Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Gone with the inspiration

Immitation, they say, is the highest form of flattery. That may be, but it sure isn't always flattering. And in case of artworks like Mandingo it smells more of desperation.

Still the vast number of more or less direct, and varyingly original or talented, quotes and imitations of the famous Gone with the wind motiv certainly underlines its continuing importance as a cultural pop icon.

In case you want to point out that it was just my personal lack of inspiration that led to this post let me just say:
"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!"

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sex and the World Cup

I'm as far from being a fan of Sex and the City as one can get without being a hater. Quite honestly most of the time I don't see what's funny about that show, but this German Soccer World Cup version for the second movie, actually made me laugh.

"King Football," as the Germans like to call it, squashed under the stiletto heel of some woman's overpriced footwear.
That's a ingenious reversal of the prominent image of a beer-bellied "master of the house" sprawled in front of the TV-set, rather watching his sports instead of going out with the misses.
A nice little reminder of who really is in charge ... it's not us.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Day

I used last years SF&F writers day to talk a bit about Arthur C. Clarke who’s unbroken believe that humanity will someday manage to evolve into an intelligent species worthy of calling itself human was a huge inspiration to me as a kid.
Clarke showed a strong believe in his writing that knowledge gained through technical advance is the way to salvation for our race.
Let me point out the writings of another brilliant mind in the field of Sci-Fi, contrasting Clarke's view:

Algis Budrys

Budrys wrote among others the novel from which the movie Who? was adapted. And as for Budrys typical the movie questions if technological advancement really is to be seen as an aid to our development, or if it not rather will ultimately lead to a dehumanisation.
It’s the story of American scientist Lucas Martino who after a car accident beyond the Iron Curtain is only saved through advanced medical technology that replaces half of his body, including his face, with mechanical parts (hence the alternative English title The Man with the Steel Mask). Because of his involvement with an important secret project he’s probed by the CIA after his return to learn if he’s been turned by the soviets or if he’s even at all who he claims to be. While the espionage part of the story is well executed and lending the movie the necessary suspense over its length, it’s the human drama of Martino that’s of real importance, his gradual loss of any sense of self.

The labelling of this powerful Sci-Fi classic as Robo Man with a cover showing The Man in the Iron Mask holding us at gunpoint is an unspeakable atrocity to the movies spirit, who ever came up with that is hopefully ashamed of himself.

Cube owes largely to Budrys writing.
Even if his story isn’t credited, the movie does remind one of his most prominent novel: Rogue Moon.
Rogue Moon tells the story of a life weary stuntman that gets hired to help in the exploration of an artefact found on Moon. All that scientists working on it have been able to find out about to that point, is that its build like a maze on the inside and that it kills people. Using a machine that can create a mind linked double of a human body they send in explorers without risking their live, at least in theory, but the few that tried couldn’t cope with experiencing the death of their double and went insane, which is why they want to try with someone reputed to be possessed with a death wish.
While the scientists involved with the project believe that something will happen once they manage to get a man through this maze, Budrys protagonist stays sceptical, telling them that the artefact might be meaningless, that they might just be like bugs caught at the bottom of a thrown away bottle, going round and round believing to be tested by a higher intelligence. In the end the artefact found in Rogue Moon becomes secondary to the story, it serves only as a warning about a dangerously blind believe in advanced technology.
And as such the tagline for Cube could just as well stand for Budrys's novel:

Don't look for a reason, look for a way out!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Don't read this post

I have a weak spot for “Don’t” titles. You know, the ones that go:
Don’t answer the phone; Don’t go in the house; Don’t look in the basement; Don’t look now

There’s a simple elegance to using a title like, say, Don’t go in the woods.
We all know, saying “Don’t” is the ultimate “Dare you.”
How many times alone do we see that line in one or the other variation used on movie ads for exactly that reason?
Countless times, no doubt.*
And whenever modern American cinema uses the word “Woods” in its title, it’s to provoke the image of some backwoods hicks in the audiences mind.
Don’t go in the woods; “I dare you to face the incest degenerated backwoods mutants.”

