Tuesday, 8 October 2013

What I've Been Watching This Year: Panoramic Waffle, Part 1

Here’s some stuff I’ve been watching this year, Part 1 of…all the Criminal Minds I’ve heretofore been waffling about will show up in Part 2, plus some other stuff which will show up here.  And the rambly thoughts associated with. Apologies for my idleness in not putting the year of release by the side of each film, but all these can be IMDB'ed if you need to find them. 

SPOILERS FOR MOSTLY EVERYTHING, so beware if you don't want to know!

  1. Oooh, You Are Awful!
    (AGAIN! With Dick Emery.  Used to watch this as a child with dad, and Stanley is the only other person to ever recognise it from my sketchy description [man looking at women’s bums for a tattoo combination of something for some reason].  It was lovely, and restful, and interestingly, Dick Emery is the only man I think I’ve ever seen dress up as a woman that I haven’t found offensive in some way, or unkind, or weirdly woman hating (apart from the Python pepperpots).  His drag seems affectionate, amusing and almost sexy in one case.  Mad!  Lovely film.)
  2. Dollhouse, Season 1
    (Since I waited my customary 3 years to let all and any hype calm down before watching this, I am really pleasantly surprised.  You can see the little Joss Whedon-isms all over it – ‘have I not shown you my drawer of inappropriate starches?’ Not only was the concept of taking personality imprints from one person, clearing out another, creating the ‘doll’: an empty person, then loading the imprint of one person to another a very good idea, it was also a very old one.  But it didn’t feel tired here.  It felt well explored, the various consequences and possibilities were spread out as the episodes went.  What about living forever?  What about who would pay to have fantasies enacted via an imprint?  What would they be, why?  So much of it to do with sex and violence (of course).  What if the technology got into the wrong hands and went wireless – what would the consequences be for the world?  Could technology like this ever be in the ‘right’ hands??  At its crux this was simply about who you are, and how your identity is formed, whether it can evolve, do you have a soul (that is, a steady essence that cannot be ‘erased’) – how much of yourself is your memories?  It was about identity, pure.  I had so many thoughts provoked I can’t remember what they all were.  Every episode flowing through me with this stream of associations and implications of the concept.  And like all good TV, all I can remember at the end is ‘Wow! I enjoyed that!  I FELT that!’ – and the taste and memory of good juicy thoughts.  And Topher, Whisky, Echo, Victor, Sierra, November.  Where were their lives while they paused?  Who were they?) 
  3. Remington Steele, Season 1
    (AGAIN! After the first few dud episodes, this was brilliant.  I was watching it only half, as Fluffhead was there and I had to keep re-watching, missing bits, only half giving it my attention – but the comic acting of Peirce Brosnan [e.g. the drunk episode – very funny physical acting], and its general lightness was brilliant.  Underrated.)
  4. Dollhouse, Season 2
    (Disappointing in some ways.  Whilst Topher had a personality transplant to goodness, Mr Lampton became an evil baddie – which was a great reveal but completely didn’t work as I was so invested in him being good it just didn’t wash…now why did Toby in Pretty Little Liars wash and not this?  I mean, I doubted and continue to doubt Toby is bad…but with Boyd Lampton I just rejected it.  It annoyed me, not tantalised me.  Mistake.  And apparently everyone got the last scene – Echo having Paul downloaded into her head, except me, I had to read a hundred reviews to see what had happened.  It felt like an unsatisfying ending.  I mean, after a war’s end, I too, would realistically take a nap…I just meant, the rest of it.  There were some very good things in this series, some extraordinary thoughts on abuse of power etc – but the flavour of the whole series, the development of some of the characters…pissed me off.  9/10, though nonetheless.  Despite the most downbeat happy ending ever…other than Brazil of course.)
  5. Phone Shop, Series 1
    (Started a bit dodgy, but I could see it had potential: and comedy, more than any other genre I reckon, needs to be given a bit of time to get going, to get the feel of it parameters.  It was very good,  Wiggas have never been so amusing
    J  )
  6. The Fades (BBC)
    (Bloody excellent!  So ENGLISH!  So sharp, so original, so witty, so funny, so scary!  Loved it.  20/10.  And some excellent music, Paul Thomason, whoever you are [episode 4 at the end].  Some brilliant acting from Iain de Caestecker and Daniel Kaluuya, stealing the whole thing.  But the writer Jack Thorne – full credit for that script
    J.  Why no second series?  It was forlornly set up at the end, which it shouldn’t have been, rather ruined the end, that…)
  7. Once Upon a Time, Season 1
