We met yesterday as per the original plan and watched the Extended Edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, an event which demonstrated in one shot how far we’ve come while staying largely the same. “We” in this case was Steve, Dave, Chris (who actually owned the house in which we watched this thing, a terrifying thought) and Daniel (who I, when Gandalf interrogated Bilbo’s “good morning” with seven variants of what that comment could possibly mean, turned to and said “this is what it’s like talking to you”).Read more
There was the one about the fat kid who was too shy even to ask his parents to pass the salt - and then an imaginary friend showed up, except it was a fit guy in tube socks and a red cape and an Admiral Ackbar mask, and rather than letting the fat kid be the fat kid, because all he really wanted to do when he was out of sight of other people was read comic books and play video games and whack off, the imaginary friend insisted on doing all of those things with him - read comic books and play video games and whack off - and then it turned out the parents hired the guy to be the imaginary friend and that he wasn’t imaginary at all, and then you’re like, holy fuck, this kid’s parents bought him a friend and the first thing they did together was read comic books and play video games and whack off.Read more
If there’s a better show for an early-October binge-watch than The Walking Dead, I don’t know about it. When we last left our heroes, it was the end of Season One and the series had its highlights and was otherwise sorta settling into a comfortable “meh” area of my relationship with this television renaissance of ours. (It made me want a Y: The Last Man series. That’s about all.) Much of Season Two seemed more of the same, as everyone hung around Hershel’s farm, shooting the shit – and then around three or four episodes from the end of that year, shit got real. I watched four principal characters die in the space of an afternoon or so, which - aside from depressing the holy fuck out of me - had the added value of tying up some plot lines that had long since grown stale (I’m looking at you, Shane)… and then the big one happened, and holy moly, I could not be more bought into this show if it came giftwrapped with a Matt Brown sticker on the top. Spoilers follow.Read more
So what can I tell you? I fucked this up, didn’t I. Everybody loves Mamo 324, except for me, and my reasons are entirely vain - I feel like there was an opportunity for me to interact with what Matty Price was saying, thinking, and confessing, that I didn’t get on top of in the moment of truth. Now, as per the usual with Mamo, the moment of truth is literally the - i.e. only - moment of truth. We don’t do retakes. We don’t edit (much). And we almost never talk about what we’re going to bring to the show before we bring it to the show, because that would rob the episode of its conversational nature - we want to respond to one another’s ideas in real time. So, I responded in real time to Matty Price’s ideas about how his dislike of horror movies was linked to a shame response triggered by his experiences being bullied as a child - and I sucked at it.Read more
Having never had a fuckbuddy, I don’t know how true-to-life Hollywood’s strange fuckbuddy double feature is (No Strings Attached / Friends With Benefits, which arrived within months of each other in 2011). I can say that Friends With Benefits comes within striking distance of being a pretty good rom-com, while No Strings Attached has a script so hacky and dull that it renders anything else about the movie that might have been working (lead performances, particularly) fairly useless. I do enjoy these random confluences of attempted zeitgeist, though, especially when both instances pretty much fail. Just like the two Die Hard at the White House movies this summer, no one wanted the Fuckbuddy movies back in ‘11. And why not, I ask? Fuckbuddies! In movie form! If this dents Hollywood’s enthusiasm for trying to slalom the romantic comedy mold around post-Facebook sexual games, I will be… well, not affected in the slightest, really, but surely someone could come up with a good movie about sexting - right? Couldn’t they? Nah.Read more
And then this thing happened. Whilst trolling the Netflix with the impossible girl a week or two ago, the best trifecta possibly ever in the history of early-autumn movies happened all at once: Martha Marcy May Marlene, followed by Mud, followed by Winter’s Bone. In a weak-ass, disspiriting year for the movies - hell, even Price has announced his retirement! - a few golden rays of cinema shot out, all chilly and Novemberish though their light may have been. And one of them was even from this year.Read more
I don’t envy any TV series that had to run during these last few episodes of Breaking Bad, let alone on the same night and time; to say nothing of the damping effect upon the entire media that the BB coverage inevitably creates, it must also be discouraging to know that the “best show” honours are irrevocably spoken for, and that nothing you can do will make a dent.
So a funny thing happened a few weeks ago, which is that The Newsroom - Sorkin’s endlessly troubled, and troubling, vanity project for HBO - got really, really, really fucking good.Read more
It’s a mark of how relentlessly piss-poor the summer of 2013 was that World War Z is among a handful of movie experiences that I can look back on and say, “well, that didn’t entirely suck.” I think I wrote my Twitch piece about the summer a couple of weeks too early, because I really should have mentioned Z in a somewhat lengthier context. In addition to being one of the box office winners of the season, Z is just one of the all-around winners, too, and the fact that it does that by being - charitably - wildly hit-and-miss is about as effective a barometer of the season as a whole as anything else I can think of. I might put it on my year-end list, just to have something on there that is prismatically representative of the weary, half-turned-on, half-nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach right now, that’s been there for about a month and a half. Fuck, 2013. You let me down.Read more
The pairing was unintentional – I’d meant to follow Only God Forgives with a 3-D screening of The Great Gatsby – but life intervened, and whaddaya know, the two films crash together in mesmerizing ways. They talk to each other, repeatedly across their borders, and the conversation is about the vapidity of each. I’ve never seen a double feature so intrinsically argue for why each piece is in fact less than the sum of its parts.
Both films are, in their ways, harshly unflattering portraits of the presumed gender concerns of their directors. Only God Forgives is a torturous, Oedipal nightmare, overcooked and overheated into dark blood red. It overflows with excruciating violence; is replete with dragons; and contains, if I’m not mistaken, a sequence where the principal character reaches his hand into his dead mother’s womb. The Bling Ring on the other hand is a grotesquely airheaded hall of mirrors about truly awful teenage girls in a fever dream of twin fixations upon exceedingly expensive clothes and disarmingly banal celebrities, in which Emma Watson either fails to supply a convincing performance or vastly overachieves, given that she’s playing someone who, to a nearly sociopathic level, has no personality of her own - only a sloppily manufactured persona based on all the things she thinks materialism demands.Read more
Now where do I even begin with this.
Put it this way: the biggest problem with Bryan Fuller’s Pushing Daisies wasn’t the early cancellation or even Lee Pace; it was that by setting the series inside a reputedly astonishing pie bakery, I left every single episode maddeningly hungry for pie. The episodes generally ended after closing time for most businesses in Toronto, though, so I’d inevitably spend the rest of the night in a state of advanced pie-seeking agitation that could not be fulfilled by a quick trip to Dominion to buy a Flakie Tart.
Now here’s Hannibal, and what’s really freaking me out is how hungry the show makes me.Read more