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    Current Watching

    Our Cineclub showed 'Taxi Driver' last night.

    What a film that is. All the people present who had seen it before said it struck them differently this time. I think it's one of those 'anthologized' films, that clips get shown from a lot, or gets referenced a lot, but really does bear watching again.

    I reckon I'd seen it properly twice before. The 1st time, the violence and the mohawk get the attention.

    Can't remember exactly what I thought the 2nd time, I guess it struck me as more satirical/knowing than I'd thought as a teen, but last night i loved the sequences where he's cruising the night streets, with the Bernard Herrman trumpets rising in volume, like waves of paranoia.

    I'm a sucker for neon at the best of times, but I really could've watched those sequences with the camera fixed to the cab all night.

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      24 is back this weekend.

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        I'd read Scorsese on Scorsese (and seen a lot of his other films) before I saw Taxi Driver for the first time, so my first impression was more analytical than visceral. Which isn't true of, say, Mean Streets.

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          re Terminator: yeah I'm really liking this series. I wonder if young Warren is now on the evil path rather than the good one... I also, damn it, fancy John now that he has short hair.

          Galactica progress, end of series 2 and I am very annoyed about the very stupid Lee/Dualla story. Ugh. So wrong.

          also I saw Max Payne which is pointless bollocks, and it has that murky grey look which seems so popular nowadays but actually just makes films look cheap and depressing. That Olga Kurlyenko has THE most amazing body ever though.

          and Changeling which is not the sort of thing I usually bother with, worthy BOATS Oscar contending type thing, but it was that or Duchess and I love Angelina and I do not like Keira. It was OK. The story itself is mad and that's what kept me going; otherwise it was like every other earnest period drama about injustice and corruption and victimisation. albeit with a few neat little tricks.

          And there was the trailer for Valkyrie which of course looks like the usual sensationalist WWII guilty fun bobbins, but Tom Cruise's hair and eyepatch are so splendid that they make it worthwhile. And Kenneth Branagh! It cannot go wrong.

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            Oh also - also! Six says, "Judgement Day".

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              The Hills Have Eyes remakes. Ewww. But the thing is the desert scenery is so amazing and it contributes so much; there are moments in these films that almost approach the sublime atmospheric surreal spine tingling fear of Picnic At Hanging Rock. Otherwise of course they're just slasher gore-fests of the guess which daft chick is going to get picked off next and oh look the normal civilised man is driven to the brutality of the creatures he has to fight variety. With a kind of hilarious reference to Aliens in part II.

              And I have started Galactica series 3 and I cannot quite believe my eyes. Fat Lee? I mean wtf have they done? Is that a fat suit? Body double? Is it meant to be a physical representation of moral decline? All I can say is they BETTER NOT have one scene of him doing situps and chinups and then be magically back to the gorgeous muscly buff Lee we know and love.

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                Heh. First time I saw Adama's 'tache, I nearly fell off my chair.

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                  That too! I thought it was Hallowe'en or some kind of alternate universe or something,

                  Body of Lies. Meh. I thought was going to be much better. A bit like a dumbed-down Syriana in its seriousness about middle eastern politics, and it was certainly depressing and quite cynical about CIA incompetence and the general the US is bad mmmkay stuff, but it lacked something, seemed both heavy handed and less authoritative at the same time.

                  Also I hate films where a character is fat and that is his entire character. Like, Crowe is tubby, so his clothes are automatically awful crumpled up ill fitting suits, and also Leo gets to yell at him for being a fat fuck/incompetent like the two are actually related, also there is no scene in which he is not snacking on something. Leo cannot talk about looks, anyway, because he sports a dreadful Johnny Drama moustache, you know, with the middle missing, that slopes down on each side and makes the wearer look both mean and stupid.

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                    Idly popping into 'Cash Converters' on the way home from work the other day nabbed me two boxsets, '2nd one half price':

                    Star Trek: Voyager season 7 (the only one I haven't seen, cos I lived in Madrid when it ran and some of which I was watching on VHS last year when the machine's insides melted)
                    and

                    Homicide: Life on the Street season 1

                    now this was the real prize, as they are infuriatingly expensive on ebay, so I have quickly seen 3 episodes and like it, even if a significant part of the pleasure is seeing aspects of cop life from 'The Wire' tried out earlier, plus recognizing younger actors who turn up in 'The Wire' (Gus! Orlando! The mayor's adviser bloke!...)

                    As for 'Cash Converters'-it's like an episode of Shameless even setting foot in there.

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                      Thought Wallander was reasonably watchable, they certainly got the downbeat feel pretty spot-on. Any other Mankell fans have an opinion?

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                        Eagle Eye was crap but had a couple of interesting ideas. Not enough to justify the stupid plot and dialogue though.

                        I watched the first 15 minutes of Pineapple Express. I was getting angry with it and figured life is too short to watch shit like that. Was I wrong?

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                          Any other Mankell fans have an opinion?
                          Well I watched it all thru, despite having a fairly good memory of the plot. I was on here recently howling in horror at Branagh-as-Wallender, but he was as un-Branaghlike as he could've been. (Helped by the fact he was largely silent..?!)

                          Some of the locations were great-I loved the modernista 1950s copshop. Decent effort, worth watching-not what I thought I'd be saying.

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                            Third Season of My Name is Earl. It's pretty poor so far. They seem to have gotten lazy, and are totally wasting Jason Lee and the best stache on TV.

