Stimulus Package

Had a crappy few weeks lately of things breaking and ended up having the most boring weekend ever while both my xbox and my macbook were out of commission for repairs.

I used the downtime as best I could though and caught up on some films that’d been on the to do list for a while and some reading.

I’ve been making the most of the wonderful programming at the DCA and seen two amazing Jean-Luc Godard films. The part hard boiled pulp fiction gumshoe / part sci-fi proto Blade Runner epic Alphaville. It has one of most beautiful casts apart from the awesome Eddie Constantine who plays lead protagonist Lemmy Caution whose face looks as though it was rendered in rough cement or something. Although this was made back in 65 and made on a tiny budget with no special effects, it shows this wonderful dystopian near future far more believably than many of todays absurd CGI heavy big budget idiotfests.

Next on the DCA menu was Le Mepris, another Godard affair. Cue another stunning cast, most notaby Bridgit Bardot’s arse which is on screen far more than it technically should have been and the legendary Jack Palance who for me is one of these guys who just embodies a certain type of character. He just seems to ooze this charming, calm exterior with pure mobster rage just bubbling under the surface. There were a few moments in Le Mepris that made me feel like I’d tapped into the roots of certain Lynch moments, most notably the audition scene of the dancer in the red dress that I kept having to double take as the looks and demeanour were so close to Sherilyn Fenn’s stunning Audrey Horne it was uncanny. Georges Delerue’s swooping string lament that has been overused on a million wanky perfume adverts really fell into place as a heavy lament to a relationship falling apart within the film production that is also disintegrating. Haunting. The spaghetti ghost town of the italian film studio at the start was also pretty appealing. Wall to wall good to the extent that I’m considering buying the huge Godard DVD boxset.

I’m reading Sculpting in Time, the book in which Tarkovsky talks frankly about his work and inspiration and the like so I figured it’d be best to bone up on the remaining films I hadn’t seen yet. Over the course of a few nights I watched Ivan’s Childhood, Andrei Rublyev and The Sacrifice.

Ivan’s Childhood featured some stunning locations which, as usual with this master of cinema, felt like being in the middle of an Ansel Adams photo.

Andrei Rublev is one of the films that took me two attempts/sittings to get through. It’s incredibly long and covers a chunk of Russian history albeit from the fringes rather than an epicentre. My attention did drift a few times in the first half but the second felt more compact and to the point.

The Sacrifice, his last film, is up there with my favourites, it has one of these calm, hyper real feels to it interspersed with magic and absolutely unbelievably good set pieces. My only criticism lies with the actor who played Alexadner’s wife who I felt overegged the “hysterical wife” role a bit.

For a bit of light relief I rewatched Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns which still just rock, I’ve had the danny Elfman themes laser etched into my young mind I think. Jack Nicholson’s scenery chewing Joker is still an interesting take on Batman’s nemesis. Also, I don’t think my 12 year old brain was quite capable of appreciating Pfeiffer’s Catwoman in her filthy goodness at the time. Meeeowwwww!!!

I caught up on a pile of stuff actually; Gonzo, The Baader Meinhoff Complex (damn those were some sexy looking terrorists!!), V for Vendetta, Room for Romeo Brass and although I find most of his films just too full of cheese to properly enjoy, Hitchcock’s Rear Window.

Readingwise, having got really into DC via Grant Morrison’s involvement in 52, I got the thirst to work out what led up to and follows that series so I’ve done Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis, Countdown to Final Crisis along with Arkham Asylum: A serious house on serious earth and Frank Miller’s All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder which is a nice pulpy reboot forgoing most of the established history and origin. I’m waiting for Final Crisis and Morrison’s run on All Star Superman to arrive. I also managed to rip through V for Vendetta in a day rectifying the unusual hole in my graphic novel list.

On the non comic book front I’m enjoying little bits of David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again which is full of razor sharp observation and commentary, it’s very funny in places and in the main, the way he uses language is a bit like him punching you in the brain every time he makes a point. Really enjoyable but I can only digest it in smallish chunks which is handy as that’s how the book is broken up.

That’s all I can be bothered typing, for now anyways.


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