Posts Tagged ‘John Landis’

Trailerama: American Grindhouse

February 22, 2010

Before straight-to-DVD, there was grindhouse. Made by desperate men, these cheap exploitation films lured in customers with lurid titles and promises of plenty of depravity. They occupied a pivotal point between childhood and the adult world for filmmakers like John Landis (An American Werewolf in London) and Joe Dante (Gremlins), who fondly recall the excesses of these cheapo potboilers in Elijah Drenner’s pop lecture. Screening at this year’s SXSW Film Festival

Everybody needs money. That’s why they call it money.

April 2, 2009

Money is a touchy thing, which may explain why movies don’t get too serious about it. Coming down off a marathon session of Planet Money podcasts made it feel like it was high time to look at the movies that get it right. Or at least “get it right” in the view from our apple stand. Here’s a brief history of onscreen finance, dating from the dawn of cinema to 9/11. What did we miss? Leave your suggestions in the comments box.

A Corner in Wheat (D.W. Griffith, 1909)

One of the film pioneer’s most daring experiments in montage shows how a financier’s machinations leads to devastation on the farm and starvation on the breadline. The boss chokes on his own grain; the downbeat ending sticks in the craw.


From Hell: Joe Dante and his Trailers

March 4, 2009

Before he directed classics like Gremlins and–dare we say it–Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Joe Dante made his bones chopping trailers for Roger Corman’s New World Pictures. Indeed, his first feature was 1968’s four-and-a-half hour The Movie Orgy, a compendium of trailers, so-bad-they’re-good clips from The Attack of the 50-Foot Woman and Speed Crazy, and even Richard Nixon’s “Checkers” speech. All of which makes him eminently qualified to be one of the panelists on Web site, where cheeseball trailers of all stripes are revered and mocked.

Trailers from Hell has often hit the road, and this year Dante and the compilation film The Best of Trailers from Hell will be at the South By Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas. Dante will accompany a screening at the Alamo Ritz 1 on 320 East 6th Street on Monday, March 16, 2009 … at midnight, natch.