Denouement of 2017

If you were a Grinch, like me, Christmas always meant being home alone in the evening wishing you had a box of pizza, bitter that you can’t order one, probably in a vest watching some films on TV with a can of Stella, occasionally wondering why your residence lacked an elaborate air ventilation system that could double as alternative transportation.

Well, some habits die hard. Despite being able to order pizza. I did not, but I did watch films & ponder air vents. I even managed to fluke an extra Christmas film in too.

— Ghost of the Past —
xcvi. Jingle All The Way (1996) – Arnie was probably a larger part of my childhood than Bruce Willis & some his lesser films were merging into one in my head. Turns out, I didn’t remember this very well at all. I was expecting moments of Last Action Hero & Kindergarten Cop it seems, which obviously means they’ll also need revisiting soon.

How’s the film? Yea’ pretty dire, but I’d be lying if I were to say I wasn’t at all charmed.

— Ghost of the Present —
xcvii. Die Hard 2 (1990) – While the whole of social media took to debating the merits of whether Die Hard is a Christmas film (which it indubitably is), I’d been there, done that last year, I’ve moved on to the next (which also is, I might add). Let the memes play catch-up, I suppose.

This second installment was a lot better than I remember it being. I guess due to the cult status of the first, I’d been brainwashed into believing the rest all paled in comparison. The following years may lead me to feel that way if I continue beyond the sacred trilogy, but for now, I remain impressed & pleased.

— Ghost of the Future —
xcviii. Eyes Wide Shut (1999) – Though ordinarily, this would have been one of the Back to the Future films (obviously), since I’d made a pact to see all 16 of Stanley Kubrick’s films in 2017 and the deadline was encroaching intently, I wanted to just get this done. Turns out, with some twist of fate, like a pre-cog foreseeing my crimes of putting this off so long, it turned out to be set around Christmas too, There was a tree 🌲 in it & everything, so I was quite chuffed about that — double whammy.

The heavily slated film was one I’d missed at the cinemas upon release. Back then the name Kubrick meant nothing to me, despite murmurs of his genius being talked of amongst fellow cinema staff.

Having seen it now, to my surprise, it was engaging & compelling. I’ll admit, there is no way I would have appreciated it back then, as a teenager. I’d also say having the familiar faces of running man Tom & his taller partner of the time Nicole certainly helped get me invested, but the subject too was thought-provoking, even if it wrapped up in a rush leaving you with questions about that whole surreal middle segment.

On that specific note, I imagine there’s some story around that organisation that could make for an entirely separate film, somewhat like the ‘hotel’ in the more recent imaginations surrounding John Wick, maybe it was even made, maybe it’s a porno. Maybe, maybe not. Who knows? [Please do comment if you do.]

What I can say with certainty is this was how the days around Christmas this year were spent. There was also an abundance of caffeine in my bloodstream. Still is. C’est la vie, as the French day.

I then ended the year with a couple of flicks outside of my usual comforts to reach 100:

ic. 24×36 – A Movie About Movie Posters (2016) 🎥
A reminder to myself why I don’t tend to like documentaries. It started well, engaging me in the first half with the art and history of posters in years prior to my existence. The latter half spoke of the downfall in appreciation of art in that space, then the rise of Mondo Art, which I was still appreciating until it started getting idealistic. Following this it just seemed like a moan-fest, complaining at loss of interest from others & those who just don’t bother respecting the rightful owners of the films. I swiftly lost interest.

c. Psychohydrography (2010) 🌈
An interesting concept, following the water cycle. Alas, for me, I like my films with more flow, this just seemed kinda like a constant running tap, like an extension of an exercise I had done to understand the mechanics of DSLR cameras, what those shutter speeds & aperture options produced. That was an education on photography, many years back, this was extended photography presented as a film, rather than a screensaver.

