2020 films and stuff

A lot of things happened in 2020, but mostly they happened to other people because I didn’t leave the house for most of the year.

And like, I don’t really have anything to say here about those things.

Anyway, on to the customary look back at the new films I saw in 2020 from least liked to most liked. I didn’t step foot in a cinema all year1, so I’m not entirely sure how I ended up seeing a good 10-15 more new films than usual – especially since I had a hard time sitting down and watching anything much over an hour long – and somehow I ended up watching like 100 films in total which seems… excessive. In previous years, I’ve said something about each film – that’s not happening today lol.

  • Genus Pan – This and the next film were just SO boring. This is the kind of thing I end up seeing when there’s a global pandemic and the film festival I normally go to moves online removing the logistic obstacles that needing to get a train across town to another cinema puts in my way.
  • Striding Into The Wind
  • Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not to Steal – Turns out I don’t enjoy interactive films
  • The Yalta Conference Online – In some ways, doing the Yalta Conference as a Zoom meeting was a good idea. In other ways, it was not.
  • Motorcycle Drive By
  • David Byrne’s American Utopia – Maybe this was overhyped? Maybe I’m just not that into David Byrne’s music?
  • The Light Side
  • Summer Shade
  • 180 Degree Rule
  • I Am Patrick: The Patron Saint of Ireland
  • Possessor – Everything I heard about this one beforehand was like “oooh scary horror, oooh body horror” (I guess because Brandon Cronenberg did it) but like… it’s just a science fiction film. It’s not scary horror.
  • Delia Derbyshire: The Myths And Legendary Tapes
  • Shadow Country
  • Sound for the Future
  • Identifying Features
  • The Real Right Stuff
  • Mulan – I still don’t get why so many of the animated Disney films get remade as live action (well, I mean, I DO, it’s for the money BUT STILL). This was… same old, same old I guess.
  • Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb
  • My Octopus Teacher
  • The Disciple – This was really good. I feel like a lot of good films seem to be way down the list but it’s just that I saw a lot of new films this year.
  • Wildfire
  • The Old Guard
  • Cicada
  • African Apocalypse
  • Ari Eldjárn: Pardon My Icelandic – Does an hour-long Netflix comedy special count as a film? Well, I guess. It’s in the films section after all.
  • Jude – This is a film about someone I know and tbh I don’t know whether I can really categorise it in with all the others very well because it’s valuable to me AS a film about this person and it’s not there to be entertainment.
  • One Man and His Shoes
  • The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special
  • Herself
  • The Reason I Jump
  • Time
  • John Was Trying to Contact Aliens
  • Soul – I wanted to go and see Soul as part of LFF but it was one of the in-person-at-the-cinema-only ones, which obviously was ridiculous because of the global pandemic, but then it eventually came to Disney Plus so here we are.
  • Undine – I kind of knew the folklore so I figured I knew what would happen, and then stuff happened and it didn’t seem like that but then you get to the end of the film and you realise that exactly what was supposed to happen did happen.
  • Mogul Mowgli – This was a big m o o d from start to finish.

    “They ever ask you, “Where you from?” Like, “Where you really from?” The question seems simple, but the answer’s kinda long”

