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Trailer for Nick Cave in ‘20,000 Days on Earth’


 
20,000 Days on Earth is a semi-fictional “day in the life” documentary about Nick Cave directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard. The film combines mostly unscripted scenarios depicting Cave’s creative process, Cave interacting with songwriting partner Warren Ellis, Kylie Minogue and actor Ray Winstone, watching Scarface with his twin teenage sons and some in concert performance footage from a show at the Sydney Opera House. Cave’s voice-overs were scripted and each shot was planned out like it would be in a Hollywood film.

The film is currently on a sort of road show put together by Alamo Drafthouse Films that seems to bump into the current Bad Seeds American tour at several select junctures. Remaining screening dates here. The UK premiere of 20,000 Days on Earth at London’s Barbican will take place on September 17th and be broadcast live to 150 participating movie theaters.
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Epic End of the World Christian Film Festival: The ‘Rapture series,’ the original ‘Left Behind’
07.14.2014
02:06 pm

Topics:
Belief
Movies

Tags:
Christianity


 
Although it was once a notion with widespread cultural currency among the more superstitious American evangelicals of the 1970s and early 80s, the “credit cards = ‘the Mark of the Beast’” belief has largely died off, no doubt a casualty of the fact that nearly everyone has one, and so far at least no devilish Antichrist has shown up to lay claim to our immortal souls.

In fact, searching for “credit cards” and “Mark of the Beast” on Google today brings up just 35,000 results, belying just how wildly popular that belief once was, mostly fuelled by best-selling books like Hal Lindsey’s paranoiac blockbuster The Late, Great Planet Earth (which sold nearly 30 million copies to a nation that then numbered just over 200 million) and its sequels, Satan is Alive and Well and Living on Planet Earth and The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon. Dog-eared copies of all three books could be easily found in practically any Christian church of the era, and every garage sale.

Among Lindsey’s readers were future US president Ronald Reagan, and my parents, who used only cash and checks, and refused to get a credit card due to Lindsey’s assertion that they were the first step to “The Beast” taking over. (When they shockingly got one in the 1990s, I reminded my mother that she used to believe credit cards were the “Mark of the Beast” and she brushed me off as if there was no truth to the matter whatsoever. That’s not the way I remember it…). The Hal Lindsey books, Chick tracts and other assorted “end of the world” literature was basically all there was to read in church and I became quite an expert in the genre, although not intending to become one. What I want to impress upon readers who weren’t born yet, or who lived outside of the Bible belt, is that these kinds of premillennialist beliefs were a part of many, I’d say most, evangelical Christian churches in America at that time. These books could be found pretty much everywhere. (The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown has sold but a fraction of the books Hal Lindsey has sold, to put it into perspective.)

After a certain point probably when I would have been a high school sophomore, my beleaguered mother and father finally tired of arguing with me about going to church with them, but one of the final things I have any memory of that I experienced there was a pot luck dinner event held in the church basement where these people came and showed three movies, one that I immediately recognized when I saw it linked on the Christian Nightmares blog yesterday.
 

 
A Thief in the Night, A Distant Thunder and Image of the Beast were shown in one marathon Saturday late morning to late afternoon screening that featured a lot of scalloped potatoes, green bean casseroles, fried dumplings, rump roast, Swedish meatballs, cakes, brownies, cookies and stuff like that. Although, these films (and one more titled The Prodigal Planet) known together as either the “Rapture” (or sometimes the “Thief”) series, seem rife with goofy fashions, stiff acting, a lot of preaching and anachronistic beliefs, not to mention being the victim of low, low budgets, they are not entirely unwatchable. I remember being entertained by them with their elements of supernatural horror, paranoia, conspiracy theories and silly plotlines. Bear in mind that the series could be seen as a parallel version of Hollywood’s Omen films, which, after all feature a “Biblical” character, so there several levels on which to appreciate these movies (“Christian camp” being the biggest by quite some margin. They’re lame and fascinating at the same time. Try watching the films through the eyes of someone in the 70s, a decade where a clever horror film like The Exorcist was taken very, very seriously by religious persons.)

The “Rapture” films, directed by Donald W. Thompson and produced by Russell S. Doughten Jr. were hugely influential on the Left Behind book series, indeed they served as the primary influence, as acknowledged by authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. It’s claimed that the films have been seen by some 300 million people around the world, many who were deeply affected by the thought that they themselves might be “left behind” when the Rapture occurs. I’m sure they gave a lot of gullible people and children many a terrible nightmare.

