At some point in 1984, my father was attempting to describe the plot of Amadeus to our friend Susanne, whose command of English was not, at that point, very good - which required him to demonstrate the meaning of the word “suicide,” in explaining the first scene in the film, by drawing his thumb across the white flesh of his throat. This, I remember. I was eight years old - Amadeus was released on my 8th birthday, so I could not have been anything less than 8 years old - and we were in the dining room at my parents’ house.Read more
Thursday, somewhat arbitrarily, used to be my favourite day of the week. (Thursday is, after all, Thor’s Day.) Thursdays have a smell, a flavour; something about them that reminds me of the leaves in September and crushes on girls in high school. They almost always meant the week was almost over, and that was almost always a good thing.Read more
Lucy is atrocious. In its first fifteen minutes I was on a familiar contact high - finally, some fucking cinema! - as Luc Besson delivered beat after beat (after beat after beat after beat) of gorgeous, liquid imagemaking, the sort of go-for-broke, tell-it-with-moving-pictures filmmaking that hasn’t been seen in these parts since the first half hour of The Lone Ranger. (Best bit? Choi Min-Sik walks into a room, into full close up. His face and glasses are lightly spattered with blood. We hold for a beat to register this - and then, he reaches his hands into frame to remove his glasses, and they are dripping with blood. As villain introductions can go, it’s the best I’ve seen since The Raid.)Read more
The Alpha-3 Nimbus-class V-wing starfighter, often simply known as the V-wing starfighter or Nimbus fighter, was a short-ranged starfighter deployed late in the Clone Wars by the Galactic Republic. V-wings were later succeeded by the Imperial TIE Fighter and the Rebel A-wing interceptor, all of which incorporated aspects of the V-wing into their designs.
When I was a child, the A-Wing starfighter was my favourite. No real idea why - the X-Wing was more central to the heroes of the trilogy, and the B-Wing, let’s face it, is far and away the more badass design. But A-Wings just made a kind of weird sense to me - squat, purposeful, and an A-Wing kamikaze strike took out the Super Star Destroyer - and in the prequel era I spent a lot of time (and money, of course) tracing the A-Wing design back down through its design DNA, to the Republic era.Read more
8:49 a.m. The air cooled significantly overnight and I woke to a morning grey and placid. Last night I killed a monstrous spider who had made the verandah his home and was systematically coating it in thick, stringy webs; webs so thick they pulled against you, and made their crinkling noise, and snapped in your hand like birthday ribbons. I doused the spider – fat, arrogant, bottle-brown – in RAID and watched him scurry away before tearing down all his cathedrals. This morning, I climbed the steps to the cottage to find the verandah overrun – by mayflies, mosquitoes, and all other things. The king of the spiders was dead. A new king had set up shop on the tent house, as I found when I emerged, entombing the door in his traps, and shrinkwrapping the rest in arch after arch of his finest filigree. I haven’t found him yet.Read more
OK, so define a “good” show. I know, I know, we don’t truck with that kind of talk around here. But even in the annals of subjectivity and whimsical pleasures and not needing movies to be good, Hemlock Grove is a bad fucking show. Like, really bad. Like super awful holy-shit-was-this-written-by-12-year-olds bad.
And yet. And yet.
I guess I don’t need TV shows to be good, either. Hemlock Grove's first season really does feel like it was written in crayon on the back of an 8th-grader's paper bag lunch, and is so slapdash in its execution that if you told me a bunch of film students made it on a weekend in Thunder Bay with whatever they had lying around, I'd believe you. (There is a key wig in the last three episodes that looks, without hyperbole, like it was bought at Shoppers Drug Mart four days after Hallowe'en.)Read more
Everything begins with a title, or at least, it does for me; while I certainly can draft something without a title in place, it never feels right, like climbing through the kitchen window when I’ve locked my keys in the house. Sometimes the practice gets away from me. I’ve thought up some hum-dinger titles for Destroy All Monsters over the past year and have discovered (usually about exactly an hour past too-late on the night before the column is due) that there’s no “there” there, when I’ve gone to try and write the thing. (And this, probably, after a week or two of thinking to myself, “don’t worry about the column, I’ve got the column,” thanks to my too-clever title.)Read more
“MISTER PICKERD. I’ll be reminding you that it’s one o’clock.”
[Majel Barrett Computer Voice] Last time, on Blogging the Next Generation… I was working my way through the complete Star Trek: The Next Generation on blu-ray when the braintrust at CBS Home Video gummed up the works completely by delaying the release of the series’ sixth season by about half a year. Now, at last, they’ve got on with it (though no sign, yet, of a release date for Season Seven, so who knows when we’ll finally be given the opportunity to complete this trek through the stars) and our rewatch continues as we rejoin our heroes in mid-cliffhanger, lost in the 19th century…[/Majel Barrett Computer Voice]
So – let’s see if I still remember how to do this. What began as a thrilling and nostalgic trip back into just how sharp Star Trek: The Next Generation actually was in its early years, has long since become a process of caretaking a descent into blandness that overcame not just Next Gen, but all of Star Trek following (approximately) the start of TNG’s fifth season.Read more
The very first thing I did, ever, was read Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, issues 1-75, in my grandfather’s rocking chair at the cottage, without ever getting up, sometime around about the end of 2002. This isn’t actually true of course; it wasn’t the first thing I did (by a longshot), and I’m fairly sure I’d read at least the first dozen issues before I got to the cottage, and I have no frickin’ idea what year this happened in. But longtime tederick.com readers may recall that, at some point in my funnybook apprenticeship shortly after the turn of the century, Matty Price handed me a stack of Sandman and said: “Yes boy, you’re ready.”Read more
There are actors for whom one simply has no use, and for me Halle Berry has always been one; these performers can usually be identified because there’s always one performance that I absolutely adore, an exception that proves the rule. With Berry, Cloud Atlas seemed to fulfill that requirement, but having now watched Monster’s Ball I have to re-examine the whole set of assumptions, because there’s no denying that she is bloody phenomenal in that movie, and as is often the case when an actor really impresses me, I sort of want to watch everything they’ve done all of a sudden. If 2014 has been calling upon me to consider the function of empathy in cinema (and television, per last week’s DAM), Monster’s Ball functions almost entirely because of the sophistication of its empathetic interplay between Berry and Billy Bob Thornton, both of whom have complete, independent story arcs which only – as if by pure happenstance – intersect.Read more