Category: Movies & TV

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seven

6 Most Twisted Pranks in Crime Film

A perfect crime always has a bit of a prank to it. When you’re breaking the law, you’re duping society, after all. You play a joke on old Lady Justice. The punchline just happens to be a few steamer trunks of bearer bonds or a well-buried corpse.

But some crimes take the yukks to the next level. These law-shattering shenanigans score big on style points, surprise or sheer humor. And when it’s done for the sake of cinema, twisted pranks can leave their kink marks in our memory for years to come.

Here are 6 Twisted Pranks in Crime Film that never fail to split our sides or sicken our stomachs.

+Matthew Funk is a social media consultant, professional marketing copywriter and writing mentor. He is the editor of the Genre section of the critically acclaimed zine, FictionDaily and Full Stop. Winner of the Spinetingler award for Best Short Story on the Web 2010, M. C. Funk has been published at numerous sites online, indexed at his Web site, and in print with Needle Magazine, Howl, 6S and Crime Factory. He is represented by Stacia J. N. Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

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Suzhou River:

Dredging Suzhou River: Artifice and Art

At the very beginning of Lou Ye’s Suzhou River (Sūzhōu Hé) the unnamed and unseen narrator and protagonist whom works as a freelance cameraman tells the viewer that he is fine filming anything just so long as the client doesn’t complain. His camera, he says, shows things the way that they are. This statement recalls that famous one of Bruno Forestier in Godard’s Le Petit Soldat (his second feature film and first to star his muse and future wife, Anna Karina), “La photographie, c’est la vérité, et le cinéma, c’est vingt-quatre fois la vérité par seconde” – “Photography is truth, and cinema is truth 24 times per second”.

A lifelong lover of fantastic literature and sequential art, Paul Smith is a post graduate philosophy student and the man behind the up and coming literary criticism blog, Empty Your Heart of its Mortal Dream. If he could be any comic book superhero, he would be Blackagar Boltagon.

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james bond

From Russia With Love | The James Bond Zapiska

Ah, the Cold War.  Growing up as I did in the Eighties, there was no greater Bad Guy in film or print as evil or subversive or insidious as the Russians.  They were the eternal enemy, lurking across the ocean at the business end of a fleet of ICBMs.  It was a time of uncertainty, of mistrust, of a vague feeling that global nuclear catastrophe could happen at any time.  Not just that you might die, or your brother in the service might die, but that everyone might die.  That the culmination of human endeavors to this point might just end after the hasty push of a big red button.

The better sci-fi/fantasy pet? Spot from Star Trek: TNG, or Oy from Stephen King’s Dark Tower | Point/Counterpoint

This week we seek to answer that most pressing of questions: Which is the better sci-fi/fantasy pet?  Spot from Star Trek: The Next Generation, or Oy from Stephen King’s Dark Tower series?

Elisabeth Rappe was once an aspiring medievalist, now a writer for Film.com. A movie & video game loving bowl of awesome. Screw the cereal, I’m the prize inside!

Eric Schlelein is a Denver based freelance writer and science fiction enthusiast who proudly holds a Creative Writing degree from the University of Arizona.

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avalon

Authenticity in Mamoru Oshii’s Avalon

Before we begin, I would like to say a few brief words on the nature of this column. I believe it is impossible to talk about films without discussing what are considered spoilers, and to quote Jonathan Rosenbaum, “Is this form of worry a fit activity for grown-ups?” Therefore if you have an aversion to spoilers, I recommend that you do not read this column, consider this your only disclaimer.

A lifelong lover of fantastic literature and sequential art, Paul Smith is a post graduate philosophy student and the man behind the up and coming literary criticism blog, Empty Your Heart of its Mortal Dream. If he could be any comic book superhero, he would be Blackagar Boltagon.

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heat

5 Terrifying Crime Films That Actually Happened

There are plenty of crime films that straddle some scary territory: Serial killer suspense stories, “realistic” horror and a couple gangster-style stories with eerie elements. But even though Hollywood gets accused of slathering on the ultraviolence with a spatula, that’s often just what we want to believe to protect our nerves.

