I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: The Comic-Con Edition

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.

Some films don’t quite come together but are still worth it for their individual components. Matt saw Petrov’s Flu recently, and while he thinks the film gets in its own way in the end, there’s a lot to like about it… if you’re looking for a fever dream of a film

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Six Damn Fine Degrees #88: Harry Potter and “O Children”

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!

This should come with a lot of caveats, but the Fantastic Beasts films have given me a new, albeit partial appreciation of the Harry Potter films. Remember those? Orphan discovers he’s a wizard, goes to a wizarding school, makes friends with some kids, is bullied by others, and all the while this noseless evil wizard threatens the world. For some reason the whole thing, starting with the books and definitely not ending with the films, was a huge success – so You Know Who started a massive media franchise and shared fictional universe, and they roped in the likes of Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Jude Law and Colin Farrell – no, Johnny Depp – no, actually it’s Mads Mikkelsen – to make more of these films and make more money. Sadly, while I found the first of the Fantastic Beasts messy but surprisingly charming, the sequels that have since come out have made it blatantly obvious that whatever magic they lucked on with the original novels and their movie adaptations, this new series would need a lot more wizardry, dark or light, to be successful. Both The Crimes of Grindelwald and The Secrets of Dumbledore suffered massively from plots that were both overly complicated and utterly irrelevant. Momentous things happen, only to turn out that, really, they didn’t matter at all.

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I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Twisted sisters, rings and clowns

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.

It doesn’t get much more red than this: Matt continued his Bergman odyssey with Cries and Whispers, as harrowing a film as the director has ever made.

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A Damn Fine Espresso: July 2022

A Damn Fine Cup of Culture has talked about musicals before – but this month’s espresso is a special treat: Alan has seen the production of Cabaret that is currently being shown at the Playhouse Theatre in London. He and Julie talk about the production and how it compares to Christopher Isherwood’s original stories that Cabaret is based on, as well as the 1972 film by Bob Fosse, featuring Liza Minelli in her iconic turn as Sally Bowles. How do the various production choices change the characters and the overall depiction of Berlin during the Weimar Republic? And, obviously, what are Alan’s thoughts on the stage production: is this time jump to 1929 Berlin worth taking if you happen to find yourself in London?

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The Compleat Ingmar #35: Cries and Whispers (1972)

While the supposed heaviness of Bergman’s filmography is frequently exaggerated (or am I the only one who finds The Seventh Seal with its snarky Death entertaining, even if the film undoubtedly isn’t a laugh riot beginning to end?), it is certainly true that many of his films deal with heavy themes. Mortality in the abstract is a frequent motif, but so is death in the very concrete. And death in Bergman’s films may never have been as harrowing as in his 1972 film Cries and Whispers, the first half of which depicts the suffering and agony of Agnes, one of its four main characters.

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I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: If you believe they put a man on the moon

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.

In 1989, the documentary film For All Mankind provided a different perspective on the Apollo programme and the moon landing. In 2022, Matt finally got around to watching the film and writing about it.

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Six Damn Fine Degrees #86: Grace Jones, I’ve Seen That Face Before

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 was in Florence some years ago, it was a one-week holiday, and it should have gone on longer, because I grew to like the city a whole lot. For instance, in the Nelson bookstore, you could take any book you wanted from their shelves and into their coffee shop and read it or leaf through it. The downside was that some of their books no longer looked pristine. The downside includes that the shop does not seem to exist any longer – at least I was unable to find it, and I seem to remember that it was at one side of a huge square.

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Criterion Corner: For All Mankind (#54)

Earlier this year, we saw Summer of Soul, Questlove’s documentary/concert film hybrid about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. In its last third, the film juxtaposes the festival, an event by and for the African America community that at the time (and not just then) was sorely disadvantaged and underserved, and the first moon landing, where NASA put Whitey on the Moon. Why are millions spent on space exploration when the planet we live on is severely lacking in so many respects?

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I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Release the Beast

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.

When we started our weekly Six Damn Fine Degrees series of posts, who would’ve thought that we’d get to Give My Regards to Broadstreet: the album, the film, the 8-bit game?

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A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #58: Summer of Directors – Ida Lupino

Our Summer of Directors reaches its midpoint, with an episode that is special in two different respects. For one thing, we’re talking about an artist whose name should be much, much more familiar than it is: Ida Lupino, the English-American actress, singer, writer, producer, and, yes, director, whose films such as Outrage, The Bigamist and The Hitch-Hiker are fascinating, intriguing, and unusually frank (not only for the time!), dealing with topics such as rape and its social fallout or toxic masculinity long before such topics were common in the movies, and in ways that are more intriguing and nuanced than many more modern films. The episode is also special for another reason: Julie and Alan are joined by Johannes Binotto, lecturer at the University of Zürich and the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, who’s written and spoken about Lupino. (You can check out some of his work on Lupino in video and text format – in German, but it’s still well worth checking out if you understand the language or trust DeepL to do a reasonably good job of translating it.) Many thanks to Johannes for his time and for sharing his views and profound knowledge of the subject with us and our listeners!

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