Monthly Archives: January 2010

Freak of the Week: Herzog Reads Curious George

by Tony Nigro

Werner Herzog speaks English like no one else — not like a native English speaker, nor like any native German speaker I’ve known. This impression is spot-on in terms of cadence and accent as well as the director’s flair for hyperbole, which resides somewhere in that uncomfortable demilitarized zone between Amazing Fact and Utter Bullshit.

In other primate news, BBC Two aired a film shot entirely by chimpanzees. There goes my career.

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Avatar vs. Antichrist

by Lewis Manalo

At first glance, a viewer would not expect Avatar and Antichrist to invite a critical comparison.  Avatar is a computer-generated extravaganza, a record-breaking blockbusterAntichrist is the enfant terrible auteur’s psycho-thriller, and any records it broke would involve how many people have walked out of it.  Yet a closer inspection reveals that each film addresses similar themes of loss, femininity, and nature; but each film veers off to a radically different — and equally ridiculous — conclusion.
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DVD: She Likes It Hard

by Lewis Manalo

If you meet the title character of Hard Revenge Milly, don’t make her angry. She has a retractable sword in her arm, and she replaced one of her femurs with a shotgun. So you wouldn’t like her angry. And don’t slaughter her family. That really pisses her off.

On DVD today.

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DVD: Sexy TV Drama for Nerds

by Lewis Manalo

Science fiction television is a fickle mistress, and if you actually like a science fiction TV series, the odds are that it will be cancelled.

Such was the case with Defying Gravity, a TV space drama that followed four astronauts on their trek to Venus. Except they didn’t get very far. The show stopped airing on ABC after eight episodes and awful ratings. For couch potato nerds who aren’t from Canadia, where they aired all thirteen episodes on CTV, a lot was left unresolves, but now we have the complete first season on DVD. Go Nerds!

Now I can find out what the hell Beta and those visions of a Martian sandstorm are all about.

Freak of the Week: French Star Wars

by Tony Nigro

This is such a wonderful WTF from French television.

Split Edit’s own Lewis Manalo said it best: “It’s better than the original.  I always thought there wasn’t enough interaction between C3PO and Darth Vader.  Vader fathered C3PO before he fathered Luke, after all.”

via Topless Robot

DVD: Superheroes

by Lewis Manalo

Hurt Locker sucks. Brothers sucks. Try the independent film Superheroes instead.

A kid with a camera becomes friends with a war vet. That the war vet has issues with PTSD is an issue, but this isn’t an “issue” movie. Where Hurt Locker revels in the action of violence, Superheroes tries to understand its consequences. Where Brothers depicts PTSD as an issue that can be taken care of with that one cathartic moment, the makers of Superheroes actually did some research on the condition.

But Superheroes is first and foremost about a surprising and complex relationship between characters, and I haven’t seen as good a character study on film since the 90’s.

Get it here.

Split Decision: Killing the Monomyth

by Tony Nigro

Carl Jung / Joseph Campbell

It’s a little known fact that Lewis and I do more writing to each other via email than we do for Split Edit.  Most of the time it’s mundane stuff, but every so often a simple cross-country “hello” devolves into overwrought, coffee house-ready discussion.  And rarely does it end in agreement.  We’re talking no-holds barred, cage match kinds of emails.*

Dig a recent exchange below, in which we render a certain Joseph Campbell concept meaningless.

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Lewis: What book(s) do you recommend for learning the fundamentals of playwriting?  And don’t say Aristotle.

Tony: Does it have to be playwriting in particular?  Because there are fewer “rules” for the theater.  Most of what I learned about playwriting I learned from reading and studying other plays (and Aristotle).  For dramatic writing in general I like Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey, which basically simplifies Campbell’s Hero’s Journey and puts it into movie terms.  I like using that book as a skeleton for an outline and for keeping characters straight as archetypes.  I think it translates to theater and prose as well.

L: I’m not sure how I feel about the monomyth.  It gets boring, not necessarily to watch, but to write.  To keep with one structure gets tiresome.  Granted, a lot of beautiful poetry was written in the sonnet form, but who the fuck reads sonnets anymore?

Audiences are stupid, and I don’t mean that they’re idiots. I mean these days, when someone sits down to watch something, they turn their brain off.  Same with books.  It’s a bit discouraging, but perhaps we can use that knowledge to our own nefarious ends.  It’s like mass hypnosis where thousands of people voluntarily put themselves into a trance, open to any suggestions we want to give them.  I’ll bet you $5 to $7 that teen pregnancy declines in the wake of the Twilight movies.

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