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‘Sid and Nancy’: The sitcom
08.18.2014
12:52 pm

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Sid and Nancy
Growing Pains


 
Robert Jones created this Sid and Nancy meets Growing Pains mash-up that gets funnier and funnier the longer it plays. You wouldn’t necessarily think it, but even Alex Cox’s downer of a film can be turned into a romantic comedy by that mind-numbing toe-tapping theme song and its insipid, sappy lyrics.

 
h/t Jeff Albers!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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MoMA and Warhol Museum to digitize all of Warhol’s films and videos
08.15.2014
06:45 am

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Art
Movies

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Andy Warhol


 
Yesterday the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh announced a joint project to digitize all of Andy Warhol’s film and video work, including his 60 feature-length movies and his 279 screen tests. The undertaking is projected to a “multi-year project.”

On October 15th, fifteen notable works that have never had public screenings will be presented in Pittsburgh.

According The Art Newspaper,
 

The epic project—there are around 1,000 rolls of films to capture frame by frame, and 4,000 videos—is made possible by the technical expertise and sponsorship of the special effects company MPC. The technology company Adstream will provide digital asset management. The partnership will be a “multi-year project”, according to MoMA’s press statement.

The artist’s films have been cared for by MoMA since the early 1990s, and are among the most requested works in its circulating film library. Fifteen of his films, which have never been screened in public before, have already been digitised by MPC. They are due to be shown in Pittsburgh on 17 October during “Exposed: Songs for Unseen Warhol Films”.

In a statement, Eric Shiner, the director of the Warhol Museum, said the artist’s films “are as significant as his paintings”, adding that the project will mean scholars and the public will be able to see his total output.

 
It’s not stated that the movies will be available online, but we can hope that that is implied. If so, it will be a chance for movies like Chelsea Girls, Bike Boys, Flesh, Lonesome Cowboys, Trash, Since, Blue Movie, Space, Empire, Sleep, Blow Job, and many others to find a new audience (or indeed, in some cases, their first audience).

Here’s a gander at Nico in a clip from I. A Man:
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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The director of ‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot’ returns with ‘Led Zeppelin Played Here’
08.14.2014
08:45 am

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Movies
Music

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Led Zeppelin
Jeff Krulik


 
I’m sure that many—if not most—of our good-looking, high IQ readers have seen quirky documentarian Jeff Krulik’s underground classic “Heavy Metal Parking Lot,” a short movie shot outside a Judas Priest concert in Landover, Maryland that exchanged hands on VHS tapes in the 80s and 90s. Krulik made a sequel with some Neil Diamond fans in that very same parking lot in 1996 and went on the road with McHale’s Navy actor Ernest Borgnine in his customized RV in 1997’s Ernest Borgnine On the Bus. His Heavy Metal Picnic came out in 2010 and now Jeff Krulik returns with a fun new film about a Maryland youth center where Led Zeppelin maybe… might have…. supposedly… (definitely!) performed on their first US tour.

From the director’s statement:

I recently finished a feature documentary called Led Zeppelin Played Here, which is my effort to prove that Led Zeppelin’s first DC area concert was in a youth center gymnasium in front of 50 confused teenagers on a snowy Monday night in January 1969. This whole project came about as I was set to do a film called “Maryland’s Woodstock,” about the Laurel Pop Festival which took place in July 1969, one month before the Woodstock. I wanted to highlight that there was this forgotten pop festival in our area, and basically tell the story of that two day concert, featuring Led Zeppelin headlining one night.

But I soon found a story arc as I connected the dots of Led Zeppelin’s performances: in May, they shared a bill as opening band for The Who at Merriweather Post. And in February they were on an opening slot with Vanilla Fudge at the Baltimore Civic Center. But the real curiosity was their first local concert which was said to have taken place on January 20, 1969 at the Wheaton Youth Center, a non-descript multi-purpose room and gymnasium in a Maryland suburb. And it happened to be the night of Richard Nixon’s Inauguration. And the weather was terrible. And 50 people were there, tops.

But surely this must be an urban legend. Or is it?

What I loved about Krulik’s charming, low key film is that the whole mystery of this did-it-or-did-it-not occur spur of the moment Led Zeppelin show is something that he uncovered while making a film about something else entirely. The Rashomon-like onscreen narrative becomes quite intriguing as the viewer goes along with the filmmaker on his fact finding mission, Krulik serving as a dogged rock snob gumshoe on the trail of this elusive and either legendary—or apocryphal—Led Zeppelin show. In the end, we’re left to decide for ourselves if this concert actually took place or not, his Columbo with a MOJO subscription sleuthing having provided no definitive answers.