Which was, of course, the entire point to begin with: Scare ‘em straight! Pascal’s wager on a $60,000 budget!
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Farting performance art from the turn of century
07.14.2014
07:02 am

Topics:
Amusing
Movies

Tags:
farts
Le Pétomane


 
It is with blurry hindsight that we mourn theatre culture long since passed, fabricating memories of a show business that was simultaneously more passionate, yet also more genteel. Obviously, this is total bullshit, and nothing so soundly refutes that myth as the career of Joseph Pujol, or “Le Pétomane.” At a young age, Pujol discovered an unusual gastric talent, enabling him to draw air into his body and fart on command. After his service in the French Army, Pujol perfected his talent as a baker before eventually taking his singular act to the stage in Marseilles in 1887.

He was a hit, eventually moving to Paris later that year and playing the Moulin Rouge in 1892. His stage name, Le Pétomane, translates to “fartomaniac,” and his talents were admired by no less than Edward, Prince of Wales; King Leopold II of the Belgians and Sigmund Freud. He accompanied music, impersonated cannons, “blew out” candles from yards away, lit his farts on fire and even played an ocarina with the aid of a rubber hose. Pujold became famous.
 

 
Above, you can hear Pujol’s 1904 recording. It’s…er…  impressive, to be sure, but now—now my darlings, we have a brief clip of an actual Pétomane performance! The clip below was recorded by Thomas freaking Edison at the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris. At the time, Edison was working on a kinetophonolfactograph—colloquially known as “smell-o-vision,” and what better candidate for this new technology than Le Pétomane? The audio alone doesn’t do him justice—the man had a presence on stage. I suppose those farts had a certain nobility one must observe in body language. Still, there are reasons smell-o-vision never really caught on. There’s only so much gaseous nobility you can take.

This might be begging for a soundtrack…
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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John Cheever vs. Burt Lancaster and the making of ‘The Swimmer’
07.14.2014
05:15 am

Topics:
Literature
Movies

Tags:
John Cheever
Burt Lancaster

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Author John Cheever made a fleeting appearance in the film adaptation of his story The Swimmer during the summer of 1966. He played John Estabrook, a party guest at one of the homes Burt Lancaster’s character Ned Merrill visited on his journey to swim pool to pool across the county. In a letter to a friend, Cheever described his day’s filming:

What I was supposed to do was to shake hands with Lancaster and say “You’ve got a great tan there, Neddy.” Things like that. I was supposed to improvise…

So we rehearsed about a dozen times and then we got ready for the first take but when this dish [actress Janet Landgard] came on instead of shaking hands with her I gave her a big kiss. So then when the take was over Lancaster began to shout: “That son of a bitch is padding his part” and I said I was supposed to improvise and [director] Frank [Perry] said it was all right. I asked the girl if she minded being kissed and she said no, she said I had more spark than anybody else on the set…

Lancaster heard her. Anyhow on the second take I bussed her but when I reached out to shake Lancaster’s hand the bastard was standing with his hands behind his back. So after the take I said that he was supposed to shake hands with me and he said he was just improvising. So on the third take I kissed her but when I made a grab for Lancaster all I got was a good look at his surgical incision in the neighborhood of his kidneys. We made about six takes in all but our friendship is definitely on the rocks.

 
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John Cheever was an established writer by the time the movie was made. He sold his first short story “Expelled From Prep School”  in 1930 when he was eighteen years old. He sold his first story to the New Yorker two years later and went on to publish 120 stories with the magazine.  His first novel The Wapshot Chronicle was published in 1957. Cheever originally intended his story “The Swimmer” as a full-length novel, with each chapter set in one of the 30 neighboring pools Ned swims across on his way home to his wife and family. He had been “kicking around” an idea of retelling the Greek myth of Narcisus which, according to his biographer Blake Bailey, was loosely inspired by his meeting Ned Rorem, with whom he had a brief sexual relationship, at an artist’s community in Saratoga Springs:

...[Cheever] had in mind a fellow Yaddo guest whom his meeting for the first time that September, composer Ned Rorem, who’d just broken his ankle and was hobbling about with a little plaster cast. As a reader of Freud, Cheever tended to equate homosexuality with narcissism, and in this respect the (almost) forty-year-old Rorem struck him as a kind of wistful, aging boy: “[H]e seems, in halflights, to represent the pure impetuousness of youth, the first flush of manhood, Cheever wrote. “He intends to be compared to a summer’s day, particularly its last hours and yet I think he is none of this.”

But the idea of retelling the Narcissus myth for modern day seemed slight, as Cheever noted in his journal for 1963:

I would like not to do the Swimmer as Narcissus. The possibility of a man’s becoming infatuated with his own image is there, dramatized by a certain odor of abnormality, but this is like picking out an unsound apple for celebration when the orchard is full of fine specimens.

