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J.G. Ballard’s Crash!  (A Film By Harley Cokeliss)
04.13.2010
12:04 pm
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And speaking of David Cronenberg...the Canadian wasn’t the first director to take a stab at J.G. Ballard’s novel.  The San Diego-born (but London educated) Harley Cokeliss directed a version of his own in ‘71.

Since Crash, the novel, was still two years down the road, Cokeliss based the film on some fragments found in Ballard’s Atrocity Exhibition.  And, perhaps even more suited to the role than James Spader, Ballard himself starred as the film’s lead.  From the Ballardian:

With his brooding, hypermasculine presence, Ballard plays a version of Atrocity’s ‘T’ character alongside the actor Gabrielle Drake, her own role a composite of the book’s archetypal ’sex-kit’ women.  The film was a product of the most experimental, the darkest phase of Ballard’s career.  It was an era of psychological blowback from the sudden, shocking death of his wife in 1964, an era that had produced the cut-up ‘condensed novels’ of Atrocity, plus a series of strange collages and ‘advertisers’ announcements.’

The Ballardian link includes a scene-by-scene description of the hard-to-see short, but, since it’s a recent addition to YouTube, you can start watching it right now below:

 
Crash! Part II

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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04.13.2010
12:04 pm
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Cronenberg & Burroughs On Naked Making Lunch
04.12.2010
12:55 pm
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Ah, Criterion!  What with your glorious transfers and generous heapings of bonus material, you make it all too easy to justify the dropping of 30 bucks to secure a copy of, say, Dillinger Is Dead.  Now, though, thanks to YouTube, you can often skip right to the bonus material without paying for the movie. 

Case in point, Naked Making Lunch, director Chris Rodley’s account of David Cronenberg‘s ‘91 effort to bring to the screen William Burroughs‘s Naked Lunch.

Far more than just another “making of,” Naked Making Lunch not only has Burroughs himself chiming in on his “unfilmmable” novel‘s transference to the screen, but it takes the time to go on a number of fascinating detours, none more so, perhaps, than a discussion on the aesthetics of rubber.

 
Naked Making Lunch Part II, III, IV, V

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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04.12.2010
12:55 pm
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Fight Club Simpsonized
04.12.2010
11:51 am
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Posted by Tara McGinley
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04.12.2010
11:51 am
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Exterminate!: Anatomy of a Dalek
04.10.2010
01:19 pm
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Large Anatomy of a Dalek (JPG) over at Polkarobot.
 

 
(via Nerdcore)

Posted by Tara McGinley
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04.10.2010
01:19 pm
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Insane Clown Posse: Pure Magic
04.09.2010
09:32 pm
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Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J expound their wisdom doctrine. This is perhaps the greatest music video I’ve ever seen. “Magic everywhere in this bitch” is nominated as my new catch phrase as of this moment.

Who knew?

(Arthur Magazine: ICP: Miracles)

Posted by Jason Louv
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04.09.2010
09:32 pm
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The Human Centipede Trailer
04.09.2010
02:00 pm
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Serious WTF? action happening here. From Popbitch:

We were warned this film was coming. A crazed German doctor kidnaps three people and surgically joins them together, mouth to anus, to create a three part creature. The doctor feeds the first person. The second is fed through their mouth being attached to the first’s anus, and they in turn feed the third person in the same way.

We saw a few pictures and it looked… well, as vile as you’d imagine. Now the trailer’s out, so you can see for yourself.

 
(via Popbitch)

Posted by Tara McGinley
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04.09.2010
02:00 pm
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Metaphors For Life: Chuck Jones’s Phantom Tollbooth
04.06.2010
01:10 pm
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SHORT POST: Hey, down there at the bottom, The Phantom Tollbooth movie.  Animated by Chuck Jones, it’s long out of print, it’s got pretty colors, give it a look!

LONG POST: What with last week’s Kraken re-releasing, I’m reminded once again of the perils of adaptation, and how meddling with the stories we cherish as children is, in most cases, a doomed proposition. 

Not so much because movies, regardless of their “faithfulness,” never fully capture the scope and detail of the books they’re sometimes based on (Dune, Harry Potter), or that the sheer act of turning words into images, states of mind into dialogue, necessitates a sacrifice of some kind when jumping from interior-minded Literature to exterior-bodied Film (The Hours, Atonement).

All those notions are valid, sure, but they presuppose something that rarely gets mentioned in the great Book vs. Movie debate: that despite the slippery slope we call Language, there’s such a thing as a universally experienced book to hold against a universally experienced movie in the first place.

In other words, when male friend X tells me, “Well, I liked Atonement, but it wasn’t nearly as good as McEwan’s book,” I’m always left thinking, “That’s great, but who am I to gauge your private experience of McEwan’s book?”

In fact, maybe my private experience of McEwan’s Atonement not only kicks ass over X’s private experience of it in terms of analytical sophistication, but the “good” things he found in it are the same things I found both “trite” and “manipulative?”

Okay, now I have never read Atonement (hey, I saw the movie!) but I have read, on numerous occasions, Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth.

It’s also, along with Disney’s Song of The South, the first film I remember seeing in theaters.  Directed by Chuck Jones, with a screenplay by Jones and Sam Rosen, The Phantom Tollbooth totally blew my then-puny kid gaskets.  I remember stumbling out of the theater declaring it the best film (out of the total four, maybe) I’d ever seen.  It was certainly the best film I’d ever seen starring The MunstersButch Patrick.
 