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                              Homicide: Life on the Street season 1

                              now this was the real prize, as they are infuriatingly expensive on ebay, so I have quickly seen 3 episodes and like it, even if a significant part of the pleasure is seeing aspects of cop life from 'The Wire' tried out earlier, plus recognizing younger actors who turn up in 'The Wire' (Gus! Orlando! The mayor's adviser bloke!...)
                              Now half way through the season...(...D'Angelo!)

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                                So I only have 3 episodes left to go of Galactica series 3. It has been really great. Things I have loved the most: Leoben and his mad stalking of Kara that they have made somehow romantic - I *love* Leoben!; the depressing stuff about collaborators and unions; the mad but brilliant Baltar-is-Jesus Christ stuff; Helo, always, just for existing; Unfinished Business, of course. The most recent one I saw was Maelstrom and I have to admit it made me cry buckets because it was totally relevant to me and I know it's the laws of average or whatever, but it feels kind of profound when that happens.

                                Otherwise I have watched not much except corporate videos for work. Oh and a thing called Hotel Ground Zero, the thrilling story of those guests at the Marriott that survived. Somehow it takes an hour to tell us that people heard explosions and sirens; turned on their TVs; walked out of the hotel and down to the water and got evacuated by boat. Oh and one woman lost her mum in the crowds, but she waited a bit and then they found each other.

                                Oh and also Bromwell High which I think they only ever made 13 episodes of but I find utterly hilarious.

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                                  I forgot, the Resident Evil trilogy. I enjoyed it. Nothing really original about it but it was suitably scary and grim. I like that if you are off zombie hunting you should always wear a vest, hot pants and knee boots.

                                  And Californication series 2 is *great*. 8 eps in and it's really enjoyable. And it says some true stuff about relationships, man. And Leoben is in it! It could not get much better really.

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                                    Lots more shite recently.

                                    The Day The Earth Stood Still - I see there's a thread so I wil go there in a moment.

                                    Burn After Reading - Slight but hugely enjoyable, really a nice treat for when you need to have a proper old fashioned laugh. Good stuff.

                                    Quantum of Solace Well it was OK, etc. I'll check out the thread now. I like that Craig is a bit of a mindless thug as Bond but I think maybe to have *no* gadgets at all and *no* Q or Moneypenny or anything is a tiny shame. I guess a young cute gay male Moneypenny would be too much even for Bond.

                                    Wolf Creek, Cabin Fever, The Cottage Wolf Creek is singularly lovely to watch, for the scenery I mean, but otehrwise eurgh. I have no idea why I will insist on watching serial killer slasher zombie gore fests when i have a problem with nightmares as is, but they're highly addictive. The Cottage was kind of above average, Cabin Fever well below.

                                    And I've only 2 episodes left of Galactica, s4, oh and Razor. I might try to save them for next week, a little Christmas treat.

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                                      Cabin Fever is just weak, isn't it? I couldn't understand how it had achieved any success at all.

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                                        Lyra wrote:
                                        Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Well I still love Woody Allen and I don't think I could fail to enjoy one of his. The plot, about whether it's possible to love and be in love and it to be reciprocal and romantic (answer: duh, no, of course not) is beside the point really. It's all very lovely and nice. Oviedo looks lovely too.
                                        The voiceover annoyed the hell out of me. It was used more sparingly a third of the way in and it improved a little after that. Both Barcelona and Oviedo looked gorgeous but I found the arty stuff very cliched and the relationship between Cruz and Bardem was laughably portrayed. I was quite taken by the Vicky character though. There's enough good stuff in it to make it watchable.

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                                          The Strangers. Why do I keep doing this to myself? I'm alone for a week in an old creaky house in the middle of the countryside. So I watch a film about psychotic Manson familyesque nutjobs breaking in to an old house in the middle of nowhere and psychologically terrifying Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman. It was really fucking scary, and not too Funny Games, which I was worried it would be. Ultimately a bit empty, just a slicker than usual stalk and slash chiller. But I do love Liv Tyler and her magical face.

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                                            I saw The Spirit. It was SHIT. it was really really awful. Do not go.

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                                              I've tried to find out what Kenneth Anger's all about, this week. Not much, as far as I can tell.

                                              Fair play for being the first to use pop music properly as an integral soundtrack (or so Martin Scorcese says) but there's not really much going on in his stuff, is there? Shame, cause he seems very intelligent and likeable guy in the interviews I've watched.

                                              Lucifer Rising has one or two nice images, and a whole lot of meandering guff. Poor old Marianne Faithfull really didn't look well back then, when she was an NHS-registered addict - sad to see. Scorpio Rising and Kustom Kar Kommandos have vague historical interest for fetishising early-ish street-level pop culture, I guess, but that's about the best you could say about them.

                                              I guess the main problem is, Satanism's inherently adolescent and impossible to take seriously. Anger took it seriously.

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                                                Just finished watching the whole of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Not a patch on West Wing, but still pretty good.

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                                                  I saw True Blood, ok but nothing special.

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                                                    I've tried to find out what Kenneth Anger's all about, this week. Not much, as far as I can tell.

                                                    Probably not, at least nowadays. At the time though his stuff offered tantalising glimpses of the possible and unexplored. The blatant homoeroticism of Fireworks (and the more inferential Scorpio Rising), the He's a Rebel soundtrack to Christ entering Jerusalem in the latter. The plotless, textured decadance of Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome. Most of us had seen nothing like it at the time, it was very exciting and a bit scary. I can see why it hasn't aged well though.

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