alexsarll: (default)
Just tried watching Alex Cox's Repo Chick. Now, bearing in mind that I consider an evening watching the Blu-ray extras of Repo Man to be a good evening (especially the Harry Dean Stanton interview)...just no. The idea of using Matchbox cars and model railway sets (plus green screen) in order to do your film on the cheap is quite heroic, but the feeble satire of the Paris Hilton/Kardashian/whoever lead just leaves a void at the heart of it all, and not in a good way.

I've not written anything about films I've seen on here in ages, have I? Some of them don't really need it - it should be easy enough to guess that I've seen Guardians of the Galaxy and loved it, because demographics. Ditto The Lego Movie (genuinely an incredibly smart film as well as a thoroughly fun one - layers within layers, and a desire to interrogate itself of which most 'serious' films can only dream). Then you get stuff like Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, or X-Men: Days of Future Past, where it's worth going to the big screen for the spectacle, even if the film doesn't quite hold together. Or, in the latter case, is about 80% nonsense. As against the first Hunger Games which I saw pretty much by accident, but made a very coherent job of surfing the zeitgeist, at least until the last ten minutes. Oh, and finally got around to Frozen which is...OK? Better songs than Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, but I'd otherwise rank them pretty similarly - passable, but no Pixar. Some cults I can parse; other ones perplex me.

A little less obviously:
Chronicle, Max Landis' found-footage superhero film. Very compelling, if slightly derailed the second you realise one of the newly-empowered teens is clearly a men's rights activist avant la lettre. Also on a skewed superhero tip: The Specials. Rob Lowe, James Gunn, next to no budget, fake documentary style. Flawed, but fascinating. I hope the superhero cinema boom will enable more of these odd little subgenre pieces, rather than swallowing them.
Becket: only the second best film in which Peter O'Toole plays Henry II, but given the other one is The Lion in Winter, that's still no small accolade.
Sightseers: my least favourite Ben Wheatley film. But again, when you consider the competition...
The Philadelphia Story - I saw this on stage years back, with Kevin Spacey and some other people of note, none of whom I can now remember. They were fine, but they weren't Katharine Hepburn, or Jimmy Stewart, let alone Cary Grant. What a cast. What a film.
This Is Tomorrow - Saint Etienne's documentary about the Royal Festival Hall. The most profoundly restful film I've ever seen.
'His Heavy Heart' - the concluding segment, for now, of Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins' short film cycle. Essentially, David Lynch directing Vic & Bob. I hope a DVD release will get the whole project the wider audience it deserves.
Charlie Chaplin's The Circus went round at least twice as a backdrop in a restaurant. I don't really get most of the silent clowns at all, but Chaplin always makes me smile if not laugh, even in such a chopped-about setting.
Tarkovsky's Stalker - so this is the shared source Jeff Vandermeer, M John Harrison and the rest have all been 'homaging' lately. On the other hand, I tend not to struggle to stay awake in their versions, so they certainly bring something to the party.
alexsarll: (bernard)
Went with some chums to a young persons' rock club this week. It was meant to be an anti-Valentine's masked ball, but most of the young persons seemed to take theirs off as soon as they got in, and the burlesque, being aimed at an audience composed largely of young males, was perhaps not at the more finessed end of the spectrum. But, they were all very friendly and what impressed me most of all was, how catholic their tastes were. In amongst the Offspring and Metallica and Green Day, they were playing dance tracks. The Prodigy, sure - even in the nineties you'd get away with that at an indie club. But also drum'n'bass and dubstep - stuff which sounded right at home between metal and ska, but which ten years ago you really wouldn't have expected rock kids to *admit* sounded right at home there. Good work, rock kids.

If Ashes to Ashes weren't doing so well (I am incredibly glad about the period title sequence, one of the more glaring omissions in Life on Mars) then I could be worried about systemic flaws in BBC drama. This week's (terrestrial) Torchwood and the Phoo Action pilot both had the same very obvious problem - they were rush jobs. Yes, Torchwood's plot had been done before in Buffy, but ruling out plots Buffy has used would leave genre TV looking pretty starved. It's a good plot; you can do it as a stand-alone (Mike Carey and Jock's Faker), or in an ongoing series it's a good way of doing a character piece without being very dull and obvious about being The Character-Driven Episode. And yet, for all that potential, for all that it had some stunning moments (especially from Ianto) and the first real indication that Ryan Gorman can act, it didn't quite hang together. Bits were missing, bits were here that shouldn't have been, other stuff didn't quite link up right. Another draft of the script, a little longer on the shoot, and you'd have had something really rather good. As is...a misfire. And ditto Phoo Action. I've never knowingly read the strip on which it's based, but knowing Jamie Hewlett's work, I could infer how it was meant to go. I couldn't see it on screen, though. Imagine if Sin City had been done on a budget of about a tenner, with a director who was OK but no Rodriguez, and no time for rehearsals or extra takes. You'd have ended up with something this peculiarly leaden, this almost-fun-but-hamstrung. And it would be a real shame, as this was.

So what if "more quango members live in four London boroughs than the whole of the North of England"? I imagine those four London boroughs probably contribute more tax revenue to the Exchequer than the whole North as well, so it's only fair they have a greater say in how it's spent. And speaking of revenue, consider the neo-puritans' next anti-smoking proposal. Charming as ever, I'm sure you'll agree; the alcohol license will doubtless follow in about 20 years.

If you only know Howard the Duck via his film incarnation, then you don't know Howard the Duck. Like the Judge Dredd and Tank Girl films, if it's not quite as bad as its reputation suggests, it nonetheless missed the point of the exercise pretty thoroughly, and even having Grant Morrison's Invisibles Archons in can't fully excuse that. The point being, Howard's creator died this week. His name was Steve Gerber, and in amongst the usual interchangeable obituaries was one which said some stuff worth reading about him, and about comics in general.

January 2016



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