Do You See

30
Jan 04

MINE MINE ALL MINE

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MINE MINE ALL MINE – that’s OK Pete, you can buy me a beer tonight. Do You See readers, please take notes on Sex and the City for me in case I end up drinking the old b33r and missing it eh? Happy weekend all.

I’m off for a week

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I’m off for a week so I am leaving Do You See? in the ever reliable hands of Starry Sarah C (someone should probably tell her this, er…), who has being doing the lion share of this weeks seeing anyhoo. When I return we will see the grand debut of the Freaky Trigger 100 Greatest Films Ever 2003.

Go Ape Crazy!

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Go Ape Crazy! – a Freaky Trigger article by Anthony Easton exploring the idea ape in myth, film and pop culture. Hopefully FT will be putting up one or two new articles a week from now on, ideally on a Friday so I can go to the pub feeling vaguely satisfied.

Rewatching

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Rewatching The Return of the King with Dr Vick, we both found ourselves wincing and hiding our eyes plenty of times during the Battle of the Pellenor Fields. OK, so self-appointed hardnut intellectuals = mimpy underneath the pose shock horror newsflash, but still, I can generally watch battlescenes and film violence without flinching (it’s boo-monster suspense I find hard). What’s so different here? I mean, given that:
i. I know the story already, and how it turns out,
ii. These are CGI rocks landing on CGI orcs, CGI oliphaunts stomping CGI Rohirrim,
iii. This whole section – like the entire trilogy as filmed by P.Jackson – is chock-a-block with references to other films and/or classic paintings, most massively obviously The Empire Strikes Back, where Luke and the other little flying crafts lassoo and bring down the giant marching elephant-like war vehicles.

But actually i. and iii are the reason ii. doesn’t counteract our emotional connection: knowing the story in fact locks you more deeply into it, it can intensify rather than blas’-ifying (mileage will vary). And I think the very jokiness of the references can intensify, also: on one hand, Star Wars as something to be bearing in mind seems ridiculous bathos – except on the other, this version puts back in all the stuff you realise you allowed to be airbrushed over, that it’s a fairly horrible battle, a story of violent and horrible mass death. So your knowing chuckle turns itself inside out.

(Speaking of sense of ridiculousness as a device for making something stronger, well, I love Simon R, and think he is a good thing and a great man etc, but isn’t what he’s arguing here one of the goofier rock-critical positions you’ve encountered? If the argument is “It’s funny => It’s not serious => It’s not meant”, it breaks down at BOTH of the “=>”s. Also I think a clue to Queen’s sense of themselves from the off can be discovered by, um, reading the name they gave themselves, maybe?)

29
Jan 04

Footballers Wive$ back on your ITV screens Wednesday 11 February

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Footballers Wive$ back on your ITV screens Wednesday 11 February. Can’t wait? Then try Footballers Wive$ fan fiction! (So I don’t have to).

28
Jan 04

I Love Horses, They’re My Friends

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I Love Horses, They’re My Friends. Advert breaks have been spiced up since Christmas by the wonderous publishing house known as Deagostini, the mafia front* magazine publishers who publish magazines in series of one squillion issues, each with a special** free gift. A recent favourite in Peckham Palais has been “I Love Horses and Horse-Riding” magazine, which features a lovely yet slightly desperate song lyric – as seen above. Makes me relieved I bypassed horse riding girls stories in favour of Just William. How I wished it was THE WAR so I could collect SCRAP but perhaps that’s a topic more for the Brown Wedge eh?

What? Sounds a great song don’t you think? IF ONLY a jaunty remix was available on the interweb for all us horse lovers! Hopefully in mp3 format? Cor… because you’ve been good this year, go on. Yet again Do You See points you in the right direction – (DIRECT LINK TO MP3 boys and girls so ‘ware). He has other songs too, but I suggest you spend a bit of time admiring the cute robot. Awww. Robots. Nice one Mystery Bob.

I love robots.
They’re my friends.

*okok ALLEGEDLY.
**special alright, yeah yeah. aaaah. no not aaaah. aaaaaah.

Film titles which promise much but do not deliver.

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Film titles which promise much but do not deliver. There is no point in Runaway Jury where the twelve just and true ones decide they have had enough of this tedious trial mularkey and scarper from the box. Nowhere dow we see them being persued by the judge in his flappy robes, the prosecution and defence desperately trying to make their points to indict the evil gun trade. The idea of them riding the range in a old stagecoach as the stenographer desperately chases them down on a tempestuous stallion is so unlike the film that even thinking of it makes me want to pen a seperate movie.

Instead it is a bog standard courtroom drama, asking deep probing questions about the nature of justice in the US. It does not answer these questions, rather it is happy to fall back on the Gene Hackman playing a cynical old villain ruse. But it has got John Cusack in it and people of my generation can watch John Cusack in almost anything, especially here which could have also been called Ferris Bueller On A Jury. Thoughly watchable, thoroughly disposable, it comes to something when the only defining character trait Dustin Hoffman has is that he occasionally likes to spill food on himself to get the jury on his side. Oh and Rachel Weisz does yet another lousy US accent. You go girl.

