Why HBO shows the same crap over and over …

Here’s an interesting thread at Mobius about a movie guide that was published by HBO and gave its very lowest rating to stuff like 8 ½, The Exterminating Angel and Rules of the Game while showering Crocodile Dundee and Rocky with five-star hosannas. Turns out that, if you read the fine print, HBO claims to have come up with these star ratings by surveying viewers of HBO and Cinemax! So you’re really getting a look into the mindset of your typical cable-TV viewer, circa the mid-1980s. No wonder the movie channels all run to the lowbrow these days. At any rate, I got the first hints of a serious film education from sitting up late at night watching HBO and Cinemax in my bedroom. From the Life of the Marionettes may have been the first foreign film I ever saw. Either that or The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie. Anyway, enough about me. Here’s the real nugget—according to Mark Ferguson, it looks like HBO Latino is running La Comunidad, the most recent horror movie by Alex de la Iglesia, whose El día de la bestia and Muertos de risa are both great fun. The thing is, this one is still undistributed in the U.S. I guess it doesn’t have subtitles, but if you speak Spanish you may want to tune in.

Some unexpected news — the BBFC, which was noted once upon a time for decreeing that certain extremely violent horror movies were “video nasties” that could not be legally released in the U.K., has gone soft on the subject of slasher flicks. Jason X, which required edits in order to get an R rating in the U.S., passed uncut with a 15. Sure seems like a new direction for the Brits. In not entirely unrelated news, some poor schlep in Dallas was just sentenced to six months in jail for selling a comic book. First they come for the comic books, next they’ll came for Fat Girl and Sex and Lucia (the latter of which you already can’t advertise in Seattle’s daily newspapers).

I’m listening to a fairly amazing piece of work right now — Freelance Hellraiser’s “Star Wars vs. Hatiris,” which seamlessly meshes “Throne Room and Finale” from the John Williams movie score with something (apparently) called “Space Invader” by someone called Hatiris. No, it’s not as good as the one where he mixes Christina Aguilera and The Strokes and comes up with something far more significant than either. But it’s still quite something. It’s on The Best Bootlegs in the World Ever, available at your nearest dodgy record shop. I suppose it’s fair game to download it, too.

Back to the subject of DVD, it’s probably worth pointing out for anyone who doesn’t know that Miramax’s new version of Heavenly Creatures, due September 24, will be the longer version that was shown in Australia and New Zealand, rather than the shorter version that was edited (with Peter Jackson’s blessing, so the story goes) by Miramax for the rest of the world. This is good news for sure, though you’ve got to figure that enough material exists somewhere for a super-special edition of this title, one of my favorite films of the last decade—Peter Jackson was the guy, after all, who released a four-hour laserdisc documentary about The Frighteners . I want to see Kate Winslet‘s screen tests!

And, hey, who says Miramax is out of ideas? The geniuses there have cut a deal that will have Coors sponsoring premieres of Miramax films. In return, Characters will be draining cans of Coors in 15 films over the next three years, including A View From the Top and Duplex, according to the AP. (Hey — somebody has to drink that shit.) Miramax joins Nascar, the NFL, Dr. Dre and Kid Rock in the Coors camp. Nice!

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