Criticism

Do You Still Have an Appetite for Destruction?

It is a question tens and thousands of fans have asked themselves in recent years, as Axl and Slash continue their decade long brawl / marketing saga. The world is hungry for the follow up to the Spaghetti Incident! So hungry that they have divided into THREE PARTS.

PART 1: Iron Butterfly. Led Zeppelin. Velvet Revolver.

This part of the world believes that Velver Revolver is the reincarnation of the great rock gods of the 60s. Slash and Scott Weiland are the long lost twins of hard rock, the Cain and Abel, the Izhak and Esau. Like Bilbo Baggins, pay homage to the greats with a replica of their cock rings from your gold chain necklace. And if you idolize the Velvet Revolver, you believe that your band must be named in the Classical late Sixties style of having two contractictory elements, objects or ideas.

Part 2: Go ahead and name yourself after a God. Why not two Gods??

This part of the world wakes up every morning and asks himself or herself something along the lines of: "How much more obnoxious can the world get, now that George W. Bush has a former Fox News commentator as his secretary? " Well, name your rock band after one of the most original rock sounds ever created. Follow that word with a name that alludes to one of the most pure and innovative pop-rock albums in the history of mankind, and you've created a marketing concept so insanely low -- how could it fail?

The New Middle

The “auteur” is a filmmaker who is generally expected to make personal cinema. Auteur-films tend to be celebrated for how well they relate unique experience – in terms of theme, Bergman’s preoccupation with death or Truffaut’s with youth; in terms of style, Hitchcock’s use of suspense or Rossellini’s minimalism; in terms of location, Scorsese’s Little Italy or Paul Thomas Anderson’s Valley or Malick’s countryside. The specificity of the auteur’s experience is met by a specific audience. In other words, a limited one.

One way to gnaw away at the dominance of auteurism in today’s movie culture is to dismantle the notion that a film’s quality is proportional to how much it can alienate mass audiences. 1930s French cinema and classic Hollywood cinema both managed to produce movies that could unite disparate audiences without sacrificing quality. Even Hollywood cinema in the 1970s, so often lauded for its auteurs, could be argued to have produced good movies more as a result of its knack for finding a wide audience. In fact, it was the pomposity of auteurism that ultimately ruined the cycle of great ‘70s cinema: Michael Cimino made sure of that by demanding an outrageous sum of money to realize his all-important “vision," Heaven’s Gate. The commercial and critical failure of Heaven’s Gate signaled the end of that great era. But the ‘70s paradigm emerged once more in a movement that is often referred to as “Indiewood,” or the “New Middle.” Read on...

De-Throning the Auteur!

Since the “auteur theory” was conceived in the 1950s by a group of cinephilic Frenchmen who rarely saw the sun, it has come to dominate the way people make and perceive movies. Over the course of the last half-century, the academy has torn the “auteur theory” a new asshole several times over: with structuralism, Marxist theory of ideology, post-structuralism, postmodernism, and, most importantly, by simply pointing out that movies are collaborative.

Nevertheless, the industry continues to use director name-branding in its marketing campaigns, critics continue to review movies in the context of the directors’ preceding oeuvres, and I continue to maintain my DVD collection so that it’s organized by director.

Furthermore, auteurism seems to have trickled down into mainstream consciousness through the proliferation of “Director’s Cut” DVDs. Though the mainstream public still cares more about J. Lo than J. Demme, an increasing portion of the population, which I would like to title the “IMDB generation,” has come under the spell of the auteur theory. As Eric Hobsbawm points out, “For every culture-lover who [can] fit two plays to the names of even five living playwrights, there [are] fifty who [can] reel off all the leading movies of a dozen or more film-directors." Read on...

