March 17, 2008

George Clooney Meets the Internet, Likes What He Sees

The ending to a fantastic article by A.J. Jacobs in this month's Esquire about George Clooney had Cinecultist ROFLing this afternoon.

"At this point, I make a segue that seemed relevant at the time but in retrospect was probably a very bad idea. "You know," I tell him, "I asked the guy who does the Esquire Web site* what I should show George Clooney, and he said, 'Show him 2 Girls 1 Cup.' "

"What's that?"

"It's the most disturbing video in the history of videos."

"Show it to me."

"Really? I don't know."

"I can take it," Clooney says. "I'm a grown-up. We're all grown-ups."

"It's scarring. It'll scar you forever."

"Is it long?" he asks.

"No," I tell him, "but it's so disturbing. I saw it once and can never get it out of my mind. I can't watch it again."

"I want to see it."

Well, he asked. After a bit of searching, I find the link. I click it.

After several seconds: "It's not so bad," he says.

Three seconds later: "Oh."

Another two seconds: "Oh, my GOD! Oh, my God!! Oh, my God!"

Clooney puts his hand over his mouth like he's going to throw up. He bolts from his chair and walks out of the room.

Clooney's longtime PR guy, Stan Rosenfield, wants to know what the fuss is about. Clooney tells him he just watched the most repulsive video he's ever seen. Rosenfield wants to see it.

"I want to go at least one second more than George."

"I've got to watch Stan watch it," Clooney says, recomposing himself. "It's like the rodeo -- see how long you can last."

Rosenfield lasts three full seconds before walking out.

Clooney, having regarded himself all morning, now just watches, doubled over with laughter.

* Cinecultist has hung out with said Web site guy, one Mr. Eric Gillin, and that's totally the type of thing he'd recommend.

Posted by karen at 4:06 PM | Esquire, George Clooney | Comments (1)

February 28, 2008

Good Excuses to Click Through

Shooting Down Pictures hates on San Francisco Chronicle critic Mick LaSalle for boldly admitting he hasn't seen some canonical cinema classics and then tossing off cursory reviews of them. Cinecultist used to read LaSalle religiously when we lived in the Bay Area too, and he even emailed to wish CC a happy 22nd birthday following a column in our college newspaper. But dude, LaSalle, you hadn't seen 2001 or Blade Runner? Jeez.

Amy Monaghan on Radar lists some of the most misogynistic movies of the '00s. We say "right on, sister!" for calling out Superbad and My Super Ex-Girlfriend. These are not pro-lady movies.

• In our Movie Binge review of Garfield 2: A Tail of Two Kitties, Cinecultist contemplated the oddity of Garfield's premise, ie. that Jon Arbuckle is basically talking to himself when he chats with his fat tabby cat. In this inspired tumblr blog, the author has literally erased that lasagna eating cat and produced a hilarious, yet almost unsettling nihilistic strip. Is it wrong to laugh at a character who seems so close to the edge of sanity?

September 21, 2007

Day Job

FCU with Bill Murray
OMG, this video nails "a day in the life of the Cinecultist" with precision accuracy. Fact checking is exciting, exciting work.

March 9, 2007


The Cinecultist's current day job gig has us spending a lot of time with design happy folks and learning more than we ever thought we'd know about gardening, eco-cleaners and the like. As a result we've added one of our new co-workers' excellent blogs, Design*Sponge, to our regular round-up. Today Grace pointed us to a very cool movie-ish design site, Submarine Channel which features video clips of title sequences. Since we recently rented and enjoyed Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, a fun neo-noir from last year starring Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer, it was fun to see their cool animated titles again. Enjoy a little harmless procrastination with the site before your weekend officially starts.

P.S. If you're thinking about a movie to see this weekend take CC's advice from Gothamist: skip gore-tastic 300 and see a weird yet wonderful Shohei Imamura out at BAM instead. Saturday is Pigs and Battleships (1961) and Sunday they'll be showing The Insect Woman (1963). Also FYI: CC has marked our calendars for next weekend's The Pornographers and The Eel on Mar. 27.

February 21, 2007

Where Was That Shot Again?

Cinecultist knows movies, and Cinecultist knows New York hotels, a few anyhow. So why did we only score a 7 out of 10, or the equivalent of a C on Zagat's current Movie Quiz? Uh, maybe because we got up this morning at 6:30 am to go to a pre-work yoga class. Or maybe because many of the questions covered iconic Los Angeles locations--our knowledge of Lala-land spots are much spottier than Manhattan. The question that included Maid In Manhattan? Yeah, we got that one right. Try your hand at the 10 questions and let us know if you thought they were tricky, or that CC just wasn't concentrating hard enough.

February 13, 2007

CC And A New MT: "It's Full Of Stars!"

2001monkeys.jpgCinecultist has decided to join blogging in the twenty-first century, and with the help of our awesomest awesome web designer friend Matty have updated to the newest version of Movable Type. It feels a little like the pictured scene from 2001 in CC HQ; the monolith has landed and we're circling while waving the femur bones.

What does that mean for you? Cinecultist has decided to install comments and start tagging, so please join us in some friendly movie/pop culture/NYC cinema dialogue. We love your feedback, so don't be shy.

Posted by karen at 8:35 AM | 2001, blogging | Comments (0)

February 12, 2007

Elsewhere On The Web, Monday edition

* Jake Paltrow interviews a bunch of Oscar-nominated actors about their early influential flicks for the New York Times Magazine. Please try to disregard the pretentious Andy Warhol screen test style of his video. He's still trying to come out from behind that familial shadow cast by sister Gwynie.

* The very pop culturally astute Charlie Suisman of Manhattan User's Guide is now contributing content to the cable network Trio's new site, getTrio. It looks like it's going to be sort of like Flavorpill, only with a daily blog format and with a TV slant.

* The New York Daily News ranks 100 romantic New York movies but puts The Apartment way too low on the list for Cinecultist's taste.

Posted by karen at 11:22 AM | links love, NYT | Comments (0)

January 15, 2007

Movie Studios and YouTube: If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em

All of the major studios including NBC Universal, Warner Brothers Entertainment, which is owned by Time Warner, and the News Corporations 20th Century Fox, are in negotiations with YouTube seeking licensing agreements that would make their content legally available on the site, according to the New York Times today. "...There is a huge appetite for content, and we are well-advised to recognize that appetite and find constructive ways to feed it." Marc Shmuger, chairman of Universal Pictures.

