Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Craze Fest

Police pulled the plug on a concert at Wolf Lake Pavilion in Hammond, Indiana on Saturday night, during a performance by Chief Keef. Several arrest warrants have been issued for the singer in the neighboring state of Illinois, thus planned appearances in Chicago were cancelled, and his performance at Craze Fest was transmitted via hologram from Beverley Hills, California.

Chief Keef's set began with a pre-recorded introduction: "Everybody in Chicago. All the kids. If you got goals, achieve 'em. If you got dreams, believe 'em. Stop the violence. Stop the killing. Let the kids grow up. Now, Chicago, are you ready for a show? Let's go!" He then performed his debut single I Don't Like, though police cancelled the show a few minutes later.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

The Myanmar Herald

The former editor and deputy editor of The Myanmar Herald have been fined the equivalent of $850 after being convicted of defaming Burma's President Thein Sein. The editors were charged following an investigation by the Ministry of Information; nine other staff at the newspaper were acquitted.

The charge relates to an interview with opposition politician Myo Yan Naung Thein, in which he said: "The President is the head of the State but his words were gibberish, irrational, cheap and inconsistent... all his words were completely nonsensical, absurd and insane." The interview was published on 9th August last year.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

An Iranian Metamorphosis

An Iranian Metamorphosis
An Iranian Metamorphosis
In 2006, a cartoon for children by Mana Neyestani was published in the Iran-E-Jomee newspaper. The cartoon depicted a friendly cockroach, which seemed as benign as the insect that would later appear in Pixar's Wall-E, though it caused a riot in Iran.

The intense controversy surrounding the cartoon stemmed from a speech bubble which showed the cockroach saying the Azerbaijani word "Namana?" ('what?'); Azerbaijani Iranians were offended at their language being used by a cockroach, and the cartoon was misinterpreted as equating Azerbaijanis with cockroaches. As a result, the newspaper was shut down, and the cartoonist and newspaper editor were arrested.

Last year, Neyestani wrote a graphic novel describing the aftermath of the cartoon, his arrest, and his subsequent life in exile. The book, An Iranian Metamorphosis, is a Kafkaesque tale combining elements of The Metamorphosis (a fantasy in which the cartoonist himself becomes a cockroach) and The Trial (the state's persecution of the author regardless of his apparently trivial 'crime').

Saturday, 18 July 2015

The 300 Greatest Movies Of All Time

The 300 Greatest Movies Of All Time
The 300 Greatest Movies Of All Time
The current issue (August) of Empire Australia includes the results of a readers' poll titled The 300 Greatest Movies Of All Time. Editor Daniel Murphy writes: "for the first time since 2013, we've polled you... on the movies that matter most to you". This is misleading, though, because the list was actually adapted from Empire UK's 301 Greatest Movies Ever Made (published last year), and is not based on a survey of Australian readers. It's also misleading to imply that Australian readers were surveyed in 2013, because the 2013 list (The 500 Greatest Movies Of All Time!) was also adapted from an older Empire UK poll.

Several films from last year's Empire UK list have been replaced with recent releases or classic Australian films. Kingsman: The Secret Service (#299) replaces 28 Days Later, The Babadook (#287) replaces Prometheus, Edge Of Tomorrow (#286) replaces Man Of Steel, Avengers: Age Of Ultron (#267) replaces The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Paddington (#263) replaces Dead Man's Shoes, Wake In Fright (#255) replaces Transformers, Romper Stomper (#245) replaces Star Trek: Into Darkness, Gallipoli (#243) replaces The World's End, Interstellar (#224) replaces Star Wars III, Boyhood (#173) replaces 500 Days Of Summer, Guardians Of The Galaxy (#166) replaces The Hobbit II, Whiplash (#146) replaces Moulin Rouge!, The Castle (#145) replaces Hot Fuzz, Birdman (#90) replaces Serenity, and Mad Max: Fury Road (#72) replaces The Dark Knight Rises. The old list's 301st film, Bicycle Thieves, has been inserted into the new list at #285, replacing the film 300.

