More a collection of columns loosely connected by Kermode’s overall thesis that film criticism (if not high-calibre criticism in general) is still necessary in this age of media democratisation. I mean I’m obviously sympathetic to that, being a writer on music and film myself and a blogger (on and off) of some 13 years’ standing. I think you have to be on board with that notion to get what he’s doing. Moreover, his structure allows him to meander around and away from the topic at hand to sometimes completely irrelevant places. But his style is fluid and fun for the most part, and some of his apparently scattershot musings do make more sense at the end.
Something new I want to try here, seeing as it’s Blog Day (3108, get it?): reblogging stuff I post on other sites. I’m starting with my Letterboxd review of Airplane!, which also happens to be my 100th logged movie watch for this year:
The casual racism and misogyny are impossible to ignore in this day and age, even if the film comes at everything from a sardonic angle. But considering it was made at a time when the Black and White Minstrel Show was only a few years off the air, and virulently racist and sexist ‘comics’ like Bernard Manning were packing them in, Airplane! could almost be seen as progressive. Take its context as a given and it’s easier to look past the jokes they’d never make today and revel in its anarchic, puntastic spirit.
My review of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For went up last Sunday evening, and it’s been mostly a quiet week since then. Just the one press screening for me, on Thursday morning, and catching up on my Afloat contributions after putting the paper to bed on Wednesday. Here and there I’m brain-dumping bits for future reviews and whatnot. (Oh, and reading: I finished [one book](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1826048.Notes) and started [another](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19488308-hatchet-job).) Sometimes you need to let things steep for a while before they’re ready, y’know?
Here's a pretty good intro to Star Trek for newbies, though I wouldn't preface it by saying ST is "particularly intimidating for the uninitiated" -- that's all in the mind. Watch a few shows and its charm will guide you in. My own recommendation would be to start with TNG (except perhaps season 1, it's fairly ropey) and then move on to DS9, my personal favourite for the sub-sub-plot deep connections between its characters that underpin the whole experience but often only reveal themselves as so important on repeat viewing. Voyager is unfairly maligned (I've been rewatching and enjoying it lately) though the AV Club writer neglects to remark on the show's biggest failing: concentrating on the Janeway-Seven-Doctor trio at the expense of everyone else in the cast. Enterprise is what it is: ill-conceived but not flat-out terrible. (I can't watch TOS myself, I can't get over the period cheesiness, but I'm not going to deny the good that it did.) #link
Elizabeth Spiers' fair profile (which became much more than that) of tech culture writer and activist Shanley Kane, which reinforces the impression generated by Kane's own words and deeds of someone who demands absolute, uncompromising control -- over their work, public image, whatever. So not a bad person, just someone who appears to have a character flaw that blinds them to the notion that media ethics exist as a concept independent of them. It happens. Bobbie Johnson provides more background to the story. #link
Only one published-elsewhere thing from me this week — my Thumped review of Into the Storm — but I attended three press screenings (two on Wednesday and another on Thursday), and I’ll be writing up one of them (the new Sin City movie) over the weekend, because it’s out on Monday (yeah, weird, I know).
Other than that, it was a slow week, capped off by a Friday where everything seemed to go wrong for me. Feck it, I’ve got pear cider in the fridge for later; not the one I wanted, mind, but some is better than none.
Dolph Ziggler and The Miz made a good fist of transcending their lowly mid-card status with a heated opener for the Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam 2014. Still, it was a match that, while plenty entertaining and well put together by two able grapplers who have good in-ring chemistry and can really go, only made me think of those great IC Title matches of SummerSlams past, those proper storytelling feud-settlers preceded by weeks of build-up; Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart vs Mr Perfect is still the apex of that kind of match for me. This, while good, was nothing of the sort, especially with a finish that more-or-less came out of nowhere. (Ziggler’s the new IC Champ, by the way.)
There's a lot here about cosplay specifically but it's also about the ethics and etiquette of public photography and behaviour in general, questions of which are often misunderstood on both sides. That some of this shit has to be explained might beggar belief, but there you go. #link