Latest Blog Posts

by Bill Gibron

7 Feb 2011


After a couple of years of coping to economic and creative woes, Hollywood has reinvested in the Super Bowl in a mighty, mighty way. The 2011 installment of the annual football fever dream saw a dramatic increase in both actual ads (14…and perhaps more) and numerous tie-ins (why else would the Fox TV cameras “accidentally” pick out certain celebrities, only to have the announcers name-check their latest upcoming release???). Along with promised promotions that either didn’t pan out (critics got a Drive Angry 3D ad in their inbox, but as far as any could tell, the spot didn’t make the “show”...did it?) or were there, pre-game, without warning (really, Limitless?), we got numerous peaks at the upcoming Summer Movie season. While star studded both in casting and in clout, the jury remains deadlocked on more than a few of these films. Still, Tinseltown tried to give us its best product pitch, and for the most part, they delivered.

So amongst the pretend Vaders and magic Doritos dust, numerous dull car commercials and occasional WTF moments (Joan Rivers for GoDaddy.com…huh?), we got 14 celluloid sneak peeks. While few ventured far from their already established pitch, a couple came with some substantive surprises. So, in no particular order, here are the 2011 offerings, beginning with one of the year’s most hotly anticipated:

by Nathan Pensky

15 Sep 2010


Oftentimes artists use a baseline of existing superficiality to make larger points. Lady Gaga’s dance-pop songs, for instance, are effective as music, and also as an interesting critique of the superficiality inherent to the genre. Comedians like Sacha Baron Cohen, Sarah Silverman, and Chris Rock have effectively appropriated racial stereotypes, both expanding upon their stilted thought processes and lampooning them as a means to containment.

The use of profanity in movie dialogue also works with a baseline of superficiality, as cursing is meant in cinema to superficially distinguish along class lines or difference of cultural or moral standards, this somewhat parallel to the use of accents in film, as well as provide a certain transgressive emphasis within those designations of difference. Of course, cursing is used most effectively in playing against such stereotypes, as when a character employs the emphasis of a curse without following through to say the actual word. Words like “frick” and “shoot” allude to curse words through likeness of sound; others like “crap” have the same meaning as the more typical bad words. This second type of fake cursing is a bit like spelling “W-A-L-K” in front of a dog, where one wants the meaning of a word without any of the heightened emotion attached.

by Bill Gibron

14 Sep 2010


For many, the tolling bells of News Year’s Eve mean one thing and one thing only. No, not unreachable resolutions or drunken dates with last minute mates. Not a rapidly degenerating Dick Clark (or his proto-replacement, Ryan Seacrest), the Big Apple, an illuminated crystal ball, and a mass Manhattan countdown. It’s has nothing to do with champagne, toasts, drunken mishaps, DUIs, and/or endless off-key choruses of “Auld Lang Syne”. In fact, for many of the more sane members of the long past-partying population, New Years is a time to reflect on something a tad more sinister - of traveling through another dimension—a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination.

That’s right, the annual signpost up ahead is the SyFy Channel’s delightful decision to run every episode of Rod Serling’s seminal Twilight Zone series as part of a twice yearly marathon (Fourth of July weekend being the other usual genre showcase stopping off point). From 1959’s “Where is Everybody?” to 1964’s “The Bewitchin’ Pool” the cable place for all things otherworldly presents all 156 slices of sobering speculative fiction from this Golden Age of Television classic. Featuring the writing of such literary luminaries as Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, and Serling himself, it (along with The Outer Limits) would form the benchmark for how fantastical material was handled within the limited scope of the small screen.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Culture Belongs to the Alien in 'Spirits of Xanadu'

// Moving Pixels

"The symbols that the artifact in Spirits of Xanadu uses are esoteric -- at least for the average Western gamer. It is Chinese culture reflected back at us through the lens of alien understanding.

READ the article