Posted by karen at 8:20 AM |

September 19, 2006

Today, Cinecultist Is A Bit Elsewhere

The Al Franken documentary, Al Franken: God Spoke made Cinecultist laugh, but as for its political effectiveness we're still a bit skeptical. Though we will say any movie which has a scene where Ann Coulter gets embarrassed on camera is worth $10.75. [via The Movie Binge]

In other exciting news (well, exciting is always relative), Cinecultist attended our first press screening of the New York Film Festival this morning. It was only 10 am, but we were in the thick of it, folks. Keep an eye out on Gothamist for our extensive coverage of the fest once it kicks off in 10 days, but we will say as of this morning, our deep love for Sofia Coppola continues without a hitch. Hooray!

Posted by karen at 4:56 PM |

September 15, 2006

Linkage For A Rainy Friday

MySpace wants to give you the opportunity to be the first kid on your block to see Borat. [via Gothamist]

CC thought Zhang Yimou makes good in his new art house flick, Riding Alone For Thousands of Miles even though it does not feature any ass kicking on strings. [via The Movie Binge]

Mahnola Dargis is ga ga for Jia Zhang-ke's newest at the Toronto Film Festival. Still Life also won the Golden Lion at this year's Venice Film Festival.

Finally: Goddammit, Cinecultist is determined to make it through this essay on Zizek by Frederic Jameson in the London Review of Books. Is our Masters in Cinema Studies good for nothing, after all?

Posted by karen at 2:26 PM |

August 24, 2006

All About The Blogs

Seriously, Cinecultist is blog crazy. There are times where we begin to wonder if a thought we thunk didn't appear on the Internet somewhere, would it actually exist? By that self-absorbed token, we mention that we contributed to The Reeler's line up of pinch hitters while Stu's on vacation this week. CC's actually really enjoyed reading everyone else's posts and have added a bunch of newbies to our personal blog roll from it. It's some pretty good company we're in there. Check them out.

Also, a little mutual shout out action to Sleep Is Where I'm A Viking, the blog residence of the Tall Boston Law Student who at one time was the Cinecultist's 7th Grade Boyfriend, and was recently in NYC for a visit. While he doesn't really blog about being tall or living in Boston, it's still a quite good read.

Posted by karen at 3:32 PM |

August 14, 2006 Movies

Recently, Matty and Cinecultist had been having this conversation about whether or not certain recent films using MySpace as their official website is annoying or cool. On one hand, something like John Tucker Must Die or Step Up is going to find it's best audience on MySpace because that's where the kids hang out these days. On the other hand, doesn't it seem a bit lazy not to spend the big studio bucks on some decent web presence?

Cinecultist got to thinking that surely there must be some cool little indie pictures using MySpace for some grassroots marketing, just like the indie and not so indie rock bands are. We started trolling through the film subtab in search of such folks.

Analog Days is a feature film made in a suburb outside of Los Angeles about young people coping with those "in between days," after childhood but before real adulthood. They recently premiered their movie at the Los Angeles Film Festival and based on the trailer posted to their page, it looks sort of Slacker meets Clerks. This seems to be most of the filmmakers' first major project from the film's composer, Derek Fudesco, who is in the band Pretty Girls Make Graves, to director/writer Mike Ott, who previously made music videos.

Perhaps pictures from Last Night's Party and Cobrasnake aren't voyeuristic enough for you. You long to see more drunk models, more rich yuppies, more downtown assholes mugging for the video camera. If so, you're in luck because Tribeca-based photographer Shawn Regruto captures them all in his New York scenester podcast, Point and Shoot. You can download the full episodes on iTunes for free and Regruto promises the full feature length film will be out this summer. Oh and FYI, this is racy stuff, iTunes tags it as explicit.

We also should note that a bunch of film fests, like the Austin Film Festival, the Illinois International Film Festival and the Hollywood Film Festival have MySpace pages, as do indie film publications like Filmmaker Magazine and indieWire. Jeez, this MySpace thing really is getting ubiquitous. Pretty soon the line for art house movie will no longer be the pick up spot* it once was, we won't even need to leave the house to commune with other indie film geeks.

As always, Cinecultist loves hearing from indie filmmakers. If you're on MySpace and want to shoot us a message, request an add or send us your film, please do. You'll find us here at

*Full disclosure: CC has never been picked up nor picked up on anyone in line for a movie, subtitles or not. We just always thought it sounded like a totally brilliant idea.

Posted by karen at 10:18 PM |

July 19, 2006

Yet Another Reason To Never Leave Your Cable Internet Connection

In the continuing quest to provide purchasable content for all of those download-happy web monkeys, Variety reported late yesterday on CinemaNow testing technology to burn downloadable movies onto DVD. There's been a little of the usual heel dragging by content creators but surprisingly there's actually been a lot of enthusiasm for this tech from studios.

"Studios are eager to enable burnable downloads not just to boost online movie stores but also to enable more sales at physical retailers. Stores like Best Buy and Wal-Mart are expected to launch kiosks allowing shoppers to download and burn a DVD that isn't in stock. Up to now, Internet downloads have included a film with no extra content. But for movies that consumers can burn, CinemaNow will offer the exact same content as on the retail DVD, including menus and bonus features. Buyers can even download and print a cover to insert in a jewel case."

With a proposed cost of $9 to $15, roughly the cost of most commercial DVDs these days, expect this to be the first droplet in a much larger trend wave. Besides any advancement in movie nerds ability to stay in their apartments rather than interacting with the real live world, even in the form of a Best Buy clerk, is sure to be greeted by raves.

Posted by karen at 3:20 PM |

July 18, 2006

Cinecultist Elsewhere On The Web

We're spreading a little more of the Cinecultist pop culture love around the interweb, as we've begun posting on Jane magazine's snappy web presence. Look out for us in the Celebrities and Music section, where today we reported on Jessica Biel's newest philanthropic venture and drop a comment or two to say hi.