 
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Moving the story away from Narcissus gave Cheever greater freedom with his narrative, but he soon realized the main difficulty in writing the story as a novel was the impossibility of convincingly maintaining Ned Merrill’s delusions about his life over a long period of time:

The Swimmer might go through the seasons; I don’t know, but I know it is not Narcissus. Might the seasons change? Might the leaves turn and begin to fall? Might it grow cold? Might there be snow? But what is the meaning of this? One does not grow old in the space of an afternoon.

He further explained the struggle of writing “The Swimmer” in Conversations with John Cheever:

It was growing cold and quiet. It was turning into winter. Involuntarily. It was a terrible experience, writing that story. I was very unhappy. Not only I the narrator, but I John Cheever was crushed.

He edited his text down from 150 pages to about twelve, which meant the story moved seamlessly from one season to another within the space of a sentence.  “The Swimmer” was published in the New Yorker on July 18, 1964, and became Cheever’s most famous story.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Marianne Faithfull is naked under leather in ‘Girl on a Motorcycle’
07.10.2014
04:00 pm

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
Marianne Faithfull


 
I’ve written here before about how I used to go fanatically out of my way to collect memorabilia related to the movie Candy, in particular items emblazoned with photos of the film’s titular heroine, who was played by the comely Ewa Aulin, a one-time Miss Teen Sweden. Candy, which I didn’t actually see until much later was a “holy grail” movie for me, but when I saw it, my opinion was not favorable. (Nothing could have lived up to my high expectations to begin with, but Candy really sucked. But this isn’t about Candy, you can read what I wrote about that film here).

Another 60s goddess who I have a ridiculous amount of photos, movie posters, picture sleeve records, sheet music and even fine art photographic prints of, is Marianne Faithfull. Of all of my pantheon of 60s goddesses (Ursula Andress, Paula Prentiss, Francoise Hardy, Raquel Welch, Jane Birkin, Sandie Shaw, Joni Mitchell, P.P. Arnold, Claudine Longet) I’d have to say that Faithfull is, by quite a wide margin, my #1 favorite. Quite simply, there was no female anywhere on the planet as cool and as sexy as she was during the 1960s. She was born with one of the most classically beautiful faces of all time and she just had that look which embodied the era as no other woman could, not even Twiggy. A goddess, she was and still is.
 

 
A film titled Girl On a Motorcycle, alternatively known as Naked Under Leather, was made in 1968 to capitalize on Faithfull’s libertine reputation, acquired as the result of her allegedly having only a fur rug wrapped around her otherwise naked body during a drug bust at Keith Richard’s home the year before. In the film, Faithfull famously wears a black-leather catsuit with fur lining. Meow.
 

 
There’s not a whole lot of dialogue and even less plot in Girl On a Motorcycle. In a nutshell, Faithfull plays a young woman bored in her marriage who decides to escape, riding through the countryside on a Harley-Davidson to meet her lover (Alain Delon). The audience hears her thoughts and existential musings. There are some spicy sex scenes with Delon that earned the quite-tame-by-today’s-standards film, an X-rating. It’s a little hard to follow and doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense, but who cares? That’s not why you’re watching it, is it?
 

 
What we basically have in Girl On a Motorcycle is one of the quintessential swinging 60s time capsule relics of psychedelic sexploitation. Is it a “good movie”? No. Is it a feast for the eyes. YES, indeed it is, and not just because of the gorgeous Ms. Faithfull, either. The European scenery is also brilliantly captured by director Jack Cardiff, a well-respected cinematographer who also shot classic films like The African Queen, The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus—not to mention Rambo: First Blood II—and directed The Liquidator. There’s also the excellent psychedelic jazz score from Les Reed to recommend the film.

In summation: Girl On a Motorcycle, it’s 90 minutes of great shot after shot of one of the hottest women ever born riding a motorcycle, “naked” under a leather catsuit or else having that same catsuit unzipped by a Frenchman’s teeth. With great music and some solarized psychedelic stuff thrown in for good measure (and to foil the censors). At the end she hits a truck and dies! I kid you not…

This is the trailer for Girl on a Motorcycle. Picture this going on for about 90 minutes and… you’ll get the idea: It’s streaming in HD on Netflix.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Jack Nicholson as Napoleon? Watch ‘Lost Kubrick: The unfinished films of Stanley Kubrick’
07.10.2014
12:14 pm

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Movies

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Stanley Kubrick


Kubrick at 21, then a visionary photographer for Look magazine
 
Stanley Kubrick was a man of wildly variant yet intensely focused interests. He was never prolific—his obsessive devotion to perfection and research wouldn’t allow it. With that kind of artistic dedication, you’d at least hope all his projects were completed. Unfortunately for us, he had quite a few awesome-sounding films that got shelved—some of which he spent years on. This little mini-doc gives a neat little run-down of Kubrick’s unrealized visions.

