Archived entries for movies

This was on my hard drive, so I think I found it at some point last week.

EDIT: Damn, I’m bad at the Internet today. It’s a Photoshop. He did it, but he wasn’t wearing the bikini top.

I’m sure by this point, you’ve all heard of the Cthulhu dildos. Boing Boing had them, and people were tweeting about them even before that.

I’m not sure what more you need to know beyond the phrase “Cthulhu dildo”, but here’s what I’m talking about if you are (luckily) in the dark.

That bit of eldritch sex toy plastic got me thinking about all the weird mass market tie-in sex toys that have come out lately.

Take the Hustler/Fleshlight alien-vagina-in-a-flashlight-case. It was part of a partnership between the two companies to promote Hustler’s porn parody of Avatar. Think of it this way – if Avatar took 3D filmmaking to a new heights of technology, the Avatar porno was going to take masturbation to new heights of technology as well. Which I guess is great for people that fantasize about watching adult film stars dressed like Thundersmurfs go at it while sticking their bits into the triangular orifice of a piece of molded plastic.

If you ask me, the real technical achievement of the Avatar porn parody was that they managed find body make-up that wouldn’t smear all over everything once the bow-chica-wow-wow started.

But, I digress.

Twilight fans of both sexes can also have their plastic genital needs seen to, as well.

Chief amongst them is what L and I laughingly refer to as the “sparklecock“. (We’ve named a band in ROCK! after it.) It’s a pretty standard dildo, except for the infusion of sparkle glitter to make it match the sparkle that Twilight’s vampires have. Yes, I know, vampires aren’t supposed to sparkle, but whatever, they do in Stephanie Meyers’ head. The other key feature of these things is their temperature retention properties. See, the vampires in Twilight are dead – their bodies are cold. And this plastic was designed to stay cold if you stuck it in the fridge for a while. For the “authentic experience”, as the seller promises.

For those with their genitals on the outside, there’s also the Fleshlight-esque “Succu Dry“, a plastic woman’s fanged mouth. It’s pretty much your standard plastic cavity, except this time the mold is of a mouth and not of lady parts. Branding-wise, the manufacturers are leaning more toward the True Blood angle than the Twilight kids. Probably a smart idea, since most of the male Twi-hards probably wouldn’t want a blowjob anyway, at least not from a girl. But, it is still a sex toy cash-in on the popularities of vampires right now.

It does make me wonder, though. I mean, teeth are a perpetual worry during the specific sex act the Succu Dry is designed to replicate. What sort of laissez-faire attitude must you take toward your sexual well being when you decide that not only are teeth OK, but that bigger more, dangerous teeth are BETTER. It makes me feel that the world is probably better off with that person sticking their penis into plastic that some one else, you know?

Not to be out done by American perverts, the Japanese also have their own versions of a Fleshlight. They call it the “ona-hole”. Yeah. Can’t make this shit up. Anyway. The “ona-holes” get branded just like Fleshlights do here. Except sometimes they go a bit…awry. Like when instead of making the internal part into something that would seem to fit what you’re putting into it, you instead make it into a negative space molding of a famous anime character. An underage, marginally pubescent anime character, at that. I can only assume that the Japanese are training their men to use their penises as lock picks. Because nothing else really makes sense.

“Ona-hole”.

Jesus fucking Christ.

EDIT: Oh god, my friend Katie just sent me a link to the sparklecock in full effect. It’s a plastic dong flying in mid-air, up to you how safe for work it is.

I can’t tell you how big of a smile this put on my face. The last Mega Shark movie was awesome camp fun, and this one should be even better.

THINK OF THE INFOGRAPHICS ALONE!

I’m just going to leave this here. Then I’m going to turn around, walk over here, and do something. I promise I won’t turn around if you decide you want to click play. I promise I won’t look you in the eye after you’ve watched it. I promise I won’t think anything bad about you.

I’ll even promise to save you a slice of pizza and a beer when I rent it.

This picture came up over the weekend, and I thought I’d share it with everyone who doesn’t know the story.

Lady on the left, giving the “what the fuck do you think you’re wearing?” glare? That’s the legendary Italian actress, Sophia Loren.

The boundless expanse of cleavage and blonde to the right? That’s Jayne Mansfield, one of the quintessential late 50s, early 60s bombshells.

This photograph was taken in 1957 at Romanoff’s in Los Angeles. The occasion was a dinner honoring Italians in the motion picture industry. Jayne Mansfield, while obviously not Italian, was too big of a star in 1957 to not get invited to something like this. Having her at an event like this would ensure that the reporters would be there to cover it.