  • Stray – I don’t know what I expected when I got a ticket to see a film about stray dogs in Turkey – certainly not a film that’s told at dog-height, but it works and it was great.
  • Wolfwalkers – We all know that the villain has always been Oliver Cromwell. The art in this was fantastic,
  • Enola Holmes – I am here for a whole franchise of this. CHURN THEM OUT. I will watch them. Forever lol at Henry Cavill as Sherlock Holmes.
  • The Painter and the Thief – This kind of reminds me of the film Dancer, which was about Sergei Polunin, in that clearly they start making the film and don’t really have any idea of where the story will end up and then it ends up being amazing.
  • Never Gonna Snow Again – Funny but also kind of sad.
  • Another Round – Yes, the last like 5-10 minutes are fantastic, but I think they’re only so good because you’ve just watched the whole film before that part and you need to, to kind of get that release.
  • Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga – I LOVE Eurovision and this was great and the best part is how we never actually find out who won that context because that is not the point – much in the same way that with real Eurovision, it’s not really winning that’s the point for me.
  • Rising Phoenix – This was a really good look at a few Paralympic athletes from various backgrounds. I really hope that the Games can go ahead this year if there is a safe-as-possible way to do so, but at the same time WILL it be possible?
  • Uncle Vanya – Ok, yes, this is the filmed version of a play that I did actually go to see in person, in the theatre, about a week before my workplace sent us all to work from home and maybe 10 days before the entire country did her first lockdown. I’m not convinced that all of the changes they made (mostly way the monologues played out, but how would I have it differently???) were all good choices, but when I watched this on TV, I still felt exactly as I had when I’d finished watching in the theatre. Would this play leave me as emotionally wrung out at the end in any other year? Maybe not, but maybe so. The set was even more beautiful in person, and I’m not sure that the film really captures that. Incredible 2020 vibes.

While I didn’t get to go to the cinema last year, I did manage to go to two gigs back in February – Dave Hause at the Union Chapel which was FANTASTIC and Asgeir at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, which was also delightful. Bedouin Soundclash was supposed to happen in May, but got pushed back to February 2021 and of course, it’s now been cancelled. I’m not sure that they’ll tour again so I’m glad I saw them when I could. The Star Wars concert that I was supposed to attend in March, was also cancelled, but I guess someone is always going to put on a Star Wars concert at the Royal Albert Hall, so that one will come around again one day.

1.I was going to say “weirdly,” but look, we all know what’s going on this year so it’s not weird at all.

In the plague tiems

Considering the number of places my blog posts syndicate out to, you’d think I’d update a little more than I do. Such is life.

I’ve been catching up on a bunch of unread email newsletters in ye olde inbox and it’s like time-travel in a really nice way. The world when those missives were sent was still not that great a place but at least less of us were suffering and dying thanks to some pandemic and the failures of government.

The Home Screen newsletter (actually a recent edition, rather than one from some time last year) talked about how Adobe doesn’t like Photoshop to be used as a verb and I could only think that they probably wouldn’t be too fond of how I and a few other people say “potato-chopped” instead.

Read an article about people not remembering the 1918 Flu Pandemic and realising I had no idea that people don’t know about it? I guess a lot of people don’t study that period of history, and if they do learn about the First World War, they don’t learn about how there was this big double whammy of awful at the time. Plus, I guess, people who were alive then and are still alive now would have been tiny babies and there really aren’t that many of them left. And who hangs out with the elderly?

I mean, ok. I do and yeah, I knew a lady whose Dad survived WWI only to get it from flu when he came home – her mum used to drag her along to his grave on birthdays and Christmas and she hated it.

And I was thinking about it the other day, in the sense of “well how did we survive that?” but the thing is – millions and millions of us just didn’t. It’s that the way death works is that when you’re dead you’re not going to come back and chat about how you were sick and it was awful.

2019 Films and stuff

As usual, a rundown of the new films I saw this year – from least liked to most liked.