Kubrick developed A.I. for years, which was later passed on to Steven Spielberg. A simple side-by-side viewing of E.T. and 2001: A Space Odyssey tells you everything you need to know about a Spielberg sci-fi versus a Kubrick sci-fi. Honestly, I don’t mind a little bit of that old schmaltzy Spielbergian glow, but I can’t help but think that Kubrick would have done something a million times more interesting with a movie on artificial intelligence. The man developed HAL 9000, for chrissake!

That’s not the only time Spielberg played a role in Kubrick’s career. Schindler’s List undercut Kubrick’s push for his own film on the Holocaust after the director had already starting casting and scouting locations. Perhaps the most ambitious of his “dreams deferred ” was a Napoleon biopic. Kubrick researched every day of Napoleon’s life and kept a meticulous log. He even had dirt from a Napoleonic battleground, so that he might match the soil color for accuracy in the film!
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘Oh man, I shot Marvin in the face’ action figure
07.10.2014
11:56 am

Topics:
Amusing
Movies

Tags:
Pulp Fiction


 
I know, I know, it’s waaaaaaay too early to start talking about holiday stocking stuffers, but c’mon… An “Oh man, I shot Marvin in the face” action figure by GFY Toys?

Perfect if your Barbie needs a headless boyfriend!

-Each figure is fresh out of the trunk, hand painted and sealed just for you!*

-Custom blood splattered!

-Hand smashed head chunks!

-“Interactive” card art!**

-6 points of unarticulation!

-100% not resin!

-For Ages 80 and up!

-Opinions sold separately!

It’s $45 + shipping here.


 

 
via Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Steven Spielberg, ‘animal killer, disgusting inhumane prick’
07.10.2014
08:29 am

Topics:
Amusing
Movies

Tags:
Jurassic Park
Steven Spielberg


 
Publicly shaming poachers and assholes who kill exotic or endangered animals on Facebook has been going on for years. But this photo takes the cake of the worst kind of “hunter” on the planet! Just look at Steven Spielberg’s smug face!

Click here to see the full top image. Click here to read the image below.
 

 

 
via Das Kraftfuttermischwerk

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s early short gangster film ‘A Little Chaos’
07.10.2014
06:15 am

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Movies

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Rainer Werner Fassbinder

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Rainer Werner Fassbinder gave a passing nod to Jean-Luc Godard and Bertolt Brecht with his second short film Das kleine Chaos (A Little Chaos). The story concerns three young wannabe criminals, who take their lead from the b&w gangster films of 1940’s and ‘50’s Hollywood. Made in 1966, it’s an assured and highly stylish nine minutes of celluloid that proves Fassbinder’s ability to adapt his influences, better them and make them his own.

A Little Chaos stars Fassbinder himself, Christoph Roser, Marite Greiselis and Greta Rehfeld.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins’
07.08.2014
10:06 am

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
Les Blanc
Lightnin’ Hopkins


 
Les Blank was one of the most talented and prolific documentarians of all time—many know him for his wildly variant choice of subjects. He did a doc on women with diastemata, one on the sustainability of the Chinese tea market, and my favorite, the 20-minute-long anti-capitalist classic, Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe, in which Werner Herzog (you guessed it) eats his shoe (He lost a bet). Blank’s wheelhouse however was always regional American music and The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins—a gorgeous little film—radiates with his reverence for the Texas legend.

The short avoids explicit biography, choosing instead to record intimate musical moments and the ambient humanity of Hopkins’ world—it even credits “the people of Texas, 1967” among its “cast.” There are amazing performances of course, but they’re set against the lush community of Centerville, Texas, Hopkins’ boyhood town. His hypnotic performances emanate from living rooms, dirt roads, a barbeque and even a black rodeo—it’s an ethnographic pictorial as much as anything.

Hopkins was a bit of an anomaly as far as bluesmen went, though much of his early story is reminiscent of his peers. He actually met Blind Lemon Jefferson at a church picnic in Buffalo, Texas when he was 8, eventually becoming his protégé. He tried to break into music early on, spent some time in a labor prison in his twenties, and eventually returned to Centerville to work as a farm hand. Hopkins only managed to avoid blues “has-been” and “never-was” cliches with a bit of luck and a tenacious recording schedule.

By the 1950’s he had gained a following, and he just never stopped working. Hopkins not only rode the folk revival, he adapted to the changing scene, even recording an album with Texas psychsters the 13th Floor Elevators. He toured constantly and was the poet-in-residence of Houston, Texas for 35 years. He remains the most prolific blues recording artist.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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