… will return soon.

Due to tragic events in the non-virtual world, there hasn’t been an update in ages. The idea is to start posting again in just over a week, but that is not a promise (due to possible circumstances beyond our control). Thanks for checking this site regularly. This is not farewell, far from…

Countdown time

I thought I’d said I would take things slower this year… erm, that won’t be until October then. As a result, the review promised for 5 September will now be posted on 30 September (let’s hope). But the good news is that the Avenue returns tomorrow with a brand new review. You can start the countdown…

David Cronenberg and the state of the world

The 25 August update (posted 80 minutes late because of lack of WiFi on the road) was supposed to be this, but the shambolic advert Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter was just too easy a target not to use immediately. And then there was doubt as to whether this genuinely deserved another mention, but then things got freakier and freakier… so in order to be a bit comprehensible, let’s start on square one.

David Cronenberg is no stranger to having his films hijacked by the media. In the 1990s, his controverisal movie Crash sparked such a debate the BBC even had a programme dedicated entirely to whether films like Crash should be forbidden or not. Cronenberg was no longer a director, he was the devil in disguise. Compared to that, the hijacking of his latest film is something of a completely different order: the star of the film is one Robert Pattinson, the former beau of Kristen Stewart (who’s apparently the 2012 embodiment of the devil in disguise). Pattinson is now promoting Cosmopolis, a film with such a limited release in the US that the actor joked on The Daily Show that the Twilight fans should all stack up on each other’s laps in order to give the film a decent opening weekend. Most of that interview consisted of Pattinson and Jon Stewart eating ice cream in a pastiche of two girls getting over the loss of their lover. According to some gossip ‘journalists’, the interview was Stewart’s sneaky way of getting Robert to talk about the break-up. According to those journalists, “pastiche” is probably a colour.

But the very next day this happened…

That’s right, the star and the director of Cosmopolis are ringing the bell of the New York Stock Exchange. This incredible honour is of course reserved for the biggest stars (such as, erm, the Muppets), but the oddest thing is that Cosmopolis is about a guy losing millions in one day. The film doesn’t paint a rosy picture of the stock market, so it’s at least peculiar to see that.

Equally surprising is watching the film’s poster at the end of the movie. Compare that to the European poster you can see in the Avenue’s 400th post and you’ll see a name is missing. Well, not exactly missing, if you take a magnifying glass you can still read the name of author DeLillo (barely). What is that about? It’s almost as if the American market has given up on the intelligence of American viewers. “Oh no, it’s a book, our viewers will get confused if they’re confronted with this ancient medium.” For any American readers, I’ll explain what a book is: it’s a series of words which are printed on paper and if you read them word after word, your imagination will make those words come alive. I’m sorry, what did you ask? What “imagination” is? Well, …
All kidding inside, it’s hard to think of another market in the world that’s so condescending to the intelligence of its inhabitants as the American one. And after the banking crisis and the bleak picture of the market portrayed in Cosmopolis, it’s odd – and in a way even perverse – to see the NYSE being opened by Cronenberg and Pattinson, even though I love the Canadian director and I wish him nothing but the best and as much promotion as he can get.

Which brings us to another thing about the American market, the movie market to be precise… what’s it with all these remakes? Many say Hollywood has run out of ideas, but remakes have always been part of the movie and theatre history. What made the theatre adaptations different, is that the director tried to give his or her personal touch to his/her adaptation. That is sadly what’s missing from a lot of remakes: more money and CGI effects are often the only additions and that’s why they suck. A movie like Wiseman‘s Total Recall is different from the Paul Verhoeven movie, but as Wiseman said, they went back to the Philip K. Dick story the movie was based on and used that as the basis of their version. There isn’t too much wrong with that sort of remake and even reinterpreting a film can be a dangerous enterprise. Say what you like about the quality of The Wicker Man‘s remake, but in the vision of Neil LaBute and his views on how women are treated, it’s not an odd movie out. Whether it was good or not, at least there’s a reason for that particular movie to be remade. (Another Brit cult movie from the 70s, Get Carter, was also remade around the same era. Would anyone care to enlighten me as to what the reason for the reboot was?)