+Matthew Funk is a social media consultant, professional marketing copywriter and writing mentor. He is the editor of the Genre section of the critically acclaimed zine, FictionDaily and Full Stop. Winner of the Spinetingler award for Best Short Story on the Web 2010, M. C. Funk has been published at numerous sites online, indexed at his Web site, and in print with Needle Magazine, Howl, 6S and Crime Factory. He is represented by Stacia J. N. Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

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george rr martin

No Thrones – A George R.R. Martin Interview

I have always enjoyed reading interviews of George R.R. Martin. Not because they offer informative illuminating aspects to his masterpiece (and yes they do exist in epic fantasy) series A Song of Ice and Fire, which due to its multiple perspectives and often times subtle narrative at once offers the chance of being exposed to provocative information as well as the opportunity to be strung along on multiple elaborate red herrings. He historically refrains from talking about specifics regarding plot and characters. Neither is it especially because of any tendency by Martin to be controversial in his statements. What I find oddly compelling is that when I read interviews of Martin, I get this image of a busy writer who would rather be doing anything else but talking about himself while he has a book to write, and damn it, there’s something admirable about that.

protoculture hoarding, devil fruit eating, chilling in a house of leaves. Catch me @biglob

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meiko kaji

Songs of Hate: Meiko Kaji and Female Prisoner Scorpion (Part One)

She sold over a million albums, her films inspired much of Kill Bill, and when she didn’t want to do what she was asked of by executives, she said uh-uh and split for greener pastures. Her name is Meiko Kaji. Possessed with a confidence and an intensity that saw her type-cast as one of Japan’s toughest bad girls, Meiko’s beauty and fierce you’re-a-fucking-dead-man stare, framed by tresses of long jet-black hair (frequently shot in weirdly-angled extreme close-up), has made her a global cult film icon.

+Cameron Ashley lives and works in Brunswick, Australia. Aside from the local bar staff who know him too well, he toils away in obscurity on numerous pulpy projects, including Crime Factory. He lived in Japan from 2003-2006 and still works through his bizarre bi-polar love/hate (mainly love these days) for the place through his column at this site. Join him as he works it all out.

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cold fish

It’s Not The Quantity, It’s The Quality: Sion Sono’s COLD FISH

Back in my days teaching English in Japan, I raised the topic of murders and why they were so frequently extreme in Japan. One student actually said in reply, “It’s not the quantity, it’s the quality.” Kind of grimly funny, and a nice attempt at busting out some natural speech, but the thing is, I totally got what he meant. I always believed that the severed heads stuck on school fence posts and the dismembered parts littered around cities, not to mention the extreme pornography, were a result of social repression that, in certain people, boiled up and manifested itself in horribly sick, violent and often public ways. It’s not exactly a long bow to draw, is it? There’s a reason Ian Buruma’s fascinating book on Japanese culture (and valuable aid to this project), Behind the Mask is called that. It’s not just a clever title.

+Cameron Ashley lives and works in Brunswick, Australia. Aside from the local bar staff who know him too well, he toils away in obscurity on numerous pulpy projects, including Crime Factory. He lived in Japan from 2003-2006 and still works through his bizarre bi-polar love/hate (mainly love these days) for the place through his column at this site. Join him as he works it all out.

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pulp fiction

Top 10 Restaurants In Crime Film

Crime films often make me hungry. Often the restaurant scenes are among the best remembered in crime flicks. The coffee shops and Italian kitchens and juke joints where criminal characters go to grab a bite or do dirt serve to define them.

+Matthew Funk is a social media consultant, professional marketing copywriter and writing mentor. He is the editor of the Genre section of the critically acclaimed zine, FictionDaily and Full Stop. Winner of the Spinetingler award for Best Short Story on the Web 2010, M. C. Funk has been published at numerous sites online, indexed at his Web site, and in print with Needle Magazine, Howl, 6S and Crime Factory. He is represented by Stacia J. N. Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

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dumbo

Dumbo Soars Back Into Our Lives

Dumbo!

Disney has somehow pulled these live action versions of their classic and loved animated features off. While the story of Favreau’s Jungle Book didn’t blow me away I have to admit it crossed a visual boundary I wasn’t prepared to pass when I went into the theater and Beauty and Beast made over a billion dollars and it’s hard for me to believe The Lion King isn’t going to do the same.

protoculture hoarding, devil fruit eating, chilling in a house of leaves. Catch me @biglob

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monsters

Gareth Edwards’ Monsters | Notes from New Sodom

In the Interests of Precision

This is not a review. If you want to know whether I think director Gareth Edwards’s debut feature Monsters is worth seeing, I do. Go see it. But this isn’t about how good I think it is, and why; it’s about what the film’s doing, how this strange fiction (the specific example and the form in general) works. Whether it works well or not, for you or me — I don’t give a shit. More than anything, I want to use it here to explore the sort of dynamics at play in strange fiction, because the movie addresses one aspect of that dynamics directly, proclaiming this in its very title. The film is about the device of the monstrum that drives many narratives, not least those we project onto reality.

Hal Duncan is a sodomitic Scots smoker who staggered drunkenly into the SF Café in 2005 with his debut, VELLUM, and now has various novels, novellas, short stories, poems and essays circling in print or the aether. Further scribblings and rantings can be found at www.halduncan.com.

