I guess we’ve reached the point where, traditionally, I put up a post detailing what it is that’s taken my fancy in 2018. It’s become a bit of an annual thing, and far be it from me to disappoint the couple (?) of people who might nose through this thing in its entirety. So here we are: my wrap up of what’s been taking up my time.
Relatively accurate, though he swims more than I do.
So, I’ve just cancelled my subscription to Mubi, the online streaming service that specialises in arthouse and foreign film. I’m a bit sad about leaving, as I’ve discovered some really good things on there – and been made to watch things I’d always meant to get around to – but increasingly I’ve been viewing it with more side-eye than anticipation. I’d like to say that the decision to exit was purely financial – there’s a house being built, after all – but it’s not quite that simple.
It’s well known that you don’t go to a Gaspar Noé film for A Good Time. I mean, this is a guy who has put 28Hz hums into his films to induce audience nausea, as if the rape and face-poundings weren’t enough to put you off.
So, it’s finally finished. Twin Peaks: The Return has concluded, and there’s a shit-tonne of hot takes around. I’m going to write a little about it, too, because the original show has been so important to me over the years. In that, I suppose, I’m not unusual. It’s a show for nerds, populated by misfits.
I remember watching the original run when it aired on New Zealand television, where I lived at the time. I remember being intoxicated by the thing, the indeterminate time period, the music, the darkness. And I remember being terrified, late at night, by a screaming Laura, by a grinning BOB, by an owl flying towards me.
So today I went to an afternoon screening of Alien: Covenant in a big-screen cinema with fuck-all people in it. As you can probably tell, below.
Not pictured: cap-wearing jerk who sat in front, just before it all got started.
I have long been a fan of the Alien franchise, largely because the first two movies are practically untouchable. The first (and best, let’s face it) is a peculiarly English thing, despite its cast: it’s almost a locked-room film, a And Then There Were None-style elimination game. It’s claustrophobic and sweaty, Das Boot in space, and its reliance on biomechanical similarity – the creature is kind of like things you know, but not really – is deeply fucking creepy. There’s something about the first that gives you bone-deep chills. Is it because it’s a big ole filmic rapefest? Is it because everyone is weak and at the mercy of uncaring fate? Is it because of a feeling of entrampment, of isolation? Take your pick, but it sticks in the mind. (more…)
WELL HERE IT IS. Once more it’s time for a recap on what I did during the year, stuffwise. Previous versions are here, here and here, if you need an origin story.
Once more, I’m unsure who would actually read this all the way through, given the self-indulgence herein, but don’t worry – I’ve found an image that reflects both the world’s 2016 and my thoughts on writing the thing.
Take that, ya lousy fuckin’ year. And you too, ya lousy fuckin’ typing guy.
The next Bond film is one of my favourites. I sometimes wonder how much of my interest in Japan can be traced back from this thing, as flawed as it is.
It contains pretty much everything I associate with Bond films, even now: gadgetry, exotic travel and an overly ornate lair. This really is one of the solidly great Bond films, even though they try to make Connery look Japanese, with rather predictable results.
Will I be let down by YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE? Let's see.
Then I fuck off back to London on my jetpack; that’s how I roll.
My Bond watching continues, so let’s get with the snarky viewer thoughts. The following are my musings while watching Thunderball, which is one of those films I’ve never really clicked with. It was a Bond film that I didn’t get to see very much when I was a kid, because video shops in Orange didn’t seem to stock it.
Watching it as an adult? A different interpretation, I suspect. There’s some nods towards seriousness at times, but not enough to overcome that turgid undersea battle at the end.
I still dig the jetpack, though, even if Bond’s StackHat is a bit ropey.
THUNDERBALL continues the Bond Theme Trend of eschewing subtlety in favour of vocal piledriving.
I recently was casting about for something to watch, and happened upon the idea of watching the most recent James Bond outing. But of course, a stupid idea got in the way: why don’t I watch all of the Bond films in order, to ensure continuity?
Yes, because continuity has always been the most important thing to the Bond franchise.
Well, it had begun. I fully expected this to end badly, mostly because I had reread all of Ian Fleming’s Bond work in 2012 and ended up loathing both the author and myself for doing so. (more…)