Weeknotes #726-729

The predominant experience over the last few weeks? Tiredness. I’ve been sick, mostly minor ills in the big scheme of things, but for the better part of a month. First the threat of a cold that turned into a horrid chesty cough that took a week (and two bottles of Benylin) to shift, then a few days later a proper headcold that blindsided me for a whole weekend, and left everything smelling and tasting of slate mucus for even longer. Even as I write this a week later I’m still groggy from congestion, the kind that sloshes around inside your head and makes your ears sting when you bend over. Ugh.



Rain is sizzling bacon, cars are lions roaring: the art of sound in movies
The Guardian profiles Oscar-winning sound designer Skip Lievsay: “His expertise, fittingly, is what can’t be seen – sound, yes, but also everything else that sound is to the human mind: the way we orient ourselves in relation to spaces, to time, to each other; the way we communicate when language fails; the way our ears know, precognitively, when the dark room has someone lurking in it or when a stranger will be kind. He orchestrates the levels of human perception that most people either fail to examine or lack the ability to notice at all. His job is to make you feel things without ever knowing he was there.” #sound   ·

The Agency
“From a nondescript office building in St. Petersburg, Russia, an army of well-paid “trolls” has tried to wreak havoc all around the Internet — and in real-life American communities.” This story is crazy, and it’s got ‘1970s-style conspiracy thriller’ written all over it. #aux   ·

Filtered for radioactive cats
“Question. If you bury radioactive waste and need to warn people to stay away from the land for 10,000 years, how do you do it — basically how do you construct a message that lasts longer than humans have been living in cities?” And more thought-food gems like that. #aux   ·

My Thumped review of Sinister 2
I can’t believe no one else came up with my ‘Electric Bughuul’ gag. (Well, one other person did, but they added an ‘-oo’ at the end.) #screen   ·

My Thumped review of Vacation
This remake/reboot/sequel to the ’80s National Lampoon comedy is better than you might expect, given the awful trailer. #screen   ·

The foodie traveller on … reinventing poutine in Toronto
If these count as poutine, then Abrakebabra taco fries should too. I’m serious! #food   ·

Cool Things Chrome Can Do Now, Thanks to Hardware MIDI
Pretty sweet that a few lines of code can turn a web browser into a software synth. #sound   ·

The vast, unplayable history of video games
There’s a very important point here about the ownership of cultural artefacts, and how the digital era has defined that ownership squarely in favour of the corporate producer (leading to legal absurdities like software licences becoming a template for every kind of non-physical media). It’s not just about games; if films are no longer being preserved on reels of celluloid, and only exist on the hard drives of some movie studio’s IT department, how can we trust they’ll still be around in decades to come? #media   ·

The World Needs Female Rock Critics
On women’s alienation from rock. Or rather, the rock musical/critical canon, because there’s plenty of room for women in more underground, niche genres. Still, there can always be more. (And the same could be said for every relative minority, ie anyone not a white male.) #sound   ·

Whose Line’s Colin Mochrie on dreaming of Jeannie and chicken revenge
Colin Mochrie is a mensch, and my favourite Hoedown singer. #aux   ·

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The Irish Whip: Kill Your Enthusiasm - SummerSlam Reviewed

When all you really recall is the crappy ending, it doesn’t matter how good the preceding match was. And SummerSlam’s main event was indeed a very good match, if not a great one. We were teased the big Undertaker comeback, the Dead Man getting his revenge on the dastardly Brock Lesnar for ending his WrestleMania streak 18 months ago. But Brock was having none of it, not even letting Taker remove his hat and trenchcoat before launching his assault. The rest of the match was a pure fight, playing to Brock’s strengths as a ring bully while hiding Taker’s weaknesses as a performer well past his prime, and making them both look like they belonged in the main event of the second-biggest show of the year. Also, there was this:

Brock and Taker laugh it up at SummerSlam 2015
Check out that blood! Hardway or blade job? It’s hard to tell, but curious that the referee donned a pair of gloves, just in case (and it wasn’t the only match on the card where that happened, either)



Elsewhere: My Letterboxd reviews of Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall

I’m not really a James Bond fan (though I’ve seen A View to a Kill more times that I can remember) so it shouldn’t be too surprising that I never got round to seeing the Daniel Craig era Bonds. Till now, that is. Here’s my take on Casino Royale:

The first Bond of the Daniel Craig era is supposed to be ‘the gritty one’ but apart from a short sharp shock in the intro, and That Torture Scene near the end, it’s largely cheesy as fuck. Less cheesy than the silly Brosnan flicks, sure, but hardly the rebooted, ‘serious’ James Bond it’s purported to be. Still, it’s pretty entertaining, though it doesn’t half go on; two-and-a-half hours is far too long for a film of this ilk.



The Roots in My Blood

The latest episode of Fractured, my friend John Mulvaney’s video series on Irish underground music, focuses on the bleak pastoral blackened noise project From the Bogs of Aughiska, who I’ve seen live a couple of times now, an intense experience to say the least. (And I’m surprised to learn the man behind the mask doesn’t like to play live, which is a shame as that presentation of his music, with accompanying video projections, really brings out its power.)


Elsewhere: My Letterboxd review of Fantastic Four

Reblogged from my Letterboxd list:

Seriously, screw the internet pile-on - there’s really a lot to like about the Fantastic Four reboot. Josh Trank’s film (from a screenplay by him, Jeremy Slater and Simon Kinberg) adds a more ‘rational’ twist, in terms of internal logic, to the FF’s inherently silly origin story, eschewing the already dated campiness of the noughties films (so that it’s more tonally consistent with its sibling X-Men franchise) and borrowing liberally from Cronenberg’s The Fly in its fable of ambition gone awry.

Which one could say about the film itself, actually. What it builds to isn’t where it goes, with a lengthy but engaging first act skipping over the second and straight into a half-baked finale that’ll have you convinced whole swathes of plot and character development were carelessly hacked out just to trim down the running time and ‘get to the action’. That, or it’s a case of the story escaping the creator’s control, like Frankenstein’s movie. Either way, it doesn’t end well. But if not for the last 30 minutes, it really doesn’t deserve all this disdain.


Elsewhere: My Letterboxd reviews of Full Tilt Boogie, Nightmare Factory and They Live

Another documentary double bill. First up, Sarah Kelly’s fly-on-the-wall/in-the-ointment making-of doc Full Tilt Boogie:

One of those ‘things didn’t turn out the way they expected’ documentaries, whereby a pretty simple behind-the-scenes hangout with the cast and crew (mostly crew) of Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn gets complicated by union troubles, bad weather, shitty food, and even the odd fire.


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