The Phantom City

Notes from our travels across a mysterious world.

Category: Movies (page 3 of 4)

Utopias and Dystopias, Stupid and Sexy

Strange Horizons comments on utopian/dystopian ideas through the centuries:

The Ten Stupidest Utopias!

The Industrial Revolution gave the world a new idea of the ideal society. “Try sniffing the abominable stench behind the piles of books,” wrote Japanese Futurist Hirato Renkichi in 1921. “How many times superior is the fresh scent of gasoline!”

The Ten Sexiest Dystopias!

Roll down your window: see the metaphors go by. There’s Zhora the replicant, smashing through plate glass windows; there’s Jake lost in Chinatown, and Tod Hackett running through Hollywood, bloody faced, chased by a mob. “Los Angeles is probably the most mediated town in America,” writes Michael Sorkin, “nearly unviewable save through the fictive scrim of its mythologizers.”

Link courtesy of Boing Boing

A long way from Austen

So, I guess there’s a level closer to Kevin Bacon than one degree, and Colin Firth is heading right for it.

Friday Catblogging

Cat People (1942)

Okay, I don’t have a cat of my own to take pictures of, or even a neighborhood cat. But we did just watch Cat People — the great 1942 Val Lewton original, not the Nastassja Kinski version from 1982. 🙂

It’s always good when you watch a low-budget film that simply suggests horror outclass a film that has to show every detail. Of course, the original version does have a lead actor who apparently wasn’t paid to show any expression at all.

BTW, I have to credit American Art Archives for the image. They have a great page featuring the artwork of William Rose, who did the poster above.

Jimmy Olsen as Robert Evans

One fan’s imagining of Jimmy Olsen’s memoirs:

“Did I turn into a giant turtle monster? I sure did. Did I drink the elastic serum? You bet. Did I marry a gorilla? And how. Do I regret any of it? NOT ON YOUR LIFE, PAL.”

You know, if Jimmy Olsen was really Robert Evans, that would make a great comic book. 🙂

Blogging the Dark Side

Darth Vader on Contractors:

Due to the haste with which we are proceding through the latter phases of this battle-station’s construction we have been forced to employ scores of civilian contractors from across the galaxy in addition to our own Imperial Corps of Engineers. This had led to a certain clash of working cultures.

For instance, this morning I critiqued a tragically sub-par piece of workmanship on a tractor-beam repulsolift inversion assembly by snapping the neck of the site supervisor and throwing his limp corpse down a disused elevator shaft.

On the fight in Cloud City:

So…chalk one up for Qui-gon. The boy is strong. Stronger than I could have imagined. Through his clumsy, novice staggers the Force blew enormous rage, a hot wind of raw power I struggled to hold my own against. I had toyed with him at first, but I soon found myself working hard. He knew none of the classic moves: his foil play was dictated directly from his heart, clubbing at me with an instinctive passion that dodged my every stratagem.

And, of course, my left leg was acting up like crazy.

Link courtesy of the ACC Basketblog

“Vin Diesel taught Ric Flair the Figure Four Leg-Lock.”

“Vin Diesel does not own a television. Instead, he derives entertainment by routinely opening the Ark of the Covenant.”

“Vin Diesel created South North Korea by drawing a line of chalk 10 miles away from the DMZ and daring anyone to step across.”

“Vin Diesel and Casper Van Dien are actually a superhero team that only fights crime in Toledo, Ohio, between 1:33pm and 4:39pm. Only 5 people in the free world know the reason for this.”

“Vin Diesel built this city. He built this city on rock and roll.”

Keep hitting refresh on this page for more random facts about Vin Diesel.

Link courtesy of the Best Week Ever Blog

A Nokamura…

…a Bono, Up and Back, the Gilligan cut…

John Rogers at Kung Fu Monkey on what you say when there’s little new under the sun. 🙂

Technicon 22

You know, I kind of remember this, but I have no idea why I never attended it when I was in Blacksburg. Maybe I was always broke by that time? Nah, it’s only $20. 🙂

I wonder why the site shows up as black with black text, though.

Sin City reviewed in NY Press

There are two weird things in this review of Sin City:

  1. Is the plural of “comic” really “comix?”
  2. Is he actually insinuating that director Robert Rodriguez put in a swastika-shaped shuriken to appeal to a hypothetical Jewish media? (Fourth paragraph.) What the heck?

Personally, I’m conflicted over seeing the movie in the theater.

Pro: It’s directed by Robert Rodriguez. I like his El Mariachi series.

Pro: I like the look of the film. The B&W effect looks interesting.

Con: I haven’t read the series, but I really didn’t like Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Seriously, a dark Batman might have been needed at the time, but the story has the emotional depth of a Miami Vice episode from the later seasons. In other words, not that bad, but nothing earthshaking.

Con: Just not as much of a fan of the old ultraviolence since I got older. I’m not sure why. (Bigger screens, maybe?) 🙂

49th Parallel

Just watched 49th Parallel (1941) off the DVR tonight, and despite missing the last few minutes because of a scheduling glitch, I would have to say it’s the best Nazis escaping across Canada movie I’ve ever seen.

And why wouldn’t it be, with an all-star cast — including Laurence Olivier, Leslie Howard, and Raymond Massie — featured prominently in the credits? It was even nominated for a Best Picture Oscar in 1942.

Of course, that doesn’t tell the whole story. For one, those three cast members, although somewhat crucial, occupy smaller segments of the movie as people the German fugitives meet as they flee back and forth across Canada, dropping one by one. For another, this is a propaganda film designed to show Canadians what they were already fighting for and Americans what they soon would be. As a result, it’s kind of like the fugitives are walking through a living civics lesson, but one in which they keep leaving behind the dead bodies of their victims.

In a trick that seems foreign to today’s movies, 49th Parallel really centers around the fugitives in a way that doesn’t cause you to pull for them even a bit, despite our usual sympathy for the underdog. These guys aren’t underdogs; they’re just evil. (Well, except perhaps for Vogel, who is the only one who seems to have a heart…and then pays for it.) It’s effective that way, and very much fits into the milieu of criminal fugitive films popular at the time.

Speaking of which, the film includes a couple of added bonuses. One, it features the creepiest undersized killer to be seen in movies, at least up until Wilmer Cook in The Maltese Falcon that same year. It takes him a while to get started, but about halfway through the movie you learn to watch the little guy.

Second, Laurence Olivier plays a French-Canadian whose accent later led to the creation of Pepé Le Pew. (It must have, right?) 🙂 That’s the second bad-accent Laurence Olivier movie I’ve seen in a row. He plays The Mahdi in Khartoum (1966) in such a fashion that you realize the man just liked to work, no matter what they asked of him.

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