Saturday Waffling (June 29th, 2013)
Jill and I just got back from Man of Steel, which we both enjoyed, making us seemingly the only people to have done so. That said, there was dinner, and there may have been some wine with dinner, and I may or may not be seeing more Blogger windows right now than is entirely appropriate for the number I have open on my screen. So let’s keep this brief.
I’ll probably write up some detailed thoughts on Man of Steel this weekend, and if it comes out at all well run it on Tuesday. In the meantime, what movies and television over the next few months are you looking forward to? Or art in general. Yes. Let’s go with that this week. What coming attractions in the world of art excite you, and why are you so eager for them?
June 28, 2013 @ 11:22 pm
I'm excited to see Much Ado about Nothing because, you know, Joss.
Though oddly enough I still can't manage to get into Buffy.
June 28, 2013 @ 11:27 pm
I want to see Much Ado as well but I doubt it'll come to Auburn, so I may have to wait for the dvd. Elysium looks promising.
June 28, 2013 @ 11:44 pm
About the only thing I can think of is more My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic…
June 28, 2013 @ 11:59 pm
My neighbour didn't like Man of Steel, but he thought the generally panned John Carter of Mars was great.
Taste is funny like that. I was thinking about it during yesterday's discussion while trying to work out why I like the cybermen despite agreeing with all the observations that made me think, "I really shouldn't like them." There are hooks embedded in us by our experiences that will catch no matter what our rational minds think.
Of course, our experiences also affect the relative weight we give to different aspects of a production. I'm happier with that, because I can recognise that I enjoyed Titanic despite the ludicrous plot and paper-thin characterisation because I was in the mood for a bit of thrill and spectacle.
It's a long time since I've been to a movie (health is a barrier there). If I did go, I'd probably want to see something that benefits from the large screen.
Something unrelated to art that I'm looking forward to, though it's been postponed a couple of weeks, is introducing non-Euclidean geometry to a group of 11-year-olds. Now that SATs are over, we are doing a number of "reward" lessons just for fun, and I like to give them things they probably won't get the chance to play with in secondary school.
June 29, 2013 @ 12:10 am
I'm excited that Manchester International Festival is kicking-off here in Manchester this week, and the city is going to be full of amazing performances and artworks. MIF is a festival that consists entirely of brand-new, specially commissioned work, stuff that's unlikely, often bizarre, but always fascinating. I'm particularly looking forward to seeing Adam Curtis vs Massive Attack, a collaboration between the BBC film-maker (The Power of Nightmares/The Trap/All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace) and the Bristol trip-hop band. MIF has worked with Curtis before, and the interactive theatre experience he produced for them in 2009, It Felt Like A Kiss, was probably the most extraordinary thing I've ever seem in my life. If the Massive Attack show is even 10% as good, it'll still be one of my highlights of he year.
June 29, 2013 @ 12:11 am
Well I guess this counts as art, so I'm looking forward to the new Whitesnake studio album. Though I have a sneaking suspicion I will be disappointed because no matter how hard I try, I can't stop my expectations from continuing to climb, and I know from experience that when your expectations are high, nothing can ever live up to them.
Bit like Doctor Who then…
June 29, 2013 @ 12:15 am
Looking forward to Much Ado, possibly this or next weekend.
Otherwise… eh, not much on the horizon, really. I guess I'm looking forward to seeing my book cover design next month, that's technically art I suppose.
June 29, 2013 @ 12:44 am
We enjoyed Man of Steel, but by this stage we've had so many versions of Superman (just in the past few years we've had the Christopher Reeve films, Lois and Clarke, Smallville, Superman Returns and now Man of Steel) that each one is starting to feel… unimportant. It's like going to see yet-another production of A Midsummer Night's Dream; you already know the story so well that you could re-tell it in your sleep; the interest is in the subtle variations from previous versions, not in the thing itself; and if you don't like a particular detail, it's hard to care much, because you know there'll be a new version along in five minutes to replace it anyway.
June 29, 2013 @ 1:03 am
Sounds great Nick. An 'Outside the Government' on Adam Curtis would be A Good Thing. If you're in Manchester I wonder if you have seen 'Manchester Sound' The site -specific examination of The Peterloo Massacre filtered through 1980's rave culture. It was written by my ex partner.
June 29, 2013 @ 1:10 am
Oh yeah, that's another thing that affects enjoyment: expectation. I remember one year when I was getting back into genre TV, I went along to a whole bunch of tie-in movies, expecting to be wowed. The Avengers (John Steed version)! The X-Files! Lost in Space!
Let's just say I was not wowed. So when I went to see Godzilla, I was expecting very little; and thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Good luck with enjoying the album. It's bound to be mediocre. (There. That should help bring your expectations down.)
June 29, 2013 @ 1:11 am
Doing some talking about potential performance pieces today with my artistic collaborators. Nothing very much on the horizon art-wise in my neck of the woods. Thinking about going to the local art house cinema's live hook up with the Bowie exhibition at the V&A in August although I've already seen the exhibition which was remarkable.