  • Ghost Dance – this was a short that I saw alongside The Deathless Woman and like… I just don’t get it. It’s not something I would have chosen to watch (I was there to see the main film) so I guess that’s why it’s at the least liked spot on the list.
  • Color Out of Space – I guess I was expecting something more horror? I’m not that keen on horror but I thought I’d give weird-horror a try and like this wasn’t even that weird.
  • Little Joe –  This was ok and did the “a bit unsettling” thing well but also it was a bit boring.
  • Guest of Honour – This was ok also.
  • Faustina: Love and Mercy – My Mum wanted to see this so I got tickets for us both. It’s kind of billed as a docudrama and I guess I was expecting more of a narrative of the life of St Faustina. It’s more maybe a quarter about St Faustina, a third about Blessed Fr Michael Sopocko trying to get the cause of Divine Mercy really going and then the rest is about Divine Mercy and works that current sisters do.
  • The Deathless Woman – So the director of this film was talking about it when I saw it and she mentioned how it’s kind of like how you might present a documentary as a theatrical production, which was an interesting approach. I was aware that there is had been a lot of persecution of the Roma during the Second World War and that now there is a lot of anti-Roma (and Traveller) sentiment and action, but I hadn’t really realised that the violence they experience was at this level.
  • The King  – I mean, I don’t know that this needed to be made? It’s a fairly standard King of England goes to war with France kind of thing. The funniest part was how one of the filmmakers at the screening I saw talked about how they’d really boosted the parts for women and haha they really have not.
  • To Live To Sing – So Chinese opera is not everyone’s cup of tea but I like that sort of thing and this was a really touching story about the head of an opera troop’s struggle to keep the group together and their art alive.
  • Abominable  – I am saw this and really wanted to eat buns but I had to dash off to see another film and didn’t have time.
  • Tell Me Who I Am  – I didn’t know anything about this going in other than one brother had totally lost his memory and his twin brother knew everything and I think if you are going to see it, maybe find out what happened to the two brothers in advance.
  • Judy & Punch – All of the things that happen in a Punch & Judy show are in like the first half and there is a thing that happens and everyone laughed and then realised, wait, these are not puppets.
  • Mr Jones – I guess we know Stalin was terrible, but the news hadn’t quite gotten out in 1933.
  • Western Stars – This is just Springsteen playing the music from his album and then doing some talky-musing bits in between. It was ok and the msuic was nice.
  • Jojo Rabbit – As much as imaginary friend Hitler was amusing for a while, I don’t know that he was necessary for the whole film but I guess he was in the book?
  • Le Mans ’66 – Everywhere else (everywhere North American maybe) this film is called Ford Vs Ferrari like no one knows anything about what happens at Le Mans or…who knows really. I guess this is better for people who aren’t big racing fans, but I did enjoy it.
  • Synchronic – This was my 10th most liked film of the year which I wasn’t expecting. I feel like perhaps a lot of people may have found this to be better than they thought it was going to be. It handles the time travel in a new, interesting way and Anthony Mackie is really great in this.
  • The Red Sea Diving Resort – I knew a little about the stuff that happens in this film, but not really the extent of what went on. It’s also nice to see Chris Evans in a not-Captain-America role.
  • The Two Popes – I saw this at LFF where I sat between a priest and an old dude who shushed the priest for eating crisps towards the beginning of the film.  Is The Two Popes  entirely factual? No. Does it give an accurate portrayal of the personalities of Popes Benedict and Francis? Hard to say. Is it enjoyable anyway? Yes. The main thing is that it really reminds us that these two men are human, like the rest of us.
  • Spider-Man: Far from Home – What even happened in this film? Oh yeah, Peter Parker travelled around Europe and stuff. There have been a lot of Spider-Man films over the years. This was fun.
  • Avengers: Endgame – Pretty much 6th most liked film on the list because of my extreme fondness for Captain America and the Winter Soldier. Not sure that it really ended this era of Marvel films in a way that totally made sense (although yeah, it did cement my opinion that Tony Stark is terrible – which considering that everyone who makes these films seems to adore him, probably says something). Interested to see where things go next. Kind of not into having to get Disney plus to do so. Maybe if I wait long enough it’ll all just be on regular freeview tv.
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – JJ Abrams did an extremely JJ Abrams thing in this film and that was kind of rubbish. I still think that he used Star Trek as a stepping stone to get to Star Wars, which ok, fair enough if you’re a big fan of Star Wars. At the same time, I think he’s stuck on his nostalgia for the original trilogy and maybe that leads to some weird decisions (plus, while I get that Carrie Fisher passing away did make plotting this tricky, it’s not well written). Despite all of this, I still love Star Wars and the performances from all the actors. Would have liked MORE droid stuff.
  • Pokemon Detective Pikachu – For a really long time, I didn’t think this was a real film and then it showed up at the cinema and it was great. Really great.
  • John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – So I don’t think that I’ve ever seen a Keanu Reeves film that I did not enjoy. Sure there are a few that I’m not going to see because of the premise of the films, but I’ve watched nearly everything else probably and there is not a single dud. John Wick is great. The universe that has been created is fascinating and I’m excited to see the next film to see what happens next.
  • Knives Out – There are more films with Chris Evans than I was expecting tbh. This was everything I love about watching Miss Marple and Poirot over and over and over but new and hilarious.
  • Captain Marvel – I think where maybe Endgame and Infinity War falter is that they are straight up superhero films. They’re not like, a particular type of film that happens to have superheroes in. Captain Marvel is one of those late 80s/early 90s action movie films where Tom Cruise or Harrison Ford might have played the hero and won the day, except way better because it has Carol Danvers and is in SPACE and like I saw this waaaay back in the first quarter of 2019 and it’s still at the top of my list. This is the film that, having considered and compared all the other new films I saw in 2019, still came out in front.