Posted by karen at 1:38 PM |

July 12, 2006

Foreign Chefs, Lobsters with Guns: Humidity Kills All Causal Thinking

This post is all about the intersection of a few ideas floating around in the Cinecultist's humidity-addled noggin. Restaurants, cute chefs, lobsters with guns who speak Spanish. Try to follow us if you can:

- In today's slightly unconventional New York Times restaurant review, Frank and Petetwo writers who we read religiously so we feel we're on first name basisteamed up to talk about a bunch of places where you can sample great chefs by doing some graze/tapas eating in the lounge. This is one of our favorite ways to eat during the summer, so light and booze-fueled.

- We also think chef Jean-George is sorta crush-worthy so this quote from the review about his appearances at Nougatine got us thinking about other cute chefs. "It is home to the restaurants open kitchen and, more frequently than at any other of his outposts, Mr. Vongerichten himself, who often wanders among the tables as he does in the formal dining room just a few feet away."

- Which THEN led to searching on YouTube for some cute chef footage to post and the discovery of the above Swedish Chef clip with the Mexican lobsters. Our 10-year-old brother Mark is totally into the Chef and since it was his birthday last week, this made us think of him. He'd completely crack up at the bandito lobsters saving their brother in the pot and thus feel it's worthy of this convoluted post.

Posted by karen at 3:07 PM |

June 26, 2006

Short Videos on the Web Make CC Happy

There's some weird, wonderful stuff on the web, not least of all are many, many short DIY video projects. As a DIY critic of sorts, Cinecultist applauds their plucky spirit and their initiative to get their video work out in any way possible. Here's a few that floated into our inbox recently which we think are worth a click or two.

- The Burg. This week's episode of the self-produced TV program which mocks those young L train riders features music from the lovely Bravo Silva, a band Cinecultist has seen play so many times we're practically a groupie. Plus, jokes about "Defend Brooklyn" t-shirts, sucky roommates who play tabla and a shot of one character reading Brooklyn Vegan on their laptop is enough to keep us coming back for more.

- Four Eyed Monsters. This film about a young New York couple who meet via the internet and decide to only correspond through artistic mediums as they begin their relationship is a part of indieWire's Undiscovered Gems showcase. There will be live screenings of this film around the country, and in New York one this Tuesday and Wednesday at Cinema Village. There's also a party at Pioneer Bar on Bowery following the Tuesday screening, so you could actually interface in real life with some fans of this tribute to online dating.

- Inside. CC probably shouldn't reveal this but we're a sucker for the personal missive from struggling filmmakers. Jeff Mahler wants to get folks out to the LA screenings of his indie, Inside about a peeping tom who breaks into people's houses to know them better. We don't post links to all such messages, but the trailer for Jeff's movie features the same creepy piano music on Eyes Wide Shut. Ballsy move to allude to such a reviled mainstream thriller and thus, here is your request link.

Keep those emails and links coming DIY videomakers! How else are we going to keep entertained during the long day job hours?

Posted by karen at 5:56 PM |

January 26, 2006

Another Place To Be Opinionted

Cinecultist has returned to contributing to Gothamist's Arts + Events coverage this week. We'll be previewing the week's newest releases on Thursdays and then sundry other posts about New York movie news. Please check out our sure to be obnoxious yet lovable opinions over there as well as here (obvs). If you have press releases and suggestions for coverage or interviews of a movie nature feel free to forward them to us via the usual channels. Don't send us emails correcting our grammar. We hate that.

CC can't tell you how happy we are to be back in the sweaty embrace of our old friends Gothamist.

P.S. Now would be a good time to plug Movable Hype 6.0 in two weeks. It's gonna rock! Be there, you squares.

Posted by karen at 2:11 PM |

January 18, 2006

Internet Goodness (AKA Weirdness)

A linky link from our artsy co-worker Justin to a website project by artist and director Mary Jordan about the work of underground filmmaker Jack Smith. Includes clips from his films like Flaming Creatures, interviews with fellow artists, filmmakers and even figures from the films, audio clips from Smith and cool artsy type stuff like associative words flying through black space. If you're at all into the downtown cinema scene like the Cinecultist is, you should spend some time poking around this fascinating project. Hey, if you're in a Jack Smith-ish mood, pick yourself up a copy of J. Hoberman's gorgeous book about the production of Flaming Creatures. Stunning darlings. Stunning.

The Subway Cinema newletter today hilariously pointed us to a run of Zinda at the ImaginAsian theater. "What is ZINDA? It is the Bollywood remake of the savage Korean revenge shocker from last year, OLDBOY. Yes - the Bollywood kings have knocked-off Cannes Award-Winner OLDBOY and given it musical numbers (I hope they've given it musical numbers. I, for one, want to hear the octopus solo "The Octopus' Lament") It should be a sight for sore eyes." Doesn't that sound totally weird and thus, completely awesome? We may have to check it out.

Posted by karen at 10:16 PM |

January 4, 2006

Sundance Film Fest Previews

At El Day Job-o, Cinecultist and our co-workers are a buzz about two topics: 1) who we think will win Golden Globes and/or be nominated for Academy Awards and 2) what's screening at Sundance. See, in the weirdo crystal ball world of long-lead magazines both are prognosticators of what everyone else will be buzzing about come spring and the rest of this year.

CC still hasn't come down on all of our awards season predictions (though we're still feelin' good about our number one draft pick, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Capote, especially after the announcement today of the Writers and Producers Guilds nominations), we are happy the brilliant folks at GreenCine Daily pointed us to Cyndi Greening's site. As Cyndi writes, "Tracking Sundance films ensure that you'll be aware of much of the independent product for the upcoming year." So true. Thus, she's raking over the Sundance schedule with a fine tooth comb and if her previews are any indication, her coverage during the actual fest in two weeks should be quite the compendium. Sweet-ah!

Ah the Internets, making movie obsessing and thus our rent-paying job easier one click at a time.

Posted by karen at 6:54 PM |

August 3, 2005

Podcasts and Self-Indulgent Directors

If you are an iTunes junkie like the Cinecultist or a reader of the New York Times* you may be aware of this crazy thing all the kids are doing these days, the Podcast. Essentially, it's a DIY radio broadcast postable on the internet. A perfect forum for all of those crackpots and ramble-heads who like the talkie more than the typie.

Of course it was only a matter of time then, that windbag filmmakers decided that the commentary track on their special edition DVDs wasn't enough of a free-form forum for their special thoughts. Currently on iTunes' Podcast page you can link through to a download of Spike Lee's on-set observations as he shoots his new film Inside Man here in New York. There will be four episodes, running between 20 and 45 minutes in length. Three of the four are available so far, and as always Podcasts are for free subscription from iTunes.

