I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: This year, the holidays come early

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.

The contest that was first turned into a documentary (Hands on a Hardbody), then a musical, and most recently a film by German director Bastian Günther: Hands-On, in which rural Americans desperate to win a truck spend day and night with their hands on a truck. There’s something nearly religious about this – but sadly, Matt didn’t find Günther’s film One of These Days (although it definitely has things going for it) worthy of worship.

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I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: That distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice

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.

For our first Six Damn Fine Degrees after our 100th post in the series, Mege wrote about the legendary Dave Grohl and his autobiography The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music, published in 2021 – a good start to the next hundred instalments! And since Anton Corbijn’s Control (about Ian Curtis of Joy Division) got a mention, here’s a trailer for the 2007 film.

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A Damn Fine Espresso: October 2022

As with our September shot of espresso, in which we talked about the first season of the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, we’re staying in the land of Netflix: this month Julie and Alan talk about Andrew Dominik’s Blonde – again an adaptation, this time of Joyce Carol Oates garage-sized novel. What did our cultural baristas think of Dominik’s much-debated and much-derided film? Spoiler: though the two come at the film from slightly different perspectives, neither is a big fan of the film. Join them for their discussion about Ana de Armas’ performance, biopic vs Hollywood fable, and (of course) all the talking fetuses you want!

If you’re interested in more on Blonde and Marilyn Monroe, make sure to check out Christina Newland’s BFI interview with Andrew Dominik, Farran Nehme’s thoughts on the film (please note that this is behind a paywall) – and obviously our episode on Marilyn the icon, her movies and her legacy from September 2020!

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I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: For all your cheeseboarding needs

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 would Matt be, or do, without his beloved Criterion backlog? He recently got around to watching Nicholas Ray’s In a Lonely Place, a film he hadn’t known previously, and wrote about it here. Definitely worth it already for Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame!

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Criterion Corner: In a Lonely Place (#810)

Humphrey Bogart is a strange leading man: while charismatic, he is not exactly handsome, and as he got older, the contrast between his charisma and his lack of conventionally good looks got bigger. He wasn’t afraid to play characters that were unpleasant, though interestingly so, and he didn’t shy away from his characters’ dark sides, their cowardice, neediness, pettiness and egotism. Look at Fred C. Dobbs, his character in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre: he’s not a Disney villain, he is not an evil mastermind, he is a small, pitiful man, really, who meets a pitiful end. How many Hollywood leading men at the time were happy to play such roles?

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I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Kingdoms, bears and broken mirrors

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 is almost done with his extended trip through Ingmar Bergman’s films, and before the final double-whammy of Fanny and Alexander in its TV and cinematic versions, he watched Autumn Sonata – undoubtedly a good, well-acted film, but not necessarily one that brings anything new to the director’s oeuvre… other than a certain iconic actress with a very familiar surname.

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Six Damn Fine Degrees #99: “And if you gaze long enough into Shakespeare…”

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!

In last week’s Six Damn Fine Degrees post, Julie wrote about Shakespeare on film. In the post, she also talked about “less faithful adaptations”, which made me wonder: what do people generally consider a faithful adaptation of Shakespeare? Does faithful mean as close as possible to what those performances at the Rose Theatre or the Globe, back in the heady days around the turn of the century (16th to 17th, that is)? All in one location with minimal set changes, no artificial lighting, all female characters played by boys, that sort of thing? Because, most likely, that kind of stylised, formalised performance would be so alien to many people that they’d consider it downright avantgarde.

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The Compleat Ingmar #38: Autumn Sonata (1978)

Is it fair to say that Ingmar Bergman was his own greatest rival? There are a number of films in his filmography that are good, interesting films featuring strong performances – but when you watch them, you think of other, better films that Bergman made. Autumn Sonata may be one of those films; it is certainly not his strongest psychodrama centred on a conflict between women too close for their own good. But it has something that none of the other films have: that other iconic Bergman in 20th century cinema.

Autumn Sonata (1978, Ingmar Bergman) – Offscreen
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I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Stop and go

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.

Sometimes we like to mix and match our forms of culture, so in this week’s Six Damn Fine Degrees Julie talked about the works of William Shakespeare adapted to the screen. There’s so much great cinematic Shakespeare to choose from, so here’s a trailer for a film about staging Shakespeare instead: Kenneth Branagh’s In the Bleak Midwinter (or A Midwinter’s Tale, as the Americans know it, if they actually knew the film).

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A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #61: Festival!

Summer is over, as is our Summer of Directors – and this also means that the main festival period of 2022 has come to an end. The last few years, festivals have been greatly affected by the pandemic, and especially in 2020 and 2021 many of the big festivals were vastly reduced or didn’t happen at all. But this year they came back – and after our five big courses focusing on directors, from Jane Campion via Ida Lupino to Martin Scorsese, here’s a palate cleanser in which Alan, Julie and Matt talk about their own festival memories and experiences. Whether it’s the classic open-air music festivals of our youth, contemporary arts or local film festivals: what are our thoughts on the format? Do festivals change how we enjoy culture? What are our favourite memories? How essential are schedules and spreadsheets to the perfect festival experience… and just how damn middle-aged have we become while we weren’t watching?

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