Empire Australia's only polls of its own readers were published in 2002 and 2007 (100 Greatest Movies Of All Time). Empire UK published readers' polls in 1996 (100 Favourite Films Of All Time), 1999 (Your 100 Greatest Films Ever!), 2001 (The 50 Best Films), 2004 (100 Greatest Movies Of All Time), 2006 (201 Greatest Movies Of All Time), and 2008 (The 500 Greatest Movies Of All Time).

The 300 Greatest Films Of All Time are as follows:

300. Andrei Rublev
299. Kingsman: The Secret Service
298. Captain Phillips
297. A Nightmare On Elm Street
296. Love Actually
295. West Side Story
294. Back To The Future II
293. Local Hero
292. King Kong
291. Conan The Barbarian
290. Come & See
289. Battle Royale
288. Batman
287. The Babadook
286. Edge Of Tomorrow
285. Bicycle Thieves
284. The Bridge On The River Kwai
283. In The Mood For Love
282. The Grand Budapest Hotel
281. Persona
280. How To Train Your Dragon
279. Fantasia
278. BeetleJuice
277. Sideways
276. The Wicker Man
275. The Lost Boys
274. Scott Pilgrim Vs The World
273. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
272. The Little Mermaid
271. Network
270. Blue Velvet
269. M
268. Dirty Harry
267. Avengers: Age Of Ultron
266. The English Patient
265. Rio Bravo
264. Labyrinth
263. Paddington
262. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
261. Mad Max II: The Road Warrior
260. Blazing Saddles
259. Atonement
258. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
257. South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut
256. Eyes Wide Shut
255. Wake In Fright
254. The Wild Bunch
253. The Hunger Games
252. Scream
251. Metropolis
250. Home Alone
249. District Nine
248. The Red Shoes
247. The Graduate
246. The Warriors
245. Romper Stomper
244. Dumb & Dumber
243. Gallipoli
242. Iron Man III
241. The Crow
240. JFK
239. Iron Man
238. Moonrise Kingdom
237. The Rules Of The Game
236. Akira
235. Casino
234. All About Eve
233. Before Sunrise
232. Zodiac
231. Tokyo Story
230. The Untouchables
229. Grosse Point Blank
228. Finding Nemo
227. The Tree Of Life
226. Dances With Wolves
225. Black Swan
224. Interstellar
223. Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone
222. Brokeback Mountain
221. Goldfinger
220. The Maltese Falcon
219. The Sting
218. The Incredibles
217. On The Waterfront
216. My Neighbour Totoro
215. Suspiria
214. The Seventh Seal
213. Full Metal Jacket
212. Cool Hand Luke
211. Rushmore
210. Miller's Crossing
209. Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas
208. Moon
207. Life Is Beautiful
206. Planet Of The Apes
205. Let The Right One In
204. Les Miserables
203. Princess Mononoke
202. Little Miss Sunshine
201. Platoon
200. Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ
199. The Lives Of Others
198. The Fountain
197. Synecdoche, New York
196. An American Werewolf In London
195. 8½
194. The Sound Of Music
193. Point Break
192. Grease
191. Field Of Dreams
190. Kick-Ass
189. Sunset Boulevard
188. Star Trek
187. City Lights
186. Top Gun
185. The Fifth Element
184. Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl
183. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
182. Sin City
181. The Great Escape
180. Silver Linings Playbook
179. Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom
178. Dazed & Confused
177. Downfall
176. Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid
175. Dr Strangelove
174. Braveheart
173. Boyhood
172. The Searchers
171. The Raid
170. Edward Scissorhands
169. Clerks
168. The Last Of The Mohicans
167. Monty Python & The Holy Grail
166. Guardians Of The Galaxy
165. The Deer Hunter
164. The Thin Red Line
