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‘Office Space’ desktop wallpaper
03.21.2011
11:19 am

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Amusing
Art
Movies

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Office Space

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Office Space Bliss” desktop wallpaper by Burt Gummer.

Cue “Still” by Geto Boys.

(via TDW)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Death / Hitchcock: 36 of the master’s death scenes synchronized

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It’s not enough that British early-twenty-something film nut Charlie Lyne’s Ultra Culture is one of the best cinema blogs around.

Oh no. He’s also gotta do stuff like Death / Hitchcock, a wonderful tribute to a legend, and one of the most anxiety-inducing and ultimately satisfying short simultaneous montages you may ever see.

Dare you to watch it just once.
 


 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
24 Second Psycho
Psycho at 50: Zizek’s Three Floors of the Mind
Happy Birthday, Hitchcock: The Dali Dream of Spellbound

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Discussion
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Try not to wince: ‘A Clockwork Orange’ eye scene GIF’d
03.18.2011
11:29 am

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Movies

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A Clockwork Orange
Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Digital Piracy: To torrent or not to torrent? That is the question
03.17.2011
06:33 pm

Topics:
Economy
Media
Movies
Music
Television

Tags:
digital piracy

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A few weeks ago, a friend of mine got a letter from Comcast informing him that they knew he’d illegally snagged The King’s Speech and asking him to refrain from future illegal downloading. The letter mentioned no recourse or anything of the sort, he told me, just, “we know what you did.”

That same week, someone else I know found his Internet browser had been commandeered by Time-Warner Cable and until he clicked on a button which said he acknowledged illegally downloading an episode of NBC’s Community he could not leave the page or do anything else.  I’ve read anecdotal reports of other ISPs threatening to cancel a user’s Internet access with a “three strikes, you’re out” approach.

Knowing two people having that happen to them in the space of a week gave me pause as I had actually made a mental note to download the latest episode of Community myself! But it got me thinking about how backwards the industry’s notion still is of how to manage (or “fight” or “solve”—I’ll go with “manage”) the issue of digital piracy. I can certainly understand why the motion picture industry would want the guy downloading Oscar screeners put on notice, but a TV show? This is 2011, get real.

First off, network television programming has traditionally been free to the end user. And make no mistake about it, the TV networks are NOT in the business of making television, they are in the business of selling their advertisers a 30 second rendezvous with your retinas. To the networks, the programs are merely the things they need to hang commercials off of and often little else. So why not think of bit torrent downloads the same way?

If TV shows are “free” why even bother with someone downloading a single episode of Community? On a CPM basis, had this person opted to watch Community on regular TV or Hulu.com, the network would have made but a micro payment from the ads being seen. I realize that this adds up, of course, but until the entertainment industry finally figures out that there is very little they can do about digital piracy—it’s not even cost effective to send stinky letters, let alone bring lawsuits against individuals over micro-payments, class action suits get nowhere with this issue, and there is ALWAYS going to be another source for the illicit content files—they have little rational hope of “winning” the larger battle for the industry’s survival.

And for the life of me, I cannot understand why the networks themselves don’t simply hardcode the ads into the torrent files, have their “official” torrent downloads counted by Nielsen and just be done with it. In other words, going with the flow and not against it. I would imagine that 90% of illegal downloaders would opt for the legal torrent file, even if they had to watch a few commercials. If torrent downloads counted in the Neilsen ratings, the same way DVR’s shows now do, then Gossip Girl would be in the top ten shows on TV, if you take my point. Why hasn’t the CW wised up to this fact and used it to their advantage. It’s a strength and not a weakness!

The reason why such an obvious solution probably hasn’t been implemented is that the execs themselves to this day have very little clue of how their own kids—not to mention the junior level employees in their companies—use media. They know piracy is going on obviously, but to the extent that it does or knowing anything about the culture of private bit torrent trackers, they just don’t get it and they never will, simply because they don’t personally use it.