    (Hmm – I have found the next Charmed.  Well, I didn’t find it, Daisy Ginn found it.  It’s a phenomenon.  Robert Carlyle OWNS it lock stock and barrel, and I am alarmed to fancy a creepy golden fairytale monster, but it’s also very me.  This prog manages to have the moral consistency that Charmed failed to.  And it also has a huge abiding theme: people fighting fear.  Its ALL about people’s actions as a result of fear – whether they let in run them completely and become monsters [Rumpelstiltskin], whether they fight but close off [Emma], whether they try hard to remain good [Snow] or succumb to badness because of terrible grief and insecurities [Regina] or because they feel hard done by [Cora]…or because they genuinely feel too scared to trust [Hook – I’m slipping into series 2 with those last 2, but they have kept up the emphasis of the theme, so its ok to mention here].  Brilliantly, outrageously stupid and contrived; amazingly addictive and innocent.  And some great clothes.)
  8. Carnage
    (Very funny  - Kate Winslet’s husband character stole the film.  Jodie Foster did tense very well; and the unexpected throwing up was very amusing.  The whole ‘this is the worse day of my life’ end and its recurring motif was a little puzzling though.  Maybe it was meant to show how shallow their lives were?  As it was hardly that serious, other than them clashing in views.  People really can’t take being disagreed with.  Or being offended.)
  9.  The Ghost
    (Also a Roman Polanski film, like the last.  EXCELLENT.  Thoroughly enjoyed.  Pierce Brosnan acted brilliantly, and that accent Ewan McGregor was doing was most intriguing – sort of old Estuary style cockney, sort of Oz. Excellent thriller – except I knew all along that Greta Saatchi was the one to look out for.  The gobsmacking moment of Brosnan getting shot left there no doubt that McGregor would also get it at the end.)
  10. Once Upon a Time, Series 2
    (It’s still wonderful and still has its strange little simple moral compass.  Peter Pan looks to be the villain set up for series 3.  Interesting.  Wonder if we’ll see anything more of Wendy?  Still loving Robert Carlyle.  Interestingly liked Belle better as an actress, as Lacey…)
  11. It’s a Mad Mad Mad World
    (AGAIN!  Liked this much better than I originally did.  I used to find it loud and shouty, but I found it quite amusing this time.  Ethel Merman made me laugh.  Spencer Tracy was understated.  I liked the whole silly swinging back and forth at the end.  Unexpected pleasure – and we all watched this together – Stanley because he already likes it, and Fluffhead found its loudness funny.)
  12. The Girl
    (What a pig Hitchcock was to Tippi Hedren.  Blimey.  Very much enjoyed this production.  Will go and read about Hitchcock now – had no idea how long the famous attack scene in The Birds took to film, or that he tortured her so much to accomplish it.  Or that he was such an overwhelmingly creepy bugger.)
  13. The Ward
    (A new John Carpenter film.  Had a bit of a feel of Halloween 2 about it, no bad thing.  I liked it.  I liked the Identity twist at the end – though I wish I had rewound and watched the list again, as that’s when I got it and I would have liked to read it properly. Also enjoyed the Dario Argentoesque frying of one of he characters heads; what does this say about my personality?!  Good thriller/horror.  Though it would seem that I’m the only one to think so, from what I’ve read on the net.)
  14.  Giallo
    (Hmm.  The worst wrong thing with this film is what no one else seems to have mentioned – the music.  ALL WRONG.  Adrien Brody does fine in a very mannered performance as a New York cop.  Emmanuelle Seigneur does feck all except not look pretty anymore…she is practically dead in terms of being used for anything in this; it was a very poor role for her.  The locations looked lovely; the blood looked just right for an Argento, as did the specific gore.  It was just lacking any real character, which is why Adrien Brody’s cop didn’t save it; he was too much of a wonderful stereotype to carry a plot that had bugger all in it.  It also didn’t feel like a Giallo despite trying very hard to look like one.  It didn’t have the sleaze, though it was disturbing.  But it was disturbing more in the way modern horrors can be disturbing, not in the special Argento deeply uncomfortable way of old.  Maybe this is because we fans of Argento keep wanting him to make films like he did in the 70s and its just not doable because the world has moved on.  We blame him for actually moving on; when we should have done the same!  I didn’t dislike the film as such, despite its very poor and unsatisfying ending – it was infinitely better than The Card Player, which didn’t even feel like a Dario Argento at all…this felt like someone trying to do a Dario Argento and failing!  But the glimmers were there, in the look, and feel.  Keep trying, my favourite Dario, you need to figure out what it is you’ve lost, I think, before you’ll get it back or do something different.)
  15. Lipstick Jungle, Season 1
    (Perfection of gloss.  Not a foot wrong.  Really irritated it only had 7 episodes. Andrew McCarthy…ahhhhhhh, still got it!)

So, see you on the other side, for the rest of this panoramic waffle on what I’ve wasted my time watching this year!

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