Latest Blog Posts

by Sean Murphy

4 Sep 2009

Look at that guy.

They don’t make them like that anymore. The thing is, they didn’t make them like that then, either. Col. Percy Fawcett was sui generis, supersized. And if he was the first of his kind, he was the last of a kind: the great old-world explorers. By the time Fawcett died (disappearing in the jungles of the Amazon), the world had become a much smaller place.

New Yorker writer David Grann knew he had an ideal subject when he began researching the Fawcett story; he could not have known he was going to become part of the story. The Lost City of Z is the end product of inestimable research and in-the-field reportage, literally.

Like (literally) hundreds before him, Grann inexorably cultivated a compulsion that could only be satisfied by experiencing the action himself. Unlike many other reporters, explorers and thrill-seekers who set off to find Fawcett’s trail (and, inevitably, subsequent fame and fortune for telling their tale), Grann actually made it out alive. And he also found things even he neither expected nor anticipated: no spoilers here, you’ll have to read it to get the scoop.

What Grann came to understand, before ever setting foot in the jungle, was something that no number of books, movies or documentaries could successfully convey. That is, Percy Fawcett was, in every sense of the cliche, very much a man apart. The mere triumph of entering and exiting the Amazon alive was, as many hearty fellows found out by paying the ultimate price, not an inconsiderable achievement. At a time when the North and South Poles were all the rage, one could be forgiven for assuming that the warmer weather, bustling foliage and diverse plant and animal life all afforded a preferable venue for discovery. On the contrary, the ostensibly bountiful tropical haven was in actuality a death trap. Grann quotes Candice Millard from The River Of Doubt, her study of Theodore Roosevelt’s harrowing Amazonian adventure:

by Eleanore Catolico

4 Sep 2009

Club kid ilk everywhere put on those jukin’ shoes because Simian Mobile Disco just announced their US tour dates (after the jump) in the fall to promote their second studio album Temporary Pleausure out now on Wichita Recordings. This is a follow up to 2007’s Attack Decay Sustain Release. Producers Jas Shaw and James Ford of SMD recruited a pantheon of indie stars including Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip, Telepathe, and Chris Keating of Yeasayer giving vocals to Temporary Pleasure‘s first single, “Audacity of Huge”. Recorded in the band’s East London studio, Temporary Pleasure is an album filled with minimalist house beats and robotic vocal distortion of imperative lore. Unlike the heavy-hitting pump up the volume, pump up the volume, dance! of Justice or the Bloody Beetroots, TP stealthily slithers into your cerebrum. 

The band recently forayed into the avant-garde fusion of technology and aesthetics called “augmented reality” or AR. Conceived by Kate Moross and produced by MagicSymbol, an installation celebrating the release of Temporary Pleasure featured a mixture of both real life and computer generated images all within the SMD cosmos, creating the illusion that virtual things thrive in the corporeal realm.  It’s that art imitating life or life imitating art shtick. Those clever synth-cats.

This ambitious, visual evolution for SMD would translate impeccably to their live show, seizure-inducing lightning fest and all. Pyrotechnics aside, SMD live if done the AR way could be a new kind of ecstatic chaos for the concert-going experience, minus the need of drugs. SMD have already expanded their alignment with the AR endimanche’, by having Kate Moross also direct their music video for “Audacity of Huge”.

As an extension of SMD’s said affinities, “Audacity of Huge” is abound with striking, juxtaposed tableaus of things you’d find off the cover of your old EyeWitness books and convex close ups that make you ask, “What is this, really? or “How does it relate to anything?”, reminiscent of Conan O’Brien’s old Late Night skit “Patterns” where we see a few incongruous pictures, only for them to be united by a more-often-than-not grotesque punch line. Nothing super yucky here, thankfully. There’s also a lot of viscous liquids. Honey? Maple syrup? Maybe molasses? Look out for the boys of SMD at the end of the video making a cameo appearance in what appears to be a limited edition set of UNO cards. I guess that illusionary motif finally comes full circle, huh? Still pretty cool though. Be sure to catch SMD kick off their tour of the States on October 28th in Boston, but for now here’s the video for “Audacity of Huge” and a trippy visual performance of “Synthesise”, full of flashy geometrics:

