Week 703 began with WWE Fastlane, an event I don’t think I can bring myself to write about other than say it wasn’t any better or worse than the average edition of Monday Night Raw. I’d much rather talk about the WWE Network when I have a chance to whittle my thoughts into shape.
Later in the week my review of Focus went up on Thumped. That was a tough one, to write about a fairly average film that did not excite nor disgust me to any extreme. I’ve got two screenings scheduled for next week, one of them being Neill Blomkamp’s Chappie, which might prove more fruitful.
Which reminds me, I must find the time to watch Elysium this weekend, around the extra editing work I’ve got going on, and a record review that needs completing. Boy, am I tired. I’m eyeing up the end of March for a few days off; the week between WrestleMania and Easter looks like a good one for a bit of a break.
My Thumped review of Focus
Will Smith’s comeback from the disastrous After Earth has the promise of sex, danger and intrigue, but delivers very little. #·
Frankie Boyle on offence and free speech “If you want to work to change the usage of a word that’s discriminatory then fine, I’m behind you. But that’s a conversation that needs to be had in the culture. You can’t just decide that commonly used parts of a language are evil and that the people who didn’t get the memo must be bad people. Awkwardly, the areas of culture which would be most useful in updating how people perceive language are the very ones that are most censored.” Indeed. I’d even go as far as to say the absence of this kind of subtlety is killing culture. #·
Shout! Factory TV
The retro reissue label’s free, Hulu-powered streaming service, with oodles of MST3K ready to go (but if you’re outside the US you’ll need a good VPN and a browser that won’t leak your IP). #·
Totally Mexico! How the Nathan Barley nightmare came true
I was one of the people who loved this show because I don’t go out on Friday nights. But I never really thought of it as prescient so much as sending up the hipsterdom that was already staining the fabric of East London life. That hasn’t so much got worse as it has been magnified by the mainstream and its endless fascination with what goes on on the fringes (though hipsters are about as fringe as Starbucks, really). #·
I didn’t watch the Academy Awards (because we don’t have Sky Movies, and I can make do with the highlights) but I did watch And the Oscar Goes To…:
This history-of-the-Oscars doc is clearly a puff piece (it’s only very lightly skewering, like trying to roast someone who can’t take a joke) but I’m a sucker for these kinds of things. Still, there’s room for a real warts-and-all, behind-the-scenes take on what it takes to put on the show, from the screeners to the stage techs to the politics and all points between.
I spent a few afternoons last week putting together this year’s website awards feature for Afloat magazine; not sure when that’s getting published as yet. Took a bit longer than expected to write as I developed a head cold around the same time, and had to fight through the fog of that to get anything done. Obviously I was useless for much of the rest of the time. I watched a lot of TV and WWE Network, and finished a couple of books while my head was clear enough to handle it.
If Irène Némirovsky’s novel is about the complications of love in the midst of conflict, Saul Dibb’s film adaptation strives to make it as uncomplicated as possible. The result is boiled down to the blandest of ‘forbidden passion’ clichés, padded out with the usual tropes (the hunky heel with a heart of gold; the nasty, sadistic counterpart; the ice maiden who atones for her sins… the list goes on). It’s romance-by-numbers, beneath the talents of a cast who either play it too safe (Michelle Williams does little more than model vintage wear) or lay it on thick (Kristin Scott Thomas as the aforementioned ice maiden). Don’t even get me started on the accents (so the French are all English, and the Germans are all… German) or the offensiveness of its rose-tinted view of a country under oppressive occupation.
For the first two thirds of this flick, there’s a real sense of a good film trying to get out. Yes, the plot moves too fast for some things (we never get a strong sense of why it matters) and too slow for others (it’s forever before we see the turtles in their ‘glory’), and the colour timing is atrocious (blame Michael Bay). But at least it takes its story cues from the right sources, and you get the notion director Jonathan Liebesman and the writers (some of whom started in Profiler, remember that show?) are at least trying to pay respect to the material. Then the third act comes along and it all goes down the sewer: plot, editing, effects, any hope for redemption, the whole lot. Yikes.