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What are you watching? 2019 edition

#1043

Hospital (on BBC2 just now) is in the paediatric ICU in Nottingham where I was a senior registrar (almost 10 years ago now!) … it’s one of those weird things where every bed space they show has memories of a procession of kids.

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#1044

I went to an excellent lecture and Q&A on 200 Years of Frankenstein tonight, from Christopher Frayling at The British Library. Informative and funny!

Like Dracula, the novel’s longevity owes lot to the theatrical adaptions that introduced the ideas (and especially the name) to a wider audience, helped get the book reprinted and laid the groundwork for cinematic versions, when the technology came along.

It’s the presence of something in the text that translates to other media which (IMO) enables some stories and characters to transcend their original era. If Frankenstein hadn’t made for a successful (albeit loose) adaptions on stage and screen then it would be a footnote in academic essays by now, like ‘The Castle of Otranto’ and ‘The Monk’.

EDIT:
Frayling is a very good speaker, and he knows his subject in great depth… but only if it originates from a book.

I was surprised that, when he was asked about the connection (or not) between Frankenstein and zombie movies, he drew a blank. His knowledge of the zombie (sub)genre was almost non-extistent.

He does like the original version of ‘Dawn of the Dead’ though. He completely got the satirical side of it.

Anything else with zombies though, and he’s not your man.

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#1045

Has anyone seen Ghost Stories yet? I just saw it and wondered if anyone had any of their own interpretations about it. I’m starting to get my own ideas and piece parts together but still certain aspects I haven’t quite got yet.

I really enjoyed it though, very spooky.

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#1046

I love her personification of the lowest common denominator of cultural awareness which is, perhaps, not too far removed from the truth for many.

It is as great a vehicle for challenging middle-brow mythology as it is for poking fun at the bottom feeders.

An example of the latter was the “Where did the Romans come from in Britain?” question. The answer from the academic being “The Romans didn’t come from anywhere in Britain, they came from Rome, which is in Italy.”

However I wish it had been brave enough to also ask the academic “Why did the English get along with the Romans then, when the other bits of Britain didn’t?”. To which the answer would have been “There were no English in Britain during the Roman occupation.” But I suspect that may have been a myth-shattering too far for the middle-brow brigade.

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#1047

Mute
I finally got around to checking this out on Netflix, and good god was it bad. Like, shockingly so. Way too many plots for the simple story being told, lazy world building that relied too much on looking cool rather than doing anything with it, and misguided attempts to make reprehensible characters likable.

Eagle vs Shark
Watched this last night and while it’s nowhere near the heights of What We Do in the Shadows or Thor: Ragnarok, I enjoyed it. Loren Horsely was an engaging lead and Jemaine Clement played the obnoxiously arrogant nerd hilariously.

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#1048

Charlie Brooker had (has) a UK TV series called ‘Weekly Wipe’, Limmy appeared as a ‘resident inquisitive human’ a kind of male equivalent of the Philomena Cunk character. But he stopped doing it - his decision allegedly.

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#1049

Speaking of Richard Herring’s podcast, this week is Brian Blessed! Can’t wait.

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#1050

Not one for headphones, I suspect.

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#1051

You can just leave them in the position where they dangle over your shoulders.

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#1053

I always thought of Barry Shitpeas as the male Cunk.

Talking of which, Cunk On Britain was great fun again last night. Rarely, the funniest line delivery might have come from one of the interviewees this time (during the discussion on the British Empire and Star Wars).

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#1056
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#1057

I wonder if Shitpeas had a less sweary he’d have got his own series? He was around for a good while before they introduced Cunk. (The fact he’s played by a producer rather than an actor probably would have been an issue).

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#1063

You know, I really love how bonkers Riverdale is, especially after tonight’s episode.

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#1064

I’ve been watching more of GI Joe and it really is a bonkers show. It’s interesting because Transformers asks you in its premise to believe that there are giant alien robots on Earth but doesn’t push much beyond that in terms of believability subsequently (maybe the pseudo-Atlantis and the island with dinosaurs).
GI Joe though is a show about a special US military team taking on a terrorist organisation and yet goes on to do stories with alternate realities, psychics, the moon being completely defaced, Storm Shadow finding Excalibur, a Lovecraftian monster living deep in a Scottish castle, a scientist recreating dinosaurs and the gods of ancient Egypt turning out to be real.

I’ve just got season 2 on DVD and I’m really keen to watch the opening mini series Arise, Serpentor Arise. My only experience of the GI Joe cartoon as a kid was with these mini series (which were strung into TV movies and aired on Sky Movies Gold of all places) and the Serpentor one was the only one I managed to keep a recording of long term. I used to watch it almost as much as Transformers: The Movie, but the beginning was missing and it was the retitled and partially dubbed Action Force version (which was really ham-fistedly done), so it’ll be nice to see the complete, proper version finally.

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#1070

Anyway, in terms of “what are you watching” these are my top films so far this year:

  1. Annihilation
  2. You Were Never Really Here
  3. Black Panther
  4. Paddington 2
  5. Mary and the Witch’s Flower
  6. Double Lover
  7. The Ritual
  8. A Quiet Place
  9. Have a Nice Day
  10. Isle of Dogs

Pretty good year so far!

I would also say Annihilation and You Were Never Really Here are instant classics, for me anyway.

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#1071

Mine:

  1. Annihilation
  2. Black Panther
  3. You Were Never Really Here
  4. A Quiet Place
  5. Game Night
  6. Blockers
  7. Isle of Dogs
  8. Thoroughbreds
  9. Unsane
  10. Red Sparrow
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#1072

Watched Red Sparrow and it was a bit tough to get through. The plots pretty generic and predictable and the characters are all paper thin.

My main issue is that Jennifer Lawrence goes from being a ballerina, to suddenly being able to play trained Russian and American spy agencies against each other. But the movie skips over anything that would explain how she does this. Instead it focusses just on the sexual aspect of her training. Maybe I’m being to harsh on it, but the whole thing just feels like an excuse to perv on Jennifer Lawrence.

Which I’m not saying I’m above. But it would be good to have a decent story and characters in there too.

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#1073

Not even a semi-nude Jennifer Lawrence could save this movie.

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#1074

That should definitely be a quote on the Deadpool 2 poster :joy:

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#1075

That whole middle part is hidden in a book!

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