Tuesday 17 January 2023

Nothing is broken, things are supposed to be this way

GLASS ONION?  More like uhhh ASS BUNYON amiright?

I'm probably not, as quantifying Rian Johnson's second murder mystery has thus far been a task that has defeated such towering intellects as Ben Shapiro and Critical Drinker, and if a cogent analysis escapes such objective and learned media critics, I surely have no chance of offering anything insightful about Johnson's lighthearted critique of meritocracy and great man theory that might be of interest to any passing readers.  Nonetheless, to anyone who cares about such things, I can offer that I very much enjoyed it, even though I didn't really think much of Johnson's Last Jedi, which I only mention because the vast majority of overly-harsh critiques of Glass Onion that I've come across seem to have a problem with getting to the end of the review without drawing your attention to the fact that that Last Jedi was not to their taste.  Millenials probably refer to this as "Long Butthurt", but I'm buggered if I can be bothered looking up what the avocado toast-eating bastards are actually saying, because my attention span is already a disaster without getting addicted to Chinese spyware apps while trying to look up what "fleek" means.  Yes, references to avacado toast and then fleek - Dear God I'm old.

There are some interesting takes on Glass Onion, particularly Pillar Of Garbage's examination of it through the lens of Disruption Theory not just as a central theme of the film but of Johnson's work to date, though philistine and simpleton that I am, I just liked it as a riff on the kind of cosy afternoon murder mystery television shows such as Psych and Monk, with the preceding film - Knives Out - reminding me of Columbo, while Glass Onion has the distinctly playful whiff of Diagnosis: Murder about it.

Wednesday 11 January 2023

I'm gonna be forty soon, Prescilla - Forty, and nobody's gonna remember me. I never did anything lasting.

In BEAST (2022), Idris Elba and his kids get mugged while visiting The Old Country, and I can't decide if this tale about Africa being a dangerous place for black people even without whitey coming around to ruin things like we do (and we do this at least once during the course of the film) has an inherently chauvinistic central conceit or not, as obviously only a white male is qualified to make that judgement.  No I am not attempting to set up a self-aware joke about how white people can only view media products featuring black people through the lens of race, I really am this shallow and stupid - there's literally hundreds of posts below (and soon, above) this one that prove what a terrible media critic I am, but if anything you're the problem for reading this far and encouraging me to keep going.

Thematically, Beast is an exploration of how black men are conditioned to isolate themselves from their heritage in order to become successful within Western patriarchy, and how the false sense of masculine identity that comes from this ultimately alienates them from emotional connection with their wives and daughters.  I mean, it's probably about that, but I just liked the bits where stuff blew up and that part near the end where Dris turns back to face a lion that's been hunting him just like the action hero he often plays elsewhere and gets completely mauled in a scene that goes on too long to not be funny.  It feels like a remake of that 90s movie The Ghost And The Darkness but with some clumsy modernisations including the usual "teens and dads not getting along" character arcs that never really go anywhere and make me wonder the point was beyond the obvious: that everything has to have a teenage girl in it now because modern writers think this is a shortcut to attracting a younger and/or female audience to things that might not usually attract such a demographic, like a movie about a middle aged man returning to his recently-deceased wife's rural hometown and encountering adversity when he runs afoul of the perils of the local environment.  It was actually while watching the Walker: Texas Ranger reboot - simply titled "Walker", because modern audiences might not stick around for the whole title if it has too many syllables in it - that it first occurred to me that every show on the CW is essentially the same thing regardless of what the originating premise or hook of the show might actually be, and always ends up being about the sex life of a teenage girl played by a twentysomething actress, even if the originating premise of the show was "six time world karate champion kicks latino men in the head for 42 minutes, also sings the theme tune" or "African-American vigilante rejects violence in favor of teaching children how to survive the systemic racism and unjust hierarchies which bring injustices into their lives more than the actions of individual criminals do".  No matter where these shows start off, by the time the credits roll we've had to sit through the dull lovelife dramas of the supposed lead of the show's boring-ass kids instead of watching him punch a bear or something.  This ill-considered and misplaced rant about the CW's output is really making this paragraph drag out.

I guess Beast was okay, but I wouldn't specifically seek it out or anything.  It kept me from looking at social media apps on my phone and wondering how long I have left, so it's not like it was a total waste of 90 minutes.

Saturday 7 January 2023

Tim Burton, you've done it again

Midway, a 2019 "independent" movie that cost 100 million dollars, is about how foreigners doing terror bombing is bad, but doing terror bombing ON foreigners is retribution justified not just in retaliation for wrongs perpetuated upon history's main characters - The Whites - but also in atonement for not recognising the dangers of leaving the foreign devil to his own devices.

In Midway, much is made of America's need to strike back, but little is seen of why it hadn't joined a war that was two years old already, as - SPOILERS FOR WW2: Americans were going to sit the war out if they could, much like Britain had tried to do already and, well, no-one ever accused America of learning a lesson easily, any more than anyone has ever accused America of opposing rather than gleefully embracing authoritarianism.

It kind of sucks coming to a movie like this in my twilight years, the joys of a thousand potential futures shaped by the boundless dreams of youth finally drained from my increasingly-frail and failing body to be replaced with the bitter cynicism of lived experience, as I like to think* that if I'd seen this when I was a perpetually-drunken and uneducated dipshit cruising through a life without consequences, I would have at least enjoyed the way director Roland "Stargate is my most historically accurate work" Emmerich made a new spin on what is now known as the Death Star Trench Run by simply portraying dive bombing with historical and technical accuracy, the practically-suicidal technique of slowing a plane to within a hair's width of its stalling speed before flying it towards enemy guns and/or diving from above the effective range of flak straight into a barrage of exploding death and hoping you didn't run into one of the billions of white-hot fragments of shrapnel flying around at supersonic speeds is - it turns out - quite an exciting affair to watch unfold, and Emmerich does it well on multiple occasions, only slightly let down by the film's coloring, which too often makes the difference between physical objects and CGI a bit too obvious.

I am as surprised as anyone else to find myself not hating this, thus sparing my already-overtaxed liver the trouble of making more bile to poison me and expedite my journey towards the cold embrace of the grave.  Roland Emmerich has failed to hasten the day of my death, and it's not often I can say that about a film.

* possibly "like" is too strong a word, inferring as it does the possibility that I might still be capable of even a molecule of happiness.