June 29, 2013 @ 5:58 am
June 29, 2013 @ 7:12 am
New series of Luther on Tuesday.
June 29, 2013 @ 8:22 am
I'm looking forward to catching up with The Returned (Les Revenants), the French supernatural drama currently showing on Channel 4. The surprise success of The Killing (Forbrydelsen) on BBC 4 seems to have alerted broadcasters to the fact that there is an audience for good drama that doesn't mind subtitles. This is a welcome development. Expanding the TV offering beyond English language drama not only increases the number of drama series on offer, it also offers a greater range of styles and approaches, and encourages more cross-fertilisation between traditions. A good example is the recent British drama The Fall, which does its own thing but clearly inherits some DNA from Sarah Line.
June 29, 2013 @ 8:46 am
I'm never much of a movie person and I typically only see about one or two movies a year (and that's in good years). I will say, however, I surprised myself with how interested I am in the new Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy movie The Heat: It looks like it could actually be quite funny. Think a buddy cop movie by way of Bridesmaids and you get the general idea of what this one is shaping up to be like.
Moving into more familiar territory for me, with E3 several weeks ago we now know all the AAA games coming out for the next year or so. Again, I was surprised with how many of them looked genuinely interesting to me: The past few years in gaming have been extraordinarily lackluster as far as I'm concerned, so it was nice to actually be excited for new video games again.
The most captivating release coming in the next few months for me personally has got to be Saints Row IV, due out in August: The Saints Row series has made its name on open-world sandbox gameplay and completely ludicrous humour, hence why we now have the leader of the Saints, a small-time street gang, somehow getting elected President of the United States and transported into a virtual reality construct of his or her home terf by aliens, where he or she for some reason now has superpowers. Aside from being as nuts as Saints Row always is, this one actually looks like it's going to have some somewhat serious social commentary buried underneath all the madness, which is just great: I love it when the self-evident ridiculousness of a work is used to distract people from a more subtle and understated radical or critical message.
Rounding out the rest of the year in games for me is Nintendo: This may be the year I finally get a WiiU, as Nintendo's lineup for this year is really quite strong. Some highlights for me are Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD and Sonic Lost World on the WiiU and Pokémon X and Y on the 3DS, which has done the impossible and got me to pay attention to the Pokémon series again.
More immediately of interest though is the RetrON 5, due out in July, which is a new console for retro gaming that plays NES, Famicom, Super Nintendo, SEGA Genesis, Game Boy, Game Boy Colour and Game Boy Advance games. Of all the new consoles due out this year, that and Valve's rumoured Steam living room PC are the two most likely to earn a place at the foot of my TV
Also, the Blu-ray transfer of Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 5 was just announced yesterday, which I am of course very much looking forward to. The TNG HD restoration project is one I constantly have an eye on, and Season 5 happens to be one of my favourite years for the show. I still need to get Season 3 though, and Season 4 is slated for the end of July.
June 29, 2013 @ 8:59 am
Unfortunately, this has been a depressingly fallow year for movies, especially when compared to last year, and it doesn't look like next month is gonna be much better. I'll probably check out Only God Forgives out of curiosity, but Refn is hit-or-miss for me. I liked "Drive" but "Valhalla Rising" was way too slow and joyless for my taste. And with another "Ryan Gosling looks wistful and punches people under heavily saturated lighting" I'm concerned he's falling into a rut. But it'll be interesting to see either way.
Other than that, "Broadchurch" is coming to BBC America in a few weeks, and I'm definitely eager to see that! Heard pretty much entirely good feedback about it.
June 29, 2013 @ 10:19 am
How the Avengers movie (again, Steed not Stark) made me afraid of the first Cathy Gale episode.
June 29, 2013 @ 10:45 am
Thanks for that – another blog I could get lost in, if I let myself.
June 29, 2013 @ 10:47 am
Oh, thought of something I am looking forward to, though it's not new. I've never seen A Very British Coup before, and having enjoyed the first episode we will hopefully be watching the second tomorrow morning.
June 29, 2013 @ 1:12 pm
The Proms. I went to a couple last year, and now that I'm based in London I'm hoping to spend a good few evenings standing up in the Royal Albert Hall.
June 29, 2013 @ 5:42 pm
In August my parents are going on vacation, and I'll be housesitting for them. I'm thinking about devoting the time to rewatching LOST, with some mini-thons on the side, Dollhouse and GoT, perhaps.
No convenient theatres for Much Ado nearby, sadly. Other than that, there isn't much on the near horizon I'm excited about. I was watching Defiance for a while, but fell away from it — meh. But this is good, I've got to regain my focus on writing.
Pen Name Pending
June 29, 2013 @ 6:32 pm
I maintain that my distaste for Man of Steel came from an unfamiliarity with the source material, annoying 3-D glasses (and hardly anything was in 3-D; we just went to that showing because it was the best time), and the fact that I was in a date and so my full attention was not on the movie. That said, I'm still disappointed they didn't do anything good with Lois Lane…I love Amy Adams, but after she figured Clark out she just defaults to love interest/damsel and distress/woman who stands around and looks on the action.