Anyway my ratings etc are all over here on Letterboxd and starting my yearly rating list at the beginning of the year and just adding to it throughout, rearranging as I go, continues to be one of the best ideas I have ever had.

I know this is titled 2019 Films and stuff but it’s 2020 now and I don’t remember what the “and stuff” was going to be, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Happy New Year!

Saturday the 14th

It’s not quite time for my end of year film list (since I have at least one new film left to watch this year) but there have been things I’ve been thinking about writing down for probably a month now and just haven’t so here are some of those things.

  • I read an article about morning routine stories and how the right kind of morning routine is supposed to be able to make you more productive and how recently they’ve kind of morphed into a kind of self-care space and then went on to talk other ideas developing on from that. My weekday morning routine is to wake at 7am, visit the bathroom, fill my water bottle, put out my cereal bar and make a cup of tea that I then take upstairs and put on the bedside table. Then I get right on back into bed and go to sleep until the radio turns on at 7.30am and I find that past-me has kindly made now-me a cup of tea.
    And then like, get ready for work, leave the house, blah blah blah.
  • Still haven’t gotten the crib down from on top of the wardrobe to set it up downstairs for Christmas. Feels like it will be a lot of effort, although it will be the same amount of effort that it is every year and it’s just me that changes. The last couple of months have been kind of vague-feeling and I’ve been studiously ignoring it and buying tickets for things to look forward to instead. One week left until the days start getting longer again, maybe that will help too.
  • The election. Ugh. That’s not helped. I don’t get how people can throw the poor, sick, vulnerable, marginalised etc under the bus and for what? The people I know who’ve voted Conservative are certainly not going to profit from it and just, ugh. So many things. Briefly looked into whether emigrating to Germany or the Netherlands was possible. Considered moving to Scotland. Thought about the religious life again (although that’s a thing I think about on and off and just haven’t ruled out). And being right about what the new government will do doesn’t even have the satisfaction of being able to say “I told you so” because it will be a tragedy. I suppose a Conservative vote is a selfish vote but how does being selfish uplift society? If we don’t help everyone up, even a little bit, then how can we progress and make great new discoveries? I guess I watch too much Star Trek.
  • I basically need a TV channel that is Agatha Christie all the time. All the Marples. David Suchet’s Poirot. Tommy and Tuppence. Just that and nothing else.
  • I’d probably take a bird table livestream too.
  • If the psychiatric hospitals hadn’t been shut down  20-odd years ago, would the mental health of the nation be better now? I don’t know the answer to that, but the resource would be there at least.
  • Of course, I can’t remember most of the things I was thinking about writing down for the last month.

Sleeves

Today I’m wearing a dress that my Mum made for me a few years ago. She made two dresses at the time but it’s only occurred to me now, that that’s when she really understood the trouble I have with getting shirts and dresses that fit properly across my shoulders and allow me to still move my arms.

The dresses don’t have sleeves because she had such trouble having to alter them away from their original patterns to make them fit that she decided to cut her losses. LOL.

Gigs without phones

The Simple Joy of “No Phones Allowed”

A few nights ago I saw Jack White in concert. It was a wonderful night, and a big part of that was due to a new rule he has imposed on all his tour dates: no phones.