If younger execs were calling the shots, this wouldn’t be the case, but by the time they’d be moving into the corner offices, this will all be moot anyway. The entertainment industry, as we’ve known it for the past half century, is a walking corpse. Short of the “all you can watch” plans like Netflix, I can see almost no rational or workable solutions. The public is not interested anymore in paying for a single item of entertainment, but a reasonable priced subscription service is very attractive to the consumer and the research screams this loud and clear. Is there much hope of the movie industry surviving in its present form once DVDs (which often provide half or much more of the payday for Hollywood blockbusters) are history? As someone who spent the better part of a decade as the owner of a DVD distribution company, I’d have to say “no fucking way.”

The $20 list price of the average DVD cannot be justified for digital downloads. The best snake-oil salesmen in the business can’t make a rational argument that an invisible, weightless product that you cannot hold in your hand, wrap cellophane around or stick on a shelf should cost the same as something that can be. The public isn’t stupid, but the industry execs are, ignoring a massive migration away from their business model and failing to adapt for a model that could work for them. The movie industry is basically a lost cause, I think. It will limp on for several more years, but I predict that we’ll soon see a huge contraction in the number of films that get made. I don’t think it will be gradual either. I expect it to fall right off a cliff.

The music industry is hardly worth talking about, either, but television IS because it’s always more or less been free (at least network TV) and never relied on selling hard copies. It’s not even remotely the same business model as movies and music. However without some serious consideration for how the audience uses media—what they do with it—the television industry, too, will be greatly diminished.

In the LA Times, there’s an interesting “Dust Up” in the Opinion section’s blog pitting Andrew Keen, author of the upcoming book Digital Vertigo: An Anti-Social Manifesto and an industry advisor on the matter of piracy, against Harold Feld, who is the legal director of Public Knowledge, a Washington-based digital rights advocacy group.

Says Feld, who represents the opinions of many Internet users and online entrepreneurs:

“[C]opyright holders need to understand that the best way to stop illegal downloads is to make the content available and affordable online in ways people want it. Hollywood lobbyists usually react to this with the same enthusiasm displayed by social conservatives when suggesting that free condoms in high schools help reduce teen pregnancies—and for the same reason. It amounts to a confession that since you can’t stop the conduct, you need to figure out how to acknowledge it and limit the negative consequences.”

Says Keen, speaking up for the entertainment industry and artists within:

“[W]hy would consumers pay for Netflix, Hulu or Spotify content if all the same movies and songs can be illegally downloaded for free? And that’s, of course, why we need carefully considered, bipartisan legislation like COICA. Because without it, the United States’ entertainment industry—with its millions of middle-class jobs—is in serious jeopardy.”

Simple: It’s just easier; the quality is higher; no annoying letters or threat of your Internet being cut off… The public WILL respond favorably to the correct price point. I personally think that price point is about $20 bucks a month and bet most Netflix subscribers would agree with me on that amount. It’s a pity the entertainment moguls feel their precious content is worth more, because the public simply disagrees and has a multitude of other choices. It’s time for the entertainment industry to wake up to the reality of the current marketplace as consumer habits are pretty ingrained, especially with cyber-savvy younger people who have never spent $20 bucks on a DVD in their lives and probably never will. (And note that Keen is asking if the public will be willing to fork out for Spotify or Hulu—the basic version of these services—like network TV—are free and advertiser supported, anyway, so what’s his point?). The COICA legislation can’t do much about this stuff as there is always a workaround, technically speaking and tech will trump laws. There are laws against it now, of course.

Although both sides score, I’m squarely in Feld’s corner and once again, I will remind the reader that I owned a DVD distribution company. Andrew Keen’s heart is in the right place, but idealism doesn’t mean shit when the public can “shoplift” without ever leaving their homes. It’s just the way things are. From my vantage point as a business owner, the writing was on the wall as early as 2004. In 2011 it’s just pathetic that the industry is so damned clueless

There are three parts to the Los Angeles Times piece, which began Tuesday with “How big a risk does digital piracy pose to the entertainment industry?” came back with “Should the entertainment industry accept piracy as a cost of doing business?” and concluded today with a question that needs to be addressed, especially in this city: “What’s the true impact of illegal downloading on jobs and the arts?

