Amoeblog

Exodus shocker -- the latest Hollywood Bible cartoon isn't very realistic

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 17, 2014 09:06am | Post a Comment

The other day I found out that some people are outraged by the casting in a Hollywood film -- in this case Ridley Scott's latest effort, Exodus: Days of Future Past (or whatever its full title is). They're apparently so upset that they're boycotting it, which is something I do with all but one or two Hollywood films every year although I refer to it simply as not paying to see it.

The problem that the boycotters have, it seems, is that Exodus is almost completely historically inaccurate (It's safe to guess that most of the Egyptian and Jewish characters are most portrayed by Anglo-Saxons and presumably speak Modern (if pretentious) English with a modern British accent, or approximation of one. Without having watched a trailer I'd guess that there aren't a lot of apparently Middle Eastern Africans portraying Middle Eastern Africans and the actual actors of African descent are used entirely for background color and supporting roles). 

Apparently these scandalized and offended won't-be viewers have never seen a Hollywood film before... or assumed that they'd somehow completely change their raison d'etre. Even at Hollywood's artistic peak in the 1930s, racial sensitivity and historical accuracy were not exactly hallmarks of Hollywood films -- making loads of money was, and that's what they did and they did it well. At one point Hollywood made loads of money with elaborately choreographed, brilliantly scored, escapist musicals. Nowadays Hollywood makes loads of money with loud CGI superhero cartoons. Sometimes -- rarely -- art slips through the cracks. Much more often big, dumb-looking movies like Exodus get released that look rather like the big, dumb movies that Hollywood was mostly pumped out for the last 90 years.

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One album wonders: The Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 8, 2014 08:16am | Post a Comment
The Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols (1977)

Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols

In the early 1980s, when I was in elementary school, I remember asking my father what mental illness was. This was the era of deinstitutionalization, when most of the nation's mental institutions were emptied onto the streets which were at the same time flooded with AIDS and crack. Not surprisingly, most popular entertainment was decidedly escapist in nature.

Hey Hey were the Sex Pistols
Hey hey we're the Pistols!

I probably asked my father because I assumed he was an authority on the subject, him being a psychiatrist at the VA and also himself clearly not right in the head. To answer my question he briefly told me about the Sex Pistols, specifically their seemingly innocuous use of safety pins in fashion. I didn't come away from our conversation with even a better understanding of mental illness but I imagined that the Sex Pistols must be a very frightening bunch indeed to exemplify insanity in that insane era where our society's inevitable and impending doom was guaranteed -- probably because of satanic cults, child abductionHalloween poisoningssubliminal messages, Dungeons & Dragons, or Sigue Sigue Sputnik

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One album wonders: David McComb's Love of Will

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 1, 2014 08:00am | Post a Comment
DAVID MCCOMB - LOVE OF WILL

DAVID McComb - Love of Will

David McComb
is best known as the singer of The Triffids, unquestionably one of the greatest rock bands of all time and one which released quite a few albums over the course of their fourteen year existence. As a New Musical Express - 1985 - Year of the Triffidssolo artist, however, McComb recorded just one solo record, which is the subject of this week’s One Album Wonders.

David McComb was born 17 February, 1962 in Perth, Australia to Dr. Harold McComb (a plastic surgeon) and Dr. Athel Hockey (a geneticist). The McComb family resided in the Cliffe, an historic home on McNeil Street in the posh neighborhood of Peppermint Grove. David and his four older brothers all attended Christ Church Grammar School in nearby Claremont. Nevertheless, McComb would emerge as one of Australia's greatest poetic voices.

McComb began making music with Alan “Alsy” MacDonald in 1976, who was the primary songwriting partner throughout what proved to be his too short life. The two first collaborated as part of the collective known as Dalsy, then as Blök Music, and followed by Logic, which after just one performance in 1978 changed their name to The Triffids. Despite their having released some of the best music of the 1980s and NME having gone so far as to proclaim 1985, “The Year of the Triffids,” they were never commercially successful. After one of their most musically adventurous but commercially less successful albums, The Black Swan, The Triffids called it a day in 1989.

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Happy 30th, Criterion -- May your next 30 be even better

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 25, 2014 11:18am | Post a Comment
Criterion is, without a doubt, the most loved video-distribution company in the video distribution game. No one (outside Korea) packages their films so beautifully and today they released a lovely, book (just in time for Christmas) of their "covers, supplemental art, and never-before-seen sketches and concept art" featured on their releases over the years called Criterion Designs. They're also beloved for their supplemental special features, which are similarly rarely paralleled, and the high quality of their restorations. There are podcasts, and subreddits, and completists devoted to the label. My only problem with them is over the films which they release -- or rather, those that they don't. 

Criterion Designs
Criterion Designs (image source: The Criterion Collection)


Criterion was launched back in 1984, when Joe Medjuck, Aleen Stein, and Robert Stein founded the company in New York City. From the get go Criterion chose films from Europe, North America, and Asia for their lovingly attentive treatment. I only became aware of the company around 1999. I recognized a lot of their films from introductory film school classes -- the canonical status of which was usually advertised by the stamp of Janus Films. At the same time, couldn't help but notice the glaring omission of ANY films from South America or Africa. When I pointed this out to Criterion loyalists and asked for their thoughts I got the following replies: "Do they make films?," "You mean like Tarzan?," and "You mean like Superfly?" My answers to all three were, "Are you *censored* kidding me?"

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One album wonders: World of Twist's Quality Street

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 24, 2014 08:00am | Post a Comment
WORLD OF TWIST - QUALITY STREET (1991)
World of Twist Quality Street

World of Twist
are one of the greatest one album wonders, on par with The La’s and The Sex Pistols — if unfortunately much more obscure than either. Although they’ve been broken up for more than twenty years, their cult still remains small although it seems inevitable that they will some day be granted the adoration which they so deserve. It seems only a matter of time before an excellent documentary on them screens at Don’t Knock the Rock or appears on video. 

World of Twist



As with many one album wonders, though not prolific as recording artists, the World of Twist’s members were involved in music for many years. From 1977-1979, Dave Conner (vocals), Gordon King (bass), James Fry (guitar), Julia Adamson (guitar), and Tony Ogden (drums) played in a punk band called The Blackout when all were art students in Art & Design at Stockport College in Greater Manchester.

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