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A Sting in the tale

I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed the set-up for a future John Cena heel turn, as The Masked Man writes on Grantland about the ‘Chekhov’s Gun’ of the erstwhile wrestling rapper’s newfound power to reinstate The Authority as ‘the powers that be’ in WWE. It’s a twist that was clearly designed to plant the seed in every Cena-hater’s mind that there may come a day when the children’s champion swerves on the good people of the ‘WWE Universe’ (I hate that phrase so much) and throws in his lot with Triple H and Stephanie and company. That it will likely never happen is completely beside the point; it’s enough for the smarks to be flattered that Creative put something in there for them to ‘get’ and feel smug about. That’s some nice misdirection, there.

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My Goodreads review of Hawkeye Vol 3: LA Woman

Reblogged from my Goodreads list:

Kate Bishop’s west coast adventures are a little too sunny, a little too wacky to fit comfortably in the same series as Clint Barton’s relatively serious situation in Brooklyn. Annie Wu’s more conventional art style is fairly jarring compared to David Aja’s stylised look, too. The Kate issues work better separated out in this volume, though it’s far from perfect, with the story arc resolving itself awfully neatly. Still, the writing is witty enough to paper over those cracks for the most part.

My Goodreads review of How I Escaped My Certain Fate by Stewart Lee

Reblogged from my Goodreads list:

Stewart Lee’s autobiography of sorts is part memoir (only a fraction, really, more a summary than an in-depth examination of his life and career), part director’s commentary on three of his own extended stand-up sets (making up the bulk of this tome, and what really makes it worth reading). How you like it of course depends upon how you like his comedy, but I’ve been a fan of his (and of Richard Herring) since the TMWRNJ days so I’ve been primed for more than 15 years.

Someone tried to hack my iPhone

Something I completely forgot to mention in my previous weeknotes, maybe because I’d love to pretend it never happened, is that my iPhone was hacked a fortnight ago. There I was, awake with a start on a Sunday morning as my phone blared some random video (I don’t remember what; I wasn’t in the best of moods to take notes, like) and witness to someone, somewhere, bumbling their way remotely through a number of my open apps, and attempting to access others, most unsettlingly 1Password — which I could see them open, chancing their arm at my master password (good luck with that, chumps).

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My Goodreads review of Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Reblogged from my Goodreads list:

I feel it’s premature to judge this on its own with two more parts of the trilogy (really one book split in three, since they’ve been published so close together) still to go. But I will say that it’s been a long time since I’ve read anything like this, and I look forward to seeing where Jeff VanderMeer takes the story.

My Letterboxd review of Superman II

Reblogged from my Letterboxd list:

So yeah, it’s pretty rotten in hindsight; clearly no money was spent on either the special effects or a decent screenplay. And the main conceit – Supes giving up his powers as if he’s The Little Mermaid to be human for Lois Lane, like who gives a fuck about all the other people in this shitty world who need protecting – says it all, really. But I’ll be darned if it isn’t a bit fun to watch, even if that is to original director Richard Donner’s chagrin.

My Letterboxd review of Edge of Tomorrow

Reblogged from my Letterboxd list:

Far, far better than the marketing would lead you to believe, Edge of Tomorrow suffered at the cinema due to woeful trailers and TC fatigue. But the film itself is a treat, despite boiling down to a cross between Groundhog Day and Aliens (and it knows it, with the very aware casting of the great Bill Paxton, among other nods throughout). Anyone with a bugbear over temporal paradoxes will have something to argue about when the credits roll, but for me that doesn’t mar what’s a jolly well done, thrilling sci-fi action bonanza. Even with Tom Cruise in it.

My Letterboxd review of In A World…

Reblogged from my Letterboxd list:

So it seems Hollywood can still produce a heartwarming yet unsappy romantic comedy, one with actual substance, uncynical despite its quirky hook (its conceit is that most of its characters work in and around the voice-over and vocal coaching industry) and – and it’s a shame this has to be remarked upon, but it’s kinda key to how it works – one where the woman is the fulcrum of the story. It won’t be long before that won’t need to be said anymore, of course, once people like Lake Bell (and Lena Dunham, et al) carve out more space in the multiplexes or the cable networks. And then I’ll look like a sexist for pointing it out at all. I kid, I kid!

My Letterboxd review of Berberian Sound Studio

Reblogged from my Letterboxd list:

If one must, this can be summarised as both a film about the mechanics of filmmaking (the artistry behind the bits we don’t notice precisely because they work so well) and of the mental breakdown of a homely man, an expert in his field, who’s unable to handle the new environment – both physical, being in a foreign land, and artistically, being employed to work on a limit-pushing giallo-esque horror flick – he’s been thrust into. But Berberian Sound Studio is so much more than the sum of those parts, and precisely because of my summary above, it must be experienced to understand why it’s so enthralling.

My Letterboxd review of Man on Fire

Reblogged from my Letterboxd list:

I wish Tony Scott had made this back in the mid 1980s when he was originally supposed to do it before money issues got in the way, because by the time he got around to it nearly two decades later, his work had become subsumed by Style with a capital S.

Sure, he was always a stylist – we wouldn’t remember films like The Hunger or Top Gun nearly as much if they didn’t look as modish as they do – but Man on Fire plays like he was trying to outdo Michael Bay in all of his key, horrible aspects: tiresome length (at 2 1/2 hours it’s an hour too long), ADD editing and effects (so much jittery zooming and shaky cam, random Final Cut Pro filters and ‘unique’ subtitle placement), and teal-and-orange colour timing so atrociously fucked-up that even full daylight scenes are swathed in shadow.

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My Letterboxd review of The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology

Reblogged from my Letterboxd list:

Whether Slavoj Žižek is right or wrong isn’t the point (he’s a philosopher; being wrong about things just makes the whole thing more interesting). The point is that he’s so enthusiastic and entertaining and honest about what he’s arguing and where he’s coming from. That he can see through the often bullshit divisions of culture into ‘high’ and ‘low’ is a bonus, in this only slightly lesser sequel to his immensely rewarding Pervert’s Guide to Cinema. (Pervert in this case meaning to pervert received wisdom or the canonical order of things. Although…)

Weeknotes #687

It’s been a few weeks, so it has, but few working particulars to catch up on, mostly extracurricular activities.

The first two weeks of last month were spent chaperoning Bee’s parents around the city and beyond as they came to visit from South Africa. That, of course, was preceded by a number of ‘why is this all happening right now?’ chores ahead of their arrival, such as getting our toilet unblocked (the local kids had kicked gravel into the drain, it appears) and our immersion timer fixed (can’t be having no hot water in the mornings). A lot of stress there as you can imagine, hence my brief entry previous.

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