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The Unsettled Interview The Unsettled Interview

It’d been at least sixteen or seventeen years since I last watched 1994's Interview with the Vampire. I used to watch it over and over again in high school, in the late 90s. Nowadays if I feel like watching a Neil Jordan movie I’m more likely to watch The Butcher Boy, the movie he made three years after Interview with…

A Riot of Almost Nothing A Riot of Almost Nothing

It’s hard to imagine anything like normal life carrying on in the kaleidoscope of rubbish, signs, people, and homes of Taipei’s slums as they’re shown in 1997's Rainy Dog (極道黒社会>. And it’s not the story of a normal life director Takashi Miike gives us, showing without sentiment a very unsentimental man and the loose…

New Doctor, New Desert New Doctor, New Desert

Doctor Who is now more authentically African than Black Panther: exteriors for to-day’s new episode, “Ghost Monument”, were shot in South Africa, surpassing Black Panther, which was shot in South Korea and the United States. It certainly beats a quarry and helps give this second episode of the new Doctor Who season…

Autumnal Ambiguity   Autumnal Ambiguity  

One of the points where I knew 2017's Super Dark Times was working excellently was when I realised I was hoping to find out one of the teenage boys really was a murderer. That it would, in a strange way, be relief to find out. I knew the movie was good before this, though, because of how sharply it built its sense of…

Cowboys and Teddy Bears Cowboys and Teddy Bears

Indulging in some self-parody, Cowboy Bebop introduces a one-off rival for Spike named Andy, a flamboyant bounty hunter who wears the traditionally recognised accoutrements of a cowboy. Faye wryly remarks on how similar the two men actually are but the really interesting thing about this episode is in how different…

Three Billys and a Giant Three Billys and a Giant

This morning I finished watching the first season of Goliath, a legal drama created by writers and attorneys David E. Kelley and Jonathan Shapiro in 2016. It was really good, somewhat pulpier than other David E. Kelley series I’ve seen.

Another Year, Another Lear Another Year, Another Lear

I’ve been so caught up lately watching Shakespeare productions from decades ago on Amazon Prime I almost missed it when a brand new, 2018 production of King Lear, my favourite Shakespeare play, was released on the service. Directed by Richard Eyre, who did the 2012 productions of the Henry IV plays for the BBC I…

It's All Troubling, Man It's All Troubling, Man

So we’ve come to the end of another season of Better Call Saul, a nice season finale last night, as expected, bringing Jimmy a little closer to becoming Saul but with a surprising and effective touch of ambiguity at the end. Wisely excluding Nacho entirely, the episode focused on two stories about societies where one…

A Temperature as a Fraction A Temperature as a Fraction

Michael Moore begins his 2018 film, Fahrenheit 11/9, with a very clear question; “How the fuck did this happen?” meaning Trump’s election. It’s a very good question particularly since he poses it after a chilling and depressing compilation of commentators and voters showing absolute certainty in Clinton’s victory. But…

"Should be Fine" "Should be Fine"

So here it is at last, the new Doctor Who, with the Thirteenth Doctor taking the series into uncharted territory. Let naysayers say what they will, I, for one, applaud the creators of the series for setting the première in Sheffield!

Houses of Autumn Houses of Autumn

Yesterday I read the new Sirenia Digest which features a very autumnal new Caitlin R. Kiernan story, “Untitled 41". It very appropriately uses the above John Everett Millais image as its cover, the story being filled with descriptions of autumn leaves.

Perennial Subversions Perennial Subversions

In 1977, Helen Mirren starred in a BBC production of one of the most notorious plays in the history of the English stage, The Country Wife. First performed in 1675, this intensely lively play upends social morality at a breakneck pace, coming at a time when the general reaction against the Puritan ban on stage plays…

Vigorous but Fruitless Work Vigorous but Fruitless Work

Clever language replete with pleasingly complex sexual innuendo is one of the distinct virtues of late 17th century and 18th century satire and comedy. So it makes sense that director Elijah Moshinsky set his 1984 production of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost for the BBC Television Shakespeare in the 18th century,…

Feng Shui in the Void Feng Shui in the Void

Mystic interior decorators may face their toughest challenge in the post-post-modern future solar system depicted in Cowboy Bebop. But fortunately this is a place bound together by the influence of feng shui.

The Spirit, the Letter, or Neither One The Spirit, the Letter, or Neither One

Last night’s new Better Call Saul, the penultimate episode of the season, was about deceptions, some successful, some not. Written by Gennifer Hutchison, it featured some particularly nice drama between Kim and Jimmy. And it was decently directed by Vince Gilligan, creator of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul’s…

A Tragedy in Chiaroscuro A Tragedy in Chiaroscuro

For Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, the tale of a military leader’s failure to become a tyrant, director Elijah Moshinsky produced a painterly production for the BBC Television Shakespeare in 1984. Like his production of Cymbaline, it seems primary influence came from Baroque painters, his beautiful uses of darks and lights…

The Bloody Clown of Now The Bloody Clown of Now

After several episodes where elements from the past reappear to save or enlighten the characters on Cowboy Bebop, a personification of the post modern future appears and attacks Spike. The show’s effective experiment in horror is another way to portray its fundamental thematic conflict.

Chibnall's Doctor Chibnall's Doctor

I’ve written about Doctor Who every Saturday for several years now. It’s the day the show traditionally airs, after all, so it seemed appropriate. But I guess that changes next week (or technically the week after next) when the show moves to Sunday. A big part of the pitch this season is that everything’s…

That Old Drawn Magic That Old Drawn Magic

As you might’ve guessed from yesterday’s entry, the anime bug has bitten me again. I’ve been getting up earlier and I find, in addition to coffee, nothing gives me quite the necessary kick in the morning like the peppy opening theme of a new anime series. So here are a few other 2018 shows I’ve been watching lately:

No Need for Umbrellas No Need for Umbrellas

There’s a sweet, enjoyable new anime series this year called After the Rain (恋は雨上がりのように) about a teenage waitress who has a crush on her 45 year-old boss. The animation and design are average but pretty enough and the story wisely avoids operatics. It contents itself with what turns out to be a pleasant, mild story…

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