 
I haven’t seen Tollbooth since, and it remains out of print, but, thanks to Vimeo (see above, below), I recently took some time to revisit it.  And now…well, let’s just say Jones’s imagining of Milo’s adventures in the Doldrums and beyond no longer constitutes what I consider the best film I’ve ever seen.  In fact, it’s now maybe the opposite of that.

But why, though? Why, exactly, does Jones’s version compare so woefully to the beloved Juster book?  Well, it’s not just the crude animation and unsophisticated storytelling.  It’s something that leads back to the above-mentioned perils of adaptation and my own private experience of the book—a few pages of it, anyway.  Jones mangles a particular sequence I found—and still find—incredibly resonant: Milo’s conducting of the sunrise. 

The shorthand goes like this (for those of you with the book handy, it’s Chapter 11, Dischord and Dyne): during his quest to save Rhyme and Reason, Milo meets Chroma the Great, the conductor responsible for all the colors in the world.  The beauty of trees and sunsets, of sunshine and fireworks, all stem from the movement of Chroma’s hands and the thousands of musicians playing silently around him.

Wanting to let Chroma sleep in a bit, Milo takes the next morning’s sunrise shift.  One by one the musicians come to life: piccolo players summon the day’s first rays, cellists make the hills glow red.  Milo’s overjoyed, “because they were all playing for him, and just the way they should.”

Joy turns to terror, though, when Milo’s musicians start playing louder and faster, the colors of the world becoming “more brilliant than he thought possible.”   Milo tries to keep up, but soon the sky’s changing from blue to tan and then to red.  Flowers turn black.  “Nothing was the color it should have been, and yet, the more he tried to straighten things out, the worse they became.”

Or, to use another metaphor, one plate in the air.  Then two plates.  Soon dozens of plates.  All moving in harmony.  And then they start crashing down around you.  In all of literature, I can’t recall a more compact or accurate description of the creative process.  Or its possible dangers.

And while I’m pretty sure my kid mind didn’t grasp its meaning then, I’ve been returning to that passage ever since.  Because that’s what metaphors do.  The better ones, anyway.  They hit you in the gut before you know how or why they’re useful. 

If we’re lucky, we recognize it, maybe in the moment, maybe years later.  Is it any wonder then that the book-to-movie process can be so fraught?  One adaptor’s trash might very well be another reader’s treasure.

Which brings us to the version of this scene as imagined by Chuck Jones.  It’s in Part II, 19 or so minutes in.  As per the book, Milo meets Chroma, sends him to bed, and prepares to conduct the sunrise.  And this is where things veer off course.  Way the fuck off course.

Before those piccolos have a chance to breathe, celestial activities start going to hell, denying Milo – and the viewers – a single moment of pleasure.  Not only does this rob Juster’s sequence of its poetry, but Jones turns the creative process into all danger, no joy whatsoever. 

It gets worse from there.  As the world unravels, Juster restores order by having Milo drop his hands, signaling the musicians to stop.  What does Jones have Milo do?  He has him retreat.  Flee the scene.  Act cowardly in the face of the forces he’s unleashed.  Now, I ask you: what kind of metaphor for the creative process is that?!  Not one I’d ever expose a child to, that’s for sure. 

Jones’s Tollbooth might fail me now as a metaphor for the creative process, but it does say something about growing up, growing older…

If that process can be boiled down to the saying goodbye to everything we hold dear, maybe it’s a relief that some of those things we hold most dear aren’t worth holding on to so tightly in the first place.

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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04.06.2010
01:10 pm
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Saturday Morning Bliss: Porpoise Song by The Monkees
04.03.2010
02:06 pm
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Sublime!

Posted by Tara McGinley
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04.03.2010
02:06 pm
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Vice: Mexican Narco Cinema
03.30.2010
04:43 pm
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The Vice Guide to Film uploaded this video guide to Mexican narco cinema. The genre focuses on “cocaine, guns, girls and trucks.” Vice went to Mexico to explore the budding new genre. Fun stuff, inspired by Mexico’s current drug cartel mayhem.

(Pictured above: Jesus Malverde, the patron saint of drug trafficking!)

(Vice: Mexican Narco Cinema)

 

Posted by Jason Louv
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03.30.2010
04:43 pm
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To Have & To Hold: A Film About Vinyl Records
03.26.2010
04:15 pm
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Coming soon?

Add this one to your list of must see vinyl inspired documentaries and movies. Director Jony Lyle gives a quick teaser of his upcoming film entitled To Have & To Hold, which Lyle describes as “a ‘musicmentory’ to celebrate the age of vinyl records.”

The film promises enough archive footage, records rooms, music collections, pressing plants, and rare vinyl to satisfy even the most die hard physical music addicts. In addition to its irresistible collectible eye candy, To Have & To Hold, which is scheduled for a 2010 release, features interviews with such notable vinyl aficionados as Questlove, Chuck D, Bobbito Garcia, DJ Amir, Bruce Lundvall, Christian Marclay, and Paul Mawhinney.

(via Nerdcore )

Posted by Tara McGinley
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03.26.2010
04:15 pm
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