In his review of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Armond White opens by declaring that “Neo-noir must be the worst movie genre. It’s an excuse for juvenile filmmakers to pretend cynicism while their imbecile audiences pretend sophistication.”
I can certainly see where he’s coming from. I haven’t seen A Dame to Kill For yet, but I have seen more than enough attempts at neo-noirs that think all there is to the genre is a femme fatale and an anti-hero in a trenchcoat. I’m talking about mediocre, flailing films like Max Payne—or worse, the attempts to bring noir to hip, younger settings like Assassination of a High School President and Lucky Number Slevin. They’re movies that look at the classics of the genre, fall in love with the aesthetic, but have no idea why or how that aesthetic works as it does. As Armond so aptly points out, Sin City and its ilk are all “pretending that it still means something to call a sexy woman ‘dame.’”
Continue reading Is Neo-Noir The Worst Genre?
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On this episode, I am joined by fellow Smug Film contributors John D’Amico and Jenna Ipcar. We discuss an acting class John took, Jenna’s foray into the films of Steven Seagal, and for our main topic, we tackle the idea of homegrown cinema. As always, we go on tangents along the way, take a quick break for a movie joke by comedian Anthony Kapfer, and then close the show with questions from our mailbag.
If you have a movie-related question you’d like answered on the show, leave it in the comments or email us at Podcast@SmugFilm.com.
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Movie Stuff Referenced in this Episode:
Continue reading Smug Film Podcast Episode #7 – Acting Class / Steven Seagal / Homegrown Cinema
There was a period in film history, after the advent of the VCR and before the Generation Y takeover, where people traded VHS copies of their movies on an underground circuit that spread all over the world. The modern incarnation of this is the ‘viral’ video, or, a video that racks up a lot of views on YouTube. But, if you’re old enough, you can remember a time when this was essentially done by hand (or, if you’re a Y-er, you can Google it).
There’s something romantic about it really. Each video had to be copied with noisy machines that spooled magnetic tape around heads that needed to be cleaned and would break after so many revolutions. Each tape was an artifact adorned with the fingerprints of the previous owner, or in many cases, the filmmaker himself. It was personal and exclusive and you had to be in the know to be blessed with a particular video’s presence.
Continue reading An Interview With Jeff Krulik, Documentarian Extraordinaire