Thank you Alexandra Le Tellier!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Iconoclast: Larry Wessel’s new Boyd Rice documentary
03.16.2011
07:07 pm

Topics:
Movies
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Boyd Rice
Larry Wessel

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Underground film-maker Larry Wessel is back with a four-hour documentary about the life, career and personal obsessions of the notorious Boyd Rice. Wessel calls Iconoclast, which was six years in the making, “a rollercoaster ride through the fevered mindscape of one of the most controversial and unique artists of the modern age.”

Boyd Rice may well be the only person alive who’s been on a first name basis with both Charlie Manson and Marilyn Manson. His career has spanned more than three decades, during which time he has remained at the epicenter of underground culture and controversy. Rice first came to prominence in the 70’s as one of the founders of the genre known as Industrial Music, and soon gained a reputation for live shows that were deemed the most abrasive, minimalist and loudest concerts ever staged (his shows regularly clocked in at 130 decibels, whereas a jet plane taking off was a mere 113 decibels). As early as 1980, he was already hailed as The Godfather of Noise Music. Since then, Rice has extended his creative pursuits to numerous fields, even lecturing at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, despite being a high-school dropout.

“My life”, says Rice, “is a testament to the idea that you can achieve whatever the hell you want if you possess a modicum of creativity, and a certain amount of naïveté concerning what is and isn’t possible in this world. I’ve had one-man shows of my paintings in New York, but I’m not a painter. I’ve authored several books, but I’m not a writer. I’ve made a living as a recording artist for the last 30 years, but I can’t read a note of music or play any instrument. I’ve somehow managed to make a career out of doing a great number of things I’m in no way qualified to do”.

Along the way, Rice worked as a celebrity bodyguard (protecting the likes of Julie Newmar and Maureen McCormack), owned a Tiki Bar (Tiki Boyd’s), starred in an exploitation movie (Pearls Before Swine), co-edited an influential book on low budget cult films (Incredibly Strange Films), and forged close personal friendships with such diverse Pop Icons as Tiny Tim and Anton LaVey.

Order the 3-disc set of Iconoclast at www.iconoclastmovie.com

A collection of Boyd Rice’s essays: Standing In Two Circles: The Collected Works of Boyd Rice, edited by Brian M. Clark is available at Amazon
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘The Big Lebowski’ bowls a strike with Quincy Jones’ ‘The Dude’
03.15.2011
02:15 pm

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Amusing
Movies

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The Big Lebowski
The Dude
Quincy Jones

 
Edited by Jeff Yorkes.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Ken Russell is Aleister Crowley
03.15.2011
01:40 pm

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Movies

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Aleister Crowley
Ken Russell
Imperium Pictures

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This should be interesting. Ken Russell is Aleister Crowley in a new short (which is currently in the edit) from Imperium Pictures.
 
Previously on DM:

Ken Russell’s banned film ‘Dance of the Seven Veils
Before ‘The Devils’: Bad-boy Director Ken Russell calls down the Angels, in 1958


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Morgan Spurlock sells out at SXSW

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Morgan Spurlock’s new documentary The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is a riotously funny, dead serious look at product placement, advertising and marketing in entertainment and the world around us and how it literally fucks with our heads. The entire movie was funded by the companies whose products are blatantly featured throughout the film. The movie exists thanks to the cash that Spurlock managed to extract from the very system he is critiquing. Exploiting components of the $412 billion marketing industry, Spurlock has created the cinematic equivalent of a virus devouring its host. It’s an ingenious bit of guerrilla theater that makes its frightening points while being highly entertaining.

Spurlock describes the concept behind The Greatest Movie Ever Sold:

Brands are everywhere these days. It seems like I can‘t go to any event these days without someone ―sponsoring it. Sporting events, concerts, anything. So, why not a movie? Better yet, why not a movie that examines the whole phenomenon that is actually paid for by the companies themselves. That was the jumping off point.
The movie documents both the absurdity and pervasiveness of product placement in our daily lives and I saw my role on this film as both a filmmaker and an anthropologist.”

