Archive for the ‘Video – DVD’ category

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #441: Nash V. Smith

November 26, 2008

A Beautiful Mind (Adam Smith was wrong)

The blonde is all outstanding global debt: National, Corporate, and Consumer.

If everyone wants repayment, no one is going to get it.

Nations, societies, and the world we have known all fall.

If everyone ignores the blonde — all debt is forgiven — everyone prospers.

All Sink or All Swim in a nutshell.

James Bond Vs. James Bond

November 24, 2008

I previously posted about the latest James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace.

It gnawed at me because I’d never read the Ian Fleming books and so my only exposure to the character of James Bond was via the movies.

Since that post, I’ve read two Ian Fleming books: Casino Royale and Dr. No.

I’ve also seen the newest Casino Royale and just finished watching Dr. No.

I’m still at a disadvantage because I’m sure the screenwriters of Dr. No — and the other Bond movies — read all the Ian Fleming books to compile the filmed mythos.

Still, I think I have enough information to point out a few things.

In the book Casino Royale, Bond is described by Vesper Lynd thusly:

He is very good-looking. He reminds me rather of Hoagy Carmichael, but there is something cold and ruthless in his …

Let’s do some photo comparisons. This is Hoagy Carmichael:

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Then the classic Bond and the rebooted Bond:

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Well, Connery wins the face contest.

But based on the “something cold and ruthless” bit, reboot Bond wins:

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— his expression after beating, strangling, and drowning a man! Now that is cold and ruthless!

Compared to the book, I couldn’t help thinking what an absolutely stupid movie Dr. No was. An island mined for bird shit was turned into one mined for uranium and featured a nuclear-powered(!) telemetry beacon to override NASA signals for a moon shot!

I hadn’t seen Dr. No in decades. Now I know where the Austin Powers joke came from.

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No wonder so many things in Austin Powers were so funny. Even though I couldn’t place the exact references, the basic framework had been drilled into my head for decades, not just by the Bond movies, but spoofs such as In Like Flint.

I’m not going to re-watch all the Bond movies. I don’t know which one started the gadgetry kick. But that quickly got out hand! And I also don’t know which one started the wisecracks to release tension in the audience after a violent scene. That quickly got out of hand too.

The libertine appetite of Bond must have been daring for its time. These days, seeing it dramatized in Dr. No, it all looks rather ridiculous. In the two books, there’s no underlying explanation for Bond’s appetite. We’re left to think the guy is simply horny all the time. There’s no clear psychological exposition tying his need for sex to the violence he’s paid to commit.

One final thing. In the movie Casino Royale, I was really shocked by the line, “The bitch is dead.” That was just cold. I was looking to pin that line on Paul Haggis. As it turns out, it was in the book itself:

The bitch is dead now.

Which, in the book, is even colder — because it’s the final line. In the movie, M tries to explain Lynd’s actions as protective of Bond, which actually undercuts the line, making M seem like a Mommy to a childish, misunderstanding Bond.

Surprisingly, I have to say the two reboot Bond movies are closer in spirit to the Ian Fleming books than what I recall of the Connery series. (Roger Moore? Let’s not go there!) I do think they’ve made the violence in the reboot movies absolutely brutal and graphic. But I understand why. That is what real-life violence is like.

Compare these two images:

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The first is James Bond after a beating in Dr. No. The second is Bond after a beating in Casino Royale. The reboot Bond often winds up washing blood off his face!

So, in summary, yes, the 20th-century movie James Bond is dead. Make way for the James Bond of the new century.

— thanks to filmmaker Philip R. Cable and Judie Lipsett who each provided reasons for me to read the Fleming books.

Video: The Time Traveler’s Guide

November 21, 2008

Really, take ten minutes to watch. Well done.

The Time Traveler’s Guide (A tribute to time travel movies)

Another Reason To Hate Cellphones

November 17, 2008

Five Gadgets That Were Killed by the Cellphone

Yes, well.

What made an impression on me in the two “reboot” movies of James Bond is that the big gadget he carries and relies on is … a frikkin cellphone!

As an example, Casino Royale:

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Really, it’s hard times when sociopathic government hitmen have to rely on off-the-shelf tech anyone can buy.

Gerry Anderson BBC Interview

November 17, 2008

This one got by me … until now!

Talking Shop: Gerry Anderson

Some choice bits:

It’s been reported you are making a new CGI Thunderbirds and are in negotiations to buy the rights back from ITV.

I have be careful about this, but I think there will be a new series and I will be involved. I tried to buy the rights back but I got a letter back with a flat refusal.

Emphasis added by me.

Those rat bastards! It’s his creation! His heart went into it! Parasitical blood-sucking motherfuckers! And all of you wonder why I despise Suits?

Then:

Would you ever go back to working with marionettes or puppets again?

No, I’d rather have a life sentence!

Oi, Gerry. That’s a bit harsh! I know you’ve said that before, but still.

