Professor Daniel Winchester’s latest Psych-Out expose of disturbing alien interventions centred on Leamington Spa…
Next Saturday, Leamington Spa will be getting distinctly star wars-ey – with the first ‘Spa Wars’ event during the day, followed by our screening of ace doc, Elstree 1976, in the evening.
Both events take place at the big, gothic All Saints church located at the bottom of the parade.
Doors for the screening are at 7.30pm and the film action starts at 8.00pm, Following the screening there will be a Q&A featuring producer Hank Starrs and cast member of Elstree 1976 (and coincidentally Star Wars), John Chapman, all conducted by Leamington’s very own Nic Pillai.
Tickets are £10 from: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/407159
If you are a poor tax-dodging student however, it is just £5!: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/422938
Some examples of the critical praise for this cool film, which has a very respectable 80% on Rotten Tomatoes:
“Elstree 1976 is a must-see for Star Wars fanatics, and coming shortly after the much-hyped franchise adrenaline shot that is The Force Awakens, it’s almost shocking to hear firsthand accounts of the first film’s way-under-the-radar status.”
“In telling a small story of bit players, the director, Jon Spira, captures a more universal picture of the droplets of fame created by a pop-culture tidal wave.”
“A deadpan documentary with notes of wistful irony …”
“As a remedy to life in society I would suggest the big city. Nowadays, it is the only desert within our means.”
– Albert Camus
“I don’t know what London’s coming to — the higher the buildings the lower the morals.”
– Noel Coward
“But cities aren’t like people; they live on and on, even though their reason for being where they are has gone downriver and out to sea.”
The next LUC Briefing will be on the subject of: War
i. The Lost City Of Demille
From the Independent:
‘When the shoot was complete, rather than dismantle and remove the set, the director ordered it to be knocked down, buried and abandoned to the elements. Mr Cardozo showed Mr Brosnan a passage from DeMille’s posthumously published autobiography: “If, 1,000 years from now, archaeologists happen to dig beneath the sands of Guadalupe, I hope they will not rush into print with the amazing news that Egyptian civilisation … extended all the way to the Pacific coast of North America.”’
ii. Shanghai tower climb
If you are slightly nervy about heights and risky behaviour then you might want to give this extreme urban exploration video filmed in and above the chinese mega city a swerve – or use it as some kind of exposure therapy. Don’t try this at home (if you live on a crane half a mile in the air).
“The city will soon be built faster than a man can travel”
iv. Metropolis II
Metropolis II is a kinetic sculpture by Chris Burden – it took four years to build. When it was finished the manager of the local Toys R Us cried bitter, bitter tears.
v. Neo Tokyo
From the Akira Wiki:
“Neo-Tokyo is situated on an enormous, man-made island in Tokyo Bay. The city was built sometime after the end of the Third World War, and is described as a booming, industrial city with the atmosphere of a collapsing one.
As of 2019, the population is 21,451,800 and the total area of the city is 410.32 km2. This would make Neo-Tokyo the most densely-populated city in the world after the original city. Neo-Tokyo is situated right next to the ruins of old Tokyo, which seems mostly derelict.”
vi. 20 Great Films Where One Of The Main Characters Is A City
From the Taste Of Cinema web site:
“The films listed rely on the narrative space and its geographical and sociological specifications. The plots of these films are formed by numerous references to the spatial and temporal phase in which the story is taking place.”
vii. Wadjda – the film that had to be directed via walkie talkie
From a BFI article listing ten great films about Women and The City:
“Wadjda is set in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia – a city where women are not permitted to walk un-chaperoned or uncovered in the streets. These restrictions meant that the film’s director, Haifaa Al-Mansour, had to resort to instructing her cast and crew via walkie-talkie, from inside a van. All 10-year-old Wadjda (Waad Mohammed) wants is a bicycle; getting one is a race against time, as she won’t be able to ride it when she grows into a woman.
Wadjda is one of the first feature films ever to be shot in Saudi Arabia, and it’s also the first film ever to be made by a Saudi woman. The film – both the conditions of its making and its story – demonstrates the reality that cities aren’t always open to everyone, but that this situation might one day change.”
viii. Vancouver never plays itself
Vancouver can double for just about anywhere as demonstrated by this excellent short film from Every Frame A Painting:
“One of the best ways to disguise Vancouver is to film at night in shallow focus. This is to avoid pulling a ‘Rumble in The Bronx’ where they pointed the camera north and you could clearly see the mountains”
“A film is – or should be – more like music than fiction”
The next LUC Briefing will be on the subject of: Animals
i. The Long Goodbye
In a move that is either an inspired piece of cinematic brilliance, or time-saving laziness, the score for Robert Altman’s 1973 film of The Long Goodbye consists of just one song, played in many different styles throughout the film. John Williams arranged all manner of variations, from jazzy efforts, to crazy mariachi music, although as it was the early 70’s there is no dubstep remix. You can get the idea from this montage
ii. Rappin’ For Jesus
Considering all the wild, wonderful and dubious things that LUC has ever shown, it says something that nothing has ever elicited a reaction nearly as shocking as this music video produced by a church outreach programme. There is no way of understanding the thought processes behind this – just make sure that you are not eating or drinking around the 35 second mark. Trigger Warning: Potentially lethal levels of awkwardness.
iii. Jazz As Visual Language
Leamington Spa’s very own Nicolas Pillai has just launched a book about Jazz as seen through the filter of cinema and TV. You can get it straight to your Kindle from Amazon right now, or for more info check out this interview with London Jazz News…
“Simply put, this is a book about how jazz has been mediated through film and television. We often ask ourselves, what is jazz? This is a question reflected by these film and television representations. Through image composition and editing, they present that question in visual terms: what is jazz? How has its meaning changed over the decades? What is its significance to the people who play it, who finance it, who listen to it or dance to it?”
iv. Just by Radiohead is probably the best music video ever
I know OK GO have made all those incredibly clever and entertaining videos and that R Kelly produced the demented disasterpiece that is Trapped In the Closet, but for LUC’s money the apex of the short form musical video is Jamie Thrave’s film for Radiohead’s 1995 release ‘Just’. Watch and enjoy.