Nickelodeon Noir

Mixing and reinventing genres is the fuel for some of the best movies, these days. It is a productive way to cope with the postmodern dilemma: combine clichés to formulate new ones. It is also a very delicate process that must be done with care for themes, style, and narrative conventions. Unlike the neo-noirs of the 1970s – The Long Goodbye, Chinatown, Taxi Driver – which preserve the stylistics and themes of Classic Hollywood noir long enough to toy with them and collapse them, Brick borrows the narrative conventions of classic noir without engaging in its discourse. To be fair, Brick is a teen noir, mixing noir with the teenpic genre, and so it ought to be thought of alongside films like River’s Edge and Blue Velvet.

River’s Edge is about what happens when you combine Gen X apathy with a murder plot. What you get is a sinister tone that is ripe with irony, but the effect depends on the film’s insistence on taking itself (relatively) seriously. Brick, on the other hand, can’t decide if it is a serious reinvention of noir or a parody. It’s one thing to mix genres, but mixing drama and comedy in such a way is rather like mixing black and white.

IMDB Will Eat Itself!

Image hosting by PhotobucketIn the world of celebrity, homogeneity has become the norm. And the only Norm we here at Cosmodrome are into is that fat one that sits at the bar and orders beers from Ted Danson.

But with all the Li’ls, Simpsons, Hiltons and Carters (except you, Vince) it’s getting tough to remember who really matters and who just hit it with a blogger.

Even that bastion of Film Forum fact, the Internet Movie Database, has become corrupted – turning into a source of confusion, not a means to relieve it.

Consider if you will: IMDB will eat itself. I’m sure some of you may recall the internet conceptual art phenomenon sparked by two lonely dudes somewhere in a dorm room called Google Will Eat Itself. The creators of the website

24's Got An Axe to Grind. But What Is It?

Like George Clooney, I'm a Liberal. There, I said it! With a capital L! But I also Love the show 24, with a capital L.

How could this be? Have we entered yet another chapter in the book of the hypocrisy of me that is neverending?

You see, here's the paradox: like George Clooney I feel that blacks should not have to sit in the back of the bus. In fact, when I ride the bus, I often sit in the back myself to prevent blacks from having to sit there, just in case. And yet I also love watching Jack Bauer prove his manliness by demonstrating decisiveness in times of crisis. I am so not gay, yet it turns me on. It is the biggest adrenaline rush on television, yet it burns me up when my eyes look anywhere near the bottom right hand corner of the screen, and the little logo reminds me

"Daily Show" Democrats: Are You Ready for Your Close Up?

New York nightlife has always been popular with foreign tourists. Last week the most notable, and incongrous, foreign visitor to Manhattan clubland was Iraq War veteran and Pennsylvania Congressional candidate Patrick Murphy who brought his campaign to Happy Valley, the nightspot named for Penn State 's idyllic home. Murphy came flashing his indie cred with a lineup of comedians known for snark, including MTV's The State mastermind Michael Showalter.

Colorless Colorfulness: Gilliam & Jeunet's Cinema

Until fairly recently, artists and art critics have viewed color as a secondary mode of expression, associating it with superficiality and instability. In the nineteenth century, realist painters contained color within the boundaries of line, arguing that this is the natural order of things. In the 1940s and ‘50s, realist filmmakers tended to use black and white for its associations with rawness, grittiness, and “the real.” David Batchelor has called this history one of “chromophobia,” wherein artists and critics fear color for its associations with the foreign, the superficial, and the unstable.

Kobe B. Battle!: Bryant v. Beef


Cosmodrome HQ recently had a little greenery added to its décor: a large potted plant left on the curb. Before getting thrashed by the cat, the tree was dubbed Kobe. Half of Kobe’s acquaintances replied, “You mean after the basketball guy?” while the other half responded, “You mean after the beef?” Thing is, we didn’t rightly know. So we’ve decided to lay it down, have Bryant and Beef duke it out in our heads so that our tree can have the more radass namesake. Let’s get it on!

The Beat Tip

(Oooooooohhh... on) The Beat Tip

Taking a page from Fametracker, this feature will assess a band's current perceived status to summarize why (not) a band is justifying their existence.

Episode One: James Murphy/Tim Goldsworthy/The DFA/LCD Soundsystem/Other Applicable Aliases

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