A handful of his novels were made into movies though only Kiss Me Deadly (Media Services DVD 1058), like Spillane himself, achieved pop icon status. There is however a much lesser known Spillane film worthy of a cult of its own, The Girl Hunters, starring Spillane himself as Mike Hammer. His acting is stiff as a board but his no-nonsense tough-guy schtick probably embodies how he intended the detective to be. No subtleties, no ambiguities, no irony. Watch for it on Turner Classic Movies where it gets aired several times a year.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

It's a series of tubes

Al Gore may have invented it, but it took Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens to explain it to the rest of us. What is this internet thing? Well, apparently it's a series of tubes. Senator Stevens gave his lucid description during debate on net neutrality legislation recently.

Thanks to his insight on a complicated subject, in the last week his statements have been referenced all over the internet. It's been on the Daily Show. It's been set to the funky beats. It's already been turned into a t-shirt. Ironic that video, audio and commerce are the very things Senator Stevens was complaining about clogging up the tubes.

Personally, I'm looking for this t-shirt.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Blogwatch: Cinemarati: The Web Alliance for Film Commentary

This is what they say: " [Cinemarati] brings together online film critics for serious, and seriously fun, discussion about film. We strive to counter the notion that "anyone with a modem can be a critic" and raise the level of discussion about film on the Internet to the point at which it will be considered on a par with print journalism."

It's coverage is generally interesting and up-to-date though it's focus is primarily on mainstream Hollywood fare.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Frank Zappa challenging censorship on CNN's Crossfire (circa 1986)

This entertaining clip captures the late Frank Zappa during the period when he was taking on the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) on Capitol Hill and fighting for free speech. His deadly wit and calm articulate defense of all musical lyrics, no matter the content, seems to ever-so-slightly win over conservative co-host Robert Novak. It's a treat to watch.