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Heroic Bloodshed: John Woo in Hong Kong | Tokyo Drifter

John Woo makes cool films. His Hong Kong action films are amongst some of, if not the best, action movies ever made. Films like A Better Tomorrow and its sequel, A Better Tomorrow II, The Killer, and Once a Thief had high grosses that contributed to the golden age of Hong Kong Cinema during the eighties and early nineties. His work proved influential not only in Hong Kong, but also in the international scene, leading to interest in Hong Kong cinema in countries like the United Kingdom and America, and influencing a generation of non-Asian filmmakers. Woo would himself later make the transition to Hollywood, making films like Broken Arrow and Face/Off, sadly not up to the same standard as his earlier work. For a generation though, Woo defined what it meant to be cool. Gangsters started to dress like Chow Yun Fat in A Better Tomorrow, complete with Alain Delon sunglasses (which caused them to be sold out in Hong Kong). The over the top gun fight choreography, slickness, hint of black humour, and symbolism that has become cliché through uninspired repetition by Hollywood was fresh and exciting. As Bordwell says, he is the ultimate Hong Kong auteur, because when you were watching one of his films, you knew that it could only be a John Woo film.

A lifelong lover of fantastic literature and sequential art, Paul Smith is a post graduate philosophy student and the man behind the up and coming literary criticism blog, Empty Your Heart of its Mortal Dream. If he could be any comic book superhero, he would be Blackagar Boltagon.

The Entertainers: 5 Essential Movies of Scam Cinema

Hollywood: it’s all a scam, isn’t it?

For all of our lives, the movies have promised us big, big things.  Action and adventure are just out there waiting for us.  Good always triumphs over evil.  A simple confusion of gender will result in a humorous situation.  And everybody is having way more sex than you.  Like the good little marks we all are, we run frantically to these show-biz con-men with fistfuls of dollars, just begging to be parted with our money and our senses.  And then as with any good con, once it’s all over, we stand there on the sidewalk, squinting in the sunlight, our dreams crushed by reality and our pockets empty.  The movies are the longest running scam in world history.

+Jimmy Callaway rules over Criminal Complex with an iron fist in a Playtex glove. He lives in San Diego, California.

In the Black Library with Dan Abnett | Interview Part 1

For me this is the interview to end all interviews.

It’s not often one gets to interview a personal hero; I suspect this is mostly because heroes don’t enjoy mopping up fanboy drool, and frankly, who can blame them? This is going to be a little different from my other interviews, because while the others have been with relatively new talent, Dan Abnett has been writing for around 27 years and has done everything, and I do mean everything, from Marvel comics to Mr. Men, as well as a phenomenal novel set in a world of his own creation.

Phillip is an Existential Psychotherapist and Teacher by day and a writer, gamer and all round geek in the hours of darkness. He claims to be enjoying the creative process enormously and secretly harbours the hope of publishing a novel one day…

In and Out of The Big House: DOING TIME and 9 SOULS

By his own admission, noted Mangaka (pro comics creator) Kazuichi Hanawa had long been interested in themes of confinement. An early, unfinished experiment was a manga concerning a masked man locked up in a basement. It’s oddly appropriate then that Hanawa, a noted collector of replica firearms would, years later, be incarcerated in Hokkaido and serve roughly twenty months of a three-year sentence (December 1994-October 1996) after “trying out” some remodelled guns he’d acquired.

+Cameron Ashley lives and works in Brunswick, Australia. Aside from the local bar staff who know him too well, he toils away in obscurity on numerous pulpy projects, including Crime Factory. He lived in Japan from 2003-2006 and still works through his bizarre bi-polar love/hate (mainly love these days) for the place through his column at this site. Join him as he works it all out.

Playin’ With Ice and Fire – A Game of Thoughts | Tyrion Lannister Chapter 13

We back and Elena focuses on info dumping while I give props to days of   ‘yore.  Forgot about us? She’s new, I’m the re-reader.  We are continuing our reread of George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and getting our POV on.  We return covering everyone’s favorite Romeo, Tyrion Lannister!

Elena Nola is the imperial editrix for the Boomtron empire. She likes genre books, weird movies, and obscure references. She lives in New Orleans, where almost every day is good enough for good times. You can follow her reviews and commentaries at Boomtron.

Jay is a silent partner in Extensive Enterprises, a bastard child of Amber, an Eleint Soletaken, a probable Targaryen, and was the second-to-last Starfighter.

More Evil, the Borg or the Aliens? | Point/Counterpoint

In our never-ending quest to reduce the absurd, we offer the following Point/Counterpoint discussion:  Who is the better evil insidious race, the Borg, or the Aliens?

Elisabeth Rappe was once an aspiring medievalist, now a writer for Film.com. A movie & video game loving bowl of awesome. Screw the cereal, I’m the prize inside!

