Nightmare Movies by Kim Newman

Tommy Girard

Nightmare Movies by Kim NewmanI first discovered Kim Newman through his excellent Video Dungeon columns in Empire magazine, which, along with his more mainstream reviews for the magazine, demonstrated a man with a great knowledge for the fringes of cinema. So, when I saw his 1989 work, Nightmare Movies, had been reversioned and rereleased I picked it up as soon as I could.

It is an initially daunting tome, clocking in at 500 pages it is undeniably an in-depth look at horror cinema since (roughly) 1960. The first half is the original book reprinted with extra footnotes and it lives up to all the good I’d heard about it taking us through the 30 years after Psycho in fairly extreme detail.

Each chapter takes on, loosely speaking, a different sub-genre by focusing on a few of the well-known classics and referencing their connections to lesser known films while both critically exploring what, in…

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Spike Jonze’s “Her” and Other Human-Computer Stories

Monster Maven

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Robot:
mechanical or virtual agent, usually an electro-mechanical machine that is guided by a computer program or electronic circuitry

Cyborg: (short for cybernetic organism) being with both organic and mechanical parts

Android: robot or synthetic organism designed to look and act like a human, especially one with a body having a flesh-like resemblance
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2013’s “Her” is a softly-spoken, gently filmed look at artificial intelligence set in a post-Macbook-empire LA. The operating system Samantha (referred to colloquially in the film as an “OS”) is voiced with great care by Scarlett Johansson. This is one of Johansson’s most engrossing performances, rivaled by her turn in 2013’s “Don Jon,” as a fake-fingernailed Jersey princess. Both Samantha and Barbara, Jonhanssen’s character in “Don Jon” are female love interests for their soul-searching, confused male counterparts. The only difference is, Samantha is a computer program designed to facilitate and enhance a human life.

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Oxford American features Charles Portis film adaptation

Little Rock Culture Vulture

2e6b4_1320267846-oxa_logoToday, August 26, 2013, the Oxford American website features the world premiere of a film adapatation of Charles Portis’ “I Don’t Talk Service No More.”

In addition to the film, the website features an interview of the filmmaker Katrina Whalen.  Jay Jennings, who edited Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany chats with Ms. Whalen about Portis and the process of making films.

Whalen worked in production for directors Charlie Kaufman (Being John MalkovichAdaptationSynecdoche, New York) and Julie Taymor (TitusFrida; Broadway’s The Lion King) after her undergrad education at Yale.  She then enrolled in graduate school at New York University.

Jennings is a freelance writer whose journalism, book reviews, and humor have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Oxford American, and many other newspapers and magazines.

To see the film, which…

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