One time at NYU, CC saw Spike in the elevator and we wanted to yell at him like one of the direct-to-the-camera haters in Do The Right Thing. We probably were cranky because we'd been forced to watch Bamboozled too many times. The sort of imbalance that could happen to anyone spending too much time thinking about minstrels. [Thanks to our co-worker Jonathan for the heads up on the item!]

*Guilty pleasure acknowledgment: CC <3 the Pogue. David Pogue knows his tech writing. Too bad he's already married, gadget talk is hot.

Posted by karen at 9:44 PM |

July 13, 2005

Replace All Your Discs, Again?

Probably just rhetorical questions but: What's wrong with the DVDs we have now exactly? Isn't the DVD market totally booming in relation to the theatrical box office? Get ready for the campaign to make you think you need a whole new set of DVDs either in HD or Blu-ray, depending on which technology becomes the big new thing.

We just wanted to prepare you now, because if you're anything like the gadget-lusting Cinecultist (we have a sickness, it's true) you will be sucked in by their cheap, cheap ploys. Damn them, they're so crafty.

Posted by karen at 10:51 PM |

June 13, 2005

Monday Morning Discussion: Is Internet Downloading The Big Bad?

Is the Cinecultist so out of it that we don't download television or movie programs to our computer? The New York Times reports today calling it, "Hollywood's Boogeyman" and says as a trend it's only growing. Until just recently, a few too many mp3s and our little laptop "Hildy" ran like molasses. But now that we have our G4 "Sully" that zips along we could potentially incorporate this technology into our viewing practices.

Do you download? What and when? Leave it in the comments. (Extra credit if you can identify the film(s) which inspired our computer names.)

Posted by karen at 9:13 AM |

May 19, 2005

What Good's The Internet If You Can't Link To Things?

Thursday style remainders:

Miranda July is an amazing person and an equally intriguing artist. CC's psyched for her Sundance and now Cannes fave Me and You and Everyone We Know to hit the theaters. (BTW, it's June 17 in NYC.) She also has a blog which includes some fascinating pictures from her trip to France, particularly the one of her blistered foot and her subsequent trip for more comfortable walking shoes. TMI blogging from famous people is so the best thing ever.

Our filmmaker buddy Fritz Donnelly and some of his compatriots are throwing a Final Night and Farewell party for their FilmCartel Short Movies at the Glass House in Williamsburg (38 South 1st St. near Kent Ave) from 7 - 9 pm tonight. There will be films by Fritz, Ben Coonley and Natalie Neptune as well as music, and even the opportunity to perhaps screen your own film as a last minute entry. Check it out, as anything Fritz and camera related is always thought-provoking.

Filmmaker Tommy Davis kindly sent us a screener of his documentary Mojados: Through the Night which is playing at the Two Boots Theater in the East Village through Tuesday of next week. The trailer and the fact that he spent 120 hours with these Mexican immigrants trying to cross the border sounds intriguing to us. Our schedule hasn't allowed for a screening yet, but that shouldn't stop you from attending.

Un-movie related remainder: This Newsweek thing is wigging Cinecultist out. Once again we're blaming the conduit and not the actual problem. It's enough to make a paranoid liberal concerned for the continuing well fair of free speech. More fodder for the fire in this New York Times editorial, which appropos of nothing uses the awesome word "cloud-cuckoo-land" properly in a sentence.

U-m. R. R. part two: A hamburger blog, aka A Hamburger Today. You didn't know you need it, but you do. We're two days behind on the linking buzz but click through anyway. [This is not a shameless ploy to get their Senior Editor to invite us along for his next Kobe slider tasting. No sir.]

U-m. R. R. part three: CC went to the Radar launch party last night and had a few free drinks on Mort Zuckerman, though not at the location of this fracas but at the second tier Marquee spot. Sadly, this venue didn't have any visible free issues. Maybe if we ask nicely via linkage, someone will send us one. One can always hope.

Posted by karen at 4:58 PM |

May 13, 2005

Blogging From Cannes

Oh wait. Did you think that headline meant that the Cinecultist was blogging to you from the South of France? Ah dear readers, if only. If only. Can you imagine? 12 days of red wine, sandy beaches and movies as far as the eye can see. Sounds heavenly, n'est pas?

No, we're referring to the New York Times' current feature on their site of Dargis and Scott movie blogging live from le Croisette which is peppered with "delightful commentary" about how Scott missed a screening and Dargis can't get any good WiFi in France. How very droll. [BTW, indieWire, the original from the trenches movie blogging site, has a excellent-as-always Cannes blog worth checking.]

From our reading on Variety and other review sites, Cinecultist's interest is peaked this year thus far about Last Days (the Kurt Cobain "inspired" biopic directed by Gus Van Sant and starring our fav greasy NYU alum Michael Pitt), and Match Point (a new Woody Allen everyone's raving about, set in England surprisingly and starring Scarlett Johansson, Jonathan "yummy" Rhys Meyers and Matthew "also yummy" Goode). Also, on behalf of our former contributor Josh Cultivated Stupidity, we'll say that we're always ready to see a new Atom Egoyan. That Canadian-Armenian delivers the intriguing stuff.

What we'd like to know is, what do the French make of Diary of a Mad Black Woman? CC's an American, though granted not of African descent, and we could barely make heads or tails of it.

Posted by karen at 9:07 PM |

May 11, 2005

Another Magazine You Didn't Know You Needed

radar.gifIf you're a frequent Gawker reader or just a magazine newsstand stalker like the Cinecultist, you will be aware of the relaunch of Maer Roshan's Radar magazine, the intellectual's US Weekly. The third issue, or maybe it's being called Volume 2, Issue 1, anyhow it's not out for another couple of weeks but you can check out the brand-spanking new website. We've been hearing about the building of this web space for quite a few months, so we're pretty excited to have a one stop shop for gossip, politics, culture written smartly.

Plus, if you sign up for the e-mail newsletter, you get an e-mail thank you from our pal and the site's editor, Remy Stern who you may remember from the seemingly now-defunct Remy's smart peoples (he's a Cinecultist fan, after all) so we have high hopes for this venture.