There’s a subtext to this picture, as well. See, Loren and Mansfield were on opposite ends of the sexuality dynamic in Hollywood.

Sophia Loren was all about selling sex, yes. But she was of the smile and wink school. Her allure was all about temptation without any payoff. She may have been the sort of lady that your wife wouldn’t let you near, but most importantly, she was still a lady. There were certain things that she would never do.

The same wasn’t true of Jayne Mansfield. Two years before this picture was taken she was a Playboy Playmate (a pictorial which nearly got Heff arrested on an indecency charge). She was the first big name Hollywood actress to appear nude in a film since the demise of the Hays Code, in Promises! Promises!. She wore outfits like the one above as publicity stunts, hoping and often encouraging her breasts to fall out. Her sex was overt, in your face, and with a payoff that was given to anyone who’d look for more than a second.

Sophia Loren was the epitome of the classic siren, and Jayne Mansfield was a vision of the future. Two legendary beauties, both selling sex, but both going it at it in different ways, colliding in a single moment, made timeless in an unforgettable photograph.

As a child, I loved Ray Harryhausen movies. Absolutely adored them. From his early work in Mighty Joe Young to Jason and the Argonauts to the original Clash of the Titans, I watched them ravenously. If there was a Harryhausen marathon on AMC, you could forget getting me to do anything. My ass was planted in front of that television, watching impossible things come to life. I actually wanted to do visual effects for years. Build models, make monsters, create fantasy. But then computers ruined all of it and I moved on.

I realized over the weekend that some of Harryhausen’s bigger movies are streamable through Netflix, so I watched Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger a few nights ago.

It got me wondering…why the hell isn’t anyone doing anything with Sinbad? He’s an established cultural touchstone, and one with lots of wiggle room. People know he’s a pirate-y type, but they don’t know much more than that. Which is perfect, because it lets you get away with what ever the hell you want to.

Which is why I want to have him fight Lovecraftian horrors.

Think about it. Sinbad travels the sea, looking for adventure, what happens if he stumbles across, say, R’yleh and inadvertently wakes up a sleeping Eldritch God.

You could have him spanning the world trying to put the cosmic horrors back in the box.

And there’s a scene in my head. A fucking amazing scene.

Sinbad standing on the prow of his ship. Cthulhu or something similar rising from the waves towering dozens or maybe hundreds of feet over him. Sinbad’s crew is going mad, clawing at their eyes. Their captain, shockingly, is smirking. At which point Sinbad procedes to deliver one of those “FUCK YOU, EVIL THING! I’M SINBAD! I’VE DONE XYZ!” Where he enumerates all the fucked up things he’s seen and why the big scary insanity monster isn’t going to make him blink.

Anyway, that’s the idea at least. Tossed away into the COMMONPLACE.

While you’re here, watch the opening minutes of The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, one of my favorite Harryhausen flicks.

22 of us, in custom-made action hero t-shirts, went to see The Expendables this weekend.

I’m sorry, moving going audience, we’re the reason you can’t have nice things.

Coming to DVD and Blu-Ray July 27th from Tokyo Shock!

The kappa, in Japanese folklore, are water goblins that are closely associated with a certain town in the country. Unfortunately, the area is also home to a militant splinter group of researchers dedicated to developing amphibious super soldiers based on the kappa of legends. When their experiments result in murders by some escapees, the appearance of an actual kappa, and the triggering of an atomic bomb, the consequences are of epic proportions. A monster arrives in the midst of the nuclear fallout, and Japan’s defenses are helpless against it. Mankind’s only savior is an irradiated water goblin that is on the rampage with death in its eyes.

Yes, this exists. And yes, it is already sold out on Amazon.

There is a level of cognitive dissonance here. And not in the fact that this is a movie about World War 1 era women fighting gangsters, mecha and dragons while wearing steampunk/gothic lolita outfits.

No, I’m talking about the fact that this visual money shot is directed by Zach Snyder (300, Watchmen), and I know it isn’t going to be very good. It’ll be too over the top and lose itself somewhere along the way. I’ll walk out of the theatre shrugging and wondering what the point of all of it was.

But there’s the thing – I’m going to walk out of the fucking theatre. Which means I had to walk into it in the first place. Which also means I had to pay to get there.

I know this movie isn’t going to be very good. But there’s absolutely zero chance that I’m not going to pay to see it.

See. Cognitive Dissonance.

Which is a pity, considering how excellent and beautiful the animated series was.

