Apparently this wasn’t the first time I’d read Solaris.
After I’d finished this Kindle edition – one with the Lem-approved translation, executed by Bill Johnston – I discovered an older, dog-eared copy of the work on my shelves. I must have read that version from the time in university when I had a Russian partner who was interested in getting me into Russian literature, to the extent that I wrote some essays for her. (On Goncharov, I think? I can’t quite remember.)
Anyway, being unable to remember treading those star-paths before seemed to be very in keeping with the work itself, and I assume Lem would approve.
I mean, he was – he died in at 47 in 2012 – a wildly successful artist, who boasted that he’d managed to figure out how to game the system. He ripped the piss out of society and manliness, travelled the world and had a retrospective at the AGNSW while still alive.
He was also into drink, drugs, firearms and a bleak view of the world that’d make Thomas Ligotti seem like a beam of light.
So of course, I watched a movie about him. (more…)
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 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…)
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…)
A short review as there’s not much to review. If you know Taschen’s general attention to production detail, you know that the reproductions of film stills that appear within this book are very fine.
There’s not much else to say. It’s a book with a movie (or star) per day. It’s too nice to write on in a diary fashion, and so it is a little bit of a confusing publication. But if you treat it as I did – a way to create a little cinematic break in which to appreciate films you know (and discover ones you don’t) – then it’s a fine tome.
This is an older review of mine, presented here for archival purposes. The writing is undoubtedly different to the present, and the review style may differ between publications. Enjoy, if that’s the right word.
There have been few Australian films as hotly anticipated as The Proposition. The combination of director John Hillcoat and screenwriter Nick Cave (who have created film clips together, and were previously teamed on the thoroughly disturbing Ghosts… Of The Civil Dead) and a cast including Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, John Hurt and David Wenham served to create quite an appetite. The good news is that the expectations created by such a gathering of talents are surpassed with this film. It’s a truculent, smouldering piece that, while managing to have a core story that’s straight out of a western, manages to address issues which still dog Australia today.