Posted by karen at 4:33 PM |

April 8, 2005

Asian Cinema Sites

Our Japanophile kick continues unabated. Here's a few things floating about in the noggin (all thought with too many exclamation points for our own good):

* How much Midnight Eye rocks. What a compendium of knowledge! Reviews, interviews and articles all on Japanese cinema. Even Donald Richie, the original Japanophile loves them. We've been reading their book on New Japanese Film and it's not only such a great resource but it's also a good read. Online film crit getting props for being hard-core stuff -- that's always good news for CC.

* By the way, next on the bedside table is Donald Richie's Journals. Because really, when you're worshipping at the alter of Donald, why stop? Here's the Midnight Eye review of his most recent book. We just hope the frankness with which Donald deals with his personal life doesn't verge too much into Robin Wood TMI territory.

* Subway Cinema puts on an awesome festival of Asian Films every summer, but did you know they also have a blog? Make like Cinecultist and sign up for their weekly mailing list so that you know you're not missing any Asian film happenings in the New York area.

* How fun is the word otakus to say? Otakus, otakus, otakus! Way too much fun. The Japan Society is doing a series of films about "geek culture" (ie. otakus), Otakus Cinema Slam! in conjunction with their "Little Boy" exhibition currated by Takashi Murakami. The first film is this coming weekend, Wild life Jump Into The Dark. Perfect reason to head to the Japan Society for the exhibit as well.

* By the way, if you want to see 2046 at the Tribeca Film Festival [it's around the corner! starts April 19!], tickets are only available at the door for the April 28 at 6:15 pm and April 30 at 8:15 pm screenings. Can we say camping out beforehand? Fun game in the meantime, checking out various foreign language websites devoted to the film which have lovely flash features yet give no real insight into the movie. In Japanese! In French! In British! In American...Coming Soon!

Posted by karen at 6:44 PM |

March 9, 2005

A Few Stories From The Trenches

"You listen to Beethoven or the Beatles over and over again. You don't watch Burt Reynolds over and over." And with that, the video rental age was born. Its pioneer and the source of that quote, George Atkinson died on Thursday. [via the New York Times obits]

First time director and former Agent Mulder, David Duchovney tries to do a Zach Braff. Read about all of his whimsical ruminations about his movie House of D on his very own blog! [via the cinetrix]

Film blogger and editor Jeff Turboff of FilmKicks asked the Cinecultist via e-mail if we wanted to link back to him. Hey, only if we can reprint your story of a run-in with director Rick Linklater on the mean streets of Austin.

Which reminds me of a funny story about Richard Linklater. There was a time when I was attending the University of Texas. A long time. It was about ten years of dropping in and out of school, attending classes part time, and holding part time jobs providing just enough income so I could keep being a student, or at least to keep thinking of myself as a student. I was living the slacker lifestyle in the place that gave birth to the slacker lifestyle. And I was doing it before there was ever a movie Slacker to refer to.

I used to run into Richard Linklater on the streets of Austin. He had this thing called the Austin Film Society, which back then meant he'd rent a space, usually Quackenboxes, throw some folding chairs and a 16mm projector, and he'd show art-films. Stuff like Pasolini and Fellini. And we knew each other by face back then. We'd see each other on the streets in Austin, and he knew I was in the radio-tv-film program at UT, and I knew he was a film kinda guy, and so we'd talk about film stuff.

One day he says to me, "Hey, I don't know what you're up to this weekend, but maybe you'd wanna come down to Bluebonnet Plaza and hang out. I'm shooting my movie down here this weekend and maybe you could come down and be in it or work on it."

Which struck me as odd. Everyone in Austin has either a band or a film project. And most of it goes nowhere. And this sounded especially flaky to me.

"Be in it --OR-- work on it?? Which would you want me to do?"

"I dunno. Whatever you want. Just come on down and hang out."

"But would you want me to be in it or to work on it? I mean do you have a role you have me in mind for, or which department do you need help in?"

"I dunno. Just come on down Saturday or Sunday and we'll figure it out."

So now I'm thinking [ ... this guy really has no idea what he's doing ... he wants me to be in his movie but doesn't have a role for me to play ... and he thinks he needs help on the shoot but doesn't know where he needs the help?" ]

Sounded to me like just another go-nowhere Austin kinda project. But just to make sure:

"Okay, well, if I do wanna come down this weekend, what's your call time?"

"Call time?"

"Yeah, what time are you gonna start?"

"I dunno, what time do you usually get up?"

"If you tell me what your call time is, I'll try to be here when you need me."

"Well, we'll be here all weekend, so whenever you get up just come on down, and we'll figure out something for you to do."

So now I figured, [ ...the guy doesn't have a call time, doesn't even know what a call time is...apparently he has no script, and no idea how many crew members are showing up...this is a joke...I'm not spending my weekend doing this. ]

And I didn't.

Of course, lo and behold, several months later, it was Slacker Slacker everywhere, and Linklater was gone. Out of reach. He had sealed his future and was off to work on Dazed and Confused, and I had lost my chance.

As one of my college professors once said, "Wouldn't it be nice if ---LIFE--- had editing?"

By the way, we're quite intrigued by the trailer of Linklater's newest animated-from-live-action-footage film, A Scanner Darkly.

Posted by karen at 8:58 AM |

February 7, 2005

Shatner -- You've Got Mail!

Remind Cinecultist not to tell our new co-workers about our blog, as then we'll have no safe place left to admit how incredibly gullible we are. Case in point: this afternoon our coworker Steve had us believing that for just $5.95 you could purchase an e-mail account on Can you picture it? Wouldn't it be geeky good fun to have Awesome. Sadly, is not poised to become the next America On Hold. However, in the process CC stumbled on this website which lists "celebrity e-mails."

Heh. We could send a little electronic message to Quentin Tarantino ( about his Uma feet fetish. A little 'sup to the Cloon ( and little Mary Jane ( Or maybe an early Valentine wish to the weasel, Pauly Shore ( Of course, these all look like the fake-ist e-mails ever, but isn't it weird and hilarious how our celebrity driven culture creates a need for this pseudo direct contact with our worshiped icons?

