Thursday, April 26, 2018

Seen in… March

Phantom Thread Image via The Movie DB

A busy month left me squeezing in only a few movies, one documentary and a new season of Jessica Jones. In truth I did spend a lot of time rewatching 3 seasons of Silicon Valley while learning how to use a newly procured sewing machine so that I could hem some pants. All I can say is that seamstresses are underpaid. After failing to program my viewing for Black History Month I thought I’d have another go around International Women’s Day. This also did not go as planned and again was a reminder to just treat every month as an opportunity to see stories of the Black American experience or from the female perspective.

Phantom Thread

P.T. Anderson has done it again. He made a masterful film that was incredibly beautiful and dull until he twisted the knife. I feel like the theatre is really the only place to see this type of movie because you paid for it and then you feel obliged to stick around and pay attention. If this were a movie you were watching at home you probably would have abandoned it to make a sandwich and turned it off before the turn in the story. Daniel Day-Lewis is Reynolds Woodcock (snicker) an extraordinarily talented and renowned dressmaker and designer. He’s also an obsessive narcissist with a strong Machiavellian streak who suffers bouts of deep depression. He has a habit of taking young models as his muse and discarding them when he’s done, until he meets his match in will and focus, Alma. Alma is a beautiful young woman who happens to have a naturally perfect dress size. As their relationship strengthens so too does Reynolds’ control over Alma until she begins to feel more like a fitting mannequin than partner. The odd thing about Reynolds’ mistreatment of women is that he is surrounded by them and his sister, who is the only one who seems to keep any eye on the business is a particular influence. This movie reminds me of older films of the 70s where a quiet desperate power dynamic was playing out before our eyes. In the end, I’m not sure you could really say what this film is about (Relationships? Co-dependence? Creativity? Love? Depression? All of the above?) which is exactly what leaves it sticking around in your head after having seen it. It also reminded me of a more recent film, The Duke of Burgundy but I’ll leave it to you to make your own connections.

Annihilation Image via The Movie DB


Natalie Portman plays Lena, a biologist and former marine, whose husband disappeared a year earlier on a military mission and returns only to become seriously ill almost on her doorstep. While rushing to the hospital Lena and her husband are immediately stopped, taken into custody and quarantined by government agents. It turns out, Lena’s husband was part of an expeditionary force that entered a remote area which has become contaminated (in a manner of speaking) after a meteorite crashes there. The contaminated zone, dubbed “The Shimmer” is growing and no one who has entered has returned. With the goal of discovering what has infected her husband Lena volunteers to join quartet of fierce women for another mission into the zone. It is only asked once why the team are entirely female, with the only answer being they were the right personnel for the job. Within The Shimmer, the team lose all sense of time, directions and purpose. In this sense, it is very much like Tarkovsky’s Stalker. What they discover is part mind-blowing sci-fi, part thrill of the unknown and part philosophical quandary. In this sense, it is very much like Ridley Scott’s Alien. In the end, Lena prevails or at least the thing that Lena has become.
Read more »

Labels: , ,

Monday, April 16, 2018

Stomach to Ground Control 

Image via the Florida Center for Instructional Technology

Me to stomach: Hey, what’s up?

Stomach: Um? How do you feel about staying home today?

Me: Why?
Read more »


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Undeniable Truth 

Your headache has arrived.

The last few weeks I’ve been working late and racking my brain around an entirely useless, inane and tedious project. Everyday there are meetings about how urgent this work is and if it isn’t completed we’ll potentially lose a multi-million dollar deal. This isn’t my mess. It isn’t even the mess of the bosses demanding the work. It’s someone else’s mess entirely. Yet, not only have the originators of said mess outsourced the fixing of it, but they’ve also outsourced the anxiety. I don’t even really care anymore but for some reason when someone is putting demands on you and the only way to shut them up is to deliver something, you do it. When it doesn’t shut them up and their insatiable need for more of the same isn’t met you start to wonder exactly why you are doing the stupid thing you are doing in the first place. It was against this backdrop last Friday that I began the day with a headache so monstrous it had previously starred in several mid-50’s era disaster movies set in Tokyo. I’m sure the headache was due to lack of sleep I’d had the night before. I was prevented from sleeping by my desire to put my fists through any available wall. I spent the Friday nursing my head, wincing at bright lights, working to make sense of the tasks at hand while trying not to vomit at my desk or poop my pants. At some point I couldn’t take it any longer and decided to call it quits and leave work early. It was 5:30 PM.
Read more »

Labels: ,