When you arrive, you have to put your phone into a neoprene pouch, supplied by a company called Yondr, which they lock and give back to you. If you want to use your phone during the show, you can go into the concourse and unlock it by touching it to one of several unlocking bases. The concert area itself remains screen-free.

The effect was immediately noticeable upon entering the concert bowl. Aside from the time-travel-like strangeness of seeing a crowd devoid of blue screens, there was a palpable sense of engagement, as though—and it sounds so strange to say it—everyone came just so they could be there.

People were visibly enjoying the opening band, at least in part because that band no longer compete with the entire internet for the crowd’s attention. Even the crowd’s milling around and chatting between acts was so much more lively. People were either talking to their neighbors, or taking in the room. And everyone taking in the room was taking in the same room. It felt great.

This is an interesting article but, for me at least, a weird one. I don’t have a smartphone. My phone is about 15 years old and the reason I keep it is because I have 4 days battery life and really…what do I need a phone for? The odd text message. The odd phone call. That’s it.

Need directions to a place? I look them up beforehand, or ask someone nearby or just like… do what I’ve done on occasion and just… look around and pick the direction that seems right. That last one I did in Paris because I don’t speak French but at the same time I just didn’t want to talk to anyone anyway. Did I get where I wanted to go? Actually yes. Did it take a long time? No, because somehow I picked the right direction.

But back to gigs.

The article says “everyone came just so they could be there” – which I think would have been true even if everyone could have kept their smartphones. I’ve been to the odd gig where the artist performing has been pretty hyped in the press and you can see the subset of the crowd who is there so that they can say that they were there (you can kind of tell who they are, because they tend to be standing in circles talking to each other at the tops of their voices all the way through and it would probably have been cheaper to hang with their friends in a pub or something).

I can’t say that I’ve personally felt the black hole of disengagement from the smartphone using crowd around me. Perhaps it’s the fans that the artists I go to see attract? Anyone who shows up for the support acts is always there to actually see the support act that their ticket money is going towards. Sure, people use their phones between acts – but that doesn’t prevent the crowd doing an impromptu sing-a-long to the Queen song that drifts out of the speakers while we wait.

But yeah. I don’t have a smartphone. I go to gigs on my own. Sometimes I’ll talk to the people around me (nearly all of whom have smartphones in their pockets). Mostly, I like being there and hearing the people chatting around me but I don’t necessarily have anything to say to them. I’m content to sit or stand and just wait – I don’t need the constant entertainment of a phone or conversation with another person. So maybe the change that the author of the article experiences wasn’t because everyone around them didn’t have a phone, but primarily because they personally didn’t have a phone. All of the things they talk about people doing at the gig without their phones, they have been doing at all the gigs where they had their phones – the author just didn’t notice.

Hoarding

What’s Causing the Rise of Hoarding Disorder?

Even if they want to downsize (which is rare), there’s the overwhelming difficulty of sorting through the mess. People with severe hoarding disorder tend to be easily distracted and have a hard time focusing and concentrating. Paradoxically, they also tend to be perfectionists, so they’ll put off making decisions rather than risk being wrong. And when it comes to their own stuff, they don’t categorize by type. Rather than see an object as a member of a large group (say, one of 42 black T-shirts), they see it as singular, unique, special. Each black T-shirt is perceived apart from the others and carries its own history, significance, and worth. It’s not even categorized for storage (folded with other black T-shirts in a T-shirt drawer), but rather placed on a pile and retrieved spatially (that particular black T-shirt lives about four inches from the bottom of the corner stack). This leads to a deep aversion to someone touching the piles or sifting through them, unwittingly destroying the invisible ordering system.

It me.

