Trash

The life aquatic

A bevy of seaworthy DVDs bubble up
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SEAWORTHY DVDS If France's Georges Méliès is known as the first astronomer of cinema, then overlooked director Jean Painlevé might be considered its first aquanaut. The son of French prime minister and mathematician Paul Painlevé, Jean grew up amid the progressive decadence of the Parisian Belle Époque and sowed his anarchist seeds in the bloody aftermath of the Great War of 1914. Read more »

Got to be 'Real'

Real Housewives of New York City reads as an uptown-downmarket update of Edith Wharton
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TV ADDICTION If you can ignore the resulting three-ring circus of gossip — Countess LuAnn de Lesseps breaks up with her no-account cheating Count! Kelly Bensimon arrested for boyfriend beating! Alex McCord nude! — swirling off this Real Housewives of Orange County spinoff, The Real Housewives of New York City gets my vote as the most consistently toothsome entry into the Real Housewives franchise. Read more »

Metal militia

Metallica' Guitar Hero -- rendered right down to the mole on Kirk Hammett's face
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Guitar Hero: Metallica

(Neversoft, Xbox 360, PS3; Budcat Creations, Wii, PS2)

GAMER Metallica were recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which they surely had in mind while writing their 1983 debut album Kill 'Em All (Megaforce). Back in the spotlight and riding high on the release of 2008's Death Magnetic (Warner Bros), which many have optimistically heralded as a return to form, the Bay Area's most famous thrash band returned to store shelves this spring with Guitar Hero: Metallica. Read more »

Trip at the 'Brain'

Gorings, stabbings, slicings, slittings, flayings, and disembowelings. Plus: a head in a microwave
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CULT HORROR "I am a genre terrorist," legendary Italian "B" filmmaker Lucio Fulci professes in an interview on the freshly released two-disc edition of his 1990 film Cat in the Brain (Grindhouse). Read more »

Lunch-drunk love

Lydia Lunch's Kiss Napoleon Goodbye now available on DVD
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AVANT TO BE PUNK If any artist ever self-classified as trash, it was (is?) Lydia Lunch, original '70s New York City No Wave princess (Teenage Jesus and the Jerks), '80s underground film star (for Richard Kern, Scott and Beth B., Nick Zedd, etc.), and subsequent spoken-word performer and print autobiographer. In each medium her voice bottled the societally incriminating sarcasm of self-defined detritus, costume-partied as yesteryear's bullet-bra'd sex object. By 1990, who beyond first-generation punk nostalgists gave a fuck? Read more »

Golden eye

Considering the Oscars
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AWARDS SHOW I'm actually pretty jazzed for the 2009 Oscars: there are some exciting nominees, and the broadcast is guaranteed to be less dull with Hugh Jackman (the first-ever adamantium-enhanced host!) guiding the proceedings. But before Feb. 22's awkward montage of dead Academy members (farewell, Paul Newman!), stiffly scripted banter 'twixt presenters, and inevitable fashion faux pas, it's important to pick your favorite and least favorite nominees. You gotta know whom to cheer (and jeer) once you have a bottle (or two) of champagne in your system. Read more »

Splitting heirs

The SF Silent Film Festival's winter event brings the spinal chills
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SILENT FILMS Horror movies have never been more plentiful or popular than they are now — which says more about the times we live in than there's room to discuss here — yet in film's first decades they barely made an appearance. The early 20th-century rush to modernity, particularly in the U.S., made anything that smacked of superstition seem childish, silly, even distasteful; the simple life of yore, with all its greater hardships, was still too fresh to invite nostalgia. Read more »

'Dance party

Smile 'Til It Hurts: The Up With People Story and other Sundance flicks
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PARK CITY REPORT A degree of relative tranquility settled on Sundance this year, as budget cutbacks among media outlets and distributors meant the customary frenzy was dialed down a notch or three. Of course most screenings were packed, but fewer people than usual got turned away; lodgings remained available during the festival, whereas normally they'd be booked months in advance. Still, what was onscreen remained as usual — a more or less even mix of good, bad, and indifferent. Read more »

Twice as nice?

Will My Bloody Valentine 3D turn the trend of terrible terror remakes around?
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RANT As 2008 wound down, and filmgoers everywhere began to gag on For Your Consideration flicks, one exciting piece of news gurgled out for genre fans: a planned remake of 1968's Rosemary's Baby had been cancelled. According to a post on Collider.com, producer Andrew Form was stumped by trying to adapt Ira Levin's 1967 novel for a contemporary audience. Read more »

Scary kids scaring kids

A feast of little bejeebers creeps across the Castro screen
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PG TERROR The real magic kingdom is Disney Inc., which has managed to completely dominate family entertainment for at least 70 years, from Snow White (1938) to High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2007). Yet there was a period in the 1980s when the post-Walt studio appeared to have lost its way. Read more »