and so anyway it turns out that the best thing about John Michael McDonagh’s The Forgiven (2022), which we watched because I really quite liked The Guard (2011) and Calvary (2014), even though the director clearly drew the short straw and his brother got both Brendan Gleeson and the west coast of Ireland that year, is that bad things do happen to these awful people, although sadly those bad things are not bad enough and do not happen to enough of them or anywhere near quickly enough…
Category: One-sentence reviews
White Sands (Roger Donaldson 1992)
and so anyway, having now visited White Sands, New Mexico, it turns out that the best thing about White Sands (Roger Donaldson 1992) is, as I thought thirty years ago when I paid good money to see it in the cinema, not its amazing and far-too-good-for-this-rubbish cast, including Willem Dafoe, Mickey Rourke, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Samuel L. Jackson, M. Emmet Walsh, Maura Tierney, Miguel Sandoval, Mimi Rogers and John P. Ryan, all of whom now look like baby versions of themselves, apart maybe from Walsh and Ryan, but the fact that it manages to draw together all the elements needed for a really tense, tight little B-movie paranoid noir thriller…except for a director capable of making one
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Nicholas Meyer 1982)
…and so anyway it turns out that the best thing about Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Nicholas Meyer 1982) is the way in which Kirk passes the real Kobayashi Maru test when he is backed into a no-win situation by his two best (i.e., only) friends, barely able to suppress their rivalry for his affection, competing with each other to present him with the bestest of best birthday gifts, with Bones giving him reading glasses and Spock giving him the most monumental edition of Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities ever printed (more disproportionate even than the Neo’s humungous copy of Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation), so massive in fact that it must be the largest of large-print editions ever printed, and he serenely navigates these tides of desire by changing the conditions of the test and reading it with his reading glasses on…
The Hitman’s Bodyguard (Patrick Hughes 2017)
… and so anyway it turns out that the best thing about The Hitman’s Bodyguard (Hughes 2017), and undoubtedly the reason it is currently blighting our screens with a sequel, is not motherfucking Salma “motherfucker” Hayek, motherfuckers, although she is otherwise the best thing The Hitman’s Bodyguard, nor is it the bizarre decision to set part of it in the middle of Coventry…
…no, the very best thing about The Hitman’s Bodguard is – having inexplicably set some of it in Coventry, which makes no geographical sense – to then have Coventry played by Kensington.
Finally, the compleat Midsommar (Ari Aster 2019) one-sentence review tweets
So l finally saw Midsommar, or, the Bizarre Demonisation of ‘Scandinavian Style’ Social Democracy
So l finally saw Midsommar, or, the Dangers of Undertheorised Participant-Observation Methodologies
So l finally saw Midsommar, or, the Need for Strong Research Ethics Committees and Rigorous Approval Processes
So l finally saw Midsommar, or, the Never-Decreasing Need for Ari Aster to Hire a Script Editor
So l finally saw Midsommar and I am left wondering: what is the point of dressing up as a bear if you are not then going to punch out a nun?
Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam (Wegener 1920)
and so anyway it turns out that the best thing about Paul Wegener’s Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam (1920) is not the stunning 4K restoration, which makes it look like a completely different film to the one that’s only been available in shitty prints and ropey transfers for decades, nor is it sniggering at the subtitle, which I am told by a German friend would nowadays mean ‘and how he ejaculated into the world’ , no, the very best thing about this film about a creature fashioned from clay and brought to life through mystical powers, is the way it it loses all credibility the moment Fabian (Lothar Muthel, below right, shirt-cocking, full-Winnie-the-Pooh) starts to express an interst in, well, girls…
A question about Knausgaard
So in the middle section of The End, the sixth and final volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle, are we supposed to notice all the parallels between Hitler’s youth and his own early years, even though he never draws explicit attention to them, and thus be grateful he is merely making hilariously lofty claims for the significance of his work by subjecting us to 450 interminable pages of poorly argued and banal literary-philosophical-historical-aesthetic-theological exegesis, rather than, say, invading Poland or committing genocide?
Asking for a friend.
Some unexpected praise for Martin Amis
I am no fan of Martin Amis, but kudos for the truly incredible piece of confessional writing that is his 2011 intro to Ballard’s THE DROWNED WORLD, which goes: I don’t understand sf, I don’t understand Ballard, I don’t understand this novel, I don’t understand climate science, I don’t understand DeLillo (but I do have a crush on him), I don’t understand introductions, and I’m less than 100% on the placement of commas, but I do understand I get paid the same if I pad this out with long quotes, and I do understand spoilers – and to prove it I’ll end with a really big one:
Alien: Covenant (Ridley Scott 2017)
and so anyway it turns out that the best thing about Sir Diddley Squat’s latest xenomorph instalment is that after the prologue – and if you overlook the clunky dialogue, indistinguishability of the ‘characters’, poor grasp of physics, idiot plotting and general boring-ness of it all – most of the first hour is nowhere near as bad as Prometheus (Scott 2012) or, indeed, as the second half of Alien: Covenant, even if the second half is the half in which we get to see Michael Fassbender in a dopey hat, Michael Fassbender play Kurtz as Hannibal Lecter, Michael “you blow into it and I’ll do the fingering” Fassbender finally have a queer romance with Michael Fassbender, and, in the very final shot, Michael Fassbender show off his enormous feet in clown shoes…
Overlord (Justin Wyatt 2018)
and so anyway it turns out the best thing about Overlord (2018) is, as any sane person would expect, the always awesome Bokeem Woodbine, though the second best thing about this very silly film featuring a mission behind German lines in Normandy in the early hours of 6 June 1944 discovering mad scientists manufacturing a Nazi zombie army is the way it poses a mystery every bit as big as how Bokeem “Okay I’ll Be In It, And The Best Thing In It, But Only For 5 minutes” Woodbine makes a living, namely, how in the hell was this film not called D-Day of the Dead