163. Her
162. Shaun Of The Dead
161. A Matter Of Life & Death
160. Casino Royale
159. Frozen
158. The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
157. Beauty & The Beast
156. American Psycho
155. Airplane!
154. American History X
153. Watchmen
152. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows II
151. When Harry Met Sally
150. Unforgiven
149. Cinema Paradiso
148. The Social Network
147. Toy Story III
146. Whiplash
145. The Castle
144. Children Of Men
143. Dawn Of The Dead
142. Zulu
141. The Goonies
140. Scarface
139. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
138. Batman Begins
137. Amadeus
136. The Exorcist
135. The Royal Tenenbaums
134. Wall-E
133. Halloween
132. To Kill A Mockingbird
131. Boogie Nights
130. In Bruges
129. Monty Python's Life Of Brian
128. Dirty Dancing
127. Breathless
126. Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy
125. Annie Hall
124. Robocop
123. The Wizard Of Oz
122. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
121. Superman: The Movie
120. Star Wars VI: Return Of The Jedi
119. Twelve Years A Slave
118. Chinatown
117. Good Will Hunting
116. Requiem For A Dream
115. The Princess Bride
114. Groundhog Day
113. The French Connection
112. Evil Dead II
111. Up
110. Avatar
109. The Green Mile
108. Predator
107. The Terminator
106. Brazil
105. The Master
104. The Apartment
103. The Truman Show
102. Once Upon A Time In America
101. Mulholland Drive
100. Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade
99. The Blues Brothers
98. No Country For Old Men
97. Almost Famous
96. Singin' In The Rain
95. Rocky
94. Kill Bill I
93. Fargo
92. Withnail & I
91. True Romance
90. Birdman
89. Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan
88. City Of God
87. The 400 Blows
86. Django Unchained
85. The Wolf Of Wall Street
84. Donnie Darko
83. North By Northwest
82. Spirited Away
81. Inglourious Basterds
80. Some Like It Hot
79. LA Confidential
78. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
77. The Third Man
76. Saving Private Ryan
75. Reservoir Dogs
74. Stand By Me
73. Lost In Translation
72. Mad Max: Fury Road
71. Rear Window
70. Psycho
69. Raging Bull
68. Amelie
67. The Silence Of The Lambs
66. The Lion King
65. ET: The Extra-Terrestrial
64. The Thing
63. Ghostbusters
62. Titanic
61. OldBoy
60. Trainspotting
59. Memento
58. Toy Story
57. Seven Samurai
56. Leon
55. The Departed
54. A Clockwork Orange
53. The Shining
52. Gone With The Wind
51. Twelve Angry Men
50. Pan's Labyrinth
49. Drive
48. Magnolia
47. The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
46. The Lord Of The Rings II: The Two Towers
45. Skyfall
44. Taxi Driver
43. Vertigo
42. Once Upon A Time In The West
41. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
40. It's A Wonderful Life
39. Die Hard
38. The Breakfast Club
37. Seven
36. Heat
35. Gravity
34. Forrest Gump
33. Citizen Kane
32. The Usual Suspects
31. Lawrence Of Arabia
30. American Beauty
29. There Will Be Blood
28. Terminator II: Judgment Day
27. Gladiator
26. Casablanca
25. Schindler's List
24. The Big Lebowski
23. The Matrix
22. 2001: A Space Odyssey
21. Alien
20. Apocalypse Now
19. Aliens
18. Jurassic Park
17. Back To The Future
16. The Avengers
15. The Godfather II
14. Fight Club
13. GoodFellas
12. The Lord Of The Rings III: The Return Of The King
11. Blade Runner
10. Inception
9. Raiders Of The Lost Ark
8. Jaws
7. The Lord Of The Rings I: The Fellowship Of The Ring
6. Star Wars: IV: A New Hope
5. Pulp Fiction
4. The Shawshank Redemption
3. The Dark Knight
2. The Godfather
1. Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back

