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Saturday, 09 January 2021 14:18

Vintage Bits Interview: The Enigma of Michael Apted

[Editor’s Note: This interview was originally posted on The Digital Bits on 9/17/02, coinciding with the Columbia TriStar Home Video DVD release of Enough and Enigma. We would like to dedicate it to the memory of Michael Apted.]

There are some directors who find a genre they’re particularly comfortable with or adept at and make an entire career out of it. Think Wes Craven with horror movies or the Farrelly brothers in comedy. Michael Apted is not one of these directors. Apted is a jumper, having tackled everything from courtroom dramas to comedy to rock and roll. When you look at his filmography, the phrase you are most likely to repeat over and over is, “He directed that, too?”

Apted began his career as a researcher and director for British television. In the 1970’s, he crossed over to theatrical films with movies like Stardust, a terrific, criminally underrated movie that traces the rise and fall of a rock group (note to the studios: Stardust needs to be released on DVD and the sooner the better). His major American breakthrough came in 1980 with Coal Miner’s Daughter, for which Sissy Spacek won the Oscar as Best Actress. Since that time, Apted has worked with some of the best actors in recent memory, including Sigourney Weaver (also Oscar nominated for her work in Apted’s Gorillas in the Mist), Jodie Foster (Nell), Val Kilmer (Thunderheart), and Gene Hackman (Class Action and Extreme Measures). Oh yeah, he also helmed one of the most recent adventures of some guy named James Bond (The World is Not Enough). [Read on here...]

Published in Interviews
Friday, 31 October 2014 08:00

The Hell Plaza Oktoberfest 8!

Where does the time go?

One day, you’re just a young lad picking up your first kitchen knife, learning to sew gloves with blades on them or masks made out of human flesh, maybe drowning in your favorite camp’s lake. The next thing you know, years have gone past. You’ve stabbed, chopped and otherwise mutilated so many horny teenagers that the act itself has lost all meaning. You almost start to look forward to being doused with gasoline and set ablaze, just to break the monotony.  [Read on here...]

Published in The Bottom Shelf

All right, CES is off and running in Las Vegas this week, so we’ll be posting interesting news over the course of the week.  Although it seems as if Blu-ray is passé at the show this year.  4K TV, streaming and wireless everything seems to be all the rage this year.

First though today, our own Adam Jahnke has posted a new Bottom Shelf column that’s well worth your time.  This time around he celebrates the like (and acknowledges the passing) of a fellow to whom movie enthusiasts owe a debt – Mike Vraney, founder of Something Weird Video.  We all off our caps here at The Bits today in his honor.  Don’t miss Jahnke’s piece.  [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

On January 2, 2014, Mike Vraney died of lung cancer at the obscenely young age of 56.  Mike’s name may not ring a bell but if you’re a fan of cult movies, exploitation flicks and bizarre ephemera like stag films and burlesque shows, you owe Mike a huge debt of thanks.  In 1990, Mike founded Something Weird Video, one of the first and best labels dedicated to rescuing forgotten films from the dustbin of obscurity.  Something Weird was a trailblazer in the industry.  I’d argue that Mike’s passion for these movies and the success of Something Weird helped pave the way for all the cult boutique labels to follow, including Mondo Macabro, Synapse, Blue Underground and so many others.  [Read on here…]

Published in The Bottom Shelf

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