Tag Archives: films

Japanese Bug Fights

Japanese Bug Fights is a website dedicated to invertebrate cock fighting. It’s videos of two bugs fighting to the death. I watched some of them. The video above is Round 15: Japanese Hornet vs Scorpion. I have to say, I felt a bit uneasy watching it. Kind of like watching something off of rotten.com . Although, if i learned anything out of reading the ethics standards for high school science fairs, you can do ANYTHING to a invertebrate, and it’s all good.

Mark, pointed out that “the Japanese love bugs.” He says that Pokémon’s success can can be traced to cultural phenomenon. He pointed to the documentary The Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo (trailer), which chronicles Japan’s pet bugs. Beetle Queen is on the festival circuit, but there isn’t a Bay Area screening scheduled yet.

I’m Here

I’m Here is a new short by Spike Jonze. I’m a sucker for Spike. I’ve enjoyed his music videos from back in the day, and I’ve loved everyone of his feature length works. His work always has a very chill, and if it’s possible to use it in a nonpejorative sense, a “hipster,” feel to it.

The movie is free, but it’s set up with this lame artificial scarcity of number of viewings per day. I guess to give you that “theatrical experience” at home. That’s just what I want. An online movie being “sold out.”

This One is On Us

First there were bootleg concert recordings, now there are bootleg concert videos. This One is on Us is a fan project to crowdsourced concert films from the last Nine Inch Nails tour. I never would have thought this was possible, but with the advent of small highdef video recorders, it was inevitable. I downloaded “The Gift,” and it’s good. It’s as good as any other concert video I’ve seen.

And it’s NIN. Yay.

Trailer after the jump.
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Metropolis

Fritz Lang’s masterpiece “Metropolis” was screened at the Brandenburg Gate for the most recent Berlin Film Festival. What’s noteworthy about this screening is that it was the first public screening of the most recent, and more complete, restored version.

When “Metropolis,” was originally shown in Berlin in 1927, it had a running time 153 minutes. However, the export version was cut down to 114 minutes. Soon it was cut down further to a mere 90 minutes in order please theater owners, who wanted a higher turn over of customers each day, and because the plot was too “controversial.” (And just think, “Atlas Shrugged” was still 30 years away.)

With all the cuts and differing versions, the original was thought lost. Then in 2001, a restored version was put together using footage collected from the different versions along with intertitle cards for missing scenes. This version clocks in at 124 minutes.

In 2008 a copy of what may be the original cut, was found in Buenos Aires, and a further 25 minutes of additional footage was added to the 2001 reconstruction. Unfortunately, the Argentine copy was heavily degraded, and was a 16mm copy of a damaged 32mm copy, meaning that the additional footage will probably always be noticeable. It was this 2008 version that was shown this year in Berlin.

So what does this mean if you want to watch Metropolis yourself? My recommendation is to wait, and and be careful about what you buy.

I own the unrestored 90 minute version, and it’s completely unwatchable. The images are dark, cropped, and constrained to a flickering circle in the middle of screen. For instance, the scene shown in the above movie poster is limited to about the middle ninth of the still. Don’t pay attention to the running time. The time is stretched because the film is run back at less than 24 fpm, and so all the music is out of sync. This version is a complete waste of money.

Then there’s 2001 124 minute version. This is version that is recognized by UNESCO. It’s available today, but in light of the latest reconstruction, I’d also stay away from it.

Unfortunately, the 2008 reconstruction has yet to be released, but is expected to come out at the end of this year.