And:

Team America: World Police was made in homage to Thunderbirds. Did you see it?

I was supposed to meet Trey Parker before he made the film. But I think someone must’ve told him I wouldn’t be interested once I knew about the language they use – and they were right!

I have seen it and there are good, fun parts. But the language wasn’t to my liking.

I won’t take back one word I said about those fucking Suits. It’s the language they deserve!

R.I.P.: Gerard Damiano

November 11, 2008

Gerard Damiano: pornographic film director and writer

Gerard Damiano directed one of the most famous, or rather infamous, films of the 1970s and for a while made pornography intellectually chic. Deep Throat (1972) reached a wider audience than any other pornographic film before or since. Its impact on US culture was such that its title was used for the Washington Post’s confidential source in the Watergate affair and subsequently became a widespread term for secret informants.

No. I’ve never seen it.

Deep Throat was made during a time of dramatic changes in social and sexual attitudes. It had a degree of humour — with fireworks going off and bells ringing at the climax of its sex scenes — and its plot was more imaginative than many films within the genre, with Linda Lovelace playing a woman who cannot get sexual satisfaction until she discovers that her clitoris is in her throat. Damiano wrote and directed it, composed the music and acted in it.

It reportedly cost around $25,000 to make and grossed anything from $20 million to $600 million, according to various estimates, making it one of the most profitable films ever made. But it remains a hardcore sex film, and it was financed by the Mafia. Damiano reportedly had a deal giving him a share of the profits, which would certainly have run into the millions, but was forced to sell his interest for $25,000.

The film was banned in many places and was the subject of a protracted series of obscenity prosecutions in the US. Damiano and Lovelace were granted immunity from prosecution in return for their co-operation with the authorities. Co-star Harry Reems was convicted, his case became a cause celebre and his conviction was overturned on appeal. However, the debate over free artistic expression was muddied by the Mafia’s involvement.

Emphasis added by me.

I heard a rumor about the throat while I was in high school. Now this obit has confirmed it.

Lovelace, of course, eventually claimed she was drugged up and coerced into it.

I remember the controversy regarding Reems at the time.

As incredible as it will sound, porn film makers back then kept telling anyone who would listen — and that meant mainly reporters and talk show hosts — that they represented the next wave of Hollywood. That soon, all movies would feature explicit sex scenes — of all kinds.

Why I Love Asian Movies 2

November 9, 2008

Just look at this:

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“I’m gonna push you down the stairs!”

That made me howl — the whole conversation made me howl — because it was so human.

A Hollywood hack would have ended with something banal and vulgar: “I’ll cut open your belly!” Which is something only a total psychopathic cliche would utter, not an everyday human being.

From Fallen Angels. Recommended.

Previously here:

Why I Love Asian Movies

R.I.P. Writer Michael Crichton

November 5, 2008

Author Michael Crichton dies, 66

Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic Park, has died aged 66 after a “courageous and private battle against cancer”, his family has said.

And:

A Harvard Medical School graduate, Crichton became the toast of Hollywood when his 1971 novel The Andromeda Strain was turned into a film.

Andromeda Strain decades later remains one of the high points of SF in film. Some selected images:

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His first love letter to science.

Speakers UP! Barry Gray Pop Music

November 2, 2008

I know the title ascribes this to Captain Scarlet, but that’s incorrect.

The original was done for the White as Snow episode of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, but all anyone has to do is watch that episode on DVD to be greatly disappointed. It’s not the same music and the tempo is shockingly slow too.

This is actually from an episode of UFO (which one, escapes me at the moment). It’s played as incidental background music on, if I recall correctly, a car radio. Barry Gray recycled the music, increasing the tempo and somewhat tinkering with the instrumentation.

The result is this piece, which I must have played into my head several hundred gazillion times. This is best listened to with headphones. Really get into it. It’s one of the best pieces Barry Gray ever did.

captain scarlet pop theme

Strings: A Puppet Movie

November 2, 2008

Strings is a gorgeous motion picture featuring nothing but marionettes — as marionettes.

In this alternate universe, marionettes are alive and their strings reach into the heavens and give them their life force. Cut their strings and they die.

At the time of this film’s release, I recall reading that the director was inspired by a vision of seeing ten thousand strings rising into the sky.

The puppetry in this movie is breathtaking, featuring some of the best marionette walking I’ve ever seen. Unlike Gerry Anderson‘s Supermarionation, no attempt is made to hide the strings or disguise the fact these are puppets. Also unlike Supermarionation, the mouths do not move. This facilitates dubbing into other languages. Even with static mouths, it’s not difficult to keep track of who’s speaking.

I own this on DVD. I highly recommend it — especially to writers who are interested in fantasy.

Here’s the trailer from YouTube. Due to fast-action sequences, it gets pixelated. A high-quality trailer is here.

STRINGS movie trailer (english)

I’m not sure if this movie was ever released theatrically in the U.S.. It did very well in Europe.