I think it did happen, but… but then again I wasn’t there. Like an a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma that had no surviving posters, handbills or even a single photograph (let along a bootleg tape) ultimately we will probably never know if Led Zeppelin played at the Wheaton Youth Center on January 20th, 1969. They only people who know the truth were there, and even some of them aren’t sure.

Led Zeppelin Played Here screens tonight at Cinefamily in Los Angeles as part of the annual Don’t Knock the Rock film festival. Jeff Krulik will be there in person — plus there will be a Q&A moderated by Michael Des Barres of Little Steven’s Underground Garage on SiriusXM. Get tickets here.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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12-hour ambient music pieces from ‘Blade Runner,’ ‘Alien,’ ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Star Wars’
08.13.2014
02:28 pm

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Movies
Music

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Star Wars
Blade Runner
Alien
ambient
Dr. Who


 
Before the advent of recording media, a piece of music could be quite long without its duration meriting much notice, but when the mechanical limitations of the 7” 45rpm single codified the length of a song at about 3 1/2 minutes, the pop-listening western world really adapted its musical mindset to that standard, to the point where even a massive hit like “Hey Jude” drew anxious notice from radio for being 7 minutes long. And now there’s QuickHitz (“Twice the music, all the time”), a radio format that cuts off every song at the two-minute mark, which, if it catches on in a big way—and face it, have stranger things not caught on?—will surely result in loads of pop singles being produced at under two-minute lengths.

The Residents are prophetic yet again.

But in avant-garde classical and artrock circles, songs that seem crazy long by pop radio standards are a perfectly normal part of the listening experience. After all, what impact would Oneida’s infamous 14-minute, one note song “Sheets of Easter” have had if it were three minutes long? How about Television’s “Marquee Moon?” King Crimson’s “Starless?” Flaming Lips’ 24-hour song7 Skies H3?” And those examples are all well within the rock idiom—I haven’t even broached the New Age, noise, and ambient genres. So many of us have been acculturated to think of long pieces of music as “pretentious” or “indulgent,” products of anti-populist ivory tower navel gazers who are hostile to average listeners. Well you know what? Fuck your shitty attention span.

The Fayetteville, AR composer Cheesy Nirvosa has been making glitchy, drony compositions since the mid-oughts, and under the name “crysknife007,” he’s established a YouTube channel to disseminate conceptual pieces of lengths that could fairly be seen as downright punitive to many listeners. These are often the sorts of things that, in a LaMonte Youngish kinda way, can be more interesting to talk about than actually listen to, especially since many of these works are 12 hours in duration. “12 Hours of Pi Being Dialed on a Rotary Phone.” “Yoda Laughs for 12 Hours.” “PSY Says HANGOVER for 12 Hours.” “6 Tone Car Alarm for 12 Hours.” (I recommend city dwellers skip that last one, it’s waaaaaaaay too much like ordinary life.)

But while a few of these ideas come off as overly winking and even mildly irritating noise-artist stunts, some of them are absolutely lovely—specifically, pieces made from looped ambient sounds culled from science fiction movies. The general thrum of Ridley Scott’s dystopian future Los Angeles filtered through Rick Deckard’s apartment windows in Blade Runner? That absolutely holds up as drone music, as does the TARDIS sound effect from Doctor Who and various spaceship engine sounds from the Alien and Star Wars franchises. I endorse playing more than one of these at once, remixing them yourselves in your browser with the pause and volume controls, whatever. Knock yourself out. Maybe even, I dunno, listen to one of ‘em for 12 hours.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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The Big Lebowski pays a surprise visit to The Little Lebowski
08.13.2014
11:22 am

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Amusing
Movies
Pop Culture

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The Big Lebowski
Jeff Bridges


 
Even though this PBS YouTube clip of Jeff Bridges making a surprise visit to The Little Lebowski Shop has been around for some time (it only has a little over 100k views, tho), I thought I’d share it with you guys anyway. I’d never seen it before. It’s a big Internet, isn’t it?

If you don’t know what The Little Lebowski Shop is, it’s a wee store located in NYC dedicated to all things Big Lebowski. And I do mean everything Big Lebowski. What a hipster hoot.

I found Jeff Bridges to be a real charmer in the short clip. He seems like a really nice, likeable, easygoing guy. Someone you’d want to shoot the shit with. Drink a brew or smoke a joint with. A dude!

