Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals! Here’s my end of year “Best of 2013” playlist.
It’s no secret that I enjoy a good rant. Also, that I enjoy the movies. This year, I saw many films. One however, towered above all others in one unique regard: it made me angry. So angry in fact that I couldn’t fully explain why. Now six months have passed, and while I still feel the residual rage, I can better explain why Zack Snyder’s Man Of Steel was the worst thing to happen to Hollywood all year.
Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies were sold on the following words: “Gritty” “realistic” “human” “empathy” “emotional” “Growly” and probably also “Super long, I mean it’s not bloody Solaris, Chris, Jesus”.
And so in enfranchising a difficult character (see 2) they get Nolan to steer the ship as producer, but bring in someone cheaper. Enter Zack Snyder, ruiner of The Watchmen, and pusher-outer of glistening, dead eyed cine-turd Sucker Punch. Well, at least it wasn’t Nicholas Cage this time. And got him to photocopy all the ideas from Nolan’s Bat franchise, but in his own way. Which is like giving a howler monkey a copy of Infinite Jest and asking for a summary of the key themes.
Remember The Incredible Hulk? Or before that, Hulk? both sucked. Why? Because invincible heroes can’t be in danger. No danger means no drama. Avengers used Hulk well - as a support player. He was the nuke they wheeled on in the third act. Superman was always going to be a tough sell. He’s an old fashioned hero. But wait - Marvel managed it with Captain America! How hard can it be?
Turns out, really hard. Particularly given point 3.
3. The script is a massive hot bowl of turd soup.
Russell Crowe rides a dragon.
Russell Crowe hates a gene mapping codex thing so much that he hides it in his only child and fires said only child in a dildo rocket at the sun.
Henry Cavill plays Jesus, who might be Superman. We don’t call him Superman until the end, but boy does he like a crucifixion pose, reclining in front of stained glass windows, and mildly suffering for our sins. Seriously the Jesus metaphors are delivered with the subtlety of a brick to the face.
We flashback to sulky teenage clark in almost sepia. He’s a total dick and unlikeable. Then Kevin Costner (his dad) voluntarily throws himself into a whirlwind to save the family dog. Read that back. That actually happened, and this isn’t a comedy. This moment of pathos makes Clarke slightly less of a dick. But only slightly:
Then Michael Shannon comes back, and Snyder decides to pit Superman against Zod (both invincible) for 45 minutes of screen time, shouting lines like “EITHER YOU DIE OR I DO” as he smashes them together like a 4 year old with action figures. When the shouting isn’t deafening you, the fetishised, needlessly realistic 9/11 style building destruction is making you really uncomfortable. Did I mention this lasts nearly 45 minutes? Anyway, spoilers - Clarke then kills Zod with his bare hands, and makes out with Lois Lane in the ruins of a major city. Which would be badass were it not for the fact that he’d just murdered tens of thousands of people, and an invincible alien. AND his insides were full of superhuman codex that we’d all totally forgotten about. Way to go, Jesus!
ALL of this would be totally forgiveable as a silly, throwaway action movie, were it not done with such pompous, po-faced sincerity. The weight of self importance is so heavy on this film that you never get a chance to like it. It’s also shot through so many digital colour filters that it looks like a computer game, making it totally devoid of any human connection. Zack Snyder has long been the king of lack of substance, but he really outdid himself here.
And the worst crime of all? it made money. So we get another one. THANKS, HOLLYWOOD.
Special mention to runners up Gangster Squad, and A Good Day To Die Hard, which were terrible, but also never pretended to be a re-telling of the Christ myth with dildo rockets, dragons and an asshole Jesus.
How not to shoot a gig
Do you know this man? the band were called Sleeper Effect. They played on the 31st at the Garage in London. I love that this sort of dickwittery was filmed for posterity.
A break from the norm.
By now, you will know me as someone of impeccable entertainment taste, and questionable dress sense. Allow me to make one strong recommendation to anyone within an hour of London Paddington.
