Sound and Vision

I meant to do some kind of review catch-up round-up before switching off the lights, but suspect my chance has passed. Still, there’s always time for a quick run-through. My reading has been too sparse and unfinished to mention, but here are some albums worth a plug—recent obsessions only: Badly Drawn Boy’s Born in the U.K. and the Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible (already mentioned); Charlotte Gainsbourg’s 5:55 and Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black (a year late to both); Laidback’s Frequency Delinquency (even older, but it’s great); and the Manic Street Preachers’ Send Away the Tigers, the Chemical Brothers’ We Are the Night, Spoon’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Interpol’s Our Love to Admire and Midnight Juggernauts’ Dystopia.

I’ve watched a lot of movies on DVD this year, but the one that stood out the most was The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (if you’re planning to watch it, ignore any suggestion that it’s a comedy). Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima were also impressive when watched back-to-back. Not much of the Hollywood fare was as fun as the Hitchcock and Jacques Tati movies I’ve been rewatching.

At the cinema, where I’m averaging only a movie a month in 2007, the most impressive were The Lives of Others, Zodiac, and The Home Song Stories, probably because they were all so evocative of their times and places: 1980s East Germany, 1970s San Francisco, 1970s Melbourne. Tony Ayres’s new film (which I caught at the Edinburgh Film Festival) is one of the best screen evocations of early-’70s Australia since the 1970s themselves, and worth watching for that reason alone, although his story and characters are also beautifully done.

And when movies just didn’t do it, there was always Boston Legal, House M.D., Life on Mars, Planet Earth, more Adam Curtis docos, and Simon Schama’s brilliant Power of Art. I had plans to write a parody mash-up of the first three for an entry here, to be called “Boston House on Mars”:

Hugh LAURIE: So, what seems to be the problem?

William SHATNER: What’s my name?

Hugh LAURIE: Foreman? Cameron? What came back from his MRI?

Omar EPPS: Well, it’s not vasculitis...

William SHATNER: Denny Crane.

Jennifer MORRISON: So it must be his brain.

William SHATNER: The mad cow!


Hugh LAURIE: And how about you?

John SIMM: Am I mad, in a coma, or back in time?

Hugh LAURIE: Okay. I’m guessing not the last one, because that would be way too spooky, and not the second, because you’re talking to me.

Philip GLENISTER: Drop your weapons! You are surrounded by armed bastards!

William SHATNER: If you nancies had your way, nobody would ever shoot anybody.

...which probably wouldn’t have ended up much longer than that.

15 September 2007 · Music

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