Why is all of this mentioned in an article on Cronenberg? Because Hollywood has come up with the marvellous plan to remake – oh, I forgot to warn you: it may be best to take a seat if you don’t already know – Videodrome. Once you’ve picked yourself up again, there should only be two questions in your mind: “why?” and “who?”. The remake will be directed by Adam Berg, who up to this point has only directed commercials. Now there’s nothing wrong with that in itself, David Fincher‘s filmography up to Se7en wasn’t impressive either. However, Fincher debuted with a classic and not a remake of a classic. Still, let’s have a look at two of Berg’s commercials:

Compare that with the Dulux commercial (which you can catch here) and all signs are pointing in that direction again: it does look flashy and full of effects. But will your brain be fed? Or in another words: why? I’m struggling to find a good reason to think of a Videodrome remake and honestly, if it’s completely different from the original and set in this day and age, confronting us with our modern problems, then there’s the tiniest of chances we will end up with a good film. And it’s not as if Berg is in there on his own, somebody will also write the movie. That script will be penned by one Ehren Kruger, whose latest efforts are Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Oh dear, and with the addition of earlier movies like Blood and Chocolate and Scream 3 we’re in for a ride. But in case you’re relieved because at least Kruger has never made a mainstream version of a foreign cult classic, guess who was responsible for the American version of Ring

So let’s sum up, the stock exchange is opened by the people who’ve made a movie that doesn’t exactly flatter the financial world (this movie taught me having a finger up your ass will give you better insight into the foreign currencies) and Transformers guy and ‘paint ad’ guy are remaking a classic. That’s the state of the world. Yes, you’re allowed to feel sad about it, but don’t dwell on it too long. There will be an extra update on 1 September, the first of three reviews of movies I’ve seen on my recent citytrips to Berlin and The Hague. All three movies (one classic and two recent ones) will score at least 8 out of 10. There is always hope.


This was going to be a post about two movies, but not only did the review of the second film become too long to keep it all in one post, there was also the issue of the IMDb, where I was fact-checking like any good reporter would do. Unless you work for a tabloid, CNN or Fox… What bothered me was that the IMDb kept the ‘news’ about the second Snow White movie as lead news of the day. According to the IMDb, Kristen Stewart would be dropped from the next movie. Anyway, I actually bothered to check and according to the site Gossip Cop, it’s not true. I’m glad to hear that because the ‘article’ on IMDb suggested that Stewart would be dropped from the movie but not the director. That rumor, for that’s what it was, highlights the bottom line of the past weeks: why is everyone pretending that Kirsten is the only one to blame in this story? [Because she’s more known than the director she had a fling with? – Ed.] Without justifying her actions (which she doesn’t do either), can everyone stop this madness? War criminals and convicted athletes got a better press this past month. Whether you like her or not, Kirsten started acting at the age of 9. She’s in the spotlights because she was in successful movies, she didn’t look up the press to sell her career. How many “Give us some rest”s does it take before the press get the message? And why did it take the IMDb a full day to post the rectification to their story (which, given the news about Mayim Bialik‘s accident got buried to the smaller news)? If we had to nail all the 22-year-old girls who’d made a misstep to the cross, we wouldn’t have time to watch any movies. And that’s what we’re here for, isn’t it? Stewart recently starred in On The Road and Robert Pattinson in Cronenberg‘s Cosmopolis (reviewed here). Now there’s something to focus on, people. Back to business everyone! Speaking of “business”, here’s a review:

My digital tv provider offers me one free movie a month, which is awfully nice of them. In the past I used that chance to see some movies which never got a cinema release, but after the past year – which was so demanding I was forced to spend the past two weeks resting (which luckily coincided with the Olympics) – it mainly enabled me to see the movies I never even caught in the cinema. Last month I had to choose between Haywire and Poulet aux prunes (the latter won) and this month Haywire was once again of the final three movies in my list. As I couldn’t decide, I went to the IMDb to look up some information on the films from my shortlist. The lead actress from Haywire looked familiar, though and I couldn’t exactly pinpoint which movie I knew her from. Still the choice hadn’t been made, so up to YouTube for some trailers and clips. And that’s when it hit me. I had seen actress Gina Carano before and I knew her from… Haywire.

In earlier reviews at the Avenue (or its predecessor) we might have mentioned that it might be better for Steven Soderbergh to make one good movie a year rather than two acceptable films. But even then we didn’t expect that we could forget about one of his movies entirely. The synopsis, the poster, some stills… no recollection. It even took us a couple of seconds during the trailer to jumpstart our memory. Then a couple of scenes returned: the hotel scene, one of the scenes where our heroine has to escape the police and especially the remote house in the climax. Oh yes, that movie. Soderbergh is a capable director, but at the time we didn’t think this was a memorable movie. Turns out that this conclusion would prove to be painfully correct.

5.5/10 (I think)

It shouldn’t happen to anyone

I don’t think the world is waiting for my views on the movie theatre massacre in Aurora. It’s horrible, what else can you say? And even though it’s silly, it’s understandable that some people thought watching movies on dvd became a whole lot more interesting suddenly. Of course, you never know: maybe the next psychopath will strike in a dvd store for the release of the next Hunger Games movie or “Justin Bieber in concert uncut”. Best not to leave the house then and order the next blockbuster on your digital tv then. What a shame then that because of the action scene you didn’t hear the sound of breaking glass and suddenly you’re eye to eye with a violent burglar and it looks as if he’s carrying a weapon too. The point is: you are safe and unsafe everywhere.