[Some films in the list share their titles with other films or remakes. Note that Some Like It Hot is the Billy Wilder film, Titanic is the James Cameron version, Beauty & The Beast is the Disney version, Casino Royale is the Martin Campbell version, Scarface is the Brian de Palma version, Ben-Hur is the William Wyler version, The Avengers is the Joss Whedon version, Les Miserables is the Tom Hooper version, and The Maltese Falcon is the John Huston version.]

Saturday, 11 July 2015


The British edition of GQ magazine is facing a potential fine for contempt of court, in relation to an article it published last April. The article, The Court Without A King by Michael Wolff, was an analysis of the trial of Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, who were both charged with phone-hacking.

Wolff, author of an excellent Rupert Murdoch biography, implicated Murdoch in phone-hacking and claimed that News International was funding the defendants' legal costs: "The more guilt that might be ascribed to him, the less for the defendants. That might logically have been a defence ploy: to make the defendants victims of the far-off monster... Also, not incidentally, Murdoch is paying for much of this grand defence, by some estimates the most costly in British legal history."

During the trial, the judge referred the article to the attorney general, who has now recommended that the magazine should be prosecuted for contempt of court. GQ has contested the charge, though it has deleted the article (and all references to it) from its digital archive.


MoMA Masterpieces

MoMA Masterpieces
MoMA Masterpieces: Painting & Sculpture is a catalogue highlighting some of the most significant works from the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Each piece is illustrated in a full-page colour plate; there is a general introduction, though there is no individual analysis of the selected artworks. Author Ann Temkin has been MoMA's chief curator of painting and sculpture since 2008. MoMA Masterpieces, published in the UK by Thames & Hudson, is also available in a US edition published by MoMA itself, titled Painting And Sculpture At The Museum Of Modern Art.

MoMA is the world's greatest museum of modern art and design, home to masterpieces such as Picasso's Demoiselles d'Avignon and van Gogh's Starry Night. The Museum's first director, Alfred H Barr, designed a flowchart tracing the history of modern art; Barr and the Museum largely defined the narrative of Modernism in America, as Temkin discusses in her introduction: "the taste of Barr and his colleagues was often far ahead of the public's. The Museum was founded as an educational institution and took as its mission the conversion of skeptics into believers." This was achieved with comprehensive exhibitions such as The International Style, The Art Of Assemblage, and The History Of Photography.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

East Meets West

East Meets West
East Meets West
Yang Liu's series of pictograms, East Meets West, has been published by Taschen. Each pair of pictograms illustrates a difference between Eastern (specifically Chinese) and Western cultures, expressed as a binary opposite. 

East Meets West was first published in Germany, as Ost Trifft West; Taschen's bilingual edition contains text in both English and Chinese. The author's intention is to "help other people avoid some of the stumbling blocks to communication between cultures".

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Resizing Month

The Incredible Shrinking Man
Bangkok's Jam Cafe is hosting a Resizing season this month, as part of its regular Cult Movie Night event. The season features films in which characters change size, including the most famous example, The Incredible Shrinking Man. This existential exploitation film, directed by Jack Arnold, will be screened on 8th July.

The Incredible Shrinking Man is Jack Arnold's greatest film, a pulp masterpiece and a science-fiction classic. Arnold made a handful of other sci-fi films in the 1950s, including Creature From The Black Lagoon, Tarantula, and It Came From Outer Space. He also directed The Mouse That Roared, in which Peter Sellers played three different characters (as he would a few years later, in Kubrick's Dr Strangelove).

Jam Cafe organised a Banned Month season earlier this year. Their previous seasons have included Doppelganger Month, American Independent Month, Anime Month, 'So Bad It's Good' Month, Philip Seymour Hoffman Month, and Noir Month.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015


One Funny Malaysia
Ros In Kangkong Land
Perak Darul Kartun
Gedung Kartun
Isu Dalam Kartun
Komplot Penjarakan Anwar
Pirates Of The Carry-BN
Books and magazines by cartoonist Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque (known as Zunar) are banned in Malaysia on a regular basis. On 28th January, police confiscated copies of his books Pirates Of The Carry-BN and Komplot Penjarakan Anwar. Most recently, copies of his book Ros In Kangkong Land were seized on Valentine's Day this year.

Copies of Cartoon-O-Phobia were seized in 2011. One Funny Malaysia and Perak Darul Kartun were banned in 2010, though the ban was overturned on appeal last year. Copies of Zunar's comic magazines Isu Dalam Kartun and Gedung Kartun were also banned in 2010.