Another year passed away. A bittersweet ode to ends & new beginnings, for if not given any sense of scale or measurement, how would we quantify progress? Perhaps more on that in coming posts, for now, Happy New Year!


xxxix. Wonder Woman

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Partly due to my lack of presence on the blogosphere, partly having so much on my mind I want to get down for my own benefit, this film has steered me back.

Back Story:
After all the hate that Man of Steel & BvS: Dawn of Justice have had (though not entirely undeserved), DC gave us Suicide Squad, their worst film by all accounts, doing neither justice to the characters or the medium of film for that matter. Stories of how there’s a good film out there, butchered on some table notwithstanding, the trollers and haters were having a field day, as the optimistic sons & daughters of Marthas worldwide hung their heads in shame, now putting all their hopes & dreams on the next pending DC film, conveniently touted as the underdog with few expectations.

Now, all this film had to do, was be average or slightly above it, to feed us some hope that there was a reinvention of the DCEU coming, give the fans at least the chance to say, the best of their films has only just arrived and better things are yet to follow.

It’s been great to see all the positive reviews come in after what seemed like a lacklustre effort by the marketers on this, compared to any of the other DC flicks anyway. I think all said and done, it’s no surprise this was achieved as soon as the media embargo was lifted and a stream of joyous excited reviews flooded the internet.

After the fact, I wonder now if was smart(er) marketing, learning from their previous mistakes of overselling & revealing too much. To date I can’t believe Doomsday (& Wonder Woman for that matter) had made the BvS trailer, it seemed desperate. This time, were they taking a strategic step back knowing the content itself will deliver, and if so, does this also shed light on their knowing that the others didn’t have enough going for them? Guess we’ll never really know unless there are convenient wiki leaks to back this theory. I digress — back to the film.

Front Story:
Having seen it, indeed it is the best of the lot thus far, no doubt about it, but it’s not enough to say that, for achieving that was going to be a relatively easy feat & well, the film was so much more. Now I know I’m supposed to yell it’s all about girl power yay but let’s set that aside, for the moment.

Here’s a superhero origin story that is neither a knee-jerk reaction to a tragedy, nor a fish out of water story of someone realising they could put their superhuman powers to good use*. It’s a story about fulfilling a purpose, the duty for which you exist, despite learning the ugliness of what you’re supposed to protect along the way. The internal conflict is unique & to match it the external conflict is more obviously unique too. This to me says, that on paper the concept already has freshness. Why they’ve held back the making of this is a mystery as good as any.

The film itself is whole bunch of fun, charm of the old, effects of the new, a symbiosis that’s been waiting to happen for a long while. I mean, once you’ve blown up all the planets & galaxies, it’s back to basics right? What else is there?

The Middle Bit
Now over to the girl power aspect of it. On a recent discussion panel, I’d heard a lot being said about the unfairness to women when it comes to roles, acting and otherwise & it is a sad state of affairs, but one comment I took away as the most productive amongst all the anger and outrage speeches, was the one that mentioned finding collaboration with men. Society, for better or worse, is what it is. Together there is a chance of making things better. That is a philosophy I can get on board with.

I don’t want to do any disservice to all the great male writers out there that have written fantastic female characters, but surely it’ll come to females more organically. The more they write, the more we get stronger more authentic female characters for actresses, the more they get, the more perspective we have out there. Many reviews for Wonder-Woman complimented that the camera looked at a woman differently. I agree. It was evident that having a female boss behind the camera will get you that.

For all the freshness that producers seek (or say they seek), it actually makes sense economically too for a film industry overall to expand its creative teams in ways that allow the most diversity.

The summary of that was: We need more women getting out there directing and writing. It’s not easy, no skill is, but we need you.

xxxix – #[imdblive:title] #DC currently has an IMDb rating of [imdblive:rating] with [imdblive:votes] votes.

*Superman deciding to conquer the planet rather than helping them against external threats, would make for an interesting story & who knows, perhaps that’s what Justice League could be about. The theory has been hinted.