During World War II, the US Army deployed a "tactical deception unit" to Europe. The 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, aka the "Ghost Army," consisted of artists, ad directors, actors, and other creative folks who used inflatable tanks, sound effects trucks, and good ol' fashioned bullshit to trick the German forces. It included the likes of fashion designer Bill Blass, fine artist Elsworth Kelly, and photographer Art Kane. A documentary about the Ghost Army, directed by Rick Beyer, aired last month on PBS. You can watch it for free right here! The Ghost Army story would make for a great black comedy too! The Ghost Army(Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!)
Here's Alex Cox, director of Repo Man (1984), interviewed recently by psychotronic film buff and master poster artist Jay Shaw. Criterion just re-released Repo Man on DVD and Blu-ray, featuring original package art by Shaw and Tyler Stout of Austin's Mondo Gallery scene. Repo Man: Criterion Collection edition(via Mondo)
I love hearing about sound effects in films and the work of foley artists, soundtrack composers, and sound designers. Back in 1997, I interviewed David Cronenberg for the bOING bOING print 'zine, and we mostly talked about the squishy oozy sounds he likes to use in his movies. Here's an excellent SoundWorks Collection interview with Oblivion director Joe Kosinski and the sound of his new movie. Some of his collaborates included composer Joseph Trapanese, Anthony Gonzalez (M83), re-recording mixer Gary Rizzo, and re-recording mixer Juan Peralta.
New Man of Steel trailer with scenes of Krypton, Jor-El, Lara, Pa, young Clark, bearded Clark, shirtless Clark, supervillains, Lois, Superman, and the icy Fortress of Solitude which this time, I hope, can only be unlocked with an enormous key disguised as an airplane flight path marker -- as it was written. In theaters June 14.
"That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age."
Dazed and Confused is 20 years old! Esquire has a package of features tied to the anniversary. And if you're in Austin, there's a big screening, reunion, and cast party happening at the Marchesa Hall & Theatre!
Poltergeist (1982) was the first movie I ever rented on videotape and it's, well, haunted me ever since. Jerry Goldsmith composed the score, including the sweetly nightmarish "Carol Anne's Theme" you can hear at right. He was nominated for an Academy Award but lost out to John Williams for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. I'm thrilled that Mondo has just reissued the Poltergeist soundtrack on vinyl, in a spooky sleeve illustrated and designed by We Buy Your Kids. This remastered recording is pressed on two slabs of 180 gram vinyl. If you're lucky, one of those records may be a super-limited "ghastly" clear vinyl pressing! "Poltergeist Original Soundtrack 2X LP"
In 1985, Charles Bronson went 8-bit in the Death Wish 3 computer game from Gremlin Graphics for the ZX Spectrum, Armstrad CPC, and Commodore 64. It was an intensely violent and gory game. For the time, people, for the time. You can download the TZX tape image here, the Amstrad CPC version here, and likely locate the C64 version via GB64.com. (via @death_waltz_records on Instagram)
Just Do It - a tale of modern-day outlaws is an exciting new documentary which takes you behind the scenes of the secret world of environmental direct action in the UK. Granted unprecedented access to film, director Emily James embedded herself inside a group of nonviolent UK activists as they shut down airports, stormed the fences of coal power stations, and super-glued themselves to bank trading floors, all despite the very real threat of arrest.
The film opened in the US just last week on Earth Day, however, in solidarity and support with May Day actions planned around the world - starting at 5:30pm EST on Monday 30th, the full film will be available to watch online for FREE for 24 hours on occupy.com, with a live Q&A with director Emily James at 7pm EST. To reserve your seat for the 5:30pm screening, simply head over to www.occupy.com/watch/ or to watch the film at any time during the 24-hour invitation, click "watch now" in the player.
You'll remember Emily and her awesome movie from such blogposts as this one.
Bo sells a t-shirt that says "Eat More Kale" from his home in rural Vermont. Titanic chicken sandwich chain Chick-Fil-A claims that this shirt infringes on their trademark for the slogan "Eat Mor (sic) Chikin' (sic)." They've demanded that Bo shut down and turn over his website to them. Rather than capitulate, Bo is making a defiant documentary about his refusal, and he's raising funds on Kickstarter.
Of course, I might not win --- the odds are against me. All over the country 'trademark bullies,' large corporations that bully small businesses over alleged claims of trademark infringement, are legally harassing small businesses and wearing them down with repeated lawsuits and appeals. In the face of overwhelming legal bills, most small businesses just give up.
This is more than just plain wrong: it's un-American.
By helping make this documentary I want to shine a light on this issue, my battle, and other trademark bullies, too. If I win, it's a great story; if I lose, it's a sad story. Either way, Jim and I think it's a story worth telling.
It seems to me that there shouldn't be any valid trademark claim here. Leaving aside the spelling issue, the graphic presentation of "Eat More Kale" is very different from "Eat mor chikin." The phrase "Eat more," is pretty generic, and is unlikely to result in confusion. I'm not a lawyer, but I'm inclined to think that if Bo can stay in the fight long enough -- that is, if they don't outspend him into oblivion -- he stands a chance of winning.
What's the story? A young dancer finds herself disgruntled with her low-paying, mundane waitressing job. One day, she impulsively quits, then takes a ferry to the city. Feeling incredibly inspired by what she sees, Anne dances her way across New York, using the city as her stage. Throughout her journey, she meets characters of all types, including a series of like-minded dancers, who'll inspire new movements, engage her in small battles, and teach her to fear, love, laugh and live anew. From the ferry to museums, subways, ball games, bridges, bodegas, graveyards, flower shops, and more, Anne's journey will bring her far and wide. See the trailer, in full, at http://girlwalkallday.com
In the NYT, Mary Pilon profiles a (now defunct) ring of Christian blackjack card-counters who lead Bible-study classes and youth groups when they're not scoring millions at the casinos. One such Christian counter, Colin Jones, has branched out into running for-pay card-counting workshops for would-be sharps. One of the team has produced a documentary on the team's activities, called Holy Rollers.
But first Jones and his group had to wrestle with the apparent moral paradox: Should Christians be counting cards?
“My father-in-law flipped out about it,” Jones said. “I remember Ben and I discussing everything. Are we being dishonest to the casinos? Is money an evil thing?”
Group members believed what they were doing was consistent with their faith because they felt they were taking money away from an evil enterprise. Further, they did not believe that counting cards was inherently a bad thing; rather, it was merely using math skills in a game of chance. They treated their winnings as income from a job and used it for all manner of expenses.
Looking for Lenny is a new documentary about Lenny Bruce and the way that free speech issues still resonate today. It's packed with comedy/spoken word legends talking about Bruce, from Robin Williams to Phyllis Diller, Mort Sahl, and Henry Rollins.