I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Do you think death could possibly be a boat?

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.

Last week it finally happened: A Damn Fine Cup of Culture was deemed too raunchy by Facebook. Okay, that may not be quite accurate – truth be told, we will probably never know why Facebook suddenly decided that we’d violated their T&Cs with the name of our page. Was it the “damn”? Was it that we made claims to the extraordinary quality of our cups of culture? Or was it something else entirely, like the wrong number of capitals? Anyway, we are now back on Facebook, complete with what some people might consider naughty words in our name. Let’s see what Mark Z comes up with next, shall we?

All of this happened on the same day that Sam posted another wonderful instalment of Six Damn Fine Degrees, in honour of two of the Grande Dames of dubbing: Marni Nixon, who featured in many a film musical without getting the credit she deserved, and Nikki van der Zyl, the woman who gave a voice to so many Bond girls. We can hear a (sadly, very small) handful of her lines dubbing Ursula Andress in the trailer for the Bond film that started it all, Dr. No.

Continue reading

Tell me who you are, so I can tell you who you are: Alias Grace and Ex Machina

Over the last couple of weeks, we watched the 2017 Netflix series Alias Grace. It is a smart, stylish adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel, with strong writing by Sarah Polley and direction by Mary Harron (of American Psycho fame), and the acting is impeccable, especially when it comes to Sarah Gadon as the Irish maid Grace Marks who may or may not have helped murder her employer and his housekeeper. The series handles tone and genre well, navigating between historical drama, dry black comedy, true crime, gothic horror and deft commentary on gender, class truth and fiction.

And about halfway through the final episode I thought that Alias Grace isn’t all that different from that film with the robot.

Continue reading

Six Damn Fine Degrees #20: Dubbed and snubbed – the secret voices of Hollywood

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.

Question: Do you think this is actually Audrey Hepburn singing the wonderful “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffanys (discussed in last week’s post by Alan)?

Continue reading

I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Taking the Mickey – right out of the trailer

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 was a remarkably busy week at A Damn Fine Cup of Culture, starting with three journeys – into pre-history, a Jules Verne-style alternate past, to the moon, and beyond! Matt wrote about his encounters with Karel Zeman’s oeuvre in the beautiful Criterion edition of three of his key films. (We would say that you should Czech this out, but obviously we’re above such cheesy puns.)

Continue reading

A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #42: The Complicated Women of Pre-Code Cinema

… or how the Code Ruined Everything. Welcome listeners! For our March episode we will look into the cinema of the 1930s, before the Motion Picture Production Code was enforced in 1934. Just after the roaring ’20s and through the Great Depression, there was a space for stories and characters which would ultimately be lost to Hollywood. A space where there was an opportunity for a different kind of part – especially for women. Where rather than just virgin or vixen, there was room for something in between: something more interesting, more human, and so much more fun! Tune in as Alan and Julie explore what makes pre-code films, and the characters who inhabit them, so special!

Continue reading

Six Damn Fine Degrees #19: Mr Yunioshi

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.

Watching classic cinema for the first time on the big screen can be a fabulous experience. Firstly, you’re getting to see how the makers intended you to see it. Secondly, the audience in the type of cinemas that play old movies tend to be incredibly well-behaved. No loud phone calls mid-movie or bored kids kicking the back of your chair.

Continue reading

A Journey through Worlds of Wonders: Three Films by Karel Zeman

At the very least since I first watched Star Wars recorded off ITV onto a Betamax video tape, I’ve had a keen interest in special effects, and in films that use special effects to create unique and different worlds and beings. In this respect, though, the last twenty years or so have been something of a disillusionment: while CGI visual effects have become more and more realistic and indistinguishable from reality, they only rarely recapture one of the things I enjoyed most as a kid. See, the kind of special effects I’ve enjoyed most were never about verisimilitude, at least not first and foremost. A fantastic world is made believable and engaging by the imagination going into it more than by the number of pixels and shaders. And sure, I prefer a well-made green screen effect providing the illusion that those kids on broomsticks can really fly to a bad green screen effect aiming for the same thing and failing, but the special effects that stick most in my mind are the ones that transport me to a different, more interesting world – and that can be achieved by miniature spaceships suspended on threads you can make out if you look closely.

Continue reading

I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: In Cold Blood, in more ways than one

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 has been a relatively quiet week at A Damn Fine Cup of Culture, but we did have a tribute to the wonderful Toby Jones in Friday’s instalment of Six Damn Fine Degrees. Jones lost the Battle of the Capotes in the mid-Noughties, and his Infamous was pretty much overshadowed by Capote, which came out the year before, but that’s all the more reason to give Jones his due here.

Continue reading

Six Damn Fine Degrees #18: Toby Jones

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.

You know how sometimes there are these strange cases of cinema serendipity, where within a year you’d get not just one but two big films about, say, asteroids heading for Earth and teams of astronauts sent on a mission to destroy them. Or CGI comedies about ants. Or biopics about legendary Scottish freedom fighters.

Perhaps the strangest of those pairs of ‘twin films’, as the phenomenon is called on Wikipedia, is the 2005 film Capote and 2006’s Infamous, both of which told the story of Truman Capote’s writing of his 1966 book In Cold Blood. Capote received wide acclaim and won its lead actor Philip Seymour Hoffman an Academy Award. Infamous, though, was barely noticed – beyond the comparisons to the film released earlier. And this extended to the actor who played Infamous‘ version of Truman Capote: Toby Jones.

The Two Capotes
Continue reading

I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Say it with me – “It’s not TV. It’s…”

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.

Remember when every year seemed to see the release of half a dozen adaptations of YA novels, with bonus points if you were 1) starting a trilogy, 2) the final film of that trilogy was to be split into two films and 3) there were still people interested enough to watch the final instalment? For last Friday’s Six Damn Fine Degrees post, Mege took a look back at the YA franchise that probably fared best, apart from the media behemoth that was Harry Potter, and that in no small way because of a cast to die – or kill – for: The Hunger Games.

Continue reading