Looper is a flawed film in ways that neither Brick nor The Brothers Bloom were. This is not to say that it’s a bad film; it’s not at all. But after two films that were notable in part for their impressively taut discipline the fundamental sloppiness of Looper stands out. There’s not a lot that follows from this - everybody who’s made more than one film has a worst film, after all, and most directors have one that’s far worse than this. There’s still a number of things it does well, and well in ways that confirm where Johnson’s talents lie. There’s just also whacking big problems, most of which have a reasonably obvious source.
The biggest and most fundamental problem is that the join between two halves of a script completed at very different times. The first hour - basically everything up through the diner scene - was written in 2008 during the shooting of The Brothers Bloom. The second half, starting with Sara’s introduction, came in 2009. And it shows. The first half is a well constructed film about a man in gripping contact with his older self. The second half, on the other hand, is a well constructed film about ...
Those who listened to our Doctor Who podcast series will have noticed that I had new theme music this year. Some also noticed that I never actually said what it was. My stock answer was that it was a secret transmission from the future.
The future is here.
Seeming's new album, Sol, is out on August 4th. You can pre-order it here. It's absolutely incredible, and like nothing else you've ever heard. I'll be talking more about it and how it's the secret soundtrack to Neoreaction a Basilisk closer to when it's out, but for now let's all just enthusiastically watch that video again and again.
(Oh, and if you don't know Sammus, the guest vocalist on "Stranger," she's absolutely phenomenal as well and you should check her music out. Her new one, Pieces in Space, is brilliant, but her older more nerdcore stuff is solid as well.)
OK. First off, announcements. The Patreon very did not hit $320, so no Game of Thrones reviews. It's currently at $295; if it gets back to $300, I'll do a season wrap-up post. You can contribute here.
This week's post will be on Tuesday, as there's a small but very fun thing to announce tomorrow. I'm going with the teaser "the future arrives" for that one.
Which brings us to the news of the day, which is that Jodie Whittaker is the Doctor and the Chibnall era might be worth getting excited for after all. Discuss amongst yourselves in comments. I'll be moderating the fuck out of sexist trolls, including deleting all replies to them. So go ahead and enjoy a comment section free of that shit.
Also, here's a recent edition of Watching Robocop with Kit Power, in which I join Kit and Daniel to watch and talk about... um, Superman III.
At first glance, there are relatively few similarities between Brick and The Brothers Bloom. Brick is a self-consciously dour noir film about ruined masculinity. The Brothers Bloom is an ostentatiously colorful heist film about the power of stories. There seems very little that one can conclude about things like Rian Johnson’s style based on them. This is, of course, pretty much all a director can hope for after their second film. Make two similar films or, worse, more or less the same film twice and you’re pigeonholed. Make a surprisingly dark high school noir and then turn around and make a quasi-Wes Anderson heist film, on the other hand, and you’re well on your way towards seriousness.
Brick was a good film. The Brothers Bloom, on the other hand, is a great one - one I instantly fell in love with when it finally came through Gainesville on its meandering limited release tour. Looking back at it, I realize it must have been a small and quiet influence on TARDIS Eruditorum, with “there’s no such thing as an unwritten life, only a badly written one” getting to the point a solid year before “we’re all stories in the end; just make ...
It's the sort of week where the Waffling's a day late, basically. The extra work of Doctor Who S10 has me typically behind on everything, and I'm scrambling to get back going on things. (I'm working on long-term fixes for my workload, but they're necessarily long term.) Anyway, in light of the fact that I'm awful and behind on everything I can't really complain too loudly that we're $17 a week shy of me doing Game of Thrones reviews, but I figure I should be clear that those look like they're not happening and like I'll get to actually watch the show with Jill consistently.
But I did want to mention some other Patreons. For instance, Sam Keeper's Patreon, from which you can get her fabulous new book on Star Wars. Or Jack Graham's, which is $14 away from dragging him kicking and screaming back to watching Doctor Who. If you don't decide to throw money at the likely doomed Game of Thrones goal, well, those are great places to throw it instead. (Of course, you could also just fund all of us. But I know ...
At long last, here is Part 1 of an extra-special Shabcast, in which I am joined by the brilliant Sam Keeper, of Storming the Ivory Tower, to chat about Star Wars, with particular emphasis on Rogue One.
Very pleased with this one. There were some technical difficulties with it, but I've hammered it into eminently listenable shape.
Part 2 next week.
Here are Sam's articles on Rogue One:
and here is her announcement of the upcoming (expanded and revised) collection of these essays (plus bonus content).