Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Tuesday's Overlooked A/V: more links and THE CRIMSON PETAL AND THE WHITE; THING X; Oliver Stone's blithering about America...
Rackham having hired Sugar for a night, becomes enamored of her and buys her way out of her mother's brothel, setting her up as his kept mistress. She, in turn, not only couples with him but starts to hesitantly fall for him, and helps him in taking on the responsibilities for the business, with the accounting as well as innovating the advertising and marketing of the products. Rackham seems a pampered but lost soul at first, a frustrated writer; Sugar is also a writer facing a different sort of frustration, taking out her anger at her clients and her lot in life by writing a long narrative of revenge, in which her analog-protagonist is an inversion of Jack the Ripper, serially murdering johns. As she grows fonder of Rachham, and the vast improvement of her own living conditions, she sets the narrative aside; but Rackham proves to be a weaker character even than he appeared at their first encounter, with a family he, childishly self-absorbed, ignores when he doesn't inadvertently torment. His wife, Agnes, is mentally ill (agoraphobic and acting out whenever forced into social circumstances), a circumstance which is not improved by her doctor's "care" (part of his "treatment" for her hysteria is to clinically, ritually rape her on a regular basis, to which she tearfully acquiesces without further protest); eventually, Sugar is installed in the main house as the new governess of the Rackhams' much-neglected daughter, and Sugar is able to improve the daughter's life considerably, while feeling ever more her "place" as both quasi-maternal and sexual servant...while also feeling increasingly alienated from her old friends back in the ghetto.
The late-night programming block on the Cartoon Network cable channel, Adult Swim, has decided that Funny or Die (and such lower-profile players as Chill.com) shouldn't have all the shortform comedy video attention on the web, so has expanded their efforts, with the help of some of the staff of The Onion, with the site pages Thing X...or perhaps that's all in the past tense, as the ads that brought Thing X to my attention during Adult Swim programming show the staff in various ugly degrees of having been murdered, and the site, which debuted in October, has a December 3rd farewell message on it. I suspect we are being put on, but we'll see how long you can see this embed, with Paul F. Tompkins answering some odd questions with reasonable wit and charm:
Speaking of ugly murder, Oliver Stone has been allowed to attempt historical documentary by Showtime cable, with Oliver Stone's Secret History of America, a ten-episode series that is about as useless, irresponsible and a waste of opportunity to do something good with an important subject as his dramatic films are. Relentless apologizing for Stalin's simultaneous brutality and ineptitude in conducting the business of his government, not least the Soviet theater of World War 2, is only the start of what's wrong with the bootless attempt at muckraking and re-evaluation on display here, with readings of documents and (often very questionable) hearsay "quotations" faked up by actors, but also subjected to sound effects to make them sound as if they are radio transcriptions or newsreel soundtracks, manage thus to go Ken Burns one farther in intellectual dishonesty...even when Stone is right, he manages to be wrong. However, if he can get over his Christopher Walken-esque cadences, he might, like Rod Serling, find a side career as a narrator, as his hammy affectation here doesn't completely obscure the quality of his speaking voice.
And the links:
Bill Crider: ten overlooked tv biopics; Soldier in the Rain [Chris Noel interview segment]
Brian Arnold: The Gift of Winter
Dan Stumpf: The Vampire
Ed Gorman: Capricorn One
Elizabeth Foxwell: "You'll Be the Death of Me" (The Alfred Hitchcock Hour) based on a story by Anthony Gilbert
Evan Lewis: The Shadow Strikes
George Kelley: Paula Poundstone in concert
Iba Dawson: Holiday Affair
Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.: television notes; January on TCM
Jackie Kashian: Julie Hoverson and 19 Nocturne Blvd.
James Reasoner: My Favorite Wife (1940 film)
Jerry House: great television comedians
John Charles: Radar Men of the Moon
Juri Nummelin: The Way of the Gun
Kate Laity: outsider art; what's funny
Lawrence Person: vague movie descriptions
Laura: That Signature Style: The Films of Mitchell Leisen; February TCM
Michael Shonk: Cool Million
Patti Abbott: The Glenn Miller Story
Prashant Trikannad: innovative Sony televisions...and their ads
Randy Johnson: Long Live Your Death! (aka Viva la muerte...tua!)
Rick: The ABC Movie of the Week: Tribes; Duel; The Cat Creature
Rod Lott: Terminal Invasion; Regional Horror Films, 1958-1990
Scott Cupp: Mongolian Death Worm; Quatermass (1979)
Sergio Angelini: The Mind Benders
Stacia Jones: movies to watch for on cable in December; 3:10 to Yuma (both films); Who Bombed Judi Bari?
Yvette Banek: Contraband (1940)
As frequently through the course of the day, there might well be additions to this list of links; if I've missed yours or someone else's please feel free to let me know in comments. And thanks to all the contributors and to you readers...