This reminds CC of the time when our buddy Lou had Vin Diesel's cell phone number. Through various machinations, Lou's waitress/college student girlfriend had snagged it from some PR flunky and it was the topic of amusement for about two weeks for all of Lou's friends to call poor Vin Diesel's cell phone number, just to listen to his innocuous out going voicemail message. Sometimes they would leave him taunting messages too. Not CC of course, we're too polite for that. No, we just wanted to hear XXX ask us to leave a message after the beep. That was silly enough.

Posted by karen at 11:48 PM |

February 3, 2005

Good News But Not Enough Information

If you're the kind of person who would sign up for three magazines you don't want, plus give out e-mails of 10 people who used to be your friends, just to get a free iPod, Cinecultist has a contest for you! Via an e-mail from a friend** with a subscription this afternoon, Film Comment is giving away $200 worth of Criterion collection DVDs. We think the deadline is the 15th and we think it relates to their collecting of top 10s. We know you should send your entries to Beyond that...

What should be in that entry exactly? Your guess is as good as ours.* Your 10 favorite things about the FC redesign? The 10 most sell-out-ish covers with which to get some newsstand movement this year? Send a list of 10 things to that e-mail, maybe you'll win some fancy DVDs. Good luck!

* Full disclosure: We clicked around a bit on their website to find a proper link but to no avail. We could have e-mailed our buddy on the inside at FC but we were busy watching the OC. Hopefully, someone who knows what's up will set us straight via e-mail.

** More disclosure: This friend recently spent $150 via eBay on an out of print This Is Spinal Tap DVD (suggested retail value $39.95). She is officially obsessed. E-mails from her regarding Criterion DVDs should thus be taken with a grain of salt.

Posted by karen at 11:19 PM |

February 1, 2005

DVDs You Didn't Know You Needed

Thanks so very much to Adriane and John for pointing out to Cinecultist the DVD website Super Happy Fun. Every kind of weird, unreleased, illegal dupe that you never knew you needed is on this site. Imagine Kim's Video only sketchier and virtual so there's no having to slip past those unwashed movie geeks in the aisles who've only just emerged from their home theater lairs. Eww.

Say for instance, you wondered what ever happened to that Christina Ricci movie based on crazy crazy Elizabeth Wurtzel's book, Prozac Nation. Super Happy Fun tells us, it was never released theatrically, but they've got it. Plus, they'll tell you what the quality is like and it only costs $13 bucks. Awesome! Particularly good stuff for those who crave difficult to find international cinema as the site's goal is to provide unreleased flicks to the masses.

Jonathan Rosenbaum raved about the site on CinemaScope, which is how our friends first heard about it.

Posted by karen at 11:38 PM |

October 19, 2004

Hooray For Stuff & Margaret M!

Just a quick shout out for Margaret Mason's (she of Mighty Girl and the Morning News) newest online offering, Mighty Goods, a blog about shopping.

We knew Margaret back when she was Maggie Berry and also our editor at the college newspaper. Maggie said, "Karen, use more commas." Words to live by.

CC tried to recall if Margaret ever suggested any sort of perfect consumable in our tenure, and we remembered an impressionable sophomore being introduced by the senior columnist to the combination of peppermint schnapps and hot chocolate on a staff ski trip. That's some good stuff. Thus, we recommend her curated suggestions for purchases whole heartedly.

Posted by karen at 7:27 PM |

September 15, 2004

Bloggin' For The Man

As the uses and legitimacies of blogging evolve on this here interweb (bloggers at National Conventions, blogs for magazines, press releases to bloggers, oh my!) Cinecultist has noticed a new trend relating to movies and the web the movie tie-in blog.

It made perfect sense for something like Spike Jonze's Adaptation to have a blog because it's so meta and cutting edge. And it was written by Jason Kottke, so you can see the connection. Similar reasoning for documentaries or documentarians with blogs like Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me, as the movie is also confessional and a little bit obsessive in its cataloguing tendency just like the website. Then Zach Braff had one for Garden State. Fine. Cool. Promotional tool, we get it. Yes, you're so very indie Mr. Braff, you and your gravel jokes on Scrubs last night.

So this is a long sort of way to segue into the e-mail we received from Remy Stern regarding the new tie-in between Gawker Media, the Defamer and John Waters's new movie A Dirty Shame. Lord knows we're big ol' fans of New Yorkish and the "evil" empire being spawned by Mr. Denton but CC doesn't exactly get the connection here. Is there enough Dirty Shame "news" to fill up the postings? Will we see some John Waters action there, as he is the man of a thousand bizarre quotes? (Have you ever seen a John Waters promotional blurb quote, on the back of a book say or in the window of that shop in Chelsea? They're always the weirdest juxtapositions but strangely right on.) A new John Waters movie is signs for eager anticipation but a whole blog?

So we're torn. Cinecultist wanted to offer the link because we like Remy and appreciated the heads up e-mail, but we're hoping to get some more insight into the efficacy of this venture. Will keep you posted on whatever feedback we get. Or if you have some ideas, shoot them over to karen AT cinecultist DOT com.

Posted by karen at 8:44 AM |

August 13, 2004

Elsewhere On The Web

Having to be at the Day Job until 9pm tonight doing physically inventory has made Cinecultist feel kind of linky and bullet-pointish. Please enjoy these and the other fine links at left and we'll see you on Monday.

Ben Slater of Harry Lime Theme recommends watching the big big blockbusters on tiny crappy screens in his excellent post about the "bootleg bus." And he quotes in image Jon Routson, an artist Cinecultist also really likes.

The Defective Yeti creates the ultimate evil characters showdown chart as each movie character battles for the title of "baddest ass." Suitable for printing out and playing along at home! Personally, we're hoping for a Ferris Bueller's principal versus Agent Smith grudge match.

This week on Gothamist Arts + Events, Cinecultist recommended spending the whole freakin' weekend at Film Forum seeing Guy Maddin's Cowards Bend the Knee and then Luchino Visconti's The Leopard. Now that's a twisted double feature.

Posted by karen at 8:03 AM |

August 9, 2004

News From The Blogosphere

Gothamist Interview this week is our fellow cinema blogger Aaron Dobbs and his friend Lily Oei. Worth a check out because of Aaron and Lily's obvious bias towards film. Cinecultist is all about the blantent cinema bias.