27
Jan 04

A Weekend Out

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A Weekend Out

Tokyo Story

The 50s Tokyo = 30s America theme extends to the pastoral music, all strings and harps. I hadn’t thought about the harp as such a classic “domestic bliss” signifier, but that it is.

Lost in Translation

Bill Murray’s character seems resigned to the fact that he’s in his version of hell, but it’s his choice that put him in a position where he’s surrounded by people who have no interest in his interest. Scarlett Johansson is there through not making choices.

American Splendor

A straightforward indie romance, disguised as a biopic. Paul Giamatti sets up a character within five minutes of scowling and slouching, and spends the rest of the time shading the details in. Repeat for the other characters. If you still respect misery, this is a film you will love.

Paycheck

On Paycheck

A Mighty Wind

People talking up Eugene Levy’s eye-popping twitchy role in this amaze me, but Catherine O’Hara will break your heart, and the rest of the film is either funny or touching.

Peter Pan

Maybe not an innovative movie, but an absolutely pitch-perfect one. The shot near the start where the aunt’s comforting hand on Wendy’s shoulder looks like the aged claw of death is worth the price of admission, and the rest of the film lives up to it.

Big Fish

The attitude towards our hero’s romantic rival reveals a very un-Burton lack of imagination, one that fills the movie with lukewarm water, and lets it set out two morals at once: Stories make life interesting, AND Life is pretty interesting. Neither of them are evident in the movie.

Cold Mountain

Giovanni Ribisi and Jack White look like they might have actually paid money to play southern hicks during the Civil War. But eventually the run of wacky guest stars falters, and we have to get back to the unconvincing love.

Love Actually

A triumph of craft over art, but God what a triumph. The dialogue is sharp (and pleasantly sweary), the acting consistently great, and the bits where the knife goes in are the more keenly felt because of the goodwill all around. By the time the ending shots start hammering your buttons like International Track and Field, you might well not mind at all.

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Shout out to our foreign reader(s)! Is that Korean? ON WITH THE SHOW!!

I love Judge John Deed. Don’t you know what it is? It’s a courtoom CRIME DRAMA on the BBC. That, along with the repeats of Room 101 with Jonny Vegas are worth the license fee alone. Each week there is a very serious court case which always features an appearance from a well-qualified, well-meaning but eccentric old loon. Last night we had an Oxford Don with amazing eyebrows. The week before we had a Kevin Eldon style undertaker. B-b-but we ALL KNOW how court cases go, we watch the 10 o clock news don’t we? Or Channel 5 news? Let’s get to the REAL STORIES.

The real stories of course feature Judge John Deed’s relationships with various LADY QCs. Cherie? Laugh? I nearly bought the book. But no dear readers, Judge John Deed is also In Therapy. He has commitment problems. He’s a little overfond of the ladies. The QC’s aren’t having it anymore! One emminent QC is his ex-wife, another one is his ex-lover and I believe he’s also started making love (Judge John Deed does not merely have a BONK) with the blooming therapist. Dawsons Creek for growed ups? I THINK I MAY HAVE HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD!!

There’s a classic bit in each show where his secretary helps Judge John Deed on with his big old Judgey cape. And his courtroom demeanour! I’d rather have courtroom demeanour than “bedside manners” ANYDAY. And you just KNOW that’s a glass of THE STUFF he’s got on his desk, not water. Isn’t he dashing for an oldie? Help, I’m getting a bit too carried away. I can’t believe the programme can last for AN HOUR AND A HALF and you don’t even notice the time slipping away like so many grains of sand through an upturned palm. I am tempted to go and study law at Oxford so that one day perhaps Judge John Deed would take me out for dinner.

Well done The Beeb!

Timeline is a thoroughly entertaining lousy movie.

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Timeline is a thoroughly entertaining lousy movie. (okay, lousy movie Monday has finished, but there are just too many lousy films in this world to just fit in one day). Hacked back to life one imagines in an edit suite by someone who has no interest (thank god) in being faithful to the Michael Crichton book, just trying to find some semblance of sense in the piece. Thus portentous subplots go by the wayside, life changing romance seems a touch rushed and we get in and out of the fourteenth century in under two hours. Pointless technobabble and a thinly disguised Bill Gates as villain are just a few more tidbits to enjoy. Less enjoyable is spending ages to get to the middle ages, suggesting that it might explain its oddly convenient time travel and then chickening out.

Nevertheless, of all the films I saw last year it might have left me with my favourite piece of lousy invention. In the final battle for the French castle when Anna (Vit Vit) Friel’s Lady Claire is shacked up, the archers get busy. Popping flaming arrow after flaming arrow over the walls to the encroaching English. Then as the battle takes a turn for the worse the call goes out: ‘NIGHT ARROWS!’. Not actually a whole new stealth technology device, they appear to be your bog standard arrow cunningly not set alight. Something important might have happened in the next five minutes, but we were too busy laughing.