Six Damn Fine Degrees #38: Out of Sight and George Clooney

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!

The first time I was exposed to Elmore Leonard (I make him sound a bit like a virus, don’t I?) was probably when Get Shorty came out in 1995 and was a big hit. I didn’t see it at the cinema, but I caught it on TV a while later. I have to admit that there’s pretty much nothing I remember about Get Shorty, so the first time I actually registered that this Elmore Leonard cat might be someone to look out for was when I went to see Out of Sight, in 1996, and fell for the film. I fell for the characters, the writing, the direction, the editing, the feel. And, obviously, I fell for Jack Foley (George Clooney), gentleman bank robber, for Marshall Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez), and most of all for their car trunk, whirlwind romance.

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Introducing the Criterion Corner

Over the last few years, I’ve stopped buying as many DVDs and Blu-rays as I did in previous years. In part, that’s simply for practical reasons: my wife and I live in a flat that, while it’s absolutely fine in terms of space, is close to reaching the Billy Singularity. There are only so many bookshelves, IKEA or not, that I can conceivably put up in this place and stack with films, books and the like. There’s also the fact that we have subscribed to a number of streaming services, but we’re also still subscribed to regular TV, which includes a number of channels that have a pretty good selection of films. Lastly, I’ve come to realise that I had been buying so many films that, while they were well-reviewed and sounded good, ended up being the kind of films that I’d happily buy once – but I would just as happily leave it at that. No need to buy something that I’m fairly certain to begin with I would watch the one time only.

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I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Spice in the desert, blood on the dashboard

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.

Are we post-wave, pre-wave or both? Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine a future without the pandemic, and everything – including the culture we watch, read, listen to and play – is tinted, not to say tainted, by COVID-19. On Thursday, Matt tried to put his thoughts on the whole Groundhog Day-ness of it all into words. And mention Dune yet again. Obviously

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Six Damn Fine Degrees #37: Elmore Leonard

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!

I don’t care how many movies you own, if your bookshelf doesn’t contain at least one single Elmore Leonard novel, there is a gap in your collection. There are very few novelists whose prose is already so close to a screenplay; in fact, if you, like me, imagine something very much alike to a movie scenes while reading a novel, you have it easy with Leonard, because his writing is, in the best sense of the word, graphic.

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The Corona Diaries: The beginning is the end is the beginning

For a while it looked like we were over the worst. Well, when I say “we”… Let’s put it like this: in many places, numbers were going down, cinemas were opening up, people were wondering if we were returning to something akin to normalcy. I mean, I’ve been back to the Best Little Cinema in the World often since it opened its doors again in May. Work colleagues are going abroad on vacation. Isn’t this what normal looks like?

Remember when Mege posted this photo in his Corona Diaries entry in May 2020?

Or is this just what it looks like when people decide, as the finishing line comes into view, that they’ve had enough, and it’s the last bit that sucks the most, so why don’t we skip it?

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I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Don’t stop–

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.

Matt may not be as big a fan of Anthony Hopkins as many people, but he definitely liked The Father a lot, a film that’s worth seeing for more than just its acting. Check out his thoughts on Florian Zeller’s adaptation of his own play, Le pêre.

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Things fall apart: The Father (2020)

I’ll get it out of the way: I’m not actually that much of an Anthony Hopkins fan. He’s certainly great in many of his appearances, and he’s never not watchable, but I often feel that I’m watching a trademarked Anthony Hopkins performance, something that has the purpose of making the material he appears in look better than it really is. There’s no one like Hopkins to make mediocre scripts and outright schlock seem more classy, at least at a first glance, than what they really are – but a bit like that other saint of modern cinema, Meryl Streep, it’s rare that I watch a performance by Anthony Hopkins without being entirely aware that that is what I’m watching.

While I can’t say that Anthony Hopkins is unrecognisable in The Father, I will say that Hopkins the celebrity vanishes into Anthony the character almost entirely. And it is bitterly ironic that the character I’m watching is on the verge of vanishing himself.

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I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: I’ll show you the windmills of my mind!

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.

2021 has done funny things to time – sometimes it feels like it’s both speeded up and come to a complete standstill. Well, at least that’s our excuse for the longish break between the previous instalment of The Compleat Ingmar (on The Seventh Seal) and the most recent one, on the small but sweet The Devil’s Eye. Unfortunately it seems that YouTube doesn’t have any useable trailers for that one, just for some little-known horror film called Devil’s Eye – so instead here’s Criterion’s trailer for its wonderful box set Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema. Did we mention that we like Criterion here at A Damn Fine Cup of Culture?

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A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #46: Post-pandemic cinema

It is July – and in many countries, cinemas are open again, albeit with some restrictions. Have our intrepid cultural baristas already been back to movie theatres – and if so, what has it been like to be back after several months? How have they coped with half a year without cinemas? How has COVID-19 affected movie theatres and cinema goers alike? And how will the cinema landscape change after the pandemic? Even if we’re looking at a summer and autumn with open movie theatres (fingers crossed!) and upcoming blockbusters like the new James Bond and Denis Villeneuve’s long-awaited, often-postponed Dune, will cinema be the same? Join Alan, Julie and Matt as they discuss these and other issues concerning post-pandemic cinema!

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The Compleat Ingmar #23: The Devil’s Eye (1960)

Things are not well in hell: the devil has a pain in his eye, and as everyone knows, this can only mean one thing: there’s a young woman on earth who is about to enter marriage as a virgin. What’s a devil to do? Clearly, there’s only one thing: that famous sinner Don Juan must be dispatched post-haste to seduce the young Nordic maid!

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