One revelation in the video is where Bridges admits that he had serious reservations about taking on the role of “The Dude” and how he it thought it might affect his girls’ perception of him. I think his daughters gave him the right advice. I just can’t imagine anyone else playing “The Dude,” can you?!

 
With thanks to reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Watch Miles Davis improvise the soundtrack to Louis Malle’s ‘Elevator To The Gallows’
08.13.2014
04:50 am

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Movies
Music

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Miles Davis
Jeanne Moreau


 
This is like watching Picasso paint: Behold as Miles Davis watches Louis Malle’s French film noir, Ascenseur pour l’échafaud (“Elevator to the Gallows”) and improvises his moody soundtrack score.

Ascenseur pour l’échafaud was the celebrated director Louis Malle’s feature film debut and starred Jeanne Moreau and Maurice Ronet as lovers planning a murder. The two day recording session was held at Le Poste Parisien Studio in Paris on December 4th and 5th, 1957 and featured French session musicians René Urtreger, Pierre Michelot and Barney Wilen along with American drummer Kenny Clarke. After getting some basic cues and the key from Davis, the soundtrack was totally improvised while the musicians watched the movie on a screen.  The soundtrack seems to be a well-kept secret in the Miles Davis discography which is odd considering that the modal experimentations laid down for Malle’s film clearly led to what came soon afterwards in a similar vein, Milestones and his all time classic Kind of Blue album.
 

Miles Davis and Jeanne Moreau, Paris, 1957
 
It could be argued that Malle’s cinematic style and the unique pacing and character of this particular film—which Miles obviously had to conform to in order score it properly—had a noticeable influence on his music. Jazz critic Phil Johnson described the Ascenseur pour l’échafaud soundtrack as having “the loneliest trumpet sound you will ever hear.”
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Behind-the-scenes photographs from the set of ‘Alien’ (1979)
08.12.2014
07:25 am

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Movies

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Alien
Ridley Scott
H R Giger

1kalien1kna.jpg
 
The man who wore the creature suit in Ridley Scott’s classic film Alien in 1979 was 6’10″ Nigerian Bolaji Badejo.

As soon as Scott saw Bolaji, he knew he had found the right person to play the Alien. Badejo was allowed to rehearse and practice his movements on the set of the spacecraft “Nostromo” prior to filming. Wearing a mock-up of the Alien head, Badejo moved gracefully, slowly, slithering and creeping through the spaceship’s corridors, as he later told Cinefantastique:

“The idea,” says Bolaji, “was that the creature was supposed to be graceful as well as vicious, requiring slow, deliberate movements. But there was some action I had to do pretty quick. I remember having to kick Yaphet Kotto, throw him against the wall, and rush up to him. Veronica Cartwright was really terrified. After I fling Yaphet Kotto back with my tail, I turn to go after her, there’s blood in my mouth, and she was incredible. It wasn’t acting. She was scared.”

These photos come various sources, and show Bolaji in his Alien outfit, along with Ridley Scott setting up shots and artist H. R. Giger preparing the sets.
 
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More behind the scenes pics, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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The video Jim Jarmusch made for Big Audio Dynamite


 
1986’s No. 10, Upping St. was kind of an amazing album for Big Audio Dynamite. That was the band Clash Guitarist Mick Jones formed upon his ouster from that seminal punk band, and he used the freedom that came with being HMFIC to explore a mix of club and hip-hop influences with the rock and reggae influences he’d already been known for. And yet, Upping was co-written and produced by his evidently no-longer-estranged former bandmate Joe Strummer! Jones would never re-join the Clash (who, as a result, would suck mightily until they packed it in), and so that B.A.D. LP would be the only Strummer/Jones reunion that ever took place. Jones revealed last year that he and Strummer were working together again in the 21st Century, but that renewed collaboration was cut short by Strummer’s 2002 death.

Three videos were made from that album, “C’mon Every Beatbox,” “V. Thirteen,” and “Sightsee M.C!” That last was noteworthy for having been directed by the pioneering independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch. The director had already become a celebrated figure for Stranger Than Paradise and Down by Law, but the only music video he’d made before was for Talking Heads’ “The Lady Don’t Mind.” In spite of Jarmusch’s high status among indie musicians as well as film afficionados, and his frequent casting of musicians (including Joe Strummer) as actors in his features, ”Sightsee M.C!” remains one of only seven music videos he’s directed in his long career. In a 1992 issue of Film Comment, he had this to say on the matter:

I don’t generally like music videos because they provide you images to go with the songs rather than you providing your own. You lose the beauty of music by not bringing your own mental images or recollections or associations. Music videos obliterate that. That said, one of the better videos I’ve seen is not a music video at all: it’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” where Dylan just stands there with the cards - it’s one single shot. They lifted that out of Don’t Look Back and showed it on MTV. I saw a good video the Butthole Surfers did, directed by the actor from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Alex Winter; very weird, not your MTV fare. Julia Haywood’s Talking Heads video “Burning Down the House” was interesting - projecting fire onto the house itself, and images onto the road and re-photographing them. Zbigniew Rybczinski has done amazing things. But mostly I like videos that don’t get too complicated.