It's the end of an era. *sniff* Gawker announced today that this will be the last week of snarky posts from Choire Sicha. That's sad, sad news. However! The new Gawker shall be the lovely Jess, of the Blue Print who CC had the distinct pleasure of meeting last week for drinks to celebrate her move along with our editor Jen to the LES. Here's the superficial assessment -- She's smart, she's cute and she's totally manic on a few drinks. We think she's going to do a bang up job. And as Scott said, we expect lots of links to us or else we're revealing her certain penchant for a former WB star's greasy locks. One day as the lame duck Gawkette and the blind items are already flying!

Posted by karen at 4:09 PM |

April 26, 2004

(Slightly Random) Links Of Note

Cinecultist has been spending a bit of time on this here world wide web and found a few movie-ish links worth mention. Two sentences on each should be enough to send you in the correct direction, because we know you trust us not to steer you wrong.

Matthew Clayfield is a screenwriter, watches many, many movies and lives in Australia. Then he blogs about it. Esoteric Rabbit Films.

Much useful independent filmmaking news and commentary regularly updated by the staff of Filmmaker magazine at their adjoining blog. Required reading for indie directors, producers and those who like to "accidentally" bump into them and then smile coquettishly at film festivals (i.e. CC). Filmmaker Magazine blog.

Looking for some more movie related blogs to become obsessive about? Seek no further than this extensive list of bloggers sponsored by indieWire, many of whom are regular contributors to their site. Indiewire blog list.

CC's friend and NYU cinema studies/politics student/shoe maven Michelle Chaplin is the smartest dumb blonde we know. Now she has a web presence too. the Tramp.

The intraweb needs more bloggers cuckoo for Asian cinemas and Godard. Fortunately for now, we've got the Film Brain to satisfy us. Film Brain.

You may have heard there's going to be a little festival of films in this New York neighborhood called TriBeCa. Tickets are available now for the screenings running from May 1 through May 9. Tribeca Film Festival. An article in this weekend's New York Times.

It's still a bit early to mention it but BAM is doing a Wong Kar Wai series in May, from the 14th through the 23rd. Ogle the list and the accompanying Faye Wong in Chungking Express production still with Cinecultist and get psyched. Living in Dreams: the films of Wong Kar Wai.

Cinecultist knows independent film director Fritz Donnelly from our Seattle tenure when he was finishing work on his first feature, Blue Lobster and we attended a fundraising screening. Lately, he's been in New York distributing his recent work, a shorts series To The Hills by selling DVDs of it from a table in SoHo. Fritz Donnelly's To The Hills.

Posted by karen at 7:59 AM |

December 31, 2003

Guest Blogging

Just a notice to inform our faithful readers that Cinecultist et al. will be doing some guest blogging over on Cultivated Stupidity for the next few weeks while our Josh is overseas. As though we have nothing better to do AND our own blog writes itself you know... Anyhoo, it's a nice excuse for us to write on non-cinema culture topics, so if you are not certain we actually can write on non-cinema topics, here's your proof of our well-roundedness.

Our first rant is on Jonathan Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude -- a book that's getting loads of good press and surely will be made into a movie sometime in the near future. Damn, can't get away from those movie topics.

Also, be sure to check out the CS top 10ish movie list because it's in haiku.

Posted by karen at 12:12 PM |

November 13, 2003

New Movie Linky Links

A few comments on some movie related buzz on this great wide Internet:

Cinecultist is really enjoying reading GreenCine Daily lately, (and not just because of the traffic they've been sending our way). A blog based in San Francisco and affiliated with an online DVD rental service specializing in art house and international movies, GC Editor David Hudson and GC Associate Editor Craig Phillips do a top notch job recapping the criticism hitting the newstands as well as providing links to noteworthy movie news. Extremely educational and smart writing about movies to boot.

Does this happen to you? When Cinecultist goes to the movie house for a picture, we often have this moment just before the feature starts, where the barrage of previews have caused us to forgot what we came there to see. Very disorienting. Jay Pinkerton is also obsessed with the trailers and he runs reviews of them on his weekly site The Trailer Trash. Those three or four minutes of p.r. spin, careful editing and voiceover really are a fascinating little slice of the movie industry and it's great to see some commentary on them.

Speaking of 2 and a half minutes of infamy: As Uncle Grambo pointed out yesterday on, nearly every site on the web has offered some sort of commentary on the Paris Hilton clip. CC finally headed over to Lindsayism for the linky link last night and we couldn't help but watch the video with a cinema studies eye. Intriguingly enough, whoever made this tape understands some basics of effective editing -- alternating hand held close up with static long shot and inserting fade cuts to cover over repetition. As for Ms. Hilton's performance, she does have a good connection with her audience as she looks straight into the camera unabashedly without being too hammy. Isn't it interesting too, how much the conventions of the genre influence even amateur production? Our filmmaker knows what is expected in terms of content and delivers this in his three shot drama faithfully. CC agrees with Gawker, our esteem for Paris has only increased after seeing this. For more cinema studies perspectives on porn (honest, this is an aspect of the discipline! CC didn't make it up), check out our former professor Chris Straayer's Deviant Eyes, Deviant Bodies as one of the major works.

Posted by karen at 8:01 AM |

November 11, 2003

Technical Difficulties

Sorry kids for the time lag on the entries, CC hasn't forgot about you or become superlazy or something, we've just been having some technical difficulties here at Cinecultist Central in the East Village of Manhattan. Although thanks to the good people at Dreamhost support, we think we have it sorted. We return you now to your regularly scheduled New York centric movie obsessing. Thank you.

Posted by karen at 11:02 PM |

October 16, 2003

More of CC Elsewhere

Cinecultist's alter ego, a young writer named Karen Wilson who actually has other interests in culture beyond le cinema, wrote a piece about Neal Pollack, his new novel and his performance on Saturday at Luxx in Williamsburg for today.

Neal responded to said article in a very timely fashion, sometime around 9:45am this morning. (What does this guy do, Google himself for internet references as soon as he gets up in the morning? If so -- hey Neal 'sup?) He says:

Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 09:45:39 -0400
From: Neal Pollack
Subject: Re: GUSTO: Neal Pollack, fanboy

Nice piece, Karen, though to be fair, the New York show was the worst of the whole tour. Thanks for understanding my pain.


Thanks for the mail, we appreciate the support. It is a big person who can hear themselves described as "nearly tone-deaf" and still send in complimentary regards.