See The Drowned Man.
Punchdrunk have been my favourite theatre company for the last six years. “But wait!” I hear you moan. “Feeatre? BORING”. No, chum, it’s anything but.
Imagine a disused 1960s movie studio. Imagine a mashup of movies, soundtracks, books and plays, creating a cast of close to 30 characters who move up and down this building in their own world. And it’s up to you to explore, follow one, dip in and out, open doors, drawers and explore as best you can. It’s a sensory overload (the name of the company is deliberate). But I can assure you that if you’ve never heard of this or them, you WILL enjoy it. You just will. Trust me. OK? OK. I’ve been six times already. There’s always more people to follow, rooms to discover, and pieces of the puzzle to fit together. Hint: Follow a performer for a whole loop, and many will take you off for a more intimate end to their stories.
Tickets run to december. Get into it. And I’ll see you there.
Videos, eh? like busses. You wait for one, then you get run over and die. Wait, that’s not right. Anyway, to the fourth bit of content I made this summer with Frank and the boys, and one of the best (I think). We made a video for Polaroid Picture, mostly in soundcheck, but sometimes in live performance. There was a lot of monkeying about with cameras as part of the set. Most of Frank’s videos for this album cycle have focused on him. So when I got asked to make it a straight performance video, that made a lot of sense. I wanted to get in how good their live show is - the energy, the fun (although due to the nature of the song, I cut out a lot of the messing about. Don’t worry, it’s going to show up elsewhere) and the intensity of a FT & TSS show. I think (hope) that comes across. Also, (and slightly selfishly) it’s a song about moments and being proud of them, and this is my summer memory. I’d love to know what you think of it. B
Right. Lots and lots has happened this month. Only most of it I can’t really talk about. For instance, there’s still a load of Frank Turner content to surface from the summer, in some potentially exciting places, and work that I’m happy about and want people to see. But I can’t tell you about it. Then there’s the photo shoot in the top secret derelict building I did in London a couple of weeks ago for that guy doing that thing that I can’t talk about for a few weeks. Ho hum. Last week, I went to Square Mile Coffee roasters, who I love, and shot Emily Barker roasting her own coffee that’ll be on sale on her tour, which starts on October 10th. You should go see her. She’s out with the fantastic Chris T-T. The dates are here. <http://www.emilybarker.com/live/> There’s content coming from that, including a sublime cover. But it’s not cooked yet. And today, I was up at 7AM to shoot Reading’s Bear & The Woods <https://www.facebook.com/bearandthewoods> . They’re a great band that I’ve seen a few times, with the likes of Ben Marwood, and who (I think) deserve to be much bigger. So it’s nice to be able to say they’re also lovely chaps. I’ve put some stills below to give you a flavour of the day. It’s always a bit of an unknown quantity doing small scale shoots. And with the BBC predicting torrential rain, I wasn’t looking forward to today, but it turned out great. No rain, solid concept, Lots of energy, I got to wheel out lots of toys (at one point we gaffed a camera to a beer can, so it could be drop kicked) and I reckon the end result… wait. Let’s not jinx it, eh? [WEB-06.jpg] [WEB-49.jpg] [WEB-50.jpg] [WEB-51.jpg] [WEB-53.jpg] [WEB-56.jpg] [WEB-57.jpg] [WEB-6655.jpg] [WEB-6670.jpg] [WEB-06.jpg] [WEB-49.jpg] [WEB-50.jpg] [WEB-51.jpg] [WEB-53.jpg] [WEB-56.jpg] [WEB-57.jpg] [WEB-6655.jpg] [WEB-6670.jpg]
Bloggity bloggity blong.
a moment of appreciation for the sleeping souls
So there’s a thing I made that some people are mad they can’t see. And I want them to see it, and they WILL be able to see it, but some other people want some of their friends to share it first, which is why no-one is acknowledging it exists.
Hope that clears things up.