I was on holiday in Berlin the night a crazyman shot and wounded several people in a movie theatre. I was enjoying a glass of wine at the square of the Siegesäule when the words “Obama condemned the attack” told me something had happened in the US. It was only later that I heard it was in a movie theatre. Oddly enough, my first question was “Which movie?”, rather than “Where?”. When I heard the name of the movie, my first thoughts went to the director Christopher Nolan: not once but twice has he devoted every second to creating the best possible movie for months and months, only to have it become notorious for other reasons. Then my thoughts went to the moviegoers who had never thought their movie premiere would turn into a night of horror. “This shouldn’t happen to Americans who want to spend a night in the cinema for some entertainment.” Something along those lines was said on CNN and it upset me very much. CNN had trouble finding the right tone between the tragedy and the ratings boosts. Anderson Cooper was on the air when I returned to my hotel and had enough gravitas. One of the first things I heard him say was that viewers had contacted CNN to tell them more about the deaths, but CNN didn’t want to do that. “We will only give information about the confirmed casualties,” Cooper looked into the camera. “Nobody should hear the tragic news of a death of a relative on television.” Having said those wise words, we heard about the confirmed victim, a 24-year-old blogger who’d survived another shooting only last month. “Her brother will tell more about her here on CNN, right after these messages.” And then Cooper cut to commercials. At this time we’d already seen some of Jessica’s pictures, so it felt as if her tragic death was brought to you by CNN’s sponsors.

Quickly the tone got worse. “This shouldn’t happen to Americans…” Apparently only Americans shouldn’t be shot when they go to the movies. Who else but übertwat Piers Moron could say such awful words? Piers isn’t even American, he’s a Brit (and for once that correctly rhymes with “twit”). Had this happened in Glasgow, would Moron not have given a rat’s ass? “In Scotland a madman killed 12 people and wounded another 70 moviegoers, but we’re talking to Paris Hilton who’s just launched a perfume for pets. This is Piers Moron Tonight. Wow, Ms Hilton, can I just say your pussy smells divine?”

All across the world the premieres of The Dark Knight Rises were affected. Some cities cancelled their festive premiere, some started the movie after a minute of silence out of respect. In Belgium a tv show decided not to run the segment with the Batmobile and the creator of the special effects because both the host and the special effects guy didn’t feel this was a good idea. However, the premiere was still taking place in Antwerp and the local tabloid celebrities wanted to have their picture taken with the Batmobile, so let’s pretend nothing happened. Literally. Loudmouth and nitwit Jan van Looveren hosted the event and posed next to the car with his biggest smile. “There hadn’t even been a minute of silence,” Jan smiled as he didn’t think it was necessary. The massacre had nothing to do with the movie and it was only more proof of what the US caused with its awful gun laws. And while it’s true that there are more gun-related tragedies in the US than let’s say Belgium, Jan must have been too busy combing his hair for this big event – he’s bald – to hear the news that just on this very day a local jerk couldn’t cope with a possible break-up with his girlfriend (and debuting model), so much so that he went up to her on the street and shot her twice in the face. Later that night, Piers Moron didn’t talk to that girl’s sister and told her this shouldn’t happen to Belgians.

Life goes on and every now and then there’s a painful bump in the road. There’s nothing wrong with a minute of respect for people who wanted to do the same as us: go to the cinema and be entertained. The tragedy has nothing to do with the movie itself, but the killer did dress up as a Batman character, so it wasn’t random. It shouldn’t spoil the movie or change your opinion about it, but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of respect. Even if that’s too much to ask for Piers Moron and tabloid celebrities.

The Wilhelm Scream

And with the Top 10 of 2011 well behind us and the traditional short pause of one update equally behind us, this may be as good as any moment to thank you for reading the Avenue – in the past months a couple of people have subscribed to these reviews and that truly makes a difference, but it’s a bit awkward to write such statements into an entry, so that’s why I’m doing it now. Because there is a full week between 30 January and 5 February, the Avenue will add an extra update on 1 February, so stay tuned if you want to hear our thoughts on the latest Cronenberg movie.

However, sometimes you read about something and a name catches your eye, but without any reference you don’t pay any attention and quickly forget about it. In our case, that was what happened to the “Wilhelm scream”. Then – about the fourth time the name popped up – we read the story and thought it was worthy of sharing.

