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by G. Christopher Williams

21 Sep 2016

It seems to me that of many conventionally understood narrative genres, horror is a genre that has some particular peculiarities in regard to the relationship between its audience and whatever form of media that horror takes, be it film, novels, or video games. What I want to describe, I could probably also connect to other genres as well, but I think that horror (and, perhaps, comedy as well) requires more of its audience in regard to the attitude with which that audience approaches its material to begin with. There is a kind of contract, perhaps, that horror seems to almost require its audience to sign off on, a responsibility towards the form, that often is not so explicitly asked of the audiences of other narrative genres.

What I mean by this is that horror is somewhat more easily “ruined” in some way if the audience chooses to take the wrong attitude towards the material of horror itself. The audience of a film or reader of a novel or player of a video game can potentially and quite deliberately wreck the mood and atmosphere that horror intends if they want to. If, for example, one approaches a work of horror with the idea that horror is in itself necessarily campy, it is pretty easy to break the mood intended by a slasher film. You can laugh off the situations the characters find themselves in (and allow themselves to get into), the gore, the grotesqueness, etc., etc. by simply taking the proper pose in relation to these elements of that subgenre. Frankly, simply throwing open the windows to let sunshine explode into the room while one plays a survival horror game can rend the atmosphere of a horror game apart rather readily.

by Grant Rindner

20 Sep 2016

The third episode of Atlanta further capitalizes on one of the series’ primary strengths; its methodical pace and lived-in atmosphere make the show feel comfortable in its own skin. A typical high-concept series would still be zeroed in on propelling its central plot forwards; if Atlanta was on Fox instead of FX, this episode would be focused on cementing the budding musical partnerships between Earnest “Earn” Marks (Donald Glover) and his rapper cousin Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles (Bryan Tyree Henry), with Earn booking him a show or getting him more radio plays.

Instead, “Go For Broke” continues to establish the importance of the show’s central premise in a more cerebral and natural manner, without skimping on the surreal absurdity. Money (or lack thereof) is the overarching theme here, with Earn taking Vanessa (Zazie Beetz) for a dinner he stands no chance of affording, while Paper Boi and Darius (Keith Stanfield) find themselves tangled in a tense drug deal.

by PopMatters Staff

20 Sep 2016

Driftwood is a perfect name for this band of restless musical spirits and road warriors as the group describes their work as rooted in the land while exploring genres such as Americana, folk, old-time, punk, pop and rock ‘n’ roll. It works beautifully as Driftwood naturally inhabit whatever influences they choose to employ on any given song. Playing more than 150 dates every year has turned Driftwood into a high performance machine, a super tight band that can thrill crowds and craft great records with relative ease.

by Sachyn Mital

20 Sep 2016

Grouplove‘s founders Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi recently became parents. The band has been around for over seven years and had released two albums prior to the life-changing status that is parenthood. Zucconi has spoken about the effects impending fatherhood and the rigors of touring had on song craft for the band’s third album Big Mess.

by Michael Barrett

20 Sep 2016

Fans of silent cinema should be alerted to two new Blu-rays of mid-September. One title upgrades a previous DVD release, and the other unveils a once-lost title on video for the first time. Both are directed by masters of silent and sound cinema in close collaboration with women writers with whom they had professional and intimate relationships.

The upgrade is Fritz Lang’s Dr. Mabuse the Gambler, a two-part epic about a ruthless king of crime and master of disguise (played by Rudolf Klein-Rogge having a field day) who manipulates the stock market, blackmails and hypnotizes spineless scions, gambles with money and lives, and commits endless skullduggeries. Proclaiming itself “a picture of the time” and “a play of the men of our time”, this extravagant, big-budget criminal melodrama purports to capture the zeitgeist of Weimar Germany, coincidentally before a similarly self-proclaimed Übermensch, as mad and criminal as Mabuse, would publish Mein Kampf (1925) as part of his bid for political power. The script is credited to Norbert Jacques, the novelist who created Mabuse, and Thea von Harbou, Lang’s most important creative collaborator during the silent era and for several years his wife.

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