Well, I’m somewhere between untidy and hoarder because when I do actually tidy, there’s a lot less “stuff” but yeah, that’s basically my filing system. Whenever a well-intentioned person attempts to tidy for me, without my knowledge, I always end up losing stuff and… having to buy replacements because I can’t find the thing – which I feel is the opposite of what the ideal outcome would be. :/

So far some of the things lost when tidied include: a boxed copy of Evil Genius (which I’ve just re-bought in the Steam sale as a download), a mobile phone and most recently the cable to connect my camera to my laptop (and also to charge my Mum’s Kobo – so yeah I’ve had to re-buy that one).

And there’s no way of knowing if the lost things are just…here somewhere or if they’ve accidentally gone in the bin.

The 42 black t-shirts is also me. However,  I have a “black t-shirt shelf” to go with my “not-black t-shirt” shelf.

2018 Films, mostly.

It’s not quite the end of the year just yet1, but I have decided that it is highly unlikely I am going to leave the house and make the five minute journey to my local multiplex. My film logging widget tells me that I saw fewer films in total this year than I did last year and from looking at last year’s films in review blog and my letterboxd list of 2018 films, I also saw fewer new films. Was it just that there were fewer films that took my fancy released? Could I just not be bothered to go out and see them? I know there were a few that I thought “well, I’ll just wait for them to be on TV” that I can’t even remember the titles of now.

I nearly said that there wasn’t a Star Wars film out in 2018 but I guess Solo counts as one of those, so it’s not even that. I could really do with a new Star Trek film – although Discovery is coming back in the new year and I am p excited for that.

Anyway, onward – from least liked to most liked. Once again, “least liked” doesn’t necessarily mean it was bad but I think I did watch more films I felt kind of indifferent about this year:

