Press F To Pay Respects – Horror and Technology – https://t.co/9Ca50F7B8A
My first article for Haunt Jaunts.
Press F To Pay Respects – Horror and Technology – https://t.co/9Ca50F7B8A
My first article for Haunt Jaunts.
Here’s some thoughts about what I’ve been watching:
Goliath, Amazon Prime.
Two seasons with Billy Bob Thornton in a show created by David E Kelley. The latter created Ally MacBeal and Boston Legal, which were crisp, entertaining and arch legal dramas. Here the combination of the two talents has led to sixteen episodes of a man’s slow crawl from exile and the forces of antagonism he faces both within and without. The dialogue is great, and it’s all performed with genuine verve and insight. Yet for all the quality which lends itself to reserve, there’s a gleeful invention and boldness of execution which reveals some disturbing and intense scenes throughout the show. By the end of season two, you’ll never hear the H R Puffnstuff theme tune in the same way.
Thornton is one of my favourite actors. He carries a mercurial ability to inhabit space and demonstrate a consistent, wounded masculinity alongside the practiced and insightful intelligence which doesn’t shield him from his own demons.
I hope there’s a third season.
Enjoyable but not as good as the first one. I wonder if there’s a market in making trailers for films which don’t exist. I felt I saw all the big moments in the trailer and wasn’t given anything for my tickets investment. The Domino sequences were remarkable, Final Destination style chains of coincidence which are a visual delight.
A cell of jihadists bumble through training, planning and execution of an attack in the UK. It’s hilarious, warm and insightful even as it swandives into a third act of unbearable tension between comedic moments of shock and disbelief.
It’s a harsh, raw horror movie and the internal, emotional story resonates with primal, chilling refrains as it descends into chaos and madness.
Its A Wonderful Life
Yes it’s a Christmas film but the central conceit resonates with me, and it came up as a recommendation. What a man contributes, and how it seems menial and disposable but actually the smallest gestures touch lives and matter. Some films are timeless and I think this is one of them.
Tom Wolfe said non fiction is more difficult to write than fiction because fiction has to make sense. Here is a dizzying cheese dream of a crime and it’s all true. Fantastic and full of reversals yet suffused with a humane strangeness.
Game of Thrones – season 7, episode 1.
I have been thinking about my youth and how I was mocked for my love of comics and pop culture, pilgrimages to Norwich and Abstract Sprocket (where i had a pull list every month), permanent residence in the fantasy, science fiction and horror sections of the library. I was happy and remain so, but it’s odd to see how such things as Game of Thrones, the MCU and DCU dominate the media now.
No, this isn’t me grumbling because what was cool and exclusive, is now worn by everyone and it’s lovely. Sure, I wish there was as much focus on original, non-superhero content but they’re our mythology now and sometimes we need to tap into it. Stories are how we figure things out, a storehouse for knowledge we don’t need to carry inside our heads but find useful to learn from.
In a thousand years, will people be arguing over the one true Spider-Man?
Anyway, Game of Thrones is fantastic television. It’s been six years since the last book, and no, I am not hassling GRRM for another one, he’s enjoying himself and life, like art is about enjoyment. I wouldn’t be putting so much into this if I didn’t and he’s been doing it far longer than I have.
Hannibal – Seasons 1 to 3.
Mads Mikkelsen is the perfect Hannibal. I also want his tailor’s number. Bryan Fuller makes shows which are gorgeous, disturbing and chilled to perfection and although this was cancelled, the hope of a return stirs my bones a little. I want to see Clarice Starling again, although Jodie Foster and Hopkins are only a dvd away, but Fuller’s take on it would be interesting, wouldn’t it?
True Detective, season 1.
There was no season 2. It was a cheese-fuelled hallucination and too ambitious for it’s own good. The first season was brutal, elegiac and unafraid of getting up close and personal with the roots of masculine duty and identity. I wrote so much crime fiction inspired by it which seldom saw the light of day as it was too obviously influenced by it.
Rick and Morty. Season 1 – 2.
It’s an instant pick me up, scabrous, clever and humane at the most surprising junctures, plus it’s Dan Harmon, what can you say?
Preacher season 1 -2
The comic book is one of my favourite series. Ever. Sod your JLA, I will choose the panel where Jesse has tears down his cheeks and says ‘sweet lord, don’t let me be dreaming’ because there’s been women I’ve thought that about. I am enjoying the tv show.
American Gods season 1.
It’s Bryan Fuller’s adaptation of a Neil Gaiman book, with Ian McShane and Gillian Andersen, why wouldn’t I watch it?
I still have Love, House of Cards and a queue on Netflix which makes me question my enthusiasm, but yes documentaries count as research, so there.
Now, I read more than I watch and I suppose I should post what I am reading. I try not to think about it because it frightens me haha.
