I attended this screening at the Friends Meeting House in Brighton last night, as part of a series of screenings hosted by OpenColour. They obviously care deeply about film, and deserve any serious filmgoers support and attention. It was an honour to attend and I feel lucky to have been there. Information can be found here: http://www.opencolour.co.uk.
Jordan Peele’s latest horror film, Us, is a delirious and visually captivating experience that, before anything else, is about images and movement. Over the course of its perfectly paced two hours, Peele strips away extraneous details of his film until it culminates in a near-symphony of exquisite framing and unfettered physicality. It proceeds organically from the bare bones of the horror genre, and along with cinematographer Mike Gioulakis (who also worked on It Follows), Peele has created a film that works as a postmodern-ish riff on horror techniques, as well as a fine example of the genre on its own.
Like a lot of people, I love Arrested Development. It’s the ultimate show for neurotics, taking the format that Seinfeld pioneered (awful people doing awful things while the programme itself maintains a deceptively breezy tone) and doubling down on the obscure, the minutiae, the bizarre. Jokes were set up, riffed on, and a couple of season’s later twisted inside out; there is no such thing as an idle minute in Arrested Development, where everything will be called back to, or is setting up some obscure payoff however far in the future. It is the hardest show to explain the appeal of to someone who hasn’t seen it. It’s just… Funny. Not because of this joke, or that joke, but simply because the whole show operates as a joke.
I spend a lot of this review essentially disparaging the director of this film, who has embarked on a career largely focused on perpetuating his own cult of personality. I admire that. I also admire how utterly mysterious this guy is. To remain mysterious after literally jobbing yourself, after putting your phone number on the header of your website, takes some doing. You can read about this cult of personality here. You can look on his website here. Whether his persona is some kind of knowing ironic send-up of the jobbing actor is not for me to say, because I don’t know. If this is, indeed, a stunt, then I will say that this Woodruff guy has got Tim and Eric, and Eric Andre, utterly beat. But as I say, I don’t know. You have to take these things at face value; and I’m sure after reading what I had to write, you’ll understand what face value means.
Every now and again, a film comes along that redraws the map a little on what you thought cinema was capable of. This can be good (A Bout De Souffle), or it can be bad (the August Underground Trilogy). Films that open your eyes to new pathways in the medium are, necessarily, few and far between, but they are always miniature landmarks in the lifetime of the committed viewer. Roger Ebert spoke of the top-shelf of the mind, a place where films stay and leave a lasting impact, where other, lesser films simply come and go.
Look at The Man. Behold Him. The Man is Anguished- can you tell? He is so anguished, the Anguished Man. He holds his head, barely able to contain the affliction of his mighty intellect, for his is the Brain; The Biggest Brain. He speaks and you listen (we must all listen to Anguished Brain Big Man). You note the words coming out of his mouth. You register that he is speaking. It is very scary, what he is speaking like. His voice is scare, so we, too, must be scare. Then, perhaps, later, you listen to what he is actually saying, the content of his speech, its meaning. You dig through the noise vibration gently pummelling your eardrum, emanating from Big Man Brain. You hear- is it?- yes! Yes. It is. It is phone. Phone bad! he says. Phone is the big bad.
(In this article, I reference a genre of films synonymously associated with the term “Hallmark”. This also covers Lifetime movies, and general made-for-TV movies. You know exactly what I mean, even if the precise label may not fit. In this instance, I’m referring to all the movies currently airing in the UK on Christmas24. If Barthes wrote that some things are signified, and that some things are a signifier, then you know exactly what is being signified by the signifier Hallmark.)
John Grant has always been a musician good with contradictions. On “Love is Magic”, he pushes this theme to its extremes and seems to come to terms with his own holism. This is his most explicit album, in that it combines so many of the opposing features of his much and works them into a, sometimes disjointed, but nevertheless fully convincing whole for the first time in his career. This is the most evident on Metamorphosis, the albums’ opener, and one of the best tracks of the year. The song lays this dichotomy bare, beginning with a crunchy 8-Bit stomp and listing disparate things on Grant’s mind in his trademark caustic, childlike manner. The first third of the song culminates in the following stretch of lyrics, which gives you a fair sense of Grant’s new depths of ridiculousness.
Disappointing scenes from the Krautrock legacy today, as three-piece Caudal churn out an tepid, emotionless set of repetitive psych-ish jams. We seem to be undergoing a renaissance of repetitious space-rock, and this is one of the most squandering efforts I’ve heard come out of the milieu.
IN WHICH THE WRITER OF A BLOG THAT IS ENTITLED “AN ALBUM A DAY” HAS NOT LISTENED TO AN ALBUM TODAY AND INSTEAD IS WRITING ABOUT A FILM HE SAW, THUS FAILING IN HIS STATED AIM OF WRITING ABOUT ONE ALBUM, A DAY. HE DOESN’T EVEN BOTHER TO TRY TO LINK IT TO MUSIC UNTIL THE VERY END, THE LAZY GET
I am not a difficult man to please, on the whole. But once, when I and my friends were looking around for houses to inhabit, we found that none were quite right. There’d be a promise of cheap rent, or a nice location, or a good space to cost ratio, but something would just be off. We eventually settled on the least “off” house of the bunch, but I remember that period as being one of pure indecision, as none of the houses we looked at, despite initially appearing to be okay, fit the bill.