Slow moving, they said it was. And they were right about that. Indeed, it’s a good half hour too long; so many extraneous establishing scenes meant to make us care more about the main characters, but it’s just banter. They also said it was properly old-school scary, but it’s nothing of the sort. Poltergeist? Rosemary’s Baby? The Shining? Now those are haunting movies. The Innkeepers is so tame by comparison, it’s almost a category error to call it a horror.
This John Le Carré adaptation courtesy of noted photographer-turned-filmmaker Anton Corbijn (Control) gets off on the wrong foot, with the frame lingering in fixed position on waves lapping lazily against a dock wall at first light. It’s a strong, stark, photographic image reflecting, perhaps, the maker’s bias for aesthetics over substance? Or maybe it’s the photographer exorcising that side of himself before driving into new territory, for the film thereafter is indeed a film, not an art installation.
Not that it doesn’t have a look; Corbijn (and cinematographer Benoît Delhomme) capture a cold, hardened Hamburg filtered through hues of blue and tints of grey. That reflects the steely natures of its characters, not least the gruff-but-good super-spy played by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in his final lead performance (and what a performance!).
As an espionage thriller, this is indeed a work of character and plot, of shady deals, troubled alliances and double crossings, haunting and moving without submitting to the image of it all. Could it have made better use of actors like Daniel Brühl who are relegated here to bit parts? Probably; there’s no real need for Rachel McAdams or Willem Dafoe other than market appeal. But it still works exceedingly well, and it’s a more than fitting tribute to Hoffman, the actor’s actor.
I’m currently without my bicycle as I’ve left it into the local shop for a service, and won’t get it back till Monday afternoon. I’ve got so used to pottering around the neighbourhood on Ol’ Greenie (as I’ve just named it; it probably won’t stick) that I’m at somewhat of a loss. What am I supposed to do now? Walk?
Bill Orcutt: ‘Harry Pussy were my perfect band’
I’ve tried with Harry Pussy (on paper I should love them, but I can’t get with it) but Bill Orcutt’s solo music is astounding. I shook his hand and thanked him for coming when he played here in Dublin last year; maybe that was weird for him, I don’t know, but I meant it. #·
Welcome to the Age of the Upgrade
I can understand the enthusiasm, but I fear this way of thinking gives license to the likes of Apple et al to drip-feed innovations, build in obsolescence, etc. More importantly, we’re really not all early adopters: we’re not bloody beta testers for your products if we’ve paid full whack for ‘em. #·
The 2013 Good Gift Games
Matthew Baldwin’s good for lists like these. I do have to add that some of them (I know for sure in Coup’s case) may not work well as two-player games, so caveat ludius. But the likes of Pathfinder (which also works as a solo game) are perfect. #·
How to Draw Adventure Time
“A sixteen-page manual detailing the intricacies of drawing Finn & Jake from Pendleton Ward’s Adventure Time series.” Need I say more? #·
The Road to Geekdom
Yes, there are many inroads to geekery, and the border crossings shouldn’t require passports, but let’s recognise that it goes both ways: as much as elitism among geeks is a serious problem (just like with any clique), ‘geekdom’ is taken by some as no more than today’s badge of cool (what else is new?). Between those two poles lie the honestly curious, and they should always feel welcome. John Siracusa sums that up succinctly: “Geekdom is not a club; it’s a destination, open to anyone who wants to put in the time and effort to travel there.” #·