Film and TV

Screens and boxes.

Climax (2018)

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 with that in mind, I went to see his latest, Climax, at the Sydney Film Festival. It’s a film about a dance company that suffers from a spiked punch incident, so practically bucolic in comparison to the director’s other work. I figured – given only six people had walked out on it in Cannes – that it’d probably be all right.

What I discovered that it’s basically Jacob’s Ladder: The Dance Spectacular, if such a film were set in the Pink Room from Fire Walk With Me.

(Interesting trivia tidbit: Wikipedia labels this a horror musical which is at once the best and worst thing ever.)

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2017 CONSUMPTION: A LOOK AT SOME STUFF I LIKED

Oh, look at the time. It’s that time again: the time I write about the stuff I liked or consumed this year, briefly, for the edification of myself and nobody else, most likely.

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Previous versions are here, here, here and here if you need an introduction.
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Twin Peaks: The Return (2017)

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.

Since then, I’ve wanted to go back.

(Spoilers follow.)

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Alien: Covenant and some thoughts about bugs

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.

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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…)

2016 consumption: a look at some stuff I liked

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.

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Take that, ya lousy fuckin’ year. And you too, ya lousy fuckin’ typing guy.

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Movie musings: You Only Live Twice

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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.

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Movie Musings: Thunderball

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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.

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Movie Musings: From Dr. No to Goldfinger

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…)

Waiting for the gift of sound and vision

Today is the day I learned that David Bowie had died. So I’m writing some thoughts down to try and make sense of it. This probably seems strange, as I am normally averse to displays of grief over public figures. It’s always seemed a little – I don’t know, a bit weird. Almost unnecessary. But now, perhaps for the first time, I feel it.

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And now he’s gone home.

I was at drinks and the news flashed on my phone; could it be a hoax, a hacked status update? Later, as I rode a train to meet friends, it was confirmed: Duncan Jones and the Beeb showed that this wasn’t the perennial internet jape of proclaiming someone dead. This was the real thing. And I felt teary, and weird, and like I didn’t want to be anywhere because this was, as stupid as it sounds, about someone very important to me, who I had never, would never meet. Dear, strong friends were lamenting; I’d not felt the tyranny of distance so keenly as when one suggested that we should all be together tonight, with a case of wine and music. But we’re in Los Angeles, Boston, Sydney, Helsinki, Amsterdam… all over the world.

I know, this probably will read as something rather indulgent – no different from the torrent of thinkpieces and reminiscences the coming weeks will bring – but this is my blog, so this is mine. There’s a bunch of obituaries you can read. The NY Times. The BBC. The Guardian. Vanity Fair. Mine is a bit different. It’s me processing this feeling of loss, which is strange. I know nobody’s ever an arsehole just after they’ve died, but it’s weird – I realise today I’d never really entertained the idea of Bowie dying. Because, like the sun, I felt he’d always be there. He always had been, right? (more…)