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold was funded by Hyatt, POM Wonderful, Sheetz, Jet Blue, Mini Cooper, Ban deodorant and half a dozen other brands. The product placement and commercials that occupy virtually every frame of the movie have made the $1.5 million documentary profitable before it even opens in theaters on April 22.

Here’s the Q&A with Morgan after the screening of The Greatest Movie Ever Sold at SXSW on March 13. This footage was shot on a Sony HD camcorder by Dangerous Minds’ Marc Campbell who was wearing Levi jeans and Converse sneakers while sucking on an Altoid mint.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Germaine Greer in ‘Darling, Do You Love Me?’

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Before writing her revolutionary feminist text The Female Eunuch, Germaine Greer tried her hand at becoming a TV personality. In 1967, she briefly appeared alongside Michael Palin and future Goodies, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie in Twice a Fortnight. She then co-hosted the comedy series Nice Time in 1968, with DJ Kenny Everett and Jonathan Routh. Alas, neither made her a star.

In 1968, Greer also starred in this odd little film, Darling, Do You Love Me?, written and directed by Martin Sharp. In it, Germaine played an over-bearing, vampish female, who demands of a rather sappy, little male, “Darling, do you love me?” After much shaking, cajoling and strangulation from Greer, the man eventually says, “I love you,” and dies.

What are we to make of this? How love makes us needy? Or, perhaps, the old adage, if at first you don’t succeed..? For Greer did try and try again, until writing her landmark book. No more TV comedy after that, though she did pop-up in George (007) Lazenby’s 1971 movie, The Universal Soldier.  One can only wonder what would have happened if Nice Time had been a hit.
 

 
With thanks to Ewan Morrison
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Rock Cameos: When bands guest star in films

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You can picture the scene, lunch somewhere, another glass, and then the producer says. “I know this band, they’re hot, they’re what the kids want, let’s get them in the movie.”

It’s a win-win situation. Surely? The band starts their film career and receive major media exposure; while the movie has cachet from the group’s fans. This, of course, all depends on the quality of the film and the songs.

Does anyone remember what The Yardbirds were playing in Blow-Up? All I recall is Jeff Beck going Pete Townshend on his guitar, while a white trousersered David Hemmings intently joined a rather bored-looking audience.

Amen Corner had topped the UK pop charts with “If Paradise is half as Nice” and must have seemed a perfect call for the Vincent Price, Christopher Lee schlock fest, Scream and Scream Again. Singer Andy Fairweather-Low is beautifully filmed in the background as loopy Michael Gothard prowls a nighclub in search of fresh blood. The trouble is the song’s a stinker.

Sparks were allegedly second choice to Kiss for the George Segal, Timothy Bottoms, Richard Widmark dull-a-thon, Rollercoaster. The brothers Mael had moved back to the US after four successful years in the UK, and had just released their album Big Beat, from which they played “Fill Her Up” and “Big Boy” to a wildly over-enthusiastic crowd. The audience obviously hadn’t read the script, as the film is turgid, and the band’s cameo is its only highlight. When asked about the biggest regret in their career, Sparks said appearing in Rollercoaster. Understandable.

Brian De Palma stopped copying Hitchcock form a few minutes in Body Double to make a pop promo for Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Relax”, right in the middle of the movie. Surprisingly, it works. But perhaps the best, almost seamless merging of pop singer / artiste in a film is Nick Cave in Wim Wenders in Wings of Desire. Cave is perfect, as is the film, and he was a resident in West Berlin at the time, writing his first novel And the ass saw the Angel.

Of course, there are plenty of others, (Twisted Sister in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, The Tubes in Xanadu, anyone?), but oddest may be Cliff Richard and The Shadows in Gerry Anderson’s puppet movie Thunderbird Are Go. Difficult to tell the difference between puppet and the real thing.
 

Michelangelo Antonioni originally wanted The Velvet Underground for ‘Blow-Up’ (1966), but a problem over work permits led to The Yardbirds, with Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck playing “Stroll On” in the cameo.
 
More pop and rock cameos after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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