  • Long Day’s Journey Into Night – This film was really long and didn’t seem to go anywhere. Sure the 3D 50 minute long single shot take is a technical achievement but like… what was the point. I guess the first section was just too vague and I didn’t care about the main character.
  • In Fabric – Parts of this film were entertaining but then other bits induced too much second-hand embarrassment.
  • The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned from a Mythical Man – I don’t know that I’m really that interested in Bill Murray’s hijinks, but it was nice to hear from people who had such good experiences and to its credit, this film is only 70 minutes long and doesn’t try to pad itself out with pointless filler.
  • Aquarela – Ok so this film is about water and only that. Glaciers, frozen lakes, waterfalls, oceans, hurricanes etc. all to an industrial classical soundtrack. The director said that it was supposed to showcase the immensity of water on our planet but it had been a long day and the water noises along with metal-cello accompaniment were really relaxing and I might have drifted off once or twice2.
  • The Quake – I didn’t see The Wave, to which this is a sequel to, but I don’t think I really needed to. Most disaster movies that I’ve seen tend to be all action, which is fine. This film has action, sure, but most of the drama comes from within the characters’ regular lives and their reactions to the disaster of the previous film. Which is a nice change.
  • Ash Is Purest White – I spent 20 minutes trying to remember which of the films on the list had the ballroom dancers in and it was this one. Anyway, Ash Is Purest White kind of starts off as a gangster film, but then actually follows the life of the “gangster’s moll” character who is far more interesting than anyone else.
  • Arctic – I actually had this one just above Aquarela but then I started thinking about it and had to move it up the list a bit. Mads Mikkelsen is exceptional in this.
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story – This was OK. I kind of want to rate it lower but maybe that’s because I kind of expected more from a film about Han Solo and on the whole it was fine. Unnecessary maybe, but fine. I would probably have preferred a Chewie film.
  • A Family Tour – There’s a lot here that I recognise in my own family, although of course, none of us currently live in exile from China or have suffered the kind of injustices that the main character here has. Although saying that, thinking about the race riots in Malaysia in the late 60s, I do wonder if I am wrong about that one.
  • Duplicate – This film is called “Jonathan” in a bunch of places but I guess it must have got renamed to Duplicate. Did not go in the direction I had thought it would at all, mostly because I had no clue where the story would go from the start (but in a good way).
  • The Man Who Killed Don Quixote – This is the only Adam Driver film I saw this year, although in a sense it was like 3 Adam Driver films in one, so I guess I’ve probably equalled last years Adam Driver film total.
  • Happy as Lazzaro – I didn’t really know what to expect from this film and it turned out to be kind of a meditation on sainthood. Also, did not expect the direction the second half took at all, which was great.
  • Outlaw King – I enjoy historical films with loads of violence, what can I say?
  • Deadpool 2 – Also contemporary films with loads of violence. I feel like this wasn’t as enjoyable as the first one.
  • Out of Blue – I guess I would compare this one to last year’s Small Town Crime, only the main character in that was a mess and Patricia Clarkson’s detective is not really.
  • The Hummingbird Project – This was way more heart-warming than I thought a film about putting in a fibre optic cable across America would be and I am glad of it. And SALMA HAYEK plays a great villain.
  • Assassination Nation – I really enjoyed this although I think it was trying to position itself as something more controversial than it was. Also another film with loads of violence. Basically, 80% of films I watch have violence in them I guess.
  • Widows – This was so so good and deeply satisfying. Also, there is a cute dog.
  • A Wrinkle in Time – I saw this so long ago, but I guess it says something that a film from right near the beginning of the year stuck in my memory and maintained its position in my chart – I often find that more recent films chart a bit higher sometimes because I remember them more. I’ve not read the book but I don’t think that’s a problem. This is a really beautiful film but wow Charles Wallace is annoying.
  • Can You Ever Forgive Me? – I picked this film because I really enjoyed seeing Melissa McCarthy in Spy and the title sounded interesting. It turned out to be one of the best films I’ve seen this year – both funny and unexpectedly touching.
  • The Favourite – Rachel Weisz is awesome. Her name is Rachel, so of course. Olivia Coleman and Emma Stone are also excellent, though they are not Rachels. Their performances made the characters seem real – even though they are real people that existed, the distance of time renders them as “just” characters in a story. Anyway, this was great and funny and moving and I really enjoyed it.
  • I Used to Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story – I was never a boyband fangirl myself. I just didn’t get the appeal, but I have been a fan of other things and it was a DELIGHT to watch this and feel those feels and see other people feeling those feels. Not only does this documentary tell the stories of a range of different fangirls, but it also follows the changes in their fandom and what their love of their particular boyband has enabled them to achieve. And it takes all of their fangirling and love and out-there antics and takes it all seriously. Everyone should see this.
  • Little Forest – This is a film where a young woman spends a lot of time cooking for herself and for her friends, eating the nice food she has cooked and hanging out with a puppy and I think this is the gentle film that the world needs right now.
  • Pacific Rim: Uprising – In contrast, I don’t think the world needed this particular Pacific Rim film (perhaps del Toro’s version would have been different) and yeah, there is one element of the story that is CLEARLY RIDICULOUS and UNCALLED FOR. That said, I enjoyed the story and the robots and John Boyega is a national treasure.
  • Avengers: Infinity War – I am here for Captain America 5eva. And most of the rest of them too.
  • Ocean’s Eight – This is literally the only Ocean’s film I have seen in a cinema rather than just waiting for it to be on the telly and that was an excellent decision. Sandra Bullock is my perennial fave and she and her team are just so good at all of it. Richard Armitage is there being awful in the best way. The only thing that could have been better would be if they had just put someone else in as the insurance fraud investigator.
  • Black Panther – It feels like Black Panther came out a million years ago but it was literally only like eleven months. Everything about this film was just right and I loved T’Challa and Shuri and her being the genius little sister.

And that’s it for the new films I saw in 2018. I feel like I would have liked to go to more gigs, but sometimes I’m just not interested in the people who are touring here. I visited Norfolk on holiday and that was great. I ate a great many delicious things. 2018 was okay.

1.  Well, I started writing this 3 days ago.
2. It had been a long day.

Common Cyborg – Jillian Weise

The whole essay is here.

To Haraway, the cyborg is a matter of fiction, a struggle over life and death, a modern war orgy, a map, a condensed image, a creature without gender. The manifesto coopts cyborg identity while eliminating reference to disabled people on which the notion of the cyborg is premised. Disabled people who use tech to live are cyborgs. Our lives are not metaphors.