Friday, January 30, 2009

Camera Obscura: Star Trek Perfume; Jane Austen vs Zombies; The Fabulous Stains

A new year brings new joys in the explorations of the obscure, the forgotten and the just plain weird cinema. Massive amounts of new cinematic oddities are as much a part of the new year as income tax forms just way more pleasurable. Makes my old heart thump with youthful vigor.

One new blog from 2008 continues to impress me with a vast amount of pop cultural debris and effluvium, Topless Robot. (yes, it is now on the blogroll here at yer Cup of Joe) Here are some choice samples of what you can read there:

-- 'Who Wants To Smell Like A Rutting Vulcan?' features a report on the Star Trek-based perfume lines being pushed in marketing for the new movie out this year. There's "Tiberius" if you want to smell like Kirk, "Pon Far" if you want to smell like a Vulcan in heat, and my favorite, "Red Shirt", if you want to smell like the most-likely-to-die crew member out on a mission.

-- 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' is a new book which commingles the witty romantic writings of Jane Austen with, yes, zombies. "
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies features the original text of Jane Austen's beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie action. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton--and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers--and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead." Use this version for that dull book report and it will be dull no more!!

-- Or maybe you'll enjoy the new sequel to French filmmaker Luc Besson's "District B13", which is a sort of sci-fi tale from the future but is really about the growing popularity of 'parkour', a sort of urban sport where folks run and jump onto and off of all kinds of things. The new trailer shows that the jumping continues with mad glee in the next movie. And don't worry about the dialog in French. You are here for the jumping, people!!

Banlieu 13: Ultimatum trailer

Here in East TN, by the way, you can join up with the Knoxville branch of parkour enthusiasts via this website.


Back in 1982 a hilarious TV comedy hit the airwaves and sadly ran for only six episodes. Yet, fortune smiled on the show and it eventually spawned three feature films and set the mark for movie parodies ever since. The show was the brilliant satire "Police Squad" (In Color!!) and you can watch three of the episodes here online, though the DVD set is available pretty cheap. But the half-hour episodes are sheer genius as is the star, Leslie Nielsen as Lt. Frank Drebin, moves thru a universe of visual jokes and TV madness. One of the best shows ever on the tube.


And for tonight -- well, actually around 2:30 a.m. - Turner Classic Movies will feature a cult classic from the early 1980s, "Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains". The movie follows an all girl punk rock band led by then 15-year-old actress Diane Lane and an even younger Laura Dern playing the bass for the band. Here's the trailer:

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