Wednesday, 1 January 2014


New Year is of course a time to reflect and take stock. Which for me normally means totting up everything I've got behind on here. Frankly the picture is worse than ever, but I will try to catch up over the next couple of months. Mostly visual arts posts, which take the longest to write. But initially the catch-up over gigs will continue. (Which is the one thing I'm normally most on top of. That pesky fiftieth anniversary of 'Doctor Who'!) If, on that basis, you don't feel like checking back here for the next while, I don't suppose anybody would blame you.

If I don’t seem to have covered films much this year, that’s because I haven't seen them much either. This has been the official year of the missed film. Which is probably less to do with losing interest, and more to do with repeatedly coming home from work completely knackered.

Films I should doubtless have written something enthusiastic about include ‘The Spirit of 45’, ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’, ‘The World’s End’, ‘Prisoners’, ‘The Selfish Giant’ and ‘Gravity’. To my shame, I also failed to cover Cine-City’s welcome and fulsome Jan Svankmajer retrospective 'The Inner Life of Objects'. Alas, all I managed was some comments on 'Conspirators of Pleasure' over at 'I Munch Movies'. (Who generally did the thorough job I didn't.)

If pressed, I’d give a slightly softer thumbs-up to ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ and ‘The Wolverine’. (Though it galls me to type that bolt-on pronoun. When was he ever called that in the comics? And are ‘Casper the Friendly Ghost’ and ‘Muffin the Mule’ also now supposed to be the mature and sophisticated?)

‘Man of Steel’ and ‘The Desolation of Smaug’ seemed to belong together as (respectively) a re-imagining and an adaptation completely uninterested in their source material. So gaining any enjoyment from either became predicated on ignoring what was actually promised on the film poster. 'Man of Steel' in particular seemed keen to throw out anything but the most formal elements of Superman.

It seems a further step down. For the last few years you haven't been able to make a film that wasn't made already in some other form. Now it seems you also need to ignore what’s been made already, in case it’s not contemporary enough. It’s the inevitable result of any feedback loop – degeneration of sound into noise.

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