Via Topless Robot

Goblin started off life as the Italian prog-rock band Oliver, only to have their named changed to “Cherry Five” in an arbitrary act by their record label. They were sort of your localized Italian version of King Crimson and all those other bands that required their listeners to be incredibly high to “get it”.

They were saved from going down in history as a band no one would remember by a spat between horror film impressario Dario Argento and Giorgio Gaslini, a composer that was working with him on the film Profondo Russo. Gaslini had called the band in to record some some music for the soundtrack, and after his firing, Argento dumped the entire score on their hands. He gave them just two days to turn the project around. One to write, one to record.

Changing their name to Goblin for the score, the group would score their biggest hit yet. The score to Profondo Russo would stay on the charts for more than a year and sell over a million copies. The group had cemented a place for themselves in cinematic music, and as a partner to Dario Argento.

But this isn’t about Profondo Russo‘s score. This is about Suspiria’s.

Suspiria was released in 1977 as was the opener for what Argento refers to as his “Three Mothers” trilogy. The movie is filled with stark contrasts between dark and color, decay and ornate finery. The brutal deaths in the movie are the stuff of horror movie legend. But, you know what stuck out more than the cinematography or the gore or the acting? The music. The insane blend of orchestration Goblin produced for Suspira was far scarier, far more stirring than anything Argento could come up with. Goblin’s score made the movie.

Here are my three favorite pieces from the soundtrack to give you an idea of what Goblin was doing

Suspiria

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Witch

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Sighs

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The combination of Argento’s auteur filmmaking and Goblin’s soundtrack has made Suspiria into what is general acknowledged to be one of the best horror movies ever made. Hopefully after hearing a bit of Goblin, you’ll understand why.

This has been your Friday Frequency.


The ending credits from A Series of Unfortunate Events. Probably the best motion graphics sequence I’ve ever seen.

Pity the movie wasn’t as good.

“Nature is no longer a creation to defend, but a divinity to worship,”

That’s a line from a Vatican review of the film Avatar, releasing in Italy this week. Which is keeping in line with Darth Pope’s Benedict XVI’s fear that modern ecology and environmentalism will give rise “to a new pantheism tinged with neo-paganism, which would see the source of man’s salvation in nature alone, understood in purely naturalistic terms.” This is coming from a pontiff that’s been called “the green pope” by third party observers because of his acknowledgment of things like eco-refugees, climate change and poor shepherding of the world’s resources. Which makes me think that this current pope isn’t so much worried about the environmental apocalypse that is baring down on us because maybe he sees it as a means to drive people back to the church. Has your poor fishing village been washed away because of rising ocean levels? Turn to Christ, especially the Catholic Christ!

Snake oil salesmen hawking for souls.

I really do hate this new pope.

A little bit of bat-shit crazy to start our morning off with, yes?

Oh, and if anyone is looking for some last minute gift ideas, the deluxe American Astronaut gift set has jumped to the top of my list.

I had the idea back in college, and I’m dropping it here because I’ve been absent-mindedly looking at those bare-bone digital video cameras. You know the ones, that have that small screen, a big red record button and a pop-out USB hookup?

I don’t want one of the damned things, but I’m was marveling how far digital video capture has come. From a camcorder that had more in common with a bazooka than a camera to these tiny little suppository-like things in just over two decades. It is staggering, really.

Anyway, the idea was to make a movie digital experience that let the user chose the character they wanted to follow.

At the start, the user would be presented with a grid-like interface. In each pane of the grid, you’d have a movie playing. This movie would follow one, and only one, character through the narrative of the movie. The user could click on whichever panel they wanted, and it would expand to near full screen. The other movies would still be visible, but not dominant. From there, the user can swap off from character to character by clicking on their panel.

I think I was half-out of my mind from lack of sleep when I first thought up the idea, because as an example of story, I came up with something about zombie cheerleaders and a voodoo witch doctor causing it all. In this example, the grid would have the witch doctor, a squad of cheerleaders, probably the sheriff-type character, and a jock or two. As the story progressed, you’d end up with cameras attached to a group of zombies and people fleeing from those zombies. And probably a few that were just shots of a dead body.

Camera positioning would be tricky, since I’d want to do the whole thing in an extended, if not single, take. It might be interesting to do all of it with first person cameras, and then require the user to swap between cameras to see what people looked like.

Of course, there is no real point or use to this. You’d lose a lot of tension in your story by having so many things going on at once, and there would be a lot of boring nothing for some of the characters until their moment in the sun (or aortal blood spray). But watch a zombie chase from the perspective of the zombie and the victim appealed to me.

