Tag Archives | Movies

All Is Lost—And Who Was Doing the Thinking?

All_is_Lost_posterWarning: This article contains spoilers.

The film All Is Lost has been released to unanimously raving reviews. Critics are greatly satisfied with both the film itself and Mr. Redford’s performance, which is wonderful since he is the one and only actor in it. A seasoned gentleman leisurely crossing the Indian Ocean all by himself on an elegant sailboat faces a number of contretemps. Things go from bad to worse until he’s forced to abandon ship and board the lifeboat. More tribulations await him there.

It’s a good man-versus-the-elements yarn, and I found myself rooting for the mariner (we never get to know his name) because, as a fellow human being, I certainly wouldn’t like to be in his predicament. Having said that, my rooting for the mariner wasn’t nearly as wholehearted as it should have been, because a simple but essential detail kept nagging at me.

Years ago, while doing research for a novel of mine, Leeward & Windward, I studied a book by Don Biggs entitled Survival AfloatHow to Prevent Disasters on the WaterOr Survive if One Occurs, copyrighted in 1976 and published presumably then (there is no release date in my copy).… Read the rest

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David Cronenberg’s POD Implant For Your Brain

david cronenbergDavid Cronenberg has a new multimedia project involving a fictional mobile body-add-on gadget called "Personal On-Demand," or POD for short, ostensibly created by biotech startup firm BODY/MIND/CHANGE. Are you ready for your fitting?
MEET POD (PERSONAL ON-DEMAND), THE ULTIMATE RECOMMENDATION ENGINE. POD IS AN EMOTIONAL SENSORY LEARNING AND DATA-MINING ORGANISM. WE’VE REDESIGNED THE RECOMMENDATION ENGINE TO MAKE DISCOVERING THE THINGS YOU NEED, LOVE OR DESIRE EFFORTLESS. POD GROWS WITH YOU TO BECOME AN INTUITIVE COMPANION, FULFILLING YOUR DEEPEST DESIRES ON DEMAND.
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The New South Africa Bans a Major Film Festival Entry as Protests Mount

Durban, South Africa: It was Nelson Mandela’s birthday, and the international day of service in his honor. The reports were that the man they call Madiba was recovering, according to upbeat accounts from his wife of 15 years and daughter Zindzi from his marriage to Winnie.

Happily, on that night, it was also a time of celebration as film fans packed into the annual opening of the film festival in Durban.

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For 34 years, the Durban International Film Festival  (DIFF) has brought a world of cinema to the East coast of South Africa with an impressive range of films, filmmakers and related events. The screenings are often packed with over 150 films or more on display.

The Festival is organized by the Center for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, up on the big hill overlooking Durban. In recent years, its setting went from the academic to the commercial, from a mountain to a beach, with the opening this year, once again, based in cinemas at the Suncoast casino where it is attended by a multi-racial, and multi-generational crowd.… Read the rest

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Sharknado: Return of the B-Movie

Sharknado_posterB-movies are back with a vengeance, thanks to social media sensation Sharknado, reports the Guardian:

Sharknado, pundemic on Twitter, has restored the B-movie back to its rightful place in American life: cult summer blockbuster and universal inside joke. To join in you don’t need a TV or even to have seen the movie. You only must appreciate absurdity (and tolerate portmanteaus).

In case the title left anything to doubt, a quick summary of the film: a tornado spews sharks into Los Angeles. One lands in Tara Reid’s pool, another bounces off a barstool. Helicopters throw bombs at the weather. A character named ‘Fin’, played by a Chippendales dancer, leaps into the open jaws of a projectile Great White and chainsaws his way out of its rubber belly, screaming. The tagline reads: “Enough said”.

SyFy only pulled 1.4 million viewers – below average for their original movies and over 6 million fewer than watched The Big Bang Theory on CBS that night, yet as Vulture put it, “Sharknado won the Internet Thursday”, with over 5,000 tweets a minute at the height of the online frenzy.

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Documentary: The History of the Devil

via Top Documentary Films

The History of the Devil is wickedly good, informative and concise. A no-frills Welsh film produced in association with SBS Australia and distributed by Siren Visual, it’s roughly 52 minutes in length and packs a fair dinkum amount of history into its slender running time.

The documentary itself is made up entirely of mostly still images alternating sporadically with talking heads; religious scholars, theologians and reverends.

Directed by Greg Moodie and written and produced by Dave Flitton, it was researched by Eibhleann Ni Ghriofa, Deirdre Learmont and Craig McGregor.

It’s an impressive andvery open-minded account and offers some fantastic insight into the evolution; the hows and whys the specter of the Devil has existed and morphed through the ages from the dawn of civilization through to the new millennium.

So despite its relatively low-fi approach, the richness and diversity of its imagery; the historical plaques, plates, engravings, illustrations, paintings, drawings, and the occasional staged re-enactment (some dude dressed up in rather bemusing demonic attire), keeps the documentary at a high level of beguilement.

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Spanish Cult Horror Director Jesus ‘Jess’ Franco Dies At 82

Beginning in 1959, filmmaker Jess Franco walked the line between art and exploitation, dreaming up underground classics that combined shock, sex, perversion, the surreal, and groovy soundtracks in groundbreaking fashion. 1970's Vampyros Lesbos, below, established the cinematic trope of lesbian vampires. Via FEARnet:
Euro-cult great Jess Franco has passed away after producing nearly 200 films. A unique filmmaker, Franco’s work fits in a category all its own, combining art, the erotic, and the macabre into titles like Lorna the Exorcist, The Awful Dr. Orloff, Succubus, Venus in Furs and of course, the eponymous Vampyros Lesbos. While Franco isn’t to everyone’s taste, he certainly stretched the definition of erotic horror cinema.
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A True Story About a False Prophet: Kumaré

What happens when a thoroughly secular second-generation Indian-American decide to grow his hair and beard long, put on a robe and beads and present himself to spiritually lost Westerners as a Guru? Vikram Gandhi decided to find out. The results are funny, but more than a little heartbreaking. Arizona New Agers flock to his side, finding profundity in his every word and asking few to no questions about where the young spiritual teacher "Kumaré" they idolized came from and where he was taking them. Their insistence on interpreting his message of "illusion" as metaphor ultimately blinds them to the truth that he is telling them: He's a fake, and that they don't need a guru at all. You can find Kumaré on Netflix Instant and a variety of other video streaming services now. Learn more about the film here.
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