Perspectives on Pop Culture and the Arts

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Day the Earth Stood Still... Seriously

The dirty word on the street is that one of the most reputable sci-fi flicks in film history will be mooshed through Hollywood's low-brow-remake cash extractor. Before you strain something at the thought of this heinous milkery, let me just say, well, ... "RUN!!! Run fast! Get your children, your pets, your ipods - and get awaaayyy!"

Instead of daft-looking army men bearing guns, there are now sinister-looking capitalists bearing studio clout. Our only hope rests on the endearingly silent and charismatic Gort coming down and melting their gold teeth and money clips or freezing all of the projectors on opening night.
"Gort. Klaatu, barada, nikto!"

And stop watching Ghost Rider.

[Link to the article]

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Chicago Reader and Blog Too!

For those of you dissatisfied with most popular film criticism, the Chicago Reader has a film blog that is well worth reading and subscribing to. Contributions are made by several of the brilliant critics and writers from the Reader (Jonathan Rosenbaum, Pat Graham, J.R. Jones, et al.) and include discussions and information on cinefile activities/events in and around the Chicago area, as well as general information and criticism relating to cinema for those of us not in the area.

[Link to the blog]

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Simon Pegg on British and American Humour

Whilst living in Britain I would frequently hear the remark that British humour is 'different' than American humour, and then get surprised glances when I (an American) appeared to 'get'/dish out a clever bit of irony (don't misunderstand, I'm not that clever). I was always puzzled by this, as I merely thought it was the interpretation, filtered by cultural context, that determined whether someone got the laugh or not.

Well, we can all rest easy now, as British Actor/writer/man-of-extraordinary-genius, Simon Pegg, writes a brilliant article on the virtues and (lack of?) difference between British and American humour.
An excerpt from The Guardian:

When it comes to humour, however, there is one cultural myth that just won't die. You hear it all the time from self-appointed social commentators sat astride high horses, dressed as knights who say, "Ni". They don't get it. They never had it. They don't know what it is and, ironically, they don't want it anyway. That's right: "Americans don't do irony." This isn't strictly true. Although it is true that we British do use irony a little more often than our special friends in the US. It's like the kettle to us: it's always on, whistling slyly in the corner of our daily interactions. To Americans, however, it's more like a nice teapot, something to be used when the occasion demands it. This is why an ironic comment will sometimes be met with a perplexed smile by an unwary American. Take this exchange that took place between two friends of mine, one British (B), the other American (A):

B: "I had to go to my grandad's funeral last week."

A: "Sorry to hear that."

B: "Don't be. It was the first time he ever paid for the drinks."

A: "I see."

Now, my American friend was being neither thick nor obtuse here; he simply didn't immediately register the need to bury emotion under humour. This tendency is also apparent in our differing use of disclaimers. When Americans use irony, they will often immediately qualify it as being so, with a jovial "just kidding", even if the statement is outrageous and plainly ironic. For instance...

A: "If you don't come out tonight, I'm going to have you shot... just kidding."

Of course, being America, this might be true, because they do all own guns and use them on a regular basis (just kidding). Americans can fully appreciate irony. They just don't feel entirely comfortable using it on each other, in case it causes damage. A bit like how we feel about guns.

[Link to the full article]

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Twin Peaks, Season 2 on DVD

This might just be the best DVD-release news I've heard since Criterion re-released Jacques Tati's Playtime; The second season of David Lynch's Twin Peaks will be released on DVD [in America] on April 3rd. For all of us who have been suffering from over-worked tracking ticks and watching a cast whose VHS-induced complexion looks like they just spent the last decade in a tanning bed, we can finally put those faithful tapes to rest (who am I kidding - we'll still hang on to them and periodically pull them out for parties and odd conversation starters).

Party carefully, lovelies, because the owls will definitely be watching.

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