Tossing this here to remind me to do something with it if I ever win the lottery and need something to spend my time on.

I saw Paranormal Activity on Friday at a midnight showing as part of Indie Memphis. I’m not going to talk about what I thought of the movie. I am, however, going to talk about the (probably unintentional, and thus, hilarious) subtext that the movie has about Capitalism.

SPOILERS AHEAD.

You have been warned.

Spoilers start….NOW.

So, the movie is about a guy and a girl. Kind of like a normal date movie, except the girl is being possessed by a demon and the guy is a douche-y day trader. Douche-y guy eggs the demon on, and ultimately gets killed for it. But, what’s interesting to me is what you can read into this. The creators of the movie didn’t have to make him a day trader, there could have been some other kind of independently wealthy work-at-home job for him. But, they did it because as a world just coming out of an economic collapse, we’ll find it very, very easy to not like a guy who we can imprint all of our economic angst upon.

And the girl? She’s a perfect counter-point to this. She’s a student, who wants nothing more to better herself and be left alone to work on her beadwork. She is the everyman who suffers at the oppressive, egotistical, greedy hand of the Capitalist day-trading douche of a boyfriend.  She suffers just like we all have. Which makes the finally of the movie, when she kills him, that much more satisfying.

Of course, this is all just a happy accident. Well, except for the guy being a douche, that was needed in the story. But, it is happy accident that makes Paranormal Activity into something else that it probably never meant to be – a topical comedy.

Guess what I just added to the top of my Netflix queue.

(Even though I think it’ll be pretty bad and mainly just talking heads gabbing about stuff I’ve heard a million times before.)

I watched a movie last weekend, for purposes I won’t get in to as to save something from an unfavorable Google search. The movie was one of those aimless indie jobs where some character comes to a vague life choice that seems like it should matter, but really the kid just needs to stop being a pussy and grow up.

(Fast aside, the “old, stodgy, conservative folk” in the movie give the kid the same advice – and we’re not supposed to look at them favorably, as they are artist crushing philistines!)

The movie had some pretty moments where the cinematography and the musical overlay worked perfectly, but the entire way through it was plagued with this aimless, limp-wristed, hard to hear dialog. Pacing was nonexistent, lines were constantly stepped on and you could tell they were improving at least ninety percent of it on the spot. To say it was painfully boring would be a gross understatement.

The dirt under my fingernails became as intoxicating as a Megan Fox/Scarlett Johansson lesbian porn in comparison to what was on my television. (Ok that bit was for Googlebots.) I started out telling myself I wasn’t going to drink while watching it, so I wouldn’t miss anything as the booze fuzzed the edges of my brain. By minute sixty of a seventy two minute film, I was drinking straight whiskey, having plowed through three whiskey and cokes already.

I wrote my bit on the film, trying my best to hide my opinion that I had just watched the cinematic equivalent of a wet white-bread and mayo sandwich. But, when I passed the film back, something weird happened. I was informed that there are lots of movies like this, that they represent the vanguard of something called mumblecore, a new movement in American indie filmmaking.

Mumblecore works like this: twenty-something character, super low budget, unpaid/not-professional actors and a “script” that is little more than some notes the director tossed together to give the actors a scene to improv off of. They all pretty much look like American Apparel ads, star people who look like they belong in American Apparel ads, and have soundtracks from bands that you probably should know if you were cool, but you don’t because you aren’t.

As this was being described to me, a distant noise sounded in my head. It grew louder, and I recognized it as the keening rage of every sound engineer, script writer and professional actor in the world. You know, the people we rely on to properly record the expertly crafted words that are delivered in perfect intonation. Mumblecore is a giant middle finger from hack filmmakers who can’t afford to produce a real movie, or have the chops to write one, or the technical skills to make one.

You can see the mental line these filmmakers are drawing to make these movies, too. They look at masters like Lars von Trier and indie heroes like Ken Park and think they can do “that” – “that” being the weird ephemeral thing those two do – right from the start. Not once thinking for a second that one must master the basics of film before you can deconstruct them. Compression and decompression in storytelling can only be understood once you can make a solid movie at a neutral pressure. Mumblecore eschews that for a self-gratifying indie sensibility that makes me want to take a baseball bat to these people.

Also, for fuck’s sake people, you’re taking part in a movement that was named by a drunken sound tech in a bar during South by SouthWest. Is that really where you want your artistic birthplace to be? Wait, what the fuck am I talking about, of course that’s where you people want it to be.

Brilliant short movie about a child who declares war on the world.



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