I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: This post belongs in a museum

Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest instalment in your favourite franchise, an obscure preview for a strange indie darling, whether it’s good, bad, ugly or just plain weird – your favourite pop culture baristas are there to tell you what they think.

This week, our Six Damn Fine Degrees took us to a concert by The Cure. Which doesn’t exactly lend itself to trailers… unless we stretch things a bit, which is entirely in keeping with Six Damn Fine Degrees. So, please enjoy this trailer for the psychological horror film Cure by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. And when I say “enjoy”, what I really mean is “please be majorly freaked out by”.

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A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #63: Monosyllabic horror

Is there anything more terrifying, more capable of evoking fear, than the one-syllable word? Obviously yes – but it is still noteworthy how many recent horror films have gone for a monosyllabic title (which suggests that A24 may have a limited contingent of syllables to make up their titles). In our latest podcast, Alan is joined by Julie and Sam to talk about three recent horror films whose titles fit into a single syllable: Julie has brought along Alex Garland’s folk horror Men, while Alan has picked Jordan Peele’s sci-fi monster movie Nope, and Sam chose the latest Scream, a meta extravaganza directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett calling itself a requel (now there’s the true horror!). What do our cultural baristas think of these three examples of modern horror movies? And just what makes monosyllabic titles so much more scary? Tune in to hear our answers – okay, perhaps not to that last question – in our December episode. Warning: May contain multisyllabic words!

P.S.: We had some technical issues when recording this episode and apologise for the variable audio quality… though it does make the podcast that much more scary, doesn’t it?

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Six Damn Fine Degrees #107: Late Remedy for The Cure

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness!

There must be something sad and desperate running after your own twenty year-old success. The Cure had their last real hit in 1992 with “Friday I’m in Love”; since then, only hardcore fans might have followed their music for the last 30 years. Curiously, their concert in Basel was sold out, hinting that maybe their show might be a greatest hits show with their new, lesser known music mixed in.

But no. Except for “Lovesong”, Robert Smith et al. insisted on playing their more recent, lesser known stuff so that there was not a flicker of delight among the audience. Granted, we didn’t come to the concert to find party-time cheer and a frightful mosh-pit, but their first 90 minutes were too melancholy and funereal to allow for any kind of musical quality to be remembered.

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I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: That’s not how I remember it

Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest instalment in your favourite franchise, an obscure preview for a strange indie darling, whether it’s good, bad, ugly or just plain weird – your favourite pop culture baristas are there to tell you what they think.

Even if you don’t know his name, chances are you’ve seen Donald Pleasance in something – from The Great Escape to You Only Live Twice, from Halloween to Shadows and Fog, or in one of his many TV appearances. In this week’s Six Damn Fine Degrees, Sam gave us a much-appreciated reminder of Pleasance and his work.

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Criterion Corner: Rushmore (#65)

It took a while for me to warm to Wes Anderson and his films. It’s not that I didn’t see his talent for mise-en-scène; that has always been obvious. It’s that I found his characters and their quirks grating rather than charming. I did not enjoy spending time with the Tenenbaum family, I didn’t want to hang out with Steve Zissou and his crew. And when the films veered towards tragedy, I found them too affected to care, too smugly self-conscious and twee.

It was only with The Fantastic Mr Fox that I learnt to enjoy a Wes Anderson film, not for individual parts but as a work in its entirety – and oddly, it took the more sustained artifice of latter Anderson for me to connect to the underlying emotion as something real. It was therefore with some trepidation that I approached Rushmore, Anderson’s second feature film, which I expected to be closer to the films that would follow it, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic, in style and tone. And it is – though it has some interesting quirks of its own, among them an awareness of the limitations and annoyances of The Life Andersonian.

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Six Damn Fine Degrees #106: The doubtless pleasure of Donald Pleasance

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness!

It’s amazing that it took us one hundred and five installments to finally connect to Donald Pleasance (whom Matt mentioned in last week’s post)! After all, Pleasance (according to IMDb’s statistics) is the actor with the second-most closeness centrality in movie history, connecting most directly to almost everyone in the acting business (second only to Christopher Lee)! And isn’t that what our Six Damn Fine Degrees are all about: connecting our movie interests in seemingly random ways, creating a massive network of connections?

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I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Queer as films

Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest instalment in your favourite franchise, an obscure preview for a strange indie darling, whether it’s good, bad, ugly or just plain weird – your favourite pop culture baristas are there to tell you what they think.

What do we find most frightening in horror movies? For Matt, it’s less the Freddy Kruegers and the Pennywises and more the implacable, impersonal evils coming closer… and closer… and closer. The Michael Myers, for instance. Check out our latest Six Damn Fine Degrees post for the terrifying details.

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A Damn Fine Espresso: November 2022

After our recent podcast episode on festivals, Sam decided to get in on the fun as well, so he and Matt took the opportunity to talk about a festival that Sam worked on for several years: Queersicht, the LGBTIAQ+ film festival held annually in Bern, Switzerland. Sadly, we just missed the 2022 instalment of Queersicht – incidentally, the 25th anniversary, which was postponed to this year due to COVID-19. Nonetheless, join Sam and Matt as Sam talks about his experiences on the organising and programming committee for the festival. How has the festival changed over the decades? How have its thematic emphases shifted over time? And just how does queer cinema differ from mainstream cinema focusing on LGBTIAQ+ characters?

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Six Damn Fine Degrees #105: (Don’t Fear) The Shape

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness!

Warning: oversimplification ahead. In horror films where the threat is personified in one primary antagonist, you tend to get one of two types of bad guys. Type 1: the characters. They are defined quite clearly, they have motivations and a personality. They may be driven by a dark, dramatic backstory, but to some extent this background is less important than how they behave in the present of the stories they’re in. Especially in the horror films of the ’80s, they have a signature style. They quip. They’re the Freddy Krugers and the Pennywises, the Chuckies and the Pinheads.

And you know what? I don’t think I’ve ever found any of these particularly scary.

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I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: To serve mankind

Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest instalment in your favourite franchise, an obscure preview for a strange indie darling, whether it’s good, bad, ugly or just plain weird – your favourite pop culture baristas are there to tell you what they think.

Recently, Matt’s been exploring another set of virtual lands – though while Little Orpheus is gorgeous to look at (and listen to), there’s something about its lack of variety and challenge that makes it difficult to truly appreciate the craft in this one.

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