I'm quite looking forward to Monsters University myself…
June 29, 2013 @ 7:02 pm
Personally I thought Man Of Steel, despite some frustratingly promising bright spots, to be pretty mediocre, with it's morals absolutely wretched. Superman is one of the few characters I can still muster excitement/actually giving a shit about, and this movie did the character a disservice with the sheer scale of destruction and loss of life and general disaster porn it indulges in. I'm in Mark Waid's corner on this one, but I'm very interested in hearing your take, Phil.
June 29, 2013 @ 8:07 pm
she just defaults to love interest/damsel and distress/woman who stands around and looks on the action
Well, she does shoot some bad guys, activate Jor-El's program, and save the world. But other than that, I guess.
June 29, 2013 @ 8:09 pm
Funny review of Man of Steel.
Pen Name Pending
June 30, 2013 @ 5:01 am
Er…yeah, I might have missed that. All the action kind of bored me.
June 30, 2013 @ 5:04 am
"Sarah Line"? Fuck's sake.
That'll teach me to post comments on my phone. Damned autocorrect.
Pen Name Pending
June 30, 2013 @ 5:49 am
Anyway, characters cast as "love interests" tend to annoy me to an extent because they often seem to get with the hero just because they're supposed to. Movies are sometimes not long enough to build up a deeper connection, especially if they've got a big main plot going on.
June 30, 2013 @ 7:21 am
You just made my year.
June 30, 2013 @ 7:23 am
Have you seen "Place Beyond the Pines"? I think you might enjoy it.
June 30, 2013 @ 7:26 am
My feelings on MoS as perfectly spoken by Max Landis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aw_GlYve_Lg
June 30, 2013 @ 7:28 am
John Carter was much better than people thought.
June 30, 2013 @ 8:33 am
I'm excited that I'm finally going to see Mitch Benn live at the Edinburgh Festival this year. I've been a huge fan of his songs on The Now Show for years, and bought several of his albums, but his Fringe dates never matched up with ours before.
I'm also excited about MoS, which I hope to see next week.
June 30, 2013 @ 10:37 am
Broadchurch clearly borrowed from The Killing too.
June 30, 2013 @ 11:05 am
I liked MAN OF STEEL just fine. It's a viable beginning for a series of DC films that emphasize the alienness of those characters. It has some silly plot holes, but, um, it's a Superman movie.
And the other person in the world who liked JOHN CARTER seems to have posted to this thread already. Good work, other person.
June 30, 2013 @ 11:15 am
We've had a good run of movies locally: "Stories We Tell" documentary from Sarah Polley (best movie of the year), "Much Ado About Nothing" (much more fun and light on its feet than the Branagh version), "Before Midnight" (good, but didn't fall in love with it as I did with "Before Sunset"), "Star Trek Into Darkness" (cartoon violence but tremendous fun), "Great Gatsby" (when the filmmaker actually puts the novelist's words up on the screen, you know he's admitting defeat). Haven't seen "Iron Man 3" yet but I'd like to. No interest at all in Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex.
Our local Artscenter is showing its annual 10x10x10 – 10 plays written by 10 playwrights, with each play only 10 minutes long. That's a nice smörgåsbord of entertainment.
Books: am taking on vacation "Towns Without Rivers" by Michael Parker and "How To Live" by Sarah Bakewell. One of my Top 3 authors, Karen Joy Fowler has a new novel, "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves" that has gotten such good press from friends that it may push the first two off the list. And on the Kindle, I have Delphi Classic's complete collection of Trollope for my old age. (The Kindle is great; I now can store more unread books more effortlessly than ever before.)
Guilty pleasure is being recently turned on to "Doc Martin," which I like for its creamy English charm. To be followed by a rewatching of "Father Ted" and "The IT Crowd."
June 30, 2013 @ 3:41 pm
It has some silly plot holes, but, um, it's a Superman movie.
Why would being a Superman movie be an excuse for having silly plot holes?
June 30, 2013 @ 3:57 pm
I was with him until he mispronounced "Mxyzptlk."
June 30, 2013 @ 9:36 pm
In other news, this weekend we went to see Despicable Me 2; a far more successful and enjoyable superhero film than Man of Steel.
June 30, 2013 @ 9:39 pm
"Manchester Sound: The Massacre"? Seeing it later this week, weirdly enough…
July 1, 2013 @ 2:47 am
That's the one. It's had some good feedback. Enjoy.
September 5, 2013 @ 3:38 pm
So, I managed 8 proms. Some excellent, some less so. Highlights included Henze's Barcarola (BBCSO\Knussen), Debussy's La Mer (RPO\Dutoit) and Schubert's Grand Duo (Imogen Cooper and Paul Lewis). And standing up makes it harder to fall asleep after a tiring day in work.
September 8, 2014 @ 5:19 pm
It's clear he grew up with Superfriends, as that's how his name was pronounced on that show.