Did you know that Sylvester Stallone and Dolly Parton once made a country and western musical together? If not it may be because the UN convention on human rights was used to cover it up.
The film in question, Rhinestone, features Parton teaching Stallone to be a country singing sensation as part of a bet with her sleazy manager over whether she will sleep with him. Yes, I know, the drugs in the 80’s must have been amazing. You may study this clip and assume that Stallone was labouring under some kind of contractual obligation, apparently not as he is credited as co-writing the script.
vi. The Time That Steven Seagal Played The Blues At Warwick University
There is not much to add to this, except that his band is called ‘Thunderbox’
vii. The Importance Of Music in Cinema
There is probably no better illustration of the effect of music on the experience of cinema than watching the lat few minutes of Star Wars without the stirring orchestral send off.
viii. Searching For The Brown Note
From an article on vice.com:
“There are dozens of YouTube videos claiming to be the real brown note, mostly with comments saying they don’t work – but occasionally the odd positive response turns up among the “South Park brought me here” messages. Commenters in these instances claim the noise cured their constipation, or that the brown note caught them by surprise and really worked, but were these historically trustful anonymous YouTube trolls telling the truth?”
My mommy always said there were no monsters – no real ones – but there are.
Yes, there are, aren’t there?
Why do they tell little kids that?
Most of the time it’s true.
The next LUC Briefing will be on the subject of: Music
i. Kim Jong Il’s Monster Movie
From an article on Vanity Fair:
“There were thousands dying in North Korea,” Fischer wrote via e-mail, “but at the same time here comes Kim Jong Il, and his idea of advancing the regime’’s purposes is to kidnap two South Korean filmmakers, trick some Japanese film crew members, drown them all in gifts and luxury, to play with rubber monster suits and make a Godzilla rip-off.”
ii. Operating Jabba The Hutt
According to the marvellous short documentary “Slimy Piece of Worm-Ridden Filth – Life Inside Jabba the Hutt”, being one of the several puppeteers who operated Jabba The Hutt in Return Of The Jedi was even less fun than you may have imagined it would be…
iii. King Kong Lives (With a Computerised Heart)
Plot synopsis from Wikipedia of the 1986 sequel to the lamentable 1976 version of King Kong:
“King Kong, after being shot down from the World Trade Center, is kept alive in a coma for about 10 years at the Atlanta Institute, under the care of surgeon Dr. Amy Franklin (Linda Hamilton). In order to save Kong’s life, Dr. Franklin must perform a heart transplant and give Kong a computer-monitored artificial heart. However, he lost so much blood that a transfusion is badly needed, and to complicate matters, Franklin says there is no species of ape or other animal whose blood type matches Kong’s. Enter adventurer, and eventual love interest, Hank “Mitch” Mitchell (Brian Kerwin), who goes to Borneo (Mitchell theorizes that Borneo and the island from the first movie were once part of the same landmass) and captures a giant female gorilla who is dubbed “Lady Kong.” Mitchell brings her to the Institute so her blood can be used for King Kong’s operation. The transfusion and the heart transplant are a success, but Kong escapes along with Lady Kong.”
If you really want to, you can watch the trailer here:
iv. The Gingerdead Man
Is anyone genuinely surprised that when it came to casting a psychotic, murdering cake monster, the producers turned to Gary Busey?
v. Zombie Movies Are a Metaphor for the State of Society
Monstrous creatures and characters can often be explained as metaphors for exploring the worries and concerns of the author or filmmaker that created them.
Vampires are all about sex, alien invasions stories are often grounded in xenophobia and racism and the monsters in Troll 2 are literally an embodiment of the evils of vegetarianism.
Zombies seem to be more of a (slowly) moving target. Previously used as a critique of our blind consumerist nature, Zombie movies have changed since the turn of the millennium to express more contemporary fears and anxieties. All is explained in this article on Wired:
“This continues a long and distinguished history of zombie themes standing in for au courant topics like slave rebellion, communism, über-capitalism, technophobia, and globalization. However, how zombie tales—and their fans—deal with these issues has proven as problematic as, well, the problems themselves.”
vi. Werner Herzog vs The Loch Ness Monster
Expressed as an equation:
Incident At Loch Ness = (Exit Trough The Gift Shop + Jaws) x (Grizzly Man / The Blair Witch Project)
vii. Godzilla & Godzooky
Producer Joseph Barbera putting a brave face on things:
“The problem with the show was simply this: When they start telling you in Standards and Practices, ‘Don’t shoot any flame at anybody, don’t step on any buildings or cars,’ then pretty soon, they’ve taken away all the stuff he represents. That became the problem, to maintain a feeling of Godzilla and at the same time cut down everything that he did. We managed to get a fair show out of it. It was OK. Godzooky kind of got the kids going.”
viii. The Patterson Bigfoot Film Stabilised
Someone has spent ages stabilising the famous bigfoot home movie footage – but conjecture as to whether it is real or not still continues…