I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Only you can prevent forest fires!

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’s been spending some more time in virtual worlds, in particular a digital version of 1980s Wyoming, spotting fires. He wrote about his experience here – which should go well with the Firewatch trailer.

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Six Damn Fine Degrees #91: The Hitchcock That Wasn’t There

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 sausage that was too much: Just like this moment from Torn Curtain (1966), many fascinating Hitchcock ideas, scenes and projects were cut.

I must admit I have not (yet) become as much of a connoisseur of the Coen Brothers’ oeuvre as Matt has revealed himself to be in last week’s insightful post on a number of standout scenes from their lesser-liked films. However, I immediately thought of directors I know somewhat better, particularly how Hitchcock’s over fifty feature films would lend themselves to a ranking of standout scenes of even his less-appreciated films. Beyond obvious scenes in showers, on top of towers and gazing out rear windows, one could probably run a blog or a series of podcasts just on the one standout scene from every one of his movies. After all, Hitchcock was particularly masterful at making scenes, even single objects stand out and in creating masterful compositions, but also making them so memorable as unique scenes that work outside of the film itself.

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Footnotes: The Music Makers

We thought long and hard about whether we wanted to put musical excerpts in our podcast episode on movie soundtracks, but in the end we decided against it – not least because these pieces should be heard in their entirety, and they tend to work best when you listen to them along to the respective scenes from the films they’re from. So, below you’ll find our picks and some more of our thoughts about these wonderful tunes and composers.

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The Rear-View Mirror: James Stewart (1908)

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!

When I think of James Stewart, I think of his everyman persona, not too dissimilar to that of, say, Tom Hanks. I think of him as the perennial regular Joe, the guy next door. A decent man. Exasperated, perhaps, but fundamentally good. So it always comes as something of a surprise when I watch one of his films – Vertigo, obviously, but even Frank Capra’s Christmas evergreen It’s a Wonderful Life – and find something more interesting, more complicated.

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The Rear-View Mirror: Bernard Herrmann (1911)

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!

You don’t have to be into movies all that much to have been scared by Bernard Herrmann (1911-1975). He started composing when still a teenager and also worked as an orchestrator and conductor later on. One of his first notable contributions was for Orson Welles’ original 1938 broadcast of War of the Worlds. Hermann’s music must have had a hand in the fact that so many listeners thought that the Martians were really coming.

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I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Writers, directors, psychos and other criminals

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.

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A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #33: The Good, the Bad and Alfred Hitchcock

d1ad56da-abce-4afe-9f45-79294aede9e3We have had a certain Norman Bates over for a fresh, hot cup of culture before, but this is the first time we’re dedicating an entire episode to the Master of Suspense himself – and, more specifically, to good gals, good guys and villains in three films by Hitchcock. From Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, Claude Rains and the ambivalent love triangle of Notorious to the wild ride and camp masculinities of North by Northwest and the shattered allegiances and mummy issues of Psycho (but then, it’s mother issues all the way down in Hitchcock, isn’t it?), join us – and our guest for June, Sam – for a chat about the good, the bad and Alfred Hitchcock!

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d1ad56da-abce-4afe-9f45-79294aede9e3We have had a certain Norman Bates over for a fresh, hot cup of culture before, but this is the first time we’re dedicating an entire episode to the Master of Suspense himself – and, more specifically, to good gals, good guys and villains in three films by Hitchcock. From Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, Claude Rains and the ambivalent love triangle of Notorious to the wild ride and camp masculinities of North by Northwest and the shattered allegiances and mummy issues of Psycho (but then, it’s mother issues all the way down in Hitchcock, isn’t it?), join us – and our guest for June, Sam – for a chat about the good, the bad and Alfred Hitchcock!

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The Rear View Mirror: My Cousin Rachel (1951)

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!

Daphne du Maurier’s novel My Cousin Rachel, published in 1951, seems to exist in the spot where the universes of Jane Austen and Agatha Christie touch. On the one hand, the tone of the book is well-mannered, and its characters are not allowed to flat-out say what they passionately would like to say, but have to hide behind the mores of the era. On the other hand, someone dies, and another character is in danger to meet the same fate, so whodunnit? Continue reading

A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #25: Psychopaths (2)

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Sometimes they come back: since our last episode, where we discussed black and white movie psychopaths, couldn’t contain all the cinematic psychoses, we’re dedicating a second episode to our favourite psycho killers. Starting from the question what we consider the archetypical pop culture psychopaths, our three intrepid pop culture baristas embark on a journey, beginning with the capo of New Jersey from HBO’s The Sopranos. Is Tony Soprano a narcissistic psychopath or does he really care about those ducks? We then move on to ’60s and ’70s San Francisco and gaze into the absence at the centre of David Fincher’s Zodiac, before the episode finally ends on American Psycho and the dark, cold, empty heart of Wall Street psychopathy.

If you haven’t already done so, make sure to check out episode 24, where we talked about movie psychopaths and psychopath movies, from Night of the Hunter via Fritz Lang’s M to the psycho granddaddy of them all: Norman Bates and Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

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A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #24: Psychopaths (1)

d1ad56da-abce-4afe-9f45-79294aede9e3From the Weimar Republic child murderer of Fritz Lang’s M (1931) via Reverend Harry Powell from the dark fairy tale The Night of the Hunter (1955) to Hitchcock’s seminal Psycho (1960) and its twitchy Norman Bates: what better way to celebrate summer with your cultural barristas than with a chat about some good, old-fashioned classic films with and about psychopaths?

We will return to the psycho well to discuss more modern movie psychopaths for our 25th episode, coming to your earbuds this August.

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