Trash

Give a hoot (or else)

Berkeley's Pacific Film Archives' film series gives environmental concerns the depth Gore's film avoided
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WILD WILDLIFE Had director Davis Guggenheim attempted to explore all the creative possibilities that lie behind such a name as Al Gore (get it?), An Inconvenient Truth would have been a much more interesting and way scarier film. Not that turning a pressingly threatening environmental issue into unforgettably blatant propaganda isn't frightening. Read more »

Fin-tastic

Discovery's Shark Week attacks!
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TOOTHY TV Stop fronting like you don't love Shark Week. You live for its exciting footage of the world's most potent predators, its programming that veers between sensational and scientific, and its narration that comes overstuffed with metaphors: "She is a missile, armed with teeth ... ready to fire!" The Discovery Channel knows it has you by the chum bucket, so it's devoting an entire week of programming to Shark Week's 20th anniversary. Read more »

Tune in, turn on, "Psych-Out"

A filmed-in-the-Haight fable about Summer of Love hippies doing, like, hippie stuff, man
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CULT FILM Some movies define a generation. Some distort a generation. Very special ones manage both. Welcome to the genius of Psych-Out, a 1968 American International Pictures epic (produced by none other than squeaky-clean American Bandstand icon Dick Clark) that remains perhaps the all-time high-water mark in cinematic hippiesploitation.

Oh, Psych-Out, Psych-Out, Psych-Out! How many times have I loved your psychedelic excesses since that fateful first viewing in the 1980s at Boston's annual Schlock-around-the-Clock marathon? Read more »

When cute animals attack

Pokémon Diamond; Pokémon Pearl
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(Nintendo; Nintendo DS)

GAMER Continuing my current tendency to gravitate toward games involving cute animals, I recently became addicted to the latest Pokémon installment, Pokémon Diamond. Pokémon Pearl is the same game with some different Pokémon.

My first Pokémon experience came during a long road trip in 2000, when I got hooked on Pokémon Gold. Read more »

"Heart" attack

Director Michael Winterbottom and crew take aim at Angelina Jolie in A Mighty Heart
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FILM Angelina Jolie in blackface and a decent film? Both seem remarkable when one considers the cinematic caca generated by the Tomb Raider franchise star since her Oscar win for Girl, Interrupted (1999).

Decidedly weightier and more ambitious than the screwball Mr. and Mrs. Read more »

Tastes like chicken

Doc American Cannibal feasts on reality TV
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FILM Always be suspicious of any documentary that starts off with this snippet of dialogue: "Is it real, is it not real?" In fact, for the first 10 minutes of American Cannibal, directed by Perry Grebin and Michael Nigro, I suspected I might be watching a mock doc. But nope, it's real — more authentic than reality TV, anyway, which is the subject it chronicles via both insider insights (from showbiz types like Fox Reality Channel honcho David Lyle) and the tension-fraught journey of Gil S. Read more »

The man whose head exploded

An interview with Hostel 2 director Eli Roth
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FILM Recently, my eyeballs were among the first to be skewered by the finished print of Hostel 2. As torture and black humor unspooled on the big screen, director Eli Roth — last seen working on Grindhouse, both as an actor and behind the camera for the Thanksgiving trailer — prowled about, gauging audience reactions to his third feature film. The next day I met Roth to discuss all things horror. He talks fast. Read more »

They shoot, he scores

Wee! Wee! Wee! Would Psycho have been half as terrifying without Bernard Herrmann's memorable music? We doubt it.
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FILM Even if you've never heard of the composer Bernard Herrmann (1911–1975), it's a safe bet that you've quoted him at some point in your life. He's the coauthor of the widely recognized shorthand for murder and mayhem, the mimed downward thrust of a knife accompanied by the high-pitched squeal, "Wee! Wee! Read more »

Some kind of monster!

Midnites for Maniacs: Vertically challenged monsters triple feature
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CULT FILM It's fitting that Troll 2 is playing at Midnites for Maniacs — it's truly a film only a maniac could love. This 1990 masterpiece (sorry, Julia Louis-Dreyfus fans — it's a sequel to 1986's Troll in name only) was made by an Italian crew (director Drake Floyd's real name: Claudio Fragasso), starring a cast of Salt Lake City locals. Read more »

Rave on, Anon.

The 1000 Journals Project is a chain message in a bottle
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ART BOOK Any ole body can start a LiveJournal or blog these days with the flick of a mousing finger and a peck on a keyboard. But how many people can undertake a project such as the one documented in The 1000 Journals Project (Chronicle Books, $22.95)? Read more »