I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: The only good fish is a singing fish

Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest instalment in your favourite franchise, an obscure preview for a strange indie darling, whether it’s good, bad, ugly or just plain weird – your favourite pop culture baristas are there to tell you what they think.

Annette, Leos Carax’ Sparks-scored musical, won’t be for everyone, but it’s definitely a unique film. Matt was among those who didn’t like it as much as they were hoping to, but hey, he liked the first and the last five minutes a lot, so there’s always that.

Continue reading

Six Damn Fine Degrees #61: Tony “Scheherazade” Soprano

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness!

I met my now-wife back in the previous millennium. It took a while for things to work out between the two of us – anywhere between nine and eleven years, depending on how you measure and what you take as the starting point of a relationship that developed over a fairly long time, and that is still developing and growing. But especially during the first few years, there were a few constants. From the first, we went to the cinema with each other a lot. And early on, we would start watching TV series together – and once you start with a TV series with someone else, you can’t just go off and watch it on your own, because that would be simply uncivilised. Over the years we’ve watched so many series together: great ones, good ones, a fair few mediocre ones and even a couple of series that were plain bad. (I’m looking at you, Hunted and Intruders!) From Battlestar Galactica to Veronica Mars, from Ultraviolet to Lost, from House of Cards (the BBC original) to Edge of Darkness (also the BBC original).

But somehow, I would say that our origin story, our relationship as first friends and then more than friends as facilitated by television, really began with a mobster who went to see a psychiatrist.

Continue reading

That was the year that wasn’t: 2021

In early 2021, I started a draft blog post for the end of the year, in which I’d note down all the culture that had come out during the past twelve months that stood out to me: films that I loved, TV series that surprised me, books that I hated so much that they somehow defined 2021 for me.

I started that draft, and then I never touched it again. And here we are.

Continue reading

I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Time. Space. Music.

Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest instalment in your favourite franchise, an obscure preview for a strange indie darling, whether it’s good, bad, ugly or just plain weird – your favourite pop culture baristas are there to tell you what they think.

Let’s start the week with a bit of opera: on New Year’s Day in 1975, Ingmar Bergman’s The Magic Flute premiered on Swedish television. Almost 47 years later, Matt watched the film as part of his Swedish odyssey and wrote about it on A Damn Fine Cup of Culture. The Magic Flute‘s plot is strange, bordering on the nonsensical, but Bergman’s adaptation has a lot of charm.

Continue reading

The Compleat Ingmar #28: The Magic Flute (1975)

In 1975, Ingmar Bergman directed a production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute for Swedish television (which was later given a cinema release). I had seen Mozart’s opera before, at the theatre, but that was about 35 years ago. I don’t remember much, other than the relatively sexy outfits the Three Ladies were wearing (or at least what I considered sexy at the age of 11). Having watched Bergman’s screen version, though, I can safely say that The Magic Flute is weird.

Continue reading

I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Trailer senses tingling!

Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest instalment in your favourite franchise, an obscure preview for a strange indie darling, whether it’s good, bad, ugly or just plain weird – your favourite pop culture baristas are there to tell you what they think.

As we are hurtling towards the holiday season and things are getting busier and busier, we still find the time to write the occasional post – such as Friday’s Six Damn Fine Degrees about Matt’s increasing disillusionment with redemption narratives. Sure, many an engaging story was about bad boys trying to un-break bad, but should our focus always be on them?

Anyway, since Star Wars may be the pre-eminent franchise that fetishises redemption narratives, here’s a trailer for an upcoming Star Wars games – because redemption is twice as yummy if it’s the player trying to make up for their dark, dastardly actions, right?

Continue reading

I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Sugar and spice and all things nice

Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest instalment in your favourite franchise, an obscure preview for a strange indie darling, whether it’s good, bad, ugly or just plain weird – your favourite pop culture baristas are there to tell you what they think.

Over the last two years time has felt like it’s broken, or at least its batteries are way down. Nonetheless, it’s December, the holidays aren’t all that far away, and the twelfth of our monthly podcasts has gone up. (More on that later.) The pandemic is still going on, affecting our lives and our cultural habits, but that’s not going to keep us from making sure our cups are filled with damn great culture – such as Mike Leigh’s Naked, which Julie wrote about in this week’s Six Damn Fine Degrees.

Continue reading

I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Send in the frogs

Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest instalment in your favourite franchise, an obscure preview for a strange indie darling, whether it’s good, bad, ugly or just plain weird – your favourite pop culture baristas are there to tell you what they think.

For one, this week’s Six Damn Fine Degrees looked at pictures that don’t move – although in your mind’s eye they absolutely do: Mege wrote about J.M.W. Turner’s painting “The Fighting Temeraire”. And since he so handily mentioned Mike Leigh’s 2014 film Mr. Turner, that makes the first trailer of this Sunday post quite easy to choose.

Continue reading

I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Vive la France!

Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest instalment in your favourite franchise, an obscure preview for a strange indie darling, whether it’s good, bad, ugly or just plain weird – your favourite pop culture baristas are there to tell you what they think.

For this week’s Six Damn Fine Degrees, Alan wrote about the pitch-perfect performance of John Turner as Roderick Spode in the TV adaptation of Jeeves and Wooster and one of the most fitting quasi-Hitler moustaches in TV history. If you haven’t already done so, make sure to check it out! Sadly, it seems that the only trailers for the show available online are in German, which obviously won’t do, so here’s a six-minute excerpt to enjoy instead.

Continue reading

Six Damn Fine Degrees #55: John Turner as Roderick Spode 

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness!

Whenever you watch a live action adaptation of a book that you love, there is always the troublesome business of the casting. Will those starring in the production possibly match up to the version in your head from reading the original. If the actor does a good job, they might come close to how you imagined the role initially. An actor might even still do a good job, but just be wrong. Their performance is so at odds with your own take on the role, that, even if you keep watching it you’ll mainly be quietly tutting at it.

But occasionally an actor will come along and give a performance in a role that works so well, that so exceeds the version that once played in the brain, that they become that character going forward. When you re-read the book, it’s their version that you imagine. Whatever feeble brain casting you imagined before has been sacked and kicked out the imaginary production, forever replaced by the version you saw on screen.

Continue reading