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.

Antigone @ The National Theatre 24/05/12

I pretty much went into the Olivier Theatre with no idea what the play was about.  Luckily, a fairly friendly man sat next to me and pointed out the Oedipus family tree in the programme, which reminded me that I’d already seen Oedipus at the NT when Ralph Fiennes took the title role (my verdict on that boiled down to “it was good, but really really grim). We speculated a bit on what kind of era the play seemed to be set in – I went with early 80s, he went with 50s until I pointed out the printer/fax machine/whatever. Might have been 70s with all the beige and brown in the set.

Other thoughts:

  1. Play called “Antigone”, but Antigone isn’t really there most of the time. Probably a catchier name than “Creon” though.
  2. The Soldier = very attractive (yep, I’m shallow).
  3. I did like the about-turn from Ismene – she might not have been willing to actually go against the state, but she stuck with her sister when push came to shove.
  4. The whole duty to your family versus duty to the state was interesting. Even more interesting when I remembered about this being written back in the day with the whole ancient Greece thing going on and the role of women being entirely different back then.
  5. Which did make Ismene being unwilling to bury her brother at the beginning make more sense. She’s not supposed to really have a mind of her own, and Antigone’s disobedience of the state (and also her own Uncle) is that bit more shocking/unusual.
  6. Creon was a bit of an arse after the initial bit where he seemed fairly reasonable, wasn’t he? Admittedly, that’s not a technical term…
  7. Poor Eurydice. She’s there for all of five minutes and then she’s dead.
  8. Christopher Eccleston was nicely politician-y as Creon.
  9. I think the comments on gender and the roles of men and women were what caught my attention most while watching (and probably raised the few giggles that the tragedy does have). Possibly because most of my thoughts are on my presentation/essay about women and fundamentalism that I’ve got to do.
  10. Actually, when they were talking about Creon’s son, Haemon, being betrothed to one of the sisters, I thought they were talking about him being engaged to Ismene rather than Antigone. Which made me confused later on. Ismene gets forgotten about after being taken away pretty much. I wanted to know what happened to her.

It was very satisfying to watch.  Glad I knew it was a tragedy, at least, before watching because, with that knowledge, you can see exactly what’s going to drop on Creon when Haemon comes to talk to him.

Not entirely sure what the point of the slowing down of time/slow motion bits were. It was interesting to see, but… yeah.  I’d probably have to think about that more than I have brain-space for.

 

Much Ado About Nothing 23/07/11

So as part of my Mum’s ongoing birthday presents (started with a netbook before her birthday and shoes ON her birthday)…and because I wanted to see it anyway, we went to see Much Ado About Nothing. I don’t think I’ve laughed at a play so much in my life before. David Tennant and Catherine Tate, as Benedick and Beatrice, have the best comic timing ever and Don Pedro… Don Pedro was aces. And Claudio! And Don John! And Dogberry.

It was aces all round.

Anyway. So. We’re sitting there. Watching. Laughing. About 20-25 minutes in I feel my Mum look at me and think (yeah, it’s a thing. It’s like when I know she’s giggling like a madwoman during Mass). A moment goes past, where she decides, yeah, she’s going to ask me.

“Is that Doctor Who?”

Oedipus at the National Theatre

Today I went to the matinee performance of Oedipus at the National Theatre starring Ralph Fiennes. Obviously, being entirely about the whole Oedipus Greek myth, it’s fairly grim and very heavy going.

On the other hand, it’s also really enjoyable watching the whole unfolding of the reason that Thebes is cursed and Oedipus’ journey towards discovering the truth about his origins and what all of that subsequently means. And of course, wrapping your head around the idea that his children’s mother is also their grandmother and that he is his own children’s brother…

Well. It makes for imagining an interesting looking family tree.

Ralph Fiennes was really good – the character of Oedipus seems to be a very… hard-going role to play and he really carried it off, especially the more horrified and disgusted with himself Oedipus became. Clare Higgins as Jocasta was actually made of awesome. Her distress at the memory of having her baby son taken away from her was incredible to watch and then later, her desire to deny what she didn’t want to believe was true was very believable. The chorus were really good too – their diction was spot on and I could hear every word that was being sung – nothing was lost and the effect of the discord later on really reflected the whole downturn of events well.

So yeah. It was good. 😀