I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Oh, the croc, babe, has such teeth, dear

Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest installment 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.

Read more

The Corona Diaries: I’m up and dressed, what more do you want?

I

Since Monday 11th, this country of ours has opened some of the restaurants and selected stores and businesses under certain conditions, but not my daughter’s school. As before, capitalism trumps education. And I still have to work from home, which doesn’t half work. I don’t mean to say that we should open up everything, and unconditionally. I mean the opposite: when someone is down with the flu, we recommend that they stay at home until they are fine again, plus one day, just to be safe. Can we not do that right now as well, seeing as the new freedoms are grossly abused? We are risking an absolutely unnecessary second wave these days, and what should have been a mild second wave when every public pool, every fitness room, every brothel will open again, will be a third wave.

Continue reading

I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Faces, places, flowers and film

Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest installment 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.

Read more

I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Seeing double

Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest installment 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.

Read more

The Rear-View Mirror: The Lucky Dog (1921)

Each Friday we travel back in time, one year at a time, for a look at some of the cultural goodies that may appear closer than they really are in The Rear-View Mirror. Join us on our weekly journey into the past!

Four and a half minutes into 1921’s “The Lucky Dog” comedy short, cinematic history is made. The film’s hero – a penniless young man with a surprisingly emo take on eye make-up – is chasing the eponymous lucky dog when he embroils himself in a mugging. As this is the knockabout world of early film comedy, the hold-up does not go according to plan, and the intended victim ends up racing off with more money than when he started, the oversized brute (do brutes come in any other size?) in hot pursuit.

What makes this particular moment historic is the identity of both mugger and muggee. The former is played by Oliver “Babe” Hardy, already a veteran with over a hundred comedy shorts under his belt. His intended victim, a relative newbie to Hollywood but already in leading roles, is Stan Laurel.

Continue reading

Mother Dearest: Lara (2019)

Lara begins as the story of a suicide postponed, and the question that hangs over the film is whether it will end with Lara finishing what she began. Even before she gets the chair and steps on it, it’s clear that Lara isn’t just looking out of the window to enjoy the view of Berlin. There’s something in how she holds herself that seems… defeated, perhaps. This is not a woman who sees her life as a bouquet of possibilities. This is a woman who has had enough. Enough of what, though? Of whom?

Continue reading

A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #32: Synecdoche, New York

d1ad56da-abce-4afe-9f45-79294aede9e3Shakespeare once wrote that all the world’s a stage – but what if you turn that upside down and try to make your stage into all the world? This is what Cayden Cotard, sadsack protagonist of Charlie Kaufman’s directorial debut Synecdoche, New York attempts. Does he succeed? Does Kaufman’s first film as writer and director work as well as those of his scripts filmed by other directors, such as Being John Malkovich or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? Is Cotard (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) relatable in his neurotic urge to make up for his lack of control in his life by means of his art, or is he what keeps the film from greatness? And, in the end, what the hell is it all about?

For this month’s journey into metafiction, Julie and Matt are joined by Eric, culture buff and contributor to A Damn Fine Cup of Culture. Get yourself some coffee, tea or whatever else keeps you afloat during these strange and trying times and join us for episode 32 of the podcast!

Continue reading

d1ad56da-abce-4afe-9f45-79294aede9e3Shakespeare once wrote that all the world’s a stage – but what if you turn that upside down and try to make your stage into all the world? This is what Cayden Cotard, sadsack protagonist of Charlie Kaufman’s directorial debut Synecdoche, New York attempts. Does he succeed? Does Kaufman’s first film as writer and director work as well as those of his scripts filmed by other directors, such as Being John Malkovich or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? Is Cotard (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) relatable in his neurotic urge to make up for his lack of control in his life by means of his art, or is he what keeps the film from greatness? And, in the end, what the hell is it all about?

For this month’s journey into metafiction, Julie and Matt are joined by Eric, culture buff and contributor to A Damn Fine Cup of Culture. Get yourself some coffee, tea or whatever else keeps you afloat during these strange and trying times and join us for episode 32 of the podcast!

Continue reading

The Rear-View Mirror: Häxan (1922)

Each Friday we travel back in time, one year at a time, for a look at some of the cultural goodies that may appear closer than they really are in The Rear-View Mirror. Join us on our weekly journey into the past!

Häxan, a Swedish-Danish silent film from 1922, is a fascinating cultural artifact in so many ways, even before you get to the bit where witches kiss the devil’s behind. Historically, culturally and cinematically, it constitutes a trip to a very different time and place – both in terms of its depiction of medieval Europe and of when and where it was made. There is a strangeness to the film that is intriguing, but at the same time its format is oddly familiar – more so now, perhaps, than it would have been ten, twenty years ago. Because, essentially, Häxan is an extended video essay.

Continue reading

Vikings in the Rear-View Mirror, Humming from the Back Seat

There’s this man, Bill Drummond, who tells us to Imagine Waking Up Tomorrow and All Music Has Disappeared. All instruments and all recording devices, too. We wouldn’t even know what music was, and we would have to re-invent it by using our voices. That is Drummond’s mission. He has fun with the concept, but he is also utterly serious – driven, almost. He gathers people all over the world (prayer groups, schoolkids, construction workers) and tells them that they are part of a choir called ‘The17’. He tells them what to sing and records them. He arranges people in a huge circle, for instance in Berlin, calls the project ‘Surround’, and has them shout at each other like in Chinese Whispers. He has become a performance artist, using print, graffiti and paintings in his latter years, but music and sounds are at the center of what he does, at least in this documentary.

Continue reading

I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: You can call him Al

Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest installment 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.

Read more