A blessing on
Far from the persistent
Idiocy of the crowd
A blanket beneath
Half in and out
With a lust
The sodden silk
Of your underwear
Tested by my fingers
Bringing to light
The expression of
Shows your secret beauty
What an afternoon
Lustful, lustrous lassitude
We read to one another
Compels us again
The damp heat of
As much robbery
And had we the means
We’d stay here
Long past midnight
Terry Wogan doing the Eurovision Song Contest remained one of the comedic highlights of what was otherwise blood-freezingly awful television, especially in the later years when the block voting and nepotism inspired a sarcasm and disbelief that was hidden behind an impeccably smooth and professional delivery. This was one of the best interviews he did, where he allows Icke to present his message whilst delivering the ultimate put down when he leans forward and says..well, I won’t spoil it for you.
Jessica Jones –
It’s much better than Daredevil because it’s obligations to continuity are slight, so it’s allowed to tell a story that’s ostensibly about obsession, autonomy, guilt and grief. It also has some bits that made me cringe a little but it’s all written and performed with so much energy and sincerity that it proved perfectly beguiling. David Tennant is incredible in it, demonstrating a corrosive charisma and later on, showing the damage that made him that way. Krysten Ritter radiates a wounded beauty, and although for television, there is still a reticence to show sex and sexuality in a way that’s honest and untitillating, the central relationship between Jones and Cage is genuinely arousing.
In a saner world, Pablo Escobar would have had to make his money smuggling exotic animals. Instead, he built a terrible and massive empire smuggling drugs across the border to the US. Narcos is uncompromising and brilliant television, in that the most outlandish actions that Escobar took to maintain and advance his position actually happened. Underpinned by great performances, a willingness to show his actions without judgement and an honest appraisal of how difficult it was to form a case and prosecute him, Narcos was fantastic television.
A tragic, slow burning epic where the sins of the past scar the present and a family are torn apart by the revenge of the exiled eldest son. Beautifully filmed, humane and yet still glittering with the greasy allure of good noir. The performance of Ben Mendelsohn is a stand out although everyone in this cast is top of their game.
Making of A Murderer/The Jinx
I’ve not really dabbled with crime fiction, although I read a lot of it. True crime has a wrenching bleakness to it that I find mesmerising. Lots of overweight people sat at kitchen tables, staring into the middle distance trying to make sense of a world that doesn’t. Making of A Murderer guarantees that if I am ever driving through certain parts of the US, that I have a lawyer on speed dial and The Jinx showed what damage a single man can do, and how so often luck and investigative flaws can allow a sizeable amount of horror to occur. Making Of A Murderer is fantastic, compelling television and it’s been inspirational in the flash fiction because as much as we expect criminals to make choices that benefit themselves, there’s something truly frightening about law enforcement coming down from the moral high ground to wallow in the dirt.
Trailers only show scenes from perhaps the first two acts of a movie. They’re an art form in and of themselves. I enjoy them but I’m seldom completely swayed by their arguments.
So DC are rolling out their attempt to build a cinematic universe around their characters. It’s not as well thought out as Marvel but come on it’s fucking Batman and if it doesn’t reference George Clooney’s era then it will take box office scalps even if it was ninety minutes of Batman practicing card tricks.
(My favourite Batman in film is The Dark Knight or Batman Returns, The Penguin’s crew were pure Burton but I loved how Nolan figured out how to make a crime noir with costumes)
Zack Snyder produces lovely but insubstantial movies and he has that eye for spectacle that Nolan or Bay has, although he lacks both the chilly intellectual bent of the former or the earnest humour of the latter. I didn’t enjoy Man of Steel because it lacked warmth and Superman is characterised by his love for humanity as well as a third act that was a wall of noise, darkly lit and just unremitting.
So now we get to see his Batman and I rate Ben Affleck highly. If you’ve seen The Town or Argo, maybe take in his performance in changing lanes and you’ve got the basis for a solid portrayal.
Ok does Jesse Eisenberg look like he’s related to the Joker in the same way that Sideshow Cecil resembles Sideshow Bob or is it just me?
I will probably see it if only because I have a deep seated love for the mythology even though the films seem to veer towards a post 9/11 ideology when I prefer escapism with enough plausibility. Sure, Batman could stop terrorism but I’d rather see him punch an intelligent ape who’s wearing a jet pack. But that’s because I watch work that’s challenging and visceral but I think that it’s clumsily done by DC. Marvel have a better take but they’ve been lucky as much as good.
David Ayer is a good director and I think Suicide Squad will be entertaining if overshadowed by Margot Robbie and Jared Leto. Robbie can act and that matters more than the fact that she’s photogenic for mining a popular character. Shame the comics are shit and they’re not going with the Timm/Dini character. It’s more like Girl, Interrupted on MDMA but I hope that it’s a good movie.
I love comics and the books I actually read are making their way to other media. Preacher. Scalped. 100 Bullets. Sandman. All fantastic works but it’ll be the success of properties like Suicide Squad that will determine whether other films get made.
And yet it’s like having an opinion about a mountain as it’ll happen and my opinion is of no consequence regardless of the outcome. I’m too invested in my own work to worry but I love good pop culture because you can have intellectual stimulation and spectacle and I don’t see why we can’t have both.