The Wilhelm scream is a sound effect that first popped up in 1951. Originally it was just called a “scream”, but in the third movie it was used, the character who was wounded was called Wilhelm and that’s where it got its name from. Ever since, it’s been used as an effect as well as an injoke for movie maniacs and it’s quite remarkable to hear the same scream pop up in various movies. As you can watch and hear in this compilation:

The curious case of the anti-piracy announcement

If you’ve ever bought a movie on dvd, you must have seen the announcement that downloading movies is bad. Very bad. We’re even funding terrorism by grabbing a free copy of a blockbuster. Because nothing says the truth more than a statement that isn’t in the least exaggerated. Anyway, quite often you can’t even fast forward these messages which is quite annoying: in an earlier post we mentioned that they become so annoying it’s even tempting to grab an illegal copy of a movie off the internet because that allows you to go straight to the movie. Because, again, nothing says the truth more than an exaggerated statement.
And anyway, aren’t these announcements barking up the wrong tree? Who is being targetted here? The people who actually made the effort to buy a dvd. Wouldn’t a message applauding these people for their efforts be more welcome, more to the point and, why not, shorter?

But that is only the introduction. In the Netherlands a composer was asked to make some background music for an anti-piracy campaign for a film festival. The man was nicely paid by the anti-piracy organisation. Case closed. Ermm, no… some time later the man inserted a dvd into his player and, lo and behold, there was the same message… including his tune. As Private Eye would say: shurely shome mishtake?

The composer contacted the organisation. After all, didn’t his contract specify he was the tune’s owner for national and international territories? Plus, he had composed the tune: surely they’d forgotten he was the rightful owner of the track, even if they used a message for a film festival on another medium… ermm no, the Dutch anti-piracy organisation felt it was their message and therefore their plaything.

So the composer looked for a lawyer to take up this curious case. Not only that, a tv network heard about the story and jumped on it as well. A conversation between the lawyer and one of the anti-piracy guys was recorded and included a most memorable moment: this guy claimed that he was known for his pitbull attitude and he would make sure the composer would be paid after all. Of course, sinking your teeth into something costs some money and the man suggested a nice little fee of one third of the money would go to him for his effort and the composer could get the rest. And after all, two thirds of a sum is still better than nothing, eh?

TV networks tend to have the time to broadcast material and the interview was shown on the Dutch telly (discerning enthusiasts could hear the full interview on the network’s site). The anti-piracy movement promptly decided it was best for the man to stay low and removed him from his current job. Several weeks later, the composer got a wonderful offer: he would be paid the royalties for each dvd on which his tune was present as long as these were Dutch dvds (sometimes a dvd is published in several countries with a various display of subtitles – for those dvds the composer couldn’t be paid, of course, even if the music was featured there) and on the condition that he wouldn’t contact the press anymore. The composer did not agree to these conditions. For the record, we would like to point out that the Dutch anti-piracy organisation clearly states that their guy didn’t do anything wrong and that the network took certain words out of context.

Nevertheless, apparently a composer might not get paid for his work for an anti-piracy organisation (and probably not for any international releases). It just seems like a most curious case.

At least they’re not funding terrorism…

(P.S. If you understand Dutch, a short summary of the case can be watched here. It’s part of the year in review episode (16 Dec) as of 11:45 and is featured in several earlier episodes.)

Cults – Abducted

One of the best videos of the year is this oddball, which is quite reminiscent of David Lynch‘s work. In a good way, unlike Drive (more about that later this year). As an inbetween update, enjoy the video and don’t forget to look below to see when we’re posting next:

Update schedule:

10 December – postponed until 18 December (Simon Werner a disparu)
15 December – today’s update: Cults
20 December – here’s a teaser
25 December – something will be posted, but nobody knows what it’ll be

In sickness and in health

What happens if you send a healthy man to a doctor in order to get a document saying the man is healthy?

Well, if the healthy man has to sit more than two hours in the waiting room, there’s a chance the man may leave the doctor’s premises with a) a document saying he is in fact healthy and b) a high chance he may have picked up some virus while waiting.

And that’s exactly what’s happened to me, dear reader: I’ve been quite sick for almost an entire week. I’m better now, but there’s so much work to be done. I’d try to get another update ready for 25 October, but I have a deadline for Wednesday which will take a lot of time, so there’s a lot of chance Avenue Kurtodrome will return not before the 30th of October.

Anyway, if you don’t want to miss an update, feel free to follow this blog. You can do so by clicking that box in the bottom right corner. And yes, because we love our fair share of irony the next update will be the film… Contagion.

See you soon and remain healthy!

La Vie Post-DV

As my fellow DV writer Nekoneko put it: “the end of an era”. Delirium Vault is ceasing to be. Us writers were informed a couple of weeks ago, allowing us time to transfer our blog posts to a new address. This is mine. The links to the others can be found in my links section.

I used to maintain this blog for posts about my writing life, but I’ll move those elsewhere. The Avenue has moved here – odd really, moving a street, but there you go. Posts will appear on a regular basis again as of early August. There’s one more planned for July.
The course book I was asked to write has taken up all of my free time these past months, but my first draft had to be finished by 22 July… and I managed to save the final chapter on 22 July at 11.29pm.

Now who doesn’t like a deadline, eh?