Repo Men

Inside Deep Throat Still

On June 26, 1974, the first product with a UPC barcode was scanned at a Marsh Supermarkets store in Troy, Ohio. The randomly selected item from a cart filled with varied scannable goods was a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum, and that’s of enough historical significance that the pack is now in the Smithsonian. But that’s not the only part of the story of the retail game changer that’s interesting. The path to the barcode revolution was long, and it involved scientists and grocery executives and some inspiration from the movies. And yet so few films have been inspired by the UPC technology for anything more than barcode tattoos on heads, necks and arms in sci-fi dystopias. Typically those markings are for keeping track of people, but in a classic bit from Mike Leigh’s Naked, David Thewlis’s character goes on about how in the future we’ll have barcodes on our hand or forehead instead of paper and plastic currency, to pay for items that also have “the ubiquitous barcode that you’ll find on every bog roll and packet of johnnies and every poxy pork pie.” Read ahead to learn about how the advent of the sound cinema and the rise of the porn film — with the notorious Deep Throat — figured into the development of the Universal Product Code as well as its legacy in the form of an Errol Morris short, a Jude Law feature, a Star Trek reboot and one of the most clever interactive online movie projects in recent years.

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There are two reasons why looking at the best movie posters is fascinating. The first is the inherent interest that all advertising brings. It’s art that’s meant to sell something that can’t admit it’s trying to sell anything in order to succeed. The second is that rating the best of the best in the poster world has the most potential to showcase films that never end up on lists this time of year. This is a celebration of the beauty and effect that movie posters can have. It’s for the films released in 2010, and it’s the posters from the studios (or else Tyler Stout and Olly Moss would completely dominate). The awards are broken up into five categories in order to recognize the wide array of styles and concepts, and because there were a lot of great posters this year (among the absolutely terrible photoshop jobs that still haunt us). See if your favorite made the cut.

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This Week in Blu-ray

It’s a slim selection in this fine edition of This Week in Blu-ray. This past weekend I sat down to review this week’s list of Blu-ray titles only to find a pair of running themes. One, I received review copies of less than half of this week’s total releases, making it very difficult to make recommendations (Dear Studios, please bite me). And two, that this week is a marathon of 2010’s great disappointments. Everything from the year’s first (of 27) “team of soldiers on a mission” movie to that Kevin Smith movie that dare not speak its name is on my list of underwhelms for the year. It was a mildly depressing weekend for me, but only because I was drinking heavily and reviewing, which is not recommended. The good news is that a few of these releases pulled themselves from the gutter with quality extras and a surprising level of rewatchability. Which is why we’re starting this week’s column in the Rent section, rather than the Avoid section.

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Alice in Wonderland

There wasn’t much in the way of surprises at the box office as Alice in Wonderland continues to tear up the box office with another first place finish and a haul this weekend of over $34 million.

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kevin-reportcard-header

Kevin Carr sits his chubbiness down weighs in on The Bounty Hunter, Repo Men and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

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Fat Guys at the Movies

While Neil is hitting on indie rock chicks during the second half of the SXSW film festival, Kevin is left at home finding a guest host. So, he calls on Kelly Gingery from FlickChick.tv to help him out. They lament the problems with The Bounty Hunter and take wild guesses about Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Repo Men.

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Repo Men

Jude Law and Forest Whitaker star as Remy and Jake the repo men, who have been both buddies and rivals since the fourth grade. Their corporate hack boss (Liev Schreiber) sends them on missions to retrieve the unpaid for organs of everyone from wealthy businessmen to hotshot musical artists to your everyday overweight schlubs. The men might believe they’re engaged in a respectable pursuit, but they are in fact angels of death forced to reclaim company property by any means necessary.

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The Bounty Hunter

So here we are, Week Three of Alice in Wonderland at theaters, and the big question right now is still whether any of the movies rolling out this weekend have a chance to stop it – even ones starring Jennifer Aniston.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we decide never to do the show ever again in 2009.

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At first, the new red band teaser for Repo Men, a futuristic action film starring Jude Law and Forest Whitaker, seems like a tired old girl. That is, until she busts loose with bloody intensity.

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