 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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A video montage of every Alfred Hitchcock cameo
08.11.2014
08:47 am

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Amusing
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Alfred Hitchcock


 
Here’s a nice little montage of all (or nearly all) of Alfred Hitchcock trademark cameos in his films. By far, his most clever cameo is in the 1944 film Lifeboat, IMO. Just watch.

The films are as follows: The Lodger (1927), Easy Virtue (1928), Blackmail (1929), Murder! (1930), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The 39 Steps (1935), Sabotage (1936), Young and Innocent (1937), The Lady Vanishes (1938), Rebecca (1940), Foreign Correspondent (1940), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941), Suspicion (1941), Saboteur (1942), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Lifeboat (1944), Spellbound (1945), Notorious (1946), The Paradine Case (1947), Rope (1948), Under Capricorn (1949), Stage Fright (1950), Strangers on a Train (1951), I Confess (1953), Dial M for Murder (1954), Rear Window (1954), To Catch A Thief (1955), The Trouble With Harry (1955), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), The Wrong Man (1956), Vertigo (1958), North By Northwest (1959), Psycho (1960), The Birds (1963), Marnie (1964), Torn Curtain (1966), Topaz (1969), Frenzy (1972), Family Plot (1976).

 
Via The World’s Best Ever

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Breast Man: Will Ferrell to play Russ Meyer in film about making of ‘Beyond the Valley of the Dolls’
08.05.2014
02:54 pm

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Movies

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Russ Meyer
Will Ferrell


 
According to Deadline Hollywood, comic actor Will Ferrell is rumored to be circling the role of Russ Meyer in Russ & Roger Go Beyond, an indie biopic focusing on the breast-obsessed softcore auteur’s working relationship with film critic Roger Ebert on their 1970 cult classic, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

Writing about the film years later in a 1980 issue of Film Comment, Ebert had this to say:

Remembered after 10 years, “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” seems more and more like a movie that got made by accident when the lunatics took over the asylum. At the time Russ Meyer and I were working on “BVD” I didn’t really understand how unusual the project was. But in hindsight I can recognize that the conditions of its making were almost miraculous. An independent X-rated filmmaker and an inexperienced screenwriter were brought into a major studio and given carte blanche to turn out a satire of one of the studio’s own hits. And “BVC” was made at a time when the studio’s own fortunes were so low that the movie was seen almost fatalistically, as a gamble that none of the studio executives really wanted to think about, so that there was a minimum of supervision (or even cognizance) from the Front Office.

We wrote the screenplay in six weeks flat, laughing maniacally from time to time, and then the movie was made. Whatever its faults or virtues, “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” is an original—a satire of Hollywood conventions, genres, situations, dialogue, characters and success formulas, heavily overlaid with such shocking violence that some critics didn’t know whether the movie “knew” it was a comedy.

Although Meyer had been signed to a three-picture deal by 20th Century-Fox, I wonder whether at some level he didn’t suspect that “BVD” would be his best shot at employing all the resources of a big studio at the service of his own highly personal vision, his world of libidinous, simplistic creatures who inhabit a pop universe. Meyer wanted everything in the screenplay except the kitchen sink. The movie, he theorized, should simultaneously be a satire, a serious melodrama, a rock musical, a comedy, a violent exploitation picture, a skin flick and a moralistic expose (so soon after the Sharon Tate murders) of what the opening crawl called “the oft-times nightmarish world of Show Business.”

Simpsons and SNL writer Chris Cluess wrote the script. Speculation so far is that Edgar Wright wants to direct and that Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen are both being considered for the role of Ebert, who interestingly, got the job in the first place because he’d written positive reviews of Meyer’s previous films for the Chicago Sun Times.

Ebert and Meyer stayed friends throughout their lives. Meyer passed away in 2004 and Ebert, after a long battle with cancer, died in 2013.

Below, the trailer, heavy on behind the scenes, for Beyond the Valley of the Dolls:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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