I like those titles, I think they tell us a lot about how we, as a society, tick. The worth of the movies that tag along with them is questionable at the best though, often all they strive for is to capitalize on the audiences lowest instincts.
So what’s that saying about me, that I keep remembering those while forgetting far superior works from the same era?
I honestly can’t tell, just keep in mind:
Don’t torture a duckling…

*And often enough I really do find myself afterwards thinking that I should have heeded the warning, and had better not watched the movie, if for a completely different reason.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Oh, how original...

How original a design that is, not.
Didn't we see that exact scene already in one of the Matrix movies?
No, wait, it was at the end of Die Hard... no, it's from Stick...
I guess you get my drift.

And yet that poster perfectly exemplifies something important about the newest 3D craze. As somebody else put it:
"I dislike 3D, it offers nothing new to the storytelling process."
It's a fantastic, expensive FX gadget, that makes the studios a few millions more, but in all actuality it has already reached the extent of its use.

And yet, although the teaser material begins to look less promising with each new addition, I'm exactly the kind of stupidly devoted fan to the Resident movies that is going to flock to the cinemas to see it when it's released.
Our kind just can't be helped. :)

Monday, June 14, 2010


How many ways can you pose a Samurai Girl (a Samouress?), seems there's only one...
One Chanbara didn't strike me as being big budget or known enough to justify a copycat, guess I was wrong.
Or it is just further proof that Japan's industry in special in this case, but the Asian market as a whole, has successfully filled the void left when Italian studios ceased their output of quickly shot, but often highly original rip-offs of American movies at a way lower budget.

As Kim Newman observed in his book "Nightmare Movies":
Italy may make rip-offs, but at least it can claim to make the best, most lively, most audacious rip-offs in the world ... films don't even have to be big hits to rate an Italian imitation.

Word Kim!

Or maybe while the movie One Chanbara doesn't strike one as copy worthy material, the game it was based on is.
I sure can't say that I heard about it before, but that doesn't say much.
One thing however I can say for sure:
The similarities between Chanbara and Samurai Princess are no coincidence.

Now guess which design has my favour?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

No greater tragedy

"There’s no greater tragedy than the death of a young girl.”
-Dario Argento

In answer to the question why so many of the victims in his movies are beautiful young women.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Picture perfect moment

Every avid horror fan in the world will have instantly recognized the mother thing from the final chapter of Brain Dead in that picture. A perfect Freudian image of one of horrors main driving forces: The (male) fear of being sucked back in that dark place from whence we once sprang forth. Philip Jose presented us with a perfect take on this primal fear in as early as 1953 in his short story “Mother”.
But as much entertainment value there is to Freud’s disturbed relation to sexuality, this is not what gave reason to me choosing this picture for this month.

Based on the movies I watched New Zealand’s film industry seems to know only three categories:
1. Boring Movies
2. Movies that show a disturbingly troubled relationship with sexuality
3. Boring movies that show a troubled relationship with sexuality

Brain Dead somewhat neatly wrapped up these three Genres in one single movie.
Funny and entertainingly violent at times, the movies humour runs itself dead towards the end, ultimately resulting in a disturbingly boring climax.
NZ likes to represent itself as the last fortress of Victorian sexual repression, direly holding on to a national pride main land Britain long since abandoned. But caught between rising teen pregnancy rates on one side, and sexualised violence as day order on the other, neither fares well with its decision.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Art comparison

How to get ahead in advertising...*

Some more Sci-Fi

Exotic Dancers

*I feel almost ashamed to resort to using such a tired joke. :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Nudity Inside

The Designers for the Candian Filmmakers Festival Posters giver some of our beloved classics a quaint Canadian twist, angry sea fowl, the dangers of ice fishing (bet he learned this from cousin Orca) and a lovly knitted Superman costume.

Because it thematically fits so nicely (so I say anyway) we go directly from Canadian Filmmakes Festival to some of the Nerdcore calender nudes, yay for sexy randomness!