Posted by karen at 10:09 PM |

October 14, 2003

Negotiating the Blogosphere

Though we don't often write about it, Cinecultist tries to keep up on the vicissitude of the blogging community. CC also loves meeting fellow bloggers, there's something so fascinating about seeing someone come out from behind the writing persona and the keyboard. On Saturday night, in a tiny club in Williamsburg, CC looked over and saw the dimunative Elizabeth Spiers standing there in the crowd. The former editor of Gawker is now writing a blog for New York magazine, the Kicker which we've been enjoying. A very nice woman sporting a pixie haircut and knee high boots, CC enjoyed chatted with her for a few minutes about how she needs to keep needling the media establishment even though now she's technically a part of it. She also introduced CC to Neal Pollack, the Austin-based writer who was in town promoting his new book and who we'd just been watching perform at Luxx. [More on our impressions of Pollack later this week.] We think he was drunk. A good night all in all in "the capital of all things hip in America." [Ed. note to Gawker -- when we call Williamsburg hip, it's only in the context of quoting a comment made by Pollack to the uber-blase crowd. Come on now, CC lives in the EV, we're soooo over Williamsburg.]

In other blog news, our fellow NYU alumna the Modern Age is going on hiatus. We'll miss your pithy music coverage and obsessive White Stripes news Laura. In the meantime, get your fill of Britney Spears and celebrity nipple sightings over at Let's all make Uncle Grambo the newest "white hot blog du jour," he's certainly got the ego for it.

Posted by karen at 8:09 AM |

September 22, 2003

Laughed Until We Cried

Perhaps the highlight of last week's Gothamist/601am Happy Hour for Cinecultist was meeting the new Mr. Gawker, aka Choire Sicha. (As an aside, it helps to be friends with the handsome homosexual bloggers. They're cute AND they introduce you to the best people.) Besides the obvious mystery solved (first name pronounced "Corey"), we found him to be very friendly and filled with the bon mot you'd expect from a man who does indeed sometimes dress like "a giant gay Easter egg." CC only wishes we'd at least mentioned the name of our blog when we met him. Guess we'll have to obsessively do the equivalent of online notice-me, click thru from our site to his. We mention all of this to point our readers to his perfectly wonderful essay on The Morning News about the New Yorker festival, a ridiculous fall rite of NYC literariness that Cinecultist wishes we too had an article to write that forced us to attend. Guess we'll just have to wait for the New York Film Festival for that.

Gothamist's pictures from the event, CC's in there somewhere, Josh and Chris took to the photobooth while CC held the drinks, and we met sweet Meghan Stier who's a fashion blogger and liked our purse.

Posted by karen at 9:49 PM |

September 17, 2003

Everyone's A Critic

At least, those film fans who have access to the internet would like to call themselves such. This month's Cineaste features an editorial on the state of "Film Criticism in Cyberspace," along with a list of links to other sites for criticism of note. They mention a few sites which started out as webzines but have risen in esteem by the film criticism community, such as Senses of Cinema out of Australia that covers Asian cinemas particularly well and Otrocampo, an Argentinean 'zine which provides comprehensive coverage of Latin American cinema and reprints of seminal articles by critics such as Truffaut, Godard, Pasolini, and Serge Daney. All of that is good news for those of us toiling away on the fringes here, not interested in getting PhD.s in cinema studies but wishing to engage in more complex criticism. And Cineaste's editors are generous to their non-establishment brethern noting in conclusion that, "it seems clear that the Internet will probably not supersede or replace conventional film journals but will continue to supplement, critique and sometimes prod those of us committed to a more old-fashioned mode of publication."

Note to Cineaste though, on their newly redesigned site (they ask for feedback via e-mail in the ed.): we like a flashy front page as much as the next web surfer, but please put more content on your site. More than two articles per issue would be great, thanks. This stingyness on the part of print publications is the bane of all bloggers who like to direct attention to well-done print articles.

Other websites mentioned that are worth a look: Rouge, Mobius Home Video Forum, Frameworks, A Film By and Film-Philosophy.

Posted by karen at 3:31 PM |

September 12, 2003

Who's A Hipster Movie Blogger?

Look kids! To toot our own horn, Cinecultist is one of the best movie blogs on the web according to's WorldFilm section. Our illustrious fellow best ofs include among others, MilkPlus, Kottke's Regarding: Adaptation blog and Such flattering company and a nice pat on the back from cyberspace.

Posted by karen at 6:58 PM |

September 8, 2003

Cultivated Stupidity Lives!

Run for cover, alert the media, hide your sons and daughters -- Cinecultist's own media mongering correspondent Josh Huffman now has his own web presence devoted to music, movies and as he eloquently puts it, "ho titty hotness," called Cultivated Stupidity. Head over to say hi because Josh needs lots of attention and perhaps send him a little hate mail or a few mash notes, either will be surely appreciated.

[Ed. note -- good job Joshie, we knew you could do it! And kudos to Chris for the loverly design.]

Posted by karen at 7:25 PM |

July 30, 2003

Bug Your Co-Workers

Cinecultist lurves the Ron Livingston and his stubbly, cynical, hunky goodness. But now that he's no longer the perfect writer boyfriend on S&tC, we guess we'll just have to go back to watching Office Space over and over again. If you need a little dose of OS, or just want to remind yourself that at least your job doesn't entail looking at Lumbergh all day long, check out this soundboard certain to bug the living daylights out of your cubicle-mates. [via TMN]

Posted by karen at 11:33 AM |

June 19, 2003

Still Movies, Just Not Film

The Times reports today on the attempts by University of Southern California's Entertainment Technology Center to make digital projection a viable option for theaters. First, there's the discussion of picture quality -- how to make the thing sharp enough so that it surpasses the beauty of a pristine 35 mm print. Then the issues revolving around distribution -- do you use a hard drive? a feed? what if people hack your feed?

Sure, movie watchers are becoming more and more enamored by the digital tech in DVDs and HDTV, and in our linear way of thinking about technology new does equal better. Why wouldn't we want to see (eventually) the demise of film for digital? Is this really the most profound advancement the industry has seen in a long time? Not one to hamper progress, Cinecultist is not certain that's what digital projection will be. The image as is now, just is not superior. Just because it might be possible to achieve this technique does not mean it would be better for the art of filmmaking. Actually, what would we call it, if now we're not really using film? A strange conundrum indeed.

Posted by karen at 1:31 PM |