Eric Schlelein is a Denver based freelance writer and science fiction enthusiast who proudly holds a Creative Writing degree from the University of Arizona.

Playin’ with Ice and Fire – A Game of Thoughts | Eddard Stark Chapter 12

Elena and I agree on something! Oh, How we glitter! She’s new, I’m the re-reader. Together we are rereading George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and getting our POV on. We are back with a Ned Stark chapter and I waive the white flag as Elena gets kind of nice this week (and like Robert, I’d rather be hunting or wenching than blogging).

Elena Nola is the imperial editrix for the Boomtron empire. She likes genre books, weird movies, and obscure references. She lives in New Orleans, where almost every day is good enough for good times. You can follow her reviews and commentaries at Boomtron.

Jay is a silent partner in Extensive Enterprises, a bastard child of Amber, an Eleint Soletaken, a probable Targaryen, and was the second-to-last Starfighter.

Playin’ with Ice and Fire – A Game of Thoughts | Jon Snow Chapter 10

Comic Con? Losers. The well-adjusted cool saved their money, stayed home and refreshed until this update. I decided to put this up today so George R.R. himself could attend the gathering tomorrow. Among the people at NYCC this weekend is Elena (shower her with praise if you see her), but before she took the BSC jet to New York, she dropped of the next edition of our trek through A Game of Thrones. Who is Elena? She’s new, I’m the re-reader. Together we are rereading George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and getting our POV on. Let’s see what Jon Snow is up to!

Elena Nola is the imperial editrix for the Boomtron empire. She likes genre books, weird movies, and obscure references. She lives in New Orleans, where almost every day is good enough for good times. You can follow her reviews and commentaries at Boomtron.

Jay is a silent partner in Extensive Enterprises, a bastard child of Amber, an Eleint Soletaken, a probable Targaryen, and was the second-to-last Starfighter.

Best Fantasy Movies of the Decade: 2000-2009

When I was asked to write a companion piece to my Best Science Fiction Movies of the Decade list, I thought it would be equally as easy.  I was wrong.  There were a lot of kind of good fantasy movies over the last 10 years, but not really a lot of great ones.  I think a top five or a top 15 list would have been easier–I had a hell of a time deciding on the last two slots on this list, because I think compelling arguments could have been made for other movies for each of those last picks.

Elena Nola is the imperial movie critic and the colder half of the Ladies of Ice and Fire.

Playin’ with Ice and Fire – A Game of Thoughts | Tyrion Lannister Chapter 9

She’s new, I’m the re-reader. Together we are rereading George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and getting our POV on. Let’s get to Tyrion Lannister!

Elena Nola is the imperial editrix for the Boomtron empire. She likes genre books, weird movies, and obscure references. She lives in New Orleans, where almost every day is good enough for good times. You can follow her reviews and commentaries at Boomtron.

Jay is a silent partner in Extensive Enterprises, a bastard child of Amber, an Eleint Soletaken, a probable Targaryen, and was the second-to-last Starfighter.

Charlie Adlard Interview – Portrait of the Artist as a Walking Dead Man

Back in the nineties, I had the pleasure of working with Charlie Adlard on Topp’s The X-Files comic.  Ages later, the man who draws The Walking Dead was kind enough to spend some time catching up on Skype.  And it all went something like this…

Stefan Petruchaspent his formative years moving between the big city and the suburbs, both of which made him prefer escapism. A fan of comic books, science fiction and horror since learning to read, he later added a love for all sorts of literary work, eventually learning that the very best fiction always brings you back to reality, so, really, there’s no way out.

Playin’ with Ice and Fire – A Game of Thoughts | Bran Stark Chapter 8

And we all fall down! So how did Elena react to Bran’s tumble? What does she predict? Does Jay even care about the little guy? Just who the hell are Elena and Jay? She’s new, I’m the re-reader. Together we are rereading George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and getting our POV on.

Elena Nola is the imperial editrix for the Boomtron empire. She likes genre books, weird movies, and obscure references. She lives in New Orleans, where almost every day is good enough for good times. You can follow her reviews and commentaries at Boomtron.

Jay is a silent partner in Extensive Enterprises, a bastard child of Amber, an Eleint Soletaken, a probable Targaryen, and was the second-to-last Starfighter.

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scott pilgrim

The Scott Pilgrim Girlfriend Test

So you’ve finally met a girl who seems cool.  Outlook: positive…except that you can’t figure out how to suss out her level of nerdery without offending her or seeming even geekier than you are by running through every conceivable point of geekiness she might secretly have.  Well, you’re in luck, because the graphic novel series Scott Pilgrim has been made into a movie that could literally double as a girlfriend test if your interests and/or lifestyle require a girl who is at the least tolerant of the geek in you.

Elena Nola is the imperial movie critic and the colder half of the Ladies of Ice and Fire.