by Brian Parks

4 Sep 2009

Since 1987’s Cobra Verde, Werner Herzog has directed just two feature films in the ensuing twenty two years—Invincible (2001) and Rescue Dawn (2007), preferring to focus increasingly upon documentaries. It appears he made the right choice as these features were met with general indifference both critically and at the box-office, while his documentaries have garnered multiple awards and almost universal praise. However, with My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?, Herzog’s interest in the fiction format appears to have been reignited, with two features completed (the other being his Bad Lieutenant reimagining) and yet another soon to begin filming.

Now, for those of you who upon seeing the title card David Lynch Presents a Werner Herzog Film didn’t immediately turn off the trailer and start pulling out your wallets- let me enlighten you as to why this quite possibly could be the most awesome-est thing ever!  OK, well maybe of the year…

Number one—the plot. The film is based on the true story of a San Diego man who acts out a Sophocles play in his mind and kills his mother with an antique saber. Awesome.

Number two—the cast. Willem Dafoe (owner of a lifetime pass for his work as Bobby Peru in Wild at Heart), Michael Shannon, Cloe Sevigny, Grace Zabriskie, and Udo Kier. Doubly awesome.

Number three—Uh, a pack of ostriches stole Udo Kier’s glasses. Seriously, did you not see that? When was the last time time you saw something that randomly weird (and totally unrelated to plot) in a mainstream American trailer? Exactly.

Unfortunately, no official release date has been provided as of yet. One possible reason—studio executives realized what they got themselves into and are nervously stalling for time trying to figure out how to market this eccentricity to cineplexes in Nebraska. If this is in fact the case, we may be waiting for quite some time…

by Brian Parks

4 Sep 2009

Has it really been 12 years since Beavis and Butthead went off the air? And please, don’t even try to tell me you haven’t missed them…

Series creator Mike Judge brings back the boys to promote his new film Extract, which stars Jason Bateman, Ben Affleck, and Mila Kunis. Early word is good on this one, apparently a return-to-form of sorts after the disappointing Idiocracy.

Extract comes to a theatre near you on September 4th.  Judge still has not released an official statement regarding any upcoming Beavis and Butthead projects, leaving many wishing he would.

Huh-huh. I said “wood”.

by Bill Gibron

3 Sep 2009

For Mike Judge, the world is divided into the fringe - and then everyone else. His movies don’t center around young urban professionals living angst-filled lives in the big city, or high powered businessmen transacting trepidation from their unsure international connections. No, for the man responsible for a couple of backward adolescent metal heads named Beavis and Butthead, the marginalized members of society offer a far more appealing source of inspiration. The working Joes, the suffering single mothers - these are the people he wants to party with. And in his latest live action film, Extract, that’s exactly what he does. Within the small Texas town where flavoring manufacturer Joel Reynolds has set up shop, an entire universe of karma, pro and con, is about to unravel - and Judge can’t wait to show us how it happens.

Things are not going well for our eager entrepreneur. He is married to a woman who uses sweatpants as a barrier toward sexual intimacy and his workers run the gamut from the socially awkward to the borderline retarded. One day, wannabe floor supervisor Step suffers a horrible accident that almost costs him his testicles. Simultaneously, Joel gets a buy-out offer from General Mills. The potential lawsuit turns the deal from certain to unsure. Still, our hero is convinced he can work things out. Into his life walks smoking hot temp Cindy. Seeing her as someone who sympathizes with his plight, Joel gets bartender buddy Dean to set up his wife with a gigolo. That way, when she cheats, he can be with Cindy blame free. What he doesn’t know, however, is that this new girl is a con artists, using Step to set up Joel for a huge multimillion dollar settlement.

//Mixed media

Because Blood Is Drama: Considering Carnage in Video Games and Other Media

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to dismiss blood and violence as salacious without considering why it is there, what its context is, and what it might communicate.

READ the article