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February 2015

Weeknotes #703

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 Letterboxd reviews of And the Oscar Goes To…, Dangerous Days, Honeymoon, and Hanna

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.


Weeknotes #701-702

Bit of a blur, the past fortnight.

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.


My Letterboxd review of Suite Française

This one is coming out next month, but you needn’t bother. Here’s my review, reblogged from my Letterboxd list:

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.

My Letterboxd reviews of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Cloud Atlas, and Godzilla

The new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles isn’t the steaming pile I’d expected, but still a big letdown:

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.


My Goodreads review of Andre the Giant: Life and Legend by Box Brown

Reblogged from my Goodreads list:

Box Brown’s remarkable manga-influenced sequential art biography of the wrestling legend lies somewhere at the intersection of the graphic novel as pioneered by Art Spiegelman, the confessional comics of Harvey Pekar and the illustrated reportage of Joe Sacco. Okay, that sounds as grandiose as a wrestling promo, but there’s truth in it. What we have here is a larger-than-life story that could be told in text alone, but it’s a tale that really benefits from being seen sketched out on the page to be believed – even if much of it’s a work in the end.

Walking on water

Walking on water, Grand Canal at Ashtown, February 2015. #image

My Goodreads review of Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Reblogged from my Goodreads list:

Amy Poehler makes it clear from the start of this book that it’s not much of a memoir or autobiography, more a disjointed collection of essays, musings and reminiscences. And that’s exactly how Yes Please should be judged, especially as its later pages see her try to draw a portrait of herself beyond the comedic image that’s naturally earnest but, in my case, not much fun to read. It’s still worth a go anyway, because Poehler is an awesome person. And she doesn’t hold her cards as close to her chest as Tina Fey.

Weeknotes #700

Seven hundred weeks, eh? That’s a long time blogging. More than 13 years, in fact. Which reminds me, I completely forgot my blog became a teenager on 1 November last. That’s crazy! So is the fact that I’ve had a website in some shape or form for more than 15 years now. Whodathunkit?

Anyway, enough reminiscing. There’s some new stuff from me up on the new-and-improved Thumped. For one, my review of Jupiter Ascending, the new film from the Wachowskis (and a very enjoyable one it is, too). And at long last, the latest edition of my Noises On! column, surveying my last 12 months or so in heavy music.


When it Reigns it pours

So MetaFilter caught on to the Royal Rumble shenanigans, and I contributed a couple of cents to the conversation, partly to answer and contextualise other users’ questions about the whole wrestling thing in general, and party to elucidate, for myself as much as for others, why I’m into this crazy world.

And at the moment, it’s the politics of the situation that intrigue me the most. I mean, where does WWE go from here? This Monday’s Raw, after last week’s fortuitous snowstorm interruption, we got the first indication. It was an exercise in damage control, but more nuanced than we’ve come to expect from their direction as of late.